Descendants 3

Taken from the Descendants 3 Wiki Page

Since this film is still new, I will be putting a major spoiler warning here so anyone who hasn’t seen the film knows that the plot is explained and an opinion is given.

This film was definitely my favorite of the franchise because it has the most amount of songs that I genuinely listen to on a daily basis. The characters have grown so much in a matter of a year, that you end up watching them venture into adulthood in their own ways. Evie now has a ‘starter castle’ that she runs her clothing business, Mal is going to be Queen of Auradon now that Ben has proposed, Jay is going to do a gap year and explore the world and Carlos wants to become a vet.

Endings are always bittersweet, and I never deal with them well. This is probably something I will have to work on at some point, but for right now, they suck and make me sad. Audrey is the big bad in this one, she comes back to Auradon hoping to win Ben back only to be face to face with his proposal to Mal. Overcome with hurt, jealousy and straight up rage, Audrey steals the crown and Maleficent’s scepter and seeks her revenge on not just Mal and Ben but the whole of Auradon.

We are introduced to Mal’s father; Hades. Yes, as in Hercules’ big foe. He and Mal have an epic song that is tied with ‘Darkness Falls’ as my favorite for this final installment. What else do we get in this movie? Uma and her pirates working with Mal and her friends, their epic song being the already mentioned ‘Darkness Falls’ where they must work together to defeat Knights. They settled their differences, only to find out Mal was lying but I won’t dive into that too much because I don’t want to just regurgitate the plot synopsis. By the end of the film, Mal announces that she wants to break the barrier down forever and Ben ultimately agrees and there is a massive final song where the entire cast dances together.

I’d like to point out though, that the parents of our four friends didn’t show up, which really made me feel for the kids because at the end of the day, they were still their parents. Carlos obviously thought his mom would show up because he was speaking to Jane and Dude about how he was going to tell his mom he wanted to be a vet.

I really enjoyed this film, and it left us knowing that our beloved characters would be okay. They would continue working together and dealing with whatever obstacles come about. I feel it’s only right to mention how sad I felt during both viewings whenever Carlos, played by Cameron Boyce, came onto the screen. There’s a vibrancy that was always present whenever he was on the screen. He will be dearly missed, but I found solace knowing that he had always done what he loved to do, and him having one of the final lines in the film felt really fitting.

I think a part of me will always be holding onto hope that this franchise will continue, but I know that it ended where the writers wanted it to. They ended on their terms and didn’t draw out their story until we as the fans didn’t like it anymore. I can respect and admire that.

What did you guys think of the conclusion? Was there anything you wished could happen but didn’t?

The Lion King (2019)

Theatrical release poster

I want to make one thing very clear from the jump. I love The Lion King, it holds a very special place in my heart and I’ve seen every movie from the original franchise. So when the live-action movie was announced, I was very excited. As more cast members were announced, the excitement grew. In the actual movie theater watching the movie, I was still enjoying the film as a whole. Unlike my other reviews, I will not be going over the plot since the live-action was the exact same as the original. This will purely be my opinion of the film.

Realistic CGI is great but it seems to be very situational. When I am watching a movie about animals that sing songs, I do not think this is the correct place for all the animals to look incredibly realistic. It makes it hard to suspend my disbelief. The songs were still great, I still sang along with them but if I had to choose between the original and this remake; the original would win every day. I don’t think the audience intended to walk into the movie theater for The Lion King and watch what could pass off as a national geographic version. Despite this, I do think the movie was incredibly well done. I am not ignorant to the amount of work and skill it takes to make CGI look that well produced, but I do believe there is a time and place for it.

And despite knowing Mufasa was going to die, I still cried. It’s just such a sad scene no matter how old you are; little Simba finding his dad’s body and just laying down with him because he has no idea what else to do. It’s heartbreaking.

I believe that as a whole, the movie was really phenomenal in terms of production value. However, as an avid Disney cartoon fan, it did not leave me wanting more. I’ve seen some really well done fan-made alternatives to how the animation could have been done that would have left the characters very cartoonish, and I do think I would have preferred it that way.

What did you guys think of it though? Do you agree or disagree with my opinion? Let me know.

Descendants 2

Photo taken from the Descendants 2 Wiki Page

If you liked the first movie chances are you loved the second movie even more. With the first being used to set the foundation of the storyline, show that the core four aren’t like their parents and instead chose to be good. Set 6 months after the ending of the first movie, Mal is shown to be losing her mind just a little under all the pressure she has placed upon herself to be the perfect lady of the court. After a fight with Ben when he finds out she’s been using magic this whole time, she returns to the Isle where he inevitably follows her with the help of Evie, Carlos and Jay. On the Isle, they end up colliding with Uma and her pirates with Mal’s group winning in the end. At the end, we see Ben who has been spelled by Uma with the only solution being true love’s kiss (because it wouldn’t be a Disney fairy tale otherwise) and Uma turns into a giant squid where the only reasonable decision was for Mal to turn into a giant dragon. Ben dives into the water and tries to find a better way, and after one long look, Uma leaves and swims in the opposite direction.

So I just threw a lot of information at you, let me break it down for you. Uma, who is Ursula’s daughter, has bad blood with Mal that goes back to when they were children and Mal apparently denied Uma the chance to join their crew. Holding a grudge, she creates her own crew comprised of Harry Hook as her right hand mate, with another notable name being Gil; Gaston’s son. In this movie we get “It’s Going Down” which is probably my favorite song from this one, with the choreography being really cool to watch. The two sides are fighting because Uma’s group kidnapped Ben in exchange for the magic wand. Ben, being ever the optimistic, tries to get the two girls to reach a middle ground but that fails and they end up having a sword fight with Mal’s group managing to gain the upper-hand and escape back to Auradon. Only to find out that Mal left her spell book and Uma found it and snuck onto the ship and managed to spell Ben so he thought he was in love with Uma and not Mal.

If you want to know more of the details, you should really go watch the movie because it’s a fun fast-paced adventure that shows how much the characters have grown in just a few months. I do believe that the sequels are better than the first one because you can tell that the actors really found their footing with the characters. The movies begin to age up just enough for them to be great films for kids and young adults alike. Something I did notice however is that we don’t see any of the villain parents in this one despite the ample amount of time spent back on the Isle. It really makes you believe that the parents were never truly connected to their kids, even though at the end of the first movie we see them watching the fireworks after the coronation with seemingly proud expressions on their face.

I think we get a lot more songs that I enjoyed in this one, probably because the songs start becoming more than just catchy tunes for kids. By this point I’ve seen this movie twice and I still found myself completely enraptured by the world, and it never turned into something that was just on in the background while I did something else. That’s a really big point for me, because I’ve even been listening to the songs while doing other things.

What did you guys think of the second installment? What were you wishing for but didn’t see? What were you hoping to see in the third? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you guys.

Murder Mystery (2019)

Murder Mystery, a mystery-comedy that debuted on Netflix on June 14th broke viewing records for the platform over it’s opening weekend.

It’s no secret that Adam Sandler’s production company Happy Madison hasn’t had the best of luck in recent years. The last movie I watched prior to Murder Mystery was Pixels which came out in 2015. I hadn’t even planned on watching it, I was at the movie theater to watch Paper Towns but I didn’t make it in time and had to go with a different movie. I still haven’t watched Paper Towns.

Here comes the tricky part. I won’t be doing a plot synopsis because that would be counterproductive to the whole point of the movie being a mystery. It all boils down to Nick and Audrey Spitz, a married couple who have been together for fifteen years. Upon their honeymoon, Nick promises to take Audrey to Europe. When she calls him out on it on their 15th anniversary, he lies and says it had been his plan all along and she ruined the surprise. They get swept up in well, a murder mystery. If you like the movie Clue (1985) then you’d like the mystery aspects of it all. There are undoubtedly very cheesy moments, which has become the calling card for Adam Sandler movies.

I was surprised to see Gemma Arterton in this film, playing Grace Ballard, an actress. The last film I remember seeing Arterton in it was Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. Which, by the way, is another film that I find really entertaining. I’m not a hard person to please when it comes to movies unless they are based on books that I love.

All in all though, it was interesting and lighthearted. It wasn’t a movie that someone should take too seriously.

Aladdin (2019)

I went to see the new Aladdin movie last Friday with my mom and here’s what I thought about it.

When it was announced that Disney would be putting together a live-action remake of the 1992 animated favorite, I got very excited. I have thus far really enjoyed the remakes that have come out.

Thoughts on the Genie

When Will Smith was announced as the new Genie I didn’t feel the same doubt that many others did. I’ve always liked what Smith brings to the table in terms of the roles he has had in the past. Yes, his portrayal was different. But it was a good one. He walked into a role that he was bound to get backlash for because Robin Williams, may he rest in peace, did a great job embodying the genie in his performance. I didn’t really see a way for Smith to take this role and do right by everyone watching, because he would have two options laid out before him. The first being to not stray from the original material and risk being called unoriginal and the second being to stray too far from the original material and risk being called disrespectful. I think he walked the line between these two options really well and I ended up thoroughly enjoying his performance. By bringing hip-hop elements to the film, he was able to stay authentic to who he is, but also paying homage to the role he stepped into.

Aladdin (1992) vs. Aladdin (2019)

In this portion, I am going to just be breaking down differences and similarities that I noticed. By no means am I saying I was able to recognize everything, but some things did stick out.

  • The scene where Jasmine wears the red outfit in the original movie was changed, so she isn’t seducing Jafar but instead pretending that she is going through with marriage. I’m actually really glad this scene was changed because the older I get, the more uncomfortable I am with the original.
  • We do not get a giant snake (which would have been epic) but rather a giant parrot.
  • When Aladdin and Jasmine originally meet, that chase scene still happens but in this new one he doesn’t find out she’s the princess until later on when he goes into the castle to return her bracelet.
  • The genie ends up with Jasmine’s handmaiden Dalia, and he becomes human in the end. In the original, I’m pretty sure he keeps his powers.
  • This one had a new song titled “Speechless” that blew me away and I loved it a lot.
  • We get more of a motive from Jafar, he isn’t just some villain for the sake of being a villain but rather is shown to be power hungry.

I really enjoyed the movie and plan on watching it again at some point and it has only made me more excited for the next live-action remake, which happens to be The Lion King.

Avengers: Endgame

I have a lot of feeling buts I don’t know how to coherently voice them. I’ve been playing with these thoughts in my head for the past two weeks, but I don’t know how to write a post and tie a nice pretty bow around the whole thing.

What I Loved:

  • That scene where those who were previously dead, join Steve as he was about to face down Thanos and his army; knowingly outnumbered. The scene was visually stunning and on top of that, it was a morale boost that the audience desperately needed at this point. I was ready to lose Captain America in that moment but then he was joined and he was able to say “Avengers Assemble.”
  • Sam becomes Captain America after Steve goes back in time and decides to live his life with Peggy.
  • Peter Parker! His interactions are always some of my favorites. But that scene where he has to say goodbye to Tony broke a little piece of me. I believe Tom Holland’s acting as Spiderman is so good, and he does such a great job at embodying all the different aspects of this character.
  • Captain Marvel was also great, though I wish her part was longer throughout the movie but I understand now that Brie Larson had very little knowledge of her own character at this point. But the GIRL SQUAD? Amazing. Loved every moment.

Things to Note:

  • Thor’s weight gain was a running joke throughout the movie and most fans have spoken up about their reactions. My opinion, his character development was realistic. This is a man who has lost practically everything over the course of just a few movies and the amount of loss he had to deal with, just kept growing. It was inevitably going to effect him, feeling as though the death toll was his burden to carry.
  • I’m still not sure how I feel about Black Widow dying. It’s all well and good that she died for a good cause, but why was she the one chosen to die this way? And last I checked, aren’t we getting an origin story for her?

Okay so this ramble was a bit all over the place, but that’s basically how my emotions still are with this movie. On that note, I’m actually going to go see it again this week with a best friend of mine. Possibly with less emotional eyes. Now that I am home from my vacation, I am going to be catching up with Jane the Virgin and finishing up with Pretty Little Liars.

Captain Marvel Ramble Fest

I waited a lot longer than I was originally intending to before writing this. I want to say that it is because I chose to wait until I was sure everyone who would read this had already seen it to avoid spoiling the experience. But the honest truth is that I have papers due in a couple of weeks, a few exams in the weeks leading up to that only to end up with finals after the papers. So I’ve been overwhelmed and haven’t focused on this.

