Monopolies Are Bad! How A Disney/20th Century FOX Merger Would Ruin The Movie Industry And Weaken Anti-Trust Laws.

 

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Hello Friends, long time no post.  Well here we all are again in the absolute most ridiculous of timelines, and that’s putting things nicely.  Today we are here to talk about a very important subject, and this is how monopolizing an industry hurts that industry and the economy in the long run.  So get your herbal tea and stress ball ready because it is going to be a bumpy ride.

 

 

 

Not to long ago the Department of Justice struck down a merger deal between AT&T & Warner Bros. This thankfully prevented AT&T having a monopoly over cable and other services.  After that Matel rejected a buy out bid from Hasbro preventing the company from having a monopoly on the toy industry.  Sadly however there seems to be no one against the rather unholy union of 20th Century Fox and The Walt Disney Corporation.  While it is true Disney is only interested in buying out FOX’s movie studios and related assets this still puts the entirety of the movie industry at risk as collectively in any given year Walt Disney can make up a good 20%-30% of the annual box office intake world wide with 20th Century FOX averaging at another 20%.  This would mean if the merger did go through and Disney remained in charge of all the properties that 20th Century FOX makes movies for they would have control of roughly 40%-50% of the annual box office putting them at an unfair advantage over other studios like Paramount, Sony & Warner Bros.

 

This merger would also effect smaller studios like Blue Sky that distribute their animated films through 20th Century FOX.  They would most likely have to find a new distributor for their films, which while hardly the most difficult thing to do could still end up leading to the shuffling around or pushing back of upcoming releases.  Comic book publishers like Dark Horse that deal with various FOX properties such as Aliens, Buffy, Firefly, Predator etc would most likely have to renegotiate deals or might end up losing the rights to the properties all together which would leave them with another heavy blow after Disney already cost them their rights to the Star Wars comics after the Lucas Films buyout years prior.

 

This buyout which would lead to a disruption and upset of licensing and distribution of properties could also lead to other pseudo-monopolies among Disney’s competitors as to no matter who ends up with the distribution rights to Blu-Sky’s films they would have an extra arm in animation.  For example if Universal got distribution rights to Blu Sky films they would then be releasing animated films for not only Blu-Sky but for Dreamworks and Illumination Entertainment as well, meaning you would have three different studios under one umbrella, even if they didn’t technically own all of them, it would still put the competition at a slight disadvantage.  In terms of licenses many companies work with the Alien & Predator Licenses as well as the Planet of The Apes.  Even if Disney sells off these I.P.’s like scraps to other studios in an attempt to balance things out it will cause countless companies to have to renegotiate with new owners either  way.

 

It is also worth noting that as corporations get bigger they take less risks which can lead to less diverse and experimental content being created which leads to flandarization of output which can lead to a saturation and decline into the quality, creativity and diversity of the products produced.  Healthy competition keeps these studios on their toes and can make them more likely to take risks, without that you risk the further degradation of the art of cinema among other things.

 

The allowance of this buyout also shows how hypocritical and corrupt both Disney and the current political administration continue to be as the DOJ was all to eager to strike down the AT&T/Warner merger due to it’s hatred of CNN, but will shamelessly allow the passing of a Disney/20th Century FOX merger merely because the mouse and the companies it already owns are such good friends with the 1% the same way higher-ups at FOX are.  This shows the further degradation of both our federal government and our capitalistic society as Disney crawls ever closer to a disturbing dystopian mega-corp!

 

So I beg you all to look past your juvenile fanboyish enthusiasm of seeing The Avengers & The X-Men in the same movie and realize this for what it is.  An attempted monopolization of the movie industry by a company that is the film world equivalent of the Republican Party.  A monster of a mouse that while not as bigoted is just as brutish & greedy doing everything it can to dominate an industry.  Despite the fond memories Disney may have given you as a child it is not your friend and it never was, like a corrupt politician you are just a number to it.  Do not support this merger and speak out against it just as you would the current corrupt administration or the stooges at the FCC trying to take away our Net Neutrality, don’t put the entirety of the movie industry and the continued existence of Anti-Trust laws at risk over something so petty!

 

In closing, monopolies are always bad, and you’re mouse is a rat!

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Thoughts on: How To Improve Cinematic Universes

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For better or worse Cinematic Universes are becoming an ever prominent part of the modern movie goers cinematic diet.  And like with any other form of art and entertainment each has their own strengths and weaknesses, though what those are will of course vary from person to person.  However as a fellow purveyor of the cinematic arts I though I would give my two cents on how studios, critic and fans alike could possibly improve on these in the future.  So without further ado, lets get things started.

