The Hangman’s Daughter-Chapter 23

CHAPTER 23: THE CHAMBER

Thomas had been five years old when he had seen the blackbird. It had been summer, and the black haired child had been watching it singing on a fence. He had stood there, mesmerised, listening to it chant to itself for no other reason than that it was glad to be alive. Then he had seen, out of the corner of his eye, his father pick up a stone to kill the bird, so that they could eat it for breakfast. The child, not knowing any better, had cried out and the bird had taken to the air on shining, ebony wings.

After his father had given him a good few blows for his impudence, he had lain on the grass, nursing his swollen jaw, and dreaming about what it would be like to be able to fly, to follow the bird and never come back.

(more…)

So now what happens?

So. We’re finally here. The end of the canon Disney reviews. And a lot of people have been asking what will happen when we get here, so let me just answer the most common questions right off the bat.
Is this the end of Unshaved Mouse?
NO. I still love doing it, hopefully you still enjoy reading it so I see no reason to stop now.
Phew!
But…
“But”? “But”, what “but”?
Alright, so there’s something you all should know. Earlier this year I got pretty much the best news of my entire writing career and was commissioned by the Abbey Theatre to write a play for them.
Big deal
I’ve been working on the first draft for the last few months and it’s due to be handed in early 2015. Now, ideally, I want to keep updating Unshaved Mouse as regularly as I have before but I may occasionally have to take a break here and there to keep on top of this. Sorry. It’s a choice between doing something I love and doing something I love and actually getting paid for it, so…yeah.
What happened to you Mouse? You used to be cool.
I was never cool, shut your lying mouth.
Alright, so what’s next for Unshaved Mouse?
A lot, including some stuff I’m extremely excited about so listen up.
  1. A break. I’ve been doing the blog  almost nonstop for the last two years so I think this is a natural point to take a rest. I’m taking off October and November and there should be a new review up 03 December. Depending on how the play is going and Christmas, I’ll try to get a second review in some time in December and then by the new year I hope to be back at full speed.
  2. Finishing off the Joanna reviews. So many people donated to Joanna, that, amazingly, I still have enough reviews scheduled to last us into the middle of 2015. There’s a great mix of movies still to come, stop motion, animé, nostalgic fair and even a few episodes of cartoon shows. Once I’ve paid off all debts however, that’s when the next chapter of Unshaved Mouse really begins.
Just tell us what series of movies you’re doing next already!
Alright, here we go…
marvelstudiosbest__span
Yes, from around July 2015 onward I will be reviewing all the movies based on Marvel comics characters (hey, they’re owned by Disney, it’s a logical step). I’ll be reviewing the good, the bad, the awesome and the aborted pilots of seventies TV shows and may God have mercy on my soul. This will be the new “regular” series, like the canon Disney movies were before.
Okay, well, tootles!
What? Wait, where you going?!
I’m an animation fan Mouse, why would I stick around for a bunch of live action movies?
Well, for the quality of my writing and analysis…
Have a good life.
Stop! I will still be reviewing animated movies!
Does that mean you’re still going to be doing reader’s requests?
Glad you asked, mysterious person who only speaks in boldface. The answer to that is…kind of.
Don’t play coy with me, rodent.
Alright look, there’s no reason to drag taxonomic orders into this. The success of the funding drive for Joanna really got me thinking about how I could use that to…
Oh my God, you’re going to start making money off this, aren’t you?!
NO. I use a lot of copywritten material in this blog which is Fair Use as long as this is just a hobby I’m doing for my own entertainment and yours. Once I start using it to line my own pockets, it becomes a lot more ethically dubious. What am I’m talking about is using the blog to raise money for charity, so we can all do some good and hopefully have a lot of fun too.
Go on.
I am hereby announcing the Unshaved Mouse Charity Movie Deathmatch! I hope to raise money for a very worthwhile cause, Love Without Boundaries.
How does it work?
Step One Caption
If there’s a movie you’ve always wanted me to review, sound off in the comments below. As many as you like. As long as it’s either animated or based on a comic book it’s a contender. I’ll also accept live action Disney movies like Maleficent or Saving Mr Banks.
sTEP 2 CAPTION
I will select around twelve of those movies and over the course of a month, you the readers will vote on the movies you want me to review, with the top three getting the treatment. How do you vote?
Step 3 Caption
Democracy is overrated. Plutocracy is what all the cool kids are into these days! To vote, simply make a donation to Love Without Boundaries, email the receipt to unshavedmouse@gmail.com and tell me what movie gets your vote. You can donate as many times as you like (please do), and vote as many times as you like (please do).
Step 4 caption
We sit back and watch the carnage unfold as factions are formed, blood is spilt, the tension, the drama, who’s ahead, who’s behind and best of all it’s all for a great cause.
Step 5 caption
The winners get reviewed and you all get to complain that Secret of NIMH was robbed or whatever.
So who’s getting my money?
 
