What Will Happen To Marvel Island?

Posted in Travel on August 31st, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From the Financial Pages today – business news is not something I usually write about, but you’ll see why the following story would interest me:

Disney To Acquire Marvel Entertainment

Our family frequents the Orlando Florida area, home of Disney World and also their major competitor – Universal Studios.  For those of you who don’t know, at Universal’s Islands of Adventure (the newer and more thrill-ride oriented of Universal’s two Orlando parks), there is an entire area called Marvel Superhero Island®.  So my question is, now that Disney, Universal’s biggest competitor and business enemy, has bought Marvel, what will happen to Superhero Island at Islands of Adventure?  I can’t imagine that Universal would want to keep the same characters, now owned by Disney, at their park.  And I can’t imagine Disney letting Universal keep the characters at their park, unless the price was right, of course.  But based upon the competitiveness that is obvious to the tourists flocking to the area, Disney’s superhero lease price would probably put Universal out of business!

Marvel’s Superhero Island currently contains (click the link for an interactive map – Superhero Island is on the left side of the park, just left of the main gate) the following attractions:   The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Doctor Doom’s Fear Fall, and Storm Force Accelatron, which we’ve always skipped since it seemed like Universal’s answer to Disney’s Teacup ride.  We always skipped Doctor Doom also since it’s a free-fall ride and I’m afraid to go on those.  I think my husband went on this one however, but I don’t remember him saying it was any different from the rest of these types of rides.  In short, it probably won’t be much of a problem to rename these two rides.  The Hulk coaster is an awesome coaster and should also be able to withstand the re-themeing, although it might need a paint job to change its current green/purple Hulk theme.  The Adventures of Spiderman is another story.  This ride is awesome!  There really isn’t anything else like it in either of the two parks.  It’s basically like taking a thrill ride into a 3D Spiderman movie.  I guess they’d have to choose a new character and make a new movie.  Whatever they do, I hope it’s as good as the original Spiderman ride!  Also complicating a theming switch would be the superheros and villians that walk around Marvel’s Superhero Island.  I guess all the costumes would be sold to Disney.  Perhaps Disney will build a superhero section – my guess would be at MGM Hollywood Studios if I had to pick a place.

And Universal would have an entire area to theme and fill.  Hmmm, imagine the possibilities….
Let’s see, would they coincide the new area with  a new movie coming out (Smurfs (sorry Carol), Jetsons – not sure if those are Universal movies)?  Or would they take one of their existing franchises (Simpsons – they’d have to move that super-cool new ride from the Studios park to the Islands park!, NBC land (The Office – The Ride!)) and create a whole new world?  Any ideas?

**UPDATE** – From orlandosentinel.com: “…theme-park rival Universal Orlando will likely retain the park rights to its four Marvel superstars, including Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk…
…Universal’s contracts apparently gives it exclusive U.S. rights east of the Mississippi River for theme-park attractions built around certain of those characters, notably Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, X-Men and Dr. Doom.
Universal Orlando said Marvel characters will remain a staple at its parks.
“Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and the Marvel characters are an important part of the Universal Orlando experience. They will remain so,” said Tom Schroder, a Universal spokesman. “Our agreement with Marvel stands for as long as we follow the terms of our existing contract and for as long as we want there to be a Marvel Super Hero Island.”

So in response to several comments from blog readers, there are a separate set of rights for the Marvel characters in question – theme park rights.

The Dark Knight

Posted in Movies on July 21st, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We ventured out to see the midnight showing of The Dark Knight last week, and I haven’t written about it until now because I’ve been so busy, but I figured I better make some time for it before I forget, so here it goes…

It all began when we found out our little local theater would be showing it at midnight, and since we’re usually up with the new baby at that time, we figured why not be in a movie feeding the baby instead of at home?  So we got together a group who wanted to see it, and that’s when we found out the movie was 2 hours and 40 minutes!  Oops, the baby is never up THAT long but too late to back out now!  Besides, after all the hype involved, I was actually looking forward to it.

Since almost a week has passed and I’m on little sleep, some of my memory of the details have faded, so this will be a very vague reveiw.  I’d have to say the movie was exactly what I was expecting.  I was hoping it would be a little better, especially after all the media hype, but it was exactly what I thought it would be – and that’s not anywhere NEAR the 9.6 people gave it on imdb.com.  Since I’m not a huge fan of superhero / comic book movies (yet I keep going to see them; not sure what’s up with that), I really wasn’t expecting this to be one of my favorite movies ever.   Heath Ledger did have a VERY good performance as the Joker, but was it Oscar-worthy?  I personally don’t think so.  I do think he will win it though, but let’s just wait and see if he is nominated and who he is up against.  And it’s not like I ever agree with who wins those things anyway; for me it’s just a good excuse to throw a fun party 🙂

