A Heroic Look At Big Hero 6

big-hero-6

It’s become evidently clear that the purchase of Marvel by Disney has turned out to be a huge win for the company, especially when it comes to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  One of the tasks set by Bob Iger upon purchase was to search through the Marvel catalog to find out what else might be available for adaptation.  Don Hall discovered Big Hero 6 and ended up pitching it to John Lasseter.  Some of the characters had to be dropped due to their movie rights being owned by Fox, and many aspects of the characters were adjusted, but the focus remained on the relationship between Hiro and Baymax.

Due to some contention about live action vs. animation it was decided that Big Hero 6 would be set in its own universe rather than be part of the MCU and thus was born the amalgam city of San Fransokyo.  It’s nice to see creativity on this level and a step toward taking ownership of characters that, while interesting, never really integrated well into the Marvel Universe in the first place.  Each of the characters was reborn as something rooted in their original version, yet they were all now joined together with a common origin instead of having the diverse backgrounds they have in comics.  And they’re all better for it.

The movie itself is a really interesting and enjoyable take on the superhero origin story.  It has a flair to it, much the same way that Wreck-It Ralph did 2 years ago.  Disney is showing a very gratifying trend that takes them away from their “safe zone” of animated movies and starts to etch out new and exciting concepts and creations. And that’s a good thing – diversity of design shows an ability to grow and adapt that once once thought lost to the company.  One thing to look for is that at least 2 of the characters, Aunt Cass and Honey Lemon, look like modified models of prior characters Helen Parr and Lucille Krunklehorn.

I will say that while really great and enjoyable mind candy to a huge superhero fan like myself that Big Hero 6 does not have quite the “Wow!” Factor that Wreck-It Ralph did.  But it does make up for that with a very solid and well engineered story.  So instead of the wild ride that was Wreck-It Ralph at times, what you get is something a bit more grounded.  And that serves the story well, and makes the movie better for it.

The characters in the movie are really strong.  Hiro is a stereotypical teenager – sassy, smart mouthed, quippy, mopey, angsty, etc.  It’s all in there.  He suffers a lot of classic “superhero origin story loss” both on and off screen.   And when he loses his footing in the world he lashes out, and his super friends (see what I did there?) have re-ground him.  The story itself is very procedural, much like any TV crime drama where, and thus it has an endgame that very easy to piece together.  But that doesn’t make it bad, because the intricacies of getting to that point aren’t as obvious as the point itself.  So the fun is the journey in between.

So when you head out to see Big Hero 6, prepare yourself for a little slice of awesome. Your entire family is very likely to find something to make them both laugh and cry in this movie.  The same can be said for it’s opening short Feast which every dog lover on the planet will “totally get”.  Vinyl is in again. Fah-la-la-la-la.

In addition to doing the web design and programming for the On the Go in MCO website, Todd Perlmutter is a host for the Disney Film Project Podcast.

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Disney Cruise Line’s Halloween on the High Seas

Halloween on the High SeasI know Halloween was last week, but I wanted to share some of my experiences and pictures from my Disney Cruise last week. Halloween on the High Seas was a new celebration added this year by DCL to some of their fall itineraries. Having not been on a cruise before, I thought this was a cool added bonus to be able to experience Halloween on the Disney Dream.

When I boarded the ship I was so excited to see decorations right as we entered the atrium in the form of the Pumpkin Tree. I also noticed quite a few decorations on decks 3 and 4 in particular in the common areas. There were several activities spread out over the four day cruise to the Bahamas for Halloween that I wanted to see. As much as I wanted to, I could not get to them all, but the ones I went to were quite fun.

The characters were featured in Halloween costumes in the atrium for Mickey’s Mousequerade Party, which was great fun. Kids and parents alike participated as well, dressing up in costumes, trick or treating, and playing fun games and having a dance party. I also got to see the first part of the story of the Pumpkin Tree, which was quite a fun addition. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to make it back to see the second half of the story due to a conflict with show schedules, but was able to see the Pumpkin Tree in bloom. Also, each of the three rotational restaurants had really cool pumpkins carved and Halloween decorations at their entrances.

