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Kevin’s Review of Dumbo 2019

Operation Dark Big Ears…

DUMBO (2019)

Let me start off by saying from the get go on even hearing of this film, I felt “meh” at best. It’s not the fault of Disney. I, maybe the ONLY one in the world, never cared for the 1941 animated Dumbo movie. While I was feeling “meh”, my wife, daughter, and step-mother were bouncing off the walls with excitement over the live-action version of the film.

As an avid lover of movies, I couldn’t pass the opportunity to see the new take, especially so when hearing that Tim Burton would be at the helm. I’ve been a fan of most Burton productions. There is a certain “feel” you expect from a film when you see Burton’s name associated with it. You expect it to be dark. From the trailer itself, I could see Burton’s influence on Dumbo. I won’t lie, it intrigued me. The 1941 Dumbo was vibrant and full of life. It had its darker scenes and as Disney cartoons go, it’s one of the darker. Seeing the cast that was attached to the project furthered by interest. Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, and Eva Green alone sets a darker expectation. Now receiving more information about this production moved my feeling of “meh” to a full blown interest in seeing just how Burton is going to pull this off. When digging a little deeper to prepare to write this review, I noticed that Ehren Kruger wrote the screen play. I honestly had to go look up to see if this movie was “inspired” by Disney’s 1941 Dumbo or was an actual Disney movie. Kruger is known for his work on The Ring, Arlington Road, the Transformers movies, and Reindeer Games. This is truly building up to an unusual conglobation of oddities for a Disney film. I do mean oddities in a manner of respect. Truly talented people are associated with this film, but not the typical ones I would have expected for a live-action Dumbo.

As is the norm for me, I do my best to go into a film with as little “expectation” as I can. I don’t want to go in with the bar set too high or too low. Watching a movie with an uneven keel will completely throw your opinion askew from the start and not give you a good review of the film. Even with the plethora of dark expectations the director, screen writer, and cast had given me, I wiped the slate clean as I stepped foot into the theater. What I found was a little bit surprising. Dumbo was very much a Tim Burton film. It was dark, it was grimy, and the characters were very much over the top and by over the top, I mean over the big top! What surprised me was that I liked it. Usually when you have these outlandish over played characters, it gets on my nerves. These didn’t. They actually seemed to fit the scene. It was done as an artistic expression of the story and not a result of bad writing or bad direction. This movie is not a shot by shot live action of the original 1941 cartoon and it didn’t need to be. There was a defined “bad guy” and a defined “hero”. There were heroic moments where the main characters had to overcome adversary by stretching beyond their comfort zone and do what needed to be done. Burton and Kruger took the Disney classic and made it a movie. The film did have a few places that I thought it could have been better. Some of the scenes that had potential to be a pretty big cinematic crescendos felt rushed. Some of the dialogue was a bit on the cheese side and seem pushed for a comedic response. While I love Alan Arkin and believe him to be an amazing actor, they really missed an opportunity here. The character he played should have been Christopher Walken! As far as the other actors, Colin Farrell was excellent as the war torn father returning to adversity and Eva Green played one of the most diverse roles I’ve seen her portray. She actually seemed happy and smiled. The children, played by Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins, did a fine job. They are both relatively new to the acting scene, but I expect to see more of them in the future. As always, DeVito did an amazing job. This was his third time being involved in a circus role with Burton. I read in an interview with Danny, when Tim Burton called him for the role of Max, he told him it would be the completion of his circus trilogy. Keaton’s character of Vandevere was a throwback to the old days of the over the top bad guy. If this had been a silent film, he would have had a black waxed mustache that he would twist as he performed his dastardly deeds. Of course the star of the film was Dumbo. The CGI masters, did an excellent job bringing the beloved big eared elephant to life as a sweet, innocent, child, just seeking the approval and love of those around it.

Overall, it was an enjoyable movie. It paid enough homage to the 1941 version and stretched it legs enough to stand on its own. My 9 year old daughter loved it and I personally left the theater with a positive feeling and the joy of listening to her describe her favorite parts of the film, which is something I think you should expect to experience from any Disney movie. I rate this film, 7 out of 10! I plan on adding it to my movie collection as soon as it’s released on DVD/BluRay.

Good vibes for movie time, Kevin

Travel

The Marvel Cinematic Universe Rewatch Challenge by Guest Blogger and Movie Reviewer Kevin Dean

The Marvel Cinematic Universe Rewatch Challenge! 21 Films in one month!

I’ve always been a fan of movies. One of my earliest memories was going to Knoxville with my parents and grandparents to see a new sci-fi film called Star Wars. I was 2 years old. I have a very clear memory of my father having to hold the theater seat down for me, because I didn’t weigh enough to keep it down. I remember standing up in the back seat, as we headed home, because we didn’t know what a car seat was then… my father was driving and my grandfather sat in in the front seat. I spent the entire ride home explaining the movie to them. From that point, I was hooked on movies.

