Archives for 2022

Henry, Dec. 1st Pet of the Week

Orange cats are special, and Henry is extra-special. Henry is a 12-year-old big boy, and he’s as loving and cuddly as he is large. He’s battling chronic kidney failure and is in need of an immediate foster, rescue or adopter. Can you guarantee our Henry a happy holiday? He’ll reward you with head butts to rival any of Santa’s reindeer. Shelter hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at 7700 E. Spring St. at the entrance to El Dorado Park (no parking fee for shelter visitors). You can email PetAdopt@longbeach.gov to speed the process for adopting or fostering Henry. Ask for ID#A677850).

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Mission Bay Announces Spectator Programming for “Parade of Lights” on December 10

Mission Bay Parade of Lights

 Mission Bay, the iconic destination within San Diego situated on 27 miles of sandy shoreline, is kicking off their holiday season with the return of its beloved holiday boat parade, the “Mission Bay Parade of Lights,” on Saturday, December 10, 2022. Free for all spectators to enjoy—including locals, visitors, and hotel guests—designated spectating areas will be set up at and near Mission Bay’s six hotels and resorts: Bahia Resort HotelCatamaran Resort Hotel and SpaThe Dana on Mission BayHyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and MarinaParadise Point Resort, and San Diego Mission Bay Resort. With festive programming planned at each property during the parade and throughout the month of December, Mission Bay is the perfect holiday getaway for families this season.

“The holiday boat parade has been a Mission Bay tradition since 1970, and we are excited to offer spectators a full slate of festive programming at each resort,” shares George Allen, representative of Discover Mission Bay. “We look forward to welcoming guests to Mission Bay this holiday season and helping families create lasting memories filled with holiday cheer.”

Beginning at 5:30 p.m., the parade will start at SeaWorld with a firework kickoff, travel west, then north, and then east, ending at The Mission Bay Beach Club, with the full route taking about approximately two hours (full map can be viewed below). Spectators of this year’s parade can expect elaborate, decorated boats from local organizations like Rady Children’s Hospital, San Diego Loyal, and SeaWorldAwards will be presented to the best decorated boats across three categories: Best Sailboat, Best Powerboat, and People’s Choice, with local celebrity judges and all parade spectators participating in the voting and selection of winners. Prizes for first place and runners-up include accommodation and gift cards at select Mission Bay resorts and restaurants.

Each viewing area will offer special festive food & beverage menus and family-friendly activities to get into the holiday spirit, such as bonfires and s’mores, live music, holiday games, an appearance from Santa Claus himself, and more. Offerings at each hotel property for the Parade of Lights on Saturday, December 10 include:

Bahia Resort Hotel

Viewing Location: Bahia Resort Hotel

Join Bahia Resort Hotel for a holiday Airstream party – sounds of holiday music playing as guests indulge in burgers, fries, assorted holiday candy and cookies in addition to a full bar with festive flavored coffee, available for purchase. Beverages will also be available at belly bars by the Airstream.

Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

Viewing Location:  North Beach

Beach chairs will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. A festive selection of cookies, brownies and popcorn will be available for purchase in addition to a cash bar with spike hot cocoa, hot toddies, mulled wine, and apple cider. After the parade, guests can stay and watch a holiday movie on the beach.

In addition to the viewing locations at the Bahia Resort Hotel and Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa, guests can get into the holiday spirit with the festive Christmas Boat Parade of Lights spectator cruise on Mission Bay! This special cruise, departing from the Bahia and Catamaran at 4:45 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. respectively, on December 10, offers the perfect vantage point to view the illuminating boat parade displaying dozens of cheery vessels decorated for the holidays. This family-friendly event also features hot cocoa, cookies, a cash bar, and holiday music on board. Tickets for the cruise are available for purchase here. 

