I am sharing this, one of my very first blog posts, in honor of the fact that the Maelstrom will soon be closed forever and refurbished as a Frozen attraction at the Norway Pavilion in EPCOT’s World Showcase. Farewell, old friend!
This article can be found at Walt’s Basement, for the Love of All Things Disney. Head on over and join them!
Who are the Guardians of the Galaxy?
written by Walt’s Basement Board Member Arthur E. Vassar
Marvel has been hitting the ball out of the park with recent movies featuring Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, et al. So who are the Guardians of the Galaxy, and why did Marvel decide to bring them to big screen? The fact that other major properties (ie – Spider-Man, X-Men, and Fantastic Four) are in contract to other production companies, is a part of it. But maybe they decided that going with the underdogs was what Marvel does best.
In the late sixties, Marvel had introduced many of the A-list characters and teams that have become synonymous with the Marvel name. But they were still recovering from the anti-comic book hysteria of the 1950’s. Many of their titles were partial reprint comics, featuring a new character or team story followed by reprint stories from their library of westerns, science-fiction, romance, etc. that had sustained them for so many years. Marvel Super-Heroes was one of those titles, but in issue #18 (cover dated January 1969), the lead story featured a group known as The Guardians of the Galaxy.
The time is the 31st century, and this is an alternative time-line to the main-stream Marvel Universe. The Guardians are made up of the team of Major Vance Astro, a 20th century astronaut who spent 1000 years in suspended animation on a trip to Alpha Centauri and finds humanity had arrived before him with technology discovered after his trip began. Martinex is a crystalline being from Pluto; Charlie-27, a humanoid from Jupiter that was genetically engineered for density on the gas giant; and Yondu, a native from Centauri-IV (fourth planet of Alpha Centauri-B. Each of them is the last of their respective races and they unite as a team to fight against the Badoons, an alien race that has mostly taken over Earth’s solar system.
Their next appearance didn’t happen until 1974, along with two new members (Starhawk, the-one-who-knows and Nikki, last survivor of the Venus humanoids) when issues 4 and 5 of Marvel Two-In-One featured the team along with Captain America and the Thing (Fantastic Four). In 1975 they showed up again, this time teaming with the non-group known as The Defenders in issues 26 through 29 and Giant Size Defenders #5. Both of these adventures had The Guardians traveling back through time to join up with the other heroes in their ongoing fight against the Badoon.
The Guardians next appeared for 10 issues of the series Marvel Presents, followed by a run of eighteen issues of various titles that brought back the villain Korvac from the Giant-Size Defenders story. Korvac had been intended as a one-shot villain, but he emerged as a major player in the Marvel Universe… the stories were known thereafter as The Korvac Saga.
Again the Guardians disappeared from the comic racks until the early 1990’s when then got a self-titled series that ran for 62 issues. It featured the original team in their future along with some new members, incuding a Skrull (alien shape-shifter), and Inhuman (Earth based superhuman) as well as Yellowjacket 2 (Rita DeMara) and a future version of the super-hero Wonder Man who is now the sole remaining Avenger. The team decides to continue the expansion and Martinex goes in search of more members in a mini-series Galactic Guardians.
So how do we get to the team that will eventually show up in the movie? In 2007 a epic storyline entitled Annihilation: Conquest ran in the Marvel Universe that brought together a group of varied galaxy spanning characters that ranged from serious to a lesser known space-farer (Rocket Raccoon) and a former Marvel monster of the 1960’s repackaged as a cosmic level entity (Groot). It was in the aftermath of this story that Star-Lord brought together the team to as he put it “on the heels of two back-to-back wars, they’re out to prevent any new Annihilation-size disasters from erupting.” The new team is based out of a space station named Knowhere. Along with some members that will not be a part of the film, they faced the Universal Church of Truth, King Blastaar (Fantastic Four villain), and two crossover stories (War of Kings and Realm of Kings) in its short 25 issue run. They then went on to tie up some loose storyline ends in The Thanos Imperative and Avengers Assemble from 2010 to 2012. Most recently the team has gotten a new series as a part of the new Marvel NOW! branding started in 2013. It has all the members we will see in the movie as well as Iron Man who is trying to expand his outlook after the events of the A vs. X storyline.
So looking at the movie cast who will we see? Star-Lord (Peter Quill, played by Chris Pratt) is a thief, rogue and a bit of a jerk. Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana) was an orphan trained by Thanos to be his assassin and is now seeking personal redemption. Drax the Destroyer (played by Dave Bautista) is a warrior is search of vengeance against one of the films protagonists Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace). Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) is a tree-like humanoid that is both deadly and sweet, the only innocent in a group of ne’er do wells. Lastly we have Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) who is a genetically altered raccoon bounty hunter, mercenary, master of weapons, and battle tactics. Together they are the Guardians of the Galaxy… coming to a theater near you in August!
