Become an “Enchanted” Disney character

November 21, 2007

Jumping on the Simpsons bandwagon, Disney has developed its own site for animated avatar creation – promising to turn your face into that of a character from the new film Enchanted or certain other Disney classics (such as Cinderella or Ariel from The Little Mermaid).

Sadly, for a company so famous for its animation classics (and for, well, how tightly controlled it is regarding uses of those classics), this site is, surprisingly, poorly executed. Less Simpsonize Me and more the Exorcist version of sticking your head through one of those cardboard cutouts at a fair.

And unfortunately, no, I’m not really exaggerating about that whole Exorcist thing. The program contorts the face from your submitted photo into various expressions, ranging from “evil” to “wink,” all while your head rotates creepily from side to side – cool idea in theory, I suppose, seriously disturbing in execution.

Plus, the steps it takes to actually get to the program are a bit mind-boggling for a movie geared towards (I’m just going to hazard a guess here and say…) children, or at the very least young adults and tweens, with that PG rating.

Here’s a general overview of what you have to do (for a PC user):

  1. Go to www.enchanted3dhead.com and click on “Start.”
  2. Give your name, email address, gender, and whether you’re an adult or child. Click “Submit.”
  3. Upload a photo and click “Enchant Me!”
  4. The site will then tell you that your photo has been submitted and that you will receive an email confirmation with a “link to your personalized download.” It says it might take a while; I’ve found it to be just a few minutes in general.
  5. Click on the link in the email. It will take you back to the original site where you select whether you have a MAC or PC.
  6. Download the file that it presents to you.
  7. Unzip, yes unzip, the downloaded file and save it to your computer.
  8. Open the file “Click Here to Start.” (You will see several other files, just ignore them)
  9. Read the instructions.
  10. See your face cut out from the submitted photo. Be warned: it moves. Choose from six different hairstyles, accessories, and faces. Faces, you say? But didn’t you already submit your own face? Best not to ask. Let’s just say that the placement of hand drawn eyebrows on your photo is involved. And it is worth mentioning that of the six “faces” available, five are male (Pinocchio, Peter Pan, etc.) – go figure.
  11. Go to the “Enchanted Photo Booth” to see your face distorted into different expressions of your own choosing.Or see your face transformed step by step from cut-out photo + 2D hair to animated Disney character. Take that as literally as humanly possible – in other words, you will not see a Cinderella version of you after the transformation, but instead just Cinderella.

Phew! Well, that was worth it…


Best blogs from movie celebrities

October 2, 2007

With so many blogs on entertainment these days, how do you know where to go to get the juiciest stuff? (besides, obviously, going to this blog!) You go straight to the source, of course! For better or for, well, worse, many celebrities, or at least people who would kind of look familiar if you saw them on the street, are actually blogging.

Here are some of the best entertainer blogs out there, organized, most conveniently if I do say so myself, into easy referencing categories:

Quirky fun – is there anything better?

Kevin Smith (My Boring-Ass Life) – From the wealth of content here, some might argue not so boring, but in either case, this blog features relatively regular posts (up to a couple times a week) from the man behind Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Mallrats, and, of course, the whole Jay and Silent Bob saga regarding what he is up to these days. Features lots and lots of pictures, long posts and helpful information about Smith’s new projects and appearances – all told, naturally, with his signature dry, self-deprecating, casually R-rated humor.

Zach Braff – More down-to-earth chatter from that quirky guy from Scrubs and Garden State. Yes, he has “shameless plugs” (his words, not mine) in his blog, and not just in their officially designated area, but they’re scattered amongst (unfortunately infrequent – about once a month) blog posts full of funny and casual chatter. Skip past the seemingly obligatory “sorry it’s been awhile” at the top of each post and you’ll find cool nuggets of fun. My favorite – Zach’s answers to posted questions:

Answers to questions:
No
Yes
Cinnamon raisin.
That sounds like it would hurt me. No thanks.
Wrinkly, like a stone mason’s elbow.
I have several.
It depends; if it’s itching and burning, I would see a doctor.

Also included in the blog: videos, his favorite music, and yes, “Shameless Plugs.”

Funny or Die – Okay, yes, not technically a blog, but it does include a blog! (So ha!) This video site from Gary Sanchez Productions, a production company run by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay (SNL writer, director Talladega Nights and Anchorman) and Chris Henchy (producer on Entourage), features original comedy videos from Ferrell and other celebrity guests as well as user-generated content. Users vote on which videos are funny and which, alas, are not and thus deserve to die (get it – funny… or die?). The blog itself features such gems as:

I spent the last week in Reno and it was great. I went there with some eyeshadow and a dream and came back with a vanity license plate, a sprained ankle and a new husband, one Mr. Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Just for the suspense

Matt Groening – Is it a blog? Maybe a Simpsons archive? The future site for a new version of Mr. X? Or, gasp, a top secret storage space for as yet unaired Simpsons scripts? Sigh. We may never know. As Matt Groening himself says, according to simpsonsfolder.com:

I’ve reserved mattgroening.com. (Laughs) It’s said “This Site Is Under Construction” for three years now. I’ll get around to it. I know how disappointed I am when I go to a Web site and nothing has changed, and until I’m ready to wade in on a regular basis, I’m holding back.

Well, I suppose we’ll have to take his word for it. For now.

Voted Most Likely to Succeed

Wil Wheaton – If you’re a recent convert to the movie blogosphere, this name might not sound familiar, but for an actor who once starred in Stand by Me (1986) and Star Trek, Wil Wheaton has quickly become what the New York Times (not too shabby of a reference) called “a quirky star of the blogosphere” in 2005. With an important dose of that ever-popular self-deprecating humor, Wil’s blog features frequent posts (almost every day or so), pictures and favorite music. For you Alexaholics (you know who you are), his Alex rank currently stands at 110, 149, which ain’t too bad for a random blog. The blog is currently up for a Lifetime Achievement Award in the 2007 Bloggies.

The Omnipresence Award

Rosie O’Donnell – People are just going crazy over this thing. Now admittedly, the recent scandal can’t have hurt, but it certainly does feel like everything really is coming up Rosie (sorry, it was just too easy). Quotes from the blog, pretty much Rosie’s personal press agent at this point, pop up all over the news media (“on her personal blog,” “in a post on her official blog,” etc. etc. You get the idea). The blog itself is a tribute to all things Rosie, presented in that classic Internet format (i.e., no caps or punctuation) and in, well, poetry, plus photos, videos, links to her charities, and, of course, her gift shop. Posts are impressively frequent for a celebrity blogger – essentially every day. The blog currently has the most votes for “Best Celebrity Blogger” at the Blogger’s Choice Awards.

For “flans”-in-training (and those who understand what that means)

Nathan Fillion – The charismatic star of the cult film Serenity (and the Joss Whedon show, Firefly, on which the movie was based) writes every month or so on his MySpace blog about his life, interests and the crazy world around him. His down-home, direct talk is funny and refreshing and makes for an enjoyable read, although you may struggle not to be jealous as he describes his visit to the only paper supply office truly worth visiting:

I had lunch at the Office a few weeks ago. The Annex, the kitchen, the office itself- it’s all real! There is so much space between Pam’s desk and Dwight’s that I never knew about. I rummaged through Michael’s safe. I watched as cast members updated their myspace pages and checked their emails while on lunch, but at their character’s desks! Can you believe it? Now, many of you may have weirded out- sputtering stupid things excitedly while being ushered around on a first class tour. I’ll have you know… I’m not above that. Thank you, Jenna, for putting up with the high pitched squels [sic] of excitement, the stupid questions, and demanding that you answer as Pam.

And just cuz I can’t resist plugging it, if you’re as into The Office as Nathan here, and especially if you’re not into it at all, check out Jenna (aka, Jenna Fischer – Pam Beesley)’s own MySpace blog on my blogroll.

For the Faerie in you

Neil Gaiman – The award-winning author of illustrated fantasy works like The Sandman and Stardust (yep, the one that recent film is based on) and the co-author of the new Beowulf film shares his many, naturally well-worded, thoughts on his life, works, appearances, and other projects, and answers questions from fans and others. There are also lots of extras: book excerpts, interviews, essays, background info on some of his books, a schedule of his appearances, various message boards, and so on.

In memorium

Quentin Tarantino – The now-defunct diary of “QT.” Sure, it was fake, but hey, nobody’s perfect, right? And it certainly had its crazy day in the sun while it lasted.

Misc.

