Christopher Robin 2018 | Movie Review

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🎥 Cinematography by Matthias Koenigswieser

👗 Costumes by Jenny Beavan & Sally Turner

🎬 Directed by Marc Forster

🎞 Edited by Matt Chessé

🎼 Music by Geoff Zanelli & Jon Brion

📋 Produced by Brigham Taylor & Kristin Burr

📝 Screenplay by Alex Ross Perry, Allison Schroeder, & Tom McCarthy 

🌟 S T A R R I N G

👨🏻‍🦰 Adrian Scarborough as Hal Gallsworthy

👩🏻‍🦱 Amanda Lawrence as Joan MacMillan

🐴 Brad Garrett as Eeyore 

👧🏻 Bronte Carmichael as Madeline Robin | Elsa Minell Solak as 3-Year-Old Madeline Robin 

👱🏻‍♂️ Ewan McGregor as Christopher Robin | Orton O’Brien as Young Christopher Robin

👩🏻 Hayley Atwell as Evelyn Robin

🐻 Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh

🐯 Jim Cummings as Tigger 

👨🏻‍🦱 John Dagleish as Matthew Leadbetter

👩🏼‍🦱 Katy Carmichael as Christopher Robin’s mother

👨🏾‍🦱 Ken Nwosu as Paul Hastings

📰 Mackenzie Crook as a newspaper seller

👨🏻 Mark Gatiss as Giles Winslow

🚔 Matt Berry as a policeman bobby

🐷 Nick Mohammed as Piglet 

👴🏻 Oliver Ford Davies as Old Man Winslow

👨🏻 Paul Chahidi as Cecil Hungerford

🐰 Peter Capaldi as Rabbit

👨🏻‍🦳 Roger Ashton-Griffiths as Ralph Butterworth

👩🏽 Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo as Katherine Dane

🦘 Sara Sheen as Roo 

🚖 Simon Farnaby as a Taxi driver

🦘 Sophie Okonedo as Kanga

🦉 Toby Jones as Owl

👨🏻 Tristan Sturrock as Christopher Robin’s father

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Today is an interesting day because I’m reviewing a last minute addition. I never once thought to include Christopher Robin from 2018, but the internet tells me it’s considered a Disney remake. It’s very different from the Winnie the Pooh cartoons because it follows Christopher as an adult. It’s more of a sequel than a remake so that’s what I’m classifying it as. This was my third viewing:

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• Themed castle intro alert! Trust me when I say this one is unique & adorable. It starts out like normal with the camera moving over Sleeping Beauty’s castle as fireworks go off. As the front of the castle comes into view, it transitions into an illustration which leads right into the opening credits presented as the pages of an illustrated Winnie the Pooh book. UGH! Love it! 💕 

• This film introduces five new voices to the Hundred Acre Wood: Nick Mohammed as Piglet, Peter Capaldi as Rabbit, Sara Sheen as Roo, Sophie Okonedo as Kanga, & Toby Jones as Owl. Brad Garrett previously voiced Eeyore in a video game. This is a monumental task, taking on such iconic characters, & these wonderful actors did an incredible job. 👏🏻 👏🏻 👏🏻 I don’t mind a new voice actor as long as they do the character justice. However, I think it was the right decision to bring back the one & only Jim Cummings as Tigger & Winnie the Pooh. This movie relies heavily on the nostalgia of the audience, & bringing back a familiar voice we all grew up with was a smart decision. The first time Pooh opens his mouth & speaks, it feels like a comfort blanket has been wrapped around you, & all is right with the world. 💕 

• I cannot say enough good things about the character designs. It truly feels like I’m watching Christopher Robin play with his stuffed animals. The talking looks smooth, & their adorable little faces show so much emotion. Their home in the Hundred Acre Wood is equally adorable, like a miniature fairy garden we get to see up close. 

Fun Fact: Not all the animals are stuffed animals! A.A, Milne, the creator of Winnie the Pooh, was inspired by the toys of his son Christopher Robin Milne. Eeyore, Kanga, Piglet, Pooh, Roo, & Tigger are all stuffed animals. Owl & Rabbit, however, are real animals, characters added to the Hundred Acre Wood from A.A. Milne’s imagination. In the animated shorts & movies it’s hard to tell the difference because everyone is animated the same way, although the real animals never mention their stuffing or need their tail pinned back on with a nail. In this movie it’s much easier to separate the animals from the toys with seams & stuffing.

• The movie opens with a Hundred Acre Wood tea party which is a normal occurrence in the Winnie the Pooh books & movies. There is also a brief glimpse at a game of Poohsticks between Christopher & Pooh on the bridge.

• Eagle-eyed fans will catch the significance of the early chat between Christopher & Pooh. I haven’t read all the books so I’m not sure if it’s happened in that realm, but the exact same conversation takes place at the very end of the movie Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin. Christopher is going off to school & asks Pooh if he’ll always be there for him, even when he’s 100. Pooh asks how old he’ll be then, & Christopher tells him 99. He then promises his human friend he’ll always be there, forever & ever.

• The six Winslow Luggage employees that Christopher Robin manages – Hal, Joan, Katherine, Matthew, Paul, & Ralph – resemble a certain group of animals. There’s just something about the way they’re portrayed that reminds me of goofy Tigger, leader Rabbit, motherly Kanga, pessimistic Eeyore, silly old bear Pooh, timid Piglet, wise owl, & young Roo. I don’t know who matches who, but collectively they’re a piece of the Hundred Acre Wood in London. Adding to my theory, five of them are named after voice actors from the Winnie the Pooh franchise: Hal Smith (Owl), John Fiedler (Piglet), Junius Matthew (Rabbit), Paul Winchell (Tigger), & Ralph Wright (Eeyore). Interesting! I wish I could find something on the internet that officially confirms my suspicion/theory. 🤔

• Keep the nostalgia coming! We get an updated version of the classic scene in which Pooh wakes up & does his stretching exercises in front of a mirror before his morning honey.

• At the train station Pooh asks Christopher for a balloon which is yet another easter egg. A classic Winnie the Pooh tale involves the silly old bear trying to float up to a beehive using a balloon to get more honey because he’s run out. In the 1926 book & 1966 featurette, the ballon is blue. In Christopher Robin & the 2011 movie Winnie the Pooh, the balloon is red & not used to get honey.

• While crawling through the tree doorway to the Hundred Acre Wood, Christopher Robin gets stuck & says “So this is what this feels like.” He’s referring to Winnie the Pooh who gets stuck all the time. Remember when he got stuck in the entrance to Rabbit’s house? Classic!

• When Christopher pretends to fight a heffalump to prove his identity to his Hundred Acre Wood friends, it’s very symbolic that he pounces on & stabs his work briefcase as “the enemy.” His job drained the imagination out of his life & took him away from what matters most: family! Work isn’t bad, but it should never consume you.

• Pooh and his friends declare they’re going on an “expotition” to London to return Christoper Robin’s important papers. This is a reference to the A.A. Milne story “Expotition to the North Pole.”

• Eeyore is my 24/7 mood:

Pooh: “And the game is called Say What You See. You first, Piglet.”

Piglet: “Panic. Worry. Catastrophe.”

Tigger: “Speed! Danger! Recklessness!”

Eeyore: Disgrace. Shame. Humiliation. 😂 

• At the beginning of the movie, young Christopher wears a blue gingham top & blue shorts that resemble an outfit from the book “The House at Pooh Corner.At the end, adult Christopher wear a red sweater vest & blue shorts that resemble the school uniform from Winnie the Pooh. I think he wore a similar outfit before the 2011 movie, but I can’t remember which TV episode or movie it was in.

• After Christopher Robin convinces his boss to give the Winslow Luggage employees more vacation time, a mid-credits scene shows them at the beach along with Eeyore, Piglet, Pooh, & Tigger. This scene is even more meaningful when you know the name of the man who’s shown playing piano. His name is Richard M. Sherman, one half of the legendary Sherman brothers who wrote music for Disney classics such as Mary Poppins, The Aristocats, The Jungle Book, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, & The Parent Trap. He is playing Christopher Robin, an original song written for this movie. 💛 

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQzOLSlZsSQ

💬 Closing Thoughts: Some might think the real world scenes are too bleak for a Winnie the Pooh movie. For example, Christopher in boarding school, going off to war, becoming a workaholic, etc. In my personal opinion, those things work in favor of teaching a lesson about growing up but never losing the wonder of childhood. That’s what Pooh & his friends represent in Christopher Robin’s life as well as the lives of adults like me who grew up with them. Don’t ever stop taking trips to the Hundred Acre Wood! 

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🍅 Rotten Tomatoes: 72% Critics | 83% Audience

🏆 Major Awards: Best Visual Effects Oscar nomination (Chris Corbould, Christopher Lawrence, Michael Eames, & Theo Jones)

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0URpDxIjZrQ

• 👦🏼 • 🍃 • 🐻 • 🍯 • 🐷 • 🌳 • 🐯 • 🍃 • 🐴 • 🍯 • 🐰 • 🌳 • 🦉 • 🍃 • 🦘 • 🍯 • 👦🏼 • 🌳 • 🐻 •

Alice in Wonderland 2010 | Movie Review

Maleficent 2014 | Movie Review

Cinderella 2015 | Movie Review

The Jungle Book 2016 | Movie Review

Alice Through the Looking Glass 2016 | Movie Review

Pete’s Dragon 2016 | Movie Review

Beauty and the Beast 2017 | Movie Review

• 👦🏼 • 🍃 • 🐻 • 🍯 • 🐷 • 🌳 • 🐯 • 🍃 • 🐴 • 🍯 • 🐰 • 🌳 • 🦉 • 🍃 • 🦘 • 🍯 • 👦🏼 • 🌳 • 🐻 •

🎥 Stay tuned for another movie review tomorrow! 🍿

• 👦🏼 • 🍃 • 🐻 • 🍯 • 🐷 • 🌳 • 🐯 • 🍃 • 🐴 • 🍯 • 🐰 • 🌳 • 🦉 • 🍃 • 🦘 • 🍯 • 👦🏼 • 🌳 • 🐻 •

Subscribe to my blog to receive email notifications, and check out my other links listed below.

– Lauren Michele ❤

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Revisiting Beauty and the Beast 2017

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🎥 Cinematography by Tobias A. Schliessler

👗 Costumes by Jacqueline Durran

🎬 Directed by Bill Condon

🎞 Edited by Virginia Katz

🎼 Music by Alan Menken

📋 Produced by David Hoberman & Todd Lieberman

📝 Screenplay by Evan Spiliotopoulos & Stephen Chbosky

🌟 S T A R R I N G

👗 Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe

🐗 Dan Stevens as Beast / The Prince

☕ Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts

👸🏻 Emma Watson as Belle

🕯 Ewan McGregor as Lumiére

💋 Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette

🧙🏻‍♀️ Hattie Morahan as Agathe / Enchantress

🕰 Ian McKellen as Cogsworth

🎭 Josh Gad as LeFou

🔨 Kevin Kline as Maurice

💪🏻 Luke Evans Gaston

☕ Nathan Mack as Chip

🎹 Stanley Tucci as Cadenza

• 📖 • 🏰 • 🧙🏻‍♀️ • 🌹 • 🕯 • 🕰 • ☕️ • 🎹 • 🐗 • 💘 • 👸🏻 • 📖 • 🏰 • 🧙🏻‍♀️ • 🌹 • 🕯 • 🕰 • ☕️ • 🎹 • 

Back in March 2017, I saw this movie in theaters & reviewed it. I’m going to revisit my original thoughts & see if I still feel the same way. This was my 2nd viewing:

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Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorite Disney movies growing up. The love story goes beyond girl meets boy, girl falls in love with boy. Belle is the first human, not counting the enchanted objects, to look past Beast’s exterior. Her attention and kindness encourages him to become more human, making his inner transformation just as important as his outer change. They develop a friendship first and then fall in love. I am ashamed to say that despite being initially excited, I allowed myself to be swayed by critics giving their opinion based on the trailers. Once the movie was released and I heard great feedback from lifelong fans, I started to relax and get excited again. I finally saw the movie last Wednesday. When the title card filled the movie screen, I got chills and teared up. In that moment I realized how emotional the experience was going to be for my inner child.

