Do you see it?

This past semester, I dived back into Disney Channel. I had stopped watching it for a while, because frankly, the amount of disrespect that was being shown to parents, not to mention making them look stupid, was unappealing.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that several of the shows were no longer treating parents in such a manner, such as Bizaardvark and K.C. Undercover. 

There was something, however, that started to nag at me.

If you watch Disney Channel at all, I’m certain you saw the many trailers for the new Disney Channel Original Movie Zombies. 

Now, I’m not going to delve into whether or not it is morally right to watch shows with zombies. Personally, I don’t enjoy it, since I find it too frightening for my own tastes, but as long as they are portrayed as the monsters they were created to be – such as in The Walking Dead which my brother and dad both watch, I’m not going to argue about it.

And herein lies my issue with Zombies. On the forefront, the film has great qualities and the inherent lessons they are trying to teach are good…but. I really do not believe they went about this the right way.

Let me just start with some Merriam-Webster.

Zombie:

“a: a will-less and speechless human (as in voodoo belief and in fictional stories) held to have died and been supernaturally reanimated
b: the supernatural power that according to voodoo belief may enter into and reanimate a dead body                                                                                                                  c: person held to resemble the so-called walking dead.”

So from this definition we can gather, that one, they do not have a will or speak. Now, that reminds me of an animal, except…an animal does have a will (as anyone with pets can attest to!). If they’re not an animal then, and not inherently human, then what does that make them?

Food for thought.

The Urban Dictionary describes zombies as,

“in its near-mindless state, it grasps no remains of emotion, personality, or sensation of pain. The only observable action a zombie takes part in is killing living creatures, especially humans, and eating them.”

Alright. We can now, after significant research, logically deduce that in dictionary terms and in pop culture, zombies are dead bodies, do not have a will, cannot speak/think/experience emotion, do not have personality or the feeling of pain, and the only activity they actually do is to eat other living creatures – specifically humans.

Now, with that definition in mind, I’m going to look at the Disney Channel Original Movie, Zombies. 

First of all, um like there are zombie children??? and parents??? Last time I checked…DEAD people did not procreate. There is literally nothing believable or logical about this. And as we established earlier, the only action zombies participate in as mindless creatures is the eating of living people.

Here are a few quotes from the movie that I find particularly problem some.

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“I’m not a monster, I’m a zombie!”

Ok. Back to the dictionary. Merriam-Webster describes a monster as,

“a: one who deviates from normal or acceptable behavior or character, an immoral monster
b: threatening force                                                                                                                       c: something monstrous; especially : a person of unnatural or extreme ugliness, deformity, wickedness, or cruelty.”

Well, I don’t know about y’all, but eating people is generally considered immoral. Not to mention, highly unacceptable and very much not normal behavior. So, yes. According to all logic, zombies are monsters, and therefore, Zed falls into the zombie/monster category.See the source image

“I’m fighting against intolerance!”

*heavy sigh*

*deep breaths*

You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.

This literally spats in the face of every single moment of intolerance on our planet, and the progress that actually has been made. They are basically comparing the intolerance historically against people of color, religion, women, etc…to zombies, which, as stated above, are certainly, and most definitely not in the same category as humans or animals.

Look, I’m all for people everywhere being treated respectfully and such, but let’s not confuse wanting to get a concept across, with another concept that is disturbing. They could have still gotten this concept across with so many other ways, without going to the blatant lie and illogical thought process of “zombies are good, not monsters, and can totally interbred with humans.”

Are they trying to make monsters seem good, and nice? Possibly. For the sake of the kids who watch it, I hope not, but at this point, I don’t really have many other options to draw from.

Now, the film could have been good in its message. Change the zombie family to a mutant family. It would still get the same message and values across, without saying that zombies are “good” creatures, when nowhere in history or in definitions have they been portrayed as “safe” or “good.”

Colossians 2:8 says, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

It is important that we are aware of the purpose and message behind what we are watching, reading, and listening to. Unfortunately, Satan is real and we cannot be naïve and think that he is not trying to manipulate us. As Colossians says, we must make sure that we are not being distracted by the glitz and glamor of the various forms of media, and remember that behind every story there is a purpose.

