By Chris Kavan - 02/19/20 at 09:41 AM CT
It looks like the board agrees with that groundhog and is ready to deliver us an early spring as well - or at least an impressive MPAA Ratings update. We've got four wide releases here - and there are some major contenders including the last outing for Daniel Craig as 007, Disney's next live-action remake, a long-delayed horror film and another attempt at delivering a popular YA book series to the masses. All in all, an impressive lineup as well as the usual limited releases and such.
I remember back before Casino Royale came out in 2006 how worried people seemed about Daniel Craig tacking on the role of James Bond. But those fears have more than been put to rest as Craig's run has delivered hit after hit and while he's a bit more serious than the classic Bond, he has certainly put his mark on the franchise. Thus it is with a heavy heart that No Time to Die looks to be the actors last outing as the master spy. In fact, he's already retired in the film - but his old pal Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) needs to bring him back into the fold after a devious new villain, Safin (Rami Malek) kidnaps scientist Valdo Obruchev (David Dencik) which leads to the discovery of a much larger, and world-threatening, plan. Many key characters return including Léa Seydoux as former love interest Dr. Madeleine Swann, Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw as Q and Rory Kinnear as Bill Tanner. Perhaps the most interesting return, however, is Christoph Waltz as a now-incarcerated Ernst Stavro Blofeld - which was kept a secret up until the trailer was released. Now that is going to be an interesting reunion. Lashana Lynch joins the cast as a new 00 Agent while Ana de Armas, fresh off her impressive turn in Knives Out, plays a CIA agent. I've been a big fan of the new Bond series to date (the only stumble for me was the Quantum of Solace) so I'm interested to see how things turn out and how Craig's Bond is sent off. Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images, brief strong language and some suggestive material.
Disney has not one, but two big films getting their ratings due. The biggest one is their latest live-action redo, Mulan. The story remains the same, Chinese maiden Mulan (Yifei Liu) disguises herself as a male warrior in order to take the place of her ailing father Hua Zhou (Tzi Ma), once a great warrior but, as with everything, time catches up. The Emperor (Jet Li) has proclaimed every family must provide one male warrior to help fight against the armies of Bori Khan (Jason Scott Lee) and his right-hand witch Xian Lang (Gong Li). Mulan finds herself training under Commander Tung (Donnie Yen) and bonding with Chen Honghui (Yoson An) - grappling with how to reveal her true self. Mulan actress Liu caused a bit of controversy when she voiced her support for Hong Kong police - which many associated with violent brutality, leading to plenty of backlash. However, this seems to have died out somewhat and I don't think will lead to any describable effect. A much bigger cause for concern, however, is how the spread of the Coronavirus, which has shut down all threaters in China, is going to affect it. Mulan was expected to carry a lot of weight in the worlds second-biggest market, and with that market effectively off the board for the near future, movies like Mulan (and the above No Time to Die) will bear the full brunt of those closures. Mulan is also the first live-action remake to be given a PG-13 rating (for sequences of violence), so we'll see if that has any bearings on the family crowd or not.
The second of Disney's major films getting a ratings update is Artemis Fowl, based on the popular series of YA novels from Eoin Colfer. Artemis Fowl II (Ferdia Shaw) is a young, Irish criminal mastermind who kidnaps the fairy LEPrecon officer Captain Holly Short (Lara McDonnell) with the intent to collect a ransom in order to fund the search for his missing father. Nonso Anozie plays Butler, both trusted servant and bodyguard for Fowl, with Judi Dench playing LEPrecon leader Commander Root, Josh Gad laying the dwarf Mulch Diggums and Miranda Raison playing Fowl's mother with Kenneth Branagh directing. The film has already been delayed from August 2019 to its current May 2020 release, which is always a somewhat worrying sign. YA adaptations also have a rocky road to success, with many falling well short of expectations. I don't see this as jump-starting a new franchise myself - but hopefully it will enjoy some mild success. Rated PG for fantasy action/peril and some rude humor.
Another delayed film has earned a new release, but The Hunt has followed a much different path than Artemis Fowl. The Hunt has a pretty dark premise in that director Craig Zobel's film, loosely based on "The Most Dangerous Game" features 12 people waking up in a clearing and coming to the realization they are part of a sick game in which they are the prey. Much was made that many of these victims centered around conservative stereotypes - and that the hunters are liberals. While the delay from September 2019 to March 2020 was a response to the Dayton and El Paso mass shootings, one must also think that President Trump's mean tweet also played some part. In any case, The Hunt is finally going to see a wide release come March and we'll find out just how politically-charged said film is - or whether it's just a typical Blumhouse offering that has been blown out of proportion. There's no such thing as negative press - so all this attention can only help its chances. Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout.
Those are all the big releases coming down the pipeline but be sure to check out the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin below:
ADVENTURES OF RUFUS: THE FANTASTIC PET
Rated PG for fantasy action and mild language.
Rated PG for fantasy action/peril and some rude humor.
Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, drug and alcohol use -- all involving teens.
BIG TIME ADOLESCENCE
Rated R for drug content, alcohol use, pervasive language, and sexual references - all involving teens.
Rated PG for language and thematic elements.
Rated R for language, and some drug/alcohol use involving teens.
Rated R for strong bloody violence, and language throughout.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence.
MY HERO ACADEMIA: HEROES RISING
PG-13 for violence and language. (Dubbed and Subbed Versions)
NO TIME TO DIE
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images, brief strong language and some suggestive material.
Rated R for strong sexual content, language, and brief graphic nudity.
SLAY THE DRAGON
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language.
Rated R for language and some sexuality/nudity.
Rated R for strong sexual content and language throughout, graphic nudity, and violence including a sexual assault.