The World According to Renee

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Review: Big Hero 6

Ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement to make: I have a new favourite Disney movie (sorry Wreck-It Ralph). I’m not a fan of superheroes but this movie sucked me in and didn’t let go til the credits. Thank the gods that Disney have redeemed themselves after the atrocity that was Frozen

In Big Hero 6, we meet fourteen year old Hiro and his brother, who are super smart and into robotics. In fact, Tadashi has built a robot to assist in medical needs of humans: a big, squishy robot named Baymax. Cue adventures.

This movie has everything: sciencey words, robots, villains, explosions and a fantastic song by Fall Out Boy which I haven’t stopped singing since its release in November. Visually, the film is beyond expectations. Animation has really come a long way in the past fifteen years, especially when animating humans. The fictional world of San Fransokyo has both the iconic landscape of San Francisco and Tokyo; who’d have thought cherry blossoms would prettify a concrete jungle? As usual, there are hidden gems in the film, such as when Baymax breaks a statue of some dude from Frozen (personally, I like to think this is because Disney realise they offered a piece of shit for their last venture, albeit a very successful piece of shit).

I felt the story kinda escaped from them in a couple of places, but it was brought back quickly and coherently. I’m not sure whether the portals were deliberately styled as Stargates, but they certainly appeared that way. It’s neither good nor bad, just an observation.

Also an observation is the parental separation. It’s a common theme in Disney films, which apparently stems from Walt Disney’s guilt over his mother’s death. He bought her a house, which subsequently burned down and his mother died. Walt felt immensely guilty over this and some say this resulted in Disney films having a running theme of maternal death within the films. Hiro and Tadashi have been raised by their aunt with no mention of what happened to their parents (or maybe there is and I missed it). In the ~fifty years since Disney’s death, parental death is still a running theme, although I concede in this case it may actually have been part of the original source material.

Not being up on my Marvel comics, I can’t comment on whether this is true to the original source or not, but there’s plenty of other nerds on the internet to tell you that kind of thing. For me, who doesn’t normally like superhero stuff, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

9.5/10 popcorns.

January 25, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Orange is the New Black (memoir)

Not long ago, I discovered Orange is the New Black. Thankfully, binge-watching is a thing and I got through the first two seasons fairly quickly (taps foot waiting for the third).

Somewhere along this path, I discovered the TV show was based on a memoir and apparently, it’s nothing like the series. Fair enough, I’d expect a little creative license to draw out a 13 month sentence into an ongoing television series.

Santa was kind enough to drop this memoir to me, and I went into it not expecting it to be like TV… and it’s not. The characters on the show are either completely made up or an amalgamation of 2-3 characters from the memoir. Characters on the show are also exaggerated; for example Pennsatucky in the show is a fundamentalist Christian whom Piper does not get along with. She shares no traits except her nickname in the memoir; indeed Piper and Pennsatucky were good friends in real life. There are no other characters who share names, although Piper Kerman notes at the end that she did change some names to protect identities.

So, is the memoir worth the read? Yes. Just don’t expect the juicy stuff as shown on TV. In fact, there are very few incidents which made the transition from memoir to TV. It’s possible Piper didn’t include everything in her memoir but added it to the show, or (far more likely) that the producers decided to flesh it out with more sex and drama.

In any case, the memoir is very episodic: what happens in each chapter stays in each chapter. There’s no continuing narrative to link her experiences. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, just not what I was expecting. Kerman details a series of incidents rather than forming an overall picture of her time in Danbury prison, and being a model prisoner, nothing terribly exciting happens to her. The other inmates are equally placid and not even their crimes are detailed. There’s no sex, no drama, no interaction with the guards except for minor instances such as being told off for breaking the No Touching rule when Piper was giving Pop a foot massage.

If you’re a diehard fan of the show you may want to give the memoir a miss as you’ll be disappointed. But if you’re looking for a good read, have no expectations and are willing to accept that TV is very different, then you’ll enjoy the memoir.

4/5 bookmarks

January 2, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment