Friday, April 14, 2017

The Last Jedi



The teaser trailer is finally here!  It looks amazing.  I cannot wait.

We also get a teaser poster & it is also amazing.  If fact, this might be my favorite Star Wars poster EVER.



Now, let me share something with you that happened to me recently.  It's Star Wars related.  It was also one of the most amazing moments of my life.

I met Luke Skywalker.

This was a huge moment for me.  I have loved Mark Hamill since I was three years old.  Luke Skywalker has been my boyfriend all my life.  I used to imagine flying my own X-wing in the Alliance & ending up at the Rebel base & running into Luke & we'd fall in love & go on adventures together.  On the playground as a kid when anyone made fun of Luke Skywalker & say Han was cooler, I was always standing up for my boyfriend.  Defending him, as if he were standing right there.

 (Hey! It's me.)

As a young adult, after Timothy Zahn's books came out, Luke got an amazing partner in the Expanded Universe.  Mara Jade.  Mara was a tough, sarcastic, badass character.  She was perfect for Luke. It has torn at my heart that Disney just threw her away.  Luke deserves the love he found with Mara.  I'm hopeful they still work her into the storyline somewhere.  I have, of course, worked it all out in my head perfectly.  Mara saved Rey, their daughter, before Kylo killed her.  Luke assumed Rey died in the temple slaughter/fire we just saw in the new trailer.

So, yeah, I met Luke Skywalker.  I was so nervous the weeks leading up to the Convention.  So nervous I couldn't eat, I was losing sleep. I was afraid I would completely lose my sh*t when I got up to Mr. Hamill.  I kept thinking about the phrase, "Never meet your heroes."  I also kept thinking about how I had just missed Carrie Fisher last year & I simply never imagined it would even be possible to see Mark Hamill in person much less touch him.  Get his autograph or photo.  I HAD to do this.  My friends also said I HAD to do this.  Thank you, guys.  You helped me get up the nerve to do it.

T & I drove all the way to Dallas, TX.  It's about 3 hours from our home.  My parents took our fur babies in for the weekend.  THANK YOU SO MUCH, MOM & DAD & BRO!  We stayed at the convention hotel and I cosplayed for only the 2nd time in my life.  I was a gender-bent Bespin Luke Skywalker.  I was torn.  I wanted to Cosplay as Jyn as well. Jyn meeting Luke.  However, Bespin Luke has always been my absolute hero & favorite character ever.  That was the Luke that helped me through so much.  When I got depressed, or felt lost, I watched Empire.  When I was unsure or afraid, I watched Empire.  Luke's decision to follow his heart & stand with his friends, rather than sacrificing them, and facing his Father on his terms & staying true to who he was despite the elders advice & the whole galaxy ttelling him what was best for him, meant something profound to me.  Bespin Luke taught me to be true to myself & to follow my heart. So, I went with Bespin Luke.

(I still can't believe this is me)

Mark was warm & friendly.  He took my hand, spoke to me briefly, thanked me for coming to see him, I wrapped my arm around him, he put his arm around me, we smiled & I turned to leave.  As I did, he took my hand again.  I can't remember what we both said, but I remember I felt warm & genuine.

I met my hero.  He was just as I had always imagine.  It was everything.

I walked out of the photo area and there was T.  I completely broke down & cried my eyes out.

I have the picture in my living room.  I look at it every single day & I giggle.  Sometimes, I get a little misty.  9 year old me, who saw "The Return of the Jedi" and cried all the way home because she realized it was all over, would NEVER believe this.

She wouldn't believe they would name the character that stole the Death Star plans Jyn.  

Star Wars has always been a source of light & courage for me.

It continues to be.

In these insane & turbulent times in the world, I see thousands of people that feel the same.  We are the rebels & the resistance.  Films, like oral stories & written works of the past, are our rallying cries.  For some, they will always just be movies, but for many, they are our source.

Star Wars is FOREVER.

May the Force Be With You.








Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Obsessed with Supergirl, Part 2

Season 2 SPOILERS*****



Well, geez, I barely got the last post published & the writers on Supergirl have already sunk the show to its lowest point ever.  This is bad.  This is so bad.  For a show that started off so feminist & strong & girl power-y, it has done a complete 180.

Let's start with a simple description of things that often happen with female characters in movies & TV.

#1 - Trinity Syndrome.  What is Trinity Syndrome you ask?  “For the ordinary dude to be triumphant, the Strong Female Character has to entirely disappear into Subservient Trophy Character mode. This is Trinity Syndrome à la The Matrix: the hugely capable woman who never once becomes as independent, significant, and exciting as she is in her introductory scene.”





OMG, you guys, this is totally happening.  With the introduction of the white male character Mon-El, Kara has slowly been pushed to the side & Supergirl even more so, UNLESS it has to do with the relationship.  Remember in my last post how I mentioned that in some episodes the male cast members were getting something like 75% of the screen time?  Yeah.  
Now, I decided to actually time our main character's screen time without the new male "lead" in the episode "Star-Crossed".  It was about 7 minutes, give or take.
Also, with Kara being fired, the Catco/Reporter part of Kara's life has been completely & totally dropped.  The importance of reporting to Kara has just vanished.  The importance of anything in her life, other than her relationship with Mon-El,  just simply doesn't exist.


