Pandragon Dan

Pandragon Dan

Author/Reviewer/Blogger

Pandragon Disney Deathmatch: The Lion King Versus Frozen

EDIT: After speaking to my Publisher at Paper Crane Books, she made a list of certain points I missed or was not aware about. I have added them into the blog for the sake of completion.

 

So... this came around a lot later than I planned, but today we present the second...

 

PANDRAGONDAN’S DISNEY DEATHMATCH!!!

 

Those who read my Tangled Versus Hunchback of Notre Dame post will know what it’s all about. But for those who haven’t read it, check out the link HERE:

 

In 1994, The Lion King hit the cinemas across the world – and instantly garnered critical acclaim. Spawning several movies, a couple of spin offs and even a bestselling musical, The Lion King broke several box office records and won numerous awards – especially for its music. For the longest time, it was considered by many to be the greatest Disney film of all time (possibly even the greatest animated film) and remained unchallenged for many years.

 

That was until 2013 when Frozen arrived at the box office. This film not only matched The Lion King but surpassed its’ fame and accomplishment in just a short period of time. Considered by many to be the greatest Disney film of all time, Frozen remains firmly in the hearts of all fans of Disney and non-Disney alike. I could go on to describe the accolades and achievements this film has got, but you only need to do a google search to see how much people love this film.

 

But... just because Frozen may have succeeded The Lion King in every aspect – does that make it a better film than The Lion King? This is what I’m here to find out! We’re going to find out once and for all whether Frozen is superior to The Lion King as a film – at least in my opinion. So get ready for - The Lion King Versus Frozen!

 

 

 

 

 

In this blog there will be five “rounds”, of which I will give a description of which elements work or don’t work, then award a point accordingly. Whoever has the most points at the end wins. Simple as that! And I’m keeping it to five so that there is no chance of a tie happening.

 

Now, before we start, here are a few things you need to bear in mind.

 

  1. Things such as awards/box office records will NOT be counted in this blog. I’m basing this purely on stuff within the film itself. That’s not to say I’m ignoring or discounting them, they just don’t have any power in this Deathmatch.
  2. If you haven’t either film, be aware that spoilers are included in this blog.
  3. And finally – this is the most important thing to remember – this is JUST MY OPINION! I say this because I wound up a few people on Facebook with the result of my last Disney Deathmatch (many said Tangled should have won over Hunchback of Notre Dame), so I want to make this clear. I do not claim to be a film expert or a critic. What I am is just a guy with an opinion and that is all that this blog will be.

 

Ok enough talk. Be Prepared – we’re about to Let It Go!!!

 

 

 

 

 

ROUND 1 – Protagonists

 

 

 

 

In this round, I’ll be analysing the protagonists of each film. This first round will be a “tag team” round as I will be looking at Child Simba and Adult Simba and Anna and Elsa.

 

Now the plot of The Lion King follows Simba from childhood to adulthood. Next in line to the throne, Simba is forced to run away away when his uncle Scar arranges for Mufasa (Simba’s dad) to be killed and make it look like it was Simba’s fault. Simba escapes from the hyenas (who are working for Scar) and then goes into hiding, becoming friends with Meerkat and Warthog Timon and Pumbaa – until a chance meeting with his old friend Nala means that Simba has to return and face his destiny, and his uncle.

 

Now, the problem with child characters is that if they are done wrong, they can come across as annoying. Not in the case of Child Simba – he is just adorable! Yes he does do some very stupid things – but let’s not forget that he is just a child and not fully aware of the dangers of the world yet. As such it means that he is easily manipulated by his uncle so that he can deliberately be put in danger. But the scenes of Simba and his dad together – whether it’s Mufasa giving fatherly advice or them just playing together – are just heartwarming. You really feel the bond between the two. Then, when Mufasa dies (in what is arguably the most traumatising moment in Disney history next to Bambi’s mother being shot) and Simba is trying to get his father to wake up and crying, we really feel Simba’s pain and cry with him.

 

Adult Simba (voiced by Matthew Broderick, who is one of my LEAST favourite actors if I’m being honest, but he does well in this film) is a little bit more morose and understandably so. Though he has a fun loving attitude to life, having hung around with Timon and Pumbaa – but at the same time, he is really running away from his past, having been forced to believe he is responsible for his father’s death. Then, when the chance comes for him to fulfil his destiny, he is torn between facing his past or running away. He has a lot of conflict in his character and this helps him grow into the hero he should be. His internal suffering holds him back, but he does thankfully grow into the King that he was meant to be. Overall, I think Simba is a really well developed character and I love seeing him grow from a young, naive child, to a powerful lion that ends up being every bit as wise and respected as his father.

 

Onto Frozen and the heroines Anna and Elsa. Elsa is a woman born with ice powers, but when she accidentally hurts Anna, her parents take her to see the magical trolls – who warn Elsa that her fear could result in her magic raging out of control and have disastrous consequences. On hearing this, her parents – being the kind, compassionate mother and father that they are – decide to lock her away and keep her away from the outside world. And then they die at sea. Mmmmm, correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the trolls say that FEAR could cause her powers to spiral out of control? Surely doing this would make Elsa more afraid? Oh well, I’m sure they know what they are doing and I’m positive this won’t in ANY way go tits up. Spoiler alert: It does!

 

Anyway, years later, Elsa is now about to be crowned Queen, but her powers start to crap out and the whole country is covered in snow. Elsa, deciding not to hold back anymore, unleashes her full power and goes into hiding. It’s now up to Anna to bring her sister back and save her through the only way she knows how. Love.

 

Let me just say this about these characters. I LOVE Elsa! I would actually go so far to say that she is one of the beautifully crafted characters in Disney history. Not only does she have the most kick ass powers ever, but she has a really deep emotional side. She’s pretty much spent most of her life alone and never really known true love. She has a lot of sadness in her, despite her power – much like a superhero. We can turn an old phrase here “with great power comes great responsibility” and in Elsa’s case, it results in all of Arendale being frozen over. But we can understand Elsa, she’s been held back all her life because her parents were scared of what she might become. Why shouldn’t she test to see what she can do? She’s not gonna be held back anymore and just gonna go for it. But at the same time, she just wants to be loved for who she is. She’s pretty much a perfect character – she has a lot of personal issues, but she can also kick ass!

 

As for Anna... erm... I like her... but I gotta be honest, she does annoy me sometimes. I dunno, she just seems too overly optimistic all the time – and don’t get me wrong, that’s not a problem. I totally respect her courage and like the idea that she isn’t wholly dependent on a man to look after her – but most of the time I just felt like her optimism was kinda rammed down the audiences throat. She’s not a bad character at all, I just felt she could have been toned down a little. And... I did feel she was dangerously close to being a Mary-Sue in places. Even though she asked Kristoff to take her through the mountains, she didn’t really NEED him! She was more than capable of looking after herself. Between you and me, if I had to pick between the two sisters, I would say that Elsa was the more developed character – no not in that way! XD

 

EDIT:  My Publisher pointed out that it's actually Anna that is the protagonist and Elsa is the antagonist - as the story is supposed to be about Anna's journey of love and acceptance. This is kinda disagree on as I don't see Elsa in any antagonistic light - she's more a deuteragonist if anything. Also, the reason I see Elsa more as a protagonist is because I didn't really connect to Anna in anyway - hence why Elsa was included as a protagonist.

