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In 2001 during the year of the first released issue of W.I.T.C.H., I was a 12 year old girl still in the sixth grade and drawing anime style characters, such as Sailor Moon, terribly (I am self-taught in free-hand drawing and I have never took a drawing class). I didn't know of its existence until I saw a commercial about a new animated series called W.I.T.C.H. on the Jetix channel. At the time I didn't pay much attention to it because I was into "Digimon" ( and still am!). A few months later when it was mid-way through the airing of the first season, I got bored enough to watch an episode. At first, I thought that it was interesting and okay, but I wasn't entire hooked yet. A few weeks later after watching my first W.I.T.C.H. episode on television, my family took me and my younger brother to the nearby bookstore. There, I saw the American (slightly censored) version of the original comic series. At first, I thought that it was one of those silly comic adaptation from the animated series and didn't realized that it was actually the other way around until I did some research. I sat there in the bookstore reading the very first 6 issues compacted into 3 books and immediately saw how much of big difference it is from the animated series. I started to watch more episodes of the series, including the ones that I missed and I started to do some more research on its history. By then, I was officially hooked. I fell in love with its unique ways of story-telling and artistic style and I felt that there was a certain charm to it that I have never felt before.
After waiting months on end for the American released, I got impatient and went online instead. To my luck, I was able to find a gold mine of comic scans online and began to read those instead. After years of reading WITCH, I also began to notice the difference as it transitioned itself from one saga to the next. I noticed the changes in the art styles, then the story-telling, then the entire thing which, I admittedly think, is now crap (the changes, not the entire WITCH universe). What was once a magical experience, I find WITCH now somewhat tasteless and a shell of its former glory. There were some issues that I still think was good, while others were so terrible and childish that it makes me preferred its rival, Winx Club, more than itself (Yes, it's that bad). I am now very disappointed that WITCH isn't as great as it used to be, and I find myself criticizing some of its new issues even more. Some people might ask me, "If you don't like it, then why bother continuing to read it?" My only answer is because I can't find myself to hate it entirely. W.I.T.C.H. has been around for a while and I fell in love with it as a teenager. Although I do find that it lost most of its magical touch, there are still some moments which I thought was wonderful enough for me to continue reading.
After ten years, W.I.T.C.H. has changed greatly, but personally, I still find that it still has that certain amount of charm that I just couldn't discard easily. W.I.T.C.H. comics has been a great inspiration to me in more ways than one, and to this day I am grateful to it. After drawing countless works, I finally made a small switch to WITCH art style. Although not best at first (as I'm still learning) I suddenly find myself drawing my own W.I.T.C.H. fanart calendar series, started my very first fan-comic side story of C.H.Y.K.N. (WITCH's predecessors), and now I'm slowly developing my new idea for a full blown WITCH fan-saga (called WITCH: Dreams of Lusteria)!
Name: Galistar07water (or just galistar) Role: Guardian of Arts Age: 26 Race: Human Gender: Female Ethnicity: Vietnamese Religion: Buddhist Location: Southern California Occupation: Assistant tutor/Tutor in English and history Hobbies: Read, Write, Draw, and Study films Favorite Films: The Godfather, Inception, Titanic, The Lord of the Ring films, Beauty and the Beast, and many more... Favorite Books: A lot, too much to list What I hate: the Twilight series and M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender Favorite Comic series: Disney's W.i.t.c.h. duh!
Current Residence: Southern California, United States of America Favorite music artists Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, Adele, etc Favorite genre of music: A lot of types, okay? Favorite style of art: Too many to list MP3 player of choice: Walkman (I don't like iPods) Favorite cartoon character: I have too many to list Personal Quote: If an artist's inspiration lacks uniqueness, then his work shall lack rareness.
Favorite visual artistUm...the crew who drew W.I.T.C.H. comic series!Favorite moviesInception, Batman: The Dark Knight, and a bunch of others that I won't bother to listFavorite TV showsAvatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, W.I.T.C.H., Winx Club, H2O: Just Add Water, Mako Mermaids, Code LyokoFavorite bands / musical artistsToo many to listFavorite writersJ.K. Rowling, James Moloney, Cornelia Funke, Alyson Noel, Mary Hoffman, Alison Croggon, and more...Favorite gamesAge of Mythology for PCOther InterestsDraw, Read, study films
After seeing what a disappointment Maleficent was, I was unsure of how they would do Cinderella. Needless to say, it was more magical and honestly better than Sleeping Beauty's other side of the story. As the newest in the line of Disney's fairy-tale live action adaptation, Cinderella is a classic fairy tale film filled with stylish 19th century romance, gorgeous and dazzling dresses, and special effects. It's clear on its attempt in being much closer to its 1950's animated version than Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent ever did.
