Monday, October 17, 2011

I'm back!

Hey! I'm back in Australia and it's the same temperature as Scotland! What is with that? Now that my mental health has almost re-stablised since finishing my Masters and leaving Edinburgh, I hopefully will have more time to watch TV and hence update this blog.

In the meantime, the lovely peeps at Kill Your Darlings have published my review of TV series Treme (it's made by David Simon and Eric Overmyer, who made The Wire) on their blog so read that badboy HERE.

Here's a picture of John Goodman from Treme, who possibly plays the most awesome English Professor ever characterised in a TV show.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011



After dealing with my severe post traumatic stress disorder which involved lots of crying and wine and sleeping and Buffy, I've pretty much been acting like this (just substitute Tom Jones for Taylor Swift, and I'm not even joking)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Evidence that I actually am in Scotland

Check out yours truly on the cover of the Edinburgh Uni undergrad prospectus even though I am a postgrad! I got 20 quid for this so who's complaining.

here's the link.

If you look carefully you'll see I'm reading a business finance textbook in Chinese. Whoever said a literature degree didn't teach practical skills!

Monday, June 13, 2011

you can read my rant about BEYONCE

on the Kill Your Darlings Journal blog RIGHT HERE! whoo!

If you've spent more than ten minutes with me recently you'll know I'm obsessed with Beyonce to the point of staying up all night long to learn her dance moves and possibly fail my Masters as a result. However her new song and clip annoyed me BIG TIME so I wrote and rant and now it's publicly available and I hope Beyonce doesn't find it but I also hope she does so she can stop doing SILLY THINGS like WRITE SONGS AND MAKE VIDEOS like the ones I complain about.

Okie dokes will write more soon after I actually do some work on my thesis this week.

I asked my Zimbabwean flatmate if I could get a weave to look like this. She said no.

Monday, May 16, 2011

do you like the new skins better than the old skins?

I’m reviewing skins season 5 even though I never watched the final episode, because even though I love the new bunch of characters to bits, the storylines started to drive me nuts.

I think the acting talent is GREAT (I’m surprised every week by how good the actors are, considering all of them except Dakota Blue Richards have never acted professionally before). I actually cried in every episode. Two actors in particular took the cake for me. The first is the gorgeous Freya Mavor (from our very own Edinburgh) who plays Minnie, who shattered my heart the most when, under pressure from her rugby-captain boyfriend to have sex (for the first time), spends a whole scene contorting herself into different positions from a magazine article about “pleasing your man”. The pain and fear evident on her face during this scene depicted the pressure on teenage girls to be sexually competent even though they may be virgins, and sensitively reveal the secret insecurities of a girl who is otherwise the most popular and beautiful girl at school.

the new kids on the Bristol block
The other was Laya Lewis – but I can’t tell if I loved her acting, or just loved her character, or both. She has guts – she gets what she wants when she wants it, but she’s also humble enough to admit when she’s wrong and loves her friends enough to apologise (like when she sleeps with her best friend Minni’s boyfriend). There were a bunch of other turtly ahhsome moments – Nick bailing from his position as rugby captain when he realized the pressure of the role was turning him into someone he didn’t like, or Rich and Grace being too self-conscious to tell each other that they like each other for ages (awww! Loved it.)

But, I couldn't help but feel the screenwriters are running out of ideas - majorly. I mean, it has been five years and viewers are still watching kids feel alienated by their angry parents, get wasted, and come to sort of resolution about it, followed by speech about what they’ve learned and how they need to change. (Ok sure - that actually is a pretty real set of circumstances that probably happens to most teens but I don’t really want to spend an hour watching it on TV every week for that long). There was some variation – like I said, Minni’s episode was heart wrenching and sensitively complex and focused on her own insecurity rather than her parents (though there was the suggestion that her relationship with her promiscuous mother wasn’t great). But for the most part, each ep was about angry, overbearing and largely absent parents versus headstrong and oppressed teenagers, all culminating in the teens learning some level of humility and/or way of moving forward on their own terms...which is fine and good - but it was a recurring theme almost every week. 

