Hey! My latest column is up at AMC and I take a look at the “elderly” in fantasy film.
My sense of what it means to be elderly is wildly skewed since my grandmother will be 105 next week, is sharp as a tack and still lives on her own. Sadly, fantasy has a narrower view of the elderly, and they get short shrift when it comes to adventuring. Fantasy ageism posits that old people have either had their turn, or exist to support the youth who are really getting things done. Thus, if you have gray hair in a fantasy flick, you probably fall into one of three camps.
In epic battles of good vs. evil, the outcome often comes down to a one-on-one combat. A duel if you will. Historically, duels have been fought to settle a disagreement: Don't like what someone called your mother? Out come the swords! Fantasy movies, as it happens, have some of the best duels — and the best reasons for fighting them.
Merry Christmas! One of the things I love most about this time of year is that its the one time of the year when fantasy and the real world intersect. I mean, in households all around the world, people are participating in the world’s largest fairy tale as they open presents under the tree to see what Santa brought them. (St. Nick is, after all, described as a “right jolly old elf.”) Granted Santa is unique in the world of elfdom, but it’s possible that any number of his kin could rise to the occasion. So let’s take a look at some fantasy elves who could carry the mantle, should the big guy ever decide to take a year off.
My column this week looks at the films of Roald Dahl.
There are few authors who have had as profound an influence on the fantasy movie genre as Roald Dahl. It's not just that so many of his stories have been adapted for the screen, but also that he was himself a fantasy screenwriter. You might think you know a Roald Dahl movie when you see one, but I'm willing to bet that a couple of his masterpieces will surprise you.
It’s like I’m the Scrooge of Thanksgiving. Leftovers? Bah! Humbug.
In America, nothing matches the archetype of “Feast” like the Thanksgiving dinner, which conjures images of tables groaning with food. But all that bounty comes with a price: leftovers. Sure, with that first turkey sandwich you're living the good life. But how long before the dread sets in? More cranberry sauce? Another helping of sweet potatoes? Soon you start to fantasize about all new meals. And what better way to do that than with fantasy, which offers bounties both fantastic and filling. Herewith, my top ten leftover alternatives.
Fantasy has a lot of monsters. Sure, they turn up in science fiction from time to time, but nuclear mutations aside, enormous beasties are typically the result of imagination — and fantasy has the lock-down on sheer ferocity. Monsters make a ready conflict for the hero, and raise the stakes in ways that no mere human villain can. The question remains: Which beastie is the most deadly?
Where the Wild Things Are opens today, which I’m pretty excited about. The visuals look exactly right, but…
When I first heard Spike Jonze was adapting Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are as a feature, my reaction was along the lines of Buh-Wha? I mean, the story has nine sentences. Nine. You see, in order to make a successful transition to screen, a picture book has to have sufficient conflict to withstand expansion while still maintaining a sense of wonder. By most reports, Wild Things actually pulled it off. So in honor of its nine-sentence leap, here are nine picture books I would like to see following in its footsteps, er, paw-steps.
When I started writing these columns for AMC, the first thing I did was to define terms. In particular, we talked about the difference between fantasy and science fiction. While both types of films break the rules of our world, one explains it by magic, the other by science. The only catch is that some science fiction uses science as if it were magic and breaks the laws of physics in ways that aren’t and will never be possible. In literature, we’ll sometimes call this science fantasy. Why? Because it looks like science fiction but is pure fantasy.
Today, I take a look at some common tropes of Science Fantasy films. These are ideas that filmmakers use when they want to slide a little bit of magic into their films but pretend that they are still science based.
I’m off to Orlando today. While I’m in transit you can swing by AMC to check out my top 10 list of Fantasy Chick flicks. There are two films that I genuinely like, plus eight that for me range from “run-screaming” to “not my cup of tea.” Can you guess which is which?
Really, you can probably look at the picture and know what this week’s column at AMC is about. Women in skimpy armor. I’ll tell you, the longer I looked at this, the more irritated I got. These are supposed to be smart, highly trained warriors but look at what they are wearing. I’d love it if you joined the conversation on this one.
This week at AMC I take a look at the utterly bone-headed things that fantasy heroes do. Like, why does Peter take his helmet off while fighting? Actually, I don’t cover that one, because I could only pick one item from the list of stupid moves in Prince Caspian. But that film is hardly the only offender. I mean, really, what is it about being heroic that causes people to turn in their common sense card?
As an antidote to the entrails post, you can swing by AMC to take a look at my column on mothers in Fantasy film. I don’t know about you, but my mom is fantastic all on her own.
Mother’s Day is here and lest you need reminding, none of us would exist were it not for them. Fantasy has a high incidence of orphaned characters, but once in a while mothers do show up. Here are the ten best moms a fantasy girl could ask for.
(Tor Books — August 21, 2018) Continuing the grand sweep of alternate history laid out in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars. Of course, the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, […]