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May 25, 2018

Lamplight Lounge Opening Soon at Pixar Pier

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Pixar Pier Lamplight Lounge

I think that one of the most highly anticipated new offerings at Pixar Pier will be the new Lamplight Lounge, located in the former Ariel's Grotto restaurant. At a recent media preview, we received some updated information on the new restaurant and a sneak peek at some of the new menu items - and the opportunity to sample a couple of them.

Tasha Sounart and Roger Gould from Pixar and Charlie Kowalski of Walt Disney Imagineering provided some additional details on the new restaurant.

The Lamplight Lounge is designed to be a stylish "California casual gastro-pub." The backstory is that it's an old waterfront warehouse that has been renovated. The tile floor mimics a warehouse floor, there are barrel vault ceilings with old reclaimed wood, and a pewter bar top.

The Lounge celebrates the artists behind the Pixar films as well as some of the history of Pixar. Harley Jessup, a Pixar production designer for "Ratatouille" - which also had a restaurant - worked on the design. He wanted to make it feel like a Pixar artist hangout. Although it's not a replica of anything that actually exists at Pixar it feels authentic, and a Pixar artist should feel like "I'm home." The Lounge will contain memorabilia from the Pixar archives such as toys, sketches, and photos, supposedly left there by Pixar regulars.

Pixar Pier Lamplight Lounge

The Lamplight Lounge will have 260 seats downstairs and around 200 upstairs. The downstairs area will accept reservations; upstairs will remain first come, first serve.

The menu is "California casual - playfully presented." Part of that involves presenting familiar food in an unfamiliar way. Culinary Director John State told us that "California" implies a diverse audience that is open to different flavors, textures, and ingredients. In today's culture of eating we like to share and we like to take pictures, so the food has to both taste good and look good.

Pixar Pier Lamplight Lounge

There are two halves to the menu: the top half, "Pix & Bits", is the shareable plates. The bottom half, "Bigger Bites" is entree-sized portions, though they could be shared (e.g. salads and sandwiches). The full menu is only available downstairs, upstairs will have a modified menu of shareable items only. The menu will change throughout the year - Chef State said that they tested a lot of items that they liked, but didn't put on the initial menu in the interest of opening with a smaller menu. He indicated that some of those other items we would see on the menu later.

There were examples of some of the "Pix & Bits" and "Bigger Bites" available - the menu is more extensive than what we saw. For one thing, we know that the Lobster Nachos will be back.

We had the opportunity to sample the Potato Skins from the "Pix & Bits" menu. It's Yukon gold potatoes with Manchego cheese and two sauces on the side: brown butter-caper yogurt and smoked paprika aioli. Chef State told us the potatoes were more like "pillows", and that's true - they were very light and fluffy. I didn't detect any actual potato skin at all - just the crisp exterior of the potatoes. They were very good, and much lighter than I expected.

Lamplight Lounge Potato Skins

The second dish, also from "Pix & Bits" was the "beginner sushi" - Carne Asada Rolls. (There is another more traditional sushi item on the menu as well.) This was grilled New York strip steak rolled with grilled green onions, jicama, avocado, and topped with Fresno chiles, pickled onions, and cilantro, served with crema. Since it's beef I didn't try it, but my fellow preview attendees all enjoyed it.

Lamplight Lounge Carne Asada Sushi

From "Bigger Bites" was the Spinach Salad. This is a vegetarian dish: curly spinach with wild mushrooms, poached egg, and shiitake "bacon", with charred onion vinaigrette, served with blue cheese toast. The shiitake bacon looks quite interesting.

Lamplight Lounge Spinach Salad

Another "Bigger Bites" item was the Chicken Sandwich. Crispy chicken with a spicy chili glaze, topped with vinegar slaw and pineapple butter on a toasted Amish bun. It's served with French fries. Looks like it might be messy to eat, but good messy.

Lamplight Lounge Chicken Sandwich

The kid's menu is called "Budding Artists", and there are four different items. This one is a PB&J Roll. Peanut butter on whole wheat bread that has been rolled and sliced, then topped with strawberry jelly. It's served with a vegetable and hummus "flower pot" and sliced fruit. I hope you don't have to be a kid to order it!

Lamplight Lounge PBJ Roll

And of course there is an entire beverage menu. Many guests will be interested in the signature cocktails and "mocktails". Most of them have unique names, related to Pixar or the film industry. We weren't able to sample, but there were two on display. The Over Budget is a twist on a Moscow Mule, with passion fruit puree in addition to vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer.

Lamplight Lounge Over Budget

The Last Word is a refreshing cocktail with Aperitif wine, Peche liqueur, lemon juice, agave nectar, soda water and Amontillado sherry. ("For the love of God, Montresor!" Sorry, perhaps that was in Poe taste.)

Lamplight Lounge The Last Word

Twelve different beers will be on tap downstairs, and six upstairs, along with a selection of canned and bottled beers. One of the beers, brewed by Bottle Logic Brewing Co. of Anaheim, will be exclusive to the Lamplight Lounge, and not available anywhere else. It's seasonal, in that once the first batch is gone it will be replaced by a new exclusive beer.

There will also be wine selections that are exclusive to the lounge, including a sparkling rosé. Most of the wines are from California but others are from around the world.

I know I'm looking forward to experiencing the Lamplight Lounge and seeing what else is on the menu when it opens on June 23!

Disclaimer: I was an invited media guest to the Pixar Pier Preview. My opinions are my own.






May 24, 2018

Pixar Pier Preview

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Pixar Pier

At a media preview on Tuesday I learned quite a bit more detail about the Pixar Pier transformation. There will be ongoing work over the next couple of years, but much of it will be done in the initial phase opening on June 23.

We've heard before that Pixar Pier is a series of "neighborhoods". These neighborhoods all have names now:

Incredibles Park
Toy Story Boardwalk
Pixar Promenade
Inside Out Headquarters

The basic information is in Disney's press release, so I'm not going to repeat most of that here, and instead will pass along some of the additional information we heard from the Imagineers as they gave us a verbal tour of the area. Speaking with us were:


Roger Gould - Creative Director, Theme Parks, Pixar Animation Studios

Tasha Sounart - Associative Creative Director, Theme Parks, Pixar Animation Studios

Jeffrey Shaver-Moskowitz - Executive Producer, Walt Disney Imagineering

Tracey Noce - Creative Director, Walt Disney Imagineering

Guests enter Pixar Pier under the big marquee. The Pixar Lamp will be centered atop the marquee, and will have animation and movement. Unfortunately that will not be in place when Pixar Pier opens, and will arrive later this year.

Pixar Pier

The Lamplight Lounge might be the location that most guests are looking forward to. The former Ariel's Grotto will be transformed into a stylish California gastro-pub. I'll have more information on that, and the food and beverages, in an upcoming blog. Reservations will be available for the downstairs dining area, which will serve "Pix & Bits" (dishes designed to be shared) and "Bigger Bites" (entree portions, though they could also be shared). The upstairs area (formerly the Cove Bar) will continue to be first come, first serve, and will serve a modified menu with just the shareable items. Of course a selection of creatively named signature cocktails will be available in both areas, along with a selection of beer and wine, some of them exclusive to the location.

