Avengers Campus: Disneyland’s newest park

Disney launched Star Wars: Galaxy Edge, their Star Wars-themed park in June of 2019. On July 18, just over a year later they are opening an entirely new park with an Avengers theme called Avengers Campus. Marvel is a huge property for Disney, and considering the job they are doing with the Star Wars franchise, we should expect a top quality experience.

The park seems to be built around an existing attraction, that was launched in 2017, called Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! But there is a ton of new stuff as well.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Characters you’ll find – Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, the cast of Black Panther, Ironman, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-man and the Wasp, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Taskmaster, Thor, Doctor Strange. I am sure I missed some and I am sure they will add some more too.
  • WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure, which takes guests on an interactive escapade.
  • Iron Man in his new armour, the Mark 80.
  • An original story tying all the characters together.
  • WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure, the first Disney ride-through attraction to feature this iconic Superhero.
  • Doctor Strange will train recruits in the ways of the mystic arts by bringing his ancient Sanctum to life with powerful spells.
  • Three new dining spots
  • Impossible™ plant-based large and micro meatballs with pasta served in a super-sized spoon with a tiny fork

That is just a taste of the fun Disney has in store for their newest park. Read the full press release below.

ANAHEIM, Calif., March 11, 2020 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Avengers Campus, an entirely new land dedicated to discovering, recruiting and training the next generation of heroes, will open July 18, 2020 at the Disneyland Resort, inside Disney California Adventure Park. Guests who are lifelong fans of Super Heroes and those discovering them for the first time are invited to team up with the Avengers and their allies to live out their Super Hero dreams in this fully immersive land that mixes innovative technology and fun for all ages.

Avengers Campus brings together Earth’s Mightiest Heroes for the common good, and they’re calling all recruits to join the action: Team up with the Avengers and their allies; sling webs with Spider-Man, taste-test inventive food and drinks and become part of a bigger universe. Kids and guests of all ages will find their powers as they unite with family and friends to take an active role alongside some of their favorite heroes, with a chance to live out their own heroic story.

Avenger Campus Entrance

Guests will have the chance to witness Spider-Man swinging into action high above Avengers Campus with gravity-defying, acrobatic feats never seen before in a Disney park. That may inspire them to experience the new attraction, WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure, which takes guests on an interactive escapade. And that’s just the beginning of the fun. Families and friends will train with Black Panther and Wakanda’s elite guards, the Dora Milaje; team up to save The Guardians of the Galaxy from The Collector’s Fortress; encounter heroes (and villains), and experience the thrills as Avengers hold off their foes and save the day. Those seeking provisions for their next mission will find them at Pym Test Kitchen.

While exploring Avengers Campus, recruits may encounter Iron Man in his new armor, the Mark 80, revealed for the first time at a Disney park. Ant-Man and The Wasp appear for the first time at the Disneyland Resort and Doctor Strange will train recruits in the ways of the mystic arts at an ancient Sanctum. The villain Taskmaster also debuts at Avengers Campus, and Black Widow, Black Panther, Thor, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America and Captain Marvel are among those joining the action.

“When we set out to create these extraordinary Super Hero experiences across the globe, we designed a new Spider-Man attraction for Disney California Adventure park in an immersive land with amazing character experiences,” said Scot Drake, portfolio creative executive for Walt Disney Imagineering. “We also crafted an original story that ties all the experiences together in ways that are authentic to these characters. We worked side-by-side with teams that brought the Avengers films and comics to life to create a place that champions the next generation of heroes.”

“Avengers Campus will be a place where fans and guests can finally step into the universe they love, and stand alongside some of their favorite heroes,” said Dave Bushore, vice president of Franchise Creative & Marketing for Marvel Studios. “The optimism inherent in Avengers Campus captures the diversity, power and teamwork these extraordinary characters possess, and now they come together to unite people from all over the world under one guiding principle: We are stronger together.”

Step into a new place in the universe

The doors to Avengers Campus welcome all Avengers, their allies, and new recruits. Tony Stark offered up the site, formerly one of his father’s Stark Industries complexes, as a place to train the next generation of Super Heroes.

The story of the land unfolds with authentic detail as Avengers Campus is comprised of several heroic locations, each hosted by a different Avenger or their ally to share their unique powers, technology and knowledge with recruits. Optimistic and forward-looking, these represent galactic spaces, mystic places, modern architecture and sleek technology.

The first key address is the Worldwide Engineering Brigade – also known as WEB. It brings together bright innovators like Peter Parker who have been assembled by Tony Stark to invent new technologies and equip everyday people to become heroes. WEB is home to the new WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure, the first Disney ride-through attraction to feature this iconic Super Hero.

Avengers Headquarters is the heart of the land, an iconic building where guests may catch a glimpse of the Avengers springing into action ready to save the day.

Sling webs with Spider-Man and unite with the Guardians of the Galaxy

Tom Holland will reprise his role as Spider-Man in the land’s new attraction, WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure. This new, action-packed adventure invites guests to put their web-slinging skills to the test, a feat accomplished with innovative technology adapted specifically for this attraction. The mission: team up with Spidey and help capture the out-of-control Spider-Bots before they wreak havoc on the Campus. During an open house at WEB, Peter Parker and the aspiring inventors ask guests to wear 3D glasses and test drive their latest invention, the WEB Slinger vehicle, which allows them to sling webs like Spider-Man and experience what it’s like to have super powers.

Avenger Campus at night

This family-friendly attraction blends physical sets and virtual environments to take new recruits on an interactive escapade. There is no height requirement for this attraction, allowing aspiring young heroes to join the fun.

Looming high above the land is the towering citadel of Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!, a fan-favorite that opened in Disney California Adventure in 2017. Guests are the protagonists of this rockin’ adventure as they help rescue a cosmic gang of misfits. Taneleer Tivan, a.k.a. the Collector, has brought his unique collection of fantastical fauna, relics and species from across the cosmos to Earth. To their misfortune, Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket, Drax and Groot were recently made a part of Tivan’s “collection” and are being held captive within his Fortress. It takes some raucous mayhem, music inspired by the soundtracks from the movies and thrilling free-fall drop sequences for this adventure to break out the Guardians.

For the first time: Taskmaster, Ant-Man and The Wasp join a land full of heroes

Throughout Avengers Campus, Super Heroes come to life in ways that are more exciting than ever.

At Avengers Headquarters, guests have a chance to witness epic action as Captain America, Black Panther or Black Widow face their villainous foes. Or, they may see Spider-Man defying gravity as he flips 60 to 65 feet in the air above the rooftop of the WEB building. Following those stunning moves, Spider-Man will swing down off the building to ground level to meet up and say hello to new recruits.

New recruits at Avengers Campus may have heroic encounters with Iron Man in his new armor, Captain Marvel, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Doctor Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther and Thor, some of whom are making their first appearances at the park. Loki gets into mischief, and Groot continues to roam near the Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!

The villainous Taskmaster, who will have a role in the upcoming film “Black Widow,” is seen for the first time at a Disney park at Avengers Campus. Taskmaster’s abilities include photographic reflexes. Taskmaster can replicate Super Hero moves, making this new villain a balanced foe for the Campus heroes.

Recruits can train with Black Panther’s loyal bodyguards, the Dora Milaje, to learn wisdom from Wakanda and what it’s like to be a member of this elite royal guard. Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje, also debuts for the first time in a Disney park as she leads this training encounter.

Exploring the overgrown ruins of an ancient Sanctum, guests can learn mysterious secrets from Doctor Strange and discover ancient, magical artifacts. Doctor Strange will train recruits in the ways of the mystic arts by bringing this ancient Sanctum to life with powerful spells. At night, the Sanctum glows even more vividly with majestic colors and lights, pulsating with mystic energy.

Pym Particles produce tiny treats and big bites

When it is time to take a break from the heroics, three new dining spots will offer sustenance.

Pym Test Kitchen: Just as Ant-Man and The Wasp used “Pym Particles” to grow and shrink just about anything, the Pym Test Kitchen applies this innovative science to the food creation. This unbound potential allows Pym Test Kitchen to showcase normal foods at unusual scales, including shareable bites, inventive-sized entrees and tiny treats. As guests watch the Pym food scientists at work in the kitchen lab, they will see a conveyor belt transport a regular-sized pretzel into a quantum tunnel – and it comes out big!

Guests will be able to taste-test foods like the Impossible™ plant-based large and micro meatballs with pasta served in a super-sized spoon with a tiny fork. Another choice is the “Pym-ini,” a panini on toasted focaccia with meats, cheese and marinara dipping sauce, which can be served by the slice or as a long, multi-portion sandwich. Those will go well with a glass of Pingo Doce, the distinctly green beverage from Avenger lore that will be available at Avengers Campus.

Gigantic soda cans and condiment bottles will be mounted in the vestibules so diners can tap into their accompaniments. Outdoor seating is a great place to watch for Super Heroes as they may be nearby taking on a challenge from Taskmaster.

Pym Tasting Lab: Adjacent to the Pym Test Kitchen, an oversized beer can overhead signals that grown-up beverages are available at Pym Tasting Lab. Guests may order a craft beer, ranging from a blood orange hefeweizen to an amber lager. These are poured from a reverse draft system where, thanks to the food scientists, the glass fills from the bottom up. Those thirsting for a beer cocktail will have four to choose from, along with bite-sized snacks.

Shawarma Palace: Fans may recall that after the Battle of New York, the exhausted Avengers took Tony Stark up on his offer to try the food at the “shawarma joint” about two blocks from the battle zone. There at Shawarma Palace, the Avengers discovered their new favorite food. The Avengers loved the food so much that when it came time to build Avengers Campus, they invited the Shawarma Palace crew to open a second location at Avengers Campus. Now, guests and heroes on the go can enjoy their favorite shawarma-inspired snacks at this food cart, which is decked out with memorabilia for Avenger fans. This cart offers hand-held savory wraps with fragrant chicken shawarma and garlic sauce. Or, guests may choose the Impossible™ plant-based falafel wrap.

Terran Treats: Taneleer Tivan did not limit his collection to lovable misfits; he is also curating a weird and wonderful menu of intergalactic eats at this food cart near Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! Churro spirals with unique flavors, and a cosmic orb with an outer shell revealing a decadent creamy filling, are just a few takes on what concoctions he has conceived to lure guests to his Fortress.

The latest in Spider-Bot prototypes

At the WEB Suppliers store, guests may find just what aspiring WEB members need, including swag to show off some WEB pride, items to tinker with at home and something every hero needs – a friendly sidekick. Interactive Spider-Bots, much like the ones seen throughout Avengers Campus, are powered by a remote control with eight articulated legs that move forward and backward. Guests may customize their Spider-Bot with tactical upgrades to harness the powers and style of some of their favorite Super Heroes including Black Panther, Iron Man and Black Widow, as well as Ant-Man and The Wasp. Guests may also connect with their friends’ Spider-Bots for epic showdowns.

Other must-have items at WEB Suppliers include a specially-designed backpack to carry and show Spider-Bots when they are not in action, stylish Spider-Man goggles that light up and interact with their surroundings, a Spider-Man action figure that interacts with mini Spider-Bots, Web-shooters that come to life with lights and sounds, a take-home spider web kit and Funko Pop! vinyl figurines of Spider-Man and Iron Man.

The Campus Supply Pod is the place to power up with official Avengers Campus gear including performance fleece hoodies and tees, headwear, drinkware and other Super Hero supplies.

Guests may learn more about Avengers Campus at Disneyland.com/AvengersCampus.

About the Disneyland Resort

The Disneyland Resort features two spectacular theme parks – Disneyland (the original Disney theme park) and Disney California Adventure Park – plus three hotels and the Downtown Disney District, comprising unique dining, entertainment and shopping experiences. The Resort’s hotels are the luxurious, 948-room Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which also features 50 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club units; the magical, 973-room Disneyland Hotel – both AAA Four Diamond properties – and the 481-room Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel with its “day-at-the-beach” theme. For information on attractions and vacations at the Disneyland Resort, visit Disneyland.com, call (866) 43-DISNEY or contact local travel agents. Located in Anaheim, Calif., the Disneyland Resort opened July 17, 1955. Open daily, year-round.




