Pirates: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Pirates Dead Men Tell No Tales

The next in a series of some of my favorite movies, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. What a mouthful.

It’s impossible to think about the new Pirates movie without comparing it to the previous ones. Does it have the novelty of Pirates 1? Does it have the thrilling action sequences of Pirates 2 and 3? Did it feel a little off like Pirates 4?

Good news! Pirates 5 feels most like a return to the characters and plot of Pirates 1 to me with bits of Pirates 2 thrown in. This will probably be good news to most of the long-time fans of the series.

Jack is once again being hunted by a monstrous force from the uncharted waters of the ocean. This time instead of a ship of dead fish people, its a ship of dead ghost people led by ghost Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem). Continue reading

Beauty and the Beast Movie Review

Beauty and the Beast

Disney’s latest live-action remake, Beauty and the Beast, is out and I’ve seen it.

The movie is very much a remake of the 1991 animated movie. The plot, the songs, the characters, all pretty much the same.

For those who aren’t familiar with the story (really though?) Beauty and the Beast tells the story of a cruel prince who is cursed by an enchantress. Continue reading

Disney World Crowds

While  at Disney World we were constantly comparing the resort to Disneyland.

The layout of the Magic Kingdom at Disney World is slightly different. Different ride, different amounts of open space, and different general organization.

The fact that there are differences isn’t that surprising. The amount of space and the working conditions were different in 1970’s Florida than 1950’s California so the parks ended up being different. And now you’re thinking, “How many times can this man squeeze the word different into this post?”

What’s surprising is how different the park guests are.

In Disneyland most of the people are Caucasian, Asian, or Latino in race and mostly American in culture.

Definitely not the case in Disney World.

The people are a lot more diverse and they come from all over the world! Makes sense given the name of the resort, but I’m still surprised.

There are people from Scandinavian countries, Germanic countries, Asian countries, South/Central America, and India. I’m less than specific because I can’t recognize the other guests nationality easily from hearing a language I can’t understand, but I can get close.

One of the larger groups of people in Disney World are the high school Brazilian tour groups.

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Thousands of Brazilians. Millions of Brazilians!

Groups of about a hundred are all over the resort.

They’re super excited too. They sing songs while in line and occasionally run between rides so they can catch more fun before going back home.

Another highlight in my memory of foreigners in Disney World was when my wife and I were in line for the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves Mine Train ride in front of an English family.

A father was taking his tween son and daughter on vacation and the son just couldn’t handle the Florida weather.

“It’s awful hot, Dad. They don’t have weather like this in England do they, Dad?”
“No we have the four seasons there. They don’t have so many here.”
“But it sure is hot.”

And some continuing variation on that between the son and his sister or his dad in English accents for the hour and a half we were in line.

At one point my wife and I looked at each other and couldn’t help laughing at how ridiculous the son was being. The father definitely noticed our reaction and he was definitely embarrassed.

His children remained oblivious.

-GoCorral

Inside Out Movie Review

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My wife agreed to go to see Inside Out with me after I begged (she usually doesn’t like animated movies).

As far as plot, there isn’t much to tell that isn’t in the trailers. The main character, a preteen girl named Riley, moves to a San Francisco with her parents and misses her old life in Minnesota.

Inside Riley’s head are five emotions that guide her life, Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust.

The emotions guide what Riley does using a control panel in the headquarters of her brain. They try to align Riley’s actions with her core memories which define Riley’s interests, Friendship, Family, Hockey, Goofiness, and Honesty.

The move to a new state stresses Riley out which is symbolized by Joy, Sadness, and the five core memories being locked out of headquarters for a few days.

Riley is left without the parts of her personality that define her and she can’t feel happiness or sadness. Sounds an awful lot like how some people describe chronic depression, doesn’t it?

Inside Riley’s head Joy has to deal with how depressing Sadness is while finding their way back to headquarters.

The two of them experience a lot of fun explanations for why the human brain works the way it does.

Why do stupid commercial jingles stay stuck in your head? Because the janitors who manage memories send them to your headquarters as a prank.

Why do you remember some things, but not others? Because your emotions leave the memory.

That last one is actually true. It’s represented in the movie by the memories losing the color of the emotion that defines them.

The movie has a ton of cool visualizations of things. Riley’s mother has a set of five emotions running her head as well, but they clearly have Sadness as their leader. Riley’s dad is run by Anger.

The emotions have a control panel to interact with the world. Riley’s control panel is switched out for a larger one by the end of the movie with new buttons for puberty stuff. Her parents have even larger control panels with seats for the five emotions, emphasizing that the adults are set in the way the react to things.

Abstract thought is represented by a sort of abstract art gallery. Dreams are made by a cast of little creatures in the brain with scripts inspired by events from Riley’s day.

The end of the movie has a good moral, that all emotions are important, not just Joy; and that change isn’t always bad.

I’d recommend the movie to anyone who knows a little bit about how the human brain works. The description of emotions handling memories is visualized and explained in a pretty accurate manner and is enough fun on its own to warrant seeing the movie.

The story itself isn’t half bad either. It’s a kid’s story, but it’s Pixar! The always know how to pull at your emotions, espeically in a movie about emotions.

There’s also a good short before the movie called Lava. You could go for that or you could watch it on YouTube. It’s a nice little Hawaiian folk tale-esque love story.

So check Inside Out out if you like Pixar movies or the human brain (or love stories about volcanoes).

-GoCorral

Valentine’s 2015

Here it is almost two weeks later and I still haven’t made a post about my awesome Valentine’s date!

My wife and I went out to eat at her favorite restaurant, Chevy’s. She likes the place a lot because they have really good tortilla chips and the family friendly atmosphere is very inviting.

After the wonderful dinner we used a birthday present I’d gotten for her back in November, tickets to Disney on Ice!

The opening act was a few ice-skating boomerang throwers.

Mickey came out along with all of his friends who wanted to throw a birthday party for somebody, but it wasn’t any of their birthdays!

The Mad Hatter came out along with Alice and suggested an Unbirthday party instead.

After the party Mickey stayed to clean everything up by putting on his wizard clothes and summoning a bunch of iceskating brooms.

The next celebration was Halloween (because Halloween is totally on Valentine’s Day in February).

After Halloween came Valentine’s Day. Finally!

Minnie was looking for her love, but couldn’t find him. All the Disney princes and princesses tried to help out by dancing around a fountain. Most of the traditional amazing ice skating moves were during this number. Lots of princes lifting princesses and dazzling spins on the ice.

In the end Mickey was inside the fountain that Disney royalty was dancing around. He came out and had a dance with Minnie.

Hu-Ha! Let's get married, Minnie!
Hu-Ha! Let’s get married, Minnie!

After the Valentine’s Dance there was an intermission followed by Mickey’s fantastic travel the world second act! If you’ve been to Disneyland and seen the Magical Dot show, it’s almost the same thing.

Asia, Agrabah, all over Europe, New Orleans, and Hawaii!

Hawaii was the best of all. A man came out and sprayed some liquid onto the ice. Then the male lead from Lilo and Stitch came out with a fiery baton and lit the liquid (gasoline) on fire!

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Pyrotechnics are hard to capture on film beca-THIS SHOW IS COPYRIGHTED BY DISNEY!

And then the show ended with the required big finale where all the characters came out to sing and make merry.

I know what you're thinking and no, Woodie did not make merry with the dinosaur.
I know what you’re thinking and no, Woodie did not make merry with the dinosaur.

Pretty cool date! Definitely glad that we went.

-GoCorral

 

Weekend Trip to Disneyland

Jack Skellington comes out for Halloween and Christmas
Jack Skellington comes out for Halloween and Christmas

Last weekend my wife and I took an unplanned trip to Disneyland!

We were talking on Friday night about how some people take vacations by going to the airport and just asking for a ticket to the next plane leaving the runway.

