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BIONICLE™: MASK OF LIGHT, THE MOVIE SHINES AT TOY FAIR 2003
Posted by Purple_Dave on February 19, 2003 at 11:06 PM CST:
Miramax Films And The LEGO® Company Unveil First Footage From The Hotly Anticipated Movie Premiering On DVD and Video Based On The LEGO Company's Monumentally Successful Toy Line

More than 100 of The LEGO Company's key partners around the world enjoyed an exclusive sneak peek of the first footage from the hotly anticipated direct-to-video movie, BIONICLE: Mask of Light, The Movie during a private party held at Toy Fair, Tuesday, February 18, in New York City. The event was co-hosted by Miramax Films, which will distribute the 70-minute, CGI-animated film worldwide through Buena Vista Home Entertainment. The movie is based on LEGO's monumentally successful BIONICLE brand and premieres on DVD and video in Fall 2003.

The footage, which is featured in a newly created story trailer for the movie available at www.MaskofLight.com, provided the select audience of toy and video buyers, retailers, licensees, and press with an early glimpse into how their favorite BIONICLE characters are being brought to life as amazing CGI animated action heroes.

"This time last year at Toy Fair," said Stig Blicher, global vice president for the brand, "We were celebrating the fact that the American Toy Industry Association had named BIONICLE 'Most Innovative Toy of the Year' and 'Best Boy Toy of the Year.' Fast forward to tonight and I can't tell you how excited we are to share our latest success, the creation of this exciting new film, with so many partners who have been with us since the beginning of the BIONICLE evolution."

"BIONICLE may have captured the hearts and minds of millions of 12 year-old boys in the US and abroad but I still count myself among the brand's biggest fans," said Jeff Tahler, Miramax Films vice president of acquisitions. "It's one of the most intelligent and imaginative properties on the youth market today and we knew we had to have it as one of our first releases targeted toward this important demographic."

"We can't wait to see the reaction from all our fans to our first footage from the film," added Conny Kalcher, LEGO Company vice president and executive producer of the movie. "I think we definitely surpassed all expectations and our animation partner, Creative Capers, did an incredible job of transforming the BIONICLE characters, from the Matoran, Turaga and Toa to the Rahkshi and Makuta himself, into living, breathing personalities. All I can say is that viewers are in for an unbelievable experience come this Fall."

A vivid misture of languages, myths and magic, BIONICLE was inspired by the folklore of many exotic cultures. Featuring biomechanical characters in a fantasy paradise atmosphere--a unique device that sets the property apart from any other action-adventure story--BIONICLE takes place in the time before time on the islands of Mata Nui. The storylines follow six legendary heroes, called the Toa, who must find the great Masks of Power in order to save their world from Makuta, a dark and mysterious tyrant.

The movie, in particular, finds Mata Nui, which was previously protected by a great spirit of the same name, crumbling into the ocean. Makuta, the jealous sibling of the great spirit Mata Nui, has placed his brother into a deep sleep and is responsible for the island's demise. With the guidance of the Mask of Light, a young hero and his brave companions must overcome powerful forces and dangerous obstacles in their struggle to save their world and fulfill the ancient prophecies.

BIONICLE was launched in December 2000, first on a website and in comic books, and shortly thereafter in 27 different yet interconnecting additional media platforms. Clues, characters and adventures revealed in one platform enhanced the experience on another. By August of 2001, the toy line was outselling every other action figure on the market.

In addition to the partnership on Mask of Light the LEGO Company and Miramax Films are currently in development on a major, CGI-animated motion picture also based on the BIONICLE brand for release in theaters in 2005.

Based in Billund, Denmark, the LEGO Company, family-owned and privately-held since its founding in 1935, is a world leader in providing quality products and experiences that stimulate children's creativity, imagination and learning through playful activites that encourage hands-on, minds-on creation, fun, togetherness and sharing of ideas. Company employees are guided by the motto adopted in the 1930s by founder Ole Kirk Christiansen: "Only the best is good enough." For more information visit www.LEGO.com or www.BIONICLE.com.

Miramax Films, founded by Bob and Harvey Weinstein in 1979, has released some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful independent feature films of the past fourteen years, with a record fourteen Best Picture nominations over the past eleven consecutive years: Chicago, Gangs of New York, The Hours, In the Bedroom, Chocolat, The Cider House Rules, Shakespeare In Love, Life Is Beautiful (La Vita É Bella), Good Will Hunting, The English Patient, Il Postino (The Postman), Pulp Fiction, The Piano and The Crying Game. Miramax releases have also earned eighteen Best Foreign Language Film nominations including: Amélie, Life is Beautiful, Kolya, Mediterraneo and Cinema Paradiso.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc. is a recognized industry leader. Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc. is the marketing, sales and distribution company for Walt Disney, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax, Dimension and Buena Vista videocassettes and DVDs.


The press release also included two images, but the printed versions weren't of the best quality, so I'm going to see if I can get better copies. There were also large (approx. 6' x 3') placards placed throughout the room. We were asked not to photograph them (they didn't want to risk blurry photos getting into public hands) so they will be providing photos that were taken by the official event photographer at a later time.

Anyways, the CGI animation for this clip was truly excellent, and while the final look of the characters is noticably unfamiliar for those who are used to the physical toys, I expect it will not be an unwelcome change when everyone sees just how lifelike and expressive they have become (and this is coming from someone who was originally happy with how the "true" characters looked identical to the toys, which should tell you just how good it looks). On behalf of MaskofDestiny, I would like to congratulate the hard-working folks at Creative Capers for exceeding my wildest dreams with this.

Additional thoughts that I had were that the voice for MAKUTA is spine-tingling (think shades of Megatron from Transformers: Beast Wars) when it's booming through the room, and while I'm not fond of the new MATORAN design when it comes to the toys, I am thrilled with how the new CGI look manages to capture the essence of innocence every bit as well as the representations in the MATA NUI Online Game from 2001.



It wasn't on when I arrived, but when the party was wrapping up, we could see this cool sidewalk light on the heap of snow just outside the building, so I couldn't resist quick setting up my tripod and snapping off a shot before I hunted down the nearest subway entrance as I prepared to head back to my friends' apartment for the night.

All in all, I had an excellent time. I didn't see Michael from the PR department, I missed my chance to talk to Andrew Black (president of the North American division) just like at last year's GALIDOR™ Premiere Party, and I was short on sleep from pretty much the entire preceeding week, but I got to meet a lot of great people there.



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