Archive for the ‘Animation Reviews’ Category

Alrighty! I am having a hard time ripping video footage of Disney’s Cinderella because the all-mighty Disney is a step ahead. There is anti-burning properties on the re-release, special-edition discs, which is completely understandable. Therefore, I am going to display my thoughts here and just find an alternative method for my video project.


Time to just dive right in!

In the very beginning, it is explained how Cinderella’s mother dies, and her father felt is was in Cinderella’s best interest to have a replacement mother. I can understand this premise to some extent. I mean, he can be the best father in the world but it is close to impossible to teach Cinderella how to be a woman, since  of course, he is not a woman. Or may be the situation is deeper. May be the father worked all day and Cinderella was left alone. As you can see from the screenshot, Cinderella is definitely not poor, but she is nowhere close to being as rich as the king. So, I do see a slight justification to why the father shopped around for a new wife, but on an emotional level this is the recipe for disaster. Cinderella’s mother just died, and instead of the father adjusting to the life of a widow and being strong for Cinderella, he decides to bury the past – literally – and moved on to marry Lady Tremaine.

Lady Tremaine is a stern woman with two daughters of her own. What happen to her children’s father is never explained, but does conjure up more suspense for her character because it is revealed that Lady Tremaine despises Cinderella. We are talking about a devilish type of hate. She cannot stand the thought that Cinderella is so naturally beautiful. Cinderella, being so naive, couldn’t even fathom the thought of anyone being jealous of her, so when the father died and left her in the demon pit,  Cinderella simply accepted her new life with her step family.  Of course, this raises up more questions about the father.

I can understand wanting to find a new bride, but why pick Tremaine? I’m sure she was nice at first. I know there are people who are masters of deception, but one thing is clear. It is extremely difficult to hide your true self for long. It comes out in clues. For example, I’m sure if Cinderella came into the room, Lady Tremaine would give her a specific look. A look designed just for her. Why wouldn’t the father pick up on these subtleties?  Kids are more keen on these situations, so why didn’t Cinderella pick up on them and tell her father? Okay two steps have to happen before I can move on with my analysis. First, stop making excuses (or filling in huge plot holes) for the father. Second, analyze Cinderella’s beauty as power because it is. Beauty, power, perception are all inter-related. Cinderella’s power will win her a Disney ending.

It was no time when we see Cinderella in her life of heavy chores and heavy demands. Of course, this is set up so you feel a sense of sympathy and side with the protagonist…or at least thank the heavens that you’re not in her situation; (this is a taste of how the step sisters think). However if you really challenge what you see, you’ll catch that Cinderella is very strong minded. She cooks full course meals for four people including a cat, she cleans the entire house (which includes upstairs, downstairs, at kitchen, four bedrooms, a barn, and so much more!), and she babysits the animals in the barn. She does all this, and still manages to stay grounded. This is what Lady Tremaine especially despised. She wants to see Cinderella burn because Tremaine is a weak woman.

By the way…

There is a bunch of mice sprinkled throughout the movie to, I guess,  liven the mood….AHHHHHHH! Okay, breathe! It’s for the kids….kids of the 50s. Moving on!

Unlike the mice, the cat and the dog actually serve a purpose to understanding the story. The cat is the pet of Lady Tremaine’s and of course carries her attributes. Just like her master, the cat clearly does not like Cinderella yet loves what Cinderella can offer her. (This is one of the many reasons why Tremaine is weak, but I don’t want to waste time dissecting her since this article is an attempt to better understand Cinderella). The dog is the pet of Cinderella’s, and you guessed it! He carries Cinderella’s attributes. Much like the dog, Cinderella has this odd sense of loyalty. Why do I say this? Hello! The light are out, everyone’s asleep – runaway and never turn back. She must know the neighborhood and the people in it since she grew up there. Run! But she doesn’t. Cinderella stays put. She accepts her life even though she is now very aware that she becomes a slave. Oh yes! You must remember that Lady Tremaine is living in Cinderella’s house. Cinderella’s loyalty is tied to taking care of her house, where all her memories lay…

Even though Cinderella is able to stay grounded through her blind yet loyal obligations, she still feels the depression that she should feel. Notice the color scheme when she is looking out her window at the castle. Her location is very dark and almost haunting. The castle is very bright and colorful. This doesn’t mean that the castle is a wonderful and peaceful sanctuary. It just means that Cinderella perceives the castle to be a wonderful and peaceful sanctuary, which is why she makes it her dream to visit one day.

Cinderella gets her wish. With the help of her fairy god mothers, she is able to get all dressed up and go to the ball at the palace. Of course, the Prince takes a liking to her, because as I mentioned before, Cinderella is a strong mind -well  metaphorically speaking. The Prince is attracted to her uniqueness. Cinderella admires the Prince has well, but I get this feeling that her attraction to the Prince is no different from the other women in town. She is attracted to the fantasy that the Prince can offer, but regardless! Cinderellas knows that marriage is her golden ticket to happiness…or is it?

Let me take a detour for a moment before we reach the conclusion. It is clear that Cinderella fears her step mother. One look from Lady Tremaine, and Cinderella falls into submission. It is my belief that Tremaine did something very traumatic to Cinderella…well beyond the psychological abuse. I’ll let you use your imagination to what happened, but the fact is Cinderella is petrified by her step mother. Therefore, she makes sure she marries the Prince. You’ll notice in the ending that Cinderella will  stopped at nothing to try on the glass slipper. In Cinderella’s mind, the Prince is her only way out of her hell.

So does Cinderella finally have her Happy-Ever-After? In Disney terms, she does. In actuality, this question is up for debate! The fact is, Cinderella went from one supporting role to another. In her marriage, she doesn’t have to cook or clean or complete any other household chores. Now she as other pressures. She is in the public’s eye because of the Prince. She is expected to maintain the traditions of the royal family and maintain a strong image for the political  gain. This is not pleasing. After all, Princess Diana was rebellious for a reason. Basically, Cinderella seems to have sacrificed her individuality for a slightly better life. But her sympathy card has run dry since she chose this life.


Overall Nostalgic Impressions:

I surprisingly enjoyed this film. I popped the movie in the Blu-Ray player expecting to dread it, but no! I even found myself in a trance as I watched Cinderella’s character slowly develop around itself. This is the big shock because I HATE Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. It is my least favorite Disney film simply because I hard to watch Beast interact with both Belle and her father. However, Cinderella was tolerable. It could be because the movie is short and vague and someone like me, who bursting with creative analysis, can make story to fill in the gaps. Hmmmm, I wonder….

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Born with an explosion of artistic talent, Jane Lane is the spicy roll of Lawndale High. She has a rock solid self image, and it is matched with pure confidence. Quinn may have won the gold for Miss Complicated, but Jane has won the title for the most interesting character on the show. She knows what she wants and chooses the path of outcast at Lawndale High just to achieve it. This means Jane is destined to befriend Daria (“birds of a feather…”). Though, Jane is more original than Daria because she lives by her own rules. She is her own teacher, and by taking a brief look at her upbringing, it’s not hard to understand why.


Jane is born to a herd of cats. Her mother, father, and siblings are all independent thinkers who are blessed with their own talents and live life based on those talents. So the Lane family lifestyle is a free-for-all, which heavily contributes to Jane’s unusual way of thinking. Jane has spun a web of her own ideas, and those ideas has built thick armor for her to expel the negativity around her. On the contrary, Jane’s ideas do cage her and prevent her from seeing the bigger picture. Luckily, Daria holds the key to unlock that cage as we learn soon after they first met.


