Ursula, Alien Nation, Halle Bailey: Weekly Round Up


Ursula, Alien Nation, Halle Bailey: Weekly Round Up

I’m absolutely outrages. Honestly, I can’t believe this. It’s political correctness gone mad. What is the world coming to? Disney have cast R&B singer Halle Bailey as Ariel in their upcoming remake of The Little Mermaid, instead of casting a scaly, green fish monster. This is Doug Jones in The Shape of Water all over again. When are we going to get fair representation for fish monsters?

Okay, so that’s all a bit of a joke, but it is true that the casting has stirred some controversy. I say controversy, but really I mean it’s upset a bunch of racists, and that’s pretty good in my book. If Disney can keep upsetting racists, then maybe I can look past how terrible most of their remakes have been and give this one a shot.

The Little Mermaid reboot is to be directed by Rob Marshall, meaning it’ll likely keep the originals musical origins. We also learned this week that Melissa McCarthy is in early talks for the role of the villain, Ursula. This news is far less interesting, as McCarthy, in my opinion at least, just isn’t all that good and I don’t really care for many of her roles.

Rapper/singer Lizzo has also thrown her hat into the ring for the Ursula role, and truthfully, I think this makes for a far more interesting choice. None the less, the rest of the cast certainly suggests a fairly fresh take on the material, with Awkwafina and Jacob Trembley in the roles of Scuttle the Seagal and Flounder the… not a flounder, respectively.

How this one turns out is anyone’s guess at this point, but if Disney’s previous forays into remaking their now classic roster is anything to go by, it’s going to be average at best, at worst absolutely abysmal. It could be the one to break the cycle, who know, but one things for certain; whatever it winds up being, it’s already a thumbs up from me for pissing off a bunch of racists.

Speaking of movies everyone hated before they actually existed as movie, the sequel to 2017’s surprisingly good Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, dropped its trailer this week. We already knew that the 2017 movie’s core cast of Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black and Kevin Hart were set to return, and we also knew that they’ll be joined by newcomers Danny DeVito and Danny Glover, but what we didn’t know was quite how those two fit into the movie.

Well, the trailer had some answers, revealing that both DeVito and Glover will play characters from the real world, and that Johnson and Hart will be playing those characters inside the game.

How this all is going to play out remains to be seen, but I like the idea of the returning “game avatars” playing different people this time round. It means we’ll get to see different performances, and it will no doubt lead to some interesting laughs and story beats. It’s a really clever way to keep the concept fresh, while still delivering on all the good stuff of the… original (? Can we call it an original?).

From good news to bad news now. And once again it’s at the hands of the dreaded Disney corporation (grrrr).

This week saw the revelation that, as a result of the recent Disney/Fox merger, Disney have pulled the plug of Jeff Nichols planned Alien Nation reboot. Which, as far as I’m concerned, is one, great big, massive bummer. Screw you, Disney. Screw. You.

For those of you who don’t know, Alien Nation, the original, was a 1988 sci-fi movie, that starred James Caan as a human detective and Mandy Patinkin as his partner, who also happens to be an alien. The film worked as a sort of buddy-cop movie, but also as a crime drama with some interesting ideas and subtext to boot.

It certainly wasn’t perfect, but it was fun and the idea of a modern-day reboot with writer/director Jeff Nichols at the helm was enough to pique my interest. Nichols is the man behind Take Shelter, Mud, and the excellent, but sorely underseen sci-fi drama Midnight Special. So far Nichols is yet to make a bad movie, in my opinion, so I had high hopes for this one.

Irritatingly, Disney haven’t just scrapped the project altogether, but have rather put it on hold, which means it cannot be shopped around to other studios. What the decision-making process behind this terrible, terrible decision was is beyond me, but I’m very disappointed none the less. I want my Jeff Nichols’ Alien Nation, Goddammit!!! 

Ursula is a fictional character who appears in Walt Disney Pictures‘ 28th animated feature film The Little Mermaid (1989). Voiced by American actress Pat Carroll, Ursula is a villainous sea witch who offers a mermaid princess named Ariel an exchange to trade her voice for a pair of human legs, at first appearing to be providing the character with an opportunity to become human by temporarily transforming her into one so that she may earn the love of Prince Eric within three days. However, Ursula is, in fact, determined to sabotage Ariel’s chances at any expense so that she can ultimately replace the mermaid’s father King Triton as ruler over Atlantica.

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Alex Secker is a writer/director/editor. His debut feature film, the micro-budget thriller Follow the Crows, won Best Independent Film at the Global Film Festival Awards, while his stage-play, The Door, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2017 Swinge Festival.


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