January 29, 2016

Inklings~A New Beginning

Today, in linking up with Heidi's monthly Inkling Explorations, I have a beautiful, wonderful passage to share with you. The theme of this month is "A New Year or 'new beginning' passage in literature". When I read that, I immediately was reminded of one of my absolute faaavorite books, Behold the Dawn. Which, incidentally, I might not have ever read if not for Heidi and her sister Eowyn ;)

Now, I must warn you that this excerpt is from the very end of the climax....so it's very, very spoiler-y. But I couldn't resist sharing it. :)

The origins of Freemasonry in the 13th century precede their connection to the Knights Templar in the 17th century;. Freemasons existed as a guild (a craftmen's union) in the 13th century - Lots of good stuff here: http://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/awards-organizations/freemason1.htm https://www.pinterest.com/phoenixstjohn/ http://www.msana.com/historyfm.asp:

Turning away, he sank to his knees. Roderic's sword clanked against the planks and at last he prayed. Christ have mercy...Save me.
He slumped his head to his chest, utterly spent. He had been forcing punishment for St. Dunstan's upon himself long enough. The time had come to put it aside forever. His pride torn down, he could now accept forgiveness he had so long shunned, the forgiveness that had never been his to earn, but only to claim. His punishment was at an end—at last. 
He opened his eyes. For the first time in sixteen years, perhaps for the first time in his life, a glimmer of day flickered at the end of his dark path. 
Behind him, painful, halting footsteps whispered. Mairead. He didn't turn around, even as she laid her hands on his aching shoulders. For a long moment neither of them moved.
 "It's over," she said at last.
 "Aye." His throat grew thick, and he raised his right arm to hers. Aye, it was over. And, in that one word, he—undeserving , miserable man that he was—had been given a gift so great it overwhelmed him. The chance to begin anew. The chance to remember what it was like to serve a God who loved. The chance to push Death out to arm's length and keep it there. The chance to love this woman who was his wife.

~Behold the Dawn by K. M. Weiland

There's more to this stunning arc of redemption, but I had to keep the snippet short. And besides-why would I want to share more when you should just read the book yourself? ;)

If you'd like to read my review of Behold the Dawn, click here.

Thank you for this link-up, Heidi!

January 24, 2016

Star Wars:The Force Awakens

Guys, this post is going to be FULL OF SPOILERS. 

Please, for the sake of all that is sane, if you plan on seeing the movie and haven't yet, don't read my post till you have. Please. I promise you it is so much more fun going into the film not knowing what happens.

If you don't care a fig about Star Wars and don't plan on seeing the film, then go right ahead and read it (although, that does make me question why you clicked on this post in the first place. ha)

You have been duly cautioned.

Oh, and another thing. This is a very rambling, nonsensical post with no structure. It's rather fangirlish (or....storygirlish ;)) and full of way too many pictures and gifs. So...again. You've been duly cautioned. ;)

Let it begin.

On Christmas Eve, my brother and I did something that we've never done before-on Christmas Eve, that is. We went to the movie theater! (If you noticed, today is the 24th, so it's been exactly one month since we went. heh)

And--can you guess what we saw?

Oh duh, of course you can. I gave it away in the title.

On December 24th, my brother and I got to see Star Wars.


After hearing about this movie for years, speculating about how terrible it will be (heh), watching the trailers and suddenly getting very excited, counting down the days till the movie's release (well, not really, but I always had it on the back of my mind that the film would be coming out soon) we FINALLY got to see it.


It was amazing.


This is pretty much accurate. I think I hardly ever had dry eyes throughout the whole movie. I cried at everything, hahahaha.

Characters. We'll begin with characters.

REY IS AMAZING. I love that she is strong and capable without being overly annoying about it or "feminist" like. She's tough, but underneath it she's very sweet. And lonely. She has no family, but that all changes when she meets Finn and they become friends. It's so adorable!

She has this beat up speeder that, to me, resembles a tractor. And I love that. The image of her riding a broken down tractor is just too cute. haha

She loves the stories of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, etc. and when she and Finn steal the Falcon (without knowing it is the Falcon....she calls it the "garbage ship"--that was a hilarious moment) and escape Jakku on it I was like, "REY. THAT IS THE SHIP."

