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

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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

monk VS. psych

Comparison posts = awesome fun (for me at least; if y’all are getting tired of them, let me know please).  This time, I’ll be contrasting two of my all-time favorite TV shows: Monk and Psych.  I’ll try to not to have any spoilers throughout, except in the ‘Villains’ and ‘Finale’ category (duh).

This post is probably going to be crazy long, but….you’ll thank me later.

// Premise //

Monk: An former police detective who has major OCD works as a private investigator in San Fransisco while trying to find out who murdered his wife, Trudy.

Psych: A fake psychic and his best friend solve crimes and goof off (not necessarily in that order).

// Characters //

Monk: Well, for starters, you’ve got the man himself.  Adrian Monk is brilliant, but can often be infuriatingly annoying (he throws away all that food! he tries to fix that curtain when everyone’s stuck in the jury room! and tons of other stuff that I can’t think of right now!) but when the chips are down, he always comes through.  With all of his problems, tics, and quirks, it’s only natural that he should have an assistant – first Sharona, then Natalie.  Of the two, Natalie is my favorite, with her down-to-earth approach and genuine affection for ‘Mr. Monk’.

As for the other characters, they’re a mixed bag of great (Captain Stottlemeyer, Randy, and Dr. Bell), weird (Harold Krenshaw and Jack Monk, Jr.), blah (Dr. Kroger), and sweet (Kevin, Ambrose, and Trudy).

Psych: Shawn is a five-year-old at heart (and in mind as well).  That’s about the best description of him I’ve got.  Occasionally, you catch glimpses of his more mature, serious side (usually a feels-inducing moment, by the way) but it’s mainly nonsense throughout the whole show.  And Gus is only slightly better.  Shawn’s dad, Henry, keeps the two of them grounded in reality at times, but, honestly, it’s a rather futile endeavor.

At the police station, you’ve got the Chief (I like her), Lassiter (close to being my favorite character, even though he can be just plain weird at times), Juliet (<3), Woody (blech), and Buzz (*grins*).  Shawn’s mom also makes a few appearances; I love how she calls him ‘Goose’.

// Villains //

Monk: The only major villain (aka, one that appears in more than one episode) in this show is Dale the Whale and he’s gross and I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about him.  So I won’t.  Patrick Kloster, Steve Wagner, Theresa Scott, Ethan Rickover, and The Great Torini are also notable baddies.

Psych: Okayyyyy.  There’s some pretty great villains in Psych (great as in ‘really worthy opponents’).  Yin, Yang, and Pierre Despereaux (aka Royston Cornwallis Staley) stand out the most.  Yin/Yang are simply freaky.  Despereaux (played by a still-adorable-even-though-he’s-middle-aged-or-something Cary Elwes) is debonair and dashing and I love how he kinda sorta turns out to be good in the end, though you’re never quiiiite sure about that.

// Episodes //

Monk: The two-parter, ‘Mr Monk Is On The Run’ is EXCELLENT.  All the Christmas episodes are great (especially the secret Santa one) (and with the exception of the one with Monk’s dad).  I love the thread of Trudy-ness running through the whole series.  ‘Mr Monk’s Other Brother’ makes me grin and ‘Mr Monk’s 100th Case’ is seriously the best for someone new to the show – it explains everything.

Psych: Psych.  The Musical.  PSYCH THE MUSICAL.  Are you hearing this???  There’s a musical!  How insanely cool is that?!  (Also, they’re coming out with a Christmas reunion movie this year, people.)  My favorite part of the series, in all probability, is the Yin/Yang trilogy which is super dramatic and serious compared to the rest of the show. (My favorite of those three episodes is the second one, ’cause the feels are huge and it’s Hitchcock-themed so what’s not to love?).  Also, all the parody/tribute episodes are swell. (Like ‘100 Clues’ and ‘Dual Spires’ and ‘Heeeeere’s Lassie’.)

// Theme Song //

Monk: The first season had a jaunty little instrumental theme that played during the opening credits, but season two (and onward) had the Randy Newman song “It’s a Jungle Out There” for its theme.  It’s a funny song that accurately describes Monk’s near-constant state of mind, but I usually skip it.  It was changed up only once, for ‘Mr. Monk and the Rapper’.

Psych: LOVE this theme.  The energy is great and the clips make me grin (especially the Season 6 opener, which I’ve HTML-ed in above).  Psych gave its theme song a new twist several times, depending on what the episode was about.  You can get a full list of the changes here, my personal favorites being the Christmas one and the a capella one.

// Guest Stars //

Monk: Stanley Tucci, Sarah Silverman, Howie Mandel, Enrico Colantoni, Sean Astin, Jennifer Lawrence (in a very small, maybe even un-credited, role), Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Bernie Kopell…it’s a pretty great list, right? (And I didn’t even get everyone!)  Probably my favorite guest appearance was Bernie Kopell, ’cause he’s in Get Smart and it’s just so cool, that connection between two of my favorite TV shows (and from totally different decades, at that).  I believe Stanley Tucci got an Emmy for his role in ‘Mr. Monk and the Actor’ – he’s my second favorite guest star.  However, I don’t think Monk’s Hall of Guest Star Fame can really compare with…

Psych: John Cena, Anthony Michael Hall, C. Thomas Howell, Val Kilmer, Christopher Llyod, Ralph Macchio, Lou Diamond Phillips, John Rhys-Davies, Kevin Sorbo, George Takei, William Shatner, Lesley Ann Warren, Cary Elwes, Curt Smith…and, again, that’s not even half of the great guest stars Psych managed to pull in over the years.  Favorite guest star?  William Shatner, who’s not just a great actor, but a great character in the show as well (playing Juliet’s estranged dad).  But Ralph Macchio is, of course, right up there, too.

// Finale //

Monk: Ohhhhh, man.  You’d better have ten boxes of tissues for this two-part end to the series because it’s intense and feelsy and an incredibly amazing/satisfying end to such a good show.  To give you an idea of how powerful it is, I’ve got to tell you that I watched the finale quite early in my obsession with Monk and even though I didn’t know the characters all that well, I was definitely moved.  I still tear up every time.  It’s the show at its absolute best.

Psych: A good finale.  It does the job of ending the show in a bittersweet-ish way.  But it’s not phenomenal in the way that some TV show finales are phenomenal (Flashpoint comes to mind).  The best bits are Shawn proposing to Juliet and the little reference to Monk at the end.  LOVED that bit.  And Dobson’s identity finally gets revealed, and it’s pretty epic considering all the references the show made to Val Kilmer throughout its eight year run.

// Overall //

As much as Monk will always have a really special place in my heart, the winner of this contest is Psych.  The characters are wacky, but I love ’em.  The episodes are endlessly inventive.  The humor never gets old.  Still, several episodes of Monk will never fail to grab me, and the emotions are real.  In the end, I’d say that both shows are excellent and highly recommended.

PINEAPPLE!

Eva

the adventures of robin hood (1938) VS. robin hood (1973) VS. bbc robin hood

Olivia from Meanwhile, in Rivendell… is hosting a Robin Hood week and, naturally, I had to join in the fun.  I’m an ardent fan of Robin Hood – the character, the books, the movies, and the TV shows (yes, there is more than one).  It was a bit difficult to decide on what I should write about, as my options were almost limitless, but since movie (and TV show in this case) comparison posts are so much fun, I thought I’d do another one.

-Story-

The Adventures of Robin Hood: I think many people view this re-telling of the Robin Hood story as the definitive version, and it’s quite easy to see why.  Many of the plot points from the original legends are brought to the screen in glowing Technicolor – from Robin and Littlejohn’s battle over the bridge to the archery tournament to the return of King Richard.  While the film can be episodic at times, it flows together well.  Two thumbs up!

Robin Hood: This adaption is more a series of entertaining, swashbuckling vignettes than a cohesive whole – and I’m fine with that.  It’s good, solid, entertaining fun.  Not until Prince John calls in all the taxes and Friar Tuck is put in jail does any real plot come together (besides the thread of Robin + Marian throughout).  Still, like I said, it’s good fun and a great interpretation of the Robin Hood legend.

BBC Robin Hood: How do I go about describing the story?  It’s a three-season TV show, so there’s lots of plots and subplots and romances and drama and all that good stuff.  I will say, however, that in terms of accuracy to the original Robin Hood stories, BBC’s adaption falls short.  Very, very short.  Don’t get me wrong; the episodes are still awesome.  They just don’t stick close to all those thrilling tales of old.

