The excitement is ramping up from “zero to hero” for D23 Expo: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event. During the three-day spectacular, which takes place July 14–16 at the Anaheim Convention Center, guests will have the chance to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hercules with members of the cast and creative team; hear from Disney Legends, including 2017 inductee Mark Hamill, during a panel hosted by Leonard Maltin; and enjoy the music of Walt Disney’s classic live-action musicals in a remarkable stage production featuring Lesley Ann Warren and hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. John Stamos will host a chat with Legends of Walt Disney Imagineering. Plus, the Walt Disney Archives will host three days of presentations on its own stage. And, for the first time, guests will be able to enjoy a daily “Ultimate Fan Street Party” right on the show floor.
Mousequerade Friday, July 14, 11 a.m., Stage 28 Mousequerade, the fan-favorite costume competition that invites participants to create their own Disney-inspired designs, returns to D23 Expo 2017. Join judges Ashley Eckstein (Star Wars Rebels), Kara Saun (costume designer for Descendants 2), Yvette Nicole Brown (ABC’s The Mayor), and the contest’s host, Disney’s Jim Babcock, to watch dozens of finalists compete in five exciting categories for the $2,300 grand prize! The Golden Girls: A Celebration of Friendship, Laughter, and Cheesecake Friday, July 14, 2:30 p.m., Stage 28 In the 25 years since the final episode of The Golden Girls aired in 1992, the television series has become an enduring fan favorite that continues to be watched throughout the world. Celebrate with us as we bring together the show’s creators and other special guests for this unforgettable event.
Disney Legends 30th Anniversary Friday, July 14, 4:15 p.m., Stage 28 Join film historian Leonard Maltin as he celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Disney Legends program with a remarkable lineup of individuals who have each left an indelible mark on the Disney legacy, including Bill Farmer (the voice of Goofy and Pluto), Imagineering Legend Bob Gurr, Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, and 2017 inductee Mark Hamill.
Melodies in Walt’s Time: The Music of Disney Live-Action Films Friday, July 14, 6 p.m., D23 Expo Arena In the 1960s, Walt Disney sought to expand his filmmaking style beyond animation and bring music to a variety of new live-action film projects. D23 Expo will celebrate these magical, musical movies in a live stage extravaganza—hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and featuring Lesley Ann Warren, Karen Dotrice, and other renowned guest stars, joined by live musical performers and a 20-voice chorus—to showcase Summer Magic, Mary Poppins, The Happiest Millionaire, and The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, as well as others.
Zero to Hero: The Making of Hercules Sunday, July 16, 12:30 p.m., D23 Expo Arena From the heights of Mount Olympus to the depths of the Underworld, celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Disney classic that put the “glad” in gladiator! Join a group of legendary artists and filmmakers who brought Hercules to life, including directors John Musker and Ron Clements, animators Eric Goldberg (“Phil”) and Ken Duncan (“Megara”), as well as Megara and Hercules themselves—Susan Egan and Tate Donovan—as they recount stories of making one of the most epic animated features of all time.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: 80th Anniversary Screening Sunday, July 16, 3:15 p.m., D23 Expo Arena For eight decades, Disney fans have whistled “Heigh Ho” while they worked. Now, in honor of the 80th anniversary of Walt Disney’s first-ever animated feature, D23 Expo is proud to present a special screening of the film that started it all: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Legends of Walt Disney Imagineering Sunday, July 16, 6 p.m., D23 Expo Arena Join a fascinating conversation, hosted by John Stamos, with three Imagineering Legends—Marty Sklar, Tony Baxter, and 2017 Disney Legend inductee Wayne Jackson—as they recount true-life anecdotes and share personal stories about the celebrated artists, designers, and technical wizards who established the foundation and guiding principles for groundbreaking Disney experiences around the globe.
Also coming to D23 Expo…
Walt Disney Archives Stage The popular Walt Disney Archives Stage returns, more than doubling its capacity, as it hosts 17 panels and presentations throughout the weekend. Disney notables, such as director Pete Docter, Disney Legend Jim Cora, producer Don Hahn, Bret Iwan (the
voice of Mickey Mouse), Imagineers Diana Brost, Jason Grandt, and Chris Merritt, plus many more, will participate in panels throughout the weekend. Fans will enjoy exploring many of Disney’s worlds, from the incredible work of Marc Davis and the original characters of the Disney Parks (such as Figment and the Country Bears) to the women of Disney animation and an incredible virtual walk-through of the Walt Disney Studios on Hyperon Avenue. Visit D23expo.com for the complete schedule.
Center Stage Located in the center of the D23 Expo show floor, Center Stage will be the heartbeat of the Expo and a hub of activity throughout the weekend. Aimee Carrero, the voice of Disney’s Elena of Avalor, will perform live for the first time, and will be joined by special guests including Lou Diamond Phillips who voices series’ villain, Victor Delgado. Also performing on Center Stage will be Temecula Road, Tomasina, Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, nerd-rock group Kirby Krackle, and Susan Egan, who will sing favorites from Beauty and the Beast. Disney animators, including Eric Goldberg and Mark Henn, will show aspiring artists “how to draw” throughout the weekend. Marvel’s Brian Crosby will show fans how to draw Spider-Man and Groot. And Bill Rogers, the “voice of Disneyland,” will be on-hand each day to record fans’ outgoing voicemail messages in his signature dulcet tones. The comlete lineup will be available in the coming weeks on the D23 Expo app.
D23 Expo’s Ultimate Fan Street Party For the first time at D23 Expo, guests can enjoy a one-of-a-kind street party—right on the D23 Expo show floor. Twice each day the cavalcade will travel down Mickey Avenue, with a live band, beloved Disney characters, high-energy dancers, and celebrity grand marshals! Stan Lee and Mark Hamill will grand marshal the first cavalcade on Friday, July 14, and members of the cast of Descendants 2 will lead the second that day. Additional talent and times to be announced in the coming weeks and will be available on the D23 Expo app.
Talent subject to change. Additional details are available at D23expo.com.
Tickets for D23 Expo 2017 are available for $81 for one-day adult admission and $59 for children 3–9. Members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club can purchase tickets for $72 for a one-day adult admission and $53 for children 3–9. Multi-day tickets are also available. For more information on tickets and D23 Expo 2017, visit D23expo.com.
No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters
If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago.
It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced.
Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game.
From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.
Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.
The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.
What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?
And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Back to the movie.
Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.
Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.
The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm