Princess Mononoke Review; Kodama are the Greatest Things Ever

Princess Mononoke picture image

Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke it was made but Studio Ghibli. It was released in Japan on July 12th, 1997 and was the highest grossing movie till Titanic. It was released in the United States on October 29th, 1999 by our old friends at Miramax. It didn’t do well at the American box-office but did well on DVD. Princess Mononoke pretty much introduced the west to Studio Ghibli.

Princess Mononoke has made my life slightly annoying as one of my favorite anime is called Mononoke and has nothing to do with with Princess Mononoke. Mononoke literally means Strange things. Mononoke can be used instead of the word youkai, which mean ghosts or supernatural things like monsters and spirits. You can also get the OVA it was based off of, Ayakashi – Samurai Horror Tales, Vol. 3 – Goblin Cat, it’s so awesome.

Anyway, I watched this in Japanese with subtitles.

San and Ashitaka Princess Mononoke picture image

San and Ashitaka

Princess Mononoke follows Ashitaka, an Emishi Prince who travels west to the Forest of the Deer God to cure his curse that he got from a boar god who was corrupted by hate. The curse will eventually kill Ashitaka but does make him stronger, like he can take off people’s heads with single arrow.

Once he reaches the Forest he sees that there is the conflict between the Gods of the Forests and the people of the Ironworks, who are cutting down the tree in the Forest and the Mountain. On the side the god is San, the adoptive human daughter of the wolf God, Moro. San is Princess Mononoke.

On the ironwork side is Lady Eboshi, who employs women who once worked as prostitutes and leapers to work her guns.

Thing come to a head (pardon the pun) when a group of mercenarys try to take the Deer God’s head which supposedly grants immortality as the Deer-God is life itself.

Ashitaka rising of his Curse Princess Mononoke picture image

Ashitaka rising of his Curse

Much like Fergully, Princess Mononoke is an environmental movie about man vs nature. Unlike Ferngully, Princess Mononoke’s character are all shades of gray. Lady Eboshi is painted as the antagonist but she cares for women and leapers. The Gods are just as susceptible to anger and rage which when it consume them unleashes corruption which is what cursed Ashitaka in the first place and can kill people. Ashitaka is painted as the good guy but he sees both sides but he leans more on the God’s side than than with the humans. Ashitaka is also interesting in that his neutrality is that he is an outsider.

Ashitaka and Yakul  Princess Mononoke picture image

Ashitaka and Yakul

Princess Mononoke is a very sophisticated movie that is steeped in Japanese Culture, so much so that I can’t possible put in all in here. But it gives the environmental message a lot more weight than a made up mythos. The film never really explains thing like the political environment is bog down exposition but you get a sense of the turmoil. It also doesn’t really explain what the Gods are but you understand them on a basic level. This just lets the view be immersed in the world of the story. I had heard that the English version explains stuff and has more exposition.

San Princess Mononoke picture image

San

We discussed some of the major characters but let’s talk about San, our Princess. She is very different than every other Princess. She is was raise by wolves so she is unrefined and tough but by no means unkind. She really wants to kill Eboshi as she destroying her Forest and she will risk her life for to achieve that goal. She is the flip side of Eboshi. Where Eboshi is cool and tactical, San is wild and implosive.

San is a very adept fight as she is both vert fast and strong. She has no interest in human and she openly rejects it. She does like Ashitaka enough but no enough to go off with him at end.

The Deer God Princess Mononoke picture image

The Deer God Footstep

As is standard with Miyazaki’s movies, the animation is gorgeous. I really enjoy the animation on the Deer-God especially with his footsteps. The music is also lovely and during the slower point the film is very calming.

Lady Eboshi with the Deer God's Head Princess Mononoke picture image

Lady Eboshi with the Deer God’s Head

I would say the only issue I have with Princess Mononoke is the ending felt rushed and bit contrived. It’s like the need additional conflict in the narration since the Gods and Human were at a stalemate so that is why we have the Deer-God head and the mercenaries. Apparently the storyboard for the ending were only finished a few months before the film’s premiere, so it makes sense.

Kodama Princesss Mononoke picture image

Kodama

Princess Mononoke is really a stunning movie with great visuals and great characters. The ending is a little forced but you are so caught up in the world that you don’t really notice. The Tree Spirits or the Kodama are so awesome with their clicking head!

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Pumpkin Spice Froll-Os

October this year is all about Pumpkin Spice in EVERYTHING! Soon your tires will have that warm Pumpkin-spice Smell.

So to capitalize of this trend Quasi-Brand Cereal has released Pumpkin Spice Froll-Os cereal. With Shiny Bells, Lively Tamabourines, Lusty Flames, Stoney Gargoyles, Majestic Notre Dames and Sparkly Gold Coins Marshmallows!

Pumpkin Spice Frollo Froll-Os hunchback Notre dame cereal

Pumpkin Spice Froll-Os

There Lustfully Delicious.

Be Honest, Who wishes this was real?

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1986 Character Design; Shaggy is that You?

Esmeralda 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

1986 Esmeralda

The character design in the 1986 version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame looks like Scooby Doo knock-off, we all know it and we all think it.

Scooby Doo Characters picture image

Scooby Doo Characters

They have the same basic look with the same black soulless eyes that are the same basic shapes as the Scooby Doo Characters. Esmeralda has Daphne-like eyes and everyone has the same shape But why is that? Did Scooby Doo and this version of the Hunchback have the same person in common? That was my thought because they look too damn similar but no, they don’t have anyone in common.

Gringoire 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

Gringoire

Scooby Doo was done by Hanna Barbera and started in 1969. The 1986 version of Hunchback was done by Burbank Films Australia. The animation directors were Warwick Gilbert and Geoff Collins. Both of them have worked for Disney, Gilbert worked on some the TV shows and the sequel movies (shudders) and Collins does timing stuff including the timing on the Disney Version of Hunchback. So they are not to blame for the look. The story broad artist was Richard Slapczynski but again he doesn’t seem like he was reasonable for the Scooby look. I can’t find some one to blame but it’s not a question of who but what.

Esmeralda and Gringoire 1986 the Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda and Gringoire

Burbank Films Australia is to blame! They began in 1982 and they just made TV movies and directed-to-video animated movies based on classic literature and stories. 1986 was a busy year from them as the churned out seven movies that year, Hunchback was their second of the year after The Three Musketeers. Also this movie debuted on TV. They clearly made their films as quickly as they could so the animation and character design suffered a lot not to mention the story and script, this is making sense now. The style may have been influenced by Scooby Doo as it’s very popular but it was probably for more for efficiency sake than artistic intent.

Quasimodo 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

1986 Quasimodo

As it stands the character design is bland and uninspired. They look very simple and anything interesting about them is just baffling, like Frollo in red. Why? Much like their personalities their looks are watered down and boring.

I will give it a little credit, they make the character look like the character they are depicting. It’s not a great compliment, but Esmeralda and Phoebus are pretty, Gingoire looks like a hapless wimp, Frollo is austere if still in red, Quasimodo has a kindly expression and Clopin fits the part, remember in the Jetlag version when Clopin looked like a monster. It’s a small thing that the design for the characters but in this sort of movie made by company that just spat out movies one after after another, it’s something but then again you except characters to look the original characters so it’s really not much of a compliment.

 Clopin with thin legged extras 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

Clopin with thin legged extras

And when you really compare Scooby Doo and this version, the similarities are only in  the eyes and faces. The Scooby Doo characters have more variety of shapes to their bodies. The characters in the 1986 Hunchback have thin stick-legs legs and larger torso. There is some variation but that is pretty much the going look of the characters.

Frollo 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

Frollo

If Burbank Films Australia put more time into the execution of the character designs it would have been so much better then again if they had tried in any aspect of the film it would have been better and we would have had a great animated adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame instead just the simple utilitarian version that this movie is.

Next Time – The Animation……….. -_-

Esmeralda Dancing 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda Dancing

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Project Re-Read Book 11, Chapters 2-4 (END)

Book 11, Chapter 2, La Creature Bella Bianco Vestita

The Death of Esmeralda (Alessandra Ferrari), World Tour Cast Notre Dame de Paris, Crocus City picture image

The Death of Esmeralda (Alessandra Ferrari), World Tour Cast Notre Dame de Paris, Crocus City

We have two deaths in this chapter, Frollo and Esmeralda. Poor Esmeralda is hanged right in front of Frollo and Quasimodo. Frollo gives out a terrible laugh and Quasimodo pushes him off of Notre Dame. Frollo clings to a gutter, much like the Disney version, but he falls and lands on a roof. He finally dies when he fall of the roof and on to the pavement. The sight of Esmeralda and Frollo both dead it too much for Quasimodo and he utters “ Oh, all that I ever loved.”

 

The 1956 almost got it but it cuts to Monfaucon before the tragic line can be uttered. The 1977 version does play out this scene well to a point but it’s ruined with Gringoire being like “yay, I’m alive” and people dancing around while Esmeralda’s body swings on the gibblet and Frollo’s corpse litters the pavement. Notre Dame de Paris does this scene really well even thought the line isn’t said  but the emotional impact more than makes up for it.

 

Book 11, Chapter 3, Marriage of Phoebus

Lilly-Jane Young as Fleur de Lys & Stephen Webb as Phobus, Notre Dame de Paris Asian Tour picture image

Lilly-Jane Young as Fleur de Lys & Stephen Webb as Phobus, Notre Dame de Paris Asian Tour

This chapter give us closure on Gringoire and Phoebus. Gringoire saved Djali and wrote tragedies so he has a “punny” tragic ending. Phoebus wasn’t so lucky he got a tragic ending too but he got married. Victor Hugo at the time he wrote The Hunchback was unhappy in his marriage. After the birth of his youngest daughter, Adele, his wife ended their intimate relationship as she had a lover. Hugo also had a lover but he was he down on the institution.

The 1977 stupid dance at the end is actually Phoebus’ wedding and in Notre Dame de Paris Phoebus and Fleur de Lys exchange a look that indicates they are heading for marriage, so this chapter have been referred to in these versions.

 

Book 11, Chapter 4, Marriage of Quasimodo

Garou as Quasimodo & Helene Segara Danse mon Esmeralda, Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Danse Mon Esmeralda, Notre Dame de Paris

This chapter always leaves me with a tear in my eye, it’s so bittersweet. After Esmeralda’s death Quasimodo disappears from Notre Dame. Roughly two years later at Monfaucon two skeletons are found in embrace one is Esmeralda and the other is Quasimodo. Quasimodo had sneaked in and laid down beside Esmeralda and died. As Quasimodo’s remains do not belong there, the men try to remove them but they crumbling to dust. Quasimodo crumbling to dust and erasing his existent from the Earth bring the them of Ananke full -circle.

So sad and quite lovely. One version has done this scene pretty much while another just hints at it. The one that did it was 1956 version, though we are just told about the the Quasimodo turning to dust. Instead we just see him settle down next to Esmeralda. It was done well. But Notre Dame de Paris which hints at it does this scene amazingly well. It because the song, Danse Mon Esmeralda, is so full of emotional impact that the tears just flow. It’s so sad …………….

We’re done, next week some final thoughts.

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The Thief And The Cobbler Review: This Movie is Obsessed with Balls

The Thief And The Cobbler picture image

The Thief And The Cobbler

Before we discuss The Thief And The Cobbler we need to discuss the Thief and the Cobbler. This was to be Richard Williams’ masterpiece. Richard Williams is most known for the animation on Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He started The Thief And The Cobbler in 1964 and it was released 1995. Williams spent his own money to make the movie. There is actually a few versions of this kicking around. There the original version, entitled The Thief And The Cobbler, there is the Allied Filmmakers version called The Princess and the Cobbler and then there is the Miramax version called Arabian Knight, which is technically the version I’m reviewing though it exists under the name The Thief And The Cobbler.

Confused yet? Wait there is more, there is also versions of the film that feature unfinished parts which shows it as Williams intended it, these versions are the WorkPrint version and The ReCobbled Cut.

So the version that I suffered through for this review is the 1995 Miramax Arabian Knight version which is a soul-crushing ass of a film.

Tack and ZigZag The Thief And The Cobbler picture image

Tack and ZigZag

There is the this city which they call Baghdad, and it’s protected by three golden balls against King One-Eye. Just get used to the words balls and giggle accordingly. There is also exposition on Arabian Knights and stars and stuff. Our narrator is Tack, a cobbler and there is also a thief who’s internal monologue will never shut-up ever. The Thief isn’t a thief so much as a kleptomaniac but thief is a shorter word. The Thief tries to steal from Tack and that leads to Tack to getting trouble with ZigZag, the Jafar of this story.