Oftentimes, it isn’t obvious and there lies the tricky part. If it were clear and obvious, most of us would probably catch it. Unfortunately, most things in this world are not going to be so easily seen or obvious. Frequently, some bad is mixed with a lot of good or vice versa, and that brings up a moral dilemma.

Moral dilemmas are always conflicting, as they are very much not black and white. It can be difficult to discern what the right choice is however, I believe the more we spend time in God’s Word, and the more we come to know His character, the easier it will be to know what to do. It may never be completely clear, but the closer we draw to Him, the mirror that we look at the world through becomes just a little bit less dusty.

~ Southern Dreamer

 

 

Queen of Katwe ~ Movie Review

A few weeks ago, my family and I watched Disney’s Queen of Katwe, which came out last year in September. I had been wanting to see it for a while, but had never gotten around to watching it in theater. If you are unfamiliar with it, Lupita Nyong’o (who has starred in The Force Awakens as Max Kanata, The Jungle Book as Raksha – the mother wolf, and other films) plays the main character’s mother, Nakku Harriet. Newcomer, Madina Nalwanga, plays Phiona Mutesi, the star of the film.

Image result for pictures from queen of katwe phionaWhen I finally watched it, I was happy that it did not disappoint! 🙂 The movie is based on a true story, that actually only took place a few years ago – so it’s very relative. Taking place in Africa, the tale follows a poor girl, Phiona, in Uganda, who learns to see life differently and overcome her circumstances through the game of chess.

Before watching and hearing about this movie, I did not realize that there are actual chess competitions at different levels – like any other sport. I also found it interesting that learning chess taught the children to think analytically and strategically, which in turn sharpens one’s mind. And because most if not all of these children had never attended school before, this benefit to learning chess was even more important.

Though I don’t know much about Africa’s poverty, I thought the film did a good job of portrayingImage result for pictures from queen of katwe the different aspects that come with living at the bottom of the ladder. Not being able to pay rent for a home (what most of us would not even consider a house) and being kicked out, to not having enough money to stay in the hospital, and other such things.

Image result for queen of katwe At the end of the film, they show the actors beside the real-life people they played – which I thought was pretty cool. Additionally, Phiona’s mentor, who run the Christian and sports institute that first introduced her to chess, is shown to have had a tremendous impact not only on her life, but on multiple children growing up in poverty. It goes to show that one person can make a big difference in the world right where they are. Without him, it would be highly unlikely that these children would have attended school and gone on to pursue such careers as engineering.

The themes of broadening one’s mind, setting goals for yourself beyond your circumstances, and never giving up are scattered throughout this movie. This is a story of the impact one person can make, and how that can directly change one person’s life, and in turn, another generation.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I encourage you to go and watch Queen of Katwe. It’s an inspiring, true story that people of all ages can enjoy.

~ Southern Dreamer

Beauty and the Beast Analysis

Title: Beauty and the Beast

Author: Disney

Genre: Musical, romance

Audience: All ages

 

Characters

Belle: Belle is a young woman who has a love for reading. She enjoys delving into stories and exploring far-off lands with princes and princesses, through only her imagination. Belle has hazel eyes and brown hair; personality-wise, she is determined, smart, stubborn, introspective, and caring. Sadly, her mother is dead and she is an only child living with her quaint father.

Prince Adam/Beast: Adam is a boy-turned-beast. For ten years, he has been confined to a curse that he brought on himself – with only one way to escape…love. He is an emotional person, and used to doing whatever he wants – at least in the beginning. In his human form, he has blue eyes and dirty-blonde hair, while in his beast form, he is much larger and covered in fur.

Gaston: Gaston is what we would probably call the “it” guy of the town. He thinks very highly of himself and has an ego bigger than his brains, which, it seems he lacks much of anyway. He has black hair and is muscular, causing many of the town girls to swoon.

Maurice: Maurice is Belle’s father. He enjoys tinkering with different inventions and finding new ways to make things work. He believes in his daughter and encourages her in her dreams. He is short and has a little bit of white hair.

