Unsung

May. 10th, 2015 06:33 pm
bloodyrosemccoy: (ABCDEF Cookie Monster)
Oh, man, you guys. There is a documentary about Carroll Spinney out!

ABOUT TIME.

No, seriously, you guys. Carroll Spinney is one of the finest actors ever to appear on TV, AND YOU ALL FUCKING LOVE HIM. He is awesome. I've said it before, but I still think Carroll Spinney is BRILLIANT. Not only can he act enough to make you cry like a goddamn baby, but he can do it in a giant sweaty yellow bird suit where he can only see what's going on through a TV monitor and his right arm is holding up a giant puppet head and moving it like an actual bird would while controlling the eyes with his pinky finger. Sometimes he even roller skates that way.

Carroll Spinney is BIG BIRD.

And even if you're one of those people who thinks Big Bird is annoying, well, 1) I do not understand you, but 2) he is also Oscar the Grouch, so you still love him.

I'd have liked to hear a few more stories about actually being Big Bird in the doc, but I'm just glad he's getting some recognition. Mad respect for that guy. Check out the documentary.


DISCUSSION QUESTION: When, if ever, did you realize that Big Bird's right arm is basically a sticker? It's on a string that loosely moves it to act as a counterweight to his left arm, but yeah, he's pretty good at hiding that it doesn't really move much.
bloodyrosemccoy: (N64)
WHY THE HELL AM I SURPRISED BY THIS

One quote from Scott Cawthon, the game maker: "The story really lends itself to being a movie ..."

It ... it does?

I dunno. I think it lent itself pretty well to being a video game, but I am really curious to see what they come up with.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Venus By Air)
SO I SAW INTERSTELLAR Y'ALL.

I ... hmmm.

Um ...

Huh.

That sure was a movie, that was.

I guess I hadn't really considered the fact that, as a Christopher Nolan movie, the thing could conceivably be made entirely of climaxes. Or that, like pretty much all the Nolan movies I've seen, I'd come away not with a big picture, but a sort of composite of Things I Liked and Things I Didn't Like. And as far as the story goes, the bits I was interested in (I really love the humanistic message that we can transcend ourselves) were fused inextricably with bits that just kind of annoyed me (no, seriously, you are fucking with causality like you're a goddamn Star Trek episode).

It was overwrought. I got really tired of the long, drawn-out climaxes and Hans Zimmer's All-Heartstring Orchestra Score. It was a huge oversell. But then, it's not hard to sell me on OMG SPACE!--I already am all about going and checking it out.* However, I know a lot of The Public is not interested in "wasting" (FUCK YOU) money on space, so I hope it does what it was trying to and inspires some people who aren't so into our spacey future to rethink that stance, because getting to space is ultimately going to be necessary (and awesome) for us. Ultimately I think that's probably a good thing.

But, uh, for my money? Erik Wernquist's three-and-a-half-minute video Wanderers was far more inspiring than this three-hour blockbuster. I am glad others have been inspired by it. But me, I'll stick with those Wanderers.



(Although I may have shrieked in excitment when, almost at the end, Matthew McConaughey sees a thing. ) Those things are cool.)


*Though not with Mars One. WHO COULD HAVE GUESSED that Mars One's plans do not appear to be all that well-thought-out?
bloodyrosemccoy: (Bros!)
I kind of have this suspicion that all old-timey cartoons were written by frustrated Nice Guys.

Think about it. You have our cute little hero and his girl, and then along comes the Big Bad Jerk to be his romantic rival. Sure, some of the cartoons have the Big Bad Jerk grabbing the lady outright, but a lot of the time she turns her nose up at our hero, for NO GOOD REASON, and goes with the Big Bad Jerk. Then it's up to the hero to kick the Big Bad Jerk's ass with the cunning use of slapstick, and only after that does the girl come back to him because he's Demonstrated Higher Value or whatever the pickup artists say.

So yeah, it's pretty the world according to the Nice Guy's lament that "Girls always go for the brawny jerk and never recognize what a great thing they've got with nice guys like me!" And even though they get their wish-fulfillment at the end, it's never implied that their insulting view of women--that they automatically go for the big dumb ass-kicker--may be incorrect: the girl still only goes back to the Nice Guy when he literally decides "No more Mr. Nice Guy."

Plus, like I said, she leaves Our Hero for NO GOOD REASON--like maybe he spilled something on her or laughed at a completely harmless thing. It's almost like the writers themselves kept getting spurned and COULDN'T IMAGINE what they were doing, and so just assumed that women were all fickle and shallow.

Somehow that particular gender dynamic in the old cartoons weirds me out more than the straight-up molesty ones.

All that said, however, I still love them old cartoons. Gotta go watch more of 'em.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Map of the Shire)
I think the funniest thing about Linkara's The Hobbit reviews (which I am rewatching at the moment) is that I don't disagree with any of the critiques he has to the storyline--it's all spot-on true for how to build a good story. The extra characters, the climax, Bilbo's role in it, the second climax, etc.--none is particularly good novel technique.

--And yet, at the same time, every single thing he critiques is another reason why The Hobbit is my favorite book in the world.

Most of it boils down to one thing--that it really is Bilbo's story. It gives us his point of view, and while he's a hero, he's not a Hero. So I like that the Dwarves are kind of an amorphous mass, with one or two personality traits materializing out of it sometimes, because I have the feeling that's kind of how I'd perceive it if I was sort of accidentally dragged on this adventure. I like how he was accidentally dragged on--for all that it's nice to show him consciously deciding to change his life in the movie, I like how Gandalf actually just flusters him into joining in the book. I really like that he bitches the whole damn way--I hadn't realized how important it was that he piss and moan all the way to the Lonely Mountain until it was taken away in the movies. Yeah, he's rising to the occasion, but by god, he's not happy about it.

But what I especially like is Linkara's big complaint--the double-climax and how Bilbo plays into it.

I like that he doesn't slay the dragon. I like that his contribution was a small one--a critical piece of information that would get around to some other hero to do the job. Here in a world were we can't actually do heroic, world-saving deeds, the idea of doing a small thing that still touches off a great change is a really uplifting one.

I like the Battle of Five Armies. Aftermath is difficult and more complicated than a usual denouement is. And your friends can turn into jerks even then.

And most of all, what I like is how Bilbo tries to handle the standoff leading up to the battle. His true bravery is in his attempt to make an outcome that works out best for everyone--trying to do the right thing despite his own friends' not appreciating that. And that he tries to solve it peacefully. And that he fails--but that everyone realizes what he was trying to do, and winds up respecting the hell out of him for it. He may have changed them a little more for next time--maybe they'll try a little harder to fix things.

So, yes. It doesn't really reflect everything we're used to in a story, but it's something I really love. His story is one of the small people who don't slay dragons or move mountains. He's just the guy who flubs his way through the adventure he's dragged on, trying to do mostly the right thing as he goes. It's not the person we like to imagine ourselves as, but it's rather nice to realize that the person we actually are, for all our flaws, can be respectable, too, in our own small and admirable ways.

And that he snarks the whole time. Really, I can't overstate how important it is that he whines so much.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Change)
So what's that? Mom left early for Thanksgiving in California, leaving Dad and me to follow her later? You know what that means! Time for Adventures With Dad!

Friday

DAD: Well, shall we watch a movie together? We've got some science fiction ones here. Like that Tom Cruise one. Or Transformers 4!
ME: Ooh, I haven't seen Guardians of the Galaxy!
DAD: Or we could watch Transformers!
ME: And I can't stand Tom Cruise, but yeah, Emily Blunt is pretty great. And I like the idea of being stuck in a video game.
DAD: Let's just watch the Transformers trailer.
ME: I rather want--
DAD: TRANSFORMERS
ME: FINE

Hour 427 of Transformers 4

DAD: I have no idea what is going on.
ME: God this movie is a mess but Optimus Christ just punched Grimlock into an alliance and is riding him like Yoshi so everything's cool I guess.

