Character Spotligth #01 – Peter Pan

Character Spotlight er en ny serie her på bloggen. Igennem dem vil jeg sætte fokus på udvalgte karakterer, som enten ligger mit eget hjerte nær, eller er vildt populære generelt. Det vil for så vidt som muligt dække vidt og bredt, selvfølgelig med udgangspunkt i karakterens literære oprindelse, men populær kultur kan ikke undgås.

Den første ikoniske karakter, jeg vil beskæftige mig med, og sætte ekstra spotlight på, er Peter Pan. Historien om Peter Pan har altid været meget kær hos mig. Det er historien om drengen der ikke vil være voksen, som er epicenter for mange ting. Han er det barn vi alle vil være, for der er jo ingen, som rent faktisk vil være voksen. Selvom jeg nu sidder her, 29 år gammel, benægter jeg stadig mange ting om at være voksen, og inderst inde betragter jeg mig selv på mange områder stadig som et barn. Det syntes jeg da i hvert fald selv, det kan godt være andre bare syntes jeg er underlig. Personligt har jeg det lidt trist med at skulle betragte mig selv som en voksen; jeg har det bedst med tanken om at der altid vil være en vis grad af barn i mig. Hvordan dette indre barn kommer til udfoldelse kan være så forskelligt, men bare det at det er tilstede betyder noget.

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Jeg husker nogle af de første gange jeg stiftede bekendtskab med Peter Pan, og det var faktisk igennem Disney, og jeg indrømmer at det nok var der min kærlighed til Peter begyndte. Det var først senere at jeg endelig stiftede bekendtskab med den originale version skrevet af J.M. Barrie. Heldigvis, gjorde den rigtige historie bare meget mere, og min forundring og beundring for Peters historie voksede. Jeg kan huske at jeg på Studenterkursus skulle skrive en SRP-agtig opgave og jeg valgte at skrive om Peter Pan. Jeg kan stadig huske de mørke timer jeg sad i mine forældres kælder ved den ene computer vi havde i huset på det tidspunkt, men hvor meget jeg faktisk hyggede mig med at skrive denne opgave. Og det var helt og aldeles på grund af Peter og det eventyr jeg tog afsted på med ham som selskab. Selv nogle år senere i min universitetstid sneg Peter Pan sig også ind i enkelte af de opgaver jeg skulle skrive der. Der er bare noget særligt, som jeg ikke kan afskrive ved den dreng.

Men jeg er jo ikke den eneste der har taget så godt i mod J.M. Barries eventyrlige drengebarn. Når jeg ser rundt omkring i blogland, og ikke mindst i medieverdenen, kan jeg se hvor stor betydning Peter Pan har rundt i verden. Og ikke bare Peter Pan, også hans ’far’ Mr Barrie. I den virkelige verden har Barries arv været et fast holdepunkt, ikke mindst økonomisk, for The Great Ormond Hospital, som har rettighederne til historien, og har draget godt af det lige siden Barries triste død. Peter Pan er også blevet ikonisk med byen London, og går man igennem Kensington Gardens i byen, vil man også finde den berømte statue af det evige drengebarn til minde om han og hans ’far’, som I kan så på et af mine fine feriebilleder nedenfor.

Derudover er istorien om Peter Pan efterhånden blevet filmatiseret utallige gange på forskellig vis, og hver gang er det blevet forsøgt at fortælle historien på ny, mens man forsøger at bibeholde essensen af den klassiske fortælling om drengen der ikke vil blive voksen. Når jeg søger på filmatiseringer af Peter Pan viser listen mere end 10 forskellige og vidner til at folk kan blive ved med at genfortolke karakteren. Jeg tror netop det er fordi vi alle sammen kan relatere til drømmen om at forblive barn, ikke mindst for mit eget vedkommende. Jeg nævnte at det var igennem Disney at jeg først stiftede bekendtskab med Disney, så derfor er det oplagt at begynde med at snakke lidt om den version.

