La La Land Review

la-la-land-reviewsIn 2014 Damien Chazelle directed the music-oriented thriller Whiplash to great acclaim. I liked that movie but not nearly as much as most people I know. His latest music-oriented romance La La Land I like much better, but I still don’t know if I love it as much as most. If there ever was a case of being a bit disappointed a film is only in my top 10 of the year than this is it. It’s lovely, nostalgic and a joy to watch but not the perfect movie I was hoping for.

La La Land starts out as an homage to old school Hollywood musicals like Singing in the Rain and American in Paris. In probably my favorite sequence, we are introduced to the world of LA through a musical sequence on the crowded LA freeway.

la-la-land5Then we meet our lead characters- struggling jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and struggling actress Mia (Emma Stone). They meet through a series of meet-cutes and it is their dreams of artistic greatness that unite them and help them to fall in love. That is the theme of the movie that there is something noble about those who dream and keep trying to succeed in LA.

However, I must warn you guys. If you are expecting a Broadway style musical you might be disappointed.  La La Land clearly shows Damien Chazelle’s jazz background. In fact, I would call it more a jazz/dance showcase than a musical. In the middle there really aren’t any songs aside from a song played by Sebastian’s band and him playing jazz at a piano. Ryan Gosling rarely sings in the movie and when he does it is more a gravely quiet voice not a Broadway style singing voice. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. It’s just what it is.

la-la-land2There’s more dancing than singing than I expected, and I particularly enjoyed a tap dancing sequence called A Lovely Night. This captured the nostalgia that Chazelle was going for.

The side characters including John Legend aren’t developed very well but it doesn’t really matter because Gosling and Stone have terrific chemistry. You bought them as these struggling artists and hoped they could find a way to both achieve their dreams. la-la-land4The cinematography by Linus Sandgren is lovely and I completely understand why everyone in LA is going so nuts for it- their city never looked better. It would be a funny comparison to look at this and Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups back to back. You couldn’t get two more different interpretations of the movie industry and LA!

However, the true star of La La Land is the score by Justin Hurwitz. It is without a doubt the best of the year. Especially if you love jazz music you will love this score! Most of the songs didn’t stand out to me the way the songs in Sing Street or Moana did but the score was beautiful. la-la-land3La La Land at its core is a movie about work, which is a subject close to my heart and something I often contemplate. The dreams of Sebastian and Mia are ostensibly about their jobs. They aren’t dreaming about families or possessions. In fact, such things are literally hindrances from achieving their dreams. They want to do something great- meaning they want to have their dream jobs in the movies and music.

The interesting question the film fails to ask (and fails in Whiplash also) is does this dream when granted equal a happy life? You will have to see how their dreaming impacts their love in the movie but in my experience happiness is more ephemeral than can be contained in ANY job. Perhaps the movie argues that art/music is where the real happiness comes from but that feels a little hollow to me compared to the happiness of family and faith. Also, the movie dove a little bit into the sacrifices of dreams couples must make in order to be together, but I could have used even more of that.

Anyway, that’s a bit of a tangent. La La Land is a beautiful movie about dreamers with a jazz showcase of songs and music. What’s not to like about that? It’s light, fluffy and very entertaining to watch. I did not connect with it as emotionally as Sing Street or Moana and none of the songs were as good as those movies songs but it still was a very enjoyable, engaging film.

I think a lot of people who don’t typically like musicals will like this film because the songs are fairly sparse and done in a jazzy way not a Broadway style. It’s something couples should see together- once on Netflix it will be the perfect cuddle movie.

I guess it might sound like I am being critical of it but I really did love the film. It was wistful, nostalgic and magical. However, I’m not sure how long it will stay with me and if it will be a favorite musical of mine the way I’m sure Sing Street and Moana will. But that’s just me. It’s still really good! You should all see it.

