A Guide to Summer Movies, 2014

For all of us summer can be a very confusing time regarding to movies. All of these big blockbusters are coming out, and those of use that are complete lemmings have no idea which ones to watch. Never fear! Your fearless Squid Leader is here to guide you through the summer quagmire and give you the in on what movies are actually worth seeing. Though I must say I have higher film standards than most, so respond accordingly.

Godzilla

Out in theaters

 

Once again, a new version of Godzilla, the famous Japanese monster! I personally do not enjoy most monster movies, but if you are an adrenaline junkie who just wants to see buildings get destroyed, this is the film for you!

 

Recommendation: eh, meh. Translation, take it or leave it. A new version will be made in ten years anyway.

X Men: Days of Future Past

May 23

 

I have pretty much given up on the X-Men franchise. I hated the third X-Men, despized the Wolverine X-Men whatever you call it, and thought X-Men origins was mediocre at best. However, this film intrigues me. It looks like a very fresh take on it and I think it has the potential to be a very cool film. Perhaps the only reason that X-Men Origins sucked was because it didn’t Hugh Jackmen. Come on. Sex appeal is a real thing.

 

Recommendation: See it!

Maleficent

May 30

 

This is the latest Disney revival of turning a classic animated film into live action. The last one I am referring to is Mirror Mirror, Disney’s twist on Snow White. This film seems very promising. Mainly that has to do with Angelina Jolie. Whether or not she is a home wrecker, I respect her power as an actress. I am also very interested in seeing the character of Maleficent being played out in live action, being what I believe is the most evil Disney villain. In the original Sleeping Beauty Maleficent is just evil for no good reason, so I am eagerly awaiting to see how Angelina Jolie and Disney filmakers will provide her more depth.

 

Recommendation: See it!

A Million Ways to Die in the West

May 30th  

 

I’m not really sure what to make of this film. It looks funny, though I usually like more than just humor in my movies. But I have to say it has a very interesting cast. I think Seth MacFarlane is a master commedian, though I did want to kill him over Ted. And I am a huge fan of Neil Patrick Harris. Just the fact that he’s in the movie might make me want to see it, if it were not for the fact that Sarah Silverman were also in it. I find her so annoying she cancels Neil Patrick Harris out. So, anyway, from the trailer, this film appears to make fun of traditional western movies, and looks like it could possibly be fun. Those of you who have high standards for movies like me, don’t touch it with a ten foot pole.

 

Recommendation: Uh… Maybe?

How to Train Your Dragon 2

June 13

 

For those of us who loved the first How to Train Your Dragon. According to the trailer, it appears the dragons that have become the beloved pets of the vikings face a new threat. Adventure is mixed with witty humor and light-hearted fun in this film appropriate for all ages! All my squid readers know I am very wary of sequels, especially from film companies that always make frnachizes for children, but I enjoyed the first one so much, I think this one is worth the risk.

Recommendation: See it!

 

 

 

Transformers: Age of Extinction

June 27

 

NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why????? What did I do? Michael Bay, I understand that you seem to like masturbating to explosions and mind numbing, pointless action, but please don’t force your porn on the masses!

 

This is the fourth installment of the Transformers Franchise. It is also the first one without Shiah LeBouf. Perhaps he finally got a spine. The fact that Tranformers could be so easily revived without their usual protagonist just shows how in depth their characters are.

 

Go see this if you like movies with no real story or character development to speak of.

 

Recommendation: AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

July 11

 

Wasn’t a Dawn of the Planet of the Apes already made? Oh, wait, that was Rise of the Planet of the Apes, my mistake. Honestly, I did not see the Rise of the Planet of the Apes, because it just did not appear very interesting to me. Although I must admit the trailers for this film make the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes somewhat interesting. You have a large civilization of apes (obviously) with a small pocket of human survivors. What makes me want to se this is you have the usual plent of the apes story combined with dystopian, post apocalyptic humans fighting for their lives. The trailser make it appear very epic, so i think it could be worth a viewing.

 

Recommendation: Why not?

Jupiter Ascending

July 18th

 

After viewing the trailer, my response was “What?” There seems to be a hell of a lot going on in this film. What seems to be going on, Mila Kunis is a royal alien who has to save the world with Boromir and a guy with pointy ears/ From what I saw, it appeared to be a very typical sci-fi movie. I didn’t really see anything that would make me want to see it. But if you love sci-fi movies, give it a chance.

