Friday, 25 July 2014

If I stay

I decided to read this book because of the movie trailer, starring Chloe Grace Moretz. It got me thinking and it looks promising. I got too curious. I needed to know what Mia was going to choose.

It's been a good while since I got this emotional while reading a book (nope not even when I was reading the Fault in our Stars. John Green put too much good humor into that book for me to be able to get emotional), which is why it got the honor of going on my favorites list. Not because it's perfect, far from it. There were tons of parts that put me off. For one the book is way too short, only 250 pages with big letters. I read through it in a day and that is not what I want when reading a book. Especially a book this good. I needed it to go on (which is where 'Where she Went' comes in).

Yet it takes a lot to make me sob uncontrollably. So badly that my boyfriend dropped what he was doing and rushed over to me to ask me what in gods name had happened and for him to have to rock me back and forth for a while to make me stop crying. I was a mess.

'If I stay' was an eye opener. Not while I was reading it. It was not like I was learning a lesson slowly. It happened all at once as I reached the last page. It was a flashback, not in the sense that something this terrible ever happened to me, but because I understand why she felt she had to choose. It shocked me. Woke me up. Scared me.

Six years ago I felt the same way, for no apparent reason, not a reason close to as big as this one. I was bullied. Not only in High School but way before that. I never understood why and I never found a way to deal with it properly. I made stupid choices and have forever reminders carved into my skin. I pushed a lot of people away.

Unfortunately, tons of teens feel this way. They put themselves in front of a choice, the same choice Mia feels she has to make. Stay, or let go. Sadly, a few (way too many) of these people choose to let go of their lives and leave their loved ones behind for whatever reason. It doesn't really matter what the reason is.

Mia is a teenager, about to embark upon a long life full of choices. Julliard and New York, Adam and Oregon. But all that changes when those choices no longer matter. When only one choice remains. She has to choose to stay or leave a place and a life she feels she no longer belongs in. A life that is forever changed because of one winter morning. In the course of 24 hours her life (literally) flashes before her eyes and she relives several memories. Not all of them happy, but all of them memorable and important. She also views her future, things that could be and would be if she chooses to stay. She lists the pro's and con's in her mind, even if it is not consciously. What choice would you make?

As for the movie, I probably will write a review on that too. Just to state the differences and whether or not it was able to grasp me the same way the book did. While reading this book I was listening to 'Say something' by A great Big World and Christina Aguilera. Yes I listened to it on repeat over and over, it was the song they featured in the trailers and it captured exactly what Mia and Adam are feeling during this book. I hope you will check it out, the movie and/or the book. It will be worth your while. I'm still astonished by it.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Maleficent and Aurora

A few weeks ago I went to the cinema to see the new Disney life action movie starring Angelina Jolie as Maleficent and Elle Fanning as Aurora aka Sleeping Beauty. I was a bit wary about this movie because it was turning everything I loved about Sleeping Beauty when I was a kid around. It changed the original story and I just was too stubborn to give it a chance. But after I while I cracked because of the good reviews it had been getting and my love for Disney convinced me to go anyway.

I was still wary so when I finally saw it I was happily surprised. This story goes into the story behind Maleficent her actions and evilness. It explains how she became the way she is. Where she and the three faeries came from. How she was connected to the kingdom and everything.

In this story the young Maleficent grows up in a land called the Moors, which is next to the land where humans live. These neighbors haven't been on good grounds lately. For some reason the humans always seem to want to start a war with the Moorlings, but they won't have it. Maleficent is just a young girl with wings. She seems like a mix between a faerie and a human. She is the only one of her kind but she doesn't seem to mind. She fits right in and loves her home and the people in it. She's the perfect innocent little girl. She will grow up to be the protector of the Moors.

One day she meets a young human boy called Stefan. He seems different than the other humans and over the years they get to know each other and fall in love. But even Stefan turns out to be more human than she anticipated and one day, he does not come to meet her and they grow apart. When the king of wants to take the Moors he fights Maleficent and the other Moorlings and gets hurt in the process. On his dying bed he demands his followers to kill Maleficent and whom ever succeeds will become king. Stefan decides to visit Maleficent and warm up to her again. She believes in his innocence and goodness. But takes her wings away in order to make the king believe he killed Maleficent. She is heartbroken, her wings where her strength, her everything. This is when she turns evil, makes the Moors darker and makes a raven, Diaval (played by the handsome Sam Riley) her accomplice and he promises to forever be her wings. 

Here on after is where the story start to finally resemble the original Sleeping Beauty. The new king Stefan gets married to the dead kings daughter and they have a baby together. Aurora. When Diaval delivers the news to Maleficent she is determined to visit him. When she arrives the faeries are already there, scared of Maleficent and what she has become. This is when she curses Aurora, knowing that she will never find her one true love and can never be kissed awake because in her eyes, true love does not exits. It's what Stefan took from her aside from her wings. The three faerie godmothers take Aurora into the woods and raise her as her own. They are doing a horrible job though, not as they do in the original movie which is way more believable. What you see in this movie is that Maleficent and Diaval are watching over Aurora all along. She is doing a  better job at raising the little girl than the other three are. She is like a guardian angel. Maleficent starts too soften and soon realized the severeness of her curse, her mistake. But it's too late to take it back.

"I will not ask you for forgiveness. What I have done is unforgivable. I was so lost in hatred and revenge. I never dreamed I could love you so much. You stole what was left of my heart and now I have lost you forever" (Maleficent towards Aurora when she is in her sleep). Sometimes a villain is just a victim who's story has never been told.

This story was still beautiful and way more realistic than the original. It's nice to see the story from a different point of view. It shows kids that no one is born evil, that there are reasons for everything. For how people are and why they act the way they do. It's all in the foundation of the childhood and the people around you and what they do to/with you. I love how they brought Diaval to life. He is no longer just a raven, he is a character with lines. A person who, without realizing it, makes sure that Maleficent stays loving deep inside. That she doesn't turn evil all together. Her humanity remains because of him and I never thought I could fall in love with this particular raven.

Nevertheless I had a few issues with this book. In order for Maleficent to be a good girl whom made mistakes, they had to make someone else the evil in this story. They put this on Stefan (played by Sharlto Copley, who's acting I found lacking) his shoulders which seems unfair. In the original story he was a loving father and a good human being. But in the remake he is confused, depressed and very evil. He does not see the error of his ways. If he and Maleficent had talked after his mistake, none of this would have happened.

Second, some of the effects, scenes and actors were lacking. For instance the young Maleficent. Sure a beautiful little girl, but not a very convincing actress and when she is flying around in the Moors, it looks very fake. Even though they did a great job on all the magical beings, the flying was not very nicely done. It was better once Maleficent was grown up.

Third, they made the faerie godmothers very very dump and clumsy. In the original movie they are three caring ladies who struggle with being human but at least they do a good job at raising Aurora. In the movie they didn't really seemed to care about Aurora. She was away for days but never asked her where she went or worried about her when she was gone, which bothered me a lot because I used to love those characters so much.

Last but not least, they totally left out Phillip his importance and his lovable father. He shortly shows up in the Moors on his way over to the king but THEY DON'T EVEN DANCE OR SINGE THE SONG! This really bothered me because to me that's the most important moment from the original movie. Where to long lost acquaintances finally see each other again, not realizing whom the are and confusing their parents. His characters is insignificant in this story, they might as well have left him out, which they obviously couldn't do but he just didn't make sense in this version of the story. Let me know what you thought of both movies and better yet, which one you liked better?

Sunday, 13 July 2014

How to Train your Dragon

After four years of waiting, being anxious and hoping, I finally got the chance to see How to Train your Dragon 2. The sequel to How to Train your Dragon, the story of Hiccup and in his town (Berk) of Vikings. Since I am a major fan of the franchise, this review might be a bit biased. But nevertheless, I have to write a review about it because I haven't written one on the previous movie. If you have not seen the first movie I advise you do so first before reading this review.

In the first movie Hiccup is very different from the rest of his village. All the people in his village like killing dragons, animals that keep bothering and destroying their village. Hiccup however is not very good at fighting these beasts. When he finally gets the chance to kill a dragon he refuses to do so because he realizes that the dragon is just as scared as he is. He lets the animal go but soon realizes it can't fly on it's own anymore. He tries to get close to the animal in order to help him fly again. As thus an unlikely friendship begins. At first he is the only one who knows and the people in his village don't understand where he learned to deal with the dragons in such a way (without hurting them that is).

Until one of the teenagers follows him and finds about about Toothless (the dragon). Hiccup is able to convince her but soon after the rest of the village finds out and they aren't as understanding, especially the chief of the town, whom also happens to be his dad. They use Toothless to find the dragons nest and after a big fight Hiccup is able to defeat it along with Toothless but at a cost. In the end his dad sees that Hiccups way with the dragons is better than his way of handling them, which is where the movie ends. "Excuse me barmaid! I'm afraid you brought me the wrong offspring. I ordered an extra-large boy with beefy arms, extra guts and glory on the side. This here, this is a talking fish-bone" (Hiccup on how he thinks his dad feels about him).

I always loved the idea of this movie. The boy whom refused to kill a dragon and was able to convince the whole town that violence is not the answer. It's a very good message. Toothless is even more lovable than Hiccup. He is like a kitten or a puppy. Young, playful, protective and cute. Their bound is very strong and they'd do anything for each other.

The story continues five years later, when Hiccup is 20 years old and the whole town has gotten used to having Dragons as pets and neighbors. They changed their town for the better. In a way that makes it easier for the dragons to stick around. It's so lovely to see how they were able to establish a good relationship with the dragons. Toothless and Hiccup are cuter than ever. But of course that's not all the movie is about. Hiccup runs into people whom are hunting the dragons and once again he is faces the issue they have with dragons. They see them as an enemy, as beasts. Again he has to try to convince them to look at the dragons differently. But this time it takes a war before people see their fault. It's heart breaking to see. "You came early into this world. You were such a wee thing. So frail and so fragile. I feared that you wouldn't make it. But your father, he never doubted. He always said you would become the strongest of them all. And he was right. You have the heart of a chief and the soul of a dragon. Only you can bring our worlds together. That is who you are" (One of the secondary characters on Hiccup).

I absolutely loved the sequel. Both Toothless and Hiccup have grown so much and their connection is tighter than ever. Hiccup is still the outcast, even though the town finally sees his side. He still feels like he is out of place, like something is missing. Instead of being part of all the town activities (like his girlfriend Astrid) he chooses to fly around with Toothless to discover the world and extend his limits. His dad wants him to become the new chief. He's grown up and has a good instinc so his father trusts him to do a good job. Hiccup however does not want that responsibilty. The idea of having to put aside Toothless and flying around for adventures to take care of the village, is depressing to him.

In this movie he is forced to grow up and become the man his dad wants him to be. Even if he doesn't have to do everything by himself, it is still a test and hard for him. His friendship with Toothless is put to the test. It's such an intense story. I wish it would have been made for an older audience because the story might have been better then. They could have made it more intense and more real, but you cannot do that when you have 10 year old kids watching this movie. There were few scenes where it annoyed me a lot. But unfortunately it's a children's movie so it will never be the way I would like it to be. Maybe someday they will make a remake for an older audience. Life action even! I don't know. What do you guys think?