The Victorian Hawk Dragon has currently reviewed the following:
Zombie Girl - Ravens Croak Cemetery Witch
Does she hunt through the Graveyard, on a Starless Night? Does she stalk through the Tombstones, of a Moonlit Realm? Does she crawl through the Remnants, of once Mighty Men? Does she scream through the Night, in Raven's Speak? Be-spell you she will, this Zombie Girl - thy Raven's Croak Cemetery Witch:
You'd feel her Presence, at the first shift of Dirt. You'd hear her Call, at the first Croak of Raven. You'd sense her Touch, at the first claw of Talon. You'd know her Power, at the first lock of Eyes. For she's a Zombie, and she's Dead! And yet ... You'd feel her Presence, in Witchcraft form. You'd hear her Call, in Witches Chant. You'd sense her Touch, in Witches Blood. You'd know her Power, in Cauldron's Brew. For she's a Witches Witch - a Necromancer, who knows not now, this Path of Dead! And yet ... You'd feel her Presence, at the first sight of Them. You'd hear her Call, at the first squawk of Them. You'd sense her Touch, at the first flock of Them. You'd know her Power, in guise of Herald. For she's a Raven's Girl, evermore nevermore, at the front of her - Raven's Might! In Darkness does she dwell. In Twilight does she live. In Dark Fantasy does she abide. In Darkest Night, does she Rise - but only when, Moon's just bright :) For only then, will her Ravens come ... They'll swarm the Night, from Ravens afar. They'll silhouette in Twilight, from Ravens close. They'll gift you from Dark Fantasy - a Daemon's Daemon, Strength of Nine. They'll haunt you in this Darkest Night, in Paths so Dead, and Paths so Rise! For only then, may you wonder - who is Master, who is Mistress? In Zombie form, it's hard to say ... Her Daemon skin, fights for dominance. Her Daemon claws, rend the ground. Her Daemon eyes, stare at you. Her Daemon mouth, speaks to you: Riddle, Riddle, Dark in Time. Who enters my domain? I am of Grave, I am of Night. I am of Tomb, I am of Eve. I am of Dead, I am of Life. Come to me - my Love :) No! No! But once she Lived ... A Princess: so fair she was - of Armies gone, and Kings of Old. A Princess: with long Black Hair - not all in Death, still some remains. A Princess: of Midnight's Mistress - with Curves of Lure, and Chest so Fine. I see ... Not all is Dead! For still, some remains ... No! No! I was a Witch. I walked in pages of the Spells. I walked in Magic of the Realm. I walked in verses of the Chant. I walked in Witchcraft of the King. I ... See that Night, I ... when Ravens came to me ... I remember now: a pact was made - with Raven's Raven. More of Power. More of Sorcerer. More of Dark. Croak! Croak! Princess no more ... I must obey! Who enters my domain? For I'm a Zombie of these Ravens, from afar, we wreak of Death. I do their bidding, as I Will. I'll sink my Teeth, right into Thee. I'll tear my Talons, through your Resolve. I'll show you Curve. I'll show you Cleave. I'll show you Smile. I'll show you Flirt. I'll teach you of the Darkest things. I'll bring new meaning, to the term - Deadly Embrace :) For I'm a Raven's Girl now, who walks in Paths of Necromancy, and knows well - Rise of Zombie. For I'm a Raven's Guard now - a Sentry of this Cemetery, I protect my Ravens. For I'm a Raven's Wing now - no light of touch, just Stone of Cross. For I'm a Raven's Croak now - no thought of own, just answer Riddle! Croak! Croak! No! No! I once was ... Barest Touch, Light of Day. I danced within, a Palace so Fine. Yes! Yes! I cast a Spell. One of Dark, for Raven Friends ... A Sorcerers Power, did my Spell - turn Day to Night, turn White to Black, turn Life to Death. For in my Cauldron's Brew, did I forget, just who I was! My mind was changed, through slight delay - in more decay, bad memory! My Daemon won ... Croak! Croak! Who be you that enters my domain? And that of my Ravens? And that of my Graveyard? And that of my Kingdom? And that of my Night? And that of my Empire? Scream!!! You may never leave ...Zombie now.
