Beauty and the Beast US Official Trailer Is Out and It's Everything We Hoped

Walt Disney Studios invites you (again) to be their guest!

They didn’t have to ask me twice! I’m already crashing this live-action film (official trailer below)!

Beauty and the Beast is the re-imagining of the classic fairy tale, where a young woman (Emma Watson) takes her father’s place as prisoner in a beast’s castle, only to fall in love with her beastly captor (Dan Stevens), who turns out to be a prince. [I’ve NEVER heard of this actor!]

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Walt Disney Feature Animation in 1991 released the American animated musical romantic fantasy to adoring audiences that earned the film $425 million at the box office. That would be around $751 million today. I mean, who can forget songs like, “Be Our Guest” and “Beauty and the Beast“!

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Beauty and the Beast is the latest in a string of animated films to be turned into live-action, following the success of The Jungle Book and others.

Beauty and the Beast is led by an all-star cast (Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Kline, Ian McKellen, and others), who lend their talents (voices included) to what looks like the makings of another win at the box office for Walt Disney Studios.

They’ll definitely be cashing in on the nostalgia with an audience (fan base) of 2-3 generations. We gotta have those “‘member berries” (South Park reference)!

The film (Beauty and the Beast) hits theatres March 17th, 2017 and is directed by Bill Condon (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 1 and 2).

Enjoy the trailer! #BeOurGuest

Doctor Strange Casts All the Right Spells at the Box Office

Doctor Strange is the latest film and already a blockbuster hit under the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Casting All the Right Spells

Since Doctor Strange premiered last Friday, November 4th, it just about broke even after just one day hitting $165-plus million in global ticket sales at the box office. Over the weekend it’s moved that haul to $325 million (Box Office Mojo). The slightly unconventional superhero blockbuster is yet another hit for Walt Disney Studios and Marvel Studios (photos from London World Premiere)!

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The story follows Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), an extraordinary neurosurgeon who ends up getting into a life-changing car accident that renders his gifted hands useless. His quest to Kathmandu (Nepal) to find a way to restore his steady hands with eastern medicine leads him on a journey of self-discovery and an immersion into a world of the mystic arts…spells, multi-universe, sorcerers, gods, and time…bending (not time travel). What he’s yet to find out is that this new journey involves being on the front line and facing unseen dark forces aimed at destroying the world that we know.

It Feels Like Looking Through a Kaleidoscope

The film is visually stunning and is reminiscent of CGI (computer-generated imageryyou would’ve seen if you watched The Matrix trilogy (1999 & 2003) and most recently Inception (2010). Mind-bending images of buildings that twist and turn at will (the Ancient One); mirror dimensions (parallel dimension) that allows the user to practice using their magical abilities and fight their enemies without the public’s knowledge.

A Little Humour Adds “Dimension”

Doctor Strange manages to weave comedic wit into the script, with each actor delivering their one-liners perfectly. It’s refreshing and something we’ve come to expect from the MCU since the first Iron Man film (2oo8). The film is fast-paced and wastes no time showing us the transformation of Stephen Strange from mere mortal to truly gifted sorcerer. It’s action-packed with elements of martial arts throughout the fighting styles of good versus evil.

It’s fantastic to see Marvel expand the storytelling to include other superheroes within the MCU outside of just The Avengers. Guardians of the Galaxy was the initial introduction to the other realities (across space) that were out there and now we get a glimpse into the mystical world and of battles yet to come.

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Diversity Brings Intensity and Authenticity

The film brings together a stellar diverse ensemble cast that features (in addition to Cumberbatch): Chiwetel Ejiofor (Karl Mordo), Tilda Swinton (The Ancient One), Rachel McAdams (Dr. Christine Palmer), and Mads Mikkelsen (Kaecilius). Each actor/actress plays their role perfectly and the overall performances are authentic and believable as we watch them feed off each other’s energy. Director Scott Derrickson known for horror films like Sinister (2012) and Deliver Us From Evil (2014), brings the story to life with his attention to detail and immersive storytelling technique.

That aside, I’m surprised they didn’t cast an Asian actress for the role of the Ancient One. Somebody like Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 2000) would’ve been perfect.

Scale of 1 to 10

It’s an entertaining film that will leave you questioning what you’ve seen, but keep in mind it’s all fictional. You’ll be in awe of all its vibrant visuals. Marvel Studios manages to balance light and darkness just like the universe. I give the film 8.5 out of 10, just a little under Rotten Tomatoes’ score of 90% (Certified Fresh).

If you have the option, see it in 3D. It’s worth every penny. And if you’ve seen enough Marvel films, you’ll know you should always stay ’til the end credits. Doctor Strange is no different. So grab a large popcorn and enjoy every bit of this “strange” ( I couldn’t resist!) two-hour blockbuster.

Disney’s The Jungle Book Remake Looks Really Dark

The teaser trailer for Disney’s “The Jungle Book” is out. I’m not sure how I feel about it. Walt Disney Studios’ latest film production strategy seems to be dusting off old animated films such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Beauty and the Beast and transforming them into live-action/CGI films. 

Does the name “Baloo”, “King Louie”, or “Mowgli” ring any bells? How about a little track called “The Bare Necessities“? If none of the above is helping, you can just look at this picture below.

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The new live-action remake is a musical (Thank goodness! Phew!) adventure-fantasy film. It’s laden with CGI, but that was anticipated. I mean heck, there’s no such thing as a singing bear and you couldn’t have expected them to train animals to do that, now could you. It’s unethical.

The upcoming film is inspired by the animated film released in 1967 and the book written by Rudyard Kipling of the same name and is directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man 1 & 2). From the teaser trailer, all the characters are present and accounted for. The cast includes the voice talents of some Hollywood notable actors and actresses:

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This looks like a slightly darker and more haunting film, much closer to Kipling’s original book when compared to the Walt Disney’s 1960s animated family film aforementioned. Over the last few years we’ve seen The Walt Disney Studios release similar films like Alice in Wonderland (2010), Into The Woods (2014) and Maleficent (2014) with each film getting a rating of 51%, 71% and 49% respectively on Rotten Tomatoes. Not the best of films based on the mixed reviews, but collectively they generated Disney approximately $2 billion worldwide at the box office. These days it’s quantity over quality with filmmaking quickly evolving into a numbers game than a sustained visual art form.

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After talking to some friends, their initial reactions are mixed with some disliking the trailer and others thinking it’s just a reflection of society; a case of art imitating life (or vice versa), perhaps?

It’s set to be quite the 3D extravaganza! Could you detect the sarcasm? I mean it ought to be, when they’ve listed all this – Disney Digital 3D, RealD 3D and IMAX 3D. You can see Disney’s The Jungle Book in theatres April 15, 2016. Here’s to hoping it’ll be “wildly” successful. Anyway, watch for yourself and let me know your thoughts.

Fin!