Posts Tagged ‘movie review’

Walt Disney Animation Studio’s 55th feature, Zootopia hits theaters everywhere tonight! I’ve been so excited for this since they didn’t release a movie all last year! Now we get Zootopia and Moana both in one year! (Excuse my momentary Disney film geek-out).

My mini Disney movie critic, Lil’ J and I screened it last Thursday and as we walked out she told me she wanted to see it again, and that it is her new FAVORITE movie (I’m noticing a trend every time we see a new Disney movie). I feel like I have so many things to say about Zootopia, but don’t worry, I’m leaving out the spoilers.

Mother-daughter Zootopia review

What’s it about in a paragraph? Well, the walking, talking, career-driven and clothed animals replace humans in this story of Zootopia. Rookie officer Judy Hopps is the first bunny to join the police force and she jumps at the chance to crack a case and needs help from a sly fox. The movie gives adults a heavy dose of action and humor, and the kids are laughing right along at some jokes even they understand.

The animals basically act as humans in this movie, a lot like they do in Robin Hood (and Nick Wilde–the fox in this film actually resembles him, right?!).

Zootopia is a compelling movie that both adults and children will love. A lot of the humor (some of it a little off-color) went over my 5-year-old’s head, but there were enough little funny scenes that she still enjoyed and laughed at.

There are a few things I think are important to consider before seeing this movie.

Skip the trailers

I’m noticing Disney is giving away all of the goods in the previews lately. What’s up with that? Remember the trailer for Princess and the Frog? I thought Tiana was going to be a Princess in blue not be a frog for half the movie! Talk about keeping the suspense hidden. They don’t do too much of that anymore.

I was grasping at every new trailer before Inside Out and when I saw that movie I felt like I’d seen all of the funny parts. I purposely skipped the trailers this time so I could go in blind. I did see one with the sloths because it aired before The Good Dinosaur in theaters. It’s still funny (and a little different), I just knew it was coming.

I’ve watched the Zootopia trailers a few times since seeing the movie and the handful of jokes I thought were funniest were all in the trailers. So skip those if you haven’t seen them yet so you can enjoy it and be surprised. If you want another way to build up your excitement with your kids try printing these fun coloring sheets or this activity page.

zootopia review picture

It’s a little scary!

I don’t really know how else to put it. For a little kid’s movie it was pretty darn scary. Or perhaps a better word is startling. I’m trying to think of another animated Disney movie with I can deem in the same category for action, suspense and surprises. Maybe similar to parts of Big Hero 6 or The Good Dinosaur if looking at recent films, or Lady and the Tramp (remember that rat scene?). This is the first Disney Movie where I remember actually being startled, as in jumping in my seat. Lil’ J was too, but she laughed about it. She’s afraid of A LOT but this movie didn’t make her cry or cover her eyes, so I guess that says something; however, that night she did want to sleep in our room because she was afraid of animals jumping out at her.

You’re the best judge for your kids, if they startle easily you may want to prep them, see it first, hold off until DVD, or just email me and I’ll tell you when you can cover their ears/eyes.

Lil’ J wanted me to tell you what she thinks about that: “My brother is 2, and it would be too scary for him. But for me, and other kids that are 5-and-a-half, or 6 it’s not too scary.” So there’s you have it from my proud 5-and-a-half year old.

There’s a strong captivating message

I noticed two strong awesome messages in the movie. One being to not give up on your dreams, and another to not judge a book by it’s cover. Both important takeaways that are great conversation-starters with our kids. I can’t help but feel like Disney animators are trying to change the world with this movie. We’ll MUST discuss this more after you’ve had a chance to see this! Just thinking about it makes me love this movie even more.

Zootopia movie poster

Where does it rank for Disney?

Overall we both loved the movie. We’re going to see it again as a family (well, minus Big T unless he convinces me he can sit still) because I actually think even my husband would get a kick out of it (I mean come on! There’s a bunny cop!).

So where does it rank on my Disney movie list? I’m partial to the movies from Disney Renaissance era and musical features (counting down to Moana!) but Zootopia has a great story. I’d say it could be in my top 15, but once I get over the shock of it not being the cutesy kiddie movie I expected and I’ve seen it a few more times I’ll be able to more accurately place it for what it is.