I also have this posted on Walt’s Basement at http://www.walts-basement.com (http://waltsbasement.yuku.com/topic/40808/master/1/. Join the Disney magic there every day!
Having waited what seems like an eternity for this film (as I have been a Maleficent fan long before it became cool), I approached my experience with as much of an open mind as I could muster. I am not a fan of Angelina Jolie (never have been), so I was not very enthusiastic when I heard they had cast her in the main role of my favorite villain of all time. In fact, I was quite upset. As the months went on and Disney released preview after preview, I began to come to terms with the casting and began to look forward to seeing the film more and more.
I went on opening day and saw the film in digital format (not in 3D) because I knew that if I saw it in the other formats there would be things that my eyes would likely miss due to the frame rate increase, and I wanted to see it ALL. I will go back and see it in other formats at a future date.
In my opinion, Angelina nailed this role, although her acting does have limitations in one particular scene (you all will know which one I mean so I will not spoil it for you). That scene just felt underdone and a bit awkward, but in all seriousness she really did a good job with the rest of it. Her companion, Diaval (played by Sam Riley) was also done well. Sharlto Copley portrays Stefan with obsessive conviction and the efforts he displays in his scenes is almost palpable. Elle Fanning, our Aurora, does not quite measure up to the acting that Jolie displays when they share a scene together, but in other scenes (such as with the three fairies), she holds her own just fine. Other members of the cast simply do not compare to the lead characters, but it really does not matter thanks to the excellent storyline.
The twist on the classic Sleeping Beauty tale is something I would have written. After all, I have said for YEARS now that Maleficent is a hero and a villain and has been misunderstood. It is a great tale, indeed, and long overdue. This film is geared towards all ages, so adults may leave with the thought as I did that it would have been amazing if it had been even darker, but this way it will not frighten young viewers much if at all. I really would have made it darker so there would have been more contrast in the characters by the end of the film. It is sweet in parts, humorous in others, and very well crafted however.
The film is rated PG, however I would have no issue whatsoever taking my children, even young children (ages 6+) to the movie. There are only a couple of minimally frightening parts in the film and one bit of violence that you would need to discuss. It is comparable to PG with Marvel films or something on evening television, and good parenting opportunity always results from discussion, not sheltering. My children and all of the younger ones in the theater LOVED it!
The Sets, Cinematography, and Effects
The scenery and sets are fabulous. Seriously. The CG effects are amazing and all of the creatures are completely believeable. The exception to this, in my opinion, was the three fairies. They looked a bit too CG for my taste in more than one scene. I would not be surprised to see this film nominated for an Academy Award for some of it next year. I wanted to live in either kingdom by the end of the film.
The score by James Newton Howard is well done, but it is not so influential as to stand out on it’s own or able to overshadow the story, as in some films. It is comforting and relaxing in places and tense and strong in others. It fits, but it is not the high calibur of some past Disney films. I liked it because it did not take away from the focus of each scene. Great balance there.
The Costumes and Makeup
The costumes and the makeup are sensational throughout the film. Pay close attention to adult Stephan in particular! The transformations that were done are nothing short of amazing for all of the cast. Rick Baker will get most of the credit for makeup, but in reality there was a team of nearly fifty people working to get appearances right. Costumes were designed by Anna B. Sheppard and they are remarkable for Maleficent and other key characters.
I was glad that Disney treated my favorite villain with the respect and dignity that she deserves, and all women (men, you too) will be able to see the symbolism behind the story that translates to some of us in reality. There’s a reason she is my favorite, and this story is told to illustrate it.
My rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars. EVERY DISNEY FAN SHOULD GO SEE IT!
Making their own fate, the first Disney/Pixar film character has been recreated in a Leibovitz portrait. It is Brave‘s princess that takes charge of her own future- Merida.
This is a part of the Disney Dream Portrait series, created by Annie Leibovitz. Entitled, “Where Your Destiny Awaits,” it features Jessica Chastain as Merida.
You can find this new portrait in the upcoming February issue of O – The Oprah Magazine. For some of the past images that have been magically created, check here.
BraveBrave (2012 film), a computer-animated 3-D film produced by Pixar →
Ever since I was a young girl I have been amused and fascinated by the 999 Happy Haunts and their not-so-humble abode. They always tell you that there is “room for one more” and ask for volunteers, so why not? I VOLUNTEER, DISNEY!
