mary poppins VS mary poppins returns

I had to.  Watching ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ gave me the itch to re-watch ‘Mary Poppins’ and, well, here I am.

The Story

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MP: Mary Poppins comes to London in 1910 to put the Banks family to rights.

MPR: Mary Poppins comes to London in 1935 to put the Banks family to rights.

The Nanny

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MP: What more can be said about Julie Andrews?  She is truly, like Mary Poppins herself, ‘practically perfect in every way’.  And the fact that ‘Mary Poppins’ was her first film role is even more impressive.  She brings a sweetness and charm to the character of Mary Poppins that wasn’t in the book.  So, points off for inaccuracy to the book, but points on for what really is a marvelous performance. (And there is a lot of Book Mary Poppins in Julie Andrews’ portrayal.)

MPR: I think everyone was a wee bit skeptical that anyone could step into Julie Andrews’ shoes.  But you know what?  Emily Blunt didn’t even try.  She went back to the books, she conferred with Rob Marshall (and her own fabulous acting instincts) and played Mary Poppins close to the book and close to everyone’s hearts.  There were so many moments through ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ when I was almost crying because “YES.  That’s my Mary Poppins!”

The Other Characters

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MP: Everyone is so memorable in this film.  The Banks family, Bert, Admiral Boom (why does every name start with a ‘B’?), Ellen, Cook, Uncle Albert…it’s truly delightful.  Re-watching ‘Mary Poppins’ was like coming back to very old, very dear friends.  Mrs. Banks is an interesting mixture of defiance and decorum, Jane and Michael are The Best Child Actors, and even though I don’t particularly care for Bert, he adds a unique flavor to the film that I couldn’t do without.

MPR: Thank goodness the actors for John, Annabel, and Georgie weren’t awful.  That would have probably (mostly) ruined the movie.  But they were darling.  Michael and Jane are sweethearts, Colin Firth’s character (name?) is a pretty good villain…and then there’s Jack.  I like that they didn’t give him a romance with Mary Poppins (like she had with Bert, kind of) because I believe she’s ‘above’ romance in a way?  I mean, she’s basically immortal and Not Of This World.  But the little sparks between Jack and Jane made me so happy.

The Awful British Accent

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MP: This is more a gag category, but…Dick van Dyke’s accent is truly awful.  And it slips up quite a bit, especially when he’s singing.  Definitely not a fan. 😛

MPR: And then there’s Lin.  You can tell he’s faking it, but it’s not as over the top/grating.  So that’s nice.

The Songs

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MP: The Sherman brothers outdid themselves with the songs for ‘Mary Poppins’.  It was their first time writing allll the songs for a big Disney musical and they knocked it out of the park.  Pretty much every song in ‘Mary Poppins’ has entered common usage – stuff like “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” and “chim chim cher-ee” – and the songs themselves are so catchy you can’t help but love them.  And then, of course, there’s ‘Feed the Birds’, which was one of Walt Disney’s favorite song and which always makes me tear up.

MPR: The songs that I heard from ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ before watching the movie didn’t thrill me. (Except for ‘Trip a Little Light Fantastic’, which I saw a clip of and was promptly blown away.)  But after seeing them in their proper context and getting the story/emotions behind them…I love almost every one.  ‘The Place Where the Lost Things Go’ is actually more meaningful to me than ‘Feed the Birds’ and I love, love, love ‘A Cover is Not the Book’ (#bookworm).  My little brother’s favorite song is ‘A Conversation’, which I think is a little weird.  But I just go with it.

(Incidentally, HUGE shout-out to Marc Shaiman for creating an Overture that sounds like it came straight from 60’s Disney musical.)

The Adventures

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MP: ‘Jolly Holiday’ and ‘I Love to Laugh’ are entwined with two unforgettable Mary Poppins adventures.  Personally, I think that the whole chalk drawing sequence drags on for too long but the song is catchy and the visuals are nice, so I don’t mind it too much.  The tea party on the ceiling (sounds like something out of Wonderland) makes me grin…because everyone else (except Mary Poppins) is laughing so much.

MPR: I really don’t care for the bath adventure or the Cousin Topsy adventure.  They just don’t do anything for me.  What I do like, however, is the whole Royal Doulton sequence.  I think it’s really cool how they’re ‘in China’ (lol) and all the risks that has with it.  And both songs in that sequence are lots of fun and very energetic. (Plus, it adds to the plot because Certain Events help the children to see through Colin Firth’s character later on.)

The Emotional Pull

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Just leaving this screenshot here because no collage I make would be more perfect.

MP: This is going to sound a bit weird, but most of the parts I find emotional in ‘Mary Poppins’ are because of ‘Saving Mr. Banks’.  That movie made me love ‘Mary Poppins’.  It’s kind of hard to admit that I didn’t like it before that, but I watched it so many times as a child that I was sick of it. (Until ‘Saving’.)  That being said, I dare you not to tear up at ‘Feed the Birds’ or ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’ (which was the one part I always unequivocally loved).

MPR: *deep breaths* THIS MOVIE.  The nostalgia made me cry, the extremely poignant subplot of Michael grieving for Kate made me cry, ‘Lost Things’ made me cry…I was a mess by the end of the film.  Though there were definitely parts that made me laugh and there were a lot of happy tears (far less than sad tears).  ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ hit a chord inside me.  It’s a part of my heart now and I love that.

The Ending

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MP: Mr. Banks MENDS THE KITE.  And starts singing and dancing with his children!  And everyone is so happy and joyful and, uh, kite-flying-y.  ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’ is one of the most triumphant, awesome Disney songs ever and it provides the perfect capstone to the story.

MPR: I can see what they were trying to do.  They were trying to capture the wonder and excitement of the first film’s ending.  Having Angela Lansbury there, having everyone floating in the air, Jack following Jane…it was all super sweet.  But I think ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’ is the better song and a better scene, overall.

(LOVE how Michael’s like “I’ll start feeding the birds and go fly a kite” because yasssss.)

Overall

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So, what’s my favorite Mary Poppins film?

Well…

‘Saving Mr. Banks’. 

Psych!

That really is the truest answer I can give you because I can’t choose between ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ (and I like ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ better than both).  They’re each quite perfect in their own way.  So please don’t ask me to choose.

However…do you have a favorite of the two? (Or three, if we’re including ‘Saving Mr. Banks’?)

Eva

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coco VS. the book of life

There’s quite a few people who say that Pixar ripped off Sony when they made ‘Coco’ a few years after ‘The Book of Life’.  I think that’s nonsense and I’m doing this comparison post partly because I want to…and partly to prove all the haters wrong.  There are a few similarities.  Both films are set during Mexico’s Day of the Dead.  Both feature protagonists who want to pursue music (guitar, specifically) instead of following their families’ profession.  And in each film the villain meets his untimely end via a gigantic bell (though in ‘The Book of Life’, it’s more the bomb than the bell). (Oh, there’s also the thing about Imelda and Monolo’s mom have similar hair…?) 

But other than that, they’re pretty different movies.

// The Plot //

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Coco: A young guitarist named Miguel is transported to the Land of the Dead when he strums a famous guitar.  In order to re-enter the land of the living, Miguel must receive a blessing from one of his dead family members but complicated stuff happens and he must go on an epic journey with a guy named Héctor…and I’m not going to say anything else because the plot is too good to spoil.

The Book of Life: A young guitarist named Monolo fights with his best friend for the affections of the women they both love.  There’s also a wager and a poisonous snake and a weird Candlemaker and not a whole lot of emotional depth.  Oh, and bullfighting.  The plot makes sense, I guess, but it’s kind of shallow.

// The Main Character //

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Coco: Okay, so the first I watched ‘Coco’, I wasn’t completely sold on Miguel.  Like, he was okay and all but he just seemed kind of bland as main characters go. (Sorta like Riley in ‘Inside Out’.)  But on the re-watch I liked him a lot better.  He does a lot of growing up (“Nothing is more important than family”) and his love of music is super endearing because I share it.

The Book of Life: MONOLO IS VOICED BY DIEGO LUNA.  Your argument is invalid.  That awesome fact aside, Monolo is a pretty good hero.  Especially with what he does for Joaquin near the end.  And he’s really sweet and a great singer and, yes, I quite like him.

// The Other Characters //

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Coco: Most of the other characters in ‘Coco’ are Miguel’s family – living and dead.  And they’re all so great.  Héctor is obviously my favorite character but I also love Imelda.  She’s one of those strong female characters that is actually strong – not annoying.  She held her family together after her husband abandoned her; she has so much of my respect.  And then there’s Coco herself.  I love her sweetness. ❤

The Book of Life: My favorite secondary characters in ‘The Book of Life’ are María, La Muerte, and Joaquin.  But at the same time, they aren’t as memorable as the side characters in ‘Coco’.  Joaquin does tug on my heartstrings a little because he wants to live up to his dad’s memory but he can’t without that stupid medal.  But overall, ‘Coco’s’ secondary characters are much more unique and interesting.

// The Villain //

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Coco: Ernesto is one of Pixar’s most despicable villains (and that’s saying something).  He poisons his best friend, he lies and cheats his way to the top of Mexico’s cultural scene, and even in death his scheming, thieving, murderous ways aren’t checked.  Words probably couldn’t describe how much I loathe Ernesto.

The Book of Life: Chakal, the bandit king, is technically the villain but he doesn’t feel very villainous.  Most of the movie’s conflict comes from antagonists in Manolo’s life – whether people or circumstances (like dying).  ‘The Book of Life’ doesn’t really have a villain you can hate.

// The Music //

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Coco: *ALL THE HEART EYES*  I listened to the soundtrack on repeat for weeks and I still love it.  ‘Un Poco Loco’ is definitely my favorite song but they’re all really good.  And Michael Giacchino’s score is beautiful, melancholy, humorous, and exciting in turn.  I liked the soundtrack so much I actually bought a hard copy – something I almost never do.

The Book of Life: Okay, so I don’t remember the score for ‘The Book of Life’.  But I adore ‘I Love You Too Much’ (Diego Luna’s singing voice is lovely) and ‘The Apology Song’ is pretty good as well.

// Emotional Grip //

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Coco: I cry so hard and so much watching ‘Coco’.  Once you know the whole story, pretty much everything about it can move you emotionally – from Ernesto’s flashy rendition of ‘Remember Me’ near the beginning to Héctor explaining how memories work to any scene with Coco.  The film is utterly heartbreaking at times, utterly inspiring and triumphant at others.

The Book of Life: Eh…I wasn’t really moved by ‘The Book of Life’.  And that’s about all I can say.

// Ending //

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Coco: WAAAAAH.  ‘Proud Corazón’ (the song that plays over the ending) KILLS ME.  There’s so much joy and love and pride in it that I CAN’T EVEN.  I literally don’t even know how to describe all the emotions it pulls out of me.  It’s so wonderful seeing the whole family together at last.

The Book of Life: A good ending.  Manolo’s almost-sacrifice is moving and I do like the duet between him and María.

// Overall //

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I don’t think there’s much of a competition here.  ‘The Book of Life’ is an entertaining movie that I enjoy watching every now and then.  But ‘Coco’ is a true Pixar masterpiece (arguably Pixar’s best film) that resonates with me on every single level: characters, storyline, music, visuals (which I didn’t talk about, but both films have AWESOME visuals), and emotions.  I do recommend watching both films, though – see which one you prefer!

Have you seen either of these movies?  Which is your favorite?

Eva

arrow VS. the flash

“My name is Oliver Queen.  For five years I was stranded on an island…”

“My name is Barry Allen and I am the fastest man alive…”

Over the past several months my family and I have watched four seasons of The Flash and almost four seasons of Arrow.  While both shows definitely do their own thing, they’re also connected in more ways than one and I figured it was time to write a comparison post!

// Premise //

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Arrow: Oliver Queen, billionaire playboy, has a secret mission: to right the wrongs done (sometimes in the Queen name) to his beloved Star(ling) City.  His ability to fight injustice comes from five years spent (mostly) on a hellish island that was basically a vigilante training boot camp.

The Flash: Barry Allan, CSI for the local police department, has a secret mission: to protect his beloved Central City by using his super-speed to fight crime, metahumans, and Big Bads.

// The Heroes //

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Arrow: It took me a long time to warm up to Oliver.  He seemed cold and brutal and way too brooding (like Batman, but worse?).  However, since he took a ‘no killing’ vow and began to let the people close to him get, well, closer…he’s grown on me.  He recognizes that he’s done some terrible things but he tries so hard to make it right and I’ve got a soft spot for heroes like that.

The Flash: Barry Allen is one of my top five favorite superheroes.  He can be a little too mopey, a little too “this is all my fault”, but his heart is so big, his motives so pure, his kindness and generosity and just…*siiiiigh*.  But at the same time, Barry isn’t a Gary Stu.  He has faults (much as Joe would hate to admit it), he makes mistakes, but he always owns up and apologizes and, yeah, I love him.

// The Teams //

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Arrow: Team Arrow is HUGE.  You’ve got Oliver, Felicity, Laurel, Sarah, Thea, Diggle, Roy…and I’m pretty sure I’ve missed someone.  There’s so many moving parts and the cool thing is that none of them have superpowers.  All they’ve got is their Mad Skillz.  My favorite in the team is definitely Diggle, closely followed by Oliver and Thea.  I really love the suicide squad episodes where Dig goes off and does his own thing.  So cool.

The Flash: And Team Flash, which started out very small, has added a lot of members over the years.  Barry, Iris, H.R., Cisco, Caitlin, Harry, Julian, Ralph, Joe.  Cisco is the best, as is Caitlin.  And H.R. and Harry…let’s just say, I love them all! 😉  Julian is awesome, though I have to admit that he doesn’t serve much purpose in the story once he joins Team Flash (other than being Caitlin’s love interest).  Oh, well.

// The Villains //

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Arrow: My favorite villain is definitely Slade Wilson.  Season 2 of Arrow has been my favorite so far, mainly because Slade was such an epic villain and his connection to Oliver made S2 the most personal one so far (IMO).  Malcolm Merlyn is also a favorite – he’s so twisted, but there’s a glimmer of honour somewhere in there.  And speaking of honour…DEADSHOT.  (I hardly count him as a villain, though.)  R’as al Ghul was forgettable – I infinitely prefer Liam Neeson’s take on the character, y’know?

The Flash: This show has had some pretty unforgettable villains.  Eobard Thawne was the first and the best.  My mom and little siblings are re-watching/watching the first season right now and I’m blown away by how Tom Cavanaugh can convey trustworthiness, sliminess, and mysteriousness so well, all mixed up.  Zoom and Savitar were worthy opponents for Barry.  I liked DeVoe up to a point and then I was over him.  Still, the villains on The Flash are great overall.

// Ships //

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Arrow: I hate Felicity.  Hate her.  Words can’t express how much I loathe her.  So, obviously, I don’t ship her with Oliver, but then, I don’t really ship Oliver with anyone.  Slade and Shado, Diggle and Lyla, and Deadshot and his wife are my favorite ships from the show.

The Flash: Annnnd I don’t ship Barry and Iris either!  But Caitlin and Ronnie, Caitlin and Julian, and Ralph and that country singer…those are the couples I love.

// Music //

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Arrow: Dark, dramatic, and intense.  Blake Neely captures – and creates – the show’s atmosphere.

The Flash: Another Blake Neely score (I believe he’s responsible for all four Arrowverse shows in that department).  His character themes for Barry, Reverse-Flash, and Captain Cold are all excellent and I also enjoy the touches of quirkiness and humour that make their way into the score.

// Coolness Factor //

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Arrow: The League of Shadows is pretty cool.  And Thea is literally the coolest, with her suit and the way she stands up to Malcolm.  She’s easily the least annoying female on the show and I find myself rooting for her even more than Oliver sometimes.  Slade Wilson is cool as well, in his own way.  Overall, the show has a gritty, sometimes epic vibe that I dig.

The Flash: Captain Cold.  I rest my case.

// Feels Factor //

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Arrow: So, the last episode I watched of this show was the one dealing with the fall-out from Laurel’s death and, um, many tears were shed.  Many, many tears.  It was kind of surprising, because Laurel isn’t my favorite character by a long shot (though she did improve over the show’s run) but I guess I was more attached to her than I thought.  And seeing everyone else broken up about her death…GAH.  Oh, and add to that all the references to Tommy who is the best forever and ever and whyyyyy did the writers kill him off? (That thing in ‘Crisis on Earth-X’ when his doppelganger shows up?  TOO MANY FEELS.)

The Flash: So much sadness.  Nora Allen’s murder (and Barry deciding NOT TO SAVE HER), H.R.’s death, Caitlin’s tragic romances, Plastique…there’s some major feelsiness going down in every season of The Flash.  I might start crying as much as Barry if the writers don’t lighten up soon.

// Overall //

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I have a friend who said that it took her until the third or fourth season to really enjoy Arrow.  I have to agree.  Season 1 bored me, Season 2 was the best (and held my attention the best), I skipped most of Season 3, and Season 4 has too much weirdness for me to fully commit.  But I do enjoy it.  So many of the characters have my heart and the action scenes can be pretty entertaining.

But The Flash is my favorite, hands-down.  The characters are more relatable and lovable than those in Arrow, the episodes are rarely boring, the seasons are more tight-knit (probably because there’s not many flashbacks), and overall I just like it more.

Both shows, however, are amazing and I’d recommend them to fans of epic superheroes (though not without a few caveats as to violence and adult content – mostly in Arrow).

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Have you seen either – or both – of these shows?  Do you agree with my consensus?  Let me know in the comments!

Eva

similarities between ‘fawkes’ and ‘glimpses of truth’

It’s no secret that I love Nadine Brandes’ newest release, Fawkes.  While I was reading it, I noticed a few similarities between Fawkes and one of my favorite Christian novels – Glimpses of Truth.  Now this is NOT to say that I think Nadine plagiarized Jack Cavanaugh or anything like that.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for her and I would never suggest that; I just thought the similarities were interesting.

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-Both books feature a main character named Thomas.  Both characters have serious problems with their vision – Thomas Fawkes’ left eye has turned to stone, Thomas Torr has black spots in his eyes that are steadily growing larger and impeding his vision.  IMO, this is the coolest similarity between the two books.  And the most obvious.

-Both Thomases have issues with their fathers. (Thomas Torr’s dad raped his mom and then tried to kill him.  Thomas Fawkes’ dad…well, just read the book.)  Both Thomases were raised by a man who is not their father (but who was basically a father to them) – Norwood and Howell.

-Both Thomases are in love with an awesome girl who is also being courted by a nobleman’s son.  Though that’s where this particular comparison ends because Henry is pretty horrid and Kendall is the SWEETEST BEST MOST BRAVE CINNAMON ROLL EVER.

-Both Thomases go back and forth in their convictions and beliefs, though Thomas Torr is much more certain of what he believes in than Thomas Fawkes.  Still, both wrestle with doubts relating to what side they’ll take in a religious power struggle. (I know that Fawkes is more of an allegory than a history, but you know what I mean.)

-And both books end with the Thomases and their lady loves watching their father/father figure be executed.  Both books leave me a blubbering mess because beloved characters die and other beloved characters have to see it happen and it’s horrible.  Nadine Brandes and Jack Cavanaugh are too good at messing with my emotions, tbh.

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So.  Have you read either of these books?  Do you see the similarities?  Or do you think I’m totally off my rocker? *grins*

Eva

my little brothers’ take on ‘pixar VS pixar’

So, I saw this idea on a blog (I forget which one) where you take all of Pixar’s movies (or, at least, all the ones you’ve seen) and randomly select two at a time and pit them against each other to see which is your favorite.  I did that (I’ve seen every Pixar movie except ‘Brave’ and ‘The Incredibles 2′) and it’s sitting in my drafts right now; I’ll publish it at some point.  But today I wanted to share my little brothers’ choices with you.  Along with ‘Brave’ and ‘The Incredibles 2’, they’ve also not seen ‘Toy Story’ or ‘Coco’, so it still worked out to have an even number of films.

Ethan is seven and Jonah is five and I sat them down separately (because I didn’t want them copying each other’s answers) and asked them these very important questions.  Their answers are pretty much verbatim, just with a bit of tweaking here and there.  I hope you love their honesty and adorableness as much as I do. ❤

‘Cars 3’ VS ‘Cars 2’

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E: ‘Cars 3’ because Lightning McQueen is nicer in it than in ‘Cars 2’ and because of the girl [Cruz] and how she wins in the dirt race.

J: ‘Cars 2’ because I really like Finn McMissile and I like Mater in it.

‘Ratatouille’ VS ‘Cars’

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E: ‘Ratatouille’ because it’s about chefs and I like making [scrambled] eggs and also because it has that funny grandma in it and how Remy makes that guy cook really well.

J: ‘Ratatouille’ because I like Remy in it and Emile and I like how Remy imagines Gusteau.

‘UP’ VS ‘Toy Story 2’

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E: ‘Toy Story 2’ because Woody cares about Jessie and doesn’t want to go back to Andy’s house and I like it because it’s very interesting.

J: ‘Toy Story 2’ because I like the horse in it that Woody rides on and I really like Woody and Buzz Lightyear, how he karate chops people.

‘Toy Story 3’ VS ‘WALL-E’

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E: ‘WALL-E’ because EVE is cool in it because she has a gun and the pudgy guy is nice to WALL-E and EVE and WALL-E did all of the work in the old town basically by himself and he never shut down.

