This post was originally published on 5 April, 2011 - share your thoughts!
Sad to say, I'm not making much progress on A Tale of Two cities. But we did rent a movie last night that I'd like to talk about...
"Frying pans! Who knew, right?!"
One thing I really liked about this film was how the creators drew upon a lot of the classic clichés of Disney and fairytale culture, while still keeping it modern.
I'm going to focus most of my comments on Mother Gothel. Classic "bad guy" woman. Dark hair, dark eyes, red lips, and constantly portraying evil as good and vice versa. But, rather than a bad person seeking for riches or glory, she only wants to stay young. She seems to have no other aspirations (though she is very extravagant and showy), and yet the character has great depth. She is, in my opinion, one of the creepiest villains I've ever seen. When I think of wicked women, my thoughts go straight to Maleficent of Disney's Sleeping Beauty. But they made Mother Gothel a bit more crazy. You can see it in her eyes when she sings the refrain "Rapunzel Knows Best". She is constantly insulting and demeaning her 'daughter', which any parent knows that even if you're joking, those words hurt. (Read This Post to see what I mean.)
The creators took all the things that make a bad guy bad, and threw in an intensely disturbing element of Gothel's ability to manipulate Rapunzel's emotions to a degree that I've never really noticed in a Disney movie before. I would imagine that this was easy to insert because of the relationship these two have. Rapunzel believes that Gothel is her mother, and because she (Rapunzel) has never known anything else, she accepts and trusts her "Mother" completely, making the manipulation all the more easy. Obviously, Gothel doesn't really care about Rapunzel as a person at all. She only wants to harness and hoard the power from the magic flower. And after having typed it out a few times, I think her name is very applicable. It's root word is 'Gothic' which means: noting or pertaining to a style of literature characterized by a gloomy setting, grotesque, mysterious, or violent events, and an atmosphere of degeneration and decay (Dictionary.com). Yep, that's Mother Gothel.
And another thing: her utter insanity (as well as her vanity, conceit, and selfishness) is represented in it's true form at the end of the film when the magic hair is cut. All those years of cheating death come back to her, and she is lost. I also thought it was appropriate that as Gothel trips and begins to fall out the window, Rapunzel reaches for her -- perhaps out of instinct, or maybe she truly is concerned for her former 'mother' -- with a look of sadness on her face. Gothel was the only family that Rapunzel had ever really known, so it's not hard to believe that even after all the hurt, and deceit, and blatant cruelty, this pure young girl would be concerned, even for the villain of the story.
The other characters are treated the same in their individual respects. Rapunzel is a rock-and-roll heroine, Flynn (Eugene) is a hero in his own right, but mostly an attractive, guy who doesn't know what he wants in life until it's seemingly too late.
The supporting characters are great too. The horse, Maximus, made us laugh hysterically, and the chameleon, Pascal, was cute and smart.
And may I just say, that it wasn't until the third time I watched it that I remembered how the original version ended (with the tears healing the prince), and how they incorporated that into this story. Genius! I've seen and heard a few interpretations of Rapunzel, each dealing differently with the "witch's" motives, how the prince (or in this case the thief) finds the princess and what his motivation is, as well as whether or not Rapunzel actually leaves the tower, and what type of person she is.
Personally, I loved the back story on this one. The magic flower that grew from a drop of sunlight is such a beautiful idea. It represents life, health, love, and joy -- all the things that, regardless of how sheltered she was growing up and how cruel her 'mother' was, Rapunzel has inherent in her personality. Mother Gothel wouldn't have been able to keep the flower hidden for long anyway. She said she was 'protecting' the flower, and Rapunzel, but truly, she was being selfish. A gift like that needs to be shared, not hoarded.
Overall, I felt that the main moral of this story was that if one has a dream, it should be pursued. And if one has a gift, it should be used for the betterment of those around them.
From a religious standpoint, this is what we are taught by Christ in the Parable of the Talents. God (nature, the universe, whatever your label) has blessed us each with individual strengths, and it is only when we apply them that He showers us with more. That's what I am attempting with this here little blog of mine. I've always enjoyed writing and reading, but never felt like I was great at it. Hopefully, by doing it more and sharing my work with the world, that talent will start to develop.
What are your talents? What are you good at? What do you want to do better? I'd like to challenge you to find something that you want to improve in your life. It might be a talent, it might be a hobby, or maybe you'll help your spouse with their gifts. Whatever it might be, having something specific to work on, a project of sorts, is a healthy thing for anyone. Even you.
Rapunzel had a dream, what's yours?
Movies are fun.
Darci - The Page Traveler
What did you think of this movie? I really only focused on the villain, what do you think of the other characters? What do you think of the original fairytale? Share a talent you'd like to develop, or one you're currently working on. Thanks for being here!