Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Rewatch 2: A Critical Analysis of Beauty and the Beast

As I mentioned in my Mulan post, critical analysis of a movie is essential to scriptwriting and movie-making. There are lessons to be gathered from each and every movie. However, some highly acclaimed films really don’t hold up under scrutiny. Yet, are remembered as classic. Beauty and the Beast is one of them.

Technical Breakdown of Beauty and the Beast

(aka What Fails? The story.)

Act 1: Setting the fairy tale tone, a narrator tells us the exposition. There is an enchanted prince in the woods, who’s been turned into the beast. (Though, this is an effective example of when Telling vs. Showing works.) A ticking clock device is introduce, because the “Beast must learn to love by his 21st Birthday.” Then we meet Belle, who hates her life, establishing the Status-Quo with the musical number “Belle”. At this point our theme of Beyond the Surface is established. (We have the Beast, who is a prince in disguise; Belle, who is more than her “beauty;” and Gaston, who is handsome, but a bit of an ass, aka, not pretty.) Belle’s father, Maurice, heads off to some convention where he will show of his insane contraption (a set up). Meanwhile, Gaston proposes to Belle, which she refuses because she can’t bear the thought of being a housewife.  Of course, conveniently, her father’s horse shows up indicating that her father is missing, the inciting incident. She follows the horse to an abandoned castle, where she offers herself in exchange for her father, ending Act 1. (Note, there is only 1 musical number and its reprise in Act 1.)

Act 2: This first half of Act 2 goes: Belle and the Beast do not get along and culminating in Belle escaping the castle. This is expressed in a series of events where Belle flat out ignores the Beast’s demands. (“Be Our Guest” is part of the servants participation in Belle’s rebellion.) When Belle flees, the Beast goes after her, saving her from a pack of wolves. Belle returns to the castle, and she and the Beast begin again.

Because she saved him from the wolves, the Beast has “fallen in love with her,” and their relationship is developed through the number, “Something There.” Meanwhile, Gaston broods because of  her rejection (“Gaston” musical number), and devises a plan to coerce Belle into marrying him. Back at the Enchanted Castle, the Beast experiences a blooming scene, just before the number “Beauty and the Beast,” as he is transformed from monster to prince. I think the subplot involves the servants’ desire to be human, though, their number “When We’re Human Again” is cut. (Or perhaps the subplot is Gaton looking to marry Belle, and his scheming to get Maurice committed? Or could it be there is no subplot?) I think the Beast’s low point, or Dark Night of the Soul, happens when Belle leaves the Beast to nurse her father. Once home, Gaston confront Belle and tries to have her father committed, offering her a parallel of the Beast’s offer in Act 1. She refuses, and reveals the Beast lives outside of the town. Gaston rallies the town, and Act 2 ends with “The Mob Song.” (Interesting note, I’m not sure there is A Point of No Return in this movie. At no time do I feel that Belle couldn’t return home. I mean, she does. She goes home to her father, and I’m not sure she would have gone back to the beast.) With the exception of “Belle” and the “Beauty and the Beast” reprise, all songs exist in Act 2.

(And yes, Belle, this is all your fault.)

Act 3: Before Gaston leaves, he traps Belle and her father in their cellar. Meanwhile, the beast has given up hope, as the town folk invade his castle. His servants defend it bravely. Belle is saved by chip, the teacup who I believe functions as the voice of the audience, and her father’s madcap invention (almost a Dues Ex Machina). She reaches the castle, inspiring the beast to fight back. The Beast and Gaston battle it out on the castle eaves, ending in both the Beast and Gaston’s death. Also, the ticking clock runs out at the same time. Belle’s love, breaks the spell, and revives the Beast as  Prince. And they live happily ever after. (Or so we believe.) Also note, there is a musical reprise of “Beauty and the Beast” just before the movie ends.

The movie employees several Disney staples: the comic relief companion, though not an animal, but rather magical household items;  a distinctive setting (France); a magical element; and a hybrid musical. While these elements are utilized, they are not utilized so well.