J: ‘WALL-E’ because I like WALL-E how he’s a robot and how he picks up the garbage and also I like how EVE makes WALL-E back up and I like those cleaning things that clean up WALL-E.

‘Inside Out’ VS ‘Monsters University’

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E: ‘Inside Out’ because it’s very interesting and plus Bing-Bong helps Joy and Sadness.  But I don’t get why Joy is called Joy because she’s actually kind of a jerk.  And Fear is funny.

J: ‘Inside Out’ because I like Fear in it because his head gets on fire and because Anger did that and I like their computer – and their new one.

‘Finding Nemo’ VS ‘A Bug’s Life’

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E: ‘A Bug’s Life’ because they gather up all the food and then Flik gets new bugs and the Ladybug’s funny.  And also because the grasshopper dies.

J: ‘Finding Nemo’ because I like that big shark in it and because his dad tried to warn Dory.

‘Monsters, Inc’ VS ‘The Good Dinosaur’

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E: ‘Monsters, Inc’ because I like it how Sully cares about the little girl and he’s nice to the little girl and even if she gets captured he tries to get her.  And I like it because of Mike and Sully because they’re both funny, especially Mike.

J: ‘The Good Dinosaur’ because at the ending the little boy meets his mom and dad and all his family and also because I like Buck in it.

‘Finding Dory’ VS ‘The Incredibles’

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E: ‘The Incredibles’ because it’s a superhero movie and I like superheroes and plus Dash is kind of like me so I like Dash.  And what Mr. Incredible fights is really cool.  And I like it because of Mirage and because she helps them even though she’s kind of bad.

J: ‘The Incredibles’ because I like the dad of the Incredibles how they made him muscular and I like the big robot in it.

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Did you agree with my little brothers’ choices?  Let me know in the comments!

Eva

captain america: the first avenger VS wonder woman

Though I haven’t watched many superhero movies, I’ve been fortunate to see many of the good ones, and both Captain America: The First Avenger and Wonder Woman are in that category.  I’ve been a fan of Marvel for over three years now and only recently got into the DC-verse, but I like both pretty much equally.  Though these two films – The First Avenger and Wonder Woman – come from different studios, there are enough similarities between them to have sparked many blog posts, articles, and debates.  (Personally, I don’t think DC ripped off Marvel.)  And as you know my love for comparison posts, well, this one was inevitable.

(Spoilers throughout.)

// Story //

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CA:TFA – Steve Rogers, a short, weak guy with a heart of gold becomes Captain America, a tall, strong guy with a heart of gold and takes down loads of Nazis and HYDRA agents during WWII while still remaining, not a perfect soldier, but a good man.  Lots of feels and awesomeness.

Wonder Woman – Diana, princess of Themyscira, leaves her island home with pilot Steve Trevor to defeat Ares, god of war, and stop WWI.  Along the way, she learns a lot about herself, humans, and the struggle between good and evil.  Lots of feels and awesomeness.

// Hero/Heroine //

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CA:TFA – Steve Rogers is quite possibly the best fictional hero ever.  Period.  He’s basically the epitome of goodness.  He’s brave and strong and loyal to his country, his friends, and the world.  And the grenade scene?  I totally teared up the first time I saw that bit.  Powerful stuff.

Wonder Woman – Diana is everything goals. (So is Gal Gadot, but that’s a whole other discussion.)  She is the epitome of love, with her kind, caring, and compassionate outlook on life.  Seeing WWI through her eyes gives you a fresh realization of how horrific and devastating it was.  But even after all the awful things that happen around and to her, Diana does not give up her hope and joy or her resolve to help save humanity. ❤

// Villains //

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD FOR WONDER WOMAN.

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CA:TFA – The Red Skull bores me, frankly.  Zola is another thing altogether – I hate him, mainly for all the horrid things he does to Bucky.  Sure, he seems all compliant and boot licking, but I believe he always thought himself superior to the Red Skull.  At least, that’s the impression I got from The Winter Soldier.  But, overall, the villains in TFA aren’t much.  Though Richard Armitage’s HYDRA agent was rather good.