Drew Fortier: Stop-motion cinematographer answers our questions

Drew Fortier is a Toronto-based stop-motion cinematographer who has worked on television shows such as Glenn Martin DDSCelebrity Deathmatch, and Disney Channel’s Jojo’s Circus. He also worked on Edison & Leo, an oddball film directed by Neil Burns that premiered at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival and is considered to be the first Canadian stop-motion feature. A graduate of York University, Drew has worked on, Fantastic Mr Fox, Kubo and the Two Strings and Tim Burton’s black and white masterpiece, Frankenweenie.

Bamcat: chatted with Drew about his work on Frankenweenie and what advice he has for someone wanting to get into stop-motion animation. Read our Q&A below.

How did you get involved with Frankenweenie?

I got in contact with the director of photography, Pete Sorg, and told him I was super interested in expanding my horizons in stop-motion. I had been working in television for nine years up to that point and wanted to branch out to feature films. He graciously invited me to London to come take a look at the sets and I managed to get on the crew as a camera assistant. I then moved up to becoming a lighting cameraman.

And what exactly does that job entail?

Because we were running about 30 studios the director of photography can’t be in all the studios at once. So basically the lighting cameraman works underneath the DP to recreate his vision in other studios. I would go in an light sets based upon the style Pete Sorg had laid out. I’d work with a crew of two others — a camera assistant and a gaffer — and we’d work together on our own sets.

This is a project that Tim Burton has been working on well before he was a big name director and is very much his baby. How was he to work with and were you a fan going in?

I’ve always been a fan of Burton and he’s one of the reasons why I wanted to get into stop-motion animation. Working with him was very exciting. He’s a very humble and calm presence on set, which is always good with stop-motion where you’re constantly under the gun as far as time is concerned. He knew what he wanted and it was definitely a treat working with him.

What did you find the most challenging aspect of making the film was for you?

Shooting in black and white. It was my first time shooting in a black and white scenario and I’ve been doing colour for so long that I had to wrap my head around the subtleties. That and the time pressure. There never seemed to be enough time to get everything done.

I saw some of the sets from the film and even in real life everything appeared to be in black and white. Did that change how you handled the lighting and camera setups?

Definitely. All of the puppet fabricators and set designers who were putting everything together were able to put a finer grade of texture and detail on everything because it was all taken down to black and white. From a camera perspective we were able to get a rich texture out of everything. And harking back to all the old horror movies that Tim was referencing, it added this really nice rich element and allowed us to play with contrast a lot more, which is something you don’t get to do that often working in colour. It opened up this whole new world of filmmaking and was very, very exciting.


Since you began working in stop-motion have you noticed a big change?

Absolutely. The advent of digital SLR cameras has really been a big push to allow stop-motion to flourish on a large scale. The science behind everything is constantly pushing it every year too, from making the fabrication of puppets easier to being able to model small lamps and stuff like that. It’s going to be interesting to see where it’s going in the years to come. It’s exciting to see.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get into stop-motion?

The best place to start is by making your own work. I’d say as soon as you get that stuff made just start sending it out to people and put it up on Vimeo. That’s really where it starts… working out of your parents basement or garage. You really can teach yourself a lot by going through the process like that.

Do you hope to direct a film yourself one day?

Are you kidding? Absolutely! That’s always been the dream. Until then I still feel I have so much more to learn and I’m very excited about working with so many other talented people out there. I hope to learn a lot more before stepping into those shoes.

What can the audience expect to get out of Frankenweenie?

I think it’s going to really standout. There’s lots of excitement in it. There are excellent characters in it and it’s going to be a visual treat for people. The black and white definitely pushes it to the max and the 3-D adds to the campy nostalgia Tim Burton was going for.

What are you working on next?

Right now I’m back in Toronto doing freelance work and looking at other options, hoping to get another stop-motion feature. There’s quite a few in production right now and I just want to keep working in this field as much as I can.

For more info on Drew Fortier and his work, visit drewfortier.com.

CONTEST: Win a Blu-ray copy of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2. Groot (Voiced by Vin Diesel). Photo courtesy Film Frame. ©Marvel Studios 2017.

The awesome folks at Walt Disney Motion Pictures Canada sent over a Blu-ray copy of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 for me to giveaway to one lucky reader! This is not only one of the best movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but one of the best movies of the summer! 

