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I Sailed On Disney Wish’s Christening Cruise. There Are 5 Reasons Disneyland Fans Need To Try It Out

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I Sailed On Disney Wish’s Christening Cruise. There Are 5 Reasons Disneyland Fans Need To Try It Out

When the Walt Disney Company got into the cruise ship game, it brought a company with decades of experience with serving guests on vacation in a brand new realm. For the most part, all previous cruise ships in the Disney fleet still provided what I would call the “traditional cruise ship experience,” with a few Disney elements like costumed characters and themed dining thrown in to give it all that Disney feel.

The newest ship in the Disney Cruise Lines fleet, the Disney Wish, feels like it’s something different, offering a bit more for Disney fans. The “Disney” of it all has been turned up significantly, making the Wish feel more like you’re at a Disney theme park that happens to be floating on water. Specifically, the Disney Wish feels like the Disneyland Resort. You can’t move around the ship and experience what it has to offer without thinking of Disneyland. So, I guess what I’m saying is, fans of the California park should check it out.

(Image credit: Disneyland Resort)

 The Aquamouse Will Remind You Of The Matterhorn 

Water slides are not new things on cruise ships, but with the Aquamouse Disney says it has created the first “attraction” at sea. To be sure, the Aquamouse does more than simply dump you down a slide. It’s got a lift hill like a traditional roller coaster and it tells a story on that hill through an original Mickey Mouse cartoon. There are, in fact, two different cartoons available, giving you reason to ride the Aquamouse more than once, just like many Disney Parks attractions.

There’s one specific actual Disneyland attraction the Aquamouse will invoke, Disneyland’s first roller coaster, the Matterhorn. When I rode the Aquamouse during my recent visit on the Disney Wish Christening Cruise, I got to watch the Swiss Meltdown animated short, which includes an appearance by the attraction’s classic Yeti. What’s more, the music you’ll hear while standing in line for the Aquamouse during the Swiss Meltdown phase includes some of the same music you would hear if you were in line for the Matterhorn.

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Carthay Circle resataurant at Disney California Adventure

(Image credit: Disneyland Resort)

 1923 Is Basically Carthay Circle

One of the things about Disney Cruise Lines that makes them stand out is way they serve dinner. Rather than having a single massive dining room that you return to every night, they have multiple (slightly) smaller locations that guests rotate through, giving everybody a variety of theme, menus, and potentially, entertainment. The “fine dining” location of the three is called 1923.

Named for the year The Disney Bros. Studio was founded, which would eventually become The Walt Disney Company, its general theme is one of the golden age of Hollywood. The walls are covered with concept art from Walt Disney Studios animation projects, old and new while piano music of classic Disney tunes plays on speakers. If all this sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’ve been to Carthay Circle at Disney California Adventure. While that restaurant is set circa 1937, around the world premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which took place at the theater of the same name, it still fits within the golden age of Hollywood era. The background music track at 1923 is also literally identical to what you’ll hear at Carthay Circle

Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure

(Image credit: Disneyland Resort)

 Worlds of Marvel Belongs In Avengers Campus 

Another of the new dining experiences on board the Disney Wish, and possibly the best of the lot, is called Worlds of Marvel. It’s a bit of a dinner and a show, with the courses of your meal broken up by a story on screens throughout the dining room. It’s a fun and exciting way to energize dinner, but it also feels strangely familiar. 

The core of the story for Quantum Encounter is that Ant-Man and the Wasp are on hand as part of Pym Technologies showcase, showing off a new development, the Quantum Core. Unfortunately, something goes wrong, and some Marvel heroes, with help from the guests, have to save the day. This is basically also the plot of WEB-SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure at Avengers Campus. Just swap out Ant-Man for Spider-Man. In fact, the Worldwide Engineering Brigade (WEB) is one of the sponsors of the Pym showcase.

Live Disney Shows Would Be At Home At The Hyperion Or Fantasyland Theater

One element that has been part of Disney Cruise Lines from the beginning and continues to be is live stage performances. That, of course, is also something you’ll see a lot of in any Disney theme park. The Disney Wish has three shows, a medley show called Seas the Adventure, which stars Minnie and Goofy and would be a worthy successor to Mickey and the Magical Map at Disneyland’s Fantasyland Theater. There’s also a new version of The Little Mermaid and an updated version of the Aladdin show that has already been seen on other Disney ships.

