Wednesday, December 9, 2009

News - 12/09/09...

Potter’s Latest, Greatest Spells Come Home

Harry Potter mania is invading the home video space once again, with the release of his most recent movie outing as well as new editions of his previous adventures

Up first is the summer smash Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Warner Bros., $28.98 DVD, $34.99 special-edition two-disc DVD, $35.99 special-edition Blu-ray). The sixth film in the series sees the boy wizard and his allies on a collision course for a final showdown with the evil Lord Voldemort.

Also out are new editions of the first two films in the series: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Ultimate Edition (Warner Bros., $39.92 DVD, $49.99 Blu-ray) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Ultimate Edition (Warner Bros., $39.92 DVD, $49.99 Blu-ray). The DVD versions of each include four discs, while the Blu-rays include three discs — each featuring new bonus features such as extended versions of both films, screen tests and the first two parts in a comprehensive new documentary on the making of the films.

And if you need a way to catch up on the series, there’s the boxed set Harry Potter: Years 1-6 (Warner Bros., $69.98 DVD $134.99 Blu-ray).

The top animated release of the week has to be the Coraline Gift Set (Focus, $64.98 DVD, $69.98 Blu-ray), which includes both the 2-D and 3-D versions of the film, as well as a commemorative book.

Other visual-effects and animated releases of note include Lost: The Complete Fifth Season (ABC Studios, $59.99 DVD, $79.99 Blu-ray), SpongeBob SquarePants: Season 6, Vol. 1 (Paramount, $26.99), Friday: The Complete Animated Series (Image, $19.98) and Naoki Urasawa's Monster Collection 1 (VIZ, $59.90).

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Three NFB Shorts Head to Sundance

Three short animated films from the National Film Board of Canada have landed on the docket of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, set for Jan. 21-31 in Park City, Utah.

The three films as described by the NFB are:

• Cordell Barker’s Runaway, which world premiered in Cannes, is the director’s third film with the NFB. His films The Cat Came Back (1988) and Strange Invaders (2001) won 30 international awards and received Academy Award nominations. In his prescient new short, Barker asks what would happen if the world were a driverless train thundering recklessly over bumpy tracks.

• Bruce Alcock’s Vive la Rose, puts into images the words of a plaintive song about lost love. When illness takes the woman he loves, a simple man sings to her in a last farewell. Co-produced by the NFB and Global Mechanic, Alcock’s film is based on a version of the 18th-century song by the late Newfoundland musician Emile Benoit.

Rains is a meditation on everyday life and our relationship with nature, as seen by David Coquard-Dassault, whose simple pencil drawings capture all the subtleties of scenes and actions. As a sudden downpour lashes the city, everybody seeks shelter. Just for a moment, time stands still. Human activity almost grinds to a halt. Some wait in a bus shelter, others are set on going out, if their umbrellas will open. Wiser, the birds wait out the storm. When the rain stops, the bubble bursts and life goes on.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Wood, Williams in talks for "Happy Feet" sequel

Elijah Wood and Robin Williams are negotiating to repeat their lead voice roles in the sequel to 2006 Oscar-winning animated hit Happy Feet, the Hollywood Reporter said Monday.

George Miller is returning as director for the Warner Bros/Village Roadshow movie Happy Feet 2. Details are being withheld for the new script, which Miller wrote. Animal Logic is the animation studio once again.

Wood will again voice Mumble, the non-singing penguin who loves to tap dance. Williams wants to be back as hyperactive, wisecracking Ramon; he also hopes to voice Lovelace.

The original Happy Feet grossed nearly $198 million at the North American box office. In 2007, it won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

Wood was in the voice cast of Shane Acker's animated fantasy 9, released September 9. He recently completed work in the ensemble independent drama The Romantics, appearing alongside Katie Holmes, Anna Paquin and Adam Brody.

Williams portrayed Dan in Disney's Old Dogs, released November 25. He's attached to star in the studio's comedy Wedding Banned, set for release next year.

