Tag Archives: disney

The Mandalorian – Season 2, Episode 3 Review

Oh Mando. You came and you murdered some fish men. They no longer want to be your friend. Oh Mando.

BQB here with a review of the latest episode of The Mandalorian. Check out IGN’s review below:

It’s pretty great how this show packs a lot of action into an hour. Here, Mando has fulfilled his quest to locate other Mandos to assist him in his journey to give The Child (Baby Yoda) to the Jedi.

But there’s a hitch. In quite a harrowing action scene, Mando must help his fellow Mandos hijack an Imperial freighter full of weapons that these sect of Mandos want to use to take back their home planet of Mandalore. I just hope that these Mandos will be good to all the Mandos of the Mando world.

Katee Sackhoff, aka every nerd’s favorite sci-fi fantasy babe, appears as Bo Katan, head of a sect of Mandos who believe it is OK to take their Mando helmets off. This disgusts Mando, who belongs to a sect that believes that all Mandos must leave their Mando helmets on. Luckily, they are able to work out their differences and back each other up during the Mando attack.

Ultimately, I like to say Mando over and over again. Mando.

Nerds who dive deep into Star Wars canon will be happy to know that a live action Ashoka Tano will likely appear in the next episode, she being teased as the Jedi who will help Mando in his quest to put The Child into Jedi hands. Tano was a character in the animated Clone Wars series so it will be interesting to see how she comes across as a live action character.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Stream on Disney Plus.

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The Mandalorian Review – Season 2, Episode 1

Hey 3.5 readers. BQB here.

I have been remiss in posting about The Mandalorian, and Disney Plus in general.

First, is Disney Plus worth it? When it first came out last year, yes. I had a great time streaming all the Marvel and Star Wars movies…until I got sick of them and never wanted to see any of them again. Well, at least not without a break.

As for original content, Disney Plus has a lot of catching up to do if they want to go head to head with the head honcho of streaming, Netflix.

If you have a kid, the service is probably worth it. You’d go broke buying all these movies on demand when you can have them all there for a monthly fee.

For me, the Mandalorian has made a subscription worth it. Sadly, Disney has lost its way when it comes to Star Wars. It seems that Luke vs. Vader collection of stories were really the only thing that was interesting and attempts to branch out i.e. with the past in the prequels or in the future with the sequels were lackluster.

The Mandalorian is a rare diamond in the modern Star Wars rough though. You’ve got a bad ass bounty hunter, so that satisfies the adult nerds who want to see battles and mayhem. You’ve got an adorable sidekick so that satisfies the kids as well as the execs who want to make bank on stuffed animal merch.

And you actually have a story line. Whereas JJ Abrams just pulled stuff out of his butt with the recent sequels only to go nowhere, this series feels like it is going somewhere, albeit I’m not sure if the writers know exactly where as of yet.

The Mandalorians are…well, are they people, a race, are some of them aliens and some humans, I don’t know….but it’s fair to say they follow a religion of sorts. After suffering all sorts of alluded to past war atrocities and carnage, they make their way through the galaxy as bounty hunters, refusing to ever remove their helmets so that they conceal their identities, for they often have to do illegal and immoral stuff to catch their prey and collect their money.

It’s probably all just a ruse to allow for a Boba Fett-esque character while we know Boba Fett was (as for as we know) eaten by the Sarlacc pit monster in Return of the Jedi…or was he?

But the ruse works.

Anyway, last season, “Mando” was, at a time post the fall of the Empire, hired by Imperial loyalists to find and bring back a bounty. Mando has done this thousands of times, catching scum and bring said scum to other scum. Beings that are wanted. Beings that owe money to criminals. Etc. No biggie.

Ahh, but this package is a “The Child” or a cute little Baby Yoda. Mando grows a conscience, escapes with the kid and thus the series formula is born. Mando and the Child travel the galaxy, going from planet to planet to evade capture and along the way, there is almost an A-Team like vibe as Mando uses his mando skills to help people and or aliens in need.

In the season 2 premiere, Mando visits Tatooine in search of other mandos who might help him protect Baby Yoda and return him to his race of aliens, whoever they are. Hearing tell of a mando here, he investigates, only to find that it is merely Timothy Olyphant wearing mando armor that he bought off some pesky jawas.

Mando demands the armor returned, for according to mando law, mando armor may only be worn by other mandos. Timbo says the problem isn’t so easy, for he has only been able to protect his city with the use of the mando armor. He’ll give it back, but only if Mando helps kill a massive underground worm like Krayt dragon thats about to come up under the town and eat everyone.

