Anna Samson

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics


    Animated films and their live action remakes

    Disney has released a few live action remakes. Some well received, and others highly criticized. Aladdin (2019) and Cinderella (2015) were well received while The Lion King (2019) and Tarzan (2016) were not. The Lion King used highly realistic CGI but this resulted in less expressive characters which was then less impactful than the animated version. What was lost in media translation?
    Discuss the pros and cons of animation versus live action and discuss why animated movies struggle to be remade well as live action films.

    • To be accurate, animated movies do not "struggle" to be remade in live action. The Lion King is, for the most part, a technological marvel of getting human voices out of realistic-looking animals. As you pointed out, this realism sacrificed expressiveness in the animals' faces, which is one reason audiences didn't like the results. Perhaps the "struggle" is in making the new things interesting enough for audiences to consider them as good or better than the old, familiar 2D animated movies. – noahspud 1 month ago
    • I would argue that the remakes would be more well received if they did not have well-loved predecessors. Maybe nostalgia factor sets a higher bar for Disney to try and recreate the magic audiences felt from watching the films as children, which results in bad reception if they can't live up to that standard. – isobelarcher 4 weeks ago
    • Most of these live action remakes are extremely high-budget and well made, which begs the question of why they aren't as well received. I believe this is because audiences are not as interested in the idea of watching basically the same movie over again. They already found something to love-something that brings them nostolgia within the animated films. While the movies do tend to be well made, there's no doubt that there's a semblance of boredom within its primary audience. – brookecandelario 4 weeks ago
    • From my interpretation of Disney’s live action remakes, one of the key problems is that many of them are not fully utilising the live action medium to create films that are different from their animated counterparts. Of the live action remakes that I have watched, I think Cruella was one of the better movies because the costuming was a significant part of the story, and thus, justified why the film had to be made in live action rather than with animation. Many of the other live action films do not seem to utilise the elements of live action filmmaking that differ from animation, and in my view, are consequently not adding anything new to the stories. – UtopiaRocket 2 weeks ago

    Season length: from 22 to 12

    In the past it was common for TV series have seasons with 20 episodes. This has changed in the past decade or so. Now it is more common for shows to have 6-15 episodes. For example, The X-Files was a popular show in the 90s that had 9 seasons with 20 or more episodes each. When it was rebooted in 2016, the following two seasons had 6 and 10 episodes respectively. This shows the change in episode numbers according to the times.
    Discuss why this happened and what factors played a role, such as streaming, globalization, changing attention spans, busy lives, intended audiences, etc.
    Was this a change that occurred due to differing consumer needs or production needs? Was it due to the changes in how television and media is consumed?

    • Interesting observation, and I think it might be due to a number of the things you mention. For one, streaming allows people access to a plethora of series and movies, thereby potentially limiting their "attention span" for one series. In addition, since there are so many series being created, perhaps production needs are inadequate. – LibraryLass 2 months ago

    Original Fairy Tales and their Disney counterparts

    Disney played a large role in bringing fairy tales to a larger audience. To do so, they had to remove many horrific aspects, such as the stepsisters in Cinderella who cut off their toes and heels to fit into the glass slipper or how the princess is raped while unconscious in Sleeping Beauty.
    Compare more of the original fairy tales, which explored far more taboo and grotesque content and how Disney has altered them to be more child friendly and palatable. Discuss why this was done and how the purpose of fairy tales has evolved.

    • Many of the revisions suggested weren't acted upon. – Sunni Ago 2 months ago
    • Hi Sunni! I changed Grimms fairy tales to original fairy tales to accommodate all the origins. I also changed my questions to ask about why changes were made and how fairy tales have evolved over time and why. I specified who I was referring to and what I was asking. Is there anything else I can do to refine this topic? – Anna Samson 2 months ago
    • Maybe make the question: Discuss the purpose of this change and how it is tied into the evolution of fairytales. Or something like that: same question but could be worded differently. – Montayj79 2 months ago
    • Might be some old interviews with good old Walt himself to help narrow down this idea a bit. – alliegardenia 2 months ago
    • I think you could talk a bit more about the fairy tales that aren't commonly known to the public! – Sangnat 2 months ago
    • This was a topic I was heavily interested in a few years ago. Children's literature and fairy tales is rooted in violence and weird sexual inuendos. They're more cautionary tales but if you're looking at the "Disneyfication" process, I believe there was an article called "Breaking the Disney Spell" by Jack Zipes. It demystifies Walt Disney a bit (not really in a good way) and will spill some of those trade secrets of marketing gruesome fairy tales for a modern child audience. – iresendiz 2 months ago

    Netflix to release episodes weekly

    Netflix made binge watching a household phenomenon. In fact, it was one of their biggest selling points.

