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.
By Andy Herndon (@andyherndon)
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!
By Andy Herndon (@andyherndon)
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.
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?
By: Matthew Hurley @TheDCast
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!
By Andy Herndon (@andyherndon)
This isn’t the Sleeping Beauty of your childhood. Disney’s new Maleficent is a new take on the Disney Animated Classic. Without any spoilers, this film was a pleasant surprise.
My first reaction when I heard that Disney was remaking this movie as a live action film was hesitant at best. I really did not like the live action remake of Alice and Wonderland and my fear was this would be a repeat of the same mistakes, as these two films share the same screenwriter in Linda Woolverton. Yet as I saw trailers, I became more and more open to this film, to the point where I was very excited to see Maleficent this weekend.
The story was excellent. Superb even. Without giving anything away, Maleficent is the backstory on the well known villain of the animated Disney classic. This is a fantasy film in the same vein of Narnia yet was tame enough, in my opinion, that it is pretty family friendly. Don’t get me wrong, this movie is dark overall, but not in an evil adult sort of way. The film also used humor well and in a way I did not expect. Especially with the fairies as a comic relief, but not in an annoying Jar Jar Binks sort of way (Star Wars reference).
The special effects were epic, and I do not say that lightly. The detail was excellent and realistic but still felt like a fantasy film. The film was not very cartoony feeling, which was great. The sets were so pleasantly elaborate. So much so, that it felt like you were in a fairy tale. Costumes were well realized and the musical score did a great job of complementing the movie.
Angelina Jolie stole the show. She does an excellent job of showing us the inner conflict and transformations within Maleficent and at no time did the performance feel forced or cheesy. She was unexpectedly funny at times which allowed us the see a full range of emotions and personality within Maleficent. I was lost in her performance.
Elle Fanning did a sufficient job as Aurora, good even. I felt her character was underdeveloped from a script point of view, to the point where Elle Fanning may have been holding back a bit. This is understandable, as the movie is Maleficent not Sleeping Beauty. I really would have loved to see more from Elle Fanning though.
Sharlton Coply as King Stephen was very good as was the rest of the supporting cast.
The film was great. I brought my 6 year old daughter and my 4 year old son. I was actually worried about my son being too scared, yet the movie struck a good balance. I would say if you are unsure if your child is ready for a film of this nature, perhaps you should see it first. My daughter was mesmerized by Maleficent, Aurora, the sets, and the costumes the entire time.
Maleficent is great for families and adults. It strikes a unique balance between the two that I have only seen in some Pixar films, which is high praise from me.
Disney and Director Stromberg knock it out of the park on this one. Many Disney purists may be upset with some changes made in this film from the original but this Disney fan believes it’s a new story for a new day.
Go see it!
This film gets 4 out of 5 churros from me!
By Andy Herndon (@andyherndon)
The internet was a buzz when it was discovered that Tom Hanks would be portraying Walt Disney in a new film. Soon it was learned the film wasn’t a movie about Walt Disney, it was about the making of Mary Poppins. We all know now that film was Saving Mr. Banks. I very much enjoyed Saving Mr. Banks. Honestly though, Tom Hanks doesn’t look or sound much like Walt Disney but because the movie wasn’t about Walt, that fact didn’t take too much away from the film.
One thing Saving Mr. Banks did do is peak the interest of movie goers. What would a biographical movie about Walt Disney look like? As of right now there is no word as to whether Disney the company has a Walt Disney biography in the works.
A few months ago my wife brought to my attention an independent film titled Walt Before Mickey. The indie flick looks to capture the life of Walt Disney before he created the Walt Disney Company and brought Mickey into the world. Most of the information on this film can be found at IMDb and their Facebook page. According to IMDb the movie is based on the book of the same title by Timothy S. Susanin. This movie also stars Jon Heder of Napoleon Dynamite and Jody Sweetin of television’s Full House. Other than that this film is filled with indie film personal, including director Khoa Le.
As a Disney fan I would love to see a wide release film about Walt Disney made by Disney. As a movie fan, I believe an indie film is the best thing for a Walt Disney biography.
Disney as a company would put their fairy dust on a bio pic about their beloved founder. It is my belief that an indie bio film about the life of Walt Disney can capture the true grit and personality of Walt that Disney the company probably wouldn’t sanction.
According to IMDb the film is set to release on June 20 and as far as I can tell it is a limited release.
Will Walt Before Mickey prompt the Walt Disney Company to green light a bio film of the legend? Only time will tell. In the mean time, I am looking forward to seeing this indie release about the life of the most loved, innovative, complicated and infamous man in the entertainment industry.
When I see it a review will follow.