When news broke that Into the Woods, one of the most popular works by the immensely celebrated Stephen Sondheim, would be made into a movie, there was plenty of excitement to go around. When that news included the fact that it would be produced by Walt Disney Studios, however, that excitement was more than a little dampened. Many fans, myself included, were worried that the squeaky clean company with a penchant for glossing over (or straight-up re-writing) anything objectionable in a fairy tale would make drasticchanges to the musical and its very adult overtones.
When Playbill released some comments Sondheim made regarding the film’s production, it seemed all our fears were realized.
You know, I thought that this looked like a good movie until I found out that, like Rise of the Guardians, Epic is based on a children’s book by William Joyce.
I now think that this looks like a great movie. Yeah, I’ll admit that I have a lot of problems with RotG, but they were all forgivable and can be easily overlooked in light of the bigger picture that the story tells. They’re annoying, but they don’t ruin the experience. And that gives me hope for Epic.
The summary for the movie from Wikipedia is as follows:
A young girl named Mary Katherine lives in a cabin in the woods with her father and dog. Her father, Professor Bomba, has long studied a group of warriors who live in the forest and protect it as guardians of good. He often will go into the forest and survey them.
One day, the professor does not return from a hike in the forest, so Mary Katharine sets out to look for him. Hours later, she comes upon a group of glowing, falling leaves. Catching one of them, she is suddenly shrunken down. In her miniscule state, she discovers the group of warriors Prof. Bomba has studied, who are known as the Leafmen. Soon she is forced to assist them in a war against forces of evil known as the Boggans and their villianious leader Mandrake, while trying to find out how to return home.
Awesome! So this is going to be like FernGully, except with a gender reversal. Well, that’s not too bad. Avatar was a rip off of FernGully among others, and it was okay, I suppose. But think of it like this: RotG was about Jack Frost teaming up with Santa Claus to defeat the Boogeyman. And that’s still a good movie.
What I love about William Joyce’s works, from what little I have read of them, is his ability to take stories that everyone already knows on some level and put a unique twist on it. Little-forest-people stories have been told before to varying degrees of success. Normally, we call little forest people ‘faeries’. But as I said, this comes from William Joyce. And though I’m not familiar with as many of his works as I’d like to be, I know enough about them that I’m more than willing to give Epic a chance. And hey, it’s going to have a female lead, and we don’t get too many of those.
I do still harbor some concerns though. I mean, Epic is about little forest people.
I’ve been hearing about this movie for some time now, and after watching fan trailers over and over again, seeing an actual trailer made my week:
So I’m not going to lie. I’m not the biggest fan of The Mortal Instruments. It’s entertaining, and much better than something like Twilight, but it’s less of a “OMG I have to read it to know what happens” series and more of a “did my friend finish the books yet so she could tell me how it ends” series. But it does have its positives. Despite Clary being an obvious self-insert for Cassandra Clare, she did have a personality. I could tell she was an artist by the way she describes things, and I really like the characters Magnus and Alec. So it does have some good qualities to it.
As a whole, The Mortal Instruments is a unique idea, and while I’m not a fan of the romance in it—like how Clary falls in love with Jace in about a week—it definitely has its moments.
Speaking of Jace, you know what I hate about characters like him going from books to the big screen? Remember all the obnoxious Twilighters who got butthurt because Robert Pattinson didn’t meet their expectations of hotness? Yeah, I expect to hear the same thing about Jace, only on a much smaller level.
This is the problem with writing a “hot” character. No actor will ever appease everyone’s different criteria.
Anyway, I’m really looking forward to this movie. And I hope it does well. Although, that’s more because if I’m not going to finish the series by reading it, watching it is the next best thing.
I have a confession to make, everyone: I love the musical Les Miserables more than I have loved any stage show ever, bar none. It was the first musical that made me cry; I spent my final years of grade school and the beginning of high school independently studying the history of revolutionary and Napoleonic France because of my love of it; I have read the unabridged original novel by Victor Hugo (at a whopping 1463 pages) far more times than is normal or possibly healthy. I actually cried with joy onstage when I had the opportunity to perform in a student production.
So when I heard they were finally making a movie adaptation of this driving force in my life, I had ALL THE FEELINGS. Musical to movie adaptations are a mixed bag to be sure, usually only appealing to people who were fans of the musical to begin with, and often starring actors chosen for their fame rather than for their ability to sing. I’M LOOKING AT YOU, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA MOVIE. And when you get the original cast instead, they’ve usually aged a decade or so and a suspension of disbelief is required when you see them playing twenty-somethings. I’M LOOKING AT YOU, RENT MOVIE.
So here’s the cast list so far:
And can I say? I’m actually pretty confident about it. The only person who makes me worried at this point is Russell Crowe, because I simply don’t know if he has the vocal chops (or the muttonchops, har har) to carry the really awesome and important role of Javert. I know that Jackman will be amazing as Valjean, though; Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter will be tremendous as the skeevy Thenardiers. And, when I looked up that cast list just now my little Mizzie heart just leapt in my chest with happiness, because the original cast’s Valjean, Colm Wilkinson, is playing the Bishop of Digne.
So this isn’t coming out for a while and the cast has only very recently become more than a thing of speculation. And I haven’t seen any set shots or trailers yet that give me a feel for how those things will or will not emulate the musical. But I’m hoping that it’s all-star cast will both do justice to the score AND bring the pure wonderfulness of Les Miserables to a wider movie-going audience. My fingers are crossed, and the stars in their multitudes have been wished upon.
Here, have a ludicrously high-res and ludicrously AWESOME movie poster for the road.