Lego Movie 2 The Second Part Review

Everything is awesome in a LEGO product! Okay well everything is awesome so long as you’re not the parent dishing out money for the set or stepping on one of those little bricks. Lego’s are cool, they have all these awesome things you can build from plastic little bricks (so long as you follow the instructions), and even encourage kids to go offroading and create new things outside of the set (granted each time I did that I got a crappy airplane).

I actually didn’t grow up with Legos though because my mom said they were too expensive and that I’d just leave all the bricks everywhere to injure both her and my dad (she was completely right and I don’t hold it against her). So I missed out on a lot of Lego shenanigans growing up (it’s cool, I made up for it in the form of books, art supplies, and manga, and admittingly Lego Dimensions is one of my favorite videogames and possibly the best approach of the now dead Toys to Life gaming genre).

I saw the Lego movie in 2014, thought it was one of the most hilarious movies I had ever seen, and wondered what the sequel would be about. Then I discovered the sequel was briefly postponed due to the story choosing to focus on the sensitive topic of how boys and girls play. As I said I didn’t grow up with Legos so I wasn’t aware there was a gender issue with it, but this here video gave me an idea of how bad the issue is.

Spoilers from this point on, maybe you need a catchy song to forget about the spoilers though.

The second movie picks up right where the first movie left off where the younger sister of Finn (Bianca) is invited to play in Bricksburg and as expected, older siblings can never have nice things. Five years after the events of Taco Tuesday. Bricksburg is now Apocalypseburg and everyone is dark, gritty, and tough, except Emmet. Until Sweet Mayhem comes along. Most of the master builders are kidnapped and taken to the Systar System and Emmet takes off to rescue them and prove he’s a tough gritty guy.

I’m actually going to shift away from the story and talk about how the movie possibly made a smart move and rather than focusing on the above mentioned “feminist issue” of how boys and girls play, it focuses more on communication and how Bianca wants to play with her older brother Finn, but the age gap between them and minor different interests make playing together hard at times. There’s also Finn wondering how to stay a nice guy despite movies (and possibly peers) saying that he needs to toughen up. Meanwhile residents of the Systar System adopt a tough and intimidating attitude just to make the citizens of Apocalypsburg listen and acknowledge them, despite most of the residents just being happy, fun loving individuals who really like catchy pop music.

Once again the climax of the movie is resolved in the older protagonist (this time film) acknowledging they messed up, and making up for the mistake made and both siblings playing legos together, except this time Bianca isn’t as rough at play time than she was as a kid and can communicate what plot points she wants in play time.

The toys featured in the film are pretty neat and creative, I find myself almost tempted to dish out 120$ to purchase Emmett’s spaceship house and Sweet Mayhem’s spaceship (almost tempted, but hey I now have a VIP card to the Lego store). It does make me think that maybe I’ll purchase The Lego Movie 2 video game or possibly get Lego Dimensions on Steam (if I can ever figure out how to use Steam).

Sadly, ALOT of this movie was spoiled for me online, and I wasn’t even looking for spoilers so most of the jokes used in the film were spoiled and I didn’t laugh as hard as I thought it would. The film also isn’t as crazy as the previous film or The Lego Batman Movie, but still enjoyable (I haven’t seen The Lego Ninjago movie, I need to see it).

I give Lego Movie 2 The Second Part three out of five catchy songs.

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Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy Review

Crazy Rich Asians is a movie from 2018 that I’ve seen so many times that if I had a dollar for each time I’ve said ‘bok bok bitch’ I too would be crazy rich. So naturally I went to my local library and checked out the audiobooks to listen to the series because I haven’t been able to sit down and read for a long while now. I really enjoyed the series and highly recommend them to anyone who loved the movie and is impatient for the other two books to be adapted to film.

Spoilers from this point on, you wish you had the money to pay me to spoil EVERYTHING though (I do have a price in my head though)

Crazy Rich Asians

This is a rare case where I actually saw the film first despite being aware of the existence of the novel since 2014 (I don’t know why I didn’t read it), but I saw it with my best friend and her sisters, my mom, and a few other people.

The film focuses mainly on the character Rachel who is an “american born chinese” (ABC) meeting the friends and family of her boyfriend Nick and the culture shock she experiences as both a woman from a lower income life and as a american born Chinese visiting Singapore. The movie follows the plot of the book fairly closely, but there are large chunks of plot removed from the film because that’s just what happens when a book is adapted to film.

The biggest differences include the character of Nick’s mother Eleanore Young who is just as crazy as the Aunties she ‘leads’ in the film. In the Film Eleanore is more calm and collected and at times it seems like she was telling Rachel to scram just to spare Rachel from having to go through what she herself went through after getting married to Nick’s dad.

There’s also loads and loads of more characters that it would make the character chart for A Song of Ice and Fire cry in jealousy. All of them are actually pretty funny and have various moments to shine as both heroes and villains in the story. Also lots of food is described in all three books (you could literally change the title to Crazy Rich Foodies and more or less have the same plot).

China Rich Girlfriend

The second book in the series picks up two years after the events of the first book and have the plot of Rachel and Nick getting married and Rachel meeting her long lost biological father and meeting and befriending her brother.

The plot doesn’t get as dramatic as it did in the previous book with the revelation that Rachel has a long lost father, if anything it made me loath characters introduced in the book that blow money on anything so long as it’s expensive.

The plot of Rachel getting to know and befriend her stepbrother is a heartwarming one though as the two do come from totally different worlds, but Rachel’s down to earth attitude and ‘realness’ causes her brother Carlton to change his life to a more modest approach. There is also drama with Rachel’s stepmother who is paranoid about the intentions Rachel has upon discovering her father is still alive.