Pixar Pier

The Knick's Knacks shop is already open. It celebrates the art of Pixar. Some of the merchandise is exclusive to that shop. There's an artist there, and sketches of Pixar characters can be purchased and drawn by request.

Pixar Pier

Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats is also already open, and has been very popular. I don't know if anyone keeps track of the most photographed food items, but if so, the extremely photogenic Pixar Pier Parfait has got to rank way up there. Layers of non-dairy lemon soft serve with blue raspberry slush in between, topped with a cherry. It's Snow Capped Lemon is another offering there, featuring the same non-dairy lemon soft serve topped with white chocolate. ("Regular" chocolate and vanilla soft serve are also available.)

Pixar Pier

Along the boardwalk between Adorable Snowman and the Incredicoaster will be billboards featuring Pixar characters. It's a way to include beloved Pixar characters that aren't a part of one of the featured neighborhoods.

Pixar Pier

Incredibles Park

The look of Incredibles Park is mid-century modern, inspired by the movies, particularly the Incredibles home in "Incredibles 2." Lots of triangles and circles.

Pixar Pier

The colors associated with that style are somewhat drab, so to brighten it up there are three huge and colorful hand-painted abstract murals. One of them features stylized versions of the characters.

Pixar Pier

The main attraction, of course, is the Incredicoaster. Lots of information on this one, but I don't want to spoil it. Disney also prepared a release which includes scene descriptions and fun facts - be aware that it contains spoilers. The story, in a nutshell: Municiberg has a classic old roller coaster. In gratitude to the Incredibles family it is being re-dedicated to them and the family is participating in the inaugural launch. Jack-Jack, who is too small to ride, throws a super-powered temper tantrum, and his family races to corral him and save riders from his uncontrolled super powers.

Jack's Cookie Num-Nums is located at the Incredicoaster's exit, where the photo location used to be. It sounded like there would be several different cookies available, but the signature cookie is a brown butter cookie served warm, almost like a miniature pie. Flavored milks will also be sold there.

Edna Mode and other Incredibles characters will be available for meet and greet opportunities.

Pixar Pier Edna Mode

Between Incredibles Park and Jessie's Critter Coaster, which is part of the Toy Story Boardwalk neighborhood, will be a water wall. You can see part of it in the photo below, as well as in the concept art. It's designed to provide some white noise to hide the sound from the carousel, as well as to cool the area a little bit. It also fits in with the look of something from the Incredibles home.

Pixar Pier

Pixar Pier


Toy Story Boardwalk

The two attractions in the Toy Story Boardwalk will be the existing Toy Story Midway Mania and the new Jessie's Critter Coaster, which doesn't open until 2019. There will be a couple of food kiosks, though. Buzz Lightyear, in Spanish mode, is represented by Señor Buzz Churros. No additional information on this one about regular churros or specialty churros.

Pixar Pier

Poultry Palace is inspired by the Poultry Palace fun meal box in "Toy Story Toon: Small Fry." Turkey legs will be available. There's also a photo op with "Fun Size" Emperor Zurg.

Pixar Pier

Pixar Promenade

The Pixar Promenade attraction is the former Mickey's Fun Wheel, which becomes the Pixar Pal-A-Round. There are 12 pairs of character friends, one on each of the 24 gondolas. For example, Hector and Miguel, Dug and Russell, WALL-E and EVE, Dory and Nemo. I think it will be fun to see which ones are the swinging cars and which are stationary. :-) (Mickey's head will remain on the other side of the wheel - when asked about that the Imagineers said that Mickey is their host, and looks out over the entire park. Also, Mickey and friends continue to have a presence on Paradise Bay, with Silly Symphony Swings and Goofy's Sky School.)

Pixar Pier

The Promenade will include a new bandshell, and the Pixarmonic Orchestra will move there as its permanent home. I found that interesting, since I thought they were only performing during Pixar Fest. The bandshell will also be used for Pixar meet and greets. The entire Promenade area will have a lot more seating and shade than in the past. It's designed to have a park-like atmosphere, and be a place for guests to sit and take a break, rather than simply walk through it. This has been a very under-utilized area of the park, so it will be interesting to see if this works.

Pixar Pier

Also in Pixar Promenade will be a large interactive Pixar Ball, somewhat like the large marble sphere in Disneyland's Tomorrowland.

The Games of the Boardwalk are also part of the Pixar Promenade, and received a Pixar makeover.

Pixar Pier

La Luna Star Catcher is a fishing game.

In Heimlich's Candy Corn Toss, players try to throw candy corn into Heimlich's mouth. As Heimlich's Chew Chew Train in Flik's Fun Faire is closing soon to become part of Avengers Land, some of Heimlich's dialog from that attraction will be re-purposed and used at the Candy Corn Toss. (The voice of Heimlich, Pixar artist/writer Joe Ranft, died unexpectedly in 2005, and his fellow Pixarians continue to remember him.)

WALL-E Space Race - WALL-E and EVE go up into space, propelled by players triggering a fire extinguisher.

Bullseye Stallion Stampede - a horse racing game where players roll balls to move the horses along.

Bing Bong's Sweet Stuff will not open until later this year. Some of the Pixar Fest treats such as character candy apples and cake pops will have a more permanent home in this shop. A Jangles the Clown figure will preside over a slush area where guests can customize the flavor of their slush. Rainbow Unicorn will offer cotton candy, where the stick is a unicorn horn lollipop with cotton candy around it.

Pixar Pier Bing Bongs Sweet Stuff

The dining location here is Angry Dogs, a hot dog stand run by Anger from "Inside Out." The angrier he gets, the more spicy the hot dogs get. A vegetarian option will be available. Condiments will include spicy sriracha and spicy mustard.

Pixar Pier

Inside Out Headquarters

There's still no details on the fourth neighborhood, Inside Out Headquarters, though the press release promises a "whimsical family-friendly attraction". The concept art shows a flying attraction, something like Flik's Flyers.

Pixar Pier

There are many Pixar "Easter Eggs" throughout Pixar Pier, as well as hidden Mickeys.

Pixar Pier is scheduled to open to the public on June 23.

Disclaimer: I was an invited media guest to the Pixar Pier Preview. My opinions are my own.






May 23, 2018

KINGDOM HEARTS III: A First Look

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Scheduled for release sometime later this year on the Playstation 4 and XBox One, the long-awaited KINGDOM HEARTS III (KH3) is finally beginning to lift the veil a little and give us a glimpse at what lies ahead for Sora and his Disney friends. Recently, we were invited to a premiere event that featured a panel with Franchise Director Tetsuya Nomura and Co-Director Tai Yasue, and then gave us some hands-on time with the new game.

[For those who want to get up to speed on the Kingdom Hearts saga, you can play the recently released bundles KINGDOM HEARTS HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX and KINGDOM HEARTS HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue about which I previously wrote.]