 

It’s a tough choice really – because I know whichever one I pick I’ll upset fans of the other. But I do have to pick a winner for this and, what it really boils down to who I felt attached to the most emotionally. Anna I can take or leave, Elsa I genuinely love – but at the end of the day, Simba will always have my sympathy because of the heartbreaking scene with Mufasa dying.  So with that all being said, sorry, Elsa. I love ya, but I have to go with Simba. Point goes to The Lion King.

 

 

 

1-0

 

 

ROUND 2 – Antagonists

 

 

 

 

Here we look at the villains in each film. Scar for The Lion King, Hans for Frozen.

 

I’ve said this time and time again – Scar is without a doubt the most despicable of all Disney villains in my opinion – possibly of all time. He is a slimy, manipulative lion (voiced brilliantly by Jeremy Irons – with vocals by Jim Cummings) that seeks power for himself and will crush anyone to get it – including his own family. To this end, he joins forces with the hyenas and plans a terrible scheme whereby he will kill Simba and Mufasa and become king himself. The scary thing is he actually SUCCEEDS in his plan, making him one of the few Disney villains to do so – at least to a point. He does kill Mufasa, but Simba runs away. Nevertheless, Scar does become the leader of Pride Rock and creates a new totalitarian society whereby hyenas rule as his army.

 

The above alone makes Scar one of my most hated villains. He is sly, arrogant, slimy, a little whinny and mostly cowardly when faced with direct confrontation, what makes him that little bit more evil is the fact that he is willing to murder his own brother and nephew (who, remember, is only a child at this point) to gain his goals. The scene where he stabs his brother through the paws and whispers “long live the king” is still one of the most chilling moments in film history. And then when he goes up to Simba afterwards and tells him that he is responsible for his Mufasa’s death – well, that just shows what an evil f***er he is! He has little to no redeeming features at all. But you know what, if he can inspire that much hate from the watchers then it shows he’s doing his job properly as a villain. And his death at the end is one of the most satisfying villain punishments ever!

 

For Hans, you actually don’t know he’s the villain until later on. When he first appears, he seems like a typical handsome hero that Anna falls completely head over heels in love with. Until later on it’s discovered that it was all a ploy and that his plan was to kill Elsa and take her throne in an effort to prove himself to his brothers. Now I did originally say this was a good twist in my original review of Frozen – but now I’m gonna take that back. Because, after much consideration, I don’t think this twist works.

 

Those who read my Top Five Lame Plot Twist blog will probably already know my feelings, but I’ll sum up here. The reason I don’t think this twist works as well is that at NO point during the film does Hans show any villainous tendencies. In fact, he even SAVES Elsa from being killed at one point – and if he wanted her dead there was no reason to do that. Even when he’s alone with her, he acts kindly to her. They build up Hans to be a hero so much that, when the twist comes, it feels more like an asspull than a shock. This twist would have worked a lot better if they had foreshadowed Hans being a villain in some way – like making him a little cocky, possessive of Anna, maybe a nasty look when he looks at Elsa, etc. There ARE ways you can foreshadow a twist without giving too much away.

 

EDIT: In actual fact, I've been informed that his villain turn IS actually foreshadowed in the song Love Is An Open Door - which is something I miss, though in fairness it is fairly subtle. In this respect I will put my hands up about this - but all other points about Hans still stand.

 

I understand why Disney did this, they wanted to move away from the Handsome Hero they normally have in their films – but this twist doesn’t work in my eyes. They should have kept the Earl of Weasleton as the main villain as he had so much potential to be the bad guy.

 

Even though I HATE the idea of giving the point to Scar, he’s just more clearly defined as a villain and has a clear motivation. Hans just feels thrown in as a villain in the last minute and the twist opens up a big plot hole for me. So another point to The Lion King.

 

 

 

2-0

 

 

ROUND 3 – Supporting Characters

 

 

 

 

Here I’ll be looking at Nala, Zazu, Timon, Pumbaa and Rafiki for The Lion King and Kristoff, Olaf, Sven and The Earl of Weaselton for Frozen.

 

The Lion King is full of great supporting characters. Timon and Pumbaa are hilarious to watch and I love the “adult” humour that they manage to sneak in. They help counter balance the really dark moments of The Lion King and add a much welcome relief after the shock of Mufasa’s death. I could watch these guys for hours and still laugh my ass off – it’s no wonder they got their own spin off show. Zazu (voiced by Rowan Atkinson) is also a great source of humour as the majordomo of King Mufasa. Strange as it may seem, I love the “prim and proper” English type voice, it’s really funny if done properly. Zazu unfortunately spends most of the second half of the film as a prisoner, so he does kinda disappear from the film after that until the end.

 

Nala is pretty cool and I like the idea that she’s not a “damsel in distress” character that you normally get in Disney films – in fact, she pretty much can look after herself. And I love female characters that can kick ass! She’s both Simba’s best friend and love interest, but also his conscience in a way – she’s the first lynchpin in helping Simba realise his destiny. Rafiki, the bat-crap crazy monkey shaman is also fun to watch. I just wish he could have appeared more, but he was there for the important parts. On the whole, I love all the characters in The Lion King. Even the main three hyenas are entertaining.

 

As for the supporting characters in Frozen... where do I begin? Firstly, and I will always stand by this comment – Kristoff is a pointless character. What does he actually do in the film except provide a taxi service for Anna – who, I already mentioned, doesn’t need him at all. Yes, I am fully aware that he takes Anna to the trolls when her heart is frozen, but honestly, if Kristoff wasn’t in the movie, Anna could have done the whole “wander around and stumble across the trolls by accident bit”. And even when Kristoff is told how to cure Anna from her frozen heart, he doesn’t take a chance to try it. You could argue that he knew she loved Hans and he was too much of a nice guy to “cock block” Hans... but my argument is that to get Anna back to Hans, he has to travel from one end to the other of the country to the other to get her back. How did he know he would survive the journey? He could have at least TRIED to break the curse and then, if that failed, taken her back to Hans. I dunno, I just felt that Kristoff needed to man up a lot more. Hell, even Olaf tried to help Anna more than he did.

 

And speaking of which, I’m just gonna say this. I. HATE. OLAF. He is without a doubt the most annoying, obnoxious little **** in the whole film. I’m probably one of the few people that WANTED him to melt at the end and was really pissed off when Elsa saved him. Maybe it was his voice, his stupid comments or the fact that he can’t sing but... I just don’t like him. Sven was ok I guess, I don’t really have a problem with him. But I’ll say it again, the Earl of Weaselton SHOULD have been the villain of the story – he was a far more sinister character than Hans was by far!

 

In short, I don’t like the supporting characters in Frozen at all. They are either pointless, annoying or a wasted opportunity. So this isn’t going to be at all surprising for you to know that I am giving ANOTHER point to The Lion King as the characters were much more likeable and had more personality.

 

 

 

3-0

 

 

ROUND 4 – Music

 

 

 

 

Here we look at the music in each film.

 

From the opening track The Circle of Life, the music in The Lion King takes you on an epic journey, with tribal chants, soothing harmonies and powerful chords that just sweep you off your feet, provided by musical virtuoso Hans Zimmer. Even just focusing on the music alone, there are very few scores in films that get my adrenaline pumping or make the hairs stand on the back of my neck that the music in this film.

 

The Lion King may not have many songs compared to other Disney films – but what they do have are just incredible. There isn’t a single “bad” tune out of any of them, which works in its favour. I’m not usually a fan of Elton John or Tim Rice, but the songs in here are some of my favourite songs in Disney. There’s the bouncy, optimistic I Just Can’t Wait To Be King (with lots of colourful imagery), the singalong tune that is Hakuna Matata – which is always a joy to listen to, and one that I like to hear when I’m feeling down – or even the beautiful Can You Feel The Love Tonight. The music in The Lion King takes you on a sweeping journey of emotions and draws you into the world and the magic around it.

 

Oh, and let’s not forget the awesome Be Prepared! Next to Hellfire from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, this is one of the best villain songs ever. It’s dark, has a real sense of threat and – are those hyena’s marching like Nazi’s? Yikes! The music builds up in intensity and danger and you suddenly start to fear for Simba’s safety as Scar lays out his plans. Now THIS is what a villain song should sound like! What’s also interesting is that it’s both Jeremy Irons AND Jim Cummings that sings this song – but the transition from one to the next is so seamless that you wouldn’t notice it unless you listened carefully.

 

The music in Frozen may have wowed a lot of audiences – but I’m gonna be honest, I thought the music was just ok. I’m not saying it’s terrible, but I don’t feel like there are many memorable songs for me. And, maybe it’s just me, but I think the opening song over the titles is completely inappropriate for where it’s set. It just sounds too much like it’s trying to be like The Lion King.

 

EDIT: In respect of this, someone has pointed out that the chanting is actually based on a Norwegian chant, which Frozen is based around. Whilst this means the opening theme isn't wholly inappropriate, it still seems wrong to me and out of place with the rest of the tone of the film.

 

However, the two songs in the film that do stand out for me are Do You Wanna Build A Snowman and Fixer Upper. The first one is a lovely tune that quickly degenerates into sadness as both sisters are torn apart from each other – and the singing voice of Anna really has a lot of emotion. I will say this is the most beautiful of all the songs. Fixer Upper is a big show tune and has a lot of energy to it, and I love those songs. But I’ll just say this – The Summer Song is DREADFUL!!! No disrespect to Josh Gad, but Olaf’s vocals in this song are just terrible to listen to. Maybe that’s the idea, but I can’t stand this song.

 

You may have noticed I’m not talking about Let It Go... well anyone that’s read my blog will know what my opinion is about that song. Just in case you’re new to my blog, let me sum it up – it’s a good song, but I don’t rate Idina Menzel as a singer. Yes, I know she won an Oscar, but I just don’t like her voice. I have NOTHING against her as a person and I’m sure she’s a wonderful person in real life – but she’s a shouter, not a singer (just my opinion). In fact, whilst I’m on that subject, when I did my last Totalitarian Warlords and Termination Squadron video, I had author Morgan Staughan Comnick do the voice of Elsa, and she did her own rendition of Let It Go with the recordings. I never ended up using it, but I will say this - I think, in my opinion, that she sings it BETTER than Idina Menzel. Yup, I’m gonna go on record and say that Morgan is a better singer than Menzel – and yes, you can quote me on that. Again, Idina - nothing personal.

 

EDIT: I will be releasing a video showing Morgan singing Let It Go, so those of you who may be thinking of calling my bluff, watch this space! :)

 

Yeah, I know people love the Frozen soundtrack – but for me, it leaves me a little cold (if you pardon the pun). The Lion King has much more energy and emotion to it for me. So it gets the point.

 

 

 

4-0

 

 

ROUND 5 – Story and overall theme

 

 

 

 

Here I’ll look at the plot of both films and see what I think has the better story and moral.

 

The Lion King hasbeen quoted as the Disney version of Hamlet – and indeed it has a lot of parallels with that play. The Prince whose uncle murders his father and he has to avenge him – but is being held back by his own self doubt and desire to escape his fate. But for me, there is so much more to that. It’s a coming of age tale about facing your fears head on and aspiring to be what you were born to be. I also like to think of it as a really good tale of how important great parenting can be. Mufasa is a wonderful father, strict in his own way, but loving and caring of his son Simba. The lessons that Simba learns from him stay with him till adulthood, even if he doesn’t realise it. And in the end he becomes a better person than his uncle – who is essentially a monster. The Lion King, for me, is a tale about growing up, but also learning from your mistakes and respecting your family. Oh, and also lions are cool!

 

Now you may think I’ve been harsh with Frozen so far – but before you think I’m hating on it for no reason, just read this section. Yes, I have issues with this film – but there is also a lot of good in it as well. For one, the story. Frozen is a really heartfelt tale about how loneliness can kill a person inside and love sets you free. However, unlike other Disney films in this case it’s family love that saves the day. This I think is a really good twist to the story and it’s one of the few Disney films that adds a feminist message to it. People are saying that this is the first Disney film that shows you don’t need a man to save you – although I say that Brave is more worthy of that title. (Yes I know it’s Pixar, but to me, Disney and Pixar are one and the same). My only problem with this is that the feminist message is somewhat diluted by the fact that all the male characters are either useless or just utterly crappy. My belief is that if you have to make one gender weaker to get the point across then it weakens the message somewhat. Equality works both ways guys!

 

EDIT: In actual fact there are SEVERAL Disney films that go against this convention by having the female save the day. I mention Brave, but my friend was quick to mention Beauty and the Beast, Mulan and Pocahontas as examples of females saving the day. This is something that I should have put into the blog - so thanks to my Publisher for pointing that out.

 

But on the whole, despite the few plot holes (which I’ve talked about in previous blogs), I DO think that Frozen has a much stronger message at heart and I love the idea of it going against the usual conventions of a man saving the day. So even though I think The Lion King is a better film, I AM going to give Frozen the benefit of the doubt here. So Frozen fans rejoice as I give this point to it. See? I do give credit where credit is due!

