art

Collaborative Art Project: Medallions with Abstract Designs

In order to get through the pandemic without highly stressing out over it, my friend, “Veronica” (not her real name) and I are collaborating on different art projects. The first one we worked on were medallions with abstract designs. This was inspired by an assignment I did in college. In an art class (I was a fine arts major), we had to do a large series of small drawings. So, my professor suggested medallions for me.

When the pandemic happened and I was (and still am, big time) tired of not being in control of my life, my mom sent me an article, where it said that helping another and vise versa can improve your feelings. After thinking about ideas, this is what I came up with: collaborative art projects.

Because I was an art major in college, I had to learn a lot of vocabulary related to it, as well as how to critique forms of creative works. That is what I applied to when helping Veronica.

I drew a few abstract designs inside circles, and then finalized on this one to color.

The markers were old, so they were kind of faded. However, it also allowed me some room for dimension with the various (and unintentional) tints and tones. I also picked colors that I felt would go well with one another.

The same happened with Veronica. She also colored in the shapes that she felt went together well. The shapes reminded her of different objects, too. So, she picked hues based on what the elements looked like to her.

Another thing she did that I also used to do a lot was turn the paper when drawing and coloring. She said that she learned the technique in school. Below is her medallion.

She colored one section all maroon, which is when I taught her the idea of filling in each shape between the lines a different color. I also informed her about something the same professor told me about one of my projects later in my college career. If it were copied into a black and white replica, it would be all the same tone. I used it as a compliment on how Veronica paired the hues.

The message you can take home is that you can help someone close to you with anything that you’re strong in and that the other person may benefit from. Hopefully, this will work for my friend and I, as well as pretty much everybody.

fiction, movie

Harry Potter Mystery: Are Wizards Not as Concerned About Safety as Muggles?

One thing I noticed about the “Harry Potter” series is that wizards and witches don’t seem as concerned about safety as muggles do. It is constantly said that Hogwarts is one of the safest wizarding schools in the world.

However, like many, I kind of have to disagree. People have pointed out the numerous dangers Hogwarts has. There is the forbidden forest with deadly creatures that Harry and his friends are forced to go into for detention in their first year. There are also dangerous beasts in the school, such as the basilisk and the three-headed dog, a whomping willow on the grounds, and even the moving staircases. As fun as Quidditch looks, it’s also perilous. And let’s not leave out the Tri-wizard tournament. Yes, they had an age restriction. But even when Harry, who was underage at the time, was somehow entered (he didn’t do it), he still had to participate.

Regardless of the dangerous activities students can do without permission from their parents or guardians, they do need parental consent to visit the village, Hogsmeade, just a short, and safe walk from the school. People have pointed out how illogical that was. But that’s a different story.

Back to this. Although I don’t remember if it was stated in the book, in the “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” movie adaptation, the first-years don’t wear life jackets when on the boats to Hogwarts. The school also has the second task for the Tri-wizard tournament in the black lake, in February. Are wizards immune to hypothermia? Even if charms that prevent it exist (I’m not sure) and they’re in the black lake, there certainly couldn’t have been any in the pond Harry jumped into in “The Deathly Hallows.” And he took his clothes off, but came out okay.

It’s not just Hogwarts that doesn’t seem to be as concerned about safety as muggle schools or society would. In “The Chamber of Secrets”, Harry almost falls out of Ron’s dad’s flying car. If he just had his seatbelt on, that wouldn’t have happened. Plus, he was raised by muggles—the terrible Dursleys. As much as they despised him, they must have made him wear seatbelts in their car.

So, there you have it.

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That’s How You Know This “Enchanted” (2007) Critique Will Teach You My Thoughts on it

Warning: contains spoilers***

The story starts off with a princess named Giselle who longs to meet her prince, which is a usual fairytale. However, the evil sorceress and queen, called Narissa, forces Giselle into a place where there are no happily-ever-afters. That is real-life New York City. Giselle looks for help, and is found by a man named Robert. He lets her stay with him.

Now onto the moments I admired.

1: The musical numbers

The songs were fantastic. I enjoyed the “That’s How You Know” scene, especially the Calypso drumming moments done by the park musicians. The other numbers, such as the one at the beginning that Giselle sings, were also good.

2: The Plot Twists

One notable example is where Giselle rescues Robert from the Queen Narissa after she turns into a dragon. I appreciate fairytale twists straying away from the traditional approaches. In this instance, the princess rescues the male.

