The Hidden Myth behind “The Phantom of the Opera”

Yes, the random, pointless Phantom of the Opera posts are back! Did you think I’d given up on them? Bwahahahahahahahaha! Really, with this being My Turn to Talk’s birthday month, it made sense to bring back some PotO posts since Phantom has been a big part of this blog from its very beginning.

The other week I was watching My Fair Lady for the first time, and that, of course, got me thinking about the Greek myth of Pygmalion. Pygmalion, according to Greek mythology, was a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he was making, a statue of a woman of unsurpassed beauty (before you start saying “Weirdo,” remember that this was the same culture that gave us Oedipus Rex). During a festival in honor of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, Pygmalion asked the goddess to bring him a woman who was like his statue. He didn’t dare say that he wanted the statue to be alive because that would just be crazy, but Aphrodite knew his unspoken request. She brought the statue to life for him, and sculptor and sculptee lived happily ever after.

What does this have to do with The Phantom of the Opera? Well, Pygmalion was pouring all of his skill into sculpting the perfect statue of the perfect woman, and the end result was all of his ideals brought to life right in front of him. Quite similarly, Erik used his passion for music to mold Christine–more specifically her voice–into his perfect ideal for what the human voice should sound like. Most people see only the parallels to Beauty and the Beast, but the story of Pygmalion is present in the narrative as well. Christine was Erik’s pupil; his tutelage formed her voice into one of the greatest sounds of all time. Like Pygmalion, he poured all of his skill into creating the perfect singer, and the end result was a woman who encompassed everything he loved about music. In a way, you could almost say that she became the personification of music to him.

Of course, it’s important to remember that Erik’s obsessive, homicidal tendencies ensured that they did not live happily ever after. Impersonating a heavenly being is never a good idea for a relationship, ever. Nor is stalking. Or kidnapping. Or anything that makes you look like a creeper.

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Movie Review: “The Artist”

I had planned to do another post on a different topic, but I saw this movie yesterday and decided to post a review about it instead. Disclaimer: I watched this on TV and missed the first 30 minutes, and usually movies are edited for time and/or content when they’re aired on TV, so maybe I’m not completely qualified to review this movie. However, the parts I did see I genuinely liked, and I wanted to write about that.

The Artist is a silent, black-and-white film from 2011 (yes, you read that right, 2011) that tells the story of George Valentin, a famed silent movie actor who begins to fade into oblivion upon the arrival of talking movies. About the same time that he is losing fame, his young co-star Peppy Miller, whom he helped to land her first role in the movies, is all the rage and becomes a big star of the new talking movies. With his downslide in popularity, his wife’s decision to leave him, and the Great Depression, George sinks into a depression of his own, but Peppy is determined to help him just as he once helped her. But will he let her?

I’ll be honest; I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this. I was definitely interested in watching it because, well, who would have thought to make a silent, black-and-white movie in 2011? This is the era of big-budget blockbuster thrillers with as much CGI as you can conceivably stuff into a two-and-a-half-hour time slot! However, I had heard some critics say it was over-hyped and not as good as everyone else was saying it was. I’m not sure what everyone else was saying about it, but personally I enjoyed it. It told an interesting, thought-provoking story–what were some of the reactions of silent film actors once sound could be included? I remember hearing that Lon Chaney wasn’t too keen on the idea of talking in a movie, and seeing George’s downward spiral made me wonder if there had been other actors like him, unable to accept or adapt to the new way and becoming unintended victims of progress.

One of the things that especially grabbed my attention was the…authenticity, I think, is the word I want. The Artist managed to capture the spirit and feel of the silent film era, which is quite an astounding feat! Several times I found myself forgetting that this was made four years ago; it felt like a film made during the actual 1920’s. Another feature I liked was the genuine friendship between George and Peppy. They loved each other, but it felt like less of a romantic love and more like the love between two friends who have seen each other through good times and bad. With so much emphasis placed on romantic love in most movies, it was nice to see good old fashioned friendship being celebrated for a change.

Would I recommend The Artist? Keeping in mind that I missed the first half-hour, I still would recommend it. Silent films aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it told an interesting story and, in my opinion, is worth seeing.

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Now There’s a Link between “Beauty and the Beast” and Star Wars

I found it strangely amusing that the two movies I’m waiting for now have a common link–Ewan McGregor. Star Wars aficionados, of course, know him as the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels, and he now has been cast as Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast. He’s not whom I would have picked for that part, but the nerd in me is just happy that Obi-Wan is going to be in the movie.

There was a rumor at one point that McGregor would be reprising the role of Obi-Wan in The Force Awakens, presumably the Force-ghost Obi-Wan, but unfortunately it looks to be just that–a rumor. Still, I find it pretty cool that the two movies I’ve been blogging about recently now have something in common.

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The Drought is Finally Over!

June 6, 2015 will forever go down in history as the day that American Pharoah won the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown, the first horse to do so since Affirmed in 1978. It’s been a long time coming, but it was worth the wait.

I was especially excited to watch this Belmont because I didn’t think I’d ever witness a Triple Crown victory. I was born after Affirmed’s victory and so have only heard stories of past Triple Crown winners and how impressive their victories were. So frequently, too, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner would come so close to winning the Belmont only to fade at the crucial moment. But not American Pharoah.

I never thought I’d see a Triple Crown, but I’m so glad I was wrong about that. It was a privilege to witness such a momentous occasion in horse racing history.

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Some Thoughts on “Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks”

Last week I had the opportunity to watch the 1985 Doctor Who serial “Revelation of the Daleks”, starring Colin Baker as the Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri Brown.

