Second Time Galaxy Savers

G U A R D I A N S   O F   T H E   G A L A X Y  –  V O L U M E   2

Guardians 2

Cast : Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Michael Rooker, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel

Director : James Gunn

My Rating : 4/5

The Blurb: 

Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

My Review :

I have had a few difficulties putting my thoughts and feelings for this movie into words. In short: Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 is a hoot and a half.

Star-Lord a.k.a Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot are back along with some old and new friends. Like the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie this is a fun super hero movie, with lots of enjoyable moments and amusing gags. There was a nice mixture of both humour and sentiment which in terms of the storytelling flowed well.

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One of the best things about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the casting and this movie is no exception. The main cast interacted so well together that you immediately forgot that two of them were CGI. There appeared to be no awkwardness or weird moments where they are talking above the CGI characters head or to their crotch. Whoever was in charge of the pointing did a good job. The supporting cast were also good and interesting to watch. Baby Groot with his adorable behaviour undoubtedly stole the show, he was just so cute.

Surprisingly one of my favourite characters in this movie turned out to be Yondu (Michael Rooker). I loved his interaction with Rocket and Baby Groot (Twig).

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There were however a few inconsistencies with this movie. The CGI effects in places were excellent and really drew you into the movie. The scenery in places was amazing however some of it especially while they were on Ego’s planet looked computerised and blocky. It was not enough to be bothered about really just made me a little sad after everything else was so good. I took a really big dislike to the gold people. I found their virtual fleet irritating.  The pacing was also a bit… well… different. There is not a lot of action but the movie itself did not drag.

The soundtrack Awesome Mixtape #2 was excellent and all the music worked really well. In fact any movie which begins with Mr Blue Sky gets my immediate attention.

Overall I loved this movie. I enjoyed the fact that they did not feel the need to pump it full of unnecessary action but concentrated on characterisation of the team. I felt as though the storytelling was good and the humour did not divert from that. It is laugh-out-loud funny and just as enjoyable as the first movie if not more so. I even liked Sylvester Stallone.

I think I have covered everything I can say without providing you with a multitude of spoilers. If you love Marvel and enjoyed the first Guardians movie then you will love this.

Baby Groot

Dear Billy Sometimes…

K O N G   :  

 S K U L L   I S L A N D 

Kong Poster

Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman

Rating : 3/5

My Review : 

I love a good old fashioned monster movie. My favourites of course are any that the Monster Maker Ray Harryhausen worked on. I love the combination of the stop-frame animation and live action in the early movies. I also love seeing how this has evolved over the years into the CGI/Special Effects we now have. While Harryhausen never got to see his vision of Kong come alive, Kong: Skull Island is reminiscent of many of the old monster movies including The Mysterious Island. While I love a bit reminiscing in movies, easter eggs and so forth, originality was severely lacking in this movie.

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Unlike previous Kong movies which are usually set in the 1920’s/30’s era, this one is set at the conclusion of the Vietnam War. This did give the movie a different feel and an interesting perspective. In typical movie storytelling style though it is not the beast we should all be scared of but those who claim to be our protectors but who follow their own selfish motives for their own reward.

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The storytelling is long, drawn out providing an uneven pace to the movie. There are a few scenes that I feel were only included to show off the mastery of the CGI artists and had no relevance to the overall story. Kong is not the only thing on this Island to be oversized. Due to this the develop of the story and subsequently the characters is found wanting, leading to uneven performances from most of the lead actors. Tip: Don’t get too attached to a lot of the cast only a few actually make their way off the Island.

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Visually the shots of the Storm and the Island scenes are amazing. The Island location is stunning and the settings, props and costumes are all well thought out. I specifically enjoyed the shots around the tribal village and the detail that went into this. This includes the photo’s which Brie Larson’s character takes of the tribes people, these scenes were cute.

