Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Alice in Wonderland vs. Alice

After viewing both movies Alice in Wonderland the Disney version directed by Geromi, Jackson & Luske and comparing it to Svankmajer’s Alice, I found that both movies were meant for different type of viewers. The Disney movie released in 1951 was clearly meant for the children as we see the cute little furry rabbit that catches Alice’s attention and draws her away from her sister’s side. As we enter into wonderland we are taken into a world with magic, where a small drink out of a bottle will makes Alice smaller and a small bite of cake makes her grow tremendously. As we discover more of the world we encounter more characters with their interesting personalities. One particular character is the Mad Hatter who we meet as Alice follows the path into the very memorable tea party. As we are taken into this tea party we automatically hear the musical tea cups and the singing of the Mad Hatter and the Mad Hare with their suits on and the Mad Hatter’s infamous hat. The Mad Hatter’s personality prompts Alice to sit and join them for tea, but unfortunately with Alice not being of their world she is suddenly annoyed at the constant changing seats not allowing her drink a cup of tea. Throughout the movie we are encountered with comical characters that are meant to draw in the children. For one we have the Chester Cat who follows Alice throughout the movie and who guides her throughout her adventures in wonderland. In watching the movie as an adult one gets the experience of being a child again and being amazed at talking animals and musical pots.
While the Disney version showed a cartoon like view of Alice’s adventures that keyed into the child side of us, Svankmajer’s Alice showed a different way of the original novel by Carroll. In this movie we don’t see the cartoon like as we saw in the Disney version, but we are encountered with a young Alice in the flesh. We encounter a different type of movie scenes as we go from the Alice in the flesh and to the doll version when we encounter different parts of the movie especially in those where she is suppose to be smaller. We really don’t get an idea as to when Alice crosses over to wonderland. We do see the beginning of the movie as she is intrigued by this stuffed dead rabbit that comes to life. Svankmajer used stuffed animals and puppets for his wonderland characters. The journey down to wonderland is very different from the Disney version, as we see her going down the tunnel we can see jars of what seems like animal parts and things that are rotten. Upon watching the movie I thought of it as a little repulsive. The idea of a stuffed dead white rabbit having to constantly eat sawdust to refill itself seemed a little weird and it didn’t seem normal to see a rabbi sowing himself back up.
Although these two movies had particular different ways of interpreting the novel Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, they did find different ways to represent the novel for different audiences. The Disney version played well with the children who love to see talking animals and are entertained by musical tea pots. On the other hand the movie Alice had a different interpretation that showed a different side to the novel with the use of stuffed animals and puppets and dolls.

"New Moon"

