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The iconic “Mean Girls” film has been remade as a musical

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Natalie Hannah

On Jan. 12, 2024, a new Mean Girls was released with an all-new cast and new style as a musical movie

 “Get in loser, we’re going shopping,” said the blonde girl driving the silver Lexus. The girl was dressed in a pink outfit and had one of the fakest personalities I have ever seen in any chick flick. She was rude and easily destroyed the people in her way. Her name was Regina George, the main “plastic” in the movie “Mean Girls” and even though she was mean, she was iconic. 

“Mean Girls” was one of the most popular movies in the early 2000s having hilarious characters saying the most iconic lines that are still quoted today. The movie is a childhood staple of many teens today and is still a relevant representation of high school today. 

I’ll be honest when I say I was split between being excited that one of my favorite childhood movies was being remade as well as being worried that “Mean Girls” was being remade since most remakes of original movies end up being very flat and an unoriginal copy changed to fit the modern day trends while taking the heart out of it. Especially the Disney Live Actions.

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However, after seeing the movie, I was pleasantly surprised that this remake wasn’t all bad and an enjoyable experience. One main change the movie made was making it a musical, using songs from the Broadway musical created by Tina Fey who played Mrs. Norberry in the original  “Mean Girls” movie and reprised her role in the new one too. The movie being a musical isn’t a bad idea in the slightest as it adds more personality that the original couldn’t provide through songs. The trailers that have been promoting these movies for months have never once shown the characters singing until after it was released. The same has happened with other movies released this year such as “Wonka” and “The Color Purple”. 

It’s as if the marketing teams for 2024 movies collectively decided that they would make all their musicals a surprise for audiences. This is confusing because if a movie is a musical it should be promoted as such and not be shown as a regular movie that surprises people who weren’t expecting it.

 The musical version was in no way better than the original, but not bad for a remake. One thing that made the movie hard to watch was because of one specific actress named Angourie Rice who plays the main character Katy Heron. She is not a bad actress and I like her past work in the Spiderman movies as the side character student Betty Brant or the manipulative Honor Rose in “Honor Society”. Rice played Katy in a very accurate way being a very awkward new kid homeschooled in Africa, who then turns into a fake “plastic” at North Shore High as the movie progresses.  Rice is however not a great singer, which maybe to cut her some slack could be the movie director’s fault for making her sing Katy’s songs in a soft voice.  

The movie gives her a new song called “What If” which was forgettable, unlike the original song she should have sung called “It Roars” like in the Broadway musical. “It Roars” gives us a more lively introduction to Katy’s character and her life in Africa, which shows how much she wishes for a normal life like other teens. Instead, we have a half-baked song showing Katy as someone who wants to go to high school, giving us the audience a rushed introduction of a main character that makes her seem like her life living in a research camp in Africa was a minor inconvenience instead of something that was a part of her but kept her from living her life as a teenager. Her singing is best described as flat and very devoid of life.

 When it’s Rice’s turn to sing you feel as if she isn’t giving any emotion in her performance like she’s just reading her lyrics instead of singing them. It’s something the director even knew because in the when singing one the original sings from the Broadway musical “Apex Predator” was originally sung by both Janice and Katy to show both characters’ perspectives on Regina, but is now sung by Janice and Damian, but having Katy as a more bystander listening to her friends talk about Regina. The rest of the actors can sing fine as well as act, so this movie really confuses me how they found an actress to play Katy, the main character of “Mean Girls”, but she can’t sing well enough to fully represent Katy Heron. My last irk about her character is about her family situation on how the movie took away Katy’s father in this remake, making the movie more focused on the relationship of Katy and her mother.

 It isn’t a bad change since it adds more depth as a character to Katy’s mother and her relationship with Katy but it doesn’t make sense since there’s no explanation of what happened to him. The father is not dead or divorced from the mom, he just doesn’t exist in this movie. 

One thing I enjoyed was the singing done by the actresses Reneé Rapp (Regina George in the Broadway Musical) and Auli’i Cravalho (singer of “How Far I’ll Go” in Moana). These two characters were the ones who held the movie together. Regina is mean and an iconic character who you can’t help but admire even if she is the antagonist of the film. Rapp’s voice is as powerful as her character and she nails every single mean girl expression Regina would make in this movie. Janice, a character who originally was made fun of by Regina is called a lesbian, which in this movie she actually is which is a great representation for the LGBTQ+ community as well as feels right for her character, having the same fiery and not-like-other girls energy that the original has. 

The not-like-other-girls energy is a little cringe today since it’s somewhat overdone and most times is the only personality trait of this type of character, but the new “Mean Girls” movie thankfully doesn’t do this. They incorporate other traits looking more at her artistic nature, making her do needlepoint portraits and giving her intense eyeshadow looks throughout the movie exploring more into the creativity of her character. 

The songs in this movie have a very modern take by incorporating very choreographed dance numbers mixed in the movie with over-the-top sets giving a very “High School Musical” vibe to the movie. They changed some lyrics in the songs like “Meet The Plastics,” changing the lyric “I never weigh more than one-fifteen” to “That filter you use looks just like me”, which was done to promote body positivity trying not to put out the message of unhealthy 2000s body weight standards. Which is good if the movie took out changing Regina’s plotline of gaining weight from the Kaltein Bars when losing her popularity. It somewhat contradicts the message of feeling happy with your body since she’s seen as sad with the weight she’s gained and running aggressively on the treadmill to get her old weight back.

 This movie more focused on making the musical numbers look as flashy as possible, making the movie look very musical-like using some camera techniques such as pushing the camera towards Regina’s face when she screamed after finding out Katy had tricked her with the Kaltein Bars or making the screen look similar to a phone screen when Karen was doing a TikTok Live. 

My final say is that the new “Mean Girls” movie is worth going to see in theaters because it’s a fascinating musical take of the original movie and Broadway musical mixed. Minus Katy’s singing, it’s a fun musical movie perfect to watch and laugh at with friends.

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About the Contributors
Holly Nguyen-Barba, Staff Writer/Media Team
Holly is a photographer/writer for Stargazer. She is a sophomore and has been on the staff since 2022. Holly engages in student journalism because she enjoys capturing the special/important moments of things and sharing them with the world.
Natalie Hannah, Media Editor
Natalie is a graphic designer for the Stargazer. She is a junior, and this is her second year on staff. Natalie engages in student journalism because she enjoys creating art and sharing it with others.

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