Editors' Picks: Films and TV Series To Watch on Disney+ Singapore
If you’re anything like me and love a good musical, then you’ll understand why the filmed production of Hamilton ranks high on my list of things to watch on Disney+. The Hamilton hype started in 2015 and was almost immediately recognised as one of the most groundbreaking productions on Broadway and eventually, West End. It tells the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton and how he made his political mark as an immigrant with themes are remain highly relevant in today’s divisive climate.
What makes it truly spectacular is the music that’s written to further the narrative. Songs are inspired by hip-hop and rap, written by the musical force that is Lin-Manuel Miranda. Granted that live productions filmed on camera can lose its immersive spark that one would typically get in an actual theatre, I still strongly believe that it doesn’t take away from the quality and sheer talent from an outstanding cast and crew—much less from a Broadway hit featuring most of its original, Tony-winning cast. In any case, witnessing the show through a film-directed lens could also provide glimpses of the stage we wouldn’t typically see as a sitting audience, including aerial shots and close-ups of the actors’ expressions (shoutout to all my circle seat comrades)!
—Amelia Yeo, writer
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Before watching WandaVision, I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of two Marvel superheroes in a sitcom-like drama. It was almost blasphemy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)—Wanda Maximoff and Vision were not fighting villains but were living idyllic suburban lives in the town of Westview. But the Marvel geek in me relented and gave episode one a shot. I was hooked immediately. The acting by Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda) and Paul Bettany (Vision) is excellent, swinging from superhero intensity to humorous slapstick the next instance. Their performances strung the plot together.
Credit also has to go to the set designers for styling the characters and filling each set with details that were accurate to every decade the couple went through. But as with every MCU production, it is not WYSIWYG—there are plenty of plot twists and sub-layers to understand, which are explained in details as each episode progresses. Don’t blink, if I were you.
—Terence Lim, commercial initiatives director
Raya and the Last Dragon
I may not have a Disney+ subscription yet, but when I do—the first show on my must-watch list is Raya and the Last Dragon. As a fan of Disney princesses, it makes sense for me to get to know the newest addition to the gang. Raya is a warrior princess from the fantasy world of Kumandra, a fictional land inspired by Southeast Asian cultures from Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Malaysia. That’s especially intriguing to me, since Disney has never had a Southeast Asian princess before. In the show, Raya is on a quest to restore peace and reunite the people of Kumandra—and that’s only possible if she finds the last dragon. I haven’t been watching movies of late so I’m excited for my first Disney epic in a while. Also, can someone enlighten me as to why Singapore isn’t among the Southeast Asian countries that inspired the film?
—Andrea Saadan, assistant digital editor
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Naturally, I was extremely excited about how Friday family movie nights were going to be packed with animated film classics. Movies are a ritual with our two children at the end of a busy week: We cuddle up in pyjamas, with movie snacks a-ready and spend the evening in a world of magic. I was ready to finally watch Soul and rewatch every single Toy Story movie made.
But surprisingly, what drew me in was Inside Pixar—a 10-episode behind-the-scenes documentary series about the stories of people behind these films: the Pixarians who work at the Pixar Animation Studios—as some call themselves. I completely geeked out over character art director Deanna Marsigliese’s vintage '50s wardrobe and how it inspired Edna Mode’s superhero costumes in The Incredibles. Or the often-overlooked role of music editor Barney Jones, whose role is to score each film temporarily before the actual score; and his side gig of being part of Pixar's birthday squad. Most of all, being able to explore the Pixar HQ and all the wondrous staff-decorated offices within (including ones that are a tiki hut and a crash plane site) through the eyes of director of facility operations, Patty Bonfilio. Every episode allowed me to be a fly on the wall in Pixar Animation Studios, and watch how the magic happens.
—Daphne Chen-Cordeiro, digital content director
Black Is King
I’m incredibly excited to finally catch up to the rest of the world and feast my eyes on Beyonce’s critically-acclaimed visual album, Black Is King. Exclusively available in Singapore on Disney+, the feature film is a companion piece to the soundtrack album The Lion King: The Gift, which in turn was inspired by 2019’s film remake of The Lion King. The stunning cinematography, lush visuals, and impactful storytelling have earned the film highly-raved (and highly-deserved, I’m sure) reviews. When the weekend rolls around, I’ll be streaming this masterpiece by Queen Bey, stat.
—Cheryl Lai-Lim, digital writer
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The Grand Budapest Hotel
I’m not big on television series—rather than one or two episodes at a time, I’m a one season per sitting kind of person and that seriously takes up so much time, so I’d rather not. But I’m excited for Disney+’s library of critically acclaimed films such as Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. I’ve been wanting to revisit the maverick filmmaker’s works after watching the local release Tiong Bahru Social Club by Tan Bee Thiam, which offers a similar vibe. And I think Anderson’s last live-action feature would be a good place to start, before the release of his latest film The French Dispatch this year. From the quirky characters to his masterful use of symmetry and colour, every Wes Anderson film is a work of art.
—Hashirin Nurin Hashimi, sub-editor