Disney Movies: Alice in Wonderland

So here we go again – getting deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of Disney’s 50s gems, so to speak. Number dix:


alice in wonderland

Just a background: Alice in Wonderland was released in 1951 one year after Cinderella and based off the famous book The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, where a young girl by the name of Alice finds herself falling through a rabbit hole and stumbling into the trippiest trip of her entire life. There is literally no sense or organizational manner to Wonderland. Which of course, makes it all the harder to critique. But! Here we go either way —


The hard thing about this part of the judging is that when in any sort of universe has the story of Alice in Wonderland ever been consistent? I mean, the only consistency we really see is with Alice growing and getting small again when she eats things, along with the complete circle at the beginning and end of which she is introduced in one place and then back there at the end. As far as the movie goes, however, things run as consistently as they can, despite the story’s lack thereof. We see every character that was seemingly “important” at the beginning come back at the end and little Alice even learns her lesson, we think.


Here, we see that Alice has the most “development” so to speak, but she confused me a tad at the same time. She was supposed to be a little girl, but she was quite well-spoken, aware, and logical for a little girl, British or not, and this made her appear quite mature. Which I’m sure was the point. However, then we would have random moments when she would burst into tears of no real accord, like when she has gotten large again in the small room. Of course, if we had had more indication that Alice was an overall mature girl, then these moments of utter logic in the face of very strange things would make more sense, however, we see that she is painted as, apparently, the opposite of this. She is supposed to be quite an immature and almost silly child who doesn’t pay attention or listen. But in Wonderland, she seemed above and beyond all that, and though she retained her curious child’s edge, she very much abandoned the other two things and was extremely attentive to detail and listened whenever she was in trouble. This shows that, despite it all, Alice actually grew up while away in her dream world, yet came back to her rightful age and maturity level when she wakes up again. It is a strange combination of both development and purposeful lack thereof.


I’ll admit, when Alice opened her mouth to sing with the flowers, I had to cover my ears. Her voice was much too high to be pleasant! But the flowers seemed to agree with that after a time. However, the animation style has already matured since Cinderella. We see careful and detailed attention put on Alice, which is also nice because she is a girl, and see some familiar bits of animation put into the strangeness and oddity of Wonderland (similarities to Fantasia, I mean). The music, for the most part, was pretty good as well – a lot of the songs were clever and new and funny. The best scene for animation and music creativity was surely the Mad Hatter’s un-birthday tea party scene, where we see Alice’s childhood impatience shine through, as well as the true insanity of Wonderland.


Even so, this Mad Hatter scene, as well as the Queen of Heart’s scene, are the most well-done pieces of the film. The very beginning is a tad dull and too repetitive to really re-watch or pay attention to when you are older. When she has just landed in Wonderland and is resizing herself all over the place, it gets a bit old. However, once we get past that and hit the forest with the Cheshire cat and the Mad Hatter tea party, we really see more of Alice’s personality stand out and the personality of Wonderland as a whole. Again, we cannot truly critique the plot of the movie, considering it is based off the original story, which truly has no purpose, meaning, or true plot to it. But again! This postmodernness, though something I deeply dislike, is something that was done on purpose and for the sake of entertainment alone. And, by the late beginning and middle of the movie, we are quite entertained indeed.




People Make Glasgow Day 4

Ah yes – the time has come for the REAL fun to start. My dad left me to my whimsies, told me to have fun and be safe and then left me standing on the street as he drove away in a taxi for 6 months, and it was up to me to fulfill my life’s ambition and become the true Gryffindor within. I am, after all, a Gryffindor at heart.


So here lies the outside of my flat. Birkbeck Court. It’s peaceful and quaint, isn’t it? I love the way the deadened trees somehow seem to liven the place up. It was a dreadfully sunny day. Quite the scandal, if you ask me. My window was one of the ones at the very top. Crazy, right? And you know what? I never learned to accept those 8 flights of stairs.


