Movie Review: Mulan (1998)

Confession time: I have never actually watched this movie before. I know dishonor on me, dishonor on my cow, blah blah blah. But I then thought that since Disney recently released their live action remake, I might actually give this animated version a go (finally). So let’s get down to business.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mulan”.

Fearing that her father might die if he goes to war, young Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) steals his gear and pretends to be a man so she can take his place in the army. We all know the basic setup at this point, even if you haven’t seen this movie. And the way it’s handled here I quite enjoyed. It’s not without fault however. There are parts of the story that I feel they glossed over a bit, kinda rushing through some aspects in an effort to get to the “good stuff”. That’s not to say that the story here is bad, it’s still a fun family adventure without a good message at its core. I just wish it maybe slowed down a little more to let certain moments simmer more. But as it stands, the story and the way it’s told is still quite entertaining.

The characters in this are colorful, charming, fun, and surprisingly nuanced at times. First up is Mulan, title character and very relatable person. While the people around her want her to be a fancy girly-girl to honor her family, even though she’s not like that at all. And to see her development in the movie from somewhat clumsy and insecure to someone a bit more tough and confident, that’s engaging. And Ming-Na Wen does an excellent job voicing Mulan. Next we have Mushu, a guardian dragon who sets out to help Mulan become a hero… even if he’s only doing it for his own gain. He’s mostly there to bring laughs, but I think the filmmakers found a good balance in that and making him a valuable part of certain emotional developments. And while it might seem slightly jarring to put Eddie Murphy in a role like that at first, I must say that he was great in the role. Then you also get supporting work from people like B.D. Wong, James Hong, Harvey Fierstein, Soon-Tek Oh, Miguel Ferrer, Pat Morita, Frank Welker, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The music of this film is quite good. The main score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, and it’s an absolute treat for the ears, creating a lot of emotion through the various tracks, giving us a some great background ambiance. Then you have the songs (’cause you know, Disney) that were done by Matthew Wilder and David Zippel. While I don’t think that all of them are among the upper echelon of Disney musical songs, they still generally work pretty well for the movie. The peak of the tracks is of course “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” (sung by Donny Osmond), a most excellent montage song. So yeah, overall this movie has good music.

Based on a Chinese folk legend, “Mulan” was directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook (with writing credits given to a shitload of people, good grief). And I must say that the craft on display here is absolutely superb. The art style for example takes inspiration from traditional Chinese artwork, and blending it with traditional Disney animation to create an absolutely stunning look for this movie that feels wholly its own. The animation is especially breathtaking in motion, where it shows great fluency that is a treat for the eyes.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.6/10.

While its storytelling isn’t the best, due to its fast pace, “Mulan” is still another winning movie within the Disney catalogue. It has a good story, good characters, really good music, and great directing/animation. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mulan” is an 8,77/10. So while a little flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Mulan” is now completed.

Sometimes you just a need a film that can make you smile. This one did that for me.

Movie Review: Jurassic World (2015)

jurassic_world_chris_pratt_owen_grady_102396_1366x768

The “Jurassic Park” franchise is one of those franchises that I just can’t get enough of. Of course the first one is a fucking masterpiece that can’t be beat and “The Lost World” was a solid sequel, I rewatched a month or so ago with my best friend and it was better than I remembered. And “Jurassic Park 3” is… meh. But now it is time to talk about the long awaited fourth movie that people have been waiting for.

Dr. Gentlemen, my dear Dr. Ladies, welcome… to “Jurassic World”.

Keep this in mind, this movie ignores the sequels entirely, okay I’m done with disclaimers now. But in this movie, John Hammond’s vision of a dinosaur theme park has been made a reality. And it seems that there was no expense spared. So we follow the two brothers Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson) who get the cance to go and visit this huge park featuring living dinosaurs. But this park doesn’t only have the classic and awesome dinosaurs you recognize from other movies, oh no. In a lab led by Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong, who also was in the first movies) they have cooked up something new, something… terrible. A new hybrid dinosaur that as you may expect manage to break out and cause tons of havoc. So now it is up to former marine, now raptor trainer, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and park boss Calire (Bryce Dallas Howard) to try to stop it. Simple monster movie plot with the “Jurassic Park” name stuck to it. Does it hold up to the height of the original? Not really. Does it hold up as a fun and thrilling plot as an entirely different movie? Hell yes! I was invested and thrilled the entire way through. I loved seeing the plot of this movie move forward. I had no real problems with it.

The characters were interesting, compelling and above all, entertaining. Chris Pratt is as awesome as always but with a little more badass stuck to him. Of course he’s not all “super serious badass”, he does crack a few jokes every now and then which all are really good. Bryce Dallas Howard (Fun fact: Daughter of director Ron Howard) was also really good in her role. And the two young actors they got to play the two brothers in the movie were actually good considering young/child actors these days are rarely good, they are for the most part unbearable. But these two were pretty good. Vincent D’Onofrio was also in the movie playing what best could be described as an asshole, and that he did very well.

The score for the movie was done by Michael Giacchino. And it was actually really good. Not as good as John Williams’ classic original score, but still really good. I know it sounds like I am comparing things, but I am really not. Anyway, Michael Giacchino’s score is really epic and suspenseful and fits the movie prefectly. Nothing felt like straight up “stock action/thriller music”, every track felt perfectly placed and are were great to listen to.

This movie was directed by Colin Trevorrow who I have not seen a single damn thing from. But after watching “Jurassic World” I kind of want to watch more of his things. Because this movie is really well-shot, everything looks terrific. And the visual effects look pretty damn great. This is the only sort of flaw I have with the movie and that is the over-reliance on CGI. The previous movies were all about making the dinosaurs look real, so they used am ix of animatronics and puppets together with some CGI to make really convincing dinosaurs. Not that the dinosaurs in this movie look bad, oh no, they all look terrific. I just miss the practical dinosaurs which they did used a little bit in one seen. And with no joking what so ever, the final act of this movie is pretty fucking fantastic. Especially the final action scene which I will not spoil as it is as great as it is. And I admit that there were two points in this movie that made me tear up. One of the moments was the one early on in the movie when they played the original “Jurassic Park” theme, it just brought up so many memories that I cried out of happiness. The second one I will not spoil because it’s pretty far into the movie and once again, happy tears. Also, did anyone else (who saw this) think the older of the two brothers kind of looks like a young James Franco?
nick-robinson

Seeing as this movie just came out I don’t havr too much to go by seeing as these scoes will change in the near future. But I will still show them here because I always do that. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 71% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

“Jurassic World” is a fun popcorn thriller that will keep you entertained. While not as good as the masterful original, it still beats the other sequels. It has an entertaining and thrilling plot, good characters, a good original score, good direction, excellent visual effects, entertaining action scenes and just an overall fun sense of adventure. Time for my final score. *Raaawr*. My final score for “Jurassic World” is a 9,86/10. I personally think it deserves the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
Seal of Approval

Review of “Jurassic World” is completed.

The park is open