Aladdin –  Animated vs Stage vs Live Action

aladdin disney live action posterThe Aladdin remake will be flying into theaters soon.  This will be Disney’s third version of this popular story, including the 2014 Broadway musical.  So how does it compare to its predecessors? Let’s find out.

NOTE:  Aladdin article contains SPOILERS.  

Aladdin Sidekicks

In the animated film, Aladdin has a monkey pal named Abu and an anthropomorphized magic carpet.  Princess Jasmine has a pet tiger named Rajah.

In the musical, Aladdin has a magic carpet but it does not high-five.  It mainly has one big moment — and you can guess what that is. Abu is missing from the stage version.  One can imagine how difficult it would be to train a small monkey for this part. Or how ridiculous a man in a monkey costume might look playing the role!  Similarly, Jasmine does not get her tiger. However, Aladdin does get three new human friends named Babkak, Omar, and Kassim who provide plenty of comic relief.  

In the live action movie, Rajah appears to be back.  And I’ve seen Abu and the magic carpet interacting with each other briefly in one promo.  

Sadly, Babkak, Omar, and Kassim were not included in the new film.

New Characters in Aladdin

The live action remake introduces two significant new characters not found in the musical or the animated film.  One is Dalia, Princess Jasmine’s loyal handmaiden and confidante, who provides some comic relief. The other is Prince Anders, a suitor and potential husband (yeah, right) for Jasmine from the kingdom of Skånland.  

Iago – Jafar’s Henchman

Jafar’s loud parrot henchman, an audience favorite, was voiced by Gilbert Gottfried in the original film.  

On Broadway, the role of Iago was originated by Don Darryl Rivera, and Iago is not a parrot but a human being.  He is still Jafar’s henchman.

In the new movie, Iago is a parrot again.  However, the character is voiced by Alan Tudyk.  It’s the first time the character has been voiced by someone other than Gottfried, who has been the voice of Iago since 1992.  Gottfried has voiced the character in movies, TV shows, video games, and even in a Disney World attraction.

will smith as the aladdin genieThe Genie

Robin Williams played the Genie in the animated film in one of his most beloved roles of all time.  Williams was already like a living cartoon character, and now he got to be one. The medium was the perfect vehicle for his manic energy and his gift for impersonation.    

On stage, the song “Friend Like Me” remains a showstopper — even with a live human being who only has the benefit of stage magic and back-up dancers.   (The televised Tony performance does not do justice to the effect of the full set and stage effects.) The actor does not wear blue paint on their body (think Elphaba in Wicked), but has a flashy blue outfit on instead.  He does not try to be Robin Williams because no one can replicate that performance. Rather, he puts his own spin on the character and finds his own way to make the Genie charming and larger than life.

Will Smith’s Genie is a mix of live-action and CGI and is even blue for part of the movie.  He is able to do things that can’t be done on stage — closer to the animated version.  It will be fun to see what the filmmakers do with this new version of the Genie that exists between live action and animation.

The Music of Aladdin

The original animated film is famous for the romantic ballad “A Whole New World” and the humorous “Friend Like Me.”  These are both previewed in the trailer for the new film, and footage has been released of Will Smith singing “Prince Ali.”

The track list for the new movie has not been released yet.  However, it’s safe to assume that most (if not all) of the songs from the original film will be reappear in the new one, including opening number “Arabian Nights” and “One Jump Ahead”.

The Broadway show contains these same songs, but also some new numbers, including “Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim” about the main character and his three troublemaker buddies.  

Other New Songs from the Musical Include:

“Proud of Your Boy”  (sung by Aladdin)

“A Million Miles Away” (sung by Aladdin and Jasmine )

“Diamond in the Rough” (sung by Jafar to convince Aladdin to get the lamp)

“High Adventure”  (sung by Babkak, Omar, and Kasim)

“Somebody’s Got Your Back” (sung by Aladdin to his friends)

The Cave of Wonders

(Note: From this point on, I am mostly comparing the animated film and the Broadway musical.  I have not been able to see the new movie yet, and there is still an embargo on reviews.)

In the animated version, Jafar seeks the lamp at the Cave of Wonders and is told only a diamond in the rough may enter, at the beginning of the film.  In the musical, this happens later in Act I after the audience has already met Aladdin and Jasmine.

In both versions, Jafar figures out Aladdin is the diamond in the rough, and Aladdin is captured by the palace guards after meeting Jasmine. Jafar uses him to try to get the lamp.  In the movie, Jafar disguises himself as an old man, and frees Aladdin and Abu before taking them to the cave. In the musical, Jafar keeps his original form and stops Aladdin from being executed.

In both versions, Aladdin is instructed to touch nothing but the lamp.

In the movie, Aladdin finds a magic carpet and Abu takes a jewel in addition to the lamp.  Aladdin and Abu rush to fly out of the collapsing cave on the carpet. They give the lamp to Jafar, who pushes them back into the cave, but not before Abu steals the lamp back.  In the musical, Aladdin is tempted to take some golden coins along with the lamp, and is trapped when the cave seals itself off.

In all three versions, this is when Aladdin rubs the lamp, meets the Genie, and Genie sings “Friend Like Me” by way of introduction.  Aladdin then tricks Genie into freeing him from the cave without using up one of his wishes.

aladdin magic carpet with jasminRomancing Jasmine

In both versions of the story, Jasmine escapes from the palace and visits Agrabah in disguise, where she meets Aladdin.  This is where the story begins. Aladdin’s first wish, even in the trailer for the newest movie, is to become a prince so that he can woo the princess.  (“There’s a lot of gray area in ‘Make me a prince.’”) Act II of the musical begins with “Prince Ali” — in which Genie and Aladdin’s three besties lead a parade announcing his arrival.  

It’s one of the highlights of the animated film as well, minus his friends. In both versions, Jasmine is angry when she overhears Prince Ali discussing her future with the Sultan. He makes it up to her with a magic carpet ride and one of the most romantic songs in Disney history (“A Whole New World”).  Only then does Jasmine recognize him as Aladdin. He lies and says he only dresses as a peasant to get away from everything, like she does.

will smith as genie in Aladdin and the live action disney remakeThree Wishes

Aladdin’s first wish is always to be a prince and he always promises Genie his last wish will be to set Genie free.  In both the animated and musical versions, Aladdin is captured by the palace guards immediately following the romantic interlude.  In the animated film, he is thrown into the sea. Genie decides that the unconscious Aladdin would want to use his second wish to be saved and rescues him.  

In the musical, Aladdin is arrested for impropriety. His three buddies storm the castle to rescue him..and end up in the dungeon as well. Aladdin uses his second wish to rescue them.  Aladdin meets the Sultan in the hall and he gives Aladdin his blessing to marry Jasmine. Overwhelmed at the responsibility of being Sultan one day, Aladdin goes back on his word, telling Genie he needs to save his last wish in case he needs it someday.  In the movie, Aladdin also refuses to free Genie, fearing he’ll lose Jasmine if the truth comes out.

In both versions, Jafar steals the lamp and becomes Genie’s new master.  Aladdin tricks Jafar into wishing to become an all-powerful Genie, and then traps him in the lamp.  

In the movie, Genie encourages Aladdin to use his final wish to regain his royal title so he can be with Jasmine.  However, Aladdin sets Genie free instead. The Sultan, seeing the nobility in Aladdin, then proclaims that the princess can marry whoever she wants.  

In the musical, Aladdin sets Genie free, saying he can’t pretend to be someone he’s not. The Sultan decrees the princess can marry whoever she wants.  Aladdin’s buddies are made royal advisers.

Final Aladdin Thoughts

There are a few ways the new movie may stand apart from its predecessors.  With Guy Ritchie directing (Snatch, Sherlock Holmes, Lock Stock), this is supposed to be the most action-packed version of Aladdin we’ve seen so far.  

Early rumors were that the story is supposed to be told non-linearly, which would also fit with Ritchie’s style.

Princess Jasmine gets more of a narrative arc.  Actress Naomi Scott told Reuters, “[Jasmine] finds her voice and she goes through a journey to find it. …I want little girls to see that.”  Some viewers have complained the film is about twenty minutes or so too long.  It is a half hour longer than the animated film, and does not have an intermission like the musical.  

Be sure to use the RunPee app to get Peetimes for Aladdin.  And if you’re riding your magic carpet to see Toy Story 4, The Lion King, and Artemis Fowl, we’ll have Peetimes for them too.  You can also follow us on Twitter and FaceBook @ RunPee for the latest movie and Peetime news. 

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Prepare for #Disney’s #Aladdin with this comparison of the animated film, the #Broadway #musical, and the live action #remake.  #GoldenMan will keep you one jump ahead with his cinema knowledge. #Genie #Jasmine #Iago #Jafar #Abu #MagicCarpet #RobinWilliams #GuyRitchie #WillSmith #AWholeNewWorld #FriendLikeMe

A Whole New World – Aladdin Lyrics and Video (1992 Animated Version)

Movie Review – Beauty and The Beast (live action version)

Movie Review – Dumbo – A live action remake your kids will enjoy

Is Godzilla: King of the Monsters a Sequel to Kong: Skull Island?

The trailers for the new Godzilla movie have been amazing, but the marketing campaign isn’t the clearest.  What’s there to know besides the fact that awesome-looking monsters are going to destroy things for our entertainment?  

For the true movie lover? Plenty. Here are the connections they aren’t advertising.

There’s a Monster Universe.

Legendary Pictures and Warner Brothers created what they are calling the Monsterverse.  Godzilla, King Kong, and some recognizable others are part of this universe.

Godzilla – King of the Monsters is a sequel to Kong – Skull Island.  Sort of.

For unknown reasons, Warner Brothers is not advertising the new movie as a sequel to Godzilla (2014), the first movie in the Monsterverse.  Kong – Skull Island is the second movie in the Monsterverse. It features a cut-scene at the end of the credits where the main characters are told Kong is not the only monster, and then shown archival footage of ancient cave drawings of Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, and a battle between King Ghidorah and Godzilla. 

The ultimate Godzilla movie is coming next year.

A fourth Monsterverse movie, Godzilla vs. Kong, has been announced for 2020.  I know. I can’t wait either.

Be sure to use the RunPee app for all your monster movie Peetimes, including the upcoming Child’s Play and Annabelle Comes Home. You can also follow us on Twitter @RunPee or on Facebook for the latest movie news.  

Read for more about Godzilla by Golden Man, on his blog Etched in Gold:

All My Questions Answered About the New Godzilla Movie

RunPee’s posts on Godzilla and King Kong:

Godzilla – movie review

Movie Review of Kong: Skull Island

How RunPee Began – A Retrospective on Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong

How Captain Marvel Stole Shazam’s Name

shazam movie posterIt’s no surprise that Captain Marvel and Shazam! both had movies released within weeks of each other this year.  Despite being from separate comic universes, the two superheroes have always been inextricably linked by a connection with their name.