Overall Grade- B

My youtube review

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Movie 56: Moana

moana14Every once in a while a film will be released that I have a personal connection with. It will remind me of a time in my life or a person and those are the most prized films of all. I kind of knew going into Moana that it would be that kind of film, but I had no idea how much I would truly connect with it. I have a deep and abiding love for Polynesia and the islands so just the setting alone seemed made for me but everything else about it struck the perfect note making it a very special experience. However, I don’t think my life experiences are essential in appreciating the film. It’s just a great Disney movie that I think everyone, young and old should experience in the theater while you have the chance.

moana2There are so many great things about Moana I almost don’t know where to begin, but let’s start with the title character. Moana is the daughter of a chief who receives a calling from the sea as a baby. The water in this film is an actual character that watches over Moana and even gives the occasional high five (as a huge ocean fan I LOVED that)!

Despite her connection, Moana is told by her father that she must stay on the island. I liked that she was the next to rule and her sex wasn’t a factor at all. She’s treated like any other character. They are all not allowed to leave the reef. But when the coconuts and island start decaying Moana must go on a mission to return the heart of Te Fiti, the island goddess, to its rightful place. I liked that Moana was a fairly normal looking girl and she behaved like a normal girl. For example, her first attempt to attack the reef and leave the island goes badly. This showed her infallibility and that she would have to work to get everything she got. Yes she has a connection with the ocean but things do not come easy for her at all. moana15To restore the heart, she must find Maui, a disgruntled demigod, who has lost his magic hook that allows him to shape-shift. They are a classic odd couple on a mission but it is executed so well. Maui also has tattoos that interact with him and tell him what to do. This was very clever and funny. Dwayne, the Rock, Johnson was perfect casting for the role of Maui. He oozes charisma out of every pore and aside from not having the greatest singing voice was so much fun even when he was resisting Moana’s arguments. There’s just something so innately likable about the guy even in his voice. Plus, he is from Samoan ancestry and I think you can feel that kind of personal connection in the performance.

moanaAs the two journey, they face all kinds of obstacles like Mad-Max inspired coconut pirates, a lava monster and a giant hoarding crab. These were all very creative and fun foes. I particularly loved the crab Tamotoa voiced by Jemaine Clement, who is absolutely hilarious.

moana12There is a lovely heart to Moana’s journey as she is trying to do something unselfish and kind for her people while also exploring her own identity. If you are someone who didn’t like Elsa running away from her problems (not me!), Moana should be your princess. She faces them head on but she also shows moments of weakness and fear. She was just a tremendous character. Newcomer Auli’i Cravalho was amazing as Moana. What a find they got in her. I loved her vocal performance and her singing. She made me care about the character and her journey throughout the film.

moana-auliiOther standouts of the film are the comedy, which they nailed. The chicken Heihei I thought was a riot and the jokes from Maui and other characters were great. It also never gets too dark or scary, so it is a true family film. Everyone can go and be inspired and dazzled whether you are 3 or 103!

moana-trailer111The music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa’i and Mark Mancina (score) was perfect. I loved every song and my only critique is they could have had a few more. The standout song is called How Far I’ll Go. It is stunning.

The animation is beautiful, which is perhaps no surprise from directors Ron Clements and John Musker. I loved the look of the water and island locals. It was so real I wanted to reach out and touch it! They also did creative things I wasn’t expecting. There are some 2D elements and some character designs that reminded me of the Disney renaissance. Moana is as great visually as anything the pair has done and that is coming from someone who LOVES Little Mermaid. It takes advantage of CG animation in a way Disney has never done before. It uses the medium to give a lush and immersive experience that you couldn’t have with 2D.

I really don’t have that much negative to say about Moana. Sure the story embraces certain tropes but I have no problem with a formula story if it is executed well and this is. Plus, it has enough creativity, like with the coconut pirates or Moana’s tattoos, to keep things fresh and exciting.