-Robin Hood-

The Adventures of Robin Hood: Errol Flynn seems born to play the role of Robin Hood and he makes the part his own with his customary swagger, feats of derring do, and more than a few glimpses of Robin’s romantic nature (in his scenes with Maid Marian, of course).  Flynn’s delivery of Robin Hood’s speeches stirs the heart and he never misses a beat in the entirety of his performance. (Those sword fights…)

Robin Hood: In many ways, this Robin Hood (appropriately enough, a fox) differs little from Errol Flynn’s portrayal (nothing wrong with that). After all, Robin is supposed to be the brave, bold, daring leader with a dash of cheekiness and plenty of heart.  This Robin has all of that, and more, and there’s something about either Brian Bedford’s voice acting or the animator’s skills (or my own mushy, gushy feels – or all three) that makes me love this Robin Hood the most of any portrayal I’ve seen.  I mean, seriously, when he says “Keep your chin up.  Someday there’ll be happiness in Nottingham again.  You’ll see.” I get this close to crying.  Every. Single. Time.

BBC Robin Hood: For whatever reason, a lot of the show’s fans don’t much care for Robin himself.  I guess I can kind of get that, ’cause he can be a jerk and all, but Gisborne is a murderer and everyone loves him, so… Anyway, Jonas Armstrong’s Robin Hood is much darker than either Errol Flynn’s or Brian Bedford’s.  He’s also a deeper character, more nuanced, more interesting, which only makes sense – it is a TV show, after all, with much time to develop its characters.  I don’t wholeheartedly like this Robin Hood, but I sympathize with him and I can respect him.

-Characters-

The Adventures of Robin Hood: You’ve got most of the classics here: Prince John, the Sheriff of Nottingham, Sir Guy, Maid Marian, Littlejohn, Will Scarlett, Friar Tuck, Much, King Richard…these are staple Robin Hood characters, and each is portrayed about as perfectly as you can get ’em.  Love it.

Robin Hood: There aren’t as many classic characters in this one – and all of them are talking animals (there’s nothing wrong with that, but I feel like it should be pointed out). Skippy & Co. take up a relatively large chunk of the movie, and the only member of Robin’s band that makes it into animation is Littlejohn. (Mayyyybe Friar Tuck.)  There is Allan a Dale, though, which is nice.  And Maid Marian and Prince John and the Sheriff.  And King Richard.  You could say Sir Hiss is a counterpart of Sir Guy, but I don’t see much resemblance.  Overall, in terms of accuracy-to-the-originals, it’s not as good as The Adventures of Robin Hood, but not quite as bad as…

BBC Robin Hood: Okay, sure, a lot of the characters have the same name as their legendary templates, but that’s about where any similarities end.  Marian is a feisty action girl.  Friar Tuck is a warrior priest.  Allan is a trickster.  Much is Robin’s former manservant.  Will Scarlett is a carpenter.  The Sheriff, Sir Guy, and Prince John are appropriately villainous, but BBC gave them each a life of their own.  King Richard is a jerkface (well, at least that’s accurate) and there’s lots of new characters, too.  Like Edward and Djaq and Kate and Isabella.  I do adore most of the characters, though.

-Music-

The Adventures of Robin Hood: Erich Wolfgang Korngold captured the essence of the story of Robin Hood with his incredible score.  It’s bold and daring and instantly recognizable.  Plus #nostalgia for me, especially the bits of scoring when Robin and his men attack the treasure/taxes procession and also when Robin and Littlejohn fight on the bridge.  It’s an awesome score.

Robin Hood: This being an animated Disney film, there are songs.  My favorite is ‘Love’ (I’m still going to do a BBC Robin Hood fan-vid to it someday) – it beautifully encapsulates Robin and Marian’s relationship.  And all the other ones are great, too.

BBC Robin Hood: Okay, so there’s the main theme (this being a TV show) that just is Robin Hood to me.  Plus a great soundtrack throughout the show, plus two songs that are first sung aloud and then used for the duration of the series in their instrumental forms and it tugs on the heartstrings, y’all.  First the song that Alice sings to little Littlejohn, and then the one that Eve sings to Much.  Music is my thing and I love how the show reuses its musical themes to great – and often emotional – effect.

-Love Story-

The Adventures of Robin Hood: The traditional Robin + Marian romance.  Errol Flynn and Olivia de Haviland were paired in a bunch of movies, most of which I haven’t seen, but I doubt anything could match the chemistry they have in this film.  At first, Marian doesn’t care much for Robin (an understatement) but after seeing his true motivation, she quickly falls for him (after all, it’s an under-two-hours-long movie).  A sweet, gentle love story.

