Is Dumbo Worth Your Time?

Dumbo is an Unnecessary Disney Remake that has No Purpose for Existing.

So awhile ago, I went and watched the new version of Dumbo, and it was not good. The truth about Dumbo is that this is more of a product than anything else. Disney is a company that I’ve recently had less and less respect for, especially given the growing monopoly that they are beginning to have on the entertainment industry. They release movies to trick the audience into believing that they care about your childhood and the things you loved growing up, but they are actually cashing in on the nostalgia you have of these iconic films and franchises from your past. They’re forcing Pixar to constantly spam of sequels, and they’re pushing out Star Wars movies to the point where “Star Wars Fatigues” now reigns after the (arguably) disastrous releases of The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story. Somehow, DC has been making better movies than Marvel, and most egregiously, they’re also spamming out live action remakes of classic 2D animated Disney films. I know I keep using the word “spamming” when describing the release of these films, but that’s what it feels like to me. In 2019 alone, we’re getting FOUR other live action remakes. FOUR! Tell me that’s not spamming. After this, we’re getting Aladdin, The Lion King, Maleficent 2, and Lady and the Tramp, which the latter will be exclusively for Disney+.

With all the complaining about Disney’s evil and conniving business methods out of the way, what makes this movie as flawed as it is?

It’s been probably more than ten years since I’ve seen the original film, but what I remember from it, it told the story of a little baby elephant at a circus who was bullied by his peers for having big ears, but learns to use them to his advantage as he discovers he can actually fly with these ears. He also tries to get his mother back after she goes crazy and puts another circus goer in danger. The remake tells a similar story but adds human characters to it and their struggle to keep a financial living in this little traveling circus they work for. Colin Farrell is the father of two children that he must take care of at the travelling circus but finds it difficult to do so after he discovers upon coming back from war that his wife has past away. Also,Danny Devito is the owner of the circus that agrees to make a partnership with a powerful entrepreneur, played by Michael Keaton.

So if I knew this Movie was Gonna be so Bad, why did I see it?

The reason I went and saw this movie was because I knew it would be directed by Tim Burton. Tim Burton is one of my favorite directors, and he’s the man who personally inspired me to make movies. He has so many classic and wonderful films, and I have nothing but respect for the creativity and imagination he has running through his crazy little brain. Although I acknowledge that his film Alice in Wonderland was the reason this whole trend of live action remakes started, at least that movie had a creative and unique voice to it. I had hoped that even if this movie wasn’t good, it would at least be a special and weird experience brought to you by the great Tim Burton.

And I have to say, this is not the worst of the Disney live action remakes. This film does has a voice of some kind. The choice to cast Eva Green, Danny Devito, and Michael Keaton who are all previous collaborators with Burton (see Miss Peregrine’s and Batman Returns), as well as the general aesthetic this movie presents throughout its production design (that isn’t a green screen) gives this movie a certain vibe that only Burton is capable of. The cinematography was neat, although the color palate was sometimes foggy, but not terribly distracting, and there was admittedly a very fun sense of adventure throughout this movie. And even though I knew exactly where this movie was gonna go, I wanted to see that adventure still play out.

Despite admiring Burton’s aesthetic, there are unfortunately some serious issues within the film making here.

When Dumbo isn’t allowing you to enjoy the magic and wonder that comes with seeing an elephant fly at a circus, it gives you a very awkward and otherwise poorly made film with no real personality within its script. If Tim Burton hadn’t directed this script, this would have easily could have been one of the soulless movies I had ever seen. The visual effects are terrible and look very fake given the standards of today’s movies. The acting from the kids is so bad it would take me out of the movie entirely, and the script is stupid, boring, and has no pay off or important themes to spread.

Oftentimes, characters will touch or look at Dumbo and they’ll be totally off from where he actually is. They’ll brush his little body and be missing him by about a few inches. The young girl in this movie also has a scene where she looks at Dumbo and she is not even staring at Dumbo directly, but instead off in the distance somewhere. Did they not use markers or anything to guide the actors and help them to give a better performance. Speaking of which, the girl in this movie is absolutely horrible. I feel bad because she is a little kid and I know it’s hard to act, but she just was unable to attempt to display any emotions whatsoever. She would literally stare at Dumbo flying through the circus tent with a straight face. I could tell she’s supposed to act amazed or something when this happens, because the little boy who’s even younger than her acting with her is much better than she is. It doesn’t help either that her character is just “female STEM major” and that’s it. Not saying there’s anything wrong with females entering the major; in fact I encourage it. It’s just that they make her trait of being a female scientist her only personality trait. It’s a problem that even feminists are having an issue with in current films that feature young girls. It’s a poor representation of a group of people who inspire others and make a difference in other people’s lives.

Overall, Dumbo was thankfully not a complete waste of time due to Burton’s good direction and production design, but is otherwise a film you should have no problem skipping.

It was a boring movie with bad effects, bad acting, and a bad script. I recommend you skip this movie and see Us, Shazam!, or even Pet Semetary instead. These are all films that are much better and made by people who care, at least a little bit, of the films they are putting out there. And you can’t even shift the blame onto Burton. The issues come from the studio for making this the way they did. I know I seem angry talking about this movie, but I think it’s more because I know it’s behind a company that only cares about spamming out products as quickly as possible and generating online buzz and coverage about their movies in the process. The movie alone really just made me want to fall asleep, which is never a good thing to experience with a movie. If you’re also sick of Disney making these pointless remakes that are only designed to be second place to the original anyways, then speak with your wallets and skip this one. I used my AMC A-List for this one, so hopefully theirs not as much blood on my hands.

Written by: Christian Scognamillo

Disneyland Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Pirates of the Caribbean Ride

Why is the rum always gone?

Well, this year, Disneyland has the answer. The famous theme park is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride and Disney fans are tipsy with excitement. Originally debuted on March 18, 1967, fans from all over the world have lined up to see the classic attraction.

For the longest time, however, the attraction was known as an older ride that had little to no modifications (in terms of appearance, I’m sure regular maintenance is practiced for safety reasons), until 2006. The 2006 modifications included the addition of Captain Jack Sparrow hidden throughout the ride, as well as the later addition of Davy Jones. Jones was replaced by Blackbeard in 2011 to coincide with the ongoing movie series.

(Source: Disney via PoTC Wikia)

According to the Disneyparks Blog, the park will be turning the upswinging, jazzy New Orleans Square into a rapscallion filled party fit for pirates of all ages. Pirate themed meals and beverages can be found in various restaurants around the square, such as Cafe Orleans, French Market Restaurant, Mint Julep Bar and Royal Street Veranda. The Blue Bayou Restaurant, located within the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride, is of course participating in the festivities as well.

(Source: Disney via Daveland Blog)

Some of these scurvy-defying meals include the highly anticipated gold-dusted churros (not coated with actual gold, but with lemon sugar bits), Lost Treasure beignets, Jolly Roger Punch and a Caribbean Breakfast Burrito comprised of scrambled eggs, Andouille sausage, ride, black beans, cheddar cheese and sweet potatoes. Each restaurant in the square has meals fit for a pirate.

(Source: Heather Sievers via DisneyFoodBlog)

Adding to the celebration is the entertainment provided by the Bootstrappers and Lucky the Pirate, as well appearances from the famous Captain Jack Sparrow himself. Whether or not that will be Johnny Depp, however, is yet to be confirmed. I highly doubt it, as much as I’d like that to happen.

Lastly, Disneyland will naturally be providing pirate themed booty and merchandise for all ages. To cater to rising trend of pin trading, Disney will be selling special 50th anniversary pins that visitors can purchase or trade with the employees throughout the park. There will also be special t-shirts for sale in honor of the anniversary, as well as the regular “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie and ride merchandise.

(Source: Disney via Disneyparks)

Will you be joining in on all the swash-buckling, pirate fun? Be weary though, these celebrations, attractions, merchandise and meals are all for a limited time only.

Featured Image: Disney via D23.

Disney’s Live-Action Movie Lineup

It’s now early March, and Disney fans are counting the days until the 17th and the premiere of “Beauty and the Beast.” The live-action remake of this Disney classic features a huge celebrity cast, including Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as The Beast and Luke Evans as Gaston.

Click image to view source.

Reviews of the movie should start rolling in within the next week or so. Previous live action movies that recieved high ratings include Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” series (2010/2016), Jon Faverau’s “The Jungle Book” (2016), “Maleficent” (2014), starring Angelina Jolie, and most recently “Pete’s Dragon”  (2016) . Disney has proven to be masters of animation and live action, so I have no doubt that future works will continue to impress audiences worldwide.

Meanwhile, as we all anticipate our chance to be their guests on March 17, Disney continues to work avidly on its future live action movies.

Niki Caro and William Kong, respectively. Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney; Han Myung-Gu/WireImage. Click image to view source.

Recently, the live-action remake of “Mulan” was assigned its director, Niki Caro, and executive producer, William Kong. Caro is known for her films such as “Whale Rider” (2002), “North County” (2005) and “McFarland, U.S.A.” (2015). Kong is known for producing Eastern hits, such as “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000), “Hero” (2002) and “House of Flying Daggers” (2004).

When the news that “Mulan” would become a live action movie first broke, Disney fans were both excited and worried. The worry turned into online riots when the original script, obtained sometime in 2015, was leaked, and revealed that the remake would not parallel the original animated film from 1998. Changes shown in the leaked script included a white male lead, who would play as the love interest for Mulan instead of General Shang. Thankfully, Disney quickly released a statement that revealed that the leaked script was not actually the script for the live-action movie, and promised fans that the film would contain an all Asian cast. This was also when controversy and outrage were spreading like wildfire over the cast changes in Marvel’s “Doctor Strange.”

Although there has been no official cast list released for “Mulan,” the movie is set to premiere on Nov. 2, 2018.

Until then, here is a list of upcoming live action Disney films, and the featured actors/actresses who have been confirmed or rumored to be a part of said remakes.

 

1.”The Lion King”

Click image to view source.

Disney was avid about bringing back Jon Favreau to direct “The Lion King” after his success with “The Jungle Book”. Since then, Favreau has cast Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, as Simba and James Earl Jones as Mufasa. This is the fourth time Glover has been cast by Disney – he portrayed Miles Morales in Disney XD’s “Ultimate Spiderman” and is a part of Marvel’s “Spiderman: Homecoming,” set to premiere on July 7 of this year. Glover is also playing Lando Calrissian in the Han Solo “Solo” movie, which is currently in production and will be released sometime in 2018.

James Earl Jones is also no stranger to the Disney franchise, as he voiced Darth Vader in the “Star Wars” series and Mufasa in the original animated “The Lion King.”

 

2.”Mary Poppins”

Click image to view source.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, known for his Broadway successes “In the Heights” and “Hamilton,” and his writing and producing (of music) for Disney’s “Moana,” will be joining actress Emily Blunt and director Rob Marshall to bring “Mary Poppins” to the silver screen once more. Miranda has been cast as Jack, who was originally portrayed by Dick Van Dyke (who is also rumored to be making a cameo in the film), while Blunt will star as Mary Poppins. There has been no confirmation that the great Julie Andrews will be making a cameo in the film with her old co-star (Van Dyke), but I’m keeping my hopes up. The film is currently in production and is set to premiere on Dec. 25, 2018.

 

Other films, such as “Aladdin,” “Dumbo” and “The Sword in the Stone,” all have yet to be cast, but do have directors and writers assigned to them.

Guy Ritchie, known for “Snatch” (2000) and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” (2015), will be directing “Aladdin.” However, he has not been confirmed to direct the supposed spin-off movie about The Genie (Robin Williams will be and is missed). For “Dumbo,” the famous Tim Burton is responsible for bringing the adorable circus star to life. Bryan Cogman will be in charge of writing for “The Sword in the Stone” (Cogman has written for the infamous HBO series, “Game of Thrones”, so take that as you will).

Besides these movies, rumors about other live-action remakes are circulating. Emma Stone is rumored to be playing Cruella de Vil in a spin-off staring the villain and her rise to infamy, much like “Maleficent” (which is also rumored to make a second appearance in the live action arena). Other supposed remakes, such as “The Little Mermaid,” “Winnie the Pooh,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Pinnochio” have yet to see actors or directors attached to them. This, however, hasn’t stopped Disney fans, as many have predicted and fan-cast the remakes of these classic films.

Are you anticipating the release of these live-action films? Do you prefer the original animated movies? Are there other Disney films you’re dying to have remade? Let us know via KCR’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

A Review of Disney’s Cinderella (Yes, the 2015 One)

This week I was fortunate enough to score some tickets to an advanced screening of Disney’s newest live-action retelling of the classic, Cinderella. Though Cinderella is not my favorite OG Disney princess (shout out to Princess Jasmine), this rendition of the beloved film was spectacular. Cinderella is truly amazing: it’s family-friendly, features more details about the characters, and has a very handsome Prince (whoever casted him seriously deserves an award). My only criticism is that I wish they had incorporated some of the Grimm brothers’ version, Aschenputtel. In their action-packed version, the evil stepsisters chop off their toes and heels to fit the glass slipper, and have their eyes pecked out by doves at the end. Oh, the drama.

Now, for the review. *SPOILER ALERT*

Cinderella starts out with beautiful little Ella happily frolicking about in the countryside with her family, which is of course torn apart in the first fifteen minutes because her mom gets sick and dies. I don’t understand why Disney feels the need to have their protagonists either lose their parents or their only living relative; maybe they figure the orphan-ness makes you want to cry just enough to reel you in.

The storyline essentially parallels the original version. What you see in the 2015 version is more of Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drizella being extra rude to Ella. It’s mildly uncomfortable to watch because Cate Blanchett’s laugh and demeanor is so evil, but at the same time, you can’t help but appreciate how striking and fierce she is. It’s ironic because you’d think her daughters would try to emulate that, but they’re pretty much the female equivalents to Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

Despite Ella’s efforts to live by her mother’s last words, “have courage and be kind,” she cracks and apparently copes with her feelings of despair by venturing to the woods on horseback. There, she meets the Prince, who is on a quest to hunt a majestic stag with his army of trusty knights. Right when we see his perfectly coiffed hair, we are also shown more of the Prince’s character. After all, he’s more than just a pretty face. Upon their accidental yet destined meeting, he introduces himself as a royal apprentice named “Kit,” in hopes that he’ll be able to interact with her as a normal guy. Their horses literally prance in a circle for about five minutes before she finally runs off, without even saying her name.

It’s love at first sight for both of those hopeless romantics. But there’s just one problem: the King will only let him marry an eligible Princess, meaning someone who can add treasure and land to the Kingdom. Oh yeah, and the King is also dying (what is with this movie and death?). Kit’s solution was to agree to this, but only if he’s allowed to open the traditionally elite ball to the public. His secret goal is to have his father meet the charming girl he met in the woods, which would force him to have a change of heart because she’s so great.

Word reaches Lady Tremaine, who of course forbids Ella from attending the ball. Ella is heartbroken because she has no interest in the Prince; she only wanted to see the apprentice from the woods again. Ella’s tears are the queue for her fairy godmother to show up for once, and she grants Ella’s wish to be able to go to the ball—but in style. Equipped with a special spell to protect her from being noticed by her jealous stepmother, Ella also gets a golden pumpkin carriage with mousy horses, lizardy henchman, and a goosey coachman. The dress was magnificent, and the effects made it feel like it was going to pop off the screen and whip you in the face with fairy dust, butterflies, and yards of tool.

She arrives fashionably late to the ball, and enchants the whole ballroom with her grace, beauty, and fabulous dress. She reunites with Kit, now revealed as the Prince, and has a jolly old time on a swing in his secret royal garden until the clock tragically strikes midnight. She dashes off, and he fails once again to get her name. Classic Kit.

A search for this mysterious beauty begins, but not before Lady Tremaine gets to the Grand Duke and blackmails him into only letting her daughters try on the glass slipper. He agrees because he’s a horrible person, and almost succeeds in hiding her from his team. Kit tagged along because he didn’t trust him (his instinct was right– the Duke was #fake), and he hears Ella upstairs despite Lady Tremaine’s attempts to disguise her angelic song. Ella tries on her own glass slipper which obviously fits her, and she and Kit live happily ever after while the Duke, Lady Tremaine, Drizella, and Anastasia are banned from the Kingdom.

I would give Cinderella five out of five stars. This movie was amazing. I don’t know how I was planning to wait to see it until the release date.

*Princely gasp*

Prince-in-Cinderella-2015