Monday, May 4, 2020

Back in the Kitchen. Where You Came From!





   I was watching a video on Youtube earlier that was talking about Naughty Dog Studios (Uncharted video games; The Last of Us) and how they were pandering to a feminist agenda, brought on by indulging a “crazy lady” that was more concerned with pushing her “progressive” agenda then allowing the Studio to produce good games on their own merits.
    Scandalous! Completely unbelievable!
    But... is it true?
    I looked into the matter a bit and found they were talking about Anita Sarkeesian, a well known woman that lectures and leads an organization that promotes strong female and ethnic diversity in media.
    Supposedly, she’s forcing her awful feminist agenda on Naughty Dog, making them include LGBTQ characters, relegating male lead characters to background characters and so on. She even got Amy Hennig (herself a woman and well known writer/producer of the Uncharted games) fired from the Studio when she didn’t tow the progressive line.
    The video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6f6mmuh_04&t=0s) is by a movie/video game critic I follow on Youtube who goes by the nomme de plume “The Critical Drinker”. He’s not afraid to tear movies a new one and his schtick is generally entertaining. Usually, I agree with him when he calls something good or bad (he’s also a novelist apparently).
    I have noticed a strong tendency of his to decry perceived “social justice” movements in media. Kathleen Kennedy is the devil, for example, forcing her feminist evil on Star Wars and making us have a crappy character like Rey be the star of the films at the expense of the classic characters. (Although he also rightly points out that Rey is an underdeveloped “Mary Sue” character with no story arc or real personality to speak of). He’s also gone off on the new New Warriors series (a lot of people have, if we’re being honest) and this Anita Sarkeesian woman.
    His video spawned the typical comments one would expect: What’s she ever done? Why is she setting women back? She’s a fraud. Make your own female stories instead of hijacking existing ones. Blah, blah, blah...
    It occurred to me while writing this that the original video is most likely intentionally sensationalist to get hits. It’s far from the first time somebody has done that online and it won’t be the last.
    I don’t know what Ms. Sarkeesian’s ultimate goals are. Maybe she is just trying to make money decrying perceived social injustices in media. Maybe her motivations are purely altruistic. Most likely, the truth lies somewhere in between the two extremes.
    But... is she wrong?
     Certainly there have been some stories in pop culture with strong female characters–many of James Cameron’s movies come to mind. But predominantly it seems like movies are dominated by white male or white characters generally. I’m white myself and I can understand a writer/creator wanting to tell stories from their perspective.
    The world is not predominantly white though. Stories where everybody is white are not reflective of the world we live in and haven’t been, frankly, ever. According to Wikipedia white people only make up 11.5% of the world population. This didn’t happen in the last twenty years either. It’s been that way for centuries. Shouldn’t modern story telling reflect the world we live in?
    You can tell a story where a damsel is in distress. There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem, I think, is popular culture relied far too heavily on it at one time and there’s a perception that’s still the case. Personally, I find strong female characters to be far more interesting from a story telling perspective.
    There is a tendency among some to take it too far though. For a while in the nineties it seemed like every time a male writer wanted to tell a story about a strong female character she ended up savagely hating men and only sought recourse in the arms of another woman. (A lot of pulp comics from smaller publishers seemed to relish this sort of thing). A strong female character doesn’t have to be a militant lesbian and I think people who only see things that way are very poor story tellers/idiots.
    If you want a character to be gay that’s fine. But use it properly. Don’t use it in some bizarre gimmicky way. Find the truth in that character’s soul and explore it properly. Anything less is insulting to everybody frankly.
    Why is your female a strong female character? What circumstances made her that way? How does she see the world? If she’s a lesbian, what’s her perspective on the world?
    I’ve tried to tell stories with strong women in them (although I prefer to write pulp-style stories and I’m not certain it always comes through as well as intended). Strong women are far more interesting and believable then ones who are helpless eye candy.
    We need more female protagonists and strong female characters in storytelling in general. How they are “strong”, of course, should depend on the story needs. She doesn’t always need to be a kick-ass warrior in the traditional sense. It can be a woman who meets life head-on, a strong mother figure, etc.
    We also need more representation of so-called minorities. If you’re telling a story about a man, why does he necessarily have to be white? Is it critical to the story you’re telling?
    Which is not to say that I agree with the idea of re-casting established characters as being a different color/gender. I don’t have a problem with Miles Morales as he’s his own character–similar but not identical to Peter Parker. I don’t see why they re-did Matt Trakker as a black man in IDW’s M.A.S.K nor did I really like redoing Nick Fury in the comics as a previously unknown son of African heritage who takes up the name.
    But Static, Black Lightning and Kamala Khan are their own characters. Why not try to introduce more characters into mainstream comics, television or movies that way? If they’re interesting enough they will eventually catch on. Stop rewriting history and make some instead.
    We definitely need more women, minorities and differing viewpoints in storytelling. But we need them to be well thought out and at least attempting originality. Don’t shoehorn it in there to win points with somebody. Be genuine in your desire to tell new stories with people from other walks of life.
    In the end, everyone matters, no matter who they are or what path they may walk...

DKA




Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Continuity is Everything/Nothing.


    Once upon a time there was the DC Universe...
    And it was good.
    But after decades of history it became harder and harder for the writers to reconcile the facts that characters like Superman and Batman had been created in the late thirties and were still young and vibrant in the seventies. Additionally, some characters had more then one version–there was two different Green Lanterns and Flashes with different personalities and origins.
    In order to keep using everyone, they hit upon the idea of using parallel worlds. The modern heroes lived on Earth-1 while the older versions, such as Jay Garrick and Alan Scott lived on another world that was similar to our own called Earth-2.
    That sufficed for a time. And as the comics continued, gradually other worlds were introduced–Earth-3, where everyone was evil instead of good. Earth-S, Earth-X, Earth-Prime and so on. After a while, it got confusing to keep it all straight.
    The solution? Destroy everything and reboot the DC canon as one singular Universe with one definitive version of each hero, villain, etc.
    And so, in 1985, Marv Wolfman set about to do just that with the maxi-series, Crisis on Infinite Earths. After twelve issues, everything was rebooted and the stage was set. But, due to publishing schedules and lack of coordination among the writers and editors, every comic did not immediately reboot at issue #1 and start anew.
    This eventually caused problems. Some characters (Psycho Pirate, Animal Man) could remember the original continuity while most couldn’t. Some characters origins were botched up while other errors slipped in–like Superboy’s contribution to the Legion of Super Heroes (despite not supposed to having existed in the new continuity). Over time, the errors piled up and fans got annoyed.
    This called for a fix. Enter 1994's Zero Hour: Crisis in Time. This new event would fix everything! Except it didn’t. Later on, we had Hyper Time (parallel realities/timelines), Infinite Crisis and also Final Crisis.
    At one point, Dan Didio, the DC Co-Publisher explained that his company was going to stop fixating on continuity and just try to tell good stories. An excellent choice. Indeed, some characters have had multiple origin stories since the original Crisis. Superman has had several as has Batman.
    Continuity is important in storytelling. In fact, it’s essential. Completely ignoring it leads to utter chaos. And yet, sometimes it does get overemphasized. In DC Comics case, there were too many cooks in the kitchen. They needed to pick an origin story after the original Crisis and just get on with it.
    If they’d done as Marv Wolfman intended and done a coordinated reboot of everything all at once the following mess could’ve been easily avoided. Alas, that was not the case and readers had to suffer the consequences for decades afterward.     
    Ultimately, it’s the stories that matter not the minutia. Yes, Superman is an alien orphan from another world. So what? Where do you go with that? What will Bruce Wayne do once he dons that Bat costume? What will Barry Allen or Diana of Themyscira do when faced with wielding incredible power?
    People complain about the storytelling in comics today–and with good reason. We want tales of heroism and villainy. Of sacrifice. Of loss. Of triumph. Nobody ultimately cares how you get there or which Green Lantern you use as long as they get that emotional and intellectual fix.

    Perhaps dropping the monthly comic issue scheme all together and focusing exclusively on telling stand-alone stories would ultimately work better. Yes, the monthly floppies are a long-standing tradition but maybe it's time to move to a new model in the interests of telling better stories?
    Forget about continuity fixing events. Forget about mega-crossovers that ultimately make no difference. Stop searching for schemes to sell us monthly comics and increase your short term profits. Just tell us a good story and we’ll be there...

DKA





Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Half-Baked and Stale. Ideas of All Shapes and Sizes...

  Ideas are a dime a dozen. Some are good, some are not. That’s just the way it is. Hopefully when creating a story somebody has the time and imagination to flesh out an idea to its ultimate fruition.
    We know that’s often not the case though. Especially in mass media we can see plenty of television shows, movies and even books that try out an idea and don’t quite reach the logical outcome they should.
    Was somebody pressed for time? Did they simply not consider all the ramifications of whatever it was they were trying to accomplish? Or maybe they did but somebody else had other ideas–a producer or an editor wanted something else and didn’t have the same vision the author did.
    There’s also the fact that some ideas simply exist to accomplish a certain thing and trying to extend them or alter their original premise causes fundamental problems. Consider the first Highlander movie. At the end, Connor MacCleod wins “The Prize”–the ultimate goal for all the Immortals in the story. After that point, the story is over. There is simply nowhere else to go for a further story.
    But that didn’t stop the show’s producers. They wanted a sequel and a further opportunity to cash in on this premise. They eventually made a sequel movie–even though there was nowhere further to go. They came up with a ridiculous premise that the Immortals were all aliens and came to Earth from another planet so we could have more of them show up to challenge Connor again. Further movies seemed to ignore this and the first movie’s ending as well, just throwing more Immortals at Connor to fight. (Frankly, anyone who enjoys the first movie should just ignore the sequels all together).
    Another story that comes to mind–and the one that prompted me to explore this in a blog in the first place–was the original series Star Trek episode, Mirror, Mirror. In that story, Kirk and several of his crew are somehow transported into a parallel universe where everyone is opposite to how they normally are. It’s a world where everyone is basically evil and selfish, opposites to the normal universe where everyone is good and altruistic.
    The premise works extremely well as a one-off. A look at how a person can be inclined differently given different circumstances. Are we inherently good or evil? Do we learn that behavior? Nature versus nurture.
    Over the years that premise has been revisited time and again. In the original DC Comics series from the 1980s, writer Mike W. Barr did an entire story arc where Kirk and crew from the Mirror Universe crossover with our regular heroes. (Its been years since I read that story but I recall enjoying it as a kid). The comics aren’t consider cannon though so they ultimately have no bearing on the official storyline.
    Years later, somebody (Peter Allan Fields and Michael Piller) decided to revisit the Mirror Universe in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode Crossover. This kicked off four more sequel episodes in DS9, a two-part episode in Enterprise and two characters crossing over in Star Trek Discovery later on.
    The more we return to visit the Mirror Universe the more obvious it is the premise doesn’t really stand up as a concept. We are really expected to believe that an entire universe of beings is inherently self-serving and evil? That we get the odd freak, like Spock, who can accept pacifism but everyone else just struggles to better everyone else around them to their own benefit? Yes, that’s how the real world can be but not everyone is like that a hundred percent of the time. People can be good too and selfless. People love their families and friends. Not everyone is out to screw everyone else over constantly.
    That lack of texture makes the Mirror Universe a hard premise to accept. If it were really that bad, how could anyone even function long enough to accomplish anything of value? Why would there be a Terran Empire in the first place?
    (As an aside, if the Terrans conquered the Vulcans early on, why don’t they seem to have more advanced technology even the era of Enterprise? Never mind finding the Defiant to advance their technology more rapidly–which, while a cool idea, doesn’t explain why the I.S.S. Enterprise seems at about the same technological level as the regular Enterprise in that original episode).
    Also, the later episodes really have nothing new to say. It’s just the same thing all over again. The protagonists duplicates are evil and out to screw each other over. Our heroes are appalled, try to affect change and then return home. Rinse and repeat. It’s great popcorn entertainment but ultimately means nothing. 
    It might’ve been better to just leave the whole Mirror Universe alone in Star Trek. Or do a sequel episode in DS9 and then have just left well enough alone. Some things don’t hold up to further scrutiny and some ideas get more diluted the more we’re exposed to them (like the Weeping Angels in Doctor Who. An excellent idea once--but less and less cool the more we see of them).
    It’s pretty much impossible to be original in serial fiction one hundred percent of the time and everyone has their off-days, half-baked or just plain bad ideas. That’s life. But beating an old idea into the ground doesn’t really help endear anyone to a story concept. Sometimes to keep going on, we need time to imagine something newer and better. Sometimes just letting sleeping dogs lie is for the best.

DKA





Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Some Reading for the End Times...

In case you didn’t notice, there’s a worldwide pandemic happening right now. You may be stuck in-doors, bored and restless. Maybe you’d like to read something? Here’s some suggestions...



cover by Anthony Klepack
Tales of the Destara: The Light Odyssey

The great empires of the galaxy have fallen... crushed under the foot of the invincible Destara Imperium and it's legions of transformable cybernetic warriors. None have ever defied the Destara for long and lived to tell the tale. The Imperium has ruled countless star systems for millennia, it's power undeniable. All living to serve it's mysterious dark master, the being Deceptar...
But on a distant world, one of their own number will begin to question everything he's been taught and challenge the establishment in which he's believed in for so long. As he embarks on a journey of light, nothing will ever be the same again...


The Light Odyssey (by Anthony Klepack) is a story of Transformer-like robots set in a battle for the fate of the Galaxy. It’s full of drama, suspense and oodles of action! (18+ audience).

Get it here: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/tkphotonathotmaildotcom

*****
      
MJ Spickett has written several epic fantasy books over the years. Now, her first series, Raven’s Realm is available for a limited time for FREE on Lulu.com

Raven’s Realm is a urban fantasy series (aimed at 18+ readers) about a reincarnated wizard and his fae protectors as they battle the forces of evil! Check it out!

https://mjspickett.weebly.com/adult-fiction.html

cover by MJ Spickett




















*****

Sharon Broussard has done a series of books (also about Transformer-like characters). Her main character, Tutami, leaves behind a life of war and strife to strike out on a new path of discovery and self enlightenment. But can she truly escape the consequences of her past? (18+ audience).

http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=1664127

cover by Sharon Broussard

Check them out and support some indie authors today!

DKA

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Mysteries of Life...


    The Internet has been a boon for society in many ways. We can get instant news, instant information, buy products and services online. We can post our own projects–be they a blog, story, video or whatever else.
    But there’s a downside too.
    Once upon a time, we didn’t know (or think we know) everything about a given topic. There was speculation and mystery about some topics. What did someone mean with their artwork? The idea behind a movie or TV show when it wasn’t hit-you-over-the-head obvious? What was a song about?
    Mystery is essential in art. Be it a literal mystery or just an aspect of something bigger.
    Consider the movie Alien. What was the Space Jockey? Where did it and its ship come from? It was a really cool mystery until Prometheus came along and ruined the surprise for us (I loved the idea of the movie but ultimately the payoff was a waste of time). What about V'Ger's mysterious machine planet benefactors in Star Trek: The Motion Picture? Wolverine's origins (before they were explained into the ground by various writers).
    In Alien's case, the Space Jockey's origins were ultimately irrelevant. They exist as a plot point to move the story along. Still, it was fun to speculate on what might have been.
    I also think of things like action figures from the 80s. Often, the packaging stories/profiles told a different story of the character or back story then stuff like the comics or cartoons did. In the toys, Tarantulas (Beast Wars) was a ninja. In the cartoon, he was a mad scientist. He-Man’s mini-comics often told vastly different (and sometimes contradictory) stories of the characters adventures.
    Classically speaking, why is the Mona Lisa smiling? Is it just that she was in a pleasant mood as her portrait was being painted? Or perhaps she was smiling about some secret only she was privy to? Who knows. But it’s fun to speculate all the same.
    I think some of that mystery has been lost in modern mass media. Sometimes it feels like they're not even trying anymore. Compare something like the Rise of Skywalker with, say, Predator. The latter has plenty of mystery. The former, not so much.
    Mystery has eternal appeal to the consumer of art. It needs to be brought back to the forefront of popular media (and media in general, really).
    This also coincides with a need for new stories and concepts. How many times can you reboot Star Trek and keep it fresh? Yes, it's great to explore a story universe but eventually we learn it thoroughly and need something new. Even just taking familiar concepts and putting them in a new context can help immensely.
    Again, Corporate America is lazy. Trying to sell its varied audiences on the familiar rather then exploring new things. Familiar is a safe bet. Familiar is profitable.
    But, in the long run, familiar is detrimental to mystery. People inevitably get sick of the same old thing and seek new experiences.
    What can be done? Nothing when it comes to mainstream media. We can vote with our dollars and hope that one day somebody in charge sees the error of their ways.
    In the meantime, though, we can check out smaller authors and artists and try to seek out people who remember what the mystery is all about, devoid of needing to turn a giant profit for their corporation at all cost.
    The magic of mystery is still out there. We need only seek it out...

DKA  



Saturday, February 15, 2020

On Writing...

When you’re writing fiction it’s important to keep a few things in mind as you traverse the landscape of your imagination.
    Simple story ideas are better then needlessly complicated ones. Too many people lose track of this fact. We see multi-part stories that go many places or maybe even a singular story that spirals out of control with the writer(s) thinking that “more is better”. Take “The Rise of Skywalker” as an example of this folly. I’ve also noticed a lot of modern television stories tell multiple story arcs but often lose sight of the overall point of the story while trying to flesh things out. Why does “Star Wars: A New Hope” or “The Matrix” work? They tell a simple story. “Transformers: The Last Knight” is a disaster by comparison, with seeming to mesh two different plots together poorly.
    This leads me to a related point:
    Know what story it is you want to tell. Whatever the point/theme/etc. is, know ahead of time where you want to end up or the story will probably be a mess. Again, the Star Wars sequel trilogy (Force Awakens/Last Jedi/Rise of Skywalker) had no idea where it was going or what they were doing with it. By contrast, the prequel trilogy, while far from perfect, knew where it wanted to go (at least in broad strokes anyway).
    Every story needs a point! Something needs to change or come of its events. I'm bad at this sometimes too. I’ve also done some serial storytelling in the past where this is a harder thing to accomplish. But at least strive for it in your storytelling. If nothing in your story matters or changes anything, who cares?
    It has to make sense! When it comes to TV/movies often times we get stuff that happens for no logical reason. Convenience can be used at times in stories but never really on it as a crutch. If a character acts one way having them act totally contrary makes no sense (even if it might help the writer get somewhere they need to be in the story). This is also true of concepts in general in storytelling (again, this should be obvious but somehow it seems to escape people time and again).
    "Show, don't tell" isn't always true. Novice writers are told this again and again but there are varying degrees. Showing you everything with no character feedback or description is bland and boring. The reader isn’t really engaged if they have to do all the work. On the other hand, spoon-feeding them every single point you’re trying to communicate is bad too. A writer learns after a while to try and find a balance. Each person is different and has their own preferences as to what is too little or too much and there’s not really a right or wrong answer.
    There are no original ideas. It’s sad but true. You can’t reinvent the wheel. Sorry. But as one writer I enjoy is fond of saying, “it’s not the idea but what you do with it that counts”. You can take what’s gone before and improve on it, mash it up with other ideas and story angles people haven’t tackled yet. A good story is timeless. Something the reader can identify with. A good character is one we can love. Or hate. The ideas are limited but the possibilities are infinite.
    There’s almost certainly some other rules I’ve overlooked in this entry. But it’s important to realize that there are rules. You can set out to subvert them. In fact, you should. But you need to understand what they are before you set out to break them. Don’t just depend on TV or movies for your understanding of storytelling. Read a book. Read a bunch. Get out there and see how other people do it and try to decide what works best for your own style. Every new story is somebody building on what’s gone before. Try and seek out the best of the bunch and then try to improve upon them.
    One last thing: Try and have fun, no matter what your subject matter. If you don’t enjoy the process, why bother doing it in the first place?


DKA


Sunday, February 2, 2020

An Animated Affair...

    Animation has been around for decades. Unlike traditional movies at one time, animation allowed for a much larger palette when creating a world. There was no budgetary restrictions, nothing that the limits of special effects technology prevented from being accomplished. Additionally, each studio could produce a different vision from a different mind. Consider Looney Tunes and then think about Fantasia. Or Spider-man. Or the Lord of the Rings (the Bakshi version). All different styles and different storytelling sensibilities but all equally valid.
    Across the ocean, Japan started to produce the beginnings of what would later come to be known as anime in the sixties. Quite often Japanese animation was more refined and fluid then what North American studios would produce. 
    I remember a lot of anime from when I was growing up. We had relatively little of it in North America at one time (the eighties) but the series we had were memorable. The animation was always excellent and the stories were pretty good too. I decided to take a look back at the shows I grew up with.


G-Force/Battle of the Planets - The Granddaddy of all the anime I’ve seen. Also known as Gatchaman in Japan, I remember the series originally from when I was about four or so. It first came out here as G-Force and then a few years later got re-released as Battle of the Planets.
    As a kid I enjoyed the action and the bird costumes the characters all adorned. More recently, I tried re-watching the show and realized it really hasn’t aged well. It’s childish and simplistic to an adult’s sensibilities. 

 






Thunderbirds 2086 - This was a show that was intended as a futuristic sequel to the sixties marionette show, Thunderbirds. The show had a team of heroes who went around the solar system saving people with their futuristic vehicles that could combine into one larger one on occasion. I re-watched this recently and it actually holds up a bit better. The plot to the first episode was a little bit more adult-oriented (in that the characters go against orders to save a friend of their leader from danger).

 

Robotech - This one is complicated. It was a series that was originally compiled from three different source animes in Japan–Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber Mospeada. Apparently the series were put together with an over-arcing storyline so the show could be sold into syndication for North America (they needed at least 65 episodes for the syndication to work).
    I remember seeing most/all of Macross, all of the Robotech Masters (Southern Cross) and maybe only a couple episodes of The New Generation (Mospeada). A few years later I tracked down all of the Robotech novelizations to try and help make sense of the vast and confusing story. Once you do understand it, it’s actually reasonably good. Most people seem to think Macross is the best of the bunch and I think I agree with that assessment.
 




Astroboy - This started life as a TV series first in the sixties (a black and white show). My exposure to it was the second anime, made in the eighties (and in full color). At first glance, the show seems aimed primarily at kids. However, the storytelling was pretty good for its time and dealt with themes like abandonment, the rise of technology, the rights of machine life and so on. It was fun, entertaining and thoughtful.


Friday, January 3, 2020

Some thoughts on the Rise of Skywalker and the future of Star Wars...

