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movie review

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

I thought Toy Story 3 was the best wrap up of a series as there ever was. However, I was proven wrong last night. Toy Story 4 takes us parents on a ride and sees it through to the end and this mom is all in her feels. Where’s Drake when I need him?

Toy Story 4 Basic Synopsis:

Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So, when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (voice of Tony Hale), declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy.

READ ALSO: What is Disney Creator Days and How Can I Get Invited?

But when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family’s road trip excursion, Woody ends up on an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voice of Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realize they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries. Directed by Josh Cooley (“Riley’s First Date?”), and produced by Mark Nielsen (associate producer “Inside Out”) and Jonas Rivera (“Inside Out,” “Up”)

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky, Ducky and Bunny

©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Parenting is a thankless job of loving and living for other people. People we created and have made the very reason for our existence. There is nothing more fulfilling or joyous than being given the gift of loving someone so completely and unconditionally. We are in those years, blinded by that love.

But one day, they will grow up. They will move on, as they are supposed to. They will have lives, families and children of their own and as much as we want to hold on tighter and forever, we have to let them go. And it hurts so much. Too much. But that’s the job; raise good human beings and then set them free to go forth and make the world a better place…no matter how much it breaks your heart.

READ ALSO: Everything You Need to Know about the Disney Dream Cruise

But something unexpected happens, when your little birds fly away and you are left in your empty nest, you have time for you again. Time to live for you. Time to pursue what makes YOU happy. Time to love your partner. Go ahead, you deserve it. Just like Woody deserved to find his Bo Peep. He did his job. He loved Andy and Bonnie with everything that he was. He sacrificed. He selflessly served them as long as they needed him and only when they no longer did, did he let go and even then it was begrudgingly.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

As parents, it is our mission to love our children. Sometimes it feels like our sole purpose and we are happy to have it. But, like Woody, we’ve got to let go of the past and live in the present. Look toward the future. We deserve to be happy. We deserve to be loved the way we loved our children. We deserve that.

READ ALSO: Disney’s the Lion King

Where, then, does Woody stand? In the movie’s scheme of things, he stands for all of us who feel we’ve lost our purpose in one phase of our life and haven’t yet found the courage to start the next phase. Toy Story 4 is all about transitioning to the next phase for everyone one of us. We are constantly evolving.

What Woody comes to understand, ever so slowly, is that life is not only for living but for loving, and he and Bo have found each other. As Woody struggles to resolve his fears and feelings, “Toy Story 4” transcends toydom. It feels exquisitely alive.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

©2019 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

It boils down to this, in the end, our quality of life is weighed and measured in love; the love we give gives us meaning and the love we receive gives us purpose.

Toy Story 4 teaching us lessons we didn’t even know we needed to learn.

Whether it’s romantic love, familial love, parental love, friendship or mutual respect, love is the true meaning of life and without it, the quality of our lives is drastically reduced if not removed. At the basis of humanity, we need to love one another. The love we give is reflected back in the joy we feel.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

In Toy Story 4, we’re shown all different types of love and its value is quantified from an outside perspective and suddenly, it all makes sense… love is the meaning of life. Giving and receiving.

READ ALSO: I Loved Aladdin Live-Action More than the Original

In the end, they all chose to love and let themselves be loved. The thing is that kind of vulnerability is terrifying. Putting yourself out there and allowing yourself to become part of something bigger than just yourself, allowing someone else to be a part of the equation to determine whether or not you are happy and fulfilled is risky but so worth it because the only way to experience life fully is with love and the only way to love is completely.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

In the end, Andy grew up and Bonnie gave her love to Forky but Woody finally got to be part of something for him, he got to be loved in return and that’s something. He got to start a new adventure in life as part of a couple. His friends loved him so much that they let him go follow his bliss with Bo Peep, the same way Bo Peep put her feeling for him on a shelf and left him behind when she knew he had to stay with Andy. That’s what love is about, taking someone else’s needs and wants into consideration.

In Toy Story 4, Woody finally got to choose to love and be loved in return and there’s nothing better in this life. Sometimes love means letting go, sometimes it means jumping in with both feet and taking a chance and sometimes it means holding on for dear life. Toy story 4 taught me that.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky, Ducky and Bunny

Disney Pixar’s Toy Story 4 in theaters June 21st. Now playing. Giving me the meaning of life.

