Wonder Woman Film Review

The last time a female superhero starred in a movie was 2005, and that was Elektra… Am I nervous? Yes… Am I excited to see Gal Gadot though? Hell yeah!

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Female superhero movies have not been kind to us. The last one, Jennifer Garner’s Elektra, was in 2005 and has been one of the worst Marvel movies ever. A year before that, we had Halle Berry’s Catwoman, which was one of the worst DC movies ever. So despite the announcement of a film about THE ultimate superheroine, I was hesitant.

Directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, the film centers around Diana (Gadot), princess of Themiscyra, a hidden island populated by Amazons and led by Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen). After saving American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) from crash landing, she gets exposed to the bloody reality of World War I. Thinking that Ares, the God of War, is behind all of this, Diana leads Trevor back to London and hunts Ares, whose death would stop all the hate and fear of the Great War…she believes.

Gal Gadot delivers as Princess Diana. Just one look at her and you’ll agree that she is truly a princess. Her portrayal in this film is much more naive and innocent compared to her previous portrayal. This is totally different from her firm and worn-out character in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Once the action starts, she reminds us how we liked every second of her in BvS. It is very obvious, however, that she still needs to train her acting skills. There were key emotional moments in the film which did not hit its mark because she can’t deliver the emotions.

The film is so different in style compared to the other three DCEU films. The humor is much more natural. It does not feel forced (Suicide Squad) or too out of place (BvS). Much of the humor is provided by Chris Pine and Lucy Davis, who portrays Trevor’s secretary Etta Candy. The shots are definitely more colorful than the other films. One look at Themiscyra and you will agree that it is indeed a Paradise Island.

I also love how they revealed Wonder Woman’s costume. They teased the costume multiple times, but when it was time to show it…BOOM! I was actually trying to reach out to Gal Gadot… It feels like the time I watched 2014 Godzilla.

The action pieces were also amazing to watch. There were three big action sequences and a few smaller ones scattered around the film. It felt raw, powerful, yet graceful at the same time. However, it has too much slow-mo. It came to the point that I was reminded of 2014 The Legend of Hercules, a movie with horrible and lazy use of slow-mo.

I also like the easter eggs and shoutout to past DC films/properties. My personal favorite was the 1978 Superman reference.

Though a lot of people I know (and reviews I read) does not like the last part where it centered on love (as a theme), I personally like it. In fact, I cried when Wonder Woman had a short speech on how love is the only cure for the problems of mankind. It is a heartwarming callback to creator William Moulton Marston’s original idea for the character. After playing a lot of Injustice and Injustice 2, it is such a pleasure to see a loving Diana again.

However, much like the three DCEU films that preceded it, this film still has a problem regarding pacing. If the MCU has a problem with its villains and, as of late, overuse of its humor, DCEU seems to have a problem with its pacing. I understand it is an origin story, but some scenes could have been cut short (not removed, to be clear). The film could have been 20 minutes shorter.

Also, though I said it was an MCU problem, the antagonists of the film is too underdeveloped. Screen time is at a low for the bad guys. Thus, it gave us little to nothing to understand their motivation. We simply know that they are…evil.

SPOILER ALERT

Lastly, I do now know if it was a coincidence or purposefully done, but a blonde soldier named Steve riding a dangerous plane that could destroy a city/country and sacrificing himself in the process sounds too Captain America: The First Avenger to me.

Wonder Woman is a film that exceeded expectations. It brought the DCEU back to its knees. Though it still has the ever-present pacing issues, this film is truly the best DCEU film so far. Justice League has a lot to live up to…because Wonder Woman is indeed…

GREAT GOOD BAD UGLY

Beauty and the Beast Film Review

Disney continues to pull the “Let’s Make It Live-Action” lever…

This time, it’s one of the films of the Disney Renaissance in the 90s.

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After Alice in WonderlandCinderella, Maleficent, and The Jungle Book, Disney hires director Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Dreamgirls, and …strangely… the last two Twilight movies) to helm the live-action remake of the 1991 classic Beauty and the Beast. With an ensemble featuring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in starring roles and Luke Evans, Ewan McGregor, Josh Gad, Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson, and Ian McKellen in supporting roles, the 2017 version has a lot to live up to from its 1991 older brother.

The film follows 90% of the 1991 film. Honestly, I won’t tell it anymore because the story is such a classic.

One of the things I like about the film is that it added/fixed some plot questions/blunders/scenes from the original 1991 version. How come the villagers have no idea of their former rulers? Why are the pieces of furniture still friendly to Beast? LeFou’s character development is a welcome addition. Whether or not his sexuality affected his character arc/film itself is not important (at least for me). Also, the addition of his line in The Mob Song just made both LeFou and the song better.

Of course, Emma Watson and Dan Stevens gave their all. Emma Watson is truly a beauty in this film (you know… Belle), and Dan Stevens managed to give us a voice that is almost similar to the 1991 version (credits to the post-production team too). The chemistry between the two is very evident. The tandem of Lumiere and Cogsworth (Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen, respectively) feels so natural.

The songs were phenomenal as well. As I said, this remake will be heavily compared to its 1991 version, which won multiple awards (ie. songs and score). New lines were added; new songs were introduced. All of it went seamlessly, and we are lucky to listen.

I have three issues with the film though. First, there are some scenes which the green screen is VERY obvious. It takes away the magic of the moment. Second, the character of Agathe the Enchantress (Hattioe Morahan) is really unnecessary. I mean, obviously the first scene is important, but the rest of her scenes can be removed and it would not affect the plot at all. Lastly, the fight between Gaston (Luke Evans) and Beast was better in the 1991 version. The 2017 fight was too short and did not feel personal at all. In the 1991 version, you feel Gaston digesting every moment he bludgeons Beast. 2017 Gaston using a gun doesn’t work for me. When you saw 1991 Gaston stab Beast deeply, you truly feel his obsession.

Beauty and the Beast captured the essence of the 1991 original. It has great performances from all of the cast, but it is simply a live-adaptation remake of a 1991 animated film that is debatably better. So… this film is…

GREAT GOOD BAD UGLY