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Posts Tagged ‘Family

Movie Review: Brave (2012)

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Plot Summary (Taken from IMDB): Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.

One of the notable things about this film is that Merida is Pixar’s first female protagonist. She certainly isn’t a damsel in distress, because she can use a bow and arrow well and hold her own in the wild. Once the beastly curse shows up, Merida does her best to overcome it.

Another notable thing about the film is the soundtrack. Since the film’s setting is in Scotland, Celtic music was used to immerse the viewer into the land. It gave the film a magical ambiance that was enjoyable. Some notable songs include “Fate and Destiny”, “I Am Merida”, and “Noble Maiden Fair”.

Besides Merida and the soundtrack, the animation was beautifully done. According to a TIME magazine article, the animation system had been rewritten. It hadn’t been done in twenty-five years, but it worked. The most striking thing in the film is Merida’s long mane of curly hair, which looks so real you could touch it.

Despite the positive aspects of the film, the plot ruined my enjoyment of it. The film’s trailer did a good job not revealing it, showing  just enough to attract people’s interest. When the  plot was revealed in the film, my reaction was, “That’s it?”  Given Pixar’s reputation for great stories, I was expecting something more thought out and creative. Instead, the plot felt like a magical version of a certain 2003 Disney family film.

Simply put, this film could have been so much better. If you love animated fantasy films, then feel free to give this a shot. However, if you are a huge Pixar fan like me, then you might want to avoid this one.

Written by Serena Zola

May 5, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Book Review: Singing You Home by Jodi Picoult

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Zoe is a forty year-old music therapist and music lover who desperately wants to be a mother. However, she and her husband have failed to have a  child due to infertility and  failed attempts at vitro fertilization. After a third miscarriage leads to divorce, Zoe thinks she will never have a child. Then, an unexpected friendship blossoms into a new kind of love and another chance at a family. Yet, some people don’t want that kind of love or family to exist.

One of the things that hooked me to this novel was how realistic, relatable, and diverse the main and supporting characters were. They aren’t all good or all bad; they are just human beings. For instance,  Zoe, one of the main characters, is a natural in her career. Yet, she is a learner when it comes to her personal life. Furthermore, having characters of different ages (i.e. teens, children, and older adults) made the motifs and themes universal.

Another thing that is well done about the novel is the research. With the clash of homosexuality and religion being  a sensitive topic, it is easy for an author or anyone to become biased and one-sided. Although the author’s stance is made clear in the book, she presents homosexuality and religion in a fair and honest light using a variety of sources.

Besides the characters and the research, the themes and motifs made the story very poignant. Some themes such as family and identity are obvious, while music and memory as a motif are a little scattered. A personal favorite motif is music, which is connected to romance, comfort, and hope.

In addition to the themes and motifs, there is a pretty good sense of humor sprinkled throughout the book, particularly with Zoe and her partner Vanessa. Some lines made me laugh out loud! One such line was on the very last page of the book and reads, “Sammy says he was so dumb, he thought M & M’s were really W’s.”

While there are many positive aspects to the novel, there were a few loose threads at the end. I wanted to know what happened to certain supporting characters, but their fates were unresolved because the author focused only on Zoe and Vanessa. It felt like the author was in a hurry to wrap things up. Even though Zoe and Vanessa were the main focus of the book, it doesn’t feel right to have some of the supporting characters pushed aside when they were so well fleshed out.

Overall, this was an amazing read. I couldn’t put it down and now, it has become my new favorite book. I will definitely be reading other books by this author (this was my first one). I personally recommend this book to people who like adult fiction about social issues.

Written by Serena Zola

February 24, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Book Review: Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

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On the outside, eleven year-old Melody seems to be just a girl with cerebral palsy in a wheel chair. Yet inside is a photographic memory and intelligence that goes beyond her years. No one knows it, because Melody can’t talk, walk, or write. For while, Melody is stuck in her mind, until something gives her a voice. However, not everyone wants to hear it.

One of the best things about this book is the author’s writing style. It brings Melody’s world and her story to life with rich sensory details. Melody hears music in colors and visualizes flavors. Jazz “sounds brown and tan, and it smells like wet dirt.” Country is “lemons, sugar sweetened tangy.”

Another amazing thing is this book are the supporting characters. Melody’s mom is like a tiger when she sticks up for her daughter. Mrs. V, Melody’s neighbor, is the most encouraging and kind mentor any kid like Melody could ask for. Last, but not least, Melody’s special needs classmates (forgive me if I use the wrong term) shine with humble and fun traits, such as loving music and wanting to zoom like a race car driver to the moon.

An important trait in this book is its realism. Everyday, kids like Melody are teased or ignored by normal classmates and misunderstood by adults. Not only is it because of a lack of knowledge and understanding, but because of the assumption that any physical or mental limitation equals a lack of heart and soul. This book does a fantastic job of stating otherwise.

I recommend this book to anyone who is around kids like Melody. This is Sharon M. Draper’s best book yet.

Written by Serena Zola

November 2, 2012 at 12:14 PM

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