Final Thoughts on The Princess Bride

We all have movies that we’ve watched either growing up or even recently that become favorites. Sometimes when we revisit these movies they don’t live up to the memories we had of them. Other times they do live up to the memories and are just as enjoyable now, if not more enjoyable. The Princess Bride is one of my personal favorite movies, and continues to live up to memories I have of it.

The Princess BrideFor those who haven’t seen it or heard anything about it, The Princess Bride is a story within a story. The story you begin with is that of a boy staying home sick from school. His Grandfather comes over to read him a book. That book is the bulk of the story, although you do sometimes cut back to the boy and his grandfather at certain parts of the story.

The main story focuses on the love between Buttercup and Westley. While love is definitely the uniting theme the story has a bit of everything. There is comedy, action, fantasy, and of course romance. Over the course of the movie the idea is that true love will conquer everything this is in the way. Which is good as there are a number of things that get in the way of Buttercup and Westley; one of them believed to be death, arranged marriage to the prince, a kidnapping, the fire swamp, and even being mostly dead.

The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies, but to be honest it’s not because it is a particularly deep movie. It is just a fun movie with memorable characters, quotable lines, and a mostly lighthearted storyline. I’m sure you can nitpick the movie’s view of “true love” and everything, but a lot of the fun of the movie is that it’s not particularly serious. It is basically a modern (however modern 1987 might be considered today) fairy tale with a happy ending.

This movie has been one I enjoyed watching growing up and in all honesty is still just as enjoyable today. I’ve watched other movies that I had good memories of growing up that just didn’t really hold up to the memory upon re-watch. I’m happy to say that The Princess Bride wasn’t one of them. It will be a movie that I’ll enjoy showing to my kids when they get a little older and hope they’ll enjoy as much as their parents do.

Final Thoughts on Frozen

It feels kind of weird when watching a movie that is over a year old makes you feel a bit more relevant. Frozen released in 2013 and seemed to explode everywhere. It has become a rather powerful force spawning a popular soundtrack, toys, books, an attraction at Walt Disney World, and is even being adapted for Broadway. Needless to say even if you hadn’t watched Frozen it was hard to escape hearing and knowing at least a little about it. All this acclaim made us want to check out what all the fuss was about.

FROZN_014M_G_ENG-GB_70x100.inddThe story of Frozen centers around two sisters Elsa and Anna. Elsa was born with the power to create snow and ice and the power is enjoyed immensely by both Elsa and her younger sister. An accident while playing causes Anna’s memories of her sister’s power to be removed by the Troll King, the castle to be closed up, and Elsa isolated even from her sister until she is able to control her powers.

This method doesn’t really work and Elsa is afraid of her powers and her inability to control them like she wants to. This all comes to a head after Elsa’s and Anna’s parents die at sea and Elsa’s coronation means the castle will be open. During the coronation celebrations emotions come to a head when Anna tries to get engaged to Hans, a prince she has just met, and also confronts Elsa on shutting her out of her life for so long. This causes Elsa to flee and accidentally freeze their kingdom in a magical winter. Anna chases after Elsa to try to get her to come back and undo what she has done.

That’s the basic plot for those who actually need it. So let’s get to what I thought were the strong and weak points of the movie shall we?

The overall story for Frozen is very enjoyable. It takes some of the themes from earlier Disney movies like “love at first sight” or “marrying someone you just met” and flips them. While this obvious rejection of cliches seems to be a popular way of making entertainment lately, I think that Frozen does it extremely well. As Frozen’s plot moves on you’re not sure if you’re going to be watching a romantic movie or a movie focused on the bond between sisters.

As much as people like to say that Frozen is all about the bond between sisters I found that to be only mostly true. The primary focus is about the bond between Elsa and Anna, but there is a secondary focus on romance. This plays out very differently between the two male interests of Anna. One follows the “marrying a man you just met” path and the other is more of a development over time. It’s still there and if you hadn’t heard that Frozen is about the relationship between sisters, you wouldn’t know until the end what the story’s dominant theme was going to wind up being.

Even with that acknowledgment, the strongest theme is still the love and bond between sisters, or siblings if you want to generalize it more. This appears in different ways throughout the movie. The laughing and giggling while playing as younger kids, the desire of Anna to reconnect with Elsa while growing up and going through the death of their parents found in the song “Do You Want to Build a Snowman”, and in Anna’s quest to find Elsa and attempt to have her return home.

In addition to this theme of relationship between sisters, there are other good themes at play here. One such theme seems to be that fear is a terrible motivator. You see Elsa at the beginning of the movie with good control over her powers. The accident that takes place regarding Anna early in the movie, is more to do with Anna not listening and getting lost in play than Elsa’s lack of control. However, because this incident leads Elsa and her parents to be afraid of further incidents the idea of needing to control the powers is front and center. Not that there weren’t legitimate concerns but it seemed that the fear was greater than needed and impeded Elsa’s ability to control her powers.You see this during the song “Let It Go” because now that she is not afraid she is able to use her powers to do some rather amazing things.

