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    The Incredibles II Movie Review

    The Incredibles II Movie Review by Jana

    The Incredibles II is finally back after a fourteen year wait! I’m going to be talking about my general thoughts on the movie, and give it a score out of ten. Keep in mind this review contains spoilers for The Incredibles and The Incredibles II.

    –SPOILERS AHEAD–

    WHY I LIKED THE FIRST MOVIE
    The thing I loved about the first movie was the politicized nature of the supers, and the way the movie subverted common superhero tropes. I think it’s fair to say that The Incredibles subverted tropes similar to the way Watchmen had subversive politicized superhero tropes, but certainly not to the same extent as Watchmen. Instead of existing in a society that fully embraced them, the heros in The Incredibles faced backlash for civilian casualties / property damage they caused while performing saves. Another thing I loved about the first movie was the excellent score, which I’m happy to report is not absent in The Incredibles II.

    THE VILLAIN PROBLEM IN THE INCREDIBLES II
    The second movie had an interesting villain who I would have loved to have been more fleshed out. Evelyn/ Screenslaver is a fascinating character whose motivations felt poorly explained and even lacking in important details in her big villain monologue to Elastigirl.

    Her distrust of supers goes back to her father’s love of them, and his reluctance to use the family’s safe room while they were getting robbed. He instead opted to try and use his direct line to supers who arrived too late, and he was thus killed for his over reliance on supers. Evelyn’s father was shown to be an important political figure to supers and advocated for their rights.

    Basically, Evelyn dislikes the way the general public overly relies on the actions of the supers and wants the public to go back to distrusting them. Also, her hatred of supers ties into the way she uses them to try and give the supers a bad name: screens. Her villain identity is called Screenslaver, and she used screens to hypnotize people into following her orders. Screenslaver delivers a monologue regarding the way people are overly reliant on technology, and seems to make this point very well by demonstrating her ability to hypnotize anyone looking at a screen. She fashions screens into goggles for the supers, and forces them to act in a way that makes the general public distrust them.

    This is such a fascinating character with commentary about people’s reliance on technology, and I would have liked it if we got more backstory and explanation about this character. It’s worth acknowledging that she might have gotten more fleshed out in scenes that didn’t make it to the final cut.

    THE FAMILY FOCUS
    Like the first movie, The Incredibles II was as much about superheros as it was about the Parr family dynamic. I loved the way Bob and Violet’s father / daughter relationship evolved, and gave Bob room to make mistakes as a parent. Additionally, Helen’s move to front and center superhero for a short period of the movie was excellent. Bob’s jealousy when Helen was selected to carry out a mission instead of him wasn’t condemned or painted as a negative aspect of Bob’s character. Rather, his jealousy was understandable, and he made a visibly painful effort to demonstrate his happiness for her success.

    This tied into how he grew as a parent for all of his children. While Helen was out on the mission, he had be the sole caregiver for his children, something he clearly wasn’t used to. His jealousy seemed to make him resent this work at first, but as he got better at these parental duties, he began to enjoy carrying them out more. His frustration over not being able to understand Dash’s homework led to him pulling an all nighter to learn the math so he could help his son do well on the test. His comically botched plan to save Violet’s relationship with her love interest backfired and led to a heartfelt apology where he admitted to some degree of fault for the relationship’s undoing. As a quick aside, the way the family weaponized Jack Jack’s powers was hilarious; holding Jack Jack like a gun and saying, “pew pew” to make lasers shoot out of his eyes was comedy gold. Another brilliant moment I enjoyed was at the very end of the movie when Evelyn/ Screenslaver was arrested. Violent makes the comment, “Yeah but she’s rich, so she’ll probably get away with a slap on the wrist.”

    Overall, I’d give The Incredibles II a 7/10 simply due to how enjoyable it was, but wish it could have offered a more fleshed out villain.

    Catch a sneak peek here:

    https://youtu.be/i5qOzqD9Rms

  • Movie Review, Movies

    The Incredibles II Movie Review

    The Incredibles II Movie Review

    The Incredibles II is finally back after a fourteen year wait! I’m going to be talking about my general thoughts on the movie, and give it a score out of ten. Keep in mind this review contains spoilers for The Incredibles and The Incredibles II.

    –SPOILERS AHEAD–

    WHY I LIKED THE FIRST MOVIE
    The thing I loved about the first movie was the politicized nature of the supers, and the way the movie subverted common superhero tropes. I think it’s fair to say that The Incredibles subverted tropes similar to the way Watchmen had subversive politicized superhero tropes, but certainly not to the same extent as Watchmen. Instead of existing in a society that fully embraced them, the heros in The Incredibles faced backlash for civilian casualties / property damage they caused while performing saves. Another thing I loved about the first movie was the excellent score, which I’m happy to report is not absent in The Incredibles II.

    THE VILLAIN PROBLEM IN THE INCREDIBLES II
    The second movie had an interesting villain who I would have loved to have been more fleshed out. Evelyn/ Screenslaver is a fascinating character whose motivations felt poorly explained and even lacking in important details in her big villain monologue to Elastigirl.

    Her distrust of supers goes back to her father’s love of them, and his reluctance to use the family’s safe room while they were getting robbed. He instead opted to try and use his direct line to supers who arrived too late, and he was thus killed for his over reliance on supers. Evelyn’s father was shown to be an important political figure to supers and advocated for their rights.

    Basically, Evelyn dislikes the way the general public overly relies on the actions of the supers and wants the public to go back to distrusting them. Also, her hatred of supers ties into the way she uses them to try and give the supers a bad name: screens. Her villain identity is called Screenslaver, and she used screens to hypnotize people into following her orders. Screenslaver delivers a monologue regarding the way people are overly reliant on technology, and seems to make this point very well by demonstrating her ability to hypnotize anyone looking at a screen. She fashions screens into goggles for the supers, and forces them to act in a way that makes the general public distrust them.

    This is such a fascinating character with commentary about people’s reliance on technology, and I would have liked it if we got more backstory and explanation about this character. It’s worth acknowledging that she might have gotten more fleshed out in scenes that didn’t make it to the final cut.

    THE FAMILY FOCUS
    Like the first movie, The Incredibles II was as much about superheros as it was about the Parr family dynamic. I loved the way Bob and Violet’s father / daughter relationship evolved, and gave Bob room to make mistakes as a parent. Additionally, Helen’s move to front and center superhero for a short period of the movie was excellent. Bob’s jealousy when Helen was selected to carry out a mission instead of him wasn’t condemned or painted as a negative aspect of Bob’s character. Rather, his jealousy was understandable, and he made a visibly painful effort to demonstrate his happiness for her success.

    This tied into how he grew as a parent for all of his children. While Helen was out on the mission, he had be the sole caregiver for his children, something he clearly wasn’t used to. His jealousy seemed to make him resent this work at first, but as he got better at these parental duties, he began to enjoy carrying them out more. His frustration over not being able to understand Dash’s homework led to him pulling an all nighter to learn the math so he could help his son do well on the test. His comically botched plan to save Violet’s relationship with her love interest backfired and led to a heartfelt apology where he admitted to some degree of fault for the relationship’s undoing. As a quick aside, the way the family weaponized Jack Jack’s powers was hilarious; holding Jack Jack like a gun and saying, “pew pew” to make lasers shoot out of his eyes was comedy gold. Another brilliant moment I enjoyed was at the very end of the movie when Evelyn/ Screenslaver was arrested. Violent makes the comment, “Yeah but she’s rich, so she’ll probably get away with a slap on the wrist.”

    Overall, I’d give The Incredibles II a 7/10 simply due to how enjoyable it was, but wish it could have offered a more fleshed out villain.

    Catch a sneak peek here:

    https://youtu.be/i5qOzqD9Rms

  • Movie Review, Movies

    Victoria and Abdul: A Review

    Victoria and Abdul: A Review

    I have always had a fond heart for movies, particularly those that possess the power to transpose a person by shedding a light on a new perspective. This month I had the absolute privilege of getting the opportunity to view the film Victoria and Abdul. The film, unlike any other film I have viewed in the past, contained a sense of undeniable passion and was able to fuse the austerity of racial discrimination with tale as old as time idea of following your heart to do what is right. This harmonious pairing makes this film inviting, uplifting, and allows views to watch from an unbiased standpoint and fully experience the beauty that defines this movie both aesthetically and in depth.

    The movie follows the progression of a friendship shared between Queen Victoria and a young clerk. The human’s ability to see past the superficial or to not see past the superficial is evident in this film along with other themes of loyalty, trust, knowledge and doing only what your heart deems to be fit and right. Not only is the film informative concerning an event that took place in history, but the film also highlights themes that are very relevant to our modern day society.

    See the trailer below.

    http://focusfeatures.com/victoriaandabdul

    For more info on the real story of Victoria and Abdul, visit Victoria and Abdul the Real Story

  • Movies

    Tuscaloosa Girls Takeover!

    Twelve girls from the Tuscaloosa area gathered on the University of Alabama campus to write, direct and edit their own films. The Druid City Media camp was held June 26-30, and was specifically for middle-school aged girls.

    According to ua.news, the camp was developed by Barbara Brickman, the assistant professor of media and gender studies in New College. Brickman said in the ua.news release, that the two goals of the camp are to “empower young women,” and learn more about media’s representation of woman.

    Brickman said her inspiration began two years ago when she taught a class called “Women On Screen,” that studied film festivals, and women’s media camps. Brickman said the following spring, she then taught a class called “Girls Film School,” which directly associated with the planning of the media camp. The purpose of that class was to learn about why girls media camps are needed, and then build the infrastructure for the camp, Brickman said.

    “I hope they learn females can make media, also not to be afraid of the technical stuff,” Brickman said.

    Natalie Adams, the director of New College, worked alongside with Brickman to plan the media camp. Adams said her main priority was to support Brickman’s decisions and plans for the camp.

    Adams said the camp follows one of the New College philosophies, “give to the community, work with community.” She said the girls were recruited through Tuscaloosa schools and churches, and that it was important to follow a diverse route. She said that half of the girls recruited are African-American.

    It was also critical to keep the camp affordable, Adams said. She said that unlike other camps, money was not the motive for the media camp. The camps by-in price was very minimal, and scholarships were offered. Adams said the dean at the college of Arts & Sciences was able to help fundraise, because the camp had a diversity initiative.

    Adams said the middle-school age group was targeted, because it is when girls begin to deal with many issues like body image, race and relationships. She said that the girls need to be introduced to the industry at a young age, so that it will hopefully become equally gender dominated. Adams said the recent film Wonder Woman, could potentially serve as an inspiration for these girls because it was a successful movie, directed by a woman.

    “Targeting that age of girls is crucial, because we want them to see themselves at race-gendered empowered beings,” Adams said.

    Ann Hill, a telecommunications and film major, is one of four student interns counseling and teaching the media camp, and introducing them to the film industry. Hill said that she was in Brickman’s class that created the camp, and that’s the reason she chose to intern.

    The student interns each have their own area of expertise. Hill said the other interns major and minor in women’s studies, media literacy, african-american studies and communications. The girls will each write their own script, and then the interns will choose three films to pursue and present to parents.

    “When guys and girls are in a media camp together, the males usually take over. We want to show how girls can be represented,” Hill said.

    Rica Trone, the program assistant of New College, said her 10-year-old daughter, Mar’Rica was selected to participate in the media camp. Trone said the camp offers the girls exposure and has been helping her daughter make new friends.

    “From what Mar’Rica has been telling me, I think it’s a great program and creates diversity,” Trone said.

    Brickman and Adams said that they have already started planning for next years Druid City Girls media camp. Adams said they hope to expand the camp for next summer, and focus on a diverse middle school group.

    “We all hope it will become a yearly camp, it’ll be back bigger and better,” Adams said.

  • Articles, Movies

    Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming

    The latest reboot of the Spider-Man movie franchise premiered in July. As someone who had been skeptical about this remake, I am willing to say that I was completely wrong. Tom Holland as Peter Parker is perfect. The movie overall was charming. By the end, you couldn’t help but want to root for Peter. It left me wanting so much more, but in the best way, not like there wasn’t enough in this film. There was definitely enough going on, but not too much. It just left me wanting more Peter Parker, like I can’t wait to see him in the next Avengers movie and I’m already waiting for the next Spider-Man movie.

    One of the best parts of Spider-Man, to me, was the supporting characters, especially the supporting women.

    Zendaya as Peter’s classmate Michelle Jones was hilarious, quirky in a good way, and intriguing. She’s awkward, but in a way that seems real, not like she’s putting it on to seem cute. She’s the weird girl, and the best part about that to me is that no one tries to change that. She’s also a bit into social justice, pointing out that the Washington Monument was built by slaves and mentioning that she wants to “get some light protesting in” at one point. Michelle felt real to me, and it was awesome.

