Archives for posts with tag: Disney

Grade A

The Disney hit machine is in full effect with a live action remake of “Beauty And The Beast” starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast.

For those rare few who are unfamiliar with the story, Stevens is an unkind, selfish prince who angered a witch who cursed him to live out his days as a hideous beast unless he falls in love with someone who also falls in love with him.  Stevens’ palace staff were also cursed, turning into clocks, dressers, candelabras, etc.  Enter Watson’s father, who picks a flower from Stevens’ palace grounds to give as a gift to Watson; and Stevens imprisons him for theft!  Watson, being the loving daughter, takes her father’s place as a prisoner.  What follows is a very rocky start, to say the least, to an unlikely romance between a beautiful, young lady and a monstrous-looking creature who has much love and kindness hidden deep in his soul, just waiting to be drawn out by the right woman.

But Stevens is on the clock: the witch has given him a rose, and when the last petal falls and Stevens has not met anyone who he has fallen in love with and loves him in return, Stevens and his staff will remain as they are forever.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Beauty And The Beast” is the scene when Watson and Stevens, all dressed up, dance together for the first time, and the song with the same title as the movie is sung by a tea kettle.

It’s been over a decade since I watched the animated version, so I was able to judge this iteration without being prejudiced by its predecessor.  The acting was good, the sets (practical and CGI) were lavish and bright to give hints as to its animated lineage, many characters were memorable and larger than life, and the musical numbers were simply amazing…I felt like I was watching an opera, that’s how intricate and beautiful many of the grander, musical pieces were.  This movie is a must-see for any Disney movie fan.

— M

Grade A

Disney has produced another hit with “Moana.”  Playing the title role, Auli’i Cravalho is a princess of a South Pacific island.  Kind, intelligent, brave and adventurous, her desire to see what is beyond her island home is impeded by her father’s warnings of the dangers that are out in the deep ocean and Cravalho’s duty to stay home and learn how to be the next chief of the people.   She reluctantly gives up her dream of sailing into the ocean far from home…until the plant and fish that Cravalho’s people depend on to survive either die off or disappear.

Learning of an ancient tale of a demigod named Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) who stole a precious stone that provided life to the ocean and islands, Cravalho goes on a treacherous journey to find Johnson and force him to put the stone back; and hope that would bring balance, peace, and life back to her world.  There will be many challenges for the young princess: she lacks knowledge of deep ocean sailing; she has a mentally challenged chicken as a stowaway; Johnson does not share Cravalho’s eagerness to return the stone back to where it belongs; a swarm of tiny, coconut-headed pirates roam the ocean; Johnson’s magic hook must be taken from a giant crab who will not give it up so easily; and a fearsome god made of lava guards the entrance to where the stone must be returned.  Yup, it’s going to take a team of brilliant writers to get her through all this!

My most memorable, movie moment of “Moana” is the scene when the princess gets a visit from her grandmother at a time when the princess is at her lowest, ready to give up and go home.  It is a touching scene, especially to viewers who have lost a loved one and believe that our spirits go on, and one day we will see them again.

Fully realized, likeable characters; a great story; positive messages; amazing animation; scenes that are very funny and scenes that put a lump in your throat; catchy songs…these are all present in “Moana.”  Bottom line, it’s a great movie that adults will enjoy with their children because, like most Disney movies, it just makes you feel better about life.

— M

While Computer Generated Images combine with real life backgrounds produce life-like dinosaurs in this Disney movie, it is the story and acting that truly gives life to “Dinosaur.”  Aladar is the kind, gentle, and heroic dinosaur who was raised on an island of Lemurs.  When a meteor destroys his home, he and his adopted family wander the wasteland and run into a herd of dinosaurs who are on a desperate march to the “nesting grounds,” a place where food and water are abundant.

Aladar quickly draws the anger of the herd’s leader, Kron, because each has a different idea on how to manage the herd.  Aladar believes in sticking together and helping the weak, so that all can get to the nesting grounds safely.  Kron…well, he has a big corporation, CEO mentality: it’s his show, he runs it, if you can’t keep up, sucks for you, as long as he gets his everything is okay, and if you challenge his authority he’ll crush you.

As if that wasn’t enough drama there is a pair of meat-eating Carnotaurus (Carnotauruses, Carnotaurii?) who are tracking the herd.

I was pleasantly surprised by how violent and scary this Disney movie is.  It’s definitely not for rugrats under the age of 7 or 6.  But for everyone else, it’s a very good movie that teaches good values; and at the same time gives “Jurassic Park” level scares in a few scenes.

One such scene happens to be one of my memorable, movie moments.  It’s the scene when Aladar and his company of Lemurs and old and young dinosaurs are taking a rest in a cave during a rainy night.  Guess who stops by for dinner?  Yup, two huge Carnotaurus.  It’s a scene straight out of a horror movie!  I even yelped when a Carnotaur got hold of Aladar’s tail.  That’s right, I yelped!  Like a schoolgirl getting felt up for the first time.

But my most memorable, movie moment was the scene when a meteor crashed near Lemur Island, and the shockwaves hit the inhabitants right before the tidal waves and thousands of molten rock came to finish off the island.  I thought I was watching a Michael Bay movie for a few minutes.

So, go and check out this movie because I think you’ll like it.  Don’t be fooled by the goofy cover of the movie.

M

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