I min barndom var det blandt andet denne udgave, der hjalp til min forelskelse i hele Peter Pan historien, men igennem årerne er jeg blevet noget mere kritisk overfor lige netop denne udgave. Der er ingen tvivl om at Disney har fanget barndomsidyllen ved historien, men selve mystikken ved Peter Pan som karakter er gået tabt i Walt Disneys forsøg på at skabe en god historie som alle ville kunne lide, og en karakter som ikke har synderlige fejl – altså en perfekt Peter Pan som ikke har sine dystre sider, og det syntes jeg er en fejl. For de af os, der kender historien ved jo at Peter så absolut ikke er fejlfri. Det er derfor ikke overraskende, at det er samme perfektionisme der føres videre i deres anden film hvor vi vender tilbage til Ønskeøen, hvor der pludselig tilføres et strejf af feminisme. Dette ville normalt ikke gøre mig noget, men lige med denne her går det lidt imod hvad jeg kender og elsker ved historien. (Så kan man diskutere værdien af Disneys spin-off med deres Tinkerbell serie, som er en knaldgod ide for sig selv for koncernen og jeg syntes det er udmærkede film, men de har intet med Peter Pan at gøre.)

Af en eller anden mærkelig grund, var der en årrække hvor Peter forsvandt lidt fra min verden, og jeg tror det var den periode hvor man prøver at finde ud af hvor man hører til rent aldersmæssigt. Er man stadig barn eller er man på vej til at blive voksen? Og hvis man er på vej til at blive voksen, hvornår er man så rent faktisk voksen? Lige netop de spørgsmål er utrolig vigtige med Peter Pan og jeg syntes de bliver tacklet bedst i PJ Hogans version fra 2003 med Jeremy Sumpter i hovedrollen som Peter Pan. Grunden til at den er øverst blandt mine favoritter, er netop fordi den holder sig tættest til den rigtige Peter som vi kender fra historien. Dog er der blevet tilføjet elementet af kærlighed mellem Peter og Wendy, men det mener jeg ikke komprimerer historien, tværtimod tilføjer den endnu et lag til Peters karakter, som gør ham mere kompliceret, men også mere menneskelig. Netop denne tilføjelse med kærlighed bidrager også til hele konflikten, om at skulle finde ud af hvem man selv er, og indse at man bliver nødt til at vokse op. Det kan godt være man befinder sig i det mystiske limbo mellem barn og voksen, men når kærligheden er med til at realisere det faktum at man bliver nødt til at bevæge sig væk fra barndommen så syntes jeg det fungerer rigtig godt. En helt anden faktor er den utrolig flotte billedside i filmen og de fabelagtige detaljer i filmens fortælling. Jeg syntes for eksempel detaljen med vejret, der skifter i takt med Peters humør og alt efter om han er på øen eller ej, er så fin en ide og det giver en helt anden visuel fortælling. Jeg kan sige meget mere om denne film, men det ville blive et helt andet indlæg og fagnørden ville komme for meget til overfladen, så det vil jeg gemme til en anden gang. Det er klart den jeg vil anbefale man skal se som den første, hvis man ikke allerede har set den.

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Udover de tætte adaptationer er der jo også en hel del fortolkninger af den kære, eller ikke så kære Peter, ikke mindst i den eventyrlige serie Once Upon a Time, hvor Peter er knap så sød. Der findes også en måske mere realistisk fortolkning af Peter i miniserien Neverland, hvor Peter rent faktisk er en forsvundet dreng der bliver taget ind hos feerne. Selve adaptationen er ikke synderligt tæt af den originale historie, men jeg syntes alligevel den er god som den er, hvilket du kan læse mere om her. Senest er der så Pan, hvor venskabet mellem Peter og James Hook bliver vist i et helt andet lys, og Ønskeøen er også et meget anerledes sted end hvad man kender det. Jeg havde det lidt svært ved den film, af historiemæssige årsager, men en af detaljerne som jeg syntes var ganske gode, var Peters savn efter sine forældre som drev ham til at blive hvem han endte med at være. Måden de så twister det til sidst, at moderen stammer fra feerne på Ønskeøen, kan diskuteres om den stemmer overens med den oprindelige historie, og personligt syntes jeg det var en lidt underlig ide.