We are then introduced to Yum-Yum who is the Princess and guess what! There is more to her than beauty and she wants more out life than her royal life. BITCH, DO CHARITY WORK! Zigazag arrests Tack and brings him before King Nod and Princess Yum-Yum. Yum-Yum takes a liking to Tack and breaks her shoe to spare him from ZigZag’s wrath. We then learn that ZigZag plans to marry Yum-Yum so he can rule the city. Which is the plan for every bad guy in children movies with an Arabian setting, marry the girl and then rule, heck that was the plan from The Swan Princess which we looked at last week. Oh well classics tropes and whatnot.

We then see Yum-Yum and Tack hanging before Yum-Yum takes her bath. As that is happening the Thief sneaks in to the palace looking for stuff to steal. The Thief steals Yum-Yum’s back scratcher and then runs into Tack and steals her shoe. Tack chases the Thief and is once again is arrested by ZigZag and puts him into a cell. Then queue the bland love you missing you song from Tack and Yum-Yum. After knowing each other maybe 20 minutes they love each other but then again they are so bland that they know everything about each other already.

The next day Tack escapes the cell as the Thief steals the Golden Balls. As that is happening the King, Yum-Yum and Zigzag learn that King One-Eye is going to attack. They then see the balls are gone and ZigZag manages to take the balls back from the Thief and tries to uses them as leverage to marry Yum-Yum which doesn’t work so ZigZag decides to give the Balls to King One-Eye. Hehehehhehe, Balls

Team good-guys learns about a good witch in the desert who might be able to help them, The Good Witch is King One-Eye’s Twin sister. Yum-Yum thinks she should go because she is smarter and faster than everyone else ever, in the history in the universe. She picks Tack to be her guide because likes him.

As they leave for the desert, the Thief follows. Why? Who knows? The Plot? They then meet brigands and they find the witch with little effort. She gives them vague advice mainly Attack or A Tack, get it? Ha! So clever. ZigZag convinces One-Eye to left him join their side if he can have Yum-Yum and he surrenders the balls. Hehehehhehe, Balls

Tack pretty much single-handedly defects the One-Eye with a Tack, ZigZag is eaten by crocodiles and his vulture Fido (Fido also never shuts-up), the Thief gives the balls back to the King and Yum-Yum and Tack get married. Yay, I so don’t give a shit.

Princess Yum-Yum and Tack The Thief And The Cobblerpicture image

Princess Yum-Yum and Tack

This movie is a huge septic mess. The characters are just beyond weak, the story is laughable to the point of madness, William’s animation is lovely but the filler animation is the excrement of lesser animation. Really, it’s kind of fun and sad to spot the difference between the two even in a single scene.

The Thief, Tack and ZigZag The Thief And The Cobbler picture image

The Thief, Tack and ZigZag

Watching the ReCobbled cut, I would say that the idea of the movie was not a character driven as the titulars characters are pretty much silent. However that is not the case in this version as the once silent characters never shut-up, like ever. Well strictly speaking they think their lines. The Thief’s brain never stops with the pop reference which so, so annoying. The voice also doesn’t suit him. Tack is just as annoying but Tack sometimes says stuff.

The intention with Tack is he is supposed to be shy and then he turns into a hero but whatever character arc he is supposed to have is really weak pretty much non-existent. One could argue that the Thief giving the balls back could be a character arc but it’s not because he continues stealing. No character has an arc in this movie. Do movies need to have characters that have arcs? No they don’t but arcs do add interest. If the movie was as Williams has intended it to be where the movie was surreal artistic animated fantasy movie where the animation is star it wouldn’t matter but here in this version it does as that was the idea. But then again this movie was a lazy attempt to rip off Aladdin so who real cares about good character development.

ZigZag is Disney’s Jafar but with Vincent Price’s voice in rhyme. He is not remotely interesting. The most that can be said in his favor is Vincent Price.

The brigands were just awful, I hated every second of them on screen. Mainly because they are so dumb that they need to consult a book that tells them to attack but in like 5 seconds they forget that at least one of them can read. Fucking useless waste of paper.