I can envision the eye-rolling from here (“The Sixth Doctor? Really? He was one of the worst!”), but just listen to me for a minute. It’s true that the Sixth and Seventh Doctors often get a bad rap (Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy both played the Doctor during a time when the BBC was actively trying to kill the show), but a lot of their episodes are better than most people would have you believe. “Revelation of the Daleks”, while not one of the best episodes of classic Who, certainly wasn’t the worst, either.

The Doctor and Peri arrive on the planet Necros for the funeral of Professor Stengos, a good friend of the Doctor’s, but the Doctor has some suspicions about Tranquil Repose, the funerary parlor that is arranging the professor’s funeral. Turns out his suspicions are well-founded–Tranquil Repose is run by Davros, the mad creator of the Daleks, and he is using the bodies of the dead to try to create a new Dalek army…and also to solve that solar systems famine issue…which is dark even for Davros. Throw in some political intrigue, attempted assassinations, and a body count higher than many modern episodes of Doctor Who (you think Moffat kills all the characters now? You should see what these writers did!), and you have what is, at the very least, a memorable serial from the classic era.

I was surprised with how dark this episode went–seriously, how did this even get aired the first time around? But there were some pretty neat little moments, too, such as Davros’s initial interactions with Kara, a woman who provides funds for his research. Seeing Davros actually being polite and not shouting, actually attempting to be charming, was something of a shock. Then I remembered that when he was on Skaro, he must have had to persuade similar people to fund his research there, too, and it made me kind of want to learn more about a younger Davros. There’d be a lot to explore there, I’m sure.

One of the characters I really liked in this episode was Orcini, a disgraced member of the Knights of Oberon that Kara hired to kill Davros. Once a member of one of the most distinguished military branches in the galaxy, Orcini is now an assassin-for-hire, yet he is still something of a noble knight. In fact, in the middle of all the political intrigue and backstabbing, he was the only character who conducted himself with any honor–and he was a criminal! There was something about him that vaguely reminded me of Don Quixote–I’m not sure why, but there you have it.

Would I recommend “Revelation of the Daleks”? I’m not sure. I mean, it wasn’t as terrible as I’d heard, but it’s still not the best that Doctor Who has to offer. I think maybe I would; it does have some good parts that I think people would enjoy.

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Reacting to “Once Upon a Time: Operation Mongoose Parts 1 and 2″: *MASSIVE SPOILERS*

Okay, first things first: if you haven’t watched the Once Upon a Time season 4 finale yet, TURN BACK NOW! It was a massive game-changer, and I don’t want to spoil it for you!

Still here? Okay, you can’t say I didn’t warn you. The two-part finale “Operation Mongoose” saw Isaac fulfill Rumpelstiltskin’s request of writing a new story where the villains could get their happy endings. Titled Heroes and Villains, this new book featured Snow White as a surprisingly effective Evil Queen, Prince Charming as her number-one lackey controlled through his ripped-out heart, Regina as the forest-dwelling object of Snow’s wrath, Rumpelstiltskin as a cheesy knight in shining armor known as the Ogre-Slayer or the Light One (I know, it doesn’t have quite the same ring as the Dark One), and Captain Hook as a bumbling, nerdy deckhand (seriously, he doesn’t know how to fight and drinks goat’s milk instead of rum because he’s allergic to the latter). Basically the heroes and the villains have swapped places and backstories, with the notable exceptions of Robin Hood and Belle. Robin Hood is still stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, and Belle is just as sweet and kind as ever.

Of course, no one remembers the truth of the situation except Emma, whom Snow has locked in a tower to prevent her from undermining her rule. Fortunately for Emma, Henry finds a way to enter Heroes and Villains (after the book was finished, he was left in an abandoned Storybrooke as he had not been born in the Enchanted Forest, so there was no place for him in the story), rescue his birth mother, and convince his adopted mother that he and Emma are telling the truth.

In the end, Henry becomes the new Author and uses his power to undo everything Isaac has written. All’s well, a happy ending is in sight…except for Rumple, whose heart is quickly turning black. The Dark Curse is about to completely consume him; the good in him, the part that Belle loved, is almost gone. Rumple is about to die, and there will be nothing left of him to fight against the Dark One.

Here’s where things get crazy–the Sorcerer’s Apprentice attempts to save Rumple’s life by sucking the darkness out of his heart and trapping it inside the Sorcerer’s Hat, effectively shearing Rumple of his power–long story short, he is no longer the Dark One. But the darkness is too powerful for the hat to contain, and it breaks free and seeks out a new host.

At first it targets the Apprentice, but Emma uses her magic to drive it off. It then seeps out into the night and targets Regina as a suitable candidate, but Emma refuses to watch Regina become evil again after her struggle to regain her goodness. Instead, Emma offers herself to the darkness as its new host.

As the darkness eventually fades, Emma is nowhere to be seen…but the Dark One’s dagger is lying in the road, and a new name is engraved upon the blade: Emma Swan.

So that was the big cliffhanger for season 4–Rumpelstiltskin is no longer the Dark One; Emma now possesses that power. Oh, and apparently the Sorcerer is Merlin; he’s the one who bound the darkness to the dagger in the first place so there was a way of controlling it, and our heroes have to find him because he’s the only one who can drive the darkness from Emma and destroy it completely (never mind that we know from season 1’s “Skin Deep” that True Love’s Kiss is powerful enough to break even the Dark One’s power). Season 5 should certainly be interesting!

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Osgood’s Back!

Remember in the season 8 finale “Death in Heaven” when Missy cold-bloodedly killed Osgood? Well, the Moff has spoken, and he has informed us that our dearly departed fellow fangirl will return in season 9. How is this possible, you ask? Well, Radio Times has listed seven theories on how this might happen–personally I think it’ll be the Zygon Osgood from “The Day of the Doctor” especially since Moffat also announced the Zygons are returning in season 9 as well. As of now, though, we just have to continue waiting.

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