Who’s excited for another Ghibli movie? I am! After being not incredibly intrigued about The Wind Rises, I’ll admit, I kind of stopped keeping an ear out for Ghibli news; however, the internet is going wild over their newest animated feature.
It was only a few years ago that my local Blockbuster was having their “going out of business” sale. I was taking the chance to buy a few movies with what little money I had, when I stumbled upon the film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. The case art alone was interesting. It showed four men in white suits surrounding a mirror that showed a landscape resembling Candy Land. On the back of the box, it mentioned that the movie showed Heath Ledger in his last film role. Considering the movie was only $3, I didn’t see a reason why I shouldn’t buy it. To this day it stands as one of my favorite movies, not because of the movie itself, but for the potential the story had.
Spoilers after the jump. Continue reading
Coffee by JackVelvet is a fic I read back in the day at the height of the Nolanverse Batman craze. I was obsessed with the pairing Jonathan Crane/Bruce Wayne (aka Scarecrow/Batman), which was, unsurprisingly, a rare pairing. It is just like me to get hooked on a pairing almost no one is writing about. And when I did find any Wayne/Crane fic, a lot of it was just smut. No lengthy fic, no plot, no character development; it was boring. There were maybe two other lengthy, well-written Wayne/Crane fics out there, and I had already read them both. And then, dearest JackVelvet (admittedly a friend of mine from my LiveJournal days) wrote Coffee, and blew me away.
Not only is this pairing a rare one, but both Batman and Scarecrow hate each other. And while many fanfic authors would idly brush that hatred aside in favor of sex and romance, JackVelvet takes the time to build a believable setting in which these two characters would grow to fall in love with each other.
One of my all-time favorite books is becoming a movie and I am more than a little excited.
Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve adored musicals. If this is the case, you may be wondering to yourself, “well Rin, how come you haven’t written any Theatre Thursday posts?” My answer to that it is that while I love them, I tend to watch the same ones over and over again, so my amassed knowledge really isn’t all that impressive. And, when it comes to the musicals I have seen, I’m an unrepentant snob. (Don’t even talk to me about the 2007 release of Sweeney Todd.) However, as attached as I am to the musicals I’ve seen, I don’t like to completely write off re-makes until I’ve actually seen them for myself, and after Lady Saika wrote a post on the bubbly musical Hairspray, I figured it was about time that I finally sat down and watched it.
Hairspray, at least the 1988 John Waters film, has been one of my favorite films for a long while, beautiful in its kitschy glory and tongue-in-cheek look back on small town America during the 1960’s. (The plot is mostly the same as the musical’s, so I’m not going to go over it. If you want to know more, take a look at Saika’s post.) Yet I wouldn’t call the source material a musical, not really: it’s more of a dance-ical. There are songs—a whole album’s worth of songs—but there’s no singing involved, only small interludes of dancing. This already gives the musical adaptation an interesting challenge. And after watching it, I have to admit they handled it pretty well, even if some of my favorite scenes didn’t make it in. Unfortunately, I don’t have many other kind words for the musical. When comparing the two, I found that they actually removed a lot of the empowering moments from the original movie in addition to removing the agency from some of the major characters.
Imagine it. You’re sitting down to one of your favorite Disney movies, watching the well-loved story unfold before your eyes when suddenly the heroine of choice, in a stunning scene of sparkles and tailored finesse, gains her traditional princess garb. From as far back from Cinderella to Disney’s most recent flick, Frozen, a wide majority of the heroines have a scene dedicated to “transforming” into a princess—or maybe a “more marketable princess” in the case of characters like Elsa. By this point in our media culture, we’re so used to scenes like this that the possible underlying meanings don’t even cross our minds. Sure, they’re turning into a princess, but why? Are these transformations really all about the typical fairytale ending? I argue that no, they’re not. They’re more than a neat bow to tie a romantic subplot with and so much more than a tool for companies to sell princess garb (although that’s certainly part of it). Princess transformations are all about tapping into a positivity that’s accessible to both children and older audiences alike.
Alternate realities are one of my favorite things in speculative fiction and fanfiction, but they’re often poorly written. These types of stories are extremely interesting and explore different concepts within the main narrative without necessarily destroying the original canon storyline. The problem is that many of these alternate realities are poorly done and don’t follow any sort of logic. So while alternate realities can be really creative, they are also really easy to screw up.
If you aren’t excited about Lucy, then you are wrong. This looks like by far one of the best and most original movies I have seen in years.
At first I thought this movie, though fantastical, was supposed to be set in our universe, but according to Wikipedia it’s a little more dystopian. The premise of Lucy is that the world is pretty much run by the mob, street gangs, drug addicts, and corrupt cops. So though it may seem that the movie is, for the most part, set in our world, I get the impression it’s a little more corrupt than even we are used to. Lucy, played by Scarlett Johansson, is a young woman living in Taipei, Taiwan who is forced into being a drug mule for the Taiwanese mob. After being kidnapped and sexually assaulted (or nearly sexually assaulted—it’s unclear in the trailer but I’m sure no less traumatic) the drugs that were put into Lucy’s stomach start leaking. Rather than killing her, the drugs end up heightening her brain’s processing ability and giving her superhuman powers. Eventually, Lucy contacts Professor Norman, a neuroscientist played by Morgan Freeman, to help her understand her developing new powers, and presumably to help her not lose her humanity as she gains more and more awe-inspiring abilities.
I was watching Scott Pilgrim vs. The World for what has to be the billionth time recently and found myself reflecting a little more on the relationship between Roxy and Ramona. Not long ago I introduced this movie to some of my friends, one of whom is bisexual, and despite not being a geek, she seemed to be really enjoying it until the fight with Roxy came up. In the scene, Scott Pilgrim is shocked to find out that the girl he’s interested in, Ramona, “had a sexy phase”—meaning she dated a woman. Ramona explains that she was just going through a bi-curious phase and didn’t even think her relationship with Roxy would count. This, of course, enraged my friend for a variety of reasons.
Having characters who are “just going through a phase” isn’t good queer representation. It makes being queer seem like something someone can just opt into and then get over. This becomes even more problematic with how almost every character who is “just going through a phase” tends to be a woman. One reason for this is that female sexuality is seen as much more fluid than male sexuality. It’s an attitude that is offensive to both queer men and woman because it is built on the belief that women can’t really live without heterosexual sex (even if they do dabble in homosexual sex). For men, it’s assumed that the only way a man could stand homosexual sex was if he was a hundred percent gay—if he was attracted to women why would he ever sleep with a guy? It’s absurd, biphobic, and sexist.
Dystopian futures featuring teenagers seem to be the new craze when it comes to young adult fiction and movies. I am extremely happy about this turn of events; the vampire romances were getting old. The Hunger Games is currently making a crapton of money, Divergent is also making a buttload of money, and now it’s The Maze Runner’s turn to have a go at box office gold. But how will it stack up next to these other successful dystopian movies?