Monthly Archives: August 2017

Saban’s Power Rangers Review

        Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was a big part of not only my childhood, but the childhood of many kids who grew up in the 90s. It may or may not be the source of me being gay (I love you David Yost, if you’re reading this please consider me for a husband.) Despite what I may have claimed amongst my peers growing up I continued to watch every season of power rangers up until Power Rangers RPM wishing I could afford to cosplay as any of the blue rangers (and a few green rangers).

        When it was announced that a big budget Power Ranger movie would be released (again) I kind of wanted to audition for the role of Billy, but then realized I had very little chance of getting the role and that more than likely the casting director didn’t want to cast some scrawny twenty something year old who looks like a teenager when they can cast some younger guy in great physical shape as a teenager. Plus I was working on a degree.

        Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the film in theatres, I recently purchased the movie via Google Play.

Spoilers and personal observations from this point on, you won’t be able to wake up in your bed the next day wondering how the hell you’re alive.

        One of the reasons I didn’t see the movie in theatres is because I was very hesitant about seeing the movie. Based on leaked images from the movie’s production and official artwork for the villains (oh Goldar, what did they do to you?) I was turned off. I was scared this would turn into a Transformers scenario where this film was made because of lack of creativity and money to be made off nostalgia.

        I did enjoy the movie though; it had it’s flaws and at times I felt like the actors were told “just channel The Breakfast Club and work with that” because at times it felt like it was a semi modernized Breakfast Club. Minus pot smoking (that we know of), dancing, and unnecessary makeovers.

Characters

        Quite a bit was changed for this cinematic Power Rangers reboot, the main thing being that all the rangers besides Billy and Kimberly actually have personalities. Starting with Billy he is still a genius, but has been given a small dosage of Sheldon Cooper. He is kind of a mama’s boy and has a deceased father, he may or may not have a disability since he mentions the inability to fully understand humor and sarcasm at times (which is funny because the casting called for someone who can be witty and sarcastic).

        Jason in the original 90’s tv series was a focused and disciplined martial artist and a determined leader. Here he’s a jock with no martial arts training (none of the characters have any of their martial arts or gymnastic abilities of the actors from the 90’s television series, but they sure do have muscles). Jason is also known to put the need of helping others before his own personal needs and with a little bit of pep talk from Zordon and Alpha 5 takes on the role of the heroic leader of the team.

        Zach’s character was completely rehauled from the Zach of the series. No more is he a fun loving martial artist trying to create a hip hop based form of martial arts, nor is he black. I’m guessing to avoid controversy the casting agency made damn sure not to accidentally cast a black guy as the black ranger and an asian woman as the yellow ranger before filming. Now Zach is still fun loving, a bit of a trickster, and is caring for his sick mother with insecurities associated with it. Also he’s the hottest male in the cast.

        Trini is interesting since she is played by a hispanic actress Becky G. Despite not being of asian ancestry and being in a hispanic family, Trini is still named Trini Kwan (I guess her grandfather is asian?) Trini was hyped as being “the first lgbt superhero in film” (IceMan and Constantine disagree), but this really isn’t made a big deal in the film itself outside of her family desiring a normal life and considering her sexuality not normal. She is a loner and does yoga while listening to metal. I like her.

        I want to say Kimberly is the closest to her 90’s counterpart. She’s perky, spoiled sweet, and your typical teenage girl. There were moments where I was convinced Naomi Scott and Amy Jo Johnson pulled a freaky friday on all of us to the point where even some of her vocal gestures reminded me alot of Amy Jo Johnson. There are layers to this new Kimberly, she has regrets and isn’t as sweet as honey like she was in the 90s. Also there were times where I noticed chemistry between her and Trini.

        Alpha 5 definitely got an upgrade. He is far more competent as a assistant to Zordon, can actually fight if he is needed, Zordon is kind of a dick and only wanted the power rangers to morph so he could resurrect himself because he considers the new team incompetent. I didn’t like Rita, Rita is just boring she wasn’t even scorned by Zordon, she was just power hungry. Oh and Goldar is literally just molten gold. That’s not even scary, gold is one of the softest elements on the periodic table, the rangers could have beaten Goldar with one of Billy’s homemade bombs!

