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My Top 10 Movies: Part 2

By Caelrona

Hiya all! Caelrona here, to talk to you about movies once again! Last post I told you all about the first 5 of my Top 10 films. As a recap I have already covered The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Labyrinth, The Princess Bride, The Fifth Element, and The Aristocats. Now I am back to cover the other half of my list. On to the movies!

Mononoke Hime

Mononoke Hime, known as Princess Mononoke in the English adaptation, was made in 1997 by Studio Ghibli and released Toho in Japan, Miramax (a Disney company), and Disney. It is an Anime, and has a runtime of 134 minutes. The story follows our Hero, a young man named Ashitaka who, after being cursed and subsequently cast out of his village, embarks on an epic quest to cure his curse. Along the way he meets a traveling monk named Jigo, several mystical spirits including our Heroine San, and the many interesting and colorful individuals of Iron Town. In the end he winds up saving the townspeople, the mighty Forest Spirit and last but not least his love interest San. This is an excellent anime, a shining example of computer graphics married brilliantly with hand-drawn animation. Studio Ghibli created a gripping story, with a fantastic visual feast rivaled by few other anime. The violence and dark themes are not suited to very young children, so it is family friendly to a point. However, I watched this when I was young and I’ve loved it since.

Tremors

Tremors was made in 1990 by Universal Studios, who also handled the release. It is a Sci-fi Horror-esque comedy, and has a runtime of 96 minutes. The story starts out following two cowboy handymen named Val and Earl working as handymen in their hometown of Perfection. After yet another crappy job, they decide to pull stakes and move to the big city of Bixby. Unfortunately, there are other forces at work and the boys end up heading right back for Perfection after finding one of the town’s denizens dead from dehydration in the middle of nowhere – up a power pole. Things start to get weird as huge worm-like monsters named Graboids begin to make themselves known. People get killed and things get destroyed as the town bands together to escape the monsters. This movie, while not a huge hit at the box office, quickly became a cult classic. It is a hilarious movie with a great cast. It spawned two sequels, a prequel and a 13 episode television series. I have all of the movies on VHS (I know, it’s ancient) as well as the DVD Attack Pack. If you haven’t watched it, then you should.

Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings is a trilogy made in 2001-2003 by WingNut Films in conjunction with Middle-Earth Enterprises and released by New Line Cinema. They are epic fantasy-adventure films, with a combined runtime of 558 minutes (683 for Extended Edition and 726 for Special Blu-ray Extended.) The film trilogy follows the journey of nine companions, known as the Fellowship of the Ring, as they quest to the deadly land of Mordor to destroy the One Ring. Together, these films make one of the most breathtaking cinematic masterpieces I’ve ever watched. I could get into detailed plot descriptions, but unfortunately my summary would fall far short of the mastery of these films, not to mention it would be incredibly TL/DR. I love all three of the films (although I’ll admit freely, Two Towers is my favorite) and I recommend them if you’ve ever got roughly 9.5 hours to kill and want to watch something amazing. I was only 11 when the first film came out, and I saw all of them on release day in theaters, so they are child friendly. However they do contain vast amounts of violence and death, and thus should be viewed only by audiences mature enough to handle it. All in all, if you’ve not seen these films then you ought to hand in your geek card and go watch them.

The Swan Princess

The Swan Princess was made in 1994 by Nest Entertainment in conjunction with Rich Animation Studios It was released theatrically by New Line Cinema; and re-released by Turner Home Entertainment (VHS) and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (DVD.) It is an animated movie with a runtime of 90 minutes. The movie centers on the love developing between Princes Derek and Princess Odette, whom initially are forced together by their widowed, conniving parents but eventually fall for each other. During their journey back to their home country, Odette and her father are attacked by a ‘Great Animal’ and Odette is kidnapped by the evil enchanter Rothbart. Rothbart casts a spell on Odette which turns her into a swan by day, with the only way to regain human form being to be on the lake by his castle when the moon rises. Derek must journey to find and rescue her by breaking the spell with a Vow of Everlasting Love. This is one of the best animated Princess type movies not made by Disney I’ve ever found. It rivals the Disney Princess movies in almost every way, and is often mistaken for a Disney production. It was created for children, but is enjoyable at any age. If you enjoy Disney films, then you would definitely enjoy The Swan Princess.

The Pirates of the Caribbean

The Pirates of the Caribbean is a series made from 2003 to 2011 by Jerry Bruckheimer Films and released by Walt Disney Pictures. They are fantasy-adventure films with a pirate theme, and a combined runtime of roughly 600 minutes. The films follow a various assortment of characters, but center on the entwined tales of Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swann. Although they are a chronological series each movie can be watched on its own and be enjoyed without too much confusion. However, I find that they are far more enjoyable together as a whole. I really love Johnny Depp as Captain Jack in these movies; it is my favorite of his many roles. His flamboyancy really brings something special to his character that adds to the film. By far they are my favorite pirate movies, although I will admit I loved the third one the best!

