The Death Of Star Wars: “Toxic” Fandom and Drama #StarWars #LucasFilm #Fans #TheMandalorian

As I’ve said before… if you thought TLJ was the worst Star Wars ever put out, watch this, learn why you’re wrong, then come back and let’s talk.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYBODY!!! LMAO!!!



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

Action Figure Review, Star Wars CUSTOM Black Series Mara Jade

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This figure is a custom design done by Eric LeFeber of Insidious Customs and has been featured on several websites, including StarWarsCustom.net.

I saw it on Ebay a few weeks ago and instantly fell in love with it. Hasbro and other companies have yet to release a 6in figure of her and the selection of figures available for this character are… well… let’s just say there’s not much to choose from. The 3.75 inch figures either have weird faces, bulk body sculpts (huge shoulders), or the hair is insane. For such a beloved character out of the now-Legends series, you’d think there would have been better options made. There is a large anime statue of her that isn’t terrible, but it’s super expensive and the art is from a form of Japanimation. If you’re not into anime, this isn’t for you. So that one caters to a specific audience.

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So Mara Jade has unfortunately been all but forgotten in the action figure world… or so we thought. Then this little magnificent piece shows up…

So let’s take a look at it!

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She comes with a purple lightsaber, a removable gray cape, and a blaster. Her belt is not removable, but the goggles are.

I absolutely love the design of the figure. The creator got her almost perfect, down to the little details. Her eyes are green and her hair is the correct color. The paint quality is top notch and feels very durable. This has been a problem I’ve had with other customs where the paint can and often does rub off when you’re trying to put the figure into a new pose.

Her belt and lightsaber appear to be taken from the Jaina Solo black series figure and repainted. It’s a nice touch as they both resemble the what we see Mara Jade with in the mediums she actually appears.

One thing I will note is that it seems people can’t decide if the color of her outfit is blue or black. The creator went with black and that’s fine by me as some of the action figures did as well. This figure appears to be from the Emperor’s Hand time period, so that makes sense.

It can do several poses and the body looks like it’s the female Marvel Legends mold (I think), thus it is quite versatile. However, here’s where we run into our first problem. One leg appears to be a few millimeters longer than the other leg. As such, the figure cannot stand straight up on both feet without bending one foot slightly. She looks better in a ‘ready’ stance because of this.

Another issue is that the belt doesn’t quite fit her properly. I think I might try heating it to see if I can get a better mold to the figure from it, but I have not decided yet. It’s a minor quip, but one I thought I should bring up.

My last and final issue with the figure is gun.

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It actually looks like the gun she uses, so credit where credit is due… however, the gun seems a little big for her and not really to scale. (look at it in comparison with the one in the photo. Arguably it’s not super huge, but it is noticeable. It also goes to my only MAJOR complaint with the figure; the gun does NOT fit into the holster. Not even close. There is no way to jam it in there. As a result, there is no way to get it to fit, and because the character can only grip one accessory (the other hand is open), you can’t have both on her at the same time.

My rating… 3.5/5

This is a tough one, because while the figure has some problems, but I really do love it. The creator clearly put a lot of time in choosing the correct parts and sculpts so that it actually looks like Mara down to perfection. The problems with the figure are mostly minor and even the most critical of collector can live with.

If you’re interested in this one, I’d encourage everyone to keep an eye on Eric’s blog and his ebay listing. He posts some really great stuff there!



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Death Of Star Wars: “Toxic” Fandom and Drama #StarWars #LucasFilm #Fans #TheMandalorian

Full disclaimer, I do not believe that all Star Wars fans are toxic, not by half. So please actually read my article before you get all hot under the collar one way or another. If you disagree with me, let’s talk about it in the comments. 

Okay, I know I’m treading on rather sensitive grounds here, but this is something I really think I need to go over. As of late, there has been a lot of mudslinging back and forth between Entertainment News Media, Hollywood, and the fan base of Star Wars. Though admittedly my blog has a limited readership, I wanted to do my part to try to tackle each of these and create a point of order… or some semblance of sanity. 

