Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday shopping: Jasmine display at Walgreens

I went to Walgreens today and was very, very surprised to see a Princess Jasmine display.  Not just a Disney princess display, but an actual display dedicated to Jasmine and only Jasmine.

Why is that strange?  Well, first of all, there isn't a new release of Aladdin out at the moment, so that means they really are just using Jasmine for her own sake, not to advertise the movie in any way.  Second, ever since the Aladdin Platinum Edition didn't sell too well and especially after Tiana was introduced, Jasmine has kind of taken a backseat to the other princesses.  Disney used to use her for racial diversity since she was the darkest-skinned princess for awhile.  When Tiana came out, they started to replace Jasmine with an even darker-skinned princess.  Plus, Jasmine is Middle Eastern, and our country currently does not view the Middle East favorably right now.

I know that Walgreens has had other Disney princess make-up displays like this, but I just really didn't expect Jasmine to be featured, not with how much the other princesses have been overshadowing her (Anna and Elsa certainly didn't help!).

I was extremely happy to see this display whatever the reason for it existing.  Jasmine is and always has been my favorite princess even though we have absolutely nothing in common.  She's dark, black-haired, and brown-eyed.  I'm pale, blonde, and blue-eyed.  She's bold, adventurous, and stands up for herself.  I'm shy, kind of timid, and have a hard time saying no to people.  :b  Well, I suppose we have one thing in common: we're both in love with Aladdin!

Anyway, I thought the display was really beautiful.  I did not buy anything, but I was really happy to see it!  The taglines I saw were "Chase your adventure" and "A whole new world of beauty," which are both of course very fitting for Jasmine.  :b  I am currently unable to purchase anything fun like this, but as I do have a sizable Aladdin collection, I really wish I could've bought something.  :(  Everyone, buy some so that Disney will feel compelled to release Aladdin as a Diamond Edition!

They created a logo all for her!  :D


Yay, they didn't use recycled stock art!  I'm so tired of seeing her holding that stupid bird.  :b

I would prefer merchandise of Aladdin over Jasmine, so if I was going to buy anything, it would be this!  I think they could've chosen a better still from this scene, though.  :/

Geez, there's even a side banner!

I'm too old for any of this.  Wah!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thursday music: Scream

Ooh, weird!  I heard this song on the radio today, and then my iTunes pulled it up to be featured today!  :b  I was surprised that it was uncensored on the radio.  I guess the only curse word in the song isn't really that easy to hear.

I'm not a huge Michael Jackson fan.  I think he was incredibly talented and had great music, but I'm only really in love with a few of his songs.  "Scream" is not one of the songs I'm in love with, but I do really like listening to it.

The song is about Jackson's feelings toward the tabloid press.  Seeing as Jackson was one of the most if well-known celebrities internationally, I don't think I need to explain Jackson's history with the press.  I don't know what's really true or not.  I didn't follow his life that closely.  I also don't really care.  I just like his music, including this song!  :)





 Lyrics

Tired of injustice.
Tired of the schemes.
The lies are disgusting,
So what does it mean?
Kicking me down,
I got to get up.
As jacked as it sounds,
The whole system sucks.

Peek in the shadow.
Come into the light.
You tell me I'm wrong,
Then you better prove you're right.
You're sellin' out souls, but
I care about mine.
I've got to get stronger,
And I won't give up the fight.

With such confusion, don't it make you wanna scream?
Your bash abusin' victimize within the scheme.

You try to cope with every lie they scrutinize.
Somebody, please have mercy 'cause I just can't take it.

Stop pressurin' me.
Just stop pressurin' me.
Stop pressurin' me,
Make me wanna scream.
Stop pressurin' me.
Just stop pressurin' me.
Stop pressurin' me,
Make you just wanna scream.

Tired of you tellin' the story your way.
It's causin' confusion.
You think it's okay.

You keep changin' the rules
While I keep playin' the game.
I can't take it much longer.
I think I might go insane.

With such confusion, don't it make you wanna scream?
Your bash abusin' victimize within the scheme.

You find your pleasure scandalizin' every lie.

Oh father, please have mercy 'cause I just can't take it.

Stop pressurin' me.
Just stop pressurin' me.
Stop pressurin' me,
Make me wanna scream.
Stop pressurin' me.
Just stop pressurin' me.
Stop fuckin' with me,
Make me wanna scream.

Oh my God, can't believe what I saw
As I turned on the T.V. this evening.
I was disgusted by all the injustice.


All the injustice.

A man has been brutally beaten to death by police after being wrongly identified as a robbery suspect. The man was an 18-year-old black male...

With such collusions, don't it make you wanna scream?
Your bash abusin' victimize within the scheme.