Upcoming in North America

Not anime, but of note...
The Beat points out the MTV's Oddities, The Maxx (adaptation of the Sam Kieth comic) and the Head, will be released on DVD(-R). The Maxx disc features The disc includes interviews with Kieth and director Gregg Vanzo as well as audio commentary.


Also, in regards to other English speaking territories, the Australian Blu-ray release of Ponyo has been canceled. Madman announced

Please note that due to circumstances beyond our control the PONYO BLU-RAY scheduled for December 29th is canceled. Furthermore, the PONYO DVD is now a single-disc DVD product and remains scheduled for release December 29th. We thank you for your ongoing custom and apologise for any inconvenience these changes cause.

Upcoming in Japan
Promos & Previews

Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi Character Sketches

Designs for the latest installment of magical girl franchise Precure

The Halo Legends anthology will be released in Japan on February 16, 2010 on DVD, Blu-ray and digital platforms.


Anime News Network notes Bandai's mobile phone website is hosting a graphic that reads as follows:

New Code Geass Project Launch Green-Lit!

Wait for more info in 2010!!


Koroku Inumura's light novel (Flashbacks to a Certain Aerial Pilot) will be getting an film adaptation

To Aru Hikushi e no Tsuioku's story revolves around Charles Karino, a Revaamu Empire mercenary aerial pilot who mans the twin-seater reconnaissance seaplane Santa Cruz. One day, he receives a preposterous assignment: to fly solo over 12,000 kilometers of enemy waters to protect a girl named Fana del Moral. Fana happens to be the next in line to the empire's throne and a girl possessing beauty "equal to 5,000 beams of light."


The next installment of risque fight anime Ikkitousen will be entitled Ikkitousen XX (Ikkitousen Xtreme Xecutor). Aya Endo will voice character Bachou Mouki.
A promo for the upcoming DVD promoting XX can be seen here


AIC will be taking over for beleaguered studio Gonzo on the production of the upcoming Strike Witches 2-ki.


Production I.G has indicated that second movie following up on "fantapolitical thriller" Eden of the East has been until March 2010 and has been expanded to a 90 minute runtime


Jun Awazu’s Negadon: The Monster from Mars next indie work will be Planzet


Ono Natsume's Sarai-ya Goyô (House of Five Leaves) manga will be adapted into anime. As will Shîbashi Hiroshi's Nurarihyon no Mago


Noitamina, the programming block for anime for non-anime fans will be hosting an anime adaptation of Tomihiko's Yoj?-Han Shinwa Taikei novels, directed by Masaaki Yuasa (Kaiba, Mind Game, Kemonozume), written by Makoto Ueda (Summer Time Machine Blues, Fujiko F. Fujio's Parallel Space) and produced by Madhouse.


Shin Itagaki (Basquash!, Black Cat, Devil May Cry, This Ugly Yet Beautiful World) will be writing and directing an upcoming bishojo (cute girl) anime series.


The anime version of baseball series Major will be back for a sixth installment next spring.


Evening has posted a teaser for the anime adaptation of demon detective manga Yondemasuyo, Azazel-san.


Countries as cute guys have become an anime. Trains as cute guys has become an anime. Now, a planetarium's stars as cute guys are getting an anime.


Amateur web series Gohou Shoujo Sowaka-chan (Esoteric Girl Sowaka-chan) will be released on two DVDs


Grave digger light novel Sugar Dark appears to be on the fast track to get an anime adaptation


Two ending have bene created for Battleship Yamato, Previewing screening attendees will have the opportunity to vote on which ending is used in the final theatrical print.

The Business

Matt Alt on the fall of Japanese animation and rise of Chinese


Wall Street Journal on “Discontent Seeps Into Japan’s Anime Studios”

Worth Checking Out...

