‘Aladdin’ Flies Below Even the Lowest of Expectations

If you’ve seen the original 1992 Aladdin, which is probably most of the people who are reading this, then you know that this new remake has some big shoes to fill. Most likely, we all have the same exact reason why— the late Robin Williams simply makes Aladdin what it is. I rewatched the original just the other day, and I was only mildly enjoying it until Genie lit up the screen with his big, blue energetic personality, taking in the ‘Friend Like Me’ number in all its technicolor glory,  I fully remembered why the 2D-animated film was so cherished. Though, even in its original form, there’s a lot that is problematic with Disney’s take on Aladdin, from the ethnic hodgepodge of cultural tourism to the pop culture references that keep it from transcending the early 90s release date. But, one special quality that made the film stand out from a well-established canon of fairytales, was Williams as Genie, and his raw sincerity.

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And how could this remake ever recapture that spirit? Well, it simply doesn’t. I don’t think anyone truly expected it would. We know the story of Aladdin, the titular underdog street rat with a heart of gold, who learns the importance of staying true to oneself as he wishes on a magic lamp for a more extravagant life with Princess Jasmine. I’ll save the spiel. Although, I wish Walt Disney Studios would also give us the same amount of faith in our intelligence. Instead, we’re presented with a passionless retelling of the original Aladdin, the same, general, basic plot beats with only minor alterations (hold on, Genie fucks?!) that don’t seem to add anything besides runtime. Director Guy Ritchie does make sense for a more action/adventure based Disney story, but his directorial influence is only hinted at in small sequences of spectacle. So, we’re left with a question often raised whenever a new one of these remakes release, but seriously, what’s the point?

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‘Infinity War’, ‘Endgame’ and a Year Without Gamora

This article contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.

It’s been over a year since I’ve witnessed Gamora, one of the most strong-willed women of the Marvel universe, die by the hands of her own abuser.

I know that Avengers: Endgame is a three-hour film with an ungodly amount of baggage to sort through. I know that not only were directors Anthony and Joe Russo challenged with crafting a satisfying conclusion for our original six Avengers, but they were also tasked with forging a new direction for all other characters within the 22 movie franchise, post the aftermath of the cosmic-shattering events of Infinity War. Knowing all this to be true, and all that was at stake, I entered the theater aware that there was no possible way all of the Marvel fan community, with their own favorite characters and unique emotional investments, could realistically walk out of Endgame fully pleased with what they had watched; and yet, despite knowing all of this, even despite enjoying most of what I saw in Endgame, I’ve still had a festering, empty feeling in my heart over one character: Gamora. 

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Zoe Saldana as Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

I am aware that I will always carry a bias here. The Guardians of the Galaxy movies mean a lot to me. I love how over the top they are, from their nostalgic needle drops to their sometimes overbearing amounts of sentimentality. I love that they are two calculated, messy movies about scarred and lonely people full of regret, who realize that they are stronger together and that there is a greater meaning of life in the family connection they choose in each other. I’ll save you the specific details, but as someone with a messy relationship with my own blood family, and as someone who’s strongest emotional connections are amongst friends from all sorts of different places, these themes especially ring true. Gunn’s two Guardians films often pass boundaries (i.e. “green whore” line from Drax in Vol. 1, or the many jokes about severed limbs from Rocket) but despite all of that, they’re always being told from a place of sincerity and genuine growth that has struck a chord with me since seeing them on their opening weekends.

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VIDEO: It’s Alive! – Rebirth and Transformation in Horror

This month’s video was posted a little late, it marks the debut of our writer, Mary Beth McAndrews (@mbmcandrews), as part of our video team! Mary Beth is a cinema studies major with a focus on the horror genre, so her new video focusing on the themes of rebirth and transformation is a perfect encapsulation of her interests.

If you want to stay updated on our content, or see these new videos as soon as possible, be sure to follow us at @muchadocinema on twitter!

VIDEO: A Tribute to Rachel Weisz

This is an exciting video this month for many reasons! First, this is the first time we’ve reached out to Twitter to choose the theme for the video. On March 3rd, we posted a poll asking you all what actress would you like to see spotlighted and the people have spoken! And here we are, with a Rachel Weisz supercut set to Mitski. But another reason why this is such a special post is that it marks the debut of Lucy (@iconicaesthetic) on our video team. That’s right, video TEAM! Here at Much Ado, we’ve ganged up and now we’re working on new types of content that you’ll be seeing very soon. There will still be lots of supercuts coming, but there’s a lot more in store for us in the future.

If you want to stay updated on a poll, or see these new videos as soon as possible, be sure to follow us at @muchadocinema on twitter!

VIDEO: 2019 Oscar Nominees

It’s all been building up to this! Sure, this season might be bleak, but that doesn’t mean we should stop celebrating our love for film and filmmaking! We’re hoping that at the very least, our second annual Oscar nominees video gives you some joy in spite of the incoming doom. Like Lady Gaga’s rendition of “La Vie En Rose” from A Star Is Born, we hope your night is glamorous and star-studded.

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‘The Lego Movie 2’ is Built With Fewer Complex Pieces But is Awesome All the Same

No one, absolutely no one, could have ever suspected that The Lego Movie would be as good as it was. Boasting a stop-motion inspired, completely-made-out-of-bricks animation style, countless different franchises and IPs, and a loud, catchy pop song in “Everything is Awesome,” it was evident that it would look and sound the part at the very least. In a Hollywood landscape where it seemed that just about every movie was a reboot, a sequel, or an adaptation of some obscure toy, imagine how audiences and critics alike were caught off guard when The Lego Movie itself directly knew all of our anxieties and used them to its advantage. Stealthily, we got a movie that used one of the biggest toy brands and some of the biggest franchises to create a narrative about the beauty of individuality and creative self-expression, a heartwarming tale about a father and son reconnecting, and the dangers of conformity under a capitalist society (no, seriously).

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In short, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the directors of the first film (and most recently Into the Spider-Verse), know what the hell they’re doing. There have been a few Lego spin-offs in the meantime since 2014, but here we finally are with a sequel to the original The Lego Movie. This time around, Lord and Miller have producing credits, with director Mike Mitchell (Trolls) taking the reigns. But, rest assured, their under-99-layers-of-irony-but-still-as-genuine-as-can-be essence is still everywhere. The result is a sequel that is a lot less subtle about its meta-narratives and has fewer moving parts in its plot structure, but still understands everything that made the original great while excelling at being just as emotionally satisfying.

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VIDEO: Quiet Dramas We Love Vol. 1

January is a quiet month, so how about we use this time to highlight some lesser known, quiet dramas that we love? This is Vol. 1, as this is a great concept to revisit with some feedback when I return to it. Enjoy the relaxing, personal video set to Nicholas Britell’s amazing score from If Beale Street Could Talk!

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