Monday, February 27, 2017

Still as Bad as I Remember it Being

It is always interesting to watch something from your childhood and see how it lives up to your memories. I've had a mixture of such experiences.  Something actually have gotten better and work on a whole different level that I didn't realize as a child.  Many have aged well and are just as enjoyable now as they were decades ago.  Some of it I can see how bad it is, but I can appreciate the corniness of it due to when it was made and the various elements that might have limited the production.

Then you find something that was horrible back then and is still undeniably horrible now.

Today I just rewatched the live action film version of Masters of the Universe for the first time in thirty years. I only watched it once all the way through when I was young and didn't remember it well. It didn't draw me in and from what I could remember it was bad all around.

Well, it is still just as bad. And bad on every level.

Some bad movies can be enjoyable, with a corniness that works. Prime example of this is the classic 1980 Flash Gorden movie. It is a highly enjoyable bad movie that I have never grown tired of. I know many dislike Howard the Duck, but that is a bad movie I enjoy and feel is highly under rated.

Masters of the Universe is just bad. Idiotically bad. I know why that in thirty years I have had no real desire to watch it again and there is a real good chance I will never watch it again. There is just nothing in it even remotely enjoyable.  Horribly written, acted, directed with really bad fight scenes with cheap special effects that just didn't work. It was clear there was just piss poor choice after piss poor choice.

So this is one movie that held no nostalgic value for me and in the rewatching of it has left me knowing why.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Most Perfect Movie Trailer Ever?

The next movie in the X-Man film franchise is to be Huge Jackman's last time playing Wolverine. This is his third solo Wolverine movie. The first was a true flop and the second was good, but felt to be missing something.

A few month ago we got this trailer:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny3hScFgCIQ, for the third movie simply titled Logan.

I was at a full lose of words when I saw it for the first time and it still has not grown old. It is a powerful trailer than does everything needed to get you interested in the movie. And the music pick is beyond brilliant.

They just released a new trailer:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH3OxVFvTeg, and it works, but it was never going to be able to match that first one.

The first trailer is worth watching over and over again. It tells a story that you want to know more about. It makes you care about the characters. And the music just fits the character of Wolverine.

Could this be a case where the trailer is more worth watching than the movie?

I hope not. This looks as if it will be the best movie of the X-Man franchise. Just a month and a half before we find out.

Hollywood needs to learn from this trailer.  This is how you do trailers right.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

20 Years Later, Gargoyles Is Still A Great Series


Recently I was able to acquire all three sets that make up the complete series of Disney's Gargoyles from the mid 90s. I loved the series when it first aired and caught all the episodes back then.  However this as the first time I was able to watch the full series for start to finish.

It has aged well and is actually better than a lot of the popular cartoons out now.

Gargoyles is the story of a clan of gargoyles, who are stone by day and flesh by night. It ran for three years as part of the Disney Afternoon programing.  Unlike most of the other Disney Afternoon cartoons, Gargoyles featured all new characters and told an on going story.  Most of the other shows with Disney Afternoon were basically half hour long Disney cartoons, based on already known Disney characters, that reset after every episode. From the get go it was clear that Gargoyles had a story line and a history that mattered throughout.

The world of Gargoyles is interesting. It is modern day New York for the most part (Although we do get to see much more of the world at one point) but where Shakespeare meets Arthurian Legends with a huge dash of myths from all over the world mixed in, all connected together. And it works so well.

They also did a remarkable job of building up to some of the big reveals near the end of the series.  Watching it from start to finish for the first time I saw this build up and just how well done it was. The seeds were clearly there early on.

Not sure if I am going to go after the short lived follow up to Gargoyles, Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicle. I don't remember it being as good and it does not tell a complete story in its 13 episodes.

There is no doubt that Gargoyles have stood the test of time and does not feel dated in the least. I recommend them for anyone who enjoys good story telling and well done cartoon shows.

Friday, January 6, 2017

A Fantastic Trip Back to That Magical Universe

Opening weekend for it we got out and saw Fantastic beasts and Where to Find Them. While I enjoy the Harry Potter universe, I am not a huge die hard fan of it. As I wrote in a previous post here Cursed Child was disappointing. I also have issues with a fair amount of not too well thought out aspects of the original seven book storyline. I understand why it is a fun series and why so many people enjoy it, but I too often felt it was overrated and that many fans tried to turn the series into something greater than it was.

The original eight movies were fun, but too much suffered from the same problems of the books with the added lose of story that is too often seen when turning a book into a movie. I did enjoy them though for the level they were.

So as usual I gave that background of my feelings for what has come before to help put my views on the new movie in perspective.