Seriously?  For real?  Ugh.  Yuck.


****SPOILERS*****

In "Star-Crossed" we learn that our new "lead" white male character Mon-El is actually the Prince of Daxam, a party planet that had slaves & kept it's people drunk, drugged & distracted in order to abuse them.  Mon-El was actively part of that.  He benefited from it.  He escaped by abandoning the woman in his bed, his guard killed a Kryptonian, stole his pod & placed the Prince inside with no arguments from Mon-El.  When he arrived on Earth, he lied to Kara.  He has been actively lying to Kara since day one.  9 months of lying, as he slowly managed to develop an intimate relationship with her.  




Let me ask you something.  Let's say you met someone that said he worked as a guard for ISIL.  He tells you that he wants a fresh start & you are wary.  Still, he keeps trying.  He often disregards your wishes (like telling everyone you are dating after you've asked him to keep it quiet for a while) and blames everything he does wrong on simply not understanding because of his raising or cultural differences.  So you keep giving him the benefit of the doubt but then, after developing a relationship & having sex you find out this dude was actually an active member & leader of ISIL.  He actually beheaded people. I don't know about you, but I would be horrified.  This isn't just a simple lie.  This is a terrifying betrayal as well as a very scary insight into the mental process of this person. Saying he didn't know any better is just not acceptable.


Now, some argue that Kara is trying to make him better & he keeps begging her to help him be a "hero", but this too is ridiculous.  It is NOT a woman's job to train a boy to become a man.  It is not the female lead character's job to train a man to be a hero.  Kara hasn't figured out how to balance her life yet & now the CW has made her main mission in Supergirl to train & better a horrible slave-owning asshole from a planet & family that tortured it's own people.  


If any characters should be helping this guy, it should be James & Winn.  Why is this Kara's job?!


Also, Mon-El never really apologizes until it's very clear that their relationship is over.  Instead, he does the classic abusive thing of laying blame on the female because of his discomfort.  


"By now the girl usually forgives the guy for whatever the dumb thing the guy has done." - Mon-El


WTF?  It gets worse.  He pretty much admits the only reason he wants to be a hero is to stay with Kara.  


"I love being the hero because it means I get to spend every single day by your side." - Mon-El


This means he still isn't getting it.  He doesn't understand what a hero is.

Kara then asks him: "Where you ever going to tell me the truth?"

And he answers: "I don't know.

Holy crap, he just admitted that if Mom & Dad hadn't shown up, he might have NEVER told her.  That's pretty F'd up.
She breaks up with him at the end only to immediately get back with him in the musical episode of the Flash.  

"I forgive you." - Kara after waking up from the Music Meister's spell.



We went from a female-centric show about a hero trying to find her humanity & balance her life, and stand up for women everywhere, to a male-centric show about a jerk from a planet of terror that needs a Mommy/Wife to show him how to be good.


Oh, Supergirl...you make me so incredibly sad.  

The ratings are the lowest they've ever been. 


 ( http://tvseriesfinale.com/tv-show/supergirl-season-two-ratings/

Geez, I wonder why?  
It's probably too late to turn this around now, but if the writers care or want to try, here's some advice:


  1. After being introduced, does your Strong Female Character then fail to do anything fundamentally significant to the outcome of the plot? Anything at all?
  2. If she does accomplish something plot-significant, is it primarily getting raped, beaten, or killed to motivate a male hero? Or deciding to have sex with/not have sex with/agreeing to date/deciding to break up with a male hero? Or nagging a male hero into growing up, or nagging him to stop being so heroic? Basically, does she only exist to service the male hero’s needs, development, or motivations?
  3. Could your Strong Female Character be seamlessly replaced with a floor lamp with some useful information written on it to help a male hero?
  4. Is a fundamental point of your plot that your Strong Female Character is the strongest, smartest, meanest, toughest, or most experienced character in the story—until the protagonist arrives?
  5. …or worse, does he enter the story as a bumbling fuck-up, but spend the whole movie rapidly evolving past her, while she stays entirely static, and even cheers him on? Does your Strong Female Character exist primarily so the protagonist can impress her?
  6. It’s nice if she’s hyper-cool, but does she only start off that way so a male hero will look even cooler by comparison when he rescues or surpasses her?
  7. Is she so strong and capable that she’s never needed rescuing before now, but once the plot kicks into gear, she’s suddenly captured or threatened by the villain, and needs the hero’s intervention? Is breaking down her pride a fundamental part of the story?
  8. Does she disappear entirely for the second half/third act of the film, for any reason other than because she’s doing something significant to the plot (besides being a hostage, or dying)?
https://thedissolve.com/authors/tashar/ 

There's also the Bechdel test: 

  1. The movie/TV show has to have at least two women in it,
  2. who talk to each other,
  3. about something besides a man.

There's also the Mako Mori Test:

  1. at least one female character
  2. who gets her own narrative arc
  3. that is not about supporting a man’s story.
Here's a great article on more ways to excel with a female character: http://www.tor.com/2015/03/04/writing-women-characters-as-human-beings/

The writer's have essentially cut off all female contact with Kara in Season 2 as well.  No Cat Grant, no Lucy Lane, her sister has a g/f now & they have cut way back on the Alex & Kara moments.  Her only other real female contact is Lena Luthor who only guest stars in the show.

As you can see by everything above, that's another serious problem for a show with a female lead.

I think it's a lost cause, but I really, really hope these writers wake the hell up & fix this show.  It had the potential to be amazing, but now it's just another male-centric trope fest.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Obsessed with Supergirl

 So, I'm completely & totally obsessed with the CW series Supergirl. I'm not sure how it happened but I know the exaxt episode it happened.  When I started the series with season 1 on CBS, I was completely unimpressed & even felt Supergirl was a little lame.

I stayed with it though & was very glad I did. The amount of girl power in the form of female actors on screen was amazing. I haven't seen that much time devoted to females on screen since Xena. Not to mention the great chemistry between them. Calista Flockhart plays Cat Grant & her chemistry with Melissa Benoist (Kara Danvers/Supergirl) is awesome. Kara is Cat's assistant. There's a whole scene where Kara gets mad at Cat & yells at her (for good reason) & Cat takes Kara out for drinks. She explains that women cannot lose their tempers at work. Men can throw chairs out windows but if a woman so much as raises her voice, she will be labeled as emotional or hysterical or unable to function in a business/upper management or CEO. Truth right there. So much truth. That relationship was an amazing part of Season 1. Unfortunately, in season 2, CBS handed the show over to the CW network & they wrote Cat Grant's character off 2 or 3 episodes in. I think this was a huge mistake.  Cat is sorely missed in Season 2.


Another great relationship is that of Kara & her sister, Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh).  It's a very touchy/feeling relationship but one not without issues. Alex was an only child before Kal-El dropped Kara off with the Danvers. There's quite a bit of resentment about that. Right off the bat I pegged Alex as a character that might have more to add later as well. She had a certain swagger & familiarity to her. I pegged her as our future LGBTQI character & in Season 2 , we have a very realistic coming out story for this character. #Sanvers was born & the Sanvers fandom was rewarded rather quickly.  Alex telling Kara was very emotional for me, personally.


One thing that was pretty lacking in Season 1 was a complex & layered villain. We had Red Tornado, Livewire, Maxima, General Lane, Jemm, Maxwell Lord, Idigo (brainiac 8) and the big bad, Kryton's own Non & Kara's Aunt, Astra. Maxwell Lord was an alienaphobe, billionaire, tech guru.  He was so incredibly cardboard. It just never really took. Astra was a pretty good villian but she didn't make it to the end.  Non was annoying.  The Non/Indigo thing was actually kind of creepy to me.

Season 2 gives us the best possible villain of all. Lena Luthor. It's been a constant "is she , or isn't she" when it comes to her character in more than one way. Is she evil or good & is she or isn't interested in Kara/Supergirl romantically. Let me tell you, the subtext between these two ladies is DELICIOUS. Katie McGrath is the actor playing Lena Luthor & she is drop dead gorgeous. A shipper group of fans called SuperCorp has risen & I won't lie, I've joined them. Katie McGrath's Lena Luthor was what started my serious obsession with Supergirl. I had really begun to love the show because of all the things I mention above, as well as Melissa Benoist amazing & fun acting. She really is perfect in this part. However, once Lena Luthor entered the show, that was it. I'm 110% hooked. I can't miss an episode & have even delved further into fandom with vids & fanfic.



I really, really hope they keep this Lena/Kara/Supergirl storyline going for way more than one season.

Lena's possible betrayal is going to be heart wrenching, if it happens, which I really hope it doesn't.

I'm fairly certain they will never be able to top Lena Luthor. Certainly not Katie McGrath. The chemistry between the two actors is pure electricity. It makes me a bit worried for future seasons.



I'd love to see a great storyline where we thing Lena has turned bad but it's really all a set-up or is something different altogether.  Right now my running theory is that she is trying to take down her Mother because she really blames her for Lex Luthor's psychotic break & her abandonment.  In doing so she uses Supergirl.  Once Supergirl learns this, of course, she feels betrayed but in a way understands & together they figure something else out.  This psuedo betrayal with make things very complicated with her & Kara. In one of the most recent episodes Lena is shown moving the white knight next to the black queen on a chess board.  I believe that she is the black queen & Supergirl is her white knight, but it could also be that she sees herself as the white knight trying to take down the black queen, her mother.



Now, I do want to point out some of the bad.  The screen time for all the ladies dropped off big time with the move to the CW. We're talking down more than 50% on some episodes.That means all the ladies combined are only getting about 25% or less of the screen time. For a show about a lady hero with a sister with a girlfriend & a female villain with female assistant that seems incredibly wrong.  The show has focused quite a bit on a new male hero, Mon-El of Daxam, as well as Jimmy Olson & Winn becoming team Guardian. While that is all good and fine, all of that taking attention from our main hero seems like a slap on the bottom with an order to make the coffee.  C'mon guys, the show is called Supergirl. Seeing all these amazing women on screen is the real draw of the show. Focus.  The last few episodes have started to head back the other direction. I think it is in part to the female fans that are crunching the numbers and keeping the writers accountable. Thanks, gals!

