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It was very fun at the D23 fan expo this year! During my second visit to the Disney Fan Expo, My mom and I got to see a full 3D film, find out about upcoming films, and attend interesting panels. This expo was quite a blast and not too far from my Carmel Valley San Diego community!
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We arrived at the Anaheim Convention Center, picked up our press badges, and went to see the main event of the Convention, Building Worlds: Inside the Walt Disney Studios. There we got some super sneak peeks at future films coming out in 2012 and 2013, such as Brave, a Pixar film about the adventures of a warrior princess in Scotland, Monsters University, a prequel to Monsters Inc, and many more interesting upcoming films. Four thousand people attended the packed event, and the screen showed pop quizzes and interesting facts about Disney, so I didn’t get bored. Then when it started, Disney/Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter introduced many directors and stars of upcoming animation films.
Then, we went to the screening of Lion King 3D. It was quite a treat to watch the Lion King 3D at the first public screening! It had been quite a while since I watched Lion King on DVD (the original film was made in 1994 before I was born!), so I was a little bit vague on the details. I enjoyed the film greatly and gave it 4 starfish.
At the morning presentation, the filmmakers told about the making of Lion King and the behind the scenes stories were intriguing and showed how difficult it was to complete the film. The film was wonderful and I really enjoyed the music and the great visuals. One of my favorite scenes is when the film shows leafcutter ants walking on a branch close up, and then it focuses on zebras running in the background.
The flaws of the film were mostly scientific ones. First, I thought that when the herbivores were all killed off, the plants in the grasslands should flourish, instead of being sparse and depleted, but, I guess that is poetic license signifying sadness. Also, when lightning started fires all around Scar and Simba while they fought, they stayed there and did nothing! Ordinarily animals would flee instantly from fire but the 2 lions kept on fighting. Finally, I thought that it looked even better with the 3D too. It took hundreds of animators months to make the 3D effects! The characters seemed to pop right out of the screen!
Perry Chen and Zhu Shen are a unique son-mother team of talent and aspirations. Perry Chen is the youngest award-winning film/ entertainment critic & animator, artist, speaker, and entertainment personality. He started writing movie reviews at 8 using a kid-friendly starfish rating system, under the guidance of his mom Dr. Zhu Shen and his 3rd grade teacher Ms. Harris. Perry’s debut on the CBS Evening News in 2009 made him a national sensation. He has been featured extensively on local, national, and international media, including NPR, Fox, CNN, NBC, The Guardian, The China Press, and many more. He has interviewed prominent filmmakers at film festivals, red carpet premieres, and press junkets. He won a prestigious “Excellence in Journalism Award” at the San Diego Press Club in 2010 as its youngest member. Perry currently writes movie reviews for the Animation World Network, San Diego Union Tribune, Amazing Kids! Magazine, and his own Perry’s Previews website with a combined readership of over 2 million worldwide.
Dr. Zhu Shen’s love for the movies started when she was a young girl, growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution where watching movies was the only entertainment available to the masses. Her journey to become a filmmaker took a convoluted path. She studied medicine at Peking Union Medical College before coming to the US and earning a Ph.D. in biochemistry from University of Colorado, and then an MBA from Cornell University’s Johnson School. She is a producer of the upcoming documentary feature “Average Joe on the Raw,” about journey into raw food and health. Dr. Shen is also an award-winning biotech executive, author, speaker, China business expert featured on national and trade media including CBS, Fox, Business Week, Pharmaceutical Executive, and more. She has worked at IBM, Bayer, Chiron, Immusol, and is the CEO of BioForesight, consulting on cross-Pacific life science business. Photos of Perry Chen and Zhu Shen by Brian Bostrom