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“Jurassic World Dominion” A (Non-Disney!) Movie Review

Published June 8, 2022 by Disneyways.com

 

Jurassic World

Written by Guest Author:

After 65 Million Years (and a few decades), dinosaurs once again roam the Earth as “Jurassic World Dominion” opens June 10, 2022. Following the events of 2018’s “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”, the story picks up four years later and we are given a quick update on the state of the world via a TV news report that sets the stage for the action. It also introduces us to a new corporate player, Biosyn Genetics. A rival company to InGen, the original company that brought the Dinos back in the very first “Jurassic Park” film. However, is Biosyn really what it seems? Or is there something sinister happening behind closed doors?

This film reunites us with Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) & Claire Dearing and picks up their story as they live in a remote cabin in the woods trying to protect their adopted daughter who is being sought after by several people who want to use her for their own purposes. Also returning to the franchise is the O.G. trio of Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neil), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and the amazingly quirky crowd favorite Dr. Ian Malcom (Jeff Goldblum. New Characters joining the cast are pilot Kayla Watts played by DeWanda Wise (“She’s Gotta Have It”) and Cambell Scott (“The Amazing Spider-Man” franchise) as the CEO Of Biosyn, Dr. Lewis Dodgson.

Screen Shot 2022-06-08 at 3.31.54 PMThere is nothing particularly groundbreaking or surprising about this sixth installment in the “Jurassic Park” series of films. The message is pretty much the same as it’s always been. “Bringing back dinosaurs to our world was a huge mistake. However, now that they’re here, we all have to learn to co-exist with each other. I remember sitting in the theater in June of 1993 and having a sense of awe and wonder watching Dinosaurs “live” once again. There was an element of “WOW! How did they do that?” now, 29 years later, with the advancement of CGI, things may look more “real” but the majesty is gone.
“Jurassic World: Dominion” is just another monster movie now. And that’s not to say that that is a bad thing. The lady sitting next to me really got invested and jumped SEVERAL times at all the “GOTCHA” moments in this film; and there are plenty. I personally felt they were throwing everything that they had at the screen and hoped something would stick. The plot is fairly convoluted. Not in an “I can’t understand or follow what is happening.” way, but in a MORE IS MORE kind of way. Although I’m only speculating on this, it seemed like the studio wanted to get in on the nostalgia bandwagon and said, “We need to have our current crew team up with the original cast for an adventure. Now, go figure it out!”. So, in doing that, the film never seems like it quite knows what it wants to be or where it wants to go.

Jurassic World Photo2

All Photo Credits: JurassicWorld.com

Granted, making a SIXTH installment of ANY movie franchise is never easy. The visual effects are good and convincing (there were only two quick insert shots that were lit poorly and gave the effect away) but other than that, everything was well shot and executed. Director Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic World”) returned to the franchise he helped to re-boot in 2015 and did the best he could with what he was given. At 2 Hours and 27 Minutes (remember, MORE IS MORE!) this film could stand to be cut back to a really tight 1 Hour and 45 minutes, but it does tick all the boxes for a big summer popcorn movie.
So although it is a pretty standard By-The-Numbers Action/ Adventure film with no REAL sense of stakes or jeopardy for the main cast, it’s intended audience of children, teens, and young adults will likely love it!

Peter Gould is a 50 year old man-child who enjoys motion pictures and filmmaking. So he’s got THAT
goin’ for him… which is nice.

Onward – a Movie Review Written by Samantha Lucas

Published February 21, 2020 by Disneyways.com

Onward – a Movie Review written by Samantha Lucas

Before I tell you all the wonders of Onward, let me preface with the fact that I am not unbiased here. I am a person who loves quests, adventures, and all things mystical. Therefore, this movie was a gift for me.

Onward is the story of two elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, living in a world that has forgotten magic, primarily because, “magic is hard”. Voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt these two brothers couldn’t be more different from one another.

OH BROTHERS – In Disney and Pixar’s “Onward,” two teenage elf brothers embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left in the world. “Onward” opens in U.S. theaters on March 6, 2020. ©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Ian is anxious, scared of so many things, and in that very awkward stage of vacillating between feeling invisible, and wishing he was. While Barley is in what his mother calls “the longest gap year ever”. He seems to lack motivation and direction and is totally absorbed in a Dungeons and Dragons type board game, Quests of Yore, which Barely tries wholeheartedly to get his family to realize is all based in real history.

On Ian’s sixteenth birthday their mom, Laurel, gives Ian a present left by his father before he passed away. The present is a wizard’s staff and a magic spell that will supposedly bring their dad back for one full day. However, in the initial attempt to use this spell, remembering “magic is hard”, the spell goes a bit awry propelling the brothers on a quest that challenges them, bonds them, and gives the movie the bulk of its story.