Another interesting twist is the ending. Although I didn’t think Nancy was so bad, Robert’s 6-year-old daughter, Morgan, doesn’t really like her. She enjoys Giselle more. So, Giselle ends up marrying Robert and Nancy weds the prince instead. I particularly loved when Nancy’s phone went off in the cartoon fairytale world and she acknowledged how she somehow received signal.

3: Giselle’s development

She starts off as a stereotypical Disney princess who acts very strangely, but grows into a different person when in the real-life world. She learns about dating, how love takes time, and develops feelings for Robert rather than the prince, whom she originally wanted to marry.

And now onto the parts that could have been improved.

1: Robert’s reactions to Giselle’s behavior in his apartment

Giselle does some pretty naughty things in Robert’s apartment, such as make clothes from his curtains, sing to call animals to do the chores, yet end up with bugs, rats, and pigeons, and more. But Robert’s reactions were too casual and relaxed. He would have kicked her out and reported her to law enforcement in real life. However, plot convenience mattered more.

2: Why did Giselle’s hair have to be cut?

When Giselle first appears, her hair flows to the waist and hip area. But when she goes to a ball near the end, it’s mid-back length. Yes, Morgan teaches her about neatness and makeovers. However, I don’t see the significance of Giselle’s haircut and why it needed to happen. I can’t imagine that it would have messed up the storyline had she not cut her locks.

I hope you enjoyed this critique. I would rate “Enchanted” 4.5 out of 5 stars.

fiction

Harry Potter Mystery: How Has Not One Muggle Felt Sorry for Harry When Growing Up with Abuse from The Dursleys?

For 10 years, from right after his parents’ deaths and until his 11th birthday, apparently nobody was nice to Harry, not even outside his home. His abuse was looked over at school and he was always bullied. Even the teachers didn’t seem to do a thing about it. I know Harry was born in 1980, so much of his childhood before Hogwarts was in the 80’s. Still, I have trouble finding something like this believable.

Yet, there were no new students or staff at Harry’s primary school who were horrified. No teacher wanted to help him with his stress or stand up for him when others bullied him. No student wanted to do the same.

Also, most people, especially in an area where Harry lived, don’t see the same people every single day. There would have been lots of visitors, new residents, deliverers, vendors, and many other people not native to Little Whinging or Privet Drive. And it seems that nobody has been appalled by how the Dursleys treated Harry. Not one individual has reacted with, “Oh, that’s terrible! Aw, that poor kid. I wish I could help him. I feel so bad for him.”

Unless there are charms that keep muggles from feeling sorry for Harry, I don’t find something like this too credible. There has to be kinder, empathetic, and even highly-sensitive people in the “Harry Potter” universe. Many muggles would have been upset to hear about how the Dursleys mistreated Harry. They would have felt sorry for him and even disgusted with how Dudley got spoiled. Even if that type of treatment wouldn’t have gotten the Dursleys in trouble with authorities at the time (not just because Dumbledore might have used magic to prevent that since Harry needed to be with a blood relative to stay safe from Voldemort, but also that the laws about child safety were different then, according to my research), Harry would have encountered at least a few muggles who said that they felt terrible for him and showed their sympathy to him. More would have said how sorry they felt for Harry in front of him, whether directly at him or to somebody else. A lot more would have said it out loud, but either not in Harry’s sight or would have thought it in their heads. At least a couple of muggles would have gone to the Dursleys and asked if everything was okay, and if they found out the truth, they would have felt horrible for Harry and showed it.

Lots and lots of people would have also ruminated and obsessed over how Harry got treated by his relatives, day in and day out. They might have even been down about it to others, talked about it a lot, and tried to do something about it, even if they couldn’t.

If the series were truly believable, Harry would have met or heard countless amounts of people who didn’t like how his relatives treated him and said how terrible it must’ve been for him, and how bad they felt for him. Maybe Harry would have even had a kind mentor nearby who wanted to check on him and be nice to him. Even in the 1980’s, before the Internet, the fact that Harry was abused would have made it to others, and a good number of them would have been horrified.

movie

Oh, I Just Can’t Wait to Compare and Contrast “The Lion King” Adaptations (1994 and 2019)

Pretty much everyone I’ve met has enjoyed 1994’s “The Lion King”. Many consider it their favorite movie. Only one person I’ve met has said that she wasn’t really into “The Lion King.”

Obviously, I’ve seen the cartoon of it and enjoyed it. In fact, as a high school senior, I enjoyed the film so much that I performed the end credit version of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” at a school spotlight night (like a talent show).

Anyway, the cartoon depicted and released a lot of emotional experiences to the audience. The songs are great, the characters are well-developed, and the mood is powerful.