The companions aren’t used to their full advantage, and often, are used to progress the plot forward because neither central character will. They have a blatant disregard for their master (letting Maurice into the castle and starting the whole affair, plus the entire number of “Be Our Guest”), and their motives are entirely selfish. Without them, there would be no story, yet, their choices feel like they are driven by plot rather than character.

The movie is set in France as a nod to more popular renditions of the story. Also, I believe it’s also because it’s heavily influenced by Cocteau’s Le Belle et Le Bete. I mean, come on, the Beasts look the same!

Beauty and the Beast is very basic in story. In fact, I would say that it’s not a fairy tale adaptation or retelling, but just another iteration of the story. It’s like a moving picture book. Disney’s version doesn’t really add new elements, or manipulate existing elements to tell a complex, compelling story. It doesn’t use the story as a basis for something bigger. I’m not even sure if it’s a modernization since it’s set in a historic setting with chauvinistic ideals. It is nothing more than the tale.  

Most of the plot is moved forward because, well, if they didn’t there wouldn’t be a movie. Belle is a static character, unless you define her change as “falling in love.” We need outside influences, the servants, to make things happen. There are more plot holes than Swiss cheese (the 10 year curse, a random prince in the woods*), but, we still buy into the movie. We are emotionally charged when Gaston storms the castle. But why?

What Works: The sound and animation.

First, I’m just going to get this out of the way. Beauty and the Beast is a beautifully animated film. It’s gorgeous. The design is stunning. Colors are utilized awesomely. Johnathan pointed out that blues and oranges are used to compliment the differences between town and castle. The characters well animated. It’s just lovely.

But it’s the sound of the movie that pulls at people’s heart strings. The score is so complex, and well crafted. It uses swells to manipulate the audience into feeling what’s going on in the scene instead of actually paying attention. The musical numbers are memorable, and fill in the emotional gaps the poor scripting leaves.

Even the voice actors deliver amazing performances with subpar lines. Belle says horrible things, all the time, but because her voice is calm and lovely, we ignore them. The beast’s transformation has more to do with line delivery than his character’s action. We know he’s changed because we hear it in his voice.

Beauty and the Beast is what makes fairy tales timeless. It’s why we keep retelling these stories generation after generation. Disney’s film, reminds us that sometimes, we can get away with bad writing if we can invoke strong emotions and have good muisc. Even with all things consider, it’s still a milestone in cinema (refer to the picture earlier in the post).

It also serves as a reminder that this isn’t what we want in our script. We want to do something more. We want an adaption. Yet, Beauty and the Beast serves as a reminder not to forget about the emotional pull a magical tale can have.

*As a side note, I came up with a justification for why the Prince Beast lives in the woods and the town doesn’t know. He’s a middle/younger son who lives in his own chateau. Since he’s in no position to gain the throne, well, no one would pay attention to him, and he really wouldn’t have any jurisdiction over the town. Also, that would be why he’s a prince, not a king. Johnathan suspects that he was such an ass of a child, his parents didn’t want to deal with him, hence, why a ten year old would be left parent-less.

Advertisements

Highlights of Live Twitter Recap 2!

Missed the Live Tweet? We’ll here’s the best of the drunken snark.

Beauty and the Beast

The Emperor’s New Groove

Hercules

I’m not sure we’re even half way through our movie research. What movies do you think we should conquer next? Do you have anything to add about the movies we watched?

The Rewatch 1: Critical Analysis of Mulan

Critical analysis is essential part of art. Doubly so with writing. Triply so with movies. So, on to one of perhaps a drier blog post, but something quite interesting. This is my critical analysis of Mulan.

Mulan is one of my favorite Disney movies, and probably one of the most underrated. It’s a surprisingly solid film with with fascinating takes on gender. I’m sure the gender bending is the reason I really love this movie. But there’s also the fact that’s is good too. And this:

Mulan has a textbook structure; three acts with each act hits its required mark. It’s got clever dialogue, fun music, every scene is important, but most of all, it has a clear theme. Sounds like a simple formula for success, yet, it’s surprisingly difficult like frying a perfect egg.

