Category Archives: Review

Loki’s Army Strikes Again: Thoughts on the New Thor 2 Trailer.

Ok so I’m still working on my Supernatural post, it’s taking a bit longer than I hoped because real life keeps getting in the way. Let’s just say that my supervisor is making Moffat look like a cuddle-bunny and real life feels suuuuuck. Well enough about my problems, let’s talk about the new Thor 2: The Dark World trailer.

So apparently it’s “geek week” on YouTube, which is cool because I didn’t know we got a week and that just makes it easier to find videos I like. One of the videos being put out for geek week is the new Thor 2 trailer, if you haven’t seen it I’m putting it at the bottom of this post so just scroll down and watch it and then come back. It’s ok I’ll wait…we good? Great. Now I will state for the record that I am a big Loki fan, not because he’s hot (please I’m not that shallow, but seriously the man is candy) but because of his story arc. I liked the first Thor movie, I wasn’t super impressed but the story was interesting and let’s face it there was some serious yummy goodness for both parties. Chris Hemsworth? HOT. Tom Hiddleston? Dangerously Hot. Natalie Portman? Please, when isn’t she hot? Asgardian chick whose name I can’t remember…Sif/Jaimie Alexander? (thank you IMDb) She’s gorgeous in that Xena kind of way. So everyone’s pleased. I liked Thor because he starts out as what you’d expect of someone who has gorgeous looks, a sweet hammer, and mad fighting skills. He’s an asshole. He’s an arrogant, irresponsible prick who thinks he can get away with everything because his daddy is the King of Asgard. Well, that and he can control lightning which I have to say is just, so cool. It makes his character realistic, you watch him pay the consequences for his actions and arrogance. He’s sent to earth without his powers (though he’s still got his looks which is a bit unfair but I’ll roll with it), he meets a girl, learns the error of his ways, actually becomes likable, etc etc. It’s a classic story arc. On the other side of this is Loki.

Now Loki was already someone I liked, not from comics but from the actual Norse Mythology. He’s the god of mischief; he’s an outcast, none of the other gods share his sense of humor and already dislike him because he’s one of or part frost giant so he’s judged by his heritage right from the get go. I always felt like Loki got a bum rap in mythology, so I was already going into the movie with sympathy for Loki. Then I saw him and he’s dark, mischievous, tortured, British (well his accent is), sarcastic, is it any wonder I fell in love with him? He has that feel I got from the mythology of him not fitting in to this Viking civilization, he’s smart and indirect which doesn’t really work for a warrior culture, but with the added bonus of a younger siblings inferiority complex.  His freak out when he finds out he’s adopted is so relatable or at least understandable; a child of the enemy so loathed by his family, by himself and now he’s one of them? I would have freaked out and gone off the deep end and overcompensated as well. He’s the bad guy in Thor but he’s not a bad guy. He actually does love his family, he doesn’t go about it the right way and yes it’s a bit of a teen drama fit but the thing that makes the story of the movie Thor and then later in the Avengers so heart-wrenching is that it has all come out of love. Then he falls into a bad crowd (kinda literally) with Thanos and the Chitauri, I personally feel he was manipulated by them (there’s that whole theory of him under the influence of the Tessaract with the staff and then gets the sense knocked back into him by the Hulk) and now he’s home in Asgard in prison.

When I think of the fight in the Avengers I laugh a little, not because of the death and destruction, New York has seen enough of that thank you, it’s just I have a younger brother and we used to scrap all the time. To me the most basic plot line of the Avengers was two brothers having a fight, and they “took it outside” like my mother always told my brother and me to do. It’s just the difference between those brothers and my brother and myself is that we don’t have god like powers that can destroy a city and they do. Then Loki lost and Thor took him home and told on him, “Asgardian Justice” was brought upon him and basically Loki’s grounded (forever). In a magic cage, playing with his fantastic hair.