And, in case you were wondering (which I’m sure you were), this is what my room looked like on the inside. It’s even cuter than the outside, I’d say. Of course it helps that I decorated it. I went a little wild while packing and brought almost everything I could find that seemed to scream ‘KRISTA!’ So – here it all is. I enjoyed it though. It became my safe haven. My cave of love, even. Though I often kicked them out without their socks the next morning. I even enjoyed the smell of it. There was an old style heater under the window and I think it gave the whole room a sort of warm, cozy smell as well as feel. I always slept well here. It was strange. I hadn’t often slept well back in Cali. I always needed some kind of white noise there, too. But not here. Here, I could keep my window open and listen to the crazy partiers coming home at 3 in the morning screaming Bulgarian songs. I could listen to the rush of taxis and large buses on the wet road. I could hear the patter of the rain on the windowsill. It was all very refreshing to me.


Well, one week in, I woke up to this. Snow. On the roofs. In the grass. Breeding in the sky. It was the most exciting thing I had experienced so far. I had gone out the night before so I woke up kind of late, but it still seemed right on schedule. So I rushed into the shower and got ready. I had to be outside. Had to. Of course, when I get out there, the cold wind only seemed to wake me up more. I wanted to keep walking. Wanted to run. To take over the city myself. And I mean, I basically did. But I didn’t know I would do that yet. Today, all I cared about was kicking around the snow and making footprints in the grass. I didn’t even care that I was alone. None of my flatmates cared that much about it. But I did. It made me feel…alive. I was soon to find that a lot of things would make me feel that way in this dreadfully distant place.


Look at how few people cared! Though most of them weren’t silly California girls, were they? Thank the Lords. I was already annoyed at the international orientation when a whole line of flippy-haired, blonde, San Diego girls sat down in front of me. I didn’t need more of them, that’s for sure. I had left America for a reason. Where was I headed here? I don’t even know. Everywhere. Nowhere. To the library, probably. Pay no attention to the giant crane or the lack of human life…


And, as promised, my life truly began this week, too. Here, I have officially convinced all of my international and Scottish friends alike to attend the Harry Potter themed club party with me. We were pre-gaming in a flat before heading out to the club. Can you pick out the Scots? Hint — look for the whitest boys in the whole room. I’m hardly visible, though it is a shame. I was wearing a full-on outfit of Hufflpuff attire, socks and everything. Kind of awkward considering I’m a Ravenclaw now. This was the first real party I attended and the first time I really let go. I won’t say much more. The rest is up to one’s imagination. Let’s just say that the night ended much wilder than expected…

Peace. Cheers. Love. xx

Day 5 to come next week.

Disney Movies: Cinderella

Ah yes, the golden child — finally, right? I feel we’ve had to endure some mighty terrible ones to get to you. And yet, I was expecting worse from this one, strangely. I highly underestimated the old princess ones it would seem. So — onto number neuf, then?



The usual background: Cinderella was Disney’s jump into the 50s, where his movies suddenly became quite, well — how do I put it nicely? — fantastic, with Cinderella starting us off with its release in 1950. What surprised me the most about the opening credits to this one was the fact that it was based off Charles Perrault’s Cinderella tale and not the other versions, such as Brothers’ Grimm. Which I suppose makes sense, considering Disney would strive to stray as far from Grimm as possible (look at Snow White). I actually read Perrualt’s version for the first time very recently for a uni course! So — go Disney for variation.


