Disney Movie News & Reviews
With all of the recent live-action remakes of Disney classic animated tales, it can sometimes be hard to get excited about the next new thing. However, I will fully admit I’m officially excited. This is just a teaser, but it’s definitely doing what it promised. March 17, 2017 can’t get here soon enough.
See the official teaser trailer below, including the first sneak peek at Belle herself, played by Emma Watson. We also hear the voices of Lumiere and Cogsworth too! Click play:
I grabbed some screenshots to take a closer look at some of the details from the trailer:
The official synopsis from Disney:
Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a live-action re-telling of the studio’s animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs. “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within. The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Oscar® winner Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s eccentric, but lovable father; Josh Gad as Lefou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Golden Globe® nominee Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the candelabra; Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; six-time Tony Award® winner Audra McDonald as Madame Garderobe, the wardrobe; Oscar nominee Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and two-time Academy Award® winner Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.
Directed by Oscar® winner Bill Condon from a screenplay by TBD based on the 1991 animated film, the film is produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman with eight-time Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the 1991 animated film, providing the score, which will include new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as several new songs written by Menken and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice. “Beauty and the Beast” will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017.
Don’t be late to catch the latest Alice Through the Looking Glass trailer, released just in time to spring forward as we changed the clocks last night. See it below:
Alice Kingsleigh (Wasikowska) has spent the past few years following in her father’s footsteps and sailing the high seas. Upon her return to London, she comes across a magical looking glass and returns to the fantastical realm of Underland and her friends the White Rabbit (Sheen), Absolem (Rickman), the Cheshire Cat (Fry) and the Mad Hatter (Depp), who is not himself. The Hatter has lost his Muchness, so Mirana (Hathaway) sends Alice on a quest to borrow the Chronosphere, a metallic globe inside the chamber of the Grand Clock which powers all time. Returning to the past, she comes across friends – and enemies – at different points in their lives, and embarks on a perilous race to save the Hatter before time runs out. Presented in Digital 3D™, Real D 3D and IMAX® 3D, Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass” opens in U.S. theaters on May 27, 2016.
I will admit it, when I first heard about and saw snippets about Zootopia, I wasn’t super excited. “Another movie about animals that can talk,what will make this one any different,” I thought. I then saw the sloth DMV scene at the D23 Expo, laughed, and thought it had some promise. I do love Jason Bateman, and hearing him as the voice of Nick Wilde for over an hour couldn’t be too bad, right? Once home from the D23 Expo over the summer, I kind of forgot about it until recently, when I was able to attend a screening. I had seen a few little promo pieces about it, and saw that they were trying to make the Zootopia universe relatable by changing common things we were used to with “Z” words (zoogle rather than google, zuber rather than uber, etc.) I was then worried that it would be too corny, trying too hard. But really, that’s only in the marketing. In the actual movie, I was relieved to see, the gags and puns are little rewards for keen-eyed observers.
As a side note, I’ve found, in recent years, Disney marketing does tend to go a little overboard on the jokes of site gags found within its animated films, as if trying to ensure these things catch on and “go viral.” While I totally understand this is a necessary evil of marketing on this scale, it’s no less annoying, to me personally, and really makes me wish I could just watch things sight un-seen and make my own judgments from there. But then again, I’m not a typical movie-going Disney fan. I don’t laugh at all the jokes I’m supposed to, and do tend to like more subtle attempts at both humor and any moral-of-the-story lessons. So, maybe it’s just me.
In any event, I was proven wrong in my pre-judgment of Zootopia. Very wrong. I loved it and I think it has the true distinction of being engaging and relatable to everyone and every age. In addition, the universe created for the film and the city of Zootopia is absolutely amazing and so infinitely detailed, I want to live in each of the distinct little areas of their world. The opening scene of the movie tells all the backstory you need to know about both our main character, Judy Hopps, and the world of Zootopia itself. The different neighborhoods are perfect homes for the various types of animals best suited to that environment; Sahara Square for desert animals, the Rain Forest District for those used to jungle environments, Tundratown for polar bears and other cold-weather animals, along with Bunnyburrow, where Judy is from, and Little Rodentia, for the tiniest mammals (the scenes in this area are among my favorite in the movie), while the downtown area Savanna Central, is a bustling city environment where animals from every climate and environment come together to work and live.
