Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hey, Remember Treasure Planet Was A Movie People Paid To See Once

The other night the kids and I popped in Treasure Planet, Disney's 2002 animated futuristic adaption of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson novel Treasure Island. It's one of the last few Disney animated classics that my kids haven't seen yet, and I myself only saw it once upon it's theatrical release. At the time, it was a rare misstep for Disney Animation but having had another odd flop a few years earlier with Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) it was to signal the end of Disney's decade long reign of producing classic animated fare year after year. Now, Treasure Planet sits on a growing list of titles like Chicken Little, Bolt and Home on the Range as lesser loved and lesser known Disney Animated Films.

So it is with some trepidation that I started up the movie. For me, Disney films are best when they are about princesses and magic and funny animals. They are at their least inviting when they are trying to do something outside of the "Disney Box." Treasure Planet is not a bad film but it's one main flaw runs throughout the entire film. The character design of almost the entire cast is unpleasant and perhaps uninspired.

A dog/man scientist, a cat/person captain, a rock thing is a suit, a lobster, a spider...none of these really played for laughs. The human characters are all bland, and the Long John Silver character is supposed to be half machine half something else...I'm not sure what.

The story is tight, the action is good, there's plenty of humor...although a Star Wars reject character that only speaks through rear-end noises seems a little low brow by Disney standards. I just can't get by how ugly and unappealing the characters look.

Two characters stand out as having a traditional Disney look; a little floating shape shifting blob called Morph and a crazy robot named B.E.N who is voiced by Martin Short. These are the only two characters that could even support any merchandise from this movie. And that's kind of the strange thing about this movie, because even though it's only 12 years old - I don't think the suits at Disney would even finance a movie nowadays that wasn't chockfull of characters that would easily translate into plush toys, action figures, T shirts or the 100 Million other things they need to make a movie a real cash cow nowadays.

In the end, Treasure Planet is not as bad as it's legacy would lead you to believe. It's based on a time tested story retold by master storytellers who chose to step a little too far out of the magical world of Disney for their visual inspiration.

Monday, July 13, 2015

This Is The Best Ice Cream I Have Ever Had


Imagine you've only ever seen your favorite movie on a 20 inch television screen. Now imagine seeing that movie on a 70 ft. Imax screen. That lame analogy is my way of describing the depth of flavor you'll feel when you take your first taste of Mr. G's Old Fashioned Hand Made Ice Cream. It is hands down, the best ice cream I have ever tasted!

Mr. G serves up his outrageous ice cream from a century old building in Gettysburg's tourist area. In fact, Mr. G has such a great location - Abraham Lincoln walked by the place on his way to give the Gettysburg Address. If you don't believe me, check out the trees on either side of the building. They both have plaques confirming Mr. Lincoln's passing by! I'm sure the building was used for something less exciting than ice cream back then, but it's still a cool distinction.


Mr. G's is a quint little shop that is pretty big on fun. The inside is not too big and it can get pretty tight in there on nights when the line stretches out the door. Each day Mr. G offers up only a handful of flavors. You won't find crazy designer flavors like Ben & Jerry make. You'll find a pretty typical collection of ice cream flavors. But the homemade work that goes into each batch of ice cream can be detected the second you take your first lick. I'm sure it has to do with the amount of butterfat or whole cream or some science mumbo jumbo like that...I don't know, all I know it is easily the best tasting ice cream I have ever had!

The shop offers a few other selections like Root Beer Floats, Milkshakes, Sundaes and even soft serve, but it's the homemade hand dip scoops that have people buzzing about this Summer sweet spot! My personal ultimate indulgence at Mr. G's is a waffle cone with a scoop of Birthday Cake Batter and a scoop of Chocolate Peanut Butter. I always ask for the latter scoop on top so I have easy access to the huge chunks of thick peanut butter floating in the chocolate goodness. My wife like the fruit based flavors like their super fresh tasting Peach or the yummy Dreamsicle, The boys did Mint Oreo while my younger daughter is just happy with anything you put in a cone and then hand her!
 
There is a little bit of seating inside the historic building and plenty of seating outside all around the place. Another big attraction at Mr. G's is the number of Ring and Hook games they have set up on their property. This is the simple game of trying to swing a small ring attached to a string onto a hook on a pole in front of you. If you've never played this game it might sound easy, but it takes a certain skill to get the hang of it. The best part is, it keeps kids mesmerized for hours. My kids have literally spend half an afternoon standing there playing it, while I lounged at a nearby picnic table eating my daily caloric intake and scrolling Facebook. The game has become so popular at Mr. G's that have even organized some tournaments help periodically throughout the season.
 
When you're done with your ice cream you can stroll through the rather large Mr. G's Gift Shop located in a separate building directly behind the ice cream shop. Back there, Mr. G sells Gettysburg souvenirs as well as a few keepsakes of his own place. They also carry a full line of Life Is Good apparel as well.
 
Mr. G's Old Fashioned Home Made & Soft Serve Ice Cream is a great way to cool off in the middle of a hot summer day. It's located right in the middle of all the tourist fun of historic Gettysburg at 404 Baltimore St.
 


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