Moana

Dec. 3rd, 2016 06:51 pm
osprey_archer: (cheers)
Went to see Moana yesterday! And it was gorgeous, really stunning animation and beautiful songs - quite different from the usual Disney song style; more epic maybe? I'm not sure how to define it, but it was a lot of fun, very epic sounding, quite appropriate to a magically intrepid ocean voyage.

Other things I enjoyed: the underwater sequences, the beautiful lush jungles, Moana practicing her speech to give to Maui (and the way that speech changes over time, gathering emotion like a snowball rolling down a hill gathers snow), Moana just in general, in particular Moana's beautiful hair, Maui's moving tattoo that talks (or I guess gestures) back at him when he's making bad life choices, and Spoiler I guess )

Zootopia

Mar. 11th, 2016 07:32 pm
osprey_archer: (cheers)
I went to see Zootopia, and you guys, it's totally awesome and you should totally see it, I had a wonderful time. The plot is not the best - it has the problem I have with a lot of movie mystery plots, which is that the clues basically fall in the heroes' laps, because the running time is simply too short for anything else. I loved the characters, though, especially rabbit Judy Hopp and fox Nick Wilde's enemies-to-reluctant-buddy cop schtick; I'm such a sucker for buddy cops. And also the secondary characters, Judy's worrywart parents (strangely endearing for all that they are horrified, horrified, horrified by their daughter's plan to become the first bunny cop in Zootopia), and the chief of police, who is a total jackass but hilarious.

But what really got me is the WORLD-BUILDING, because you could just see the filmmakers and animators sitting down together and having a grand old time hashing out, say, the logistics of living in a city with citizens who range in size from giraffes (15 feet) to hamsters (3 inches). Near the beginning, for instance, our hero Judy Hopp (off to the big city to become Zootopia's first rabbit cop!), gets on a train with three doors: one for big animals, one for medium size animals, and one for the itty bitty rodents.

AH THAT'S SO CUTE. The whole movie is just so cute like that, but unobtrusively cute (for the most part: there's a scene where Judy has to chase a suspect through a special rodent enclave and EVERYTHING IS SO TINY AND CUTE, OMG, they have hamster tubes between the buildings like pedestrian overpasses!): it's a side effect of their aesthetic, which is effusively detailed with incidentally adorableness. There are just so many little details and they're all so fun, like the scene where Judy catches a bootleg movie dealer and he's selling Disney movies - except they've all been revamped so they're animal themed (and I'm so sad I can't remember any of the puns right now, they were so cute), so Frozen is about otters, for instance.

And they've clearly put so much effort into the animation: I read somewhere that they had animated 43 (or maybe 63? A LOT) of different kinds of fur for all the animals, and you can really tell just looking at it, it's such a beautifully detailed movie. The attention to detail reminds me of Big Hero 6.

And I also thought that the filmmakers did a great and sensitive job depicting prejudice in Zootopia, because they've clearly put so much thought into the prejudices that might grow up with all these different (and in some cases, formerly antagonistic) species living and working together: it draws on analogies to real-world racism and sexism, but at the same time it doesn't map precisely onto them, because Zootopia is so different from the world as we know it.

For instance, it's Judy Hopp's species, not her gender, that makes people doubt her ability to be a cop, but at the same time I don't think it's an accident that she's female, and her struggles to be taken seriously as a cute li'l bunny mirror women's struggles to be taken seriously in the workplace. But there are also interspecies tensions that draw more clearly on the history of racism, like Judy's comment to that it's okay for a bunny to call another bunny cute, but if someone from another species does it, well... Or Judy's parents warning her that foxes are inherently untrustworthy, and indeed this seems to be a common prejudice; there are no foxes on the police force.

You could go into this in a lot more depth (and I'm sure someone has), because the movie does a ton of work with this sort of thing. It's really a joy to watch a film where the film-makers have taken such pleasure in designing the society they're telling a story about.

I'm not sure I'd want a direct sequel to this movie, but I would definitely love to see more stories set in the same world.

Maleficent

Jun. 12th, 2014 06:05 am
osprey_archer: (kitty)
I saw Maleficent! Holy uncanny valley, Batman, if they were going to use that much CGI I don’t know why they didn’t just go ahead and get rid of the live action component.