I suppose a few minor nitpicks for me is The Rock’s voice isn’t that good but it works for the song. They could have used Pua the pig more especially given the marketing. There were also 2 jokes with a modern flair to them that I think took me out of the movie for a second. Those worked in Zootopia but I don’t think in this type of story.

I waited to write this review because I wanted to let it sink in and make sure I wasn’t giving unearned hyperbole. Now after 6 days I can say that for me Moana is not only my favorite movie of the year but it is one of my all time favorite Disney movies. I liked Moana even more than Frozen or Tangled, which are top 10 Disney films in my eyes. I loved just about everything about it. It spoke to me and my life experience in a personal way and made me so happy. I loved the music, characters, animation, setting, everything.

In my opinion, Moana is why we go to the movies- to get swept away in a world and story and to occasionally see a bit of yourself staring back at you on the screen. Moana did that for me. You should all see it and then see it again. Take your kids, especially your girls, and let them be swept away in this latest wonderful Disney Princess story.

Overall Grade- A+

There is also a short called Inner Workings that I loved but will review on its own later.

Moana and Trolls Trailer Reviews

So today and yesterday we had 2 new trailers drop for Fall animated films, and I thought I would give you my quick thoughts. Let’s start with the trailer I’m most excited about for Disney’s Moana:

I personally don’t know how you walk away from this trailer and not be excited. Moana seems like a great well-rounded character. I love her character design and that she looks like a normal young lady. However, she is not the cliched warrior woman although clearly with that spear she can be fierce. I also love the way she stands up to Maui in the boat! The film looks like such an epic adventure with battles, sea travels, diving into the realm of monsters that all looked awesome.

It also looks very funny without being too modern and cheeky. The music sounds great. The visuals look breathtaking. I can’t wait!!!

On a less enthusiastic note. Let’s talk about the new Trolls trailer:


I’m not going to parse words I hate this trailer. I hate the way it is hiding behind the voice talent. I really don’t care who is voicing your characters. Don’t sell me on them. Sell me on the characters they are voicing. It shows a lack of confidence on your film if you are leaning so hard on the vocal talent.

I hate how much of the story it gives away. I hate how saccharine the story looks and it all feels so boring and bland. It’s not good when the main quote from your film is “this is a story about happiness”. How profound…

On the plus side, Trolls looks like it will entertain small children and the color palate is very appealing. The original song is catchy but the jukebox songs I’m not sold on.

I hate to say it but I’m getting Strange Magic vibes from this trailer…
I’m really bummed to because I really liked the 2nd trailer. Hopefully the movie will surprise me and be great like Kung fu Panda 3 or Lego Movie that also had trailers I hated.

What do you think of these trailers? Do they sell you on the films? Do you agree with my takes?

Moana Teaser Trailer Review

Aloha! Let’s all be honest- today has been pretty sad. I think we all needed the Moana teaser to cheer us up just a little it. For some strange reason Disney took it down but here it is if you haven’t seen it yet:

You will probably recall a few days ago I wasn’t that bowled over by the Beauty and the Beast teaser everyone went nuts over.  To me it was shots of the sets with music. I still don’t get the big hubbub on that one.

Moana, on the other hand, is a trailer I can get behind! It starts out with our introduction to Maui who is a demigod with a magic hook that can take down the moon and raise islands from the sea!

moana trailer1Then we meet Maui voiced by Dwayne, The Rock, Johnson, and boy does he seem like a cheerful dude! And what I loved is his tattoos move and he talks to them!

maona trailer2Then he does a traditional Polynesian yell and some of the pounding type dancing they do there.

maona trailer3We then get Maui looking straight into the camera. It made me wonder if we will get some 4th wall breaking because going into it I was thinking Maui would be like Gusteau in Ratatouille but it looks like he will be narrating to us, the audience, as well.

moana trailer4Then we get the hilarious deadpan reaction from Moana and her pig. I think this says a lot about her personality. I bet she will be kind of sarcastic and funny. Plus, she is beautiful and that pig is so cute!

