What a long time it’s been, dear blog. Well, not really, but in internet-time it’s been an eon since I last posted. What have I been up to? Not much, actually. I’ve thought about posting several times, but then when the time is nigh, I end up just playing Ghosts of Mistwood on Facebook. Sorry about that.
Dad’s birthday was lovely, though we didn’t do any of the outdoor activities due to inclement weather (or rather the threat of it). Instead we went to the cinema and watched Man of Steel and Epic. I had long reviews in mind, but now I no longer feel like it. In short: Man of Steel was decent. It really amped up the sci-fi aspect of Superman, which was cool and unexpected. However, it lacked emotional depth in favor of loooooong action sequences. As my older sister said, “It was like he rescued Lois Lane just because, I dunno, she was there, I suppose it’s expected, not due to any emotional bond between them.” Henry Cavill is quite striking, and he did a good job with what he had to work with. But he’s no Christopher Reeve. The whole film was much colder, much less charming than the beloved Reeve films, in my opinion. And it felt like they invented extra ways to utilize Russell Crowe that felt extraneous and unnecessary. I guess they really wanted to make the most out of that Oscar paycheck they had to fork over. Overall, I’d still go see a sequel, but my expectations are notably lowered for this new incarnation of the franchise.
Oh Christopher Reeve, how I love thee. Now I really want to go watch Somewhere In Time…but I digress.
Epic was kind of like an amalgamation of Ferngully, The Spiderwick Chronicles, and Honey I Shrunk The Kids. It had a lot of good things going for it. The voice cast was great, with Colin Farrell especially impressing me. The story was simple yet entertaining. And Queen Tara was thankfully not the “traditional” helpless princess-type. She was bold and daring (a growing trend with animated female characters, and a good one, with Brave being the most recent example) but even more striking is the fact that she was (gasp!) a person of color. I dearly love the genre of fantasy, but damn, is it ever lacking in diversity. It’s like the media thinks that only white people like to go on magical adventures to strange lands. Not cool, media, and very much not true.
Not only are the fantasy films and television series themselves whitewashed, but people of color get shit for daring to cosplay white characters. (Ditto for fat folks cosplaying skinny characters.) Now, I’m totally for cosplaying a character that you love no matter what color your skin is, how old you are, or what shape your body is. But wouldn’t it be super cool to actually have a range of options? Characters who aren’t all thin, white, and able-bodied? Crazy thought, I know. But not every black girl wants to be Princess Tiana, and not every fat girl wants to be Princess Fiona. (I am one of those fat girls. No disrespect to Fiona, who is a decent character. But she’s far from my favorite, and there’s no way in hell I’m spending my precious time and money putting together a cosplay of her just because she’s the ONE fat female fantasy character of note.) Epic actually has a main character who is a person of color, which is awesome and notable. Sure, she still looks like a Barbie doll, but hey, it’s progress. I look forward to the day when characters of color and multiple sizes and genders and able-ness and sexualities are no longer anomalies but rather all part of the large and glorious tapestry that is the fantasy genre. (And to reiterate, even if/when the great wave of diversity descends, you should still cosplay whomever the fuck you want to, real life characteristics be damned. It’s called fantasy, people, not reality. Go get immersed in the love of your fandom!)
However, as much progress as Epic displays with Queen Tara, it takes a step backwards in terms of eradicating sexism. Aziz Ansari voices a slug named Mub, and in typical Aziz fashion, his dialogue is peppered with “hey, baby” pick-up lines aimed at the young female protagonist, a human girl named Mary Katherine (voiced by Amanda Seyfried). That sort of thing works well on Parks & Rec, because there the lines are aimed at adult women who clearly understand that Tom (Aziz’s character) is pathetic in terms of his machismo posturing and incessant come-ons. However, in this film his lines are aimed at a 17 year-old girl, and they go by unchallenged. If he was seen as an adult human saying these things to an uncomfortable teenager, it would immediately be understood as creepy and predatory. Instead he is a slug, which is supposed to make it funny, but rather it plays as strange and off-putting. True, he could technically be a teenage slug, but this distinction is never made, and even if he is, continuing to make sexual advances toward someone who is clearly uninterested and uncomfortable is shitty no matter what age you are. At worst this behavior played on the big screen for laughs normalizes the street harassment that women of all ages endure on a daily basis. At best, it’s boring, predictable, and decidedly unfunny.
Overall, Epic was worth the viewing, though it’s not going to be my new favorite animated fantasy film. There were good things, there were bad things, and there were things that were just “meh” about it.
Ha, so much for no long movie reviews. I was going to write more, but it’s Saturday night, which means time for me to get my Game of Thrones on. I’ve decided to try to fill in the gaping holes in my geekdom before Dragon*Con this year, starting with Game of Thrones (which I probably should have been watching from the beginning, but when it first aired I wasn’t really feeling high fantasy; urban fantasy is my go-to jam). I’m only on episode 4 of the first season, but I’m really enjoying it. I can’t wait for the Khaleesi to off her shitty brother. I know it’s coming, and hopefully it will be epic. That dude is a dickweed of the highest order.
Tah for now, internets. And remember, winter is coming! (So glad I finally get that reference.)
P.S. Awesome image above from the awesome Feminist Disney Tumblr, which is awesome.