You try to cope with every lie they scrutinize.
Oh brother, please have mercy 'cause I just can't take it.

Stop pressurin' me.
Just stop pressurin' me.
Stop pressurin' me,
Make me wanna scream.
Stop pressurin' me.
Just stop pressurin' me.
Stop pressurin' me,
Make me wanna scream.
Stop pressurin' me.
Just stop pressurin' me.
Stop pressurin' me,
Make me wanna scream.
Stop pressurin' me.
Just stop pressurin' me.
Stop pressurin' me,
Make me wanna scream.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday whatever: Christmas Gaia Online avatar

I mentioned being a member of Gaia Online here.  I also shared my avatar for November/Thanksgiving.

I also made a Christmas avatar!

Hooray!

It's not anything amazing.  It's pretty simple.  I have a couple of expensive items there just because I've been a member for so long, but otherwise, it's just my collection of Christmas items.  Also, I added cat ears since my username is Empress Kitty.  It's the paper cat band, not actual cat ears.  For some reason, I think the actual cat ears don't look as good as the paper cat ears.  :/

Merry Christmas!  :D



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tuesday animation: The Jungle Book 2

Rating:

This film came right in the midst of the release of the "Disney cheapquels."  These sequels are generally despised and ridiculed, and considering the quality of most of them, I can't say I blame anyone who also feels this way.

As for me, I enjoy most of the sequels in their own way.  I don't compare any of them to the original because they certainly don't stack up, but as standalone family films, they're all right.  In fact, I actually think The Jungle Book 2 is one of the better sequels, though I guess that isn't saying much.  :b

When The Jungle Book 2 first came out, there was one thing I really liked: Shanti, previously known only as Girl in the first movie, was now a full-fledged character!  I liked Shanti so much that I even made a fansite and fanlisting for her.  Ha, I was such a nerd!  Now that I'm older, I realize that she isn't really that great of a character, but she has a special place in my heart anyway.

This film went to theaters, but I was living in Okinawa at the time, so I am not sure if it was in theaters there.  This was one of the few sequels to go to theaters, actually, which probably explains why it is one of the better sequels (i.e. Disney spent a little more effort and money on it).  Is it really theater-quality?  Eh...I would say just barely.  I think they definitely could've done better!


Overview: The Jungle Book 2 was released in theaters by Disney in 2003 and is the sequel to The Jungle Book released in 1967.  It received mostly negative reviews but was still something of a success considering that it made almost seven times its budget worldwide.

Art: On first glance, it actually looks pretty decent, but when you look at it closer, you realize that it is cheaply made.  There are definitely some beautiful backgrounds, but the characters are so flat and poorly colored that they don't mix well together at all.  The characters end up looking really out of place in such lovely environments.  The animation itself is actually pretty good.  Very fluid, nice expressions, good movement.  There were definitely a lot of corners cut to make up for that fluidity and nice animation, though.  That would be fine for a cartoon, but this is a movie, and a theatrical one at that.  Objects and characters look as if they were coloring book pages that were hastily colored in and then given some generic shading (or none at all sometimes).  The designs are certainly nice, but then again, they were just taken from the first movie, so I don't think I can really count that.  I love Shanti's and Ranjan's mother's designs; they are beautiful.  The other characters actually look great, too.  They've been updated from their 1967 counterparts, but overall, I think they look pretty similar.  There are lots of colors, and it is very vibrant, especially when compared to the original.  That doesn't make up for much, but I do enjoy seeing lots of colors in animation.

This actually looks pretty good.
But then you add the characters, and they don't seem to fit.



Again, characters don't look as good as the background.