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Point of View

The narrator tells the story in a third-person point of view.

 

Setting

The setting is set in France. I’m not exactly sure what time period, but I would guess sometime during the 1700s or 1800s.

 

Plot Outline

Image result for beauty and the beast belle reading

Beauty and the Beast is a story about a young woman, with a love for reading, who is looked on as unusual in her town. Her father, an aspiring inventor in France, leaves on a short trip, yet when he takes a wrong turn, Maurice ends up in a dark forest…and a castle. Naturally, Belle is worried when he does not return with the horse, and so, she goes after him. Arriving at the castle, she is horrified to see not only her father in a cell – but a gigantic…beast! Courageously, she offers to take her father’s place, in order to let him go free. The beast agrees, and so begins their relationship of mystery, struggle, and perhaps, love.

 

Conflict

Conflicts in the story would be man vs. man (ex: when the Beast and Gaston fight, and the disagreements between Belle and the Beast) and man vs. himself (ex: the Beast learning to not be as selfish and love someone). I think, however, the main conflict would be man vs. man, since much of the story is about Belle and the Beast learning to interact civilly, and then affectionately, towards one another.

 

Theme

I think two themes of Beauty and the Beast would be one, to see beyond someone’s outer surface and to who they really are inside; secondly, love is sacrifice (Belle taking her father’s place, the Beast saving her from the wolves and letting Belle go).

 

Literary Devices

Literary devices used in the story include personification – the animated household objects, metaphor – the prince being turned into a Beast, reflected his selfishness inside, and the characterization – how both the Belle and Beast’s viewpoints of each other changes from the beginning to the end.

 

Feedback

I love this story. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite stories in all of literature, as well as Belle being one of my favorite female characters (yay for reading!). I think there are so many layers to this story, if you even think about it more in-depth. There is looking beyond the outer surface – loving someone not for their physical beauty, but for their spirit, mind, and character; the sacrifice that love requires – the Beast letting Belle go, even though he might not ever see her again, and how our actions affect those around us – the curse affected not only the Beast, but all of his servants as well. I think it is a beautiful picture of a redemption tale, as well as, a stunning love story. I would rate this as 5 stars.

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Cinderella

cinderella #2

*Warning: Spoilers*

As I sat in the dark theatre, my father by my side, I eagerly awaited the beginning of the real-life version of Cinderella. My anticipation for this movie had grown in the previous weeks, and I was thrilled to finally be seeing this film. As the classic Disney beginning started, my eyes locked on the screen.

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Starring Lily James as Cinderella and Richard Madden as Prince Charming, this movie did not disappoint. One of the most repeated phrases of the film comes from Ella’s mother, played by Hayley Atwell, who tells her young daughter to, “have courage and be kind.” Young Ella takes these words to heart and throughout her growing up years, whenever she feels discouraged or frustrated, she remembers to, “have courage and be kind.”

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The relationship between Ella and her stepmother and stepsisters was marvelously depicted. I thought they did a wonderful job of this.

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I found it fascinating how both Ella and Kit, the prince, were insecure about the other discovering who they truly were. As a royal heir, he worried that if she knew who he was, she would treat him differently and not as a normal, human being. Ella, on the other hand, realized she did not have anything to offer him besides her heart. She did not have riches or land or parents, all she had was herself. And would that be enough?

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Further, one of the climatic points in the movie, at least for me, occurred when Ella, wearied from trying and trying to be kind and good to her stepfamily, finally asks tearfully (paraphrased), “why do you do this? why are you so cruel?” It was an important moment and the stepmother’s response is eye-opening (again, paraphrased). “Because…you are good, and young and innocent, and I am – ” here she halts and darts out of the room, locking Ella within.

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Another wonderful line from the movie, comes from Ella herself. She passionately tells Kit, “Just because it’s what’s done doesn’t mean it’s what should be done!” This is so true. Just because society tells us one thing – does not make it correct! Just because some of our peers give themselves away – does not make it right! Wrong and right are absolutes, and while we as sinful beings may get them mixed up at times, it does not change what they are.

