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SH S3E01: 2017 Predictions

SH S3E01: 2017 Predictions
Screen Heroes

 
 
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We’re back with a whole new season in a whole new year! Screen Heroes returns for Season 3 to talk about our 2017 predictions for movies and TV shows! We provide our predictions for the following 13 questions:

  • What movie will make the most money in 2017?
  • What movie will be our personal favorite or best for 2017?
  • What movie will we dislike the most?
  • What movie do we think will surprise everyone (positive and negative)?
  • Which blockbuster film will bomb?
  • What will be the best comic book movie of the year?
  • What will be the worst comic book movie of the year?
  • What new TV are we most looking forward to?
  • What TV show will get canceled in 2017?\
  • What TV show will get a surprise renewal?
  • What long-running show will come to an end (min. 4 seasons)?
  • Which franchise do we think will get a reboot announcement in 2017?
  • What animated film will perform the best in 2017?

Make sure to comment with your 2017 predictions or hit us up on our Facebook page!

Also, go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 8PM CST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Don’t forget to subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Google Play, and Feedburner are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

2017 Predictions Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

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SH S3E01: 2017 Predictions

Our Most Anticipated Movies of 2017

As the host of a movie-centric podcast, I’m constantly looking toward the horizon. I am capable of anticipating movies with more vigor than I do food. Food! Sustenance. The stuff that keeps me alive is less appealing to me than films. That’s how much I look forward to films. As such, 2017 is packing a huge punch that has me salivating! Here is my list of the Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2017!

10. Kong: Skull Island

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It’s a great year when I get to see exaggerated monsters kill puny humans. Morbid, I know, but what are ya gonna do? Throw in industry favorites like Samuel L. Jackson and John Goodman and you have me hooked. The trailer is stunning from start to finish, using a combination of adventure and horror imagery to create what looks like it’s going to be a great film. And if it’s not, fingers crossed puny humans still die.

9. Kingsman: The Golden Circle

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The first film in this franchise exploded, shattering all kinds of records and expectations.  Featuring the talent of Colin Firth and Michael Caine in all of their Britishy goodness, the film oozed charm and gore.  It even introduced us to the likes of Sofia Boutella and Taron Egerton, both of whom had a fantastic 2016.  The second installment is likely to bring us the same unexpected viewing pleasures, bringing the cast to America  and adding in Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges to the mix.

8. Coco
coco-poster

Cars 3 may be the obvious money maker for Pixar in 2017, but it’s Coco that has me excited. Featuring a young Latin boy with a guitar and the sweetest looking grandma ever, the film will draw attention to the beloved Dia de los Muertos. While Book of Life did a magnificent job showcasing the beauty of the aforementioned holiday, it has been often looked over or lumped in with Halloween movies. One can only hope that Coco can achieve the recognition the holiday deserves as well as give me the Pixar treatment of entertainment and soul.

7. Thor: Ragnarok
thor-_ragnarok_logo

There are a lot of reasons to look forward to the MCU next year, the very worthy Thor being one of them. The super hottie with the sexy accent is finally back, fulfilling that blackening void that’s eaten away at us since Avengers: Age of Ultron. Seriously, there’s been three other movies in the timeline since we last saw Thor. But I digress. The title of Ragnarok promises epic war across multiple realms, a cast that includes both the Hulk and Hel, and explanations to Thor’s mystery bath time in Avengers: AoU. Fingers crossed there’s more shirtless scenes.

6. Beauty and the Beast
beauty_and_the_beast_official_poster

Disney is just killing this list! While lightsabers and capes can excite anyone, fairy tales are near and dear to me too. This being my favorite Disney film of all time, you just know I’ll be first in the metaphorical line to see this film. The live action adaptation has been a massive undertaking, creating visual spectacles never seen before and featuring one of the most talented casts in a musical to date. That’s right; it’s a musical. I guess Christopher Walken didn’t ruin it for everyone with The Jungle Book.

5. Star Wars Episode VIII
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It’s difficult not to be excited about this next Star Wars installment. The Force Awakens managed to both wrap up loose ends and create a plethora of questions that we are just dying to have answered. Who are Rey’s parents? Will Luke train her? Who is Snoke? Will Kylo ever find true love? So. Many. Questions! I can’t promise I won’t shed a tear when I see General Organa on the screen for what may be the last time. The passing of Carrie Fisher was painful for many and this should serve as a tribute to the beautiful legacy she left behind.

4. Justice League
justice_league_movie____2017__poster_by_mrdeks-dabh40c

2016 was a rough year for DC. Fans everywhere hit them hard with criticisms, ranging from completely justified to grossly asinine. But this is what it’s all been building toward and we’re gonna see the payoff so soon, I can feel it. The pressure has been on Warner Bros and DC from the beginning and they sure are feeling it. I believe, though, that they’ve taken their hits, they’ve fixed what’s broken, highlighted what’s amazing, and will make 2017 their year. Remember, boys and girls, there’s enough fandom love for all superheroes.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
gotg_vol2_poster

Speaking of fandom love, this franchise can do no wrong. This film seemed to up the cuteness factor by giving everyone more of what they wanted: EFFING BABY GROOT. We were all dying for cute tree time and we got it. You could sit there and literally forget the awesome introduction of Mantis, the inclusion of Yondu on the team, the awkward exchanges between Drax and Star-Lord, and focus solely on Groot pushing the doom button and still think it’s the best movie to ever exist. And it will probably get very close. That’s not hyperbole. That’s fact.

