Popcorn Perspectives – Week of March 25, 2019

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of March 25, 2019

Dumbo
Rated PG for peril/action/some thematic elements, and brief mild language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 48%
In Theaters

Having grown up on Disney’s 1941 animated classic, I was quite excited to see what director Tim Burton could do with a live-action version. In this new version, gone are the songs we know and love, as well as the talking animals. Instead, Dumbo is just a baby elephant with big ears and the ability to fly. When it gets out that he can fly, a sinister villain steps in to exploit the magical creature. On its own, without the existence of the original, this might not be such a bad film. I was disappointed with the lack of any kind of emotion from the children, and, honestly, the poor acting from the very talented cast, but the special effects and storytelling at the very least make the movie interesting and somewhat engaging. But this film doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and even though the classic is now 80 years old, I would bet there is hardly a kid alive that didn’t enjoy and cherish it during their childhood. So with so many fond memories from so many people, I just don’t see why they had to mess with it so much. If an elephant can fly, why can’t animals talk? And sing? Sure there are some scenes that might need changing, like the racist crows or the drunken dreams, but a more faithful recreation with some creative enhancements would have been a vast improvement from this production. And with one of the most imaginative minds in Hollywood directing, I’m disappointed that we didn’t get a much more enchanted experience. C

If Beale Street Could Talk
Rated R for language and some sexual content
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%
Available on Disc and Streaming

I have to admit that I was shocked when this stunning film from Moonlight director Barry Jenkins didn’t make the final cut for an Oscar nomination for best picture, but I was thrilled when they at least gave Regina King the well-deserved trophy for best supporting actress. The story, set in 1970’s Harlem, follows a young couple in love (KiKi Layne and Stephan James) who are about to start a family when a corrupt cop charges James with a rape that he couldn’t have possibly committed. So instead of focusing on their life together, Kiki and her mother (Regina King) must sacrifice their lives in an attempt to clear his name. The story itself is authentically crafted, providing a sense of empathy for its audience as they start to understand the gravitas of what many in our country have had to struggle with for decades. But equally important is the artistic presentation that flows like visual poetry as the cinematography, storytelling and music weave their way into your heart. A

Aquaman
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 65%
Available on Disc and Streaming

While we’ve seen Jason Momoa as Aquaman twice before, Warner Brothers and DC decided to finally give him his origin story. Starting from the moment of conception onward, we find out everything we need to know about little Arthur Curry and how he becomes king of the sea. Thanks to HBO’s show Entourage, Aquaman for a decade has been more of a Hollywood joke than a possibility, but The Conjuring director James Wan took on the challenge and the results brought in big-time bucks at the box office. The film does have its problems, especially in its lame human villain Black Manta, who comes off as a boring Lex Luther wannabe. Also, due to a quest Aquaman must go on to achieve his destiny, the film meanders into unnecessary directions. But due to the charismatic and extremely fun-to-watch Momoa, the movie turns out to be rather enjoyable. While it isn’t nearly as good as the Wonder Woman genesis movie, both have proved to be a vast improvement over the Justice League flicks we’ve seen so far. B-

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