Another not so fun new development is the attention focused on Kara's love life. First it's Jimmy, which wasn't overwhelming the narrative in Season 1. The chemistry between Jimmy & Kara just didn't work & I was happy to see them drop that relationship right off the bat in season 2. Unfortunately, she went directly from Jimmy to Mon-El & it HAS dominated much of the narrative. Mon-El is a frat boy. He is sold to us as a Frat boy with a heart of gold who wants to be a better person by becoming a hero. I'm not really buying what they are selling. He's a douche. Period. He doesn't seem to give Kara the depth of attention she needs, gives her terrible advice, and doesn't respect her at all. Ugh.


Now, my hopes are that they continue to play up the Kara/Lena subtext, have Mon-El slowly taper off, have the focus go back to Kara/Supergirl & balancing the hero with the human.  Stop with the relationship crap.  The Cadmus storyline is good, but I'm not sure how much longer they can drag that out.  I'm looking forward to seeing exactly what role the US President (played by Lynda Carter) plays & how that pans out.  Let's explore Kara & Supergirl and her struggle with balancing her life.  That was a fun & good storyline.  Let Kara & Supergirl grow without the need for a romantic relationship.  The dynamic with Lena is great.  Kara & Lena being best buds will lead to Kara wanting to tell Lena she is Supergirl.  Of course the DEO & Alex will all find this problematic since they don't trust Lena.  Get back to the reporter stuff.  Get back to the story fundamentals.

Whatever happens, I'm hooked...for now. Totally & completely.  Let's hope the writers realize their mistakes & it only gets better from here!

Supergirl airs on the CW Network, Monday's at 7pm CST

Friday, January 20, 2017

Heartbroken



I really haven't been able to post this.  I still can't accept it...or believe it.  It's going to be rambling & messy.

When I heard Carrie Fisher had a heart attack on a plane on Dec. 23rd I broke down and ugly cried.  I cried on & off all day.  I had a knot in my stomach, had trouble sleeping & had no appetite until they announced her passing on the 27th.  Then, I cried all day, again. I cried all week.  I find myself crying on & off as I write this.



 I can't begin to tell you what she meant to me.  I never met her & I don't know her personally, but you don't need to know someone personally for them to mean something to you.

Her death brought up many feelings.  My Grandpa Tucker's death when I was 16.  A fierce & funny personality, not unlike Carrie.  My friend Chris passing in 2012.  Star Wars fan & Leia lover.

Everybody has shared their stories & feelings.  I'm a little late because I truly just don't accept this.  I feel like we've moved into some weird alternate timeline that sucks. Really, really sucks.  I'm going to share my story, mostly for me.  It's nothing special.  It's not an extraordinary tale.  It's probably very similar to millions of others.

When I was a youngling of 3 years of age, my parents went to the drive-in, the Comet Drive-In & took me along.  That movie was "Star Wars". All I really remembered was the horrifying burned bodies of Aunt Beru & Uncle Owen, the twin suns setting & the music as Luke looks out across the desert, the swing across the chasm & the trench run.  I also remember it was raining.  I don't know if these are real memories or just the way my brain put them together.

I was 5 when "The Empire Strikes Back" came out & 8 or 9 when Jedi came out.  I remember wondering if Han was ever going to get out of that Carbonite.  I can remember running through the house shouting that a "Revenge of the Jedi" commercial just came on!  I pleaded with my parents to take me to see this film.  The Drive-In had long since closed.  The closest theater was 30 miles away.



They took me & my brother.  We went opening weekend, I think.  I remember there was a line outside the theater.  I can still remember how excited & anxious I was.

Return of the Jedi is where I thought my love of Leia started.  When she took off that bounty hunter mask after saving Han my mouth dropped open.  It was the single coolest thing I had ever seen.  Princess Leia just saved Han!  To this day, Leia in Bounty Hunter disguise is one of my favorite characters, toys, action figures ever!  A Princess saving a "Prince" long before it was hip or fashionable.



I remember the car ride home.  I cried & cried & cried.  Why?  I thought it was all over.  Star Wars was over.  The characters I loved would never return to the big screen.  Darth Vader was dead, along with the Emperor, Luke was a Jedi, Leia & Han were totally going to hook up & that was it.  The End.  I silently prayed to whatever gods could hear me that Star Wars would return someday & that Star Wars would be forever.



I remember that moment I walked into Barnes & Noble & saw that book.  The book.  "Heir to the Empire".  It had Luke & Leia & Han on the cover!  WHAT!?  I bought it immediately and thus my entrance into the Expanded Universe began.  I've read more Star Wars books than any other type of book.  Star Wars books & comics expanded the characters I loved so much.  I even had my own story of a secret & forbidden relationship between Mon Mothma & Admiral Ackbar.  Leia was fleshed out more.  She struggled to come to terms with her family ties to Vader & her Force sensitivity.  We got to read her being a leader & a politician & a badass. We got to read her using a lightsaber. Timothy Zahn took nothing away from her.



