Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Frozen: A Review

I got to see Disney's Frozen a few days ago, and since I haven't been posting much lately (sorry, everyone!  Life got in the way...), I thought I'd write up a review sooner rather than later.
Let me see, where to start?  Oh yes, characters...(can you tell I'm a little scatterbrained lately?  This is what comes of too little sleep. *le sigh*)

Old Disney Frozen logo. Wowwwwwww look at how gorgeous it was!
This is the original logo for Frozen.  Isn't it pretty?
Okay.  First of all, there will be spoilers in this review.  If you haven't seen Frozen yet and don't wish to know what happens, don't read on.
Frozen centers around two sisters, Elsa and Anna, the princesses of Arendelle.  Elsa was born with ice powers, but when she nearly kills her sister by accident with them when they were little, she shuts herself away from pretty much all human contact.  Anna's memory of the incident has been erased, so she can't understand why Elsa has suddenly become so cold to her.  This continues until Elsa comes of age (at 21).  On her coronation day, her powers, uncontrolled, are revealed to everyone when she gets angry at her sister, and she flees the kingdom.  Anna, enlisting the help of an ice deliverer named Kristoff, sets off to find her and "make things right".

Elsa wasn't really the main character, but she was certainly a HUGE part of the movie.  I could definitely identify with her (in fact, I got her on nearly every single Frozen personality quizzes--and that never happens to me!  I also got a few Anna's and *cough* one Olaf, but that's beside the point.  Moving on...), and she managed to remain sympathetic and likeable throughout the film, although she could have easily been either annoying or evil.  Also, her ice powers (and all the animation, really) were GORGEOUS.  The entire "Let It Go" scene was simply amazing.

Anna was my favorite.  I'm nearly as awkward as she is, and to be honest, if I'd met Hans and he'd sung "Love Is An Open Door" with me, I probably would have fallen in love with him--although I'm pretty sure I wouldn't say yes to his proposal.  At least, not right away. :P
Anyways.  She was just so loving and open and sweet that I couldn't help liking her (plus I have a big weakness for self-sacrificial characters).  Her character development was also lovely; she changes throughout the film, but it's subtly enough that some of her actions still come as surprises, and by the end I admired her as well as thinking she was sweet.

I knew about the big twist with Hans before I saw this movie, but it still took me by surprise.  He was so nice throughout most of the movie that I found myself wishing he'd actually be what he appeared. *sigh*   His character was still believable, though.

Kristoff.  What do I think about Kristoff?  Well, he was nice, and strong, and courageous, and honorable...in short, I liked him a lot.  His reindeer's cute (although his habit of talking for Sven was kinda weird, IMO).  Oh, and his romance with Anna was gorgeous and believable, although they still should have gotten a duet.  Their kiss at the end was nearly as good, though. <3 nbsp="" p="">Olaf the Warm Hug Snowman (snowman!) had a very funny nose (like a unicorn!).
...Please tell me I wasn't the only one who thought that when I watched his first scene?
Um, anyways. ;)  He was cute.  I thought he'd be kind of dumb, because his appearances in the trailers, &c. were rather underwhelming, but he actually served as a welcome comic relief and his kind heart more than made up for any deficiency in brains. ;)

Wow, this post is long...I'll wrap it up soon, I promise.  The animation was amazing, and not just the snow, either.  The work that went into this, like Elsa's wisps of hair during "Let It Go" and the way the sun glanced off the ice just right, is very, VERY impressive.  Also, there were some little "easter eggs," which I thoroughly enjoyed spotting.  Rapunzel and Flynn getting a tiny cameo, Mickey Mouse in Oaken's Trading Post, and the painting from Tangled in "For the First Time In Forever" were the ones I noticed.
Do you see them? =)

Speaking of "For the First Time In Forever," the songs were all just amazing.  My favorite is probably FTFTIF (that looked like Owl's birthday message to Eeyore :P), but I liked every other piece of music in the movie except "Fixer-Upper".   And even that had a catchy tune.
In conclusion?  I really, really liked this movie.  Sure, there were some flaws, but the message and plot were strong, the characters were lovable, the music and animation were gorgeous, and it certainly didn't follow the typical Disney stereotype.  (Not that I especially mind the typical Disney Princess movie...but it was very refreshing to have familial love being the focus instead of romantic love.)  I can't wait for it to go on Broadway!

Oh, and as Frozen and Tangled are the most recent princess movies from Disney, they've been compared a lot.  My thoughts?  I couldn't decide between them for a long time, but after watching both within a week or so of each other, I decided that...*cough*IpreferTangledjustatinybit*cough*
Please don't kill me. ;)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Jane Austen Review Challenge: Mr. Darcy's Little Sister

Awhile ago, I received a recommendation from a friend about this book, and having a shortage of good reads on my list lately, I decided to try it.  It's a continuation of P&P, and it's about Georgiana Darcy and her life after Lizzy and Darcy's marriage.

I really, really liked Mr Darcy's Little Sister (by C. Allyn Pierson).  The characters were all true to JA's original, and although the book is quite long, it's also fast-paced and I was never bored.
Although Georgiana took center stage here, Lizzy and Darcy were also shown quite a bit, and the portrayal of their marriage was pretty amazing.  I've read several P&P 'sequels,' and this was the closest to what I thought their relationship would be like after the wedding and honeymoon.  They were absolutely adorable together, in the best way possible.  Another thing I was impressed by was Georgiana's development; she was much more confident and poised by the end, but it was made totally believable.  She could get a little annoying at times, to be honest, but it didn't seem out of character, and overall she was very sweet and likeable.  Her romance with--no, I'm not going to tell you that, that would be spoilers :P was so, so gorgeous; it was a big plot twist, but a slow one; you know, where it bursts on you, but when you look back over the book, you're amazed that you didn't see it coming.
Also--and this was the thing that attracted me to the book in the first place--, Sir Andrew got a cameo!!!  Cool, right?  I freaked out and went into hyper-fangirling mode for at least fifteen minutes when I read "his" chapter.  They even mention a "daring band of Englishmen"!  Sir Percy is never mentioned by name, but then, he never takes credit for his noble deeds, so it's understandable.  He's so heroic...*siiiiiigh*
Random picture of Percy and Marguerite, because they're just so romantic...

Okay.  Focus.  Back to the review...where was I?  Oh, yes. *grins*  Sir Andrew.  Actually, *SPOILERS* Caroline Bingley ended up marrying the Comte de Tournay.  They're perfect together. :P *END OF SPOILERS*
Lizzy and Georgiana had an amazing sisterly relationship.  Lizzy was a mentor of sorts, as well as being a major confidence-booster and fashion consultant, while Georgiana looked up to Lizzy and tried her best to emulate her, as well as using all her considerable influence in society to get Elizabeth accepted into the higher circles.

Pierson never tried to imitate JA's writing much, but she did keep the dialogue old-fashioned and as far as I can tell, it was historically accurate.
One thing I didn't like about this book was Kitty.  Not that she was made any different from the original book, she was just...never there.  She and Georgiana reportedly giggle together quite a bit, but she probably says three sentences in the entire novel.   She's mostly just used to get Georgiana out of the way, in my opinion, and she's kind of written off and never given a personality--but, well, forgive me for saying this, JA did the same thing.
I tend to be a bit of a purist about JA, but this book never annoyed me with inaccuracies (and Pierson even quoted bits of P&P in the dialogue, &c. several times, which was a huge plus for me), as well as being very well-written in general.  This was by far the most true-to-life "sequel" to P&P that I've ever read.  Overall, it was a highly enjoyable read and I recommend it to any Janeite, or even just a casual reader of her books. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Jane Austen Review Challenge: Sense and Sensibility

*Sigh*  This is days late.  My apologies.  Life has been quite hectic lately. ;)
Anyways.  Sense and Sensibility (hereafter known as S&S) was the first book on my list, and thus is the first to be reviewed.  Without further ado...
SS was the second Austen book I read, after Emma.  I was pretty favorably impressed by it, although it wasn't my favorite; it was too...dry, for my tastes.

On my second reading of it, I enjoyed it much more, and I realized, too, what an unusual story it was for Jane Austen.  I mean this in the best way possible, of course, but she doesn't usually write about Deep Dark Stuff and S&S is certainly not a book that you come away from thinking of cute fuzzy teddy bears and sparkly rainbows. :P

Anyways.  I read it a third time after that, just a quick read-through, and it became, oh, my third-favorite or so.  

So that's the background!  This was my fourth read of S&S, I really like it, the end.
...Haha, not. ;P

The first thing that was new for me was the introduction.  I don't usually read introductions, because I want to get to the story and all.  But I figured that I should probably do a complete reading of the book this time, so I started it from the very beginning.

It was...interesting.  Marianne was talked about a lot, and I realized something that somehow had completely slipped by me: namely, that she was really a character from a Melodramatic Novel put in the "real world," as it were.   She's still really fleshed out and sympathetic, however, which I think is a great testament to JA's writing, that someone with such romantic ideas could still be real.

With that in mind, I looked at some of her adventures in the book in a whole new light: mainly, her interactions with Colonel Brandon.  He's so, well, normal that he seems to be the last person she could ever marry, and yet, she does, because I think that she needs a normal person.  She needs someone who's respectable and practical and will moderate her romantic ideas.  Willoughby broke her heart, but even if he'd married her, their life wouldn't have been very happy, and I don't think Marianne's character would have improved at all.

Speaking of Colonel Brandon.  I think I "got" him this time!  Melody, in a post about Mr. Darcy, stated, "Something I’ve noticed about this hero is that you either “get it” or you don’t," and I think the same is true for Colonel Brandon.  His character just impressed me this time, by his patience and courtesy when dealing with Mrs. Jennings, &c., and his selfless love for Marianne.  I've always kind of written him off as a minor character and thought his marriage to Marianne too sudden at the end, but he was different somehow.  

The last thing that really made an impression on me this time was Elinor.  Most of you probably know that she's my favorite Austen heroine and I really admire her.  However, I found myself seeing more of her flaws, the main one being her excess of "sense".  This is probably a reaction to Marianne and her mother's excessive sensibility, but sometimes it seemed to me that Elinor was writing off all romantic ideas and not just the preposterous ones.  For example, when Marianne gets sick, Elinor just tells her to get some rest, convinced that it's pretty much in her imagination and not allowing that Marianne may actually be in danger.

So those were my thoughts on my fourth read-through!  Again, my apologies for the lateness of this post. :)
-Miss Jane Bennet