MALEFICENT (Robert Stromberg, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Maleficent:

1. I’m done with these reimaginings of classic fairy tales because none of them were actually good. Red Riding Hood, Snow White and the Huntsman, Jack the Giant Slayer, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Stop ruining my childhood!

2. Let’s get this out of the way, Angelina Jolie was magnificent. My favorite scene had to be the one where she was staring at the beastie, er, baby from outside the window and she was vicious and gnarling and full of disdain. If only she were given an hour and a half to do that, I bet the movie would have been more interesting.

3. I’m all for female empowerment but did they really have to make the men here look evil and worthless? The king played by Sharlto Copley acted like a creature from District 9. Prince Charming on the other hand looked more like a messenger sent by the actual Prince Charming.

4. Who wants a villain slash hero? Who are we kidding here? We all paid to see a vicious Jolie and we ended up with a neutered version. (Besides, Rubi beat her to it.)

5. Bella Flores, Paquito Diaz, Cherie Gil. Just the thought of these people gives me the creeps. Sadly, this movie was like watching a really nice Gladys Reyes helping Judy Ann Santos do the laundry instead of throwing that damn labada at her and slamming her face in a big palanggana of soapy water. Now where’s the fun in that?

6. It had to be said: Frozen did it (first) better.

7. Those fairies were too corny and annoying. And what happened to their names of Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather? I love Imelda Staunton but she was way better as Dolores Umbridge. Ooh, and watch Vera Drake.

8. Maleficent could heal herself, make things float, summon wild creatures, transmogrify humans and animals, and yet couldn’t grow a new pair of wings?

9. Wait, so Maleficent killed Aurora’s father (whom she barely met) and everything was right in the world?

10. So in this feminist version, the movie still ended with Aurora in the arms of Prince Charming and Maleficent with her male aide?

Argh!!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published June 4, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: INTO THE WOODS (Rob Marshall, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Into the Woods:

1. A lot of the people in the theater complained that the characters did nothing but sing. It was a musical, for crying out loud! I heard the exact same thing about Les Miserables. No wonder 1dol flopped on local TV.

2. I had grown tired of these reimagining and modernization of classic fairy tales (Maleficent, Jack the Giant Slayer, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters; although I had to say I was excited to watch the new live-action Cinderella).

Happy to see the Babel-like take of the stories here. The movie was actually clever until it turned really serious in its final act. Why couldn’t it have ended with the requisite happily ever after?

3. I absolutely loved the prologue song but the rest were not so memorable. Sure, I enjoyed the diva showdown between the two Princes but I usually leave the theater humming a tune from the musical and it didn’t happen here.

4. Momma Meryl was fine as always but my favorites were the bratty Little Red Riding Hood and the wonderful singing of Emily Blunt. Miranda and Emily would be so proud.

5. Was I the only one bothered by the dark undertones of pedophilia whenever Little Red Riding Hood was surrounded by the grown-ups? First, she was stalked by the Big Bad Wolf, an obvious child predator, and then she was forced to remove her cape by the Baker. Was it just my perverted mind?

6. I knew that the real fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen were really dark to begin with, but I was still surprised this was rated General Patronage. Women got their toes sawed off, several characters were killed, a couple had an adulterous tryst. Uhh, why was this considered suitable for children?

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published February 4, 2015.)