Monday, May 15, 2017

Saturday's Warrior makes a comeback

Movie Title:  Saturday's Warrior

Grade:  B-

Rating:   PG, 119 minutes

In a Nutshell:  I first saw this stage musical when I was a little girl.  I LOVED it and immediately began memorizing all of the songs day in and day out.  It was turned into a schmaltzy movie in 1989, so I was excited to see this new remake, directed by Michael Buster. 

I’ve been a huge fan of the talented Lex de Azevedo for many, many years.  He added 3 new songs to this version, which are great, but also removed some from the original fan favorites.   If you're unfamiliar with this story, know going in that it's super cheesy and melodramatic.  If you're a fan of this Mormon legend, feel free to sing along.

Uplifting theme: 
  • “Life on earth is going to be difficult.” – Heavenly guide   (Alex Boye)
  • “Truth is truth.” – Mack (Carlton Bluford)
  • “Freedom is knowing who you are.” – Pam
  • “Nothing is impossible.” – Tod (Mason Davis)
  • There is more to this life than what you see. 

Things I liked:
  • I got a kick out of the “There” and “Here” clocks in heaven.  
  • The “Captain Uchtdorf” announcement at the airport made me laugh out loud.  That was awesome and hilarious.  You gotta be LDS to appreciate that one.
  • They did a great job with 70’s costume design and home décor.
  • A new song was added when Jimmy’s band, “Warrior”, played for Capitol Records. 
  • I liked the new song “There’s Got to be More”.  What a fun addition to include the Piano Guys.  I love those guys.
  • I thought Pam (Anna Daines) was lovely and I'd like to see more of her in other movies.  I felt the same way about the actress/singer who performed in the original stage play and soundtrack.
  • Julie (Monica Moore Smith) has a really beautiful voice, although she over-acted like she was on a big stage.  
  • The ending actually had true emotion, unlike most of the other scenes that felt over-acted.
  • Keep watching as the credits roll to see Jimmy sing his version of “There’s Got to be More” with sweet Emily watching from the side.
  • Mason Davis, who plays Todd, is also an artist, like his character.  All of the artwork you see Todd make was really made by Mason Davis himself.  He looked like a Ken (Barbie) doll to me.

Things I didn’t like:
  • It feels like a stage play.
  • It's super corny with very low production value.
  • The technical dubbing issues were extremely distracting.   
  • You can see what looks like microphone packs on the backs of the performers quite often.
  • Non-Mormons won’t get some of the jokes or even the pre-mortal world scenes.
  • Why is Emily (Abigail Baugh) in a yellow dress in heaven, while everyone else is wearing white?  She sure is adorable.
  • Julie says, “I’m going to miss this beautiful place” while she and Jimmy are standing in a building with old, brick walls.  That line would have been more accurate if they were standing in a beautiful garden or something.
  • There is an odd, unexpected, funny “gay” moment during the family’s concert towards the beginning of the movie.
  • There are a lot of artificially white teeth.
  • What happened to the song “He’s Just A Friend”, “Dear John”, and “Daddy’s Nose”?  Why did they take those songs out of the original?
  • While everyone else looked "normal", Jimmy (Kenny Holland) always looked like he had a ton of make-up on. His boy-band nasal voice started to really grate on me.
  • I recognize I had very high expectations, but I felt a bit disappointed.

Funny lines:
  • “Stake President material for sure.” – Elder Greene (Morgan Gunter)
“Maybe one of my counselors.” – Elder Kestler (Clint Pulver)

Tips for parents: 
  • I counted 3 times that people were slapped.
  • No profanity.  Thanks Mormons!
  • There are a lot of "downer" scenes that make the movie feel pretty heavy.


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