I said that doing that was unreliable. “What if you ended up in a boring place? Or a place that you couldn’t afford? It makes more sense to go to some place that you know you’ll like for a vacation, like Disneyland.”

My wife and I went to Disneyland for our honeymoon, so going again will always bring back happy memories for us.

She said she was actually interested in going. Disneyland is fun so I wanted to go to. We decided we’d leave early Saturday morning and spend all day at the park before getting a hotel room and returning Sunday morning.

We looked at plane tickets first, but those cost about $800 for both of us to fly from Sacramento to Anaheim.

We drove instead. A little over 400 miles and 6 hours not counting breaks and traffic.

This was the first long road trip i’d bern on where I was the person driving. It was exhausting, but definitely worth it!

We went through a lot of farm land and dairy land. My wife is a vegetarian and when we passed the occasional stockyard she would clasp her hands together and say, “I love you moo-cows! Someone cares about you! I hope you are safe!”

We checked in to our hotel and headed on over to Disneyland for lunch. It was great being back where we’d had our honeymoon.

After lunch we rode all our favorite rides, Pirates, Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, Peter Pan, Splash Mountain, and Haunted Mansion (seen above). Dinner fit in there somewhere as well.

At the end of the day we saw the firework display and got to watch the Fantasmic water and light show. I LOVE Fantasmic because of the animatronic dragon near the end. It rears up out of the stage and breaths fire on the river. It’s amazing! I’d love to show you, but the show is difficult to capture on video because most cameras aren’t able to handle the sudden changes in light that the show has. Your eyes can handle it, but mechanical cameras are too slow.

Afterwards we went back to the hotel and collapsed. We drove on back the next day!

It was a super fun trip and my first unplanned vacation ever. Plus I had my best friend with me, my wife!

-Mister Ed

Overwatch

Who watches over the Overwatch?
Who watches over the Overwatch?

Blizzard announced an entirely new game at their latest Blizzcon extravaganza.

This won’t be a game based off their existing brands like almost every other game they’ve released. Warcraft to Starcraft, Warcraft to WoW, WoW to Hearthstone, and Everything to Heroes of the Storm making Warcraft and Diablo the only truly original games they’ve made.

The new game is a first person shooter called Overwatch set in the near future. The animation style is similar to Team Fortress 2 and Disney’s Incredibles.

I said Incredibles because the FPS has characters that you choose to play before each match and each character has a set of super abilities they can use during the match.

The super powers are simple enough. One person can teleport, another can fly, another one can create a big energy shield, etc.

Blizzard has already released a bunch of videos on Overwatch’s website including a trailer video that introduces the setting and a few of the characters.

So why be excited about this? I haven’t played a true FPS in over half decade, why do I care?

Well first of all, Blizzard has a very successful track record with their games. If they release an FPS its likely that it will perform well and attract a lot of people to the genre from other Blizzard games as well as increasing competition in the FPS field.

Second, Blizzard is branching out! Like I said, they haven’t come out with a truly original game in over twenty years. Are they too rusty to do well in a market without a pre-established fanbase? I don’t know.

It’s entirely possible that Overwatch will flop because Blizzard doesn’t know jackshit about what people want from FPS games. I doubt that will happen as Blizzard has enough money to attract designers who will prevent that from happening. It’s unlikely that Overwatch will fail, but will it succeed?

At this point… Hard to say. The game doesn’t offer any new mechanics. Everything the characters can do I’ve seen in other FPS games. The setting isn’t really new either. Its a cross between Team Fortress 2’s animation style and the futuristic setting of Halo (maybe a little bit less techy than Halo, but close).

But is there any FPS that’s really unique? Mount and Blade to some extent, but its so different from most FPS games that it falls into the realm of simulation games.

Halo wasn’t unique when it came out. Doom and Goldeneye both had the same weapon swapping and ammo systems. But Halo was massively successful. It was one of the first games you could talk about at school without having to be embarrassed that you were a gamer.

Will Overwatch reach that same level of success where gamer society embraces it? Maybe, but I doubt it.

Either way, “The cavalry’s here, luvs!”

-Mister Ed