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Some notes from the panel:

[Unattributed photos/video are courtesy of Square Enix/Disney]

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--The Kingdom Hearts series has been going on for about sixteen years.
--While it does follow a single story line, the overarching theme is "heart."
--KH3 will conclude the "Dark Seeker Saga," and will be a resolution of the fight against Xehanort.
--Knowing that everyone may have different entry points into the Kingdom Hearts series, they feel that anyone can enjoy KH3 on its own and then return to play from the beginning if they are interested in more of the story.
--KH3 is the first title to include the worlds of Pixar.
--The size and scope of each world is determined by the themes and concepts they assign to them. In Toy Story, they wanted to include robots the player could ride and control, and in Hercules they wanted a large-scale enemy--so the levels were designed to feature those elements.
--The process of making Kingdom Hearts is similar to that of making the animated features, with storyboarding, voice direction, etc.
--To better allow players to enjoy the verticality of some worlds (like Hercules) the flow-motion mechanic, introduced in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, will be back.

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--Link abilities (also from Kingdom Hearts 3D) return with the capacity to summon characters such as Ariel and Wreck-it Ralph who assist the player with specialized attacks: Ariel jumps and leaves puddles of water from which fountains spray up, while Ralph creates exploding blocks.

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--New to KH3 are Keyblade transformations which are world-specific and deal accentuated attacks after the player scores enough consecutive hits--in the Toy Story world, the keyblade becomes a Hyper Hammer. Multiple themed Keyblades can be equipped and used in different combinations.

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--"Attractions" is another new element of combat, where Sora can summon theme park ride vehicles which each have characteristic attacks and finishing moves.

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--They are close to finalizing the release date and plan to announce it early next month (perhaps at E3?)

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The second half of the event was the hands-on demo. We were first able to play a few of the minigames that are throwbacks to classic Disney shorts and 80s handheld consoles.

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Next was actual core gameplay. The first scenario was a Titan boss battle from the realm of Hercules. Here, the Autorunning feature that allows Sora to make small leaps on his own, as well as run up 90 degree walls was introduced. For people who are platforming-impaired such as myself, this is a huge advantage, because I can literally sit around trying to make one jump for an entire afternoon. We also got to use the Attraction attack which was visually stunning and dealt a lot of damage if you could remember to execute the finishing move, but seemed kind of non-intuitive depending on the ride vehicle used--it was easy to conceptualize how to shoot from the Astro Blaster car, for example, but I spent several attacks wondering how to aim a train.

The last segment we were shown was the world of Toy Story. This area showed off the extent of world-building they were able to do and really let players explore the various scenarios. The different effects used by the area-specific Keyblades were shown off well, along with the Giga robots Sora can enter and control, and the characters he can link. The impressive part of this world was just how accurate it looked and felt compared to the original films. Everything looks authentic down to the different gaits all the characters have running from location to location. The fact that the game is fully voiced now--not just the cutscenes--with a lot of the original voice actors only serves to make it even more of a cinematic experience.

From what we saw, the next installment of Kingdom Hearts looks to be a smooth continuation of Kingdom Hearts 3D with improved movement, audio/visual components, and variation in combat. If it's still a little challenging for me to control the camera and figure out what's happening during some of the more flamboyant attacks, well that could easily be either a correction between now and release, or more likely, operator error. In any case, if the demo is any indication, exploring the previously-announced worlds of "Big Hero 6" and "Tangled" in KH3 is something to avidly anticipate.





May 15, 2018

A May Day at Disneyland - Disney Channel GO! Fan Fest, Pixar Play Parade, etc.

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The Disney Channel will be offering new programming this summer, with new shows at 9:00 a.m. EST/PST on weekdays and 8:00 a.m. EST/PST on weekends. Disneyland kicked off the new programming lineup with Disney Channel GO! Fan Fest on Saturday May 12. Events for fans included a cavalcade down Main Street and panel discussions and meet and greets in Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure.

Disney Channel GO! Fan Fest

The Cavalcade included Disney characters and stars from some of the Disney Channel shows, such as Raven Simone from "Raven's Home".

GO! Fan Fest Cavalcade

Also stars of BuNK'D and Bizaardvark.

GO! Fan Fest Cavalcade

Andi Mack.

GO! Fan Fest Cavalcade

Stuck in the Middle, ZOMBIES, and Freaky Friday.

GO! Fan Fest Cavalcade

Duck Tales was the final element.

GO! Fan Fest Cavalcade

Cavalcade video:

In Disney California Adventure, there were panel discussions throughout the day in Stage 17. I saw a little bit of the final panel, with stars from the movies ZOMBIES and a new remake of Freaky Friday.

Disney Channel ZOMBIES panel discussion

Disney Channel Freaky Friday panel discussion

Wristbands were distributed earlier in the day for meet and greets with Disney Channel stars.

Go! Fan Fest meet and greets

Also in Hollywood Land throughout the day was a meet and greet with Scrooge McDuck and Launchpad McQuack.

Duck Tales Launch McQuack Scrooge McDuck

I spent a lot of time simply wandering around Disneyland. I wasn't the only one - I saw Belle and Gaston wandering around Fantasyland.

GastonBelle

In Tomorrowland I watched March of the First Order from two different viewpoints, and was able to put together a more complete video than I did last week. There's really no way to see the entire show because it moves through Tomorrowland. The best place to see the "show stop" is by the stroller parking sign between Star Trader and Star Tours. There's a couple of stormtroopers who come out on patrol in Tomorrowland a few minutes before the March begins - if you stand near where they end up you'll have a good view of the show stop.

The Sulley popcorn bucket is back in stock - it had sold out in Pixar Fest's first week. I saw it in both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

Sulley popcorn bucket

New this week at Disney California Adventure is the Infinity Gauntlet Souvenir Sipper. I saw it in Hollywood Land at the two beverage stands outside the Hyperion Theater as well as the Studio Catering Co. food truck. $20, and comes with choice of soft drink. These were very popular - I saw lots of guests wearing them.

Infinity Gauntlet souvenir sipper

It's spring at Disneyland, and that means ducklings. :-) I saw a mom and her babies sleeping in a planter.

Disneyland ducklings

I also saw a family of geese.

Disneyland geese

While watching a jazz group in New Orleans Square, I noticed Minnie Mouse in one of the Club 33 windows above.

Disneyland Minnie in Club 33

I had the opportunity to take a ride on Hyperspace Mountain this time. I don't think it's any different than it was before, but that doesn't really matter, because it's still a great ride. Lots of people were cheering when they returned to the loading area. :-)

Hyperspace Mountain

Lee found a great spot for us in Town Square for the Pixar Play Parade, which he hadn't seen yet.

Pixar Play Parade Luxo Jr

There were no flames from baby Jack-Jack...no doubt as a result of the Maleficent fire at Magic Kingdom last week. :-(

Pixar Play Parade Jack Jack

We were standing behind a group of senior citizens who were sitting on a bench - it was fun to see Carl Fredricksen acknowledge his peeps. :-)

Pixar Play Parade UP

In Disney California Adventure we watched some testing of the new Incredicoaster with multiple vehicles on the track simultaneously. It looked like a test of normal operating conditions.

Incredicoaster testing

And, it's not a trip to Disneyland without trying at least a couple of Pixar Fest food items! At Royal Street Veranda I had the Potato Leek Soup in a sourdough bread bowl ($11.49). It was very good, especially since it was an overcast and somewhat cool day. I was surprised that it had a couple of big pieces of mushroom in it, though.

