I remained engaged in the journey of young Miguel to the end. A journey that ultimately forces him to choose between the safety of a tight-knit, loving family and the desire to follow his dream and passions.
Third time’s the charm. It’s not that the first two Thor movies were bad. They were films that took themselves a little too seriously. Instead, Thor: Ragnarok finds our favorite Asgardian, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) exiled in the psychedelic, heavily-synthesized cosmos, made popular by the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Leave it to Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) from Wreck-It Ralph to bring together all of the Disney Princesses. I mean all of them and they will appear in Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet.
- Jodi Benson (Ariel)
- Paige O’Hara (Belle)
- Linda Larken (Jasmine)
- Irene Bedard (Pochahontas)
- Anika Noni Rose (Tiana)
- Mandy Moore (Repunzel)
- Kelly McDonald (Merida)
- Kristen Bell (Anna)
- Auil’l Cravalho (Moana)
Not in attendance but appearing in Wreck-It Ralph 2 are Idenia Menzel (Elsa) and Ming-Na Wen (Mulan).
Up next at the D23 Expo Animation Panel, Walt Disney Animation presents Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet. John Lassiter brings out the voice of Vanellope, Sarah Silverman.
Wreck-It Ralph 2 finds Vanellope in trouble when the game Candy Crush is broken. Ralph has to go to the internet to find a replacement part. Fans are shown a clip of Ralph, Vanellope, and the new character, Yesss (Taraji P. Henson). We see them entering the OhMyDisney.com website and they come across all of the Disney Princesses. Vanellope decides to mess around with their, but in turn, she learns a valuable lesson.
By Disney Princesses, we mean all the Disney Princesses and their original voices.
This Thanksgiving, Walt Disney Animation is bringing fans Olaf’s Frozen Adventure as the opening short in front of Pixar’s Coco.
Olaf’s Frozen Adventure takes place during the first Christmas after the events of Frozen. For the first time, Anna and Elsa will spend the holidays together and they want to throw a party, but all of the villagers want to go home and be with their family.
Since the sisters have never celebrated Christmas together, Olaf and Swen decide to go into town and research the Christmas traditions of the townsfolk. The short will feature four new songs.
During the session, John Lassiter brings out Kristen Bell to talk about the short and show a clip. Halfway through the clip, the sound goes out and Josh Gad appears to sing Olaf’s song live.
Lassiter also announces that Frozen 2 is in the works and that the original cast will be back and Frozen 2 will not be the final title. The final title will also not be “Thawed” or “Frozen Assets.”
No story details were discussed, but we were shown footage of the animator’s trip to Norway, Iceland, and Finland.
D23 kicked off its Animation Session with an update on Disney’s little-known animation studio, Disneytoon Studios. Disneytoon is known for producing Disney’s direct to DVD Tinkerbell series and the underperforming Planes, starring Dane Cook.
Disney Chief Creative Officer John Lassister said that Disneytoon Studios is moving in a new direction. Animators have been researching the ever changing nature of planes and jet and presented a short film called “Speed Test.” The short revealed a photo-realistic mountainous backdrop with jets. Think Cars and Top Gun. Nothing more was announced.
Showcasing the creative process of bringing new Disney park experiences to life, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts invites guests to discover its pavilion, “A Galaxy of Stories,” at D23 Expo, July 14–16 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Guests will get an exclusive look at the new Star Wars-themed lands currently under development for Disneyland Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at this year’s pavilion. Guests to the pavilion will also hear personal stories of cast members and Imagineers working to create transformational experiences every day at Disney Parks.
Showcasing models, artwork, and media, the pavilion will provide a first-ever look at some of the locations, starships, creatures, and droids that will bring Star Wars to life at the new Star Wars-themed lands, which are set to debut in 2019. For the first time, guests will be able to view a fully detailed model of the overall vision for this new experience that was once “far, far away,” but is now very, very near!
D23 Expo guests will once again have the chance to explore Mickey’s of Glendale, an Imagineering-exclusive merchandise store, to shop for unique souvenirs, specialty pins, limited-edition collectibles, and merchandise not available anywhere else.
