The BLOGFlume—In Like A Lamb
A spectacular Bambi emerges from the vault, a building that's too spectacular, and a buyer for Paramount.
Written by Russell Meyer
March has started with very little in the way of theme park news. However, never fear, because it is guaranteed to go out like a lion with a number of regional theme parks opening their gates in a couple of weeks. I know I can’t wait, but until then, let’s get to the few stories I was able to track down this week.Tweet
Disney’s animated classic Bambi has finally made it onto the uber-popular Disney DVD format. The new release has already sold over 1 million copies since it hit store shelves on Tuesday. The newly restored movie has all of the bells and whistles one would expect in a Platinum Edition release from the Disney Vault. Not only has the film been digitally restored to a quality that surpasses that of the original, taking over 9,600 man-hours of work, but it has also been upgraded to modern 5.1 home theater sound. The package also includes a number of special features including: “Inside Walt’s Story Meetings,” where viewers can actually watch Walt Disney pitch the story of Bambi, “Forest Adventure Game,” and many other features and extras. The DVD is a complete package that puts the classic tale in a format that is worthy of one of the finest animated features of all time. I haven’t had a chance to pick up my copy yet, but probably will this weekend. From what I’ve seen on television through the advertising bombardment surrounding this release, the film looks stunning, and the restoration appears to be one of the greatest achievements in classic film restoration. I do remember catching Bambi on TV a few years ago, and it was really showing its age, but the scenes that have been released show a dramatic improvement that is far beyond any restoration Disney has done in the past including: Snow White, Dumbo, and Fantasia.
Too Much Glitter in Hollywood
It appears that the shiny exterior of the one and a half year old Walt Disney Concert Hall was too bright for the city that is full of glitz and glamour. The City of Los Angeles has requested that the exterior of the building be sandblasted to cut down on the extreme temperatures created by the highly reflective surfaces that cover the exterior of the landmark downtown building. Nearby office tenants complained of their electric bills doubling because of the reflection, and people walking around the shiny monolith have been feeling the sun’s heat magnified by the unique curved surfaces. Frank Gehry, the renowned architect who designed the building, has agreed to the changes, but one would think that he’s probably not too thrilled that a building that has quickly become an icon of the downtown LA area will be losing its luster, literally. When I visited Los Angeles a year and a half ago, just prior to the opening of the building, I found the shape and style a bit weird, but strangely attractive and interesting. The sandblasting of the exterior should not take away too much of the style from the interesting building, and hopefully placate the neighbors.
Of Paramount Importance
It looks like Viacom may have found a buyer interested in purchasing their much-improved parks division. A group assembled by former Viacom executive Tom McGrath is looking to keep Paramount Parks off of the auction block. The value of the chain is valued at as much as $1 billion, and may command more if a bidding war erupts. Other large park chains are also seen as prospective buyers, including Universal Parks, Cedar Fair, and Six Flags. NBC/Universal would not be a bad choice, but I shudder to think of the day that Cedar Fair or Six Flags gets their hands on a park chain that has done so much right over the past few years. Paramount has worked so hard to become a “theme” park, and has been able to separate themselves from the Cedar Fair and Six Flags parks with more intricately themed attractions, and an experience that can be enjoyed by the entire family. I’m rooting for Tom McGrath to keep the chain in capable hands, and keep Paramount Parks going in the right direction. Under the right leadership, the sky’s the limit for the Paramount Parks chain.
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