Hello, everyone! It’s One Of Us’ weekly article series, “The Weekly Wrap-Up.” Covering everything from film announcements to comic books, “The Weekly Wrap-Up” ensures that the biggest stories of the week are analyzed and discussed by our team of writers. This week we cover the recent Toho Godzilla news, Disney’s live-action Mulan and a certain honey loving bear. Be sure to read what else you might have missed this week!
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney is developing a live-action version of 1998’s Mulan. Loosely based on the ancient Chinese poem, Mulan follows a young woman who tqkes her father’s place in the military by disguising herself as a man. Overtime, she is trained to become a skilled warrior and eventually defeats an army of invading Huns. Unlike most of Disney’s princess centric films, Mulan stood out due to its heroine and cast of Asian characters.
While one could certainly argue about the quality of Disney’s recent live-action adaptations of their animated films, no one can deny that Maleficent and Cinderella weren’t box office juggernauts. With adaptations of Beauty and Beast and Dumbo also in production, it’s reasonable to guess that Mulan is being developed to appeal to Asian viewers, specifically Chinese audiences.
My greatest fear about this project is that Disney might attempt to white-wash the cast. DreamWorks Studios has been marred in controversy for its choice to cast Scarlett Johannsson in the lead role of Major Motoko Kusanagi, a Japanese character, in their live-action Ghost in the Shell adaptation. While DreamWorks is not one of Disney’s production companies, would Disney dare attempt something similar by casting someone other than a Chinese or Asian actress in the lead role of Mulan? It’s obviously too early to say what they’re planning to do when it comes to casting, but it’s something that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
Poltergeist Trailer #2
Director Gil Kenan (Monster House) contemporizes the classic tale about a family whose suburban home is haunted by evil forces. When the terrifying apparitions escalate their attacks and hold the youngest daughter captive, the family must come together to rescue her before she disappears forever.
The second trailer for the Sam Raimi produced Poltergeist wastes no time revealing all the spooky activities occurring in the Bowen family’s wonderfully haunted home. You have the demon possessed clown-doll strangling children, glowing portals to alternate dimensions and a young girl communicating with the dead. That pretty much covers everything in a haunted house movie, right?
To be honest, the trailer did little for me. While I’m hardly a fan of ghost or haunted house films, Poltergeist’s trailers seem to be portraying all the ailments that are afflicting most modern day horror films. There’s a plethora of jump scares, an overabundance of CGI effects and seemingly pointless scenes of the ghosts showing off their supernatural powers. Nothing says “scary” more than a ghost making a pyramid of cards.
Poltergeist will be released in theaters May 22, 2015.
Toho Enlists Evangelion and Attack on Titan Directors for New Godzilla
With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound, The King of the Monsters will return to his hometown. Following the success of the Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, Toho announced that they would reprise the character for the first time since 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars. Godzilla 29 (which won’t be affiliated with Edwards’ second Godzilla film set for release in 2018) will be helmed by Hideaki Anno (creator of the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion) and Shinji Higuchi (director of the upcoming live action adaptation of the anime Attack on Titan). Toho also revealed a teaser image (shown above) of Godzilla’s foot, but have yet to confirm if this version will be CG or feature a man in the suit like the older Toho films.
Personally, this all sounds like great news. 2014’s Godzilla received some divisive reception last summer, with it’s dour tone, thin human characters and surprising lack of the titular monster. So, it’ll be nice to have an alternative from Godzilla’s home turf to show an alternate way of bringing the giant lizard back to the screen. Admittingly, I’m not as familiar with the works of Hideaki Anno or Sinji Higuchi, but what I have seen of both Evangelion and Attack on Titan shows that they know how to give an appropriate sense of scale and creative madness to the kaiju genre. I am still curious as to whether Toho will have full on CG monsters or maybe lean back into their roots with a combination of old school suits and CG. While I’m not against the idea of Godzilla being CG, it would be nice to see Toho differentiate themselves with a more traditional big budget production like Edwards’ film. Only time will tell if we’ll ever see greatness like this again;
Live Actin Winnie the Pooh
Yes, another classic Disney character is being remade in live action. This time, it’s Winnie The Pooh, the classic character originally created by author A.A. Milne in 1924 and adapted by Disney multiple times following their original short film Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree in 1966. This live action feature will depict an adult Christopher Robin rediscovering his childhood imaginary friends and is being written by Alex Ross Perry, the writer/director of last year’s Sundance hit Listen Up Philip.
Now, it’s easy to get cynical about this and I don’t blame anyone who does. Following the release of Maleficent and Cinderella as well as the myriad of recent live action adaptation announcements from Disney, I couldn’t blame anyone for feeling like Winnie the Pooh will be a heartless cash grab. That all being said… this idea has potential. Well, at least more potential than a Tim Burton directed live action Dumbo. The idea of Christopher Robin coming back to the childhood he left behind has some interesting merit to it. Seeing an older man clash and eventually embrace the childhood friends he once loved so dearly could have the potential for all sorts of emotional depth and bring the spirit of innocent yet fleeting fun that Milne and the earlier animated adaptations strived to keep intact. Plus, the positive word of mouth from Perry’s Listen Up Philip and it’s handling of manchild style post-adolescence could be perfectly suited for the material, as long as things don’t go too Hook or Burton’s Alice in Wonderland on us. Honestly, all they need is a scene like this to get the feels going;