Pixar Fest Potato Leek soup

I also sampled the Coco Pot du Creme at Rancho del Zocalo ($5.99). It was layers of Mexican chocolate mousse and chocolate cookie crumbs. It was just OK - I don't really like the cinnamon chocolate flavor of Mexican chocolate. The dessert was topped with orange chocolate curls, resembling marigold petals, and they really were orange flavored. In my world, chocolate and orange should NEVER be mixed!

Pixar Fest Coco Pot du Creme

Lee and I shared the Mint Chip Shake from Schmoozies ($5.99). It was made to order, and the cast member took his time with it, given all of the different-colored swirls it has. I like my shakes really thick, and this wasn't - I could easily sip it through a straw. Still, it had a good flavor - not overly minty.

Pixar Fest Mint Chip Shake

One of the souvenir items during Pixar Fest is a straw with a detachable backpack clip - the clip features Luxo, Jr. and the Pixar Ball. $5.99 So cute!

Pixar Fest Luxo Jr Lamp Ball straw

Even though it was a Saturday, the parks weren't super busy, and it was a very pleasant day just to hang out - one of my favorite ways to spend a day at Disneyland.






May 13, 2018

"Solo: A Star Wars Story" Press Conference

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"I have a good feeling about this."
--Han Solo

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May 25th, Lucasfilm delivers the next installment of the Star Wars anthology films, "Solo: A Star Wars Story." It recounts the origin of the infamous rogue and scoundrel Han Solo and his initial encounters with some of his lifelong friends and frienemies.

In anticipation of the opening, cast and filmmakers held a press junket to discuss revisiting the legendary character and adding to his mythos. In attendance was Thandie Newton (Val), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (L3-37), Woody Harrelson (Tobias Beckett), Donald Glover (Lando Calrissian), Alden Ehrenreich (Han Solo), Emilia Clarke (Qi'Ra), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), and Paul Bettany (Dryden Vos), along with screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan and Jonathan Kasdan, and director Ron Howard.

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Full video of the press conference (some dicey language:)

Some quotes from the panel:

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Howard on what excited him about the film: "I'm very excited about the character relationships, because this is a little bit different from the other movies. It's really this one guy's adventure story. It's why I feel like in some ways it's kind of similar to 'Raiders of the Lost Ark,' which Larry also wrote. It is a single hero's journey. There's a lot of fun in that journey and a lot of twists and turns, but it's really about that character. We had that going with this. And so all of the different relationships are very important to me because it's all about what impact all these characters are going to have on this young Han Solo. So that was interesting.

"The excitement was again, making even the action scenes be cool, be Star Wars, but really be about testing Han Solo. What does this mean? What does this tell us about Han Solo? And so it kind of defined the way the action scenes would be cut, would be shot, and roll out. It's challenging, but it was really fun and exciting work, and the big surprise for me was what a blast it was to do those action scenes."

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The Kasdans on getting to tell Han's story:
Lawrence: "From the moment I was relatively young and I first saw Han Solo in the Cantina, I immediately sparked to him. He lifted up the whole movie instantly and I loved the movie, but at that moment I thought oh, this movie has got me. This is a kind of character that I have loved always...this is a character who's reckless, who's cynical, doesn't trust anybody, who's a little bit stupid -- I love that -- he just does things that he shouldn't do, he gets in over his head instantly."
Jonathan: "Andi I think he wanted me to write with him because I am all those things."

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Ehrenreich on getting feedback from Harrison Ford: "Right before we started shooting, I wanted to talk to Harrison, just to kind of pay respect and have him give us the blessing for the film. So we had lunch, I guess, two years ago or something, and he was really encouraging, really supportive. Then we went off, shot the film and everything like that, and today I was doing an interview and they were talking about is there anything else you'd like to ask him, and I was like 'well, uhm,' and they're like 'well you have your chance' and he was behind me. And is just so effusive about the movie and it meant so much to me and I know for Ron and Kathy and everyone, you know it's such a huge deal to have him really genuinely love it, really genuinely enjoy the film and it meant a lot to me that he took the time to come out here."

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Glover on taking on the role of Lando: "When I heard they were making these, I told my agent 'if they're doing anything with Lando, I have to be Lando" and he was like 'I hear you... I don't like your odds." That was exactly what I needed to hear, because I really did audition like it was the only role I wanted in the world, because it really was."

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Suotamo on becoming the well-loved Chewbacca: "This was a life-changer for me. I was borderline jobless when I got this role, you know. My now-fiancee (my then-girlfriend) has seen me go from living with my Mom to becoming Chewbacca. That's the span of our relationship. She says I've been like this the whole time, it's just now that this behavior suits me."

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Clarke on the femme fatale, Qi'ra: "We meet her quite early on, with Han, and then they get separated for whatever reason. When we find her again, she seems to have lived a pretty dark life in that time. So when you re-find her, you can't quite figure out what it is that's happened to her in the time you haven't been with her, and who it is that she is now. I think that's a question that keeps coming up throughout the movie."

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Harrelson on how he sees Beckett: "Well, I felt it was a really easy character for me to play 'cause he's a scoundrel and a thief."

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Newton on being on such legendary sets: "The first day I was on set, and I had my son with me and he was two years old, and he didn't know anything about Star Wars, he's two, right? And we were on this amazing set--it was extraordinary--and I was chatting with the crew and stuff, and my kid just started to walk away and we watched where he was going. He was going towards R2-D2. And everyone kind of moved to the side, and my kid just walked over, and the guy who was operating R2-D2's remote control saw my son, knew it was my kid, and started to make R2-D2 kind of chat with my kid...but not in language, in R2-D2 speak. And my son would sort of gabble back and R2 gabbled to him, and it ended, I kid you not, with my son hugging R2-D2. And that was the first impression my son has had of that character, of Star Wars, and what I mean is like, this is the stuff that dreams are made of."

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Waller-Bridge on L3 as an individual: "She's a self-made droid, so she created herself out of parts of other droids which sounds kind of frightening when you put it like that...she creates herself out of astromech droids and protocol droids and so she turned herself into a unique creature that's kind of taller, stronger, more independent than she originally was. She's got a great attitude, she's very upbeat, she's very fun to be around...yeah, she's fearless, she's uncensored, she is very funny, and she's revolutionary--she has an agenda which is bigger than the sum of her parts...and it's great to play that. It's great to play a droid with a message."

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Bettany on what he wanted to do with Vos: "Having texted Ron, having said 'hey Ron, have you ever spent long winter evenings like I have, wondering why you're not in the Star Wars franchise?' and he said 'give me a minute"...so I came on set really quickly and he whispered 'oligarch' in my ear and I went 'GOT IT.' It was just lovely to play somebody--having come from Avengers where Vision is fundamentally good--just to someone who's deliciously bad and really okay with it. Just no neurosis, no guilt, just super happy about being evil...he's really good at hurting people, and you know, some people are really good at piano or whatever..."

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” opens in U.S. theaters on May 25, 2018.

Shop Solo: A Star Wars Story! Make the Kessel Run and explore new t-shirts, action packed toys and more.





May 9, 2018

Review: "Travels with Walt Disney"

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For those of us with minor or not-so-minor obsessions concerning all things Disney, one of the few things as fascinating as history of the Walt Disney Company or its parks is background on the man himself. Consequently, I was very pleased to get a review copy from Disney Consumer Products of Jeff Kurtti's new book "Travels with Walt Disney: A Photographic Voyage Around the World."

