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April 12, 2013


Wizards Return casts spell but with no spark By APRIL CHUNG FEATURES EDITOR

As Wizards of Waverly Place made a comeback from its departure, 12-yea­­­r­olds along with loyal Disney Channel fans like me were pressed against the television screen counting down our favorite show’s return. The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex was an unexpected gift from Disney Channel catching excited viewers off guard. Obviously, the movie was welcomed. But, did it ultimately wear off the legacy that Wizards of Waverly Place took three years to build? To start off, the movie was oriented around Alex Russo, who was deemed the family wizard in the last episode of Wizards of Waverly Place. And although appropriate, this took away from the overall feel of the show, as important characters had very minor roles or no role at all. For example, Justin Russo, who played Alex’s “dorky” older brother, was completely exempted. In the last episode, Justin had become one of the most powerful wizards of the wizard world. Justin had filled in the spot of the responsible role model which Alex loved, but always made fun of. Because of his exclusion, viewers like me were disappointed and missed the essence of Alex’s true character. Not to mention, the whole movie was based—once again—on Alex having to save the world because of her own mistake. When the television series ended, Alex’s future in the wizard world was one of mystery, and it should have remained so. However, because of this movie, I find myself uncertain and shaky about the future of Alex. The movie was also overbearingly serious. As the movie was centered around Alex’s quest for saving the world once again, the mood was one of awkward seriousness, with random comedic retorts during the Alex vs. Alex duels that ultimately made the purpose and ambiance confusing. Also, throughout the movie Alex was placed in situations multiple times where her opportunity to keep her powers for the rest of her life was in jeopardy. Of course, this was overturned when the “Crystals of Justice”, the ultimate authorities of the wizard world, were impressed by Alex’s ability of appreciation of her best friend, Harper Finkle. So to answer the question I posed in the beginning: yes, the movie did wash away the beloved series’ legacy.

THE MAGIC RETURNS - Wizards of Waverly Place recently returned with a movie a year after the show ended to mixed reviews. IMAGE/ZAP2IT.COM

However, the comeback movie was certainly not a whole failure. It brought back nostalgic memories and succeeded in its efforts to keep the show in the viewers’ memories, even among the new shows that swamp Disney Channel now. It is without a doubt that Wizards of Waverly Place along with a few other shows marked the end of Disney Channel’s golden age. Thus, the movie wrung a sense of familiarity within the fans which caused some fans to be blinded by their love for the series, and adulate the movie a little more than it should have been. But maybe that’s what was needed to test the true love from dedicated fans. Ultimately, the movie provided closure to fans who still desired it. Whether or not it was necessary or appropriate is up to the fans to decide.

Redefining culture: move aside, classics By SALENA QUACH


When Hamm from Toy Story doesn’t know who Picasso is, Mr. Potato Head doesn’t hesitate to call him an uncultured swine. To be cultured is to be educated, polished and refined. It means having a high degree of taste, from appreciation of the arts to pursuits of scholarly knowledge. However, in today’s society, there seems to exist a consensus on which types of film, music, artworks and books make someone cultured. Although there appears to be a set list of what one must watch or read to be wellinformed and cultured, what the majority regards as “classy” contradict with your personal interests. Equally so, just because you read Shakespeare or watched The King’s Speech doesn’t make you any more cultured than someone who has listened to Ke$ha or watched Twilight. It also involves hunting for your own music or books rather than relying on, well, word-of-mouth. Moreover, you can travel backwards and watch cult films, movies that weren’t successful in the mainstream but have popularized amongst a small group of people. Being cultured today merely means opening yourself up to all the different types of media that are from both the past and the present. It could mean listening to mainstream music or indie music. It could mean watching blockbusters or independent

films. It could even mean listening to spoken word poetry or watching The Voice. Being cultured cannot be defined

never be a threshold of what it takes to be intellectually aware, and sometimes what is chaos can also be art.

Because what is the point of being sophisticated or pretentious when you cannot apply the different forms of mass media to your life? Every day we are exposed to posts on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook, but few of us actually realize that participation in these sites cultivates our minds. Technology is a major part of popular culture, and because of its instantaneous and ever-changing nature we do not necessarily have to rely on the basic types of mass media—films, books and music—to keep us informed. The benefits of being cultured include a greater understanding of the world and common values you can build upon with other people. Intellect has to stem from somewhere, and the more you watch, the more you listen, the more you read, the better you analyze, the better you synthesize, the better you fathom and accept the world around you. So listen to rap, to spoken word poetry, to National Public Radio (NPR). The world is operating in lightning motion, and there are both flashes of truth and deceit in what we see and hear. It is fundamentally up to us to evaluate what is truly happening by being subjective. There are certainly times when everything CHARACTERS GALORE- Many of these iconic characters are found in Popular and Cultural make me frustrated popular culture. How many characters can you identify? IMAGE/ZAP2IT.COM because they are so complicated. But at the by an inventory of classics one must Ultimately, popular culture cannot be same time, I want to have a chat with both of read or watch. That’s not being cultured; neatly organized because it does not exist them at a coffee shop, discussing books and that’s being pretentious. As Holden as a static unit but rather something that movies and shows, listening to them as they Caulfield puts it, you are a phony. continuously evolves. make references to different media and just Of course, it makes sense to think you As opposed to the past, few people ask them how they’ve befriended so many are becoming more refined while listening today actually enjoy the classics. They genres, artists, filmmakers, writers and actors. to Mozart rather than Rihanna, but part seek excitement and novelty, opting for Ask them to to share their knowledge or to of being “artistically aware” is to be able The Hunger Games Trilogy rather than lend me their favorite book by their favorite to distinguish the good from the bad, the Shakespeare’s sonnets—but this fact author. art from the chaos. Admittedly, there will does not make them any less cultured. I would gladly buy them drinks.