 

 

 

  1. Accept That Different Tones are Good & Necessary.

One of the sad truths of cinematic universes is that they can all to easily become rather repetitive or monotone in nature.  This can be in the form of being far to light hearted or “fun” as some call it, or far to grim & dower.  This is rather restrictive as many times the comics or properties these universes are based on have many characters with content of various tones and themes.  Not every movie needs to be light hearted and “fun” or dark, serious and philosophical.  There is room for both extremes mind you, but like the characters themselves the movies should be able to have more then one tone to them.  For example, it is OK to make a movie about Thor more serious then a movie about the Guardians of The Galaxy, even though Marvel sadly doesn’t seem to think that is the case.  On the DC side of things if they ever made a Blue Beetle & Booster Gold movie, I would expect it to be more comedic and light hearted then a Batman or Deathstroke movie.  It is important to make the tone of the film match the tone of the character as opposed to everything having to fit into a narrow “fun & lighthearted” or “dark & serious” extreme.  Superheroes have a very diverse range of tones for stories and Hollywood would be wise to explore more of these, and critics and fans would be wise as to be more open minded to superhero stories with these characters that don’t just follow the generic MCU mold.

 

2. Stop The Juvenile Fan Wars.

Fans on both sides of the fence, be it the MCU or DCEU have become highly toxic towards each other as well as to themselves.  what is even worse is so called professional critics also engage in this ridiculous behavior to fan the flames of drama and controversy thus like a cruel right wing politician legitimatize and normalize such juvenile and toxic behaviors amongst both fan and critic communities which is unhealthy not just for set fan bases but for CBM’s, cinematic universes and the art of cinema as a whole.  This false sense of elitism and pointless desire to create division and rivalries where none are needed is as old as human culture itself, but like with any part of life it serves no purpose but to harm and like with those other aspects it must be fought against and stopped.

 

3. Do More Then Just Superheroes

As much as I love comic books and superheroes there is potential for non CBM universes as well.  Decades of animation, film and literature have also provided ample opportunity for cinematic universes based on beloved cartoon and movie properties of the past, and if utilized properly and given to diverse voices to direct and produce you could make unique and entertaining worlds for all to enjoy with them.

 

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4. More Diversity in Directorial Positions and Film Decisions.

Despite what the bigots of the world may say, diversity is a natural part of the human experience and a natural part of life in general.  So yes we do need more movies with female directors, more movies by Men & Women of color, Asian, Hispanic, middle eastern and LBGTQ directors, writers, producers and staff.  We need diverse heroes like Static Shock, Vixen, Ms. Marvel, Moon Girl, Miles Morales, The Ray, Midnighter & Apallo, etc .

 

 

Overall I believe these small changes and acknowledgements could greatly improve the future of CBM’s and cinematic universes in general.  But hey, that’s just my 2-cents.

My Little Pony The Movie (2017) Review

My Little Pony and all related works are property of Allspark Pictures/Hasbro & Lionsgate

Warning: Spoilers. Adorable Spoilers!

 

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A Reformed Tempest Shadow Helps Twilight & The Rest of The Mane-6 Restore The Kingdom’s Lost Magic

 

 

 

On October 6th 2017 The My Little Pony movie based on the popular Saturday morning cartoon of the same name opened up in theatres nationwide to the excitement of not only hardcore fans of the series but to animation fans as well as it was the first traditional/2D animated film to be seen in theatres since 2011’s “Winnie The Pooh”.  And while the movie was of course like many non-Disney animations crucified by critics, there may just be more to this fun little romp through the magical land of Equestria then so called professionals give it credit for.  Lets take a look and see if Friendship really is magic or if magic talking horses are a bit too 80’s for modern audiences.

 

 

 

The film starts out with a delightfully cheesy ponified version of “We Got The Beat” as a group of Peguses, pegausi(?) fly towards the capital city of Canterlot and we see a multitude of the candy colored ponies of this world doing so as well as dialogue filled with ridiculous horse puns abounds.  Once the opening music dies down we get the story started as Twilight is nervous about her meeting with Celestia, Luna and Cadence, the nations rulers (yes like with Transformers Hasbro likes to put politics and economics into their toy based worlds) to help get their approval for the final touches on her Friendship Festival. She of course gets rejected as they tell her she can make the party great on her own. This leads to her meeting with her friends and into the first big musical number.  And overall while this set-up is admitingly simple and cliché and this does lead to the first six or so minutes of the movie being far too saccharine and sweet it is all a purposeful deception to help make the juxtaposition of the introduction of the film’s villains even more poiganat.

 

 

 

As soon as the party begins a dark black cloud of smog is seen overhead as a steampunk style zeppelin lands in front of the crowd and this is where the story really kicks off.  A tyrant named the Storm King has sent his commander a scarred unicorn with a broken horn named Tempest to interrupt the festivities and demand the rulers magic.  This of course goes about as you would expect as they refuse to cooperate and Tempest and her army of yeti like Storm beasts begin their attack with Twilight and her friends narrowly escaping leading to the grand adventure that makes up the rest of the film as they travel beyond their utopia’s borders to the world beyond to find help.

 

 

 

Overall in terms of story the movie is pretty straight forward.  Heroes taken by surprise by big bad and having to go on epic adventure across dangerous fantasy world to find whatever person or mcguffin can save their kingdom.  Nothing new but the film still manages to make the concept work well enough none the less. It also doesn’t idle as it like the upbeat and fast paced songs throughout it is determined to hit beat after beat of the story on point. Which while frustrating at times as it seems it is causing some of these new locals and environments to go to waste, it does help keep viewers on the edge of their seat throughout as it gives you the sense that you too are doing your best to stay one step ahead of the villains.

 

Speaking of villains the antagonists of this film are very well done overall.  Tempest Shadow is actually a well defined villain, looking past her over edgelord appearance for  such a cutesy series her imputes for her actions actually makes her character work quite well.  After being abandoned by her friends and presumably family as well after an Ursa  (A giant bear made of stardust) attack left her with a scar and a broken horn as a child she left her homeland in hopes of seeking out a way to restore what she had lost.  This makes the character of Tempest rather sympathetic despite her initial cruel nature. She is an individual that was the victim of a traumatic event that effected her physiologically as well as psychologically and was abandoned by her friends when she needed them most, thus causing her rather dark outlook on life and her resentment towards her people.

 

 

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The Storm King Mocks Twilight & Tempest as he prepares to create the ultimate storm.

 

The Storm King while much more 1 dimensional also serves a purpose as a looming threat to the land.  And when he makes his full appearance we see the reason for his character.  Just as Tempest represents loss the Storm King, a large white monkey like creature represents greed and cruelty as his only desire in life is ultimate power and he doesn’t care who he has to hurt or how many nations he has to conquer to attain that.  In terms of personality he is flamboyant yet menacing, and overall while he may not have as much depth as Tempest, what he represents does. The Storm King is arguably an analogy for the dangers of colonialization, capitalism and white supremacy as again we see from his actions in the film he cares about no one but himself and will betray even his own commander and non chelauntly put his solders in harms way just to get his way.  So yes, while he may not be as well defined as Tempest, his message still rings quite clear.

 

As for the other new characters introduced in the film, while they may only be plot devices to move the story forward their personalities and designs still shine through.  Capper is a suave conman cat who could just as easily fit in a classic WB or Disney animation as he does this film. Captain Celano and the rest of her pirate parrots are visually appealing characters and Princess Skystar and her Mother Queen Nuvo have a nice contrast against one another as the young princess of the Seaponies bubbly and energetic personality seems to be quite annoying to her much more serious mother. Overall while these may not be the most well developed characters you do get a good sense of their personalities and the film does give them all ample screen time alongside the mane six.

 

In terms of animation, while not the most beautifully animated feature the use of Toon Boom does make the movie more visually in depth then its Satam toon counterpart which is primarily animated in Flash.  Though admitingly the colors aren’t quite as bright or vibrant because of this.  It does however give a more genuinely cinematic and timeless feel to the adventure which helps immerse the viewer into the world as it unfolds.  On top of that the character’s facial expressions and movements while a bit more subdued do feel more organic and sincere which helps the emotional beats come off as more powerful then usual.  The only real problem is some of the CGI backgrounds for areas like Canterlot & the desert city of Klugetown do look a bit unrefined in comparison to the 2D characters and landscapes.  Overall though the animation is a step above the television show which does help the film in the long run.

 

The music is honestly the main event of the film however, as the songs while quick and upbeat are all inspiring, heartfelt and catchy.  And even the more somber ones like Tempest Shadow’s menacing and “Be Prepared” inspired number “Open Up Your Eyes” and Sia’s melancholic “Rainbow” are songs that will be stuck in your head for quite some time.  Infact, like Moana before it all the songs are well worth listening to on repeat ad nauseam, especially Pinkie & Skystar’s adorable “One Small Thing” Number.

 

 

In closing, while the My Little Pony movie may be seen as just a shameless cash grab by ever aging and outdated critics, unlike other toy or app based films you can see a genuine amount of effort and heart was put into it’s creation just like the Discovery Family cartoon it is based on.  Like Princess & The Frog before it, while it may not break any box office records, currently being at only a little over $28 million world wide, it does show there is still a need for traditional/2D animation in cinemas.  And like the Disney & DreamWorks films of the mid to late 90’s it is most definitely worth a watch for animation fans of all ages.

