movie

This is “The Greatest Showman” Review (2017)

The story begins with a musical number sung by P.T. Barnum, and then goes back to when he was a kid. He meets a girl named Charity, falls in love with her, and she eventually becomes his wife.

Years later, P.T. and Charity have two daughters, Helen and Caroline. P.T. takes his family to a museum of stuffed figures, and then decides to open up a circus. He asks for unique people to perform in his circus. His fame picks up from there.

Despite the mixed reviews, I thought this movie was pretty good. The musical numbers were amazing, especially Zac Efron’s (who played Philip the junior assistant) voice having a little hint of Troy Bolton from “High School Musical”, even though he sounds nothing like Troy. Other strengths include the importance of family, but especially the acceptance of different people. I was impressed how P.T. longed for unique people, such as an exceptionally tall man as well as a very short guy, and a bearded lady. Although those people were often misunderstood by others, I admired how P.T. taught them to accept who they were and not to be ashamed of that.

Although this film had a good number of perks, there were parts that didn’t please me. One includes Charity’s father slapping P.T. when he was a child. Yes, it was a historical period, and I don’t think that would be okay today. Still. Another oddity was how Charity remained P.T.’s love interest from her youth to her adulthood. Maybe this was common in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. But it hardly ever happens these days. Most people lose touch with their childhood and high school friends by their 20’s.

Anyway, back to the review. When one of P.T.’s daughters (I can’t remember whom) performs ballet, I must admit that their recital was pretty fancy and unusual. After the show, the people are mingling in a rotunda and servants are passing around alcohol. But maybe that was typical then.

The movie also had many twists and turns. You’d have to see it to learn what they were.

I would give “The Greatest Showman” 4 out of 5 stars. Something about it wasn’t fully engaging. But it still kept my attention for the most part.  

movie

Let’s Get Kicking with This Critique of “Early Man” (2018)

I’ve always wanted to watch this film as the trailer engaged and cracked me up a lot. Then I saw it recently on my computer and really enjoyed it.

So, without further ado, let the critique begin. I’ll start off with the strengths.

1: The humor

I cannot keep track of how many times I’ve laughed throughout this movie. It was made by the same company who did “Wallace and Gromit”. The characters were fantastic, especially the main one, Dug, who was voiced by Eddie Redmayne. You probably know him from the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise.

Some of the funny moments include the giant duck, the rabbit, and the characters’ actions.

2: The rabbit

I can’t skip this one. The rabbit acted silly and excited, even when over a bonfire. It did a hokey pokey move while tied to a stick. Even though it’s a minor character, I still enjoyed the bunny.

3: The twists and turns

This film brought a lot of surprises. One example includes the giant duck. A not-so-bright member of the cave people tribe sees a duck from a distance, wants it for food, and hits it with a rock. Little does he and the others know that it’s a giant duck, which becomes of use later. I won’t say how.

Another surprise was when Dug is lost in the civilized village near a stadium, he sees an attractive girl named Goona, who ends up helping him and his tribe win the soccer (or football outside the US) tournament. I predicted Dug and Goona would become a romantic couple. Well, barely at most, which I admire since that feels a little cliched to me.

4: The importance of teamwork

When the cave people have to win a soccer game with the civilization nearby, after being banished from their valley, someone (I don’t remember whom) points out that what they possess is togetherness. I considered that a great moral.

Now onto the parts that I felt could have been better:

1: Chief is only in his early 30’s—about 32

What?! He looks so much older. I thought he was no younger than 60 at first. I get that the creators probably wanted to emphasize on how cave people didn’t live very long. I’m not sure if it’s prehistorically accurate for early 30’s to be elderly with old age signs during the stone age. But for today’s standards, it’s way too awkward.

2: Why are there cave people during the time the dinosaurs went extinct?

This, for sure, is prehistorically inaccurate. Humans didn’t come about until millions and millions of years after the dinosaurs perished. In the movie, though, unlike the tribe Dug belongs to, the humans during the dinosaur times had no speech. Still—I hope this doesn’t mislead children into thinking cave people and dinosaurs co-existed together. Nope.

3: Why does Dug’s pet pig sound like a dog?

He howls and barks, but never oinks. Unless that’s prehistorically accurate, it looks kind of sloppy. That being said, he and Dug do share a sweet bond.

4: Some hidden (or not-so-hidden) adult content

This movie is rated PG and is supposed to be family-friendly. However, there were a few moments that shocked me, such as when Dug slipped into the shower under a naked man’s legs. Of course, they don’t show anything that would make parents forbid their kids to watch it. Still, as an adult, I was pretty astounded by this. Hopefully, it glossed over children’s heads. There were a few other subtle, but mature moments as well.

Regardless of the even amount of strengths and weaknesses, I would rate this film 5 out of 5 stars. The humor is what really drew me in. And I would still gladly recommend it to everyone of all ages.

movie

I’m Going to Review “Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian” from 2009 Right… Now!