The story and themes are both good and I also found the music rather enjoyable too. Some songs are more serious and focused on the plot than others, but I still enjoyed them all. The only ones that were a bit out of place were Olaf’s song “In Summer” and the song the trolls sang, “Fixer Upper”. Still these were fun little songs that were still enjoyable even if they didn’t fit maybe as good as they could have.

How about some weak points? Honestly, I don’t really have too many. The ones I do are just nitpicky ideas like wondering how nobody but the King and Queen (and Anna before the accident) knew Elsa had her powers. Or wondering how Elsa got rid of the snow when they played together as kids. These aren’t really big issues and they were more things I thought about after the movie rather than during it.

Overall I’d say that the hype around Frozen is largely deserved. It’s a fun movie that is funny, charming, and even contains a pretty significant twist that I didn’t really see coming at all (I’m not one of those people who always spots twist though for the record). Emphasizing the love and relationship of sisters is a nice change of pace, and while it does pick on the emphasis of romance and particularly marrying someone you just met a la Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White it still contains a bit of romance as well. I’m just hoping they don’t try to cash in too much on the movie by making sub-par sequels like they’ve done with some of the other Disney movies.

My Favorite Couples (Television and Video Games)

Alright here’s part two of my favorite couples in media. This one is focusing on television shows and video games. It may come as little surprise that this list will be a little more on the nerdy side. I’m also trying to narrow it down to five for each. I could probably make each list a little longer, but it would take a bit more time to do that.

Television

Most of these are going to show my lack of keeping up with television. Some are from live action television shows, while others are from animated.

Cory and Topanga

Cory Matthews and Topanga Lawrence (Boy Meets World) – I watched Boy Meets World regularly growing up, so this was like the ideal couple in my mind. Sure they had some rocky periods where they broke up, got back together again and everything, but those things tended to make them stronger in the end. Maybe it’s just the nostalgia of it, or the fact that I thought Topanga was cute, but even after watching the whole series again just a couple years ago, they’re still my favorite TV couple.

Cliff and Clair Huxtable (The Cosby Show) – While Cliff and Claire are often displayed as parents, their relationship is also the focus in a number of episodes. Seeing both sides and how funny they are as parents and a couple is why they’re one of my favorites.

Kira and Lacus

Kira Yamato and Lacus Kline (Gundam SEED and Gundam SEED Destiny) – The world of Gundam SEED is a fairly grim and war torn world where friends and family may and do wind up dead. In that setting this couple is definitely a bright spot. In fact it could even be said that this couple is the reason behind why both series end positively.

Keiichi Morisato and Belldandy (Ah! My Goddess!) – This couple is probably the most over the top of all my favorites. Belldandy is a goddess and Keiichi is well someone with impressive bad luck. Yet they’re together and love each other, but have a hard time being romantic, and they’re always something extra that happens when they try. They’re cute and maybe a little too saccharine, but I still like them.

Kirito and Asuna (Sword Art Online) – A relationship that is able to bring healing to a person filled with loneliness, guilt, and sorrow is one that I can get behind. This is the way it goes in this relationship. Add in that this relationship is built while they’re trapped in a video game world where virtual death would equal real death and it adds an interesting layer to the whole thing.

Video Games

Zidane and Garnet (Final Fantasy IX) – Zidane meets Princess Garnet on a mission to kidnap her, succeeds, and this leads to a grand adventure. Zidane is flirty and while at first nothing really develops, these two gain feelings for each other. Add in an ending that makes you want to cheer for the two and you have a good couple.

tidus_yunaYuna and Tidus (Final Fantasy X) – I admit, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Final Fantasy X. I found Tidus fairly annoying early on, but really what makes this relationship stand out is how much he changes as the story goes on. It’s not just that you see the two grow closer, you do, but it’s also how the more responsible Yuna rubs off on Tidus.

Sora and Kairi (Kingdom Hearts) – Probably the most standard of relationships of my list. Boy likes girl, their world gets destroyed, boy loses girl, boy goes on quest to rescue the girl he likes. Despite this rather standard fare, I still think they made for a nice couple. Plus add in that Kairi actually winds up saving Sora near the end, it makes for a bit of a shift.

Chrono and Marle (Chrono Trigger) – Now this one you could just imagine happening. Boy runs into girl at fair, they decide to stay together after that encounter, girl (who also winds up being your kingdom’s princess) gets sent through time due to your friend’s transporter malfunctioning… well okay maybe it’s not too believable. Still an enjoyable relationship though, even when your character doesn’t say anything.