Technical Breakdown of Mulan

(using Shannon’s highly scientific method which is a hodgepodge of Syd Field, Blake Synder, and NOCCA. Also, all the borning stuff.)

Act 1: Establishes Mulan is a quirky, but smart girl (achieved though her “wake-up” sequence and through the musical number “Honor to Us All”). We also learn, in those very same scenes, that quirky smart girls aren’t what women should be in feudal China. (Thematic Conflict! Mulan vs Society) Act 1 addresses gender roles for women. This is the start of identity beyond gender theme. In a distant elsewhere, China is at war. This establishes the status quo – or life before the central conflict. This opening ten minutes has a hook because Mulan is a conflicted character. She wishes to bring honor to her family by fulfilling her role, but she ultimately fails. Her desire and failure gives her motive to change and propel the story forward.  Act 1 ends when Mulan decides to fulfill her father’s conscription into the war (inciting incident). There are two musical numbers in Act 1.

Act 2: We see Mulan struggle with her new gender role, and the role of the military. New characters are introduced. She develops as a character, through a series of failures and achievements (primarily through “Make a Man out of You”), becoming one of the  best soldiers in her unit. A romantic subplot, as well as a subplot reflective of Mulan through Mushu and Cric-kee, are introduced. Though most of this, gender roles are established from a masculine perspective. After the musical number “A Girl Worth Fighting For,” we reach the point of no return, where we discover the vicious Hun slaughter. Now, war ready, the regiment meets the huns on a snowy cliff , where Mulan, ever the oddball for she disobeys orders, almost single-handedly stops the invasion. The price of victory is the reveal of Mulan’s secret and her expulsion from the army. Mulan’s low point and blooming scene follows, when she discovers the Huns are not defeated, and she charges towards the capital to warn the Emperor.

Act 3: Opens with celebration. Tensions escalate as Mulan is ignored, and the Emperor is captured. In a stunning feat of plot and gender subversion, (and a reprise of “Man”) Mulan and her company (who help her because they respect her as a soldier, regardless of gender) infiltrate the palace and save the emperor. This plays off the gender roles established in both first and second an emphasizes the theme of identity beyond gender. In an unusual Disney movement, Mulan strikes the killing blow to Shan Yu. Mulan is recognized for her achievements as a person, rather than woman or man, by the emperor, resolving thematic conflict, and she returns home to her family, resolving the theme of identity. The romantic subplot is also resolved, though some ambiguous courtship.

Mulan also has some notable Disney troupes: a companion animal that serves as comic relief, a distinctive setting (China), a magical element, and hybrid musical. Unlike some Disney movies, Mulan fully utilizes these elements.

Mushu arrives in Act II to aide Mulan in her adventure, though more often, provides a comic foil. He further complicates things for Mulan except for the end, when he finally provides her with the “spark” she needed to defeat Shan Yu. Mushu becomes intrinsic to the plot, especially, because he’s the one that propels the troops towards the destroyed encampment, and ultimately sets them onto the path on the mountains. He fills a subplot reflective of the theme of identity, by demonstrating a different path to oneself – giving him solid characterization. Mushu wants to be a great spirit. To achieve that, he must help Mulan. Of course, he admits to her, that his motives are selfish, and that he is a selfish creature. Cric-kee is Mushu’s companion, and foils Mushu with is “lucky” identity.

Besides historical significance, the China setting is greatly reflective in the artwork, and in the concept of honor. It’s also an interesting setting to bring up gender roles, since it is well defined in Asian cultures. Additionally, by placing it in a setting that is not European, Mulan plays the sci-fi trick: set it in space, and it’s not really about the real world. Set it in China, and it’s not really reflective of Western culture (though, it is).  Additionally, the concept of “honor” is better set in a Eastern culture. For without honor, Mulan wouldn’t be in quite the predicament she’s in.