That being said, someone pointed out that there might be some damsel-in-distress moments. The person said that rather than resolving Scar’s abuse of power on their own, the female lions wait for Simba to return. He was assumed dead, though. Yet, when Nala found him and he refused to come back since he thought he was responsible for his father, Mufasa’s death, Nala didn’t seem to take a lot of action on her own.

Another moment that stands out to me is the line Mufasa says to Simba after he goes to the elephant graveyard, “You deliberately disobeyed me.” Yes, they were different tones, but I consider that kind of lazy, unless there’s a purpose (i.e. “My boy, my little Hercules,” from 1997’s “Hercules”). It was as if the writers copied and pasted that same line, whether or not Microsoft Word existed.

Nevertheless, the animated version of “The Lion King” pleased me very much. Sadly, when the live-action remake came out, it didn’t cause any emotional reactions or anything nearly as much the way the cartoon did. In fact, it was pretty much a carbon copy of the 1994 adaptation. Most scenes were the same shots, but in a “live-action” way. It was mostly realistic CGI, except for one scene, and obviously, because getting those types of animals to act is too dangerous. Despite that, animators need to draw from live models of those creatures, and who knows how those animals stay calm and not maul or hurt anyone?

While the remake did reduce the “You deliberately disobeyed me” line to one use, the facial expressions were quite limited, and I couldn’t get into it nearly as much as the animated movie.

I would rate the cartoon 5 out of 5 stars, but the reboot 2.5 out of 5 stars. Even my friends didn’t enjoy it too much, either.

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Details I Noticed in “The South Park Movie” (1999)

I’ve been a fan of “South Park” for years. I also watched the movie in recent times and I enjoyed it. Obviously, I didn’t see it in theatres since I was only 5 when it came out.

But when I re-watch movies, I pick up on more and more details, including those in “The South Park Movie”. So, here are the things I noticed.

1: The main characters’ dads don’t really play big roles

The moms are more involved with their goals. But the fathers are minor characters who don’t express much. In fact, they don’t get any spoken lines.

2: The dads apparently didn’t have to cut their hair when they joined the army

In real life, soldiers have to wear their hair above their ears. And it’s for safety. Although the intended audience is adults, I found it odd that the main characters’ fathers got to keep their hair as was when in the military.

3: The extras aren’t consistent

This was especially noticeable in the musical numbers, “It’s Easy, M’kay” and “La Resistance”. Different children come and go.

4: Mr. Mackey’s Chalkboards act like they’re Magical

When Mr. Mackey gives cleaner alternatives for the words the kids have been saying, he points to one chalkboard after the other. But the words just appear there without anyone writing or erasing them. Unless magic exists in “South Park”, this is a bit sloppy.

5: The children get into the “Terrence and Philip Movie” without supervision

When the four main characters try to buy tickets for the film, they’re denied them since it’s rated R. So, they pay a homeless man to purchase their tickets for them. However, after the song, “It’s Easy, M’kay”, they all somehow got into the room where the “Terrence and Philip Movie” played, without any adult supervision. That’s what I call a plot hole or inconsistency.

So, there you have it.

movie

A “Cinderella” Critique is a List Your Brain Makes…When You’re Evaluating the 1950 Film

Warning: contains spoilers***

I haven’t watched the whole version of this Disney classic in years. I’ve watched it regularly as a small child. But now that I’m an adult, I can understand and pick up on stories and their elements more easily.

We all know the story. A young maiden is a servant to her mean stepfamily, and then she gets an opportunity to go to the ball hosted by the royals.

Okay, onto the critique. First, the strengths:

1: Cinderella’s character

Although she’s abused, Cinderella remains gentle and likable. Her stepsisters scream for her to serve them and she remains calm. Although I found that a bit unbelievable, there were times she sounded a little annoyed, which made her more realistic.

2: The “Sweet Nightingale” Number and it’s humor

Of course, all the songs in “Cinderella” are good. But this one was kind of humorous. The stepsister, I think Drizzella, sounded not-so-great when singing this song (which seems kind of unimportant, but I could be wrong). Meanwhile, Cinderella’s voice was beautiful when she sang it, even though she was cleaning.

3: The fact that Cinderella has loyal companions

Yes, they’re all animals, with the exceptions of the fairy godmother and prince later on. But at least the mice, dog, chickens, and horse show sympathy and respect for Cinderella. Gus was funny when he tried to advocate for Cinderella loudly and Jacque had to quiet him.

After the stepsisters destroyed Cinderella’s dress and made her cry, it was so sweet how the fairy godmother came to comfort her and ensure she gets to the ball.

Speaking of which…

1: There are some deus ex machina moments

Unfortunately, that includes the fairy godmother moment. While it’s great that she was there to help Cinderella, her actions felt too convenient for the plot, especially when she turned her mice into horses, and the other animals into people. And they seemed to function perfectly.

All right, there probably wasn’t a lot of time to explain the magic laws and how turning animals into humans would be no problem. Still.

2: Cinderella’s lips changed tones

This was probably an animation error. I’m also likely one of the few to notice this inconsistency. Sometimes, Cinderella’s lips were muted magenta, and other times, they were light red.

3: Lucifer’s character

Obviously, every story needs conflict and an antagonist. But with Lucifer, I feel his scary appearance and actions went too far. Okay, okay, this was released in 1950 and likely produced in the late 1940’s. But for today, I thought Lucifer was too pure evil in not only his looks and actions, but also his name (the meaning and where it originated from).

While it was nice reuniting with this movie, I will admit it wasn’t super-engaging either. Because of that, I would rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

However, I don’t think it’s discouraging. There are a good number of strengths and nice moments, too, aside from what I mentioned.

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Welcome to My Critique of “Bambi” (1942)

Warning: contains spoilers***

I saw this movie at a friend’s house. A fawn grows, makes friends, and even goes through challenges along the way.

Here are the parts of “Bambi” that I admired and those that I felt could’ve been better.

First the strengths:

1: The animation and artistic layout

I find it very unfortunate that Disney stopped doing 2D animated films as did pretty much all movie companies. So, seeing the beautifully illustrated backgrounds as well as the animation of the characters drew me in emotionally.

2: The morals

The lessons that are communicated throughout this movie apply to real life etiquette. I especially love Thumper’s quoting of his father after he criticizes Bambi’s walking abilities. He says, “If you can’t say something nice…don’t say nothing at all.” I’ve heard kids being told that many times, although the wording they received was, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” If only more people took this seriously, though.

3: The characters’ relations to one another

Bambi’s bond with his mother, as well as his friends, Thumper, Flower, and eventual love interest, Faline, were beautiful. The portrayals and importance of friendships, family, and more mattered to me.

That being said…

1: Why doesn’t Bambi’s father play more of a role in his life?

Could it be that deer dads don’t get to know their young like the mothers do? Disney animals are shown to be very scientifically inaccurate all the time. So, while times Bambi and his mom together were sweet, I found it unsatisfying that his father hadn’t been involved in his life until his mother died. We also don’t get to see Bambi learning to grow and change after losing his mom in this film. There is a sequel where it might be more emphasized. However, a characters’ evolution after a tragic event should happen in the same story, not in a later one. After his mother’s death, the scene transitions to when Bambi is an adult and reuniting with his friends, as happy as they can be.

2: What is Bambi’s goal exactly?

Unlike other movies, Bambi’s goal isn’t made clear enough. What does he really want? What was he working toward?

While his development from birth is essential, I couldn’t see what he had an eager desire for. Take other Disney films, like “The Lion King”, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, and “Hercules”, where they start when the main characters were babies. Simba, Quasimodo, and Hercules still all had goals they worked toward and did everything they could to achieve them. And they were made obvious to the audience.

Therefore, it kind of disappointed me that Bambi’s ambitions didn’t feel clear.

3: Structure being too similar to “The Lion King”

Well, technically, it’s the other way around. “Bambi” came out decades before “The Lion King”. It’s also common for Disney to recycle animation movements. But the plotlines of both films mirrored a little too much.

And onto the part I’m kind of unsure about

Bambi and his friends finding love interests

I get that this was made in the 1940’s, when standards were different. And Bambi’s romance with Faline does become crucial, even if Bambi, sadly, didn’t join Faline after she gave birth to two fawns. But why did Thumper and Flower need to fall in love? Satisfaction? I do, however, admire the rabbit Thumper develops feelings for. She reminded me of Snow White.

While I found “Bambi” to be a beautiful experience, I felt it could’ve done better with a few more literary elements. So, I would rate the movie 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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Have You Noticed These Unique (and Kind-of Strange) Details in Disney Movies?

Who doesn’t love Disney? Many of us grew up with Disney classics whether they were older like “The Little Mermaid” or more recent, like “Frozen”. While I absolutely adore and enjoy Disney films, there are some details that have stood out to me in recent years. And I am not exactly pleased by them.

1: Good looks on human characters rarely exist after age 30

Many Disney protagonists are young, often ranging from younger child to teen to young adult. Since the turn of the century, however, there have been more adult main characters older than teens. I’m assuming Carl from “Up” is the oldest Disney protagonist to date. He’s in his 70’s.

Anyway, as I look at the secondary characters, as well as the villains, who are either supposed to be (or are possibly) over 30, I notice that many of them lack the attractive looks that the characters in their 20’s or younger possess. There are exceptions of younger characters who aren’t as handsome or beautiful, but a lot of adult Disney characters have large or long noses and are too skinny or heavy. Very few are as good-looking as the young people.

Um…hello? People can be as good-looking as late as their 50’s, 60’s, or even 70’s. Some mature TV shows, such as “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” are better at acknowledging this fact. Believe it or not, both Flanders and Quagmire are in their sixties. But they look incredibly youthful and good for their ages.

It’s not just in Disney’s 2D-animated movies where this happens. I looked at the extras in “Frozen” and saw this same detail there too.

2: Males often have drastically bigger hands and feet than females

Regardless of age, males’ hands and feet in Disney movies are often very big and wide, while females often have much smaller and thinner hands and feet. In fact, there are times where the males’ hands are so big that they could injure the females’ tinier and skinnier hands. The only exception I notice where this detail is absent is in “Tarzan”, when Tarzan and Jane place each other’s hands together. The sizes are similar, but it was for plot convenience. Since noticing this detail, I’ve always wondered if this promoted male superiority. Hopefully, not.

3: Non-verbal animals understand human language way too easily

While Disney is known for talking-animals (although it’s rare that they speak to people), when the animals make the same sounds as their real types do, they understand words much too easily. This was especially strange in “Pinocchio”, when he and Jiminy Cricket are asking the sea creatures about the dangerous whale, and underwater. That went a little too far with believability and setting examples for children. Kids, don’t try this in real life.

Anyway, to an adult, this looks too bizarre. In real life, animals can only understand tone. Even highly intelligent animals, such as dogs, don’t understand English. Parrots may mimic words, but their brains aren’t going to process language the same way humans do.

So, there you have it. Are there any unique details you notice in Disney films?

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Lights…Camera…Action…and Ratings

In the film industry, there are 5 ratings: G – all ages admitted, PG – parental guidance suggested, PG-13 – Parents strongly cautioned for children under 13, R – Restricted and anyone under 17 needs to be accompanied by an adult, and lastly, NC-17, where no one under 18 is admitted, whatsoever.

Back in the day, the ratings were different. For instance, PG-13 didn’t exist until 1984. So, many mature movies before were rated PG. Nowadays, PG is pretty much the same as G. Most family-friendly movies are rated PG. In fact, when I was little, I thought PG meant it was for all ages.

Some people, however, still see PG as inappropriate and only allow their children to watch movies that are rated G. In fact, back in the 00’s, my youngest brother’s 1st grade class was only allowed to watch G-rated movies. PG was forbidden, including those geared toward kids, such as “Shrek 2”. Seriously—they couldn’t watch “Shrek 2” because it was rated PG. Crazy, huh? My dad actually supported the teacher restricting to just G. Yeah, back in the 70’s, it would’ve made sense as PG-rated movies then were usually for adults, such as “Jaws” or “Airplanes”. I would understand not allowing little kids to watch PG-rated films when it comes to those like “Jaws”. But “Shrek 2”? That’s ridiculous. That’s like not allowing kids to feed themselves or wash their hands by themselves.

Anyway, while PG doesn’t really mean anything these days, I want to focus on the other ratings, too. G is not as common these days. One movie I feel is too dark to be rated G is “Muppets Treasure Island”. At nine years old, I was a bit scared at times when watching that film. PG probably would’ve been more appropriate.

Anyway, fewer movies these days are rated G. NC-17 seems to be the least common rating and is usually used for the most extreme. However, it can also be if there are at least 400 curse words. That was the case with 1999’s “South Park Movie”. It was originally going to be NC-17 due to a ton of fowl language. In fact, only one swear word was removed so that it could be rated R instead. Honestly, there are plenty of dirty words that could’ve been removed from that film. But not enough to lower the rating to PG-13.

Anyway, I am glad that the rating for “South Park Movie” was lowered to R. To me, the film is waayy to mild for the NC-17 rating. There are PG-13 movies scarier and more intense than that. Also, many “South Park” fans are underage, so it would’ve been unfair to them had they stuck with rating it NC-17.

Sometimes, PG-13-rated movies are so scary or intense, their ratings are raised to R. There was talk for raising the PG-13 rating to R for “The Hobbit: Part 3” film due to a ton of battle violence.

So, those are my thoughts on film ratings. There’s also a video on YouTube called “Does PG Really Mean Anything” that you can search for. I’m not the only person who noticed certain details and movies and their ratings.