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.
When I first head about this film I thought it sounded shit. That’s mostly because a friend of mine described it to me and he didn’t do a very good job. It didn’t help that I just associated Will Smith with bad films thanks to the likes of Hitch. So, I didn’t want to watch it. Cut to a few years later and another friend telling me to watch it. This time, I trusted his opinion and gave it a shot. I didn’t hate it but I can’t pretend that it’s a film I’ve thought a lot about since. Until it appeared on my Netflix home screen the other day. Then I got the sudden urge to watch it again. As it’s been a while since my last TBT, I decided it was worth going back to it. Maybe it would make more of an impression this time?
Just like my last TBT film review, this film has found a new lease of life in recent years. There’s something about the internet generation and supposedly underdog films. I never watched this when it was released because I was pretty beyond my Disney phase in 2001. I mean, yes, I still loved the classics of my childhood but would I actively go and see the new releases? Hell no! I was a super mature 13-year-old at that point. I wouldn’t be seen dead at a Disney film. Well, maybe I’d ironically go and watch Monsters Inc with my friend for someone’s birthday and pretend that I didn’t secretly love it. But The Emperor’s New Groove was released during that era of Disney when I wasn’t watching any animated films from the studio. So, why not finally watch 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?
This week was the first time in ages that I watched one of the original Star Wars films. It’s not something that I’ve done purposefully but because I have so many other options now. Between all of the streaming services that I’m subscribed to and my own film collection, I just have too much choice. So much choice that I rarely go back to beloved classics. I’ve probably seen the prequels more often than any of the other films in the franchise. Not because I prefer them (although, I do think they have their positive points) but because they don’t demand my attention. Watching one of the original trilogy should be an event. You should be watching it and not doing anything else. These days, I’m rarely able to just sit and watch a film. I’m either writing, taking photos or just distracted by something. Not this time. When I turned on A New Hope on Star Wars day, I was determined to watch this as it deserved.
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been listening to the soundtrack of this film non-stop. I don’t know why I started listening to it. Especially considering that I’d never seen the film until this week. It was recommended to me on YouTube, which potentially shows you how much Disney I’ve been listening to lately. I guess it makes me feel better about how awful the world it right now. After months of ignoring it, I couldn’t resist the lure of the Rock singing a Lin-Manuel Miranda song anymore. Turns out, the soundtrack is absolutely amazing. It was only fair that I actually watch the whole film. At least I knew that if the story was bad that I’d have the songs to fall back on.
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.
I know we’re meant to be complaining about the fact that Hollywood is obsessed with remakes, reboots, and sequels these days. However, I can’t help but be a little bit excited about the new Mighty Ducks series that’s starting on Disney+ tomorrow. For one thing, I’ve always had a soft spot for Emilio Estevez. He’s one of my favourite members of the Brat Pack. I can’t help it; I love him. For another, I bloody love The Mighty Ducks franchise. Yes, the third one is awful in comparison to the rest but there’s still some fun to be had. As a trilogy, it’s brilliant viewing. To prepare myself for the new episodes, I decided that I had to go back to where it all started.
A friend of mine is convinced that Nicolas Cage has 5 truly good films. This is something that she’s maintained for years. The only problem is, she can’t actually remember what all of the 5 films are. There’s Kick Ass obviously and Face/Off. I think she also approved of Lord of War but, after that, things get pretty shaky. I’m pretty sure that National Treasure was one of them but that might just be something I’m choosing to believe. I also feel as though I should point out that her definition of good doesn’t necessarily mean top quality. I think it just means fun to watch. That’s the joy of a Nick Cage film. You don’t go in expecting to be wowed but you at least want to be entertained. You need him to be at just the right level of Cageism so he’s funny without being irritating. National Treasure offers perfect level Cage.
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.