At the same time, in real life, Carrie Fisher began writing books.  Postcards from the Edge being one that eventually became a movie.  My love of Leia made me interested in the person that brought her to life.  My obsession with Star Wars spilled over into the actors real lives.  When people would make fun of Mark Hamill because he "hadn't worked since Jedi", I had a long list of his accomplishments memorized.  When people asked, "What ever happened to Carrie Fisher", I could list off all her books at what number they had reached on the New York Times bestseller list.  I'm almost impossible to beat at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit.  Life Skills.



Luke & Leia were special to me growing up because I had a brother.  People often asked us if we were twins.  That always made me smile because I would instantly think of Luke & Leia.

Above, I mentioned that I thought my love for Leia started in Jedi, and that was partially true.  I always loved Luke.  From the moment I saw him on the screen I wanted to be Luke Skywalker.  It wasn't until much later, as an adult, I realized how influential Princess Leia had been to me.  You see, I never believed I couldn't do anything a boy could do.  I didn't believe gender made a difference.  Why would I?  I grew up & was obsessed (still am) with a movie where a girl, a small petite girl at that, saves the boys multiple times & essentially saves the galaxy.  She was tortured, lost her entire planet, lost her boyfriend, almost lost her brother, found out her father was a murderous tyrant, saved her boyfriend, killed the most dangerous crime boss in the galaxy with the chains she'd been enslaved with & kept fighting until the Empire had fallen.  Why on earth would any girl that was lucky enough to have been 3 to 9 years old & grow up with Leia think any different?  Of course I never questioned what I could & couldn't do.  It confused me when I ran into these situations in real life.



As I got older, I realized that Princess Leia helped shape that attitude.  Then, there was Carrie Fisher. Unapologetic.  Free-spirited.  Not afraid to say she made mistakes. A creative. A writer.  REAL & raw.  It was very hard to separate Leia from Carrie.  They had the same strengths.  If you read the expanded universe stories, they also had some of the same weaknesses.

Carrie was never afraid to call bullshit.  She called people out.  She said what she meant.

When they announced Episode 7, I cried like that 9 year old kid leaving Jedi, but for the exact opposite reason.  My prayers had been answered.

I wondered if we'd get to see the Leia with Force powers from the Expanded Universe.  If she'd weild a lightsaber. If she was a Jedi.  I was pretty underwhelmed with what they gave her.  Cool, she's a General.  In the EU she had basically been the President of the New Republic, but okay...General.  Wow.

I watched every interview.  I stayed up until 5 in the morning watching the Star Wars Celebration live streams.  I was in heaven.

Carrie Fisher stole the show.  She was hilarious.  I don't think she really understood how much we loved her, not just Leia, but Carrie Fisher.  I hope she did.  

I wonder if we didn't ask too much.  I worry that she wasn't healthy enough for all the travel & work. The crash diet they put her on.  We didn't care if she had gained weight. I feel a little guilty for wanting her back so badly as our Princess & General.

I had hopes that we'd still get to see Leia the lightsaber wielding badass, but I think that's Rey's job.  I was heartbroken to hear they had so much more planned for her.  I look forward to her last scenes in episode VIII, but I also don't want to see them.  I don't want that to be the last time I ever see her.  42 year old me is crying because Princess Leia can always come back, but we lost someone way more important.  We lost Carrie.

I still just can't accept she's gone.

Carrie Fisher was a treasure.  She was a voice for mental health in a world that really needed one.  She was an unapologetic woman in a time we really need fierce women.  She was a storyteller.  Make no mistake though, she truly was Royalty.  Our Princess.  Planet Earth's Princess & Princess to every little girl that grew up not knowing she wasn't supposed to be able to do the things she was doing.

Thank you, Carrie.    

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

The Rogue One Review

(All images Copyright by Disney & Lucasfilm)

I know you've all been eagerly awaiting my Rogue One review (sarcasm) especially after my glowing The Force Awakens review (more sarcasm).  Well, here it goes...

I want the opening scrawl back.  That was weird.  Honestly.  It felt weird & empty.  Didn't you think so?  It was just so plain & there.  Bam!  Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  That's it.  At least we got the "A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away."  

Some of the stuff Disney is doing is just weird.  

First off let's talk about the trailers.  The trailers made our main hero, who honestly wasn't really a main hero, out to be much more of a badass than I think she ended up being.  Not that she wasn't a badass, she just ended up being less snarky & sarcastic than the trailers let on.  Many of her trailer lines were completely cut from the film.  "I rebel!" was nowhere to be found?  Really?!  Why cut the tag line from our hero?  The only reason would be that she seemed to snarky.  Ugh.  I liked snarky Jyn.  Still, after the second viewing it did appear that they kept the character consistent at least.  The first viewing I was waiting for many of the trailer lines & felt let down that I didn't get them.  That's a bit of bad marketing.  

(What happened to this?!)

(And THIS!?)

