Friday, June 27, 2008

Free Disney and Pixar online games

To make it easier to find all the Disney and Pixar games that are scattered around my various fun and games websites, I have just created a new site index page that lists them all together in one convenient, easy-to-find place. You can view it here...

FREE Disney and Pixar Flash Online Games

Just for the extra fun of it, all the games listed on that page also include wallpaper pictures that can be used to decorate your computer's desktop background. Enjoy! :-)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Virgin's Dan Dare comic in a new book + a free gift!

Virgin Comics have just announced that they are compiling the first three issues of their Dan Dare comic into a special hardcover edition, complete with all Gary Erskine's artwork together with all the different cover artwork. The price is $13.99, and you can order it from here:

For a limited time they are offering a free Dan Dare iPod skin worth $15.00 with every order of the book (see here for details of the skin). Nice!

Meanwhile, the seventh and final issue of the Virgin Comics series will be out next month - don't miss it!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, and the other Narnia stories

Walt Disney Pictures/Walden Media's "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian", the second movie in the Narnia series, was released in the US on May 16th, and will be released in the UK on June 26th. I read all seven Narnia books as a child and loved them, especially the first three, and I have to say that I also really enjoyed the first movie in the series, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" - it fully lived up to my expectations. I shall make a real effort to see the new movie, although I want to watch Disney's other new movie, "WALL-E", first.

One of the posters for the 2008 movie "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian"

I have added a few Narnia Flash online games to my Free Fun and Games website for you to play, in case you are a fan of the series like me - two Prince Caspian ones are listed below:

  Prince Caspian - Pinball

  Prince Caspian - Gryphon Attack

C. S. Lewis's wonderful series of "Chronicles of Narnia" books can be a little bit confusing in one sense, because the third book written and published - "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" - is actually the fifth in the series in terms of the internal story chronology. It will also be the third movie to be made, currently scheduled for release in 2010, and from that I think it is reasonable to suppose that the movie series will continue to be produced in the book publication sequence - movies of all seven books are planned.

Many of the books in the Narnia series feature stories that follow on in a different sequence to the one in which they were written and published. This is completely different to another very famous series of seven books, the "Harry Potter" stories, which all follow each other sequentially in terms of both the internal story chronology and the dates they were written and published.

To help clarify the situation, below is a list of all the Narnia books in their original publication sequence annotated with their internal chronological sequence:

1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) - 2nd story
2. Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia (1951) - 4th story
3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952) - 5th story
4. The Silver Chair (1953) - 6th story
5. The Horse and His Boy (1954) - 3rd story
6. The Magician’s Nephew (1955) - 1st story
7. The Last Battle (1956) - 7th story

There are conflicting opinions about which sequence is the best one to actually read them in. For me, the publication sequence works best, for the simple reason that it is the one in which the stories were created by C. S. Lewis.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Retro games sabotaged for fun

Back in January I reported on what was at that time a great new little site, Five months later, the site has now grown into something of an internet phenomenon, being widely praised in a variety of respected journals including Edge magazine. I am happy to have played a small part in helping with this meteoric rise.

The site is brilliant, totally unique, and is now a good deal larger than when I first reported on it. It presents a number of very funny "sabotages" of some of the all-time classic early video games, and if you like a good laugh and old games, go and check it out now...! :-)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Planned future Disney/Pixar movies

Following on from my WALL-E post yesterday, I thought it would be interesting to find out what movies Pixar Animation Studios currently have confirmed for future production. It is a very interesting schedule indeed (you can see the press release I found here), and is as follows:

Due for release this coming June 27th in the US and July 18th in the UK is, of course, "WALL-E".

Next year's Disney/Pixar movie will be "Up", a story about Carl (Ed Asner), a 78 year-old man who has always dreamt of exploring the world and living life to the full but who has never actually done it. Upon meeting an 8 year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell, the two become unlikely friends and set off on the thrilling adventures that Carl has always longed for.

In 2010 the Disney/Pixar movie will be "Toy Story 3", a follow-on to the 1995 original movie and the 1999 first sequel. The casts from both the previous movies are set to return in a new story which will involve Woody, Buzz, Jessie and all the rest of the toys being dumped into a day-care center after their owner Andy departs for college.

