The Dinglehopper

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Finding Dory: Revisiting the Sequel Solution

It’s been more than a year since I turned in my disaffected cynic card and posted “Monsters University and the Sequel Solution.” It was a short review and comparison with the original. I ceded my critical perspective, at least with regard to children’s fare, to our toddler, gave it eleven thumbs up and allowed that it was superior in almost every respect. Because actually whatever.

So here’s the thing. Cars 2 is supposed to be a bust. They took everything that was endearing out and overlaid a spy plot, or so I hear. I bet it’s awesome. Our toddler’s favorite characters vroomin’ more often.

Flash forward to today. We own Cars 2 and it’s at least as good as the first one. That’s all. So when this bombshell dropped last month, I threw my arms up in fiero.

Disney Pixar Release Schedule

But not just because of Cars 3Finding Nemo was more than a decade old when we watched it. It’s  scary and intricate and basically nonstop action. And it’s unforgettable. Frozen explained agape. Cars articulated wisdom. And Finding Nemo demonstrated persistence. Emotional vocabulary stuff that’s stickier for younglings than Inside Out.

So we get two major sequels. Major for our family anyway. Sequels that can be shared with a younger sibling. I apologize for being part of the supposed problem, I guess.

Even knowing it was on the slate, I could barely believe it when the Finding Dory trailer dropped. I had been a dead rumor for so long.

There’s hardly anything to it. Nemo, Marlin, Dory. Their house. Oh, no! Dory’s getting away. Our preschooler doesn’t need much more than that. So, y’know, good job. Thank you. We’ll be there.

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Earthling Cinema: The Hidden Meaning in ‘Frozen’

Welcome back to Frozen Friday!  A few days ago, Wisecrack released an Earthling Cinema analyzing Frozen, and we can’t pass up the opportunity to share.earthlingcinemafrozen

As with all Earthling Cinema, the video starts with our alien host, Garyx Wormuloid, summarizing the film with various humorous askew interpretations, then he goes on to discuss the deeper motifs and themes of the film. Bonus: What Frozen has to do with Game of Thrones.

Personal note: Although I appreciate the attention to the cisgendered love interests, I would have loved some recognition for the asking consent prior to the Anna-Kristoff kiss.

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‘Con Man’ Trailer: Insights, Cameos, and Easter Eggs

conmaniconAlan Tudyk’s and Nathan Fillion’s IndieGoGo-funded webseries Con Man had a huge Hall H panel during San Diego Comic-Con this past week. During the panel, he premiered the trailer for the upcoming show.

The trailer highlights the satire of the series for Tudyk and his co-star Nathan Fillion.

  1. Spectrum, the sci-fi series Tudyk’s character Wray Nerely is known for, parodies Firefly, the show Tudyk and Fillion are best known for amongst the geeks of sci-fi conventions. Like Firefly, Spectrum was cancelled too soon and gained a cult status afterwards. In the trailer, various people ask Nerely is they’re going to make a Spectrum movie. Firefly was resurrected for the big screen in the film Serenity.alan-nathan-deck-crop-143647
  2. Like in the trailer, Fillion has gone on to bigger stardom. In Con Man his fame is in films, while in real life, Fillion has been the star of the hit t.v. series Castle.
  3. Meanwhile Con Man minimizes Tudyk’s post-Firefly fame by his character Nerely bemoaning that Spectrum was the best thing he’s ever done then showing him doing what appears to be animation voice-work. In real life, Tudyk is a rock-star voice actor, having wonderfully villainous roles in massive hit films Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph.alan-voicework
  4. As is shown in the trailer, Tudyk’s and Fillion’s characters hope to work together again. Con Man was in part an excuse for Tudyk to actually make that wish come true.

Other Easter eggs, jokes, and cameos from the trailer:

  1. Spectrum isn’t all Firefly. The soundtrack and alien/supernatural presence, plus the red and black flight suits are similar to Farscape, another cult sci-fi show that was cancelled and later resurrected due to rabid fan fervor.
  2. Nerely’s accompanied at the convention by Felicia Day, Geek Queen, best known for her webseries The Guild and her role as Penny in Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog.
  3. Sean Austin, who will forever be Samwise Gamgee aka “the fat hobbit” from The Lord of the Rings encourages Nerely to embrace being a “space pilot” because it’s “better than reality.”
  4. The bartender who scoffs at Nerely being able to “play thirty” is Casper Van Dien, known in sci-fi circles as the star of the satirical masterpiece Starship Troopers, from which Firefly borrowed costumes to outfit their Alliance troopers in the episode “The Train Job.”
  5. The fabulous Gina Torres is playing the recording engineer in the scene where Nerely is performing voice work for an animated feature. Torres played Zoe on Firefly who was married to Tudyk’s character Wash.
  6. When Nerely attempts to get a seat on an airplane, he asks a man if he happens to be a sci-fi fan, and that man tells him to “F**k off.” That bearded, sunglasses-wearing jerk is Wil Wheaton, high king of geeks and known best for his role as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  7. Fellow judge Sean Maher comments, “Oh, he’s sexy.” Maher played Simon on Firefly. He shared publicly that he was gay just a few years ago.
  8. Michael Dorn, aka Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation, reads Shakespeare while Seth Green, known best as Oz on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and as writer and director of Robot Chicken to sci-fi con-goers, humors Nerely’s bad joke.
  9. Tricia Helfer, who is known for Cylon Number Six on Battlestar Galactica, plays a Helfer lookalike on Con Man. Nerely talks on the phone about how he met a woman who looks just like that hot, hot cylon then underlines the fact that all of the cylons were hot.
  10. Amy Acker shows up as Nerely’s wife? Acker co-starred with Tudyk in Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse.
  11. Speaking of Joss, he appears as a crew member shaking snow and his head.
  12. When Nerely brags that he’s doing a movie with Jack Moore (Fillion), the guy who asks if it’s a Spectrum movie is Milo Ventimiglia, who played Peter Petrelli on Heroes.
  13. Henry Rollins agrees to do Nerely’s movie, but only on the condition that there’s no crowdfunding–which is funny because Con Man itself was crowdfunded.
  14. When Nerely opens his Spectrum doll, the placement and pose of the doll’s right hand suggests masturbation, that he’s a wanker.

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Frozen Friday: The Snow Settles

Do you want to build a franchise? A couple months ago we shared some of the details of a copyright infringement lawsuit brought against Disney over the structure and content of the first Frozen teaser. You know, the one with the wacky snowman and the reindeer racing to retrieve a carrot on a frozen lake? Wasn’t in the movie. Kind of gave the wrong impression.

It was also apparently modeled after an animated short by Kelly Wilson and Neil Wrischnik called, simply, “The Snowman.” Disney made two attempts to have the case thrown out, but could not persuade the court.

Wilson v Disney 1

“[T]he sequence of events in both works, from start to finish, is too parallel to conclude that no reasonable juror could find the works substantially similar.”

Wilson v Disney 2


The case was scheduled to go to trial in October. However, Wednesday saw the end of 3:14-cv-01441 Wilson v. Walt Disney Company. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria signed an order dismissing the case without prejudice because the parties had reached a settlement. We’d love to know what the details were, but not sharing them is typically part of such settlements.

We can assume the case was strong enough to encourage the conglomerate to settle, though. And that getting this out of the way was a prerequisite for moving forward with the sequel. Here’s hoping both parties walked away satisfied.

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Frozen Friday: Little Big Arendelle

Frozen Little Big Planet

This is breaking news, but it was news to me. We used to be avid, even hardcore, gamers. Like, we’d spend time between progression raids enjoying console titles. At the recommendation of some good friends, we checked out Little Big Planet and had a lot of fun. Like a lot of folks, we were enthralled by the costuming content as much as the gameplay.

So when I saw that Sony and Disney had released a Frozen-themed pack for Little Big Planet 3, I felt a tug on my heart. We’re calling this a hiatus. The period where our toddler’s motor skills and attention span develop to the point where we can all sit down and play together.

The character costumes – Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Sven – can be purchased separately or together with a bonus Olaf costume. So get that one. The Winter Creator Kit that allows you to recreate your favorite locations in Arendelle is a free download.

Frozen LBP shot


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Frozen Friday: Early Science

Disney ImagicademyYesterday, Disney Imagicademy announced the first of four new iOS apps intended to bring early science concepts to children three to five. Featuring characters from the beloved film, Frozen: Early Science – Cooking and Animal Care introduces toddlers to the phases of matter and life sciences.

The latter is presented by way of a a veterinary role playing scenario in which players raise and care for baby reindeer. Children will learn to respond to the animals’ basic needs and diagnose ailments. Essentially they’ll get a feel for what it takes to keep the reindeer happy and potentially apply that to themselves or their future pets.

The former comes in the form of a cooking game that offers the opportunity to help Oaken and Olaf prepare dishes for Queen Elsa. Dozens of ingredients and various kitchen tools allow players to experiment or follow recipes. In the meantime they’ll learn about the addition and subtraction of heat and moisture and observe water in its various states.

It sounds great and I’ll definitely show it to our toddler. Interest in screens is in a trough, but we hope to bring back a review as soon as we can. It’s available from iTunes for $6.99.

Frozen Early Science

Three more apps will roll out through July. Growing Garden will introduce botany. Ice Structures will encourage logic and reasoning with engineering and design. And Frozen Wilderness will explore ecosystems and zoology.

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Frozen Friday: The Snowman and the Trailer

Frozen Teaser

Last week, I learned about a copyright infringement lawsuit against the creators of Frozen. Or, specifically, the creators of the goofy-snowman-on-ice teaser. You know the one. Olaf and Sven struggle to reach the carrot nose on a frozen pond. It’s not in the movie. It barely has anything to do with the movie. But it’s cute. And it was apparently effective.

In March of 2014, the creators of a digital short called “The Snowman” brought suit. They acknowledge that the movie itself bears little resemblance to the short, but the teaser is another matter. It’s almost immediately obvious why they decided to go to court

The Snowman animated short film for all ages created by Kelly Wilson and Neil Wrischnik.

Disney sought a dismissal, as one does, but was denied. Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California Vincent Chhabria stated that “the sequence of events in both works, from start to finish, is too parallel to conclude that no reasonable juror could find the works substantially similar.” Their second attempt at summary judgement was a claim that none of their employees had seen “The Snowman.” This also failed. The Hollywood Reporter has more details and the judge’s full order.

The trial is tentatively scheduled for October.


The Snowman

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Frozen Friday: The Refrigeration Will Be Televised

With an upcoming Broadway adaptation, Sing-Along events along a special edition DVD, March’s “Frozen Fever” short, and the recent announcement of Frozen II, there appears to be no stopping this cultural juggernaut.


Variety reported Tuesday that Disney announced plans to begin airing Frozen across its television and cable networks – ABC, ABC Family. Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior – next February.

We, of course, welcome our new Of Arendelle overlords and/or ladies, but felt it polite to warn weary parents that hiding the disc will no longer be sufficient for securing some peace and quiet. So get ready to bundle up on the couch with some hot chocolate when you or your loved ones accidentally land on Anna and Elsa while flipping through the channels.

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Frozen Friday: Predicting Frozen II

The Nib bills itself as “Political cartoons, comics journalism, humor and non-fiction. Words plus pictures.” I first became aware of it when Twitter kept rebounding this visual essay about skin tone in comic books. Shortly afterward, and more on the strictly humorous end, Lauren R. Weinstein talked to some kids about Frozen 2 and illustrated their ideas.

Frozen II


Lauren’s website says she’s “a cartoonist, illustrator, painter and avid gardener who lives in scenic New Jersey with her family and dog, Dr. Buddy.” She’s published three books and is incredibly funny. Or maybe it’s the kids.

Will marshmallows roast? Will Elsa get married? Find out here.

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Frozen Friday: Once Upon a Toddler


Once Upon a Time returned to our television screen last month. We shamefully finished dinner on the couch as the opening credits started, our toddler happily chowing away in the old high chair. We’d watched the first half of the season because of Anna and Elsa.

Right around the time our toddler discovered and fell for Frozen, ABC decided to pull this:

I’ve written at some length about how effective and instructive Frozen seemed to be after a single viewing. Kind of on a lark, I showed that to our toddler.

“That’s Elsa. Can we watch that?”

So, like all good parents, we tried to catch up on the show before the fall premiere. It was close. We don’t watch a lot of television and near the end it required a couple late nights. But we did it. Our toddler kept busy drawing or playing and deigned to watch when when the Of Arendelle sisters had scenes. The Frozen arc ended before Christmas and we didn’t hear anything about it.

Cut to four months later. We’ve mostly watched movies when we’ve watched anything at all. Our toddler’s developed the “Long Narrative” skill discovered during Frozen and displayed some remarkable comprehension in post viewing discussions. We were interested to see how the Queens of Darkness fared.

QOD logo

Things went relatively smoothly. We learned that four months of only watching movies or Netflix had created some expectations. Commercials were a particular challenge. They were met with indignation and feelings of betrayal.

“What!? Don’t turn it off!”

But we all sat together happily on the couch with plenty of hugs in case anything was scary. Toddlers can surprise you, talking constantly or being completely quiet. The episode ended and we got ready for bed.

It wasn’t until morning that we got a sense of how it was received. The editorial commentary came while walking down the stairs.

“There was no Elsa in that movie last night.”

“No, there wasn’t.”

“She was looking for Anna.”

She was looking for Anna

It wasn’t immediately clear that this was a recap of 4×09 “Fall,” of course.

“But Anna was in the water.”

Anna was in the water

That seemed to be enough, I guess. And the expectation was that they’d be in the next one. This time, the commercials weren’t confusing, just upsetting. It’s pretty gratifying seeing a toddler indignant at them, to be honest.

When Maleficent turned into dragon, things got a little tense. The kid ain’t scared of much, but dragons are on the list. Our toddler covered with questions.

“Where’s Anna? Where’s Elsa?”

We had to explain that they weren’t going to be back on the show, but that we could watch the Frozen themed episodes any time. Nonetheless, the show seems like a hit. The other night I asked, “Would you like to watch Gone Girl with us?” It was a safe question. I amuse myself by asking ridiculous questions with predictable answers.

“No. I want to watch Once Upon a Time.”

“But you want to watch the ones with Anna and Elsa, right?”

“And Hans!”

A week ago I was rewatching a scene while making dinner and our toddler recognized Killian by name. We were surprised and pleased, especially because we hadn’t talked about him much. But they may have lost their youngest fan last weekend. Babies and toddlers gotta stick together, and what they did wasn’t right.