I like Jyn.  I don't love her. I wanted to love her for purely selfish reasons (My name is Jen).  Having a Star Wars character share your name is pretty awesome, so of course you want that character to be the best Star Wars character ever.  I did like how brave she was.  Determined & brave.  That's how I'd describe her. Okay...now for the 

***SPOILERS***

I said

***SPOILERS***

You only have yourself to blame if you read any further.

I pretty much figured the entire team would die & I was right.  Her ending was okay, but I'm not sure I buy that anyone that determined & brave would simply sit on a beach & wait for death.  I would try to hunker down or get underground or hide behind a box or something.  I get it, the storytellers had to let the audience know she was dead, for good, dead dead, otherwise all of us fans would have theories out the wazoo of her survival.  So, fine.  I get it.

Cassian, whoa what a surprise!  Not who I thought this character would be at all.  I liked being surprised.  The dude is serious.  His beliefs are serious.  He's a zealot for the rebellion & willing to do whatever it takes.  I'm not sure I understand his sudden attachment to Jyn, though.  He's going to kill her Father, he's going to kill her, then suddenly he's decided to get a gang together & follow her to certain death.  This was a little fuzzy to me & needed more attention, but okay, whatever.

All of the characters needed a little more depth, but I liked them all.  For me, Bodhi was the one I really rooted for.  I'm not sure what about the character grabbed me, but it did.  His desperation, the fact that he understood what was happening, yet no one would take him seriously or listen to him until he met the Rogues, I'm not sure.


I loved how each character was essential to the mission.  Every single one had an important role.  Without each one in place, the mission failed.  This is why I say that Jyn isn't really the hero.  They are all equally heroes.  That is something I really loved & that was something that felt old school Star Wars to me.  

In the originals, Luke might have been the one we followed, but without R2, 3PO, Chewie, Obi-Wan, Han, Leia or Lando, Luke would have failed.  The strength in friendship & working together is what saved the galaxy & Rogue One showed us that again.  Of course, this time with opposite results for our heroes outcomes.  This time everyone dies.  They were all pretty damn good deaths though.

I was so happy to see so many aliens!  Not just one bar scene, but a whole galaxy of them! Familiar & new!  

(A Twi'lek!)

(These guys are super cool.)

(A Frog & a Space Monkey!)

We even got a fun glimpse of Dr. Evazan & Ponda Baba!  Um, awesome.  Those of us that are Expanded Universe, now "Legends" fans had zero problem with those two showing up in another shady place.  It was perfect.

Mon Freakin' Mothma, ya'll!

(Oh hell yes!)

There was a whole lot of fan service, but unlike J.J. Abrams, whose nostalgia was vomited at us in a sarcastic or obvious way, or as I like to say, in a way that the "casual" Star Wars fan would eat up, Gareth Edwards gave most of his nods more subtly & respectfully & to those of us who have been lovers of the expanded universe stories.  It was beautifully done.

I was ecstatic that some of the Star Wars Rebels characters & ships got mentions & screen time.  If you aren't watching Star Wars Rebels...well, what the hell are you doing with your life!?  Seriously, Rebels is great!

(You can see the Rebels ship the "Ghost" here.)

(Chopper!  The funniest droid EVER.)

Now, let's get to the biggest problems I had with the film.  There really aren't many.  My biggest problem was that Cassian shot Krennic.  We saw Jyn with her pistol shooting Stormtroopers & shore troopers left & right, but we get to the pivotal moment when Jyn & Krennic face off & she either doesn't have her pistol or she just can't bring herself to shoot this bastard.  What?!  So, from behind, or to the side, Cassian takes the shot to rescue Jyn from Krennic.  I literally shouted, "UGH, for real!" in the theater. Look, they were trapped & all probably going to die.  They knew that.  What purpose did it serve her character to allow Cassian to shoot him instead of her?  He killed her Mother & enslaved her Father & she just stands there with her mouth open? SERIOUSLY!?  I thought we had decided to move past this type of thing.  Princess Leia would have NEVER just stood there.  Neither would Rey.  So, why did Jyn?  I do not buy it.  Nope, not one bit.  Boo!

The Music.  Alright, Mr. Giacchino only had 4 weeks to compose the score after they booted the other composer & scrapped all his music because he was on another project & couldn't re-score the re-shoots.  We call that BAD MANAGEMENT.  I don't blame Mr. Giacchino, and good lord, how do you follow John Williams?  I missed the themes.  John Williams always gives the characters their own piece of music & it was sorely missed here.  The fact that Jyn didn't have her own sound kinda broke my heart.  There were moments, when you just knew in your heart, that John Williams score would have had you in tears & Mr. Giacchino just didn't quite pull that off.  Still, I get it.  4 weeks. Try to meet John Williams levels.  That was an impossible task.


The other problems were, I wanted more character depth, but it's hard to do that with such a large cast in two & a half hours.  That two & a half hours went by fast & I really wanted to stay longer.

The scrawl omission.  Mistake.  I don't care what you think DISNEY.

Really, that's it.  That's all I have to complain about.

Krennic was a great villian.  Seeing Moff Tarkin was amazing.  I thought the CGI was great.  Even the Leia CGI.