From, Yoshinori "Iko" Kanada, 1952-02 - The life and times of Japan's Greatest Animator

ANNCast spoke to Chad Kime about the rise and fall of Geneon

Ani no Miyako's Must-watch animated game openings: Part 3

The Guardian on Patrick Galbraith's Akihabara tour

Speaking of Galbraith, the Otaku Encyclopedia author on the Eden of the East movie

…… also on the Macross F movie and here

Destroy All Podcasts DX Episode 118 - Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis (the animated movie from Rintaro and Katsuhiro Otomo)

Recently YouTube Koji Morimoto key animation

Simpsons Stained Glass

The Simpsons have been on everything, from fruit snacks to Playboy magazine. So why not stained glass? Just in time for the holidays, artist Joseph Cavalieri (not to be confused with comics writer/editor Joey Cavalieri) is offering several panels of Simpson art on glass - for all those who worship at the altar of Homer. You can examine these one-of-a-kind pieces on Cavalieri’s website.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Chuck Jones: The Masters Series DVD

In 1990, Chuck Jones sat down with animation director Jeff DeGrandis to discuss the art of drawing and character development. On February 1, 2010, the non-profit Chuck Jones Center for Creativity will release the chat onto dvd as the Chuck Jones Master Series. The project, designed to be a fundraiser for the organization, will be available on two separate 45-minute dvds. The first dvd can be pre-ordered for a minimum donation of $19.95. For more details, visit the official Chuck Jones blog and to order the dvd, contact DVD(at)ChuckJonesCenter(dot)org.

Here’s a preview:

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Sesame Street Retrospective in Brooklyn

This weekend in Brooklyn, BAMcinématek (30 Lafayette Avenue) is presenting “Sesame Street: A Celebration!,” a series of screenings related to the classic children’s TV show, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Of particular interest to Brew readers is “Sesame Street Film Festival” which screens on Saturday, December 12, at 4:30pm. The curator of the screening, Craig Shemin, tells me that the 80-minute compilation is primarily animated and includes work by Bud Luckey, Jim Henson, Pixar, John Dilworth, Bruce Cayard, Buzzco, Derek Lamb, Abe Levitow, Michael Sporn, and Sally Cruikshank. A complete listing of this weekend’s screenings and online ticket purchasing is at the BAM website.

(Thanks cartoon brew)


A few years ago I was discussing childhood fears with a couple friends. One of the fears, which I did not share, was that of animated corporate logos - specifically, the five-second company IDs tagged at the end of old TV shows. As time went on, I’d heard of others who shared this “logo-phobia”. In fact, there are now several websites and You Tube videos devoted to this particular fear.

Now a documentary filmmaker is creating a film about the scariest corporate symbol in history: The 1964 Screen Gems logo, aka The S From Hell. “Built around interviews with survivors still traumatized from viewing the logo after shows like Bewitched or The Monkees, the film brings their stories to life with animation, found footage, and reenactments.” Strange but true - here’s the trailer:

(Thanks, Keri Maijala)

(Thanks cartoon brew)

“Disney Prep & Landing” : The making of a modern Christmas classic

Jim Hill talks with Dorothy McKim, veteran WDAS producer, about how what-was-originally-supposed-to-have-been-a-theatrical-short grew into Disney’s first-ever holiday special for ABC

When you really think about it, it’s entirely appropriate that “Disney Prep & Landing” – ABC’s new holiday special which is built around an elite group of elves – started out life as a short.

Elves. Short. Get it? … Never mind.

Copyright 2009 Disney. All Rights Reserved

Anyway … As veteran producer Dorothy McKim recalled, “Prep & Landing” was just one of the concepts that “Bolt” director Chris Williams came up with when John Lasseter put out the word that Walt Disney Animation Studios was getting back into the theatrical shorts business.”

“This would have been the Summer of 2006,” Dorothy remembered. “And Chris actually pitched three different ideas to John and two of these got put into production: ‘Glago’s Guest,’ which has been out on the animation festival circuit, and ‘Prep and Landing.’“

And Lasseter … Well, as McKim so succinctly put it “John’s a huge Christmas dude. He just loves all of those animated Christmas specials from the 1960s. Which is why he kept bringing up ‘Prep and Landing.’ What a cool world this was, how there was so much more story to tell about this elite group of elves that got houses ready for Santa.”