CONJURING DAD – In Disney and Pixar’s “Onward,” brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot (voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) are given a special gift from their late father on Ian’s 16th birthday. “Onward” opens in U.S. theaters on March 6, 2020. © 2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Onward is Pixar at its best in my opinion. This movie goes on the shelf besides Coco, Up, WALL-E, and Inside Out, and reminds me of what they’ve always done best in their shorts, entertain us while getting us emotionally invested. This movie makes you feel. It’s beautiful, poignant, and shows us how important it is to remember who we truly are and just how far we can go when we have each other’s back.

 

TEAM OF WARRIORS – “Onward” opens in U.S. theaters on March 6, 2020. © 2020 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

I was absolutely thrilled with the side story of the boy’s mom who becomes involved with The Manticore in a perfect moment of girl power as they take on their own quest to find the boys before they find the Phoenix Gem and unleash the curse that they are unaware of.

Aside from the shameless pillaging from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, something I’m assuming was meant as an homage, but still felt a little funny as it was very note for note, this movie is a truly good reminder that there are more rewards on the hard path than the easy one, your travel companions will make or break any quest, and at the end of the day, sometimes we can’t see what’s right in front of us, without the quest.

FATHER & SON — In Disney and Pixar’s “Onward,” 16-year-old Ian (voice of Tom Holland) yearns for the father he lost back before he was born. When a magical gift allows Ian and his brother Barley to conjure their dad—or half him, anyway—Ian’s dreams of getting the fatherly advice he’s always sought just might come true. Directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae, “Onward” opens in U.S. theaters on March 6, 2020. © 2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

This movie is emotional, touching, and fun for everyone, but I think will especially speak to families who’ve lost a parent, obviously to close siblings, and for people like me, quest going, adventure loving, believer of all things mystical.

Disclaimer:

**Please note that I was invited to a complimentary viewing of this movie on February 19, 2020 so that I could bring you this review on behalf of Krista at Disneyways. Complementary admission in no way influenced my review, and all opinions are my own.**

About the Author:

Samantha Lucas is an Author, Mystic, Disney Enthusiast, Dream Follower Extraordinaire. Follow her on Instagram HERE

STAR WARS Episode IX: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER ~ A SPOILER-FREE MOVIE REVIEW BY PETER ALDEN GRIGSBY

Published December 18, 2019 by Disneyways.com

STAR WARS Episode IX: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER ~ A SPOILER-FREE MOVIE REVIEW BY PETER ALDEN GRIGSBY

The End! And so STAR WARS Episode IX: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER brings to a close the “Skywalker” storyline in the Star Wars lore! Holy Moly, what a way to add an exclamation point to a franchise! Throughout this tale, there have been many ups and downs, (Jar-Jar Binks comes readily to mind). The fan base for Star Wars is an immensely loyal group, and they have lived through these tales with the characters so closely that they were almost there themselves. They have celebrated, and mourned with many characters along the way. To find a base that is so devoted to your story and characters is something every writer and director wants. And so, this was the weight that was placed on the shoulders of J.J. Abrams! Not only to craft and incredible film in itself, but to end the saga that has become part of so many people’s lives. Now to deal with the elephant in the room, there was some ‘worry’ among the fan-base that this was not going to be possible. The offering of Rian Johnson (STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI), was at best, polarizing.

Coming almost from a mindset of ‘don’t listen to what the fans want, do your own thing’, Episode VIII was definitely a different type of story, in fact it didn’t even ‘feel’ like a Star Wars story. The original trilogy painted a universe. They made you want to see more Star Wars. The Last Jedi did the complete opposite. It killed the interest in the Star Wars universe for many, because there seemed to be nothing left to care about. The Resistance is just the Rebels. The First Order is just the Empire. No end is in sight. Rey is perfect already. Snoke is dead and no one cared enough to even explain his existence in the first place. While I certainly understand the precept of not letting a fan-base ‘dictate’ the direction of a story line, there does still need to be, at the very least, a tip of the hat to your base. They have been loyal to you, and it is incumbent upon any writers and/or directors to give them their “moments” in the presentation. This, of course, does not mean that you cannot also include your own vision. And this film does that in spades!!