The Dana on Mission Bay and Hyatt Regency Mission Bay

Viewing Location: Sunset Park

Guests can experience a winter wonderland with special appearances by Buddy the Elf, Princess Elsa and a Winter Fairy at the Sunset Park viewing area, emceed by Darren Smith, radio host for Sports760 and co-host of San Diego Loyal’s ‘Always Loyal Podcast.’ Festive food and drink will be available for purchase at Firefly Eatery in addition to a snow cone truck, s’mores, and floating bars. Children can take part in holiday activities including a snowball fight, winter crafts and a dance party with DJ. Grass seating is available at no extra cost and spectators are encouraged to bring blankets or low chairs. Heated VIP seating including signature parade picnic blankets, hot cocoa, apple cider and excellent views for groups up to four people will be available for purchase ($100 for hotel guests and $150 for non-hotel guests) on a first-come basis.

Paradise Point Resort and Spa

Viewing Location: Paradise Terrace

Paradise Point Resort and Spa will be spreading holiday cheer with festive music, a hot cocoa bar, holiday crafts and a visit from Santa. The viewing location will be emceed by iHeartMedia’s Emanuel Valencia and feature a food truck in addition to s’mores and beverages available for purchase at Paradise Terrace. Spectator seating will be available on a first come, first served basis.

San Diego Mission Bay Resort

Viewing Location: De Anza Cove

In partnership with the Mission Bay Beach Club, guests will be transported to a Candy Cane Forest with kettle corn, paninis, s’mores kits, pastries, cookies and more available for purchase in addition to a full coffee/espresso bar and hot cocoa/cider station. Families can browse the Holiday Artisan Market which will feature over twenty vendors and before the parade, children can enjoy a visit from Santa. Snag a coffee shop table or bring blankets or low beach chairs for grass seating.

To stay up to date on Mission Bay Parade of Lights details, and to be alerted when spectator voting opens, visit www.discovermissionbay.org/boat-parade-2022.

Credit: Mission Bay.

5 Activities in Mauritius to Try with Your Kids

Whole Family, Whole Villa

One of the best things to do with the whole family is to get a glorious place all to yourselves. Check out the family villas in Mauritius and you will definitely be impressed. Luxury accommodations at affordable prices. Imagine dining outdoors with the whole family, the bbq grill is going and the wine is flowing. The kids are splashing in the pool just before the private chef calls everyone to eat. Sounds like a dream? No, it’s a reality here. The whole place to yourself, everyone gets their own bedroom and no one has to clean up after themselves. Now that’s a holiday to remember!

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Snorkel in Blue Bay Marine Park

This is a fantastic place to snorkel with kids as the water is calm and clean. Boats depart from Point d’Ensy. The young ones will be wide eyed and in awe at the marine life. Everything from Rays to turtles and vibrant, colourful coral to multi coloured fish of all shapes and sizes. Equipment can be rented and certified teachers are on hand to provide water training to all ages.

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The Story of Dalblair Shipwreck

Nothing excites the fantasy and imagination like a shipwreck. For the older and more adventurous kids, they will really enjoy hearing the tale and seeing the wreck. Not far off the coast of Point d’Ensy the Scottish ship hit the rocks near Mauritius in 1902. She was built in 1895 and hasn’t been sailing for long, but this one was her last voyage. The boat’s bow still protrudes from the ocean today. It makes diving an even more interesting experience.

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A Day At La Vanille Nature Park

Well known for its crocodiles, hoards of monkeys, reptiles, tortoises and a multitude of other animals. The Nature Park has a strong emphasis on conservation. The protected animals are right at home and used to being around humans. Come learn about the local wildlife on land and get close and personal. Take some photos and make some memories.

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Sail A Catamaran To Crystal Rock

Crystal Rock is an iconic sight, well known in Mauritius. A catamaran day trip is a stupendous way to see it! What a great way to spend a day in Mauritius. Soak up the island life, feel the sea breeze and see a beautifully iconic landmark. The Ile aux Benitiers trip allows you to experience the stunning Crystal rock view and also to explore a perfectly picturesque island near by Mauritius. The island boasts a small craft market, and traditional fishermen selling their catch.

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The Pay Day * A Supremely Well-Shot Entertaining Heist Film With Suspenseful Storyline

Set in a post-pandemic world, The Pay Day follows a broke and frustrated IT technician (Kyla Frye) who is charged by a crime boss (Simon Callow) to embark on a one-woman heist to steal valuable data worth millions on the black market. As if the dangerous pitfalls of her mission weren’t enough, the sting gets more complicated when a charming con artist (Sam Benjamin) interrupts her mission attempting to swipe the loot for himself.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “A supremely well-shot entertainer, The Pay Day is a perfectly pleasant film for those looking for a heist film, even though there are some stilted dialogues and scenes that drag.” Mikella G. adds, “A stand out in this movie is the suspenseful storyline. I could never anticipate what was going to happen next. Just as I thought I figured it out, something completely different happened. For example, Jennifer and Cameron’s (Sam Benjamin) relationship goes through many different levels, and just when I thought I understood where their relationship was going, it turns out completely different.” See their full review below.

The Pay Day

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

A supremely well-shot entertainer, The Pay Day is a perfectly pleasant film for those looking for a heist film, even though there are some stilted dialogues and scenes that drag.

The film follows a frustrated and recently-fired IT technician (Kyla Frye) who is charged by a crime boss (Simon Callow) to embark on a one-woman heist to steal valuable data worth $500 million on the black market.  Like all good heist films, it’s about people who feel neglected in society. Frye’s character is being evicted, and she feels that the whole world is against her. This opportunity to steal data is her chance to make it big. When a suave conman (Sam Benjamin) interrupts her mission to steal the loot for himself, matters grow even more complicated.

The cinematography in The Pay Day as well as the casting are two of the high points. Frye’s portrayal of a harried, desperate programmer looking for a way to make some cash is equally stirring and entertaining… though the film does focus on the latter more, due to the writing. This heist film sometimes wants to be a comedy and other times a romantic film, which makes it feel a little disjointed and somewhat like a series of sketches. For example, random flirting between Benjamin and Frye occupies 20 minutes of the film while Frye tries to extract files from a computer — whose, we don’t know yet. Speaking of random things, there are a bunch of odd elements in the film that seem either implausible or infantile to the point of being ridiculous, like a scene where a character survives a shot to the heart and another with a stilted and suggestive exchange about pomegranates. It’s largely the writing that makes the first half of the film drag, save for some scenes that really hit it out of the park. There are also tons of stereotypes thrown in, and some will make you cringe. For example a crime boss lounging with his cronies in a dimly lit bar; Pink Panther-esque background music; the typical green zeroes and ones speeding across the screen of a computer being hacked; and a scene where the protagonist sprints through sterile white walkways of every generic office complex.

The Pay Day promotes resourcefulness and resilience. There are some sexually suggestive scenes and discussions of smoking and alcohol.<p>I give The Pay Day 4 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The Pay Day releases in theaters on November 14, 2022.

The Pay Day

By Mikella Giustino, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

The Pay Day is a mysterious, intense film that is filled with questions and surprises. It is unpredictable, and has a crazy turn of events.

The Pay Day follows the life of Jennifer (Kyla Frye), a struggling computer tech trying to get out of debt. She is approached by Gates (Simon Callow) who runs big undercover money-making operations and he offers her a deal that she cannot resist. However, on Jennifer’s mission she discovers that there’s quite a bit of information that she was blind too, and she must learn to adapt to these quick changes and obstacles that are thrown her way.

A stand out in this movie is the suspenseful storyline. I could never anticipate what was going to happen next. Just as I thought I figured it out, something completely different happened. For example, Jennifer and Cameron’s (Sam Benjamin) relationship goes through many different levels, and just when I thought I understood where their relationship was going, it turns out completely different. This is a great aspect of the film, because it keeps the audience interested and engaged. Furthermore, the pace of the film is great; It held my attention the entire time, and doesn’t feel too long or too short.  At some points, the storyline gets confusing due to the structure of the film. There are a few flashback moments, and then it reverts back to preset time, but it’s not always clear that the switch is taking place so at times it feels like there is a lot going on. Lastly, each character is very strong; each has its own unique personality and the chemistry between all of them is evident.

The message of this film is that, when you listen to your heart, it will always lead you to do the right thing in the end. This film does have loud violent noises, including gunshots.

I give The Pay Day 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch The Pay Day in select theaters beginning November 14, 2022.

Looking for holiday gift suggestions? Our first gift guide of the season!

It’s that time of the year again! Time to go shopping for holiday gifts!

Here are some of my favorites!

Looking for games? Here are some of our top choices!

This is great for girls!

Bold Made (Designed for the whole family – great for girls)
www.boldmade.com
Bold Made was awarded the Best Children’s Product Award by Tillywig.  Bold Made flips the script on traditional Old Maid by including Bold Women who made huge impacts on our world such as Malala Yousafzai, Temple Grandin, Ellen Ochoa, Roberta Bondar, Billie Jean King, Georgia O’Keeffe, Sally Ride, Maya Angelou, Amelia Earhart and many more.  Bold Made also has a more aspirational goal of ending the game with the Bold Made card. The perfect way to have fun and learn about inspiring women at the same time. You can find it on Amazon.com.

So much fun!

Taco vs Burrito (A Perfect Family-Friendly Party Game for Kids, Teens & Adults)
www.tacovsburrito.com

Taco vs Burrito is the #1 Most Gifted Card Game on Amazon. This wildly popular and surprisingly strategic game was created by a 7-year-old and has taken the card game industry by storm.  With over 600K games sold and over 12,000 five-star reviews, Taco vs Burrito sold a whopping $5.6 million in 2021.  It’s perfect for kids, adults, and families!

Double Ditto (Board Game for Adults, Teens & Kids 8 and up)

Double Ditto is a fun family party game that will challenge players to be clever and quick. The object of the game is to write down answers you think other players will write. Match an answer with another player to score a “ditto!” Match both answers and score a “double ditto!”

You can find it on Amazon.com.


Don’t Go Boom (Card Game for Kids, Ages 7+)

Your Mission? Don’t Go Boom! An Explosion of Fun – Other kids games on the market move slowly and can’t keep attention. The Don’t Go Boom card games for kids keep you and your kids guessing down to the last card. Don’t Go Boom is easy to learn and is perfect for kids ages 7 and up. Action cards help players strategize the best moves and create a fun, engaging vacation, travel, car, recess, or classroom card game your family will love! Find it on Amazon.com.

Love this one!

Zen Battle (Game for Adults, Teens & Kids 8 and up)

https://www.zenbattle.com/

New card game debuts on Amazon for Holiday 2022 from Toy Inventor of the Year David Yakos

You don’t need to know your Chakra from your Barista to have a blast in this quick-to-learn card game. Try to keep your calm in this chill race to become a Zen Master!
Players Compete to transcend first by aligning their Chakra cards from #1 to #7, with a Mastery card on top. The first player to transcend 4 times wins the game!
Want to prove you’re the most chill? Be the first to transcend all seven levels and become the ultimate master of Zen Battle™. Find it on Amazon.com.

I love that this is non-political and family-friendly!

Election Night! $34.95: This is the game that legendary anchor John King plays with his kids to teach them about the electoral college. Unlike any other board game, players battle for critical electoral votes as they also learn or sharpen their U.S geography and political system knowledge. Find out more at https://sempersmartgames.com/

Here are some great toys for the kids this holiday season!

This is wonderful for little kids!

Meet Star Belly Dream Lites® – the new huggable, plush night light your kiddo will love. It’s perfect for sleepovers, traveling or for those afraid of the dark! Star Belly Dream Lites® comes in different animal and color variations. Made of a soft, plush design, Star Belly Dream Lites® are perfect for snuggling and cuddling at bedtime. The button of the belly turns on the night light and it projects a starry sky onto the ceiling, instantly illuminating your child’s room to help them feel safe and calm. 

These cute cuddle toys can be purchased online for $29.99 at https://www.mystarbelly.com. They are also available for purchase at Target and Walmart!

This next one is just perfect for adults! Especially Moms!

Heart-Mind Box

 The Heart Mind Box  is from the Dalai Lama Center for Peach and Education and contacts a selection of ethically sourced products and experiences designed to nurture your Heart-Mind well-being; curated with love. This one is really great and is must-needed gift! I love the variety of items included in this box.

In every box there is something that will help you connect to others, something that will encourage you to take care of yourself, and a connection to the science behind well-being.  

In the box is a special team blend from the tea garden of Assam, India. The tea is directly packaged and sent to consumers from the garden, unlike generic tea brands. Each label shares the information of the tea garden(s), region, leaf quality, and harvest date to help you further connect with others. 

Looking for a fun Advent Calendar for the kids?

This one is perfect for the beginning of the month!

Yes, it’s almost time to start counting down to Christmas and PLAYMOBIL is back this year with a beautiful Adventures of Ayuma themed Advent Calendar as part of its new line. Kids will love this one! Reveal something new each day as you count the days to Christmas! This Calendar reveals Ayuma fairies, their spirit animals, and wintery forest accessories. When you’re done, you have a magical scene from the world of Ayuma! This is available now on playmobil.us for just $35!

This next one is perfect for cold winter nights and great for the whole family!

The ever-popular The Comfy® has become a staple in so many wardrobes. I’m sure you’ve seen one by now, featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, and wonder if there’s anything new. There sure is, and I’ve highlighted a couple of my favorites below. You’ll find selections for sports enthusiasts, Disney, Lucas, and Marvel fans, and more. The OG brand created the category and always stays on top of trends with its designs. If Amazon is your go-to shopping source, then check out its store front here.

One of the appealing features consumers of all ages love about The Comfy® is that it’s offered in three levels of warmth to keep everyone perfectly warm and cozy. Just think about all the fun you’ll create wearing one for holiday photos, lounging by the fireplace, cheering on your favorite college team, or opening gifts under the tree. You can’t help but Feel the Happy! It’s a quick pick-me-up when life gets too serious – living #thecomfylife.

The Comfy® products are loved by everyone and are currently available online and in over 5,100 retail doors across the U.S., including Macy’s, Kohls, Fred Meyer, Target, Sportsman Ski Haus, Al’s Sporting Goods, Bob Wards, AAFES and online at QVC, Today’s Shopping Choice, ECOM, Shopify, and The Paper Store. The Comfy® is a top seller internationally on Amazon in Canada, the UK, Australia, UAE, and Japan and holds a #1 seller spot on Amazon USA in its category.

I love that there are so many choices for kids and adults!

The next one is a personal favorite of mine! I think all Moms need warm, comfy slippers in the winter and Pantuss is a favorite brand!

Love these slippers!

If you want stylish and comfy slippers, these are a must-buy! I just love them! The best thing is that they have reheatable and comfortable insoles filled with lavender and flax seeds. Easily detachable in order to heat up. Now, how cool is that?! I love that there is a wide variety and my favorites are the Ballerinas. Find out more here. These are sure to be a hit with any of the women on your gift-shopping list!

Happy Holidays! Stay tuned for next week’s holiday gift guide!

Self Disclosure: Samples were received of all the gift suggestions listed in this holiday gift guide. Information and images were also provided.

The Los Angeles Zoo Hosts Sensory-Inclusive Zoo Lights on Wednesday, Nov. 30 from 6 to 10 p.m.  

Photo Credit: Jamie Pham/GLAZA.

