Wonder Woman: A Fitting Tribute

So I just saw Wonder Woman…

All right, let me start of by saying that I did not have high hopes for this movie…

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Hear me out!

The initial reviews of this movie that I saw came from Salon and The Mary Sue…

You know… these yellow journalists:

Back off, men—they’re scientists: New “Ghostbusters” trailer gets slimed by sexist trolls
The Ghostbusters Trailer Backlash Shows Men Believe in the Power of Representation (But Only When It Applies to Them)

Yeah… anything that they give a good review to usually has to be taken with a grain of salt, especially after the a for mentioned Ghostbusters reboot. Critics really can’t be taken all that seriously anymore.

Given all the controversy surrounding it, I was expecting this movie to be completely overrun with identity politics and social justice hypocrisy.

Then why did you go see it?

Well… because it’s Wonder Woman, she’s friggin’ boss! That’s why.

So what did I think of it? OH MY GOD, IT WAS AWESOME!!! The fighting was extremely well done, the history was very spot on, and the scenery was absolutely incredible.

The movie starts off in the mythical land of Themyscira, where Diana… is lives with the other Amazonian women in secret. She is trained to fight from a young age and  becomes the best warrior in all of the land. Her mother seriously wants to keep a secret from her, which we don’t find out about. Apparently the amazons were created to help herald peace and love, but as usual, humanity messes it up.

A pilot in a WW1 plane… rather randomly happens upon the island, crashing into the nearby water. He’s chased by… I believe a German destroyer and several boats. The amazons fight off the troops…

(Jury is still out on what happened to the destroyer… it kind of just vanished… It was listing pretty badly but… I dunno)

… and take the pilot prisoner. He eventually reveals that Germany is creating a new weapon to win the war before the armistice is signed. Diana sets sail with him, against her mother’s wishes, to aid in the fight. She absolutely believes that if she kills Aries, the war will end.

That’s about as much as I’m going to tell you about the plot… So let’s look at the gritty details:

Setting: This movie takes place in WW1 Europe, this is not a modern story, though the entire movie is a flashback thanks to a picture that Batman has delivered to Diana Prince. Very happy about this! Everything appears very accurate surrounding the war. The uniforms aren’t perfect and in some aspects look closer to WW2, but everything is in the right place. So no issue.

However… There are critics who rightly say that the movie should have taken place during WW2 as this is where the original story takes place. However I consider this a re-telling and if they want to start off in WW1, I’ll let that slide.

Casting: I love Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. I know a lot of people didn’t like the idea of her having an accent, but if you think about it… Wonder Woman is amazonian, not American (at least not at first). Thus making her a little more exotic isn’t uncalled for.

Steve Trevor was also well-cast and the character is portrayed very well. It was nice to see that the people who wrote the movie really did their homework with many of the characters.

Story: What can I say, it’s awesome and there are definitely some twists and turns that are unexpected.

History:

Like I said, it’s portrayed pretty well. I a couple of articles  that talk about the accuracy of the women’s armor. The costumes for WW1 weren’t perfect, as I said, but they were close enough.

One other piece that I would like to mention… Dr. Maru’s face:

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I’ve heard some people complain about this and frankly, I don’t understand why. It may look cheap and kind of dumb… but again, it’s historically accurate. People who had severely disfiguring facial injuries did actually have coverings made for them:

So again, bravo to the movie. They got that one right.

The Villain: Aries, the God of War is the primary villain here. Wonder Woman believes that if she kills him, it’ll end the war, all war. However in a very well-written twist, Aries reveals that he isn’t starting the wars. He is simply putting the tools into humanities hands, helping them create new weapons. He may put the gun in their hands, but in the end, they’re the one pulling the trigger. This draws up the ethical question of just how responsible is Aries for all of the war and suffering?

So anything wrong with the movie that you want to point out?

Yes… as I said, I was worried about the insertion of identity politics into the movie, and I will grant you that there is some of that. The line ‘I wanted to be an actor, but I’m the wrong color’ feels kind of forced. The second line came from ‘the chief’ when he said that Steve Trevor’s people took everything from him. This one was a little bit more underplayed, but I think a little bit more explaining might have been in order.

That being said, it was two lines. I can live with that.

But Jim, what about the line where Diana says that men are good for procreation, but not so much for pleasure?

Meh. There’s an old saying that goes ‘no one loves you as much as your left hand.’ Put that into context, and Diana’s statement could go either way. So I chalk that up as a non-issue.

