lunes, 17 de febrero de 2014

Quote by Walt Disney!

Circle of Life

Not only is The Lion King impressively accurate to Hamlet's story, but it is also one of the most visually stunning and greatest musical animated films of all time. I'll just leave Circle of Life here for you to cry happy tears.

sábado, 15 de febrero de 2014

The Lion King: Shakespeare vs Disney

With a moral base unlike most of the movies released at the time, The Lion King placed a children's facade on a very serious story of responsibility and revenge. The work that Disney's TLK parallels is none other than Hamlet, and the film shadows this work so closely, that parallels between the main characters themselves are wildly apparent.

In The Lion King, the role of the young prince whose father is murdered is played by a cub named Simba, whose naivete procures him more than his fair share of hardships and troubles. By the acts in the story alone, one can see that Simba is a direct representation of Shakespeare's Hamlet Jr., but not only that, each of them shares similar actions in the play. Interpretations if Simba's actions are as profound as Hamlet's, particularly of why Hamlet delayed in exacting vengeance for his father's death. Each of them runs from their responsibility, although inside themselves they know what must be done: Hamlet attempts to validate his suspicions while Simba hides from his past. 

Similarly, the characters of Hamlet Sr. and Mufasa bear a striking resemblance to one another, not only in their actions, but their meanings as well. Hamlet Sr., the once king of Denmark, ruled his kingdom in peace and prosperity, evident in the conversations in Act I, Scene I between Marcellus and Horatio about the creations of implements of war in Denmark under the new king, Claudius. Mufasa, too, ruled peacefully over the Pride Lands, only worrying about his son and his responsibilities. But, after their deaths, they each become more than the kings they once were. They become the heralds for thir sons, compelling them to avenge their deaths and take responsibility for what their uncles have done. Each deceased king approaches his son in the same way: via an apparition that gives a direct, if not opaque, monologue driving their princes to action, and each ghost leaves the interpretation of their messages open to their sons. Neither Hamlet Sr. or Mufasa tell their respective sons directly to destroy their murderers, although Hamlet Sr. does name the perpetrator directly, it is Hamlet that decides that action must be taken. It is this direct allusion of one major character with an integral part in advancing the work to another that helps solidify Shakespeare's influence as a writer of great literature.

But it isn't just the protagonists that allude to one another; the villians in both The Lion King and Hamlet can be directly and similarly compared to one another. Both Scar, from TLK and Claudius, from Hamlet, are brothers of the king, murder their sibling to ursurp the throne. It is not so much the characterizations of the characters in this instance than the actions that provide proof of how Shakespearean literature invokes writers today. Claudius, at first, appears satisfied by his deeds, enjoying the life of a king. Scar revels in his ill-gotten spoils as well, allowing his hyenas to hunt the Pride Lands to practical defoliation while he reclines in the pride's cave. Scar, like Claudius, grossly exploits his new-found power and drives his kingdom into war.

With the major characters in both works aside, the similarties between secondary characters in The Lion King and Hamlet are still quite striking. The insight of one work in another is so deep that The Lion King goes as far to allude Hamlet's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern with Timon and Pumbaa. A comparison here, if not the greatest comparison, is the fact that both pairs of characters in both works are provided as relief from the main focus of the stories. Timon and Pumbaa provide a welcome resort from his responisbilities and hauntings of his past by introducing him to the carefree life of "Hakuna Matata", while Rosencrantz and Guildenstern allow the audience to know that Prince Hamlet does enjoy a life outside of the royal house, mingling with fellow scholars-to-be and friends. However, Hamlet's friends are charged by his nemesis, Claudius, to bring Hamlet before the King on numerous occasions. There is no direct evidence that Timon and Pumbaa are in the employment of Scar, nevertheless, the sidekick pair in TLK provide a very similar function, whether they realize it or not. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are a constant reminder to Hamlet about the revenge that must be exacted upon Claudius by being messengers to the mournful prince whenever Claudius needs them to be.

Another secondary character to the protagonist and antagonist are the respeactive queens of each work, Sarabi from The Lion King and Gertrude from Hamlet: Prince of Denmark. Each of them are nearly complete mirror images of one another, each having the same place in the social hierarchy, equal amounts of power over their kingdoms, and emotional ties to the main protagonists of the stories. Sarabi is the Queen of Pride Rock, leader of the lionesses since the reign of King Mufasa. Although she is not the reason Scar usurped the throne from his brother, it is a near certainty that she has stayed on as Queen because she is quite adept at her duties. Gertrude, likewise, is adept at her duties as well, although they take on a quite different task than Sarabi. She is mainly for show, for Claudius to own and adorn with his newly gotten wealth. Both Sarabi and Gertrude are Queens, but both show little or now power over their subjects. Sarabi is nearly killed by Scar when she dares to question one of his decisions, which shows the place of the lionesses in the pride: pawns in Scar's quest for power. Any deviation from being simple huntresses results in pain, and perhaps death at the paws of Scar and his multitude of hyenas. Gertrude, too, never appears to order anyone, although she certainly has the capacity to do so. She, instead plays the weakened queen, doing as her husband bids her and plaintively bending to Claudius's will.

Although much of modern entertainment may look like new entertainment on the surface, if we probe deeply enough, we can find connections to some of the greatest literature of all time. Shakespeare is probably one of the most influential writers of all time, if not all time, and his greatest works, not limited to Hamlet: Prince of Denmark, are the basis of many stories written today. His plays are continuously redone and reperformed, his sonnets quoted in many a song and story, his histories the basis of many school lessons, and his influences are more than profound in many cases, and in the case of The Lion King, those influences are the basis of the story, not only of the main protagonist and antagonist, but of secondary characters as well. Modern entertainment may have lost much of its roots, but comparisons such as these may well prove the old axiom: "There is no new literature being written, only old literature, redone."


Beauty and the Beast: Perrault vs Disney

 Beauty and the Beast is actually pretty accurate, except for some uninteresting details (like how Belle's father used to be rich, but got himself into major debt). There is ONE unfortunate detail that the story DOES leave out. In the first believed version of the tale (by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve), Belle has two wicked sisters (lots of wicked family members in fairy tales, unfortunately). The Beast allows Belle to travel home, as long as she is only gone for a week. Her sisters are extremely jealous to hear about her luxurious life, and try to persuade Belle to stay with them longer than a week, in the hopes that the Beast will be infuriated with Belle and eat her alive upon her return. Yikes. 

viernes, 14 de febrero de 2014

Why read instead of watch?

THIS is th reason why at least I myself prefer to read a book than to watch a movie: you imagine the story, the world and the characters in your own way, instead of having it established by a movie.

The Little Mermaid: Andersen vs Disney

Hans Christian Andersen's classic tale is a 180 from the Disney film. Some parts align. She does see the prince from afar in his ship, and she does rescue him from drowning and fall in love with him. He doesn't see her. She does visit the sea witch who takes her tongue in exchange for legs (and she does do it because the little mermaid has an amazing voice).
The deal is the same: The mermaid can only remain a human if she finds true love's kiss and the prince falls in love with and marries her. However, the penalty in the movie is only that Ariel will turn back into a mermaid if she fails. In the story, she will DIE if she fails. Also, while the prince remains a main motivator, the mermaid in the story is also motivated because humans have eternal souls, and mermaids don't.The Disney movie leaves out that the penalty the mermaid pays for having legs: every single step she takes will feel like she is walking on sharp shards of glass. At first, it seems like the plan is working, but then the prince ends up marrying another, a woman he THINKS is the person who saved him (the mermaid can't exactly tell him the truth, since she can't talk). She is told that if she KILLS the prince, then she can simply turn back into a mermaid and doesn't have to die. She just can't do it, though. She throws herself into the sea, and turns into sea foam. How's that for a happy ending?

The Fault In Our Stars (Trailer)

I read the book on December, so I got really excited when I watched the trailer!
I will, of course, publish here my review on the movie and compare it to the book as soon as it comes out and I watch it. So far, what do you think of the trailer? In my opinion, as for now and judging just by the trailer, the movie will be very close to the book.

Quotes by Steven Spielberg!

jueves, 13 de febrero de 2014

The Jungle Book: Kipling vs Disney

A boy raised in the jungle by a loving wolf pack, who hangs out with a wise black panther and a bear who loves to sing and dance (besides caring for the kid as if he were his own son), and even BEATLE VULTURES, for God's sake! What could possibly go wrong? :D

The original "Jungle Book" was a short-story by Rudyard Kipling, a man with surprisingly little tolerance for anything resembling Disney magic.
In Kipling's version, when Mowgli decides to return to polite society, polite society isn't so certain it wants him back. The village Mowgli tries to return to in the short story re-banishes him to the wilderness, and the family that was kind enough to take him in gets tortured as sorcerers. 
In response, Mowgli recruits Hathi the Elephant for help. But the thing is, the book's Hathi isn't the cuddly, forgetful old Major of the film. 
No, he's a bloodthirsty, scarred old elephant who likes nothing more than seeking revenge on humans for an old wound he received in a spike pit. The "help" Mowgli gets from his old friend is in destroying the entire goddamned village. That's right. The lovable kid protagonist whose goofy antics you grew up laughing at recruits his elephant friend to, along with Bagheera and a bunch of wolves, storm in and raze the freaking village to the ground. 

All the houses get stomped into dust, supplies are destroyed, the wolves chase away the cattle and good old Bagheera kills the horses. Damn, we're thinking this franchise is due for a gritty reboot.

Rather tragic, isn't it? Well, I strongly recommend you look up the original story. Why? Well, this is what I found in this website. If you miss the book, you'll surely be missing out on an exceptional novel that reflects and criticizes humanity itself:

Relationships and events related in The Jungle Book are important to any human being, including adult men and women, with or without families. While the tales can be read, or children may listen to them from an older reader, these stories need to be re-read later, in high school, and again in later adult life. They are enjoyable in every subsequent reading and the longer one lives, the broader is the frame of reference one has against which to draw the stories into perspective. 

The Kipling stories offer a marked perspective of a reminder of human origins and history as well as animal. As the Native American and other Indigenous Peoples often state: All are related under one sky. A reading of The Jungle Book at age 90 will reach several more levels of meaning than a childhood reading and both are just as brilliant an experience. The stories can be shared inter-generationally, with interpretations shared by all. The book is a group of stories that are actually quite good for “Grandparents in the School” types of family literacy programs of the current day.

Pinocchio: Collodi vs Disney

Just look at Disney's Pinocchio's lovely face. I mean, just look at him! It is incredible how much Disney altered this story. A lot of people have already told me they already find Disney's Pinocchio creepy (even I when I was little, although I liked the movie I also got scared at times), now let's see why it turned out that way, no matter how much rainbows and smiles Disney tried to add to it (Listverse info this time):

In the very first version of Pinocchio, the marionette is punished by death for being such a naughty boy. Pinocchio teases Gepetto mercilessly and runs away, Gepetto chases him but is caught by a police officer who throws the old man in prison, believing he is abusing the puppet. When Pinocchio returns to Gepetto’s house he meets a hundred year old cricket who tells him naughty boys turn into donkeys. Pinocchio throws a hammer at the cricket and kills it. 
Pinocchio ends up nearly getting burned as fire wood, he then bites off an evil cat’s paw and meets a beautiful blue haired fairy who tells him she is dead and waiting for people to take her body away. Pinocchio then gets hung from a tree by the cat with the mutilated paw and the cat’s companion the fox, and they watch as Pinocchio suffocates to death. The End. 
The editors weren’t too happy with this ending, so the author added a second part to the story. Here, the beautiful dead fairy rescues Pinocchio and they start living together, but Pinocchio takes up his wicked ways again and eventually turns into a donkey. He is sold to the circus, where he goes lame.
Pinocchio is then brought by a musician, who desires to kill him, skin him, and turn him into a drumhead. The musician ties rocks to the donkey’s neck and lowers him into the ocean to drown. As he drowns, fish eat the flesh off his bones, and the wooden marionette skeleton is left. Pinocchio swims away, but is swallowed by a giant shark, in whose stomach he finds Gepetto sitting at a table trying to eat live fish which keep wriggling out of his mouth. After they escape, Pinocchio busies himself with caring for Gepetto, and eventually as a reward for being a good lad, looking after his father and working hard, he is rewarded by being turned into a real boy.

I won't tell you your childhood is ruined this time because you should have seen it coming. Disney wins this one, simply for sanity's sake.

Once Upon A Dream…

To make up for your Sleeping Beauty ruined childhood, I wanted to share this with you: Once Upon a Dream, from Disney's Sleeping Beauty, both the original song from the movie (although it's a stupid way of falling in love, it's still a lovely movie scene), and Emily Osment's version from 2008. Enjoy! :D

Sleeping Beauty: Perrault vs Disney

Another classic! This time from Charles Perrault, whose stories are well known, but the poor guy just seems to be invisible for the rest of the world population, unlike brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen.

Another Disney classic that we all (at least most of us girls) enjoyed deeply. I really liked the scene in which prince Phillip goes and fights for the princess. In fact, his heroic deeds make him the FIRST Disney prince to do anything "princely" beside just looking good and marrying the princess. Also, have you noticed he's the first Disney prince who actually had a NAME? Poor Snow White and Cinderella princes. I guess we'll just keep calling them both "Prince" for the rest of eternity.

Anyway, this is what actually happened in Perrault's tale (which happens to actually be Giambattista Basile's tale… poor guy, not even I knew of his existence until I just researched!):

In Giambattista Basile's tale (which is the actual origin of the Sleeping Beauty story), a king happens to walk by Sleeping Beauty's castle and knock on the door. When no one answers, he climbs up a ladder through a window. He finds the princess, and calls to her, but as she is unconscious, she does not wake up. Well, dear reader, he carries her to the bed and rapes her. Then he just leaves. She awakens after she gives birth because one of her twins sucks the flax (from the spindle) out of her finger. The king comes back, and despite him having raped her, they end up falling in love? However, another big problem: the king is still married to someone else. His wife finds out and not only tries to have the twins killed, cooked, and fed to the king, but also tries to burn the princess at the stake. Luckily, she is unsuccessful. The king and the princess get married and live happily ever after (despite the fact that he raped her). Perrault's adaptation of Basile's updated adaptation of the story (a much tamer version) is probably what was used for the Disney adaptation, as they are much more similar.

…yeah, that is your actual Sleeping Beauty story. A lot worse than the original Snow White or Cinderella. As it said before, there are more decent versions which are most likely the ones that were used for the Disney film. Conclusion: unless you are some kind of mentally ill or perverted person, you'll agree with me that the Disney version is undeniably better. WAY better. And I'll also keep Disney's prince Phillip, thank you very much.

(Credit goes to Huffington Post again!)

miércoles, 12 de febrero de 2014

Cinderella: Grimm vs Disney

Cinderella was my favorite Disney princess when I was little, and it was obviously a part of my childhood –and of your childhood too, admit it. Disney stroke again sugarcoating another wicked story by the brothers Grimm. We all know what happens in sweet Disney's version, but what is the TRUE story, the one the Grimms first wrote? I consulted with my dear friend Huffington Post again, this is what I found:

 In the Brothers Grimm version, one of Cinderella's evil stepsisters cuts off her toes, and the other her heel so they can both fit into the tiny glass slipper. The prince is notified by little doves that there is blood on the shoe, and finally discovers that the true owner is Cinderella. Once the stepsisters realize that they should try to win favor with Cinderella (after all, she will be queen), they attend her wedding, only to have their eyes pecked out by birds. Did they deserve it? I'll let you decide, reader.
SOME OTHER SIDENOTES ON THIS STORY: Cinderella doesn't have a fairy godmother. Rather, she plants a tree by her mother's grave and prays under it every day. She finds her dresses to wear to each ball under the tree (there are three in the story, not one like in the movie). She is still helped by animals, though specifically birds, not mice. Also, she doesn't just lose her shoe because she is in a rush. The clever prince covers the steps in pitch to make her stick to them, but she only loses a shoe in the process.

This will sound terrible from me, but it really wouldn't have bothered me if Cinderella's stepsisters had actually cut off their toes in the Disney movie –not even when I was a kid. But now, unlike me at that age, most children are really sensitive, so it would have been a terrible mistake. Still, Disney managed to capture us with another enchanted fairytale. As I just mentioned, I wouldn't have minded if they had kept it the original way even 

though it is a Disney movie. What do you think of it?
(PS. I especially insist on the original story because of the prince's cleverness in the original story… why did Disney make him such a dull character in the movie!?)

Snow White: Grimm vs Disney

Admit it: Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was a huge part of your childhood. If you're a girl, you watched it because of Snow White and the prince. If you're a boy, you thought the dwarfs were the best characters in the whole movie. Personally, I loved the whole story. Even though it's silly how the prince just comes out of nowhere the two times he appears in the whole movie (the first time to tell her through a song how much he loves her, the second to carry her away to his castle), we love it because it appeals to our emotions and it makes us genuinely happy to see Snow White finally get her happy ending, despite the fact that she did nothing herself to achieve it, really.

HOWEVER, this was Disney's first animated movie ever and they decided to adapt it from a fairytale, and a very famous one at that. The original Snow White story was written by the Brothers Grimm, and it was far from the sweetness that Disney added to it in their film version.

There are many different published versions of this story. Here I'll post the one I found in this site:
In the Brothers Grimm version, the evil queen stepmother asks a hunter to take Snow White into the forest and kill her (this also happens in the Disney movie). However, in the story, she asks him to also bring her back Snow White's heart and liver. He can't kill Snow White, and so brings back a boar's heart and liver as well. The queen eats the heart and liver, believing them to be Snow White's. Yuck. In the book, the queen tries twice unsuccessfully to kill Snow White. The third time, when the queen gives her the apple (just like in the movie), Snow White faints and can't be revived. She is placed in a glass coffin. A prince comes and wants to take her away (even though she is still asleep, which is pretty weird). The dwarves hesitantly allow it, and while she is being carried, the carriers trip, causing the poisoned apple to become dislodged from Snow White's throat. She and the prince, of course, get married. The evil queen is invited. As a punishment, she is forced to wear burning-hot iron shoes and dance until she drops dead.

 So, in the end, should you watch the movie or read the book? Honestly, in my opinion, Disney did not just make a beautiful work of animation on their movie, but they also made the story a lot more relatable (as in "do something to your feelings") and enjoyable. Still, the remake will never be the same as the original. So it all depends on how you feel in the moment, however, my guess is most people will always go for the more appealing version of the story, no matter how far it is from the original tale.

miércoles, 5 de febrero de 2014

Coming up next: Snow White, the folk German tale written by the brothers Grimm, vs Walt Disney Pictures' classic, beloved, and sugarcoated adaptation, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.