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Beauty and the Beast Review

Beauty and the Beast Prize Pack
Beauty and the Beast Prize Pack

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a live-action re-telling of the studio’s animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs. “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within. The film 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; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; six-time Tony Award® winner Audra McDonald as Madame Garderobe, the wardrobe; 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 and based on the 1991 animated film, the film 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.

As part of Disney SMMC, I got to see the first eight minutes of the film a few months before it came out. Judging by that preview, I knew the film was going to be spectacular. Watching the full feature, it took me back to my childhood with the storyline and the music. The difference being that the 2017 Beauty and the Beast is full of stunning imagery. The characters are superb! The only one that had me a bit perplexed as Kevin Kline because it seemed like he played…well, himself lol.

Regardless, Disney’s latest Beauty and the Beast is a must-see (at least once but maybe more). In honor of the release of the movie, LatwinoDad is giving away a Beauty and the Beast bag filled with swag.

Disney Studios Prize Pack Giveaway

LatwinoDad is featuring a Disney Studios Prize Pack Giveway with a wealth of goodies for young and old. Enter below and good luck! Winner will be announced April 3, 2017.

Disney Studios Prize Pack

Disney Studios Prize Pack Giveaway
Disney Studios Prize Pack Giveaway

Here’s a bonus clip from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast:

5 Reasons to Watch Alice Through the Looking Glass

Alice Through The Looking Glass characters
Alice Through The Looking Glass characters / Photo: Disney Services

I recently saw an advance screening of Alice Through The Looking Glass at #DISNEYSMMC. Review is my opinion of the film.

A Peek Behind the Looking Glass (no spoilers)

1. Alice Through the Looking Glass is one of those rare sequels that trumps its prequel, Alice In Wonderland (2010).

I did not grow up with the original Alice, neither the Carroll stories nor the cartoon released in 1951. That could be why I was a bit blasé about the first movie. Alice Through the Looking Glass, however, is a must watch and enjoyable from beginning to end, especially in 3D.

2. Alice demonstrates strong feminism in her dealings with traditional roles with style and grace.

Sacha Baron Cohen is Time in Disney's ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, an all new adventure featuring the unforgettable characters from Lewis Carroll's beloved stories.
Sacha Baron Cohen is Time in Disney’s ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, an all new adventure featuring the unforgettable characters from Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories.

In the sequel, Alice returns to Underland – Director Tim Burton’s version of Wonderland – to save her friend the Mad Hatter. Disney has done an extraordinary job transforming its princesses into female super heroes. The same is true for this film and it makes no apologies for doing so. Alice demonstrates her feminist panache and you can’t help but to root for her throughout the film.

3. Time is a gift, and so is Sacha Baron Cohen in this movie.

A few new characters are introduced including Time himself, played by Sacha Baron Cohen. Cohen is remarkable in this role and does not overact, as could have easily been the case. There are important takeaways when thinking of time in life.

4. We learn The Red Queen’s backstory as to why she’s so eager to be off with everyone’s head – and it kind of makes sense.

We learn the background of Alice’s antagonist, the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter). Do we know what made other villains in Disney films bad? Evil step-mother in Cinderella? Maleficent in Snow White? The evil queen in Sleeping Beauty? Learning what made the Red Queen vicious reveals a humanity uncommon in fantasy films, and you can *almost* understand why she’s so callous.

5. “The only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it’s possible.” -Alice Kingsleigh

Alice is able to do the impossible through a story of loyalty, especially when it comes to family ties. A lot of this film feels impossible because the effects are spectacular (see my comment above about watching in 3D).

Alice Through the Looking Glass: Behind the Scenes

Johnny Depp is Hatter in Disney's ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, an all new adventure featuring the characters from Lewis Carroll's beloved stories..
Johnny Depp is Hatter in Disney’s ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, an all new adventure featuring the characters from Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories..

Beyond the story and actors, the film itself is visually stunning. Burton creates a digital masterpiece where reality and fantasy are blurred – not only in the story but in the movie’s visuals, as well. Most of the movie – all of it? – was filmed in front of a blue screen. Alice, played by Mia Wasikowska, is filmed traversing the real world and Underland. When in Underland, Wasikowksa is looking at random dots that only get populated after the shoot. Can you imagine acting without any props or other actors around you? I have a profound respect for her as she brings Alice to life in settings that were completely lifeless behind the scenes.

What does P!nk Have to do with Alice Through The Looking Glass?

P!nk wrote an original song for the movie and did a version of White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane’s classic. It would be a disservice to not share the music here from one of the official trailers. Enjoy – it’s quite catchy!

Dory from Finding Nemo

Sneak Peak: Finding Dory, the Untold Story #DisneySMMC

Finding Dory Coming Soon
Finding Dory / Photo: Disney Pixar

During this year’s Disney Social Media Mom’s Celebration I was part of the first public audience to view the first 30 minutes of Finding Dory.

Finding Nemo The Sequel: Finding Dory

By now, everyone who has kids (or is a kid at heart) has seen the movie Finding Nemo and knows about his forgetful friend Dory. Dory, played by Ellen Degeneres in Finding Dory and its predecessor, is a bit of a tragic figure due to her short-term memory loss and inability to retain any meaningful memories. She is part of the despondency surrounding Nemo in part due to her disability but for other reasons we’ll explore, too.

Finding Story Leads to Finding Dory

The producers of Finding Nemo took 13 years to come up with a sequel for one simple reason: they were finding a story. Lindsey Collins the Producer of “Finding Dory” explains what took so long: “Andrew!” Andrew Stanton, director of Finding Nemo, was asked about his thoughts on a sequel to Nemo over the years many times. He believed Nemo’s story was complete. He did not feel it necessary to explore the saga any further without a specific need. Then one day, he thought about Dory and how her character needed an explanation.

Dory, the Tragedy

Dory was a flawed character in the sense that she herself was imperfect, especially in her own eyes. She saw no flaws in others; however, only in herself.

Dory from Finding Nemo
Dory from Finding Nemo / Photo: Disney Pixar

Take for example Nemo’s disability: his short fin. Nemo’s father Marlin was quite worried about Nemo’s short-coming, which led to some of his overprotective helicopter parenting. Dory didn’t notice. There are a few other examples of Dory’s trait in the new film that I won’t quite reveal that you should look for.

Dory comforted other characters she met and gave them a sense of hope. She was the eternal optimist except she didn’t hold herself in high regards. Stanton decided that he needed to tell the story about Dory and now we have a new film to add to Disney’s Pixar collection.

Preview of Finding Dory

There are parts I don’t want to spoil so you, too, can feel the same emotion I did when watching the film. It opens with Dory’s parents working with her on her disability. I won’t dive too deep but it was heart-wrenching as I could imagine myself with my own kids working with them through something setting them back, and the frustration and sadness surrounding it. I would compare it to the opening of Up, where the beginning gives you a lump in your throat!

Crush, the ultra-gnarly turtle, is back in the film as Dory sets out to find her parents by piecing together random memories. The journey is a fun swim through Dory’s very limited memory bank for the ultimate family reunion. As an audience, we were wanting more because we were hooked into her adventure only to be told that the 30 minutes was up. I can’t wait to see what the entire film will look like if it’s any resemblance to the beginning of the film.

Finding Dory line from Huggies
Finding Dory products from Huggies

Finding Dory premiers in U.S. theaters June 17.

Disclaimer: I paid a conference fee to attend the 2016 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, but was provided with discounted and complimentary items. All opinions shared are my own on what I experienced/viewed.