I had the opportunity to view an advance screening of Disney Pixar’s Brave at the El Capitan in Hollywood for ASIFA members over the weekend, and the film does not disappoint.

It covers some familiar territory with some appreciated departures. Pixar doing its first fairy-tale felt quite reminiscent of the brand of tales Disney has given us in the past. It feels a bit like a mash-up of moments from The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and even Brother Bear. In a very Princess Jasmine-like fashion, the free-spirited, bushy-haired Princess Merida dreads her upcoming betrothal and marriage. It is part of their ancient tradition based on history and legend to keep peace among the warring tribes of the area. Merida must sacrifice her freedom for the greater good of the land and she doesn’t take this idea well. Like her fellow redhead princess, Ariel, she acquires the help of a witch to change her fate taking the story in a whole new direction most will not be expecting.

The big surprises end there however. One problem with the movie is that is very predictable. This is the obvious part of the story where the characters must go on a journey to learn and grow and find reconciliation. Although it is clear where things are heading, it is still a pleasant adventure to undertake. You don’t necessarily know how things will unfold, just the overall direction. Pixar knows how to get you invested with its characters and their emotions.

At the climax, when I knew the film was blatantly manipulating me to feel sad but somehow things were still going to work out, I could not resist the tears. Although the future happy ending is transparent, you still live in the moment and suffer along with the characters. I appreciated its ability to make my care and cry.

One major thing to note is that I was surprised how dark this film was. I took my 5-year-old Godson and he was scared during a lot of the film. He would cover his face, cuddle and refuse to watch. There was one little girl who was crying so much that her mom had to take her out of the theater and they never returned. There is actually a lot of action and violence.

It’s very different from what you see in The Incredibles where the supernatural powers of it all removes it from reality. Here these are real men fighting with bow and arrows, swords and spears against a very vicious, terrifying bear. Sometimes they fought each other, which were the more comical moments and this film has plenty, but the intensity of this bear is definitely frightening to young children.

In usual Pixar tradition the animation is of excellent quality. The visuals continue in their high standard. Some of the shots and camera moves were epic with a bit of a Lord of the Rings feel. They took advantage of the beautiful and lush setting the Scottish highlands have to offer. Rich in folklore, mythology, action, emotion and comedy, Pixar delivers a very satisfying film.

What I appreciated the most about the movie, however, comes from a feminist perspective. This is the first animated princess movie I’ve seen that isn’t a romance. Sure, some other fairy-tales don’t focus on the love-interest initially, but that woman always settles down in the end. We don’t have to end with a sappy wedding or partnership to bring a sense of security and triumph. The pinnacle of a woman’s achievement doesn’t have to always be a husband.

More than the lack of romance, I noticed the presence of motherhood. Moms are always neglected in these types of stories. Most princesses only have dads and the heroines with mothers focus their efforts on dad. Mulan fought in the Chinese army for her father’s honor. Tiana builds a restaurant in her dad’s memory. Aurora and Rapunzel grow up far enough away from their mothers to even have a relationship. This is a real mother-daughter story with fighting, heart-ache, forgiveness and growth. Their frustration and struggles are real and relatable.

Both women have stuff to learn from one another and their dynamic takes center-stage before all the magic and wonder of the rest of the scenery. Pixar has covered father-son, husband-wife and other family relationships well in the past and they give great treatment to this new territory. I appreciate and applaud their efforts to explore this woman-centered tale.

For all the feminism, the boys will still get a kick out of the movie as well. Merida’s triplet brothers are a handful of chaos and bring a lot of energy to screen. King Fergus is a fun and goofy dad. There is plenty of testosterone among the tribes fighting for Merida’s hand. It is a well-balanced movie that will please all genders and ages.

Brave is not as original or ground-breaking as previous Pixar films, but it is still quality entertainment. You’ll laugh, cry, and enjoy the ride. It may not be considered the best cinematic achievement by Pixar, but for me, it may have just become my new favorite.

The film is released in theaters this Friday, June 22.

Nickelodeon debuts action-packed ‘Legends of the Hidden Temple’ trailer at SDCC

The brand new trailer features tons of nods to the original 90s game show!

4:33 pm EDT, July 23, 2016

Get ready for a serious dose of nostalgia, 90s kids! Nickelodeon just premiered the trailer for the upcoming Legends of the Hidden Temple movie at San Diego Comic-Con and you’re definitely going to want to check it out!