In the Doors of a Vampire, in the Blood Lust of the Moon. In the Riddles of a Serpent, in the Whispers of the Twilight. That's just where you'll find her, the First of her Kind, the Oldest of the Old, the Queen of the Vampires - a Midnight's Seductress, Adam's First Wife, a Princess of Darkness, Lilith:
For in Midnight's Verse, was it not written ... That only on the Darkest Nights - would you Dream of Lilith. I saw her once, with Fiery Red Hair, Temptress of Men, worry of Wife. I saw her twice, with guise of the Serpent, Charmer of Faithful, bane of the Husband. For this Vampire called Lilith, knows only too well - the Lure of the Lunar! For in Daybreak's Verse, was it not written ... That only on the Sunniest Days - would you Ponder of Lilith. I saw her once, down by the Pool, Fountain of Fun, worry of Half. I saw her twice, down by the River, Silver of Line, fret of the Other. For this Vampire called Lilith, knows only too well - the Warmth in a Hug! For in Sleepless Nights, was it not written ... That only on the Hottest Eves, under the Reddest Moon, of a Stormy Night, in the Velvet Sheets, of a Midnight's Realm - could a Vampire called Lilith, bring to bear, her Curves of Seduction, and her Charms of a Serpent. For this Queen of Vampires walks within, thy Paths of the Temptress ... A Vampire's Powers of subtle curves, that blend and twist, with Bite of Fang. A Heavenly Body that knows for well, the Spell that She Casts, in Want of Touch. A Vampire's Spells of perfect form, that twist and turn, with Rend of Nail. A Flawless Guise that knows for well, the Sins of this Night - Desires of Taste, Forbidden Fruit! For Lilith knows, only too well, the Charms of a Snake, and the Fork of a Choice ... Be thee Good as Gold, or Bad as Boy - she knows thy type, flutter Bad. Be thee White as Saint, or Red as Fire - she knows thy guise, Fiery Heart. Be thee Nice as Pie, or Sin of Cake - she knows thy taste, Chocolate Flake. Be thee Wait in Line, or Jump thy Queue - she knows thy way, Careful Sneak. Be thee Toe thy Line, or Do what Thou - she knows thy Time, Follow Me. Be thee Know thy Place, or Speak as I - she knows thy Path, it's My Way! For this Vampire Queen, forever took - thy Paths of Temptation, and the Sins of the Night :) For this Vampire Queen, walks hand-in-hand, with Pillow Talk, and Missing Time! And so it was ... A whisper came to me ... Where in Midnight's Realm does Lilith abide? Her answer came: a Fantasy City, at the Edge of Midnight :) With her stone-like Pillars, and her Sheets of Passion, she barres the way, to her Sin of Sins. A whisper came to me ... Where in Midnight's Realm does Lilith reside? Her answer came: in her Fantasy Domain, at the Red of the Moon :) With her Ruby Veins, and her Darkened Side, she guards the way, to her Heaven's Body. A whisper came to me ... Where in Midnight's Realm does Lilith lie? Her answer came: in her Fantasy Realm, at the Foot of the Bed :) With her Sensual Sheets, and her Silken Touch, she guides the way, to her Midnight's Kiss. A whisper came to me ... Where in Midnight's Realm does Lilith seduce? Her answer came: in your Mind's Eye, at the Start of a Dream :) With her Wish all the Way, and her Mistress Spells, she knows the way, to her Fruits of the Vampire! For Lilith is ... A Fantasy Being, where all Men wonder, for the Barest of Seconds - what if ... I listened to the Call of the Serpent? I agreed with the Logic of the Snake? I smiled with the Sanity of the Python? Well then ... I'd be a Vampire of the Night! Both bowing and betrothed to Lilith. I'd be a Vampire of the Night! Both protected and slaved to Lilith. For I would be a Vampire King, from Dark Fantasy Falls, with my Kingdom in the Night ... A Prince of Darkness would I be, with Power to shake - the Foundations of the Earth! But ... With a Whisper to Adam, from this Eve - Lilith has no need of Kings, but I do of Eve :)
In Dragon Steed, came Fairy Glamour - with Twist of Tale, and Runic Glyph. Donned in Yellow, donned in Tribal - came Princess Royal, and Dragon Emperor:
I like the fact that this Dragon, is full of Mystery - yet still speaks Imperial. The Mystery comes from the Glamour that exists - between this Dragon, and his Rider. The Imperial comes from the Majesty of this Dragon - which at first appears to contradict, the Tribal of the Princess. And it is here, that Steve fuels the engagement of his artwork, as I find myself wondering at the connection - between this Dragon, and his Tribal Princess. For me, it is a connection, that I find is swathed in Fairy Glamour - and is best explained, through the consideration of three points. First: there's no doubt, that this is a Chinese Dragon ... For this Dragon's head, bears two whiskers and a beard - as you would expect, of a Wizened Chinaman. This Chinese stance, is also reflected by the position of the Dragon's head (dominating the centre of the artwork), and the predominant yellow of the Dragon - as both are associated with Chinese Yin and Yang (meaning the centre of everything). Added to this, is the weight of the Dragon's highlights and tones, which both tend towards Gold - as in Ancient China, was it only the Emperor that was allowed to wear such Golden Attire (as in Dragon Symbols made of Golden thread). Second: there's no doubt, that this is a Tribal Princess ... She is adorned with Runes (especially upon her face), that suggest to me, that she is a part of a Ruling Dynasty. Added to this, is the fact that her left-arm/shoulder is covered in Tattoos - and we start to feel, that she's some kind of Warrior. This believe is in-turn, refined by the Robes of the Regal (her Purple Gowns), which makes me feel that she's some kind of Warrior Princess - who perhaps has Magical Powers, owing to the stance of her arms. But here do I find a contradiction with/to the Dragon. For this Princess does not in-fact, speak to me at all, of a Traditional Chinese Lady - especially in terms of her appearance! Third: when the Dragon and the Princess are taken together - there's no doubt, that were in the Realms of Fairy Glamour ... For if we follow the Curves of the Princess's hair (the highlight browns), then we see that the top-right of the Dragon, also has similar Braids of hair (albeit on a larger scale) - which I feel, are akin to the Grounding Roots of this Dragon and his Kin. If we then follow the Runes of the Princess's Tattoos, then we see that the Dragon, is also adorned in Runic Glyphs - which I feel, are akin to the Binding Bounds of this Dragon and his Kin (the Dragon's Runes goes far beyond, the simple edges of his Metallic Armour). If we then follow the Curves of this Dragon's yellow, then we find the Divine of this Princess's form - which with the Braids of this Dragon's hair (middle right), and the Patchwork of her Regal Dress (especially on her legs), spoke to me of the Spirit of this Dragon: a Golden Yellow Chinese Dragon, that knows his place, within the Roots of this Earth! For this Dragon and his Dragon's Spirit (the Princess) - spoke to me of a Chinese Element called Wu Xing (Earth), and the Wards of his Emperor :) If that were so, then I feel that Steve has used a powerful Artist's Technique - to convey the Mystery of the Imperial ... The stronger foreground tones, of the Dragon's head and Princess - both capture the Authority, and the Clarity of an Emperor. Where as the lighter background tones (towards the left of the artwork), help capture the Mysteries of an Elemental Dragon - whose Winding Tail, fades in Clarity, towards the Centre of the Earth, just as a Root would do :) Overall: an amazing Chinese Dragon, that still owes his Lineage - to the Ancestral Eastern Dragon. This Chinese Dragon, has an Eastern Dragon's body (long and serpentine), an Eastern Dragon's intelligence (knowing eyes, beard and whiskers) and an Eastern Dragon's association with one of the Five Elements (Wu Xing - Earth). In Slender Vines, with Paths of Rune - came Chinese Dragon, Emperor's Wrath!