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There is a Monarch Website for Kong: Skull Island 

<<<Click here for the Monarch Website>>>

If you do go and see this movie, make sure you stay to the end of the credits as there is an end scene. This scene though not very exciting expands on the secret scientific organisation known as MONARCH (first introduced in Godzilla: Awakening) and their theories in respect of the various monster related myths, stories and fables told world wide. Setting us up of course for the next movie.

Worth watching just don’t expect greatness.

How Can A Story Never Die?

B E A U T Y   A N D   T H E   B E A S T 

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Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, etc…

My Rating: 5/5 (I’m being very generous)

My Review :  (Spoiler Free) 

In equal measure I was both nervous and excited about seeing this movie. Was Disney about to ruin one of my favourite movies of all time? I watched the first couple of trailers which showed some promise but as anticipation for the movie built up and trailers, clips etc… were abounding everywhere, I refused to watch them. I wanted to be amazed by the movie not the teasers. On Friday, the day of release, I went to the cinema and sat while Disney brought the cartoon I loved so much to life.

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It is difficult to find the right words for this review without sounding too gushing. Needless to say I really enjoyed it. Yes it has it’s faults, it is not perfect but overall it is immensely enjoyable. I loved the fact they used Beast’s Castle in the Disney Intro (shown above). Even Emma Watson (I’m not a fan, Sorry) as Belle did not destroy the movie for me. To be honest I’m a little confused by other reviews which are commending Emma for portraying Belle as a gritty, strong minded feminist – firstly they need to look up the definition of feminist and secondly, I saw no difference in Emma’s Belle than the Belle in the animation. Have they not watched the cartoon version? My only distraction with Emma’s Belle is that one moment her skirt would be tucked into her bloomers then it would be out, then in again. I think the continuity department needs readjustment.

Belle and father

Beast though is my favourite character in the original animation but also in this movie. Dan Steven’s did a very good job as Beast, if he had ruined him I would have never forgiven him. Initially I was a little unsure of his look.He is a little different to the cartoon version but it did not take me long to grow used to it.

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In all honesty I was a little disappointed by Luke Evan’s portrayal as Gaston. I did not find him as villainous as the original, more comical. Josh Gad’s performance also though entertaining, was just lacking something. This might be because I had very high hopes for these characters in live action form and I felt a little let down. It also might be due to the fact that the rest of the cast were so good. All of them, were excellent. I especially enjoyed the voice performances of Ewan McGregor as Lumiere and Emma Thompson as Mrs Pott’s. I defy you not cry at the furniture. You will feel stupid but trust me everyone I was with in the cinema were sobbing.

lumiere and cogsworth

The cinematography from the first scene to the last is wonderfully shot. The detail in each frame should be applauded, it is a visual feast. In places it is very CGI heavy, but that is to be expected from a fantasy movie like this, when they are bringing to life quite an ambitious animation.

The soundtrack is also worth mentioning, while they have kept most of the songs from the animation, there are some new lyrics which work well. In prologue begins the same but then changes and makes a little more sense. The role of the Enchantress and why she showed up is also explained (sort of). There are also a few new songs which work really well. My favourite being “How Can A Moment Last Forever?”. It is sung during the movie by both Belle’s Father and Belle, but Celine Dion sings it on the end credits and it is beautiful.

While this movie has a number of references to the original Disney animation, there is some originality in the storytelling. There are some interesting insights into the backgrounds of both Beast and Belle as well as a number of nice touches involving the other cast members.

I had so much love for the animation that I did not believe I would like this new re-telling, however I was proved wrong. I really enjoyed this movie. Ignore the bad reviews, go and see it for yourselves with an open mind.

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Tale As Old As Time…

…How do you choose your favourite Disney movie?

They are all so good. Engaging characters, catchy soundtracks, wonderful animation, heart-rendering plots, etc… the possibilities are endless. It’s no secret I am biased when it comes to Disney. I am not going to lie choosing a favourite was hard, but I thankfully I made this decision a couple of years ago so tonight there was no dilemma. I can give you the name of my favourite Disney movie with complete confidence. You may already suspect by the title of this post but just to confirm.