Little effort into the shading and lighting of Shanti's character here.  Very basic.
I like the sunlight shining through the trees.
Really painful contrast between the quality of Shanti and the quality of the background here.  X(  I almost wouldn't believe this was a still from the movie if I didn't already know it was.  I would think it was an illustration from a book.
Sound: I remember loving the song "Jungle Rhythm" and listening to it over and over on a plane trip from Okinawa to Tokyo (or some sort of trip like that.  I didn't have an iPod at the time and just listened to the kids station that the plane provided, and this song kept playing).  It's definitely catchy and is still my favorite from the movie.  The music in general is good for the most part.  There's a remix of "I Wan'na Be Like You" by Smash Mouth, and then "The Bear Necessities" is sung a couple times, I think.  Nothing particularly special to me, especially since it's kind of cheating to use so much music from the original, but they've done something new with it for the most part.  Sound quality is great, clear and crisp.  Voice talent is actually pretty impressive.  No actors from the original film reprise their roles which is understandable considering the age of the original film.  This movie came out not long after Kingdom Hearts, so I remember being happy to hear Haley Joel Osment as the voice of Mowgli (before his voice dropped).  He even has a decent singing voice!  He sounds nothing like the original voice and actually ends up changing Mowgli's personality quite a bit, but I like the choice overall.  I love Mae Whitman as Shanti (who was also Katara in Avatar: The Last Airbender and is currently the official voice of Tinker Bell).  Easy on the ears!  John Goodman does a fine job as Baloo, and Jim Cummings is great as Kaa.  My favorite (along with Osment) is probably Tony Jay as Shere Khan.  Tony Jay also played Monsieur D'Arque in Beauty and the Beast and Claude Frollo in the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the narrator in Treasure Planet, to name only his major Disney roles.  He was also Dr. Lipschitz in The Rugrats, which made me laugh.  :b He's incredibly talented and has a perfect villain voice.  Well, he did, anyway.  I'm pretty sure he's dead now.  :(  All of the acting was great, though.  I think Mae Whitman might've been the weakest in terms of acting, but I still thought she was pretty good.

Story: Mowgli has been living in the man village that Shanti lured him into in the original film but returns to jungle after missing his friends and old life.  It's not a very compelling story.  Not much to gain from it at the end.  It's just entertaining and cute at best.  Many of the characters return from the original film, but they do not seem to have the same personalities.  They joke more and seem a little zanier, more "modern" if that makes sense.  Not to say that they aren't fun.  Shanti has been given a full-fledged personality, though I find her to be a little forced at times.  Also, she seems to be nothing like the "Girl" in the original movie, who seemed coy and feminine.  Shanti is much more dominant.  Ranjan is more annoying that he is cute.  Shere Khan seems a little updated as well, though he is probably the most similar to his 1967 counterpart.  One thing that really annoyed me is that Shanti and Baloo were able to speakw with each other.  o.O  I can understand Mowgli being able to speak with the jungle animals since he grew up with them, but not Shanti (and, I'm assuming, the others in the man village).  That was actually a pretty significant plot hole that I did not like.  I could tolerate the other weaknesses, but not that one.

Ranjan imitating Shanti's "alluring" moves which lured Mowgli to follow her.  The "Girl" from the original movie, however, seems to not be anything like Shanti.
Shanti even tries to play off her coy behavior in the original film as being a joke.  Hmm, I feel like that's a cop-out.  What's wrong with keeping her original personality?  Disney is sometimes too focused on creating "strong" female characters, I think.


TRUSSSSSSSST IN MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE~

Yup.  These guys made it in, too.
Personal appeal: I do think that it is one of the better sequels, but it still isn't anything great.  I enjoyed it when it first came out, but I think I really only liked it for Shanti.  There was nothing else about the film (besides the song "Jungle Rhythm") that pulled me in.  I could certainly watch it again, but probably not by myself, maybe with kids.  Maybe if it happened to be on T.V., I would give it a watch, but only in the background.  It's not interesting enough for me to give it my full attention ever again.  I do like it overall, though.  I wish the animation was better, but for what it is, it's decent entertainment.

Bagheera puts up with way too much crap.
If you compare this film to the original, it is undoubtedly lackluster.  The animation looks cheap, the original characters seem out-of-character and are actually kind of annoying, and the story has little charm.  By itself, though, if you're just looking for a nice Sunday film to watch, maybe even in the background while you're doing something else, it's got its own spark, albeit a small one.  If nothing else, I think very young children will like it.  Overall, I give it two peridots.  It's not terrible, but it's not good either.  Just...okay.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday writing: My first poem

I love writing, but I admit that poetry has never been a strength of mine.  In fact, I suck at it.  X(  That said, I still remember the very first poem I ever wrote.  I was in first grade, and I had been learning how to write all year as most first graders do.  We wrote all sorts of things that year.  I still have all of the little books I wrote!  But there was a poem I wrote that I was especially proud of.  I was so proud of it that my mom even sent it off to get published in a big poetry book.  I was so pleased.  :b

Today, I recognize that even for a first grader, it wasn't that good, so you can see why I never became a great poet later.  It just wasn't my thing!  But it's cute, I think.  Actually, the last line is pretty good, beyond what I would normally expect to see in a first grade poem.  Maybe I was better than I thought.  xD

I'm sharing it with you now.  What do you think?


The Rainbow

The rain comes tumbling down.
It makes puddles all around.
The sun comes out.
It shines all about.
A rainbow appears in the sky.
We ask ourselves, "Why?"

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thursday music: Father and Son

So...Aladdin's anniversary was a month ago, and I didn't get a chance to blog about it.  :(  Unfortunately, November 11th is also Veteran's Day, so I was a little concerned about devoting a blog to Aladdin on that day instead of that.

