The Victorian Hawk Dragon has currently reviewed the following:
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!