First thing I want to tackle, is Star Wars dead? I’ve actually heard some people out there, including independent journalist Tim Pool say that Star Wars was dead the moment The Last Jedi hit the theater. A lot of people stated that the more they saw it, the worse it got… and honestly, that’s fair criticism. Upon seeing the backlash to it, I wrote a post defending the Last Jedi. I stand by what I said at that point, though even I have to admit that each time I watch it, it really does get worse and worse. Perhaps another bad sign that it wasn’t good was when I left the theater, my wife asked me if I liked it, my response was ‘I don’t know’. That has NEVER happened. I loved Episode 1 so much that I went and bought all the action figures when I left the theater… and they’re pretty much worthless now. I still defend the prequel trilogy because I don’t think it was as bad as everyone said and has a lot of good elements that adds to the Star Wars mythos.

For The Last Jedi, okay… I’ll come out and say it. It was bad.

HOWEVER, if you think The Last Jedi was the worst thing to ever happen to Star Wars, go watch The Holiday Special, Caravan of Courage, or the Battle for Endor, realize why you’re wrong, then come back and talk to me.

A close acquaintance of mine once said that once Disney purchased Star Wars, we’d all be begging for Lucas to come back within a few years. I’m honestly not sure that’s true. Let’s take a look at what Disney has put out individually…

The Force Awakens: AWESOME! Yes, somewhat of a retread of ANH, but there was enough new stuff to keep us interested and IT FELT LIKE STAR WARS!!!

Rogue One: A gritty look at the Rebellion’s behind the scenes activities. It was gutsy and had the best space battle since Endor. It was action packed, and kept me on the edge of my seat.

Rebels: I have to admit… I love this show. Like… I REALLY love this show. it had a few problems and… God help us, it brought continuity-killing time travel themes into Star Wars, but it handled them well (so far), brought back fan favorite Ahsoka Tano, introduced inquisitors, and brought Malachor from KOTOR 2 into the fold.

The Last Jedi: This… yeah, was a horrible HORRIBLE mess. However, one issue I take with the criticism was the concept of fuel… um… fuel has been around in the Star Wars universe for a while. In ANH we see them fueling the fighters, and in TPM, they literally say “There’s not enough fuel to reach Coruscant”! That’s the whole reaon they had to set down on Tatooine.

Solo: Had some problems and no one asked for it, and yes… I don’t like who they cast as Solo, but the movie itself was pretty good. It was a somewhat dark, but lighthearted heist movie. For what it was, it was pretty good.

The Mandalorian: SO FAR, it’s been awesome!

So, there you go. One truly bad movie. That’s it, that’s all we have to complain about here. The jury is still out on The Rise of Skywalker, and granted we’ve heard that there have been production trouble… but the movie isn’t even out yet. This movie could be a make or break for Star Wars as everything comes down to how it ends, but we still have to wait and see.

So let’s move onto the second topic, toxic fandom… Are Star Wars fans truly toxic as a whole? NO! Absolutely not! Star Wars fans are really the most loyal fanbase there is. These were the people who kept the hype going even during the dark ages of 1983-1991 when there was close to nothing coming out for the franchise and kids like me, who were born after the movies came out, had to rely on their older cousins and siblings to get their hands on the merch. It is a very diverse group of fans ranging all ages, cultures, ethnicity, and backgrounds.

I will admit that some fans consider Star Wars sacred and I can understand that. My intro to Star Wars comes before I was even born! My mother saw Return of the Jedi in theater while pregnant with me! Apparently I was very excited during the whole thing. So I can understand why Star Wars fans get so vocal about their disdain when something bad comes out.

Now, does that mean that some fans don’t take things too far or are not worthy of the label ‘toxic’? No…

The toxicity has been on full display with the treatment of people like Kelly Marie Tran and Jake Lloyd. It is sad commentary on what they’ve had to deal with. On top of that, we get people who are saying that the whole franchise is dead because of one movie, or are refusing to watch the good movies/shows because the franchise is dead, or just seem to be unable to please. This is part of the reason so many directors have refused to tackle Star Wars.

That being said, they are hardly the majority or even a vast percentage. These days, for some reason, Hollywood has gone head-first into the political realm… and not just politics, but deeply divisive, arguably radical one-sided politics. As a result, they seem to have become part of the twitteratti and entered into a bubble where everyone who doesn’t like the direction they go is… seemingly akin to Adolf Hitler himself. As such, when people criticize their movies, those people are labelled as haters and toxic. This is propaganda and nothing more. I think in many cases, this meme sums up the problem pretty well…

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So if you want to make the argument that Hollywood is complicit in creating this whole ‘toxic’ fanbase problem, I’m right there with you. This also lends credence to my argument that politics can ruin a story if that is the focus. Anyone who reads my posts knows that I try to keep things apolitical with the exception of two areas; children, because I love kids and have long advocated for their welfare… something that should be universal, and escapism, because I feel like it’s so important and politics has invaded almost every facet of our lives, making it near impossible to escape.

So in summation… Star Wars is not dead and Hollywood is as toxic as they claim the majority of the fan base is. People… it’s just a creative universe. I know we all love it, but it’s not worth getting this worked up over. If you loved the original movies and the clone wars series… they’re still there, you can go watch them and enjoy. The books from the original Expanded Universe are still being published, as are the comics! Star Wars is awesome, go enjoy the literal universe of material!



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

Darth Vader, Shards of the Past

Wanted to share this as I am a HUGE fan of the Star Wars Theory Channel! They do amazing stuff on there and are really high-level storytellers in their own right!



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Action Figure Review, Star Wars Bandai SH Figuarts Padme Amidala

All I can say is thank God for the secondary market. Half of the best figures would be impossible to acquire otherwise!

I haven’t done one of these reviews in a while, so I thought I’d make today’s offiering a good one!

Today I’m reviewing the Bandai S.H. Figuarts Padme Amidala Episode II Japanese (sigh) exclusive!

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Let me just start off by saying that I LOVE these figures. The detail and the painting are great, but the big winner is the face sculpts. These put even some of the more details PVC statues to shame! It is actually kind of freaky how much these look like the characters they’re meant to portray. So let’s delve into this figure.

We’ll start in the obvious place… the box! This figure comes packaged in two boxes and I really do recommend keeping both if you plan on keeping her as a collector’s piece. Most people won’t care about the cover box, but I’d still say keep it.

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(… obviously, you’re not going to keep her in the damn thing!)

So after opening this box, we move onto the second package.

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This is where one of my few complaints comes from with this figure. There is no window! This will be a pretty big problem for the purists that don’t even want to open the damn box! Which I do not agree with, as long as you keep the box in perfect shape and it can be opened or resealed without damage, it should be okay, but that’s an argument for a different day. I know a lot of people, myself included, like to display these figures in the box. I don’t think you can really do that with this one. So that’s a bit of a letdown.

Anyway, let’s move on to the happier aspects of the figure.

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(I apologize, my camera sucks!)

She has almost complete poseability in terms of how humans can move. She is jointed at the hips and under the shirt, her legs are ball jointed at the hips. Her knees have a conventional joint and really can’t rotate her lower leg. her feet and toes also have joints, which is something I’ve only seen on Figma anime figures. It’s a nice touch.

Her shoulders have a very weird double joint. It does allow for more movement, but it’s just an unusual design. Her elbows, unlike her knees, are ball jointed, and her wrists also have a nice ball joint.

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She doesn’t come with a base, but she is fairly easy to stand, even with all the joints.

The paint job is incredible. Where most figures from this particular part of the movie are completely white, not showing any dirt or anything. It’s always been a little irking and a reason why I’ve never purchased one of them. This one is painted, showing the dirt and stains from the Geonosian sands. It appears to get a darker tan as it goes down the figure, and is dirtiest at the feet. This is an attention to detail that really makes this figure stand out.

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My camera really doesn’t do this figure justice, but it’s what I have to work with.

