“Tomorrow can be a wonderful age…”


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While never said outright by him, it’s a popular belief that Tomorrowland was one of Walt Disney’s favorite lands insomuch that he was forever the futurist with his views on what we, as a society, could achieve if we really put our minds to it. In a rather sad twist of irony however, Tomorrowland has since become something of a struggle to maintain that visionary view of a not-so-far-off future. In Disneyland, it had been renovated no less than three times whilst the one located in the Magic Kingdom is now in its second generation with a possible third not too far away.

Heck, there was even a tongue-in-cheek nod towards the “age” of Tomorrowland in the film Meet the Robinsons where we see a brief view of a theme park aptly named “Todayland.”

Attraction-wise, Tomorrowland is… something of a mixed bag. There is excitement to be found for all ages and places to just sit back and chill as well. Some of these attractions though are admittedly quite dated in either their presentation or their actual age such as one of my personal favorites, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.

As its name implies, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress is a stage performance wherein the audience is rotated around four distinct acts which take place in four major parts of history featuring the, somewhat stereotypical, American family.

Act One takes place at the turn of the 20th century, specifically 1904, where the most advanced piece of technology is a pump for water in the kitchen and a telephone. Act Two takes in the 1920’s place when electricity became widespread and Charles Lindbergh would attempt his record flight. Act Three is in the 1940’s where dishwashers have since become a thing alongside household television sets which, let me tell you, were ridiculously big for how small the screen was. The final act takes place in the far future and is, admittedly, quite dated as of…

Gosh, I’d say half a decade now? While no date is said outright the technologies displayed by the family include, voice activated electronics such as the Christmas lights on a tree and an oven, virtual reality video game that uses hand and body motions to play instead of a joystick or buttons, and a self flushing toilet.

… Yeah, okay, that last one is probably a lot old than a decade but still, it’s kind of hilarious to see that the “far future” is pretty much today.

Next up, as far as age is concerned, is the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, or simply PeopleMover, for short. It is, quite literally, a small tour around Tomorrowland from a second story point of view and shows off some unique perspectives into the attraction Space Mountain and a few stores as well. The real breadwinner though is the original conception model of the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow, which would eventually become the theme park EPCOT.

The Astro Orbiter is another carousel ride that takes place in the air but contrary to its brethren in Adventureland and Fantasyland, this one takes place sixty feet off the ground and while it’s no more dangerous than its fellows, I sincerely don’t recommend this ride for those who have a slight fear of heights.

Speaking of old school rides to probably avoid, there’s the Tomorrowland Speedway, which does no live up to its name at all let me tell you. This ride is one wherein anyone of all ages can drive their own motorized vehicle but with several quid pro quo attached to it. First, there’s a track that the car must follow along and while you can turn anyway you want, you’ll still hit the bloody thing and it’ll jar ya something fierce. Second, the cars don’t go that fast and if you think regular rush hour traffic is bad wait until you’re stuck behind a kid too short to really reach the gas pedal. I’d go on but really, I’d rather not.

Space Mountain, ah yes, a full enclosed roller coaster that takes place within near total darkness and has, officially, no actual story behind it. There is a graphic novel adaptation of this ride but as far as I have heard, that’s all that there is to it. The ride itself doesn’t necessitate a story really, it’s a roller coaster based on rockets shooting through the stars, what more do you need? I do warn however that if you happen to be wearing a hat, I’d recommend keeping it in hand or giving it to those in your party that aren’t going on the ride. Believe me, you will lose it.

From the so-called relics of the past, we go to those of the future attractions. Ah, that is to say, those that are not more than a decade or so old. First up is a ride that is both incredibly entertaining and unbelievably aggravating, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.

This ride is a shooting ride wherein two riders are aboard a “Star Cruzer” and are tasked by Buzz Lightyear to combat and stop the forces of the Evil Emperor Zurg from stealing more batteries, ah, ahem, that is to say crystallic fusion cells. Each rider is given a laser gun, attached to the headboard of the vehicle, and must take aim at the specifically marked weaknesses of Zurg’s forces, which are shaped in a “Z.” The Cruzer takes tally of the points of the players and by the rides end they can see where they rank among their fellow cadets.

Sounds rather fun doesn’t it? Ah, but I haven’t touched upon the aggravating part now have I? The ride is called Space Ranger Spin for a reason and that reason is the shared joystick that causes the cruisers to spin around left or right and must be shared between the two riders. Let me tell you, there is no faster way to start a competition between friends and family than putting them in such a position as this.

Next up we have the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, a actual live stage performance featuring a wide cast of monsters. Well, wide in so much that three types of monsters show up though their names tend to differ. Each monster focuses on a specific type of humor and interacts with the audience to varying degrees. Trust me when I say that no two shows are ever the same and it’s extremely rare to leave it without having laughed yourself silly.

Last, but certainly not least, is Stitch’s Great Escape! wherein we the audience get to see a… slightly different take on how Stitch managed to escape Galactic Prison for the first time prior to his recapture in the original film. The ride itself consists of guests being seat, and strapped down, in a teleportation chamber wherein Stitch is teleported and quickly reeks merry havoc about the place with guests reacting to his motions and movements. A… small word of warning though, there’s a part wherein Stitch finds and devours someone’s chili dog and burps against the back of your neck. When that part comes up lean forward or that smell will stay with your for hours afterward.

Sadly, it would seem that Stitch’s time in Tomorrowland is drawing to a close as the ride has since become a seasonal operation ride in that it will be open depending on rate of attendance so likely the busiest times of the year. There are rumors circulating that the characters from Wreck-It Ralph may make a home in Tomorrowland but as of this post, there is no official confirmation from Disney Execs.

Shopping wise, Tomorrowland doesn’t offer much in the way of stores with only four in all. Merchant of Venus, Mickey’s StarTraders, Tomorrowland Power & Light, and Buzz’s Star Command. Admittedly, most of these shops are geared towards technology in that a lot of gear for smartphones and the like can be found here alongside products pertaining to the more “futuristic” Disney characters and franchises, most notably Star Wars.

As to food, there’s a few places of note with one shining star amidst them. There’s the Cool Ship and Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies which consists mostly of treats with the Cool Ship in particular serving one of the best fruit smoothies I’ve ever had. There’s the Tomorrowland Terrace Cafe which serves full meals but, like Stitch’s Great Escape!, is only opened seasonally. There’s the aptly named Lunching Pad at Rockettower Plaza, located just beneath the PeopleMover and Astro Orbiter, which serves the aforementioned hotdogs and the like.

The true shining star however is Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café which serves a wide range of food and features a live stage performance from a visiting alien named Sunny Eclipse who primarily sings altered renditions of popular Earth songs and offers a few comedic tales of his escapades through the cosmos.

As to the cast of characters that can be found in Tomorrowland, I warn that, much like Fantasyland and Frontierland, there is no set guarantee as to when, or whom, you might run into but as of today the sightings include Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, Lilo & Stitch from Lilo & Stitch, Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible (Elasti-Girl), Frozone from The Incredibles.

Not much I admit but hey, that’s in the present. Who knows who’ll arrive in the future?


Just around the corner is a…


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Fantasyland, one of the most recognized and by far most popular of the themed lands in the Magic Kingdom as well as the various Disneyland Parks. Easily the biggest of the lands and filled to the bursting with attractions, the only ones that would find Fantasyland lacking are those whom are thrill seekers as, sadly, the old attraction of The Scary Adventures of Snow White has long since been refurbished. Not that I mind that any for while the ride was in itself a retelling of Snow White’s adventures, the forest scene as well as those that featured the Wicked Queen, pre and post hag transformation, were nothing short of terrifying at any age.

As it has been some time since the recent expansion into “New” Fantasyland, I will divide this land into the three subsections that it has been quasi-officially been given. I say quasi because contrary to popular assumption, only one of these subsections has any actual signage of note and a clear divide between it and the rest of Fantasyland.

Starting off in the Castle Courtyard, which is located directly behind Cinderella Castle, there’s the most famous attraction in all of Disney history, or infamous depending on whom you ask. It’s a Small World is a water boat ride wherein the riders traverse across the globe and see a myriad of dolls from all corners of the earth singing to the titular song. It is a ride that is well and truly for extremely young audiences but does hold a bit of amusement for adults as well as, for a time at any rate, it also had some distinct Disney characters residing in their respected countries/locations. Much as people joke about the song and how much of an earworm it can become, I haven’t really found it to be so. It’s no golden record wonder by any means but it’s certainly not one to cover one’s ears against.

Peter Pan’s Flight is another ride retelling of the classic film but one that has undergone a few revisions over the years, most notable in the form of it attaining an interactive queue that I, rather unfortunately, cannot comment on as this ride, more frequently than any other ride in the entirety of the Magic Kingdom has a substantially long wait. On average, the wait time for Peter Pan’s Flight is anywhere between an hour to two depending on which day of the week and what time of day it is.  The ride itself though is quite fun as we go up on miniaturized renditions of Hook’s ship and soar over London and various portions of Neverland.

Mickey’s Philharmagic is a 3D CGI show that features Donald Duck trying to catch the sorcerer’s hat throughout popular, and classic, Disney musical moments from a small variety of films, most notably those of the Disney Renaissance era. Hands down this is my favorite attraction in the whole park and I generally make it a point to go on it more than once. Contrary to most 3D films shown in cinemas, there is no real “sweet spot” as it were to get the whole effect going. Frankly, there is too much happening across the screen, which in itself is I’d say a size-and-a-half wider than most theater screens, to focus on one spot in particular.

Prince Charming Regal Carousel, formerly known as Cinderella’s Golden Carousel, has a rather interesting history behind it’s name change. It was changed in the years leading up to the new expansion of the park and was done so to actually tell a bit more of Cinderella’s story, which can in turn be located verbatim at this LINK here.

The Carousel is honestly no different than any other of its kind save for some unique features. First and foremost, it is located directly center behind Cinderella Castle and believe me, Disney Executives, including Walt Disney’s own brother Roy, checked for this. Secondly, there is in fact one horse out of the many on the ride that is known by Cast Member’s as Cinderella’s Horse as it sports a golden bow upon its tail, a trait not shared by any other equine on the ride.

Off the corner of Fantasyland, and oftentimes unofficially recognized as its own land as far as merchandising is concerned, is Storybook Circus wherein the oft recognized aerial carousel rendition of Dumbo himself can be found. Much like the Carpets of Adventureland, Dumbo the Flying Elephant allows riders to go up and down as they please whilst doing a slow circle around.

Aside from this, there’s the Barnstormer, a junior roller coaster that was a former resident of the now forgone Toontown Fair. It’s not a bad ride for kids seeking thrills fitting to their size and adults who otherwise are uncomfortable with what the other coasters of the Magic Kingdom have to offer. There’s also a little area known as Casey Jr. Splash ‘n’ Soak Station, where the train from Dumbo can be found with elephants and giraffes ready and waiting to splash any who draw near with water.

Moving on from the Circus, we get to the truly expanded section of Fantasyland known simply as the Enchanted Forest. Here’s where any and all fans of the Disney Princesses will find two miniaturized replicas of the other Disney Princess castles, specifically the castles from Beauty & the Beast and The Little Mermaid. On that note (hah!) we’ve got the ride Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid which is sister to Peter Pan’s Flight though with far more advanced animatronics involved. No joke, Ursula is so realistic in appearance that younger, more impressionable, children may get a wee bit freaked out.

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride is easily the most unique roller coaster I’ve ever been on as it incorporates its design of being a mine cart ride quite literally in that each car of the coaster actually rocks, though not by a terrifying margin, from side to side. The ride itself is second only to Peter Pan’s Flight for wait time and I again can’t help but blame the interactive, and quite addictive, games scattered throughout the queue.

For those whose heart lies in a familiar wood about a hundred acres or so in size, there’s the ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh which, like Under the Sea and Peter Pan’s Flight is a retelling of the stories of Winnie the Pooh, though does so by featuring many iconic moments of the multitude of stories rather than just one in particular. It is also the only ride to have a literal playground attached to the waiting queue where really young kids can go wild while the rest of their party holds their place in line. The real trick though is getting them out from said playground.

Last, but certainly not least, is the iconic Mad Tea Party ride which is admittedly the most basic of basic rides that being a spinning teacup ride done to the songs and themes of Alice in Wonderland. It may not be a wholly unique ride nor one that is distinct amongst others  of its make or design but gosh-darn it, it’s a staple of any theme park worthy of the title and is, if nothing else, a piece of amusement park history. … And it’s based on my favorite of the Golden Age of Disney Animated Films, so there.

Virtually every ride in Fantasyland has its own themed store attached or is within range of one as well. In the case of the Storybook Circus, there is a little circus tent of a store that carries a wide range of products though none strictly unique to Fantasyland alone. If you’re looking for more character-themed products though, Fantasyland is your place with such stores as Hundred Acre Goods and Seven Dwarfs’ Mine.

As to the dining scene, there are eight places in all to find food and drink with most of them, such as the Cheshire Café or Friar’s Nook, being quick-served places for light meals and the like. The real trophy winners though are found in the two castles. Cinderella’s Royal Table is a character dining experience that is worth its weight in gold for food, experience, and the sights.

