Archive for the ‘Movie Reviews’ Category


Message Behind the Magic – Cinderella and Peter Pan – Part One

Message Behind the Magic – Cinderella and Peter Pan – Part Two

Note: Below is the script for my Peter Pan video analysis. Click here to view my Cinderella analysis.  Enjoy!

“All children grow up,

Except one –”

Peter Pan is a prized fairytale about the parallel worlds of fantasy and reality, of the vast imagination and the societal norms, and of being a child and being an adult. I treasure this coming-of-age story since it challenges you to ask yourself, when is it time to abandon your child-like self and take your place in society? What does it mean to be an adult? What are the consequences of refusing to grow up? These are just a few central themes in this classic story of a boy who refuses to grow up. And as you suspected, we will explore these themes as we enjoy glimpses of the film.

Aunt Millicent is the enforcer of false ego. The false ego is primarily based on how others perceive you. It feeds on the need to be accepted based on shallow pieces of life like image, status, and power based on image and status. As the false ego queen, Aunt Millicent is the entity who appeals to the other characters’ insecurities, especially the father Mr. Darling.

Mr. Darling desires a picture perfect lifestyle, or to be blunt, he desires a lifestyle based on the false ego. Mr. Darling is a textbook definition of a conformist, so it is only natural for Mr. Darling to accept the aunt’s advice and rehearse ways to “climb the ladder” at his job at the bank. So I am sure you can guess what happens when Wendy contributes to Mr. Darling and his colleague’s physical downfall.  Mr. Darling is instantly embarrassed. And yes! You should already know by now. Embarrassment is a direct emotion stimulated by that oh-so-sneaky false ego. It is a shallow emotion that creates shallow reactions. Observe Mr. Darling’s actions in this next scene.

After Wendy is told she will sleep in a room separate from her brothers, which is in an attempt to force her to become her father and aunt’s perception of a young lady, the king of childhood arrives.

Wendy is entranced by Peter’s whimsical spirit and innocent charm, which are the very traits that she cherishes in herself. Wendy is more than excited to be given the chance to visit Neverland. But notice a small detail when Wendy and her brothers learn to fly for the first time.

Remember the powerful saying from the very beginning of this film, “For what troubles a grown-up will never trouble a child.” Wendy and her brothers suddenly become concerned about leaving their parents, their dog, and their life in London. In this instant moment, Wendy and her brothers tap into their adult selves. They slightly understand that their child-like desires to explore and experience life beyond their own realm comes with a heavy price. They are concerned that their actions will cause stress for those who love them. They are concerned that they may never return to their conventional lives. Basically what I am trying to get at is, Wendy and her brothers are concerned that they may not turn into the type of grow-up individuals they are meant to be. However, Peter, who has abandoned his adult self with no regrets, used his persuasion to convince Wendy and her brothers to do the same. Peter promises pirates and mermaids, and many other fantastical elements that will guarantee non-stop entertainment. They cannot resist; Wendy and her brother turned to their innocence and never look back.

Now we are in Neverland. Neverland is exactly like Wonderland in Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland. It is Peter Pan’s subconscious mind. It is his hopes, it is his dreams, it is his fears, and to sum it all up, it is him. Wendy is given the chance to visit Peter Pan’s mind and way of life, and since she is a storyteller, she is very fascinated with the opportunity.

In Neverland, we meet Peter Pan’s arch nemesis, Captain Hook. Captain Hook is the darker aspect of Peter Pan, but I will dive deeper into this fact once we reach the end of the review. Captain Hook recognizes that it is spring time in Neverland, which means Peter has returned home. On a deeper level, spring represents a new beginning, or in Peter’s case, a new idea that has promoted growth in his way of thinking.

Let’s take a quick detour. Think about the formation of Egyptian or Western astrology. Aries, which is the astrological sign of the time dates March 20th – April 19th, is the first sign on the charts. This may be strange on first sight since the New Year begins for us (Western Hemisphere) in January and for others in February, but take another moment to think. On the very basic level, astrology is based on the positioning of the sun. Since the sun rises during the spring, it only makes sense for Aries to be the first sign.  In addition, spring is a time of new beginnings for animals coming out of hibernation. This is the season of heated romances and a bundle of new born babies seeing the world for the first time. Spring is a time for the plants and flowers to get a taste of warm air after a long period of a chilly autumn and a bitter winter.  It is spring time in Neverland because Peter Pan is experiencing a new beginning, and the person who triggered this new beginning is, of course, Wendy. Wendy loves Peter’s untamed imagination and Peter loves Wendy’s enthusiasm and appreciation of all things fantastical. However, their love is not equal.