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And I could not talk about Cinderella without referencing her dress! Oh my, it was stunning! A vivid blue, sparkling in the light of hundreds of crystals on the chandeliers caused all to see her to stare in amazement. One of my favorite lines in the movie comes from the ballroom scene. Ella says to Kit, “they’re all looking at you,” and he promptly replies with, “believe me, they’re all looking at you.” I found this incredibly sweet.

cinderella #10

Lastly, at the very end of the movie, Ella turns to her stepmother and tells her she is forgiven. This is an amazing act by her, seeing as how she was treated with disgrace. In all, this was a wonderful film that I would recommend to anyone! And as it goes, they lived happily ever after. The End.

~ Southern Dreamer

My Top Fifteen Disney Movies of all Time

disney-logo              Walt Disney. Nearly every child during the last couple of decades, could easily tell you their favorite Disney movie. And it’s not just the children, ask any adult and I can guarantee you that they will know what their favorite movie made by Disney is. Perhaps however, you haven’t seen many Disney movies yet. Well, in that case, you have come to the right place! For I am now going to list my top fifteen Disney movies of all time (in no specific order).

Number 1: Swiss Family Robinsonswiss family

This is one of Disney’s older films, but that does not diminish the excellence of it! Based on the book – Swiss Family Robinson – this movie is a true thriller. With a ship striking on a rock, a family stranded on a deserted island, and pirates attacking in full numbers, I assure you, your heart will be racing. Although, I myself, am not the most avid adventurer, this is on my list of favorites. From the giant tree-house-turned-home, to the wild animals tamed, it was a fascinating process to watch. If you have an adventurous soul, then this movie will quickly become one of your favorites.

cinderellaNumber 2: Cinderella

Ah Cinderella. Who can forget the hard-working, blonde-haired young woman turned princess? One of the most classic princess movies of all time, it is indeed one of my favorites. Starting with watching Cinderella being neglected by her stepsisters, all the way to when she finally receives the blessings for her goodness and extensive labor; this movie pulls at our heart-strings and we cheer her own when she finally marries Prince Charming.

frozenNumber 3: Frozen

By now this movie has certainly been watched, sung, and re-lived in every home across the globe. From the struggling Elsa, to the naivety of Anna, all the way to Olaf’s hilarious antics, this film has truly captured our hearts. I believe, one of the reasons it has done so well is that we all can relate to it. Whether you sympathize with Anna’s struggle to understand her sister, or relate to Elsa’s fears of failure and harming her sibling, there is something in this movie for everyone to empathize with.

tangledNumber 4: Tangled

Another funny moment-filled movie, Tangled makes us laugh from the white horse who acts like a dog at times, to the unusual male character of Eugene, all the way to Rapunzel’s glowing hair.

the parent trapNumber 5: The Parent Trap

This movie draws you in immediately – from the moment at camp all the way to when the parents finally reconnect. Following the story of two twins – separated at birth (quite intriguing right?) – who consequently learn they are related through a series…of rather unusual events to say the least. Laughter inducing, you find yourself cheering on Hallie and Annie as they switch places to discover the parent they never knew…and along the way attempt to get them back together again.

mary poppinsNumber 6: Mary Poppins

Oh Mary Poppins! What an enjoyable film and the fact that Julie Andrews is in it, makes it even more so! Perhaps one of the films which Walt Disney was most involved in, this movie is marvelously made. From the catchy tune of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, to the brilliant dancing done during Chim Chim Cheree, this is truly a film to watch with your family and friends.