To enter the contest like and share this post on Facebook and tag my page bamcatBuzz! It’s just that easy 🙂

Contest runs until 12 a.m. ET on September 15, 2017 and is open to all residents of Canada over the age 18 (excluding Quebec). Winners will be randomly selected and notified via Facebook. Facebook is not a sponsor of this contest. 

Check out the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 below.

Ka-chow! You can now get directions from Lightning McQueen in Waze

Cars 3

Jackstorm Storm and Lightning McQueen are pictured in a still from Cars 3. Courtesy Disney-Pixar.

The popular GPS app Waze has added the voice of Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) as a navigation option. And it’s a lot of fun if you don’t mind hearing his frequent “Ka-chow!” catchphrase.

A tie-in to the release of Cars 3, you can also change your display vehicle icon to Lightning McQueen or new character Jackson Storm (if you prefer a more classy voice you can also select Storm – voiced by Armie Hammer – as a navigation option).

To set your navigation voice to Lightning McQueen or Jackson Storm, open the Waze settings (the gear icon) and scroll to “Voice directions” and look for “English (US) – Lightning McQueen” or “English (US) – Jackson Storm”.

To change your vehicle icon, go to the Waze settings, scroll to “Advanced settings” and select “Display & map”. Select “Car on map” and select Lightning McQueen or Jackson Storm.

RELATED: Disney’s taking Lightning McQueen on a Canadian road trip

Unlike the recent addition of Mr. T’s voice to Waze, Lightning McQueen and Jackson Storm are available to Canadian Wazers.

Cars 3 opens in theatres on June 16. Check out the trailer below.

Will you switch your Waze voice to Lightning McQueen or Jackson Storm? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Disney Castle LEGO set now available for LEGO VIP members

LEGO Disney Castle

Are you ready to build a 4,080 piece LEGO Disney Castle?

If you ever felt the need to build a LEGO replica of Walt Disney World’s Cinderella Castle, you’re in luck as the official set is now available to order for LEGO VIP members.

With a crazy 4,080 pieces, the Disney Castle set measures 48cm wide by 74cm high and features a detailed facade, clock, stone bridge, arched entrance, four-storey main building and a five-storey tower.

RELATED: LEGO Imagine Nation Tour coming to four Canadian cities

Rooms inside the castle are based off of animated Disney films and include items such as a chest with book of spells, buildable candelabra and a large redbrick-patterned stove.

The magical model also comes with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Tinker Bell minifigures.

BELOW: Explore the Disney Castle with LEGO Designer Marcos Bessa

If you’re not a LEGO VIP member (which is a free loyalty program so why not become a member), you’ll have to wait until Sept. 1 to purchase the set, which retails for a cool $399.99 in Canada.

RELATED: The Force is strong at Walt Disney World’s Disney Hollywood Studios

For more information on the Disney Castle LEGO set or to become a LEGO VIP member, visit shop.lego.com.

Are you excited for the LEGO Disney Castle set? Will you buy it for yourself or your kids? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Canadians can save on a Disney Magic cruise this October

Disney Magic

Canadians can save 25 per cent on select Disney Magic cruises to the Bahamas this October.

Want to take the family on a cruise this fall and save some money? Consider booking a trip to the Bahamas on the Disney Magic!

Canadians can get 25 per cent off the current rate for Verandah and Oceanview Staterooms on select seven or eight-night Disney Magic cruises between Oct. 7 and 29.

RELATED: The Force is strong at Walt Disney World’s Disney Hollywood Studios

The cruises depart from New York City and include a stop at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida for a day (tickets and transportation included), along with a stop at Castaway Cay. You also get to celebrate “Halloween on the High Seas,” which I think my kids would go nuts over.

Details of the four cruise options eligible for the discount are below:

7-Night Halloween on the High Seas Bahamian Cruise from New York on October 15, 22 or 29, 2016 – Pack your best disguises and set sail on a ghoulish cruise to Castaway Cay in the Bahamas and Port Canaveral, Florida, where you’ll experience even more Halloween action at the Walt Disney World Resort. During your 4 days at sea, you’ll have the chance to soak up your ship’s onboard entertainment—including specially themed activities, celebrating a holiday filled with tricks and treats.

