Tag Archives: disney

Movie Review:: Toy Story 3

20 Jun

Toy Story 3, the third movie in the Toy Story series, is a delightful edition to the Pixar trilogy.  After sitting in a dusty toy box for years, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack) and the rest of the gang feel abandoned by Andy, who is now 17 and headed off to college.  The fate of the toys is in Andy’s hands–will they be thrown into the trash, stored in the attic, or donated to a daycare?

The toys (minus Woody) choose to go to Sunnyside Day Care, a retirement home of sorts for toys.  But they soon find themselves held hostage in the Caterpillar Play Room by a group of hostile toys. Like the previous two movies, moviegoers are in for a rip roarin’ good time as the toys battle the evil Lotso Huggin’ Bear, a Big Baby Doll. and a very metrosexual Ken doll.  Potato Head lovers will be happy to know that Mrs. Potato Head plays a greater role in this movie as do Jessie the Cowgirl, who we met in Toy Story 2, and Barbie.  I imagine Mattell was drooling all over the merchandising for this flick.

Of course, in true Toy Story fashion, the story line is simple, yet delightful with quips, jokes, and humor, some of which goes right over the heads of younger children.  While I would have preferred a few more jokes over death-defying escapes, all in all I loved Toy Story 3  especially in the 3-D experience (but it would have been just as pleasurable in 2-D).

It was with a twinge of sadness I left the theater, thinking of all the toys I loved as a child (and adult.  C’mon, I’m a lifelong toy lover.)  I remembered giving a favorite toy to a deserving child, throwing away broken play things, and how I still cherish my old stuffed koala bear.  Toys are part of our story as much as we are a part of theirs–at least that’s what the imaginative minds at Pixar have convinced us of again with Toy Story 3.

Amy’s Grade: A-

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Preschooler says, “High School Musical Is Ruining My Childhood!”

18 Jun

I admit that as a child I didn’t always watch age-appropriate programming. Like when I was in fifth grade I would tune in to “20/20” on Friday nights with my mom. In fact, I think this early exposure to news journalism is what caused me to eventually pursue a degree in communications. I wanted to be Diane Sawyer and marry John Stossel. I also watched “90210” in middle school (when it was still “Beverly Hills: 90210”) and had pictures of “Brandon Walsh” (Jason Priestly) plastered all over my bedroom walls. Yet my innocence was maintained by the wild antics of the gang on “Saved By the Bell“.

However, I can say that in preschool, my main television viewing consisted of “He-Man“, “She-Ra“, “Thundercats“, and my favorite…wait for it…”Rainbow Brite“!!!! “Rainbow Brite” was the coolest cartoon in the world, and she was such a colorful dresser, too! I liked her friend, Color Kid Patty, who had green hair that so brilliantly matched her green outfit, too. Plus, Rainbow Brite not only had a cute guy pal (I think they may have been more than friends), but she had a white horse, too. That’s pretty much everything a girl needs in life, right? It is if you’re a cartoon character.

While I was attending Rainbrow Brite and He-Man themed birthday parties during my formative years, three year-olds today have moved on in the world; they’re going to “High School Musical” birthday parties. A good friend of mine who’s a daycare director told me that she was sick of hearing “High School Musical 2” music in the Pre-K classroom. I was confused wondering how the little tykes even know about the movie. She replied that she didn’t know how they knew about it, but they kept bringing the DVD in to watch on “Friday Movie Days”. I believe she issued a note to parents banning the movie from the center.

What I thought was an isolated problem is, in fact, a widespread disease wiping out the hearts and minds of three and four year-olds across the nation. They are not only listening to the music; they are obsessed with the movie. “High School Musical” is fairly amusing, but it’s not for little kids. It’s not like they even have the mental development to process the storyline. It’s all flashy clothes, jazzy music, and good-looking high school kids (who are actually too old to be in high school, but that’s another story).

Of course, the parents simply don’t know what to do to prevent their children from being exposed to the evils of “High School Musical”. According this CNN article, one mom accidentally bought her daughter a “Sharpay” doll at Target, not realizing the doll sang songs from the show. Umm, how about reading the packaging before buying your child a toy? And then not indulging her taste by throwing her a HSM birthday party? It seems like common sense in parenting just flew right out the window.

The funniest part of the story is that many little girls seem to be fans of fashionista Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale), the snobby rich girl who wants to date basketball hot shot and amateur singer, Troy Evans (Zac Efron). This is a great quote from the story, “Like 3-year-old Talya, Duplessis’ daughter Valencia is a Sharpay fan. ‘I say she seems kind of mean, and she says, `Oh, but she’s so pretty, and I really like that song “Fabulous,’ Duplessis said.”‘ here do you even start with a comment like this?” Tayla, incidentally, likes Sharpay because she “hangs out with Ryan” (Lucas Grabeel). I have a certain fondness for Ryan and his massive hat collection myself. Good call, Tayla.

Duplessis’ quote continues, “‘It’s the focus on clothes, appearance. That’s what bothers me the most. It’s good clean fun with Jimmy Choo flip flops, perfect hair and makeup. I would just rather her focus on being a kid and having fun and getting dirty.'” Personally, I’d just throw my princess out in the backyard and say get playing. Can’t you just imagine her using the stick as a microphone and practicing all the HSM dance moves instead of digging in the dirt for worms?

Yes, the Disney empire has all us all sucked into its programming, characters, and products, but unless we’re all planning on building an anti-Disney commune, it’s something with which we’re just going to have to live. It’s time for not parents (and others) to take responsibility in actually supervising the things their children are taking in. Children will never be safeguarded against all harmful influences, but parents can make intelligent choices when it comes to entertainment and toys.

Incidentally, Disney execs are quick to point out that they have eight hours of great programming for preschoolers called “Playhouse Disney” (let’s hear it for “Johnny and the Sprites“). We can always hope for a resurgence of “Rainbow Brite”, right? Better yet, let’s turn off the T.V. and teach kids how to think while exploring the outside world, instead of just watching it (or its fabrication) on the Disney Channel.

If you can’t get enough of musical movies for tweens, then you won’t want to miss out on “Camp Rock” starring the Jonas Brothers (read more).

Print copy of scribble.

There’s a Teenage Girl in There Somewhere

7 Feb

Tigerbeat Magazine

Due to overwhelming demands from Hannah Montana fans, Hannah Montana and the Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert movie has been extended another week. Now teary-eyed girls who couldn’t get tix have another chance, at least for this week. Columnist Stephen Beck finds the whole thing a bit suspicious writing, “By threatening to only play the movie a week, Disney played on one of the most basic human emotions – a parent’s desire to provide their kids with happiness. How many parents, consciously or not, said to themselves, ‘I already let my child down once by not getting them concert tickets, so I had better get those movie tickets this week before they sell out'” (full column).

Not only is Miley’s real name not Hannah Montana; it’s not even Miley! In fact, Miley’s birth name is “Destiny Hope Cyrus”. According to the Chicago Tribune, her daddy gave her the nickname because she was a rather “smiley” little girl. Now she’s not even Miley Cyrus anymore–Miley has recently changed her name to Miley Ray Cyrus to honor her papa, Billy Ray Cyrus (story). No word yet on whether or not Miley plans to grow a commemorative mullet, too.

Miley’s name change, some believe, is a way for Miley to break away from her role as “Hannah Montana” and forge her own identity as a musician. Not only that, Forbes.com columnist Steve McGookin writes an eerily interesting forecast of what may lie in store for the “Hannah Montana” franchise (read “Miley’s Musical Millions”, thanks to YPulse for the original link to the column).

Only 15, Miley’s life seems as golden as Hannah’s and yet I wonder–when does Destiny Hope AKA Miley AKA Hannah Montana AKA Miley Ray get a chance to settle down and just be a kid? Underneath the big blond wig, under the make-up, and the sparkly clothes, away from the bright lights of a T.V. set or a concert hall, she’s a fifteen year-old girl, who probably stares critically at her face in the mirror (even though thousands of people will say that she is beautiful), wonders if she will ever get married, and hopes to get her driver’s license (even though she has “people” to drive her around). On-screen and off, I’m wondering if Miley Ray Cyrus really has the worst, not the best, of both worlds.

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