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A mixed opinion about The Lion King 2019 (review)

Picture it! It’s 1994 and your mom buys you The Lion King. A coming of age story about a young overzealous cub ready to inherit the Pride Kingdom from his father. His inability to be patient and assess situations causes him to get into some sticky situations that his father has to get him out of. His naivety ends up causing the death of his father at the hands of his jealous uncle. And, after years of self-reflection, and a little help from love, he returns to his pride to release them from poverty and begin a new.

simba, the lion king 2019
Simba

That’s the story of The Lion King from 1994 and the “live-action” remake of 2019.

The animated film was amazing all those years ago and still is. Because of that my first instinct was to avoid seeing the remake at all costs.

Why reinvent the wheel, when all you have to do is buy a tire?

At least that was my opinion until I watched the film. The younger generation needed to see this story. The updated rendition carried the same charm and heartbreak with a few sprinkles of originality.

Some things threw me off. Like the clear inflection of the vocal actors, but the lack of expressions on the lion’s faces. But, because this isn’t an animated film per-say, I understand the challenge to add expression. I did appreciate the actors paying homage to the classic, yet adding their personality to the characters as well.

The CGI was great, the soundtrack remains amazing, and the cast did a great job. The tension between Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor)and Mufasa (James Earl Jones) will always be tragic. The ‘Can you feel the love tonight’ duet between Nala (Beyonce) and Simba (Donald Glover) was beautiful. And I can’t forget to mention the hyenas, played by Florence Kasuma, Keegan-Michael Key, and Eric Andre. They were really funny as well.

Seth Rogan and Billy Eichner as Timon and Pumbaa were a highlight of comedy. They started singing ‘Be Our Guest’ from Beauty and the Beast during the bait scene. It caught me off guard with delight.

The Lion King is an epic story and now it can live on for generations to come.

Review: Men in Black: International (2019)

The fourth installment of the MIB franchise was what I expected it to be. It had a few nostalgic throwbacks, including the worms walking around MIB headquarters. It had a lot of action scenes shooting guns and riding space odyssey motorcycles. I was fond of subtle comedy moments, like when Agent H (Christ Hemsworth) was bitten by a three-headed snake and offered the enemy anything she wanted in return for the antidote. We cut to them in bed the next day… and she had tentacles so you get the drift of what happened.

The alien antagonists in the movie were played by Laurent Bourgeois and Larry Bourgeois. I’m sure they have decorated careers but I recognized them from their work with Beyonce. They had a special power that allowed them to manipulate objects. So that was a little surprise and of course, they had a dancing scene because aliens love a beat too!

Spoilers ahead

I’ll just give you the gist. The story surrounded a bright-eyed newbie (Agent M) and her semi-veteran cocky partner (Agent H) solving a mystery after a very important alien gets killed by the dancing twins at a club.

As a child, Agent M (Molly) escapes neuralization when an alien hides from the MIB in her garbage can.

I believe they called the alien a Teranchan.

This sends her on a mission to join the MIB in a movie montage until she finds out the address to the organization and shows up dressed as an agent.

Eventually, she links up with Agent H who hasn’t been the same since a run in with the big bad Hive 3 years prior. They go on a routine night out with a royal alien named Vungus the Ugly, but he gets killed by the dancing alien twins.

Turns out they were looking for a crystal, which Vungus entrusts to Agent M while he’s dying because he feels Agent H has changed. Vungus tells Agent M there is a mole in MIB and now she has to figure out who. Agent M shares this information with Agent H and together they try to find out who.

At first, it seems like the mole is Agent C because he is just too annoying not to be involved. But, later it’s proven that he’s actually just a stickler for the rules and takes his job very seriously.

Agent H and M figure out that the crystal given to them by Vungus is the most powerful weapon in the universe and it was created to be used on the Hive which is why the alien twins are trying to steal it. But, Riza, Agent H’s ex-girlfriend, has a henchman (an alien disguised as a beard) steal it first so they have to go to her hideout and get it.

Side note: Apparently in the past, Agent H was originally meant to infiltrate Riza’s ranks and take her down, but he fell in love with her so things got confusing. So his first encounter with her since then is when he arrives to try to recover the crystal.

They end up getting the crystal back because the teranchan alien that met agent M as a child turns out to be one of Riza’s lieutenants and he does her a solid.

Agent M and H get approached by the alien twins again, but they are blasted to kingdom come by Hight T (Agent H’s previous partner and current Chief of the International division of MIB).

How did he know they were there?

Later, while Agent M and H are being celebrated, High T disappears and Agent C helps them realize High T is the mole.

Plot twist, High T neuralized Agent H to hide his identity and to hide the fact that the Hive was never defeated 3 years prior. In fact, High T is a member of the Hive and means to bring them to earth.

Agent M and H save the day and all is well. Agent H becomes MIB’s London branch chief and they live happily ever after.

We also find Agent J during the end-credit scene. So there will probably be a sequel.

Overall

As I mentioned before, MIB was a good movie to watch. It had a lot of action sequences, funny moments, and a story you could follow without a lot of thought. I’d recommend this movie if you are looking for an easy going film that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

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