The Los Angeles Zoo, a KultureCity Sensory Inclusive™ Certified institution, will host a sensory-friendly L.A. Zoo Lights: Animals Aglow on Wednesday, Nov. 30. Designed for guests who thrive in a sensory-supportive environment, this evening will feature smaller crowds due to limited tickets available; quieter music volume throughout the experience; sensory bags available for checkout with noise-cancelling headphone (provided by Puro Sounds Labs), fidget tools, verbal cue cards, and weighted lap pads; opportunity to exit and reenter the event; and an online Social Story that provides a preview of what to expect while enjoying Zoo Lights. During this special evening, you can expect the same great L.A. Zoo Lights with some modifications to make it more inclusive. This is part of the L.A. Zoo’s ongoing commitment to creating a space where every member of its communities is welcome. 

L.A. Zoo Lights: Animals Aglow is the Los Angeles Zoo’s all-new nighttime winter attraction that will transform its grounds into an immersive landscape filled with spectacular lantern sculptures of animals among blooming flowers, towering trees, and more. This reimagined, wildlife-centric LED-lights display will feature over 30 of the Zoo’s most beloved animals including giraffes, elephants, orangutans, lemurs, koalas, and condors, along with other charismatic inhabitants. The 90-minute stroll will take you on a journey through the animal kingdom filled with desert, garden, and jungle landscapes complete with larger-than-life glowing sculptures, magical lights, and immersive exhibits in a dazzling display of light and color. Guests can enjoy several animated and interactive displays and numerous photo opportunities. These include a beautiful kaleidoscope of lights; glowing ring swings; a wisteria tunnel that leads to a light fountain; a cherry blossom-lined path; and a giant alligator, peacock, and bird wings for a unique photo opportunity; and so much more. Enjoy delicious treats available for purchase to warm up your experience like hot cocoa and churros as you take in the winter lights.

KultureCity is the nation’s leading nonprofit on sensory accessibility and acceptance for those with invisible disabilities. Sensory Inclusive™ ensures daily accessibility and caters to everyone with sensory needs not just autism. This includes military vets with PTSD, adults with dementia, Parkinson’s disease, stroke patients just to name a few.

To learn more about this event and to purchase tickets, visit www.lazoo.org/zoolights

Credit: L.A. Zoo.

Transformers: Earthspark * An Action-Packed Adventure With Heartwarming Friendships And Strong Family Bonds

A new species of Transformers must find their place and purpose among Autobots, Decepticons, and the human family who adopts them.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Madeleine H. comments, “I like the series Transformers: Earthspark!   It is an action-packed adventure with heartwarming friendships and strong family bonds that I enjoyed with my whole family.” See her full review and red carpet interviews below.  

Transformers: Earthspark

Madeleine H. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

I like the series Transformers: Earthspark!   It is an action-packed adventure with heartwarming friendships and strong family bonds that I enjoyed with my whole family. 

Fans familiar with the Transformers franchise will enjoy the familiar characters and meet some new ones.  Anyone new to Transformers will quickly become acquainted with their history while discovering the first bots born on Earth along with a brother and sister duo, Robby Malto (Sydney Mikayla) and Mo (Zion Broadnax), who share a unique bond.  Robby and Mo recently moved from Philly to small town Witwicky where their mom, Dot Malto (Benni Latham) has taken a job as a park ranger[1]  and they have left their friends behind.  When Robby, frustrated with his new life, decides to bike back to Philly, his sister Mo, who is never left out of his adventures, follows along.  A strange encounter with Autobots and some unusual spiderbots has them tumbling off a bridge and discovering a secret cave.  Their curiosity and sense of adventure lead them to forming a bond with the first earthborn bots, Twitch (Kathreen Khavari) and Thrash (Zeno Robinson) who they are emotionally connected to.  Through some humorous activities and harrowing adventures Twitch and Trash become the vehicle bots that suit their personalities and are part of the Malto Family.