2. Power Rangers
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I know, an odd choice for number 2. But I can’t help it. Power Rangers has been one of my favorite franchises since I was super teeny tiny kid child thing.  I loved everything about it and the trailers for the new film make me love it even more. I do not care one bit that the redesigns are weird looking or that it’s basically The Breakfast Club with super powers. Those things make it awesome. I’m so eager to see where they’re able to take this that I don’t care one bit if it bombs or doesn’t live up to the hype. Go back, watch the original film and tell me it’s a great representation of American cinema. Great representation of color-coordinated jammies, sure. But film? Hell no. This movie is going to be pure fun and if you’re expecting more, then you should probably re-prioritize before viewing.

1.Wonder Woman
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What else could number 1 be? Every time I see this trailer, I tear up a little. Do you know what it’s like to see your childhood hero come to life for the first time in your lifetime? It’s exhilarating.  It’s a warm, glowing feeling that starts in your stomach and catches in your throat. It’s the feeling of your hopes and dreams realized. To some, this is going to be an epic cinematic feature. To others, it will be a necessary stepping stone to get to the Justice LeagueTo me, this will be an emotional 2 hours where I’ll be moved beyond measure. This is a film featuring a woman I’ve always looked up to, always emulated, always dreamed of being.

We left a lot off our list. What movies are you looking forward to? Did we leave your favorite movies off the list? Yell at me in the comments. You know you want to!

Our Most Anticipated Movies of 2017

SH S2E25: Screen Heroes Awards

Welcome to our 50th Episode of the Screen Heroes podcast! Thank you for all of your support over the last year. We’ve got something very special for you this week, the First Annual Screen Heroes Awards!

We nominated actors, characters, shows, and movies across 17 different categories and you helped us pick the winners by voting on Facebook, Twitter, our website, and even Instagram! Now, join us as we announce our Screen Heroes Awards winners in each category with the help of five special guests that include previous Screen Heroes guests and some new comers. We also give away a voter prize with each category! So listen in and see if you won!

Don’t forget that we have re-branded! The Grid Daily is now the Heroes Podcast Network and we have new homes across the Interwebs. So check out the updated links below and make sure you follow our brand new Twitch Channel at twitch.tv/heroespodcasts.

We’ve also updated all of our podcast feeds so iTunes, Google Play, and Feedburner will be pulling episodes from HeroesPodcasts.com! If you are already subscribed, you shouldn’t have any issues.

Facebook.com/HeroesPodcasts

Twitter.com/HeroesPodcasts

Instagram.com/HeroesPodcasts

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Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 8PM CST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Don’t forget to subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Google Play, and Feedburner are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Screen Heroes Awards Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guests
Austin Brubaker
Allen Jones
Russ Matthews
Jordan Seper
Ian Turner

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

Google Play Subscription Link
https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iwvfusxqyignwamadhc3viav4qy

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SH S2E25: Screen Heroes Awards

SH S2E23: Disney’s Moana Review

We’ve got a big episode for you today! Yes, we are reviewing Disney’s Moana but we have so much more! We kick things off by talking about next week’s First Annual Screen Heroes Awards which airs live on Tuesday, December 6th at 8PM CST on Twitch. You can join us live for the awards and discussion at twitch.tv/heroespodcasts! Be sure to follow our channel so you get notifications when we go live. We will be bringing back lots of previous guests, announcing the winners of our 17 TV and film categories, plus, we’ll be giving stuff away to people who join us live!

We’ve also got a very special episode later this week! Join us live Thursday, December 1st at 8PM CST directly after DC’s Legends of Tomorrow! We will be recaping and breaking down the CW\DC Crossover event that is currently in full swing. The event spans Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, so we’ll be discussing the whole event! Join us live at 8PM CST at twitch.tv/heroespodcasts to be part of the conversation!

Then, of course, our main event! We review Disney’s Moana which is now in theaters starring newcomer Auli’i Cravalho and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson! There will be spoilers from Moanaso you have been warned! We talk about the animation style, tone of the film, characters, actors, and music, along with anything else that pops into our heads.

Don’t forget that we have re-branded! The Grid Daily is now the Heroes Podcast Network and we have new homes across the Interwebs. So check out the updated links below and make sure you follow our brand new Twitch Channel at twitch.tv/heroespodcasts.

We’ve also updated all of our podcast feeds so iTunes, Google Play, and Feedburner will be pulling episodes from HeroesPodcasts.com! If you are already subscribed, you shouldn’t have any issues.

Facebook.com/HeroesPodcasts

Twitter.com/HeroesPodcasts

Instagram.com/HeroesPodcasts

Patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Twitch.tv/HeroesPodcasts

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Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 8PM CST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Don’t forget to subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Google Play, and Feedburner are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Disney’s Moana Review Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

Google Play Subscription Link
https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iwvfusxqyignwamadhc3viav4qy

iTunes Subscription Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/screen-heroes-grid-dailys/id1071922623

Feedburner Subscription Link
http://feeds.feedburner.com/griddaily/screenheroes

RSS Feed Link
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Social Media
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Facebook Page

SH S2E23: Disney’s Moana Review

Star Wars Battlefront: Death Star DLC

This past week marked the arrival of the third Star Wars: Battlefront DLC, “Death Star.” Releasing two weeks early to season pass holders, this DLC allows players to fight inside the infamous battle station, finally dogfight in space, and make the famous trench run from A New Hope. The Star Wars: Battlefront “Death Star” DLC comes with an all new mode in multiplayer, Battle Station, new star cards, weapons, ships, pickups, and new heroes and villains to play.

Here we take a look at the three new phases presented in the new mode, Battle Station that was specifically created for this DLC.

Phase 1Battlefront DLC

The first phase is where you attack a Star Destroyer preventing one of the rebellion landing craft from entering the Death Star. This is where the dog-fighting in space comes into play. As the Rebels you must attack four key hard points on the Star Destroyer in a limited amount of time in order to break the blockade and allow your shuttle to pass through. As the Empire, you are trying to prevent your Star Destroyer from being blown up and allowing the Rebels access to the Death Star. During the space battles you get new pickups as you’re flying around. This allows you to call in wing-men to help assist in the battle. The Rebels get Y-Wings and B-Wings while the Empire get TIE Bombers and Defenders (a fighter previously in the EU). Think of them kind like probe droids in space; they hunt enemies down while providing you cover and giving you more points.

Phase 2star-wars-battlefront-death-star-dlc

The second phase is where the Rebels make their way inside the Death Star to retrieve R2-D2 who has the stolen plans for the station. In there you fight along the halls and hangers of the Death Star and try to retrieve R2 before the Empire stops you from doing so. New heroes come into play during this mode as well, Chewbacca for the Rebels and Bossk for the Empire. Both have unique special abilities than can aid in the battle for their side. Along with new heroes and villains you get new skins for the Rebels and Empire. Ranging from the classic Tantive IV Rebel security uniform to a Death Star gunner’s uniform there is a lot to pick from. Also included in the map is, of course, the Death Star layout itself. This map is one of the bigger maps. It is beautifully designed and has callbacks from the original Battlefront games back in the early 2000’s. Here you utilize the new star cards and blasters that EA and DICE have developed.

Phase 3Trench Run-Death Star

Once you retrieve R2 or if you stop the Rebels from doing so it will lead you to the third and final phase which is the trench run. Similar to how it goes in the movie, you must either defend three fighters going into the trench from TIE Fighters and give them time to destroy the Death Star, or try and prevent the Rebels at all cost in doing just that. If you play as the Rebels and are chosen randomly by the game to destroy the Death Star then you must navigate through the trench and hit 12 checkpoint markers. The trench isn’t just a straight line, it’s a lot of twists and turns through narrow gaps to try and reach the exhaust port. You will need to use speed, timing, and your power-ups if you want to reach the objective on time. If all three fighters fail, then a new batch is picked to try and do another run until the Death Star is blown up or time runs out. As the Empire you are trying to protect the Death Star no matter what. The same pickups from the first phase are available to both sides to try and protect one another. Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker return as the heroes for this phase in their ships. Luke in his X-Wing with new abilities and Darth Vader in his TIE Advanced X1.

So far this is the last of the Original Trilogy themed DLC we are going to get. The final DLC, “Rogue One: Scarif”, which will tie into the new movie, will be released sometime this December.

How are you all liking Battlefront so far? Are you satisfied with all the DLC to date? What DLC would you have wanted to see or game modes you want to see in Battlefront 2? Let us know in the comments below.

Star Wars Battlefront: Death Star DLC

Jasmine and Modesty

It’s been a full 24 years since Aladdin first came out in theaters, bringing the fictional land of Agrabah to us all. The movie featured a strong titular hero, but had some of the best side characters in a Disney movie yet. That includes the caring and adventurous Princess Jasmine. As a little girl, I loved her. I found her brazen attitude sassy and invigorating. She continued the 90’s effort to make the Disney females more reflective of real women while maintaining their air of elegance.

Jasmine stood out for numerous reasons that were even obvious to kids. She was the first (and still only) princess in the Disney line who is not the main character of the story. She is also, by far, the most provocatively dressed. An argument could be made for Ariel while she’s still a fish, but comparing human to human, the argument falls flat. Now, fast forward 24 years, and apparently, that’s a problem.

Disney Changes Things Up

This past weekend, Walt Disney World debuted a new official outfit for the Jasmine mascot.  The most glaring change was immediately noticed by attendees: Jasmine’s midriff and arms were completely covered. While other changes were made (the teal color was lightened and a new wig was added), this seems to be the most divisive. Disney representatives were quoted saying that multiple complaints were made by park-goers regarding Jasmine’s exposed midriff. jasmine-new-costume-at-walt-disney-world-tall

While this costume does deviate strongly from the familiar animated one, it still projects the same image of Jasmine as before. It also bears a striking resemblance to the wedding outfit Jasmine wears at the end of the film and the third movie.

Since it’s debut, the multitude of fans hating the costume has grown. It seems like a silly change to make so far from Jasmine’s live park debut. Why would they do that now?

But Why?

It’s no shocking breakthrough when a woman is judged based off of her clothes. While I was a cocktail server at a casino, I was repeatedly called a “whore” for my required uniform (a simple cocktail dress). Usually, though, my response to forced modesty on women is a big “F U!” However, I have to consider the full scope of this. There have been many accounts of former Disney mascots reportedly harassed or even assaulted by park attendees in the past, with most of them agreeing that Jasmine gets the brunt of it. If this is more of a measure to protect the women in costume, then I can’t argue that. I can only wonder why they haven’t done similar costume changes for Ariel, Pocahontas, and Tinkerbell (midriff exposed, short skirt, short skirt). The aforementioned characters are almost harassed as much as Jasmine.