Copyright 2009 Disney. All Rights Reserved

Which is how what was originally supposed to be a 5 minute-long short eventually wound up becoming this 21 minute-long holiday special. The first ever to be produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, I might add.

“John just wouldn’t let go of this idea,” Dorothy continued. “Which is why – after Chris had been tapped to direct ‘Bolt’ – Lasseter asked Williams if it would be okay to hand off development of ‘Prep & Landing’ to Kevin Deters & Stevie Wermers-Skelton, who had just finished directing ‘How to Hook Up Your Home Theater.’ Chris gave them his blessing and Kevin & Stevie just took his idea and ran with it.”

But that whole time, Lasseter was there to help shape & mold “Prep & Landing.” Constantly noodging Deters & Wermers-Skelton toward story choices that would make Lanny & Wayne’s world seem that much more real.

Copyright 2009 Disney. All Rights Reserved

“John’s eye for detail is just amazing,” McKim said. “He was the one who suggested that – if the Prep & Landing elves were supposed to be such bad asses – then they should really wear bomber jackets. He was also the one who said that the color palate for the North Pole should only be the classic Christmas colors: red, green and gold.”

But that said … Deters & Wermers-Skelton also had a huge impact on this holiday special. With Kevin’s work experience at Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida ultimately providing the key to Wayne’s story arc in “Prep & Landing.”

“Kevin tells this great story about what it was like to work at the Florida studio, how easy it was to get jaded about what you were working on, until you actually went outside into the theme park,”
Dorothy explained. “That’s where you saw all of those people lining up to see the parade, those happy families who had traveled so far to come see the Disney characters. That’s when you realized that what you did as a Disney animator really mattered to these people. That they actually cared about the characters you helped create.”

Copyright 2009 Disney. All Rights Reserved

Speaking of characters that Disney animators create … As production was proceeding on “Prep & Landing,” McKim couldn’t help but notice that Magee, the North Pole Christmas Eve Command Center Coordinator was starting to look familiar. Very very familiar.

“You have to understand that hair is very hard to do in CG,” Dorothy laughed. “So – at first – they were just borrowing my bob hairstyle. But then I caught the storyboard artists studying my mannerisms. Truth be told, Magee is a mix of myself and Jenny Magee-Cook, who works in development here at the Studio. But it’s still kind of a kick to see a little bit of yourself in a show like this.”

McKim’s had all sorts of odd adventures while working on “Prep & Landing.” Like that trip to the Burbank Airport, when McKim and her story crew got to watch air traffic controllers land planes. So they could make sure that the elves who work in the North Pole's tower, who talk Santa through his pre-launch sequence looked & sounded as authentic as possible.

Copyright 2009 Disney. All Rights Reserved

The end result is that “Prep & Landing” – just like the very best Pixar films – features this compelling story that’s set in a fantastic-but-still-believable world which is then populated with characters that you actually care about.

When asked what her favorite moment in this new holiday special is, Dorothy was quick to point to a short-but-important moment in “Prep & Landing” ‘s second act (SMALL SPOILER AHEAD) when Timmy – having been put back in bed by Wayne and Lanny – reaches out in his sleep and hugs the disillusioned older elf, saying “This will be the best Christmas ever. Thank you, Wayne.”

“We debated for a long time about whether Timmy should actually say ‘Thank you’ to Wayne,”
McKim stated. “We wanted this to be a very poignant scene in the show, when Wayne finally realizes how important his job really is.”

Copyright 2009 Disney. All Rights Reserved

Having seen the finished version of “Disney Prep & Landing” several times now … I can tell you folks straight out that McKim, Lasseter, Deters & Wermers-Skelton made all the right choices when it comes to this new ABC holiday special. “Prep & Landing” is a perennial right out of the box. It was the same skillful mixture of humor & heart, the same economy of story that you find in only the very best animated Christmas specials (i.e. “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”).

