Daily Archives: March 30, 2014

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I am part of the generation born after the second wave of the feminist movement. I have an extreme amount of pride for my generation. We have achievements and opportunities that our grandmothers and great grandmothers would have not even considered.  But as I pointed out in my post about International Women’s Day, we still have a long way to do. For every one step we have made going forward, we have gone back two steps.

Case in point, two movie trailers:

The first, for the upcoming movie reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Back in the day, TMNT was one of the best cartoons on television. To this day, I can still sing the theme song.  April, the female lead, was strong, independent and part of the group. No different than her mutant male counterparts.

In this trailer, April, played by Megan Fox, upon meeting two of the turtles, appears to faint.

Not cool.

The second movie trailer is the sequel to Captain America. Returning to role of The Black Widow is Scarlett Johansson.  The Avengers was one of the best super hero movies of recent memory. A huge plus for the movie was that the Black Widow was just simply one of the Avengers. She was not a love interest, she was not a damsel in distress.  She had no problems taking care of herself.

In this trailer, for reasons that will be revealed when the movie opens in theaters next weekend, The Black Widow is unconscious and has to be carried to safety by Captain America.

I had hoped that by 2014, the movie industry would not still be writing females as fainting and unconscious damsels in distress who must be carried away by the male hero.

One step forward, two steps back.

 

 

 

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Juliet, A Rose Who Still Smells Just As Sweet

Romeo and Juliet is familiar tale. Anyone who has sat through High School English has read it at least once. Ask anyone off the street to quote a line from a Shakespeare play, a line from Romeo and Juliet will probably be the first line they quote.

One of my previous posts was a review of Anne Fortier’s new novel, The Lost Sisterhood. Out of curiosity, I decided to read her previous novel, Juliet.

Julie Jacobs lost both of her parents when she was a young girl. She and her sister, Janice were raised by their Aunt Rose.  At the beginning of the novel, her aunt has died. Julie’s inheritance is a key to a safe deposit box in Siena, Italy. She is told that the contents of the safe deposit box will guide her to a centuries old family treasure. Arriving in Siena, Julie discovers that not only is her birth name Guilietta Tolomei, but she is descended from a woman who was the real life inspiration to the title female character in Romeo and Juliet.

I liked this book more than I did the Lost Sisterhood.  It contains the same elements, an ancient mystery and lives centuries apart that are somehow intertwined.  Ms. Fortier repeats the use of flashback and flash forwards to tell the story of medieval and modern Guilietta. I have never been to Siena, but I felt like I was there with the characters.  It’s a bit shorter than her newest novel, which for me made a big difference. I recommend it.

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Noah, The Flood That Did Could Have Been

The story of Noah is familiar one. Noah was told by G-d that he was going to create a flood to rid the world of those who had sinned. But Noah and his family would be saved by building an ark which would hold the world’s animals. After some time floating on the endless ocean, a dove was sent to Noah, a sign that that would waters would recede and land would soon be found.

Biblical epics have been a staple of Hollywood storytelling since it’s early days.   Transferring the story of Noah from the pages of the Bible to big screen would have happened eventually.

Directed by Darren Aronofsky,  co written by Aronosky and Ari Handel, Noah (Russell Crowe) is the descendant of Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve. He and his wife Naamah (Jennifer Connelly) have three sons. Shem (played as an adult by Douglas Booth), Ham (played by as an adult by Logan Lerman) and Japheth (played by as an adolescent by Leo McHugh Caroll). When Noah is given a message by G-d that the  flood is coming, he seeks out his grandfather, Methusaleh (Anthony Hopkins), for guidance.  During their journey, they find Ila, a orphan (played by as an adult by Emma Watson) who becomes their adopted daughter and the Watchers, fallen angels who become their helpers in building the ark.  But trouble comes in the form of Tubal-cain (Ray Winstone), a self proclaimed king who wants the ark for himself.

When making a biblical movie, Hollywood will inevitably come up against two barriers: the first being that the movie will never be universally approved, there will always be criticism. The second is that biblical characters, like mythical characters are often larger than life. We, as the audience know their story, but we do not know them as human beings, which allows the filmmakers creative license. That creative license may create controversy when a religious movie goer may disapprove of on screen depiction of the story and the characters.

One of the best elements of the movie was the strong female characters. With a rare exception, most of the women in the Bible referred to as the wife of ______ or the daughter of _______. She is not named, nor are we told anything about her other than she is someone’s wife or daughter. Naamah and Ila are both very strong and capable female characters, they are equal to the men as integral parts of the story.

The movie build up a steady pace up to the flood and then the problems start. The third act of the movie, when they are stuck on the ark, I had problems with. Frankly, that part of the movie could have been shorter, shortening the entire movie. Noah is not a bad movie,  but if I were the screen writer, I would written the third act differently.

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