The Twilight series became an instant hit upon the release of its first novel Twilight by Stephen Meyer, the popularity of the book increased even more with the premier of the movie which created even more fans. It didn’t come as a surprise when the release of the second novel New Moon, created a bigger fan base. The novels are based on the life of a teenager Bella Swan as she transitions from living with her mother to moving into her father’s house and experiencing a new side of life. The book became #1 in the New York Best Seller List for Children’s Chapter Books upon its release.
The movie adaption of the book “New Moon”, directed by Chris Weitz and scripted by Melissa Rosenberg brought in a grossing total of $142,839,137. It depicted the life of Bella and how it changed after meeting Edward and learning of his vampire ways. Despite the incidents she went through in the previous book, she decides to stay with Edward and live with the dangers of being a vampire’s girlfriend. In the movie we see the story line unfold from its previous chapter as we see Bella dealing with her new life. The book begins with Bella waking up from a dream in which she sees herself and old woman alongside Edward and makes her dread her upcoming birthday. The reality of their different life’s sets in and she realizes that as the years go by she will age and Edward will remain the same as the day she met him. In the book we can see deep in her thoughts as she sees herself spending more time with Edward than with her friends. The director utilizes Bella’s surrounding’s in order to depict the way she feels about herself. She has places herself in a situation where the only people she surrounds herself with are lifeless forms of human’s. Upon the departure of Edward after the sudden incident of her birthday and her near death experience the director focuses into how Bella looks out into the world. Moreover it helps us get e bigger picture from what we get from reading the book and getting into her mind.
Along with the director finding its way to key into Bella’s emotions he manages to bring out a psychological stand point of the hallucinations that she was feeling throughout Edwards’s absence. She places herself in a depressive mode alienating herself from her friends. The director depicts this alienation through the scene of the revolving room as the seasons change outside her window as she watches the outside world move on with their lives while she stays in the her room. The director also taps into her psychological mind as he depicts the apparitions of Edward as she exposes herself into dangerous situations. Both in the book and the movie we see the most memorable apparition of her getting on the motorcycle with the complete stranger. By this point Bella has found out that the only way to find her close to Edward is to expose herself to danger to be able to see him again. Although it’s only for a small moment she exposes herself to such situations to satisfy herself with his appearance and that’s where we see in the novel that she is at her happiest.
The director’s take on the novel satisfied many of its viewers who were waiting for its release. He really played into Bella’s loneliness and the sudden rescue of his friend Jacob who became her strength to keep on going with her life by distracting her. In the novel we see the friendship that grows with their first project together in working on the bikes. The director takes that friendship further by showing the scene of Bella and Jacob going to the movie theater along with another friend and he has Jacob go and try to hold her hand. Both the novel and the movie play into the relationship between Bella and Jacob as they both see the friendship differently with Jacob wanting to pursue her in a boyfriend way , while Bella looking at Jacob and her only sanity to keep her from thinking about Edwards departure.
Chris Weitz adaptation of the book “New Moon” into the movie based itself on the mindset of Bella as her new life sets in and the consequences of her choices begin to appear. The director plays into the situations Bella places herself in after the departure of Edward. We see as he starts a mere glimpse of the next movie to come building anticipation till its release.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Lovely Bones

In search for a critique on the adaption of the novel "The Lovely Bones" a story of the life of a teenage girl Susie Salmon, both in life and after her murder. I found that this particular critiquer by the user name of The Linser, found the movie production to have lost its novel magic and found it to be a bit on the lesbian side. While I cannot really see where the critiquer found it to be somewhat of a lesbian manner in the character of Ruth, Susie's friend, I do agree in that the producer Peter Jackson did not quite catch the magic in the novel which takes part in most of the novel. On the other hand I will side with the director when I say he did capture some magical moments in the movie. One in particular that stuck with me was the scene in which Susie's father lights up the candle in which the critiquer also points out. The director did manage to grasp the vision that the novel was trying to portray to its readers as the cadle light manages to be a portal for her father to see Susie. As a fan of the Novel "The Lovely Bones", I was excited to view the movie and compare it to the novel and I found myself a bit disappointed, but found that the movie did clear up and managed to give faces and depict places to compare to the images that had formed in my head when I read the novel. Although movies do help bring out some aspects of a novel that might not be instantly seen through the story, I still hold true to the saying "The book is always better".

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Class Blog

I will be switching my blogs to my English 312 Literature & Film class with professor Hartfield

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Spotlight Is Nothing Without You

Can you think back on a book you read a month ago and tell me in specific detail what it was about? The answer to that may vary but many wouldn’t be able to tell me in full description what it was about, but if I were to ask what happened in the last episode of MTV’s hit show “The Hills”, I would have gotten the full detailed description of what happened with Heidi and her new makeover. In today’s society the hit new TV shows are getting more attention that any new hit novel that comes out in stores. The truth being that many of us remember a book in detail because we are compelled to read it for a class and are forced to remember it due to an assignment that is assigned to us, but otherwise given the choice to read it we would choose not to. Now why is it that this is happening? I find it to be because many of us are quicker to pick up the remote than to pick up a book on our spare time. We have become very attached to the television set that gives us all the information we believe we need instead of picking up a book or a paper to know what’s going on in the world. We become attached to technology and it becomes a part of our daily lives, turning to our cell phones for the time and date, the internet for the latest news and to our iPod’s to keep us engaged in what we are doing and out of touch with the outside world. It seems as though societies has created a new product in the form technology and in this case of real live characters in reality shows and found a way to profit off of their everyday situations. It is to say that without us the viewers having a need to watch them these characters would not exist. In doing so the producers create the idea of consumerism them being the product and us being the anxious buyer, not necessarily needing this new product but wanting it because something is telling us we need it. This becomes great for the producers who use this system in order to get the necessary ratings to keep them going in show business.