Warning: contains spoilers***

The items at the Museum of Natural History in NYC are being packed away to the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. Meanwhile, night guard, Larry Daley, is promoting something to a live audience.

Not long after, though, Larry is whisked away to Washington D.C. for the museum figures. The enchanted tablet brings the things in the Smithsonian to life, including a villainous Egyptian Pharoah named Ahkmenrah. Danger begins from there.

Like the first and third films, this movie had great humor. One of the funniest moments was when the other bad guys on Ahkmenrah’s side asked about his “dress,” which it wasn’t. It was a tunic. I laugh at when another person asked if he and everyone had to wear that, too. Lol. 

Another amazing aspect was when Oscar the grouch and Darth Vader tried to convince Ahkmenrah that they could be bad, but Ahkmenrah calmly turned them away. There was also a clever twist where Sacagawea made a point about how alerting the dark side about their attack could endanger them. So, when the time came, the good guys yelled, We are not going to attack right… now!”

Let’s not forget about the thinker and when he went “Fire power,” while developing strong feelings for a nearby female statue. Which brings me to the romance between Larry and Amelia Earhart. It wasn’t conventional at all. Amelia wanted leadership and helped Larry a lot. I found that to be fantastic since it was quite unique.

That being said, when Larry told his son, Nick, about her, his reaction was a little too casual. He asked in a neutral way, “You found Amelia Earhart?” 

Aside from that, though, everything else ruled. The Einstein figurines and their little song as well as their advanced knowledge cracked me up. I also appreciate the twist where Octavius encounters a squirrel on the white house property and then rides it.

The review ends here. I would rate this film 5 out of 5 stars.

Writing

Unpopular Writing Opinion: Why I Wish Readers Would Accept Any Time Setting in Stories, Regardless of Publication Date

When I say any time setting, I mean any time setting. I firmly believe that authors should get to set their stories whenever they want and readers should accept and deal with the time setting. I don’t agree with the ridiculous rules that authors should only set their books in contemporary settings or historical settings, but nothing in between.

It all started out when I wanted to update my book, “The Frights of Fiji,” then titled, “From Frights to Flaws,” and I sent it to an editor. Throughout the manuscript, the editor kept complaining about the years mentioned and the fact that the story was set in 2010, even though it was first published in 2013. They seemed to tell me to update the setting to 2018 since many middle grade readers then were babies or really little. I was very offended and told them I highly disliked someone telling me when I could or could not set my stories. Then the editor felt me and said that they supported my idea of setting my story whenever I wished and that they wouldn’t tell writers when they could or couldn’t set their stories. That year-change was merely a suggestion. Yet, they also pointed out how kids today wouldn’t be able to relate to pushing buttons on phones. Um…hello? They’re going to be reading books way more primitive than that. Definitely for school. They’ll read books where candles were used since electricity didn’t exist, horse-drawn wagons were the main means of transportation because there were no cars. They’re even going to read stories where pants didn’t exist and men wore robes and togas, like in ancient times, B.C.E.

Also, must I mention that it was not until the 7th “Harry Potter” book was published that I discovered that the characters were much older than I thought. I had grown up thinking “Harry Potter” was set in the 2000’s thanks to some hints from the movies, which I watched before the books. But when “The Deathly Hallows” was published, I discovered that the events of the series happened in the 90’s, from when before I was born up until I was 4 years old, excluding the epilogue. Yes, it was a shock and disappointment at first. But I eventually got past it and accepted it, especially since the first 3 books were published in the 90’s. And no, it wasn’t because J.K. Rowling was a very big-name author.

Even on a website, someone pointed out why “Harry Potter” was set in the 90’s, and said that it could’ve been set earlier, but no one would relate to it as easily. Once again, kids have to read books like that for school. And I’m sure there’s a reason why English curriculums often require stories set too early for students to relate to. It’s probably to learn the differences. Do you think a lot of school kids now or even 30 years ago could relate to characters, like Tom Sawyer or Romeo Montague? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy it, even if they have to read it. When I was in school, there were very few books set around times we students could relate to. One I remember was “Rabbit Hole”, which I read in 12th grade. There was a scene with a video cassette, which suggested that the story couldn’t be set later than the 90’s or early 2000’s. While it felt a little awkward, it didn’t keep me from enjoying the story. Plus, it was required, so I couldn’t stop. I still liked the story, as it was.

Another time, after I republished “The Frights of Fiji” in 2018, I sent my sequel to be edited, as well. Once again, the editor removed the year I stated in it, 2010, and said it would make the story outdated. Bull poo. I even told them why I stated the year it was set. The editor said that authors can set their books whenever they liked, however, it should only be stated if important, otherwise it’s distracting. Garbage! The first book had already been published and the year, 2010, was already written as its time setting. So, I had to say the year book 2 was set.

