WHAMO! Sometimes I Can Still Hear Her Bells…

WHAMO LogoHello, beautiful people! Will Scarlet, here. And it’s time for another edition of “WHAMO!” (which is basically “WWMHO!” – the acronym for “Will Watches Movies, Has Opinions” – but visually catchier).

Today’s pick owes itself to two things.

First: The fact that, up until about a month ago, Tirzah had not yet seen this Disney Renaissance classic in full – (tragedy!) – so Danielle and I totally nabbed it from the library to rectify the situation, to the betterment of all.

Second: I don’t know if you’ve heard, but a certain gorgeous French landmark that’s approximately as old as Robin Hood suffered some considerable fire damage, about a week-and-a-half back. Both Tirzah and Danielle were hit hard by the news, having visited the iconic cathedral for the first (and, so far, only) time just a few years before, and loved it, if not as deeply as a Parisian, then the unique way only their soft little author hearts can.

So, here’s looking at you, Our Lady, with a film animated in your honor:

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”

Hunchback of Notre Dame poster

The IMDb-official description:

A deformed bell-ringer must assert his independence from a vicious government minister in order to help his friend, a gypsy dancer.

From Disney; directed by Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise; starring Tom Hulce, Demi Moore, Tony Jay.

Stream of Impressions (the highlights):

“ALAJSLKDJF, THIS OPENING NUMBER! There is no – see: NONE – other opening song number on the same level as ‘The Bells of Notre Dame’! Not in Disney, anyway. ‘Deliver Us’ from Dreamworks’ ‘The Prince of Egypt’, sure. Oh, and the ‘Wicked’ musical’s ‘No One Mourns the Wicked’. …Wait… *looks it up* OH MY BARD, Stephen Schwarz was the lyricist behind all three! Genius will out! Hats off to you, sir!”

“So, what, he’s planning to drown a baby in a public drinking well? Like that won’t affect the water quality, at all?”

“Ironic how Frollo claims to be so into God but his horse looks like the actual devil.”

Hit that note and gimme life, Clopin!”

“I dunno how it was in 1996, but I’ve gotten the gist that ‘gypsy’ is considered an offensive term, these days, so we’re gonna have to come up with something else to call the people group this movie is basically centered around. How ‘bout… the Miracle Court? Yeah, we’ll be going with that.”

“I haven’t yet thought to rank the quality of Disney’s ‘I want’ songs, but ‘Out There’ is definitely a top contender. And not just because it’s a huge release after feeling the need to tear off my own skin to get away from Frollo singing to stay in the tower. (Yeah, hi, I spent decades locked up in an immortal Renaissance Faire by an inflexible geezer and I get TRIGGERED.)”

“Question: If Quasimodo’s mom was a— pardon, was one of the Miracle Court… why is he white? Like, not just kind of white. Red-headed white. Did that poor woman die trying to save a baby she adopted when some white family who thought he was too ugly to love kicked him to the Parisian curb?? Does her heroism go even deeper than the script chose to pursue???”

“Bold animating choice to give Esmeralda smaller pupils and dem mega green irises, vs. the huge ‘n’ dewy pupils seen in the average Disney Princess and, say, Quasimodo. Big pupils hold big dreams and a measure of naïveté. Our girl Esmeralda knows too much of the world for that.”

“Can we all agree that Clopin is an actual Faerie or trickster god or some such not-quite-human entity? Because he’s barely trying to blend in, here.”

“All that talk from Frollo about how the outside world would reject Quasi’s face, but the first ones at the Feast of Fools to throw rotten fruit at him were Frollo’s own troublemaking guards. Just. Go figure.”

“Interesting how Esmeralda is the only one in Notre Dame today trying to have a selfless heart-to-heart with God. Tell me again, Frollo, why we have such a vendetta against the Miracle Court? What’s that? – because you’re just using religion as an excuse to feel powerful and superior to your fellow man? Somebody hand me the world’s heaviest Bible; I’ve got a poser to smack down.”

“Obviously, if ever I decide to force my friends to join me in staging a production of ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’, I’m playing Phoebus. That goes without saying. And Allyn’s too flawless to pass for Quasimodo, but that’s what makeup’s for. As for Clopin, have said it before and will say it again: Gant-o’-the-Lute, all day.”

Frollo: “Then tell me, Maria,

Why I see her dancing there,

Why her smold’ring eyes still scorch my soul…”

Will Scarlet: “Because she’s an 11.”

“So, either Frollo legitimately believes that Esmeralda is a wicked, heathen sorceress, or he knows full well she’s just a woman trying to exist in spite of prejudice and patriarchy… and regardless, he’s over here like, ‘She makes me feel things. I must own her or kill her’?!!!!?!??!? Even he knows that’s messed up! And if he really wanted to play the righteous card, now would be the time to pray hard for resistance to temptation. Or, y’know, burn down the homes of the village folk. That works just as well.”

“I have not yet had anything to say about the wacky gargoyle trio, and I still don’t.”

“And now for the Miracle Court’s theme song! In which Clopin’s Fey/trickster/what-have-you status is on fuller display than ever.”

“Frollo did us the bamboozle! The Court of Miracles is compromised! Notre Dame is on fire, but more in a wrathful Te-Kā from ‘Moana’ way, less like the incident in real-life Paris, the other week!”

“Never a more satisfying Disney Villain Death-Fall in the history of ever. Good riddance to hell’s rubbish.”

‘Three cheers for the guy at whom we threw rotten produce, the other day! He saved the pretty girl and stuck it to The Man! Our fickle crowd love is his!’ That’s how you sound, townsfolk. But whatever. Quasi’s happy, we’re happy. Play us out with that sweetly chilling and triumphant ‘Bells of Notre Dame’ reprise.”

More Coherently Summarized:

Though not a particular favorite of Danielle’s childhood – (because it’s a total adult movie masquerading as a kids’ cartoon, yo) – she would in retrospect be the first to tell you that HoND is a masterpiece among masterpieces. The music, top tier. The animation, superb. The message, ever timely. It gets dark, it goes deep, and while Danielle tends to cringe when religion gets vilified, that’s not actually what this movie does. The bad guy isn’t the church itself, it’s the kind of people who would use it to further their own selfish, loveless ends. There are Frollos in the world, alas (and canonically, Robin Hood would rob them blind with a merry ‘ha-ha’). There are also Archdeacon characters who sometimes stand up against evil, though one could argue that they should be fighting harder. And there are Phoebuses who rebel when the orders they’re given cross moral lines, and Esmeraldas who seek to show God’s love despite how little they’ve been shown. For all I know, there are even talking gargoyles. It’s a world of impossibilities, out there.

Where are the POC?

#MiracleCourt. I don’t have the first idea how to grade the movie’s representation of any kind of Romany culture. But they were there, they were integral to the story, and between the two named Miracle Court characters (Clopin and Esmeralda), we got quite the range in personality. Lord only knows what a live-action remake would look like, in this day and age. (Please tell me they’ll nix the word ‘gypsy’…) But since live-action remakes (*cough* or CGI-action remakes, “The Lion King” *cough*) are all the rage at Disney, right now, I guess we’ll find out in – *checks online* – 2021.

Bonus Photo Gallery!

Just a little throwback to the Notre Dame my author once knew in person. Rebuild as you’re able, Paris.

<<<>>>

And that’s today’s review! How about you guys? Which is your favorite Disney ‘I want’ song? (Don’t even try to tell me there’s a better opening song; I won’t stand for it.) Where were you when you heard of the recent Notre Dame fire? On a scale of 1 (super skeptical) to 10 (crazy excited), how are you feeling about a live-action HoND remake? Discuss in the comments below!

‘Til next time, babes ~

WHAMO! I’d Like to Shake the Academy…

WHAMO LogoHello, beautiful people! Will Scarlet, here. And it’s time for another edition of “WHAMO!” (which is basically “WWMHO!” – the acronym for “Will Watches Movies, Has Opinions” – but visually catchier).

Today’s pick, though, isn’t a movie. Instead, it’s that great-granddaddy of television specials honoring the medium of movies itself:

THE OSCARS!

Oscars 2019

The Wikipedia-official description:

The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, are a set of awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry, given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), to recognize excellence in cinematic achievements as assessed by the Academy’s voting membership. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a golden statuette, officially called the “Academy Award of Merit”, although more commonly referred to by its nickname “Oscar”.

The Academy Awards ceremony was first broadcast on radio in 1930 and televised for the first time in 1953. It is the oldest worldwide entertainment awards ceremony and is now seen live worldwide.  […] The 91st Academy Awards ceremony, honoring the best films of 2018, was held on February 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre, in Los Angeles, California. The ceremony was broadcast on ABC.

Stream of Impressions (the highlights):

*Re: the ceremony’s opening ‘boom-boom-claps’* “YAAAASSSS, QUEEN + ADAM LAMBERT! You are indeed rocking me!”

“Aaaand there’s the first obligatory political joke of the night. This year’s show doesn’t even have a host, but you can always count on someone stepping up to throw shade at the government.”

