cinema · juvenile lit

the things we do…

I am slowly but surely making my way through the Percy Jackson and The Olympians Series by Rick Riordan. Waiting on the daughter to finish the 4th book, and then hopefully the request for the 5th (and final) at the library will be filled quick.

Today, a local library is having a “read it before you see it” party for The Lightning Thief. Natalya seems to be enjoying the series. She loves Mythology, FairyTales, and Fables. The only hiccup in the reading experience thus far, other than my sometimes hostile takes, and my “unfortunate” ability to anticipate an upcoming plot event and mention it aloud, is when the other morning she was eating her breakfast and reading the fourth book. We asked her to please close the book and shovel the rest of her food in–it was time to run for the bus. She flipped the book closed where she mutinously ate and read the back cover. She mumbled through her food, “It says Disney.” “What?” “It says Disney, right here, above Hyperion, the Publisher.” She looked distraught, and confused; apparently very worried as to whether she can continue reading the book, let alone the series. Her quandary earned stifled chuckling from us, the parents. It was like she’d unwrapped her Subway sandwich to read a huge imprinting that Subway was owned by McDonalds…she has fairly convinced herself that Chipotle is okay, ever since I pointed out that it was owned by the “despot” McDonalds. Her concern? with McDonalds, it is the health content, and her 3rd grade teacher telling them about reading Super Size Me. With Disney? I was surprised, as we do not boycott Disney by any means. I think it is the sheer commercialism Disney represents to her; the part where she is inundated at school with pressure to like their shows and their starlets. Couldn’t be the rhetoric she finds served up along with her dinner at the table. Especially during those few months of that Pop Culture class I was taking. How did we respond? I shrugged and suggested that was probably how the film was brought through so quickly, and why the marketing has been so well maintained, and an author just wants to be published don’t they? She frowned at the last part; her “there are ethics to be considered here” frown.–and yes, she does have this frown.

She is going to finish the series. We are going to the library function today. And we are going to see the movie when it hits theaters.


Sean and I went and saw Avatar in the theater yesterday. We had initially planned to see The Book of Eli but decided that we should probably see Avatar in theater, due to the screen and the 3D.

The visuals were stunning. The story/dialogue lacked something–“originality” comes to mind.

Was thinking if I were still in Travel Narrative class, we would use this to talk about colonialism/imperialism. That EcoCriticism Lit class would flesh out the apparent environmental overtures. My Critical Approach to Cinema would discuss the technological implications. And the Cinema and Cultural class, as well as that Pop Culture class would interrogate the ideologies saturating the “allegory;” not to mention gag on Cameron’s massive ego.

I doubt I would anything new and shocking to the innumerable discussions of Avatar except to say “I dislike James Cameron.” Well, maybe not even that is absent from conversations/articles.  I dislike the persona he has/is creating. I abhorred his first speech of the 2010 Golden Globes when he essentially told competitor and ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow that he’d won and not her–even her best effort/work (thus far) failed. This abhorrence simmers from discussions held in American Cinema & Culture after we’d watched Strange Days (1995) where Cameron wrote, and Bigelow directed. Feelings only worsened by that ridiculous final acceptance speech with his “Give it up for yourselves!”–unless that was permission to go ahead and vomit.

You’ll notice, of course, that we went and saw Avatar after the awards. I basked in the visual stun, and I refrained from snorting too loudly when they broke through the mist to view a gorgeous waterfall; barely hearing James Horner’s orchestration over the want of the John Williams’ composition (Jurassic Park (1993)) that entered my mind.  I am only thankful to have the awareness that Avatar does not reside only in Cameron’s “genius” but within the influences and extensive talents of those with which Cameron had inevitably come into contact.

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