Tag Archives: Finding Nemo

Up: Blu Ray Review

Grab your copy of Up on Blu Ray 3D December 4, 2012. Courtesy of DisneyPixar

Grab your copy of Up on Blu Ray 3D December 4, 2012. Courtesy of DisneyPixar


Finding those complete films that deliver on all accounts is rare these days. When I first watched Up, I laughed, cried and was taken on a rollercoaster ride with the oddly paired old man and his accidental sidekick. As I reviewed the all new Blu Ray release, I was amazed as I relived all these emotions for a second time around. Now that’s a powerful film in my book!

Up 1In DisneyPixar’s Up, Carl Fredricksen deals with his loneliness and a promise to the love of his life by flying his house to the Venezuelan wilderness with the unwelcome assistance of a good-intentioned Boy Scout, Russell.

The team behind this movie provided such incredible depth of character; you see right past their cartoony shells and dive into the soul of a real person. Combine this with a highly entertaining adventure and what you have left is a timeless classic.

Up 3Edward Asner and first time actor Jordan Nagai are perfect together. Director Pete Docter did a fantastic job in getting a very natural performance out of the young Nagai – Not an easy thing to do when working with brand new actor.

Not only will kids love this movie, but as an adult, you’ll be glued to the screen beside the little ones as you watch Carl and Russell’s quest unfold (Just be sure to have a box of tissue handy).

Up 2As far as the Blu Ray release is concerned, this is one of the best. DisneyPixar has included both 3D and 2D Blu Ray discs, a DVD copy and a Digital Copy to future proof you as your home theatre evolves. The video in both the 3D and 2D copies is magnificent. While the 3D copy adds the expected immersion, it is shocking how much depth of image is in the 2D Blu Ray. On top of that, Michael Giacchino’s Academy Award winning original score sounds beautiful alongside the amazing audio design.

There isn’t a single special feature not worth watching in this home release. Included in the vast array of high definition features you’ll find:

• Cine-Explore Commentary

• Adventure Is Out There

• Partly Cloudy

• Dug’s Special Mission

• The Many Endings of Muntz

• Documentaries – A series of behind the scenes featurettes.

• Married Life

• Global Guardian Badge Game

• Up Promo Montage

• Worldwide Trailers

Not only do they include behind the scenes of the making of the film, they also provide a fun educational game for kids (just as much fun for adults).

UPBottom Line: This is how Blu Rays should be done. With a movie this good, why wait to let the fun begin? Pick up your copy today and go on a ride of a lifetime with your wee ones.

Movie Grade A+
Blu Ray Grade A+

Runtime: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1


Brave: Blu Ray Review

DisneyPixar’s Ultimate Collector’s Edition of Brave is available to own on November 13, 2012. Courtesy of Disney Pictures


Standards have been set extraordinarily high for animated films over the last decade. We’ve been spoiled with spectacular work from DisneyPixar studios, with movies that went far beyond the usual fairy tales of the old days (Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Wall-E, Up). After the pitiful Cars 2, Disney and Pixar have returned to glory with their latest film, Brave.

In Brave, we follow a young Scottish princess named Merida’s desperate battle for freedom from the claws of tradition and her unrelenting mother.

Surely enough, a simple story with phenomenal attention to detail and a talented production team make this movie an absolute delight.

All of the voice actors squeezed everything out of their acting arsenal to deliver the perfect trio of humour, emotions and fantasy. Most impressive of all is 36 year old Kelly MacDonald (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2), who plays the young and feisty Merida. She managed to perfectly portray her adolescent character, without becoming a caricature of an annoying teenager. Luckily, the studio avoided a disaster when they lost out on their first choice of Reese Witherspoon for the lead character.

This jam packed Ultimate Collector’s Edition features stunning 3D and 2D Blu Ray copies, DVD and a digital copy. On top of that, the special features list is as impressive as the film. Here’s a list of the features that you’ll want to check out:

• “La Luna” Theatrical Short

• “The Legend of Mor’du” Short

• Brave Old World

• Merida & Elinor

• Bears

• Brawl in the Hall

• Wonder Moss

• Magic

• Clan Pixar

• Once Upon A Scene

• Director Commentary

• “Fergus & Mor’du” An Alternate Opening

• Fallen Warriors Montage

• Dirty Hairy People

• It is English…Sort Of – One of the funniest features!

• Angus

• The Tapestry

• Promotional Pieces

Hours of fun stuff for fans to dive into.

Bottom Line: This Ultimate Collector’s Edition is a must own for fans of DisneyPixar animation!

Movie Grade A
Blu Ray Grade A+

Runtime: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1


CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT A FUN GAME AND MAZE!