The Story Itself

        The story itself is admittingly generic; five teenages with nothing in commong get chosen to become super heroes and defend the earth/Angel Grove from the evil that attack it. Along the way these protagonists become besties with a training/friendship montage. This formula has actually been used in a few seasons of Power Rangers and I have nothing against it. What I do have a problem with is that a good three fourths of the film is devoted to this bonding time. I do understand that time has to be devoted to developing these characters and their relationship with each other and that this bond/friendship is the key to them defeating evil, but they could have discovered that friendship=morphing a little sooner.

        WIth the backstory I was…disappointed. I do appreciate mentioning of the Zeo Crystal being the main macguffin though. I think it’s because as a teenager I had discovered the Super Sentai television series that each season of Power Rangers is based on and particularly liked Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger (the season that started off Power Rangers). In Zyuranger the witch Bandora (Rita) cursed the dinosaurs after her son is slain by a TRex (her son started the fight) by selling her soul to Daisatan (Lokar). In what little backstory we have of the Power Rangers adaption Zordon and Rita agreed to three out of five coin toss over earth. Zordon cheated, Rita was trapped in a dumpster while in return Rita trapped Zordon in a time…thing.

        However the lack of backstory is actually a good thing for the film despite my complaints about it since it allowed the film to devote more time to the growing friendship between the rangers. I didn’t particularly like how Rita was defeated as it felt very anticlimactic to an already boring character.

The Good Things

        Despite feeling too much of the film revolved over the bonding friendship of the rangers it is one of the better parts of the film and it is relevant to the plot. The shout outs to other parts of Power Ranger seasons were also very nice. Amy Jo Johnson and Jason David Frank cameo’s were nice (why wasn’t David Yost invited to cameo?) All of the rangers having actual personalities is also a good thing and it is impressive that it was accomplished since even with two hours it can be hard to flesh out protagonists in a film.

        CGI in the film was weird at worst (Goldar…), but it was great to see the Zords and Megazord look so good. Also having the Power Rangers theme from the 1995 movie while the zords are piloted was perfect.

I give Saban’s Power Rangers three Nice Stereos out of five.

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Many Waters Review

        As many of you know the new movie adaption of A Wrinkle in Time is set up to be released next year, so out of excitement I decided to reread Madeleine L’Engle’s books because I am a big fan. I then realized I hadn’t ever gotten around to read Many Waters for some reason and was a little shocked I never did so since the story revolves around Sandy and Dennys Murry.

        As mentioned above the story revolves around Sandy and Dennys Murry, the two self proclaimed normal of the Murry children in comparison of the prodigies of Meg and Charles Wallace. When they return home one winter afternoon and go into their parent’s personal lab both Sandy and Dennys are transported to the time of Noah and the ark. Reading this book actually reminded me a lot of the Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis which was a science fiction series from a Christian perspective that all other creatures in the universe were aware of the existence of God and the universe beyond them.

Spoilers from this point on, I’m running out of witty things to type in the bold text.

        Unlike the adventures of their siblings Sandy and Dennys are not as adventure ready as readers would believe. For one thing when exposed to the desert climate both Sandy and Dennys suffer from a heat stroke and spend the first half of the book recovering from severe sunburns. At the same time it separates both twins from each other allowing both of them to realize their own personal individual traits that they had never realized about themselves due to always being with each other.

        Along with their own self discovery that both twins aren’t completely like each other Sandy and Dennys begin to realize there is more to them besides being the ‘normal ones’ that they had always called themselves. Dennys has a very strong understanding of the experiments that both his parents perform and the science that Mr and Mrs Murry research and experiment with. In comparison to the adventures of Meg and Charles Wallace, Sandy and Dennys spend significantly more time on their adventure while Meg and Charles Wallace on technicality devoted a few hours to their own adventures (time travel kind of makes it hard to determine who spent the most time on their adventure).

        As mentioned earlier the book takes place during the time of Noah before the days of the great flood. The great flood itself plays a minor role in the story for the first three quarters of the book with major focus being on Sandy, Dennys, Noah’s family and the works of the Seraphim and Nephilim. There is also another tribe of not so nice people who are envious to Noah’s tribe, one of these characters is named Tiglah.