Also, even though skins has always tended to focus each episode around a story of a different character, I feel like previous seasons did this in a way which highlighted individual stories while still continuing the other characters’ stories at the same time. Earlier seasons seemed to entwine the character’s stories together reasonably convincingly – season 5, however, seemed to focus so intently on one or two characters each week that the stories became isolated and somewhat contrived. Even though the scene where metal-head Rich watches Grace’s ballet performance and finds beauty in something other than metal (and other than himself, essentially) was effective in terms of its meaning, we don’t know enough about these characters by the time their episodes come around for it to be as emotionally affective as when, for example, Chris’ mother bails on him in Season 1.

Nevertheless, I’m still looking forward to Season 6. The screenwriters have set up a lot of interesting material to be explored (for example I hope they explore the Frankie’s family situation – she is adopted by gay male parents) and since the acting can only get better, I’m sure it will be just as melodramatic in the endearing way that skins always is – especially if the actors have some meatier scripts to work with. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

well it sure does suck...

I hoped Suckerpunch was gonna be good. The trailer, to me, smacked of determined and passionate (albeit a bit simplistic and old-fashioned) feminism: a young girl is put into an insane asylum by her evil stepdad after her mum dies. To escape containment and lobotomy, the girl conjures up a battle field in her own imagination, and creatively “fights” her way out of through fantastical scenarios of war, guerrilla tactics and hand-to-hand fighting (at all three of which she kicks butt, as do the fellow female patients she includes in her escape place). The basic metaphor, I gathered, was something about the oppression of women by the evil and abusive institution of patriarchy that contains women through violence – but that women are able to “break free” through the creative power of their minds, and through banding together.

Of course, I saw problems with this metaphor – it positions all men as generically evil, and it suggests that a “freeing of the female mind” is enough to make women feel ok about the real violence and oppression they may have experienced (ie. you wouldn’t tell a rape victim to just fantasise about killing the rapist, and then assume her own trauma has been dealt with, or that “rape” as an issue in society has been removed). In any case: whatever misgivings I had about the trailer, I hoped they would dissipate through the course of film. THEY DIDN’T. (In fact, they grew and mutated in huge horrible monsters named Disbelief and Disgust).

The offending school uniform get up.
For one, the whole film was a shameless excuse to get hot chicks flashing as much butt-cheek and cleavage as possible. Babydoll (the main character) actually has two levels of escapist fantasy – apart from world of fighting in her mind, she imagines that the mental hospital is crazy burlesque brothel (!!?!) where young (underage?) fake-tanned girls strut around in corsets, fishnet tights and stilettos, each with their own electronic rotating bed. The creepy lobotomy doctor becomes a creepy pimp and the “fantasy world” of fighting that I saw in the trailer can only be accessed by Babydoll when she does a pornographic stripper dance. It is while she mesmerises everyone with her “moaning” and “gyrating” (as the other girls in the film describe) that she can distract the chief doctor (pimp), the psychologist (the madam) and guards so that the other female patients can steal a map, a key and some other objects that will help during their escape. To the film’s credit, we never actually see the notorious dance. However, equating female, imaginative freedom with self-objectification and sexualisation is totally problematic, and suggests girls can only really achieve freedom through showing their bodies (which will only work if their bodies are “good enough” to have power over men). Obviously this is no freedom at all, and I should have realised at this stage that the film probably wasn't intended as a contribution to contemporary gender politics. 

In any case, the scenes which depict the gunfights and explosions in Babydoll’s fantasyland feature the girls in revealing school-girl uniforms, encouraging some weird paedophilic voyeurism on the part of the audience. Also, Babydoll meets some random old guy in the fantasyland who gives her instructions about what objects she needs to escape. On the “real” level of the story, one of the female patients does escape, thanks to Babydoll, and when she gets out of the hospital and into the town, the same random old guy is the bus driver, who gives her a knowing wink and lets her ride the bus for free. Babydoll and this woman, then, are actually totally dependent on this guy for having achieved any level of freedom at all. And yet we never find out who the heck this guy is – he’s just another vague male white father figure with the appropriate knowledge on how a women should behave (!!!?!). I’m not saying that men and women shouldn’t work together – of course I think they should. Some might argues that as a Christian (ie follower of Christ) that I am complicit in such a narrative of a masculine archetype - but actually, Jesus’ own history and claims are extremely specific and gender inclusive, as opposed to  the film's presentation of some vague cultural idea of manhood which refuses to account for its origin, its influence, or where it gets the omniscience it claims as natural to itself.