**Warning: Spoilers ahead!!!**


  So The Rise of Skywalker has come and gone. I was there opening night, drinking in all the fan costumes and excitement for the “final” movie in the Skywalker saga ("final" = we’ll make many, many more Star Wars movies. This is just marketing b.s.)
    RoS had a lot of things to accomplish after The Last Jedi. Love it or hate it, TLJ really upended the story Abrams tried to start in The Force Awakens. It effectively ended it early, forcing Abrams to figure out some new story to close out this new trilogy.
    For the most part, RoS accomplished what it needed to. It was an okay ending to the trilogy. A lot of stuff happened and it made enough sense and worked well enough to get the job done.
    Was it a great film? No. Do I have any idea why this sequel trilogy is even part of the "Skywalker Saga"? Not really. Hastily forming a connection between Rey and the Skywalkers in the very end of the movie is not a great justification for it. Really, it feels like an afterthought. An “oh yeah, I guess we have to make some sense of it”. The movie is “The Rise of Skywalker” and I guess we can say that’s Rey then.
    Say what you will about the Prequel Trilogy (The Phantom Menace/Attack of the Clones/Revenge of the Sith) at least there was an over-arcing story to it all. Anakin is a kid; he rises; he falls. I have no idea what the point of this new trilogy was (other then to make money on merchandising anyway).
    We were introduced to Rey, a character with no real arc and not much of a personality either. Finn and the other characters also have little of real consequence to do throughout the story as well. There are legacy characters present as well but none of them do much really either. Han dies in the first one, Luke acts totally out of character then dies when he uses the force too hard (??) in the second one. Of course, Leia had to die in the third one since her actor died in real life. They might as well not have even appeared in this story at all–it would’ve cleared up a little bit of space for actual storytelling instead of this waste of time.
    We have some new “Force Teleport/mind connection power” thing in RoS. It makes little sense and now the characters are essentially all-powerful (except when the plot decides they’re not). Also, there’s now “Force Heal” (which bothers me a little bit less. It’s also been shown in The Mandalorian and I believe goes back to some earlier video games. It’s at least a little bit better defined as an ability).
    I didn’t like Rose Tyco in TLJ. They had a chance to redeem her character here but chose not to even bother trying. Supposedly the character had more scenes but they got cut for time. Either way, it feels like they didn’t like the character and just side-lined her as much as possible. After all she did in the last movie, this felt like a weird choice and they still seemed to have time to introduce plenty of new characters along the way...
    We got to see more of the Knights of Ren in this one but they ultimately don't do anything or even add to the plot in any way. They show up and then die late in the film... Also, General Hux is mostly wasted here as well.
    And, how did so much of the second Death Star survive (when it was clearly blown to smithereens in ROTJ)? Also, what is Palpatine in this movie and how did he survive? His body seems like a zombie/half-alive clone/something here but it’s never clearly articulated as to what his status is. He’s alive but still needs Rey to transfer his consciousness into and/or re-animate him properly. Huh??
    Who are Palpatine’s legions of followers? Acolytes? Well-wishers?? The Sith Code says they can’t be fellow Sith, so what then? Where did he get all those new Star Destroyers with planet destroying guns and the thousands of crew to man them all?
    Also, we went from having to build a moon-sized base that can destroy a planet to a planet that can shoot over Hyperspace to anywhere in the Galaxy apparently to just having a fleet of Star Destroyers with super cannons. I can accept that technology can advance over time (like in real life) but really?? The Empire/First Order/whatever has gotten technology that can pretty much accomplish anything at all that the writers want to do now. There’s no limitations at all. Shouldn’t they literally be unstoppable?
    Back in 2015 I was concerned when Lucasfilm announced they were going to do one new Star Wars movie a year. Turns out, I was right to be worried. There was no thought put into this trilogy (at least on an artistic level, anyway). It feels like the cash grab it is (which is not to say that Lucasfilm under George Lucas didn’t try to make money off it’s Intellectual Property but there was at least some attempt at giving fans some meat story-wise. People may not have loved the Prequels necessarily but they got us the excellent Clone Wars animated series and other stories inspired by them in comic and novel form–some of which are non-canonical now, but I digress).
    Of the new Disney era, all we’ve gotten for solid films in Rogue One (there are places even it could’ve been better but I haven’t seen many complaints about it overall). Rebels and now, The Mandalorian, give us some hope for a better tomorrow as well. But if LFL/Disney wants Star Wars to have a theatrical future, they really need to flesh out their story concepts better instead of throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the wall and seeing what sticks. Also, get some better talent to write/direct. JJ Abrams, Rian Johnson and others of their kind are not the right fit for this area.
    Blockbuster film or not, we need stories that are well told and paced better then the product we’ve been getting. There needs to be a firm storyline through any movie, a logical setup and believable stakes. Special effects extravaganzas are great but they’re like junk food. Satisfying in the short-term but ultimately forgettable.
    As for me, I’m no longer bothering to see SW films multiple times at the theater. Once is good enough for me. Also, I have no problem disregarding this whole Sequel Trilogy from my personal canon. It’s forgettable and adds nothing new.
    I have spoken!

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Happy New Year!

I haven't posted much on here lately. Hoping to change that in the coming year. It *is* a new decade, after all! :)


Here's a link to a story I did several years ago... it's along the lines of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter or Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I considered expanding it out into a full-on novel but haven't gotten around to it. Enjoy! :)


George Washington: Zombie Dawn
http://www.angelfire.com/ak5/thunder888/story.pdf