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[Unattributed photos courtesy of Disney Editions.]

The book recounts, in photo essay form, many of Walt Disney's personal and professional journeys around the globe. Interestingly enough, the structure of the book eschews a traditional chronological timeline and instead groups different trips together on the basis of means of transportation and purpose of travel. This gives each chapter a more cohesive feel as disparate destinations are linked by Walt's love of trains or his involvement in overseas film production, but does sometimes lead to a slight feeling of disjointedness as the reader continues to flip back and forth through the decades.

What the book feels like, more than anything, is a mini-trip through part of The Walt Disney Family Museum, which uses a similar audio-visual approach towards detailing Walt Disney's life and works.

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This similarity is hardly surprising since Kurtti was also creative director/content consultant/media producer for The Walt Disney Family Museum. His talent for giving a nice overview of Walt Disney as a person without delving into a lot of speculative drama is as apparent in his book as in his exhibits.

"Travels with Walt Disney" is not only a window into an era where travel was more genteel and less gestapo, but a elegant, smooth, and pleasant look at Walt in some of his less-public moments. It reveals his life-long curiosity about the world and its denizens, and how that fed into the amazing projects he executed. The last chapter, bringing it all around, shows old photos of Disneyland and the many famous international celebrities that ultimately came to visit Walt's kingdom--created from all the best parts of the world he spent a lifetime exploring.

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https://www.amazon.com/Travels-Walt-Disney-Photographic-Editions/dp/1484737687

Series: Disney Editions Deluxe
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Disney Editions (April 3, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1484737687
ISBN-13: 978-1484737682





May 7, 2018

Pixar Fest Food

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One of the major aspects of Pixar Fest at the Disneyland Resort is all of the special limited time food offerings...there are so many! And I'm sure you've all been waiting for me to review some of them, right? :-) OK, maybe not, but I'm going to do it anyway now that I've made my second trip and have had a chance to try a few more items.

Alien Pizza Planet has a number of new items on the menu. I tried the Edamame Noodle Salad. Grilled chicken breast, cabbage, green beans, edamame, shredded carrots, mint, and cilantro over cold soba noodles in a ginger-lime vinaigrette for $10.49. It might be the tastiest salad I've ever had in a theme park. Really a nice combination of flavors - not too much mint or cilantro. But there was way too much dressing - at least it was a vinaigrette and not an oily dressing. Still, next time I would ask for one made to order (I took one off the counter that was already prepared) with either half the dressing or the dressing on the side. The chicken was also a little bit mushy. But overall I really liked it.

Pixar Fest Edamame Noodle Salad

Paradise Garden Grill also has a new menu for Pixar Fest, though a few of the offerings were on the menu during the Viva Navidad celebration over the holidays. One of the new items is Mole Verde con Pollo, $11.99. Herb-braised chicken with golden rice, black beans, and tortillas. I always thought "mole" was brown, so I was surprised to see green mole. The edible marigold petals gave it a nice splash of color. Underneath the sauce was a smallish chicken leg and thigh, still on the bone, so there wasn't a lot of meat. The flavor was good, but I don't think I'd get this again - there's another item on the menu that I REALLY like, which I will get to later.

Pixar Fest Mole Verde con Pollo

Award Weiners has a Pulled Pork Dog. A hot dog topped with pulled pork, spicy teriyaki sauce and fresh pineapple salsa for $9.79. Served with filmstrip fries. They weren't kidding about "spicy teriyaki". Whew. I noticed that starting with some of this year's Food and Wine Festival items the culinary team has turned up the heat, and that's continued with some of the Pixar Fest items, too. I didn't taste teriyaki at all, and thought the spicy heat came from the pineapple salsa. The salsa itself was ok - it had way too much raw red onion. Not sure I would get this one again.

Pixar Fest Pulled Pork Dog

At Lucky Fortune Cookery there's a Chilled Noodle Salad for $10.49. At the media event I was told this was inspired by Harryhausen's in Monsters, Inc. It's chilled glass noodles with mint, Thai basil, cucumbers, shredded carrots and daikon, and tofu, with peanuts on top. It comes with a Ponzu dressing and a lime: squeeze the lime over the noodles and then pour the dressing over them, stir, and the blue noodles will start to turn pink. It was very citrus-y and acidic. I enjoyed the flavors but I thought the noodles weren't cooked enough, and were chewier than they should be.

Pixar Fest Chilled Noodle Salad

During the reception at the Pixar Fest Media event there were samples of a number of items for us to try - most of the items were correspondingly sample sized, so take that into consideration in some of the photos. What you see is not what you will get if you buy it.

The Habañero Meatball Cone is available at the Cozy Cones for $8.99. It's turkey meatballs in a habañero derby sauce with spiral pasta and cheese crisp. Pretty tasty, but also spicy - see comment on the hot dog above.

Pixar Fest Habanero Meatball Cone

Paradise Garden Grill has Tortitas de Papa con Queso - crispy potato cakes with cheese - for $11.99. This is one of the items returning from Viva Navidad. It's topped with ranchero salsa and pickled onion salad, served with golden rice. I really liked this. Not too spicy, but nice flavors and textures. It'll definitely be on my list if I get to Paradise Garden Grill again during Pixar Fest.

Pixar Fest Tortitas de Papa con Queso

There are a LOT of sweet treats that are part of Pixar Fest.

Jolly Holiday Bakery has the Chocolate-Hazelnut Pastry with a picture of Carl Fredricksen on it. Think $5.99 Pop-Tart. I thought the filling was good, but overall it was mostly pastry, which was on the dry side.

Pixar Fest Chocolate Hazelnut Pastry

Alien Pizza Planet has the Alien Macaron for $5.99. It has a lime and blackberry filling. It seemed like an odd combination to me, but neither flavor was particularly strong. Mostly the macaron was just really, really sweet. Too sweet for me.

Pixar Fest Alien Macaron

The churro cart in Flik's Fun Faire offers a Bugs Land Churro for $5.25. A regular cinnamon sugar churro drizzled with donut icing and dusted with cocoa cereal. This was really good. With all of the sugar you wouldn't think it needed more sweet, but the icing was sort of a different sweet, and the cereal gave it a crunchy element. The icing and cereal was only on about half of it, though - the bottom was wrapped in paper so there was something to hold onto.

Pixar Fest Bugs Land Churro

Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats just opened, and its most popular item is the new Pixar Pier Frosty Parfait for $5.99. It's quite colorful, with layers of lemon soft serve (non-dairy - think lemon Dole Whip) and blue raspberry slush, topped with a cherry. I was concerned that it would be really strongly lemon-flavored but it isn't - just enough to be refreshing. Be aware that the slush melts MUCH faster than the soft serve, and on a warm day that top swirl of soft serve can become very unstable. Plus the slush melts and can overflow the top of the cup - and it's sticky. It was served to me with a long spoon, but I'd recommend that you grab a straw, too. I must admit that I didn't think I'd enjoy this very much but I was wrong. I'd get it again - though I hope I don't have to wait 20 minutes for it next time!