Love without Boundaries is an organisation that works to help children in Chinese orphanages, raising money for medical procedures, providing better food and education and helping to connect children with prospective foster families. It’s strictly volunteer (none of their workers collect a salary) and is rated four out of a possible four stars by Charity Navigator.
 
Seems like a great cause Mouse, but I’m broke.
You can still help out. For starters, let me know what movies you want to be in contention. If a movie gets plenty of nominations then I’ll know there’s a lot of interest for it. Second, please share this on the Face Book and the Twitters.
When do we begin?
Movie Deathmatch is going to run for all of February 2015. At the end of each week the I’ll announce the state of play and eliminate the two lowest scoring movies with the three winners being announced at the end.
Screw the wait, I want to help people NOW!
Here’s the link to Love Without Boundaries and be sure to hold onto your email receipt when February rolls around. And thank you.
 
You gonna review Big Hero Six?
 
Sigh. Yes. Once it comes out on DVD.
Mouse out.
NEXT UPDATE: 03 December 2014
NEXT TIME: Hmmm…how can I be sure you’ll all come back after such a long hiatus?
Do I have your attention?

Do I have your attention?

Polling, polling, polling, keep those doggies polling…

Okay everyone, the final(ish) ranking of every canon movie has now gone up HERE.

But, bafflingly, some people will insist on having opinions that differ from my own which is why I put up a poll asking readers of this blog to name their favourite canon movie and favourite Unshaved Mouse review. So without further ado, let’s talk to Katya who’s coming to us live from Sofia. Hello Katya!

"Hello Mouse! What a cool time we are having! Here is how the people voted."

“Hello Mouse! What a cool time we are having! Here is how the people voted.”

Dinosaur: 1 (Oh ha ha ha ha. Yeah. Funny guy. Thanks to you, this movie beat out Bolt, Princess and the Frog and Cinderella. I hope you can live with that on your conscience, you monster.)

Three Caballeros: 1

Peter Pan: 1

Lady and the Tramp: 1

101 Dalmatians: 1

Sword in the Stone: 1

The Black Cauldron 1:

The Rescuers: 1

Treasure Planet: 1

Atlantis The Lost Empire: 1

Snow White: 2

Rescuers Down Under: 2

Hercules: 2

Pinocchio: 3

Big Hero Six: 3 (Man, that is some effective marketing Disney.)

Robin Hood: 3

The Great Mouse Detective: 3

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: 3

Bambi: 4

Emperor’s New Groove: 4

Sleeping Beauty: 5

Alice In Wonderland: 6

Jungle Book: 8

Tangled: 8

Wreck It Ralph: 8

Mulan: 8

Tarzan: 8

Fantasia: 9

Lilo and Stitch: 11

Aladdin: 13

The Little Mermaid: 14

Frozen: 17

The Hunchback of Notre Dame: 31

Beauty and the Beast 39

Lion King: 40

"Lion King for the winner!"

“Lion King for the winner!”

Well  few surprises there, but a fairly inevitable result, wouldn’t you say Katya?

"Mouse? Someone is hammering on the door, I think the station is being......"

“Mouse? Someone is hammering on the door, I think the station is being……”

You’re right Katya, it’s hard to argue with a result like that. But what about their favourite review, can you tell us how the readers voted Katya?

"Da. The readers have voted to return to the Motherland."

“Da. The readers have voted to return to the Motherland.”

Ooooookay. Did they happen to mention anything about their favourite review?

