Guardians of the Galaxy Review

The D-Cast Episode 23

On Episode 23 of the D-Cast Andy and Matthew have a zipiddy do da time talking about their Twitter Blowing up,The Dizzies, Guardians of the Galaxy ,Comic Com, Pirates of the Caribbean 5, Disneyland and your listener questions.

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The D-Cast Episode 22

This week Andy and Matthew talk about Planes: Fire and Rescue, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Disneyland’s upcoming 60th anniversary and we take your Twitter/Facebook questions.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Planes: Fire and Rescue Review

Andy Reviews Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue

My write up about the Planes movies

My review of the First Planes movie

Guardians of the Galaxy Coming Soon

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Who’s excited for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy ? As you can see below the trailers keep looking better and better. Andy and Matthew will be seeing it together opening night and will post reviews soon after along with Twitter updates. Should be a hoot! Looking forward to July 31! In the mean, time enjoy the latest trailer.

The D-Cast Episode 21

Episode 21 is finally out. Join Andy and Matthew as they discuss all things Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars including the new Planes movie, Guardians of the Galaxy and their first ever twitter question.

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Maleficent: A Story of Redemption

By Andy Herndon (@andyherndon)

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I once again saw Disney’s Maleficent this weekend, taking my wife with me as she did not get to see it last weekend. I honestly fell more in love with the movie, especially seeing it in 3D this time.

This movie has either been loved or hated, by critics, pundents and movie fans. I tend to be pretty critical when it comes to movies, yet I loved this one so much. There has been much speculation on what this movie was really about. Issues of feminism and the role of evil in the world have all been thrown around in reviews. Many have seen these themes as good things while other have been horrified by them. Then there are the Disney purists who can not believe  the liberties that were taken in this retelling of the old fairy tale.

Let me first address the Disney purists. This is not a remake of the animated classic. This is 2014 not 1957. The story is Maleficent, not Sleeping Beauty. For all the Disney purists that are crying foul right now, all I can say is get use to it. There are many more live action adaptations of Disney animated films, for better or worse. As long as they make money they will continue.

Like I said in an opinion piece a few weeks ago, these remakes are not a bad thing. They introduce the story to a new audience and will also heighten interest in the originals from which they were adapted. I understand many will write off Disney and long for the days of Walt. Yet I believe these movies are in the spirit of Walt, who’s mantra was “keep moving forward”. These remakes pay homage to the past while bringing Disney forward.

The issue of feminist themes  has been a constant refrain I have been hearing from feminists and none feminists who are both love and hate this movie. The ideas of feminism have come mostly, I believe, from the perceived negative portrayal of men in this film.  I just don’t see it. King Stephen is a obsessive twit, jerk and a coward. Prince Philip really isn’t any different than any other 16 year old boy. So where is this negative portrayal of men. King Stephen betrayed Maleficent. He hurt her deeply. Does it matter what Gender Stephan was? We’ve all had friends, family and others betray us. The betrayal is just as hurtful whether it is done by a man or a woman.

Then there are this who say that this retelling of the story is condoning evil. I do understand where they are coming from yet disagree with their reasoning. The argument goes that Disney, in this retelling, is saying evil is okay as long as the outcome is good. I just don’t see that.

The story of Maleficent is complex but so true for today’s society.  Maleficent let herself be defined by her past. We’ve all had those people and situations in our past who have hurt us deeply. These hurts will often stay with us for years. Yet  we can not let the things people have done to us define who we are. Maleficent was betrayed by Stephan. She carried that hurt for so long that it defined her identity. It was through her relationship with Aurora that she was able to break through the hurt, pain and betrayal she felt to get to the person she really was. She finally learned to let go of that pain and love again. Maleficent is a redemption story. A story of how we are not defined by what other people have done to us and our past. A story of how we can overcome pain and suffering to love again!

Disneyland Raising Prices, an Unpopular Perspective

By Andy Herndon (@andyherndon)

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Two weeks ago I did a quick post on the raising of Disneyland prices. You can see that original post here.

Since that time many people have become pretty upset with Disneyland.  Admittedly, Disneyland has been raising their prices again and again and again since the summer that Cars Land opened in 2012. Many families have sworn online to boycott Disneyland and start going to Knott’s Berry Farm (yeah right). In this most recent of price hikes, Disneyland also eliminated the sales of new SoCal Annual Passports. This pass gives Southern California residents (basically everyone from San Diego to Ventura) about 200 days a year to enjoy the Disneyland Resort.

I probably have a different perspective than many people on the Disneyland price hikes, and many  of you will not agree with me. In fact many of you will vehemently  disagree with me and that is okay. :)

Essentially, I’m not bothered by the increase in prices and it’s not because I’m rich, far from it.

Here’s why…

Disneyland is setting attendance records. This, in spite of the fact that Disneyland has consistently raised their prices over the last three years. The attendance records have resulted naturally in very busy parks. Wait times for attractions are through the roof. My wife and I use to pride ourselves in going to Disneyland during the off season or during weeks that were traditionally slow.  Our last two trips we planned during what was described by many crowd  tracking websites such as isitpacked.com as, slow weeks. Well, they were not slow. It was busy. There is no slow time at Disneyland anymore. It’s always packed.

Many of you would think this is not a problem for the Disneyland Resort, as the more people who are there, the more revenue they get. This is true to a certain extent, however much of the crowdedness has come from Annual Pass holders. Now I’m not bagging on AP holders here, I am one myself. But the bottom line for Disneyland is the more crowded the park  is, the less of a magical time guests will have. For Disneyland’s thousands of out of town guests, if they are not having a good time, they will take their money and go to any of  Southern California’s numerous theme parks or tourist attractions.