And then I was useless for weeks, because even terrible Transformers movies* leave me on a giant robot high that only subsides after a month or two.

Saturday

DAD: Tonight, you want to go to Interstellar?
ME: ARE THERE TRANSFORMERS IN IT
DAD: No, but your sister's been on a movie high from that one. We could go see it!
ME: For the record, it's three hours long and we can't pause for bathroom breaks in the theater.
DAD: OR we could stay in and watch this Live/Die/Repeat one.
ME: ARE THERE TRANSFORMERS IN THAT
DAD: Just make the popcorn.

It Was Like Being In A Video Game

DAD: Well, I'll admit that was a much better movie than our previous selection.
ME: Yeah, but it could have used more Optimus Prime.
DAD: You say that about everything.
ME: Look, you're the one who insisted we watch Transformers last night.

Then, We Struck Out For California )
bloodyrosemccoy: (Bros!)
During the making of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, one of the concerns at Disney was whether or not people could become in any way emotionally involved with cartoon characters, even if they looked human.

Now it's almost eighty years later and I just got a little misty watching Mr. Peabody & Sherman.

Just thought I'd share those two competely unrelated pieces of information with you. Enjoy them.

Book Club

Oct. 29th, 2014 10:09 pm
bloodyrosemccoy: (Map of the Shire)
Back in January, my brother decided to make himself a resolution.

MY BROTHER: I am finally going to read The Lord of the Rings by the end of this year!

So he took a dive into the beloved fantasy series. In February, I asked him how it was going.

MY BROTHER: I have amended it somewhat! I am going to read The Fellowship of the Ring by the end of the year!
ME: That boring, huh?

Okay, yeah, Fellowship starts out pretty slow, what with half a book of dicking around and musical numbers. But even so, my brother's managing to exceed his new goal and called me not too long ago.

MY BROTHER: I finished The Two Towers!
ME: Whadja think?
MY BROTHER: Okay, you were right. Those last chapters in Shelob's lair?
ME: When Sam goes bugfuck?
MY BROTHER: OMG HOW AWESOME WAS THAT
ME: I KNOW RIGHT

Yes. I'm still willing to argue that overall the Peter Jackson movies told a way better story than the books and made the scenes much more interesting and exciting. But the book version of Shelob's Lair--and, god, The Choices of Master Samwise--blows the movie version out of the water. I like the movie's GET AWAY FROM HIM YOU BITCH moment, but it was in the book when I got into the fight and was all "Fuckin GET HER! YEAH!!!" when Sam just launches himself at Shelob.

Also, I'm curious to see what my brother thinks of that cliffhanger at the end of Book 1 of Return of the King. It was not really possible with the movies because the stories were told parallel to each other, but it is pretty effective when the last you hear of Frodo is "Frodo was alive but taken by the Enemy" and then suddenly the Mouth of Sauron shows up with Frodo's stuff to destroy everyone's morale.* That's pretty good.

We'll have to see if my brother makes it through his original goal. Nothing quite tops Shelob, but there's some fun stuff with Return of the King nonetheless. And I want his comparison of Movie vs. Book Denethor & Sons. Those changes could keep me talking all night.


*First time I read the books I remember really picking apart his dialogue and deciding, "This guy is totally bluffing. 'He was dear to you or maybe his mission was important'? Yeah, he doesn't know shit about what Frodo was up to or he'd taunt them with that failure." I suppose Sauron could have kept it from his loyal servant, but even so you'd think he'd still say something like "Make sure to tell this little ragtag group that nyah nyah, their ploy has failed."
bloodyrosemccoy: (Flamingo With A Yo-Yo)
I feel like I trashed The Lego Movie too much in my last entry when I actually quite liked it, so I want to balance that by pointing something out: I really liked the direction they took the Chosen One storyline. Yes, it did pass up the badass female, but the final message, in which you find out some stuff about the prophecy ) was really great. Turning the Only You Can Save (Lego)Mankind trope inside-out like that is definitely worth some cookies.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Deep Thoughts)
So I (FINALLY!) watched The LEGO Movie last night. Loved it. And I gotta say, you know how there's all this pearl-clutching* about how the very end joke is HORRIBLY SEXIST? I wonder how many of those people actually have younger siblings. Because I'm a big sister, and let me tell you, that ending KILLED me. Plus, it offered spoilers, and aren't I nice cutting these? )