My favourite Disney Movie is – Beauty and The Beast

There are so many reasons behind my decision. Why I chose Beauty and The Beast over all the other movies, however I am only going to give one reason. I am hoping that you have all seen the movie else this is going to be one big spoiler. This is not my main reason behind my decision but it is the reason I am most drawn to at the moment.

Beast let Belle Go…

Beauty and the beast

Beast loved Belle so much that he prioritized her needs at the expense of his own.

I think you will agree that one action sums up what love is. Being able to put someone else first. Love is selfless. What makes that action so special though, was that there was no guarantee Belle was ever going to return. Beast was not certain Belle had any love for him. There had been hints, actions which could reveal a deeper level of feeling but nothing solid. It broke his heart allowing her to leave but by doing this he gave her the grandest gesture of love anyone could give another person.

I always tell people Beast is the best Disney Prince because he gives the best gifts.

“After all this time, he’s finally learned to love.” – Mrs Potts

Beast gave Belle a library (which is my dream), a magic mirror, which enabled her to see what ever see wanted, (yet it was Beast’s only window to the outside world) and her freedom. Only by setting something someone free do we learn how much we truly love them and if they come back how much they truly love us.

I have never considered myself to have a romantic bone in my body but maybe, just maybe there is a very small romantic bone hiding somewhere.

As the saying goes “I would rather have a Beast that treats me like a princess, than a Prince who treats me like a slave.

We Can Fly

Aww… This is my last Peter Pan themed post for February. I honestly never realised how much I liked it until I started this theme. I am going to miss Peter…

Peter Pan’s Flight

When Walt Disney first announced that Fantasyland would be the main park in his new theme park Disneyland, Disney declared to the public “ride a pirate ship through the sky”.

In 1955 when Disneyland opened, guests did indeed ride a pirate ship through the sky, on the ride entitled Peter Pan’s Flight. Over 60 years later guests to the various Disneylands and of course Walt Disney World are still doing this today.

Peter Pan’s Flight is quite easily one of the most popular rides in the Disney portfolio. It is also one of my favourite rides. I have been on the ride 3 times (at least), at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris. I love the fact that the ride was the same in Paris as it was in Florida.

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Flying over London 

To begin the ride (after you have queued – even with Fast Pass) you step inside a Pirate Ship. The Cast Member will then sprinkle fairy dust as the bar of Pirate Ship rests on your lap and the Ship takes off. As you enter the world of Peter Pan you initially find yourself flying through the nursery of the Darling Family before taking flight over the city of London as you take the second star to the right and head off to Neverland. You fly through the Mermaid Lagoon, meet Captain Hook, Smee and of course the Crocodile.

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It is bright and colourful. There are recognisable scenes with so much to see as you serenely fly through the air.  The only way to describe this ride is that it is like you are moving through the actual movie.

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This makes sense when you discover that the actual animators of Peter Pan created the actual ride. Walt Disney wanted the rides to be reminiscent of the movies so he wanted the animators to play a big part in creating all the rides at Disneyland. The picture above is one I took at Walt Disney World. It is the model of the Peter Pan Ride. it was hard to get a good photo as it was in a glass display case.  I am always fascinated by how things work so I really enjoyed the exhibit at the Disney Hollywood Studios.

If you ever visit one of the Disneylands or Walt Disney World make sure you take the time to go on this ride.

That Place Between Sleep and Awake

There are many places that exist only in our dreams. Those talented enough find the words and allow those places to come alive through the pages of their novels. The worlds then breath, evolve and stay existence through the imaginations of all those that read them.

One of those worlds is Neverland…

Neverland though is often used a metaphor to describe a place of childish escapism. Home of the Lost Boys, Tinkerbell and Peter Pan. A place where Indians live, Mermaids play in a lagoon, Pirates frequent the sea and a solitary crocodile makes the noise of a ticking clock. There is a secret tree house, a cave that is shaped as a skull and is also home to various mythical creatures.