• In the name of consistency, I have an obligation to tell you that fireworks go off over Beast’s castle instead of Sleeping Beauty’s castle. We love a themed castle intro on this blog! I was less emotional in the beginning then I was in the movie theater back in 2017 because there wasn’t as much adrenaline running through me. To be honest, I was thinking of the things I didn’t like before & bracing myself for the movie to be much worse than I remembered. Boy oh boy was I in for a surprise! 

The sets are stunning. The village is like the picturesque interior of a snowglobe isolated from the rest of the world. There are golden, ornamental baroque details all over Beast’s castle, specifically French Rococo. Under the curse, the exterior is dark and dramatic; the word gothic comes to mind. As the centerpiece of the story, the enchanted rose is as striking as it needs to be. The theme is appropriately weaved into other parts of the film; Maurice attempts to pick a white rose from Beast’s garden, and Belle’s baby rattle is a red rose. Don’t even get me started on the final scene. The flower-draped ceiling is GORGEOUS!! The entire ballroom looks like springtime, airy & bright.

• Yes yes yes!!! This movie is indeed gorgeous, especially the scenes that take place in the castle. And that final ballroom scene? *faints from the beauty* 😍 

Belle is the same beloved character but with a few modifications. Her day-to-day outfits are a quirky mix of materials and patterns, and combat boots are her footwear of choice. The wardrobe update matches her new role as an inventor just like her father Maurice. The yellow ballgown is a simpler design than it’s 1991 counterpart, but when you see how it moves onscreen, doubts will fly out of your mind. The gold touches make it shine, and the skirt floats through the air as if it were weightless. The look wouldn’t be complete without the gold ear-cuff, a subtle nod to Belle’s unconventional style. There is no need to say much about the celebration dress. The way it looks and moves in the ballroom during the final scene will take your breath away. Belle’s hairstyles are simple but very beautiful. My personal favorite is her updo in the library scene accessorized with a blue headband. Of course I have to mention Beast’s wardrobe which goes through a transformation of its own; it becomes more refined and princely as the movie goes on. Costume designer Jacqueline Durran deserves a lot of credit because she came up with outfits for a character who is animated during most of the film. A lot of work went into making sure the animated garments had the depth and detail of tangible clothing. The animators did a phenomenal job.

• I mostly feel the same. I didn’t love the gold ear cuff as much this time around, but I can overlook that one small detail without much hesitation. I know the yellow dress is controversial, & I agree it could’ve been better. However, I don’t hate it as much as the majority. You know why? The celebration dress is stunning enough to erase past sins. The pure white gown embellished with romantic pink flowers is a springtime vision paired with the prince’s powder blue ensemble. 

Alan Menken is a musical genius so it’s a no-brainer that I like all of the new songs, especially Evermore. In terms of flow, Days in the Sun is a nice song, but it feels unnecessary. There is no nice way to say this so I’ll just rip off the band-aid. Many of the vocals are heavily edited, and I suspect it has more to do with lack of vocal ability than over-zealous audio editors. It is a fact that Dan Stevens hired a vocal coach to learn how to sing for this movie, and Emma Watson has never sung professionally. I am thrilled with their acting performances, but the vocals leave a lot to be desired; they sound robotic and lack emotion. I found myself holding my breath every time they sang because I desperately wanted it to sound good but knew it probably wouldn’t. A few times I was pleasantly surprised. Emma did a good job with Belle (Reprise), and Beast sounded much better in the second verse of Evermore. I saw a comment on YouTube regarding Emma’s vocals that was well put. I can’t remember the exact words, but this is the basic idea: The original songs, written for an experienced singer, are above Emma’s capabilities. She sounded better singing the songs written for her portrayal of Belle. I had the same problem with Ewan McGregor and Emma Thompson. Ewan has sung before in a film, and for the most part his vocals sound good. I know Emma can sing, and I think she was a great choice for Mrs. Potts. The issue is inconsistency. Sometimes the vocals sound good, and other times they sound heavily autotuned. Since both roles require a certain voice, it is possible that manipulation was required to help Ewan and Emma stay in character while singing. The song Beauty and the Beast is a turning point in the story, and Mrs. Potts’ singing voice ruins a bit of the magic in what is an otherwise beautiful scene. Listening to it again, the vocals sound better than I remembered, but there are still some parts that don’t sound as nice as they should. Knowing that Emma has a great voice makes this even more of a heartbreaking disappointment. I love the cast, but this movie is a musical. Acting and vocals should be split 50/50 when considering the potential actors. Perfection was well within reach for this film, and lack of vocal ability was the one and only roadblock. Consider the rave reviews that Josh Gad and Luke Evans are receiving. Why do you think that is? Not only are their acting performances spot-on, but their vocals are spectacular. That is why they are the most successful part of this musical film. I want to end my rant by mentioning that I find the entire soundtrack to be over-edited, even the experienced voices such as Kevin Kline. I would have preferred less effects and rough edges. At least the final result would have sounded more genuine.

• I have notes to add as well as some revisions:

I’m not sure what didn’t click the first time, but Days in the Sun is a lovely song which adds to the story of the objects. 

I still love the song Evermore. One detail I failed to mention is the 28-second instrumental intro which all Beauty and the Beast fans should know because it plays as the original 1991 movie begins; a shorter version opens the 2017 movie. I didn’t catch that connection until I rewatched the animated movie which is exactly why I’m watching both the originals & remakes for this series. I love those nerdy details! I still prefer Josh Groban’s version of the song, but considering Dan Stevens took voice lessons for this movie, he did a good job. My biggest complaint is the overediting. I know an effect was used to aid the Beast voice, but I don’t think his singing had to sound robotic as a sacrifice. 

I have the same complaint regarding Emma Watson as Belle. I will continue to say this over & over again: If she wasn’t going to have a singing double or go through intense vocal training, I would’ve preferred that autotune take a backseat to a soft, rough around the edges voice. Rewatching the movie gave me this epiphany: It sounds like Emma recorded the songs alone in a large room with major echo. It doesn’t match what Belle is doing onscreen, whether that be walking through the village or exploring the castle. There are a few parts that sound okay, but that’s just not enough. I’m seriously considering a petition to request that Disney rerecord the singing & use a light hand with editing. Honestly, that change would make it near perfect because I love everything else about this film.

The sound editing for Emma as Mrs. Potts & Ewan as Lumière isn’t as bad as I remembered. They are both experienced singers & sound great in character. The same goes for Kevin Kline who only sings one song How Does a Moment Last Forever, an emotional moment that tugs at the heartstrings. I think I was being nit-picky about the audio because of Beast & Belle’s voices, but now that I’ve calmed down, every other character was fine with only a few rough spots. 

Animation was the perfect medium for this story because it is a fairy tale that is not at all grounded in reality. When considering a live action version, you have to ask yourself if the story will translate. I commend the crew because I was a believer every step of the way. I like the realistic design of each enchanted object. They fit the style of the movie and still feel like the same beloved characters. I love the way the friendship develops between Beast and Belle.  There are so many amazing scenes I could mention such as the library and Belle’s childhood home in Paris, but I will stick with one. Up until the ballroom scene, I was fully invested in the budding friendship. During the waltz when Beast lifts Belle, I felt a strong wave of emotion and instantly knew the relationship had become a love story. I was worried about the transformation because I wanted to be in the moment; I didn’t want to only see Dan Stevens in a wig. I am so relieved that the scene came together because it cemented the couple’s chemistry. I know that Belle’s final quote is controversial, but I LOVED it. I found the playful moment to be cute and relatable.

👸🏻 Belle: “How would you feel about growing a beard?”  😘

🐗 Beast: “GROWL!”  😉

• Yes yes yes!!! I still agree with everything I said about the art direction, the enchanted object designs, & the relationship between Beast & Belle. Dan & Emma have great onscreen chemistry which worked well before & after the beast-to-prince transformation.

💬 Closing Thoughts: There are details that disappoint and frustrate me, and I’m not afraid to talk about them. However, I can’t change anything so there’s no use dwelling on the negative. My emotional reaction speaks volumes, and I will definitely be watching this movie again. Please go and see it before you form an opinion. You might be pleasantly surprised! 

• Because of my rants about the singing & effects, you probably think this movie isn’t highly ranked. This is where I surprise both you & me. There are many things to consider. First, this film is close to being a shot for shot remake with very few changes, even in dialogue. Second, I was more emotional during the remake, crying at least three times; I only cried once during my rewatch of the animated movie. Third, I can say without hesitation that the animated movie is better because it has no vocal shortcomings. However, if the singing voices were fixed, I would choose the remake. GASP! I took this review one step further & timed how long Belle sings onscreen. In the span of 120 minutes, she sings for approximately . . . FOUR MINUTES!! That’s only 1/30th of the movie. Stepping back & looking at the big picture, her voice is an important one but wasn’t featured much in an otherwise great movie. Going the extra mile yet again, I watched the movie for a third time with my brother, a frequent movie watcher who is brutally honest. He’s not a fan of musicals, but at the end he told me the criticisms had been too harsh. He didn’t even cringe or say one negative thing the entire film! So, where does that leave my ranking? I won’t reveal anything right now, but you should be prepared for this movie to land very high on the list, higher than even I thought it would be.

• 📖 • 🏰 • 🧙🏻‍♀️ • 🌹 • 🕯 • 🕰 • ☕️ • 🎹 • 🐗 • 💘 • 👸🏻 • 📖 • 🏰 • 🧙🏻‍♀️ • 🌹 • 🕯 • 🕰 • ☕️ • 🎹 •

🍅 Rotten Tomatoes: 71% Critics | 80% Audience

🏆 Major Awards: Best Costume Design (Jacqueline Durran) & Best Production Design (Katie Spencer & Sarah Greenwood) Oscar nominations

❓ Original or Remake: Repeating what I already said, my choice is the original, but if the singing voices & sound editing were fixed, I would choose the remake.

• 📖 • 🏰 • 🧙🏻‍♀️ • 🌹 • 🕯 • 🕰 • ☕️ • 🎹 • 🐗 • 💘 • 👸🏻 • 📖 • 🏰 • 🧙🏻‍♀️ • 🌹 • 🕯 • 🕰 • ☕️ • 🎹 •

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3Nl_TCQXuw

• 📖 • 🏰 • 🧙🏻‍♀️ • 🌹 • 🕯 • 🕰 • ☕️ • 🎹 • 🐗 • 💘 • 👸🏻 • 📖 • 🏰 • 🧙🏻‍♀️ • 🌹 • 🕯 • 🕰 • ☕️ • 🎹 •

Alice in Wonderland 2010 | Movie Review

Maleficent 2014 | Movie Review

Cinderella 2015 | Movie Review

The Jungle Book 2016 | Movie Review

Alice Through the Looking Glass 2016 | Movie Review

Pete’s Dragon 2016 | Movie Review

• 📖 • 🏰 • 🧙🏻‍♀️ • 🌹 • 🕯 • 🕰 • ☕️ • 🎹 • 🐗 • 💘 • 👸🏻 • 📖 • 🏰 • 🧙🏻‍♀️ • 🌹 • 🕯 • 🕰 • ☕️ • 🎹 •

🎥 Stay tuned for another movie review tomorrow! 🍿

• 📖 • 🏰 • 🧙🏻‍♀️ • 🌹 • 🕯 • 🕰 • ☕️ • 🎹 • 🐗 • 💘 • 👸🏻 • 📖 • 🏰 • 🧙🏻‍♀️ • 🌹 • 🕯 • 🕰 • ☕️ • 🎹 •

Subscribe to my blog to receive email notifications, and check out my other links listed below.

