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Relating to Tony Stark: Something I Didn’t Quite Expect.

6 May

This is going to be a very short ramble on a particular (and somewhat central) plot point of the new Iron Man 3 movie. I don’t really think anything I’m about to say is incredibly spoilery, seeing as this whole aspect is introduced fairly early on in the film and, when you really think about it, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that it’s something the character of Tony Stark is going through. However, if you’re trying to keep any/all information about Iron Man 3 away until you finally see it, then yeah, close this browser tab now.

And let me make this clear that this is not a critique on the film either. Iron Man 3 had a lot of problems, and it certainly wasn’t perfect, nor my favorite of all the Marvel-Disney films. Even so, I happened to love it. I was hooked from the get go and it kept me enticed the entire time. It even managed to throw a couple curve balls I didn’t see coming (as much as I love the Marvel-Disney films, they’re pretty easy to predict, so it was nice to have a few twist and turns thrown my way). Anyway, that’s not what I want to focus on.

I’d like to touch very briefly on Tony Stark’s anxiety disorder in this film.

(Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be surprised.)

Can I just say how fucking nice it was to see a superhero plagued with something that I’ve been dealing with for this last month of my life? I mean, obviously Tony Stark has more viable reasons for having an anxiety disorder than just being stressed out about graduating college (ie. the whole wormhole deal in Avengers), but it just… it just made me feel a little less alone. Y’know? Especially because his anxiety seemed as physical as mine is, where is kind of takes over your whole body at a moment’s notice.

And it’s funny because, ten minutes into Iron Man 3, I started having a minor anxiety attack. Nothing major, but I was having a hard time breathing and there was a bit of light headedness going on. And then, a minute or so after I started in on my own anxiety, trying to calm myself without drawing attention from the friend I was with, Tony snapped the crayon. Then I watched as he raced outside, unable to breathe, in order to find out what was wrong with him, and the second that JARVIS told him it was anxiety I just wanted to cry. I don’t know how to explain it. There’s just something so comforting watching Tony’s journey throughout the film (despite the really quick, unfulfilling resolution at the end having to do with how he overcame it). Obviously my heart went out to him whenever he’d have an attack throughout the film, as I’ve come to know what that’s like. I’ve spent a lot of this last month feeling so very alone, and while I know I have many friends who’ve gone through/are going through the same thing as me, it’s hard to keep that in perspective at times. But seeing it on a big screen with a character you’ve come to know and love over the years? Oof. That made a world of difference.

While I know he’s not a real person and that there are actual people I can look towards for comfort, the thought of a guy like Tony Stark dealing with this same ordeal that I’ve suddenly had thrown at me, well, quite honestly, it made me feel stronger.

I mean, if Tony Stark can kick anxiety’s ass, then what’s stopping me?

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Blunt the Knives, Bend the Forks: Julia’s Rambles about The Hobbit

19 Dec

So, I was going to write this majestic entry about all of my intricate thoughts and feelings about my two viewings of The Hobbit and why it is I liked the film so much… but no. Nope, sorry guys, but being home in Portland makes me notoriously lazy and I can’t bring  myself to write something so in depth.

Instead, you’ll be getting the sparknotes. Granted, they’re detailed sparknotes and they’re SUPER LONG, but sparknotes nonetheless. It’s basically gonna be a huge ramble about the film. Also, if you have not seen the film yet and are planning to, you probably should not read. I’m gonna talk openly about spoilers and the changes made from book to screen. Once more, SPOILERS ARE GOING TO BE IN THIS ENTRY. You have been warned.

Let’s start off with the things I didn’t like, since there weren’t many of those.