The production quality is superb with vivid animation and crisp colors; the images are so realistic. For example, the texture of Mo’s hair looks real. The voice acting is excellent with each character distinct and believable.  Robby is voiced by a female but sounds like a teen boy and when Mo and Robby take a tumble their grunts and groans sound believable. And of course, the action is exciting and explosive!  When the Transformers click into action the battles are fast and furious. The sound effects really enrich the story and propel the action. The Autobots whirl and rev into their Transformer selves. In terms of the storyline, the amazing bond that Robby and Mo share is special, and the strength and determination of Mo is truly inspiring. It’s so great to see a female protagonist take the lead.  Another strong female character is Skywarp (Nicole Dubuc); she is smart, self-assured and fierce.  There are old school favorites from previous films in the franchise like Optimus Prime (Alan Tudyk), Mr. Malto (Jon Jon Briones) and Bumblebee (Danny Pud) who I love seeing here.

The message in these episodes revolves around togetherness and learning to fit in. These episodes are sure to be great fun with the classic struggles with the Autobot Decepticons Transformers robots, the togetherness of the human Malto Family, and the first Transformers robots to be born on Earth – the Terrans, who are learning how they fit in.

I give Transformer: Earthspark 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults.  Transformers: Earthspark premieres on Paramount + Friday, November 11, 2022.

Trailer:


Black Panther: Wakanda Forever * The Beautifully Crafted, Heart Wrenching — Showcases The Power Of Identity, Culture, Family And Pride

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. © 2022 MARVEL.

In Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M’Baku, Okoye and the Dora Milaje fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia and Everett Ross and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda. Introducing Tenoch Huerta as Namor, king of a hidden undersea nation.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Nyara A. comments, “The beautifully crafted film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is heart wrenching, but also showcases the power of identity, culture, family and pride. The costumes are intricate and gorgeous; the music is moving; and the acting is just spectacular. I felt captivated during every moment of the film…” Katherine S. adds, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the greatly anticipated sequel to Black Panther. This powerful and epic movie is action packed — introducing new worlds, new characters and new conflicts.” Jude A. adds, “Wakanda Forever is beautifully shot. It arguably may have the best cinematography seen throughout the MCU, and possibly out of all superhero films in general.” See their full review below.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

By Nyara A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

The beautifully crafted film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is heart wrenching, but also showcases the power of identity, culture, family and pride. The costumes are intricate and gorgeous; the music is moving; and the acting is just spectacular. I felt captivated during every moment of the film, and the nearly realistic world of Wakanda made me feel like I was there myself, even though it is futuristic and fictional.

The storyline follows Princess Shuri (Letita Wright) and the Wakandan army as they fight to protect Wakanda from a new force that threatens to attack their home. After the heartbreaking passing of King T’Challah (Chadwick Boseman), Shuri and her mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) are left with the weight of the country on their shoulders. They must band together with Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), General Okoye (Danai Gurira), and young scientist Riri (Domonique Thorne) as they constantly battle to save the only home they know from an otherworldly army, which threatens the secrets of Wakanda’s renowned Vibranium. Will they win this excruciating battle, or will Wakanda fall?

Letita Wright, as the protagonist, Princess Shuri, performs beautifully. Her acting choices and authentic emotion are captivating. While this film is dark and somber, there is still enough comedy to keep you chuckling, just at the moment when a little happiness feels most necessary. The music in this film is perfectly aligned with every sequence in the story – powerful in battle scenes; sorrowful at moments of loss; and uplifting in moments of triumph. Without the music, viewers would not be so easily transported into Marvel’s Wakandan world. The intricate and bedazzled costuming is gorgeous, displaying the marvelous variety of design from diverse cultures around the world. And last, but most certainly not least, the visual effects and CGI are spectacular. The beauty of Wakanda’s futuristic world and technology is so real that you can almost touch it.

There are many messages in this film, but two stand out to me the most. First, always trust your heart; it will lead you in the right direction no matter how many paths there are to stray from. Second, no one is ever truly gone; they will live for as long as their memory lives inside you. These messages are uplifting for everyone who needs comfort. Although there is violence in this movie, there is not much gore. The use of a variety of weapons makes this film more appropriate for older children and teens.

I give Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters November 11, 2022.  

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the greatly anticipated sequel to Black Panther. This powerful and epic movie is action packed — introducing new worlds, new characters and new conflicts.

