A Pretty Epic Year

Goodbye 2015, what a crazy year you were! Although I haven’t done a lot of blogging lately, a lot has happened in my life and I can happily say that I am leaving the year a completely different – and better – person than I entered it.

The Film Academy crew. See if you can spot me! (Thanks for that, Haider)

March – The Film Academy crew. See if you can spot me! (Thanks for that, Haider)

It’s absolutely bonkers to me that this time last year, I was panicking about an A-Level drama performance that felt like it was going nowhere – but that I later passed with flying colours. Back then, I was just beginning to have doubts about the Creative Writing degree I’d applied for, and the BFI Film Academy course was creeping up on me with every passing day as I remained oblivious to just how life-changing it would be. I didn’t know half the people I know now. Everything was scary and intimidating. I had no independence. I was a different person. Before, the world was too big for me but now I’ve grown to fit the world a little bit more.

Family trip (minus Tom) to Conwy Castle.

April – Family trip (minus Tom) to Conwy Castle.

Last year, I made this post about my new year’s resolutions. This year, I’m not making any resolutions because for the first time in as long as I can remember, I’m completely happy with who I am. This is a huge deal for me. I’ve always been self-conscious, caring too much about trivial things like my weight and what people thought of me. Over summer, I lost a lot of weight but even if I put it all back on now, I’d still be happy, and I’ve realised that what people think of me really doesn’t matter. I am happy with how I look and who I am.

September - The girls (minus Georgie) from my first flat during Freshers.

September – The girls (minus Georgie) from my first flat during Freshers.

I think the main reason for this is university. To say that going to uni at all was a last minute decision is an understatement, and I truly believe that had I not gone, I wouldn’t be as happy as I am now. I’ve only done one semester so far, but already uni has given me more opportunities and experiences than I could have imagined. Just surviving on my own has given me a huge confidence boost. When you’re forced to be independent, you have to push your anxieties and fear aside and just go for it. And being thrust into a new city on the other side of the country where I know absolutely no one would have seemed like a nightmare to me last January – or even last August  – but now I could happily walk into a group of strangers and make friends. If I ever need to, that is.

November - Out with my new housemates on my birthday. Such a good night!

November – Out with my new housemates on my birthday. Such a good night!

My last uni update was back in September, and even more things have changed since then. I moved into a different halls of residence. When I took the first accommodation, I was told that I had to find somewhere new by December as the international students would then move in. So, the race was on for us to find somewhere else to live. I literally couldn’t have made a better decision when I chose this place. I don’t know if any of my new housemates will read this but there’s a good chance they will so I won’t make this too soppy. I’ll just say that from the moment I first set foot in this place, they welcomed me like family and I’m so glad I know them now. I’ll also say that before I moved in, I barely drank any alcohol. Now, thanks to them, I can probably be found lying on the stairs most Wednesday nights. Thanks a lot, guys.

December - the Morledge family takeover at Disneyland.

December – the Morledge family takeover at Disneyland.

Of course, the year hasn’t been all smiles, laughter and drunk antics. My final few months of college brought me a whole lot of stress and anxiety, and there was the terrifying few weeks at the beginning of summer when I passed out in hospital and the doctor said I’d had a seizure. But hey, if you’re gonna have a seizure anywhere, a hospital is probably the best place to have it! Even if it was the night before one of my exams. The beginning of uni was a difficult time too, when I wasn’t sure of anything, didn’t know anyone and missed home like hell. But clearly, as things have a tendency of doing, everything turned out alright.

And there are even more things to look forward to in 2016. First and foremost, my beautiful older sister is having a baby. We’re all so excited and I can’t wait to meet my little niece in April. Our family is going to make her the most loved little girl in the world. As well as that, we’re also going on holiday In the summer, straight off the back of this Christmas’s Disneyland trip, which is a whole other blog post in itself. And, of course, there’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them coming out in November. It’s all a Harry Potter fangirl can do to stay sane for so long. Well, as sane as I already am, at least.