When I started a post about this on a writing forum, while a few took my side, others did the opposite. They saw the idea of a book being set in 2010 and published in recent years as a bug and being awkward. When I said that changing the year would mess up dates and events, they saw that as nonsense. They picked it up differently than I intended, though. In book 1, my MC’s 13th birthday plays an important role. It also has to fall on a Saturday, and in 2010, her birthday, April 17th, fell on a Saturday. Had I changed the year, I would have had to either change her birthday, or make it a different day. But between 2013 and 2018, hundreds of people have already read the book’s first edition, so it would have looked bad to change the year setting.

Another person on that forum said that unless a story is centered around a certain historical event, like 9/11, it should not be set post-2000. Bird poo. And some other writers agree. They said that it would be hard to market a book set many years in the past without a reason. One writer said that a book published today that is set in 2006 without a reason looks bad. Another said that authors shouldn’t date their stories. They should be contemporary all the time and that readers should get to fill in the year themselves. Bull poo again.  

Why can’t readers see older settings from this century as a chance to learn more about those years? Seriously, what’s wrong with learning about things like flip phones, DVD rental stores, and other “outdated” ways of life? It really shouldn’t hurt. Readers should see books like that chances to be educational in terms of learning the differences of life then versus now. A book set in 2006 and being published around now should be acceptable in mainstream publishing. There’s nothing wrong with learning anything. Of course, that is as long as it’s not harmful. After all, we do or did have to learn history in school. And that is to learn not just how life was different than, but also the mistakes or bad decisions people made so that we don’t do those ourselves.

To me, fiction is only outdated if it’s offensive, such as the use of racial slurs or the damsel-in-distress trope. Basically, anything that would be insensitive to people today shouldn’t be used in writing. But years? Big deal. Authors should get to date their stories, set it in whatever years they wish, and readers should be more open to that. I wish that’s how it would be.

Writing

Developing Protagonists and How I Did it

Every writer develops his or her protagonist his or her own way. Some are inspired by real people, which is how I think Lewis Carroll developed the character, Alice, for “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. According to a magazine, His heroine shared the same name with a real girl, also called Alice.

While many of us know that J.K. Rowling came up with the basic idea of “Harry Potter” on a delayed train, she used some of her own life experiences to build Harry.

As for my protagonist, Alyssa McCarthy, the development of her goes back further than anyone could imagine. In fact, the inspiration for the character dates back to when I was in 2nd grade, and it came from a source that nobody would have expected: An early reader book.

That was “Morris Goes to School”. After reading it, I got inspired to do my own version of that story, but with an upright polar bear named Spike. I evolved Spike into a child polar bear who went to school with human children. One of those extras was a girl with long blonde hair, who got her own spinoff in my mind, where she lived in a house in a jungle and had animal friends. The girl could talk to those creatures, too. I envisioned that creation from maybe third grade and all through fourth grade, but abandoned the idea in fifth grade. Like my MC today, her name was also Alyssa.

For the next several years, I lost interest in creative writing since everything I thought of sounded no good after. However, that changed in early eleventh grade.

While in the shower, the same idea of what I daydreamed about in fourth grade of a girl called Alyssa with long blonde hair who had a supernatural ability hit my mind. After that, I brainstormed ideas and wrote a story similar to my childhood imagination. Sadly, no one else liked it.

Fast forward to my freshman year of college and I scrapped the original idea and turned it into something more appealing. It took a while to create another tale of a girl named Alyssa with long blonde tresses, but with better ideas from me.

While she does have a few similarities to me, such as her sense of style and some food tastes, Alyssa, my current protagonist, is also quite different from me. I developed her personality with a combination of some of the Disney princesses. I also got a ton of inspiration from the “Harry Potter” series for Alyssa’s life and the events that happened to her as well as what goes on in the stories. In fact, readers have constantly compared my “Magical Missions” series to the “Harry Potter” franchise since they share a lot of similarities, but not enough to be exact.

That is the true history of how I developed my main character.

movie

Review of “Harriet” (2019)

A young woman named Araminta Ross (Harriet Tubman, later) is lying on the ground, having flashbacks about her past. She is a slave with a mean master. Despite loving her family, she makes a plan to escape and eventually free all slaves. At some point, she calls herself “Harriet Tubman”.

The movie was pretty interesting. The cruel master looked and sounded a lot like the mini cowboy figurine in the “Night at the Museum” films. Maybe it was the same actor.

Anyway, while “Harriet” was a decent film with some possible changes to what really happened, unfortunately, certain parts were too historically accurate. Those include things like the use of the N-word, something you would think wouldn’t be allowed today, and a purely evil master. Also, there are weapons used by the figures to get what they want. That also isn’t a good example for today.

Regardless of that, the way Harriet handles her confidence was done well. She also really supported her family and would even sacrifice her desires to save them.

Overall, I would rate this film 3.5 out of 5 stars. While I was kind of familiar with the events revolving around Harriet Tubman (I did learn about her in school), the movie also didn’t engage me fully.

Would I recommend this? Maybe. I got very uncomfortable with the racism and how the slaves were treated, even if it’s historically accurate. But there were some good morals and examples set, as well.