The Hills New Cast Pictures, Images and Photos

The hit TV show “The Hills” has gotten a lot of attention since the premier of the show “Laguna Beach” that aired in 2004, where the stars such as Heidi Montag, Kristin Cavallri and Lauren got their debut to the show business as young rich teenagers dealing with the day to day situation’s of high school in their perfect little world, as they realized how life could be outside their safe circle. From the drama of rumors being spread around each other and who said who about the other girl. As they grew up their lives changed from the young minded teenagers with minor problems and seemingly perfect lives to the woman we see now on the new episodes of “The Hills”, dealing with what is seen as the same drama just in a different scene, that scene being Los Angeles. Now Marxism would claim that one can’t be a self because we are a product of society. In watching the episodes from “Laguna Beach” to “The Hills” I found myself putting the show on auto tune in order to make sure that I was there when the show came on to find out what new juicy drama was going on in the show. Knowing I had homework or chores to do, I always found myself being glued to the television set when the show came on. I found it very interesting that the drama that these women dealt with in their teenage years followed them in their adult years. In analyzing it even more, it became clear that the drama that these teenage girls were going through, was getting the attention of the audience and so the TV producers used that concept and attached it to the new episode “The Hills” that followed their lives in their adult years as they journeyed of into their careers and new lives with new loves. In being in that scene of the continuous fighting and arguing the cast found themselves creating a new product that the audience wanted more and more. This new product of drama filled situations became so popular that DVD’s were made and the companies were making major profit off of these cast members and the issues they dealt with on a daily basis that any “normal” person such as you or I would deal with everyday. The only difference being that these teenagers were rich kids that lived in Orange County in California. Us as the viewers became the anxious audience that stands around the Gorilla exhibit at the Zoo waiting to see what funny or dumb thing the Gorilla is going to make.

Karl Marx would claim in “The German Ideology”, that “As individuals express their life, so they are. What they are, therefore coincides with their production, both with what they produce and how they produce. The nature of individuals thus depends on the material conditions determining their production” (Marx, pg 653). What Marx is referring to is that these rich teenagers are being watched due to their way of acting and in the setting they are placed. The setting being in that they are located in Orange County a beautiful place where many wealthy families live and choose to raise their children in. In choosing these teenagers in 2004 for the hit new show “Laguna Beach”, they found themselves in search of a particular lifestyle that involved the lives on the children of wealthy families and how their life was different to those that found themselves living miles away from this lovely place. As outsiders to this seemingly different world where kids at the age of 16 had a new BMW or a Mercedes Benz and had beach side houses to sit and relax and soak up the sun, we became attracted to their lifestyle and wanted to know more about them and so we found ourselves looking forward to each week’s episode to find out the new juicy drama. In doing so the producers used these young teenagers as bait in order to get the ratings they needed to keep the show going and make more money, and to market all the other things that were involved with these characters. They used consumerism in the way that they were selling to us a product in the form of these characters and eventually we started to feel as though we needed them in our lives. I know I found myself staying up and waiting to watch the new episode about who was going out with who and what drama was going on with Lauren and Kristin trying to get with her crush. In having our time consumed by these TV shows we are allowing ourselves to be submitted into believing that the fashions and lifestyles they are living are one’s we should follow. The producers create an eye candy for both boys and girls, showing us what looks good to the point where we begin to imagine that we need to act and dress the way they do on the television in order to get guys and girls like the ones you see on TV. In watching these characters, none would have imagined that these normal teenagers in their own little world would become who they are today.