8-Night Halloween on the High Seas Bahamian Cruise from New York on October 7, 2016 – Glide over to Florida’s Port Canaveral for a memorable day at Walt Disney World Resort, then visit Nassau and Castaway Cay, Disney’s private-island paradise in the Bahamas. Four total days at sea gives you ample time to enjoy your ship’s diverse amenities and unique Halloween-themed activities.

You can book this deal online, via a travel agent or by calling 1-800-491-9744. For more information, visit disneycruise.disney.go.com.

Are you excited for this Disney cruise offer? Ever taken a Disney cruise? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

The Force is strong at Walt Disney World’s Disney Hollywood Studios

Star Wars Disney Hollywood Studios

Walt Disney World’s Disney Hollywood Studios is getting its ‘Star Wars’ on.

When Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas we all knew it wasn’t just to make more movies. Disney wanted the brand so they could incorporate it into their TV shows, video games and theme parks. And it appears fans have been pleased with how Disney has handled their purchase of Star Wars so far.

The Force Awakens is still earning gobs of money and rave reviews at the box office and Disney Infinity 3.0, the latest installment in their video game series, is one of the best games the house of mouse has ever released. But what about the theme parks?

RELATED: Thinking about booking a family trip to Disney World? Check out this hot deal

The Star Wars Launch Bay opened at Walt Disney World’s Disney Hollywood Studios in December and has become a popular spot among guests. It features galleries, props from the movies and photo ops with Star Wars characters, including newest villain Kylo Ren.

Other recent additions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios include a revamped Star Tours attraction, First Order stormtrooper patrols, a re-imagined Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, Star Wars-themed food and drinks and the cinematic experience Star Wars: Path of the Jedi.

On top of all that the company announced last week a few more reasons for Star Wars fans to visit the Florida park this year.

The live stage show Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away opens on April 4 and will run multiple times a day. It features classic moments from the Star Wars movies with characters like Chewbacca, Darth Vader and Darth Maul making appearances.

Along with the live show comes the Stormtroopers march, which sees a squad of First Order stormtroopers march in formation from the Star Wars Launch Bay to the Center Stage area. It will happen at various times a day with Captain Phasma leading the march.

And beginning this summer is the next generation fireworks display, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. This nightly show, which Disney says is “unprecedented in Disney’s Hollywood Studios history” combines Star Wars-themed music and characters with fireworks, lasers, light projections and other special effects. Disney knows how to do fireworks and from the official description this sounds amazing.

About Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular:

Through these state-of-the-art special effects that project onto the nearby Chinese Theatre and other surrounding buildings, guests will gaze at the twin suns of Tatooine, push through a field of battle droids, navigate through an asteroid field, soar down the trench of the Death Star and deliver the final blow to destroy Starkiller Base. The show, which will unfold through a series of acts, will be punctuated by a tower of fire as well as powerful spotlight beams that create lightsabers in the sky.

Check out some concept art below of more Star Wars-themed attractions planned for both Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California.

Disney's Star Wars land concept art

Disney's Star Wars land concept art

Disney's Star Wars land concept art

Disney's Star Wars land concept art

Are you excited for all the Star Wars-themed attractions coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Win a copy of Disney•Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’ on Blu-ray

The Good Dinosaur

A scene from ‘The Good Dinosaur’. Courtesy Walt Disney Motion Pictures Canada.

My kids and I enjoyed Disney•Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur so much that when I heard it was coming to Blu-ray on February 23 I convinced my friends at Walt Disney Motion Pictures Canada to send over three copies to giveaway!

This contest is open to all residents of Canada (18+), excluding Quebec. Enter the contest by clicking here. Contest closes 12 a.m. ET on Mar. 1. Winners will be randomly selected and notified via email or Twitter.

Watch the trailer and find out more about The Good Dinosaur below.

About The Good Dinosaur

From the innovative minds of Disney•Pixar comes a hilariously heartwarming adventure about the power of confronting and overcoming your fears and discovering who you are meant to be.

The Good Dinosaur asks the question: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely, and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? In this epic journey into the world of dinosaurs, an apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of.

Bring home this original story full of humour, heart, action and imagination, perfect for the whole family!

The Good Dinosaur is available on Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital HD on February 23.

Disclosure: Walt Disney Motion Pictures Canada supplied the prize for this contest only. Opinions on the film are my own and are not paid for.

