My Most Anticipated Films of 2017

This list was written a while ago, but I wanted to wait until I’d posted my best of 2016 list to post this. That said, I’m still not done watching the movies from that list, so I won’t be posting it yet. I did want to post this one, though. I’ve already seen one movie from this list, and I have to say, I should have placed it higher on the list. Split has just bumped the next Shyamalan film up higher on my list for the year it is coming out.

  1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi – By far, my most anticipated movie follows up 2015’s The Force Awakens with the further adventures of Rey and Finn. Picking up from where we left off, Luke Skywalker joins the journey and our heroes take off on a new adventure as the First Order regroups and the Resistance continues in their efforts to bring them down.
  2. Look to the Sky – Brett Culp’s long awaited follow-up to 2013’s Legends of the Knight. This time it is a film about hope, centering on the character of Superman.
  3. A Voice that Carries – Another Brett Culp helmed documentary, this one about the relationship between father and daughter.
  4. Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters – A pair of feature length documentaries, one about Ghostbusters and the other about Ghostbusters II. I’ve been following the production of these documentaries for what seems like about 10 years now. They are getting closer to release. They may not make a 2017 release date, but they’re definitely on their way toward a release very soon.
  5. Justice League – I’m pretty excited for DC to finally have their Avengers movie. The cast is excellent, with everyone looking the part, and it’s about time all of these characters get together. Wonder Woman was one of the highlights of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and she could maintain that status here.
  6. Wonder Woman – Finally getting her own major motion picture, the setting kind of reminds me of Captain America: The First Avenger, though with settings in WWI rather than WWII. I hope that it’s great.
  7. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – The sequel looks just as weird and catchy as the original. Baby Groot looks fantastic. Can’t wait to hear the soundtrack and hope that the film has as much heart as the first.
  8. Transformers: The Last Knight – Michael Bay’s (final?) Transformers film looks like more of the same. I liked the first and third TF films best, the fourth was alright, and the second as well… I’m hopeful for another great one. My one question: will they ever make a Transformers movie that isn’t lead entirely by the humans in the cast?
  9. Beauty and the Beast – The one major problem I have with this film is Emma Watson. So far, we haven’t seen her smile much at all in the trailers. I’m really looking forward to the music in this, and hopeful that, with the same composers working on this that worked on the 1991 original, they have recaptured the magic. From the music in the trailers, it seems like they have with the opening of the film at least. Slightly less annoying is the voice of Lumiere. It sounds like someone forcing a voice and accent, rather than using a voice that they use when they natually speak.
  10. Cars 3 – Lightning McQueen’s journey appears to be coming to a close with the third film in the series. I’m hoping for a return to form. The second film was very much a spy thriller with a fish out of water story that could have had more heart if they only work-shopped Mater’s role in the story a bit more. This time, McQueen appears to be the primary character once again, as he deals with being the older racecar in a field of new cars.
  11. Score – A documentary about film scores. I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time. Hope to see it sometime this year.
  12. Disneynature’s Born in China – Pushed from 2016 to Earth Day 2017. I love the Disneynature films that I’ve seen, and can’t wait for this one.
  13. Spider-Man: Homecoming – I still wish they had made Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4. I also wish they would have made The Amazing Spider-Man 3. Alas, neither was to be, and now here we are, 15 years after Spider-Man took the world by storm, we’re getting our sixth film featuring our third Peter Parker. Looks fun, and I hear it’s like a John Hughes movie. I like that prospect.
  14. My Little Pony: The Movie – My wife and I have watched this show for the last few years, and there’s no way she’s going to want to miss this one.
  15. Thor: Ragnarok – Been waiting for this one since Thor: The Dark World, to find out what has actually happened with Loki. Plus, this one looks like it includes Hulk and Doctor Strange.
  16. Coco – Pixar’s second film release of the year is also an original film. I haven’t read too much about this one, but I’m always up for a Pixar.
  17. Jumanji – Is this a reboot? A sequel? A remake? I have no idea, but it looks like a unique spin as we might be heading into the Jumanji game, rather than having the game invading our world.
  18. Logan – The final Wolverine film. It also features Professor X and X-23. This could also be Hugh Jackman’s final time playing the role he originated in 2000’s X-Men. (Amazingly, Dougray Scott was up for the role, back in the day, but filming on Mission: Impossible 2 ran over, creating a schedule conflict and they had to replace him with Hugh Jackman for the role that he went on to play over 18 years.)
  19. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – I like these movies. We’ll see, though. They need to capture the fun of the original film.
  20. The Lego Batman Movie – Will this be as good as the surprisingly great Lego Movie? I hope so. If not, at least it’ll be funny.
  21. Power Rangers – Could be great. Could be terrible. The cast will make or break this one.
  22. Smurfs: The Lost Village – After two live-action mixed Smurfs films, it’s about time they make one that is actually true to the original animated series in style and setting. This looks like it could be the Smurfs movie that should have been made first.
  23. A Dog’s Purpose – My wife wants to see this one for the dogs.
  24. Split – I love M. Night Shyamalan’s films. And I understand that this and his last film are both a return to form for the director. That said, I am kind of scared of seeing his latest movies. I’m not a fan of scary movies, and the subject matter of this one is kind of terrifying.
  25. Dunkirk – Christopher Nolan is hit or miss for me. I like all of his Batman movies and Inception. The Prestige is alright. Interstellar and Insomnia are both insufferable. Where will this fit in? Will it?
  26. The Dark Tower – We’ll see if I make it to this one. I could go either way.