The magical element is very subtle in the film, and adds to the “legendary” tone that is Mulan. The magic is restricted in that of Mushu and the ancestors. It’s also a play on cultural Chinese beliefs, and does not hold much bearing on the entire plot. However, it adds a child-like element to the story. Children indulge in fantasy, and like all good fairy tale stories, need that element to be able to relate it to a wider scale.

In an interesting note, the musical element of Mulan works exceptionally well. The music is accompanied by montages that propel the plot forward, often revealing character development, and even advance the plot. In the “Honor” song, there is a brief moment where Mulan wins a Go game (or game of similar nature) indicating that she is quite smart, but not very feminine since the players are men. In, “Man” she is actually expelled from her camp, though, she uses it to succeed at the impossible task given to her by Li. Later, the reprise “Man” is used in a wry context as the solider dress like women, driving home the gender identity plot.

Yet, Mulan isn’t as iconic as say Beauty and the Beast or The Little Mermaid. It’s most likely a case of timing. It followed two lackluster Disney films, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hercules. It was beat out in almost all areas for awards, and if I remember correctly, the late 90s were a bit of a decline for Disney. The Musical was in decline, and anti-heroes on the rise. It’s gender-bending could also be a factor. I’m not entirely sure why it seems to be less than other Disney film, but for me, it’s one of my all time favorites.

Mulan kinda does everything right. Every action in the movie is explained. Every scene given importance and depth. Issues of identity and gender are raised. All characters grow and expand, and are ultimately victorious. In terms of traditional model, Mulan is an excellent film to strive for.

Multiculturally Ambushed

A lot of people will tell you that the starting point is the worst, because you have no idea what to do with just a blank page in front of you.

I dunno about all of that.  Blank pages have a lot of opportunity.  You actually can’t mess up a blank page, its only after you’ve gotten a little ways into a project that you start to realize it’s awful.

And, as we started to compile the list of potential fairy tales, we had a pretty blank page of opportunity.  A friend suggested that we look beyond the brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen and look at folktales that don’t usually make it to Disney’s typical audiences.  She suggested some Japanese folktales to look at.

I was all for this idea, mostly because I didn’t realize exactly how many fairy tales we have floating around in English, (Oscar Wilde made a book of fairy tales.  Oscar.  Wilde.) nor did I realize how many adaptations of various fairy tales exist.

In related news, I’m about to raise all kinds of alarms at the local library when I check out most of their YA romance section.  Again.  Luckily, I still look like I’m 16.  Also, that is probably the only time I will ever type that sentence.

Anyway, I started reviewing some more popular Japanese folk tales, and things started out tame enough.  I had even added a few I liked to the list potential candidates.  I made a sub-folder of kitsune myths to sort through later, and found some pretty good summaries of The Tale of Genji.  And then I ran into tanuki.

I wasn’t ready for tanuki.  Or rather, I wasn’t ready for their massive testicles.  Let me clarify– massive magical shape shifting testicles.

And the blog is no longer family safe.
And the blog is no longer family friendly.

This is a thing that exists.  And it existed before the Internet.  A few more searches using my patented process of “skimming the first page of Google” have shown that they are popular image in culture, often seen hanging in shops and places that I’d assume children would pass by.

I also have to assume that they all show off the massive testicles, because it was disturbingly hard to find images without massive testicles.  Then again, my primary source of tanuki information is from other WordPress blogs that have authors who I hope are less lonely than they look.

Also, this goes to show that my Disney knowledge isn’t perfect.  I have not seen Studio Ghibli’s movie Pom Poko, in which tanuki play a part.  From a screenshot I could find, it looks like a pack (is that the right collective noun for raccoon-dog-ish creatures?) is either flying or skydiving with their scrota*.

So, I had to cross tanuki off the list.  Not from the imagery, but because Disney had already gone there.

*I had to Google the plural of scrotum.  I didn’t have safe search on.  I’ve officially suffered for art.

Livetweet session, round 2!

Shannon and I will again, be livetweeting Disney movies under #writingthemagic at 7pm CST/5pm PST, tonight!