Christmas day 2015. Surrounded by family and full of food.

Christmas day 2015. Surrounded by family and full of food.

All in all, 2015 has been a pretty epic year for me, and I hope it’s been just as brilliant for you. I am so grateful to my family and friends – old and new – for being there for me when I needed you. Thank you to all of my housemates and coursemates. All of you are fantastic.

Happy New Year!

TV REVIEW: OUAT, A Tale of Two Sisters

Warning: This review will contain spoilers of episode 4.01 of ABC’s Once Upon A Time.

When I saw the finale of the third season, I think I might have squealed. Ever since then, I have been avidly waiting for the debut episode of the fourth season and I was not disappointed. At all. This episode was everything that I had looked forward to, and more.

First off, there’s the brilliant opening scene – the brilliant, tragic opening scene – but I’ll let you see that for yourself.

Let’s start with the characters we know and love. Regina’s story is a tricky one. Always the villain, will she ever get her chance at the Happily Ever After she’s always dreamed of? The problem lies with Marian, whom Emma Swan brought back from the dead when she travelled in time.

In this episode, we see Regina’s heart get broken all over again when Robin tells her that he has to choose his wife. There was a lot of nervousness around whether Regina would revert back to her evil ways, but to many breaths of relief, she has come too far for that. At least we think. There seems to be a rather interesting storyline developing involving the author of the book.

Has everyone forgotten about August? Anyone else find it uncanny that he claimed to be a writer, and knew exactly how to format and make the pages of his story for Henry’s book?

And then we have Rumbelle, and their intriguing story that is being unravelled. As they go on honeymoon, we witness the most beautiful scene in Disney history. As the gorgeous music begins to play (‘’tale as old as time…”), Belle’s dress and Rumplestiltskin’s suit are transformed into the iconic costumes that have taken breaths away since 1991. This heartwarming scene is possibly the best thing I have ever witnessed, but it can only be a calm before the storm which makes me nervous.

Another interesting development in Rumple’s tale is the discovery of a little box. When Rumple waves his dagger over it, it transforms into an object just as iconic as the Beauty and the Beast ballroom scene; a hat owned by a certain Magician’s Apprentice.

And, of course, there’s Captain Swan. Although they are rather busy running around after a giant, angry snowman, they still manage to share a few precious moments. The characters are clearly infatuated with each other, and I believe possibly even in love. Hook is certainly ready to love Emma, but Emma is clearly struggling to find space for it.

But have no fear, Captain Swan shippers! There is light on the horizon yet. The sweet little kiss they share is enough evidence for that. And my favourite sharing of lines:-

Emma: You wanna go home and see what’s on Netflix?

Hook: I don’t know what that is, but sure! (He smiles adorably.)

Finally, we get to our new characters, and boy did they fulfil my expectations! Georgina Haig (Fringe) and Elizabeth Lail (Model Airplane) are absolutely perfect for their roles as Frozen’s Elsa and Anna, and Scott Michael Foster (Greek)’s Kristoff more than fits the bill, too. I cannot express just how much I love these characters, and how well these actors play them. I am truly full of nothing but praise.

And, of course, we can’t forget dear old Grand Pabbie, voiced by John Rhys-Davies (Lord of the Rings). The animators created the rock troll absolutely flawlessly.

I feel like every single scene of this episode is a highlight. I am sure that you will all agree with me when I say that the show creators, Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, have outdone themselves with this one. Well done, and thank you!

Who would I recommend this to?

  • Disney fans
  • Frozen fans
  • Anyone who enjoys becoming emotionally attached to fictional characters, because trust me, you will be.

Star Rating: StarStarStarStarStar

Lost Girl

I am obsessed with Peter Pan, and it’s not just because I have a crush on Robbie Kay who played him on Once Upon A Time. It is the entire concept of Neverland. The conflicts between childhood and adulthood, dreams and reality, innocence and corruption, and freedom and responsibility resonate with me more than they ever did before.