Shazam was the original Captain Marvel?!

The DC Comics character Shazam was originally known as Captain Marvel.  He started out as a Fawcett Comics character in 1940 and was the most popular superhero at the time.  In 1953, DC filed a lawsuit against Fawcett claiming Captain Marvel was basically just a version of Superman.  In 1972, Fawcett sold the character rights to Captain Marvel to DC.

Shazam’s search for a name

However, Marvel Comics was already using the copyrighted name Captain Marvel by then for their own original character.  (Note:  At this point, Captain Marvel was still male and not the Carol Danvers of the later era.)  So DC began marketing the character using the copyrighted phrase “Shazam!”, which is what protagonist Billy Batson says to change into a superhero and vice versa.  Many consumers assumed this was the name of the character.

When DC relaunched the title in 2011, they officially named the character Shazam!  There is a running gag in the new movie Shazam! about what to call the main character, which is a sly reference to his history of name changes.  Plus the title Captain Sparkle Fingers probably didn’t test well with audiences.

If you love superheroes, be sure to download the RunPee app.  Kevin Feige has said there will be no time to pee during Avengers: Endgame, but we’ve got your back.  We already have Peetimes and a review available.  You can also follow us on Twitter @RunPee for the latest movie news.

A Happy Shazam Review – A delightful time in the DC universe (for once)

Captain Marvel vs the Internet Trolls – A Common New Film Controversy

Marvel Phase 4 Predictions – Some MCU Sure-Fire Guesses

RIP Star Wars Hero Chewbacca – Peter Mayhew is Dead

I was born in 1978.  I have never known a world without Peter Mayhew.  Until now.  I have never met the man.  I know very little about him personally.  What I do know is the joy he brought me throughout my life via his portrayal of the beloved Star Wars character Chewbacca.

I read an essay once about a writer taking her young daughter to an art exhibit and the little girl asking, “Who made this?  I have to talk to her.”  The author was pleased her daughter had made the connection between magic in the art and magic in the artist.  And so one must assume that Mayhew had a spark of magic, playfulness, joy, and creativity to be able to embody Han Solo’s furry buddy.

Some actors try to distance themselves from their most popular role (*ahem* Shatner), but from all the pictures I’ve seen on social media in the past day or so, Peter Mayhew truly enjoyed and embraced his association with/as the world’s most famous wookie.  As Luke reminds us in the trailer for episode IX, “No one’s ever really gone.”  We will always have Mayhew’s iconic performances to remember him by.

Yet it’s hard not to feel like the universe is a little less magic now.

First Star Wars Skywalker Trailer Breakdown

I remember seeing Return of the Jedi in the theater at a very young age and falling in love with ewoks. For most of my life, there were only three Star Wars films (and a brilliant Mel Brooks parody of them). And the vague promise that maybe someday George Lucas would make episodes I-III.

In middle school, I walked out of the bathroom at a local movie theater to see a poster for something called Revenge of the Jedi and got super excited. I didn’t realize it was the original title for Return of the Jedi.

It’s mind-blowing to me that soon there will not only be nine Star Wars films (featuring the main storyline) but there will be a conclusion to Anakin, Luke, Leia, and presumably Rey’s stories. After months of speculation and anticipation, the trailer and title for Star Wars Episode IX was finally revealed at Star Wars Celebration.

Here’s a blow by blow of what’s in the trailer:

–The first thing we see is Rey with Luke’s light saber (good catch by Cinemablend) on a desert planet. The last film in a trilogy can sometimes be about returning to where you started. So this may be Jakku or Tatooine.

–We hear Luke in voiceover: “We’ve passed on all we know. A thousand generations live in you now. But this is your fight.” Great dialogue. So inspiring!

–A title card says: “Every generation has a legend.” Presumably, this is Rey as she is on-screen at the moment and the main protagonist of this trilogy. I love this. Rey is not only a legend in the world of the film, but a legend for a generation of moviegoers.

–Kylo Ren’s TIE Silencer races towards Rey as she draws her lightsaber. Rey runs and does a flip, her lightsaber seemingly about to do some major damage to that TIE fighter.

–A title card says: “This Christmas” (The movie comes out December 20.)

–A ship flies over a city near a mountainous location. This is most likely a place we haven’t visited before.

–Kylo Ren takes someone down hard with his lightsaber. I don’t care what anyone says. I think Adam Driver’s a badass.

–A shot of Kylo’s mask being repaired.

–A shot of Finn and Poe on a desert planet, presumably the same one Rey is on. I can’t wait to see these two together again.

–BB-8 with new droid friend D-0.

–Lando Calrissian is back at the controls of the Millennium Falcon and looking as happy to be there as we are to have him there again.

–A title card reads: “The saga comes to an end.” Both a promise and an ominous warning. They are wrapping up this storyline. It will not drag on forever needlessly. But everyone may not make it out of this adventure alive.

–I give up. Take away my nerd card. I don’t know what those vehicles and/or weapons are. Basically, more desert action.

–Poe, Finn, and C-3PO are sailing some kind of ship through the desert and being fired on.

–A ship goes down in flames.

–Someone (Leia?) rubs a rebel alliance medal.

–Leia hugs Rey in the trailer’s most emotional moment.