If I were to point out any sexist problems with this movie, it'd be the bizarrely common trope wherein no matter how incredibly talented, hardworking, and all-around qualified a female character is, she'll always be eclipsed by some talentless doofus who is supposed to be indefinably Special.** Yeah, I know part of the movie's message is that everyone is special, but come on, maybe we can give shout-outs to actual hard work and skill for a change? Let's retire that particular plot device. Both in movies and in real life, if possible.

Don't get me wrong, that didn't ruin the movie for me. It was just the soap-flavored cilantro in this movie's otherwise delicious pico de gallo. I need to watch it about 20 more times just to see what all is going on in those action scenes.


FAVORITE LINE: "Do you think zeppelins are a bad investment?"

FAVORITE VISUAL GAG: President Lord Business's evil flowing necktie cape.


*Inaccurate pearl-clutching, at that--I believe Unikitty was SPOILER ) and furthermore, ALSO A SPOILER ).

**Seriously, FUCK YOU, Kung Fu Panda.

Dub Love

Mar. 21st, 2014 09:35 pm
bloodyrosemccoy: (Elsa Lets It Go)
Aw, yea, have acquired the Frozen DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack. I will now watch Frozen and "Get A Horse" nonstop for roughly the next couple of years.

And why, yes, I am translating Frozen's "Let It Go" into my own conlangs. To, uh, test them out. Yeah, that's it.

Okay, actually, this isn't really new--I've been doing Disney dubs and writing my own lyrics to songs since I was in junior high. And because I am totally fascinated by multilingual Disney songs. I can get lost for hours watching one song in multiple languages,* and I want in on that action! But this is a first for a couple of my newer languages, and I'm having a blast. Can't decide if I prefer the crazy polysynthetic Sprite Language Mark II version or the Modern OGYAFEse fossilized triconsonantal roots** with their esoteric rhymes, but they're both terribly fun to mess with.

Yeah, I know, I'm a nerd. But hey, we nerds know what we like, and there's nothing wrong with that!


*It is an eternal bummer to me that there are no official Swahili dubs. There's a Zulu dub of The Lion King, but that's as close as we get.

**Well, not quite triconsonantal roots, but rather overdone semantic derivations with the same sort of consonant radicals and ... yeah, you stopped caring, didn't you? Having a phenomenally boring hobby is a terrible burden.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Xenofairies)
What I Learned Since The Winter Solstice

  • The Cooking Hypothesis suggests that the invention of cooking precipitated a rapid evolutionary change in humans, allowing them to more efficiently process nutrients and, of course, growing bigger brains. I always said cooking was an important part of humanity, dangit!

  • Nancy Kerrigan was filmed right after being attacked sobbing and asking "Why? Why?"--and a lot of people thought she was being a wimp or a drama queen because she was only bruised. Dude, it still hurts, but quite apart from that, when you get attacked, it's probably TERRIFYING and it HURTS YOUR FEELINGS.

  • The difference between triple axels, triple spins, triple lutzes, etc., has to do with where you push off from and what direction you're facing and okay fine I've already forgotten.

  • Flavoring sodas is a lot like brewing tea. Really sugary tea.

  • But brown sugar makes them taste rather bitter.

  • Also, soda-brewing is similar to making beer, except you don't let the yeast go far enough to make alcohol.

  • Furthermore, there is a lot of argument over just what the "cream" in "cream soda" refers to. Vanilla? Adding cream to the soda? Or cream of tartar? It's a HISTORY MYSTERY.

  • In tangentially-related soda discoveries, SodaStream is a company fraught with political tensions and controversy.

  • Cloth pads and panty liners are surprisingly expensive, but also surprisingly worth it.

  • There is a constellation in the Southern Hemisphere called "The Poop." Yes, it refers to a ship's stern (poop deck), BUT STILL. HURRRR.