– Lauren Michele ❤

⬇ Important Links ⬇

• Previous Video: NEW Kiwi Starfruit Refresher + Lemonade + Star Drink | Starbucks Review

• Art Blog

• Goodreads

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• Pinterest

• Twitter

• Youtube

Pete’s Dragon 2016 | Movie Review

• 🌲 • 🪓 • 👦🏼 • 🐉 • 👮🏾‍♂️ • 🌳 • 🌲 • 🪓 • 👦🏼 • 🐉 • 👮🏾‍♂️ • 🌳 • 🌲 • 🪓 • 👦🏼 • 🐉 • 👮🏾‍♂️ • 🌳 • 🌲 •

🎥 Cinematography by Bojan Bazelli

👗 Costumes by Amanda Neale

🎬 Directed by David Lowery

🎞 Edited by Lisa Zeno Churgin

🎼 Music by Daniel Hart

📋 Produced by James Whitaker

📝 Screenplay by David Lowery & Toby Halbrooks

🌟 S T A R R I N G

🪓 Aaron Jackson as Abner

🌲 Bryce Dallas Howard as Grace Meacham

👮🏼‍♂️ Ian Harcourt as Deputy West

👮🏾‍♂️ Isiah Whitlock Jr. as Sheriff Gene Dentler

🌲 Jim McLarty as Ranger Wentworth

🐉 John Kassir as Elliot the Dragon

👨🏻 Karl Urban as Gavin Magary

🪓 Marcus Henderson as Woodrow

👦🏼 Oakes Fegley as Pete Healy | Levi Alexander as 5-Year-Old Pete

👧🏻 Oona Laurence as Natalie Magary

🪓 Phil Grieve as Bobby

📖 Robert Redford as Meacham

👮🏼‍♂️ Steve Barr as Deputy Smalls

👨🏻 Wes Bentley as Jack Magary

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The next Disney remake I’m reviewing is Pete’s Dragon. I’d never seen the original film or 2016 adaptation so I watched them back to back in release order:

•  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  S  P  O  I  L  E  R  S  •  A  H  E  A  D  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •

Starting with the 1977 film, the best parts were Elliot the puppy dog dragon, Mickey Rooney as Lampie the lighthouse keeper, & Helen Reddy’s angelic singing voice. Speaking of music, can I tell you a secret? I had absolutely no idea this movie was a musical! Color me surprised when the horrible Gogan family started singing while searching for Pete. I was aware of the famous song Candle on the Water but didn’t know there were other songs. Unfortunately this movie was not my cup of tea so there’s a golden opportunity for the remake to win my heart.

🌟 Rest in Peace Helen Reddy | October 25, 1941 – September 29, 2020 🌟 

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Rx-B9KcIO8

UGH! It is so typical of Disney to start a movie by ripping out my heart with a parent’s death. In this case, two parents! Following the fatal car accident, little Pete picks up his backpack & wanders into the nearby forest where he meets Elliot. Elliot is a big, green, scary-looking dragon, but he immediately comes down to Pete’s level & reaches out to him, sensing that he needs him. Look at that, I’ve already used an entire box of tissues six minutes in. 😭

I want to be Jessica Chastain as a forest ranger when I grow up. That’s just a fact! 🌲 🐻 🌲 

Hats off to the special effects team! It’s amazing how they can make a boy playing with a dragon look so real. I have great respect for filmmakers who worked with much less before the 2000s & 2010s, but I also admire the strides that’ve been made in CGI. Absolutely incredible! 👏🏻 👏🏻 👏🏻

 Politics in movies tend to earn an eye roll from viewers, but I really don’t mind the discussion about deforestation. It’s an important issue that has serious consequences, especially for animals who rely on trees. The contrast between the Magary brothers really makes you think. Gavin pushes the boundaries of ethics with his business practices, cutting down more trees than necessary. Jack believes there’s a way to run their family lumber mill without destroying the entire landscape of their home. In the end Gavin learns there’s more important things in life than greed.

Even though the updated scene has a more serious tone, Pete running through the town of Millhaven & unknowingly causing chaos is a nice callback to the very first Passamaquoddy scene in the original movie. I would suggest more tissues when Pete gets caught in an alleyway & starts howling. He’s like Mowgli in that moment, crying for help the only way he knows how. He’s been in the wild for years without supervision & doesn’t realize the adults are only trying to help him. 

• I know I shouldn’t have laughed, but the paramedics who dropped a patient off a stretcher at the sight of Elliot got a snort out of me. 😂 

Elliot goes looking for Pete as soon as he disappears. When his search brings him to the Magary house, he sees Pete with the family & leaves sad, thinking his friend no longer needs him. More tissues!

You have to watch the scene to truly appreciate the humor, but this exchange over the sheriff’s radio gave me the giggles:

👮🏾‍♂️ Sheriff Dentler: “Attention all units! We’re eastbound on Millhaven Road in pursuit of . . .”

👮🏼‍♂️ Deputy Smalls: “Dragon! It’s a dragon!”

👮🏾‍♂️ Sheriff Dentler: “You can’t say ‘dragon’ over the radio.”

• Being hunted by humans after so many quiet years in the forest confuses & scares Elliot. From atop the bridge, he starts breathing fire, something he hasn’t done the entire movie. The heat causes the bridge to collapse, putting Jack & Grace in danger. Pete pleads with Elliot to stop & help; his exact words are “I need them.” That’s all the green dragon needs to hear! He immediately snaps out of fight or flight mode & swoops in to save the day for his best friend. 💚

I would recommend another tissue box for the end. After the dust has settled from all the dragon hunting chaos, Elliot & Pete have a sweet exchange in front of the cave that used to be their home. They will always be friends, but it’s time to go their separate ways. Elliot needs to be a dragon, & Pete needs to be a boy. Have no fear! The Magary family still visits the legendary Millhaven dragon at his new home in the mountains.

💬 Closing Thoughts: This gorgeous movie with a sweet story may not land at the top of my rankings due to slow pacing in the middle & lack of nostalgia, but I’ll definitely rewatch it in the future. It’s a mix of Good Dinosaur in story & Twin Peaks in atmosphere. If you think the latter came out of left field, think again. Both are set in the Pacific Northwest in the 1980s. Boom! Nailed it!

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🍅 Rotten Tomatoes: 88% Critics | 72% Audience

❓ Original or Remake: This is an easy decision because I was not a fan of the original film. Remake!

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPOamb6d_20

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Alice in Wonderland 2010 | Movie Review

Maleficent 2014 | Movie Review

Cinderella 2015 | Movie Review

The Jungle Book 2016 | Movie Review

Alice Through the Looking Glass 2016 | Movie Review

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🎥 Stay tuned for another movie review tomorrow! 🍿 

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Subscribe to my blog to receive email notifications, and check out my other links listed below.

– Lauren Michele ❤

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Alice Through the Looking Glass 2016 | Movie Review

• 🐱 • 🌝 • 🇨🇳 • 🚢 • 🇬🇧 •  👩🏼 • 🦋 • 🖼 • 🍄 • 🌳 • 🐭 • 🎩 • 🐰 • 👬🏼 • 🐇 • ♥️ • 🕰 • 👑 •    

🎥 Cinematography by Stuart Dryburgh

👗 Costumes by Colleen Atwood

🎬 Directed by James Bobin

🎞 Edited by Andrew Weisblum

🎼 Music by Danny Elfman

📋 Produced by Jennifer & Suzanne Todd, Joe Roth, & Tim Burton

📝 Screenplay by Linda Woolverton

🌟 S T A R R I N G

🦋 Alan Rickman as Absolem

👨🏻‍⚕️ Andrew Scott as Dr. Addison Bennett

👑 Anne Hathaway as Mirana / The White Queen | Amelia Crouch as Young Mirana

🐭 Barbara Windsor as Mallymkun / The Dormouse

🚢 Ed Speleers as James Harcourt

🐟 Edward Petherbridge as Gentleman Fish

👩🏻‍🦰 Eve Hedderwick Turner as Baloo Hightopp

👨🏻‍🦰 Frederick Warder as Poomally Hightopp

🌹 Geraldine James as Lady Ascot

👸🏼 Hattie Morahan as Queen Elsemere

♥️ Helena Bonham Carter as Iracebeth / The Red Queen | Leilah de Meza as Young Iracebeth

👱🏻 Joanna Bobin as Alexandra Ascot

👨🏻‍🦰 Joe Hurst as Bim Hightopp | Oliver Hawkes as a Young Bim Hightopp

🎩 Johnny Depp as Tarrant Hightopp / The Mad Hatter | Louis Ashbourne Serkis as Young Tarrant Hightopp

💍 Leo Bill as Lord Hamish Ascot

👩🏼‍🦱 Lindsay Duncan as Mrs. Kingsleigh

👬🏼 Matt Lucas as Tweedledee & Tweedledum

🤖 Matt Vogel as Wilkins

🥬 Meera Syal as Nobody

👩🏼 Mia Wasikowska as Alice Kingsleigh

🐇 Michael Sheen as Nivens McTwisp / The White Rabbit

🐸 Owain Rhys Davies as Delivery Frog

♟ Paul Hunter as White Chess King

🐰 Paul Whitehouse as Thackery Earwicket / The March Hare

👨🏻‍🦰 Rhys Ifans as Zanik Hightopp

🤴🏻 Richard Armitage as King Oleron

🕰 Sacha Baron Cohen as Time

👩🏻‍🦰 Siobhan Redmond as Bumalic Hightopp

👩🏻‍🦰 Simone Kirby as Tyva Hightopp

🐱 Stephen Fry as The Cheshire Cat

🐕 Timothy Spall as Bayard Hamar | Kyle Hebert as Young Bayard

👨🏻‍🦰 Tom Godwin as Pimlick Hightopp

🥚 Wally Wingert as Humpty Dumpty

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The next Disney movie on my review list is Alice Through the Looking Glass from 2016, a sequel to the live action remake of Alice of Wonderland. This was my 2nd viewing:

•  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  S  P  O  I  L  E  R  S  •  A  H  E  A  D  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •

The castle intro isn’t themed, but after the fireworks go off, the camera pans up to the sky where Cheshire Cat’s blue eyes & wide grin appear. After a few seconds his eyes disappear, & his grin goes vertical, transforming into the moon. Down below on a stormy sea we see a ship named “Wonder” & its captain Miss Alice Kingsleigh. I really like how the end of the first movie connects to the beginning of the second movie. Alice sees Absolem, now a blue butterfly, as she’s sailing away from London for China at the end of Alice in Wonderland. In Alice Through Looking Glass, she sails back to London from China & sees Absolem when she arrives.

Alice’s main dress reflects her recent travels to China. I’m not sure how culturally accurate it is, but after one Google search I know it’s received praise for the design. Unfortunately I’m in the minority. I don’t hate the design completely, but the mix of colors & patterns is a bit much for me, especially the collar & pants. The purple bodice/dress is my favorite part which is why I like the ensemble much better when the collar’s removed.

The title is taken from the book “Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, but the movie isn’t a direct adaptation, focusing more on the character Time & time travel. One of the biggest book references is an early scene in which Alice steps through a mirror & finds herself on a mantel in a study. Now small in size, she slides down a nearby rope & lands in the middle of a chess game. Startled she backs into Humpty Dumpty who falls off the desk & breaks. The white chess king orders all his horses & all his men to put the pieces back together.

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall: Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty in his place again.”

Hatter is a major character in this story so we see him quite a bit. When Alice arrives in Wonderland, she visits his house which is shaped like a giant hat. I’m a sucker for details like that!

The character Time was written with Sacha Baron Cohen in mind so it makes sense that his humor, censored for children of course, is on full display. He wasn’t a straight villain but rather took a journey with twists & turns to keep the audience guessing. Unfortunately his story arc was muddled & never gripped me. Just to be fair, I should mention that I’ve never been a huge fan of Sacha. Even if I was, I don’t think this would be my favorite movie role of his. I don’t mind goofiness when it’s done well, but on this occasion it was not.

• Even though I wasn’t 100% convinced by the time travel element, I did like the prequel Wonderland scenes. It was fun to see all the familiar characters when they were young & learn some background information about why they turned out the way they did, specifically Hatter, Iracebeth, & Mirana. Speaking of the royal sisters, we get introduced to their parents who should look very familiar. Queen Elsemere is played by Hattie Morahan, the same actress who portrayed Agathe/The Enchantress in the live action Beauty and the Beast. King Oleron is Richard Armitage. If you don’t know that name, we can’t be friends. 😂 Listen, I’m a simple girl. If you cast Richard Armitage in a film, even for just a few minutes of screen time, there’s a good chance my review will improve. 😍

One of Iracebeth’s traits that’s explained thanks to time travel is her hate of white roses. Following the accident that causes her head to swell, she sees white roses & immediately mutters “Stupid roses!” She doesn’t like them because they’re associated with a horrible memory.

• This is a good time to talk about pacing. The story seems to rush but also drag for two hours. There’s never a point when everything clicks & starts to flow. A good example is the asylum scene: Alice accidentally leaves Wonderland & ends up in an asylum, only to escape right away & go back to her time travel adventures in Wonderland. I understand the intent, but that scene is abrupt & doesn’t fit in what’s an already mismatched puzzle.

• I’m not sure if this criticism is accurate so please take it with a grain of salt. I’ve seen many complaints about Hatter’s wardrobe, but my complaint has to do with what’s on his face: Makeup! I like the creative direction, but something in the second film feels off, like it’s not as well done as in Alice in Wonderland. To be more specific, the contouring with pink powder is inconsistent; it looks in bad in some scenes & fine in others. I know Hatter is supposed to look garish, but that doesn’t mean the makeup should draw the eye & have you questioning whether or not it looks right. To balance out the negative with the positive, I’ll mention his red safari outfit which I did like.

• For those curious about the Knave of Heart’s fate, this film gives us an answer. In Alice in Wonderland, Iracebeth is open with her feelings for the Knave, but it’s implied that he doesn’t reciprocate. When Mirana banishes the Red Queen from Wonderland handcuffed to her “true love,” he first tries to kill her, an attempt thwarted by Hatter, & then begs for death. He obviously started banishment on the wrong foot because we get a quick glance at his dead body in the second film. There was obviously some trouble in paradise!

• One of the few moments that made me feel emotional came at the very end. Besides Hatter, the story focuses on the relationship between sisters Iracebeth & Mirana. Iracebeth has always despised Mirana because she thought she hated her. Mirana did tell a lie that led to Iracebeth’s accident, but she never did anything to her sister out of hate, just selfishness. Every time she says “I love you,” she means it. After all the time travel shenanigans are over & done with, Mirana once again looks her sister in the eye & says “I love you.” It seems like Iracebeth hears her sister’s words & believes them for the very first time. I didn’t cry, but tears did start to form. The goodbye between Alice & Hatter was also very sweet. 💕

• I really like Alice’s new look featuring short hair & a white ship captain’s uniform. She gives me Captain Amelia (from Treasure Planet) vibes! I also like that she reconnects with her mother, & they go into business as a two-woman team. Girl power!

• As an art blogger, it wouldn’t be right for me to ignore the lovely mix of character illustrations & paper art in the closing credits. I saw it. I acknowledge it. I approve! 👍🏻 Our faithful butterfly friend Absolem flies us through the credits which end with a tribute to Alan Rickman who passed away in January 2016. This was his final film role, released posthumously. 🦋

💬 Closing Thoughts: This movie wasn’t as bad as I remembered from my first viewing, but it still isn’t a masterpiece. The same brilliant cast returned for this second helping of Wonderland, but they were let down by too much spectacle & not enough substance. There weren’t enough endearing moments to make me feel invested in what was happening. The story drags to the point that you’re watching for the sake of reaching the end. Never a good sign! Tim Burton returned as well, but he was a producer rather than the director. Some may disagree, but I think that was the first misstep & a sign of things to come.

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🍅 Rotten Tomatoes: 29% Critics | 48% Audience

🏆 Major Awards: Best Song Written For Visual Media Grammy nomination (Just Like Fire – Max Martin, Oscar Holter, Pink & Shellback)

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anvGUW-vsLE

• 🐱 • 🌝 • 🇨🇳 • 🚢 • 🇬🇧 •  👩🏼 • 🦋 • 🖼 • 🍄 • 🌳 • 🐭 • 🎩 • 🐰 • 👬🏼 • 🐇 • ♥️ • 🕰 • 👑 •

Alice in Wonderland 2010 | Movie Review

Maleficent 2014 | Movie Review

Cinderella 2015 | Movie Review

The Jungle Book 2016 | Movie Review

• 🐱 • 🌝 • 🇨🇳 • 🚢 • 🇬🇧 •  👩🏼 • 🦋 • 🖼 • 🍄 • 🌳 • 🐭 • 🎩 • 🐰 • 👬🏼 • 🐇 • ♥️ • 🕰 • 👑 •

🎥 Stay tuned for another movie review tomorrow! 🍿 

• 🐱 • 🌝 • 🇨🇳 • 🚢 • 🇬🇧 •  👩🏼 • 🦋 • 🖼 • 🍄 • 🌳 • 🐭 • 🎩 • 🐰 • 👬🏼 • 🐇 • ♥️ • 🕰 • 👑 •

Subscribe to my blog to receive email notifications, and check out my other links listed below.

– Lauren Michele ❤

⬇ Important Links ⬇

• Previous Video: NEW Kiwi Starfruit Refresher + Lemonade + Star Drink | Starbucks Review

• Art Blog

• Goodreads

• Instagram

• Pinterest

• Twitter

• Youtube

The Jungle Book 2016 | Movie Review

• 👦🏽 • 🍃 • 🐺 • 🌳 • 🐘 • 🌊 • 🐅 • 🍃 • 🐆 • 🌳 • 🐍 • 🌊 • 🐻 • 🍃 • 🦧 • 🌳 • 🔥 • 🌊 •

🎥 Cinematography by Bill Pope

👗 Costumes by Laura Jean Shannon

🎬 Directed by Jon Favreau

🎞 Edited by Mark Livolsi

🎼 Music by John Debney

📋 Produced by Brigham Taylor & Jon Favreau

📝 Screenplay by Justin Marks

🌟 S T A R R I N G

🐺 Asher Blinkoff, Chloe Hechter, Emjay Anthony, Kai & Sasha Schrieber, Knox Gagnon, & Max Favreau as the young wolves

🐆 Ben Kingsley as Bagheera

🐻 Bill Murray as Baloo

🐺 Brighton Rose as Grey Brother

🦧 Christopher Walken as King Louie

🦔 Garry Shandling as Ikki

🐺 Giancarlo Esposito as Akela

🐅 Idris Elba as Shere Khan

🐗 Jon Favreau as Fred

🐺 Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha

🦏 Madeleine Favreau as Raquel

👦🏽 Neel Sethi as Mowgli | Kendrick Reyes as toddler Mowgli

👨🏽 Ritesh Rajan as Mowgli’s father

🦏 Russell Peters as Rocky

🐿 Sam Raimi as an Indian giant squirrel

🦌 Sara Arrington as a Nilgai

🐍 Scarlett Johansson as Kaa

• 👦🏽 • 🍃 • 🐺 • 🌳 • 🐘 • 🌊 • 🐅 • 🍃 • 🐆 • 🌳 • 🐍 • 🌊 • 🐻 • 🍃 • 🦧 • 🌳 • 🔥 • 🌊 •

I hope you’re not sick of CGI animals because the next Disney remake on my review list is The Jungle Book from 2016. This was my 2nd viewing:

•  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  S  P  O  I  L  E  R  S  •  A  H  E  A  D  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •

This particular castle intro is not jungle-themed . . . at first! The blue castle is surrounded by a Disney theme park. Once the fireworks go off, the camera starts to pan out, & the moat transitions into a river as a jungle comes into view along with the title “The Jungle Book.”

• I need you to be prepared for a review that’s mostly me raving about how pretty the movie looks. 😂 Seriously though, it looks like a nature documentary. Absolutely stunning! As if the setting wasn’t enough, the animals blow my mind. The special effects team did such a great job making the talking mouths look natural without affecting the integrity of the other features. They look like real animals who are talking!

 Mowgli’s wolf guardians change a little bit between the two versions. In the 1967 film, he’s raised by Raksha & her mate Rama, & Akela is their pack leader. In the 2016 film, he’s raised by Raksha with the help of her pack & their leader Akela.

• Lupita Nyong’o is the voice of Raksha, & the motherly tenderness & protectiveness she injects into the role is spot on. Giancarlo Esposito is the voice of Akela, & he’s fantastic as usual. My brain is just so confused because the last time I saw him onscreen, he was dealing drugs out of Los Pollos Hermanos. 😂

• Mowgli & his wolf siblings call Raksha “Ami” which means “Mother” in Urdu, a language spoken in Pakistan & India. I think that’s such a sweet detail & a way to educate viewers about another culture. Like me, someone will hear the word, use the subtitles for spelling, & google it for more information. Boom! You know a new word in a different language. 🇵🇰 🇮🇳

• Let’s talk about Disney cats. Everybody knows about Berlioz, Cheshire, Figaro, Lucifer, Marie, Oliver, Rajah, Simba, Tigger, Toulouse, etc. The list goes on! But the one cat I hear so little about is Bagheera. Number one, he’s a black panther. Awesome! Number two, he’s wise, a serious guardian to balance out Baloo as the fun parent. He deserves way more hype & attention!

• I need to prepare you for the shocking news I’m about to deliver. Are you ready? Idris Elba was perfect casting. LOL! He could literally play a paper bag, & I would be applauding from the front row, calling for an Oscar. 🏆 Focus! Back to The Jungle Book. Idris plays the villainous tiger Shere Khan, & his deep voice will send shivers down your spine. Whether that’s because you’re scared or attracted to him is between you & God. 😂 😂 😂

• Neel Sethi deserves so much praise for what he did with the role of Mowgli. Not only did he do a great job as a young newcomer but also as the only person acting on set. He had to imagine all those talking animals while emoting & conversing. That’s tough to do as an adult, & he took on the challenge under the age of thirteen. Brava! 👏🏻 👏🏻 👏🏻

• I’ve seen this movie before, & Shere Khan’s attack on Bagheera still scared the life out of me. 😰

• Leading up to the release, Scarlett Johansson was one of the cast members I was unsure about. I didn’t mind the change of a female voice for Kaa, but I just couldn’t picture Scarlett as the reticulated python that tries to hypnotize & eat Mowgli. Thankfully my fears were swiftly laid to rest. She was featured in only one scene rather than two but did a good job with the voice & made an impression in a small amount of time. No weak link here!

• I realize I’ve gone down the list & one by one said how great each actor was in this film. Seriously though, this cast is airtight. Continuing with the high praise, Bill Murray was genius casting as Baloo the bear. His energy & humor are perfect for Mowgli’s Papa Bear. Soon after they meet, Baloo convinces Mowgli to climb where the big bear cannot & retrieve honey from a beehive. Two curious animals show up, an Indian giant squirrel voiced by Sam Raimi & a pangolin with an unknown voice. They get a little too chatty for Baloo so he looks at them & retorts “You have never been a more endangered species than you are at this moment.” Definitely a laugh out loud moment! 😂

• At the 49:30 mark, Mowgli is sitting atop a floating Baloo while they sing The Bare Necessities, & the river scenery is absolutely breathtaking. It looks like a painting, specifically one created by Thomas Kinkade. He actually has a Jungle Book painting from 2012. 🎨

• One early morning Baloo & Bagheera catch Mowgli sneaking away to a pit surrounded by elephants. They’re disappointed at first because they think he’s messing with the large pachyderms. To their surprise he pops out of the pit & guides the retrieval of a baby elephant using long vines. The look of pride on their faces is the cherry on top of an incredibly sweet moment. 💕

As someone with a fear of heights, I sympathize with Baloo having to climb a long way up to King Louie’s temple. About halfway up he mutters “A bird. That can’t be a good sign!” Another LOL moment from Mr. Murray! It’s also a sweet moment because Bagheera takes pity on the big bear & encourages him the rest of the way. These two are opposites in personality, but their friendship works because of that balance. They also provide loads of hilarious banter!

• If you’re interested in Onomatology or Zoology, I’ve got you covered. The following characters have meaningful names, & their species are native to India where The Jungle Book takes place:

🐺 Akela | Akela अकेला means alone in Hindi | Indian Wolf

🐆 Bagheera | Baghirā means Black Indian Leopard in Hindi | Black Indian Leopard

🐻 Baloo | Bhālū भालू means bear in Hindi | Himalayan Brown Bear

🐺 Raksha | Raksha रक्षा means defense/protection/safeguard in Hindi | Indian Wolf

🐅 Shere Khan | Shair/Sher means lion & tiger in Urdu & Persian + Khan is a title given in various parts of Asia | Bengal Tiger

🐗 🦔 🐍 Other represented species include Fred the pygmy hog, Ikki the Indian porcupine, Kaa the reticulated python, Raquel & Rocky the Indian Rhinos, an Indian giant squirrel, & a Nilgai. 🦏 🐿 🦌

• I didn’t know I needed Christopher Walken as a giant ape in my life, but here we are. King Louie wants only one thing from Mowgli: the secret of how to make fire which is known as “The Red Flower.” In this adaptation he is bigger & scarier, much more of a villain than his animated counterpart. The 1967 Louie was a petty thief in comparison to the 2016 Louie who is basically a dangerous crime boss.

• The only two musical numbers that made the transition from the 60s to 2010s were The Bare Necessities & I Wanna be Like You. Jon Favreau was honest early on that this would be less of a musical film than its predecessor. I appreciate that he had a vision & stuck with it, not forcing the musical aspect. The songs worked where they were placed, & it never felt like there needed to be more than there was.

• Remember the adorable baby elephant that was rescued from a pit? After Mowgli defeats Shere Khan, he rides on the back of his small pachyderm friend. Love that continuity! The sounds of trumpeting elephants can be heard in the background as they celebrate the triumphant victory & use the river to put out the rest of the fire. Elephants are revered in the jungle so this show of respect towards Mowgli is high praise indeed. It all started with one act of kindness. *sigh* That’s storytelling at its finest. 📖

• At the very end of the movie, the shot of Bagheera, Baloo, & Mowgli sitting in a tree turns into an illustration, & the book, which is resting on blue velvet material, closes. Music shakes the book back open, & all the characters make an appearance in 3D pop-up form, some stepping out of the book & going offscreen. King Louie is the first to appear, being dug out of the temple rubble & singing a reprise of I Wanna be Like You. The first part of this sequence was inspired by the opening of the 1967 movie: A book entitled “The Jungle Book” lays on top of blue velvet material & opens to reveal an illustration. Gotta love those Disney details! 

• 👦🏽 • 🍃 • 🐺 • 🌳 • 🐘 • 🌊 • 🐅 • 🍃 • 🐆 • 🌳 • 🐍 • 🌊 • 🐻 • 🍃 • 🦧 • 🌳 • 🔥 • 🌊 •

🍅 Rotten Tomatoes: 94% Critics | 86% Audience

🏆 Major AwardsBest Visual Effects Oscar (Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, Dan Lemmon, & Robert Legato)

❓ Original or Remake: Do I even have to say it? The original movie is good, but the 2016 film is a masterpiece, a feast for the eyes supported by a brilliant cast. This is a no-brainer decision: Remake!

• 👦🏽 • 🍃 • 🐺 • 🌳 • 🐘 • 🌊 • 🐅 • 🍃 • 🐆 • 🌳 • 🐍 • 🌊 • 🐻 • 🍃 • 🦧 • 🌳 • 🔥 • 🌊 •

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4qgAaxB_pc

• 👦🏽 • 🍃 • 🐺 • 🌳 • 🐘 • 🌊 • 🐅 • 🍃 • 🐆 • 🌳 • 🐍 • 🌊 • 🐻 • 🍃 • 🦧 • 🌳 • 🔥 • 🌊 •

Alice in Wonderland 2010 | Movie Review

Maleficent 2014 | Movie Review

Cinderella 2015 | Movie Revie

• 👦🏽 • 🍃 • 🐺 • 🌳 • 🐘 • 🌊 • 🐅 • 🍃 • 🐆 • 🌳 • 🐍 • 🌊 • 🐻 • 🍃 • 🦧 • 🌳 • 🔥 • 🌊 •

🎥 Stay tuned for another movie review tomorrow! 🍿

• 👦🏽 • 🍃 • 🐺 • 🌳 • 🐘 • 🌊 • 🐅 • 🍃 • 🐆 • 🌳 • 🐍 • 🌊 • 🐻 • 🍃 • 🦧 • 🌳 • 🔥 • 🌊 •

Subscribe to my blog to receive email notifications, and check out my other links listed below.

– Lauren Michele ❤

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Cinderella 2015 | Movie Review

• 👨‍👩‍👧 • 💔 • 🧑🏻‍🦰 •💄 • 💋 • 👯‍♀️ • 👩🏼 • 🧹 • 🐓 • 🐕 • 🧚🏻 • 🦎 • 🐭 • 🎃 • 🦋 • 👠 • 🌙 • 🕰 • 🏰 • 🤴🏻 • 

🎥 Cinematography by Haris Zambarloukos

👗 Costumes by Sandy Powell

🎬 Directed by Kenneth Branagh

🎞 Edited by Martin Walsh

🎼 Music by Patrick Doyle

📋 Produced by Allison Shearmur, David Barron, & Simon Kinberg

📝 Screenplay by Chris Weitz

🌟 S T A R R I N G

👨🏻‍🦱 Ben Chaplin as Ella’s Father

🧑🏻‍🦰 Cate Blanchett as Lady Tremaine

🤴🏼 Derek Jacobi as The King

👩🏼 Hayley Atwell as Ella’s Mother

🧚‍♀️ Helena Bonham Carter as Fairy Godmother

🌸 Holliday Grainger as Anastasia

🇪🇸 Jana Perez as Princess Chelina of Zaragosa

👠 Lily James as Ella | Eloise Webb as Young Ella

⚔️ Nonso Anozie as Captain

👑 Richard Madden as Prince Kit

🎨 Rob Brydon as Master Phineus

🌻 Sophie McShera as Drizella

🧐 Stellan Skarsgård as Grand Duke

• 👨‍👩‍👧 • 💔 • 🧑🏻‍🦰 •💄 • 💋 • 👯‍♀️ • 👩🏼 • 🧹 • 🐓 • 🐕 • 🧚🏻 • 🦎 • 🐭 • 🎃 • 🦋 • 👠 • 🌙 • 🕰 • 🏰 • 🤴🏻 • 

The next Disney remake on my review list is Cinderella from 2015. This was my 2nd viewing:

•  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  S  P  O  I  L  E  R  S  •  A  H  E  A  D  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •

If you think I’m going to mention every single time the castle intro is themed, you are correct. Surprise surprise, this film opens with a 3D rendering of Cinderella’s castle. Surrounded by the vivid blues & greens of nature, it truly feels like you’re turning the first page of a fairytale. Little Golden Books come to mind!

Ella’s family home is picture perfect in all its soft, romantic glory. In fact, that’s the overlying vibe of the entire movie. The art direction is definitely Rococo inspired which makes sense considering one of the most famous literary versions of “Cinderella” is French.

We actually see Ella’s mother in this version. She is gentle & sweet, & the most important lesson she teaches Ella is “Have courage & be kind.” Her example sets the tone for Ella’s personality & her determination to overcome obstacles with both courage & kindness.

When the camera focuses on young Ella’s blue slippers, pay attention. Those shoes go with Ella from a happy childhood to servanthood, their periwinkle blue color fading away under layers of cinders & dust. With the wave of a wand, those dirty shoes go from rags to riches, transforming into the iconic glass slippers. Those details float my boat!

If you’re someone who appreciates a “Tears Warning,” I’ve got your back. I would recommend having a box of tissues within reach six & and a half minutes into the movie. You’re welcome!

In the animated movie, Lady Tremaine’s look & personality are reminiscent of a cold, stern school headmistress. In the 2015 version, Cate Blanchett took that part & said “Watch me work!” Her perfect lipstick & 40s-inspired wardrobe are to die for, but don’t be fooled. “She’s the devil in disguise, a snake with blue eyes.”

Speaking of wardrobe, there’s a reason this movie got so much costume design buzz. The soft, romantic colors of Ella & Kit’s outfits are contrasted by the rich color palette of Lady Tremaine’s wardrobe & the bright, gaudy stepsister dresses. Even if you dislike the movie, it’s still fashion eye candy.

Even though the mice & Lucifer the cat don’t play as big a part in this version of Cinderella, I appreciate that they were included. They were used just enough for a nice dose of nostalgia without feeling out of place.

At the 18-minute mark, Ella hums & sings Sing Sweet Nightingale, a familiar tune from the animated movie. I swear God gave Lily James an angelic voice for this role, even though it’s not a musical. She was born to sing as a Disney princess!

At the 20:20 mark, grab your tissues again! If you want a picture of just how kind Ella is, here’s a stellar example: When a local farmer delivers the news of her father’s passing, the stepsisters complain about not getting the gifts they asked for, & Lady Tremaine worries about financial ruin. Ella is visibly heartbroken, but she takes the time to tell Farmer John “It must have been difficult to deliver such news” before shutting the door & crying. I just want to reach through the screen & give her a hug.

Cinderella is one of the Disney princess movies that features a romance, & I appreciate that this adaptation added more depth to the story. Ella meets Prince Kit early on in the movie, weeks before she attends the ball at the palace. She meets him as Cinderella, an orphan dressed in rags, & he meets her as Kit, purposefully hiding his royal identity so she doesn’t treat him differently. I can’t even put into words how much I love this scene, how he likes her so much at first sight that he doesn’t want his title to get in the way of their interaction. He doesn’t even flinch at her cinder-covered appearance or the fact that she’s riding a horse bareback. That is major character growth from the unnamed, one-dimensional prince, & I am fully supportive. Did I mention the off-the-charts chemistry?? If your tummy doesn’t do somersaults like you’re on a roller coaster, go back & watch the scene until you’re a believer.

Nonso Anozie plays an unnamed captain who is both guard & friend to Prince Kit. I know him from Conan the Barbarian, Game of Thrones, & Zoo; his natural sense of humor is always a breath of fresh air, & don’t even get me started on his BEAUTIFUL smile. *sigh* I love love LOVE his banter with Kit & his instinct to protect him. This friendship is an added bonus in a movie I already love!

