Also, I guess I should confess that the new block editor for WordPress isn’t that terrible. I think last time I either got sent to some incomplete version of the editor OR I just was not in the headspace to deal with the change. Or a combo platter. Either one. The point is that it’s not that bad now. Is that because I am very enamored of the star rating block? Maybe. But also I have written/drafted my last few posts with the new blocks and haven’t wanted to throw my computer across the room, so.
But you’re here for the movies! So let’s get into them.
The Old Guard (Netflix)
This movie was basically perfect except I found some of the violence a little too gruesome. Which, listen, I knew from the opening scene it would be but also I still had turn my head at certain points. Also, there is one kill move at the end of the movie that still makes me shudder. So there is that.
Charlize Theron is perfect, but we already knew that, right?
Kiki Layne was also a delight. Plus, I was completely hooked from the first scene. I really liked the message about doing good and its impact–even if you yourself can’t see that impact. So, thank you to everyone who said they watched and loved this movie. I probably wouldn’t have watched it otherwise.
Work It (Netflix)
This movie perfect. Everything about it is perfect. It opens with a dance routine, there’s a dance-off in the school courtyard, and then there is more dancing. Did I mention there’s a lot of dancing? So much dancing! Dancing boys, dancing girls, and I don’t think I once got annoyed by cutaways during the dance routines. Perfect!
I also really liked all the characters, even the tertiary characters. It is probably no surprise that Priya is my favorite of that group, not just because of her amazing hair but also because she is about that phone life and it’s a great running gag throughout. Also Michelle Buteau is quickly becoming a fave. I may or may not have squealed when she showed up on screen is all I’m saying. Also that Jordan Fisher is a real cutie, huh?
Anyway, this is all about best friends and dancing and kissing and it also made me smile the whole way through, and isn’t that all that I want right now?
Okay, there is a story here of how I came to see Mulan before December. Basically, my best friend–WHO NEVER WATCHES MOVIES–posted a tweet saying that the movie gave her all the feels. My daughter was mid-story, and I immediately picked up the phone to call said best friend. My daughter looked at me and said, “I’m talking to you.” And I, being the completely sane person I am, sincerely and seriously said, “It’s a pop culture emergency.”
My friend did not answer, so I told my daughter to continue with her story after apologizing for being so rude. Then, I called my friend back and she said that because I called her right after the tweet posted, she knew that’s why I was calling. In fact, she busted out laughing when I greeted her by saying, “What do you mean Mulan gave you all the feels?”
Long story short, we guilted her into giving us her Disney+ login so we could watch the movie.
I liked the movie, in general. It is very different from the animated movie but also has a lot of nods to that movie, which makes the differences both acceptable and glaringly obvious (so…sometimes unacceptable if you’re my daughter). There are no songs, though the lyrics are often woven into the dialogue. The movie tries to be both a retelling of the original ballad/folk tale and the animated movie, and I kind of wish it hadn’t tried to do the latter. I haven’t seen any of the other live action updates of Disney cartoons, which means I have no basis for comparison there, so I don’t know if that’s a popular reaction.
The movie is gorgeous. I mean, it is so beautifully shot and all of the scenery is amazing. And Mulan’s hair! I am in love with it! It is amazing.
I was fine with most of the changes, honestly. My biggest issue with the movie wasn’t actually that it tried to live action the animation, but that they made Mulan have magic. My favorite (FAVORITE) thing about the animated movie is that Mulan is super smart and clever, and she’s able to be the bravest and best soldier because she trains with the army and also just thinks fast on her feet. Period. In the live action version, she has chi, which is a kind of magic, that brands her as a witch. (Not a spoiler: this is established in the opening scenes.) And I mean, that’s fine, and they do some stuff with outcasts and double standards with that, but also, the coolest thing about animated Mulan is that she’s just a badass, period. I didn’t need her to have magic to be so! The whole point of “Be a Man” is the irony that she’s a better man than all the men, and she didn’t need to do anything but be her super smart and determined self to do that, but the live action movie undoes all of that. This is a personal tiff, obviously, so YMMV.
Also, there are a lot of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon type stunts, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Just as a reminder: lots of women historically joined armies disguised as men so they could fight. Shameless plug: I wrote a book review of I’ll Pass for Your Comrade by Anita Silvey that gets into some of the history of that in the United States.
And that’s it. Have a good week, everyone. Stay safe out there.