Category Archives: Magical Adventures

Lego’s Frank Lloyd Wright Collection

This is new!

It is, Lego has released the latest kit in their architecture series, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, for the 150th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s birth. It is a new rendition of the building. The original interpretation of the building was released by Lego in 2009. The new set provides a much more realistic portrayal of the Wright’s original building as well as the 10-story limestone tower added by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects in 1992 (based on Wright’s original sketches). Arch and bow bricks make up the swooping lines of the main rotunda and the rounded edges of the base. Even the porthole side windows are represented, as well as little taxis — rendered as two yellow bricks each — and other street details.

We took the little model to Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

The Lego Group and Adam Reed Tucker of Brickstructures, Inc. officially introduced the Lego Architecture line in 2008. In 2009, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation announced that the Lego Group was the exclusive licensed manufacturer of Frank Lloyd Wright Collection® Legp Architecture sets.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Fallingwater models were shown at the opening of the Frank Lloyd Wright Exhibit: From Within Outward at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2009, to commemorate the 50 years of the death of Frank Lloyd Wright and the 50th anniversary of the opening of the museum.

Fallingwater is one of the most famous and ingenious houses in the world.

In 2011, Lego released a model of the Robie House. Robie House was the first property to be declared a National Historic Landmark based on its architecture alone.

In 2013, the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo was the fourth Wright design to achieve micro-scale Lego-dom. The Imperial Hotel was the first set in the Lego Architecture sub-brand that is no longer with us. Having survived both 1923’s Great Kantō Earthquake and the American bombing of Tokyo during World War II, Wright’s dramatic Mayan Revival-style structure proved to be no match for the wrecking ball when it was decided, not without protest, to raze the ailing H-shaped building in 1968 and replace it with a more space-efficient modern hotel tower. Portions of the hotel including the main entrance were, however, relocated and rebuilt at an open-air architectural theme park north of Nagoya, Meiji-Mura.

We’ve been there!

Time for cupcakes!

The LEGO Batman Movie

Ready!

Have fun! And don’t expect to find any chocolates or macaroons when you get back 🙂

It’s nice to have a boy’s night out!

Universal Italian Restaurant, 139-141 Lygon St, Carlton

IMAX has very comfy chairs…

Baby Groot is coming!

Little Puffles and Jay are excited there is finally a Batman movie they can watch 🙂

The first thing to say about The Lego Batman Movie is that it’s kicky, bedazzling, and super-fun. The second thing to say about it is that, like The Lego Movie (2014), it’s a kiddie flick that’s been made in a sophisticated spirit of lightning-fast, brain-bursting paradox. Again just like The Lego Movie the majority of The Lego Batman Movie moves at such a breakneck pace that it almost becomes wearying, as the picture occasionally feels like high fructose corn syrup being injected directly into your veins. The movie looks simply fantastic, even if the 3D is wholly unnecessary, and the frame is filled with endless bits of visual imagination and genuine wit.

The movie uses digital animation to create the illusion that it’s set in a herky-jerky universe of plastic Lego bricks — but it has such a kaleidoscopic, anything-goes flow that it trumps the imagination of just about any animated feature you could name. The characters are Lego minifigures with pegs for heads and crudely etched faces that barely move, yet they have more personality than the majority of human actors. Most delicious of all: The Lego Batman Movie comes on like a kid-friendly sendup of the adult world, yet there’s a dizzying depth to its satirical observations that grows right out of the spectacularly fake settings, which are hypnotic to look at but have the effect of putting postmodern quotation marks around everything.

In The Lego Movie Will Arnett was terrific as a G-rated take on Frank Miller’s “the God-Damned Batman”. Will Arnett is back as Batman in The Lego Batman Movie with a deep low husky rasp and with a narcissistic personality disorder that’s fantastically out of control. He somehow combines the voice of Clint Eastwood, the conceitedness of Derek Zoolander, and the fast-break observational avidity of Stephen Colbert. “We’re going to punch those guys so hard,” he growls, “words describing their impact are going to spontaneously materialize.” The movie opens with Batman offering the play-by-play of his own film (“All important movies start with a black screen”), followed by a sequence as madly choreographed as anything in an Indiana Jones film, as he takes on a screenful of famous and obscure villains led by the rascally but secretly sensitive Joker (voiced by Zach Galifianakis).