Rob Brydon’s cameo as the painter Master Phineus is short, but he still manages to be hilarious. Here for it! 😂

This movie is practically perfect in every way. The one & only thing I don’t like is the Fairy Godmother’s face while disguised as an old woman. I question why makeup wasn’t used as a practical effect because the digital face doesn’t look good at all. As a disguise, it should look natural & convincing, not weird & suspicious. Setting the negative aside, Helena Bonham Carter is perfect as the Fairy Godmother. She is her usual quirky self, but there’s a motherly kindness in her portrayal that touches Ella’s life at just the right moment, a tenderness that matches that of her older, animated counterpart.

We need to discuss the transformation scene because *GASP* it will take your breath away. Fairy Godmother uses butterflies to transform Ella’s destroyed dress into something worthy of a princess. They eventually land & become part of the bodice, & there’s one on each glass slipper. The blue ballgown is a tribute to Cinderella’s classic look while still being its own unique creation. Don’t forget to check out her ride! I didn’t think the animated one could be topped, but the brand new golden carriage is S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G. Hats off to Fairy Godmother for her Midas touch with a simple country squash!

Shoutout to Jana Pérez for representing España as Princess Chelina of Zaragosa! 🇪🇸

First of all, it is utterly adorable how nervous Kit is around Ella. You would think the opposite to be true, a “servant” being nervous around royalty. I appreciate that not just her beauty but also her kindness unnerve him. Second, the way Ella’s blue ballgown moves is too magical to be real, an absolute dream. Third, the song playing during the couple’s dance at the ball is reminiscent of Once Upon a Dream from Sleeping Beauty. Am I the only who hears that??

Yet another sign that Ella is unbelievably good: When everything turns back to normal after midnight & she has to walk home in her tattered dress in the rain, she smiles & laughs. I want to bottle that innocence & joy for (literal) rainy days!

Lady Tremaine reels in the Grand Duke with information about Ella’s identity & snaps the trap, trying to blackmail her way into nobility. When the search party arrives at her home, the last address on their list, he allows the three Tremaines to try the glass slipper before rushing to leave. Up in the attic where Ella’s been locked in, the mice manage to open a window so her voice can be heard down below; she’s singing Lavender’s Blue, a song sung to her by her parents. The Grand Duke is adamant that their job is done, but the captain isn’t convinced. In a dramatic turn of events, Prince Kit reveals that he’s been disguised as one of the soldiers, watching over the search proceedings. I’m sure you’ve surmised that he refuses to leave without meeting the girl who’s singing somewhere in the house. *SIGH* He truly wants to find Ella. 😍

I love the significance of Ella walking down the stairs to meet the prince, leaving Lady Tremaine in the attic. “Have courage & be kind.” It’s all about balance! She stood up for herself when the time was right & still had inner strength left over to look Lady Tremaine in the eye & say “I forgive you.” Could you do that? I don’t think I could!

It’s time to cry again, but these will be happy tears. The blue ballgown was just an opening act for the ABSOLUTELY STUNNING wedding dress & matching tiara. It takes my breath away every time I see it! Actually, I need a moment to compose myself . . . 😍 😭

On the day of their wedding, Ella & Kit are greeted by the kingdom while standing on a palace balcony. Some familiar animal friends make an appearance; it looks like they’ve moved in & are adjusting well to royal life. Before the happy couple kisses & lives happily ever after, Kit calls Ella “my queen,” & Ella calls him “my Kit.” ADORABLE!

At the end, Ella’s Fairy Godmother is confirmed as the narrator. She appears out of a cloud & waves her wand to reveal the words “The End.” A magical end to a magical movie!

💬 Closing Thoughts: This adaptation strikes the perfect balance between staying true to the animated movie & adding new touches that build upon a beloved foundation. Five years later I still don’t think any remake has taken the top spot away from Cinderella.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zye-4GGANzw

• 👨‍👩‍👧 • 💔 • 🧑🏻‍🦰 •💄 • 💋 • 👯‍♀️ • 👩🏼 • 🧹 • 🐓 • 🐕 • 🧚🏻 • 🦎 • 🐭 • 🎃 • 🦋 • 👠 • 🌙 • 🕰 • 🏰 • 🤴🏻 • 

🍅 Rotten Tomatoes: 83% Critics | 78% Audience

🏆 Major Awards: Best Costume Design Oscar (Sandy Powell)

❓ Original or Remake: Rewatching the animated movie made me realize how much I love it, even though I don’t consider it a favorite. Rewatching the remake made me realize it’s just as superb as I remember. I love the original, but the 2015 film will always possess a special place in my heart. This is an easy decision: Remake!

• 👨‍👩‍👧 • 💔 • 🧑🏻‍🦰 •💄 • 💋 • 👯‍♀️ • 👩🏼 • 🧹 • 🐓 • 🐕 • 🧚🏻 • 🦎 • 🐭 • 🎃 • 🦋 • 👠 • 🌙 • 🕰 • 🏰 • 🤴🏻 • 

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20DF6U1HcGQ

• 👨‍👩‍👧 • 💔 • 🧑🏻‍🦰 •💄 • 💋 • 👯‍♀️ • 👩🏼 • 🧹 • 🐓 • 🐕 • 🧚🏻 • 🦎 • 🐭 • 🎃 • 🦋 • 👠 • 🌙 • 🕰 • 🏰 • 🤴🏻 • 

Alice in Wonderland 2010 | Movie Review

Maleficent 2014 | Movie Review

• 👨‍👩‍👧 • 💔 • 🧑🏻‍🦰 •💄 • 💋 • 👯‍♀️ • 👩🏼 • 🧹 • 🐓 • 🐕 • 🧚🏻 • 🦎 • 🐭 • 🎃 • 🦋 • 👠 • 🌙 • 🕰 • 🏰 • 🤴🏻 • 

🎥 Stay tuned for another movie review tomorrow! 🍿 

• 👨‍👩‍👧 • 💔 • 🧑🏻‍🦰 •💄 • 💋 • 👯‍♀️ • 👩🏼 • 🧹 • 🐓 • 🐕 • 🧚🏻 • 🦎 • 🐭 • 🎃 • 🦋 • 👠 • 🌙 • 🕰 • 🏰 • 🤴🏻 •

Subscribe to my blog to receive email notifications, and check out my other links listed below.

– Lauren Michele ❤

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Maleficent 2014 | Movie Review

• 🏰 • 👶🏼 • 👧🏼 • 🍃 • 🧚🏼 • 🧚🏻‍♀️ • 🧚🏻‍♂️ • 🌷 • 🍄 • 🌳 • ✨ • 😴 • 💋 • 👸🏼 • 🏰 • 👶🏼 • 👧🏼 • 🍃 • 🧚🏼 • 🧚🏻‍♀️ •

🎥 Cinematography by Dean Semler

👗 Costumes by Anna B. Sheppard

🎬 Directed by Robert Stromberg

🎞 Edited by Chris Lebenzon & Richard Pearson

🎼 Music by James Newton Howard

📋 Produced by Joe Roth

📝 Screenplay by Linda Woolverton

🌟 S T A R R I N G

✨ Angelina Jolie as Maleficent | Ella Purnell as Teen Maleficent | Isobelle Molloy as Young Maleficent

🤴🏻 Brenton Thwaites as Prince Phillip

👩🏼 Elle Fanning as Aurora | Eleanor Worthington Cox as 8-Year-Old Aurora | Vivienne Jolie-Pitt as 5-Year-Old Aurora

👸🏼 Hannah New as Princess Leila

🧚🏻 Imelda Staunton as Knotgrass

🗣 Janet McTeer as The Narrator

🧚🏼 Juno Temple as Thistlewit

👑 Kenneth Cranham as King Henry

🧚🏻‍♀️ Lesley Manville as Flittle

🐦 Sam Riley as Diaval

🧔🏻 Sharlto Copley as Stefan | Jackson Bews as Teen Stefan | Michael Higgins as Young Stefan

• 🏰 • 👶🏼 • 👧🏼 • 🍃 • 🧚🏼 • 🧚🏻‍♀️ • 🧚🏻‍♂️ • 🌷 • 🍄 • 🌳 • ✨ • 😴 • 💋 • 👸🏼 • 🏰 • 👶🏼 • 👧🏼 • 🍃 • 🧚🏼 • 🧚🏻‍♀️ •

The next Disney remake I’m reviewing is Maleficent from 2014. This was my 2nd viewing:

•  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  S  P  O  I  L  E  R  S  •  A  H  E  A  D  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •

Themed Castle Intro Alert! The opening castle is King Stefan’s castle. After the fireworks go off, it transitions into the opening scene of the movie.

I need to address the elephant in the room: This is a live action remake of Sleeping Beauty, but it focuses on the villain Maleficent & her origin story. However, Aurora is a main character, & the story is true enough to the original that I can still compare the two. I believe this is the creative direction Cruella is taking, telling a villain origin tale alongside the original story. Interesting! I wonder if Disney will approach any other remakes like this . . .

In this version, Maleficent is a fairy who’s grown up in the Moors, & Stefan is an orphan from the human world. They meet as children, become best friends, & fall in love despite past prejudice between their races. When she tells him iron burns fairies, he immediately throws away his iron ring so it can’t hurt her, an incredibly sweet gesture. Of course we all know a happy ending isn’t their destiny. Stefan’s rough childhood made him eager to climb the ladder & hold a better position in life. To win the favor of King Henry & a marriage to his daughter Princess Leila, he sets out to kill the fairy he’s loved since childhood. He drugs her but cannot go through with the assassination. Instead he commits the ultimate betrayal: he uses her race against her by severing her wings with iron. The cry Maleficent releases upon waking is haunting. Top marks for Angelina Jolie’s acting! When she finds out why she was betrayed, a villain is born. The Protector of the Moors now walks with a staff, darkness blanketing her once enchanting home. She gives a raven named Diaval a human form, & he becomes her sidekick with the ability to fly & bring back news from the humans.

When news of the newborn princess reaches her, Maleficent goes to the christening uninvited, & her iconic black outfit is revealed. With her magic, which is now a sinister green color, she curses Princess Aurora to prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel & fall into a permanent sleep before the sun sets on her 16th birthday. In the original movie, the blue fairy Merryweather creates the true love’s kiss antidote. In this version, Maleficent listens to King Stefan’s pleas & adds the antidote herself. It’s a hint that perhaps she hasn’t completely transformed into a villain. Interesting . . .

Speaking of Merryweather, the three fairies we know & love are present & accounted for with new names. Fauna, the green fairy, is now Thistlewit; Flora, the red fairy, is Knotgrass; & Merryweather, the blue fairy, is Flittle. They are quirky & sweet & care for Princess Aurora in a cottage just like their animated counterparts did. The casting of Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, & Lesley Manville is spot-on. 

Maleficent initially watches over the pixies’ cottage to keep an eye on Aurora as she grows up & gets closer to fulfilling the curse. She nicknames her “Beastie” & tries her best to scare the child, but she’s always met with a smile & sweetness that could melt ice. She starts to intervene in the child’s upbringing because the pixies are unfit parents despite their good intentions. In one scene, Diaval flies in to give the crying baby her bottle & rock her cradle. In another scene, Aurora wanders away from the pixies who’ve been distracted by a magical prank courtesy of Maleficent. The child falls off a cliff, but Maleficent catches her using tree roots. *GASP* Does Maleficent care for the little princess??

• Fun Fact: Five-year-old Aurora is played by Angelina Jolie’s daughter Vivienne Jolie-Pitt. What a fun childhood memory to have!

