Sunday, December 30, 2012

This is 40: A Review of Judd Apatow's Latest Gem

Judd Apatow's latest film, "This is 40" hit theaters on December 21st and if for no other reason, we should be thankful that the world was not obliterated, as predicted by the Mayans, so that this film can be enjoyed moviegoers across the globe. Apatow once again delivers a raunchy, yet sweet and touching tale about flawed, yet lovable characters. In what has become a common trend in movies today, the director holds a mirror up to himself and the rest of us, allowing us a glimpse of ourselves as intensely imperfect beings, yet doing our best in a mad and imperfect world. Apatow allows us to laugh at how utterly feeble and pathetic we are as we plod through life making mistakes and fools of ourselves, over and over again.

The main characters are Pete and Debbie (Paul Rudd and Apatow's wife, Leslie Mann), who reprise their supporting roles from the 2007 comedy smash, Knocked Up, also directed by Apatow. The story follows Pete and Debbie as they attempt to cope with life as they reach the big 4-0, doing their best to deal with the stresses of marriage, parenthood, career, and arriving at middle-age. The cast also includes the director's real daughter's, Maude and Iris Apatow (as Pete and Debbie's children), Albert Brooks and John Lithgow (as Pete and Debbie's respective fathers), Megan Fox (as Debbie's employee, Desi), and a host of supporting characters played by Jason Segel, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O'Dowd, Lena Dunham and others.

There are plenty of laughs throughout the film, as we have come to expect from an Apatow production. There is also no shortage of raunchiness, as we have come to expect from an Apatow production. Yet the cursing and potty humor are mixed in with equal parts of emotionality and love amongst the characters that takes the edge off and sends you away thinking you've just seen an PG-13 rather than an R. That is not to say that you should haul along the kiddies for this one. Apatow earns his R, while still delivering a touching comedy about the realities of being 40 something spouses, parents, and children. 

Paul Rudd delivers again as the American everyman, who you can't help love, even if he is a bit of jerk on occasion. Rudd seems so at home in front of the camera and exudes such a sincerity that it makes him seem less like an actor on the big screen and more like an old friend that you hope calls soon so that you can hang out together again. The character of Pete is wading through the muck of suburban life and drowning in a sea of estrogen, as he lives with his wife and two daughters. Pete is the man who from a distance, appears to have it all, yet does his best not to realize it and nearly throws it all away. 
There is a minor, yet interesting subplot regarding Pete's 
desperate attempts to keep his record label afloat, while 
refusing to sell out by trying to sign the next sixteen-year old pop star sensation. Pete's passion and dedication to "real" music is refreshing in our culture, which seemingly only values electronic noise that the masses can dance to and are popular for six months until the next mindless mess replaces them at the top of one of the dozens of charts. The scene in which Pete realizes that he cares more about the music than the musicians themselves, who are simply following the almighty dollar like a carrot on a stick, is truly a statement maker. Rudd drives home the anguish of this realization in truly impressive fashion, particularly for a comedic actor.

Ordinarily, one might think that it would be easy to discredit the director's wife, cast as the female lead in a big budget film. Yet, Leslie Mann prevents one from doing this by delivering a great comedic performance, with true emotionality and warmth. Mann is able to bring a complete woman to the screen in Debbie, who is vulnerable, sexy, fiesty, nasty, nurturing, and wildly protective of her family. The scene in which Debbie confronts a teenage boy who had insulted her daughter on her Facebook page is wildly hilarious. Later in the film this scene is trumped by another in which the same boy's mother (played by Melissa McCarthy) confronts Pete about his wife's behavior. That scene is then bested by another in which the three parents meet in the school principal's office and McCarthy unleashes her raw and insane comedic talents in a foaming at the mouth angry parent tirade.

Much like Leslie Mann, Iris and Maude Apatow (the real-life daughters of Judd Apatow and Mann), escape nepotistic ridicule, at least from yours truly, because they are truly talented young actresses, particularly the older Maude, who also showcased her singing talents in dad's last directorial piece, "Funny People." The Apatow girls keenly portray the love-hate relationship that is a reality for so many siblings as the grow up with one another. The girls do their best to stay out of each other's hair and out of the line of fire as their parents wage the daily war on life. Judd Apatow has inserted scenes in this film that attempt to place the audience in many different pairs of shoes, including those of the thirteen and eight year old children of Pete and Debbie. These glimpses through the eyes of a child are crucial for parents who steamroll through life, often not contemplating just how difficult it can be to be a child in today's society.