“I have not (to my regret) yet seen ‘The Favourite’, but Rachel Weisz was modeling quite The Look while lol-shooting Emma Stone, in this clip.”

“Is sea god Jason Mamoa wearing a scrunchie on his wrist? A scrunchie that matches his suit, no less?”

“And the documentary winner is… that guy climbing Yosemite free-hand!”

“That arch over the stage looks distractingly like a wig.”

“Am I wrong for envying Melissa McCarthy’s presenter outfit? (The answer is ‘yes’, but I’m not letting that stop me.)”

“Freshly-award-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter is several layers of #goals. Related note: Wakanda forever!”

*Having spent several seconds devouring a dazzling J-Lo/Chris Evans combo with his eyes* “…I’m sorry, I haven’t heard a word they said. Which award are they presenting, right now?”

“Hannah Beachler, aka that gorgeous jungle flower fumbling for her production design victory speech on her phone, is the realest thing I’ve ever seen, and I love her.”

“I’m stealing that outfit from Jennifer Hudson and putting it on Danielle so she can unleash her biggest fabulous.”

*Re: James McAvoy/Danai Gurira presenting for Best Sound Design* “Slaaayyy, Okoye! You’re so good at it! (Side note: If James wants to play cousin Robin Hood, like, ever, that offer’s on the table.)”

*Re: Keegan-Michael Key’s entrance* “I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!”

“Those umbrellas look like an alien invasion, but thanks, Bette Midler, for performing a song much adored by certain of Danielle’s characters.”

*When the “Black Panther” clip plays … and ends* Will: “No! MORE!”

Allyn-a-Dale: “You could have just put in the DVD, but no, you said, ‘Let’s watch the Oscars.’”

“Academy Museum of Motion Pictures? That’s gonna be a thing? Danielle, can we go??”

“Groundbreaking animated masterpiece beats out even mother-loving Disney for Best Animated Feature! History is made! Sing hey and huzzah for ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse’!”

“Anyone else crept out by that camera cut to Willem Dafoe during the ‘Spider-Verse’ acceptance speech? Was that an intentional throwback to yester-Spidey?”

“Okay, but where is my John Mulaney/Peik Lin buddy movie, tho?”

“Aw, man – bet you that woulda been the commercial break where I’d get a cool first look at a ‘Lion King’ remake trailer, if I’d watched this live.”

“If Merlin had said a decade ago that we could look forward to a love duet between Lady Gaga and Rocket Raccoon, no one would have taken him seriously.”

“Wait, Jessica Jones is pregnant?? (Is Luke Cage the father? Or does comic book canon not really affect Krysten Ritter’s day-to-day?)”

“ARGH, I’d managed to forget we lost Stan Lee! Thanks for throwing me back into mourning, In Memoriam!”

“So, Willem Dafoe got a role as Van Gogh, and… nobody told Vincent’s biggest minstrel fan, Allyn? Rude.”

“There’s a movie that’s just called ‘The Wife’? Not even gonna try to dress it up with a descriptor or anything? What comes next – ‘The Daughter’?”

“Olivia Coleman’s acceptance speech for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role is the best of heartfelt British comedy.”

“What the— ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ wasn’t nominated for anything? But it was practically the most perfect film of the year! C’MON, Academy!”

More Coherently Summarized:

Was I entertained? Yes. Can the Oscars get by without a host? Clearly, though neither Danielle nor I would cry boo to them giving the spot back to Hugh Jackman. While I would not at all call myself a fan of the drama factory that is Hollywood, I can’t help but get hype for all the glittery glitz and glamour of Oscars night. Movies are AMAZING, and taking time to recognize not only the big stars that are the face of the films but also the categories of artists working their wizardry behind the scenes is awesome. Even if my top picks don’t score every accolade I think they deserve, there is something to be said just for being nominated. (Looking at you, ‘Black Panther’. You’re totally Best Picture of 2018 in my heart.)

Where are the POC?

More specifically, what is up with not giving ANY kudos to “Crazy Rich Asians”? Sure, there was black power aplenty, up onstage and onscreen, and several shout-outs to the Spanish-speaking community and immigrants in general. That’s all very well, good, and trendy, but is the Academy just going to ignore that “Asians” ran away with the box office? Don’t tell me a romantic comedy can’t be taken seriously as high art, because bullsh*t. That movie was gorgeous. It had scope. And intelligence. And an incredible cast made up almost entirely of a demographic that’s suffered every bit as much racist garbage in this country as any other person of color. (Japanese internment camps, anyone?) I don’t know which stuffy white dinosaurs voted to sweep “Crazy Rich Asians” under the red carpet, but this medieval Merry Man is handing out an entirely unofficial Tied-For-Best Picture Oscar. So there.

