Movies

Parodies: Better than Originals?!!

Early in life, I began watching, reading, and listening to parodies, spoofs or imitations that attempt to mock the original. It was also the same time I realized that I sort of enjoyed parodies more.

 
I don’t know if it is because of the inherent cynical humor and sarcasm or that I just liked humorous stuff better. I remember my uncle being a strong influence in this area. He is a huge fan of parody songs. While driving long distance in the car, he would play the parody songs in a loop and the whole family loved humming to the songs’ tunes. I wonder if this gave any newfound meaning to my child’s mind matching parodies to the actual creative products of the mind.
 
My interest in parodies sparked again when I recently watched The Hungover Games, a cross between The Hunger Games and The Hangover. The story is about how the main characters go about celebrating the bachelor party of their friend as in The Hangover. They do this by winning a fight as shown in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
 
hungover-games

The film has spoof elements from other movies too. A real parody in its true sense! It is so hilarious that I was Rolling On the Floor Laughing the whole time. That’s when my mind floated back to the first spoof movie I ever watched: Scary Movie, a horror comedy film, in 2000. Since then, there have been five sequels parodying the successful horror movies of the year. I read that the latest sequel, Scary Movie 5, released in 2013, based on Mama, did not really make it big at the box office.
 
Spoofing music videos is another common activity these days. And it all starts with the popular ones. There are many takes on the Happy video from Pharrell Williams, shot in cities and countries around the world. Though some of these are not necessarily spoofs, there have also been many of those spoof videos. Also, how can I not mention the most popular spoof video of 2013, the one on Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball, featuring Nicolas Cage?!!
 
It was interesting to follow the news stream on the First Kiss youtube video that went viral and its parodies that came by soon after. The video shows 20 strangers kissing for the first time in front of the camera. Noted for its unconventional outlook on human relationships, the video was supposed to take on a greater meaning when it was found that it is actually launched as an ad campaign for a clothing store. Alas, this was disillusioning for the general public.
 

The parodies, as expected, were fun. The most popular parody of that video was a video from LA-based sketch comedy troupe, Pimm’s Girl. In television, the Colbert Report can be considered as the best parody talk show, where he assumes the persona of an ultra-conservative character and does it with a forever-straight face. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is another remarkable parody news program and many from the younger generation have declared that they get their news update from that program!

~Cux

22 Apr 2014

What’s New in Animation Movies

Frozen, the animated film that won the Academy Award for the Best Animated Feature last year was my viewing choice this past weekend. The film struck a chord with me, in its wonderful treatment of the story, the fantastical imagery, the soulful soundtrack, and the message it finally delivered. I couldn’t but realize how female characters are on the rise in animation movies.
 
frozen

Frozen is a story about two sisters who help each other find their way in life.
 
Another female-oriented film, Brave, won the Academy Award in 2012. The movie is about a mother and a daughter who save each other from the tangles of fate.
 
I can’t help wonder at the meaningful messaging both these films convey. Where we were used to watching male characters that made us laugh and cry with their hilarious antics in films like Shrek, Monsters Inc, Ice Age, Finding Nemo, Shark Tale, Ratatouille, Despicable Me, Rango, I could name a zillion, here we are now onto a new dimension with female characters dominating the storyline, teaching us a thing or two about life.
 
brave

Don’t get me wrong, I completely loved the earlier films that were pure fictional entertainment. That was my Friday night unwind-after-work activity. I would usually wake up the next day not remembering a thing about the film except that I had a good time watching it. The films were very creative and innovative and compared well against the real people films in several aspects. I, for one, could relate to many of the characters in certain situations. However, the way that I could totally identify with the female characters in Frozen and Brave was amazing.
 
Do the female-oriented thematic films winning the Oscars two years in a row portray a trend for animation movies in the near future? I sincerely hope so and look forward to more such movies. Catching up with some data from Wikipedia, Frozen is the highest-grossing animated film of all time and the ninth highest-grossing film of all time, in any category. The film won two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film, the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film, five Annie Awards (including Best Animated Feature), and two Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song.
 
Brave was the 13th highest-grossing film of 2012, the eighth highest-grossing Pixar film, and the third highest-grossing animated film in 2012 behind Ice Age: Continental Drift and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Film, the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film, and the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film. It is cited as the first Pixar film with a female protagonist and an audience profile that consisted of 43% male and 57% female.
 
I am happy to note from this that there were many more women who could connect with such films, encouraging a growing segment of female viewership. Definitely a changing trend worth capitalizing on!

~Cux

08 Apr 2014