Summary: Set in a Chicago neighborhood nearly a decade after an occupation by an extraterrestrial force, ‘Captive State’ explores the lives on both sides of the conflict – the collaborators and dissidents.
The Cast. I don’t want to quite say the characters were interesting because I didn’t really find anyone interesting but I thought the acting was good.John Goodman plays William Mulligan, a police commander who is going after this resistance group he doesn’t think is gone and he seems to have a singular focus and is doing everything he can do to accomplish his goals. I wasn’t quite sure his endgame until about halfway through but John Goodman is a great actor and it was really hard to get a read on him. I knew something was up but I wasn’t quite sure what it was.Ashton Sanders plays Gabriel Drummond, is the younger son of the family we saw in the beginning and his role is interesting because it seems like he has an important part to play and I’ll get more into this later but I wanted to watch this for him because I thought he was fantastic inMoonlightand his section was my favorite part of the movie. He has this great ability to pull attention when he’s on screen and I wanted way more of him.Jonathan Majors plays Rafe Drummond, Gabe’s older brother and I won’t get more into his role but he was rather dynamic as well. Once he was introduced, I was like “oh yeah, this is some good stuff”. There are a lot of people we come into contact with as well and honestly, this movie might have worked better as a miniseries or a television show because I wanted to care more about these people because they had potential to be interesting.
The aliens. We don’t get to see a ton of them in the film but when we do, they’re really have interesting designs. They look like tall men with spider legs and then like tons of nails all over their body that can move into different forms. It’s quite cool actually. Like I said, you don’t see them a ton in the film but when you do it’s like “eww gross” or “oooo cool!” for me, it was both reactions lol.
Human Drama. This movie really goes into what humans would do after the bad guys win and how it’s handled. I think it was smart to not dive into the whole invasion aspect or to have it be mass chaos because OMG aliens. But to have humans collectively rise up and fight back, rise up and do it in sneaky ways, that’s pretty cool. Humans show how smart they are here and while it’s reckless, you understand it because their world changed and ya know, humans are fickle.
Suspense and Tension. Even if you don’t think the story is that great, the suspense and tension is handled really well in this movie. I was really on the edge of my seat at times. Like the entire Soldier’s Field scene, man that was good, and then the sequence after that with the buses. Even the very end was pretty great. The story is a bit off kilter but man it would keep you into it because you just want to know how it’s all going to turn out.
Slow Burn/Feels Jumbled. Generally, I like slow burn stories because it allows the viewer or the reader to really get invested in the characters and the story, and while I was curious as to what was going on, I just wanted all the twists and turns to end. I found myself getting…bored with whatever was actually happening because it didn’t feel like anything was truly happening. There’s so much yet so little happening in this film that it just feels like a jumbled mess.
The Story. Listen, I see what they’re trying to do. I even understand that once a character meets another character, we then follow that character for a little while and so on and so forth, and that’s fine but it’s a little hard to really get invested in this story. I guess I also just keep coming back to characters because the movie is very character driven more than it is story driven.
Character Potential. As I said before, I watched this movie because of Ashton Sanders and I thought he was going to be a leading character. I had no idea what the movie was about but I thought he was going to be the character we followed. But it’s more of an ensemble cast but most characters we don’t really get to know so when things happen, it’s impossible to care about them. I really think this might have done better as a television show. It could work since it’s not so focused on the alien aspect but on the human aspect, and it doesn’t feel too Battlestar Galactica, it feels more relatable and I think it would have worked. When the ending comes about it’s just like “DANG!” because it happens but not because I care about the characters it’s happening to. Ya know?
Dark/Murky Visually. This is a bit tooo dark in terms of the visuals. It’s hard to see what is going on at times. Whenever the aliens are on screen, it’s hard to see them. I’m sure part of it is to keep their look to a minimum which is cool and all but I think it would have been nice to see them just a few times more, or at least clearly. Also, whenever their space ships showed up, or any flying thing it was hard to tell what it looked like. They looked like giant flying rocks and I’m like meh, it’s hard to see and when I can see, it’s underwhelming.
Overall,Captive Stateis an interesting movie. I’m having a hard time deciding if I would recommend it. If you like science-fiction movies that may fall into the same vein asI, Robot, orI Am Legendand things like that then you might enjoy this, but it’s hard to really say otherwise. I think the acting is good, I really watched this for Ashton Sanders and I think he’s great, his character also had great potential to be way more interesting than what he is. John Goodman is also good as is Jonathan Majors. I think the aliens are pretty interesting and in how they’re designed when we’re able to see them and their looming threat is also interesting. I like the human drama in that when the characters interact there is a lot of history there, or a lot of interesting dialogue and of course it handles the tension quite well! I find myself interested. However, the movie is a bit of a jumbled mess when it comes to the story, the character potential is just a shame because it’s there but isn’t followed through. The movie is also visually too dark at times. But ya know, it had great potential and I REALLY think it should have been a mini-series. *sighs* A lot of movies I have found lately, should be shows instead of films. Let’s change our tactics people, viewers want to watch things in the comfort of their homes and if they can binge it, even better.
Rating: 2.9 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Captive State? Was it even on your radar? If you’ve seen it, what are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!
Summary: In a post-apocalyptic world where cities ride on wheels and consume each other to survive, two people meet in London and try to stop a conspiracy.
This will be a short review.
SOME of the acting/characters. Robert Sheehan plays Tom Natsworthy and I knew he was going to be good at least because I like him and I think he’s a good, engaging and charming actor. For some reason, I thought he was going to be the villain, maybe I saw the wrong trailer, lol I don’t know, but I liked Tom’s character. He lives on London and he’s a historian so he knows a lot information about the past, which works out in ways so when the movie needs to share a ton of information, Tom is the one sharing it. But he’s a little awkward but he’s a good guy and I generally like characters like him. I think the movie should have followed him because he was way more interesting.Hera Hilmar plays Hesterand I liked her and found her interesting sometimes.Hugo Weaving as Valentineand he’s always good, very good at being the villain lol but he just had lots of talking to do.
Great Chase Scenes.The movie has some really nice chase scenes, in terms of high tension. The first scene is really good and I was into it. Whenever Shrike showed up, I was like “dang, this is the terminator!” and he really was, he didn’t do a bunch of fighting but he had his mission and he was going to follow through. He caused tons of destruction and it was awesome. The action sequence in the Aerial town was pretty cool and the fighter planes sequence towards the end was also pretty good too. I can’t say all the physical fight scenes were that great but the other stuff was fun to watch.
Production Design. Now you know with Peter Jackson involved it’s bound to be grand and magnificent and he bought the rights to the book in 2009. It’s been in the works for quite some time not official until 2016. I think this film has a ton of great images in it. The cities alone are quite a sight to behold. For example, when London is first sighted by the little town, they break apart into the separate… cars? and they quickly move the shops and what not back onto their respective rollers (hah!) and it’s just so cool to see that. Not to mention, how great London itself looks AND when we see the air city, just wow. If anything, this movie looks great and one of the best things about it is look and all of the… stuff lol.
The Opening Chase Scene. I had to rewatch this film because I wasn’t paying that much attention in the beginning as I was cooking but that opening scene which I missed most of the first time, is pretty awesome! Probably one of the best parts of the movie. I just wish the movie kept that kind of tension and adrenaline throughout the rest. The fear of the people on the smaller rollers, Hester clearly wanting them to be caught and the people on London cheering and booing depending on the small outcomes of catching up or falling behind. I bet it was really cool to see on the big screen.