Plus, the film made no sense narratively. How did the real girls get into the brothel fantasy? The film nowhere explained what the correspondence was between the real life of the girl and her fantasies – presumably they matched up somehow, but it wasn’t clear. Plus, the fight scenes sucked – talk about boring, and pornographic. As my good friend blogged here[Snyder, the director] could have considered the fact that us chicks would definitely not be impressed by seeing the same jump and twirl that conveniently exposes lots of creamy thigh five times in a row (and countless of other times over the course of the movie.) And for the love of all that is holy, where is the gore?

I’m going to hold it there, even though I could write another thousand words on many other aspects of badness into the film. MORAL OF THE STORY: filmmakers need to get out of the habit of writing films that position men as automatically having negative power and women automatically being on the defensive. How else will we move forward out of this thinking, to an ideology where men and women can work together on equal terms? I know I sound ranty. Soon I will find something I like and write a happy post :) To cheer you up, here is a shot from the hilarious scene in Wayne's World that inspired the name of this post, and exemplifies my feelings towards Suckerpunch. Love yas! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I'd like to officially thank JAMES FRANCO

for confirming that I have become desensitized to gross gory stuff onscreen. 127 Hours was the best new film I've seen since The Fighter two weeks ago and I totes watched that arm get chopped off without even having to hide behind a cushion or my fingers or a Carebear. Thank goodness he's the one being touted as the dude to direct the film adaptation of Cormac's Blood Meridian...see here, here and here for the heresay concerning that one (which I HOPE IS TRUE).

I don't want to be too desensitized though. I still wana find bad stuff horrible. But I hope the feeling lasts till I see Blood Meridian (most violent book that anyone who's read it has ever read). Read summary here.

also I joined twitter and spent 90 mins this morning reading about ian somerhalder and eliza dushku and jessica alba. what a non-waste of my time!

Peace out!
coolio numero uno.

Coolios numeros dos, tres & cuatro.

Friday, April 1, 2011

HEROES we need more girl ones.

Well i'm sick as a dog but what really made things better was buying a set of cowgirl coasters this morning with my friend Deb after we had a coffee. Also we talked a lot about Supernatural and the weirdest TV characters we've been attracted to (both of us admitted they were aliens on badly scripted 90sTV shows which will remain nameless). But more importantly I was so sick last night that all I managed for dinner was a block of chocolate and some wine and THE LAST FOUR EPISODES OF HEROES SEASON 2. (This is going to be a really predictable post about why the representation of women really peed me off, btw. You can pretty much read the rest of my argument about this stuff HERE).

the male:female ratio is like so mid-20th century.
I mean seriously! here is how what started off good just went bad. All the chicks are kind of helpless and totally dependent on men to make decisions for them. Maya, for example, who can make everyone drop dead somehow while she's angry, cries all the time and gets really easily deceived by the bad Sylar. He doesn't even have to try, she just falls for his every word! Besides, totally annoying that she's the 'evil one' and she always needs some dude around to calm her down and stop her from killing people. Claire the cheerleader is probably the coolest. But even when she defies her deceitful father, she eventually believes that he was right in all the advice he ever gave her and that if she had only listened to him, everything would be alright - even though he totally lied to and manipulated her.