Wonder Woman – Dr. Poison is an interesting sort of villain.  Her experiments are… *shudders*.  That general dude, though…bleh.  He’s really forgettable.  But the best villain of the film is most definitely Ares.  The first time I watched Wonder Woman, I knew the big twist about Sir Patrick being Ares, and I wasn’t at all impressed with either of them.  David Thewlis is not one of my favorite actors.  But upon rewatching the movie, I found I couldn’t take my eyes off him.  He is an absolutely chilling villain, the way he’s infiltrated into the highest levels of British government and how he recognizes Diana right away and all that.  A great, great villain.

// Other Characters //

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CA:TFA – First, of course, there’s Peggy.  One of the best female fictional characters ever; she even got her own spin-off series, though it was regrettably short-lived.  I like Peggy lots.  Howard Stark is another one of my favorites – Tony, you had a great dad. 😉  And Bucky!  Sebastian Stan did a perfect job of capturing Bucky, first his fun, carefree side, and then – as the war progresses and especially after he escapes from Zola – his darker, more conflicted side.  It’s both great and wrenching.

Wonder Woman – STEVE TREVOR.  Just…Steve Trevor.  Love him.  Diana’s mom and aunt are good characters as well, and Steve’s secretary, and Charlie and all the rest.  But I definitely like the secondary characters in The First Avenger better.  Except for Steve. (Trevor, not Rogers.)

// Love Story //

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CA:TFA – *bawls* I like the fact that it was Steve himself and not just his incredible good looks/muscles that first attracted Peggy to him.  Like the thing about waiting for the right partner.  Or the flag pole.  Or the grenade.  It makes a good basis for a good relationship.  A good relationship that ends tragically, making “I had a date” now hiiiiigh up on the list of most heartbreaking movie quotes ever.  I WILL NEVER GET OVER THOSE TWO.

Wonder Woman – *bawls* I don’t think there’s much denying that Steve was attracted to Diana on a physical level at first, but I also think that they were just friends for at least the first hour or so of the film.  Maybe even more.  He was able to see just how amazing she was as a person, and she was slowly able to get over her distrust of people in general and men in particular.  AND THEN IT ALL ENDED.  I will never get over those two, either.

// Music //

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CA:TFA – I have this soundtrack memorized because I’ve watched the movie so much.  ‘Farewell to Bucky’ always makes me tear up because it’s rather emotional, especially when you know what happens later in the films.  And the main theme is rousing and patriotic and instantly recognizable.

Wonder Woman‘Is She With You?’  That’s all.

// Ending //

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CA:TFA – Will I ever get over the final scenes in this movie?  I don’t think so.  Everything from Steve and Peggy’s heartbreaking last (or so they think) conversation to Howard’s determination to keep searching to the war’s end (WHICH STEVE NEVER GOT TO SEE) to “I had a date”, it’s one big feelsy moment after another.  And I love it.

Wonder Woman – Uh…basically the same thing.  Diana’s epic, epic battle with Ares (who is her brother – #mindblown) and Steve’s sacrifice and the way that Chief and Charlie and Sameer all sort of huddle together in what they believe to be their last stand and Steve’s photo on the wall (I always think of the bit in TFA when the Howling Commandos are all like “To the captain”) and Diana’s inspiring final words.  Amazing.

// Overall //

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Captain America: The First Avenger is insanely close to my heart, but I think Wonder Woman is the better movie.  Almost all the characters in both are very huggable and relatable and awesome.  I’m torn!  I really can’t decide.  Though I would more readily watch Wonder Woman right now, just because I’ve seen The First Avenger a million times.  You can take from that what you will.

Have you seen either of these movies?  What do you think of them?

Eva

notorious VS. casablanca

This blog post is part of The 3rd Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon.  Check out the other entries here.

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Ingrid Bergman is one of my favorite actresses – her beauty, accent, talent, and height all combine to make her one of the most striking women on Hollywood’s silver screen.  I’ve only seen her in four or five films, but she’s impressed me in every single one.  Today, I wanted to compare two of her most famous films – Notorious and Casablanca.  Both movies were made around the same time, both star Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains, and…um, that’s good enough for me to write a comparison post (seriously, though, I’ve considered comparing The Lorax and The Giver just because of their similar themes – plus, Taylor Swift’s in both).

Anyway.  Enough rambling.

// The Story //

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I’m horrible at plot summaries.

Notorious: A German-American woman is recruited by the US government to spy on…other spies?  Not entirely sure what Alex is, actually.  Anyway, the woman, Alicia (Bergman), falls in love with her handler, Devlin (Cary Grant), but things become chaotic when Alicia marries one of the enemy.

