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The Magic School Bus is a 2018 American family-fantasy-comedy film, loosely inspired by the books and subsequent television series of the same name. The film is directed by Ava DuVernay and stars Tracee Ellis Ross as Ms. Frizzle, with Logan Lerman, Jake T Austin, Katherine Langford, Keke Palmer, Olivia Cooke, Demetrius Joyette, Tyrel Jackson Williams, Tiffany Espensen and Odeya Rush completing the ensemble cast. The film was theatrically released by Universal Pictures in conjunction with Scholastic Movies on December 15th 2018 and received generally positive reviews both commercially and critically, with most praising Ross' performance. It earned $217 million at the box office against an $80 million budget.

Plot

Ms. Frizzle (Tracee Ellis Ross) is now principal of Walkerville Elementary and in a time of financial struggle, the board of governors, lead by Mrs Ankler and Mrs Welk (Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin), reveal that they're cutting the field trip programme unless Ms. Frizzle can raise enough funds by the end of the semester. Determined to keep her favourite part of her job in place, she calls upon her favourite former students (Logan Lerman, Jake T Austin, Katherine Langford, Keke Palmer, Olivia Cooke, Dimitirius Joyette, Tyrel Jackson Williams and Tiffany Espensen) to help her save the day and go on one last field trip as a class.

Ms. Frizzle and Liz the Chameleon decide to take the reunited group, who have all shown up for their favourite teacher, to Mars to see if the Martians would be willing to help them, but little do they know that Arnold's evil cousin Janet (Odeya Rush) snuck aboard The Bus and has caused it to malfunction, scattering everyone all over the universe before stealing the bus.

Using the limited supplies they have, everyone must find a way to get back to each other, reach Mars for the Martians help in saving the field trip programme and save Walkerville Elementary from Janet's reign of terror with her control over the bus before it's all too late.

Luckily, the group use all they learned from Ms. Frizzle and reunite in the knick of time, bonding again with one another after years apart. When they stop Janet and she gets taken away by Walkerville police, Ms. Frizzle happily presents a cheque anonymously donated by the Martians to a shocked and delighted Mrs Ankler and Mrs Welk and decides to take the current third grade class on a celebratory trip. She thanks her former pupils before flying off into the sky, ready for a brand new educational and magical adventure.

Cast

  • Tracee Ellis Ross as Ms. Valerie Frizzle, the principal and former third grade teacher at Walkerville Elementary, While she is eccentric and a bit strange, Ms. Frizzle is intelligent, kind, resourceful, happy, funny, supportive, loving and somewhat motherly. She loves making jokes revolving around the lesson she teaches, even if she is the only one laughing.
  • Logan Lerman as Arnold Perlstein, a bespectacled Jewish American engineer. He is often seen as somewhat of a coward but is actually braver than he's given credit for. Arnold always used to inspire the class with ideas and they'd call him a genius.
  • Jake T Austin as Carlos Ramon, a Mexican American stand-up comedian, he is always making a pun or joke about whatever situation the class is in. He is a hands-on learner, preferring to invent unique devices, such as an instrument or rain catcher, rather than learn from a book like Dorothy Ann. Carlos tries to be funny by telling several jokes, but they often backfire and cause the group, except Ms Frizzle, to groan "Carlos!" in an aggravated manner.
  • Katherine Langford as Dorothy Ann, a Australian-American librarian and museum curator, always looking for a fact in one of her many books and is the brains of the class. She is usually called "D.A." by the others. She always carries her pink messenger bag, which holds her books.
  • Keke Palmer as Keesha Franklin, an African American dancer who is considered to be the most level-headed and realistic student in the class. She is usually the most sarcastic one as well. Because of her skepticism, she often argues with Ralphie, who tends to live in his imagination more than in real life.
  • Olivia Cooke as Phoebe Terese, The caring soul of the group, Irish-American Phoebe is sweet, gentle, kind, and a little bit shy as her biggest fear is stage fright. Phoebe is an animal activist, her love of animals also includes bugs.
  • Dimitrius Joyette as Ralphie Tennelli, an Italian-American soccer player who enjoys to cook and make jokes with Carlos, he is kind-hearted but stern talking, a trait he claims to get from his harsh-talking but well-meaning mom.
  • Tyrel Jackson Williams as Timothy, an artist and beekeeper. He was usually being found documenting on what the class is doing, either by drawing or filming. His grandfather owns a honey bee farm outside of Walkerville, which he works on and uses as his artistic inspiration.
  • Tiffany Espensen as Wanda Li, a Chinese American physiotherapist. Always willing to jump into adventure and going where "no one has gone before," she serves as a foil to Arnold. She wants to solve all problems that face her. Despite her tough exterior, she loves ballet, especially The Nutcracker. Wanda's favorite singer is Molly Cule, and, like Ralphie, she loves sports.
  • Odeya Rush as Janet Perlstein, is Arnold's supermarket cashier cousin, she's jealous of all her cousin's friends successes and tries to sabotage them all by causing the bus to malfunction.
  • Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as Mrs Ankler and Mrs Welk, the co-chairs of Walkerville Elementary's board of governors, while they mean well, they're not afraid to make important decisions. Note: Lily Tomlin voiced the original Ms. Frizzle
  • Oprah Winfrey as The Martian Queen, the leader of Mars, she promised Ms. Frizzle a long time ago that she'd help her with any problems. The Martians own riches on every planet in the solar system, so provide financial support if Ms. Frizzle requires it.
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