Bland Characters. This book isn’t that big and I do plan on reading it at some point, but I wonder just how much we get to know some of these characters in the first book because you really learn nothing about how most of these people are as people. Sure, we learn about Hester’s past and a bit about Tom but we don’t really get to know these people to care about them. I would say Tom gets the most indication of who he is but that seems like it’s because he wears his personality and heart on his sleeve. Hester is a bit harder to pin down but she’s just not interesting this way. That may be on purpose but it didn’t work for me and it didn’t make me interested in her storyline.
Fluffed Story. By this I mean that it doesn’t seem like a ton is going on. It’s characters going from place to place running from people, meeting new people and they talk about stuff. It just isn’t that interesting. There are pockets of interesting story in the movie but it either wraps those up quickly, or it doesn’t explore it enough, like the stuff with Hester and Shrike, that was interesting and it was part of her story, but I didn’t think it was explored enough for me to even care about her caring about him, nor did I care with what happened later. Same with those rebels, I didn’t know any of them to care about any of their sacrifices, I just cared about Anna Fang only because she was dope, not because we really got to know her and same with that Captain dude, only because he was cute lol.
Clichés Abound! The YA tropes are just sickening in this movie lol. You have the main heroine who is an action star, without much indication as to how she became that way. All of her flashbacks never show her once training to be anything like she is when we see her present time. She can just do it. You have the “rebellion” of people who are against the motor cities and half of them do nothing and the other half of them apparently do things to mess with the rollers. Sure sure. Then there’s the villain who of course came from nothing and has new ideas that old leaders are like “you’ve been at this for years, I’m over it!” and then of course the villain has a son or a daughter, who figures out their dad is a jerk and now must find out for themselves. It really just hits all the tropes and I rolled my eyes a lot during the film.
Overall, I enjoyed Mortal Engines and I think it’s a little sad that it didn’t do well but I also see why. I think it had a lot of potential but not as a film. I think Robert Sheehan is the best thing about the movie but that’s because he’s fun to watch and his character is just enough interesting that I wanted to know more about him. Hester is okay and she follows all of the heroine tropes but in the end, meh. I think this movie really shines with the production design and the chase scenes in how they’re handled. The opening chase was great and the other action sequences were pretty good as well. Now, I think the movie had very bland characters, none of them are that interesting and it’s a little sad because the skeletons are there but there isn’t enough flesh on those bones. I also found it cliché and fluffy in that nothing is really happening. It feels long to be long with no real substance. However, I did enjoy myself in that I didn’t hate the movie so there’s that lol.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.Mostly because of how the movie looks and the fact that I did enjoy it.
Have you seen Mortal Engines? Have you read the book series? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!
Summary: Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.
Spoilers for Endgame. So, if you haven’t seen that, then why are you even here??
Cast and Characters.
Tom Holland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man. Peter is dealing with a lot in this film, he of course is still a superhero with spider-like abilities, but he just wants to be a teenager and deal with teenager things. In Homecoming, he wanted to have more responsibility but now that things have changed, and he wants some of that responsibility to just go away but all the adults are telling him to “grow up! Step up!” and he just wants to go on vacation and be with the girl he likes. I think that’s a very relatable plot for Peter to have because any person would think that way, especially after the trauma he just experienced. He deals with a lot emotionally in this film and I take my hat off to Tom Holland who just kills it as both Peter and Spider-Man. I think he manages to handle Peter’s awkwardness and earnestness well. Whenever he’s flubbing over how to talk with MJ is cute, when he’s talking to Happy or even Beck, the little bits of emotion he goes through is handled really. Tom Holland is great in the role, Peter is very emotional due to Tony’s death and I really feel for him. He’s so great and likable, plus that one scene at the end when he catches something, the look on his face was so good that I just could not even handle it.
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. He is the former director of S.H.I.E.L.D who has returned from The Snap or they call it “The Blip” and he’s trying to get Peter to work for him. I don’t think he quite understands how to handle Peter as he’s a teenager compared to handling Tony, Steve, Thor etc. He’s not very understanding, and he very much thinks that Peter is just too preoccupied with stupid high school problems. He needs to be a mentor but it’s not quite working out. Fury is interesting in this movie once you find out the things you find out and when you watch it again, you may just pick up on it the second time around. Sam Jackson is always great, he’s always great as Fury and I enjoy seeing him flounder just a bit because Fury is used to knowing everything, always being involved and he’s not quite getting that here.
Zendaya as Michelle / MJ. She is Peter Parker’s classmate, friend, and love interest. MJ is a bit odd in that she’s not quirky, at least not in the way we’re used to seeing people be quirky. She is very brutally honest, she’s awkward and comes off a little dark in terms of her interests. I love her deadpanned delivery and humor because it’s great and it’s different from what normally see from Peter’s love interests. I love Zendaya and I think she is great, and I think she has great chemistry with Tom Holland and I love that she is both cool and awkward. It really fits for this new character they created for her. I also love that she gets to keep her curls.
Jon Favreau as Harold “Happy” Hogan. The head of security for Stark Industries and former driver and bodyguard of Tony Stark who looks after Parker. Things are a bit hard for him too as Tony was his best friend, but he has found companionship in Aunt May, whether it’s an actual dating relationship or not, lol and he has become a mentor for Peter. He’s probably the only one in that “Avengers” world that Peter can still trust who was close to Tony. Happy’s always just been there for me, he’s been Tony’s friend, but I never thought he had that active of a role, but he gets a bit to do here. Jon Favreau is likable, and I also like his adult awkwardness when it comes to “flirting”, not to mention the great chemistry he has with Tom Holland.
Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds. Parker’s best friend and first confidant. Ned is Peter’s “man in the chair” and in this movie, he’s in his corner as to what Peter wants to do, but he also wants him to stop worrying so much about MJ and just have fun in Europe. Ned also gets a little cute side plot in the film and while it is random, it’s cute and it works out the way it needs to. I know that Ned is based off Miles Morales’ friend in the comics, but I like that they created him for Peter because he’s someone Peter can bounce ideas off who isn’t an adult and someone he can trust wholeheartedly. Ned is a great friend and I think the friendly chemistry between Jacob Batalon and Tom Holland works so well.
Jake Gyllenhaal as Quentin Beck / Mysterio. He is a hero from Earth-833 in the Multiverse. He gets recruited by Nick Fury to help Spider-Man stop the new threat that has emerged. Beck has this cool demeanor and he in ways takes Peter under his wing, being that he is a more seasoned hero. They end up creating this relationship that is almost a mentor-mentee relationship which I think is interesting considering what happened with Tony in Endgame. I like how that is portrayed in the film. I won’t go into more detail because it will spoil things, but I have always liked Jake Gyllenhaal and I think he does a great job in the role, he gets to have some interesting developments to do in this film. He is really compelling in the role which is quite interesting.
Really Funny and Charming. Spider-Man is always funny and charming, well if he’s written well he is, same with Peter. Tom Holland of course does a great job doing the awkwardness of Peter and the confidence that he has but also lacks. Peter is going through a lot in this film, but he just ultimately wants to be a teenager with teenage problems. He doesn’t want to deal with the whole responsibility of being a superhero so those moments where he’s just like “I just want to be on my trip with my friends and talk to the girl I like” and that’s his mantra but things of course don’t work out the way he wants them too. Zendaya also has great funny moments for MJ. In the first movie, I liked her a lot, but she wasn’t that involved, so in this one, they show her way more, she’s just a bit socially awkward and loves to point out things that other people might not want to point out. That’s her thing lol. Also, moments between Happy and Aunt May and things with Ned and his side plot. Honestly, you’ll probably laugh quite a bit in the film and I think you’ll smile a lot as well.
