Disney Plus recommendations- Gordon Ramsay Uncharted (seasons 1-2

It’s like Bear Grylls meets Jamie Oliver!

And the boycott of Netflix continues….. Oh, I’m just joking, it’s not an active effort to avoid Netflix content, but there’s nothing worth watching on Netflix ATM! Ouch! So, we’ve been spending the past few weeks watching purely Disney Plus, and what we’ve been binging at the moment has been Gordon Ramsay Uncharted!

For those who are unfamiliar with the National Geographic series, it’s essentially potty-mouth Gordon Ramsay on the ground, in a different remote location per episode, trying out the local delights and attempting to replicate his take on the local cuisine at the end of his stay in said country. It’s both travel doco and cooking show all rolled into one, whilst including some extreme experiences like deep sea diving or sheer cliff climbing- in attempts by the locals to humiliate poor Gordon. Hehehe.

To date we’ve seen Gordon in Sumatra, South Africa, Tasmania, Alaska, Laos,  Hawaii, Morocco, New Zealand, and Peru. Although the format is a bit predictable i.e., Gordon meets local renowned chef who welcomes Gordon to country and introduces him to the local food and terrain, before informing him who he’ll be cooking for at the end of the week. Then Gordon goes off and meets a number of different locals, oftentimes in the most odd and inhospitable locations, where they show him the local produce and ways of eating said produce, before Gordon returns back to locally renowned chef to either collaborate on a feast using the techniques/ingredients he’s just learnt, to feed some VIPs or the friends who he’s just made during the week, or the locally renowned chef competes against Gordon in a head-to-head cook-off. Either way, everyone is well fed and happy at the end of the meal, and after much praise of Gordon’s talents behind the stove, Gordon heads off on his next global adventure.

To date there has been 3 seasons (21 episodes), and we’ve enjoyed each one we’ve watched thus far! Sure, Gordon might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but we’ve warmed to him since watching his Masterclass, and he shows a large amount of vulnerability and humility  on ‘Uncharted’, as he heads off into the unknown, the locals having a bit of a laugh at the expense of the big white fella. Hehehe.

So, if you’re looking for a Reality TV show to binge this weekend, check-out Gordon Ramsay Uncharted on Disney Plus! Just click HERE! It’s much better than you’d ever imagine it to be!      

Disney+ recommendations- The Book of Boba Fet

Not worth watching until episode 5?

Since the teaser at the end of the Mandalorian season 2, we’ve been looking forward to the next instalment in the Star Wars franchise! But was it worth the wait?

I never quite understood the obsession with Boba Fet, and was super surprised to find that you can buy figurines and choose Boba Fet as your avatar in Star Wars video games! Like what the!? He had the most minor of minor roles in the original trilogy, and if I remember correctly …… He didn’t even have a speaking part! But decades on from the original cinematic release, here we are, an entire series devoted to the bounty hunter Boba Fet.

The interesting thing, is that either using flashbacks or intricate weaving of various storylines ‘The Book of Boba Fet’ inserts itself nicely back into the greater Star Wars storyline. For example, a flashback sequence shows how Boba survived being swallowed whole by the sarlacc- which explains his re-emergence in the Mandalorian. And the flashbacks explain his rise to power as the new crime boss, a seat vacated by the death of Jabba the Hutt, and how Fennec Shand ends-up linking up with Boba in their criminal endeavours. However, to tell you the truth, the only two things I liked about episodes 1-4 of Boba Fet, was the Jawas (their chatter to me is super amusing) and the end credits! That doesn’t say much for the multi-million-dollar production. Right?

But everything from episode 5 onwards? I liked, liked it very much! Why? Because it was essentially ‘The Mandalorian’ season 2.5! The sudden emergence of Mando, and the continuation of his story, and episode 6’s devotion to Grogu’s training with a young Luke Skywalker! That was so cool! And may I say, super cute! “Jump Grogu! Jump!” And the complete absence of Boba in ep 6? Yeah, I very much preferred it that way! Honestly, Boba as a character, I was completely indifferent about him. Couldn’t care less if he got swallowed whole by another sarlacc. Haaha.