  • Okay. Azog. The Pale Orc. I get why he’s there. Totally. The Hobbit doesn’t really have just one antagonist, because the characters keep running into different enemies the entire time. I suppose you could say Smaug’s the overarching antagonist, but seeing as Smaug wasn’t even in this film (except for, y’know, a couple of brief glimpses) he’s not incredibly relevant to this portion of the story, now is he? And the trolls and goblins are there, but only for a bit of time each. So they needed someone to create a consistent challenge for our heroes, hence bringing in Azog. As a villain he wasn’t a bad one… but he wasn’t really a good one either…? I dunno, every time he was on screen (except for that last motherfucking excellent battle) I was just kind of like, “Oh. Could care less about you. Hmmm. Whatever.” He just didn’t strike fear into my heart. The Hobbit is no Lord of the Rings, so the villains don’t really match up to Sauron and the Nazgul anyway, but I would’ve liked some form of villain who made me jump a little in my seat. Also, the fact that Azog was CGI really bums me out. Think back to the Urak-hai in Fellowship of the Ring. How lame would he have been if he were completely CGI? Pretty goddamn lame. I feel like Peter may have trusted CGI on this front a little too much. Yes, giant CGI spiders are frightening, but I’m much more scared of a guy dressed up as an orc than a CGI orc running around on a warg. (Plus, oh my god, when he revealed his replacement arm I started cracking up in the movie theater. It looked like a giant fork with bent prongs. Was I the only one who found his arm ridiculously silly?)
  • I didn’t really think the stone giants were necessary. I’m sure they’re from some Tolkien folklore, which Peter and Fran wanted to include in the story, and I did like the things that happened because of them (ie. the heartbreaking Fili-Kili moment (very reminiscent of Merry-Pippin), Bofur freaking out when Bilbo was missing, and Thorin being a bad ass), but the stone giants themselves made me raise an eyebrow and question why the hell they were chucking rocks at each other. I’ve also never been fond of giants made of stone (here’s looking at you, Neverending Story) so maybe that’s just my prejudice creeping in.
  • Me being nit-picky: Frodo and Bilbo’s wigs should NOT have been that long. I’M JUST SAYING.
  • I am a tad disappointed (okay, more than a tad) that we didn’t get to know a couple of the dwarves that well. There are thirteen, so of course we’re not going to get a huge back story on each and every one of them. I knew going in that Thorin, Fili, Kili, and Balin would be the main dwarves (which they were), and I was pleased as punch that Dwalin had a major part to play. As always, I would’ve liked more Bofur, but I can’t argue with the fact that he was one of the more fundamental characters, which makes me oh so happy. Then the rest of the dwarves, though we didn’t get much of them, we did get a sense of who they were by their interactions with the group (especially Ori). That is, EXCEPT for these three: Bifur, Bombur, and Nori. Did Bombur have any lines? No. No he did not, which shocked me since Bombur’s the third most used dwarf in the book. And Nori only had that one line at the end and, I dunno, maybe I’m just hurt because I love Jed Brophy so much and want him to have all the screen time in the world. Also, if Bifur’s back story is never given in any three of the films I will scream during the credits of the last Hobbit film. Gah.

OKAY! Done with my complaints, now onto my comments about the film!