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Number 7: Beauty and the Beast

Another one of my favorite Disney princess movies, Beauty and the Beast is a wonderful tale that draws us in to Belle’s unique story. Starting with her love of reading – a skill which she certainly takes to new heights by walking while reading – all the way to her discovery…that in fact, she has come to love the Beast, Belle is a lovely character portrayed. Yet it is not just Belle which draws us in: the singing objects around the house cause us to giggle and laugh – wishing we too, could have talking dishware. All in all, Beauty and the Beast is a wonderful story which I highly advise all girls – young and old – to go watch.

princess diariesNumber 8: The Princess Diaries 1 & 2

Princess Diaries. The name itself appeals to young girls hearts and minds as they discover who they are…which, consequently, is what Mia herself does. Quirky, unique, and all-round a normal young woman, Mia was not what one would think of as a princess. While in high school, Queen Clarisse – her grandmother –  visits the teenager and tells Mia some relatively startling news…that she is the next heir to the throne. Talk about a life changer! During both the first and second movie, we discover just what it does take to become a true princess. As Mia discovers her inner princess, our hearts delight in watching her transformation from an insecure teen to a confident young woman who will be queen.

remember the titansNumber 9: Remember the Titans

Remember the Titans is a wonderful film about not accepting the low standards that society has set up for us. Based on a true story (aren’t those always the best?), this football movie grabs our attention as we watch the characters struggle within themselves and overcome great obstacles. Any sports fan and even those who may not consider themselves as such (like me), will quickly add this positive film to their list of favorites.

ice princessNumber 10: Ice Princess

Just reading the title causes intrigue to grab our minds, for who would not want to know this ice princess? Casey Carlyle is a young woman whose mother is intent on her daughter going to Harvard. Brilliant in her studies, and quite gifted on the ice, Casey undertakes a project which propels the rest of the movie. Struggling with whether to please her mother and go to Harvard; or to follow her heart and pursue a career in skating; Casey must decide what she truly desire to do. From working through the struggles of relationships, all the way to balancing work, school, and hobbies; Ice Princess remains a marvelous movie that everyone should go see.

high schoolNumber 11: High School Musical 1, 2, & 3

With the singing, dancing, and acting, this has to be one of the best modern musicals on film that I have watched in a long time. From the shy Gabriella, to the all-star athlete Troy, and even to the prissy Sharpie, these movies definitely draw you in. Normally, sequels to movies are not half as well made as the original. With this specific series, however, that is not the case; each, in my opinion, measures up to the one before it – if not more.

lion kingNumber 12: The Lion King

Strong lions, elegant antelope, and fluttering birds grace this film’s screen. Starting with the stunning introduction of the Circle of Life, all the way to the shocking death of Simba’s father; this movie is a one-of-a-kind. Counteracting the seriousness of the later, come two comical creatures called Timon and Pumbaa who live by the motto “Hukuna Matata”. Adding to the element of the movie, is the love between Simba and Nala – emphasized in the song Can You Feel the Love Tonight? An all around wonderful film, The Lion King, is a must-see for people of all ages.

bambiNumber 13: Bambi

Oh sweet, little Bambi. Following the life of a male fawn – Bambi, this story remains lovable in every way. With the newness of life, and the adorable discoveries the baby creatures make, Bambi has to be one of the sweetest animated films made although it is not without its share of sorrow.

lion witch wardobeNumber 14: The Chronicles of Narnia – the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Based on one of the best written series of all time – The Chronicles of Narnia – this movie takes on the second book by C.S. Lewis. From the amazing actors and actresses, all the way to the gorgeous scenery, this film is quite the enjoyment to watch and I highly recommend everyone to go see it (however, I would read the book first as it will make more sense then).

aladdinNumber 15: Aladdin

Beginning the movie with a poor young man, Aladdin, who just happens to have a pet monkey – Abu, the story of Aladdin follows these two on a wonderful, enthralling journey full of princesses, bad guys in disguise, a palace….and oh did I mention a Genie? Voiced by Robin Williams, the Genie is a hilarious character who actually got outsmarted by a streetrat (Aladdin)! All in good fun, the young man and the mystical Genie become wonderful friends…and of course where would a fairytale be without a princess? Insert Jasmine whose father is the sultan and whose advisor – Jafar – is secretly plotting against him! Such suspense! Fascinating altogether, this film is a must-see for everyone.

Whew! So many amazing films to watch! I hope from this, you will discover a new movie to add to your list of favorites. 🙂 So readers, tell me, what are your favorite Disney films? Are you more of a princess/fairytale kind of gal? Or does action and adventure thrill your soul? Whatever type delights you, let me know in the comments! 🙂

– Southern Dreamer