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.
There 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.
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.
A Note From Krista: I want to thank the folks at Walt Life for choosing Disneyways as one of their marketing partners! I reached out to my fabulous friend and CEO of WDW Hints, Terri Miller, to find out if she’d like to accept the box on our behalf, film a video, and write up a review. Check out for yourself what happened next! I hope many of you will choose to set up a Walt Life subscription of your own after getting the scoop on all the fun and joy it brings, now, more than ever! Don’t forget you can SAVE $10 OFF YOUR ORDER when you enter DISNEYWAYS10 at checkout!! Tell them Terri and Krista sent you. Special thanks my dear friend Terri for the beautiful review on behalf of Disneyways. ~ Krista Walt Life Subscription Box Review By Guest Author Terri Miller Starts Here: We were chosen to receive a Walt LifeSubscription Box; how could we turn that offer down? Our answer was an obvious “yes!” Then, we waited… kind of impatiently, for the box to arrive. But it was here in less than 7 days! (The impatience was truly just our own excitement.)
What did we get?! Watch our reveal video below…
Let’s see those items one more time!
Thank you, Walt Life!! Everything included was such a fun surprise – and both of my kids selected items to keep for themselves.
Want a Walt Life Box of your own? It’s easy! Check out the variety of Box selections on Walt Life’s websiteand select the one that fits you (or your loved ones) best! Even better… SAVE $10 OFF YOUR ORDER!! Enter this code: DISNEYWAYS10 for this excellent discount!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
**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
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 Grigsbyis 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
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.
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
The Story of a Wannabe Disney Princess and a trip to Neverland.
Once upon a time in land called Orlando, a Wannabe Disney Princess was called upon to write and narrate a project that was literally – what her dreams were made of. She had always fantasized about guiding her friends to the second star to the right and straight on ’til morning. I guess you could call her a wannabe Disney Princess with Tinker Bell-like navigation skills!
Disney fans all know what happens when you wish upon a star. Anything your heart desires, will come to you!
My name is Krista Joy, and I am that wannabe Disney Princess!
Along the way of achieving my dreams of becoming a real Disney Princess, I feel like I am (already!) the Princess of manifesting my own dreams. The truth is that it only comes with the blessings the Lord chooses to give me, my heart full of gratitude, acceptance, living with intentionally and the help of lots and lots of good friends – of course!!
Theme Parkology presents The Dark Ride Series Peter Pan’s Flight all started with a dream – Jerry Cornell’s dream! Today we want to give you a little more of the backstory on how this dream turned into reality. It took a little more than faith, trust and pixie dust!
It all started when my dear friend, the fantastic, amazing and awesome Jerry Cornell, producer of documentaries extraordinaire – had a dilemma. He was ready to produce a new spectacular DVD for his Theme Parkology fans. “Theme Parkology presents The Dark Ride Series Peter Pan’s Flight” was to be a DVD that would pull back the curtain on this magical attraction – in all of it’s versions – in Disney Parks all over the world. As a bonus, Jerry wanted to take Peter Pan’s Flight from concept to construction, to changes through the years. It was no small task. Jerry’s other writers were not available, and that’s where I wanted to step in and help.
The Wannabe Princess hoped to be the heroine of this story! Of course in every fairytale there is always a villain or two. Time stealers, my daily responsibilities, and needing money to keep my household going, are always there… like the proverbial Maleficent to the Aurora’s baby shower of my Disney dreams…ready to impose at any time and wreak havoc! After all, this is volunteer work – and I knew I would not gain money from any of it, or the sales!
In spite of it all, I was inspired by my own childhood memories of the Peter Pan attraction, the Disney magic that ensues each time I ride it, and ALL that it means to me. I felt that it was very important to portray and tell the story in a way that would help bring that magic to others. I understood the significance, weight and the magnitude of the task. I STILL wanted to be the one to take it on – and give it my best shot. My determination was like the sword of Prince Philip and the encouraging voice of Jerry Cornell was like the magic that guided the sword in the fight.