The food is not for casual diners however with some being a bit too… high and proper for most. It is also one of the few places to dine that requires a minimum of 180 days advanced reservation and that’s for a general date and not during the high tides of business for the park. Still worth it though because the dining area itself is truly fit for royalty, and I would bet my bottom dollar that a few such individuals have dined there themselves, but the desert… Oh man, just look at it.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Be Our Guest Restaurant located at the rendition of Beast’s Castle and let me tell you if Cinderella’s Royal Table is fit for nobility than this restaurant is for actual royals. While there is certainly no rule against it, I almost like there’s a suit and tie requirement to dine at this place with how exquisite it looks.

Contrary to its sister restaurant though, this one does not offer character visitation and while reservations in advanced are welcome, they’re with a near half-year minimum. Like its fellow though, the food is high end on the finer side of dining though I have heard, from Cast Members and patrons alike, that the gray stuff is not only available to all but also quite delicious.

Finally, we get to the characters that can be met and seen at Fantasyland… Alright, here we go in no particular order we got: Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Rabbit, and Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, Ariel and on occasion Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid, Alice, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts, and Tweedles Dee & Dum from Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Wendy Darling, Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, Tinkerbell and her fellow fairy friends from Peter Pan–


–Cinderella, Prince Charming, Anastasia, Drizella, assortment of mice, and Lady Tremaine from Cinderella, Merlin from The Sword & the Stone, Snow White, any one of the Seven Dwarfs, the Prince, and the Wicked Queen (Queenly or Witchy) from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Belle, Gaston, and the Beast (Human or Beastly) from Beauty and the Beast, Pinocchio, Geppetto, Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio, Mary Poppins and Bert from Mary Poppins, Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, Prince John, the Sheriff of Nottingham from Robin Hood, Aurora, the three Good Fairies, Prince Philip, and Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, Merida from Brave, Elsa & Anna from Frozen, Rapunzel & Eugene from Tangled, Jasmine from Aladdin.

Whew… I… I think that’s all of them but, to be fair, these are all subject to change. To be fair, the only ones that can be seen with absolute certainty are the Disney Princesses as they have a few set areas for them, namely the Princess Fairytale Hall, which cycles through them so there’s no set guarantee as to who is and isn’t there, Ariel’s Grotto for Ariel, and Fairytale Garden for Merida. Others, like Alice, Pooh, and Peter Pan, generally make appearances near their respected rides but there’s never a set time for them though there is a specific space if one knows where to look.

The King Has Returned…


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Godzilla Resurgence
Directed By:
Hideaki Anno & Shinji Higuchi
Screenplay By: Hideaki Anno
American Distribution By: Funimation

I’ll admit, when I heard that Japan was going to bring Godzilla back to the silver screen, I was happy. When I learned that it would feature the collaboration of both Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi, I’m fairly certain I made the likes of the foaming guy from Avatar: The Last Airbender look pale by comparison. For those of you who are unfamiliar with these two gentlemen, allow me to elucidate.

Hideaki Anno is an animator, film director, and actor most noted for his award winning anime series, Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water and, most especially, the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime and film series. This is the man who all but rejuvenated the mecha-themed anime in the 90’s and whose most noted anime is still sitting at the top of its genre.

Shinji Higuchi is a storyboard artist, most commonly for anime, most notably of the recent Kill la Kill series, but is recognized more as one of Japan’s top special effects supervisors for his work in the Gamera film trilogy and the live action adaptations to Attack on Titan, the former of which brought a golden ending to the 90’s era of kaiju films in Japan and whose subsequent success helped spur the creation of the Millennium Era of Godzilla films. Well that and the flop that shall not be named but the point still stands, not one but two great directors of film and special effects were coming together to make a Godzilla film. I honestly thought it couldn’t get any better.

Then I had to go and find out that Shirō Sagisu, a music producer and composer whose career spans over thirty-five years, was going to be involved whilst a few key compositions from Akira Ifukube, who all but composed nearly every Godzilla film from the first one in 1954 to Godzilla’s “retirement” film Godzilla vs Destroyer in 1995. As to Shirō Sagisu, his claim to fame lies in such anime as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Bleach, and, most recently, the Attack on Titan live action adaptations.

However, the question remains, did Shin Godzilla, so named by Toho whom didn’t want anyone to confuse this film as a sequel for the Legendary Godzilla film, live up to the hype that it built in me? I want to say yes, I well and truly do but fact of the matter is I can’t.

Instead, I’ll type it out as such: YES!

Whilst I will refrain from spoilers to the actual plot, as several wikis and other sources across the net already have, I will say that this film is a product of its era to the letter. Whereas the first film was inspired, and subsequently alluding to, the threat of the nuclear bomb, Shin Godzilla takes a lot of inspiration from the more recent events that transpired in 2011. Specifically, the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami which swiftly led to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 and shares with it the rank of Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

There is also something of a political satire in the film… Alright, a lot of satire aimed towards the Japanese government that is otherwise not really shown in these types of film. The film shows the amount of links there are in the chain of politics and how much time can be wasted by following them to such finite degrees. In the film, it takes the government two hours to decide what to do with the appearance of Godzilla and it is all but implied outright later that had they acted swifter, and with more assuredness, the threat would have been vanquished with far fewer consequences.

Godzilla himself… or rather “itself” is by far the most distinct interpretation by far. Though never stated with absolute certainty, it is assumed that Godzilla is a form of ancient microbial animal that had been exposed to nuclear waste and either entirely by that exposure, or by the machinations of one who held no love of nuclear energies or the Japanese government, became capable of rapid mutation/evolution. When Godzilla first appears, it is… to put it frankly the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen, appearing to be one part aquatic fish and three parts drowned dinosaur before it rapidly mutates/evolves into a more upright posture and disappearing into the ocean only to reappear in a far larger, and far more powerful, form.

Aesthetically speaking… I admit that I like where they went with this design but I could never call it my absolute favorite though it is definitely at the top when looked at under the “evil” Godzilla category instead of the “chaotic neutral/good” variants over the years. This is not a creature merely mutated by accident nor is it some manner of living destruction wrought by nature. This Godzilla is a malformed monstrosity whose likeness is the stuff of nuclear horrors, malignant agonies, and unrestrained destruction.

Godzilla is undeniably powerful in this incarnation as far as raw firepower is concerned and I mean that in the most literal sense of that word. His traditional nuclear heat ray is the most powerful I’ve seen yet and the way that it utilizes it is nothing short of absolutely terrifying. Thankfully, this incarnation of Godzilla is not without its own share of weaknesses and it is used with great effect to stop the monster just in the nick of time.

