Late Cars 3 Review 

Normally I watch a trailer for a movie and know just enough to be amused by the sassy dialogue, intrigued by the dynamic camera shot, or excited by the possibility of a sequel, remake, reboot, or movie based on a good book. Normally the trailer, particularly the first trailer, doesn’t hold my interest in the way Cars 3 did.

It’s no surprise to anyone who’s met me or read any of my stuff, I love Disney. I love the movies, the parks, and own way too much Disney themed stuff to ever really justify.  Still, Cars 3 might be my favorite, and Spoilers ahead!


When I saw the trailer, two things stood out. First and foremost, the accident. For those who aren’t mega Disney nerds, a bit of background. Cars was a movie about a rookie racer named Lightning McQueen with no room for both friends and his extraordinary ego, couldn’t play well with anyone, and focused solely on being the best. The only redeeming quality he had was that he was an inadvertent goofball. Through a series of mishaps, that were largely his fault, he ends up in a small town, and sentenced to community service. In typical Disney fashion, he learns his lesson, makes lots of friends, and goes on to be a better racer and a better friend. 


What does this have to do with the wreck in the trailer? Easy. One of the secondary characters is Doc Hudson, a cranky doctor/ judge who reveals to McQueen that he was once a racer, but when he wrecked during a race, his career was abruptly ended, despite his desire to keep racing. His story is shown to have a huge impact on McQueen when his racing rival Strip “The King” Weathers crashes during his final race, McQueen, remembering Doc Hudson’s story, helps him finish the race in a show of compassion.


The first trailer showed Lightning McQueen crashing, then spinning through the air, and I immediately recalled Doc Hudson’s story. I knew then that this would be a movie about McQueen facing the same struggle that his mentor and friend faced, and I was not disappointed. 

The second thing I noticed? The graphics had a more realistic feel to them. Instead of looking like a bright, stylized world with a shiny plastic feel like the first movie:


There were scenes that looked more realistic, organic.


Not every scene was like that, and my one complaint about the movie was the somewhat jarring differences in the two animation styles. 

Still, what I loved most was the way the emotions and choices in the first movie came back in the second. Everything from a line of dialogue hurled at McQueen when Hudson vents his frustration at getting pushed out of racing. “They moved on! Down to the next rookie in line.” Is repeated teasingly by McQueen’s girlfriend “No matter what happens… I’m going to move on to the next rookie in line and forget all about you!” To the lesson “turn right to go left,” which Hudson imparts vaguely to explain how to drive quickly on a dirt road, and McQueen imparts impatiently to his inadvertent mentee Cruz Rameriz.

Which brings me to the best parallel of the whole movie. In Cars Hudson resents McQueen. He’s often harsh and nearly always inpatient. In Cars 3. McQueen has little respect or patience for Ramerez, and snaps at her often, although he eventually goes too far and afterwards he literally annoys her into accepting his apology. 

McQueen is driven through the movie by the desire to not end up like Hudson, and his focus is on winning one more race, part of a bargain with his sponsor- he wins he doesn’t get forced into retirement. But in an act of compassion, he helps his mentee take his place, to help her with her dream of racing.


Btw, loved the paint. Not McQueen’s lightning bolt, and something as loud and brazen as Ramerez herself.

He helps her, and becomes her willing mentor

Just as Hudson becomes McQueen’s formal mentor at the end of Cars.


And when McQueen retires- on his terms- he goes even further to honor Hudson.

And for those of you wondering why I wrote an entire post on Cars and Cars 3, without a mention of Cars 2, it’s because McQueens development in Cars 2 consisted of getting headlights. The main focus of the movie was the goofy misadventures of Tow Mater.

Wonder Woman Review (Spoilers!!!)

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Not going to lie, I went to this movie anticipating that it wouldn’t be great. Batman v Superman was confusing, and I worried that like it’s predecessor, this would be a movie only DC fans would understand and enjoy.