All that aside, the movie was marvelous. (C’mon, I cannot be the first to say this but I couldn’t skip the opportunity. I love me a good play on words.) By starting us off where she’s already in the Kree civilization, believing to be one of them, we are then in the perfect position to be caught off guard and just as confused as she is, when we see her nightmares that look suspiciously a lot like earth. She’s named Vers on Kree, and she’s part of Starforce. She seems to be the one that they cannot control, and that makes sense because she is being shackled by an implant, unable to use her powers to their full potential while also having been stripped of her memories from her time on Earth.

I’m not going to give you a play-by-play, just go watch the movie it’s great. I’ve seen some opinions that the movie was too political for it’s own good and that made people upset. I know that politics are a really divisive topic throughout society right now, with a lot of polarizing opinions but I think; whether we agree with the opinions or not, media has always been used spread political statements. Marvel has always done this, since the very first Iron Man, where Stark is unknowingly supplying the bad guys with ammunition and weapons and he finds himself needing to get back home, by any means necessary. We know his origin story. Marvel has never shied away from making big political statements, because they feel that what they are saying is important.

The next movie that is coming out is Avengers: Endgame. Honestly, I’m terrified. I’ll be in Virginia visiting my older sister when it comes out, so I’ll probably only be able to see it the following friday. I want to watch all of them in order at some point soon but that’ll most likely happen after I watch Endgame because I won’t be able to wait.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

This movie was seriously cute, beyond cute even. It was the kind of movie that one can just really sit back and enjoy it because it is genuinely fun to watch. The plot is one that has been around for so long; people fake a relationship that ends up being real when they inevitably fall in love with one another. The plot isn’t new, it’s one we have seen often however, what sets this movie apart is the fact that they do not run from the cliche tropes. In fact, the movie embraces the tropes and uses them beautifully.

We follow Lara Jean, a 16 year old girl who loves reading about romance but is scared of actually talking to boys and bringing that fantasy into reality. She has been writing love letters to boys who she found herself crushing on so hard that she needed some way to release everything. Her little sister Kitty takes it upon herself to mail all five letters, one to Peter Kovinsky, one to Josh Sanderson, Lucas James, John McClaren, and Kenny from Camp. Lucas James ends up being a close friend to Lara Jean, and he is gay so they are able to quickly move past the declarations of love in the letter. Josh Sanderson is the recently dumped boyfriend of her older sister Margot, and because of this, the situation grows that much more complicated. Lara Jean ends up kissing Peter on the track course because she doesn’t want Josh to think she actually likes him and this choice causes an entire chain of events. 

Now; Peter Kovinsky is the ex-boyfriend of Genevieve, Lara Jean’s ex-best friend who never has the moment where she moves on from being the generic vapid evil girl. Evil being a strong word, but she was definitely mean for no other reason than feeling jealous and threatened by Lara Jean but not having the maturity to talk it out. She remains a two-dimensional character, which is actually kind of rare for movies of this time. The movie does an excellent job of moving the plot along without omitting important and cute parts of the building relationship. Despite giving us about one or two scenes per month leading up to the Ski Trip, we are still able to watch as they grow closer. Bonding due to their similar home lifes, with Lara Jean’s mother having passed away and Peter’s father leaving his mom and the kids. It’s a genuine connection that makes the chemistry between them seem so natural. 

I found myself laughing and smiling a lot throughout this movie because it’s entire basis is that of support and love. Even her sisters aren’t shown in the light of sibling rivalry, and she has a great relationship with her father. The only negativity in the movie seemed to be Genevieve and the mess that was the accidental ‘sex’ tape. Even then, Peter defends her in front of the whole school but the movie does a good job of addressing the fact she was getting all the heat while he remained fine throughout the whole ordeal. 

Overall, this is a very cute movie that I will be watching again and again. Being named with the likes of The Kissing Booth, I actually ended up preferring this over that movie. Both are cute but the entire movie was spun in a positive light while a lot of The Kissing Booth has drama and strife. I just think that To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is wholesome and with a growing fanbase, I am hoping for the sequel.