Finding Dory

Finding Dory is the follow-up to the highly successful Finding Nemo, and takes us on a story with Dory. We’ve been to see a 3D preview screening as part of our DisneyLife membership which we now pay for.

Finding Dory

Finding Dory. Ahh see, sequels can be so difficult to make when following something which is much-loved and done well. In a nutshell, Finding Dory succeeds – it really does. It’s funny, it isn’t a tear jerker like some of the Pixar films can be, though it has its moments.

We have a brief recap of Finding Nemo and Dory’s life before we’re whisked forward a year and our story begins.

Dory has short term memory loss. We find this out straight away as her parents are trying to teach her to remember things – and through a chain of events (which Dory has flashbacks to throughout the film) she loses her parents. In the future she has a flashback while helping Nemo’s class and remembers her family and information about where they live. Accompanied by Nemo and his dad Marlin, they make their way to the Marine Life Institute on the other side of the ocean. They handily get a lift there from some turtles!

Finding Dory - Dory

So then it’s the big task of Finding Dory ‘s parents, which of course isn’t straightforward. Marlin and Nemo are split from Dory, who is captured and placed in the Marine Life Institute in quarantine, where she meets Hank, a seven legged octopus aka a septopus (he has seven tentacles due to being grabbed in the ‘Touch Pool’ area of the Marine Life Institute). Dory also meets friends she knew when she was younger.

There are plenty of twists and turns, plenty of laugh out loud moments, and some moments where you really hope good things will happen. It’s a really enjoyable hour and a half – and there’s a lot of Dory of course.

There is a LOT going on in Finding Dory, with an easy to follow plot. I found I didn’t drift off at all and was laughing a lot. It is definitely the lighter side of Pixar and – SPOILER ALERT – handy for concerned parents who know how Pixar films tend to go – there are no deaths.

Finding Dory H with poster

The final word goes to H on this, who as we were leaving the cinema (we had to rush out, but I’ve since read there’s a little Finding Nemo reference right at the end) said, “we’ll be getting this on DVD, right?” – think that’s a big thumbs-up then!

Finding Dory is in UK Cinemas from the 29th July 2016. We received a free invite to attend a 3D screening via our paid DisneyLife subscription.

Oh, and as a final note, H still has NO idea she’s going to Disneyland Paris this year – and we’re doing a great job at keeping quiet about it all!

The Good Dinosaur – Our Review

Disney Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur is in cinemas – and we went to see it a couple of weeks ago.

the good dinosaur

The Good Dinosaur is the latest Disney Pixar animation, and one H was desperate to see – her love of dinosaurs and our love of Pixar films meant we went, of course.

So what happens when several million years ago, that asteroid hurtling towards earth misses? Fast forward several million years later, and dinosaurs rule the earth, and we get to meet Arlo the Apatosaurus, born to parents Henry and Ida, as well as his two siblings Libby and Buck. Arlo is shy, unconfident and timid. He’s given a task of setting up traps to protect their silo – and eventually comes across Spot, a young feral caveboy who has been stealing their corn. Arlo captures Spot but sets him free.

In the meantime, the classic Pixar ‘thing’ happens, death. Arlo then sees Spot, who he blames for the death, chases him, hits his head on a rock and ends up being saved by him. Both then try to make their way home, meeting several characters along the way and becoming friends in the process.

How scary is The Good Dinosaur? It has its moments – but as with all Pixar films, it’s family friendly – just think of the relationship between Arlo and Spot as a person and their family pet – except Arlo is the human and Spot is the dog. I found it charming and enjoyable.

Watch the trailer here –

The Disney Store have recently launched some toys from The Good Dinosaur – we were sent a Spot Small Toy (rrp £12.95) and a Tin Art Case Set (rrp £12.95) to review. H loves the Spot toy – he’s quite small but has the characteristics of the caveboy – and I would say Spot probably steals the film, so H was happy. The Tin Art Case Set has everything you’ll need for any colouring or writing you might need to do – pens, pencils, crayons, paints, felt tips, ruler and rubber plus a notebook, and a pair of young-child friendly scissors (i.e. without blades).

We think it’s a fine selection of The Good Dinosaur merchandise, and it’s available in store and online now – see the slideshow below for what’s on offer!

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Star Wars – The Force Awakens with a Six Year Old

Star Wars is in cinemas now, but is it appropriate to go to  The Force Awakens with a six year old?

Star Wars The Force Awakens Logo

Seeing Star Force – The Force Awakens with a six year old might sound like a challenge – after all, the film is certified a 12A, but that doesn’t mean your child can’t go, it just means they need to be accompanied by an adult.

I had a look at other films which had a 12A rating, which include James Bond. H has only watched the very start of Skyfall (she likes Adele) which made me feel quite nervous about what The Force Awakens might have in it content-wise.

To be safe I had to check spoilers, and ask friends for advice who had seen the film before me. This link is really helpful – WARNING – it does have a major spoiler in it which you can’t avoid (it doesn’t name the character), so don’t say I didn’t warn you. Once I’d read the info on this page I felt fairly comfortable that H would cope fine with the plot.

The Force Awakens with a Six Year Old

One thing which we didn’t think about were the trailers beforehand. Obviously, being a 12A means the films being trailed aren’t sweet films like Charlie Brown, you’re getting violent content. We had around 30 minutes of trailers before the film started, so it may be worth checking how long they are before you go. They were the scariest part of it all. I kind of wished the trailers were PG, as they must know younger kids will be going (example – one film was about London being destroyed and was quite graphic).

There was one part H was left uncomfortable with, when two major characters meet in a forest and there’s conflict. Other than that everything seemed fairly standard Star Wars stuff – the violence was more implied than seen. It was LOUD. Really loud. It was possibly at my limit without earplugs – so if your child doesn’t like noise then it might be worth having some earplugs or headphones handy when you go. A lot of the film reminded me of the spirit of the first film (Episode IV these days).

In fact, on coming out of The Force Awakens with a six year old she decided to play ‘Star Wars’ with her friend. She was Rey, the most kick-ass female lead in a movie in a while. I approve. Rey put up a good fight in the film and strikes me as a good confident role model.

In fact, Disney have just released a whole new load of merchandise bits for The Force Awakens, including plenty of Rey figures included. I suspect we’ll be getting H a Rey costume at some point in the next year… All the items below are available now from the Disney Store!

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Annie – Out on DVD 27th April!

As you’re probably aware, Annie was remade last year. Updated. I wanted to hate the film and the idea they’d changed a musical I’d grown up loving; the fact it was different; but actually, on seeing the trailers I had already been won over.

annie school

We went to watch Annie before Christmas at the cinema, and came out smiling – H was ridiculously happy – her favourite songs in a film on the big screen, and a story she could relate to. She prefers the remake to the 1982 film – we’re going to see the stage version this November.

So what have they changed about Annie?

She is now a foster kid – not an orphan in an orphanage. Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz) takes in foster kids to get money from NY State – though she’s still not the most motherly of mothers. Annie knows she was left outside a restaurant by her parents, and a certain food they ordered, so she waits outside the same restaurant every Friday in the hope they might go back. She shares an apartment with other foster kids, and ‘Maybe’ and ‘The Hard Knock Life’ both live on.

 

While she’s making her way home, she’s saved from a road incident by Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) who pulls her out of the way in time from a van, saving his reputation (as someone happened to YouTube the incident, what with him wanting to be the Mayor of NY, and people recording everything on their phones all the time) – so Grace, his assistant makes a deal with Miss Hannigan to have Annie stay with him to help improve his public image. ‘I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here’ gains an update – and it fits well with a story which has a New York background to show off.

ANNIE - 2014 FILM STILL - Grace (Rose Byrne) and Annie (QuvenzhanŽ Wallis) sing "I Think I'm Gonna Like it Here" on Stacks' terrace - Photo Credit: Barry Wetcher © 2014 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved. ALL IMAGES ARE PROPERTY OF SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT INC. FOR PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY. SALE, DUPLICATION OR TRANSFER OF THIS MATERIAL IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

So what happens next? Well, it follows the same Annie path, they grow fond of each other, he wants to adopt her, and she wants to find her real parents.

 

Fans of Annie will almost certainly spot the references to the original musical which pop up throughout the film – see the picture below for one within the first five minutes! Songs from the musical are referenced throughout the film, ‘NYC’ and ‘Something Was Missing’ feature in an instrumental break, the full ‘Something Was Missing’ song comes as an extra on the Blu Ray (not the DVD though) – it was never used in the final film.

annie recognising its past

Annie has moved with the times – when everyone becomes aware that Annie’s parents aren’t her real one and they need to track her down, it’s Instagram which helps them find her (I’m not sure how well that will date in thirty years, mind!) Plus mentions by pop stars like Katy Perry on Twitter – it’s a very ‘now’ film which recognises its past.

So Annie, remade. The verdict? It has a PG certificate due to some mild bad language – which went completely over H’s head. It’s fun, it’s bright, it’s a showcase for New York where lonely people find each other with a spectacular backdrop.

annie and stacks

I’d say a big green traffic light thumbs up, though it may be worth covering stranger danger with your child beforehand if they’re sensitive to it – but let them know there’s a happy ending (and let’s face it, she isn’t hanging off a bridge waiting to be saved which was always a little bit weird).

Annie is out on DVD tomorrow (did you see what I did there? Although that would be April 27th to the rest of us) – available from Amazon and all good retailers.

Annie DVD

There’s a Twitter Party going on RIGHT NOW, Sunday 26th April between 2-4pm – make sure you’re following the hashtag #anniemovieparty – come join in the fun!

We were sent a copy of the DVD and some Annie goodies (including a lovely Sandy plush toy) – everything above is our own opinion. All images were found via the internet, used without permission but to illustrate this blog post. This post contains an affiliate link. 

 

Cinderella & Frozen Fever

Yesterday the new Cinderella film opened in cinemas, and before it is the new Frozen short, Frozen Fever. With H being the obsessive she is about all things Frozen I took her as it was the last day of term and I felt like we needed a treat.

Cinderella and Frozen Fever were released in cinemas yesterday, March 27th. I snapped up tickets as a treat for H and I so, what do you need to know? Well, firstly, I’ve decided to try and simplify film reviews on Mum Friendly, and try to waffle less. This is my first attempt, after discussions in the Mum Friendly Facebook Group. We’re using a traffic light system.

 

Frozen Fever

Frozen Fever

It’s short. You can buy the new song ‘Perfect Day’ from iTunes which takes up the bulk of the short. We bought it beforehand and didn’t really have a context, but once you watch it you don’t really get it out of your head. It’s Anna’s birthday and Elsa wants to make it a perfect day as she has never been able to celebrate her birthday. She has help from Kristoff and Sven, and it’s a really nice little in-between before Frozen 2 happens in the future. It has plenty of funny parts, and H was laughing out loud in her seat. The entire cinema went silent once it started too!

Green lights all the way, certificate U. Slight grump at the idea that there’ll be new Frozen ephemera including little snowpeople which Elsa creates when she sneezes! (snowgies?!) and of course new dresses… sigh!

Cinderella.

Cinderella - Ella and the Prince

The story of Ella, whose mother and father die, who is treated badly by her new stepmother and stepsisters – and you know the rest, it’s the traditional Cinderella story in film, beautifully updated and told.

Deaths – three. H ‘got’ what was going on, and didn’t seem too sad about it. I’d say this is amber depending on how sensitive your child is – you may need to explain beforehand.

Story – wonderful, really wonderful. The filming really makes the movie – and the views of the land and castle reminded me of Arundelle (Frozen) – the settings of both made me realise how well they compliment each other. The story is easy to follow, not scary and a delight. A lot of the film is narrated by Helena Bonham Carter, and H was transfixed as the coach and horses were transformed to take Cinderella to the ball. The Ugly Sisters are no longer ugly, they’ve just ugly personalities for the film and it is no longer mentioned. The only song which features throughout is ‘Lavender’s Blue’, the old traditional folk song and nursery rhyme.

Cinderella - Fairy Godmother

Top Tip – stay for the end credits and you’ll hear a version of ‘A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes’ towards the end. I can see ‘Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo’ is on the soundtrack, which makes me wonder if that followed it – we left the cinema, so I can’t say.

Cinderella is a green light (just be prepared with the deaths), certificate U. The only thing I would say is both films with trailers came in at two hours – a lot of younger children were getting twitchy, so be prepared for a long sit down!

Peppa Pig The Golden Boots Review

This morning, H and I travelled to Leicester Square, stood in the cold and then walked the pink carpet outside the Odeon – as it was the official premiere of the Peppa Pig special which is showing at most cinemas this half term – including the new 15 minute episode – here’s our review of The Golden Boots!

Peppa Pig Golden Boots

I’m not going to give much away – but I think it helps knowing what to expect when you go to the cinema – you see, you’re getting almost an hour of Peppa fun, featuring classic episodes, and of course the 15 minute long extended special, The Golden Boots.

The first thing you’re aware of, Peppa Pig has been going for ten years now – I’m assuming this is a one-off to commemorate this, bringing all the old favourites back. But how do they extend a five minute episode into three times its length without becoming boring? Peppa’s charm is the short episodes, easy chunks to follow especially for a preschooler.

The Golden Boots starts with a song – one about splashing in muddy puddles, set to the Peppa theme – so already you’re onto a winner. The Milkshake presenters devise a little dance to it afterwards, and encourage you to join in – and it does feature a couple of times in the episode. Peppa and her friends leave their wellies outside when they go in to have a drink – and Mrs Duck comes along and steals them.

Then the fun starts – once they work out what has happened, they need them back – it’s the Muddy Puddle jumping competition, and Peppa can’t take part without her Golden Boots – even though Suzy Sheep says they’re yellow.

They try to find the boots which take them over several places, land, sea, the moon, to try and get them back in time for the competition. Will they make it? Well, let’s face it, as a parent who has probably seen most Peppa episodes, there hasn’t been one with a sad ending yet…

The episode features all your favourite Peppa characters, and flew by. The applause afterwards confirmed it – a hit with all the kids there (and us adults too, okay?).

As a parent watching my child watching the Peppa episode, she laughed along, enjoyed herself and had fun – and I know we’re probably at the older age range now for this. Rewind back to when she was two, and this is the kind of thing I’d have made sure we went to see at the cinema as a first experience – at an hour it isn’t too long, there are older episodes in there (The Fire Engine, Baby Alexander, Whistling, Snowy Mountain and The Queen) with plenty of in-between chat from the Milkshake presenters. Plus of course, it’s Peppa; plenty of familiarity there.

The Golden Boots is exclusive to cinema’s over the February half term – week commencing the 14th February 2015. Odeon are offering children’s prices for all tickets too – good, as it’s so short!

Peppa Pig – The Golden Boots

PEPPA PIG SPECIAL EPISODE PREMIERES IN CINEMAS NATIONWIDE FEBRUARY 2015

Peppa Pig Golden Boots

Join Peppa and her friends for a unique cinema experience when brand new and first ever 15 minute special episode ‘The Golden Boots’ debuts on the big screen!

For the first time ever, Peppa Pig is heading onto the big screen nationwide for a whole hour of Peppa fun! Guaranteed to entertain the whole family throughout February half term, fans can have an exclusive look at the first ever 15 minute special ‘The Golden Boots’ in addition to 5 favourite ‘Peppasodes’ and a whole host of entertainment from the Milkshake! presenters.

For an exclusive sneak peak, click here for the brand new trailer.

In the brand new ‘The Golden Boots’ episode, young fans can watch Peppa on her quest across land, sea, and even into space to find her missing golden boots before the big Puddle Jump Competition.

Exclusive to cinemas, this experience will only be available during the February half term, from 14th February.

COME ALONG and WEAR YOUR BOOTS for PUDDLES OF GOLDEN PEPPA FUN!

We’re going on Sunday to the premiere – and will be reviewing it too! Stay tuned…

Sleeping Beauty – Out on DVD, Blu-Ray and Download

On June 2nd 2014, Walt Disney’s classic Sleeping Beauty is released on DVD, Blu-Ray and download. We have been sent a copy to watch, so had one of our ‘moovy nites’ (according to H).

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty needs no introduction – the Walt Disney film is 55 years old. I know I’ve seen it, and remembered parts when we watched it, and it was a lovely opportunity to revisit childhood memories.

So, the story. The princess is born and named Aurora, three good fairires Flora, Fauna and Merryweather cast magical gifts to her, though before the third can be done Maleficent the evil sorceress places a curse on her – that she will die before sunset on her sixteenth birthday by touching the poisoned spindle of a spinning wheel. Fortunately Merryweather casts a spell – Aurora will fall into a deep sleep and just has to be kissed by her one true love to wake up.

The film is easy to follow, the memories came back (the changing colour of her dress mainly!), and the ending is a happy one. H liked it best when “the mean lady was dead, and when the colours changed on the dress as that was very funny listening to their argument!”

Sleeping Beauty

This Sleeping Beauty release is perfectly timed with the new Angelina Jolie film Maleficent. It’s a film I’d like to see but as it’s rated PG it’ll be one we watch at home I suspect. Maleficent isn’t cast as an evil sorceress, she’s a badly treated one – something which the Disney film doesn’t portray. Both stories are based on the Brothers Grimm story ‘Little Briar Rose’.

Sleeping Beauty took most of the 1950’s to produce – and was Disney’s last animation which was hand-crafted using ink before they moved onto xerography – though it did feature in this film in the dragon sequences before being re-drawn in pen and ink. The music throughout the film is taken from Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty ballet, which earned the film an Academy Award.

There are bonus features on the DVD and Blu-Ray too – we enjoyed watching a short about the Grand Canyon which was shown in cinemas at the original theatrical release of Sleeping Beauty.

We have some lovely activity sheets for you to download and print out – have fun! We’re going to have a go at them all – right click on the image to download the pdf please!

Aurora String Maze Aurora colouring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleeping Beauty is released on DVD, Blu-Ray and download tomorrow, Monday 2nd June 2014. (affiliate link)

We were sent a copy of Sleeping Beauty for the purpose of review – all opinions are our own!

Reef 2 – Coming Out on DVD and Blu Ray!

Reef 2 is set to be released on the 17th February 2014 on DVD, Digital and On Demand from Paramount Home Media Distribution.

Paramount Pictures in association with Empire Film Distribution Ltd  Reef 2. TM, ® & Copyright © 2014 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

Reef 2 is the sequel to the 2006 film Reef and brings the return of the little fish Pi (short for Pisces) who has to save his beloved reef. Troy the nasty shark that Pi saw off in his last adventure returns, with several of his friends just in time for high tide.

Pi’s family feature in this animation – his good lady fish Cordelia (voiced by Busy Philips) and their son Junior. Pi trains his friends in fish-fu to help defend themselves in case of attack. Things don’t quite run to plan when they find out Ronny is a spy for Troy. Cordelia is fish-napped leaving Pi and Junior to rescue her!

Reef 2 also sees the return of Nerissa, the wise old sea turtle voiced by Rob Schneider.

We watched Reef 2, and while some parts were a little scary for H, overall she enjoyed it. Think along the lines of Finding Nemo when that gets scary (shark teeth – eek!) and you’re close. There were several funny moments too, and we had an enjoyable movie afternoon watching it together. We were able to talk about the scary bits and what a big meanie Troy and his gang were which helped with her understanding of it all!

Reef 2 runs for 80 minutes and has a U Certificate. Reef 2 is released on the 17th February 2014 and is available for preorder now.

Watch the official trailer:

We also have some fun activity sheets which tie in with the release of the film – right click to download them!

 

We were sent a DVD copy of Reef 2 for the purpose of review. All opinions are our own and honest. This post contains an affiliate link.

Jack The Giant Slayer – Movie Night

Jack the Giant Slayer is a film I’ve wanted to see as it’s a remake of the two traditional stories Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack the Giant Killer (a film I watched every year when I was young when it was shown on Christmas Day – check that link for the trailer, seeing the giant on there still scares me – despite it being the least scary giant ever, serious 1970s flashback moment)

magic beans

We all know the Jack and the Beanstalk story, but the other story is lesser known. In Jack The Giant Slayer, Jack (Nicholas Hoult) is given beans, the beanstalk grows as you’d expect, but the other story’s elements are a little more violent, giving this film a 12 rating.

Princess Isabelle happens to be in Jack’s house when the beanstalk grows, taking her up to the land where the giants live, so Jack and the King’s men all climb up the beanstalk to find her. Ewan McGregor is the military commander in charge, Ian McShane is the king. Bill Nighy plays the part of the two-headed leader of the giants, Fallon – just one of the heads though. Ewan Bremner appears as one of the Kings men too.

There’s plenty of giants eating humans, you don’t see a lot but it’s implied. Ewan McGregor almost becomes a sausage roll and there’s plenty of ‘fee fi fo fum’s in there too – which originated in Jack the Giant Killer and has evolved through the years (as you’ll hear at the end of the film).

I found the film enjoyable, grim (the picking nose bit made my stomach turn!) and one of those ones you enjoy watching. It’s 109 minutes long, and is out now. Here’s the link at Warner Bros for more information

Jack The Giant Slayer

We were sent a DVD with some beans for the purpose of review, all opinions are our own. No beanstalks have yet grown, nor giants harmed.