 

 

 

4-1

 

 

But unfortunately it comes too little too late as, with 4-1, The Lion King emerges triumphant.

 

 

WINNER!!!

 

 

And so, Frozen may have outshone all competition at the box office, but I personally feel The Lion King is more entertaining and has more energy and emotion in the songs. Frozen has a far better moral, but it’s weak supporting characters and a couple of plot holes just ruin it for me.

 

Does this take away from the achievements that Frozen has? Not at all! I have full respect for what this movie has achieved – but at the same time, I have an opinion like anyone else. And personally, I prefer The Lion King. Nothing personal guys.

 

Do you agree? Disagree? Do you hate my guts? Is there a flaw in my argument that you want to point out? Did I miss something? Whatever you guys feel, I love reading your comments guys, whether on my blog, my Facebook or Twitter. So please let me know what you thought of this and whether you’d like to see another one. And if you wanna take me to the cleaners – go for it!

 

Thanks for reading guys. Speak soon!

 

 

 

-------------------------

PANDRAGON

 

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Pandragon Disney Death Match! Tangled Versus The Huncback of Notre Dame

Today we’re trying something a little different. A piece I like to call... (add dramatic voice and hardcore thrash metal music here)

 

PANDRAGONDAN’S DISNEY DEATHMATCH!!!

 

Ahem, ok... it’s not going to be QUITE as bloody as the title makes it out to be, but... I couldn’t think of a witty title! XD

 

This is similar to a previous idea I had called Animated Musical Showdown – which I decided to stop in favour of this. For those new to this, don’t worry, you aren’t missing anything.

 

As many of you guys know, I love Disney – whether old school or new school. Having purchased a bundle of Disney films with works vouchers over the last few months, it got me thinking – what do I consider the best Disney films of all time? And this is where this comes in! In this blog, I will pit two Disney films against each other to try and determine which film is better (at least in my opinion). I’ll try and pick films with similar themes and ideas to try and keep it as fair as possible.

 

In each battle, there will be five “rounds”, of which I will talk about what I like, don’t like, etc, then award a point accordingly. Whoever has the most points at the end wins. Simple as that! And I’m keeping it to five so that there is no chance of a tie happening.

 

And just so you guys are aware, elements such as animation and awards/recognition won will NOT factor into my choices – only the categories mentioned in each one will matter.

 

Just a warning, this blog may contain spoilers for each story, so consider yourself warned. All opinions/conclusions reached are my own.

 

So with that being said, for my first Deathmatch, I’m putting up one of my favourite films of all time, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, against a modern reimagining of a famous fairytale, Tangled. Both are unique twists on classic stories – but which one holds up the most? Let’s find out.

 

 

 

 

FIGHT!!!

 

 

ROUND 1 – Protagonists

 

 

 

 

Here I look at the protagonists of each film – Rapunzel for Tangled and Quasimodo for Hunchback – and decide which one of them is a more sympathetic and likeable character.

 

In many ways, both are very much alike and have similar back stories. Both are locked away from the outside world by their respective antagonist, who in turn pretends to be a “guardian” for them. Both of them wish to be outside amongst the people, but are warned the world is cruel and will reject them. And both of them have a love interested that is “killed” by the villain. But each character has differences that sets them apart from the other.

 

In Rapunzel’s case, she was born with the ability to heal through her hair, granted by a magic flower was fed to her mother at birth. Kidnapped by Mother Gothel as a child, who wished to use her healing powers to stop herself from aging, Rapunzel was locked away, never knowing who her real parents were. Every year, the castle would release lights into the sky in memory of the princess (and their parents hoping it would bring Rapunzel back to them) and Rapunzel was drawn to them, never knowing their true meaning. That’s a pretty tragic back story – and quite sad as she was torn away from loving parents, without ever knowing much of where she came from or the truth behind her being held. She was a prisoner without even realising it.

 

Quasimodo’s story is equally as tragic. His mother was a gypsy that was murdered by Frollo when he was a baby and Frollo was going to drown him – until the Archdeacon forced Frollo to keep him in penance for his sin. Forced to hide in the belltower, Frollo locked him away from the people of the world, telling him that his visage would frightened them and he would be persecuted. In many ways he has it a little harder than Rapunzel, because even with her long hair, at least she could fit in with the people of the world. Quasimodo is deformed and, unfortunately, people tend to be afraid of anyone who are “different”. It makes him just that little more tragic in my eyes as his appearance makes him a monster to everyone.

 

In terms of character, Rapunzel is loveable Princess. Though slightly naive (she was locked away for years so we can forgive her for that), she is capable to an extent and can look after herself. She did knock out Flynn with a frying pan after all and she even managed to stop a whole gang of thugs from killing Flynn. Not to mention her hair is just badass! It’s so long that she can use it to lift people up, use it as a rope or a swing. It can even heal people – that is pretty cool! However, she is a little bit of a damsel in distress (which I never really liked), but to be fair to her, she DOES save Flynn’s life in the end. It would have been nice if she was a little more proactive and maybe a bit tougher, but I did grow to love her and totally bought into her story.

 

Quasimodo is also a loveable character and equally as naive as Rapunzel (if not more so), but I have a bit of a soft side for the guy. He’s deformed and looks like a monster, however he is anything but. He’s artistic, has a beautiful singing voice and also very trusting – maybe a little too trusting. He was fooled by Frollo for many years and, when Esmerelda shows him kindness, he mistakes it for love – then becomes heartbroken when she goes for Captain Phoebus. Though easily frightened and manipulated, Quasimodo does possess superhuman strength (he was shown ripping off chains that were holding him, albeit with some effort) so he can fight for himself, but due to his shyness and low self-esteem he rarely fights back. But in the end, the people do come to accept him after they see he is not such a monster after all – after Frollo tries to burn down Paris.

 

It’s hard to choose between the two of them, as they both have tragic back stories and both are loveable. But, I’ll give the point to Quasimodo purely on the basis that his tragedy was based on his deformity, whereas Rapunzel was held capture for her magic hair. So, as much as I love Rapunzel, the point goes to Hunchback.

 

 

 

0-1

 

 

ROUND 2 – Antagonists

 

 

 

A hero is only as good as their villain – and both Tangled and Hunchback have some pretty nasty villains to boot. For Tangled we have Mother Gothel and for Hunchback we have Judge Claude Frollo. But which of them do I love to hate the most?

 

Firstly, I’d like to say that both these characters are somewhat unique amongst your typical Disney villains like Maleficent, Jafa and Ursula (to name a few) in that they don’t rely on magic to perform their deeds, which I think makes them more believable. Also, both these villains lock the main character away from the rest of the world and both of them also die by falling.

 

Mother Gothel is an aging hag of a woman that found a magic flower that she used every now and then to stop herself aging – the film hints at her being well over 400 years old. But when this flower was taken to use on the sick Queen, Rapunzel was born and the magic was held in her hair. Mother Gothel stole Rapunzel (in fairness to her, she did only intend to take just a lock of her hair – but realised that when her hair was cut, the magic was lost) and kept her locked in a tower, where she periodically visited her to use her magic to keep her young, keeping her locked away from the outside world. Geez, what a bitch!

 

Judge Claude Frollo is a fundamentalist xenophobe that seeks to have all the gypsies (who he considered sinful) cleansed from Paris. A devout man that sees himself doing the Lord’s work, he is willing to torture and murder people to achieve his goals. In his case, he never WANTED to keep Quasimodo alive – in fact he murdered Quasimodo’s mother and tried to drown him as a baby, but the archdeacon forced him to stop. Since then he’s kept Quasimodo away from the world, pretending that he is doing it for his own good.

 

In terms of character, Mother Gothel is the more “lighthearted” of the two, to an extent anyway. Most of the time she is sarcastic to Rapunzel, often putting her down and making fun of her like the mean girl she is. She talks down to Rapunzel with a condescending “mother knows best” tone – but man can she turn nasty when she wants to! She was even prepared to murder Rapunzel’s love interest and lock her away in darkness to keep her away from the rest of the world. Mother of the year she is not! But despite her wicked nature, she does occasionally get a few funny lines in now and then.

 

Frollo, by contrast, is much darker and takes himself a bit more seriously. In fact, one could argue that he is the darkest of all Disney villains. He murders and tortures, lusts over Esmerelda and even burns Paris in his search for the gypsies. And yet, in his own mind, he believes that he is doing God’s work. He sees himself as a holy avenger, sent to cleanse the world of sin. Ironically, whilst Quasimodo is viewed as a monster because of how he looks, Frollo actually is a monster because of the evil deeds he does. And yet he justifies his actions by claiming to be a good Christian – although whether he believes this and whether he is just using this as an excuse is open for debate. As Clopin states in the film "who is the monster, and who is the man". All these factors make Frollo much more interesting as a villain as unlike Mother Gothel (who was motivated by her own vanity and desire to cheat death), Frollo is motivated by his religion and his desire to see sin cleansed.

 

All these factors (plus the fact that Frollo was voiced by the incredible Tony Jay, who’s baritone voice adds a sinister threatening tone to the character) make Frollo a much more rounded villain. So, not surprisingly, I’m giving the point to Hunchback for this one.

 

 

 

0-2

 

 

ROUND 3 – Supporting Characters

 

 

 

Here I look at the supporting characters in the film. For Tangled I’ll be looking at Flynn Rider (aka Eugene Fitzherbert), Maximus the Horse, Pascal the chameleon and the thugs. For Hunchback it’s Esmerelda, Captain Phoebus, the gargoyles and Clopin.

 

Let me just start off by saying that the characters in Tangled are some of the best I’ve seen in a Disney film. Flynn Rider is actually my favourite Disney hero out of all of them – he’s a dashing rogue that seeks nothing but fame and fortune and comes across as quite arrogant and full of himself. But then when he meets Rapunzel, that kinda changes for him and he finds something else worth fighting for. Learning that his real name was Eugene and that he got his name from a character in a book was a nice twist as well and actually makes him a lot more believable as a character. Maximus, the horse, was just funny as hell to watch. The scenes between him and Flynn as they try to outdo each other are just entertaining and crack me up every time. Pascal... I gotta be honest, he didn’t do much for me. But the thugs were also very funny. They look like some of the toughest people you will ever meet, but they are just so overly camp and silly that you can’t help but smile, despite their frightening looks.

 

Now onto Hunchback – and yes, I am just going to say this now. Esmerelda is the sexiest Disney heroine ever in my opinion! Whether it’s just that she looks beautiful, the outfits she wears, or maybe it’s the fact that she’s voiced by Demi Moore, Esmerelda is a great character. She is tough and streetwise, but also gentle and sincere, especially to Quasimodo, who in many ways she shares his plight as she’s an outcast because of who she is. Oh, and her goat Djali is also entertaining to watch, that little goat kicks ass! (pardon the pun). In fact, Esmerelda can also fight when needed, making her tougher than most Disney Princesses. Can’t blame Frollo for wanting a piece of her. Captain Phoebus, whilst on the antagonistic side, is more heroic than Frollo is. He is a soldier that tries to do the right thing and eventually sees through Frollo’s wicked action, becoming ally to Quasimodo and lover to Esmerelda. Nice guy, but pretty much your standard hero. The gargoyles are a source of a lot of the humour in Hunchback and are a lighthearted touch in an otherwise dark movie, which I think helped balance the story. Clopin, the leader of the gypsies as he acts as a kind of narrator for the film, explaining through performance Quasimodo’s backstory. He is entertaining to watch, but is willing to do some pretty dark things to protect his people.

 

Whilst I like the characters in Hunchback, I have to say that the scenes with Flynn and Maximus are entertaining as hell to watch. So this time, Tangled gets the point.

 

 

 

1-2

 

 

ROUND 4 – Music

 

 

 

Now let’s look at the music in each film. I’m quite lucky here because both films are scored by Alan Menken – who is a god amongst film composers in my eyes!

 

The music in Tangled is a little more modern than Hunchback, incorporating a lot of modern day pop elements and folk. Not surprising seeing as Rapunzel was voiced by pop singer Mandy Moore. Now some reviews say that the songs in Tangled aren’t that good, but I disagree. When Will My Life Begin is a catchy, upbeat number where Rapunzel wonders when she will leave the tower and begin her life. Mother Knows Best is a jazzy number by Mother Gothel with dark undertones and becomes really dark later on. I See The Light is a beautiful ballad to listen to and actually brought me to tears – not to mention the scene itself (with Flynn and Rapunzel on the boat at the lights are raised up) is just amazing to watch with all the flying lights. I would actually go so far to say that it has more heart and is more entertaining than Let It Go from Frozen (sorry guys). My favourite one though is I Got a Dream, sung by the thugs. It was a fun musical number and seeing all kinds of barbarians singing and dancing (including a scene where a thug with a hooked hand played piano) made me crack up no end. Overall, the music is brilliant, has a lot of heart and is pretty upbeat for the most part, but dark when it wants to be.

 

But no matter how dark the songs in Tangled they are nowhere near as dark as the songs on Hunchback. Incorporating a lot of themes from religion to xenophobia, the music in Hunchback is often foreboding, but also full of pathos. It has a couple of typically upbeat Disney showtunes such as A Guy Like You and Topsy Turvey, but the real power comes from songs like Out There, where Quasimodo laments his desire to be amongst the real people – and God Help The Outcasts, which is a heart moving song about Esmerelda praying for her people’s salvation, interjected with people praying to God for rather mundane and material means. These songs don’t hesitate to get the emotions riled and the tears flowing. And if that doesn’t do it for you, the end credits song Someday, sung by Eternal, will most definitely hit you in the feels.