If you get a chance, I highly recommend booking a cruise for next year over the fall season with the hopes that Halloween on the High Seas will occur again on the Disney Cruise Line ships. As always, things are subject to change, but I hope they will bring back this fun celebration in the future.

Photo Oct 27, 5 00 42 PM Photo Oct 27, 7 29 07 PM Photo Oct 27, 7 29 13 PM Photo Oct 27, 7 35 51 PM Photo Oct 27, 9 46 31 PM Photo Oct 27, 9 46 36 PM Photo Oct 27, 9 46 40 PM Photo Oct 28, 2 03 07 PM Photo Oct 28, 8 26 39 AM Photo Oct 28, 8 28 19 AM Photo Oct 28, 8 28 30 AM Photo Oct 28, 8 28 35 AM Photo Oct 28, 9 25 16 PM Photo Oct 28, 9 25 21 PM Photo Oct 28, 9 25 26 PM Photo Oct 29, 4 47 06 PM Photo Oct 29, 4 48 45 PM Photo Oct 29, 4 49 05 PM Photo Oct 29, 4 50 13 PM Photo Oct 29, 4 52 46 PM Photo Oct 29, 4 53 43 PM Photo Oct 29, 4 53 56 PM Photo Oct 29, 4 59 49 PM Photo Oct 29, 5 00 11 PM Photo Oct 29, 5 02 39 PM Photo Oct 29, 5 02 45 PM

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UCF Kicking Off 2014-2015 Opera Season With Fall Gala

University of Central Florida UCF Opera Fall Gala

UCF Opera Kicks Off 2014-2015 Season With 10TH-Annual Fall Gala Concert

University of Central Florida Opera celebrates a decade of growth with two nights of entertainment

University of Central Florida (UCF) Opera is kicking off the 2014-2015 season with its 10th-annual gala concert, “It’s a Grand Knight of Singing,” November 15 and 16.

“It’s a Grand Knight of Singing” celebrates a decade of growth for the UCF Opera program, showcasing a variety of famous works that have defined the art of opera. Performances will feature a compilation of popular scenes by highly regarded composers, including Henry Purcell, Wolfgang A. Mozart, Gaetano Donizetti, Georges Bizet, and Giuseppe Verdi. Through creative skits and presentations performed in collaboration with Theatre UCF, the gala will also showcase the high level of artistry within the university’s School of Performing Arts.

“Opera at UCF has grown exponentially in the last 10 years,” said Thomas Potter, UCF Opera executive director. “This gala gives us the opportunity to celebrate our progress through the craft we know best: music.”

Cost to attend is $15 general admission, $10 seniors, $5 under 18, and free for persons with a current UCF I.D. including students, faculty and staff. Proceeds directly benefit the continued development of the UCF Opera program.

UCF Opera Fall Gala Information In A Glance

Who:                     University of Central Florida (UCF) Opera

What:                   UCF Opera’s 10th-Annual Gala, “It’s a Grand Knight for Singing”

When:                  Saturday, November 15, 7 p.m.

Sunday, November 16, 3 p.m.

Where:                University of Central Florida, Visual Arts Building, Auditorium 132

4000 Central Florida Blvd., Orlando, FL 32816

Free parking is available in the parking lot next to the Visual Arts Building.

You can find more ticket and event information at www.music.ucf.edu/opera.

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Bring Home Maleficent Today

Maleficent DVD Blu-Ray

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of Maleficent for this review. All opinions are my own.

Disney’s beautiful and wicked Maleficent is available today on Disney Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, Digital HD, Disney Movies Anywhere, DVD and On-Demand platforms.

Maleficent is my absolute favorite Disney Villain, and when this movie was announced I was beside myself. I was even more excited when I had the chance to meet her this year at Disney’s Social Media Moms!

Maleficent Disney Social Media Moms

If you haven’t had a chance to see Maleficent, here is a quick synopsis.