For while this creature is capable of asexual reproduction it is not done in the same vein as Zilla, but in a far more… frankly disturbing fashion. No joke, the film ends with the reveal of what was mere moments from happening had Godzilla not been stopped when it was and I can tell you all here and now, ladies and gentlemen, that I have never, not once, ever felt such a chill as I did watching a Godzilla film before…

Hear ye, hear ye…!


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Just off the corner of Frontierland lays a smidge of territory known simply as Liberty Square and is the only land unique to the Magic Kingdom with no other replica, or slight variation, to be found in any of the other Disneyland parks. Conceived as a representation of colonial America, Liberty Square hosts only two true attractions to its name though that’s not to say that points of interest can’t be found here for those whose interests lie in American history.

Aside from a pseudo-replica of the Liberty Tree, which had been grown on the same property as the original and carefully replanted, there is also a replication of the Liberty Bell, a replication that has had a long history of conspiracy to its name surprisingly. Contrary to those urban legends, this duplicate of the Liberty Bell was cast from a mold created in 1989 and is not one of two bells made from this cast as several more have since been made and is not the one supposedly intended for Pennsylvania as one of the fifty cast for the states back in 1976.

Of the lands, Liberty Square has the fewest of actual attractions, as one can argue that the riverboat ride is shared with Frontierland, but arguably has one of the most popular, if not internationally recognized, attraction in the entirety of Disney theme park history.

The Haunted Mansion, which, sadly, I must refrain from speaking of in too great detail for I do intend to give a more in-depth view of it this Hallow’s Eve. What I can say of the ride is that contrary to what I had assumed as a child, the ride, while a bit scary for those who hold no love for the macabre, ghosts, or any other variations of the departed, it is not an all-out terrifying ride. To date, I’ve seen audiences of all ages go upon the ride and enjoy it immensely and, if I were to be perfectly honest, the Hollywood Tower of Terror located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is far more frightening, but that’s a subject for a later date.

The other attraction, The Hall of Presidents, is one that is not strictly for everyone insomuch that while I’d say it’s worth a watch it can, at times, be a bit boring to the less historically inclined. That’s not to say that it isn’t an interesting show to behold as we, the audience, are treated to see every single president in America history on stage with a small speech or two delivered by Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln followed shortly by an actual recording made by the current President, Barack Obama. In point of fact, as of this post, the animatronics for these three Presidents are the most advanced and lifelike animatronics to be created by Disney Imagineers to date.

Another attraction that I’ve sadly missed and is, as of this post, only a few weeks old is a live performance of the greatest moments in American history as presented to us by none other than Kermit the Frog and his fellow muppets.

As to places to dine and shop, Liberty Square has a surprising amount of both though not in a way you’d expect. For restaurants, there are three in all the Columbia Harbour House that serves a slightly expensive lunch and dinner, the Liberty Tree Tavern that serves an expensive but undeniably filling lunch and inner, and Sleepy Hollow that serves small snacks and deserts. All three are worth their price in food but for the Liberty Tree Tavern, I sincerely recommend dining on an empty stomach or you’ll find yourself in need of a larger pair of pants as a result.

As to shops, there’s the Heritage House that, as its name implies, features items of American Heritage, the Liberty Square Portrait Gallery where one can get their portrait done, Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe whose items may be found in a few other Christmas themed stores in Walt Disney World but I wholeheartedly do not recommend entertaining that notion if there’s something that catches your eye.

And last, but certainly not least, the Memento Mori store that houses any and all things related to the Haunted Mansion, none of which can be found elsewhere in the park itself or on other Walt Disney World properties. From shirts, to statues, to illustrations, to even a recent comic book mini-series, this shop has it all and more besides. There’s even a uniquely ghastly photograph opportunity to be had where one’s picture shifts between the living and the dead, though how this is accomplished, I was far too scared to ask.

Unfortunately, of the lands in the Magic Kingdom, Liberty Square is severely lacking in any truly established characters. Oh yes, one may find some cast members dressed and attired for ye olden colonial America but that is thus far the extent of characters to be found currently. Previously, one could have met the likes of Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen from the film, The Princess and the Frog. Why these two were eventually… retired I suppose is the best word for it, I haven’t the foggiest but I would sincerely hope to see them make a return in the future.

However during holiday celebrations for both Halloween and Christmas, there are two other characters that can be found roaming around Liberty Square, particularly close to the Haunted Mansion. Sally and Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

This here be critter country…


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The once wild and untamed western lands of America have always been a source of fantastical retellings from the mundane to the outright bizarre and believe me, ya’ll can find plenty of both and more besides in the aptly named Frontierland. Of the lands, I’d say that Frontierland’s primary feature are eateries large and small and plenty o’ spaces to hide from the unrelenting Florida sun and its oft infamous storms during the rainy seasons. While not strictly for adults, Frontierland is not entirely young child friendly either as its two chief attractions, at least those that are the most iconized in pictures, are for older, that is to say, taller audiences.

First and foremost on near everyone’s mind when they look back on this here wild country of a land is the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a roller coaster ride that takes riders through a cavernous mountain mine where it’s never quite certain which is gonna collapse first, the mountain or the mine rails. As far as most coasters go, this one is a definite green as most of the excitement comes from the high speeds and interesting sights to see including, but not in any way limited to, a tyrannosaurus rex skeleton.

Next up is the ride that is equal parts anonymous and famous, Splash Mountain. As a ride, this one is pretty recognizable as being the sole water log ride to be found, currently, in Walt Disney World as a whole. Splash Mountain is oftentimes the icon of Frontierland and while not the tallest sight to see in the park, it is a hard sight to miss once one enters critter country. The ride itself plays to the tale of Brer Rabbit from the feature Songs of the South, one of the few Disney films that will likely never see a modernized release due to the fact that…

Well, no beating around the bush with this one, it’s primarily about a young boy told tales of the South by his family’s head slave, Uncles Remus. While the animated segments of this film can be found in various forms, most often in other films’ special features that hold old episodes hosted by Walt Disney himself, the entirety of the film is, as of today, an exceptionally rare find.

As to the contents of Splash Mountain, it is as I said a somewhat wet retelling of Brer Rabbit’s adventures away from and back to the briar patch from whence he lived whilst dodging the wily, and comical, shenanigans of Brer Fox and Brer Bear. While it is a water log ride, it’s not too hard to stay dry depending on where one sits. As far as drops, there is only one truly big one deserving the word with a few smaller ones scattered about. Again, no major fear of getting wet but still something to look out for if you’ve got delicate devices.

Last, and arguably least, is the Country Bear Jamboree, which is akin to the Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland in that it is a stage show wherein a… pack? Pride? Hold on… Huh, alright then, a sleuth of bears sing and perform old-style country music complete with actual instruments. While I would call any of their songs gold worthy, which averages at about a dozen songs per show but has been subject to change over the years, if you happen to hold even a token of affection for country music, or simply bears in general, this is the show for you to see.