BRAVE Coin Archery Game PDF

BRAVE Merida Wisp Maze PDF


Brave: DisneyPixar is back

Kelly MacDonald voices Princess Merida in BRAVE. Courtesy of Disney Pictures


Standards have been set extraordinarily high for animated films over the last decade. We’ve been wonderfully spoiled with spectacular work from DisneyPixar studios, with movies that went far beyond the usual fairy tales of the old days (Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Wall-E, Up). Fast Forward to 2011 where we witnessed the less than impressive sequel, Cars 2. Are Disney and Pixar returning to greatness or diving deeper into the pit of reckless disaster with their latest movie Brave? The conclusive answer is: They’re back!

In Brave, we follow a young Scottish princess named Merida through her desperate battle for freedom from the claws of tradition and her unrelenting mother.

Sure enough, a simple story with phenomenal attention to detail and a talented production team make this movie an absolute delight.
All of the voice actors squeezed everything out of their acting arsenal to deliver the perfect trio of humour, emotions and fantasy.

Most impressive of all is 36 year old Kelly MacDonald (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2), who plays the young and feisty Merida. She managed to perfectly portray her adolescent character, without becoming a caricature of an annoying teenager. Luckily, the studio avoided a disaster when they lost out on their first choice of Reese Witherspoon for the lead character.

Three directors/writers worked on bringing their script to life and it looks like they may have the Oscar for Best Animated Film in the bag.

Complementing the filmmaker’s vision is the jaw-dropping animation. Not only are the detail-rich backgrounds a photo-realistic heaven, but the movement is incredibly smooth – Particularly with Merida’s gorgeous red curly hair.

Bottom Line: The best animated movie of the year!

Grade A

Runtime: 100 minutes
IMAX: No
3D: Yes


CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT A FUN GAME AND MAZE!

BRAVE Coin Archery Game PDF

BRAVE Merida Wisp Maze PDF


Interview with Brave’s Mark Andrews and Katherine Sarafian


Having worked on some of DisneyPixar’s biggest hits, including Toy Story, Monster’s Inc., Ratatouille, and my all-time favourite The Incredibles, the pressure to deliver the next hit movie for the number one animation studio in the world was set on the shoulders of director Mark Andrews and Producer Katherine Sarafian.

I recently sat down with the lively duo to talk about their latest production, Brave.


What were some of your major challenges in making Brave?

Mark: Katherine was one of my major challenges.

Katherine: Yeah, he wouldn’t say I’m not difficult to work with. I think every director, producer, writer, etc. would give the same answer—Story! You can never assume you’ve got it right, and even when you do, you always want to make it better. With these films taking four to six years to make, right up until the end, we’re trying to make the story better.

Mark: Yeah, no matter how much time you think you have, it ends up being no time at all. You spend so much time in the development phase working with different permeations of ideas, “Should we do this? Should we do that? I don’t know…” By the time you finalize one idea and you put it up on storyboards, you look at it and go, “Gaaa, NOOO!” After multiple tries, all of a sudden the release date approaches and the pressure is on. We have a motto: Work is story and story is hell.

Tell us what led you to Scotland.

Mark: Sure! My fellow director and I, Brenda Chapman, have Scottish ancestry and I’m a huge myth and legend buff. Scotland being so rich in their history, myths and everything that surrounds it, combined with the Celtic tradition of telling stories as life lessons naturally gave us incentive to build this teen angst film around it. Basically, we write what we know. My only other thing is I wanted to put the whole thing in space, because I love sci-fi. You know, bring in a spaceship and basically that’s what happens with the curse (in the movie).

Katherine: There wasn’t a day that went by that he didn’t consider adding a spaceship.
Once we decided that it was going to be in Scotland we went on our research trip. If we got to Scotland and discovered that the landscapes and history weren’t conducive to storytelling, we would have changed it.

Mark: Or if we were smart, we would have set it in Italy and got some fantastic trips there. Or someplace warm like the Caribbean, because Scotland’s not warm!

You wouldn’t like Canada’s winters very much.

This is Pixar’s first female lead and princess. How did this develop?

Katherine: We didn’t start out thinking about delivering the first Pixar female heroine. We started talking about who would be the best possible character: Someone who is teenaged, and happened to be a royal girl. But those were all secondary and tertiary plans. Now I’m really happy that Merida will be looked at as a role model for being true to you and not just following a mold. If the world doesn’t quite see you the way you want to be seen, you can bravely face up to that and speak your truth.

Mark: I think that’s the big issue in this land and era of tradition (old Scotland), there are so many preconceived notions of what a woman or anyone needs to be – Even boys. I have a girl and three boys just like King Ferguson does in the movie, so for me it’s great that this movie tells you to be brave enough to be who you are. Don’t let anyone dictate who you’re going to be.

I love that message!

Did the cast ever get to record their dialogue together, or is this like most animated films where they never saw each other through production?

Mark: All done separately!

Katherine: They interacted when they were shooting other films together, but not on our film.

Mark: It’s too difficult. I would love to get everyone in there and have them work together. But it’s hard to build the performances, which is why we do several different takes. That way, if you’re coming on strong in your reading and I have multiple takes from the other actors reading their lines at different levels in the scene, I am able to form a rhythm and a pattern out of all the different takes.

How did you develop Princess Merida’s character without making her another annoying teenager?

Mark: We know this person is head strong and willful, but she also has to be appealing. I want to like her in the beginning and like her in the end, understanding why she had to do what she did as she transitions from adolescence to adulthood. The way Kelly MacDonald played the character made us fall in love with her from the first line out of her mouth.

Katherine: Throughout the entire process of making this movie, we were trying to get appeal. Whether it’s how big the eyes are, or how big the smile is, you’re going for appeal with character design. Then you’re going for appeal in character movement and animation before you even have the voice. By the time you get to casting, you’re only thought is appeal, appeal, appeal!

BRAVE’S Director Mark Andrews and Producer Katherine Sarafian.

Mark: All of the appeal comes from your gut. When I was talking to Emma Thomson (Queen Elinor), I told her we have to be able to laugh at the queen and not just think of nasty words to call her, which I did as we were writing the character.

Last question from fans and myself: If and when will you return to The Incredibles franchise to give us the sequel we’re dying for?

Katherine: Mark and I would both love to make The Incredibles 2 happen, but the studio has so many projects in the works right now it may be a while.

Awww shucks!

You can check out Brave in theatres this Friday June 22, 2012.

For now, save and print this fun banner challenge and maze for your wee ones to enjoy!

BRAVE Banner Design PDF

BRAVE Triplets Maze PDF


John Carter: Blu Ray + DVD Review

Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins star in the Blu Ray release of John Carter. Courtesy of Disney Pictures


Edgar Rice Burroughs’ magazine serials from the early 1900’s hit cinemas earlier this year in the form of John Carter. Unfortunately, the film was completely ill-advertised and suffered a disastrous box office run. Hopefully more people are willing to give this fantasy/sci-fi adventure a chance when it’s released on Blu Ray today.

The movie tells the story of Civil War veteran John Carter’s unwitting transport to Mars, discovering a race of human and alien life forms at war.

Academy Award winning writer/director Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-E) does a good job with his first foray into live action cinema. He creates a good balance between drama and action, with neither element overpowering the other – Unlike a hollow blockbuster. To be honest, this isn’t his best work, but there’s enough substance in the story to keep the audience eagerly intrigued.

This is Taylor Kitsch’s first time as a lead in a film with such a vast budget (estimated at $250 million… Not exactly pocket change). Kitsch did a great job as the leading man, showing a good range of emotion as well as a much appreciated knack for slap-stick comedy. The rest of the cast felt solid, but never outstanding.

For Blu Ray + DVD release, Disney has included a stout amount of special features for fans to explore. Among these are Disney’s interactive Second Screen feature that allows you to connect with a computer or tablet for additional viewing pleasure, Deleted Scenes, Barsoon Bloopers, 360 Degrees Of John Carter featurette, 100 Years in the Making featurette, and a feature length commentary with the director and producers.

On top of that wallop of special features, the movie itself looks and sounds fantastic.

Bottom Line: If you’re a fan of the film or looking for something different to watch, this movie will provide a ride you’re sure to enjoy.

Movie Grade B
Blu Ray Grade A

Runtime: 132 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1


John Carter: More than just a fun ride

Lynn Collins and Taylor Kitsch star in John Carter. Courtesy of Disney Pictures


Would your life change much if you were unwittingly transported to Mars, discovering a race of human and alien life living there? That’s what happens to Civil War veteran John Carter in this adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ magazine serial, A Princess of Mars.

This movie may hold a record for being 79 years in the making. Countless directors have been slated to bring this classic to the big screen until Disney gave the job to Academy Award winner Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-E).

Stanton, known for writing and directing some of Pixar’s most celebrated animated features, does a good job with his first foray into live action cinema. In John Carter, he created a good balance of drama and action, with neither element overpowering the other – Unlike a hollow blockbuster.

Stanton also wrote the adapted screenplay with the help of Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon. To be honest, this isn’t his best work, but there’s enough substance in the story to keep the audience intrigued.

This is Taylor Kitsch’s first time as a lead in a film with such a vast budget (estimated at $250 million… Not exactly pocket change). Kitsch did a great job as the leading man, showing a good level of emotional range and a knack for slap-stick comedy. The rest of the cast felt solid, but never outstanding.

That’s where the film seems to fall. While it is more than just a fun ride, it lacks a certain something from making it phenomenal.

Technically, the special effects and CGI are above par, as is the post-production 3D addition.

Bottom Line: Expect more than your everyday, run-of-the-mill action flick.

Grade B

Runtime: 132 minutes
IMAX: Yes
3D: Yes