• The Writer


    Hello! My name is Laura, welcome to my blog! I write weird stories, collect dragon plushies and stay up too late with my nose in a book. I am a wife, mom and child saved by grace. My hope is that you find encouragement here or at least a smile or too.
    God bless!

  • “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book that it may be for the time to come forever and ever.”
    ~Isaiah 30:8.

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  • Quotes

    We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming 'sub-creator' and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "The only just literary critic," he concluded, "is Christ, who admires more than does any man the gifts He Himself has bestowed."
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    “Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "Writers who see by the light of their Christian faith will have, in these times, the sharpest eye for the grotesque, for the perverse, and for the unacceptable. To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures."
    ~Flannery O'Connor

    You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.
    ~Arthur Polotnik

    Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.
    ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

    "There are forms of insanity that condemn people to hear voices against their will, but as writers we invite ourselves to hear voices without relinquishing our hold on reality or our right to control."
    ~Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway

    Christians have sometimes been suspicious of stories, because they really can influence you. If you read the Twilight novels once a month for a year, I think you'd be a different human afterward—and not a sparkly one.
    ~Nate Wilson

War Horse

Last week I had the opportunity to see a pre-screening of the new Steven Spielberg movie War Horse and I was blown away.  It’s not everyday you get to see an amazing movie made by Hollywood, but this was defiantly one.  The story was beautifully told and inspiring and made you cry, the characters were real people who pulled you into the events, and the cinematography put you right in the middle of everything, it was breath-taking.  It made you laugh, cry and believe in an incredible bond of love that brought a horse and a young man through a war.

I cried my eyes out through the whole thing, (and according to my younger brother who went with me, so do did the boys sitting next to him), but even so, all two and a half hours was completely worth it.

Story

War Horse follows the incredible story of the stallion Joey.  Joey is raised and tamed by a boy named Albert and together they become the closets of friends.  World War I breaks out and Joey and Albert are separated when Joey is sold as a war-horse.  Through the rest of the film we follow Joey’s remarkable journey through war-torn France and No Man’s Land.  We see the lives of people he touches, from a French girl and her grandfather to two young German soldiers.  Joey and Albert’s story is one of courage, friendship and love.  It’s heartwarming, inspiring and will break your heart and mend it all at once.

Content

The film is rated PG13 for war scenes, but the scenes, though difficult to watch, or not bloody or overly done.  Steven Spielberg did an excellent job recreating WWI in a realistic yet tasteful way.  I think even with the war content this film would still be good for families to see together.

There was no language in this movie, or if there was, I didn’t catch it.

Themes

Courage, friendship, love and hope.

Yes, this movie is about a horse, but the courage shown by Albert, and those Joey meets, (and yes, even Joey himself, yes, I mean the horse,) paints a beautiful picture of hope, even amidst the mud pits of No Man’s Land.

Joey and Albert share a special bond of friendship that caries them both through the war.  Joey may be a horse, but he’s a horse you are rooting for and will fall in love with, and to many in the film, he’s a hero.

Characters

One thing I loved about the characters in War Horse is they were just people.  Whether they were German, French or English they were all simply people all caught inside a terrible war.  There were villains and heroes on both sides.  There were villains back in England in Albert’s home town as well as in the German army.  No body was perfect just because they were on the right side, and no body was completely bad just because they were on the wrong side.  There were characters you didn’t like, and characters you liked no matter what side they were on.  They were real people, shown in a real world.

Ending Thoughts

War Horse comes to theaters December 25th, go see it.  You might not want to see it on Christmas Day, (might spoil the happy-go-lucky atmosphere that comes with Christmas morning), but go see this movie.

The  cinematography made the settings and experience breath-taking.  The characters made the world real.  The story and themes touched your heart

It was heartwarming, funny, inspiring, and just plan amazing.  Go see it.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. *****

P.S.  Make sure to bring a bag of kleenex with you.

Beastly – A Modern Beauty and the Beast?

Beastly (film)
Image via Wikipedia

(I’m finally getting around to posting a review for this…)

“Beauty and the Beast” is one of my all time favorite fairy tales, so naturally I was curious about the modern retelling of the classic story in the recent movie titled “Beastly”. But as a fan of the story, I was greatly let down and left feeling rather cheated at the end.

I’ll start with a look at the characters.

1. Beast/Kyle.

Kyle is a rich, High School senior who is good-looking and knows it. He’s your classic jerk, telling the world that beauty is everything and sticking his nose up at anyone who doesn’t meet his good-looking standards. (He was given his ideals from his dad who is a very successful news anchor.) But he takes things a little too far when he publicly humiliates his old girl-friend, Kendra, (who just happens to be a witch) and she casts a spell of ugliness on him. He goes from being this tall, blond hunk, to bald and covered with crazy tattoos and scars. The effect is a mix between scary and yikes. Kyle now has a year to find someone to love him the way he is, or he will stay the way he is forever. Upon discovering him, Kyle’s dad is horrified at the sight of his son’s “new look” and loosely put, hides him away from the world. (No, it wasn’t in a dark castle in the middle of a forest.)

Kyle’s character can be described as a modern Beast. Rich, spoiled prince type with everything he could ever want, surrounded by beautiful people eating out of his hand. He’s an egotistical, self-centered jerk. Once the spell was placed over him, as Kendra put it, Kyle became as beautiful on the outside as he was on the inside.

2. Bell/Lindy

I don’t know what exactly they were trying to do with this character, but whatever it was, in my opinion, it didn’t work. If they wanted her to be as loving as Bell, they messed it up by giving her an attitude problem and in all honestly, Lindy was no Bell. Her character felt shallow. The movie tries to give us a little glimpse into her life, showing us her drug addict father, and has her tell us she’s the only person to take care of him, but that’s it.

When Kyle first meets Lindy before he was “cursed”, you instantly knew there was an attraction between the two of them, and when he became “The Beast”, he secretly watched her from afar, hoping that maybe, she might be “the one”. How Lindy ends up becoming his “guest/prisoner” is quite different from the classic tale. Kyle witnesses her father kill a drug dealer who was threatening to kill Lindy. Wanting to be close to Lindy, Kyle makes her father an offer; have Lindy come stay with him for her own protection while her father sorts things out. So, Lindy is sent away to stay with Kyle and she goes kicking and screaming. Instead of her willingly sacrificing her own freedom for her father’s sake, this Bell makes sure her father (and Kyle) knows, she is not happy and wants out.

Now, if my dad did this to me, I’d be pretty upset too, but her dad was trying to protect her and compared to Bell’s act of love for her father, this little twist made me squirm. Plus, the whole scene with the drug dealers and Kyle’s offer felt a bit out of place and just a little too convenient.  Beast needs a Bell to stay with him… hmmm… doesn’t look that’s going to happen, wait! Let’s throw this there to make it happen!

3. The Witch/Kendra

I won’t go too much into her character, just to say that she was creepy, weird and odd. I don’t like witches as good guys because of what they really are.   Her character did do some good deeds for people at the end of the film, but she still gave you the shivers. One thing though, her character helped make the ending, really.

4. Mrs. Potts and Lumiere?

Zola is a maid who works for Kyle and his dad. Though her character doesn’t have many lines or much screen time, her character could almost be the modern and human version of Mrs. Potts. She believes in Kyle and despite his physical appearance, still cares for his well-being.

Will isn’t exactly Lumiere, he is Kyle’s blind tutor, but he does help Kyle see that appearance isn’t everything. Honestly, I think Will was the best character in the whole movie. He was witty, and wasn’t afraid to tell Kyle what for. When he firsts knocks on Kyle’s door Kyle asks “who’s there” and Will responds with, “Marry Poppins”.

Negative Elements:

This can be summed up with three words; language and sexual content. It drives me crazy how Hollywood HAS to put that stuff in there, they can’t just tell a good story, they have to coat it with such garbage. The story wasn’t all that incredible to begin with, but the added language and sexual garbage just made it worse. (There were a few, questionable parties Kyle and Lindy attended as well.)

Positive Elements:

Kyle did show an act of selflessness by letting Lindy go when she wanted to even though it meant he would never break the cure, and the movie did try to show that true beauty isn’t just skin deep.

There was one cute/romantic thing I liked in the movie.  Lindy loved roses, so Kyle turned the roof of the house they were living in, into a green-house full of roses.

A Love Story?

This could have been a beautifully love story about selflessness and the importance of in-ward beauty verses out-ward beauty, but in reality it wasn’t. I like sappy romantic chick-flicks just like any girl out there, but the romance in “Beastly” was painful, and I mean painful. It wasn’t even cute. (I had an allergic reaction to something that night and broke out in hives. Part of me wonders if the reaction had anything to do with the extremely corny “romance”. *wink*)

Plus, I didn’t get the feeling that either Kyle or Lindy actually, deeply loved each other. It was just another teen romance thing. All in all, this story could have been told so much better than it really was.

