I’d like to address an age old argument: Potatoes in Fantasy.
Potatoes in Fantasy?
There’s an argument that potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, pumpkins, and other non-European food don’t belong in medieval fantasy.
The argument goes that a fantasy should stick to it’s temporal cultural roots. Since potatoes are a South American food, they shouldn’t exist in a European inspired fantasy.
It continues to go along the lines of dragons being a fantasy element and potatoes being a real like element that having the first makes it fantasy and the second lazy writing.
Potatoes, apparently, hurt an audience’s suspension of disbelief.
What’s your opinion Éric?
I think that if you are writing a historical fantasy or any form of historical fiction, you should make sure to avoid anachronisms.
I can even see the argument for gritty, or realistic fantasy trying to be as close to it’s cultural inspiration as possible.
No, really, what do you think?
Okay fine. I think no potatoes in fantasy is overly didactic, ridiculous, and extremely condescending. I think it’s another way to gatekeep and I think it leads to people who don’t know shit complaining about false anachronisms.
If a damned potato throws you out of a fantasy story, then maybe you should consider only reading historical novels.
In my opinion, if you want to write french fries into your fantasy, go right ahead. I’m a fan of kitchen sink style fantasy (throwing everything into it including the kitchen sink.)
We’ve been giving King Arthur full plate armour for the past hundred years, so why the hell shouldn’t we use potatoes?!
This movie balances multiple story lines, deals with serious subjects, and manages to inject hope and humour.
The script is tight, there isn’t a lost word, scene, or moment. Everything is set up from the beginning without being so obvious as to ruin the reveals.
At it’s base it’s a standard hero’s journey with a JRPG style collecting element. That’s more of the structure, the actual story is about love, change, and how we handle difficult times.
There was just enough complexity to make it re-watchable and simple enough to keep all ages interested. Everything has multiple purposes in the story and it’s beautiful to see.
There are very few characters for such an epic story. Elsa, Anna, Olaf, and Kristoff/Sven each get a character arc that is both transformative and satisfying.
There’s a bit where Olaf recaps the first movie (As if we haven’t all seen it a million times) and it’s not about Olaf and the recap. It’s a shortcut to introduce us to the newest characters of Mattias and Yelena. It perfectly shows who they are and makes the audience love them, while breaking up the action, recaping, and making us laugh.
Elsa’s continued discovery of who she is flows well from the first movie and has great parallels for those of us who are different from the norm.
Anna’s struggle through trauma and depression not only make a great story they also give children a guide for how to deal with depression and horrible events.
Kristoff deals with his feelings of insecurity. Not about his love or himself, but about how she feels about him.
Olaf deals with growing up and the fear that not knowing brings.
The songs have some extremely powerful lines but the dialogue doesn’t slouch at being insightful and poignant. “I’m sorry Anna. You’re gonna have to do the next part on your own. Ok?” breaks me every time. Same with, “My love isn’t fragile.”
Of late I’ve seriously been feeling Olaf in this movie, especially the line, “We’re calling this ‘controlling what you can when things feel out of control'”.
Visuals and Music
The autumn aesthetic is stunning. The colours are vibrant and the animation is absolutely beautiful. I’m not an animation expert but the details in this were astounding.
Musically it was great. The songs are a staple of our house already. They are beautiful on their own but also move the narrative, foreshadow, and expand the story.
The score on it’s own is epic and is reminiscent of Lord of the Rings or the better superhero scores.
This was a beautiful movie both visually and as a story. It tries and succeeds to tackle serious subjects while breaking them down for younger audiences.
Most of all it’s hopeful, catchy, and fun.
If you’d asked me whether I thought a 2 hour movie could handle talking about growing up, depression, colonialism, and self-discovery, while having a positive message about love being a strong and stable element to life; I’d have said… Maybe but better to do it in a book. It’s staggering that they managed to do it in a movie and made it accessible to all ages.
With the use of short forms, animation, and musical elements they managed to do it all.
Final Score: 5*
*A 5 star review doesn’t mean the movie was perfect nor that it is perfect for everyone but it is a movie I believe is as close to perfect as possible.
I had heard reviews about this movie that said it was the herald that Pixar had lost it’s magic and just become another copy of Disney. (Which I think is unfair since modern Disney owes a lot to Pixar.) This movie didn’t disappoint me. Like the vast majority, it left me crying.
I think the story itself is fairly simple but the world and buildup are fantastic. There’s very little in the movie that isn’t used or exploited again.
That all being said… It was a little predictable. The structure of a Quest or road trip movie, dictates that no matter what they choose, it’ll be wrong but end up pushing the character development. I guessed every twist in advance, which is uncommon for a Pixar.
The story is the characters. That’s really what Pixar is best at, engaging, flawed, lovable, characters that grow because of the story.
From the awkward Mom’s boyfriend to the retired adventurer, they all have depths. I mean, they somehow managed to make a character who was just a bottom half, have a loving and endearing personality.
