Star Wars: The Last Jedi Global Media Days ~May The Force Be With You~

The Last Jedi Global Media Days: May The Force Be With You

By Jonelle

*We were invited as media to attend the Global Media Days. All thoughts and opinions remain our own.*

It’s that time of year, when my husband and I sit and watch all of the films leading up to the new Star Wars movie, a tradition for us since The Force Awakens. Something happens to us the moment that unmistakable music starts. The goosebumps form, the excitement begins. We’re taken to a new world, or in this case a galaxy far, far away. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in theaters on Decmember 15th.

When I was asked to attend the Global Media Days for The Last Jedi, I jumped at the chance to go. How could I pass up a chance to be in the same room as Luke Skywalker? So, Sunday morning I got in my car, left my Orange County bubble and drove myself to downtown Los Angeles.

When I checked in, I was given a little backpack with goodies inside, including a Mighty Mugs “Rey” (from Jakku) figurine, an At-At Driver, and a coupon to get a custom-made Star Wars T-Shirt. My inner geek was dancing for joy. I immediately went to get my T-Shirt knowing that the line would be crazy after the press conference. The T-Shirts came in black or grey and you could choose between, R2-D2, C-3PO, BB-8 and new for The Last Jedi, a Porg, which is described as a puffin like sea bird. I got R2-D2 on my shirt. The way they were made was extremely interesting and only took a few minutes. 

Director Rian Johnson, actors Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran attend the press conference for the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Last Jedi at InterContinental Los Angeles on December 3, 2017. Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney.

As soon as my T-shirt was finished, we were called into the press conference area. I managed to finagle my way to the third row. When the cast arrived, my inner geek was over the moon with happiness. There they were, Mark Hamill “Luke Skywalker”, Daisy Ridley “Rey”, John Boyega “Finn”, Oscar Isaac “Poe Dameron”, Adam Driver “Kylo Ren”, Gwendoline Christie “Captain Phasma”, Domhnall Gleeson “General Hux” Andy Serkis “Supreme Leader Snoke”, Star Wars newbies, Laura Dern “Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo”, Kelly Marie Tran “Rose Tico”, and Director Rian Johnson, the only one missing of course, our “Princess Leia” Carrie Fisher.

Director Rian Johnson with Carrie Fisher (Leia) on set. Photo: David James

The cast was very tight lipped when it came to discussing the actual movie, I do know that this film picks up immediately after The Force Awakens. The first thing that I noticed however, was the color of Daisy Ridley’s lipstick, an intense dark shade. I couldn’t help but wonder, could it be a subliminal message about Rey’s possible turn to the “dark side”? I also wondered “Who are Rey’s parents”? Could her father be the man sitting to her right? And by this, I mean Mark Hamil’s Luke Skywalker.   Of course, like so many others I have my own fan theories about who she may possibly be related to. The latest I heard is that she’s Palpatine’s granddaughter. My (new) hope is that she is a granddaughter, but to Obi-Wan. Then the story will come full circle.

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Disney•Pixar’s COCO 

Disney•Pixar’s COCO

By Erin

Disney•Pixar’s COCO is now playing in theatres everywhere! Also, for a limited time only, you can see the brand new Walt Disney Animation Studios’ featurette OLAF’S FROZEN ADVENTURE playing in front of COCO only in theatres! Both of these films are the perfect way to start the holiday season! They will give you all the warm and fuzzy feels.

In COCO, Miguel is an aspiring singer and self-taught guitarist who dreams of following in the footsteps of his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, the most famous musician in the history of Mexico. But Miguel’s family forbids music. Many years ago, his great-great-grandmother and great-great-grandfather came to an impasse: She wanted to raise their family together in Santa Cecilia, but he couldn’t let go of his dream, leaving his family behind in his quest to be a musician. Passed down from generation to generation, great-great-grandmother Mamá Imelda’s consequent ban on music is strictly enforced—much to Miguel’s dismay. When Miguel unearths a secret from his family’s past—a connection to Ernesto de la Cruz, he rushes to share the news with his family, thinking it will clear the way for him to be a musician. Unfortunately, it only makes matters worse. Miguel feels like he has to choose between his passion for music and his love for his family. Miguel wants to prove to his family that making music is both beautiful and honorable. We follow Miguel as he follows his heart and his dreams.

NO MUSIC – Miguel challenges his family’s generations-old ban on music, spending time with a local mariachi. But his grandmother Abuelita promptly puts a stop to it.

A magical event is sparked by Miguel’s impulsive actions that renders him visible only to those who have come to visit from the Land of the Dead on Día de los Muertos. This world is a beautiful, lively and colorful parallel world that is populated by generations and generations of people who long ago left the Land of the Living, including Miguel’s own ancestors, who instantly recognize him and offer to help—but only if he agrees to give up music forever. Miguel ends up running into and teams up with a scrappy, streetwise skeleton named Héctor and they set out to find Ernesto de la Cruz—who they believe holds the key to Miguel’s baffling and decidedly unmusical family history.

What happens next? Well you will just have to go see the film now won’t you? 😉 I do not want to give away all the magical twists and turns and melt-your-heart moments. However, I will leave you with some fun tidbits about the film and some cool things to look for and take notice of in Coco!

Miguel’s love of music ultimately leads him to the Land of the Dead where he teams up with charming trickster Hector.

THEM BONES – Look for the very subtle nods to the skeleton residents in the Land of the Dead, like the cobblestone streets that feature some bone-shaped paving stones.

CHANGE OF PLANTS – Artists at Pixar Animation Studios like to add vegetation—grass, trees, bushes—to exterior environments, but “Coco” filmmakers wanted the Land of the Dead to be different. The only living plants in the vibrant fantastical world are marigolds.

• During research trips to Mexico, filmmakers learned that the color and aroma of marigold petals are believed to help guide the spirit of a family’s loved one home during Día de los Muertos.

Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) finds himself in the Land of the Dead—a rich and vibrant community featuring bridges of marigold petals.

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Fun Facts From the Cast of Disney*Pixar’s Coco!

Fun Facts From the Cast of Disney*Pixar’s Coco!

By Erin

*We were invited by Disney to attend this press conference for purposes of this post. All thoughts and opinions remain my own!*

Thanksgiving is just about here. It’s the perfect time for families everywhere to come together and celebrate everything there is to be thankful for. Pixar’s new movie Coco, couldn’t be coming out at a better time than at Thanksgiving as Coco showcases the importance of family, honoring your ancestors and following your dreams. Opening in theaters everywhere on Wednesday, November 22nd.

Coco is about a 12-year-old boy named Miguel with big dreams and a hardworking family with great traditions and a lot of love. What’s so cool is that this could be any family that lives next door. The sweet, bossy grandmother who insists on one more bite might be your grandma (she sure reminds me a lot of my own grandmother). There’s something familiar to us all in this story. The universal theme of family is what makes it so special, with relationships that are beautiful and complicated, but our family shapes who we are. Pixar Animation Studios’ 19th feature film introduces Miguel, an aspiring singer and self- taught guitarist who dreams of following in the footsteps of his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, the most famous musician in the history of Mexico. But Miguel’s family forbids music.

The other week we were delighted to meet the cast at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. The talent in attendance were:
  • Benjamin Bratt (voice of “Ernesto de la Cruz”)
  • Gael Garcia Bernal (voice of “Hector”)
  • Anthony Gonzalez (voice of “Miguel”)
  • Edward James Olmos (voice of “Chicharron”)
  • Alanna Ubach (voice of “Mama Imelda”)
  • Director Lee Unkrich
  • Co-Director Adrian Molina
  • Producer Darla K. Anderson

Darla K. Anderson; Adrian Molina; Anthony Gonzalez; Gael Garcia Bernal; Benjamin Bratt; Edward James Olmos; Alanna Ubach; Lee Unkrich. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney.

Right before the conference started, we were in for a very special treat: a performance by Mariachi Divas and some dancers.

Mariachi Divas perform at the Global Press Conference for Disney-Pixar’s “Coco.” Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Look how beautiful those dresses are. They put on a beautiful performance for all of us to enjoy.

Dancers perform at the Global Press Conference for Disney-Pixar’s “Coco” Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney.

During the press conference, here were some of the fun and interesting facts we all learned.

Lee Unkrich- “Darla, and Adrian, and I all worked on Toy Story III together. When we finished that film, I started to think about what was next, and I had a few different ideas that I was kicking around. One of them was the idea of telling a story set against Dia de los Muertos. I had always been interested in the tradition, and I spent some time doing some research, and really trying to understand more than I already knew. The more that I dug in, the more that I learned about how central family is to this celebration, and that Dia de los Muertos is all about this obligation that we all have to remember our loved ones, and to pass their stories along. I just really started to see the potential to tell a unique story, to tell a story that could only be told in animation, that could be visually dazzling, but also had the potential to have a real emotional core to it. That was really kind of the beginning of this journey. We immediately headed down to Mexico and started – went on the first of what proved to be many lengthy research trips, to spend time learning about the traditions, learning about the culture, and spending a lot of time with many beautiful families down in Mexico.” 

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