    But now they are going to release episodes weekly instead of releasing entire seasons at once. Why is television reverting back to cable formats? What are the possible cons of binge watching culture and is it sustainable? Is Netflix following HBO Max’s success in weekly releases? Is binge watching conducive to long term streaming revenue?
    Additionally, how do weekly releases impact viewers differently than entire seasons being released at once?

    • Besides all the topics on binge watching that we have, I forgot to mention that we also have at least one published article focused on this specific phenomenon. It may be a good idea to look into it to make sure one is not repeating ideas that have already been explored. – T. Palomino 3 months ago
    • Binge-watching, as an extreme, can cause some health issues; one being a long period of constant physical inactivity. However, companies replicating the successes of other companies is pretty common. That phenomenon is seen in the addition of "stories" to many social media platforms, or the simplification of company logos. – lorem1psum 3 months ago
    • There are many video essays on Youtube talking about the downfall of Netflix and the binge watch format definitely contributed to it. If all your fans are watching things that take at least a year to produce in a few days, you need to constantly pump out new content which will be of lesser quality. – sabrinaellis 2 months ago

    How does misogynoir affect casting choice?

    Leah Jeffries was recently cast as Annabeth in the upcoming Percy Jackson series on Disney . Rick Riordan, author of the book series it is based on, approves and endorses Jeffries as embodying the characteristics of Annabeth as he wrote her. Jeffries is a young Black actress and her casting was met with a lot of racist backlash.
    Similarly, a few years ago Halle Bailey (also a young Black woman) was cast as Ariel in the live action The Little Mermaid. Her casting was also met with racist backlash.
    Discuss the role misogynoir plays in casting choices and why it is important to cast Black women for characters that are not racially or ethnically specific.

    • Something also worth noting is some of the more levelheaded critics did not care about the race of the actors/actress. They questioned if these individuals being chosen for these roles was only because of their race. As many of these studios made a big deal about the race of the actor's, when many felt their ability to act should be the primary factor in them getting the role. Many accused Disney of Tokenism. I think that is a worthwhile angle to explore as well. We can also see something similar with the fans suggesting Micheal B Jordan play superman. While you naturally have those who hate the idea and make racist remarks online. You can also see some fans question why no one is suggesting Micheal B Jordan doesn't get cast as Icon, a black super hero who has yet to get a feature film or solo T.V series. – Blackcat130 7 months ago
    • The thing that occurs to me about this is that there is a need to draw a distinction between people complaining about having Black actresses in particular roles, and people complaining about those who complain about having Black actresses in those roles. This is particularly important in the internet age because anything can receive attention it doesn't deserve as long as it can be packaged as "clickbait." If a tiny minority of less than 100 people is complaining about a Black actress in a given role, but then millions of people broadcast the views of this tiny minority in order to tear them down or make fun of them, then it will look like Black actresses get a lot more hatred than they actually do. – Debs 7 months ago
    • Refer to examples throughout Hollywood’s history to bolster your argument. (Sorry I tried to update the topic but it posted before I could) – Anna Samson 7 months ago

    How technology has changed romantic movie tropes

    Consider the role of technology in romantic relationships. For example, how many relationships begin on Tinder and other dating sites. Or how people can meet on social media and get into relationships. How are these things shown in film?
    Think of old tropes such as a man waiting 3 days to call a woman after a date. How does that impact audiences to watch these tropes today? For example, with this trope, how would contemporary audiences feel watching “He’s Just Not That Into You” (2009)? If it were remade today, what would be done differently?