Robin Hood: Another lovely romance.  Robin and Marian get a love song, fight side by side at the archery tournament, and get married.  No tragedy, no heartbreak (well, except when Robin’s about to get executed – my heart!), and plenty of shippable moments.  The only complaint I have is that Marian disappears after ‘Phony King of England’ and doesn’t return until the last scene.  Apparently, there was an alternate ending in which Marian found the wounded Robin and hid him/nursed him back to health, which would’ve been EPIC, but anyway…

BBC Robin Hood: *bawls* Sure, they’re annoying in the first season, but adorable in the second.  AND THEN SHE UP AND DIES.  It’s so unfair.  Still, I wholeheartedly ship BBC Robin and Marian.  They’re wonderful together. (And I love all the other ships, too, like Will + Djaq, Much + Eve, and Guy + Meg.)

-Ending-

The Adventures of Robin Hood: King Richard comes back and squelches Prince John, Sir Guy, and the Sheriff of Nottingham.  Everyone else gets pardoned and lives happily ever after.

Robin Hood: King Richard comes back and squelches Prince John, Sir Hiss, and the Sheriff of Nottingham (+ Trigger + Nutsy).  Everyone else gets pardoned, Robin and Marian marry, and “that’s the way it really happened”. (I refuse to believe differently.)

BBC Robin Hood: King Richard gets captured and imprisoned (I HATE HISTORY), almost everyone dies, and nobody lives happily ever after.  Ugggggh.

-Overall-

It’s a tough choice because each of these versions of Robin Hood is so different.  One is a 1938 Technicolor show-stopper, one is a little-known Disney flick, and one is a uniquely modern BBC production.  It’s difficult to chose!  I think that The Adventures of Robin Hood is closest to the spirit of the original legends.  Disney’s animated adaption is the most fun (definitely) and has the added attraction (for me, at least) of being hugely nostalgic.  And BBC’s Robin Hood is, in turn, enormously awesome and frustrating.

However, I’m going with Robin Hood (1973) as my favorite of the three.  Because I love, love, love it (even more than BBC Robin Hood).

NEVER FORGET THE OUTLAWS.

Eva

high noon VS. 3:10 to yuma

A while back, I compared The Magnificent Seven to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly but they weren’t really alike.  At least, not when compared to how similar High Noon and 3:10 to Yuma (1957 version, of course) are.  I love both these movies, I think they’re both great westerns (two of the greatest ever made), and today I’ll be comparing and contrasting different elements of both films.  Let’s have fun with this, shall we?

-Story-

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High Noon: On the day of his wedding, Marshall Will Kane receives news that Frank Miller, a man he sent to prison, has been released and is coming to take his revenge on Kane.  Kane elects to stick around and wait for Miller.  One by one, the townspeople desert him (including his wife) and he must face Miller alone.

3:10 to Yuma: Dan Evans, a rancher whose cattle are dying from a long drought, witnesses a stagecoach robbery and murder carried out by notorious outlaw, Ben Wade, and his gang.  Through a series of unfortunate events, Dan ends up with the job of getting Wade on the 3:10 train to Yuma, having been deserted by almost everyone else.

-Characters-

characterscollege

High Noon: Will Kane is a reluctant hero (played with quiet, tired desperation by Gary Cooper) and almost the only truly likable character in the entire film (Helen Ramírez could be another).  The townspeople, almost to a man, are cowardly and fearful.  Harvey is weak.  There aren’t a whole lot of great characters in High Noon, truth be told, but they are real.

3:10 to Yuma: Dan Evans is another reluctant hero, a family man who would only risk his life to such an extent because he needs the money to keep his ranch running/provide for his family. (Well, at first it’s about the money, but later on it’s much more complicated.)  While lots of people run out on Dan in the end, his wife and Alex Potter (the town drunk) stick with him and are good, solid people.  Emmy (played by the intriguing Felicia Farr) is an interesting character as well.

-Villains-

villainscollege

Because, yes, the villains in both films need their own category.

High Noon: Lee Van Cleef!  The ultimate western bad guy after playing, y’know, The Bad.  Mostly, he just slinks around and doesn’t say much of anything, but…still cool. (Just like in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.)  Frank Miller is sort of bland for all his big reputation – Colby (Van Cleef’s character) and Ben Miller steal the the show for me. (Mainly because Ben is, um, kind of cute.  Sheb Wooley, the guy who plays him, is credited – according to Wikipedia – for originating the Wilhelm Scream.)

3:10 to Yuma: Okayyyyy.  Ben Wade is hands-down my favorite part of this movie (and that was before I started seriously crushing on Glenn Ford).  I’ve always had a certain weakness for great villains, but Wade is the first one I’ve actually liked.  He’s cool and calm and smart.  And charming, to boot.  Plus, he makes some great choices in the end that go to show that he’s not a lost cause where decency is concerned.  As for the rest of his gang…they’re all pretty faceless, except for Richard Jaeckel, who makes a chilling right hand man.

