Saturday, March 22, 2014

Hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions

I knew Disney's Frozen was loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen". Coupled with the fact that the snow pack in the mountains in Washington State had been crappy until recently, I missed being in the snow and eagerly headed to the theatre to live vicariously through its animated simulacrum.

It was thoroughly enjoyable. The songs aren't amazing, but they are catchy. The images of ice and blizzards and powdery banks did make me miss the snow and the mountains even more, though.  I saw the "twist" at the end coming a mile away; but a princess' (SPOILER ALERT!) life-saving act of "true love" being for a family member rather than for some random contrived romantic interest was a very welcome difference in the cartoon fairy tale world, even if it was predictable.

The film also features a kick-ass female character who stays single throughout the film and isn't defined by her lack of a spouse; in fact, half the movie is her quest to accept herself and her perceived "flaws" (y'know, minor things like turning everything you touch into ice). As my nieces are going through princess stages right now, I hope there will be more messages like this one for them as they keep growing up. Especially since last time I was in Ann Arbor, my 6-year-old niece asked me (with complete innocence, of course), "Tia, why do you not have a husband?"

In the same theme of children with bizarre magical powers...

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children started out as an incredibly dark, kind of scary book about a teenager who witnesses his grandfather's violent death and goes on a journey to come to terms with the truth behind unbelievable family stories that he long assumed were made-up. Until about halfway through, when our teenage protagonist finally finds the abandoned orphanage in Wales where his grandfather lived during World War II, the story is mainly a mystery about family history. But the last half veers off completely into X-Men territory.

The book is peppered with vintage (if anachronistic) photographs, which help tell the mysterious story of people with inhuman powers. But the photos are pretty freaky and creeped me out for the first half the book.

The story itself is great, though. What's not to like about a group of kids with supernatural powers banding together to protect their time-traveling headmistresses and fight evil quasi-demons?

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