What we're watching and playing this week in Dubai
The Lion King (PG13)
And here we go again. Disney’s resurgence of live action remakes of beloved animated classics is all the rage these days, if not just as popular as the superhero genre (which Disney is also dominating). Here’s a thought: if every animal in this adaptation of The Lion King is just CGI, can it really be called live-action? We say yes, because from what we can tell, it’s about as beautifully constructed as any real-life animal can be.
If you aren’t one of those die-hard nostalgia Disney fans and don’t know the plot of this epic story (we’re thinking that’s every one in a thousand of you), it’s a journey through the African savanna where a future king is born, lion cub Simba. His father, King Mufasa teaches the true meaning of being a king, but there’s a battle brewing at Pride Rock when big baddie Scar wants to take the place as top kitty, resulting in Simba’s exile. He then meets a singing meerkat and warthog, and tries to find a way to take back his rightful spot.
Of course, it’s all about the songs too, but Disney isn’t simply putting all the old favourites back in. They’ve brought in Beyoncé’s (Nala) and Donald Glover’s (Simba) singing chops, and even got Elton John to come back to rework some of the classics. Oh, and iconic composer Hans Zimmer is making a comeback too. From Beauty and the Beast to this year’s Aladdin, these remakes haven’t done the animated classics justice, but with the crazy good CGI, talent and singers involved, we’re sure crowds will be roaring all about The Lion King.
In cinemas July 18.
What happens when an Uber driver is stuck with a lunatic cop on the trail of a killer on the loose? Erm, tell him to get out and jump in a proper police car – that’s what we’d do, anyway. But then we wouldn’t get a five-star rating of course, and Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) is definitely on the road to getting one with all the funny chaos his passenger Vic (Dave Bautista) puts him through. We’re loving the team-up of these stars, and will enjoy the ride.
In cinemas now
Stranger Things season 3
It’s been a long year and a half, but the gang from Hawkins High School is finally back and this time summer vacation is in full swing. There are jobs for some, at the ice cream parlour and pool, as well as trips to the local mall as the kids deal with regular issues, but it appears as though the core group of friends is beginning to drift apart. Oh, and the creepy creature from season two has returned.
Out now on Netflix
Aziz Ansari: Right Now
In the first time in four years, ever since his last special live at Madison Square Garden, the quirky comedian is returning with a new comedy special on Netflix (not like we have enough of them...). Titled Right Now, we’re sure he’ll go into detail about the years after creating the hit Netflix series Master of None. Oh, and Oscar-winner Spike Jonze will be director. How does one direct a comedy show?
Out now on Netflix
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3
We’re in the midst of the era of superheroes, people, and if you didn’t know that by now, you’ve definitely been living under an Infinity Stone. Regardless of Avengers: Endgame ‘finishing off’ the franchise, we’re all still fighting about who should take over from Hugh Jackman as Wolverine (#vote for Danny DeVito). What hasn’t the superhero craze taken over yet? Gaming. But with E3 2019 showing off Square Enix’s Marvel’s Avengers game, the industry is slowly getting caught up in the genre. That’s not the game that should be on your radar though – for a complete scope of what the Marvel Universe is really capable of, movie or game, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is it.
If you think Team Ninja’s take on the Marvel action RPG – strangely set in a completely different universe than the previous two – is just about the Avengers, you’re gravely mistaken. There’s a whopping 34 playable characters (and counting!), which means players will see the swashbuckling Nightcrawler from X-Men slice through foes all while Iron Man blasts them away with his repulsor beams. And with a touch of Groot, of course. Marvel geeks (that’s us) could only dream of seeing that on the big screen, but that’s quite literally the name of the game here.
Like the past two, The Black Order will see gamers make up a team of any four superheroes which they can switch to play as at any point while in combat. Fancy a bit of Ghost Rider chain action or hammer time with Thor? It’s a simple press of a button. Each hero is unique, too, with their own set of abilities and power-ups to keep gameplay fresh. With the roster as big as it is, it gives those in singleplayer the chance to test them all out on the fly. This is more for multiplayer, though, because who wouldn’t want to get their gang together and fight off hordes of villains as their favourite X-Man? While players can have any hero team up together, the special team-up feature returns, which gives characters special team bonuses such as double EXP or more health. It’s a nice easter egg-type nod for all fans of comics to equally nod back to.
Story-wise, expect a whole new twist on the Infinity War plot, which will take cues from both the comics and the cinematic universe. A tad disappointing as there’s a lot of other stories out there, but whatever brings together our favourite heroes works for us.
Available on Nintendo Switch. July 19.
Sea of Solitude
Already, this adventure game sounds lonely. Although, the world which players are thrust into is an empty, cold and submerged city filled with red-eyed creatures, so it’s a pretty fitting name. But it turns out protagonist Kay has also turned into a beast, plagued by monster-like thoughts. It’s up to the player to discover how she got like this by travelling through a beautifully eerie world. Just try not to drown.
Out now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.