Princess Yum-Yum The Thief And The Cobbler picture image

Princess Yum-Yum

Then we have our darling Princess Yum-Yum. Yum-Yum like pretty much every other Princess as she wants vague more-ness from life.

I will give her some credit, she does not have a self-esteem problem at all. She knows she is pretty, smart and fast, even though she doesn’t do anything that exhibits though traits beside being pretty which one can see. She doesn’t do anything really. She goes after the witch just prove her awesomeness to her father. She does managed to get away from ZigZag but she doesn’t really contribute to the final show-down. She’s bland pure and simple.

Princess Yum-Yum The Thief And The Cobbler picture image

Princess Yum-Yum

I have talked a little bit the animation and the songs. The trippy animation of Williams’ is wonderful and the trippy surreal-ness of the movie is the highlight. The crappy filler animation is awful.

Every single song in this movie is shit. They are all lazy and tedious. They were all added by Miramax.  The song that was sung by the brigands made me want to chop my ears off. Then after that song the Thief compared it to Le Mis. The Fuck? Really, most of the Thief’s references are weird. I mean he references Mel Torme because kids know Le Mis and Mel Torme? But yes, the songs are mouth diarrhea. I have no positives.

Tack The Thief And The Cobbler picture image

Tack

The Thief And The Cobbler or Arabian Knight or whatever you want it call is a hot crap of a mess. It has no identity, it tries to to be Disney with the surrealism of Williams’ animation and the two do not mesh together.

Clearly Miramax completed it to cash in on Aladdin. It’s ashamed that Williams’ animation is basis for the cesspool assness. I recommend just watching the ReCobbled cut as it’s far less painful to watch. There is also more sex in the ReCobbled Cut, no seriously there is. You can find it on Youtube.

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Scary Anti-Hypothetical Casting; Keanu Reeves as take your pick

Keanu Reeves picture image

Keanu Reeves

For the last two Octobers I have made scary anti-hypothetical casting choices that were meant to terrify you to very your core with Miley Cyrus and Megan Fox as Esmeralda but this year, I thought we take a more fun scary anti-hypothetical casting choice, Keanu Reeves as does it really matter? It’s Keanu!

Now before you tell me Keanu Reeves is a good actor, go watch Bram Stoker’s Dracula , I’ll wait.

Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker from Bram Stoker's Dracula picture image

Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker from Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Wasn’t he hilarious in it? I died laughing at his first line with his stilted awkward British accent. Even Keanu Reeves himself knows it was a bad performance, but to be fair it was poorly acted by everyone. The fact remains however Keanu Reeve should not be in period movies, go watch A Walk in the Clouds, I’ll wait.

Keanu Reeves as Paul Sutton from A Walk in the Clouds picture image

Keanu Reeves as Paul Sutton from A Walk in the Clouds

See! Keanu is just weak and mis-casted in Period flicks. Keanu also  has weird speech pattern and woodenness that works in some movies like The Matrix or the thriller genre but it would not work in The Hunchback.

Keanu Reeves as Kai from 47 Ronin picture image

Keanu Reeves as Kai from 47 Ronin

Is it likely that he would cast in Hunchback? Who knows, he got into an adaptation of Chushingura, 47 Ronin, as a half Japanese guy which was not in Chushingura so I guess if he be in that movie it’s possible, I mean anything is possible. But who would he play?

It’s too scary to fathom him as Esmeralda, Fleur de Lys, or Djali, so let’s just let that idea disturb us in another post someday or in nightmares, your choice.

Keanu Reeves as Ted from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure picture image

Keanu Reeves as Ted from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

I could see Keanu Reeves thinking he’s a serious actor even though he never escaped playing Ted from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure , so I could see him going for Quasimodo or Frollo. Though him playing Ted playing Clopin would be amazing.

Either Frollo or Quaismoodo would be hilarious, could you imagine him saying Frollo’s monologue to Esmeralda in the jail scene or as Quasimodo asking why he wasn’t made of stone? I can it would be unintentional hilarity. Reading the jail scene in my terrible Keanu impression, oh it’s so silly.