Emotional Weight. This movie is set right after Endgame, which means it’s five years into the future where the characters we know and love from Homecoming are still the same age, so we can assume that along with Peter, Ned, MJ, Betty, Flash and all of them got snapped. Which works out because we get to see our familiar people return, though it would have been interesting if Betty Brandt didn’t get Snapped so she could just be older, I always thought she was older than Peter anyway. But particularly from Peter and Happy who have both lost an instrumental person in their life from Tony Stark’s death and it’s still fresh for the audience, if you saw Endgame that you completely understand it. The movie doesn’t make us relive any of the Endgame deaths, but it does honor those characters. Plus, Peter partially feels that it’s his fault, if he was better and stronger and all of that.
The Story. The film picks up after Endgame and it’s in an interesting place. They refer to “The Snap” as “The Blip” as some people just “blipped” out of existence and then five years later they just returned, the same age they were five years ago, unchanged. They give us a quick update in a smart way, and some people are still shocked because some teens come back and their younger siblings are now physically older than them and it is a shocking situation but the movie doesn’t make a big deal out of it, which is good because we’ve already one movie that did that and we need a little lightness in our lives after that lol. But you know the whole “with great power comes great responsibility” in this Peter’s like “NO, I just want to be a kid!” and I like that this movie does that and it’s like the antithesis of Spider-Man: Homecoming where he wanted more responsibility.
Great Action Sequences. Ya’ll! All the action sequences in this movie are great. Some are more memorable and better than others, but I think they’re all choreographed well, with great visual effects and are super cool. I believe all the action starts to happen when they get to Europe and while it’s not necessarily nonstop action, whenever it’s shown on screen, it’s badass. Most memorable is the entire sequence at the end.
The Human/Teenage Stuff. One of the most charming things about Peter being portrayed as a teenager is that we get the teenage angst, drama and all that and it works. I know people often talk about the fact that they prefer when Peter is an adult compared to a teenager, but we have tons of adults in the MCU, it’s nice to follow a teenager because his problems are going to be different and everyone can probably relate to them because we’ve all been teenagers at some point in our lives. It really works for Spider-Mand and plus, it allows them to get more movies out of him and I’m down for that.
A Particular Scene. I can’t go into this without giving it away, so I won’t but there is a scene in Berlin that is SO GOOD that I literally was blown away. I mean BLOWN AWAY. Maybe not literally blown away but it was so good that I am still thinking about it now. Just the emotional turmoil from Peter, the effects and the dialogue. Man, it’s just so good. Great job movie. GREAT JOB!
Some Visual Effects. Obviously, you expect great effects considering what MCU has done with The Hulk, Thanos and some other things, but of course when you have a character like Spider-Man who does a lot of agile stuff, it might be harder to make it look real. There are a few times where it’s clearly CGI and it wasn’t even like “oh that CGI is CGI but it’s pretty good” it’s more like “eww that’s CGI and it doesn’t look good” it happens a few times, where I kind of was taken out of the movie, particularly in my favorite scene where there’s like an illusion of a bunch of somethings (no spoilers see!) and it was pretty jarring. Then the elemental beings we get, those also don’t look that great a lot of times either. What happens is cool and I guess it’s explained buutt I don’t think I would think those were real if I was in this world.
Overall, I loved this movie. I think it’s my second favorite Spider-Man film (Spider-verse being first of course) and my favorite live action Spider-Man film which is high praise lol but I loved a lot of what this movie did. I think the characters, particularly Peter and MJ have grown a lot, which makes them more likable and I think Zendaya really shines in her role here. I think if anyone didn’t like her much in the first one, you’d find that might have changed here. Tom Holland is a great Peter Parker and really shows the emotional trauma and loss he feels, not to mention, his need for normalcy. I get it Peter, I do. He’s so good with emotional scenes that I just want to hug him lol. The other characters are good as well, Jake Gyllenhaal was a great addition to the Spider-verse (see what I did there? lol) and I hope we see more of him in the future… in any form he may take lol. Far from Home is also funny, but not like that “look it’s funny!” kind of humor that GOTG does but just more everyday humor and it’s cute plus it’s super charming. The emotional weight is really felt but a lot of that is because of Tom Holland even Jon Favreau. Plus, so much more. This movie was a great bit of light and hope in the wake of the sadness that came from Endgame. I don’t have many negatives, believe me I tried to think of them lol, but I think mainly the CGI was inconsistent and I was like “meh” on certain points but it’s not glaringly bad. ANYWAYS, if you haven’t seen Spider-Man: Far from Home yet, then get on it, it’s a great watch.
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Spider-Man: Far from Home? What are your thoughts?
What is your favorite Spider-Man film?
Thanks for reading and keep an eye out for more reviews!
Summary: Jean Grey begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix. Now the X-Men will have to decide if the life of a team member is worth more than all of humanity.
This is a really late review lol but finally here it is!
Cast and Characters. Honestly, we have a lot of characters in this movie but I don’t think there is enough screen time for most of them for us to really care about them outside of the fact they are characters we have seen in previous movies or we know them from the comics.
Sophie Turner as Jean Grey. She is an extremely powerful mutant with telepathic and telekinetic powers. In this film, the X-men have been working alongside the government in certain missions. In this one, it’s something with NASA so the X-men are sent to help out which causes Jean to have to hold the spaceship together while Kurt tries to save the last astronaut. This causes her to be hit with the cosmic cloud. Throughout the film, she deals with the unraveling of her mind and the strength of her powers. She goes back and forth between being vulnerable and confident as she loses more of who she was and goes into someone she’s not sure she wants to be. The film is ultimately about her and her journey and I think Sophie Turner does a good job with the ups and downs Jean goes through. If you don’t like Sansa Stark then you might be reminded of her in the beginning when Jean’s all crying and what not but when she takes on the confidence of the Phoenix she does the smirking expressions and the kind of darkness of Phoenix to the point where I was like “Yass I’m into it” lol. Also, her American accent was a lot better in this one compared to her first outing as Jean. She slipped a few times but it was overall good.
James McAvoy as Charles Xavier / Professor X. He is a mutant pacifist and he founded Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. In this, Charles seems to be loving the attention they are getting from the world and others call him out on it. If anyone can be said about Charles, it’s he tries to make decisions with the best intentions, for the “greater good”. He never does anything to ruin a person’s life, or to better himself. He does it to help and I think that’s always been his thing. Sure, he may not always be morally right and he may not make the best decisions, but it’s not like he’s a bad guy. Anyway, James McAvoy is so good as Charles though, he’s always so good.
Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto. He’s not in the movie that much, he comes in maybe the halfway mark and then sticks around but he’s not a big player like he has been in the past. He only really gets involved because he’s living on some mutant island where they can be safe and Jean goes to him for sanctuary. When he finds out what happened, he spends a good chunk going after Jean. Michael Fassbender is still good as Erik, he doesn’t get a ton to do in this movie but when he’s on screen, he still is very dynamic.
Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy / Beast. I like Nicholas Hoult and I think he does really well with the emotional weight his character goes through really well. I do not like him in the movie but I think Hoult still does a great job with Hank though.
