Tag Archives: fun

Monster’s Inc. 3D: Get yourself geared up for the sequel

Catch Monster's Inc. 3D in theatres on December 19, 2012. Courtesy of DisneyPixar

Catch Monster’s Inc. 3D in theatres on December 19, 2012. Courtesy of DisneyPixar


Extrapolating on a classic fear of little children, DisneyPixar’s Monster’s Inc. became the highest grossing computer animated film upon its release in 2001. This holiday season, Disney is giving you the chance to experience this wonderfully original tale in 3D hoping to secure a new audience for the upcoming sequel, Monster’s University.

For the handful of people who have yet to experience it, Monster’s Inc. tells the story of an alternate universe of monsters whose only connection to our world is through the bedroom closets of little children (eeek!).

Monster's Inc. 3The adventure is absolutely hilarious with Billy Crystal and John Goodman starring as best friends who work as a team to get a lost little girl back to her human world.

Since the movie is nothing short of amazing, let’s focus on the 3D conversion…

This year we got a chance to see DisneyPixar’s best three-dimensional animated effort to date with Brave. The depth of image present and sharp animation lent a surreal amount of life to the images on screen.

MONSTERS, INC.With the Monster’s Inc. conversion, it feels more like 2.75D without ever reaching the true effect 3D can offer. Sure you can tell that one character is in front of another and there’s a good amount of depth when the scenes call for it, such as the door storage chase scene. However, the seamless “looking through a window” effect is never fully achieved. Truth be told, it was still great seeing these lovable characters on the big screen again (your toddlers will have a blast with the film).

Monster's Inc. 4Bottom Line: The 3D isn’t the best, but it’s far from the worst. Don’t hesitate in checking out one of DisneyPixar’s finest films to date.

 


Click to open and print out these fun activities!

MI3D_Coloring

MI3D_DoorHanger_R

MI3D_Hexaflexagon_REV

MI3D_Maze


Finding Nemo: Blu Ray Review

Pick up your copy of Finding Nemo on Blu Ray 3D December 4, 2012. Courtesy of DisneyPixar

Pick up your copy of Finding Nemo on Blu Ray 3D December 4, 2012. Courtesy of DisneyPixar


The story of an overprotective father’s desperate search for his lost son captured audiences worldwide like few films ever have. Unhindered perfection is the best way to describe what DisneyPixar produced in 2003 with Finding Nemo. Nine years after grossing over $900 million worldwide in theatres and Oscar Award acclaim, Nemo and Co. received the 3D treatment and is now available on Blu Ray.

Finding Nemo 1For those few of you who haven’t seen the movie, Finding Nemo is the story of a father and son clown fish that are quickly separated and spend the rest of the movie engaging the help of a variety of quirky sea creatures as they attempt to find their way back to one another.

It should go without saying, but for that sole individual who has yet to embark on this incredible journey, this movie is inspiringly original, and features some of the best voice work to date.

Finding Nemo 3Albert Brooks and Ellen Degeneres’ performances are sublime. Degeneres’ portrayal of the memory addled Dori is absolutely hilarious with just the right amount of emotion to provide an unforgettable character.

The all new Blu Ray release is fully loaded to future proof you (from a technology standpoint). Included are 3D and 2D Blu Ray discs, a DVD copy and a Digital Copy, ensuring that you can enjoy the film anywhere. The image quality is great, only topped by the immersive and dynamic audio design/mastering. Finding Nemo 4If you have the equipment to watch the movie in 3D, you’ll definitely enjoy the added depth the third dimension adds to this deep sea adventure. If you don’t, the 2D experience is no slouch, delivering a crisp, clean image.

There are a lot of special features to go through, including:

• Cine-Explore

Finding Nemo: A Filmmakers’ Roundtable

• Reinventing the Submarine Voyage

• A Lesson in Flashbacks

• Deleted Scene

• Knick Knack

• Trailers and Sneak Peeks

• Art Review

• Making Nemo

• Exploring the Reef

• Studio Tour

• Old School

• Deleted Scenes

• Outtakes

• Publicity Pieces

• Mr. Ray’s Encyclopedia

• Aquariums

Most of these features combine comedy, educational elements and a good deal of insight into the making of the blockbuster film. My only complaint would be with the lack of a “play all” option, as some of the features are a concise 10 seconds long, but take almost 30 seconds to load. Other than that, fans will have fun going behind the scenes with the cast and crew.

Finding Nemo 2Bottom Line: A must own DisneyPixar adventure that you’ll want to dive into time and time again.

Movie Grade A+
Blu Ray Grade A

Runtime: 100 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


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BRAVE Coin Archery Game PDF

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Moonrise Kingdom: Blu Ray Review

Pick up your copy on Oct. 16th. Courtesy of eOne Media


With the Oscars only months away, Moonrise Kingdom, with its quirky and affecting appeal was a solid contender. While the movie is definitely worth watching, the Blu Ray/DVD release could have used some tweaking.