Just...wow. That scene was pretty amazing to me. Here was the first time we were seeing the Millennium Falcon in action since Return of the Jedi...so many years had gone by. Now we have new characters inside it, completely unaware of how many things had happened on that ship and been done with that ship. It was used to rescue Princess Leia. It was used to help destroy the Death Star-two times. Han and Leia shared their first kiss on that ship. Luke was on it after finding out about his father and losing his hand. 

-sniff- So many memories. Is it bad that I get sentimental about a fictional ship in a fictional world with fictional memories? haha

The scenes of Rey's flashback were really intriguing. I really hope the Grand Reveal of her backstory doesn't disappoint, because they're creating quite a mystery that I'm dying to know the secret of. :)

Rey is very smart and can make quick decisions in tough moments- like how she rescues Finn from those tentacle monsters (how eloquent).  How do you think of these things?? (shh, yes, I know it's a movie)
I love her relationship with Han Solo and how she fixes the Falcon and thus earns his respect.All their moments are so cool and pretty funny. I used to wish she was Han and Leia's daughter, but as a blogging friend pointed out, another brother-sister reveal (with Kylo being her brother) would just be cliche. So I changed my opinion. (although part of me deep down still thinks she'd be perfect as their daughter. haha)
"You pull the trigger..." "There's a little more to it than that."

So, yes, Han Solo. And Chewbacca. Two of the most classic characters ever. And the former is one of my favorite fictional heroes/fictional crushes ever, cough cough. I was a little scared as to how they would be portrayed in this-but I think it was great. There were many moments when Han would pull an expression, or shout something, or say something with a grin and I thought, "Yup. That's Han, all right." I think Harrison Ford did a really good job of getting back into the role. :)
His and Chewie's camaraderie is just a strong as ever (making One Moment particularly heartbreaking...as if it wasn't already)  and I enjoyed seeing them in action again.

Now, you may know that Han and Leia are one of my top favorite couples EVER. So, going into this movie, I admit at LEAST 25% of my anticipation (maybe more...haha) revolved around them. 

They didn't disappoint. They weren't AMAZING, but I honestly didn't expect much anyways. I  was very afraid that the writers may have done something awful like not having them married or...something. Now, the movie does not explicitly say that they are or ever were married, but since they don't say otherwise either, I choose to believe they are.  We at least know that they did "stay in love" with each other and were a couple for a long time-until their son Did Something Awful and they split up because they couldn't help each other in their grief.

Now, I find this extremely sad, but I don't find it completely unrealistic. Han and Leia have both always been independent and while I think they are stronger together, something as earth-shattering as losing their son COULD pull them apart. I can see one of their arguments turning into an ugly fight-Leia accusing Han of not being there for her or for Ben-Han insisting she shouldn't have sent Ben off to be trained. 

Leia: You know, as much as we fought, I always hated it when you left.
Han Solo: That's why I did it, so that you'd miss me.
Leia: I do miss you.

On one hand, I found Leia's performance lacking. There weren't many moments of, "Oh, yes. That's Leia." She didn't have the same commanding and sarcastic character that she usually displays. But, at the same time, I don't mind this. She's more soft spoken, more quiet, more reserved in this. And think about all that she's gone through. Time always changes people, and she has had to bear a lot of heartache in her lifetime, especially in the space between RotJ and TFA. I think it only makes sense that, in some ways, she and Han are not the same people that they once were.

Squuuueee. Oh my. 
So, let's talk about Finn because he's adorable and I love him.
Finn is wonderful. Raised as a stormtrooper, he hits a roadblock in his life when he is ordered (along with his fellow troopers) to kill innocent villagers.
He doesn't do it. He knows he will pay a price if he doesn't. But he literally can't. Which makes me wonder-besides his being naturally absolutely wonderful and kind-what was different in his training that he still had a conscience "left"? I'd love to hear more on his backstory.

Anyways, Finn is fantastic. Reasons to love Finn?
1) He's a gentleman. He wanted to rescue Rey from her attackers without even knowing who she was. He only saw that she needed help.
2) He's extremely caring, as shown by the above fact.
3) He's hilariously awkward and adorable. He almost immediately develops a crush on Rey and it's hysterical. "You got a boyfriend? A cute boyfriend?"
4) He does his best to protect those he loves. He is desperate when Kylo "kidnaps" Rey, and later on he fights to protect her. With a lightsaber. Which he has NEVER used before.
5) He gave Rey his jacket awwww

look at these two!!!!

