2019 summer movies to watch


[Photo Courtesy of South China Morning Post]


By Sharon L. (’22)  
The long anticipated live action remake of Disney’s 1992 animated film “Aladdin” was released on May 24, 2019 in Taiwan. Directed by Guy Ritchie, and starring Will Smith, Naomi Scott and Mena Massoud, this movie turned out to be a huge success. 

The basic plot of this remake remains true to the original. Aladdin (played by Mena Massoud) is a young thief who is forced to retrieve a magical lamp from the Cave of Wonders for Jafar (Marwan Kenzari), the advisor of the Sultan. Aladdin is then granted three wishes from the Genie of the lamp (played by Will Smith) and therefore decides to turn himself into a prince in hopes of winning the heart of Princess Jasmine (played by Naomi Scott). Upon discovering Jafar’s evil intentions, Aladdin and Jasmine work together to save the kingdom from the rule of Jafar. 
The highlights of this movie are no doubt the catchy songs, which are sung by the actors themselves. Most of the songs in this remake are similar to the ones in the original, including A Whole New World, Arabian Nights and One Jump Ahead. However, there is also a new song called Speechless that was added to the movie, sung by Naomi Scott. This song really added a lot more depth to Jasmine’s character and personality. Throughout the movie, Jasmine is often pressured by her father, the Sultan, to marry a Prince. She is told that it is better for her to be “seen and not heard” because of the fact that she is a woman, even though she has what is takes to rule over her people. This song powerfully brings out her frustration towards not being heard, and also showcases her strong personality. 
Besides the songs, the actors of this movie did an impressive job of bringing out their own interpretation of the characters. Will Smith, who plays the Genie, adds a humorous tone to the entire film. While Mena Massoud adds a lot more complexity to his role as Aladdin.
Thus, Aladdin teaches us that true wealth and strength comes from within, and that we shouldn’t have to change ourselves in order to see our worth. This movie is for all who enjoy watching musicals and also adventure or fantasy movies. 

Lion King

By Sharon L. (’22)  
“Lion King” is another one of Disney’s live-action remakes, released on July 17, 2019 in Taiwan. The movie was directed by Jon Favreau and starred Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen. 

The plotline of the story, like Aladdin, is exactly the same as the original. However, a new technology using virtual reality to create realistic animations was used to make this movie. This technology, creating stunning visuals could be the start of a new era for the entertainment industry, as many other movies could be made realistically unlike before. 
Despite the gorgeous visuals, this remake seemed to pale a bit in comparison to the original. While the movie seemed to be an exact replica of the original, I felt that it was slightly disappointing as there were no new elements incorporated, making the movie lack uniqueness. 
However, aside from that, this new version of Lion King had an amazing voice ensemble. The remake of the songs, including Circle of Life, Can You Feel The Love Tonight, and I Just Can’t Wait To Be King were all engaging and exciting. 
Overall, Lion King would definitely be a great movie to watch with friends and family, as a way to relive childhood memories. 

Spider-Man: Far From Home

By Amber W. (’23) 
Directed by Jon Watts, Spider-Man: Far From Home is the thrilling finale that ended Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Unfortunately, it is also the last movie featuring the character in the universe. It is the fourth-highest-grossing movie of 2019, passing the 1.1 billion mark. 

After the events in Avengers: Endgame, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) goes on a trip with the students who have died during the snap and “blipped” back. He mourns for the death of his mentor, Tony Stark or Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), and is hesitant to save the world as he wants to spend time with his crush MJ (Zendaya).This leads him to make mistakes that he must fix.
Believing what is right or wrong is the most important theme in the movie. For example, Peter believed in the illusions created by Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), leading him to give out secrets that he wasn’t supposed to. Furthermore, the video showed in the mid-credit scene is an edited video with false information, which many people would believe. In the next movie, Peter would have to face the public, defending himself for the accusations placed on him. The false information portrayed in the movie is relatable nowadays as the media throws out false information to the world, causing many conflicts. Many people send biased messages to others in order to gain power and fame. This scene in the movie is clearly telling the media in the world that change needs to occur. 
Personally, I felt that the most memorable scene in the movie was when Peter talks to Tony’s former bodyguard, Happy (Jon Favreau) about what he feels. They share a moment where they both reveal that they grieve the death of Tony, and Peter finally stands up, declaring that he will fight Mysterio. All until then, Peter had been trying to avoid saving the world and it is the conversation about Stark that makes him determined to take Mysterio down. 
The only disappointing part of the movie was that it didn’t hint the future of Spider-Man. Although the mid-credits scene reveals very shocking details, it does not include how it would answer what would happen next to Peter outside of the MCU. The movie does not round up his journey in the universe and leaving Spider-Man out of the universe would make the new story-line very confusing. 
Spider-Man: Far From Home is an emotional and exciting journey for a teenager in the MCU. Unlike the other movies, it explores how a teenager grieves over a person who they loved and to find who they really are.