When teenage Aurora comes face to face with Maleficent for the first time, she incorrectly identifies her as her fairy godmother. The mistake alarms Maleficent, & she immediately puts Aurora to sleep & takes her back to the cottage. But, it doesn’t take long for her to start spending quality time with Aurora in the Moors which are looking colorful & cheerful once again. They grow so close that the princess announces her wish to live with Maleficent. This is a good time to mention how perfect Elle Fanning is as Aurora with her radiant smile & ability to portray innocence & sweetness.

Stefan’s kingdom is in disarray because he’s furiously trying to destroy all spinning wheels. He also attempts to burn the Moors to the ground, but they’re surrounded by impenetrable thorns, a nod to the original movie. Driven mad by fear of what the curse will do to his daughter, Stefan does not even say goodbye to his wife on her deathbed. This is a sad detail because it means Aurora will never know her mother Queen Leila. Maleficent filled the role of motherly figure to watch over Aurora leading up to her 16th birthday, but now the princess is truly motherless.

Maleficent eventually regrets her curse & tries to reverse it. Alas it cannot be done, & Aurora is doomed to prick her finger & fall asleep, awaiting true love’s kiss. This is a great lesson about acting out of anger; some decisions cannot be undone, & consequences are inevitable. Perhaps this is the point when some viewers question if Maleficent was charmed out of villainy too fast. Remember all the bread crumbs I left for you? Maleficent’s hostility is aimed at one specific person: King Stefan. The only other people who truly feel her wrath are the armies who try to destroy the Moors, her home. Aurora doesn’t melt her icy heart with a few smiles; she charms her with kindness & love as well as a lack of the selfish ambition that destroyed her father Stefan. Also, Maleficent knew Aurora when she was a baby, toddler, preteen, & teenager. Their relationship in the movie spans sixteen years, & it took her all that time to decide she wanted to reverse the curse. By the time the closing credits roll, I consider her more of an antihero than a villain.

• Aurora’s three pixie guardians make her a messy but thoughtful birthday cake for her Sweet Sixteen. It isn’t an exact replica but is definitely inspired by the animated movie’s topsy turvy white cake with blue icing & pink candles.

I miss the “make it pink, make it blue” scene. The three pixies do get into humorous scrapes arising from fairykind trying to raise a human child, but the classic fight between Flora & Merryweather was left out. It wouldn’t fit into this version for more than one reason so I understand the omission. Just wanted to mention that it’s not there. I don’t consider that a strike against the 2014 movie because the original movie is always there for my viewing pleasure. This is a different tale with its own funny moments. Not only do we get some levity from the three fairies but also from Diaval & his banter with Maleficent.

The pixies reveal the truth about the curse to Aurora after she announces she’s moving to the Moors to live with Maleficent. She confronts the fairy she thought was her godmother, & then makes the journey home. Despite his apparent concern for her, King Stefan is cold & distant when she arrives, proof that his motives are selfish & more about defeating Maleficent than protecting his daughter.

Backing up her earlier remorse, Maleficent tries her best to reach Aurora before the curse is fulfilled, but dark magic prevails. The princess pricks her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel & falls into a deep sleep, exactly what was foretold. The three pixies try to reassure King Stefan that his daughter is only asleep & can be awoken by true love’s kiss. He replies that “true love doesn’t exist” & hits Flittle before storming out.

Aurora met Prince Phillip in the forest once, just like her animated counterpart. When Maleficent rushes to the castle, she takes the prince with her believing he could break the curse. He’s enchanted by the young princess from their previous meeting, but his kiss doesn’t work. I like this change because how could Phillip possibly be Aurora’s true love after one single interaction. Maleficent laments her failure & grieves her “goddaughter.” After she bends down to give her one last kiss on the cheek, Aurora’s blue eyes slowly open & she says “Hello godmother.” She responds with “Hello Beastie,” a moment that definitely puts a tear or two in my eyes. Her kiss was the key because she has a relationship with the princess & truly loves her. This adaptation explores a remorseful villain so it makes sense that she’s the one to break her own curse. Maleficent is my favorite Disney villain so I initially didn’t know how I felt about the remake being so different. But as I said before, this doesn’t erase the original movie. Now I have two different versions of one fairytale to choose from. Twice the fun, twice the Disney magic!

Obviously Maleficent & Phillip do not face off in a fight as dragon versus prince. Instead Maleficent turns Diaval into a dragon to help her escape an iron net trap set up by King Stefan & his soldiers. In this new scene, Maleficent wears a black catsuit, & I don’t know how I feel about it. I know it’s supposed to make her look super cool while she’s fighting, but all I think of is Catwoman which makes no sense inside my head while watching a Disney adaptation of a fairytale. It doesn’t look horrible; I just can’t disassociate it from DC’s famous feline.

You know what shot is absolutely glorious? When Maleficent’s wings reattach themselves to her back, & she flies for the first time in over a decade, bursting out of a grand palace window. It takes me back to the awesomeness of Maleficent kicking butt to protect the Moors earlier in the movie. Perfection!

There’s one defining moment that truly flips the narrative. Maleficent has the opportunity to kill King Stefan but chooses to declare their fight over & walk away. Stefan can’t let his anger go & attacks her from behind, falling to his death during the scuffle. Selfish ambition consumed him, keeping him from the life he could’ve had. He was the true villain all along.

By the end of the movie Aurora is an orphan, having lost her mother Leila to an unknown illness & her father Stefan to madness. She gets her wish to live with Maleficent, her beloved fairy godmother & the only mom she’s ever known (including the pixies who she considers her aunts). Maleficent continues her position as protector, & Aurora is crowned the first human queen of the Moors. Prince Phillip is present at her coronation, hinting that they’re a couple now & building a relationship. No instalove here!

Throughout the movie we hear a female narrator, Janet McTeer, who eventually reveals herself to be “the one they call Sleeping Beauty.” Narration is a nice nod to classic Disney movies as well as the reading of fairytales. I also love the idea of adult Aurora telling her own story but remaining anonymous until the very end.

As the closing credits roll, a haunting version of Once Upon a Dream is sung by Lana Del Rey. It has a darker sound which matches a version of Sleeping Beauty that focuses on a fairy turned villain turned antihero.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8waJ7W3QcJc

• 🏰 • 👶🏼 • 👧🏼 • 🍃 • 🧚🏼 • 🧚🏻‍♀️ • 🧚🏻‍♂️ • 🌷 • 🍄 • 🌳 • ✨ • 😴 • 💋 • 👸🏼 • 🏰 • 👶🏼 • 👧🏼 • 🍃 • 🧚🏼 • 🧚🏻‍♀️ •

🍅 Rotten Tomatoes: 54% Critics | 70% Audience

🏆 Major Awards: Best Costume Design Oscar nomination (Anna B. Sheppard)

❓ Original or Remake: Even though Sleeping Beauty isn’t my favorite Disney movie, this is a tough decision because I love elements from both films. Also, this is not a straight remake because it takes Maleficent’s story in a different direction. I’ve decided to consult my Animation vs Remake rankings to make the decision for me. The winner by three rankings spot is . . . Original!

• 🏰 • 👶🏼 • 👧🏼 • 🍃 • 🧚🏼 • 🧚🏻‍♀️ • 🧚🏻‍♂️ • 🌷 • 🍄 • 🌳 • ✨ • 😴 • 💋 • 👸🏼 • 🏰 • 👶🏼 • 👧🏼 • 🍃 • 🧚🏼 • 🧚🏻‍♀️ •

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-XO4XiRop0

• 🏰 • 👶🏼 • 👧🏼 • 🍃 • 🧚🏼 • 🧚🏻‍♀️ • 🧚🏻‍♂️ • 🌷 • 🍄 • 🌳 • ✨ • 😴 • 💋 • 👸🏼 • 🏰 • 👶🏼 • 👧🏼 • 🍃 • 🧚🏼 • 🧚🏻‍♀️ •

Alice in Wonderland 2010 | Movie Review

• 🏰 • 👶🏼 • 👧🏼 • 🍃 • 🧚🏼 • 🧚🏻‍♀️ • 🧚🏻‍♂️ • 🌷 • 🍄 • 🌳 • ✨ • 😴 • 💋 • 👸🏼 • 🏰 • 👶🏼 • 👧🏼 • 🍃 • 🧚🏼 • 🧚🏻‍♀️ •

🎥 Stay tuned for another movie review tomorrow! 🍿 

• 🏰 • 👶🏼 • 👧🏼 • 🍃 • 🧚🏼 • 🧚🏻‍♀️ • 🧚🏻‍♂️ • 🌷 • 🍄 • 🌳 • ✨ • 😴 • 💋 • 👸🏼 • 🏰 • 👶🏼 • 👧🏼 • 🍃 • 🧚🏼 • 🧚🏻‍♀️ •

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Alice in Wonderland 2010 | Movie Review

• 🇬🇧 • 👩🏼 • 🌳 • 🐇 • 🧪 • 🍄 • 👬🏼 • 🦩 • 🐛 • 🐭 • 🃏 • ♥️ • 🐱 • 🎩 • 🍵 • 🐰 • 👑 • 🗡 • 🐉 • 🦋 • 

🎥 Cinematography by Dariusz Wolski

👗 Costumes by Colleen Atwood

🎬 Directed by Tim Burton

🎞 Edited by Chris Lebenzon

🎼 Music by Danny Elfman

📋 Produced by Jennifer & Suzanne Todd, Joe Roth, & Richard D. Zanuck

📝 Screenplay by Linda Woolverton

🌟 S T A R R I N G

🐛 Alan Rickman as Absolem / The Caterpillar

👑 Anne Hathaway as Mirana / The White Queen

🐭 Barbara Windsor as Mallymkun / The Dormouse

🐉 Christopher Lee as The Jabberwocky

🃏 Crispin Glover as Ilosovic Stayne / The Knave of Hearts

👩🏼‍🤝‍👩🏻 Eleanor Gecks & Eleanor Tomlinson as the Cathaway sisters

👵🏻 Frances de la Tour as Aunt Imogene

💬 Frank Welker as Additional Voices

🌹 Geraldine James as Lady Ascot

♥️ Helena Bonham Carter as Iracebeth / The Red Queen

💐 Imelda Staunton as The Talking Flowers

🪓 Jim Carter as The Executioner

🎩 Johnny Depp as Tarrant Hightopp / The Mad Hatter

💍 Leo Bill as Hamish Ascot

👩🏼‍🦱 Lindsay Duncan as Mrs. Kingsleigh

👨🏻 Marton Csokas as Mr. Kingsleigh

👬🏼 Matt Lucas as Tweedledee & Tweedledum

👩🏼 Mia Wasikowska as Alice Kingsleigh

🦩 Michael Gough as Uilleam / The Dodo

🐇 Michael Sheen as Nivens McTwisp / The White Rabbit

🐰 Paul Whitehouse as Thackery Earwicket / The March Hare

🐱 Stephen Fry as The Cheshire Cat

🐕 Timothy Spall as Bayard Hamar

👨🏼 Tim Pigott-Smith as Lord Ascot

• 🇬🇧 • 👩🏼 • 🌳 • 🐇 • 🧪 • 🍄 • 👬🏼 • 🦩 • 🐛 • 🐭 • 🃏 • ♥️ • 🐱 • 🎩 • 🍵 • 🐰 • 👑 • 🗡 • 🐉 • 🦋 • 

My Disney remake reviews are kicking off this morning with Alice in Wonderland from 2010. This was my 2nd viewing:

•  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  S  P  O  I  L  E  R  S  •  A  H  E  A  D  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  • 

• In the beginning we get a glimpse of Alice’s relationship with her father Mr. Kingsleigh, & she is obviously the apple of his eye. When she has a nightmare, he patiently listens while she recounts the vivid details. In response, he tells her “You’re mad, bonkers, off your head. But I’ll tell you a secret: All the best people are!” Later on Alice remembers another familiar quote from her dad: “I believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Disney parents have been the heart & soul of many a movie so I’m glad to see that tradition alive & well, especially in movies where it did not exist before.