Any way, I got off topic (sorry, I think I was hypnotized by fabulous hair). I already knew that I was going to see Thor 2 but when I saw the first trailer I wasn’t really impressed. My first impression of Thor 2 was that it was all about Thor and Jane, he takes her to Asgard and she feels she doesn’t belong and is intimidated by Sif. Jane didn’t seem as strong as she was in the first Thor movie and I was going “crap this is going to be just a love story with some random bad guy (Christopher Eccleston) and action having something to do with darkness”. The only thing exciting in the first trailer was Loki’s prison hair, it’s fluffy and fabulous and it made tumblr explode. With the new trailer my enthusiasm level went from “meh, maybe I’ll wait for the DVD” to “I MUST SEE THIS MOVIE NOW!”. I’m so excited for this movie now! This is what I want to see out of Thor. First of all, I thought Loki was maybe in one or two scenes or that he was in his cage the whole time having conversations with Thor like Hannibal Lector and Clarisse did in Silence of the Lambs. Nope, he gets to come out and play with the rest of the kids and it’s so exciting! We get to see Asgard through Jane’s eyes (the wonderment of a “primitive” being introduced to a more advanced society where science looks like magic) and did you see her punch Loki in the face?! All the women in this movie look to be more badass, even Thor’s mom is whipping around with a knife, though there is that scene where Jane looks like Katie Bell in Harry Potter when she touched the cursed necklace. Don’t know what that’s about but it’s intriguing. Then that part at the end where Thor hits that rock monster with his hammer and it just disintegrates into rubble and Thor looks around and asks “Anyone else?”, this movie is looking to reach epic levels. My only concern is that I have this sinking suspicion that Loki will die in this movie. He’s too good of a thing and he won’t be in the next Avengers movie so that means one of two things, either A: he helps out Thor and then is sent back to his magic box to play with his hair for the rest of eternity, which is unlikely OR, B: he dies in some tragic way and I’m guessing that’s how this is going to go down because the universe hates me and everyone I love dies. I’m 95% sure the world is run by Moffat…which would explain a lot. Still, I’m super psyched up for Thor 2: The Dark World and I think it will have a chance of doing well because Iron Man 3 took the hit of being the movie right after the Avengers (that thing got shredded) and now people have settled down a bit. What do you guys think? Are you excited and think it will be awesome, are you more cautiously optimistic, or do you think it will just outright suck? Me personally, I’m just glad that I have something to look forward to that’s sooner (though not by much) than the Doctor Who 50th anniversary or Sherlock season/series 3. 11/8/2013, set your calenders people.


Pacific Rim

pacific-rim-poster-bannerThis has been a rather hectic summer for me. Summer classes, work, tai chi lessons, family issues, real world issues (i.e. money), it’s a wonder I get to do anything fun. But I was lucky last week I was able to sneak in to a movie theater with my brother and see Pacific Rim. I’ve been looking forward to this movie since they announced it at San Diego Comic Con last year. It’s one of the very few movies coming out this year that I was completely psyched about, not a ‘looking forward to see it’ or a ‘meh, it looks interesting might as well’ I was full out nerd enthusiasm on this one. I mean look at it. Ginormous (not even exaggerating the suckers were gargantuan proportions) monsters from space/dimension/??? rising from the ocean to be fought off by giant skyscraper sized mecha-robots connected to it’s pilots by neural link, what’s not to love about this movie? I mean it’s basically Gundam or some other mecha anime being applied to live action in the best way possible, and it was directed by Guillermo Del Toro! Excuse me while I have a fangirl moment…*fangirl freak out*…ok I’m good.

Going into this movie I wasn’t quite sure what my expectations were, I knew they were high but honestly I wasn’t expecting much in plot. I entered the theater with one goal in mind, epic. fight. scenes. I was thinking ‘if this movie is less than 50% fight scenes I’m gonna be pissed’. I wasn’t disappointed. You know how in some movies, you watch the trailer and you’re thinking ‘man this looks amazing’ and then you go see it and you realize they showed all the good parts in the trailer and you’re bummed out the rest of the movie? This did not happen with Pacific Rim. Honestly the trailer didn’t even skim the surface of how awesome this movie is. I mean the plot was solid and interesting (which was a pleasant surprise), the action sequences…lets just say this is the first movie I was really disappointed I hadn’t seen it in 3d because it would have been 20 times cooler than it already was. What I loved most was that Guillermo did as much as he could without cgi before adding the effects, and there were a lot of effects, and it showed in the movie. This movie wasn’t a hollow, flashy, made only for effects and 3d type of movie. This was a movie made right, they didn’t sacrifice the plot to have the ‘that’s so totally wicked!’ action scenes. They started with the plot, made that the center of the movie, made a solid foundation so that you were invested in the action for more reasons than just ‘look how cool this is in 3d’. You cared about the characters, about the fate of our existence.

Pacific Rim is a traditional science fiction in the best sense. It’s something so fantastic yet so believable. The way the human race acts in the movie was true to our society today. We band together in the worst of times but after we get it some semblance under control we lose interest, forget the importance of it, cheapen it, and then move on to the next thing. Once our lives aren’t in immediate danger we get bored and find something else to interest us. The governments in this too were spot on. We risk the lives of our people just to save a few bucks. Our safety and well being comes with a price-tag and government’s a bargain shopper.

If you haven’t seen this movie yet then put it on your must see list.


Man of Steel

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I’m gonna start this by saying I went to this movie under protest. I’m not a Superman fan, never have been. I’ve enjoyed the Christopher Reeves movies the same way I enjoy B rated sci-fi movies, they’re hokey and lame but that’s the fun of them. Also I can mock them in the comfort of my own home. As a kid I was raised in the D.C. universe (given the choice now I prefer Marvel) with shows like Superman the animated series, Batman the animates series, Justice League and it always felt as though you had to choose between Batman and Superman and my brother and I always picked Batman. Superman was always too white bread, too much of a goody two shoes it was annoying. He was the vanilla ice cream of superheroes and I’ve never liked vanilla. It wasn’t that Batman was darker, well he was but that’s not the point, it was that I could understand Batman/Bruce Wayne. His origin story made sense to me, I could see where he could come from and why he was who he was and accept it. I couldn’t understand Superman, I mean I get he’s an alien raised by humans in Kansas which I guess instills him with good wholesome (christian) values and then he’s a news reporter/ superhero in Metropolis but why? He has superhuman abilities but why is he a superhero? Because he can? Is it some random hobby he picked up, all the freaks are doing it and I have nothing better to do so I might as well save Metropolis? Then there’s the whole Clark Kent issue, the man’s personality is so earnest and sweet you talk to him for five minutes and you walk away with type II diabetes. My final sticking point was the glasses. Glasses? Really? That’s your disguise? Batman has a cowl and mask so no one recognizes him and all you do is take off your glasses and I’m supposed to believe no one recognizes you? If I take off my glasses and dress different from normal my friends aren’t going to wonder who I am, most of the guys probably won’t even realize that I’ve changed anything. Sorry, I got off topic venting about Superman but these were the feeling I had going in to see Man of Steel.

Sitting in the theater before the movie started all I could think was ‘oh goody another origin story reboot, and it’s my least favorite superhero. Yay.’ I’ve grown so tired of origin stories, lately the movie industry has been saturated with remakes, reboots, re-whatever and honestly it’s boring. I rarely get excited over movies anymore. When I see a remotely interesting movie trailer, instead of ‘I can’t wait to see this in theaters’ it’s ‘meh, I’ll wait till it comes out on dvd’. Then The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug trailer came on and I had a moment of squee, have you seen the trailer for that? So great! Then came Man of Steel and I have to say, I absolutely loved it.

There are many fans who are worried that because it was Christopher Nolan the movie would be too dark and gritty like the Dark Knight trilogy. Read these words and repeat after me: it’s not Dark Knight. Got it? Good. Yes, Man of Steel is darker than any Superman movie before it but think dark in the way Star Trek or the Avengers is dark, honestly I wouldn’t use the word dark with Man of Steel I consider it more heightened reality than dark and gritty. For the first time in my life I felt that I could understand Clark Kent, more than that (I can’t believe I’m saying this) I felt that I could LIKE Clark Kent. He felt like a real person, he wasn’t plain white bread anymore but an individual who had to deal with the same crap the rest of us did (bullying, growing up, feeling like a total freak, etc) with the added issue of hiding who he was so the black helicopters wouldn’t pick him up and take him to some government lab where he’s dissected for science. He was so…human. His honest, unassuming, almost vulnerable at times, nature was balanced by the rage, sorrow, and confusion that afflicts us all. And he had a good sense of humor, you don’t understand how important that is until a character doesn’t have it. Interestingly enough the whole movie I was actually hoping that he would succeed and usually I’m on the side of the bad guys in a Superman movie.

The graphics and aesthetic of this move were amazing. Krypton looked like something from Star Wars or John Carter, you get a good feel of the world and some of the culture before it’s completely annihilated and I gave bonus points for their counsel looking like they had raided the Time Lord Counsel’s closet. I really liked the flow of the movie as well, instead of the traditional straight line that the Superman movies usually take (meaning it starts with Krypton being destroyed, scenes from childhood, Daily Planet, bad guy fight scene, save Lois, save the day. Rinse, lather and repeat) his childhood is in flashbacks. There are a ton of cool fight scenes too, all the mindless violence and destruction an audience could ask for. I had some minor issues with the main bad guy but it was mostly that looking at him unnerved me because even though I knew it was an actor I kept feeling like he was cgi, maybe it was the costume. Made his head look like it didn’t go on that body.

There’s also another aspect to this movie that really affected how I judged it. Henry Cavill. I’m usually not shallow, I find talent and intelligent hot over looks but have you seen him? He doesn’t need heat vision to burn me up with those steel-blue eyes. There is some serious fan service in this movie and for once it is in the girls favor. I might have zoned out a couple times hypnotized by those abs and eyes and hair….where was I? Right, lets just say this movie has something for everyone. Little bit of romance, ton of action and explosions, sci-fi goodness, and a man of steel who stole my heart. It’s a visually stunning movie and what I remember of the plot (the parts where Cavill wasn’t shirtless) was good. Man of Steel is a refreshing film in a tired genre.


Ender’s Game: The Fate of Humanity is Child’s Play

enders-gameThis book has been on my shelf a long time, one of those sci-fi staples that you tell yourself you’ll get around to reading and then you let it collect dust for a few years. In fact I had forgotten until recently that I even owned this book. It wasn’t until I was reorganizing my bookshelves that I noticed it and decided on a whim to read it and when I did I mentally kicked myself for leaving it unread on a shelf for so long. This book is a masterpiece. I’m always a bit trepidatious when it comes to those ‘if your a fan of -insert fandom here-‘ must reads. I think it’s partly because I don’t like being told what I “must read” if I’m a sci-fi or fantasy fan and also because if I do read one and I don’t like it I feel like it’s my fault and now I have to hand in my fan card. Luckily this was not the case with Ender’s Game.

The human race had been attacked by the Formics, an intelligent insectoid alien race more commonly and derogatorily known as “buggers”, we won the first and second invasions but barely and at great cost. To keep that from happening again the Battle School was made and now exceptionally bright children are selected and enrolled into the school to be trained as the next generation of soldiers, better, faster, smarter. Enter the main character Andrew “Ender” Wiggin a brilliant 6-year-old boy, a social outcast for being a Third (third child) in a world where the United States only permits families to have two children and you need to request government permission to have a third. Like all children Ender was monitored (some kind of chip I think in the back of the neck that lets the government see and hear what you do…creepy) and he was chosen to go to the Battle School. Ender was picked right off the bat as the best of the best and was deemed humanity’s last hope. While that’s all well and good for humanity but Ender is a child (yes an exceptional one but still…) and he is pushed to limits that grown men would have buckled under while still having the pure innocence that only children can have.