This story was quite consistent with the fairy tale book theme in the beginning, like most of the other princess and storybook tales he’s done. What was refreshing about Cinderella was that she didn’t start out as a princess, in fact, she started out as the opposite. The story is very consistent in terms of where it starts, where it’s going, and where it ends. We have no real questions as we go through and everything that happens, for the most part, makes sense, especially if you are familiar with the original fairy tales themselves. Cinderella starts off as a poor kitchen wench to her own “family”, shedding light on how awkward living in an abusive family is because, what do you do? Cinderella followed their orders without much complaint because again — what DO you do? How else do you handle that sort of situation besides ranting to your animal friends and then getting the family’s orders out of the way as quickly as you can? Speaking of animal friends — the consistency with them is pretty great. They are always there to help and it makes sense because she was nice to them and even gave them fitting clothes when everyone else was afraid of them or wanted to eat them (mainly the mice in this scenario). And then we have the sub-plot of the prince’s story and probably the first Disney movie to have a successful sub-plot. We see that his father has specific plans for him he doesn’t want to meet and is having a huge row about it, which leads us to the ball. Then of course, it makes sense why Cinderella can’t go initially, and even the fairy Godmother makes sense because, if you’re familiar with Perrault, she’s by a tree when she cries for help. The tree is supposed to be where her mother is buried, hence the magical Godmother figure. It makes sense in the tale, all right? But also is portrayed well here. Along with everything else. Even the fact that Cinderella loses her slipper is consistent because we see her lose it early on in the movie, when it “doesn’t matter”. This was also a beautiful use of foreshadow — by the way. Kudos, Disney. She’s simply walking up the stairs with her hands full when she loses a slipper! Brilliant, really. And even after she’s married to the prince, she loses a slipper again! Oh Cinderelli…


With the above in mind, this movie greatly surprised me with an array of fantastically brilliant and vibrant characters that all really shine as their own personas. The King, for example, was my favorite. He was hilarious, ridiculous, and above all, Kingly. All he wanted was grandchildren, and he was willing to do everything in his power to get them. Even if that meant cutting off his Duke’s head or making his son marry someone he despises. Quite the true Kingsman. Then we have Cinderella, who is honestly quite sassy and sophisticated, behind the family’s back, of course, in a manner mature for her age. Which makes sense, considering she had to grow up quite fast. Her step-sisters are on the opposite spectrum as bumbling, idiotic, spoiled brats, which also makes sense. Even the mice have very distinct personalities. We have Gus Gus, who spewed the best line ever after revealing the newly made dress to Cinderella. “Happy birthday!” he said. Classic…And then, we have Jacque, who is quite a spunky, helpful lad. He even wishes to sew for the ladies, but this one overly stereotypical mouse sings, “Leave the sewing for the women!” which is probably my biggest negative about the movie. But — I guess it is the 50s. Anyway, the male mice ended up helping five minutes later despite. All of these characters go through transformations as well. We see Cinderella finally break down under all of that pressure, stress, and abuse after her dress is ruined. We see the prince finally take to a girl. We see the King calm down about everything because of Cinderella. And! We see the step-family get served. HA! You thought you would win — but you didn’t realize that Cinderella had mice on her side. I also do really like this touch to Cinderella. If animals can trust you, that automatically makes you a trustworthy, kind, and true individual. At least I believe so. And it makes sense, at that point, that she would only put her trust in animals.


The animation has definitely become less silly since The Adventures of Ichabod Crane and Mr. Toad and grown much more sophisticated, glamorized, and entrancing. We see two kinds of animation in this film: stagnant, flatter animation, like with the castle and the background guards, and the fuller, more detailed animation that we’ve been seeing up until now, with Cinderella herself (finally! The women have detail!), the step-family, the King, and the Duke. Specific actions were given more detail, too. Like when the fairy Godmother is magicking everything into something pretty and presentable, and even the dramatic moments, like when Lady Tremaine realizes that Cinderella had gone to the ball and locks her in her own room. The music has already escalated since Bambi, too. Our first song is quite beautiful and serene, interrupted only by a loud clock that Cinderella herself makes a sassy retort about. And the music continues that way, as well. Some very classic and still famous songs can be found within this track, such as the first one about dreams and the fairy Godmother’s classic, “Bipidi-bopidi-bo”.


We see that the plot itself has escalated as well since our last Disney. Where Ichabod Crane was silly and not focused, Cinderella was actually quite serious, yet mixed with the perfect amount of comedy, as well as being extremely focused on its task. There were quite a lot of important things that happened in this movie that were so minute and detailed, a child would never pick up on it. Like for example, the simple fact that the fairy Godmother made the actual horse the coachman for Cinderella’s carriage, stating, “Now you’ll get the reins for a change.” Not only is that a great thing to give anyone who is often controlled, but it is a direct parallel to what she is giving Cinderella: reins. A means to control her own life for once. And though most wouldn’t call this movie feminist, what I love about it is Cinderella’s chance to go to the ball had nothing to do with “finding a man” or “seeking love”. She was just seeking freedom for herself, if even for one night. And! She didn’t even realize that the man she danced with WAS the Prince! She was just there to finally shine and have a good time, and love just happened to come, too.