While I didn’t get to see the updated version of Aladdin, and I’ve never seen it on a cruise ship, I have seen Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular at Disney California Adventure, which is a version of the same show that was born on Disney Cruise Lines. I did see a preview of the new Little Mermaid show and I have to say it looked incredible, so it would not shock me to see a version of it make its way to theme parks eventually. Irregardless, these should be a must for fans of those experiences in Anaheim.

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Captain Jack Sparrow and Redd at the Pirates Rockin' Parlay Party on the Disney Wish

(Image credit: CinemaBlend)

Pirates Rockin’ Parlay Party Is Inspired By Pirates Of The Caribbean (The Ride, Not The Movie)

It wouldn’t be a Disney experience at sea if there weren’t pirates involved, but of course the Disney Wish has that covered. The Pirates Rockin’ Parlay Party has appeared on Disney Cruise ships before, but the version on the Disney Wish is brand new, and specifically inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, not the movie franchise it was based on. Of course, since Captain Jack Sparrow is part of the attraction these days, he still gets to appear. 

The band the scallywags appears to perform a rocking version of “ A Pirate’s Life for Me.” Eventually, they are joined on stage by Redd, a lead singer inspired by the red-haired pirate now found in most versions of the famous boat ride. She is then joined in turn by Jack Sparrow, before the performance comes to end in the same way every great night at Disneyland ends, with fireworks.

There’s a lot about the Disney Wish that still feels like a more traditional cruise vacation. If you want to sit by the pool and drink mojitos all day long, don’t worry, that is still very much an option. If you want to spend your time on the Disney Wish eating delicious food and drinking expensive wine with a great view of the ocean, nobody will stop you. If, however, you want to have something that more closely resembles a Disneyland vacation, while also going on a cruise, the Disney Wish is the way to have exactly that experience.

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Hitting the three-quarter-century mark usually means a retirement home, a nursing facility, or if you’re lucky to be blessed with relatively good health and savings to match, living in a gated community in Arizona or Florida.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, it means something else entirely: starring in the first superhero-centered film of his decades-long career in the much-delayed Samaritan. Unfortunately for Stallone and the audience on the other side of the screen, the derivative, turgid, forgettable results won’t get mentioned in a career retrospective, let alone among the ever-expanding list of must-see entries in a genre already well past its peak.

For Stallone, however, it’s better late than never when it involves the superhero genre. Maybe in getting a taste of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with his walk-on role in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel several years ago, Stallone thought anything Marvel can do, I can do even better (or just as good in the nebulous definition of the word).

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The property Stallone and his team found for him, Samaritan, a little-known graphic novel released by a small, almost negligible, publisher, certainly takes advantage of Stallone’s brute-force physicality and his often underrated talent for near-monosyllabic brooding (e.g., the Rambo series), but too often gives him to little do or say as the lone super-powered survivor, the so-called “Samaritan” of the title, of a lifelong rivalry with his brother, “Nemesis.” Two brothers entered a fire-ravaged building and while both were presumed dead, one brother did survive (Stallone’s Joe Smith, a garbageman by day, an appliance repairman by night).

In the Granite City of screenwriter Bragi F. Schut (Escape Room, Season of the Witch), the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, teeters on economic and political collapse, with a recession spiraling into a depression, steady gigs difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and the city’s neighborhoods rocked by crime and violence. No one’s safe, not even 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walker), Joe’s neighbor.

When he’s not dodging bullies connected to a gang, he’s falling under the undue influence of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a low-rent gang leader with an outsized ego and the conviction that he and only he can take on Nemesis’s mantle and along with that mantle, a hammer “forged in hate,” to orchestrate a Bane-like plan to plunge the city into chaos and become a wealthy power-broker in the process.

Schut’s woefully underwritten script takes a clumsy, haphazard approach to world-building, relying on a two-minute animated sequence to open Samaritan while a naive, worshipful Sam narrates Samaritan and Nemesis’s supposedly tragic, Cain and Abel-inspired backstory. Schut and director Julius Avery (Overlord) clumsily attempt to contrast Sam’s childish belief in messiah-like, superheroic saviors stepping in to save humanity from itself and its own worst excesses, but following that path leads to authoritarianism and fascism (ideas better, more thoroughly explored in Watchmen and The Boys).