Heidi Montag Pictures, Images and Photos

As mentioned before Marxism claims that one can’t be the self because we are a product of society. Now this claim is very clearly seen in the life of Heidi Montag, a young high spirited girl that was very close to her family and followed her parent’s values. In watching her in the first episode of “The Hills”, she was the hard working girl that didn’t much care about her appearance. A very easy going girl working towards her future which would be a great thing for many viewers to see, but the producers clearly didn’t make the show to produce a girl who’s hard working towards her career, but were focused on the drama that surrounded Heidi and her best friend Lauren that soon was falling apart because of Heidi’s new boyfriend Spencer Pratt. In the world we live in and in the ideals of consumerism many want to see the sexy girls on TV with their bathing suits on and a perfect body.

HEIDI MONTAG Pictures, Images and Photos

This idea became what changes Heidi as we watched her in the next seasons after her debut in the first season of “The Hills”. We saw how her appearance slowly started changing, as we start looking in Season 3 where she is engaged to Spencer Pratt, we start seeing s different Heidi, a more fashionable girl with more make-up on her face and more into the new fashion that is coming on.
The speculation that she might be following an image of Barbie is clearly seen in the recent season where Heidi changes her whole appearance in submitting herself into multiple plastic procedures in order to enhance her appearance to somewhat resemble the Barbie image. She has a breast augmentation, cheekbone implants, nose and butt procedures that completely change the person who entered the show in the first season. It was in the beginning of the sixth episode where Heidi reveals her new look to her mother that she reveals that she wants to resemble the image of a Barbie. She begins resembling the clear picture that all women can think back on as little girls playing with their Barbie dolls. Barbie had the perfect smile, petite body that was perfectly proportioned with the perfect boyfriend and the beautiful car and home to go along with it. This was the life that Heidi pictured as she began her life and picturing her future with her husband Spencer along with their new home. Now the idea of ownig her own hoem and getting married is one that all girls envision as they are growing up but it is society that tell us that we need to be a certain size and look a certain way because its admired on televison.

The ideas that society bestow on us bring us to believe that being average and normal is no longer acceptable. In his article “The classless Utopia of Reality TV”, Alessandra Stanley shares her claim mentioning. “Reality shows are more honest, but they also breed a kind of country dimorphic disorder: half the nation is blond, beautiful and driving sports cars through Beverly Hills, while the other half is blond, sleazily oversexed and prone to hair-pulling and name-calling”, this helps support the idea that in order to be beautiful you need to fit the criteria that the TV shows are showing. Society gives you a rubric of what is acceptable or should I say admired and watches you try and resemble what it is you see on TV. From the clothes that the cast members are wearing to the cars they drive or the accessories they wear, we all want to resemble who they are. I wake up every morning extra early in order to look at my closet and figure out how I will be dressing that day with the idea of what I had just seen on TV the night before. I also find myself wanting to buy new clothes in order to look like the girls on TV. Not only are the fashions being resembled from the TV but the way they physically look. As in Heidi’s case she wanted to look more like Barbie, giving herself the confidence she was searching for. Now a day’s people are trying to resemble the stars they see on TV physically by undergoing the plastic surgery themselves. In the show “I want a famous face” that aired on MTV in 2005, where we saw average people undergoing surgery in order to look like their favorite stars on TV. In that season we saw a 26 year old woman who went in to get plastic surgery in order to resemble her face and body to look like Pamela Anderson in order to keep her business going of a porn star look alike of Pamela Anderson. Some of the procedures involved chin implants, lip injections and a bigger breast augmentation. It is needless to say that in the case of Gina she had been inspired by the image of Pamela Anderson because she stood for a great sex symbol in the adult industry. Once again it was a character shown on the TV that influenced a viewer because as a viewer they saw how much in this case Pamela Anderson was admired for her looks.