In all seriousness, the details of the mansion are something that scores of Disney fans adore and cherish. Just traveling through the mansion is a feast for the senses. You feel the chill of the breeze regardless of the weather outside, and you can sense the “spirits” all around you without fearing the “other side”. It is a grim grinning great time for all ages.
You begin in the all-time favorite, the Stretching Room, complete with the hilarious portraits and the introduction to our “Ghost Host”.
Just a bit later, after you find your way out of the room with no windows and no doors, you can see much from the comfort of your Doombuggy. These images are intentionally out of order, however, for I don’t want to spoil it if you have not yet ventured into the mansion yourself.
Lots of stairs. That could get confusing if one leaves a Doombuggy. I will wait for a better departure point.
Definitely leaving this lid intact as long as possible.
Ah, here we go! The Ballroom banquet. What’s for dinner?
Of course, I don’t think I could party on the chandelier above the table. Heights are not my thing. But party on, chandelier dudes!
The Singing Busts. I can carry a tune- oh they just have to let me join in.
Madame Leota presiding over her seance.Lots of musical instruments in that room. Maybe she will let me play one?
The Attic and a portrait of Constance with one of her unlucky husbands, all of whom met with an early demise courtesy of an axe.
Constance! I am sure we would get on fabulously- after all, we could have lots of girl talk and I am not taking anything with sharp edges with me.
Ezra, Gus, and Phineas. Now why are they always trying to hitch a ride away from the mansion? Ah, the grass really is always greener I suppose.
Which is YOUR favorite room in the Haunted Mansion?
Would YOU join the 999 Happy Haunts as I would? (Or is my family right- am I batty?)
Shall we plan a weekend?
Seven years. Wow. Already?
My kids were tiny, and one of them wasn’t even in school yet when I started this site way back in 2006. Now one is in college and the youngest is in Middle School. I have told the story so many times, but I started this place as a haven for Disney fans who want something MORE– something extra special without fear of being ridiculed or made fun of, edited, or treated unfairly.
Walt’s Basement Disney Forum (www.walts-basement.com) is a site that truly cares about it’s staff and it’s members, on and offline. It matters not if you are active now or were active in 2007, you are part of our online family and we welcome you when you are able to spend time with us. We miss you when you go and celebrate when you stay. We send you pixie dust when things are not going so good for you, and we shout for joy when you share good news with us. EVERYONE, regardless of where they come from or what they do for a living, matters here- as we are all united by our love of all things Disney.
Recently, I was told that someone asked another party about our site and another person told them not to bother- that we took a lot of time to participate on our site- that they could just join the Facebook Groups or follow us or other Disney things through social media, and that we weren’t worth the effort that it takes. Now I think that people would expect me to be hurt by this, or even get angry, but you know what I did? I laughed. It is obvious to me that anyone who has ever been involved- really involved- with our site knows that it is WELL worth the effort. We have done so much good together. Our members, Mods and Board Members have joined forces to brighten so many faces with smiles by mailing packages and goodies. We have provided coats for children who could not afford them in the cold weather, and school supplies for an entire special education classroom. We have furnished families with toys for their children to unwrap on Christmas morning, and even meals for Thanksgiving dinners. Donations to food pantries in different communities have been given by Walt’s Basement, and I happen to recall many of our members bonding together to raise funds for a very special little girl to get a specially made therapy bike, too. There are so many things we have done…..and so many things we have yet to do. We care for our online family!
No, we are not just social media, thank goodness. We do take more than a couple of sentences to get involved and get to know one another, which is a pretty rare thing these days. And when we do take that precious time to get to know someone, we invest in them and accept them as part of our group here. Before too long, I bet they even get slipped a Mickey in their mailbox (and yes, that is a very good thing). Heck, they could even get Blitzed (again, a good thing!).
Many of us have been around since the pilot year of WB, and some have only been around for a few months, but we are all united in the mission that we are trying to accomplish and have set out to since day one- to spread as much Disney magic as possible. So thank you to all of you for sharing in the dream- my dream- for WB and our dream for Disney magic. I could not have done this without you and I am forever grateful to each of you that have stood by me (and my family) through the past seven years and the growth and development of this amazing site. I can not wait to see what the future holds.
When and how did Walt’s Basement first reach you or make an impact on you? Share your story with us, and if you haven’t joined us yet- sign up today so you can share your story with us on our next Anniversary, because I know you will have one before long.
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