Monthly Archives: July 2014

Things I’ve learned from Tangled

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This is my little girl’s favourite film… alongside Frozen. And, having watched it frequently this holiday already – often with her in my arms at 5 am

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there are a few things I have learned which, I believe, will be of use in future life…

1) The best parents are silent, even in the face of disease, pain, joy and the loss of their child;

2) Goatees work. Ladies love them!

3) In the event of being evil enough to steal a child, lie about her birthday;

4) Never trust a chameleon;

5) Hair with magical growth and glowing and healing properties is restricted to the head;

6) Magical hair changes length according to the needs of the plot;

7) Using the nickname ‘flower’ for someone named after lettuce leaves is both creepy and makes perfect sense;

8) Floating lanterns solve everything;

9) It is perfectly reasonable that a hook can play the piano;

10) ‘Unarrested’ is a word. Really.

11) Anthropomorphic horse can fight with swords;

12) Changing your name from Flynn to Eugene completely absolves you of a lifetime of thievery;

13) Having suffered one hair-based magical adventure, it is perfectly reasonable to hide and refuse to help when you stumble into a second one. Not selfish at all. It’s fine to let you friend Elsa be driven from her home because of magic.

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14) Mirrors are extraordinarily good at cutting hair;

and finally,

15) Having a male narrator is all you need to mark a film as ‘boy friendly’ and most definitely not a Disney Princess film. Even if Rapunzel was deliberately made a Princess for the film. Which was made by Disney.

Christine Falls

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Really enjoying the prose in this novel, the first Quirke novel by John Banville writing as Benjamin Black. There’s a lucidity and flow to it which exposes Banville’s literary heritage. The descriptive passages are particularly evocative and the scents and odours of 1950s Dublin linger on the page.

So far, Quirke is coming across as a pretty damaged character: a recovering alcoholic, a widower and painfully still in love with his own sister-in-law. And, as if that were not damaging enough, there appears to be a frisson between him and Phoebe, the said-sister-in-law’s daughter. She’s currently offered to elope with him and fled a family party “clinging” to him.

School’s Out…

SCHOOLS OUT FOR SUMMER!!

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It’s been such a long time coming this year…!

So, my plans for the summer?

Possibly flying in the face of the anarchy of Alice Cooper, I fully intend to spend this holiday ensconced in the fold of my family. There have been days in the last year when I left before my daughter woke and returned after she went to bed. Six weeks of daddy-daughter time sounds blissful.

As does six weeks of Mr P and Mrs P time. We’ve found a couple of days which we can have together and it’s been blissful so far. Mooching around. No schedules. No timetable. No teenager. Never has doing nothing been so pleasant!

And there are a few books left to read on my TBR list. See my post here to comment. Of course I had to go into work yesterday. Of all the things I might have left behind… my ereader. Really? Probably the only thing I’d have made the effort to go back in and collect in the first day of the holidays!

Frozen

My daughter loves Frozen.

So much so that we bought it for her. And considering she is only 12 months old, this is quite a big thing! Her first Disney film! It’s likely to have a place in her heart for ever!

And a film in which the “act of true love” which acts as a deus ex machina is familial rather than romantic isn’t a bad role model … especially as her father has banned her dating until she’s 35!

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But there is so much just wrong with this film! I’m not sure where to start! Idina Menzel’s singing voice as Queen Elsa is very high-pitched and shrieky to my old arthritic ears… but I can forgive that. Olaf the talking snowman is on a par with Jar Jar Binks in the annoying sidekick stakes. I’m worried that these trolls appear to be child-snatchers: why did Kristof never return home? Is there some Norweigan Sweatshop racket going on?

The biggest problems I have, however, are these:

1. The Queen has damned Arendelle to an eternal winter, it is declared… And yet it appear that the film takes place over the space of perhaps 24 hours (excluding the backstory montage). Yes, granted, the winter has struck in mid-July or August which doesn’t bode well… but eternal? Really? Inconvenient. Unexpected. Sudden. Unseasonal. I’d have accepted all those and many other adjectives. But one thing the winter patently is not is eternal!

2. Hans. The transition from simpering mooncalf to either hero or villain is utterly unconvincing. The scene I particularly object to is this one

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It is an unguarded moment; no one is watching him; he’s hidden by the boat. To prepare us for the eventual villainy, to introduce an element of cohesion and pre-figuration a mocking sneer was needed. Instead, we get that simpering smile.

The reason for these discrepancies appears to be on account of a song. According to IMDB

Originally, Queen Elsa was intended to be the villain of the story. However, when the character’s major song, “Let it Go,” was played for the producers, they concluded that the song was not only very appealing, but its themes of personal empowerment and self-acceptance were too positive for a villain to express. Thus, the story was rewritten to have Elsa as an isolated innocent who is alarmed upon learning that her powers are inadvertently causing harm and struggles to control her powers with Anna’s help.

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I’m imagining the Disney think tank as they decided to make Elsa scared rather than malicious and the need to have some form of antagonist… Whereupon Hans was shoehorned into the role somewhat uncomfortably.

Would it not have been better to re-write the song and give it to Elsa?

No. I’m sorry, Disney. But if you want a good intelligent reworking of The Snow Queen, you need to read The Girl With The Glass Feet by Ali Shaw, my review of which is here.

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Room, Emma Donoghue

This is a link to a lovely edition of Book Club featuring Emma Donoghue discussing Room.

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My review of that boom can be found here and it’s always gratifying to see that some of the things I noticed were mentioned in the discussion.

I also particularly liked her reference to the fact that some of her books had lots of religion in and some had lots of sex in. Emma, you’re Irish. We’d expect nothing less!