I though Fantastic Beast was the perfect way to reintroduce the franchise. Movie studios need to take a note from this example and learn just how to break away from the mold and be able to play in an established universe without having to use anything we've seen before. There is no Harry Potter or Voldemort in this movie and that is a good thing. Dumbledore and Hogwarts are mentioned, but are not essential for the story in the least. This could easily be a stand along movie that does everything it needs to in just the one film.

The story is about creature hunter Newt Scamander, who studies these amazing creatures and tries to protect ad help them.  Newt comes to America on a personal agenda.  Much of his philosophy goes against the ideas of the magical community, who seem to believe it is better to kill off a believe dangerous species than study them and try to understand them. The movie shows how ignorance and fear cause problems. Newt also is not a charismatic person and is very aware of this, admitting that he makes people uncomfortable.

Beyond that, the character of Newt is also not a powerful wizard or a chosen one of any of that. We have no prophecies or great expectations of him.  No one is pushing him to be great. He uses his actual skills and knowledge time and time again to make a difference. It is the aspects that make him something of an outsider that allows him to do what he does and it is under appreciated by just about everyone he encounters.  In some ways he is a 180 degree turn from the character of Harry Potter and that makes him far more interesting for me.  Harry fit with what children play as being, a chosen one with great potential and everyone knows it, while Newt is more human and down to earth, a guy who is just trying to do his best with what he has. With that one element we see a maturing of the franchise that is going to help to bring people into this world. I can see it appealing to those who gave up on the original movies becasue they were too childish or repetitive.

While the title itself is not accurate, due to being based on a fictional text book that Harry and friends use, the movie does deliver on showing us a rather impressive cast of fantastic beasts. There are many well down scenes that have a truly magical sense to them showing us these creatures.

And while it does not look like we will see the other three main characters in the sequels, they were well done as well.  The no-mag/muggle Jacob Kowalski was a perfect counter to Newt, as a generally likeable guy who gets caught up in something beyond anything he thought possible.  His fascination with the discovery of the magic world is so perfectly shown. In some ways he plays the average Harry Potter fan getting to play around in the magic world for a bit, with child like wonder at it all.

Porpentina Goldstein and her sister Queenie are a perfectly pair. Fun and charming characters and the main source of our knowledge of the Wizarding World of America.

I am looking forwards to see where this film series takes us. My understanding is that each film will take place in a different country so that in the end we will get to see the magical communities around the world. There is a lot of potential here. It may take ten years for us to get the full story, but if they can keep it all at this level is will be an enjoyable journey.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

This May Be The Worst Comic I Have Ever Read

If you've been reading my blog, then you know I am a big Marvel comics fan and I have a thing for $1 comics. The other day I hit up the $1 comics and picked out a batch of The New Defenders from the mid-80s

First issue I read was 148. It was just horrible. I have no idea why this comic got written or approved for publication.

I think it is supposed to be a murder mystery, but you really don't care in the least about anything that happens in it. It is so boring and pointless that the murder in it just seems to be there to be there.  And all the 'clues' are just put there to have clues for the sack of having clues.

The Defenders themselves are completely unneeded for any aspect of the story and are just hanging out because it is their book. Of course none of the character seem to need to be there, as many are thrown in suddenly just because the writer needed more characters to have more characters in the story.

I also think it was supposed to be a humorous story as they had Groucho Marx showing up, trying to be funny and almost saying Groucho like things, just lacking any real wit or humor. He is more or less just there to be annoying, not funny or useful in any way.

One thing I always try to do with comics is to look at the era they were written in. This is the mid 80s, during a time where comics were maturing and when writers could really start to create some incredible story lines. It was also during the time Marvel was putting out Secret Wars 2, so this was a low point for Marvel Comics. I would put New Defenders 148 as being worse than any issue of Secret Wars 2.

I am going to go ahead a read the rest of the issues I picked up, but I do not see myself buying any more New Defenders comics.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Legacy Lives On, Despite the Curse

Just finished reading the latest edition of the fandom than will not die, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

To start off you have to understand this is NOT a Harry Potter novel.  This is a special edition of the script for the play that is currently running over in the UK.  While Rowling had a hand in creating the story, the official playwright is Jack Thorne.

The play picks up right where the books and movies left us off, with Harry sending his son off to Hogwarts for the first time. Right away things take a noticeably different turn than what one would have expected and then goes to some places that seem out of place for the stories that led to this point. I had heard that it read more like fan fiction than Rowling's style, and I do have to agree with that conclusion.

There was a noticeable amount of finding ways to include a great deal of characters and scenes that seemed to be there because it is stuff the fans would want to see.  While the story itself is not bad all-in-all, there are some aspects that feel forced and a lot that seems to be in there just to give the fans their fangasms. A lot of it felt rushed (going through three years in just a hand full of scenes), especially in the beginning, leaving a feeling of plot holes being left and ideas that should have been resolved earlier in the timeline if one uses basic logic. If a family takes over three years to get around to dealing with problems like these, then that is one unhealthy family.

My curious nature, having done stage work and enjoying stage plays, left me really wanting to see the show mostly to see how they pull off all the needed effects on stage.  You name a spell seen in the books and movies, it is most likely here. There is a fight scene where with everything in the room flying around.  We have magic blasts flying every which way.  We have the Patronus spell being used.  We have Dementors flying about, doing their soul sucking.  Poly Juice Potion being used.  Ghosts and underwater scenes and just so much.  I am actually more interested in learning the stage of it all than anything else at this point.

It was very clearly a project done for the fans. The die hard Harry Potter fans are most likely going to love it just because it is the official continuation of the story, but it is not going to draw new fan in nor does it give anything to pull in anyone who didn't like Harry Potter to begin with. I found it enjoyable enough, but it was nothing special and could have been much better.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

My Theories From The Force Awakens

So by now the whole of mankind should have gotten out and seen Star Wars The Force Awakens.  Seriously by this point there is no excuse at all to justify not having seen it.  If you have been stranded on a deserted island for the last year, then you better get your act together and get caught up with society. I'll let you take a break for a few hours and watch it before you continue reading...

Ok, so now everyone reading this has seen The Force Awakens.

One big thing a lot of people don't seem to understand is that this was planned as the first part of a new trilogy.  That means they can plan out the story in a way that they do not need to give us all the answers right away. I actually like it that way, even though I have heard some complaints about how much was left unexplained. I'm a patient person for the most part and I can handle my story be stretched out. Of course if we hit episode 9 and there are still the same unanswered questions, then we have a real problem.

The big question is 'Who is Rey?'

I personally believe she is Luke's daughter.  I am going to put in here that I fully believe her mother is Mara Jade. Since they are already reintroducing Thrawn to the new canon there is no excuse why Mara Jade can't be in there as well.

Now to go into why I believe this and how I see the story going.

We know Rey is strong with the Force and the Skywalker lightsaber responds to her.  The Star Wars saga is so far the story of the Skywalker family and Rey is clearly the main focus of this trilogy.

Now here is my back story.

When Rey was born, Luke knew to keep her hidden, as there would be a great deal of folk out there who would go after her to get to him.  So he kept her hidden from the public eye.  My money is on only a few knowing her to be his daughter.  She did start Jedi training when she was a child and was most likely highly gifted.

When Ben Solo betrayed the Jedi and became Kylo Ren, Luke did some Jedi mind stuff on her to hide who she was and bury her Jedi skills, unless needed.  Then he had someone take her into hiding, telling her that someday her family will come back for her.

I am guessing things did not go as planned. Luke for whatever reasons was unable to retrieve her. There are many logical reasons as to why that could have happened.

Then Luke went into hiding, leaving R2 behind, one of the few beings in the galaxy that knew the whole story and had known Rey. R2 was to shut down until the time was right to find Luke.

So here is all I have seen to back this up.

Rey clearly had some impressive fighting skills from the get go.  Someone had to have trained her for that. When she gets a hold of a lightsaber she already seems to know how to use it.

The only times she displays Force skills is after another Force user attacks her through the Force. This really makes it look liker her Force powers at this point are a defensive action.  She seems highly surprised by these abilities, yet we know that level of skill has to be taught.

The timing as to when R2 becomes active again is when Rey is near him for the first time.  That really is the only noticeable new factor at the time he reactivates.  He could have been programmed to sense when Rey was near and get her to her father. This fits with the timing of it all.

I would bet Leia knows who Rey is.  She would be one person Luke would trust fully. It would also explain why Leia went to Rey after Han's death.  She was comforting her niece, her family (still wouldn't justify her not comforting Chewie, but that was just a poor directing choice).  But it would not have been her place to reveal anything to Rey.  She would know to leave that to Luke.

And Luke is clearly at a lost for words when he sees Rey.  What do you say to your daughter that you put into hiding years ago and for whatever reasons did not go back for?

So that is how I would be writing the story if it were up to me.  There would still be a few coincidences left in there for the story to play out that way, but that seems to be the way the Star Wars universe works.  You have to accept a lot of that and write it off as the way of the Force.