My interest in this is mild. On one hand, Beauty and the Beast is kind of my favorite, I like Emma Watson quite a bit, and some of the cinematography looks lovely. On the other hand, I’m having a bit of a hard time taking the Beast seriously, and despite a couple of interesting changes (Belle is going to be the inventor of the family? Excellent), this remake is looking a little too shot-for-shot for me, like, I could go watch this in theater or I could just stay home and watch the animated movie again for free.
Not that I actually have this choice, mind you. Mekaela has already informed me that I’ll be going to see this movie whether I like it or not, so, fine. I’ll go. But I’ll be chewing on my Milk Duds in a sulky manner and silently snarking about Beast’s stupid face the whole time! (Until we get to the library scene, of course, which is when I will promptly melt, because let’s not even lie about that.)
Ghost in the Shell
So. The look of this movie is fantastic. I know extremely little about the manga and anime upon which it’s based, but watching this trailer, my inner SF/F nerd instantly started buzzing. The world looks fascinating and original and heavy influenced with Asian design . . . except for all the white people. Yeah, the white people are pretty noticeable.
I knew about the controversy surrounding Scarlett Johansson’s casting prior to watching this–I mean, of course I did, I’m not dead–but when I watched the trailer in full, I couldn’t help but notice that nearly every role who had dialogue or otherwise seemed important went to a white person, while the Asian actors in the film mostly seem to be around to shoot things or get shot. And that’s just kind of shitty even when you haven’t adapted a Japanese story into a Hollywood film where you’ve kept the setting but not the people. That’s just kind of crap.
Look, unless I hear it’s awful, I’m probably going to watch this. I don’t want to pretend I’ll do otherwise, because problematic or not, the movie looks really interesting to me. But there’s no reason that this movie wouldn’t have also looked interesting with, say, Ellen Wong as Major and Tamlyn Tomita as the presumably nefarious mentor doctor lady. Hollywood could and should have done better.
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
This looks cute. I never read the books or saw the Jim Carrey movie, but I might check this show out at some point: it looks whimsical enough, and there’s quite the cast (some of whom are presumably guest stars). Other than Neil Patrick Harris and Malina Weissman (AKA Young Supergirl), we have Alfre Woodard, Joan Cusack, Patrick Warburton, Aasif Mandvi, and even Mr. Trick/That Guy From Grosse Point Blank! (IMDb tells me his name is K. Todd Freeman. Someday, I will know the name of every That Guy.)
I’m not desperate to see this or anything, like, there are no grabby hands here, but it might be some decent light-hearted humor on a bleak day. (Well. Light-hearted might not be the best word, after all: “Perished means killed.” HA! That right there is what won me over, like, ten seconds into the trailer.)
Before I Fall
This is sort of interesting. It’s like Groundhog Day, but instead of an arrogant city jerk learning that kindness is key and small towns are great, it’s a teenage girl learning that being mean to unpopular kids is a total dick move, and also, pay attention when you’re on the road because getting into a collision with a truck is probably going to ruin your whole day.
Honestly, this trailer looks a wee bit melodramatic for my tastes, but I generally enjoy Groundhog Day stories (more than I like the actual movie itself, honestly, heathen, that I am) and the idea of applying that concept to different genres appeals to me. But I’m not sure I’m expecting much from this. I’m also not quite clear why our young leading lady can’t change her fate; I know it’s common in destiny stories to always end up at the spot you were trying to avoid all along, but that’s not usually a Groundhog Day thing, is it? It’s not where you end that usually repeats, after all, but how you begin; that’s kind of the whole point.
Maybe just adamantly refuse to get into a car for the entire day, like, not for any reason? See how that works out for you?
The Edge of Seventeen
As far as YA movies go, I’m actually much more hopeful about this one, even though there are no speculative elements, and you all know that I prefer my stories with either murder or speculative elements, preferably both. But this looks entertaining: grounded, funny, not too sappy. I like that it’s rated-R, actually; for most kids, high school isn’t PG-13, after all. And I haven’t seen Hailee Steinfeld in anything since True Grit, which she was excellent in.
It’s not a theater movie for me, but I could see it as a rental. So Mek, fair warning: this might be your payback.
And finally . . . Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Look, I have no idea what this movie’s actually about, but this is like Luc Besson times a thousand. This is The Fifth Element met Star Wars and had a baby while listening to the Beatles, and I don’t know if it’s going to be good or not, but I’m definitely in. (I’m almost feeling generous enough to forgive that ludicrous boob armor. I mean, come on guys. You get points for using “Because” but still. This is ridiculous. This article has been around for years. You should know better by now.)