What was your biggest takeaway from Toy Story 4?

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Bohemian Rhapsody, Freddie Mercury, Queen, Live Aid

I just watched Bohemian Rhapsody for the 2nd time and I truly love it more than the first time. I can’t wait to watch it for the third time. I’ve been a Queen fan since I was a little girl. My uncles were teenagers when Queen was at its most popular so it was playing around our house all the time in the 70’s and 80’s. I naturally gravitated to the sound of Freddie Mercury’s voice.

READ ALSO: Wedding Ring Tattoos as a Sign of Devotion

When I heard that Bohemian Rhapsody was being made I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I was afraid that the movie wouldn’t live up to the legacy. I mean, let’s be honest, Freddie Mercury was a rock icon and a one of a kind talent. Expectations were high. To mess this up was to fail epically. I couldn’t risk the ruin but to be able to see his story told honestly and genuinely with his vocals as the soundtrack, it could be magical and it was.

Here is the official synopsis of Bohemian Rhapsody. My review will follow.

SYNOPSIS

Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. They reach unparalleled success, but in an unexpected turn Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his bandmates just in time for Live Aid. While bravely facing a recent AIDS diagnosis, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. Queen cements a legacy that continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day.

Bohemian Rhapsody is the Freddy Mercury biopic no Queen Fan should miss.

That was the “official synopsis” but I have to tell you, the movie exceeded my expectations. I was worried that the Freddie Mercury story was going to be told in a way that would ruin the internationally beloved star’s legacy but instead, I feel, Rami Malek played the perfect Freddie Mercury. He was endearing and humble while at the exact same time being gauche and larger than life, much as I believe Mercury was.

Variety critic, Owen Gleiberman, described Malek’s frontman as “a studded leather peacock, swoony and liberated, letting the life force pour out of him in a glorious tremolo, most extraordinarily during the film’s climactic sequence”.

Bohemian Rhapsody, Freddie Mercury, Queen, Live Aid

There are lukewarm reviews that criticized the Queen biopic for being the victim of straightwashing the Freddie Mercury story but I didn’t get that impression at all. I felt like it told his story in a way that made him human and vulnerable in the most human ways. I felt like I got a peek behind the mask of the public, eccentric persona of Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury, to see the man, Farrokh Bulsara. I loved every moment of it.

Bohemian Rhapsody, Freddie Mercury, Queen, Live Aid

On a very molecular level, Bohemian Rhapsody showed us the connection we all feel to Freddie Mercury, the human condition. This movie shows us that in the end, people are what matter and if you have a gift, share it with the world. Love. Let yourself be loved. Be you.

READ ALSO: The Moment I stopped Caring what Other People Think of Me

For me, Bohemian Rhapsody is truly a must see. In my case, it’s a see…over and over again. Queen and Freddie Mercury made more than music, they made legends.

Bohemian Rhapsody, Freddie Mercury, Queen, Live Aid

Bohemian Rhapsody is available on DVD today, February 12! Get your copy and watch it with a good sound system. You won’t be able to stop singing along.

Have you seen Bohemian Rhapsody? If so what were your thoughts?

 

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Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRay

Thank you to Disney and ABC for inviting me to Los Angeles on an all-expense paid trip, in exchange for coverage of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms and the #ChristopherRobinBluRay event. I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent and given the opportunity to preview Christopher Robin on Blu Ray but all opinions are my own.

In Disney’s heartwarming live-action adventure, the young boy who shared countless adventures with his stuffed animal friends in the Hundred Acre Wood has grown up and lost sight of what’s important in life. Now it is up to his childhood friends to venture into our world and help Christopher Robin rediscover the joys of family life, the value of friendship and to appreciate the simple pleasure in life once again.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRayDoing Nothing often Leads to the Very Best Kind of Something -Winnie the Pooh

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN is directed by Marc Forster from a screenplay by Alex Ross Perry and Allison Schroeder and a story by Perry based on characters created by A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard. The producers are Brigham Taylor and Kristin Burr, with Renée Wolfe and Jeremy Johns serving as executive producers. The film stars Ewan McGregor as Christopher Robin; Hayley Atwell as his wife Evelyn; Bronte Carmichael as his daughter Madeline; and Mark Gatiss as Keith Winslow, Robin’s boss. The film also features the voices of: Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger; Brad Garrett as Eeyore; Toby Jones as Owl; Nick Mohammed as Piglet; Peter Capaldi as Rabbit; and Sophie Okonedo as Kanga.

READ ALSO: A picnic with Pooh and Tigger Too; Interview with Jim Cummings

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRay

Bringing the Iconic Characters to Life

A great deal of care also went into their creation, with special attention being paid to Winnie the Pooh’s tummy (to make sure it had the proper cuddle factor), to Tigger’s expressions (so he could eff effectively register surprise, anger and bewilderment) and to Eeyore (to make sure he had the proper amount of sag).

Disney legend Richard M. Sherman, “There’s something sentimental and sweet and nostalgic about Pooh. He’s like your childhood buddy, who we sometimes forget about when we get older, but when he finds out that Christopher Robin is in a bit of trouble, he comes back to remind him what it’s like to have an imagination and to have wonderful times together doing nothing.” “I think Pooh will be around for the next 200 years because he is so special and so dear,” he says. “There will always be people rediscovering Winnie the Pooh or finding about him for the first time.”

Watching the movie, I fell in love with these characters from my childhood all over again. They seemed more real to me than they ever had before. They became tangible; not just apparitions of my own imagination but walking, talking, living and breathing embodiments of childhood. This was also the way my daughters and my husband felt after seeing the movie.

Humor

One of the most endearing parts of Christopher Robin was the humor. Though it tackles many serious topics, it does so with levity and love. It tells the story on a very basic, human level that people of all ages cannot only comprehend but embrace. Laughter truly is the best medicine.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRay, Piglet

“When you are able to make people laugh and cry in the same movie and you are able to tell the story with integrity and ground it in reality and have the magic realism on top of it, it lifts your spirits and connects you with the people you love,” says Forster.

And this is a story Forster believes has never been more relevant. “I think it’s something we desperately need in the world,” he says. “We could all use a little bit of Pooh’s heart and wisdom right now.”

Family

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRay

Christopher Robin reminds us of the importance of family, in all of its forms and for all of our lives. You never outgrow the ones you love and who knew you before you became who you were meant to be; the ones who love you unconditionally.

Finding someone to personify an adult Christopher Robin posed a unique challenge for the filmmakers. The boy forever immortalized in E.H. Shepard’s iconic illustration sitting with his best friend on their thinking log has grown into a loving husband and father and a hard-working employee at Winslow Luggage, but the burdens that come with adulthood have caused him to forget the good times of his youth and he has lost sight of the person he once was. I think Ewan McGregor was the perfect choice Christopher Robin.

Hayley Atwell (“Howards End,” ABC’s “Agent Carter”) was cast as Evelyn Robin. A fictitious character married to Christopher Robin, she personifies home and love and holds the family together. “They were very happy at the beginning of their marriage, but she sees him becoming a workaholic and losing that connection with his family.”

Bronte Carmichael plays Madeline Robin, the bright nine-year-old who, much like her father, has a passion for make-believe. She wants nothing more than to have her father read to her every night before she goes to bed, but he wants her focused on her studies.

“Madeline is a very serious girl at the beginning of our story and really wants to please her father, studying very hard all the time,” says Forster. “She is prepared to go to boarding school, but what she really wants is to stay home with her family.”

When Madeline comes across a box belonging to her father with a drawing of Pooh and his friends along with other keepsakes from the Hundred Acre Wood, it gives her a glimpse into his childhood for the first time. “Times were different then, and so was the way people related to their kids,” says McGregor. “You can see that she wants love from him in a way that isn’t just him providing for the family, and that’s what the story is about really, and by the end of the film he is able to give her that.”

I Always Get to Where I’m Going By Walking Away From Where I’ve Been. -Winnie the Pooh

 

Imagination and Play

Disney’s “Christopher Robin” brings the timeless charm and nostalgia of A.A. Milne’s stories and characters to the big screen in an imaginative tale about the joy and purity of youth. Speaking to the child in all of us, the film is a gentle reminder to let some of those qualities infuse our adult lives.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRay

“Translating a lovely, simple story with an uncomplicated, targeted message into a feature film can make one’s own life a better experience for the effort,” says director Marc Forster. “The simpler things in life are, indeed, often those that make us the happiest. And in ‘Christopher Robin’ we see a man who has lost sight of that which tethered him to humanity in broad strokes, and who is reminded of his better self through reconnecting to his childhood, his own imagination and to a love of wonder. In so reconnecting to his own better spirit, he finds his way back to the loves of his life, his wife and daughter, and for that, his life is enriched. All for remembering that the simpler things in life are not to be left behind or forgotten.”