I SHIP FINN AND REY SO HARD. What can their ship name be? Finney? Fey? Rinn?

Whatever. The thing is, they're adorable and I love them so much.
The part where Han says, "We came to rescue you, it was his (Finn's)  idea." 
She hugs him!!! awwww
And Han says, "Escape now, hug later." ha :P

While Han and Leia will forever be my favorite SW couple, Finn and Rey now take second place.

Which isn't really saying much, because practically any couple could beat Anakin and Padme.

Haha. Sorry. I don't hate Anakin and Padme as a couple (sometimes they can be rather sweet) but the more I've thought about their relationship, the more I've realized how messed up it is-especially in episode 2. 

But I digress.

POE. Guys, can we please talk about Poe???

Reasons to love Poe:

1) He's really handsome
 (I'm not saying that's my number 1 reason as in the-most-important-reason, but it was the first thing that jumped out when watching the film for the first time. ;))
2) He risks his life to stop Kylo Ren at the village, thus trying to save all the innocent villagers.
3) He's always wanted to fly a TIE fighter and he's so excited when he gets his chance and he and Finn are escaping it in-it's adorable.
4) He gives Finn a name because he wasn't going to call him FN-whatever-his-number-was. Aww
5) He lets Finn keep his jacket. 
6) He can fly anything.
7)He just seems like a really selfless, heroic kind of guy. :)

Wasn't Poe and Finn's escape scene really fun? I love the adrenaline, the humor, and just hew excited those two are. They're like two little boys in that scene, working together to defeat the opposing team as if they were playing a game. They're both new to this, I think. Finn obviously is-he's taken orders his whole life and now he's suddenly defying everything he's ever known. Just think about how scary that would be.
And Poe. He's a resistance fighter. He's seen ugly things. He knows the stakes. And yet, he's still young enough to feel excitement course through his veins and to feel like the world is crushing down on you when he's facing the impossible.

I like that Poe and Finn are not just another Han and Luke. Poe is not quite as streetwise and definitely not chipped-on-the-shoulder like the episode 4 Han was. And Finn is not as innocent and sheltered as Luke was.

I think this is all a good thing. Both Finn and Poe have qualities like Luke and Han but they are their own characters and I wouldn't change them. Having another naive farm kid, cocky pilot, and smart-aleck princess would not be anything but cliche and tiring. Not that I don't love those three characters from the original trilogy-but I'm so happy that they didn't copy them with the new ones.


this be the truth

So yes, BB8 is....well, he's hard to describe without getting all squee-ful (because he's just so darn cute) but I really like him. -squints at sentence- 
Really really really like him.

R2-D2 and C-3p0 are pretty low-key in this movie. I mean...poor R2 is shut down for most of it-because he misses Luke. :( That was so sad. He's obviously semi-aware of his surroundings, though, because he later wakes up for a Certain Important Moment.

I can't remember much about C-3p0 in this, except that it was soo cute when he was babbling upon seeing Han again....keeping Leia from greeting Han. Hahaha. Some things never change. ;)

Let me expound upon the subject of a Certain Villain.


I had no idea whatsoever that Kylo Ren was Han and Leia's son before I saw this movie. And there I am, sitting in the theater when that piece of information is disclosed. I was internally screaming, "WHAT?" 

I may or may not have grabbed my brother's jacket and started yanking at his arm. 

excuse the bad grammar but THIS is so sad. I love it.

Kylo Ren fascinates me. He didn't at first, but the more I think of the movie I'm astounded. He is Han and Leia's son. They loved him. And I'm sure, at one point in time, he loved them too.

And perhaps, deep deep down.....he still does.


Going into this movie, I was pretty sure Han was going to die due to a second hand spoiler I heard of and my own intuition. It made sense to kill one of the OT characters. Han, unfortunately, made the most sense.

Sooo yeah. After That Unspeakable Moment I was all:

I knew he was going to die. I could see it coming the moment he saw Kylo on the bridge. And yet, it still hurts. It really and truly hurts to see a favorite character die. It's not like ending the movie, knowing that their story really isn't over yet. They're dead now, and although you can always watch the movies or read the books over again-their story always stops at that one point.