Disney Movies: The Adventures of Ichabod Crane and Mr. Toad

This one was an interesting one for me, considering I enjoy reading these kinds of tales, and had actually quite enjoyed the Legend of Sleepy Hollow as it was originally told. So — number huit:



Background: This movie was released in 1949, so right before Disney’s famous Cinderella and 50s era. I feel that most don’t actually know about this movie. I hadn’t known about it until I had looked up the list of Disney’s movies for my wee project here. The thing is, this movie is a compilation of two “beloved” tales, one set in England and the other set in New England, as it were. Both written much earlier than 1949. Mr. Toad’s story is straight from “Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame, while Ichabod Crane’s story is from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving.


Even though we have two stories combined into one, I didn’t feel as if there was much of a conflict between the two or lack of consistency. We have a narrator who, like with Snow White, takes us into each story by first opening the actual storybook the tale is found in. This is a nice touch and it is, consistently, done between each new story. We then develop a “battle” between the Motherland and the New Land. Which story is better? Which story contains the more “intriguing” character? And, within each story, we see a high level of consistency that follows the original tales almost to a T. There is really nothing confusing or off-setting about either of these renditions and same goes for the in between that brings them both together into one film. Probably the most inconsistent thing is the fact that the movie title announces Ichabod Crane first, suggesting that his story will come prior to Mr. Toad’s, when in fact, it is the other way around in the actual film. Which is a bit upsetting, especially for an English Lit. major. I mean, basic thesis writing Disney, come on! Not to mention that the main picture for the movie only features Ichabod Crane, which is also a little depressing. If Mr. Toad’s story isn’t that important to you, then don’t feature him! It’s probably because his was the English one…


Now, ironically we see more character development within Mr. Toad’s story than within Ichabod Crane’s. What I did like about Ichabod Crane’s story, however, is the fact that no one actually speaks in it. The characters’ lives are told to us via a (not annoying, for once) narrator, as well as through song and sudden instrumental dramatics. But this also provides for less character development because we see the characters as they are and that is basically it; they do not change. I mean, Ichabod Crane was obviously the most interesting character and probably the only one that was an actual character. The others were more like blank shells – especially Katrina – who stands out as the extreme archetype for the “beautiful, American bell with blond hair” and who has no actual personality at all. Sadly, I was not surprised that this was the classic “American” tale that Disney chose to feature and that they chose to portray Katrina in this way. For the featured English tale, we get to hear the characters speak and each one has his own specific character traits. Of course, there are no female characters, which is probably the reason behind this, but even still, each one starts out a specific way, goes through a brief transformation, and then, even if they go back to how they were before (hint hint Mr. Toad and his mania), we see that there has been thought put into them either way. I for one loved the attention Disney put into the various accents. My favorite, as anyone who knows me can guess, was Angus MacBadger, considering he was a well-structured attempt at a Scotsman.


The animation for this movie is better since the atrocity of Song of the South, but it also doesn’t quite live up to the standards that Disney has already set for himself. I’m starting to wonder if there were some movies he just didn’t care about as much and so let them fall to shit a bit. The animation for this movie comes across as very silly, which goes along with the actual story line of the whole movie. However, the animation itself portrays a certain level of deliberate detail. Like how Katrina looks the specific part of a stereotypical Swedish beauty, how Ichabod looks like a scarecrow, and how the animals within Mr. Toad’s part are shaped according to their personalities. For example, Ratty was stuffy, sophisticated, and rather pompous – he looked just like John Watson, actually, with his brown tartan clothes, pipe, tall, stiff demeanor, and old English hat. The music was fairly average based on what, once again, Disney had already achieved. Nothing really stood out to me, except there was a level of over-dramatized instrumental moments.