Judy Hopps is, at the end of the day, a glass half full kind of bunny. She is an eternal optimist, not only in life, but in her own self-confidence. Despite the motto of Zootopia being “where anyone can be anything,” there is a sort of unwritten rule that in certain situations (when bunnies want to become police officers for example), that isn’t really the case. Judy is determined to prove them wrong, and most importantly, prove to herself that she can be and do anything, and do it well. What follows when Judy does graduate as the first bunny from the police academy, is, at the heart of it all, a buddy comedy. I can actually picture the storyline of Zootopia (minus some animal-specific aspects) translating to a live-action film with humans rather than animals, and that’s perhaps the best compliment for the writing and strength of the plot.
Another major-yet-more-subtle subplot to the movie is the idea of prejudice, profiling of different types of people (or animals in this case). As mentioned above, the animals in Zootopia may claim to be evolved and accepting of all different types of species and allowing them to be anything they want, but there are several lines and situations within the film that directly correlate to our own real-world racial profiling and embarrassingly stereotypical actions – “other bunnies can call each other cute, but other animals can’t call a bunny cute” for example. This may go over the average kid’s head as a funny throw-away line, but adults watching know where it’s coming from, and if it sparks conversation among parents to their kids, all the better. In any event, I love when “kids movies” don’t pander to kids and leave modern and important themes out of the mix. It is possible to have a fun story, animated characters, and important life lessons in one film. Zootopia does that with ease.
I won’t drone on with (much) more analysis of plotlines and characters, but I will say (again) that I loved Zootopia, I loved the message that it tells, and how it tells it. There was not a princess in site, and there was absolutely no feeling of “oh, this is a female empowerment theme” because the whole point of the story is literally, anyone can do anything, and that they should, if they want to. That we shouldn’t judge others based on preconceived notions, and although someone may do something differently than us, it doesn’t mean it’s any less right or valid. And I loved that take-away. I took my 7 year-old son to the screening I saw, and I love that he was exposed to those messages probably without even realizing it. Judy Hopps failed a few times, but kept going, learning all along the way. Nick Wilde lived his life one way because he thought that’s how he had to, and learned that he could and should do more. I hope it sticks in his little sponge-like brain to – as pop sensation Gazelle (played by Shakira) sang in the movie – “Try Everything.”
This was a movie I instantly wanted to see again, and cannot wait till I can do just that. The animation itself is gorgeous, robust and detailed. The character acting is great too, Idris Elba as the Chief of Police is so fun to listen to, as is J.K. Simmons as the mayor, and Nate Torrence as the lovable police station cop, Clawhauser.
I’m excited for Zootopia to be released and have a presence in Disney parks. A meet and greet has already been announced for Disney California Adventure, and Judy and Nick will join the “Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!” Street Party at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, both happening this spring. My son has already asked for a Zootopia backpack and lunchbox, so that means the movie has reached Star Wars level approval ratings in our home.
I’d love to hear what you think if you see Zootopia this weekend!
Disclaimer: I attended a free screening of this film in order to write this review. As you can see, my thoughts and opinions are my own.
During the D23 Expo over last summer in Anaheim, we were treated to quite a bit of news and info about Finding Dory, including many of the voice actors, and some exclusive clips of the film. Now the first full-length trailer has been officially released today, on the Ellen Show and we can share it here with you too! Check it out below:
I like that we find out where she learned to speak whale, and the whole Monterrey Bay Aquarium-like location where Dory ends up while seeking her family looks really interesting and keeping in the theme of Finding Nemo of seeing things from the fish’s points of view. I’m most looking forward to HOW she lost her family though, and hope we get to learn about that too. (Also secretly hoping for another cameo by the Boston lobstahs too ;).)
Directed by Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo,” “WALL•E”) and produced by Lindsey Collins (co-producer “WALL•E”), the film features the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton. “Finding Dory” swims into theaters June 17, 2016.
Digital HD*, Blu-ray Combo Pack & Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA)
THEATRICAL SHORT – Sanjay’s Super Team – Sanjay loves the world of cartoons and comics, while his father tries to draw him into his Hindu traditions. Reluctance quickly turns into awe-inspiring adventure as the boy embarks on an amazing journey, returning with a new perspective they can both embrace.
