I Ship It Film Review
I ship Yulin Kuang with her camera, because this film in nothing short of magic, and is an actual portrayal of fandom. I’m not kidding. I’ve been in the Harry Potter fandom since 2006. I’m talking Mugglenet every day, cross checking The Leaky Cauldron, attending Wrock Shows and conventions, and currently coordinating the volunteers for LeakyCon/GeekyCon. Prophecy 2007 was my first wrock show, where I saw The Whomping Willows for the first time. There was this moment where Matt Maggiacomo was on stage, and everyone in the front row had these paper Owls and they were rocking out. It was this moment that I realized, “this is it, these are my people.”
I Ship It, is a film about what it’s really like to be in the fandom. It doesn’t sugar coat anything — there is heartbreak, wizard rock heart throbs that can be dicks, and weird situations where your ex is dating someone new and you have to face it dead on. There is ultimate friendship, the best moral support you’ll ever receive, and hell yeah, we’re all a little awkward.
I watched this short film a little over two hours ago and I am still thinking about it.
The characters won me over from the start. Because this story isn’t grand or loud. This is an honest look into the fandom — vlogs, songs that might seem like they are about Harry Potter but they are actually about love, friendship, losing trust in someone you put your faith in, and losing the people you once loved to a weird new and different version of yourself. It’s not fair, but it’s life.
Wizard Rock really isn’t about Harry Potter, it’s about life.
Sometimes, I have a hard time relating to characters/actresses that can “do it all.” Like in that one weird episode of TVD, when Caroline starts to sing with a live band at Mystic Grill, like just no. Or Taylor swift’s short acting career. Stick to your sides, I get it, you’re awesome and rich and like whatever.
But Mary Kate Wiles presented Zoe’s character in such a way where it all felt so natural. Zoe is just a nerd who really likes Harry Potter with the same infinite, unending passion as the rest of us. Mary Kate’s voice fit the character and fit the story. Her voice even played multiple roles: sweet and folky over acoustic guitar, and an angry-heartbroken-rocker-chick on stage with her electric. Damn, the clip of Mary Kate plugging in her electric with such purpose, and the feedback screech that comes with it. Storm’s comin’, Harry. And she brings it in such a way that is unique and natural to the character.
A huge shout out to Kirstyn Hippe, who didn’t just write songs for this film, she wrote songs for these characters, and their own individual stories. The lyrics and overall tone of both Honeydukes and Horcruxes do so much more for the story then add entertainment. They paint us a better understanding of what Zoe had with Peter, and the intensity that she is feeling during the ballad when she’s killin’ it on stage.
And let’s talk about Charlie, good ole’ moral support Charlie. In fact, let’s talk about what his story isn’t about. This is not a story about Charlie being in the friendzone. After that initial kiss between Charlie and Zoe, he recognized that they were both heartbroken, confused, depending on physical instincts that may or may not be true. The idea of two friends who constantly overlook each other as romantic options is accessible to me on a deep and personal level. Sometimes, it takes heartbreak to make you realize that the person who makes you laugh and will follow you to a nerdy Wizard Rock Band Competition is your person. The slow realization through the story, and the tentative communication through every possible way, through music, through vlogs, through the phone, until finally, they are face to face. Like it or not, this is the way we communicate, avoidance, followed by a slow build up to grabbing someone’s hand and dealing with the rest later.
Yulin Kuang presented us with a mirror, showing a slice of our fandom life back to us with I Ship it. So we might not all be singers and guitar players or vloggers or writers. But we’re all capable of being hurt, and we’re all capable of healing. We’re all capable of a happy ending.