Monday, May 30, 2016

Alice Through the Looking Glass 2016 6 out of 10 (Disney Family Film #5) Alice in Wonderland 2010 8+ out of 10 (Disney Family Film #6)

Alice Through the Looking Glass  2016 6 out of 10

Looking at the box office results I wonder whether anyone really asked for a Sequel to Alice in Wonderland from 2010?   The first Alice was pretty much a complete story. The fact that the movie made over a Billion dollars worldwide I'm sure Disney thought there was a calling for a second trip to Wonderland.

Wonderland itself is an amazing place that is a visual delight to explore so why not return to this magical place.  Apparently in 6 years everyone forgot about Alice and Wonderland.   After 4 huge blockbuster films in a row that included The Force Awakens (over 2 Billion)  Captain America  (1.1 Billion so far) and both The Jungle Book and Zootopia surprisingly nearly a Billion as well---I'm sure when Alice staked out Memorial Weekend release date --they thought  it was a sure thing.    So where did it go wrong????
Maybe that is a question for a later date---because from even though I didn't see it as a must see sequel or even necessary for that matter the numbers from the first one would say otherwise.
James Cameron maybe you  should be worried about your Avatar sequels???

The movie itself

I had mentioned when I saw the sneak peek that this was one of the first films that the sneak peek in the parks didn't make me excited to see.  My stepdaughter wanted to go so off to the movies we went.  Something was different on this trip to Wonderland. 
Tim Burton didn't actually direct this one and maybe that had something to do with it.  It felt like Jaws 2 when compared to the original Jaws. All the same actors were back --but it just didn't click this time.  

It definitely wasn't the visuals.  Wonderland looked amazing on the big screen was again.   I think the problem was in the story.  The original Alice did a clever job of making it Alice's returning to Wonderland as a 19 year old girl.  It touched on many of the elements that made the books and the Disney animated feature so great with a Tim Burton twist.   The sequel to me was lacking in a story that made good use of Wonderland as a setting.  This time around we literally get a story about Time (played by Sasha Baron Cohen).  Alice returns to Wonderland again and gets involved in a Time Travel story searching for the Mad Hatter's family. 
It was just and odd choice and felt at times like it was more suited for a Spy Kids movies instead of Alice in Wonderland. 
The best scene of the movie was probably when Time was questioning The Hatter at the Tea Party about where Alice was.
The movie was okay --but it just wasn't magically like the first one.

Alice in Wonderland 2010   8+ out of 10

My stepdaughter wanted to watch the original Alice (from 2010) later that night, because she was too young to remember seeing it. 
In comparison to its under performing sequel this Alice was magical.   From the moment Alice runs away from her engagement party and follows the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole you are transported to the fun and amazing world of Wonderland.  Tim Burton was the perfect director to capture Wonderland on screen. The strangeness of this universe perfectly matched his visual style. Sure this Wonderland was a little different than the animated version since it ends with Alice battling the dreaded Jabberwocky. This version of Wonderland was both familiar and fresh at the same time.  

The sequel just seemed like maybe they didn't really have a good idea to make returning to Wonderland worthwhile ---but did it anyway because it seemed like a sure thing box office wise.....    Maybe Disney can learn from this before jumping into Maleficent 2 and Jungle Book 2  which both seem unnecessary.

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Disney/Pixar Animated Short Reviews: #77 Ku'u Lei Melody 2016 9 out of 10

 Ku'u Lei Melody 2016  9 out of 10

I absolutely loved this cartoon.   Mickey is trying to compose the perfect melody on a Uke and has been inspired by on island spirit in the form of Minnie Mouse.  The animation is superb.  It is the perfect mix of Tiki and Mickey.   Surfer Goofy and Donald interrupt Mickey.   They all end up searching for his melody in an ancient Tiki area that brings forth some cool Tiki Room references.  Mickey eventually finds Minnie and his tune.

Here is a picture for Mickey, Goofy and Donald walking past some Tiki room Totems. 

One of the only things I like as much as Disney is Tiki Stuff so this episode grabbed my attention on so many levels.

Mickey ends up connnecting with Minnie and the end of the episode and finding the mystery melody he was searching for.
This episode captured everything I love about the current Mickey cartoon series.  It featured the big 3 and had some adventures humor and fun.

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Alice Sneak Peek at DCA

The White Rabbit went that way....
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There is another fun 4-D Sneak Peek to check out at the Disneyland Resort.   With the new Frozen Stage Show starting this week at the Hyperion theater—the Muppet’s theater was left empty and a sneak Peek of Alice Through the Looking Glass moved in.   
The waiting area has some fun interactive photo booths that use the technology that I’ve seen on phones that will turn you into a character from Alice.   

The sneak peek itself was okay…but despite the films dazzling visuals I wasn’t as compelled to see this movie the same way I have been with most of Disney’s other sneak peeks.  I guess this return to Wonderland seems more money based than ---“we have another great story to tell” (that is just my opinion).  The first Alice made a ton of money at the box office so a sequel was inevitable.   The plot of this sequel just isn’t really capturing my imagination.    The sneak peek itself has many the fun 4-D features that make watching these sneak peeks so enjoyable in the parks.

If you are a fan of Alice –check out the sneak peek now in DCA’s Muppet’s Theater.

The movie opens in theaters May 27th

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

SHAG, Star Wars and Disney

Sometimes all of your favorite thing combine.
That was the case this last weekend when the my favorite Artist SHAG premiered his latest artwork at Downtown Disney.  
I'm a big Disney fan,  a big Tiki fan and of course a huge Star Wars fan.   So when it was announced that SHAG was doing a version of the Cantina scene and that he would be a the Disney resorts.
I was all in.

The Wonderland Gallery in Downtown Disney was the location. The store would open at 8am ....They told people not to line up until 6am.   When I heard that I knew the wife was not up for this adventure.   She likes to sleep in on the weekend --so I headed off solo for what I thought would be a quick adventure to get some cool SHAG Star Wars stuff.   I arrived at the Disneyland Resort at 6am and the entrance to the parking structure lane was open and since I have a pass with parking I headed into the parking structure.  I pulled up to the booths with only a few people in front of me, but the booths themselves were not open yet.   I should have parked in Downtown Disney lot.....I had unknowing made a fatal error that would cost me hours.   There were cast members in the booths --but the booths didn't open until by the time I got over to the line for SHAG it was all the way around the Rain Forest building.  At 6:30am there were probably already 200 people in front of me.

By 9am:  An hour after the store had opened I was still near Rainforest.  My parking mistake had cost me dearly.  My plan to hit the store early when it opened and maybe hit the park for an hour was already a failure.   I guess I underestimated how many people would get up that bloody early.   I was going to be stuck in a line longer than the lines would be when Star Wars Land opens.

10am:  They had escorted us to where we could at least see the store.  I wanted to bail--but I'd already invested 4 hours.  I was pot committed as they say in poker.  There were SHAG fans,  Harvey purse fans, Disney Merch fans and Star Wars fans all in line.  All of those worlds colliding made for a slow moving line.  

11:30-12:00:   At this point I had lost track of time.   I finally made it into the store.   The made rush for product lasted a few minutes as people stocked up on items.   I was only going to pick up glasses and postcards originally --but after waiting so long I knew that my wife would think I was an idiot if I didn't pick up a shirt as well.
So I forked over more money than I had planned just to make my wait worthwile.

Besides this shirt will be perfect for Tiki Oasis in August which has a Monster Island theme this year.    The check out line which moved very , very slowly and was the obvious reason for the length of the line as a whole.

Here was the haul I brought home. 
  The line was insane and I will never do that again.  
 I waited so long I should have received a Fastpass for Star Wars Land.  After over 6 hours --I choose not to return for the Signing that was between 3-5pm since I was number 106 for the signing.  I get to see SHAG every year at Tiki Oasis in San Diego without massive lines --so I headed home.

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Gorilla Time at the Animal Kingdom

One of my favorite spots at Disney's Animal Kingdom is the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.  One of the highlights of that walk is the Gorillas.   Gorillas are one of the most fascinating animals to me. They are so alike us in many ways.   

Here are some shots we got of the Gorillas on our trip to Animal Kingdom last year.

The Pangani Forest Trail does an excellent job of teaching us about these amazing creatures.

Here is a mother Gorilla with her tiny little baby.

A teen gorilla thinking about what kind of trouble he wants to get into next.

Definitely take the time to walk this adventure trail the next time you are in Animal Kingdom.

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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Disney/Pixar Animated Short Reviews: #76 Turkish Delights 2016 5 out of 10

Turkish Delights  2016  5 out of 10

In the latest Mickey Mouse cartoon Mickey is a food vendor in Turkey trying to sell his treats on the streets.   Turkish versions of Goofy and Donald (wearing mustaches) are annoyed that Mickey is stealing their business and a battle occurs. Usually when the cartoons feature Goofy and Donald Duck it increases the likability of the cartoons.   This cartoon falls kind of flat.  The sight gags aren't especially funny and as I've mentioned before the attempts at the international cartoons are generally the least interesting ones to me.  I think the characters are better when they are themselves instead of some weird international versions of themselves.   I'd much rather see Mickey and Donald trying to take Goofy to Potatoland than watch mustached  Goofy and Donald fight with Mickey over vending space in Turkey.   When they let the characters be themselves --they tend to shine more.  

The cartoon can be found on the Disney Channel or Disney Online

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Sweetest Spot in the Disneyland Resort: Ghirardelli's in DCA:

There are many Sweet spots at the Disneyland Resort.

Whether your nose pulls you into Candy Palace on Main Street or it is a Dole Pineapple Whip that you crave.  I know many people that can’t pass a Churro cart without partaking in one of those sugary sweet delights.  The sweetest spot in the Disneyland Resort has to be Ghirardelli’s.   I can’t walk around DCA with the kids without one of them declaring that we need to walk into this place.   We can’t walk within a hundred yards of the place in DCA without having to stop in  for a free sample.  (My wife is the same with the Risotto bites at the Alfresco Lounge).

Who am I to say no to a free Chocolate sample.  
 That little Chocolate sample just melts in your mouth. 
 The caramel on is my personal favorite. 

Of course the Chocolate sample is just meant to lure you in.   And lure you in it does.  More cases than not something else is purchased.    And usually for me that just means something for the kids.  I usually settle for a coke as I watch the kids digging into a an amazing Sundae (Knowing my wife would kill me if I ordered a Sundae).    There are so many amazing choices on the menu at Ghirardelli’s. 

  You can’t go wrong with ice cream and Ghiradelli’s Chocolate.   Freshly dipped cones call to you like Sirens.

I dare you leave this Sweet Spot empty handed.

Like I said ---you stop for the free sample....but you rarely leave without getting something else.

Where is your favorite Sweet Spot at the Disneyland Resort?

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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Disney/Pixar Animated Short Reviews: #75 Sock Burglar 2016 7 out of 10

                                Sock  Burglar  2016  7 out of 10

In the latest cartoon in the Mickey Mouse cartoon series -there is someone in town that is stealing everybody's socks.   Minnie Mouse is the star of this cartoon.  She decides to investigate and shows off her detective skills.   She questions some known criminals which gives the cartoon a chance to throw in some cool cartoon cameos including the Phantom Blot and the Big Bad Wolf to name a couple.   Then Minnie gets into the action with some Ninja moves to take down the criminal using some animated sock yarn as a trap.   It was a short cartoon that packed in some good action and a few laughs.

It can be found on Disney Online or the Disney Channel.

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