In fact, Wayne and Lanny – the Christmas Elves – are such appealing characters that I flat-out asked Dorothy if there was any talk yet in-house about possibly making a sequel to “Prep & Landing.” McKim laughed, then said “Well, I know that the crew here at Walt Disney Animation Studios really enjoyed working on this holiday special. As people rolled off their assignments on ‘Bolt,’ we put them right to work on ‘Prep & Landing.’ So there’s a lot of affection around here for Wayne & Lanny. So maybe – if this special gets really good ratings – we'll check in again on these characters sometime in the future.”

Mind you, over the next two-and-half weeks, you’re going to have plenty of opportunities to check out “Disney Prep & Landing.” This new holiday special airs on ABC from 8:30 – 9 p.m. ET / PT, right after “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Starting tomorrow, “Prep & Landing” begins streaming on

Copyright 2009 Disney. All Rights Reserved

And speaking of … Now through the end of December, this website has become the online command center for “Disney Prep & Landing.” Here you can view an original short, “Tiny’s Big Adventure,” which feature Magee’s diminutive administrative assistant. You can also play the online "Kringle Academy" game to see if you actually have what it takes to become a stealthy elf.

And if you’ve got an iPhone or an iPod Touch, you can then download three “Prep & Landing” mini-games onto those devices. Or if you’d prefer more tangible toys, head out for your local Disney Store. Which currently features plush versions of Wayne, Lanny and Magee. Not to mention a "Disney Prep & Landing" sticker book, several types of pins as well as a Christmas ornament .

FYI: If you miss “Disney Prep & Landing” on ABC tonight, not to worry. This new holiday special will be airing two more times on the Alphabet Network. On Wednesday, December 16th from 8-8:30 p.m. and – appropriately enough – on Thursday, December 24th (Christmas Eve) also from 8-8:30 p.m.

Meinbender Helps Identify Cartoon Network

Swedish animation studio Meinbender recently busted out a series of Cartoon Network ID shorties. Olov Burman directed the CG idents (in Maya), which look like stop-motion, right? Here’s two:

The Duplicators

Gifts for Greta

Marvel Studios Chairman To Step Down When Disney Deal Is Finalized

With the impending sale of Marvel to Disney set to be finalized by the end of the year, we could be seeing the first significant sign of change.

Variety is reporting that Marvel Studios chairman David Maisel will step down as soon as Disney takes control of Marvel. Maisel joined the company in 2004 as the president of the newly formed Marvel Studios and was instrumental in raising the $525 million capital that allowed Marvel to finance and produce its own films, including “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk.”

Maisel was previously a development executive at Disney and he is credited as being one of the first Marvel executives to speak with Disney about a potential deal.

Maisel will stay on “Iron Man 2”, “Thor” and “Captain America” as an assistant executive producer before leaving to pursue “other opportunities.” Kevin Feige — the current Marvel Studios President and often Marvel’s public face in Hollywood — will take over Maisel’s role and report directly to Disney’s chairman, Rich Ross.

Ever since the $4 billion dollar deal between Marvel and Disney was announced, comic fans and industry observers have been closely scrutinizing the interactions between the two companies. It is currently unknown if Maisel will be the only major executive to leave the company or if there will be more to follow once the deal goes before Marvel shareholders at the end of December.

Could 'Superman: Earth One' Demonstrate How A Krypton-Free 'Superman' Movie Might Work?

The "Superman" franchise is currently in the midst of a lengthy legal battle between DC Comics/Warner Bros. and the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Recently, the Siegel and Shuster estates were awarded the rights to certain aspects of the "Superman" origin story — namely, anything and everything relating to Kal-El's Kryptonian origins.

DC Entertainment's loss of Clark's alien roots has led to some understandable fan skepticism about whether a new "Superman" movie could work without at least a passing reference to the lead character's home planet, particularly considering the long-rumored plan of a complete "Superman" reboot.

But the recent announcement of "Superman: Earth One" — the first in a series of original, out-of-continuity graphic novels written by J. Michael Straczynski — could offer a glance at exactly how the Man of Steel might fly on the screen without the Krypton component.

In an interview with Ain't It Cool News, Straczynski revealed that "Superman: Earth One" would deal with a 21-year-old Clark Kent coming to Metropolis from Smallville to decide how best to use his superpowers — should he become a star athlete, a brilliant scientist, or a world-saving superhero?

