Movie review: Mary Poppins Returns

Yesterday was a weird day wrapped in a magic bow. It started with a rehearsal for my newest Second City Training Center coached ensemble (yay!) followed by my car getting towed because apparently, my Spothero reservation didn’t go through (boo!). But it concluded with dinner and a movie next to the most adorable husband this side of the planet.

And not just any movie. A pre-screening of Mary Poppins Returns, a movie I’ve been dying to see since it was announced (especially once I discovered one of my favorite celebrity crushes, Lin-Manuel Miranda, would have a role similar to that of DIck Van Dyke in the original film). I’ve also loved Emily Blunt since The Devil Wears Prada. And then there’s Colin Firth. Who I’ve loved since I was fifteen, watching Pride and Prejudice on repeat.

Mary Poppins Poster Jack Lin-Manuel Miranda

I went into the theater with high expectations. I was hesitant to have such high expectations after the Nutcracker kinda flopped on me (I was initially drawn into the colors and music and potential messaging, but after thinking about it for far too long, I realized that the action in the plot did not back up the messaging and it wasn’t actually very good at all). Thankfully, I’ve slept on it, and I still absolutely loved Mary Poppins Returns.

Mary Poppins Returns movie review

THIS is the movie we need right now. The world is dark and gray, and Mary Poppins animates it with positivity and color and sheer energy to yet again save the day (and the Banks family). Emily Blunt plays Poppins in a way that makes me believe she’s always been Poppins (no disrespect to Julie Andrews intended because she, too, played the part practically perfect in every way). It’s like in Doctor Who, when a new doctor comes in and you truly feel like they’ve been the doctor all along. Like magic.

Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins in Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS,  a sequel to the 1964 film MARY POPPINS, which takes audiences on an all-new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.

Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins in Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 film MARY POPPINS, which takes audiences on an all-new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.

We’re on the brink of adventure; don’t spoil it with too many questions.

-Mary Poppins

In Mary Poppins Returns, the Banks children are more responsible than their artist father who has taken a part-time job at his father’s former bank to help make ends meet during The Great Depression. Mary Poppins arrives just in time to help the entire Banks family (Jane is a regular visitor to Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane). With Jack the lamplighter as her childlike adult accomplice, Mary takes the three Banks children on quite the adventure. From a dazzling display inside a Royal Doulton bowl, using classic animation (which Disney hasn’t really used since Winnie the Pooh in 2011) as a nod to the original sequence inside the street chalk scene to an important meeting with Meryl Streep’s Topsy on the ceiling of her home, Mary teaches the new generation of Bankses how to have fun.

Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins and Lin-Manuel Miranda is Jack in Disney's MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 MARY POPPINS,  which takes audiences on an entirely new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.

Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins and Lin-Manuel Miranda is Jack in Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 MARY POPPINS, which takes audiences on an entirely new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.

I loved the energy and imagination and pops of color that swirl throughout the film like paint on a canvas. The music is full of clever lyrics (and several that are full of much more adult-humor than one would expect, including a line about flapping about in bathtub gin). I was grinning like a Cheshire Cat, full of joy, and so many chills, you guys. If you need a little boost of magic this holiday season, let this be the movie that takes you there.

Jane (Emily Mortimer), Michael (Ben Whishaw), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Georgie (Joel Dawson) greet Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) upon her return to the Banks' home in Disney's original musical MARY POPPINS RETURNS

Jane (Emily Mortimer), Michael (Ben Whishaw), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Georgie (Joel Dawson) greet Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) upon her return to the Banks’ home in Disney’s original musical MARY POPPINS RETURNS

Lin-Manuel Miranda is there every step of the way, but the entire supporting cast is brilliant. Molly Weasley Julie Walters is the perfect casting for Ellen. Meryl Streep slays as Mary’s eccentric cousin (I wonder if any relation to Uncle Albert?). Colin Firth plays a duplicitous banker with sheer perfection. As for the Banks family? Emily Mortimer is such a perfect casting for Jane that I can see a resemblance to her 1964 childhood counterpart. Ben Whishaw is a wonderful combination of the child, Michael, and Mr. Banks from the original movie. The three children —Joel Dawson as Georgie, Pixie Davies as Annabel and Nathanael Saleh as John — are adorable and charming in their own rights.

Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins, Joel Dawson is Georgie, Pixie Davies is Annabel and Nathanael Saleh is John in Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 MARY POPPINS, which takes audiences on an entirely new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.

Mary Poppins easter eggs

The nods to the original are spectacular and come in every shape and size, including:

  • Dick Van Dyke’s incredible singing, dancing cameo
  • The return of the penguins
  • A passerby (UPDATE: this part was played by Karen Dotrice, the original Jane Banks!) stating, “Many thanks. Sincerely”
  • Admiral Boom still lives next door
  • Several sightings of the Sister Suffragette vote sash as the string on Michael’s kite
  • The blocks that Jane held, spelling out Mary Poppins
  • The snow globe from Feed the Birds

I found myself squeeing throughout the movie, and Brian often had no clue what I was noticing, so you really have to know your Mary Poppins to catch them all. I’m quite sure I missed as many as I caught, so once I’ve seen it a few more times, I’ll pass along the easter eggs.

Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins Returns

Are you planning to see Mary Poppins Returns? Have you seen it already? Let me know your thoughts!

In Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, an all-new original musical and sequel, Mary Poppins is back to help the next generation of the Banks family find the joy and wonder missing in their lives following a personal loss. Emily Blunt stars as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any ordinary task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure and Lin-Manuel Miranda plays her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London. “Mary Poppins Returns” is directed by Rob Marshall. The screenplay is by David Magee and the screen story is by Magee & Rob Marshall & John DeLuca based upon the Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers.

Mary Poppins Returns will be released in U.S. theaters on December 19, 2018. Get your tickets for Mary Poppins Returns.

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Can we please see Wolverine the Musical?

I’ve been on a musicals kick. It has nothing everything to do with seeing Hamilton for the second time. I’ve graduated from listening to the Ham soundtrack on YouTube to listening to Hamilton radio on Pandora. You see, I was hoping for a nice roundup of Ham, Rent, Le Mis, Wicked, and all the other musicals that provide me with lyrical poetry to sing in the car on my hour-long drives into the city every week.

Empty Hamilton stage

Pandora, for the first time since my Britney radio channel (which has been properly curated to play all 90’s and all my favorite party pop tunes), got it right.

So I’ve been jamming out. And it wasn’t a surprise to anyone that I wanted to spend my weekend watching musicals when no one in our house got any sleep because Brian had a software release (he was up until like 4 am working on Friday night), the puppy’s schedule was outta whack, and Chrissy needed to wake up at 2 am and 6 am on Saturday in order to successfully acquire (apparently not one, but two) stuffed Mickey Mouses that she absolutely needed. </second person>

I came home on Saturday from my mall adventure to pick up the Mickey and couldn’t fall asleep. So I popped in The Greatest Showman. And then Moulin Rouge. The next day, I continued the magic with Les Mis. Brian caught bits and pieces and said, “The music is kind of dull. It all sounds the same. There’s very little variation.”

I mean…I guess he’s not wrong, but I felt the need to defend one of the most epic musical tragedies, which I did to little avail.

A few days later, I was playing The Other Side from The Greatest Showman because it’s in my head, and when a song is in my head, I just have to play it. Constantly.

Brian looked at me, “See, this song alone already has more melodies and variation than the other show.”

“It’s the same actor.”

“I know. It’s Wolverine.”

“OMG. Brian. BRIAN! We need Wolverine the Musical. We just need it. How do we get in touch with Hugh Jackman?!”

So then, ignoring my brilliant idea (one that rivals my Captain America vs. Harry Potter mashup, he pulls up Deadpool the Musical, and despite Brian swearing he’s shown this to me, I’ve never seen this magic before, and I’m SO here for it. And Deadpool the Musical 2, which is even better. And it’s like my idea was already a thing and I didn’t even know it.