None the less it is clear that the claim of Marxism that one can’t be the self, because they are a product of society turns out to be true. From the beginning of the season of “Laguna Beach” with the new fresh faces of those rich teenagers that consumed our minds with their stories and drama, gluing us to the TV set every week in order to find out the new issues going on in their lives. These characters found themselves being a product to be had by us the viewers, the consumers wanting more and more. Moreover with the help of society in telling us that we needed to tune in every week to know what was going on in their lives. The producers used a group of teenage kids and used them as bait in order to get the younger audience to tune in giving them higher ratings and thus a bigger paycheck. The idea of giving in to society hit very close to the character Heidi as we saw her evolve from an innocent, quite girl following family morals to the woman we see now on the TV, who submerged herself into the idea of what is beautiful in society and giving into plastic surgery. Not only do these things happen to those on the bug screen but us as viewers find ourselves trying to copy what we see on TV and so keep buying into the idea of beauty through clothes, accessories, cars and even more changing our appearance physically. We did see the drastic impact it had on Gina from the episode of “I want famous face” on MTV, where she decided to submit herself into the world or plastic surgery in order to be who society made her believe she should be in order to get ahead in her life. Society brings up everyday a new product in hopes of grasping the viewers attention and with not much effort they are doing it, whether it be through a television show or through the latest technology telling you you must have it! As I am writing this paper I feel the urge to grab my phone and begin text messaging or grab the remote control and see what is on TV, a perfect example of what society has already instilled in us to be accustomed to in our daily lives.

Marx, Karl. “The German Ideology.” Literary Theory: An Anthology. Victoria, Aus. Blackwell Publishing, 1998. Print. 653-658

Stanley, Alessandra. “The Classless Utopia of Reality TV” New York Times on the web 2, Dec. 2007. Television. 14, Dec. 2009

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Effects of Marxism

Marxism says that you really can't be a self because you are a product of society. This brings me to my point in regards to Britney Spears, who started at a yound age in the music business. In the first clip from the music video "From the bottom of My Broken Heart", we see that her clothing was more on the reserved part.

In this video we see what Britney Spears used to be like as she was introduced into the music business, but as Marxism claims thar one can be a self but really infact is a product of society is where things do begin to change. The sweet looking girl, with the conservative clothing no longer works for society because as an artist she had to appeal to everyone and not just young teenage little girls. The music business begins pushing a new look in order the feed the need that society creates and the idea that sex sells more.
So here is where we clearly see that society does shape a person and so marxism claim, that one is a product of society, becomes clear. In the second clip we have the music video "Hit Me Baby One More Time", this clip was shot not far after the first video that was shown. Now the sweet conservative looking girl has turned into the entertainer that is fullfilling every man's fantasy about a girl dressed in a school girls outfit saying the words "Give me baby one more time".

She has now become the so called "product of society" because she has allowed society's demand to dictate the way she portray's herself in her video's in order to sell records and not be left behing making less money than those that allow themselves to be shaped by society in order to make money

Ideology in The Working World

After watching the video in class and getting into groups, we began discussing the ideology of the clip and what exatly it meant. After much thought we came up with the conclusion that the ideology in this clip was that men were defined by the income they bring to the household. Furthermore was the fact that being a good loving father and husband and nothing to do with what made you important in that world. We were also looking into the hegemony, and it this it meant that it explained the difference between what they called the "closers" and the "losers", it was apparent that if these salesman did not sell an adequate amount of houses they were to be considered losers compared to the salesman who went out of their way to go the extra mile and sell more houses. Here we noticed that the ones that were dominant were those wh made the sales, and in this case were the one's who had a guaranteed job offering and were not at risk of loosing their job. A great point to brung out here was that the main man had the authority and the higher standing to tell the workers they were fired and had a week to try and get their job back. Another key point we looked closely was the interpellation of the clip and in this we found that the main guy was being dominant towards them in order to show them that they need to be dominant as well. In order to accomplish this he builds up a competition between all of them to separate the strong from the weak. he follows this by breaking them down by claiming that a loser will always be a loser and that they will never rise from where they are. Finally we looked at the allienation aspect and realized that the main guy allienated himself from the rest by shpwing off all the money he had made and making the rest feel less that him.