I wanted to get this post up sooner, but I’m kinda bogged down with schoolwork.  Grad school is a trap.  At any rate, tonight we’ll be watching Beauty and the Beast and The Emperor’s New Groove.

I’ll be drinking along with Brandy Alexanders out of a pint glass, because I don’t own nice things.  Last time we did this, it worked out pretty well, so I’m excited to watch some Disney movies and get my booze on.  Come along and join us!  You can follow either my twitter account (@recursive_limit) or Shannon’s (@Secretly_Samus).

Hope to see you there.

Why don’t we write like this anymore?

Ok, so a big part of trying to write Disney’s next fairy tale based blockbuster, is to, you know, pick a fairy tale.  And it turns out, there are a lot of fairy tales.  While we’re still trying to get logistics worked out– like how to get online to write a blog post and not reread all of XKCD (that may be mostly my problem)– Shannon polled a collection of friends for some fairy tales they always wanted to see as Disney movies.

The response was pretty great.  I decided to try the same thing with some of my friends.  They asked me if the Windows 2000 operating system manual counted.  That line of inquiry was quickly dropped.

At any rate, I’ve been reading down the tales I could track down easily (read as: find on the first page of Google when searching “[fairy tale title] original fairy tale”), and I have a very important question.

Why, in the name of all things good and grand, did we stop writing like this?

For example, take this excerpt from The Juniper Tree:
“Then the mother took the little boy and chopped him in pieces, put him into the pot, and cooked him into stew. But Marlene stood by crying and crying, and all her tears fell into the pot, and they did not need any salt.

Then the father came home, and sat down at the table and said, “Where is my son?” […]

Then he said, “Wife, this food is delicious. Give me some more.” And the more he ate the more he wanted, and he said, “Give me some more. You two shall have none of it. It seems to me as if it were all mine.” And he ate and ate, throwing all the bones under the table, until he had finished it all.”

Is that not the most chilling thing you’ve read all week?  In less than two paragraphs, about 6 sentences, the brothers Grimm have lived up to their last name.   It’s not only that a father ate his son, its that he ate his son and liked it to the point of not feeding his remaining child or wife.  Steven King doesn’t even write that dark.

Sometimes, the text his hilarious, as in Hansel and Gretel:
“The old woman had only pretended to be so kind; she was in reality a wicked witch, who lay in wait for children, and had only built the little house of bread in order to entice them there. When a child fell into her power, she killed it, cooked and ate it, and that was a feast day with her.  Witches have red eyes, and cannot see far, but they have a keen scent like the beasts, and are aware when human beings draw near.”

Oh.  Well, that would have made that entire witch burning sequence in Monty Python and the Holy Grail take a lot less time.  Also, thinking about old ladies being an entire separate genus and species away from homo sapiens is funny.  You think witches are descendant from monkeys as well, or do they come from, say, parasitic eels?  The fact that the eels are blind might explain the poor eyesight.

Also, I love how the text is so mater of fact.  Everyone already knows that witches have red eyes, for the love of– stop asking bad questions, Jimmy.

From The Nightingle:
“But when he came to the words, “the nightingale is the most beautiful of all,” he exclaimed, “What is this? I know nothing of any nightingale. Is there such a bird in my empire? and even in my garden? I have never heard of it. Something, it appears, may be learnt from books.”

Oh, snap, son!  There was a point to all that book-learnin’ nonsense in school after all!  Awwww, yeah.  Book throw down!  Boom!

Also, of note, is the extra special opening (this is the first sentence):
“In China, you know, the emperor is a Chinese, and all those about him are Chinamen also.”

Thanks for clearing that up.  I wasn’t aware.  Also, you get an extra star for probable racist connotations, if I can find one… I can’t.  Sorry.  You want a homophobic rainbow instead?

I’m not just pointing out these quips in language to make fun of them, however.  Fairy tales are short.  Really short.  I’ve read longer poems (and I’m not cheating and talking about The Odyessy).  As such, if we’re going to adapt a fairy tale, we’re going to need to draw inspiration from every line and really wring the tale out to dry.  Even these bizarre lines matter.