-Music-

High Noon: The theme song is just…wow.  Melancholy, beautiful, even a little heartbreaking.  I love it.  And I love how it’s repeated so often, either in the soundtrack, on the piano in the saloon, or bits of the song proper here and there throughout the film.

3:10 to Yuma: You know, as I started writing this blog post, I was listening to soundtrack suites for both these movies, and the first one I listened to was High Noon.  And I was like “I love this theme song!  Definitely more than 3:10 to Yuma.”  And THEN I listened to 3:10 and it’s so achingly bittersweet and soulful and I really can’t decide.  All I know is that when it starts playing at the end, I get a big lump in my throat.  I like how it’s riffed on in the score and especially how Glenn Ford whistles it off and on a lot.

-Ending-

endingcollege

SPOILERS.  Like, maaaajor spoilers.

High Noon: Kane faces down Frank Miller and his men.  Amy joins him at the eleventh hour and, together, they defeat The Bad Guys.  Once the danger has passed, the townspeople emerge from their houses, Kane throws his tin star in the dust, and he and Amy drive off.  It’s a powerful, albeit bitter ending, brightened only by the hope that Will and Amy will finally be able to live in peace.

3:10 to Yuma: Evans and Wade end up facing down Prince and the gang together, with Wade eventually choosing to save Evans’ life over escaping.  They jump onto the train together as it pulls out of the station, and Evans shoots Prince, who was running after the train/shooting at them.  As the train passes a waiting Alice and she spots her husband, rain begins to fall and the theme song plays.  It’s rather awesome and emotional and such a relief after the hour or so of nail-biting tension.  Plus, Glenn Ford’s dimples are adorable.

-Overall-

overallcollege

Sooooo…which film is my favorite?  I don’t know.  I think that High Noon is the better film, that it works together as more of a cohesive whole and all that, but it’s not my favorite of the two.  And I don’t know if 3:10 is my favorite either.  They’re not just excellent westerns, they’re excellent movies in general.  I think High Noon’s story is stronger, but I like the characters in 3:10 to Yuma better.  It’s a toss-up, it really is.

But fine.  If you twisted my arm…

High Noon.  But only by the tiniest fraction.

Have you seen one or both of these films?  Which is your favorite?

Eva

the magnificent seven VS. the good, the bad, and the ugly

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love both of these movies a lot. (A LOT.)  I’ve been obsessed with The Magnificent Seven (shortened to Mag7 for the rest of this post) ever since February of 2015, and while I discovered The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (hereby referred to as GBU) only recently, thanks to a impulse buy at a thrift store, I’ve come to like it enough that choosing between it and Mag7 seems like an impossibility.  But I’ll try, by comparing and contrasting different elements of both films – and then making a final consensus at the end.  Now, I know that even though these movie are both westerns, they’re different enough to make comparisons between them a bit difficult, but they’re both awesome movies (and Eli Wallach is in both of them), so I figure it won’t be toooo hard.

And now it’s time for an EPIC showdown. (Just not a Mexican one.)

{Story}

Mag7: A gang of bandits terrorize a small Mexican village, so the villagers hire seven gunmen to keep the bandits away (well, they hire six, but Chico just sort of shows up – I wonder how that fit in with the village’s tight budget).  Awesomeness ensues.  All the gunmen get to know each other, there are a couple of epic battles, and a good dash of character development for everyone.  A simple story, but done splendidly.

GBU: There’s 200,000 dollars in gold lying around in some graveyard, and three guys fight over it for close to three hours.  That’s basically it.  (But awesomeness still ensues.)  It’s somewhat fascinating to see what lengths people will go for money (like in Treasure of the Sierra Madre).  Oh, and there’s some Civil War stuff that doesn’t really have much bearing on the story.

{Characters}

Mag7: (Am I the only one who finds it interesting that both Mag7 and GBU are named after their characters?  Yes.  Oh, well…)  The characters in this film are wonderful.  My favorite would be VinBrittBernardo.  Definitely.  Though Chris and Harry and Lee are good, too, but I can’t find it in me to warm up to Chico.  Just-no.  I get why he’s in the movie, and I do kinda appreciate his character growth, but no one can persuade me to actually like him.