 On a larger scale, that may be the best aspect of Judd Apatow's latest offering. Sure there are many uproariously funny moments and endless familiar situations that mid-lifers will recognize as their own in "This is 40." But in my opinion, it is the skill at which Apatow peels back the onion and show us what it is to be an imperfect wife, husband, mother, father, child, friend, and plain-old human being on this crazy floating ball in the galaxy, that makes this film worth seeing. This film forces us to look in the mirror, see how pathetically flawed we all are, realize that we all want the same things, have none of  the answers we are seeking, and all make the same clueless mistakes, all while making us laugh at how inept we are at being parents, wives, husbands, and children. That is more than worth the price of admission in my book.  
Tip: Be sure to stay for the credits to see an alternate scene of the principal's office scene with Melissa McCarthy improving as Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd crack up in hysterics.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

When Can I Avoid the Crowds in Disney/Universal? - Part II of When Should I Go to Disney?


darthmaz314’s previous post entitled “When Should I Visit Disney World?” recommended the week prior to Thanksgiving as an excellent time to visit the vacation capital of the world. Well, you can now add the week of Labor Day to the list of preferred times to make your way to the Orlando area. While there are some weather-related drawbacks, early September can be a very appealing option when planning your next Disney trip.

No Line for the Caro-Suess-el at
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Labor Day signals the unofficial end to the summer and the conclusion of summer vacation for most schools around the nation. This translates into scores of unhappy students and teachers who are not only depressed about returning to school and work, but unable or unwilling to travel to Disney World for a vacation. U.S. Elementary schools, high schools, and colleges/universities are ordinarily all back in session by Labor Day. Most parents are not keen on having their kids miss the first week of school. In addition, parents (and teachers for that matter) are busy making their last minute preparations for the return to school and are thus not likely to add a trip to Disney to that madness. Even Floridians, who may not need to travel far to visit are less likely to skip school to venture to the parks for a visit on weekdays. These circumstances keep a huge portion of the Disney-going population from filling the parks during that time of year and result in minimal to non-existent lines on even the most popular attractions at your favorite Disney AND Universal parks.

Fisherman's Wharf Area in Universal Orlando - Nobody Home

During a recent visit, we spent four days in Disney parks and two days in Universal parks between the Sunday of Labor Day weekend and the Saturday following it.  During our four Disney days, we used Disney’s FastPass once…yes, once. During the two days in Universal’s two parks, there was no need to purchase their money-grubbing version of Disney’s FastPass, the Universal Express Pass. (Although, I can appreciate Universal’s practice of providing this perk to their resort guests [similar to Disney’s Extra Magic Hours resort guest perk,] I am somewhat disgusted by the fact that after all the money you must spend to simply get into their parks, and in addition to the money you will inevitably spend after you enter those parks, Universal then wants to hold you hostage for money to avoid the oppressive lines encountered during peak attendance times.)

Empty Toy Story Mania Queues

Any Disney/Universal veteran can attest to the fact that there are few feelings like walking briskly through those endless mazelike queues normally jammed with weary and often sweaty bodies. Eliminating those long waits in line not only allows you to see and do more during your day, but reduces the fatigue that can set in during a long day in the parks, standing in between those metal rails like herds of cattle. The fact that this fatigue has a cumulating effect can spell misery for the last few days of your trip.

You Can almost Feel the Florida Heat Through the Photo

A visit to Disney/Universal during the Labor Day Week can allow you to accomplish a great deal in the parks and still leave some time for enjoying your resort pool or perhaps a Disney water park. This brings us to the weather drawback referenced earlier. Although early September is slightly cooler than the raging heart of summer, it is important to remember that Orlando in the summer can easily be compared to the actual surface of the sun or the fiery depths of Satan’s deepest circle of hell. Simply put, it is ridiculously hot in Orlando in the summer. The sun is so intensely strong, that hydrating is an absolute must. It is not exaggerating to say that a family of four can spend between $150 to $200 on water purchased in the parks over a seven day stay, particularly since the water (at $2.50/bottle) is so affordably priced. The humidity, which can rival an African savannah, only makes it more unbearably. Add to this, the insanely long lines that one encounters during the peak summer season in Disney/Universal parks, and it can drain the energy of even the most grizzled theme park veterans.