Slowly–impossibly slowly–I’ve been working on a Stranger Things review. I will complete and post this review someday, almost certainly before my 80th birthday, I swear, but for now I’m putting it on hold so I can write this list instead.
So, gender-flipped remakes. Whenever these come up in conversation, I always feel like I can’t properly articulate why I’m so interested in seeing them–but I do think they have value. And before you ask, I still haven’t seen the new Ghostbusters yet, much to my annoyance. It’s been a busy couple months, and at this point I’ve mostly resigned myself to the fact that I’ll have to wait for the rental . . . which sucks, not because I’m sure I’ll like it–I was lukewarm about the trailer–but because I really hoped the movie would succeed at the box office, and I feel bad for not buying a ticket. Ghostbusters’ failure to make money is a victory for the wrong kind of people, the kind who have been actively campaigning for it to fail since it was first announced because, wah, their precious childhoods are being tainted by women–and don’t tell me it’s not about the women. Most remakes, you hear the news, you bitch on Twitter about Hollywood’s refusal to make anything new, and then you move on about your day like grown ass adults. That’s hell and gone from what happened here.
It’s also a victory for the people who will argue that “See! No one wants to see a female-led cast or women in SF movies!” Not to mention the racist dickbags who have been harassing Leslie Jones and doing their level best to display the worst aspects of humanity–Ghostbusters’ failure has even been used as evidence that this atrocious behavior is somehow okay. And don’t get me wrong: it is totally and absolutely valid if you saw the movie and didn’t like it, or just aren’t interested in checking it out–but those misogynists frothing at the mouth the second it was announced? I am exhausted of listening to their bullshit, and Lord knows they won’t be shutting up anytime soon.
All right, that got away from me a bit. Back on track! One of the reasons I’d like to see more genderbent remakes is just the glorious change-up in ratio of male to female characters. Women usually only outnumber men in romantic comedies, romantic dramas, and–interestingly enough–slasher flicks. In fantasy, western, SF, noir, action, crime, war, and various other genres, though, men easily outnumber women–and boy do people complain if ladies outnumber dudes in those genres, because that means it’s a stunt, it’s appeasing the PC Police, made for feminazis, blah blah garbage garbage. Of course that’s patently ridiculous if you think about it: sure, you’re used to seeing movies with 9 men and 1 woman, but is that actually indicative of your life experience? Do you really know 9 men for every 1 woman in your life? No? Then please stop acting like reversing the gender ratio is some completely ridiculous thing that could never, ever be possible. You’re just not used to it, and that’s okay. None of us are used to it.
You wanna know how to get used to it? By watching so many movies with all or mostly female casts that it’s just not a big deal anymore. You could, of course, make original movies that aren’t remakes; in fact, I’d love to see those too. But let’s not pretend that getting those movies is somehow easy; otherwise we’d already have them. Besides, revisiting old worlds/stories with gender-swapped characters could actually be pretty powerful.
With that all in mind, here’s a list of some gender-swapped remakes that I think could be exciting to watch.
Many years ago, I watched the original Red Dawn. I know I did. I actually remember sitting down to watch it. And yet . . . and yet it’s like the entire experience was wiped from my mind, like something traumatic happened that my brain overwrote to protect itself. Aliens, I don’t know. The point is, it’s all gone.
At some point, I may revisit that past trauma. In the meantime, I decided to just watch the remake instead.
This probably doesn’t come as a shock, I’m sure, but it’s not very good.
I remember when Zombieland first came out, people were calling it America’s answer to Shaun of the Dead . . . as if Shaun of the Dead had been some kind of challenge, a war cry from England screaming, “Beat that, fuckers!” You see this kind of thing all the time in advertising, though, even in TV — if BBC America promos are to be believed, The Hour isn’t just England’s Mad Men; it’s BETTER.
So how does the Australian Red Dawn fare?
Well, truth is, I barely remember the original Red Dawn at all, although I’ve never been under the impression that it (or its recently released remake) is anything but a big pile of cheese. However, I’d be surprised if Tomorrow, When the War Began can claim to being much better.
Ever since watching the latest trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, I’ve been ridiculously ready to see this movie in theaters . . . and since I can’t actually do that until July, this has translated into me rewatching favorite scenes from the last six films, reading exceptionally bad Harry Potter fanfiction, and checking out December Boys, an Australian coming-of-age movie starring Daniel Radcliffe. I was curious about seeing Radcliffe in something besides Harry Potter, and let’s face it: I’m a sucker for a good coming-of-age story.
Unfortunately, this one has some serious, serious flaws.