Movies, films and the entire atmosphere that surrounds them has changed greatly in the past 40 years. I remember in the 80s, my dad coming home with a VHS player and having to insert those large VHS tapes in it. Oh, and the rewinding! It took an eternity to rewind those tapes back to the beginning. I remember when our first Video Rental store opened up here in Crossville. It felt like our movie possibilities were endless. Walking up and down those isles looking at every cover, deciding what film I wanted to take home to watch. Our small town finally went from a 2 screen sticky floor theater to a 10 screen tiered seating theater. Bringing in new technology and a better theater experience with it.

During the Christmas of 1989, I received my very first movie and another addiction began. I could watch it anytime I wanted and I did! I nearly wore out that VHS tape. The movie was Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman. I went from owning that one VHS tape, to a pretty extensive and wide reaching movie collection. I recently remodeled my parent’s house and moved into it, I converted their “den” into a movie room, and one end of the adjacent hallway/mudroom into a movie library. To say that I am a movie collector is an understatement.

I took you into this brief look at my personal experience with movies for one reason. In all my years and time enjoying films, living vicariously through the vision of others and the performances of actors, I have never seen or experienced anything remotely close to the EPIC, (Yes, I went all caps for that word), EPIC Film collection of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The shear will it took for Disney to have the forethought and wherewithal to be able to pull off such an in depth, multi-film, multi-storyline movie enterprise, just blows my mind. 21 films… 21 individual stories that build, construct, and form a platform to tell a single story. In my opinion, only an entity such as Disney could ever dream of pulling off this, (here’s that word again) EPIC feat.

Now that I’ve blown enough smoke up the Mouse’s rear, I find myself wanting to pay a degree of homage to such a feat. Today is March 26th, in one month the release of Avengers Endgame will occur. My goal, watch all 21 films, in chronological order, between now and April 26th. I will admit, I’ve cheated and started watching a few of them ahead of time. I wanted to allow Captain Marvel to fall in the proper chronological place. Through of a bit of research and *cough* plagiarism *cough*, I’ve compiled a list of the 21 MCU films, listed in chronological order. (The inner OCD voice in my head cheers for joy at the thought and wants me to mention… “AS THEY SHOULD BE!”)

Marvel Movies List in Chronological Order

Captain America: The First Avenger (1943-1945)
($2.99 rental Prime)
Captain Marvel (1990s)
(Currently in theaters)
Iron Man (2010)
($14.99 purchase Prime or TV: Apr 6th 7pm USA network)
Iron Man 2 (2011)
(free with Prime)
The Incredible Hulk (2011)
($3.99 rental from Prime or TV: Mar 31 11am TNT)
Thor (2011)
($2, 99 rental Prime)
The Avengers (2012)
($2.99 rental Prime or TV: Apr 7th, 6pm USA)
Iron Man 3 (2012)
($2.99 rental Prime)
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
($2.99 rental Prime or TV: Mar 30th, 9:30pm TNT)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
($2.99 rental Prime or TV: Mar 30th 9pm FX)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
($2.99 rental Prime or TV: Apr 3rd, 6:30pm FX)
Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 (2014)
(Netflix, $2.99 rental Prime)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
($2.99 rental Prime)
Ant-Man (2015)
($2.99 rental Prime or TV: Apr 6th, 4:30pm USA)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
($2.99 rental Prime)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2016)
($13.99 purchase Prime)
Doctor Strange (2016-2017)
($2.99 rental Prime)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
(Netflix, $2.99 rental Prime)
Black Panther (2017)
(Netflix, $2.00 rental Prime)
Avengers: Infinity War (2017)
(Netflix, $2.99 rental Prime)
Ant-Man and the Wasp -Happening about the same time as Infinity War
(Netflix, $2.99 rental Prime)

I did a bit of research for you on this. Luckily for me, as a movie collector, I own all these films and can just pop in a DVD, but for those of you who don’t have a movie addiction, I have included in parenthesis under the movie listings some ways I’ve found to watch them in the coming month. The rental prices from Amazon Prime is an estimate, some listed as $2.99 may be $3.99 on their site. I used a third party website database to do my research. Also, don’t forget your local library. They have a lot of these movies there and if I’m not mistaken, they are free to “rent”.

So who’s with me? Who is willing to dedicate (urhmm… 21 movies, average run time of 2 hours, *mumble* carry the two, round up… HOLY poop… that’ can’t be right. I guess it is.. Am I about to dedicate over 42 hours of my life to watch movies? Ew, screw it… YES, Yes I am!) over 42 hours of MCU Disney Magic?

This challenge is real. This challenge is difficult. Am I going to succeed? I don’t know. As in all things, I’m going to do my best. If I don’t complete my challenge by April 26th, will I still be watching Endgame on opening weekend? You bet Thanos’s wrinkly purple rear I will!

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Travel

Test Track Celebrates 20th Anniversary

     To celebrate 20 years of one of our fave attractions…20 facts about Test Track!