Tye Sheridan as Scott Summers / Cyclops. He can fire optic beams with his eyes. In this film he and Jean are in a developing relationship and it’s part of what helps her stay grounded, that and the idea of family. He’s a foundation of hope for Jean. I like Tye Sheridan and I like him as Scott, he doesn’t get a ton to do in this film but I like the chemistry with him and Sophie Turner.
Jessica Chastain as Vuk. Without going into any spoiler details, she is trying to lead Jean and teach her how to use her power that causes her to give in to the power. She is very clinical and unsettling. I think a lot of it has to do with her appearance but I think Jessica Chastain does a fine job in the role.
Story Idea. Of course, the story idea of Jean dealing with the cosmic powers from space and the whole dark phoenix thing is awesome. I think it’s really great to see her struggle with her power, her trauma and identity.
Use of Powers. The action in this movie is handled well. How Jean’s powers are used, while not as massive as they could be, I thought was handled really well, particularly the scene at the end when she really gets to show out. I also think how Nightcrawler gets to use his powers, particularly in the last half of the film is super exciting! Getting to see Charles in the midst of battle use his powers against someone else who also has his powers… to see other characters get to shine during action scenes was really fun to watch. If anything, the action and power use is really exciting! On a negative (?) note, they do know that Storm can do more than harness lightning, right? Just thought I’d ask.
Other Characters. I swear, the other characters are just there because they were in previous movies. I love both Storm and Nightcrawler. They are my favorite X-men and I feel like the movies just don’t know what to do with them, or at least how to utilize them the way they should. Even Scott, is just reduced to “Jean I’m here for you…” and blah blah blah and I’m like *rolls eyes* I know the movie is about Jean and while the other characters KIND of get to shine in action pieces, I just wish their personalities get the same love as the action.
Nothing’s happening? For a good chunk of the movie there’s not much happening. It just seems like Jean’s going from place to place, crying and being afraid of whatever’s happening to her. She goes from person to person to find help and finally when she meets Jessica Chastain, things seem to be kicking off. It just felt like an hour of nothing really going on until the last 30 minutes or so.
Forgettable. I don’t think this movie makes the stamp it really wants to make. I feel like in the sea of X-men movies we have, this one will kind of just float on by because the tension isn’t really there. I didn’t feel like anything was really going to happen that would be long lasting. I mean, it’s hard to really take it seriously considering what’s going on behind the scenes with Marvel Studios taking over now, but even without that, I don’t think it would really make the impression it wants to make. I mean, outside of me doing this review, I’m like… okay.
Freaking Mystique. She’s never been my favorite character in the X-men universe but she’s a bit cool and the movies made her cooler however, I don’t care for this whole thing of trying to make her be a good guy or make her be an X-men. Is it because it’s Jennifer Lawrence? Is she not allowed to be a bad guy? In this movie she’s leading the X-men team out in the field but she is also upset at Charles, even more so than she’s been in other movies. I’m over her. Mystique has always worked at the betterment of herself. Yes, I don’t mind her wanting to protect the kids, but stop trying to make her into something she’s not because it’s just really annoying and it makes me hate her. I don’t think Jennifer Lawrence is a bad actress, I think she’s fine, I just find her character (particularly in this) super annoying and I don’t like the direction or the writing for her character. She comes off really whiny.
Do We Hate Charles Now? I’m sorry this might be spoiler-ish? I feel like they might have been setting this up in other movies, which is fine, but since when do we all hate and distrust Charles? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to act like his choices were perfect, especially when it came to helping Jean, but let’s not act like he does things for his own ego. He does things to help others. Sure, he’s at an interesting place in this movie but don’t sit here and allow Mystique, and then Hank to sit here and act like Charles is the reason for every bad thing that’s happened? No thanks. I did not like that and I was upset every time it was brought up and the first 30 minutes, I was sitting in my chair fuming. I don’t think it was a good plot point because it was stupid. Having Jean be upset or whatever is okay because that makes sense but the other stuff? Meh. I hate it.
Overall, I didn’t hate Dark Phoenix, especially not in the way I’ve seen other people call it ‘trash’ which I don’t think it is, but I don’t think it’s as good as it should be. This movie has gone through a lot in terms of reshoots and what not and I think it shows. I think Jean and Charles who are the main leads are interesting and Sophie Turner and James McAvoy handle their characters really well. The other characters do just fine overall and the acting is good. The story is really interesting and I just wish we got to see a bit more and I really like how the powers are used in this film, everyone kind of gets their moment to shine. Now, I don’t think the character development and personalities get the same amount of love the action does. I think it’s a very forgettable movie in the sea of comic book movies or even X-men movies. I HATE Mystique in these movies and I’m sick of her being shoved in my face as a good person, they’re giving me whiplash with who she is and what her motives are. JUST STOP. Jennifer Lawrence clearly doesn’t want to do these because I swear, she’s phoning it in. Also, this whole thing of people wanting to turn on Charles because he’s made some bad decisions, I mean please. UGH! I hated that too. In the end, this is a fine movie to watch, especially if you are an X-men fan. Check it out.
Rating: 2.9 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Dark Phoenix? What were your thoughts? Comment below and let me know! I would love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading and be sure to keep an eye out for any future reviews!
Summary: A pair of teenagers with cystic fibrosis meet in a hospital and fall in love, though their disease means they must avoid close physical contact.
Probably spoilers… because I mean… for real?
Cast and Characters…sometimes. We pretty much have our set of characters that
Haley Lu Richardson as Stella Grant. She has cystic fibrosis and is very particular about how she lives her life. She has a plan she follows quite closely and when she meets Will, she notices that he’s like “devil may care” and she ends up pretty much taking over his regime to help him get his little life together. We learn a few things about Stella as the movie goes on but nothing that keeps her interesting. I just find that Richardson was likable and charming and I thought she did really well, especially in that emotional part towards the end. I actually teared up. I mean, Stella is an okay character but Richardson makes her more likable and less bland which I thought she was for the most part.
Cole Sprouse as Will Newman. Literally the reason why I wanted to watch this movie and he doesn’t disappoint me. Cole Sprouse is very likable in his role and he’s very charming. Will seems to be a kind of wealthy kid; he has an infection in his lungs and is at the hospital for a week long drug trial. He is a bit of a rule breaker and doesn’t do what he’s supposed to do in taking care of himself, taking his pills and all the other stuff. I was expecting him to be a bit more rebellious
Moisés Arias as Poe Ramirez. He’s Stella’s best friend also has CF and he’s the quirky best friend. He often talks his romances and he’s ultimately there for Stella, six feet apart of course, but he’s there for her. He’s charming and likable in his way as well. Moises Arias is fine, anyone probably could have played Poe. I like the friendship he has with Stella and the one he creates with Will.
Kimberly Hébert Gregory as Nurse Barbara. Nurse Barb is loving towards her kids she’s in charge of. I love the relationship she has with Stella in particular. She’s like their mother away from home. She’s caring and concerned and she has reasons as to why she can be strict when it comes to allowing the romance. Completely understand her. I even feel bad for her at times because she really just wants to keep these kids alive for as long as she can. I don’t know the actress well but I really liked her, she’s very motherly and charming.
Really Sweet Moments. This movie has some really nice pockets of sweetness. True story, my friend and I were watching it and we were like “ughhh” and then Will comes into Stella’s room when she’s about to have surgery because the thingy in her stomach is infected. Will watched her YouTube videos and saw that her sister Abby used to sing a song to her before a surgery, so he sneaks into the room and HE SINGS THE SONG HER SISTER USED TO SING FOR HER before a surgery. That was so FREAKING SWEET. There are a lot of other moments that are like that in the film.