A Kingdom of Love, with her Mum and her Dad. Two Twists of Fate, and a Test of her Spirit:
In Childhood Dreams, did Ella play - with Clouds of Horse, and Animal Chat. In Childhood Dreams, did Ella trust - with Mother's Verse, and Father's Smile. Belief in All, did Ella grow - with Twist of Fate, and dying Mother. A promise made, Truthful Ella - with Dashing Horse, and Wild of Stag. Father Dreams, new Stepmother - Merchant Trip, and Change for All ... Ella slaves, Ella plays - Ella's promise, to her Mother: Have Courage and be Kind! Yet: To Stepmother, Cinderella, to her Sisters, just a Half-wit. I love the fact that this film, tells the story of Cinderella, in a modern magical way! I especially love the portrayal, of the Fairy Godmother - who is just a little scatty! My favourite comedy scene, is when the Pumpkin grows into a Golden Coach: as both Cinderella, and her Fairy Godmother, manage to overlook the fact that there's not enough room for the Pumpkin to grow (inside the conservatory). Which leads to them both, being squeezed against the windows - and in turn, seems to be right at home, with the scattiness of her Fairy Godmother! On the other hand, does this contrast with the harshness of Cinderella's Stepmother, who at certain times, do I feel is overly mean - such as when she tears Cinderella's Mother's dress, and thus prevents Cinderella from attending the Prince's Ball (at least with her Stepmother, and two Stepsisters). Fortunately, such scenes are intermixed with further comedy: such as when the Prince's personal Oil Painter is lowered all-the-way to the floor (and accidentally finds a new painting position), and when the Prince laughs with his Father, at the girl who loses her shoes (as this reminded me of someone I used to know!). I find it interesting that the film goes to great lengths to illustrate two key points. First: that large houses (such as castles and country manors) may very-well be stocked full of possessions, but unless those very same houses are full of Love (from a woman that stokes the Fires of your Heart), than those same houses, may as well be empty! Second: marrying someone for any reason other than Love, is doomed to fail ... This is exactly what happens with Cinderella's Stepmother - who married Cinderella's Father for the sake of her two children. (The Stepmother drives this point home to Cinderella, when she again attempts to exploit, the Kindness that is found within Cinderella). I also feel that this film, gains much of it's magic, from it's use of Pixie Dust. There's two scenes where I feel, that this is particularly true. First: when Cinderella has her dress Geed-Up (as she twirls around in both pink, and blue Pixie Dust, intermixed with blue Butterflies). And second: when the Pumpkin is changed into a Coach (as there's Golden Pixie Dust, which glitters around the Pumpkin's sides - taking shape, forming wheels and curves, that befit the Carriage of a Loving Princess). And yet, in all of this, is there a twist: for if Cinderella had not been kind to the Old Hag (her Fairy Godmother in disguise), then it seems to me - that Cinderella would not have been able to go to the Prince's Ball (at all). Overall: I find this film to be a lovable mix of both fun (such as when Cinderella talks to her Mice - Jacqueline, Teddy, Matilda and greedy Gus-Gus), and harsh reality (such as when Cinderella's Stepmother goes to great lengths to seclude Cinderella - from family activities). An enjoyable reworking of a classic tale, that I feel, shall bring plenty of Pixie Dust into your Heart! Even so, I can't help but wonder - what would have happened, if the Stepmother (as portrayed in this film), had never overheard the conversation between Ella and her Father ...
