Friday, November 29, 2019

Anna and Elsa Return in Frozen II

Elsa and Anna in Danger in Frozen 2!

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Elsa and Anna lead their group to success in"Frozen II" (2019) (all pictures courtesy of Disney).
"Frozen II" has all of the classic elements of a sequel. The original characters are in danger, they must embark on a journey to solve the problem, and there are many obstacles that must be overcome along the way. All of this will thrill fans but likely not intrigue those who are new to the series.

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When the long-awaited sequel to the hugely successful animated feature film "Frozen" (2013) finally arrived in November 2019, audiences flocked to see it. This was no big surprise given the original film's extraordinary popularity. The story is slightly different and there are new songs to sing on those road trips, but otherwise little has changed. Essentially the entire Disney team that created "Frozen" returned for the sequel, so you know what you are getting. Watching "Frozen II" is so similar to watching the original film that you might have flashbacks. Let's look closely at "Frozen II" to see whether you'll like it.

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Elsa dominates the movie posters of "Frozen II."
Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee directed "Frozen II," and the screenplay was written by Buck, Lee, Marc E. Smith, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, and Robert Lopez. It stars Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad. The Lopez husband-and-wife team wrote the songs, while Christopher Beck wrote the score. The "Frozen II" production company was Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures distributed it.

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The soundtrack of "Frozen II" proved quite popular, though not as popular as the original soundtrack which topped many charts. It features seven new songs. Weezer, Panic! at the Disco, and Kacey Musgraves contributed.

The Frozen II Storyline

The events of "Frozen II" are set three years after the conclusion of "Frozen." Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, and their travel team of Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven undertake a journey of exploration from their kingdom of Arendelle.

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The story begins in flashback style when King Agnarr (Alfred Molina) of Arendelle tells his children Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) about their grandfather, King Runeard (Jeremy Sisto). Many years earlier, King Runeard established a treaty with the tribe of Northuldra by building a dam where they lived in the Enchanted Forest. Unfortunately, King Runeard perishes when a fight occurs, and in response, the basic spirits of the elements of earth, air, fire, and water depart the Enchanted Forest. Runeard's son, Agnarr, somehow escapes from the Enchanted Forest with the help of a mysterious entity, but everyone else is trapped there until the basic elements return.

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Returning to the present, Queen Elsa hears a mysterious voice calling out to her. She follows its call and accidentally awakens the spirits of the basic elements which had departed from the Enchanted Forest. This causes problems in Arendelle which must be solved, and Grand Pabbie and the Trolls arrive to advise Elsa on what to do. She learns that the only way to make things right in Arendelle is to undertake a journey to learn Arendelle's past and fix things at that destination.

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So, Elsa and Anna rejoin their travel companions from "Frozen" for the journey. These are Olaf the snowman (Josh Gad), Kristoff the ice harvester (Jonathan Groff), and reindeer Sven. Following the mysterious voice, Elsa leads the team to the Enchanted Forest. They find it enshrouded in mist, but Elsa is able to part it. A tornado attacks, but Elsa uses her magic powers to turn it into ice sculptures. These sculptures are images from Agnarr's past and show that his mysterious savior was their mother, Queen Iduna of Northuldra (Evan Rachel Wood).

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Encountering the Northuldra and some lost Arendellian soldiers who are still fighting each other even after all this time, Elsa and her party are attacked next by the fire spirit. Once again, Elsa is able to stop this attack and calm down the spirit, which turns out to be a magic salamander. This leads to a truce between the warring men of Northuldra and Arendelle. At this time, Elsa learns of the existence of a fifth spirit which may solve Arendelle's problems.

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Elsa, Anna, and Olaf head north leaving Sven and Kristoff behind. Discovering the wreck of her parents' ship and a map showing a route to Ahtolhallan, a mythical river which is reputed to explain the past, Elsa continues on alone. The water spirit, Nokk, now appears guarding the way to Ahtohallan. Elsa calms him down, too, and continues to the river. There, Elsa learns that the mysterious voice which initiated their journey was that of her mother, Queen Iduna. She further learns that nature bestowed upon her magic powers due to Iduna's rescue of Agnarr. This makes Elsa the fifth spirit.

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"Frozen II" is all about sisterhood.
Learning more about the past, Elsa discovers that King Runeard only built the dam to hurt Northuldra, which he viewed as a threat due to their use of magic. After that, Runeard himself caused the conflict with Northuldra by killing their leader. Suddenly, Elsa freezes solid due to venturing too far into Ahtohallan, but first, she is able to get a message to Anna. When Elsa freezes, Olaf disappears.

