Category Archives: movies

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.

Advertisements

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.

A Hero and a Chosen One Walk Into a Bar

In every story there is a protagonist, the protagonist can either be a primary character, someone the story just so happens to follow, or in some creative cases the enemy of the “protagonist” should the story follow a villain rather than the hero (think Invader Zim). In many stories a a protagonist will more than likely be labeled a hero and in some cases even a ‘Chosen One’. Now a Hero protagonist and a Chosen One don’t have to be one and the same, but in some cases both will be merged into one character for convenience or lack of creativity. There is nothing wrong with having a Chosen One or a hero, but one can’t help but admit that it may be done a bit too much at times.

The Hero’s Journey

The Hero’s Journey is pretty self explanatory, but just to give a little more detail as to what goes on is that your protagonist goes on a journey and through a series of events has experiences that cause change in his character which may result in heroic deeds.

I’m going to go farther back than I normally do with my references to pop culture and media and reference the poem known as Beowulf. Yes that long poem you had to read in twelfth grade english class will be talked about a little today, no I’m not talking about that weird CGI movie that came out ten years ago. Beowulf hears of the troubles the monster Grendel is causing because the tenants above him won’t turn down their partying resulting in Grendel  killing citizens under the land of Heorot. Grendel and Beowulf do battle, Beowulf rips off his arm and Grendel dies at home. His mother gets pissed.

Grendel’s Mother gets her revenge, and Beowulf travels to put an end to her too. For these two battles Beowulf is more or less just being a nice guy and is very confident in his abilities. He’s a hero because it’s the right thing to do. After fifty years and becoming a king himself, Beowulf takes on a dragon, but thanks to old age isn’t as confident in his abilities and is mortally wounded while dealing with the dragon.

The story itself isn’t too thrilling, but we have the basic hero of Beowulf who technically does go through change in his story of heroism from confident man who defeated two monsters to a king who wasn’t so sure he could defeat a dragon.

The subject of change for the hero can vary from the confidence of the hero regardless of it being a lack of confidence at the beginning to having confidence at the end or vice versa in the case of Beowulf.

There is also the ‘Zero to Hero’ story where Disney’s adaptation of Hua Mulan (just Mulan for the film) is a good example. In the original story Mulan wanted to join the army in place of her father (after she dueled him for permission and won) and was already a skilled martial artist and capable with a sword and after gaining much credit for her work returned home in retirement accepting no compensation for her work in the military.

The Disney adaption keeps Mulan replacing her father as a soldier, but takes away her badass combat abilities. She instead has to learn and earn her abilities as a soldier with the stakes increased in the film that should the Chinese military discover that she is a woman she will be executed for daring to break social norms by entering the army. Mulan is discovered, but is spared because Li is probably very relieved that Mulan is a woman meaning he isn’t gay. For all her efforts Mulan returns home a changed woman with a better understanding of honor and very happy to see her family (and is even hugged by the Emperor after she blew up his castle and earning the highest headcount of her Disney Princess counterparts).

It could be argued that the Disney film Hercules released a year before Mulan has the same Zero to Hero format and technically it does, but the character Hercules is doing it for selfish reasons at first rather than the selfless reason of Mulan and only learned to be a hero after Megara dies and the gods are freed. Technically Hercules didn’t learn a damn thing in the movie (Hades wasn’t such a bad guy and was just keeping his end of the bargain, Hercules is an asshat).

From the three examples above it could be argued that Mulan is the best example of a hero due to her compassion and will to sacrifice herself for the needs of her loved ones (and a cricket for good luck) while Beowulf was just being a nice guy and Hercules had no idea how to be a hero outside of getting a merchandising deal.

The Chosen One and The Special

What do Harry Potter and Star Wars have in common? Well besides the hero and villain relying on the color scheme of red and green to help the audience determine who is good and who is evil, not that much. Both DO have a Chosen One and do indeed play with the idea of a Chosen One. Normally a Chosen One is someone who is predicted to “save the day and put an end to evil!” Because destiny said so.

While this isn’t a bad plot device for a story, I chose the topic of Star Wars and Harry Potter because most audiences are familiar with these two franchises when it comes to having a ‘Chosen One’ despite the actual label of Chosen One being played with. In Harry Potter, Harry is known as ‘The Boy Who Lived’ and after a run in Voldemort his first year at Hogwarts is the only wizard who can defeat Voldy after Dumbledore himself. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (book 5/the one with the blue cover for you muggles) after being responsible for the death of a student and his godfather Harry demands answers from Dumbledore as to why this is happening to him.

Dumbledore explains that because of a vague prediction that Voldy knew of Harry could have been living a normal wizard life while his classmate and friend Neville Longbottom could have been the one with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead, but Voldy picked Harry because he felt Harry was his equal. Dumbledore mentions that Voldy didn’t HAVE to actually listen to the prediction and could have gone on causing problems in the wizarding world, but because of knowledge of said prophesy didn’t want to take risks and decided to go after baby Harry setting the story into motion.

In Star Wars we have the Skywalker family; this starts off with Anakin Skywalker who has a special talent with the force and is prophesied to bring balance to the light and dark side of the force. Anakin is a gifted padawan despite having temptations from the dark side of the force. In the tv series Clone Wars he is shown to be a competent general, but it’s all for naught when in Revenge of the Sith he falls to the dark side and becomes Darth Vader putting an end to his Chosen One status. For the original trilogy audiences figured Luke was the actual Chosen One, and the force even had a back up plan with Leia, but in the end it’s Vader who puts an end to Emperor Palpatine.

In recent movies and spin offs though in the Star Wars universe things are shifting away from having Chosen Ones save the day to a bigger picture type of story I’ll get into a little bit.

The alternative to The Chosen One is ‘The Special’ as The Lego Movie puts it. As the name suggests, the Special is someone who is special, they can be someone immune to most vampire abilities, a vampire with empathic abilities, or in the case of The Lego Movie, someone who will be the best master builder ever! I do like that The Lego Movie also plays with this with the character WyldStyle hoping that she is the special, but discovering it’s a guy who thinks inside the box in contradiction to the outside the box master builders and saves the day more frequently because of it. It is revealed that the Special is completely made up for the sake of one of the protagonists buying time earlier in the movie and that all the protagonists in the movie are ‘The Special’.

Born for the Job

A variation for ‘The Special’ is literally being born into the job. Very good examples of this are Avatar The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, and Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon. In these cases our protagonist is born into the role of hero due to being reincarnated in the case of Usagi Tsukino (Sailor Moon), and the light spirit of Raava being transferred into each life and incarnation of the Avatar.

The approach of being a hero is taken to two different extremes with the Avatar series; in the first series Aang is just child when he is told that he is the Avatar and has to defeat the Firelord to restore balance between the four nations. Aang flees resulting in the mass genocide of Airbenders and has to clean up the mess later. The first two seasons of the series Aang focuses more on having fun since he is still a twelve year old, but grows to understand the seriousness of the situation with the Fire Nation and realizes that he is the only one who can fix his mistake. While the first two seasons are more lighthearted, the third season takes a darker approach with the final batch of episodes focusing on the conflict between Aang’s personal beliefs that killing is wrong despite his position of being the Avatar and needing to protect and bring balance to the world and that he needs to kill Firelord Ozai (he takes the third option).

In the sequel series Legend of Korra, Korra is the opposite of Aaeng, when she discovers she’s the Avatar, she’s excited and spent her whole youth training to be the greatest fighter mastering all bending outside of airbending. While Aang was primarily a defensive fighter who went to great lengths to avoid violence as a solution to a conflict, Korra was ready to kick ass and chew gum. Korra’s constant conflict throughout the series is being told that she as the Avatar is not needed anymore. It starts off small when Amon of the Equalist movement tells her she is no longer needed because ‘benders shouldn’t be superior to nonbenders.’ this continues onto the second season where her uncle tries to replace her as the dark avatar, and comes to a tragic level in season three where the radicalist Zaheer wants to kill Korra and end the Avatar cycle for the sake of chaos and anarchy. The tragedy comes at the end of the season where Korra is damaged physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally and is told by her mentor Tenzin that the newly formed air nomads will aid the people of the four nations further pushing the message that Korra isn’t ‘needed’ anymore. In contrast with most tales of the Hero’s Journey, Korra realizes that in contradiction with Aang needing to resort to violence to save the day (he technically didn’t, but there was still fighting), she needed to rely on pacifism and talked her final foe down without resorting to what she believed was needed in the form of brute force and skill to save the day a few years ago.  

Now there’s Sailor Moon; many people see it as the one of the girliest shows out there. They might be right, but who says a story aimed for girls can’t have depth? Compared to the previous two examples, Usagi Tsukino almost had to be dragged into heroics kicking and screaming. The manga, nineties anime adaption, and live action tokusatsu series do a decent job of Usagi’s growth into a hero from her usual cry baby antics (the first episode of the nineties anime is literally named Crybaby Usagi’s Beautiful Transformation). What convinces her to go out and become a hero despite being a crybaby with zero combat ability? Her friend Naru is in danger (she never turns her back on a friend, she’s always there to defend, she is the one on whome we can depend), so she leaps into action without a second thought to save her best friend. As the series continues it is shown that what Usagi lacks in heroism (there are times where Luna and Tuxedo Mask have to talk Usagi into believing in herself to beat the bad guys), she makes up for as a people person genuinely liking most of the people she meets and standing up for oddballs and social outcasts that would later become her dearest friends.

By the third arc of the manga Usagi admits that she has accepted her fate to protect the earth from all who want to do harm to it and it’s people. In the final series arc she even gives a pep talk to a future incarnation of Sailor Moon known as Sailor Cosmos that even though the fight against Chaos seems hopeless, she can’t destroy the Galaxy Cauldron because then there would be no more life and that even if the fight against Chaos seems hopeless, it’s no reason to give up.

The Legend of Zelda

Why is The Legend of Zelda getting its own portion to this essay? Because it’s just that amazing. In nearly each Zelda game, there is one constant. There’s a Link, and there’s a Zelda. Things got a little interesting a few years ago with the release of the Hyrule Historia finally placing some clarity to many fan debates of how the series worked concerning our two main heroes.

Our heroes Link and Zelda are both subversions and straight examples of a hero and a Chosen One (this can vary from game to game). Each Link is a hero earning the Triforce of Courage for their courageous deeds (and in two cases getting the complete triforce). Many fans wondered how each Link was connected, and the only connection between them outside of the green tunic was bearing the Triforce of Courage, thus being the subversion of a ‘Chosen One’.

The multiple Zeldas in the series are an interesting approach to being a ‘Chosen One’ and ‘being born into the job’. It was revealed in The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword that there was indeed a fourth goddess for Hyrule known as the goddess Hylia born into a human by choice into the first incarnation of Princess Zelda. From that point onward future Zeldas are by technicality a Chosen One in their adventures not because they are royalty, but because they have the blood of the goddess Hylia flowing through their veins and with this power are trained and obligated to protect the land of Hyrule.

In the most recent game in the series Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, this incarnation of Zelda can’t connect with the power wielded by her ancestors and doesn’t like the pressure of being needed to protect Hyrule due to her inability to connect with these spiritual abilities and would rather be a scholar aiding in the research of past technologies. In contrast the Link of the game is a stern soldier fully devoted to Zelda and to the land of Hyrule ;Zelda laments that Link may have chosen this path because his father chose it and asks him what if he had chosen a different path mirroring his own situation with her own.

Unlike the Zeldas, most Links don’t have the baggage of having a duty to protect the kingdom and are just someone who stepped up to the plate to save the day for various reasons either to save a friend, sister, or because a tree told them to do it.

Subversion of Everything I Just Talked About

I have some issues with Chosen Ones; not that a story is bad for having a Chosen One, but that in writing once you set your protagonist as a Chosen One, you wrote yourself to rely solely on a protagonist. First let’s talk about destiny.