<<<>>>

And that’s today’s review! How about you guys? Did you watch the Oscars? Whose wins made you cheer, and who was bloody robbed? What’s your pick for last year’s Best Picture? Who are you wearing tonight? Discuss in the comments below!

‘Til next time, babes ~

WHAMO! Shapeshifting Your Way to the Throne

WHAMO Logo

Hello, beautiful people! Will Scarlet, here. And it’s time for another edition of “WHAMO!” (which is basically “WWMHO!” – the acronym for “Will Watches Movies, Has Opinions” – but visually catchier).

Today’s pick is a special request from a favorite fan slash friend slash all-around gorgeous individual. Always happy to oblige milady Chelsea de la Cruz, the author and I hit up her place to view an animated classic with “Avalon Faire movie night” written all over it:

“The Sword in the Stone”

Sword in the Stone Movie Poster

The IMDb-official description:

A poor boy named Arthur learns the power of love, kindness, knowledge and bravery with the help of a wizard called Merlin in the path to become one of the most beloved kings in English history.

From Disney; directed by Wolfgang Reitherman; starring Rickie Sorensen, Sebastian Cabot, and Karl Swenson.

Stream of Impressions (the highlights):

“A bardic, lute-strumming prologue of an opening! In the words of many a post’s hashtags on my Tumblr: #allyn-a-dale aesthetics #minstrel approved”

“Okay. Oh great. It’s a wizard with his head up his backside’s future. I’m gonna spend half this movie jeering at On Screen!Merlin in place of the Merlin who trapped me on an immortal Faerie island, aren’t I? Sure, that’s healthy.”

“Did they totally base Arthur/Wart’s animation on Mowgli from ‘The Jungle Book’, or is it the other way ‘round? Which one predates the other? Hang on, looking it up… All right, ‘Sword in the Stone’ came first! 1963 vs. ’67. Now we know. ^_^”

“Run, Wart! Move those little stick arms! Kay’s scrunchy face means violence!”

“Pretty sure the sugar bowl’s gonna end up being my favorite character in this thing. Watch him get way too little screen time.”

“*fangirl squeal* It’s the book-packing gif!”

Merlin Books Gif

“Word on the street (or from Chelsea’s brother) is that poor, luckless wolf in the forest ranked well on some list of, like, Best Disney Wolves of All Time. I’d probably have cast my vote for the Sheriff of Nottingham, just cuz Robin Hood pride.”

“Don’t let the wizard in, Sir Ector! They’re bad news, and worse houseguests!”

“Yikes, that tower’s fit to topple like Jenga. Zero stars. Would probably not relegate a wizard to it, no matter my trauma-born prejudice.”

“Did my King Arthur never get turned into a fish? Cuz I don’t wanna say that’s why Camelot fell, but…”

“Why is the grumpy owl the only one trying to save little Wart Fish from getting eaten by the moat monster? OF WHAT USE THE MAGICAL WIZARD?”

“Debatable wizard use = Book-Packing Gif: Dishes Edition.”

“Debatable wizard use 2 = Sex Education: Squirrel Edition.”

“My heart is B R E A K I N G for Girl Squirrel, right now! Forget the sugar bowl – she’s fun and flirty and tenacious and brave, how DARE a wizard’s antics toy with her loving soul?! You’re just gonna leave her there, crying in a tree for what she thought was her husband?! I REJECT THIS. Somebody make it canon that Girl Squirrel gets magicked into a human named Guinevere. Animate the sequel. I’ll wait.”

“That… is very obviously not the same voice Arthur had a minute ago. Or a minute later. Like, not even close. Who thought no one would notice??”

“Is Mim short for, like, Morgan/Morgana/Morganne le Fey, or is this just some random antagonist witch?”

“And now for everyone’s favorite ‘battle of the shapeshifters’ trope, the Wizard Duel! You see it in fairy tales (see ‘The Sorcerer’s Boy’), you hear it in song (hear ‘Ceridwen and Taliesin’)… Classic.”

“Oh, hey, look, it’s the sword in the stone. Hands up if you forgot halfway through the fish transformation that this was the title and prologued plot point of this movie.”

“If the fact that Wart can remove the blade doesn’t serve as proof of his rightful kinghood, maybe the sparkly light and heavensong will convince you. It’s at least as good a basis for a system of government as strange women lying in ponds distributing swords, amirite?”

