Movie Review

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast (Live Action)

This movie has such a dear place in my heart. I have a vivid memory of watching it the first time and begging my mom to rewind the part where Lumière gives Belle’s dad a fright over and over again and cracking up like a crazy person for at least half an hour!

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Another memory is of my mom blackmailing me that she would get me Beauty and the Beast from the video store if I let her pull my loose tooth. I was too scared to let her do it, but I remember being so desperate to watch it again that I climbed on top of the bathroom sink and watched myself in the mirror as I gradually wiggled my tooth out. Even though it wasn’t quite our terms, my mom got me the movie again.

I was basically your original Beauty and the Beast fangirl. I was determined to change my name to Belle and move to France to find my own castle with an amazing library. Somehow the Beast/prince was more a cherry on the cake than the main attraction… even back then I loved books more than just about anything else…

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A couple of years after the first Harry Potter movie came out, after she had grown into her role and into herself, and even before it became a fact that B&B would be made into a live action, I remember thinking that Emma Watson would be the perfect Belle. Not only did she play my favorite bookworm ever, but she was an activist for women with her very own bookclub. So when I heard that she was actually going to play the part, I wasn’t even surprised… just unimaginably happy that it was actually going to happen!

And then I stalled. When it came out on cinema I kept on meaning to go and see it, but I just couldn’t. My friends kept on coming back and telling me how great it was, but still I was scared.

Scared? you may be asking. Yes. I was scared that I was expecting too much and that it couldn’t possibly hold up to my expectations and fond memories. Irrational maybe, but how often have I been excited for something only to be disappointed? All 8 Harry Potter movies comes to mind just off the top of my head.

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But then eventually my mother cornered me into it and I bit the bullet. I would watch it and try to keep my expectations to a manageable minimum.

I don’t know if I lowered them too much or if I needn’t have bothered! This movie was absolute perfection! Yes, even the parts that they added and changed! Even the singing, which wasn’t as great as the original (although the songs were better in some places), was still enjoyable and also fit with the personalities of the characters and the actors who played them.

The casting was honestly so on point that I can’t decide who was better: Luke Evans as Gaston stomping around all self important and good looking or Ewan McGregor as Lumière singing “Be our Guest” or Emma Watson in the iconic yellow dress! I don’t know how much of the Beast was CGI and how much was Dan Stevens, but I loved him just as much as Ian McKellen as a grumpy old Gogsworth fighting off his wife’s advances! But if I go on and list all the characters I like, I might as well list the whole cast. Ultimately though, I think Josh Gad as LeFou is my favorite thing ever! He really brought so much more to an originally one-dimensional character and I absolutely loved it!

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There was obviously nothing new plot-wise, though some of the characters were fleshed out and given more backstory. I think the directors tried to answer a lot of the plot holes and unanswered questions the original movie raised, which I thought was great and added more to the story. One of my friends mentioned that they thought the scene where Belle asks them why they don’t escape or leave the castle was worthy of a facepalm, because obviously they can’t leave the castle because they’re furniture and knick-knacks, but I disagree. I always wondered the same thing. They weren’t cursed, the castle and the prince was. What if they changed back if they left the castle? Did they even try? And if they were cursed along with the prince, then that enchantress was a bigger villain than everyone thought!

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One thing I think I should mention is one of the biggest reasons I stalled at watching this movie. Emma Watson. Yes yes, I know I said I always thought she would be the perfect Belle, but let me be honest… I never thought that much of her acting skills. She’s a perfect Hermoine as well, but I was always left knowing that she was acting. She never felt natural in any of the roles I saw her in. I’m not going to say she was absolutely natural as Belle, and her singing wasn’t anything compared to the original Belle, but she impressed me. Maybe Belle is her natural!

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The biggest disappointment to me, and no lying it was a big one, was the library scene. They kept it in (obviously they couldn’t leave it out!!!), but it was changed and the original intent was completely lost! They changed a couple of scenes and even juiced up the songs a bit, but this… this was MY scene! My little bookworm heart thought it was the ultimate romantic gesture, and now it’s been reduced to a happy accident. I thought that was the biggest reason she fell for him in the first place! I just can’t deal right now…

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Ok, I’m back and I feel a little better. So in conclusion, coming from an original Beauty and the Beast fangirl… this live action remake was totally worth watching and I’ll recommend it to infinity and back.

P.S. I loved the Beasts’ song when he set Belle free!

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Movie Review

Avengers: Age of Ultron

My Rating: 5 Stars

1st Watch

OMG I loved this movie. I’m not a movie critic though, so I have the (seemingly) unique ability to move past the clunky and iffy scenes and still enjoy what’s in front of me.