Den mest kendte, eller mest populære (grundet Steven Spielberg bag roret) adaptation/genfortolkning af historien er nok Robin Williams’ forsøg på at genfinde sin barndom som en voksen Peter Pan i Hook. Selvom den ikke har noget som helst med den originale historie, men i stedet fokuserer på far/søn båndet, syntes jeg det er en af de bedre genfortolkninger. Meget af det skal tillægges Robin Williams og hans rolle, men også følelsen af Ønskeøen syntes jeg er fanget rigtig godt. Jeg var især tiltrukket af ideen at selv om man var voksen (og godt nok Peter Pan), kunne man stadig vende tilbage til Ønskeøen, for det betyder at det aldrig er for sent. Så længe man bare bliver ved med at tro, vil Ønskeøen altid vente på dig. Slutteligt skal vi ej glemme Finding Neverland med Johnny Depp, hvor vi bliver bombarderet med følelser igennem Barries oplevelse med at finde på historien om Peter (angiveligt).

Jeg håber mit lille forsøg på at illustrere Peter Pan universelle tiltrækningskræft er blevet tydeliggjort en smule mere med alle disse eksempler. Jeg er ret overbevist om, at der sikkert er mange flere, men dem jeg har nævnt er efter min mening nogle af de mest benævnelsesværdige, og mest kendte også for den sags skyld. Nogle er selvfølgelig bedre end andre, men det de har tilfælles er forsøget på at forevige den evigt unge dreng, Peter Pan. Drengen der ikke vil være voksen, som så mange af os ikke kan lade være med at spejle os i når hverdagen bliver lidt for træg eller arbejdsbebyrdet og vi drømmer os væk til Ønskeøen.

Hvad er dit forhold til Peter?

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Appreciation Post #03 Once Upon A Time

I don’t remember when I first discovered Once Upon a Time, but I actually think it was my mom who turned me onto it, all I know is that since I started watching OUaT I’ve loved it ever since. And honestly my appreciation for the show just grows with each season. Granted there are some weak spots here and there, but what show doesn’t have that? In its totality it continues to be brilliant in my opinion and I love how I get to see some of my childhood favorite characters play out on the screen in situations I never would have imagined or considered possible.

Building a story around the world’s beloved fairy tale characters may sound like a story told once too many times with all the fairy tale retelling blockbusters blossoming around the world’s cinemas. But what I believe OUaT manages to do with episode after episode is not just to retell the same fairy tale on its own with one small twist, but instead it twists and turns every fairy tale we know into to something completely new while swirling it into one ultimate fairy tale.

The fairy tale characters we know are turned almost completely upside down and the villains may not be the villains we take them for, or the heroes might not be the traditional hero we know and love. This is partly what propels this story; because the character’s have so many different sides and point of views the overall story can spin in so many directions with so much potential for numerous of stories.

The season story-lines have taken on traditional stories such as good versus evil, but it has also taken us to Wonderland and Never-Neverland and back to Storybrook where things continue to be complicated. With characters crossing over from Arandelle and other fairy tale realms I anticipate countless of new stories to be told in the future.

It is difficult for me to pinpoint exactly what it is I adore about this show, basically what it all comes down to – I would say – is my love for fairy tales and fairy tale retellings. If you love any of those genres I believe OUaT will be a show for you. However, I would also say that you shouldn’t have too critical an eye when you approach it. I have heard many people say the show has lost its touch since it first started, but I do not agree wholeheartedly to this. It may be true that it is not entirely as it was in the beginning, but no show stays the same and change is essential for keeping the show up to date as well. So despite much critic I still adore this show and will continue to watch.

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Longbourn (Jo Baker, 2013)

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‘If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats,’ Sarah thought, ‘she would be more careful not to tramp through muddy fields.’

It is wash-day for the housemaids at Longbourn House, and Sarah’s hands are chapped and raw. Domestic life below stairs, ruled with a tender heart and an iron will by Mrs Hill the housekeeper, is about to be disturbed by the arrival of a new footman, bearing secrets and the scent of the sea.

(Tekst fra goodreads)

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Sjovt nok har Pride & Prejudice ikke altid været en af mine favoritter, og der var en tid hvor Jane Austen bare var et navn jeg hørte i flæng. Men efter at have arbejdet med selvsamme i projektperiode på UNI, har jeg lige siden knuselsket den tidsløse historie og jeg elsker at se den i flere forskellige udgaver og opleve andre genfortolkninger. Da jeg hørte om præmissen bag Longbourn var det derfor oplagt at den ville snige sig ind i min bogsamling.