Casablanca: Talk about a ‘tale as old as time’.  The story of Casablanca is known around the world.  Rick owns a cafe in Casablanca.  Everyone comes to it over the course of the story and the romances, intrigues, political plot points, etc., etc. make for an addictive cinematic experience.

// The Heroine //

HEROINE

Because they’re both played by Ingrid Bergman.

Notorious: Alicia Huberman (later Alicia Sebastian) is a wonderful heroine.  Though her father was a member of the Nazi party, she herself is a loyal American on the side of truth, liberty, and justice.  However, she ends up having to lie constantly to her husband, her liberty is curtailed when Alex finds out who she really is, and there’s no justice in the way Devlin treats her throughout the movie (until the very end).  Yet she rises above all this to emerge as one of the most memorable Hitchcock leading ladies of all his films.

Casablanca: Most people view Casablanca as a ‘Humphrey Bogart picture’ and I have to say that that’s true.  He’s the main character and the moral centre of the entire thing, but without Ilsa, there would be no story.  From the moment she walks into Rick’s cafe until the moment she leaves on the plane to Lisbon, she is constantly in Rick’s – and our – mind.  She is the catalyst of the entire story (well, the letters of transit play a big role, but they’re more a MacGuffin than anything) and a great character in her own right.

// The Hero //

HERO

Because they’re both awesome.

Notorious: As I’ve mentioned before, Devlin is one of the only Cary Grant characters I like.  And he’s a jerk for most of the film!  Like, a serious jerk.  I can never quite figure out if he loves Alicia at the beginning – at least, as much as she loves him – but by the time she marries Alex, you know he does.  And he’s so very heroic in rescuing Alicia at the end. ❤

Casablanca: Rick is one of the most famous heroes (or is he an anti-hero?) in the history of film.  He’s hard and bitter and cynical at first – but not without reason.  The bit in the cafe at night where he’s drinking and talking to himself/Sam along with the part where Ilsa leaves him at the train station…always give me a huge lump in my throat and an ache in my heart.  He does an incredibly awesome, brave thing at the end as well and that’s mostly what defines him as a great hero, even though he doesn’t get the girl.

// The Love Triangle //

TRIANGLE

Because they’re required in every great story.

Notorious: Alicia, Devlin, and Alex.  The scenes with all three of them are so tense, no matter what’s going on.  Alex gets jealous easily because he’s so much older than Alicia and, come on, it’s obvious that she and Devlin are in love.  It really is.

Casablanca: Ilsa, Rick, and Laszlo.  May I just say that I really like Laszlo?  He grows on me with every viewing.  Anyway, this love triangle is unique because the story ends with the girl still with the same guy she was with at the beginning (that’s sounded so awkward, but you get the idea).

// The Villains //

VILLAINS

Because they’re crafty and clever and I dig villains.

Notorious: Besides Alex, there’s also his creepy mom and his creepy Nazi friends.  Alex is a sympathetic villain, almost, because you can kinda tell that he really does care for Alicia (until he discovers she’s a spy, that is).  But his mom is distrustful of her daughter-in-law right from the start.  And those Nazi friends are diabolical.

Casablanca: Does Captain Renault count as a villain?  Not really, I don’t think.  And Major Strasser is just…there.  Doesn’t do much, truth be told.

// Ending //

ENDING

Because both are perfect.

Notorious: Mannnnn.  I LOVE the ending to this film.  Devlin rescuing Alicia and finally admitting that he loves her and then “Alex, come inside.  We want to talk to you.” (not an exact quote, but still) *shivers*  So great.  Hitchcock really knows how to end a movie (except for The Birds – that was just weird).

Casablanca: Who doesn’t know the ending to Casablanca?  Even if you’ve never watched it, over half of the most iconic quotes are found in the last ten minutes or so.  “Hill of beans”, “usual suspects”, “looking at you, kid” (okay, that one was said earlier on), and “always have Paris”, “beautiful friendship”…so quotable.  And the ending is majorly tearjerking as well.

// Overall //

OVERALL

Both Notorious and Casablanca are outstanding examples of film-making at its very best.  But Casablanca is my second favorite movie of all time, so it kind of wins by default, right?  Notorious is still one of my top favorites, though. (And Ingrid Bergman is a luminous presence in both films.)

Which of these two films do you like best?

Eva