I explained to Jerry it would be my delight to help, at no charge, but I would probably need a lot of time. Jerry was very understanding, as he always is, and emailed me the outline to work from, along with some talking points he wanted me to cover. He assured me that I could take as much time as I needed. I took a deep breath, read his email, and whispered to myself, “Come on everybody, here we goooooo!”
This project was on my mind and in my heart. There was no turning back now!
During the time span of several months, I worked on it in bits and pieces. To me, it felt like fighting Captain Hook and his crew. Wannabe Disney Princesses have a gift for sprinkling pixie dust and leaving a trial of sparkles and happiness where ever they go. Writing facts and figures and being historically accurate does not come quite as naturally. It was essential and beyond important – that I write the information in this project as timelessly and accurately as humanly possible. I was feeling the pressure because just like with my own brand, Disneyways, it is essential that Theme Parkology keeps it’s reputation as a trusted source for Disney content.
The pieces started forming over a span of a few months. Ultimately, the most work was done in the 2 to 3 days in a row that I was able to carve out of my schedule to make the writing a priority. I shut out all forms of distraction and got to work. I pieced together all of the research I had done, doing my best to not leave out any sections. I wanted the language to be breezy, conversational english, while trying to keep it as fun and light as possible.
THEN… I got to the parts where Jerry wanted me to get technical about the mechanics of the ride, physics, and the thinking process of the Imagineers. YIKES!
I remember calling Jerry and asking him…is this REALLY necessary?! This stuff is so BORING to me! Who really cares about all this anyhow??
In his reassuring way – Jerry once again calmed me down and told me, “Yes Krista. It’s essential. Theme Parkology fans LOVE this stuff the most. The more technical and detailed you can get on this part…the better.”
He acknowledged that out of “Fantasy” and “Technical” I am one of his writers that he puts in the “Fantasy” category. WOW isn’t THAT the truth?!!
Even so, he believed in me, and gave me courage to give it my all. I reluctantly agreed to it, and then set out to explain pulley systems, physics, and the scientific creative process for Peter Pan’s Flight – in the best way I knew how. Judging by the success and sales of this DVD – I hit the mark.
Overall, it was a project that stretched me, and flexed my creative muscles to the max!
I have been reading aloud and narrating as long as I can remember. This is my wheelhouse and it’s where I feel very, very comfortable. Jerry used my narrating skills for the “Disneyland Secrets” DVD so he knew I could do this part with ease. It was all recorded in my own home and I sent it in separate parts to Jerry over email. Reading what I had actually written was a joy. I was able to put inflection, emphasis, energy and even pauses…in all the places I wanted them to be. Jerry’s editing, graphics, and music are fantastic and really tie the whole thing together. His entire team worked in harmony together for one cohesive and immersive experience. Watch it and see for yourself!
I think you can really hear my heart and my feelings about Peter Pan’s Flight as you enjoy this DVD. My deepest hope is that you are taking the journey WITH me and feeling all the same magic and nostalgia that I feel when we take this ride together. I hope that I have brought you to a very happy place with my part of this work. I hope that you feel educated, too, in the parts that really tested me. I hope your curiosity about the mechanics of the ride is beyond satisfied. I hope that you will watch and enjoy this DVD over and over.
Through this Theme Parkology DVD… let’s travel off to Neverland together, for years and years to come. Normally, at his part, the Wannabe Disney Princess would ride off into the sunset with her prince and live happily ever after. But our story is not over! There’s so much more Theme Parkology fun to be had. Just like Peter Pan, we never really have to grow up and we are JUST GETTING STARTED!!
Come one everybody, here we goooo!! This whimsical documentary explores the history of the attraction and was written and narrated by the talented Krista Joy, intro music by James Presley, and animated title sequence by C. Andrew Nelson.
This will be a wonderful addition to your Theme Parkology collection.
