Film Round-Up: Little, Shaft, The Lion King and Alita: Battle Angel

Special edition with four reviews!

Little

Jordan Sanders is an absolute arsehole to everyone and so gets cursed to turn into a 12-year-old girl. Basically, this is a reverse of Big. And you know something, it’s not the worst thing in the world. This is no groundbreaking comedy and you’ll see a lot of the jokes coming from a mile away but everything is ably performed. Marsai Martin, who plays Jordan when she is a child, is very good and I can see her becoming a big star in future with the right movies under her belt. The movie gets plenty of laughs and you don’t ever get bored. It’s no where near great though with there being too much cringe humour for my liking but it could have been far worse.

Shaft

A sort of reboot/sequel to the other two Shaft movies where the youngest Shaft seeks out his father to help him discover the truth of the death of one of his best friends. Have you seen that Simpsons joke of ‘Old Man Yells at Cloud’? This is the movie adaptation of that joke, except the Old Man Yells at Cloud is the good guy we’re meant to sympathise with. This is such a dated movie where the lead character is constantly berated for not being a man. A definition of being a man in this movie is being closed off emotionally, fucking every woman you see and killing people mercilessly. And the movie portrays this as an idea we should agree with, especially with young Shaft’s transformation into his dad by the end. This is a movie that feels like it’s from the early 2000s in all the wrong ways and is just unbearable to deal with. And it’s not as if I’m some ultra-PC person, I’ll laugh at a tasteless joke along with the next person. But this sort of attitude paired with very bland action is unacceptable in 2019.

The Lion King

Simba is forced into exile after his father is killed by the villainous Scar but must return in order to take his rightful throne as the Lion King. Here is my review of Aladdin. It is of course a very different movie but the main point that review, and my Beauty and the Beast review from a few years back for that matter, applies to this movie too. What’s the point? This movie isn’t bad, the CGI is a technical marvel and the songs still pop, other than a butchered version of Be Prepared anyway. The story still works and while it’s rushed, the general theme of responsibility still hits home. But what’s the point? The original movie from the 1990s has not aged at all, it is still fantastic and Disney keep releasing it on DVD every few months so it’s easy to get hold of. This remake adds nothing so instead of paying a load of money to watch this, grab the Lion King DVD on DVD or Blu-Ray during your next supermarket shop.

Alita: Battle Angel

After being rebuilt, cyborg Alita tries to discover who she is find the memories she has lost. By all accounts, this should be another Valerian. A beautiful movie but one that gets lost in a complicated plot that make no sense unless you’ve read all manga it’s based on. Ok Valerian was based on acomic book but the point stands. Yet while it is certainly rather cheesy and the Uncanny Valley is definitely in play with main character Alita, I did find myself enjoying this movie. It’s a big sci-fi mess that has way too many characters and also rushed but it never fails to be a fun ride. The movie looks great and the characters are just nice to be around. Alita is an incredibly fun character who despite being a cyborg, feels completely human. Christoph Waltz is just a nice guy as well, I just like being in this world with these people. So yes very flawed but if you like unapologetic sci-fi, very fun as well.

Former Head of Movies for Screen Critics. Film Reviews now hosted on Medium.