All Elle wants to do is make her Daddy proud of her, even though he tortured her as a child on the ground it would 'increase her powers' - except rather than enhance her own agency, she has just become his (and his company's) pawn in shady business which even Elle herself doesn't know the extent of! (Though at the end of the season she saved some people's lives, and they were grateful, and I got the impression she was starting to find a new sense of purpose in helping people, rather than just blindly doing what her dad says). I think the WORST scene possibly on TV during the past 5 years was where Noah and Bob (Claire and Elle's respective dads) take each other's daughter hostage and then trade them  with each other in exchange for peace. As if the trading and ownership of daughters was the way men negotiated peacefully. As if they were property to be exchanged! And the girls didnt even question it!!! (And it wasn't even peaceful - Elle got shot, and so did Noah). Not to mention Caitlyn, the lovely Irish girl who gets taken off to the future and left there; the Japanese Princess in the past who just shifts from male hero to male hero and looks pretty and then is left there; Noah's wife who nearly dies from the amount of memory removal he has subjected her to; and Matt's ex-wife who is written off as a lying and unfaithful wife. Moreover, it is the men on the show who remain the most powerful; who run the 'organisation' (and who run the coup to take the organisation down) men make all the big decisions about everyone else (including women); it is men who are always positioned as wanting to save the world or destroy it; it is women who are being   being neglected (Caitlyn and the Princess), seeking help for their problem (Nikki) or being lied to (Claire and Elle) but without any real chance (yet) of standing up for themselves or actually questioning the power dynamics of their world. 

Nicki's split personality kicks butt
Sure, it was pretty cool that Claire's blood is what can save everything. But it is because of that, that she remains an object to be protected and transacted - she becomes a resource. Why don't they take Adam or Peter's blood - those two guys have the same powers of regeneration?? No, those two are too busy doing more important things like destroying or saving the world or saving girls. Much easier to use up the cheerleader. I'm retaining my hopes for Nikki and Monica who are showing some promise. But they're still kind of positioned as emotionally unstable, despite their power. But Nikki is awesome - she is physically strong and beats up everyone, but still loves her son enough to sacrifice a lot for him. In fact Nikki is pretty good. So far she's been the best I think. Monica too, though haven't seen much of what she can do yet.  

As much as I loved the show, I felt pretty nauseated by the end of that season. Just sick of watching women fall back into some sort of dependency role when women and men should be taking on stuff like 'saving the world' (and whatever you might take that to mean metaphorically) TOGETHER. Action TV is still dominated by guys. thought things would've changed since Buffy but no, I guess I'll be watching Kill Bill again tonight to make up for it.


PS If you're familiar with the show - I saw this japanese guy running really fast through the food court at Collins Place in melbourne with a poster tube slung over his back. Just sayin'. Time travel is probably for real.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fact: Black Swans are native to australia.

Naturally, this meant I had a total freak out after seeing Natalie Portman enact the psychotic episode that is her new film, Black Swan (dir. Darren Aronofsky). If you haven’t seen it, this post contains spoilers – not that that matters, because the story is based on Swan Lake, and even if it wasn’t, would be totally predictable anyway. Basically she’s a neurotic ballerina who has to play the Swan Queen in Swan Lake (both the black and white swan roles) and as the film progresses she becomes more and more entangled in a split personality disorder. She becomes violent and unpredictable, she can’t tell what is real or not and then ends up killing herself onstage in real life (just as the white swan kills herself after realizing her prince accidentally commits himself to the black swan).

Freak out! the black swan takes over. 
The tension of the film essentially lies in uncertainty around whether playing the split role caused her to become unwell, or whether her illess enabled her to perform the role so well. On the one hand, the film suggests she has a bunch of issues already (bulimia, a history of self-harm, crazy/repressed ballet mom who never got to “fulfil her career,” self-esteem issues, perfectionism, etc). On the other hand, the ballet industry seems to provide some impetus for triggering her mental illness: company director encourages the “dark side” of her to come out, by encouraging her to get sexual and trying to seduce her; rivalry with another dancer in the company spurs to fantasise about stabbing the girl to death (it is unclear for while though, whether Portman actually kills the girl or not), rivalry with the ex-prima ballerina who was booted so Portman could take the lead role (Portman then fantasises about this woman stabbing her face off with a nail file, though we don’t really know if it’s a fantasy or not). Etc. In the end, after receiving a standing ovation during the opening performance of Swan Lake, she jumps off the platform enacting the suicide of the ballet character, Odette – but simultaneously stabs herself in the gut and promptly dies. Curtain close. End film. Leave cinema feeling depressed and nauseated.