**Theme Parkology is a fan publication not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company. I am not compensated for my work on these 2 projects. I was gifted with a few copies of them Parkology presents The Dark Rid Series Peter Pan’s Flight in exchange for my review. This in now way influenced my opinion and all thoughts are my own.***
It was my thrill and honor to be invited to the media preview of Live Action Lion King July 10, 2019 – before it was released to the public 9 days later.
Regarding this version of Disney’s Lion King it is officially stated like this:
“Staying true to the classic story, director Jon Favreau utilizes pioneering filmmaking techniques to bring the iconic characters to the big screen in a whole new way.”
Well, you might be wondering, like I was, how it could possibly stack up to the original. Is it possible they could improve this masterpiece? I mentioned before that I have very personal and very loving feelings about this movie that started all the way back in 1994.
Surprisingly, I found some things that I never expected (in spite of the story not really changing much!) even with the 25 year time difference in film release dates. You might be inspired to make your own list of shocking revelations!
Before we get to my list of surprises, I want to share a little about the day I saw this movie. I started practicing my best lion cub roar.
Practicing my best lion cub rawr…
After all, my maiden name is Rohrer. I lost count of how many times I said, “It’s pronounced ROAR..like a lion!” It’s no surprise that I should be pretty good at the Rohrer’s roar by now. Practicing was still fun. I contacted my friend Beatrice to join me for the viewing of this film, and our big day finally came. We both put on our favorite safari shirts and makeup for the occasion. We were definitely “feeling the love tonight” for Live Action Lion King!
OK OK OK – let me stop here for one second. We know it’s not really “Live Action.” No lions or baby ostriches or baby warthogs (OH MY!! More on those later!!) were harmed in the making of this film. But for the sake of this article, we will use the term “Live Action” Lion King to represent the version coming to theaters July 19th 2019. “Live Action Lion King” is easier to say than “Lion King…the photorealistic computer-animated remake of Disney’s traditionally animated 1994 film of the same name.”
Now let’s get to those 5 surprises.
Surprise #1: Mufasa at first glance – caused an audible “WOW!”
You may have already seen him – in the previews – or maybe in photos – like the one below.
So had I.
I didn’t think much of it at the time. When you are sitting in the darkened theater and the film begins, everything seems different. I don’t know if it was the build up, maybe the music, or the herds of exotic animals on the big screen? But, you are going to see Mufasa’s valiant face pretty early in this film, and when you do….it just might make you turn to the person next to you and say an audible
Because that is what it did to us!!
Mufasa is gorgeous, regal, and stunning. You can see his wise eyes up-close. Watch his fur and mane blowing gently in the soft wind. The detail is astonishing. As my eyes gazed upon him in that moment …things got serious. I started thinking about the majesty of God and His beautiful creatures that are roaming this earth. For just a little while, I tried to grasp the thought of beautiful and exotic animals in the thousands or millions, so very far from my home, on a giant continent like Africa. God made each and every creature and I believe God cares for each one. I know God cares for me too, even as I sit in my small world, and look at my computer screen to write this for you. He cares for you – as you are reading it! If you believe the Bible then you know that God given us dominion over these beautiful creatures. Just imagine that! God is everywhere. Beautiful, majestic lions are such a small part of what God has created… and when you see Mufasa on the big screen… Mufasa almost leaves you breathless!!
Surprise #2: Rafiki is the “Dick Clark” of Pride Rock
The average life expectancy of a Mandrill (Rafiki is not a baboon, he’s a Mandrill) in captivity is 46 years. Who knew?? Well, Rafiki doesn’t even live in captivity, and he has to be at least 100 years old. I think this means Simba’s Kingdom, and Pride Rock, have been very good to him. He is such an amazing character and he holds up beautifully in live action. Have you noticed Rafiki never seems to age throughout the Lion King franchise? He’s portrayed as a wise old man as far back as 25 years ago in the original film, yet he remains spry and active for years and years. There is a beautiful scene in Live Action Lion King where Rafiki gets Simba to follow him through the dark jungle. Rafiki has no problem with his physical fitness, and let me tell you, he can really swing! In fact, young Simba loses Rafiki a couple of times in that scene – and has some trouble keeping up. Rafiki inspires me to keep my joy and remain forever young! I’d bet he’s a great dancer, too. Maybe he could host his own version of Pride Rock Bandstand or even a New Year’s (Pride Rock)in’ Eve. Yep, I am pretty sure that makes Rafiki the “Dick Clark” of Pride Rock.