Anyway, I mention that because iTunes randomly selected a song from the third Aladdin movie, Aladdin and the King of Thieves.  I am a huge, huge Aladdin fan.  It has been my number one fandom since I first saw it in theaters at the age of four.  Aladdin is one of those films that everyone has seen, though.  It was the highest-grossing film of 1992 and is among Disney's most successful films.  It also featured one of Robin Williams's most famous roles (if not his most famous).  In fact, the film started the practice of using celebrity actors instead of actual voice actors in animated films.  If you haven't seen or at least heard of Aladdin, then you are either very, very young or have been living under a rock.  :b

As for the third sequel, not everyone has seen it because it was not released to theaters.  It did feature Robin Williams as Genie (yay!) which attracted more viewers than it probably would've had otherwise, but it still doesn't have the acclaim that the first movie has.  That said, I think it's a great movie.  As far as Disney direct-to-video sequels go, this was a good one.  I'm not doing a review of the movie, though.  Rather, just one of the songs.  The soundtrack of the third movie is pretty lacking overall, but I do enjoy the songs even if they don't even come close to the quality of the original soundtrack.

The song I'm featuring is sung by Robin Williams as Genie.  Aladdin has just been reunited with his dad, Cassim, and Genie tells them all about the joys of being "father and son."  Brad Caleb Kane as the singing voice of Aladdin and Merwin Foard as Cassim also have small parts.  The song is really upbeat and fun.  Robin Williams was actually a pretty good singer (I'm so sad that I have to say "was" now).  The scene includes references to Shaquille O'Neal, the Jetsons, The Brady Bunch, Einstein, even the Godfather.  o.O  I find it to be a little too pop-cultury even for Genie, but I imagine that this song was really only in there to show off Robin Williams as his character does not really have as much of a role as he did in the first movie.




Lyrics

Genie: 
It's a big, bright, beautiful future;
Thank your lucky stars you're alive.
You got someone special to talk to,
A friend that you can trust for life.

You've been on your own with no family ties,
But those solo days are done.
You'll be two of a kind
Spending quality time
Together as father and son.

Buildin' model ships,
Takin' fishin' trips,
Workin' hand in hand,
Painting the palace, and mowin' the sand.

First at ten to go
With your daddy-o.
Once you break the ice,
You can postulate paternal advice.

(See, you're traveling at the speed of life.
That's the theory of relatives!)

It's a fine, fantabulous future.
I see fruit on the family tree.
You'll be great as a grumpy ol' grandpa
Bouncing babies on your knee!

You can fall asleep on the comfy couch
After playin' one-on-one
Reamin' back-to-back,
Betcha wallop the Shaq
Together as father and son!

Cassim:
May be a bumpy ride.

Aladdin:
We'll make it side-by-side.

Genie:
Good afternoon, I'll be your travel guide.
Move over, Aladdin.
Make room for Dad!

You got a whole new shoulder to cry on.
Take a chance now, give it a spin.
You've had chums for pal-in' around with,
But you never had a friend like him.

Put your checkered past behind you now,
No more livin' on the run.
Face a big, bright, beautiful future
Together, together, together, together as father and son.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wednedsay whatever: My drawings!!!!!1!!!1

I am the opposite of an artist (read: I suck).  I would love to be able to draw.  Instead, I just have to admire the work of others and be insanely jealous.  T.T

That said, I do enjoy drawing.  I just make do with the skills I have.  I never try to draw anything grand because it never turns out good.  I can draw silly little characters provided that they don't have fingers, necks, or noses and aren't in very complicated positions.  There is one character I tend to draw most often, and that is my little horned girl, Lacole.  She has a back story that maybe I'll share someday.  Actually, she has a comic that I've drawn for her, but I don't know if I'll post it.  o.O

Lacole is a character I created about nine years ago.  She is nine-years-old and has brown hair, freckles, always wear a purple dress with black Mary Janes, but her most defining feature is her horns on the top of her head.  Why does she have horns?  I just had this idea to create a little girl who was born with horns for some unknown reason.  I have never come up with a reason for why she has them.




Isn't she adorable?!  Yes, these are some of my silly drawings.  I have tons more.  Squiggly eyes, short limbs, large head, no nose.  She's not a cheerleader, so I don't know why I drew her with pom-poms.  The cheerleading pose is probably among the most complicated poses I've drawn.  I usually keep it pretty simple.  :)

This is why I stick with writing, though.  Writing is something I know I can do.  It would be my dream to collaborate with an artist one day on a comic book, but for now, I'll just stick with using my words and drawing my silly little characters.