Mando agrees but to bring the beast down, they’ll have to make friends with the dreaded sand people.

It’s a fun episode and as an Olyphant fan it was nice to see him shine here.

Overall, this show seems to be keeping SW alive. I’m not sure the wonder of the originals can ever be recaptured, but all nerds asks for is at least an attempt to adhere to rules and past canon…and have some semblance of a story…i.e. when you are handed a trail of bread crumbs, you will be able to follow it to something. This and Rogue One did that so that’s probably why both have faired well.

I’ll say this. It’s the first show in awhile, since the end of Game of Thrones, that I consider appointment watching. Coming home Friday nights and switching it on after a long week is my new favorite pass time.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – Mulan (2020)

Be a man, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of Disney’s live action Mulan.

God, I’m old. When I was a young lad, newly minted driver’s license in hand, I took a girl to see the cartoon version of this movie and we were blown away by it, for it was ahead of its time. I think it might have been like my first actual date.

In the blink of an eye, 22 years and my hair are gone and the original film is now considered culturally insensitive because it had a talking cartoon dragon who, I’m just saying, sold the movie.

And what the hell happened to that girl anyway? I’d look her up online but I’m worried she might have lost her hair too.

Fun sidenote: She taught me how to put sauce on Taco Bell tacos after the movie. Up until then I didn’t know you were able to request a sauce packet to squirt on your taco. It blew my mind and I think of this girl whenever I squirt sauce into my taco and yes I know how that sounded and I’m sorry for poor phrasing but you’re the one with the dirty mind because I’m just meditating on a time when I was young and innocent and blown away by things that seem silly and trivial to adult eyes. And yes, I stand by the decision of taking a date to Taco Bell.

But enough about me. Mulan is back, in live action form this time. There’s a cast of martial arts movie maestros including Donnie Yen and Jet Li. Liu Yifei takes on the role of the everyone’s favorite girl who pretends to be a boy so she can save her father by taking her place when the Emperor comes looking for soldiers to fight an invading army.

Lots of dazzling special effects, stunts, swordplay, etc. It is more of a fantasy war epic. I don’t really know what the kids like nowadays but I assume they will like it. Merch opportunities are gone as there won’t be any cuddly Mushu stuffies to sell and if Disney doesn’t like that, they aren’t saying anything.

I have to say I still like the cartoon version better, because, and OK, I get it, if you cut out the un-woke parts, the part where Mulan takes out the invading army by starting an avalanche is cool and also the part at the end where it looks like its a celebration only for there to be a surprise ending where Mulan has to foil the bad guys once again….cool stuff.

Also, you can’t beat the Emperor’s line in the old one. While encouraging the captain to go after Mulan, he says, “You don’t meet a girl like that every dynasty.”

That line always stuck in my head. There was a girl I met later in my 20s who was one of those girls. I wish the Emperor had been around to remind me that you don’t meet a girl like this every dynasty, so I guess I can blame the rise of communism for missing out a great catch and the fact that now the highlights of my day are microwave dinners for one and writing on a blog that is only read by 3.5 people.

Sidenote: I actually did look this girl up and she kept her game tight so…yeah I don’t know, since I didn’t I probably did her a favor by being an oblivious dummy who decided to play the field without realizing that the field was destined to play him.

At any rate, this new Mulan is still pretty good and worth a watch. Is it worth the 30 bucks that Disney makes you pay for it via Disney Plus? Eh, that’s up to you. Theaters would have been packed for this so Disney missed out on all that revenue, so I get they have to make it back somehow.

It does make me wonder about the future of film. While people sometimes cheer the downfall of movie theaters, I think people have to remember that a lot of these special effects heavy blockbusters can’t be made unless you have that first wave of ticket sales, then the second wave of rentals and then finally whatever is left that comes from cable and streaming.

So, let’s keep hoping that COVID goes the way of the dodo, or the Mushu (sorry, Eddie) and that theaters will be at full capacity and slinging popcorn soon.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – The Lion King (2019)

Briefly, 3.5 readers, I’m not sure I get Disney’s remake everything with live action initiative, even though I assume they’re generating a ton of revenue and not having to spend money on writing new stories as they’re just taking the old stories and re-doing them.

It sort of makes sense when there are human characters but something about a talking CGI animal cast is odd.  That’s the fun part of cartoons.  Why cartoon animals talking doesn’t seem silly I don’t know.  Maybe just the idea of real-ish looking animals talking seems weird.

But at any rate, it’s fun, though again, for some reason, cartoon lions fighting seemed ok but something about letting kids see real lish lions fight seems strange.

It was a good time but I don’t know.  I’m not sure CGI-ing everything is the way to go.  Don’t believe me?  Check out that Cats trailer.  I’ll probably rant about the Cats trailer at some point.

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Movie Review – Aladdin (2019)

You never had a friend like me, 3.5 readers.

Wait, have I ever had a friend?  Probably not.  Geeze, now I’m sad.

Oh well.  Here’s a review of “Aladdin.”

Disney continues with its quest to live action-ize all of its classic cartoons.  This time around, its one of its biggest, “Aladdin.”

The challenge here is that cartoon was 99.99 percent based on the late Robin Williams’ manic energy.  Just as Williams would, at a rapid clip, move from one impression and silly voice to another, so too would the Genie.

There just isn’t a comedian today who matches Williams’ abilities and frankly, it would be lame to have someone just do a Williams impression anyway.

Ergo, I think Disney made a good choice in picking Will Smith.  He can sing.  He can dance.  He can do comedy.  He doesn’t try to copy Williams but rather makes the role his own.  Sure, Genie engages in some silliness, but there’s no attempt to copy Williams here.

True, Smith does look odd in blue genie form but the film tries to have genie in human form for as long as possible to make up for it.

Overall, the film is fun and a good time.  Not knocking Marwan Kenzari, but I think they might have picked a scarier actor to play Jafar but I get that Disney is going with mostly unknowns, perhaps to keep these remakes from being overpowered by star power or perhaps so they can go with one big star like Will Smith and not break the budget on a supporting cast.  I don’t know.  I’m not a Disney executive so what would I know.

I also give Disney credit for not being afraid to tinker with the plots of these movies and making them their own for a new generation.  For example, I think someone realized Genie couldn’t be a blue ghost for the whole film, so in human form he becomes more like Aladdin’s wing man and adviser.  I think maybe they missed an opportunity for laughs with Iago the parrot.  He was voiced by the parroty sounding Gilbert Gottfried in the original, but becomes a sinister little varmint in this reprise.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – The Incredibles 2 (2018)

It was incredible.

BQB here with a review of the long awaited sequel to “The Incredibles.”

Wow.  How quickly fourteen years go by.  When I saw the original film in 2004, I was young, full of hopes and dreams and now, all these years later I realize that being the humble proprietor of a blog that’s only read by 3.5 people is the best my life will ever get.

SPOILER ALERT – before the film, the cast, i.e. Craig T. Nelson (Mr. Incredible), Holly Hunter (Elastigirl) and Samuel L. Jackson (Frozone) come out to apologize for taking so long to make a sequel, and then in a fun way, explain how long it takes to make an animated movie, from coming up with a story idea, refining it, drawing it out on paper, getting it into computerized animation, etc.  It’s all so complicated you are amazed animated movies, or really, any movies, get made at all.

As it turns out, 14 years was worth the wait.  This is a rare sequel that is good as the original, and perhaps even surpasses it in some ways.

The story picks up right after the end of the last film.  Superheroes continue to be hated by the public and the government, thought of as jerks who just get in the way and cause more damage to the city while fighting villains that the world would be better off just letting the villains take whatever they want.

However, Winston and Evelyn Deavor (Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener) don’t share this view.  Wealthy telecom company owners, this brother-sister duo believe that superheroes are the future and are willing to put up their money and public communication skills on the line to rehabilitate public perception of superheroes, all in the hope of changing anti-super hero laws.

SIDENOTE: I’ve always felt that the anti-hero laws of this world reflect the real world.  All too often, we bitch at people who are trying to solve problems because it’s easier than, say, actually rolling up our sleeves and trying to solve the problems ourselves.

Back to the review. The Deavors become the Incredible family’s benefactor, putting them up in swanky digs and funding missions for Elastigirl.  That’s right.  It’s Mr. Incredible’s turn to stay home and play Mr. Mom, helping super fast son Dash with his homework, invisible girl Violet with her teenage angst, and, to hilarious effect, corralling baby Jack-Jack, whose budding super powers have no bounds as the little guy is all emotion with no ability to control himself.

Meanwhile, Elastigirl dazzles in a particularly awesome scene with a special motorcycle that can separate apart as she needs it to.  Remember, she’s like a big rubber band, so as the action happens, her butt can be twenty feet away and the back half of the bike will detach and stick with her butt as needed.  Sounds silly, yet awesome on the big screen and kudos to the writer who thought of that.

There are many great action scenes like this, showing that Disney knows super heroes, Pixar knows animation, so more animated super hero flicks might definitely pan out.  As I recall, Disney’s other animated super hero flick, “Big Hero 6,” was further proof of this phenomenon.

It all culminates in taking on “The Screenslaver,” the villain who is able to control the minds of anyone who watches one of his hacked screens, with an underlying message that perhaps we could all use a little less screen time.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Lesson?  Take your time with sequels, Hollywood.  Resist the cash grab urge.  I know you’re in a money making business but put sequels on the back burner while you work other projects, and then when those sequels have simmered enough, move them to the front burner where they can satisfy our appetites with gourmet precision rather than fast-food speed.  The extra time taken here paid off big time.

Not to keep knocking “Star Wars” but keep in mind that absence makes the heart grow fonder and maybe even makes the movie maker’s mind sharper.  Maybe 14 years is a long time but a sequel, say, once every 5 years is like getting together with an old, long lost friend, whereas a sequel once a year is like that house guest who sets up shop in your living room and refuses to leave.  Sure, it was fun for a week but now you’d like to be able to watch your TV and sit on your couch in peace.

Other lesson – more animated super hero movies or, barring that, more animated any kind of adventure movies.  Live action hero movies are great, but animated films can really stretch boundaries and give adults something to actually enjoy while captivating the kids.

 

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Why is the Star Wars Franchise in the Dumper?

Hey, 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

“Solo” did poorly at the box office, though strangely, I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Meanwhile, the latest saga films, “Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” were commercial successes, but the fans aren’t happy.

“Rogue One” did well commercially and in my opinion, is the best of the four new films.

I do believe this is partly “Star Wars fatigue.”  Absence makes the heart grow fonder and when 10-20 years passed between sequels, you really got excited to see a new film.  I was 20 when “The Phantom Menace” came out and while today, I think that movie does not hold up, at the time, I was just so excited to see light sabers being whirled around on screen again.

Say what you will about the prequels, but they did, absent an occasional hiccup, at least attempt to follow the pre-established rules of the universe.  Plus, the characters were put into peril, so the stakes were high.

Sure, you know faves like Yoda or Obi Wan weren’t going to buy the farm, but faves like Mace Windu or Qui Gon Jinn were kicking the bucket so the peril made you grip the edge of your seat.

Cliffhangers and new threads meant something.  When new questions popped up, you’d get answers.  Maybe not answers you wanted but you got something.

Here in the new saga films, there’s a lot of jerking us around.  Too clever by half writers saying, “Ha!  Fooled you!” and not realizing that if there’s no payoff we are losing interest.

So, if we’re getting a new film once a year, plus the films aren’t paying off for the super fans, I don’t know, this doesn’t bode well for the franchise.

I think either they should have cast new actors to play Han, Luke and Leia (younger actors) and start a new three part saga right after the end of “Return of the Jedi.”

Either that, or they should have put it far into the future and just wracked their brains to create all new characters, perhaps some older aliens who live longer coming in from the old films, but a whole new setup with heroes and villains.

Instead, they tried, just as King Solomon once did, to split the proverbial baby and as we all know, babies don’t split well, they are much better off intact in one piece.  A future that was just an homage to the past didn’t bode well.

My two cents.  What say you, 3.5 Jedis?

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Movie Review – Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

I can’t believe it took me a week to see this flick.  Maybe my reputation as the Internet’s greatest nerd is ill-deserved.

BQB here with a review of “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Where did the past 10 years go, 3.5 readers?  I remember watching “Iron Man” in 2008, thinking Marvel was really onto something here and, well, if only I could time travel back 10 years, take the seat next to me and give myself some advice on how to negotiate the next decade.

Oh well.  No use crying over spilt milk.

Speaking of not crying, we have a seasoned cast of superheroes now, and damn, there are a lot of them.  You’ve got the Avengers…the various hangers-on who help the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the assorted interlopers who mingle in these worlds…you’ve got a lot of characters.  Is it too many?  Maybe not.

After all, this film is our reward for sticking with the franchise for so long.  Once you watch the individual films, as well as the group get-together films, you spend a lot of time with these characters, getting to know what makes them tick, and thus films like this are possible, i.e. where the individuals come and go, make their entrances and exits and you understand their motivations by now.

There was a brief moment in the beginning where I wondered if this whole spectacle hadn’t jumped the shark.  Maybe it’s just because I’m getting older but when you really think about it, I mean, seriously…you’ve got a man in an iron suit, a Norse God, a green monster, a patriot, a computer man, a witch, wizards, a spiderman, a cat man, a flying guy, another guy in an iron suit, a lady assassin, a band of space pirates and their talking raccoon…WTF?  How do these all fit together?

At one point, I was like, “Wow.  There are way too many Avengers.  Like seriously, I can’t keep up with all these Avengers.  There is a ridiculous amount of superheroes on screen right now.”

Somehow, Disney/Marvel makes it all work.  In past movies, we’ve been teased with an impending Thanos (Josh Brolin) attack and it pays off big time here, as he’s the villain to end all villains, the big bad that the Avengers et. al. will have to throw everything at, including the kitchen sink, the toilet, the toilet paper, the plunger and so on.

It’s an intergalactic battle royale featuring different planets, different locations on Earth, different bands of heroes duking it out with different bands of Thanos’ cronies, all in the name of gathering the infinity stones, which the infamous ne’er-do-well hopes to use to engage in acts of evil-doery across the cosmos.

There are touching moments, hilarious moments, humor, laughter, suspense and I don’t want to give it away but Disney/Marvel does go in quite an unexpected direction, one that defies the typical ending of these films and perhaps when all 3.5 of you have had a chance to see it, we can discuss it further.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Kudos to Disney/Marvel for keeping this franchise alive, still going strong, still being as magical as ever.  Thank you to all the actors who didn’t let fame go to their heads and bail on their recurring characters.  It’s been quite a ride and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – What’s Your Favorite Ride in Disney World?

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal BQB here.

I’ve picked up stakes this week and moved BQB HQ to Orlando, where I have established a temporary BQB HQ.  If you see a nerd walking around with an alien and a yeti…that’s probably some other guy.

In the mean time, what’s your favorite thing to do at Disney World, 3.5 readers?  Your favorite ride or your favorite other activity…what is it?

To be honest, as I get older, the whole place loses its appeal to me.  Maybe the older you get, the less you believe in magic, I don’t know.  I mean it’s all very pretty and it’s impressive and so on.  And the Yeti and Alien Jones dig it, of course.

I don’t know if this counts as an activity, but I think “The Earl of Sandwich” in Disney Springs makes the best sandwiches.  They make a good meatball and a good Thanksgiving sandwich and I always get the Thanksgiving.

Anyway, what say you, 3.5?

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Movie Review – Coco (2017)

Who knew skeletons could be so adorable?

BQB here with a review of Disney/Pixar’s “Coco.”

You know, 3.5 readers, I don’t usually do a review of kids’ movies, but this one moved me a bit, so here we go.

Miguel is a young boy who dreams of becoming a famous musician, as famous as Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), this fictional version of Mexico’s answer to Elvis.

Alas, his family has put a long, long, longtime ban on music due to the fact a musician in the family once caused great heartbreak for all.

Blah, blah, blah, shenanigans ensue and Miguel finds himself in the Land of the Dead, where the deceased “live” albeit in skeleton form.  Miguel is still alive and obviously, does not belong here, but he’ll have to solve some mysteries about his family’s past in order to return to the land of the living.

There’s a lot of bright colors and the plot was a little better than usual, IMO, for a kids’ movie.  But there was one takeaway that stood out.

You see, we learn that it’s possible for the skeletons to die a second time, i.e. to disappear without a trace.  The skeletons live and prosper and are happy…for as long as the living remember them.  Once the last person who remembers the formerly alive skeleton dies, and there isn’t anyone else around to tell stories of the dead person when he/she was alive, then the skeleton ceases to be.

Ergo, whether it’s “The Land of the Dead” or Heaven or whatever afterlife you envision, we’ll never know for sure what happens when we die.  Theology tells us we live on.  Evidence tells us we become worm food.  However, you can at least take steps in this life to make sure you are remembered fondly and tales of your deeds will be passed down throughout the generations.

The thought is bittersweet – it provides motivation to get out there and live and love, to be productive and helpful and friendly in the hopes that no matter what happens after this life, you will at least be remembered by others.

But the downside is the average person, even with the best intentions and the most follow-through, probably, at best, can’t achieve something that allows them to be remembered past a few generations of their family.

Doubt it?  Think fast.  How many of you are able to tell me the name of your great, great grandfather or mother?  Tell me in the comments how far back in your family tree you are able to recite.

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