Top 12 Underrated Fictional Females

Hello, I’m Leah G. Alfonso. I write so that I may speak.

When you think of fantastic fictional females, who comes to mind? Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing? Lizzie Bennet from Pride and Prejudice? These—and others I haven’t mentioned—are excellent ladies of storytelling.

That’s why I’m not writing about them. Instead, I’m taking a look at the underrated women of fiction. These are the fictional females that are incredible characters in one way or another, but for some reason get glanced over. I’m not just talking about adult females, either; if there’s anything that reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe taught me, it’s that kids are also awesome.

So sit back and enjoy as I explore the top 12 underrated fictional females.

#12: Lilo from Lilo and Stitch

Of all the kid characters Disney gave us, Lilo is probably the most human and memorable. She’s violent, she’s weird, she’s emotional, and she’s unique. And unlike other characters that others write off as ‘different,’ you can see that Lilo does care about what other people think of her. Lilo may not resemble a role model, but she does resemble a human being.

#11: Éowyn from Lord of the Rings

Yes, it’s almost pointless to talk about the battle between her and the Nazgúl leader since everyone else has already done so. And I put her low on the list because her existence in the books is pretty much the build-up to that one battle. So why do I bring her up at all? Well, it’s because of what she says she fears the most: a cage. I realize that there’s a whole debate about whether or not women should fight, and I won’t go into the argument here. But no matter what you believe, Éowyn ultimately did the right thing, and it’s just not because she was qualified to kill the Nazgúl. Before the fight, Éowyn was assigned to look after Rohan while Theoden went to war, and to take his place if he and her brother didn’t survive the battle. However, she knew that the chances of saving Minas Tirith were slim, and she knew that if Sauron won the war, there wouldn’t be a Rohan to look after. She wanted to do something useful and become another fighter, and that’s exactly what she did.

#10: Miss Piggy from The Muppets

By all outward appearances, Miss Piggy wouldn’t be on the list. She’s self-absorbed, she’s a little too obsessed with her boyfriend, and she’s the least hospitable character in the Muppets. But truth be told, we can’t help but like her for that. Miss Piggy won’t take trash from anyone, not even from the frog she’s in love with. She’s also confident, and anyone who says confidence isn’t admirable is either lying or deluded. As annoying as she would be in real life, she’s still a ton of fun to watch on the pixelated screen.

#9: Gwen Stacy from The Amazing Spiderman

I haven’t read the comics, so I’m mostly going off the movies. Say what you will about the Spiderman remakes, but Gwen Stacy was the best part altogether, especially in comparison to Mary Jane in the original movies. She was so much more interesting, so much more intelligent, so much more ambitious, and so much more helpful. If you won’t watch the remakes for Spiderman, at least watch them for Gwen.

#8: Jane from Tarzan

Of all the damsels in distress that appear in stories, Jane is probably my favorite. Just watching someone who’s used to city life trying to survive in the jungle is hilarious; I could watch the scene with the baboons over and over again and not get tired of it. But when you take that out of the equation, Jane is still a good character. She enjoys studying the animals as well as studying Tarzan himself, and they teach each other more about the different worlds they come from. They were a perfect foil to each other, which created one of Disney’s best romances.

#7: Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas

While Sally’s story revolves mostly around unrequited love, she’s still an interesting character when you take the romance out of the equation. She’s the most realistic of the Halloween Town citizens, and she’s also a character who seeks to be independent. There’s even an entire song where she debates on whether or not to support Jack or to set things right. In the end, she chooses to try and set things right, and she’s rewarded for it. And when that happened, we couldn’t help but cheer for her.

#6: Mary Poppins from Mary Poppins

What I love about Mary Poppins is that she was ultimately the perfect blend for the Banks family. Mr. Banks wanted someone who was strict and instructive, while the kids wanted someone who was kind and cheerful. It turns out, she was both. She played games with the kids and took them on adventures, but at the same time, she was strict, and she didn’t reward bad behavior. I like the scene with the job interview, because right from the start it shows that she’s mysterious and always one step ahead of everyone, whether they realize it or not.

#5: Kim Possible from Kim Possible

It’s no secret that Disney TV is a bushel of bad apples. A lot of the TV series they come up with are cliché, boring, and incapable of taking their audiences seriously. But in every bad bushel, there are a few good apples. In this bushel, Kim Possible was one of them. And a large part of that is due to the main character herself. Not only is she a cheerleader and a straight-A student, not only does she travel all around the world in the blink of an eye to take on criminal masterminds, not only does she take feminine accessories and turn them into weapons, not only does she know various types of kung-fu, not only does she take on every challenge and enjoy it, but she makes it all look easy. If Disney TV ever gave us a role model for younger girls, it was Kim Possible.

