Throwback Thursdays: Battle Angel Alita

After hearing the news that James Cameron would be helming a film adaptation of Battle Angel Alita next year, I decided to take a dive into the series and see what the fuss was about. I’d never actually read it, but after 15 years of anime convention-going I was sure I’d heard the name before. And since I like to be an informed critic, and am already strapped in and ready to critique the movie (with its tragically predictable almost-Asian-less cast) I figured there was no harm in familiarizing myself with it for dragging’s sake.

Well, after reading all nine volumes of the series, I can confidently say that while I can explain the story, I have no idea what the fuck it is about.

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Dear Authors: I’m Begging You to Stop Epiloguing

One of my favorite books when I was younger was Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. It had everything a girl with my interests could have hoped for: a plucky heroine, rebellion, a fantasy setting, court intrigue, epistolary romance… I adored it. When I got to the end of the book, however, I discovered something strange.

The last ten pages of the book promised a never-before-seen addition to the story. Excited to read more about Mel and Danric and the rest, I eagerly turned the page… to discover that the addition was a trite and honestly embarrassing epilogue. It was tooth-rottingly saccharine, and turned the kickass protagonist into a wilting flower too nervous to talk honestly with her husband. I didn’t have much of a critical eye at age eleven, but even then I knew it was a shitty writing decision. So why are so many authors going the way of the epilogue now? It’s terrible in so many ways, and it needs to stop.


Just. No.

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Game of Thrones and Its Diminishing Worldbuilding

Game of Thrones Westeros MapGame of Thrones’s sixth season bothered me on a number of levels, and the show has really been heading downhill since Season 1. I understand that when making a television show, some things from the original books need to be cut—that’s just the way things are—but there’s a huge difference between cutting material that’s not essential and taking shortcuts at every opportunity, no matter how detrimental to the story. The worldbuilding in the show really started to bother me during Season 5, but it wasn’t until Season 6 that I could put my finger on it: Westeros is small.

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Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, Hope for the Future, and Character Designs

Star Ocean 5Well, guys, it’s finally happening. The fifth Star Ocean game is almost upon us, and I don’t know whether to be happy or horrified. I really want this game to do well, if only because I love the Star Ocean series—well, I love the third game, at least—and considering SO4’s less than stellar reception, I can only hope that Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness will be the improvement the franchise needs it to be. Unfortunately, there are some things about what I’ve seen of the game so far that have left a rancid taste in my mouth.

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Was Avengers: Age of Ultron as Good as Its Predecessor?

avengers_age_of_ultron_2015So, you all knew it was coming sooner or later: my review of Avengers: Age of Ultron. I have already seen the movie twice, but unlike its predecessor, I probably won’t hit the thirteen-showings mark with Avengers 2. Even though I enjoyed parts of it, it was weaker than the original Avengers on almost every level.

Hella spoilers after the jump.

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Review: Carrie 2013

Carrie 2013I finally got to see the new Carrie movie a couple weeks ago, so I’ve got to post my thoughts.

For a quick, spoiler-free opinion: I was, overall, happy with it. The updating was fairly skillfully done without screaming “Hey look, we’re modern! Facebook! IPhone! Cyber bullying!” Carrie and most of the students felt realistically drawn, but Margaret was a little too toned-down for my liking. The destruction scene was the highlight of the movie.

For a more detailed, spoiler-ish review, click the jump!

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The Women of Elm Street: Nancy Thompson

A Nightmare on Elm Street- Nancy ThompsonIt’s time. It is finally time.

Months ago, I began a series of posts in which I endeavored to celebrate the female leads of the Nightmare on Elm Street series. It’s my favorite horror franchise and has many excellent qualities, not the least of which is its celebration of female heroines, so the choice seemed an obvious one. I got through most of these leading ladies in a timely manner, but when it came time to write about the original and greatest protagonist of this series, I found myself incapable of accomplishing the task.

How could I put into words all that is so incredible about Nancy Thompson? How could I do justice to the character who is most responsible for my love of this series and, on a larger scale, the whole horror genre? I was locked in indecision and simply avoided the topic, but now that it’s October and I’m fully immersed in horror and the supernatural, it is finally time to finish this series.

Here we go. Spoilers after the jump.

