This morning, I made myself a killer breakfast of cumberland sausages, fried eggs, Spanish bread, mozzarella and tomatoes, before heading off to a press preview screening of Disney’s Alice Through The Looking Glass at Leicester Square’s Empire IMAX.
Now, anyone that knows me, knows just how much I love Disney. I’ve pretty much got 98% of Disney’s films on DVD and will always answer ‘The Little Mermaid’ when asked what my favourite film of all time is. Plus who doesn’t love that magical feeling you get wandering around DisneyWorld in Florida?! I haven’t been for well over ten years but I remember the excitement as if it was yesterday.
However, I just wasn’t a fan of this film and I really, really wanted to like it. In my opinion, even the cool graphics, big names and quirky designs couldn’t save it. There were hints of humour in the film but not as many as I was hoping for and some parts even made a few kids cry. One part I did like though, was when Sacha Baron Cohen’s character, Time, told Alice something along the lines of “Everyone parts with everything eventually, my dear.” It made me realise that we shouldn’t hold on to material things and guard them so preciously, as at the end of the day, when you leave this life no-one else is going to care for those items the same way – it’s the memories you make that matter the most.
The thing I like about todays Disney films (aside from the incredible comedy they inject into most of them) is that they always carry a message, that (hopefully) gets through to the young audiences watching them around the world. Yet, with Alice Through The Looking Glass, it took an awful long time to get there. In fact, it was only within the last few scenes that it became apparent that the message was to appreciate the time we have because everything can change in a matter of a heartbeat.
Usually, at the end of every press preview screening, the audience will clap as the credits begin to roll. Unfortunately, this time that just wasn’t the case. Silence speaks volumes!
Sorry Disney, but I think I’ll stick to the 1951 classic of Alice in Wonderland instead.
A few days before it was released in UK cinemas nationwide, I was invited to Disney’s FDA Multimedia Screening of the hotly anticipated Tomorrowland: A World Beyond, in London’s Leicester Square Empire IMAX!
If you haven’t heard of this film yet, you must have been stuck under a rock somewhere. Not only is it brimming with star quality performances but it’s got amazing special effects, the creative design of the future world is super cool and most importantly, this film carries a couple of very important messages. I’m just not too sure it’s going to be powerful enough to reach everyone…
When I arrived, I was greeted by a red carpet and hordes of fans packed around the cinemas entrance. Bemused, I double checked my ticket to make sure I’d gotten the correct venue and indeed the correct day… but I hadn’t been mistaken. I knew it couldn’t have been the Tomorrowland European premiere as this had already taken place the previous Sunday, so I decided to wait around… to see who went in, of course! A couple of glammed up women went in first, who unfortunately I didn’t recognise (sorry!) but then I spotted motorbike enthusiast, world explorer and presenter of the Long Way Round programmes, Charley Boorman. My family and I are huge fans and thoroughly enjoyed watching all of the crazy adventures he’s been on with Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, so that was quite cool to see him.
And then I could hear a cluster of cheers and screams to my left. Randomly (or so I originally thought) it was Baywatch and Knight Rider actor, David Hasselhoff shuffling down the red carpet. It looked like he was really taking the time to stop and talk to as many people as he possibly could, which was nice to see. I thought at first that maybe he might have had a cameo role in some sort of futuristic getup but alas, this was not the case. I have only recently found out that he was actually there for the premiere of his own TV show, Hoff The Record, which airs on Dave later this month.
But anywho, back to the film I’m actually reviewing! I went in and nabbed the best possible seat that would provide me with the greatest experience. But before the film began, we were treated to two exclusive new trailers for Marvel’s Ant Man (due to hit UK cinemas 17th July) and the one that everyone’s been raving about, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (due to hit UK cinemas 18th December). Don’t hate me, but I wasn’t that fussed by either of them – that said, I’d still like to see Ant Man just incase the trailers haven’t been doing the film justice.
So without giving away too many spoilers, this film begins with a really detailed flash back to Disney’s 1964 Tomorrowland; a recreation of the original Tomorrowland found in Walt Disney World Florida’s Magic Kingdom, which opened back in 1955. This is where we meet young Frank Walker (played by 12-year-old Thomas Robinson) and his awesome gadget, that he wishes to submit for the New York World Fair. From this point onwards you are treated to an action-packed two-hour special-effect extravaganza, with inspiring designs of what a futuristic world could look like (as you’d expect, with jet packs and the like), and, yet more unfortunately, quite a bit of sciencey tech-like jargon – some of which flew right over my head!
One of the things I loved, and it’s a pretty simple one really, is that they designed Tomorrowland to look like a futuristic, space-aged Cinderella’s castle! Another concept of the film that I liked and was fairly comical, were the robots that were constantly chasing George Clooney (aka older Frank), Britt Robertson (who plays Casey Newton) and Raffey Cassidy (who at the young age of 12, gives a stellar performance as Athena), in an attempt to stop the trio from reaching Tomorrowland… they of course failed!
