The Lord of the Rings trilogy is old. How old? So old that we used to own VHS copies of all of the films. Also, it turns 20 this week. It’s been a while since I last sat down and watched any of films in the trilogy. I used to watch them all the time. Well, I used to repeatedly watch the scenes where Aragorn was a full-on hunk repeatedly. It probably didn’t do the videos any good, so I quickly upgraded to the DVDs. As tomorrow is the official anniversary of the release of The Fellowship of the Ring, I decided that it was a good time to go back to Middle Earth.
It’s probably quite odd to be reviewing another Marvel film this week considering how much I’ve been banging on about my MCU fatigue. It’s true. I can’t say that I was exactly rushing to watch Eternals but I also had to give it a go. After the reaction from the critics, I needed to see for myself. It’s been funny watching Disney market this film without many positive reviews from the usual places. It’s why so many of their trailers are filled with quotes by random Marvel fanboy bloggers. It just screams of desperation but Disney is doing whatever they could to make this film seem worth watching. But who was right? The professionals or the fans? I had to see for myself.
I can’t remember if I’ve ever read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. I never spent much of my time reading Middle English poetry. Although, I had an awareness of the story, so I might have briefly touched upon the subject. Now, normally, I don’t think it’s important to know the original text before you see an adaptation but I think this might be a bit different. After all, Middle English poetry isn’t something that many modern cinema audiences are necessarily ready for. Especially when the adaptation is potentially going to be mistaken for an epic fantasy action film. In the age of Game of Thrones, the idea of what fantasy is has become pretty specific and The Green Knight was sure to be that straightforward.
During all of the press surrounding Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson criticised the film in which she made her first MCU appearance. Johansson spoke out about the “hypersexualisation” of her character during the film. Of course, she didn’t have an awful lot to say about Joss Whedon’s decision to focus on her arse as much as possible during Avengers but never mind. It’s not like you can disagree with her. Everything about Nat’s first appearance in this franchise problematic when you look back. First and foremost, the way she looks. It’s her worst look by far and speaks to the male gaze that comes from the comic books. That awful red wig doesn’t really work and makes Johansson look much less beautiful than she really is. Yes, she’s still one of the best looking people on the planet so it’s all relative. Now with all of this talk of Iron Man 2, I decided it was time to go back and rewatch it.
Shrek is celebrating its 20th birthday in 2021 and, apparently, not everyone is happy about it. In the Guardian this week, Scott Tobias decided to write a diatribe against the animated film that has captured the attention of millennials and beyond. It’s hard to ignore the fact that the film has achieved cult status and is still a very strong component of meme culture. Yet, according to Tobias, it’s not worth it in the slightest. He seemingly has nothing good to say about it. So, we have to ask, how did everyone get it so wrong? Why is he the only one who can see the DreamWorks animation for what is really is? Or rather, we should be asking, what exactly happened to Scott that means he is so against fun? And what exactly was he expecting from a film about an Ogre that’s based on a fairly crude picture book?
When I review the first book in the Artemis Fowl series, I mentioned that wanted to read it before watching the film. It’s always tricky when it comes to book adaptations that you care about. Especially when you care about it for nostalgic reasons. You obviously want to it be as good as possible, but you also know that there will have to be changes. You can’t get everything into a film version without the runtime being uncomfortably long. Which is why I don’t normally reread books just before I watch a film. Otherwise, you’re too close to it to be objective. But with Artemis Fowl, it had been too long since I’d read the series for me to be happy to watch it. I needed to refamiliarise myself a little more first. But would it be my undoing? I was already going in with low expectations thanks to the criticism the film garnered. Would my recent reread cause even more problems? I had to find out.
It’s not very often that I watch a film adaptation after just reading the book, so I normally don’t get as good a sense of just how much is changed. I mean, yes, I have an idea but it’s never quite as vivid as it was this week. I watched The Remains of the Day the evening after I’d finished reading the book. That’s pretty damn fresh in my mind. As such, I was probably a little more annoyed by the changes made to the original story. Well, after you’ve read something as perfect as Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel, how can a film adaptation ever be as good? Still, I knew that I couldn’t let this get in the way too much. I don’t want to be one of those book fans who always pretend the book is massively better than the film.
Have we all seen the Cruella trailer? I have to admit that it’s better than I expected it to be. Although I really wasn’t expecting much. I definitely wasn’t overjoyed when Disney announced that they were giving one of their most heinous villains a solo feature. After all, you can’t exactly do a Maleficent to a woman whose sole mission was to kidnap and skin puppies. I don’t see how you can try and humanise something that like. Are they going to try and convince us that Cruella’s only sin is that she was overlooked in the fashion industry? That she was too daring? Or maybe she’ll have been bitten by a Dalmatian as a child and that’s why she’s so keen to turn them into clothing? What is more likely is that this will be a film similar to Joker which suggests it was merely an issue with mental health treatment that allowed Cruella to become the monster we know her to be. I wasn’t here for Todd Phillips’ nonsense so why would I want Craig Gillespie’s gender swapper version? Also, why is nobody talking about how irritating and bad Emma Stones’ British accent is? I love her but it does not work for this character. How did she get it so right in The Favourite but not here? Shocking.
2020 was a difficult year all around but August brought with it a big blow to the world of cinema when it was announced that Chadwick Boseman had died. The actor had been secretly battling cancer for years and, on August 28th 2020, he died at his home aged 43. I know, in the age of social media, there’s always a huge outpouring of grief when a famous person dies but this felt slightly different. Boseman was a magnificent actor and was a big part of Black representation in the film industry. He had played some key figures in Black history and, as Black Panther, had proudly brought diversity to the MCU. Losing him so young was a shock and so many people felt it. Boseman’s talent will never be forgotten and he has justly been awarded with posthumous nominations for his work n Da 5 Bloods and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. It’s a this time of year that I’d usually be trying to catch up on all of the films with all of the likely Oscar nominated films but I’m all out of sorts thanks to Covid. That wasn’t going to stop me watching this. I had high hopes for this film.
Back in 2018, you couldn’t go anywhere without people talking about this film. Okay, when I say anywhere” I actually mean social media but the fact remains. Not seeing this film when it came out did set me apart from popular opinion. So why didn’t I watch it? To be honest, I just had no interest. I’m not a fan of the whole romantic-comedy thing and this sounded like every other film about two star-crossed lovers. Of course, this one had the added benefit of giving some much needed Asian representation on film. Even though didn’t actually go as smoothly as it should have. Even when we take one step forwards there is always going to be someone who complains about something. As it’s coming up to Valentine’s Day, I decided that I really should watch something of this type and it’s been staring at me every time I search through Prime. It finally felt like the time to do it.