moana trailer5Next we get a little bit of the music and it feels like a neat riff on Polynesian melodies. I really like the song! And then we see Moana with the ocean behind her- gorgeous! I love that she looks a little bit more natural in size and appearance than some other Disney princesses.

moana trailer6And then we see Moana throwing a spear at something, so clearly she won’t be a shrinking violet. Love that!

moana trailer7Next we see Moana’s power over the ocean and how it moves away from her. I find this power intriguing but also the ocean beautiful and green.

moana trailer8Then there are large waves and a houseboat full of people crashes over them. According to one of my friends on twitter this is a traditional boat used in that part of the world.

moana trailer10And then we see dolphins! So pretty!

moana trailer11And finally we are back to Maui and we see him turn into a bird.

moana trailer12Now that’s how you do a teaser! We saw a lot of Moana and Maui. We got to see real visuals to give an idea of the story and style. We got to hear the great music and see a tease at both the sweetness and action of the film.

I’m thrilled with this teaser and my anticipation for Moana is now through the roof but it was already my most anticipated of the year!

What about you? What did you think of the teaser and are you excited for Moana?

Liebster Award

liebster awardI was recently tagged in the Liebster Award by my friend over at Jason’s Movie Blog. This is kind of like a movie tag where a blogger friend will have 11 questions and you create your own questions.  I just recently tagged pretty much everyone I know in the Walt Disney Tag but I will at least answer his questions.

THE RULES


Here are the ground rules for the Liebster Awards….

Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you
 Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you
 Nominate 11 bloggers that you think are deserving of the award
 Let the bloggers know you nominated them
 Give them 11 questions of your own
 And post it on your blog!

Question #1

Favorite Movie of All Time?

Pixar’s Up. It’s a movie I could watch every day of my life and never tire of. I love how the relationship between Ellie and Karl continues throughout the whole movie. It reminds me that love continues on as long as we remember them. It’s a beautiful study of regret and grief and how to forgive yourself for the things that don’t work out in life. In my views a perfect film.

up14Question #2

Favorite Movie Scene?

Breakfast at Tiffany’s the cab scene. To me the best writing in a movie I’ve ever seen:

“You know what’s wrong with you, Miss Whoever-you-are? You’re chicken, you’ve got no guts. You’re afraid to stick out your chin and say, “Okay, life’s a fact, people do fall in love, people do belong to each other, because that’s the only chance anybody’s got for real happiness.” You call yourself a free spirit, a “wild thing,” and you’re terrified somebody’s gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you’re already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it’s not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It’s wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself”

It’s a film that takes two characters who are walking contradictions. They are both lonely and extremely manic at the same time. They are both needy and aloof. This is what makes them interesting. The film is a reminder that even the screwiest of us can find salvation through love. This final scene is perfection. “No matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself”. Plus, the music, perfection.

Question #3

Last Movie you saw in theaters?

Angry Birds. It wasn’t very good. Can read my review here.

angrybirdsmovieQuestion #4

If you had the chance to meet one actor or actress in real life….who would it be?

Might seem like an odd choice but I would pick Patricia Heaton because I admire how she has kept her Christian beliefs and stayed a working actress. That’s tough to do.

patricia heatonQuestion #5

What was your favorite movie of 2015?

Inside Out and I like it more each time I see it. It has become my go-to movie and I find myself watching it every couple of weeks.

inside out5Question #6

Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars. I’ve actually only seen 2 Star Trek things in my life. However, I am starting a new set of podcasts next Wednesday with my friend Tom Gunn looking at all the Star Trek films.  Would love for you to join us https://plus.google.com/events/cgdut3p6ukimh52kk5s4n87ktfg?authkey=CJOWwqrA8sTpXA

That said Star Wars is awesome. I love the space opera and adventure and all the characters. I guess the prequels are kind of lame but still doesn’t tarnish the brand in my eyes.

star warsQuestion #7

When did you start blogging?

I started blogging 8 years ago over on my other blog http://smilingldsgirl.com

8 yearsQuestion #8

Why do you blog?

I don’t know. My life would be a lot lonelier if I didn’t blog and it feels cool to find other weirdos that like the same stuff I like. Also I enjoy writing and crafting persuasive essays that get my opinion across. I’ve seen the quality of my writing improve over the years which is cool.

Question #9

If you could visit any movie world in real life, what would it be?

I think I would go to the world of Jane Austen because any magical place has evil and is actually quite fraught with peril. In Jane Austen’s books/movies everyone is polite and says nice things even if they don’t mean it. Worst thing that could really happen to you is you don’t get married and someone says something mean about your mother. Otherwise a lot of tea and talk. I could live with that. pride and prejduce3ps. Anyone else super excited about Love and Friendship coming out?

Question #10

What do you collect? Physical copy of movies or digital downloads?

Physical Copy although I have over 500 digital movies in my vudu.com collection. Still I love special features and the HD quality of bluray. Here’s a video where I go over my Disney blurays.

Question #11

What movie are you looking forward to seeing?

Highest up on my list is probably Moana, Rogue 1, Dr Strange and Kubo and the 2 Strings.

moana4As far as my tags I really just feel like I tagged everyone this weekend so I will leave these great questions open to any of you that wants to answer them.  Thanks for tagging me Jason. It was a lot of fun!

Most Anticipated Films of 2016

Hey guys!  2015 is quickly winding down for all of us and it has been a decent year for movies. There have been some great highs, which I talked about it in my best of the year post and some lows which I will be sharing in my worst of list on Tuesday.   I will also be posting my ranking of 2015 in animation this week after I have my google hangout video with Art from AtoZ Reviews on Wednesday.  If you guys want to participate in that discussion here is the link.  I’d love to have your feedback and insight. https://plus.google.com/events/cjaokemaobi5t77snk1rpgr1sg4

Moving on, 2016 looks like it could be a promising year for movies and while I don’t think we will get something on the level of Inside Out you never know.

I have compiled my 20 Most Anticipated Films of 2016.  I am sure some of these will end up being duds and some unknown to me will be favorites of the year.

Here is my video explaining each of the picks and why I am looking forward to them.  I would love if you guys gave a thumbs up and a watch to the video.  Thanks!

20. Secret Life of Pets

secret life of pets219. Assassins Creed

assasins creed18. Storks

storks17. Independence Day 2: Resurgence

independence_day_2_poster_116. The Little Prince

little prince15. Everybody Wants Some

everybody-1

14. Untitled 5th Bourne Film

Jason-Bourne-character-poster13. Ghostbusters

ghostbusters 201612. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

fantastic beasts211. Dr Strange

doctor strange10. Zootopia

zootopia poster9. Hail Cesar

hail_caesar8. Kubo and the Two Strings

kubo poster27. Captain America: Civil War

civil war poster6. The Jungle Book

jungle book poster25. Finding Dory

finding dory poster4. BFG

bfg63. Star Wars: Rogue One

rogue one22. X-men Apocalypse

xmen apocolypse21. Moana

moana4So there you have it.  What are you looking forward to in 2016?  Please put in the comments section and thanks!

 

 

D23 Updates and Excitement

I’m officially so jealous of anyone who got to go to Disney’s Comicon celebration D23.  I got to experience some of the fun panels watching on periscope (thanks awesome periscopers!) and I can’t even imagine seeing them in person.  Let me try and sum up all we learned from D23.

The biggest announcement was Star Wars Land!!!  Disneyland and Disneyworld are going to expand to add whole new lands with an immersive Star Wars experience . I love Star Wars so this is so exciting.  Evidently all the park personnel and everything you see at Star Wars land will be in character and part of the Star Wars world. The land will be “14 acres each. Guests will be able to ride the Millennium Falcon, sample blue milk and hang out at the cantina”.  Sign me up!

star wars2We also found out that Space Mountain is going to be redesigned to Hyperspace Mountain Star Tours will be updated to include the Force Awakens characters.  Sounds like a Disneyland trip will be in my future!

In other Disneyland news they announced a new Toy Story land with a slinky dog roller coaster.  So far the Toy Story attractions have been amazing so this should be great.

Star Wars Movie News

Continuing on the Star Wars vein we got new information on the Rogue One movie which looks awesome.  Director Gareth Edwards has started shooting and we should get the movie next year.  It will be the first stand alone Star Wars movies and looks like it will take a darker tone about resistance fighters who are trying to steal the plans for the Death Star.

The cast looks great with  Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Riz Ahmed,  Mads Mikkelsen and Alan Tudyk.   With some Chinese action stars it could provide a really visceral feel to the action of the movie and universe which they are trying to keep as real in feel as possible.

We also got this really cool cast photo

rogue oneWe also got to see the Force Awakens young cast and Harrison Ford introducing a new poster that looked amazing.  I am so excited for that movie!!!

Harrison Ford, seen as Han Solo in new 'Star Wars'

Marvel News

Marvel of course had some big announcements at D23 the biggest are lots of info about next years Captain America Civil War.  If you don’t know this plots superheroes against each other and evidently they showed a new trailer with Black Widow and Hawkeye fighting.  I can’t wait to see this new trailer!

Kevin Feige of Marvel also announced Doctor Strange and evidently Benedict Cumberbatch spoke to the crowd from London.  I’m a huge Cumberbatch fan and don’t know anything about Dr Strange so the movie looks like a fun addition to the MCU.

Animation News
Now for the main star at D23- the animation panels and news.
From Pixar there was a panel on Finding Dory where Ed O’Neill, Ty Burrell, Kaitlin Olson and Ellen DeGeneres were all announced. We of course knew about DeGeneres and Albert  Brooks but Ty Burrell who does great voice work and Ed O’Neill are wonderful additions to the cast.

We also learned a little more about Toy Story 4. We knew it was a love story but John Lasseter elaborated it was a romance between Woody and Bo Peep who was missing in the 3rd movie.  Evidently Woody and Buzz go on an adventure to find Bo and it is very romantic.  Lasseter said:

“Each of the stories is a different genre,” Lasseter said, “and Toy Story 4 is a love story. It’s a love story between Woody and Bo Peep. Bo’s returned for Toy Story 4. Woody and Buzz head out to find Bo. It’s a very, very emotional story, and it’s very fun doing a story about [those two characters].”

It’s really true about the Toy Story movies.  Each one has a different feel and is in a different genre.

bo peep and woodyThe much talked about Coco project was officially announced by Director Lee Unkrich.  This is going to be a day of the dead story where they ask the question What if you could meet your long dead family members? (Pixar loves those what if questions!).  The only thing about it which makes me a tiny bit sad is I am sure nobody will remember Book of Life after this which was so artistically beautiful but lacked Pixar’s great storytelling.

coco

 Disney Animation News

The biggest news from Disney is their new film Gigantic which will take on the Jack and the Beanstalk story.  I believe this will be the first time Disney has retold a fairy tale they have previously animated? Fun and Fancy Free is okay but the new take on it seems very inventive.

giganticIn this version the giant is an 11 year old girl which I think could be really interesting and I love the concept art.  I think it could work really well with the current WDAS CG animation style.  Also Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez from Frozen are doing the music (Yay!).   Evidently they sang one of the songs and it was a huge hit.

Moana3

 Disney had a presentation on their upcoming film Moana and Dwayne Johnson proved his charisma once again.  They also announced all the music talent behind the film, which I am super pumped about- Lin-Manuel Miranda who wrote the The Heights and is incredible,  composer Mark Mancina (“Tarzan” “The Lion King”), and Opetaia Foa’i who is in a Polynesian band called  Te Vaka.  John Musker and Ron Clements are directing and so there is every reason to be excited about this movie (I love anything Polynesian!).   And it is so cool to see how important the project is for Johnson.

zootopia7

The last animated film they talked about is Zootopia.  We learned some interesting things about it.  First of all, that it is going to be a musical or at least have original songs which I didn’t know about.  They announced a character named Gazelle who will be played by Shakira which honestly I doesn’t do much for me but should be a good outreach to the Latino Disney fans.  I’m not a fan of her outfit which seems very slinky. I’m still a little nervous about this project but the team they’ve got is great and it’s cool to see Disney doing something different.  I’m sure it will be great.

zootopia6

Poster for 'The Jungle Book.'

The last thing I thought was cool in the footage was the response to The Jungle Book trailer.  Director Jon Favreau introduced it and I guess everyone loved it!  And then the entire cast was on stage which looked really cool.  Ben Kingsley, who voices Bagheera, said “There is a saying among actors: Never work with a child or animals. I work with a child, and I play an animal.”  I just hope they change the ending.  Fingers crossed.  It sounds like they are using some inspiration from the book and the movie so that sounds great.   I was glad to hear that it will be a musical and they will be singing Bear Necessities!

And evidently they watched a trailer for Jungle Book which I can’t wait to see.
So I know that was an insane amount of information but if you are a movie fan and especially a Disney fan you are probably eating it all up like I did.  (And there is even more but I had to stop somewhere).
What excites you the most?  I think Star Wars Land may be the biggest news because I had no idea that was coming but it is all great.  Let me know your thoughts about any of it in comments.
It’s a great time to be a movie fan and especially a Disney fan!

Big Disney News and Response at Cannes

Disney should be speaking in French from now on because they just had an amazing response at the Cannes Film Festival. For us Disney fangirls (and boys) we got a lot to be excited about!

This is going to be a very nerdy post with tons of little details that might not interest the average movie fan but for us Disney geeks you’ll love every last little crumb!

The response from Cannes surprised me because it is known for its tough crowds.  This year two films, Michael Caine’s Youth and Matthew McConaughey’s Sea of Trees, were both booed by festival goers.  So for Disney to get such a strong response says a lot.

inside out

The good things started with the premiere of Pixar’s new film Inside Out.  It was greeted with a standing ovation and one critic said it was “probably double the loudest applause of any other film at the festival.  It went down like gangbusters”

Needless to say such sentiments have heightened my own excitement to the tilts!  I can’t wait!   Even hoity-toity NPR critic Kenneth Turan said:

“It’s very funny.  It’s very inventive.  And really moving, kind of in the way Up was”

Sold! I’m so jealous of everyone at Cannes who got to see it!

But the good news didn’t stop there…

Disney had a 25 minute showcase of their upcoming slate starting with more details about Thanksgiving release of Good Dinosaur. We have heard so little about this movie that I was so curious for these details.

Here is the new synopsis from Deadline article.
“The Good Dinosaur follows teenager Arlo, who is separated from his family when he falls into a raging river and is swept hundreds of miles away. He comes across Spot, a human cave-boy orphan with whom he forms a bond as he attempts to get home.

Lasseter said, “Our films ask ‘What if?’ questions. What if monsters really did live in your closet? What if a rat wanted to be the finest chef in the most beautiful city in the world? I think our next movie asks the biggest ‘What if?’ of all. What if the asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs actually missed Earth?”

I think that sounds pretty amazing! People have been saying for a long time Pixar needs to get back to original storytelling and the way I see it is Pixar has two types of storytelling- the what if stories (Toy’s come to life, Monsters in the closet, rats cooking etc) and more traditional journey narratives (father finding his son, nostalgic cars teaching new lesson, bugs facing their captors, last robot finding love, a family of superheroes, a man and his flying house pays homage to his wife).

With Inside Out I feel they are giving us a What if story- what if inside our head there is an entire world going on.  And with Good Dinosaur there is a what if but it seems like it is mostly going to be a journey of Arlo and Spot.  It sounds a lot like Finding Nemo to me and that is great!!

Deadline says the Good Dinosaur footage “captivated international audience members…Two french women sitting near me alternately gasped and whispered “extraordinaire” and “incroyable” when amazingly lifelike closeups of CGI foiage were shown. The environment, Lasseter said, is a “living breathing character” in the film”.

Again that sounds very Finding Nemoish to me where the environment of the  ocean played such a role in the story (think the jellyfish sequence, the turtles in the EAC etc).  This sounds great!!

But the good news didn’t stop there…

finding dory2

Next they talked about Finding Dory the sequel to Finding Nemo.  I didn’t know if they needed a sequel but Andrew Stanton is directing which is awesome and the synopsis sounds neat:

“Dory’s memory of her childhood is triggered while she’s at school on the Coral Reef one day with Nemo. She makes her way to an institute that cares for undersea creatures and teams up there with Hank The Octopus who becomes her guide.

finding dorryDiane Keaton and Eugene Levy will play Dory’s parents and “folks were treated to some of their banter and there was also footage of a kelp forest on California’s northern coastline (“a new look for us” said Lasseter) and a glimpse of the Loons, to whom Lasseter referred as “the Seagulls of the new movie. They’re so startlingly dumb it’s hilarious.”

That sounds amazing!! I can’t wait!

But the good news didn’t stop there…

We got some new details on Toy Story 4.  Lasseter said “brand new chapter that’s very personal”.  Evidently it is going to be a love story and not be a continuation of the events of Toy Story 3 or involve human characters.  It is entirely within the toy world which sounds pretty great to me! Lasseter said “”We’re in the early stages of the film, but it’s shaping up nicely. It’s funny. The story is not as much a continuation of the past films, but a brand new chapter in the ‘Toy Story’ world.”

But the good news didn’t stop there…

Next they moved on to the Walt Disney Animated Studio WDAS which has marked 10 years since the Lasseter/Ed Catmull take over.  What a great 10 years it has been! (I know 2D fans might disagree but I’ve loved it).   Lasseter said

“Walt Disney Animation Studios is back.  Ed and I always believed what would heal this studio- because it was quite broken when we came in, the morale was really low- what would really heal it is if we can make a movie to be a really big hit.  These guys are on fire now”.

They certainly are!

zootopia2

Next up for WDAS is Zootopia which looks really cool.  Lasseter said it will be ‘classically Disney” and the images look very 2D although it is CG.  I wonder if it will have the feel of their Paperman short which blended 2D and CG techniques?

Either way it is an anthropomorphized fox in a ‘modern civilized world’ of animals. ”  Jason Bateman and Ginnifer Goodwin star as a kind of buddy cop duo. Again from Deadline article

” Eliciting huge laughs was a scene in which the unlikely partners are rushing to get a run on a license plate, only to find the DMV is fully staffed by sloths.”

That sounds really great!

But the good news doesn’t stop there (only 1 more)…

moana2We learned more about the new princess movie Moana.  Directed by Disney legends Ron Clements and John Musker it is a musical set in the South Pacific and was “inspired by the group’s own experience on a research trip to Oceana”

“The story follows a talented young navigator whose father forbids her to sail beyond their island reef. When she sets out anyway and ends up stranded on another island, she meets the fallen demi-god Maui and they set off on an adventure” .

Deadline says “a song montage was shown to Cannes attendees who showered it with applause” (what I would have given to be at that meeting!).

Anyone who knows me knows I love Hawaii, musicals and the ocean.  Moana seems like it was designed just for me so of course I am so excited!

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So I know that was a lot of info but each and every part makes me so giddy I just had to share it with all of you!

What excites you? Did any of this information and the Cannes response assuage any concerns or give you a new enthusiasm for the projects? Which of the upcoming films are you looking forward too most?  Or are you like me and excited for all of them!