Tag | The Disney Tag

I found this amazing Disney themed Tag on Michelle’s Purple Pumpkin Blog, and it seems quite fitting because as you read this I will be arriving in Disney World Orlando, all excited to experience the magical world of Disney for the very first time. As I’m writing these we’re a few days away from the holiday but I am so excited so I figured it would be useful to channel this energy into something semi useful by completing a Disney themed tag!

1. Favourite Disney Film?

I always struggle to answer this succinctly but I’m going to try. My first true love of Disney will always be Pocahontas when it comes to the animated films and Mary Poppins for the live-action ones. Most recent new love is Moana and Hercules (I did not fully appreciate the latter properly when I was younger so I consider this a “new” love to me).

2. Favourite Disney Character?

Again, it’s so hard to pick one but since I’ve spied that sidekicks and princesses can pop up in the questions after this, I’ll try to pick a Disney “prince” for this one. I love Flynn Rider from Tangled – who wouldn’t? (Also, and this explains SO much about my taste in guys, Roger from 101 Dalmatians.)

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3. Favourite Disney Princess?

Can I pick Megara from Hercules and Rapunzel from Tangled? They’re both kick-ass in their own ways and I also love me some sass.

4. Favourite Disney side-kick?

Meeko from Pocahontas, no question about it.

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Feature | Favourite Christmas Films

Since I’m participating in Blogmas this year, I figured I should make sure at least some of my posts were holiday/Christmas related. So, on this fine Saturday evening, I bring you the second of my ‘Favourite Christmas X’ posts. Last week I shared some of my Favourite Christmas Songs, and this week we move to a different medium – my Favourite Christmas Films! The cold weather of Christmas always gives me the perfect excuse to stay inside and do nothing more taxing than watch a film (or two) to while away an afternoon (or two). So I thought I’d share some of my favourite Christmas films – they’re hardly niche or little-known but I just love them all the same, so without further ado…

Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

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Review | Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge

Welcome, friends. Last night I saw the latest of the Pirates of the Caribbean films – Salazar’s Revenge (terrible title tbh) aka Dead Men Tell No Tales (the much superior US (?) title). And I have some thoughts about it. This is less of a measured and academic “review” and more of a “Emma has a lot of feelings so let her word vomit them here including lots of CAPITAL LETTERS OF ENTHUSIASM and reaction gifs”… buckle in, folks, it may be a bumpy ride!

I went into the latest instalment in the running-out-of-steam Pirates of the Caribbean franchise with low hopes, such low hopes that I’m not even sure the word “hope” should be found within 10 feet of my expectations. I’d heard 2 and 1-star reviews across the board. So, suffice it to say, I expected a hot mess. What did I get? Well, not a hot mess, more a lukewarm mess, if anything. To me, Salazar’s Revenge made more sense and had more potential than the fourth film, On Stranger Tides, which means I didn’t find it nearly as disappointing as a lot of reviewers and critics did. “Potential” is, I think, the key word here, since not all that potential was fulfilled enough for my tastes, but more on that later. If you’re going into this expecting a ground-breaking sequel, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment from the off, but if all you want is a bit of light relief and nautical adventure? This fits the bill.

Let’s start with the premise…

“Johnny Depp returns to the big screen as the iconic, swashbuckling anti-hero Jack Sparrow in the all-new “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” The rip-roaring adventure finds down-on-his-luck Captain Jack feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar, escape from the Devil’s Triangle bent on killing every pirate at sea – notably Jack. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth, a brilliant and beautiful astronomer, and Henry, a headstrong young sailor in the Royal Navy. At the helm of the Dying Gull, his pitifully small and shabby ship, Captain Jack seeks not only to reverse his recent spate of ill fortune, but to save his very life from the most formidable and malicious foe he has ever faced.” (Summary from IMDB)

From this point in there will be blood spoilers so please, for the love of all that is good and holy, if you intend to see this film and do not want to be spoiled then DO NOT READ ON, GO AWAY AND LIVE YOUR LIFE IN BLISSFUL IGNORANCE, GO NOW.