So, I thought I would share it with you. Because Disney owns all the good shit now. And you know how I feel about Disney. And parodies.

Enjoy. (PS: NSFW)

The Wolverine cameo is in here, and it’s perfect.

But I still think Wolverine could have his very own musical. Don’t you agree?

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Returning to the Hundred Acre Wood

“Your life is happening now, right in front of you.”

Sage advice from a grown-up Christopher Robin’s wife, Evelyn (played by Hayley Atwell), as she lectured the titular character of the newest tale from the Hundred Acre Wood.

Brian and I had the opportunity to check out a screening of Christopher Robin earlier this week and it was everything I wanted it to be. Charming and sweet with the nostalgia my generation of millennials craves with every piece of media we experience.

Winnie the Pooh Disneybound

Of course, I Disneybounded as Pooh for our movie date! I also convinced Brian to wear grey as if he were DIsneybounding Eeyore.

Let me back up. I grew up with Winnie the Pooh as a child, fostering a mild obsession through high school. I loved Pooh,  and the rest of the gang. Even today, when I visit Disney World, I find myself snuggling up to Tigger and Pooh and Eeyore as if they were my best friends in the whole world. There was something special in each of the fluffy friends that really resonated with me. I loved them. And I recognized the wisdom in their tales. Christopher Robin is not without the classic wisdom that its predecessors have provided.

The movie begins with Christopher Robin (played by Ewan McGregor) bidding his childhood friends farewell before going off to boarding school. A series of drawings and scenes carefully, but briefly, detail Robin’s life to now. And then we hit the present day: Christopher Robin has to choose between saving his job and saving his family. Of course, by saving his job, he can also save his family, right?

With a little help from his dear friend Pooh, who stumbles into London after losing all of his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood, Christopher remembers that doing nothing often leads to the very best something, and drops the stance picked up from his woozle of a boss (played by Mark Gatiss) that nothing comes from nothing.

I absolutely loved Christopher Robin. I thought it was light and charming, but full of a powerful message — one that really hit home, especially less than a week after finally piecing together my words about leaving my job and rediscovering my own childlike joy. The message of working to live instead of living to work isn’t hammered, either. It’s sweetly weaved throughout the movie, as Robin remembers what it’s like to be a kid again (to the benefit of his 8-year-old daughter, Madeline, who doesn’t know how to play).

Emotional Factor: I surprisingly didn’t tear up much (of course there were some moments, particular with slightly melancholy versions of the class Winnie the Pooh songs playing in the background) during this movie, but I sure did laugh.

Brian, my harsher Disney critic, enjoyed it without the nostalgia (he didn’t grow up with Pooh!) and thought “it was sweet.”

Be sure to stick around for the end credits scene featuring Richard M. Sherman and a few new songs from the Disney music legend (and if you don’t know who he is, I highly recommend watching The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story, which is a truly incredible and fascinating documentary about Richard and his brother Robert).

What childhood memories do you have of Pooh and his friends? Are you planning to see Christopher Robin in the theaters?

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.

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN opens Friday, August 3 in theaters everywhere.

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Adventure is out there!

Ya know, I’m not normally one for exclamation marks, but I’m about to embark on three weekend adventures in a row.  Tomorrow after work, I’m heading on a flight to Las Vegas to hang out with one of my besties and see the Backstreet Boys — who, apparently, I see every ten years-ish. I saw them in 1997 and 2008 (yeah, I know a little more than 10 years. Whatever. Close enough). And now, I’m going to see them in 2017 in Las Vegas. I wonder where I’ll catch them in 2027…

Chrissy falling out of her camp chair at the Backstreet Boys concert

This is the only photographic evidence I have of me at a BSB concert. And it’s because I fell out of my chair and my girlfriends thought it was funny.

Of course, I’m not entirely sure that I’m going to make it out of Las Vegas alive. Just last weekend, one of my other besties sent me a text sharing a link to an article about Legionnaires disease in Vegas. My mom had suggested I stay at the Rio, but I’m thrilled she helped me find a sweet deal on a room at Bally’s instead. Either way, I’ve decided that I’m just not going to shower while I’m there. You know…Just in case.