 

 

Final Grade

Story: 8 Out of 10

Animation: 7 Out of 10

Music: 10 out of 10

Overall: 8.5 Out of 10.

 

My Little Pony The Movie is now playing in Theatres Nationwide.

 

 

LEGO Ninjago Movie Review

Ninjago & all related elements are the property of LEGO/Warner Animation Group

Warning: This post contains spoilers.

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Back in mid-September the LEGO Ninjago movie opened up in cinemas nationwide.  And while it opened with little competition it also sadly seemed to open-up to little fanfare as well.  But is the film really the dud mainstream critics say it is, or is it just a different kind of playset.  Let’s dive in and take a look shall we.

 

 

 

In terms of story the film does seem to be a bit more reserved then the previous two LEGO films trading an over the top adventure for a slightly more down to earth and self-contained tale about a teenage boy named Lloyd having to lead a double life as a regular highschool student and leader of Ninjago’s ninja heroes that protect the city from the nefarious Lord Garmadon.  The twist being that Garmadon is actually Lloyd’s father and his civilian self is constantly belittled and ridiculed by his neighbors and classmates for being the son of the villain with many stating “his dad ruins everything”  And this overall ends up being the impetus of the films story.  Lloyd trying to reconcile his feelings towards his father and wanting to understand why the villain abandoned he and his mother.  Thankfully he gets a chance to confront these feelings and his father after the dreaded Meowthra, a giant cat is unleashed on Ninjago and the group of Ninja along with Garmadon have to go on an adventure through the jungle to find some mystical McGuffins to stop the beast.

 

Overall the story of the film is an interesting one, like the first LEGO film it focuses on a strained relationship between a father and a son though this time completely within the confines of the LEGO world.  The real world only being set-up pieces for the start and end of the film.  And while the story may not be as energetic and extravagant as previous pieces, it still manages to do what it needs to do quite well, even if it is more subdued then past installments.

 

The animation for the film is of course the next area of note.  The overall visual style of the movie is indeed the same as previous LEGO films using a modified CG animation to give an authentic LEGO feel. However it is somewhat obvious the film didn’t have quite as extravagant a budget as the past two installments as some character movements do look a bit stiff, even by LEGO standereds.  That said however the mix of non-LEGO made backgrounds in world does give it a somewhat unique and organic feel that helps the movie stand out enough to make it as visually appealing as its older siblings.

 

The voice cast aslo does a phenomenal job as Dave Franco’s performance as Lloyd is a solid portrayal of a moody angsting teen and Justin Theroux does a great Will Ferrel meets Saturday morning cartoon villain for Garmadon.  Abbi Jacobson, Zack Woods and co also help give life to the rest of the Ninja friends that come along for the ride.  And Jackie Chan is a serviceable Master Wu.

 

At the end of the day while LEGO Ninjago may not be the strongest installment in Warner Bros. LEGOverse, it is still a decently enjoyable and worthwhile endeavor, that like past films preaches the importance of family and friends. As well as teaching viewers that no matter what others say you can work to better yourself as a person and a parent.

 

Final Grade

Story: 7

Animation: 7

Overall 7 out of 10.

Critique VS Criticism: The Ever Changing Art of The Review.

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Criticism is as old as the arts themselves.  We humans love to voice our opinions on the world around us just as much as we enjoy taking in all the sights and sounds.  However over the past century with the advent of things such as film and television we have seen much of our efforts in this aspect dedicated to both the analytical dissection of these mediums as well as the unabashed praising or crucifixion of works depending on our outlook of them.  In modern times with the advent of the internet age any of us for better or worse have the ability to do this with ease. “Everyone is a critic” as we finally see the old saying come to fruition.  While this can be a positive thing as it helps give us a diverse range of voices and opinions towards a work I also personally feel there has been a negative effect to this as well in regards to the actual profession of film criticism.

 

In theory a proper critique of a film is an analytical dissection of the work, with the reviewer going through and sharing what they saw as strengths and weaknesses in the film and giving their piece on what possible paths could be taken to avoid any potential repeats of these mistakes in the future.  While still subjective as all opinions are a professional critique is meant to be more or less similar to a teacher grading or reviewing a students work.  It is meant to come from a good and helpful place, it is meant to be a way for those who enjoy a form of art to contribute their voice to help it grow and improve in the future.  More or less critique is meant to be a good thing, not a bad, even if the overall review of a work is more negative than positive, it still comes from a good place.  This however no longer seems to be true in modern film reviews for the most part as helpful critique is far too often set aside for more brash, cruel and mean-spirited criticism on sites for easy clicks.