Aside from these notable attractions, there are some distractions to be had in a classic, if a bit outdated mind you, Shootin’ Arcade and Tom Sawyer Island. While the arcade is as its name implies, though admittedly I myself have never partaken in it due mostly to the fact that i couldn’t shoot a barn door if it were two feet in front of me, I did explore the likes of Tom Sawyer Island myself when I was younger. It is… enjoyable as I recall but compared to the likes of the one in Disneyland, I’m told that one needs to have a bit more than cursory knowledge of Mark Twain’s famous novel. There is also a rather enjoyable bit of relaxation to be found in the likes of a Mark Twain Riverboat ride that circles around Tom Sawyer Island. A good spot to people watch and a rather nostalgic feeling ride on the lake waters if I’m honest.

On to the eateries, oh boy, where do I even begin? Though it don’t look it from a glance, Frontierland has four places of note, each with their own distinct specialty of grub. Westward Ho Refreshments is a place to quench one’s thirst while Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe has one of the best burritos I’ve ever had bar none. However, if fine dining is what yer aimin’ for, that can be found in spades at the nearby Diamond Horseshoe restaurant but be warned, there’s a mighty fine reason why the main dish is labelled as a saloon feast.

As to the shops, there’s four in all with some, such as Big Al’s or the Briar Patch, that focus on items unique to Frontierland be they actual Disney characters like Woody and Jesse from Toy Story or those that fit the theme of the land like (fake) coonskin capes and cowboy hats. Even some blatantly toy guns can be found at the right location though I warn ya’ll now, those little varmints–erm, that is to say, them little tykes have far better aim with those imaginary bullets than one might expect especially when they make the appropriate sound effect to accompany the motion.

While the likes of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and Brer Bear are exceedingly rare to find in Frontierland, one can still find the likes of Woody, Jesse, and on rare occasion even ol’ Bullseye himself wandering the streets. However, and I do apologize to those who’ve read my review of Adventureland for being remiss of this, there are distinct variations of Mickey and Friends whom can be found across the park. While not currently found with absolute certainty, there have been reports of Goofy, Donald, and the ever lovable duo of Chip and Dale wandering about.

Gather your courage lads and lassies…!


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Taking a left off Main Street leads one to the aptly entitled Adventureland, an area entirely devoted to the concept of the word though at an admittedly more restrained setting. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of fun and enjoyment to be had but if one is a thrill seeker hoping to find Adventureland capable of quenching their appetites, I’m afraid that you’ll have to wait a bit longer for that. Most of the attractions found in Adventureland, such as The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, are geared with young children in mind and despite it oftentimes being the first official land that most traverse to, I personally find it to be a better spot for resting one’s legs and taking time to chill from the Florida sun.

One such source of relaxation, or vexation depending on whom you ask, is the Enchanted Tiki Room. As its name implies, it is a room where one finds themselves surrounded by enchanted speaking tiki heads though these aren’t the true source of amusement.

No, that comes in the form of a flock of exotic birds whom sing and serenade to the audience. For a time, the Tiki Room was under “new management” via Iago from Aladdin and Zazu from The Lion King. It was a rather interesting crossover of characters to be honest and one that worked for the show, for the most part anyway. However, due to a small fire that left Iago with more than a few singed feathers, the show has since returned to its original format with a few slight tweaks here and there.

The Jungle Cruise is a simple boat ride pass a wide array of animatronic animals, which are, to be fair, rather lackluster compared to the real sights to be had at the Animal Kingdom. The real delight from the ride comes from the skipper whose quips and one liners get a laugh from even the stoniest of visages. It more than any other ride though is not one that I’d recommend enjoying in the rain as the cruise canopy does not provide much protection for those seated at the sides of the boat.

For a time, there was the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, which is quite literally a tour of one of the most recognized treehouses in literature. While a rather fun, and somewhat bemusing, tour I should warn that while traversing the house is not too much of an issue even for those whom, like myself, have a slight… disfavor towards heights… The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse is one that is nearly always under refurbishment for one reason or another though, most commonly, due to extreme weather which can and has discombobulated the place more than once.

Last but certainly not least is The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction which has since undergone some rather interesting changes in the years since the premiere of the film series. Initially the ride had no actual story to it beyond a crew, or three, of pirates pillaging and plundering a coastal Caribbean town.

Nowadays however, the rides begins first with a ghastly introduction to the era of piracy by way of Davy Jones or Blackbeard, which in itself is rather bemusing as the ride never had an intro to begin with and, up until the fourth film, was exclusively Davy Jones and then exclusively Blackbeard before changing back and forth between them. As to the ride itself, it’s still about a pirate crew, or three, ransacking a Caribbean seaport but with the addition of one Captain Jack Sparrow evading the crew that’s hunting him down, led by his old first mate Barbossa no less, whilst trying to find and locate some treasure of his own.

Speaking of pirates there is oftentimes a delightful photo opportunity to be had in a little show that, more often than not, features Captain Jack Sparrow himself, played by a cast member whom I swear could be the real deal himself. These performances vary by the season but are generally done on an hourly basis with younger audiences becoming inducted to serve on a pirate crew, at least the last time I was down there at any rate. Aside from Captain Jack Sparrow there are quite a few other characters to be found in Adventureland though, again mind you, these are subject to vary and change at a moment’s notice.

Primarily, the main crew of characters that call Adventureland their home away from home are Baloo, King Louie, and occasionally Mowgli from The Jungle Book, Aladdin, Jasmine, the Genie, and on rare occasion Jafar from Aladdin, Captain Hook and Smee from Peter Pan, with the leader of the lost boys playing an occasional prank-filled visit to the old codfish.

While locations vary and change often, there are a few common spots in which to find them. The Jungle Book characters are often found closest to the main entryway of Adventureland, which leads to the central grounds of Cinderella Castle, while those from Aladdin are located near the Magic Carpet ride, and the pirates by Pirates of the Caribbean.

Some rare, but altogether not unheard of, characters that perchance Adventureland are Rafiki and Timon from The Lion King and Tarzan, Jane, and Terk from Tarzan. There may be others, sometimes far more rare, characters that might pop up but for all the times that I’ve been at the Magic Kingdom those are the ones whom I have seen. I’d also bet my bottom dollar that once Moana has had her time to shine, that she, and hopefully a few others, will eventually be present for some delightful photo captures.

As to the shopping and dining scene, there’s a little of both to be had but only in smalltime quantities, especially the food. No joke, just grab a cool drink/treat at either Sunshine Tree Terrace or the Aloha Isle, and keep on moving because, believe me, there are far better foodstuffs to be had in other lands. Not that the Tortuga Taven Restaurante or the Skipper Canteen are bad places to dine for dinner or lunch, but trust me you’ll want to eat on the move at the Magic Kingdom.