 

However, there is ONE song in this film that I think, without question is the greatest Disney song ever made. Yeah, you know the one I’m talking about – Hellfire! Man I can’t get enough of this song – it’s powerful, dark, twisted and has a lot of mature themes in it. I love how the song perfectly captures the many sides of Frollo, his zealous belief in his faith, his secret lust for Esmerelda, his growing insanity as he believes he is turning to sin – and then his final dark wish that he will burn everyone and everything to get what he desires (you know, for kids XD). It kinda foreshadows Frollo’s eventual fate in many ways as when he dies, there is fire like imagery, symbolising his fall to hell. Not to mention that Tony’s Jay’s vocals are just chilling to listen to. No matter how many times I listen to this song, I still get goosebumps! As I’ve said before on previous blogs, this song isn’t just better than Let It Go in my opinion – it eats it for breakfast! Menzel, take a hike!

 

 

Awww... why you gotta be so mean?

 

 

I’m sorry, Elsa. Do you want to build a snowman? That cheer you up?

 

 

Snowman? YAY!!!

 

 

Just promise me the snowman won’t be as annoying as Olaf.

 

Anyway. Moving on...

 

So with all that that being said, it should come as no surprise that I’m giving this point to Hunchback. Even though I love the songs in Tangled, I just can’t get over how powerful they are in Hunchback.

 

 

 

1-3

 

 

ROUND 5 – Story and overall theme

 

In this last section, I look at the story and overall themes of the film. What I think works and what doesn’t work.
Tangled is a really enjoyable fantasy romp, with colourful landscapes, vibrant characters and entertaining songs. It has plenty of heart with some really moving scenes – the love story between Rapunzel and Flynn I actually would say is the best of any Disney film. The idea of Rapunzel being held back by Mother Gothel is a symbol of breaking free and discovering your true potential, and not being bullied by abusive parents. I just wish that Rapunzel wasn’t so much of a damsel in distress and had a bit more strength to her, like Esmerelda. Sure, Esmerelda got captured as well, but at least she could fight and look after herself a lot better. But overall, I say Tangled had a strong plot and is easily accessible.

 

The Hunchback of Notre Dame may be a little harder to take for some people. It’s much darker than other Disney films with a lot of mature themes, but does have the usual Disney humour that makes it entertaining for younger audiences. For me though, I think Hunchback has a much stronger message. It’s a story about acceptance and finding your way in the world, regardless of race or appearance. It also highlights racism and the dangers of fundamentalism, but doesn’t completely say that religion is the enemy. It’s heart warming as much as it is heart wrenching and carried across by some brilliant characters and performances. It’s a story that I personally can relate to, often I feel isolated as I don’t seem to fit in with any particular trend or sub-culture.

 

So even though I do love Tangled, I have to go with what I think has the more meaningful story. And The Hunchback of Notre Dame just has more emotion and a stronger message for me. So therefore, the point goes to Hunchback.

 

 

 

1-4

 

 

And at the end of this battle, with 4-1, the outright winner is The Hunchback of Notre Dame!

 

 

 

WINNER!!!

 

 

So does this mean I don't like Tangled? Not at all. In fact, as I said in the blog, I love Tangled and think it's one of the best Disney films of all time. I just feel that The Hunchback of Notre Dame has more emotional appeal and a stronger moral. Both films are amazing in their own way - but there can only be one winner.

 

Agree with this? Disagree? Please comment below to let me know what you think. And please suggest any ideas for Disney films you’d like seen put together.

 

Next time on Pandragon Disney Deathmatch – the King of the Jungle goes up against the Queen of the Box Office.

 

Be prepared – to let it go.

 

 

 

------------------------

PANDRAGON

 

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All images use are owned by Disney. No copyright infringement is intended.

Reading VS Writing

 

 

One of the most given bits of advice I see from authors when they are asked “what does it take to be a writer”, more often than not it’s “Read a lot”. This seems like pretty good advice and in some ways a no brainer. After all, you need to read in order to learn your craft – because how can you be expected to write a book if you don’t know how to set out your story?

 

However, my problem with this advice is that some authors put across the idea that you need to be a hardcore reader to be a writer, that you need to eat sleep and breathe reading and read about a hundred books before you can even pick up a pen (or keyboard).

 

This I don’t agree with and I would actually contest this. In my opinion, you don’t NEED to be a reader to be a writer.

 

At least to a point.

 

I am sure some of my author friends reading this will be raising their eyebrows here – just hear me out. And remember, this is just my opinion.

 

Firstly, I agree that you need to read books to learn to write them – in fact that needs to be the first thing you should do. But, contrary to what some authors believe, you do not need to read a LOT of books to get started. My belief has always been that, to be a writer, you just need to have a basic grasp of grammar, spelling and, most importantly, an imagination. Books can obviously teach you this, but reading too much can also be counterproductive. Reason? If you spend all your time reading, when are you supposed to find the time to actually write?

 

The only way you’re ever going to learn writing – is by writing! Now I know that there are authors out there that can read five books a day and still find time to write their own books – but that doesn’t work for everyone. I know that there are authors that have wall to wall bookshelves of all the books they’ve collected over the years, but I also know some authors that only have read a few books in their time. You have to find a balance between reading and writing or else you'll never get your book finished.

 

Speaking for myself, believe it or not, I actually am NOT a heavy reader. Obviously, I do read books, and even review them on this very blog – hell I even read manga and comics where I can. However, I work a full time job, play guitar in a band and also have my own projects on the go, so I don’t often find myself sitting still very long to read a novel except on my lunch break – or when nature calls. Ahem.

 

But truthfully, I also find it very hard to get into new authors. Aside from George R R Martin, I haven’t really got into any big name authors. In fact, if I’m being honest, some of the best books I’ve read (and most of my favourite authors) are by Indie authors. In fact, if you were to ask me who I think the top five best authors are at the moment, they would all be Indie ones! But another reason I find it hard to get into new authors is that you just can’t beat Douglas Adams or H.P. Lovecraft in my opinion! XD

 

So... how many novels SHOULD you read before you become a writer? There’s no real “amount” as such, but I would definitely read a couple or more at least to get an idea for storytelling. In fact, pick an author that you admire and see how they write to get some ideas. Obviously don’t copy them, but give yourself an idea.

 

Reading is good and it will help you no end, but it can only teach you so much. The only way you’re ever going to be any good at writing is to write. It’s fair enough reading about a hundred novels to learn as much as you can, but if you spend TOO much time away from writing, then your will never get done. You need to find that perfect balance between reading and writing – of which I can’t advise you on that, you need to learn it for yourself. What? You don’t expect me to tell you EVERYTHING do you?

 

So in closing, if you ask any author for advice and they tell you that you need to read a lot, my view is to take it with a pinch of salt. It’s not necessarily a lie as such – just a half truth. I’d say read a few books to get an idea, learn to write and then start putting down some ideas. Reading is a great way to get started on your way to being a best selling author, but don’t be intimidated into thinking that you need to read a million books first hand. You only need to do one important thing to be an author. And that is WRITE!

 

But I’d also like to make one thing clear, as reading this back, it makes is look as though I’m saying you should rush things in your attempt to be a writer. That’s not true. Take your time. A story is finished when it’s finished. As I said earlier, you need to find a balance between writing and reading, but never rush your work. Great stories take a while to get through after all.

 

Thanks for reading – now go write that novel that you’ve been planning for ages!

 

Agree? Disagree? Please Facebook, tweet or message me or leave a comment with your thoughts.

 

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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Does Young Adult ALWAYS have to have Young Adult protagonists?

Phew! Well I’m back guys – and yes it is me this time! The Man in Shadow’s plan to take over my blog failed miserably as everyone saw through his lies! I’m kinda embarrassed that he let me get the drop on me to be honest. Turns out that he, one of my characters, had become self aware and he had become more powerful than I imagined! He was the one that had been trolling me for the last few days.

 

Thankfully, Zarracka stopped him and rescued me. I did have a whole fight scene planned but... well, I don’t have a Michael Bay budget. Basically, this is how the fight went!

 

 

 
 

Yeah... kinda anticlimactic I know. Oh well.

 

Anyhoo, moving on. Today’s post is something that I wanted to talk about because of something that happened recently – which got me thinking.

 

About a week or so ago, I completed a new Young Adult novel, and I found a publisher that I thought would be pretty good for it (I never published through a publisher before so I thought, why not?). Also, as this book had a Disney/Pixar influence, I hoped that would catch their attention. It did and they agreed to read the manuscript. A few days back, I got some feedback from them, saying that they didn’t consider it a Young Adult novel as the main protagonist was in her twenties.

 

My first initial reaction was – really? Ok, that’s not a bad comment at all, but it was a little strange. See, I may be totally showing my ignorance here, but I always thought that Young Adult (as well as New Adult, Adult, etc) was simply there to differentiate the age range of your target audience and the age of your protagonist shouldn’t determine that.

 

Well, after putting it across on Facebook to my friends, a few of which are authors themselves, the general consensus is that Young Adult novels are stories that have a protagonist that is between 13-18 years of age. This is apparently something that publishers adhere to quite strictly from what I hear (if anyone can confirm or deny this, please leave a comment below) and I suppose it makes sense. After all, if you have a target audience in mind, you obviously want to put a character in there that your audience can latch onto and follow the story. This is probably why Harry Potter was so popular as a character – not just that he did magic, but because he grew up like a real human with each passing story. So I don’t entirely blame the publishers for that.

 

However, to quote a conflicting argument from a FB friend – isn’t this “Somewhat flawed logic”, and mentioned a book called Room, which is apparently told from the POV of a 5 year old boy. By that logic, it could be considered a children’s book – but from what I’ve read of it, it’s anything but. Again, please correct me if I’m wrong on this. But I completely see his point on this, why does a Young Adult novel HAVE to have a Young Adult protagonist? What’s wrong with maybe have a slightly older protagonist that represents the values and morals that Young Adult is supposed to teach? You could argue that comics are aimed at a Young Adult market (although there are some mature storylines out there) and the superheroes/heroines in that are mostly adults, or aliens, or robots or mutants, or furries... um... I’ll stop there. My point is that these heroes may not be kids, but they do represent a moral and ethical code that they want their readers to follow – although there ARE teenage superheroes as well (Static Shock, Kid Flash and Speedy to name a few).

 

Another point raised by my friend was that isn’t it “rather patronising to the target audience that they'll only relate to characters of their own age”. Again, I totally agree with this statement. Although I don’t think that is the intent at all, but I do believe what he says. Again I refer to the above statement with the superheroes – what is so wrong about having an adult protagonist? Look at Doctor Who for instance – the main character in that isn’t a child (though he acts like one some of the time) and his companions are usually twenty something women (at least in the later series), but people of all ages – even children – can related to the characters and enjoy the stories. So why shouldn’t the same apply for novels?

 

Here is my view on Young Adult. I feel that a Young Adult novel doesn’t HAVE to include a Young Adult protagonist. It just needs to teach the target market a moral lesson, whether it be friendship, love, bravery – etc. Now that doesn’t mean that it CAN’T have a teenage hero (and if it does that’s cool), I just don’t think it needs to follow that convention. Especially if you look at Manga, where their Young Adult (Shonen) Mangas often have more adult characters rather than teenagers – although their demographics tend to be a little different to ours – so I’ve probably shot myself in the foot saying that! XD

 

But you know what, I’m probably just making a mountain out of a molehill. If my novel is classed as more New Adult than Young Adult, fair play. I just was somewhat surprised by this statement and wanted to put another opinion across.

 

What do you guys think? Please leave a comment below and let me know!

 

Thanks for reading guys!

 

 

 
 

What? You again?

 

Man in Shadow: Ha! You may have foiled my attempts to ruin you before. But I’ll be back. You haven’t seen the last of me! I’ll come back and troll your blog even more than I did before! You’ll never be rid of me! I’ll haunt your nightmares, disturb your every waking moment. I will make you suffer, I will burn you, I will...

 

Oh, piss off, Man in Shadow! No one cares what you think!

 

Man in Shadow: What? (sniff) How can you be so mean? That’s it! I’m gonna, I’m gonna... I’m gonna gather an army of the most evil minds in fiction and... I’m gonna come back and totally crush you!

 

(He disappears in a puff of smoke)

 

Pffff. Good luck with that!

 

 

 

--------------------------

PANDRAGON

 

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Top Five Indie Novels That Should Be Made Into Films/TV Shows

A lot of people like to say how they want their favourite book to be turned into a film and/or a TV series. Which I think is pretty cool – I mean, what can be better than your favourite story being shown on the big screen? However, you don’t see a lot of people talking about how they want their favourite indie book being put onto the big screen. So that’s the subject of today’s Top Five blog.

 

Now, for myself, I would LOVE it if my books were turned into an Anime series or film, done by either Bones animation studio (who did Full Metal Alchemist) or Production I.G – but this isn’t about me. This is about five indie novels that I’ve read that I think would benefit from having a film or TV show made of their story. For any indie authors reading this, if I didn’t name your book I’m sorry in advance. That doesn’t mean I think your book sucks, I just am only limited to just five!

 

Also bear in mind this is based on books I’ve read only. So here we go, in no particular order.

 

 

 

1. A Ranger’s Tale by Mysti Parker

 

(Note: This book has had a different cover since this blog, but I don't have the new front cover, so I'm posting the old one)

 

The book series that helped me appreciate Romance novels a lot more and made Mysti Parker one of my favourite authors. A Ranger’s Tale is the first book in the Tallenmere series and a brilliant Fantasy Romance. It tells the story of Caliphany (a great character), stuck between her own desires and the wills of her abusive father. She’s also stuck between a romance between Galadin and Jayden and has to make some tough choices along the way.