I am going to do my best to deliver a “Spoiler Free” review for everyone! As Episode IX opens we learn that Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) is still alive, and planning on his final obliteration of the rebellion with his First Order. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is still in Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) head, and attempting to bring her over to the dark side of the force for the Emperor, however, he is working on a plan of his own as well. Rey is also still searching for what happened to her parents, and who she really is. After Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) learns that there is a way to stop the fleet, Rey decides that she is the one to complete it. Her friends Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac), of course, insist on accompanying her. Fans will appreciate that Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) plays a major role as well! We also get the return of Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams). As Rey continues to search for her ‘tribe’ and deal with her inner turmoil, she turns to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), now part of the force, in a nice homage’ to the Obi-Wan Kenobi/Luke life lessons. There are also some humorous scenes with C3PO (Anthony Daniels), who has become a bit of a foil for Poe. As I write this, I am fighting the urge to tell you some of the things that will literally make you yell “YES” in this film. Suffice it to say that this is the ‘final’ showdown of the Sith verses the Jedi. There is no more “…to be continued”! It is time for the characters to ‘pick’ a side and go! That being said, J.J. Abrams brings a story that shows he is a fan, and does his best to accommodate the hard core fans of the franchise.

As a fan who cares about these movies, I am satisfied! Is it a perfect film?!?! No. Is it a fitting end to this wonderful series?!?! Yes! Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker delivers an ending that should leave fans happy and, perhaps, with tears in their eyes. If you liked Force Awakens and Return of the Jedi, you will like this movie. If you are looking for an Empire Strikes back-type feel, you will appreciate the nod to fan favorite moments.

Sit back.and brace yourself! J.J. Abrams is able to keep this film dark for the story it presents, only to let the light still shine through. The force will be with us, ALL OF US…always!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peter Alden Grigsby is a Florida native. Pete has appeared in an episode of the Mickey Mouse club, was a Jungle Cruise Skipper, “friend” of the Rocketeer, tram driver on the backlot tour, and opening day cast member at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM). When he’s not writing movie reviews, he is performing as a singer and tribute artist all over the world and currently has a cover album of Disney songs called Kingdom Classics

Video Review! We Rode Rise of the Resistance on Opening Day!

Published December 5, 2019 by Disneyways.com

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opened to the public December 5, 2019 and my good friend Tour Guide Barbi was THERE to bring us her full review and VIDEO! You won’t believe the mix of new technology that she saw!  Are you EXCITED?! I know I am!! This attraction is located in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Are you ready to join the Resistance in an epic battle against the First Order?

The official description from Disney is as follows:

An Attraction on a Scale That Is Impressive, Most Impressive
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is a massive attraction with multiple ride systems that is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced at Walt Disney World Resort… or anywhere else in the galaxy!

Lieutenant Bek greets Resistance recruits who survived their escape from the First Order as part of the Rise of the Resistance ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. TIM WALTERS/FLORIDA TODAY

Accept a Mission from the Resistance
The Resistance needs your help! Hidden in the forest outside Black Spire Outpost, the Resistance is gathering recruits for a secret mission.

First Order Supreme Leader Kylo Ren watches the battle as the First Order tries to wipe out the Resistance as part of the Rise of … Show more TIM WALTERS/FLORIDA TODAY

With the First Order desperate to extinguish the spark of the Resistance, the mission is bound to have unexpected twists and turns. When your transport is captured by an imposing First Order Star Destroyer filled with legions of stormtroopers—and even Kylo Ren!—you’re going to need all the help you can get. Fortunately, a covert team of Resistance fighters—including Rey and BB-8—is at the ready to give you a fighting chance to escape… and a chance for the Resistance to rise.

Prepare for a thrilling, first-of-its-kind adventure!

 

Guests see Poe Dameron’s X-wing starfighter, Black One (foreground), and board an Intersystem Transport Ship (background) as part of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Show less KENT PHILLIPS/COURTESY OF DISNEY

Special Thanks to Tour Guide Barbi for sending us your review! 

 

Rise of the Resistance Review

Wow. As a Star Wars fan and a ride technology enthusiast, this ride had me in joyous tears. Beware, there be spoilers ahead!!!!The Queue….
For the grand opening, Disney implemented a virtual queue. Upon entering the park, you join your “boarding group” via the My Disney Experience App and are given a group number. When the number was called, guests were given two hours to check in for the ride. This was fantastic because it enabled us to enjoy the rest of the park (Droid Depot, anyone?) and then there was no major time pressure to access the ride on time. Once we entered the actual line, the wait was around 20 minutes until we reached the first pre show. The parts of the queue that we saw today were just as detailed as the Smuggler’s Run queue, my favorite part being the cages with the Resistance flight suits.

The first pre show…

BB-8!!!! He’s there rolling around in full BB-8 adorableness until we receive a transmission from Rey. I can NOT convey how amazing all of this looked. From this point on, you are INSIDE a Star Wars movie. Nothing has ever been as immersive.

The next pre show…

Guests are standing in a vehicle (which moves!) headed from Batuu to the other Galaxy’s Edge. Poe, Finn and several other characters make appearances with an incredibly lifelike Lt. Bek (who says the best thing, ever) driving the vehicle. But, oh no! Disaster! The First Order has found the vehicle and is taking everyone onboard as prisoners!!!!
After disembarking and being marched onto a First Order Star Destroyer, we were greeted with a breath-taking sight.