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Alerted, Anna realizes that the only way to set things right is to destroy the dam. She finds the enormous earth spirit and manages to draw it to the dam. The earth spirit accidentally destroys the dam, which sends water flowing toward Arendelle. However, destroying the dam frees Elsa, who manages to return to Arendelle and stop the flood.

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With the dam broken and the kingdom saved, Elsa and Anna reunite and Olaf returns to life. Kristoff proposes to Anna, who accepts. Elsa decides to abdicate as Queen in order to return to the Enchanted Forest and be its protector. Thus, "Frozen II" ends with Anna as the Queen of Arendelle and Elsa the protector of the Enchanted Forest.

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The Impact of Frozen II

"Frozen II" is a film for fans. It greatly expands upon the "Frozen" universe and gives it context without really changing the "Frozen" dynamic. We learn the reason for Elsa's magic powers, for instance. Both Anna and Elsa wind up with specific roles to play with important purposes to maintain peace, but their relationship remains unaltered. "Frozen II" thus ties up loose ends from "Frozen" which many fans probably wondered about. Make no mistake, "Frozen II" is a beautiful film with new animation techniques which, in the most stunning sequence, give the character of Nokki a realistic liquid-like appearance. While the storyline is darker, that creates tension which otherwise would be lacking. In the final analysis, "Frozen II" is quite worthy as a sequel.

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The Disney Frozen II Sugar Cookie Castle Kit would make a nice snack while you watch "Frozen II."
Is any film perfect? No, and that includes "Frozen II." The story is engaging, but nowhere near as original as the original "Frozen." The storyline is "Frozen II's" chief flaw, focusing on a "sins of the fathers" theme which causes trauma to many innocent people. The screenwriters include environmental issues that seem out of place as if they are trying to make some kind of point without directly saying what it is. Dams, it seems, are bad, at least in the world of "Frozen II." Are dams intrinsically bad things designed to rob people of natural resources? That seems like an odd underlying premise for an animated feature film like "Frozen II." There are many potentially intriguing moral questions that are unresolved.

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The original source material for "Frozen" was Hans Christian Anderson's "The Snow Queen." That is a dark tale and not at all the whimsical sort of derring-do that the "Frozen" films became. Perhaps the "Frozen" films are edging back toward that serious quality. Elsa's grim expression and defiant attitude on billboards and in other advertising certainly hint that she is not someone to be trifled with. A hint of darkness always has hovered over Disney animated feature films. Witches are destroyed, kind-hearted people such as Cinderella are treated poorly, and, most famously, there was that shocking ending of "Bambi." "Frozen II" seems to continue this tradition because things are destroyed and powerful creatures are subdued. Arendelle itself is placed in jeopardy. There are lasting consequences of bad choices, though everything works out well in the end as you would expect. There is a clear moral subtext to "Frozen II" which wants to burst out from beneath the colorful animation and happy ending but never quite reaches the surface.

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The "Frozen II" songs certainly are catchy, but there are no breakout hits like "Let It Go." They are tuneful and easily forgettable. The characters are fierce and fun, but they were more fun and less fierce in the original "Frozen." There is no true villain in "Frozen II," just a succession of roadblocks to drive around or over. Do you really care about Anna and Elsa? If so, that will make "Frozen II" a wonderful experience to you. If you aren't already a fan of "Frozen," though, you may struggle through "Frozen II." While an adequate sequel, "Frozen II" is best seen as a routine continuation film and not one that can stand alone on its own merits as a masterpiece. There is nothing wrong with that, and the superior animation and engaging characters carry the day anyway.

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Audiences quickly made "Frozen II" a success, so critical qualms don't matter. "Frozen II" is immensely popular with girls and women while also drawing some boys and men. "Frozen II" had the highest opening for an animated film of all time, and that speaks for itself. Many viewers seemed to like it as much as the original, but it's easier to please people who are already fans than it is to create new ones. During its opening weekend, "Frozen II" got off to a quick start and almost certainly will match the stellar box office performance of "Frozen." It set records for the best opening of all time for an animated feature film in France and the United Kingdom, and the best opening for a Disney or Pixar film in China, Japan, Germany, and Spain. "Frozen II" is a huge success and Disney was wise to make it.

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Conclusion

Everyone experiences film differently, which is part of their magic. "Frozen II" is a tale of sisterhood, and that isn't going to grab everyone. "Frozen II" does not fully capture the magic of the original "Frozen," but few films do. "Frozen II" should be on the must-see viewing list for girls looking for fierce role models. The main drawback to "Frozen II" is that it doesn't take too many creative chances. There is nothing in "Frozen II" that you haven't sort of seen before in "Frozen." "Frozen II" is exactly the sequel that you would expect when you just want to expand upon a winning formula, not change it. If you saw the original "Frozen," you will get more of the same in "Frozen II," and there's nothing wrong with that at all.

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In terms of impact, I place "Frozen II" squarely in the company of "Toy Story 4" and "Ghostbusters II." These types of films simply place the same characters into new adventures as audiences expect. In sum, "Frozen II" is more of the same, which isn't a bad thing in a franchise as warmly received as the world of "Frozen."


2019

Saturday, November 23, 2019

"The Mandalorian" is a Fun Journey!

Baby Yoda is the Star of The Mandalorian

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Baby Yoda says hello! (all images courtesy of Disney+).
"The Mandalorian" is a fun new series from Disney. It is available on the new Disney network, Disney+. This is a subscription service that competes with the more established networks offered by other media giants.

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"The Mandalorian" has an impressive pedigree. It is created by some of the biggest talents in Hollywood and comes from the best creator of fantasy stories, Disney. Hard to argue with any of that. However, none of that mattered to viewers, they wanted to see something new and special. Reviews were lackluster at first until Disney sprang its big surprise and introduced the first new breakout star of Disney+.

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The Mandalorian is a bounty hunter.
The real star of "The Mandalorian" turns out to be Baby Yoda! If you haven't seen the show yet, you may wonder who Baby Yoda is. Well, you're about to find out. So, let's get down to the bare facts.

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Baby Yoda in "The Mandalorian" (all images courtesy fo Disney+).
The Disney Plus show "The Mandalorian" is a favorite of children everywhere. It premiered on 12 November 2019. The breakout star of "The Mandalorian" is Baby Yoda. It is a fun ride, though it would be just another show without the glorious Baby Yoda. However, Baby Yoda is a mysterious character with an unknown past.

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"The Mandalorian," of course, is part of the Star Wars universe. While Baby Yoda is a cute and adorable little thing, it is actually decades old. His species just ages slowly.

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Baby Yoda has distinctive massive eyes and a tiny Jedi cloak. Oh, and there are toys of Baby Yoda, too, if you want some. Baby Yoda is not Yoda, who everyone knows from Star Wars. However, Baby Yoda is from Yoda's species, so they are kind of related.

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"The Mandalorian" first aired in the fall of 2019, when Disney began its Disney Plus network. Here we get into a fairly detailed look at the Star Wars universe, so buckle up. Taking place after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order, "The Mandalorian" follows the adventures of a lone gunfighter in the outer regions of the galaxy. The timeline places "The Mandalorian" approximately five years after Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983).

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"The Mandalorian" definitely has the "Star Wars" feel that people love. It includes classic Star Wars touches such as the speedster that Luke Skywalker drove in the first Star Wars film. The weapon that the Mandalorian bounty hunter uses derives from the Star Wars Holiday Special of the 1970s.

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The most distinctive look of "The Mandalorian," though is the armored spacesuit that the bounty hunter wears. He looks like a medieval knight in shining armor.

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The human star of "The Mandalorian" is Pedro Pascal. Many famous people appear in "The Mandalorian," including director Werner Herzog and actors Carl Weathers and Nick Nolte. Brendan Wayne, the grandson of John Wayne, appears in "The Mandalorian from time to time, too. Hasbro, which has an exclusive license from Disney to make Star Wars items, issues action figures and other toys related to "The Mandalorian" and Baby Yoda.

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Baby Yoda actually is referred to as "the Child" in "The Mandalorian," but the popular name for him is Baby Yoda. Jon Favreau created, writes for, and directs "The Mandalorian."

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No toys related to "The Mandalorian" were released until the series aired on Disney Plus in order to keep Baby Yoda a surprise. Baby Yoda merchandise can be purchased at the usual retailers, at Disney Parks, at ShopDisney, and elsewhere.

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An alternate name for "The Mandalorian" is "Star Wars: The Mandalorian."

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Star Wars was created by George Lucas and now is owned by Disney. A film version of "The Mandalorian" is a possibility.

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"The Mandalorian" first aired on 12 November 2019. If "The Mandalorian" at times feels like a video game, there is a good reason for that. The show is made with Unreal Engine, a video game engine, by Epic Games.

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It is believed that "The Mandalorian" is just the first in a string of Star Wars series that will air on Disney Plus. George Lucas was involved in creating "The Mandalorian."

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Filming of "The Mandalorian" takes place long before it airs. In fact, the entire first season was completed before the first episode aired on Disney Plus. Reviews of "The Mandalorian" have been very positive, and they particularly say nice things about "Baby Yoda."