“Life goes by so fast, but hopefully this film will remind people to take a look at their own lives and re-evaluate how they spend their time…and with who,” says Forster.

There’s Always Time for a Smackeral of Wonder. -Winnie the Pooh

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRay

The fun-filled tale features A.A. Milne’s timeless characters from the Hundred Acre Wood—Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit and Owl—making their first appearance as three-dimensional characters who remind Christopher Robin, and viewers of all ages, to appreciate the simple pleasures in life.

READ ALSO: Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience

Bonus features included with Disney’s Christopher Robin BluRay provide a heartfelt look at the making of the movie, showcasing the magical artistry that brings the classic characters to life, the human actors’ techniques for interacting with stuffed animals, and the filmmakers’ passion for their project. Bronte Carmichael, who plays Christopher Robin’s daughter Madeline, takes viewers on an exciting journey from the drawing board to film locations throughout the United Kingdom. Features flashback to highlight Walt Disney’s fondness for Winnie the Pooh and recall the voice actors who lovingly portrayed the unforgettable voice of the iconic character. An exclusive digital bonus feature explores the actual teddy bear, given to Christopher Robin Milne 98 years ago, which inspired the original Pooh stories that have been shared and adored by families around the globe.

Christopher Robin Blu-Ray Bonus Features

BLU-RAY & DIGITAL HD:

  • In Which … A Movie Is Made for Pooh– Filmmakers and cast share their passion for this story in a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie.
  • In Which … Pooh Finds His Voice– Discover what it’s like to voice Winnie the Pooh, from voice actors Sterling Holloway to Jim Cummings.
  • In Which … Pooh and Walt Become Friends– How did Walt Disney and Pooh meet? Take a journey through time to explore the legacy of Walt’s first encounter with Pooh.
  • In Which … Pooh and Friends Come to Life– See how Winnie the Pooh and Friends were brought to life as walking and talking stuffed animals in this magical live-action world.

EXCLUSIVE DIGITAL BONUS FEATURE:

  • In Which … We Were Very Young– Meet the actual, original teddy bear who, along with his best friends, has inspired so much love worldwide for almost a century.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRayBRING HOME DISNEY’S CHRISTOPHER ROBIN ON BLU-RAY  NOVEMBER 6th!

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Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland

Attending Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet experience gave me memories that will last a lifetime! I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent but all opinions are my own.

This week, not only did I get to attend the red carpet world premiere of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms, I got to see one of my most anticipated movies of the year for me. I won’t post any spoilers in this post because I want you to go see it and experience it the way I did with no preconceived notions. Below is my Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review.

I will say that Christmas came early this year for my girls because Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms hits theaters today!

Let me start by saying that as a long time Nutcracker ballet aficionado, my expectations were high. I knew it would be different because one is a movie and one is a ballet. In a movie, you obviously have the luxury of using your words and in ballet, you only have your body as your means of expression.

READ ALSO: Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms A Must Say for Ballet Dancers

I didn’t know if Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms was going to be based on the ballet or the book. But I was excited to find out. I can now tell you that Disney’s Nutcracker is not based on the ballet, though there are elements of the ballet peppered within. It is based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s tale The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie is rated PG and aside from a few Nutcracker Battle scenes it is very light. Safe for most children, in my mom opinion.

 

Official Synopsis

All Clara (Mackenzie Foy) wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world. Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Disney’s new holiday feature film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston, and inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale.

Reasons Why You Should See Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

The Four Realms
Unlike the ballet that only has three realms, the move has four realms. The land of sweets, the land of snow,  the land of flowers and a mystery land but you’ll have to go see the movie to see what the mystery is. All the lands are different and beautiful in their own way.

The Ballet

The Nutcracker would not be the Nutcracker for most without some ballet so fear not because not only did Disney bring the ballet they brought the best, Misty Copeland. If you’ve never seen Misty Copeland dance the Nutcracker, this is a definite bonus of seeing Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Ms. Copeland’s dancing inspires and delights.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Scenery
If you are a fan of the ballet, the scenery will not disappoint. One of my favorite things about seeing the production in the theater is the transformation of a stage into the land of sweets. Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms does not disappoint. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and transformative, transporting you through time and space. Crisp white snow falling against the colorful backdrops in the Nutcracker movie is cinematically breathtaking.

Costumes
The costumes were beautiful and vibrant, each one a perfect reflection of the character wearing it. If you are familiar with the Nutcracker ballet you will see a lot of familiar costumes which will leave you with that warm fuzzy feeling of nostalgia that we all associate with the Nutcracker.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

The Sugar Plum Fairy
Keira Knightley with her cotton candy hair, baby voice and bubbly personality gave me a whole new perspective of who the Sugar Plum Fairy really is. She will make you laugh but don’t be fooled, she is definitely more than just a pretty face.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Plot Twist

After seeing the movie, I can tell you this, expect the unexpected. Expect for your eyes to be dazzled by the beautiful imagery, your heart to swell with a new twist on a classic tale and your ears to find familiarity even amongst the exciting twists and turns that only Disney magic can provide.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Mackenzie Foy

Mackenzie Foy, to me, is the perfect Clara. A Clara for a new generation of girls to look up to. Not only is she what we’ve all imagined Clara to look like our entire lives, but she is also simultaneously a plot twist; an enigma wrapped up in a mystery. She may at first glance appear delicate but she is strong, self-assured, confident, smart and not afraid to face her fears. Not afraid to be the change, not afraid to say no and find her own way. She embodies everything we hope our little girls see in themselves and I think by seeing Mackenzie in such a strong, inspirational role they will.

Without giving away the ending for you, especially if you are a fan of the ballet, I really want you to watch Disney’s the Nutcracker with fresh eyes and an open mind. Pretend it is the first time you’ve ever seen the Nutcracker and enjoy every single moment. While it definitely pays homage to the classic, it stands alone as a new classic. You will want to watch this over and over again. It’s the movie you will watch with your children and your children’s children.

READ ALSO: The Nutcracker’s Tiniest Soldier

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

It’s heartwarming in all the best ways and recognizable enough to pull at your heartstrings with nostalgia. Just remember, and this is all I am saying, there is a plot twist from what you’ve known of the ballet and it’s more than just Mother Ginger. So go see it for yourself and expect the unexpected and them let me know what you think of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland

I just saw it but you can believe that tonight, I’ll be seeing it with my girls. They’ve been texting me and begging me to tell them all about it since I saw it but I want them to experience the magic of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms all for themselves and I can’t wait to be there to see their reactions. If you see it or take your children, I’d love to hear your reactions and what your children thought. Please leave them in the comments section. And if you see it, what was your favorite part? Why?

THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS opens in theatres everywhere on November 2nd!

Follow #DisneysNutcracker on Social Media!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneysNutcracker

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DisneyStudios

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/disneysnutcracker/

If your kids love the movie, as much as I think mine will, these Disneys the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Coloring sheets are loads of fun to color.

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Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

Last night the Big Guy surprised the girls with tickets to see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, now playing in theaters. This should be no surprise to anybody who knows us because everyone knows that we are huge Disney fans but more importantly, this is one of our favorite Disney films.

I went to see Beauty and the Beast with big expectations.

I wasn’t sure that the movie could live up to the way I felt about the animated movie. I mean, I’ve loved that movie for 26 years. I won’t lie, Beauty and the Beast has a very special place in my heart. In a lot of ways, the Big Guy and I are very different but when we met, we both agreed that we loved Beauty and the Beast. It was one of the first things we had in common.

The Big Guy is an artist and he loved the original Beauty and Beast because it was animation at its finest. It was traditional Disney. He’s old school like that. I loved the original movie because it was an epic love story between a bookish, headstrong brunette with a wanderlust in her heart ( ahem) and a Beast who became beautiful on the inside as his true nature was revealed. I loved the story and the characters. I couldn’t wait to see how that parlayed into live action.

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

I knew the cast was stellar and so was the directing. Bill Condon outdid anything I could have expected. The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s father; Josh Gad as LeFou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Ewan McGregor as Lumière, the candelabra; Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe, the wardrobe; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; Hattie Morahan as the enchantress; and Nathan Mack as Chip, the teacup; with Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts. With this cast, how could you go wrong?