Two Stormtroopers stand watch as Resistance prisoners are moved to their holding cell inside the Rise of the Resistance ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
TIM WALTERS/FLORIDA TODAY

 

A horde of storm troopers, standing in formation, most of which are animatronic. This sight alone will bring the most die hard Star Wars fan to tears. Then as prisoners wait to be interrogated, they are formed into lines aboard the Star Destroyer. We waited in our designated area..: Kylo Ren made his first appearance and then… Huzzah! Escape! The Rebel Alliance has found us and has a plan!

Finally… The ACTUAL ride…

Man. I really don’t want to give too much of this away. We were transferred into a droid-operated ride vehicle which seats eight and is trackless. It’s similar to the Penguin ride at Sea World, but moves MUCH faster and in many different directions. With no track in place, it was impossible to anticipate which direction we would be going in next. And it is so smooth!!!! From here on out we encountered Kylo Ren in several different formats (hologram, animatronic) and felt as if we were in the middle of a battle. Blaster beams and canons are firing all around and we could never tell what would be happening next. Finally, we made it to safety in a simulator section with a sudden drop as we entered into space. (This is a free fall, similar to Tower of Terror, less intense.) Then we surprisingly ended outdoors!

I have not experienced so many different technologies combined with such an incredible story. The rides that come closest are probably Transformers or Forbidden Journey over at Universal. I know that I missed a TON and can’t wait to see it again. Bravo, Disney Imagineers. Job well done.

-Tour Guide Barbi
Theme Park Academy

Here’s a short overview of our experience, enjoy!

Frozen 2 ~ Spoiler Free Review! Plus A Few of My Favorite Things

Published November 22, 2019 by Disneyways.com

Those who know my Disney side, are well aware of my love for Frozen and all of the Disney Princesses. More specifically, I love Elsa, who is not a Princess, but actually a Queen – so I guess it is safe to say she is my favorite Disney Queen of all time.

There was really no way fro me to bring you an unbiased review of Frozen 2 because I am incredibly biased and in love with these characters, forever. BUT – thank goodness for WDW Hints

I have included an unbiased review for in this space – so read on! For everyone waiting to hear what I had to say – here it is. In all of its gushing and totally biased glory. I LOVE FROZEN AND I LOVED FROZEN 2.  For the rest of this article, I am going to give you some fun things to look for in this film – that really stood out for me!

Here they are in no particular order:

Olaf and the Gang Play Charades

One of the opening scenes includes Olaf and the crew playing charades. It is as cute as you can imagine. Olaf does a fantastic impersonation of Elsa, and even SHE giggles at his cuteness.

One of the best things ever? SVEN is the time keeper. Remember when Kristoff sang about how reindeers are better than people? Well apparently they are fantastic and fair when you need a timekeeper for charades too. Sven even rings the little bell at the stop and start of each round.

Olaf retells the story of the first Frozen, in his own special way

Practical, because he needed the Northuldra Tribe to understand the whole story. Entertaining, because it is Olaf!! Watch for his version of what happened in the first Frozen film. It is hilarious!

Animated Baby Reindeer

If you have been following our website for a while now, you probably know about my “thing” for baby animals. I wrote a full article when a baby zebra was born at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Oh and that one time when a mama and baby rhino came charging towards our vehicle on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride at Animal Kingdom? I wasn’t scared – I JUST THOUGHT THAT BABY WAS SO CUTE! So, you guessed it,  I wrote about it – and included pics. One of my favorite things about Lion King in live action film? The babies!!! 

You will have to look quick – but there is a scene in Frozen 2 where the cutest baby reindeer you have ever seen cuddles up with one of the girls. I can’t remember if it was Anna or Elsa now – because I was too busy looking at that BABY!!! He is not baby Sven, he belongs to somebody from the Northuldra tribe. They are all around a campfire… and oh… that little reindeer took my breath away!

Kristoff Made a Music Video

Bobby and Kristen Lopez, who did the music for the first film, wrote Kristoff this epic kind of 80s ballad and the animation that goes with it. It’s like an 80s music video,” Groff explained. “It’s a joke for the adults. The little kids don’t really get it.”

I think the kids that know about boy bands WILL get it. In Frozen 2, Kristoff belts out a song and that, combined with the video going on, made me feel like I was watching just that. IT WAS AMAZING …and hilarious!! I loved it. But Kristoff and I have a history.

Back when the first Frozen movie came out, Kristoff started making appearances in Magic Kingdom.

Some girlfriends and I were swooning over him. In fact, we may have started a hashtag.