How am I supposed to handle this??

They didn't even give him any last worrrrddsss. Except for that moment in the gif. I guess it's fine, since he's had 4 movies to talk-what more is there to say? But it's still hard to not hear a "I love you, Ben." or "Leia, I'm sorry." Or something.


(oh, and as a side note--Han did this for Leia. Of course, he wanted to save his son too. He loves him. But he promised Leia that he'd bring their son home because it twists him apart to see her hurting so bad. And I think what went unspoken in that promise was "or I'll die trying." And he did. )

And then they show Leia....and--and--and- she realizes that Han died.

I'm crying

I find the above very interesting, and I admit that I do hope for a Kylo redemption. Or, at least a moment between him and Leia where something poignant and meaningful is said. There's so many ways this story could pan out!

One more thing about Kylo.

 I think Han Solo is Extremely Handsome. And Leia is beautiful. And....well, I honestly don't find Kylo Ren/ Ben very handsome. So, I find it hard to believe that two of the of most good looking characters in the galaxy had a son who's -ahem- not so good looking. :P 
The only resemblance I've seen is in the two left photos of the collage. There it DOES actually look as if they could be related. haha

Then there's a pretty cool but a little unbelievable obligatory light saber fight between Kylo and Rey and Finn. YES FINN. Just look at what a great team Finn and Rey are. They fight for each other and protect each other's backs...they just fit. So wonderfully. :)

Soo...yeah. -deep breath- 

They're both so heartbroken about his death. I think, next to Finn, Han had become Rey's closest friend. And, he was, of course, Leia's best friend. I love that they comfort each other in their grief. 

I really need to wrap this "review" up, so let's just say that the ending was VERY cliffhanger-y  (maybe a little too much so) but I can definitely see why they ended it like that-it will draw people in for episode 8, scheduled to be released in 2018.

I can't believe we have to wait that loooonng!!!!

(By the way, wasn't that island beautiful? It looked like Ireland and I'm pretty sure it actually was filmed there hahaha)

(and seeing Luke again....wow. -cries because we haven't seen him since ROTJ and he gets no lines. 
I miss Luke! I can't believe we have to wait till the next movie to truly "meet" him again.)

What I Didn't Like:
Hahaha, yes, there was some of that. So, the biggest problem in TFA was, I felt, the plot. It was a little weak in some instances. 

1) First off, what is with the dark side and their planet-destroying super weapons that always get destroyed in ONE movie? The Death Star was a big deal. The Death Star 2 was kind of a big deal but also a bit laughable because duh, the Rebels did it before, they can do it again. 

And now.....we have another one? Oh, except this time it's on a planet. And it can destroy multiple planets at once. I feel like the whole "millions of people cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced" thing is being glossed over. THEY JUST DESTROYED MULTIPLE PLANETS AT ONCE, SHOULD WE NOT BE CONCERNED? But eh, no, it's just yet another Super Weapon we have to destroy, no big deal. And they did. Destroy it. Why are these super weapons so easily defeated?

The better question is, why are we doing YET another super weapon? Can we let that dream die once and for all? -cue Newsies song-

2) Snoke. Snoke was lame. He was nothing new, nothing scary, and after someone like Palpatine, quite unimpressive. Didn't like him at all.

3) Why is there another sand planet called Jakku but it's in all actuality just another Tatooine?  I mean...why not just use Tatooine? It seems easier.

4) Rey caught on to using the force waaay to easily. I mean, even if she is related to the Skywalkers...they had to train too before they could access the force. All the other movies focus on how you need to train and meditate and blah blah blah and Rey is all, "I have an intuition, let's follow it. Oh wow, look, I can control peoples' minds by telling them what to say."
She pretty much beat up Kylo Ren with a lightsaber.
Kylo Ren who trained with Luke. Rey only held a lightsaber since, like, yesterday.

5) Some of the "humor" was a little forced. Like, the trash compactor joke. It was kind of funny at first, but the more I've thought about it the more I realize how lame it was to try to reference sooo much from the originals. 

Content: The h-word and d-word are each used a few times. A group of villagers are killed by the First Order (the bad guys), but I don't remember it "showing" too much. There is obviously a lot of fighting and killing in battle, although nothing gruesome. Certainly not any worse than the other Star Wars movies. I can't remember everything now, but I think that was the worst of it. 

