This is the exact reason I still have Google Alerts.

Quasimodo during Out There Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image
Quasimodo during Out There Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Disney announced today that Hunchback is the next film in their roaster to get a live-action remake.  I have been waiting for this day for a long time.   

Here is what is know so far. Josh Gad is produce the film. Just a quick note back in late 2015 I did a post which discussed a fan casting that appeared in my google alerts and Josh Gad was their pick for Quasimodo
you can read it here

Josh Gad for Quasimodo picture image
Josh Gad

Now I couldn’t see this casting pick at the time but Gad is an actor so if he DOES follow suit like so many men who have played or have aspired to play Quasimodo to showcase their acting prowess and have a hand in the production, he might be fine in the role.
Just a note, he may not play Quasimodo but there is a trend that men spearheading Hunchback versions do so to play the  role, Gad may just want to produce, we will have to wait and see.

Another piece of information we have is they Tony- winning Playwright David Henry Hwang is writing the screenplay and the film will simply be called Hunchback. Like the 1997 version.

Hwang’s work include Chinglish, Yellow Face, Kung Fu, Golden Child, The Dance of the Railroad. He also has worked on Aida, Flower Drum Song, Disney’s Tarzan and M. Butterfly. 

It would seem that the  remake will take its cue from the 1996 movie and the book and not the stage production.    

Also this version will be a musical with Menken and Schwartz heading the music. So that is good.

What do you think? Are you over the Disney live-action remake trend? Are you excited? Are you afraid Disney is going to ruin it?
Thoughts and feelings welcome.

Source – https://www.cnet.com/news/hunchback-of-notre-dame-next-to-get-disney-remake-treatment/
Source – https://deadline.com/2019/01/hunchback-movie-disney-live-action-david-henry-hwang-josh-gad-alan-menken-stephen-schwartz-1202536031/

My first reaction was one of utter confusion, like I had no idea how to respond. You can look at this link to see the costume. https://ew.com/movies/2018/12/19/aladdin-first-look-ew-cover-story/

I’m just going to discuss Jasmine’s and Aladdin’s costumes. The costumes were designed by Michael Wilkinson. He has designed costumes for Sucker Punch, Twilight Breaking Dawn parts 1 & 2, 300 and American Hustle and Batman V Superman.

These costumes are bad. They don’t read as for a major movie with a budget. They look more in keeping with a Disney on Ice show.  Let’s just take about the lack of midriffs. I didn’t think I would miss such a element but the way Jasmine’s costume is cover with a flesh tone fabric over her midriff looks weird. Like she was in an ice show and needed to keep warm or if the actress was extremely modest. Or were they trying to go for a meld of cultural/historical authenticity? Because it would be weird for Disney to start now, with Jasmine’s midriff as a point of contention.   It’s just a weird choice. I don’t get it and I hate it.

Also all the details is just more on more with just more. When it’s that much it starts to look cheap. Removing a few details would have help Jasmine’s costume. Like that gold thing down her bodice. What is that? Or the other gold edging on her bodice. Or those circle details that are on the nude part. I hate it.

Her jewelry is also so bad looking.  I’m not even sure what the basis for the design was because it wasn’t Jasmine’s jewelry or existed jewelry from the Middle East or even India.  It looks really modern to me. Like the got this from a Walmart and made a crown to match. I hate it.

Then there’s Aladdin’s costume and oh boy what is going on here? He’s in a pinstripe shirt with red vest. With striped pants and shoes. Also his pants have a little button at the cuff. What? Why? At least he has his fez. If he didn’t have his red fez  I wouldn’t have know it was him. No scratch that, if it wasn’t for the fact that they said it was Aladdin I couldn’t have known it was the same character.

Maybe this is Aladdin’s costume later in the movie, after he meets the Genie and he gets a new outfit and shoes. I don’t know but hate it.  

I will say that I don’t hate the textures of the fabrics, which is a weird thing to say but they look nice.  

The costumes in Once Upon a Time for these characters were so much better. These one are just confused and tacky. I hate them.    

It is bad that I hope maybe they will look better in the context of the movie? I mean they could. Here’s Hoping. 

Simba 2019 The Lion King Remake picture image

Simba 2019 The Lion King Remake

Instead of being mad that this remake seems content to enjoy its false advertising or some how trying to redefine ‘what is live action’ let’s just  considered how this movie might incorporate the “live” aspect without anyone knowing so Disney can continues to capitalize on this trend.

Disclaimer – This post is meant as joke.

So stupid idea number, this movie DOES have “live action humans” in it. Like the story is actually a nature documentary and there are humans off in the background or foreground trying to get those iconic cinematic shots and making commentary, like the narration in the Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty remakes .

Also these humans can harp on those plot-holes that were in the original that people on the internet like to point out all the time. Like the logic of King’s impact on  the weather and ecology, Nala’s dad and the incest that it implies, though watch this remake  address that Nala’s mother was taken in from some other pride so there is  no incest. Don’t worry about it because Disney fixed it.  Other plot-holes may include the elephant graveyard, Simba surviving on bugs (though Film Theory covered that ) and so on and so on. Disney will fix it, it will fix them all and create new ones but that will be the remake  of the remake’s problem.

Or perhaps maybe one of the animals is a real Animal hidden amongst the CG animation.  You will have to watch the movie 100 times to spot it. And it will be in the background and it will like a tiny lizard or something. Maybe one of the bugs Simba eats. Likes it’s a Metaphor for how CG is taking over.  But only TRUE DIE HARD DISNEY fans will spot the “live” animal in this remake.      

The reasons for these remakes  existing, besides more money, does seem to be pushing the  computer animation tech (which people are bored with at this point) AND to correct plot-holes from the originals because imagination is hard and people need things explained more. Like with Beauty and the Beast and logic of a curse and a magical castle. So now they need it with CG Lions meet Hamlet.

I hope this movie does actually shoe-horn in humans or one real animal just for the word usage of “Disney Live Remakes” but I also can’t WAIT for how people in interviews will BS some reason for how it’s “Live”  or why it doesn’t matter.   Then again does Disney actually use the term “Live Action remakes?” Is this even a problem?

Ultimately I do not care, Disney needs its money and repackage nostalgia is a safe bet to get that money.   Though if people really wanted Disney  to stop with these movies collectively we need to stop paying attention and sending money on them but we won’t so here we are with four “live action remakes” coming out in 2019.

WHERE IS THE LIVE ACTION HUNCHBACK DISNEY??????

 

Cinema Sins' take on Quasimodo from Hotel Transylvania picture image

Cinema Sins’ take on Quasimodo from Hotel Transylvania

Though considering the totality of the movie it shouldn’t have been surprising that they messed up Quasimodo. I don’t even consider this a version of Hugo’s character.

Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

I’m not strictly speaking in the interest of my own personal enjoyment or in the sense that it would give me more context but with the political and social climate in America, Hollywood or Disney really should get a new version into production.

 

Esmeralda (Maureen O'Hara) 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda (Maureen O’Hara)

 

America right now is politically divided on many, many issues  and  a big one is the issue of immigration and refugees. In some ways it’s a complex issue mainly on the bureaucracy end  but on the side of basic human decency and the fact that America is an immigrant nation  it’s pretty simple. So how does this tie into making a Hunchback movie and the necessity of one?

Esmeralda Illustration Image picture

19th century Illustration of Esmeralda

I truly can not speak to the historical aspect of the Romani in Paris in the 15th century but the book makes it sound like Paris was a Sanctuary city. This means in a sense you could look at Esmeralda as a refugee or at the very least she is an immigrant of sorts. This is only case in versions where she is a Romani and not following the book, which is fine. I suppose they could split the different and make her half French and half Romani or Spanish since Esmeralda’s father is a complete unknown. The only hint the book offers, that I can find, is Esmeralda’s father could have been a thief that left her mother before she learned she was pregnant. Then again this information is narrated by a secondary character, so it unknown how reliable this account is.

    

Esmeralda and Quasimodo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda defying Frollo by helping Quasimodo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

In any case the two major American versions that have Esmeralda as a Romani depicts her as an advocate for both her people and the “downtrodden” which aside from being her a good female role-model in these two versions, her being an advocate  great aspect to showcase to a film going population.

 

Salma Hayek as Esmeralda, 1997 The Hunchback picture image

Salma Hayek as Esmeralda,

Also unlike some other movies that cast people regardless of their race, Hunchback should be a little more set in character’s cultural backgrounds. I heard when Rogue One was coming out there was a call to boycott the movie because of the diversity the cast, same for Star Wars The Force Awakens, which is dumb.   With Hunchback their cultural backgrounds inform the characters so aside from Esmeralda and in many cases Clopin, the rest of the cast are white Europeans which could help ease some people into the movie, especially people who wanted to boycott an iconic Space Fantasy movie series.

 

Gigi Radics picture image

Gigi Radics

This means the casting of Esmeralda become extremely important. I should preface that in a perfect world, anyone could play Esmeralda but we don’t and if a movie is going to characterized Esmeralda a very specific ethnic group even though the book did not, then the movie needs to cast accordingly. This is why the casting of Gigi Radics, a Hungarian singer of Romani descent would be a masterstroke of casting. Whether or not she is available or willing to play the role is a different question.  They could always cast an unknown Romani actress to take the part.  Casting an Indian or Pakistani, or Arab actress is not quite as authentic but it a step in the right direction.

 

Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

A new Hunchback  movie today who help shed some light on the current situation in America and recontextualize to people who may not think it about as much and ignore the news. It might even help  people who have little exposure to immigrants and refugees  put a human face on the issue instead of short sound bite.

Julian Sands as The Phantom & Asia Argento as Christine Daae The Phantom of the Opera Argento picture image

Julian Sands as The Phantom & Asia Argento as Christine Daae

One thing I will say about the 2004 version is that it is not the worst version of The Phantom of the Opera. This isn’t even an opinion because I can guarantee that if you ask anyone they will say the 1998 Italian Horror version directed by Dario Argento is the worse movie version. This version is just downright weird and unpleasant.

In this version the Phantom is NOT deformed, instead he was raised by rats and he has a little bit of a fetish for them. This raises so many questions as he speaks normally, plays musics, wears clothes etc, Did the rats teach him all that. Also considering that the deformity is what cause him his isolation and his madness, where does it come from? This movie doesn’t even get the basics right.

Christine is also very much into the Phantom and his weird sense of pick-up lines. He also rapes her. This is not a creditable version in the slightest.

There is SO many weird off-putting side plots and visual that leave with a sense that your brain is being evaporated through your eyes.

Please Don’t Watch this movie!

 

Site Note- To deal with some burn-out have been going through, I’m taking a brief break from posting on Mondays.

 

Gerald Butler as The Phantom & Emmy Rossum as Christine Daae The Phantom of the Opera 2004 picture image

Gerald Butler as The Phantom & Emmy Rossum as Christine Daae

It’s a little unfair to discuss this movie against the book as it’s a movie version of the famous musical version of the book. It’s one degree off from anything related to the book, so instead let’s just discuss the movie for what it is, a lovely little mess.

On the whole it’s visually a pretty movie but it made a lot of bad technical and casting choices that make not a good adaptation of the musical adaptation of the book. Let’s just start with the big one, the Phantom. They got very little right about his character. First off the decide to skew younger with casting Gerald Butler and gave him a rock edge. Second the deformity is really minimal. I get that one idea they had is humanize aspect of the musical. Like all the Phantom’s tricks and genius illusions are explainable but in making his deformity which kept him apart and unloved by society no more than a bad sunburn and a slight droop in his eye is childish. Also compared to other singers of the Phantom, Butler doesn’t measure up. So we have a good looking Phantom who can’t sing and the is the major converse of his character.

As far as Emmy Rossum as Christine, I’m not a fan of how she sung the role but as far as looking innocent and doe-eyed she was fine. I do wish they and gotten someone else though but considering the casting on the Phantom especially when Ramin Karimloo (favorite Phantom) was cast in the movie as Christine’s father.

More than the questionable casting this movie despite it’s prettiness make some weird choices. For instance the Marquerade scene is all monochromatic despite the songs saying their are colors everywhere and Christine’s not in costume. Why is her Opera costume Empress Sissi and not like the other costumes prior? I could go on and on and on. Those are little things that take a person out the movie especially when you’re supposed to lots in feels.

 

The emotions that lost in this movie version are partly being the filmmaker made everything more subtle because it’s a movie. The subtly how the emotions present makes it harder to connect so it really just become boring and with the odd choice and weird casting it become a mess albeit a shallow pretty mess.

 

 

 

1987 Animated cartoon Phantom of the Opera picture image

Erik, 1987 Animated cartoon Phantom of the Opera

That’s Right, my friends, In 1987 Emerald City Production made a straight to Video animated version of Phantom of the Opera riding the coat-tails of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. It’s a really good thing Disney didn’t make a Phantom in the mid-90’s because otherwise we would have gotten stuff on the line with all Hunchback knock-offs. Can you imagine a version of Phantom were he isn’t ugly, oh wait, they already did that (sort of), but enough about that, how is the animated version?

Compared to all the other versions, this version follows the book albeit really simplified, is about 40 minutes long. The character does have much development or even interest BUT Erik does get his redemptions and dies after Christine kisses him.  Though instead of just a straight-up broken heart, he plays his organ in such a way that it makes the ceiling fall and crush him.

Also this version on the technical end of this is terrible. It’s cleared they had no budget. They is A TON of receptive animation and the movement on the character is so wooden that actually wood would have moved better. That being said I would rather watch this than the majority of the Hunchback knock-offs because this version of Phantom doesn’t speak down to it’s audience.

 

It’s a cheap yet by the book versions of Phantom. Would I recommend it? If you’re a fan of the book yeah but otherwise meh. It’s not a good version but nor is so bad that one should experience.   Though it the most accurate version to Leroux’s novel.

 

Lon Chaney as Erik, the Phantom and Mary Philbin as Christine Daae Phantom of the Opera, Picture image

Lon Chaney as Erik, the Phantom and Mary Philbin as Christine Daae

Despite what some people think, the 1925 version of  The Phantom of the Opera is not the first film version. There was an earlier one that now lost. This version was also reissused in  1929.

Of all the movie versions of Phantom this one is the most culturally ingrained and till Webber’s musical is one of the more seminal versions of Leroux book. It was a landmark film not only for the Universal Monster genre but sets and make-up. Like in The Hunchback of Notre Dame two years earlier, Lon Chaney did his own make-up and it was a real set-up from Quasimodo. People were terrified of Chaney’s Erik. But also the look and mood of the movie is great.

As far as the movie goes as adaptation of the novel it follows short, especially of how it COULD have been. Number one, the characters are all pretty darn simplistic. Erik just comes off as crazy; albeit with dramatic crazy in love but it doesn’t go as deep as in the book. He doesn’t even get the redemption that makes him a bittersweet figure.

Raoul is also different. He is not the whining stalker he is in the novel but more dashing and the typical lead of the time. He is also played by Norman Kerry who played Phoebus in the 1923 version. Mary Philbin’s Christine is one point but again she not a wish-washy as she is the book.

For the most part, scene per scene, beat by beat the movie plays out close to the book while streamline things that is TILL the ending. In this movie Christine agrees to marry Erik and instead of him dying a alone of a broken-hearted, he grabs Christine and is chased and killed by a mob. Which is ridiculous. Chaney didn’t care for this ending but it tested better with audiences. The original ending that was shot, is more faithful, with Erik’s redemption of letting Christine go and dying at his organ.  They also shot the scene where Erik plays the violin at the graveyard. So the movie could have been more like the book. Though the chase does go by Notre Dame.

All in all, the 1925 isn’t a bad movie and is a fairly good version of book. But I would say watch it more for this movie’s importance and not for the story and the characters.

 

 

 

Way back in July, Skylar suggested that I make a list of my personal favorite movies. So here they are, my ten favorite movies in no particular order as of December 2015.

Stiff Upper Lips  

Samuel West as Edward Stiff Upper Lips picture image

Samuel West as Edward

Stiff Upper Lips is a parody of British Edwardian movies in particular Merchant of Ivory movies and that time period all together.  I first saw this on Masterpiece theater and thought it was super silly. It’s super well acted, the sets and costumes are great and the humor is awesome.  I quote this movie all the time, in fact my AMV editing name came out this movie.

Veer-Zaara

Shah Rukh Khan as Veer and Preity Zinta as Zaara in Veer-Zaara picture image

Shah Rukh Khan as Veer and Preity Zinta as Zaara in Veer-Zaara

Veer-Zaara is a Bollywood movie and it was the second one I ever watched, the first was Devdas. It’s such a lovely movie in its look, plot and characters. I know it flawed but I really love it.

 

Parineeta

Vidya Balan as Lalita in Parineeta picture image

Vidya Balan as Lalita in Parineeta

Another Bollywood movie. I watched this movie late one night when I was very anxious and it calmed me right down so this movie has a calming influence on me. Again it just a lovely pretty movie.

Lust/Caution

Tang Wei as Wong Chia-chi and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai as Mr. Yee in Lust/Caution picture image

Tang Wei as Wong Chia-chi and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai as Mr. Yee in Lust/Caution

If you want a Depressing movie about China in WWII here ya go. This is not like a nice movie in its plot BUT it’s so pretty. It was based on a novella and the movie gives the plot/characters so much depth without like spelling it out for you. It’s a really well done movie.

 

Castle in the Sky

Pazu and Sheeta seeing Laputa Castle in the Sky picture image

Pazu and Sheeta seeing Laputa

I have talked a out this one before, I love it.

Land before Time (Original, the sequels do not exist)

The Land Before time picture image

The Land Before time

This movie, this movie, sigh, it was my childhood favorite. I loved dinosaur when I was a little kid. This movie is traumatic for little ones but I love the characters and the animation is still great.

L’Amant (The Lover)

Jane March and Tony Leung Ka-fai in The Lover (L'Amant) picture image

Jane March and Tony Leung Ka-fai in The Lover (L’Amant)

I think this movie is like a guilty pleasure for me. It doesn’t have a plot but it has a meaning and point. Again it’s a well done movie.

 

Flushed Away

Flushed Away picture image

Flushed Away

The first time I saw this one I thought I was going to hate it but I loved it. I love its humor  characters and style (in parts). I love the slugs, the frogs, and Robby’s alias Millicent Bystander. I also love the mime on the cell phone.

Frida

Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo picture image

Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo

Agian it such a beautiful movie. I love the way the film incorporated Frida’s artwork into the style of the movie.

Hero

Maggie Cheung as Flying Snow in Hero picture image

Maggie Cheung as Flying Snow in Hero

GAH This Movie is way too pretty, I love it.

So yeah those are some of my favorite movies. I actually watch a lot more TV shows (and anime) than movies like as go to things or just in general.  I need to watch more movies.

Here some Honorable Mentions,

Gone with the Wind (I love Scarlett, I think is a great character, terrible person but great character and the costumes.)

Gloomy Sunday (Another depressing yet lovely movie, I love the ending though.)

Rebecca (I love the mood and style of this one)

Ranma 1/2 second movie Nihao My Concubine (Ranma is one my favorite anime and this was the first thing I saw of it and I was confused but I still love it)

Asoka (I love the music in this one and the style)

La belle et La Bete (I have talked about this one before)

Muppets Caper and Most Wanted (I love the muppets and I can’t pick between these two^^)

Lady and the Tramp/Dumbo (I dunno why  love these movies as much as I do. I might do my top disney movie )

Gorgeous (I need to rewatch it because I loved when I first saw it but I can’t recall it well right now except for the Just Smile fight which was awesome)