Caring for Animals, Caring for People: Thoughts on ‘Fantastic Beasts’

fantastic_beasts_wallpapershome-comThe Harry Potter novels set themselves against racial supremacy (Magic is Might) and discrimination (Muggle-Born Registry), a theme that carries over into the film adaptation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Whatever its flaws as a film (quite a few did not like it), Fantastic Beasts is essentially a reflection and lesson on how we should treat the Other:  represented in the film by cute magical creatures in Newt Scamander’s suitcase. Continue reading

Reel Justice: Filipino Action Movies in a Time of Killing

decBelow are the opening paragraphs of an essay I wrote for Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia (Young Academic Voice).

This year saw the premiere of Itumba ang mga Adik (Kill the Addicts) in the Philippines. Shot in streets across the country, from narrow alleys to cramped rooms, the controversial film stars vigilantes, (suspected) drug users and dealers, crime syndicates, and innocent civilians. It has been a bloody tale of crime and punishment.  Continue reading

You’re Amazing, But It’s Not About You: A Review of ‘Doctor Strange’

doctor_strange_reviewSuperhero movies of late are ideal material for the study of politics. If we define the discipline as the study of power, then films like Iron Man and Spiderman can become part of the political science curriculum as have Rousseau, Hobbes, and Locke. Doctor Strange meditates on the ambiguities and balancing acts involved in the exercise of power: its attainment, its use and its limitations.   Continue reading