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Filming of "The Mandalorian" takes place in Los Angeles. It is the first Star Wars project to be filmed in Hollywood. Baby Yoda makes his first appearance when he is found in a floating basket at the end of the first episode of "The Mandalorian."

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Yoda, of course, died at the end of "Return of the Jedi." Well, it's "of course" if you are a big Star Wars fan, which many people are. So, Baby Yoda isn't Yoda. Or, at least, it would be very difficult for Baby Yoda to be Yoda. But, you never know.

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Baby Yoda is 50 years old at the beginning of "The Mandalorian." Baby Yoda may be adorable and cut, but he is very powerful.

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Baby Yoda uses the Force to smite his enemies. The Mandalorian protects Baby Yoda. Members of the Evil Empire offered the Mandalorian a big bounty for Baby Yoda, but he refused.

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The main character of "The Mandalorian" is a mysterious bounty hunter. When Disney launched its Disney+ network, "The Mandalorian" was its first hit. The network was an immediate success.

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Baby Yoda is brought to life through a combination of animatronic puppeteering and computer-generated graphics. Baby Yoda is the best part of "The Mandalorian." In fact, it's surprising that Disney didn't just call the series "Baby Yoda," but that would have given away the surprise of his appearance.

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Unlike series from some other companies which release entire seasons of episodes at once, new episodes of "The Mandalorian" generally appear on Fridays. It is a well-produced series that should appeal to all Star Wars fans. So tune in to Disney+ on Fridays and see what adventures Baby Yoda is up to!


2019

Saturday, July 20, 2019

"Terminator: Dark Fate" (2019) Coloring Pages

He's Back! And so is She.

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Linda Hamilton stars in "Terminator: Dark Fate" (all pictures courtesy of Paramount Pictures).
 The Terminator franchise is one of the most popular science fiction series of all time.

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The series has had its ups and downs, but the original storyline remains iconic. "Skynet," a major corporation in the film which brings about humanity's downfall, has become a virtual synonym for companies producing machines that ultimately may prove to be much more harmful than helpful to people.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator (all pictures courtesy of Paramount Pictures).
Kids love the Terminator movies. The most recent Terminator film as of this writing is "Terminator: Dark Fate" (2019). Here we have Terminator coloring pages free and downloadable from the Terminator films.

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The Terminator series began with "The Terminator," a 1984 film directed by James Cameron.

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"Terminator: Dark Fate" is the sixth film in the series. It had the working title of "Terminator 6: Dark Fate," but that was later shortened.

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While "The Terminator" began the Terminator series, most fans would agree that "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" (1991) was the highpoint of the series to date.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger has appeared in all of the Terminator movies. He plays a futuristic robot that sometimes acts as a protector of humans and sometimes hunts them down.
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The basic plot of the series is that robots and drones invented by humans revolt and take over the world. This sends humans into hiding, where they form resistance groups.

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This plot is almost identical to "R.U.R.," a 1923 play by the Czech writer Karel Čapek. "R.U.R.," which is an abbreviation of Rossum's Universal Robots," introduced the word "robot," which is based on a Czech word, "robota," which stands for forced labor.

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In "Terminator 2," the Terminator played by Arnold Schwarzenegger goes back in time to help some humans who are destined to form a future resistance group.

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"Terminator 2" introduced the character of Sarah Connor, who was played by Linda Hamilton.

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Sarah Connor is the mother of future resistance founder John Connor. Hamilton returns in "Terminator: Dark Fate" to reprise her character of Sarah Connor.

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The original film "The Terminator" turned Arnold Schwarzenegger into a major film star. He later was elected Governor of California twice.

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Schwarzenegger remains a top film star and also returns to star in "Terminator: Dark Fate."

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Robert Patrick played T-1000, a more advanced Terminator from the future who travels back in time to eliminate Sarah Connor and John Connor before they can form the resistance in the future. Many fans will tell you that the T-1000 was the best villain in the entire series.

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Robert Patrick does not return in "Terminator: Dark Fate," but Edward Furlong, who played John Connor in "Terminator 2," does return as the same character.

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James Cameron, who directed the first two Terminator films, returns as a producer on "Terminator: Dark Fate."

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Cameron was married to Linda Hamilton a few years after "Terminator 2: Judgment Day." They later divorced.

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Linda Hamilton has appeared in numerous films and television series since "Terminator 2."

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Hamilton rose to fame in the 1980s television series "Beauty and the Beast."

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Mackenzie Davis also stars in "Terminator 2: Dark Fate."

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Davis is a Canadian actress who is perhaps best known for television series "Halt and Catch Fire," which ran for several seasons.

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The release date of "Terminator: Dark Fate" is 1 November 2019.

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Below are trailers for "Terminator: Dark Fate."



2019