In 2011 there will be a huge break with tradition because there will be two Disney/Pixar movies in the same year for the first time ever. The first of these is going to be "newt", a story about the last two blue-footed newts in the world (whose home is in a college science lab) who must overcome their dislike of each other in order to "get it together" and save their species. The second, due for release around Christmas, will be "The Bear and the Bow", a new fairy tale (Pixar's first) set in a mythical Scottish realm.

The final Pixar Animation Studios movie currently confirmed for future production is scheduled for release in 2012 and is "Cars 2", a sequel to the 2006 original which reportedly involves Lightning McQueen, Mater, Sally and the other main characters from the first movie "going international". It seems probable to me that this will involve McQueen moving away from the US racing circuit to try his luck on the European circuit that was briefly mentioned in the first movie.

So, lots to look forward to there then. Personally, I am really happy to see that there will be new Toy Story and Cars movies because the previous ones are amongst my all-time favourites.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

WALL-E, and other Disney/Pixar movies

So... it's almost time for the release of the annual new Disney/Pixar movie, which this year is the highly-anticipated "WALL-E". As always (see my similar post last year) I am really looking forward to this latest offering from the geniuses at Pixar Animation Studios. The trailer for it (watch it here) looks absolutely amazing and hopefully the actual movie will be just as good. Early reviews for it are overwhelmingly positive, which certainly bodes well...

One of the posters for the 2008 movie "WALL-E"

To celebrate this happy almost-upon-us occasion, there is now a collection of 34 Flash online games in my Free Fun and Games website based on WALL-E and all the other Pixar movies, some of which you may have seen before if you are already familiar with my site, some of which are completely new. Here is a list of 18 of those games (links to the other 16 games can be found within the ones listed below):

  WALL-E: Space Escape & Cup Shuffle

  WALL-E: Scrap Shoot & Trash Tower

  Ratatouille: Rat 'N' Roll Pinball

  Ratatouille: Grab the Grub

  Cars: Tractor Tippin' & Ramone's Coloring

  Cars: Lightning McQueen's Desert Dash

  Cars: Luigi's Casa Della Tires

  The Incredibles: Thin Ice

  The Incredibles: Top Trumps

  Finding Nemo: Cruisin' with Crush

  Monsters, Inc.: Mike's Memory Game

  A Bug's Life: A Bug's Land

  Toy Story: Catch That Moving Van

  Buzz Lightyear: Operation Alien Rescue

  Toy Story: Bowl-o-Rama

(Note: All the above games also include related desktop wallpaper pictures as an extra bonus for you!)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dan Dare online at the Science Museum, London

Further to my post in April about the wonderful new Dan Dare Exhibition at the Science Museum in London, there is now a really interesting online story about the exhibition that you can read here at the museum's offical site: Dan Dare and the Birth of Hi-Tech Britain.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Danny Dare

When I started this blog in May 2006 I gave myself the nom de plume Danny Dare, just for the fun of it since I am a huge fan of Dan Dare. However, for some reason a lot of people seem to think that is my real name, so I have now changed my Blogger profile to display my real name of Peter Inns, in the hope of avoiding any future confusion. My posting name will still be Danny Dare though. I hope that clears that up! :-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The slaying of St. George by the Labour Party

On April 23rd I posted an article about it then being St. George's Day, the national day of England. I opined about how it was pleasing to see that it was now growing in popularity after some long years of decline and virtual neglect. So imagine my surprise today when I saw this article on the web highlighting how incredibly unimportant the day still seems to be to this increasingly tiresome UK Labour government (from the AFP news agency, June 11, 2008):

LONDON (AFP) - A minister has admitted that the government spent a mere 230 pounds promoting St George's Day over the last five years.

Culture Minister Margaret Hodge confessed that her department spent 116 pounds on promoting England's national day this year, two pounds more than in 2007 -- and absolutely nothing in the previous three years.

The admission provoked outrage from at least one patriotic member of parliament.

"I think it is a shameful indictment and it needs to be changed," said deputy Andrew Rosindell, who is chairman of parliament's all-party Saint George's Day Group.

"We must be the only country in the world that spends nothing or virtually nothing on celebrating its national day. It is a great pity.

"I was expecting it to be low but not that low. Other countries in the world such as Australia and the United States spend a lot of time and effort in promoting their national days and we should be doing more.

"There needs to be a change in the culture of government in the way it approaches something like this."

Saint George's Day, which falls on April 23, is an annual non-event in England.

It is generally punctuated by breweries trying to cash in and promote a party atmosphere; left-wingers saying that patriotism should be reclaimed from the racists; a variety of English eccentrics; and everyday folk wondering why the English just don't seem to bother.

The fact that Saint George's Day is not a public holiday only adds to the general lack of interest.
(End quote)

Good grief, what an utter disgrace! I don't think matters are much helped by the fact that so many members of the Labour government are actually Scottish - see this article in The Times from June 1st for proof, and a possible future resolution, of that exceedingly thorny issue.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

An excellent example of what is wrong with England these days

That this is a headline story in some of the English media today (or tomorrow, depending on your time zone) is, to me at least, highly indicative of why England is not the international power that it once was (and I quote from Yahoo! UK & Ireland for a pertinent online example):


Cheryl Cole joins 'X Factor'
Cheryl Cole has won the battle to follow in the footsteps of Sharon Osbourne as the new 'X Factor' judge.

(End quote)

Really, who cares!?! Why is it so important to English people to know that a marginally talented pop singer, who is foolish enough to remain married to the amazingly self-serving, philandering and mediocre footballer "Cashley" Cole, has become a judge for a TV talent show that invariably showcases people with even less talent than either her or her husband possess? (As if that was actually possible.)

There is a new English "disease", and it is the seemingly inexhaustible obsession English people now have with "celebrity".

Really people, will you please just get over it and concentrate on the really important things in life, like: Why aren't England in the European Football Championships currently taking place in Austria and Switzerland, despite having fantastically overpaid players like Cheryl Cole's husband playing for them? :-)

Oh, wait a minute... of course, it's because England have fantastically overpaid players like Cheryl Cole's husband playing for them. Players like him have no real incentive to play their hearts out for their country any more. Playing for their super-rich club sides, posing as models for fashion designers and fizzy drinks manufacturers, being seen to be fully living the "celebrity lifestyle" in every conceivable way - these things are always going to be far more important to them in these celebrity-obsessed times.

Of course, Cashley and his type always give ample lip-service to the national team (they've got to try and protect their media images after all, especially given their frequent off-the-field misdeeds), but that is seldom followed through with any real conviction on the football pitch - they're clearly too scared of getting injured and being unable to play for their club sides and pose as models for one thing.

And let's face it, back on the "celebrity" side of things, "Posh and Becks" were and still are a sad joke (although at least Becks has always been a half-decent footballer), "Jamie and Louise" should never have been considered as being newsworthy in the first place, and there was no need whatsoever to inflict the dreadful "Wayne and Waynetta" (sorry, "Wayne and Coleen") on the world. That "Cashley and Cheryl" now seem poised to take over the title of "top English celebrity couple" says it all really (assuming Cheryl really is silly enough to take Cashley back). Oh dear.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Who wants to see a Dan Dare movie get made?

Me, for one! I would love to see someone take a chance and make a Dan Dare movie. It's long overdue - Dan is an all-time classic science-fiction character, and his arch-enemy The Mekon is one of the best alien "bad guys" ever created (see my site, which is all about them both, if you don't believe me).

Really, there should be a trilogy of movies based on Frank Hampson's mid-1950s trilogy of Dan Dare comic-strip stories that comprised "The Man From Nowhere", "Rogue Planet" and "Reign of the Robots" (the last movie would also need to include the follow-on short story that was also produced by Frank called "The Ship That Lived", for the sake of full story-arc closure).

These 50 year-old stories are of such a high standard, and were so far ahead of their time when they were created, that they would need very little alteration to bring them fully up-to-date. They could be real classic movies if produced by someone like Steven Spielberg.

There is an excellent article about this very subject over on the Coventry Telegraph newspaper's blog site, written by David Bentley. If, like David and me, you feel that there should be a Dan Dare movie, there is a potential way for you to help get one made: read David's article and then leave a comment at the end of the article saying that you want a Dan Dare movie to be produced - this will show the people who have the ability to get such a project off the ground just how much we all want one.

You can read the article and post a comment here: Dan Dare revived in new exhibition and comicbook - now we want a movie!