#4: Kate Beckett from Castle

There’s no doubt that Beckett made being a cop look awesome…well, more than the cop in the Ferguson case did, anyway. She hunts for murderers, and she won’t let anyone stand in her way. She analyzes information, looks for clues in obscure places, and leaves no stone unturned. She always keeps an open mind, knowing that facts don’t always fit neatly in a box. I also like how she and Castle work as a team, that there are some things only she can do and some things that only he can do.

#3: Violet Baudelaire from Series of Unfortunate Events

The most famous female inventor in literature, Violet Baudelaire was truly extraordinary. Many of her inventions varied from complex to simple, sometimes using a variety of tools, and sometimes only needing to tie up her hair. She knows how to take something seemingly useless and make it handy for a quick getaway.

#2: Johanna Mason from The Hunger Games

Oh…how does one describe Johanna Mason? Imagine if Luna Lovegood dyed her hair brown, cut it short, and became an angry, violent alcoholic after being reaped for the Hunger Games. This woman is the definition of fearless. She openly curses the corrupt government on reality TV, she willingly undresses in public, and she made Caesar Flickerman, the happiest and most excitable television host in fiction, wince on camera. Not to mention that, in a fictional series where the government randomly selects twenty-four children to fight to the death every year, the Catching Fire movie literally censored itself when Johanna Mason dropped the f-bomb. She was unpredictable, funny, and a lot of fun to watch.

#1: Elsa from Frozen

The feedback that Frozen has gotten months after its release is similar to how general audiences reacted to The Little Mermaid when the excitement died out. People either love or hate them, and everyone has something to say about it. Elsa in particular has gotten a lot of flak for insinuating that it’s okay to throw away responsibility for the sake of freedom. Granted, not all of the complaints are unwarranted, and I’ll probably write an editorial about Frozen at another time. But for now I’ll give a few reasons for why I don’t hate Elsa.

  1. Nintendo gave us Princess Peach and Stephenie Meyer gave us Bella, so what else have you got?
  2. While this isn’t the first time we’ve had a single Disney Princess (courtesy of Merida), Elsa is the first one for whom being single was virtually never mentioned by any of the other characters. Problematic for a queen? Perhaps, but it’s still welcome.
  3. Elsa seems like the first three-dimensional princess that Disney gave us; not a heroine, but not necessarily a villain either. The other Disney Princesses are enjoyable (with a few exceptions), but this is the first time Disney tried to make a Disney Princess more than just a character in a fairy tale. It seems like they tried to make her as psychologically complex as a real, flesh-and-blood human being.

And that’s why I name Elsa the most underrated fictional female.

Until next time, this is Leah G. Alfonso saying “So long.”

Photo sources: http://julipy.deviantart.com/art/100-fictional-female-characters-324144427

http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Lilo_Pelekai

http://www.koshka-the-cat.com/eowyn.html

http://www.vogue.mx/moda/moda-en-la-calle/galerias/el-estilo-de-miss-piggy/509/image/1020589

http://de.marvel-filme.wikia.com/wiki/Gwen_Stacy

http://happilygrim.blogspot.com/2013/08/disney-tutorials-for-not-so-grownups.html

http://www.writeups.org/fiche.php?id=2730

http://www.comicvine.com/forums/battles-7/mary-poppins-vs-dr-doom-712037/

http://www.siteoffline.com/hdtv.php?format=shows&start=91

http://castletv.net/forums/castle-discussion/becketts-curls/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violet_Baudelaire

http://catchingfiremovienews.com/jena-malone-johanna-mason-catching-fire

http://flavorwire.com/431836/we-need-a-frozen-2-thats-all-about-elsas-good-girl-crisis

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Ten Random Facts: Harry Potter

Hello, I’m Leah G. Alfonso. I write so that I may speak.

Welcome to a new segment on my blog called “Ten Random Facts”! In these posts, I share fun facts about movies, books, etc. These facts may or may not be common information, and it’s always fun to learn something new about a story you love. As this is the first blog post in the new segment, I thought I’d start with one of my childhood favorites, Harry Potter by JK Rowling.

So, without further ado, here are Ten Random Facts about Harry Potter.

  1. In an earlier draft of the books, Luna Lovegood was originally named Lily Moon.
  1. After the events of Deathly Hallows, George Weasley could never perform the Patronus charm again.
  1. Alfonso Cuaron, director of Prisoner of Azkaban, asked the actors for Harry, Ron, and Hermione to write an essay about their characters. Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry, wrote one page. Rupert Grint, who plays Ron, never turned his in. Emma Watson, who plays Hermione, wrote sixteen pages.
  1. Speaking of the Patronus charm, Dolores Umbridge is the only villain in the story who could perform one.
  1. Stan Shunpike and Ernie Prang, conductor and driver of the Knight Bus respectively, were both named after JK Rowling’s grandfathers.
  1. After the events of Deathly Hallows, Harry, Ron, and Hermione all got their own chocolate frog cards. Ron would call this the greatest achievement of his life.
  1. Weasley was originally going to die in Order of the Phoenix, but JK Rowling switched him with another character.
  1. According to JK Rowling, the three things Hermione smells in the Amortentia potion is parchment, freshly mowed grass, and Ron’s hair.
  1. Neville Longbottom was an Auror for a short time after Deathly Hallows, but eventually retired and working as the Herbology professor at Hogwarts instead.
  1. Also according to JK Rowling, two things that happened early in Tom Riddle’s life contributed to his becoming a psychopath. 1) He was conceived in a ‘loveless union,’ or under the influence of a love potion, and 2) he was institutionalized from the moment he was born.