7 family-friendly movies to see in 2016

Finding Dory

A scene from Finding Dory. Courtesy Walt Disney Motion Pictures Canada.

With two children controlling my life it’s very rare I get to see anything in the theatre these days that isn’t animated or family-oriented. When I look back on what I saw in 2015, it was movies like Inside Out, Home, Minions, The Peanuts Movie, Hotel Transylvania 2 and The Good Dinosaur (no, I have not seen The Force Awakens yet).

In my former life as a film critic I used to see an average of 200 films a year — across all genres — so this adjustment hasn’t been easy for me. That said, 2016 thankfully looks to be a good year for family movies. I’ve counted a total of 18 films I might be able to see in the theatre, seven of which I’m really excited for (listed below).

Zootopia (March 4)

The story behind Disney’s Zootopia doesn’t appear to be that original (talking animals, one doesn’t fit in, etc.), but the colourful animation and voice cast (including CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge as Peter Moosebridge) have me and my kids really excited for it. Check out the trailer below.

The Angry Birds Movie (May 20)

I love the silliness of the Angry Birds game franchise and can’t wait to see how that translates to the big screen. From the trailer (below) I gather The Angry Birds Movie is going to be a lot of slapstick humour and fart jokes, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m also happy to see the likes of Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon, Maya Rudolph, Danny McBride and Jason Sudeikis lending their voices to the film.

Finding Dory (June 17)

Finding Nemo is cherished by many as one of the best films in the Pixar library and I feel it would be nearly impossible for them to mess up a sequel 13 years in the making. With Ellen DeGeneres back voicing the Dory character and Andrew Stanton back in the director’s chair, I’m also betting Finding Dory will be one of the biggest critical and box office hits from Pixar in a long time. Check out the trailer below.

The BFG (July 1)

Steven Spielberg teams up with Disney for this live-action adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic novel about a Big Friendly Giant who refuses to eat children. My 4-year-old says The BFG looks too scary, but my 8-year-old — who is currently reading the book — is pumped for it almost as much as I am. Watch the trailer below.

The Secret Life of Pets (July 8)

From the people who brought you the Despicable Me films, The Secret Life of Pets looks to be filled with silly humour and beautiful animation. My kids can’t enough of the trailer (below) because they find it so funny and cute (this seems to be the consensus with others online as well).

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (December 25)

Tim Burton adapts Ransom Riggs’ novel about a teenager who embarks on an adventure to an abandoned orphanage after a family tragedy. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is one of the few family-friendly Burton films to not include Johnny Depp (Samuel L. Jackson gets top billing on the IMDb). No trailer or poster has been released yet.

Jumanji (December 25) 

**Sony has moved the release date of Jumanji to July 28, 2017**

As a fan of the 1995 Robin Williams-Kirsten Dunst film, I’m intrigued with what they will do with this “re-imaging” of Jumanji. Not much information is available yet (no cast has even been announced) but it will be out on Christmas Day according to the IMDb. I recently watched the original Jumanji with my boys and it holds up really well.

Other family and kid-friendly movies opening in 2016 include Norm of the North (January 15), Kung Fu Panda 3 (January 29), The Jungle Book (April 15), Alice Through the Looking Glass (May 27), Ice Age: Collision Course (July 26), Pete’s Dragon (August 12), Storks (September 23), Trolls (November 4), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (November 18), Sing (December 21) and Moana (December 26)

What are you (or your kids) looking forward to seeing this year? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Interview: Hulking out with Mark Ruffalo

Mark Ruffalo

Mark Ruffalo at the Canadian premiere of The Avengers. Photo credit Arash Moallemi. 2011 MVLFFLLC. TM & 2011 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

This interview was originally posted on Criticize This!

When it was announced that Mark Ruffalo was taking over the role of Bruce Banner (aka the Hulk) in Marvel’s The Avengers, I was very skeptical that he could pull it off. Unlike Edward Norton and Eric Bana, who portrayed the character in the previous films, Ruffalo doesn’t fit the superhero world. He’s a great actor and excels at dramatic roles, but to play a major comic book character? No way! But this Hulk is unlike any Hulk we’ve seen before. This is the Hulk us fans have been longing to see in a film ever since Lou Ferrigno hung up his torn purple pants back in the ‘80s. Banner is older and more aware of what he is, and when he transforms into the Hulk it gave me chills and made me giddy. And no one could have played the part better than Ruffalo. He’s believable as Banner and I was left wanting to see more of him as the character. He’s also the first actor to be able to portray Banner and the Hulk, thanks to technology.

