Thursday, July 31, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW: Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy #GuardiansoftheGalaxy

First things first, if you do not already have tickets for this movie, go get some. I mean right now. Buy tickets. Go on, I'll wait. Because seriously, you do not want to be the only person who hasn't seen Guardians of the Galaxy.

Image © Marvel.

I've read reviews of the movie already (which lowly bloggers like myself were embargoed until today, so these are the "pros") and some are calling it the Star Wars of this generation. And they would be right. I have been sitting on my hands waiting to gush over just how amazing this movie is. In fact, it is SO amazing, that I didn't even get tickets to the press screener! That's right, I had to win my tickets off the morning news like a chump! (But THANKS NBC4! I appreciated it!)

Image © Marvel.

I will be honest, I went into this movie with no knowledge of the Guardians, although I did get a Rocket Raccoon comic on Free Comic Book Day this year. I just hadn't gotten around to reading it. Honestly, you don't need any knowledge of the team going in. You will still have an enjoyable movie-going experience without background. But be forewarned, especially moms: you will probably cry in the first ten minutes. I did. I'm not going to post any spoilers, but save it to say, it's got a well-known Marvel origin story (and Disney too, for that matter).

Images © Marvel.

The visuals are absolutely stunning. We had the chance to see it in 3D and unless you're toting little kids along, I highly recommend it. They did a fantastic job with it. Speaking of kids, yes the film is rated PG-13, and there is some language and obviously violence, as well as some peril that might upset kids. TV Boy loves a good action superhero flick, so we will be taking him along with my mother to see it. If your kids made it through Avengers or any other Marvel film, they're probably going to be okay. Rocket has a mouth on him, but no F-bombs or anything like that.

Image © Marvel.

The soundtrack is a rockin' good time as well, and it's not normal that we say that for a Marvel flick. The music plays an important role in the film, and the main character Peter Quill aka Star Lord, even risks his life for it. Fans of pop music in the 80's will be delighted.

Image © Marvel.

Random geeky thing: Hey look! It's Karen Gillian! Or, if you're a Whovian, you might know her better as Amy Pond. She plays kind-of-nemesis Nebula, the daughter of Thanos and half-sister to Gamora, one of the eventual Guardians. This is the reason she cut off all her beautiful red hair. Her performance is seriously hardcore, but I have to say I wish she didn't play it with an American accent. It just felt... wrong. Let the brogue go free, Ms. Gillian! (And while you're at it, pass the message on to David Tennant in Gracepoint... yeesh!)

Image © Marvel.

The characters are all incredibly well-written. Even Groot (seen above) who only says five different words throughout the film, manages to hit you right in the feels a few times. Bautista (as wrestling fans know him best) playing Drax squeaks in a few laughs. Bradley Cooper as Rocket steals the show in every scene in which he appears. Chris Pratt as Star Lord, honestly I couldn't have picked a better person to play it. He has that aloof but sweet quality that makes the character worth rooting for. Zoe Saldana's fight scene with Karen Gillian... so much "I am woman, hear me roar" action I can't even begin to tell you. The writing is snappy and hilarious. All around, it's a spectacular movie!

Images © Marvel.

Everyone has asked me about the after-the-credits scene Marvel always throws in... I really couldn't tell you. Because I did not get to see it! The folks who put the screeners together made absolutely certain that the secret is kept until launch day and had it removed. I've never seen an entire theatre full of people's hopes and dreams dashed all at once before, so I guess in a way it was worth it, but we're definitely planning a second, paying trip to the movies to catch it for real. Points Marvel. Points.

Image © Marvel.

Do yourself a favor and make sure you get out to see this movie early. Thanks to SDCC, we know there is already a sequel in the works. This is a franchise you're going to want to be a part of. You will not regret having seen it. I can absolutely guarantee that. If I gave ratings, this would have received the highest one from me. It's that good. I want to RATE IT. You know that has to mean something! Seriously. See this movie!

Disclosure: Yes, I saw this movie for free, but it was a freak chance win from, not my usual outlets. See my Disclosure tab for more information about how I usually see movies like this one. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW: Disney Planes Fire and Rescue #FireAndRescue

Last night, the TV Family went to the sneak peek of the new Disney Planes: Fire and Rescue movie. I either haven't been paying enough attention or what, but I was surprised to see a 3D film from my friends at DisneyToon Studios (where I saw all my cool Pirate Fairy stuff!)... these folks are mega talented!

Image © Disney.

The 3D (we saw the "RealD" version) was stunning. TV Boy has never seen a 3D movie before, so this was a big deal to him. I was surprised he kept the glasses on for the whole film too, but that could have been my big speech at the beginning about having to have them on so it wouldn't hurt his eyes (a bit of a bent truth, but I guess it worked). However, remember that 3D isn't great for really small children's eyes, so keep that in mind.

The move picks up where Planes left off: Dusty Crophopper is a world class, high-win race plane. He's become famous for his speed and stunts. However, being an older model plane, when his gearbox fails and starts to disintegrate, a replacement part can't be found. I would say this is akin to the plane/car version of needing an organ transplant and being told you have a rare blood type. Dusty has to give up racing, but he is reluctant. When a fire occurs in Propwash Junction, and the old firetruck Mayday is slow to the rescue, Dusty volunteers to become a fire plane. He flies off to Piston Peak Park to train with an old friend of Mayday's, Blade Ranger. Dusty must overcome his new affliction and become a certified firefighter before the big corn festival back home.

We all thought the movie was pretty cute. There were a few good jokes for the parents, including a fire plane named Dipper who is the epitome of the "Overly Attached Girlfriend" meme in plane form, voiced by Modern Family's Julie Bowen.

Image © Disney.

*Actual Dipper line in movie.

Also, be on the look-out for references to CHiPS and Howard the Duck. In the same scene. And featuring guest voice Erik Estrada. So much epic in one five minute segment. 

Hint: This is the scene of awesome. Image © Disney.

If you've been reading for a while, you know I'm a sucker for an "all star cast", and Planes Fire and Rescue delivered there. We have Dane Cook returning to voice Dusty as well as Brad Garrett (Robert from Everybody Loves Raymond) as his sidekick fuel truck Chug, Teri Hatcher as fix-it truck Dottie, and Stacy Keach as mentor and coach plane Skipper, but we get voices from Cedric the Entertainer, Fred Willard, Jerry Stiller, Patrick Warburton, Kevin Michael Richardson, Regina King (aka human resources lady Mrs. Davis in Big Bang Theory), another brief cameo from Brent Mustburger, and of course John Ratzenberger has a minor character (because it wouldn't be a Disney film without him anymore). That's just to name a few.

My favorite, though, is new fix-it truck from the fire base, Maru, voiced by Curtis Armstrong (aka Booger from Revenge of the Nerds, host of King of the Nerds, voice of Snot from American Dad, and Robot from now-cancelled Nicktoon Robot and Monster). What I find funny is that no matter what character Armstrong voices, animators seem to have a similar face for every single one of them. And they all look like Curtis Armstrong.

Tell me you don't see his face in Maru. You do. Image © Disney.

Finally, I was a little teary to see the film not only dedicated to firefighters everywhere who put themselves in harms way for the good of others, but to see actual firefighters' names listed in the credits. That was a classy move on Disney's part. 

To celebrate the movie, which premieres in theatres everywhere tomorrow, July 18, click the image below to download a printable activity book for your kids to enjoy! The movie is rated PG. It's a fun, heartwarming (no pun intended!) movie and perfect summer fun for the whole family!

Image and files © Disney.

*Disclosure: I was provided a free screening of the film for review purposes. Please see the Disclosure tab for more information.