Eye candy, that is the first thing that came to mind when I watched the first episode of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. This Netflix original series is a prequel to The Dark Crystal, the Jim Henson movie from the 80's. Just like the movie, the series is special because of the use of physical props and puppets. The use of CGI is minimal, and the series breathes love for the source material.
Jim Henson believed that children shouldn't be shielded against scary story elements, and the original movie was rated 6+ in the eighties. Lots of kids where a little traumatized by the movie, and the new series is rated 12+. With good reason, because (no spoilers), there is a significant amount of violence. And the Seksis are scary as ever. I'll probably wait until my Geekling are about ten years old, but I can't wait to show them the beautiful world of Thra. Until then I cán give my girls some of the lovely braids that the Gelfing princesses wear in the show.
There is a lot to love in the new series. The story leaves some to be desired (it has many convenient plot developments) but the characters easily make up for that. They are more three dimensional then a lot of 'real' characters in tv shows. The three main characters are all stubborn, and different than their peers. They want more than the status quo, they seek truth and knowledge and are open minded. Good inspiration for Geeklings, if you ask me!
The series is gorgeous, so I couldn't wait for the merchandise. If you are as impatient as me, you can buy figures from Funko. Action figures, as well as POP! figures. But if you want quality, then the figures made by Weta are your thing.
I saw so many amazing Geeklings at the Dutch Comic Con! Have a look at the new generation of geeks, you are awesome! Until next edition (23 and 24 november).
There has been a lot to do about Captain Marvel before it came out. Was Marvel just trying to make money by choosing a female hero? Probably.. Marvel is in it to win it, obviously. But I don't have a problem with that. For me it's the result that counts.
Is Captain Marvel a decent superhero movie, that adds something to the Marvel Cinematic Universe? And is the female orientated content done well and not too much? And maybe I'm asking too much, but is there a message that you can relate to? That children can relate to? I'll try to answer these questions, starting with the first.
(Possible spoilers ahead)
Captain Marvel is indeed a decent, and even nice, superhero movie. It is a typical origin story. Carol Danvers tries to figure out who she is and what her place in the universe is. The plot is straightforward, the characters do what you expect them to do. Some people criticize Brie Larsons acting, but I was quite impressed with her talent to portray emotions in a single look. That having said, she is a bit detached. She cares, but there is a certain distance in her emotions. That makes sense though, for reasons I will not spoil here.
Where was Alanis?
I will not mention all the other characters, but I really liked Jude Law. He does a great job. The young Samuel L. Jackson looks amazing, it didn't bother me at all. The alien make up is done very well too, movement, emotion, it's all there. I also loved all the 90's songs in the movie, although a feminist choice during a fight scene felt a bit too much. Could have done with a bit of Alanis Morissette as well..
Oh, and there are very funny 90's references. But those will not work for the younger fans ;-)
But, in itself, the movie doesn't really add anything to the MCU that we were missing. Some backstory maybe, but those nods don't fill plot holes, or connect things that needed connection. It is a nice origin story, that paves the way for more involvement of Captain Marvel. You will not leave the cinema disappointed in that regard..
Now, then about the feminist point of view. Captain Marvel has strong female characters, but it doesn't feel like a chickflick. It does show how women feel being put down a lot. In their development, in their aspirations, especially when they want to do a 'mans' job. Other than that men and women are portrait as equal characters, a man might kick a womans ass, and the other way around..
Empathy is a strength
I felt there was a bigger message, and I wonder if the male viewers will feel/see that too.
*spoilers* In the movie, Captain Marvel is being told to keep emotions out. They will only make her weak. There is no room for empathy, or any other feelings. This is something that really resonates with me as a woman. Girls and women are often seen as too emotional, they nag or cry too much, they exaggerate (think #metoo).. These words are used by men who want to make a woman insecure, or manipulate her. Captain Marvel shows that you can embrace who you are fully, with all your emotions, and how that can make you even stronger. Empathy and intuition are no weakness, they are a strength. For women, and for men!
Recently I bought Guardians of the Galaxy figures at my local drugstore. They where an instant hit with my Geeklings. I was a bit frustrated though, I had all the figures, except for Gamora. What was that about??
Totally ready to blame the drugstore I send an e-mail about the problem. But then I did some research.. Even though Gamora is cleary visible on the package, there is no figure of her in this set! Instead of the missing Guardian, they choose to feature badguy Ronan.. No kidding..
Where is Gamora??
I am a bit late at the game, but Marvel has a habit of doing this. When the first Guardians movie came out, Gamora was also missing from the action figure set that came out. I was quite shocked when I found out. How can you dismiss her? The Guardians are a team of five, not four! The internet thought so too and #whereisgamora was born.
Personally I don't consider myself much of a feminist, but even I couldn't help but question, does Marvel have an issue with its female superheroes?
Marvels issue with female heroes
Sadly, the answer is YES. Gamora is missing from my set of figures too, and also excluded on t-shirts. The same story is true for other female heroes Scarlet Witch and Black Widow. After Age of Ultron came out website The Mary Sue wrote: "Marvel and Disney announced all of their official Ultronmerch, and Black Widow is virtually nowhere to be found (though she’s better off than Scarlet Witch, who is literally nowhere to be found)."
Girls won't buy action figures?!
On the website Womenyoushouldknow, Contributor John Marcotte – feminist dad, web designer, writer, comics junkie, and “Award-Winning Author” – weighed in on the Gamora matter. “I bet their logic is that adding Gamora would not gain any sales to girls, but might cost them some sales to female-averse boys.” He added, “It’s a self perpetuating cycle: the toy companies say that girls won’t buy action figures so they only make them for boys. Girls who like action figures look and find absolutely nothing for girls, so they don’t buy anything. The toy companies say, ‘See? Told you. Girls won’t buy action figures.'”
DC does it better: Super Hero Girls
How it cán be done is shown by Marvels rival, DC. This company has created it's own universe for girls, the DC Super Hero Girls. Merchandise, books, figures.. It can be said that DC sees the hole in the market that Marvel leaves wide open.. I bought a Super Girl dress up set for my girls and they love to play superhero all the time, chasing each other, catching the bad guy (dad).
Still, this is not perfect. It still separates boys and girls and the heroes they are 'supposed' to like. Girls like superheroes too! We don't need a universe for female heroes. We just want them included with the male heroes we love too! Is that too much to ask?
Article Forbes: DC Super Hero Girls
Article The Mary Sue: Black Widow Ultron merch
Article Women You Should Know: Where is Gamora
Last week, the trailer for Frozen 2 dropped. I didn't know if it was a good idea to show it to my girls (4 and 2).
First and foremost, because I didn't know if they would get the 'trailer' concept. 'What, where is the rest of the movie??!' But I also feel that Frozen 2 has a darker and more grown up feel about it. Would they like it?
Long story short, Evy watched the trailer with her dad. He explained to her that it was only a short movie, and she didn't have a problem with that. The first part really excited her, Elsa, running on the sea!
A lot of the trailer went to fast for her though ;-) and she is not the only one. Most people rewatch trailers to find that they have missed half of it.. It still makes a nice first reaction video though, right?
Which movie was your geekling's first? It can be hard to decide when a little geek is old enough to watch a movie. Of course there is the factor of attention span. Most toddlers can't concentrate on a feature film, or even sit still for more than five minutes..
And even when they can, which movies are suitable for young kids? We decided to start with Disney, because they are children's movies, and most of them are animated. This would hopefully make them less scary then the 'real' deal.
My husband and I started to talk through them and found that Disney is far less innocent than you might remember.. Take the death of Bambi's mom, Snow White's step mom and the hunter, Ursula from The Little Mermaid, the death of Mufasa, and more..
So, you want to share the Disney magic, but not the Disney nightmares. What do you do? When our eldest was two years old we started with the Disney songs on YouTube. 'Let it go' anyone? This made the Disney characters familiar faces. The first movie I put on was Finding Nemo (technically Pixar), but this was too slow for her. I thought that animal characters would speak most to small children, but for her that was not the case. That ruled out Finding Nemo, Bambi and The Lion King. I also noticed that movies without songs couldn't entertain her for long.
I decided to start with a princess, since our daughter wants to be one. Frozen is overrated in my opinion, so I choose to put Tangled on. A few minutes in and she was hooked. It probably helps that this movie starts with an exciting prologue and Rapunzel as a baby and small child. After that you move quickly to the first song and the whole movie keeps up a nice pace. Let's not forget a chameleon and hilarious horse.. It was a hit. Our two year old wanted to see it every day and started to learn words to the songs already.
After this the classics followed: The little Mermaid, Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, The Rescuers Down Under, Mulan, Frozen and Viana are her favorites. They all have relatively simple stories, and songs to keep you interested. But watching WITH your Geekling is very important when they are this young. Talk to them about it. What do they see? Do they understand the story? Skip the parts that are too much for them. I also found that small kids can watch a movie multiple times, but decide after months that it is too exiting for them. Which is fine!
Tamara, Geek, mother of two Geeklings, editor.