Tag Archives: Disney

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Short review: I’d much rather watch Barbie in the Nutcracker. 

Longer review: Disney takes one of the most classic ballet storylines, removes dancing and imagination from it, and returns with a generic tale of girl power and Newton’s Third Law of Motion. 

To be fair, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms contains beautiful costumes and lovely, lush scenery. Considering the amount of character depth she has to work with, Mackenzie Foy does a good job with Clara. Several other big names make an appearance, including Matthew Macfadyen, who either plays only one role or decided to approach “grieving Father” the same way he approached Mr. Darcy. Broody. Very broody. 

Related image

Unfortunately, those are the highlights. The plot gave off a Narnia-wannabe vibe, but it reminded me more of Disney’s live action Alice in Wonderland. And that is not a good thing. I did appreciate that costumes stayed fairly period-specific in Nutcracker, though. No trousers. (* cough, Alice, cough *)

The storyline contains several plot holes and inconsistencies that never get resolved — or even addressed. The lack of magic and emphasis on science might fit society’s interest in encouraging girls to go into the STEM fields, but it removes any sense of wonder or imagination from the plot. Finally, the story’s treatment of females and womanhood in general goes overboard trying to correct traditional female movie roles and as a result sidelines some of the most beautiful elements of the ballet and the movie, including the lush costumes.

Overall, I would say a movie that could have reached something great but gets sidelined and loses the point of the Nutcracker. 

 

 

SPOILER

I said the movie falls “trying to correct traditional female movie roles.” That is true…until it doesn’t. The villain in the movie, besides being utterly predictable, behaves like a typical femme fatale. She wants strong men around and vindictively targets the other female guardian. This isn’t a groundbreaking female character. This is an annoying stereotype. And further, she is the only character who appears to relish the fashion and beauty around her. She’s the most traditionally feminine…and so predictably the most evil character. I found the motivation here disappointing. 

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The most unbelievable part of Frozen…

“The most unbelievable part of Frozen is that Elsa can run in her dress. And on ice! How does any Disney princess run…or get anywhere?!” – my sister while wearing her Elsa costume.


Movie Night With the Siblings

“Mom and Dad aren’t home! What should we watch?’

“Let’s pick something dark and scary! Maybe Gotham.” 

“Yeah! Mom doesn’t like those shows or movies. Netflix has all the Halloween movies out. Great timing.”

“Or we could watch a kid’s movie. Parents aren’t home to judge us.”

“That’s true! Disney movie? Mickey Mouse’s House of Villains?”

“Hercules!”

“Monsters vs Aliens!” 

“Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem.” 

“Yesssssssssssssssssssss.”

30 minutes later, Mom walks in. “What are you watching? You always watch lousy TV when I’m gone.”


Beauty and the Beast (2017)

I took my youth group girls to see Beauty and the Beast on Tuesday and it was magical. The costuming, the music, and the characters all came to life. Like Disney’s live action Cinderella adaption, Beauty and the Beast stays true the original cartoon while also fleshing out the story. I particularly liked what they did with the Beast’s character. I think it makes his relationship with Belle more believable. The movie also avoids or answers several inconsistencies from the cartoon. 

However, I would rank Cinderella’s adaption higher than Beauty and the Beast’s. A great deal of Cinderella’s charm comes from the fact that the live action adds very little to the overall story. It is simple but beautiful. Beauty and the Beast tries to be more. There are new backstories, new relationships, and new songs. It is a bit overwhelming and left me feeling dissatisfied at times. Simple is definitely not a word for this movie. It is elaborate and stunning but occasionally disjointed. 

As for the “homosexuality” in the movie, the reality is so far from the hoopla that I feel ridiculous even mentioning it. I’ve heard some people say LeFou is confused rather than gay, but to be honest, I’m not even sure he is that. There is no homosexual kiss or any other thing that parents need to be worried about. At most, there are two men dancing together at the end for a brief moment and one looks confused.

There is a fantastic post that I highly recommend you read addressing the above issue and other reasons Christians should see this movie – The Bigger Reason You Should Be Worked Up About Beauty and the Beast.

I am glad I got to see this one in theater and I am definitely going to re-watch it many times. Despite my criticisms, I must say it was beautifully done and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Do not let the hype keep you from enjoying this latest Disney classic. 