But back to the movie…  there was a lot of violence.  I can’t believe what they’re allowed to call PG-13 these days.  Although I suppose it wasn’t really anything short of what you’d see on tv, and there was actually little to no blood and gore, so maybe that explains it.  The children I saw in the theater were all asleep by the time the movie was over anyway.  And yes, I did think the movie went on too long – it wasn’t a short 2 hours and 40 minutes, and it didn’t really fly by.  As my husband pointed out, way too much dialogue for a superhero movie; friends agreed and added that the Batman movies are like that.  I’ve only seen the Tim Burton Batman from 1989, which I’m told is just a different take on the whole thing and doesn’t really fit into the timeline anywhere, and I’ve also seen Batman Forever, which I really enjoy.  So that brings me to my 2nd favorite villian next to the Joker – Harvey “Two-Face” Dent.  I just love what Tommy Lee Jones did with the character in Batman Forever, and I was pleased when I realized that Harvey Dent was going to turn into Two-Face in The Dark Knight, but overall I was disappointed because Aaron Eckhart’s  Two-Face was pretty lame compared to Jones’.  The makeup was pretty good, although I actually enjoy the more comic book look that they gave Tommy Lee Jones versus the scary look they gave Eckhart for the newest film.

Christian Bale’s Batman was alright, though I couldn’t stand his gravelly Batman voice – it reminded me of the Friends episode where Joey is selling cologne at a department store…  If you’re a fan of the show and you know what episode I’m talking about, find it and listen to his cologne adversary say “Hombre?” – sounds just like Christian Bale’s Batman and every time he spoke in the movie I was tempted to giggle as I thought of that hillarious Friends episode.  Maggie Gyllenhaal was pretty good too; although in scenes with both her and Heath Ledger’s Joker, it was weird for me to think that he played her brother’s gay lover in Brokeback Mountain, but that’s Hollywood for you, it’s cyclical.

And since we’re on the subject of Heath Ledger’s Joker, it was very impressive.  Not the kind of movie or role I’d pick for being Oscar-worthy, but that’s my personal opinion and like I said, we’ll just see happens as Oscar time draws near.  He was pretty scary, and I’d have to say Hollywood can mourn him as a good actor because when I was in the hospital less than a week ago, I watched 10 Things I Hate About You (the hospital’s limited cable selections + baby up at night = what else do I watch but this bad movie?).  Ledger was in that movie, and he couldn’t even shed his Australian accent back then!  Seeing where he was in that movie versus the Joker did give me appreciation for his work (as the Joker, not in 10 Things…).

And another reason I was excited to see this movie was that I had heard that 80% of it was shot in my former hometown (well, sort of, I grew up in the suburbs), Chicago.  It was neat to see all the familiar landmarks, although they did try to anonymize the city so it could be recognized as Gotham City instead of Chicago.  I was especially looking forward to the special effects involved in the Gotham City Hospital scene since I read an article about it ahead of time, but I have to say I was a little disappointed in how it actually looked on screen.  I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t seen this movie yet, but I will say that the vacant Brach’s Candy Factory on Chicago’s west side doubled for the Gotham City Hospital.  And seeing the Joker in a nurse’s dress was pretty funny in itself…

Overall, I had a lot of fun seeing this movie.  I think much of it had to do with the midnight showing and attending with a large group of friends.  The movie was exactly what I expected, although I can say I was hoping for better…  but again, I’m not a fan of comic books, and I’ve never read one in my life.

The Incredible Hulk

Posted in Movies on July 2nd, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Super hero movies are not must-sees for me, but we caught a showing of The Incredible Hulk the other day mainly because there was nothing else playing that we hadn’t seen already.  Since physical activity is out for me (but only for another few weeks – YAY!!), going to a movie on our weekly date night has been popular because even someone of my girth can enjoy sitting in an air-conditioned movie theater for a few hours.  I was also drawn to this movie because I remember really enjoying The Incredible Hulk tv series  as a very young child.  So both my husband and I were entertained by the movie; it was action-packed, and the special effects weren’t terrible looking like they were in the previews.  Edward Norton was good, and so was Liv Tyler, but then again, I don’t think I’ve seen her in anything where she was horrible…  except maybe that Aerosmith video in which she appeared in the ’90’s, but then again, I’m not a fan of music videos anyway.  We did come away with a few questions regarding the believability of the film, but of course, you’re talking about a super hero movie, and our questions were answered by a helpful friend who reads Marvel comics.

Of my 2 favorite things about the movie, one was the surprise at the end, which I’m not going to spoil, but I will say this – if you’re a comic fan, you will REALLY enjoy the surprise.  The other thing I really liked was an inside joke I actually got, even though I don’t read comic books.  Liv Tyler’s character buys Bruce Banner some pants, and wouldn’t you know it, she picks out a pair of bright purple ones – a nod to the old tv series where the Hulk wore purple.  I thought that joke was especially funny and clever, and I’m glad they included it.  Also enjoyable is the Lou Ferrigno cameo; he’s the original Hulk from tv who appears in this movie as a security guard and also voices the computer generated Hulk.  If you like the comics, you’ve probably seen this already, but I’d also recommend it for anyone who likes fantasy/action movies or if you were a fan of the Hulk tv show from decades ago.  It’s not going to make me start reading comic books, but it was well worth seeing just for the nostalgia factor alone.