Friday, November 19, 2010

Escape to the Movies: "Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part 1"

"Intermission" finishes off the discussion from last week.


Rarer Monsters said...

Bob, as to your intermission some of these suggestions are probably making Laura Mulvey cry somewhere. I'm sorry, but Barbie? The ur-symbol of sexism and unrealistic demands on women? Even if it succeeds I'd be really bummed out if the "girls" properties continued to become more demeaning to women than "Disney Princesses" already are.

As a side note, Wonder Woman is not a feminist symbol, she's a male BDSM fantasy parading around in a swimsuit... and no amount of hastily post-crisis retconned in attempts to make her a strong independent woman can change that as long as she's still the same busty woman in a swimsuit getting arousingly tied up by baddies. Same goes for pretty much any comic book heroine who's ever had a chance to be drawn and written for by male comic book writers.

Here's the problem with nostalgia properties targetting women: nostalgia is recalling the past when images of women were much worse.

Willingdruid said...

You just compered Harry Potter to Ingmar Bergman...

I am disappoint.

Bob said...


With respect, I reccomend you read up on William Moulton Marston and the myriad theories and concepts he put into creating Wonder Woman.

Yes, there's a pronounced element of fetish/bondage culture in her makeup; and ample evidence suggests that Marston was to some degree involved in that lifestyle himself (he, his wife and their mutual female lover were also polyamorists.) But I hardly see how any of that precludes his creation from being a feminist symbol (the idea that being "sexually-forward" is somehow ANTI-empowering is thoroughly modern nonsense) or him from being a feminist - he most certainly WAS one.

In fact, Marston (a Harvard PhD psychologist) was a feminist before the word was even widely used. Hell, even TODAY he'd be called a "radical" feminist, and he did his writing/lecturing on the subject in the 20s! He believed that, anthropologically, women were the superior gender and that they would ultimately come to rule the world (which he thought was a good thing) when the work-reducing inventions of the modern age "freed" them from the bondage of domestic duty.

He intended Wonder Woman to be a "model" of this New Woman - both for young women to emulate and for young men to "get used to" - with her "persona" based on his wife (a "career woman" AFTER having had children in an era when that as scandalous) and her image based on their partner. He even concieved her origin story as a feminist deconstruction and revision of the myth of Hercules conquering the Amazons (WW's mom overthrew Hercules and reclaimed Amazonian society as an all-female utopia.)

If anything, the various revamps and post-crisis reworkings of the character (especially this mess Starcynzski is carrying out) have consistently served to make her LESS of a feminist icon; gradually stripping away her identity, her purpose and even "softening" her origin, along with blunting all of the implications of lesbianism and radical gender-politics.

Christopher said...

Glad I could leave that one to you. When I read his post I was ready to go off on a rant and probably make an ass of myself.

Seriously, Wonder Woman is awesome. Easily one of the most pro-female empowerment characters I get to enjoy regularly. (not now exactly, what with the whole JMS thing...)

Q said...


You've mention this before but, did a Harry Potter fan really think that Harry Potter was original?

Now, being incredibly young (seriously you guys would be surprised by how young I actually am) I am an avid Potter fan but, even when I first read the books I knew they weren't original. The point of the series was never that it was original, the point was (and yes, I'm being very pretentious here) that it was a modern, non-smarmy, non-ironic deconstruction of fantasy archetypes, helped by a diverse and highly detailed supporting cast all to create a world that was actually inviting in a way that Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory was to the generation before us. It's a world you wouldn't mind exploring and the blank slate that is Harry acts almost as a tour guide. And their so much subtext to the novels that they always invite a second reading just you missed a hidden gag or message. It also help that Rowling writing style while being rather unrefined is still kind of humorous (in a way, now that I'm older, I only find while reading Dickens).

But then again, maybe I'm looking too far into this.

dkh said...

Hey Bob, here's a quote from Michael Bay for you.

“Why did I cut the stunt, because the building wanted a $40,000 location fee. I told my producer we are not paying that - Why? Because I like to stay on budget, and I also don't like to get ripped off. So there's the truth."

He doesn't like getting ripped off? Looks like you two share something in common ;)

Q said...

Nothing, really?

Oh, come on, I just reared my geeky naive soul out on someone else's blog for no good reason. I was expecting some sort of posh scoffing or at least some minor trolling explaining to me that I should've never mention Rowling and Dickens in the same sentence or something.

Guess you guys aren't as cool as I thought you were.

Sophie said...

Hey guys
I don´t know if I should laugh with good humor ... or be irritated at you mostly making this about ONE wonder woman picture..though yes, I probably at one point now WILL read up on William Moulton Marston (thank you Bob) at some point now that the notion is planted in my brain... okay, I am also someone who read all the books, watched all the movies with her grandma (plus watchting part I of the end IS kind of big here among exchange students like me)... I like Harry was the thing of my time, one of the few things of my time I actually did understand and share with my generation. So I am one of MovieBobs "people have already decided about watching it" targets. He could have said it sucked, I woudl have watched it anyway. But I am glad, he said it doesn´t. 90% of the cases I actually agree with him. So far, from the trailer, the cinematography looks great (remember, how there was this bright part I and how like moviebob correctly stated the Potteverse is winding down towards its end?). And it was about time, when I watched the first movie with the books not even being done I was mildly concerned that Radcliffe and company might out-age their parts (hey and Dumbledore kind of did already die prior to the last movie, right?)... So I am excited about the movie... and let´s see what kind of stuff I´ll get to read thanks to William Moulton Marston. Thanks.

KevinCV said...

Q, you hit the nail on the head as to why I love the Harry Potter series so much as well. I'm definitely all for taking established genre conventions and deconstructing them, while at the same time relishing in being part of that same genre as well. As long as it's done with intelligence and wit, I think a lot of the best material comes out of doing that.

Another example I can think of that does something like that is the cult classic TV show "Farscape". It did something similar with sci-fi tropes and such, while at the same time it's very much enjoying and almost self-aware that it's a sci-fi show as well. It was almost self-deprecating, in a way. Plus, all those awesome aliens created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop were icing on the cake. :)

Anonymous said...


Your analysis of the Harry Potter series seems sound, and perhaps it's true. Actually, now that I think about it, you're right, it offered a new spin on established concepts, allegories, archetypes, etc.

I don't really see where you're going with this, though....what's your point?

By the way, unrelated, but I saw the latest movie Friday night and it was spectacular.

Tyler said...

Hey Bob, on something completely unrelated, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the 2009 movie "Carriers".

Kyle said...

Wow, the Oscar nod. You heard it here first folks.

I just got back from the movie. I was not ready for the slow pace, but I totally get what you're saying.

Q said...

Wow, I must be really paranoid. Ever since I posted that comment I've checking back here every few hours ready to...I don't know, defend my position. I guess I'm use to believing that you shouldn't admit liking things on the internet.

Anyway--right my point--well, I guess I always kind of had this weird conflict with Bob's opinion about the Harry Potter series. There is definitely a reserve whenever he mentions it as if he does have an objection to it but doesn't think its fair game to comment on in case Potter fans attack him on it. And the last thing Bob wants to do is to get into an argument with ten year old. Maybe, I don't know?

Jonnyp555 said...

I can't believe everyone got all excited about Hermione going topless with Harry. What exactly was topless about her? Her neck?

Nick said...

I can't wait to hear Bob's opinion on the just-confirmed Buffy reboot...