Showing posts from 2011

(Not) A Movie Review of X-Men: Why We Love Wolverine (Even Though He's Kind of a Jerk)

Previously, I wrote a post about some of the reasons why the X-men story works. In this post I want to focus on the character of Wolverine and why many X-men fans will choose him as their favourite.  

Using example scenarios from the movies X-men, X-Men 2, and X-men 3, here are some of Wolverine's faults... and why we find ourselves so forgiving of them:

Jerk Symptom 1
He looks out for number one.

In all three movies, we hear other characters repeatedly complain about his tendency to ditch everyone at a moments notice. He often makes it clear that he feels he doesn't owe anyone a thing (lack of memory might add to this attitude), and is happy focusing on solving his own problems.
But That's 'OK' Because: When push comes to shove, he will join, and even lead the team. Sure it may take circumstances to force him into leadership and teamwork... but he wouldn't, say, leave a bunch of school kids to fend for themselves outside when their school has been invaded by snipers…

(Not) A Movie Review of X-men: Why the Story Works

I am a big fan of the X-men universe. The comics, cartoon series (old and new), I dig them all... especially the movies! 
The most attractive trait about the X-men is that it is about a group of outcasts. Anyone who has ever been a teenager knows the feeling. And everyone wishes they had hands that could freeze your opponent instantly... or a handy set of kitchen knives popping out of their knuckles when the going was tough, or any other number of awesome powers shown in the X-men universe.
From a writer's perspective, I love the X-men stories because I can only imagine the effort and planning it takes to work with so many different characters, and yet allow them to all have their say (without stepping on each other's toes) in two cinematic hours. 

So this is not a review.
It's my own subjective analytical view as to some of the reasons why the story works.

Taking a look at one scene from the first X-men movie, (which personally, I would have called "Scene 7: Never Wake Up…

Green Words: Poetry for The Environment

There are times in life when one has the opportunity to be a part of something greater than oneself, and it just feels awesome. I was invited to perform at British Council's Go Green Malawi awareness event,  a gathering of artists from all mediums, adding their voices, paintbrushes and movements to one cause... climate change. It is a phenomenon which many of us may be aware of, but there are many more that are not fully awakened to the effects of it. 
I was lucky enough to be given the freedom to come up with whatever I wanted to, as long as it was no more than 3 minutes long. I decided to write and perform a piece of poetry entitled "environMEnt". It expresses the reason why I choose to study the environment in the first place. 
Here is the video - somewhat fuzzy unfortunately, but at least the audio is alright.
Note: the first line was not filmed in time so it seems like it starts in the middle. The poem begins - "I woke up one day and realised, you can't spell …

UN Day: Stories of Climate Change and Courage

Happy UN Day! I had the great fortune of attending my first UN Townhall meeting which was to commemorate UN Day on the 24th of October. The first thing I learnt about Townhall is that it doesn't take place in a town hall. After some speculation I came to the conclusion that Townhall was not a description of the physical structure, but rather a meeting of the minds of staff from all UN derivative groups such as UNICEF, UNDP, UNESCO, etc, to discuss current agendas. 

This year, the main agenda was (suitably) climate change. Speaking on the issue was Professor S. Chiota, who teaches at Chancellor College (Chanco), and is the regional programme director of the Leadership for Environment and Development Southern and Eastern Africa - LEAD SEA ( ) .

What I had expected was a presentation of the facts and figures of the effects of climate change in Malawi, with graphs and pie charts showing how things have been getting progressively worse over the years.

What he did in…

The Girl Effect: Why Can I Write This Blog Post?

Hey, take a look at this:

I am a woman in one of the poorest countries in the world, and yet, here I am in front of a computer, blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, instant messaging, Googling and much more.
The odds say I shouldn’t know how to.
I am one of the 48.6% literate women in Malawi. To put this in perspective, 72% of Malawian men are literate. I am one of the 31.4% of girls who finish primary school. I am also one of the 11.1% girls who finish secondary school. As for tertiary education - less than 10%. So, I have had about a 50/50 chance of knowing how to read at all, and the odds of increasing my education get slimmer and slimmer with every level. But here I am with 2 tertiary degrees, in the dawn of my career. Why? Why me?
Because of my mother. And because of her mother. They recognised the importance of education, especially for girls, and two generations later, the girls in my family are smart, savvy, and paving our destinies with the choices that we have been given. I can arti…

How to Design a Treasure Hunt as an Icebreaker

Back in my 2nd or 3rd year of university, my friend Ruby and I were living in a hall of residence (or hostel if you like). At the time, Ruby and I participated in student government (which I thought was a bit of an oxymoron), specifically in the sect that they called 'Health and Culture'. She was the elected head of this department and recruited me as a sidekick of sorts. What we were responsible for, amongst many other things, was welcoming the fresh meat- ahem. I mean, 'first years' into the residence. I remembered what it was like to be fresh from high school, transferred from the top of one system to the bottom of another in one day. Many of them were far from home and didn't know where to start when it came to making new friends. 
That's where we came in! We began to brainstorm on several ways we could get them to come out of their shells, make friends, enjoy their new environment (as well as the food which, little did they know, would only be good during O…

The Unexpected Facebook Interview: Part 1

Not too long ago, I asked a friend of mine, a fellow artist, to check out my blog (this one) and give me some feedback on it. She calls herself "Athena Zeus" and she acts, dances, sings and writes - I knew I could learn a lot from her. 
I had expected a few points here and there on improvements I could make. However, what I didn't expect was a four day conversation on both of our Facebook walls - ranging from my original writing inspiration, to past theatre exploits, and even plans for the future...
Somewhere in the middle of all the artsy babble, I had a feeling it was taking on an interview styled format. Light bulb moment! Why not let my readers have a bit of insight on me? So with Athena's permission, I will let you eavesdrop on our little artsy chat!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Ekari Mbvundula posted to Athena Zeus check it! Would love your feedback :-)

Ekari Mbvundula: Writer & Performer
22 August 08:40 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Athena Zeus I wil…

The Unexpected Facebook Interview: Part 2

We moved the conversation from Athena's wall to mine:

Athena Zeus posted to Ekari Mbvundula
I hope you find my responses helpful. Keep writing...keep talking...stay smart. ;) 24 August at 23:06 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ekari Mbvundula More than helpful! I think we can continue here to de-clutter your wall :-P 25 August at 09:03  
Ekari Mbvundula Yeah I knew you'd understand the role playing one has to do in the creative process. Whether or not the characters stay on the page, or make it to the stage, the process stays the same. To be honest, in many of my plays I didn't plan on making a stage appearance at first, but in some cases my fellow cast members would vote that it was logical for me to play the role since I knew it best. I started to embrace the stage more and more because I needed to ensure that the story was told the way I intended. Call me a control freak :-) 25 August at 09:22
Ekari Mbvundula You're right about the never-ending editing. Every ti…