CONSTANTINOS PSILLIDES looks at the goodies in store for fans
Streaming platforms are deep into the holiday mood, queuing up some major releases for December.
Disney+, December 20
It’s rare for a book series to get a film or TV adaptation, so fans of the Percy Jackson YA books were ecstatic when they learned back in 2004 that 21st Century Fox acquired the rights and was planning to promote Percy Jackson as the next Harry Potter series.
It didn’t work out.
Despite considerable star power (Sean Bean, Uma Thurman, Pierce Brosnan), the movie failed to inspire fans. It did make enough money to warrant a sequel but that was it. A third movie was scrapped and fans were left hanging. When Disney bought 21st Century, author Rick Riordan decided to pitch a reboot to his series, this time for TV. Riordan would be much more involved in the creative process, unlike the previous attempt, and if early focus group results are to be trusted, the new series is far superior to the movies.
Percy Jackson tells the story of Percy, a typical, angsty teenager who one day learns not only that the gods of Olympus are real but also that he is the son of Poseidon. When Zeus loses his bolt and threatens war, Percy must team up with his friends and go on a quest to retrieve the bolt and find the thief.
Netflix, December 20
The long-awaited and heavily promoted biopic about Leonard Bernstein, Maestro is Netflix’s this year’s Oscar-bait, starring Bradley Cooper as Bernstein. This is a passion project for Cooper as he also co-wrote and directed the film.
Maestro tells the story of Bernstein’s marriage with his wife Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan) and how she supported him in becoming one of the greatest American composers, while also keeping his sexuality a secret.
The movie revolves around how Felicia accepted her husband’s true nature as a gay man and how she was proud to be by his side.
Rebel Moon: Child of Fire Netflix, December 22
We talked about Rebel Moon extensively last week so let’s just keep it simple now. Zack Snyder’s magnum opus for Netflix is a sci-fi space opera that was originally pitched as a Star Wars movie but then was rewritten. It tells the story of a Scargiver, a veteran soldier for the galaxy-dominating Imperium who decides to lay down her guns and live a simple life on a remote planet. When the Imperium comes looking for her, she decides to fight back recruiting a team of mercenaries to protect the remote colony from evil.
Reacher Season 2
Prime, December 15
Reacher first season’s success caught Prime completely by surprise. The series was a low-budget attempt at adapting the Jack Reacher book series after the movies starring Tom Cruise flopped. As the fans’ greatest complaint with the movies was that Tom Cruise was nowhere near the character’s description in the books of a tall, muscular man with a hulking physique. Having learned from their mistakes, series producers cast Alan Ritchson, who is a far better match physically.
Season 2 adapts the Bad Luck and Trouble book of the Reacher series, where our protagonist is informed that someone is hunting down his former comrades in the military. Reacher’s former team disappear one by one so Reacher decides to fight back and get to the bottom of it.
The Crown Season 6, Part 2 Netflix, December 14
Netflix’s acclaimed series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, concludes with the final six episodes of season 6. The first four were released in November, focusing on the death of Princess Diana.
The final instalment will deal with her sons growing up and getting married, ending with the death of the queen. Imelda Staunton is flawless as the elder monarch, although the first part of season 6 drew sharp criticism about the way it handled the aftermath of Diana’s death.
Despite any criticism, The Crown remains an excellent series and is one of Netflix’s crowning achievements.