  • There are, naturally, all sorts of recipes for Ent-Draught on the internet.

  • Mainlining Atop The Fourth Wall has taught me something I always rather thought: I have terrible comic-reading comprehension. I do okay with some, mostly in comic strip form, but it takes me a long time to parse each page, way longer than it takes to read straight prose, so if I'm going to read a comic, I have to be committed. And even then I have trouble regarding them critically.*

  • I did learn, however, that lots of people find it extremely difficult to keep comic continuity straight. Comic writers, for instance. Case in point: Donna Troy.

  • The director of Tremors is Ron Underwood, who got his start in the film industry making educational shorts for Barr Films--such as one of my favorite Rifftrax-featured shorts, Library World.

  • My mom, who watched very little TV as a kid, nevertheless has strong opinions about what Mr. Peabody's voice sounds like.

  • Mork & Mindy was a spinoff of Happy Days.  Clearly, I never watched either of them.

  • Getting feedback on your novel can be a mixed bag. You get excited that you can make it better, but frustrated when you can't tell if the feedback makes sense.

  • Publishing a serial story online gets more difficult with each installment because there's a lot to keep track of. BUT DAMMIT IT'S STILL POSSIBLE.

  • You can unclog standard drain clogs with the use of science fair volcano technology.

  • After you turn into the left-turn-lane, it's legal to drive 500 freaking feet in that lane. Which is almost a whole block even here in Salt Lake City.

  • The Beautiful Creatures movie might be adapted from a novel of the same name, but don't let that fool you. It is clearly a remake of The Touch of Satan.

  • The first female-directed movie ever to gross more than $1 billion is Frozen. Which is awesome, but dang, it took a while to get there. Let's hope this is a good precedent!



*Interestingly, though, I read a lot of Archie comics as a kid. It fascinated me the same way 1950s Educational Shorts fascinate me--it shows some weird whitebread cultural ideal that somehow I can't look away from.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Sisters)
Are we all sick of "Let It Go" yet? Hah! Trick question! I'm not. But I realize a lot of you might be. So, if you'd like something different, I've got it for you: please enjoy the last time Disney produced a song that I couldn't stop listening to for years.


It might help to start at 00:15 if you want to skip the little lead-in scene with the aliens.

"He Mele No Lilo" is not really a Disney song; as best as I can make out, Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu arranged a couple of traditional Hawaiian mele for the hula dance at the beginning of the movie. But hot damn, those are some lovely mele, and JESUS what an arrangement, with the Kamehameha Schools Children's Choir. I actually love this song so much that when it first came out I tracked down the lyrics--yes, the Hawaiian lyrics--and learned them. (It's one of the things that inspired me to study Hawaiian.)

It doesn't seem to carry the same clout as "Let It Go," but it got a similar religious experience reaction out of me. And since I've noticed that a few people are starting to catch up on the Lilo & Stitch love (another movie about sisters! And this one has aliens as well!), well, I figured I'd help y'all along.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Relaxin')
Watched Bambi for the first time since I was like eight last night.

I think I liked it better this time around. I could appreciate the backgrounds, which are astoundingly lovely, and the simple narrative, and especially the animation of the bunnies. God, whoever did them must have REALLY watched a lot of bunnies.*

Rewatching something I'd previously seen only as a kid is always fascinating. Gives me some insight into my thought processes from way back when. For one thing, as a kid I couldn't stand the soundtrack. I thought it was cloying and obnoxious, but was under the vague impression that it was For Grownups and wondered if that meant I'd like it better when I was one myself. Now, since I havebecome a grownup, I can put that theory to the test--and I can tell you all that, nope, it's still cloying and obnoxious.

Sometimes the questions in life DO get answered.