"This voting process was both fair and transparent. Talk of irregularities is simply fascist propaganda."

“This voting process was both fair and transparent. Talk of irregularities is simply fascist propaganda.”

Akira: 1

Frozen: 1

Home on the Range: 1

Fantasia 2000: 1

Little Mermaid: 1

Robin Hood: 1

Aristocats: 1

Jungle Book: 1

Basil the Great Mouse Detective: 1

101 Dalmatians: 1

Lady and the Tramp: 1

Peter Pan: 1

Tarzan: 1

Brother Bear: 1

Princess Mononoke: 2

Lilo and Stitch: 2

An American Tail: 2

Mulan: 2

Emperor’s New Groove: 2

Batman Under the Red Hood: 2

Hunchback of Notre Dame: 3

Sword in the Stone: 3

Song of the South: 3

Lion King: 3

Beauty and the Beast: 3

Pocahontas: 4

Aladdin: 5

Black Cauldron: 5

Three Caballeros: 5

Foodfight!: 6

"Most popular review Foodfight, Black Cauldron and Three Caballeros. From this we know, readers like you to suffer."

“Most popular review Foodfight, Black Cauldron and Three Caballeros. From this we know, readers like you to suffer.”

Tell me something I don’t know. Thanks Katya.

"Soon I will crush you."

“Soon I will crush you.”

The Hangman’s Daughter- Chapter 22

CHAPTER 22: THE GREY STONE SKY

 

We will move past Thomas searching Groethuis’ body, gazing with a puzzled eye over the curious, dark room, full of plastics and strange smells and weird constructs that he does not have words to name. We will skip over him pushing open the heavy steel door and stumbling down the dark corridor with walls made of what feels like granite, his legs screaming blue murder as they fizzle with pins and needles. We will instead move ahead to Thomas reaching the door at the end of the corridor and finding that it opens not into a room but onto a balcony. And as he stands on this balcony he sees that he is in a great tower, and as far as the eye can see …

People.

Hundreds of the… Hundreds? No.

Thousands?

Millions?

(more…)

Your opinion matters! (Not as much as mine, but still!)

Hey guys.

So as you all know the Frozen review has just gone up, meaning that this two year long journey is very nearly at an end until a few months from now when Big Hero Six comes out, because I’ll be doing this until the day I die, let’s face it. Anyway, I’ll be posting up a big stonking rankings list where you can see exactly how each movie fared. This is how we have fun in the future, because the internet has turned us all mildly autistic. Anyway, for the big wrap up I want to hear from you. What is YOUR favourite Disney canon movie? Clicky doos below…

Also, you can vote for your favourite Unshaved Mouse review HERE (the poll is too big to fit in a blog post, sorry).

Frozen_(2013_film)_poster

Disney Review with the Unshaved Mouse #53: Frozen

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

"Come again?"

“Come again?”

""Well…I was wondering if you wanted to come over and destroy me? You know? Like old times?"

“Well…I was wondering if you wanted to come over and destroy me? You know? Like old times?”

"You…want me to destroy you?"

“You…want me to destroy you?”

"Yeah, you know. You trap me in some alternate universe and then I escape and…you know?"

“Yeah, you know. You trap me in some alternate universe and then I escape and…you know?”

"Mouse. What’s this all about?"

“Mouse. What’s this all about?”

"Oh. Well, see I’m supposed to be reviewing Frozen…"

“Oh. Well, see I’m supposed to be reviewing Frozen…”

"OH MY GOD SHUT UP YOU’RE AT FROZEN ALREADY?!"

“OH MY GOD SHUT UP YOU’RE AT FROZEN ALREADY?!”

"Yeah!"

“Yeah!”

"NO WAY!"

“NO WAY!”

“I know!”

“I know!”

"It seems like just yesterday that…"

“It seems like just yesterday that…”

"I know, right?"

“I know, right?”

"Well congratulations!"

“Well congratulations!”

"Thank you."

“Thank you.”

"No, seriously. I mean, you know. You stuck with it through to the end."

“No, seriously. I mean, you know. You stuck with it through to the end.”

“Well, you know, it was all for the fans…"

“Well, you know, it was all for the fans…”

"That’s just…go you."

“That’s just…go you.”

"See, the thing is, I think people are expecting some kind of big epic climax with all the plotlines of the last two years just being tied up neatly and I just thought that since you’re my arch-nemesis…"

“See, the thing is, I think people are expecting some kind of big epic climax with all the plotlines of the last two years just being tied up neatly and I just thought that since you’re my arch-nemesis…”

"I’m your arch-nemesis? Really?"

“I’m your arch-nemesis? Really?”

"Well yeah, I mean…amn’t I your arch-nemesis?"

“Well yeah, I mean…amn’t I your arch-nemesis?”

"Oh…of course you are. (Yikes)."

“Oh…of course you are. (Yikes).”

"So…you want to come over?"

“So…you want to come over?”

"You know Mouse, I’d love to but I don’t really have a lot of time what with this new job…hang on, call on the other line."

“You know Mouse, I’d love to but I don’t really have a lot of time what with this new job…hang on, call on the other line.”

"Okay."

“Okay.”

"Thank you for calling EA customer support, your call is important to us. Please hold. Sorry, where were we?"

“Thank you for calling EA customer support, your call is important to us. Please hold. Sorry, where were we?”

"The Frozen review."

“The Frozen review.”

"Right. Right. Listen, Mouse you’re overthinking this. Is this going to be the last review you do?"

“Right. Right. Listen, Mouse you’re overthinking this. Is this going to be the last review you do?”

"Well, no."

“Well, no.”

"Right. Then it’s not an ending. You don’t need a big climax. And besides, if you just try to cram in as many cameos and running jokes as you can it’s just going to turn into a massive circle jerk. Your readers just want to see you review a movie they love. Trust your instincts, do the best job you can and that’ll be enough."

“Right. Then it’s not an ending. You don’t need a big climax. And besides, if you just try to cram in as many cameos and running jokes as you can it’s just going to turn into a massive circle jerk. Your readers just want to see you review a movie they love. Trust your instincts, do the best job you can and that’ll be enough.”

"Wow. You're right. Thanks HK."

“Wow. You’re right. Thanks HK.”

"Think nothing of it. Soon I shall destroy you."

“Think nothing of it. Soon I shall destroy you.”

***
So.
Yeah.
What crushing burden of expectation?
Okay.
Alright.
Okay.
Wow.
Okay.

The Hangman’s Daughter-Chapter 21

CHAPTER 21: GROETHUIS AND THE GOLDEN SCORPION

 

He lay on the slab as still as a gutted fish. His arms were bound. Strong, wiry cords clasped him to the hard bed, and he could not stir an inch. There was no need for binding. He was broken, his bones shattered, his skin seared red. With every breath he took he saw himself in his mind’s eye, tiny and naked, climbing a great mountain of black razor rock. Everything burned. There was not a cell of skin or speck of bone, it seemed, that did not cry out in pain.

He lay in agony. And he waited.

At times he would drift asleep, and then he would be woken by voices. Two dark figures would stand over his bed and talk in whispered tones , like great black clouds growling thunder at each other.

A harsh white light, of a kind Thomas had never seen before, hung from the ceiling and blinded him so that he could not make out their faces, and was forced to listen.

The first voice was silky and vile, it’s tones clipped like rose buds, all wormy and sly and it made him shiver when he heard it.

The second voice was cold, hard and deep. The voice of a killer. He could tell that much. He could tell simply from the way his fingers tried to form fists when he heard it.

(more…)

The Hangman’s Daughter- Chapter 20

CHAPTER 20: KATHY

 

When she awoke, she was in bed.

Mariana’s perfume was still trailing in the air, and she could smell wisps of it on her clothes and sheets.

Mariana…

She wrestled with the idea of Mariana killing Virgil. Was that the right word?

On the one hand, she knew he deserved it. But then, that wasn’t the reason she had done it. And was it ever right to kill, even a monster like Virgil?

Even as her body ached for sleep her mind was flying, battering itself from one thought to another like a blind bird in a cave. She lay awake, thinking over everything that Virgil had said. To even try to rescue her father, it seemed, was suicide. The Nine Unknown Men would kill her without a qualm if she tried to alter history for her own ends, no matter how noble. In the darkness she gnashed her teeth in anger. It was so unfair. She spoke to herself silently:

I am Marie. I can travel back in time. I can slow time around me. And one day I’ll be able to move across oceans just by thinking it.