Disneyland has tried others strategies besides raising prices to combat overcrowding. In early last year, Disneyland instituted a policy that would not allow anyone under the age of 14 to be in the park without an adult. This was to offset a trend that was reported by many local news agencies where local parents would drop off or allow their children at Disneyland  after school, on the weekends and during the summer. Disneyland became a daycare of sorts for local kids who were able to afford the Annual Passport.

They have instituted a policy where multi day passholders must get their picture taken or present identification at the front gate to insure they are not using someone else’s pass or multiple people are not using the same pass over several days and weeks.

Disneyland also tightened up their policy toward guests with disabilities, to the anger of many in that community. Many guests were coming to Disneyland with fake or exaggerated disabilities in order to avoid the lines at many of the attractions. Others with legitimate disabilities were offering themselves as “tour guides” to families for a sizable fee. These families would be able to avoid the lines as they were with these “tour guide”.

Bottom line is, being in the park when it is crazy busy is not fun. Waiting 30 minutes for Pinocchio’s Daring Adventure (usually a walk on) is insane! If you want to know what I’m talking about, go to the park when there are no Passholder blackouts and see how far you get.This is also why Disneyland has discontinued sales of new Southern California AP’s in order to get a handle on things.

Many have said that these prices hikes are not in the spirit of Walt Disney. I realize that these price hikes over the past 3 years have priced many families out of enjoying Disneyland as often as they would like. But many of you who are Disneyland history nerds will remember the frustration Walt Disney himself had when a few extra thousand people showed up for the opening of Disneyland due to counterfeit tickets and an enterprising individual who had people pay him to use his ladder to climb the wall into Disneyland. It is in the spirit of Walt that Disneyland has to get the crowds under control, to ensure guests truly have a magical time in the resort. The park is not getting any bigger, so as prices continue to rise, the question is: how much is enjoying Disneyland worth to me?

Reviews of Disney’s Maleficent

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Andy and Matthew both saw Disney’s Maleficent this weekend and both came away with very different opinions of the film. You can read Andy’s review here and Matthew’s review here.

What did you think of the movie?

Let us know and join the conversation.

Disney’s Maleficent Review By Matthew Hurley

By: Matthew Hurley @TheDCast

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Let me start with a few things. I am an Angelina Jolie fan. I am a HUGE classic Disney Fan. I adore the creative license the company has taken with many of the original stories and “Disney-fied” them. I have grown up with mostly Disney entertainment. So, for me, Disney canon is everything! If you are like me, this review is for you. If you don’t care about that stuff, just ignore me :)
Without spoilers, this will be a hard one to explain…so I’ll be very general and vague.

Here we go…
Visually. This film is pretty well done. Mostly believable CGI throughout (that’s a lot coming from me). The other parts, well, you’ll notice yourself. It’s kinda pretty at times.

Audio…ly? The sound is surreal. Maybe the best surround I’ve heard in a while. Find a good spot in the theater. You’ll be glad you did.

Acting. This one hurts my heart. Jolie totally nails the dark hearted fairy thing. She is stunningly beautiful throughout and gives a stellar performance. The rest of the cast is pretty forgettable sadly. I tried hard to connect, and sympathize, but everyone else was seemingly disposable. I know it’s called “Maleficent”, but there was a spot for other faces to shine, aaaaaaaaaand…the script held them back. Weak dialog. It came across to me as the studio was banking on scenery to tell the tale. It doesn’t. The film highlights Jolie very well, as it should. She is Maleficent.

Story. Wow. Just wow. Fan of Sleeping Beauty much? This has nothing to do with it! (yes it does, I’m exaggerating) I get it. It’s a retelling, or revisionist, or back story or blah blah blah. No it isn’t. It’s a new story. New faces, new names, new reasons, new villains, new locations, shall I continue? No? Good. Remember the canon thing? Yeah, it’s not here. Forget Sleeping Beauty as you knew it. This should have been a whole new tale about other people in another universe. If it had even been done by a different company, maybe an OK movie. I just felt like I was in the Matrix during the 97 minute film. I could not believe Disney was the studio responsible for tearing down their own characters and making a new story from the cutting room floor. I literally yelled out, a few times mind you, “are they serious?” and “please be joking”. Not only that, but it was all too predictable once you got past the first 20 min or so and the actual story began. Too harsh? It’s your money. Maybe it’s just me. I just cannot get a grip that what I saw was a Disney movie. It was not delightful, fun, happy, or memorable save for the fact I’ll remember I don’t want to see it again. Movies are to be entertaining. This one? Not so much. It’s incredibly sad for me to say all of this because my personal fears were confirmed. I doubted this movie upon hearing of it, but wanted it to work so bad. I think Maleficent is a powerful and scary villain not to be made into a “feel sorry for me” kind of character. This so called “version” takes it to a level that should be a direct to video off shoot. As Sheriff Woody would say “somebody poisoned the waterhole!” (Jolie was amazing with what she had to work with though)

Am I taking it too seriously? Maybe I am. I have loved the enchantment of these Disney stories my entire life. Now it seems making a quick buck selling, rehashed, yet nothing like the original story, movies is far more important than reinforcing your brand. Does my opinion matter? Not likely. Do you care what I think? Probably less than I’d like. Why am I typing this review? Because I don’t belong to Hollywood, or Disney and I can say something without being fired ;)

If you go see it, and your into canon, I hope you like it…but I did warn you. If your into alternate universe kind of stuff, totally for you!

2 out of 5 Churros.

Thanks for reading, everyone!

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