While Portman did give a stellar performance, and while Aronofsky did an effective job of getting the audience to feel as freaked out and confused as Portman’s character about what is real or not, there are some reasons why I REALLY DID NOT appreciate this film.

1. Gratuitously violent. The film is majourously gruesome with scenes of Portman imagining (or does she actually do it?) ripping her own fingernails out, peeling strips of skin from her arms and scratching the skin from her back. While this is not necessarily bad, it lent the film a horror-element which detracted from the psychological tension which was a lot more effective. The gory bits seemed thrown in to add some shock-factor, but were never really explored. At best they seemed a metaphor for the way that ballet/neuroticism was ripping her to shreds, (which in itself isn’t great as it reduces ballet to an awful metaphor, and fails to acknowledge the complexity around why people begin self-harming in the first place) and at worst, a cheap and nasty way of making a psychological thriller just that extra bit more nightmarish.

2. Based on a bunch of clichés. Portman’s “issues” that I mentioned earlier seem really extreme, and at the same time underdeveloped. Her eating disorder and relationship with her mother are not really investigated and the film seems to presume that the audience will fill this underdevelopment with stereotypes about the ballet industry. Plus – the misogynist ballet director, the sexy ballet-rival and the bitter-ex-prima-ballerina are worn out tropes that we have seen a gazillion times before. Plus, when Portman starts delving into her “dark side”, she does it to the max – goes out gets wasted, takes drugs, sleeps with some dude in the toilets, then has lesbian fantasy about rival-ballerina. I mean, what??!? It’s like they took every deviant act they could imagine and had her do it one night. (Plus, the positioning of her lesbian fantasy with the attractive rival as deviant seemed a) a failure to engage with gay relationships meaningfully and b) a cheap excuse to get attractive actresses naked).

How does such a pretty bird inspire such dread?
3. Glorifies suicide and offers no hope. While the film is clearly a tragedy, it offers NO HOPE. There is no empathy in the portrayal of Portman’s character, no pity for her plight: it basically says, if you’re crazy, there's no way out, you’ll wreck your own life and everyone else’s. Then she gets applauded as she kills herself – as if her real life death makes her great performance worth it. There is no questioning of how to deal with issues, and, due to all the clichés, no real accounting for why she might be the way she is. The film seems to blame ballet for all that goes wrong – but also seems to blame her own circumstances. Even the scenes of the actual dancing are limited, which means the audience don’t really get a sense of why Portman’s character would have invested so much of herself in it. Is it coz she wants fame? Money? Because she loves dancing? We don’t know.

Aronofsky is the master of gore and shock-factor, and though I never want to watch Requiem For a Dream again and wish I could erase most of it from my mind, at least that film demonstrated the consequences of a drug-lifestyle, how consumerism and capitalism destroy lives beyond repair, and the rampant sexism still occurring in a so-called post-feminist world. Black Swan, however, is problematic because it sets itself up to be a ballet film, but one that dishonours the ballet tradtion by filling it with a bunch of clichés; it sets itself up to be a psychological thriller, but  detracts from its tension with its schlock-horror-ness; it sets itself up to be a portrayal of mental illness, but portrays such illness unsympathetically with no real accounting for its cause or consequence. Apparently though, everyone else in the world loves it and it's raking in billions of box office dollars by the day. 

In any case, just to drag feminism into the mix, at least Portman has noted that it was unusual for a man to direct a film centering on female psychology, and that having more female Hollywood directors is something the industry we should aspire to. Read interview here.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

what the world gave back

So my last post WORKED. ie, the world heard my cries and responded by getting all my friends and family to send totally awesome amazing stuff in the post. Check out the following, which arrived during the VERY WEEK after I sent the universe a youtube clip of Buffy whinging. I recommend trying it at home!

Batman singlet.
boutique dark knight.

massive james dean.
Even massiver JA.

ROBOT necklace. JaydusBoBaydus has one the same but in reverse colours. Aww.

A surprise gift from a friend! the second in lewis' scifi trilogy. ahhsome.

