a film that is near and dear to my heart

gillthequill  asked:

Hello! I quite enjoy your blog a lot, keep up the wonderful content. I saw your post about favorite books and was curious: what are your thoughts on the film Howl's Moving Castle? And I'd like to hear in more detail why Howl is one of your favorite books, please.

Thanks so much!

I think I’ll talk about the book first.

Whenever I talk about Howl’s Moving Castle (and it’s sort of sequel also near and dear to my heart, House of Many Ways), I joke that it’s because I basically am Sophie Hatter or Charmain Baker. The Howl series protagonists aren’t the super competent, action girls you get in a lot of current YA novels. Maybe that’s an unfair generalization, but that seems to be the current trend. A lot of assassin girls and revolution leaders out there, and that’s awesome. But Sophie’s main conflict is dealing with her meekness, this sort of internal and external stagnation. As the book goes on, old age and simply not giving a fuck about people’s opinions gives her power. Her magic is basically bossiness. As a moderately shy, very introverted person who also feels (inside my mind) like a grumpy old man 85% of the time, it makes me want to laugh and cry every time I read it.

And the humor and heart is really what makes the book great. The wit is so English (I think Diana was technically Welsh but my dad is English and that’s how I relate to it). Just look it up on Goodreads and you can read some of the amazing little ho-ho’s in the quote section. There are references to literature left right and center. The meek protagonist can stand toe to toe with the Great and Powerful wizard because, really, he’s a goofball too. True power comes from the heart but it also comes from the ability to see past the bullshit of everything, etc. The fairy tale tropes are used to their full extent without being cliched or romanticized. In the book, unlike the movie, we have more about Sophie’s sisters switching places and their reasonable and quiet defiance to the order of things (that the youngest sister gets adventure, the older two are unlucky). The book is just quirky. Like the first few Harry Potter books before they got dark and the movies made their aesthetic a little more mainstream.

I’ll save my rambling about why I love House of Many Ways for another time. Although I could sum it up with: magical laundry.

On the other hand, the film Howl’s Moving Castle is a different sort of beast. I like the movie. I like Studio Ghibli. They make some of the most beautiful films I’ve ever watched. They are just damn charming, good movies. I can’t, exactly, think of the film as a direct adaptation of the novel, though. The film took the same basic characters, the basic plot, and made it something else. The Wicked Witch of the Waste is a real, sympathetic character that I ended up loving. Calcifer is cute as well as caustic. The stakes are raised… a lot. Howl becomes some sort of bird creature? It’s awesome. But it’s not the same. The novel feels like a personal story of one girl and her connections, friends and family. It’s a coming of age story, with the fantastical and ominous elements that comes with growing up.

The film tells a story about war and human folly and is much more of a romance. The film has the romantic attachment from the very beginning, the novel mostly has Sophie sometimes-fondly-sometimes-not huffing and rolling her eyes at Howl, who is pretty ridiculous. Film Howl is 10x more noble. In the movie, True Love triumphs through or despite the meaninglessness, helplessness of darkness, etc. Ghibli’s Sophie seems to not so much as rise to the occasion because she had inner strength and drive all along, but because (like the revolution leader girls) her circumstances and love drove her to produce that strength.

I love both. The way I see the book and the film doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. But the book will always resonant more strongly with me.

Anyway, that was probably a much longer answer than you expected or wanted, but there you are. I’m procrastinating reading for a class, okay.

30 Days of Kong: Days 9 and 10

What’s your favorite Japanese Kong film?

King Kong vs. Godzilla, duh. Next!

Which is your favorite version of King Kong vs. Godzilla?

John Beck’s cut is near and dear to my heart, and unfairly maligned – it’s still funny, just not always on purpose, and I’m rather fond of the stock Universal music. Still, the Japanese version is superior.

Some rather underrated/kicked under the rug Disney films I hold near and dear to my heart
  • The Black Cauldron (1985)
  • The Great Mouse Detective  (1986)
  • Oliver and Company (1988)
  • The Rescuers/The Rescuers Down Under (1977/1990)
  • A Goofy Movie/An Extremely Goofy Movie (1995/2000)
  • The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
  • Treasure Planet (2002)
  • *Lilo and Stitch/Stitch! the Movie/Lilo and Stitch 2/Leroy and Stitch (2002/2003/2005/2006)
  • Brother Bear (2003)
  • Meet the Robinsons (2007)

Several of the listed films have yet to have a restored re-release on even DVD, let alone Blu-Ray, which is quite a shame considering they all deserve it. Films like The Black Cauldron and Treasure Planet were box office bombs (to my surprise, the latter more than the former) despite having excellent innovative art and story. They just weren’t fitted well for the market, in most cases.

I could go on forever about the treatment of these films, like how Kida and Eilonwy have all of the qualifications to be Disney Princesses, and how Treasure Planet  deSPITE BEING THE WORST “BOX OFFICE FLOP” FOR DISNEY WAS STILL NOMINATED FOR BEST ANIMATED PICTURE IN 2002 (ALONG WITH LILO AND STITCH), only having lost to Spirited Away! THAT shows that it could have had much more appreciation than it got! (there was lots of competition in 2002) True, it was the steampunk/scifi/nonmusical/action angle that was probably hard to market at the time considering Atlantis’s lack of decent marketing for similar reasons, but still! At least it has a decent Wikipedia page and re-releases on DVD. Can’t say the same for Black Cauldron and The Great Mouse Detective… (don’t get me started on any of these other movies- )

*sigh* I really could go on forever. But, for the sake of sanity I’ll leave it at that. I love these movies (And nearly all Disney movies) very much and to finish off, if anyone wants to talk about these movies ever I am all up for it! Headcanons, plot things, fun facts, random things, anything! :3

*(Lilo and Stitch as a whole is loved by its fans very much, but many of its aspects are still glossed over by most of the modern-Disney-loving society. Pleakley is one of the most diverse Disney characters ever ESPECIALLY  considering how strict Disney was/is about “controversial” things in their productions!)

that’s all in my little spiel! sorry if I sound too weird about these things but I’m very passionate about this stuff.

By: Kristen Welch, Manager of Editorial, Turner Classic Movies

Tonight kicks off the first night of programming in TCM’s Trailblazing Women: Behind the Movies, Ahead of Their Time spotlight that looks at women’s contributions to the film industry from its very beginnings through to modern times. It is a subject that is near and dear to my heart, because the history of women in film is a fascinating one that is so rarely looked at or highlighted, especially when it comes to early directors’ work. In film school, I learned about many great directors but I never heard or even watched the films of Alice Guy-Blaché or Frances Marion or Dorothy Arzner until I went to Grad School. To be fair, there were quite a few more modern women directors that I was aware of growing up—Amy Heckerling, Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow spring to mind—but there was an entire rich history of women’s contributions to film that I simply didn’t know about because I’d never encountered or stumbled upon them in my early studies. And it is for this reason that I am so excited and proud that we are doing this initiative, and specifically why I wanted write a post about our first night of programming.

This evening, you’ll be able to see the work of a few women who were truly pioneers in the field. At a time when film was new, and no one really knew what the medium would become, women were able to find a place not just working on the films but holding leadership positions as well (for more on this, I urge you to read Cari Beauchamp’s article at http://trailblazingwomen.tcm.com/about/, she is also co-host for this evening of films).

Alice Guy-Blaché was one of those women, and we’ll be airing 6 of her films (5 shorts and a feature) tonight starting at 8pm. Blaché was not just one of the first female directors, but one of the first directors period. Her films were coming out alongside the more well known and, today, more frequently taught movies of the Lumière brothers and D.W. Griffith. Her lifetime output of films is often estimated in the 1000s (yes, you read that right, no typo here), but the majority of them have been lost due to neglect, and Blaché herself has faded into obscurity. Yet, I encourage you to tune in tonight to watch these early films because, like her contemporaries, Blaché is truly playing with film technique and testing the boundaries to see what will work, because at the time there were no established rules.

I know that silent film is not for everyone, but to watch these films is to see how movies, as we know them today, came to be. And beyond being the first female director, we need to remember Blaché as the movie pioneer that she was—on par with Griffith, Méliès, DeMille and other directors we learn about today. I especially encourage you to tune in for her 1896 film La Fée aux choux, not only her first film but also the first film directed by a woman. I have never had a chance to watch the film, but you can be sure I’ll be sitting one my couch ready to watch it tonight, and I hope you’ll join me!

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Infinitely Polar Bear is out now. This movie is very near and dear to my heart. Thank you to the cast and crew for this amazing experience! Find out where it’s playing near you. I hop you enjoy it! http://bit.ly/1LnTgCe