Friday, March 27, 2009

"Burn" -- new digital short on Wall-e DVD #1


Walt Disney Company’s DVD #1 for Pixar's “WALL*E” includes a seven minute short “Burn” that seems contemporary with the main movie. A quick check on the Web shows lots of video clips; there was one taken down from YouTube, so I guess they’re illegal. You’re supposed to buy the DVD or rent it from Netflix or Blockbuster – yes, you’re supposed to pay for it. Sorry. Too bad it wasn’t in the original theatrical release.

In the opening, we see Saturn, with a list of the number of miles from earth. That’s interesting to me because I wrote a screenplay script “69 Minutes to Titan”, estimating how long it might take light to reach Saturn on a relatively near approach. (It’s a little longer). In fact, there is a nice site that tells how long it takes light to get to various planets, called “6 Billion: The Game of the New Millennium”, here.

BURN’E is another robot to runs around the tracks of the “Axiom” spacecraft-exile-resort, as if it were a kind of streetcar on a kid’s Lego model railroad. You get a little glimpse of the spoiled “exiles” inside. The craft goes into hyperdrive, deforms space-time, and gets back to Earth in a lot fewer than 69 minutes, to see a Manhattan of ruin. At the end, we hear a bit of the “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s Ninth.

"Burn" calls itself a "digital short" which is not to say that it belongs as an "SNL Digital Short." But it would seem to fit in, wouldn't it. Too bad Samberg's voice isn't in it.

The DVD also includes the “controversial” cartoon "Presto" (dir. Doug Sweeltand), already discussed. It seems like the magician finds out what happens when he doesn’t feed his rabit.

There is an 18 minute documentary on the Animated Sound Design, with an excerpt from Dumbo, and interest effects like the inertia jet engine starter.

Steven Pearlstein has an important perspective today (Friday March 27) on p D1 of The Washington Post, “In Hollywood: Reshaping a Business Model that Emerged with the Talkies” link here. The article discusses how the Internet is challenging the old business model of Hollywood and broadcast television (including “made-for-TV” movies – since I went to the shoot of “Washington Field” Wednesday morning). Hedge funds are having increasing difficulty investing in movies in a conventional way because of the financial crisis. This seems to mean that stars and directors will make their own films independently, outside the established studio system. This could actually bode well for more "iconoclastic" movie concepts.

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