Lise Lyng Falkenberg's Point of View

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Maleficent


Last weekend I took my 15 year old daughter to see Robert Stromberg’s film ”Maleficent”. Although she isn’t as keen on fairy tales as me, we both ended up enjoying ourselves, as this is a fairy tale with a twist.

Based loosely on “Sleeping Beauty”, the film tells the story of the malevolent fairy Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) right from her childhood where we learn that she isn’t malevolent at all, just hurt and rejected. The real villains are the two kings, Henry (Kenneth Cranham) and Stephan (Sharlto Copley). The sleeping beauty, Princess Aurora, is nice but colourless in the shape of Elle Fanning, who is totally upstaged by her 5 year old self played by Angelina Jolie’s real daughter Vivienne Jolie-Pitt. The three good fairies, Flittle (Lesley Manville), Knotgrass (Imelda Staunton) and Thistlewit (Juno Temple), are in charge of the comic relief, but the film is all about Angelina Jolie, sorry, Maleficent. The only other character with just a little bit of weight is her assistant and confidant Diaval (Sam Riley) in his many shapes as man, raven, wolf, dragon etc.

“Maleficent” is a true CGI film with beautiful and spectacular scenes from the magic Moors, but most of the time the CGI is used to create big battles, dark woods and the bleak castle. It seems a trend to use CGI to create dark, gloomy and violent scenes instead of magic, enchanting and beautiful ones, and personally, I think it’s a bit of the shame. I did, however, appreciate that the set designers remembered that the Disney film logo is in fact the Sleeping Beauty castle and as such it appears in the film, although it is dark and not pink as it should have been.

As “Maleficent” is a fairy tale with several twists it didn’t quite follow the usual “Sleeping Beauty” story, and some of the changes are good, others are not. In the film it is Maleficent herself who changes the curse on Sleeping Beauty from death to sleep, so the wish of the last good fairy, which is usually the one that saves Sleeping Beauty’s life, is never being uttered and that seems weird, as the princess could easily have done with more wishes. It seems even weirder that Sleeping Beauty doesn’t sleep for 100 years in the film, but rather for 10 minutes. It totally ruins the original story and the byname Sleeping Beauty, who has now become The awake Beauty.

Anyway, the story isn’t about Sleeping Beauty but about Maleficent and as such it is a very feministic film, showing sisters doin’ it for themselves. There is no need for men, in fact the main moral of the story is that romantic love between man and woman is not true love and that true love only exists among friends, children/parents and the likes. I think this is a very brave and refreshing moral that I haven’t seen before in a fairy tale

All in all this 98 minutes fairy tale is a magic and amazing CGI film, but it seems weird that the moral is feministic when the CGI is used mainly to make dark, violent “masculine” scenes. Besides, the film is much more about Angelina Jolie than the plot, so I can only give it 3 out of 5 stars: ***

Friday, June 06, 2014

Update



Since July 2013 I haven’t been well and in October I had x-rays and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my knees. In November last year I then tore the meniscus in my left knee so that I’ve had difficulties walking ever since. In fact I could only walk a few minutes at a time and only with the aid of a rollator or a walking stick.
Despite the “fantastic” health care system in Denmark, I had to wait 7 months to get my knee scanned and another 3 weeks to have surgery. Finally on May 21st I had keyhole surgery in a private clinic, as my doctor had given up on the public hospitals by then. Because of the indecently long waiting lists, he was able to finally transfer me to a private clinic free of charge, and surgery only lasted 30 minutes with local anesthesia. Everything went well, except there was a lot more wrong with my knee than could be seen on the x-rays and MRI-scan.
Apart from the meniscus tear and the osteoarthritis, I also had a ligament-tear, several swollen, inflamed mucous membranes and worst of all: severe cartilage damage. Actually the bone in my knee is exposed several places. Much of this could have been avoided had I had surgery straight away instead of having to wait for almost 8 months, so I am to formally complain to the National Health Service now.
Anyway, I'm able to bend and stretch the knee again, but it’ll take maybe 2-3 months, before I will be able to walk "normally" again and some of the pain is never going to go away, but at least I'm on the right track now. This means that I’ll be able to update my blogs again, so please stay tuned! Thanks for your patience.
xxx
Lise

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Krishna - a short story

I hope you'll enjoy my new short story "Krishna". You can read it at Twimagination.

If you wonder why I haven't updated my profile on Twimagination lately, it is because their browser button hasn't worked for a while, so I can't add the rest of the books that I have written. Too bad.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Lego Movie



Earlier this month I went with my daughter to the cinema to see Warner Brothers’ American/Australian/Danish “The Lego Movie”. We had both been very excited about seeing it as Lego is one of the most amazing and international acclaimed Danish inventions and furthermore the movie got really good reviews.

I must admit, that when first I learned that the name of the main character was Emmet, I was disappointed. Why would anyone making a movie about Danish toys give the main character a name that is very uncommon in Danish? Obviously, the directors/screen writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller would, but I just thought it would have been nice with an internationally common name like John or Tom or Michael, which are common in Denmark too, instead of the very English Emmet. I must admit that seeing the movie, I was equally disappointed. Sure, Emmet’s orange and white security vest looks a bit like two Danish red and white flags, but the rest of the movie is very, very American.

The Lego Movie opens with a scene showing the wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) attempting to protect a super weapon called the "Kragle" from the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell). He fails to do so, but prophesies that a person called "the Special" will find the Piece of Resistance capable of stopping the Kragle.
8½ years later, we meet the Lego construction worker Emmett (Chris Pratt) who is so ordinary that people don’t notice him. He is content in his routine life, though, where he sticks to the manual, listening to the same song as everyone else, watching the same TV-show as everyone else and doing exactly what he is supposed to do.
By accident Emmet finds the Piece of Resistance and meets the Master Builder Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), the two eventually teaming up with Vitruvius, Batman (Will Arnett), Metalbeard (Nick Offerman), UniKitty (Allison Brie), and the 1980es something space guy Benny (Charlie Day) to battle against Lord Business and his henchman Bad Cop/Good Cop (Liam Neeson).

It is impressive how everything in this movie is made to look like it is made of Lego (which of course it isn’t as it is a CGI movie). Especially explosions and water look awesome when made of make-believe Lego. And it’s funny that Shaquille O'Neal is the voice of Shaq and that Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels are Lando Calrissian and C-3PO. It’s entertaining that Batman is in the movie along with Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Milhouse, Dumbledore, Gandalf, Abraham Lincoln, William Shakespeare and a lot of other superheroes, made-up characters and real life heroes. And the plot twists and turns several times, but it’s never really funny or exciting.

The play of words are too few and too lame to be funny, the different Lego universes aren’t used or seen much and the contradicting theme of “everyone’s a hero” and “together we are strong” has been used too many times before to be interesting. Maybe I could live with that, but moving the story into the real world with real actors ruined it for me. Suddenly it was no longer an action packed animated fantasy movie, but a very sappy and very American story about a father/son relationship. Not a clever move, the only thing good about it being Finn, the name of the son (Jadon Sand), as Finn at least is a Danish name!

I have to say that of the audience, the very young children seemed to enjoy at least two things about the movie: the coolness of Batman and the anger of UniKitty. As for my daughter, she found the movie extremely boring and a bit of a disappointment and I’m afraid I agree with her. Even the soundtrack rap song “Everything Is Awesome” (performed by Tegan and Sara featuring The lonely Island), which we thought we would be singing for a long, long time after leaving the theatre, we both forgot within an hour.

Three out of five stars: ***