If you love Kristoff and you love boy bands and you love music videos… you will totally understand this. And you and I can be friends forever.

Elsa’s Toes

Watch for Elsa’s beautiful little Queen toes. She is barefoot in parts of this movie. Maybe we got to see Cinderella’s toes too – but seeing the toes of a Queen seemed like a special thing to me.

EPIC COSTUMES ~ including one for swimming

Half of the fun of this movie – for me – was watching for wardrobe changes. These girls have more outfits than Cher!! Elsa wears the most fabulous swim costume I have ever seen. Watch for it! On a side note, all of the ocean and underwater scenes are breathtaking. I found myself wondering what was real and what was CGI. When animated films become so sharp that they look like reality – it freaks me out and delights me – all at the same time. What do you think about that?

Kristoff gets to be a hero…finally!

I understand we want to portray women in Disney films as strong and able to hold their own. But I was SO pleased to see a part in Frozen 2 where they actually let Kristoff be a hero. Finally!

Production Babies – Baby Presley!

It is tradition now at the end of a Disney movie to add the names of all babies born while the movie was made. Because of my obession with Elvis Presley, Disney, and how excited I get when my worlds collide, you can imagine my excitement about this. Somebody on the production team of Frozen 2 named their new baby “PRESLEY”

Spoiler Alert… what happens after the credits

Stay for the whole thing. You get to see Marshmallow and the Snowgies!

 

I hope you enjoyed my list of fun stuff to look for when you go to see Frozen 2! Disney princesses are a giant part of Disney magic to me. I started a facebook page just for celebrating them. Come on over to join in and participate HERE

**Please note that I was invited to a complimentary viewing of this movie on November19, 2019 so that I could bring you this review. Complementary admission in no way influenced my review, and all opinions are my own.**

Thank you to my friend Kitei for attending the media preview with me!

I want to thank my friend Tour Guide Barbi from Themepark Academy for her actual, spoiler free, review! She is less biased than I am because she honestly wasn’t in love with the first Frozen movie!

I was very lucky to receive last minute passes to the media screening of Frozen 2, which made my children feel very special. I find the words to describe it afterwards are a little tough to find. It is an epic, yet fairly predictable journey, with all of the characters acting in their established roles: Elsa is still being fairly reckless, Anna is still chasing after Elsa even though she doesn’t have powers and Olaf, Kristoff and Sven fill their supporting roles with humor and self-reflection. There are definitely some scenes where the these humorous breaks are appreciated due to some very tear-worthy moments. This film took several comedic shots at its predecessor, showing one of my favorite Disney studio traits, the ability to laugh at itself. The imagery is stunning, the score is as epic as the storyline and the new anthem “Into the Unknown” shows yet another stellar performance by Idina Menzel. Plus, the reprise at the end by Panic! At The Disco is equally as amazing. (I’m surprised that it took me this long to recognize Brendan Urie as Idina’s male equivalent! ) I fully expect Frozen Fever will be in full force once this opens to the public and in anticipation we have created a video on all the places to find the Frozen characters in the park. Enjoy! ~ Tour Guide Barbi 

Simba Just Can’t Wait for our Lion King Review!

Published July 7, 2019 by Disneyways.com

We all know Simba just can’t wait to be king! But apparently he is looking forward to our movie review, as well!

Today is July 7th 2019, and my oldest son is turning 25 today! The Lion King movie always makes me think of my son Bradley because the original animated film came out just about 2 weeks before he was born.

Today felt like the perfect day to announce that I am delighted and honored to have been invited for the media preview for Disney’s The Lion King! Yep, Disney is bringing the “live action” Lion King to you in theaters July 18th – but you’ll be able to read our full review here at Disneyways.com on July 11th! Even if it’s not your birthday, it’s a little like getting an early birthday present from Disneyways to you. Remember to check it out!!!  And as Mufasa says,

“REMEMBER…who you are!” 

Check out all our recent movie reviews HERE

AVENGERS: ENDGAME – A Spoiler-Free Review by Peter Alden Grigsby

Published April 24, 2019 by Disneyways.com

AVENGERS: ENDGAME – A Spoiler-Free Review by Peter Alden Grigsby

There is just ‘something’ about watching a Marvel Universe Film. They continue to produce films that build on one another. Often times creating a final product that leaves you with a feeling of “how in the world can they top that?!?!” Very few highly anticipated films live up to the hype, but Endgame certainly does. It’s the best possible conclusion to Infinity War, and, at this point at least, is the crown jewel of the Marvel franchise. As previously stated, “how in the world can they top that?!”


