Beauty and the Beast is going to probably be one of the best performing movies of this year if not of all time. There is no denying its success of capturing and engaging audiences’ attention. But is it actually deserving of all the praise.
The movie, like so many of the live action fairy tales from Disney, is essentially a remake but with people instead of animation. The past live action fairy tales have done a good job converting the movies in this way and Beauty and the Beast is no exception.
There is not really too much for me to stay on the movie. It acts like a checklist for me. You need to have the songs that everyone remembers and loves, but you also need the story to act as a string to guide the movie. Since it is a Disney movie though, you also need lots of beautiful set design as well. The sets were nicely put together and the clothing was good too. I do have to point out that the green screen and landscape CGI left something to be desired. It was easy to realise what was fake and what was real environment wise.
The whole debacle about Lefou being gay was not a factor. I think that it was actually a mismanagement on the director’s part, trying to make it seem like a big deal. There is about 1 second of footage that the director can feel proud of himself, for getting the movie banned in Malaysia. It was an over extension and it was unneeded. I am referring to making a big deal about the whole situation.
Other than that I think the movie did a better job being a musical that La La Land. People thought that La La Land was going to be the movie that brought the musical back, but Beauty and the Beast does such a better job showing off that skill set.
Overall Beauty and the Beast was pretty similar to the original and you should go see it just for Gaston (the musical number) and Be Our Guest. Let’s be honest, you were probably going to see the movie eventually.
The next remake of a classic film. The same premise with a new coat of paint right? Kong: Skull Island is actually more than just a remake but a really well put together film.
The movie’s strength comes from its ability to convey story to the viewer, specifically action. Most action sequences in movies involve a lot of flailing and quick, or deliberately slow, movement. The director breathes life into the movie with an approach not commonly found in movies. Some might mistake his work for cinematography, and it might even be labeled as much, but what is actually going on is Jorn Vogt-Roberts’ (the director) skill set on display. His ability to step into uncharted territory with an emphasis on visual language was the standout of the movie.
The wide camera sweeps and establishing shots were nice, but you can tell when something special happens. There are a couple points in the movie when the camera goes into a first person perspective and it's not jarring. Then there is the attention to detail of color and how that plays into diversifying the movie. Within the first 10 minutes, I knew that Jordan Vogt-Roberts was a great choice for the movie. He brought so much flavor to the movie that I don't think it could have been done in any other way. The movie is not perfect, even though there is still more to praise.
The acting on display was actually pretty good for what the actors had to work with. The emotion was felt, especially by Samuel Jackson as a standout. Where the movie does come up short, is the script. The script is the main hindrance to the movie. The action is cool, the CG is nice, and visual language has no peer. But the script actually lets the audience down. Kong: Skull Island seemed to want a couple more layers to it but doesn't go all the way. It's the surface level story telling that allows you to turn off your brain. I would not want to group this new amazing director with Michael Bay of all people. Transformers is a franchise that is the perfect comparison to this movie. You can turn off your brain and watch some cool things happen.
Overall I really like Kong: Skull Island. It was fun and the visuals were great. Just as a clarifier, the visual language was great and is not the same thing as cinematography. Where A Cure for Wellness's cinematography was fantastic, the way the movie was shot does not provide the audience with information. Kong: Skull Island does do this which makes it like comparing oranges to apples. It's a good movie with two well-written characters and everyone else is kinda useless.
Logan is the final performance for Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. It’s important to point out that he made his debut as the character back in 2000. I feel the legacy and the charisma that Jackman brought to the character is also important to point out because he was the opposite of what Wolverine was in the comics. I personally am not attached to the comic version of Wolverine because the X-Men were before my time, but is still important to give credit where it is due. And Hugh Jackman has really made Wolverine his own over the decade and a half.
On the the movie itself, the trailer is where we will start. It demonstrated that this was a different kind of X-Men movie. It was going to dig its heels in and punch you with emotion. It was going to be grounded and in doing so, ground you as well. The Johnny Cash music fueled this as a quick way of saying ‘shit just got real’.
Logan takes a story, a simple one really, and makes it a masterpiece. The director James Mangold does this by having the cinematography on another level. It is not A Cure For Wellness but it is still really good. The framing of shots made sure to keep everything in perspective for the viewer. This went a long way, whether people were being killed or if it was a quieter moment.
I think that X-Men movies are really just a paycheck for VFX studios, but this movie hits hard with the emotional slower parts. These spacers in between the incredible action may at first seem too slow, but they do their job. They build up the emotion inside you without you knowing, so by the end it wells up. I have “cried” at movies before. Slight watering of the eyes and maybe a tear or two, but this movie had streams coming down my face. It's gut wrenchingly deep with its characters and even has a few surprises in store.
Logan married action with story telling like very few movies can, at least at the level it did it at. It captured me without my realising it and I loved it for it. Logan for me joins the few movies that I can point to for being amazing. A lot of movies can get a nine out of ten, but rarely do they knock at the perfect movie score. Logan knocks, and knocks, until you crack the door to see who it is. So run home to Mama and tell her there are no more guns in the valley. I’ll miss you Hugh Jackman Wolverine, thanks for the 17 years of fun, and you still made me cry at the end of all of it.