My only other issue is with the movie’s portrayal of the armistice. It’s really played up as a positive thing and the best chance that everyone has for peace… this is horribly inaccurate.

The armistice led to the Treaty of Versailles, which when placed into the context of the Franco-Prussian War and WW2, was little more than payback for the embarrassment that France suffered at the hands of Germany during the Franco Prussian War, and would be a prelude to WW2. The armistice, nigh the very end of WW1, was little more than a prelude to the reckoning that was soon to come.

Final Thoughts…

The movie was fantastic and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone who has not yet seen it.

In addition to that, Wonder Woman has, by virtue of existence, shown just how cancerous the far right and left political ideologues really are.

On the right, people complained about Gal Gadot’s casting, why?

  1. Because she was Israeli, not American-born.
  2. Because she was of Jewish descent.

Pretty bad right? However, the left didn’t treat her any better. In addition to body-shaming Wonder Woman out of the UN, the left objected to Gal Gadot’s casting because…

  1. She was too thin…
  2. She was cleanly shaven.

In addition, they complained about her outfit… despite being more conservative than other incarnations.

Finally, some theaters set up women-only viewings of the movie and people on the left mocked those who took issue with it… despite the fact that it was a violation of Constitution Civil Rights, something the Social Justice Left claims to fight for.

So without even really doing anything, Wonder Woman patriotically showed us how cancerous the right wing extremists, the religious fundamentalists, the regressive left, and the Social Justice Warriors actually are.

That alone makes her a hero in my book.

So in summation… forget the idiocy, forget the politics, go see the movie and have a good time. Wonder Woman is a hero for the ages and is someone both men and women of all walks of life and enjoy… and it was a major thrill to introduce my son to her!



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

Total Drama: The Ridonculous Review

Oh… what does one say about this little gem of Canadian programming?

Imagine pairing Jay and Silent Bob,
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Chris Farley and David Spade:
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Bill and Ted
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part of the cast of Police Academy:
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Your wise-cracking father and his tennis partner:
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and

The Stars of Beauty and the Bitch:
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into teams and having them race for a prize of one million dollars…

You’d have about as hilarious a show as you could come up with!

I watched Total Dram Island/Action, the show this was spun from, when it was released on the Cartoon network so many years ago. It was funny and good for a laugh… and then I decided to let my kids watch it because I was getting annoyed with the stuff they typically had on. (Seriously, there’s only so many times you can watch ‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic’ before it starts messing with your sanity!)

The plan backfired and my wife and I wound up watching it more than they did. Anyway, I had no idea that this show made it into a fourth or fifth season… let alone a spinoff.

Well we made it through the comical yet somewhat repetitive Total Drama series and then saw the Ridonculous Race. We’d really had enough and were ready to move on to something else, but decided to at least give the first episode a watch.

… It’s been a long time since I laughed that hard. Seriously, this is just one of those shows where once it starts, it just doesn’t stop! There is literally no relief of low point throughout the show. Whoever the writers were, they deserve a lot of credit. Creating a show that just constantly lands jokes over and over again until you’re laughing so hard that you can’t breathe… and then does it again with the next episode, cannot be easy.

Animation-wise, the show is stylized like its predecessor and somewhat basic, but I give that a pass as you can’t have it all. We weren’t going to get 3-D animation when clearly the show spent the majority of its money on writers, of which I have no complaints about.

Every team has their quirks, you wind up rooting for more then one (Unless its the skaters… did anyone really want to see them win?) and are saddened when they’re eliminated, but then there is always a team to replace them.

So honestly, if you are in need of a laugh, this show will GUARANTEED give you just what you need!!!

Here’s a little clip of one of my favorite episodes:

Enjoy and happy laughing!!!



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

 

Stardust: Being a Review Within the Realms of Faerie

The book, turned into a very popular movie that has quickly achieved cult status, was published in 1998. Originally it started out as a written story that was published in comic book form (sort of). Neil Gaiman, the author, wanted artwork displayed with the book and from what I read, convinced his friend Charles Vess to do the illustrations. It was published by… of all people, DC Comics!

Keep in mind though, this is NOT a comic book. Far far from it. Given the layout, the way the illustrations tend to flow around the words, and the drop cap, illuminated caps at the beginning of each chapter… I have to say that its closer to looking like a medieval book (See book of hours for further reference.)