Explore the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain in this wickedly fun twist on the classic “Sleeping Beauty.” In an unforgiving mood after a neighboring kingdom threatens her forest, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) places an irrevocable curse on the king’s newborn daughter, the Princess Aurora. But as the child grows, Maleficent finds herself becoming fond of the girl. And as the conflict between the two realms intensifies,Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land. Journey beyond the fairy tale in this soaring adventure that is “visually arresting, brilliantly designed” (Andrew Barker, Variety).

httpv://youtu.be/_pgmFAOgm5E

The Maleficent bonus features are amazing! I especially enjoyed “Building An Epic Battle” where we get a glimpse into how King Henry and Maleficent‘s opening battle scene was created using gigantic wire rigs and elaborate choreography. 

The bonus features differ based on which release you purchase of Maleficent, so here is a quick comparison of what you will find!

Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD/SD & Disney Movies Anywhere

  • From Fairy Tale to Feature Film – Reimagining Maleficent for a new generation
  • Building An Epic Battle –Creating the clash between Maleficent and King Henry’s Forces
  • Classic Couture – Examine Maleficent’s spellbinding head wraps and jewelry.
  • Maleficent Revealed – Explore the layers of extraordinary special effects.
  • Aurora: Becoming A Beauty – Elle Fanning reveals her lifelong love of Disney’s original animated classic.
  • Deleted Scenes:

– “Stefan In King’s Chamber”

– “Pixie Idiots”

– “Diaval asks about the Curse”

–  “Pixies Seek Asylum”

–  “Suitor”

  • And More!

*Digital bonus offerings will vary per retailer

DVD 

  • Aurora: Becoming A Beauty

Maleficent is an interesting and visually stunning retelling of a story that we all love with the villain we all love to hate, and if you haven’t seen it yet I would definitely give it a viewing!

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Planes: Fire & Rescue Has An On-Time Arrival For The Holidays

Planes: Fire & Rescue

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of Planes: Fire & Rescue for this review. All opinions are my own.

Planes: Fire & Rescue releases today on Disney Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD, Disney Movies Anywhere, DVD and On-Demand platforms and you are going to want to fly out and grab one! Planes: Fire & Rescue features action, comedy, memorable characters, and never-before-seen bonus features.

In this installment, Dusty Crophopper, the world famous racer, has joined an elite fire and rescue unit and learns what it takes to be a true hero. 

PLANESFIRE & RESCUE” is a new comedy-adventure about second chances, featuring a dynamic crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from raging wildfire. When world-famous air racer Dusty (voice of Dane Cook) learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting. Dusty joins forces with veteranfire-and-rescue helicopter Blade Ranger (voice of Ed Harris) and his courageous team, including spirited air tanker Dipper (voice of Julie Bowen), heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter (voice of Wes Studi), ex-military transport Cabbie (voice of Captain Dale Dye) and a lively bunch of brave all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers. Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero.

httpv://youtu.be/Vr2yt5_X9ro

Each release of Planes: Fire & Rescue is a little bit different, so here is some information on what you can expect to find on your copy.

Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD/SD & Disney Movies Anywhere

  • Exclusive Animated Short – “Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular”
  • “Welcome to Piston Peak! – This mock-umentary promotional piece shows off all the highlights of the acclaimed Piston Peak National Park and its aerial firefighting team.
  • “CHoPs” TV Promo – An in-world TV promo with announce.
  • Air Attack:  Firefighters From The Sky – This high-energy, music-driven behind-the-scenes piece takes an inside look at the real smoke jumpers and firefighters who attack wildfires from the air as Director Roberts Gannaway and Producer Ferrell Barron take us through their journey in making the film.
  • Spencer Lee Music Video “Still I Fly”
  • Deleted Scenes with Filmmaker Introductions:

– “Honkers”

– “Dusty’s Dream No More”

  • Animated Shorts:

– “Dipper”

– “Smokejumpers” 

*Digital bonus offerings will vary per retailer

DVD 

  • Spencer Lee Music Video “Still I Fly”

Exclusive DMA Discover Content:

  • Animated Shorts:

– “Blade Ranger”

– “Piston Peak”

Zoe and I really enjoyed Planes: Fire & Rescue! I thought that this movie had a better feel than the first movie, which doesn’t happen often, and the bonus features were a lot of fun!

For little ones that love cars, planes, trucks, and more this is a great holiday gift or stocking stuffer!

 

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