Encanto (2021) reached into the hearts of millions with its music, stunning animation, and how no one talks about Bruno-no-no-no. Forever Fangirls discuss the good, the bad, the cute… and of course we dare to talk about Bruno.
If you could prevent the suffering of humanity, would you do it, or would you follow orders? That’s the dilemma the Eternals face. Living on Earth for 7000 years, they’ve never interfered with anything. Not even Thanos’s snap. But with the world on the brink of destruction, what will they do? The Eternals film answers those questions, but it is worth the watch? Forever Fangirls streams the Disney+ movie to find out.
This year has been very… different. Due to the coronavirus, the entertainment industry found new ways to give us entertainment and further their streaming services. HBO launched all Warner Brothers films on day one, later in the year they released in theaters at the same time. Disney+ housed a premier access model. For an additional fee, you could see a few select fils that were released in the summer. They changed the model later in the year to allow for a 45 day lag between the theatrical release and when it was available via streaming. We like this recent model and hope it continues.
Note: There is a tie for first place. So technically there are 6… because why not.
1. Free Guy (Tie)
Who doesn’t feel like an NPC (Non-Playable Character) in real life sometimes? It’s why video games and social media have become lifelines during the pandemic. They allow us to live the idealistic version of ourselves and interact with others. Behind the wonderful effects remains a story with a lot of heart. You can be the good guy and be exactly who you were meant to be. You just need to have faith in yourself and take the chance.
1. Gunpowder Milkshake (Tie)
Of all the films released this year, Gunpowder Milkshake hit every mark. We’re not sure if it was the cast, if we were in the right frame of mind when we watched it, or if it was just that good to us. Either way, we would (and have) watched it more than once. It’s just that entertaining. Make a bowl of popcorn and just enjoy the spectacle of the entire feature.
The first Disney entry on our list is one that took us by surprise. Emma Stone was spectacular in the leading role and gave us everything we could want and more from the character of Cruella. The film suffers from some CGI issues that could not be ignored after a while, but overall, the film was really enjoyable. We understand many fans out there don’t want villains to have backstories, but we like them. Villains shouldn’t be one dimensional people. As Kevin Bachelder has said many times, “villains are the heroes of their own stories.” We really enjoy seeing them.
3. Black Widow
The Marvel film fans have been clamouring for finally released in 2021 and did not disappoint. Natasha Romanoff’s origin story gave us a truly heartbreaking film with funny moments. Between Yelena’s pose comments, and her subsequent disgust over using it, to the secret whistle between sisters, Black Widow had action, emotion, and comedy. Its biggest downfall was twofold. First, it felt really late to the MCU. The fans have been asking for an origin story for years and it felt that without the events of Endgame, this might never have happened. Second, the after credit scene felt like it cheapened the entire story and made it about one of the original Avengers. Everything fans were irritated about regarding Black Widow being overlooked or minimized was reinforced.
4. Raya & the Last Dragon
Raya & the Last Dragon had everything one could want in a fun Disney film. The battle for bringing an entire community together with dragons is a fun family film. Plus, Tuk Tuk is absolutely adorable. Where is seems to stall is in the overly idealistic overtones that were formulaic to a fault. With so much available in the story, we wanted more beyond the obvious message. Overall, it’s an enjoyable watch with stunning visuals with amazing actor portrayals.
5. Sweet Girl
Another surprise film was Netflix’s Sweet Girl. We’ve seen Jason Momoa in action films before, but never one like this. Playing a father and husband who fights to help his wife fight cancer. After insurance companies get involved, so do the conspiracies and back door dealings. The story isn’t perfect and requires some suspension of disbelief; however, the ending was something we did not see coming. That’s saying something for Kimberly, who usually sees twists in plot lines from a mile away.
Like we said, this year has been different from years past. The truth is, theaters are still not back to where they were before the pandemic. We don’t know if the larger 20+ screen multiplexes are approaching the end of an era. Maybe theatrical releases with the 45 day window before streaming services and VOD will be the new norm. With TV’s, sound systems, and theater seats wildly available, the landscape is quickly transforming.
So, what will 2022 bring? We’re unsure, but what we do know is that we cannot wait to cover the upcoming films for you.
Jungle Cruise (Dwayne Johnson & Emily Blunt) is another ride turned into a movie by Disney, but was it worth… the ride? With an A-List cast, was the film able to capture the magic that Pirates of the Caribbean so successful? Forever Fangirls dives in to review this highly anticipated film.
NOTE: Sheila mentions the release year as 2020. That was the ORIGINAL release year. Jungle Cruise was released in July 2021.
Black Widow, the first and seemingly only Natasha Romanoff solo film, takes place between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. Long overdue, this film puts one of the original avengers in her own spotlight. Did the film treat the character with the respect she deserved? Was it too little, too late? Forever Fangirls reviews the film and its place in the MCU.
WandaVision, airing exclusively on Disney+, mixes old style television sitcoms with superheroes, family, villains, and themes of love, loss and life. Join Forever Fangirls as they delve into the heart of WandaVision, what they liked, disliked, and how it hit Sheila right in the feels.
Fantastic Four (2015) streaming on Disney+ should have launched the reboot of the series brilliantly. Instead, we ended up looking back at the 2005 film and its sequel Rise of the Silver Surfer in 2007 for the quality we missed. While those two films fared better in reviews and box office, that isn’t saying much. In both cases, the storylines were thin, the acting seemed forced and some of the dialogue was flat.
We understand that any good reboot needs a proper origin story. There must be a balance of development, action, and drama to blend into a film that resonates with the audience. You’ll have detractors no matter how you present it, but you aim for the common denominator. One only needs to look at the success of Captain Marvel (2019) to see how the formula works. True, Fantastic Four was released three years prior, but Marvel was successfully launching origin stories of Iron Man (2008), Thor (2011), and Captain America (2011) before this. Captain Marvel was the first female led film, and it proved, decisively, that even controversial casting, film topics, etc, can become blockbusters with the proper execution of said formula.
This film seemed to miss the superhero film workshop. It is slow. It has so much development going on before the action actually begins that by the time it does, you no longer care. You have a young, engaging cast that can’t liven up dialogue that is flat and meaningless. The entire execution from start to finish lacked anything viable to make this a successful film.
All one has to do in the 2015 reboot is look at the last scene of the film. Ben (Jamie Bell) says “it was Fantastic” and Reed (Miles Teller) immediately jumps on the word for their moniker. It was a throwaway line that summarized exactly what this film became… an opportunity thrown away by lackluster execution.
Raya and the Last Dragon hit Disney + in 2021. The film is the story of a warrior named Raya who must find the last dragon to save all of Kumandra. With strong female leads, like Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan and Sandra Oh, the film already had Forever Fangirls attention. It only seemed fitting they review it.
Cruella hit theaters and Disney Plus Premier Access in May 2021. The movie centers around Estella who dreams of being a fashion designer. Through grit, determination, and a little grifting, she lands her dream job. It’s then her life unravels into the truth about who she truly is – Cruella.