I watched the movie in IMAX 3D, and while it was really great, I would have been just as happy if I had only stuck to normal 2D. Something that really upset me and made me feel like I had wasted my money, is the fact that if I just even slightly tilted my head, I got that 3D multicolour shimmer on the screen… Call me crazy, but I didn’t expect that from Imax 3D.

Anyway, on to the movie. I’m going to try and do this from the beginning and as much as I can remember, but honestly, there was just so much happening that I’m 100% sure I missed quite a bit.

BE WARNED — THERE ARE SPOILERS!!!

So it started out all-out action, and everyone is together again. It kind of had me feeling like I had missed out on a prologue, but I got over it quickly. I would have liked to see how it happened that they were all together again, but instead you’re just dropped slap bang in the middle of an epic battle with Hulk all hulked out and Iron Man (who blew up all his suits in IM3, but okay he’s a genius millionaire so I guess he built another one, as well as a legion of suits as a guard or something, idk) flying around being witty. That’s one (of the many) thing this movie had going for it… it was funny!

Anyway, so then we get to after the battle and we find out BW sings a lullaby (?) to Hulk and this brings back Bruce… yeah, weird. Definitely more of those “I missed the prologue” vibes, but acceptable. I mean, it’s not like it flows immediately from the previous movie I guess. Lots of time between Winter Soldier and Ultron.

Anyway, then we get to an after party and BW is flirting with Bruce. At first I thought she was just fucking with him, because I honest to God never saw that one coming, but then it turns out she really does have the hots for him. WTF? Thinking back on the first Avengers movie, yeah okay maybe, but honestly it felt kind of forced and awkward. BW is one of my fave avengers, and although I’ve read a lot of complaints from the fandom that she was made out to look like a love-sick schoolgirl, I think it’s great that she can be the bad ass that she is and still have room in her heart for love… I just wished it was with the Cap… Also Bruce helped Stark create Ultron, and he’s got the whole mad scientist vibe… which is fine I guess, but I just really don’t think he’s Nat’s type… I would have shipped her with Iron Man before considering Bruce…

Anyway, so now we have Ultron on the loose and everyone is freaking out and Stark is up for arrest, and so now Clint says he’s taking them all to a safe house and bam, we’re hit with the next WTF moment when he takes them to a farmhouse where we’re introduced to his wife and kids… WHERE THE FUCK DID THAT EVEN COME FROM?!?!?!? Right there I saw the fandom lose it’s shit, and again, it felt so utterly ooc for Hawkeye… like we know him as this bad ass agent who kicks ass and takes names, but now we’re expected to believe he’s been secretly going home to a wife and kids all the time? That just did not make sense at all, but okay, I’ll roll with it. He deserves happiness after all, so good for him… but a hint might have been nice, y’know?

All this time, Captain America is being really awesome and cool and Bucky isn’t even mentioned. Like not once do we even get a hint of continuity from Winter Soldier. I mean I walked away from Winter Soldier with the feeling that Bucky was Cap’s priority no.1, but here we have him casually cutting wood with Stark (delighting the Stony shippers, I’m sure (now that I think back on it… there were a lot of Stony moments…)). Oh, and Tony admits that Cap’s in charge… queue “I missed the prologue” feeling. Anyway, over that too. The story line was compelling enough to keep me rolling past these issues.

Okay, so that’s pretty much it for the irritating little niggles I felt during the movie. After that it’s just all kinds of awesome and I was literally bouncing on my seat (sorry to the people behind me) and squealing very unladylikely… Vision, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Ultron were fucking awesome characters and I loved what James Spader did with Ultron!

I liked the ending, where we get the groundwork for the next movies laid out, and we get a glimpse of the new Avengers team (lead by romanogers). Then I almost pissed myself with excitement when Cap started saying the thing… and then I felt really played and betrayed when it cut off before he could finish!!! I just want him to say it… is that too much to ask? Just once!!! (And again no mention of Bucky, but nevermind, we’re over that…)

Conclusion?

I laughed, I squealed, I was shocked, I cried, I was thoroughly and completely entertained, and I’m planning on going back… as soon as possible!

Movie Review

Star Trek

Space… the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship enterprise. Her ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life forms, and new civilisations. To boldly go, where no one has gone before.

I’ve been putting off watching anything to do with this series for the longest time. First it was because I just really wasn’t that into sci-fi, but then when I got more interested in the genre, I heard from so many people that Star Wars was so much better than Star Trek. I watched Star Wars, and honestly I wasn’t that impressed, so obviously I thought that I would just waste my time with Star Trek…

Last Friday I got stoned and decided for some reason to watch Star Trek, which had been sitting on my laptop for ages. From the very beginning of the movie I was hooked. I don’t know how much of my amazement and fascination had to do with being stoned, but OMG, I LOVED everything about it! 

I especially loved how they basically started everything from the beginning, so that someone like me, who has never watched any of the classic series, wouldn’t have to go back to that in order not to miss out on any plot points. I’m still going to try and get my hands on that, but wow, just how ingenious was that? They can pretty much do whatever they want now without having to worry about continuity!

Like I said, I don’t know anything about the classic series, but I haven’t been completely living under a rock, and I think Zachary Quinto was a brilliant choice for Spock, and Chris Pine does a great job of playing the rebellious good guy. I’m struggling with accepting Simon Peg and John Cho as serious non comedic characters, but they’re still great, and I love both their characters.

I watched both the movies in one sitting, and of course, being such a huge nerd as I am I had a slight fangirl attack when Benedict Cumberbatch entered the scene. I find it disturbing that I can identify him by his voice alone and that I’m slowly but surely coming around to everyone else’s opinion that he’s quite good looking… because he’s really not… but then he kind of is…

He did a great job of making Khan relatable, and the mark of a good villain is that they make you feel sorry for them… which you can’t help but feel for Khan. Being a mother, I can understand that you would do anything for your family. I’m not sure I would have gone as far as he did, but yeah, I get it. I’m glad they didn’t kill him, but I feel like they might have set the stage for a return in the future… and I’m sure nobody will complain.

I’m not sure how I’m going to do it, but I can’t wait to get my hands on the originals! Live long and prosper!

Movie Review

Movie Review: Howl’s Moving Castle

Howl’s Moving Castle

What the hell was that even? You know, for once I’d like it if the movie didn’t completely butcher the book it’s based on… and if you’re going to do that, then don’t call it the same thing as the book… rather just say it’s based of “this” book.

Okay, rant over, but still. The movie was enjoyable, but it would probably have been better if I hadn’t read the book so recently. Most of the time while watching, I was in a state of “that didn’t happen” or “this isn’t even close to correct!”

Some of the things that bugged me:

– Sophie’s whole story is ignored. The only family you get to meet is Fanny, but you don’t get to know her name, and Lettie, but you don’t get told that she’s in fact Martha or Sophie’s sister.
Also, for some reason Sophie’s age keeps changing in the movie, and I get that it’s supposed to show that she’s keeping the curse on herself and it shows how she changes at certain stages, but come on… that’s completely not what happened in the book at all. She was old and that was it.

– The scarecrow. Not only does Sophie like it in the movie and it helps her do things etc, but it also turns into the lost prince (which is right) who then says that the spell was “somehow” cast on him and could only be broken by his true love… what? NOOOO! That’s just so wrong it makes me mad! What about the story behind him becoming the scarecrow (kind of)… which leads me to:

– The whole plot around the Witch of the Waste was completely changed and ruined. They decided a war was for some reason a better idea and turned the Witch into a pathetic old biddy that Sophie takes care of even though she cursed her. This whole point makes my blood boil, because it was so integral to the book that I just can’t believe they changed it so much. They ignored that the witch had killed and maimed and tried to build a perfect human (wizard) and they also completely missed her demon part, because wizard Suliman never went missing and is now a woman and the actual villain. WTF?

– Michael is suddenly a pre-teen little thing called Marko instead of a teenaged boy. Apart from him doing some work right in the beginning, there’s also no mention of the fact that he does most of the work or that he’s an apprentice. Most of the time he’s just in the background. You also don’t get to know his story or the fact that he’s crushing on Lettie (who’s of course Martha in disguise).

– They completely ignored Howl’s wicked way with women. The book practically revolved around the fact that Howl’s passion is making women fall in love with him and then he drops them, but in the movie there’s a passing remark and then the rest of the time it ignores this and blow’s Sophie and Howl’s love out of proportion. Let’s not forget the reason Howl couldn’t love truly in the book was because he didn’t have his heart anymore, but in the movie he doesn’t seem to have a problem completely falling for Sophie. To be fair, I do think he did develop really strong feelings for Sophie in the book, but he only truly felt love for her once he got his heart back.
Also, he changes into a bird-monster periodically, which probably represents that he’s going bad? I’m not too sure about that but it seems most likely… I still don’t buy it.

I could have forgiven some small changes (like Sophie’s age changing constantly, I get that), but such a complete rewrite of everything shouldn’t be associated under the same name. If it had been presented as similar but different, then at least you know not to expect a visual representation of a story you loved, but instead just something along the same lines…