However, the final scenes in episode 7 where there’s street battles and skirmishes in the streets of ‘Freetown’, that was a bit hard to watch on February 27, two days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Which does raise the question, do we draw too much entertainment and enjoyment from films/scenes like this? Have we desensitized ourselves to this gratuitous violence, both as films, novels, and video games, that watching these real-life events unfold in the 21st Century, it all feels too unreal?

Pre-2022, has the western world been living in a state of relative peace for so long, that we need to manufacture wars in the form of movies to satisfy our human desires for bloodlust? And now that war in Europe has broken out in our lifetime, we are appalled by it. But weren’t we only weeks ago, paying money to watch similar content, to appease our desires to see destruction and death? Those behind these atrocities in the Ukraine, have they not also grown-up watching violent films, played first-person shoot Em Up games? Thus it’s so easy for them to now step out, and shoot a person in real life? Fire missals onto civilian towns? What’s going on in Europe, are we all to blame? As we all have watched a war film, and cheered on the indiscriminate killing of baddies?

Stop this war Putin! Have we not learnt from the follies of our grandfathers?

Ok, returning to ‘The Book of Boba Fet’, as I get off my high horse. Is ‘The Book of Boba Fet’ worth watching? Well, if you’re a star Wars fan, you’ll watch anything remotely associated to the franchise. But you must watch it if you’ve been following the Mandalorian.! Because if you don’t, this maybe it! It’s hard to tell if there will be a Mandalorian season 3. And if they do, you’ll run the risk of not knowing why the little guy (Grogu) and the Mandalorian are back together again, after the conclusion of S2 where Luke whisks him away. And watching Boba Fet, will explain why Baby Yoda has such a stylish chain mail singlet. Very beguiling for a young 90-year-old green toddler!

To watch ‘The Book of Boba Fet’ now, click HERE!

Disney+ recommendations- Only Murders in the Building

As opposed to ‘Only vacant apartments in the Building’, here is inner city living in 2021!

It’s been a long while since we last tuned in weekly to follow a TV show, however the ‘back to the future’ like experience, was surprisingly refreshing! As week after week from end of August to October, Disney+ released the latest episode of ‘Only Murders in the Building’ for our Eagar consumption.

For those who are yet to watch the mystery comedy ‘Only Murders in the Building’, here are the key facts: it featured a trio of mega stars, household names like Steve Martin (as a retired TV actor), Martin Short (as a down on his luck Broadway Director), and Selena Gomez (as a resident with her own share of mysteries). The show is centred around a high-end New York City apartment block, called the Arconia where the three all live. And the drama starts after a young man in their building is found dead in his apartment, the three strangers band together to investigate the murder of the resident- after they learned of their joint love of true crime podcasts and dissatisfied with NYPD’s conclusion that it was suicide.

The series was unique for a streaming service series, because it featured actors who you normally wouldn’t expect to star on an “only on a streaming service” series- their involvement already drew the viewers in, and the product did not disappoint! Arty in it’s cinematography with the occasional dream like sequence, and it was also jarring to have an entire episode devoid of dialogue, as the episode was seen from the point of view of a deaf character. The series also had a fantastic soundtrack, which played on similar soundtracks from iconic true crime podcasts like ‘Serial’. And the fact that the characters were drawn together, and they solve the crime by producing their own true crime podcast called ‘Only Murders in the Building’, it playfully poked fun at the entire true crime genre!? Nicely done, nicely done!

But aside from the fact that each element of the show was top notch, but honestly what made the season a stand-out for us!? Was the fact that we started ‘Only Murders in the Building’ when it was first released, and we were forced to wait 7 long days before we could learn more and have the mystery progress one step further to its conclusion. After almost 7 years of streaming services, I had forgotten how watching TV used to be in the olden days. For the first time in a very long while, we weren’t able to satisfy our immediate need for instant gratification, and we had to stop when the episode ended, and we had to wait like everyone else to resolve the episode cliff-hangers. For once, no spoilers were out there, everyone being on the same level playing field as us, as we were all guessing how the mystery would pan out. Which made our Saturday afternoons, a time which we truly looked forward to all week long.

