Movie Reviews

Hamilton (2020)

hamilton-disney-poster-review-2020Director: Thomas Kail (Screenplay written by Lin-Manuel Miranda)

Genre: Musical, Biography, Drama, History

Runtime: 160 Minutes

Main Cast: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Renee Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Groff, Chris Jackson, Jasmine Cephas Jones

Plot: A recording of the live performance of the Broadway hit Hamilton from 2016, telling the story of one of America’s founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton.

My Thoughts: Every now and again I get the pleasure of watching something that I love so wholeheartedly, I find myself at a complete loss for words. I tried to write my post earlier in the week but it turned into a 500+ word ramble about a musical play I was in as a kid, I’m all for going off topic every now and again (hence the blog name) but this was too much, so you can look forward to that in a future post of its own soon. So back on track. I’ve never been a theatre person. When I went to New York for my honeymoon my husband and I made the effort to see a show on Broadway, how can you not? We chose Finding Neverland because it was a) Disney and b) a musical, and we had such a good time. So yes, Hamilton was a must when it got released on Disney+.

My knowledge of American history all comes down to one of my favourite ever games, Assassins Creed III. I know enough to know who the main characters in Hamilton are and how the story goes, which was handy. As for the show itself, I knew nothing at all. When the first song started with that hip hop vibe (I sound 900 saying that) I was really taken aback, but oh boy, it goes so well. There isn’t a single song in the whole performance that didn’t make me want to get up and cheer.

So there you have it, a review that tells you next to nothing useful. Not that I write ‘proper’ reviews anyway but…just go and watch Hamilton.

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Best Bit: I feel like every new song became my favourite song, but the ones that stick out the most to me are My Shot, You’ll Be Back, Right Hand Man, What’d I Miss, Cabinet Battle #1…okay you get my point. I tried to only pick my favourites and it’s still a long list.

Worst Bit: If I tried to fault it at all, the only thing I can think of it that the second half feels slower than the first, but it still contains some epic moments, and the finale itself is just beautiful.

Fun Trivia: The cost of filming the show in June 2016 for later exhibition as an independent movie was financed by its three main producers for less than $10 million. In February 2020, Disney paid $75 million for the worldwide rights to release it, believed to be the largest price ever paid for a single film acquisition. Other studios that expressed interest in the film rights included Warner Bros. Pictures, 20th Century Fox (which would eventually be acquired by Disney) and Netflix.

My Rating: A full 5 copies of Assassin’s Creed III which gave me all the background knowledge of American history I needed to understand what was actually going on.

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Movie Reviews

Frozen II (2019)

frozen-2-movie-poster-review-2019Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Musical

Runtime: 103 Minutes

Main Cast: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, Jason Ritter

Plot: Since the events of Frozen (2013), the city of Arendelle is peaceful. That is, until Elsa begins hearing a strange sound calling her to en enchanted forest surrounded by fog. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, the group travel into the unknown.

My Thoughts: I didn’t actually want to write a review for Frozen II to begin with, because as much as I loved it, all I find myself talking about is the bits I didn’t like, and I knew anything I wrote would become a whinge fest. So I want to push out all these positives first. Yes, I was really looking forward to it. Yes, I had an absolute blast watching it! But I didn’t love it as much as the original, and without trying to sound like a hipster, I loved the original before the hype took off.

It largely comes down to two things. The songs were nowhere near as good as the first. I may have had 6 years to listen to the original soundtrack compared with a week for the sequel, but with the exception of Lost In The Woods none of the other songs stuck with me. Elsa gets two powerful numbers this time around but neither are Let It Go. Olaf gets another song of his own showcasing his hilarious naivety, but it’s not as catchy as In Summer. My other gripe is with Anna. She’s my favourite character, and I was really hoping she would get the chance to shine this time around, but her only purpose was to follow Elsa around and beg her to do everything together.

See – I told you I was going to sound negative! It’s still a brilliant movie, though. The plot is more complex and it’s a much more mature story, which is perfect because those little kids who fell in love with the original are teenagers now. My littlest brother sang Olaf’s song in a talent competition when he was 11 years old – and now he’s too cool to even watch Frozen II!

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Best Bit: As much as I loved Kristoff’s cheesy musical number, nothing at all beats Olaf explaining the plot of the original movie. In fact, I would quite happily watch an Olaf recap of any sequel movie, ever. Disney – can you get Josh Gad on the case of summing up The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi for us?

Worst Bit: I saw what you were trying to do, Disney. You know how much we love that snowman and you wanted to make us cry. But nothing will be sadder than “some people are worth melting for” and so my eyes stayed dryer than the desert that John Wick had to trek through.

Fun Trivia: Exactly like its predecessor Frozen (2013), the final line of the film is Elsa asking “Are you ready?”

My Rating: 3 and a half Oscars that Lost In The Woods deserves for Best Original Song in February!

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