Almaz and Sapphire

Almaz and Princess Sapphire (Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice) – A relationship that is both really out there, funny, and really sweet at the same time. Almaz is a guard for Sapphire who secretly has a crush on her and goes to defeat the evil Overlord before he can kidnap her. He doesn’t do so well at this, but winds up meeting the Princess who has come to defeat the Overlord herself, after he fails. This leads to her helping him become a real hero and becoming very close to one another. Personally, these two wind up upstaging the main character of the game for me.

So there we go. Those are some of my favorite couples from television and video games. You have any favorites from these mediums? Any that you think I missed? Feel free to add your own or comment on mine.

My Favorite Couples (Books and Movies)

Today is Valentine’s Day. While I admit it is a day that I have mixed feelings about. I don’t think it is as important as some people make it out to be, but I also think it can be fun to do something special to celebrate it sometimes. However, the idea popped into my head to do a little special Valentine’s Day post that focused on some of my favorite couples.

I was going to do books, movies, television, and video games all in one post, but it wound up rather long. So how about we break it into two parts? This part will focus on books and movies, while the second part will focus on television series and video games. So ready? Here we go.

Books

For some reason my book list is the shortest of all the lists. I’m not sure why. It could be that I’m forgetting some relationships from books I’ve read. However, I’d also say that a number of my favorite books don’t really have very memorable romantic relationships in them, at least in my opinion. These two though did stick in my mind.

Wil Ohmsford and Amberle Elessedil (Elfstones of Shannara) –  I enjoyed this relationship because you’re with them from early in the book. They don’t start out on the best of terms, but begin to have feelings for one another experiencing and surviving many of the dangers in their quest.

There is also a bit of a love triangle that forms, but really these two are the ones you’re with the longest and so you wind up being invested in these two the most (at least I was). The whole thing ends rather bitter-sweetly though, but I’ll try not to give away how it ends. Still it was a relationship that you invest in particularly after you see their growth over time.

Par Ohmsford and Damson Rhee (The Heritage of Shannara series) These two are probably my favorite couple from the books I’ve read. I remember when reading this series that I would flip ahead to find the next section that furthered their story. They just wind up in some tough situations and have to rely on each other so much. In fact I’d maybe even argue that Par may rely on Damson quite a bit more than she does on him. No bitter-sweetness at the end here, in fact it is Damson’s love for Par that helps the heroes achieve victory near the end of the series.

Movies

Alright, here I have a few more entries. Still though, I’m sure my list is nothing compared to some out there. Looking up some best romantic movies or best movie couples I realized I haven’t seen a number of what most consider the best romantic movies/couples but I’ll work with what I’ve seen.

princess-bride-westley-and-buttercup

Westley and Buttercup (The Princess Bride) – Throw a romance that fights against all odds and even death itself into a rather quirky fantasy comedy and you have a classic. One of my favorite couples in movies, even if there are some kissing parts (sorry, inside movie joke).

Christian and Satine (Moulin Rouge!) – “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love, and be loved in return.” This tagline from Moulin Rouge! sums up the relationship between Christian and Satine. Their relationship just goes from very energetic highs to very thoughtful and even sorrowful lows. Put this all to music and you have a very emotional roller coaster ride where I cheered for every triumph and was pained by every low. You’ll also probably cry at the end, just fair warning.

Beauty_and_the_BeastBelle and The Beast (Beauty and the Beast) – When I think of a Disney romantic couple, Belle and the Beast are probably my top choice. The smart heroine, the change in the attitudes that Belle and Beast have for each other over time, the theme of looking past the exterior to see what’s inside, the iconic ballroom scene and it’s just a classic in my mind. To me they’re head and shoulders over Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White, but that’s just my opinion.

Aladdin and Jasmine (Aladdin) – If Belle and the Beast are number one Aladdin and Jasmine are a close runner up. While Beauty and the Beast is more of a romance movie at heart, I feel that Aladdin is more of an adventure with a romance in it. Maybe that’s not a distinction everyone would make, but that’s how I view it. I don’t feel that Aladdin and Jasmine’s relationship is quite as developed as Belle and the Beast’s. That’s not to belittle it, but rather to explain while Aladdin and Jasmine come in as runner up when it comes to Disney’s animated movies.

Carl and Ellie

Carl and Ellie (Up) – A relationship that you become attached you is usually produced over the period of a whole movie, however Pixar attaches you in their movie Up with impressive briefness. They follow the relationship of Carl and Ellie from when they are kids until Ellie’s death in the first eight minutes with very little dialogue.

It’s a powerful story. You see them at moments of hope, excitement, sadness, and disappointment. The range of real life seems to be present in these first eight minutes and man does Ellie’s death really just hit you like a ton of bricks. Their love also impacts so much of the movie as well, since Carl goes on his adventure because he feels that he has failed to give Ellie the adventure that they dreamed about as kids. Even if Up isn’t my favorite Pixar movie it does contain my favorite couple in a Pixar movie.

So those are my favorite couples from books and movies. How about you? What are your favorite couples from these two mediums? I’d love to hear your favorites.