With the release of the next Disney animated classic in full live action mode this week - see my Preview of 'Beauty and the Beast' below, it is no wonder this Production Company has a strategy in mind given the pay dirt they have hit since embarking on this renewed focus. Following hot on the heels of the other classic animated features given the live action or full CGI makeover, that were Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland' in 2010 taking US$1.03B; 'Maleficent' in 2014 which took US$786M; Kenneth Branagh's 'Cinderella' in 2015 which grossed US$544M and last years 'The Jungle Book' Directed by Jon Favreau with receipts of US$967M, it is hardly surprising that Disney is green lighting its animated classics for the live action treatment. 'Mulan' is up next in November 2018.
Upcoming from Disney over the next several years, we can expect to see, 'The Lion King' which has been announced with Jon Favreau Directing given his success as mentioned previously, although a release date is unknown. Favreau is also Directing 'The Jungle Book 2' to follow on from last years success. Tim Burton is said to be Directing a live action version of the 1941 classic 'Dumbo', and Guy Ritchie is rumoured to be Directing 'Aladdin'. Angelina Jolie will reprise her 'Maleficent' role in a sequel, Reece Witherspoon is attached to 'Tink' as 'Tinkerbell', a spin off from the world of 'Peter Pan' and David Lowry who Directed 'Pete's Dragon' is attached to 'Peter Pan' on Directorial duties. Emma Stone is set to play Cruella De Vil in an origin story spin off from the 1961 animated film and the 1996 live action '101 Dalmatian's'. Others on the slate to get the full live action/CGI treatment include 'Pinocchio', 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' it's first full length animated feature film, 'The Little Mermaid', 'The Sword in the Stone', 'Winnie the Pooh', and the follow-up from the 1964 'Mary Poppins' film, 'Mary Poppins Returns' with Emily Blunt playing Poppins, is scheduled for a Christmas release 2018.
This week there are four new film offerings to tempt and tease you out to your local multiplex or independent theatre. We kick off with a much loved and hugely successful Disney animated classic getting the full 21st Century live action makeover. We then move to an outer space alien horror story involving a quickly evolving Martian life form, an International Space Station, the six man crew and the fate of our fragile little green planet. We then have the launch of a possible new Superhero franchise that is not of the Marvel or DC kind, but will be known to many of us as an existing popular long running television series that sees five unsuspecting teenagers brought together to save the world with their particular set of skills, and their brightly coloured threads! Wrapping up we have a young childhood based animated feature from those people at DreamWorks that sees a baby taking charge on the home front to reunite a family and thwart a potentially epic struggle involving a manipulative company CEO.
When you have fulfilled your opportunity to watch a film of choice in the week ahead, from any one of those Previewed below, or as Reviewed and Previewed in previous Blog posts, be sure to drop us a line detailing your relevant, constructive and unbiased opinions. Simply leave your views in the Comments section below this or any other Post - we'd love to hear from you! In the meantime, enjoy your movie.
'BEAUTY AND THE BEAST' (Rated PG) - this Walt Disney Pictures latest live action release of its much loved animated film of the same name from 1991, spawned a whole industry in itself in the wake of its release. The original animated feature which picked up multiple awards and nominations including two Academy Awards, three Golden Globes and five Grammy Awards and took US$425M at the Box Office, gave rise to three straight to video sequels, a television series which ran for 65 episodes, and a hugely successful Broadway musical which toured through thirteen countries and took US$1.4B between its release in 1994 and when the curtain finally came down in 2007. There has also been a bunch of video games over the years.
Directed by Bill Condon and with an ensemble cast that features Emma Watson as Belle an avid bookworm, who's independent and a beautiful young woman, and Dan Stevens as The Prince/Beast, an egotistical handsome prince who is cursed into a reclusive bestial creature by The Enchantress as punishment for his arrogance. The story, which you'll know already, features Belle who is taken prisoner by the fearsome Beast in his enchanted castle. There, she learns that the castle's residents were once humans and are cursed into their current states as household objects. Belle also tries to evade a fiendish former soldier-turned hunter, Gaston (Luke Evans) who seeks to have Belle as his trophy wife. Despite her fears, she soon becomes friends with the castle's welcoming enchanted staff and learns to look deeper beyond the beast's ugly exterior, allowing her to see the kind heart and soul of the true prince on the inside. Also starring Kevin Kline, Ewen McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Josh Gad and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. This production cost US$160M to bring to the big screen, and it has so far recouped US$393M since it release in the US last week.
'LIFE' (Rated MA15+) - Directed by Daniel Espinosa this Horror Sci-Fi is set aboard an International Space Station where the six-man crew successfully intercept a probe returning from Mars with a sample inside. The crew is tasked with analysing that sample for what may prove to be the first signs of extra terrestrial life. As the crew celebrate their discovery and settle down to conduct their research, the primitive life form ultimately proves to be not so primitive as was thought as it rapidly evolves and proves to be much more intelligent, menacing and deadly that they could have imagined. The race is on to destroy it, before the crew are all destroyed, and the ISS returns to Earth with a deadly cargo capable of wiping out all humanity, if life on Mars, or lack of it, is anything to go by. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds and Rebecca Furgusson. The film was made for US$58M and is released Stateside this week also.
'POWER RANGERS' (Rated M) - after 24 years, 24 television seasons and now three cinema released films, this teen Superhero film gets a reboot with the Red, Pink, Blue, Black and Yellow Power Rangers saving the world for a cool budget of US$105M. Directed by Dean Israelite, this film features many of the characters as seen on the television series 'The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers' albeit updated for a whole new audience brought up on a diet of Marvel and DC animated adaptations. Here five teenagers with attitude are thrust together either by design or by coincidence to become the newest line of warriors, crime fighters and protectors of the Earth, known as 'Power Rangers'. Quickly putting their real life teenage issues behind the them, the newly formed Power Rangers must assimilate quickly to each other, their new powers and their new responsibilities to protect their own small town of Angel Grove, and the world at large, from an alien attack, launched by Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks), a powerful witch and former Green Power Ranger, with an army of stone golems and a giant golden monster. Starring Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, R.J. Cyler, Becky G and Ludi Lin as our titular young heroes with a particular set of skills, with Bill Hader and Bryan Cranston too.
'THE BOSS BABY' (Rated G) - this DreamWorks CGI animated feature is based on the 2010 picture book of the same name by Marla Frazee and is Directed by Tom McGrath. Here, the arrival of a new baby impacts a family, told from the perspective of a unreliable, albeit delightful narrator -- a wildly imaginative 7-year-old named Tim (Miles Bakshi, and narrated by Tobey Maguire as his adult self). The most unusual Boss Baby (Alec Baldwin) arrives at Tim's home in a taxi, wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase. Their sibling rivalry must soon be put aside when Tim discovers that Boss Baby is in fact a spy on a secret mission to win back the affection of his parents (Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow), and thwart a plot that involves the CEO of Puppy Co. Francis E. Francis (Steve Buscemi) in an epic battle between puppies and babies. The film is released in the US on 31st March.
Four films this week offering the usual range of genres and tastes from epic big budget Disney live action retelling, to an updated teenage Superhero offering, to an ET alien running rampant on an International Space Station, and wrapping up with an animated family offering with a message. Share your thoughts with us here at this Blog, and in the meantime, I'll see you somewhere, sometime in the coming week at your local Odeon.
-Steve, at Odeon Online-