So although ‘Only Murders in the Building’ was unique as it had mega stars in it, it was a high end production, and it seemed that everyone was talking about it, but the biggest stand out for me? Was the fact that the suspense was drawn out for us for 8 long weeks, which helped us to get through a 4 month long Covid lock-down,.

So if you haven’t already seen ‘Only Murders in the Building’, and you’d rather skip the long drawn out wait and just binge to your hearts delight? Go for it! All 10 episodes of ‘Only Murders in the Building’ is now available for your viewing pleasure on Disney+, just click HERE!

Disney Plus recommendations- The Mandalorian season 2

The kid has a name!?

I’d been putting off watching season 2 of ‘The Mandalorian’ for a while now, if I had to. Place a finger on the why? I think I had some trepidation around ‘What if season 2 sucked?’ Which has been my oh too frequent realisation after watching season 2s. but don’t fear, ‘The Mandalorian season 2 was awesome (said in Oprah’s voice).

Do we need to go into the preface? As by now, anyone and everyone who is going to watch it, knows the scene. But what we did learn from season 2 was:

The child, the kid, the foundling actually has a name! yeah, we can stop referring to him as “Baby Yoda” now (but for the purposes of this post and wanting to avoid spoilers I’ll continue to refer to him as that).

Mando’s friends actually see his unhelmeted face for the first time! And for the actor who plays Mando (Pedro Pascal) he actually gets his just recognition (otherwise he’s a bit replaceable as an actor).

We now have a much better sense of the timeline in which the series fits in with the overall Star Wars storyline. Sure everyone said it was a time period in-between episode 6 and 7, but now we learn in definitive terms how it’s much closer to the ending of Ep 6, than the start of Ep 7.

And the last thing which we’ve learnt after watching season 2, is that perhaps the adventures of Mando have come to an end, however another Star Wars (non-animated) series is coming soon! (if you can call 12 months soon).

But again, ‘Baby Yoda stole the show and our hearts with his cuteness; the Mandalorian race has further stamped their authority as the superior warrior race; and I finally understand why people keep saying that ‘The Mandalorian’ has stayed true to the Lucas original trilogy feel, where it’s less dark like Ep 7-9 was, more adult than Ep 1-3 was, and where the plot lines were less complex like Ep 4-6 was. IN the end Mando just wanted to return the kid back to his own kind, while the Empire wanted the kid for their own evil purposes. Simple really!

You must see it if you haven’t already, and now I’m just left wondering……. Can I get a to scale soft toy of ‘Baby Yoda’? To start binging ‘The Mandalorian’ season 2, click HERE!

Disney Plus Recommendations- Premier firsts

Bringing the cinema and theatre experience to your home!

 

Since Covid19 has pretty much shut-down all cinemas and theatres across the world, it has been a welcomed gift from Disney to receive the premiere releases of Artemis Fowl and Hamilton direct to our TVs. But did they live up to the hype?

 

Artemis Fowl (2020)

 

Based on the 2001 science- fiction novel of the same name, the Disney motion picture was mostly disappointing- due to its stray away from the novel’s main plot-line. Sure, a motion picture based on a novel doesn’t need to be exactly like the book it attempts to bring to life, however introducing and removing key components from the foundation of the story-line- which made the book both intriguing and suspenseful…….. Yeah, removing those elements is a recipe for disaster! However giving us the cinema premiere experience at home, and having that feeling of exclusivity that we had access to something that not everyone else had? Yes, that did help in softening the feeling that the film was a total bomb! Perhaps those who haven’t read the books before and do not have a level of expectation, might enjoy the film more due to having an open mind.

 

Hamilton (2020)

 

On the other hand, we sat down to watch the premiere of Hamilton on our small screen without any pre-conceived notions, and frankly I had no idea what the plot might be (and to tell you the truth after the film I was still uncertain if Alexander Hamilton was a fictional character, and if in fact he was real- was he really a man of colour?). But Hamilton a Broadway production  has reminded us of all that is good about live theatre, and we can’t wait to see another live show as soon as social distancing is a thing of the past. I’ve just got so much admiration for music theatre performers, the ability to have one take to nail all of their lines, the acting and the singing!? And to sustain that level of concentration and energy for a 2.5 hour show! Not to mention I’m just so blown away that anyone could remember all the lyrics for so many songs! Especially when some songs were heavy   lyrical raps. Bravo, bravo Lin-Manuel Miranda! And you’ll be glad to know, after an hour on Wikipedia, I’ve now answered my own query….. Ok, Hamilton was a real founding father (white) of America….. What can I say, we’re Australian and we don’t learn about American history at school.

