Review-Mulan

With the exception of The Jungle Book, I haven’t enjoyed any of the Disney live-action remakes. It’s not that I’ve thought any of them were terrible, it’s just that none of them hit me the same way. However, I was genuinely interested in Mulan. It’s packed, with a cast full of martial artists experts and on paper is arguably, the only Disney film that could really work as live-action.

This version of Mulan vastly deviates from the 1998 source material. There are no musical numbers and the romantic subplot, is nowhere to be seen. It also replaces the wisecracking dragon, Mushu, with a soaring phoenix whose presence beats you over the head, with obvious metaphors.



With a cast consisting mostly of Chinese actors, with costumes and sets so impeccably designed. It seemed like a sure-fire hit. The film does look genuinely beautiful in places, the blend of New Zealand and China’s locations is seamless. However, the film doesn’t really have a lot going for it. There’s some really dodgy CGI and green screen work and, as great as her performance is, Liu Yifei never convinces as a man. She’s recognisably a woman throughout, it’s difficult to suspend your disbelief when the film isn’t even pulling off its central promise.

The film has many promising parts but fails to bring them together in a satisfying way. The action set pieces, that should be spectacular are either bad or mediocre, which is a shame considering the film boasts a cast that includes Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Jason Scott Lee, and Gong Li. These are all actors renowned for their martial arts expertise. This could have been so good.

Mulan 2020 is just Mulan 1998, with the fun taken out. My advice would be to wait until it’s free to stream on Disney+.



Olivia Wilde to direct a Silk movie?

Olivia Wilde has reportedly signed a deal to direct a new Marvel film for Sony Pictures.

The ’Booksmart’ director will make a movie about a female superhero, but neither Disney or Sony has officially commented.

When Marvel were in financial trouble in the 1990s, they sold off the film rights to their superheroes. Sony bought the rights to Spider-Man. Which also grants them use of any Spider-Man related characters.

Wilde posted a spider emoji on Twitter, leading most people to assume she’s making a Spider-Woman movie. But, my money is on Silk.

https://twitter.com/oliviawilde/status/1296224309896126464?s=21

Silk AKA Cindy Moon made her debut in 2014, in The Amazing Spider-Man issue 1. She’s a Korean-American, who was bitten by the same spider on the same day as Peter Parker.

Cindy gained similar abilities to Peter when she was bitten, though her spider-sense (dubbed by her as “Silk Sense”) is far stronger than Peter’s. On their first meeting, Peter observed that she was even faster than him, though not quite as strong. She also has the ability to shoot webs out of her fingertips, and she has an eidetic memory.

Star Wars news

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After nearly two years of speculation we have finally been teased with a little info about the highly anticipated Star Wars Episode VII.
The film will be set 30-years after the events in return of the Jedi and will focus on a new trio of heroes, with some yet unconfirmed cameos from the original stars.
Lucasfilm also confirmed today that filming will begin in London, in May.
I am ridiculously excited about this film, I grew up on Star Wars and I can’t wait to take my kids to their first official Star Wars experience. May the force be with all of us.

INTERVIEW WITH ANDREW STANTON

Filmmaker Andrew Stanton is no stranger to success. He directed and co-wrote the screenplay for Disney/Pixar’s WALL•E, which won the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature in 2008. He made his directorial debut with Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo, garnering an Academy Award-nomination for Best Original Screenplay and winning the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2003. Stanton also worked on a host of successful Disney/Pixar movies including Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Ratatouille and Up before turning to live-action with the epic action-adventure John Carter.

With the Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD of the heroic tale, John Carter, about to be released, we catch up with the acclaimed director to find out more on the epic project…


How would you describe your first directorial experience away from your comfort zone at Pixar?

It’s been extremely exciting to work on John Carter. The best analogy I can use to describe the experience is to say that it was like deciding, ‘Yeah, I’m going to get on a boat and sail across the ocean!’ Half the people in the world wouldn’t want to do anything like that, but some people consider a voyage out to sea to be an incredibly attractive journey. It’s an exciting adventure for some people, but it also sounds incredibly hard. You know there will be a lot of labour involved and you may see some really pretty things, but you may also get stuck in a horrible storm. I feel like that’s a pretty good comparison because I knew making this movie wasn’t going to be necessarily easy, but there’s a sense of fulfilment and a thrill that you wouldn’t get any other way. It was the adventure of a lifetime.