“You’ll never be ready. Now Merge!” is probably one of the most inspiring things I’ve heard. As someone without his license, it’s also terrifying.
The dialogue is true and it’s certainly authentic; but it’s not extremely memorable after a first watch.
Visuals and Music
The movie’s description call it a Suburban Fantasy and the visuals never let you forget it. Anytime you see a lush, beautiful, fantasy moment, the visuals will throw in a plane or road sign or manhole cover.
It’s a great balancing act that makes the entire movie visually coherent. I love the look and feel of this world. It’s beautiful and ugly in all the right ways.
The music is mostly variations on fantasy themes with a bunch of classic rock inspired music thrown in. The combination gives a quirky feel but is definitely authentic its Dungeons & Dragons influence.
This movie had everything I wanted and didn’t try to jam in an awkward romance.
It was exciting, pretty, and a lot of fun.
This movie feels like it was made to entertain me and pull at my heartstrings. It won’t hit everyone the same way but it is an extremely fun road trip movie set in a suburban fantasy. Plus there’s a gelatinous cube.
My book, Everdome, and plenty of other awesome books are being launched on Saturday.
Here’s the press release:
Join us Saturday October 5th at 4 PM, at 3 Brewers (240 Sparks, Ottawa) for the launch of seven extraordinary novels!
Humour, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, and reality TV? There’s something in here to please everyone!
will be author readings, you can get your books signed, and we’ll be drawing
absolutely fabulous door prizes. Plus, there will be much fun and merriment!
NOTE: the elevator is situated in the back of the pub. Please ask staff upon
entry and they will guide you to it!
Because of the large numbers we usually bring in, they asked us to tell our guests they will have a choice from the group menu. We went with option number one; there will be gluten-free options such as gluten-free buns or lettuce wraps, and there will also be vegan alternatives on site.
When the outermost interstellar Way Station suddenly ceases
communications with Earth, Commander Skye and Team 6 are sent to investigate.
They discover a new alien threat—the insectoid Ragnar, who move through space
consuming resources like a virus. Humanity and daemon-kind realize they must
unite in the fight to protect Earth.
For thirteen lucky contestants, when a man dressed as a knight offers
them the opportunity to visit their favourite fantasy world as an immersive
reality show, there’s only one answer they can give: YES!
The impressive realism is beyond anything they can believe and
some of them start to wonder why.
A Congress of Ships by Stephen Graham King – Sci-fi
In a desolate system on the outer edge of Pan Galactum, the skin of the
universe has ruptured, tearing open a portal to an alternate reality. Witnessed
only by the sentient science vessel N’Dea, a massive, battered ship falls
through, housing a community of refugees fleeing an enemy that has pursued them
across the cold reaches of space for decades.
All Spider wants is to seek his fortune as a thief. Is that too much to
ask? Must be, since a break in gone wrong leaves him babysitting a powerful
magic-user with sporadic control over his spells, and even less of a grip on
functioning in society. And that’s just where it starts. Each misadventure
takes Spider further from his goals, but he’s about to learn that sometimes we
get what we need instead of what we want.
Attractive, wildly unconventional, and happy in an open relationship
with his partner Annie, Zak seems to embody everything missing from Jeremy’s
life, but when the arrest and death of a marginalized student at the Brooklyn
high school where they both teach trigger Zak’s mental breakdown and slow
descent, Jeremy and Annie are compelled to cross boundaries, both external and
internal, in a desperate attempt to save him.
Blaine and his friends haven’t always been lucky in love. They’ve
stumbled throughout lust, hoping to find their hearts desire, or at least a
good lay. They have made their way through life, stumbling a few times, and
have finally found their way to comfort and acceptance…Or have they? There are
all kinds of love in the world and Blaine and his friends will have to find the
love that works for them.
This Saturday is the last day to put in your votes for the Aurora awards. If you’ve been meaning to, please go and vote before it’s too late.
Go to https://prixaurorawards.ca/ and click on the “Become a Member” button. Once you’ve paid you’ll be able to vote. Don’t forget to download your voters package.
Please consider both The Sign of Faust and The Travelling TARDIS in your votes.
The Sign of Faust
Elizabeth Coderre solves mysteries. Magic, wizards, and killer kittens didn’t stop her last semester. Now someone is trying to kill her in absurdly complicated ways, she’s hearing voices, her best friends are constantly fighting despite being madly in love, and the desires of Baker City’s residents are becoming reality. Can she find out who’s trying to kill her and discover the source of everyone’s luck, while navigating dating, concerts, school, and competing in the science Olympics? She can only wish… and you know what they say about wishes!
The Travelling TARDIS
The Travelling TARDIS moves, with the power of timey-yarney crochet, through time and space visiting and taking pictures with cosplayers, landmarks, celebrities, and cute babies.
This will be my last reminder.
Hope you’ve read and enjoyed the books from this year’s package.