It’s written in a very old world form of English and will require a slightly more expanded vocabulary to fully appreciate the writing. I personally love that Gaiman chose to do this as it fits in with the type of story that it is. This is written as a very traditional fantasy, paying homage to the pre-Tolkien styles and stories that many of us grew up with.

So I just finished the book… and… honestly I’m kind of on the fence about this one.

Why? Well… maybe because I saw the movie first… ill-advised, I know, but my introduced me to it. I didn’t even know a book existed until about a year later. So in typical collector fashion, I sought out a first edition… and found one that was Autographed by Charles Vess.

So going through this book, it reads fairly similar to the movie. It starts off dealing with Dunstan Thorn and then follows the adventures of his son Tristran (Not Tristan) Thorn as he searches for the fallen star to bring back to his true love.

Overall, the book definitely delves a lot more into the world of Faerie (Not Stormhold). The book starts off kind of slow, as most traditional fantasies do. In fact, the star barely makes an appearance until about half way through. We’re also introduced to many characters, including a nymph tree, a rabbit-like hairy man, among others.

The artwork is also sort of a fairy tale, old-world style, which compliments the book nicely and is unexpectedly dazzling to look at:

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Keeping in mind though… THIS IS NOT A CHILDREN’S BOOK AND I MEAN BY ANY STRETCH!

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However there are several things that I don’t like about this story, and again, this may be more the movie’s fault!

Spoilers ahead folks, be ready!


So what did I like about the book?
As I said, the artwork, the expansive story, the overall writing style, and a completely original world that we haven’t seen before. The character development was great, the relationship between the main cast was very well fleshed out, and motivations behind everything they did were clearly established.

What didn’t I like?
The sky pirates aren’t as developed as they were in the movie and the captains hobbies are not explored either as they are in the movie. The movie took quite a bit of dramatic license.

The ending… my God the ending… This is one of those rare books where its strong enough to survive an iffy conclusion. Again, this is partially the fault of the movie. Where the movie ends with Tristran and the Star living many years together and then leaving for the Heavens to live together forever as stars… in the book the star can NEVER return to her domain. After Tristran dies, the immortal star becomes the lady of Stormhold and rules by herself. The book ends by saying that she spends her nights up in the highest tower looking up at the heavens, sadly.

Ugh!!! Maybe I’m just a pampered brat, but this is not my kind of ending. It left me unsatisfied and really just looking at it like ‘…. what the heck!?’

I might recommend skipping the Epilogue.

Now again, maybe I’d feel different if I’d read the book first, but I didn’t.


So with all this in mind, what is my overall rating?

4/5 Stars.

I can’t in good conscience downvote the book because of the movie. As far as I’m concerned, they are not the same story. Where one expands, the other cuts back. The book covers more time, but the movie really gets the character better. The relationship in the movie feels rushed and almost cliched and is explained far better in the book.

Do I recommend it? Hell yes! It is an amazing story in its own right and is one that fantasy junkies like myself will love for years to come. This gem of a book is going on my shelf right next to my first edition NeverEnding Story and Silmarillion.

Have you read it? 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.

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

Rare Reviews… Star Wars Darth Plagueiss

… … … You remember how I said that I HATE having to denigrate someone else’s work? Well…

All right, I went into this book SUPER ENTHUSIASTIC!!! I didn’t even read the synopsis. I wanted to hear about the tragedy of Darth Plagueiss The Wise. To me, this was something that I’d been curious about for a long time. So I finally sat down and began to read…

And I read….

And I read…

And for change of pace… I read…

And then about half way through I bought the audio book…

And I listened…

And I… yeah you get the idea.

This book is long, REALLY REALLY long and drawn out! It is as slow moving as they come. This basically starts off with Plagueiss betraying his master and becoming the lord of the Sith. He disagrees with Bane’s rules and seeks to understand the will of the force… and even become the physical embodiment of it.

Unfortunately the book sort of tries to balance Plagueiss’ life between his dark side pursuits and his dealings in galactic politics, including the Trade Federation and the Banking Clan… because that worked out so well in the prequels.

Unfortunately, the dark side aspect seems to lose out and we find ourselves dealing more in galactic politics. If you’re looking to hear about the Sith and their philosophies… you’ll get it, but it will be sort of more of a footnote than anything else. You’ll also get a lot of background to Palpatine and how he came to be a senator.