 

For the best seats in the house, just activate your Disney Plus app and tap to watch Hamilton! Or Artemis Fowl if you’re so inclined. A 50/50 hit rate, we can live with that. Just as long as Disney Plus continues to release original content and/or exclusive to DP content- we’ll still remain subscribers of Plus!

Disney Plus Recommendation- The Mandalorian

This somewhat explains the Boba Fett cult following!

The jewel of the Disney Plus crown has been their first Disney Plus/Star Wars original – The Mandalorian! But is it enough to keep DP subscribers maintaining their monthly DP subscriptions?

For those who haven’t heard of ‘The Mandalorian’ before (like me, prior to my 7-day free Disney Plus trial……..), The Mandalorian is Star Wars’ first live-action series, which features a Mandalorian – a bounty hunter who is adorned head-to-toe in rare hard-to-destruct Mandalorian armour. The story is set in a time period after ‘Return of the Jedi’ and before ‘The Force Awakens’, in a genre which has been described as an out-in-space country-western. The Mandalorian travels the galaxy alone in his space ship, taking up bounty contracts to hunt down and exterminate (when required) individuals for clients. The first bounty that we witness as viewers, is the capture (and extermination if needed) of a 55 year old ‘child’ of the same green race as Yoda. And after locating the child, and bonding with him after a near-death experience, the Mandalorian not only refuses to deliver the child to the Client, but takes him across the galaxy as his protector and caregiver (It’s like ‘Daddy Daycare’ – in a  galaxy far far away!).

Sure, it all sounds a little bit corny, but hasn’t Star Wars become just that ever since Disney acquired Lucas Films? But it still has all the elements which appeases the most hard-core Star Wars fans, and with a touch of cutesy – The Mandalorian pretty much appeals to all people!

Like I’d mentioned before, prior to starting my Disney Plus free trial, I had never heard of The Mandalorian series before. The first I’d heard of the  series was when I was surfing the net, reading up on what is recommended viewing on the new streaming service; and I even told one friend “NO, I’m not into Star Wars” when she asked me if I had gotten DP for the Mandalorian, when she heard that we started an Disney Plus account. But out of curiosity, I started viewing it, and even my wife got into the series – although stuff like this usually doesn’t appeal to her.

The series really is epic! You can tell that they’re working with a budget which is usually only reserved for the big screen, not for Tele-series. And after reading the history of the series’ production, you know and can see that nothing is held back because it’s a small screen production. The sets, the costumes, and the effects are all big-time, except for the lack of a star studded cast…..

Each episode has a distinct start, and a resolution before the screen fades to black, while the on-going story of the Mandalorian and the Child is always there throughout Season 1. As the series unfolds, we learn more and more about the man behind the Mask/Helmet, and on several occasions we almost get a chance to see who this guy under the T-shaped visor is! But alas, the chin strap remains resolutely fastened under his chin, and we have to wait for the ‘Disney Gallery’ of The Mandalorian, a behind-the-scenes series which documents the making of the series, before we finally spy the actor who plays Mando (i.e. Pedro Pascal).

From my opinion, the Mandalorian was fun, it has re-ignited an interest in Star Wars for me (currently watching Episodes I through to IX), and it provides DP with a true asset which can’t be viewed anywhere else, making me wanting to keep my DP subscription until the release of Season 2 in October 2020. And who hasn’t enjoyed all the whimsical ‘Baby Yoda’ memes out there!? “Aw, he’s so cute for a 55 year old!”

So now, this kinda explains some of the Boba Fett fandom which hangs around out there, which I never quite understood as the dude was a minor minor character! But the whole T-shaped visor, the armour and the jetpack all makes a bit more sense now! If this doesn’t make sense to you? Then check out The Mandalorian – you can literally be binge-watching the 8 episode series for FREE right now! Just click HERE to start viewing!