In all honesty, there is so much more I could say about this movie. But, I know this review is already insanely too long, so for now I will bid adieu. :)  Until you leave me some wonderful comments, though! :D  I can't wait to hear all of your opinions and discuss this movie with anyone interested. It feels great to finally get SOME of my thoughts out for you all to read! :D

And, of you read this whole post (if anyone even did haha), you are amazing. The End.

ps. If you want more Star Wars fun, check out Cordy's unofficial "Star Wars week" on her own blog or my brother's review here.

If you want even more fun, watch this video.

January 9, 2016

Cinderella, Ella, and Danielle

In participation of Heidi's gloriously sparkly Cinderella week, I have for you three miniature reviews of my favorite Cinderella film retellings. :)

Cinderella~The Disney Classic
I grew up on this film. It was my favoritest of favorites when I was a wee child and although I don't quiiitte remember it, my parents tell me (and have video proof) that every time Cinderella and the prince would dance I would want Dad (or Mom, if Dad was unavailable) to pick me up and dance with me. awwwwww How CUTE!!! (You are completely encouraged to tell me what an adorable child I must have been.) (ha ha)

This classic version of Cinderella is so incredibly sweet and whimsical in its obvious 1950's style and elegance. I love the color schemes of varying shades of blue, silver, glittery sparkles, glowing white, and even some gold. It's just lovely and complete Disney classicness.

Of course, being an early Disney animated film, I have to admit the characters are lacking the depth that other versions bring to the story. Cinderella is always kind and patient with her horrible relations and we are given no reason for this except that it's just her personality. (I don't care how nice she is, there's no way she could continually be that nice without having a motivation for doing so!)
(And, when I say motivation, I don't mean that she gets something in return. I just mean there should be a reason for her kindness. Like, a promise to her mother, her resolve to get her step-mother to like her etc.)

But, she's still a lovely character. She completes her chores with joy and a lighthearted step-sometimes even singing as she does so ("Sing, Sweet Nightingale" is suuuch a pretty song!) . She referees the squabbles between Bruno, the dog, and Lucifer, the cat and takes care of her little mice friends, especially Jack and Gus-Gus. 

they're so cuuute
These two mice, incidentally, are two major characters themselves, and some of the movie is devoted to their antics and the risky adventures they take to help "Cinderelly". Without them, Cinderella would not have married the prince. They really do influence her life greatly. ;)

One of my favorite scenes is the morning where Cinderella gets ready for the day while singing, A Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes. Her voice is so lovely and it's so sweet how her animal friends help her lay out her clothes and do her hair. I wish I had animal friends like that!

I have to say, I was surprised by how adorably funny this movie was when I watched it for the first time since childhood. Lucifer, the cat, definitely adds to the humor. He's a terrible, conniving cat and yet so funny. 
a little Les Mis humor..... via
 Her step-mother is cruel and controlling and she wants to see her daughters succeed in life. Thus, she is jealous of Cinderella for being prettier and kinder than them-she knows that Cinderella would be picked over her daughters if the prince met her. This causes her to allow her daughters to rip Cinderella's mother's dress to shreds in order to keep the girl from attending the ball.

Cinderella- Stepmother and stepsisters- "Every eligible maiden is to attend." "And I'm so eligible.":

The step-sisters themselves are awkwardly hilarious and utterly ridiculous. ;)

The prince is utterly dull and personality-lacking (oh, except that he's charming. That's all we know of him. His name is literally Prince Charming.) but elegant and gentlemanly like. I think. I mean, he did almost kiss Cinderella after they knew each other for only a few hours.....

Perhaps I should stop. This may turn into a post bashing the prince.

Okay, so onto the ball!

(The music that plays while she rides there is so fun and magical!)

After a day of rushing to get her chores done, Cinderella discovers in delight that her animal friends made her a gown-only to have it ripped apart in malice by her step-sisters! There is now no possibility of Cinderella attending the ball, and she cries alone in the garden as her step-family leaves.

But then...someone comes along to change all that. ;)

Google Image Result for http://images.amazon.com/images/G/01/dvd/cinderella-godmother-large.jpg:
And with a few "bippity boppity boo's" Cinderella is set to attend the ball with a pumpkin coach and a beautiful new gown!

