The first time I went to the cinema was when I was four years old. The movie was, what is now considered a classic, The Lion King. Apparently it's based on some play by Shakespeare but that link was lost on me at 4, and being 33 I still doubt I'll ever really 'get' Shakespeare. Alas, I digress. The opening of The Lion King remains one of the best openings of any movie I've ever seen, with the sun rising over the savannah, and the musical genius of Elton John cascading around the cinema. I truly feel sorry for children nowadays whose first cinema movie might be Trolls. In the last week I have seen 4 movies at cinema and at home, and whilst watching I felt it was appropriate to reflect on the state of cinema and film making post-pandemic.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes
This movie was not high on my list of movies I wanted to watch. The previous Hunger Games movies were decent movies, with declining appeal as the series went on. I had no idea what this prequel movie would entail, having never read the book it was based on. I only knew of one cast member also, so I wasn't overly excited to see anyone in it. And so, with the most 'meh' of expectations, I was happily surprised that I liked it, and that the story was in no way predictable.
What ensued was a thoroughly enjoyable coming of age story, and had plenty of action, story and music to keep me entertained. Was it as good as the previous Hunger Games movies? It wasn't as good as the first one, but I would say it was on par with the latter entries in the series. I am always a sucker for an origin story, and finding out how President Snow became such an asshole in the first place was great to explore. A thoroughly enjoyable evening in the cinema. Sadly, the cinema was very empty. I believe we were two of seven people in the whole cinema. A poor showing for an established franchise.
With The Lion King being my first ever cinema movie, it only seemed fitting that I would see Disney's Wish at the cinema giving it is currently Disney's 100th anniversary. Again, I had no real idea what the story was about, but being Disney I could have predicted a lot of familiar elements, including royalty, castles, magic, and talking animals. All of these elements were included, and one does love to experience the familiar. And it was a super fun and enjoyable movie. I have recommended it to anyone who would be inclined to go and see it, including those with children and those who are just big kids themselves.
Alas, the cinema was also very empty for this movie, with less than 10 people in our showing. Disney is struggling; this is no secret. The reviews for Wish have not been great - I think this is not fair. It is a good movie. Is it as good as some former Disney movies? No. But it doesn't detract from the fact that the movie has plenty of heart and soul and a great soundtrack. What more is truly needed from a Disney movie? Go see it, it's wonderfully uplifting and the soundtrack is so much fun to sing afterwards.
Some Like It Hot
Sadly I wasn't alive when this absolute class came out in cinemas, but it's a movie I have seen many times and consider to be my favourite movie. I love the settings of 1930s Chicago and Florida, I love the characters (and their alter-egos), I love the comedy, I love the singing, I love it all. Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon are simply movie gold! Despite being an old movie, filmed in black and white, and being as non-PC as could possibly be, it is a fantastic movie.
The movie is truly an example of the absolute joy of film making. It feature cross-dressing at a time when doing so was simply not done in America by men in film, and it featured two absolutely fantastic male leads doing it. Marilyn Monroe is classy as always. Sadly, I watched it home on DVD. I would love to see it in cinema some day, but would I enjoy it as much? I would want the full old-school cinema experience, with popcorn sellers coming to serve popcorn during the movie, perhaps even with an intermission, to feel like I'm truly back in the 1950s, seeing a motion picture in the only way possible, on the big screen. Bliss.
Saving the best til last is usually best - like dessert coming after dinner. Alas, The Prom wasn't dessert, or indeed dinner. The Prom was more like indigestion followed by violent hiccoughs. I must stress, I like musicals. Some of my favourite movies are musicals. But The Prom was not a movie I could consider well made, or enjoyable. The storyline was conceited, which I believe was ironically the point of the movie, but it didn't make it more enjoyable. Some casting choices were just awful, and the acting itself was quite bland. Some dance scenes were great, but overall it felt bloated, and yet fell flat. One saving grace was this movie was watched at home on Netflix and didn't require additional money to view.
I also did not enjoy the straight interpretation of a gay character. I am not against straight actors portraying gay characters; I believe that it is for an actor to act in a variety of roles different to their natural persona. Alas, the main gay character was portrayed in such an overtly stereotypical way, along with a cliched storyline, it detracted from what should have been a movie celebrating diversity and inclusivity. Alas, maybe the sequel will do better.
The previous line was a joke, no one would attempt to make a sequel out of this. Thankfully.
I love going to the cinema. I love watching movies at home. I do feel a bit of despair when going to the cinema these days and seeing only a handful people in the audience. The convenience of consuming media at home has really hit cinemas hard, notwithstanding Covid and the increasing amount of content available on and going straight to VOD services.
But I'll be holding out for going to the cinema when possible. And buying DVDs for those movies I want to keep and own and rewatch at my leisure.
I'm back on Youtube! And this, I bring my other half Cris to share in our assessment of the movies! Enjoy!