Surprise #3: The Baby Animal Cuteness Factor is OFF THE CHARTS
Something for old and young here. During the big opening song, if you look closely, you will see little speckled baby ostriches running around. They look something like this.
I thought those little chicks just might be the cutest babies I’d ever seen until……later on … during Hakuna Matata. Pumbaa sings about how he was a young warthog. AND THEY SHOW HIM…oh my goodness. The realistic imaging on the big screen was almost too much to handle.
While Simba sings “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” you will need to brace yourself for more baby animals of all kinds!! Grouping together, walking together, frolicking in pairs… SO much baby animal super cuteness all in one place! Off the charts adorable. I don’t remember this many cute babies in the first Lion King. They surprised the heck out of me!
Surprise #4: “Be Our Guest” (the song!) makes an appearance
I don’t want to give too much away here because I loved the way they put this in the movie. I think you might enjoy it too!
Surprise #5: There Are Two NEW Songs
I was surprised to learn there are 2 new songs in this movie! One from Elton John and one from Beyonce.
I noticed a portion of Beyonce’s “Spirit” during the film. I recognized her singing voice right away. On a side note, it’s cool hearing Beyonce voice Nala’s speaking voice, as well.
I think you have to stick around for the end credits so you can hear “Never Too Late” by Elton John. I don’t recall hearing any portion this during the film, but maybe I missed it. Surprise!
A bonus surprise for me was how I sat through the whole film comparing it shot for shot (in my head) with the original. Apparently I am not the only one that thinks this way. I found a little video that gives you a side by side comparison of a few scenes. The video is a minute and a half long. I have put a link to it HERE.
In closing, the story we think we know so well just might have some surprises in store for you too! If you love the original film and you want to admire exotic wild animals up close on the big screen, go see Live Action Lion King! I enjoyed it very much, and it made for a fun afternoon of spending time with my friend Beatrice. Here are some links so you can follow the official accounts for more fun!
**Please note that I was invited to a complimentary viewing of this movie on July 10, 2019 so that I could bring you this review. The free admission in no way influenced my review, and all opinions are my own.**
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,
Aladdin basically repeats the exact story line from our animated favorite, yes, it’s true. But stay with me here – because I’m going to give you 5 reasons to go see this in the theater anyway. There are glorious parts that I think you’ll want to see and hear on the big screen if you are a die-hard Disney fan like I am. We are going to discuss rugs, Elsa moments and some other things to note as well. Fair warning, you may or may not find this review to be “spoiler free.” The story has been out since 1992, grossed more than $502 million at the global box office, and led to successful stage productions on Broadway and abroad as well as a North American touring company. Chances are as a Disney fan – you are familiar with the tale!
“Aladdin” opens in U.S. theaters nationwide May 24, 2019. My future daughter-in-lawKelsey and I attended the media screening on May 21, 2019.
The live-action versions of Mary Poppins, and even Dumbo – switched up the story so it was different from the animated versions. If you go looking for that again, you won’t see it.
Just the same, here is my list of Top 5 Reasons Disney Fans Should Go See Live-Action Aladdin:
#1 The opening song “Arabian Nights” ~ like you’ve never heard it before!
The film opens with a version of the song Arabian Nights – but this time – Will Smith is the singer! YES Will Smith is the Genie. I had trouble wrapping my brain around it before I saw the film. BUT, I think if you had any concerns about live-action Aladdin, especially anything Will Smith-related, they will vanish once that first big song kicks in. As a fan of Will’s work since way back in the day when he was “The Fresh Prince” … it’s safe to say that I have been jamming “Prince Willie Style” for a long time.
