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Jul, 2010

Scary Story 3... I Mean Toy Story 3

It’s movie review time! Here we go…

I took my three year old daughter to see Toy Story 3 this morning. $6 matinee! WOOHOO! I never saw Toy Story 2 and Aubrey, my daughter, has only seen Shrek Forever After and Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel – poor kid. But I loved the first one and Aubrey already has a Woody, Jessie and Bullseye toy package so we were excited to check it out.

Aubrey just started going to movies in the theater as she is finally old enough to sit through a rated G film and enjoy herself without annoying everyone else in the theater. Especially me. While she still likes to yell a little something out every now and then, like, “Hey, let’s dance!” or “Why are you crying mommy?!” attending weekday morning matinee is pretty much a guaranteed crowd of other parents/care takers and young kids who are also talking a bit. Overall, she’s a pretty good three year old in a movie theater. I’m no fool though. I will not be taking her to see Inception later this month. Not quite yet.

Let’s just start with the Pixar animation – AMAZING! As always, it blew me away and the short before the feature, Night & Day, was really wonderful. As a matter of fact, I think Aubrey and I both liked it better than Toy Story 3. (foreshadowing… and watch out, mild spoilers)

The movie started off nicely and while the exposition maybe took a little too long, it was delightful to watch. However, after the main plot point is laid out and the toys then end up in in the Sunny Side Daycare, things get a little hairy. Or actually boring, then scary!

I don’t want to give away too much but there are some absolutely creepy characters in the daycare scenes, including a giant baby doll with one broken eye and this screaming asshole:

Yeah, remember him from the horror movie, Monkey Shines? Enough said.

After that there’s a very lengthy, dark, intense string of scenes in which the Toys are almost chopped to bits in the blades of a loud trash shredder and then burned to death in a blazing incinerator that looked something like the seventh ring of Dante’s, Inferno.

Of course, we have a nice happy ending as all Disney movies do and Aubrey stopped huddling in my lap with her eyes squeezed shut and enjoyed the last fifteen minutes or so.

Then we walked down the theater stairs and Aubrey proceeded to have a “dance party” down by the movie screen during the ending credits music. No permanent damage done, but she wasn’t asking to see it again.

This movie is rated G, which stands for General Audiences, but I would warn against taking little ones under the age of 5, maybe even add a few years if you know your child is scared easily by intense, sinister images supported by booming Dolby Surround Sound. I’ve heard from several parents now that this movie scared their child and they were disappointed.

One other parental note: This is a LONG movie for a “kid’s” movie. I’ve seen the run time listed anywhere from 1 hr 42 minutes to 1 hr 49 minutes. I suppose it depends if you count the Night & Day short at the beginning. But add in all of the previews and commercials at the beginning and it’s a long show for little ones to sit through. A couple with a little boy in our row ended up leaving early.

As a general adult moviegoer, I can’t say this one was as terrific as the first, but when are they ever? It was entertaining but I’m glad I only paid $6 for it. If you’re into animation, any Pixar film is a must-see and if you have older kids, even tweens, it will probably be a lot of fun for you!

Hope this review helps some of you out there and happy viewing! What have you seen so far this summer?! Let’s hear your opinions!

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May, 2010

Disney Interactive Game Night Was A HIT!

Last week, Aubrey and I had the opportunity to attend the Disney Interactive Game Night at Hollywood and Highland. Disney always throws a classy, family friendly shindig, and this party was no exception.
Aubrey is going to be three in two weeks and I went alone with her, so I spent a lot of the time wrangling her rather than playing games, but what we did experience, we really loved! Also, Aubrey is just below the target age for many of these family games, so we haven’t gotten into gaming at home yet (I’m still bragging about “flipping” our home version of Atari Asteroids when I was in third grade), but it’s good to know Disney is making some quality family games.
Since Aubrey doesn’t really know what video games are yet, I told her we were going to a “special party” by Disney. She kept asking if Mickey Mouse was going to be there so I was worried she might be a little disappointed to find out it wasn’t a Mouse party, but I was wrong. She had a blast!
The first game we checked out was the oh-so popular Club Penguin. Every parent and kid on the planet seems to know more about Club Penguin than I do so I thought I should see what all the excitement it all about. It was really cute and I can see how kids get hooked on it. We had fun just picking out outfits for our penguin!
Next we tried Toy Story Mania. OK, let me amend that… AUBREY tried Toy Story Mania. I think I mentioned that the last video games I played were the Atari classics – Tank, Pitfall, Pong. I am really bad at modern video games – mainly because they make me a little dizzy and motion sick and I can’t figure out the controls. It’s a good thing that my almost 3 year old picked up the controller for Toy Story Mania and figured out how to make Jessie the Cowgirl jump on and off her horse and ride all over the screen! Even the guy demoing the game for us was a little surprised. Kids!
Aubrey is currently horse obsessed after visiting relatives with horses last month, so this game was a real hit for her! I can’t wait to take her to Toy Story 3 later in June!
The third and final game we played was definitely our favorite – Sing It: Family Hits. All of my favorite Disney family movie songs (Supercalifragilis, Winnie The Pooh, Kiss The Girl…) in karaoke mode! For a woman who makes her living on stage with a microphone and her kid who is a bigger ham than her, this game was a blast. I couldn’t get Aubrey away so I can imagine a game like this may easily be in our future.
Just before we left, we caught a glimpse of an iPad demo of some of the cool Disney Interactive apps. The games looked really cool, but I have to admit I was just excited to touch an iPad…. oooooohhhhh!
I should mention that there were MANY more games that we didn’t get to. Titles like Phineas and Ferb, Split Second, Toon Town, Cars, Guilty Party, Pixie Hollow and more were all there and everyone seemed to be having fun.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a complete Disney party without awesome, family friendly food. Disney is great at putting together buffets that are gourmet versions of things kids love to eat, so the adults are in food heaven too. The buffet included cheeseburger and shrimp po’ boy sliders, onion rings, French fries, fruit kabobs, hummus, wraps, quesadillas and more but the best part was the desserts which included home made ho hos, ding dongs and twinkies that were out of this world. The banana pudding and apple pastries were great too and the kids were all over the Club Penguin snow cones.
Overall, it was a great night and it was such a treat to be able to share it with my daughter. She really had fun and is still talking about the “special party”. Thank you Disney Interactive for a special night together!

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