RapunzelThis week’s Danger Gal Friday profiles Rapunzel as voiced by Mandy Moore in the new movie TANGLED. Yeah, you heard right. A Disney princess has joined the Danger Gal ranks. How is this possible? Well, she pulls a pretty mean punch with a frying pan, gets herself out of her damn tower (thank you very much), and convinces a gnarly bunch of thieves to follow their dreams.

Before I go any further I have to get one thing out of the way: Curse you Disney for making me cry! Twice! I can’t even tell you when in the story it happened without spilling major spoilers. Just be warned to bring a box of tissues if you’re a sucker for love stories. At least I know I’m not the only one.

Rapunzel and FlynnLauren Passell at Culture Blues hits this square on the, um, head. I guess she’s been taking lessons from Rapunzel:

Let’s not knock Rapunzel– I think she’s pretty kick-ass. When Flynn climbs into her tower (because he’s an idiot, it was totally accidental), she captures him with her hair and hits him in the face with a frying pan. She then smartly negotiates with him to get her way. The movie may focus on a male protagonist (as if Aladdin didn’t), but Rapunzel isn’t some idiot slapping a tambourine on her hips in the background. In fact, I’m going to argue with Slate. The movie isn’t just about Flynn, and it doesn’t just center on boys. Shouldnt the pro-girl power people be applauding Rapunzel? Come on, ladies. We can’t get ahead in this man-centric world if we don’t support each other. Anyway, would any of you challenge her to an ass-whooping contest? That hair is sick.

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Suckerpunch movie poster

Close your eyes. Open your mind. You will be unprepared.

“Sucker Punch” is an epic action fantasy that takes us into the vivid imagination of a young girl whose dream world provides the ultimate escape from her darker reality. Unrestrained by the boundaries of time and place, she is free to go where her mind takes her, and her incredible adventures blur the lines between what’s real and what is imaginary.

She has been locked away against her will, but Babydoll (Emily Browning) has not lost her will to survive. Determined to fight for her freedom, she urges four other young girls…

This looks very cool even despite a few details that bug me, the main one being that the institution is also a brothel. I’m not only tired of the sexual slavery trope applied to heroines of all kinds, but I also think it trivializes the real crime. However, none of the summaries I found specifically mentioned a brothel. In fact, here is how artist Alex Pardee describes it:

Set in the 1950s, SuckerPunch follows Babydoll (Emily Browning) who is confined to a mental institution by her stepfather, who intends to have her lobotomized in five days. While there, she imagines an alternative reality to hide her from the pain, and in that world, she begins planning her escape, needing to steal five objects to help get her out before she is deflowered by a vile man.

Regardless, at least the women in this story are trying to take control of their lives — even if they do it wearing Sailor Moon outfits. And there are katanas. And mecha suits. Did I mention there were katanas?

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Echo DollhouseThis week’s Danger Gal Friday post profiles Echo from the Joss Whedon series Dollhouse and portrayed by Eliza Dushku.

Dollhouse was centered on the theme of identity and played with the roles we take on ourselves and the ones society enforces on us. “Dolls,” those agents of the “Dollhouse,” a secret corporation whose “actives” have had their real memories removed and numerous other identities implanted depending on the role the client wants for them. Between jobs their memories are wiped clean. Echo, however, is starting to remember bits and pieces from each download.

Throughout the course of this short-lived series Echo played everything from blind religious cult member to bodyguard to backup singer and discovers pieces of her original personality: Caroline. In the end, Echo integrates Caroline into her other personalities to become an amalgam of all the women she’s portrayed. In this new persona, Echo rallies the other actives and a few who ran the Dollhouse to stop the corporation from taking over the world.

Other Articles on Echo:

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Be sure to check out my review of Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s military science fiction novel ALL YOU NEED IS KILL. From the review:

All You Need Is Kill

ALL YOU NEED IS KILL is the story of green recruit Keiji Kiriya fighting an epic battle against aliens called the Gitai determined to terraform Earth for themselves, even if that means turning it into a wasteland for its current inhabitants. To save the planet, Keiji must figure out the secrets of the Mimics, but first he encounters the legendary Full Metal Bitch — a woman with a crimson mecha “Jacket” named Rita Vrataski. Humans have outfitted themselves with “Jackets,” mecha suits equipped with numerous weapons onboard, none of which have much impact on the aliens. Nicknamed “Mimics” because they mimic the appearance of the first creature they came in contact with — starfish — the Gitai stand about four feet tall, possess multiple limbs, a hard exoskeleton, and shoot razor-sharp “javelins” from their bodies in battle.

Only one soldier has made a difference against the Mimics, taking out about half of all the Mimic kills humans have made overall. They call her the Angel of Death, Valkyrie Incarnate, or Mad Wargarita and the “two-metre-long behemoth” of a battle axe she’s attached to her Jacket instead of a regulation pile driver makes all the difference. Stuck in an unexplainable time-loop, Keiji gives in to his fate and decides to become a warrior to rival Rita. After all, he has all the time in the world. On his 158th iteration, Keiji receives a message from Rita with the key to his escape and the secret of defeating the Mimics.

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