TRUE LIES ABOUT DINOSAURS – We know – it’s preposterous to think Apatosaurs spoke English. Learn more about what separates the fictional dinosaurs of “The Good Dinosaur“ from what scientists know about real dinosaurs.
RECYCLOSAURUS – Pixar takes creative competition seriously. Maybe a little too seriously. Watch as “The Good Dinosaur” crew competes to see which department can create the best dinosaur ever…using only discarded items from the studio’s “free table.”
THE FILMMAKERS’ JOURNEY – Finding your way from an idea to a film takes a lot of exploration. Director Peter Sohn and his fellow filmmakers talk about the challenging, inspiring, and unexpectedly emotional experience of making “The Good Dinosaur.”
EVERY PART OF THE DINOSAUR – The filmmakers talk about the special animation challenges of “The Good Dinosaur” – including figuring out how to animate a dinosaur who’s really a boy, and a boy who’s got the spirit of a dog.
FOLLOWING THE T-REX TRAIL – Follow the filmmakers as they travel to a working cattle ranch and meet the McKays, a close-knit family whose work ethic, generosity, and stories inspired the T-Rex ranchers of the film.
COMMENTARY – Commentary from director Peter Sohn, story supervisor Kelsey Mann, supervising animator Mike Venturini, director of photography/lighting Sharon Calahan, and supervising technical director Sanjay Bakshi.
DINO BITES – Montage of original animated pieces produced to promote “The Good Dinosaur.”
HIDE AND SEEK – A short animated clip produced to promote “The Good Dinosaur.”
The Attack – An idyllic introduction to the family farm is cut short when a savage predator attacks the newborn Arlo. With an introduction by Director Peter Sohn.
Building the Silo – An admiring Arlo is thrilled to follow along as his father builds a silo for the family farm. With an introduction by Director Peter Sohn.
Waiting for Poppa – Arlo awaits the return of his beloved father on a stormy night, only to be greeted with tragic news. With an introduction by Director Peter Sohn.
Blu-ray 3D & DVD:
- THEATRICAL SHORT – Sanjay’s Super Team
JUST LISTEN – Trace the development of the unique soundscape of “The Good Dinosaur,” from the wilds of British Columbia as Sound Designer Craig Berkey collects sounds, to the recording studio where Jeff and Mychael Danna use instruments from around the world to create the music.
Lots of behind-the-scenes fun, which I know I always find interesting – both for the technical aspects of how the films are created, and the stories behind the story so to speak; how the writers and animators came up with the choices they made within the film. Pick it up Tuesday everywhere!
I missed reviewing The Good Dinosaur when it came out in theatres, because I was getting married at the time and getting to screen it just didn’t work out timing-wise. However, I did get to see it on our mini-honeymoon on the Disney Dream cruise ship (I love that you get to see first run movies on board!). I went into the film thinking I would cry uncontrollably, and it would become another Pixar-heart-wrenching-actually-more-like-heart-ripping-soul-gutting storyline that they are now famous for, where, parent or not, you are rendered a blubbering mess because of the storyline they’ve laid out in front of you. And yes, I did cry. Well, almost. My eyes welled up a bit. But that was it. Trust me, I was more shocked than anyone that I didn’t really care for the story…or the characters.
I’m not sure if it was the design of the dinosaurs, which seemed almost plastic or rubber in nature, or the strange side-stories with western “cow-rustling” dinos, or perhaps just Arlo’s personality…but whatever it was, it just didn’t win me over. I felt like there were a lot of mixed messages there, as a parent, from the dad – telling his son to “make his mark” despite him being miserable and not wanting to hurt (or be hurt) by other creatures, then having a sort of change of heart – only when he saw his son’s life was at risk. Maybe I’m over-analyzing, but as a mom, I just wasn’t a fan. And the personality that came out of that upbringing was a whiny, complainy, Arlo, who wasn’t much fun to watch. Of course, he learned to make his own way, and befriended Spot in the process, doing the right thing and making his own kind of mark.
