Representation matters, and everyone wants to be a hero. Unfortunately, what we LGBTQ+ folks get more often are queer villains, queer-coded villains, or anti-heroes. At least, they’re the most famous ones: pretty much every Disney villain ever, Loki, Constantine. The predominance of these types of characters and the lack of LGBTQ+ “good guy” superheroes creates the image of queerness as being tied to wickedness, threat to society, and general “otherness”. This influences both the way the general society sees LGBTQ+ people and how LGBTQ+ folks see ourselves, especially young people struggling with their identities. It creates a certain narrative for us, implying that we can only fit a certain type of mold and that it always sets us apart and makes us a threat. And that sucks.
I love a rugged jerk with a heart of gold as much as anyone, but Constantine’s morals and ethics leave something to be desired.
However, I’m not saying all queer characters need to be “good guys”. It’s just that a balance is needed to avoid forcing the idea that queer equals bad. Therefore it’s important to have more LGBTQ+ heroes and “good guys” who are people others follow and look up to (I’m not saying bisexual Steve Rogers, but I’m totally thinking bisexual Steve Rogers). We need to see that we can be great heroes and that we can have all kinds of different stories be about us.
Big shoes to fill. Eleanor Audley provided both the voice and visual inspiration for animators of the iconic Maleficent in the 1959 Disney film.
Huzzah, Maleficent is finally here! Ace wrote about this project back in November, which seems like a long time ago, but one could say this movie has been in the making much longer than that. The awe-inspiring “Mistress of All Evil” hails from Walt Disney’s 1959 film Sleeping Beauty. This means that for fifty-five years she has managed to captivate the imagination and fascination of viewers everywhere, culminating in this 2014 blockbuster starring one of Hollywood’s most famous actresses. Now, the wicked fairy has been a staple of original Sleeping Beauty-esque myths since their centuries-old origins; originally she is nameless, later she’s occasionally known as Carabosse, before making her unforgettable debut as Maleficent in Disney’s version of the tale. Maleficent’s unique aesthetics and commanding voice have made her sinister presence singularly stand out among many Disney villains, and Angelina Jolie captured these characteristics masterfully in her film. But aside from its powerhouse main character, how did the rest of the movie stack up? Unfortunately, I’d give it an “eh”.
Spoilers below. This is a revisionist tale in the style of Wicked, so whatever spoilers you may know for the original fairytale or Disney are largely turned upside down.
Ever since I read Ash, Malinda Lo’s lesbian retelling of Cinderella, I’ve been a fan of both her writing style and her dedication to including queer narratives in her books. So when I found myself with a Barnes and Noble gift card, I seized the moment and picked up Adaptation, the first in her most recent series.
Our story begins with a 9/11-like incident, in which planes all across the US are simultaneously destroyed in-flight by errant birdstrikes. Planes are grounded as the panicked citizenry try to figure out what happened, and so protagonist Reese and her debate partner David Li, out of state for the national competition, end up trying to drive home. However, a brutal car crash outside a top secret facility in the Nevadan desert leaves them hospitalized inside said facility, and the procedures used to save their lives leave them with abilities no regular human should have.