Photo source: http://www.empireonline.com/features/coolest-high-school-movie-cliques/p7

Top 11 Nostalgia Critic Reviews

Some of you might be familiar with film critic and comedian Doug Walker, more commonly known as the Nostalgia Critic. Since 2007, this live-action cartoon character has been reviewing films commonly from the 80s and 90s, and recently extended to recent films such as Les Misérables and The Purge. His reviews have been creative, informative, and hilarious. In recognition of that, I’m counting down the top 12 Nostalgia Critic reviews.

#11: The King and I

Two things about this movie surprised me when I learned of its existence: a) there’s an animated version of The King and I, and b) it’s so bad that you wouldn’t believe it existed unless you saw it. This is one of the more underrated NC reviews. Nearly every comment the Critic makes about this movie is hard to argue with, and all of the jokes are both hilarious and subtle.

#10: The Room

One of the best things about the Nostalgia Critic is that his reactions to different atrocities can be applied to virtually anything, whether it be a bad movie or parts of life in general. And The Room is no exception. If you’re familiar with this movie, you can only imagine how a live-action cartoon character like the Critic would react to such outrageous filmmaking. Much like the movie, this review is something that simply must be seen to be believed.

#9: Wicker Man

Once in a while, the Critic spends a month honoring actors who—like himself—have the personality of cartoon characters. In January of 2014, the actor to be honored was Nicholas Cage. And the second Cage movie reviewed was Wicker Man. Not only was it a good way of introducing Tamara Chambers as a supporting actress, but it was also an excellent commentary of the movie itself, satirizing some of its scenes as well as attempting to analyze what the director was trying to accomplish. And the ending is one of the Critic’s funniest moments altogether.

#8: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 2

This is probably the first (and hopefully, not last) time we see the Critic do a live review. It’s all improv, where all he has is one camera and the reactions of his audience. It opens with my favorite NC line: “Has anyone here seen this movie? GET OUT!!!” And it just gets funnier from there, building up to the surprisingly intense and stupid finale that the film decided to create. That ending…well, just watch the review and see for yourself.

http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/thatguywiththeglasses/nostalgia-critic/30972-the-other-animated-titanic-movie

#7: The animated Titanic rip-offs

The existence of not just one, but two animated rip-offs of Titanic is mind-boggling. In the first one, we not only get constant reminders of how unoriginal it is, but we also get a rapping dog. Now, that alone is enough to make any NC fan anticipate a freak out, and the results did not disappoint. The other was so insulting that it had to be ripped to shreds. And who better to do so than the Nostalgia Critic? Historians and Roger Ebert, maybe, but that’s a whole other debate.

#6: Disney Afternoon

Instead of a movie, the Critic spends forty-five minutes reviewing a collection of animated TV shows that Disney gave us between 1990 and 1997. He takes a look at the good and bad moments of the Disney Afternoon, he revisits his own childhood in the process, and he exercises his talent of being unpredictable in how he reacts to the stuff he talks about. It’s recently reached about a million views on YouTube, becoming one of the most popular NC episodes. And considering that it’s one of my favorites, that makes me happy.

#5: The Grinch

It’s no secret that the Critic despises the modern-day adaptations of Dr. Seuss’s books, and this movie is no exception. Funnily enough, the review itself seems to fit the spirit of Dr. Seuss’s Grinch better than the ACTUAL adaptation of the Grinch. Not only is the review completely in rhyme, but the ending is also enlightening, touching, and welcome.

#4: The Purge

Honestly, there’s only one reason for putting this review high on the list: the cameos of Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche, aka Pinky and the Brain. I mean, okay, the points he makes are excellent, the jokes are good, and the imitation of the Polite Leader is fantastic. But…darn it, give me Pinky and the Brain swearing at each other and apparently bringing world peace by splitting up!

#3: Casper

It’s hard to tell which is funnier, NC’s take on the Casper character (provided by the animation skills of Walker’s team as well as the voice-acting talents of Walker himself) or the ending where he chases Evil Casper into a GMX con and chaos ensues. The critique itself is well done, the reactions are typical of the Critic, and I do like the concluding thoughts on the movie. But let’s be really honest, the part we all love most is the interaction between Evil Casper and the Nostalgia Critic from beginning to end.

#2: Pearl Harbor

Never have I agreed more with the Critic than in his take on a movie so insulting on so many levels. If you’re wondering why so many people love to hate this movie (I know you’re out there), this review will set the record straight and explain exactly why Michael Bay’s attempt at recreating history deserves to be smashed to pieces. The review also has its funny moments, as usual, but the most memorable moment is when the Critic breaks character and delivers a rant straight to Bay about how upsetting the movie is—which only became more poignant when fans learned about Walker’s father being in the military. Of all the reviews I’ve mentioned in this countdown, this is the one I recommend the most…well, with the exception of one:

#1: Les Misérables

Reasons for giving this review the number one spot: It’s a musical review. It’s a crossover involving half of the other people involved in Channel Awesome. It’s a musical review. The comments and jokes are spot on. It’s a musical review. It has a variety of opinions that anyone can choose to agree or disagree with (excluding thoughts on Russell Crowe’s acting and singing). It’s a musical review. It’s a clever satire of the movie itself. Did I mention that it’s a musical review?

This review is not only a perfect demonstration of the Nostalgia Critic’s talents in comedy and evaluation, but it’s also a friendly reminder that people have different opinions. Walker is a believer in discussing and sharing different evaluations, but nowhere does that come out best than in his review of Les Mis. And that’s why it deserves the number one spot. Also, it’s a musical review, so that’s a big bonus.

Photo source: http://mugen.wikia.com/wiki/Nostalgia_Critic

Big Hero 6: Not Perfect, But Worth It

Disney is well known for recreating fairy tales in animated cinema. While it has a fair share of films that are either from scratch or based on other stories, Disney grew its roots in fairy tales since its first movie Snow White. So when they started releasing trailers of its new animated movie Big Hero 6, I met them with cautious optimism. On one hand, it’s coming from Disney & Pixar, which is also the creator of the Toy Story movies and Wreck-it Ralph. But on the other hand, the trailers didn’t say a lot about what kind of story Big Hero 6 would tell. They showed some clips of a kid who [secretly] has a cute robot and others of a group of kids dressed like superheroes flying around the city. And since we’ve seen a ton of stories involving superheroes and kids keeping secrets from their parents, I didn’t think this movie would be new or unique, or even have a lot that could be remembered at Oscar time.

But then I went to see it, and it proved me wrong. I’m back from the theater writing about the movie, and I still feel shocked by how good it was.

So here’s the story: Our main character is a teenage protégé named Hiro, who loves inventing and engineering. When he visits the science lab of a college that his older brother Tadashi attends, Hiro decides to apply. So he makes an invention that earns him an acceptance letter into the school. But on the night he makes it in, the building sets on fire and Tadashi dies while trying to save a professor. Through a few complicated—but well thought out—developments following Tadashi’s death, Hiro discovers that someone had stolen his invention and used the fire as a cover-up. Hoping to avenge his brother, Hiro decides to steal back his invention and bring the thief to justice. But he can’t do it on his own, so he enlists the help of Tadashi’s college friends (also engineering majors) and reprograms Tadashi’s robotic invention (called Baymax) to help save the city.

The best part of Big Hero 6 was, surprisingly, its psychological brilliance. The heart of the story isn’t a quirky robot or college kids going out to save the world. The heart of the story is dealing with the loss of a loved one. We’ve seen Disney touch on such an issue before in Lilo and Stitch and its adaptation of Bridge to Terabithia, but this is the first time we’ve seen them use an entire movie to talk about it. It could’ve easily been one of Disney’s cheesiest movies—and to an extent, it kind of is—but for the most part, they chose a very clever and very mature way of talking about it.

Sadly, no work of art is perfect, and Big Hero 6 was no exception to this. For one, there’s a flying sequence with Hiro and an updated Baymax that almost directly rips off of Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon. And though the story is well paced and well developed, it isn’t quite airtight. It has a few twists in the second act, one that works in favor of the movie, and another that works against it. And then there’s the setting, which is supposed to be a futuristic mix of San Francisco and Tokyo. Why? What’s the purpose?

Thankfully, Big Hero 6 has other likeable features that make up for the film’s flaws. The animation of the characters and the city is gorgeous, worthy of a Pixar film. The characters are memorable and hilarious in their own rights. And the movie’s sense of humor is not only good, but it also brings a perfect balance between happy and sad that the whole family can enjoy.

Overall, I’d say go watch it while it’s still in theaters. And then root for it at Oscar time. And then keep an eye out for the DVD release. As the title of this review indicates, it’s not perfect, but it’s worth it.

Final rating: 8/10

Photo source: http://screenrant.com/big-hero-6-trailer-disney-marvel/