In Wes Anderson’s latest film, Moonrise Kingdom, he collaborates with Roman Coppola to tell the tale of a young couple’s escape from the watchful eyes of their guardians in order to be with one another.

This straight-faced, off-beat film tells its story in a very minimalistic fashion. Instead of being attacked with endless details, Wes Anderson and co-writer Roman Coppola unassumingly ask the audience to decipher this decidedly interpretive story.

Every member of the cast brought their A-game, delivering performances both eccentric and memorable. The young first-time actors playing the love-struck couple, Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, both displayed a very natural, youthful innocence.

Despite all of its romantic naïveté, Moonrise Kingdom is not a perfect film. Firstly, Wes Anderson clearly neglected necessary (some might say obvious) emotional reactions from the actors, both young and old, which will certainly alienate a large demographic of movie goers. There’s also the lack of enunciation from both Hayward and Gilman; something Anderson should have caught during the shooting process as it was difficult to understand the youngsters during multiple scenes.

For the Blu Ray + DVD release, the audio mastering is perfect. However, Anderson’s choice to shoot the movie with 16mm film, rather than 35mm film, has left the high definition transfer looking like a decent DVD – not a stunning Blu Ray. The special features are also very limited to what boils down to faux “behind the scenes” advertisements for the film. Not what this fan of the film was expecting.

Make no mistake, this is a very good film, it simply is not Oscar winner worthy.

Bottom Line: This Blu Ray is only worth owning if you like the film.

Grade A

Runtime: 94 minutes
IMAX: No
3D: No


Moonrise Kingdom: Trivia and Insights


With the Blu Ray + DVD release of the brilliant Oscar Award contender Moonrise Kingdom due on Oct. 16th, I’ve decided to compile some fun trivia and insight from the cast and crew. Enjoy!

 
 


During filming, Wes Anderson rented an old mansion in Newport, Rhode Island for himself, editor Andrew Weisblum, and director of cinematography Robert D. Yeoman, in which they had a room set up for editing the film. It had been arranged for the cast to stay in a nearby hotel, but eventually some of the actors also decided to stay at the mansion, including Edward Norton, Bill Murray, and Jason Schwartzman. Murray later joked that the theory was to have everyone close by so that they could all work “ungodly art-movie hours.”
Sounds like fun to me!

Fun Fact about Wes Anderson: When asked where audiences would find the next Martin Scorsese, he said to look to Wes Anderson, the young director of Rushmore (1998).
I would cry like a big bald baby if Scorsese said that about me!

The filmmakers wanted the physical production to be focused, not bloated. Accordingly, there were no big trucks, and no actor or filmmaker trailers. Actors were encouraged to arrive camera-ready, requiring them to don their costumes in their hotel rooms before coming to set.
Nice to hear that greatness can be achieved at humbler budgets.

Bill Murray remembers, “My first day at work was on a camp set, and I realized that they didn’t have trailers and so forth. We had tents, pup tents. It was about 40 degrees outside and raining, but once you get 51 people crammed inside a tent, it gets plenty warm. We were cozy after a while.”
That must have been a giant tent to house that many people.

“The director, Wes (Anderson), he wears his pants very short. So he likes everyone in the film to wear them really short. Just a little bit like the kind of person you’d want to mug.”
– Bill Murray
Yes sir, the men all look ready for a flood in this movie.

You can find Bill Murray’s real son in the film as one of the scouts in a Native Indian feathered headdress.
Easier to spot in the special features where they point him out to you.

After an initial audition and three more call-backs over the course of six months, young star Jared Gilman remembers, “I was getting in the car with my mom on the way home from school, and I asked her if she had any news. She didn’t answer; she called up my father instead, and he pulled a Ryan Seacrest [/American Idol results buildup] on me, before he told me I got the part. I screamed, I laughed, and I cried. It was probably the happiest day of my life.”
That’s mean… I love it!

Before filming, neither Kara Hayward nor Jared Gilman had ever seen a typewriter in person. Hayward later said, “Fran (Frances McDormand) had a lot of fun with that. She couldn’t believe it. She showed me that the keys are in the same place as now (on computers).”
This, sadly, is probably the case for most every child in their generation.

As homework for his character, Wes Anderson assigned Jared Gilman to watch Escape from Alcatraz (set in 1963), starring Clint Eastwood.
Proper education.

The film opened in only four theaters, two in New York and two in Los Angeles, but earned $167,250 per screen, the all-time record for highest per-theater box office average of a non-animated film.

You’ll find the Moonrise Kingdom Blu Ray + DVD online and in stores on October 16, 2012.

Bill Murray’s overview of the movie:


All information was taken from eOne’s press notes and IMDB.com


The Great Mouse Detective: Blu Ray Review

The Great Mouse Detective is available on Blu Ray + DVD on Oct. 9, 2012. Courtesy of Disney Films


Between 1958-1982, Eve Titus parodied the greatest fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, into a mouse named Basil Rathbone for a series of children novels. His success in making the adult detective series accessible to youngsters led to Disney’s adaptation The Great Mouse Detective.

In this rodent based adaptation, Basil and Dr. Dawson (a parody of Dr. Watson) track down the notorious Professor Ratigan in order to prevent him from committing a heinous crime against the Royalty of Victorian England.

What’s really astonishing about this film is how they’ve retained the original character traits of the base characters, while adding whimsical nuances to entertain younger generations. Disney did a fantastic job of allowing the sophisticated detective genius from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work to shine through, all the while interweaving a daring adventure for younger audiences.

Twenty-six years after its theatrical release, Disney has completely restored both the original film and its audio track for the Blu Ray + DVD release. On top of that, they’ve included some special features worth checking out. “So You Think You Can Sleuth” is entertaining and educational to both children and adults. This featurette looks at the history of crime solvers and provides a lighthearted wrongdoing for the audience to take a stab at solving. There’s also The Making Of The Great Mouse Detective and “The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind” Sing-A-Long Song.

Bottom Line: This mousy mystery is timeless and definitely worth owning on Blu Ray.

Movie Grade A-
Blu Ray Grade A-

Runtime: 74 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1


The Rescuers/The Rescuers Down Under: Blu Ray Review

The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under on Blu Ray + DVD combo available on August 21, 2012. Courtesy of Disney Pictures


Thirty-five years ago, Disney’s animation studios delivered an original tale of two mice risking their lives to save a kidnapped girl from the clutches of a cruel woman. Thirteen years after the success of The Rescuers, Disney delivered one of its first sequels to an animated film in The Rescuers Down Under. For The Rescuers three and a half decade anniversary, both films have been included in the Blu Ray + DVD combo release.

The Rescuers is such a hit simply because it veers away from what so many other films do—talk down to children. Instead, it delivers a darker story everyone can enjoy. Eva Gabor and Bob Newhart work magic together as the unlikely pair of mystery solving, lovable rodents.

In The Rescuers Down Under, the adventure is brought to the other side of the globe where Bernard and Bianca must stop a ruthless poacher in the Outback of Australia. All new characters and phenomenal animation make this sequel a fun ride. Story wise, it just falls short of the first film – But not by much.

This Blu Ray release looked far better than I thought it would on my 60” television and sounded surprisingly good as well. Included you’ll find a wide array of special features to enjoy: “Peoplitis” a deleted song, “Someone’s Waiting For You” Sing-A-Long, and The Making Of The Rescuers Down Under. On top of those, Disney has also included “The Three Blind Mouseketeers” – Silly Symphony Animated Short, and the best feature of all “Water Birds” Disney True Life Adventure. This last feature is a fun video about real birds in nature and how they differ from each other. A must watch for wildlife lovers!

Bottom Line: You and your children will have a blast delving into these timeless mysteries alongside two heroic mice and their companions.

Movie Grades: The Rescuers: A-/The Rescuers Down Under: B
Blu Ray Grade A-

Runtimes: The Rescuers: 78 minutes/The Rescuers Down Under: 78 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1


Chimpanzee: Blu Ray Review

Chimpanzee is available in stores on August 21, 2012. Courtesy of DisneyNature


As our genetic ancestors, chimpanzees give humans a glimpse into our extremely distant past. In DisneyNature’s documentary, Chimpanzee, we follow a group of chimps living in the forests of Africa as they try to keep their home safe from an invading clan of rival chimpanzees (Remind you of anyone you know?). Possibly the most intriguing aspect of this film is the story of baby Oscar and the unlikely relationship he forms with the alpha male of his group, Freddy.

This beautifully shot documentary delivers a powerful story of both spirit and family. The cinematography is absolutely stunning, as is the in-depth camera work the crew managed to achieve in order to bring us intimately close to this group of playful primates.

Directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield managed to show the darker side of the animal’s lives, but successfully cut everything graphic and potentially disturbing out for those younger and ever so sensitive viewers. With the assistance of Tim Allen’s (Toy Story, The Santa Clause) playful narration, younger audience members will be thoroughly engaged in this astonishing world of survival.

DisneyNature has included a fantastic array of special features for the Blu Ray + DVD release. Every minute of the On Location: Making Of Chimpanzee featurette is a must watch. It chronicles the pain-staking efforts the crew went through to deliver this astonishing footage. Also included is “Rise” Music Video By McClain Sisters, Behind The Scenes Of “Rise”, See Chimpanzee, Save Chimpanzee, Disney’s Friends For Change, and Disney’s Conservation Legacy.

Bottom Line: Whether you live alone or have a large family, everyone will be captivated by this heartfelt documentary and its phenomenal cinematography.

Movie Grade A
Blu Ray Grade A

Runtime: 78 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Here are some fun activities for you to download and print for your little ones to enjoy:

CHIMPANZEE Activites

 


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