There you have it; the ending of my list of Top 10 Movies. I find that I really can’t convey how special these movies are to me. It isn’t just that they are awesome movies, although they are. They each have something in them that really grips me, no matter how many times I’ve seen them; and I’ve watched them all so much I can quote most of them word for word as they play. I also find that I really limited myself when I stuck to only 10 movies, because there are a lot of other really great movies that just didn’t quite make the cut onto this list; not because I don’t enjoy them just as much, but because I simply didn’t have room. I’ll have to see about getting around to them, because they really deserve a mention!

Until next time;

Caelrona – signing off! ❤

The Magical World of Miyazaki: Princess Mononoke

By Geeky Gem 

In The Magical World of Miyazaki, I have looked at Spirited Away and My Neighbour Totoro. This week, our magical journey continues, with a look at the epic Japanese fantasy, Princess Mononoke. Hitting the screens in 1997, this film was again written by Hayao Miyazaki. The title Mononoke, is not a name as such, but the Japanese term for Spirit or Monster.

Believe it or not, this film is actually a period drama set in the late Muromachi Period, with a few fantastical elements thrown in for good measure. The film involves Ashitaka and the struggle between the supernatural guardians of the forest, and the humans of Iron Town. The people of Iron Town are consuming the forest’s resources. The overall theme of the story is that the humans and forest spirits can live in harmony, or more broadly, humankind and nature should live in harmony, a very environmental message.

The story opens with a giant boar demon attacking Emishi village and Ashitaka. Ashitaka is forced to fight and kill the demon. However in the struggle Ashitaka receives a curse which grants him superhuman power, but will eventually kill him. Under the advice of the village wise-woman, he leaves the village in order to travel west in search of a cure.

After a few days on the road, he meets Jigo a wandering Monk, who tells him that he might be able find help from a forest spirit who lives in the mountain range. However, this task won’t be easy, the inhabitants of the area are gigantic animal Gods, and complicating matters, Iron Town is also near by. The people of Iron Town are consonantly clearing the nearby forest, in order to get charcoal, to smelt iron sand which they use to make firearms. This leads to a battle with the giant forest beasts. Among these animals there are a pack of giant wolves, accompanied by San, a human girl, who the wolves adopted. It is she that the people of Iron Town call Princess Mononoke.

Ashitaka finds two villagers injured by the wolves near a river, and helps them back to Iron Town. It is here where he gets his first look at forest spirit. A Kirin-like creature by day and a towering night walker by night.

While in Iron Town Ashitaka learns from Lady Eboshi, the manager of the town, that she made the boar-demon by shooting it. Ashitaka is not too happy to hear this, but then also finds out that Iron Town is a refuge for ancient Japan’s social outcasts, such as prostitutes and lepers. Because of this he finds it hard to hate Eboshi. That night, San breaks into Iron Town, and tries to kill Eboshi. However Ashitaka gets in the way, using his curse power’s to stop the fight between Eboshi and San. San leaves with Ashitaka, but as they are leaving, he is shot in the chest and dies. San takes him to the forest spirit, who brings him back to life, but does not remove the curse.

Shortly after, Boars, led by the boar god Okkoto, arrive to attack Iron Town. San joins them. Eboshi gets ready for the attack and sets out to destroy the Forest Spirits. Jigo now reveals himself to be a mercenary-hunter, he intends to give the head of the Boar to the emperor, in return for Iron Town’s protection.

The hunters devastate the boars, and Okkoto is driven mad by a gunshot wound. The Forest Spirit comes and kills Okkoto, but Eboshi appears and shoots the Forest Spirit in the head, decapitating it. Jigo takes the head of the fallen spirit, but it’s body transforms into a mindless god of death, which starts to destroy everything in it’s path, in search for it’s stolen head.

Ashitaka and San go looking for Jigo, in order to take back the head, so they can return it to the Forest Spirit. The Forest Spirit falls in to the lake, turning the land green, and healing all the lepers and accursed, including Ashitaka and San. They both then go back to their old lives, but promise to meet again. Ashitaka decides to rebuild Iron Town, with a now reformed Eboshi, who vows to make a better village. The film ends with the lovely Kodama appearing to help the forest.

The are many reason’s why you should watch this film. The first is, this is one of the rare Studio Ghibli films where the main protagonist is male. Another is the music. Studio Ghibli have this fantastic way of matching the music to the film just perfectly, something that I think goes astray in western films sometimes. One of the other reasons has to be the story. I think what Miyazaki is trying to tells us here, is that we need to look after our planet, before we do way too much damage that we can’t fix.

The animation is beautifully done, and I know I have repeated that statement every week so far, but it doesn’t stop it being true. The film went though some alterations when coming out here in the West, the story remained unchanged, however specific Japanese terms were replaced to make things a little easier on us Westerners. Terms like Jibashiri and Shishigami, that appear in the Japanese version, were changed to more general terms, such as Mercenary and Forest Spirit. These changes where made by Neil Gaiman, writer of Sandman.

It was also given two thumbs up from Harry Knowels of Ain’t It Cool News. Now if Harry gives it two thumps up, that should tell you that you need to see this film immediately, at least, in my opinion. I hope if you do get your hands on it, you enjoy it as much as I did, and that with repeat viewings, you will grow to love it as much as I do.

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