Keanu Reeves as Neo from Matrix picture image

Keanu Reeves as Neo from Matrix

But since most actors who want to be “serious” and let face it serious often means ugly, I would say he would want to be Quasimodo. His weird speech pattern might be a benefit since Quasi is deaf but still Keanu Reeves in a period film fills me with an eerie combination of delight and dread because it’s funny for 5minutes and then it’s painful and then silly again and then you just get numb and then sleepy, it’s likes hyperthermia.

Though be under no allusion Period+movie+Reeves = Bomb at Box Office so if this did happen it would not be a good thing for Hunchback, it would be horrifying.

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1986 voice acting; I didn’t hate it

Quasimodo 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo

I have been bitching about the characters in the 1986 version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame for a few weeks and before I start bitching about the real main problem with the 1986 version, I wanted to talk about a slight positive; the voice acting.

Esmeralda and Gringoire 1986 the Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda and Gringoire

The voice acting on the whole is okay. I hesitate to call it good but condone an okay. I think the voice actors do a good job with the material they are given. I mean they aren’t given a masterful script by any means, they really don’t have much to work with.

Esmeralda 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

1986 Esmeralda

Each actor pretty much gets their character. I would say that Esmeralda sounds older than she should but she has a fairly soft voice. Phoebus is not memorable but he he’s just relegated to being handsome so who really cares. I also like Gringoire kind of like whiney moaning voice.

Frollo 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

Frollo

Even the British accents but the don’t bother me. I mean half the time they use British actors for at least Frollo. Also considering this is an Australian production, British is not too far off.

Phoebus 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

Phoebus

While I don’t think this piece is a masterwork of voice acting I think all things considered in this version the voice acting is fine.

Next Time – The Character Designs, you KNOW what they look like

Frollo 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

Frollo

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Project Re-Read Book 11, Chapter 1

Book 11, Chapter 1, The Little Shoe

Louis Boulanger's Illustration of Frollo, Esmeralda and Sachette picture image

Louis Boulanger’s Illustration of Frollo, Esmeralda and Sister Gudule

This chapter is so dramatic. Originally I was going to put the next chapter in this post but the last two shorts are so short, so I figured I make this chapter its own post and end with three chapters next week.

In this chapter Frollo and Gringoire spirit Esmeralda out of Notre Dame. Gringoire makes off with Djali leaving Esmeralda to Frollo. Frollo takes Esmeralda to the Place de Greve and gives her his ultimatum, “The Tomb or my Bed.” Esmeralda refuses and he leaves her in the vice-like grasp of Sister Gudule, who hates Esmeralda. Frollo then rushes off to get the hangman. It turns out that both of them have the matched pair of each other’s baby shoe,  making Gudule Esmeralda’s mother and her true name is Agnès. Gudule tries to save Esmeralda but Esmeralda gives herself away when she cries out for Phoebus. Esmeralda is taken by the hangman while Sister Gudule tries to save her but Gudule killed when her head is dashed against the pavement.

It a really amazing tragic chapter. Mainly because of Gudule, poor women she prayed for years to see her daughter again if only for an instant and that is the exact outcome. It’s probably a mercy that she dies first. But there is something in Frollo’s weeping that is tragic as well, he really was mad at the end. I can’t help liking this chapter quite a lot.

I really wish a version would do this chapter properly. No version really has. The 1977 version is the closest but despite that version accuracy to the book they didn’t do the Sister Gudule subplot, They do escape in the boat and Frollo does ask her to his or die but that is it. Notre Dame de Paris did sport the the tomb or my bed line but this scene did not occur. It’s just not as emotionally instance.

One version that did sort of play this scene out was the Dingo version, which is one of the worst versions ever. Frollo does drag her to the Place de Greve, though he just hates her in this version and gives her over to Sister Gudule. Gudule shows her the baby shoe and Esmeralda has the other one. But instead of dying Esmeralda escapes with Gringoire. It’s a little insulting that the Dingo version is the closest to the book for this scene.

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The Swan Princess; Odette’s wedding gown is same as Rothbart’s Fantasy

The Swan Princess picture image

The Swan Princess

The Swan Princess is another movie that I mildly enjoyed as a kid. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it, I think my mom did though. But re-watching this, I still don’t hate it but I really don’t like it as it has a lot of issues in addition to it ripping off that sweet Disney formula.

It was released in 1994 by Nest. It was very loosely based on Swan Lake and tanked at the box office because Disney is a jerk and re-released The Lion King.

