Disney Remakes

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You know, when it was announced that Disney would continue its trend of making live-action, loosely based versions of their animated films, I couldn’t help rolling my eyes and exclaiming, “What is the point?” I know that’s not an unpopular opinion, and it can definitely be argued that these remakes are meant to suck people in due to nostalgia. As for me, I basically shoved aside these remakes after Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” made me long for the colorful insanity of the animated film (and that’s not even one of my faves!).

But yesterday, I decided to watch the new live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast.” I had my criticisms, sure, but I’d be lying if the occasional bit of nostalgia didn’t get me sentimental. It had its good and bad points both including and excluding nostalgia, but it made me realize something. Up until these remakes were announced, I had no problem with adaptations of these stories. The animated Disney movies might be a huge part of my childhood, but other versions have existed both before and after them. The reason these ones bothered me all this time was obvious: It was Disney retelling Disney.

That’s not to say retreading old ground is always a bad idea. For example, I watched the 2016 version of “The Jungle Book” today and thought it improved on many things, even if it kept the musical aspects to a minimum. It proved that Disney could take one of its versions and change it just enough to let it stand on its own. With “Beauty and the Beast”, that line is arguably blurred. It added some moments that felt like padding to me and others that felt like they fleshed out Belle and the Beast’s budding relationship. It’s the fact that, as a musical, it follow similar beats to the animated movie that I’ve seen many people deem it pointless (I was guilty of that too before seeing it myself). I still understand where they’re coming from, even if I do think it’s a decent film. But both of these films were insanely successful. So, I think there’s an interesting argument to be made about whether to change things up or to mostly capitalize on nostalgia.

I think, at the end of the day, people want a good story and characters they can get behind despite that extra dose of nostalgia. We hold many of these stories in high regard because Disney made us care about them once upon a time. Remakes are always going to happen with or without Disney, just as they did before the Disney Renaissance existed. I now feel these remakes are less of a cash grab (though they DO make all the money) and, on a sentimental level, more of a chance for us to care about these stories again and view them in a different light. And while not everything they remake will be up to someone’s standards, I kinda have to give them kudos for that.

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Progress Report

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I know I haven’t talked much about my ongoing visa process. Honestly, it’s because most of the time it’s been a waiting game. The government (both of them) can only move so fast with this stuff, and I know I’m not the only visa applicant out there. However, these past few months have had more progress than I, my fiancé, and even our lawyer have anticipated.

After my application was approved in early February, we waited throughout the rest of the month and all of March to find out the next step. At the start of this month, however, we were finally sent further instructions. We’re both now in the process of getting things together for the head consulate in Montreal so they can review our case. Once everything’s A-OK with that, I should then get instructions to make my medical and interview appointments.

That’s the step I’m looking forward to the most, even if it will be a bit nerve-wracking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy we’ve made it this far and apparently in a fairly quick amount of time. But that next step will be the make or break point for me getting sent that visa card. I just want things to continue on this positive path we’ve made so I can get down to Florida and finally be with my man. I’m hoping we’ll have everything sorted out at least before my 30th birthday next year!

And despite some things feeling a bit slower because of us having a lawyer in the mix, I’m still satisfied with our decision to hire one. My fiancé and I both tend to worry about important things like this, and the last thing we wanted was to attempt this on our own and possibly end up making mistakes. I really don’t want to repeat this process if it can be helped, and I’m confident in both our relationship and our case that I’ll get approved by the end of all this. I’ll be making another update here in the future no matter what happens, but until then I’ll continue rambling about other aspects of my life.

Hopes and Fears About Series 10 of “Doctor Who”

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The new season of “Doctor Who” starts tomorrow night, and while I’m pretty sure I’ll have to wait until Sunday to actually watch it, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for it. Even though we still got a Christmas special last year, it feels like ages since Series 9. And now that one of my least favorite companions is officially gone (sorry, Clara fans), I’m mostly looking forward to Series 10.

One of the biggest things I’m excited for is spending more time with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed him despite the rocky writing that’s plagued his seasons. But I’ve also felt like a lot of his tenure was driven by his relationship with Clara. I’m hoping this new season will give him a slew of amazing moments both with or without Nardole and Bill. This will also mark the second time I’ll have to watch an iteration of the Doctor go (since I missed out on Nine and Ten’s the first time around). Even though Smith was my first Doctor, I’ll still be a bit sad to see Capaldi go. He has a presence and intensity that’s captivating to watch.

I’m interested to see what else they do with Nardole. While his character has good comedic timing, his two appearances so far haven’t fully endeared him to me. I’m hoping the inclusion of Bill will give his character more to do. Speaking of, I’m also hoping to see good things from Bill. It remains to be seen if she’ll stick around past this season, but if she is a one season wonder, I really hope Moffat makes her story compelling.

