Quick rant here: I really wish Disney’s live action team had some better ideas than to keep remaking classics as live-action films. They’re doing a good job with some of them—I loved Cinderella, remember?—but the previews for Pete’s Dragon and The Jungle Book actually turned me off. And the lineup for their future films isn’t very promising—with the notable exception, of course, of next year’s Beauty and the Beast directed by Bill Condon and starring Emma Watson as Belle.
The world we live in isn’t perfect. There are two ways to deal with it. One, either you take what you want by force and be angry about everything that’s not going your way. Two, you can accept that you can’t change everything, and you can still treat others the way you want to be treated.
The two leading ladies of the recent Cinderella remake fell on different ends of the spectrum. I admit, because of the complete reversal of character roles in Maleficent I was curious what direction Disney would take with this new live-action fairy tale. I wondered about the evil stepmother especially. Would we see Lady Tremaine’s motivations for abusing her stepdaughter? Would she be given a sympathetic angle? As it turned out, my questions were answered, but only very subtly–blink and you’ll miss it. I have only figured out Lady Tremaine after almost a year of reflecting on the film and of course rewatching it multiple times. Cinderella and Lady Tremaine aren’t much different from their counterparts in the classic animated film on the surface, but on closer inspection they are very well-rounded characters.
There are lots of cool movies coming out this year, but between Captain America: Civil War and Rogue One it’s easy to overlook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a brand-new adventure set in the Wizarding World of the Harry Potter series. The release date announcements and the brief teaser trailer have created tremendous excitement in the Potter fandom, to the point that we’ve had a new awakening of our own. But if you’re not on board yet, here are some very good reasons you should remember that we have a new Wizarding adventure coming out:
I grew up hearing that The Lord of the Rings films were actually pretty close to the books. When I finally watched them, however, I found out that the films were actually quite a bit different. True, there were some things I liked better, and some of the changes were understandable or more interesting, but on the whole, I liked the books better.
That’s actually all I’m going to say about LOTR for this post, but it serves as an introduction to an important discussion. I am a book geek. I have been since the first grade. I will be until I go blind in old age. But that doesn’t mean I a hundred percent hate movies that are based on books. I don’t always read the book first, but I am the kind of person who prefers to. This is the case especially when I’ve heard good things about the book as well, for instance, Life of Pi. On the other hand, sometimes I refuse to read the book because the film/television version I grew up watching is completely different and I don’t want to tarnish my feelings for the film (a lot of Disney movies I like are this way). But if the movie is based on a book that I have read and liked, then I am going to hold it to a certain standard.
2016 is here, and that means we have a whole new year’s worth of movies to look forward to. 2015 was all about The Force Awakens. What will be the big hit for 2016? So far it looks like Captain America: Civil War may be the king of the year, but it has plenty of competition. This is my list of 10 movies I am looking forward to in the upcoming year. It’s not a comprehensive list, because there are a ton of really cool movies coming out this year. My list may not be the same as yours, but these are the 10 movies I am looking forward to. They are listed in order of when they are coming out.
WARNING: This essay includes an open discussion of spoilers. If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read this.
I have now seen The Force Awakens twice. I am relieved to say that this isn’t rebooted, dark and gritty Star Wars. This is Star Wars at its best. It’s the same feeling I get when watching the original trilogy AND the prequels. It’s fun, it’s fast, it’s exciting. There’s humor and warmth as well as stirring emotional scenes and deep moral lessons to contemplate. The action sequences are high-flying and thrilling. It flows with the rest of the saga like a river…but that’s still partly pending resolution of how we got from the happily-ever-after in Return of the Jedi to something-is-very-wrong-and-needs-to-be-set-right on Jakku.
Whatever happened to Narnia?
It’s not that there aren’t any more films coming. After years of rumors that The Magician’s Nephew was going to come next, instead we are getting The Silver Chair. The film is being developed by the Mark Gordon company. The screenplay is completed but in the process of rewrites, and it was written by David Magee. Magee wrote for the film adaptation of Life of Pi , which as far as book-to-film adaptations are concerned was fairly decent so I have some hope.
But why did the Narnia we were expecting in 2005 never come to fruition? Maybe it’s the audience. Or maybe it’s Hollywood. I’ve read in different places that movie audiences are seen as disillusioned and more inclined to gritty, realistic action films than fantasy. Narnia isn’t supposed to be gritty and dark, it’s supposed to be an idealized world, an escape from the rough, urbanized society of today. The books worked because they were about ordinary children doing extraordinary things, and the battles between good and evil were very clean-cut. Narnia is a codeword for escape: it is the quintessential fantasy.
2015 was supposed to be the year for huge mega hits from the beginning of summer until the end. It was supposed to be the year that I was going to spend all my money just on movies. “Sorry, no food this week kids, Daddy has another movie he needs to go see.” Sadly, it’s not going to quite be as big a deal as what we all thought. With major hits like Superman vs. Batman and the next Pirates movies being pushed back, it will only be moderately awesome. There will still be plenty of great (I hope) geeky movies to see. Here is a list of 5 movies I can’t wait to see this year. What about your list? I am sure I will have a few that I miss, so let me know in the comments.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
This is the follow-up to the wildly popular and successful Avengers film. Fans have been anticipating this sequel pretty much since the closing credits of the first movie. This film pits the Avengers against Ultron- an artificial intelligence created to keep the peace and order, and realizes to do that it has to basically destroy all the people. James Spader as Ultron is perfect because nobody plays creepy as well as Spader. We will also get to see all the familiar faces from the first movie. The film opens on May 1, 2015.
I’ll be honest, I really have no idea what this movie is about. I do know that Disney is putting some major marketing behind the movie, and has been for a while now. I also know that George Clooney will be in the film, and that it is being directed by Brad Bird. That’s all I really know, and that’s enough for me to want to catch this film when it hits theaters on May 22.
I know, this movie is probably going to have zero story and be full of really bad jokes. Funny jokes, but really bad all the same. Yet, I still want to see it. I loved Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2, and a big reason was the Minions. Now they are getting their own movie? Sign me up. Plus, in the middle of Summer, when it’s just plain hot outside, this is a great place to take your kids where it’s nice and cool and you can sit back and enjoy the fact that they will be entertained. That is totally worth it. This opens on July 10.
I have always thought that the story of Peter Pan had some amazing potential to be a really cool story. It has magic, fairies, and a really great villain. Plenty there to make you think it could be awesome. Yet, it seems like almost every version of the story is just not cool for some reason. I am hoping that this version will change that. I am hoping this will be the telling of the Peter Pan story that will make the whole thing cool. I am hoping I am not setting myself up for disappointment. The movie comes out on July 24, 2015.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Let this be the movie that gets this franchise back on track. I know what JJ did to Star Trek, but I am hoping he can do better here. The prequels were so hard to watch sometimes. If this is more of the same, I will be sad, but I am hoping that this will be the beginning of a new day for Star Wars. The trailer looks promising. It’s a teaser, so we don’t get a lot from it, but from what I can see, it looks pretty good so far. Of course, I felt the same way when I saw the trailer for Phantom Menace, so who knows. In any case, it is a Star Wars movie, so I will be there on opening day and Disney will get my money. December 18, 2015.
There you have it. A list of 5 totally different movies that look pretty solid this year. I am hoping that at least half of them will be decent and worth my time and money. If I had to guess, I would say that Avengers will be, and so will Star Wars, but who knows. What movies are you looking forward to the most this year? Let us know in the comments.