Magical Movies Tour: Ralph Breaks The Internet

I think you all probably remember from a few weeks ago how much I really enjoyed Wreck-It Ralph, and while I hadn’t watched Ralph Breaks The Internet yet, although I’d attempted to a few times. (I started it on multiple air plane rides and fell asleep each time.)

I’ll say this for the movie, it sure does pack a lot of fun visual gags into it, but even, midday, settled comfortably on my couch, I was having a lot of trouble focusing on the movie.

I think the plot is perfectly solid, and honestly, I think Ralph and Vanellope are as fun as ever. I also like all of the new friends they meet. I do think the movie is maybe 15 minutes too long, and thinks it’s more clever than it actually is.

That said, each individual sequence is great, I appreciate the light Disney Princess parody and I really like the message about the ways that people grow up and apart without losing one another. Sarah Silverman’s performance as Vanellope continues to stun me, teetering right on the annoying line that she’s always walked so well. Her confusion and searching in this movie are definitely work the best.

Overall though, I just didn’t feel the heart in this one, which bummed me out because Wreck-It Ralph was so chock full of heart. I know a lot of people love this one and I just didn’t get it.

Next time, our final rewatch, we head into the unkown with Frozen 2.

Magical Movies Tour: The Princess And The Frog

Isn’t it nice when the stars align and an important movie is also a good one?

The Princess And The Frog earns the first distinction, “important,” by being the last hand drawn animated feature from Walt Disney Animation and for it’s black, working class leading lady. Tiana is a waitress for New Orleans, who after being raised by a bus driver and seamstress, has worked her whole life to open her own restaurant.

She crosses paths with Prince Naveen who is transformed by the wicked Dr. Faccillier into a frog and then because they didn’t follow the rules explicitly (Tiana is not a princess) she turns into a frog rather than him turning back into a man.

It’s, more than a little convoluted when you write it out, but presented visually, Tiana and Naveen’s journey through 1920’s Louisiana is a delightful rom-com, opposites attract romp, punctuated by super fun character designs, and some catchy tunes by Randy Newman.

I really love this movie, and every time I watch it I’m only more enamored. There’s some stuff that I think could have used another pass. (There’s no real connection between Tiana and Dr. Facillier, for example, this feels like an odd error.) And as I get older and more interested in social justice narratives in popular culture, I am in awe of the decisions made with this film. Tiana is in complete control of her destiny from minute one, but this doesn’t prevent conflict or growth. There’s a variety of black faces and bodies on display, the music, that slow New Orleans style jazz is so much fun.

I’m generally on board with The Princess And The Frog getting more attention whenever possible, and am thus super excited for the upcoming retheme of Splash Mountain to a Princess And The Frog ride. I think it’s a brilliant decision that also means we’re going to get Louis Audio Animatronic, which I think fits into Imagineering’s sweet spot perfectly. Also, replacing an attraction based around something super racist, with something based around a strong and exciting Black female protagonist sends the right message.

Next time we continue down the path of magical princesses ,and see the light with Tangled. 

 

Magical Movies Tour: Aladdin

Aladdin is almost as good as it’s predecessor, and has a few things really pushing for it to be better, but it doesn’t quite cohere in the same way. Likely this is because of the lack of Howard Ashman’s guiding hand. He worked on it early but his AIDS diagnosis and the progression of the disease stopped him from taking the real hand he wanted in it. (Aladdin was his dream project)

It’s still very good. The animation is lovely, the songs are great and frankly, as much as I love the balanced ensemble cast of Beauty And The Beast, the shining beacon of Robin Williams as The Genie is very, very hard to resist.

It’s an exceptional performance, a magic never again replicated by Disney Animation. (Danny DeVito in Hercules and Eddie Murphy in Mulan are the only ones even playing the same game and they’re not in the same league.) The way the animation is tailored to William’s outsized performance style, and ability to touch your heart is exceptional work, and the performance it’s self introduced an entire generation to this master performer and what he did.

It also has what I rank as the number two best Act II duet ever written in “A Whole New World.” (The number one is another Ashman And Menken classic, a little ditty called, “Suddenly Seymour.”) There’s something magical about the song, your typical Disney love song being about the thrill of the first date but “A Whole New World” is about the second date, about that feeling that you’ve gotten past the pleasantries, and something magical is about to happen.

I found myself more entranced than I thought I would be watching it again. It’s the one from this era I go back to the least. (It’s Mike’s favorite, so we watched it a lot as kids. Little Mermaid was mine and Oliver was Mary’s. It might be the only time I was more normal than my siblings) But I was absolutely thrilled to be watching it again.

I want to talk a little about Jasmine. The first Disney Princess Of Color is a more interesting character than I think people give her credit for. All of the previous princesses were beautiful but none of them seem conscious of that beauty’s power like Jasmine (actually none since are either.) Jasmine knows who she is, as a princess and a beautiful woman she has certain privileges and she uses them. She’s imperious and insistent on her due, she uses Aladdin (while he’s posing as Ali)’s & Jaffar’s lust against them. She’s actually pretty fascinating. There’s something a little problematic about the fact that she’s the first non white female lead in a Disney film and half her character is using her sexuality but that doesn’t make it less interesting in a vacuum.

Next week we feel the love for The Lion King. 

Magical Movies Tour: Snow White And The Seven Dwarves

Welcome my friends to the Magical Movies Tour! For the next fourteen months we’re going to be watching all of the Walt Disney Animations Studios Movies. To be specific, these are the Walt Disney Animation, NOT Pixar, and only the theatrical releases. Maybe I’ll dive into those at a different time, but just the Disney Studios stuff at the moment.

And where better to start than Snow White And The Seven Dwarves, the beginning (and we will be proceeding chronologically from there). So, here we go.

I was nervous going into Snow White which I don’t think I’d watched all the way through since I was a kid, and I’d always written off as “annoying” and “simplistic” and “not particularly good.”

About five minutes in when I realized how wrong I was about the film. Aside from the revolutionary and incredibly beautiful animation, the music is lovely and Snow White herself is a better character than I’ve ever considered, while she is certainly more reactive than proactive, I’m OK with that. Making the Dwarves individualized rather than a collective was a genius decision on Walt Disney’s part. And each of the seven gets a moment to shine.

And then there’s this music. There are good, good songs in this movie. “I’m Wishing,” “Whistle While You Work,” “Dig Dig Dig & Heigh Ho” are all bangers in the musical theater/Disney tradition. Not to mention, “Someday My Prince Will Come,” which is a truly lovely “I Want” song. I was so charmed by this movie watching it again, truly. If I had to choose something to criticize I would say that the first act is a little choppy.

There’s nearly no exposition to the Queen’s jealousy, or Snow White’s trip to the woods with the Huntsman, or the magic mirror. It just jumps from place to place. The Prince also appears and disappears. I don’t mind gaps in exposition, especially in fairy tales, but it’s conspicuous and makes the first act hard to follow. However once the Dwarves enter the proceedings, the movie is nearly perfect.

The animation is legitimately some of the most beautiful ever created, stunning and scary and charming. I keep coming back to that word, but really, that’s the best one for the film, charming. This is a charming film, with personality to spare. No wonder it spawned an empire.

Next week we’re going to watch Pinnochio. 

 

The Next Right Thing

If Disney is going to keep throwing out movies where Princesses sing awesome songs and fulfill the hero’s journey, I’m gonna keep watching them. Or watch what I can of them through the tears.

Frozen 2 follows through on the first movies promise in a number of ways. For one thing, Anna and Elsa are front and center, telling their own story, feeling their own feelings, saving each other and everyone around them with the power of their love and bond. Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell are to be commended for the work they’ve done with these characters. The songs are very good. Nothing quite as catchy as “For The First Time In Forever” or “Let It Go,” but “Into The Unknown,” “Show Yourself,” and “The Next Right Thing,” have more narrative power. And hey! Kristoff got a song all to himself. “Lost In The Woods” is delightful but I’d listen to Jonathan Groff sing scales for three minutes so I might be too receptive an audience for that one.

The rest of the movie is very good. It’s visually stunning, and like I said, hero’s journey, for both sisters. I’m into it. There’s also a scene where Elsa sings about embracing your true self and stops the destruction fueled by colonialist lies with a flurry of rainbow glitter.

Which is the gayest shit ever and I’m so happy it exists.

Rankings!

  1. Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood
  2. Jo Jo Rabbit
  3. Frozen 2
  4. Spider-Man: Far From Home
  5. Avengers: Endgame
  6. Rocketman
  7. Detective Pikachu
  8. Zombieland: Double Tap
  9. Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
  10. Downton Abbey
  11. Joker

Trailers

Onward looks DOPE AS HELL. Seriously. I’m a sucker for “what happens when fantasy societies evolve” as a conceit.

Soul also looks great. I’m down for what’s going on at Pixar these days it seems.

Trolls: World Tour: I am every distracted whenever I see this trailer because I keep trying to figure out if that “Drop Button” is a McElroy. Do we know yet? I believe people thought it was Griffin. (This shows how much I care about this movie. Which is not at all, if there aren’t McElroys.)

There were others but nothing really stuck…

 

Revenge Of Dapper Day: Favorites

It’s time for favorites! You guys, seriously, I’m so fortunate, but in reality, this one was hard this time. Only because so much has become old hat for me, that the standouts stand out even more than usual! Seriously, I can’t believe that I have “routines” at Disney world now. I’m grateful for it, but it’s weird.

Ride:

I think Frozen gets the cake this time. If only for repitition. That I rode it three times within a day feels completely surreal. Also, I just love it so much. Because I rode it so many times, getting to really focus on Sven, he who is my favorite Animatronic, was a delight. Also, when I went on it with Mike and Megan, we took a really good pic.

Show: 

This was tough. “Happily Ever After” finally left it’s impression. And obviously, I will always and forever love “Illuminations,” but I think I have to give it to the floor show at The Edison. There’s the dancers, and the band and acrobats, and it’s really, really special. If you’re of age, give it a shot.

Meal: 

Biergarten. For sure. While it’s hard to dispute me devouring half a lobster in under 20 minutes due to not eating food on an MK day (not my greatest decision) I can’t get in the way of excellent German food, a liter of Heffewiezen, a baby grabbing at said liters of beer, and children dancing to German music.

Also seriously, the food. The pork schnitzel. HOLY CRAP. The warm potato salad, YES! The spatzel, the best I’ve ever had (sorry Uncle Mark!) and obviously the apple streudel. I mean obviously. 

Drink:

I DRANK A LITER OF HEFFEWEIZEN! Though the Martinis at the Edison are a very close second.

Snack:

This isn’t even mine. I didn’t  even snack much. (#costumeseasoniscoming and all…) But, I have to tell this story and I forgot about it while I was writing up my Animal Kingdom trip report. Mike was basically running a fever the whole time we were there. But this did not stop him from while we were sitting on line for Safari, turning me and saying, “hey is there someplace here that I can get a Dole Whip, or do I have to go to Magic Kingdom?” I replied, “Oh no, you can for sure get one here, you can even get it on a rum float!” He sighed, “I’m not feeling up to that, but that sounds AWESOME for next trip.” Before we left the park, Mike got his Dole Whip and Megan got a Mickey Bar (I’d already had my Mickey Bar at Magic Kingdom on Saturday) So that wins for favorite snack.

So that’s what’s happening there. I’m going again for a weekend this summer (still working on a date and plans! But it’s looking like mid July) I’ll get everything lined up for that soon. As for life here. We’re about to dive into the heart of movie season, with costume season nipping at it’s heels, I’m pushing through the end of Don Quioxote, which means, I’ll be picking up the new Trials of Apollo.

See you real soon!

Revenge of Dapper Day: 4/28 – So Much Pretty

WARNING: This Trip Report Contains VERY Light Infinity War spoilers. No details but some sketchiness.

I’ve complained in the past about feeling largely cut off and unwelcome at Dapper Day events, not on a macro level but on a micro one. People were just not willing to engage with the weirdo stranger there by herself.

That was not the case this trip. Seriously, I talked with TONS of people, exchanged contact info and even enjoyed some serious ride time with the folks. The first was Rob, who I’d met at the Edison the night before. We teamed up for Rope Drop at Magic Kingdom.

I was a few minutes late, but we managed to hit The Barnstormer, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear and take some pics by the purple wall before he had to head to work. I then picked up my touring plans, and ran around riding just about everything, and taking lots of pictures, before my feet gave out.

See, the night before, I’d gone for 4 inch heels. (HUGE MISTAKE) They looked great, but it got me started at a disadvantage for Saturday, and I was wearing these adorable jelly wedges, to play on the glass slippers. (We’ll get into that in the cosplay corner!) They were adorable, but KILLED my feet.

So, I decided to head to the Grand Floridian for lunch. There were no tables available so I headed right to Springs instead. I opted to treat myself to a Minnie Van, because I wanted to try the service.

My driver was wonderful, we chatted about the Studios expansion until we eventually hit the most fraught topic of my weekend.

“Have…” he exhaled, “have you seen Infinity War yet?” I exhaled and said that I had, and we went on to commiserate about our various levels of NOT OK, and speculation for the future of the franchise. We also both cried.

It may have been the weirdest, most wonderful moment of nerd bonding I’ve ever had with a stranger. (Except for that time a girl I was working with asked if I was a Doctor Who fan, but you all know how that one turned out.) I then hopped on the water taxi and popped to the Boathouse, where I ate half a lobster, downed a ton of water and a couple of Bellinis.

Feeling much better, if I do say so myself, I had two options, but not time for both, sadly, I could explore Springs a bit more, or head back to the hotel and hit the pool. I decided on exploration.

I headed to Amorette’s and picked up the Millenial Pink Champagne…which is a light Kir Royale. It’s delicious, and very pretty, just not like, revolutionary. I also got a pastry, that I wound up not eating because I was never hungry at a time that was convenient to eat it.

Then I shopped. I only bought one thing, and it wasn’t even for myself. Well, I also bought these baller Cinderella Havianas, because they’re very cute, and seriously, my poor feet couldn’t take it anymore.

Finally, I reached the boat dock to get back to Riverside and headed first to Fulton’s for some aleve and a bottle of wine, and then back to the room and watch a different forty minute stretch of My Cousin Vinny than I’d watched the evening before, while enjoying said wine. Delightful. 

My next big plan was to go on Jungle Cruise and head to California Grill to try to get up to Lounge for a fireworks seat.

I did get on the cruise, where I had an AWESOME skipper (Jordan, she was really great) and then hoofed to the Contemporary. Couldn’t get up to lounge, so I rode the monorail over to the Floridian, thinking I could at least get a drink at Mizner’s before the show.

It was packed.

So I got BACK on the monorail and headed to the park, got a Mickey bar and managed to find a really nice spot on the Hub.

I’m falling in love with Happily Ever After. It’s a beautiful show. I cried a whole bunch this time. Then I quickly zipped over to Tomorrowland and hopped on the People Mover. It’s fun at night.

Next came a ride on Dumbo, which, while fun, I would probably not do again. Finally I hopped on line for Big Thunder, and that closed my night. I was hoping to stay until close, but I was completely beat, so I headed back to the hotel, poured another glass of that wine, and watched some TV again before passing out.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about Epcot, family, friends and Figment!

Cosplay Corner: Disneybound March Challenge: Week 5

I did it! Kind of! I cut some corners, but for the most part, I did it! I participated in the challenge and it was mostly fun. It actually got stressful towards the end, but still.

Challenge

March 28th

Theme: Disney Cats

Character: Marie

Marie

So I was between 2 for this one, and I decided on Marie, (because Juli wanted to do Aristocats) and I had the perfect outfit for it anyway. Thankfully, for a change, the weather actually cooperated. HUZZAH! The white dress is from last easter, and the pink shrug, from, I don’t know when, but it’s one of my favorite spring pieces. The statement necklace I wore to my cousin Tommy’s wedding and here we are!

Marie bound

March 29th

Theme: Disney Princes

Character: Prince Eric

Eric

To go with my Ariel bound from a few weeks ago (and tribute to my Prince Eric, who I swear does have a personality, I just haven’t gotten around to showing much of it yet.) So, I’m wearing jeans and a flowy blouse. This felt a little like cheating, but it did the trick. I was also wearing over the knee boots but you can’t see those in the picture!

Eric bound

March 30th

Theme: Vintage Inspiration

Character: Snow White

img_3281

I didn’t acutally wear this again. But it’s still my favorite bound I’ve ever done. So I felt the need to post it as a throwback. Yellow circle skirt, blue tank top, red belt! So simple, so perfect!

March 31st

Theme: A Character You’ve Never Bounded

Character: Skipped

I skipped the last day. I was at Once On This Island and couldn’t come up with a brand new bound that was also theater appropriate. I was wearing a tropical looking maxi dress though, so I was at least in theme to my surroundings!

General Thoughts On the Challenge

While I’m glad I did this challenge, I don’t know that I’d do it again. It was a lot of work and organization and I got kind of tired of it by the end. But it did remind me of when I went back to college after taking time off and Katie used to call me every day and ask what I was wearing and if I was able to describe the outfit she knew I was doing OK. (Seriously, get yourself such a best friend) Mindfulness matters to me (ALITERATION!) so it helped get me back into a very intentional space.

Next On Cosplay Corner: 

I’m going to a CON! WOO HOO. This weekend I’m going to Garden State Comicfest: Atlantic City edition. I’ll be debuting a new cosplay! It’s all very exciting. AND a few forces have come together and I’ve decided to hit up Spring Dapper Day again this year. (WOOO!) I’m working on getting some bounds together for the even. (My Easter dress is gonna be a super cute Cinderella Bound for sho!) And even more exciting! One of those days I’ll be joined by my big bro and his girlfriend Megan. (Whether they bound or not is still be discussed, but they are going to dapper up!)

Cosplay Corner: March Disneybound Challenge: Week 3

You guys, a month is a long time, and it’s been a while since I’ve had to put this much though consistently into what I’m wearing. It’s fun, but it’s also, like, work.

Which is not to say I’m not still having a blast! I 100% am. Just, you know, if the outfits start to seem lazier, that would be the reason. (Also, I didn’t do laundry this week…)

Challenge

March 14th

Theme: The Little Mermaid

Character: Ariel

When I was talking about my influences with another writer friend once, I said flat out, “to be perfectly honest, I’d say the things that influenced me the most are Star Wars, The Princess Bride and The Little Mermaid.” (Dawson’s Creek comes right after that.) His answer was a caustic, “yeah, Reen, it shows!” Anyway, that’s why I went for this outfit, which is a take on the pretty pink princess dress Ariel wears after she gets her legs and Eric is all, “Hey, I’mma bring this hot silent girl to my house now.” (Their relationship is weird.) (I still love him.) (That’s why I named the visiting prince in The Marina Chronicle after him!) (My Eric also has a boat!) (My love of men with boats come from my preppy roots)

March 15th

Theme: Parks Attractions

Character(?): The Jungle Cruise

Oh, I was excited for this day. So excited. What was I going to do? Would I wear any of my various Haunted Mansion ensembles? Combine my wardrobe’s natural amount of purple and orange into some sort of Figment tribute? Toss some shine on some white as a tribute to Space Mountain? No no, for I realized, that my Peggy Carter cosplay has an excellent second use! I could look just like a skipper heading out on the jungle armed with only animal based puns!

March 16th

Theme: Mulan Characters

Character: Mushu

Mushu was easy for me, since I have a lot of gold tops (seriously, I don’t know how this happened.) and that red cardigan, so you know, it was done. I’m also wearing jeans, because did I mention that I didn’t do laundry? Ok, cool.

March 17th

Theme: Characters Who Wear/Are Green

Character: Louie Duck

This is not my best you guys, but whatever, it was St. Patrick’s day, and whatever I wore had to be comfortable/warm enough to wear walking around NYC for the parade. Thus, my Notre Dame Fighting Irish tee shirt and a black skirt and yellow leggings (like Duck feet). I wanted a hoodie, but couldn’t find one I liked in time. Very in line with our laziest triplet, no? (I also don’t have a picture)

March 18th

Theme: Villains

Character: Maleficent

Uhh, March 18 is a lazy day for me usually, so here, braids for the horns, purple and black. I also missed instagram for both this and Saturday. Eh. (Again no pics…sorry$

March 19th

Theme: Fantasia

Character: Ave Maria Light

I figured for Fantasia it was worth getting a bit creative and abstract. Schubert’s Ave Maria is easily one of my favorite pieces of music, and while as I kid I often fast forwarded through this segment of the film, I’ve really grown to appreciate it as an adult, especially as a stunning come down from the highs of the Night On Bald Mountain (which I also fast forwarded through a lot, because scary) I’m wearing a royal blue highlighted tunic, and holding an electric candle.