What’s the biggest difference between making an animated film and a live-action movie?

I thought, at least intellectually, that the biggest difference would be the physical stamina of creating a live-action feature, the standing around all day for 100 days. It didn’t matter if it was hot or cold or wet, we never stopped standing – and that can be tough at times. However, I think a lot of people thought the biggest difference would be the fact that I was working with actors rather than computers. On the set of John Carter, I’d have tons of people asking me, “So what’s it like to work with people now?’ And I’d laugh at them and I’d say, “I don’t talk to computers when I work at Pixar. I’ve been talking to 200 people on movie projects for the last 20 years! I talk to them about where to put the camera, what costumes we should make, where the lights should go and what the motivation of the scene is. It’s not very different at all.” It’s funny because I have all the same conversations at Pixar as I do on a live-action project. I just don’t have them all at the same time. On an animated project, I have these conversations in separate meetings over the course of several weeks or months. On a live-action set, it happens all at once.

How much of the movie was shot using a green screen?

We tried really, really hard not to use too much computer generation in John Carter. I watched a lot of movies where it can look incredibly pretty, but the more CG a movie uses, the more cold and antiseptic it feels. You can sense it; you are distanced.

Were there any other reasons why you decided to veer away from green screen as much as possible?

I had spent all my life reading the books of Edgar Rice Burroughs and imagining what it would be like to stand in the desert talking to the 9-foot tall creatures he wrote about so distinctively, so I wanted this movie to feel as real as possible. The Ape Arena in John Carter is a perfect example of this. We went all the way to Utah and found a big patch of sand where we built the throne area and the dungeon area for the scene. Everything else was green screen, but we built enough for Taylor Kitsch, Willem Dafoe and all of the other actors to feel like they were really there in the arena. We were always trying to strike a balance by building enough so that if we had to have green screen, the actors didn’t feel like they were standing in the middle of nothing.

What were the conditions like in the desert when you shot John Carter in Utah?
We got to Utah in April thinking it would be really warm, but it was freezing. It warmed up just enough for when we shot the scenes on the river – but then we got hit with sandstorms. The only thing that was helpful is that in Utah you can see for almost 100 miles, so you can spot any bad weather coming and you can plan for it. You can aim to get the shot done before the storm hits because you have a certain amount of warning. I was so adamant about staying on schedule and on time that I said, “We’re just going to shoot it whatever happens. If Clint Eastwood can do it, I can do it. If Clint Eastwood does one take, I can do one take. Let’s go for it!” And we’d jump in and do it. It was great.

So what’s next for you and Pixar?
I’m not working on any Pixar features right now. However, I have a Pixar short that I’m working on with Pete Docter. Plus, I’m working on a couple of other options. I’ve had lots of ideas over the years, so there’s always something bubbling around in my mind. We’ll just have to see where that takes me next.

John Carter is out on 3D Blu-ray™, Blu-ray ™ and DVD from 2 July
©2012 Disney

Thanks to Disney and Thinkjam for the interview

Review-Disney on Ice World of Fantasy

On Saturday, my partner and I took our excited three-year-old son to Disney On Ice: World Of Fantasy. When we took our seats and the man on the PA System said “fifteen minutes” our son did a little dance. At the five minute announcement our son grinned – his excitement was palpable.



The theme was World Of Fantasy and it comprised abridged plots from the movies Cars, The Little Mermaid, Tinker Bell and Toy Story 3. The show also featured hosts Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy.

Technically speaking it was a masterpiece. The shows greatest achievement was the animatronic cars; they had blinking headlights for eyes and moving bumpers for mouths. You could see the people in the cars but it didn’t detract from their impact and I’m sure the little eyes watching did not notice this. The choreography from the whole cast was impressive as were the costumes and set designs. The opening of the Toy Story 3 piece – with the green army – was powerful. The set pieces were full of colour, magic and sparkle. It wasn’t just my son grinning like a happy child.

Worlds of Fantasy is on at Wembley until 30/11/11

www.wembley.co.uk