Now, let’s move onto accessories… she comes with the droid blaster that is pictured above. She also has four spare hands. The two full open ones are attached, but then you’ve got two semi-closed, and two gripping hands so that you can put the blaster in.

This is where my second complaint comes in. Semi-closed hands don’t really do it for me. I would have preferred fists, personally. I just don’t get the point of semi-open. However, this is just me.

Since we’re dealing with complaints right now, let’s move onto the last one; the blaster. It is next to impossible to get into the figure’s hand by simply applying pressure and moving the thumb and fingers. You risk breaking either the blaster or the figure’s hand. Not a good move. The blaster’s handle is only held in place with friction. So pull it out, and push the handle into her hand from below before attaching the blaster. I don’t particularly care for this setup as even the slightest amount of pressure will cause the gun to fall apart. This makes for easy losing.

All right, onto the final accessory. she comes with a second head attachment. This one with clenched teeth:

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I know a lot of people say that this one looks more like her, but I do not agree. I think the first one, looking at it closely does bear a slightly closer resemblance. As you can see from the details, they went to great lengths to get her face perfect, down to the damn beauty marks!

I should also note that this is currently the ONLY 6″ Padme Amidala figure. They have another one coming out from Hasbro’s Black Series, but the face sculpts on those are hit or miss… and what I’ve seen from the prototype… well…

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Geesh… and that’s the prototype. The production models tend not to look at good as those… So, yeah, I think… I’m going to pass on that one.

Overall…

I’m giving this figure a 5/5!

She’s joined perfectly, the sculpting is perfect, the paint is perfect, the detail is insane, and it’s actually eerie how much it looks like her… like seriously, I look at the figure’s eyes and expect it to blink. The problems it has are minor and more preferential gripes than anything else. Except for the fact that it was a damn Japanese exclusive, that really sucks!

I was lucky enough to get this figure off a collector for >$100… however I see them on Ebay for around $200-$300. That’s insane! Geeks are known for spending a ton of money on merch, but… I dunno, I guess this figure would be worth the pricetag, but when they retailed for around $65 originally… that’s a tough pill to swallow. If you can find it for under $200, I’d say scoop it up quickly! Otherwise, it’s going to put a dent in your wallet!



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Action Figure Review, Modded Serana. Skyrim Figure

This review was a year in the making. As everyone knows, the Funko Skyrim figures have been… limited. No, I’m serious, there are two. The Dragonborn and the Daedric lord. I don’t own one of the Daedra, so I can’t speak to it. (give me a break, they’re like $150 – $300 on eBay)  However, I do feel like the Dragonborn figure is fairly detailed, but somewhat cheaply made… and I don’t care for the choice of outfit. I get that it’s the cover image, but still.

That’s it. Those are the only figures. There’s no Serana, no dragons, no Jarl Ulfrich, no Whiterun Guards, nothing. I know a few statues have made their way onto the market, but those are not the same as action figures, and again… it’s always the Dragonborn.

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I wanted a Serana figure pretty badly because she’s one of my favorite companions in Skyrim. She’s tough, uses various magic and necromancy, her AI is significantly improved, she’s a vampire, and her backstory is pretty awesome. Plus her interactions with the Dragonborn come off as genuine and very well-written… and she’s voiced by my all-time favorite voice actress; Laura Bailey.

Yes, THAT Laura Bailey:
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If you’ve never encountered her work, then you have no business considering yourself a geek/nerd! Her roles include the following:

Lucina – Fire Emblem Awakening/Super Smash Brothers
Jaina Proudmore – WoW
Rayne – Bloodrayne
Bianca – Dragon Age 3
As well as a library of Anime and Comic titles!

So chances are you’ve encountered her work at some point. Needless to say, I’m a pretty big fan.