March 20th

Theme: Star Wars

Character: “Do I Have To Say His Name?” – Bruce Springsteen

I have so many versions of Poe Dameron that it seemed almost silly to even bother wearing it today, but I did. Orange dress, white vest. You know this one. If I didn’t have work, I’d maybe have gone for Ren Faire Poe, but you know, I did have work.

So that was this week! I got through it. I’ve got more snow coming (ICK!) which derailed some of my plans as I was hoping to go more springy for the coming week. But I’ll work around it!

Cosplay Corner: March Disneybound Challenge: Week 2

Hi all! Here’s this week’s Disneybounds for the March Challenge! There were some actual challenges and a lot of extra planning put in this week, as we had a snow storm (so I stayed at my mom’s one night!) and there was an unfamiliar theme. (I am hopeless on A Wrinkle In Time, I read the book in college and it made no impression on me, and I didn’t see the movie yet.)

Challenge

March 7th

Theme: Pixar

Character: Fear

This one was a bit of a cheat, as I had it already, from Dapper Day this November. But, I did make it a little more day to day appropriate. I’m not wearing pearls, or the bow, or saddle shoes, or the crinoline. It’s still dressier than I would normally get for work, but since I was in a crummy mood (due to snow storm and having to go to work, even just for the morning as I did.) it gave me a little lift to look nice. The outfit is a houndstooth dress, a purple belt and a purple cardigan. I’m wearing tights and flats with it for work (and because it was kinda cold!)

March 8th

Theme: Disney Heroines

Character: Mary Poppins

I’m so so so excited for Mary Poppins Returns, that I decided that I’d channel her practical perfection for the day. The same white blouse as my Wendy bound from last week, but this time with a royal blue pencil skirt, and a red belt! *Snap!* I think it gets the new Returns look across while also paying tribute to a few of the classic costumes!

March 9th

Theme: A Wrinkle In Time

Character: Mrs. Who

I haven’t had a chance to see this movie yet. (I saw Call Me By Your Name this weekend because I was hanging out with Crystan and she is my most grown up friend who wouldn’t be interested in my kiddie magical space movie!) Anyway, I went for a take on Mrs. Who, played by Mindy Kaling. I’m wearing a black maxi skirt, a grey tee shirt and wrapped in a blue shawl/scarf. Kind of ethereal and witchy, but also very playful.

March 10th

Theme: 101 Dalmations

Character: Horace And Jasper

I had initially planned on channeling Cruella, but then I realized her dumb henchmen would be easier and a little more fun! Jeans, a brown teeshirt and my oversized brown blazer did the trick. (The picture is a little dark. I found a new angle for my mirror selfies so this won’t be a thing anymore!)

March 11th

Theme: Underrated Disney Characters

Character: Aida

Once again, I was trying to come up with something that fit into my “yoga pants and comfy shirt” weekend vibe, and I remembered this magenta tunic and immediately thought of one of my favorite “forgotten princesses” Broadway’s Aida. (I’m sort of obsessed with Aida. Not as much as my sister though.) Hell, she’s even underrated in the show that bears her name, as mostly people talk about Amneris. (Also my facebook went bonkers for this one, because I know too many theater geeks.)

March 12th

Theme: Disney Princess

Character: Tiana

I had initially planned on Cinderella (duh!) Until I remembered that I had this gold sweater that’s the exact color of Tiana’s diner waitress uniform. So, that made this one easy. I’m also wearing my favorite black stretchy work pants. (If you cared about which generic black bottom I’m wearing!)

March 13th

Theme: Aladdin Characters

Character: Abu

Took me a minute to get this one together, but I figured it out. For Aladdin day, I went with Abu, in elephant mode. I’m wearing a black skirt (I own so much black, y’all it’s absurd!) and a grey shirt, and a maroon sweater to be his vest. TA DA!

So that’s this week! It’s snowing (again) (oof!) I’m definitely ready for spring, but we’ll see when it hits!