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Disney Movies Star Wars

Star Wars Movie order including Rogue One

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Star Wars movie viewing order… from a certain point of view.

As many Star Wars fans are anxiously awaiting, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray today. A great first effort into the tales not involving a Skywalker and friends, it gives us a look into the bigger Star Wars universe, a universe many of us have played out in our minds with our beloved Kenner action figures.

However, being the first “standalone” film, the question is where it fits in the logical story order, and would it be a good film to introduce someone to Star Wars. For me and many or my friends, the Machete Order (link) is the new gold standard for watching the movies. For those unfamiliar, Machete starts with episode IV (Star Wars: A New Hope), followed by episode V (The Empire Strikes Back), II (Attack of the Clones), III (Revenge of the Sith), VI (Return of the Jedi), VII (The Force Awakens), etc. with episode I (The Phantom Menace) being able to be viewed at any point, or not at all. This viewing order makes the best sense, preserving the famous twist from episode V, while giving the plot points of the prequels a little more weight.

To fans, it’s simple: Rogue One belongs just before episode IV. The movie leads right into the opening scene of the 1977 classic and they tie together beautifully. It is also good enough to bring in new fans to what many of us loved when we first saw a Star Wars movie. But how about the non-Star Wars fan, or someone who has never seen the films before? I asked my buddy, Robert, that very question as he just introduce his friend, Lyra (name changed to protect the innocent), to the saga in the last couple weeks. This is what he found out.

First movie: Rogue One – A Star Wars Story

“First 30 minutes I found to be very confusing” says Lyra, echoing a critique even Star Wars heavies like Rob and myself have. “[But] the next hour and a half were very entertaining, and I knew what they were trying to do. It was very good and deeper than I imagined.” Mission accomplished, Rogue…Rogue one. But dat last scene, tho! “Then the last 2 minutes happened and I was as confused, or more confused than at the beginning.” Lyra had witnessed something Star Wars fans had been clamoring for since the announcement of the prequels, SPOILER ALERT, Vader goes Vader. Now to a non-fan whose first run is this movie, it seems to come out of nowhere. But after discussing it with Rob, that’s a good thing. “The confusion had her intrigued. She didn’t know who this guy was, why he was going crazy, and what the deal was with the ‘light sword’. From that point on she wanted to see more.” And there is no better feeling than hooking in someone new. Onto the classics:

Second movie: Episode IV – Star Wars: A New Hope

“WOW, this is much more layered than I thought it would be. Good characters too. I liked it. You were right, it’s more fantasy than sci-fi.” Yes Lyra, the original brought people in with amazing characters and lore that you can easily lose yourself in.

Third movie: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

“No. I am your father!” Lyra slowly turned her head with eyes wide open and mouth falling ajar. “WHAT!?” That was the general reaction when many people saw it for the first time, in the most critically acclaimed film in the series. “This is so much deeper and layered than I ever thought it could be. And ‘I Love you, I know’ was hilarious!”

Fourth movie: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

“I like this. I hope they get together.” Interesting. As the first “flashback” episode in the Machete Order, it gives insight into who Anakin Skywalker is and who he becomes. Trust me, it works this way. “What’s with all the hands and arms being chopped off?” Don’t worry, it’s a Star Wars thing.

Fifth movie: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

“More Hands being cut off!! I think that was my favorite so far! I really knew what was going on and could follow it very easily. But it is DARK! And Luke and Leia are twins!? WOW! I LOVE Yoda!” Yes, this is considered the best of the prequels and a favorite amongst many of the more recent fans. This is also where many of the older fans expected to see the badass Vader that we ending up seeing in Rogue One. Better late than never I guess.

Sixth movie: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

“This is by far my least favorite of ALL!! Jabba is disgusting. This whole thing is horrible!” Usually intergalactic gangsters get more respect. But once the first act was done Lyra liked that the movie got back on the Skywalker track. “Ok so I am liking this MUCH better since they left Jabba.” The struggle with Luke and his father, temptation from the Emperor, and the ultimate redemption won Lyra over. “WOW, so I started off hating it but I think now it’s the best one!”

Seventh movie: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

“I’m a little confused with the new characters but I really want to know who Rey is!” Lyra enjoyed it but has many questions, and like the rest of us is anxiously awaiting the future episodes.

The Floater: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Rob hasn’t shown Lyra this one yet. Mainly because in the grand scheme the movie has little impact on the overall story. It’s a nice intro to some of the characters, but the timeline difference between this and episode II makes anything that happened inconsequential. If anything, The Phantom Menace could be the first real Star Wars standalone movie.

So, there you have it. A new fan’s point of view on seeing the greatest saga of all time. Lyra did mention to Rob that she would like to marathon watch the movies, and Rob is considering trying a different order. Experiment with chronological order, release date, or even watching the trilogies separately. Find what works for you. And if you haven’t seen it on digital download yet, get the DVD or Blu-Ray as Rogue One may very well be your favorite Star Wars movie yet.

Haven’t seen Rogue One yet? Lucky you it comes out on DVD today and here’s one of the trailers.

Disney Movies

The Jungle Book

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Disney has been running on all cylinders lately and their latest attempt at a winner is Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book. This is Disney’s fourth Jungle Book movie, with the 1967 animated version, the 1994 live action adaptation, and the 2003 Jungle Book 2. This is also the best version of The Jungle Book that retells the Rudyard Kipling’s classic.

When Disney came out with the first trailer I was cautiously excited to see this movie. The visuals looked good and the cast sounded fantastic, but the daunting task of telling the story with all animals seem liked a lot for anyone. Even with today’s CGI technology, I have seen a lot of less than convincing visual effects where CGI is heavily depended on. And an entire movie of CGI and motion capture could be unwatchable if things don’t work out as planned.

My fears were trounced within the first five minutes of the film. The CGI looks spectacular. I could not tell that these animals are not highly trained stunt animals or mothing capture. They seem so real, move so naturally, and interact so organically that it feels you are a bug in the middle of the jungle witnessing everything in person. I was so impressed I had to find out how this process was done. Jon Favreau and company approached this as an animated movie, working on the CGI and making sure the animals look as realistic and fluid as possible, even when talking. Neel Sethi (who played Mowgli wonderfully) then filmed his scenes on a green screen soundstage. That’s right, no filming on location. The final product is so seamless that the only thing the viewer can do is get lost in the story.

On top of the technical achievements, the story is very good. You believe why things are the way they are and understand the motivation for characters like Shere Khan and Bagherra. Mowgli’s journey shows his animal side as well as his human side, and his relationship with the rest of the kingdom. Bill Murray is perfect as Baloo, Idris Elba gave Khan a rationality to Khan’s anger, and Christopher Walken singing as King Louie is just excellent. Kaa’s presence seems a bit forced but it does not take away from the movie. Pacing is great. The movie flows nicely and there is something to see throughout the hour and forty-five minutes. There are some dark scenes and animal violence, but Gavin, who is five, enjoyed the whole movie without being disturbed. There are scenes with things like bones and fire, although no blood. Some younger or more sensitive kids might be a little scared, but nothing too bad.

If you are a fan of the Jungle Book, or just want to see a great movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat, then get out there a see this movie. Better yet, see it in 3D. Your family will love it.

 

Announcements Disney Star Wars

Star Wars: New Year- New Theories!!

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Happy New Year Star Wars fans!!!!

As we say goodbye to 2015 and continue to enjoy the beauty of the Force Awakens, we look forward to future of Star Wars, namely Rogue One and Episode 8. Ooooo, I can’t wait!

StarWarsTheForceAwakens

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!

Alright, for those of you that don’t know, Rogue One is the first of Disney’s Star Wars “Anthology” films, stories in the Star Wars universe that don’t surround the main characters. This takes place between episode 3 and 4. The Rebellion, looking for its first major victory against an overwhelming Empire, sends soldiers on this desperate mission to steal the plans of the Empire’s new ultimate weapon, the Death Star. Directed by Gareth Edwards, it is said this film will have a grittier tone (think Black Hawk Down), with an emphasis on more realistic combat and heavier personalities. In this film, I hope to see Darth Vader show why he was the galaxy’s biggest badass. It will be cool to see Bail Organa, young Mon Mothma, and some of the other Rebellion leadership. I would also like to see how the Rebellion went from a group of insurgents to a formidable fighting force. It will be different from usual Star Wars tone, but that will make the Star Wars universe that much more fantastic. Any it comes out around Christmas of next year, so plan your gifts for your favorite Star Wars fan now!

Next, coming in summer of 2017, is Star Wars: Episode 8. Directed by Rian Johnson, produced by JJ Abrams, and penned by and contributed to by many top-notch writers, making it a very promising endeavor. This movie will answer a lot of questions created in episode 7 and maybe give us a bigger picture of the state of the galaxy. Here are my theories, based on what I have seen from the movies, read in the books, and know from the TV series:

  • Rey is Luke’s daughter. This idea has gotten some legs and isn’t really a stretch, but it seems like Rey’s force talent is way too high to be random. Plus the vision when touching Luke’s lightsaber, Kylo Ren seemingly knowing of “the girl”, and the subtle hints that Han may have known who she is. Remember, when Maz Kanata asked Han “Who’s the girl?” before they cut away to Finn trying to leave? Why add that if you’re not trying to imply Han at least has an idea? And the fact that Han isn’t more excited to see her shows me that Rey isn’t his daughter but someone he knew of (being Han and Leia’s daughter is another theory flying out there). Luke had a daughter, hopefully with a new canon “Mara Jade” (Star Wars EU fans know who I’m talking about) and was sent away by Luke when he foresaw some shit going down with Ben Solo. This was before Rey could remember anything, maybe around 1-2 years old, and task Lor San Tekka, a friend to the Jedi Order, to keep an eye out on Rey. He, or Leia, Han, Mara Jade, or whoever hired Unkar Plutt to keep her busy, had the Irving boys buy/steal the Millennium Falcon from Gannis Ducain, and paid Plutt with it. Why else would Plutt be so hard on her? Why else would Rey know the ship was garbage or how to fly it? There’s more to it, but then we’d be getting into really deep details.
  • Finn and Poe are going to be the next Han/Chewie duo. What do I mean, you say? Han and Chewbacca, like the droids, were there to spearhead a specific aspect of the movies. The droids were for the most part comic relief, while Han and Chewie were the action stars. While Rey, Luke, and Ren deal with their family affairs and the Force, Finn and Poe will be out fighting the more conventional battles against the First Order: blowing up TIE fighters and whoopin’ on Stormtroopers, all the while getting even more out of their energetic personalities.
  • Because a majority of the New Republic fleet has been destroyed, we are now back to a situation similar to the original trilogy. The Resistance is no longer a secret military arm of the Republic, but now the outnumbered and outgunned main force against the First Order. And with no Starkiller Base or other main weapon, we should see more force on force combat, which will be awesome. More Phasma leading troops, new leaders (General Wedge Antilles maybe?), or even an appearance of Rogue Squadron and the newer T-85 X-Wings. We’ll see more ship to ship and man to man fighting, putting us in the shit, something Star Wars fans live for.
  • Lando will be coming back for revenge. I’d like to think Lando and Han stayed friends but being the “respectable one”, Lando went on to bigger things, ie. running a planet. According to the books, the New Republic created more of a collection of sovereign systems, UN style, rather than one central government. They did not want to seem like another “empire”. Lando is now president/chancellor/governor/etc. of a planet or system, and using the threat of the First Order against his people, has his own resources to satisfy his personal vendetta against those who killed his friend. This will also explain the logistical issue of Resistance having the assets to fight the First Order. I see a new Alliance, World War 2 style, coming together introducing even more of the interesting people of the Star Wars universe.
  • Leia will break out the force powers. Don’t know when, where, or how, but we will see her use her family talents to help the win some battles against the First Order.
  • Since it has been confirmed that everyone in the Force Awakens is coming back for episode 8, it seems much of the information will be told in flashbacks. I hope to see the breakdown of relationships, the rise of the New Republic, the tensions that created the Resistance, and what makes the First Order feel justified in their actions. Rian Johnson already said episode 8 is going to be “weird” and that can be a good thing.

Don’t forget we have episode 9 coming up, a new Han Solo/Boba Fett anthology movie, and new episodes of Star Wars Rebels.

We can be here all day talking theories and ideas and what we would like to see. That’s one of the great things about Star Wars, you can get lost in the universe and the characters inhabiting it. And if you are like me, you like backstory and there are a number of new canon materials out that will tie up loose ends the movies may not address. So get out there, dive into the deep end and immerse yourself in Star Wars. If you have your own ideas, share them in the comments.

May the force be with You!!!!

 

Disney Movies Star Wars

Merry Christmas Star Wars FANS!

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Merry Christmas, Star Wars fans!!!!

It’s been one week since Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been out. I’ve already seen it twice, with plans to see it multiple times in the future, bringing anyone who wants to come along. I don’t want to give a review per se, because there are enough of those out there from people more qualified than me, but I will tell you that this is some of the most fun I’ve had at the movies in a while.

Star Wars

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!