I love that I was wrong.

 One thing I enjoyed was the way they weaved Greek Mythology into the movie.

Spoilers Ahead, so If you haven’t seen the movie, this is your last warning.

In the movie, Hippolyta, Diana’s mother, tells her a story of how Man and the Amazons were created. Her story showed that the Amazons came from the sea to teach Man love. It reminded me of the legends of Aphrodite. She was born from sea foam and the goddess of Love.

As the movie continues, the theme of Amazons representing love and compassion continues. When she fights Ares, she learns she is the daughter of Zeus, and a Goddess created to kill Ares.

At the end of the movie, she implies she is the goddess of love, and a guardian of Man.

I did a quick check, if memory served, Diana was the Roman goddess of the Hunt, and I wondered why they didn’t go more in that direction when they wrote the screenplay.

Diana was the goddess of hunting, wooded areas, and animals, But she was also the Goddess of Light. She was also the goddess of childbirth, healing, darkness, witchcraft, and the kingdom of the dead.

She was also the patron goddess of the lower classes, and one of her temples required a runaway slave to be the head priest.

Diana was a guardian, and Wonder Woman is a guardian.

This movie wasn’t a dramatization of mythology, but it was inspired by mythology in an interesting a different way that made the movie more interesting.

Festival of the Lion King

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Animal Kingdom just opened Pandora, and while everyone’s super excited, I fortunately missed the opening when I went to Disney World. Nothing against Pandora or Avatar, I saw the movie, It had a beautiful setting, but it’s not one of my favorites and this way I was able to enjoy the parks without the huge crowds.

The safari ride was interesting, In fact, one of the giraffes walked across the road, so we had an unexpected and amusing delay. The Dinosaur ride was funny, and I loved that the whole park was basically a huge zoo with a lot of interesting animals. But My favorite part of the park was a short play called Festival of the Lion King, basically a few highlights from the Broadway show.

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Loved the performances, and the finale

 

Review of Power Rangers (2017)

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Okay, so this review comes with a story. Anyone who watches Power Rangers, at least the ’90’s version, either loves it or sees only over the top acting, yelling, play-fighting, and villains that talk, yet their mouths don’t sync with the words.

In other words, I loved it when I was six, and then ignored or forgot about it.

When I saw the first poster for it, hung in a back hallway of an over sized movie theater, I jokingly turned to my friend and said we should go see it.

She thought I was a nut.

When I saw the first trailer for the show, for the first half of it, I was excited because I thought it was a reboot of the Breakfast Club.

Not going to lie, I was a little disappointed when I realized it wasn’t.

Then, I showed the trailer to Friend 1.

And she really wanted to see it.

Time passes, I go to the Lego Batman Movie with a different friend and her son. When the Power Rangers trailer came on, I turned to my friend.

“The first time I saw this, I thought it was a Breakfast Club remake.”

“You mean it’s not!?!!”

Snickers of the man behind us… guess we were a little loud.

 

Fast forward to a week before the Power Rangers movie comes out, and another trailer comes out.

And another conversation ensued.

Me: “There’s another trailer for that Power Rangers movie. It’s pretty funny there’s a kid driving a transformers-looking dog, crashing it.”

Friend 1: “Zord?”

Me: “I don’t know what that is.”

Friend 1: “The dinosaur robots on Power Rangers are called Zords.”

Me: “…… I thought you never watched that show?”

Friend 1: “I haven’t.”

I still can’t get her to admit she used to watch the original show.

Finally, the day before I went to the movie, I did what I always do when going to a remake/ reboot / sequel, and watched the original. In this case, I watched the first episode of the original series on Netflix.

 

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It was awful. The costumed villains were obnoxious, and the bad voice overs were really distracting. I didn’t even want to see the movie, but I had already purchased the tickets.

As much as I wanted to hate the movie, from the first scene I was interested.

