Quick Reviews: Beauty & the Beast, Ghost in the Shell, Boss Baby

beauty beast ghost in shell boss baby malaysia


Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Verdict: There are only a few things I didn’t dislike about this unnecessary live action remake of the already morally questionable Disney “classic” — CGI and voice actors of the objects, added-on backstories for the main characters and effective nostalgia by the memorable music (thankfully not ruined). The film’s pacing is too rushed in the first act and then it oddly adds unnecessary new songs in scenes that do not need them. The Beast is tamer, the romance is somewhat less convincing than the original and Emma Watson’s portrayal as Belle is highly unlikable. She seems like a stuck-up, gold-digging hipster here with unengaging, overly polished, autotuned vocals.

Needless to say, this remake failed to be an improvement from the original like Jungle Book (2016), and also lacks the magic it needs to look beyond the fact that this young girl fell in love with a bad-tempered beast who impressed her with his “expensive education” and a huge library that only a prince could afford, instead of a handsome war hero who wanted her not because there was a curse to break.

Second opinion: My girlfriend said it’s not as bad as she was expecting it to be and that it’s better than the Disney’s live action remake of Cinderella (2015).

Malaysian censorship: After all that hoo-ha about the supposed “gay scene”, Disney Malaysia managed to release the film here without cutting any scene, and rightfully so. But whether or not the film is completely uncensored, I’m not sure.

Rating: 2 / 5

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Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Verdict: Ironically. this live action adaptation of the classic Japanese manga/anime has less “ghost” than “shell”. Although it’s definitely one of the better Hollywood adaptations of a manga/anime, it’s unfortunately more looks than substance. Certain exact scenes from the original are well reproduced to live action but the rest are altered to suit the general audience of the intended mass market, resulting a somewhat boring, CGI-filled sci-fi flick with poor character development, lazy writing and typically unengaging slomo action sequences. And to force a PG13, it’s made to be graphically mild compared to the source material. Despite good performances by Scarlett Johannson (as the protagonist Major Mira) and Michael Pitt (as Kuze), the film comes across as this messy mashup between RoboCop, V for Vendetta and Blade Runner/Total Recall.

What I would’ve named the film: “Brain in the Robot Body”

Malaysian censorship: After cross-checking with Kids-In-Mind.com, it seems that a few scenes were cut and some from the trailers didn’t make it to the final cut.

Rating: 2.5 / 5

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The Boss Baby (2017)

Verdict: Despite the typical family animated film cliches and flawed narrative approach (imagination in an imagination in a story), Boss Baby is surprisingly adorable and entertainingly packed with humour that even adults would enjoy, especially if you’re familiar with pop culture references all the way from the music of The Beatles to the classic film Glengarry Glen Ross (which Alec Baldwin, who voiced the titular role, starred in and he parodises his own iconic line here) — though sometimes it doesn’t quite make sense at all. If it weren’t because of the weak emotional payoff and the lack of convincing moral values, Boss Baby could’ve been better than just a decent comedy.

Second opinion: My girlfriend felt it was quite funny as well.

Malaysian censorship: The film is rated P13 here and the baby’s full frontal is censored with mosaic. Come on, it’s a family animation and that character’s a baby, not child pornography.

Rating: 3 / 5

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