 

A Ranger’s Tale has such wonderfully crafted characters and a great story (that actually wouldn’t feel out of place if set in modern times) that I think it deserves to be made into a film so that others can be introduced to this great series. Also, given the rise in popularity of Game of Thrones, I think now would be a great time to introduce a Fantasy story that isn’t necessarily about epic quests and slaying monsters, but personal struggles as well.

 

Who could we get to direct this film? How about Sofia Coppola of Lost in Translation fame? I think she would do a great job with this film, given that there is a lot of great room for character development in this story. She could direct the film from the point of view of the characters (just like the book) so that we get the individual thoughts and feelings of the main heroes – leading it to an open ended story whereby we can let the viewer decide which of the characters they’d like to support. I think it would also be great for Sofia to show off her skills, taking on a high budget idea like this one.

 

Naturally, I think all of the Tallenmere series could make great films. But why not start with this one and see how it goes from there?

 

 

 

2. A Stiff Kiss by Avery Olive

 

This novel I think would make a VERY powerful drama. Seeing as it deals with the feeling of loss and regret (and in some ways, forbidden love), A Stiff Kiss is almost begging for a film adaptation of it. It’s a great teen drama that also has a lot of mature elements to it, making it a great coming of age story. If that doesn’t make for a great film then I don’t know what does.

 

Now, the obvious choice for a director, giving A Stiff Kiss is a supernatural teen drama, this would probably be Catherine Hardwicke, director of Twilight and Red Riding Hood, amongst others. However (and at the risk of upsetting some people) I have to say that I do NOT consider her a great director and her films (at least the ones I’ve seen) are just terrible! Red Riding Hood in particular I just couldn’t finish because it was so bland and uninspired. But, of course, that’s just my opinion.

 

No, I think a better choice would be Joss Whedon. I know he’s mainly known for doing comic book movies (and of course Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Firefly), but Joss Whedon is able to direct the characters in his movies with humanity and wit, so that even if they are super powered heroes, we never forget that they had emotions at heart. Also, he did direct a movie adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing in 2012, so he CAN do other things than superhero stuff. Also, he’s a great writer and director and I think he will have a lot of fun adapting this story.

 

Sorry if I upset any fans of Catherine Hardwicke with my earlier rant. I’m sure she’s a nice person, I just don’t personally rate her as a director. I also feel that A Stiff Kiss is such an emotional story that it deserves a director that will be able to bring out the emotional content in a way that it deserves.

 

 

3. The Plaza by Guillermo Paxton

 

Never have I been so moved by a novel than this one. The Plaza is a gritty, no holds barred story telling of how the city of Juarez, Mexico has been destroyed by the drug barons. It is a city where the drug lords rule and crime is rampant. Even the police, the ones dedicated to protecting the public interest are just as corrupt as the criminals they are supposed to capture. I even said at the time when I reviewed it that this show deserves to be made into a film or TV show if only to bring awareness to the problem.

 

I can think of no other writer/director that would have the job of bringing this story to life then David Simon, creator of The Wire and co-creator of Treme. Giving that The Wire alone shows have been praised for their gritty realism and honest portrayal of a city in peril, who better than to bring the harsh reality of Juarez onto the screen. It would be a very bleak series and not one that everyone could stomach – but you can’t really tip-toe around this subject and, personally, I think this would be one of those situations where the more violent and disturbing it is, the more people will come to appreciate the dangers that the people have to suffer.

 

Normally Simon does tend to film a lot of his stuff in real urban areas to get that realistic feel – but I don’t think he’d be able to do this in Juarez for real. The drug barons would probably not let that happen. But I do think that The Plaza does need to be made into a TV show to show everyone what a crisis the city is in. It may actually go some way to solving the problem. I hope.

 

 

 

4. Vaalbara: Visions and Shadows by Michelle Horst

 

I kinda gave this book a bit of a hard time in my review of it, considering that I was torn between the concepts and thought it was maybe a little too dark for a YA novel, given that it dealt with the destruction of humanity as we know it. But at the same time I also thought that it was a really good story, chronicling the rise of Alchera from a simple nobody, to the one responsible for saving some of the human race so that they can make way for a new perfect world. It kinda had mixed messages, but at its core it was a really great story and, again, another “coming of age” tale.

 

Needless to say, it would definitely make for an exciting, high budget action film that, as long as they keep the pathos and human spirit aspect, could end up being a great summer blockbuster. As such, my choices for bringing this film to life would either be Peter Jackson or Steven Spielberg. After all, when it comes to creating blockbusters that have heart, who better than those to? You only have to Google their names to see the list of classic films that they have done to know that they would be perfect for this choice. Admittedly, they would probably try to go for a less darker ending and maybe change the emphasis a little for the purpose of making it more of a “happy ending”, but for the most part I think they could do a good job.

 

I just really hope that Roland Emmerich doesn’t get his hands on this, as he’d just turn it into a high budget disaster movie for the sake of it with little storyline or anything. An adaptation of this deserves time and effort to make it into an enjoyable film that is both dramatic, yet poignant. But if done right, I think it will make an amazing film.

 

 

 

5. One Hundred Years of Vicissitude by Andrez Bergen

 

Being a huge fan of Studio Ghibli, I think this is one book that would make an amazing Anime film – especially if Hayao Miyazaki got his hands on it.

 

Why do I think that? Because One Hundred Years of Vicissitude is full of a lot of themes that Miyazaki is fond of. The story is full to the brim of Japanese mythology and history (which he often mixes in), but also intermixes it with the World War and Hiroshima bombings, and Miyazaki is strongly anti-war (so much so that, when Spirited Away won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, he refused to attend the ceremony because he "didn’t want to visit a country that was bombing Iraq") so I think he could do a lot with this.

 

Not only that, One Hundred Years of Vicissitude has a very strong and interesting female lead in the form of Kohana – and a lot of Miyazaki’s film’s have a strong female protagonist. But not only that, I think the dynamics between her and the character of Wolram would make for a lot of comedic effects.

 

But the main reason that I think this would work so well as a Miyazaki film is that One Hundred Years of Vicissitude is, for me, a story about personal growth – looking back over your life and learning from the mistakes. Even reading this book, the ending I imagined having music by Mamoru Fujisawa (who has worked on a LOT of Miyazaki films) play over the end to capture the raw emotion of the final scene. I always felt that Miyazaki's films have a lot of heart to them, so this would be perfect for him to direct.

 

Reading this, it’s almost like One Hundred Years of Vicissitude could have been specially written for Hayao Miyazaki. Therefore it makes sense that he could do a great job with this film.

 

 

Those are my choices for the Top Five indie books that could become films. What are your fav indie books that you would like to see as films? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.

 

Thanks for reading guys. Have a great day!

 

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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