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1- Test Track is not the first attraction at this location. World of Motion, an opening day attraction at Epcot Center, opened October 1, 1982 and closed January 2, 1996. It was a fun attraction for it’s time, but Test Track is much more thrilling!

 

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2- Plans for a Test Track type attraction began as early as 1976, Wow! Development on Test Track began in 1992, World of Motion did not close until January 1996.

 

3- Officially opened on March 17, 1999, after many, many delays from problems revealed during testing and changes in design.

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4- Almost the entire closed World of Motion pavilion was gutted, a new track was built around the existing building and a third story was added.

 

5- Test Track was designed by Walt Disney Imagineering and General Motors Corporation. It was manufactured by Dynamic Structures, a Canadian company founded in 1926, that creates amusement rides, theme park rides, observatory telescopes and other complex steel structures.

 

6- Originally, Test Track was intended to reach speeds of 95 mph on the outside stretch! Can you imagine?! However, due to the rides steep embankments and Florida’s legal speed limit being 65 mph, the speed was lowered for safety. Whew!

 

7- Test Track was built to withstand hurricane-force winds up to 200 mph!

 

8- Test Track is not only the FASTEST, but the LONGEST, Disney World attraction. Top speed is 65 mph and the length of the track is 5,246 ft, only 34 feet short of a mile.

 

9- It only takes Test Track ride vehicles 8.8 seconds to reach the top speed of 65 mph! Hold onto your hair! (We are assuming you have already stowed your hats and Mickey ears!)

 

10- Ride duration is 5 minutes and 34 seconds.

 

11- Each ride vehicle has 3 on-board computers. The power of these computers combined is more powerful than the processing power of the Space Shuttle! That’s pretty impressive!

 

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12- Here’s some geometry to impress your friends…the angle of the banked curves surrounding the main building are 50 degrees.

 

13- Each Test Track ride vehicle was designed to last a million miles. That could come quicker than you think since each ride vehicle travels about 50,000 miles a year.

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14- With the track located outside, this attraction has strict safety rules related to weather. If the weather becomes questionable, lightning in the area, in particular, the ride may shut down temporarily. Thankfully, Florida weather changes rather quickly!

 

15- Feeling a bit dizzy after this test ride? There are a total of 34 turns from beginning to end.

 

16- Each ride vehicle features 6 separate braking systems (you can feel each one of them at the end, can’t you??) and has 22 wheels. Only 4 of these are visible to guests.

 

17- There are an estimated 25 active ride vehicles and 6 back up vehicles.

 

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18- Here’s some math…25 cars, each car seats 6, and a train comes in from the station, ha ha, just kidding! No crazy word problems here…..that’s approximately 150 people who could be on Test Track at any given point!

 

19- Sponsorship- General Motors (1999-2012) Chevrolet (2012-present)

 

20- Did you know there is a private VIP Lounge above Test Track? It’s reserved for employees and guests of the companies that sponsor the pavilion, who would be GM and Chevrolet! Very cool!

 

That’s all! 20 facts for 20 years! Cheers to you, Test Track!

Good vibes and Disney rides, Darcie

Travel

Reflections Construction Has Begun

     When Disney announced in November, the name of their new Disney Vacation Club resort that is going to be built on the deserted and decaying site of their long-gone and first water park, River Country, us Disney die-hards were excited and a bit sad.

     Yes, something needed to be done with this eyesore on the shore of Bay Lake, but to many of us, a piece of our Disney childhood is now officially gone. The plans have been made, the permits have been filed and now, demo has begun. Maybe there was always that glimmer of hope that something in River Country would be brought back to life, but deep down, we knew it wasn’t possible. That fun, old-fashioned swimmin’ hole is gone for good. We have those pictures taken on our old Minoltas, Nikons and Kodak cameras to look back on. We have the memories of going down Slippery Slide Falls over and over, swimming in Upstream Plunge, and my fave, tubing on White Water Rapids.

858A8F6A-E79A-4E8E-91B5-7774F6D7F206.jpegSlippery Slide Falls in it’s prime.

      Reflections- A Disney Lakeside Lodge is Disney’s 16th DVc property. The expected number of hotel rooms is 1,700, which would make it larger than Disney’s Boardwalk Inn and Villas. Pop Century has the largest amount of hotel rooms, 2,880. This nature-inspired resort is scheduled to open in 2022 and will have some of the most amazing views of Bay Lake. I look forward to visiting this resort, as this is one of my fave areas on Disney property. I’ve told my husband our next DVC contract should be here. Let’s just say, he does not share my memories of River Country and my love for this area. I still have time to work on him. Lol!

3FB0E875-E1EB-4FF5-A50B-6A5EFF04FD0DDemo has begun as seen from Bay Lake.

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BA297A6C-E867-4D4C-9234-78A7262D7434.jpegArtist rendering of  Reflections- A Disney Lakeside Lodge.   Source: Disney

Good vibes and Disney rides, Darcie