On the other hand, something else got better that I hadn't even thought of. Another of my childhood hangups--one I have only just recently realized was even there--was a disproportionately strong distaste for even the slightest of awkward moments. Things that wouldn't even faze me now; things I might not even have noticed if I didn't carry the memory of how much they disturbed me. But for itty bitty Amelia, a startling moment, a stumble, or even an accidentally too-loud voice would be enough to send me running from the room. And Bambi's baby phase is just one awkward moment after another. It all started coming back to me: him yelling "BIRD!" too strongly bothered me, as did his falling on the ice and, especially, that moment where he gets too enthusiastic about running onto THE MEADOW!!! and his mom has to chase him down. And a whole bunch of others besides. I think they embarrassed me, in some ill-defined way.

And yet I was totally untraumatized by the infamous Ma Gets Shot scene.** Go figure.

(The scene with the pheasants, however, is burned deep into my brain. That was INTENSE.)

Mostly I just liked the feeling of the nature in the movie. It was lovingly put together. I suspect it wasn't always accurate (I guess white-tailed deer rut in the fall, not the spring, and much like the Lion King I note they didn't go with the whole polygamy angle), but it was enjoyable.


*Though I did notice that they had pads on their feet, which is not a thing actual bunnies have. Rabbits have no pads on their paws, only fur. Which can be pretty hilarious. If you ever have the opportunity to see a rabbit try to bolt on a linoleum floor, don't miss it, because it's one of the few times that cartoon physics can be seen in live action.

**Thinking about it now, I suspect the reason it was so traumatic for so many other kids was twofold: the suddenness, and--even worse--the following moments when he's running through the vast, cold, empty woods calling for her. I can see how that would be the most horrific thing for a child--kids don't really grasp death, but the fear of suddenly being alone and helpless looms pretty large.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Xenofairies)
We're a little heavy on the animation this quarter. For reasons!

What I Learned Since The Autumn Equinox

  • Groucho Marx had some excellent writing, but his delivery needed work. You could say they were "rapid-fire" jokes, but I say he didn't give you time to get them.

  • Looking up where to buy a simple pepper sprayer in case the stupid asshole pit bull next door breaks through the neighbors' poorly-maintained fence will lead you into an internet rabbit hole of super-paranoid home security products.

  • Amtrak bunks are fun to use, but don't really help one sleep too well.

  • You are required to sit with others on train dining cars.

  • Sea Salt Caramel Cocoa is the New Thing.

  • Birds are a very good indicator of the exact instant your fruit should be harvested. And you are on your own if you miss that instant.

  • Sherlock is a pretty awesome show.

  • Wine presses are fun to operate!

  • Lauren MacMullan was the first woman to direct a Disney animated theatrical film. Good thing it was the unbelievably awesome "Get a Horse"!

  • I was missing the concept of sisterly love as true love in Disney movies. And I didn't even know it.

  • Twitter is a site capable of both great beauty and great horror. Social justice and mob rule both abound.

  • Before being a full silent cinematic movie, Gertie the Dinosaur was meant as a Vaudeville act in which its creator, Winsor McKay, would play the part of her trainer.

  • Some cats do play fetch.

  • Studio Ghibli, in its previous incarnations, was responsible for the animation on those godawfully animated Rankin/Bass specials, including The Hobbit. Ghibli has come a long way.

  • People with spinal cord injuries have to be careful not to scoot when transferring, since they can't feel if they catch on something or tear their skin.

  • Pumpkins will ripen on your counter if it gets too cold to leave them outside.

  • Columbus Day can be celebrated as the much less annoying Indigenous Peoples Day.

  • And not all 15th- and 16th-Century Spaniards were mass-murdering fuckheads. That's nice to know.

  • Selfies could be as old as art itself.

  • When trying to create Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, one of the big concerns in selling it was whether audiences could actually become emotionally invested in cartoon characters. Oh, if only they knew.

  • Another concern was that they had never actually made realistic cartoon characters--until this point they were all rubber-hose stretch-and-squash little funny animals. One of the reasons The Prince doesn't make much of an appearance was that they were still not entirely sure how to animate men without making them look stupid. (The Dwarfs don't count; they were squashy cartoon characters.)*

  • Last thing about Snow White: the artists (or, as they're referred to in this interesting old-timey How A Cartoon Is Made short, "pretty girls") responsible for cel coloration decided that Snow White needed makeup--and so they simply applied their own blush to the cels. Disney reportedly worried that they might not know how to apply it correctly, which got him the Are You Fucking Kidding Me stare it deserved.