Regardless, I can’t wait to add it to our collection later this year!

zootopia picture

My 5-year-old’s Zootopia review

What did you think of Zootopia?: “It was SUPERSTAR Awesome!”

What did you like about the movie?: “The fox and the bunny weren’t friends, and then they learned how to be friends.”

What was the message of the movie?: “The bunny dreamed big! Because she always wanted to be a police officer and then she became a police officer, and that was good.”

Anything else you’d like to say about the movie?: “Yea! [SPOILERS]”

Is it too scary for kids?: “No, it’s awesome! So at the beginning [of the post], say it’s superstar and at the end say it’s awesome! I want to see it again and again!”

Recommended ages

I’d recommend it for families with kids ages 7+, but Lil’ J says all of her 5 and 6 year old friends should see it. So take it as you will!

Let me know when you see it! I can’t wait to hear what you think!

If you’re thinking of taking your family to see The Good Dinosaur over Thanksgiving weekend there are a few things you should be aware of first.

Lil’ J and I had the chance to screen it Monday night before it’s officially in theaters everywhere on the 25th. Here’s more info on advanced movie screenings in case you ever want to try to make one of these!

First of all I feel like I need to introduce you to this movie because it hasn’t been nearly as publicized as Pixar’s Inside Out was earlier this year. I’m telling you that merchandise, the previews, the promotions. It was SO hyped up. And I totally bought into it.

The Good Dinosaur 5-year-old review

This movie, on the other hand, I feel like many have hardly heard a peep. I keep my eye on all of the Disney Animation and Pixar films but I worried since Disney seemingly wasn’t spending as much effort promoting this film, that it was going to be a big letdown.

Even the local screening was set for RIGHT before the movie release, versus a week or two before, and I only saw one listed when normally there are at least two, sometimes more. All of these signals to me screamed potential flop.

I didn’t watch the extended trailer. I felt like that was a mistake I made before Inside Out. I’d seen most of the good parts before hitting the theater. What little I did watch before this movie made me think there would be more dinosaurs and more people than we saw.

Lil’ J and I went into this mostly unaware of what to expect. But it was still great!

The Good Dinosaur 5-year-old review

Coming out, I have some questions you should ask yourself in case you’re debating whether or not to take your family.

1. Do you like dinosaurs? If yes, then it’s a no brainer, you must see this movie. It’s lightyears better than the 2000 Disney animated movie ‘Dinosaur’ (which would most definitely be in my top 5 LEAST favorite Disney animated movies). Although the animals looked more realistic in Dinosaur, The Good Dinosaur is much more cuddly, and it should still be appealing to young dinosaur enthusiasts, and definitely not frightening to those who typically have dinosaur aversions. So if your answer is no, there’s a really good chance you’ll still like this movie.

2. Do you like cowboys? Cowboys? I thought this movie was about dinosaurs! Yes, well, if your answer is yes, I have a feeling you will LOVE this movie. Or at least Pixar’s attempt to give some of the characters a wild west flavor.

3. Have you gone to the bathroom recently? You’ll definitely want to make sure you have before sitting down to watch this movie. For one, you don’t want to have to get up and miss any part of this movie! It held my 5-year-old daughter’s attention longer than any movie on the first-run through. I didn’t see her get bored at all (this is rare). And secondly, you are going to laugh so hard you may pee your pants. Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I laughed that much in a movie. The best part was my daughter was laughing too! In true Pixar fashion there was plenty of humor for the adults as well as the kids.

4. Do you or your kids startle easily? This movie is pretty intense. There were SEVERAL times I kept saying “ouch!” Maybe it was the fact that we saw it in 3D, and that the images felt so real, but I was literally gasping and clutching at parts. You know your kids best, if they’re extremely sensitive, or startle easily, you may want to watch it first. The scariest part of the whole movie experience for Lil’ J was the short film that aired before The Good Dinosaur. Edited to add (SPOILER skip to #5 if you want to be surprised): There is death involved (not a huge surprise) but some kids could find this really sad, or scary).

5. Does it take much to make you cry? Happy tears, sad tears, you may want a tissue for both. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise when it comes to Disney/ Pixar.

Lil’ J and I just did our top 5 Pixar Picks a few weeks ago. She now claims The Good Dinosaur takes the top spot from Monsters Inc and pushes UP out of her top 5.

It’s always hard for me to try to rank a film after seeing it just once. I have to try it on over and over a few times to see if it still feels good. But as of now I’d say it’s definitely up there, probably knocking Finding Nemo out of my #4 spot.

Speaking of which… Like Finding Nemo, the animation quality of The Good Dinosaur was amazing. Something that–looking back now–I feel like Inside Out was missing a bit of.

All this to say, I feel like this movie was greatly underrated in it’s pre-release stage, and I hope it does well over Thanksgiving weekend. We enjoyed it so much we’re going to see it again tonight with grandma for opening night.

Alright, enough of my opinion. Here’s what Lil’ J has to say.

The Good Dinosaur 5-year-old review

The Good Dinosaur: A 5-year-old’s review:

Q: What did you think of The Good Dinosaur?
A: It’s one of my new favorite Pixar movies because it’s funny, and a rock star movie.
Q: What does a rock star movie mean?
A: That it’s so cool.
Q: Should kids who are afraid of dinosaurs see this movie?
A: Yes, because it’s a nice dinosaur and he won’t scare them.
Q: Advice for people going to see it?
A: When you try a movie you get to decide if you like it or not, and I like this movie.

One word to describe the movie:
Lil’ J: Family
Mom: Adventure

Lil’ J: Two thumbs up.
Mom: A+

Will you be going to see The Good Dinosaur this weekend? Or what did you think?

Last week Lil’ J and I went to see Disney Pixar’s Inside Out at a press screening. She’s my little review sidekick and now that it’s out we’re finally sharing our thoughts!

I won’t be posting any spoilers so don’t worry about that. She had been counting down for over a week to see it. The commercials just draw kids in I tell ya. It had her wanting some of the Inside Out merchandise that’s been on the shelves for months.

We had some of the magnets on our fridge and yesterday her grandma got her this Disney Inside Out Inside Out 5 In 1 Puzzle at the Disney Store outlet. I interviewed Lil’ J about the movie while she worked on it to give you her perspective.


There was an adorable short film before the movie called Lava. I loved it but Lil’ J wasn’t impressed “because volcanoes scare me,” she said.

Here’s what she said about the main feature:

Mom: What was the movie about?

Lil’ J: They’re creature things, and they make a kid a kid, and her name is Riley. So one feeling that’s like ‘eew yuck’ and one’s joy, she’s happy, and ones scared and ones sad. Want to hear about grumpy? He’s the one that when he gets angry he gets fire on top of his head. Oh, and there’s an elephant one and he sings. Ok?

(The elephant actually isn’t an emotion but an imaginary friend)

Mom: What was your favorite part?

Lil’ J: When they were singing Who’s the friend you like to see? Bing Bong Bing Bong!’

Mom: What didn’t you like about the movie?

Lil’ J: I didn’t like the parts where everyone was laughing and I didn’t understand. I didn’t understand parts of it but I did laugh at some parts.

Mom: Do you think it’s a movie for grownups, that little kids should see it too?

Lil’ J: I think little kids too, because I’m a little kid, and I saw it, and I think little kids would like it too.

Mom: How old?

Lil’ J: Three, or maybe four or five, ok? But no one [year-olds], no babies. Two is ok if he’s not a squiggly worm or anything.–I mean if they are hyper and don’t sit still–If they aren’t like a squiggly worm, that’s ok with me.

Lil’ J ranks Inside Out over Cars, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo and even Brave. She however still likes Cinderella, Wreck it Ralph, Frozen and Frozen Fever (she wanted to be sure I put that in there) more.

inside out characters

I should preface and say that I’m super critical of Disney Animated Movies because I always set the bar SO HIGH. When I expect too much I’m often let down. I’d heard so many high-praise reviews that I was expecting my mind to be blown by this movie. Kinda like that red guy in the middle, but in a happy way.

Since I’ve been keeping up with the trailers for so long, many of the funny scenes I had already seen, however there was still a lot of humor I didn’t expect that had me and the rest of the audience laughing hysterically. A lot of the jokes were geared for an older audience. I’d say maybe 7 and up.

I had an idea of the storyline from the previews but the movie ended up being even better and way more complex than I had imagined. Lil’ J was able to follow along for the most part, but like any other movie we see together, it sometimes takes a couple viewings to catch things she missed before.

We plan to see it again in theaters next week during the day, and of course we’ll be buying it on DVD.

One thing I really thought was awesome about the movie–Like many movies Disney Pixar produces, this film has a deeper meaning within the storyline. It’s been fun to use the characters from the movie to talk about our emotions when we’re working through them. Others have said it’s a great movie to bring awareness to mental illness and depression.

Having heard that before I watched it I think I went into it taking it a bit too seriously, but in the end I was laughing and tearing up anyway. Lil’ J was completely connected and concerned for Riley throughout the movie, and I loved every second of the film. It was awesome, nothing like we’ve seen before, and one I’m excited to see again and again.

Like Lil’ J I’d rank it above Cars, and Monsters Inc. probably even Finding Nemo. I wouldn’t rank it above Wall-E, Toy Story 3, or The Incredibles, but I suspect it’ll grow on me through the years like these have, and if you ask us, it’s definitely worth seeing, especially with your kids!

Do you plan on seeing Inside Out?

If your kiddos want some fun before or after seeing the movie, here are some activity sheets from Disney that I’ve uploaded for you!: Spot the difference game, coloring page, emotional door hangers and my personal favorite: Inside Out inspired nail art tutorials.

I don’t get out much, and when I do, going to see a movie is not usually my first choice of things to do. Unless it’s of a particular genre. Specifically animated Disney movies. The last movie I saw in theaters was Big Hero 6 and this year that meant I was planning to see Inside Out in June, and The Good Dinosaur in November.

I was invited to a screening of Cinderella and decided to take my daughter to see it because it was a great opportunity for a mother-daughter date. And partly because (dare I admit) Frozen Fever– A short film featuring Anna and Elsa would premiere before the movie.

Cinderella live-action movie review

Lil’ J got dressed up in her Cinderella gown (the only way to do this ladies!) and off we went to watch the live action version.

Now I’m a big fan of the Cinderella story. We love the 1950s animated feature, and I adore the TV musical version with Brandy and Whitney Houston. I even love Ever After with Drew Barrymore (I have to watch it every time I catch it on TV).

Part of me was like Really? Another Cinderella movie? When I first heard about it over a year ago. But despite having the classic storyline memorized, we had to see this one too. Here’s a preview if you have no idea what I’m talking about.

I think Disney is doing a fantastic job taking movies we grew up on in animated form and bringing them back as live-action films with a twist. Maleficent is a great example of that (if you haven’t seen it, just buy it now, you won’t regret it!). Next spring they’ll add Jungle Book to the mix.

So how was Cinderella? We enjoyed it. Despite the “Old English” accents that were a little difficult for Lil’ J to follow, it had plenty of funny parts that held my 4-year-old daughter’s attention and kept her laughing. The costumes were beautiful and I loved the time the film took to delve into parts of the story we haven’t heard before.

Cinderella live-action movie review

I asked her review and she said it was “Awesome and cool” and when I asked her her favorite part she said it was the part with Elsa and Anna…

So if you have a Frozen fanatic in your family, he or she may be happy before Cinderella even starts. Here’s a preview of Frozen Fever:

I however happened to notice my daughter perking up the most when the fairy godmother was working her magic. I think they had her at “Elsa.” Add in the candy and lemonade, and she was in preschooler heaven before the show began.

Personally, I did miss the music and singing in this live-action film, but it just wasn’t that kind of movie. At times it seemed a little slow, and difficult for my preschooler to understand. Certainly a cute take on the classic though, and a perfect feature for our mommy-daughter date.

You can catch Cinderella in theaters NOW! Friday March 13th!

Cinderella Glass Slipper Craft Cinderella Clock Activity

And if you love it so much, or need something to do in anticipation before your outing, here are some fun activity sheets. A clock craft  glass slipper! Click the links to download! A Disney Cinderella clock craft to make using paper plates, and an origami-like Cinderella glass slipper craft. Click the links to download!

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget


I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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