Friday, July 29, 2016

My Ever Changing Thoughts on the new Pete’s Dragon: 4-D Sneak Peek in the Parks

When they first announced that they would be doing a remake of Pete’s Dragon I was excited.  I’m generally not a fan of remakes –except for when they have a chance to really improve on the originals.  I don’t think classics should be remade. When Hollywood remakes Classic movies they general fail.  You end up walking out of the movie thinking “I should have just watched the original”.  This was the case with Psycho and Halloween.  I would never want to see a remake to one of my favorite movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark or Ghostbusters ( yeah I know),  but something like Pete’s Dragon is perfect to remake.   It is the kind of movie that makes you wonder what they could do with it with today’s technology.

The original Pete’s Dragon from 1977 was a fun, silly live action/Animated musical with a 2-D animated Dragon.  The story is basically Mary Poppins with a Dragon instead of a nanny.  

The 2016 Remake brings the Dragon into the modern era of CGI.  Gone are the songs and instead we get a great cast of quality actors and an amazing looking CGI Dragon.

When the original Teaser Trailer dropped---I was lukewarm on the remake.   It was such a short teaser that I couldn’t imagine how the movie would turn out.  It looked like a young Tarzan boy story.  Instead of being excited about the film I thought  “Maybe they screwed it up”.

As the summer went on long  more trailers begin to appear that make it look like a more magical worthy of a remake film.   I was starting to get a little excited again and I started looking forward to the Disneyland Parks sneak peek that would begin airing in July.  

The sneak peek has now turned this into a must see movie.   Like previous sneak peeks with the exception of Alice Through the Looking Glass (which fell as flat as the movie)  this sneak peek only enhanced my wanting to see the film.  My original concerns about the plot are now gone.  Robert Redford will be amazing.  Elliot the Dragon looks like the perfect mix of Dragon with a touch of the old animated version.  It would have been a bad idea to make a traditional Dragon---they stayed true to the original Elliot in their updated design.  The sneak peek has a great scene with Elliot flying around with Pete that was epic in the 4-D theater.   The movie looks like a fun and touching action packed version of the original.  ET with a Dragon.    I’m now confident that I’ll love the film.  

I wouldn’t even want to guess how it will do at the box office however.   I was shocked at how much money The Jungle Book Live Action film made…..yet the Alice sequel to a billion dollar original film bombed and BFG died despite supposedly being good.   Will people show up in droves to this new Pete’s Dragon.

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Mouse Minute: A Star Wars Update #1: 5 Cool Star Wars Items that Dropped in the last couple of weeks

It was a Star Wars filled couple of week.  Here are 5 cool Star Wars things that have dropped in the last couple of weeks.

  1.  New Star Wars Land concept artwork is now up on the fences where Big Thunder Ranch used to be.      Here is a photo of that artwork.
    Here is a photo of Star Wars Land itself –I took from the Parking lot during a recent trip to the park
  2. Thrawn is Back: Grand Admiral Thrawn makes his return to the Star Wars Universe and is canon once again.  Announced during the Rebels panel at Star Wars Celebration Europe and seen in the trailer for Rebels Season 3.      Thrawn was featured in the book series by Timothy Zahn that keep Star Wars alive for fans after Return of the Jedi.   A fan favorite that many fans of the EU were upset about when Disney bought Star Wars and rebooted the Book Universe.   Now he is back as a character in Rebels and the crowd at Celebration went crazy over the news.

Here is the Trailer for Season 3 that also brings Wedge into the series.  

3. Did I mention Thrawn is back:  If you weren’t already excited enough about Thrawn being back in Rebels---he is also coming back in a book written by Timothy Zahn as well.  So excited to Zahn will do with him in the new canon.

4.New Rogue One Footage:  Another thing coming out of Star Wars Celebration was a new behind the scenes featurette. 
A 3 minute long behind the scenes glimpse at the movie that revealed some new creatures and a few action shots.

 5. The Young Han Solo is finally officially announced.   We all new this news already –but now it is official. 
Alden Ehrenreich will be the dude with the Wookie co-pilot.

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

(Disney Animated Movie Review #13 ) Finding Dory 2016 9 out of 10

Finding Dory 2016  9 out of 10

It took 13 years for a sequel for Finding Nemo to get made.    Finding Dory hit the box office waters at just the right time.  In about a month at the US box office it has already made over 445  Million dollars at the box office and is already the number 1 Animated Movie of All time at the Domestic box office.   It is the biggest US release of the year passing Captain America: Civil War.   The sequel's story is derivative of the original film in that it involves a search for family.  This time around however Dory the blue fish with short term memory loss actually starts to remember her family which kick starts an adventure to find them.   It is covering familiar ground –but the addition of new characters and a new setting keeps things fresh.  
The Setting
The setting of the original was the Great Barrier Reef.   This time around we get to visit the Californian coastline (I know these little fish taking the EAC with the Sea Turtles all the way across the ocean is ridiculous just go with it) and the Monterey Marine Park.   The setting is terrific.  The Marine Park gives the film a bunch of great environments to play around in.  The scene where the Ocean Seas exhibit is revealed is a stunning piece of animation.  The film looks gorgeous.
The Story
Dory with the help of an Octopus named Hank tries to remember where exactly she is from in search of her parents.    Meanwhile Marlin and Nemo are trying to find her after she is taken to the aquarium by some humans.   The story –just like in Finding Nemo is about family and the willingness to do anything for family.   Dory faces challenges in order to find her long lost folks.  Marlin and Nemo risk their lives to make sure Dory is okay –because they consider her family.  Finding Dory is an action packed fun adventure that has funny moments and sentimental moments that the entire family will enjoy.  
The Characters
The returning characters are great of course.  I was a big fan of the original film Finding Nemo.  It is one of my favorite Pixar films.  The chemistry between Albert Brooks as Marlin and Ellen as Dory was excellent in the original film.   This movie is all about Dory and her character is once again great.  Baby Dory has to be one of the cutest characters ever.    Crush one of my favorite characters had a small scene –but was excellent again as well (check out Turtle Talk with Crush at the Disney parks for more of Crush).    The introduction of Hank the Octopus (voiced by Ed O’Neill) was also terrific.  Some other new characters that add a new flare to the adventure include a couple of Seal Lions and a Whale Shark and Beluga Whale. 
The Visuals
The visuals were absolutely incredible.  Pixar somehow always finds a new way to step up its game and again they absolutely knocked it out of the park again.  
In Summary:   If you liked Finding Nemo then you will like Finding Dory.   It is more of the same and it has been long enough, just that like the Force Awakens where although it touched on similar themes.

It is a great family film.

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