Uma, Wayne, Mariah and Cormac. Does life get better. All in a package from my Dad.

Some gifts which arrived a bit earlier for xmas, but were so awesome I needed to put them up!
beautiful melbourne notebook - Another suprise gift from a gf in Oz. BEST!

Mum saw this and "thought of me." Do I have the best mum or what!

Dexter Bobble from my Bro.

Not to mention all the letters, emails, skype calls and love that the rest of my family and friends have sent. Feeling lots of Aussie love in Edinburgh right now - HEARTS RIGHT BACK AT YOU!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


So because watching so much TV lately has totally sucked the will to live from my brain and also made me feel totes crap about myself (THAT’S RIGHT, the difference between Jtul and a Stanford student is that they don’t binge out on supermarket  apple crumbles and watch whole seasons of bad CWB tv shows in one sitting) I am taking a month off watching ANYTHING. Admittedly I forgot this the last few nights and made my way through 2 eps of the BBC Pride and Prej. But who can feel guilty about breaking a TV ban when Darcy is there to glare and saunter around looking arrogant and amaaazing!

The supernaturalz are hitched.
Moral is I’ve been trying to procrastinate all day by blogging but have NOTHING TO SAY. Which is lame coz I’ve been reading my butt off in lieu of TV binging so I should have something literary to say about all that but I can’t because all my literature magic got used up today writing bad paragraphs about the narcissism of American culture in 1980s Knoxville.

The. Best. So hardcore in leather jckt! 
So whatevs – I could default and write about the Supernatural boys but I think that’s bad for a number of reasons including a) its not good to obsess over famous married people but more importantly b) as if they truly compare to Rupert Giles from BTVS. (That’s right folks, MR FLIPPIN GILES, the baddest librarian of all time who also turned out to be an unlikely father figure, a likely magic rehab sponsor, a gay rights advocate and evil-fighting fiend. It’s interesting to note his development over the 7 seasons of the Buff, from Englishy-stuttery guy in S1, to turtle-necked-slightly-cooler-has-gf-and-plays-acoustic phase, through to over all cool-magicky-returned-prodigal-father type deal at the end of s6. Didn’t we all get goosebumps when that happened?)

What I look like now. Almost.
And tell you what now my regrowth has been showing for way more than a year I’m looking more and more like Amber Benson aka Tara from Buffy every day. Which isn’t such a bad thing considering her amazing duet with Giles in Once More With Feeling, listen to it here, couldn’t find the clip! Most days I think Tara should’ve gone straight and had babies with Giles. But of course that would muck up a buttload of plotline up so I never wrote in about it. (BESIDES Amber is an AUTHOR NOW so we're bascially twins.)

Also, If anybody cares I’m on day 2 of this caffeine-free meat-free alcohol-free fast and my head feels like Giles just took it with a library book AND a cross bow so yeah, less coherent today than usual. So on top of being tv-less I also have the withdrawal symptoms from helaware AND have nothing but a carrot to eat (literally: my organic fruit and veg box didn’t get delivered though I have been going stir crazy waiting at HOME ALL DAY.)

SO THAT’S RIGHT: GIVE ME SOMETHING TO SING ABOUT WORLD. My head hurts but on the plus side my brother sent me a Dexter bobble head all the way from Australia so sometime the universe just sends it all back to you Oprah Style. (you know I don’t really believe that Oprah crap btw. But I do love how she asks every single interviewee if they’d made peace with God, including JK Rowling and Cormac McCarthy). Cereally, who can focus on their lit thesis when they could be writing about totally awesome supporting roles such as Rupert Giles from Buffy and can’t even have a cup of coffee? Now watch the clip and think of me!!! Apart from the whole dying and coming back to life thing of course!

PS. I really am a happy person :) I just wanted to write about Buffy but without coffee iz hard :(

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

how does peter pan grow up into uma thurman?

OK I’m writing this real quick coz I need to finish my PhD application TODAY however I just spent all morning trying to unlock a new racing cup on Mario Kart and now I feel dizzy from overdoing it on Rainbow Road. In any case hopefully writing a brief post will help bridge the intellectual gap between understanding Bakhtin’s idea of dialogism and avoiding being blown up by Bowser.