Another suspected reason is a roll out for the upcoming winter season. Most of the Disney parks change things up with the seasons, doing big themes for Halloween and Christmas alike. People have largely forgotten that Aladdin also got a costume change, reflecting his more regal position at the end of the film.  Yet again, the question remains, why are these characters singled out? When the parks make the large changes for the seasons, it’s not just one or two characters that fall in line. It’s the entire park. They’re also way too early for both Halloween and Christmas.

aladdin_and_jasmine

Lastly, changes in costume are often made when new merchandise or films are going to be released. Both Elsa and Anna got beautiful makeovers for Frozen Fever which were reflected in merchandising and park representation. Yet no news has been released regarding any new endeavors into Agrabah, so while this is the most agreeable reason to change costumes, it’s the least likely of them all.

Jasmine’s Still Hot

As of now, there’s been no other changes to modify Jasmine’s modesty.  There hasn’t been a huge roll out of new toys and dolls (they are not the same thing!) of midriff-covered princesses. Even the official Jasmine costume sold by the park to children still comes in two pieces rather than one. 400106001404

It will be some time before we know the true motive behind the unusual change. I know I personally can’t wrap my head around the switch. Is it possible that the 90’s was actually a more progressive era regarding women? Have we socially regressed or is this the park wanting to protect their employees? We may truly never know.

Personally, I believe the new outfit is absolutely beautiful and reflects the nature and culture of Jasmine just as well as it had in the past. My preference still lies in the previous style, but that is due to my love for all screen accurate costumes (it’s a cosplay thing I have.)

EDIT: Back in May, Pocahontas and Mulan both received new costumes, seemingly enhancing their regal positions, however, neither changed the modesty of the costume itself. pm2-800x356

What do you think about Jasmine’s new outfit? Are you outraged? By change or by tummies? Comment below!

Jasmine and Modesty

Pixar Films – A Ranking Part 1

With Pixar’s Finding Dory finally in theaters, it’s time for us to rank the existing 17 Pixar films. If you’re curious about our take on Finding Dory, head over to our spoiler-free review here. Pixar has been warming our hearts and challenging our emotions since the 1995 release of Toy Story. Since then, we’ve seen their computer generated animated features advance and progress to the level of receiving nominations for Best Picture at the Academy Awards for both Toy Story 3 and Up. In total, Pixar has won 13 Academy Awards across 16 films. In fact, we’ve loved Pixar movies so much that we’ve even given them a pass from time to time, like in the case of Cars 2. We get it, sometimes you just want to pay the bills and sells tons of toys. We forgive you since you brought us Inside Out.

So with all of that in mind, here is my attempt at ranking the existing Pixar films. Like we do with other franchises and movie universes (yes, some of us believe all of the Pixar films are somehow connected), we will keep this list updated as more movies come out.

In Part 1, I get through 17-9 with 8-1 in Part 2 coming soon!

17. Cars 2

Cars 2

Okay, do I need to go into detail here? It’s a sequel of Pixar’s merchandising grab film and it’s not even done as well. I’ll save everyone some time and just move on. If you think this one should be ranked higher, please comment below.

16. Cars

Cars Mia and Tia Title

While better than the sequel, this movie just doesn’t do it for me. I’m used to Pixar films that create incredible universes within our own, complex stories and characters that push the viewer emotionally and psychologically. As I noted earlier, some people, myself included, like to believe all of the Pixar films fit together and while there is a pretty outlandish theory about how Cars fits in, I don’t buy it. This film takes the easy way out by ignoring the rules of our own world, something they had to deal with in A Bug’s Life, Ratatouille, and Toy Story. Those challenges made for better story telling and more complex environment.

15. Monsters University

Monsters University Banner

Pixar had incredible success with the Toy Story sequels and decided to try something different, a prequel. The movie includes the charm of both John Goodman and Billy Crystal but much like Men in Black II, it loses much of its awe and originality. Many of the new characters were cute but it seemed like a step back from the first film which included a larger universe and dealt with the consequences of actions on both the Monster and human worlds. In the end, this film falls into a common trap of prequels. Most people, like me, want to see the story continue, see the effects of the first film. Whether or not these monsters had official training didn’t really stick with me as a need to know concept.

14. A Bug’s Life

A Bug's Life Banner

Alright, so it’s Pixar’s second movie. It premiered three years after Toy Story. Special effects hadn’t really progressed much in that time but Pixar continued with a similar formula. I did love how they created this great little bug universe within our own. This forced the film makers to work within the constraints of our world while giving life to something new. The voice cast was strong with Kevin Spacey playing a solid villain. I also enjoyed Julia Louis-Dreyfus, though I am a huge Seinfeld and Veep fan. The truth is though, the thing that sticks with me most from this movie is actually the short before it, Geri’s Game in which an old man plays chess with himself. It’s brilliant, fun, entertaining, and I fell in love with the character. Part of me even sees this old man as an alternate or early version of Carl from Up. Let’s not forget that this short also won Best Animated Short at the Academy Awards that year. It’s only one of three Pixar shorts to do this, the other two being Tin Toy and For the Birds from Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. respectively.

13. Brave

Brave Title

This movie never stuck with me and I’m actually ranking it higher than I think I should because the animation was really well done. The story didn’t grab me and I found the premise to be a little silly more often than not. And yes, I know we’re talking about animated kids’ films. The whole daughter wants to do her own thing… thing was nothing new and the spin of her mom turning into a bear just didn’t interest me. I am too used to Pixar doing new things in new worlds and/or pushing my emotions to the extreme. This movie does none of this but does handle the animation well enough. The hair is cool and all but I was more impressed with the balloons in Up and the fuzzy fur stuff on the emotions in Inside Out.

12. The Good Dinosaur

Good Dinosaur Cover Image

Okay, so I think this might be the only Pixar film outside of the Cars movies, I didn’t see in theaters. It just didn’t happen and neither did its box office numbers. I guess I feel very similar to that. This movie is fine. The story is good and reminded me quite a bit of The Land Before Time. I liked the story, for the most part, but I felt like just too many annoying bad things kept happening to Arlo. This movie gets bumped up quite a bit though because of how awesome the animation is. It’s superb and deserves to be noticed. The scenery, the water, the textures, just outstanding across the board. That being said, it’s not enough to save the movie that included a VERY predictable story. I mean, was anyone surprised when Poppa died the way he did? No? The moment he takes Arlo into that field at night with the fireflies, I knew that man was a goner. And he ended up dying in almost the exact same way as Mufasa in The Lion King, except no acting antagonist did it. It’s just kind of Arlo’s fault. The universe they built was okay but I would have liked a larger picture like we got in Monsters Inc. Where are the other dinosaurs? No predators? Friends? Neighbors? Just one family in the middle of no where. I, of course, am not referring to those Arlo finds on his journey but I guess maybe everyone is just on the other side of the mountain.

11. Ratatouille

Ratatouille Banner

This movie has a decent enough cast and does a solid job of creating the mouse world within our own. The animation is solid with colorful and fun characters. The food was also done well. It’s a cute story and Linguini is a cute character. I enjoyed Remy and the relationships he had with his family. All-in-all, it’s a cute, fun film that doesn’t tax much on the emotional spectrum. It doesn’t quite crack the Top 10 and I think this is due to its lack of emotional punch and/or technical prowess. It doesn’t push any boundaries.. Keep in mind that the movies above it are all spectacular and a couple have even received Best Picture nominations at the Academy Awards. I like this movie and find it enjoyable. It’s just not one I look forward to viewing time and time again.

10. Finding Dory

Finding Dory Definition

Since this one is so new, I’ll try to avoid spoilers. In short, this movie takes some of our favorite characters from the first film and basically makes them do it all over again but this time for Dory. The plot is very similar to the first film but the characters and voice cast are spot on. I love these characters, even all of the new ones. Ed O’Neil’s Hank is great, Destiny and Bailey are fun too. I love them all. Dory’s story, which we get to see from a very young age, is touching and heartwarming. It hits the emotions hard a few times and does a great job building on the universe created in the first film. With that said, it is a bit repetitive. I mean, it’s almost the same story as the last one. Additionally, some of the antics at the end literally had me thinking “Really?!?” It was over the top at times. I will say this, the short film Piper is awesome. It’s a cute and lovely story but the animation is unbelievable. The sand, the water, the foam. It all looks real and I’m completely impressed by it. Anyway, if you liked Finding Nemo, then you’ll want to see this movie. If not, then it doesn’t really do anything different.

9. Toy Story 2

Toy Story 2 Logo

I have a hard time putting this one so low. I love this movie and I love what it does to add to the first film’s universe. We get to learn so much about Woody and our favorite characters all get to have an exciting adventure that includes Zurg! And tell me Jessie’s story is heartbreaking! Talk about the feels. Pixar does this well and it is important that they continue to do so. The story is fun, new, inventive, and brings in new characters and old that we will continue to love to this very day. I don’t have anything bad to say about this one. It’s great fun with some emotion built in. The animation sticks true to the Toy Story style which is great but doesn’t really push any boundaries.

Okay, that’s it for Part 1! What did you think of my ranking so far? Do you agree or disagree? Comment below! Also, stay tuned for Part 2 where I finish up my ranking with the top 8 spots!

Pixar Films – A Ranking Part 1

Top 10 John Williams Star Wars themes

John Williams has scored some of the most iconic movies in cinematic history. He is beyond talented and extremely brilliant. Now we all know a movie isn’t complete without an awesome sounding score to accompany it. Imagine Jaws, Harry Potter, Superman, or Indiana Jones without those beautiful and much needed pieces of music. The same can be said for any of the seven Star Wars films. John Williams has scored and created many themes for many different movies over his carrier. But none are more popular than the music from the Star Wars films. Any fan of these movies will have their own Top 10 list for themes. It was very hard to pick only ten. But without further ado:

10. “Across the Stars” (Love theme from Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith)

Let’s kick things off with a little forbidden romance shall we? This is the theme we hear whenever Padme and Anakin are seen on screen and as they share their first kiss with each other. I think it’s a beautiful theme full of passion and joy. It is one of two love themes that John Williams has created for the Star Wars films and here is hoping he creates a few more with Episodes VIII and IX on the way.

9. “Anakin’s Betrayal” (Order 66 theme)

This theme is played out in Revenge of the Sith when the order is given to all the clone commanders and their troops to execute the Jedi across the galaxy. It’s a particular moving piece because it is one of the saddest moments in the prequel trilogy and unlike anything we have seen before in a Star Wars film. Seeing countless Jedi gunned down or shot out of the skies was heartbreaking to see, not to mention the slaughtering of the younglings by Anakin.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmhjaFbpkIE

8. “Ben Kenobi’s Death / Tie Fighter Attack”

One of the more thrilling themes from Episode IV is right after the death of Obi-Wan when Luke, Leia, Han, and the rest of the crew jump in the Falcon to escape the Death Star hanger to then only be pursued by a squad of Tie Fighters. The suspense leading up to the Tie Fighters approaching, to Luke and Han taking to the laser cannons on the Falcon to blast them away is like one big adrenaline rush. A small and quick scene compared to most on this list, but it sure packs a punch.