Disney Beauty and The Beast live action remake:


Disney Princesses and Underrepresented Hair Colors

I am taking my youth group girls to see the new Beauty in the Beast movie in a few weeks and I feel like this calls for a serious conversation about hair. 

Now in general, I feel redheads are vastly underrepresented in pop culture. However, my sister was ranting the other day about the lack of brunette princesses, and I think she makes a very legit point. Take a look at this:

5 of these princesses have black hair. Three have blond hair. Two have red hair. Only one is a brunette!  

Add in Anna and Elsa…

Image result for all the disney princesses

We have 5 black haired princesses, three blonds, three redheads, one brunette and one sort of blond sort of white haired ice Queen. 

Image result for all the disney princesses

Now, there are a few less popular/not recognized Disney leading ladies who are brunettes, like Jane. (Actually, just Jane. I just looked it up and Megara is supposed to have auburn like hair.) And anyway, at the same time, you add another red head, another blond, and another black haired princess.

No matter how far you expand…

And who you include…

Brunettes really only have one good princess…

Image result for all disney princesses with moana(is that supposed to be Moana on the end?)

And that is Belle!


Moana

I’ve now seen the new Disney princess movie, Moana, twice! It is really cute and has great music; I was pleasantly surprised by Dwayne Johnson’s ability to sing. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s influence is definitely apparent, though more so in the CD/soundtrack than the film. I personally would have preferred a little romance but the adventure was fun. Moana reminded me of Merida. 

Still not as good as Tangled. That is the best princess movie ever. 

From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. “Moana” sails into U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, 2016.:

Look how cute Baby Moana is!

Muñecas                                                       …:

 


“Lost Boy” by Ruth B

I have had the song “Lost Boy” stuck in my head over the last few days. I have a like/dislike relationship with the song (love/hate seems too strong for the emotion.) It has a beautiful, melancholy melody with memorable, nostalgic lyrics. It really is quite pretty. However, the literary literalist in my brain always feels the need to chime in…and the literary literalist objects to the idealization of a rather morbid children’s book. 

Here are the lyrics to “Lost Boy”:

There was a time when I was alone
Nowhere to go and no place to call home
My only friend was the man in the moon
And even sometimes he would go away, too

Then one night, as I closed my eyes
I saw a shadow flying high
He came to me with the sweetest smile
Told me he wanted to talk for awhile
He said, “Peter Pan, that’s what they call me
I promise that you’ll never be lonely, ” and ever since that day

I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we’re bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
“Run, run, lost boy, ” they say to me
Away from all of reality

Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free

He sprinkled me in pixie dust and told me to believe
Believe in him and believe in me
Together we will fly away in a cloud of green
To your beautiful destiny
As we soared above the town that never loved me
I realized I finally had a family
Soon enough we reached Neverland
Peacefully my feet hit the sand
And ever since that day

I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we’re bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
“Run, run, lost boy, ” they say to me
Away from all of reality

Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free

Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Wendy Darling
Even Captain Hook, you are my perfect story book
Neverland, I love you so
You are now my home sweet home
Forever a lost boy at last

Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Wendy Darling
Even Captain Hook, you are my perfect story book
Neverland, I love you so
You are now my home sweet home
Forever a lost boy at last

And for always I will say

I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we’re bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
“Run, run, lost boy, ” they say to me
Away from all of reality

Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free

Pretty, right? But here is the thing. In the book Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, Neverland is far from an ideal escape world. It is literally a world of warfare, where Indians hunt Pirates and Pirates hunt Lost Boys and Lost Boys hunt Indians. And what do they do when they catch them? They kill ’em! But guess what, if you are a Lost Boy and manage to not get killed by a Pirate, Peter Pan kills you himself once you hit puberty! Peter Pan is the only one who never ages. Everyone else does, and pays the consequence when they do. Fun, right? 

Don’t judge the book by its morbidness. At least, judge it after you’ve given it a try. Peter Pan really is a wonderful, childish, yet wild story. I really enjoyed it. You just have to erase from your mind the Disney version!  

So actually, the song has very little do with the actual story. I know there is probably a whole, involved argument that could be made about mixing stories with pop culture and the different appearances it takes. I’m not sure I am up for it tonight, though!

Here is the song on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3m_V1XNPxA