Tag Archives: Disney

Encanto Movie Review

Family is complicated. As much as we love them, it is sometimes difficult to feel like we are seen and appreciated.

The new Disney movie, Encanto, was recently released on DisneyPlus.

Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz) is a young lady from a small village in Colombia. Everyone in her family was born with a unique gift. The only exception is Mirabel, which is often pointed out in a less than sensitive manner. When she starts to sense that her home will be destroyed, no one believes her. This may be connected to her Uncle Bruno (John Leguizamo). Bruno is the black sheep of her family tree. He is not spoken of and has not been seen for years.

Mirabel appears to be the only one who can save the day. But first, she will have to get past her grandmother, Abuela Alma (María Cecilia Botero).

I loved this movie. It is funny, enchanting, and charming. In making Mirabel ordinary in both physical appearance and abilities, she has universal appeal. The fact that she has glasses, short curly hair, and is not a size 2, is more than overdue. With a Latinx cast and the creative fingerprint of Lin-Manuel Miranda, it is a joy to watch.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Encanto is currently streaming on DisneyPlus.

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Jungle Cruise Movie Review

When a company such as Disney chooses to make a movie based on one of the rides in their theme parks, the requirements for a successful adaptation are different than another IP. The writer(s) are only limited by their imaginations. However, there must also be some adherence to the original context, even if it comes out of an unorthodox direction.

The new Disney movie, Jungle Cruise premiered this weekend on DisneyPlus. Taking place during World War I, Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) desperately wants to be accepted by the scientific community. But because she is a woman, her work means nothing. Wanting to prove the naysayers wrong, Lily and her brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) travel to the Amazon. Her goal is to prove that a centuries-old curse is not a myth, but the truth. Their guide is the smartass Captain Frank Wolff (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), whose boat looks like it could sink at every turn.

As they get deeper into the jungle, the secrets and dangers slowly reveal themselves. On their heels is Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons), who has his own reasons for wanting the magic that is supposedly promised in the stories.

This film is an interesting hybrid of The Mummy and The African Queen. Blunt and Johnson have decent chemistry. I appreciated that Blunt’s character. She certainly breaks the mold in terms of how women in his genre are seen and treated. I also appreciated that one of the main characters is LGBTQ and while they may seem to neatly fit into a stereotype, they don’t.

Overall, it was enjoyable. But I wouldn’t call it completely memorable. For an action/adventure, it was decent, but not as thrilling as it could have been.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Jungle Cruise is available for streaming on DisneyPlus.

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Filed under DisneyPlus, Feminism, History, Movie Review, Movies

Throwback Thursday: Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (1999)

When we are young, we tend to push boundaries. But what happens when the boundaries push back?

In the 1999 Disney Channel TV movie, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, it is the year 2049. Zenon Gar (Kirsten Storms) is a teenager with a penchant for getting into trouble. When her antics draw the attention of the owner of the space station that she lives on, her punishment is to live on Earth. From the moment she is on solid ground, Zenon is doing everything she can to return home. She also discovers that the man who exiled her to Earth is not as pure as he seems to be.

From an adult perspective, its a cute movie, but nothing special. But if your in the 10-13 age range, it is reasonably entertaining.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Snow White & Fox News: Nothing More Than a Distraction

Have you ever gone to a magic show and closely watched the magician while they were doing card tricks? The real trick is in their left hand, but they are distracting you by making you focus on what is in their right hand.

The latest brouhaha to come out of Fox News revolves around the updates made to the Snow White’s Enchanted Wish ride at Disneyland. Their claim, as ridiculous as it sounds, is that cancel culture is again rearing its ugly head. The target of the moment is Snow White.

These people need to get over themselves. Instead of dealing with the real issues like Covid-19, the economy, the still prevalent race issues, etc., they talk about nonsense. Its as if these people purposefully put their heads in the figurative sand. They hear and see what they want to hear and see. If it doesn’t interest them or directly support their point of view, it is wrong or bad somehow.

No wonder this country is going to Hades in a handbasket.

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Flashback Friday: Fantasia (1940)

When a brand is successful, the easiest thing to do is to create factory line like replicas of the product that created that accomplishment. The harder thing to do is try something new.

In 1940, Disney temporarily broke away from what decades later would be their princess narratives and released a film that was and still is completely novel. Fantasia is a series of short films set to the music of classical composers.

What I like about this film is that it is different. The risk paid off. Though each individual narrative is able to stand on its own, it is the music that ties them all together in a seamless and entertaining fashion.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Best Movies of 2020

  1. Soul: Though it is marketed as a kids movie, the subtext of appreciating life feels appropriate and potent this year.
  2. Mulan: The live-action reboot of the 1998 animated film Mulan rises above its predecessor, making it fresh and relevant.
  3. Emma.: Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Jane Austen‘s eponymous heroine, Emma Woodhouse, introduced as clever, rich, and handsome. Directed by Autumn de Wilde, this adaption is entertaining, funny, and a lovely addition to the list of Austen adaptations.
  4. The Trial of the Chicago 7: The film tells. the story of the 7 men accused of being responsible for the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests. Though it is set in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it feels very 2020.
  5. Portrait of a Lady on Fire: This LBGTQ historical romance between a young woman and the female artist hired to paint her portrait is sweet, romantic, and powerful. It proves once more that love is love is love.
  6. Ordinary Love: Joan (Lesley Manville) and Tom (Liam Neeson) are your average middle-aged couple. When she is diagnosed with Breast Cancer, they both must deal with the rough road ahead.
  7. The Assistant: Jane (Julia Garner) is an assistant to a Harvey Weinstein-esque powerful movie producer. She starts to notice things that don’t sit right with her.
  8. I am Greta: This documentary follows teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg as she advocates for the world to pay serious attention to climate change.
  9. Mank: Gary Oldman plays Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz in a performance that is nothing but Oscar bait.
  10. #AnneFrank-Parallel Lives: Narrated by Helen Mirren, this documentary tells not just Anne’s story. It follows other young women who survived the Holocaust. Parallel to the stories of the past, the viewer is traveling with another young woman as she visits different countries in present-day Europe.

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Filed under Books, DisneyPlus, Emma, Fairy Tales, Feminism, History, Hulu, Jane Austen, Movie Review, Movies, Netflix, Politics

Soul Movie Review

We all know that at some point, we will exit this life. The question is, will we live to the fullest while we can?

The new Disney Plus movie, Soul, premiered yesterday. Joe Gardiner (voiced by Jamie Foxx) is a junior high school band teacher with a passion for playing music. At this point in his adult life, his dream of being a professional jazz musician has yet to be achieved. Then he gets an opportunity to play at a local jazz club.

But before he can play, he falls into a manhole. Discovering that he is in the Great Beyond, Joe tries everything he can to get back to his body. His ticket back to Earth is 22, (Tina Fey) an infant soul who is disinterested in being born. Together, they will learn about what true passion is and how to live life to the fullest.

What I like about this movie is while it is obviously a kids movie, there are themes that are well over the heads of younger audience members. The message of appreciating being alive and knowing what is truly important radiates through the narratives, reaching the viewer as only a touching and funny film can.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Soul is available for streaming on Disney Plus.

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Mulan Review

Back in 1976, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich made the following statement:

“Well-behaved women seldom make history”

Among the myths that exist in Chinese history, the story of Hua Mulan is one of the most well known. In 1998, Disney released an animated film based on her narrative. In September, the live action adaptation premiered on Disney Plus.

Mulan (Yifei Liu) is not your average young woman. Girls in her world are expected to be meek, mild, and subservient. The highlight of her life is her future as a wife and mother. But Mulan is the opposite. She is a tomboy who would prefer to be active rather than submit to the path that is prescribed for her.

When the kingdom is invaded, a decree is sent out. Every family must send one man to fight. But Mulan has no brothers and her father is partially crippled from the last invasion. Disguising herself as a boy, she joins the army, knowing full well that the revelation of her gender is a dangerous one.

Among the live-action updates of Disney’s animated films (Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast), this is the best of the three that have so far been seen by audiences. It is darker and grittier than its predecessor, enhancing what was already there. I also loved the addition of Xianniang (Li Gong). Though she is initially introduced as the typical Disney villain, there is more to her than meets the eye.

One of the updates that I think makes the movie is the question of how gender is perceived. Though the subject was threaded into the screenplay in the 1998 movie, it is much more prevalent in this version.

If there was one takeaway from this film, it is to thine own self be true, even if the revelation is a difficult one to process. Given the changes in our culture in regards to gender, sex, and sexuality, the message comes through loud and clear.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Mulan is available for streaming on Disney Plus.

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Filed under Beauty and the Beast, DisneyPlus, Fairy Tales, Feminism, History, Movie Review, Movies

HOW WILL YOU VOTE? – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody

In only a short few days, Americans will know who will be leading the country for the next four years. While millions have already made the choice known, others will be going to the polls on Election Day.

Randy Rainbow released his newest video on Friday. Entitled HOW WILL YOU VOTE? – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody, the song is based “That’s How You Know” from the 2007 movie Enchanted.

I loved this video. Over the last week or so, the reminders to vote have come at us in all directions. Though we are told every year that that year’s election is the important, this year’s election is critical. If we do not vote you know who out, the United States as it exists today may not be there tomorrow.

#BidenHarris2020

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Thoughts on Wear a Mask (Be Our Guest Parody)

For the last 7 months, we have been reminded to wear our masks when we leave our homes.

In case there are fools out there who think that they don’t need to wear a mask, this lovely reminder from Beauty and the Beast could not be clearer.

In other words, shut up and just put on a dam mask.

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