One of the things I most liked about the film, is the constant underlying messages that are subconsciously emphasised throughout, telling us (mostly) that we need to look after our planet, as it’s not going to last forever the way it’s currently being used. Young Frank Walker says wisely during his (unfortunately unsuccessful) World Fair pitch, something along the lines of “Inspiring people makes the world a better place. I’d feel anything’s possible if I saw people flying with a jet pack over me” and I felt that it was a great way to show kids to be optimistic, believing that they can achieve anything if they put their mind, and heart, into it. But I think the character who was given the most poignant messages to deliver was Hugh Laurie’s character, as towards the end he (in my opinion) spoke some home truths that some people prefer not to accept or even acknowledge. He was explaining how we as a human race create so many fictional books and films that feature the “end of the world theme” but even then, we fail to realise that this is a very possible future for our planet and not just fantasy. As he references in the film we are shown so many warning signs, such as the glaciers and ice caps melting, species becoming extinct, the changes in the climate, drought etc, but we continue to turn a blind eye. We see it as the future is far in the future… as if there’s nothing we can do about it now. There’s everything we can do about it now! A very poignant line that resonated with me is “how is it possible that we have an obesity crisis and starving people around the world at the same time?!” And I quite frankly (pardon the pun) couldn’t agree more! It’s the same with poverty and people without money, yet we have football players receiving an obscene amount of money to play a game?! Consider my mind well and truly boggled.
I’d say the only downside (which of course I’d need to watch again for verification), is that I think I spotted a continuity error in the film. If you don’t want to know any spoilers before you see it, then stop reading… right now… stop! But, in the famous scene regularly featured in the official Tomorrowland trailers, where Franks house is under attack by the crazy cyborgs we see Frank clamber into the bath tub first to sit on the left and Casey squeeze in after him, now sitting/laying squished in the tub on the right. However, after the bath tub/capsule/newly-formed-rocket-ship is catapulted from the house, it lands in the river. As the roof comes off, we see Frank climb out of the bath from the righthand side and Casey is lying in the left side of the now-boat. They’d somehow managed to switch sides in the space of 30 seconds… and in the small confinement of a one person bath tub!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my review and I’d just like to leave you with this last thought, as I feel that we really need to ask ourselves this every now and again – “What if there is a place; a secret place where nothing is impossible. A miraculous place where you could actually change the world. You’d wanna go?”. Think about it… I mean really think about it. Don’t you feel like this place is now? As we have the ability to change the future of the world. Right here. Right now. So what are you going to choose?
Images: Tomorrowland logo – staytuned.co.in/; Main cast at European premiere in London’s Odeon Leicester Square 17/05/15 – theupcoming.co.uk/; All others – my own.
It’s my first day back in the office after having a relaxing week off, so I don’t really have enough time to write a proper story as the prompt requests, which is a shame. So, instead, I thought I’d share an (incredibly flattering) sneak preview of what will be published next Monday aka Dragons Day! I’ll also be posting and sharing the links and videos on here if anyone wants to find out how I ended up in Norway… in, effectively, a onesie, crash hat and goggles… you’ll be able to here!
#174: We all have something we’d like to write about, but that doesn’t really “fit” our blog. Write it anyway.
Luckily, as stated in my headline, my blog is a load of hodgepodge… i.e. a jumble, a mixture, basically a blog full of mix and match posts. But this is what I love about it – I can write absolutely anything I want and it still fits 😀 For example…
I was first to arrive at Leicester Square yesterday, so whilst waiting I decided to have a little wander. On my travels, I enquired about West End Live‘s mini exhibition opening times as I didn’t want to miss it, and then I stumbled upon a row of sleek vehicles. These were from the famous James Bond movies and were neatly lined up to promote a new exhibition, called Bond in Motion, that has recently opened at the London Film Museum.
Once I’d met up with my guests, we entered the cinema – there were cute little dragon cookies on display (which tasted delicious may I add), refreshing “dragons blood” mocktails (which were a concoction of cranberry juice, orange juice and lemonade, over ice), the chance to feature on a HTTYD2 poster (we’re big kids so couldn’t resist dressing up in the famous vikings headdresses and attempting to slay my cousins boyfriend!), as well as other activities for the kids… face painting, balloon dragon makers etc. When we entered the screening itself, we were treated to further refreshments, popcorn and a copy of Cressida Cowell‘s original novel!
We put on our 3D glasses and in doing so, joined the biggest action packed adventure you could ever think of! Not only that, but this sequel was full of humour and it was visually, the best kids film to hit the big screen this year! The graphics were phenomenal and the hundreds of creatively designed dragons meant that you didn’t have a chance to get bored! So my congratulations go to everyone who was involved in making it – you’re all in for a very rewarding summer!
After this, we went to the West End Live mini exhibition – such a great idea! We were able to get closer to original scripts, set designs and costumes, used in our favourite theatre productions. My favourite (as you can see below), was Mufasa’s costume from The Lion King. The Lion King is my favourite West End show (joint favourite I should say, with Les Misérables) – the staging, the vocals, the costumes – everything is absolutely magical! There was also Elphaba’s famous outfit from Wicked, but the lighting restricted me from getting a decent snap.
NB: words not written or at all edited by a third party – these are my own views and opinions, no one else’s.