While Sam continues to think otherwise, Stallone’s superhero, 25 years past his last, fatal encounter with his presumably deceased brother, obviously believes superheroes are the problem and not the solution (a somewhat reasonable position), but as Samaritan tracks Joe and Sam’s friendship, Sam giving Joe the son he never had, Joe giving Sam the father he lost to street violence well before the film’s opening scene, it gets closer and closer to embracing, if not outright endorsing Sam’s power fantasies, right through a literally and figuratively explosive ending. Might, as always, wins regardless of how righteous or justified the underlying action.

It’s what superhero audiences want, apparently, and what Samaritan uncritically delivers via a woefully under-rendered finale involving not just unconvincing CGI fire effects, but a videogame cut-scene quality Stallone in a late-film flashback sequence that’s meant to be subversively revelatory, but will instead lead to unintentional laughter for anyone who’s managed to sit the entirety of Samaritan’s one-hour and 40-minute running time.

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Samaritan is now streaming worldwide on Prime Video.

Samaritan

Cast
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton
  • Pilou Asbæk

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Matt Shakman Is In Talks To Direct ‘Fantastic Four’

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According to a new report, Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the upcoming MCU project, Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has been very hush-hush regarding Fantastic Four to the point where no official announcements have been made other than the film’s release date. No casting news or literally anything other than rumors has been released regarding the project. We know that Fantastic Four is slated for release on November 8th, 2024, and will be a part of Marvel’s Phase 6. There are also rumors that the cast of the new Fantastic Four will be announced at the D23 Expo on September 9th.

Fantastic Four is still over two years from release, and we assume we will hear more news about the project in the coming months. However, the idea of the Fantastic Four has already been introduced into the MCU. John Krasinski played Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The cameo was a huge deal for fans who have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to enter the MCU. When Disney acquired Twenty Century Fox in 2019 we assumed that the Fox Marvel characters would eventually make their way into the MCU. It’s been 3 years and we already have had an X-Men and Fantastic Four cameo – even if they were from another universe.

Deadline is reporting that Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four. Shakman served as the director for Wandavision and has had an extensive career. He directed two episodes of Game of Thrones and an episode of The Boys, and he had a long stint on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There is nothing official yet, but Deadline’s sources say that Shakman is currently in talks for the job and things are headed in the right direction.

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To be honest, I was a bit more excited when Jon Watts was set to direct. I’m sure Shakman is a good director, but Watts proved he could handle a tentpole superhero film with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wandavision was good, but Watts’ style would have been perfect for Fantastic Four. The film is probably one of the most anticipated films in Marvel’s upcoming slate films and they need to find the best person they can to direct. Is that Matt Shakman? It could be, but whoever takes the job must realize that Marvel has a lot riding on this movie. The other Fantastic Four films were awful and fans deserve better. Hopefully, Marvel knocks it out of the park as they usually do. You can see for yourself when Fantastic Four hits theaters on November 8th, 2024.

Film Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most iconic families makes it to the big screen: the Fantastic Four.

Source: Deadline

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Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Star in ‘Zombie Town’ Mystery Teen Romancer (Exclusive)

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Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase have entered Zombie Town, a mystery teen romancer based on author R.L. Stine’s book of the same name.

The indie, now shooting in Ontario, also stars Henry Czerny and co-teen leads Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe. The ensemble cast includes Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch of the Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall.

Canadian animator Peter Lepeniotis will direct Zombie Town. Stine’s kid’s book sees a quiet town upended when 12-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, see a horror movie called Zombie Town and unexpectedly see the title characters leap off the screen and chase them through the theater.

Zombie Town will premiere in U.S. theaters before streaming on Hulu and then ABC Australia in 2023.

“We are delighted to bring the pages of R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town to the screen and equally thrilled to be working with such an exceptional cast and crew on this production. A three-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner with book sales of over $500 million, R.L. Stine has a phenomenal track record of crafting stories that engage and entertain audiences,” John Gillespie, Trimuse Entertainment founder and executive producer, said in a statement.

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Executive producers are Trimuse Entertainment, Toonz Media Group, Lookout Entertainment, Viva Pictures and Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates.  

Paco Alvarez and Mark Holdom of Trimuse negotiated the deal to acquire the rights to Stine’s Zombie Town book.

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