ImageWorks in Epcot's Imagination! -Imagine it with a crowd!

The Labor Day week erases the challenge of the crowds and the oppressive lines, which makes the heat much more bearable. You spend less time waiting in the heat and can cool off much more frequently, because you can experience more attractions, most of which either move fast and/or are outdoors. You can also escape the heat by retreating to your resort, if you are so inclined, and you can still accomplish quite a bit in the parks in the cooler early morning and later afternoon/evening hours.

The Cinderella Castle Forecourt at 1:00am - Cricket, cricket...
One other drawback to mention is that once Labor Day passes, the park hours are scaled back, so that your total time to work the parks is reduced overall. Even with Extra Magic Hours, you will have less time in the parks once the hours are rolled back. However, if you make the most of the actual Labor Day Weekend Days, during which the parks were open quite late (Magic Kingdom Magic Hours on Sunday ended at 2:00am!) you can still get the most park hour bang for your buck.

So if you are looking to avoid the huge summer crowds and you don’t have school-aged children and/or you know that they can make up any work that they might miss, you may want to plan your next Disney/Universal trip for the Labor Day week. You may still experience the Orlando heat, but you will be pleasantly surprised at the thinness of the crowds.

All photo credits - darthmaz314

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On 9/11, darthmaz314 Remembers Our Heroes and Honors America

Eleven years ago today, the most heinous and cowardly act ever perpetrated on American soil took place on a late summer morning that would forever be etched into our collective hearts and minds. On that day, an immaculate and pristine sky was marred with the smoke of hatred, the ash of envy, and the fire of false righteousness. The ground was not only pelted with the debris of falling buildings and airplane fusillade, but with the emotional shrapnel of families and lives, ripped apart by hatred and extremism. What seemed like an otherwise nondescript and quiet September morning deteriorated into a date that now has taken its place as one of the darkest in our nation’s history.
Many terrible events took place on that morning of September 11, 2001. None of which will be chronicled here. The innocent dead taken from us on that day deserve far more respect than that. As do the heroes that gave their lives to save them. Those brave souls, regardless of the color of their uniforms or the letters stitched upon them, were there when they were called. Some were there even though they had not been called. Many of them did not return home that day. Others returned home, but were diminished, whether physically or emotionally, in ways that most of us will luckily never know.

Thousands upon thousands more heroes have answered their country’s call to fight since that day. Whether they believe that they are on the right soil or fighting the right enemy, they stand for us. Ever the pawns in the international and political game of chess, these men and women stand anonymously between us and our enemies. Their uniforms do not differentiate them as either Republicans or Democrats, or as liberals or conservatives. They are simply our protectors.

The experiences and memories of September 11, 2001 vary greatly across the members of this great nation. Yet, whether you were in New York, D.C, or Anchorage, you felt the sting of loss on that day. In the intervening years, the phrase “our lives were forever changed on 9/11,” has been uttered countless times. There is some truth to this. Our lives may never be the same again in some ways. America took a collective kick in the gut on that now infamous day.

Yet, if there is a truth that is undeniable, it is this. America has endured. The center of the financial world was nearly obliterated but our economy did not completely crumble. We are still the capital of the world, regardless of whether our credit rating has slipped in recent years. Our nation did not disintegrate and fracture following the acts of a band of extremist cowards. We united in a way that only Americans can and although we were kicked in the gut, we brushed ourselves off and stood up again, ready for the next round.

Therein lays the failure of all those who seek to pierce the heart of our nation and do us harm. America may be a patchwork quilt of religions, races, ethnicities, and political ideologies, but there is one defining thread that weaves us all together and binds us in a way that the perpetrators of September 11th’s vile acts cannot comprehend and will be forever envious of…freedom. It is that freedom that defines our nation. It is that freedom that fortifies us not only as a nation, but as a people. It is that freedom which terrifies those that seek to do us harm. That ideal of freedom, unattainable and incomprehensible to those like the cowardly perpetrators of that fateful day, gave birth to this nation and has nurtured it for over two hundred years. It is a flame that cannot be extinguished by bullets or bombs or blood. It is who we are and will always be.