–Luke (in voiceover) says: “We’ll always be with you.”

–Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewie, C-3PO, BB-8, and D-0 gaze at the remains of a Death Star. We don’t know if this is the Death Star from episodes IV-VI or a new Death Star.

–In voiceover, Luke says: “No one’s ever really gone.” A comforting sentiment.

–The screen goes black. We hear the wicked laugh of the Emperor/Palpatine. Apparently no one is ever really gone.

–And finally, that beauty of a title: The Rise of Skywalker. Doesn’t it give you chills? There are several theories as to what the title means. Some think a new order of Jedis will be dubbed Skywalkers. I’m with those who are hoping Rey’s heritage will be retconned and she’ll be revealed to be a true Skywalker.

Be sure to use the RunPee app so you won’t miss an essential moment of Episode IX or any other movie you care about. We’ve got Peetimes for Captain Marvel, Shazam!, and Avengers: Endgame. And we’ll have Peetimes for all the summer blockbusters like John Wick 3, Toy Story 4, Child’s Play (more Mark Hamill!), Spider-Man: Far From Home and more. You can also follow us on Twitter @RunPee for the latest movie news.

A Open Response to Kevin Feige (re: Using the Bathroom During Endgame)

Kevin Feige and Avengers Endgame at comic con
We love your work, Kevin Feige, but RunPee WILL find Peetimes for Endgame.

Dear Mr. Feige,

We here at RunPee love Marvel movies more than Nick Fury loves cats. And flerkens. We are super excited for Avengers: Endgame. So much so that we did two breakdowns of the first trailer:

  1. Avengers 4 Endgame – First Trailer Review
  2. A Slightly More Than Casual Fan’s Reaction to Avenger 4 Trailer

We also haven’t been able to stop ourselves from speculating on what Phase 4 of the MCU might hold. And we especially love Spider-Man: Homecoming.

There is always time to pee.

However, we must take issue with your statement that there won’t be time to pee during Endgame. While we expect that Endgame will be action-packed, emotional, and perhaps our favorite movie of the year, there is ALWAYS time to pee. Since we established the RunPee app in 2009, we have offered Peetimes for over 1500 movies — and all of the MCU movies. We offered Peetimes for roughly 169 movies last year alone, including three Peetimes for Avengers: Infinity War. No offense.

You might want to recall Captain America: Winter Soldier had one of the best Peetimes ever in RunPee  history. Not that it was an unnecessary scene, but it was very easy to summarize what happened. You do challenge us to find a scene we can sum up, but we’re up to it. Every time.

No intermission?

You’ve chosen not to give Endgame an intermission, and thus not put it in the same league with masterpieces such as Lawrence of Arabia and 2001: A Space Odyssey. And why would you? It’s only a movie about THE FATE OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE.

However, just because you’re not giving people an opportunity to pee doesn’t mean we can’t. We never failed to find a Peetime before and we will not fail now. We will do #WhateverItTakes.

We will not fail.

We realize Endgame is not Suspiria, for which we found an epic twelve minute Peetime. However, we have found Peetimes for such thrilling movies as A Quiet Place, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Mission Impossible: Fallout  — and we WILL find at least one good Peetime for Endgame.

(Don’t worry – we summarize what people will be missing during their few minutes away.)

We will guarantee at least three pee breaks, although two of them may be “emergency-only” Peetimes. But we promise you won’t have to make anyone squirm in their seats during your assuredly excellent movie. We’re superheroes at RunPee too. 🙂

One last thing.

By the way. I am severely disappointed you have not released any footage of Howard the Duck and Spider-Ham helping to save the day, but I trust you are saving that as a surprise for the theatrical release.

We here at RunPee wish you the best and we look forward to watching–and peeing during–Avengers: Endgame.

Sincerely,

Golden Man

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[…Learn all about the RunPee app…]

Endgame Pee Planning from Rudd, Ruffalo & RunPee

Peetimes Coming for Avengers Endgame BEFORE OPENING NIGHT

The 59 Hour MCU Rewatch Marathon Means the RunPee App is a MUST Have for Your Bladder

Did YOU Survive The Snap? You may as well get this over with…

Everything You Need to Know About Hellboy

Hellboy reboot movie
Hell’s a bitch, boy.

Hellboy opens on April 12, 2019.  It will be the titular character’s third major theatrical adventure.  Not sure who Hellboy is? Never heard of the B.P.R.D.? Wondering what’s up with his forehead? No worries. We’ve got you covered.

Here’s what the deal is for the new Hellboy movie:  

— Hellboy is a popular comic book character.  However, the movie will not be like your typical superhero or comic book movie.  

— Hellboy is a half-demon, summoned from hell as a baby by Nazi occultists.  His actual Latin name means “And upon his brow is set a crown of flame.” Which brings context to one of the movie posters and an image from the trailer.  

— One of Hellboy’s main weapons is his right hand, which is made of stone.  

— Hellboy has horns, but he files them off.  This is why he has two large round stubs on his forehead.  

— Hellboy is destined to bring about the apocalypse, but he rejects that destiny. 

— Hellboy was raised by Professor Trevor Bruttenholm like a normal boy.  

— Professor Bruttenholm founded the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.).  Hellboy works for the B.P.R.D.

— Guillermo del Toro made two films featuring the character Hellboy:  Hellboy (2004) and Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Del Toro chose not to finish what was originally planned to be a trilogy.