Then there’s Kitty Pong, a surprise character to jump into the spotlight of the series who is making her way from small time actress (and porn actress) towards the bigger social circles of both China and Singapore.

While the book was paced differently from it’s predecessor, it still is a great listen and read just for the sake of seeing what Rachel and Nick are up to.

Rich People Problems

The third book in the series takes a darker tone and approach than what was previously presented in the series. Nick’s grandmother Su Yi becomes ill and many members of the family visit her in fear that her time on earth is running out. It was depressing to see so many characters more fixated on seeing what Su Yi’s will would leave them rather than caring about Su Yi herself. It also was depressing to see that her children were going through the struggles of seeing someone that they love dearly suffer and be powerless to do anything about it.

Then there’s the eventual death of Su Yi and how the family reacts to it both emotionally and how they react to what is written in her will along with the big twist hidden in it. Also more Kitty Pong and the levels of extreme her gold digging take her to.

Crazy Rich Asians is a great and hilarious movie and a pretty funny book series. I highly recommend them to people who like romcoms, people who like movies and books about different cultures, people who like fashion, people who like gossip, and the main target audience, foodies.

I give the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy by Kevin Kwan four Leiber Precious Rose purses out of five.

Doctor Who ‘Rosa’ Episode Review

Most episodes of the current season of Doctor Who were kept under wraps for various reasons (new Doctor, new showrunner, no idea what to expect), however one (confirmed) rumor caught my attention. The revelation that an episode would focus on the civil rights hero and activist Rosa Parks. The plot filled me with curiosity and excitement; I have looked up to Rosa Parks since I was seven years old so hearing that she would be the focus of a Doctor Who episode was more than enough to grab my attention.

But what would happen in the episode I wondered; will she be running away from aliens? Will there be spaceships in the Alabama night sky? What would happen? However with the announcement that Doctor Who would partially return to its ‘educational television’ roots (yes Doctor Who was originally educational television) I began to get an idea of what would happen (and hoped there would be no giant spaceships with Daleks chasing after Rosa Parks).

Minor Spoilers from this point on

The episode actually toned down most of the science fiction elements of Doctor Who where the most that is mentioned are specific particles around Rosa Parks and the Doctor wondering why Rosa has these particles in the first place. Some mention of time travel, and a few high tech devices that are disposed of with ease, but as stated before, science fiction takes a backseat for most of this episode.

The episode actually does something not seen in previous Doctor Who episodes. Fully addresses the issue with time travel and race. While the Doctor has previously had two companions of color onboard the Tardis, the subject was more or less glossed over; Martha Jones saw that race wasn’t such a big deal in the time of WIlliam Shakespeare (allegedly) and had to put up with being a ‘servant’ in victorian times (I think it was victorian times) and bit her tongue while most of the cast treated her as a servant. With Bill there is some racism, the Doctor initially tells her to not take it so personally, but then punches a guys lights out for making a racial slur at Bill’s expense (the rest of Bill’s tenure on the Tardis are either in present day, the future, or more fantasy based).

Here Ryan and Yaz experience the racism of Montgomery Alabama first hand with no glossing over anything with Ryan even being referred to as a negro in one scene and Yaz being called ‘a Mexican girl’ just because she’s brown. The Doctor doesn’t even consider risking the lives of Ryan and Yaz ordering them to go back to the Tardis for their own safety.

Some scenes were very chilling to watch, with one scene in particular where our heroes are having a personal conversation at a diner table turning out differently than they expected. Where in the Russell T Davies and Stephen Moffat era, the conversation would have gone on uninterrupted with nothing big happening, the whole restaurant goes quiet as the Doctor and her friends slowly begin to realize they’re being watched and that people are listening in on their conversation before being told to leave the restaurant.

However the relationship between Ryan and Graham is strengthened with Graham immediately jumping to Ryan’s defense and refusing to allow any harm to come to his step grandson. We also continue to get reference to Grace whom Ryan and Graham are still mourning for.

I continue to be impressed with Jodie Whittaker’s acting as the Doctor, there were many scenes in the episode where she had the same strength and character as David Tennant and Peter Capaldi and could see previous incarnations of the Doctor within the performance.

While the ending is a little bittersweet with the arrest of Rosa Parks and the Doctor informing her friends that just because history was preserved and Rosa was still a hero remembered in positive light in history, life would only become harder for her during the civil rights movement, it really does have it’s strong moments and concludes with the Doctor reminding the viewers and her friends that Rosa Parks will eventually receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 and that her actions would cause waves of goodness throughout the universe.

I give Rosa, the third episode of season 37/11 of Doctor Who five out of five asteroids.

Doctor Who, The Woman Who Fell to Earth Review

After what feels like an eternity, Doctor Who is back with a new series, new Doctor, new companions, new showrunner, new sonic screwdriver, new tardis, new composer for music, and various other new things. Honestly I was worried, not about the Doctor being portrayed for the first time by a woman (I don’t really care the Doctor is a woman now), but from previous episodes by new showrunner Chris Chibnall I feared the show would be boring, and that with BBC marketing the show like crazy focusing primarily on the Doctor now being a woman to the point where I was nearly convinced the Doctor was now a woman primarily as a publicity stunt.

My personal fear was that if Chibnall’s writing was boring, then all of the hype and marketing focused on Jodie Whittaker would blow up in the face of BBC and rather than blaming the show runner, history (and some negative portions of the fandom) would place the blame solely on the casting of a female Doctor.

But yesterday came, fans gathered in excitement to see how the new series of Doctor Who would turn out. And the episode was…okay.

Spoilers from this point on, I don’t have the money to throw you out of a tardis to the ground so you can briefly have amnesia.

The episode wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the most amazing thing in the world, but I am delightfully surprised at how much I enjoyed it and wasn’t bored at all watching the episode. The episode focused on introducing our new protagonists and allowing us to get to know them as people. Instead of using little quirks and ticks our characters are fairly normal everyday people. We have Ryan Sinclair, Yazmin “Yaz” Khan, Grace Sinclair, and her husband Graham O’Brian.

Ryan is a young man who has dyspraxia and kind of reminds me of both Mickey Smith and Rose Tyler. Like Rose and Mickey, Ryan is a good person and does come from a very loving family, but isn’t fully satisfied with life at time and has trouble functioning at times with his dyspraxia condition preventing him from doing activities that seem trivial like riding a bike.

Yaz is a police officer who knew Ryan previously in life and is a toned down Judy Hopps. Despite working in position for over a year, she is still assigned mundane assignments such as being a traffic cop, meter maid, and settling minor disputed among citizens.

Grace is Ryan’s grandmother and the wife of Graham. They met while Graham was going through chemotherapy via Grace being Graham’s nurse during the treatment. Grace is kind, loving, adventurous, and honestly too good for the at times depressing universe of Doctor Who (thank goodness there’s The Testimony from last christmas…). Graham is not as adventurous as Grace, but a good man who does love his wife dearly.

Our new incarnation of the Doctor is….fairly quirky. It was interesting seeing Jodie Whittaker, and actress normally cast as “a woman mother going through a personal struggle,” “a woman who’s not in the best relationship with a man,” or both at the same time do a more heroic role where instead of seeking someone to save her, Jodie is the one saving the day instead.

Get to the F***ing Episode

In contrast with previous showrunner Steven Moffat, Chris Chibnall focused more on characters rather than having characters be established by a select few lines and doing one really badass thing, they’re established by their interactions with the current situation and how they treat each other and people who aren’t important in the episode. The episode actually felt like a mash up of Chibnall’s previous television show Broadchurch and the Netflix original series Stranger Things (especially with the Stemza targeting citizens at random and having them mysteriously die horribly).

I was actually happy to see that Chibnall channeled his experience with Broadchurch more than his work with Torchwood and Doctor Who.

Our antagonist for the episode, the Stemza, is kind of a bounty hunter who is treating earth as fair game to hunt for humans. He is menacing, collects teeth as trophies from his kills, and plants DNA bombs into our protagonists, and isn’t intimidated by the Doctor (atleast not until the Doctor shows him who has the true upper hand.)

We don’t get any crazy big musical scores for the episode that were present during the Steven Moffat era, nor does the Doctor give one big damn speech to talk down her antagonists. We see all the characters mentioned pulling together to defeat the threat opposing them. Which sadly results in the loss of Grace by the end of the episode who dies in a selfless act of protecting her grandson.

I liked seeing the Doctor openly welcoming the help of civilians rather than scaring them off and warning them “don’t get involved” unless the danger is really there to worry over. She’s without her tardis or her sonic screwdriver and even without them she is able to figure out how to save the day. She uses some earth technology to fend of tentacle monsters and creates a new sonic screwdriver from using both human and alien technology.

Finally our Doctor’s new look; I don’t hate it and the look has grown on me over the months, but there are times it is very ridiculous.

Thirty godamn Minutes of Commercials!

There was one big problem about the episode that wasn’t actually in the episode. Despite the episode airing in multiple countries at once, BBC America chose to place thirty minutes worth of commercials in the premier of the episode (something BBC America has done with previous Doctor Who premiers and Christmas episodes shamelessly). Three fourths of the entire run time were dedicated to commercials causing the episode to conclude a full thirty minutes before the BBC America finished the episode. This problem caused significant disruption within the episode and even gave spoilers concerning the end of the episode before the episode even concluded concerning the death of Grace. This same problem has been present in christmas episodes previously aired on BBC America and I think after the negative backlash of fans from this airing, BBC America may rethink how they treat season premiere episodes of their shows.

I give The Woman Who Fell to Earth three NEW sonic screwdrivers out of five.

Remembering Teen Titans

So I like many other people between their mid twenties/pushing thirty grew up watching a lot of weird stuff on tv, I’m pretty sure I watched a lot more weird stuff than most of my friends (minus some of the anime friends). One of these weird shows that most of my peers that watched cartoons was Teen Titans.

Teen Titans was about the adventures of the team known as the Teen TItans (shocker) consisting of Robin (Dick Grayson), Starfire, Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Raven who all had super powers and used them to defend the innocent, fight crime, and beat up bad guys. I remembering having mixed feelings about this show both as a teen and admitting to liking it as an adult because I’m not as insanely anal as I was concerning what is and isn’t anime (boy was I a nutjob).  I did like it as a teen too though, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today; remembering teen titans because I don’t really have the time to sit down and watch each season and do a review them individually. Plus the series hasn’t been sold on DVD in ages and I think only the first two seasons were released.

First Impressions

So unlike most of my peers I was fairly familiar with the DC universe beyond the Justice League cartoon and kind of knew who the titans were besides Robin; I knew Starfire was an alien, Beast Boy was actually named Garfield and went by Changeling, Raven was kind of the antichrist, and Cyborg was sometimes a member of the Justice League. When I saw previews for the show I thought ‘oh sweet, we’re finally seeing what Robin is up to when Batman is hanging out with the Justice League,’ and I was sorta right.

I liked the first episode aired where the Titans took on students from HIVE academy; it was a good way to introduce the team and give enough depth of their personalities to where viewers could get a general idea of the team. I will admit part of me was disappointed because I thought the series would start with an origins episode like Justice League; the first part would be the team meeting up, getting properly introduced and facing a big problem and not having the best team skills. Then in part two they learn to work as a team, save the day, then go out for pizza. I rolled along with the series though because I liked it.