Destiney can tie into having a Chosen One because they’re destined to be chosen (so shocking). Back to Star Wars, in 2003 the video game Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic was released; it is one of the only GOOD Star Wars games out there. You can literally make your Player Character have decisions that affect their affiliation with the Force (as in you gain light side points for giving a man money, or can earn dark side points for mugging that man instead). You can also strike up conversations with crewmembers of the Ebon Hawk, one of them being Jolee Bindo. Bindo provides some insight and an alternative perspective to  the way the Force is seeing as he isn’t on the best terms with the Jedi Order.

One story is how a force user named Andor Vex who is told that the Force has a strong interest in him. Andor takes this as a sign that he will be a great hero and is cocky, this eventually leads to him confronting a villain and is taken captive. Andor begins to mouth off and brag about his destiny, resulting in his neck getting snapped and his body tossed down a hole that leads to his captors getting blown up. The lesson from this is pretty obvious that  just because you are told you have a big important destiny, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be a delightful one.

To continue on with the thought of destiny there is Steven Universe; in the later portion of the series the main protagonist Steven begins to think he exists and was created for the sake of a big fancy destiny, possibly from the influence of his friend Connie.

Steven is a unique entity on his show where he’s half gem and half human. He was created because his mother, Rose Quartz, was so intrigued by humans and their ability to choose their own destiny, decided she wanted to have a child so that said child can choose their own destiny. By the episode Lion 4: Alternate Ending, Steven becomes obsessed with finding out more about his life and what his mother wanted for him only to be told by his dad that nothing in Steven’s life was planned and that everything that has happened so far was by pure chance.

Philip J. Fry

Philip J. Fry was the protagonist (sorta) to the animated scifi comedy series Futurama! He was a delivery boy from the year 1999 who got frozen and now lives in the year 3000 (sort of) as a delivery boy. As the series goes on it is discovered that Fry is a very important and special (no not that kind) person.

Because of time travel it is revealed that Fry had a one night stand with his grandmother and is his own grandfather. It seems like a throwaway gag at first, but this makes him the most important being in the universe; because of Fry’s ‘nasty in the pasty’, Fry lacks the delta brainwave making him immune to mind control and having his own mind read.

This doesn’t make him a Chosen One and Fry does qualify as a Special, but his importance is never really brought up. While the Nibblonians were aware of Fry and his importance, once his job of defeating the brainspawn is done (twice) he lives an uneventful life most of the time when he isn’t saving the universe by dumb luck alone.

I really do like the approach to Fry in Futurama since his character arc was planned from the start of the series instead of thrown in out of nowhere as the series went along. Futurama is also filled with constant subversions of science fiction and fantasy tropes that inspire the show and treated with love and respect.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Super heroes, they’re not exactly chosen to do the job of being a hero, but they do a good job of doing it. I like comicbooks, The above title for this part of the essay comes from The Amazing Spiderman as something Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben tells him shortly before being killed. And this quote does indeed echo not only through the Marvel Comic universe, but the DC universe as well.

There are hundreds (possibly thousands) of superheroes drawn and printed onto comicbooks once a month that range from being a mutant, alien, gifted with powers, and so many origin stories of how they became heroes.

A common plot involves the hero getting the power by sheer accident (like Spiderman or The Flash), they then proceed to use said power for the sake of doing good. In the case of Spiderman, it was originally just to find the crook who killed his beloved uncle (like a more sarcastic and middleclass Batman), but Spidey decided to keep on saving the day.

Honorary Mentions

  • Once Upon a Time- the first six seasons of this series followed Emma Swan and her adventures in the small town known as Storybrook as she slowly begins to understand and accept her life as the Savior with constant forks in the road of her eventual destiny of saving everyone (even the villains)
  • The Hunger Games trilogy-I’d Argue that Katniss Everdeen is only a hero because her sister just so happened to be selected to participate in the games. Had neither of their names been selected Katniss and Prim would have just continued on their lives and no big rebellion would have happened.
  • Battlestar Galactica-holy crap this series is all kinds of weird “because God wants it this way” going on.

They All Said Ouch

The hero protagonist has been here a long while and is here to stay. The same thing goes for being a Chosen One. The story of a hero can and has evolved though from basic stories of individuals doing good deeds just for the sake of doing them to complex prophecies saying ‘someone will save the day’, and even stories both real and fictional bringing in a protagonist who came from nothing and caused many great and good things to happen.

A Wrinkle in Time Film Review

A few months ago I posted a blog out of excitement for the motion picture adaptation of one of my favorite books growing up (and got me into reading) A Wrinkle in Time. Earlier today I got to sit down and watch the film and see if I would be fully satisfied with this motion picture adaptation of a book close to my heart, or would this be like Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader again?

Spoilers from this point on, I’d much rather you go read the book A Wrinkle in Time first, then watch the film.

First thing is first, I didn’t hate the film. I do heavily feel things could have been handled better than what was presented. Fortunately there is a big steaming pile of things I liked in the film to make me happy that I watched the film and to say that I liked the movie.

In defense of the film though, I knew changes would be made, I knew characters would be adapted out and new scenes and dialogue adapted in. However there are things in the film that bother me. The primary thing being the direction of the character Mrs Whatsit. In the book the Mrs W’s are indeed celestial beings that are wise, kind, and willing to help Meg and Charles Wallace find their father. While the characters of Mrs Who and Mrs Which are still the same, Mrs Whatsit is kind of a slightly bitchy Elle Woods.

She is still very kind and shows concern for the children, but she also looks down on humanity unintentionally and puts Meg down frequently during the film (she also has a ‘thing’ for the now male Happy Medium). My only reasoning for the decision to have Mrs Whatsit put Meg down was to have Meg focus on her own faults more and more since they are needed by the end of the film, but with the reaction Mrs Who and Mrs Which give her, I don’t think that was the intention.

There are a few plot points glossed over or excluded from the film including; the black thing (the entity that created IT and is causing the evil in the universe), the origin of Mrs Whatsit, the whole point of Calvin in the film, and the near exclusion of the planet Ixchel and Aunt Beast. Also Sandy and Dennis Murray are nowhere to be seen, but I don’t think we’re getting any sequels to A Wrinkle in Time.

The film is modernized a bit, Mrs Who quotes some recent historical figures (including Lin-Manuel Miranda) and a more modern setting, to be honest though with the clothing worn by the human characters and the lack of cellphones this film could take place between the 1990’s and today. Along with modernization, some of the darker aspects of the book are removed from the film (I guess in this version of the film CPS would not let any form of child abuse slide so easily).

There is also a lack of clarification between using magic and science; in the novel there is no magic used. The whole point of the Happy Medium was so she could use her crystal ball to find Dr.Murray and expose Calvin’s home life, via a scientific approach. That is to say I do like what was done with the scene and how it helped Meg grow as a person later in the film.

Back to Calvin, I don’t understand his point in the film. In the novel he’s there to encourage Meg and to try to save Charles Wallace, and in later books it’s heavily implied God wanted Meg and Calvin to get married one day. While romance is never a big deal in the book (Calvin and Meg do kiss) it’s almost non existent in the film and instead of sharing a kiss, Meg and Calvin share a hug. As mentioned above some of the darker tones from the novel aren’t present in the film including Calvin’s home life. The book revealed that Calvin was in a abusive household with multiple siblings and a mother who ‘had the hope and joy in her life beaten out of her’. Not sure why this was watered down to Calvin having a verbally/emotionally abusive father, but it does fit the scene fairly well.

Charles Wallace is…kind of annoying, which is also what I got from the book when I was rereading it as an adult, so nothing too bad. Meg was the central focus of the film (obviously) and I am happy what was done with her character; she didn’t let minor things bother her (not having fashionable clothing, caring about her weight, etc), she cared about her family and brother and knew she was intelligent.

Now there’s the near exclusion of Aunt Beast and how the climax of the film was handled; I liked what was there, and I dislike what wasn’t there. While I was happy that this time around IT wasn’t defeated as seen in the tv movie, I didn’t like the exclusion of Aunt Beast in the film. While I am happy Aunt Beast is there in cameo form, I felt that the character would have been necessary to increase the outcome of the climax.

In the book Aunt Beast was part of a race of creatures that had no gender, no eyes, no ears, and no mouth and spoke via thought. Despite the lack communication the species of Ixchel are very kind and loving by nature and heal Meg out of the goodness of their hearts and provide some ammo via ‘power of love’ to have Meg go and save Charles Wallace. I feel that if this scene had been included, it would have made the climactic ‘battle’ between Meg and IT over Charles Wallace stronger. I am also happy with how the ‘battle’ is handled in the film.

In terms of appearance, THE FILM IS BEAUTIFUL TO LOOK AT! The planet Uriel is such a beautiful portion of the film with bright colors and scenery (gotta love that New Zealand filming location). The clothing and dresses worn by the Mrs W’s are also very beautiful and detailed. I find myself loving Mrs Who’s outfits in the film with one of her gowns having quotes in various languages sewn into them.

The special effects are nice, and I do like Ava DuVarnay’s decision to make the planets visited in the film as alien as possible (no flying centar in this film).

The Removal of Christianity

I had a feeling this would happen, I’m not shocked and I’m not really offended either. Despite what a meme on the internet may tell you, A Wrinkle in Time is not about religion. While there is mention of the citizens of Urial singing a verse from the Bible (Isaiah 42:10-12), Calvin mentioning reading from the book of Genesis to Charles Wallace, and Charles Wallace name dropping Jesus as someone who fought against darkness, the book isn’t as overtly about religion as many think claim it is.

It is also heavily hinted in the book that the Mrs W’s are servants of God in the books, and in some trailers for the film the impression that they serve a higher being is there. I do enjoy the science fiction approach to them this time around with them only being able to exist there there is both physical light and light as in the figurative sense of good in the universe.

Despite the removal of Christianity from the film there is still a strong good versus evil theme with Meg witnessing the large cosmic evil from the influence of of the Black Thing and IT and seeing the small minor evils in the world (Calvin’s abusive homelife, a school bully who forbids herself from eating certain foods so she can be skinny, a stranger Charles Wallace is kind and polite to getting mugged while waiting for the bus, teachers being envious of a promotion for one of their colleagues, etc). The book and the film are able to stand alone without the inclusion of the religion, but I was hoping the line of ‘not to me Calvin, never to me.’ would have been kept in the film.

Marketing

I feel that Disney didn’t have as much faith in this film as many were lead to believe. While it may be a good thing little to no merchandising was released for the film (there are a few coffee mugs, notebooks, and posters with quotes from the film and three barbie dolls of the Mrs W’s. Oh and the obligatory Pop Funko figures, gotta have my pops). This might be because aside from the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, live action Disney films have a tragic habit of underperforming and being quickly forgotten about within less than a year (you ever hear of anyone talking about Tomorrowland or Maleficent still?)

I mean I knew about the film and kept close tabs on it from the release of the trailer last year (my poor friends Sam and Myrna had to endure me counting down to the premier of the film), but I’m not really sure if the public was as aware of the film. As mentioned above I kept close tabs on the film even subscribing to #AWrinkleInTime on Instagram, but I don’t know exactly how much effort Disney placed into marketing. Seeing as how my nieces and nephews (who I see usually around weekends alone) were aware of the film, I’d say it was advertised enough.

The advertisements and film did put heavy emphasis on women and young girls being able to change the world and to ‘be a warrior’ which I have nothing against, but that wasn’t really a thing in the book.

All in all despite not living up to my picky standards I did enjoy A Wrinkle in TIme and give it three flying tulip aliens out of five.

Pokemon I Choose You Review

Pokemon has been here for a very, very long time, so in celebration of the twenty fifth anniversary of the franchise a new Pokemon movie was released to celebrate the yearly tradition of releasing a pokemon movie. Unlike previous Pokemon films which are made primarily to advertise the newest pokemon, give sneak peeks to pokemon coming up in the next batch of games, and show one of the new legendary Pokemon, Pokemon I Choose You is a retelling of the first season of the franchise.

Initially many fans (myself included) thought that this was the movie version of the first three episodes or so. We were slightly wrong.

Spoilers from this point on, I can’t Mewtwo these spoilers outside of your head

There was some controversy surrounding the movie over discrepancies between what happens in the film, and what happened in the first season of the anime. The main controversy being that Misty and Brock are nowhere to be seen during the film and Team Rocket having little to no influence on the plot of the film. Another controversy is the inclusion of many pokemon not seen in the first generation of the game series.

However is this actually a good film despite what many other fanboys on forums and reviewers on YouTube say? Well it’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but it is better than Destiny Deoxys (gosh that movie is so dull).

As mentioned above the film is an alternate telling of the first season of pokemon, but it borrows some plots from the first season and despite being a ninety three minute film, a decent amount of what occurred the first half of the season made it into the film without it being a horrible mess. The plots borrowed from the first season include Ash catching a caterpie that would eventually evolve into a butterfree and be forced to part ways with, and Ash’s relationship with a abandoned charmander Ash rescues. Elements from the second generation of games are also brought into the film concerning the plot of the legendary pokemon Ho-oh.

Although I was a little annoyed with the approach taken for this film, I do like the alternative storyline. I feel it handled some of the aesops presented in the first season a little better with Ash learning that sometimes you can’t win them all in the film despite being a good person and the opponent you’re fighting being a bad person.

The antagonist in the film was a shocking revelation that the main antagonist was the pokemon trainer who abandoned charmander to die in a rainstorm and only desired to become a stronger trainer only catching strong pokemon. Instead of being just a jackass trainer featured in the initial episode featuring charmander in the pokemon anime, Cross (the villain for the movie) is a talented trainer, but only views his pokemon as tools to achieve his goal of catching Ho-oh rather than establishing a friendship with his pokemon.

Of course it wouldn’t be a pokemon movie without advertising one of the new legendary pokemon in the series and this time around it’s Marshadow who acts as an observer for Ho-oh to make sure Ash is indeed a worthy pure hearted trainer (I guess he functions as a PR advisor for Ho-oh or something). Unlike previous films, the plot is not focused on Marshadow and the pokemon is only featured the last ten or so minutes once again challenging the human characters and their pokemon to see if they are indeed worthy of battling Ho-oh.

I do like that the film breaks tradition and only focuses on Ash’s relationship with pikachu and his other pokemon captured in the film. I like that Ash’s relationship with his caterpie is deep, even if some parts of it were a montage, I like that caterpie was useful in each stage of his evolution. I like that charmander didn’t become a jerk as soon as he evolved into charmeleon and so on into charizard. There is even development from both pokemon as they evolve with caterpie evolving into butterfree, but wanting to stay loyal and stay with Ash despite also wanting to go and mate (contrary to a mistranslation, butterfree do not die when mating). We also see just how loyal charmander is to Ash in each stage of evolution and how this trust benefits Ash’s team in the long run of the movie.

New characters to replace Misty and Brock are also featured in the film, they are Sorrel, a young pokemon trainer who wants to become a professor of pokemon (don’t they have college in this universe? Or do all researchers and professors go through the Jane Goodwill approach?) and Verity, a young girl from the Sinoh region exploring the Kanto region for unknown reasons. They’re not too shabby.

As with many of the pokemon movies, the art and animation is beautiful with a beautiful mixture of 2d and 3d animation. The end of the film also has a piano rendition of the pokemon theme song at a slower temple that may or may not touch the hearts of long time fans of the pokemon anime.

While the film isn’t amazing, I feel it’s a pretty decent movie and there are things to like about the film despite not sticking exactly to the source material of the anime. I give Pokemon I Choose You three Pokeballs out of Five.

Star Wars the Last Jedi Spoiler infested review.

As I mentioned in my other review of Star Wars The Last Jedi, there would be two seperate reviews, this one is the spoiler review. DO NOT READ IT UNLESS YOU WANT YOUR MOVIE EXPERIENCE TO BE SPOILED! I will not spoil everything though, so there you go 🙂

So first thing is first, all the fans making theories about Snoke being a force vampire, Rey’s parentage, wondering what will happen with Leia due to Carrie FIsher passing away, and Luke being on the dark side of the force all get a giant middle finger given to them. Fans of shipping from the previous film get a smaller middle finger given to them and a pat on the back (even my Poe/Finn ship got a small pat on the back). Essentially though it’s fair to say each and every fan who spent the past two years trying to solve the new mysteries in the Star Wars universe got bamboozled and I’m fine with being mostly bamboozled.

The film picks up immediately after The Force Awakens concluded with Poe doing some badass flying drawing time for the Resistance to pack up and flee to regroup. However Poe believes that the Resistance should focus primarily on defeating The First Order right then and there rather than using a strategy after regrouping to continue battling the First Order, it is this recklessness that leads to The Resistance losing many resources at the start of the film and more or less spending most of the film at the mercy of The First Order.

We also see Finn recover from his injuries from The Force Awakens and his primary goals are to find Rey, save her, and go into hiding away from both the First Order and the Resistance. He goes on a secret mission to infiltrate the First Order to stop them from tracking the Resistance through hyperspace.

During all of this Rey is spending her time with Luke Skywalker trying to convince him to aid the resistance against the First Order, however Luke has grown cynical and disillusioned with the Jedi and feels it is arrogant to call the Jedi order as the sole good side of the force arrogant. And as usual Luke is a whines and complains because that’s what he’s good at.

Your Fan Theories Have No Power Here!

I’ll start things off with one that many fans had been wondering about since Rey came into the mix; her parentage! Many thought Rey was the long lost twin of Ben Solo/Kylo Ren, the obvious age difference between the two actors makes this very unlikely plus even if Leia had some weird “force memory erase” her body would definitely remember being pregnant with twins. Essentially my theory of Rey’s parents being “no one” were right. She was just a girl abandoned by her family, there are hints to her being something more than what she believes herself to be. Also no she isn’t Luke’s daughter and she isn’t the Disney version of Luuke Skywalker.

Despite what many fans believed, Leia was not killed off in this film due to Carrie Fisher’s passing last year despite Lucasfilm and Disney stating many times that the character Princess Leia would not be killed off.

#BossBitch

Leia shows us why she is in charge of The Resistance (outside of the fact that she founded it), in the event that all of the Resistance leadership was ambushed and went flying into space, Leia showed us that despite not being trained in the force as a Jedi, she knows damn well how to use it. As with The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi shows us many female characters present in the film doing heroic deeds all without screaming “woo feminism,” and once again the film passes the Bechdel test.  

Another strong character is Amilyn Holdo who though gets little characterization in the film itself (for more info on her past go read Leia Princess of Alderaan). Despite serving as someone that Poe distrusts throughout the film in terms of leadership and decisions not to do any form of action choosing to flee, she shows that she can not only put an end to a small mutiny, but also delivers a strong blow to the First Order.

References to Knights of the Old Republic (the only GOOD Star Wars video games)

Oddly there are references to the Knights of the Old Republic video games with porgs infesting the millenium facon and Luke more or less becoming The Exile of Knights of the Old Republic 2.

Let the Hate FLOW Through You!

As I first mentioned many fan theories and plot lines started in The Force Awakens and heavily advertised in the marketing for The Last Jedi are thrown out the door with major villains in the previous film being defeated with ease. Rey’s parentage is treated as unimportant, the damage of the government system is not shown despite many implications that the government is in chaos due to most of the senators for many planets are dead.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, some of what was being presented to the fans were a little ridiculous at times (no one is going to take you seriously when you look like look like an aged anorexic version of Sloth from Goonies who stole Goldmember’s wardrobe).

In place of all these theories and teasing we get an actual story that I previously mentioned, the film felt more like watching a few episodes of Star Wars Clone Wars or Star Wars Rebels where in some situations flying around and blowing shit up was not the best solution to a problem and that there were alternative solutions that would have helped alot more. While I understand that fans were displeased with this, this was a better approach to telling the story rather than relying on the predictability of something along the lines of “Rey’s parents were noble people hiding her away from the First Order” or “Snoke is an evil Force vampire that awoke because Palpatine killed all the Jedi at once”.

I also felt the story was more along the lines of the 2004 scifi series Battlestar Galactica where the main goal was for the humans to find the planet Earth and start a new home and evade the cylons, which is nearly exactly what happens here actually.

I really liked this movie even if it wasn’t at all what I expected; I give Star Wars the Last Jedi four porgs out of five.

Star Wars The Last Jedi Spoiler Free Review

I just got home from the movie theatre from Star Wars The Last Jedi and it was a blast; I will be doing two seperate reviews of the film, one a general review of the film, and the other filled with spoilers and observations that will make fanboys go insane and what not.

Just to clear things out of the way I will say that no The Last Jedi does not follow in the same footsteps that The Force Awakens did and do a general repeat of The Empire Strikes back, no  Mark Hamill isn’t a bad actor contrary to what his lack of lines in The Force Awakens lead you to believe, and no there isn’t anything post credits (go use the restroom!)

I promised a spoiler free review and dammit you’re getting one!

The film is very properly paced, but rather than having three acts, four (possibly five) are in the film. There is a strong presence of leadership and decision making present in the film with two of our protagonists learning a good lesson of “knowing when to fold ‘em” rather than a continue on fighting against your enemy because ‘that’s what you do in war.’ Poe’s character arc revolves around this conflict due to reckless behavior on his part that would have spared The Resistance a lot of loss had he just listened to Leia.

Finn’s character arc is essentially a continuation of “stop being a damn coward,” that was present in The Force Awakens. Along with the continuation of Finn’s character we also see the continuation of Rey and Kylo Ren’s character growth as they both begin to question what they are doing on their chosen sides of the Force with Kylo Ren wondering if he has chosen the wrong side of the force and Rey realizing that not everything about the Jedi and Luke Skywalker is as good just as she was lead to believe.

We also see what has become of Luke Skyywalker in his old age and semi isolation from the rest of the known universe, and he’s as grumpy as you’d expect him to be in old age. I will speak more of him and Leia in the spoiler review.

While the film is good, there are flaws present in the film in terms of jumping between the three protagonists of the film with Poe wanting to gain leadership in the Resistance, Finn on a secret mission, and Rey learning more about the force and training with Luke to better use the force. There are some issues with the characterization of Amilyn Holdo and Captain Phasma where the former doesn’t have much characterization at all and the most anyone knows of her is her introduction in Leia Princess of Alderaan (I’m guessing she will receive character development in future expanded universe media), as i am writing this Phasma’s presence in the film is forgettable. SHe doesn’t really do much (again) so fans who read the Phasma novel and read her midquel comic will be disappointed.

Despite the film being advertised as a darker film compared to The Force Awakens, there is a significant amount of laughs in the film where all the characters get in on comedic scenes and even some slapstick among the younger cast.

The film looks great, I will admit I was at a disadvantage due to my seating while watching the film due to lack of seating. Hopefully seeing it a second time with a better angle (or lack of angle since I had to look up from the second row) will allow me to better appreciate the film.

I give Star Wars The Last Jedi four adorable porgs out of five.

Justice League Review

Normally I don’t review superhero movies because I forget to review them. I had forgotten to review Batman vs Superman Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Captain America Civil War, Spiderman Homecoming, and a few other superhero films just because of sheer forgetfulness. This doesn’t mean I disliked any of these movies, outside of Batman vs Superman I enjoyed all of these films (I am a little annoyed Suicide Squad got the oscar for makeup instead of Star Trek Beyond still).

One of the reasons I don’t review superhero films too often either is that I normally don’t see them within the period of time of relevance. With the exception of Batman vs Superman I saw most of these movies a good three to four weeks after the hype died down. I do also actively watch the DC Arrowverse on the CW, I have been working on a Supergirl essay for a while.

I honestly did like the movie though, it is nice to see how far the movie came from last year’s Batman vs Superman (I’m not going to continue on with Batman vs Superman, a lot of other people on the internet have done that for me already).

No I won’t be talking about fan theories and potential foreshadowing either, I’ve tried that before with Star Wars Rebels, not too many people care to read those reviews.

Possible spoilers from this point on, and some comparison to the Marvel Cinematic Universe from a storytelling standpoint.

As stated above this movie was a huge step up from Batman vs Superman, not as good as Wonder Woman was earlier this year, but better than Suicide Squad. My main issue with the movie is some nitpicking on Wonder Woman’s character and how her actions (and the ending to her movie) more or less contradict the events of Batman vs Superman and how the writers tried their best to merge the Wonder Woman who had given up hope on humanity in Batman v Superman and the Wonder Woman who had a sense of duty to defend any and all in need at the end of Wonder Woman with her optimistic views and compassion.

One of my complaints about Batman vs Superman is that someone DC and WB knew that they were behind Marvel in their big awesome cinematic universe that had been going since 2008 with at least two to three movies released per year (I’m guessing all that money from Disney helps build a cinematic universe a little faster). So to make up for this Batman vs Superman decided to introduce the whole Justice League via cameos for everyone except for Wonder Woman. This went as smoothly as anyone would expect.

In continued comparison I do actually like the DC approach to what is happening in their universe compared to the Marvel Cinematic Universe ; where the Marvel Cinematic Universe became a very well crafted and detailed universe with massive amounts of foreshadowing, tie ins and references to their other pieces of work, and the occasional break from the main plot of The Avengers to do something like Guardians of the Galaxy or Doctor Strange it was nice to see something like Justice League.

Because there is no foreshadowing or any sign of something big going down soon nearly all DC Cinematic Universe (DCCU?) all the movies can more or less be seen as stand alone and you don’t have to see each movie (except maybe Batman vs Superman) to know what’s going on. You can watch Suicide Squad one night and Wonder Woman the next and not have to care about continuation or making sure all the dots are connected.

A final comparison I will make before I continue on with the review is the tone of our heroes; while all of the Avengers are heroic or feel the call to heroism, only about 2.5 of the Justice League feel the call to heroism with Superman being dead for a portion of the film and Wonder Woman and Batman actively fighting against crime and the Flash being around to stop local crime via ‘pushing a badguy out of the way’. Aquaman does very small time heroics around low populated areas on earth and Cyborg is laying low out of fear of what he is now. A big step away from Iron Man flashing his cash around, Captain America being a legend, and Thor having some news about himself while Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the future members are still very small time in comparison.

I do like the characterization of our heroes in this film too; we see a very new side of Bruce Wayne that hasn’t been seen since the Batman Beyond animated series; Bruce has been doing the Batman stick for about twenty years in this universe and it’s getting pretty obvious that his body can’t keep up with his vigilante activities as it once did. This may also tie into how (allegedly) in real life Ben Affleck has cited playing Batman is very physically demanding with Affleck not being as young and physically capable as he once was when he filmed Daredevil. For those who want to but in and say Robert Downey Jr. is over fifty and still playing Iron Man with no complaints, do remember that most of Iron Man’s fight scenes are cgi with Down’s voice recorded and inserted in or his head just filmed. I am hoping that with this age and realization that he can’t continue on being Batman that the DC Universe will introduce Terry McGinnis the main protagonist of the animated series Batman Beyond.

Wonder Woman is still the badass of the bunch, saving and defending the innocent with grace, compassion, and kicking ass in all her finery. As I mentioned above they do try to merge the two attitudes of Wonder Woman from the previous two films and it is sloppy at worst which isn’t a bad thing. She too has been at being a hero for a while and while she still has a sense of heroism at the end of Wonder Woman, we still don’t know what happened between the end of that film and the start of Batman vs Superman that could have disillusioned her a little, there is even a hint of disappointment she has for herself because she acts in defense as a reaction to evil happening rather than proactive offense. We probably won’t find out since Gal Gadot and some of the writers admitted that was a bad direction to start Wonder Woman off with.

But Wondsey does show more of her compassionate side with Cyborg and is the reason he joins up with the team. She is also still the best fighter of the bunch (she is a godslayer after all), and puts up the best fight against our villains and brief Pet Cemetery minded Superman.

Aquaman is a loner, he’s kind of like a toned down Lobo, except instead of being a total jackass, he’s more interested in solitude. He listens to classic rock, helps an isolated community by bringing them fish, and doesn’t care to much to becoming king of Atlantis. He has a bit of arrogance, but it is welcomed in a team primarily composed of brooders.

Cyborg is a far stone’s throw away from his most popular portrayal from the animated Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go tv series for children. He primarily broods, not from the fact that he is no longer fully human, but out of fear that he could easily turn against mankind and be their downfall. He does liven up a little around Flash and slowly begins to be a happier person.

I’m not going to talk about Superman because that would take this review into a new strange direction, but it is so nice to see Henry Cavill shirtless for fifteen minutes. Other than that I don’t really like what is done with him in the film in terms of being ‘overpowered’.

I LOVE THE FLASH! At first I was concerned because Ezra Miller was announced as the Flash after the tv series The Flash premiered (kind of like a middlefinger to the tv series in terms of how much hope the WB has for it). Ezra Miller got the role down very well, and the Flash is our comic relief and the closest thing to a normal person in this whole fiasco. While Bruce Wayne is the only non super powered member of the group, he has seen all kinds of weird stuff, the Flash is more or less just a kid doing what he thinks is right and got pulled into a world of crazy. He doesn’t know how to fight, doesn’t have a team supporting or training him, he just pushes a bad guy out of the way and discovers that he too can do a plethora of heroics in his own way that doesn’t involve getting directly involved with the combat.

He is a nice compliment to our Flash on the CW, where he’s just making things up as he goes along and does good for the sake of being good. I will say I’m not too fond of his costume since at times it looks more armor based, but it grew on me. I may try to cosplay as him later.

Our villain is…dull. He’s big, intimidating, can take on the whole Justice League, and the first time he was defeated it took the entire combined efforts of Atlanteans, Amazons, and every man tribe on earth (and even some outside help from the Green Lantern corp). The macguffin of the Mother Boxes is confusing at worst, despite one of the benefits of the DC universe being that there are no ties between films beyond characters, some of the bigger things like the Mother Boxes will be lost on regular people who don’t read the comics that these movies are based on.

With the film itself, the pacing was significantly better, the fight scenes were great, I will admit some of the cgi usage got a little annoying to the point where it looked they were using footage from one of the more recent Batman video games with scenes involving Ben Affleck. I did like the film overall and look forward to future films in the DC universe to see what else they will bring to the table now that it looks like things are on track.

I give Justice League four cool costumes out of five.

The Feels of Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2

Not sure if any of my followers believe in God, but I do. While I do comment on Christianity in my reviews and write essays on it, I prefer to keep my own personal beliefs as private as possible. Earlier this year I very much wanted to see Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2 because of how much I loved the first one, for whatever reason I didn’t see it in theaters. Normally I prefer not think much of the term “God has a plan/reason for things happening,” and for once I think it may be appropriate for God not wanting me to see Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2 for a while.

I’m just going to rip the band-aid off right now. My dad had a tumor removed and almost died. The day we found out he had a tumor was a normal day, but it was scary. The day that he and my mother went out of town to see a doctor interested in the tumor I had two breakdowns, one infront of my brothers, and one in private. To deal with the former breakdown my brother offered to take me to the movies, Guardians wasn’t in the fancy movies anymore so we settled for Spiderman Homecoming. Obviously I was bummed, but I figured I’d get to see it later. During my dad’s operation I felt a brief pain in my chest and sensed something was wrong and tried my best to keep it together as the doctor told us his lungs collapsed. I cried alot when he slept as I kept him company in the recovery room. My dad is recovering great by the way so there is a significant decrease in emotional breakdowns these days.

Then today I finally saw Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2. Never before did I think I’d cry so much because of a Marvel movie. I know one day my dad will die; one of my earliest memories in life is my dad telling me everyone will die one day, but that death was okay because there was heaven. My dad is a religious man, however unlike what many would expect he didn’t throw me out when I told him I was gay. He loved me unconditionally still. The primary reason I stay a practicing catholic is because of my dad; he’s not perfect, not ideal, but he is a good enough reason for me to be in the religion permanently.

For those who have seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It also doesn’t help that Cat Stevens was one of many cassette tapes my dad had me listen to when I was growing up, but it’s appreciated. And no I won’t post any spoilers and I don’t think I can properly review this movie at this time (or ever), but it’s great.

#RealityHigh Review

        I saw #RealityHigh pop up while scrolling through Netflix last night and decided to view it out of curiosity. The story follows high school senior Dani Barnes, a modest girl who cares about one thing and that’s the health and well being of dogs. Dani is low on the social radar until she’s pulled into the world of social media by showing interest in the ex boyfriend of her local social media star classmate Alexa.

        Spoilers from this point on, really like most highschool stories, this is kind of predictable.

        Yes that brief bold sentence is right; if you’ve seen any movies about kids in highschool (particularly Mean Girls), then you know what will happen. “Girl is ‘ugly’, has one best friend, gets noticed by cute guy, becomes popular and irresponsible, makes big mistake, has fight with best friend, fixes everything, jackass rival gets comeuppance, HAPPY ENDINGS FOR EVERYONE!”

        There are select variations in the plot of this movie, but nothing that hasn’t been seen in a teen movie. The main premise of this movie is that Dani’s school rival isn’t just any old mean girl, she is a social media celebrity known as Alexa Medina. Alexa is known for her vlogs, fashion tips, life tips, and being a saint online by promoting positive body images and other social justice issues. In real life Alexa is manipulative and selfish and spends her time using her star status to get what she wants. She’s kind of like an evil Michelle Phan (yes I’m aware there is someone who runs a tumblr dedicated to finding each and every flaw with Michelle phan, we are not opening that can of worms.)

        The interesting approach this movie has is how social media and Alexa’s status as a online celebrity plays affects Dani’s life as someone who wasn’t on social media.

        Dani had nearly no online presence and was one of the few teenagers using a flip phone instead of a smartphone. Things change as soon as Dani falls for Alexa’s ex boyfriend, just like in Mean Girls. Dani hangs out with the popular kids, begins to upgrade her fashion and briefly puts her responsibilities secondary in life. Things go predictably south for Dani after Alexa gets her drunk and secretly records a conversation between the two later editing the video recording to make Dani look like she had been stalking Alexa.  

        This knocks Dani down and has her realize that Alexa had been manipulating her own life to throw her off tracks. A key difference between this film and other teen films is that as soon as mutual friends between Alexa and Dani see the youtube video, they are pissed at the way Alexa used Dani and proceed to unfriend Alexa on on social media and in real life.

        Dani proceeds to do a livestream explaining she doesn’t care what people think of her, and only asks for people bothering to watch her live stream help with a animal clinic charity. Said stream is successful, partially because of some networking between some other (fictional) YouTube celebrities who also love animals.

        Everyone more or less gets a happy ending, Alexa is outed as a fake with some help from Dani’s sister, and is also exposed to somehow faking her youtube views. Everyone but Alexa is happy by the end of the film.

        I wasn’t expecting much from this movie, and I still ended up disappointed. I feel like there was more potential for the movie concerning the villain being a social media celebrity who constantly used her celebrity status to get perks in her life and look like the victim whenever things didn’t go her way.

        As I pointed out this is a movie with a highschool setting, but nearly everything in the plot feels borrowed from other highschool movies. As I also mentioned before the plot is very similar to the plot of Mean Girls; there are even times when I’m not even sure if portions of the plot are shout outs to other (better) movies, parodies, or the possibility of creating a drinking game for people watching the movie.

        I give Netflix’s #RealityHigh two  blackberries out of five.