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The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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The 2024 revival of “Mean Girls” doesn’t hold a candle to the original

The+logo+for+the+2024+Mean+Girls+may+look+the+same+as+the+original+logo%2C+but+it+has+the+addition+of+a+music+note+to+indicate+that+the+movie+is+a+musical.++Photo+from+Paramount+Pictures.+
The logo for the 2024 “Mean Girls” may look the same as the original logo, but it has the addition of a music note to indicate that the movie is a musical. Photo from Paramount Pictures.

Even though it wasn’t Wednesday, pink took over theaters this past weekend as a favorite cultural icon was reimagined. The latest “Mean Girls” opened on Jan. 12, and with it came a lot of excitement. This version incorporated aspects of the original movie as well as aspects of the Broadway musical, and even though the revamp of the classic story was an elaborate attempt, it did not live up to the iconic 2004 version starring Lindsay Lohan.

As in the original movie, Cady, played by Angourie Rice, joins the Plastics, a friend group run by Regina George, played by Reneé Rapp. But once she realizes how disingenuous Regina is, Cady, along with Janis and Damian, played by Auliʻi Cravalho and Jaquel Spivey, take down the group from the inside. Regina then learns that Cady likes her ex, Aaron Samuels, played by Christopher Briney, and wreaks havoc on North Shore High.

In the film, viewers reencounter familiar faces such as Tina Fey and Tim Meadows, who portray Ms. Norbury and Principal Duvall in both the original film and this new version, which was a nice homage to the originals. Lindsay Lohan, who previously played Cady Heron, was also featured as the math competition monitor. The writers added in jokes from Lohan to Cady about how no one cares about her life, which added a humorous touch to the scene, especially since it was coming from a past Cady.

The cinematography and production of the movie was impressive, as the scenes and dances were very elaborate. The high quality of the sets and camera work gave the viewers a unique experience as they walked through the halls of North Shore High School. The directors not only used professional cameras but also incorporated clips that looked like they were filmed on a phone. This stylistic touch exaggerated the fact that this movie was not the same as in the 2000s. 

“Mean Girls” also included narration from Janis and Damian, which gave the viewers background information that would otherwise be unknown. It was an interesting move to have the two characters breaking the fourth wall, considering that’s how it was performed in the 2017 Broadway musical. I enjoyed the comedic narration, especially when it started off with their song “A Cautionary Tale” which was their foreshadowing for the movie. 

In order to remain politically correct, the “Mean Girls” team had to change many of the burn book insults in order to not get backlash. They also changed the script when the girls were issuing apologies to each other and removed Regina’s homophobic line, and the lyrics to Regina’s opening song. 

The 2024 “Mean Girls” utilized a diverse cast to differentiate itself from the early 2000s film. Damian, for example, was a white character in the first “Mean Girls,” and is portrayed by a black actor in the 2024 version. Karen, who was originally a “dumb blonde” in the 2004 version, was played by an actress of Indian descent. The diverse cast gave new light to characters, in ways that weren’t thought of in the originals.

Besides the cast, the main distinction between the newest movie and the first two is its musical numbers. Even though the songs felt a bit awkward at times, they provided a fun twist on the story and well displayed the talents of the actors. 

Some of the songs felt out of place and unnecessary. “Stupid With Love” is an awkward song about Cady falling in love, and it felt like it was dragging on, and many fans felt the same way and were very underwhelmed. However, on the other hand, it did include some impressive tunes, such as “Meet the Plastics,” which was an entertaining introduction to the group, and featured a great melody and vocals by Rapp. Along with “Meet the Plastics,” other songs sung by Rapp display her wide vocal range and talent.  ​​​​

Without the performances though, the film would have been yet another version of the same exact story. While fans do enjoy the comedic tale between Cady and the Plastics, it’s being worn out by the plot’s near-exact repeats, since the 2024 “Mean Girls” is just a melodious repeat of the 2004 “Mean Girls” and 2011 “Mean Girls 2”.

Additionally, with the same songs, same plot and same narrators, the 2024 “Mean Girls” is a repetition of the musical, with the main difference being that the movie is recorded. 

If you have followed the series thus far, I would recommend watching the movie. It’s an interesting take on Cady’s rivalry with Regina, and it brings light to new areas of the story. That being said, I’m tired of rewatching the same story, and hope for a different tale in future “Mean Girls” movies. It was not my favorite of the collection, and I don’t think I will be running back to see it again.

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