Odette Transforming into a Swan The Swan Princess  picture image

Odette Transforming into a Swan

The plot is thus, Princess Odette and Prince Derek have a sort of understanding that that they should marry to unite their kingdoms but instead of just arranging a marriage outright their parents try to get them to fall in love by having them spend their summers together. Eventually they grown up and Derek’s hormones kick in and wants to marry Odette because she is pretty but when asked if that’s all that matter, Derek derps and Odette peaces out.

As Odette and father ride home they are attacked by Rothbart who wants Odette’s kingdom. Derek finds Odette’s dying dad who gives Derek some vaugeness about their attacker and tells him that Odette is gone.

Rothbart who has been working on this grand scheme to get Odette’s kingdom for a while now has turned her into swan. She can only turned back into a human when the moonlight  touches her on the lake. To break the spell, she either has to agree to marry Rothbart so they can legally rule the kingdom or her true love has to make a vow of everlasting love and prove it to the world. I can’t tell you how lame this is but moving on.

Odette now has some pond pals, Speedy, a kind turtle and egomaniac frog named Jean-Bob. A puffin named Puffin (so fucking clever) also joins them too. They try to help Odette to break her spell by getting Derek to follow her and Puffin back to the lake, so Rothbart’s lair was like 10 miles away from Derek’s castle at max? Not so far apart after all. In fact closer than her Kingdom.

Anywho, Derek and Odette somehow love each other deeply even after she left him for being an idiot. So Odette gives Derek the low-down and they plan to break the spell by having him make the vow at a ball his mother is planning. Rothbart shows up to asks Odette to marry him as is his nightly custom and she agrees so she can go to the ball but Rothbart heard their plan and tells her there is no moon the next night so she can’t even sneak off as a human but he locks her up for good measure.

Rothbart decides that he done playing “nice,” kidnapping and murder are apparently nice,  and decides that his servant will go to ball as Odette so Derek will make the vow to the wrong girl and Odette will die, kinds works agaist his plans but then again if he could just turn his severant into Odette why did he need Odette to marry him in the first place?

Rothbart’s plan goes off without a hitch except Odette escapes but she can’t do anything as she watches Derek makes the vow to the fake Odette. Derek follows her back to the lake as she’s dying and Derek challenges Rothbart so Odette can live. Derek defeats Rothbart who transforms into the great animal that was a major plot point that I didn’t really mention. Derek learns that he loves Odette for her kindness and courage and she lives, they marry and Jean-Bob is still a frog … he thought he was a prince.

Odette and Rothbart The Swan Princess  picture image

Odette and Rothbart

Saying this movie is clunky is understatement, this movie is full of characters that have no logic. Rothbart’s plan is to marry Odette so he can have her kingdom despite that he killed her father and has her captive, have you ever heard of the right of conquest because he is pretty much there.

Also Rothbart’s plan of forcing her marring to him by turning her into a swan by day is silly. Literally, all she really has to do is agree to marry him and then arrest him when they get to her kingdom as she is the sole heir, I think her people and guards will listen to her over him. But No, she has to be defiant and declare she would rather die than marry him.

Then we have the vow. Derek makes a vow of love to Odette but because she wasn’t standing there it is voided? I mean he said her name to fuck sake. This spell is so stupid or it was written by strict contract lawyers. Why doe she have to be there for the vow to work? Could Derek have written a letter to every ruler in the world that says he loves Odette? I mean written contracts are better than verbal ones or does she be there as he writes it. The spell is so weird and demanding.

How long had Odette been at Rothbart’s lair? Also why did Rothbart gives Odette free run of the place? Where was he during the day? Why was the moon full and then the next day it’s it like a new moon, not kidding literally a day passes between the full moon and new moon. Oh this hurts.

Derek and Odette The Swan Princess picture image

Derek and Odette as Kids

Let’s get back on track because in addition to the lack logic that is pervasive to the characters there are more problems like the characters are boring but the movie operates on the assumption that they are not boring especially where our lovely Princess is concerned.

This movie builds up Odette’s and Derek’s personality as bitter children who are forced to hang out together. In the song This is my Idea, we see Derek and Odette evolving as characters from little kids to adolescents. It’s nice to see that they don’t like each other but you get the sense they do like each other in some ways but that all comes crashing down when they have to be pretty and in love.