Her dress is usually portrayed as blue. But look at this. It's white. A beautifully sparkly grey-ish white that shimmers and glows. I love it. It captures the magical quality of the movie quite well.

how lovely

The rest of the movie is just as charming and if you haven't seen this film, I'd REALLY encourage you to do so! 

Content: None whatsoever!

Of course, after a little trouble, Cinderella and her prince live happily ever after. I suppose that's a spoiler, but if you honestly don't know how the tale of Cinderella ends, well....it's about time you were informed. ;)

Cinderella~The New Disney Film
I saw this new version of Cinderella several months ago and I liked it immensely. It's delightfully fresh and vivid and simply beautiful! As lovely as the 1950 version is, the characters in this adaption are much more real and three-dimensional. Overall, I love the original because of the memories associated with it, but when it comes to story...I prefer this one. :)

I love Lily James as Cinderella. She's sweet and lovely and gentle because she's been raised by a woman with the same qualities. Her mother taught her to always "have courage" and "be kind."
Which is why Ella puts up with her demanding step-family. She never wants to let her mother's memory down in word or deed and so continually strives to do her very best. I just love that she has a reason for being so kind-and what a good reason it is!

Lily James is so lovely. Before I saw the movie, I didn't really like how she looked as Cinderella. She seemed more of a Sleeping Beauty kind of girl to me. But, I've since changed my mind and I love every bit of the casting in this film.

The scenes as Cinderella young and with both her parents were soooo beautiful and golden and sweet!
As sad as it was, I adored the last scene of Ella with both her parents. They share a hug, all knowing that it is one of the last times they will all be together. It's heart shattering and yet so beautiful. 

And so, Ella grows up without her mother, and her father remarries the widow of his former business colleague, Lady Tremaine.
Swiped from daughter's board but new Step-Mother…why does she have to have red hair???:
the step-mother. While I wouldn't wear any of her clothes, I really adore her extravagant, 1940s-ish style--it fits her character quite well!
Ella soon finds this woman to be Rather Unbearable, but her father encourages her to try and be understanding. Ella does-for her father, and her mother's memory.

Now, here's the thing. The step-mother has a backstory in this version! We better understand why she hates Ella in this version. You see, we learn in the movie that she was quiet devoted to her first husband. So, when she married Ella's father it was more for her daughter's sake than that of her own. It was a marriage of "necessity", not love.

During a conversation Ella and her father have about her, Lady Tremaine overhears. I felt rather sad for her in that scene. She hears the pair talking of Ella's mother and she realizes that Ella's father still very much loves his deceased wife-and that he cares for Ella more than his new wife.

And thus, a jelaousy springs up toward Ella that will be a driving force in the rest of the story.

Cinderella (2015):
I love Anastasia and Drisella in this movie. They're so funny and their costumes! I mean, just look at those bright dresses and fuzzy sweaters and....wow. They're always wearing colorful, loud clothing that would almost be pretty if it wasn't just TOO much. haha
But, anyways, they're hysterical in this version. I like them a lot.

Kit is a wonderful prince. I admit that, much like how I felt about Cinderella when I first saw the cast, I thought he was-ahem- kind of creepy looking.

I KNOW, I KNOW. Please don't hate me. I've learned the error of my ways. He's remarkably handsome and so nice and sweet and awww I just love him. (He's probably my favorite of all the princes in the three movies I'm reviewing today)


Seriously...he has likes, dislikes, he has an adorable relationship with his father (that's also really sad sniff) and he fences and rides horses and...gah. He's just so much better in this version.

(and, spoiler warning, he actually comes along disguised as a soldier when the duke was searching for Cinderella!! He's there to make sure they try the slipper on her because the duke was actually in league with Lady Tremaine but goodness, of course they don't even need the slipper because Kit recognizes herrrrr. It's so sweet.) end spoiler

Just as in the 1950 version, Cinderella is crying in the garden, feeling despondent and unwilling to "have courage and be kind"  anymore.

But then. She meets someone. And we all know what happens next. :)

Ella's ball gown is completely magical. I lobe how it has a small amount of lavender sheen along with the gorgeous blue. It's just amazing.

The ball scene-the ball scene!!! So much magical golden brilliance. I love it.

And their dance-awwwwwwwwww.

"They're all looking at you!"
"Believe me-they're all looking at you."

Isn't it great that Ella met Kit BEFORE the ball? It gives their romance a little more time and believe-ability. Kit liked her BEFORE he saw her as the dazzling belle of the ball. He liked her before the gown, the carriage, and the glass slippers. He liked her. He liked Ella.

I love how breathless she is-being the center of attention at her first ball-a splendid, lavish occasion like that- would undoubtedly leave me feeling a little breathless and nervous too.

I'm sure her very tight corset doesn't help either. ha I heard that the actress, Lily James, had to take breaks during the dance scenes because it was so hard to breathe in that dress! Poor thing.

Ella's and Kit's dance. Gif. Cinderella 2015. Kenneth Branagh.
Cinderella dance << literally my favorite part

All the Richard Madden GIFs from the Cinderella Trailer

I have to say that one of my favorite scenes is the garden scene. It's so cute with Kit and Ella talking and getting to know one another better.  It's so sweet and quiet and THE MUSIC and he helps her put the shoe back on when it falls off.


Oh! One more thing!  "Lavender's Blue". Her mother's song. It plays when Ella enters the ball!!

*spoilers* And, later on. Ella is reluctantly convinced that she'll never see Kit again, but thankful that she has the memory of the ball to hold on to forever. While upstairs in her attic room, she is singing "Lavender's Blue" at just the right moment-someone hears her. If it hadn't been for her singing, she may never have had the chance to try on the shoe! *end spoilers*

I just really love Ella. After the ball she comes back in her ragged pink dress, with only one glass slipper remaining. But you know what? She's still happy. She knows that she'll never forget that wonderful night at the ball and that she'll always have the memory of it, no matter what happens.

I am not as kind nor as brave as Ella (I'd certainly like to be!), but I related to her so much after the ball. She says, "It was like a dream. Better than a dream," and immediately sets about recording the event in her diary!
(although, in a deleted scene, the diary was really a letter to Kit! Here's the link.)
 I'm the exact same way. If anything wonderful or fun or amazing happens to me, my journal is one of  the first places I go. So, I felt like I perfectly understood Ella in that scene because everything she did was what I would have done too. :)

I could go on and on, but you really must watch this for yourself and see. It's a beautiful, lovely movie and such a wonderful adaption of the classic film! It made me happy to see how close the filmmakers stayed to the original story, while still giving it more depth and fun. I hope they do as good of a job on Beauty and the Beast, which is set to come out in 2017, I think. (needless to say, I'm realllly excited for that!)

Content: Some ladies' necklines can be rather low. There is a scene where the two step-sisters are in their underclothes of corsets and bloomers.

Ever After~The Renaissance Retelling

Ahhh, this movie is so beautiful. And so different from any Cinderella version I've ever seen. It's set in a different time period and while staying close to the original tale, it also expands itself and almost becomes "larger" than the original story, if that makes sense. And, it does all this without any magic or pumpkins or fairy godmothers, which I thought was so fun. It's realistic and styled to show how Cinderella's story actually could have happened in the real world!

First off, we have our "Cinderella", Danielle. Can we all appreciate her name for a moment? It's unique and beautiful and yet still keeps that "Ella" detail in there.
Now, Danielle is such a lovely portrayal of Cinderella. She retains the typical qualities if being kind and patient, but she's also very smart, very witty, and-get this-she even loses her temper at one point.
Point being, she is very real. I think her love and admiration for her father keeps her grounded in her practice of kindness toward the step-family but also her want to be loved by her step-mother causes her to continually show love to her. (more on that later)

Henry. Ah, Henry. What a scamp you are. And yet he's so fun! He reminds me a bit, in certain instances of my own dear Henry, and so, of course, this endears him to me even more.
And he has such a wonderful character arc! He starts as a rather careless man who dreads the thought of ruling one day as king-I think he just sees it as a boring duty that demands much of him without giving anything in return.

Then he meets Danielle-someone he thinks is a countess, due to a Certain Incident. He is astounded by her and attracted to her, and her unconventional ways. She opens his eyes to what a great privilege being king would be-he would have the power to change so many things for the better, and yet he sees it as nothing but a chore.

