Sunday, February 3, 2013

DaWaRou Posts: Once Upon a Time

Hello everyone! With my computer screen still fucked up and my cousin dropping in for a while, I totally forgot that I had a blog post to do! But I've remembered just in time to get one done for the week and hopefully it'll be better than my YuYu Hakusho post from last week and even though I've already told my boss that this post should be up by Thursday, I'm gonna see how much I can do today before my procrastination gets me fired. Ladies and Gents, I'm John Cortez and this is my eleventh post for...The Broken Infinite.

So, I think I've talked a lot about anime but I don't really go into what I think about a lot of TV series made here in America. That's probably because most of those series aren't anime and the episodes of them are fairly predictable. But I've talked about Supernatural which I actually like and that trite abomination Beauty and the Beast which I despise due to the changes made in this new "adaptation" but there is another show that's currently holding my interest, well besides Dallas and Arrow. This is my review of Once Upon A Time!!!
By far the best thing on television right now, in my opinion, is this show, Once Upon A Time a new show with a focus on breathing some fresh life into our classic collective fairy tales and story books. Without further ado, let's start the review.

The plot is this: Prince Charming and Snow White's wedding celebration takes an unexpected turn when the Evil Queen Regina shows up and vows to destroy the happiness of all in attendance. After stealing a curse from Maleficent and seeking advice on how to work it from Rumpelstiltskin, Regina enacts the Dark Curse which will take everyone in the Enchanted Forest to a miserable land without Magic where she'll be the only one with a Happily Ever After. But just before the curse hits, Snow and Charming whisk their infant daughter Emma off through the Narnia wardrobe and send her to our world so that she won't be affected by the curse as she is the prophesied Savior, the one who'll defeat the Evil Queen and break her horrible curse. 28 years later, Emma Swan receives an unexpected visit from a ten year old boy named Henry who claims to be the infant she herself gave up for adoption years ago. He tracks her down and gets her to take him back to his hometown Storybrooke, Maine because he knows who she is and what she's supposed to do. Too bad Emma refuses to believe him when he tells her this as well as the fact that (almost) every character from every story book or fairy tale ever written is a cursed citizen in this town, unable to remember their true identities or leave the town. Emma and Regina, Henry's adopted mom, don't quite see eye to eye and an epic battle of good vs. evil begins as we explore the true natures and pasts of the Storybrooke citizens and watch as history repeats itself in our world. Will Emma truly break the curse? Everything starts Once Upon A Time and Happily Ever After is never where it truly ends.

I think that might be the most glorified plot description I've ever written for something like this. Wow, well let's get started. Now normally I talk about the art and music but in this case we'll talk about the casting, special effects and the background music. The casting is amazing! Ginnifer Goodwin makes for a beautifully badass Snow White and does her other role as Mary Margret Blanchard equally well and the other actors and actresses are no slouches either in their respective roles. I will say though that the dialogue can be a bit...forced. Sometimes the characters will say things that sound like they've been ripped right from a story book but in this case, I'm more than willing to overlook it considering that most of the characters actually are from fairy tales and story books, and I suppose that Jared S. Gilmore who plays ten year old Henry also gets a bit of a free pass as he's only a little kid and they do sometimes say things that they see or read. Above all though this show has two spectacular cast members and they are Lana Parrillla who plays Regina the Evil Queen and Mayor of Storybrooke and Robert Carlyle who plays Rumpelstiltskin and Mr. Gold the resident David Xanatos with magic. They just dominate whatever scene they're in and it's really just a blast to watch them act. The sets are also great. Whoever does the CG for the Enchanted Forest deserves a big FAT raise assuming they already don't get paid a lot though my one problem with the CG is the Fairies who look like they swim through the air as opposed to flying gracefully. The special effects are also very good to the point of being extremely lifelike and the music is appropriate to the scene.

Now this series is very well put together. Being a fairy tale/story book mash up, I imagine that it'd be pretty easy to get some shit fanfic inspired crossover where everything is forced and contrived to fit the needs of the average internet denizen or illiterate high school student with no appreciation for classic literature but the way all the stories in this series are put together is just fascinating in a wonderful way. And I'd say that I should't have expected anything less from Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, the writers of Lost but I haven't seen lost so I can't say that. But this kind of writing does have it's problems. The main one being that most of the magical help our hero's receive is from Rumpelstiltskin while their magical misery all comes from Regina though sometimes they switch roles. It also leads to the depowering of certain former Disney badasses namely Maleficent!
Yeah, remember Sleeping Beauty's badass evil Fairy Maleficent?! The most badass character ever seen in a Disney film up to that point? The Mistress of all Evil?! Well, here she is in Once Upon a Time.
And to be honest, if anything it's kind of a downgrade. Okay, it's not "kind of" it is a downgrade to see such a formally badass character reduced to just...a common evil witch subdued with a chandelier? Really?! REALLY!? And by the witch from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?! But then again some characters get an upgrade like the Evil Queen from Snow White, FUCKING MULAN in season two, Sexy Red Riding Hood, Snow White herself, Belle from Beauty and the Beast and of all people, Captain Hook! Frankly it's all quite amazing how badass some of these characters are made to be and what's more how real and developed they all are now. These characters have never been seen in this way before, as real people with real problems and real flaws and real personalities and then once season two hits their personalities come out in full bloom.

And aside from everything else that's great about this series, there are some more flaws though I think the biggest and most important of them is the character of Henry. For the most part he's pretty much just a plot device. He doesn't really do much but point out the obvious fairy tale of the day if there is one or be a real asshat to Regina...the woman that RAISED HIM! And honestly, that's my biggest problem with Henry. I'm not sure where he stands with Regina and there's not much to go on as to why he treats her so horribly and then makes a total 180 come season two where he spontaneously develops feelings for her. What the fuck Henry?! But other than that there really aren't too many issues...OH WAIT! I COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT THE SENSE OF MORALITY THROUGHOUT THIS SERIES

Ever hear of "Black and White Morality"? Well, this series is swimming in it. Almost every character is made to be either good or evil with very little wiggle room or accounting for neutrality. And that's something that really angers me and makes me think that the writers are just being overly simplistic with character motivations and actions just for the sake of keeping that Disney flair, though given some of the shit that the Mouse has put out, this really shouldn't surprise me. And it's not like Once Upon A Time is a bad series for using the morality the way it does because plenty of other shows like Charmed and Supernatural did their fair share in indulging in this kind of childish and overly simplistic way of establishing character motivations and sides and it's not that I don't understand why it's done. Painting things as black and white makes it very clear who the good and bad guys are and therefore makes it much easier for us as an audience to know who and what to cheer for. When the good guys start doing bad things we're immediately made aware of it due to the nature of the act in question and we already know that it's a start down a darker path. But the thing about these shows and I think Once Upon A Time especially is that despite all the fantastical and magical things happening, the real world isn't always clear cut black and white. Reality has many shades of grey and in fact most things that our parents teach us are "right" and "wrong" can easily be flipped around in the hands of a more capable and cunning individual. Like stealing. Stealing is wrong because you're taking something that doesn't belong to you, right? Well what if you're stealing food to feed your family? Then is it still wrong? Well, some say no, I have a feeling that this show would get into an ethics debate about it and then come to the conclusion that it's right because...of circumstances.

Well, I think I've made enough of a point on that, anything else and I'll add it later on. And hey you know what, next week you're all in for a special surprise as I take you behind the scenes of my novel Spellbound. I hope you enjoy it! DaWaRou~!

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