So I have to admit that this whole movie just came across as rather silly to me. Even the dramatic bits, for both Mr. Toad’s and Ichabod Crane’s stories, came off as not very serious and quite ludicrous. The reason the consistency worked so well is because the stories themselves were fairly simple and almost followed the original tales too well. The only bits that weren’t from the originals were unnecessarily ridiculous moments that were dragged out and overplayed, like when Mr. Toad is running through the water and through bushes with his horse and cart, though I’ll admit that was pretty funny, and when Ichabod was getting chased by the “headless horseman”. With this in mind, I feel like Disney took the original tales and actually dumbed them down for this production. The story is so simplistic and silly that there is not too much point to it, in the end. Neither of the narrators decide which characters were “better” and to be honest, the way the stories were portrayed, I didn’t really feel like they were great characters to start out with. But, perhaps the point of the movie was to be sillier versions of otherwise much more “seriously” told tales. And with that in mind…


What do you think?

The Glory of the 21st Century

Death is inevitable. But the problem isn’t this. It’s that people pretend like you have all the time in the world. And that’s not the worst bit – what’s worse is how life for what it’s worth can end and cease to exist long before your actual death arrives. Sometimes, life can become worse than death…

Historians always say that it is the people of the past we should feel sorry for and not wish to live among. But there is only a half-truth in those words – it is US we should feel sorry for and not wish to live among; US who should be afraid. People talk as if we have achieved great things in this new century. And maybe we have. But we have also failed on a countless number of instances. You see, we live in a world of oblivious and ignorant chaos. And we are stuck in it. There is no longer any place to run to, should we become incapable of handling it. Everywhere is full of careening, twisting, warping humans without brains, demons with too much power, and monsters with access to weapons.

I wonder what the historians of the future will say about us then…

If there will be any humans left, of course.

Welcome to the 21st century! Where it is common to come home and find out that your child’s school had been shot up for absolutely no reason by a random citizen who somehow had access to a machine gun. Welcome to the 21st century! Where you figure that a mass killing a month in some foreign country can’t affect you, right? Welcome to the 21st century! Where complete pyschopaths and selfish pricks with disgusting hair think they can run a country already full of hypocrites, liars, and freedom fakers. And where these hypocrites, liars, and freedom fakers apparently want them to. Welcome to the 21st century! Where mindless drones have replaced humanity and technological distractions and meaningless apps have replaced emotional, real, true, human connection. Welcome to the 21st century! Where racism and sexism still plague in places that pretend they had never existed and basic human rights such as consent and bodily ownership are consistently ignored and pushed aside. Welcome to the 21st century! Oh — what a time to be alive! What a time to be “free”! What a time to be at war…

You know, I’ve had so many people sit me down and tell me how early I am to things. “Wow, you’re so ahead of us when we were your age!” “I know you think that you love him now, but maybe later…” “I mean, you’re only 22, just give it a rest and wait.” The thing is – I’m not early at all. If you look at the world, at the way things are going, how in hell can I trust in or even hope for any kind of future? I believe in my passions and my dreams and my aspirations. I do. But how can I sit around and wait, when the world won’t wait for me? The world is falling apart. That much is clear. And it’s not just the crumbling, coughing Earth that makes me say this. It is everything. It’s the fact that people don’t even look up from their phones now when walking through a shopping center because Pokemon Go is just “that invigorating”. It’s the fact that there is a terrorist attack a month in countries like France and Turkey, and shootings once a week in America. It’s the fact that the U.K.’s latest election left them desolate, broken, and confused, and our upcoming one is making me feel the same way. What, with our choices for candidates? There’s no wonder people are fleeing to Canada. I do things quickly and without fear because there’s already plenty of fear to go around. And when it comes down to it? When WWIII is actually happening? I don’t want to be in regret. I want to say that I achieved everything I could have, even if I am only 22.

Welcome to the 21st century.