The writer described the story as Clark's "moment in the Garden of Gethsemane where you have to decide if you want to endure everything that's going to happen to you if you decide to expose yourself."

The Metropolis story would be told in conjunction with flashbacks to Clark's earlier life in Smallville, where readers will learn "how the Kents helped mold him and protect him and get him to a point in his life where he can finally make this most difficult of choices."

Straczynski never once mentioned the word Krypton in relation to "Superman: Earth One," leading one to wonder whether Clark's extraterrestrial origins will have a role to play in the story. Aside from the obvious reason of avoiding further legal difficulties, could DC Entertainment be testing the waters on how well a "Superman" origin can be told without the alien aspect?

It's been argued that Superman's origin doesn't need further retelling, and that notion would be put to the test if "Superman: Earth One" avoids this portion of Kal-El's origin. Should it prove successful, perhaps we'll see a similarly told version of Clark's back story in the next "Superman" film installment — assuming that DC Entertainment ever gets to make one, that is.

More Spider-Man 4 villain rumors: Vulture?

The Vulture

People have been speculating for months about which villains will appear in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 4 and who will play them, and now comes the latest batch of rumors: Movieline reports that John Malkovich is in talks to play the Vulture, with Anne Hathaway up for a new villain role.

Previous rumors centered on the Lizard (possibly played again by Dylan Baker, who has had cameos as Dr. Curt Connors) and the Black Cat (with Rachel McAdams, Julia Stiles and Romola Garai rumored for the part).

Now, though, Movieline has confirmed with sources close to the film that Raimi's sequel is circling John Malkovich and Anne Hathaway to play Spider-Man's adversaries, and neither evildoer is quite what you might have expected.

Black Cat

If negotiations proceed according to plan, Malkovich will be playing Spider-Man's nemesis the Vulture, who packs a punch despite his advanced age. The Vulture is able to fly through the air and brandish his sharp wings to attack Spider-Man.

As for Hathaway, the site reports that she's the top choice to play Felicia Hardy, but not as the Black Cat:

Instead, Raimi's Felicia will become a brand-new superpowered figure called the Vulturess.

What do you think of these latest rumors?

John Malkovich

Hobbit casting begins: Who would you cast?

Ian McKellen as Gandalf

Peter Jackson announced this week that they're throwing the nets wide when casting the upcoming Lord of the Rings prequel movie based on The Hobbit. Every single role is up for grabs. Well, every role except the one no one other than Ian McKellen could fill: Gandalf.

"Apart from Ian McKellen, who we obviously want to return as Gandalf, we are not really offering any roles to anybody until we've done a casting sweep," Jackson said, quashing the Web rumors that James McAvoy was offered a key role, possibly Bilbo. (And, as reported on here back in October, John Rhys-Davies refuses to come back as a dwarf.)

According to Heat Vision Blog, Jackson prefers to do broad searches, in an effort to better match actors with roles.

"What we've done over the years is discover a lot of interesting actors, like Orlando Bloom (in Rings), Kate Winslet (in Heavenly Creatures), Saoirse Ronan (in The Lovely Bones). So if you start looking and auditioning seriously, it's amazing what incredible talent you'll find out there." ...

"(These movies) have never been a star-driven vehicle. The star is (author J.R.R.) Tolkien and the world he created. We are not under any pressure. We want to find the right people. Casting someone to portray a hobbit is not as easy as you might imagine. They have to have a particular type of physical appearance and a sensibility. And the same with an elf or a dwarf. These are fantastical characters, but you've got to find the right people to play them, the right humans to translate these characters."

Shooting for the two-part The Hobbit is planned to start in 2010.

Which brings us to the question at hand: Who would YOU cast to go there and back again?

Push for Ian Holm to return, despite his age, and bank on makeup and effects to give him the Fountain of Youth treatment the younger Bilbo would need? Or are there young actors, currently working, who could fill the small shoes of hobbits and dwarves? Zachary Levi (Chuck)? Joshua Jackson (Fringe)? Seth Green (Family Guy)? Robert Sean Leonard (House)? Simon Baker (The Mentalist)? One hobbit and 13 dwarves: That's a lot of shoes to fill.