Criticisms

Before I start, it is possible to have criticisms of something and like it at the same time; there are times I will critique Star Wars and Doctor Who over things I don’t like featured in the series/franchise, the same extends to Teen Titans. I do not hate the series contrary to what this portion may make it seem.

I’ll get this out of the way; from age thirteen to nineteen I was very convinced manga and anime were the epitome of entertainment and anyone who disagreed was ‘uncultured about how badass it was’. So seeing western animation mimic anime was off putting at times. While some series did a fair representation of it (Avatar the Last Airbender, W.I.T.C.H., and oddly Totally Spies), other series overdid it (HiHi Puffy Ami Yumi…). As a kid I felt Teen TItans was trying too hard to be anime at times and while I’m significantly more relaxed about it as an adult, some of the more zanier moments are a little off putting.

I also didn’t like how seasonal arcs were treated where three to five episodes of the season were devoted to the arc and the rest of the season was devoted to filler episodes and episodes with character development. While the later is important to have in a series, it is possible to tie in development with the plot of an episode. I do also understand that at the time and even now syndication was taken more seriously so ‘filler’ episodes had to outweigh the arc episodes so anyone just turning on the tv would be able to sit down and enjoy and episode instead of having to freak out over not being sure what is happening in a ‘animated soap opera’ (which is sadly my complaint of Young Justice).

I also felt the second season arc could have used the filler episodes to a better advantage with the character Terra and at least had two filler episodes have her be an active part of the team just to make her betrayal of the team a bigger impact. Same goes for season four (which was almost the show’s final season) where Raven is revealed to be the portal to the end of existence (it could be argued that all of her character development episodes from the previous three seasons could be added to her arc admittingly). I do wish characters outside of the main titans popped up more frequently outside of the final season where the team expands beyond the core five, but I’ll get to season five later.

What I Liked About the Series or That’s So Raven

It was fun and shockingly relatable despite the show being primarily light hearted and the target audience ranging from seven to thirteen. Despite the above criticisms of filler episodes devoted to character development, I did enjoy the character development of the series and feel that it is the strongest part of the series, particularly Raven.

I argue that Raven got the most focos in episodes of the series because she in a sense was the most relatable character. Despite being seen as ‘the goth girl’ of the group, she was designed to have viewers relate to her even if socially they were more along the lines of Starfire or Beast Boy. She had her problems about her feelings and emotions in the sense that she couldn’t express her emotions or lose control of them or bad things will happen. The solution to her episodes concerning expressing herself may seem like they’re easily resolved by Raven being honest with both herself and her friends and talking about her problems and feelings, but let’s be honest, that is a really hard thing for any teenager to do.

My personal relation to the character was tied to my sexuality (shocker x2). While Raven is portrayed as a straight female with a close friendship with Starfire, she did constantly have worries about herself. She worried that her friends would hate her if they found out the truth of her existence, would doing good things be enough to undo her evil ways and make up for her existing, was she ‘evil’ despite all the good she did, did her mother regret her existence (Raven is a product of rape in the comics and it’s heavily hinted to be the same in the series)?

While my teenage problems at the time are not as extreme, I did often wonder along the lines of ‘am I evil for being gay? Would me praying and doing good things in the world make up for my existence? Would all my friends hate me if I told them I was gay?’ plagued my mind at times and little did I know at the time the series was airing sitting down and talking with my parents, being honest with myself and conversing with my friends would also be the solution to some of my internal conflict in life. Also we both read a lot of books, listened to Evanescence like crazy, and wore lots of black and blue.

No Raven isn’t the ONLY relatable character; I have friends from different countries who felt they could relate to Starfire who was the fish out of water for most of the series doing her best to fit in with her new friends on earth and slowly learning the customs of the planet, poor thing also went through puberty. I’ve had goofy friends that related to BeastBoy and sometimes even friends that related to Cyborg and Robin.

While I was disappointed that the series was not officially part of the DCAU of Justice League, I was very relieved to see that the art of the show shifted away from Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Where Justice League had near cookie cutter character designs for all of it’s male characters (so many broad square shoulders….), Teen Titans gave varied body types for all the characters and presented most of its cast as actual teenagers.

I also have my own favorite episodes beyond Raven centered ones; my personal favorites being Switched (Raven and Starfire switch bodies and become bffs for the rest of the series), Cyborg the Barbarian, and all of season five because the whole season is arc centered. Also it was always cool that there were immensely silly episodes right before a season finale multiparter.

Season Five

I liked season five since it was what I had wanted from the series, an arc! As I mentioned above the series was originally going to end after season four, but Cartoon Network requested that Teen TItans go for another season and the creators figured ‘let’s go all out!” Past allies of the titans were brought back, new heroes were introduced and brought onto the team, the brotherhood of evil is playing the long game against the titans only giving the illusion that the titans are constantly victorious. We have the villain Jinx switch sides because Kid Flash is just that dreamy of a guy every girl (and some guys) watching the series wanted.

Then a crazy thing happens and all hope seems lost for all the teenage heroes across the world, but Beast Boy steps up and uses his resources to save the day (along with his other teammates outside of Robin also bringing along a few allies to save the day)! That should certainly be a good series finale right? Well it is, but oddly it isn’t.

The final episode to the series is Things Change and boy did it drive fans crazy. The synopsis is that the Titans are fighting a new villain and struggling while Beast Boy is distracted by a girl who strongly resembles a character thought dead named Terra. Beast Boy spends the day with this girl hoping to awaken Terra’s memories and continue his life with the girl he loves. Beast Boy is let down to discover that this mysterious girl doesn’t have Terra’s powers and is cryptically told ‘the girl you’re looking for doesn’t exist anymore.’ The girl in question requests that she be allowed to continue her life as an ordinary girl and leaves Beast Boy to continue his life as a hero with his friends.

Fans were…pissed to put it mildly. Trust me, I frequented tvtome/tv.com forums alot at the time of the series finale; they weren’t happy for the following arguments. Starfire should have had her own seasonal arc, Beast Boy already had a seasonal arc (some fans argue that season was Terra’s arc), and that Things Change was a weak series finale compared to Titans Together. While they have every right to these arguments, I am satisfied with season five and the series finale.

Yes Starfire didn’t really have an arc of her own, but her ‘arch nemesis’ of a sister had already been taken care of and her issue with being a princess from another planet was already solved. No crazy big arc to be solved. I mean I guess you can consider the direct to dvd movie Trouble in Tokyo her arc since she and Robin finally do get together. Okay fine Starfire got screwed over.

In terms of Things Change being a bad series finale, maybe? I saw it as appropriate for the character of Beast Boy who was booted out of the first superhero team he was part of for choosing to save his mother figure of a teammate over finishing the mission, joined the Titans and spent most of his free time goofing off, then proved to his former teammates that he was a competent hero and faced the Brotherhood with his own ‘team’. Change had Beast Boy attempt to revert to his previous self rather than continue on with his character development and be told by ‘Terra’ that he needed to move on in life. (Concerning the mystery girl in the episode, it is meant to be ambiguous the true identity of the girl who Beast Boy hangs out with. From what I’ve heard in the comic book counterpart to the series that is indeed Terra who was apparently restored to human form after Raven restored the earth in the season four finale, but just doesn’t have her powers anymore and desires to just live a normal life as a normal girl).

I think Teen Titans is a great show from my teenage years and really wish they reran it more often on tv. Who was your favorite Titan? Who did you relate to? What was your favorite episodes? All the questions and more will be answered in the comments of this blog! 😛

Teen Titans Go to the Movies review

The superhero film to end all superhero films (hopefully)! Yes I know that the internet hates the Teen TItans Go animated series for various reasons (fans blame it for the reason Young Justice and Green Lantern The Animated Series got cancelled along with the DC Nation block ending in general; it’s a abomination of the original Teen TItans animated series; Cartoon Network shows it way too much killing the spotlight for other cartoons shown on the channel; the only good episodes feature Lady Legasus; etc).

And of course it is a little disheartening to see that the Teen Titans Go animated series has surpassed the original five seasons of Teen Titans in terms of length so I wouldn’t be surprised if fans of the original series developed four red eyes from anger upon seeing that Teen Titans Go got a theatrical movie release while the original Teen Titans only got a direct to DVD series finale that only resolved the Robin and Starfire relationship.

But is this movie bad? I mean it can’t be as bad as the Green Lantern movie or the Orphan Fight 2016 right? Turns out, it was pretty good.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, spoilers for Teen Titans Go to the Movies won’t ruin your day and you can’t kill me for them. Maybe for ruining a few jokes though.

I think what helps the film is the obnoxiousness associated with our poorly designated heroes of Teen Titans Go is toned down significantly; we don’t have Robin as a action obsessed hero causing unnecessary collateral damage, Raven isn’t a pessimistic heroin who will banish someone to a garbage dimension for spits and giggles, Beastboy and Cyborg are still pretty silly, Starfire is the same, but is willing to give Robin a chance in this movie rather than designating him to the friendzone where he belongs.

The movie focuses on Robin’s attempts at getting his own superhero movie because everyone has one, which is kind of an interesting subject; literally everyone is getting a superhero movie despite the genre being popular longer than most movie genres tend to last (just look at the rise and fall of vampire films and film adaptations of paranormal YA novels). But no I am not joking about everyone getting superhero films, while the films plays it for ridiculous levels of laughs, a lot of the b listers featured in the film have gotten their own movies (yes there is a Jonah Hex movie, and Zatanna almost got her own movie too!)

Okay so the movie has pretty general messages; remember to always give full credit to your team when you accomplish group goals together and you don’t have to be super to be a hero. Oddly the strong point of the film is it’s comedy and the approach to said comedy; it’s nearly the same as it is in the cartoon on tv, as stated above I feel it’s more bearable due to our heroes being closer to their more heroic personalities from the original cartoon.

The plot is actually kicked off because the Titans are called out on their shenanigans with all the superheroes stating that it’s because of their immaturity that none of them take the Titans seriously. I am aware that this is the plot to a few episodes of Teen Titans Go (one where the Young Justice cast calls them out, one where they’re put on trial for causing unnecessary damage to the city, the episode that showed they were more competent at heroics when they became the League of Legs) and the plot isn’t resolved or their universe is just rebooted back to the universe’s previous condition.

Unlike the animated series, the Titans pull through because it’s Robin’s dream to have his own movie with Robin constantly switching back and forth between ‘this is my dream’ and ‘we have our own movie!’

I’ll say it was a nice relief to see a 2D animated movie in theatres again; while I have nothing against 3D movies, I did grow up with 2D animated films and wanted to go into animation as a kid because I liked 2D animation (alas not all dreams come true kids, points to me for having good foresight as a teenager though when looking at colleges and fields of study).

Fair warning to parents, the humor is pretty dark with the worst being that the Titans are guilty of vehicular manslaughter and running away from the scene of the crime during the film.

If you want a funny film, this is a pretty good one, some viewers may want to wait for dollar movies with this one though. I give Teen TItans GO to the Movies thre SlaaaaaDe (emphasis on the D) utterings out of five.

Also just to get your butts into the theatres, based on the performance of the film, we may get a sixth season of Teen Titans original according to all five voice actors of Teen TItans.

Th1rteen R3asons Why season 2 Review

Not going to lie, I am a little reluctant to review the second season of the Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why based on the novel by Jay Asher of the same name. Mostly because I didn’t review season one of the series or the novel it is based on, I’m going to get onto my reasons now.

Why Didn’t you Review the First Season and the Book?

So there are things called art, censorship, and shoving my foot in my mouth. Last year I had seen trailers for the show 13 Reasons Why and thought it was genuinely interesting and sat down to watch the first season. While I do admit it has its flaws, it was something I enjoyed watching and thought was worth watching.

Then came the controversy of how the series (probably poorly) handled the portrayal of mental health and was accused of “romanticizing suicide.” while in a sense I do agree the writers of the series cold have handled things better, I thought the idea of ‘getting creative with ideas about suicide from a tv show’ was moronic and only a complete idiot would copycat the audiotape suicide note There were indeed morons who copied the idea and sadly took their own lives.

I took the side of the writers and the tv series because I don’t like censorship of art, even if I don’t like or agree with what was presented (I didn’t like the approach they took to Hannah taking her own life, or an unnecessary rape scene from season two I’ll get to in a bit.)

In short I couldn’t review season one because at the time I was in a mental bias for the show and would have claimed it’s a work of art despite content of the story.

Okay Let’s Talk About Season Two and How Much I Hated the Ending, spoilers from this point on.

When season one of Thirteen Reasons Why aired it was hard for me to believe they would be able to adapt a second season from a stand alone book. My friend and I guessed that season two would be from the perspective of Hanna’s peers on the tapes and their sides of the story. We were mostly right; season two is more like an episode of Law and Order SVU, except Olivia Benson doesn’t come out victorious by the end of the episode.

Alongside the courtroom drama there is also the continued school life of the cast from the previous season; Clay is trying to move on from Hannah, Tyler is making new friends and doing his best to keep them despite the clashing personalities, Tony is questioning his morals and trades in his white boyfriend for a black boyfriend, Justin having even more internal conflicts, Jessica and other girls raped by Bryce struggling to come forward about their rapes in order to get him arrested, and many other things. Also before the start of season two, there is a PSA from the cast of 13 Reasons Why talking of mental health and suicide and encouraging viewers feeling thoughts of depression and suicide to seek help and discouraging them viewing the series.

To continue with the usage of old tech in a modern world, polaroid pictures were the nostalgic item used for evil this season as evidence that Bryce and many generations of the baseball team used as “trophies” in their sexual conquests.

To be honest I felt this season (like season one) dragged on and aside from a few select episodes (Courtney deciding to come clean about her true relationship with Hannah and come out as a lesbian at the same time is my favorite episode of the season). I do like that along with characters telling their sides of the story of the tapes, many characters who were seen as antagonists previously (the above mentioned Courtney, Ryan, and kind of Tyler) chose to do a heel face turn and aid in the courtroom battle against the school telling the truth of what happened on the tapes and admitting they were in the wrong.

The main character Clay struggles with his feelings towards Hannah, and as a result is seeing Hannah in front of him either as a hallucination or as Hannah’s soul aiding him in his journey (I see it as the later and I’ll explain why). Clay starts off the season dating Skye and suddenly having abs and trying to function without thinking of Hannah, but he can’t bring himself to do so. His character arc is learning new facts about Hannah that he didn’t previously know and questioning if his feelings for her were authentic.

We are also given some revelations about Hannah’s life and how she wasn’t the as unguilty as she claimed. She had been a bully at her previous school, but upon realizing what she was doing tried to stop and changed schools for the sake of a fresh start. I like that it gave more depth to her character, showing that she was trying to change herself for the better and still had flaws as a person and didn’t know how to handle it.

Poor, Poor Tyler

A Lot of my hatred for this season comes from the treatment of Tyler; throughout season one the character Tyler is treated like shit. While some of it is deserved from select characters (Courtney had every right to hate and mistreat him due to him outing her as gay when she wasn’t ready), the escalation gave the impression he was going to shoot up the school.

And he didn’t. Instead Tyler starts a questionable friendship with an individual named Cyrus, who although is ‘punk’ is a pretty cool guy who isn’t crazy enough to shoot up the school. Tyler goes through ups and downs, but it seems he nearly gains forgiveness from most of the cast. Then fucks it up because he didn’t want to be embarrassed for ejaculating in public from a kiss.

This all escalates to a horrifying and unnecessary moment in the show where Tyler is raped in the boys restroom.

It’s a disgusting scene, very unnecessary like Hannah’s suicide from the previous season and I strongly suspect the scene was only thrown in for the sake of possibly having a third season to the show just to resolve the Tyler conflict when it could have easily been resolved this season (I mean they solved the primary conflict of Hannah Baker’s suicide, no point in continuing the show after).

An alternative to the scene to wrap up his arc (and the series) would be that upon returning from rehab, Tyler would discover although he won’t gain back some of the friends he alienated, he could still have Clay and maybe get punched in the boys restroom rather than sodomized with a mop (why are so many adults useless in this show?)

God

So originally I was typing this review after I had finished viewing season two (about two weeks after it premiered on Netflix), but due to life events at the time I couldn’t devote my time and attentions to this little blog I do.

Last year when I was watching Thirteen Reasons Why my dad would join me because he thought the show was fairly interesting. He told me two things; the first was a reminder to always listen to someone when they’re calling for help regardless of how trivial it seems, the second I’m shocked was approached in the show itself.

My dad had asked me ‘what did you notice about all those kids on that show?’ I replied with ‘it’s a racially diverse cast.’ He responded with, ‘they don’t have God in their life.’ And while I wanted to argue that even if one of those kids was religious, that wouldn’t guarantee they wouldn’t be part of this problem (I’d still make the argument), I was shocked to see that the Olivia Baker asked a priest “could all of this have been avoided if we were had ‘something’?” in terms of a belief system.  My thoughts were ‘holy crap, religion in a modern YA show portrayed in a positive light.’ Complete with a priest stating that he didn’t believe Hannah went to hell despite dying from suicide.

My reasoning for believing during the season that Clay was speaking with Hannah’s soul rather than a hallucination created from his guilt is maybe the wanting to believe that Hannah didn’t go to hell for dying from suicide. Maybe it is from the observation my dad made and his feelings that “if those kids had been taught about God and how to be good people, none of what they were going through would have happened.”

I’ll end this blog post by thinking that as Hannah’s soul left the church, she went to heaven, just as the show should have ended at that point (I’m not watching season three, this show is going on longer than necessary).

Your Name Movie Review

Your Name is the story of a Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu, two teenage students in Japan who for unknown reasons switch bodies at random points in the week. What seems like a unique happy go lucky romantic comedy takes a striking turn in terms of genre and tone to science fiction and time travel.

Spoilers from this point on, something tells me your memories may or may not be erased from this experience.

As mentioned above Taki and Mitsuha are two teenagers who switch bodies. While the initial concept of a boy and girl switching bodies is already fairly entertaining with obvious physical differences between boys and girls (gotta love boobs and peeing with a penis for the first time), the personality differences between the two adds more to the story.

Mitsuha comes from the near rural town of Itomori and feels isolated from the rest of the world with no bookstores, no malls, and her go to ‘cafe’ being a outdoor vending machine. Mitsuha is a shy girl who feels trapped in her town and in the traditions of her family longing to escape the simple life shouting ‘in my next life I want to be born as a boy in Tokyo’.

Taki is a loud boy with typical boy ways of being into older women and each time he woke up would take time to grope and appreciate Mitsuha’s breasts. Despite these typical traits of a teenage boy Taki does have depth; on the days that he is in Mitsuha’s body he stands up for her own sake calling out bullies who normally pick on Mitsuha and her friends and genuinely growing to love Mitsuha’s family and friends (he even builds a table and chairs for Mitsuha’s go to cafe).

On the other side of things Mitsuha enjoys time in Taki’s body, but is still fairly respectful to Taki’s life (outside of spending a large amount of his earnings on giant pastries). It’s actually pretty humorous to see how the friends and family of Taki and Mitsuha slowly begin to piece things together on their own concerning the two switching bodies.

I was actually a little disappointed to see that Mitsuha’s sexuality wasn’t really explored. It’s very brief, but there is a scene where she sets up a date for Taki with an older woman hoping she would be the one going on the date rather than him. Taki still has a strong attraction for girls in Mitsuha’s body gaining Mitsuha large amounts of attention from female classmates.

The twist halfway through the movie actually did shock me significantly with the revelation that Mitsuha’s life was happening in the past while Taki’s life was taking place three years in the future. Taki then discovers that Mitsuha and most of the population of Itomori were killed in a accident via a piece of a meteorite falling off and hitting the town.

In an effort to change the future Taki drinks sake from a shrine (I don’t know the Japanese religion of Shinto well enough to go into depth about it, forgive me). Contrary to what one would expect, instead of choosing to save just Mitsuha, Taki takes time to formulate a plan with Mitsuha’s friends to prevent the catastrophic event from taking so many lives and getting the town to evacuate in time.

I really did like the film and feel the hype surrounding Your Name is well deserved. The film takes time to explore both big and small elements of life like the relationships among friends and family are still important to each person while in the grand scheme of things are very miniscule in the grander scheme of things and life would easily continue on for the rest of the world while a whole city were to be destroyed. It’s also very heartwarming to see that although Taki seems like a generic guy who’s more interested in girls, keeping his part time job, and saving money, grew to genuinely love the people in Mitsuha’s life putting the effort to save her town rather than being selfish and choosing to just take Mitsuha to a safe area area from disaster.

I give the film four sharpie messages on a hand out of five.

Your Name is produced by CoMix Wave Films and is distributed by Toho.

The Day of the Doctor and Rose Novelization Review

Doctor Who is a long lasting british science fiction television show I’m a pretty big fan of (enough to have five different costumes of the Doctor) and in celebration of the fifty fifth year of the program and thirteenth year of the rebooted show on television we have been presented with two episodes of the reboot series written by Russell T. Davies (Rose) and Steven Moffat (The Day of the Doctor).

Spoilers from this point onwards, I think with psychic paper or Silence, or maybe a crack in the universe the memory of said spoilers can be taken care of.

The Day of the Doctor by Steven Moffat

The first of these two adventures I listened to was The Day of the Doctor by Steven Moffat; in comparison to the televised fiftieth anniversary special, the novelization gives a little more backstory to events happening and some clarification to questions some fans had been wondering. We get some more depth on just how dire the Time War really is/was with many species and entities blinking in and out of existence on a regular basis and a plethora of split timelines being created and destroyed in the battle between the time lords and the daleks.

While I did enjoy the novelization, I couldn’t help but get annoyed at the emphasis on the ‘timey wimey’ attitude of the narrator of the novel (The Curator), but this may be because I’ve moved on from the Eleventh Doctor, embraced and mourned the Twelfth Doctor and look forward to the Thirteenth Doctor.

What I did enjoy were the perspective of the Zygone characters and how they felt about the situation as victims of the Time War losing their home planet and being forced to go to earth as refugees of war and even though they would rather not invade the earth under such circumstances, they have no choice, so this allowed more sympathy for me to feel for the Zygone’s than I originally did.

There’s also an explanation for why the Osgoods are so close to each other, but I won’t go into that since I feel that was one of the stronger points of the novel. Speaking of strong points, oh my goodness chapter nine! I just couldn’t believe any of it! There was laughter, tears, and moments where i couldn’t help but blush in embarrassment of what I was reading and the intimacy printed (well in my case with the audiobook, being read out loud).

Also I was very satisfied to see what each incarnation of the Doctor was up to during the final battle between the daleks and the Time Lords and seeing each incarnation going off to save countless citizens of Galifrey in its moment of extreme crisis. We also see what the Twelfth Doctor was up to in all his badass glory during this time as well.

There is finally a small sneak peek to the Thirteenth Doctor that I’d rather readers (and listeners) go explore on their own rather than yap on about it.

Rose

Something I’ve talked about with friends lately is how much I enjoyed the Russell T. Davies era of Doctor Who (Ninth and Tenth Doctor). While I have nothing against Steven Moffat (Twelfth Doctor dethroned Tenth Doctor as my favorite Doctor), there was just something I liked more about the RTD era of Doctor Who, and listening to this novel allowed me to pinpoint it fairly well.

The background of Rose, her mother Jackie, and boyfriend Mickey are given more detail in this novel. We learn that it was Rose’s own fault that her life was mediocre rather than her mother’s influence and that Mickey wasn’t the pathetic person that the Doctor unintentionally made him out to be and is actually a very kind young man who finds ways to cope with his life despite some of the more depressing aspects of it. Jackie Tyler is essentially the same as she was in the tv series, but has a little more heart.

Rose, though shorter than The Day of the Doctor, was the story I found myself enjoying more. The expanded upon backstories of Rose, Mickey, and Jackie are just a portion of what made the book enjoyable. We also see characters that were unheard of and even more backstory to minor characters from the episode and their perspective of things like Clive (the man who was gathering data on the Doctor via the internet) lost his dad in Remembrance of the Daleks and desired to go on one adventure with the Doctor (even sacrificing his life for his family by gaining courage from the stories he had read about the Doctor).

What I really liked about the novelization of Rose and the Russell T. Davies era of Doctor Who was the humanity in it. The moments where the novel steps away from Rose and focuses on minor characters reminded me that despite the big bad things happening in the universe that the Doctor and his companions faced there was still the ordinary life of ordinary people.

There were good and innocent people who lost their lives in the chaos of the Auton attack along with people who weren’t good, or kind, and were just really bad people. There are also characters who weren’t even named, but filled with joy over surviving the impending doom of the situation and that when all the chaos was over and the day was saved got over their fear immediately and started aiding those injured in the attack.

It isn’t necessary to read these two novels to enjoy the episodes of Doctor Who, but I found myself really enjoying them and will probably buy and read the hard copy editions as soon as they are available.

I give The Day of the Doctor by Steven Moffat three out of five Fez’s (is that how you do the plural to fez?) and Rose by Russell T. Davies four out of five Tardises (Tardi?).

I Love you Dad

There is so much I want to say about my dad; I want to say he was the best dad in the world despite being a flawed person. I want to say he knew the answer to so many problems despite him seeing practical solutions that people would overlook and telling me “just pray to God and everything will be fine.” Most of all, I really do want him here now.
On Sunday June third at 15:33 my father was called into God’s kingdom. What had started as a simple colonoscopy and lead to the removal of a tumor with six months of chemotherapy ended with a two month hospitalization and the loss of my most favorite person in the world. This whole experience is still a shock to friends and family who were close to my dad, but instead of focusing on the sadder parts of the experience, I wanted to focus on something important to me that my watchers probably gathered that is closely tied to my relationship with my dad, God and the Catholic religion he left for me.
When I was little one of my first memories was my dad telling me one day I, and everyone I know and love, will die. Death was okay though, because so long as you were a good and kind person, you went to heaven. From there he taught me about God and Jesus and with his humble ways he taught me Catholicism.
He wasn’t like other men in the sense that “emotions and intelligence are dumb,” and while he did teach me skills he felt a man needed to know, my dad did things most men wouldn’t do with their sons. When I was seven and didn’t want to learn to shoot a bb gun, he asked me why. I stated that from what I saw on tv guns were used to end life, my dad accepted this reasoning for not wanting to learn to use a gun and never brought up the topic again. The main thing my dad did, that most fathers don’t do with their sons was that he was very open about loving me and my brothers.
Everyday when I was dropped off to school he told me he loved me, every night before I went to bed he told me he loved me. Every phone call I had with him ended with both of us exchanging “I love you.”
As I got older things started to get complicated; I had been assigned two Sunday school teachers that were homophobic in eighth and ninth grade that stated no matter what I tried I would go to hell for my existence (don’t worry, they have been asked to resign from ever teaching sunday school again). However because of that and many trials in life (well highschool) I felt the need to join a statistical correlation concerning gay youth.
My dad noticed something was wrong though, I call it having the best love a parent could ever have. When I was seventeen planning to become a statistic I decided to tell my dad I was gay just to give a reason for said statistic to happen. I expected to be thrown out, condemned, beaten, but I wasn’t. He smiled, hugged me tight, and said he loved me anyways.
From that point on I decided I would stay in this religion to honor my dad for his unconditional love.
While my dad did have flaws (he didn’t realize that me being gay also meant I would date and have a boyfriend at some point), he was still someone I loved (and still do) greatly. It’s hard to think properly right now, it’s hard to type the sixty four pages my dad deserves and more about how awesome a parent and person he was. It’s hard to breath for various reasons and type on this keyboard (mostly because of allergy season,) but for now I continue to be with my family and pray for him. I’ll try my best to continue his legacy. I am taking a break from blogging as well, to recover and regain the ability to read books and listen to audiobooks.
Be kind.