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Discussion | Reading Before Watching

Hi folks, I bring you something of a discussion post regarding something that has been on my mind recently – reading before watching. Let me clarify – reading a book before watching the adaptation.

I think I speak for all of us readers when I say that we tend to hold to the sanctity of the source material whenever a television or film adaptation is announced – if it’s a favourite book we probably worry and fret about whether a production team is about to completely ruin something precious to us. Likewise, we might just be excited to see a story we love come to the big or small screen, and look forward to more people experiencing that story, in whatever format that is.

But, readers, I have a dilemma: what do you do when a new series is announced, based on a book, and you haven’t read the book – do you wait for the TV show so that the adaptation is new and fresh for you, or do you read the book beforehand? My instinct obviously tells me to read the book first before watching the adaptation but part of me always wonders if I’m not potentially dampening my enjoyment of the TV show or film. After all – I know what is going to happen then, and nothing is shocking or unexpected (unless they completely diverge from the source material).

nightmanagerI was thinking about this yesterday as I was doing a re-watch of The Night Manager series and had an inclination to re-read the book again. I recalled that, despite having read the book back in February 2016, before the miniseries started airing, I was still overwhelmingly tense and on the edge of my seat whilst watching the adaptation. Now, admittedly, some of that is because I have a slight inclination towards Tom Hiddleston (understatement of the century) so, you know, what you gonna do… but aside from that I also was tense because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. In the effort to modernise the source material and make it more relevant for a 2016 audience, the production team had made the decision to change some key elements of the story. This meant that, though I had read the source material, it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the series by “spoiling” any of the plot’s twists and turns. But not all adaptations are like this.

howardsendLast night I picked up Howards End by E.M. Forster. After having read A Room with a View last week and found myself pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it and how readable I found Forster’s writing style, I decided to give Forster’s most famous novel a read. Then I remembered that the BBC are producing a miniseries of the book which is due to be released later this year starring Hayley Atwell and Matthew MacFadyen (I am sure there are plenty of others too but, I mean, my priority will always be Hayley Atwell because she’s Hayley Atwell). I had a moment of pause then – surely every little twist and turn of the adaptation would be spoiled if I read the novel first? After all, period dramas based on classics or modern classics do tend to push for faithfulness to the source material, for fear of upsetting the delicate sensibilities of readers and their expectations. So if I read the book, would I be as inclined towards watching the series, when it did air on TV?

Despite this momentary dilemma, I am fully aware that it will not stop me from reading the book – as a reader I will always lean towards the side of the primacy of the book, regardless of how excited I am to see an adaptation on the big or small screen, and the book will probably always win. But that doesn’t mean the adaptation won’t put up a damn good fight…

But beware: on the other side of the coin lurks a trap, a trap that I often fall into. On the occasions when I do see a film or TV show adapted from a book first, even if I end up loving the adaptation, sometimes I never quite get around to reading the book afterwards. I know, I know, I’m a terrible reader! After all, I know what happens in the story, so reading the story suddenly isn’t quite as high priority as all the other books on my TBR. I know how it goes, I know how it ends, I’ve experienced the story, regardless of the format it was in… and there are so many other stories that I haven’t experienced yet that deserve my time and attention. This happened with another le Carré book – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I had embarked on a mission to read the book once upon a time, got super confused, and abandoned it. Then I watched the 2011 film starring Gary Oldman as George Smiley, and, though I thoroughly enjoyed it, the book suddenly didn’t really seem a priority any more. I knew so what was the point any more?

Well, Emma, I’m sure the book is much more nuanced, I hear you say, to which I say: touché. And so the vicious cycle keeps on spinning…

Do you have this dilemma too? Do you have to make sure you read a book before watching its TV or film adaptation – or does it not bother you so much? Do you think the effect of a TV or film adaptation is sometimes “spoiled” because you know what’s going to happen, because you read the book first? Does this cause anyone else as much indecision as it does me? On the more positive note – what TV/film adaptations are you looking forward to in the future? Chat to me in the comments below, I’d love to talk adaptations!