In stark contrast to my dislike of the dinosaurs animation, was my love of the animated backgrounds. They were just breathtaking. A kind of homage to National Parks across the country, you could definitely see characteristics of many parks found within the film. I could watch the movie again and again because of that.
The world around them, nature and its power, became a character in itself, and again, that part I loved. As a side note, when I showed my 7 year-old the movie that had come in the mail for us to review, I asked if he wanted to watch it and he said no because he didn’t want to cry. So I guess it affected him, which in a way, I am happy about. You always wonder in this day and age, if your children are desensitized to the importance of family, so I was glad to see he was affected in that way. (And he is my son after all, and I cry at (almost) anything.)
What did you think of The Good Dinosaur? Is it one of your new favorites? Or did you have issues with it too? I’d love to hear from you below!
Disclaimer: I was provided with a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack for review. My opinions (as you can see!) were not affected by this and my thoughts are my own.
Disney recently released the first teaser poster for the upcoming live action remake of Pete’s Dragon, along with a teaser trailer of the film:
A “motion poster” below was also released:
Here is the first teaser trailer:
Reaction has been mixed from the start from die-hard Disney fans about remaking a classic like this – what are your thoughts on this new Pete’s Dragon? And if you haven’t seen the original (other than the Elliott float in the Main Street Electrical Parade?) or know the story, here’s the official synopsis:
A reimagining of Disney’s cherished family film, “Pete’s Dragon” is the adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliott, who just so happens to be a dragon. “Pete’s Dragon” stars Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic World”), Oakes Fegley (“This is Where I Leave You”), Wes Bentley (“The Hunger Games”), Karl Urban (“Star Trek”), Oona Laurence (“Southpaw”) and Oscar® winner Robert Redford (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”). The film, which is directed by David Lowery (“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”), is written by Lowery & Toby Halbrooks based on a story by Seton I. Miller and S.S. Field and produced by Jim Whitaker, p.g.a. (“The Finest Hours,” “Friday Night Lights”), with Barrie M. Osborne (“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Great Gatsby”) serving as executive producer.
For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales…until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley). Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliott. And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliott seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham’s stories. With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon. Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon” opens in U.S. theaters on August 12, 2016.
At the last D23 Expo, we were treated to the announcements of quite a few DisneyPixar projects, including Inside Out, which I’ll be screening tonight with full review to come, Finding Dory (not so much as excited about that one but we’ll see), and The Good Dinosaur.
The official synopsis of the Good Dinosaur from DisneyPixar is this:
“The Good Dinosaur” asks the question: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? Pixar Animation Studios takes you on an epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of.
THE GOOD DINOSAUR opens in theatres everywhere on November 25th!
When I saw this new line of Her Universe designs my mouth dropped and I wished I was 20 again. I may have to throw my pre-conceived fashion notions out the window for a few of these new items. They are that adorable. The Loki dress is to die for, and the Tony Stark jacket is fabulous. I love them all though! Here is the official release from Her Universe below and info on the pre-sale going on at Hot Topic now before the mid-May release of this new Marvel line. Which one is your favorite??
Fangirls assemble! In celebration of the release of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Her Universe – the trendsetting geek girl apparel company, and Disney Consumer Products have announced a new fashion line inspired by fan-favorite Super Heroes from the Avengers films. The Marvel by Her Universe collection will be available mid-May exclusively at select Hot Topic stores and hottopic.com, with an online pre-sale starting April 21st on hottopic.com.
The Avengers-inspired line features designs by winners from the first-ever Her Universe “Geek Couture” Fashion Show held at last year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego where attendees Amy Beth Christenson and Andrew MacLaine wowed the audience with their original, handmade creations on the runway and took top honors at the event. As part of the grand prize, Christenson and MacLaine were rewarded the exciting professional opportunity to design an exclusive fashion collection with Her Universe founder, Ashley Eckstein, for pop-culture and licensed apparel destination Hot Topic. To see the making of the collection, from inspiration to sketches to fittings to ready-to-wear, visit hottopic.com/
“It’s been such a pleasure to work with Amy and Andrew to create this line from their initial sketches to the final product sold in Hot Topic stores,” said Her Universe Founder Ashley Eckstein. “Geek fashion is a trend that’s here to stay. Fangirls are making a statement in the fashion community and this new Avengers collection is addressing their demand for more fashion-forward designs.”