7. “The Battle of Endor I”

I picked Part 1 from the rest of the pieces from this battle is because of this heart pounding opening. It’s goes from suspenseful and quiet to loud and dramatic when the Rebel fleet realizes the shield to the Death Star is still operational. Chaos ensues as Lando leads the attack in space, Han and Leia along with the droids and help from the Ewoks lead the ground battles, and Luke is forced to watch the Rebel fleet get pulverized in space as Vader and his Master look on. And of course as always…IT’S A TRAP!

6. “Cantina Band”

Of course we can’t have a Top 10 list like this without having the “Cantina Band” theme in here somewhere! This is just a really fun theme to hear and grove along with. It is a departure from the heavy brass and strings we normally are used to in Star Wars films and John Williams gives a nice light feeling to this space opera.

5. “Duel of Fates”

This theme still gives me chills to this day. I remember being in the theater and when the doors opened to reveal Darth Maul standing there and then the choir kicked in was haunting. This piece had been something we haven’t heard before in the previous trilogy of films. With three new films for a new generation of fans, John Williams had to revamp the scores a bit for these. Nothing was ever this fast paced with choirs and brass combined in the original trilogy. A very intense track from the prequel trilogy and the best piece of music from Episode I by far.

4. “Han and Leia’s Theme”

A love theme for the ages. This was the very first love theme we got out of the Star Wars movies and boy did John Williams deliver. This is a soft and beautiful piece used to show the affections between Princess Leia and Han Solo. First heard in The Empire Strikes Back and continued on through Return of the Jedi and finally heard again in The Force Awakens, the fans always know when this plays on the screen we will get some kind of interaction between the couple, whether it’s them fighting or saying “I love you” is a different story.

3. “Rey’s Theme”

The number three spot is taken by my favorite theme from The Force Awakens and that is of course “Rey’s Theme”. I think it is one of the best character themes in the saga. John Williams really gives you a sense of adventure, hope, strength, wonder, and curiosity all mixed into one theme and that perfectly describes Rey in the film. It has been compared to Luke’s theme or the “Force” theme from the rest of the films as well which is something I can totally see.

2. “The Force Theme” ( Also known as Luke’s theme)

Speaking of Luke and the Force, here is my number two pick. This theme can be found in every single Star Wars film and TV show to date. It is universally known to the fans as the theme that surrounds almost anything to do with the use of the Force or the good guys in general. It is a great theme and is a very emotional and powerful theme at that. It’s known that the Force binds living things together. And the Force is strong with this theme.

1. “Star Wars Main Theme”

Anyone surprised by this number one pick? Well you shouldn’t be. It is of course the opening to the Star Wars films. This is arguably one of if not the most iconic opening themes in movie history. Even if you aren’t a fan of Star Wars, once you hear this theme you know where it’s from. I always get excited to hear this theme and when you first heard it in the theater again during Episode VII the whole place cheered. This to me is Star Wars, this is one of John Williams’ finest pieces of music he has ever written and will go down in history as such.

So how did I do? Did your favorite theme from the Star Wars saga make it on the list as well? Which John Williams theme from Star Wars is your favorite? Sound off in the comments below and let us know.

Top 10 John Williams Star Wars themes

Finding Dory: Spoiler-Free Review

Finding Dory (2016)

Cast: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell

Directors: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane

Synopsis: Ellen DeGeneres reprises her role as the forgetful blue Tang fish with a friendly personality, as she remembers a key moment from her past and goes on a journey to find the things she’s lost along the way.

Review:

As with any Pixar movie, there was a short movie before the feature presentation, this time, it was Piper, a heartwarming story of a young sandpiper, learning to feed itself, but, also that some things which may seem scary at first could simply be hurdles to be overcome. It’s a sweet little clip, and, if you don’t care about the story, you should marvel at the details. Feathers, water, shells, and even sand are just barely on this side of the uncanny valley.

Ellen DeGeneres slips seamlessly into the role of Dory, just as the movie slips seamlessly back into our lives. It’s difficult to remember that Finding Nemo came out in 2003. We get a split-second recap of the first movie, just to remind anyone who didn’t want to admit to watching the first movie before entering the theater. During the recap, we get to see young Dory, which is probably the cutest thing ever, especially if you didn’t just watch Piper.

Finding Dory - Dory

When Dory is suddenly reminded of something she forgot, it starts a hide-and-seek/I Spy journey to her home, and her forgotten family. Her adopted family, Marlin and Nemo accompany her on this journey, with the help of an adventurous Turtle. Dory blunders her way into dangerous situations and blunders right out of them again. Some of the creatures they meet along the way consider fish to be food and not friends. Along with including nearly every character from the last movie, we get to meet a lot of new friends, including Hank, a suspicious camouflaging “Septopus” and Bailey a self-conscious beluga whale, who is next door neighbors with a near sighted whale shark.

This film served as great entertainment with its colorful cast and easy going feel. The plot is not as straight forward as you would expect from a kid’s movie, but, the twists and turns aren’t exactly sharp either. This is definitely a movie that will be enjoyed by children as well as the adults sitting next to them.

The one actor that gave this reviewer pause was Sigourney Weaver, who plays herself, or rather, her voice as the overhead announcer for the Monterey Bay Marine Life Aquarium, which has a “Rescue, Rehabilitate, and Release” motto.

As with any Pixar sequel, this one simply isn’t as good as the original, in this reviewer’s opinion. However, as stated earlier, with how seamlessly it segues into the first movie, you can hardly tell they are 13 years apart. Also, it’s worth it to sit through the credits for a humorous end-scene that tie the two movies together even tighter than before.

Finding Dory: Spoiler-Free Review

Beauty and the Beast Teaser Released

The first teaser for Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast released today, starring Emma Watson in the titular role.  Set for a March 2017 debut, the filming has been kept very quiet since it began.  There has yet to be any major set or costume leaks whatsoever.  Today, we get our first look at the film. You can watch the first Beauty and the Beast teaser below, and for those who can’t watch can read my description beneath that.

For those unable to watch, it begins with the outside of the Beast’s castle, mimicking the familiar Disney logo, with a snowy trail of pixie dust arcing over it. A slowed version of the original trailer’s music begins to play, which I have to admit, excited me greatly. We get a beautifully dreary look at the Beast’s castle.  It’s an elegant time lapse depicting the castle in its glory days to its dismal, dusty present.  Cracks in the floors appear, cobwebs collects, and gorgeous candles melt to nothing.  A portrait of the royal family appear, king and queen included this time, and the prince depicted as a young man this time (correcting the oversight of his portrait as an adult from the cartoon). Then the infamous scratches across his face appear with a snarl echoing as it cuts to black.

Finally! We’re gonna get to see the Beauty, Belle.  The broken door to the castle creaks open and a shadow appears.  Lumiere and Cogsworth exclaim it’s a girl and she might be the one! Then we hear Emma Watson’s very melodic voice say, “Hello?”  Then the familiar “Tale as Old as Time” begins to play. The magic rose appears, and Belle’s eyes can be seen gazing upon it.

What did you think? As one of my all time favorite Disney movies, I am absolutely thrilled to see Beauty and the Beast come to life. Beauty and the Beast has done phenomenally well both in theaters as an animated feature, being the first to be nominated for Best Picture by the Academy, and won a Tony award while on Broadway.  While it’s hard to say what other deviations will be taken with the film at this point, I’d like to think that this will follow the footsteps of Maleficent and Cinderella and not feature any singing, but have the original score play in the background. I’m also sure this is when Disney will officially confirm the Beast has an actual name (fun fact: he did not in the animated film. Fans were bothered by this for years, and once a concept piece of the character appeared with the name “Adam” next to it, they ate it up. Fans have been calling him that ever since.)

The film stars Emma Watson, Luke Evans, Dan Stevens, and Ewan McGregor and is directed by Bill Condon. See it in theaters March 17, 2017.

Beauty and the Beast Teaser Released

Disney Reserves Dates for 8 Upcoming Live Action Films

This week, Disney reserved the dates for 8 different films, believed to be the release dates for their upcoming live action films. It’s no coincidence that they have announced these dates following their extreme success with The Jungle Book.  While Disney has had mixed results with live action films (sorry, John Carter, I liked you), as of lately they’ve had giant hits with their fairy tale adaptations, such as Maleficent and Cinderella as well.

Disney Maleficent

Dates are listed below:

  • July 28, 2017: Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (Live Action), previously dated December 22, 2017
  • April 4, 2018: Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (Live Action)
  • August 3, 2018: Untitled Disney Live Action
  • November 2, 2018: Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (Live Action)
  • December 25, 2018: Untitled Disney Live Action
  • March 29, 2019: Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (Live Action)
  • November 8, 2019: Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (Live Action)
  • December 20, 2019: Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (Live Action)

Within the last year, Disney has announced multiple fairy tale related projects that are in development at one stage or another in the process.  Listed below are the projects that are the most likely candidates for the above dates.

  • Cruella with Emma Stone set for the title role and Kelly Marcel writing
  • A Wrinkle in Time with Ava DuVernay attached to direct and Jennifer Lee writing
  • Jungle Cruise with Dwayne Johnson set to star and John Requa and Glenn Ficarra writing
  • Dumbo with director Tim Burton and writer Ehren Kruger
  • A sequel to Mary Poppins with director Rob Marshall, starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda
  • Maleficent 2 with Angelia Jolie set to return in the title role and Linda Woolverton writing
  • The Nutcracker and the Four Realms with director Lasse Hallstrom and writer Ashleigh Powell
  • The Jungle Book 2 with both director Jon Favreau and writer Justin Marks returning
  • A Tinker Bell project with Reese Witherspoon set to star and Victoria Strouse writing

This does not include the Peter Pan live action film from director David Lowery of Pete’s Dragon or the rumored Winnie the Pooh and Mulan, or spinoffs based on GeniesPrince Charming, and Rose Red.  Also missing from the fold are Beauty and the Beast live action take starring Emma Watson and the fifth installment of the “Pirates” franchise Dead Men Tell No Tales bringing back Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow.

But what about Disney’s upcoming animated films? They haven’t been forgotten either.  With unknown dates planned for Frozen 2, they are also planning on the following animation:

Disney Pixar Finding Dory

  • Finding Dory  with returning cast members Ellen Degeneres and Albert Brooks, along with newcomer Ty Burrell, expected June 17, 2016
  • Moana starring Dwayne Johnson and directors Ron Clements and John Musker, out November 23, 2016
  • Cars 3 written by Robert Baird and Dan Gerson, expected June 16, 2017
  • Coco  a Dia de los Muertos based story directed by Toy Story 3 helmer Lee Unkrich, expected November 22, 2017
  • Gigantic a loosely based take on Jack and the Beanstalk, expected March 9, 2018
  • Toy Story 4 written by Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, expected June 15, 2018
  • The Incredibles 2 bringing back director Brad Bird, out June 21, 2019

Combining these with the ambitious schedules of franchise titans Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars, Disney has the potential to pull in more money over the next 4 years than any other entertainment studio.