Seriously, despite the hints that they could like each, the love and wanting to marry each other comes out of no where but that is not the problem. After they enter the realm of pretty “adults” the become devoid of the personalities that song was trying to establish. So when Odette asks what else Derek likes about her and he can’t site anything because it doesn’t matter. We know that she was at least clever and decent aim with a slingshot but after that point Odette never displays any personality traits she had in the song.

To be frank, at each interval in the song, Odette has a different personality. When she is a little kid she a polite rough little girl, then she is awkward tomboy to a flirty clever dare I say even vindictive teenager. I can’t truly blame Derek for not knowing what else is there to her it since it ever changing and then gone.

Odette with Speedy and Jean-Bob The Swan Princess  picture image

Odette with Speedy and Jean-Bob

I’ll get to more on Odette proper in a second but let’s talk about the other characters. Derek is he’s like… You know! How about… And then… Am I right? Seriously though, he’s a boring hero. He is also cocky and a good marksmen but not very smart when it comes to the ladies. Rothbart is supposed to be smart and evil but we already proven that he’s not. The pond pals are boring though I enjoy Jean-Bob’s selfish antics, it’s a nice counterpoint Speedy who is nice but I admit the pond pals parts are boring. Derek’s mother and best friend are weird and amusing at points but Rogers is the most likable character and wholly unimportant to the narrative though he did suggest that BS arrow maneuver but some other character could have done that.

Odette The Swan Princess  picture image

Odette

And then we come to Odette. Odette would like you to believe that there is more her than being pretty. At the end of the flick Derek says that he loves her for her kindness and courage.

Odette does exhibits some kindness as she saves Jean-Bob from the crocodiles, takes an arrow out Puffin’s wings and tried to help Derek’s friend escape from Rothbart. Basically she isn’t dick, not sure if this equals kindness, I mean she’s not a mean. Is the absence of meanness kindness? Also her courage is in her own self interest. Odette doesn’t really go out of her way her way to be kind or helpful to others.

Its Derek’s arc really, he needed to learn how to articulate his thoughts about his supposed true love. “I love you baby for your vague positive attributes.” Kindness and courage are good starting places for a character but Odette hardly showcases these attributes, she’s just bland and pretty.

Derek and Odette The Swan Princess  picture image

Derek and Odette

As far as the songs go, they are okay at best. Most are meh. I would like Far Longer than Forever if I believed in the depth of their romance. Hands down the best is This is my idea, The rest are meh and forgettable. Though I remembered Princesses on Parade for the sexist connotations.

The animation is nice for the most part. Though it’s kind jarring with the hyper-ness versus the soft and sweet moments, but hell it could been worse, it could have been so much worse.

Derek and Odette The Swan Princess  picture image

Derek and Odette

The thing is this movie actually has some good set-ups and pays off, like that thing with bow and arrow is set-up and there is a pay off. The movie probably would have been stronger if they had either had Odette and Derek love grow more organically OR follow the ballet where we see them meet and develop their relationship that’s from point of romantic interest.

It’s admirable that the film tried to have them start as bitter kids but since the gradation of affection is jarring and that they love each other in a second it’s not strong. Since the film  centers on their romance having that fail means the movie fails as whole.

Odette The Swan Princess  picture image

Odette

The Swan Princess is a clunky yet pretty mess of a film that tries its damndest to suggest that these are well-thought out characters in a compelling story but it fails to do this and in then end what else is there but its beauty.

And yes, it does annoy me that they antagonist crocodiles don’t talk.

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Spooky Horoscope

Today’s  horoscope comes from the book using the Delirium chapter.

Frollo (Alain Cuny), 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo (Alain Cuny), 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Claude, in the state of hallucination in which he found himself, believed that he saw, that he saw with his actual eyes, the bell tower of hell; the thousand lights scattered over the whole height of the terrible tower seemed to him so many porches of the immense interior furnace; the voices and noises which escaped from it seemed so many shrieks, so many death groans. Then he became alarmed, he put his hands on his ears that he might no longer hear, turned his back that he might no longer see, and fled from the frightful vision with hasty strides.”

Be wary where you walk today, who may see very spooky things

 

BUY The Hunchback of Notre Dame

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