As to the stores, or bazaars as they are called there’s three in total. The Jungle, Agrabah, and Pirate Bazaars are all befitting to their respected names with Jungle pertaining to the “mundane” stuff while the latter focus entirely on their respected genres. I personally find the Pirate Bazaar, which is located at the exit of Pirates of the Caribbean, to have the best items geared towards pirates, items that are not found elsewhere in the Magic Kingdom or the rest of Walt Disney World save for a rare, and admittedly far too common, few.

Walking right down the middle of….


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My apologies to you all my dear readers for the long and unexplained absence these past few weeks. I was on something of an extended, and much needed, vacation and now that I have returned I find myself inspired to speak of the experiences that I enjoyed down in the sunny state of Florida more specifically in the happiest place on Earth known simply as Walt Disney World.

Unfortunately, in the case of some parks like the Magic Kingdom, a solitary review is not enough to describe the park as a whole so some parks will be divided into parts and each review will focus on what I feel are the absolute highlights to see bar none. With that said, let’s begin at the true starting point in the Magic Kingdom…

The first “land” that one finds themselves in once they enter through the gates to the Magic Kingdom, Main Street U.S.A., or simply Main Street, is not strictly speaking a land insomuch that it does not necessarily hold any viable rides or attractions. At least, not initially but more on that later.

For as long as I can remember, Main Street has been the street of commerce in the Magic Kingdom in that it is host to a vast variety of stores and goods that are otherwise not found in the other lands. These shops cater mostly to the giftshop variety of shoppers in that most of them, bar a few novel exceptions, contain items that represent Disney as a whole but are otherwise not unique strictly to the Magic Kingdom, i.e. products featuring Mickey & Friends, soundtracks and books, and novelty gifts that can easily be found in the other three parks.

Yet, I must make one point especially clear to those who enthuse in the art of souvenir hunting/collecting. Do not assume that any product found at a store in the park is commonly found elsewhere. While many products, particularly those stamped with the year or the park name(s) can be found virtually everywhere, there is almost always a select few items that are unique to that location alone and cannot be found elsewhere.

As to those “diamonds in the rough” type of stores… Boy, where do I even start? There’s the Main Street Gallery featuring items from the Art of Disney stores, both of which can be found in EPCOT and in the marketplace district of Disney Springs. It’s a store that holds a vast variety of art pieces from casually drawn sketches to full blown canvas with a wide array of statues thrown into the mix.

It, and its cousins, do hold many of the same products and services, particularly the sketching which can be either be bought completed or especially commissioned by Disney artists to include names and/or messages. It is one of my all-time favorite stores and one where I all but get into actual fisticuffs with my self-control, especially when they are pieces pertaining to my favorite films like this beauty below.

Another store Crystal Arts, specializes in fine glass work and one that I generally try to avoid outright. Though not exactly the clumsiest of people, being around that much fine glass work makes me especially nervous and adding in my inner dragon and its attraction to all things shiny and crystalline… That’s a recipe for disaster. Much like the Art of Disney stores, this one offers products which can be purchased outright or specialized ones wherein one’s picture can be etched into the glasswork.

Though Main Street does not offer attractions or rides, that’s not to say that there isn’t something that can only strictly be found there. There are many street side performers that sing and dance, particularly in the opening hours of the park itself, and there is a bit of old school fun to be had in riding the horse drawn trolley cars and similar vehicles.

Main Street is often the primary starting point for… I suppose the best term would be “scavenger hunts.” These have come and gone throughout the years with no two being exactly the same but generally they tend to be around for at least a year at a time.

Two of them I’ve experienced for myself with the first pertaining to the now, sadly, shut down Virtual Magic Kingdom website wherein one could build and furnish their own specialized “chat” rooms whilst experiencing a virtualized rendition of the Magic Kingdom. This scavenger hunt was for a collection of cards that granted one unique items that couldn’t be attained in-game and involved finding out the answers to questions pertaining to features in the park such as what time was the clock in the Tick-Tock the Croc’s mouth in Fantasyland, what does the grave marker for Madame Leota say in the Haunted Mansion, etc.

The current scavenger hunt is one that is for a limited run in the most literal sense of the word as it involves finding and attaining specialized pins crafted for the park with each pin serving as a clue to where the next one in line can be found and purchased. Between the two, this one was much easier and at the same time far more stressful as I literally ran from location to location as I was told that the pins were while supplies lasted and this event had already been going on for a while now and there was no way I wasn’t going to finish the set so HELP ME–!

… Ahem.

Reason number three why the Art of Disney stores are a major source of tribulation for me. Many pieces are part of a set and as the POKEMON franchise says, gotta get ‘em all…

Aside for these quests, there is another source of fun to be had in a form of real life interactive gaming known simply as Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom wherein players are granted magical spell cards, all based on popular Disney characters and even exceptionally rare ones for holiday events, and are tasked by Merlin to find and defeat various Disney Villains across the Magic Kingdom.

It is by no means an easy feat either as many of the magic “windows” are located in otherwise unobserved and easily looked over locations never mind actually finding the keyhole that leads to their activation. While I wouldn’t this is an absolute venture to the park to those who have little time to spend at the Magic Kingdom, I do sincerely recommend it to those who have the opportunity of visiting the Magic Kingdom more than once on their vacation.

Last but not least, Main Street is also a source of excellent dining options from the sweet but oh so delicious Plaza Ice Cream Parlor to the character dining at the Crystal Palace though personally, I prefer the to-die-for hotdogs found at Casey’s Corner. If you’ve ever experienced, or wanted to experience, the delicious delight that is a truly classical American-styled hotdog straight from a ballgame stadium this place is it.

The main drawing point of Main Street however is its excellent viewing points of the daylight and nighttime parades and fireworks, especially when viewed from the second floor of the train station. While getting a sidewalk view is far more tempting, as close-ups are almost always a guarantee, though not always with the character you want most, there’s something to be had in a literal bird’s eye view of a parade. Plus, and I speak from experience of many variations of the firework shows at the Magic Kingdom, there is not better view than that of Cinderella Castle down the center of Main Street…

Deep in the forest there dragons will be…


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Protector of the Wild
Realm: The North
Featured In:
Pete’s Dragon (2016)
Voiced By: John Kassir

Of the many dragons I have seen in more recent media, this modern incarnation of the Disney Dragon Elliott is one of the most distinctive firstly because he is a dragon true and true. That is to say that he is not a dragon whose body structure is based on wyverns, a… subspecies I suppose is the best word to describe them, of dragon whom are still quadruped with their wings serving as their forelimbs.

