Most people know the United Kingdom is the most paranormally active sovereign collective in the world. Here, each separate country is freaky in its own unique way, and it’s about time there’s a show about Spooked Scotland. This series is very similar to other shows. As it is in now mid-season, I can finally remark about which aspects of its production works or not.
The good news is that this paranormal reality tv show offers a lot of interesting locales. Gail Porter is the host, and Chris Fleming is the lead investigator. Tech specialist Ryan O’Neill and parapsychologist Dr. Evelyn Hollow round out their team. Long time fans of this genre may remember the leads from Dead Famous, which ran from 2004 to 2006. However, as with every program that’s out there, they have their fair share of critics. I don’t believe celebrities should be chased down to see if they’re still lingering around. When Harry Houdini can’t make the greatest escape of them all, then some things are best left buried.
Two of Scotland‘s favourite sons are paired in a family comedy drama, What We Did On Our Holiday. David Tennant and Billy Connolly headline this film about a dysfunctional family attempting to come to terms before Gordie McLeod’s (Connolly) 75th birthday. This patriarch of the family is about to celebrate a milestone if he does not succumb to his cancer first. But when his grown up boys Doug (Tennant) and (Ben Miller) are constantly bickering with him or their respective spouses, he wants nothing to do with them. In his glory days, he was a well-known soccer player — he’s had his share of experiences from the school of hard knocks.
His grandchildren, however, are still innocent. Their outlook on life is very different and that perspective is very refreshing to see. Gordie has to carefully choose what he has to say around them, and in what he reveals, these youths receive some very important perspective defining lessons before his passing. At the same time, they provide the best laughs and steal the show. Lottie (Emilia Jones), Mickey (Bobby Smalldridge) and Jess (Harriet Turnbull) have a charm that works very well on the screen. When their characters prove themselves wise beyond their years after their little education from Gordie, they certainly show that they understand grandpa better than the two men trying to give their father the best celebration amongst his peers.
Through the power of myth, a cultural discourse of any country can be found in the stories of yore. Some legends may inspire a transformative change of the self whereas others look deep into a collective experience that many readers can find, if not relate to. In other cases, they serve to explain the power of a greater cosmic force at work. In folklore, traditions are explored, and sometimes what is experienced is more of a sensory exposition.
In Selkie Tales, grief and loss are explored in a whimsical journey of what the seal-folk of Scotland (a type of faerie) have contributed to the richness of this bonnie land’s mystique. These creatures are similar to mermaids/mermen. But they appear as seals when in the ocean and when they shed their skin upon reaching land, will look just like another human.
Brave is not very suitable to children who can get easily frightened and PG-13 rating is far more appropriate than its current one.
At the heart of PIXAR’s CGI film, Brave, is a look at the ties that bind and the threads that get broken along the way. This medieval parable can easily be retold within any cultural backdrop and that can make for a universally understood movie.
In this film, the Scottish setting is appropriate. The importance of bringing clans together does get noticed as the tale progresses and some viewers can easily shout, “Braveheart!” along the way. But this movie is hardly original. PIXAR may have taken a few ideas from an older product, namely Disney’s Brother Bear, and redesigned it for a newer generation. The concept of brotherhood is important, but this time the focus is on sisterhood, and the bonds that keeps families together.
This movie has the potential to play up some of Scotland’s mystique, and sadly it does not. Should the producers have gone further, a fanciful look into the mysticism of the Celtic pride and superstition could have made for a satisfying watch. MacBeth and Shakespeare must be feeling ashamed by now. This movie is hardly Arthurian in style either. With this film, the struggle comes from one strong-willed teenage redhead who is not willing to be a Juliet to all the Romeos who are brought to her attention.