  • MAN. That opening was phenomenal. With Ian’s return as Bilbo, and then all the flashbacks to the dwarves and what they went through? That was astounding and drew me right back into the world Peter Jackson created almost half my lifetime ago.
  • I was a bit surprised at first at how different the feel of this film was compared to Lord of the Rings, but as the movie progressed I found it fitting. The Hobbit is not Lord of the Rings. It doesn’t have the same sense of grittiness and despair. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some of that in this tale, but they’re not setting out to save the world and rid their land of Sauron. They’re out to reclaim their home. It’s much more light hearted fantasy with a good dose of humor, I found, which was perfectly fabulous. Peter Jackson did it (and hopefully continues to do it) right.
  • LEE PACE ON AN ELK. LEE PACE ON AN ELK. LEE PACE ON AN ELK. OH MY GODDDD.
  • In the past, I haven’t been as vocal about Martin Freeman in comparison to my constant rants about the actors playing the dwarves, but man, that guy sold the role. When I was watching him, I didn’t see Watson or Tim or Arthur. I saw Bilbo Baggins. The same Bilbo Baggins I got to know when I was eleven years old; a hobbit who is so out of his element, but at the same time finds his place amongst the dwarves and gains so much in his quest. I was very impressed with Mr. Freeman. I’m looking forward to seeing him continue the role in the next two films, even if that does mean a hold on new Sherlock episodes.
  • Sir Ian McKellen was beyond wonderful, but what else did you expect?
  • Galadriel had such an amazing entrance, and Cate’s ability to play that character with such gentleness and serenity continuously leaves me speechless. She’s a flawless human being. Speaking of returning characters, I loved Elrond’s entrance on horseback and his camaraderie with Gandalf, and also getting a chance to see good!Sauroman for a change.
  • Some of the people I went to see the film with complained that the meeting in Bilbo’s home went on for far too long. I suppose this is true, but I didn’t mind. In fact, I would’ve loved more of that part. I thought the whole sequence was wonderful and fun. Incorporating the music went a lot smother than I expected, and, I dunno, just watching all of the dwarves run about Bag End while Bilbo fretted in that bathrobe of his was marvelous. I had a big, dopey grin on my face the entire time.
  • Except for the changes previously stated in my complaint section, I thought all the changes were good ones. The addition of Radagast was particularly admirable. I found him to be a fascinating character, and the relationship he has with the animals is adorable. I hope he makes more appearances in the future films. Other things that worked: the Elrond/Galadriel/Gandalf/Sauroman council, Bilbo saving Thorin’s life in the end (character defining moment, ya’ll!), the whole second part of the troll scene, and the dwarves leaving Rivendell without Gandalf (I thought that made for a better explanation as to why they were lacking Gandalf by the time they got to the Goblin caves).
  • It was a beautiful film. That goes without saying. The wardrobe, the character design, the set design, the music, the whole thing was basically a continuous eye/ear-gasm.
  • I foresee so many Bilbo/Thorin fanfics. And Bilbo/Bofur. And Bilbo/Balin. And Balin/Thorin. And Gandalf/Galadriel. And Fili/Kili. BASICALLY ALL OF THE SHIPS, NO MATTER HOW NOT P.C. THEY ARE.
  • Bilbo’s relentlessness to put down those two bowls of soup for Fili and Kili was my favorite.
  • I really liked the throwbacks to Lord of the Rings. Gandalf whispering to the moth, the ring falling onto Bilbo’s finger (really drives home the fact that the ring chooses its owner), Smeagol and Gollum interacting, Gloin being very much against the dwarves (YOUR SON WILL THINK DIFFERENTLY, GLOIN), and Bret McKenzie’s elf character making a return appearance. Plus it was so nice to see Elijah Wood and Ian Holm together again (cue the Muppet music).
  • SMAUG’S EYE OMG FREAKING OUT WHY DO WE HAVE TO WAIT SO LONG FOR THE NEXT FILM???
  • The whole goblin caves and Riddles in the Dark scene was, by far, my favorite of the entire film, and definitely the one that kept me the most captivated (in the sense that my mind didn’t really wander off to thinking about how much I wanna bone James Nesbitt). The riddles scene was especially well done, and DAMN has that technology that makes Gollum possible gotten good. I loved the way the riddles were delivered, and the acting done between Martin and Andy. Of course I liked the lead up to all of that (ie. the Bofur and Bilbo BROTP talk where Bilbo is sort of a dick), and I really like how the creative staff chose to have the crack be not in the wall but under the dwarves, so that they all fell through to the Goblin lair. I found that to be much more effective, and it certainly got my heart pounding. Then Dwalin’s just being a motherfucking bad ass as they all fight their way out of the caves. Yes. Best part.
  • Someone give Andy Serkis an award. Or two. Or ten. Or all of them. Yeah, just give him all of the awards. He deserves it.
  • Okay, and here it is. The part where I rant about all thirteen dwarves. Brace yourselves, lads, this might take some time.
    • Thorin – Fran said in an interview recently that this story was just as much Thorin’s as it is Bilbo’s, and I’m so glad that they took it in that direction because it really is. Thorin’s not exactly my favorite character (a little too brooding at times), but Richard did such a damn good job with him. You really got a sense of what he’s been through over the years – losing his grandfather, father, and kingdom – and why it’s so important for him to take his home back. I had a much easier time sympathizing with Richard’s portrayal of Thorin than I ever did when reading the book.
    • Dwalin – OH HAI MOST BAD ASS DWARF IN ALL THE LANDS. I don’t like beer, but I’d share a pint with this motherfucker any day.
    • Balin – I knew Balin was going to be important to the story, seeing as he’s quite prominent in the book, but I didn’t know that I was going to love him so much. I like how they play up his friendship/loyalty to Thorin and have him (and Dwalin) in a lot of the flashbacks. As a friend said to me, Balin’s a true dwarf in look and in feel, and I find that to be very true.
    • Fili & Kili – Okay, I cannot lie, these two are effing adorable. The part where they were separated on the different stone giant’s legs tore my heart in two. You just get how eager they are to see battle, and at the same time how naive they are about the ways of the world. And, okay, yes, they’re easy on the eyes, which doesn’t hurt.
    • Dori – While I’m a bit disappointed that Dori never once carried Bilbo on his back like he does in the book (I guess the idea of Mark totting Martin around is a little farfetched), I still really liked his character. The way he offered Gandalf tea in the beginning was precious, and from that interaction alone you got a definite sense of his character. I also liked his relationship with Ori. It’s easy to see what an overprotecting, and slightly bossy, older brother he is.
    • Nori – Grumble grumble, not enough Jed, grumble grumble. He did have one cute moment where he and Bofur were fighting over sausage links at Bag End… But seriously though. More sass monster Nori in the future, please.
    • Ori – I thought that, out of all the dwarves that were under used, Ori was the one that stood out the most. His outburst at the dinner scene about the dragon was a clear sign that he was eager to show that he’d be willing to fight, but then once the battle scenes came you saw just how scared he really was. When the Goblin King said they were going to torture the youngest one and the camera cut to Ori, I wanted to scream. In short, Ori is my precious baby (and I kind of want to marry Adam Brown).
    • Oin – One of my favorite moments of the film was when Oin shoved his napkin into his ear trumpet to block out the Elvish music. Oin’s not having any of your shit, Elves, so GTFO.
    • Gloin – I’VE GOT WORMS THE SIZE OF MY ARM.
    • Bifur – You know something, I think Bifur’s actually the most fascinating character of all the dwarves, and the fact that he was so underused is a shame. The fact that when I say Bifur and most people don’t know which dwarf he is, well, that’s a fucking shame. I feel like everyone missed out on the fact that Bifur speaks an impossible to understand language, having to do with the fact there’s an axe lodged in his head. I know the details of his back story (due to this fabulous interview William Kircher gave), but I’m still really hoping it’s revealed in one of the films, as I think it’d make for a pretty emotional part.
    • Bombur – I was reassured by Stephen Hunter via Twitter that Bombur would have more screen time in the future films, so fingers crossed! I want the fact that he has fourteen kids back home to come up at some point. Also, more Bombur-Bofur brother scenes.
    • Bofur – Oh my. Here we are. Where to even begin with this one? It’s no secret that I absolutely adore this character. He’s pretty much all I’ve talked about these last couple weeks. I’ll be honest, I was worried that I had over hyped Bofur for myself before I even saw the film; that I went and fell for the idea of the character rather than the character himself. I am thrilled to say that was very much not the case. I’m exceedingly grateful for the amount of screen time James got, especially when compared to some of the other fabulous characters. Bofur got many of his own moments and he managed to steal just about any scene he was in with either his comedy or his surprising tenderness. I was a bit disheartened at first, seeing as he didn’t get his own entrance into Bag End, but instead fell through the Hobbit Hole with all the other dwarves. Then he began to have lines, little snippets here and there, and then the bit about the dragon, and you got a great sense of who this character is. He is such a genuine, sweet character, who enjoys joking around and is constantly smiling, and also the optimist of the group. Plus it was easy to see how much he cares for everyone around him, especially Bilbo as the story progresses. He had quite a few of lines that made me laugh out loud, and I especially enjoyed his disgruntled chatter when he was being rotated over the trolls’ fire. His relationship with Bilbo had to be my favorite. I’ll admit, I would have liked an extra scene or two between them, to better establish the growth in their relationship, but I’ll take what I can get. I just love how he went about teasing Bilbo throughout the film, but then when the moment came where Bilbo was going to leave Bofur was the one that stepped up and begged him not to go (which, okay, everyone else was asleep, but you get the sense that Bofur would’ve been the only one to plead the same case had everyone been conscious anyway). I just love how he saw Bilbo for more than he was before any of the other dwarves did. And yes, when Bilbo snapped back at him about not having a home, my eyes welled up with tears. One word: BROT-fucking-P (even if Bilbo was kind of a dick during the exchange). I’m also slightly disappointed because James said he sang a song in this first film, so I guess that means it was cut. I’m REALLY hoping for more Bofur in the extended edition, especially if it means getting to hear him sing some more (anyone who’s seen Jekyll should know by now that man can definitely carry a tune). Maybe we’ll even get more Bofur-Bifur-Bombur interactions. That would be nice. In short, I’m so happy that Bofur has, indeed, turned out to be a phenomenal character. I look forward to seeing his relationship with the other characters, and him as a character, grow more throughout the film’s journey. (James Nesbitt, you sexy Irish bastard you, good job.)