 

Recommendation: I think better movies are coming out…

 

Hercules

July 25th

 

Okay, just picture this, the Rock (yes, Dwayne Johnson is still trying to act) holding a sword with a lion on his head and smiling open mouthed like a maniac. Enough said, but I sha’ll continue. This appears to be a strange combination of 300 and Clash of the Titans. I can actually think of a good reason to see this movie. Sneak alcohol in with you and mock it as you watch it. that is how absurd it looks.

 

Recommendation: Don’t waste your time.

Guardians of the Galaxy

August 1st

 

This trailer made me laugh a couple of times. It appears to be making fun of super hero sci-fi films. That said, it also seems to have really intense scene of action. That said, I didn’t see much I would consider riveting.

 

Recomendation: Take it or leave it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

August 8th

 

The trailer that I watched did not tell me much of anything about the actual story of this movie. But considering this movie is produced by Michael Bay that is probably more than I need to know regrarding this film’s quality. The trailer made it look like just a bunch of mindless action. I was never a fan of the original stories of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles anyway. Though they have cool names.

 

Recommendation: No

The Giver

August 15th

 

Does this title sound familiar? That is because this film is based off of a book that has been read by students in middle schools for a good number of years. I think I personally have read the Giver 5 times. Honestly, I’m surprised it took this long for a film interpretation to be created. In the near future people live in a utopian society that deprives people of their basic choices. Jonas discovers just what such a society deprives its citizens and tries to find a way to escape. From what I saw in the trailer the only real positive thing I saw was Meryl Streep. I think it is very likely that this film will end up bombing. However, I love this book, so I am going to see it anyway.

 

Recommendation: See it!

 

While I do enjoy sharing my opinions about movies, I am very aware others do not share mine. Whatever summer movies you want to go see, even if it is Transformers, I hope you all have enjoyable film eperiences!

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Feminist Disney Princesses… Or Not

This is no recent hot off the press news that for many years, Disney has been heckled for putting very antifeminist messages into their movies. Since the Disney Renaissance, it seems the Disney film makers have been doing cartwheels to try and create a Disney Princess that aren’t, well, to say it truly, subservient and misogynist. It seems that with every new movie Disney creates with a Princess, it is celebrated as the first feminist Disney princess, and finally a whistle blower scholar says, “Wait, they did it again. This princess isn’t feminist at all.” In this post, I will go over each Disney princess beginning with Ariel from The Little Mermaid at the height of the Disney Renaissance to show how these princess movies are somewhat feminist, but not quite enough. More to the point, why Disney has still not created a true feminist Disney princess.

 

Ariel

The Little Mermaid (1989)

Why the Movie Seems Feminist

 

Ariel was the first deceptive attempt of the feminist Disney princess, and for a first try, Disney got closer than most people could reasonably expect. Here is why Ariel at first glance can be seen as somewhat feminist. Compared to the Disney Princesses before her (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella) Ariel is very assertive. She defiantly challenges the will of her father. She shows multiple acts of courage, going up against a shark, and being close to humans when in her upbringing she was taught they were dangerous. She goes against normal court life.

 

Why It Really Isn’t

 

So, yeah, Ariel has some good spunk. But when you come down to it, she is still pretty anti-feminist. This is mainly because of the myth of a mermaid entirely. According to the myth, a mermaid can only become human if she is kissed by a male, has sex with a male, or if a male tells her he loves her. In all these variations, it is pretty much saying that a woman cannot be considered a valuable member of society unless she is accepted by a man. More than this, we also must consider that Ariel feels the need to change herself for a man. And to do so she is willing to give up her voice, the main source of her assertive power. You could even say that by the end of a movie, Ariel is given back her voice by a man.

 

Belle

Beauty and the Beast (1991).

 

Why The Movie Seems Feminist

 

Belle is Disney’s first intellectual Princess. She is an opinionated, avid reader, who also desires to expand her horizons and encounter adventure. She also rejects a proposal of marriage.

 

Why It Really Isn’t

 

While Belle has a lot of strength, she still, in the end, is an anti-feminist princess. Because in the end, she still has to be saved by a prince, albeit, a very hairy one. And she still has one of those iconic scenes in almost every Disney princess movie when she throws herself on the bed and starts sobbing uncontrollably. Also, it is a bit strange that Belle desires adventure, has a little of it, and then gets married. By normal standards of the 1800’s, other than childbirth, her adventures are over.

 

Jasmine

Aladdin (1992)

Why the Movie Seems Feminist

 

Very similar to Ariel, Jasmine has a lot of spunk and disobeys her father’s will. She almost violently opposes marrying someone she does not love. She is also very adventurous and opinionated.

 

Why It Really Isn’t

 

Two words: the outfit. How can she be seen as anything but an object in those skimpy clothes? But, more than that, just like Belle, Jasmine also, in the end, needs to be saved by a man.

 

Pocahontas

Pocahontas (1995)

Why the Movie Seems Feminist

 

Pocahontas is probably the closest to a true feminist princess thus far. Mainly because rather than John Smith saving her, she saves him. It only took Disney six years to get that right.

 

Why It Really Isn’t

 

Yes, Pocahontas saves John Smith, but the film is still very dependent on a romance. In the context of the film, Pocahontas is not being strong and independent just to stop bloodshed, but for her love of john Smith. A true feminist story would be her doing this without love in the picture.

 

Esmeralda

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

Why the Movie Seems Feminist

 

Esmeralda stands up for her oppressed Gypsy kin against the vicious Lord Frollo. You go girl!

 

Why It Really Isn’t

 

Please tell me you know this one, because these are getting very repetitive. Because like all the other movies, there needs to be a romantic subplot, and she needs to be saved by a man in the end.

 

Meg

Hercules (1997)

 

Why The Movie Seems Feminist

 

Meg is the first sassy Disney princess. She’s even quite overtly sexual. In fact, I’m not quite sure this movie was made with kids in mind. She is intelligently witty and fights to stand up for herself even while she is owned by Hades.

 

Why It Really Isn’t

 

Surprise surprise, she gets saved by a man.

 

Mulan

Mulan (1998)

Why She Seems Feminist

 

Mulan is very close to the real deal. Like Pocahontas, rather than being saved, she saves herself. More importantly, she dresses as a man, works as a soldier, and becomes the type of hero that the prince figure usually is in Disney movies.

 

Why She Really Isn’t

 

They were so close! But of course, in the end, Mulan is a love story, as if Disney is saying, no matter how strong you are, every woman must have love in her life with a strong man you can rely on.

 

Tiana

Princess and the Frog (2009)

 

Why the Movie Seems Feminist

 

Tiana is close to a modern aspiring business woman who wants to better herself.

 

Why It Really Isn’t

 

But of course, she just has to find love. It is impossible for her to be happy without it.

 

Rapunzel

Tangled (2010)

Why the Movie Seems Feminist

 

As a girl who has been locked up and cloistered all her life, Rapunzel dreams of freedom and independence. God, who he hell wouldn’t?

 

Why It Really Isn’t

Despite Rapunzel’s spirit of independence, she is willing to give that up for a man.

 

Elsa and Anna

Frozen (2013)

Why the Movie Seems Feminist

 

When Frozen was released there was huge hype in the media of it being the real first feminist Disney movie. First off, Elsa is queen in her own right, and has magical powers. She is very easily the most powerful Disney princess to date. Even more so, Frozen sets up the true-love’s-kiss trope to save Anna, but makes an unexpected twist. Anna is saved by her sister’s love rather than the love interest.

 

Why It Really Isn’t

 

Okay, I will admit that with Frozen Disney really tried their best to make a more feminist film. And the twist on the true-love’s-kiss was definitely a step in the right direction. However, there are other issues. The song Fixer Upper almost explicitly sends the message that everyone’s problems are perfected with love. Go on girls! Lower your inhibitions! Get married right now despite any reservations so you can procrate! And, once again, despite everything, in the end, this movie still has a love interest.

 

What it all Means

 

I’m sure my readers have noticed that these summaries became very repetitive. The fact that all Disney princess movies have a romantic subplot sends the message that women cannot be happy without love. Disney is perfectly capable of making movies around male protagonists without a romantic subplot (Brother Bear, a good portion of the Pixar films),  and yet they have never done this with women protagonists or princesses. At least not in their animated films. It really begs the question, is Disney convinced that romance sells movie tickets, or are the writers just plain misogynists?