Rob Plays: The Time Comcast Tried To Buy Disney

The Walt Disney Company under Bob Iger’s tenure is known for massive acquisitions such as Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel, and now Fox, but the company was in the position of being acquired during Eisner’s last years as a CEO. Rob explains how Comcast tried to buy the Disney company, dealing with the controversies of Eisner facing internal struggles and a public campaign to withdraw him from the studios.

You can watch the video here:

“Avengers: Infinity War” Review: A Blank Canvas For The MCU

I went into the theater with the expectations of seeing some of my favorite superheroes crushed on screen; this was my only expectation about Infinity War. Thanos wasn’t as compelling of a villain for me, but I had to give him a chance. Recent superheroes like Guardians Of The Galaxy, Black Panther, Spider-Man (finally), and Doctor Strange would have an important role for this film.

When the credits started rolling, my uncertainty about the future couldn’t be worse. The film plays with your expectations from the very first minute to the end credits. Nothing prepares you for Infinity War, and this is a huge achievement after watching superheroes having huge stakes at hand and then winging it in the end. This isn’t the case and the Russo brothers take care of this masterfully.

In the first few minutes, Thanos as a character is well established. Not only do we understand its power, its merciless actions to find all of the Infinity stones, but its layers start peeling off as we comprehend its intentions. Similar to Killmonger in Black Panther, this is compelling, there dimensional villain. Many critics before the film wondered if this CG character could actually deliver the emotion behind all the digital wizardry, but Josh Brolin delivers a stunning performance for a Marvel villain.

The movie is very smart about introducing each character, working with small groups of three or four characters. This gives enough breathing room for each character, while slowly bringing them together at the same time. Screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely juggled all of the characters without making it feel populated. Each characters has enough screen time to develop over the movie, with small arcs that contribute to the overall battle. Some characters like Black Panther could have more screen time, but I believe this is a compromise the screenwriters had to do in order to develop other well established character for their fatal ending.

The balance between comedy and tragic moments blend perfectly when different characters that just met are involved in funny situations. If you loved Thor: Ragnarok, be prepared for great bits of comedy in between tense scenes.

In the release of Black Panther, I was extremely worried about the quality of the CGI for the next Marvel films. Black Panther, with all of this greatness, has some really cheesy CG parts that made me cringe, especially the rhinos. Infinity War, being one of the most expensive films ever made, doesn’t have this problem. From the expressions of Thanos to the backgrounds, they all look great on the screen. Compared to the criticisms of some visual effects on Age of Ultron, it seems that Marvel has understood the importance of taking care of these aspects when there is so much emotional investment on these characters.

This movie is about sacrifice. From the very beginning, the movie plays with your expectations that some characters will endure a sad farewell in order to move forward. At the very end, you’re still as crushed and unprepared to see the current state of the universe for these characters.

Personally, I don’t consider myself a huge Marvel fan, and this is why the movie made such an impression of me. The Russo brothers made me care about these characters in such a way that I didn’t expect. If it made me care about these characters that I’ve been watching in the past few years, it really shows how much emotion there is in here.

Next year’s sequel will have to balance between giving a blank slate for new MCU characters to appear and giving a righteous farewell to other characters. Behind all of the armory, the CGI, the fighting, the visuals and the subtle character moments, Infinity War has an emotional fiber that makes the movie work. Now that Thanos is the most powerful villain of the MCU, this time the stakes are actually high for every single superhero.

Epcot And Its Multicultural Message In A Polarizing World

Epcot Multicultural

Epcot will be a very different park in the upcoming years, changing the layout of Future World, adding more movie-based attractions to World Showcase, possibly including more countries to represent. Bob Chapek, in the past D23 Expo, announced some of the planned project for the park, including Guardians Of The Galaxy, Ratatouille, a space-themed restaurant, hinting at more to come for the second gate of Walt Disney World. The overarching vision of the park blends the hope new technologies; the statement of all countries united, sharing their culture to others. To put it in other words: multiculturalism makes a better world. This is the one theme that keeps its validity in our current times.

Articles and stories about immigration in different countries fill the newspapers and social media timelines. Governments announce measures to deal with this issue, but, in the end, they don’t know what to do. The challenge faced by many institutions is that of inclusion. Some examples are the cases of immigrants demonized and discriminated without understanding their reasons to become part of a new culture.

The involvement of different communities in our societies should be important. Many countries have their own cultures because of the diverse groups and cultures that have migrated, hoping to have a fresh start for their families. Multiculturalism, the idea that people with different cultural backgrounds coexist in the same social space, has been a phenomenon that dates centuries, from the nomads to the conquerors of new lands, and will continue to happen. Why should we blame immigrant for an old cultural phenomenon?

Epcot exposes us to the richness of sharing different cultures; learning about the history, traditions and stories of each country. Visitors are exposed to a variety of culture in the span of a few hours. Their traditions manifest themselves in the cuisine, live shows, merchandise, and attractions that reflect a notion or idea of the country. World Showcase is multiculturalism at its best, having the ability to express different cultures without discriminating or consider a culture superior than the other. Even though Epcot is an US-based theme park, with its pavilion in the center of World Showcase with an unique show, it stills reflects and respects the ideals of each country. Shouldn’t it be that way inside or outside of the park?

One of the highlights for many visitors of World Showcase happens when they chat with the Cast Members of the countries, exchanging their culture with other. It is a way to express different points of view that widen your perspective, considering your interpretation of the world as a whole. You are able to respect their culture, understand it, learn from it, and see how it differs from yours. In a globalized world, it is a necessity to comprehend the different aspects of culture because, like it or not, you will be connecting with that culture in some way, whether directly or indirectly.

The concept of a year-round World’s Fair makes this possible. World Showcase offers a new way to understand different cultures and how they all fit together. You see their differences and similarities. The historical struggles, architecture, food, stories, all of this information brings us to a superior understanding of culture as a quilt that bonds communities into countries, and they now bond us into a bigger, wider, globalized environment.

Even though Imagineers will include characters like Remy from Ratatouille in Paris, Anna and Elsa from Frozen in Norway, and the rumored Coco and Mary Poppins attractions in Mexico and the UK respectively, World Showcase should still expose their visitors to the cultures that each country has. With the current political climate, maybe this small initiative from 1982 could go a long way to make people understand how connected is the world and why we should face challenges like poverty, climate change, discrimination, racism, and terrorism in unison.

These challenges are not Epcot’s nor Disney’s responsibility, but the message carried by World Showcase might shift the minds of young and adults alike, embracing different cultures, learning from each country, facing the realities of a globalized world in the 21st century.

Book Review: Last Shot by Daniel Jose Older

iBooks | Amazon

In the Star Wars books, tentpole novels have been very careful at not showing too much about the main characters. Most of these characters end up as secondary characters; some others end up in short mission-driven stories. But with this new novel about Han and Lando, we get a good blend of both worlds. We see our favorite scoundrels and smugglers doing what they do best, dealing also with personal struggles, filling some gaps between what happened to each one of them between Episodes 6 and 7.

Last Shot by Daniel José Older is an action-packed, character driven novel were Han and Lando must fight against Fyzen Gor, an old med student that has planned the destruction of organics with an army of droid assassins. From the very beginning, the storyline is well established. We see Han taking care of a young Ben Solo, dealing with the nooks and crannies of being married to a politician, wondering about his place in the world, trying to be a good father and husband. Lando asks for his help, explaining a recent encounter with a droid that tried to kill him.

The novel, similar to the interludes of the Aftermath series, jumps back and forth in time, detailing some events that happened to Han or Lando decades ago, filling some gaps that allow the current storyline to have further meaning. Fyzen Gor has an impressive development as a villain, with clear intentions and reasons that backup his actions, dealing with the scoundrels in some opportunities during the past. What I enjoyed the most from Fyzen Gor is that he is believable and doesn’t have any Imperial entanglements. Every once in a while it is good to see other types of villains, with a three dimensional background compared to the many generals, cadets, and Sith that lack depth, being made from the same mold.

Daniel José Older masterfully writes the dialogue to Han and Lando, making it as believable as ever. If you don’t believe me, please try to listen to the audiobook and enjoy how the lines blend itself to some great Harrison and Billy Dee impersonations. The novel has some very interesting descriptions, especially considering the language used, for Lando’s clothing and his private encounters with Kaasha, his Twi’lek lover.

You will be surprised with some encounters like Sinjir’s husband (from the Aftermath series), a techie Ewok(yes, you just read that), Lando’s droid L3, some meesa meesa chatter with a Gungan, Mon Mothma and more. Dealing with several characters could be a hassle for the reader and writer alike, but this author blends each one to deliver the needed actions and intentions in the right plot points. No characters fell flat or two-dimensional right away, which happens when writers juggle different characters at once. Each characters contribute with the story, offering a unique style and pacing to the novel.

Other details that shine throughout the novel are the passages were Han is dealing with his family, his personal life, trying to balance them out. These deep, internal conversations allow us to understand better why he eventually leaves Leia after Ben turned to the dark side. This wasn’t José Older’s job, but he makes a damn good work in this aspect.

This could be, next to From A Certain Point Of View, one of my favorite Star Wars books so far. It is a great introduction for someone looking for a starting point because you don’t need as much information from other books, focusing mostly on Han and Lando. Daniel José Older has got me hyped for the Solo movie; he needs to work on some more Lando novels too. For anybody looking to get his Han Solo fix while waiting for the movie, this is an excellent book, filled with details that will make you enjoy more the movies but isn’t mandatory reading to understand it.

iBooks | Amazon