    Laura Harrier as the love interest, Liz, was much better than I expected. I tend to have low expectations for love interests in movies like this, because they honestly usually aren’t given much to work with. But Liz was nice, sweet in a way that seemed genuine, and driven. Sometimes in movies, especially in superhero movies, we see the love interest and she’s the mean girl. We’re supposed to root for her to be with the main character, but many of us are left wondering why. Well, there is definitely not that problem in this movie. She’s a great girl and you definitely want her to be with Peter in the end.

    Last but not least, who can forget Marisa Tomei as Aunt May? There was a lot of outcry when it was first revealed that she was playing Aunt May, before the movie Captain America: Civil War came out. Most people were angry because she was way too young. It’s true that Marisa Tomei looks like she’s maybe in her late 30s, even though she’s 52. People were mad, because with each Spider-Man reboot, Aunt May has gotten younger. But I loved Marisa Tomei in this. It was very clear that Aunt May cared for Peter like he was her own. She was goofy and fun with him, but also genuine and, honestly, heartbreaking in the scenes that required it.

    All in all, I found it refreshing to see so many female supporting characters who are treated so well. The actresses definitely delivered in this movie, and I can’t wait to see what Marvel has next for them in the upcoming Spider-Man movies.

    (Written by Megan Flint.)

  • Articles, Movies

    Review: Descendants 2

    On July 21st, Disney Channel’s newest movie, Descendants 2, aired. This movie is a sequel to the 2015 Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM), Descendants. Descendants was a movie about the children of Maleficent, Cruella De Vil, the Evil Queen from Snow White, and Jafar. In this universe, all the Disney villains and their families are locked on the Isle of the Lost together, while the good characters and their families are in the United States of Auradon. Prince Ben, the son of King Beast and Queen Belle, invites Mal (Maleficent’s daughter), Carlos (Cruella’s son), Evie (Evil Queen’s daughter), and Jay (Jafar’s son) to come to Auradon. From there, the movie has plenty of shenanigans and sweet moments. Many people loved Descendants, so they wondered: would Descendants 2 be as good as the first one?

    Well, I can’t speak for all people who watched it, but I definitely believe that Descendants 2 was just as good as Descendants. Without spoiling anything, I’d say that the songs were catchy and fun, the plot line was great, and the new characters were compelling.

    In the new Descendants movie, Mal is cracking under the pressure of being King Ben’s girlfriend. Soon, she returns to the Isle of the Lost, and runs into an old rival, Ursula’s daughter Uma. It is difficult to get into the rest of the plot without spoiling the movie, but it’s a fun ride.

    Personally, I found this sequel to be much more fun than the first Descendants movie, and I was a big fan of that movie. This movie feels more sophisticated, in a way, more like a movie that would be released in theaters than a DCOM. The vibe of DCOMs generally differs from theatrically released films. That is not a criticism, but it is what I have observed over the years. This film felt more cohesive and put together than the typical DCOM does, like the whole movie was more elaborate and the crew put more work into it.

    Descendants 2 had one less song in the movie than Descendants itself had, and somehow it felt like it was lacking in that area. That would be my biggest criticism of the movie overall. Another criticism would be that Gaston’s son Gil felt underdeveloped, but there were so many characters in the movie that I will let that one slide.

    I still enjoyed the movie, though, even with those criticisms. Drizella Tremaine’s daughter Dizzy was a new character who I particularly enjoyed. She and Evie have such a nice sisterly relationship, and Dizzy is adorable besides that. She definitely added a fun element to the movie.

    Overall I’d give the movie an 8/10 stars. There’s room for improvement, but it was still really fun and enjoyable. I hope that there will be a third installment in the series as well.

    If you watched Descendants 2, what was your favorite new song? Who was your favorite new character? What would you rate the movie? Let us know in the comments below!

    (Written by Megan Flint.)