There's no darker theme like they did in last year's Into the Woods, or any girl-empowering messages like they did in Frozen. (You might want to hurry up at the concession stand to watch the Frozen Fever short that plays before the start of this film.) Instead of changing things up too much like they did with Maleficent, director Kenneth Branagh and screenwriter Aline McKenna and Chris Weitz decided to chose the safer route and go for the more familiar fairy tale with the pumpkin and the glass slippers that we're familiar with when Walt Disney produced said 1950 animated movie... Only difference? There are some slight changes and add-on bonus bits, but not too much to alter it drastically. Instead of Cinderella and Prince Charming falling in love after their very first meeting at the ball, our two love birds are given a little bit more time to get acquainted: the young Prince "Kit" (Richard Madden) ran into Cinderella (Lily James) while hunting one day. He introduced himself as an "apprentice" of a sort who's working at the palace and is very intrigued in the mysterious girl's messages on "having courage and being kind" as well as "just because of what's done doesn't mean that it should be done". She may be a simple country girl, but her messages cuts him deep like glass and soon, the prince can't stop thinking about her (or vice versa).
Hoping to see her again, the prince orchestrated a grand ball, inviting all of the ladies in his small kingdom so that she might show up. With his father, the king (Derek Jacobi), so deathly ill, the prince will have to marry a princess in hopes of making their tiny fictional kingdom more strong, according to the Grand Duke (Stellan Skarsgård), that is. I feel like this little extra plot point should have gone deeper and depicted more sinister. Even when we saw the Grand Duck conspiring with the step-mother did it still feel a little bit too tamed for my liking. There is such as thing as playing too safe when it comes to scriptwriting.
The rest of the story, we all know: Cinderella is the orphan girl whose being mistreated as the servant by her wicked step-mother, Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett) and idiot step-sisters, Drizella (Sophie McShera) and Anastasia (Holliday Grainger). She started off as Ella and later earns her "Cinderella" nick-name after sleeping by the hearth cinder ashes for warmth on cold nights. Despite losing her parents and having three slave-drivers as her relatives, Cinderella continued to be as patient and level headed as possible. She sings, she daydreams, and she can talk to animals. When she can't go to the ball to meet her new friend Kit (whom she doesn't know is the Prince), she is helped by her fairy-godmother (Helena Bonham-Carter). As the more alluring version the fairy-godmother, Bonham-Carter's character magically wiped up some coachmen, horses, a driver, a gilded-pumpkin carriage, and a gorgeously dazzling blue dress for the poor girl, complete with glass slippers (courtesy of the world-famous Swarovski crystal and glass company). As usual, the spell will end when the clock strikes twelve at midnight, resulting in Cinderella rushing home and losing a slipper in the process.
Although we all know how this story is going to play out and how it will end, we can't help but be in awe of all of its splendors and visual beauty. Everything from the ball gowns to the make-ups and to the film background setting is gorgeous to look at. Everything else is sadly as transparent as Cinderella's glass slippers. Yes, this Cinderella film does seemed empty, especially for the adults in the audience. I like the idea of the Grand Duke and the step-mother conspiring together, but it feels little too benign to make any real difference. Yes, I did wanted to see more wickedness in this little plot, but the more I think about, I think there is a reason why this film is what it is. These days, I realized that a lot of children aren't familiar with the old Disney classics that we grew up with (seriously, one of my students has never heard of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, let alone Little Red Riding Hood or Cinderella!), so this Cinderella is a chance for Disney to introduce them to the classic while satisfying us older generations. More importantly, the director and screenwriters did try to improve the characters' development. Cinderella was a lot more plain and boring in Walt Disney's 1950 version. Here, she and her prince have a little bit more time to fall in love than in the animated film. The step-mother, Lady Tremaine, isn't all black and white in the department of evilness: like Cinderella, she was once beautiful and had a happily ever after and only became jealous of her because she realized that she had just lost her happiness twice when both of her husbands died. Despite the wicked path she now treads on, Cate Blanchett shines the most by carrying herself with grace and class. You can tell that Blanchett relished her role as the villain and her performance is deliciously delightful to watch.
Others playing their roles were wonderfully chosen. Lily James gave Cinderella more life and personality and shows us that she's a capable woman; Richard Madden from Game of Thrones, isn't that mute, empty, and plain-boring Prince Charming in the animated series. Rather, he's a handsome and humbled prince. And the ditzy fairy-godmother can only be portrayed by the Helena Bonham-Carter. And the two bumbling idiot step-sisters? Like their fellow actors, they were comically and wonderfully portrayed by Grainger and and McShera. Unlike the three fairies in Maleficent, these two step-sisters have every right to be klutzy idiots. With them, it feels right, but with said three fairies in Maleficent, it's unbearable.
Despite some lacking aspect of this film, Cinderella is still a very magical film that feels very sincere. There are signs of real effort and compassion put into this and I think it's very brave and kind of Branagh and his crew to give us a film as charming and wonderful as this. Out of all the animated Disney classics adapted into live action, Cinderella is the best one yet. Let's hope that Disney will continue this streak in the upcoming Beauty and the Beast next year in 2016. (Don't mess this one up, Disney! It's my most favorite fairy tale!)