Avatar's Cameron shrugs off buzz—and promises a sequel

You've heard some of the buzz surrounding filmmaker James Cameron's upcoming 3-D sci-fi epic movie Avatar? Well, Cameron has a message for the haters: You ain't seen nothing yet.

Coming up for air after "four and a half years of intense work," Cameron insists in an exclusive interview that he "consciously made a decision not to read any article or news breaks about Oscar buzz" while he labored to finish the film and also admits that he's been "well aware" of some of the negative fan buzz surrounding the project, based on screenings of early footage and trailers.

"I know there's been a lot of talk and speculation about it, but it's kind of like the generic Oscar buzz out there—it's pretty ridiculous when people haven't even see the movie," he says, addressing the issue. "All anyone has seen is the 25 minutes of various scenes we showed at Comic-Con—and that's not the movie! How can fans judge it by that?"

The director is quick to defend Avatar, which is set on the planet Pandora and features the Na'vi—tall, blue-skinned aliens—as well as human-engineered "avatars" and plenty of high-tech futuristic toys.

"I set out to make a film that's like the stuff that played on the projection screen of my mind when I was a teenager, informed by science fiction," Cameron says. "And I wanted to do original stuff, all those creatures and landscapes and plants and animals that I'd been drawing and noodling out over some 20 years. And fans really love this kind of depth and detail, so when I began Avatar I really put a lot of energy and focus into a sense of completeness in detail of the world, for that very reason."

If fans are "disappointed" with the film's blue alien race, Cameron stresses that "I wasn't going for the alien. I wasn't going for the ugly and strange. I was going for something that's an expression of beautiful human movement in the film. They symbolize the best of us in the way the film works subconsciously, which I feel is aspirational. What they really are is a heightened sense of ourselves and what we could and should be."

Not all the buzz has been negative: The only public screening of the film so far, to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in Los Angeles this week, generated enough enthusiasm that the movie's now being buzzed as a Golden Globe nominee, HitFix reports.

And if you really like it, Cameron promises more from the universe of Avatar. It "is not true science fiction in the sense of saying, 'This is what contact with an alien species would be like.' It's not about that at all. It's about how we've lost contact with ourselves in a natural state. So if we fail, it all ends there, but if we are successful then we'll make more films, and that world will continue to flesh itself out and be a place that fans can go to."

Cameron insists that the mix of sky-high expectations and negative fan buzz isn't freaking him out. "No, it's good, as we had to sell a movie that wasn't a sequel or remake or part of a franchise or based on a best-seller," he says. "It had no brand awareness, and I was more worried about people not even knowing about the film than them kind of arguing about it or having high expectations or having those dashed."

As you might expect, the director who once called himself "the king of the world" says he's "very confident" that once "even hard-core sci-fi fans see the whole movie, they'll get it, because the film will speak for itself. If I can just get 'em in the damn theater, the film will act on them in the way it's supposed to, in terms of taking them on an amazing journey and giving them this rich emotional experience. And it's not really like any other film, and I think that's its greatest asset—and its greatest deficit. You can't compare it to something else."

Avatar opens Dec. 18.

Cool zombified Star Wars posters! Luke wants BRAAIINS

Like Star Wars? Like zombies? Then you'll love these: Zombified posters for the Star Wars movies by artist Matt Busch. See a couple below.

They're on Geekologie (and thanks to for the heads up.)

Click here to see more.

(Click on the images below for larger versions.)

Awesome trailer for horror movie about a killer SANTA CLAUS

Just in time for Christmas:

This looks like a hoax, but it might also be real: a teaser trailer for a horror movie (in Swedish? Norwegian?) in which Santa Claus dies, is buried and comes back to seek bloody revenge.

That's right. Santa.

The best part? The tag line:

"In 2010 everyone will believe in Santa Claus."

Don't know about you, but we want to see this RIGHT NOW.

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