“It’s exciting to see Marvel’s female fan base grow with the second installation of our collaboration with Her Universe, inspired by one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2015,Avengers: Age of Ultron,” said Paul Gitter, Senior Vice President, Licensing, Marvel at Disney Consumer Products. “This collection brings awareness of the emerging fangirl trend into mainstream fashion by uniting stylish designs with iconic characters to create a strong statement at retail.”
The action-packed Marvel by Her Universe collection consists of stylish dresses and jackets inspired by popular Avengers characters, available in straight and extended sizes. The six piece fashion collection for Hot Topic includes:
– Captain America Halter Dress, $59.50
– Thor Sailor Dress, $59.50
– Stark Industries Bomber Jacket, $54.50
– Black Widow Dress, $44.50
– Black Widow Belted Jacket, $64.50
– Loki Halter Dress, $59.50
Click to enlarge the photos:
“Witnessing two talented designers who truly understand the fans and fan culture win a competition at Comic-Con 2014, and then seeing their spin on Avengers turn into real product at Hot Topic makes what we all do feel genuinely authentic – and so much fun,” said Cindy Levitt, Senior Vice President of Merchandising and Marketing at Hot Topic.
In addition to the fashion collection, Hot Topic will offer a wide range of Avengers tees, accessories, gifts and more. The Avengers return to theatres in Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron onMay 1, 2015.
About Her Universe
Her Universe was launched in 2010 by actress and entrepreneur Ashley Eckstein and The Araca Group, a leading theatrical production and brand management company. Ashley and Araca created Her Universe to address the expanding market of female sci-fi and fantasy fans. They entered their first agreement with Lucas Licensing to develop and produce a line of female-centered Star Wars apparel and accessories. The success of that line was followed up with a collection for BBC Worldwide for Doctor Who, CBS Consumer Products for Star Trek, AMC for The Walking Dead, Nerdist Industries, Marvel, Hasbro for Transformers and Studio Ghibli. You can learn more about Her Universe and purchase the current line of fangirl apparel and accessories by going to www.heruniverse.com and by following Eckstein & Her Universe on Facebook (facebook.com/HerUniverse) Twitter (twitter.com/HerUniverse), Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/
Over the weekend, an extended preview began on both coasts to showcase Tomorrowland’s May 22nd release. In Epcot, the preview took the place of the much beloved (or much despised from some fans who don’t “get it”) Captain EO starring Michael Jackson. I am firmly in the LOVE category with Captain EO, but I feel like us getting a second chance to enjoy the rag tag band of space misfits led by the infamous Captain EO, and the film itself getting a second life among a new generation was a great gift from Disney to us. I would love if ALL of Epcot could return to its 1980’s glory, but I hold out no hope for that happening any time soon. So if we must say goodbye again to our Captain and his friends, what better to replace them than a film which espouses the EPCOT and futurist philosophy so many of us hold so dear.
The Imagineers have given the Magic Eye Theatre a nice little overlay of Tomorrowland concept art, paired with a fun pre-show featuring interviews with Damon Lindeloff and Brad Bird, relating the movie back to Walt Disney and his vision of the future. The preview itself is a wonderful, long look at the film. I was expecting a 5-10 minute extended trailer, but this was much more. I loved it and it made me even more excited to see the film when it opens. Having taken part in some of The Optimist game last summer at the D23 Expo and seeing part of the filming process at D23’s Destination D last November, I’m pretty invested in this movie and hopeful for its success.
The extended preview is at Epcot as mentioned, and also in Tomorrowland in Disneyland until the movie opens. After that, who knows what the future holds…
Here are the newest Tomorrowland movie posters plus the new IMAX poster just released. If you want to learn more about a few of these characters, check out the preview in the parks!
The latest Tomorrowland trailer just arrived in my inbox – this is a completely different look at the film! I’m not sure how much of the movie will be this action-packed, but this will certainly interest a whole different set of movie-goers from just the history buffs obsessed with the 1964 World’s Fair…what do you think? This may be one of very few films I actually think would be worth viewing in IMAX!