This Batman, still scarred by the loss of his parents, roots his competitive identity in being a lone avenger, valiant and guarded, with no feelings, no vulnerability, no need for anyone else. In his bat lair, feasting on microwaved lobster thermidor, watching Jerry Maguire as if it were a comedy, he’s the ultimate male who won’t commit, a cowled mask of solo cool whose only loyalty is to Gotham City — but deep down, he’s doing it for his own glory. Ever since Tim Burton’s Batman, the movies have acknowledged that the Caped Crusader is a dark freak, but The Lego Batman Movie doesn’t just freakify Batman. It subjects him to nothing less than a playfully merciless psychoanalysis. The main satirical target of The Lego Batman Movie is Batman himself.

Lego Batman is brash, self-centred, obsessed with his own fame and reputation, self-delusional with regard to his influence on Gotham City (which is much worse than he notices) and the Justice League, incapable of expressing vulnerability and emotional connections to other people, rude, overall emotionally stunted, and shamefully opportunistic. He’s also talented, tough, resourceful, prepared for almost any eventuality, capable of saving the city against all odds, heroic, willing to risk his own life on a daily basis to rescue and protect society, and harbouring suppressed trauma and emotional need that causes him to push away anyone he cares about because he’s afraid of reliving the pain he experienced when he lost his parents. Heady stuff for a cartoon Lego guy.

What’s amazing is how well The Lego Batman Movie portrays these complicated personality traits and behaviours, these conflicts and contrasts and parallels, so easily and through experiencing them within the story. It’s terrific characterization and demonstrates as thorough a grasp of Batman’s psychology as any film or comic to date.

The movie pulls off a nifty balancing act: It gives the PG audience its own Batman movie (it’s a superhero starter kit) and takes swipes at the subgenre, mostly by gently mocking the seriousness that has become a deadening Warner Bros. default. The Lego Batman Movie can’t atone for a movie as grindingly bad as the studio’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice but at least someone on that lot gets the joke.

The cast and crew of The Lego Batman Movie sustain that joke admirably, filling in its 104-minute running time with loads of busy action, deadpan humour, visual comedy, reflexive bits and an overfamiliar story line. It features the usual cavalcade of marquee-ready talent (Rosario Dawson, Conan O’Brien, Mariah Carey), the comic and less so, but owes much of its pleasure and juice to Will Arnett. The movie puts a goofy spin on the Batman saga, but it squeezes its brightest, most sustained comedy from Mr. Arnett’s hypnotically sepulchral voice, which conveys the entire bat ethos — the Sturm und Drang, the darkness and aloneness, the resoluteness and echoiness — in vocal terms. It’s blissfully self-serious, near-Wagnerian and demented.

Why can’t non-Lego movies be as funny, exciting and weirdly moving as this?

Brickman Wonders of the World

The Brickman Wonders of the World exhibition has already been to Brisbane and Sydney and it opened in Melbourne on April 1. More than 50 awe-inspiring are on display, taking visitors on a hands-on journey through history. Brickman Wonders of the World took 4,944 hours to build.

St Basil The Blessed, Red Square, Moscow (71,689 pieces, 320 hours to build)
Ryugyong Hotel, North Korea (36,211 pieces, 97 hours to build)
Sinking Titanic (133,900 pieces, 240 hours to build)
Big Ben, London (18,437 pieces, 94 hours to build)
St Mark’s Square, Venice (21,185 pieces, 119 hours to build)
Mona Lisa, Louvre (27,011 pieces, 102 hours to build)
Leaning Tower of Pisa (41,806 pieces, 127 hours to build)
Flying Scotsman (164,611 pieces, 217 hours to build)
Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai (11,260 pieces, 83 hours to build)
Tokyo Subway Map (31,280 pieces, 225 hours to build)
Tokyo Subway Map detail
International Space Station (32,821 pieces, 145 hours to build)
Arc de Triumph, Paris (30,000 pieces, 170 hours to build)
Trojan Horse (9,500 pieces, 53 hours to build)
Macintosh Computer (4,500 pieces, 22 hours to build)
Macintosh Computer detail
Hanging Gardens of Babylon (24,585 pieces, 79.5 hours to build)
Hanging Gardens of Babylon (24,585 pieces, 79.5 hours to build)
Statue of Zeus at Olympia (10,000 pieces, 42 hours to build)
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (14,517 pieces, 71 hours to build)
Great Barrier Reef (75,000 pieces, 62 hours to build)
Great Barrier Reef (75,000 pieces, 62 hours to build)

The exhibition will open in Perth on 22 June 2017.

Princess Day

Little bears love to dress up in princess clothes, but they have little in common with the Disney princesses. Little bears are no damsels in distress!

Princess Day

Snow White started the whole “I’ll just rest my eyes until Prince Charming comes along” trend, which just prevents her, and the other damsels in distress, from living up to their full potential. Plus, lying around waiting for some dude to come rescue you? Lame! At least she taught us to never take food from strangers.

From her evil step sisters to her even more evil stepmother, Cinderella just can’t seem to catch a break. We sympathize with Cinders, but we wouldn’t have blamed her for teaching her evil step siblings a lesson or two! Cinderella was the first princess who was not from royal descent, yet she turned out to be one of the most glamorous! Some people who worked closely with Walt Disney say that Cinderella was his favourite princess. The magical moment when Cinderella’s dress transforms from her housemaid threads into a gorgeous ball gown was Walt Disney’s all-time favourite animation. Really, who can argue with him? And she is still the most popular Disney princess. Even with Frozen on the scene.

Isabelle loves Aurora’s (Sleeping Beauty) pink dress, but she finds the story a bit of a snooze, literally 🙂 The most interesting thing about Aurora is that she sleeps, for a really long time! That means she also has the least amount of dialogue of all the Disney princesses. Unlike little Isabelle who is a chatterbox 🙂

Princess Day

While we love Ariel’s adventurous side, does it not bother anyone else how much she was willing to give up for Prince Eric? Meanwhile, he was ready to marry the first girl who sang him a pretty tune. It’s time to re-evaluate your life when the crab makes better decisions than you do!

Belle is a small town geeky girl who loves nothing more than to curl up with a good book. While she doesn’t have magic powers or serious fighting skills like some of the other princesses, she manages to show the beast there’s beauty in kindness. And she rescues her prince from an evil spell.

At least Jasmine and Aladdin take turns rescuing each other. Still, the princess can be super judge-y. She isn’t “a prize to be won”, but she doesn’t give anyone a chance because she thinks all the princes are show-offs – that is until Aladdin shows up on a magic carpet, which sounds a little show-off-y …

When do you think it's going to be Prince Day?
When do you think it’s going to be Prince Day?

Pocahontas managed to create peace and understanding between two feuding groups. Plus, she can paint with all the colours of the wind! Pocahontas is the only princess based on a real person – the real Pocahontas was born in the late 1500s! Pocahonta’s outfit is the only princess outfit little bears are missing 😦

We love Mulan! Not only she is no one’s damsel in distress, but she is the most kickass princess of them all! She joins the army and no one finds her suspicious, because she’s just as good, if not better, than everyone else. She also saves her entire country! Mulan is not actually a real princess. All of the others are princesses by birth or married princes, but Mulan was just so kickass, she had to be the exception!

Princess Day

Tiana is the first and only princess who not only has a full-time job, but starts her own business, too! She proves that with hard work and determination, nothing, even turning into a frog 🙂 , can stand in your way.

Rapunzel spends the first 18 years of her life locked in a castle, and yet she still learned how to wield a weapon (a frying pan, but hey, it still counts!) like a trained professional.

Merida gets props for wanting to do things her own way, and her bow and arrow skills give us a total Katniss vibe. Okay, so she did turn her mom into a bear and all, but she realized she was wrong and changed her back. That counts for something, right?

Princess Day

Anna, Elsa and Moana are not yet officially part of the Disney Princess franchise.

There’s Magic In The Air Tonight

… and anything can happen, even frogs made of cake!

The Princess and The Frog

The Princess and The Frog

So the opening song from The Princess and the Frog says, minus the frog cakes!

Today we are celebrating the anniversary of The Princess and the Frog. The film is set in New Orleans where music plays such an integral part of the lifestyle that filmmakers felt it important to reflect that diversity in the film. Oscar-winning composer Randy Newman (Cars, Monsters, Inc., Toy Story) created an all-new score for the film in a range of styles, including jazz, blues, gospel and zydeco; and featuring seven new songs.

Miss Honey’s ball gown is modelled on Princess Tiana’s dress 🙂

The Princess and The Frog

The Princess and The Frog

Puffles and Honey met Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen at Magic Kingdom!

Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen
Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen

Have you noticed all the details about the film? What do you mean you’ve never watched the film?!?

It took three and a half years to make the film. (No frogs were kissed in the process, but no guarantee that frog princess cakes were not eaten 🙂 ) The film was hand-drawn and the style was inspired by Bambi and The Lady and the Tramp.

The Princess and The Frog

Directors Ron Clements and John Musker pitched the film to Oprah on a trip to Disneyland, just for fun. She loved the idea so much that she asked to be a part of it.

Tiana's Mum (voiced by Oprah)
Tiana’s Mum (voiced by Oprah)

The women who fawn over Prince Naveen are all caricatures of women who work at Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Prince Naveen
Prince Naveen

Anika Noni Rose, the voice of Tiana, requested that Tiana be left-handed, just like her. (Tiana’s dimples are also borrowed from Anika.)

Anika Noni Rose
Anika Noni Rose

Tiana was animated by Mark Henn, who also animated Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas and Mulan.

Tiana turns into a frog when she kisses the prince frog!

Tiana and Naveen
Tiana and Naveen

Oh yeah, spoiler alert!

Ray was animated by Mike Surrey who also animated Timon in The Lion King. He’s voiced by Jim Cummings, the voice of Winnie the Pooh!

The Princess and The Frog

Louis the alligator was named after Louis Armstrong and was animated Eric Goldberg by who also animated Genie from Aladdin. Louis realizes his dream of playing with a jazz band and the band is called the Firefly Five Plus Lou after a Disney Animation ragtime band from the 1940s-50s known as the Firehouse Five Plus Two (the film’s piano player is even modeled after Disney Legend Frank Thomas was the piano player for the Firehouse Five Plus Two). Terrence Blanchard, who is a native New Orleans jazz legend and trumpet player, played all of alligator Louis’ trumpet parts in the film.

Louis the alligator
Louis the alligator

During Down in New Orleans early in the film, the carpet from Aladdin is being shaken up on a wrought-iron balcony. Mama Odie comes across the lamp from Aladdin during Dig a Little Deeper.

The Princess and the Frog

A Mardi Gras parade float is modeled after King Triton from The Little Mermaid — on it are caricatured versions of directors John Musker and Ron Clements (who also directed The Little Mermaid).

The Princess and the Frog

This interlude is an homage to Dick Van Dyke’s dance with the penguins in Mary Poppins.

Dr Facilier
Dr Facilier
Dr Facilier
Dr Facilier

Time to watch the film!

The Princess and The Frog

Lego Disney Castle

Little bears are fascinated with the Lego replica of the iconic Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle.

Lego Disney Castle

Lego Disney Castle

Lego Disney Castle

WDW Magic Kingdom
WDW Magic Kingdom
With Cinderella in her castle at the Magic Kingdom WDW
With Cinderella in her castle at the Magic Kingdom WDW

The set includes Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Tinker Bell. Mickey Mouse is in a tuxedo, Minnie Mouse has a red dress, Donald Duck is in his classic outfit, Daisy Duck has a pink skirt, lavender coloured shoes and a bow, and Tinker Bell comes with wings and a magic wand. Check out the two frogs from the Princess and the Frog on the right hand side!

Lego Disney Castle

The attention to detail inside the castle is amazing: stone bridges, clocks, a wide arched entrance, ornate balconies, spired towers that lead to the four-story main building. The first floor features the main hall with a large arched doorway, mosaic floor tiling, ornate chandelier, suits of armour, shield-decorated walls, grandfather clock and a floor-standing vase with buildable flower elements.

Lego Disney Castle

This being Cinderella’a Castle there is of course a pumpkin ready to turn into a carriage along with a fireplace and broom for cinders to clean each day.

Lego Disney Castle

There is even the glass slipper and fairy-tale book!

Lego Disney Castle

There is plenty in the other rooms too.

Beauty and the Beast’s wilting rose under a glass dome and Lumière.

Lego Disney Castle

Snow White’s magic mirror and poisoned apple and Tangled’s scissors and brush.

Lego Disney Castle

Sleeping Beauty’s spinning wheel.

Lego Disney Castle

Aladdin’s magic carpet and lamp.

Lego Disney Castle

Brave’s bow, arrows and target.

Lego Disney Castle

Sorcerer’s Mickey hat, broom and book of spells.

Lego Disney Castle

Launch the fireworks and let the magic begin!

A Royal Day at Magic Kingdom

A Royal Day at Magic Kingdom

A Royal Day at Magic Kingdom

For the Billionth Time in Forever… Frozen

Forever Frozen

By now we’ve all seen Frozen for the billionth time and it feels like it’s been around forever. Hard to believe it was released only 3 years ago, today. The film was a massive commercial success, it ranks as the highest-grossing animated film of all time and the third-highest-grossing original film of all time. The film won the Academy Award, the Golden Globe, the BAFTA Award, the Annie Award and the Critics Choice Movie Award for Best Animated Feature. Let it go won the Academy Award and the Critics Choice Movie Award for Best Original Song. Of course, we love it more and more each time we hear Let It Go 🙂

There are many details in every snowflake of this movie that you may not have noticed, despite the billionth time viewing. Some fun facts about the film.

Elsa’s hair was originally going to be black. And she has much more hair than the average human. About four times more! The animators did a lot of research into the hair designs of the lead characters, especially Elsa. In Norway, there are lots of braids, but they wanted to do something a little different. So they brought in a New York-based hairstylist named Danilo who came up with some sophisticated designs for Elsa. The average human head has about 100,000 hairs. Anna has about 140,000 hairs, but Elsa has 400,000 hairs on her head. It takes a lot of hair to perfect Elsa’s look!

Forever Frozen

Disney Animation held a “Sister Summit” where they gathered all of the women on the team that had sisters and asked them questions in order to better understand the sister relationship.

Forever Frozen

John Ripa sketched Elsa while Idina Menzel sang in the studio to capture Menzel’s passion while singing.

Forever Frozen

A group of artists went on a research trip to Norway to gain inspiration for Arendelle’s design. Arendelle was inspired by Nærøyfjord, a branch of Norway’s longest fjord Sognefjorden, which has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site; while a castle in Oslo with beautiful hand-painted patterns on all four walls served as the inspiration for the kingdom’s royal castle interior. Several landmarks in Norway appear in the film, including the Akershus Fortress in Oslo, the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim and Bryggen in Bergen.

Forever Frozen

The rock crystals the trolls wear are inspired by the Northern Lights.

Forever Frozen

Our next destination is Norway, for the Northern Lights! Check this out! I guess I know what dresses Miss Honey will take along 🙂

The official crest of Arendelle is a crocus, a symbol of rebirth and spring.

Forever Frozen

The idea of Kristoff as an ice harvester came late in production.

Forever Frozen

During Olaf’s song In Summer, the backgrounds and shapes were changed to look more like Olaf 🙂

Forever Frozen

Elsa’s ice castle is based on the science of snowflakes. If you look closely at her cape, you’ll see snowflake detailing. The floor of the ice palace Elsa builds is in the shape of a snowflake. The columns of her palace – the ones that rise up from the floor – are actually arms of a snowflake. She’s surrounded by snowflakes in her new icy home.

Forever Frozen

Sven, the Frozen reindeer, is modelled on Frankie, the Labrador! It turns out reindeer don’t do anything, they just stand there! As Disney Animation discovered when they brought a reindeer into Disney for research. That’s when they thought about approaching Sven as an excited dog. He’s like an inquisitive pooch that sniffs around the place. John Lasseter liked the idea and said ‘My Labrador, Frankie, is always in your face and licking you. It’s perfect.’

Forever Frozen

Rapunzel and Flynn attended Elsa’s coronation.

Forever Frozen

And today, little bears found out that Hong Kong Disneyland is getting a Frozen land. And a Marvel Superheroes zone. Hong Kong Disneyland said in a statement there would be new attractions launching almost every year, from 2018 through 2023. Guess which Disneyland we are visiting again?!?

Kingdom of Arendelle, Disney concept art
Kingdom of Arendelle, Disney concept art
Kingdom of Arendelle, Disney concept art
Kingdom of Arendelle, Disney concept art

We have time to plan the visit. The Kingdom of Arendelle is scheduled to open in 2020. Hong Kong is the smallest Disneyland, but the bears have a soft spot for it. It was the first Disneyland they visited! And previous home of diamond in the cute, little Jay 🙂 And it’s only an 8 hour flight away.

Forever Frozen

Little bears got 31/31 on the Frozen quiz, I only got 15/31 😦 So clearly I have to pay closer attention when watching it for the billionth and one time!

Forever Frozen