Pixar Pier Frosty Parfait

Yellow and blue still make green. :-)

Pixar Pier Frosty Parfait

That's everything that I've tried so far...there's still a number of items on my list, though. Good thing I have until September 3!

What Pixar Fest food items have you tried? Any recommendations? Leave a comment and tell us what you liked or didn't like!






Disneyland - May the Fourth Be With You

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Hyperspace Mountain

Disneyland celebrated May the Fourth (aka Star Wars Day) with the addition of some new Star Wars entertainment and the return of Hyperspace Mountain. At this point there's no end date specified, but I personally expect it all to be around through the summer season. I didn't get a chance to ride Hyperspace Mountain on Friday, but I look forward to experiencing it again. That Star Wars music makes it even more thrilling.

March of the First Order is one of the new entertainment offerings. Captain Phasma leads a squad of First Order Stormtroopers through Tomorrowland. The show begins with sound effects of the troop transport landing nearby. The stormtroopers start on the second floor of the Launch Bay and march down the ramp and into Tomorrowland where they stop near the Star Trader. Phasma warns guests about conspiring with the Resistance, and then the squad moves on toward the Astro Orbitor where Phasma issues another warning, then they return to the Launch Bay ramp. The Stormtroopers gather on the ground level while Phasma proceeds partway up the ramp and gives them additional orders. They eventually join her and they all march up the ramp.

March of the First Order

It's difficult to see the entire show because they are on the move through Tomorrowland, though that gives more guests the opportunity for a closer look at them. Sometimes a VERY close look if you're in the front row at one of the places they stop. :-) The show is scheduled multiple times per day. Cast members mark some areas in Tomorrowland with blue tape - that's an indication of a good place to watch for them.

Rey has joined Chewbacca inside the Launch Bay in the Light Side meet and greet area. The wait was 45 minutes when I was there, so I didn't see her. I expected that she would be very popular. Darth Vader and Kylo Ren still represent the Dark Side.

Disneyland Rey Meet and Greet

This has nothing to do with Star Wars, but on May 4 Disneyland announced that a new character will be strolling the streets of New Orleans Square this summer: Redd, the redheaded pirate wench, who will also be assuming a new role in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction when it re-opens this summer. (Image © Disney)

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I saw some of the performance of the Main Street Straw Hatters. Several Disney characters joined in. That's always fun to see - and it's something that you don't see at Walt Disney World where characters seem so much less accessible than they are at the Disneyland Resort. There are other musical groups that perform with characters, too. The performance times of the Hook and Ladder Co. (performing at the Fire House) and the Pearly Band (Castle Forecourt) aren't often listed on the paper Times Guide, though they are on the web site and in the Disneyland app. If they are performing when you're in the area I recommend staying to watch them and the characters who join them.

The Dumbo attraction re-opened recently. It has a new queue, which is now shaded by a brightly colored circus tent canopy. That's a welcome addition to this ride that's so popular with young children and their parents.

Dumbo queue

Dumbo queue

Dumbo queue

Over at Disney California Adventure, the first of the new Pixar Pier restaurants opened last week. Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats replaced the Paradise Pier Ice Cream Co., which had replaced the original Catch a Flave stand.

Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats

In addition to vanilla and chocolate soft serve, the Adorable Snowman offers a non-dairy lemon option. Very much like Dole Whip, except lemon-flavored. It's not an overwhelmingly lemon flavor, fortunately.

The most popular item is the new Pixar Pier Parfait, with layers of lemon soft serve and blue raspberry slush, topped with a cherry. It's really very colorful and attractive. Be aware that the slush melts much faster than the lemon soft serve, making that top swirl of lemon a little bit unstable.

Pixar Pier Parfait

The line was long every time I went by - a 15-20 minute wait. Almost everyone was getting the parfait. The other specialty is lemon topped with a white chocolate snowcap.

Adorable Snowman

Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats Menu

Vehicle testing of the new Incredicoaster was going on periodically throughout the day.

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I was able to get a few decent photos of the new vehicles.

Incredicoaster vehicle

The ever-changing archway at Paradise Gardens has another new look for Pixar Fest. :-)

Pixar Fest

In the gazebo is the Pixar Pals meet and greet, featuring pairs of Pixar characters such as Buzz and Woody, Mike and Sulley, and Flik and Atta.

Pixar Pals

There's a Coco display next to that, where guests can take their own photos with figures of Hector and Miguel and Dante.

Coco - Hector
Coco - Miguel and Dante

This was my first opportunity to see the Pixarmonic Orchestra - sponsored by TripleDent Gum. :-) They play some unusual instruments - the clip below features kazoos, duck calls, cow bells, and even a siren. The percussionist gets a little crazy with all kinds of different effects at 1:01. They are a lot of fun, and I'm surprised that they perform only on the relatively small Paradise Garden Bandstand. It would be nice to see them at the larger Paradise Bay venue. Especially right now when World of Color is under refurbishment and there's nothing going on there.

"a bug's land" will be closing at some point in the not-too-distant future to make way for the new Marvel/Avengers Super Hero-themed land. For the moment there's a new kid's activity area just outside Flik's Fun Faire: Blueberry Scout Jamboree. There is free face painting and tables where kids can color. Also available there is a map for a scavenger hunt in Flik's Fun Faire. Worth noting: the area is mostly shaded by trees and umbrellas.

Blueberry Scout Jamboree

Blueberry Scout Jamboree

If you want to meet Marvel characters, Hollywood Land is the place to be. Captain Marvel and Spider-Man have separate meet and greet areas now. And there are some unlikely pairings: Thor and Gamora meet guests next to the Hollywood Backlot Stage and Black Widow has joined Black Panther at Stage 17. Loki wanders around occasionally, and this summer Dr. Strange will be featured, also.

Thor and Gamora Hollywood Land

New Annual Passholder merchandise was released recently. There are Passholder shirts for men and women.

Disneyland Annual Passholder merchandise

I like the spelling of "Passholder" on the back.

Disneyland Annual Passholder merchandise

There's also a hat, tumbler, and pin set.

Disneyland Annual Passholder merchandise

As announced in March, passholders can get the "AP" logo embroidered on select items such as shirts, baseball caps and Mickey ear hats. $7.99 and a same-day purchase receipt is required. (Image © Disney)

Disneyland Annual Passholder merchandise

No Galaxy's Edge construction updates from me, but Jason has a new photo set from Friday on his site: www.disneygeek.com.






April 28, 2018

Review: "Avengers: Infinity War" - Spoilers Noted

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"We're in the endgame now."
--Dr. Strange

[Photos and video provided by Disney.]

"Avengers: Infinity War," the first half of the third installment of the "Avengers" films brings together a panoply of heroes from every Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise over the last ten years in a gargantuan confrontation with a truly universal threat.

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For years now, one common background element of all the MCU films has been the mysterious and powerful Thanos who has been gathering the Infinity Stones for a murky, nefarious purpose. In "Infinity War," some two years after "Captain America: Civil War," that purpose is brought to light just as most of our heroes have reached their most fractured state.