People Make Glasgow Day 3

So we progress on, yes? Onto jour trois:


As was promised by the last post, my dad and I had managed to successfully find Strathclyde. Not only that, but we managed to take plenty of pictures on its campus. It is quite pleasant, isn’t it? Not as beautiful as the University of Glasgow, my dad said, but this campus was newer anyway. Already I was loving the different vibe that we found just walking among the buildings and old bits of grey snow. Here, I am posing by the big ol’ grand sign. You know, in case you were a lost student, too drunk to find your way home without guidance at 4 a.m.


Dad and I wound our way through campus and found ourselves back on Buchanan. We progressed further down the street this time, only going the other way, toward what appeared to be a large concert hall. It had been a long, cold day. But it hadn’t rained on us. Even the sky itself was tired of being sunny and was winding down well before it had hit late afternoon. A typical January in Scotland apparently had the sun setting at around 3.30 p.m. Imagine that?


Out of the setting sun shadows, we found ourselves on Sauchiehall Street. Buchanan and Sauchiehall connected at the concert hall, actually. It was like we couldn’t be stopped, stumbling here and there. It was really great fun. And of course, neither Dad nor I could help stopping and taking a well-deserved tourist shot. What American goes to ANY part of the U.K. and doesn’t come out with at least one picture of themselves next to an old phone booth? No one. Not a single, true American. Even though I was rapidly loosing all shred of my American-ness, layer by layer, I found this picture enjoyable and necessary all the same. And you know? The phone inside actually worked! It even included free WiFi. I say again – imagine that?


At this point, Dad and I stopped in a pub for some grub. And alcohol, of course. “Drinking already”, my poor father commented as I happily and without hesitation ordered a coffee with a healthy serving of whisky included. It was quite good! Much sharper than I had expected, but I mean, what good is whisky if it isnae sharp?


I know this is technically a repeat picture. But look — there ARE differences! The snow has officially melted completely, there are less cars on the street, and, it’s during a different time of day. I wonder if there was ever such a beautiful picture as this in California. I doubt it. When have there ever been clouds over Southern California long enough to capture a shot like this? The answer is never. But it’s okay — because when I took this picture, Southern California was long gone from my mind.

Peace. Cheers. Love. xx

Day 4 to come next week.


Me, Myself, and I

I more often than not come across as a surprise to most people. They seem to think that, because I am very open with myself and to others, they know everything they need to know about me. The fact is, they often dismiss what they think they know, anyway.

Though I am not often taken seriously, people seem to think that they can predict me. “Oh she’s talking about Scotland again”; “Oh she’s going off about Harry Potter again”; “Oh she’s complaining about some other shit or other again.”

But here’s the thing. None of them seem to know that, though I may do these accused things more often that I care to admit, I am also doing other things. Unpredictable things. Off-to-the-side things that will help me in my climb to glory. Like how I ghost write for random individuals on the internet in between crafting my own novels and get paid for it. Oh — did I mention I have a 5 star rating there? Bet none of them know that. Like how I am in contact with a New York Literary agent and how every time I send one of her manuscripts back, all she has is high praise for me. I doubt any of them would ever guess that. Like how I am applying for a big scholarship to get me back to Scotland for free and that would nearly give me a full ride to one of the oldest and most established English speaking universities in the world. Yeah, most don’t know that either.

What they don’t understand about me is though I may talk a lot, I still withhold the most important information. Because, though I do talk a lot, I am not an all-talk person. And all of you complainers? You minimalist haters? You pretentious postmodern pricks? You don’t know a thing about the real world. But I do. So here’s me saying – why don’t you stop being so predictable? Everyone knows exactly what you’re going to do with your life. I mean, it’s the same thing you’ve been doing this whole time.

But me? Well Hell — I’ll be reaching for the skies. Moving somewhere at the drop of a pin and not worrying about a thing. I am, after all, just a wee lass. What could you possibly predict about me that could be true?

Perhaps one day, they’ll see. Perhaps one day, I’ll show them. Perhaps one day, they’ll know just how unpredictable I can be.