Returning to Middle Earth: Getting Stoked for The Hobbit

2 Dec

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is coming out here in the states in twelve days. This is a cause for much joyous celebration, obviously, as it’s been nine years since we last got a Tolkien film directed by one Mr. Peter Jackson. The fans all seem to be excited for this film. I should know, as I am one of them.

As a teenager, the Lord of the Rings series were a big part of my life. When I say that, I’m not talking about the books. I mean the movies. I’m ashamed to admit I still haven’t read the book series in its entirety (though, to be fair, I haven’t attempted since I was fourteen, so I assume I would be able to get through the books if I were to try now. It’s not my fault I could never make it passed Bree. Blame Tom fucking Bombadil and his boring ass chapters. I don’t care if he’s supposed to symbolize God or Satan or Christ or whatever theory you abide by, that doesn’t excuse the fact that he’s a sucky character). I did read The Hobbit in middle school though and then twice more in high school, and oh how I loved it.

https://i0.wp.com/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61GvwuyTa4L._SL500_AA300_.jpgBut the films are what became an important part of my youth. I wasn’t allowed to see Fellowship in theaters, because my parents deemed it “too scary” for an eleven year old. I suppose that was a reasonable worry, but at the time this left me feeling upset with them. All my friends had seen it in theaters (and by that I mean my four closest gal pals), and they would talk about who they were in love with and who their favorite character was, while I just sat there not understanding the concept of a Ringwrath no matter how many times they tried to explain it to me. Finally, the film came out on DVD. My parents sat my brother and myself down to watch it with them, prepping us for Orcs and Ringwraths and anything that might scare us. During the entire film there was only one part that truly freaked me out: that scene where Bilbo’s eyes bug out and he looks like he’s about to eat Frodo’s soul. Fucking creepy, man.

Look, it's seventeen year old me with my Frodo cardboard cutout and we're both wearing pirates hat! Because NERD.

Look, it’s seventeen year old me with my Frodo cardboard cutout and we’re both wearing pirates hat! Because NERD.

It was all uphill after that. I saw the second and third films in theaters (each three times), I convinced my mom to buy me the Frodo life size cardboard cutout from the local comic book store (which, to this day, I still have), I began writing (shitty) Lord of the Rings fan fiction, I claimed Frodo as the love of my life, I went as Galadriel for Halloween in the seventh grade, my friends and I attempted to make our own Lord of the Rings movie (pretty sure we got as far as the three elves in the prologue), and I broke the One Ring off of the bookmark my dad gave me so I could wear it everywhere I went. Yeah, Lord of the Rings was kind of a big deal for me (though it still comes in second for middle school obsessions, right after Newsies). Not to mention my senior quote in the yearbook was “Home is behind, the world ahead and there are many paths to tred.”