As most fans are aware of by now, Avengers: Endgame is the official close of MCU’s phase 3, and it certainly does that! What I am about to say next is certainly not a ‘spoiler’, but I will say,

(Albeit ‘tongue & cheek’), DO NOT have a lot of fluids before this film, and stay away from the largest cup size at the theater! It is every bit of its reported 3 hour running time. The first hour and twenty minutes, while certainly a necessity in the story telling of the film, does drag a bit, and would be optimal for a bathroom break if needed. That being said, when this film kicks into high gear, it does not slow down, and you will be loath to move from your seat until the end!

Avengers: Endgame (2019) picks up almost immediately after the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), which left the universe in ruins. With the help of other allies, the remaining Avengers assemble in what might just be the last time, to attempt to undo Thanos’ actions, and restore the universe to normal. I feel almost silly attempting to write a ‘spoiler free’ review, because that is proving to be nearly impossible! I have started over a number of times, but buckle up true believers!

Endgame is, quite surprisingly, more inventive than I expected. We know where the story is headed, but there are some interesting turns getting there. I was also surprised at how emotionally engaging it was for a superhero film. With its 3 hour run time, this film spends quite a bit of time on character development, much more so than in previous offers. It does tend to make the film drag a bit early on, but I’m glad they did it, and it most certainly added to the reason the audience was so emotionally involved. There is also quite a bit of humor throughout as well. In fact, this is probably one of the funniest Marvel films since Thor: Ragnarok or perhaps Ant-Man. The laughs are intentional, but don’t feel forced or contrite. The battle scenes are visually stunning, and certainly live up to what we saw in Infinity War. It’s amazing to think that Marvel was able to keep this film under wraps, and I have no intention of spoiling that, but, suffice it to say, there are definitely some surprises that I certainly didn’t see coming. Run; don’t walk to see this little gem! Hopefully fans will keep a lid on things so that everyone can laugh, cry, gasp in surprise, and be thoroughly entertained without anything being given away or ruined.

One last thing though. I even struggled about this, but, in the end, I feel this doesn’t ‘spoil’ anything, so here we go. This film does not include mid-credits, or a post-credits scene, making it the first film in the MCU since The Incredible Hulk to include neither. Marvel has definitely raised the bar on themselves with this one, and I believe this could go down as the most successful superhero film, EVER!

**Please note that I was invited to a complimentary viewing of this movie on April 23, 2019 so that I could bring you this review on behalf of Krista Joy at Disneyways.com. The free admission in no way influenced my review, and all opinions are my own.**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peter Alden Grigsby is a Florida native. Pete has appeared in an episode of the Mickey Mouse club, was a Jungle Cruise Skipper, “friend” of the Rocketeer, tram driver on the backlot tour, and opening day cast member at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM). When he’s not writing movie reviews, he is performing as a singer and tribute artist all over the world and currently has a cover album of Disney songs called Kingdom Classics

Captain Marvel – A SPOILER FREE MOVIE REVIEW! WRITTEN BY PETER ALDEN GRIGSBY

Published March 6, 2019 by Disneyways.com

Captain Marvel – A spoiler free movie review written by Peter Alden Grigsby

You really have to admire the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They have managed to take Comic Book Superheroes, and make them one of the most viable franchises in modern cinema. They have been so successful in fact, that they have enough productions to sub-divide into phases. As of now, we are coming to the end of phase 3, which will culminate with “Avengers: Endgame”. Shifting from big league hitters such as Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk to characters that have not received as much attention such as Dr. Strange, Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the lynch pin, Captain Marvel. Spider Man, quite possibly their most popular character ever, has also recently re-acquired from Sony, so he will also figure prominently in the new phase.

When we left what was left of the team after “Infinity Wars”, we learned that Nick Fury had sent an emergency signal to Captain Marvel, just before being vaporized by Thanos. But who is Captain Marvel? Why was she not included in “The Avengers Initiative”? How can she help, when some of earths ‘Mightiest Heroes’ have already been vaporized? These are just some of the questions that this film sets out to answer. While giving the ‘basic gist’ of the story, I’m not going into too much detail; I want to present this review with NO SPOILERS! So buckle up true believers, here we go!