Jack hurts Peter by becoming Hook's "son"
I watched Hook for like the millionth time last night and of course it was amazing, who can get over Rufio’s midriff shirt and the cuteness of Maggie. But while the film has snappy dialogue, detailed sets, and hilarity (Robin Williams + Dustin Hoffman = deadly combo) it was full of BOYS. (Which of course makes sense, since Peter Pan is a boy, the Lost Boys are, well, boys, and Hook and Smee are men). The original female characters from Peter Pan (Wendy, Tigerlily) have been somewhat phased out/removed, in favour of Peter’s wife Moira and his daughter Maggie. But while Moira and Maggie play reasonably significant roles in the story, they are the morally stable and consistent ones: it is Moira who remains loyal to her family while Peter gets distracted by his working life, and Maggie who remains faithful to her family while Jack gets distracted by the attentions of Hook, who convinces Jack that Peter never really loved him.  Both father and son experience a crisis of ‘belonging’: once Peter realises that his “happy thought” truly is his son, he is able to fly and rescue his kids; once Jack understand he is his father’s happy thought, he apologises for betraying his father and allows himself to be saved. (At this stage, Maggie is of course already waiting to be saved and welcomes her renewed father back with open arms, just as Moira is waiting for her family to return from Neverland and welcomes her renewed husband with open arms). Marriage and family life become peaceful and whole again and father and son realise that the most important thing is loving and supporting each other.

The film is also about Captain Hook discerning his purpose (his purpose is to perpetually fight with Pan) as well as the lost boys, who are able to find a leader/father-figure in Pan again. I think the film does an effective and moving job of working through the issues associated with working through such crises, such as the need for humility and the importance of loving people in a way which puts them ahead of your own interests.

Watching Hook though, with its overwhelming amount of boys- hundreds of pirates, a large group of boy orphans, a man-hero with a conflicted son – made me ask the question: how many action/adventure films did I get to watch as a kid which featured girls? And I don’t mean just contained a token chick, but which actually portrayed the girl as the centre of the action. The films I loved as a kid were things like Hook, The Sandlot Kids, The Mighty Ducks, BMX Bandits, Aladdin, The Neverending Story, The Princess Bride, etc. Some of these contain strong female characters, such as the Connie and Tammy, the girl hockey players in the Mighty Ducks series. But other than that, not much. Others agree with me in the crisis of the female action hero - check out this Pajiba article for an argument that sounds a lot like mine, but provides an awesome and detailed list of the Best Female Action Heros! (lets just say that the fact the author puts Ripley from Alien and Sarah Connor from Terminator at the top of the list makes the author a LEGEND in my books).

I still wana be her when I grow up.
As a kid I didn’t really think about it that much, but as an adult (and potentially a parent one day) I would want my children, whether sons or daughters, to be exposed to films that portray male and female alike as able to participate in an action adventure. Not all little girls can faithfully sit there and await their parents to rescue them. Not all little girls should grow up to sit around at home waiting for their husband to “fix” everything (indeed: some little girls will not even get married, for a whole host of reasons). If girls can grow up to be as cool as Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, they should know it from a young age and not have to wait till they’re old enough to see an R-rated film! (Meaning kids films could include broader narrative/gendered possibilities – lets not show all 3-year olds Kill Bill).

To be honest I think that at the moment, cinema is doing a reasonable job of it. Hermione in Harry Potter is great, and in those books gender has no bearing on how or whether you participate in the fight of good against evil. You also get Lindsay Lohan in the Herbie films, Alice in Wonderland (this is an oldie but a goodie) and films like Hotel for Dogs and The Spiderwick Chronicles where again, gender is not a type of set role. Even though movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and How to Train Your Dragon contain cool female pirates/dragon-fighters respectively, these girls are one out of at least 10 men: I wonder if we will ever get to a point where an action film could contain all women and not be read as a type of feminist statement, but rather just enjoyed as another possibility. I hope we get there in my lifetime.