Scar, and Other Talking Points of New “Lion King” Remake Trailer

About one month and a half ago, we saw what had been the recent teasers for Disney’s remake of the 1994 animated classic “The Lion King.” Thus far all previews of the CGI-laden live-action movie centered on the original opening sequence. For those who tire of hearing “Circle of Life,” this new trailer’s for you.

We finally get to see more of the lush and vibrant African wilderness setting that “The Lion King” is known for. This time the focus is on the antagonist, the lean and hungry Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and his plot to remove his brother Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and nephew Simba (JD McCrary) to become King.

But to make things concise, we’ll talk about everything in this new trailer for “The Lion King,” in list form:

  1. First scene is Simba and Nala (Shahadi Wright Joseph) as cubs, exploring the Elephant Graveyard. Scar is heard in voiceover, with a paraphrasing of his speech to the hyenas.
  2. First shot of Scar; he is slim but with an almost similar mane color to Mufasa.
  3. Hyenas appear to confront Simba and Nala, intercut with a probable later scene where they appear at Scar’s side.
  4. Redone scene of Mufasa talking to Simba atop Pride Rock, where this time he goes into further detail about how the Circle of Life works. Cut to Simba exploring the animals of the Pridelands and meeting Zazu (John Oliver, see above).
  5. Comparative scenes are shown, of Scar and the Hyenas (possible “Be Prepared” sequence), and of Mufasa continuing his discourse while Simba measures his paw in his father’s pawprint.
  6. Redone scene shows the wildebeest stampede, plus the aftermath with Scar “banishing” Simba who is chased by the hyenas.
  7. The exiled Simba hangs with his new friends Timon and Pumbaa (Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen) in the “Hakuna Matata” time-skip sequence.
  8. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” sequence involves adult Simba (Donald Glover) and Nala (Beyoncé).
  9. Rafiki (John Kani) adding a mane marking to the symbol of Simba on his tree.
  10. Last scene shows Timon and Pumba wandering the forest while singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

“The Lion King” premieres July 19.

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Disney Flexes New Cinematic Power by Previewing Fox-Marvel Movies Alongside MCU Films and More, at 2019 Cinema-Con

Following the completed acquisition of 20th Century Fox and other related media assets last month, it was only a matter of time before Disney begins showing them off alongside its other subsidiaries. That time came with the 2019 Cinema-Con film industry trade show, running Monday to Thursday this week at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

Off the bat, Disney chairman Alan Horn spoke of the sheer cinematic firepower that is “Disney and Fox combined” in future. He says during his opening address, “We are truly excited because we believe that together we will be more than the sum of our parts. It’s just an unbelievable collection…coming from bold visionary filmmakers…”

This was followed by exclusive footage from upcoming Disneyand Fox – films for this year. Here’s a list of the choice preview highlights from them:

  1. Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) is fairly confident she can beat Thanos (Josh Brolin) and rubs all the surviving Avengers the wrong way.
  2. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) tests Marvel/Carol by summoning Stormbreaker close to her head (like in the trailer).
  3. Nebula (Karen Gillian) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) volunteer locations where Thanos may be; the former knows where he might be resting while the latter discovers another world that had its life population halved (ie. Thanos).
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix – This is the final installment of Fox’s “X-Men” reboot (from “First Class”) before MCU possibly integrates the characters.
  1. Prof. Xavier (James McAvoy) volunteers the X-Men to rescue NASA astronauts in a space crisis.
  2. The rescue mission ends with Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) left behind and possessed by the Phoenix.
  3. Her return to the Xavier School triggers gossip and uneasiness, especially as Jean feels herself losing control, and liking it.
  4. Magneto apparently attacks the school, only for Phoenix Jean to “shut him down.”
  1. Aladdin (Mena Massoud) and Abu explore the Cave of Wonders, and survive its collapse when Abu touches something forbidden.
  2. Genie (Will Smith) is summoned (like in the trailer), followed by full “A Friend Like Me” musical sequence.
  3. Palace dance features Aladdin and Jasmine (Naomi Scott), with him coaxing her onto the magic carpet towards the “A Whole New World” sequence.
  1. Full sequence is shown of Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and young Simba (JD McCrary) talking about the Pridelands kingdom atop Pride Rock (Mufasa’s lines overheard in first teaser).
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  1. No footage, just a behind-the-scenes look.
  1. Flashback to how Bo Peep (Annie Potts) was given away between the events of the second and third film.
  2. Montage of how young Andy played with his toys before eventually passing them on to Bonnie (Madeline McGraw) in the third movie.
  3. Extended sequence from trailer shows Woody (Tom Hanks) introducing Forky (Tony Hale) to the rest of the toys after Bonnie made him in class.

Being exclusive means no videos, but here’s hoping you enjoyed the descriptions we wrote down. And there was no peep on “Star Wars: Episode IX” despite its franchise being mentioned.

“Toy Story 4” Trailer: Points to Discuss

When Disney and Pixar released “Toy Story 3” in 2010, critics and audiences felt it concluded an awesome animated trilogy. The departure of a key character after entrusting the rest of the cast to another seemed a definitive end to the story. Nobody expected a “Toy Story 4,” but here it is coming this year.

Any doubts regarding a fourth “Toy Story” disappeared November last year with the first teaser. A follow-up preview showcased two new toy characters. But it was a full trailer released this week that finally shed light to the cast and the plot. Here’s a quick rundown of what we learned:

  1. Woody (Tom Hanks) true to form has become a leadership figure among his friends and the toys of their new person, Bonnie. He specializes himself in helping toys be the best children’s companions they can be.
  2. Bonnie turns a spork into a doll she calls Forky (Tony Hale) for a class project. Bringing her home, she becomes her favorite toy. But the act of turning a non-toy into a toy is traumatizing for Forky, who doesn’t like his new “alive” state and wants nothing to do with being a toy despite Woody’s encouragement.
  3. In his obsession to escape his toy-hood, Forky escapes from the Anderson Family’s camper while Bonnie and her parents are on a road trip. Woody follows him without hesitation to bring him back.
  4. Forced to go on foot, Woody and Forky arrive at the town of Grand Basin, where in an antique shop they run afoul of an old talking doll named Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) and her army of non-talking “Benson” ventriloquist dummies.
  5. Woody and Forky are rescued by a figure from Woody’s past: Bo Peep (Annie Potts), former “toy” of Andy’s sister Molly that was sold in a yard sale before “Toy Story 3.” Having spent years passing hands without real owners has made her an independent spirit who thinks toys can exist outside of being children’s playthings, a notion that Woody is conflicted with.
  6. Bo tries to sway Woody from returning to Bonnie with Forky by showing him her current hangout: the Grand Basin fairgrounds. Woody seems affected, to Forky’s concern.
  7. With Jessie (Joan Cusack) and the rest of the toys wondering what to do about the missing Woody and Bonnie, Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) decides to copy his old buddy and jump from the camper, finding his way to the fair (where he gets picked up as a stall prize)
  8. Bonnie wasn’t going to not notice her toys disappearing. Her emotional hurt is something everybody with a favored toy – past and present – feels.
  9. Bo Peep introduces Woody to the fairground toys (including a cameo from Pixar’s “Tin Toy” from 1988). She tries to argue that children frequently lose toys anyway, to further dissuade Woody from going back “home.”
  10. During his time as a carnival prize, Buzz antagonizes fellow prizes Ducky and Bunny (Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele).
  11. On the road of life, there are old friends, new friends and stories that change you.”
  12. Woody starts feeling an existential crisis towards the end when he muses, amid memories of Andy and Bonnie, “I was made to help a child. I don’t remember it being this hard.”

Disney-Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” premieres on June 21.

Points of Interest in New “Aladdin” Remake Trailer

Of the three big Disney live-action remakes of their Animated Canon coming out this year (two if you discount the photorealistic CGI of “The Lion King”), “Aladdin” seems to come across as the weakest link. Its first teaser was minimalistic, and a later follow-up sort of “scarred” viewers who criticized the SFX work for Will Smith as the blue-hued Genie.

While “Dumbo” and “The Lion King” worked interest consistently with their previews, “Aladdin” was considered to be flubbing its own promotion. But when Disney finally released a full trailer for the movie on Tuesday, a vocal part of the criticism shut up; it was beautiful.