— Ron Perlman was the first actor to play Hellboy in the original films.  He is famous for playing Vincent in the Beauty and the Beast TV series and Clay on Sons of Anarchy.  Perlman said he feels remorse for not completing the trilogy, and that he feels like he let the fans down.  

— Doug Jones played fan-favorite character Abe Sapien (an amphibious man) in the original films.  The character will not appear in the new movie. Jones was invited to do a cameo but had to decline.  He had a scheduling conflict with the shooting schedule for Star Trek: Discovery. He also had an injury which prevented him from taking on the physically demanding role.  (Side note: If you ever get the chance, it’s totally worth waiting in line to meet Doug Jones and get an autograph. He’s one of the kindest, most gracious people I’ve met at any of the cons.  And why wouldn’t you want to support one of our greatest living character actors?)    

— The new movie is a reboot, not a sequel.  It stars David Harbour (Sheriff Hopper from Stranger Things) as Hellboy.    

— It will be more of a horror film than the original, which was more of a fantasy film.  

— The new movie will be more faithful to the comic books.  Creator Mike Mignola was a concept artist on the original Hellboy movie.  He’s been more involved with the script for the reboot.  

— The movie will be bloodier and more adult.  In an interview with Empire, Harbour said, “There’s really a sense that you’re actually killing things, even if they are giants or monsters. You’re chopping their heads off, you’re bathing in their blood, and you’re feeling the complex feelings of actually cutting the heart out of another thing. We’re taking the time to deal with the fact that Hellboy is a killer. He’s a weapon.” 

— The movie is not an origin story and begins in the middle of the action.

— David Harbour says the stunts made it the hardest shoot he’s ever done. 

— The main villain is Blood Witch Nimue, who wants to join the monster world and the human world.  The character is played by Milla Jovovich, who’s no stranger to monster movies as the star of the Resident Evil series.  

–The main inspiration for the movie is The Wild Hunt storyline from the comics, but there are also elements from Darkness Calls and The Storm and The Fury.

–When the producers were accused of whitewashing, by hiring a white actor to play a Japanese character from the comics, actor Ed Skrein resigned so they could recast the role.  Daniel Dae Kim was then cast in the part of Major Ben Daimio.

— The original Hellboy had a girlfriend played by Selma Blair.  David Harbour says his version of Hellboy is more isolated and is unable to have sex with humans.

This presumably makes the apocalypse more appealing.  

— David Harbour told Empire, “In our movie Hellboy’s younger. He’s rougher. He’s much more of a teenager. He’s really struggling with the idea of whether or not he’s a good person.” 

— In an interview with Independent, Harbour compared Hellboy to Hamlet.  “On a surface level, he’s an adopted kid from Hell. He was meant to bring about the apocalypse. Yet, he just wants to be a good guy and fight evil. But he has this destiny. That struggle is very Hamlet-esque, even having tones of Coriolanus, where you have this guy who cannot understand his own true nature. Those levels of complexity, if we can bring that to this movie, which we’re trying to do, I think will be really rich.”

— The producers already have loose ideas for sequels.

Be sure to use the RunPee app to get Peetimes and a review for Hellboy, and to find out if there’s anything after the credits.  Follow us on Twitter @RunPee to stay up to date on the latest movie news.

Peetimes are coming soon for Shazam and Avengers: Endgame — make sure you have the RunPee app on your phone, so you won’t miss a moment of the action.

Making of Hellboy Featurette — Enjoy!

Clever Moments You Might Have Missed Watching The Horror-Thriller Movie Us

Did Jordan Peele Play Fair? Easter Eggs You Might Have Missed On Your First Viewing of Us

19 Entry-Level Horror Movies for the Squeamish

 

Did Jordan Peele Play Fair? Easter Eggs You Might Have Missed On Your First Viewing of Us

Scissors from Jordan Peele movie Us
This poster contains a clue.

Jordan Peele made a splash with the satiric horror film Get Out and even won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.  His new movie Us proves he’s not just a one-hit wonder, but a visionary filmmaker who will keep surprising, delighting, and frightening us for years to come.  (He’s already in talks to do a new Candyman film.)

One of the joys of Us is that it lends itself well to multiple viewings. I enjoyed it even more my second time around. There are things you won’t see your first time because you don’t know to look for them. Us is one of the rare films like The Sixth Sense or Memento that practically demands you watch it again immediately.  I watched this movie a second time two days after my first watch. 

Us — What I Noticed on My Second Viewing

— The movies on the shelf in the opening shot are Goonies, C.H.U.D., A Nightmare on Elm Street (which I thought was The Man With Two Brains because I can’t see well apparently), and some VHS tape I’m not sure anyone has been able to read the title of.  A lot of the action in Goonies takes place underground. The monsters in C.H.U.D. live underneath the city. Both of these are Easter eggs foreshadowing the Tethered.

— Adelaide’s father wins her a Thriller t-shirt.  Thriller is the video in which Michael Jackson reveals to his girlfriend he secretly has a monster inside him.  Just like adult Adelaide secretly has a monster inside her. Or viewed another way, we all have a Tethered self.  

— Everything in the movie has a double:

  1. The Vision Quest fun house is later Merlin’s Quest fun house.
  2. The twins are literally doubles of each other and even speak the same. (“Jinx!  Double jinx! Triple jinx!”)
  3. The bleeding man on the beach is the double/Tethered of the sign man.  (This is confirmed by one of the last shots of the film when we see him holding the Jeremiah 11:11 sign in flashback.)  
  4. The families are doubles of each other.  One black family, one white family, each with two kids.  

