Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the newest inclusion in the Star Wars franchise. However this installment took a really big risk, that being that it is not focused on Jedi or light sabers as previous installments have. This film rather focuses on the soldiers involved in the rebellion. This risk both works as a breath of fresh air but also maybe a step in the wrong direction.
The story follows Jyn Erso, a woman captured by the Empire for illegal activity. She is soon saved by a group of rebels and you learn that she is more important than she had led on. She is actually the daughter of Galen Erso, the man responsible for a new weapon being built for the empire, the Death Star. Now Jyn and the rebellion must find Galen in the hopes of learning a way to destroy this new weapon. Along the way Jyn meets a group of people who all for one reason or another want to stop the empire and join her to do so. While all of this is going on we also get a look at the inner workings of the empire and their plans and goals for the future of the Galaxy.
After the very first Star Wars film came out back in 1977, the fan base has been obsessed with this universe. Countless books have been written telling new stories to the point where this really is a whole galaxy of its own. Then when films became easier to make as a result of equipment becoming increasingly cheaper, these fans have also begun making what are known as fan films, movies made independently that attempt to tell a new story in the universe it’s connected to. Rogue one feels like one of these films but with a much higher budget. As a result this film has a lot of heart but not a lot of substance. While I was watching the film for the most part I was in heaven. It felt like a part of Star Wars that we have never seen, the more rugged war oriented part of it. The battles themselves were so detailed and fun to watch, it really felt like I was on the battlefield with them. Unfortunately the action parts were the only aspect I really enjoyed. The dialogue was very rough and there was not much character development that kept me engaged. Especially Jyn, who after the movie my friend and I tried to describe to others and just couldn’t. Other than the relationship with her father we don’t know anything about her. Another big issue is when this film came out, they described it as a film separate from the the main line of films. As a result I thought anyone could come into this movie and understand everything without needing to see the other films. That is not the case at all, they refer to the other films all the time sometimes only as a slight nod to the fans watching but other times they are big plot points that without seeing the other films will leave someone very confused. To end on a high note, if you or your children are Star Wars fans, this movie is a love letter to you. I have spoken to many who grew up watching the films and say that this is a story that they wanted told.
If you love Star Wars or even just enjoy them a little, you will enjoy Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It is not perfect by any means but it is still worth seeing, especially in theatres. Do note though that this is not quite a standalone film and at the very least you will need to have seen Star Wars 3 and 4 to follow the story without problems. Also for parents, this is a more violent film that depicts war and killing, nothing gruesome but it may not be suitable for young children.
I give Rogue One: A Star Wars Story a 3/5
Now, for a Rogue One movie clip:
Like STAR WARS on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/StarWarsMovies
Follow STAR WARS on Twitter: https://twitter.com/starwars
Follow STAR WARS on Instagram: http://instagram.com/StarWarsMovies
Follow STAR WARS on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/starwars
Visit the official ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY website: http://www.starwars.com/films/rogue-one
Moana (Mo-Ah-Na) has many things going for it. The cast is almost entirely people of color and more specifically the race of the characters depicted in the film (Pacific Islander). The songs are lovely and some will be stuck in your head for weeks to come. The visuals are gorgeous with certain moments leaving my jaw dropped. The only problem, there is not enough of any of it.
From Disney Animation Studios, Moana is the next motion picture to follow the disney princess formula. Rather than being raised to marry a prince, she is being raised to become the next chief of her father’s tribe. The only problem is that she does not want that. She wants to explore the ocean and what lies beyond the shores of her island. After attempting to run away on a raft and nearly drowning, her grandmother teaches Moana of the history of their tribe and reveals that they were once Voyagers, traveling from Island to Island exploring the ocean. But that ended when a mischievous demigod named Maui stole the heart of the sea from a god which released darkness into the world and made the ocean too dangerous to explore anymore. However this darkness begins to destroy the island, so Moana must travel by boat to find Maui and make him return the heart to its rightful place.
The strongest part of the film is the animation itself. The water, sand, and landscapes are stunning. There is a moment when Moana brushes her hand through the water that left me shocked. The water was so realistic looking and beautiful that I struggled to remember it was animation. Even some of the character designs were fresh and exciting. Maui is interesting to look at. As far as I recall this is the first Disney sidekick to have a full body of tattoos the way Maui has and the fact that are magical make it all the better. If I were to make one complaint with the animation it would be that the characters and the backgrounds contrasted in quality. When Pixar began working on Finding Nemo, their first version of the background was actually so realistic that they had to backpedal and make it look more cartoonish so that it would match the cartoony design of their characters. I feel this needed to be done in Moana as well.