“Well, well, well. Look who’s back from Bermuda, just in time to regain the ear of the new Once and Future King. Sketchy AF. For the love of England, let the owl act as court adviser. Or appoint the sugar bowl. Anyone but Merlin.”

More Coherently Summarized:

My psychological issues involving archetypal wizards aside, I did find the movie lightly entertaining, albeit ultra-light on an Arthurian plot. Where was all the knightly drama? The peril of the Fey folk? Grand ventures of chivalry? All we really focused on was a kooky mad scientist in a pointy hat. Is that what the T.H. White book the film’s based upon did, or is it just Disney taking whatever liberties it thinks will own the box office of the day? I don’t even know. I have not read the book, and am not an exert.

Arguably, Danielle’s friend / fellow creative Aly Grauer is an expert, at least on Disney. You should totes check out Aly’s watch-through of ‘Sword in the Stone’ on her blog, and all the other installments in her Disney Odyssey series and/or the million other magical things she gets up to.

Where are the POC?

What, you haven’t heard? There were more talking owls and sentient sugar bowls in Medieval England than non-white people. Have a wacky wizard give you an education, why don’t you.

Shade Gif

<<<>>>

And that’s today’s review! How about you guys? What’s your favorite movie / TV show / book / Wild Western Rock Opera more-or-less based on the King Arthur story? Who are your picks for Best and Worst Wizards of All Time? Discuss in the comments below!

‘Til next time, babes ~

WHAMO! A Medley of More-or-Less Memories

WHAMO Logo

Hello, beautiful people! Will Scarlet, here. And it’s time for another edition of “WHAMO!” (which is basically “WWMHO!” – the acronym for “Will Watches Movies, Has Opinions” – but visually catchier).

BUT FIRST! A word from our sponsor: Today is the last – repeat, LAST – day of the Smashwords Summer/Winter sale, meaning it’s your last chance until gosh-knows-when to get a free – that’s right, FREE – e-copy of “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale, i.e. the first of the Outlaws of Avalon novels co-starring yours truly. If you don’t own it yet, now’s a perfect time to fix that – or to gift it to a friend who needs more Merry Men mischief in their life. Be the truly great hero you want to see in the world, kids.

Now then, onto our feature presentation. Today’s trip back in time to the movies is going to be a bit of a challenge, ‘cause my first and only watch of this film was months ago, and my memory has been shredded half-useless after thirty-some years trapped in Faerie land postmortem. But the viewing was too much fun to ignore for this feature, so we’re going for it! Presenting:

“Music and Lyrics”

Music and Lyrics Poster

The IMDb-Official Description:

A washed up singer is given a couple days to compose a chart-topping hit for an aspiring teen sensation. Though he’s never written a decent lyric in his life, he sparks with an offbeat younger woman with a flair for words.

From Castle Rock Entertainment; directed by Marc Lawrence; starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore.

Stream of Impressions (the highlights):

“OhmyLord, this opening song number! It is so perfectly, badly, beautifully ‘80s pop parody, and as a child of the ‘80s (…or of the late 12th century, but WHATEVER, I’m a millennial, okay?), I am HERE for this bop.”

“Hiii, Robert from ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’! (Don’t think I don’t know my ‘90s sitcoms, too.)”

“I’m loving this movie’s dialogue. It’s like… understatedly hilarious? Reminds me of British humor. Probably because of Hugh Grant’s accent. …which is probably why he reminds me of Robin Hood, even though not everyone with an English accent is your cousin, Will, gosh! (Yeah, see, Allyn? You don’t have to yell at me. I’m doing it to myself now. I’m on it.)”

“Why is Drew Barrymore wearing modern clothes and makeup instead of being an AU-Renaissance Cinderella? Like, I know every movie can’t be the flawlessness that is ‘Ever After’, but this is weird for me.”

“Hiii, Mr. Schue from ‘Glee’! (Don’t even be surprised I was a Gleek back when the fandom was strong.)”

“Pop Star Girl looks distractingly like Jennifer Lawrence to me. That’s all I’m gonna think every time I see her.”

“…No, okay, I’m also going to wonder what’s up with the rock-hard ‘g’ whenever she says ‘song’. Do people do that? Am I being rude, or do people not actually do that?”

“Check you, Drew, makin’ up rhymes on the spot! Certain minstrels I know would probably hate on your work all day, but I see you.”

“Have I mentioned, in between cracking up, how much I’m enjoying this dialogue?*”

*(If I’d seen this movie more recently than when dirt was new, I’d quote some of this stuff for you. In an English accent, even. Which you’d think I’d do automatically, given that I, too, am English, but I dunno, I’m told America’s corrupted me. Bloody Yanks.)