Spoiler Alert:

This book confirms a theory that I’ve long dismissed as inaccurate, because the evidence doesn’t back it up… 

Palpatine was the apprentice who slew Plagueiss. UGH!!! Look, one of the few redeemable qualities about the prequels took place in Episode 3, which in my opinion was the only one that was really up to par with the original trilogy. Specifically this scene:

 

This scene is powerful on several levels, but perhaps the most impressive part is the story Palpatine tells about the tragedy of Darth Plagueiss. This was powerful because it is the first time in the actual movies that we are exposed to the Star Wars Universe’s mythos and beliefs. The tragedy of Darth Plagueiss could have been a moral tale about the quest for power. When I hear Palpatine speak of it, I think of Plagueiss as an almost shakespearian tale. An ancient Sith Lord that had discovered powers within the force that, by the time of Palpatine, had long since been forgotten.

This book ruins that. Essentially it turns Plagueiss into little more than a pawn in Palpatine’s rise to power and that’s it.

It’s my personal opinion, but in the end… I didn’t care for this book.

The story: When it actually deals with the dark side, its decent… However the politics of the galactic senate are as boring here as they were in the prequels. In the end, it explains too much that should have been left to the reader’s imagination.

The Characters: Honestly, I found them somewhat stale and predictable.

The Writing: WAY too slow. This whole story is far too drawn out for my taste.

My Rating…
2/5 Stars…

Honestly its okay when it actually deals with Sith topics and actually can get interesting. However weak character development and an unnecessarily long and drab story that doesn’t really even show the extent of Plagueiss’s power can’t cover that.

My advice: If you want a good Sith Tale, go with Bane. If you ABSOLUTELY INSIST on reading this one, get the audiobook. It’s well-read and makes it more manageable.

Anyway, let me know what you think. Is this book better or worse than I gave it credit?



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.  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

Rogue One: A Star Wars Review

Spoiler Alerts Ahead: 


So I finally got to see Rogue One today with my son…

What did I think…?

OH MY GOD IT WAS SO AWESOME!!! JYN’S MOTHER GETS KILLED AND JYN HIDES IN A HOLE UNTIL FORREST WHITAKER FINDS HER. THEN SHE’S IN PRISON, BUT GETS BROKEN OUT BY THE REBELLION. THEN THEY GO ON THIS HUNT WHICH THEY DON’T GET THE PROOF THEY NEED, BUT THEN THEY KNOW WHERE TO GET THE PROOF AND THEN THERES FIGHTERS AND STARSHIPS GOING BOOM BOOM AND WE SEE THE BIG WALKER TANKS GOING BLAM BLAM!!! EVERYONE ON THE GROUND IS RUNNING AROUND BLOWING SHIT UP AND YELLING AND IT WAS AWESOME!!!!

Ahem… okay, Nerd/man-gushing over. Let’s get serious.

So Jyn Erso is basically a criminal who was orphaned after her father is taken by the Empire to continue his scientific work… which isn’t described at this point. The man taking him is pretty much the main villain of the movie. Dressed like Admiral Thrawn, he holds the rank of director.

After Jyn’s father is taken by the Empire and her mother is killed, she is raised by a rebel fanatic known as Saw Gerrera… yes, THAT Saw Gerrera:
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Jyn is abandoned at 16. She lives a life of crime until she is captured… and then freed by the Rebel Alliance. She is brought before the High Command, including Mon Mothma, whom we all know from Return of the Jedi:
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I give a lot of credit to whomever cast this role… they did a pretty damn good job!

Throughout the story, it is revealed that the project being worked on by Jyn’s father is none other than the Death Star. During this, we see a power struggle between the main villain and… Governor Tarkin as portrayed by Peter Cushing!?!?!? WTF????

Actually it’s not the legendary Peter Cushing at all as he passed away of prostate cancer in 1994. Through the magic of CGI his face was recreated… and honestly it was a pretty convincing likeness, unlike other really bad CGI effects… (Looking at you Twilight Baby!)

Long Story short, the father tells Jyn right before he dies that he intentionally built a fatal flaw into the Death Star, that would easily destroy it. A defected pilot, a former Jedi Temple Guard, and several members of the Rebel Alliance disobey orders from their dispersing command council and go attack an imperial records base to get the plans for the Death Star in order to exploit the weakness.

The group is getting gunned down until a… rather impressively large rebel fleet appears and attacks the Imperial Fleet in orbit. The Jyn successfully steals the plans and transmits them to the rebel fleet before killing the director. The Death Star appears on the scene under the command of Governor Tarkin and destroys the base, killing Jyn and the few members of Rogue 1 that are still alive.

In orbit, Darth Vader arrives on the scene in a Star Destroyer and takes out half of the rebel fleet. However the ship that intercepted the Death Star plans downloads them, and hands them off to an officer who makes his way to another ship that’s docked onboard and launches. The ship fleas for Tatooine and the plans are handed to a woman in a white dress who states that they have been given hope… and then we see her. Somehow Disney managed to reverse the aging process and get Carrie Fisher back to her teenage self… Just kidding, its CGI again, but again its impressively done!!!

So her ship takes off into hyperspace, Darth Vader gives chase… and the rest is history…

So… what did I think of this movie? I LOVED IT!!!! The action was great, but the movie did have a few problems…

What worked:
The action – The movie was non-stop action from start to finish. It literally kept you on the edge of your seat and engaged.

The scenery – From Yavin, to Jedha, to every other planet, everything is fleshed out and awesome.

The effects – As Star Wars fans, it’s almost expected that we all hate CGI, but to be honest, it worked pretty well here. The meshing of practical effects and CGI made it very difficult to tell which was which. The attention to detail in both Tarkin and Leia’s faces is very well done to the point where it is very difficult to tell that they are both CGI.
The story – This was a standard shoot-em-up action adventure which really gave a lot of background into the ‘First Victory’ of the Rebellion.

Homage – Throughout the movie, we get nods to other Star Wars mediums. Forrest Whitaker’s character is from the last Season of the Clone Wars Cartoon, and in the Yavin base, we here the name ‘General Syndulla’ over the intercom.

This is a standalone – The closest this could ever get to a sequel is A New Hope. Truly a rarity in Hollywood these days. We almost never see a single movie go without an open ending. No, this ties everything up neatly to make way for Episode 4.

What didn’t:
Character Development:
Besides Jyn… there really isn’t much. Each character get’s a few lines of dialogue to explain their back story and that’s it.

Scene Transitions:
I found the editing to be somewhat rushed and sloppy. You were never really given much time to be immersed in any one scene before you were immediately jump-cut to another.

The Title:
This is a complaint going back to when we first found out the plot, and its something I never understood… why was this called Rogue One? Rogue One was supposed to deal with the adventures of Wedge Antillies (Canon) of the Rogue Squadron (Also Canon, see Battle of Hoth).
Story-wise, this movie was much closer to the ‘Dark Forces’ video game and storyline and would have been more appropriately titled.

Red Leader and Gold Leader:

Yeah, during the final battle of the movie, stock footage for Red and Gold leader were taken from ‘A New Hope,’ it was updated and really remastered, and put into this movie with new voice-overs to make it look like the same actors were playing the leaders that would later die in the Battle of Yavin… it’s a quaint trick… but it did kind of take me out of the moment, especially since I immediately recognized the footage. It’s a minor quip, but one worth mentioning.

The Title Crawl:
Again, minor, but this is a Star Wars Movie. The format should really have been followed. Again, not a huge deal, but still a bit off-putting not seeing what we all know and love at the beginning.

The Rebel Fleet:
henleyx
This may seem like another minor quip… but to me it wasn’t… When they said that the Rebel Fleet was on its way, I pictured a few medium transports, 2 squadrons of fighters, one, maybe two Nebulon B Frigates, and an assortment of Corelian Corvettes.
What we got was a massive flagship, hammerhead corvettes that we saw in Star Wars Rebels, a pretty decent number of ships, and THREE squadrons (Blue, Gold, Red).
Okay, as awesome as this was, it really changed the dynamic of Galactic Civil War… in A New Hope, the rebellion is little more than a rag-tag band with only a few squadrons of ships and a small fleet that is constantly on the move… certainly nothing that could take on one, let alone TWO imperial class Star Destroyers. It really gave a more David vs. Goliath feel of desperation… This kind of killed that. Yes, I know that over time the Rebellion gets bigger and adds more ships, but its supposed to be relatively small at this point.

The trailers –

Like what you see? I know I did… too bad half of these scenes AREN’T IN THE MOVIE!!!
Remember the quote ‘This is a rebellion isn’t it? I rebel!’
Yeah, not in the film.
Nor was a scene that I was dying to have put in context. The part where we see a rather beat up and angry-looking Jyn limping to the end of a platform where a Tie Fighter appears out of nowhere:
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That is a TEASE!!!