 

Modern film Criticism often goes beyond helpful or professional analytical critique as many big sites and names put aside calm professionalism and instead bathe in the volatility and toxic miasma of modern internet culture. And while a desire to be more casual and honest with ones opinions is indeed admirable, the fact that for better or worse many of these professional critics and big sites can have an effect on the box office of a film to some degree is a dangerous thing given the fact that there is increasingly blurred line between a traditional “professional critic” and the rest of us ranting and raving on our blogs, twitter & YouTube channels.   The truth is though we need that divide stable to some degree. We need film critics to be more analytical and balanced in their criticism of film instead of spending so much time and effort to attempting to destroy a film before it even comes out or attacking it or anyone who enjoys it long after it  is released.  Again, critique should come from a good place, a desire to see the form of art you enjoy improve and succeed in the future.  I know all to well film can easily disappoint and emotions are just as much as part of what make a film good or bad for us as the characters and the narrative.  But even with that in mind it is important for mainstream critics to be better then the rest of us on the internet, for their reviews to not be born out of spite, but to come from a place of good intent the same way a good teacher would want a student to improve.

 

In closing I beseech thee dear reader to take all reviews in modern time be they from some nobody like me or a big wig on Variety or Rotten Tomatoes with a hefty cup of tea. At the end of the day art in any form will always be subjective and no one can truly decide weather a film is good or bad in your eyes but you.  In an age when very few critics are much better than a twelve year old or a madman like myself rambling on twitter, the best person to trust about your feeling towards a film, be it positive or negative is indeed yourself.

The Importance of Neurological Diversity in Media

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Over the course of the 21st century we have seen a slow but steady increase in the amount of diversity presented in various forms of storytelling, art and entertainment media.  The majority of the focus has been on things such as racial and sexual diversity though lately other types of diversity such a body diversity have begun to make headway as well.   I personally feel though there is another type of diversity of equal importance that often gets overlooked in the debate.  and that is neurological diversity.

 

 

While true many characters in various animated series, comic, films and television programs are given diverse personality types and some of these could be attributed to various neurological conditions or quarks, very seldom do we see such things actually addressed within the context of the work.  Though thankfully this too is slowly changing.  This year Sesame Street introduced an Autistic character named Julia onto their program to both reach out to young autistic children and teach other children from a young age that some children may act/behave differently than them and that’s OK and should not prevent you from wanting to become friends.  And while Autism like many things in the realm of human existence is a spectrum and one character can only cover so much, the character’s inclusion into the children’s program is a small step in the right direction.

 

Other then that we have seen many other television programs address unique character quarks but not all have quite tackled the issues head on.  The character Jeff from Clarence has expressed to his friends how he has his own way of doing things and how many things other kids do make him feel uncomfortable but outside of over exaggerations of typical OCD & Germaphobic tendencies the show hasn’t always gone too in depth towards Jeff’s neurological quarks from a serious perspective outside a few speeches by the character himself.  I am not saying  the character can’t properly represent neurologically diverse individuals, just that this type of teasing is noting new in animation.   Other then that many other all-ages and adult animated programs have also touched on or introduced characters with various neurological quarks as part of their character traits that while engrained in their character’s habits and personality are not always explored as deeply as they could be.  Steven Universe is a masterpiece in its emotional depth and maturity but even it like most other programs can shy away from the more serious psychological issues at time.  The cult favorites My Little Pony/Equestria Girls have characters like Fluttershy & Sour Sweet that represent conditions such as severe generalized & social anxiety and disruptive personality disorder but these elements are only used as obstacles to over come social issues & friendship problems more often then being something the character has to live and work to control on a daily basis.  Then of course you have Tina Belcher from Bob’s Burger’s who is also a very socially awkward character but her unique quarks are often just played up for cringe or laughs.

 

Now again I am by no means saying that these characters cannot be inspiring to viewers that share the same or similar unique neurological diversity to them, just that with media’s slowly increasing willingness to talk about so many other types of diversity and to talk about things like emotional maturity and true morality in a more refined, serious yet still easily digestable manner that it would also be beneficial to neurologically diverse viewers and society as a whole, as everyone has some sort of quark or imperfection that helps make them uniquely who they are, to discuss characters neurological diversity in a more open, casual and mature manner as we have seen other issues brought up within media over the course of the 21st century.

 

One example I think television could take some level of inspiration from would be comics.  In recent years we have had characters like Jessica Cruz pop up to many a readers delight.  Jessica Cruz for those that don’t know is the newest Green Lantern of Earth and is unique not just in the fact that she is the first female Green Lantern to hail from our blue orb but also because she is a character who has openly dealt with the trauma of extended bouts of sever anxiety and depression and was still able to over come these and become a hero.  The book doesn’t ignore the issue though and early issues show how even as a hero Jessica still is working to overcome and control her anxiety and that it is her true arch-enemy the same way the Joker is to Batman.

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This extremely open and human portrayal of Jessica is what helps make her work as a character and seeing her overcome her fears and anxieties to become a hero is an inspiring story for readers of all ages.

 

Overall I do think that the representation of neurological diversity is becoming more prevalent if not somewhat more slowly then its ethnic/sexual/physiological counterparts.  I just hope that our favorite cartoons and comics will continue to push the envelope so to speak and continue to add episodes and stories giving open dialogues about neurological diversity and neurologically diverse charters so young children and adult viewers alike can continue to be empowered and inspired by these characters that give us all the courage to dream.

The Importance of Self-Care in Troubled Times.

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OK, there’s no nice way to say this, the world is shit right now.  We have an idiot in the white house who is openly enabling and empowering Nazis and white supremacists and helping the most corrupt political party America has had in decades push through horrible legislation that harms and oppresses innocent men and women just because of their religion or ethnicity and not to mention all the damage all the EPA regulations being rolled back that will only hurt/endanger the environment and make people as well as all other life on this planet sick .  So yea, our current social and political climate is probably the worst it has ever been it has ever been in the past 30 or so years, so what does that have to do with this article.  Well honestly, everything.  Weather we like it or not we are part of this mess of a world right now, and while I know many of you are doing your best by protesting and fighting against the current admin and all the Nazi goons empowered to walk through the streets, as well as donating to organizations like the NAACP & SPLC that fight hate groups like this, the fact of it is these monsters probably aren’t going to go away anytime soon, so while we must never stop resisting or give-up on the fight it is also important to maintain proper self-care so we can keep our mental and physical health at a place where it is good enough to keep up the daily battle for life, liberty & freedom for all.

 

Collected here are some simple tips for self-care that can help bring some momentary peace to our lives in these troubling times.

 

 

  1.  Light Exercise:  Yeah I know it’s not particularly fun to jog or walk on a treadmill/elliptical.  But 15-30 minutes of light cardio in the morning before work or school can help get your body ready for the day, and hopefully get you pumped up enough to handle anything.

 

 

2. Read A Book (or Comic):  Sometimes all you want to do is sit down and  read a book, and for good reason.  Books can take us to worlds beyond our own, show the good and bad man is capable of and teach us as well as inspire.  Weather its a reread of an old favorite or a new venture you can never go wrong with a good book!

 

3. Watch some cartoons!:  It may sound silly to some, but between the bright colors, off beat antics, meaningful morals and life lessons watching a good cartoon to make you laugh, cry tears of feels & joy or just genuinely put a smile on your face can be a good way to make a bad day better.  Weather your tuning in to Steven Universe on Cartoon Network, Loud House on Nick, Rick & Morty on Adult Swim, or popping in a Equestria Girls DVD you can’t go wrong.  If a cartoon can make you happy that’s some worthwhile self-care!

 

4. Take A relaxing Bath/Shower:   On top of the obvious important of cleanliness, many cultures throughout history have viewed water as a source of rejuvenation and purity. A nice warm bath or shower can help take the edge off a long hard day.

 

5. Remind Yourself that you matter, you are special and you are loved: Look in the mirror and tell yourself how unique and awesome you are, look at photos of friends and family that have supported you, talk to friends on the phone and online, play with your ever loyal pets.  And just never forget that you can make a difference, that you matter!

 

So yea, I know this isn’t much for my first post in over a month, and I know it may come off as cheesy or pointless. But hey, we’ve all got to remember to take care of ourselves so we can be there to take care of and help others when they need it.  So, thanks for reading.  And stay awesome!

Much Belated Thoughts on: E3 2017 & Modern Gaming In General

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Back in the middle part of June the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) took place to both the delight and anger of millions of gamers around the world. And like with every year there were good showing, bad showings, and a dash of controversy.  So how did this years E3 go and what does it say about the state of modern gaming and its community?

 

 

 

As I have said before I have never really considered myself a “Gamer”.  While it is true that like most millennials I grew up playing video games through the various Nintendo, SEGA & Sony systems over the years, outside of my undying love and admiration for the Big N I have never really obsessed over video games to quite the same degree I have comic books.   That said like everyone else I do enjoy tuning in to E3 this year to see what’s up, and I always find at least a few surprises to enjoy.  So here is my take on this years presentations.

 

Microsoft

I will be honest, I like Microsoft’s computers but I have never cared for their video game systems.  The XBOX and the culture around it has always felt off to be, ranging from juvenile frat boy to techie elitists, XBOX has always seemed from both a corporate and community perspective to be the brand equivalent to that jerky kid in high school that claimed to be your friend but still treated you like crap.  The fact  that the main selling point of their overpriced XBOX-ONE X is just simply “how powerful it is” doesn’t help things much in this regard either.  Xbox also like to tout the “Exclusive” title to many games that will also end up on Sony systems, albeit on a later date, but still, a timed exclusive arguably isn’t really an exclusive as it will eventually be playable on other consoles and outlets.  Microsoft is a tech giant so I understand them focusing on how advanced or powerful their hardware is, but for me a video game should be about fun above all.  What can I say, I’m just old fashioned like that.

 

I will give Microsoft some positive progressive points though for being cool and adding more diversity to their avatar creation with the ability to make your avatar have a wheelchair or prosthetic.  It is important to make players of all types feel welcome and included in your community.

 

Nintendo

Nintendo has had a rough couple of years. The WiiU despite being a solid system didn’t do as well as they had hoped and took a bit to long to get a solid software lineup.  And despite the continued success of the 3DS they needed something big to help them get back on top.  Thankfully with the advent of the Nintendo Switch the company seems to be on their way back to the top of the mountain.  The system launched with the highly anticipated  Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild and has had a nice steady trickle of enjoyable 1st and 3rd party games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and PuyoPuyo Tetris since its release and March.  And with he release of games like Splatoon2 & Mario+Rabbids right around the corner and Mario Odyssey coming this Fall the system seems like it will have an excellent first year overall.  As for Nintendo’s E3 showing, it was a pretty solid one, we got what we expected as well as a few surprises with the announcement of new Metroid games for 3DS & Switch as well as some more info on things like Fire Emblem Warriors and confirmation on  Kirby , Yoshi and main series Pokémon games coming to The Switch in the near future.

 

Nintendo is also doing a great job improving on the diversity in their properties.  Gen 7 of Pokémon has many new characters that are their world’s equivalent to native Hawaiian/Polynesian,  BOTW gave a more bigger role to the Gerudo by making one of their own, Urbosa a great hero, ARMS gave us Twintelle, though there was some arguably justified minor controversy surrounding her hair and her sexualized character design.  And most recently Splatoon gave us Marina who is not only a woman of color but also an Octling who is bandmate and friends with the white mouse-like Inkling Pearl showing that even fictional rifts like the ones between the inklings & octlings can heal over time.  Nintendo’s new stance to widen its audience and promote more diversity in its titles is a good one and one that I hope people will support so we can get more diverse and creative characters and titles in the future.

 

Though on the downside I will say it stinks the Big N didn’t hire actual women of color to voice Twintelle & Urbosa.

 

Sony

 

Honestly, not much to say here. They gave a solid conference, sure I may have found it pretty boring myself as very few of the games were of personal interest to me, but overall I am glad that like Nintendo they made the big focus the actual games as opposed to just bragging about how strong their hardware was.

 

Though I will say at this point I am starting to believe the human race will go extinct before Kingdom Hearts III or the Final Fantasy VII remake actually get around to coming out.

 

 

The Controversy

So apparently some people got mad that Wolfenstein, a game about killing Nazis is about well, killing Nazis…. There really are no words to describe how ridiculous this is or how equally ridiculous being offended that backwoods evangelical rednecks are the villains for FarCry 5.  And lets not forget people are still mad you can play as a woman in Star Wars: Battlefront II.

 

Overall the thing that bothers me the most about all this is it shows how completely insane/sexist/racist/etc so many people in the gaming community are.  Yet another reason I am only into games to have fun and not get super serious about something that is meant to be interactive art & storytelling for fun, frolic, & fantasy

 

At the end of the day, gaming has its fair share of problems but we have seen the industry is willing to move forward not just in technological advancement but also while admitingly slower than many would like in accepting a more diverse audience for its products.  And well if that makes some people angry, then maybe its fine for the industry to leave you behind.

Thoughts on: Wonder Woman (2017)

  Warning: This Post Contains Spoilers!

 

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This weekend the long awaited solo outing of everyone’s favorite Amazon Warrior Princess started in theatres and sufficed to say it has made many positive ripples over its short stint in movie houses so far, so lets take a look at Wonder Woman and see if it is sensational as everyone says?

 

The film starts off with Diana Prince in modern day monolouging about the world and the nature of man as a briefcase is delivered to her with the original copy of the photo Bruce found of her in BVS inside.  This leads to the flashback that starts the main story of the film with Diana reminiscing about her life from childhood to adulthood growing up on Themyscria with her mother and the other Amazons.  We also get a brief retelling of the Amazon’s origins from Hippolyta.  As expected we also see Steve Trevor crash on the island which starts the whole thing off.  A Small group of German’s trailing Steve land on the island and are quickly slaughtered by the Amazons though not without the mighty women losing a few of their own to the attack, including Diana’s teacher and aunt Antiope.     This leads Diana to leave the island with Steve and help him try to stop the war.

 

Without spoiling too much more the rest of the film shows Diana learning more about the world of man both the good and the bad which over the course of the film is the sole push for Diana’s character growth not just as a hero but as an individual as well as she has to accept the world is a much more complicated place than she first thought and everyone has both good and evil within them, coming to the conclusion that as long as there is love there is still hope to save the world.

 

Overall the story of the film is well written, it faithfully follows Wonder Woman’s comic book origin while only making the necessary tweaks and additions to help serve the greater narrative of the film or have it fit into the DCEU continuity.  Gal Gadot gives a solid performance as Diana giving off a sense of both youthful naivety while also coming off as a strong and confident woman.  Chris Pine is also an excellent Steve Trevor and shows us a version of the character who despite being psychologically worn out from the war still does his best to try to stop it. And while only in the beginning of the film Ronnie Wright & Connie Nelson give solid performances as Antiope and Hippolyta respectively.  The supporting cast of characters like Etta Candy, Chief, and the villains like Doctor Poison. General Ludendorf and later on Ares all fit their role quite adequately as well.

 

The cinematography still manages to have the same natural tone the past DCEU films have had while having just enough color pop out to help make the characters more defined in the dark backdrop of war.  The slow motion moments in fight scenes somewhat reminiscent of Guy Ritche’s Sherlock Holmes are also well choreographed and welcome additions .  The special effects are also spot on for the most part making the battles feel as if they have real weight and depth to them.

 

The costume design is also impressive as both the Amazons and early 20th century citizens look authentic which helps add to the atmosphere of the film.  And the colors of Wonder Woman’s outfit pop every time they are on screen making the armor as visually appealing as the character of Wonder Woman is inspiring.

 

The only minor complaints I could find with the film would be that Ares has a really really stupid mustache that even his nice and somewhat comic accurate armor couldn’t completely hide and this prevents him from looking as intimidating as he should.  And the end scene before the credits being a traditional Superhero in silly pose while jumping really cliché was somewhat off putting.

 

Overall though Wonder Woman was a delight to sit through the first time and just as much if not slightly more so the second.  Patty Jenkins, Zack Snyder and co did a genuinely great job with this film as despite the dark topic of war it never loses its sense of love and hope and truly showcases what makes Wonder Woman such a great and inspirational hero.  If WB & DC are smart they will keep Mrs. Jenkins on as long as possible as she has proven that not only can female directors play ball just as well as the big boys, in some ways they can throw even better!

 

Final Grade

Cinematography: 8 out of 10

Story: 10 out of 10

Overall: 9 out of 10

Wonder Woman is now in theatres nationwide and will be rolling out worldwide over the coming weeks!

 

From Film To Frame: 5 Wonder Woman Comic Book Series Worth Checking Out.

 

With Wonder Woman releasing for previews in Theatres tonight and nationwide tomorrow I figured now would be a good time to plug some of the Amazon Warriors best stories.  So lets travel to Themyscira and beyond and take a look at some of Diana’s best adventures.

 

 

Wonder Woman: Rebirth By Greg Rucka (2016-2017)

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  Acclaimed Comic book writer Greg Rucka teamed-up with talented artists Nicola Scott & Liam Sharp for this 25 part epic consisting of 23 regular issues a special and an annual which shows Diana searching for the Truth of her origins in both the past and present against new and old foes alike.   This run takes the core of the character and reinvigorates it for a new generation of readers.

 

Wonder Woman: A True Amazon By Jill Thompson (2016)

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A one shot graphic novel with beautiful art and story by the ever talented Jill Thompson give us a look at a younger Diana as she learns what it truly means to be an Amazon, a hero, and a leader.

 

Legend of Wonder Woman By Renae De Liz (2016)

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A look at Diana’s childhood all the way to her early years as Wonder Woman, Renae De Liz Legend of Wonder Woman series is a true delight for Wonder Woman fans of all ages

 

Wonder Woman by Brian Azzarello (2011-2014)

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A more controversial yet still well done run shows the mighty Amazonian Princess fighting the pantheon of Greek Gods and even have a brief meeting with Orion and the New Gods as well.  If you are ok with a more violent interpretation of the character it may be worth a look.  And then of course there’s also Cliff Chang’s amazing art.

 

Wonder Woman: The Golden Age  By William Moulton Marston (1942-1947)

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Where it all began, the original Golden Age tells of Wonder Woman are always worth revisiting.  We see Diana fight Nazis and villains of all shapes and sorts.