Three thoughts on the live-action Aladdin remake:
- Visually too much, but in a good way. It’s the kind of movie you could watch over and over again, just to make sure you see all the things you didn’t see the first five times you saw it. (And if you have kids, you’ll probably end up seeing it more times than you can stand.)
- I appreciated that Jasmine was made a bit more well rounded. She was no longer the typical Disney princess who needed a prince to rescue her. In time, she could probably have rescued herself from her isolation as princess, but Aladdin sped up the process. 🙂
- Better than the original? Honestly, I have no idea, and I don’t think the two can even be compared. I grew up watching the original, so I’ll always have a soft spot for it, and for the original (cartoon-y) Jafar and Robin Williams’ Genie.
Not too long ago, my husband was going through the remainder of his possessions that were left in his parents’ attic and found the entire Harry Potter series, so he brought them home and I started reading them.
I absolutely loved the series when it first came out and obsessively read the first four books over and over (I didn’t own the last three) until I practically had them memorized. But when I went to college, I was finished with the series and didn’t pay any more attention to it beyond watching the movies (and I hardly remember the movies).
So these are my main impressions after not having read the Harry Potter books for a number of years:
(1) It’s a great story. The plot is well done, and I have always liked how things that don’t seem to have much significance suddenly become significant later on. J.K. Rowling is a master at “planting” items or people in the plot.
(2) It’s still impossible to put down. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I plowed through the books as though I had never read them before. In a way, this is almost annoying because you want to keep reading so badly that it’s hard to take a step back and savor the books. I suppose that’s why they get read multiple times.
(3) I don’t know why the haters say the series is poorly written or bad. Yes, J.K. Rowling does have some annoying quirks to her writing (using em dashes and ellipses too much is one that comes to mind), but what author doesn’t? I stand by my statement of some years ago that Harry Potter is not “literature” per se, but it is a good, classic story. Just because something’s not “literature” doesn’t mean it’s trash. Everything has a purpose.
Maybe after this, I should re-read the Chronicles of Narnia series (another that I dearly loved) and see if it’s held up well over the years. I already tried getting back into the Dragonriders of Pern series a while back and found that it had no appeal to me whatsoever (and I was absolutely obsessed with those books in middle and high school).
A couple weeks ago, I read Lexa Hillyer’s debut YA novel Proof of Forever, which is billed as this generation’s Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I found that proclamation not to be true, perhaps because Sisterhood was one of the best YA books I ever read, and I read it as a teenager. Unfortunately, I’m reading Proof of Forever as a cynical adult, so it doesn’t quite meet the standard Sisterhood set. Yes, the same theme (the power of friendship) is there, but Proof of Forever falls victim to the same clichés that abound in many recently published YA novels: the drunken party, the incredibly touching and sentimental loss of virginity (/sarcasm), the token LGBTQ characters, and finally, the death of one of the main characters à la The Fault in Our Stars. Sometimes I really wish I could meet an editor from one of the major publishing houses and ask them why they continue to publish what is essentially the same book over and over. I suppose the answer I’d receive is “because it sells,” but the cynical part of me wants to believe that it’s more than that.
Because I am suffering from a lack of A Song of Ice and Fire in my life (the books, not the TV series), I picked up a different fantasy series, which was published around the same time. Lord of the Isles is the first book in David Drake’s Isles series, and so far, it’s proving to be decent. It sure ain’t Ice and Fire, but it has its own merits. The four main characters are going on an epic quest to reach their destinies, which is perhaps the greatest and most prevalent fantasy cliché, but it’s a cliché that I love, so it’s enjoyable. The author is doing a good job of making me worry about whether the characters will reach their destination in one piece, and I’m hoping that the villains’ use of powerful magic won’t kill any of my favorite characters. I’m only about halfway through the book, so I’m not sure whether I’ll read the rest of the series, but it seems promising so far.