What I’m on the Fence about:
THE ENTIRE MAIN CAST DIES!!! – I mean on one hand I get why they did this. It is certainly easier and less messy than retconning after the fact like Disney often likes to do. It’s also a pretty bold choice in that, yes the Rebellion won, but the victory is bittersweet. As is the ending of the movie. But still, unless you’re watching an Alamo docudrama or a horror movie, something like this isn’t always expected or welcome… it does kind of suck to see this happen to characters that we were all excited about getting to know and love.


Overall assessment: 3.5 / 5 Stars. 

Again, I loved the movie, but it seemed to place an emphasis on action over story. In most cases this is fine, but this is Star Wars we’re talking about. Even so, there was enough story there to satisfy and keep me interested. It’s a fun movie with a lot of really great scenes and plot devices driving it forward. I went in with VERY high expectations even for a Star Wars movie and to not walk away disappointed, is saying a lot! It’s not perfect, but then again almost no movies are!



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

 

Lucifer: Best Show in a Long Time

So I seem to be unable to avoid things like social commentary, movies, and visual mediums in addition to writing. So with that in mind, I’m changing the format of my blog. Now, not only will I tackle writing, but pretty much anything geek-culture-related (Yay me!)

Oh no! Does this mean that you won’t be giving out writing advice?

Hell no! Getting emails from readers looking for help is one of the things that constantly draws me back here. I love getting them and I love to help, so no, writing advice will still be offered to those who need it. I’m just opening my blog up to other things so that it’s no longer me going off on a tangent. Trust me, I’ve got lots of questions to get through and I will get to all of them… EVEN IF IT KILLS ME!!!

Hopefully not…


Okay, on topic. Today I want to talk about a show that really caught my eye. I heard Lucifer was being turned into a TV show after being a comic. Initially I rolled my eyes. In context, this was coming out while Agents of Shield, Agent Carter, Jessica Jones, among other stinkers were at their height.

As time went on and I heard the premise of this show, I started to become more and more intrigued. Sure I’d recently become a fan of the Flash… even though it was slowly losing my interest by the end of Season 2, and DC Legends of Tomorrow… which I have to admit, has the most effort I’ve seen put into a show in a very long time. So my optimism was beginning to grow.

Then I see the first images… Oh God… this looks almost NOTHING like the comic…

Finally, the first episode came out and my wife and I watched. The Episode opened with a rather charming brit being pulled over by a police officer.

Lucifer-set-visit.jpg

This care-free individual talks his way out of a ticket by bribing the officer and getting the officer to reveal his own naughty behavior… by virtue of his own version of a penitence stare…

imag0014(Tell me honestly, which would you be more likely to reveal your deepest darkest secrets to?)

Following that, Lucifer watches a girl he struck a deal with get blown away and… out of sheer boredom, becomes a consultant for the LAPD where she meets a former actress turned officer, Chloe Decker. Chloe seems more annoyed by Lucifer than anything, but he eventually wins her over and the two become friends and she comes to rely on him to help her through cases.

amenadiel.png(Wait… isn’t that the girl from Texas Chainsaw Massacre!?)

Though no one seems to believe him or dismiss him as a ‘method actor’ Lucifer makes no secret of who he really is, which in and of itself is hilarious.

Other characters join Chloe and Lucifer throughout the series… lets take a look at them…

Amenadiel:
amenadiel.png

Another messenger of God and Lucifer’s brother. At first, he appears to be the moral compass of the show, trying to get Lucifer to return to Hell, but over time becomes more of a dose of reality to Lucifer as he deals with his own problems on Earth. He also causes a lot of the problems in Season 1, desperate to get Lucifer to return to Hell after having to do Lucifer’s job for a while.

I have to admit… he’s one of the more boring characters. When his scenes show up, I tend to kind of just wait for them to end. His story is a lot more gloomy and really tends to throw off the mood of the rest of the show.

Mazikeen:

Untitled.png

Appearance-wise, I have to say that she’s as close to the original source material as anyone has gotten. Personality… well that’s another story.
In the show, she’s a devious, promiscuous, sexy, painfully blunt, bad ass fighter who starts out as Lucifer’s protector. She was tasked with torturing evil souls in hell and follows Lucifer when he decides to leave, but becomes disillusioned with the job and starts doing her own thing. Though she seems stoic and uncaring, she has a soft spot for Chloe’s daughter who quickly becomes her only friend.

IMAG0014.jpg(I mean who wouldn’t want their child cuddling up with a demon!)

Still… Chloe refers to her as a very deranged person… and then they wind up living together… kay…

Aside from Lucifer, I’d say that she is the most interesting character in the entire show. She’s dark, but has a… barely detectable side of compassion. I was thrilled to find out that she would be connecting more with detective Decker as that’s where she’s the most interesting.

Dan Espinoza:
IMAG0014.jpg
(AKA Detective Douche)

Chloe’s ex and fellow officer. He seems protective of Chloe, but has his own dark side. He has his ups and downs in the series, but basically serves as Lucifer’s local cock-block. I could go into more detail, but to be honest, I don’t find him that interesting. He’s sort of a comic foil, but other than that he scenes seem to be getting fewer and fewer as time goes on. I don’t see him surviving the series.

Dr. Linda Martin:
IMAG0014.jpg

Lucifer’s therapist and more recently part of Chloe’s girl crew. Maze also seems to be warming up to her. Though extremely intelligent and able to keep up with… what she refers to as Lucifer’s metaphors, she seems somewhat ditsy.

She’s a tad annoying, but I like her enough to hope that she sticks around.

Ella Lopez:

Rachael Harris as Kim Martin.

A member of the LAPD’s forensics dept. She’s young and very peppy. What’s more she really seems to like Lucifer. I’m not sure if she’s charmed by him or simply amused by his antics, but she definitely seems to be getting more and more friendly. However, to Lucifer’s annoyance, she is convinced that he is a method actor and nothing he says or does looks like it will be changing her mind any time soon.

In more recent episodes, we see her character develop and get a lot more air time, which I am happy about because I very much like her character.


I have to say, I’d chalk this show up as a dramatic comedy more than anything. It is absolutely hilarious ride through everyday LA. As the audience, we are treated to what the devil would be doing if he were on vacation or ‘retired’ from his old job. As with his legend, he does make deals with people, but doesn’t require their souls for payment. He seems to be more of a benevolent character who simply got a bad reputation because of his job of having to punish the wicked. Most of the characters are very enjoyable and the episodes are very light-hearted. It deviates from the comic book rather blatantly, but that’s not a bad thing here. I highly recommend this series to anyone. Comic fan or otherwise!

My two favorite Episodes are:
Season 1, Episode 9, ‘A Priest Walks Into A Bar.’
Here, we see Lucifer befriend… of all things, a priest. He get’s to experience friendship and then having to lose said friend. This provides us a whole new look into Lucifer’s character and how dynamic and complex his psyche is.

Season 2, Episode 4. Lady Parts.
(No, not because of the name!) It’s honestly just a funny episode where Chloe and Mazikeen’s relationship is forged.

Overall rating: 4/5 Stars. I love this show!



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

Rare Review: Star Wars: LOST STARS

Book info:

  • Age Range: 12 – 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 – 12
  • Lexile Measure: 880 (What’s this?)
  • Series: Journey to Star Wars: the Force Awakens
  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press (September 4, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1484724984
  • ISBN-13: 978-1484724989
  • Author: Claudia Gray

Synopsis:

Eight years after the fall of the Old Republic, The Galactic Empire now reigns over
the known galaxy. Resistance to the Empire has been all but silenced. Only a few 
courageous leaders such as Bail Organa of Alderaan still dare to openly oppose
Emperor Palpatine. 

After years of defiance, the many worlds at the edge of the Outer Rim have 
surrendered. With each planet's conquest, the Empire's might grow even 
stronger. 

The latest to fall under the Emperor's control is the isolated mountain planet 
Jelucan, whose citizens hope for a more prosperous future even as the Imperial 
Starfleet gathers overhead...

Review: Spoiler ALERT:
So I wrote a review on this book… and then I reread it. Now I’m going back and deleting that draft. Because honestly when I looked at it, it seemed like I was more on a book-high when I finished reading it. Pure euphoria at finishing that book, that I went ahead and wrote the review. Upon reading it again, I have changed my opinions on this book. So let’s take a look at it shall we?

Setting:
The story takes place before, during, and after the events of the Trilogy. Key places include Jelucan, the Death Star, the Executor, Hoth, and Home One.
Cienna is a farmer from a fairly backwards area on the planet, while Thane is considered more of a noble birth.

What I liked:
This story provides a lot of background into the key events of the original trilogy. Without actually focusing on the characters that were center stage from the trilogy. It allows for us to see how the events, such as the destruction of Alderaan affected other people. In the movies, it was something that was sort of glossed over and forgotten after the first movie.

