Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Babbles of a Fangirl - Equestria Girls

I am going to be really honest right now.  I have been avoiding anything to do with Equestria Girls.

"Oh look!  They released a picture of their god awful toys! LOOK LOOK!"

I exit the room (or internet).

"HEY EVERYONE!  I saw Equestria Girls, come listen to my stories!"

I hide under some sort of desk or in my puppy's kennel (yeah I fit in there....barely).

As you can see, I am in denial.  As soon as I heard rumor of Equestria Girls I hid from the internet, shaking it off as a sick rumor made from the minds of fan fiction fondling bronies (god bless them). When I saw the animation from this so called "movie" I figured it was just animation leaked from some mega fan's deviant art page being passed off as the handy work of Hasbro.  But then the trailer came.

Where do I start with how this trailer made me feel?  I guess my first words (though the memory is hazy) were something along the lines of, "Wait...they're SERIOUS?!" Followed by, "WHY?" and finally wrapped up with " least MLP is getting a movie release."  But then I realized my final reaction was something akin to saying, "Hey, an acid spitting falcon melted my eyes....but at least I don't need glasses anymore!"

I watched the trailer over and over, always teetering with each viewing between excitement that it was something MLP related and giving up on the franchise all together.  I was already very disappointed with the third season (we'll get to that more later) and this seemed to be the cherry bomb on a shit sundae.  Finally I gave up and decided to just wait and see what happened.  It never played anywhere close to where I live, so I  would just have to patiently wait to get my viewing and put my two cents into the internet review bank (Net worth 86 Kazillion-poptart-lolz-dollars)

Then sexy little Netflix came waltzing up.  Oh sure, it's flashy red colors promise big block busters like The Hunger Games and endless How I Met Your Mother.....but under that facade lies Sharknado's, Troll 2's and endless Uwe Boll "movies". While doing my usual scroll through I found it....Equestria Girls....just waiting for me.  I sighed and thought to myself, "It's time." And so my viewing of Equestria Girls began.

You want to know the thing that I really have been wrestling with, the thing that has made me keep putting this review off?  I, after watching Equestria Girls came to one conclusion.

It wasn't that bad!

HOLD UP!  Before everyone on the pony side of the mirror has me outcasted from the pony community, let me explain myself.  I'm going to divide this according to my nitpicks and the things I genuinely liked about this film.  Once I'm done, then you can attack me with pitchforks.  Deal?

1. Hoofs Up ---- The Message it sent to girls
With out going too far down the "girl power" rabbit hole I have to give this movie some credit.  It took what could have easily been a shallow popularity contest plot and turned into a great example for girls or where hard work an kindness can get you.  Twilight must win a fall formal queen competition for reasons that are too long winded to explain and she does so not with a make over or lies (though they do jam in a make over very abruptly towards the end).  Twilight wins the respect of her peers by bringing the different cliches together and reminding everyone that they aren't so different.  She also works hard to get the dance ready and encourages others to pitch in with her.  This shows young girls that determination and some elbow grease will get you a lot farther than bullying.  I have to respect the movie for this point because this was a movie made mainly for little girls and what this movie can do for them is a strong point to way.  They almost avoid many cliches this scenario often has...well....almost....until....

2. Hoofs Down ---- Flash Century 
Twilight gets a love interest.  He isn't fleshed out.  He isn't funny.  I didn't care about him the whole time because he was never developed.  I felt like he was something thrown in at the end because some producer said "Hey....uh....girls like boys....give that purple chick a boy to like."  BOOM....dumb guy with an even dumber name comes strutting into our lives.  Thanks for nothing Flash.

3.  Hoofs Up ---- The Main Six 
I really liked how everyone maintained their personalities without getting pushed too over the top like in season 3.  Fluttershy was the right balance of pathetic and warm.  Pinkie Pie didn't annoy me.  Apple Jack was loyal....I mean honest.  It was all there!  What more can I say then our characters were introduced as still being themselves!

4. Hoofs Down ---- Spike Being a DOG
I don't like alternative Spike being a dog because I feel it sends a strange message.  Are you saying dragons in Equestria are the equivalent of talking pets?  If anything I think Spike should have been a really little kid that doesn't belong in High School (after all he is a baby dragon!) and that's why Twilight has to hide him.  Dragons need respect.  After all, they can cover your whole world in smoke.

WHY?!?!  Just....why?  Sure, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity I can all see wearing skirts or dresses, but why are Apple Jack and Rainbow Dash, the most active people in this universe wearing skirts and boots?  Sure, Rainbow has those little, black spanks underneath, but the skirt is so dumb for someone who is needing to move a lot.  I really didn't understand why Twilight had a skirt either.  Maybe it's just because I'm also bookish and understand that skirts aren't the greatest for curling up.  You could argue that it alternative universe's Twilight that opted for a skirt but even then, why would she?  She loves sitting down and studying as much as pony Twilight.  As for everyone wearing the boots, I'm from a cold state, I wear boots all the time.  I love boots.  Still, why is everyone wearing them?  Was it just easiest to draw?

6.  Hoofs Down ----The Songs and Names
I really didn't enjoy any of the songs in this movie.  I can't remember any of them.  Well, I do remember the song the main six sing in the cafeteria but only because I laughed so hard during that song I could barely breath.  It felt so forced and seeing the girls dance like cheerleaders only brought out my inner assembly skipping self from high school.

I also feel there was a missed opportunity to make this universe a little more original.  Everyone has the same name as they do in Equestria which I guess I could understand if only their names didn't feels so far from being human.  It would have been interesting to have Twilight Sparkle introduce herself only to get odd looks from her names.  She quickly readjusts and says "Twyla" or something.  Then you could have Apple Jack as "Jackie" or "A.J.", Rainbow Dash as "Raina", Rarity as "Ari", Pinkie Pie as "Mina", and Fluttershy as.....hmmm....I guess I'm stuck on that one.  You get the idea!

So there you go.  I hope you don't hate me too much....

Now excuse me....we need a pony break and I have some zombies to kill.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Babbles of a Fan Girl - Harley Quinn

If you would have asked me who my favorite Batman villain was when I was a little girl I would have answered in a heart beat "POISON IVY!" in my best girly squeak.  I was first introduced to the green goddess in the movie 'Batman and Robin' which I will admit, I loved.  Before you attack me with tar and feathers understand I was in first or second grade when I first watched that movie.  I didn't notice how mellow dramatic the acting was or all of the cheesy puns.  No, I was entranced by a villain who not only stood for what she believed in but was a literal force of nature the whole time she did it.  I admired her tenacity so much so that I would play Batman games always as a villain, though one of my own creation.

Later on I caught glimpses of the Batman animated television show.  I distinctly recall thinking it was rather dark and even somewhat scary, so I didn't let myself watch it.  Yes, I was that weird little kid who gave themselves rules and limits.  Despite my personal restriction from the show I remembered one part distinctly where a jester type of girl is being brought to Arkham Asylum.  I remember thinking she looked cool even though I knew absolutely nothing about her.  It wasn't until much later that that character fell back within my life, only a few years ago in fact.  Her name is Harley Quinn and she is my favorite Batman villain.
Cat Woman, eat your heart out

For those of you unfamiliar with the Gotham Siren, she is a former psychologist turned mad woman when she attempts to treat the Joker.  This only results in her falling in love with the Joker to the point of not only obsession, but the point where she abandons her straight life and career to take up the mask of crime.  Her relationship with the Joker is ALWAYS rocky, bouncing between passionate lust and abusive destruction.  In her signature episode of the Batman animate series 'Mad Love' her transformation from doctor to deviant revealed along side her current relationship with the Joker where cruelty is overshadowed by the Joker pushing her out the window.  Even after such an act she is still enamored with the Clown Prince of Crime, much to many's shock.

Now I know what you are probably thinking.  Patchwork?!  How could you like or even admire such a poor example for woman?  Not only is she obsessed with her abuser, but she is living a life of crime!  How could you?  Well first off, you should know something.  Many of Harley's characteristics were borrowed from Lucille Ball of the famed 'I Love Lucy' television show.  The creators of Harley even said that the only person they could see playing Harley is Lucille Ball herself.  I grew up watching Lucy and she helped me develop the type of comedic acting I fall so naturally into today.  I would love the chance to play some as menacing yet hilarious as Harley in an attempt to reach my comedy roots.

Secondly, Harley may be obsessed with the Joker but she knows how to hold her own.  Her personality shines through and dominates any episode she's in.  She has that upbeat, silly attitude that makes her hard not to love.  Several episodes of Batman show her performing her own schemes, minus her lover.  She even teams up with Poison Ivy to embark upon her own heists!

Thirdly, as much as I love Poison Ivy, I identify with Harley Quinn more.  Poison Ivy is the lady I wish I could be.  She is confident, knows her desires, and will stop at nothing to follow her passion.  Harley is a wondering soul.  She never really knows what she wants and is usually seeking someones validation to help her know she's doing the right thing.  She goes off and succeeds but often reaches out to Ivy or the Joker to help her see that what she did was a job well done.  You're always rooting for her to break free and be her own person because anyone watching can see that she is more than smart enough to be her own person, not just a sidekick.  I've never been great at picking men or having confidence, so when I see Harley's struggle, I can relate.  Her optimism the whole way through makes a gal feel like with a bit of humor and some classic wit, she can get through anything.

There are many versions of Harley that have popped up over the years in both video games and television alike.  I had greatly hoped that the Batman movies of recent years would finally put her to the big screen, but alas that is still just a dream.  Consider this and introduction to the lady I love, but not our final visit.  Perhaps I will take a closer look at all of her forms in the future.  For now, puddin' please enjoy this look at her adorably dark sense of humor!