Main Lead Chemistry. I’m not particularly into the romance between Will and Stella but I did think Richardson and Sprouse had nice chemistry. They were cute when they were interacting but the quiet moments were the best, whenever they were just looking at each other, or weren’t trying to have some conversation.
Nice Soundtrack. The soundtrack was very hopeful and sad at the same time. That is all.
Character Development. We don’t get much of it. There are some pieces of dialogue that say who is a character is and what not, and we get to see who they are in some forms by looking at their hospital rooms but they don’t really grow throughout the film other than falling in love with each other. At least no growth that doesn’t have anything to do with the romance aspect. I was like meh, I don’t really care about these characters. They’re cute I guess but meh.
Cliché/Teen Tropes. In our first attempt to watch this movie, I literally called out all the tropes, particularly that are formulaic in teen movies/stories. Beautiful people are having a hard time, in this they’re sick, and the girl is uptight and the boy is all chill and stuff. They end up becoming friends but they can’t be close because of something, in this it’s because they’re sick. The girl has a quirky best friend who may or may not be a minority, in this he’s a POC AND gay. I could go on and on and it was kind of irritating because it’s so obviously that it’s like “meh, nothing is new in this.”
Boooooring. Usually, I read the book before I see the movie but I didn’t do it for this time… I will read it though, I checked it out from the library to read it, but this movie is so boring! It also felt so long and it’s only 116 minutes. Will and Stella just talk and talk and talk. I guess they can’t do much because of their disease but it’s not interesting to watch them talk.
What Stakes? So, this is clearly trying to be like The Fault in Our Stars, which I really loved both the book and the movie (I don’t like Gus though lol) but it doesn’t necessarily have the same charm or the tension that it thinks it has. At least not consistently. They’re both sick. Will is there for a drug trial but with what he has, and Stella of course having CF. But I did not think that either of them was going to die. At least not for real. I mean there is a death which I totally called because these types of movies always have these moments but outside of that one time, I thought Will was going to die BECAUSE OF STELLA’S STUPID DECISION, that was really it.
The last 20 minutes. I’m not sure if it was exactly the last twenty minutes or not, but something happens and Stella loses her mind and honestly, the acting in her freak out scene was really good and I really felt it to the point where I did tear up, but everything after that got on my nerves. Stella was being really stupid, like I get it, you want to live passionately now but don’t be a dumbass. GAH! Then there’s not really any consequences for what she did. I mean, it doesn’t end in a perfectly happy ending or anything but if I was Will, I would have been way more upset than Will was and I like AHHH! Unrealistic!
Overall, Five Feet Apart is not that great. There are pockets that really stand out as being good but it’s not a consistent occurrence. Haley Lu Richardson is really good in the movie, she’s charming and Cole Sprouse is likable and charming as well. I think they had good chemistry with each other. There are also really strong pockets of sweet moments in the film. But I would say the positive stop there. I didn’t find the characters interesting outside of the good acting. It’s very cliché and really hits all of the teen romance tropes and I found that it was trying too hard to be like other movies of its kind, that are better. Not to mention, it’s super boring. I watched this movie in two sittings and the second time I’m pretty sure I kept making jokes. I also thought there were no stakes, I didn’t think anyone would actually die or have anything really bad happen to the point where I was worried about a happy ending. Plus, the last twenty minutes or so really angered me.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Five Feet Apart? Do you want to? If you like teen romance then sure… check it out if Richardson and Sprouse catch your eye which they are the best parts of the film.
Summary: A kind-hearted street urchin and a power-hungry Grand Vizier vie for a magic lamp that has the power to make their deepest wishes come true.
I think it needs to be said as I’ve seen a lot of negative reviews compare it to the animated version. YOU CAN’T COMPARE THE MERITS OF A MOVIE OFF OF IT’S PREDECESSOR! It’s destined to fail regardless if you do that. Yes, it’s a remake but it’s still its own movie and should be judged as such. As I’ve said before, I’ve been very optimistic about these remakes and I had such high hopes for this one. Probably even more so than the others.
I’m making sure not to have spoilers, at least nothing that will ruin the movie, or at least nothing that you don’t already know from being familiar with the animated film or that’s in the trailers.
Cast and Characters.
Mena Massoud as Aladdin. He is an impoverished Agrabah thief and “street rat” whose been doing his thing for years. He steals because he must, but we see just how selfless he can be when he gets some food after a pretty good score and gives his food to a kid and his family. When he meets Jasmine and they go on their adventure in the city, he falls for her because she seems to understand him and vice versa. They have a connection and he’s interested in pursuing it. He believes that he might have a chance at something he might not have had before. He then gets mixed up in a task from Jafar and starts to think of how he can impress a princess as he doesn’t want to let their connection go. Aladdin is a pure character, very sincere in the beginning. He’s smart, he understands how the world works and while he might wish things were different, he isn’t mad at the world. I’ve always liked that about him. His situation is the situation and when he gets the chance to make it better, he isn’t automatically thinking of “I want riches”, “I want power”, he just wants to be with the girl he fell for. It’s naive but it’s innocent. He never intentionally sets out to be a liar. We see that about him. As the film goes on, we see him start to fall into the lie he’s created, and he gets punished for it in different ways and then must find a way to come back from all of that. Mena Massoud is my age, I think about 27 but he has a youthful energy about him in this movie which I really loved. I loved watching him play one of my favorite characters and one of my first crushes lol. He’s very handsome with a smile to die for and big brown eyes which helps the charm that Aladdin has. He has some great facial expressions he gives in certain parts of the movie and The Genie is right in saying “kid, is it just me or does everything surprise you?” and even Mena Massoud says that the best emoji face for Aladdin is the “surprised emoji” because his reaction to things he’s not used to is just so pure. I think he has a nice singing voice and I wonder just how much of the stunts he does because Aladdin does a TON of stunts in this movie. Whether he’s jumping off buildings, falling out of windows, hanging off walls/cliffs etc. I also love to see just how good of a thief Aladdin is. He is REALLY good at his job and I was so impressed at how much I liked him in the role. Great job Mena! I can’t wait to see you reprise this role in the SEQUEL! I AM CLAIMING IT NOW! Also, any future projects. I will be keeping my eye on you.
Will Smith as Genie. The genie is a being who has been stuck inside of a lamp for 1000 years, but he is surprisingly chill about it. Obviously, he wants to get out more, be outside and everything but he’s not like cranky. He is kind, eccentric and just a lot of fun. He has the power to grant the three wishes of anyone who possesses his magic lamp. He is an all-powerful being. He is a bit of a trickster in ways, but he becomes a great mentor figure to Aladdin. He comes to care for the kid and wants to see him be true and honest to himself. He seems to not want him to fall into any issues that he might have seen previous masters fall into. The Genie sees the greatness within Aladdin and he wants him to be more confident in the power he has inside of himself. He even says to him (which is the trailer) “I changed what you looked like on the outside, but I didn’t change anything on the inside” and I think that’s one of his best lines because that’s so true and he wants Aladdin to see that for himself. Will Smith did have big shoes to fill thanks to Robin Williams iconic and memorable performance, but I worked hard to not compare it, but I think he manages to pay homage to what Robin Williams did while also making the role his own. Just like Robin Williams pretty much played Robin Williams, Will Smith plays Will Smith as the Genie. He had great chemistry with Mena Massoud. He really felt like a father/brother figure to him and he was very energetic and clearly had fun while playing the part. I think he managed to make the role his own and while he might not be as memorable, I think what he did deserves praise. His jokes were funny, particularly the “brass” one. I don’t know why but I cackled each time I saw it at that part. Smith said he pulled from a lot of his earlier characters for the role and in certain places you can see that. I also liked a lot of his emotional and more serious moments, like at the Harvest Festival when he’s telling Aladdin that he didn’t change anything on the inside. Or the part where he finds out Aladdin probably won’t use his third wish to set him free. I thought he did very well in both of those parts and I loved his dialogue in the serious moments. Great job Will Smith! I was a little nervous, but I really enjoyed him!
Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine. She is the Sultan’s daughter who is feisty and wants to have control over her life. When we first meet her, it’s in the city where she’s already out there seeing how he people live. She’s young and there’s a lot that she must learn but at the same time, she smart and quick on her feet. She wants to be Sultan because she feels like she knows her kingdom and people more than any outsider Prince would. She has more than just “I don’t want to marry someone I don’t love” but that she can’t rule because she’s a woman. I know some people complain about “forced feminism” but I think that’s just ridiculous because it gives her more reason to turn down these Princes. She goes through more than just trying to decide who she’ll marry. She also must find her voice and the courage to speak out for her people and herself, whether it’s against her father or Jafar. I’ve always liked Jasmine, but I feel like she’s given more of a personality in this. In the animated version, she’s pretty one dimensional and we get to know her more in sequels and the TV show, but we know a lot of her here and I think you root for her more because of that. She loves her city and feels some type of way that she isn’t allowed to go out and experience it more, she really wants to be someone who can lead. Naomi Scott does all this well. I think she is the stand out in the film. She is a great reactionary actress. I love how expressive her eyes are. Whenever someone is saying something that is really affecting her, her eyes grow large and if she’s trying to hold back tears, you see that in her entire body. I was really impressed, and I really liked her. Great job Naomi! Plus, she absolutely KILLS her new song “Speechless”. I get chills every time I hear it. She also has great chemistry with Mena Massoud and I think their chemistry really elevates the story between Jasmine and Aladdin.
Marwan Kenzari as Jafar. In this he is a young man, the Grand Vizier of Agrabah and the Sultan’s chief advisor. He is frustrated with how the Sultan rules and wants to overthrow him once he acquires the Genie’s lamp. We get to know more about him in this movie. We learn a bit about his childhood and he even relate to Aladdin in some ways, he’s honest about that. I think because he’s a young man he comes off way more desperate. He may have played the patient game but it’s not like he’s an older man whose been biding his time for years. He’s somehow made it high up in the ranks to be closer to the Sultan and give him advice. Plus, he seems to have a penchant for war as he advises him on that in some areas. I quite liked Jafar in this. I don’t think he’s as scary or intimidating as he is in the animated film (which is one of the few times I compared the two) but that’s part of the interesting thing in his character. He’s not really intimidating but he tries to be, and he even has this crazy thing about him. There’s a place where Jafar calls out to Aladdin (as Prince Ali) and when Aladdin kind of dismisses him, he almost yells but tries to compose himself because they were in public. I love that lol. Also, later when he gets the lamp, his reaction is so great. I was okay with him not being this oily kind of man but a desperate young man. I think Marwan Kenzari was good and dynamic in the role. He’s almost a bit tragic, in a pitiful way. I hope there’s a sequel “Return of Jafar” because I would love to see him return with bigger intentions. He threatened Aladdin big time and I want to see them face off!
Navid Negahban as The Sultan. He doesn’t have this large role, but he is wise and noble and he’s very eager to find a capable husband for his daughter. He is kind but not goofy and aloof. He wants the best for his daughter and everything he does is to secure the future for Jasmine. He has a few active moments towards the end of the film. Navid Negahban is good in the role, he has a commanding presence which fit the world they created in this film. I was glad he wasn’t silly and easily manipulated.
Nasim Pedrad as Dalia. She is Jasmine’s loyal handmaiden and confidante. She clearly has been by Jasmine’s side for a long time and I liked her. Dalia was funny and sure she was comedic relief, but it wasn’t in your face and annoying, at least not to me. I just loved that Jasmine had someone to talk to and bounce her thoughts, dreams and feelings off of, because Rajah is great, but he can’t talk back to her ya know? Nasim Pedrad has great facial expressions, especially when she’s talking to the Genie in later scenes or even reacting to things between Aladdin and Jasmine.
Character Chemistry. There are a few interesting relationships we get in this film where the chemistry between the actors is strong.
Aladdin and Abu. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to include this one because Abu isn’t a human but the friendship between Aladdin and Abu is important because they’ve been living together for X amount of years. They have a routine of how they do things, how they steal and all of that. Plus, I’m not sure how often Abu is a CGI monkey, but Mena Massoud really made it seem like he was best friends with his monkey, friend and partner.
Aladdin and Jasmine. Obviously, the main relationship of the film and it’s important that they have a good relationship and chemistry with each other. I love the fact that she’s with him while he’s singing “One Jump” which allows both us and Jasmine to see how well he knows the city. They have a connection from the first moment he saves her from the accusing vendor and says, “Do you trust me?” they have a moment. Later, in his home, they have a chance to talk and get to know each other a bit more before she ends up going back home, even with a negative thought in her mind about him. He likes her so much that he even attempts to see her again. He even willingly goes into the Cave to hopefully find a way to impress her. As Prince Ali, he’s awkward with her and it makes for a lot of endearing and humorous moments. I think the movie hits a lot of important beats for these two where their romance is young and innocent, and you root for them. Plus, Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott have great chemistry!! Even watching them in interviews I’m like “O. O”.
Aladdin and Genie. Their friendship is one of the crux of the movie. They meet in the cave when Aladdin releases him from the lamp and at first, it’s weird because Aladdin isn’t what the Genie thought would be the master, but then they build this friendship to the point where Aladdin trusts the Genie and vice versa. It’s a brotherhood and we see it grow as the movie continues. We see how much the Genie grows to care about this kid and how Aladdin looks up to him and even feels some type of way whenever the Genie seems disappointed in them. You get invested in their relationship. Will Smith and Mena Massoud have great chemistry together as well. They play off each other well and I was invested in their friendship.
Jasmine and Dahlia. Dahlia is Jasmine’s handmaiden and her friend. This relationship gave Jasmine another person, who understood her and believed in her, to talk too. Sure, she had Rajah, but he can’t talk back to her so giving her a friend I think, worked out. Dahlia is protective of Jasmine and vice versa, she encourages her, and I think Naomi Scott and Nasim Pedrad played off each other well.
Aladdin and Jafar. Aladdin and Jafar meet when they go to the Cave of Wonders. There is a tension being built between the two. Jafar clearly sees a bit of himself in Aladdin and he even has an honest conversation with him in some ways. As the film goes on and they meet again later when he’s Prince Ali, there’s a suspicion and dislike there from Jafar and of course Aladdin remembers him. So, there’s a tension that builds between the two whenever they’re in a scene together. I’ll mention their ending a bit later, but I was hoping for this tension to clash big time.