So as you go about your day this September 11th, 2012, think not of the fallen towers or the damaged Pentagon, or the charred wreckage of a plane in a Pennsylvania field. Do not dwell on the evil and the destruction. Instead, celebrate the lives of the heroes we lost on that day and have lost since. Celebrate the courage of those who answered the call and continue to do so. Celebrate the good in life. Celebrate the fact that we live in a nation where we are free. Celebrate…America.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises, But Does It Meet Our Expectations?

The Dark Knight Rises stormed into theaters on July 20th, preceded by great anticipation and followed by great tragedy. Having expressed our condolences and best wishes for the victims and families affected by the senseless tragedy of the film’s opening night, darthmaz314 now shifts the focus onto the film itself. The third and final installment of Christopher Nolan’s incarnation of Batman had the dubious task of following up on the epic second film in the series. The Dark Knight brought comic book movies to a new dark and twisted place, a place ruled by the unhinged master of chaos, Heath Ledger’s Joker. It set the bar high and it would be no easy task for the final film in the trilogy to surpass its predecessor. Now that the film has been in release for several weeks, darthmaz314 examines just how high this Dark Knight really rises.

A Fitting End?

The Dark Knight Rises brings the Christopher Nolan trilogy to a phenomenal ending. The plot of this film very securely tethers it to the first two installments. In fact, this is not one of those sequels you can see without having seen the previous films in the trilogy. To truly understand and appreciate the layered storytelling that Chris Nolan lays before the audience, it is necessary to have seen, and really paid attention to, both of the first two films. Although there is a lot thrown up on the screen for the viewers to follow, by the final frames of Dark Knight Rises, all the little plot lines and character stories are neatly tied up into little black Bat bows.

This film straps the audience in for another ride on Bruce Wayne’s emotional roller coaster, only this time it’s a front row seat and you will undoubtedly need to chew back your lunch before you disembark the ride vehicle. The story once again lays bare the soul and vulnerability of Bruce Wayne and by default, Batman. If the first film was about Wayne’s coming to grips with the death of his parents and the vengeance that fuels his crime fighting crusade and the second was about his sacrificing his one true love before he could toss aside the cape and cowl, then this film is about redemption, Bruce’s commitment to Gotham, and his refusal to accept defeat no matter what the odds. Indeed, the Dark Knight Rises not once, but twice in this final installment. Batman is dragged to hell both physically and emotionally in this story and is truly defeated in every sense of the word in the film’s darkest moments. Stripped of his fortune, his strength, his dignity, his freedom, and his anonymity as Batman, Bruce is left to languish in a personal hell while his enemy seeks to push Gotham into the abyss that it has teetered above for the entire trilogy. Yet, in the end, Batman’s rise is less about the cape, cowl, and contraptions, than it is about the power of perseverance, the ferocity of true conviction, the invincibility of hope, and the belief that even in a cess pool of evil and negativity, there is always some good, buried beneath.

Not Your Father’s Batman

Credit Warner Brothers, Legendary Pictures,
and DC Comics for not sugar coating their trilogy in order to sell more toys. The plotlines, PG-13 ratings, and two hour plus durations of all three Batman films are clear indicators that this trilogy was geared toward the teen and fanboy audience. Perhaps Warner, Legendary, and DC were all confident that they would make enough money without bringing in the higher-single digit age bracket. Perhaps they banked on their parents bringing them anyway. Whatever the thought process, it is clear that at some point early in the development phase of Batman Begins, someone decided that they didn’t care if kids “got it.” The Dark Knight Rises continues the trilogy’s pattern of juggling the genres of comic book film and psychological thriller, the latter of which is usually not easy for kids to follow. The plot of The Dark Knight Rises is filled with back story and details on character origins, as well as a strong thread that one must follow through all three films to truly understand and appreciate the yarn that Christopher Nolan is attempting to spin. If the Ra’s Al Ghul and League of Shadows plotline from Batman Begins was difficult for young kids to truly comprehend, then the story that ties Ra’s to the final installment is enough to make the kiddies’ heads spin. However, Christopher Nolan makes it work through the use of well- orchestrated flashbacks at the proper moments and by boiling the visual story telling down to a good versus evil tale that all can follow on some level. Additionally, despite the  PG-13 rating, there is little that would shock a child of 9 – 13 in this film.