This book was amazing, the way it captures the essence of human nature is masterful. I easily shifted from one characters viewpoint to the other feeling the emotions they felt, every slight and injustice and then another characters voice would take over and I would see it from the opposite side. That’s what I love about this book, there really isn’t a bad guy. Usually in a book you see things from the perspective of one person or a few people but all of them on the same side. You sympathize with them, their viewpoints become yours and the enemy is nothing more than an evil (sometimes simple other times more complex) that stands against everything you do and must be stopped for the good of blah blah etc. Ender’s Game is more than that. Even the buggers a race that tried to wipe out the humans, something that most books would have left as an evil alien race who we either defeat or we die a heroic death, we see things from their side. How our cultural and racial differences lead to the near destruction of first one race and then the other.

Ender’s Game had me continually conflicted, the different viewpoints all right in their own way made my head spin. Like real life, I found myself confused and asking myself the question ‘Who am I to deem who’s evil?”. These people were just trying to live their lives, make the hard decisions that come with life doing the best they could while sticking to what they believed was right and for the good of others. Why do I, an impassive observer, get to label them as good or evil/ hero or villain?

I would recommend this book to anyone (I give it a five out of five stars) however I would offer a warning to those who would read it. DON’T try to power through this book. If there are any readers out there like me (the “just one more chapter, oh hey when did it become morning? Crap I gotta get to work and I haven’t slept” readers) please note that this book isn’t for the faint of heart. The writing style is easy to read and the subtle simplicity lures you into a false sense of security, so the emotions sneak up on you. I actually rage quit twice because I read for too long and it was too much for me, I would throw the book down and pace the room muttering to myself “people are just so….grrr! Why?! Why?!”. I needed time to digest what I had witnessed and come to terms with what I was feeling before I could pick up the poor abused book and continue the story.

I understand why Ender’s Game is considered a must-read for any Science Fiction fan. This unassuming little book holds up a mirror to humanity and strips away the white lies and illusions we allow ourselves on a day-to-day basis. I wasn’t told or led to feel a certain way but I would feel for each of the characters. The raw emotion I felt was difficult for me to understand, I would have to analyze why I was so angry at a certain character when I had felt sympathy for them only chapters before. The difference between a good book and a great book is that while both are entertaining a great book gets you to start thinking, asking questions that you normally wouldn’t ask yourself or others. Ender’s Game is one of the greats; it challenged me and I would spend hours contemplating the chapter I had read, piecing and re-piecing my viewpoint from what I had learned. At the end of Orson Scott Card’s 324 page book I sat in silence for a while absorbing everything I had just experienced. As my thoughts began to return to the real world it dawned on me that for the first time in a long time, even if only for a brief moment, I had regained a sense of wonder.

 

 

p.s. For those who don’t know this book is becoming a movie this year. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t lose too much in translation.


9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors. Aka: Spikey Evil Brain Torture on a Sinking Ship…in a fun way.

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Hello my internet peeps! I missed you, did you miss me? No? Psh, you know you missed me.

Anywho, I might have said this before in my blog but I’m not much of a gamer. Halo, Portal, Left 4 Dead, any game that requires some level of skill and/or hand-eye coordination, it’s pathetically sad at how bad I am at these games. Don’t get me wrong I like games, I am awesome at backseat playing, but hand me a controller and the word noob flashes across my forehead like a neon light. That’s why I love my Nintendo DS, easier to play and the games don’t have people screaming at you in several languages because you accidentally blew up your own team (I said I was sorry! Didn’t wanna play in the first place… jerks). I also love it because with the DS it is easier to find the kind of games I love the most, puzzle games. I own every Professor Layton game as well as some Phoenix Wright games, if I’m having to mutter to myself and get out a piece of paper to solve the problem then I love the game.

