Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Must Watch: Crazy Rich Asians

After a long wait, I finally got to watch Crazy Rich Asians over the weekend! I’ve been wanting to watch this movie since it was announced and I was actually looking forward to seeing it on the first day that it started showing in local cinemas but unfortunately, I was severely under the weather at the time and had to give it a few days before I was strong enough to get up and out of bed to watch it.

I was so happy to get into the cinema and see a lot of people already seated and waiting for the movie to start. I loved that I wasn’t the only one looking forward to watching the first Hollywood film in 25 years to have an all-Asian cast. I had been able to see The Joy Luck Club back in the day and I was so glad to again get to see a movie like it on the big screen. I hope that it doesn’t take another 25 years for a repeat --- I’ll be too old by then!

I know that it has had a lot of positive reviews from so many people in the US and while some people have been nitpicking it for not being totally representative of Asia, I don’t think that people should go there. It’s a big deal already to have a movie like this. It’s a step in the right direction. It’s a foot in the door (again) so to speak.  I think people should just enjoy it for what it is – a good rom-com movie that happens to have an all-Asian cast.

I had my hesitations with the leads as I was familiar with them in their other jobs (Fresh Off the Boat for Constance Wu and the various shows that Henry Golding has hosted in Asia through the years) and I thought I would not be able to separate them from what they had previously done but they were Rachel and Nick all the way. Michelle Yeoh, as expected, was amazing as Eleanor Young. I loved how you could already tell a lot of what she wanted to say by how she looked at someone. I think that’s why people have been comparing her to Meryl Streep because she acts the same way.

I’ve read all three books of Kevin Kwan in the series and I was very excited to see everything I’ve read come to life. There were some changes to the story from book to movie, but I think that was understandable because you need to condense everything from the book into a two-hour film.

Crazy Rich Asians showed a lot of that crazy rich lifestyle that most of us can only dream about (but is apparently real for some) but it also showed a story of relationships, friendships, family, and traditions. There is something that everyone can relate to.

The film was more than two hours and honestly, I wish that it lasted longer (in the DVD version, perhaps?). I wanted more of Peik Lin and Oliver (Awkwafina and Nico Santos were hilarious!). I wanted more of Astrid and her story (and yes, I wanted more of Charlie!). I can’t wait to see the next movie, even if it will probably take more than a year or so to get filmed given the schedule of Jon Chu, the director. I’m ready to wait for it, as long as it gets done!

Like most Filipinos, I also looked forward to the appearance of Kris Aquino as Princess Intan in the wedding scene. There is a different princess in the book, but I guess they changed it for this movie. Hopefully, Kris will still be the same princess who will have an important role in one of the future films.

A lot of bashers have been making fun of how big a deal Kris supposedly made by having this role, but I happen to think that even if it was a short one it had a big impact in the movie. My niece was shocked when Kris was shown on screen – not because she was surprised that Kris was there, but because she had such a different aura as Princess Intan. Even the way she spoke in perfect English was different. It was not Kris Aquino, it was Princess Intan. It led my niece to remark that this is the first time she realized that Kris is a good actress. There was no sign of the Krissy that most of her fans are familiar with. She was really the character she was playing. Kudos to her!

To sum up, I think that Crazy Rich Asians is a great movie and a must-watch. It's not just about the cultural significance of the film. It’s entertaining, it’s funny, the sights are beautiful, and the acting is on point all the time. Plus, it’s a rom-com!!! I’ve missed rom-coms! I’m so glad they’re back!

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