Now, the thing I loved most.  Holy crap, how amazing was that Vader scene at the end?  I mean, holy crap, kids!  You know they get the plans, but that was filmed so well that I was sitting on the edge of my seat, white knuckled, yelling in my head (and sometimes out loud) "OMG! Go! Go! Crap! Crap! %#$@, crap! ^%$#!!!!"  Not only did it put me on the edge of my seat, but it clearly defined Darth Vader as the scariest villain in cinematic history, AGAIN.  This guy is a monster!  A big scary monster with a lightsaber and his own freaking castle! 

 Finally, we got to see Vader's castle.  More fan service for us Expanded Universe fans.

So, yeah, I loved Rogue One.

Thanks, Gareth, for truly understanding Star Wars.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunsets

Sunsets.  Sunsets are unique. Never the same.  Depending on the particulates & other things in the air, they can either be stunningly full of color or just average.

I started taking sunset photos over a decade ago. It's something I'm happy about. My dog & sunsets get me out of the house. I usually wait to take the dog for her walk until half an hour or an hour before sunset.  My dog, Leela, is the reason I started taking the photos in the first place. We'd be out on the walk and I'd just be gobsmacked by the beauty.

I can't tell you how amazing it is to take a long  walk with my pal and end up at a place with a fantastic view of a sunset each day. This is what life is all about.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

CW's Flash, Arrow, Legends

Hey there DC fans and other superhero lovers!

First off, *SPOILERS*  Lots of them if you aren't caught up on your CW shows.

How awesome is it that CW has become this awesome Super Hero channel?!  I think it's amazingly cool!  I just finished watching the second season of The Flash last night and it was amazing!  I was a Flash fan back in the 80's & 90's when John Wesley Shipp was the Scarlett Speedster & I was beyond happy when they rebooted the Flash & included him as the new Barry's Dad.  If you haven't seen the season finale yet, skip down to the next part of the blog because I have a spoiler here.  SPOILER ALERT  This season I got my fan-girl wish and they put Mr. Shipp in the JSA Flash costume as Jay Garrick!  I won't lie, I cried!  Seeing my generation's Flash honored in this Flash was awesome.  Mr. Shipp is one of those people that gave me courage to be me, so it was a little more emotional than just him being the Flash.  There was a bit of controversy after Mr. Shipp was outed and the original Flash was canceled.  To see this new generation embrace him and give him that hero status again just hit me in the feels.  Great job Flash team!



The Arrow finale was tonight.  I have liked Arrow since it started.  I was always a big Oliver Queen fan, but never thought I'd get to see the Green Arrow come to life on the big or small screen.  The Arrow team seems to be having a little trouble this season.  The writing isn't as tight and honestly, it's gotten a bit boring & tedious.  The characters keep making stupid choices over & over, not learning from them.  The woman on the island *Spoilers* Ollie kills because she begs him to because for some reason she can't handle the power, unlike Damien Darhk or the other male character.  Another very tired trope.  Men can handle power, woman cannot.  Now, I give these guys credit.  They have tried & succeeded sometimes really giving the ladies a voice & just as much action & consequences.  It's just hard to get past all that trope/stereotype history when storytelling has relied on it for so long.  Good rule of thumb, trade the characters and see how that works.  If Arrow begged the woman to kill him & she did, would you buy it?  If Diggle was stabbed by Damien Darhk and then taken to the hospital, made it through surgery then seizes & just dies, would you buy it?   Diggle...wow, have they dumbed him down this season.  *sigh* One of the side characters, Felicity,  that became the Arrow's love interest has taken up way more of the show's time than I care for.  Even during these last few episodes where the world is about to be nuked, we've spent at least 15 to 20 minutes watching this side character's parents fight over who is best for her and who she is most like.  UGH.  WTF does this have to do with Arrow or the world ending?  We've got characters making really dumb decisions, like repeatedly allow super villains go, only to have to fight them again & let them go again for very weak reasons.  The finale this season did not deliver and left us with about 10 minutes that the writers didn't seem to know what to do with.  Then, we've got one of my biggest problems of all.  *SPOILERS*  Actress Katie Cassidy played Black Canary.  She's the 2nd Black Canary in the series.  After bringing her up and convincing us all she could be Canary, they killed her.  This was Arrow's last connection in the present to the island incident.  This was the last character we started with to be allowed to put on a mask.  This was Black Canary. If you're a Green Arrow comic fan then this really bugs you.  You see, Canary & Arrow have one of the tightest relationships in comics.  They were made for each other.  Not to mention that, as a viewer I wasn't fond of Katie's character, Laurel, at first, but she really won me over & really came into her own and I just feel like they didn't follow through with her development once they got her to the point where her character & Arrow could really start bonding and we would've gotten to see this amazing relationship start to blossom.  Incredibly disappointing.  Black Canary & Ollie's relationship was one of the reasons I first started watching.  I couldn't wait to see this unfold on TV.  Now we are stuck with this mouthy tech girl who never shuts up and is basically bossing the Arrow around as our only love interest.  The show-runners say they felt Ms. Cassidy's character had reached an organic end, but I really felt like she was just coming into her own.  Those last few scenes between her & the Arrow were some of the best they had written.I'm not sure how much longer I can stay invested in this show.  The flashback scenes have grown tiresome & most of the show seems to be getting incredibly repetitive.  Not a single person I know has stuck with it besides me & T this season.  They are in trouble.