“HEEEYYY, Danielle, it’s the song! The ‘living with a shadow’ song from the trailer! The trailer you saw back when this movie was coming soon to theaters, and which for some reason you haven’t entirely forgotten, despite not actually thinking about it for, what’s it been? Ten years now? Wow. Can I steal some of your powers of recall?”

“What’s Pop Star J. Law gonna do?! Does she like it?! Does she love it?! Is everyone screwed only one third into the movie?!”

(…And, um, this middle bit is where my memory really starts fuzzing out, so let’s skip ahead toward the end.)

“Welp, you knew the relationship had to go south at right about this point on the story arc.”

“Is she even Buddhist? Just, this concert might seem marginally less culturally appropriative if she were. Or not.”

“Wow, really? Credit erasure? Is that what’s happening here? ‘Cause BOOO—”

“—ooAWWWWW, he did lyrics! Drew, baby, turn around!”

“Pop Girl actually did that? What a weird space cadet sweetheart she is!”

“OhmyLord, the closing song sequence! I am being given LIFE with this brand of comedy!”

More Coherently Summarized:

Okay, so obviously not the most completely memorable movie I ever saw. (What rom-com besides probably “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is going to earn that distinction?) But one thing I DO remember is how much I enjoyed watching it. For those better than me at retaining dialogue, it strikes me as nicely quotable. I like that it relies more on being quietly silly-clever than in-your-face goofy. (Not that I don’t have space in my heart for the latter as well, which is good, since I’m frequently it. But I can appreciate many forms of humor!) The story, the performances, and the music made me smile. 9/10 for the genre; would watch again.

Where are the POC?

A smattering of Hugh Grant’s mom-fans, the doorman in his building, that one gal who worked for the sister, and Pop Girl’s bodyguard. So, bit parts and crowd scenes. To quote Danielle’s new go-to reaction anytime she observes people underperforming life: “Unimpressive.”

<<<>>>

And that’s today’s review! How about you guys? Anybody seen this one? Which romantic comedies and/or non-musicals with original songs are your jam? Sing about it* in the comments!

*(You don’t literally have to go minstrel and make a song out of it. Although if you wanna go for it, I am prepared to support your artistic endeavors!)

‘Til next time, babes ~

WHAMO! #Jack #Giants #Slaaay

WHAMO Logo

Hello, beautiful people! Will Scarlet, here. And it’s time for another edition of “WHAMO!” (which is basically “WWMHO!” – the acronym for “Will Watches Movies, Has Opinions” – but visually catchier).

Today I’m going to revisit a recent watch that may or may not have scared the hose off me for life, ye olde fairytale-style:

“Jack the Giant Slayer”

Jack the Giant Slayer Poster

The IMDb-Official Description:

The ancient war between humans and a race of giants is reignited when Jack, a young farmhand fighting for a kingdom and the love of a princess, opens a gateway between the two worlds.

From Warner Bros. Pictures; directed by Bryan Singer; starring Nicholas Hoult, Stanley Tucci, and Ewan McGregor.

Stream of Impressions (the highlights):

“YASS to rhymes that go beyond the basic ‘fee, fie, foe, fum’ original. Loved it when Danielle did it in ‘The Sky-Child’, lovin’ it now.”

“Nice back-and-forth, in the prologue, between Little Jack and Little Princess Person. And YOU GO, QUEEN, for encouraging your little queen-to-be to have adventures! Take note, monarchs and/or parents everywhere.”

“Okay, I’m well aware the Jack actor isn’t Merlin from BBC’s ‘Merlin’, but, I’m sorry, my brain is going to spend the whole movie refusing to understand the difference.”

“Oh, look – Jasmine’s visiting the marketplace. Go meet-cute with Aladdin, princess.”

“Captain of the Guard Guy’s cute. Just… observing.”

“Psst. Jack. Where’s your horse?”

“Eyyy, Evil Stanley Tucci. Whatcha schemin’?”

“Aww, don’t be like that, Uncle. In defense of the beans, there was a monk…!”

“Aww, don’t be like that, King! Your wife was so cool, before she died of Fairytale Dropsy…”

“THAT’S a hat! Hat approved! Our princess knows how to hat!”

“Ahh, so that’s why we don’t get the beans wet.”

“A twister! A twister! The shack’s headed over the rainbow!”

“Um, maybe don’t let Evil Stanley Tucci join the beanstalk expedition?”

“Okay, Captain of the Guard Guy, you officially had me at ‘tally-ho’. Calling it now: You’re my favorite. …who weirdly reminds me of cousin Robin Hood, for some reason? The low-key adventuresome English accent, mayhap.”

“And THAT’S why we shouldn’t let Evil Stanley Tucci join the beanstalk expedition!”

“Oh no. Oh boy. Here there be giants, and that guy over there is right smack in the danger zone of ‘semi important-ish, but decidedly below main character status’. He fee-fie-foe-finna die.”

“AAALKJASLDFSACKK, why is the giant that fast?!?!!!? Big creatures shouldn’t get to be fast, Little John!!!”

“Haha, that giant sounds weirdly like Davy Jones from ‘Pirates of the—’ Wait, what? That IS Davy Jones?! Bill Nighy in da house, with first line parallels to die for! (Pun absolutely intended.) I should’ve known; the beanstalk is practically the kraken.”

“ *whimper-screeches something incomprehensible while his recent death prediction comes mercilessly true* “

“ARGHH! Princess! Robin Hood Guy! JACK, SAVE THEM!”

“Daaaang, credit to the king where it’s due: He’s not one to pansy out when it looks like time to do the hard thing.”

“Soooo, I know Jack and the princess are supposed to be the endgame romance here, but counterproposal: Jack x Robin Hood.”

“DON’T DIIIIIIIEEEEE!”

“Is he gonna die?”

“HE DIDN’T DIE!”

“Oh, snap, HE died!”

“Oh no…”

“OH no oh no oh no…”

“WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE.”

“Oh, God Almighty save us, HE’S NOT DEAD—”

“ *screaming, cringing, flailing in his lady friends’ laps* ”

“C’mon, don’t die, c’mon, don’t die…”

“WHOA, what a way to die!”

“Okay, phew, yes, day saved by— him??? Why not the princess?! The princess totally should have saved the day, dude – I don’t care who the title names as giant slayer! Still: Day saved. Thank goodne— NOPE, NopeNopeNope, I did NOT need that ending. I’m not sleeping tonight. Anxiety attacks ever after, the end.”

More Coherently Summarized:

Definitely less of a fairy tale for kids than for, I dunno, whichever crowd wants to see people getting their heads bitten off by CGI titans. And I mean, I love an adventure. I do. Sing hey for throwing yourself face-first into danger, death be hanged. But that’s when I’M the one in danger! I can die as many times as you like. Less fun is watching that happen to characters I care about – and I have a bad heart condition that makes me care way too much about way too many characters, okay?!?

Biggest complaints, though: 1, the princess didn’t get to do jack. 2, Captain Robin didn’t get to do Jack.

Regarding the first, you could see the writing in Act 1 setting Princess Isabelle up to be a gal raring to live her own adventure. But all the script gave her for the rest of the story was the usual Distressed Damsel role. Kidnapped by the krakenstalk. Captured by the giants. Rescued by The Hero Men™. Running and/or hiding while The Hero Men™ fight. Lame, but redeemable, if only she’d been the one to defeat the giants in the end. And she COULD have! She totally could have, and there I was, 100% expecting she would… then she didn’t. Because writers – even well-intentioned ones; even progressive ones; even ones fighting uphill not to fall into the story trap The Patriarchy created; yes, even my own beloved author – have the darnedest time letting women in a man’s story do anything that would mean the man’s ultimate upstaging. It’s just, the movie’s prologue had led me to believe that this was Isabelle’s story, too. Oh, well.

As for the second complaint, I maintain that there was chemistry – and desire, at least on Captain Robin’s part. Leave it to a mainstream movie not to go there. XP

Where are the POC?

So, am I remembering wrong, or were there ZERO (0) faces of color to be seen anywhere in the film? Maybe I missed somebody in a crowd scene somewhere, but even if we want to credit them so far as too assume that, crowd scene representation alone is pretty weak sauce. And we’ll just be generous and choose to assume that none of the giants were supposed to be of color, because I know DARN well that we all know better than to have the only non-whites be the monstrous bad guys, riiight?

C’mon, y’all. I don’t care if the movie was set in Fantasy Medieval England. I don’t care if it was set at the bottom of a bucket of white paint. Non-Caucasian people were not invented 40 years ago. They existed everywhere, and they did stuff. And even if they didn’t, they exist NOW, and a substantial number of them know how to act. GIVE [clap] THEM [clap] WORK [clap]. /End yelling.*

*…About this.**

**…For now.

<<<>>>

And that’s today’s review! What think ye? Have any of you seen this movie? Were you planning on it? (Are you now, since I did such a super fun job of hyping it up?) Any other fairy tale retelling films you wanna recommend, or warn me away from? Put it all in the comments! ‘Til next time, babes ~

In Which Will [Scarlet] Watches Movies, Has Opinions

Hello, beautiful people! Will Scarlet, here.

Why? As in, why me, instead of Danielle, whose web space this supposedly is? Because I have an idea for a blog series, that’s why! Nothing as off-the-wall as “Will and Allyn’s Interactive Theatre”, nor as titillating as “Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell”, but hopefully you’ll enjoy it just the same.

WHAMO Logo

I call it “WHAMO!”, which is basically “WWMHO!” – the acronym for “Will Watches Movies, Has Opinions” – but visually catchier.

That pretty much lays out the premise, right there. As for the “why” behind the idea, I’d say Outlaws of Avalon, Book 2, makes that fairly self-evident as well.

“You said we aren’t to allow ourselves to get too close to Outsiders anyway.”

“Yes, I did.” Will nodded. “I know I said that, and it’s very good advice. But, Allyn — she’s invited us to the movies!”

Allyn only looked at him.

“The mo-o-o-ovies!” Will reiterated. “[…]Big screen! Popcorn! 3D glasses, if we’re lucky! Do you have any idea how much or how long I’ve wanted to go to a movie? This is my dream, Allyn! You wouldn’t dance a merry jig all over the grave of your best friend Will Scarlet’s dream, would you?”

There you have it. I love movies. #ThatsCanon

So let’s kick off the series with a classic film I only saw for the first time this summer:

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

Breakfast at Tiffany's poster

The IMDb-Official Description:

A young New York socialite becomes interested in a young man who has moved into her apartment building, but her past threatens to get in the way.

From Paramount Pictures; directed by Blake Edwards; starring Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard.

Stream of Impressions (the highlights):

“ ‘Moon River’! I know that song! Not well enough to sing it without screwing up half the lyrics, but Danielle, didn’t the pianist play it on that river cruise through Europe? Such nostalgia!”

“Hello, Upstairs Asian Caricature Neighbor Guy. When was this movie made?* How much offensive racism should we brace for?”

*(Answer: 1961. Ren Faire huzzahs to anyone who happened to just know that.)

“Hello, Leading Man Neighbor! Aren’t you just Ken Doll cute. Allow me to stare at you with a little too much interest.”

“Milk in a martini glass. I mean, why not.”

“Hahahahaha, get a still frame of his face reacting to this woman! That is the face of realizing you’ve stepped into a Manic Pixie Girl’s movie and she don’t need no man to dream it.”

“THAT’S a hat! Hat approved! Hat coveted!”

“Your ‘decorator’, hmm? Suuure.”

“That was one sketchy weather report.”

“Heck yes, climb in his bedroom window and snuggle with him shirtless. It’s like you read my mind.”

“#PaulBaby *laughs for days*”

“This party scene is killing me in the best way…”

“Creeper alert! Wait … no? … I can’t tell if that’s even creepier or not. What year is it, again?”

“What a cute date day! What a cute couple! I ship it! I wonder when things will go wrong!”

“Aaaand there it is.”

“Fre-e-e-e-ed! Nooooo!”

“Lol, the prospect of prison. That’s always fun…”

“What?! You’re still gonna leave?! Aargh!”

“Ca-a-a-a-at! Nooooo! Seriously, you’re just upsetting Allyn, now!”

“Okay, good, Allyn’s okay now. Huzzah!”

More Coherently Summarized:

That was actually a pretty good movie! Y’never know with “classics” – (no offense, entire Robin Hood legend) – but I’d say this one held up pretty well. The leads had charm, the script was quirky and hilarious, the plot liked to twist away from the predictable formula of modern romantic comedies (which, don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on in the least. I love me some rom-coms. Just, you gotta admit there’s a mold).

Where are the POC?

Though comparatively unproblematic on the whole, for an older film, you gotta cringe a little at Upstairs Asian Caricature Neighbor Guy. No way they’d hang onto that in a modern remake. And, uh, apart from the Asian lady sipping metaphorical tea in the background during party drama and maybe one or two black people in a crowd scene, it was a whole lotta white in Technicolor.

Maybe Danielle doesn’t feel personally affronted by these things, but I’m her brother from another plane of reality, and I watched “Dear White People” on Netflix, so you better believe I try to stay woke.

<<<>>>

So yeah, I think that’s the review format I’ll run with! Whaddaya think, guys? Looking forward to the next installment of the blog series or nah? …It better not be nah, because I’ve got at least two more movies off the top of my head that I’ve recently watched and have opinions about, so this series is here to stay for at least that long. ;D ‘Til next time, babes ~