Historien om Sarah der er hårdtarbejdende huspige hos familien Bennet er den almindelige historie bag al glamouren som vi ser bort fra og bare antager som tidens trends i Pride & Prejudice. Det faktum at der er natpotter der skal tømme, månedlige klude der skal ligges i blød eller forhold bag dørene bliver ikke skænket en tanke i Austens fejlfrie univers. Det er derimod omdrejningspunktet i Longbourn, hvor vi følger Sarah og hendes længsel efter et bedre og mere givende liv end det tjenestelige liv hun har hos familien Bennet under Mrs Hill skarpe øjne.

Jeg er altid lidt skeptisk når jeg går om bord i enhver form for genfortælling af denne klassiker, for på den ene side vil jeg ikke have at der bliver pillet ved noget som helst for det er jo den historie jeg elsker. På den anden side er jeg altid nysgerrig for at høre mere bag facaden om de karakterer man har lært at kende så godt gennem tiden. Jo Baker har formået at indarbejde begge dele an denne sag syntes jeg. For samtidig med at hun har holdt stilen hos familien Bennet så vi kan genkende dem, og holde af dem lige så meget som vi gjorde første gang Austen introducerede dem for os, så har hun også givet dem mere baggrund og mere karakter mens resten i huset pludselig også bliver mere fremtræden. Pludselig holder jeg utrolig meget af Mrs Hill og hendes udholdelighed af hele familien Bennet, for med hendes historie er jeg ikke sikker på mange ville være blevet i hendes position – hvormed jeg kom til at beundre hende. På samme tid blev familien Bennet også fremlagt som selviske til tider, hvilket de sikkert også ville være i den tid de levede i, og ikke skænke deres arbejdende folk den samme tanke som vi måske gør i dag. For de var netop bare hjælpen.

Alt i alt er det jeg prøver at sige er, at Jo Baker har kreeret sit eget sublime univers inden i Austens, og hun har formået at smelte disse to sammen på så fin og usynlig en måde at man til tider kunne narre sig selv til at læse endnu et eksemplar af Austens elskelige bog. Hovedet ville selvfølgelige sige at dette ikke kan lade sig gøre, men historien hænger så godt sammen at jeg flere gange sad og koblede begge historier sammen på samme måde som Baker allerede har gjort.

Siden jeg har læst bogen har jeg sniffet mig frem til på nettet at den nu også er blevet opkøbt og skal filmatiseres. Det glæder jeg mig gevaldigt til at se, for at se om de forestillinger jeg har haft kommer til live og lever op til mine og alle andres forventninger.

Grunden til at jeg giver 5 og ikke 6 stjerner er fordi jeg godt kunne have tænkt mig mere; mere familien Bennet, mere Sarah, mere James. Der er mange ting bag historien og personerne som jeg stadig mener kan udforskes meget mere, men det er også et af de eneste minusser jeg kan sætte på bogen.

5 star

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Appreciation Post #02 Friends

As a new series of writing I will be writing what I have baptised Appreciation Posts. These will be what some people might call nerdy, geeky or just simply obsessed. Others might call it as I do; appreciation. What they have in common is their love for an item within the world of popular culture. This is also the reason why I have chosen to write this series in English – because most of it will be from International (English speaking mostly) spheres and it will be easier accepted across borders, and more people can appreciate the appreciation.

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Do you remember the year 1994? Or perhaps 2004 a bit better? In my case I was 7 years old in 1994 and 17 years in 2004, a decade in which many funny things took place in Manhattan when you followed the six quirky FRIENDS Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Ross, Joey and Chandler. I remember the early years, although I say early years, I only got hooked on the series in the late 90s as I was a bit young to begin with so all the jokes about being on a break were lost to me in the beginning. But as the years went on and my eyes were opened to the series I found my own way to catch up on everything FRIENDS.

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Some of the earliest memories I have about the show is every Wednesday night when the latest episode would air on TV here in Denmark and I would watch it with my mother. We both waited eagerly from week to week, but as we saw more and more I became a bit more eager than her. I remember being ready to tape each new episode so I could watch it over and over again and I even grew so impatient that I turned to foreign TV stations to watch newer episodes because they were quicker to air them than here in Denmark.