— One of the coolest bits of foreshadowing is an overhead shot of the family walking across the beach with their shadows walking beside them.

— The words above both versions of the funhouse door (“Find yourself”) are both foreshadowing and a subtle joke.

— On a second viewing, the rabbits in the cages are even more unsettling because now you know the context.

— When the family first get to the beach house and have dinner, Adelaide is very quiet.  She’s reliving her memory of what happened after the fun house incident at Santa Cruz beach.  Her parents are talking to a therapist about why Adelaide hasn’t spoken since getting lost at the boardwalk.  “I just want my little girl back,” the mother says. Hmmm. That’s the first clue that this isn’t her little girl.  

— Adelaide tries to talk Gabe out of going to the beach.  He guilts her into going. She finally reaches a compromise:  “We leave by dark.” (Um, “Because I don’t want the self whose place I took to try to take it back!”)  

— As they drive to the beach, they see paramedics putting a patient into an ambulance.  It’s the sign guy (Jeremiah 11:11). This creeps Adelaide out.

— Jason, the son, is making a tunnel out of sand on the beach.

— The frisbee lands on a dot on the beach towel, perfectly covering it up, a visual symbol/metaphor for humans and the Tethered selves that live in the darkness beneath them.  

–Jason sees a man on the beach who has blood dripping from his fingers.  This is the Tethered of the sign guy and presumably the reason for the sign guy’s injuries.  He’s also the only Tethered whose face we get a close up of later when everyone is joining hands.  He has a sort of maniacal smile. I believe he’s meant to be a Christ figure. Jeremiah 11:11 (NIV) says, “Therefore this is what the LORD says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them.’”  When the Tethered sign man is bleeding on the beach, that is him crucified. When he is holding hands with others in the morning light with a rapturous look on his face as humanity is destroyed, that is his resurrection. And he is definitely forsaking mankind, reveling in its destruction.  As GameSpot pointed out, he is also the first link in the chain, standing in wait to join hands with the rest of the Tethered.

— Adelaide doesn’t just freak out because Jason is missing.  She freaks out because she thinks he went in Merlin’s Forest.  She knows that it’s the gateway to the Tethereds’ world.

The 11:11 on the clock at bedtime disturbs Adelaide because it reminds her of the sign guy and his fate.

— When Adelaide says, “I don’t feel like myself,” Gabe says, “I think you look like yourself.”  This line takes on new meaning on a second watch. Because technically she’s not herself.

— When the Tethered family appears in the driveway, Adelaide calls 911 immediately.  Not out of irrational fear, but because she knows what they are: their Tethered selves.  (There’s a separate theory that Adelaide has repressed the memory of dragging Red/the real Adelaide to the underworld until the end of the movie when it starts to come back to her.  And she really only has the memory of seeing a second self in the mirror as a child. I don’t subscribe to that theory.)

— I swear on my second viewing I heard Red say “the girl hated the shadow so much for so long until she realized she was being tested by God.”  But I seem to be the only one. Call it the Mandela effect.

–When Red tells Adelaide to tether herself to the table, it’s revenge for Adelaide leaving Red chained to the bed as a child.

— I love the small moments of the Tethered enjoying what they’ve been deprived of.  Abraham trying on Gabe’s glasses. Elisabeth Moss’s Dahlia playing with lipstick and trying out different facial expressions in the mirror.  

— Umbrae who was born laughing also dies laughing.

— Adelaide follows Red and Jason into Merlin’s Forest.  She seems to know the path a little too well and to not be surprised by anything she encounters.  

— Red’s creepy, hoarse voice is most likely due to her throat being injured from Adelaide choking her so hard when they were children.  

— I’m still confused as to the significance of the ballet recital other than it just looking cool as hell and poetic.  I also don’t understand why the dance is what convinced the Tethered to make Red their leader rather than her rare ability to speak.  

— Adelaide has a sinister grin on her face after she kills Red.  The type of remorselessness we don’t usually associate with our heroes.

— In the ambulance, when Jason looks at his mother, he pulls his mask down.  They are both wearing masks now.

I walked into my second viewing wanting to answer one question:  Does Jordan Peele play fair?

Initially, I wanted to see if Red’s final monologue made sense once one knew the twist.  “We were born special. God brought us together that that night. I never stopped thinking about you, how you could have taken me with you.”

That part still makes sense after the twist. Adelaide could have grabbed Red (the real Adelaide) and walked out of the fun-house with her instead of chaining her to the bed.  Presumably. “If it weren’t for you, I never would have danced at all.” This is literally true as it is Adelaide that starts taking dance lessons as part of her parents’ attempt to get her to talk by encouraging her creativity.  When Adelaide dances, Red has to dance. In a deeper sense, like Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance,” Red may not have done much with her surface life if she’d never entered the fun-house. But instead she’s started a revolution that is going to change the world.  Something that would never have happened if Adelaide hadn’t switched places with her.

But does Peele play fair with the rest of the film?  

Can one reasonably guess at the twist ending from the clues provided?  I believe so. I’ve mentioned several clues in this post that all point to the twist.  Red’s voice, the mother’s line about wanting her little girl back, Adelaide’s extreme reluctance to return to the beach, her overprotectiveness of Jason at the beach, her immediately calling 911, and Adelaide knowing the entrance to the tunnel system a little too well.  I’ve read one reviewer who made the assumption that the girls switched places from the edit the first time he saw the movie. Just like I assumed in The Sixth Sense (SPOILER) Bruce Willis had died from getting shot in the first scene. But soon abandoned that thought as the movie went on.

I definitely recommend seeing Us more than once.  

It has earned a place among my favorite horror movie endings of all time.   If you really want to jump down the rabbit hole, you can spend hours reading about fan theories, Easter eggs, and symbolism in Us online.  

And if you’re a horror fan, be sure to use the RunPee app to get Peetimes for Pet Semetary, and upcoming films like The Curse of La Llorona, the Child’s Play remake, and Annabelle Comes Home.  You can also find reviews for lots of great horror movies on our blog. Follow us on Twitter@RunPee for the latest movie news.

Movie Review – Us – Tons of Symbolism, Creepy, and a Great Time at the Movies

Movie Review – Get Out – Jordan Peele Hits A Home Run

19 Entry-Level Horror Movies for the Squeamish

 

Marvel Phase 4 Predictions – Some MCU Sure-Fire Guesses

marvel studios phase 4
What movies are next in the lineup?

While Marvel isn’t confirming which films will be filling which dates in Phase 4 until after Avengers: Endgame hits theaters, there are some things we do know.  Black Widow’s stand-alone film will be one of them.  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will also be one, but it will be a few years away.  The newly rehired James Gunn is already committed to writing and directing the Suicide Squad reboot for DC.  The Eternals and Dr Strange 2 are both in development. So is a film focusing on the character Shang-Chi.  That leaves four mystery films in the nine slots between May 2020 and July 29, 2022. 

Here are some things that may happen during Phase 4: 

Black Panther gets a sequel. 

This one is a no-brainer.  How do you not make a follow-up to one of the most celebrated and successful films of 2018?

Captain Marvel gets a sequel.

A recent quote from Kevin Feige confirms Carol Danvers has an important role to play in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).  “When we found out that Brie Larson might be interested in joining our world, we had a number of meetings. She was a huge fan of the character in the comics. One of the highlights of my career at Marvel was introducing her at Comic-Con and having her come out on stage and stand there with literally almost everybody else from our movies. There she was at the forefront, and it was a great foreshadowing – not just for how audiences are going to embrace Brie as this character, but also for how Captain Marvel is about to take the lead and be at the forefront of the entire Cinematic Universe.”

Monica Rambeau becomes superhero Photon.

In the movie Captain Marvel, we meet a young Monica Rambeau and her mother Maria.  It is worth noting that Maria’s call sign is Photon, the name of the superhero her daughter grows up to be in the comics.  This is a possible Easter egg/foreshadowing. Monica may take up the name as a tribute to her mother in a Captain Marvel sequel.  

Ms. Marvel may appear in a movie.

A Captain Marvel sequel set in the present day may also introduce the teenage hero Ms. Marvel, who is inspired by Captain Marvel.  

We may see more of Goose and find out exactly what a flerken is.  

Fans are clamoring for more of a certain orange “cat” — and there may be rioting if he doesn’t appear in another Marvel film.  

The Skrull-centered Secret Wars storyline may still happen.

 Fans were initially disappointed by the surprise plot twist that happens about halfway through Captain Marvel, because it seemed to dash any hopes of a movie based on the popular Secret Wars story from the comics.  However, Kevin Feige has gone on record saying not all Skrulls are good, just as not all humans are necessarily good.  Alternatively, some characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe may turn out to be Skrulls in disguise.  One way or another, we probably haven’t heard the last of the Skrulls.   

A new version of the Avengers is formed. 

We will probably be saying goodbye to many of the original Avengers in one form or another in Endgame.  In the comics, the Avengers team appeared as many different combinations of heroes.  Phase 4 will almost surely usher in a team of new and familiar faces.  

There has to be at least one more Avengers film. 

Right?  In three years?  Right?  Right?

Thor gets a new form.

While Chris Hemsworth’s contract is up after Endgame, Thor has taken many different forms in the comics.  He has been a frog and has even been female.  As Cinemablend pointed out, different characters have taken on the mantle of Thor by proving their strength by wielding the Mjölnir.  The only problem is…the hammer was destroyed.  But nothing is ever permanent in the comics, right?  (I sure hope not.  My girlfriend is gonna be pissed if Gamora doesn’t come back to life.)

Howard the Duck and Peter Porker the Incredible Spider-Ham star in a buddy comedy. 

He’s a duck.  He’s a spider-pig.  Together, they solve crimes.  Hey, a nerd can dream.  And until Marvel coughs up the goods, I’m sticking to this story.  

Okay, fine, fine.  What’s more likely is…Marvel finally makes their X-Men movie.

Years ago, when Marvel was not doing well financially (hard to imagine now), they sold the film rights to Spider-Man to Sony, and they sold the film rights to X-Men to Fox.  Now that Disney acquired Fox, the X-Men could become part of the MCU.  The new Dark Phoenix trailers look like this might be a fitting conclusion to the Fox series of X-Men films.  The stage is set for Marvel to finally make their own X-Men movie, something that may be unlike anything we’ve seen so far.  

But honestly, do you really want another X-Men movie, or do you want to see Howard and Spider-Ham in the feel-good hit of the summer?  

To stay up to date on all the latest Marvel news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @RunPee.  Be sure to use the RunPee app to get Peetimes for Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and all the Phase 4 movies.  

