Disney+ short film anthologies
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Launchpad, on Disney+
Disney Wiki; IMDb; On Disney+; Wikipedia

This is a series of live-action short films.

Season 1

tek's rating:

American Eid (21:10)
Aqsa Altaf; Disney+; Disney Wiki; IMDb

A young girl named Ameena and her teenage sister Zainab (or "Z") have recently moved from Pakistan to the U.S. While Ameena is excited to celebrate Eid, Z no longer wants anything to do with Pakistani traditions. Ameena starts a petition at school to get Eid off. She doesn't get enough signatures, but some teachers and students choose to celebrate Eid with her in school. Z is embarrassed by all this at first, but ultimately reconnects with her sister. It's pretty sweet.

tek's rating: ½

Dinner Is Served (21:19)
Disney+; Disney Wiki; Hao Zheng; IMDb

A Chinese student named Xiaoyu, who is attending an American boarding school, decides to try out for Maitre D' at the campus's fancy dining hall. The headmaster, Mr. Gustafson (Ray Wise), is supportive, but Xiaoyu eventually learns that it's for the wrong reasons. That's all I want to divulge of the plot, but it's definitely a good short.

tek's rating: ½

Growing Fangs (19:42)
Ann Marie Pace; Disney+; Disney Wiki; IMDb

Val Garcia is half human and half vampire. She wants to tell her best friend Jimmy (a human) that she's half vampire, but her family is against it (even though they like him). Meanwhile, Val has recently started attending a high school for monsters, where she hasn't been able to make any friends. To make matters harder, she can't let anyone at school know she's half human. But she finally finds a way to make a connection with Elsie, the captain of the school's basketball team (on whom she has a crush), by volunteering to be the mascot... for the rival school's team, the Horrid Humans. (I assume they're actually monsters, too, and the name is ironic.) Unfortunately, things don't go so well for Val, but the story does have a happy ending. I don't want to spoil any more of the plot. But Val makes occasional asides to viewers, and the short has a quirky sitcom feel, which I liked. If this were a series, I'd definitely watch more of it.

tek's rating: ½

The Last of the Chupacabras (14:18)
Disney+; Disney Wiki; IMDb; Jessica Mendez Siqueiros

An old Mexican-American woman named Chepa tries to sell tamales from a food cart, but she's seen more as a tourist attraction, a relic, than an actual vendor. One night at home she's playing with some puppets, including one of a chupacabra, when suddenly a real (but still puppety) chupacabra shows up at her front door. She's frightened at first, but soon befriends it and treats it like a pet. It's a fairly interesting story, I guess. I like what happens at the end the best, but I won't spoil that.

tek's rating:

Let's Be Tigers (15:30)
Disney+; Disney Wiki; IMDb

A young woman named Avalon babysits a 4-year-old boy named Noah while his fathers are away. Avalon is sad because of a recent loss. And that's really all I want to say about the short. It was okay, but not something that really grabbed me.

tek's rating: ½

The Little Prince(ss) (19:35)
Disney+; Disney Wiki; IMDb; moxie peng

A 7-year-old boy named Gabriel Wang (a first grader) befriends a second grader named Rob Chen. Rob's father doesn't want Rob to be friends with Gabriel, because he does ballet and plays with dolls, and stuff. He thinks that's not how boys should act. But Gabriel's father defends him to Mr. Chen. And Rob doesn't share his father's attitude. That's all I can really tell you about the film. It was a decent story, though I felt like more could have been done with it. Also I'm not sure I like the title, because it seems to imply that Gabriel could be a transgender girl, which is fine, except that it might not be the case. Maybe in the future that's something Gabriel would come to realize about himself, but maybe not. Because I don't think there's anything inherently feminine about his interests, so he could just as easily be a cisgender boy (and heterosexual, for that matter). I don't care which is the case, but the title just seems... premature, at least. (Still, I suppose the parentheses could be construed as leaving the question unanswered, which is fine.)

Season 2

tek's rating: ½

Beautiful, FL (19:56)
Disney+; Disney Wiki; Gabriela Ortega; IMDb

A teenage girl named Omara tries to duplicate her tia Fria's recipe for ice cream, to enter in a local contest. She asks the quirky neighbors in the trailer park where she lives for help. It's a fairly cute short.

tek's rating: ½

Black Belts (20:06)
Disney+; Disney Wiki; IMDb; Spencer Glover

A teenage artist named KJ (Seth Carr, whom I know from The Mysterious Benedict Society) wants his father to teach him martial arts. His father is reluctant to do this, because he doesn't want KJ getting into fights and possibly killed. And... I don't really know what else to say about it, but it was a decent story.

tek's rating: ½

The Ghost (20:08)
Disney+; Disney Wiki; Erica Eng; IMDb

A young girl named Clarice Chung just wants to play hockey with her friends, but her older sister Naomi comes to bring her home for a birthday party for their dad. The two girls argue with each other. Then the ghost of a young girl named Elena appears and takes their parents away, and eventually takes Naomi as well. I don't want to reveal any more of the plot, but it's a reasonably touching story of a girl learning to appreciate her family.

tek's rating: ¾

Maxine (18:40)
Disney+; Disney Wiki; IMDb; Niki Ang

Allie is an Asian-American girl who only recently came out to her family as gay, and she doesn't feel ready yet to introduce them to her girlfriend, Maya. Her family is about to celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival, taking out pictures of lost loved ones and offering their spirits food. Allie finds a picture of her mother's cousin, Maxine (Margaret Cho), whom she knew nothing about, and her mother doesn't want to talk about it. But that night, Allie places the picture on her nightstand, and the next morning is surprised to find that Maxine's spirit actually showed up for the festival. She was also gay, but estranged from her family. She offers Allie encouragement about introducing Maya to her family, and Allie in return encourages Maxine to reconnect with the ghosts of her own parents, who are among the many spirits who came to the festival (unseen by anyone but Allie). It's a pretty touching and cute story.

tek's rating: ½

Project CC (18:40)
Cashmere Jasmine; Disney+; Disney Wiki; IMDb

A 12-year-old genius named Paris is distraught when her only friend, CC, dies. So she tries to clone her, but when Paris's sister, Portia, finds out about the project, things go awry. That's all I want to say. It's not a bad film, definitely quirky. And sad.

tek's rating:

The Roof (19:55)
Alexander Bocchieri; Disney+; Disney Wiki; IMDb

A two-spirit Cheyenne teenager is sent by their mom to stay with their grandfather for awhile. His roof needs fixing. He tells his grandchild about their grandmother, who was also two-spirit. Later, he takes them to a powwow for two-spirit Native Americans. I don't know what else to say about it, but it was a good short.

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