Beauty and the Beast Soundtrack Review

Beauty and the BeastEvery once in a while we like to try new things in order to see what you, the reader, enjoys. Here is the first “toonbox,” which will consist of soundtracks from animated films. Enjoy!

In 1991, Walt Disney Pictures released a film that to this day, remains one of the greatest animated films of all time. Beauty and the Beast was released to a very warm reception, receiving a nomination for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It has since, become my favorite animated Disney film of all time. I am especially excited for the upcoming DVD release, this fall.

Upon purchasing the Special Edition Soundtrack, I was very excited. I had taken in a screening of the film at our local IMAX, and was pumped up. This disc’s packaging immediately lets you know that it is a labor of love, with it’s high quality design that gives the disc an heir of nobility. Upon sliding the slip-cover off of the jewel-case, you are treated to a montage of some of the most memorable moments from the movie.

The insert includes a foreword by Academy Award winning composer Alan Menken. He dedicates the album to the memory of Howard Ashman, who wrote the lyrics for this soundtrack.

The album has nineteen tracks including music not included in the film, such as the original early version of “Death of the Beast” and the “work tape and demo” of “Beauty and the Beast.” It also includes the demo of “Be Our Guest” which is made interesting by the fact that it was originally sung to Belle’s father when he came to the castle.

In the film, the music moves the story forward, explaining the relationships and desires of all of the characters in a few minutes. The story is propelled forward from the opening scene, that draws you in, with the story of the Beast. The songs are all instantly memorable.

The opening song “Belle” shows how the townsfolk view Belle, Gaston’s plans for Belle, and how Belle sees the world.

“Be Our Guest” is a fun escape song with some classic Disney animation style.

“Beauty and the Beast” is a song that, when I heard it, I thought that the song was a classic song from years and years ago. For all I knew, it was written in the nineteenth century, and they used it in the movie. It had become a hit on the radio version sung by unknown Celine Dion.

“Human Again” is a song that was originally a part of the film, but was dropped for length issues. It became a hit when the film was translated to Broadway. Folks at Disney were planning to release it on IMAX and decided to put the song back in. They brought the original animators back on board, and finished the scene. This song is not a favorite of mine, but after about eleven years without it in the movie, it throws me off. The movie had a sentimental feeling for me, and the new scene takes me out of the familiar elements that I have seen for years. On the soundtrack, it’s nice to have, but the only words that run though my mind if the song is in my head are “human again” whereas with others, I know them by heart.

The score is one of my favorite parts of the movie. It is absolutely incredible and perfect for setting the tones of the movie. The opening scene has a magical quality because of the music; Beast’s entrance is heightened with dark deep tones that suggest menace, and that Beast is to be feared. The film is very thematic in many ways, with the music setting the tone and feeling of the scene. It guides the emotions of the listener, and you know get the feeling of just what is happening, based on the music. This is one of the most beautiful scores that I have ever heard, and is easily up there with James Horner and John Williams.

To this day, this soundtrack stands as one of the finest Disney soundtracks around. The inclusion of the original recordings of a few of the songs give this CD a fine quality for collectors and shows how much heart went into the project. It’s this kind of care that provides the listener with good reason as to why it won the Academy Award. I suggest that when you go out and purchase the DVD, swing by the Soundtracks, and pick up the Beauty and the Beast: Special Edition Soundtrack!

Originally Posted on DVDtoons