Right off the bat, THIS is an ‘origin’ film! Simply stated, don’t expect too much of a plot. Take this film as a “hi, nice to meet you”/first date kind of experience. We start out in the middle of the story, where we learn that a race of people called ‘Kree’ is in a war with another race called the ‘Skrulls’. We learned a little about them in “Infinity War”, but we get more of an insight in this film. The Skrulls are shape shifters, and can control their appearance. This is where we first meet “Vers” played by Brie Larson, who comes off fairly well. She presents a “girl-next-door” type of personality, while also being perfectly believable as a woman that can handle herself in any situation. At times she comes off a bit ‘wooden’, but hey, it’s a superhero movie, not “Titanic”. Vers is dealing with reoccurring nightmares about people she feels she knows, but can’t explain why. She also has a mysterious power that even the Kree don’t understand, but properly harnessed could make her one of the most powerful beings in the Universe. Her mentor, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) is doing his best to help her figure out both who she is, and how to control her powers. Training her to control her emotions, as that is how she can ultimately control her powers. Jude Law is certainly capable, and believable in what he is being asked to do. That said, it’s not much! His character is certainly not explored to the degree it could have been. The chemistry between Law and Larson is not quite Luke Skywalker/Obi-Wan Kenobi caliber, but acceptable. Much like an older brother helping his younger sister. After learning that the Skrull commander, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) has captured Soh-Lar a Kree spy. Vers joins Yon-Rogg and a Kree rescue team to retrieve Soh-Lar. Of course, things go terribly wrong and Vers winds up separated from her team, and on a collision course towards Earth. For me, Ben Mendelsohn comes close to stealing this film! He gets some of the best lines in the movie, and delivers them brilliantly. This character, sadly, is not explored much either, but Mendelsohn managers to capture a menacing presence, without coming off as a typical ‘casting couch’ villain. He also demonstrates some brilliant comic timing.

Marvel uses a great ploy of ‘going back’ to move forward! Back, meaning to earth in the mid-90’s, (those familiar with the time period will enjoy the many ‘inside jokes’ that are presented.) and there are some genuinely funny moments. This is where we meet a young Nick Fury (Samuel A. Jackson), sans eye-patch, and a ‘rookie’ Shield agent Coulson (Clark Gregg). I’ve never really been a fan of the ‘de-aging’ CGI effects to make older actors look younger, I’ve never thought it looked real, but I will say it was done fairly well, and doesn’t really distract too much. Talos has followed Vers to earth, and is now after her. Sadly, this is where the ‘1990’s’ shtick becomes burdensome, and takes this film into a TV superhero feel. Not ‘camp’ but more like the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno ‘Incredible Hulk’ series. We learn Vers real name is Carol Danvers. She has a mysterious relationship with a Scientist (Annette Bening) she barely remembers. To me it seems that Bening was used for her ‘star power’ and very little else. What should have been a pivotal character was, again, never explored enough to the point that we actually cared anything about her. We also meet her best friend, Maria Rambeau (Lashanna Lynch). Maria Rambeau is extremely likeable, and presents her character as the kind of friend we would all like to have. However, other than being Danvers best friend, there is not much for her to do. Danvers and Rambeau, we learn, are kind of like a female version of “Top Gun”. Yes, there is even a mascot named ‘Goose’! It’s almost as if the writers got a bit lazy during this ‘middle section’ and just went into an auto pilot mode, burping up cliché’ after cliché’ and really over using what could have been a fun little plot point. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some laughs, but all in all, the movie drags a bit here.

The last 30 minutes or so ramps up, and we get more of the action sequences we were expecting from the trailers. This is where I have to be careful because, as I said before, I don’t want to give away any spoilers. Suffice it to say, we DO learn how Captain Marvel will fit into the MCU in “Endgame”, as well as some interesting little twists along the way.

 

So, in going ‘back’ to move forward, “Captain Marvel” has set the stage for phase 4 of Marvel’s cinematic franchise. While certainly not Marvel’s best ‘solo’ hero movie, it’s certainly not the worst, (that dubious honor belongs to “Iron Man 2” in my opinion) and it’s certainly enjoyable as sort of a ‘Saturday afternoon matinee’! Story line, what little there is of it, is a bit contrived and confusing at times. As for character development, there were so many, so none of them was really explored in-depth. It was certainly nice to learn more about Fury, and how everything ties in together. There were a few moments in this film when I felt that it was heading into a ‘preachy’, feminist, “#metoo” direction, but thankfully it pulled itself back. It’s going to be tricky, moving forward with this character, to not fall into that trap. I hope Marvel can do it, because Captain Marvel could be a very interesting character. I would still recommend seeing it to fill in the last gaps before “Endgame”. This movie does at least explain why Danvers has been absent, and that was satisfying. So, in short: Dull story, some funny dialogue, mediocre villains, and a predictable plot. CGI was well done.

**Please note that I was invited to a complimentary viewing of this movie on Monday March 4, 2019 so that I could bring you this review on behalf of Krista Joy at Disneyways.com. The free admission in no way influenced my review, and all opinions are my own.**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peter Alden Grigsby is a Florida native. Pete has appeared in an episode of the Mickey Mouse club, was a Jungle Cruise Skipper, “friend” of the Rocketeer, tram driver on the backlot tour, and opening day cast member at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM). When he’s not writing movie reviews, he is performing as a singer and tribute artist all over the world and currently has a cover album of Disney songs called Kingdom Classics

As seen on major Disney Fan sites such as Disney World Enthusiast, WDW Hints, WDW Magazine, City Surfing Orlando, Disneyways.com and many more! Rave reviews from all major Disney influencers and talk show hosts are online now – for Peter Alden’s Kingdom Classics CD.
Get ready for Classic Disney songs, with a retro rock vibe!! Peter Alden captures the ‘classic’ feel of the golden age of rock and fuses it into some of your favorite Disney classics!!

