A little over two years ago, Ace and I started something we called “Ghibli Month” in which we watched all the movies in the Studio Ghibli library and reviewed them. I never planned on reviewing the final two movies in said library—if I watch them, and then review them, then I’m admitting to myself that there may be no more Ghibli movies, and I’m not ready for that. However, I finally sat down the other day and watched The Tale of Princess Kaguya, directed by Isao Takahata. Upon seeing the two hour timestamp, I was apprehensive that Takahata could really utilize all that time while keeping the film interesting. Looking back, I needn’t have worried.
In the history of cinema, there’s been one genre of film that’s garnered a seriously bad reputation over the years: video game films. This is not without merit: truthfully, a lot of movies based on video games just suck, either because the director doesn’t understand how to adapt the source material from one medium to another, or because the film ends up losing the spirit of the series entirely. Even thinking about it, I can’t come up with any nationally distributed big Hollywood gaming film that was something I’d even call “good”—I have heard some good things about the Silent Hill movies, however, so maybe not all is lost. Despite this track record, 20th Century Fox plans to try once more with the Hitman series; an especially timely move given the announcement of a new Hitman game at this year’s E3. Will this movie break the video game slump? Eeeeeeh, probably not.
Oh boy, okay, here we go. This trailer is… longer than the original teaser trailer, and we, um, get a look at some more characters, like Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor. So yeah, that’s exciting… but I’m gonna be honest. I’m beyond disappointed in how this is developing. I want to be excited for this movie, but it looks so boring.
Spoilers after the cut!
Supervillains are historically inseparable from their superhero counterparts. Batman has the Joker, Superman has Lex Luthor, Joe Biden has Nixon’s Ghost. However, as comic movies keep getting bigger, and as the MCU sucks up the world’s supply of white dudes named Chris, the villains are increasingly left behind. These guys fall into a few tidy categories, and alive or dead, find themselves forgotten when the credits roll.
Somehow, the greater realism applied to superheroes, the less room there is for supervillainy. Instead, we’re left with a handful of tropes, with only a few bad guys able to break out of the box. This dynamic is crucial to the ways our current crop of superhero blockbusters reflects our wider psychology. We ache for something bigger than ourselves to believe in, and assemble the Avengers. We question that ache, and begin the Civil War. But when it comes to evildoers, we haven’t figured out what we want. Sometimes it’s just exaggerated versions of the bad people in the world, sometimes it’s faceless alien hordes, sometimes it’s pure evil, given the nasty explanation of “mental illness.” In contrast to the depth we’ve given our heroes, our villains keep falling short.
Readers of this blog may recall back in January when I reviewed The Secret of Kells, lamenting that I couldn’t find a decent upload of its successor, Song of the Sea, or anywhere I could go to see it legitimately. Funnily enough, wait four months and more options suddenly open up. Which is to say that I have finally seen Song of the Sea. Now, considering the difference in topics I don’t think it would be quite fair to compare them on that level—and really, I don’t want to compare the two in this review—but seeing as they’re both works by Cartoon Saloon a bit of comparison is going to be inevitable. In that vein, I’ll get this out of the way now: I enjoyed Song of the Sea. Did I enjoy it as much as The Secret of Kells? No. For quite a few reasons.
Sexism affects people of all genders, but it affects us all differently. Women, whether virgins or sexually active, tend to be demonized and ridiculed. But for men, virginity is the ultimate crime. Whether the guy just hasn’t had the opportunity for sex or has chosen to wait, it doesn’t matter. According to our society, men who have not had sex, particularly with a woman, are somehow lacking. So when a prominent male figure is revealed or even implied to be a virgin (for whatever reason), there tends to be something of an uproar. In our media, there is almost never a virgin male character, and when there is, they are either portrayed as having something wrong with them or almost their entire plotline is dedicated to them losing their virginity. For our pop culture to have a character who doesn’t follow these rules is rare and frankly revolutionary. That’s why I am so happy that Steve Rogers, Captain America himself, is a virgin.
So far, this year seems to be when animated films are going hard. Whether it be the newest adaptation of The Little Prince or the beautifully rendered story of Bilal, it seems that at least in this genre of film, the minds behind the screen are seeking out more diversity than ever. I’m happy to share with you all today another story that keeps up this trend with gorgeous eye-catching images and a story that will spark the curiosity of the young, while remaining poignant to the old.