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.

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.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children movie trailer

It’s perfect that Tim Burton picked up this project because of his penchant for unconventional plots and characters. Notably missing from this Ransom Riggs adaptation, however, is what happened to Jacob’s family even before he met the Peculiars (who look exactly like the photographs in the book). I guess the film doesn’t want to start with that sad tale anyway. I wonder if Eva Green will ever be casted for a ‘normal’ role. Haha.

Me Before You review (novel)

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I saw the trailer go viral a few weeks back on my FB feed even before I picked up this book last week. It was a reverse comparison then of me thinking of Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin’s faces when I was reading this. Let me post the trailer first before I share my thoughts.

 

As far as the trailer goes, it’s pretty faithful to the text. The lines are almost verbatim, and Clarke and Claflin seem perfect as these two would-be lovers in a doomed mess. Yes, you read that right. The book might as well have been titled “Love Does Not Conquer All” lest you want the trailer to lead you to high hopes of romantic success. Sorry to spoil anyone reading this entry at this point so turn away if you must. Strong emotional reactions from a friend and from the writer under me who wrote an entertainment story about this already revealed to me the plot twist. The trailer made me weep twice, and armed with my knowledge of what will happen in this friggin book, I gathered the courage to read it knowing it’s not gonna be a happy ending.

I still cried a bit.

The romantic part of me was in anguish and frustrated. There are matters that love cannot fix (especially a depressed human mind). Love can be a balm, but daily physical and complicated pain in an invalid’s life can sometimes be unmendable…Will Traynor is always close to death every time there is a medical complication on how his body cannot deal with its injuries. By now, you will get what I mean, so I’d have to see if they stick to the book’s ending in this film. I’ll be both glad and sad if they do.

Now, for a bit of feedback on the protagonist, Louisa Clark. Lou is quirky, which is cute and acceptable. I truly do get the girl-living-an-ordinary-sheltered-life aspect, but yes, maybe her intellectual blandness did need the juxtaposition to Will’s daredevil history for our female lead to come out of her shell and see that the world is a big playground. At 26, she was forced by circumstances to see the world and to actually seek a stable job. So yeah, yeah, it’s a reality that other people influence or inspire us to be greater beings. I guess it’s true, though, how Lou, like middle-class women like me, would actually settle for stable and okay jobs for a time to get finances going before actually taking a leap and dare to follow a dream. I can imagine Will scoffing at this thought because he was a man of privilege where he could do whatever he wants, travel to places on a whim, ya know, rich guy things. Money can be a catalyst to settling or succeeding on an economic level.

Lou did make the most of all her earnings. She even learned how to manage her time properly and even wildly because a clock was ticking. Maybe some women will turn out like her in her shoes. How do you live the remaining time to save the one you love?

Will’s situation is very tricky. There are moral and ethical issues at stake, and I dare not discuss his decisions as a quadriplegic and what people in this state go through lest I become insensitive.

Read the book or watch the movie. This bestseller makes sense and it will push you to make a stand. The most neutral way is to be emphatic. It’s up to you on its moral and ethical bearings.

 

The Martian

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If you need a modern-day example of human versus Nature, will-to-live story yet sci-fi exciting, then this is perfect. Adapted from the novel of Andy Weir of the same title, it tells the story of astronaut and botanist Mark Watney and his goal to survive in the Red Planet after being left and thought of as dead by his Ares III crew when they had to abort the mission. Most people, upon realizing they’ve been stranded on an island, hell, an alien planet, would cave in and give up. Not Mark Watney.

I’m gonna have to science the shit outta this planet. – Mark Watney on Mars

I’m not nerdy enough to explain Watney’s scientific calculations and plans, but it’s as simple as this: he needed to find a way to prolong his food rations until the next NASA Mars mission. The catch? That mission will happen in four Earth years while his food can only last him 300 sols or Mars solar days. What did he do? He’s a botanist so he literally crapped a solution in the next few weeks. Why? Human manure + martian soil + leftover potatoes = produce. The tricky part was finding a way to produce water, but with his scientific experiments, it finally worked. With one problem solved and 99 to go, Watney kept on thinking and testing and using himself as a guinea pig to find a way to prolong his life sol by sol. All odds were mostly against him, but his big heart, his tough soul, and his brilliant human mind tested its limits to exhaust all scientific possibilities with a huge amount of wishing and hoping.

I started the film wondering how he’ll get out of this almost impossible situation. I ended up crying with relief and jubilation, cheering Matt Damon on in this very challenging role. I searched for Neil de Grasse Tyson’s tweets if he had anything to say about this movie like in “Interstellar,” but I didn’t. I found, however, an article on Astronomy.com that lauded Scott Ridley for his dedication to scientific detail and intensive research on everything NASA.

“We want to make the film as much science fact as science fiction.” – Executive Producer Mark Huffam

NASA.gov, on the other hand, cited nine technologies that do exist in real life and can be seen as variations or iterations of truth in “The Martian.” Super duper cool.

Damon was funny, brilliant, humble, and relatable. I haven’t seen the other actors in the award-nominated movies yet, but he does seem like a great winner for a 2016 Golden Globe for this. He made Mark Watney an admirable and inspiring soul that even kids should watch to learn how to persevere in desperate situations without going insane (or almost). I don’t recall the character ever really panicky, because there’s always a quiet resignation if an experiment fails. His frustration passes, and he soldiers on. There aren’t over-the-top theatrics because Mark Watney felt real, the way the film “The Martian” made scientific exploration real.

I really like this movie. I should go grab a copy of the book.

P.S.

I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut but I suck at Math and Science. Oh well.