What I didn’t like:
There really isn’t much here that I didn’t like. Honestly I’d say that the one criticism I would give is that these events felt somewhat rushed. It was a lot of build up with only a little pay off.

Story:
The story surrounds two new Characters; Thane and Cienna. It surrounds their friendship and surrounds their thoughts on events from the original trilogy and how it affect them. It is also somewhat of a Romeo and Juliet style story where one character (Thane) becomes disillusioned with the Empire and joins the Rebellion, where Cienna is honor-bound by her oath to remain with the Empire. Eventually, they do have to come head to head, on more than one occasion.

What I liked:
The story prior to the Battle of Yavin and after the Battle of Endor made for some wonderful character development, as well as engaging us in new scenery. It also expanded on places that we were familiar with as well as people that we may have seen in the background, but didn’t have much context for.

What I didn’t like:
Well here’s where the story really began to fall apart for me. The book really seemed like it was attempting to showcase these places that we’ve seen and know. It’s like ‘Oh look, we’re on the Death Star, isn’t that awesome?’
Also, the story seems rushed. We skip over months, if not years of potential development to focus on the events of the Galactic Civil War. It’s hard to keep up with the character development when so much jumping happens. It is also a major strain on my suspension of disbelief to see how little the characters have changed during that time. The transitions aren’t done very well.

Characters:
Cienna and Thane, two people that reality doesn’t really seem like it wants to be together. One from humble origins, one from more prestigious ones. Perhaps it’s kind of ironic that Cienna, the girl from the more humble background had a better life, while the noble child grew up in an abusive environment.  They both find themselves thrust into the middle of a galactic war, after having been recruited by the Imperial Military.

What I liked:
Thane. This guy came from a very well-to-do background. I would compare it to the nobility of the past. However thanks to his father, he’s disillusioned with this life and grows up somewhat resentful and ‘rebellious.’ It’s good foreshadowing for what happens later in the story, and good build up as to why it’s so easy for him to abandon his oath to the Empire and join the Rebellion.
Despite his defection, he seems to be more loyal to the galaxy in general after seeing what the Empire had done to his home world and to other worlds in general. In addition, he is always loyal to Cienna. More than once, he tries to get her to come with him and join the Rebellion.

What I didn’t like:
Cienna. I have to admit that this character frustrated me. It was almost like the story couldn’t make up their mind as to whether she was a protagonist or an antagonist. It is also very difficult to find her likable. From a young age, she is instilled with the value of obedience and loyalty. As such, she views the oath she took to the Empire as unbreakable. Throughout the story, she is witness to unspeakable tragedies and atrocities committed by the Empire. Her reasoning behind her continued loyalty to the Empire is that she believes it to be infallible and if the Empire doing what it’s doing, it’s because these people deserve it in some way.
However even after finally coming to the realization that the Empire isn’t the moral right, her own views of loyalty and obedience make the idea of turning to the Rebellion unthinkable. As a result she continues to serve and be party to other horrific incidents perpetuated by the Empire. Simply put… she was just following orders.
This is where the character falls apart for me. Put who she is and what she does, as well as her motives and justifications, into context. Now compare them with the defenses for the Nazis during the Nuremberg trials. See any similarities?
Yet this character is still portrayed as either an innocent or a protagonist, despite fighting to the Empire to the bitter end.
SPOILER ALERT: The story ends with her being rescued from her Star Destroyer, which is plummeting towards Jakku. She ends up in Prison where she awaits a trial for war crimes. Thane believes that the court will be lenient with her, while she disagrees… almost wishing that the court would execute her.
Well… we never find out. She knows that what she’s done was wrong, but she’s never apologetic… and given that her defense for her actions would pretty much be the same defense the Nazis used, I get the feeling that this won’t end well. 

My Overall Assessment:
3/5 Stars
The book is not perfect. The parts before and after the Trilogy are great, but the rest seemed extremely rushed. Some aspects of the characters are great, and the tie-in to the bigger picture is well fleshed out, but the glaring issues with Cienna are just hard to stomach… and attempting to generate sympathy for a character whose defense for her actions are the same that the Nazis used is cringe worthy at best.

Don’t get me wrong, its a good book. However it was built up to answer a lot of the questions that exist as to what happened between ROTJ and TFA… In the end… well it answers the question about how a Star Destroyer ends up in the sands on Jakku, but even the battle itself, which has become the subject of much conjecture is really kind of glanced over.

So you’ll enjoy it, but you’ll feel like you’re reading cliff notes on the original trilogy.



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