In the very first episode “Esteemsters,” Jane meets Daria in a self-esteem class held for people who truly lack self-confidence compare to the rest of the student body and people who purposely don’t conform to the mainstream ideals. Of course the latter describes Jane and Daria, but Jane chooses to repeat this class because of her that colorful mind of her. Daria asks, “I don’t get it Jane, you got the entire course memorized, how come you can’t pass the test and get out?” Jane then sarcastically replies, “I can pass the test, but I like having low self -esteem. It makes me feel special.” Jane is implying that she enjoys observing the politics of high school. She submits herself as a pawn and watches closely as the social structure labels her as a certain character and expects her to play the role of that character. And she plays that role quite well. In simple terms, Jane is stimulated by Lawndale High’s social hierarchy, but why? Remember, Jane is an artist. Being submissive in this situation allows her mind to explode with concepts for her creative projects. Daria, on the other hand, is the opposite. She finds her school, especially the self-esteem class, oppressive since she constantly thinks in the future. Therefore, Daria convinces Jane to do the same.


If you haven’t guessed it already, Jane lives in the moment. Like a true artist, she observes the emotions and outcomes of the present. As a result, Jane repeats the self-esteem class because, in the moment, it gives her pleasure to know that Lawndale’s “officials” recognize that she is different (even if they see being different as a negative characteristic). Also the class gives her pleasure to see the idiotic methods used to indoctrinate outcasts. However as I mentioned, Daria is able to convince Jane to expand her perspective. Daria says, “You know all the answers to the questions on the release test, right? Why don’t we just take the test tomorrow and get out of the class once and for all.” Once again Jane gives a cynical response and answers, “how would I spend my afternoons?” And Daria brilliantly replies, “UFO conventions.” Basically in this very instance, Jane realizes that she has found a like-minded companion and becomes open to the idea of quickly sailing through high school with a friend, instead of observing the sharks alone.


Now if the sharks were as observant as Jane, they will notice that Jane’s main weakness is romance, which is not surprising. Her older siblings have a history of multiple romantic encounters, so it is inevitable that she is victim to the same fate. First, Jane holds a shallow crush on her brother’s friend, Jesse. The Jesse fling is based solely on appearance because Jesse’s one-track mind is incapable of noticing Jane’s feelings. But Jane and her morbid humor doesn’t seem to mind this small detail. I would not be surprised if she wants the beautiful Jesse as her sex slave much like the love dynamic between Dr. Frank-N-Furter and Rocky from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Anyway, her obsession with Jesse fades as she meets Evan in the episode, “See Jane Run.”


You’ll begin to notice as I run down the hall of men in Jane’s life that she is attracted to guys solely based on interest. This is an extremely bad habit and the consequence of this type of relationship is perfectly illustrated in the movie, 500 Days of Summer. It can never work out because a relationship demands more than an exchange of likes and dislikes. So at the end of “See Jane Run,” Jane learns that Evan is not worth her time. Her relationship with Evan ironically foreshadows her more serious relationship with Tom Sloane.


Jane meets Tom at a club, and after an exchange of cynical jokes, they become glued to one another. They enjoy their days spontaneously while mocking their one-dimensional, small town. Everything seems perfect on the surface, but both candidates begin to grow bored with their relationship. And what is worse,  Jane is extremely idealistic. She naively thinks she can somehow save her romance with Tom by ignoring her feelings and occupying their time with frequent outings to the local movie theater and pizza parlor. Her efforts did not work, and the relationship ended in the most painful way.


Feeling vulnerable, Jane reverted to her old ways. She isolates and distracts her herself, and it chips away at her relationship with her best friend. This is when Nathan comes in the picture. Nathan becomes Jane’s rebound date. Jane already knows that he is not her match, but her break up with Tom drove her to careless behavior. It is to no surprise that this relationship ended immediately after it started. Though on the positive side, Jane deliberately focused on her art, which will soon end up as her career.


Wow! Jane is more complex than I initially gave her credit for. She is a walking canvas, which people cannot help but notice. (Even in the episode “This Year’s Model,” the model scouts spot Jane immediately, but Jane is too wise to fall victim to their clutches.) She lives day by day, and it causes her to live life through trial and error. Thank goodness she has Daria to keep her grounded; otherwise she would be floating on the cloud aimlessly without a cause. Or Wait! May be it’s the other way around. Anyway despite the romantic faux pas, Jane is still a strong stand-out character. Therefore, thank goodness Jane is in the series. The show would not be the same without her.