*I can see why Tolkien resented Disney. Here he's trying to make unVictorian, respectable Dwarves, and just a year later out come these goddamn doofuses. Singing about the washing-up, no less!** IT'S NOT LIKE THE DWARVES IN THE HOBBIT EVER SANG ABOUT THE WASHING-UP, RIGHT?! ... Oh, right.

**By the way, according to my DVD chapter menu, that song is entitled "Bluddle-Uddle-Um-Dum." You're welcome.
bloodyrosemccoy: (DEEP HURTING)
I think I have managed to achieve exact calibration on What Kind Of Hollywood Bullshit I Will Put Up With!

Evidently ...

... I will gush for weeks about a movie so loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" that the only things it really has in common with the original story is that it has snow and a queen in it ...

... And I prefer the Disney version of his other story, too, because what the hell was UP with the end of the original Little Mermaid?! ...

... And I can sit back and enjoy all the ridiculous padding Peter Jackson stuffed into a movie trilogy version of The Hobbit while still knowing that the book is INFINITELY more wonderful ...

... And I'll even contend that the LotR movies in a lot of ways are better than the books ...

... but I draw the line at Walter Mitty.

I could go on about all the reasons why, but basically what it comes down to is that making a movie about Walter Mitty is exactly, completely, 100% antithetical to the whole POINT of Walter Mitty.

Things you learn about yourself while groaning at movie trailers. Everything is opportunity for self-discovery! It's fun!
bloodyrosemccoy: (Santa Iroh)
Okay, so The Desolation of Smaug was mostly unnecessary, and unlike the LotR movies it made the story LESS cohesive than its source material, but it was pretty darn fun.

Especially Smaug. Most of the changes from the book, while understandable from a cinematic adaptation's point of view, made it work LESS well--but I admit I like the moment when that one thing happens ) You really get a moment of "Damn, this hobbit is in over his head and he is terrified and he will ROCK IT ANYWAY." And I know Smaug really gets more screen time than he does in the book, but god dammit they had a big CGI DRAGON and they were gonna USE it.

Mostly it was really entertaining to see how much fun Peter Jackson and team were having. I squeaked and giggled at all their nods to the Middle Earth lore. And even the super dumb moments were usually so awesome that it didn't matter that they were, in fact, super dumb.* (The audience had the funniest reaction to the movie's little nod to Legolas and Gimli's future friendship. It was this I See What You Did There groan followed by a laugh at our own response.)

Although I did want to hang out with the spiders for longer. I wanted Bilbo's moment of kickassery to last. And anyway I was looking forward to those spiders, dangit.


*And a couple that they actually managed to NOT make super dumb despite all probabilities--for example, that one thing ) was actually rather sweet and well-played. And probably not going to end well, if we're gonna follow the book.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Fangirling)
EEEEK!

Look what Disney put up on YouTube!



I still say y'all ought to go check out the full movie, but if you don't see the entirety of Frozen, this is the best part. I kind of can't stop listening to it. (I want to sing along with it, but I came down with the post-travel crud, and I just can't in good conscience sing "The cold never bothered me, anyway" when I am CLEARLY being bothered by a cold. I'll just let Idina do it for now. She's more impressive, anyway.)
bloodyrosemccoy: (Bros!)
Frozen was excellent, y'all. I was seriously gleeful that it was a sister movie! It's great having movies that focus on different family relationships--and it's almost up there with Brave as far as telling those stories well. (Brave does not get enough love.) I was also pleased at their expanding the traditional Disney definition of True Love.

And it was PRETTY.

But the thing that really blew my mind was the short at the beginning.

OH MY GOD.

Why is nobody TALKING about this thing? I've been getting interested in animation history recently,* and then here on the screen shows up an old-timey-looking short that almost had me fooled into thinking it was an actual old short. Okay, yes, it did give itself away a couple times--I'm not sure what did, exactly, but you got the sense it was a modern attempt at the retro look, rather than actual retro--before the, uh, the DEAD giveaway. And then when they did get to that reveal, the rest of the short just had me laughing the way a cartoon should. It was faithful to the 1928 aesthetic and to modern aesthetics, and it had wonderfully clever slapstick.

Also, OSWALD.

OSWALD, y'all.

So yeah, Frozen was brilliant, but ten thousand points to Lauren MacMullan for "Get a Horse!" That just about killed me.


*Well, even more interested.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Deep Thoughts)
I harbor a lot of resentment for Peter Pan.

It’s not an out-and-out hatred. I mean, I was willing to see the Disney movie, and the movie version of Mary Martin as Mr. B Natural as Peter Pan, and I read the book version that my aunt had around the house, and I wasn't exactly furiously chucking the book across the room or anything. But I did always leave feeling ... rather put off.*

It took me a long time to articulate why. There were a lot of reasons. For one, Neverland seemed to be made up of a bunch of random elements that JM Barrie vaguely remembered finding appealing as a kid--the old-timey equivalent of something that nowadays would cram robots, aliens, superheroes, princesses, ponies, zombies, ninjas, and okay yeah pirates into a world without any logic or reason.** It was clearly a nostalgia’s-eye view of pretend time, and it was grating.

For another, Peter Pan was a schmuck. I could never tell if he was supposed to be endearingly self-centered and egomaniacal--like kids can be--or if it was meant as a slightly darker commentary on those same characteristics.*** No matter what, though, he seemed far too self-centered. Kids aren’t all that one-note shitty.

But mostly, it was the ladies.

I could not stand the female characters in Neverland. They were all written with such malice. Their automatic hostility toward Wendy was inexplicable and pointless--especially if it really was centered around the fact that they all wanted Peter’s attention, because the hell with him. Not a single character was likable, but the females got some extra attention paid to detailing their unlikability. And Wendy herself was an obnoxious load--whiny, helpless, codependent, and prone to forget that, you know, SHE COULD FUCKING FLY.

Which is still true in most adaptations. I stand by the fact that Wendy is a terrible character as originally written. However, I tend to run all the permutations of her together, so I missed something kind of excellent about Disney Wendy until my brother pointed it out: unlike with the other Wendys, Disney Wendy’s main character arc is the dawning realization that Neverland is bullshit.

And my brother is right.

When you watch it with that in mind, it's actually pretty great. In the beginning of the movie Wendy’s all for going to Neverland, and she’s clearly crushing on Peter. And then every single experience she has is a miserable disappointment. Woo, mermaids! Oh, hang on, mermaids are bratty and cliqueish. Woo, fairies! Oh, wait, they’re bratty too. Woo, Lost Boys! Holy shit never mind they just straight up tried to murder me. Woo, Indians! Oh GOD they are racist stereotypes and also they won’t let me join the party but keep making me gather firewood. Woo, pirates! Oh, right, they’re FUCKING PIRATES. Woo, Peter Pan! Oh, wait, this kid is a god damn SOCIOPATH. Everyone else acts stupid and childish, and finally she just can’t TAKE it anymore. So when she goes back to the real world--with, might I add, no implication that she’s gonna be trapped in some stupid one-sided relationship where Peter flies back to collect her for “spring cleaning” each year—she’s pretty much like “GET ME THE HELL OUT OF THIS NURSERY; I AM SO READY TO BE A GROWNUP.”

And suddenly the reason I still had a soft spot for Disney Wendy (well, that and the fact that I’m in love with Kathryn Beaumont’s voice work) was clear to me.

So yes, I still very much dislike Peter Pan. But it’s rather heartening to realize that Disney Wendy feels kind of the same way.


*Especially by the Mr. B Natural one, because I know stage rules are different, but man, they weren’t even TRYING to make the illusion work.

**I’m not saying these things can’t be awesome together, but you’ve got to WORK on it.

***Yes, I know they touched on that in the more recent live action movie, but it still didn’t quite fully grasp it.

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July 2016

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