Production Design. Gemma Jackson who did production design work on Game of Thrones led the design here. I love the design of the world. In the opening credits while Will Smith is singing “Arabian Nights”, we go through Agrabah, through the marketplace and the palace. We pretty much get a quick look at what all the main characters are doing in that moment. Agrabah looks so realistic, crowded and like a thriving port city. Plus, we get to see that Aladdin really knows the city, I mean during “One Jump” he really goes through a lot of areas in the city and it allows us to see just how cast Agrabah is. When we see Aladdin’s home, it looks like something he would be able to throw together being someone of poor means. We don’t get to see a ton of inside the palace, but we do get very nice shots of the outside of the palace which is beautiful and the designs in some of the rooms we do visit are also beautiful. The Cave of Wonders also looks cool. The tiger face is put into the side of the mountain, which makes more sense. I liked that it looks like the inside of a mountain and that Aladdin had to really climb up this rock pillar (I mean he did a lot of climbing in this movie lol) to reach the lamp. I do think it looks like a set in some areas but once I got into the movie, which happened quickly, it doesn’t stand out as being a set that much.
Costume Design. Michael Wilkinson oversees the costumes, and these are some of my favorite costumes in the live action Disney movie spectrum. I love all of Jasmine’s outfits. I mean, most of them I’d seen before in the trailers and in promo photos but seeing them in the movie, like when she first walks down the stairs in that pink dress, like omg it’s so beautiful. Seeing her iconic blue outfit during the Harvest Ball and the “Whole New World” sequence is so beautiful! The attention to detail on her costumes. Just WOW! Also, Aladdin’s Prince Ali look is also a fantastic take on his iconic look and the color, while it was always white, it just looks so great on Mena and of course I like how he got a close shave and a haircut to add to the look. I also liked that he didn’t walk around wearing a giant turban lol. The Genie’s human look is based off the Broadway show which I thought when I saw it, but it’s also great. I love the colors on Will Smith’s skin. Aladdin’s “street thief” look is also nice. I know some people were upset because he’s wearing a shirt, and sure, I get it, especially since Mena Massoud is a gym guy (I follow him on IG) and he has a nice physique but I didn’t mind that he actually wore clothes because with all the stuff he’s doing, all the stealing what not, if he’s not wearing clothes that can fit his lifestyle then why have that lifestyle ya know? Like his red hoodie vest thing is great, all the pockets in that thing. I love how he uses it in the beginning when he’s stealing. GAH! I love the costumes.
The Soundtrack. Okay, every song from the animated film is in the movie. Will Smith starts us off singing “Arabian Nights” and there are different words in there. I was a little shocked at first when Will Smith started singing because I don’t think I ever really heard him sing, I’ve heard him rap, but the singing shocked me, and I think he sounds good. The arrangement of the music is also nice, I really got into the flow of it. Mena Massoud sings both “One Jump” and the reprise of that “Riff raff, street rat… I don’t buy that” that one and I think he sounds rather nice. “Friend Like Me” also gets a funky upgrade which I also like and its Will Smith in his element of the music he used to rap but it is still what you remember. He throws his own Will Smith flavor into it. “A Whole New World” is lovely and I think Naomi Scott and Mena Massoud sound good together. He almost sounds like Brad Kane sometimes. “Prince Ali” also gets a bit of an upgrade in the flavor of the song. Now, Jasmine gets a solo song “Speechless” which I knew about, and you hear it twice. The first time, it’s like a pep talk to herself and it’s only a few bars. Later, she sings it again as more of her anthem and I really like this song. It does feel out of place in terms of the arrangement and the “pop-like” sound it has, but Naomi Scott really kills it vocally and the arrangement doesn’t even matter to me because the lyrics make sense for her character.
Big Spectacle Sequences. Some of the songs have a smaller moment happening while they’re being performed on screen, like the first “Speechless” is just a quiet moment for Jasmine. “Arabian Nights” is the song for the opening so we get introduced into the world during that. But “Friend Like Me”, “Prince Ali” and “One Jump” are probably the ones that have a lot going on. “Friend Like Me” and “Prince Ali” are the Genie’s songs, so he gets to use his magic to show Aladdin what to expect and he goes all out. “Friend Like Me” is probably my favorite out of the two sequences we get from The Genie. It’s what “Be Our Guest” in Beauty and the Beast should have been. Plus, Aladdin gets to dance during this scene and I don’t know how much Mena Massoud did, but it was fun to watch Aladdin and the Genie get down. “Prince Ali” is probably the bigger of the two spectacles in theory, but it was very subdued to me and it was fun. I mostly liked watching Aladdin be all awkward up there as people are looking at him in awe.
It’s Really Funny. The first time I saw it, I had a good crowd, there was a lot of people laughing in places and sometimes people laughing is funnier than what’s happening on screen. When I saw it again later, there was a couple next to me who were super cute laughing at stuff. BUT the movie is funny. Aladdin in this is confident in ways but he’s also a young man. I’m not sure his age exactly, but he has some great dialogue. One of my favorite moments, is when he gets caught by some guards and the big one says “Evening” in his deep timbre and Aladdin says “evening” but it’s all high pitched and he clears his throat to sound more confident. Cute and funny. Mena Massoud has some nice comedic timing. Abu gets some laughs. The Genie got a lot of laughs from me. I mean, it’s Will Smith being Will Smith. Some of my favorite stuff for him is during the Harvest Festival scene. Jafar has some moments. Iago does as well. He talks but it’s like full blown conversations, he sounds like a parrot, but he’ll say shady stuff. Dahlia also has some good comedic moments as well. It’s lighthearted fun.
Guy Ritchie’s Style. This will be both here and in the con section. Guy Ritchie was an odd choice to film this movie, but I understand it because he films action well and while there isn’t like huge action sequences, there are smaller moments where we have action. During “One Jump” it’s a whole action piece of Aladdin and Jasmine running through the city. When Aladdin goes into the Cave of Wonders, he slides down a sandy hill, he gets pushed out of a window… Aladdin goes through a lot in this movie lol. In the pushed-out window scene, you see it in the trailer, not a spoiler, it does get slowed down and I like it in that moment. It slows down so you can see the terror on his face and then it speeds up in time to see him hit that water and boy… PAINFUL lol. Then of course the chase scene at the end, Ritchie loves chase scenes lol. I would like to see the movie in someone else’s hands who may have more experience in doing a movie like this, but I think his style is fine.
Guy Ritchie’s Style. I don’t think this is wholly a con, but there are some instances where it seems weird. Guy Ritchie has his style when it comes to action. I’ve only seen a couple of his movies, but he has a style and it’s evident in this movie at times. During “One Jump” there is a part where Aladdin and Jasmine are walking away from the guards and they are oddly sped up in that moment. Like, they look like they’re walking normally, but it’s like two seconds faster. It’s just a bit weird. He also loves to do the slow-mo. moments that then go back into the action. It doesn’t happen a lot but if you don’t like when people do that in actions movies then it might get on your nerves.
Inconsistent CGI. There are times when I think Abu and Rajah look a little weird. I mean, I know Disney can do CGI well because Jungle Book is beautiful and so seamless but it’s just a few times where it doesn’t look the best. Same can be said of The Genie. I don’t think he looked as jarring as he looked when we first saw him in the teaser where it was like “Ummm” it fits much better in the movie. HOWEVER, there are plenty of times where his face looked really CGI and it wasn’t as seamless and it should have been. I think Will Smith did motion capture for the role and sometimes it doesn’t always translate well. It looks very uncanny valley. I don’t mind how his body looks, or any of that, I mean harping on him being “jacked” is just childish because he’s a Genie, so what? lol the CGI is just odd at times.