But what is it about this group of friends that is so appealing and makes us want to return to their lives over and over again? It’s difficult to come with a complete answer to that because depending on who you ask everyone will have each their own opinion. To me it is the timelessness of the show that is appealing. You can return to the show whenever you feel like because there are not many big time stamps on the show that labels it directly to being a all 90s show. Of course there’s the fashion that evolves throughout each season but that’s part of the charm about it. It’s fun to see how people went crazy for the ‘Rachel’ haircut or the particular dress that someone wore in that particular episode, or an object that was used in another episode.

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Then of course there is the humour about the show. Every episode has its ‘thing’ that it makes fun of and we will always laugh at whatever stupid thing Joey says, or snooze to Ross’s boring comments about dinosaurs, or laugh at Chandler’s closing joke, or giggle to a comment from Phoebe, or sympathize with Rachel as she finds her place in the real world or relate to Monica as she starts to clean the entire building from top to bottom. It doesn’t matter what kind of person YOU are, there will eventually be something about one of the friends that you can somehow relate to. Over the years you will most likely find something in each and every one of them, which makes the show that much better because the characters grow that more realistic.

Monica is the overreacting control freak with a desperate need to have a baby someday down the line. She is part of the glue that holds the group together because of her ability to play host to all sorts of events. Even when she is locked out and everything burns she can turn a piece of non-cleared new chocolate into something edible, at the very least. She grows from a neat-freak to a mother and her transformation is complete.

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Rachel is the baby of the group who needs to find her place in the world. We follow her take her first baby steps as cuts all her credit cards and stops being dependent on daddy’s money. She uses her femininity to find a new boyfriend almost all the time and be able to bounce back from the ‘breaks’ despite other people’s opinions. She grows from being daddy’s spoiled rich girl to a strong self-sufficient mother with a powerful opinion and a big heart.

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Phoebe is the gentle one, but also the one who no one wants to mess with. She has her tough background to rely on and her nativity to get her trough the world. Her generosity allows her to help her brother with a difficult situation and she manages not to scare of most men when she mentions it. When she finally finds her right man, the strangest situations led them down the snow covered aisle and we see Phoebe mature to the nurturing woman she really is.

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Ross is another part of the glue to the group as he forms relationships in one way or another with each and everyone. He tries to lecture people with his knowledge and though he faces much of a wall-stopper in that area he carries on till eventually someone will listen. Despite three divorces he still manages to get women to ‘come here to him’, and sometimes also make them stay. With two children he was always the caretaker of the group and he took that responsibility rather serious, maybe too serious sometimes.

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Joey is the guy in the group that will always make you smile. It is not always intentionally but he can always bring out the best in people. With a heart of gold we have seen him struggle with sleep issues to falling in love – perhaps the biggest deal to him, and over all just accept his friends the way they are. He always has some extra love for you, no matter ‘how you doing’. Despite 10 years, and constant pleas with God in hopes of not growing older, he has matured in his very own way.

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Chandler brings the comedy to the group. With his desire to always have the last comment we can always count on him to lighten a dark day. Even when he makes mistakes he does his very best to come out on top so people will still like him. Struggling with a kind of personality problem we have seen him leave the WENUS and move on the more serious way of making people like new designs on Skids. He is perhaps the one person that has grown the most, from Mister Funny Man to a responsible father.

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No matter which of the characters you like the best – because we will always have our favorites – there is something for us all. We can laugh with them and we can cry with them. And hopefully we will continue to be able to do so for many more years to come.

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If you feel up for the challenge and consider yourself a true FRIENDS fanatic, I have found some test around the web that allows you to confirm this belief. I have tested some of these myself and was rather surprised by some of the results. The first one is perhaps the toughest one, it’s the FRIENDS SAT test and some of the questions are actually tough to decipher. The second one I found was still a bit difficult but I surprised myself and the boyfriend by getting them all right. It’s the Episode Title from a Single Screenshot. It should be interesting to see whether you’re just as big a fanatic as I proved to be.

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Appreciation Post #01 Veronica Mars

As a new series of writing I will be writing what I have baptised Appreciation Posts. These will be what some people might call nerdy, geeky or just simply obsessed. Others might call it as I do; appreciation. What they have in common is their love for an item within the world of popular culture. This is also the reason why I have chosen to write this series in English – because most of it will be from International (English speaking mostly) spheres and it will be easier accepted across borders, and more people can appreciate the appreciation.

As some of you may have noticed I am very fond of the phenomenon Veronica Mars. I call it phenomenon because it started simply as a TV series, then it became a Kickstarter film project and last on the line it has become a book series (albeit small one, with just one book so far, but at least two in total have been planned).

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I can honestly not remember how I discovered VM, for several years now it has just been a part of my DVD collection of the most memorable series I have watched, and I have watched quite a few. For some reason this one just stuck with me and perhaps even more so because of its cancelation back in 2007, which just left us fans with a rather speculative open ending. This was partly Rob Thomas’ hope that there would be a series 4 along the way, as we got to see his little project when the 3rd season was released on DVD, but unfortunately it never happened. Then come 2013 and I hear this rumour about something called Kickstarter, and just a year or so later, here I am at home with the VM movie! I am proud to say that I was a Backer on the Kickstarter project, although a small one I’m still very proud to have participated in the project and even more thrilled to have made it happen so every fan across the globe can now take home their own copy of VM to become even bigger fans.

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What is there to like about VM you might ask? Well, to that I can only say what is there not to like? To make it stand out, I’ve bulletined it for you, so you can tick it off on your own list of what you might look for in a series;

  • Thriller/Mystery – As any self-proclaimed mystery show it has the thrill of solving a case in every episode, pretty much just like any other crime series like CSI and all the spin-offs to that one.
  • Suspense – Just like all the other crime series, each season has the epitome mystery to solve, with little clues dropped along the season to help Veronica and us to figure out what actually happened in what constitutes as her biggest case yet, for each season.
  • Drama – Well, we are talking about high school students so of course there’s going to be some drama. Whether it’s all about who’s the biggest shall we say free-spirited girl at school or who stole money for the senior trip, you can’t get around the fact that there’s some kind of drama.
  • Love – Which of course leads to the love factor of any teen show. Veronica is a girl, so naturally there’s bound to be some love interest along the way (not to forget her particularly awesome relationship to her father; every father should be as Keith Mars!). Personally, I always rooted for Logan. He was just so wrong that he was perfect. Duncan was too perfect; he and Veronica had it too good to be true, which turned out to be true, whereas Logan provided the adrenalin she craves most of the times. Plus he makes her look better back when he was still a bit of a bad boy, but then he got his act together and joined the proud forces. I mean who can say no to something like this?vlcsnap-2014-05-07-17h09m20s68
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  • Humour – It’s got sass and a witty comeback or punch line for almost every stupid remark, or even good remark. The best part perhaps in my opinion, which says it all about the humour, is part of the opening scene from the movie, when Veronica puts on her ‘lipstick’.vlcsnap-2014-05-07-17h08m37s130
  • Friendship – The friendship between Veronica and Wallace, and later Mac too is just the best kind of friendship you can get, and should be what we all strive to get.

Let’s return to the movie for just a bit, I know many of you have seen it and think it’s pretty awesome, just like I do. I think part of this reason is because of many of cameos in it. I mean to name just a few there’s Dash Shepard (who, as you will all know is Kristen Bell’s fiancé and baby’s father) as an obnoxious guy at a bar hitting on Veronica.

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Then of course there’s James Franco as well. Enough said I believe.

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What I think was great about the movie was some of the many loose ends that were tied. So much was missing in those 10 years between the end of S3 and the movie that the fans had a lot of questions and I, at least, felt like I got answers for most of them. However, it also left me with a feeling of wanting more. Though it answered some questions it also opened for some new ones. For example, will Veronica stay in Neptune for good now? Thankfully, we could then turn to the first in a book series (which you can read my review of here), which I’m waiting on the second book to come out later this year.

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Another great thing about VM is the music. I have the soundtrack for both the series and the movie and both are really good. Before purchasing them I had heard of none of the artists before, but because of VM I started to listen to some of these artists just because of that one song on the album. Thanks to Rob Thomas and VM I found out about The Perishers, The Format, Ivy and Mr Twin Sister just to name a few.

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To conclude this long first appreciation post I guess I would just like to thank Rob Thomas for creating this sassy marshmallow and for bringing a little P.I. into all our lives. I can only hope for more of it in the future.

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