 

The Four Films You Need To Watch To Understand Captain Marvel (Speculation, Pre-Movie Release)

Captain Marvel – Better Than I Expected – A White Male’s Review

Avengers 4 Endgame – First Trailer Review

Captain Marvel vs the Internet Trolls – A Common New Film Controversy

captain-marvelEven before Captain Marvel began battling the Skrulls in theaters on March 7, she was facing another foe online: internet trolls.  On Rotten Tomatoes, the comment section for the Marvel film was filled with negative reviews before it opened. 

Some were most likely in response to comments star Brie Larson had made about diversity and inclusivity among film critics, wanting to see more than just the opinions than middle-aged white men represented.  Some were probably the usual gang of misogynists who show up with torches and pitchforks whenever a female is the lead in a genre picture.  (See: Ghostbusters 2016, Wonder Woman, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: Rogue One, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the new season of Doctor Who, etc.) 

Rotten Tomatoes recently instituted a new policy that no longer allows the general public to review a movie before its official release date.  (Rotten Tomatoes insists this was not done on behalf of Captain Marvel specifically.)  Within hours of Captain Marvel‘s premiere, it had tens of thousands of reviews and an audience rating of 33% on Rotten Tomatoes.  (Compared to a rating of 81% by the critics.) The internet trolls had sandbagged it. 

As The Hollywood Reporter noted, Captain Marvel had already amassed more audience reviews than Avengers: Infinity War did in its entire run.  

Rotten Tomatoes is now saying thousands of those numbers were reviews submitted before the movie opened, and a bug in their system accidentally let them through.  They have now been deleted.  But the audience score for the film still hovered around 55% throughout opening weekend.  (As of this writing, it is up to 62%.)

Fandango also appears to still be attracting trolls with vague but hateful reviews like the following: 

Spencerjameson12356

ABSOLUTE GARBAGE FOR THE BRAIN

Femimism destroys brain cells.  Don’t subject yourself to this POS movie. 

—–

tarakeet

WASTE OF MONEY

Sick of SJW’s taking over every single darn escape from reality entertainment avenue 

klwarber

HATED IT WORSE THAN MY CAT DYING OF KITTY AIDS

Derivative nonsense

gray42james

IT WAS TRASH

It was 100% sjw trash. wish i could give less than 1 star 

Captain Marvel won this round, as the movie made $153 million on opening weekend.  It won the top box office slot two weekends in a row.  And it made over $760 million worldwide at this point. Furthermore, Rotten Tomatoes is now planning to create a way to have users verify they’ve seen a movie before being allowed to leave a review.  

Carol Danvers isn’t the only Marvel hero to face backlash.  The whole world seemed to be excited for Black Panther‘s release last February, but not everyone was.  Facebook banned a group called “Down with Disney’s Treatment of Franchises and its Fanboys.”  The group planned to bring down the audience score for the movie on Rotten Tomatoes because of concerns about minorities and “social justice warrior” messages.  The Facebook ban didn’t stop thousands of trolls from going to the Internet Movie Database to give Black Panther a 1 out of 10, the lowest rating possible — before it even opened.  Not that anyone noticed, most likely with the flood of positive reviews coming in for this record-breaking film.  

The popular Star Wars franchise is not immune from trolls either.  The hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII was started by a few internet trolls who opposed a woman and a black man starring in a Star Wars film.  

Daisy Ridley left social media after an Instagram post was deemed by fans to be too political, and she was attacked for it.  Kelly Marie Tran left Instagram after trolls repeatedly left hateful, racist, and sexist comments on her page because they didn’t like her character in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  

The 2016 all-female reboot of Ghostbusters faced some of the worst trolling.  IMDb users down-voted it to a 3.7 out of 10 before it opened.  Leslie Jones eventually left Twitter for a period of time, because she was receiving death threats and unspeakably racist messages and images.  

So far, Tessa Thompson (from Thor: Ragnarok) doesn’t seem to be receiving the same treatment for Men In Black International.  Perhaps because she’s “only” the co-star, and not the sole lead.  Most YouTube comments on the trailer bemoan the absence of Will Smith.  Only a very few complain that a woman shouldn’t star in a movie called MEN in Black, or that the movie is pushing a social justice warrior message.  (Seriously? Have you seen how goofy the trailer is?)  

Marvel is looking to cast their first openly gay male lead for The Eternals, and unfortunately he’ll probably have to deal with the trolls too.

I’m excited to live in a time when there is so much diversity and representation on-screen.  This past year, there were an amazing amount of films written by, directed by, and starring people of color.  There was a record number of Oscar wins by both women and black people this year.  How is that not exciting to people?  I don’t understand people who see a political agenda in a well-made movie, just because it features a woman or someone who’s not Caucasian.  I hate that anyone tries to put a damper on the enthusiasm of fans who are passionate about something.  

I’ll give the last word on this to Clark Gregg (MCU’s Agent Coulson) who described haters as “butthurt” and “dinosaurs heading towards the tar pits.” 

 

Follow RunPee on Twitter (@RunPee) to stay up to date on all the news about Captain Marvel and other superheroes.  Be sure to use the RunPee app to get Peetimes for Captain Marvel and upcoming movies like Dumbo and Shazam.  

Captain Marvel – Better Than I Expected – A White Male’s Review

Clever Moments You Might Have Missed Watching The Horror-Thriller Movie Us

Once More, with Ant Man. Why him, and why now?

All The Stars – End Credits Song from Black Panther – Video and Lyrics