As I am reaching my eighteenth birthday, it might seem silly to some people that I’m so attracted to a fairytale. Truthfully, the story of Peter and Wendy never interested me much when I was younger. It’s only now that I’m approaching uni and have to think about earning money that I really understand what it’s all about.

In the early 1900s when JM Barrie wrote the play ‘Peter Pan or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up’, childhood was cut short very early. The ages of the characters are never specifically stated in either the play or novel, but Peter is described as still having all of his baby teeth, and Wendy is just his height. Nowadays, childhood seems to stretch on for as long as possible. In early adolescence, children seem desperate to grow up, unlike Wendy.

Now, at seventeen going on eighteen, I find myself torn between wanting to live my own life in my own house, earning my own money. But, at the same time, the thought of all that independence terrifies me and all I want to do is crawl back into my childhood and hide there forever. Maybe that’s why I love the idea of Neverland so much.

Can you imagine how wonderful it would be? Someone turns up on your windowsill and whisks you away on an adventure full of more excitement and happiness than you have experienced in your entire life. Unfortunately, there are laws against that kind of thing now.

But at the end of the day, Wendy makes the ultimate decision and says goodbye to Peter, returning home with her brothers to face the inevitable challenge of growing-up, a feat that Peter was never able to accomplish. And it is so sad. The novel depicts the sadness of it much more than the Disney film.

Peter promises to return every year to take Wendy back to Neverland so that he would never forget her. But he does. Because time doesn’t work the same in Neverland, and although he holds to his promise for a couple of years, he soon leaves her for many years. In that time, Wendy gets married and has a daughter. Then, one night, Peter returns to take Wendy (or whom he believes to be Wendy) back to Neverland for her annual visit. And so occurs one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking scenes that I have ever read. Wendy wakes from her chair in the shadows in the corner of the room and sees Peter standing over her daughter’s bed. Peter cheerfully explains that he’s returned after a year to take her away, and Wendy says that it has been longer than that. It has been years. And slowly, Wendy emerges from the shadows and Peter recoils. She’s all grown-up. In the end, Peter takes her daughter to Neverland, and then her granddaughter, and so on. But he always forgets them.

If that hasn’t tugged on your heartstrings enough, then maybe this piece of information will. JM Barrie grew up with seven siblings. When he was six, his fourteen-year-old brother, David, died. His mother was so devastated that Barrie tried to fill his brother’s place by acting like him and wearing his clothes. In Margaret Oglivy (1896), Barrie described a moment when his mother saw him and asked, “Is that you?”, to which he replied in a small voice, “No, it’s no’ him, it’s just me”. He said that his mother took comfort in the fact that David would remain a boy forever and never have to face the horrors of growing-up and difficulties of adulthood.

This adds a whole new side to Peter Pan, who clearly has similarities to Barrie’s brother. The idea that Peter leads other little ‘lost boys’ to the place where they never have to grow up suggests that Peter makes it easier for dying children to move on. It is a sad but oddly comforting idea.

Peter Pan clearly has many layers and themes that are not as obvious as we thought. It is about more than just the struggle of growing-up; it is about the more complex ideas of life, death and love.

I strongly recommend that you read JM Barrie’s Peter and Wendy. Barrie writes in an imaginative style that is completely unique to him. His use of often surreal imagery creates an atmosphere that you can just lose yourself in. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

Peter-Pan-and-Wendy-Darling-peter-pan-14526250-576-416


On a different note, my dad now has a blog in which he posts reviews of films, TV shows and books. You can visit it here.

Video

Twisted Peter Pan – the Once Upon A Time version.

In my desperation for Darling Pan to come into being on my absolute favourite TV show, Once Upon A Time, my hand slipped and the following trailer was created. Also, I accidentally became the voice of Wendy Darling.

