Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)

In his novel The Fault In Our Stars, John Green sets out to prove Cassius wrong (which I applaud, because from what I remember from 10th grade English, Cassius is a total poop-face).  Hazel and Augustus' story is not one about cancer, which has at least at some point been a major fault in their stars, yet has not been the maker of who they are.  Many people have said this story isn't about cancer, and after reading the book and seeing the movie for myself, I must concur.  Hazel's voice throughout is authentic, and honest, and realistic - without becoming pessimistic.  While I'll freely admit that although I have spent a lifetime consuming the sappiest kind of romances that Hollywood and authors have to offer, it was refreshing to experience the tragic yet truthful storytelling in The Fault In Our Stars.

Even though there are plenty of heartbreaking aspects to TFIOS, I found a surprising amount of humor as well.  The characters are funny people, people whom I believe I would genuinely enjoy hanging out with if they were real.  If the romance between Hazel and Gus isn't Hollywood-perfect (turns out the world isn't a wish-granting factory), it is still a beautiful and well-developed relationship.  There are a multitude of really great lines and moments woven throughout TFIOS.  One moment in particular is when Augustus explains to Hazel why he always has a cigarette in his mouth without lighting it: "It's a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing between your teeth, but you don't give it the power to do its killing."  Augustus is really big on metaphors, which as a literary geek I can definitely resonate with.

Finally, there's the matter of Movie vs. Book, the Battle of the Ages.  It's rare when I find the film to be a good/accurate adaptation of the book: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Hunger Games, and most recently The Fault In Our Stars.  There are some details changed, but they are minute and do not make or break the movie.  The most interesting thing was that both my Grandma and I cried at different parts in the movie than in the book.  I suppose you experience scenes and emotions differently when you see them take place on the screen instead of a foggy corner of your mind.

So all in all, I'd say both the book and the movie are genuinely great, and as long as you have a box of tissues nearby, I say you should definitely go to experience both.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

How To Train Your Dragon 2

Let me say right off the bat that if How To Train Your Dragon 2 isn't better than the original as a lot of people have been saying, it is at the very least on par with it.  It's been too long since I've seen the first one for me to give a definitive opinion on which is better, but I can say each movie is great in its own way.  In the thrilling, heart-squeezing sequel that I saw this past week, Hiccup is trying to figure out who he is as he's caught between his father's expectation of the perfect future chief and the mystery of a mother that he's never met.  While he's having identity issues, a new villain is gathering a dragon army, rivaling Hiccup's unofficial status as the master of dragons.

As cool as all the action is, this movie had a way of making my heartstrings sing (with all kinds of emotions, and in all kinds of ways).  Be prepared for things to get emotional, my readers.  I won't say anything else for fear of giving away spoilers.  I wasn't laughing my butt off for the whole movie or anything (in fact it was a preview of Penguins of Madagascar that really had me cracking up), but if the movie is not primarily known for its comedy I think that's okay.  I know I at least laughed a few times.  Hiccup and Astrid's interactions were cute, although they didn't have as much as they did in the first movie.  I can definitely forgive that though, because there was so much else going on that there was really no time or energy to have more Hiccup/Astrid stuff.

The coolest part for me was the continued parallelism between Hiccup and Toothless that you could see in the first HTTYD.  You can see both of them coming into their own as the movie progresses, which I really appreciate.  Fun fact: they are actually the same age!  No wonder they get along so well, am I right?  So, if you haven't seen the epic sequel to How To Train Your Dragon yet, what are you doing still reading a movie review on a screen?  Go, watch it, and tell me what you think!  This is Bridgette signing off, but stay tuned for when I review. . .

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS *weeps hysterically because I already know the emotional wreck I'm going to be after seeing this*

Monday, June 2, 2014


Do you know how long I was looking forward to Maleficent?  I had big expectations for Disney's rewrite of its own film of Sleeping Beauty, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed!  There are so many things I want to rave about but can't without giving away spoilers, so I'm doing a compromise: the first part of this review will be spoiler free, and the second part will be SPOILERS GALORE.  I will give a warning before the shift happens.  So the first rewrite is the character of Maleficent, the famous villainess turned sympathetic anti-villainess.  There is not a moment in this movie that I dislike Maleficent, because even though she does bad things, I understand why.  My mother and I noticed that after the big betrayal that hardens Maleficent's heart, her costume changes from earthy brown colors to midnight black.  It's a great symbolic representation of the shift in Maleficent's attitude, but at the same time there are still many hints that she has not lost her inner goodness despite her pain.

Even though she calls Aurora a "beastie," she is shown to be the one who really watches over and takes care of the princess, not the three (incompetent) other fairies.  Maleficent (and her crow friend whose name I'm sorry not to remember) work behind the scenes to make sure Aurora is safe.  Meanwhile, I laughed out loud several times during this movie, which I hadn't expected but I was pleasantly surprised by. Maleficent has all the good comedic lines, which thrills me.  In so many ways, the movie reverses the traditional roles of fairy tales that Disney itself has promoted in the past.  Y'all know how much I appreciated that after taking Core 2: Approaches to the Fairy Tale at Scripps.  In the fairy tales, any woman with power is evil and ugly, while all the good women are beautiful but entirely passive.  With Maleficent, things get a little more (way) complicated than that.  Between her character arc, the amazing special effects, and total revamp of the tale we used to know, I'd say Maleficent is a MUST-SEE.


At this point, probably only my dad is reading this because Maleficent literally just came out this weekend and so he's the only one following me who's probably seen it.  That's okay.  Hey, Dad.  Anyway, so the best part for me is actually something that I really loved about Frozen: namely, the true love's kiss being turned on its head.  I was really hoping that we wouldn't get a regurgitation of Prince Philip's kiss saving Aurora, so I was glad that Maleficent was the one who ended up doing the rescuing.  Not only was it an ironic twist that the one who cast the spell breaks the spell, but also, it is a delineation of feminine power in a much more positive light in comparison to fairy tales and old Disney princess movies.  In the meantime, the ambitious Stefan becomes the villain that's very reminiscent of Macbeth.  His doomed romance with Maleficent and his slow descent into insanity leave me nothing to sympathize with by the movie's end.  Unlike Maleficent, he was a relatively flat character that really isn't worthy of further comment.  I think I've at last finished my ranting about Maleficent, so I'll end the post with this: the movie is awesome, and DOWN WITH THE PATRIARCHY! :P