Sunday, 27 May 2018

Top 15 Green People In Movies


Is there a tide of change for green representation in Hollywood? Is the end of the greensploitation era in sight? Here are fifteen green role models who are challenging perceptions of green identity.

In putting this list together I have been mindful of the need to avoid green misappropriation. Green Arrow, for instance, is disqualified as not actually green, while Anastasia Steele is only metaphorically green. I have however erred on the side of including non-human characters provided they are sufficiently anthropomorphised.



So, without further ado, here are the top 15 green roles in cinema. Let's take a moment to reflect on how far we've come and what each of these portrayals means for those of the green persuasion.

15. CHICK HICKS (Cars)
The first of many villains or antagonists to appear on this list. There's no reason that a green villain can't promote the green cause - it's all about getting high profile green roles that people will remember. However this role does play to the stereotype that green equals envious.

The first of many aliens on the list. The Little Green Man stereotype is alive and well, but Johnson is a sympathetic and respected character when contrasted against the film's protagonist the non-green Wikus.

13. GREEN LANTERN (Green Lantern)
A superhero - a flawed non-green human who joins an intergalactic peacekeeping force. Green-ness as symbolic of the power and peace of an advanced civilisation, and portrayed as something to aspire to!

12. GAILA (Star Trek)
You might argue that Gaila doesn't belong in this list as she has only a relatively minor role in Star Trek. You might be right, too, but I don't want to ignore the fact that there is a sympathetic portrayal of a green person in this franchise. So let's keep Gaila on the list for now.

11. MIKE WAZOWSKI (Monsters, Inc.)
I have mixed feelings about Mike Wazowski. On the one hand, you can't deny he is a well-rounded green character. On the other hand, portraying Mike as the sidekick of a blue character does little to help the green cause.

10. SHREK (Shrek)
Shrek, too - a paradox. Notoriously grumpy and humourless ogre - yet one of the most loved green characters on the silver screen, and an inspiration to many. Ogres do indeed have layers.

9. SLIMER (Ghostbusters)
A show-stealing apparition. Who doesn't love being slimed?

This is definitely a step forward - a green man very much in tune with his emotional side.

7. THE MASK (The Mask)
This film may have set green rights back, or forward, by at least a century.

6. GARONA (Warcraft)
This is how to do green right - a complex character forced to question everything she believes in and choose sides for herself. When coming across to the non-green cause she never forgets her green roots and remains true to her inner self.

A misunderstood tragic heroine who meets an untimely fate just for being green and a little bit evil.

4. YODA (The Empire Strikes Back)
This is where it starts to become inspiring. One of the most powerful Jedi in the Universe just happens to be a green dude, and if that doesn't prove that anyone from anywhere can make it if they get a lucky break, I don't know what does.

3. GAMORA (Guardians Of The Galaxy)
Supergreen. A captivating, deep and complex green character on an equal footing with her fellow Guardians. 

2. SOYLENT GREEN (Soylent Green)
You may argue for Gaila or Gamora, or even Garona. Incidentally why do so many green people have names beginning with 'G'? Anyway, you would be wrong, as surely these are the tastiest green people in any movie.

Which brings us to the end of the list. You may have predicted the face in the number 1 slot - there's really only one person who can fill it. That one person has appeared in numerous movies, TV shows, and crumpet adverts. He's smart, successful but modest, has bested his pink nemesis more times than can be counted on a 4-fingered amphibian hand, and never fails to bring a smile whenever he appears. He has done more than any single person on the planet to show us all what it truly means to be green - it's not that easy. 

1. KERMIT THE FROG (The Muppet Movie)

Which green person most inspired you to be who you are today? Who are your green role models? Are these portrayals sensitive and true to life, or are they well-meaning but misinformed? And who did we miss?

Monday, 21 May 2018

It's Oh So Quiet [Review: A Quiet Place]

It is the post-apocalypse. We know this because the streets are deserted, the traffic lights have fallen over, and three children are raiding a supermarket and their parents are encouraging them. Encouraging them silently though - the family communicate in sign language and are taking care to stop any loud noises. Why? The family leave the shop without incident but an incident on their walk home explains everything you need to know about the threat facing humanity from the new rulers of Earth: vicious predatory creatures that are blind but respond in an instant to any loud sound.

A Quiet Place is not your typical Michael Bay film. It's quiet! And short! This is a low-key creature horror focusing almost entirely on the fate of one family in their farm hideaway. Their quest is not to unite the people of Earth and take back our world, although Lee (John Krasinski) is obsessed with finding the aliens' weakness, but simply to survive and protect each other. Keeping everyone silent is hard enough when your family includes an anxious child and a frustrated teenager, and you've all been through a traumatic tragedy already - and all of this pales into insignificance when Evelyn (Emily Blunt) discovers she is pregnant. The film remains true to this focus and even when the family come face to face with the creatures, it avoids any temptation to build into massive action-movie set pieces. There's almost no exposition - the scenario tells its' own story. And there isn't too much lens flare. The main use of overt CGI is the creatures themselves, and they are a particularly nasty bunch.

The concept of A Quiet Place, perhaps the cleverest horror movie concept I've come across for some time, reminded me of Day Of The Triffids, another post-apocalyptic scenario where humanity is robbed of its advantage over the creatures, in that case by being blinded. This is also the second mainstream movie in the past year to feature prominent use of sign language as a major plot point, following in the very quiet footsteps of The Shape Of Water.