        I want to talk about Tiglah in this review mainly to compare the style of YA writing from when this book was published and how Tiglah would be viewed now. Many Waters was published in 1986 where it was more or less it was frowned upon to be sexually active and open about it as a teenager in the media. In this book Tiglah is in love with one of the Nephilim (fallen Seraphim) and does his bidding for him at one point trying to seduce Sandy and Dennys because the Nephilim are wary of them.

        Throughout the book I felt very sorry for Tiglah and constantly hoped that she would be redeemed; it wasn’t her fault that she ended up this way and clearly she didn’t think that her sexual nature was a bad thing. She admits to genuinely caring about both Sandy and Dennys and hoping that things go well for them as the great flood begins and it is heavily implied that she drowns in the great flood for her ways.

        I think if Tiglah were a character in a modern YA book she would have had more depth to her explored; she may have even been given her own character development and realize that the Nephilim don’t care for her and at least leave her wicked family and ask Noah and his family to give her refuge and teach her to be good.

        Tiglah is also called a slut by Sandy when she tries to convince him to give her his virginity, something that wouldn’t sit well with modern readers (okay more than likely the christian audience would be okay with that.)

        To contrast Tiglah there is Yalith, one of the daughters of Noah; Yalith is essentially a Pure Mary Sue. She is good and kind to all she meets, she nurses Dennys back to health, rejects a Nephilim who claims to be in love with her, convinces the Seraphim to love her (platonically) and is stuck in a love triangle with Sandy and Dennys eventually admitting that she is in love with both of them and it is the mutual love between herself and Sandy that Sandy decides not to have sex with Tiglah. When the issue comes around that Noah can only take his sons and their wives onto the arc and Yalith must be left behind, it is discovered that Yalith is so pure, she can be given a free pass into heaven body and soul because she’s that pure.

        I don’t hate the character of Yalith, but it just annoyed me at times at how she’s presented as the most pure thing in the world and everyone must love her unconditionally. Okay that’s enough ranting about Tiglah and Yalith.

        Concerning the story itself it was very interesting at how ideas and themes presented in the book are actually a very big deal for some people today. One issue frequently brought up is Sandy’s agnostic views and how he needs to “see it to believe it.” At first he treats the story of Noah and the Ark as the equivalent of Norse and Greek mythology, stories told to people that aren’t true, of course with L’Engle being a religious woman, Sandy does believe in unicorns (there is no way I can cover the topic of the importance of unicorns in this book and keep the review brief), but this belief is a result of seeing a unicorn and then believing they are real.

        Sandy also points out in annoyance how many of the women he met on this journey are adapted out of the Bible because the Bible was written by men who viewed the male presence as more important than the female presence.

        Along with this Sandy has comparisons with the unkind people who aren’t part of Noah’s family and terrorists who hijack planes, which in today’s world is a very scary reality that has happened more and more regularly with new forms of shock and horror.

        I’ll end this review by saying that parts of it did hit close to home, particularly since during my time reading this my dad was in the hospital (he is fine and recovering) and one of the biggest plot threads in the book is Noah and his relationship with his dying father Lamech.

I give Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle three out of five cute mini mammoths.

Also small announcement and explanation for things; I will participate in Write a Novel in November this year, so this blog post was partially for me to see if I can write 1667 words in a day. It is something I’ve considered participating in and I hope I can pull it off. This review was 1293 words long meaning I clearly have some improving to do, but book reviews and amount of words written in a day are two very different things. Wish me luck, my theme for this novel will be…mermaids.

Batman and Harley Quinn Review

        In her twenty fifth year in existence of Harley Quinn and the seventy-something year of existence for Batman, DC Entertainment released Batman and Harley Quinn. I was very excited when I saw the announcement and trailer for Batman and Harley Quinn while my older brother groaned and said “seriously, more Harley Quinn?” And upon watching Batman and Harley Quinn I will say I was disappointed in a sense. I didn’t hate the movie, but I feel that things could have been done better.

