Stardust and the Women Who Don’t Do Anything

stardust

I really love the movie Stardust. I’ll watch it any time it comes on. But while rewatching it recently, I realized how often the women in the movie were not active participants in the story. Victoria, Yvaine, and Una don’t get to do much of anything — they don’t fight battles, go on any great quests, discover any great secrets, or attempt to gain the family throne. The only female participants who are very active at all are the evil witches, particularly Lamia, their leader. This sends a particularly bad message, especially since of all of the good female characters I mentioned, only one wasn’t someone’s prisoner. Una is kidnapped by another witch, Yvaine is kidnapped for a time by Tristan, and Victoria, though never kidnapped, is barely in the movie and is portrayed as rather vain and selfish. Basically, the women of Stardust not only do very little, but also are severely lacking in any sort of empowerment.

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Practical Magic and Feminism

practical-magic

Practical Magic is a film from 1998 about a family of witches who are cursed to have any men they truly fall in love with be doomed to an untimely death. This was a witchy romantic comedy that I was really pleased to see was actually more about the sisters and their relationship than any particular romance. In fact, I read that Practical Magic is based on a book and it makes me wonder if the book was actually less about romance and more about the relationship between the women in their family. Whatever the case, I did find the movie Practical Magic to be a delightful story about female power, bonds, and coming together to overcome adversity, even if the story is a bit muddled.

Spoilers for the movie and a trigger warning for abusive relationships below.

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Reality into Dreams, then Back Again: Paprika and Male Entitlement

Paprika and ChibaPaprika is one of my favorite films of all time. The 2006 Satoshi Kon film is well known for its stunning visuals, trippy story, and amazing music. Honestly, just trying to wrap your head around the idea of dreams within dreams (insert Inception sound bite here) and dreams invading reality is enough to keep your mind occupied. However, as with all films, especially Satoshi Kon films, there are a plethora of other themes floating around to play around with. The protagonist, Doctor Atsuko Chiba, is an especially interesting character, but one of the most interesting things about the movie is how she is viewed by the men around her. As she and Paprika maneuver through their respective worlds, they become the lens through which the audience experiences the extent of how male entitlement has flourished, even in this one small research facility.

Warning for mentions/images of assault below the cut, and spoilers for those who haven’t seen the film yet. (Although I highly recommend watching it!)

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Trailer Tuesdays: Sing

I’m a sucker for singing shows. I was one of the millions drawn into the phenomenon that was American Idol’s first season, and on a normal day you can find my friends and me watching episodes of The Voice, gushing over all the talented people that cross its stage and criticizing the judges’ choices. (Midas Whale was robbed!) So, upon seeing the trailer for the upcoming animated film Sing, I knew immediately that I would have to see it, even if it’s not entirely perfect.

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Trailer Tuesdays: Justice League

The Justice League trailer looks pretty sweet: we get to see Wonder Woman and Batman try to work together to build a team, we get to see Flash in all his hilarious glory, and we get some memorable scenes with Aquaman and Batman. Yep, the new Justice League trailer seems to be depicting a movie I would love to watch, but I have been burned before.

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Trailer Tuesdays: Beauty and the Beast Teaser Trailer

Disney has recently been remaking some of their classic movies as live action movies. First, we had Maleficent, which was a remake of Sleeping Beauty from the villain’s perspective. Then there are Cinderella and Jungle Book, which, unlike Maleficent, seem to be more or less pretty straightforward retellings of the animated moviesthough I presume Jungle Book had a little more going on since there was very little story in the animated movie. (I haven’t seen it yet.) Then there is Pete’s Dragon, which looks to be a dark retelling of the Disney movie. And now, there is Beauty and the Beast.

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Back to the Drawing Board: Whitewashing in Current Media

I would never claim to be the biggest Marvel fangirl, but as someone who somehow developed a passing interest in the MCU I found myself, alongside my group of friends, in the theater opening week for Civil War. Watching the previews for the upcoming movies was an experience I could only describe as “tired groaning interspersed with slight approval for Rogue One”, but the thing that stuck with me longest was just how much of a goddamned hot mess Doctor Strange is going to be. Oh sure, I’ve heard all the justified cries of whitewashing, not doubting them for a second, but it wasn’t until I saw the trailer for myself on the big screen that I knew my quip of “ah yes, there he is; the only white man in Nepal” was merely masking my absolute disgust at how far Marvel was willing to go to exclude actual non-Black characters of color from their films.

Little Door Gods PosterThis, however, wasn’t even what prompted me to write this post. A couple days ago on my Facebook wall, I saw someone drop a link that Little Door Gods was getting an English release. As happy as I was to hear that, the casting seemed to be doing everything in its power to knock the wind out of my sails. Meryl Streep? Nicole Kidman? Mel Brooks? All talented in their own right, but seriously: what the fuck is this shit? (Though according to a recent tweet by fellow reported vocal talent Zendaya, this could be untrue. Not that this excludes the problem.)

We need to do better.

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