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Found this on Google. Just love the detail in this picture.

Some of these places where added by Disney and are not mentioned in the original screenplay/book. Though as a child who would have not wanted to experience some if not all those things?

Every adaptation, sequel, prequel, reinvention of the story Peter Pan has transformed Neverland into something new, exciting and wonderful. A place that could only ever exist in the imagination of  those with the creativity to make it tangible. Very close to how Barrie describes or even doesn’t describe Neverland.

Barrie described Neverland as existing only in the mind of a child. Each child’s perceived place is nearly always an Island and slightly different to each others, yet close enough to make adventure. Every land though has one thing in common, there are no boundaries.

The exact location of the island is somewhat vague and ever so slightly ambiguous. Peter tells Wendy the way is “the second star to the right and straight on till morning”. However, Peter has a habit of saying whatever just comes into his head. The children claim they found Neverland as it was looking for them. One description Barrie writes, is of it being near to the stars in the Milky Way and that it is reached only at the time of sunrise. It hints at the fact of being both real and un-real at the same time.

“The place between asleep and awake” is used by Tinkerbell in the movie Hook to describe her love for Peter. Personally I think it is also the perfect phrase to describe Neverland. It is place that feels very real yet is ever so slightly out of reach.

Captain Hook

The villainous Captain Hook was not in the early drafts of J.M Barrie’s production of Peter Pan. In fact, looking through some of the early manuscripts it appeared that perhaps Peter was meant to be the villain of the piece. Eventually the role of the villain evolved and Barrie created the role of the Pirate Captain – Hook.

Captain Hook has two primary fears. The sight of his own blood which apparently is an unnatural colour and of course the “ticking”crocodile who ate his hand after Peter cut it off.

Hook of course is not the Captain’s real name. Barrie would never give Captain Hook’s true name and only identified him as Blackbeard’s Bo’sun. (I had to look up the word Bo’sun it means Petty Officer or a qualified member of the deck.

Captain James Hook 

Icaptain-hook-disneyn the Disney’s Peter Pan, Captain Hook is portrayed more comically than in the original play/novel. Captain Hook is cowardly and vain, an adult in child’s world who is powerless to be seen in a serious role. Hook is fixated on revenge for hand and will commit almost any act to lure Peter to an untimely death.

According to one of the animators who worked on Peter Pan. Hook’s look was modelled on a Spanish King, flamboyant yet regal. The look of Disney’s Hook set a president for Hook’s and also other pirates in future productions and movies.

The Evolution of Hook 

Since the millennium or at least that’s where I personally date it from, the character and look of Captain Hook has evolved.
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In the 1990’s the movie HOOK hit the cinema’s  with Dustin Hoffman in the title role of Captain Hook. (I will discuss the wonder of the movie another day). You will notice in the movie still above that the costume is very close to that of Captain Hook’s in the animated movie.

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In 2003 however a new adaptation of Peter Pan was released this time Jason Issac’s was cast in the role of Hook. Issac’s was also Wendy’s father Mr Darling in movie which play’s homage to Barrie’s original rendering of the play.

Issac’s Hook still resembles Disney’s Hook in many ways with a few exceptions. Issac’s is younger and fitter. The costume is similar but it is slightly edgier, still flamboyant in scenes but leather is making more of an appearance. Gone are the stockings and satin hoes.

Once the 2010’s hit Captain Hook takes on a completely new look. He is younger and lets face it he is something of a Heart Breaker.

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Captian Killian (Jones) Hook from the TV Series “Once Upon a Time” has set many a young (and slightly older) heart a light. Who would have thought when I was growing up that one day Captain Hook would be a sex symbol? I certainly never saw him that way until he showed up in the form of Colin O’Donoghue… wow!!

I know there are other actor’s who have portrayed Captain Hook in various adaptations and spin-off’s however I chose these three as they make my point quite splendidly without without me waffling on to much.

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