For Arabian Nights, I LOVED hearing his voice in full song. Our theater had the volume up pretty loud for the whole film, so it made it extra epic! I got chills hearing Will belt out to the swell of the music:
“Araabiaaan Niiiiiiii-i-i-ghts like Araaabiann Daaaays….”
You can just imagine.
“A Whole New World” and “Friend like Me” won Oscars back in 1992. Why did this one not get one too? “Arabian Nights” is fantastic, so if you enjoyed it in the animated film, I know you are getting me here. By the way, Will Smith as the Genie, did not try to get fancy with the tune or change the arrangement. You’re going to recognize it, it stays true to the classic.
Note how in parts of this film, Genie might remind you a bit of Will’s character in Hitch.
#2 The CAPTIVATING Magic Carpet
Photo Source: Kirsten Acuna from Insider.com and she got it from Disney
I read and saw as little as possible about this film in advance because I wanted to be surprised. I had no idea that the carpet made a splash and was overshadowingall this talk about Will Smith being the Genie – as early as February 2019. But wow, I totally get it now!! Keep your eyes on the carpet – he is CAPTIVATING!! The detail really presents itself on the big screen of a movie theater. I never knew I could get so excited about a rug.
Speaking of “rugs” Mena Massoud who plays Aladdin…bless his heart… what was going on with his hair in this film? Maybe it’s just me and the world that I live in. In case you hadn’t heard, I work with Peter Alden, who is a stunning and talented Elvis Presley Tribute Artist with his own natural and beautiful hair – in a time where even the really young “Elvis guys” wear wigs. I don’t know if Mena was wearing a wig, or if they straightened is hair in an effort to get it to look more like cartoon Aladdin. But the hair was distracting to me. I feel like they could have done better. Or even just left it alone. His natural hair is gorgeous. Go see this film on the big screen and tell me if you get what I am saying here.
#3 “Speechless” A Princess Anthem: Jasmine has an “Elsa” moment this time around!
I was so glad to hear Genie’s show-stopping familiar songs like”Friend Like Me” and the fantastic “A Whole New World.” The new live action remake of Aladdin brings to life brand new versions of all your favorite songs, but it also adds an all-new tune to the mix.
The courageous and self-determined Princess Jasmine is portrayed by Naomi Scott. Remember her? She used to be a Power Ranger. Go go Princess Jasmine! She has a thick British accent in real life – but she drops it and you totally forget about it during her role as Jasmine. During this film, she sings a new song called “Speechless.”
While watching this in the theater I thought to myself that surely they are trying to recapture the magic of “Let It Go” from Frozen. It really reminded me of that song and the whole Princess Elsa scene. Now that I am researching this whole thing, I have found that there is good reason for that.
The music is by original Aladdin composer, Alan Menken. Jasmine and her storyline with the desire to be free of the constraints of the palace and be recognized for her own abilities was major in the last film – but it’s given even more prominence in this one. The title of the song, “Speechless,” references the state that that those around Jasmine, like Jafar and her father, seem to want her to remain in. She, instead, wants to be able to speak her mind.
Does that sound a little like “Let It Go” to you?
I am from the (non-feminist) school of thought that Princesses were fine the way they were. But I enjoy seeing the girls shine in the newer films as well. So, to me, it’s mostly just nice for Jasmine to get a song of her own, because she never had one in the original animated film. If you recall, Jasmine’s only opportunity to sing back then – was as part of the “Whole New World” duet. Unlike many of Disney’s animated films, Jasmine is a princess that isn’t technically the main character in Aladdin. As I mentioned, she’s a bigger deal in this film….and as a Princess fan, that alone was enough to make me happy. Go see Aladdin in the theater just to catch Princess Jasmine on the big screen having her “Elsa” moment! The colors in the film, the music and the thought behind this — are positive — and fabulous.
#4 Aladdin dances Ballywood Style…On the Big Screen!
I’m going to leave that right there. The colors, the movement, the music…enough said.
#5 Prince Ali – fabulous he – Ali Ababwa…
Here comes the THRILLING and VIBRANT part. WOW, it was so beautiful, I almost cried. I can’t portray how fantastic this scene was to you in words. It was a moment I was happy that animation became live-action. This alone is a reason all Disney fans should go see this film in the theater, just to fully absorb the splendor. Here’s a YouTube video that gives you a couple sneak peeks at what I am talking about.
It is interesting to note that when Will as the Genie sings the original lyrics “brush off your sunday salaam” he changes them to “brush off your FRIDAY salaam” … all I can think of is that maybe he did that because the film will be released on a Friday? Tell me if you know something about that!
I hope you enjoyed reading my top 5 reasons to see Aladdin in theaters! Send me your list when you go see it! Here are some links so you can follow the official accounts for more fun!
**Please note that I was invited to a complimentary viewing of this movie on May 21, 2019 so that I could bring you this review. My guest and I each had to pay $8 for parking. The free admission and the money we shelled out for parking, in no way influenced my review, and all opinions are my own.**
Genre: Action Adventure
U.S. Release date: May 24, 2019
Cast: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid
Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Screenplay by: John August and Guy Ritchie
Animation Screenplay by: Ron Clements & John Musker and Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio
Based on: Disney’s “Aladdin”
Produced by: Dan Lin, p.g.a., Jonathan Eirich, p.g.a.
Find out what the buzz is all about! We’ve got the scoop for you here at Disneyways! You’ve seen it featured on major Disney Fan sites such as WDW Hints, WDW Magazine, City Surfing Orlando, and many more! Rave reviews from all major Disney influencers and talk show hosts are online now – for Peter Alden’s Kingdom Classics CD. If you don’t have this album for your Disney music collection – keep on reading to find out how to get yours!
Get ready for Classic Disney songs, with a retro rock vibe and your Disney hits with a Rock n Roll Twist!
Peter Alden captures the ‘classic’ feel of the golden age of rock and fuses it into some of your favorite Disney classics!!
Check out the demo video:
So who is the man behind the music? Thanks to all the coverage in the press, Disney fans who thought he was new on the scene, quickly found out that Peter Alden is a singer with a long and rich Disney history! He was a guest star on an episode of the Mickey Mouse Club TV show. He is proud to be an MGM Studios opening day cast member, a former Jungle Cruise Skipper, Backlot Tour team driver and “friend” of the Rocketeer! Currently, he resides full time in Orlando, right near the heart of Walt Disney World.
His performance career and resume are outstanding. He makes his living as a full time performer, and is a classically trained vocalist with “a voice like velvet.” When he’s not singing songs from Kingdom Classics, he performs everything from country to pop, while specializing in the golden era of rock n roll. He has a background in musical theater productions has worked for years to perfect his performance, in all ways – from vocal styling to mannerisms, from costuming to stage presence. In addition, his charm, sense of humor, and down to earth personality has endeared him to audiences everywhere. Peter has performed to acclaim across the country and in many parts of the world including Wales, Beijing, Mexico, Singapore, Vancouver, and Puerto Rico. He effortlessly combines his beautiful 5 octave vocal range with an energetic execution of well-selected repertoire.
The next time you visit Florida to visit the Disney Parks, make sure you check Pete’s schedule to see if he’s in town. You can find his appearances listed monthly on his Facebook Fan Page and his website. If you hit the timing just right – you can experience for yourself how Peter Alden has won the hearts of so many, and thoroughly entertained crowds around the globe with his exceptional performances!
Here’s a little known Disneyways treasure – just for you! If you don’t want to leave Disney property – you can hire Peter Alden to perform a private concert in the location of your choice. Send an email to PeterAldenTeam@gmail.com for more information. It’s a great way to celebrate a birthday, or any special occasion! But don’t take my word for it. Ask Disney fan Beatrice Denis, who hired Pete to perform his tribute to Elvis at her Disney wedding inside a grand villa suite in Disney’s Bay Lake Tower! You can see the album of photos HERE.