Last, but not least...well, yeah, least, is Legends of Tomorrow.  Good gods, where do I start?!  A villain that Arrow was unable to beat (sound familiar?) is transported to this show to be the main villain. Vandal Savage.  There are so many problems with this show.  Let's take a look at Hawkgirl.  Hawkgirl is the stereotypical "Damsel in distress".  She gets kidnapped, kidnapped, kidnapped and kidnapped.  Her destiny is tied to her lover and the guy that wants to be her lover, who happens to be our villain.  She starts a romance with one of our other heroes once her soulmate is killed.  One of her past selves tells her she will never be happy without the right guy, her soulmate.  PUKE.  Such an old worn out trope.  For a reincarnated leader of Egypt this gal is pretty lame.  She's timid, unsure, and very submissive which is just the opposite of the way she's been portrayed in the past.  I loved hawk woman in the comics and what they did with Hawkgirl in the animated series, but this Hawkgirl is just so sad & pathetic in this series.  Very disappointing.
     Rip Hunter.  We've got the actor that played one of Doctor Who's companions as a Time Master.  Rip Hunter isn't too off the mark.  He's a dishonest ass.
    The Atom.  Ray Palmer was introduced in Arrow, had an interesting relationship starting with Felicity and they killed him.  We find out he isn't dead and then they put him in Legends.  He spends most of the series trying to romance Hawkgirl & sulking.
     Firestorm.  Probably the one of the best characters in the series, but because he requires lots of CGI, we don't use him a bunch.  He's out of the picture either injured or unconscious often.
    Mik Rory.  Great character, used well & the bromance with Snart was fun.
   Snart or Captain Cold.  Wow.  They *spoiler alert* killed the best character of all in a way that I could've figured out to survive.  He had to hold a handle down.  What?!  He could've easily wedged something in there to hold the handle down.
    White Canary.  This was the original Black Canary, played by Caity Loitz.  Everyone loved her so much that they decided to keep the actress on & moved her over to Legends.  On Arrow she was resurrected in the Lazerus Pit & was the girlfriend of Nyssa, daughter of Ra's Al Ghul.  Unlike on Arrow, her acting was slightly cringe-worthy from time to time, but I like the character and loved the crush Snart developed on her.
     The characters not only repeat mistakes in this series, but repeat dialog.  A bunch.  Often.  Over & over.  Not only that, but the writers would use the first 15 minutes recapping that last episode.  It began to make me nuts.  I'm surprised it got a second season.  I seriously doubt it'll get a third unless major changes happen.



Overall, I love that these shows are happening.  They just need to get back to the tightness they had in storytelling like the first season of Arrow as well as Flash.  Flash has been the most satisfying this season.  Next year, we're adding Supergirl to the mix.  I hope they aren't spreading themselves too thin.  I'd rather have one show that was solid & tight then 4 mediocre shows.



What do you guys think?  Which show are you disappointed in this season & which one had you most excited?  Let me know in the comments below!  Thanks for stopping by!



May the 4th, Revenge of the 5th, & Star Wars Rogue One

Hello there!

One of my favorite weeks of the year passed recently! Star Wars day as well as Free Comic Book Day and today is the 39th anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope!  It's always fun to see the world come together in celebration & Star Wars day is one of those times.  People post pictures of pastries & other goodies in Star Wars shapes or themes, dress in costume, or simply wear something that quietly says, " I'm a fan". They make work polos and button up dress shirts with embroidered Star Wars images just for those business casual folks that have to go to work but still want to be a part of the fun.  You can even find ties & bow ties with Star Wars themes.

Check out these Star Wars polos! http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/1389/?i=front


FREE COMIC BOOK DAY is the first Saturday in May every year. What is that you ask?  Well, (almost) every comic shop in the country sets out free comics that publishers have shipped so that readers can get an idea of what they offer.  It also helps get customers into the stores.  It's a win/ win for everyone.  There's often buttons and other swag that you can get as well. It's fun and you often can get into fun conversations about comics or movies with other fans. Cosplayers often make appearances as well. Get out there & support your local comics shop. Comics often open the door for literacy where other books might not.

My favorite free comic this year: 


I have yet to mention Star Wars Rogue One.  OMG! Mon Mothma! Mon "freakin'" Mothma!  If you read my Force Awakens review, you know how much I love Mon Mothma.  Ever since Force Awakens I have been researching & searching and investigating and trying to figure out if Mon Mothma died when the New Republic was destroyed.  Apparently not.  It seems the latest novel sheds some light on Mon Mothma's fate.  It's very close to the original EU, but with a less happy ending.  BOO!  Still, I am ecstatic that I get some Mon Mothma in Rogue One.  Not to mention the main character is named Jyn!  Yeah, I freaking LOVE that.  It's like all my Star Wars wishes are coming true.



I seriously cannot wait to see this film!  What do you guys think?  Did you participate in Star Wars Day or Free Comic Book Day?  Let me know by commenting below!