Entertainment, Film, Film and the Female

[FandtheFBlog] A Cynical Poem about Female Characters

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Here’s a little cynical poem. A lot of it is not true, as discussed in this blog, there are many MANY strong female characters in films, but it hasn’t always been the case.

We want women to be strong….[read more]

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Film, Film and the Female

[FandtheFBlog] The one who started it all

How did one female character originally written as male take over the sci-fi universe?

https://filmandthefemale.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/the-one-who-started-it-all/

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Entertainment, Film

Dinosaurs and the Ladies

It’s all over the cinema world at the moment and all that the dinosaurs are talking about. Jurassic World, the fourth installment in the Jurassic series with a hunky Indiana Jones archetypal protagonist and a smouldering shoulder padded lady friend. The special effects (literally the whole of the film except the people), the score and the A-list actors all scream out Hollywood jurassic-world-pratt-howardmainstream blockbuster and where that’s true, it’s also a slight understatement. Jurassic World isn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever laid eyes upon, but it certainly kept them open for a couple of hours. I normally write off big action films with a sniff and a turn of the head (Avengers, Furious 7, Transformers) but something about Jurassic World peaked my interest enough to spend £10 on a cinema ticket at 9pm on a school night(!). Maybe it’s that it kicked off in 1993 and it’s always a treat to see what they’ve done to the story and the theme (except Indiana Jones and the one we don’t talk about) or maybe it’s that dinosaurs are pretty darn cool and the trailers made me want more. It could also be the stacked Chris Pratt that made up my mind to watch the film or was it just because I didn’t want to be left out of a housemate cinema night out? All of these things contributed to me going to see it at the flicks, but nothing prepared me for what I experienced in regards to the ladies in the film.

Lady number 1) Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is the one behind the new dinosaur and effectively the running of the theme park. She’s sexy and intimidating, professional and comes across as a little nerdy but what gets me the most is that she is the exactdalllas_white_ opposite of a mother figure at the start. She’s awful with her nephews – barely even knows them and finds it awkward to hug them. She doesn’t understand when her sister gets upset at the idea that they’re not with her at all times and perhaps worst of all, she doesn’t know how old they both are. She’s everything that a mother shouldn’t be in Hollywood but we can see, I guess, that she identifies herself as far too young and in the middle of concentrating on her growing career. It’s refreshing (in a weirdly bad and uncomfortable way) to see a woman with different priorities however it becomes clear to us as an audience that this is not okay. It’s not alright for her to not know how to care for her nephews. She’s shamed by the mother, by Chris Pratt and by the nephews meaning that we also shame her. Her nephews choose Owen (Pratt) over her because they know that he is more likely to protect them after she abandoned them at the start of the film and come on, look at his muscles.  The film sees her turn it around, though. She becomes protective, caring, motherly and compassionate, falling at the feet of Owen and slipping into a more familiar category of female character that Hollywood portrays, the one that we know most of all.

She’s pretty badass though, running about in heels, kicking dinosaur butt and being actually helpful on their mission to save the humans on the island (including her nephews). Credit to her really. She’s typically sexy, resulting in the end of the film seeing her in a sweaty pale vest that doesn’t leave much to the imagination and a skirt with a slit up her thigh. Her hair’s all dishevelled and her eye make up is dark and smudgy, but heck, that’s what we like to see in a hardworking arse kicking lady, isn’t it? There’s not much romance, unlike most mainstream films. There isn’t really a significant moment where they realise their love for each other and have a bit of a bonk in the truck. There’s flirting though; it’s insinuated, it’s sexy. It leads us (and Owen) on, wondering if they’ll get it on. No points for guessing if they do or not.

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The other females in Jurassic World aren’t all that romantic and sexy, however, but they are badass. Take the main antagonist of the whole film, the Indominus Rex. She’s a lady and a fine one at that. She might be a hybrid and trying to kill people at every corner, but she’s smart and she knows what she wants. Like Claire, we don’t see any maternal side to her – she ate her sibling before she was even that old. She’s out to win for herself and no one else – ain’t no man gonna get in her way. Contrary to usual Hollywood typecasts, the Indominus Rex doesn’t wear heels, doesn’t flash her cleavage and doesn’t appear as a damsel in distress. Quite refreshing, I think…

Our main dino-pal is Blue, the raptor who Owen has a little soft spot for. Of course, she’s a girl, his baby, the one who ultimately he can trust. She’s sleek, fast smart and is a team player with the other raptor friends and more often than not knows which side to be on. Her blue colouring makes her stand out from the rest of them, but seeing as raptors are kinda difficult to distinguish, it makes more sense, otherwise, it could be any random reptile that decides to help out and then we wouldn’t get the sentimental value, would we? Aww.

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The last lady I want to mention because I find her quite interesting is Zara, Claire’s assistant who is given the task of looking after the nephews and following them around the park, keen to crush their fun activities by playing on her phone and being unamused at everything. Like Claire, she doesn’t get it. She doesn’t really show care for the boys or their safety; all she seems to care about is her career progression and her BlackBerry. She’s pretty and she’s randomly British, just so that you remember which one she is. She’s snooty (what are you saying about Brits, huh??) and she’s completely incapable of keeping an eye on two teenage boys. Now, something that this lady is particularly special for is that she is the star of the first female death-by-dinosaur in the Jurassic Park series. I wouldn’t say she dies with dignity and in fact, I felt sick throughout the whole thing because it is quite an ordeal, but it is significant in that she is effectively punished for not looking after the boys properly. Her incompetence is the reason they escape into out of bounds areas and then get stalked and attacked by the Indominus Rex. So what do we do to ladies that neglect their maternal duties? Kill them off, of course (except the main one because she’s obviously shown real signs of progression in her character…).

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I thought this film was great and actually had a lot of really nice gestures to the previous films in the series. It’s packed full f action and the CG is just fabulous. I really believed that those dinosaurs were there in the scenes. I suppose that’s helped by the sheer fantastic acting by the likes of Pratt and Howard; they got swag. I think they handled the female characters incredibly well (and the male ones too who deserve a blog post of their own but it’s basically my bed time now) and I think the dinosaurs would be reasonably happy with their portrayals – except the Indominus Rex, but she ain’t real, so. The film is a credit to the series, but on a side note I really hope they don’t do another. Leave it there, it’s fine as is. Having said that, I would go see this one again and again because now I know where the jump scares are and I can watch it without hiding behind my fingers.

Entertainment, Film, Review

Review: Frozen

(There are slight spoilers in this although as if you haven’t seen it already, what is wrong with you? :S)

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Yup. Another profound write up of the masterpiece that is Frozen.

Now, I’m just gonna cut the BS and jump straight in here – this film is good. It’s better than good, and there are reasons for it. Believe me, it’s no accident that it’s such a phenomenon, really. It’s clever, funny, romantic, gorgeous to look at…come on, we all know this. The majority of people have seen it. I reckon that figure stands at about 84% of the film-goer population (omg don’t even call me up on that) because it’s Disney. We all know and love (at least one) Disney films. For most of us, they symbolise our childhood and a lot of us look back on them fondly from when we were small children. That’s what the children of today will be doing in ten, twenty, thirty years’ time. But why? Is it because it’s about two beautiful princesses and their magical/snow-filled antics? Or is it about the twist with Hans? Or is it the adorable snowman, Olaf? I think all of these things definitely contribute to why Frozen is as insanely popular as it is, but I think the fact that it is so different and challenging is why kids and adults, and me, love it.

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Prince Uncharming

Oh really? Well, knock me down I haven’t heard that before (sarcastically).

I know, right? But it’s so true that it hurts. The most obvious challenge that Frozen gives us is clearly when Elsa says that Anna cannot marry Hans because she’s just met him (which I totally agree with, you go girl) and she stands up for girl power and all that jazz – ‘I don’t need no man’. It’s interesting because an awful lot of Disney princesses do in fact marry a man that they have just met or barely know and this tells it how it is. In this day and age, you probably shouldn’t marry a man you just met because look how many long term relationships end in divorce anyway…she says, cynically. And whilst I have no problem with Snow White darting off with Charming, or Aurora marrying t’old Philip there (I know he risked his life for her and everything but w.e), Frozen is a breath of fresh air. I mean, all we get at the end from Anna and Kristoff is a little kiss and no sign of any sort of marriage preparations. (We all know they’ll get married one day obviously, but the point is they don’t say it explicitly).

Love at first song
Love at first song

There again, Frozen is still about love which is a key factor in most…no all(?) Disney films. Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Robin Hood, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Pocahontas, the list goes on. And on. And on. Even Maleficent is about love, but let’s not talk about that…not a huge fan tbh. Frozen isn’t just about any love, though. Sisterly love, which I can relate to quite strongly and I think that is immensely important. Family is always a constant figure in Disney films, even if someone isn’t with their biological family, they still adopt people into their lives that they rely on and love. Anyhow! Frozen sends the message that maybe family love is stronger than romantic love and is the truest of them all. I mean, look. Even Kristoff doesn’t save Anna or get there in time really. I adore that this kind of true love trumps over romance, even though I am a fan of romance especially when Disney is concerned, because you just don’t see it that strong in other films. Yeah, sure you get films about sisterly love, one that comes to mind is The Parent Trap but Anna literally allows herself to freeze to save Elsa and love is then what consequently thaws everything out. Maybe if her parents had loved her in the first place we wouldn’t even be in this situation but I’m not saying anything……..

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‘Sister act’, get it? No? Nvm.

Now, I know there are other amazing films out there that represent family values and love and girl power – there are some Disney ones which I’m positive you’re thinking about. Brave, for example, concentrates on a mother-daughter relationship and it is their love that saves the day…and a tapestry. Tangled is all about Rapunzel’s fight against her ‘mother’ for freedom and to live her life. Even though she’s been imprisoned in a tower for eighteen years, she’s still got as much gumption as Flynn Rider, the fugitive. And it’s refreshing to see. Even so, the old Disney princess movies haven’t necessarily been about damsels in distress, shocker. Belle was pretty badass in Beauty and the Beast and then there was Mulan. Now, she’s a whole different kind of topic but she certainly doesn’t need a man to get what she wants. She basically is a man and a woman, so she’s just the boss. But, there are exceptions. Snow White doesn’t really do much and I’m pretty sure Aurora just sleeps for half the movie but I’m still entranced by them, as many other girls and boys are. They’re beautiful – which isn’t a bad thing; people are allowed to be pretty – and they’re elegant. Bonus points as well if they get a man at the end of it all because as much as I would be an independent lady, I still love having the bf around for support and hugs and romantic niceties.

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Sleeping Lazy, looking as elegant as ever
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Merida being adorable as per

But that’s the thing. Elsa and Anna are gorgeous. Even if Anna maybe isn’t as elegant as our Aurora, she’s still beautiful and wears nice clothes and has nice hair. There isn’t really a princess out there that is seen as glamorous and pretty. I suppose you could argue that Merida from Brave isn’t necessarily made out to be gorgeous because of her tomboyish attitude and her unruly hair and refusal to marry some random suitor at her mother’s request. Yet, here we have Elsa and Anna under similar but opposite circumstances where the character arguing against marriage is sexy, sassy and glamorousand the one for marriage is supposedly clumsy and scatter-brained (yet still pretty). It’s also worthy to say that we never see Anna in a dress made of ice that has a slit up the thigh… But even though Elsa is sexy and sassy, she is still empowered, independent and not in need of a man. Merida is practically a child with crazy hair and long, dark coloured dresses whilst sporting a bow and arrow. Disney is full of contrasts, it has to be said. Which is great, you know of course.

Frozen is great, whether you like the film or not, it is great. It’s clever, there are no two ways about it and it’s really well made. The song, ‘Let it Go’ hit number one almost everywhere I’m pretty sure and everyone is singing it whether they know it or not. What’s important about this film is that it has affected everyone in some way or another and has inspired people to love Disney all over again (although my favourite is Tangled, but that’s a whole other story). There is so much more I could say about this film, I’m pretty prepared to write a 10,000 word dissertation on it and I think I might if I don’t stop.

Frozen is going to be a legend in the years to come and it will stand the test of time forever because of its values, its technology and Olaf.

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Elsa and her powers