Other celebrities with a will to blog:

David Hewlett – The guy from Stargate: Atlantis (Dr. McKay) and the director of the recent independent film A Dog’s Breakfast shares his thoughts, and promotes his film, at this well-liked blog.

Michael Moore – The documentary star finally finds a way to express himself.

William Shatner – How could this guy not have a blog, I ask you? Thankfully, we don’t have to wonder.

The Huffington Post – Features blog entries from David Mamet, John Cusack, Christopher Guest, Ellen DeGeneres, and more. Click on the Huffington Post link for an index of all Huffington bloggers, or go here for the Wikipedia list of celebrity bloggers on the site.

Goro Miyazaki – From a man who knows something about living in a father’s shadow, the son of acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki discusses the development of his animated film, Tales from Earthsea, based on the Ursula LeGuin novels. For those of you who can read Japanese, enjoy! For us mere mortals, here is the English translation.

Margaret Cho – The well-known comedienne (Notorious C.H.O and, believe it or not, Face-Off) shares her thoughts on life, loves and the world at large, as well as many, many (many, many) pictures and videos.

Pamela Anderson – The eternal blond bombshell writes personal, and frequent, entries about her life, malicious rumors and the world at large in her bubblegummy diary (and I mean that literally – I’m suddenly craving something pink and fluffy…).

Michelle Rodriguez – Lengthy but sporadic messages from the tough Fast and the Furious and Lost beauty on her official website.

And finally…

Check out EW’s best and worst celebrity blogs for their take on some of these blogs, and others not mentioned here.


Quotes

August 16, 2007

The Simpsons

“I’m not a bath man myself, more of a cologne man.”

(This isn’t from the movie, I know, but I just saw this Simpsons episode the other night and I couldn’t help myself.)


Universal Studios closing Back to the Future ride

August 16, 2007

But you do get the chance to win a DeLorean!

(I actually saw one of these parked on the street in New York a little while back, and let me tell you, they definitely stand out in a crowd.)

Yes, that’s right, the Universal theme park in Orlando has decided to close its Back to the Future virtual ride in order to replace it with a new ride based on the Simpsons, according to Box Office Mojo. Its last day will be this September 3rd, Labor Day weekend.

However, to assuage angry fans, Universal Studios is offering up an actual DeLorean (not the time machine itself, alas, but some may be fooled – and if you can get a flux capacitor and the right weather conditions, who knows?) in a sweepstakes.

For details, go to the official website here (UPDATE: This site is no longer available, as the ride is closed. However, go here for the official site of The Simpsons ride).

Now, I can’t say that I myself have the fondest memories of it – the ride, in which you sit in a replica of the DeLorean as it takes you through a virtual experience, made me slightly carsick. However, I’m pretty sure that it was a popular ride and, apart from the admittedly awesome Spiderman ride, is there that much else there? Couldn’t they just have eliminated one of the, um, “substandard” attractions at the park and replaced that with the new Simpsons ride? They must have some other plan, something up their sleeve…

Oh yes, that’s right, the new Harry Potter theme park, coming in 2009.

I guess there’s no need to worry.


Become a Simpsons character

August 14, 2007

If you haven’t tried this yet, you should check it out when you’ve got some free time (or during work, either way). Ever want to see yourself in 2D? Or bother your friends with embarrassing Simpsons versions of themselves?

To create your character, go to one of these two sites:

BASIC:

Go to The Simpsons Movie website and click on Create Your Simpsons Avatar.

This one is pretty basic, but still generally fun. You simply pick from a variety of hairstyles, mouths, T-shirt designs, etc. to end up with your completed Simpsons clone. They seem to have added or updated some of the options since I first tried this, so you’ll have more or better selections for some of these categories.

You can email your character, or save it and have it added to the online community, but keep in mind that in order to do so you (of course) have to register first.

FANCY:

Go to Simpsonize Me and upload a photo to have the Simpsons aliens Kang and Kodos perform some fancy-looking animation and “simpsonize” you.

Although there are restrictions on the type of photo you can use (sure I have a 640×480 pixels headshot just waiting to be used on my computer…), if you have a good photo, the results aren’t too bad. Plus, once it shows you your Simpsons avatar, you do have the option of changing certain aspects of your character, such as hairstyle and outfit.

This site also offers more of these styling options than the previous site, and you can add accessories (such as earrings) if you’d like.

Warning: This is a Burger King promotion too, so be prepared for lots of Burger King imagery.