As I’ve aged, the Lord of the Rings films have remained a sacred thing to me. I do an annual Lord of the Rings marathon once a year, where I’ll hole up in the sanctuary of my bedroom and watch all eleven hours of the uncut DVDs in a row. The first time I did my marathon back during freshman year I invited other people to watch with me, but I quickly wised up after that, seeing as no one would shut up and I had to keep telling everyone to be quiet. Normally I don’t mind silly banter while watching movies, but for Lord of the Rings it’s different. I hate to say it, and I don’t mean to offend anyone, but watching those films is just about the closest thing I have to a religious experience nowadays. It’s ridiculous how much I’m not exaggerating right now.

Look! It’s John Watson! … I mean Arthur Dent… or… that pornography stand in from Love Actually… uh… the police chief from Hot Fuzz… um… shit, I’m sorry, who is Martin Freeman playing again?

It should come as no surprise that when I found out Peter Jackson had finally gotten the rights to make The Hobbit a reality, I was ECSTATIC. I remember finding out that Martin Freeman had been cast as Bilbo while I was at work, and literally jumping out of my chair in order to repeatedly fist pump the air. I also remember sitting in the car with my father around Christmas time last year when the first ever Hobbit trailer was released. I made him shut off the music so I could watch the trailer on my measly iPhone and, by the end, I was in tears (I also seem to recall my dad telling me I was weird, but whatever). Needless to say, I’ve been waiting a long time for these films to be made and I have a lot of feelings about them.

So it’s weird that for the last couple months my excitement for this film has been, shall we say, pretty non-existent. Despite doing a Lord of the Rings marathon only three months ago, I just really wasn’t feeling the enthrall of it all. Of course I still intended on seeing the film, but I clearly remember a week or two ago thinking to myself, “Well, I’ll just see it a day or two after it comes out. I can wait. No big deal.” If twelve year old me had a TARDIS you bet your sweet bippy that she’d travel into the future to slap two-weeks-ago-me in the fucking face for being such a terrible fan.

I think, for the most part, I can chalk up my lack of enthusiasm to this rough term. Not that the term’s been rough because of school (though I have a hell of a bad case of Senioritis, and I fear the disease is growing steadily worse), just the mood I’ve been in. I’ve touched on before on this blog, but I’ve been going through a bit of a depression and I’ve been having one major existential crisis. I’ve been drained of any drive whatsoever as of late, and it’s really sucked. A lot. Though, recently, I seem to be getting better, or at least my thoughts aren’t as dismal as they were several weeks ago. So… yay?

But then something wonderful happened. This last Tuesday I wrote up an article for Buzz Patrol about the world premiere of The Hobbit over in New Zealand. Writing this article led to me looking at many pictures and videos of the premiere, as well as stumbling across this Hobbit parody video (I’m sure Rachel has wondered by now why the song “Shots” has been playing on repeat in my bedroom for the last four days straight. Whoops). Before I knew it, I was posting a Facebook status asking Portland friends to go see the midnight premiere with me, and within a couple hours Valerie and I had teamed up to head a Hobbit viewing party/sleepover.

This whole getting excited for The Hobbit totally has nothing to do with this sudden attraction to Bofur. What? Who said that? Not me. Shut up.

This whole getting excited for The Hobbit thing totally has nothing to do with this sudden attraction to Bofur. What? Who said that? Not me. Shut up.

And now, suddenly, I’m super excited. I’m reminded how much I love the Tolkien franchise in general and Jackson’s films. I’ve remembered how awesome it is to be a fan and get excited over new shit being released. Hell, I already have a favorite dwarf picked out from promotional pictures alone (hint: it’s Bofur).

Then today, for one reason or another, I decided to start rereading The Hobbit. A tumblr friend just finished going through the book for the first time, and I’m pretty sure all of her entries about reading it were what persuaded me to start it up as well. I had sort of resigned to the fact that I wasn’t going to pick up the book until after I see Unexpected Journey, but this morning I grabbed my annotated copy of the book and hauled ass to work. I’m normally a slow reader, so a part of me was worried I wouldn’t be able to get through all of it before Wednesday evening, but seeing as I’m already four chapters in I don’t think I have anything to worry about.

As I was reading The Hobbit in my freezing cold office, grateful that Sunday mornings at the motel are always non-eventful, I started to cry.

