Disney continues to throw money at their live-action adaptations of all their classic animated films, and Aladdin is the latest. Unfortunately, judging from this special preview, they might have mucked things up a little.

Now, it’s important to note just how terrible trailers and “special previews” can be. It’s really difficult to gauge how good a film is going to be unless you actually go and see it. Having worked in VFX where it was often all hands to the pumps during trailer time to get work completed so it can be used, I can wholeheartedly sympathise with those working on this film. But alas, Will Smith’s genie just feels .. dead. And blue. Like a dead smurf.

As an example of deceptive trailers, back in 2014, the live action version of Paddington suffered horribly when he first made an appearance on the internet. He looked terrible. He looked.. creepy. Memes were generated in abundance. But people (including myself) absolutely loved the film. I’d even go and say that it’s some of Framestore’s finest work. The second film too is wonderful. I’d never thought I’d say that, but it’s true. Go see Paddington and Paddington 2 (available on Prime Video).

Blue people in film & TV #10323 РTobias Funké, Arrested Development

For those of us that remember, ILM did a marvellous job with The Mask, taking Jim Carrey’s character and bending and twisting him into all sorts of madcap characters. Then “Son of the Mask” came along, and it is, without doubt, the worst visual effects I have ever seen in a movie. One can only hope that with Aladdin, ILM have erred on the side of Jim Carrey rather than the sequel.

Blue people in film & TV #23213 – Papa Smurf

The rest of the VFX in the Aladdin special preview feels “meh”, like it could have been done by any vendor. Jafarr seems strangely far less malevolent than he was in the original animated film too. Nothing to me in this special preview or the trailer before that makes me think they have done anything special with this other than to plonk live action people amongst animation of a different type. Seems a massive waste of money to me.

The only two live-action Disney remakes that I have been impressed with so far have been:

In the end, however, does it make any difference? This is just a family film aimed at younger kids. And younger kids will watch anything. In fact, Disney could have saved substantial amounts of money and have had the entire film shot with glove puppets, or brightly covered twigs. The kids don’t care. As long as it’s bright, moves around a lot and makes noise, they’re entertained. They’re the ones not going to write up reviews of the film.

Is anybody else experiencing issues with the Mac Mini (2018) and MacOS Mojave 10.14.3? I’m using a USB Corsair mouse plugged into one of the Mini’s two USB-A ports. I’m using FileVault (naturally) and therefore need to authenticate before I’m able to boot the machine.

ALAS!

If you have multiple accounts, you’re expected to select one, then enter the account password to unlock the machine and it boots. But in this case, the Corsair mouse in the USB-A port doesn’t work. It has power going to it, but MacOS does nothing with it. The pointer sits there stationery. If I boot into recovery mode, the mouse works fine.

Update: Yes, if I use an Apple Magic Mouse 2 via Bluetooth, the mouse pointer moves during the account selection process. It suggests that Mojave 10.14.3 has a pre-boot USB bug.

But I’ve also noticed that while the mouse usually works after booting into MacOS Mojave 10.14.3, occasionally it doesn’t work unless I unplug the mouse and plug it back in again.

I struggled to use the Bluetooth keyboard (an Apple Magic Keyboard no less – 2nd generation) during this process. It’s not immediately obvious how to switch between the accounts using the keyboard alone (update: ruddy obvious, really – use the cursor keys). One account and you’re presented with a password entry box- fine.

Also fed up with MacOS switching display arrangement around. I’ve had to take measures to ensure that the displays are plugged in (when looking at the back of the machine, L = left monitor, R = right monitor in USB-C port order). Mojave does not seem to remember the order otherwise.

To remind myself when plugging in the display cables in the right order because MacOS Mojave has trouble remembering position

I’m going to try my own Apple Bluetooth mouse tomorrow to see if that makes any difference during pre-boot. But I’m convinced this is a software bug that Apple need to fix rather than it being some kind of hardware issue.

These days, I’m not entirely convinced movies need websites. They can be costly, nobody I know visits them (including myself) and quite frankly everybody just looks at the trailers on YouTube (or wherever) and waits for the movie to be released. When the iTunes, DVD or Blu-Ray is released, you usually have extras to tide you over for BTS stuff.

Sony’s system admins look to have made a bit of a boo boo recently. The new teaser trailer for Spiderman: Far From Home hit YouTube. Within the description was an URL: https://spidermanfarfromhome.movie.

ALAS!

The problem is that Sony uses a service called Akamai to provide security and performance at the edge. This means that Akamai is actively sitting in front of the origin servers and will cache content as well as protect against attacks via it’s web application firewall.

The problem here is that Sony didn’t update the bare domain (spidermanfarfromhome.movie) to point to Akamai. It’s pointing to Sony’s own servers. And their servers, while it has a TLS certificate with multiple SANs (Subject Alternative Names), it doesn’t reference the bare domain – just a subdomain (www.spidermanfarfromhome.movie). Hence the above error.

Sony just needs to update the DNS to point the bare domain to Akamai, and all would be good. The Akamai TLS edge certificate DOES contain spidermanfarfromhome.movie within it’s list of hostnames, so won’t error.

It would have been better for Sony to have advertised www.spidermanfarfromhome.movie instead – most people are still used to the ‘www’ prefix anyway…

(As a side note, Sony yet again muck things up by linking to various legal pages (such as their Terms of Use) at sonypictures.com which is served unencrypted – D’OH)