Following the unexpected death of King T’Challa, also known as Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) takes control of Wakanda, and with being the most powerful nation on the planet comes its challenges. But when vibranium, one of the most precious and powerful metals in the world, is found outside of Wakanda, tensions rise and a new, unknown enemy appears. What will happen to the rest of the world on the brink of war? Watch to find out.

This film is based on the first movie, Black Panther.  The storyline is separate enough that it isn’t necessary to watch the original to enjoy this, but I highly recommend watching it because it is a terrific film. The tragic and unexpected loss of Chadwick Boseman, who played the Black Panther, was devastating to the Black Panther franchise, so the writers had to get creative to continue the franchise. Also, they honor Chadwick Boseman is a very lovely way. I like how the Back Panther franchise has a bit more freedom to explore new places rather than stay so closely connected to the Avengers and other Marvel franchises or series. It is very engaging to explore a new world. The costumes and sets are extravagant and immaculate, and it is super interesting to dive deeper into Wakanda and Talokan, a new world introduced in this move. I found the plot and performances a bit darker and gloomier than the original film. The strongest acting comes from Letitia Wright (Shuri), Angela Bassett (Ramonda), Dominique Thorne (Riri) and Tenoch Huerta (Namor). All of the emotion for the returning cast members, especially towards King T’Challla’s death, comes from a very genuine place, because the cast and crew were so close to Chadwick Boseman; this makes the acting all the more realistic and alive. Dominique Thorne’s character, Riri, is introduced in this film and positions her upcoming show, Ironheart. Tenoch Huerta really captivates the audience with his character and hints at his possible further journeys into his kingdom and relationship with Wakanda. This movie also feature’s Rihanna’s first solo single in five years called Lift Me Up, and it is an absolutely beautiful song.

The messages of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever are to fight to protect the things you love and to be your own person. Parents should be aware that this movie contains violence and intense action scenes.

I give Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Marvel and Black Panther fans will love this movie. It releases in theaters November 11, 2022.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

By Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Winston Duke as M’Baku in Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER. Photo by Eli Adé. © 2022 MARVEL.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever provides an emotional and thrilling experience for all MCU fans, yet continues to set up the future while focusing on the past.  There has never been such a tribute film like Wakanda Forever within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel handles such a sensitive topic incredibly well by honoring Chadwick Boseman thoroughly, but still providing a classic Marvel adventure that all fans will enjoy. Wakanda Forever is beautifully shot. It arguably may have the best cinematography seen throughout the MCU, and possibly out of all superhero films in general.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever immediately addresses the largest question every fan has when entering the theatre. How will they cover the loss of Chadwick Boseman? The story starts off answering that question, while not going too in-depth (which is very respectful). In a world now struggling without a Black Panther, vibranium is discovered outside of Wakanda. This threatens the resources of vibranium for the people of Talokan (an underwater city of fish-like people). The King of Talokan, Namor (Tenoch Huerta), gives a threatening ultimatum to the Wakandans. They can either help the people of Talokan, or fight for what’s right. The emotional depth this film goes into really defines the line between acting and showing human emotion. For the cast, they lost a family member when Chadwick passed away; on screen, they aren’t acting. The actors behind the characters are also grieving for a man they loved. The audience can easily see this when watching the stellar performance from Angela Bassett, due to the theatre going absolutely silent and getting filled with goose bumps. Angela’s feelings are absolutely raw. Her performance will hypnotize audiences, through thick and thin. It is genuinely one of the first times that it has been thought that a Marvel performance could win a major award.

Wakanda Forever teaches the moral that grief isn’t beneficial until you move past it. As a result, the film has large themes of family, love and perseverance. Unlike other Marvel films, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is actually light with cursing and gore. Obviously the film still packs a punch with the average boatload of action, yet doesn’t go to crazy lengths to emphasize the violence behind the story. This allows the audience to focus more on what the film is indirectly teaching rather than what is being shown directly on screen.

I give Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can find Black Panther: Wakanda Forever sprinting its way into theatres on November 11, 2022. So make sure to check it out!

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