I’m so fucking thankful that Peter Jackson’s directing this second trilogy. A while back Guillermo del Toro was set up to direct these films, and while I love del Toro’s work (especially Pan’s Labyrinth), I was saddened to think that the entire feeling of the films would be different than the first trilogy… but that changed. Thank goodness that it changed. We get Jackson again. We get to return to the world of Middle Earth; the same world Jackson established over ten years ago. It’s the same Shire, the same landscape, the same style of costumes and weapons, the same actors returning to reprise roles, and it’s just so fucking wonderful. I’m invigorated with the knowledge that I get to go back to that feeling I had when I was twelve years old and sat down to watch The Fellowship of the Ring for the first time, and so thankful that I get to experience it all over again three more times.

I can’t hardly wait for the fourteenth.

https://i0.wp.com/static.moviefanatic.com/images/gallery/martin-freeman-stars-as-bilbo-baggins-in-the-hobbit_500x333.jpg

My Jurassic Park Craze.

12 Oct

This just in world: I love Jurassic Park.

If you don’t think Sattler’s the perfect woman then screw you.

Now, I’m sure you probably haven’t picked up on this fact just yet. It’s not like I’ve been flooding my tumblr with Jurassic Park quotes and .gif photosets, spazzing out about it in Facebook statuses, writing up featured articles about Jurassic Park sequels that were never made, and so on and so forth. And I’m most certainly not going to Goodwill tomorrow to compile an Ellie Sattler costume to wear on Halloween. That’d be ridiculous.

But yes, I am in love with a movie I thought I would never even like. I didn’t see Jurassic Park for the first time until a little less than one month ago. Most people watch Jurassic Park when they’re young (like my brother, who bragged about sneaking it at a friend’s house back when we were little kids), but I never hopped on that train. As a kid I took one look at that film and knew, were I to watch it, I’d cry from sheer fear. I may not have been a bright kid, but I knew what was up. Dinosaurs eating people? Not something I wanted to watch. So I avoided the film from a young age, opting for Disney and Don Bluth movies instead. As I grew older I was never presented with an opportunity to watch Jurassic Park, so since it never crossed my path it never crossed my mind either.

Come this last September. I’m at the beach with my father on a three day vacation, and we’re inside a bookstore. I’ve already got the book I want to buy clutched in my hands (Handmaid’s Tale), but I’m browsing around still while my father contemplates what book he wants to buy for himself. As I wander the aisles, my eyes land on a hardbound, shiny cover with a dinosaur on it. I stare at it for a while as a question hangs over my head: Why have I never seen Jurassic Park before?

My dad buys his book (can’t remember what it was) and then offers to buy mine. We walk around Cannon some more and, eventually, head to our beach house. After we get back to the house we walk down the road to a tiny, blue market. In the back of this tiny market is an even tinier room, where the walls are laced with DVDs. It’s not much, as the room is so small, but there are still enough options that my dad and I are left arguing about what to rent for the next fifteen minutes. We finally agree upon The Prestige. Before we go my gaze shift towards the area where the VHS’s are, and my eyes instantly connect with a Jurassic Park VHS. Without thinking I snatch it up and wave it in my dad’s face. “Can I rent this too?” I ask loudly. He thinks this action is strange – but, then again, he thinks pretty much everything I do is strange – and agrees.

We get home and I immediately throw Jurassic Park in the VHS player. I can’t explain this sudden, strong urge that has consumed me. All I know is that I need to watch the film NOW. I don’t even turn it off when my cousin and his three year old son come back from their day at the beach (probably because instead of asking me to turn it off, my cousin encouraged his son to watch the film as well. Good parenting right there). From the start till the end I am hooked. Every line of dialogue, every plot twist, every dinosaur captivates me. My breath even hitches a bit when the T-Rex is seen in full view the first time. It’s extraordinary.

For the next few days I don’t think much on the film. It’s in the back of my mind, but the sudden urge to consume the film has died down. My dad and I head back to Portland, I get a tattoo, and life is grand. After a couple days my dad heads down to Ashland with me to catch some plays before I start up my fifth and final year of college. One day we’re in Bloomsbury Books together and I see a paperback copy of Jurassic Park. I buy it, of course, and from there… well, from there I’m not really sure what the hell happens. I think the Jurassic Park Builder app on my iPhone, which I discovered at breakfast one morning when I was out with my dad, really didn’t help, because I kind of haven’t stopped playing it in the last three weeks. I got the second and third Jurassic Park films from Netflix (confirming that neither are as good as the first), and then I received the first movie from Netflix. I then watched it once for three days in a row, and am currently waiting for the DVD that I ordered from amazon to arrive in the mail.

Needless to say, I’m used to this. Obsessing. I’ve become quite the expert since late elementary school when Harry Potter and fanfiction entered my life. But the question is not why obsess, but simply this: why Jurassic Park?

Here’s what I figure:

  1. I’m making up for missing my dinosaur phase. In my opinion, almost every kid goes through a dinosaur phase (most of them continue to go through it throughout the rest of their lives too). My brother had a dinosaur phase. I remember he had all the toys and books, and just absolutely loved them. Not me though. Oh sure, I played with him and his toys, and I loved the movies We’re Back and Land Before Time, but I never really cared much for them. Probably because they terrified me. So this could easily be me making up for missing out on that as a kid.
  2. The character’s are all fucking great. Except Nedry, but he’s supposed to be a shit, so whatever. I love all the characters though. Grant’s a worthy lead, with his love of dinosaurs and, at same time, apprehension of them. Ellie’s funny and gorgeous, and at the same time a total bad ass. Malcolm’s fun and has so many great one liners. Even Hammond is likable; you can’t help but feel sorry for him come the end of the film. Usually I don’t like it when kids are thrown in to add diversity to a cast, but Lex and Tim not only work well, but add to the story too (unlike the kids in the following two films, who only serve to annoy me). Also, on a side note, I really like the level of romance Jurassic Park takes on in each of its films, wherein that there are romantic relationships, but they never pull focus from the film. In action movies we’re supposed to get the big romantic kiss at the end. It’s what’s expected. In Jurassic Park, it’s well established that Ellie and Grant are a thing, but instead of getting caught up in the moment of their reunion and making out, they’re constantly running and worrying about their lives, like, y’know, real fucking people. Same goes for the less stellar relationships in the following two films. It’s just refreshing to see characters act reasonably in this retrospect.
  3. Well made film; well told story. I’ve yet to start the book yet, but if it’s better than the movie then I know I’m going to fall absolutely in love with it.
  4. It’s fun. Simple as that.

So how long will my Jurassic Park craze last? Who knows, but while it’s alive and kicking I’m gonna make the most of it. I plan on starting the book sometime soon (which I’ve been saying for the last three weeks… dumb school), and I’m going to be watching Jurassic Park with a friend this Sunday (dinosaur party!). So yes. Dinosaurs are awesome. The end.

Now to end this entry properly, I bequeath to you the single funniest moment of Jurassic Park:

soon.

8 Sep

When  I was a six years old I used to run around my house singing this song to myself, expecting my prince to come sweep me off my feet.

I wish someone had told her that sixteen years down the road she’d still be waiting.

Why Tangled is the Best Thing Disney’s Done in Years.

4 Sep

The other day I was tumblin’ on Tumblr, like every other waking second of my entire life, when I came across a gorgeous photoset of .gifs on my dashboard for the movie Tangled. Underneath the photoset a Tumblr friend had written, “[Tangled’s] actually a classic for me already. Dunno why, it just…works.”

This got me to thinking, because he was absolutely right. As a film Tangled does work. It works really fucking well. So here, about a year and a half late, are my thoughts on as to why I think Tangled works:

Tangled is the smartest thing Disney has made in a years. The comedy is accessible to both children and adults, never dumbing down the humor or playing it obvious. The plot is enticing to everyone, as it tells a well rounded story. There are epic sequences, truly tender scenes, gorgeous music, and lots of laugh out loud moments. Overall, it’s just a really fun movie to watch.

Not only that, but all of the characters are likable. This is not always an easy task to accomplish (even for Disney), but there’s not a single character in this film that you can dislike. Rapunzel’s a bit ditzy and silly, but she’s also brave, strong, and vulnerable, which are all the ingredients you need to make up a powerful protagonist. On top of that, she’s also spunky, creative, sweet, emotional, and adorable. Flynn comes off as a douche at first (albeit a likeable douche), but the more the film goes along, the more he opens up and we see him for who he truly is. Pascal and Maximus? Lovable upon first sight. The thugs and rapscallions are fun and a great comedic addition to the film. Even Mother Gothel is likable half the time. Sure, she doesn’t exactly treat Rapunzel well (hence the locking in tower), but she’s also sassy and funny – not to mention voiced by the phenomenal Donna Murphy – making it impossible not not like her for at least a portion of the movie.

Then there’s the music, which, as stated previously, is gorgeous. The score is wonderful, and there are some awesome songs in it (‘I See The Light’ was nominated for an Oscar). Then again, honestly, would you expect any less from Alan Menken?

I’m always amused when I come across guys who liked Tangled a lot, because they always seem taken by surprise by this fact. I guess upon first glance Tangled might seem like more of a “girl” movie to some, but it’s really a movie anyone can enjoy, despite age or gender. On that note, I didn’t think I was going to like Tangled at all from the trailers that I’d seen. I didn’t even go see it in theaters, despite numerous friends telling me how amazing it was. I wish I had though, cause I would’ve gone more than once. Without a doubt.

Also, and this is something I’ve ranted about before on several different occasions, but I think Flynn and Rapunzel are one of the more realistic romantic relationships Disney has ever portrayed. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the love at first sight method that Disney tends to play up in the majority of their films, but in Tangled you’re actually able to see the progression of the relationship. Take into consideration that the main action in the majority of Disney films takes place in only three or four days. There are, of course, exceptions (Mulan and Tarzan are two that come to mind), but for the most part we’re expected to believe these characters meet and fall in love in such a small amount of time. With Tangled I really did buy it. There’s obviously a disregard between Rapunzel and Flynn from the very start, which carries on for about the first half of the film. At the same time, it’s also clear instantly that they’re attracted to each other on some level (what with her observing him after he’s passed out and him giving her his famous smolder). Then suddenly they’re on this whirlwind journey together and they slowly begin to trust, and even like, each other more and more. What’s great about Tangled is that you can actually pin point the exact moments when Rapunzel decides to trust him and where Flynn decides she’s not all that bad. We also get to see them go through some incredible intense moments together, leading them both to show levels of vulnerability that maybe they’re not used to, which leads them to open up to one another. Because they actually are able to open up, the progression of them slowly starting to fall in love comes off in a very believable way (you know, as much as a movie about magic hair can be believable at least).

Not to mention the ‘I See The Light’ scene is one of the most romantic, gorgeous scenes I’ve ever witnessed in a movie. I shit you not.

Tangled is a truly remarkable film, and the best Disney has made in years. I realize if you haven’t seen it yet, by this point in the entry I’ve probably spoiled the majority of it for you. Even so, you should go watch it ASAP. It really is worth checking out.

When I Grow Up…

22 Aug

Today I discovered Matilda: the Musical. I had heard word a while back that this was going to be a thing, but I had no idea that it had already hit the west end and Broadway. Upon hearing about it, I was feeling pretty indifferent. It’s not that I didn’t like Matilda as a kid, and it’s not that I don’t think it’s good musical material. On the contrary, I’m very particular about what film/book material does or does not make a good musical. Shrek? Not musical material. Billy Elliot? Definite musical material. Once? Hella musical material. Legally Blonde? Hell no.

I knew right away Matilda would make for a good musical, I just wasn’t feeling up to tracking the soundtrack down. Then my friend Jon went and posted the song When I Grow Up on tumblr, and, well… here are the lyrics, and you might see why I’ve changed my mind:

When I grow up,
I will be tall enough to reach the branches
That I need to reach to climb the trees
You get to climb when you’re grown up.

And when I grow up,
I will be smart enough to answer all
The questions that you need to know
The answers to before you’re grown up.

And when I grow up,
I will eat sweets every day,
On the way to work, and I will
Go to bed late every night.
And I will wake up
When the sun comes up, and I
Will watch cartoons until my eyes go square,
And I won’t care ’cause I’ll be all grown up.
When I grow up…

When I grow up
I will be strong enough to carry all
The heavy things you have to haul
Around with you when you’re a grown up.

And when I grow up…
I will be brave enough to fight the creatures
That you have to fight beneath the bed
Each night to be a grown up.

And when I grow up,
I will have treats every day,
And I’ll play with things that mum pretends
That mums don’t think are fun.

And I will wake up
When the sun comes up and I
Will spend all day just lying in the sun.
And I won’t burn ’cause I’ll be all grown up.
When I grow up…

When I grow up,
I will be brave enough to fight the creatures
That you have to fight beneath the bed
Each night to be a grown up.

When I grow up…

Just because you find that life’s not fair, it
Doesn’t mean that you just have to grin and bear it.
If you always take it on the chin and wear it, nothing will change.
Just because I find myself in this story,
It doesn’t mean that everything is written for me.
If I think the ending is fixed already,
I might as well be saying I think that it’s okay,
And that’s not right.

Looking at the lyrics typed out, I can now easily see how the lyrics/music are written by Tim Minchin, which I didn’t know until only a while ago. And, dear me, I fucking love Tim Minchin.

I’ve felt so nostalgic as I’ve replayed this song on constant repeat all day. This song achieves it’s purpose: to make us remember what it’s like to be a kid and to have such fantastic aspirations. I remember going around as a kid swearing, when I was adult, that I’d eat candy all the time, lie around in the sun, climb trees, and essentially still be a child. This makes me sad, because I feel like I’ve lost so much of what made me such a wonderful child. Of course I couldn’t hold onto some of the things, but there’s so much of my childhood I wish I had held onto. My immense imagination. My optimism. My hyper-ness. My energy.

And yet, most of the time I feel like I’ve managed to hold onto more of my childlike wonder than the majority of people I know my age. Everyone takes everything so fucking seriously. People don’t take joy in the little things anymore. I feel like I’m much better at rolling with the punches than everyone. Maybe it’s because of everything I’ve gone through in my life, but I’ve learned to differentiate the little things and the important things. Speaking of which, I’ve always tried to enjoy the little things. Always.

I went and watched Matilda, the movie, today, which was a lovely experience. I think the quintessential difference in being an adult vs. being a child is that when I was a kid I fantasized about being Matilda. Now that I’m an adult I fantasize about being Ms. Honey.

I find the last stanza to be incredibly inspirational, especially the beginning part that goes: “Just because you find that life’s not fair, it doesn’t mean that you just have to grin and bear it. If you always take it on the chin and wear it, nothing will change.” It’s just something nice I’m going to have to remember when things get me down.

I’m tremendously excited to listen to the rest of this musical. I know it’ll be a great one.