Lion King Remake

Okay… I’m told that we’re going into a movie topic today. Let’s see what are we dealing with…

The Lion King (2019)

“CG-animated re-imagining of the 1994 Walt Disney classic The Lion King”

… … …

I quit.

I’m sorry guys, I’m done. To all my readers and followers, thanks for your support throughout all this time.

I’d especially like to thank my family and friends for being so loving and supportive… but this is it, I’m done. I would also like to retract my previous statements about Hollywood originality. 

Thanks friends… and farewell!

(Disclaimer: I’m not actually quitting, this was just my attempt to voice my utter disdain for this move by Disney, if it wasn’t painfully obvious.)



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

What is Metal?

Christ… I can’t believe I’m tackling this one. Metal is such a subjective term and it’s hard to specifically define it. There are also several sub genres of Metal… some more insane than others.

So let’s think about this for a moment… what is the makeup of a metal band? A self-proclaimed Metal Purist friend of mine says that the basic metal band is 2 guitarists, a singer, a bassist, and a set of drums.

Thus he considers bands like Five Finger Death Punch:

Or Killswitch Engage:

To be the quintessential makeup of Metal bands…

Bullshit. While they definitely fall under the metal category, I don’t believe that this is the basic standard for metal bands.

So what is?

Well it all started in the late 60s and 70s. Deep Purple is considered by many to be the first metal band with Black Sabbath and Led Zepplin following close behind. Those bands are/were made up the following way:

Led Zepplin:
Lead Guitar
Drums
Bass
Vocalist

Deep Purple:
Lead Guitar
Bass
Vocalist
Drummer
Keyboarder

Black Sabbath:
Guitar
Bass
Drums
Vocalist

Now are these bands considered Metal? Eh… by people who have been with the genre that long, perhaps. Honestly, given the sound of their early work, I think the term proto-metal is more appropriate.

Proto-Metal had a few more names join in the 1970s, including Iron Butterfly, Steppinwolf (Yeah you heard me right), Blue Cheer, and the Stooges. Notice why I’m careful to label these as proto-metal. Alice Cooper would also be added to this mix, however despite starting in 1963, he really didn’t become part of what’s known as metal for many years and did not gain significant enough attention until the 70s.

It was around this time in the 1970s that punk rock began to explode into popular culture and soon became a huge phenomenon. Motorhead was really the first band to bridge the gap and metal… essentially piggybacked off of Punk Rock’s popularity to pull it into the mainstream. This is when metal was truly born. Bands like Iron Maiden and Saxon became household names with other bands such as the scorpions quickly followed.

Suddenly, Metal was in the mainstream and a new genre known as ‘glam metal’ and ‘hair metal’ came to center stage. This is where bands like Quiet Riot, Motley Crew, Guns n Roses, W.A.S.P. and others joined the mix. Even Van Halen is considered by some to be part of this genre. This was also the era of the British Heavy Metal invasion with bands like Judas Priest entering the fray. Yeah the 80s were a good time to be alive if you were in to that kind of music… but all good things have to end…

The 90s…

Anyone who was caught growing up between the 80s and the 90s knows the massive paradigm shift in music styles. It was swift, vicious… and it was NOT pretty.

Ugh… turn it off… turn it off… I SAID TURN IT THE (CENSORED) OFF!!!

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Yeah thus begin the boy band wars of the 90s. It was a time when alternate and… arguably perverse styles of R&B, Dance, and techno got mixed together in what most people generally refer to as ‘Pop Music.’ It wasn’t a new phenomenon per se as it owed its roots to the 1970s, but it wasn’t anywhere near as huge or… intrusive at that point.

This is when metal went nuts. I mean went completely insane!

Suddenly Heavy Metal, Glam Metal, and Hair Metal broke up into SEVERAL subgenres…

Power Metal
Speed Metal
Pop Metal
Nu Metal
Rap Metal (Yes that’s a thing)
Avante Garde Metal
Black Metal
War Metal
Epic Metal
Victory Metal
Pirate Metal
Viking Metal
Rhythmic Metal
Symphonic Metal
Melodic Metal
Blackgaze
and perhaps the most recognizable version… at least to people outside of the genre, Death Metal:

So with all of these genres… what does this mean?

