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D23 Expo announces new projects

This past weekend, the biennial D23 Expo occurred at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California from Sept. 9-11.

The event was originally planned for 2021, but due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it was pushed back to 2022. It was also pushed back to highlight Disney’s plans for the 100th anniversary of the company on Oct. 16. 

The D23 Expo stems from the D23 Official Disney Fan Club, which was founded in 2009. D23 refers to “D” — which stands for Disney — and “23” for 1923, which was when Walt Disney founded the Walt Disney Company. The expo contains panels and events very much like San Diego Comic-Con as well as a ceremony for the Disney Legends, a Hall of Fame program that recognizes individuals who made an extraordinary contribution to the Walt Disney Company. 

The 2022 D23 Expo kicked off with the 2022 Disney Legends ceremony. Notable members who were inducted into the Hall of Fame include Anthony Anderson (“black-ish,” “Law & Order”), Kristen Bell (the “Frozen” films), Ellen Pompeo (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and Josh Gad (also the “Frozen” films). Posthumously, Chadwick Boseman (“Black Panther”) also received an induction, which was accepted by his brother Derrick. 

Following the ceremony, Disney CEO Bob Chapek took the stage, with many people in the crowd booing him. Chapek has garnered a lot of attention in the media for making questionable changes to the Walt Disney Company; in recent news, he was called out for his commencement speech at Indiana University this past May when he switched up the nicknames of Disneyland California and Walt Disney World in Florida.

Chapek announced that many of the parks across the world are expanding and many new attractions were announced. In particular, the heavily anticipated TRON Lightcycle Run at the Magic Kingdom was announced, set to open in the spring of 2023. 

As is the case with Disney in general, the D23 Expo announced a ton of new movies and TV shows that are under the Disney mantle. One film that is especially anticipated is the live-action remake of the classic 1989 film “The Little Mermaid,” starring Halle Bailey in the main role of Ariel and Melissa McCarthy as the sea witch Ursula. The film is set to be released on May 26, 2023.

In addition to the live-action “Little Mermaid,” many interesting projects are also coming out. Because there are so many, here are just a few that are the most anticipated. One project that fans of Disney are waiting for is “Disenchanted” from Walt Disney Pictures, the sequel to the 2007 film “Enchanted.” That movie is set to be released on Nov. 24 of this year. Another Walt Disney Pictures project that has been announced to join the live-action remakes is “Snow White,” starring Rachel Zegler in the titular role and Gal Gadot as the Evil Queen. The film is set to be released sometime in 2024. 

From Pixar, the biggest project that was announced is “Inside Out 2,” set to be released on June 14, 2024. In addition to the massive list of projects from Marvel announced several months back, the biggest that is set to be released is “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” With a Nov. 11, 2022 release date looming, the film should carry on the legacy that Chadwick Boseman created with the character. Marvel also announced two new “Avenger” movies that are set to be released in 2025, titled “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” and “Avengers: Secret Wars.”

Overall,the D23 Expo made many announcements that should satisfy all Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel fans.

Contact Nicole Bilyak at nbilyak01@saintmarys.edu

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The nuances of ‘Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers’

Before reviewing Disney’s “Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers,” let’s take a look at one specific scene. At one point the titular duo gets cornered during an attempted locker room heist by a DJ, who also happens to be a snake. To distract from their theft, Chip and Dale freestyle rap about how they do not eat whales, what part of the whale they would hypothetically eat and how hard it is to break the pattern of rhyming “Dale” with “whale.” After laughing for five minutes straight, I asked myself, “how did the movie even get to this point?” 

Allow me to catch you up… In this reboot of Disney’s classic cartoon, Chip and Dale (voiced by John Mulaney and Andy Samberg, respectively) are not the rescue rangers we know and love, but actors who portray them on the screen. Decades after splitting up, due to creative differences, the two chipmunks investigate the disappearance of their friend and co-star. Over the course of their investigation, the rodents meet a colorful cast of characters ranging from a live-action police officer and super fan named Ellie Steckler (KiKi Layne) as well as a muppet gangster (Keegan Michael-Key), a clay-mation police captain (J.K. Simmons) and multiple characters voiced by Seth Rogen. I would be remiss to mention the cast and not the various cartoons making guest appearances within the movie; characters ranging as far as My Little Pony to South Park pop-in throughout the film.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film and found it hilarious. The film’s stars deliver incredible voice performances, but it was the writing that made their interactions shine. The screenwriting was the best part of the film. The writers never allowed any stand-alone pop-culture references to be used as a joke, instead, they added subtle (or not so subtle) jokes towards whatever they were referencing. Despite this, some references still felt a little nuanced for a casual audience, especially for children. While children may enjoy the silly chipmunk antics, the commentary on the inherent creepiness of realistic animation might be lost on them. 

However, half-way through the movie, I was rolling with the punches. I had grown used to the references; until the aforementioned rap scene. This is the moment when I accepted the movie for what it was: a goofy movie justifying its existence with its self-awareness. 

Multiple times through the movie, characters lament that nobody wants a Chip n’ Dale reboot, a sentiment the writers knew while creating the movie. For all intents and purposes, this is not a “Rescue Rangers” movie, but one that calls itself “Rescue Rangers” and delivers a great film about fame and the monotony of life. Months after release, I don’t remember the film for its plot, but more so for how fun of a movie it was, with the plot serving more as a conveyor belt that brings the audience from joke to joke. I enjoyed the movie greatly, but I still believe it had a required level of knowledge required to fully experience it, which I feel holds it back from its full potential.

Title: Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers

Starring: John Mulaney, Andy Samberg, KiKi Layne, Will Arnett

Director: Akiva Schaefer

If You Like: “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”

Shamrocks: 4 out of 5