This is by far the best Sword and Sorcery fantasy novel that I have ever read:
I was hooked from the first page! Prince Rupert has been sent upon a Quest: to slay a Dragon and rescue a Princess. But being Prince Rupert, the Quest does not go according to plan - and it is instead, just the start of his Adventures! I especially like the fact that the novel is packed full of Quests - both main Quests (such as the Quest to find the High Warlock) and sub Quests (such as the Quest to find out what has happened in Coppertown). Prince Rupert is not your typical Prince - he is a Second Son (in line to the Throne), and was regarded as a good-for-nothing (by most of Castle Society). I like the fact that Prince Rupert has numerous challenges to overcome, and in doing so, proves them all wrong! Even so, it's his Quest for the Dragon that changes his Character the most, as he has to pass through the Darkwood - which hones his fighting skills (by improving them the hard way), and earns him new friends (with which he returns to Forest Castle). My favourite main Quest has to be the Quest to find the High Warlock - as I like the fact that Prince Rupert takes command of an entire Troop of Guards, together with the Kings Champion, and leads them into the Darkwood. It is hear that the Champion starts to gain some respect for the Prince Rupert (instead of just seeing him as a threat to the Throne). I laughed when they first met the High Warlock - as he is somewhat anti-social, has some-what lost touch with the world (not having been outside his Dark Tower for years), and puts a Dead Rat in every barrel of Wine that he brews! He is also the most powerful Sorcerer that the Forest Land has ever known - and is perhaps, the only hope of throwing back the advance of the Darkwood (a Magical place that's full of Demons and the Night). Both the High Warlock, and the Dragon, provide much of the comedy (for me) - especially when it comes to what the Dragon wants to eat (mountains of food first, then will talk). My favourite minor Quest has to be when the Princess Julia (a friend of Prince Rupert's) goes on an expedition (within Forest Castle) to find the Old Armoury (which happens to be in the missing South Wing). How can a Castle Wing go missing you ask? Well, Forest Castle is somewhat unique: with Ancient Spells and Wards cast within it's walls - it's larger on the inside (than it is on the outside), and as such, most of the Castle rooms/halls change places everyday! I was excited when the Princess Julia (eventually) stands before the Doors to the Old Armoury - especially when you learn/remember that it's also where the most Powerful Swords ever made by Man are kept (the three Infernal Devices) - the three Broadswords, Rockbreaker, Flarebright and Wolfsbane. The storyline manages to merge Battlefield Drama with Castle Politics and Intrigue. There's a Plot to Overthrow the King, and appoint a new one (although not who you would expect). There's also several Traitors (one who I had expected all along), and another (who I didn't see until the very end). My favourite Warrior has to be the Kings Champion. The Tale goes to great lengths to build him into a Hero out of Legend (which indeed he is): towering above the heads of mortal men, covered from head-to-toe in the Armour of a Knight, swinging his Axe effortlessly (against a never ending Tide of Foes), placing the Might of Steel above all others - defiantly against the use of Magic (although there's a twist towards the end!). I also approve of the use of Magic within this Tale - with it's first use being when the Dragon casts a Spell, so that Prince Rupert may make the Rainbow Run: a light appears before him (like a Will-o'-the-wisp) that leads him to his Destiny (or at least - part of it). I also liked the idea of the High Warlocks Teleportation Spell - although as we learn, he is not the only Sorcerer that's capable of such magic. I also enjoyed reading the parts where the High Warlock flies high above the heads of his Foes - casting Bale-fire, denying entrance to the Foes of Forest Castle. Another favourite Fantasy Character (of mine) is Breeze - Prince Rupert's Unicorn. He is also Prince Rupert's friend - who grumbles when he is fed grass (wanting barley only), who fights by his side (saying that the Prince won't last long without him) and who jokes from time to time (especially the part where Prince Rupert says: Were just going back into the Darkwood a little way - and Breeze replies: So I'll suppose we'll only be killed a little bit. Forget it!). Overall: this is an amazing Tale - which has kept me turning the pages, until many the early hours. I'm still amazed at how much the author (Simon R. Green) has managed to pack into just over four hundred and forty pages - whilst not seeming to rush the Tale (at all). If you like Adventure and Fantasy, mixed with Swords and Bale-fire, mixed with a Dragon and a Unicorn, mixed with Demons and a Demon Prince - then this is a Fantasy Book/Novel that you should definitely consider reading! It's also a book that I've reread several times over the past few years - five or six times now, as I enjoyed reading it so very much!