Having said that, I think the visuals bothered me more because they were really the most interesting thing about the movie. Some of the scenes where Maleficent shows Aurora the moor are quite lovely, like the fairies skating across the water to turn it into ice (Fantasia shout out!). But as a whole I thought the movie dragged, and it really put too many eggs in the message basket (true love is not necessarily romantic love!), especially given that Frozen portrayed the same message in a more original and interesting way.

We get it, Disney, you’ve repented of your sins in glorifying love-at-first-sight romance as the path to One True Love. It would be nice if you could have expressed this without committing character assassination on everyone but Maleficent and Aurora. I'm particularly bitter about how they made the good fairies a trio of raging incompetents.

I also was not a big fan of the fact that Maleficent tells an entirely different story than Sleeping Beauty. If it had just billed itself as a retelling of Sleeping Beauty the fairy tale that would be one thing, because really the only thing I demand of a Sleeping Beauty retelling is that a person falls into an enchanted sleep and gets kissed awake, and this movie had that element.

But this is not a retelling of Sleeping Beauty the fairy tale, it’s a weird AU version of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty that suggests that the original version never happened. I get that it would be difficult to construct a movie around Maleficent’s original characterization - how much depth can you get out of a petty fairy putting a curse on someone for petty reasons because sometimes that’s what fairies do? But it seems cheap to make a movie that purports to be about a character who behaves like that, but is actually about a completely different character in a completely different story, who happens to have similarly-shaped horns.

On the bright side, at last my darling Elle Fanning has gotten a role in such a major movie! Maybe more people will start casting her in better movies.
osprey_archer: (Disney)
[livejournal.com profile] lycoris asked: Your favourite Disney film in childhood and do you still feel the same about it now?

Either Cinderella or Fantasia, although I only liked select parts of each. In Cinderella, I was all about the mice. In fact, we usually never got to the ball: once the mice put together their dress for Cinderella, the movie was over as far as I was concerned.

With Fantasia, I liked the seasonal fairies, the Nutcracker songs - the dancing mushrooms and the waltzing flowers particularly - the Greek myths, and occasionally the dinosaurs, but the stegosaurus’s death was too sad to bear much watching. :( The dancing hippos were totally disturbing, though, and as for the giant Satanic figure at the end - good night! I saw that part once and it still pops into my mind to scare me.

It’s been ages since I’ve seen either movie, so I don’t know how I would feel about them now. I think Cinderella tends to get a worse rap than she deserves: people say she’s weak, but would a weak person be able to pull herself together to go to the ball after having her first dress ripped apart by her stepsisters? Indeed, could a weak person withstand her stepfamily’s constant campaign to undermine her self-worth? Her fairy godmother only gave her a new dress. Cinderella had to supply the self-confidence to wear it like she meant it.

This is not to say that Cinderella is an unproblematic story. The stepmother and ugly stepsisters can send a variety of misogynistic messages, depending on the choices made in the retelling, and in Cinderella Disney makes mostly the bad choices. But Cinderella’s character and in particular her supposed weakness are not one of those bad choices.

Frozen

Dec. 8th, 2013 08:04 pm
osprey_archer: (Disney)
You guys you guys! I just saw Frozen in the theater and IT IS AMAZING. I mean, everything about it is amazing, except the annoying comic relief snowman, but WHAT CAN YOU DO. I have hated Disney comic relief characters ever since Mushu, clearly there is no pleasing me in this regard.

But everything else is awesome! And the visuals are just as stunning: I love the careful detail put in everything, the painted decorations on the door and the embroidery on the dresses (all the clothes are beautiful. If they sold Anna's boots in stores, I would so buy them) and especially the excellent animation of snow and ice. It's at once enchanting - it reminded me of the scene in Tangled where everyone releases their lanterns into the sky, not in the particulars, but in that it had the same overwhelming loveliness - while being, at the same time, always cold and hard edged.

This is a dangerous place as well as a beautiful one, and that is clear right from the first shot, when the ice cutters saw through the ice and sing.

And I loved loved loved Anna and Elsa, right from the first scene when Anna wakes Elsa up to come play in the snow. Not because it has snowed, but because Elsa can conjure snow and ice with her magic powers, and they like to have snow adventures in the ballroom. How adorable is this?

Spoilers, naturally )
osprey_archer: (nature)
As part of my quest to watch all the Disney movies, I watched The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh yesterday, which left little impression aside from my sudden strong sympathy with Rabbit. I never cared much for Rabbit as a kid - Rabbit is a fussbudget - but watching it now, Rabbit has spent months working on his garden and he’s just bringing it in for the harvest and Tigger bounces in and spoils everything.

And he never even apologizes! Even though they will clearly go hungry now that the food is all ruined! No wonder Rabbit wants vengeance.

Oh, and I liked the animation style: the book illustrations that come to life. Who hasn’t wanted to see book illustrations do that?

***

In other news: SNOOOOOOOOOOOW! Actually, we do not have enough snow to justify quite so many Os; it’s just a dusting on the trees and grass (and, of course, my car). But still, the first snow of the season!
osprey_archer: (Disney)
There’s a new Disney princess movie coming out in November. Thus my Disneyriffic friends have been linking Disney fanart, and I have been sucked into the glorious world of Disney princess fanart!

My gateway drug: Costume Swap, which is pictures of the princesses dressed up in their prince’s clothes. I particularly like Belle, who looks so gallant and sweet, and Rapunzel, who is ready to take on the world - does Flynn Ryder know she’s stolen his clothes? Maybe she just left him tied up in the tower and ran away on her own?

But even more, there’s clearly a story behind Tiana all dressed up in Naveen’s suit and carrying his ukelele. Does Naveen know about this? (And does he think she’s totally adorable?) I sense a story here...

Mucha Princess Series. Disney princesses and Art Nouveau style: two great tastes that taste great together! I particularly like - well, I love all of them, really; but Merida’s hair just goes perfectly with Art Nouveau style. And as a matter of pure artistry, I love the Belle picture, although I don’t think I would have identified her as Belle if I didn’t know it was a Disney princess series.

And finally - I’m afraid I got a bit lost in the glories of Disney princess fanart - Disney Elementals, which features Disney princesses as elemental creatures. I’m sure it will absolutely stun you to hear that I love the Belle picture - her skirt is a candelabra! how do you beat that! Other hits: Snow White, with the crystalline black-and-white color scheme; and fire elemental Mulan.
osprey_archer: (Disney)
After watching Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, my friends and I - wont as we are to take any opportunity to discuss terrible things that one could do to classic literature - fell into conversation about the worst possible classic novel that Disney could possibly choose to adapt into a children’s movie.

Anna Karenina!” I suggested.

But further thought argued that in fact Anna Karenina was far too suitable a choice. After all, let’s face it, if Levin’s epiphany at the end of the book were“All I need to do is believe in myself and/or the power of love,” then he would make a pretty decent Disney hero.

And, having realized the importance of true love, even when prior marital vows get in the way, Levin and Kitty forgive Anna for her liaison with Vronsky and team up to save her from her blackguard husband, Count Karenin of the evil mustache and maniacal laugh! (Sorry, Count Karenin. The movie needed a better villain.)

Having realized that Anna has fallen in love with Vronsky, the evil Count Karenin has tied her to the train tracks! Things look bad - until Kitty and Levin arrive! (Possibly after rescuing Vronsky from a tower or something. The evil Count Karenin bound him to a chair to watch his beloved Anna’s demise, planning to come back and deal with him later.)

Together, Kitty and Levin and Vronsky save Anna! Incidentally pushing Count Karenin in front of the train! TRUE LOVE WINS.

You heard it here first, Disney! Call me!

My next thought was Wuthering Heights. Or how about Mansfield Park? Fanny has the whiff of a Disney heroine about her. She’d be like a cross between Cinderella and Belle: downtrodden by her relations, fond of reading, surrounded by talking animal friends - don’t you think Fanny would benefit from talking animal friends? Henry Crawford would be a slicker and more charming Gaston. Maybe he and Edmund would have a duel!

(The important question, though, is what role Mary Crawford would play in this production. Neither Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast provides a template.)

Conrad’s Heart of Darkness! Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment! Everything by Zola! The choices seem so endless; how could we ever decide which would be the very worst possible Disney movie?

Lolita,” suggested my friend Chelsea.

“BRAIN BLEACH,” we bleated, and unanimously pronounced her the winner.
osprey_archer: (friends)
Becky came down to visit me and see Despicable Me 2 this weekend. Her visit was awesome! But the movie itself, not so much.

First: I thought the minions were adorable in the first movie, but they really get too much screen time in this one, and it made the movie drag. Their scenes seemed flabby: they neither advance the plot nor get any character development - one might object that the minions can’t talk, but then, neither could WALL-E or EVE in WALL-E, and they had had a full-blown romance.

Second: I think Gru’s love interest Lucy was supposed to come across as adorably awkward, but she tended to strike me as embarrassment-squicky awkward, which made her scenes rather painful. Moreover, a lot of the humor in the movie revolved around romance, and it just struck me flat. I particularly disliked the scene at the beginning, with the busybody woman trying to set Gru up with her ugly friend. Haha, ugly women, their existence is hilarious!

Mostly the movie strengthened the impression that The Lorax gave me of Illuminations Entertainment: their work is cute and fun and flashy, but that’s a pretty wrapping that only half-hides the fact that their stories are soulless.

***

A few weeks ago Emma and Rick and I had an argument about Most Feminist American Animation Studio, with them on the side of Pixar and me on the side of Disney, partly to be contrarian, and partly because - Pixar. We are talking about the company that didn’t make any movies with a female lead for more than two decades, right?

Sure, they have some great female characters (Dory! EVE! Ellie! Never mind she dies in the first ten minutes of the movie...). But the female characters are woefully outnumbered by male characters, and until Brave it was always, always the male characters who were the center of the story.

Whatever else Disney does wrong, it’s the only major American animation studio that has a commitment to making films with female main characters who are the center of the story rather than a love interest or a sidekick, and who drive the forward motion of the plot. Films that are specifically aimed at girls.

I tend to think this makes people more willing to criticize Disney - that making stories for girls puts a target on their back, because culturally we’re more willing to criticize things that are aimed at women. Look at the scorn heaped on romance novels.

In any case, thinking back now, I think the whole premise of our argument was flawed: both Pixar and Disney have strengths in their portrayals of female characters, but they also both have such massive blind spots that it’s rather silly to argue about which is more feminist. The correct answer is clearly “neither.”

And perhaps also “Why should this contest be limited to American animation studios?” Because if we open it up to include the whole globe, then clearly Studio Ghibli wins hands down.
osprey_archer: (Default)
Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life - indeed, Frank Capra’s entire oeuvre - is often snidely described as “heart-warming.” Presumably these are the same people who deride Disney movies as sweet, fluffy tales, never mind all the manifoldly scarring moments in Disney movies: the deaths of Bambi’s mother and Simba’s father, the dragon in Sleeping Beauty and the forest in Snow White, Hell at the end of Fantasia, the entirety of Alice in Wonderland and Pinocchio...

I found Disney terrifying as a child. Oh, sure, it ends happily. But the suffering you endure on the way!

Frank Capra, similarly, is much darker than his critics seem to notice. Sure, It’s a Wonderful Life ends on a note of mutual cooperation, in which the townsfolk band together to help George Bailey as Bailey has helped them, but poor Bailey goes through the mill first. All he wants is to get out of his Bedford Falls: he scrimps and saves and every time he’s about to go anywhere or do anything Fate intervenes, trapping him in a job he hates (important though he thinks it is) in a two-bit town he yearns to leave.

It would be really hard being married to George Bailey. His wife must sometimes wonder if he includes her in the list of things trapping him.

My favorite Capra movie remains Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (another film starring Jimmy Stewart, though his Mr. Smith has fewer sharp edges than George Bailey). But It’s a Wonderful Life is worth seeing.
osprey_archer: (Default)
I'm working on my course syllabus about American carnival, so I've been looking for articles about Disney World. Everyone writes about Frontierland and Tomorrowland - because they're easy to slot into narratives about the tension between American nostalgia for nature and hope for technological utopia, the American mythic West, etc.; and of course Main Street USA slots nicely into the nostalgia paradigm too.

No one seems to write about Fantasyland.

Given that Disney is described as having a "mystical bond" with the American psyche, I find this a little weird. Apparently the American psyche has a great honking fairytale castle plopped down in the middle of it! What does it mean?

Do we secretly yearn for monarchy? Or are princesses merely a metonymy for our yearning to be special, the center of attention? Does the anachronistic castle - a castle with little in common with real, defensible castles - point to an inherent romantic unreality at the center of the American soul, and if so, is that good or bad?

Or are the people who talk about Disney's mystical bond with the American psyche just full of it? Maybe the castle is just a castle.

Brave!

Sep. 15th, 2012 09:18 am
osprey_archer: (flying)
I saw Brave! In the theater at the Union, which was not quite packed but very busy! I had forgotten how much I enjoy seeing movies in theaters, when everybody laughs and claps and gasps together. It's a pleasure to feel in tandem.

And! It was so much fun! Tiny!Merida! Grown up Merida, riding! People turning into bears! (The little brothers turning into bear cubs! SO CUTE.) (Also, I thought they struck an excellent middle between making Merida self-centered but still sympathetic.) And Merida's hair!

Seriously, I think she and Rapunzel from Tangled should join together as the Awesome Hair Duo, fighting for justice with bow and frying pan. Yes? Yes? The fact that Rapunzel's hair is no longer magic at the end of the movie is a minor problem, but...maybe it regenerates eventually. Yes! I like this idea!

And I really liked the ending, the last shot, with Merida and her mother going riding.

Tangled

Nov. 28th, 2011 05:15 pm
osprey_archer: (fandom!!!!)
New life goal! I want to grow my hair out so long that I can use it as a grappling hook. If it also gains magical glowing healing powers that would be ace, but I won't insist.

As you might have guessed, I just watched Disney's Tangled and was most favorably impressed. And not just by Rapunzel's hair, though its manifold superpowers (let me repeat: grappling hook) and beautiful animation did impress me mightily.

But Rapunzel herself is even more impressive: curious, bright, extraordinarily emotionally resilient. Though Rapunzel is not immune to the witch's insidious year's-long campaign to convince her that she's too weak and naive to survive outside her tower imprisonment, her curiosity about the outside world always outweighs her fear of it in the end.

I have to say, whenever I see people criticizing Disney princesses as bad role models - especially on the grounds that they're weak damsels in distress - I wonder if they've seen any Disney princess movies since, say, The Little Mermaid. Belle is a damsel in distress? Tiana? Mulan?

But back to Tangled. I do have on quibble about the ending: Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers. )

But so anyway. The animation is just beautiful. The movement of Rapunzel's hair and her skirts flows smoothly, beautifully rendered, and the scene where the townsfolk release the paper lanterns into the sky, and the light reflects in the lake until up and down mix together and the whole screen is simply glowing lanterns against night sky -

Just enchanting.
osprey_archer: (fandom!!!!)
It being finals week, my friends and I have been studying constantly, sitting up at all hours of the night staring at our textbooks until - hahahaha, who am I kidding? We've totally been sitting around watching movies. Many movies. Because movies are awesome!

Despicable Me is totally adorable. I WANT A MINION. Or maybe three minions, because one minion would probably get so bored and lonely it would accidentally blow up a small city.

We also watched The Secret of Kells, which has lovely animation, but would probably be better if they had not connected the story to history at all, because as it was I spent most of the movie going "Are they seriously arguing against building fortifications, are they seriously doing that?"

Yes, yes they were. Presumably if you have no fortifications, the invading Vikings will die laughing and therefore leave your beautiful books alone.

Also, the monastery had an inexplicable Chinese brother named Tang. I can deal with the Italian brother (clearly an emissary from Rome) and the black brother (he's from the Ethiopian church, of course) - but. Chinese? How did Tang even get to Ireland? Did Marco Polo kidnap him?

Our third movie: Treasure Planet, which is not good enough to displace The Muppet Treasure Island as the Best Treasure Island Adaptation Ever. Treasure Planet totally has its moments, though, like the cat-woman Captain Smollett voiced by Emma Thompson.

And lastly: Song of Love, in which Katherine Hepburn plays the famous pianist Clara, who marries the considerably less famous composer Schumann. Schumann acquires a student, Brahms, who of course falls madly in love with Clara. Years after Schumann's death Brahms asks Clara to marry him, but she says no, because she plans to devote her life to playing Schumann concerts in all the capitals in Europe so the world will appreciate his genius.

It's so sad! They would have been wonderful together! Personally, I think Brahms just asked too soon: Clara is obviously teetering on the brink of falling for him during that conversation (look at the way they lean in toward each other and laugh together), but he jumped the gun - so she pulled back.

And Clara could still play her Schumann concerts if they married! (Well, maybe Schumann-Brahms concerts.) Brahms is clearly much too secure in his masculinity (he acts as a nanny to Clara and Schumann's children, for goodness sake!) to be bothered that his wife has a career.

But it was not to be. If only Brahms had waited a bit longer to ask!
osprey_archer: (fandom!!!!)
First: I am SO EXCITED about Yuletide already! Even though sign-ups aren't technically open yet! (Though they may be by the time I've posted this. I will exert myself not to check every five minutes.)

Yuletide is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. Like hot chocolate and snow and watching White Christmas and the advent calendar (I'll be home all December! SO WE CAN DO THE ADVENT CALENDAR YAY!!!!) and Frank Sinatra Christmas songs, even though those make me a little sad, because I bought those the week my grandfather died.

But that also means I remember him every year, which is worth being a little sad.

***

Second: my roommate and I watched The Hunchback of Notre Dame yesterday, the Disney version, which I had never seen before and IT WAS EPIC. I love Esmeralda! I love Quasimodo! I love Frollo's dastardly evil, which makes him deliciously easy to hate!

He gets the best song in the movie, I thought - where he's singing about his lust for Esmeralda and the demon figures and shadows stream up the wall. I wonder if kids get anything out of that song beyond "Well, he's pretty evil."

But I really liked Esmeralda's "God Help the Outcasts," too. Just in general I love her. I love the way she revels in her physicality: she knows she's beautiful, but more than that she loves moving, both dancing and fighting. As long as she's moving, she's having a great time, never mind danger. That's why she would wither if she got stuck in Notre Dame: even a great cathedral is too small to contain her energy.

And she's kind, and radiates confidence: here is a woman who knows who she is and loves it. I entirely sympathize with Quasimodo's unrequited love.

Mind, I don't want Esmeralda and Quasi to get together. Even leaving aside the fact that he's hideous he's clearly beyond damaged by his childhood and lacks the self-confidence to be lovable. Esmeralda and Phoebus the soldier are much more likely to be a happy couple. I can see him leaving the army and becoming a gypsy to be with her*.

But still, I'm so sad for Quasimodo, because he sings about how he's too hideous to be loved and events prove him right.

One last thing: I kept seeing parallels between Quasimodo and the Phantom of the Opera. (I haven't read the originals of either, mind.) Both are too hideous for human contact. Both love women who can't love them back. Quasimodo fills his isolated bell tower with beautiful things (the scene where he shows Esmeralda in, and the sun is shining through his glass mobile? wonderful), while the Phantom fills his dungeon with same. Quasi who lives in the sun saves Esmeralda, while the Phantom who lives in the dark kills innocent people and abducts Christine.

Quasimodo is an angel...and the Phantom a fallen angel?


*Apparently this is actually possible. I read a book about gypsies (in Romania; I suppose it might be different among gypsies in France), and the author mentioned that he met some gypsies who had been born Romanian or Jewish. But no one seemed to care that they weren't gypsies by blood; they were Roma now, because they acted Roma, and as far as the Roma were concerned the past was very definitely past and didn't matter.
osprey_archer: (movies)
This weekend I filled a terrible gap in my knowledge of Disney cinematography, and watched Sleeping Beauty. This is clearly one of those movies you have to see as a child, because I'm just not feeling it. The pacing seems off-kilter (it takes Aurora nearly an hour to prick herself on the spindle!) and the movie doesn't have the visual richness of The Princess and the Frog or Beauty and the Beast.

The film is not entirely uninteresting, though. Despite the name, the movie isn't really about Sleeping Beauty or her suitor, Prince Philip. The real protagonists are the Good Fairies, three middle-aged women who get by far more screen time than everyone else - who provide both the comedy and the pathos for the film - who do everything but kill the dragon for the Prince (and even then, he can't quite effect its demise until they enchant his sword).

This, apparently, is one way to tell a story with a middle-aged protagonist: pretend the tale is someone else's, and give the protag wings.

***

Apropos of nothing, but I thought you should know: Long ago, when foreign names were always translated to their English counterparts in history books... Ivan the Terrible was known to schoolchildren as John the Dread.
osprey_archer: (fandom!!!!)
15,000 words on the rewrite. Also, I've figured out the outline for the unwritten part of the book, but as I've promised a friend that she can read the first part over her spring break I'm going to finish the rewrite first.

I have the best friends. How many people are not only willing but eager to read their friends amateur literary efforts?

***

Also! Yesterday I finally got to see The Princess and the Frog!

Some spoilers, I guess, although it's a Disney movie, so it's not like you go because of the plot twists )
osprey_archer: (movies)
My dad and I drove out to look for covered bridges this morning, and we saw the best vanity license plate ever



I have to wonder: is the driver a fan of Buffy, Twilight, or Anne Rice?

***

I saw Race to Witch Mountain yesterday, which is not exactly a remake and not exactly a sequel to Escape to Witch Mountain, which was probably the most awesome movie Disney made in the seventies. Yes, better than Aristocats, The Rescuers, and Freaky Friday; better even than the animated Robin Hood with the foxes and waterfalls and that awesome archery contest -

Okay, maybe not better than Robin Hood. HOWEVER, I love the original Witch Mountain with an undying love that remains undented by the fact that the child actors are wooden, the special effects are pretty sad even for the seventies, and the plot is kind of bizarre. It transcends all of that; it's about orphan with telepathic powers finding their way home, and it has a good and zany heart.

Race to Witch Mountain, on the other hand, is a bog-standard action movie about car chases, government conspiracies, the vague threat of alien invasion (which probably would have made the author of the original novel tear his hair out) and an assassin bot who looks disturbingly, copyright-infringingly like the Kull Warriors from Stargate. The main character is now a cab driver characterized mainly by bog-standard wisecracks, and the kids (who have become cardboard cutout characters, and speak like robots) have powers that are flashier but, somehow, far less amazing for it.

It's a sad, sad excuse for a companion movie to Escape to Witch Mountain.

Enchanted

Jun. 19th, 2008 01:28 am
osprey_archer: (writing)
I just watched Enchanted. I will not make the obvious painful pun about what an enchanting movie it was. Really though, it's great. It’s a Disney movie that mocks Disney movies AND delivers a happy, sappy love story, AT THE SAME TIME.

I find it very amusing how the writers manage to have everything both ways. Acknowledgment that love at first sight and the fairy tale mythos don’t quite work out in real life (and the failed Giselle/Edward storyline to prove it) coupled with fairytale happy endings for everyone.

It must have been an absolute blast to make. Clearly the writers decided that if they were going to make a sappy Disney princess movie, they were going all out. Song and dance number in Central Park! Giant ball gowns! Chirpy little animals! An entire classic Disney movie in the first ten minutes!—and all the actors prancing around having a great time.

I totally called the ending, by the way, right down to the fact that Giselle was going to end up using a sword on something. I’m glad she didn’t suddenly gain mad sword skills, though. Giselle running after her beloved to save him is totally in character. Giselle knowing how to do something useful, not so much.

Speaking of Giselle: she would be SO ANNOYING in real life. But—AWESOME CHARACTER. I love her facial expressions: “You haven’t proposed to her in five years? No wonder she’s angry!”—and the way she just cuts loose and sings and dances and cries and emotes.

I think her hair looked nicer curled, though. Why straighten it for the big ball? Why? What is with the current American obsession with straight hair?

Although really I think the ball had a bad effect on everyone’s looks. Robert, awesome as he is, did not wear his historical clothes well.

Speaking of Robert’s clothes: I’m not sure about that scene where he’s wandering around in a bathrobe and, evidently, nothing else. Because that’s such an obvious clothing choice when you have house guests that you barely know? But otherwise he’s a lot of fun. Especially during the song in Central Park (I really liked that scene. Is that embarrassing?) where he’s all, “I don’t dance! And I definitely don’t sing!” and is totally drowned out by the mad revelry of True Love.

That was fun.

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