Mary Poppins Returns ~ A Spoiler- Free Review by guest author Joelle Heath

Published December 18, 2018 by Disneyways.com

Delightfully whimsical.
That is the phrase that comes to mind for this movie. It was a mostly sweet, sometimes teary, always sassy homage to the original. The songs are fun and in line with those of the original, with one exception being a tune just a bit more ahem mature than one might expect. You will notice many parallels in story elements that are classic to Mary Poppins and rather than coming across as simply repackaged from the original, those elements imbue authenticity for who Mary would still be, even after all these year. Though, don’t ask her age. That would be impolite.
If you still remember what it was like to be a child or need to be reminded, I hope you can find your way to the theater to enjoy this sweet holiday season treat. Keep an eye out for the many Easter eggs. You might even find yourself drawn to see it twice, just in case you missed something.

 

About the Author ~ Joelle Heath grew up in Pennsylvania and attended college at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, MA. After graduating, she moved to sunny Florida. She teaches AP History at Cypress Creek High School and loves working with the great students and a terrific faculty.

Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – Journey to the Four Realms: A Spoiler- Free Review by guest author Chrissy Lin

Published November 15, 2018 by Disneyways.com
Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – Journey to the Four Realms: A Spoiler- Free Review by guest author Chrissy Lin
An age old tale about a Sugar Plum Fairy and a Nutcracker falling in love…or wait, was it an age old story about a little girl who dreams of her Christmas toys coming to life…or….oh dear…I have a confession to make–I’ve never seen the original Nut Cracker!
I don’t know anything about the story, and until I looked it up online, I really only had a vague idea of what it might, possibly, be about!  I know, I know, have I grown up under a rock?  It might seem like it!  But let me tell you, that did not matter one tiny bit as I sat mesmerized by Disney’s new “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.”
Hear me for just a minute…
Sheer…Visual…Gorgeousness!!  
From the moment this delightful movie begins, you are thrown into a glittering world where heartbreaking reality meets a softer side of steampunk, culminating in a sweet story that has familiar elements and characters from the original Nutcracker story, without following that beloved story even one tiny bit.
I am a huge fan of several of the actors, most notably the amazing, talented, oh so epically regal, Helen Mirren, who played Mother Ginger.  Morgan Freeman was a delightful mixture of mystery and mischief in his role as Drosselmeyer, but it was my particular favorite, Matthew Macfadyen (with whom I fell in fan girl love when I saw him in Little Dorrit), who stole the show for me as Mr. Stahlbaum. His ability to convey deep emotion with just a soft catch in the back of his throat added depth and heartache in all the right places.  These three, along with strong performances from Jayden Fowora-Knight (Phillip the Nutcracker), Keira Knightley (Sugar Plum) and MacKenzie Foy (Clara), breathed new life into characters who have danced the same dance for more than 100 years.  Completely and utterly family friendly, there was only one PG word uttered, and only one or two moments with a PG scare.  I have a 5, 7, and 11 year old, and I wouldn’t hesitate to let any of them watch it.  In fact, I’m really looking forward to discussing the gorgeous and creative costumes with my eldest daughter.  Lead costume designer Jenny Beaven outdoes herself with exotic costumes that deserve a “nosed pressed to the screen,” loooonnnnnngggggggggg pause on your DVR to truly experience and appreciate her work.  Any aspiring costume designer would do well to take notice of all the little details she adds to make her outfits fantastically fantastical works of art. All in all, when you add up the NEW heart warming story line, the depth of feeling brought by the actors, and the glittering, high fantasy fashion of the costumes, you end up with a movie worth watching on the silver screen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Chrissy Lin is a Senior Style Dots boutique partner, a wife, and a mother of three. Follow her on Facebook at  Chrissy Has Dots and join her VIP Style Dots FB group at  Chrissy‘s Dot VIPS!!!!! If you love jewelry or just love to buy gifts – check out a sparkly selection HERE.

 

 

A new music video featuring Andrea Bocelli and his 20-year-old son Matteo Bocelli singing the beautifully poignant “Fall on Me” from Disney’s “Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is now available.

Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – Journey to the Four Realms Featurette

Disney’s “Nutcracker and the Four Realms” in theaters November 2, 2018.

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