Wendy’s feelings are growing beyond Peter Pan’s comprehension. Though to give Peter some credit, he does sense that Wendy is acting less like Tinker Bell, his forever playful, fairy friend, and more like her own mother, Mrs. Darling.  Peter then admits that he is just pretending, which means he is just having fun. Wendy is shocked by his statement and taps into of her adult self once again. She starts to realize that their relationship can never grow into the type of romantic exchange she sees in her parents. Wendy begins to realize the limitations of remaining a permanent child. She begins to understand the type of adult she wants to be, and she is noticing that what she wants does not match what Peter wants. Wendy is disappointed that Peter does not want to grow up with her, and through this disappoint, she begins to despise her feelings toward him.  This is the perfect opportunity for Captain Hook to use Wendy’s dark feeling to his advantage.

Remember I said, Captain Hook is the dark side of Peter Pan? After all, it is no accident that Hook is in Peter’s Neverland…Peter’s subconscious mind. He represents Peter Pan’s potential future. He is an adult who never grew up and is consumed by his own limitations. Hook is a hateful, jealous, selfish being who will stop at nothing to end the light around him, especially Peter Pan.

Now Hook does like Wendy, but not the way that Peter does. Hook likes Wendy for selfish reasons. He wants Wendy to tell him stories in an attempt to make him feel whole just like she does with Peter and Peter’s band of followers, the Lost Boys. Wendy does accept Hook’s offer to become a mother pirate just to get back at Peter because she is still bitter.  Through Hook’s manipulation of course, Wendy is still bitter about Peter’s lack of maturity. However, Wendy comes to her senses when she sees Peter in trouble. She helps Peter defeat his villain.

It is so rare for me to say this, but Peter and Wendy are granted a very genuine and a very real Happily Ever After. They learn from each other and become stronger because of it.  Peter learns there are aspects of adulthood, like being open to change and considering others’ feelings, which can help him build a stronger Neverland (or mind). Wendy learns to keep her child-like self close as she transforms into the adult she was meant to be, a star novelist. She is growing into a woman of her own passion, talents, and will. Wendy’s new found strength even convinces Mr. Darling and Aunt Millicent to abandon their false egos and embrace their new beginnings with their adopted family, the Lost Boys. Wendy, I believe, learns the most from Peter. It is somewhat sad to conclude, but Peter and Wendy are officially a part of two different worlds, but it is apparent that they accept each other as strong friends.

~The End…

And another beginning~

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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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I’m back with more fright night reviews for Halloween. Today it’s time to talk about Silent Hill.

The Silent Hill movie was released in the US 2006. It begins with a young girl named Sharon who is having terrifying nightmares. Her nightmares are of Silent Hill, so her mother Rose decides to take Sharon to the town in order to understand her dreams. In the town, Rose loses her daughter, encounters multiple deformed monsters, and fearful townspeople. It turns out Sharon is Alessa, a young girl who was burned as a sacrifice for the church. Or I should say, Sharon is Alessa’s manifested innocence because the burned Alessa is consumed with hate. Her hate is projected as the darkness of the town, and the creepy creatures of the darkness are physical metaphors of Alessa’s troubled psyche.

Like Kentaro Muira’s Berserk, Silent Hill doesn’t rely on “boo” tactics to scare its audience. Instead the viewers are engulfed with a lonely, foggy atmosphere to lure his audience into uncertainty. The atmosphere is accompanied with the creatures like the dark nurses.

The most nerve-racking moment of this movie is when Rose encounters the dark nurses. Words can’t do this scene justice, so here’s the clip provided by Fenristh.

Silent Hill is one of the few horror films that has an intricate storyline. In my opinion, the Silent Hill movie is the best video game adaptation to date. With that said, there are two moments of the movie that troubled me: the “safety zone” and the ambiguous ending.

Now the members of the religious order including Alessa’s real mother are able to hide in a Church to avoid the terrifying effects of the town. Oddly enough, Alessa is not able to enter this Church, so she stores her spirit in Rose to get the revenge she craves. This leads me to believe that Alessa is evil, and the Church members are the victims. A fan of the series claims that she’s not evil. It’s just that the townspeople’s will was stronger at the moment, and she was unable to break their will. So what is the message here? Those with more will are justified in their actions? What do you all think?

Now the ending! There are many hypotheses to what happens to Rose and Alessa in the last scene. Some say they died. Some say Alessa finally has the mother she desires. Personally, I believe the ending is not a happy one. I think they’re stuck in Silent Hill. They’ll live the rest of their lives in isolation and haze because of Alessa’s selfish desire to spend time with her new mother. But hey! That’s just me.

Regardless of how you view Alessa’s character or the movie’s conclusion, this horror movie stands out from the pack with it’s haunting atmosphere and unique storyline.

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