Final Installment Of Frogger Trilogy Poised To Sweep Oscars

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2056: Future Issue

Report: 40 Percent of American High-School Students Mind-Reading At Sixth-Grade Level

CHICAGO2—According to Department of Telepathic Education officials, standardized Rhine-Zener testing shows that two of five North American high-school students are reading minds at or below the sixth-grade level. "Psycholiteracy is essential for survival in today's world," said DTE director Ruth Edgerton2008, founder of the "Mind-Reading Is Fundamental" project. "It's a shame that some students are graduating from high school lacking the basic telepathy skills they need to compete in the current job market." Edgerton2008 then thought about the need for increased funding for the national MindStart program.

Surgery Required For New Sexual Position

ISLA LOS ANGELES—Plasmic surgeons at Cedar Sinai Medical Center are among the more than 100 doctors nationwide performing the surgery required to enjoy the sexual position "Feast Of Forty Fingers Supping Upon The Nine-Branched Lotus," as popularized by the Neo Sutra. "Attempting the Forty Fingers position without proper bio-augmentation could result in needless maiming, so please ask a doctor about the required procedures," said Dr. Joshua Mendelbaum of the Adaptive Procreative Therapy unit. "Home surgical kits and even sophisticated nanodoctor booths are no substitute for the care of a licensed sexual surgeon." Mendelbaum would not comment on the 30 percent ecstasy-induced-mortality rate among those who successfully achieve the position.

Abraham Lincoln's DNA Now Available Over The Counter

DC—Responding to pressure from vocal consumer groups and gene-gineering giant Merck-Maibatsu-Pfizer Monday, the FDA announced it will allow the DNA of America's 16th president to be sold without a doctor's prescription. "The legalization of OTC Abe is great news for expectant parents, gene-therapy patients, and history buffs," said MMP marketing director Wayne Lincoln. "Americans will no longer be shackled by the genetic heritage of their forefathers, a tyranny of flesh which condemns all men to be created equal. Now, four score and seven credits will ensure that presidential DNA for the people shall not vanish from the earth." Those using Lincoln's DNA are warned that side effects may include mild gigantism, arthritis, and severe depression.

Hemmed-In Seattle Mayor Calls For Emergency Deforestation

SEATTLE—Seattle Mayor Frances Bean Cobain-Osment issued a call for the emergency deforestation of the Pacific Northwest Monday. "Please, major logging companies, I beg you, send any spare sawmilling, pulping, or chipping equipment you have as soon as possible," said Cobain-Osment, invisible within the branches and overgrowth on the steps of City Hall. "We cannot fight off the encroaching trees and spotted owls any longer." The mayor's message concluded with a spirited condemnation of 2001's controversial Healthy Forests Initiative.

Remainder Of Ross Ice Shelf Now In Smithsonian Freezer

DC—The 25-meter-long remains of the Ross Ice Shelf, the floating Antarctic ice sheet that was once the size of France, will be displayed in the Smithsonian Institution's basement freezer through August. "We thank the generous citizens of Philadelphia, who donated this polar-cap remnant when it washed up on their shores earlier this year," curator Tim Riley said. "The ice sheet is a valuable artifact of the earth's geological past." Guests at an upcoming fundraising dinner will be served cocktails made with chunks of the shelf.

Repopulation Of Africa Begins

OLDUVAI GORGE, FORMER TANZANIA—The UN announced Monday that it has begun the directed repopulation of Africa, the continent that has lain desolate since the 2042 Saharan Scourge. "The time has come to reclaim this land from the effects of war, famine, disease, and devastating commercial exploitation," ReAfrica project head Marcus Mtume said, motioning toward the bare rock of the Serengeti shield plain. "At this very moment, scouts are determining the viability of a New Lagos settlement." Critics argue that the ReAfrica project is beyond the scope of current terra-reforming technology, and the UN resources required would be better spent on more fertile territory, such as the Marianas Trench or Charon, Pluto's only moon.

Ozone Repletion Project Nearly Finished

MCMURDO, ANTARCTIC STATES--Franklin Serwacki, lead project administrator of the Global Ozone Restoration Initiative, announced Monday that the earth's ozone layer will be restored to pre-Industrial Revolution levels by the end of the month. "With our new Bering Strait facility operating at full capacity, repletion of the ozone layer should be complete by... oh, I'd say next Thursday. It's been a busy couple of weeks, but soon we'll be able to look back on a job well done." Serwacki then offered his apologies to the more than 6 billion people who were irreparably harmed by solar UV radiation in the several decades the project was delayed by tripartisan bickering.

Leather-Clad Nomads Seize Power In Australia

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA—Following months of terror at the hands of hot-rod-piloting punks, Australian Prime Minister Kellen O'Neill handed power to Lord Humongous, nominal warlord of the leather-clad marauding barbarian horde Monday. "Just walk away!" said Humongous, the official "Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Roll-ah," speaking through his vehicle's PA system from the smoking ruins of the city center. "I will spare those of you who surrender your possessions and your precious juice. Just walk away, and live." Humongous is expected to share at least a portion of his dominion over Australia with midget genius The Master, who several sources said "runs Bartertown."

117-Aerocar Pileup Clogs Troposphere For Hours

BOSTON—Travelers on Interspace 92 experienced delays of up to three hours after 117 aerocars were involved in a tropospheric pileup Monday. "We traced the problem to a malfunctioning holosign over the harbor's low-pressure zone," said Anders Featherston, lead engineer of Boston's Big Draft project. "Four horizontal lanes and three vertical lanes merged without warning, causing the first few propeller-benders, and it only escalated from there." The 22 deaths caused by the accident were only temporary, as EMTs had the victims' cortical memory stacks decanted into fresh bodies within hours.

Economy Given Big Boost By Ramadan Shopping Season

NEWER YORK—Financial experts announced Monday that the U.S. economy was boosted by millions of Americans beginning to purchase Ramadan gifts. "With rampant inflation and record-low consumer confidence, we were on the path to total economic devastation for the year," economist Karen Thewes said. "Fortunately, preparations for the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr pumped nearly Ÿ2.2 billion into the economy. In addition, there was a huge surge in the purchase of Quran plaques dedicated to Allah." Thewes went on to predict that the economy would be further buoyed by a brisk Solstice.
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Final Installment Of Frogger Trilogy Poised To Sweep Oscars

HOLLYWOOD—Eyeing the upcoming 128th Academy Awards, industry insiders have high expectations for Frogger: Return To The Lily Pad, the third installment in the wildly successful Frogger trilogy based on the 1981 Sega video game. The film is nominated in an unprecedented 31 categories, including Best Adapted Screenplay, Best CG Actor, and Best Picture.

L. Hopper, who has been nominated for Best CG Actor.

"Fans of this epic story were worried that it couldn't be brought to the screen without destroying it," said Oscar-nominated director Tara Reid, who helmed both Frogger and Frogger: Gator's Revenge. "The last thing I wanted to do was alienate the game's fan base. But, by and large, posts on video-game cereblogs have been extremely positive. When I saw those, I knew I'd achieved my goal of staying true to the programmers' vision."

The trilogy chronicles Frogger's journey from his lily pad to his home. During his journey, Frogger must navigate through whizzing cars, cross a raging river, and avoid diving turtles and poisonous snakes that are able to kill him with a touch—all before his time runs out.

The visually stunning movie is set to a stirring adaptation of the game's original music.

A fan of the game since childhood, Reid was chosen over such acclaimed directors as Wes Anderson, Paul Shore, and Wong Kar Wai, largely based on the strength of her 2015 directorial debut, Trading Spaces: The Movie.

"I didn't want to jump into 16 months of shooting before completing extensive pre-production research," Reid said. "I spent about two months playing the game eight hours a day, so I could really tap into the emotional arc of the story. And I ignored all versions except for the original coin-op game. This story is about a frog getting across a road."

Reid's hard work paid off, with the first two Frogger movies grossing over Ÿ100 trillion domestically. Fans, however, were concerned about whether Lily Pad would adequately resolve the cliffhanger ending of the previous film, in which Frogger was swallowed by an alligator.

"Of course, Lily Pad opened the same way as the first two films, with the hero at the starting point, unscathed," acclaimed robotic reviewer SiskelEbertron said. "But this time, the moment was fraught with tension, because the audience was aware that this was Frogger's third and last life. I gave the movie all four thumbs up."

Although the first two Frogger installments were critical and box-office darlings, they were shut out at Oscar time, receiving a total of 41 nominations, but no trophies. Many critics believe this will be Frogger's year.

"I think the Academy held out to see if the story could sustain itself," film critic Haley Joel Buntner said. "Everyone was swept up by the grandeur of the first two movies, but there was some doubt as to whether it could keep the momentum leaping forward from lane to lane to log to pad."

Largely well-received, Lily Pad has met with some criticism on mental message boards for straying from the original video game in its augmentation of Frogger's romantic interest, Lady Frog. Some fans argued that the last 20 minutes is an extraneous epilogue that deflates the excitement of the first half hour.

Few fans, however, have found fault with the film's visuals.

"I wanted to make Frogger 30 years ago, but I had to wait until technology caught up to my vision," Reid said. "It was very important to get the look and feel right, using the latest in tactile holographics. Even after a grueling shoot of more than year, the job had only begun. We had to create our own SurroundSenses software to nail the smell of the car exhaust, the temperature of the raging river, the painful vice-grip of the alligator's bite."

Much of the trilogy was shot in the bayous of Louisiana, but the freeway sequences were filmed in New Jersey, where the state's 93-percent-pavement environment created what Reid called "the perfect backdrop."

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