• At the garden party we see hints of Wonderland before Alice falls down the rabbit hole: the Cathaway sisters who resemble the Tweedles, a blue caterpillar who resembles Absolem, & Lady Ascot’s anger over her roses being white. Alice offers the solution of painting the roses red. Wink wink!

• What a cast! Mia Wasikowska is imaginative & inquisitive as Alice. Helena Bonham Carter is insecure, irritable, & narcissistic as Iracebeth/The Red Queen. Johnny Depp is bizarre & endearing as Tarrant Hightopp/Mad Hatter. Anne Hathaway is ethereal with goth undertones as Mirana/The White Queen; I think she would fit right in with the Addams family. If that isn’t enough, Alan Rickman is Absolem/The Caterpillar, Barbara Windsor is Mallymkun/Dormouse, Christopher Lee is The Jabberwocky, Imelda Staunton is The Talking Flowers, Matt Lucas is the Tweedles, Michael Sheen is Nivens McTwisp/White Rabbit, Stephen Fry is Cheshire Cat, & Timothy Spall is Bayard Hamar. The one & only Frank Welker provides additional voices.

*Note: Iracebeth is a combination of the Queen of Hearts & the Red Queen. In the first book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the antagonist is the Queen of Hearts who is known for shouting “Off with his/her head!” & having her enemies beheaded. In the sequel “Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, Alice enters a world that resembles a giant chess board, & the two sides are lead by the Red Queen & White Queen respectively. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I liked the second book better than the first. 📖

• The Wonderland citizens hint at the twist before the grand reveal, constantly mentioning how Alice is not the right Alice or that she’s changed. Her childhood dreams & the hints of Wonderland in her world weren’t alluding to her upcoming trip down the rabbit hole; they were evidence that she’d been there before. What we see is Alice’s second trip to Wonderland; she doesn’t remember the first visit until the second half of the movie.

• In order to fulfill the Oraculum prophecy, Alice must wear the suit of armor gifted by the White Queen & fight the Red Queen’s Jabberwocky on Frabjous Day. This “Joan of Arc” image of Alice Kingsleigh wouldn’t fit in the animated movie, but it’s another puzzle piece that fits beautifully into Tim Burton’s vision.

• Remember the chess board I mentioned earlier? The battle between the Red Queen & White Queen takes place on a giant chess board. The red army resembles cards, a nod to the Queen of Hearts, & the White Army resembles chess pieces, a nod to “Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.

• Toward the end of the movie, Absolem & Alice part ways when he enters a chrysalis. He had just reminded her she’d been in Wonderland once before & advised her to fight the Jabberwocky. At the very end, Alice is seen departing England on a ship, & she greets Absolem, now a blue butterfly, as he flies by. I love that detail! 🦋

• While the closing credits roll, Avril Lavigne’s song Alice plays. Not only is the song fantastic, but Avril was the perfect choice to sing. She’s basically a Tim Burton Alice in real life!

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YI4m-l2yRZA

💬 Closing Thoughts: When Alice stepped into Wonderland, I instantly had the thought “This is what Alice’s adventures would look like through Tim Burton’s eyes.” I totally forgot he directed this film! This story was always going to achieve a certain level of success in his hands; it works well with his bizarre aesthetic, & the live action realm gave him room to push the boundaries between real and imaginary. If you drank absinthe & watched the animated movie, the results would be this film. That doesn’t sound like a compliment, but when it comes to all things Wonderland, it is. 😉

• 🇬🇧 • 👩🏼 • 🌳 • 🐇 • 🧪 • 🍄 • 👬🏼 • 🦩 • 🐛 • 🐭 • 🃏 • ♥️ • 🐱 • 🎩 • 🍵 • 🐰 • 👑 • 🗡 • 🐉 • 🦋 •

🍅 Rotten Tomatoes: 51% Critics55% Audience

🏆 Major Awards: Best Score Soundtrack Album Grammy nomination (Danny Elfman) Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy (Johnny Depp), Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, & Best Original Score (Danny Elfman) Golden Globe Nominations | Best Art Direction (Karen O’Hara & Robert Stromberg) & Best Costume Design (Colleen Atwood) Oscars + Best Visual Effects Oscar nomination (Carey Villegas, David Schaub, Ken Ralston, & Sean Phillips)

❓ Original or RemakeAlice in Wonderland is a cute movie, but it’s never been one of my favorites so I was very open to a new adaptation. I love the extra absurdity & darkness Tim Burton brought to this classic story so this is an easy decision: Remake!

• 🇬🇧 • 👩🏼 • 🌳 • 🐇 • 🧪 • 🍄 • 👬🏼 • 🦩 • 🐛 • 🐭 • 🃏 • ♥️ • 🐱 • 🎩 • 🍵 • 🐰 • 👑 • 🗡 • 🐉 • 🦋 • 

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjMkNrX60mA

• 🇬🇧 • 👩🏼 • 🌳 • 🐇 • 🧪 • 🍄 • 👬🏼 • 🦩 • 🐛 • 🐭 • 🃏 • ♥️ • 🐱 • 🎩 • 🍵 • 🐰 • 👑 • 🗡 • 🐉 • 🦋 • 

🎥 Stay tuned for another movie review tomorrow! 🍿 

• 🇬🇧 • 👩🏼 • 🌳 • 🐇 • 🧪 • 🍄 • 👬🏼 • 🦩 • 🐛 • 🐭 • 🃏 • ♥️ • 🐱 • 🎩 • 🍵 • 🐰 • 👑 • 🗡 • 🐉 • 🦋 •

Subscribe to my blog to receive email notifications, and check out my other links listed below.

– Lauren Michele ❤

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Reviewing 14 Disney Movies

• 🐇 • 😴 • 👠 • 🎩 • 🐉 • 🐅 • 🌹 • 🍯 • 🧞‍♂️ • 🐘 • 🐕 • 🏰 • 🦁 • 🌸 • 🐇 • 😴 • 👠 • 🎩 • 🐉 • 🐅 •

Happy October! 🎃 I hope you like Disney & film reviews because over the next 15 days I’m reviewing 14 movies & ranking them from best to worst. The live action Disney remakes have been the topic of heated discussion since the very beginning. I’ve never been opposed to them, but I’m not blind to the fact that some have been much more successful than others. In the spirit of thoroughness, I’m watching & critiquing every single film that’s been released from 2010 through 2020 including the sequels. I’ll also be watching the original films so they’re fresh in my mind. In total, I’m watching 26 movies. That’s a lot of screen time, even for a Disneyphile. Pop the popcorn & find your seat. Lights, camera, action! 🎞 🎥 🍿

• 🐇 • 😴 • 👠 • 🎩 • 🐉 • 🐅 • 🌹 • 🍯 • 🧞‍♂️ • 🐘 • 🐕 • 🏰 • 🦁 • 🌸 • 🐇 • 😴 • 👠 • 🎩 • 🐉 • 🐅 •

Here’s a blank copy of the rankings list for those of you who want to print it out & follow along, writing in your own rankings:

• 🐇 • 😴 • 👠 • 🎩 • 🐉 • 🐅 • 🌹 • 🍯 • 🧞‍♂️ • 🐘 • 🐕 • 🏰 • 🦁 • 🌸 • 🐇 • 😴 • 👠 • 🎩 • 🐉 • 🐅 •

🎥 Stay tuned for my first movie review tomorrow! 🍿

• 🐇 • 😴 • 👠 • 🎩 • 🐉 • 🐅 • 🌹 • 🍯 • 🧞‍♂️ • 🐘 • 🐕 • 🏰 • 🦁 • 🌸 • 🐇 • 😴 • 👠 • 🎩 • 🐉 • 🐅 •

Subscribe to my blog to receive email notifications, and check out my other links listed below.

– Lauren Michele ❤

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Alta Mar Is Over

I desperately need to talk about Alta Mar & how it ended. Buckle your seatbelt & settle in because I am M-A-D & ready to rant. 😡 If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I love Spanish television. When Alta Mar made its debut on Netflix, I was thrilled. It had some of my favorite things: the 1940s, a murder mystery, & European Spanish (I’m so close to being 5% fluent). Let’s look at a timeline that leads up to the dumpster fire that is 2020:

• ⚠️ • ⚠️ • ⚠️ •   T H E R E   W I L L   B E   S P O I L E R S   • ⚠️ • ⚠️ • ⚠️ •

11/15/18 – I find out about a new Bambú + Netflix show called Alta Mar

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_EUHFJSec4

5/24/19 – I start & finish season 1

9/12/19 – I find out the premiere date of season 2: November 22nd

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R99l8sKcy4w

11/22/19 – I start watching season 2

11/23/19 – I watch season 2, episode 2

11/26/19 – I watch season 2, episode 3

12/12/19 – I watch season 2, episodes 4 & 5

1/1/20 – I watch season 2, episode 6

1/2/20 – I watch the last 2 episodes of season 2

7/16/20 – I find out the premiere date of season 3: August 7th. For some reason it’s being marketed as the Bárbara de Braganza’s final voyage. 🤔

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9p6sLgici6M&t=19s

8/10/20 – I start season 3 & watch 3 episodes. Halfway mark!

8/11/20 – I watch season 3, episode 4

8/12/20 – I accidentally see a season 3 finale spoiler & a rumor that the show is ending. Signs of impending doom!

8/13/20 – I almost watch the final two episodes but can’t bring myself to do it. I know what’s coming! 💔

8/14/20 – I rip off the bandaid & watch the final two episodes. I SOB!! 😭 

8/19/20Reports confirm that Alta Mar season 4 has been cancelled, & the show will not continue. 😭 💔

From the beginning the show focused on Carolina Villanueva, her sister Eva, & Bárbara de Braganza officer Nicolás Vázquez. Eva & Nicolás were set up as love interests, but then the story took a turn: he had a French wife named Chantal who was arrested & taken to a concentration camp during World War II; he didn’t know where she was or if she was still alive so they were still legally married. When you don’t know that, it’s easy to root for the onscreen couple with red hot chemistry. Once the bombshell dropped, it was impossible to root for a new woman knowing Nicolás had a wife who was in a concentration camp. Personally I think that storytelling choice was in poor taste, especially the latter part. That was the first sign of trouble.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. I really really REALLY wanted to root for Eva & Nicolás as a couple, but eventually I settled down & was (sort of) okay knowing his character would still be on the show. Boy oh boy did I have another thing coming! His wife showed up at the end of season 2, but I knew that was coming. What I didn’t know was how his character’s story arc would go in season 3. In a shorter season with only 6 episodes, he had less screen time & died in the series finale. The cherry on top was the cancellation of season 4 & the show ending on such a sad note. I don’t understand! Did COVID-19 throw a wrench in the works? Or were they always planning to kill off a main character? Either way the changes hit me out of nowhere & don’t makes any sense. In fact, none of the storytelling payoff makes sense. Why was the chemistry between Eva & Nicolás important if he was married? Why was his reunion with his wife Chantal important if he was going to die? I know the writers were trying to create drama, but it just didn’t work for me. And then, after only two seasons, Nicolás’ death felt like a cruel trick, a send off without warning & a proper goodbye. The cast & show had so much potential, & now I feel like I gained nothing from watching except a whole lot of disappointment. 😢

Apparently I didn’t learn my lesson because I’m once again putting my trust in Bambú & Netflix. They’re collaborating on a new show called Jaguar, & I’m ready to have my heart broken again . . . well, maybe I could do without the heartbreak. I’m ready to fall in love with a Spanish show & love it from beginning to end. 2021, don’t let me down! 🇪🇸

Subscribe to my blog to receive email notifications, and check out my other links listed below.

– Lauren Michele ❤

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