So this week on Disney+ I was able to view the following:
Black Beauty: This is a remake (of a remake of a remake) – no less than 8 movies on the subject – from Disney starring Mackenzie Foy (from Interstellar fame as younger Jessica Chastain) and Iain Glenn (Jorah Mormont of GOT) and finally and surprisingly the voice of Kate Winslet. The previous versions in both TV and screen I have not watched, so I am seeing for the first time. With Disney these days it seems if you can’t come out with original content, recycle or sequel what you already have. Recent examples would include Lion King, Jungle Book, Dumbo, Beauty and the Beast, Lady and the Tramp, and of course Star Wars. The former movies are all computer graphics re-doing of the original cartoon. Scary enough when you list them all – curse you Jon Favreau!! Anyway, a girl loses her parents in a tragic car accident (what is a Disney story without parental death after all?) and she is sent to live with her horse trainer uncle. He works on a ranch where part of what they do is purchase wild mustangs and look to “break them” and resell them. Black Beauty is one such spirited mustang that he is charged with training. The horse is stubborn, and we know this because the horse is voiced by Kate Winslet. It’s a distraction really to have an outwardly thinking horse, I won’t say talking because the lips at least aren’t moving like Mr Ed. How do we really know what the horse is thinking? How does the writer? Unknown to me, but then again it’s a movie so I will ignore the disbelief to see where it all leads. The young girl connects with the horse, and that allows her to respect her Uncle a little bit more. The horse matures but ultimately needs to be sold off, and separated from the young girl – who continues to grow herself. She at some point has a summer away with a very wealthy family with a very large ranch and they jump horses. I hadn’t seen the actress in a while and it was good to see Mormont, but in the end this story didn’t really impact me. I suppose that I am not really the target market for this; young girls and women would be. I think in part I was expecting this to be a remake of National Velvet that starred Elizabeth Taylor in 1944. It is decidedly not that. The movie ends with a cheesey whimper and isn’t really very uplifting. But there are pretty horses. There are young girls showing their independence. This will have a market, but for me I can’t really recommend it.
The Mandalorian, Season 2, Episode 5, story chapter 13 called The Jedi, was I think the best and most interesting episode of this season series, and perhaps through the entire show. It seems that much of Season 2 has been filler stories where the Mandalorian has been taking on sideline stories, helping those who he doesn’t really need to do anything for, but does so to allow there to be something to do. Why he would put his own life at risk for a person he could overcome much more easily isn’t explained. Finally, mercifully, we have him meet up with a character of some skill and ability. Rosario Dawson (yea!!) plays Ahsoka Tanu who is a Jedi. As an aside I really like Dawson and I would like to see her work more. She brings an edge, she has intelligence and character. I liked seeing her here. Her character is from The Clone Wars, the cartoon series that I have not completed, where she is an apprentice and working alongside other Jedi like Annakin Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi. Now a full fledged Jedi, she is making an attack on a walled town where a new leader has been oppressing the locals. She is here to help. The Mandalorian impresses the local bad ass, who engages him to try and kill the Jedi for a reward. The story continues. Not only was there Rosario Dawson here, but Michael Biehn from Terminator movie, Kyle Reese. It was good to see him, even more aged than expected. Overall, some quality action. Things happened and the story of the Baby Yoda, now named, gets to inch forward. This wasn’t just action for the sake of action, but it had purpose. I hope that there is more to be seen from Dawson going forward.