Tag Archives: movies

The New Snow White

The surge of Snow White-related TV shows and movies made me wonder, what is the obsession with Snow White? I never cared for the original Disney animated version. The poor girl was kind of dumb and seriously gullible and I don’t remember the prince being much better. So I decided to investigate.

Mirror, Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Once Upon a Time each take their own spin on the fairytale. And here is why I may actually dig the new Snow White.

1. She’s smart. Yay for intelligent female characters! Especially in Snow White and the Huntsman, I think we’re in for a woman who’s no longer duped by an old hag holding an apple in the middle of a hurricane. (Now let’s hope Kristen Stewart can do something other than look depressed.)

2. She’s tough. These are not so much the days of the damsel in distress as the days of the damsel kicking butt. Instead of just letting a hateful queen rob her of life and waiting for the prince to show up and make it all better, Snow White is getting a grip and defending herself.

3. She’s cool. I’m not sure you could call most fairytale characters ‘cool,’ but Snow White is getting there. The movies may elevate Snow from fairytale princess to superhero.

Even though I’m getting bored with Once Upon a Time, both new Snow White movies are on my must-see list. So we’ll see if my opinion of Snow White improves after a lifetime of dismissing this fairytale favorite.

My Favorite Fictional Bad Guys & Gals

Whether scary, campy, or amusing, villains are often as important as the heroes. And sometimes they steal the show. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and I’m trying to improve the villains in my own novels. I don’t always have an easy time inventing them – or at least inventing what I consider to be good villains. So I’ve been dissecting some of my favorite bad guys and girls and here is the result.

Mr. Tulkinghorn from Bleak House. You usually want the bad guy to go down, but I really wanted this guy to go down. He was pure evil. I’m not a huge Dickens fan, but I have to say he did create one of the most memorable villains.

Ursula from The Little Mermaid totally stole the show. I always thought she was much more interesting than Ariel. As a kid, Ursula was one of the only Disney villains that scared me (and fascinated me at the same time). Plus, hands down, she got the best song in the whole movie.

Another favorite female villain is Rapunzel’s mother in Tangled. (While we’re on the subject, I have a thing for female villains. I think they’re often scarier than men.) Hardly good parent material, she was manipulative and ruthless. Not to mention, pretty clever.

Unlike Rapunzel’s mother, Cruella De Vil didn’t really try to hide her true evil self. I always enjoyed that she was crazy and she has a fabulous meltdown at the end of the movie.

Prince John in Disney’s Robin Hood had the most awesome meltdowns. One of my favorite moments is after the tournament when he finds a drunk Sir Hiss and flips out, tying him around a pole.

While we’re talking about Robin Hood, the Sheriff of Nottingham in the BBC series is one of the only versions of the Sheriff I’ve come across who wasn’t a complete moron. He was actually an intelligent match to the hero himself. That coupled with his black fingernail polish, silk pajamas, and constant whispering into Guy’s ear quickly made him one of my favorite bad guys.

I know Megatron is supposed to be scary, but he just makes me laugh. I love that he repeats his name during his smackdowns with Optimus, and in Transformers 3 I was especially fond of his head covering. I guess that was meant to help him blend in with the locals.

The Joker in The Dark Knight was possibly the most disturbing villain I’ve come across. I’ve never watched the entire thing all the way through again since I saw it in IMAX, which was a life-altering experience, but I think Heath Ledger’s performance is a brilliant mix of completely disturbed villain and comedic relief.

Azula in Avatar: The Last Airbender is another terrific, intelligent female villain. She’s conniving and underhanded as female villains often are, but she’s also a physical match for just about anyone. I do wish Zuko had beaten her at least once.

This is hardly comprehensive and I’m sure if I kept thinking about it I’d come up with a whole new post. But I’ll leave it at that and let you continue the list. Who are your favorite villains? (And they don’t necessarily have to scare you!)

Photo by istolethetv

You Know You’re In Trouble When They Start Narrating

I recently decided to give The Last Airbender movie a go again. I’m a huge fan of the show and I was horrified by the movie version the first time, but it’s been a while and I figured knowing what to expect might make it better. OK so that was completely delusional, but I was curious to see it a second time with no expectations.

And thus we come to the title of this post. I’ve never had anything against narration. Sometimes it’s necessary or fitting to the story and can be done rather effectively. What scares me is when they start narrating how people feel or tell you what’s just happened. Maybe I’m missing something, but isn’t that what acting is for? I’ve always been under the, perhaps misguided, impression that movies are made up of scenes with actors who talk, gesture, and emote so that the audience understands how they feel, what they’re doing, and why they’re doing it. And considering the number of movies I’ve seen where no overdubbed explanation was required, I’m pretty sure I’m right.

Fortunately, I haven’t seen this type of dumbed-down narration that much – yet. But the fact that I’ve seen it more than once lately worries me. Where is the storytelling? I love movies and I like them even when they’re imperfect, and I certainly have my share of guilty pleasures. But the fact that I don’t seem to be the only one skipping theaters in favor of Netflix because that new film probably won’t be worth the $12 makes me wonder if movies will get better or worse with time. Just to save myself the aggravation, I’ve made a policy of going to a movie with zero expectations, regardless of hype or my own feelings about it. It helps but I’m still disappointed by the lack of time put into character and plot development while the effects wow and astonish. Don’t get me wrong, I love special effects. But there comes a point when I would like to love the characters just as much.

What’s your take on movies these days? What would you want to see more/less of? Any recommendations for good contemporary films?

Photo by gailf548.