  • Movie Review, Movies

    Wonder Woman: Two Perspectives


    We were absolutely excited to see the Wonder Woman movie! Wonder Woman is the first superheroine movie and the first to be directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins. Prior to the movie, there was only the live-action TV series in the 1970s of the same name starring Lynda Carter. Here are two reviews, by our awesome GirlSpring interns Jade Stewart and Megan Flint, about the movie that has taken the world by storm:

     

    Jade’s Review

    On June 8th, I had the chance to view the new Wonder Woman with my mom and my grandmom. The movie’s a mixture of action and fantasy and based off the titular superheroine created by William Moulton Marston. It’s been a long time coming for Wonder Woman, who’s been in comics since 1941.

    The movie takes place in two locations. The first location is the island of Themyscira, Princess Diana/Wonder Woman’s (Gal Gadot) birthhome and home of the Amazons. The island is where she receives her Amazonian training, in which her mother is against at first. The second location, and main focus, is the world outside the island. When the two worlds briefly collide, she learns the rest of the world is experiencing World War I. Diana decides to leave her peaceful island to end the conflict that had been occurring for the past four years. It’s also in the outside world that everything she learned in Themyscira turns upside down.

    One of the best aspects of the film was the action. The choreography of each fighting sequence had me on the edge of my seat! We—me, my mom, and grandmom—would be cheering on Wonder Woman to beat the bad guys. Also, the stop motion within the fight scenes didn’t feel overused but added to the intensity of each fight.

    Additionally, I love that the movie portrayed all aspects of Diana and not just her Wonder Woman alter ego. Diana is a powerful woman, but she’s also very naïve (due to her upbringing), intelligent, deeply cares about people, and fights for what she believes in, metaphorically and literally. Even with the strength of 1,000 Amazonians, she is still a vulnerable person. Diana isn’t born knowing how to be a hero, she has to work to become one. As Diana says to her mother, “Who will I be if I stay?”

    Overall, this was an incredible movie. The fact that this is the first Wonder Woman movie, in contrast to the plethora of Batman and Superman movies, is astounding. I hope the success of the movie opens the door to more movies about superheroines and more female-led action movies in general. May Wonder Woman also be an inspiration to young girls and women everywhere.

    9/10 Stars

     

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    Megan’s Review

    The newest movie in the DC Extended Universe, Wonder Woman, came out on June 2nd. I managed to see it that day, and it blew me away. Beware, there are spoilers ahead!

     

    Wonder Woman is the story of Diana, the princess and only child of Themiscyra, a woman-only island utopia. She grows up in Themiscyra, never even seeing a man in person until Steve Trevor somehow breaks the barrier guarding Themiscyra from the rest of the world and crashes into the ocean, prompting Diana to dive in and save him. From there, Diana learns there is a war going on (which happens to be World War 1). Diana knows it must be the God of War, Ares, behind it. She decides she must go and help, as she is a trained warrior, and ventures outside the island for the first time in her life with Steve.

     

    This movie has been getting all sorts of reviews, from rave reviews that it is a feminist film to criticisms that it is boring in comparison to, say, Man of Steel. I lean towards the first type of review.

     

    Diana is a superhero like none that I have seen. Sure, the Marvel Universe has Natasha Romanoff and Wanda Maximoff (Black Widow and Scarlet Witch, respectively). I adore both of those characters. But Diana is something else. Perhaps it is because she is the lead superhero, but she feels more Captain America than Black Widow, in that it feels more epic, like she is larger than life.

     

    Diana is also unique in that she has a different worldview than most superheroes I have seen. Some may say it is naive, but she believes in the goodness of humanity. With quotes like, “I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves,” and “Only love will truly save the world,” it is a refreshing change from the superheroes who fight for everyone but lose hope in humanity.

     

    The movie does have its flaws. For example, the villains like Doctor Poison felt underdeveloped. I thought for sure we would delve into her past, like why exactly she has that scar on her face, but we do not. On the other hand, I can see why they do not go into character backgrounds, if Ares is supposed to be behind the evil of the war. It is a sort of catch-22, in that there is a good reason not to go into the backgrounds, but it makes the film feel a little less fleshed out.

     

    This film felt different to me than the other superhero movies I have seen. I believe that is because it felt like the movie really had a message of hope, despite all the war and heartbreak. When it comes down to it, I felt like Diana was a really likable, charming character who inspires me to be more daring, stand up for what I believe in, but also to stay soft.

     

    I give this movie a 9/10 stars, and urge everyone to go see it, because it truly is delightful.