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

The story and characters audiences know and love come to spectacular life in the live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic “Beauty and the Beast,” a stunning, cinematic event celebrating one of the most beloved tales ever told.

“Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart of the true Prince within.

My family loves musicals and Beauty and the Beast did not let us down.

I’m listening to the soundtrack as I type this post. In fact, we’ve been listening to it since watching the movie last night. The original score by Alan Menken was stunning and new songs added a level of depth to the live-action movie that wasn’t there in the original. My favorite songs are Days in the Sun, Gaston, Be Our Guest, Something There and Evermore. If you weren’t in love with the Beast by this point in the movie, his very Les Miserable like solo Evermore would make you fall head over heels with this character.

 I absolutely loved the live-action Beauty and the Beast. Dare I say, even more so than the original. The story was just as beautiful but the cinematography was out of this world and there was something about the film that not only told you what was happening but was so masterfully written, acted and directed that it immersed you in the film. I felt the film.

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

Scene by scene, you fall in love with the Beast along with Belle.

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

We get to know his soul and it is beautiful. Near the end, when the enchanted household items begin to turn into just household items, I felt the souls leave the pieces. I know it sounds crazy but it was that good. You felt it, you didn’t need to be led by the nose to the outcome.

 

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

Emma Watson was the perfect Belle, for me. She is girl-next-door, smart and strong and she plays the part without being ostentatious. I feel like Watson’s Belle was right on the mark. Her understated reaction to everything balanced out Dan Stevens powerful presence as the Beast.

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellan as Lumiere and Cogsworth were marvelous. The Be Our Guest performance was nothing short of magical. I would have to say that it was so spectacular that it outdid the original in the wow department. I really didn’t think that was possible. Ewan McGregor’s delivery of Be Our Guest was reminiscent of Cabaret’s Vilkommen. Also, Disney fan alert, be on the lookout for the easter egg during the song.

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

Emma Thompson’s Mrs. Potts was spot on. She was just as wonderful as Angela Landsbury in the original but softer around the edges.

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

Luke Evans was the perfect Gaston. He was definitely more despicable than I remember. I guess there must be more redemption for animated characters because in that version I found his bumbling endearing. In the live-action film, I hated the character. Luke Evans played the part perfectly.

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

Josh Gad as LeFou was one of the highlights of the movie. I’ve loved Josh Gad since Book of Mormon (I told you we love our musicals) but Gad made LeFou endearing. In the animated movie, LeFou was annoying and a pest. In the live-action version, he was the voice of reason. He served as Gaston’s ignored moral compass. In the end, he did the right thing. His rendition of Gaston was one of the highlights of the film. Gad played LeFou with flawless delivery.

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

Here are our reviews of Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast.

I love it! I would see it 100 more times and I just might because it was that magical to me and who can’t use a little more Disney magic in their life? The story was even more endearing to me than I remembered it being ( and I just watched the original over the past weekend to prep for the movie.)

The Big Guy, who I told you is an artist, an animation traditionalist and this is his favorite Disney animated film, said that he loved the live-action film but still prefers the animated one. He said he didn’t like some of the creative license that, he felt, deviated from the original. I thought it filled in the gaps nicely. Then again, I am all about the story because I am a writer and he is more about the animation.

Bella, my just turned 12-year-old, is with me. She said she LOVED the movie and she can’t wait to see it again. Her favorite part was the Be Our Guest sequence and she loves Emma Watson as Belle. She loves the pageantry of Beauty and the Beast and she said that she loved absolutely everything about it.

Gabs, my sweet 9-year-old, said she loved the movie but she isn’t ready to say whether or not she loves it more than the original. She’s my analyzer, she likes to weigh her options. However, she’s promised me a video interview that I will add later today.

Overall, our family emphatically agrees that Disney’s Beauty and the Beast live-action film is a must see.

It’s the perfect movie for all ages. The only warning I have is if you are taking really small children, there are a couple times that the Beast roars really loudly and it may startle toddlers/preschoolers but other than that, be prepared to be wowed by the magic. And you might as well get the soundtrack now because you will be wanting to play it non-stop afterward.

If you’ve seen both Beauty and the Beast versions which is your favorite and why?

 

 

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