And that’s only the beginning of all the ways I could die in Las Vegas.

After a few cocktails, I have a tendency to wander off. On my own. And in a city like Vegas, I’m likely to get eaten by wolves. Or something. Maybe I’ll walk the plank on that pirate ship in Treasure Island…or get too excited near the Bellagio and fall in. The possibilities are endless. And terrifying. At my bachelorette party, I started talking to strangers with the promises of free shots. I’m not entirely sure that won’t happen in Vegas. Except, I won’t have a brood of lady friends protecting my ass. It’s me and my girlfriend against the world. And this is how we roll:

triple fisting cocktails

Why yes, we are both triple fisting the cocktails in 2006. And it’s entirely possible we’re at a strip club. Also, I really miss that strapless shirt.

The only other time was in Sin City was approximately a million and a half years ago when I was 17 with a bad haircut and couldn’t do anything fun. I was with my best friend and we wandered the hotels, shopped, and gossiped about life. But as an adult? I don’t know if my brain was designed for Vegas. There are so many bright and shiny things and lights and sparkles and OMG you guys I’m going to get so distracted, I’ll probably miss my flight home.

Chrissy at 17 with a vegas gondolier

At least I knew this gondolier was attractive when I was 17…

And I can’t miss my flight.

Because I’m coming home for approximately 46 hours to smooch my husband, throw dirty clothes down the laundry chute, and refill my suitcase for Orlando.

From there, I’m going to gently dabble in a little solo Disney adventure. I say gently because this shameless hussy sharing a room with me promised to meet me for an after-5 dinner date inside the Magic Kingdom.  The next day may include a little waterparking before heading into BlogHer17, my fourth BlogHer conference. Much hugging will ensue, and at that point, there will be plenty of friends with me to make sure I don’t get lost in the House of Mouse.

Chrissy and Mary Poppins Disney World

I’ll return for about 5 days, this time, with one final adventure on the horizon for Fourth of July weekend. 5 days in the cheese motherland of Wisconsin with the one I left behind two weekends in a row. But honestly, guys, don’t feel bad for Brian, abandoned though he might be. He eats this shit up. You mean days upon days in a row in which he doesn’t have to do ANYTHING but go to work? No peopling? No socializing? No incessant babbling? No Disney music? The man is going to be in heaven.

Me too, Brian. Me too.

What adventures are you heading for this summer? Anything sweet on the horizon? 

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Tale as old as time

Earlier this week, Brian and I had the privilege of attending a pre-screening of Beauty & the Beast in 3-D Imax.

As expected, the movie was utterly delightful. Following a similar path as live-action Cinderella, Beauty & the Beast offered a more detailed backstory for our heroine and also clued us in to more of Beast’s tale. Unlike Cinderella, the movie needed to take fewer liberties for dialogue and plot thanks to an already rich screenplay.

Belle and Beast dancing during the titular song

Fun fact: The costume designers created ethical and sustainable costumes made from fair-trade fabrics.

With 1991’s Best Picture nominee, they knew not to mess with the story too much, adding a few new musical numbers and smart character-building dialogue to the film.

The story of Belle and Beast is more developed, showing how she might be falling for him, despite the whole Stockholm Syndrome thing. With lines like, “Can anyone ever really be happy when they’re not free?” and “we don’t like what we don’t understand,” and a slightly more diverse cast than the original animation, Disney is trying to fight some of the stigmas that have plagued earlier films.

Belle and Beast in the castle library

Let’s talk about that library, though. Seriously. Who wants one? Hand raises?

The music was…well, it was okay. Once you get past the auto tune job they did on Emma Watson and the weird filter they put on Dan Stevens’ vocals, the songs you know and love plus a few new tunes wrap the movie in a familiar melodic blanket. I enjoyed the new music, including Audra McDonald’s stellar performance as Madame Garderobe (Wardrobe) and a melancholy song, “Days in the Sun,” which replaces the Broadway and remastered animated song, “Human Again” – a song I wasn’t sad to see removed from this soundtrack as I never quite loved it.

Fandango Beauty and the Beast Ticketing Banner
The Disney CGI magic blew me away, as usual. The beast is almost real, the castle staff is incredibly detailed and ornate in a way that adds new depth to the visuals. “Be Our Guest” was everything I hoped it would be with Ewan McGregor at the helm. The scene itself was pure Disney magic at its finest.

Gaston tries to Charm Belle with flowers

Luke Evans may have been may favorite, with my opinion of Gaston waffling from moderately attractive to completely heinous and despicable. Everything I want in a fairy tale villain. His “Mob Song” was incredible, and I’m quite sure of the solo vocals, his were my favorite closely followed by Lefou’s “Gaston.”

Of course, I’m sure you’ve heard by now of Josh Gad’s Lefou coming out of the closet he’s been living in since 1991. It’s a brief scene at the end of the movie, in which he dances with another man. Blink and you might miss it. But throughout the movie, you’ll find other adorable Lefou nuggets that are sweet and funny in a very relatable way.

Gaston and Lefou riding horses

Keep an eye out for a few nods to Watson’s breakout role as Hermione Granger, including a glimpse of Hedwig and Crookshanks.

Should you see Beauty & the Beast in 3-D? I vote no, and definitely not IMAX. While the CGI work is fantastic,  you lose some of the visuals with the rapid movement in IMAX, which I also found distracting.

Overall, a fine high-budget trip down memory lane to accommodate my generation’s obsession with nostalgia. I’ll go see it again for sure. Are you planning on checking this one out? What are you most excited about?

Fandango - Beauty and the Beast Sweepstakes
Beauty & the Beast stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Oscar® winner Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s eccentric, but lovable father; Josh Gad as Lefou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Golden Globe® nominee Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the candelabra; Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Oscar nominee Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and two-time Academy Award® winner Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.

Directed by Oscar® winner Bill Condon based on the 1991 animated film, “Beauty and the Beast” is produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman, with eight-time Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the 1991 animated film, providing the score, which will include new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as several new songs written by Menken and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice. “Beauty and the Beast” will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017.

All images used with permission from Walt Disney Studios.

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How many passport applications is this going to take?

In just a couple of days, Brian and I are leaving for our European honeymoon. I’ve been obsessively Zulilying adorable dresses, checking the weather, and buying Disney pins on ebay in preparation.

Why yes, I did say Disney. Because one of our stops includes a couple nights in Disneyland Paris.

After our 2012 trip to Walt Disney World, Brian hasn’t been able to think of anything else. (I’m totally lying. He couldn’t care less. It’s all me.)

So we’re heading on a magical trip, partially inspired by my romance novel addiction when I was 15, in which I read one of those dime-a-dozen Harlequin Presents novels with the main characters honeymooning in Belgium and eating chocolate. Teenage Chrissy couldn’t think of anything better. Especially since adult Chrissy realized that Belgium and beer are close compadres.

Anywho…

When one travels internationally, one needs a damn passport.

Brian, being a cool AF dual citizen, has two valid passports. Me?

I had an expired passport from 2004 that I couldn’t find.

So I delayed.

And I waited.

And I procrastinated like it was my job.

Once we were 5 weeks from our trip, I hunted for, and found, my expired passport. The one I had paid extra to expedite 5 weeks before my trip to London.

It looked like I would be covering that cost again.

So I made my way to the post office, credit card in hand…where they told me I needed a check, five minutes before the passport office closed.

Not to worry, I had a backup plan.

I left, stopped home, picked up a check (and one of Brian’s special pens), and went to a post office that was open later.

It was there that I began diligently filling out the passport application. And it was there that I screwed up, and had to rewrite it. Twice.

Third time’s the charm, right? So I finished up the app and got in line. They told me I would have to wait as only one person was managing passport applications, and I patiently stood in the long queue. When my turn was finally up, the lady took one look at my application and sent me back with another. APPARENTLY, you’re supposed to use black ink pens only.

This is also apparently on the front of the form. Whoops!

So I went back and started the 4th application. Only to be deterred by another egregious error, in which I was forced to start over. Again.

How to fill out a passport application

5 applications later, and I was ready for my close up.

The woman took me to a back room of the post office to snap my pic. I had perfected the art of the non-smiling smile and the perfectly angled head tilt, for a snazzy photo opp.

Except that head tilting is against the rules. So much for the perfect selfie.

Finally, she took an acceptable picture, and I was ready to get this show on the road. She handed me an envelope and told me to mail it. She explained that with 5 weeks before my trip, I should still be fine without paying for expediting the passport (because it was a renewal for an existing passport).

I received it within two weeks. And I’m ready to go!

As we head off to Paris, Disneyland Paris, Ghent, and Brussels, I thought I’d leave you with a few animated favorites to stream on Netflix in honor of our little jaunt.

  • Anastasia – one of my favorite non-Disney flicks, partially set in Paris. Dimitri is, by far, the hottest of the animated male love interests. John Cusack lends his voice to this smooth talkin’ handsome con artist.
  • Tangled – this was one of the first Disney princess movies Brian and I watched for our Valentine’s tradition. I think it was VDay #2, but who’s counting?
  • The Princess & the Frog – this one doesn’t get enough good press. I really like Tiana and her sass, and I love the voodoo magic.
  • Enchanted – one of my absolute favorites. I adore everyone in the cast, and think it’s just one of the most funDisney movies with a billion nods to the princess flicks of old.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas – if you haven’t seen my Sally nails or our Jack and Sally Skellington Costumes, you’re totally missing out.

Netflix Stream Team

As a member of the Stream Team, I publish montly posts sponsored by Netflix who gives me the ability to watch 24/7 streaming TV and write about it. I had a Netflix account long before I was a Stream Teamer, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

The Wonderful World of Zootopia

You want to know why your mother and I are so happy?

Because we gave up on our dreams and we settled.

So begins the plot of the latest Disney animated flick about the bullied bunny daughter of two carrot farmers as she heads to the big city of Zootopia to become the first bunny police officer. Ginnifer Goodwin’s sweet and innocent voice lends itself to the character of Judy Hopps perfectly, and compliments the sass of Jason Bateman’s foxy Nick Wilde.

Zootopia is beautiful

©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

While the message of inclusion feels a little heavy handed at times (think Fern Gully and Happy Feet), it’s a good message and one of being able to do anything regardless of who you or what others perceive of you. Shakira’s Gazelle character sings an upbeat song about trying everything, which serves as one of the main themes of the movie.

The imagery is visually stunning with vibrant colors and intricate animation depicting the tiniest details of the many climate controlled districts designed to accommodate anthropomorphic mammals of all walks of life from the arctic Tundratown to the deserts of Sahara Square.

Judy recruits hustler Nick to help her in a case which she promises the wife of a victim to help solve, despite the near loss of her job for doing so.

The film is ripe with clever one liners and adult jokes to keep childless grownups like me happy, but cute and sweet enough that I want to take my niece and nephews to see it.

Life isn’t an animated show where you sing a little song and your insipid dreams come true.

You’ll also find a few Frozen nods if you look closely enough. In one scene, two little elephants are dressed up as Anna and Elsa.

Zootopia Anna and Elsa Frozen Easter Egg

ZOOTOPIA – TUNDRATOWN. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Zootopia Easter Egg Anna and Elsa Frozen

©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Even one of the characters, Duke Weasleton, voiced by Alan Tudyk, is a subtle nod to Anna and Elsa’s foe, the Duke of Wesselton (also voiced by Tudyk).

You play cribbage with a weasel
And he cheats

A lot of stereotyping animals occurs throughout the film, but of course, my favorite scene is still the DMV sloths. Sure, they may be slow, but they are the most adorable, funniest creatures in the movie. They just look so happy! And Flash is the man.

Zootopia Sloths - Flash

©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved. I love him so hard.

The movie includes sloths (which I’m seriously hoping means there will be more sloth toys and accessories for me to collect as a result of this movie) and mention cheese; the only thing missing from my favorite things was dolphins, but maybe we’ll see Zootopia 2: Under the Sea coming soon.

Oh sweet cheese and crackers.

Zootopia Slothursday Snapchat filter

Even Snapchat was all, “Chrissy, the sloths love you and want to dance with you.” (Follow quirkychrissy on Snapchat for more weird snaps)

As Judy and Nick follow leads through Zootopia, an unlikely friendship between Predator and Prey occurs despite Judy’s fox away spray. But hey, at least she didn’t opt for the fox taser.

Oh come on; when is there not a need for a fox taser?

Zootopia Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps

©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

In the end, Zootopia acknowledges our flaws, through its humanless world and looks to a brighter future, as long as there are good guy fighting the way.

The world has always been broken; that’s why we need good cops like you.

Have you seen Zootopia yet? What animals are you most looking forward to watching on the big screen? What’s your favorite Disney movie to date?

Zootopia opens in theaters everywhere on March 4. No one paid me to say nice things, but I was able to see an early screening of the movie in order to review it. I went because of the sloth trailer. Can you blame me?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Dreamers Need to Stick Together

Disney has been knocking them out of the park with magic lately. Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to see a pre-screening of Disney’s Tomorrowland, which hits theaters today. It was worth every second. The premise of Tomorrowland begins with a parallel universe of dreamers that welcomes young inventor, Frank Walker (George Clooney), after he sneaks through the front door. The movie jumps back and forth from Walker’s childhood and the story of Casey Newtown (Britt Robertson), who stumbles upon a glimpse of Tomorrowland through a magic pin and looks to Walker to help her get back in.

Photo used with permission of Walt Disney Studios

Photo used with permission of Walt Disney Studios

After Casey discovers the existence of Tomorrowland, Athena guides her to Frank, an unwilling participant in the return to the future. Much of the movie is spent escaping killer robots on earth as Frank, Casey, and Athena eventually  work together to return to Tthe titular universe.

Photo used with permission of Walt Disney Studios

Photo used with permission of Walt Disney Studios

Tomorrowland is a place where anything is possible if you just dream it. Very innovative Disney. You’ll note a few odes to classic Disney, and I have to admit I cried a little bit when they showed a scene featuring the “It’s a Small World” ride. I can’t help it. Disney World makes me cry nostalgic tears.

Photo used with permission of Walt Disney Studios

Photo used with permission of Walt Disney Studios

I honestly didn’t know what to expect; I just knew I wanted to see this flick. You know how I feel about Disney. The action sequences are fun, and the humanistic robots are pretty entertaining to watch (look for some SERIOUSLY entertaining cheesy grins). There are some incredibly inspirational lines that made my heart burst.

-Dreamers need to stick together-

Clooney is a convincing pessimist who’s lost all hope while Roberston shows us that optimism is full of hope. Raffey Cassidy is bright and full of life as the mysterious little girl, Athena. Hugh Laurie (omg House!) plays a phenomenal bad guy who gives you just enough of an impression that he’s doing it for the greater good but…is he? You’ll have to find out for yourself.

Photo used with permission of Walt Disney Studios

Photo used with permission of Walt Disney Studios

The story is all about believing, dreaming, and never giving up. All my favorite themes of whimsy. As a writer and a dreamer, I sometimes need reminders not to give up. This was a good one. Fun for the whole family, this movie is full of fun, action, friendship, and innovation. Because jetpacks were designed to inspire people, right?

Are you looking forward to seeing Tomorrowland? Are you a Disneyphile like me? What types of movies energize you?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

I Believe in Magic. And Kindness. And Courage.

Happy movie Friday!  Today, Cinderella, in all its live action Disney glory, comes out in theaters, and I can’t even begin to tell you how perfectly lovely it was.

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Brian and I had the opportunity to see it a few weeks ago and I couldn’t wait for it to come to the theater so, at the very least, I could see it again. This delightful movie takes a beloved classic and adds a depth to each of the characters that will allow itself to withstand the test of time. The theme throughout the movie is “have courage and be kind.” And Cinderella does that with grace and elegance.

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Lily James sparkles with the perfect combination of strength and whimsy. Her performance warmed my soul. They couldn’t have cast a more lovely, vibrant Cinderella. Richard Madden (hello King Rob Stark, drool) is a heart-stealing Prince Charming who matches Lily’s Cinderella with a romantic and witty chemistry.

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Helena Bonham Carter has so much fun with her role that you can’t help but adore Cinderella’s fairy godmother. She’s bright and flighty in one big pouf.

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Cate Blanchett plays a chilling evil stepmother, with a background story that makes you hate her just a little less (though not much, because she’s so freaking wicked).

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I loved this movie with all my Disney heart. Fans of the cartoon will find carefully placed hat tips to the original while still making it their own.

Yes. There are mice. And yes, I swear they talk! Brian asked me after if I could understand what they were saying, because he was SURE they were speaking throughout the movie. I couldn’t make it out. And for lovers of the mice, Gus Gus is featured (& often partnered with cheese).

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The costumes were amazing. From the ugly sepsisters’ clashing ensembles to the magical fairytale gowns, the clothing was unbelievable.

Look for a fast cameo that I’m 95% sure is an uncredited Brandy Norwood as a nod to Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Brian couldn’t understand why I was dancing in my chair or tapping his arm, so he definitely can’t confirm the cameo.

Stay until the end of the credits for a few soundtrack wins, including Cinderella animated favorites sung by Lily James and Helena Bonham Carter. As we left the theater, I kept thinking about how magical and wonderful it truly was and how much it made me believe that magic does exist.

And of course, if you venture out to catch Cinderella, you’ll also get a viewing of the new Frozen short, Frozen Fever, in which Elsa and the gang celebrate Anna’s birthday with an original song.

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Are you looking forward to seeing Cinderella? What’s your favorite Disney animated feature? Would you love to see it live action?

I did see this movie at an advanced screening as part of the media. I was not compensated for this post, though there may be affiliate links used. As always, all opinions are expressly mine. All images are used with the permission of Walt Disney Studios.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Big Hero 6: It’s Hip to be a Square

Science!
Tech!
Nerds!

Big Hero 6 Review

A year after Disney knocked it out of the park with Frozen, they’re bringing me something just as magical in its very own light. Bringing the Marvel world into animated Disney is a big step, and it worked really well this time around. Big Hero 6 delivers the beginning of a beautiful friendship franchise with the lovable medical marshmallow, Baymax, and his creator’s little brother, Hiro. Together, they form a team of super-smart, science-nerd superheroes to take on the mysterious masked bad guy.

The film starts with a very young high school graduate (13 years young and unbelievably brilliant to boot) named Hiro who has little direction in his life. With the help of his big brother, a med robot, and his friends, Hiro finds his ultimate path in life.

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Without giving too much else away, I’m going to go ahead and recommend this one to cartoon and comic loving adults everywhere. As seems to be my Disney MO, I laughed, I cried, and I cheered. I sat on the edge of my seat through half the movie, eagerly and nervously anticipating what would come next. The emotional, feel-all-the-feels aspects of this movie really got to me, so if you have sensitive tiny humans, you may want to give them a year or two before checking this one out.

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Big Hero 6 takes you on an emotional rollercoaster that you’ll willingly jump on again and again. Baymax proves to be a robot of solid character and Hiro learns one of those important, and sometimes cliche lessons. Hiro is accompanied by his crew of newly found besties as they work together to think outside the box and save San Fransokyo.

San Fransokyo concept art

San Fransokyo concept art from Walt Disney Studios

I loved it.

Brian did too.

And DEFINITELY stay until the end of the credits. You won’t want to miss this one.

Way to go, Disney. I love that you’re making it cool to be a nerd.

Are you planning on catching Big Hero 6 this weekend? Have you read the comics?

I received zero compensation to write this review. I have a love of all things Disney, and was invited to see a pre-screening of the movie as part of the media. All images are used with the permission of Walt Disney Studios to discuss and share with you.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!