5.8.15.LisaMason

Husband Tom’s birthday was two weeks ago, now, so I’m just getting around to comment on the movies we viewed during his birthday week: Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (GoG2), Wonder Woman (WW), and Beauty and the Beast (B&B). A wonderful time was had by all.

If you’re streaming movies for the holidays, all are recommended (with tiny quibbles).

What do these three very different movies have in common—besides all being SFF movies?

–Dancing. A man (or a man-creature) and a woman (or a green-skinned alien woman) dancing. Dancing is enjoyable to do, enjoyable to watch. Dancing is a physical and visual metaphor for love. Not a lot of dancing in GoG2 and WW, quite a lot in B&B.

–And nontraditional (or “broken”) families, with an absent parent in GoG2 and WW, or a dead parent in B&B. The broken family proves to be a significant plot point for all three movies. Hmm.

GoG2 is a tad too filled with sound and fury signifying nothing. And who knew a movie like this would climax with a tear-jerker ending? For a character we don’t give a rat’s ass about until his last line, “He may have been your father, but I was your daddy.” <cry> Character logic question: Why would god-the-father, who by his own declaration is immortal, appear as Kurt Russell at sixty-ish? Why wouldn’t he appear to his son as the Kurt Russell of a foxy twenty-five, as he’s digitally remastered in the early sequence? Just askin’.

WW is a joy to behold. Gal Gadot was born to be WW, and we can only hope she won’t be irretrievably typecast—she’s a fine actress who has done other very different parts—but so be it. Tom said you feel like you know her, even though she’s a woman superhero. I’m glad to see the story developed from her early training—I can just hear New York editors yelling, “It’s too slow! Start it when she gets to Paris!” I’m a great believer in allowing a storyteller to tell her story. I also don’t mind that the movie is a bit long. For people viewing in public theaters, that could be a problem. In our home theater, the length of a movie—if it’s enjoyable and not boring—is not a problem. If we need to take bathroom breaks, second helping breaks, more wine breaks—we just press Pause. Niggling plot point question: why does our hero/love interest/Chris Pine have to blow up the plane with the poison gas and himself? Can’t he just land the plane somewhere safe, have the Allies deal with the poison gas, and live to love Wonder Woman another day? Vaguely disappointed with the Unhappily Ending.

B&B is also a joy to behold. Who knew Emma Watson could sing? The story stays remarkably true to the original fairytale, which I recently reread. The classic fairytale hits hard on poverty versus wealth, ugliness versus beauty, faithlessness versus family loyalty. The fantasy dance sequences look dazzlingly like a classic Forties dance extravaganza. My only quibble? And this probably says more about me. The Beast is more exciting than the little blond-haired prince.

So there you have it, my friends.

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