Disney’s got some more magic a-brewing, and like Jon Favreau is doing for his upcoming Disney project, Magic Kingdom, the people at Disney are looking back in Magic Kingdom history for inspiration. This time, they’re looking at a project that lost ground back in the 60s – The Museum of the Weird.
The project was an attraction for Disneyland designed by original imagineers Rolly Crump and Claude Coats; it was meant to attach to the haunted mansion and include “a parade of ghostly organists, magic carts, talking chairs” and a whole host of other creepy knick-knacks. While the museum never made it to fruition (and trust me, there’s a whole treasure trove of short-lived and unused imagineer visions for Disneyland throughout its 55 years of existence), a few of the planned trinkets made it into the Haunted Mansion attraction itself.
Now the canned idea is getting its second chance at the hand of, believe it or not, Ahmet Zappa. I guess the prince of weird (his dad Frank Zappa was the King) is the best candidate to create a layout for The Museum of the Weird, but since when did Ahmet become a screenwriter? I thought he was too busy making strange music and recovering from his 90s popularity, but apparently his 1996 novel was scooped up by Disney for adaptation for the screen, and they were happy with his style so he’s since been tapped for this project and for the very mysterious Tikki Room-inspired feature.
The Museum of the Weird is still a long way off, but it’s pretty exciting to see ideas that didn’t quite fit into Disneyland find a home on a Hollywood backlot.
Source: LA Times
February 08, 2002 2:07pm EST
Jonathan Cross (Chris Klein) is down and out in California when he runs into his old friend Marcus Ridley (LL Cool J) driving a pricey sports car and dripping in gold jewelry. As it turns out Ridley is making it big in an international Rollerball league and convinces Cross to do the same. Fast-forward four months into the future and Jonathan has become one of the biggest and most sought-after Rollerball stars. He's rich drives a nice car and is having a steamy relationship with his teammate Aurora (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos). From the looks of it Rollerball is a serious moneymaking operation: We are constantly shown million of dollars worth of currency going through money counters at record speed. And by the instant ratings numbers that appear on the organizer's monitors it's obvious that Rollerball fever has taken over the world. When conniving Rollerball creator Petrovich (Jean Reno) discovers that the ratings go through the roof when blood gets spilled things start to go very wrong. Cross and his teammates suddenly find themselves playing for their lives.
Chris Klein (American Pie 2) is Jonathan Cross the all-American Rollerball player but he underplays the role. You would expect a character in his position to have a certain amount of charisma and charm but Klein's delivery is a bit deadpan and lacking in attitude. His best pal Marcus Ridley is played by LL Cool J (Kingdom Come) who manages to add a bit of dimension to his otherwise underdeveloped character. In fact he may have been better suited for the lead. The only good part about model-turned-actress Rebecca Romijn-Stamos' (X-Men) role is that it didn't incorporate too many lines. Sounding like Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle you have to wonder what she was thinking with that accent which (contrary to the actress' recent statement on MTV that a bad accent is not necessarily bad acting) certainly is part of the acting and certainly is bad. Jean Reno (Just Visiting) was probably the most interesting character. He was all bad without a single redeeming quality which he at least pulled off with flair whether it was in his delivery or his elaborate fur coats.
Rollerball is director John McTiernan's (The Thomas Crown Affair) take on the 1975 classic directed by Norman Jewison. There is definitely enough action in Rollerball to keep viewers interested but the major problems lies within the characters' development-there isn't any. So while the action may keep your eyeballs glued to the screen momentarily you will find yourself indifferent to the characters their plight and what happens to them. Cross and Aurora's relationship for example is implied through one hastily done sex scene in the gym. Consequently when the evil Petrovich threatens to hurt her if Cross tries to leave the game we could care less because we don't really know her or how important she is to Cross. Being such an internationally renowned sport the accents which play a big part in the film are done too shoddily. The French accents go from Canadian to European within a sentence and that's only from the ones I could pick up. Who knows what other languages were massacred in the process?