Sherlock, Enchanted 2 & Once Upon A Time News

So in less than 24 hours, I have discovered that Sherlock is absolutely, definitely coming back, we’ll get to see the latest instalments of Giselle’s life in the upcoming Enchanted 2, and Once Upon A Time has officially cast Anna and Kristoff for the new series.

Sherlock

Let’s start with Sherlock. At 2:21pm (see what they did there?), various BBC social media accounts, including Twitter and Tumblr,  announced that (in my opinion) the greatest television drama that the BBC has ever produced will be making a comeback with a special, followed by three new episodes. Shooting is set to begin in January 2015, to be shown later in the year. It is likely that this means that there will be a 2015 Christmas special and a new series possibly around Easter 2016. At least it’s not another three years, right?

In the new series, Sherlock will be faced with “one of his biggest mysteries yet”, and we will all be treated to the return of television’s (and literature’s) greatest psychopath, Moriarty. We are being promised the “most shocking and surprising” series yet, and I am entirely willing to believe them on that. To read, the full press release, follow this link.

Enchanted 2

Back in 2007 (can you believe it was seven years ago?!), Enchanted hit the cinema screens to great success. It was really Disney’s first venture into the unknown, beginning as a parody of the traditional Disney princess, and developing into a heartwarming classic. Combining elements of various classic Disney films (Snow White’s poisoned apple, Sleeping Beauty’s dragon, general singing shenanigans), Enchanted lifted the spirits of millions of people.

Now, Disney has announced that they are planning it’s sequel. According to reports, the screenwriters, J. David Stern and David N. Weiss, have been hired to write the script, and with credits such as The Smurfs and Shrek 2, I think we can count on them to keep the heartwarming, wry humour of the original. There has been no word yet on whether the original actors have been called on, but I for one would love to see what the future has in store for not only Giselle’s new family, but also Prince Edward’s. Babies, anyone? The voice of Frozen’s Elsa, Idina Menzel, who played Nancy Tremaine in the original (which also has a nice little nudge to Cinderella, as the evil stepmother’s name is Lady Tremaine), has previously responded with “bring it on” to the possibility of an Enchanted sequel, so we’ve got that to look forward to.

Once Upon A Time

Season 3 SPOILERS AHEAD. Read at your own peril.

If you’re up to speed with the ABC series, Once Upon A Time (dropped from Channel 5 late last year, but available on Netflix), then you might have had the same reaction as me to the end of the last episode: squealing at the screen and fighting the urge to race around the house shouting, “YIPPEE!”. We were all surprised by the majestic appearance of Frozen’s great Elsa.

The showrunners were able to present her right at the end of the episode without showing her face, as they have yet to cast the perfect actor. I imagine that it will be quite a task. However, two other characters from the Disney film that everyone was talking about, have been cast. Anna and Kristoff will be taking to our screens in real-life form,  with a delightful Once twist.

Anna has been described as “a fun-loving, fearless optimist who often gets herself into situations where she is in over her head, yet is able to triumph due to her resourcefulness and can-do spirit. She values her relationship with her sister Elsa above all else.” She will be played by Elizabeth Lail, a newcomer whom I think bares a striking resemblance. Once does seem to have the ability of casting brilliantly.

'Once Upon a Time' casts 'Frozen' characters Anna and Kristoff

Once‘s Kristoff will be played by ABC’s ‘Greek’ star, Scott Michael Foster. His character is described as “a hearty, salt-of-the-earth ice cutter whose sometimes-gruff demeanor can hide his deep love for Anna and her sister Elsa. When we first meet him on ‘Once,’ he is adjusting to life at the castle — including sleeping indoors for the first time in his life.”

Scott Michael Foster and Kristoff from Frozen

*attempts to disguise girlish squeals with coughing*. That sounds like a character we could fall in love with.

Season four of Once Upon A Time will air in September. There better be an Olaf reference, or a character telling Elsa to “let it go” or I might cry.