However, that’s a different topic for a different time. So two problems I had… there are some sites out there that do actually make custom statues of her and sell them on Etsy… but I look at them and… they just look low quality to me. I was also not a huge fan of Serana’s generic appearance. It was fine for what it was, but like all the other characters, it came off as very generic. So wanted to make some changes. Fortunately, Nexusmods has several to choose from… several…

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Just to showcase a few. So I went through a bunch but didn’t really find one I loved… I did some tweeting to her on my own and came across a mod known as Serana BVFE.

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I downloaded it and tested it against Laura’s voice… it matched up pretty well! So after all that tweaking, I finally had my modded Serana to match the rest of my… rather absurdly modded Skyrim…

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So now the chances of me getting any sort of collectible that matched what was in my game were Zero from the market. I had to find other means. This time around, it wasn’t difficult. Remember my previous review of my Aranya figure?

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John Harmon from Mint Condition Customs is an artist when it comes to these types of things. I commissioned him to create a figure for me of Serana BVFE.  The results were… stunning to say the least…

I don’t use the term ‘artist’ loosely, but needless to say, I was super pleased with the figure I received. No detail had been spared in making her.

I was sent pictures of the parts he used in creating her, molding the custom parts, and fitting everything together. As always, I’m skeptical at first, but as time went on, I began to see it more and more.

In terms of her articulation, she is somewhat limited because the cloth skirt attached to her legs is somewhat delicate, but she can still take on some rather threatening stances…

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Now it just falls to me to make a case for her. I’m already working on that, using the box from my Funko Dragonborn figure… I gave him to my kids so God knows what’s become of him.

Her paint is terrific, her articulation is pretty good and all in all, I’m very happy. If anyone does see this and get inspired to commission one, be wary of a few things;

  1. They are not cheap. Who said being a geek wasn’t costly, right? It’s not unreasonable, given what geeks typically spend on collectibles, but it may not be for the average figure efficianato.
  2. These are technically not toys. While they can withstand some abuse, the paint job can and does rub a little, so it’s something to be aware of.
  3. Creation takes time. John gets many requests and while he’s prompt to respond and begin work, expect a turnaround of 6mo – 1year + for completion.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this little… gush fest from me! Thanks!



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Unpopular Opinion: Incredibles 2 wasn’t worth the wait. (Spoiler Free)

Yeah… this was a major let down.

torch-and-pitchfork.jpg

Oh, bring it on!

I went to see it with my family the other night at a drive-in. My kids loved the original and watch it ad nauseam.  I admit it’s a fun movie and definitely an entertaining take on Superheroes.

I actually got a laugh out of Samuel L. Jackson’s character when he’s arguing with his wife…

“It’s for the greater good!”
“I am your wife, I’m the greatest GOOD you’ll ever get!”

(No matter how many times I hear that, it still gets a laugh.)

So the movie takes place seemingly immediately after the first movie… despite 14 years passing. When the screen lit up and the cast appears on the screen to pathetically apologize for taking so long to make a sequel, I admit that was funny. It set the stage for what should have been a good movie.

What came after was… underwhelming. The story was a fairly run-of-the-mill paint by numbers superhero story. The “Surprise” bad guy that Disney seems to try to unleash on their audience lately has become so predictable… I had to resist the urge to point at the screen and be like, (okay, okay, ONE small spoiler! Skip to the next paragraph.) “Yeah, she’s the bad guy.”

It’s not that it was a bad movie, it just didn’t bring anything new to the table. Not helping matters though, was the voice acting…

Some of it was fine, as usual, Samuel L Jackson was his normal self and did a good job, but the rest of the cast sounded tired and out of it… except for one character, who arguably was even worse than that…

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This character is being portrayed by a 49-year-old woman… and it really shows. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against older actors playing younger roles… as long as they can pull it off. At no point did I believe that was the voice of a teenager. She actually sounded older than Elastagirl, which was kind of cringy, to say the least.

All in all, I didn’t enjoy this movie at all. It’s fun for little kids, I suppose, but it really doesn’t bring anything new or exciting to the table. Save your money and rent it when it comes out.

Readers, what did you think? Was Incredibles 2 good? Do you want to see it? What did you like about it if so? Let me know down 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.

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