Tag Archives: Michelle Trachtenberg

Throwback Thursday-Ice Princess (2005)

Stepping out of our comfort zone is often easier said than done. Especially when you want something, but it seems impossible.

In the 2005 movie, Ice Princess (based on a story by Meg Cabot), Casey (Michelle Trachtenberg) is a brain with a capital B. A bookworm who never quite fits in with her classmates, Casey dreams of becoming a championship figure skater. But her mother, Joan (Joan Cusack) has visions of her daughter climbing up the academic track. Casey wants to be like Gen (Hayden Panettiere), the popular girl who has some serious ice skating skills and an attitude to match. Gen’s mother, Tina (Kim Cattrall), a former figure skater, offers to train both girls.

Casey is faced with two seemingly impossible obstacles: disappointing her mother and training without the support of those around her. The only one who believes in her is Teddy (Trevor Blumas), Gen’s brother. Will Casey achieve her dream or she is doomed to failure?

Is Ice Princess just a tad too predictable? Without a doubt. But it has the timeless message of going after what you want, even if it seems impossible.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Movie Review, Movies, Throwback Thursday

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Tara Maclay

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

The death of a beloved character often feels like a death in our own families. We watch these shows for years, become entangled in lives of these characters and when they die, it feels like a deeply personal loss.

Tara Maclay (Amber Benson) was introduced as a new character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the 4th season. Like Willow (Alyson Hannigan), Tara is also a witch who is just beginning to develop her powers. But unlike Willow, Tara’s skills are more developed.  Their relationship soon grows from friendship to a romantic relationship.

Like all relationships, the roles within the relationships change as things change. As Willow becomes more confident and powerful as a witch, Tara become the “damsel in distress”, needing to be rescued by her girlfriend. Tara also becomes a surrogate parent to Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) after she and Willow move in with the Summers following the death of Dawn’s mother.

When Willow becomes addicted to magic, Tara supports her girlfriend as she tries to come clean, but Willow’s addiction nearly breaks up their relationship. When Tara is killed by The Trio, her death triggers Willow’s grief and anger, pulling her to the dark side.

To sum it up: Though Tara was not on on BVTS for the entire run of the show, her character was still a significant one. Willow and Tara were one of the first major female LGBTQ relationships on television. It felt real and normal. Tara was as beloved as both Willow’s girlfriend and as an individual character. Her death was a blow to the audience and to the characters who grew to love her as much as Willow did.

To this day, BVTS fans still mourn Tara. We mourn her not just because of her unexpected passing, but because of the impact that she left on us. From this writer’s perspective, that is the mark of a great character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Joyce Summers

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

To be the parent of a teenager is not easy. Especially when your teenager is different from their peers. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joyce Summers (Kristine Sutherland), is Buffy Summers’s (Sarah Michelle Gellar) single mother. Joyce hopes that moving to Sunnydale will give both of them a fresh start. But while Buffy is caught up in her new identity as the slayer and Joyce focusing on creating a life for them, their relationship becomes strained.

When Joyce finally comes to understand who her daughter is, she is understandably shocked. She gives her daughter an ultimatum: stay home or leave. Buffy make the decision to leave her mother’s house and Sunnydale. After spending time in Los Angeles, Buffy returns home and learns the difficulties her mother faced without her.   But underneath those difficulties, Joyce has never stopped loving her daughter.

Joyce appeared for the last time in the fifth season. She has not one, but two daughters. Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) is the key placed in human form so it can be protected by Buffy. As far as anyone knows, Joyce has always had two daughters. When she tragically dies from cancer, she leaves two heartbroken daughters and a circle of characters who are grieving as much as Buffy and Dawn are.

To sum it up: Being a parent requires love, patience and understanding. Joyce Summers embodies all off these qualities, even if she is not always the perfect parent. Despite her initial misgivings and frustration about her older daughter’s abilities, Joyce never stopped loving her children. If nothing else, that is what anyone would wish to receive from their parent?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Dawn Summers

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

To be one’s little sister is not always easy. Especially when one’s older sister is the Slayer. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, that little sister is Dawn Summers. Introduced in the beginning of season 5, Dawn appeared to be the average, annoying little sister. She adored her sister’s friends and wanted to be around them. But like any big sister,Buffy did not want to have her sister around.

But up until that point, Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), was an only child.  But no one questioned Dawn’s existence. Then Buffy discovered that Dawn is the Key, a mystical object turned into human form so she can be protected from Glory (Clare Kramer). After Buffy defeats Glory, Dawn is accepted as she is. But then her mother dies and Dawn has to deal with the loss of her mother. In her grief, Willow (Alyson Hannigan) helps Dawn with a spell to bring her mother back, but that does not end well.

The sisters finally mend their relationship after Buffy’s bought with with depression and Dawn’s feelings of abandonment. During the final battle at end of the series, Dawn fights with the Scooby gang and earns her stripes as an ally of the Slayer.

To sum it up: The stereotype of the annoying little sister can be fun to play with as a writer. The character of Dawn is interesting because she is much more than the basic character trope. Beyond her magical conception and abilities, she is a fully formed character whom we love to hate because she is so annoying. When a character is memorable because they are annoying, the writer(s) have done something right.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television, Uncategorized

The Critics Were Wrong (Maybe)-Inspector Gadget (1999)

In the 1980’s, one of the more popular cartoons was Inspector Gadget.

Inspector Gadget was a half man, half machine, detective who was not all there. With the help of his niece, Penny and his dog, Brain, they fought against the evil machinations of Dr. Claw.

In 1999, the cartoon made into a film. Stepping into the mechanical shoes of the title character was Matthew Broderick. Brenda (Joely Fisher) is the robotic surgeon who provides the inspector with the mechanical parts. Rupert Everett, as British actors often do, played the villain. Rounding out the cast was Michelle Trachtenberg as Penny.

Were the critics wrong? Unfortunately, they were not wrong. In transferring the cartoon into a live action film, something was lost along the way. The wacky charm and suspension of disbelief that existed in the cartoon was nowhere to be found in the film. And, as usual, Brenda was the classic damsel in distress who has to be rescued.

Do I recommend this film? No. Just stick to the cartoon.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Feminism, Movie Review, Movies, Television, The Critics Were Wrong