When I say these games are easier to play what I mean is there isn’t a lot of running, jumping, climbing, shooting, and complicated maneuvers I need to learn. These games are by no means easy, don’t be fooled by their cutesy anime appearance it’s a lie, they are actually evil brain teasers I need to conquer. My newest obsession is called 999 (9 Hours-9 Persons-9 Doors). This game is so beautifully frustrating, stunningly intelligent, and wonderfully obscure that by halfway through the game I was filled with a mix of emotions ranging from elation of finding a game that was not only truly challenging but interesting in both new ideas that I had never heard of before and a detailed, twisted storyline that made me wonder if the writers for Doctor Who had a hand in the game to so friggen frustrated that I wanted to bang my head against the wall repeatedly to make all the thinking stop. I literally had dreams about this game while playing it because my brain was still trying to figure out the puzzles after my body had given up and decided to sleep.

I had wanted 999 for a while, this is not a new game, but I’m a poor kid so I was watching and waiting till the price went down enough that I could justify buying it. Luckily instead of gifts I didn’t want my family decided to give me money for Christmas (best. gift. ever.) and I was able to buy the game I had been wanting for well over a year. The wait was worth it. This game is excruciating mental torture to anyone short of Mensa members, and I loved every second of it (even if it did make me want to bang my head against a wall). I’m also letting everyone know now that not only will you need to play this game several times you will need to get a walk-through eventually to find the true ending. If someone can find it without a walk-through then congratulations you are a genius. Kudos to you, you win at life.

Possible spoilers (depends on your definition of “spoilers”)

999 starts out with your character, a young man by the name of Junpei, waking up in a small locked room not knowing how he got there. There are some bunk beds, a sink, and a window that looks like a porthole. So automatically you figure out that you’re probably on a ship. There is a number 5 on the locked door and there’s a bracelet on your wrist (something you didn’t have before) with a number 5 on it. While you’re trying to figure out how the heck you got there you hear a not so good sound, creaking metal and breaking glass, guess what? Yup the window’s broken and water is rushing into the room. Now you have to find a way out before you drown. One of the interesting things I liked about this game was the gameplay. It’s half visual novel where you read what’s happening and can make choices sometimes to move along the story, and half interactive investigating where you find clues and put together items you find to solve the puzzles presented to you. Nothing is highlighted, all the text is important, and there are no hints when investigating. All decisions and brain work are up to you.

Once you figure the relatively easy introductory puzzle (relative being the optimum term here) you escape the room of watery death and head up the stairs, stairs that look suspiciously (exactly) like the stairs in the Titanic, where you meet a group of strange-looking people (there’s one dressed like a belly dancer and some guy who looked like a thug etc. I just shrugged it off as anime logic). These people seem to be in the same boat as you, literally and figuratively, all don’t know how they got her (or so they say…) and all have a bracelet similar to yours, numbers 1-9 (excluding 5 as that is your number). A person’s voice comes in over the intercom in the ship claiming to be someone called “Zero” and saying he/she had brought you here to play a little game known as the Nonary game. The object of the game is simple; go through the numbered doors 1-9, they are not placed in order, looking for the number 9 door as that door is the exit and you win the game. What’s the catch? Oh, not much really. Just the fact that you have to figure out difficult and even deadly puzzles to get through the doors, also that bracelet on your wrist is connected to a bomb inside your body that if you don’t follow the rules of the game you blow up, and that ship you’re on? Yeah its sinking. You have 9 hours with 9 persons to get through 9 doors, or you die. Fun right?

This game had so many new topics and ideas, some of which I had never even heard of before, and it’s big on the tangential learning. You read something a character says, for example hexagonal numbers, and you’re going “I have no idea what that is and now I need to know” and then spend hours looking it up just so you can keep up with the dialog. Made my brain hurt from thinking so much. The people who made this game are either evil geniuses bent on torturing the masses for their own enjoyment, or it’s some kind of weird Japanese payback for WWII, or (this is the worst one) they just expect everyone to be this smart. If this is a normal game in Japan then I better start learning Japanese so I can easily take orders from my future overlords (unless the computers beat them to it, but I am not learning binary). The most interesting part of the game? There are multiple endings, I know some of you are like “So? Lots of games have that” yes but do those games use the hypothesis of morphic resonance and morphic fields to make you play it several times remembering tidbits you’ve learned with every new ending to get to the true ending of the game? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

999 is like Pheonix Wright + a Visual Novel + Saw (without the gore) + that evil robot GLaDOS from the Portal games, all rolled into one entity, iced in frustration and tears, with genius sprinkles on top. If you play this game, which I highly recommend you do (I’m evil like that), then I empathize with your pain. It really is fun, if you can hold on to your sanity. Good luck!