[If, like me, you have lost track of the Infinity Stones through the decade, here is a Marvel Studios-provided cheat sheet:]

THE INFINITY STONES PRIMER

SPACE STONE (Tesseract)
Color: Blue
Power: Used to control space and create advanced weaponry
Currently in possession: Asgard

REALITY STONE (Aether)
Color: Red
Power: Ability to warp reality at will, immense strength, durability, powers, and subjective
influence over the universe
Currently in Possession: The Collector

POWER STONE (Orb)
Color:Purple
Power: Increases physical abilities, allows manipulation of energy. Can obliterate an entire
planet when unleashed.
Currently in Possession: Nova Corps

MIND STONE (from Loki’s scepter)
Color: Yellow
Power: Subjugate the minds of others, bending them to the will of the user. Increased
intelligence.
Currently in Possession: Vision

TIME STONE
(Eye of Agamotto)
Color: Green
Power: Able to control the flow of time.
Currently in Possession: Doctor Strange

SOUL STONE
Color: Orange
Power: Unknown
Currently in Possession: Unknown

To combat this menace, all of our heroes, from Earth and beyond, will find that superheroism often makes for strange bedfellows while hoping that in unity there is strength. Whether they can muster up sufficient unity is only one of the questions posed in "Infinity War."

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[For months, we've been reminded that #ThanosDemandsYourSilence about most of the plot points in an effort to avoid spoiling the movie. While I will try to stick with what I think is common knowledge about the film, if you want to go in to see it as a completely blank slate, I'd avoid reading anything about it, including the rest of this.]

The main attraction of "Infinity War" is its star-studded cast made up of principals from countless blockbusters. Whether new or old to the MCU stable, they all do as polished a job as you'd expect from folks who have been inhabiting the same characters for ages.

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The number of characters is a mixed blessing, however, as even with a running time of almost three hours, we don't get the chance to spend as much time as we'd like with each of them. They do a good job of trying to give each person at least a moment to shine, but many of the main cast are more or less sidelined beyond the big action sequences. The film employs the technique of splitting everyone up into groups of varied combinations to break them into manageable story lines, and then focuses largely on a couple of them--mainly on just a few members of each.

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The person who gets the most on-screen development is our Big Bad, Thanos. Determined to fulfill his destiny of annihilating half the beings in the universe, he has his own tragic backstory and twisted motivations that Josh Brolin uses to create a villain as sympathetic as he is fearsome. Few things make a being more indomitable than having the courage of their convictions, and whatever else you may think of Thanos, he does not lack for that.

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The look of the film is, as always, MCU pitch-perfect whether on-location in Edinburgh or under the dome of Wakanda. Many of the characters' appearances have changed somewhat as a result of intervening events, Chris Evans' Captain America in particular. No longer the clean-shaven, Star Spangled Man With A Plan, Steve Rogers' years of being hunted by his own country seems to have beaten some of his trademark optimism and faith in humanity out of him. While he still operates on a strict moral code, his guarded nature is evident in his terse speech and physically manifested in his new beard. Set adrift from most of his old alliances, Rogers is notably free of the stars-and-stripes, even on his shields, when he gets them.

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Thor looks much as we left him after "Thor: Ragnarok:" Minus his hammer, some of his hair, and one eye. We find, however, that while still pretty good-humored (Chris Hemsworth still unfairly funny for someone who looks "like a pirate had a baby with an angel,") the loss of almost all of his family and kingdom from Ragnarok has left him somewhat fatalistic and a long way from the exuberant dude who was initially banished from Asgard for his aggressive pursuit of battle and glory.

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As usual, the lynchpin tying it altogether is Robert Downey Jr., whose Tony Stark is in the unenviable position of having finally achieved a measure of peace before all Thanos breaks loose. With the welfare of his Pepper Potts relationship and the well-being of his surrogate son Peter Parker on one hand and the fate of the universe on the other, Stark embodies the general theme of the Russo Brother's story: What does it cost to be a hero?

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Ultimately, the main complaint that anyone will have about "Infinity War" is likely to be the ending, which has the transitory nature of the ending of any first half to a story. While some events seem likely to have permanent consequences, others seem equally likely to be reversed in the second half which detracts a bit from the gravitas of the moment. The other is that some of the big conflicts developed in "Civil War" aren't addressed here, but there is a whole other movie coming for that.

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If you've been following along with our heroes all this time however, there's a good chance you won't be disappointed by "Infinity War." It has all the importance and grandeur of the event movie that it is, while preserving the small character bits that make the films endearing. When it chooses to be funny it is hilarious, with Banner, Drax, Spider-Man, and Okoye being standouts. For those fond of the long-standing MCU tradition of someone always getting their arm cut off in each Stage 2 film, there are a LOT of arms flying off in "Infinity War," usually in the course of the many spectacular battle sequences. While some of the fighting seems to go a trifle long, there are many beats that are perfect, such as the formidable trinity of Okoye, Black Widow, and Scarlet Witch going to town on yet another Daughter of Thanos.

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It is a general rule for the conventional structure of a story, that the first half of it sets up the problem and the last half resolves it. "Infinity War" leaves a lot of balls still in the air with a lot of characters' fates in the balance. If some of our long-standing heroes have gotten to the point in their lives where they no longer want to continue with the stress and disruption of being an Avenger, it seems clear that some of their real-life actors feel the same. That being the case, there seems to be no security that we will ultimately end this story with all the players with which we started. Cleverly, the story manages it so that many of the newer characters from franchises we know will continue afterwards are benched by the end, leaving mostly the old guard to face part 2. Who is leaving? Who will return? Only Thanos and Kevin Feige know for sure.

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Click to enlarge.

"Avengers: Infinity War" is presented by Marvel Studios. Rated PG-13, it stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillian, Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Idris Elba, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, and Chris Pratt.

*Always stay to the end of the credits.

Written by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely and Directed by Anthony & Joe Russo. Produced by Kevin Feige. The Executive Producers were Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo, Trinh Tran, Jon Favreau, Jame Gunn, and Stan Lee.

Rating: PG-13. Running time: 2 hours, 40 minutes. The film enters general release on April 27, 2018, and is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

**You're gonna think there's no intra-credit scene but there is. They just make you wait for it.

Shop Avengers: Infinity War action figures, t-shirts, costumes, backpacks and more!





April 24, 2018

"Avengers: Infinity War" Press Junket

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"Oh! We're using our made-up names!"
--Spider-Man

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On April 27th, the culmination of the last ten years and 18 Marvel Cinematic Universe films comes together with the opening of "Avengers: Infinity War."

At a recent press junket, the bulk of the MCU pantheon (minus Chris Evans, currently appearing in "Lobby Hero" on Broadway,) assembled to answer one question each, moderated by Grandmaster Jeff Goldblum.

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...That it still took almost an hour lets you know how many stars were there.

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Full video of the press conference--some dicey language is used.

Some words from each of the celebrities:

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Robert Downey Jr. on appearing in Avengers 4: "Yes, we already filmed it...I gotta see the screening tomorrow. If I die tomorrow, I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be confused. We'll see."

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Letitia Wright on inspiring teens in math and science: "I'm really happy that this film and this character, Shuri, has allowed young kids to feel, like, learning is cool and that they can contribute to the world with science and math and technology and engineering and also young women as well getting pulled into that whole movement. I feel like it's not just a thing for the guys...it's also for young women to young men (young women, old women...you know)...anyone to just get into and contribute positively."

