Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kiki's Delivery Service

Hayao Miyazaki's "Kiki's Delivery Service" was my first Miyazaki film- which apparently makes me an outcast at Ringling. I was skeptical of his films because of their style... I really don't like the appearance of anime- but the story distracted me from constantly judging the movie's art. Actually I found the animation to be quite fluid and I wasn't at all bothered by the style. The backgrounds and scenery are unbelievable. When Kiki met Ursula in the forest the detail was astounding. So by visual means this movie definitely went beyond my standards.
I appreciated the positive light that Kiki was given, especially for being a witch. There was nothing remotely creepy or scary about Kiki or any other witch in this movie. I felt like I was watching "Casper- The Friendly Ghost" except with a witch. Everything was over the top sweet and Kiki always wanted to help- for a thirteen year old she was very selfless and by that I mean out of the norm. Kiki also had to have the classic staples for being a coming of age witch: the dress, the broom, and of course the black cat, Jiji. Jiji is quite honestly what the story needed; his dry humor and sarcasm worked well with the overtly sweet dialogue.
The quality or direction of this film was what made the experience worth while. All in all the movie is about witchery and magic. The movie made magic seem innocent and not at all harmful, in the same sense that Harry Potter does. Kiki's delivery service was the way that Kiki went about making her magic just and she used her power for good.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Glass Slip-Up

Louise Cooper's adaptation of "Cinderella" is hysterical! I love how Cooper practically mocks "true love". The original "Cinderella", or at least Disney version focuses on the magic of love... and how with just one look infatuation can seize power over the prince. Most people know that this occurrence, is to say the least, uncommon. I don't think that I know of one married couple that can actually say that they saw each-other in a moment and knew they had fallen in love. That's ridiculous. It takes time to develop a relationship... and obviously poor Charming did not. The result of his instant infatuation... Rell, an untamed, obnoxious beauty. Even though Cooper makes fun of the traditional princess story, she really makes a point to show the absurdity of "love at first sight". Her characters are what truly bring life to this story. I found myself questioning Uncle Dandini from the start- from his mannerism, concern for Charming's well being, and most notably colorful fashion. He just had to be gay. There is never, ever a mention of homosexuality in any fairy-tales that I know of- so I thought that this was great! Later on in the story when he mentions to Charming that he has found Rosa I noticed he also speaks fondly of Buttons. I waited until the very end to discover that Buttons was in fact a young boy who answered the door of Rell's home. I found this to be a pleasant surprise. Dandini found love before Charming! He met "Buttons" before he, Charming, and Rosa went back in time. That love indeed withstood time :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Anansi Boys

It's going to be hard for me not to sound like a fourth grader and say "I really liked this book". But in all honesty I did. So far it's been my favorite out of the bunch and I think it's because the story seems modern, especially in the way that fantasy is told- not to mention that I actually had laughing spells. Rosie's "mum" is such a believable character even though Neil Gaiman made the characters a little extreme. I know someone that resembles Rosie's mother's personality and appearance so every time she was mentioned or the character complained I could not stop laughing... in which I received wide eyed glances from my roommate. hah!
I'm still not sure where I stand with fantasy as a genre. I like "The Hobbit" but I think that's because I've been told it's a classic and I read it when I was young so the whole fantasy world was more believable to me then. I was always afraid of being the girl who couldn't stop reading fantasy and from that couldn't function in reality. "The Golden Compass" was a little too fictional for me. I truly tried to become involved in Lyra's world... and I know that in each fantasy book there is an entire world to first learn and then become enthralled in. The subject of "dust" and people's souls was just too strange. There was nothing that I really grew attached to.
"Anansi Boys", however was very fluid in the way it was written and much like a sitcom. I really appreciate horror so I was instantly hooked when the gore part of the book was introduced. In order to understand the fantasy part of the characters I had to first learn the characters as they were in the "real" world. I enjoyed that Gaiman made a sort of puzzle for me- I had to first understand the story of Fat Charley and then with that I could piece together why Charlie became Fat Charlie and why everyone had their quirks. Not to mention that Gaiman had me hating Spider and then somewhat past the middle of the book I began to like him. Once Spider lost his arrogant God-like behaviors and started to show a conscience he was more human and he evolved from that point on into a person more like Charlie. He eventually became like Fat Charley in the way that he worried and finally felt embarrassment. I suppose that's what I found to be most endearing from the book was that the main character was not a superman type of guy but he actually had faults and was ashamed of them. The fact that when Fat Charlie became Charlie he did not want Spider to be apart of him but remain his brother actually astonished me. I was completely ready for him to be whole again- since Spider was actually just a part of Charlie and happened to be the more adventurous part. It was nice to see Charlie becoming the hero the hard way... as in he had to learn to deal with his faults. In a way this story reminded me of the Jungle Book from the way that all of the animal gods possessed a certain personality.
Last class I was almost done reading "Anansi Boys" and I thought I had everything figured out... at least aesthetically. Then when I looked back on what I read every character was rendered black! I couldn't believe it... I suppose it makes sense considering the stories came from Africa and in the stories were the characters. I also didn't factor in that Rosie and Daisy and practically everyone else.. including the blonde Maeve originated from some exotic place. The dialect from the old women in Florida did not seem completely Floridian- and I know since I grew up in central Florida... on the third largest dead lake in Florida. The english seemed broken and rough so I suppose they were of African descent as well. I think that's the only thing that tricked me! I think it's safe to say that I'm going to be a Gaiman follower from now on.