Showing posts with label documentary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label documentary. Show all posts

Monday, November 25, 2019

Maiden (2018) Shows Courage Against All The Odds

Maiden documentary review
Rarely does history feel like its shifting when the status quo remains the same. Yet when we look on the past as a kaleidoscope of groundbreaking events in politics, entertainment, and sports, culture is transformed because a few ordinary people were called to forge their own path. A small moment creates a ripple effect that lasts for generations. Maiden tells the inspiring true story of Tracey Edwards and her bid to race the 1989–1990 Whitbread Round the World Race with an all-female crew for the first time.

Much more than a documentary, Maiden captures Edwards’s journey before she changed the competitive nature of sailing forever. As the crew’s cook Jo Gooding says, “If you believe in everything people tell you, you can't do, what would humankind have achieved?”. With captivating footage exploring the chapters of Edwards's life from childhood to adulthood, Maiden dives deep into the courage of the women who dared to do something different: not only be a woman stepping into a man’s world but compete the best that they could.

As much as the film is a documentary, it also works as a biopic, capturing the essence of someone's life and the challenges they faced to become who they are today. The trajectory of gates being closed to Edwards dates back to her childhood when her father passed away and her mother couldn’t take over his HIFI business. Like sailing, it was a male dominated field. Similar to the ocean, there’s a fire burning within her that made her not want to give up. After Edwards tried to make it on her own as a teenager with a clan of misfits, nomads, and dropouts all running away from something on the sea, the environment of skippers and father figures spurned her to go a step further: charter her own all-female crew and race with them.

The Whitbread Round the World Race maps out 33,000 miles from Southampton in South East England to Uruguay, and then Ft. Lauderdale in Florida. Divided into different courses, teams push each other and fight against mother nature to navigate the ocean for top prize. Sliced in between real footage of their journey are interviews with Edwards, her crew members, journalists, and male competitors who give you a full portrait of the hurdles to commandeer their own ship as spectators and critics placed bets they wouldn't survive the first leg.

The Maiden's trials are as big as its triumphs – when they first rally together to prepare, no company or brand steps up to sponsor them; while the male competitors are asked questions about their skills; the media looks for jealousy and catfights for the women; everyone thinks they won’t make it, and when crewmates have to literally be tied to the ship to avoid being thrown overboard as they battle massive waves, there is a genuine chance they might not survive one part of the race let alone the whole expedition. Their small victories also add up: finding the right sponsor who believe women can do anything, overcoming injuries and learning to work as a team. Through every step of the way as the Maiden races around the world, the voyage Edwards starts is far different physically, emotionally, and socially then when they finish.

Though she's not a fictional character drawn from a novel or comic book, the film is a wondrous character study of Edwards, her crew, and the state of the world for women both in 1989 and now. The calling for the Maiden team to have a natural freedom to do what they love grows into a subtle movement, one where they don't just want to participate; they want to make an impact and to be seen for more than the generic stereotypes of being a woman. Maiden sets out to become an example of what people can do when they work hard and aren't hold back by their gender or other societal stats. The film also sets a lasting impression that you don't know you're changing the world in the moment, but sometimes there's nothing else you can do except to trust your instincts and go further than anyone else has gone before.

Rating for Maiden: ★★★
Have you seen Maiden? What do you think?

Please Note: I was provided with a screener in order to watch this film. This is not a sponsored post. My opinion is my own. Maiden is currently available to watch on Amazon, Youtube, Netflix DVD, and GooglePlay.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Geek, And You Shall Find (2019) Celebrates the Power of Superheroes Within

Geek, And You Shall Find (2019)
Superhero Faces Productions / Geek, And You Shall Find
Superman. Spider-Man. Captain America. Wonder Woman. These are just a few super-heroic characters who have become beloved icons for children and adults alike. From the famous Hall H at San Diego Comic Con to breaking box office records, it’s almost impossible to believe the arduous and inspiring evolution of geekdom. And yet, fandom not only started with the humble origins of comic books, but has also catapulted the way in which we navigate our everyday lives and the world around us.

Geek, and You Shall Find explores the fascinating past and future of comic books. Its creators and their stories have made a lasting impression on generations of readers, but where did it all start? How do the stories we love reflect society and vice versa? What can we truly gain from admiring characters that wear masks, don capes, and try to save their fellow man? Superhero Faces Productions journeys into the depths of Marvel, Westeros, Star Wars, and more to understand the life-changing impact behind our galaxy's biggest fandoms.

Starting with The Great Depression and the initial creation of Superman, Geek, and You Shall Find uncovers the rich history of beloved larger-than-life characters becoming an antidote and answer to society's greatest ordeals: war, racism, class disparity, immigration, and gender inequality. In speaking with the late Stan Lee, George R.R. Martin, Roy Thomas, and Kevin Eastman, the documentary examines the rise and challenges the comic book revolution has overcome and still faces. From censorship to international conflicts, comic books have not only withstood the test of time but also influenced reality far more than we could ever consider. Beyond the breaking down the timeline of how comic book creators imagined the fictional heroes we revere today, the film also implements Joseph Campbell’s heroes journey and how it mirrors our lives in mythological terms.

Drawing strength from comic books is no different than seeing ourselves in religious, historical, or public figures. Despite the fantastical or science-fiction approach to reflect the best and worst traits humans possess, comic books aren't often recognized as 'real' entertainment. When examining political issues, expanding inclusion, and challenging the status quo, the genre's critics are often the first to protest that 'serious' issues don't belong in their fandom. Outside of connecting with the genre's 'godfathers', the documentary also features creators standing up for what they believe in, psychologists  using comic books to help patients deal with trauma, and fans reaching out to each other for support and camaraderie. The worlds escape with on-screen and on the page prove to inspire real activism, practice compassion, and break barriers with their personal views.

As a self-proclaimed geek, it’s difficult to not find one area of my life that isn’t influenced by movies, books, or shows. When we connect with superheroes, Jedis, hobbits or wizards on their adventures, we become a part of their story and vice versa. Their ability to face against greedy corporations, evil masterminds, and stand up after being knocked down gives us strength to handle our own setbacks and victories. By participating in fandom over the years, I've grown out of my introverted cave to express my love of pop culture to write, cosplay, and try to inspire others to be the best that they can be. Comic books re-affirm what I love about fandom is as true and meaningful as I think it is for myself and fellow geeks as well.

Geek, and You Shall Find celebrates the rich history of storytelling in general and profound lessons and transformation comic books has on humanity. Superhero Faces Productions creates a positive affirmation about our unique passion for storytelling, and also invites those who don’t believe in the power of geek culture to reconsider. Their work maintains a wonderful balance of personalizing fandom from its roots to its present day success. We might not literally have spiderwebs shooting out of our wrists or take it to the streets against caped villains. But when we geek out, we are embracing a part of our identities in a whole new way and reminds us to embrace the superhero within.
Rating for the film: ★★★
Have you seen Geek, and You Shall Find? What do you think?

Please Note: I was provided with a screener in exchange for an honest review. Geek, and You Shall Find is available to watch on Amazon, Vudu, YouTube, and Google Play.