Sure, the father eating his son is very over the top, but that gives us indication on tone.  The Juniper Tree is an over the top fairy tale.  Perhaps its silly that the witch is described as a some sort of exotic creature, but if we were to adapt Hansel and Gretel, by that line alone I would argue the witch, as a villain, would sit closer to the Horned King than the Evil Stepmother.  In The Nightingale, we get an interesting point about the world.  The Emperor likes books, most of his court does not.  That’s a quirk of the setting.

But yeah, I’m just making fun of the Chinamen line.  How can you possibly not?

Addendum:
I actually had this post sitting around for a few days to help keep a steady flow of blog posts rather than lump a bunch at once.  I read this bit from The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids, after writing the above post:

“And when the baker had rubbed his feet over, he ran to the miller and said, strew some white meal over my feet for me. The miller thought to himself, the wolf wants to deceive someone, and refused, but the wolf said, if you will not do it, I will devour you. Then the miller was afraid, and made his paws white for him. Truly, this the way of mankind.”

Amen.

The Disney Movie Rewatch

In any art form, one of the easiest ways to improve is by participation. If you’re a novelist, read lots of books. If you’re a musician, listen to lots of music. If you’re a theater actor, go to lots of plays. If you’re a filmmaker, watch lots of movies.

I mean, come on, isn’t it the best thing ever to be like, “No, I have to watch this movie. Because it’s part of my job”? (Yes, it is. And, FYI, a good tax preparer can figure out how to deduct it.)

On a normal basis, I watch a lot of movies. I watch them for fun; I watch them critically. But, when I’m working on a project, I search out movies that I can draw inspiration from. For example, in prep for my web series, The Adventures of Keith Flippen, I queued up Jason of Star Command on Netflix, dusted off my DVD of Galaxy Quest, and watched various episodes of Flash Gordon on youtube. I used them as reference. These are the images people conjure when something is described as “retro sci-fi.” These are my predecessors. I need to watch what they did, understand why it worked so well, or failed, and how I can add to it, and do it my way.

So naturally, when we decided to aim for a “Disney” adaptation, that conjures a very distinctive image. There are staples and troupes specific to Disney. Disney movies are often placed at a very high standard. To understand them, it means, re-watching the best (and maybe some of the worst) of Disney.

Of course, re-watching every movie Disney ever released isn’t really practical. And since we’ve acknowledged we want to focus specifically on their animated features, we can narrow it down even more. Our top choices (and some that are readily available) for rewatch,  in no particular order, are as follows:

  1. The Little Mermaid
  2. Tangled
  3. The Lion King
  4. Aladdin
  5. Frozen
  6. Beauty and the Beast
  7. Mulan
  8. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  9. Hercules
  10. Tarzan
  11. Snow White
  12. Lilo and Stitch
  13. The Emperor’s New Groove

Movies re-watched.

Movies that were more complicated than initially thought, and we feel need another re-watch.

This list will probably be added to as we narrow down what kind of movie we want to write. So, what do you think of our choices? Are there some important movies we’re missing? Leave a comment and let us know!

Armature in Disney

First things first, hello from other other side of our first Disney livetweet!  It was a blast, and spawned a 6 hour long, rambling Skype conversation between Shannon and I about Disney movies, fairy tales, structure, writing, plot, etc, which is why we never did watch The Emperror’s New Groove.  Sorry about that.

There were far more differences between Mulan and Lilo and Stitch than I was expecting.  Chasing the elusive “Disney magic” might be far harder than I first anticipated, and I already thought this was going to be hard.  So, oh no, I guess I’ll have to watch more Disney movies.  I don’t know if I can bear the strain.

However, I’ll leave the person who actually has a film degree to talk about beats and three act structure and timing, I want to focus on something that both films do have– a point.

I should probably explain.

