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Students react to the new but nostalgic 'Mean Girls' movie-musical

It's melodic, modern and oh so fetch!

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"And (in the adaptation) it was like, why is everyone wearing pink cargo pants? This is not at all fashion!"

Get in loser, we're going to the movies.

The 2024 big-screen debut of "Mean Girls" brought nostalgia to a generation of original fans while sparking conversation among present fashion lovers and musical enthusiasts.

The "Mean Girls" movie of 2004 remains a timeless classic, captivating audiences with the tale of Cady Heron's foray into the intricate world of high school. From her initial status as a fish out of water to the pinnacle of popularity and eventual downfall, the film left an imperishable mark on popular culture, fueled by its unforgettable lines and memorable dialogue that continue to resonate today. 

"I remember being two when it came out and it being my favorite movie," Destiny Martinez, a junior studying fashion, said. "Little two-year-old me already knew that it was an iconic movie." 

The "Mean Girls" of 2024 underwent a transformative journey by adapting the Broadway musical of the same name. While the musical adaptation retained the essence of the original story, it sparked discussions among fans with some acting and stylistic decisions.

Pop singer and Broadway star Reneé Rapp took on the role of Regina George, bringing a fresh perspective to the character by delivering exceptional vocals and distinctive characterization. Native Hawaiian Auli'i Cravalho, who plays Janice, joined an overall more diverse cast which contributed to the musical's appeal, offering increased representation compared with the 2004 version.

One notable difference from the original was the overwhelming focus on songs, leaving minimal room for the impactful dialogue that defined the 2004 classic. The omission of many iconic lines left some viewers missing the wit and humor of the original script. However, "Mean Girls" was already adapted to be a stage musical written by Tina Fey. That musical was shown on Broadway from 2018 to 2021.

Although it was perceived badly by some for its continuous stream of songs, Kyleigh Perales, a sophomore studying musical theatre performance, found it fitting.

"My professors have always said, 'You sing when you don't know what to say anymore,' and that has always been very interesting to me," Perales said.

Criticism was also directed at the new movie musical's costume choices and overall fashion.

"Early 2000s fashion was so chic, clean-cut and preppy," Harlow Kelley, a junior studying biological sciences and Spanish, said. "And (in the adaptation) it was like, why is everyone wearing pink cargo pants? This is not at all fashion!"

READ MORE: Student's talk 'Saltburn': Thoughts on the unconventional film 

Despite different shortcomings, the musical managed to modernize the narrative by incorporating social media elements into its iconic plot. Regina's downfall, for instance, was portrayed through a series of TikTok-like video montages, showcasing a clever integration of popular cultural phenomena.

While deviating from some aspects of the iconic 2004 film, the 2024 "Mean Girls" movie-musical successfully navigated the challenges of adaptation. The emphasis on songs over dialogue brought a new dimension to the story, emphasizing modernization and the integration of social media elements.

As "Mean Girls" continues to evolve, this new rendition leaves an indelible mark on its cultural legacy, highlighting the enduring appeal of this high school tale.

Edited by Sophia Braccio, Sadie Buggle and Shane Brennan

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