 Although this film has more humor infused than the previous two in the series, the ominous tone of the first two films pervades in The Dark Knight Rises. Nolan paints with a palette of blacks and grays in this trilogy, literally and figuratively. This is in stark contrast to the Tim Burton/Joel Shumacher Batman films, which were fairly dark and foreboding in their own way, yet still over-the-top and cartoonish on many levels. The Nolan trilogy is almost unrecognizable as an incarnation of the Caped Crusader when compared to the 1960’s television version of Batman, which was brilliant and wildly entertaining in its campy and comedic delivery. Ultimately, there is room for all these versions on the cowled crime fighter. Each is unique and subject to opinion, yet all have something to offer, although by the time we arrived at Batman and Robin, the wheels appeared to have come off the Batmobile.   



Catwoman is hands down one of the most intriguing female villains realized in recent fiction. Maybe it’s the fine line she treads between cold-hearted criminal and misunderstood victim scratching and clawing to survive in a world dominated by cruel and evil men. Maybe it’s the decency that always seems to lurk somewhere beneath the mask, a decency separates her from the other more sinister villains of Batman lore. Maybe it’s the stunning women in skin tight body suits that have portrayed the character over the years. Regardless, The Dark Knight Rises brings a new kitty to the party in Anne Hathaway. Admittedly, although Hathaway is a fine actress, I had reservations about her casting as Catwoman. Yet, while others may have more natural beauty than Hathaway, she portrays the feline felon with a steely cool sexiness and confidence that truly does justice to the character. Mix in a layer of surly sarcasm and a slight hint of well buried vulnerability and you can see why she was given the role. She also doesn’t look too shabby in the cat suit. So what do I know?
From the moment her character is introduced, Hathaway eats up every inch of celluloid she appears on, making it hard to dislike her and impossible to ignore her. However, by the middle of the film, a betrayal perpetrated by her character turns the audience on her faster than she can pick a pocket. Yet, Hathaway makes the audience yearn for a redemption scene so that they can rally behind her naughty little kitty cat in the end. In the final analysis, Anne Hathaway proves me wrong and is more than worthy to join the pantheon of purrrrrfect Catwomen.

Here’s an interesting piece of trivia for you Batphiles. Anne Hathaway’s character is never referred to as “Catwoman” in The Dark Knight Rises. In the credits, the character is listed as “Selina Kyle.” Also, her “costume” features no cat ears. However, when in her cat burglar gear, Selina wears a pair of high tech magnification goggles that can be flipped up to rest on her head when not in use. When resting in that position, they surprisingly resemble cat ears. Holy coincidence!


Why was Bane chosen as the villain for this film? It has been reported that Christopher Nolan wanted an adversary that would test Batman both physically and intellectually. Mission accomplished. Would we all have loved to see Chris Nolan’s version of the Riddler? Considering Nolan’s casting of Heath Ledger and Ledger’s brilliantly sinister portrayal of the character, one would have to respond with a resounding “YES!” But Bane does not disappoint. In fact, the character is appreciated (and hated) more upon a second viewing.

Those not immersed in the comic book world of Batman, most likely only know of Bane by his appearance as Poison Ivy’s cartoonish minion in Joel Shumacher’s Batman and Robin. There is a significant history for the character in Batman comics, having first appeared nearly twenty years ago in 1993, yet to many, Bane is probably little more than an infrequently used noun. While more could have been done to develop the nuances of the Bane character, enough is done to generate a deep desire on the part of the audience to see him drawn and quartered. My guess is that there were scenes that were in the script and perhaps ended up on the cutting room floor that filled in the blanks on Bane, but were opted out in light of the hefty length of the film.

It would be nearly impossible to top Heath Ledger’s Joker performance in The Dark Knight, which has been immortalized by the actor’s untimely death and posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Nonetheless, Tom Hardy more than holds his own bringing Bane to the screen. In a true testament to his dedication to the role, Hardy reportedly gained 30 lbs. and bulked up massively to play the cold blooded terrorist. And Hardy’s vocal delivery is truly bone chilling. The accent, the speech intonations, and of course, the booming voice echo through the mask, add to Bane’s icy cold demeanor and imposing physical appearance. Let’s face it, all great villains have some sort of an accent or vocal eccentricity that enhances their mystique. 

Surprise, Surprise, No Disappointments Here

There are more than a few surprises for all to enjoy in The Dark Night Rises. No spoilers in this post, (for the seven people who haven’t yet seen the movie), but suffice it to note that the plot keeps you guessing until the end. What’s more, the surprises are not surprises for their own sake. They fit well into the plot and not thrown in for a few cheap thrills.

