Film and the Female

[FandtheFBlog] 18 Lines Strong: Aurora

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She’s one of Disney’s most beautiful princesses and one of the most iconic with her colour changing dress and luscious blonde locks. Aurora, Briar Rose, Sleeping Beauty, whatever we call her is a Disney princess who girls and boys all across the world have adored and will continue to adore. Regarded as one of Walt’s original three, coming in third after Snow White and Cinderella, Aurora is the epitome of a gracious and flawless princess.

Sleeping Beauty asleep

What has been noticed in particular about Aurora when comparing her to her fellow princesses is that she has the least number of lines out of any of them across one film. 18 lines of pure, unadulterated femininity greet our ears and she graces our screens for a whole 18 minutes. But this doesn’t mean that she is any
less important. The original three are quiet, beautiful, graceful and romantic. They dream of more to life and are fixated on that famous prince charming to come and sweep them off their feet. Daintily, they frolic around, they talk to snow-white-sleeping-beauty-34444394-500-300animals, sing pretty songs and believe that kindness and compassion will cure anything evil. To say that they play more of a ‘damsel in distress’ role is accurate; they wait for the prince to rescue them, the actions of others affect their happiness and they’re generally not pro-active. But they have inner strength. They stay true to themselves and prove that resilience and kindness will get you through the hardest of times. Aurora is no different. She lives a cosy life with the three fairies, unknowing that she is a royal and that her aunts are actually magical creatures that can fly, until her 16th birthday when she is given the news (all at once, it’s worth noting) that she is a princess with two parents she never knew about and is betrothed to a man she has never met (or so she thinks..). That’s a lot to take on for a girl who’s lived in the woods for 16 years.

Her reaction when she is dressed in a beautiful princess gown with a golden tiaralarge
on her head and left alone after learning all of this news is to break down crying in front of the mirror. It would be safe to assume that Aurora is a little weakling, but she’s quite the contrary. Her breakdown is normal – heck, I’d probably burst into tears at 16 if I was told that my life had all been a lie. To also be told that you’re betrothed to marry a random prince when you’ve already met a guy in the forest that you quite fancy (conveniently the same man in this) isn’t great news. She’s not been brought up as a princess, so she doesn’t know how to hold in her emotions. She hasn’t been taught how to hold a poker face or how to smile when crumbling from the inside. She shows herself as a normal teenager like any one of us and we can totally relate (except her skin is flawless and her body has clearly already gone through puberty).

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It’s a shame that she doesn’t speak more. I’m sure she would be a sassy princess with a lot of opinion given the chance (as we have seen in the wonderfully made tumblr_n7slg6XuXw1tfn93fo2_400up screenshots found on Tumblr and other such websites) but we love her just the same. Her lack of voice is made up for in her singing and she successfully tells us how she’s feeling by dancing through the forest and singing her song, which consequently attracts Prince Philip. I’ve read a lot of stuff online about how it’s not right that she doesn’t speak much, but where she is the main character, the story actually concentrates more on how the three fairies elude Maleficent’s attempts to kill the princess for 16 years. Her quietness does not coincide with her strength, something that we can see very clearly throughout.

Aurora is one of the most loved princesses, and the variations of her character that come out over the years will be ever stronger and perhaps more chatty, but one thing is for sure that there will never be a Sleeping Beauty who beats the original.

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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.