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Theatre Thursdays: The New Cinderella is the Best Cinderella

Cinderella- Broadway Revival LogoDespite loving this musical since childhood, I had no great desire to see it on Broadway. I don’t get to see many shows on the Great White Way, so whenever I get the chance to go I try to see musicals I’ve never seen. As such, I am completely indebted to my show buddy for choosing to see the revival of Cinderella when we went to NYC a few weeks ago, because otherwise I never would have known just how amazing this production is.

Though this is actually the first Broadway production of the musical, it was considered a revival when Tony nominations came around, which was possibly due to how much was changed for this incarnation. In my opinion a revival should maintain the spirit of the original piece while introducing something new and fresh into the experience, and this version of Cinderella does just that. Specifically what it has done is make the characters more intricate; the story more engaging; and infused a much more feminist sensibility into the narrative without losing the charm or magic that Cinderella’s story needs to have.

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Trailer Tuesdays: Monsters University

I can’t say I ever felt the need for another Monsters, Inc. movie. Oh, don’t misunderstand; I loved the original, but it was a movie that I felt told its story very well and didn’t seem at all incomplete. (Of course, I wanted to know how the Boo/Sully reunion turned out at the end of the movie. I mean, I’m not made of stone! Still, I couldn’t see a movie made out of that alone). Then the decade which passed after the original’s release pretty much solidified in my mind that Monsters, Inc. was a standalone film. As such, when news of Monsters University reached my ears I was certainly interested, as any “True 90’s Kid” is required to be, but perhaps not as ecstatic as I was when, say, Toy Story 3 was announced.

The movie had some convincing to do, in order to get me excited, and to put it simply: it has.

The fact that this movie is a prequel rather than a sequel is a large part of what has me interested. Even though it’s going in the opposite direction of where my interest lies after the first movie (Are Sully and Boo still friends? Did she outgrow, or stop believing in, her monsters? These are the things I need to know!) it has me interested mainly because of what’s being revealed about Mike Wazowski. Mike, as Monsters, Inc. fans know from the original, is employed as a Scare Assistant: the less glamorous employee who helps out the much-admired Scarers in their job of collecting children’s screams to be converted into energy. What’s interesting is that Mike appears to be very proud of his job in the original movie, if a little jealous of the recognition Sully and the other Scarers get. In Monsters University, however, it is revealed that Mike’s dream was to be a Scarer.

I think this makes the movie more interesting, because it throws a wrench in the workings of this character. One of the toughest things to get right about a prequel is to make it interesting when the intended audience essentially knows the “ending” thanks to the already released original movie. This character revelation about Mike presents an unexpected development, because even though we know where he ends up, we now know that it was not at all where he had planned to be. Because of this, the movie has the potential to make commentary on how dreams change and some of the harsh realities of setting yourself up for one goal and realizing that it wasn’t the right one after all; stories that aren’t often told in children’s movies but probably should.

While following your dreams is important and I don’t think we should ever teach our children to limit themselves, it’s also important to teach them that dreams can change and sometimes you can work for an ideal and find out down the road that it’s not quite the right fit. It’s good to teach them to be open to adjusting their goals, rather than doggedly pursuing one dream and ignoring other possibilities.

Perhaps I’m reading too much into this and/or putting too much weight on an animated movie, but I do take entertainment directed at kids pretty seriously, both for my own entertainment and for what message it sends to young people. From what I can see, Monsters University is poised to pay off well in both respects.

The Women of Elm Street: The Apocryphal

We will begin our series on the female protagonists of the Elm Street series with two movies which exist outside of the main arc of the seven-film series, and the women who lead them: Lori Campbell of Freddy vs. Jason and Nancy Holbrook of the 2010 remake A Nightmare on Elm Street.

I wasn’t sure if I would include Freddy vs. Jason or the 2010 version of A Nightmare on Elm Street in this series. I considered including FvJ since it is made in the same universe as the rest of the series, even if it doesn’t fit in perfectly with continuity, but I really had reservations about including the remake for a couple of reasons. It creates a new canon, for one, and is the first time Freddy Krueger is not played by Robert Englund, but more importantly, it ruins the series’ tradition of strong female leads and I just plain didn’t enjoy it or remember enough about it to include it. Like it or not, though, it bears the Elm Street name and including it gave me a good way to also include FvJ.

Let’s start off with Lori. Continue reading