by Donny Yankellow
The Toy Story franchise is classic and when I heard they were making a fourth movie in the installment my first thought was "UGH! Really?" Like many people I felt Toy Story 3 closed the franchise perfectly. Apparently, Disney and Pixar felt otherwise. After seeing Toy Story 4 I tend to disagree.
Was Toy Story 4 a bad movie? No. It was fun and enjoyable. Did it live up to the expectations that were set by the glowing reviews I read? No, not at all. That's not saying it was a bad movie, I just don't think it was amazing. In fact, I think Toy Story 3 and 2 were much better. It is hard to compare it to the first one because Toy Story was so new and original and just the technology was amazing for the time. It is amazing to see how far the technology has come from that first movie.
Why do I feel this way about this fourth installment? First, it was very predictable. I saw the ending coming a mile away. Second, it felt like it had been done before. Possible spoiler ahead- Abby Cadabby felt like a new version of Lotso. One entire scene felt like it was a remake from the daycare in Toy Story 3.
I also think the rave reviews of the new characters and toys is overblown. They were fun, but nothing special, except Forky. Forky was great and is a great addition to the Toy Story family. He's fun and funny.
Overall, Toy Story 4 is not a bad movie, but not a fantastic movie. Should you see it? If you are a Toy Story fan you probably want to see it at some point, even if it is in your house. Should there be a fifth installment? In my opinion no. In the end it is a fun movie, but Disney needs to stop before the run it into the ground. Some may think they already have.
Have you seen Toy Story? What did you think? Comment below, and remember You Can Never Have 2 Much Fun!
by Donny Yankellow
The original release of Disney's The Lion King is on of my favorite movies, if not my number 1 movie. If someone asks what my favorite movie is, The Lion King pops to mind first without even thinking. I've seen the original release at least 20+ times. I've seen the broadway show twice, and have loved it. When the new "live action" version came out a few days ago it became a must see. Does it live up to the original? Not exactly, but it excels in other ways.
Overall, the new release is the same story. There are some subtle changes and additions that don't hurt the movie at all. Big fans of the original, like myself, missed certain scenes, but the movie did not hurt from them missing. (I'm not going to get specific to avoid spoilers, even though most people know the story.) The additional scenes and details add to the story and were very enjoyable- especially the jungle creatures.
The live animals look of the movie is amazing. The way the CGI realism of the animals has been pushed is amazing. You think you are looking at real animals, for the most part. There were occasions where my eye noticed a clear digital creature, but this was rare. The flamingos were the pinkest flamingos I have ever seen. As for Samba, Nala, and the rest of the characters they looked amazing! The manes on the lions looked like real hair. I noticed veins in the lions body. They truly looked real.
Now, I have read that the characters lacked emotion. This might be where the original wins me over. The cartoon in the original Lion King were full fo expression. In this release, a lot of the expression is not there. I noticed a subtle smile hear and there, but the exaggerated smiles of a cartoon were not there. Most of the expression from this new variation come in the form of body movements and the vocal talents, not from the faces. This is most evident in Rafiki, Poomba, and Timone. Does this ruin the movie? Not at all. I just wish there was a little more expression in the characters.
Be warned that the fight scene at the end and the big Mufasa death scene are more realistic and violent than the original version. Younger children might have issues with it. In my theater a little girl was screaming during the big fight with Scar at the end.
Overall, the new release of The Lion King is a must see for any Lion King fan. Personally, I think the original and the live stage shows are better, but this new version is still great. For a new generation it will be their first exposure to the movie and possibly only one. Your mileage may vary, but it is a fun movie to take the family to- especially on a hot summer day--and YOU CAN NEVER HAVE 2 MUCH FUN!
Have an opinion on The Lion King? What movies are you seeing this summer? Comment below!
written by Donny Yankellow
My family has been traveling to Disney World every few years for a summer vacation. This year we decided to visit Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. My wife and I had gone over ten years ago and my son was at an age that we felt he would appreciate Universal. Well, this is being written on our last day here and while we had fun, we all agreed that we won’t be returning anytime soon.
Many of the attractions in the parks at Universal were still there over ten years ago. Yes, Disney has rides that are even older, but the rides and characters are timeless. Even the older characters are characters kids still grow up with and recognize. Plus, Disney keeps these characters relevant through rereleases of the movies, tv series and remakes. On the other hand, Wwe could not believe that the E.T. ride was still in the park at Universal.
Yes, there are the new Harry Potter attractions, but as non-Potter fans it didn’t do much for us. It was cool, but nothing special to us. We saw plenty of fans loving the attractions, but that does not make an entire park. There is an entire Simpsons world, but most kids don’t even know who the Simpsons are and don’t care.
Another issue I had is that most of the attractions were some type of movie you have to watch. Many are 3D, but not all. However, the tradition al get in a car and ride attraction were few and far between. I know this is done for easier maintenance and easier updating but something can be said for a traditional style ride. Yes, even Disney is starting this in attractions, but they also have many traditional rides too.
The Universal app is available to help with wait times and planning your day. This is great. However, we found many of the times were way off. One morning the Minions ride said a five minute wait time in the app. The true wait time was fifty minutes, which was posted at the ride. Another ride said ten minutes, but on arrival we found it was closed. What is the point of an app like this if it doesn’t work?
If you are a family that tries to save money with kids meals don’t count on it at Universal. We found none, zero, in the eateries we were in. Our hotel had them, but not the parks. I have never seen a lack of kids meals at theme parks.
One true bright spot was Volcano Bay, the Universal take on a waterpark. We had a ball here and loved it. If you like water slides there are a ton. If you prefer pools there are several including a wave pool. A lazy river is there too. Our favorite part was a cross between a wave pool and a lazy river. You wear a life jacket instead of a tube and float done a rougher river. At times a larger wave came through. This was amazing!
Without the ability to upgrade our ticket to include the waterpark we would have run out of stuff to do with two days left in out trip. I highly recommend including Volcano Bay in your ticket if you are staying for more than two full days.
So am I saying avoid Universal Studios? No. Just don’t have high expectations, especially if you are a Disney Parks regular. A lot of the enjoyment will depend on your age and familiarity with the attractions. If you are a Harry Potter fan, you will probably love it more than if you are not.
Many people say Disney has a lot to fear with Harry Potter at Universal. Even without the new Star Wars section coming, Disney still has my money in the foreseeable future.
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