Magical Blogorail: Disney Movie Night – 1980’s Condorman

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Yellow Loop. Today we are sharing movie night ideas based on Disney movies from the 1980’s.


C O N D O R M A N

Condorman DVD

Condorman? Really? Yup, we’re starting the loop off with an old live-action superhero romp from 1981.

Condorman Movie Poster

Condorman is an all-but forgotten Disney adventure comedy superhero film directed by Charles Jarrott, produced by Walt Disney Productions, and starring Michael Crawford, Barbara Carrera and Oliver Reed. Inspired by Robert Sheckley’s The Game of X, the movie follows comic book illustrator Woodrow Wilkins’ attempts to assist in the defection of a female Soviet KGB agent.

Super Spy  Super Hero

Both Super Spy and Super Hero

With Michael Crawford in the lead role (he of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em fame) one might assume that he would fail miserably at being both! But surprisingly he does quite well, although in many unorthodox ways. Like strapping on a highly improbable glider suit and jumping off of very high places while carrying a woman on his back. Hey, you can’t call yourself ‘Condorman’ without wearing wings and flying!

It doesn’t hurt his chances for success either that he has a deep-pocketed government backing him up and creating all sorts of cool spy gadgets directly from out of his comic books. Like this super car:

Cool Car

Three pursuing Porsche? No problem!

The Condormobile was a modified Nova Sterling kit car. There are more gadgets, but I’ll let you be surprised when you watch the movie for yourself. On that point it may be hard to find new copies as it is out of production. It was available through the Disney Movie Club at one point (see first picture above) but not now. All is not lost however as you can get copies on eBay ($25 US/$32 CAN and up) or download it like I did from iTunes ($9.99 CAN). And forget about Blu-Ray!

Although Condorman isn’t one of Disney’s most recognized properties, you would expect an accomplished super hero to show up from time to time. And Condorman has done just that:

Infinity Condor Glider          Silly Toy          Vinylmation Figure

From left to right: A Disney Infinity Glider upgrade, a silly toy, and a Vinylmation figure, just to name a few. And of course he had his own three-part comic book adaption from Whitman Comics:

 Condorman Comic Part 1  Condorman Comic Part 2  Condorman Comic Part 3

Pictures from www.mycomicshop.com

But was the movie any good? Here is My Review: This movie plays like one of the made-for-TV movies shown on Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. Not one of the best ones, though, maybe just slightly in the middle! It offers nothing new to the spy genre and is slow in places but still offers up some truly entertaining moments.

For me the best part was watching Michael Crawford act in a semi-serious role. You may best remember him from The Phantom of the Opera but he was a major comedy star long before that. Be sure to check out this posts Fun Fact for more on Crawford.

I would give this movie 3 out of 5 Stars but still recommend it for a family movie night!

Fun Fact: Michael Crawford appeared in Wall-E by means of the video clips Wall-E played in his ‘home’. You can see him singing, dancing, and most importantly, holding hands.

For more ways to beat summer boredom, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Yellow | Disney Movie Night | The 80’s Loop:

Disney’s Top Five Worst Decisions of All Time

No matter how good a company is they are bound to make a mistake or two along the way to success. In the case of Disney their mistakes seem to be amplified because of the intense scrutiny fans put the company under.

But every company has to honestly admit that some decisions just have no defense! So here is my Top 5 List of the worst decisions that Disney has made:

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   FIVE

SEQUELS

Disney Sequel Montage

Just make it stop. Direct-to-video sequels is how it all began and we can only thank whatever the power was that stopped these bombs from being theatrical releases! But in today’s world most sequels are theatrical releases, like Toy Story 2-4 and Cars 2 and Finding Dory and soon-to-be Frozen 2 (kill me the day before it opens!) and and and and and.

Funny Story: After the success of Zootopia and its plus-billion box office take one social media source speculated that finally Disney would see the value of original stories and create more. Know what I thought? Here comes Zootopia 2! This time Nick goes back to Bunnyburrow with Judy and we have the typical reverse situation as Nick is the fox-out-of-water character and must learn to adjust to doing things a different way. Do I have a future writing sequels or what?

Don’t believe me that this could happen? I predict Zootopia 3 in 2022.

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   FOUR

ACQUIRING PIXAR

Pixar Studios

The original Brain Trust of Pixar came up with most of the first hit films for the company. And just about the time those ideas had been used up Disney acquired Pixar and things were never the same.

Pixar has shifted gears from wildly original films that touch our hearts to a long run of sequels that prove you can’t catch lightning in a bottle twice. With the exception of Inside Out most Disney/Pixar films have been disappointing. And there seems to be mostly sequels in the company’s future.

It was inevitable that Pixar would stumble at some point but it seems that the acquisition speeded that eventuality up considerably!

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   THREE

REMOVING CAST MEMBERS FROM RIDES

Jungle Cruise Skipper

Don’t worry, Disney has no plans to remove the Skippers from the Jungle Cruise. Or… do they? We’ve already lost the Cast Members from Living With the Land to be left with a recorded lecture and a computer-guided boat. This obvious cost-cutting measure could easily spread to more attractions!

I visited Disneyland and had the pleasure of riding the Storybook Canal boat for the first time with a Cast Member in costume giving us a lively and personal narration of the kingdoms we passed through. Unfortunately I spent the entire trip wondering what it would be like without our pilot. In the back of my mind I saw an accountant with a pink slip waiting back at the dock!

The Great Movie Ride and other attractions are all in the cross-hairs too. It could be only a matter of time before the only Cast Member you see is the one checking your lap bar.

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   TWO

HOW D23 IS BEING HANDLED

D23 Logo

At first it seemed like the perfect fan club for Disney fanatics and it did live up to that image for the first few years. But then came changes to the membership perks and magazine gifts.

The gilding completely fell off the lily when the majority of members started complaining about how the D23 Expo is handled. Unfair distribution of limited edition collectables and overcrowding are just two of the issues raised. Of course, that hasn’t stopped members from attending and renewing their subscriptions, so the problem isn’t at a critical stage… yet!

My worry here is that many Disney magazines and official fan clubs have failed and I just hope Disney has learned enough from those failures to listen to the complaints about this one and find a way to keep it alive!

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   ONE

SHUTTING DOWN

Disney Infinity Logo

I was in California at the El Capitan Theatre for the official kick-off of this excellent gaming system. It appeared to have all the earmarks of success and Disney gave it a big publicity push to get it started.

It had so many good features not the least of which was the beautiful and collectible play figures that were produced in series over the life of the game. The system made it to a 3.0 version before the word came down that Disney had had enough. But why scuttle such a wildly popular product?

The problem I see is that 2.0 figures couldn’t be played on 1.0 systems which changed my excitement to open disgust for Disney’s obvious money-grab ploy! And 3.0 figures can’t be played on 1.0 or 2.0 systems which means that not only would you have to shell out for new figures every year but also for new bases. I lost interest at this point. I think many others did as well and this probably led to a drop in sales which led to the real reason for the demise of Infinity: Money.

With billions of dollars being raked in from the movie division and the Marvel acquisition along with how well the parks are doing, surely Disney could have afforded to keep the Infinity brand going while changes were made to fix the declining monetary gains of the product. Disney needs to learn that sometimes short-term loses can be made into long-term gains!

CONCLUSION: Disney will continue to make bad decisions. Fans will continue to call them out on these bad decisions. Bloggers will continue to make Top 5 Lists to highlight the same bad decisions.