I chatted with Ruffalo about the film while he was in Toronto for the Canadian premiere.

How did you decide to put your mark on the Hulk?

Mark Ruffalo: Joss [Whedon] and I talked a lot about it before I even took the part. We both saw it as a continuation. We leave the last [Hulk film] and he’s been on the run now for six or seven years, and we were like, ‘So what happens to him after that? Where does he go after that?’ We feel he might have some control over the Hulk, or not turning into him, at the end of that movie, and we just picked up from there. He’s older, he’s in his 40’s now, and there comes a time when you’re at that age where you start to accept your shortcomings, your gifts, and you tend to turn to face those things.

Do you relate to the Hulk or Bruce Banner more in your own life?

MR: Probably Bruce Banner [laughs]. There was a time in my 20’s where I was the definition of the angry young man and had plenty of fist holes in the drywall, but that’s not a good place to live. I’m glad I’ve been able to Bannerize my existence a little bit.

Was there more pressure on you given the previous incarnations of the character and the fanbase surrounding him?

MR: It was a weird call to get and it wasn’t an easy call to make. There’s been such great actors as Banner over the years, and because there’s so much intense interest from the fans directed at the Hulk, I was definitely a little nervous. I really wanted to know how we could add to this. The one thing that was exciting to me, that no one else had done, was play the Hulk too. The technology now is such that I can play the Hulk. The actor can impress his performance upon a CG character. I always felt that in the past movies when you get to the Hulk there’s a real disconnect and you don’t feel the human continuation. Hulk never looked like the guys playing him either and that was a fight we had with Marvel early on, to make the Hulk look like Banner. They made it a rule to never have the Hulk look like Banner. I wanted to infuse the Hulk with something that is human and Joss did too.

Were you into comics prior to being cast in The Avengers?

MR: It was so part of our culture when I was a kid. Me and my cousins were always trading them. And then there was the Bill Bixby TV show [The Incredible Hulk], which I was a huge fan of. It was the only thing that could bring me in the house. That and dinner. And then I got into Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight, which was a total reinvention of the genre. I became a huge fan of the X-Men and have a signed copy of a standalone Frank Miller Wolverine. I guess I was a geek, but I was also a surfer and a jock. But I was into comics, yes.

How is it working on a film your children can see?

MR: It was really nice. My children, as you probably well know, won’t be able to see any of my movies until they’re in their 20’s. They haven’t been able to see what I do and I had been thinking it would be nice to do a movie my kids could see that isn’t a romantic comedy. Then this came along and it was a character I really loved growing up and it was with Joss Whedon, who is really smart and I knew could do this well. And they love it, they love the Hulk. They’re three little Hulk’s. My 4-year-old daughter was helping someone pick up their groceries and they turned around and told her how strong she was and she was like, ‘I’m the baby Hulk!’

Are you overwhelmed by the fans surrounding the film?

The fans in Europe were insane. When we went to Moscow there was like 3000 kids just screaming. I had a woman jump into my car! You go to Moscow as an American and they assign a security detail to you that’s all ex-KGB guys. At some point you realize they are with you everywhere you go and then you realize they’re not there to protect you, but to protect their people against you. They’re everywhere! So I’m walking to my car after the premiere and this girl busts out of the crowd, checks my publicist out of the way, and she jumps into the car with me. And the security guards don’t see it. They totally miss it. I’m trying to coax this woman out of the car and she’s holding onto this envelope in her hand. She was sweating and a little intense. I was like, ‘Hi. How are you?’ And she was like, ‘I’m fine! I must talk to you! I must give you something!’ I’m thinking this is sweet and asked what it was. She whips open this thing and it’s a drawing of Tom Hiddleston that she made. I thought it was my big fan moment and she busts out a drawing of Tom Hiddleston.

Top photo: Mark Ruffalo at the Canadian premiere of The Avengers. Photo credit Arash Moallemi. 2011 MVLFFLLC. TM & 2011 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.