Two Kingdoms at War, two Shades of Grey, with Human Greed, and a Dark Fairy Godmother:
This is the best Disney film that I have ever watched! For one reason: It's Sleeping Beauty - with a Twist! The Twist comes in the form of some Disney Fairy Magic - as the storyline is now placed within: The Realms of the Fairies. Maleficent is a Fairy, who befriends a human boy (called Stefan), and for a time, it seems that both Humans and Fairies, can live together in Peace (after Stefan shows that he cares for Maleficent). But alas, as Stefan grows-up, he becomes more ambitious (wanting to become King), eventually leading him to betray Maleficent: resulting in Conflict and War (when Maleficent learns the reason behind Stefan's betrayal). My favourite character is Maleficent - and I enjoy watching the development of her personality: from a young Fairy (who Heals the Branch of a Tree), to a teenage Fairy (who shares her First Kiss with Stefan), to an adult Fairy (who forgives Stefan for ignoring her), to a vengeful Fairy (who places a Curse upon King Stefan's daughter - Princess Aurora), and finally, to a Fairy who seeks to atone for her mistake (by seeking a way in which to revoke the Curse). I was fully sold on the idea of Maleficent, being a Fairy, who just happens to have lost her way - when she chose to embrace the human emotions of hate and vengeance. It is here that we see the darker side of her character - as she turns the Moors (of the Fairy Kingdom) into a dark place: by growing a Wall of Thorns (to keep Humans out), and claiming a Fairy Throne for herself (thereby forcing various Mythical Creatures, to bow to her). Despite this, I was relieved when the storyline confirms that Maleficent is not evil - with the proof coming from three scenes (for me): when Maleficent helps to feed the Princess Aurora (after her appointed nannies are shown to be inadequate for the task), when Maleficent saves the life of the Princess Aurora (after she falls off a cliff) and when Maleficent later realises, that she is indeed, Princess Aurora's Fairy Godmother (as is pointed out by the Princess Aurora, herself!). On the other hand, I found the development of King Stefan's character to be somewhat ironic (as he was supposed to be the Hero): from a young King (who wants to protect his daughter), to an older King (who becomes consumed with the idea of revenge - using his Knights to hunt Maleficent down), to an uncaring King (who wishes to exploit a weakness of Fairies - the fact that Iron burns them), and eventually, to an insane King (who ignores both his wife, and his daughter - being concerned only with vengeance - for a wrong, that was started by him, in the first place!). I enjoyed the comedy that's found within this film - especially when some mud hits Maleficent in the face: as a result of Aurora having a mud-fight, with some Toad-like Fantasy Creatures (called Wallerbogs). I also found laughter in the scenes that revolve around Aurora's three appointed nannies (the Fairies Knotgrass, Flittle and Thistlewit) - as Maleficent causes them to have some disagreements (such as when it rains inside their cottage). When it comes to the Princess Aurora, I was impressed by the consistency of her character: as, no matter her age - she cares for the animals and woodland, and it is this that has the biggest influence on Maleficent (as Aurora steals what was left of her Heart). I also enjoyed the twist that surrounds Aurora's True Love's Kiss - especially when you realise, just who Aurora's True Love is! What about the sidekicks? My favourite has to be Diaval - a Raven that Maleficent saves from death (at the hands of a human), who becomes her Eyes within the Kingdom of Men. The Raven does not stop there though - as he befriends Aurora (by rocking her cradle), and is something of a shape-shifter, as he turns into a Wolf, and eventually into a Fire Breathing Dragon (who helps to save Maleficent - from a net made of Iron). What about my favourite scenes? I have three: when Maleficent takes to the Sky (flying through some breathtaking scenery - beating her powerful Fairy Wings), when Maleficent first embraces the Dark (walking to the Moors in a darkened mood - uprooting rocks in her anger) and when Aurora visits the Moors in the Evening (meeting some Blue-Glowing Fairies - and seeing some Pink Will-o'-the-wisps). Overall: Maleficent is an amazing film! The storyline kept me glued to my seat - which is the opposite to what I had expected (as we all know that Sleeping Beauty pricked her finger upon the Spindle of a Spinning Wheel). Yet, even knowing about the Spindle - does not diminish, the enjoyability of Maleficent, at all! And I should know, as I have now watched it five times, and it still seems just as Magical. I feel that Maleficent deserves to be watched in Blu-Ray/HD - as this is when the Moors, and the Mythical Creatures, come Truly to Life (I just love the clarity of the Night Time Moors, when viewed in Blu-Ray/HD). This is a film that made me feel that I was flying high above the clouds, and as such, it has stolen my Heart!