Do You Hear The People Sing? A Review Of Les Miserables.

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Last night I went to go watch Les Miserables in theaters. What can I say about this movie? It was one of the first movies I’ve seen in a long time that I would honestly call a masterpiece. I know that word gets thrown around by critics all the time and it has lost its meaning because of that but it’s true Les Miserables was a cinematic masterpiece. When the movie opened and the music swelled in the theater I actually whispered “wow”. It was an overwhelming feeling that sweeps you into the world of Les Mis and pulls you down a path of pain (lots and lots of pain), redemption, hope, love, and freedom.

The thing to know if you want to see Les Miserables is that it’s not the polished musical that people might expect. Les Mis is the first movie musical that records the music while they are acting. Traditionally movie musicals prerecord the music with the people singing and then later when filming the actor mouths what he/she has sung earlier. This gives us the polished perfect singing we usually expect in a musical (it also explains why these people never run out of breath when doing difficult dance routines and “singing”). Movie musicals also usually have acting and then people randomly burst into song. Les Mis doesn’t do that, for one it’s an opera and for those who don’t know what that is it means they sing the whole time, no talking. Don’t let that scare you though the music is fantastic, think new operas like Repo! The Genetic Opera not old ones like Carmen (I’m not saying anything against old operas I like them but they can be a bit inaccessible to a younger generation who can’t understand or associate with them).

It was a scary thing (and a really ballsy move) for the makers of the movie to do, record the singing while it was happening in the movie, it could have gone so very wrong very quickly. Like Javert does in the movie, Les Mis the entire time was walking a dangerous road on the edge of a steep fall and one wrong step would have led to a terrible death. Though the movie had some close calls they pulled it off beautifully and the fact that Les Miserables was an opera actually played into the favor of this new way of making a movie musical. The songs weren’t polished, they felt real and you weren’t yanked out of the reality of the movie because they all of a sudden burst into song. You were kept there and the way the actors took the songs and made them their own gave a sense of familiarity of a beloved musical but also made you feel the raw harshness and fragility of the world of Les Miserables. It stripped away the safe boundary you are given with a stage musical or a movie musical because it took away the feeling of “it’s only a musical” and replaced that with the a heavy realism that some people might not be able to handle.

One of the pleasant surprises of the movie was Russel Crowe as Javert. Russel Crowe has a beautiful singing voice and I didn’t know that before this movie so it was a nice little tidbit of ‘well how about that’. They cast this movie very well Hugh Jackman played the lead of Jean Valjean wonderfully (I only had issues with one of his songs but it was a minor nitpick), Anne Hathaway’s Fantine made me weep (in the good way), and while I felt that Amanda Seyfried’s voice was a bit thin for the part of the elder Cosette it wasn’t unpleasant (plus she’s pretty). The rest of the cast played their parts well and I was partial to the girl who played Eponine, Samantha Barks, she was definitely one of my favorite characters.

This movie I would suggest to anyone who loves music and has any form of human emotion. Les Miserables is a moving musical that took risky chances that paid off well and highlighted well the emotions of a tumultuous time. These make you feel for them even though you know they are probably doomed and despite that you hope for them. That’s what I loved most about this movie, it is one of the most depressing things ever and yet it’s so very human in the way it hopes in impossible circumstances, in the way that people even after being defeated have the courage to continue to dream and to fight for a better future. I left the theater eyes swollen from tears (I cried the entire end of the movie and I don’t usually cry in theaters) my heart was heavy from all of the heart-wrenching feels I had just been put through and yet I also had this undeniable feeling like a fire had been lit in me and that no matter what I should never give up on my dreams.

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
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Expecting the Unexpected: A Review of The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey - Martin Freeman Going Outside

There have been a lot of reviews already about The Hobbit, I know this because my dad sent me a ton of them. Nearly all of them were mixed reviews but after reading all of them and being pestered about how different this movie was going to be and how many critics hadn’t liked it I threw up my hands in frustration. I said “You know what? The only review that matters is mine”, now I’m not saying that in all of the internet the only opinion that counts for anything is mine (I’m not that egocentric) what I’m saying is that I wasn’t going to be pushed around and my viewpoint changed just by what some critic said. I’m going to watch it for myself and then make my own opinion, only then will I have a review that I feel is accurate. I suggest that anyone who reads this review do the same, if you wanted to see The Hobbit don’t be influenced by what I say, just go see it.

Now many of the reviews I read brought up the same issues. The pacing was off/too slow, the new higher shutter speed didn’t add anything to the movie and was actually a detriment, people who weren’t hardcore fans of Tolkiens work wouldn’t be able to understand/enjoy the movie, how are they going to make three movies out of a 300pg book? etc, etc the list is long and just makes you feel bummed out after a while. I think I’m going to talk about my overall experience instead of picking it apart, I might pick it apart, we’ll see.

I went to go see The Hobbit, an Unexpected Journey with my brother and a couple of my friends, one who was a true Tolkien fan and the other had barely watched the LOTR movies (don’t worry I’ll remedy that). As I have stated in a previous post that I was a member of the Tolkien Society in high school we’ll all just assume I’m a big Tolkien fan. I knew going into this movie that they had added stuff to the movie that wasn’t in the book, Jackson had used Tolkiens notes as well as parts of the appendices from LOTR and the Silmarillion (a book which even Tolkien fans have trouble getting through, it’s so dry) to expand the movie. Many fans were kinda pissed about this but I don’t see why, when I was watching the movie I was truly enjoying what Jackson intended with this movie, a whole Middle Earth experience. Honestly the only time if found myself not enjoying the movie was when I was trying to identify what was and wasn’t in the book because nitpicking like that took me out of the experience. After I stopped trying to put the Hobbit in this little box of expectations that are set when a movie is translated from a book and I just accepted it for what it was, and what it was was a wonderful movie with a warm feeling to it that we don’t get to have with Lord of the Rings, I was able to relax and immerse myself into a comfortable and familiar world.

Many people said that Jackson was trying to recapture lightning in a bottle like he had with Lord of the Rings and he fell short with the Hobbit. Well yeah if you were expecting it to be a heart-wrenching epic like the LOTR movies filled with a bittersweet mixture of hope and despair then yes you will be sorely disappointed (if you want to see that the go see Les Miserables when it comes out, so excited about that by the way). The Hobbit is set 60 years before the events of LOTR the world then wasn’t fully poisoned by the darkness of Mordor (though there are hints of the events to come in the movie) Middle Earth was in a basically peaceful time when Bilbo set off on his adventure of course the pacing and the overall feel of the movie will be different. There was only one point in The Hobbit that made me go “this is exactly like Lord of the Rings” and that was when the group was climbing the mountain, the rest of it is familiar because it’s in the same world with similar characters but you can tell its a different movie. So don’t over think this, let it happen. Watching the Hobbit for me was, the only way I can describe it is cozy, it’s like pulling on a pair of old pj’s and snuggling under your favorite quilt. I got the warm fuzzies watching this movie and I wasn’t the only one the whole audience was very responsive to this movie, they laughed in all the right places (that’s another thing that is wonderful about this movie, it has really funny moments) and they were invested in it. A little girl sitting behind me actually said “no, don’t pick that up” when Bilbo found the ring, it was adorable. At the end of the movie people even applauded. There was one teenage girl who said as she was walking out “That was boring, I fell asleep” and the guy she was talking to was like “What the fuck is wrong with you? That was great.” yes random dude I don’t know but by chance overheard, it was great. I can’t wait for the next installment.

 


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