The Dark Knight Rises follows in the footsteps of The Hunger Games and The Avengers as one of the three best marquee movies of 2012. It delivers on all levels and is sure to please the casual Batman fan, as well as the comic-obsessed devotee. So look to the skies for the Batsignal citizens of Gotham, for the Dark Knight rises tonight.   

Saturday, July 28, 2012

darthmaz314 Remembers the Victims of the Aurora, Colorado Dark Knight Rises Attack

The Dark Knight Rises stormed into theaters amidst the ominous specter of a terrible tragedy last weekend. Although we tend to become lost in the world of escapism and illusion afforded to us by Hollywood’s master filmmakers, the cruel world often has a way of yanking us back into harsh reality. Such was the case during the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in a Colorado town, when violence on the screen was silenced by an all too real instance of life imitating art. Darthmaz314 sends its sincere condolences to those who lost loved ones in Aurora, Colorado last weekend and hopes for a speedy recovery for all those injured physically, mentally, and spiritually by the acts of a disturbed individual.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Walt Disney World Mythbusting: Where are the Animals at the Animal Kingdom?

Animals are Here...Trust Me
Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park may be the largest and newest jewel in the Walt Disney World crown, but if you ask many people, it is their least favorite of the Disney parks. In fact, Animal Kingdom is usually the park that folks will leave off their must do list if they are in Disney for a short stay. Why is the Animal Kingdom the red-headed stepchild of the Disney universe? That is a hard question to answer and perhaps a topic for a future post. However, as a defender of the Animal Kingdom, I feel compelled to dispell fiction with some facts in this first of the Disney Mythbusting posts here on darthmaz314.

Beautiful Mini-Waterfall at Animal Kingdom Oasis
One common knock on Animal Kingdom is that it is “just a Disney zoo.” This is usually followed by the knock that “for a zoo, you never see any animals!” Hoping to bust this myth, I present the photos below, taken personally by your humble host here at darthmaz314, on three different Disney trips within the last four years.

But before the pictures and at the risk of sounding like an Animal Kingdom apologist, I present the following apology:
Keep in mind that like any wildlife exhibit (notice I avoid the use of the word “zoo”), Animal Kingdom’s commitment to the well being of the animals sometimes runs contrary to the “wow” factor that could put the animals in your face. Disney has long stated that they are committed to providing the best possible environment for the animals housed at the Kingdom. In fact, the park is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which means that it meets or exceeds their standards in wildlife education, conservation, and research. In fact, I would imagine that the wildlife at Animal Kingdom is cared for better than a good percentage of our children here in America, and an even greater percentage of children in many other parts of the world.
The point being that if we are to believe Disney’s press about providing the best possible environment for the animals, we can assume that this means a decent amount of roaming room, as well as areas for the animals to escape from the elements. Basically, this translates into occasional (or more than occasional) no-shows by some of our furry/feathered friends, no different than any other “zoo” in the world. If animals are kept in a 20’ by 20’ cage perched along the side of a visitor walkway, it is hard for them to hide. However, when they are provided with a free-roaming natural habitat that mimics that of their native home, they naturally have the opportunity to escape our eager eyes. If Disney used the “Jurassic Park bait tactic” of leaving a tethered goat along the side of the safari vehicle path for the big cats to devour, you could bet that they would make themselves visible. However, carnivorous animals tearing their helpless prey limb from bloody limb might run contrary to the Disney entertainment philosophy.
So on to the mythbusting! You want animals at the Animal Kingdom? Here you go...........

The Real DUMBO?
Looks like a Giraffe. Is this "Animal Enough" for the Naysayers?
Butt there are animals at Animal Kingdom!!!!

Hungry, Hungry Hippo at Disney's Animal Kingdom
"I'm Sexy and I Know It"
The King of the Animal Kingdom
No Botox for this Big Boy 

"Shh! Stay Still and They Won't See Us"

Catching Some Rays Animal Kingdom Style

What a Croc...!

"If There's One Thing I've Learned, It's Keep Your Head Down at Animal Kingdom"

"You Don't See Me, Do You?"

"How Cool are We?"

He's Got Friends in Low Places

"Break Formation and Run!"
Keeping His Head Above Water at Animal Kingdom

Too Shy for the Safari
And there are more where those came from. So if you're interested, place The Animal Kingdom on your list of Disney Must Do's and tell the animals darthmaz sent you.