In most cases, this was a common choice as to make a dragon more scientifically probable as the concept of a creature with three pairs of limbs is too impossible to imagine save for Smaug whom was designed as such to make it easier for him to gesture with his “hands” closer to his face.

While it was a design choice to make Elliott appear more approachable to a child by making him… cuddlier for lack of a better word, I do commend the people at Disney Studios in making him still every bit the wild creature that one would expect a dragon to be. Case in point, in the below picture one can note that Elliott has a scar on his face and one his teeth is badly chipped too. Even Elliott’s wings show tiny bits of wear and tear, with one wing in particular looking like something and tried to take a bite out of him at one point.

Elliott also demonstrates a degree of natural instinct in that he is shown to be gazing northward on cloudless nights. We learn later in the film, and through a rather nice song no less, that dragons such as Elliott hail from the north where “the three rivers meet,” where “the wild constellations shine one, two, and three,” and where “the mountains meet the sea.”

… Admittedly, I have no idea as to where such a place could be but Elliott apparently does, however deeply buried it might be for his constant stargazing at the North Star.

Much like his traditionally animated incarnation, Elliott is able to turn himself “invisible” insomuch that he can camouflage with a frightening degree. Like, literally, it takes him all of two or three seconds to completely blend in to such a degree that the only way to really note his presence is when the environment around him reacts to his presence, i.e. tree limbs moving with no wind or birds sitting on nothing but air.

Yet, what makes Elliott a truly remarkable specimen of dragonkind is that he is not only covered from head to tail in fur but is also, quite likely a mammal instead of a reptile. I say this because what few parts of him that aren’t covered in fur, those being his lips, pads of his feet, and nostrils are made of flesh. Reptiles, from lizards to snakes, don’t have lips and even the more sensitive parts of their anatomy, i.e. their nostrils, are still covered in scales.

In point of fact, Elliott demonstrates a lot of common traits found in most species of dogs and bears, particularly in how, and Pete, sometimes howl to express their joy. Heck, there’s even a moment in the film where Elliott’s tail attracts his attention and he proceeds to chase it, much to my own bemusement. As to his bear like qualities, though not in the film proper, the prequel book Pete’s Dragon: The Lost Years speaks of how Elliott becomes more lethargic during winter to a point where he can sleep for several days at a time though he doesn’t appear to sink into a full blown hibernation.

However, despite his canine and ursine traits, there is a distinctive degree of sapience in Elliott that puts him only marginally below the human average and even then only for his inability to speak and write. Some examples of this in the film include when Elliott grabs a log to take back to his cave and though he gets stuck between two trees, Elliott quickly figures out that he needs to tilt the log between the trees.

An untrained animal, especially a wild one such as Elliott, could not possess that degree of problem solving so readily. In most circumstances, an animal would try to walk between the trees with the log more than once before resorting to more violent methods such as forcing the log through, knocking the trees down, or giving up entirely.

Another example of Elliott’s intelligence is when the lumberyard workers arrive at his home and one of them makes the mistake of touching Pete’s book, ticking Elliott off enough for him to reveal himself to them and scare them off. Rather than being satisfied that they were leaving his territory, Elliott pursues them. I initially thought that this was because he wanted to ensure that the threat to his home was taken care of but it soon became evident that Elliott had another reason to follow them.

He used the lumberjacks to track down and locate Pete.

How would he know to do that you might ask? Well, one lumberjack in particular had been the one responsible in accidentally knocking out Pete and likely got the boy’s scent on him, which Elliott notices promptly before sneezing on said man. That is a degree of ingenuity that, while not unheard of, is indescribably rare in most animals and is most commonly noted in some spectacular specimens of canines.

Yet, the most telling detail of Elliott’s intelligence occurs during the climatic moment in the film wherein Elliott, well and truly fed up with the people chasing him and his boy, leaps atop a bridge and sets it aflame. The only reason that he stops is because Pete yells at him to and that he needs the two people that Elliott’s fire is putting in danger. Elliott not only stops instantly, calming down with a speed that most humans are severely lacking, but recognizes the danger below and attempts to rescue the people he had put in harm’s way.

While there are some doubts of animals of any species being capable of holding a grudge, it has been shown that those animals of a higher cognitive ability, such as elephants, are capable of remembering and recognizing those whom have hurt them. In those cases, it often results in the animal going berserk and attacking that person and any one foolish enough to get in the way.

Even after he saves the two adults and the lumberyard workers are right there across the destroyed bridge, Elliott has no further animosity towards them and just wants to go home with Pete, which he does so much to his initial elation until Pete points out that while Elliott can camouflage, he can’t and so is a constant risk to Elliott. Rather than outright abandoning the boy or ignoring this fact, Elliott drags over Pete’s book, his claw pointing at the illustration of a family hugging each other.

That right there is the most telling moment. Elliott sees, recognizes, and understands what that illustration represents. He may not be as intelligent as his traditionally animated counterpart but he is only lacking by a minute amount.

If you must blink, do it now…


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Directed By:
Travis Knight
Story: Shannon Tindle & Marc Haimes
Screenplay By:
Marc Haimes & Christ Butler
Premiered On:
August 19, 2016
Produced By:
Distribution By:
Focus Features

… There are few films, few stories, where I find myself at a complete and utter loss. It is not that I have no words with which to speak, or write as the case is, but rather… that I find myself with far too many. There are some tales that, no matter how original they appear in concept always inevitably fall to the stereotypical tropes and themes of what makes a story. Stories that follow the monomyth to such a finite degree that one can map out everything that is to occur long before it actually happens.

This film is not one of those stories.

True, there are some instances where seasoned readers or viewers of mythical tales of magic and fantasy can allude to some revelations that occur in the film itself, but I assure you that these assumptions do not prepare you for the story that unfolds in every literal sense of the word.

However… contrary to past reviews I shall not speak of the plot of this film in any details that would otherwise not be known by seeing the trailers save for one instance. I do this not because I wish to abstain from any unnecessary spoilers but because for all that I am as a writer, I am also one whom firmly believes in giving credit where credit is due and the only feasible way of doing that is to see this film for yourselves.

Produced by Laika, a film studio famous for many other wonderful stop motion animated films such as The Corpse Bride, ParaNorman, and Coraline, I had no doubt in my mind that Kubo and the Two Strings would astound me with its animation.

To my regret, I find that I had perhaps underestimated this film and now find such words as “incredible” and “inspiring” to be far too lacking in proper conviction. Say what you will of computer generated imagery and the ever traditional styling of pen and ink, there is a degree of dedication in stop motion animation that those other forms can never hope to attain and this film puts itself whole leagues above others of its ilk.

I am by no means an expert in origami as my own attempts at it in my younger days proved, but even so there is an undeniable amount of realism to the craft in this film. True, not every fold and crease is put upon display, when you see Kubo’s creations put to motion you don’t think of them as being impossible to create. Difficult to goodness knows how many degrees but nonetheless, very realistic and artful pieces of origami.

One thing that had me particularly curious was the choice of Monkey, or rather, a actual monkey to safeguard and protect Kubo on his quest. While I am not as intimately familiar with Japanese lore and mythologies as I am with others, I did not know of just how important a role monkeys, particular the Japanese macaque.

Monkeys are often noted as being mediators between the mortal and immortal realms with one god in particular, Sarutahiko Ōkami, is acknowledged as the God of Crossroads between the two realms and had even served as a guide to the child of Amaterasu-ōmikami, the goddess of the sun and one of the most powerful deities in Japan.

This makes it even more notable as the armaments that Kubo has to find to face and confront the Moon King all bear a certain solar motif to their design, complete with golden resplendence upon completion.

An interesting bit of trivia to be sure but what really intrigued me the most was the film’s primary antagonist, that being the Moon King who, in the final confrontation with Kubo, assumes a truly monstrous form. This, alongside a few other elements, was one of the instances I had mentioned that I knew was coming and was still surprised when it occurred not because of the transformation itself but the actual form that the Moon King, an admitted immortal and god, took.

A centipede.

Now, I know what you are all thinking. A god, particularly one whose dominion is that of the Moon itself, would take so lowly a form as that of an insect? No. No, that is so far from the case it may have shot right past the Moon and out into the stars.

In Japanese mythology, centipedes are to the valiant samurai what dragons are to chivalrous knights and are not just merely an insect of gargantuan size and strength. No, there are nigh godly in their own right and even the likes of dragons, whom are as close to gods as any mortal creature can become, fear their mortal and far more minute sized cousins, and rightly so.

Overall, I give Kubo and the Two Strings… ten out of five stars. It is a tale that is worth telling again and again with appropriate amounts of suspense, action, comedy, and yes even a dash of bittersweet, but then is that not what most endings of any story, even happy ones, usually are?

Go north with the wind…


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Directed By:
David Lowery
Produced By: James Whitaker
Screenplay By:
David Lowery & Toby Halbrooks
Based On:
Pete’s Dragon (1977)
Premiered On:
August 12, 2016
Distribution By:
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Considering that this is, arguably, the fifth live action adaptation to a previously made Disney film, albeit one that was otherwise entirely live action save for the titular dragon, I’m beginning to think that a new title for these types of films are necessary. I’m thinking… Disney Reimagining Films or something to that effect but that’s neither here nor there.

Whereas a majority of these Reimagining Films are in essence the story told from an alternative point of view or with only marginal, to major, tweaking here and there, Pete’s Dragon is akin to Maleficent insomuch that this film only shares a few common elements from the original and is otherwise an entirely unique story. Much like the first film, the story is about an orphan boy named Pete and his dragon named Elliott.

That’s where the similarities end.

For you see, contrary to the first film, we actually see how a five-year-old Pete ends up an orphan and ends up in the care of a dragon that he names Elliott. There is no abusive adopted family baying, or singing if you could call it that, for his blood nor is the major focus being about Pete trying to find himself a home in a town that otherwise is also baying for his blood.

On that note, while this film thankfully lacks the amount of sheer idiocy that was abundant in the town of Passamaquoddy, I’m looking at you concrete construction guy, there is still a bit of… childish naivety and lacking of common sense around Pete.

Case in point, Pete is brought to a hospital after he is accidentally knocked unconscious and nobody, not anybody, entertains the idea of watching over him in case he wakes up and escapes through the window, which he does do and when the young girl who helped to find him points this out, the doctor actually has the nerve to ask “Who’s gone?”

Who else you flipping moron?

What gets even weirder, and admittedly more ridiculous, is that Pete dressed in a freaking hospital gown and looking like he spent several years in the wilderness is running through the streets and nobody tries to stop him or help him. Heck, he accidentally stumbles into a couple out on a walk with their dog whom barks at Pete who barks right back and the woman actually has the gall to yell at him not to bark at their dog.

Lady, sort your priorities a bit here.

Of course, this is after Pete hitches a ride at the back of the school bus and is seen by another kid literally hanging on the back exit door, and what does said kid do. Sticks his tongue out at Pete.

… Wow. Just… wow.

Pete. You might actually have been better off in the woods, I am not kidding.

Credit is where credit is due though there are some humans whom are far more intelligent than those around them. Case in point, Grace, a park ranger and the one who is taking care of Pete, talks with her dad about Pete’s tale of being in the woods with a dragon.

Her dad has told her, and many others who cared to listen, about there being a dragon in the woods and him having seen it himself. She says outright that she knows the forest like the back of her hand and could not have possibly missed a dragon to which her dad replies, rather blandly, that she missed Pete. Unsaid was the fact that he was there for six years.

Cool Old Man: 1

Know-It-All Park Ranger: 0

Yet, despite this abundance of silliness, which is sad to say par for the course for any film geared towards children, I still found myself captivated by where the story was going and was pleased to find it going in a sensible, if a bit rushed, direction.

Elliott, having noticed Pete’s absence, tries to find out where he’s gone and accidentally attracts the attention of the local lumberyard workers who get the oh so delightful idea (please note my sarcasm) to go hunting after him, thinking he’s some bear or something. After some admittedly hilarious shenanigans Elliott reveals himself fully to them and manages to scare them off but has the surprisingly brilliant idea to follow them to find Pete.

Of course, much like that fraud of a doctor in the first film, one worker in particular, the brother to the lumberyard’s foreman, gets it into his head to try and capture Elliott, which he succeeds in thanks to the help of his fellows despite the loud protests of Pete and the people whom he brought with him to see Elliott, one of whom is an old man whom had seen Elliott once before when he was a young man.

What follows is… not wholly original I’m sorry to say but still an exciting sequence of events that involve getting Elliott back to the woods and away from harm. The chase comes to a jarring halt when Elliott, rightfully fed up with everyone and everything, leaps his way atop a bridge and sets it aflame before being stopped by Pete.

I shan’t spoil how the film ends but I will say that it took two twisty turns that I honestly did not see coming. Overall, I give the new rendition of Pete’s Dragon… five out of five stars.

Yeah, there’s some… alright a lot of ridiculous behavior on the humans in this film but it’s not them whom we should be focusing on. Contrary to the first film, and most others that put together a human with a dragon, it is not a tale about a boy and his dragon it is about a dragon and his boy and believe me, you’ll note the difference while watching this film.