While I will always be a Disney fan, and most of these movies personally appeal to me, I believe it is safe to say Disney may be throwing its weight around a little here. Most of these films, along with their upcoming animated films as well, will dominate the box office and monopolize 3D screens across the country, leaving very little screens for everything else.

Disney Petes Dragon

What’s your take on this extensive schedule? Are you looking forward to anything in particular?  Personally, I’ve been waiting for a Disney adaptation of The Nutcracker for my entire life.  It’s a very magical story that could use their touch.

Disney Reserves Dates for 8 Upcoming Live Action Films

Disney’s The Jungle Book – Spoiler-Free Review

The Jungle Book, for me it’s an animated film Disney put out way back in 1967 but the powers that be have decided to change all this with two new live action feature films from competing companies. You see, Disney and Warner Bros. don’t have enough to battle over with their comic book genre films, so now we have The Jungle Book from Disney which hits theaters this Friday, April 15th in North America and Warner Bros. Jungle Book: Origins (though IMDB drops the “Origins” part of the title) set to drop in October 2018. I want to explain this so there is no confusion because the stories are different, the casts are different, the movies are different. Warner Bros’ film will star Christian Bale (Bagheera), Benedict Cumberbatch (Shere Khan), Cate Blanchett (Kaa), Andy Serkis (Baloo), and Roham Chand (Mowgli). To contrast, this year’s Disney version stars Ben Kingsley (Bagheera), Idris Elba (Shere Khan), Scarlett Johansson (Kaa), Bill Murray (Baloo), and Neel Sethi (Mowgli) with Lupita Nyong’o (Raksha), Giancarlo Esposito (Akela), and Christopher Walken (King Louie). With well over two years before we see WB’s incarnation, I expect more roles to be filled but for now, these are the primary casts.

So let’s talk about The Jungle Book from Disney. I was able to catch an early screening Monday night in 3D. My goal here is to talk about overall quality and expectations you should have going into the movie and will avoid spoilers. Things that have been shown in trailers\previews might get mentioned though, so you’ve been warned.

The Jungle Book - Shere Khan and Idris Elba

Visuals

As I noted, I saw The Jungle Book in 3D. I felt that overall, the 3D experience was solid and less gimmicky than most. That is not to say it’s without gimmick but for the most part, it was immersive and sharp. I enjoyed the extra sense of depth it provided and it reminded me of the ways Avatar used 3D a while back. Now, the 3D does fail during major scenes of movement and action. There are two scenes in particular that I am thinking of, one involving Mowgli running and another involving a lot of primates. In both cases, the CGI lost its crisp realistic style and the 3D lost its immersive sense. The former scene even included one of my pet peeves which is when water is splashed and it hits the camera lens like we are watching the movie through a window. This bothers me in 2D films but when the goal is a 3D experience that feels immersive and includes depth… why would you put a window in front of me? It seems counter-intuitive. The primate scene in question made me think of the barrel scene in The Hobbit, though this one is not nearly as bad.

The CGI in general was stellar. I felt that the animals consistently looked realistic and even moved as such. Even though the animals can talk, they are not overly anthropromophized. They are just animals that we happen to be able to understand. I never felt that the animals were poorly done and the CGI weaknesses in the two scenes I noted might have been unique to the 3D experience. I intend to see the movie again in 2D, so I’m looking forward to comparing.

The Jungle Book - Kaa

Casting

The cast is nearly perfect. Bill Murray, of course, nails Baloo but no one is surprised at this. I love Bill Murray and will watch just about anything he is in but this character isn’t much of a stretch for him, though I’m not complaining. Idris Elba is a fearsome, intense Shere Khan and I can’t imagine Benedict Cumberbatch getting close to matching Idris’ presence. I think my favorite scene is actually Scarlett Johansson’s Kaa. Though short, the scene is powerful, intense, creepy, and the voice work is great. She’s perfect for the role and I’m glad they went in the direction they did with the character. Everyone else did a great job. Bagheera, Raksha, and Akela are not in the film as much as I would have liked but then again, the wolves don’t have anywhere near as much of a presence in the original animated film, so I should be grateful. Neel Sethi as Mowgli is fine but fairly forgettable. It’s his first role and is credited as an introduction, so I am not going to be overly critical here. He’s young and inexperienced, so I look forward to seeing his future roles.

The only issue I take with casting is Christopher Walken as King Louie. It just doesn’t work. While I loved him in various roles like Pulp Fiction or even Click, he does not work as King Louie. His voice is too Walken-esque. The character’s song isn’t even a song in this incarnation because Walken isn’t really going to sing, so he speaks it. It just doesn’t work. He’s not intimidating, he’s not threatening and the voice does not match the visual of the character.

The Jungle Book - King Louie

The Jungle Book: Conclusions

The Jungle Book is a great live action adaptation of the original story that, if memory serves me, stays true at least to the major components while expanding on some in ways to enhance the story. The special effects are realistic, accurate, and impressive throughout most of the film while the voice cast is nearly perfect. I think the film suffers from two primary issues, the push of 3D and the star-studded cast. 3D can be fun but it’s usually completely unnecessary and I think this is an example of that. The 3D gets in the way, lowers CGI quality, and becomes distracting or completely forgettable. The all-star cast is a lot of fun but also distracting because you know Bill Murray is the bear and Scarlett Johansson is the snake. It pulls you out of the experience at times.

Overall, I give the film 3.5\5 UFOs. It’s a good movie and better than I expected for a live action interpretation but there is room for improvement.

The Grid Rating Saucer 3.5

 

 

 

Are you looking forward to The Jungle Book? Have you seen it yet? Comment below!

Disney’s The Jungle Book – Spoiler-Free Review