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Don Cheadle on continuing Colonel James Rhodes/War Machine's problems from "Avengers: Civil War:" "Where it comes to Rhodes, and I'm glad this is something that's carried through and wasn't just dropped, it's a line that...actually goes through both of the films and comes into play in a very important way (I won't give it away,) but it's something that factors in all the way through. So it's nice to have something that's cohesive, that continues and keeps me grounded and keeps the character grounded."

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Chris Hemsworth on which scene he found challenging: "Thor meeting the Guardians. It felt like the first day at school for me because they all knew each other and I didn't, so I was the new kid and they all look at you...and it's a weird sort of nervous butterflies fluttering around my body...but I squeezed them out. Chris Pratt gave me a big hug and all the butterflies flew out of my ears...I've been in the hospital. I'm still trippin'."

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Kevin Feige on what he uses to pull all the themes/characters/stories together: "You won't be surprised to hear, it's the comics. It's the comics that we look at when there's just a notion of let's do an Iron Man movie or let's have the audacity to do a version of the Infinity Gauntlet--it starts with those comics and us getting to rip pages out (or rip copies of pages out,) put them on the walls, and start to be inspired. And in every single movie we've made, up to and especially 'Infinity War,' there are direct images, storylines, rarely but sometimes actual lines of dialogue, that come from those pages that we put up around our development room for inspiration."

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Zoe Saldana on Gamora's arc: "I will speak on behalf of also Karen Gillan's character Nebula--we had so much fun with the arc that the Russo Brothers and obviously Kevin Feige spearheading us, with the relationship that these daughters have with their father, because they finally get an opportunity to sort of address what it was like to have a dad that's so complicated...so it was fabulous. It was great."

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Scarlett Johansson on fashion elements of the movie: "I got the fashion question?! I honestly really don't know how to answer that question. I wear a leather unitard for most of this film, and I have been for the last ten years, so if you think of any fashion elements that you would like to include, please let us know. I have a new vest for once, so that was pretty exciting. And I have a new hairstyle as well, if you haven't noticed already--it's a little bit polarizing, I can see. It's fine. It was a choice I made and I'm sticking by it. So there you go."

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Anthony Mackie on fighting for screen time: "A wise man once said, 'some men need an hour to make their presence felt, some men need 30 seconds.'" [mic drop]

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Tom Holland on his new Spider Suit: "I didn't actually get to wear the Iron Spider suit because it's too amazing to exist in real life, so I...stood amongst these gods wearing pajamas. Wasn't quite as heroic as I'd liked, and I haven't seen the film yet so I can't tell you what it does in real life, but I can tell you it would be amazing, and we'll have to see."

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Benedict Cumberbatch on whether he's read the top-secret final movie script
: "I read a script...whether I read the script is for them (the Russo Brothers) to know. And me to find out when I see the movie tomorrow."

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Chadwick Boseman on whether "Infinity Wars" is "Black Panther 1.5:" "'Avengers: Infinity War' is 'Avengers: Infinity War.' It's not Black Panther 1.5 or Black Panther 2 or anything like that. I think we have a strong presence within the movie and it was great to have some of these (not going to say who, exactly,) in Wakanda, but it is its own movie. It's great to go from what we did in 'Black Panther' and bring some of that into Avengers--it was a relief, actually. It's its own thing."

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Pom Klementieff on whether Mantis sees any growth in the new film: "Maybe a little bit, but she still has this kind of child-like way of thinking, and she asks a lot of questions. I think it brings up comedy and sometimes these movies need some...innocence. I think she's going to evolve a little bit more in the next one, but this one I think she's still kind of the same."

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Josh Brolin on which characters most impressed Thanos: "I looked, in the trailer, like I was impressed with other people? Then obviously I didn't do my job correctly. Being a person of the color purple and being naked on the set the whole time I was doing this in order to create a vibe of fear, I really thought I scared everybody, but apparently not.

"Was there someone I was impressed by? Oh, Anthony Mackie. Strangely enough, it only took 25 seconds for me to be impressed by him. Everybody has their weakness, and Anthony Mackie is Thanos' weakness. Who was also naked on set, by the way."

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Paul Bettany on any on-set anecdotes: "Well snitches end up in ditches and all the best anecdotes end up unsayable."

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Chris Pratt on how Star-Lord feels to see humans again after 30 years: "That's a good question. You know, it borders on...you know, it might be best for you to see it, so I'm going to talk about bass fishing. April, as you know, is a big month for open-mouth bass..."

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Dave Bautista on Drax meeting Thanos and working with Brolin:
"Let me kill time while I think of a way to answer this without giving anything away. Man...ask me about my fashion sense...Back to your question, I can't answer it, obviously. I haven't seen the movie, don't know anything about the movie, don't know anything about the storyline, haven't read the script, haven't read one of the fake scripts...Back to my fashion sense..."

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Anthony Russo
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Joe Russo

Anthony Russo on whether Agent Coulson will make a comeback: "All these unanswerable questions. What can I say, other than talk about bass fishing some more?"

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Winston Duke on whether Wakanda gets destroyed: "As you know, I can't say anything...It's going to be a fun adventure. You're going to enjoy it. That's all I can tell you."
Johansson: "But tell us who made that fabulous jacket?"
Duke: "Armani. Giorgio Armani."

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Mark Ruffalo on Environmentalism: "I try not to be that one person who's always going on about an issue, but I can't help myself. I think, more than anything, I try to use my time outside of the movies to make my friends know that it's safe to speak out about the things they care about, and that it's important for them and that it's actually enriching as artists...No matter what that thing is, whether it's environmental issues or social justice issues or equality issues or education or all the really wonderful things there are to do today in front of us. And in that way, I feel like I can be the most impactful with this gift that I've been given, of sitting up here with these tremendously talented people."

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Elizabeth Olsen on Scarlet Witch getting a solo film: "Paul (Bettany) and I joke a lot about how much we would love to do like a 'House of M' spin-off, a really domesticated indie version of it. And I think that would be a lot of fun--that part of her story is why I love this character so much."

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Danai Gurira on the rumor of an all-female Marvel movie pitch: "I know no details on that...But the awesome thing that I think is happening, that we see happening across many dimensions in the entertainment industry is we see more women take the helm in various realms, and is...not only about time, but it will make the world a better place. I think so, I look forward to the future."

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Tom Hiddleston on who his favorite MCU character is: "I'm not going to pick anyone, actually. [gestures to Helmsworth] My brother from a different mother. I'm astonished that I'm still here, as you may be. And Loki has fallen through a wormhole and faked his own death and I never honestly expected to be playing this part for so long...the great privilege that I've had is working with every single person on this stage...Because Kevin and everyone that works at Marvel...the writing has been so great...they create these characters with such precision that what happens in the space between those characters is always unique. And you're guaranteed to see that tomorrow night."

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Sebastian Stan on whether Bucky is accepted/back to baseline: "I think you definitely see shades of the 'old,' so to speak, Bucky...I guess the guy smiles finally. As far as accepted, I wouldn't necessarily go so far as saying that. He's just kind of seeing where his allies are, he's been enjoying coconut water in Wakanda, and everything else is peachy."

"Avengers: Infinity War," rated PG-13, will be released in theaters April 27, 2018.





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