The next scene was absurd, hilarious, and very high school. Car chases (in the movie there are two) are filmed more chaotically than what’s I’ve seen, with the camera taking the view of a backseat passenger, watching the driver, and looking out different windows at what’s going on outside the car. It was jarring, but interesting, and different.

Most of the movie is character development, leading up to one huge climatic battle, so if you go hoping for non-stop chaos, keep in mind that its over an hour before you see a power ranger costume. Instead, go for the comedy.

Every one of the kids has something in their life that they have to come to terms with in the movie. Two lost parents, one is dealing with her family’s intolerance of her sexual orientation, one destroys his perfect future with a car accident. But the best was Kim’s. And once again I won’t give it away.

 

Beauty and the Beast

I’ve been looking forward to this movie for a while now, and the I’ll admit, I risked spoilers to read reviews, listen to cast interviews, I even googled images of the set and actors, curious about the costumes and how the cartoon would translate to live action.

Naturally, I went to the first showing I could squeeze into my schedule, which happened to be early Friday evening. First thing I noticed? It was a beautiful movie, very detailed in the backgrounds and the costumes.


The opening dance was fun, and showed the incredible narcissism of the prince. It was more dynamic than the cartoon this movie is based on, where the prince who was turned into a beast was a child when it happened.

Which brings me to the next thing I noticed about the movie. Unlike Maleficent, Cinderella, Pete’s Dragon, and Alice in Wonderland, the other movies Disney has done a live action remake of, Beauty and the Beast stayed very close to the original. As in, much of the same narration and even some of the same lines, but the movie is about an hour longer than the original, with small plot changes that make the story more engaging, more interesting, and funny.

Seriously, watch this guy during the movie and listen to what he says.


He was a fairly brainless sycophant in the original, but this version of Lafou is almost sarcastic in his admiration and delivers some of the funniest comments throughout the movie.

Another awesome addition to the movie.

Female empowerment.

Belle makes things happen. If she doesn’t like something, she finds a solution. Like inventing a washing machine so she could have time to teach a little girl how to read.

I’d love to continue talking about this movie, and may write a longer review for the DVD release, (May not, I’m absent minded) but it occurs to me that most of you may not have seen it and I’d hate to ruin this movie for anyone.

But seriously, I love the movie.

Tips and Tricks for a Disney Vacation

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I love going to the Disneyland Resort in California. The rides are for the most part not super intense. Most are dark rides that take you through different settings and scenes from Disney movies. Although some, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, were dark rides first and movies after.

There are a lot of awesome things to see and do in the parks, but here are some things I’ve learned that might help others plan for their trips.

There are lines to everything, lines to get in the park, lines to get on rides, and lines to shows.  But, the cast members (what the employees are called) are very good at keeping the lines moving, and the que areas are designed to be part of the line, with a lot of hidden details that are fun to find. Seriously, my favorites are the que lines at the Indiana Jones ride and the Jungle cruise. IMG_1336

If looking at the scenery isn’t really your thing, bring something that can keep you occupies for about 40 min of slow walking, because unless the ride stops, the line keeps moving.  I personally bring a camera, and a tablet with a few books downloaded on it.

For a full day in the parks, I carry a lot of stuff, usually in a backpack. I carry a camera, my phone, my tablet, a sweater, sun screen, and a water bottle. The backpack is not an issue, they allow them on every ride and even ‘intense’ rides have a place for a bag. However, the rides shake, the cars tilt, and the stuff can fly out. I’ve lost a few things before getting a backpack that zips closed and learned to keep everything in the sealed portion or firmly attached to the bag.

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Speaking of water bottle, here’s a trick. Bring a 32 ounce water bottle. You can request a large water at the quick service restaurants and it’s free. It will fit perfectly in a 32 ounce water bottle. It’s perfect for hot days, and way better than the drink fountains, which I would not recommend unless you like lukewarm city water.

I’ll post more tips and tricks in future posts, but what are your favorite little hacks to make theme park trips more enjoyable?