Shannon has posted in the past that she doesn’t understand what I do with computers in California.  She’s actually wrong– I’m currently taking a class analyzing the elements of narrative and story in games (primarily video games).  Shannon would rock this class.  However, one of the books I read right before our livetweet session, because I had to read it for class, was Invisible Ink, by Brian McDonald.

Brian has a very particular way of looking at how story works, but its rather relevant here because Brian has a background in film and cites movies for almost all of his examples.  He spends chapter 1 talking about three act structure, but in chapter 2 he talks about a concept he calls “the armature”.

An armature, in sculpture, is the underlying scaffold that supports the piece.  McDonald compares the reason why you’re telling a particular story to this armature, believing that if you don’t have anything to say– no theme, if you will– than your story will fall apart.

He also makes it sound like normal people can’t detect a theme, and only you can after reading his book.  I never said he wasn’t a bit stuck up.  I also don’t entirely buy into this concept, but you know what two movies do?  Mulan and Lilo and Stitch.

Part of Mulan’s theme is all about gender roles.  I can only think of one scene (the intro) that doesn’t make a reference to gender in some way, shape or form.  From the first song, Mulan is shown subverting gender stereotypes.  Every second joke out of Mushu’s mouth is something about men or women.  The movie never lets gender go, not even for a second.  When Shan-Yu is going to murder a village, what is his symbol for wholesale slaughter?  A doll.

Lilo and Stitch‘s theme, like everything in Lilo and Stitch, is harder to nail down.  I would say that it’s all about finding a place to belong.  Stitch starts the movie with no place in the entire galaxy.  He’s a genetic freak, a creature nature never intended.  The movie is about Stitch’s quest to find a place to belong.  Nani struggles with raising Lilo because she feels that they belong together, even if they aren’t perfect.  Lilo acts out when she looses that sense of belonging, with the single minded stubborn focus only a 9 year old can muster.

Stitch eventually finds this special place, and it gives his life meaning, purpose and clarity.  It’s that new found meaning that lets him redeem our villains and bring the movie to its thrilling climax.

I totally did not mean to make a sex joke, but there it is.  Awkward.  At any rate, according to Invisible Ink, there is a check to make sure you aren’t reading to deep into the film when looking for theme (or armature, whatever). If it seems like the theme you’ve found is a constant point that is always brought up throughout the film, than you’re probably on to something.

That’s my opinion, anyway.  I gotta get back to reading everything ever written by Hans Christen Andersen.

Highlights from Last Night’s Live Chat

Last night, Johnathan and I decided to continue on our next step in our Disney movie writing process. We watched Mulan and Lilo and Stitch and tweeted as we watched the same movie across the country. Here are some of the highlights.

On Mulan:

On Lilo and Stitch:

So there you go! Highlights of last night’s movie watching. Coming soon, post discussing the movies at length. We learned a lot watching those, and I can’t wait to do this again with more movies! We do have quite a list building up for it…

Live tweets of Disney movies!

So, it turns out to write a Disney movie, we should probably re-watch a few.  I’ve pretty recently marathoned all 53 movies in Disney’s animated cannon, but for every Hunchback there is a Fun and Fancy Free.

Yes, Fun and Fancy Free is a Disney movie.  It’s also terrible, horrible, no good and very bad.  At the same time.  So, we have a (growing) list of Disney movies we’d like to watch again and try to figure out what works, what doesn’t work, why certain choices were made and if Snow White would be considered a level 60 Druid.

Spoilers: yes.  Yes she would.

Announcing the first of what will probably become a pretty regular occurrence, we will be live tweeting this rewatch of one or more Disney movies!  This lets Shannon and I interact despite being miles away without the problem of synchronizing the movie to play at the same time and praying Skype doesn’t bug the hell out.

Fire up your twitter client of choice at 8 pm CST/6 pm PST tomorrow, and look for #writingthemagic (or follow @recursive_limit, my twitter account, or @secretly_samus, Shannon’s twitter, but be warned, most of what I tweet has very little to do with Disney movies) for 120 character word thoughts about how the heck to make true love not corny as hell.

EDIT: Now with the correct twitter handle!