Okay, so apparently there’s an official Walt Disney Company fan club known as D23, and every other year they get together to throw a massive exposition event that includes exclusive footage and trailers for upcoming Disney films. I knew none of this. Then, over the weekend, I see one bombshell Disney announcement after another due to the event that saw appearances from a number of celebrities including the newest Spider-Man, Tom Holland, and the attendance of over 100,000 guests. As a Disney fan, I’ll certainly be more attentive to D23 going forward. Here’s a list of the ten films that stood out from the show co-written with my friend and fellow blogger, Becky Davidson. You may note the exclusion of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. My excitement for the next installment couldn’t be higher, and the D23 expo showcasing a cool, but insubstantial behind the scenes featurette did nothing to fuel the flame.

Coco          November 22, 2017

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Directed by Lee Unkrich         Voices of Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Cheech Marin

My Take-It’s not the first animated film to take on Mexican culture’s Day of the Dead holiday. That was The Book of Life (2014). Will Coco suffer from comparisons? Doubtful. Pixar, when doing original material, generally blow the competition out of the water. They’re still a first class company. Still the most ambitious animation company (at least here in America), and despite not knowing much about this film, and not being overly impressed by what I do know, I trust the brand. I like that they are using all actual Hispanic people for the voice cast as well.

Becky-I’m always really excited any time I hear either Pixar or Disney Animations Studios is coming out with new, original stuff! Needless to say I’m super pumped for this film. I didn’t know what to expect from Coco at first, but the more I learn, the more I want to see the film. I’m a sucker for anything that has to do with music and it’s cool that our main character is Mexican. Go diversity! We need more of it, especially in animation. Also the animation looks really pretty. I’m at the point where I don’t want to see any more things for this film and just want to watch it.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure               November 22, 2017

Directed by Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers                                    Voice of Josh Gad

My Take-It’s a short film, so only a small deal, but it’s leading to the forthcoming Frozen 2. The short will be good. The full length Disney sequel? Disney never used to make theatrical sequels. They always focused on creating new adventures. The theme of the expo for me was cash grab.

Becky’s Take- This Frozen short sounds adorable and I love me some Olaf. There’s nothing more to be said, except that I’m here for it!

A Wrinkle in Time March 9, 2018

Directed by Ava DuVernay       Starring Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, Zach Galifianakis

My Take-I’ve never read this book. I’m a pretty avid reader, and especially of classic children’s lit, but somehow Madeline L’Engle’s 1963 novel slipped through. Truth be told, I’ve started reading it 2 or 3 times and just never felt compelled to continue past chapter 1. Perhaps I need this movie to spark my interest. The cast is strong. I like the director; a black female directing a big-budget Disney movie in 2017 shouldn’t be as important as it is. I don’t understand the plot, and the trailer didn’t help much.

Becky’s Take- I didn’t even realize that this was a thing until the trailer was released and everyone started talking about it. I know that it’s based off of a book, and I’ve heard of the book, but that’s all I really know about this story. I’m actually pretty indifferent about this film. I like that we get a diverse cast. I say again, go diversity! Some of the visuals are pretty cool too, but nothing that really excites me. We’ll see I guess.

Ralph Breaks the Internet         March 9, 2018

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Directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston                                                  Voices of John C.Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Taraji P. Henson

 My Take- I’m hearing about all kinds of crazy things they’re doing in this film. Cameos from Mario and all the Disney princesses for one thing. Wreck-it-Ralph 2 should be good.

Becky’s Take-Okay so this is a sequel that I’m actually excited for! I loved Wreck It Ralph. I thought it was refreshing in so many ways and I loved all of the referential things. I love the title “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and am just hooked off of that. To learn that there’s this whole self-aware Disney Princess reunion thing happening in the film just makes it better. The only worry, that all of the “cameos” and references could overpower the story. What made the first film so great was the story and I don’t want to lose that. I have faith that Rich Moore and Phil Johnston will prevail as they did an incredible job with the first film.

The Incredibles 2       June 15, 2018

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Directed by Brad Bird                                                                            Voices of  Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson

My Take-Finally. At long last. 14 years later. It is coming. The sequel to possibly my favorite super hero movie. Brad Bird returns. The cast is back Everything is in place for a successful sequel. This time around, according to Holly Hunter, Elastigirl is the lead protagonist, and Mr. Incredible is stuck at home with the kids.

Becky’s Take- Out of all of the films we are talking about in this post, this is the one I’m the most excited for! The Incredibles was such a good film and one that deserved a sequel. There was so much material there to be explored and I’m in disbelief that it’s taken this long for a sequel to be made. I love that it’s taking place right where the first one left off, I’m excited for more Frozone, and I need more Jack Jack. If you’re not excited for this film, you should be!

Dumbo (live action remake)         March 19, 2019

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Directed by Tim Burton                                                         Starring Michael Keaton, Colin Farrell, Eva Green

My Take-The good news is Michael Keaton reteams with Tim Burton (Batman, Beetlejuice, Batman Returns). The bad news is I couldn’t be less interested in a live action remake of Dumbo. If anything belongs solely in the realm of cartoon it was Dumbo. It’s going to very difficult to make a big eared elephant as charming in CGI as he was traditional animation.

Becky’s Take-Disney, seriously we’re gonna need to have a talk about all of these live action remakes. You’re obsessed with them! I get it, the money is appealing, but why must you remake everything?! I don’t even care that Tim Burton is the one directing it, he didn’t do too great of a job on the Alice in Wonderland films. Why is this a thing? Again, I just don’t get it and I’m not feeling it.

The Lion King (live action)       July 19, 2019

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Directed by Jon Favreau                Starring Donald Glover, James Earl Jones, Hugh Jackman, Seth Rogen

My Take-When I mentioned bombshells, the cast announcement for the upcoming live-action Lion King remake was chief among them. Hugh Jackman as Scar? Here’s the thing. No question Jackman can act, but Jeremy Irons was perfect. Jackman will have to work so much harder than Irons did to be scary, nasty, and sardonic. Those qualities came so naturally to Irons’ mellifluous voice. I think Jackman and this film will have to completely put aside Irons’ take, and just build a whole new villainous character out of Uncle Scar. He can’t be scary in the same way Irons was scary. And James Earl Jones is back as Mufasa? This is kind of hilarious to me. I agree anybody else would have been a pale imitation, but then why not bring the whole voice cast back? No one’d dead. Better yet, why remake this at all? It’s not even a “live-action remake.” It’s just a different form of animation. I’m not seeing it. I won’t mind if I’m proven wrong, and this turns out to be anything beyond passable, but I will be shocked.

Becky’s Take-WHY IS THIS A THING?! I DON’T GET IT! Okay, I so I know that this is a money grab, but still! The Lion King is one of those films that should not be touched or remade. This film is already doomed to fail as you will never be able to top the original. Also, can we even call this live action? All of the animals are getting the same CGI treatment as the ones in The Jungle Book. The Lion King is all about animals, so isn’t this really just some elevated animated remake? It seems that they just want to show off their new technology. You want to do that, cool, just go make something original. Apparently people were moved by what they saw at D23 Expo, but I’m still extremely skeptical of it. This is something I didn’t ask for, and certainly don’t want.

Toy Story 4     June 21, 2019

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Directed by Josh Cooley                            Voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen

My Take-I’m so disgusted by this. The trilogy was ended exactly right. Now Woody’s coming back to find Bo Peep. Eww. That’s featherweight stuff. This is a flagrant cash grab by a company that has always been better than third sequels.

Becky’s Take-Ugh, I’m so upset that this is actually a thing too. I thought that Toy Story 3 was such a solid way to end the trilogy, and the three films feel very contained. Usually, when there is a change in the director it doesn’t bode well. However, since the reason Lasseter left was related to not having the time to do it, it doesn’t make me more skeptical of this project. I hope this sequel brings lots of new things to the table, it is the only way it will be good and not a rehash of any of the previous films.

Aladdin (live-action)        No Release Date

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Directed by Guy Ritchie                                                                      Starring Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott

My Take-I’ve written previously on my blanket opinion about these live-action remakes. At a certain level, they will always be pointless. Will Smith stepping into the beloved Robin Williams’ shoes is a brave undertaking. He has the charisma. Guy Ritchie directing intrigues me. I’m a fan, despite recent missteps. There’s really nothing to do with these films except wait and be skeptical. It’s a cash grab for the studio but not for these actors, the director, and his crew.

Becky’s Take-Another live action remake that is totally unnecessary. The new casting does not make me excited for it one bit. When you had first asked me to co-write this blog post with you, you were like, “I’ll just send you 10 things that interest me and you can share your opinion, like Will Smith as Genie?” I honestly thought this was some weird ass example that you had pulled out of your ass. I can’t believe that this is a real thing! What is this casting? Have the directors lost their mind? Probably, seeing as how they didn’t cast a Middle Eastern actress to play Jasmine. I think part of the appeal of these live action remakes is seeing these characters we’ve loved in real life. People have always felt that Princess Jasmine was so white washed in the animated film, so why not take the opportunity to get this representation right? I don’t have anything against Naomi Scott, but I just think it’s the wrong call. Also, these casting choices worry me for the eventual Mulan remake, which I had originally been excited for as it is something that could be captured well cinematically.

Pixar’s Suburban Fantasy Movie           No Release Date

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My Take-Not much information yet, but the key words here are “original” and “Pixar.” News feeds mention talk of elves and trolls mixed with a suburban setting. Curious. It’s also a very personal film for the writer, Don Scanlon, who lost his father when he was a year old, and is incorporating some of that in the story.

Becky-Finally, another original film that we get to talk about! Sometimes it feels like we’re living in sequel and remake hell, so I’m always excited for things that are original especially when it comes to Pixar and Disney Animation Studios. They are just so fucking brilliant sometimes, and this new film from Pixar sounds like it has serious potential. The idea of a suburban fantasy is cool and Pixar can get super creative with the world building. Also anyone else get the feeling that we’re all going to cry our eyes out?

-Becky Davidson, https://simplybecky8.wordpress.com/-

-Walter Howard-







One thought on “10 Intriguing Films from D23 Expo (2017)

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