Ever After: A Cinderella Story.  Watching this could never get old.  One of my favorites! "JUST BREATHE".:

The step-mother, Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent, is a really well-done character. She's scheming and deceitful, and yet funny and even a bit pitiable at times. 

This is so fitting on multiple levels.  Ever After  ~ one of my all time favorite movies for at least 15 years :):
One of the saddest, most powerful scenes in the story, to me, is this conversation between Danielle and her step-mother. It's so sad and yet none of the Cinderella adaptions I've ever read or seen had such a well-crafted relationship between Cinderella and her step-mother.

Step-mother: "You are not my problem any more."

    Danielle: "Is that what I am? Your problem? I have done everything you've ever asked me to do....and still you've denied me the only thing I ever wanted."
S-M: "And what was that?"

D: "What do you think? You are the only mother I have ever known. Was there a time, even in its smallest measurement...that you loved me at all?"

S-M: "How can anyone love a pebble in their shoe?"

It's heartbreaking and yet perfectly encapsulates the Cinderella/step-mother relationship. A person with Danielle's temperament would of course always be striving to do her best to win her step-mother's love. It's natural to believe that kindness,  obedience, and servitude toward someone would cause them to at least like you. But, due to the strong, bitter jealousy that exist in Baroness Rodmilla's heart, Danielle never had a chance of winning her step-mother's love.

The stepsisters. Mkay, so Jacqueline was nice and Marguerite was mean. Unlike the Cinderella story you hear where the stepsisters are mean, only the stepmom and ONE stepsister was mean in this one. Which makes this one stand out!:

Marguerite, the one "mean" step sister is pretty horrible. She'd stop at nothing to get the prince, and she treats Danielle in a shameless fashion, no doubt influenced by her mother's hatred and jealously.
But, despite her horrible personality, she is VERY funny. One notable instance is that of her temper tantrum in front of the queen, explained away by, "There was a bee." hahaha

Jacqueline, the next step-sister is not your typical step-sister. She is quiet and submissive. She gets rather trampled upon by her mother and sister, and thus goes along with whatever they tell her to do. But, her personality does not tend toward cruelty. She pities Danielle and as the story progresses, Jacqueline learns to stand up-for herself and for Danielle.
She's just sooo sweet. Jacqueline would be a wonderful person to be friends with. She also reminds me of Disney's Snow White, a little. She has that tiny, squeaky voice, black hair, and red lips. Does anyone else see the resemblance?

Leonardo da Vinci is given a role in the movie. He's pretty funny and helps both of our main characters in different ways-he assists Danielle in her quest to attend the ball, and encourages her in her love for Henry. Likewise, after Henry behaves in a cruel manner, Leonardo "gives him a kick" and helps him see what Henry would be missing if he gave up Danielle because of his own stubborn pride and conceit.

The ball-a masquerade in this- is utterly lovely and yet so bitterly different from other Cinderella balls. I won't give away what happens, but let me warn you that you may cry.

I can't say I'm a big fan of the wings or the face makeup, but I LOVE the gown. It's beautiful.

This next image is a spoiler, but it's so beautiful and sweet that I had to include it in this post:

Ever After, Movie, Cinderella, Drew Barrymore, Prince Charming, Danielle:
ohhh myyy how sweet!!!


There's many more characters and scenes and dialogue that I could highlight, but I know this post is already SO long. And besides, I can't give away ALL the spoilers! ;)

"While Cinderella and her prince did live happily ever after, the point, gentlemen, is that they lived."

I love that quote!!

Content: A few of the ladies wear rather dresses with rather low neck-lines. A man is seen tending to some personal business, and yet nothing is shown, if that makes any sense. The sh-word is used once. The h-word is used. The d-word might have been used, but I can't recall. "For God's sake," is used by one of the step-sisters, and His name might have been used in a similar fashion by others but I can't exactly recall. (I'm a real help, aren't I? haha) A creepy man has designs on Danielle, but she defends herself and nothing happens.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!

Well, that about wraps up all my posts for Heidi's Cinderella Week. I had SO much fun during this blog party and I think it went marvelously well! :)

Bravo, Heidi!! Thank you so much for hosting such a fun event! It's been absolutely magical, I assure you. :)

Are any of these your favorite Cinderella adaptions? Which of these have you seen? Which did you like best?