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The Voice of the Wildkats

The Student News Site of Willis High School

The Voice of the Wildkats

The Student News Site of Willis High School

The Voice of the Wildkats

New ‘Mean Girls’ movie adds to iconic story of high school caste system

YOU+STILL+CANT+SIT+WITH+US.+There+is+more+than+a+Burn+Book+in+common+with+the+characters+in+the+original+and+new+versions+of+Mean+Girls.+photo+courtesy+of+Paramount+Pictures
YOU STILL CAN’T SIT WITH US. There is more than a Burn Book in common with the characters in the original and new versions of “Mean Girls.” photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

The word iconic holds more weight than those who throw it around believe. It is used to describe just about any film, song or book. However, it should only be used for a handful of truly iconic things. “Mean Girls” is one of them. When someone thinks of “Mean Girls” they are reminded of iconic lines like, “You can’t sit with us,” “Danny DeVito! I love your work,” and “On Wednesdays we wear pink.” Some believe that the remake “Mean Girls (2024)” is a flop because it stripped one-third of the lines viewers never fail to reference. Nevertheless, the lack of similarity to the first movie does not change the timeless nature of the film. 

The movie opens on a vertical lens iPhone camera, focusing on Janis ‘Imi’ike (Auli’i Cravalho) and her best friend Damian Hubbard (Jaquel Spivey) singing a very energetic “Cautionary Tale” that prepares the viewer for the vibe and plot while also entertaining them from the get-go. This zestful scene transitions seamlessly from their garage to a field in Africa where the main character, Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) begins her first musical number “What Ifs” about her desire to lead a different life. Soon after, Cady gets news that she is starting real school at North Shore High in the fall, where she meets Janis, Damian and The Plastics. After she falls for Regina George’s (Renee Rapp) ex-boytoy Aaron Samuels (Christopher Briney) she tries her best to sabotage their relationship with the help of her new friends.

Throughout the story, Cady learns the importance of remaining true to herself, and how superficial teenagers, especially The Plastics can be. These themes are highlighted in hard-hitting numbers like “Apex Predator” and “I’d Rather Be Me.” which are both sung by Janis. The superficiality of the students is not comparable to that of the original “Mean Girls” though, seeing as the script steered away from problematic insults and ideals based on weight, race or sexuality. Tina Fey worked to modernize the film to be more politically correct, while also keeping The Plastics cruel and catty. This seemed like an impossible task, but she pulled it off. Lines like “I never weigh more than 115” changed, yet kept up the narrative that Regina was very surface level. Certain storylines were crafted differently as well, including Coach Carr’s (Jon Hamm) relationship with students and Principal Duval’s (Tim Meadows) past in a poverty-stricken area. These updates did not change the overall message of the movie but made it more relevant and positive.

PLASTIC IS FOREVER. Regina George and her plastics are back for a retelling of “Mean Girls.” courtesy of Paramount Pictures (photo or infographic by courtesy of Paramount Pictures)

Many viewers were caught off guard by the musical nature of the film, which is understandable since it was rarely showcased in trailers or ad campaigns. However, the lyrics and melodies do not take away from the ability to rewatch and enjoyment of the film. They improve it. Each song is reused from the hit Broadway version of the musical but in a tasteful way. Most are worried that the music will consume the movie, but the songs are used minimally and never feel forced. When the beat changes and the singing begins, it is because the director wants the viewer to fully feel the emotion a character is representing. Perfectly written songs sung by classically trained actors should not steer a fan of the original “Mean Girls” away from experiencing a new-age flick with a plot they know they appreciate.

At the end of the day “Mean Girls” (2024) is a successful attempt to bring the story to a new generation, with a more modern, accurate representation of high school life, without offending special interest groups. Though it is nearly impossible to make everyone happy, whether they be fans of the original returning or new viewers, this is the best Tina Fey has to offer. Everyone needs to watch “Mean Girls” (2024) before they pass judgment, and they need to try their best to let it stand alone, remembering that recreating a masterpiece is never easy.

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About the Contributor
Stone Chapman, VOW Staff Writer
Stone Chapman has been on yearbook and newspaper staff for one year. After ending the 2021-2022 school year with a best of SNO award and story with 47,000 views, he looks forward to entertaining and informing the students at Willis High School again.
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