Saturday, 3 November 2012

Insert Quarters to Continue

Rabid Lit Major
Mood: Happy and chill.

Reading: "The Casual Vacancy", the new J.K. Rowling book. I've only just started, but it is truly excellent. The humor, (or should I say "humour"? Heehee.) is quite a bit more sophisticated than the Harry Potter books and is, of course, consummately British. I love it. However, no excerpt...I'm lazy and it's downstairs.

Watching: "The Secret World of Arrietty" Travis Windsor is hanging out with me today. He hasn't seen it yet. It's another brilliant contribution of Miyazaki's (of the Academy Award Winning "Spirited Away" fame.) It is based off of the fabulous children's classic "The Borrowers" and is actually one of the best interpretations I have ever seen. The attention Miyazaki's team of animators give to detail is staggering and incredibly impressive. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

NaNoWriMo progress: Slow. Mostly been brainstorming. I have a prologue now and the beginnings of the first chapter. Should make some progress today and hopefully have an impressive word count by my next blog post.

Okay! Let's get back into the swing of things! First, a little life update. I have my own computer now for the first time in almost three years. It is a beautiful little Macbook Pro and is my pride and joy. I have yet to find the perfect name for him yet...although I am leaning towards Bartholomew. This means that I now can talk to my boyfriend whenever I want! (Dearest Skype, Your contribution to Long Distance Relationships can not be over-valued.) Oh. And I guess I can blog again too. Moving right along...

Thursday night I made the trek out to Olathe, Kansas to see the film "Wreck it Ralph" (Props, by the way, to the Olathe AMC for being the closest theater showing it at midnight. I am so disappointed in my local theaters.) As you all know, I have a very obvious and obsessive love of Disney films. So it was entirely worth it to me to make the journey out to Kansas to view their newest contribution at midnight. Before I start talking about the film itself, I'd like to share a little observation I've made. Is it just me, or does it seem like children's films have slowly but surely surpassed the adult films in the box office in cleverness?

There are exceptions of course...Art house films and Academy Award contenders still make the attempt to be smart. However, most box office releases are big on effects and low on smarts. Even the "smart" ones seem to be a bit obvious. I've covered how "clever" movies often aren't in my posts about "Inception" and "Avatar". In the "Avatar" post I even pointed out how "Monster's Inc." covered the same topic with more grace and effectiveness. Now, I'm wondering why it is that so many animated films manage to convey their messages so effectively and I have a theory. Children's films have one very obvious restriction on them that adult films have.

They are for children.

 Now, that may seem obvious, but the consequences are not. My theory is that children's films are more clever because they have to work so hard to convey their ideas while keeping it accessible for children. If they need to make the movie scary, they can't rely on gore or violence. If they need to show romance, they can't have a sex scene. If they want to talk about a heavy topic, they have to make sure that children are getting the message without confusing them. Perhaps the mental exercise from working around these restrictions gives these writers the edge that makes the modern children's film so entertaining? Whatever it is, I find that more and more often most of the films I want to see are the ones specifically marketed to children.

Although I am looking forward to "Skyfall", "Les Miserables" and "The Hobbit" with breathless anticipation. ;)

As you can tell from my little rant..."Wreck-It Ralph" was brilliant. The jokes were amazing and I nearly cried multiple times. It tackled the feeling of being an outsider with such tender care. Everyone feels alone at some point in their lives, and by the end of the film I honestly felt like all of those painful memories were somehow alleviated. I think any kid who feels left out is going to come out of that film a happier child. Who could ask more than that? The movie is also incredibly fun and clever. If you have ever played a video game in your life you will spend the entire movie laughing hysterically. Even if you haven't, there are enough clever lines and absurd moments to keep you in stitches. (I'm trying desperately to avoid spoilers, but listen for the line "She was programmed with the most tragic backstory ever." and you will not be disappointed by the scene that follows. I'm laughing now just thinking about it.

You will laugh. Or else.

Also brilliant was the amazing animated short that preceded the film. "Paperman" was romantic, poignant, beautiful and intelligent while having no dialogue, no color and being (at most) five minutes long. See what I mean about restrictions adding to the story rather than subtracting?

I also have to give major props to Disney for a genius marketing campaign. Much like with the Pixar film "Brave" I went into the film thinking "I know exactly what the plot of this film is going to be because they released way too many clips before the film came out." In both cases I was pleasantly surprised. There is way more to the plot of these films than is revealed in the trailers...which considering that the trailers had enough meat to them to constitute a whole film plot, it's impressive that they really only revealed the set-up that occurs in the first 20 minutes or so. "Wreck-it Ralph" also featured one of the funniest sets of ads I have ever seen. They created three fake arcade advertisements featuring the three prominent video games from the film. I can't describe how fantastic these I'm just going to link to them. Suffice to say that the added dimension these give the world that Disney created is something to be admired and emulated by the rest of Hollywood. Take note producers: you should be horrified by how much more complex and realistic CARTOONS are than your films.


If Disney's impressive contributions of the past several years are any indication, we should be very excited for the new Star Wars movies. If their work with the Marvel franchise has shown us anything, it is that Disney is staffed with clever geeks who appreciate the works they are handling. If their work with "Wreck-It Ralph" has shown us anything, they will be the most cleverly written, emotionally true films we could hope for after the devastatingly awful prequel trilogy. It's sad to say, but I think the evidence shows with 100% certainty that Disney will treat the Original Trilogy with far more respect than George Lucas ever did. 

Well, that's the Rabid Lit Major, back for good and signing off for now. Turn off the computer and go see "Wreck-It Ralph". Seriously. Right now.


  1. 1. Call me when you finish Casual Vacancy for a bookchat.


  2. Huzzah, Huzzah! Huzzah! Cheers for the return of the RLM!