The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical

Yep, you read the title right! The author, Rick Riordan, promoted it himself on his social media accounts (despite him not seeing it himself) so I checked it out.

Heyyyy. Percy’s looking real gorgeous, ain’t he? *swoon* Well check him out singing. Lovely voice. The lyrics capture exactly what Percy’s life is all about in the beginning. I am curious how the rest of his life will play out though. Hmm.

I’m pretty much soaking up everything in the Rick Riordan-related fandom (except for Magnus Chase because for some unexplainable reason, I’m still having a hard time reading it). I’ll be supporting every adaptation that is made, and my musically-inclined self is pretty excited about this off-Broadway. Come to think of it, this could draw younger crowd to musical theater again. I saw Matilda on Broadway and the demography was composed of who you would see on a field trip, but it was fun.

For all of you in the U.S., it’s gonna start screening on March 23.

 

Emma Watson Sings!

You didn’t think the cast of the live movie adaptation would sing, would you?

 

Here’s a sample of Emma Watson’s take on “Something More”:

 

She doesn’t sound like a professional singer, but her sweet voice rings a lot of sincerity in it. Belle’s songs have been sung countless of times before, but could anyone ever replace Angela Lansbury’s “Beauty and the Beast”? Let’s wait and see.

 

Sometimes Guardians are Monsters

When I saw the trailer a few weeks back, I made a mental note that this film was a must watch. My two girl friends and I went to the cinema to watch it on the last day before the film switch for the week, and the movie did not disappoint. It also made us weep quite a lot!

Thoughts on the Film

The visual effects were spectacular. It was a delight that the three tales had its own kind of animation. Liam Neeson’s voice fits the low, gravelly sound of Papa Groot (sorry, can’t help it), and while there was a lot of authority and command, he/it sounded gentle and consoling enough for the troubled boy.

Its emotional appeal and tug at the heartstrings were beautifully executed in the narrative. It just had the right kind of nostalgia for Conor’s confusion with his attachment and detachment to his mother and her terminal illness. Felicity Jones had the perfect kind of tenderness for a (dying) mom. Despite little or limited screen exposure, she was very effective.

Somehow, when thinking of guardians of children facing life issues, I am reminded of The BFG and My Neighbor Totoro. But since we’re dealing with illness and death, the Hayao Miyazaki classic has similar elements here for the protagonist to survive difficult emotions.

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While Totoro and the sisters had secret adventures, Conor’s realizations were challenged by stories. These stories mostly dealt with themes of justice, prejudice, belief, and choices. In the end, he had to tell his own story: the truth.

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It was a nice closure for Conor to discover his mother’s artwork…and how, it seems, that the monster was the guardian that she had designated for him.

Thoughts on the Book

The title was out of stock in all branches of National Bookstore, so I went to Fully Booked to search for it. I was excited to read again about the three tales, and the book had a more menacing monster yet still fantastic illustration.

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The only major difference of the book from the movie adaptation was that there was no mention of Conor’s mom as an artist. Because the author, Patrick Ness, also wrote the film screenplay, I think it was a good move that the last few scenes had contextualized what was missing from the original text.

A minor omission from the book came in the form of Lily, Conor’s sort of female best friend. She fiercely protected him, and he was more vulnerable in that sense. It worked in the screenplay, though, that book character Lily was absent so that the focus would be on Conor’s solitude.

For a YA novel, the book on its own could be heavy material for anyone. My friend, who read the book first before watching the film, had to process herself after finishing the sad but inevitable end. Therefore, my recommendation would be to watch the visual form first before reading it.

This is definitely one of the best movies I’ve seen in 2016.

The BFG film review

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I’m a big Roald Dahl fan so I was super excited to see this film. The BFG wasn’t my favorite book, though. I needed to see this movie for me to fall in love with it. And fall in love I did.

The critics were kinda harsh on Steven Spielberg’s storytelling so I wanted to see it myself. I didn’t find it tough to follow, and I immediately got swept away into fantasy land, like Sophie. The moment Sophie started complaining and arguing with the big friendly giant, I thought, “There it is.” Ruby Barnhill, who played the heroine, had the perfect cuteness with the spunk of British little girls.

She was “kidnapped” and brought to Giant Country where the slimy snozzcumbers were featured and are typical Dahl level of grossness. As the BFG and Sophie got comfortable with each other, so did I in their adventures.

My favorite scenes, which happens to also be the most magical parts, are related to the colorful bottled dreams and best of all, the tree where it all came from.

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I wanted to cry happy tears as I witnessed a beautiful friendship blossom enhanced by beautiful visuals. It was magical. I haven’t felt that wonderful magical feeling in quite a while. Since it was the legendary John Williams who provided the music, you’re in for a wonderful ride.

Mark Rylance’s CGI face as the BFG is very expressive, and his voice makes such a delightful play on Dahl’s invented words that’s confusing at first but believe me, you’ll manage to catch up.

The supporting cast is also good, and I was happy to see some funny moments when Sophie and the BFG managed to get an appointment with the Queen. I recognized the actress who played the Queen because she also played a strong female leader in Doctor Who! Penelope Wilton, the Queen in this film, played Harriet Jones in my fave British sci-fi TV series so it was fun.

On a more serious note, the film was able to perfectly capture the sad reality of bullying because the BFG had to deal with bigger, uglier, and nastier giants. It champions the bond of friendship, for even as the two led separate lives in the end, each person cherishes and remembers fondly the love that transcends two worlds.

It’s a family film. Go see it!

Photo source: Facebook | The BFG Movie

 

Beauty and the Beast trailer

What do you think, Disney fans? Are you excited about all the animated classics suddenly turned to live-action one by one? For the most part, I’m curious, though am not sure if Disney’s tired of thinking of new material. I guess for entertainment’s sake, younger generations will be up to speed on what we loved when we were younger. It will have brand new songs from Alan Menken and Tim Rice, and a stellar cast aside from Emma Watson. Here’s the cast list from the official press release:

Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Oscar® winner Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s eccentric, but lovable father; Josh Gad as Lefou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Golden Globe® nominee Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the candelabra; Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; six-time Tony Award® winner Audra McDonald as Madame Garderobe, the wardrobe; Oscar nominee Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and two-time Academy Award® winner Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.