Well it means that while this is metal:

So is this…

This…

This…

This…

And yes, even this…

So what about this???

Um… I’ll leave that open to interpretation… Acapella Metal? Who knows…

But Jim, you still haven’t answered the big question, what is the basic metal band?

It’s a subjective term honestly. I do not share my friend’s view… why? Because that’s not the layout of the Heavy Metal bands, nor of the 80s bands and honestly the 70s and 80s are where metal really evolved into what we know and love. So with that in mind, the ideal metal band is as follows:

Standard:
Vocalist
Lead Guitar
Rhythem Guitar
Bass
Keyboard/Keytar
Drums

Minimum:
Vocalist
Guitar
Bass
Drums
Keyboard/Keytar.

So then Jim, what is metal? 

Honestly, it’s a convoluted mess!!! Just don’t let anyone tell you that only death metal is true metal and you’ll be fine.

So how do you identify a metal band then???

… … I dunno.

WHAT!?!?

I don’t know! Honestly, does it really matter? Listen to what you like. If you really need to know though, I’d consult the Encyclopedia Metallum. It’s  the best resource I know of…

Let me know what you think in the comments.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Historical Accuracy in Writing

Hi Jim,

I was wondering how important you feel it is to portray history accurately, even in a fantasy universe?

Thanks,
Mike


Hi Mike,

It really depends on how close to reality your story is. If you’re doing a sort-of ‘what if’ story, you can pretty much do whatever you want… to a point.

I’d say no matter what the case, you really do want to get some things right. You’ll want to be careful and do your research regarding things like what sort of items were available at the time, the personas of any people you’d be portraying, and the circumstances around what historical events you’re talking about.

Writing about history, even in a fictitious manner can be damaging. Let me give you a few examples…

I hate this movie for a number of reasons. Fast forward to 1:50 and watch what happens…

The Japanese open fire on Civilians and medical staff at the hospital in Pearl Harbor.

Sorry to swear, but this is bullshit! 100% bullshit and it really pisses me off. This scene is an attempt to #1 Put the heroine in harms way, #2 Needlessly over-vilify the bad guys.

Look, the attack on Pearl Harbor was terrible and the Japanese military was guilty of a lot of things, but attacking the Hospital was NOT one of them. This is easily researched, easily found documented history that the Japanese did NOT attack the hospital, even when they had a clear shot, they would not open fire.

This understandably pissed off the Japanese, Vets, and historians alike as anyone who knew ANYTHING about the Pearl Harbor attack, knew full well that the Japanese pilots were under strict orders not to attack civilian targets, and survivors note that even when they had a straight line of attack, the Japanese did not once attack the hospital itself.

Michael Bay himself OPENLY ADMITTED that the scene was added because it made the attack seem more barbaric.

That… is just wrong and the excuse that this movie is fiction doesn’t protect it.

One other example… and this one is more the fault of a misreading of history and inaccurate reporting by the American Press… imagine, the American Press wrongfully smearing someone’s reputation.

Okay, this one is a little bit more tricky, so let’s dive into the actual history a little more…

At that point in time (Early 1900s), it was considered noble for the captain, crew, and pretty much everyone over 13 with a penis to go down with the ship while everyone else made for the boats. At the very least, this was the attitude of American journalists at the time.

As such, Ismay, seen as ‘another captain’ by many was smeared for being a coward and, again per the media, jumping into a lifeboat while women and children were still on the deck:

 

Unfortunately, this movie follows that narrative and further smears the reputation of Ismay.

Here’s the problem with this… Ismay was a passenger. He wasn’t the captain. That role fell to Captain Edward J. Smith. He was the man that failed to heed ice warnings, did not slow his ship when ice was reported directly in his path, did not issue a general abandon ship order, allowed lifeboats to leave the sinking ship partially filled, and even confused which ship he was on by ordering lifeboats to be launched from the promenade deck, which was enclosed on the Titanic. The Olympic had lifeboats there.

He is directly responsible for the loss of the Titanic, he is ultimately responsible for all the failures of the command structure on board, and the tragic life that was needlessly lost.

… But he went down with the ship.

Ismay on the other hand was seen helping and urging passengers into lifeboats and even helped lower them away. There are witness accounts to this. Further, witnesses say that he was actually ordered into the lifeboat as there was no one else in the vicinity.

‘Had he not jumped in he would simply have added one more life, namely his own, to the number of those lost.’
-High Court judge Lord Mersey,  British enquiry into the loss of Titanic

But because he survived, while Smith went down with the ship, Ismay is continuously smeared to this day. The clip I provided showing Ismay convincing Smith to light the final boilers is pure fiction. The boilers were already lit, and there is no evidence nor witness testimony that Ismay acted outside of his place as a passenger. He lived out the rest of his life in shame, labelled a coward.

Meanwhile, Smith has a statue in Beacon Park, Lichfield, Staffordshire, England. He is portrayed as a noble man in most works, and there are even unsubstantiated stories of him placing a child into one of the boats before swimming off into the night.

Do you see now the importance of getting history right, even in a fictitious universe? A quick look at the facts surrounding the history, and Cameron could have made the bold move of helping to rightfully clear Ismay’s name. Instead he followed the bandwagon and furthered the narrative that the man was a coward who jumped into a lifeboat willingly and left women and children to die.

My advice to you is to take as much license as you like when writing history into fantasy, just take care not to wrongfully smear anyone who doesn’t deserve it… and be ready for the historical nitpickers to pull everything apart if you didn’t get the history right.

Remember, the First Three Rules of Writing History:
Research, Reseach, and God Help You If You Don’t Research!!!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

Chappaquiddick (2017) – Projection

I try to steer clear of movie reviews, especially projections… but as this one comes out of my home state… and given the subject matter, I feel the need to get a few things off my chest about this movie…

Per Masslive:
“Based on a script by Andrew Loga, the film recounts the 1969 car accident, where U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy drove off a Martha’s Vineyard bridge, leaving his passenger, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, to drown in a pond. Kennedy left the scene of the accident, returned home and failed to report the accident for nine hours.”

Okay… so for those of you not from the area, not alive during the 1980s election, or the incident in question, let me give you a little background…

The Chappaquiddick incident was a single-vehicle car accident on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts on July 18, 1969. The incident involved U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy. His 28-year-old companion, Mary Jo Kopechne, reportedly drowned, although the testimony of a diver would indicate suffocation instead.

According to his own testimony, Kennedy accidentally drove his car off a one-lane bridge and into a tidal channel before swimming free, leaving the scene, and not reporting the accident for nine hours. Meanwhile, Kopechne had died in the car through drowning or suffocation. The next day, Kopechne’s body and the car were both recovered by divers. Kennedy pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of a crash after causing injury and later received a two-month suspended jail sentence. The Chappaquiddick incident became a national scandal of the 1970s.

I should also note that it completely derailed any hopes he ever had about running for president.

Okay, I’ve seen a lot of hyperbole thrown back and forth. There’s a lot of speak about Ted Kennedy straight up murdering her, Mary Jo committing suicide, a family cover up, etc. etc. etc.

The list goes on.

What we know:
Kennedy didn’t report the incident for 9 hours.
Forensic analysts concluded that Mary Jo died of asphyxiation, not drowning and possibly could have been rescued.
Kennedy got off with a slap on the wrist.

Say what you will, but I don’t think anyone not of millionaire descent would have gotten off with a 2 month suspended sentence. Just saying. 

Before we go any further, I have to confess my own personal bias here. I was never a fan of Kennedy. I didn’t like him at all.

People say he did great things for our state… well… what? For years after he died, our infrastructure was on the verge of collapse, we’re still paying off the Big Dig, our transit system was 50 years out of date, and Cape Wind failed… which he claimed he was opposed to for enviornmental reasons… but I’m sure the fact that he had a house right next to where the windmills were supposed to be built didn’t factor in at all, right? Not to mention the fact that not long after his death, stories of our state reneging on it’s obligation to adopted children   due to lack of funding began to circulate… while we somehow had $38 million to pay for a shrine for him that his family could have easily foot the bill for.

But I don’t really want to sound TOO MUCH like a pundit, so I’m going to move on…

Lets see… what do we have for a plot?

On the eve of the moon landing, Senator Kennedy becomes entangled in a tragic car accident that results in the death of former Robert Kennedy campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne. The senator struggles to follow his own moral compass and simultaneously protect his family’s legacy, all while simply trying to keep his own political ambitions alive.

… Kay…

Who’s directing this?

I’m getting two different names here… the first is John Curran… who’s known for… Apparently nothing I’m familiar with.

The other name… Oh God! Sam Taylor-Johnson… the guy who directed the theatrical bomb based on one of the most repulsively unreadable works of dribble ever to hit the shelves is tackling this!!??

Well based on all that, we’re going to be seeing some serious revisionist history here folks… be very afraid… Honestly this whole thing seems to meant to appease the cult-like following Ted Kennedy has that has been dismissive of the incident as a non-issue.



Okay, let’s put all of that aside and look at what we know from a ‘by the numbers’ standpoint.

“Will this movie be any good?”

Well… honestly it’s hard to say. What little info is available on it is that it’s a fairly low budget film, which isn’t saying much. Most of the best movies out there had a tight budget. The cast is recognizable at best, there is talent there, but no real household names to speak of. This wouldn’t be an issue except that I’m familiar with most of the leading cast and none of them have ever really stood out enough to justify a leading role.

The choice of director… eh… well… I only know him from 50 shades and given how much I hate the book, I wasn’t in attendance for the film, so I’ll give him… a little benefit of the doubt? Maybe?

No you won’t!

Okay, you’re probably right about that.

Will it bomb?

Low budget indie films rarely do. RARELY. I can’t see anyone taking too big a loss on this. I do however have a hard time with who the demographic is supposed to be. The people who remember this incident aren’t really the big movie-going audience, and again, based on the revisionist nature of the plot we’ve seen thus far, I don’t see very many people outside of hard left democrats and Ted Kennedy fanboys enjoying this.

Should we take it seriously?

This movie is listed as a Thiller/Drama. If we’re speaking as to whether or not it’s historically accurate? I’d say no. Again, based on the plot, this seems like more conjecture and biased opinion than actual facts of the case. Note that most of the little bit of plot we have focuses more on supposed inner struggles that Ted Kennedy may have faced.

Will you see it?

Nope. As an avid history lover, attempts at revisionist history tend to annoy me greatly. (See Animal Farm for more info)

Then why bother talking about it?

Honestly, normally I wouldn’t have, but this is about something out of my area. I live and have lived in a climate where people have tried to make this man… this ‘Liberal Lion’ a God amongst men. Heck, we’ve even seen him appear on kids TV shows… because that’s who you’d want as a role model…

Okay, okay, I’m off topic so I’m going to stop now.

Basically, I decided to tackle this one because Historical Fantasy is my bread and butter, and minus any mystical creatures, that’s pretty much what this is.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Nazis are Bad!

There seems to be a rather annoying trend… I won’t say recently because it’s been going on for years, which is why it’s getting annoying. This trend is something we see in all mediums and it follows the same basic formula:

Bad Guy + Nazi Imagery = Effective Villain.

That’s right… is your bad guy lacking in back story? Are they just not cutting it evil-wise? Well then, bring in some Nazi imagery! Once you do that, if your audience isn’t ‘crap their pants scared’ or made with rage, then you need a new audience.

I started noticing it a while ago, but we really get good examples of it in Harry Potter:
tumblr_inline_nq5oubdvkv1rq3374_500

… Does this look familiar?

1st.png

Similar color schemes, similar message, etc. etc. etc.

Another good example is Star Wars The Force Awakens:

Okay… as Epic as that Speech is… yeesh…

Needless to say… these examples and too many like them are beyond blatant.

Look I’m not here to say that the Nazis aren’t bad, nor am I going to say that they shouldn’t be smeared in commentary. My grandfather came home with horror stories about what he saw when his battalion liberated some of the camps. I have first-hand witness accounts from a family member… so no one is going to dispute Nazi villainy on my watch.

That said, this formula does tend to get blatantly overused. I see it all too often in cases where the bad guy isn’t ‘bad’ enough… but then I see it in stories like Star Wars where it’s just completely unnecessary. We know the first order, we know their backstory and we know why they’re evil. The Nazi symbolism and imagery is completely unnecessary. If your reasoning for doing it isn’t because your villains aren’t well-written enough, why are you doing it?

Because the Nazis were evil and this is social commentary against them.

Well… you know what? We’ve got literally thousands of books, movies, documentaries, etc. telling us that. We know they’re evil and anyone who doesn’t think so, isn’t going to be swayed by your movies.

My only point here is that it’s been overdone. I mean if you’re going to do social commentary in your medium about the evils mankind has committed, why not one that’s a little more glossed over:

The atrocities of the Soviet Union pre, during, and post-WW2 which were arguably on a scale much larger than anything Hitler had been able to accomplish.

The Chinese atrocities following WW2?

The Vietnam atrocities on both sides.

The ongoing ethnic and militaristic cleansing in Africa?

Or how about something more modern, say… What’s going on in the Middle East right now?

But people may not recognize those as easily…

Maybe that’s the problem? People keep saying that they want to show that the Nazis were evil so that things like what they did will never happen again.

Sadly, they are happening again. Maybe not on such a huge scale, but they are happening again right now, as I write this and as you read it. So maybe its time to use that imagery and bring attention to it.

So I just want to say one more time, I’m not opposed to Nazi imagery when creating villains, I just think it’s kind of overused.

What do you think? Should we continue to use it as heavily as possible to keep such wide-scale genocides from happening again or should we switch focus to more recent tragedies?
Let me know in the comments.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Bringing History to Life

Hi Jim,

Congrats on the new Novel!

So I was wondering about historical characters. You mentioned that much of your work is historical fiction and I’m currently working on a story like that myself. I was wondering what difficulties you faced, if any, when you used a historical figure as a character in your writing?

Many thanks,
Liam.

Hi Liam,

Great question, and honestly the answer may disappoint you. I honestly find it easier to write characters from history than to create new ones. This is especially true with people who lived in the 1700s-1800s as there is usually a lot of information available about them. Drawing upon historical documentation and then creating a character’s personality around those documents is not only fun, but very satisfying when you finish writing your character, then go back and read stories about their actual lives. If you did everything right, the character you created should be almost unrecognizable from the real person.

Problems arise from two locations that I can see;

  1. Living Family… this is where you have to be VERY careful. I cannot overstate this. In this case, you can’t just create a character based on documentation. A lot more research has to go into it to get the person’s personality right, this could include speaking to the family directly and obtaining their permission and written approval. This is especially true if it’s a main character.
  2. Lack of documentation. So here’s where the guess-work comes in. If this is a character that lived during the 1600s or prior, chances are a lot of the documentation has been lost. In these cases, I try to refrain from making them a main character, or just do the best I can based on the information available. A static character could be appropriate here.

Anyway, I hope this helps a little!


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Damnation Update

Hi All,

Just wanted to give a quick update.

Things are progressing smoothly.

Cover is on schedule, the ISBN and all the legal documentation is going through, and the editing is almost complete.

At this point 8/20 looks like it is still going to happen (fingers crossed on this one).

The book will be available in three formats:
Hardcover
Paperback
Kindle


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim