After the success of 2019’s Little Women, Greta Gerwig’s sublime adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s most iconic novel, it seemed we would not receive another literary adaptation that would meet the same heights of innocence, pathos and aesthetically gorgeous cinematography – but it seems debut director Autumn de Wilde had other ideas.
It’s no secret that the DCEU is a struggling franchise, and in more ways than one may expect. Although it has produced landmark films (such as Wonder Woman) and even broken the box office with the release of James Wan’s Aquaman, the franchise is still trying to figure out a formula that works for the universe as a whole. In fact it often feels like each film is the beginning of its own self contained franchise, something which remains true today with the release of Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey.
2019 may not have been a fantastic year for all of us, but many can agree that it was definitely a good year for Hollywood star Robert Downey Jr. – with the year coming to form the symbolic cherry on top of his ice-cream sundae comeback. After hitting the scene hard, reaching controversial levels of stardom, dealing with addiction and tackling sobriety. Downey soared back into the mainstream with his career defining role as Marvel’s Tony Stark. A role that allowed him to once again become a household name, and one that ended beautifully last year with the release of Avengers: Endgame, the most successful blockbuster of all time. After such roaring success and personal growth, it was clear that Downey could now do anything he wanted, but it seems his choice making skill still need some much needed work.
Louisa May Alcott’s iconic novel, Little Women, is a book that is ultimately hard to sum up in one sentence. Overall the novel follows a group of four sisters who face the various obstacles of life – falling in love, war, life and even death. It is a novel that sees the world through the eyes of young girls, slowly blooming into the little women they are destined to become. And being such a loved work of American literature, the book has seen several film adaptations over the centuries, each with their strengths and weaknesses, but they all shared one common thing – they told the story from beginning to end.
These days it seems we live in a world of political correctness gone wild. A world where one poor choice of words can destroy a career, where disrespect can brand you a social pariah. And in a world like this it is often the comedy genre which finds itself falling under particular scrutiny. Films and tv shows now have to tread very carefully, to assure that no offence is taken and to assure that their product doesn’t become another victim of online attacks from progressive groups. So I find it particularly refreshing when a film comes out that actually dares to raise a middle finger to PC factions and tell the story of a young boy, who also happens to be a devoted Nazi.
When it comes to stage musical to film adaptations, there have been some questionable choices made. Sometimes they work out creating underground cult classics such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show and sometimes they fail stupendously, like Will Smith’s fevered idea to drag the story of Annie, quite literally kicking and screaming, into the modern day. There is an art in adapting one medium for another and when it comes to Broadway musicals, there’s really no difference. Sometimes changes have to be made, songs need to be cut and sometimes a whole narrative has to be devised for the cinematic vision, but when it comes to the recently released Cats, it seems that the only effort made was adding a new (and pointless) song and casting an ensemble cast of actors whose singing ranges from diva to dying rat. Yep, this film was not good.
After a beautifully crafted teaser, we have finally been blessed by our Disney overlords with a full length trailer for their upcoming live-action remake of their classic film, Mulan. Being probably the biggest fan of the original film, I was of course excited to view this trailer and for good reason because it truly is a sight to behold. And although I never truly allow for a trailer to be my final judgement on the quality of the overall movie, this film is already shaping up to be one of the better remakes the Mouse House has put out. Because it appears to have something as of yet unseen among other movies of this ilk…originality.
Back in 2013, a small film was released close to the Christmas holidays. A film about two sisters (one cursed with magic) who must mend their relationship and save their kingdom from corruption. But, once upon a time, this little film had a very different premise. Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, the original pitch followed a young woman trying to stop an icy witch, keeping more in line with the original fairy tale. However, a single decision changed all this, the decision to make the film a ballad about sisterly love. And in an instant, Disney had a hit on their hands, even though they wouldn’t know it until it broke box office records and became one of the highest grossing animated films of all time. Soon the film was followed by two shorts, and finally the announcement that a sequel was on the way. But after the colossal mess of Ralph Breaks The Internet, would Disney be able to finally deliver a solid animated sequel? Well, yes and in some cases no.
We are living in a world of sequels, our Box Office is saturated with them and Hollywood seems constantly on the look out for the next nostalgic property to milk and capitalise upon. So it made sense that they would turn their eyes to Zombieland, a little film from 2009 which gained praise for its story and tone and a decent following for the same reasons. Ten years have passed since the film left its cultural footprint on the world and much has changed since then. All the core actors have gone onto other successes, with Emma Stone even wining an Oscar for her performance in La La Land. And yet all four actors were happy to return to the franchise, leading to a film that does not break much ground but sure as hell has a lot of heart.
I think it is safe to say that the original Maleficent film is a bit of a mess. Not an entirely terrible one, but a mess all the same. The film didn’t exactly go through a production hell, but the original vision seems to have been scrapped a bit through editing and piles upon piles of revisions. Slap on a first-time director and a somewhat problematic screenwriter and you can see why reviews were somewhat mixed. And yet the film proved popular in the mainstream, bringing Angelina Jolie back into the public eye as well as heralding in the recent Disney live-action trend. The film’s success even saw a sequel green lit by the mouse house, something that I, and many more questioned. How could they possibly do a sequel to a film that in of itself was something of a prequel? Well they did and honestly it’s pretty damn good.