Wow. But, say if you wanted to save someone who you loved very much from dying, could you do that?

Well, no.

But, what if you knew that they were in Hell and the only way to save them was by going back in time and warning them, you could do it then surely?

Nope. Can’t. Rules.

Oh. Well, at least you won’t get old.

Um, well actually I will.

Oh. So this time travelling? Is it actually any use at all?

Well. No. No it isn’t.

Right so.

(more…)

Wreckitralphposter

Disney Reviews with the Unshaved Mouse #52: Wreck-It Ralph

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

 

Before we get into Wreck-It Ralph there’s something I want to say.
 
See this? This is Loki.
 
LokiAvengers_1314991333
 
He’s a lying, traitorous, sociopath who brought untold death and destruction on Earth and plotted on several occasions to murder his own foster brother and father.
 
The ladies of the internet love Loki. And you know what? I get that. He’s charming, he gets all the best lines, he’s got a tragic backstory and he loves his muddah. And he’s played by Tom Hiddleston, who’s a right bit of yum. Ladies of the internet? I get it.
 
See this? This is Turbo.
 
Turbotastic
Y’all are fuckin’ nuts.
 
***
 
I’ve mentioned before how Disney movies often take their sweet-ass time from conception to release (for example, the movie that eventually became Frozen was first conceived in 1937) and Wreck It Ralph is no exception. Disney first toyed with the idea of making a movie set in the world of video games (then titled High Score) all the way back in the 1980s, back when you could be forgiven for thinking that these new-fangled “video games” were just a passing fad that would soon be swept aside by the next big thing.
pogs

In hindsight, Disney dodged a bullet by not green-lighting POGS: The Movie.

 
“What?” I hear you cry (Mouse hears all) “Disney almost made a movie about video games thirty years ago.” Of course they did. This was eighties Disney. Desperate, starving, try-anything-to-seem-relevant Disney.
 
Make-a-pact-with-the-forces-of-pure-evil-for-a-chance-of-making-some-bank Disney Oh-God-what-were-they-thinking? Disney.

Make-a-pact-with-the-forces-of-pure-evil-for-a-chance-of-making-some-bank Disney
Oh-God-what-were-they-thinking? Disney. 

And frankly, I don’t think we missed out on anything. I’ve mentioned already how I feel that some movies in the canon were made in the wrong era. For example, I will eternally lament the fact that the Peter Pan we ended up with was the pastel-coloured, safe, stultifyingly conservative Restoration era movie we got and not the gorgeous, dark, wild, Tar and Sugar movie that might have been. Wreck-It Ralph is not one of those movies. Wreck-It Ralph is like a wizard. It was neither late, nor early. It arrived precisely when it needed to. Firstly there’s the animation. I’ve made my peace with the notion of CGI canon movies. They’re here to stay, they can be done very well and I just have to live with it. But while I would have loved to see a traditionally animated Frozen or Tangled I can’t say the same about Wreck-It Ralph. This movie needed to be in CGI because, duh, these are computer generated characters. A cel-animated Wreck-It Ralph would just feel wrong. But aside from that, the world of computer games is just such a deeper subject for exploration now than it was in the eighties. There is a culture and lore and mythos to be mined that just wasn’t there thirty years ago. The whole medium is a thousand times broader and more diverse, and in fact some of the very best stuff in this movie is seeing character from vastly different generations and genres of game reacting to each other.
But was the movie worth waiting thirty years for?
Yes. Yes it was. Let there be absolutely no mystery of suspense on that point.
But just for hoots and chuckles, let’s take a look at the film.
 

(more…)

A long overdue thank you.

So huge thanks to everyone who voted for Unshaved Mouse in the Blog Awards. Voting’s now closed and we came in a very respectable fourteenth place considering the very broad and strong field (Irish Blogging. Serious Bidniz).

Congratulations to the top ten winners, may your readers be loyal, your hits many and may death come swiftly to your trolls.

Thanks again guys, the support is hugely appreciated as always.

Mouse.