As a huge Star Wars fan, I am glad that the franchise now has a well made film with interesting characters and wonderful action sequences reminiscent of the original trilogy. Even the first spoken line of the movie is “This will begin to make things right”, seemingly proclaiming erase the stain of the Prequels. This has something for everyone, and even the Mommy Elf had a great time. It’s not flawless, and the best way to describe it is a great premiere episode to a new TV series, with new episodes coming out every year. You will leave with a lot of questions, obviously to be answered in ensuing movies, but the transition from old to new is satisfying.

Not complaing, just sayin’!

Don’t get me wrong, I loved this movie. JJ Abrams really did a great job bringing Star Wars back to its roots. But this is where I throw in my two cents on what could have been better, what didn’t seem right, and what could be coming up. Once again these are my own ideas so take it for what it’s worth (hint: nothing).

– I would have loved to see the band get back together one last time. Han, Leia, Luke, the droids, and even Lando could’ve have made one last appearance together as a sort of farewell to one generation of Star Wars lore. When asked about Luke, Han Solo said with the most depressing voice he could conjure “Yeah, I knew Luke”, my heart broke just a little bit. Never has past tense felt so hurtful. With Luke’s guilt about Han’s son, Kylo Ren, you understand why things fell apart, but man, they seemed close enough that they would try to fix it together. I don’t know how it could have fit in this narrative, but it would have been nice for them to see each other again, one last time for some closure. With Han now dead, this can only be possible is a flashback, which I doubt will happen.

-The big battles were excellent (albeit a bit derivative) but one thing that was missing. The individual pilots checking in was always a cool build up to the upcoming battle and hearing “Red Five standing by…, lock S-Foils into attack position” put you right in the action. It made it feel big and connected you visually to the pilots fighting ferociously against impossible odds. Abrams signature fast pacing of the movie probably would have been disrupted by doing this, but it is something I missed.

-A lot of times in the movie things go from point A to Z without noticing the things in between. Most of the time it is not discernible because the story, characters, and editing are so effective. But there could more explained rather than brushing it off and hoping we may find out later.

-R2D2 woke up out of nowhere. Started the movie in low power, came back at the most convenient time. How? Who knows, maybe explained in episode 8 but he had nothing to activate him in this movie. This could have been fixed if the map piece that BB-8 had was introduced to him somehow, either bringing it next to him or connected to him, something where you could now say “Alright, that is what he was waiting for!”. Now it seems like nothing more than a convenient plot device. Maybe it will get fixed in The Force Awakens: Special Editions. HAHA, just kidding (maybe?).

 

I have heard other things from people that they didn’t like about the movie but most of them are questions that can be answered with a little bit of research, things they take way too literally, can’t understand unless explained explicitly, or just supernerds overanalyzing each detail with their own “expertise”. All of which I gave a big STFU and say just enjoy the movie. It’s awesome and you won’t feel like you wasted the two and a quarter hours of your life. I know I’ll be spending many more hours and coin to relive this return to greatness for Star Wars.

Be sure to check my next post for my ideas on Episode 8 and other Star Wars movies.

And May the Force be With You!

 

Giveaways Star Wars Toys

The ULTIMATE STAR WARS Gift Guide!

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The Star Wars hype train has produced a lot of Star Wars products that cover the entire purchasing spectrum. If you want it, there is probably a Star Wars version of it, and it is a dream come true for an unabashed fan like myself. But any Star Wars fan who remember the old Kenner toys definitely had their collectors itch scratched by the incredible line of toys that have come out for the new movie. These are the Star Wars gifts that will make you kids (or kid like adult) Christmas, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, or last day of Hanukkah extra awesome. I should know, I have all of them. But not only are we talking toys, this year there’s literally something for all taste including moms who love Star Wars (we’ll leave the mom’s list for The Mommy Elf).

Star Wars

From toys to cooking books your options for pleasing the Star Wars fan this Holiday season are limitless.

1.     Sphero BB-8 Droid

This little droid is one of the most fun app-controlled toys out there today. Using a similar technology as the movie version, this little droid runs all over your floor either by itself or under your control. At the push of a button, BB-8 will “say” phrases, go on patrols, and project secret messages on your favorite device! You can get BB-8 for $150 from the Disney Store.

A photo posted by Gemarla (@themommyelfllc) on

2.     Air Hogs Millennium Falcon Quad

This remote controlled quadcopter is a great gift for any young one that wants fly fast as the Millennium Falcon. A simple to fly quad with lights and sounds, it will allow you to practice your First Order or Empire busting maneuvers from up to 200 feet away. The Air Hogs Millennium Falcon can be purchased at Target and it’s around $115. 

 

3.     Revell Snaptite Star Wars models

When I was younger I had a TIE Interceptor, X-Wing, and Snowspeeder model kits from AMT. Fantastic models, but definitely required some work. Revell, however, releases 4 Snaptite models that even the smaller builders can put together. They have the Millenium Falcon, Poe’s black X-Wing, a Resistance X-Wing, and a First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter. No glue or paint needed and batteries are included! At Target they are $19.99. 

Star Wars

4.     Star Wars LEGO

It’s LEGO. It’s Star Wars. Need I say more? Prices range from $4.99 for tiny kit models to $300+ for the big sets. You can buy them at any Lego Store nationwide or toy store. 

Legoland Discovery Center Westchester Star Wars Night

5.     Hasbro The Black Series 6” figures

These are the next collector favorites. Inside those black and red boxes are characters from The Force Awakens released in waves to different retailers. Looks out for store specific exclusives as they sell out quickly and a hard to find in certain characters. More are to come after the release of the movie. You can find the Hasbro Black Series at various retailers including Target and Toys R Us for $19.99. 

Star Wars Black Series Hasbro The Mommy Elf

6.     Funko POP! Star Wars bobbleheads and vinyls

Funko and pop culture go hand in hand, and the Star Wars POP! are no exception. You can find your favorite character and display them in or out of the box. And even after I’ve collected 85 Star Wars boobleheads and vinyls, I keep the collection going with the Smuggler’s Bounty subscription box. I received my exclusive TIE Fighter pilot and chrome Captain Phasma, as well as other cool gear. Feed your Funko addiction! Funkos varied in price between $8 and $15 at different retailers including Target, Hot Topic and Barnes & Noble. 

A photo posted by Gary (@thetokenelf) on

7.     Disney Store Elite Series Star Wars Die-Cast figures

Every two weeks I make the trip to the Disney Store to get some the finest Star Wars figures that are a must for any collector. These figures are $24.95 exclusively at Disney Store.

Boba Fett Elite Series Disney

8.     Hasbro Star Wars Bladebuilder Lightsabers

The Bladebuilder kit by Hasbro gives kids and grown kids alike an opportunity to be creative while enjoying a classic. Lightsabers are classic but with the Bladebuilders come in different kits and you can make massive triple lightsabers. Kits start at $15 and you can buy them at various retailers.

9.     Disney Store R2-D2

This droid is sure to please the kids and keep them entertained for quite some time. It responds to sound, has cool lights and moves by itself. His head spins and best of all runs on 6 AA batteries so no need for extra charging cables. You can get it at the Disney Store for $29.99 which is a great value for his performance.

10.  Special Edition Darth Vader Playstation 4

One of the hottest releases this year, not only for Star Wars fans but for any gamer out there. The PS4 is sure to score crazy brownie points with your husband- I mean your kids. From Amazon $349.99 and includes Star Wars Battlefront Deluxe Edition and a code for 4 Star Wars games: Super Star Wars, Bounty Hunter, Jedi Star Fighter and Revenge Racer. And of course the awesome Darth Vader paint job on the console. 

Play Station

11. Stride Rite Shoes

Not only do they make great shoes for kids, they also have a decent variety of Star Wars shoes for kids. Even the new Sneaker Boot. This shoe is part boot part sneaker and perfect for the winter time and snow play. But Stride Rite didn’t stop there, they also released a special edition mens shoe to match the kid. The dad version has Darth Vader and the kid version has Luke Skywalker. This is an excellent gift for the Star Wars fan who wants something practical but fun. The adult shoe retails for $100 and the kid version is $45. The Snoot is priced at $60 which is a great price for a snow boot. All can be found at the Stride Rite website and right now they have a double rewards promotion when you buy any boot! Hurry. 

A photo posted by Gemarla (@themommyelfllc) on

12. Apparel

There is no shortage or Star Wars clothing options. Hats, underwear, hoodies, t-shirts, scarfs, even festive “ugly sweaters”. Almost every brand has jumped in and created a limited edition or Star Wars collection just for this movie. There’s also something for everyone in the family. They boys have shoes from Stride Rite and Adidas, t-shirts from Disney Store and JcPenny, and I have gotten tons of stuff from Target for myself, including boxers, some slip on shoes and a Chewbacca sweatshirt. If you want to see more options of t-shirts you can check my Instagram (TheTokenElf) for the Star Wars t-shirt of the week. Right now the kids are loving the winter hats and many t-shirts. Even Mr. Met has gotten in the Star Wars spirit.

Star Wars

13. Star Wars Voice Changer Boombox

We reviewed this boombox some time ago and they kids LOVE it. They seriously spend so much time singing the Imperial March through the microphone and just repeating the quotes using Darth Vader voice. You can also plug it into an MP3 Player. You can read the full review here. The boombox is $29.99 and you can find it at various retailers.

14. Times Square Discovery Center Star Wars Exhibition

This exhibition is a Star Wars fan dream look at the clothes and costumes behind the magic of the Star Wars galaxy. The exhibition is open for a limited time in NYC. You can see all the costumes from Darth Vader to all the dresses Padme wore as Queen Amidala. Tickets start at $27.50 for adults. If you want a discount code click here!

Discovery Center Times Square

As you can see there are TONS of options when it comes to gifts for Star Wars fans. I think you’ll find that there is something for every price point and every taste. But because it’s the Holiday Season and we love Star Wars fan we want to give one of you an opportunity to win a Star Wars package (valued over $50!!!) and it will include a surprise Elite Series Die Cast Figure! You can enter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This contest is NOT SPONSORED and it’s open to everyone.

 

Announcements Food

Annie’s Homegrown has soups!

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Annie'sA few weeks ago, I took the kids to check out the new products by Annie’s. They had an event in the city, where they showcased their new soups and cookies. The soups are made with organic pasta. If you’ve never heard of Annie’s they make “mac n cheese” as well as cheese bunnies. They also have gummy bunnies. We usually get the box of the pasta and the gummy bunnies and they kids really like it. It makes me feel better that they are eating something a bit healthier, considering how picky they are when it comes to food. Annie'sI was happy to see they added some soups to their line of foods, especially now for the colder seasons. The soups come 5 flavors: tomato, creamy carrot and pasta, star pasta and chicken, bunny pasta and chicken broth and creamy tomato and pasta. I tried the carrot and it was good. At first I thought it wasn’t crazy tasty, but then I remember is organic and much healthier than the other options. The soups are certified organic.
Annie'sThe kids loved the event and even got to plant a seed. And I have to tell you there are other yummy goodness coming from Annie’s! So you have to make sure to keep checking in their site. Annie'sAnnie’s Homegrown was kind to send some goodies our way and I have to say, the soup taste so good! I was very surprised that it has so much flavor and it was completely satisfying. We tried the star pasta and chicken soup first and it had visible chicken and the broth was very seasoned. We also tried the white cheddar bunnies and they are definitely a hit, even with me.Annie'sI am so glad Annie’s keeps growing and creating more yummy delicious products that are good for my kids and the whole family.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions and pictures are my own. 

Announcements Disney

Star Wars Announcements from D23!

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Star Wars-Themed Lands Coming to Disney Parks Ð Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced at D23 EXPO 2015 that Star Wars-themed lands will be coming to Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif., and DisneyÕs Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Fla., creating DisneyÕs largest single-themed land expansions ever at 14-acres each, transporting guests to a never-before-seen planet, a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life. These authentic lands will have two signature attractions, including the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle. (Disney Parks)

PhotoCredit: Disney/LucasFilms

Last week, Disney had its D23 expo, a massive conference showcasing all of their fantastic productions in the works, like Toy Story 4, Gigantic, and Captain America: Civil War, and Pirates of the Caribbean 5. Basically, Disney everything for the Disney lover (looking at you, Mommy Elf!).

But what has the Token Elf all excited is all the Star Wars announcements that came out of D23, and the next few years are going to be Star Wars heaven!!! Looks like the Elves will be giving a lot of money to Disney, and here is why:

-The announcements of multiplayer modes for Star Wars Battlefront (nine in total!). For those non-gamer moms and dads, Star Wars Battlefront is the latest game title that allows you to partake in some of the most famous battles in the Star Wars universe. And at D23, the trailer for Fighter Squadron was shown, meaning you can pilot some the greatest ships in the galaxy. This mode, as well as Supremacy and Dropzone, will make Battlefront the reason I might neglect my family for weeks at a time. HAHA, just kidding! Days at a time. Disney already got my cash on this one as I preordered my copy. Battle of Jakku, here I come!

-Disney released the first official movie poster for Star Wars episode VII: The Force Awakens, and it looks epic. Drew Struzan, the artist who painted the posters for the Star Wars Special Edition trilogy as well as the prequel trilogy, drew this one up with characters Rey (played by Daisy Ridley), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Kylo Ren (a masked Adam Driver), and a lightsaber wielding Finn (John Boyega). It just gives you that wonderful feeling that Star Wars will be here soon. December 18th is going to be a good day. Here Disney, have some money. No, I insist.

-A production shot of Star Wars: Rouge One was shown and, man, I can-not-wait! The first of a line of “Anthology” films, this tells the story of a group of rebels tasked with stealing the plans to the first Death Star. It’s supposed to be dark, gritty, morally confusing, and just plain awesome. But we got to wait another year for that. In related news, Colin Trevorrow, the excellent director of Jurassic World and Safety Not Guaranteed, will direct Star Wars Episode IX. Dopes. Disney, do you have lay-a-way?

-A Darth Vader inspired Playstation 4. That comes with four classic Star Wars titles. ‘Nuff said. Here Sony, take this money and make sure Disney gets it. Ok? Thanks a bunch.

-Star Wars in Disney Infinity 3.0, more reason to buy said Darth Vader PS4. This family friendly title is a great button masher, and a fun way to get the kids into the Star Wars universe. Coming out this fall, it should give you enough time to indoctrinate all the younger ones in the Rebel or Imperial legion of your choice. Disney, do you take direct deposit?

-A muthatruckin’ Star Wars land at the muthatruckin’ Disney theme parks! It’s about muthatrukin’ time!!!! Disney showed off concept art for likely settings in the new Star Wars themed parts of both Disneyland and Disney World. It is planned to be 14 acres of pure Star Wars immersion, with a the Millennium Falcon docked in one of the spaceports, and using the latest in virtual reality technology, Disney Imagineers are creating possible pick your own adventures. There will be a Tatooine type cantina, aliens, characters, props of all kinds, and joy. Lots and lots of joy. They will be enhancing Star Tours once again, and in the spring of 2016, opening Hyperspace Mountain, a thrill ride replacing the magnificent but aging Space Mountain. Using projection and lighting effects, the roller coaster will put you right in the middle of a massive ship battle. Should I make this check out to Walt Disney directly? How do you spell “cryogenically frozen”…?

Star Wars-Themed Lands Coming to Disney Parks – Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced at D23 EXPO 2015 that Star Wars-themed lands will be coming to Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif., and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Fla., creating Disney’s largest single-themed land expansions ever at 14-acres each, transporting guests to a never-before-seen planet, a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life. These authentic lands will have two signature attractions, including the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle. (Disney Parks

PhotoCredit: Disney/LucasFilms

Well, now that Disney is the sole heir of my will and testament, I am going to get ready for every ounce of Star Wars that gets dripped along the way. Star Wars moms and dads know what I’m talking about. And the Token Elf will be keeping his ear to the ground for any new rumblings about the movies, games, TV shows, theme parks, and anything else from a galaxy far, far away. Until next time, May the force be with you.

 

 

 

Disney Movies

Ant-Man Still in theaters GO SEE IT!

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Ant-Man is the latest installment of the Disney Marvel Avengers storyline, introducing the eventual member of the Avengers. It is also one of many of Marvel’s stories to be told in the next few years that leads to the Avengers: Infinity Wars in 2019. And just as with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Disney Marvel does a very good job bringing lesser known comic characters to the big screen.

This film is based on the 1979 Ant-Man storyline, with Scott Lang (played by Paul Rudd) donning the Ant-Man suit. Lang is a thief who recently gets out of jail and returns to society with all intentions of leading a straight life. But the straight life for a convicted felon proves to have the odds stacked against him, and he decides to do a few more “jobs” to put his life back together. With the help of one of his old crime buddies, Luis (played by Michael Peña), Lang crosses paths with Dr. Hank Pym (played by Michael Douglas), and starts his heroic journey to becoming the next Ant-Man.

As a casual comic book fan, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Paul Rudd provides humor and, like Chris Pratt with Star Lord, brings a nice humanity to the superhero. If you are a Paul Rudd fan, you’ll like that he, along with comedy writer/director Adam McKay, were two of the writers of the screenplay, and it shows in the smart, funny, and sometimes hilariously random script. The action is exciting and although violent, is not bloody or gruesome, making it ok for the younger viewers. On par with Marvel’s latest movies. This is definitely a good choice for a family movie night.

Overall, Ant-Man is another excellent installment in the Disney Marvel universe, with numerous cameos from other Marvel movies and tv shows, which tie the movie into the timeline very nicely. Also, as with all Marvel movies, wait for after the credits for not one, but TWO preview scenes! Absolutely worth it.

Ant-Man

Go see it!!!!

 

Announcements Disney Movies Parenting

May the 4th be with you!

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How to introduce your kids to Star Wars

Happy Star Wars Day! May the 4th be with you!!!

I am an avid Star Wars fan since I was 10 when my parents rented Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope on VHS. I was immediately enthralled in the universe, enjoying everything from the characters to the action to the grand scale which it exhibited. I collected the toys, read the books and comics, bought whatever gear I could, and learned about the expanded Star Wars universe to delve deeper into the story that George Lucas created for us to enjoy. I geeked out hard growing up and geeked out harder once I got a job and got that money to buy more stuff.

After the prequels, the Star Wars fervor died down a bit (probably at how disappointing the first two were, but I will save that for another post). Slowly but surely the Star Wars universe came back with TV shorts and then TV series, and now Episode VII (OH YEAH!!!!). I could not be any more excited as a Star Wars dad for the new film as well as the spin-off films and all the new stuff they have in store.

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The question is: How do I get my kids into Star Wars?

Both my sons know and love Star Wars, can name all the major characters, and know the Millennium Falcon when they see it. G1 will be five later this year and he seems ready to handle the excitement. G2 is three and loves R2-D2, but the movies might be a bit much for him now. Luckily there are other ways to ease them into the magic.

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Star Wars: The Clone Wars: This is how G1 was first introduced. After Disney took over the franchise and cancelled the series I got the Blu-ray and immediately watch the series from the beginning. The later seasons of the series got very ominous, but seasons one and two are perfect for a four year old to enjoy without having to explain much. The episodes are simple, good guy bad guy stuff, with enough cartoony comic relief from C-3PO and R2-D2. It is also a good way to build them up to the darker seasons which handle heavier subjects (which made the series much more outstanding for me but might be too gloomy for a 3-4 year old to enjoy).

Star Wars: Rebels: The first TV installment of the new Disney-Lucasfilm think tank, Rebels takes place 5 years prior to SW IV: A New Hope, and so far it has drawn both the boys in. As a family, we went to see the premiere of Rebels before it aired on Disney XD. G1 has identified with Ezra, the young Force adept teenager who ends up joining a rebel cell. He would get excited when I tell him there’s a new Rebels on the DVR (the show airs at 9:30pm on Disney XD, which is after bedtime), and G2, although a little scared of the more actioned pack sequences, can’t wait to see Chopper, the group’s astromech droid. It too is taking up heavier tones, as it is made by the same people as The Clone Wars series, but the first season it perfect to introduce a new generation to Star Wars.

Merchandise: Star Wars has always had collaborations with different companies for different products to keep the brand out there. We all have seen the action figures or toys lining the aisles at Target or Walmart, but now some of kid’s favorite toys have a Star Wars line. Hot Wheels have their Star Wars collection, with different characters manifested in little collectible vehicles. Lego (which has had Star Wars sets for a very long time) now have the Minifighters, smaller versions of vehicles that you can put together with your little ones, and don’t forget the gear you can get (shoes, clothes, hats, etc.) you can score to make your kids Force aware.

StarWars5Books: Probably the best way to introduce Star Wars to the family. My sons learned the alphabet from Star Wars ABC, G1 practices his schoolwork with Star Wars Workbooks for preschool, and at night they enjoy the adorable nursery rhyme books by Jeffrey Brown. The stories are amusing for the adults and kids alike and leaves them asking for more Star Wars. Even G3, who is barely over a year old, love going through the pages of Vader’s Little Princess, which one the cover has a picture of Darth Vader and a 4-5 year old Leia having a tea party with her stuffed Ewok. ‘Awwww’ is right!

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The list goes on and on, and there is no shortage of Star Wars material you can get your hands on to make your kids aware of this great universe. Of course the children have to enjoy it too, but how can you NOT like Star Wars? I’m sure if you’re reading this you agree.

My next post will be about how to watch the movies with your kids. And it ain’t the way you think it should be.

Until next post, follow me on Instagram for Star Wars Shirt of the Week, baseball stuff, and overall token randomness.

TheTokenElf