In addition to the previously announced Hall D23 presentation of what’s new and next with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek, which will take place Saturday, July 15, at 3 p.m., D23 Expo guests also will be able to attend three unique panel presentations:
Pirates of the Caribbean: 50 Years of Swashbuckling Adventures in Disney Parks
Friday, July 14, 3:30 p.m., D23 Expo Arena
From its early origins at Disneyland Park to the latest technical achievements of Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure at Shanghai Disneyland, Imagineers will share buccaneering tales of developing this signature Disney Parks attraction around the globe.
Inspiring Women of Imagineering
Sunday, July 16, 12:15 p.m., Stage 28
Meet some of the talented women of Walt Disney Imagineering. Guests will hear personal stories and get an insider’s look at the Imagineering process from these creative and technical professionals building on Disney’s rich legacy of female Imagineers.
Voices of Disney Parks
Sunday, July 16, 2:30 p.m., Stage 28
See—and hear—the people behind some of the most recognizable voices heard across Disney Parks. From famed attractions to favorite characters, these talents have done it all, and guests will hear personal stories and feel as though they’ve stepped into a Disney Parks recording booth!
Tickets for D23 Expo 2017 are available for $81 for one-day adult admission and $59 for children 3–9. Members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club can purchase tickets for $72 for a one-day adult admission and $53 for children 3–9. Multi-day tickets are also available. For more information on tickets and D23 Expo 2017, visit D23Expo.com.
Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is back in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. He finds himself on a reluctant quest to find the Trident of Poseidon. His journey is complicated by his nemesis Captain Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush) and the ghostly Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem).
Release Date: May 26, 2017
Writer: Jeff Nathanson
Director: Joachim Ranning, Espen Sandberg
Cast: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario
Full Disclosure: I have only seen the first two Pirate movies. I am unaware the events up to Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales suffers from too many plots and subplots. The movie really doesn’t take off until the plots find convergence in the second half of the film. Let’s go over the plots. First, Pirates opens on a young Henry Turner (Lewis McGowen) as he summons the cursed Flying Dutchman. This is the ship that is crewed by his cursed father, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom). Henry dedicated his future to finding the Trident of Poseidon, believing that this Trident that controls the seas can release his father from his curse.
Then there is Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), who is accused of being a witch by the local townsfolk. Carina is not a witch, but a self-taught astronomer. She was abandoned as a child by her father leaving only a journal with a star chart to the Trident of Poseidon. As an astronomer, she is a woman of science and does not believe in ghosts and curses. She is also attractive and the same age as Henry Turner.
Jump ahead nine years and Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) jumps from ship to ship to find clues and a crew to take him to the Trident of Poseidon. While on a British Naval ship, the ship is overtaken by the ghostly shark-like ship helmed by the legendary Captain Salazar.
Captain Salazar was once a captain in the Spanish Navy. His goal in life was to destroy all pirates. He defeated them all, except one. That’s right–Captain Jack Sparrow. Let me just say that Disney has been using CGI to bring a youthful version of their aging stars to life—Michael Douglas, Robert Downey, Jr., Kurt Rusell, Carrie Fisher and now Johnny Depp. The technology walks that fine line of cool and creepy. Back to Salazar, his ghostly goal in life is kill pirates and kill Captain Jack.
More subplots? Yes, Captain Barbosa has a treasure to find thanks to a mystical compass. Captain Jack on the other hand really has not a subplot, Ugh, too much going on. Fortunately, all the subplots and their exposition happen in the front half of the movie. It does feel labored but it’s survivable.
Where Pirates shines is the second half. There’s a lot of action. The battle between naval, pirate and ghost ships are well animated and easy to follow. Disney also does swashbuckling action as good as any studio can. It seems that pirates are actually interesting when they do pirate things.
There is one reveal in the film, that I can’t say anything about, snuck up on me. This final subplot pulled me into the story of two characters, I thought would not connect until it happened.
The main problem that Pirates of the Caribbean suffers from is its own mythology. Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter had the luxury of a prolific author, who built the world and its mythology. Thought went into this mythology over the length of its run. The mythology was honed, refined and reflected human nature, so readers could relate to it.
Pirates of the Caribbean is a theme park ride. I don’t believe Walt Disney ever had the world of the pirate in mind when creating the ride. He just wanted to tell a simple story. Finally, when the first Pirate movie came out, it was the first film to be based on Disney rides. My guess is that they just wanted the first film to be successful. The studio was not thinking it would be a five (maybe six) film series, so the world of Pirates is now created on the fly as new films are needed.
Why is this important? Audiences just don’t have an emotional connection to the pirate world, like they do with The Hobbit or Harry Potter. We have no stake in the life path of Captain Jack Sparrow. This reduces the whole series into one action film after the other.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is light fare. It has amazing action sequences but suffers because there just is not enough time to develop any existing or new characters properly.
The Guardians of the Galaxy return to the big screen to prove they are more than just misfits prepared to save the galaxy. In Volume 2, the Guardians prove that they need to be a family to save the galaxy.
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Writer: James Gunn
Director: James Gunn
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker, Kurt Russell, Karen Gillan, Elizabeth Debicki
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 starts a few months after the events of the first film. Our brood of heroes, Star Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) are hired as the Guardians to protect a power set of batteries from an inter-dimensional monster. The batteries power the race of conceited aliens known as the Sovereign.
As payment, the Guardians take custody of Gamora’s sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), but as their leaving Rocket steals the very batteries that they were hired to protect. Here starts a series of plots and sub-plots, the main one being the meeting of Peter Quill’s father played by Kurt Russell, who brings Peter, Gamora and Drax to his home planet. For comic book fans, this planet is Ego, the living planet. They also meet Mantis (Elizabeth Debicki), who serves Ego. She has empathic powers.
The other subplots include Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his gang of Ravagers. Yondu has been kicked out of the Ravagers because he betrayed the other clans in the first film. Yondu is then hired by the Sovereign to hunt down the Guardians and return the batteries, but Yondu also had a mutiny on his hands when one of his officers Tazer Face (Pom Klementieff) no longer believes Yondu can effectively act as leader.
While in custody, Nebula plots to get the upper hand on Gamora and ultimately kill her and then her father, Thanos. Rocket continues his own brand of self-destructive and self-loathing behavior and then there’s Baby Groot, who wants to grow up and become a warrior, but he’s only a baby.
There is a lot going on in Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2. You can already see there is literally a shipload of old and new characters. There are about four storylines going on at the same time. Writer/Director James Gunn masterfully manages to keep the storylines interesting and followable which could have easily unraveled at any point.
The main story between Quill and Ego is not the strongest of stories and unfortunately, it is the main spine of the movie. Their relationship feels more like a morality episode of Star Trek. It feels very over-and-done by the end of the movie.
As much as this is a large galactic action movie, the best moments in Guardians are the moments the main characters spend together. Clearly, there is a Sam-and-Diane relationship brewing between Quill and Gamora. So-much-so that Quill calls it out as a Cheers-inspired romance. Drax and Mantis have an opposite relationship, which will make your head spin. Maybe, the sisterly conflict between Gamora and Nebula feels a little forced.
The tone of Guardians of the Galaxy is light, a little gruesome and stands outside the seriousness of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Earth. But this movie is funny and the rollercoaster of action you expect it to be. For a long movie, the pacing is fast and because it is packed with so much plot, characters and action, you leave wanting more. Finally, please stay to the end of the credits.
Marvel Television’s first foray into Freeform television got its first glimpse with a trailer and image.
“Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” is the story of Tandy Bowen (Olivia Holt) and Tyrone Johnson (Aubrey Joseph) – two teenagers from very different backgrounds, who find themselves burdened and awakened to newly acquired superpowers which are mysteriously linked to one another. Tandy can emit light daggers and Tyrone has the ability to engulf others in darkness. They quickly learn they are better together than apart, but their feelings for each other make their already complicated world even more challenging. The network has ordered ten one-hour episodes slated to debut early 2018. “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” stars Olivia Holt, Aubrey Joseph, Andrea Roth, Gloria Reuben, Miles Mussenden, Carl Lundstedt, James Saito and J.D. Evermore. The series is co-produced by Marvel Television and ABC Signature Studios. Joe Pokaski (“Underground,” “Heroes”) serve as showrunner and executive producer; Jeph Loeb (“Marvel’s The Punisher,” “Marvel’s The Defenders”), Marvel’s head of Television, and Jim Chory (“Marvel’s The Punisher,” “Marvel’s The Defenders”) also serve as executive producers. Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Love & Basketball”) directed the first episode.