Quite frankly, and from a storyteller’s perspective, it was not written well.

Ending Thoughts:

It is that Hollywood just can’t make a film about sacrificial love? Or were they trying to produce something else? Whatever it was, “Beastly” was sorely lacking in every element that makes for a good story with great characters. It was missing everything that made “Beauty and the Beast” what it was. Though it did have a message of “the beauty on the inside is more important than the beauty on the outside”, it never made that hit home in the end. The curse was broken and everyone lived happily ever after, but the reason for it all, the deeper truth, that surface was barely scratched.

In the end, “Beastly” was just what Kyle was; it looked good on the outside, but when you really looked inside, it wasn’t all that pretty. The heart of what this story was meant to be, and what this modern retelling could have been was just not there.

I’d give this movie 2 out of 5 stars. **

On Stranger Tides

(left to right) My brother Brian and his wife Tiffany. Me, my sister Katie and my brother Steven

Two weekends ago I went with my family to see Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in IMAX. We all (well, most of us, 😉 ) dressed up as pirates for the occasion. Yes, we dressed up, and had a blast doing it. 🙂 I think half the fun were the reactions as we stepped out of the car, walked through the parking lot and into the theater. Apparently someone took a picture of us on their phone… A few people stuck their heads out their car windows and gave us resounding Arrrgs! Yep. The theater employees got a kick out of it too.

It was hard to say what I thought about it right after seeing it. It was defiantly darker than any of the other Pirate movies. All around, seeing it in 3D and IMAX was an experience. I laughed allot, bit my nails, glared at the bad guy and occasionally rolled my eyes. The story was a great adventure and the plot was easy to follow, the old characters were strong and the new characters defiantly added a new flavor to the movie.

My younger brother and me ready for Pirates!

I liked how this movie was pretty much all about Captain Jack Sparrow. Though he is a pirate, he’s one of my favorite film characters just because he is so funny and cleaver. How he’s always chasing after the Black Pearl reminds me of Scrat from Ice Age chasing after the acorn. Their trying to reach for something while getting tossed and banged around, but they can never quite get their hands on it. For Jack’s characters, I really liked this fourth movie. You actually see that Jack does have a heart and he is capable of caring for someone more then he cares for himself. When Jack finds out that the price for gaining immortality through the Fountain of Youth is the death of another, he decides he does want to find the Fountain after all. He risks his own life for another on more than one occasion. This film also had all the epic and nearly impossible Jack escapes and daring plans you could ask for, plus allot of his “improvising”. 🙂

As far as new characters go, we have Blackbeard, his daughter Angelica, “the preacher” Philip and a mermaid Syrena.
Blackbeard is just plain evil and quite obviously involved in voodoo. He has zombie guards that apparently he made into zombies. Uh, okay…. Frankly, all the extra magic/voodoo stuff with Blackbeard was a little much. I didn’t like it. Though Blackbeard was a good villain, easy to hate and just as easy to fear, the added magic made my ranking for the movie drop.

Angelica is, interesting. Her character’s relations to Jack made for an interesting and at times funny plot twist to the story, but there is quite a bit of suggestiveness between them throughout the film. Over all, she felt a bit shallow. Her mission in the movie is to save her father’s (Blackbeard) life, why? Because she’s never had a father and she really wants one. Now, this is all well and good, but the fact even when she sees just how evil and heartless Blackbeard is, she still wants to save him. I can understand this to an extent, after all, he is her father, but even when he (spoilers) has the option of saving her life, or saving his own and he chooses to save his own, she still wants him to live (end spoiler). It’s obvious that she is lying to herself about her father. Wake up girl!

As for Philip… his character is made out to be a Christian. He carries a Bible, quotes it, wears a cross around his neck and challenges Blackbeard’s evil with the Christian faith. (Angelica insisted they let him live because she figured he could help save her father’s soul.) I like how they made is character out to be a good guy, allot of Hollywood films don’t do this with “Christian” characters. He is a gentleman and not a pirate. As the story goes on he falls in love with Syrena, a mermaid the pirates of captured. This is when his character starts to go downhill. In a way, his faith switches from God to Syrena. In the end he tells her that he was lost and she saved him. Hmm, so much for having a “Christian” character.

Zombies and mermaids seem a rather odd combination of monsters for a pirate’s movie, but there they were. I have mixed feelings about the mermaids, I liked how they were accurate, scary, sailor killing mermaids. (With the exception of Syrena…) I thought they were a little weird, and maybe a little over the top, but I think I’d have to see it again to really decide. Zombies, they were random and I don’t like them. End of story.

Over all I loved all the Captain Jack Sparrowness, the rest, well…still trying to decide, but it was a good adventure all the same and I enjoyed the experience.

I would give this film a 3 out of 5 star rating.

Captain Jack Sparrow

The Eagle (short)Review

NOTE:
One thing I forgot to mention in this video was the little bit of language. The ‘s’ and ‘p’ words were used at least twice by a couple different characters. This really bugged me because they would NOT have used those words during that time period, especially since the characters who used them didn’t even (if you’re thinking of this in historical terms), speak English; they spoke Celtic and Latin. But Hollywood had to throw them in there.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader — Personal Review

I say Voyage of the Dawn Treader this past weekend and was blown away.  Though different from the book in many ways it was a fantastic Narnian film worth seeing.  The story, the characters, the world, and the Dawn Treader herself were incredible on the big screen.  The set builders, special effects people and designers out did themselves with this movie, everything was magical.    

 

Plot:

The voyage starts out as a quest to find the missing seven lords of Narnia, but soon turns into a quest to save Narnia from an impending evil that is spreading across the Lone Islands.  (I won’t say any more in order to avoid spoilers for those who haven’t seen it.)    

Though different from the book, this new plot worked.  It added to the story, the characters and made for a great film.  Intense, thrilling, adventurous, exciting, suspenseful and completely awesome.               

 

Characters:

I love the way the characters were portrayed.  Edmund and Lucy have grown up a bit since Prince Caspian and Caspian is now King of Narnia.  All are struggling with their own private battles that come to a climax in the film and add depth to each character, making them feel human and relatable to the audience.

As for our all time favorite mouse Reepicheep, he’s gained a few gray whiskers since we last saw him but he’s just as chivalrous and bold as ever.   I love Reep in this film, he’s much more involved and so much fun to watch.  Narnia just wouldn’t be the same without him.

Though his appearance was short, Governor Gumpas was just as sleazy as ever, awesome bad guy.

Coriakin was brilliant.  He’s one of my favorite characters from the book and I was not disappointed with him.       

Last but not least is the character we’ve all been waiting for,  Eustace Clarence Scrubb.  Will Poulter does a fantastic job portraying this brat turned hero.  Hilariously annoying in the beginning, to quite likeable and one of the gang in the end; Eustace was brilliant.  

 

Creatures: 

The sea serpent was amazing.  I love a good, scary creator that the good guys have to fight and this one was awesome.  It was not your average sea serpent, it was way better.

The Dufflepuds were hilarious.  I think Coriakin’s island with the Dufflepuds was one of my favorites in the movie.   They did a fantastic job with them.         

 

Settings:  

I’ve always had a thing for adventure stories on the high seas, sailing from one unknown island to the next.  The world of the Lone Islands and the world on the ship were amazing.

The Dawn Treader was simply beautiful.  Every inch of her was breath-taking and magical.  I really want a ride. 🙂

Dragon Island and Death Water Island were combined (to save film time), and that combination worked out really well.

I loved Narrowhaven.  The part of the story that takes place in Narrowhaven was brilliantly done and one of my favorite parts.

Ramandu’s Island was magical.

Dark Island was awesomely creepy and… well… dark. 😉    

 

Theme:

Faith and learning to except who you are/who you were made to be.  

The theme was very present in this Narnia film, more so then in The Loin the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, as least, that’s my opinion anyway.

This was a C.S. Lewis themed story for sure. 

 

Director:

I think Michael Apted should direct the rest of the Narnia movies.  The turnout of a film as a lot to do with the Director and I think Michael Apted did a fantastic job with Dawn Treader, I would really like to see him return to Narnia.    

 

Music:

Five words – I’m totally buying the soundtrack! 😀

 

Book/Movie comparison:

As I’ve said, this movie was very different from the books, all the way to down having a different plot, but it was still the same story, the same Narnia, the same memorable characters.

 

Over all feel:

It felt right, it felt like Narnia, like it should. 

When I go to see I movie basted off one of my favorite books, don’t go to see the book, I go to see the film.  I sometimes get quite annoyed with fans complaining and getting all riled up over changes that are made for a movie basted off a book (Eragon is another matter).  Let’s be realistic for a minute, you can’t take a book and film that, otherwise it would be a very slow and boring movie – that extreemly short – you have to adapt it to film.  Make changes to make it a good film.   

The makers of the Dawn Treader did a fantastic job adapting the book into a film and I can’t wait until it comes out on DvD so I can watch it over and over again.      

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