The upcoming made-for-TV movie centers around three siblings who find themselves immersed in the temple after breaking away from a jungle tour. Once inside, they discover all the legends they’ve grown up hearing about the mysterious temple are actually real.

Being trapped in the temple itself may sound cool at the beginning, but the siblings will soon learn that getting out may be tougher than they originally anticipated. They’ll have to follow the map and survive the Temple’s many hidden rooms if they want to make it out unscathed.

Check out the first trailer for Legends of the Hidden Temple below!

Fans of the original game show are sure to recognize quite a few of the most iconic aspects taken from the beloved 90s series. Olmec aside, the first action-packed trailer includes mentions of the steps of knowledge, the shrine of the silver monkey, and more— They’ve even managed to slip in mentions of some of the old teams contestant were able to play on when competing on the original game show!

The upcoming Legends of the Hidden Temple movie reunites Kirk Fogg (original TV how host) and Dee Bradley Baker (original voice of Olmec), and additionally stars Isabela Moner, Colin Critchley, and Jet Jurgensmeyer.

Legends of the Hidden Temple premieres on Nickelodeon in the fall of 2016

What did you think of the first trailer for ’Legends of the Hidden Temple’?

Hot off the heels of the Wonder Woman trailer DC has released our first look at the art for Justice League as well as the first trailer!

It’s a very exciting day to be a DC movies fan! After debuting the Wonder Woman trailer earlier today, DC surprised everyone with the first official Justice League trailer which has been simultaneously released publicly during its debut at San Diego Comic-Con. It should be noted that the video, posted on Director Zack Snyder’s Twitter account, includes a title card at the beginning denoting that this video was made specifically for fans at Comic-Con. “The following footage was prepared by the filmmakers as a special look for fans in attendance at Comic-Con 2016.”

Click full screen, turn up your volume, and get ready for this!


The “trailer” (if that’s what we’re calling it) doesn’t give away much about the plot of the movie, however. It features Bruce Wayne checking in and recruiting Cyborg, Aquaman and The Flash – the three of which weren’t as heavily featured in this year’s Batman V Superman.

One of the more thrilling parts of the video is when Bruce Wayne shows up to meet The Flash and throws a Batarang at him. We get to see the slow motion perspective of The Flash while a Batarang whizzes by his face, with him ultimately realizing who has just appeared before him. Before Bruce even has a second to sell him on joining the Justice League, he’s interrupted. “Stop right there. I’m in,” says The Flash.

After the mixed reviews of Batman V Superman from earlier this year, it looks like Justice League might have taken some notes from the massive success of Deadpool’s light-hearted but serious comic book movie template. It already feels like this ensemble cast will lend itself to making up some ground in terms of likability. Ezra Miller’s The Flash is easily the “you-gotta-love-this-kid” character based on his one scene alone. Meanwhile, Aquaman will appeal to those burly, rugged Wolverine style fans. Both character types were missing from the sometimes confusing Batman V Superman.

Check out the full photo of the Justice League featuring our first detailed looks of The Flash, Cyborg, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman together in one place.

JusticeLeagueFULL

We still have a while before we get to hit theaters for Justice League. The superhero sure-to-be blockbuster is set to hit theaters November 17, 2017.

What did you think of your first look at the upcoming Justice League movie?

WB debuted a new trailer for Wonder Woman on Saturday morning at San Diego Comic-Con.

Gal Gadot and the cast of Wonder Woman introduced the new trailer, which offers a massive new look at the first female-led super hero movie (during this new wave of super hero madness, anyway). Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor and Gadot’s Diana Prince seem to have some great chemistry. And unsurprisingly, Wonder Woman gets up to a lot of ass-kicking in the three minute preview. Perhaps one of the coolest moments is when she fends off a lot of fire power, and one of the funniest moments comes at the end, when Diana equates Steve’s secretary to a slave. Watch below:

The movie is directed by Patty Jenkins, who has clearly done an amazing job bringing Wonder Woman to life with Gadot.

A new poster for Wonder Woman was also released, finally revealing her (colorful!) costume:

wonder-woman-2017-sdcc-poster

Wonder Woman hits theaters June 2, 2017. The film’s synopsis reads:

Wonder Woman hits movie theaters around the world next summer when Gal Gadot returns as the title character in the epic action adventure from director Patty Jenkins. Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny.