Yes, readers, this is what I have been reduced to. September will soon become October, and it’s still hot as balls outside. I am unwilling to give up on the idea of the possibility of a more temperate autumn, though! So this week I went all the way–from cute magical anime to B-grade horror flicks.
After watching the 2014 Ouija movie, I basically lost all hope of there being a good horror movie concerning Ouija boards ever. (Not that I was expecting that movie to be great, it was just so, so much worse than I could have ever anticipated.) And on starting the 2013 indie film The Ouija Experiment, I didn’t expect anything amazing either. In fact, I almost didn’t watch it until I realized that, shockingly, most of the main cast wasn’t white. While the diversity was enough to initially draw me in, and the movie’s determination to not immediately fall into the typical tropes of Ouija bullshit kept pulling me along, in the end The Ouija Experiment’s casting did very little to save it. In fact, the diverse casting seemed to only exist so the writer, Tony Snearly, had an excuse to whip out a bunch of racist jokes.
After several decades of hemming and hawing in the face of the evidence that movies about female heroes and/or starring more than one woman can be financially successful, I suspect that Wonder Woman finally was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Before Wondy, we had the moderately successful Ghostbusters: Answer the Call; coming next year, we will be #blessed by Ocean’s Eight. However, the thing about the latter two films, both reboots of previously all-male franchises, is that they are movies where the gender of the protagonists is incidental. That’s why it’s possible to reboot them with women; there’s no reason a lady can’t bust a ghost or rob a casino as effectively as a dude.
Until recently, I wouldn’t have considered myself a horror movie person by any stretch of the imagination, but I have been improving my horror education. I decided to watch the original 1990 It movie which came out this weekend in preparation for the the new one, which I greatly enjoyed—well, for the most part. Let’s face it: Stephen King isn’t exactly known for his stellar endings and the original It was no exception. The movie might even be the most infamous of Stephen King’s bad endings. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed the movie and Tim Curry’s performance of the menacing clown Pennywise. With that in mind, I was excited and anxious about the new film. It is pretty much considered a horror movie classic at this point and remakes don’t always live up to the original, but the trailers looked good and so I entered the theater with high hopes. While the movie was excellent, scary, and extremely well made, I was a little disappointed, but not surprised, by the lack of representation. Just a fair warning, I have not read the book so I am entering into this critique not knowing the original source material, only the movies.
The Garden of Words came out in 2013, and for four straight years my Tumblr dash has been scattered with gifs celebrating the beautiful scenery and animation in the film. But apart from how pretty it was, I didn’t actually know anything about the plot of this iconic movie, so when I saw it on AnimeLab, I decided to dive in and investigate. Sure enough, it’s an absolutely gorgeous film that should 100% be celebrated as an achievement in animation, atmosphere, and visual storytelling about the way human lives connect. It was kind of spoiled for me by an unexpected case of compulsory heterosexuality, but hey, you can’t have everything…
Who loves Cartoon Saloon? This lady does! Though some parts of Song of the Sea left me a bit underwhelmed, Cartoon Saloon’s aesthetic stylings and my lingering, overflowing love for The Secret of Kells have ensured my continued excitement over their works. Despite The Breadwinner taking a far less fantastical approach to exploring the world, its trailer has me intrigued as to how this adaptation will fare given its more serious nature.
Over our summer break, I was reading a book whose protagonists traveled to alternate universes which, frankly, I didn’t like very much. But it did get me thinking about the idea of alternate universes in fiction. Not the scientific concept of alternate (parallel) universes—though that’s often the subject of many sci-fi stories—I’m talking about the alternate universes that result from one thing changing in a fictional story. What if Charles Xavier died before he could found the X-Men? What if Captain America was a Nazi? Undoubtedly, a lot of things would be bad. And unfortunately, this is the kind of alternate universe that we often see in today’s fictional media. However, the idea that one different thing could change everything is so broad that I don’t understand why this kind of grimdark change is the most common. Fanfiction also often deals in alternate universes which diverge from canon, but the changes of fanfiction, on the whole, all tend to be more positive and more emotionally satisfying. Though many mainstream movies and TV shows disdain this sort of happy story, an alternate universe which changes originally negative canon material into positive new story fodder can bring with it a wide range of different emotions than the usual grimdark reboot is capable of.