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In my first installment of this blog series, I briefly mentioned how Daria Morgendorffer adopts a metal persona to mask her sympathetic nature, but most importantly, her persona is used to decipher the genuine people from the wolves. Daria is granted a true friend, but her younger sister is not so lucky. Quinn Morgendorffer baths in the sea of temporary satisfaction, which blinds her from recognizing her own potential. But take a second look! Love her or hate her, Quinn is the most intricate character on the show since she is caught in an agonizing paradox.

Quinn’s strongest potential is her “light.” This characteristic is very difficult to describe since it’s based on one’s spirits, but I’ll give it a shot. People are just naturally drawn to Quinn, especially male peers like trio Joey, Jeffy, and Jamie. They follow her around like devoted servants to their queen. They’re easily excited if Quinn speaks one word to them. Some of you can argue that her beauty and social status attract so much attention, but this claim raises another question. If physical appearance and social prestigious are the only ingredients to gaining admirers, then why do girls like Sandy, Stacie, Tiffany, and Brittany receive less praise then Quinn? The answer is clear. Quinn has a natural charm about her. Of course, this develops trust issues within her which creates the first stage to Quinn’s paradox.

Even though Quinn is the most desirable girl in Lawndale, she is extremely cautious when selecting a mate. Notice in the episode “The Big House,” Quinn is being punished for breaking curfew yet tries to escape it by convincing her parents that she’s in love with a guy who remains nameless. This means, Quinn thrives in the praise she absorbs from her many nameless, male counterparts yet has not made a strong connection with them. Therefore most of the time, her many dates remain nameless since their names are not worth remembering. Actually toward the very end of this episode, Quinn pays more attention to her sister (even though it’s catty rivalry) than her suitor. She says coldly, “Tommy, go away.” Then she adds, “You’re two hours late, jerk!” After Quinn writes Tommy off, she immediately addresses Daria and never mentions him again. His is now thrown in the nameless category. Quinn does not trust Tommy, and just like the other boys in her life, Tommy cannot be her long-term romantic partner.

Although in the first feature film “Is it Fall Yet,” there is one gentleman that Quinn did consider for her boyfriend. His name is David Sorensen, and he is hired to tutor Quinn for her college entrance exams. While exploring history, Quinn made a mental connection with David. Unfortunately, David is not romantically interested in her. He countered her feelings with one key phrase, “look at the brain-dead people you hang out with.” Let’s take a moment and examine what he meant by this harsh comment.

Quinn’s “best friend” is Sandi Griffin, even though Quinn is in an abusive relationship with Sandy. These two girls are glued back-to-back when they can’t stand the sight of each other. They are friends for one reason; Quinn and Sandy click on an intellectual level. Both understand the pros and cons of social construction at Lawndale High and choose to compromise themselves just to conform to an intangible image of a high school celebrity. They’re both intuitive and persuasive, yet Sandy’s intelligence is paired up with disgusting jealousy.

Sandy knows that Quinn radiates with natural appeal. Therefore, Sandy thinks her position as Queen-bee is being challenged. Sandy quickly learns that she cannot compete against Quinn, so she strategically hires Quinn as her right-hand woman. Sandy becomes Quinn’s puppet master! After all, Quinn cannot surpass Sandy if Sandy is in control of her. Sandy’s jealousy has made her stagnant, which also made the people around her stagnant. For this reason, she is a dangerous friend. While other students pursue their dreams and grow mentally and spiritually, Sandi will just be Sandi. Sandi is well aware of her limitations, which are slowly transferring onto Quinn. However, it’s apparent in the episode “The Daria Hunter” that Quinn is too strong to stay at Sandi’s level.

At the very end of this episode, Lawndale students participate in paintball war. Once the game of blood ended, Sandi is left on the battlefield. Sandi moaned for someone, anyone to recognize her absence yet no one did. Sandi’s last image is of Quinn turning forward as the bus drove the students into the sunset. This powerful metaphor represents all the students moving onto new stages in life (especially Quinn) while Sandi remains Sandi. Sandi is a lone Queen of Lawndale with no followers and no goals, but let’s get back on topic. This blog is about Quinn after all.

David Sorensen said, “Look at the brain-dead people you hang out with” because he recognizes that Quinn hides her true self, which weakened her potential. He realizes that Quinn does not even trust her own merits and that’s why she associates herself with people like Sandy who does nothing, but put her down. In Davids eyes, it is impossible for him to see himself in a relationship Quinn. And here’s the full circle of Quinn’s paradox. Quinn wants to have strong relationships with people like David, but her fear of rejection has convinced her to settle with the shallow people who flock to her. Quinn is convinced that one-dimensional friends and suitors are slightly better than being alone. With that said, Quinn does have someone that’s she can be 100 percent herself with, and that’s her sister Daria.

To no surprise, Quinn matures at end of the series and it is apparent in the second movie “Is it College Yet?” In this movie, she decides to retire from the Fashion Club and explore her individuality. I predict that in her journey, she will come to be the person she’s meant to be.

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I’ve been posting various comments acknowledging the depths of some of the main characters from Daria, so I decided to round up all my thoughts and smash it into a short blog series. So what better character to start analyzing than the protagonist herself…

But before I get into the analysis, let me school you on the basics of this show.

Daria is an animated television series that aired on MTV for five satisfying seasons. It started in 1997 and ended in 2002. However, this is not where we first saw the cynical character Daria Morgendorffer. No, no! Daria first appeared on the crazy show Beavis and Butthead for a couple of episodes, and her presence earned her spin off series staring that oh-so-lovable dark humor and blunt sarcasm. Now that we have that kindergarten lesson out of way, it’s time to psychoanalyze the girl whose name is mentioned five times already.

Miss Daria lives an ordinary life with her mother and father Helen and Jake Morgondoffer as well as her sister Quinn Morgondoffer. She is the new kid in school at Lawndale High, but because of her expansive body of knowledge and unorthodox personality, she has automatically been labeled an outcast.  This confirms Daria’s negative outlook on those around her, so she intentionally disconnects herself from her peers, which confirms THEIR negative perception of her. That’s highschool for ya!

Of course, Daria is more than an outcast stereotype. Just by watching the show, it’s obvious to see that she is also compassionate and patient. But most of us don’t know that  Daria is no different from Quinn. Just like her sister, she wants to be accepted. Don’t believe me? Well take a look at the episode titled Depth Takes a Holiday.

Depth Takes a Holiday is one of the least popular episodes out of the series, but like it or hate it, this episode reveals the secrets behind Daria’s true nature. In this episode, Daria meets three rockers who represent the three most popular Holidays: Christmas, Halloween, and Guy Fawkes day. (Okay! I know Guy Fawkes day is non-existent here in the States, but hey! It’s popular in England.) Anyway, these rockers with bad attitudes automatically dislike Daria, yet Daria still goes out of her way to please them.  She buys them pizza, she lets them stay in her house, and she helps them return to their world. Actually, Daria even recognizes their ungrateful behavior, yet she continues to help them. If Daria was dealing with any of Quinn’s friends under this circumstance, she would have just ignored them. But she doesn’t ignore those three in the picture above because they’re apart of her social group.

Don’t get me wrong. Daria is not a weak-minded person. She’s just a highschool student who wants to fit in with the peers who are like herself. Quinn has the same desire. Therefore, Daria’s similarity to Quinn emphasizes how stereotypes are exaggerated masks  of ourselves. They are used to dissect our own personalities as well as others’ personalities in order to simplify the complexities of socializing and neglect the undeniable fact that every individual is an intricate mix of emotions.

But that’s just the beginning of the analysis. Daria is not that hard to figure out since we have a front row seat to her thoughts and feelings while watching the show. However, her sister Quinn and the Fashion Club members are the most confused individuals in the series, which explains why they cling onto materialism to heal their weakness. Quinn and her friends are the true outcast, and not Daria.

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