Lastly, the announcement of a few older baddies returning has me a little intrigued. I’m wary of certain spoilers regarding Missy, but I’m just hoping she gets more to do. I don’t mind Michelle Gomez’s performance, but having now seen the classic Masters, I can see why other fans have kinda shunned both hers and Simms’ iterations. I’m also curious about the return of the Ice Warriors, and even moreso the original Cybermen. I found them extremely weird after coming off of New Who’s fully robotic versions, but I want to see where they’ll fit in storywise and how they’ll interact with this Doctor.

But then we come to my fears. Obviously, there’s no telling if there will be an overarching plot this season. Given that Moffat has made one in all his seasons, however, I’m more wary about it this time around. I haven’t been overly impressed with his plots lately, so I’m trying not to get my hopes up of this potential one ending on a high note. But who knows? Maybe he’ll prove me wrong or I’ll at least be pleasantly surprised.

On that note, I’m also worried about his handling of Bill above anyone else. I felt Clara had too much importance even as the Doctor’s sole companion, and I’m afraid Moffat might put similar emphasis on Bill as well. Not every companion needs to have something special or mysterious about them. If there’s one thing I noticed with the classic era, it’s that many of the companions were ordinary people, even if they came from the distant future. Sure, some might have been smarter than others, but they were there to keep the Doctor grounded and connect us to that world. However, even if Bill turns out to be extraordinary beyond normal means, I just hope she has a good, strong story behind her.

Ultimately, the biggest thing I fear about this season is Moffat himself. Look, I love the guy, though maybe not quite as much as I used to. But in terms of writing quality, I want to see the Moffat who wrote “Heaven Sent” this season. I still maintain that that’s one of his best episodes in a long time, and I’d love to see that consistency throughout his final run. For all the gripes I’ve had about his handling of the show over the past two seasons, I want nothing more than for Moffat to go out on a high note.

We’ll see if any of these hopes and fears come true, but I’m still just glad to have the show back. “Doctor Who” is still one of the only shows I actually watch on TV, and even its bad episodes don’t deter me from coming back week after week. Here’s hoping Series 10 starts off strong tomorrow.

Shakespeare & Me

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This week I’ve been on possibly the strangest mini-kick I’ve ever experienced. Thanks to YouTube’s recommendations, I discovered and watched David Tennant and Catherine Tate’s rendition of “Much Ado About Nothing.” From then on, I’ve been getting into more adaptations of Shakespeare’s work. I honestly never thought I’d say that in my lifetime.

I’ve had a mixed relationship with Shakespeare. Like most people, I was first introduced to his work in school. I always detested having to read and study his plays, not just because it felt like a chore but also because I’ve always been a visual learner. Whenever we would watch a movie related to whichever play we were studying, I often found the work more interesting afterwards. However, I was also drawn to the tragic stories over the romances like “Romeo & Juliet” and “Twelfth Night.” It’s cliched by now due to their popularity, but I adored “Hamlet” and thought “Macbeth” was awesome in how messed up it was. Despite this, I was happy to leave Shakespeare behind once I left high school.

But lately, I’ve found that watching Shakespeare via plays and adaptations makes me appreciate the Bard far more than I did back then. Aside from Tennant and Tate’s “Much Ado,” I’ve also watched Joss Whedon’s version, Tennant’s version of Hamlet, the meta comedy “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead”, “West Side Story” aka my preferred take on “Romeo & Juliet”, and Ian McKellen’s “Richard III.” I know this is a small taste of Shakespeare, but I’ve found that if a rendition of his work has a gimmick, actors/actresses I enjoy, or both, it makes it easier for me to get engaged with the story and language. In fact, the one adaptation that did stick with me from high school was Kenneth Branagh’s “Hamlet” for how epic and stylized it was.

Besides YouTube, I have to partially blame Kyle Kallgren (formerly known as Oancitizen) for making me want to continue seeking out more Shakespeare adaptations. It was thanks to the yearly Shakespeare Month portion of his web show, Brows Held High, that I initially watched Whedon’s “Much Ado” back in 2014. I’ve spent this week catching up on his other Shakespeare videos to see what other adaptations are out there. Again, it’s really bizarre to me that I’ve taken this much interest in something I couldn’t wait to get away from in school. I don’t consider myself obsessed at this point, but I can at least say I have a newfound respect for Shakespeare. I’m more than happy to make some fresh memories out of the fun I’ve had checking out his work now instead of remembering the tedium I felt back then.