    • I think the larger scope would actually be looking at the way in which romance is made, although meeting at a bar and at a workplace are still common, the uptake of romantic and sexual apps highlights the way in which "love" has changed. What I find interesting about the use of many of these match up tools, websites and apps is that they have fulfilled a role once held by friends and family. I think this would be a fun topic to explore and especially to do a little comparison of how love matches are made in film and television today and compare it to those from pre-2000s. – Sarai Mannolini-Winwood 11 months ago
    • Dating 'rules' and romance tropes are different from each other, and it would be worth making the distinction clear in the article. In books and scripts there is a thing called 'beat sheets' which have major events that are expected to occur in a certain genre. I recommend looking up 'romance beat sheets' for this article. Youtubers Jenna Moreci and Alexa Donne have some great material on romance tropes vs beat sheets. I personally don't think technology has changed romance tropes too much. Not everything can happen over messenger/text, though some does. Before this would have just happened over the phone, email or (gasp) letters. – Jordan 11 months ago
    • Maybe consider writing about "meet cutes" and the impact technology has had on them. – derBruderspielt 9 months ago

    YA Books vs Their Movie Adaptations

    Is it worthwhile to adapt YA books into TV or film? What determines if it is done well? Is it wise to change a lot when carrying over to a different medium? Compare popular examples like the Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, etc.

    • This is a bit of a loose topic, but could then be left open to the person who selects it. There are a few interesting approaches that could be looked at here. Obviously there is always the element of debate around adaptations of any book to film, what to keep, what to change etc. and with this the value in such changes and the complexity of allowing the new version to speak for itself. However, when considering YA specifically this is interesting as it has become a financially viable field, and as always where there is money there is usually an agenda. What I find interesting is the wealth of "queer" and non-binary YA that is present in today's marketplace but have much more limited discussions about their application to the big screen. Is YA being used to perpetrate socialised stereotypes in a repressive manner? Another discussion is often scope, most YA are serialised (again that is where the money is), how do you successfully guarantee the transition to film will ensure the full series is made, some are very successful such as HP and HG, but others such as Vampire Academy struggled to make a mark in an over saturated marketplace. Finally, there is also the question of canon - if significant changes are made, characterwise and narrative, how does this impact the canon of an ongoing series and the fan experience, especially when considering much YA has a huge fanfiction following that values their own interpretations - so is that a can not worth opening? Indeed the fascination with YA is an interesting development rather specific to this century. – Sarai Mannolini-Winwood 11 months ago
    • I think it can be worthwhile, but I think screenwriters and directors need to be careful with their adaptations. I personally think multi-episode show adaptations (like Shadow and Bone) work better than individual movies because movies often cut out crucial scenes in order to fit within the 2-hour limit, whereas shows can work with at least 7-8 hours of content. – isabeldwrites 7 months ago

    How Does Disney Owning Star Wars Affect The Series?

    Disney recently bought the rights to Star Wars. Discuss how that impacts the series? Does it limit them in any way? Does it have a positive or negative effect? For instance, it has given fans new favourite characters like Grogu from “The Mandalorian”, but also “The Rise of Skywalker” and the romance between Rey and Kylo which received mixed reviews. Explore Disney’s role and impact on the success and popularity of the beloved Star Wars world and characters. Discuss upcoming projects such as the Ashoka series, Obi-Wan series, Andor, Lando, and more.

    • One major discussion point should be the amount of content being put out during the Disney Era. From 2015 to 2019, 5 Star Wars films were released compared to 3 films in 6 years for the two previous trilogies. Multiple streaming/televisions shows have been production/filming at the same time since the pause in making films. The level of film and streaming content has expanded beyond anything previously seen. – Sean Gadus 11 months ago
    • My thought for the early Disney/Lucasfilm era, is that the companies tried to treat the Star Wars brand like Marvel/MCU by putting out movies annually and it did not turn out great critically, and made the films feel like much less of "an event" compared to the previous two trilogies. – Sean Gadus 11 months ago
    • The animated content during the Disney era has been excellent (Star Wars Rebels, The Final Season of The Clone Wars, and The Bad Batch). – Sean Gadus 11 months ago
    • For the person who writes this I think it would be worth looking at actors or writers who used to work for Disney, who have left, and what their views are. – Jordan 11 months ago

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