The Good Things

        One of the things fans of DC Comics will notice off the bat is that the movie is animated in the same style as the Batman The Animated Series using the same character models for the characters of Batman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, a few background henchmen, and Nightwing (minus fugly 90’s mullet). The movie gave a very strong nostalgic feeling for me as someone who grew up with the DC Animated Universe from the beginning of Batman TAS in 1993 to the end of Justice League Unlimited in 2006.

        One of the neat things about the film is that the character models for a scene that takes place in a bar for henchmen used character models for nearly all the henchmen featured in Batman TAS and fans of the series can have fun trying to identify what episode each henchmen was in. There’s also a really fun musical number of Harley singing Hanging on the Telephone that even causes both Batman and Nightwing to briefly break out of their normal characterization.

        One of the best things of the movie I really liked was that it was a Harley Quinn movie without the Joker. Rather than rely on the constant conflict between Harley and Joker, this movie focused on the genuine friendship between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. For those that don’t know in the comics after getting thrown out by the Joker one time too many Poison Ivy takes in Harley Quinn and the two start a friendship that at times is a little romantic. This friendship plays a key role in the movie for both Poison Ivy and Harley as the former begins to question if what she is doing really good for the earth and is going to far for the greater good.

        In this film Harley Quinn is recruited from her attempt to live a clean life by Batman and Nightwing to save the world from Poison Ivy and Floronic Man who want to turn all living creatures on earth into animal/plant hybrids in order to save the earth from climate change. Initially Harley is only recruited for the sake of finding out the location of Poison Ivy, but Harley joins along because she enjoys being alive and a human.

The Bad Parts

        Despite what I mentioned above about the film using the same animation models of Batman TAS for both the setting and character, the movie is not meant for kids and I can’t guarantee all viewers will get the same nostalgic feeling I got. There is swearing and a scene where Harley shoots the finger at a friend of hers which some parents who purchased the movie in hopes of bonding with their kids over Harley might not be so comfortable with. There’s also a fair amount of PG13 level gore present, another thing parents might not be so comfortable with. Particularly if their daughter was exposed to Harley via DC Superhero Girls.

        Harley Quinn is also very sexualized for the first third of the movie until she gets her Harley Quinn attire on. She can be seen in a ‘sexy Harley Quinn’ costume as part of her job, strips down to her underwear in front of Nightwing (and possibly has consensual sex with him). I’m not really sure if the goal was for Harley to celebrate her sexuality, to be objectified, or a strange mockery of sexualization while just having fun with the character.

        Sadly, there are moments where the movie is a little dull and even relied on potty humor (okay fine, Harley Quinn producing farts so foul smelling that even Batman pulled over at a gas station is pretty damn funny).

Some fans have complained over Melissa Rauch voicing Harley instead of Terra Strong, and while Rauch does kinda sound like Velma Dinkly with a brooklyn accent, you overlook it after a while.

Not all fans of Batman TAS or Harley Quinn will love this movie, but I enjoyed it enough to write a review on it.

I give Batman and Harley Quinn three and a half sudden musical numbers out of five.

        

Happy Esther Day

Happy Esther day, seven years ago was Esther Earl’s sixteenth and final birthday before passing away. She wasn’t the world’s biggest youtuber and if we’re going to be honest with ourselves she’s only famous because she knew John Green and he wrote The Fault in Our Stars in her memory. So what makes her birthday so special?

Well for one thing she wanted to encourage familial love and friendship love and love of pets. She wasn’t a graceful young woman and a fountain of knowledge and wisdom like Malala Yousafzai (it’s pretty hard to top her in that area), but she did have her own form of wisdom. She was also a normal girl cancer aside. She loved Harry Potter and was an active vlogger on YouTube.

Her nice, short, cute, and nerdy life had an unexpected aftershock. The Fault in our Stars went beyond fans of John Green and his brother  who labeled their group as Nerdfighters and went into the public. It flooded Barnes and Noble and Target with it’s innocent but simple Blue, Black, and White cover and gave teenagers and readers of Young Adult fiction something beautiful, funny, and tragic to read. It resulted in a book based on Esther Earl This Star Won’t Go Out and essentially putting more love into the world.

I don’t have many words to say about the holiday beyond that, except that I spent the day with my family and my pup.