Anti-climactic Face Off. At the end of the film where Jafar has the lamp and all that stuff and Aladdin is trying to save Agrabah from him, I was into the chase scene (something that Guy Ritchie does well) but I was hoping for a faceoff between Aladdin and Jafar that was more than just a conversation. I think it was well acted by everyone in the scene, particularly Marwan Kenzari but they built up this tension between Aladdin and Jafar the entire movie and not much came of it, at least not the way I think it should have. They left it open for a sequel and I’m hoping for a sequel. “Return of Jafar” sure, but make sure it’s like good and stuff because I don’t really like the animated movie lol. I just wish that the climax held the same energy that the movie held in other places. It doesn’t quite stick the triumph of Jafar’s defeat the way it should/could have.
Overall, I LOVED Aladdin. I knew I was probably going to like it, but I loved it. I think all the acting is good and they all fit into their character roles well. I do believe Naomi Scott really shines in the film, Will Smith does a great job with the Genie and newcomer Mena Massoud really holds his own and I can’t wait to watch everything he does next. We see what we’re familiar with but also with some updated personality traits I think work for the film. The production design is amazing and Agrabah looks great. The costume design is BEAUTIFUL and one of my favorite things about the movie. The soundtrack has an updated sound to it and still maintains the upbeat and catchy sounds it’s known for. I love the chemistry built up between different characters and the tension we get between Aladdin and Jafar as they seemed to be cut from the same cloth just had different destinies thrust upon them. I think Guy Ritchie’s style of directing works in the film for the most part. This movie isn’t perfect no matter how much I seem to be singing its praises. Ritchie’s style comes off awkward at different points in the film, just as the CGI doesn’t always hold up, particularly on the Genie at times. I also wish the climax was much bigger because there was plenty of potential for that and it just doesn’t hit the way it should have. With all that said. I’m probably one of the few critics who wrote a review and absolutely loved it.
SOOOOO take that as you will.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Aladdin? What are your thoughts on the film? What is your favorite of the live action Disney remakes so far? Which one are you most looking forward to?
Cast and Characters. We meet some other characters just barely, like Natasha’s family (though her brother never talks) and Daniel’s family. Also, a friend of Daniel’s and a lawyer but as they’re not really that important in the movie I’m not going to go into them.
Charles Melton as Daniel Bae.Daniel is preparing for his interview with Dartmouth as his parents want him to become a doctor as he is first generation in America and a lot is expected of him. However, he wants to be a poet because he’s a hopeless romantic and puts his feelings out through his words. He feels an enormous amount of pressure but when he sees Natasha in the train station, he is immediately taken and believes in destiny. Once they meet, he works to prove to her that love exists and that she could fall in love with him in that one day. I like Daniel a lot, he’s just a kind person who is trying to figure out what he wants but he also thinks of his family because he knows what his choices means for them. Charles Melton is too old to play Daniel, I thought so when he was cast and I thought so while watching the movie, however, I actually liked him. I clearly loved this girl from the moment he laid eyes on her and I truly believed that throughout the film. If there’s anything he can do well, is be in love lol. He also has a natural charisma that works for the character but he just registers too old for the part.
Yara Shahidi as Natasha Kingsley.I will have some other things to say about her later, but Yara Shahidi has an uneven performance. I know she was the first choice but she was also miscast but sure. Natasha is desperate to stay in America as she has spent most of her life here and she doesn’t want to get deported for something they can’t control. ICE did a random check and all that. So, she’s really stressed out, desperate and emotional but when she meets Daniel, she manages to find some break from all that. When they’re playing off each other, she does well. All the scientific stuff that Natasha talks about and when she’s sharing her thoughts on those things, it works for her. She’s also so beautiful. They zoom in on her face a lot and I’m just like “This girl is gorgeous” lol.
Beautiful Cinematography. Autumn Durald does the cinematography and I think the movie has a very nice look to it. It has this dreamy quality to it which fits for the nature of the story. There a LOT of shots of New York and it’s beautiful to look at while the movie was basically transitioning.
Character Chemistry. I could tell from the trailers that Shahidi and Melton had nice chemistry and I think that’s one of the highlights of the movie is that while I have issue with the acting and other things, they managed to make me believe they were really falling for each other.
Idea of the Story. As I love the book, I love the story and I do not normally like romance novels. In the movie, Natasha has a day to try and prevent her family from being deported while Daniel is supposed to going to his interview for college. He ends up saving her from being hit by a car (*rolls eyes*) and they go sit down and they talk about love once she finds out he’s a poet. He declares he can get her to fall in love with him and he has a scientific way to prove it, since she’s very much into science and facts and love cannot be proven. I like the idea of their separate stories as they both have the future to think about, albeit different futures, but the future nonetheless and I like the idea of it stressing them both out but they have found a moment to be free from that worry. All of that is nice.
The Karaoke Sequence. One of my favorite sequences from the movie is the karaoke scene. Daniel takes Natasha to this Asian karaoke bar and he sings for her and we get a flash forward of Natasha thinking of what their life could be like if she gives in to this feeling. I thought it was really sweet, especially with the music choice.
Inconsistent Acting. I was already skeptical because I wasn’t really into this casting for either of the lead characters. Natasha is Jamaican and Yara Shahidi does not even look like the rest of her family. I thought it was a bit weird and a missed opportunity to cast a darker skinned actress in a leading role, especially for a YA movie. As for Charles Melton, I’d only see him in Riverdale and he’s fine as Reggie (he doesn’t get much to do anyway) but I just thought he was too old and seemed to physically fit Daniel’s brother more than Daniel. Sorry, I got off topic lol, but I think the acting isn’t that great mostly from Shahidi. I don’t watch either of the shows she’s been on so this was my first time seeing her act and I don’t think she’s that great, particularly at the emotional scenes. Natasha has a lot going on in this one day, a lot of emotions she’s going through and I don’t think they hit the way they should have due to her not seeming to make it convincing.
Too Long. This movie is 100 minutes long, which isn’t really that long but this movie felt so long which is a problem. I think I read the book in a day, so I would imagine that with this movie being about an hour and some change would be fine, but it felt like nothing was really happening for the movie to be taking as long as it was. I checked my watch a few times. It has a lot of shots of New York and people doing New York things while some kind of pop song is playing and it just felt like padding.
Movie Flow. I was trying to think of why I found myself not liking the movie the way I wanted to. The movie has a lot of padding and it seems like there isn’t really a story with how they shoot it. It’s like we have moments of them separately, then a lot of shots of New York and music, then they meet and some dialogue then again, more shots of New York and its people and the music. The movie just feels like they didn’t have enough plot to show so they filled it in with transitional shots and music.
Overall, I wanted to like The Sun is Also a Star more than I did as I loved the book. I think it starts off really slow and it’s really only when Natasha and Daniel meet that it gets better, but not by that much. There are some positive things, like the characters are generally fine and the acting is okay, mostly with Charles Melton being the better out of the two leads. I really liked the karaoke scene and I think the two leads had great chemistry. Also, the idea of the story is fine. With that said, the acting is inconsistent throughout the film from almost everyone who gets to really talk but mostly from Shahidi. It’s too long, or it feels like it’s too long and the flow of the movie doesn’t work as it feels like it’s taking forever with NOTHING happening.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen The Sun is Also a Star? Did you read the book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!