Let’s list some talking points:

  1. Aladdin (Mena Massoud) evading the palace guards (surely leading to the “One Jump Ahead” number) was pretty frenetic, with parkour choreography that would recall videogames like “Prince of Persia” (also adapted by Disney) or “Assassin’s Creed”
  2. Jafar’s (Marwan Kenzari) recruitment of Aladdin for the Cave of Wonders; rather than disguising himself thoroughly he appears to play himself in pitching the lamp-fetching to our hero; he still sounds kind of squeaky, but he doesn’t look overly sinister, which might explain why he’s trusted in Agrabah
  3. The first appearance of Genie (Will Smith) sees him act like the classic Arabian Night archetype rather than Robin Williams’ manic standup comedian…at first, then he gets to the funny dazzle
  4. “A Friend Like Me,” nuff said
  5. Aladdin discussing his Prince wish to Genie has the latter point out the vagaries of it – between “Make ME a Prince” and “MAKE me a PRINCE” – by conjuring a Prince that talks like he came from Bel-Air
  6. Genie giving “Prince Ali” wooing advice for Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) calls to mind Smith’s role in 2005’s “Hitch,” but with magic powers
  7. “A Whole New World” would like to point out to viewers that Scott is a singer
  8. Short snippets like a(n apparently authentic) Middle Eastern dance with Ali and Jasmine, and Ali being tossed into the sea while bound to a chair, show that this movie will not carbon-copy scenes from the 1993 original animation
  9. More action sequences like Aladdin doing parkour on an icy chasm, plus being chased by an apparently enlarged Iago the parrot help add an epic live-action scale to the narrative
  10. On an aside that’s not included on the trailer, Iago in this film will be voiced by Alan Tudyk rather than Gilbert Gottfried; whether he’s fitting or not remains to be heard

Disney’s “Aladdin” arrives in theaters this May 24.

Disney Might End “Media Vault” Practice to Make “Everything” Available on Disney+ Streaming

One practice that has been prevalent on Disney over the decades was its tendency to put a number of its productions in a “vault.” This means making home video releases of individual films available at only limited intervals before putting them on moratorium. This causes past Disney movies to languish from lack of tape and disc copies in circulation, at least until the company decides to do a limited re-release.

A recent statement by Disney CEO Bob Iger will apparently turn that practice on its head, when he claimed that many – possibly all – Disney movies placed in the vault will gradually be made available on their upcoming streaming program Disney+, starting sometime after its launch.

The Disney Vault has been conceptualized as a method by the House of Mouse to control its media market and ratchet up consumer demand with every limited-time release of new films and re-release of old.

Disney fans have long soured of the practice, which eventually extended to the matter of digital distribution via online streaming. With Disney+ as an exclusive platform, the company sees merit in releasing their vaulted media there, the same way they’ve removed their media from other streamers turned competition like Netflix.

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News of Iger’s vision for offloading the Disney vault on Disney+ received positive reactions from fans on social media as well as investors. Doubled with the promise that a Disney+ subscription will cost less than for Netflix, it’s no wonder that people are getting excited.

Not everyone is raring to jump on Disney+ yet though. Others remain cautious until the platform finally launches. And regarding the matter about opening the company’s media vault, they’ll wait for an acid test in the form of, perhaps, releasing the 1941 live-action-animated movie “Song of the South,” notorious for past accusations of depicted racism.

A possible launch date for the streaming service is being anticipated with Disney’s investor day event this coming April 11.

New Release Date for “Maleficent” Sequel, and List of All Disney and Related Major Film Releases for 2019

If fans of Disney and its connected film studios are paying attention, they’d realize that this 2019 is turning out to be one of the most release-heavy years for the media giant in terms of movies. It’s easily shaping up to be one of their most packed schedules yet devised.

For instance, Disney has three remakes of their classic Animated Canon (two in live action, one live-action-looking). Their second-busiest filmmaking arm (Marvel Studios) matches that output. And let’s not forget new animated pictures, and “Star Wars.” If you think that’s bloated already, then apparently Disney thinks one more won’t hurt.

According to Vanity Fair, Disney’s sequel to “Maleficent,” the 2014 live-action remake (more like retelling) of “Sleeping Beauty,” has been moved earlier from its original May 2020 premiere to this coming October. Now it’s like almost every month there will be a Disney production debut.

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To better illustrate this weighty schedule, here’s a list of all Disney and related-studio films coming this 2019. Fox isn’t included for now, because as of this writing the acquisition deal isn’t even finalized yet. Only major cinematic releases count:

Disney Pictures

  1. Dumbo (March 29) – live-action remake
  2. Aladdin (May 24) – live-action remake
  3. The Lion King (July 19) – “live-action” CGI remake
  4. Jungle Cruise (July 24) – new “based on Disney theme park attraction” live-action movie
  5. Artemis Fowl (August 9) – live-action based on children’s urban fantasy adventure book series by Eoin Colfer
  6. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (October 18) – sequel to “Maleficent” (2014)

Disney Animation Studios

  1. Frozen II (November 22) – sequel to “Frozen” (2013)

Pixar

  1. Toy Story 4 (June 21) – fourth installment, following end of “trilogy” in 2010

Marvel Studios

  1. Captain Marvel (March 8) – prequel set in the 1990s
  2. Avengers: Endgame (April 26) – last part of MCU Phase 3, and “end” of overarching storyline from Phase 1
  3. Spider-Man: Far from Home (July 5) – first part of MCU Phase 4

Lucasfilm

  1. Star Wars: Episode IX (December 20) – last part of Sequel Trilogy and conclusion of Skywalker family story

That’s 12 movies in all. Starting from March, at least one will be premiering every month except for September. That’s just incredible. Disney really dominates in 2019.

List of Visual Tweaks in Repeat Scenes Between First and Second Teasers of “The Lion King”

While the 91st Academy Awards was going on in the evening of Sunday, February 24, and Disney managed to get its slate of Oscars for the year among its list of nominees, they also managed to showcase an extra treat for fans during the telecast.

That was a new teaser trailer for the remake of “The Lion King” directed by Jon Favreau that’s slated to premiere after “Dumbo” next month and “Aladdin” on May. Footage featured there are some repeats from the first teaser, plus some more CGI conversions of the original 1994 animated intro.

Eagle-eyed observers have noticed though, that there are subtle adjustments in the repeated teaser footage from the first to second.  Screen Rant also took notice of the differences. Here we’ll list what have been seen:

  1. Sunrise – change in cloud patterns in the sky
  2. Simba and Mufasa’s footprint – changed light shading on Simba’s fur
  3. Gathering at Pride Rock – new teaser features less clouds, more substantial grass; there has however been speculation that this shot is taken from the end of the film instead
  4. Simba in Sarabi’s “Lap” – altered Simba’s facial angles, lighter fur color and more visible forehead spots
  5. Anointing of Forehead – Simba’s facial fur looks fuzzier like down; he also sneezes at the end of it
  6. Rafiki Presents Simba – changed view angle, changing background from cloudy sky to Pride Rock
  7. End of Teaser – zooming out from Pride Rock, an altered color palette is also visible

You can check out the differences for yourself by watching the two teasers down below.

Disney also released online a new promotional poster for “The Lion King” which features not only Simba but Mufasa as well, against the familiar big African sun backdrop. Favreau, who received accolades for his live-action remake of “The Jungle Book” in 2016, looks ready to convince critics that the new Disney adaptations aren’t as horrible as naysayers claim they are.

“The Lion King” arrives in cinemas this coming July 19.

List of Disney Nominees – and Winners – at the 91st Academy Awards

The 91st Academy Awards were held in Hollywood this past Sunday, February 24. Ratings for the broadcast were reportedly much improved from last year, apparently because of the choice to go host-less. As expected, Disney managed to score a number of nominations for its 2018 films from its various studios. Several of them were lucky in winning their Oscars too.

Here we have a list of all nominees under the Disney umbrella for the latest Academy Awards, with notations indicating if they won an Oscar.

Walt Disney Pictures

  • “Mary Poppins Returns”
  1. Best Original Score
  2. Best Original Song (“The Place Where Lost Things Go”)
  3. Best Production Design
  4. Best Costume Design

Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • “Ralph Break the Internet”
  1. Best Animated Feature Film

Pixar Studios

  • “Incredibles 2”
  1. Best Animated Feature Film
  • “Bao”
  1. Best Animated Short Film – WON

Marvel Studios

  • “Black Panther”
  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Original Score – WON
  3. Best Original Song (“All the Stars”)
  4. Best Sound Editing
  5. Best Sound Mixing
  6. Best Production Design – WON
  7. Best Costume Design – WON
  • “Avengers: Infinity War”
  1. Best Visual Effects

In addition to these, Disney CEO also praised the strong performance of movies from 20th Century Fox during the Oscars, in a show of full confidence in the company’s impending acquisition of that studio and other assets from Fox.

The combined domestic box office output of all Disney nominees from 2018 in the Academy Awards this year is around $3 billion. If the Disney-Fox merger had already happened, then their combined worldwide earnings would be $10.2 billion. Perhaps we’ll be looking at numbers like that by the 92nd Oscars.

“Pirates of the Caribbean 6” Development Halts with Departure of Writers; Franchise Might Be Over for Disney

A great deal can be said about Disney’s film series “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which was based on one of their theme park rides. The very first movie in 2003 can be argued to have revitalized the pirate movie genre, and in over a decade and a half the film franchise achieved a $4.5 billion global box office gross.

Recent entries haven’t been as lucrative in earnings, doubled with problems trying to keep on actor Jonny Depp who plays the “Pirates” face character Captain Jack Sparrow. Disney has bounced ideas of a reboot without Depp/Jack, even tapping some writers for it. But things have stalled.

Fortune tells us that Disney has fallen back into a rut regarding the production of a new installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which would also serve as a reboot to the film franchise. That is because assigned screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, best known recently from 20th Century Fox’s blockbuster “Deadpool” movies, are announced to no longer be attached to the “Pirates” project.

With the departure of the writing team, and with now update on anyone else picking up where they left off, it appears any production for more “Pirates of the Caribbean” may no longer be on.

The genesis of the “Pirates” franchise had been a very unusual story of unlikely success in itself. As already stated, it was originally a theme park ride. And when the initial movie “Curse of the Black Pearl” came out, it was under the shadow of prevailing moviemaking wisdom that pirate films don’t sell at all.

To this, “Black Pearl” had answered with an astonishing $300 box office blitz in the US for 2003. It also netted a Best Actor Oscar nomination for Johnny Depp, crystalizing his characterization of Captain Jack Sparrow as the new-age archetype of a romanticized Caribbean pirate.

Disney had been frantic to revitalize the “Pirates” film series as a possible alternative should its current reigning subsidiary franchises “Star Wars” and the MCU begin to falter. But with the loss of their writers for a sixth film, and the feasibility of making such a movie without the iconic Jack Sparrow character, it may be time for the studio to figuratively bury the franchise.

“Frozen II” Trailer: List of Points to Discuss

When Disney’s 2013 animated film “Frozen” became an avalanche of an international blockbuster and fountain of memes, talk immediately turned to making a sequel for it; and not just any home-video follow-up like of old but a true theatrical-release continuation. True, there have been two shorts during the interim, but fans are really looking forward to “Frozen 2” which Disney pegged for 2019.

After a disappointingly hilarious “teaser” after the end credits of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” last year, “Frozen” followers can finally bask in the glory of the first official preview for the second film, released Wednesday, February 13.

In just about a minute and a half, the “Frozen II” sticker may have just cured some fans who may still have franchise fatigue from the original film and its subsequent shorts, plus intrigued bandwagon detractors by its more action-packed sequences and foreboding visuals. Let’s list the trailer’s important scene points and talk about them.

  1. Elsa’s new getup – from the prim and restrained royal gown to her ice dress with thigh-high slit, Elsa in “Frozen” evolved from a paranoid fidgety lady to a sassy woman reveling in freedom; her reconciliation with her sister Anna aside, Elsa maintained her snowflake-pattern dress fashion with only minimum seasonal modifications; for the sequel the Queen of Arendelle finally goes significantly different with what appears to be an ice pantsuit with leggings, for greater mobility
  2. Elsa’s sea run training – the escape across from the coronation was one of the many stunning visual sequences from the first film, done by a scared witless Elsa across a relatively calm fjord; having already worked past her issues Elsa looks more confident in testing the potential of her ice powers further by trying to navigate a stormy sea; but why her intense physical exercise?
  3. The strange ice diamonds – as Anna is witness, Arendelle palace seems to have been suddenly surrounded by numerous snowflake-like diamonds; perhaps they have something to do with her sister; but where did they come from?
  4. Kristoff’s reindeer army – yes, Kristoff is never too far from his trusty reindeer mount Sven; but now it seems they have to answer a situation that needs lots of hoofed reinforcements; what do you think?
  5. Anna’s “Cliffhanger” act – famously remembered for initially failing at rock climbing in “Frozen,” Anna certain seems to match Elsa for picking up some action girl physical skills; is there a motivation for their peak form?
  6. The unquenchable fire – there has never been a physical flame that Elsa’s ice cannot quench, until now; and if she can’t put out these strangely-colored fires, Olaf might pay the price
  7. The girl and the figure – we see a new brown-haired girl walking along an autumnal forest until she’s startled by a figure bursting through the leaves, as if yanked up; could the first one be the “girlfriend” desired by LGBT Elsa-fans for their queen?
  8. Where are they going? – Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Sven seem to be taking leave of Arendelle in order to go into a new land that is in autumn; what could be waiting for them ahead?
  9. The ambush – great danger instincts, reflexes and swordplay on Anna’s part; but who or what was that which tried to ambush their adventuring party at the end of the teaser?

“Frozen II” premieres this November.

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