The songs were very enjoyable, most of which was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda who is most noted for his semi-recent musical hit, Hamilton. The songs are fun and enjoyable, Maui’s song “You’re Welcome” will be sung by kids and grownups alike for months to come, think of it as the new Hakuna Matata. The only song I did not care for was one of the villain songs “Shiny” sung by Jemaine Clement. While I love Clement’s works outside of this film like in Flight of the Conchords, I felt this song to be very out of place and rather strange.
However above all of this was one problem that is still troubling me. While I loved a lot about this film, unfortunately there just was not enough of it. There are only five songs in the film and while they are good I really wanted to hear more. For what the story was, it was cute and enjoyable. But it felt like it was maybe a first or second draft and had not achieved the brilliance it seemed to come very close to doing. The characters were cool but we did not learn much about them. Finally the villain in the end did not seem to have much purpose other than a reveal that I felt could have been handled differently. Speaking of which parents should know that while I was in the theater and having spoken to parents afterward, the monster in the end of the film is rather scary and while I don’t think this is cause to avoid the film all together it should be noted that if your child scares easily this monster will probably freak them out.
In conclusion, for what Moana is it is perfectly fine. There is nothing necessarily wrong with what the final product is, I was just left wanting more on all aspects of the film. I hope Disney will continue to branch out of their traditional formula and create new stories, and for what the movie is any family can go to the movies and enjoy this film with very little worry.
I give Moana a 3 stars out of 5.
That being said, here are links to Moana Freebies we shared:
Epcot is one of the most popular of all the Disney parks around the world, and for good reason. While there is plenty to ride here, the park is so much more than just rides and it really appeals to guests of every age that are able to make a day at this park all their own. If you are going to visit Epcot while at Walt Disney World, make sure to get in these five things every guest must do while there.
Walk the World Showcase
No matter your age, everyone likes to walk around the world Disney style, and you can do it relatively easy with the World Showcase. From great food, to unique drinks to fun entertainment, you’ll feel like you really are traveling around the world seeing all that there is to see. Disney does a great job of creating an authentic atmosphere that you can just immerse yourself in so take this chance to travel around the world in a day.
Very few people get the chance to take flight with very little between them and the ground, and most of us are too afraid to do so even if we had the chance. Disney gives guests the ability to soar over the country on this part glider, part screen ride that makes it feel like you are really outdoors and seeing these sites in person. Soarin quickly became one of the favorite rides at Disney when it was introduced and it’s easy to see why once you’ve done it.
Space Ship Earth
Everyone has to ride this Epcot and Disney World classic before they leave the park, not just because it’s inside the geosphere, but because it is a really cool ride. Slow by standards, when you compare it to what you would think of when you talk about theme park rides, the track takes you through the human experience in communications and tech innovation. It really is a new way to see how far we’ve come and what else we can be working on in the greater scope of things.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends
There is a lot happening under the water at Epcot, and while the tanks and shows are great, and better than most you will see in other places, there are a lot of things like Nemo and Friends that are unique to this park. Hop in a clamshell and head out into the open sea on a chase to find Nemo with the help of all the other fish. The tech used on this ride keeps it interesting and anyone that loves Nemo will love following along as you make your way through deep ocean.
Illuminations Firework Show
A lot of people would argue that Illuminations is a better firework show than Wishes, and when it comes down to the work involved to put this show together, they might be right. Illuminations features a huge amount of pyrotechnics, elaborate and superbly timed storytelling with fireworks, color and a great soundtrack. There are some really great spots to sit and watch this show, but anywhere in the park with an unobstructed view is a great spot when your attention is entirely dominated by the show.
Where’s Olaf is a fun game for the whole family! The game comes with a game board, hint cards, a timer, and a cute little stuffed Olaf.
To play the game, one person hides Olaf somewhere in the house. Olaf has to be at least partially visible- no hiding inside of things where you can’t see him! Players then take turns drawing a hint card. You ask the the person who hid Olaf to answer the hint, for example, “Is Olaf in a room with a vase”?