GBU: The title of ‘The Good’ being given to Blondie is arbitrary at best, seeing as he’s not much better than either Tuco or Angel Eyes (but, somehow, we do accept that he has a different moral code, and I’d try to go into that, only I’m not in a very analytical mood).  But I still like Blondie because CLINT EASTWOOD.  I think Angel Eyes could have easily been a ridiculous character, but the combination of Lee Van Cleef’s acting skills and the fact that AE is consistently evil, is what sells the character.  As for Tuco, I find him hilarious and pathetic and actually kind of smart, all at the same time.  His and Blondie’s relationship is the BEST, though.  Seriously.

{Music}

Mag7: ARGH.  Both of these scores are so epic.  I think, however, that I prefer Mag7’s music just a teensy bit more than GBU’s, and I think the difference is this: whenever I listen to the theme for GBU, I’m like “Ohhhh, this is such an amazing piece of music”, but when I listen to Mag7’s theme, I’m like “Ohhhh, I need to watch this again, right now”.  And all these lovely, nostalgic feels come flooding back.  So it’s all in the mood, I guess.  Still…

GBU: …I adore this film’s score.  I find that it’s better writing music than Mag7, which is also good, and I love all the different variations of the main theme that play throughout the movie.  It’s awesome. (Of course, if you don’t like the main theme to begin with, it’s not, but whatever.)  All the whistling and weird instruments and EVERYTHING.

{Ending}

Mag7: *snifffff* Aw, man, this is such an emotion-packed ending.  Four of the seven are dead, Chico opts to stay behind (okay, that’s not really sad, but I do like his character development), and while the cowboys do ride off into the sunset, there’s not really much triumph involved in this finale.  “We’ll always lose.”  I mean, how depressing is that?  But you do get a satisfactory ending, all told, so I still like it. (And, after all, far be it from me to dislike a film just because of a somewhat downer ending.)

GBU: Everyone knows this ending.  THE EPIC SHOWDOWN.  Eeeeep.  It’s too awesome!  When I watched this movie for the first time, I had no idea how the showdown was going to turn out, which was great because I like being spoiler-free.  (Seeing how GBU is so famous, though, it’s a wonder I was spoiler-free.)  Anyway, it was amazing, and so was the scene that followed (trying not to spoil stuff for other people) because it was the perfect wrap-up to Tuco and Blondie’s relationship.

{Feels Potential}

Mag7: Tons.  Like I mentioned earlier, over half of the Magnificent Seven end up dead, plus they’re all so lonely (you can tell and it’s pretty sad), and certain scenes with Bernardo and those kids are particularly touching.  I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever been moved to tears by this movie (well, maybe just once), but it does have its moments.  Definitely.

GBU: Eh.  I suppose the prisoners’ orchestra is pretty horrific (it reminded me of the stories of the prisoners forced to play music in Auschwitz), but I found the Civil War parts so boring, and I think Tuco deserves everything he gets, so…I don’t really know what to say.  There wasn’t really anything tear-worthy in GBU (and, believe me, I’m the kind of girl who can cry over almost anything, so that’s saying a lot).

{Fangirling Potential}

Mag7: Um…HELLO.  It’s STEVE MCQUEEN AND JAMES COBURN AND CHARLES BRONSON.  What’s not to fangirl over???

GBU: Um…HELLO.  It’s CLINT EASTWOOD.  What’s not to fangirl over???

{Stuff I Didn’t Like}

Mag7: Chico.  He’s the only thing about The Magnificent Seven that I don’t like.  Literally the only thing.  He’s just so lame and arrogant and childish that there’s no way I could ever really like him or root for his character.  Still, even with him being in Mag7, I think it’s practically perfect in every way.

GBU: The Civil War scenes, as I mentioned before.  Blah.  I think the director might have been trying to make some statement about the stupidity/futility of war, but those scenes feel like they were shoved into the movie with no rhyme or reason.  Also, the torture scene was gratuitous and I always skip the scene where Angel Eyes beats up that woman.  So there could’ve been less violence.

{Overall}

As with the music section, I think this whole comparison comes down to the emotions and feelings that The Magnificent Seven and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly evoke in me, and which I believe are better.  And so, I believe the winner would have to be, almost by default, Mag7.  GBU is excellent entertainment and all that, but it never quite strikes the chord that makes a film – for me – a great, emotional experience. (Plus, Mag7 has nostalgia on its side – there are plenty of awesome memories connected to it.)  I love both films, but Mag7 has a place in my heart, whereas GBU really doesn’t.

Have you seen either (or both) of these movies?  Which is your favorite?

Eva