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Friday Reads | 13th January 2017

Another week, another Friday, another Friday Reads. This one is a little special, however, since it’s my first of 2017. Happy 2017, here’s to (probably inevitably) more of the same… at least in terms of reading!

gofOn that note, I’m still reading/listening to the audiobook I was listening to in my previous Friday Reads back in December 2016 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling. This is making many a morning train ride bearable, but it’s also a bloody long book, so progress seems quite slow going (and it feels it at times, too!). I’m about 58% of the way through and I’ve just experienced the hilarity that is The Yule Ball chapter. (Ron and Hermione’s argument is my favourite thing ever, ngl.) So onwards and upwards into the trials and tribulations of The Triwizard Tournament and I’m actually really looking forward to the second half of the book because, although I watch the film quite a lot, I don’t very often re-read Goblet of Fire, for obvious length-based reasons.

darkestmindsI’m also reading The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. I requested and was sent this to review for Cuckoo Review, a writing programme/website I’m part of (in my own small way), and my review is due on Monday so I really, really need to get cracking with finishing this book. I’m… enjoying it reasonably so far, I think. Actually, a lot of the reasons I’m not wholly invested in the story aren’t really the book’s fault so I’m not sure where I will stand on it in my review, to be honest – is it the book’s fault that I am kind of over the whole heroine-of-book’s POV in a dystopian world narrative? I’m not sure. And it’s going to make completing my review a little tricky but, hey, that’s sort of a challenge in and of itself. And it’s good to be challenged when reading/reviewing.

asouenetflixHaving said both of those things… I’m also very aware that today is the darkest of days – the day that Netflix drops A Series of Unfortunate Events! I haven’t been this excited for a TV show in a while (well, since the Gilmore Girls specials) and whilst it would be nice to sit here and pretend this weekend will be dedicated entirely to reading… I’d be lying through my teeth – I fully intend to carve out a large block of time to snuggle up and not move for (hopefully) hours whilst I watch ASOUE. Likewise, me and Liz keep putting off going outside after work in order to go to the cinema and see Assassin’s Creed, but it’s now showing at a small local cinema and its proximity and cheaper price makes it an appealing offer ahead of the Odeon in town, and we should be seeing it sometime this weekend. And that sounds like a pretty damn ideal weekend to me!


So, those are my likely reading plans for today and heading into the weekend ahead. Do you have any Friday Reads posts?

Or perhaps just some fun plans for the weekend? Are you excited for A Series of Unfortunate Events like I am? Or perhaps a new film release? Let me know in the comments!


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Film Discussion | Deadpool

Here’s something different I don’t often discuss on this blog – films. Now, I love a good film as much as the next person but I am also very easily pleased when it comes to cinematic efforts. That is to say Thor is genuinely one of my favourite films, with rom com staples like Legally Blonde, The Proposal, and Leap Year vying for the runner-up spot after Marvel’s masterpiece. And my love of Thor is not all to do with the shit-stirrer that is Loki – not entirely, at least. What I am trying to explain, in a very long winded way is that, I am not a film buff. I have studied very little film theory (GCSE Media Studies doesn’t seem to count, and so it shouldn’t to be honest) and the only class I ever took on film was about adaptations of Victorian novels onto the big screen. I’m not a connoisseur of cinema is the main point I’m making here.

Which brings me onto the film I am choosing to uncharacteristically review here – Marvel’s latest offering Deadpool. This film is categorically not for everyone, it’s a polarising offering and I think I was perhaps the only one of my group of friends who actually really liked it. Because Deadpool chronicles an origin story like no other. It’s refreshing – it’s loud, it’s crude, it’s so meta and self-aware, it’s unapologetically violent (and laughs at that violence), and if you’re expecting the warm underlying message of Captain America, where even the littlest guy can be the biggest hero, then perhaps it’s best you steer clear of Deadpool. 

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