The answer is either hot or cold, and the hint card is placed on that part of the game board. There are 7 “Go Look” cards. When you draw this card you have until the timer runs out to try and find Olaf using all of the hints that have been collected.
It was fun watching Tiana try to tie the hints together to figure out which room Olaf may be hiding in! It was even more fun hearing her excitement once she would spot him! This game will be a lot of fun over the cold winter for inside play. We will be entertained for hours since there are so many places that Olaf can hide!
disclaimer: We were sent this in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are entirely our own.
I know – I know, you have heard me talk about the awesome new movie Moana a lot lately…but I know how great it is to have a fun kid’s movie to see!
You can download them here:
This is what they look like…have fun!
Recently released on November 18, the Moana original motion picture soundtrack features seven original songs and a full original score, plus two reprises as well as two end-credit versions of songs from the film.
The diverse and dynamic team behind the film’s inspired music includes Tony®- and Grammy®-winning songwriter/composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, who counts among his credits Broadway’s Pulitzer Prize-winning and multiple Tony-winning “Hamilton” and the Tony-winning “In the Heights.” The creative team also includes three-time Grammy®-winning composer Mark Mancina (“Speed,” “Tarzan” and the Oscar®-winning “Training Day”) and Opetaia Foa‘i, the founder and lead singer of Te Vaka, a winner of numerous world music awards.
“How Far I’ll Go” is Moana’s song written by Miranda and is performed in the film by newcomer Auli‘i Cravalho. The end-credit version of the song is performed by Canadian singer/songwriter and Def Jam recording artist Alessia Cara. Her gold-certified album Know-It-All includes the multi-platinum singles “Here” and “Wild Things,” plus the critically-acclaimed single “Scars to Your Beautiful.” Cara is a Juno Award winner for Breakthrough Artist of the Year and is a 2016 America Music Award nominee for New Artist of the Year. She recently completed a tour with Coldplay.
Written by Miranda and performed by Dwayne Johnson in the film, “You’re Welcome” showcases the colorful personality of Maui. Hollywood Records artist Jordan Fisher teams up with Miranda for the end-credit version of “You’re Welcome.” After a breakout performance in the Emmy® Award-winning production of Grease: Live, Jordan Fisher released his debut single, “All About Us,” which soared to the top of the Billboard Pop charts. Fisher, who recently opened for Alicia Keys at this year’s Apple Music Festival, has joined the Broadway cast of “Hamilton,” and is set to release his full-length album in 2017.
For centuries, the greatest sailors in the world masterfully navigated the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, 3,000 years ago, their voyages stopped for a millennium – and no one knows exactly why. From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who is inspired to leave the safety and security of her island on a daring journey to save her people. Inexplicably drawn to the ocean, Moana (voice of Auliʻi Cravalho) convinces the mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson) to join her mission, and he reluctantly helps her become a wayfinder like her ancestors who sailed before her. Together, they voyage across the open ocean on an action-packed adventure, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills her quest and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.
The Moana soundtrack can be ordered today HERE . The Moana original motion picture soundtrack features 14 tracks and is available wherever music is sold and streamed. The Moana two-disc deluxe edition and the digital deluxe edition soundtrack, features additional tracks including demos, outtakes and instrumental karaoke tracks. For more information on Walt Disney Records’ releases, like them on Facebook.com/ disneymusic or follow them at Twitter.com/disneymusic and Instagram.com/disneymusic/.
Serving size – 1 8oz glass
- 3oz Hibiscus tea
- 2oz Coconut water
- 1 1/2 oz Grape fruit juice
- Simple syrup
- Yellow cake sprinkles
Add simple syrup to a plate, set to the side.
Add yellow cake sprinkles to a plate
Roll the rim of the glasses in the simple syrup then into the yellow cake sprinkles
Set glasses aside.
Fill your glasses with ice
Make your hibiscus tea as directed – place in your refrigerator to chill
In a bar shaker add your tea, 3-4 pieces of ice, coconut water, and grape juice and shake to combine. Pop into your prepared glass and rip into it like a monkey on a cupcake!
***To create a GREAT cocktail reduce the tea to 2oz and add 1oz of Coconut rum and 1oz of grape vodka.
Now, get your tickets for Moana on November 23rd — it’s a perfect movie for family fun on a holiday weekend!