Desires to be King, with rivers of mud, catch him I will, with pitter and patter:
I like the fact that this film is about having faith/trust in yourself - rather than listening to the opinions/negativity of others. As King Harold is taken ill, Shrek finds that his marriage comes with responsibilities: he is expected to act as the King. Unfortunately, with the Knighting of a Knight, and the Christening of a Ship, Shrek soon realises that an Ogre is not best suited to the role: so he sets out on a quest - to find the one remaining heir, Arthur. My favourite comedy scene is when Shrek/Fiona are dressed to look the part of King and Queen - as an itch causes a buckle to hit Donkey in the face, which in turn sees Shrek's trousers falling down, eventually leading to a tapestry catching fire, with Donkey licking his lips at some kebabs! My second favourite comedy scene is when Donkey/Puss in Boots end up swapping bodies - as Donkey stumbles along (wondering how Puss can walk in his boots), whilst Puss contends with an eeyore sound (struggling to control it). I also like the fact that these two characters continue to act as themselves (after the swap): Puss still attempts to use his soppy eyes, whilst Donkey still expects his kids to recognise him! My third favourite comedy scene is when Princess Fiona escapes from the castle cells - as two contrasting courses of action are taken: the first sees the Princesses (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Rapunzel) adopting the damsel-in-distress position (i.e. utterly useless), whilst the second sees Queen Lillian smashing through walls (using her forehead!). The film benefits from the fact that both Arthur, and Merlin, are portrayed in ways that I did not expect. Arthur is a young lad (as opposed to a man), who gets picked on by others (the butt of many a joke) and does not believe in his abilities to become King (until Shrek helps him). Merlin is a bungling Wizard (as opposed to the pinnacle of his trade), who is thought to have suffered a nervous breakdown (whilst teaching at Worcestershire high-school) and does not believe that he has much magic left (until Arthur persuades him). I almost fell off the sofa (whilst laughing) at the scene where Merlin plays the Piano (after suddenly appearing next to Captain Hook). I also enjoyed the two ways in which Snow White is portrayed: the first sees her calm and placid (singing to the birds), whilst the second sees her determined and focused (using her animals to defeat two trees). My brain was fried by that crazy Pinocchio logic scene! Overall: I'm impressed that this film takes something that is different (the Villains of Far Far Away), gives them a common goal (to help Prince Charming), yet ends up showing that their not-so-different (after all). I also think that the storyline does a great job at conveying two important messages. The first: that the only opinion that matters (about you) is your own. The second: that the main person stopping you from doing things - is yourself.
A tale of two bears, with Castles and Kingdoms, a matter of pride, with Magic and Fate:
The corset of a Princess, the hands of a fighter, the teachings of a Queen, the stubbornness of a King: Merida. Betrothed to a Lord's son, the freedom of a loner, the quest for perfection, the skill of an archer: Carrot-topped. The drive for adventure, the demand for etiquette, the love of a family, the distance of a mother: Princess! I like the way that this film portrays the relationship between a mother and her daughter: Merida is head-strong (having little interest in becoming the Queen), whilst Queen Elinor is inflexible (demanding that she prepares for the role). I like the fact that Merida chooses to go her own way: she would rather explore the Kingdom (and make use of her bow and arrow), than dress like a Lady (and undertake the activities that befit a Princess). I also feel that there's some truth in the way that fate is portrayed within this film: you can be free to choose your own path/fate, you can have the option of working hard to change your fate, and that sometimes, when your feeling lost, the Will-o'-the-wisps (or equivalent) may appear - to help you get back on track. I especially enjoy the comedy that's found within this film, with most of this coming from Merida's three brothers (Harris, Hubert and Hamish) - who remind me (so very much) of my nephew! My three favourite (comedy) scenes are: when King Fergus has his leg tied to the table (causing it to fall over and spread it's food all over the floor - Boys!), when King Fergus has managed to calm the fighting tribes (only to have the fights start over again, as a mace is clobbered onto Lord Dingwall's foot - Boys!) and when the Boys! are turned into three little bears (as I could not help but imagine the mischief that they could get up to now). Overall: a highly entertaining film that makes good use of the atmosphere that is typically found within woods (such as quietness, mists and being on the wrong path), together with the fun that you would expect from a medieval castle (such as feasting and jesting). There are also some lessons on the importance of finding your own fate (which may be at logger-heads with other peoples point-of-view). Just one spell remains: would you follow the wisp?