Monday, May 20, 2019

Was Darth Vader supposed to wield god-like power or did power creep just make him that way?

You will need to watch the below embedded short (it's about a minute long) first before you understand what I'm talking about in this post. It's quite entertaining, and kind of re-imagines a portion of the Battle of Hoth sequence in animated form.

From a Generation X-er and a Baby Boomer standpoint, nostalgia can be a trippy drug, especially when it comes to Star Wars and bad guys like Darth Vader and the Emperor. For example, take Darth Vader. The tone of the original trilogy (if you try and control your nostalgic feelings of "this is totally how I see him through the lens of history") is that he was perfectly content to let the stormtroopers do the dirty work for him. This mildly suggests that if Vader were capable of spectacular displays of the Force (like blasting open a hangar door in the below short clip), Luke would never have escaped the Death Star the first time just because a measly door closed while Vader leisurely strolled over too late to get through safely.

Needless to say, if he could blow open giant metal doors, he ought to be able to just blow up smaller nearby ships with the Force too. But we never saw this happen. However, if we see Vader again in future movies, we just might see this happen because of Force and "power" creep.

To explain further, I bring all of this up because in the newest movies, the Force is portrayed as much more powerful. And it's getting more and more grandiose all of the time. What Daisy Ridley's character did in The Last Jedi by casually levitating tons of rocks might not have been a thing that even Yoda could have done in earlier movies because not enough time had passed for people to really simmer on these ideas they have regarding the power levels of characters. Simply put: as the decades roll on and on, the Force gets more and more powerful. A Yoda featured in another Star Wars movie filmed say, in 2020 or beyond, would easily be able to do what Daisy Ridley's character did in The Last Jedi, and maybe even more cool stuff.

This phenomenon of power creep is not new to fiction. It's happened to Superman too. The Superman of the 1930's could leap tall buildings. The Superman of today has all the powers of a god and is nigh unstoppable unless you have one of his very specific weaknesses: kryptonite and/or magic. It's all "power creep," and I see it happening in the Star Wars movies with each new release, animated short, and progression of stories through CGI-based animated series like The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels.

But don't get me wrong, it's all fun. It's just something I've noticed, and I attribute a lot of the power creep to feelings of nostalgia and fondness over characters and what they could possibly do to fit any given situation.

Friday, May 17, 2019

My brain refuses to acknowledge that Robert Pattinson has now been cast as The Batman.

Uh...Robert Pattinson has now been cast as The Batman. Uhm...I can't even. I-I don't like this. Say it's a nightmare or an April Fool's joke that's a month too late. Did no one at Warner Brothers even see him perform as Edward in Twilight? Did no one care? I miss the days of Christian Bale playing Batman so bad. We had it so good and never really appreciated it.

If anyone needs me, I'm going to be sailing on the River Denial.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Despite Daenerys burning King's Landing to the ground I maintain that anger and hatred are not mental illness.

This is a remarkable screenshot of Daenerys and actress Amelia Clarke who is showcasing extreme anger.
The aftermath of this anger is some of the most grotesque genocide humans are capable of inflicting.
So Game of Thrones went the way of every other fantasy series that has ever been written: the only one fit to rule or save the day is in fact a straight white male. I suppose that my disappointment at the final reveal is a culmination of feelings around the concept of "I thought this story was going to be different." It seemed different. It masqueraded itself differently. But at the end of the day it was just Dynasty or Falcon Crest but with dragons. It had its female villains like Alexis Carrington, but ultimately (and at the end of the day) these women do such horrible things that the audience has no choice but to beg for a straight white man to ultimately put these "mad" women in their place.

Sigh...I've seen this story before soooo many times. I'm tired of it...exhausted even. I guess I'm too well read for this crap anymore. People who haven't read the number of books that I have will find this story refreshing. Say a person who has read maybe five books in their life. That person is going to be so surprised by "White man is the best man for the job." I'm so disappointed in myself. I've been in denial if I ever thought that Game of Thrones showcased any diversity at all, and most of this was driven by the allure of such strong female heroic figures. But in George R.R. Martin's world, there is no such thing as heroes. Daenerys, however, came really close until "The Bells" happened. Boy did I get suckered in. I got P.T. Barnumed (famous for saying "A sucker is born every minute."). Yup, that's me.

However, I would be remiss if I didn't mention things about episode 5 of season 8 that got me thinking. For one, I'm interested in the mental gymnastics of how people go about justifying Daenerys's heel turn (thanks for letting me know what this term meant Pat). It reminds me of how people can take any passage from the Bible to validate just about anything they desire. "She crucified the masters." "She said she would take what is mine in fire and blood." Yes, she did do these things. But anger is a valid emotion...any of you seen the Pixar movie, Inside Out? Anger is not madness. And being angry and hating people who have wronged you or deeply wronged you is decidedly human. It is not mentally ill. It is not crazy or "mad" as in the "Mad Hatter" which is how people referred to the condition of "crazy" before the invention of the DSM.

It bugs me deeply that people use the terms "Mad" and "Crazy" and "Mental Illness" to describe someone who cannot reasonably deal with their anger or hatred. Hate is not a mental illness. It's a response to being insulted, wronged, or being violated. Hate can arise from being disenfranchised. It can come from places we least expect it to arise, but to wrap it up in a diagnosis of "mental illness" makes it easier to ignore. It becomes someone else's problem and allows a person to wash responsibility from their hands because "that other person is just crazy."

Daenerys is now the "Mad Queen." Blah...it makes me want to throw up in my mouth just a little bit. From my point of view she is a mass murderer and definitely no longer a hero because she has murdered tons of innocent people. However, she is not "cray cray." This isn't hip hop. "Bitches be crazy, ya know?" "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." "Women are so histrionic." "Women are so emotional." And so on and so forth. All of these one-liners going back hundreds of years are all rooted in misogyny, and it didn't need to be written that way unless the intent was to make Jon legitimate by shit-writing Daenerys. Make no mistake, folks. This is what happened here. She was a complete soaring hero up through the end of season 8 episode 3 that ended with the Night King's death. So in two episodes time, she's become a foaming at the mouth, carpet-chewing, burn them all "Mad Queen."

There are people who loved episode 5 called "The Bells." I have a red-pill friend who loves it, because, "with all of her betrayals, Cersei murdering her best friend as a big f*ck you at the gates, Cersei lying about sending troops, Cersei killing one of her dragons, the betrayal of Varys, and on top of that...getting rejected by Jon Snow [yes, I guess this is a legitimate reason for a woman to commit genocide...because...penis is so good, ya know?]...I don't think anyone, man OR woman, would have stopped or shown mercy...." I guess saying "No" really does have its consequences. Sigh.

I know incels who love it too. It fits their worldview of women, and what women do to men. I know people who are filled with bitterness and self loathing and have carried it so long it has morphed into diagnosable depression because that anger and hatred they have has no outlet. These people LOVED Daenerys burning King's Landing to the ground. "The Mad Queen!" they scream in delight.

I shake my head at the whole thing. Daenerys Targaryen was just extremely angry and packing a lot of hatred, and it just so happened that she was also packing a lot of firepower too and people paid the price. Answer me this: if the killers at Columbine high school had access to a dragon like Drogon and not assault weapons/guns, what do you think would have happened? What about the killer at Sandy Hook? What would he have done with his "dragon?" My guess is probably say "Dracarys" and burn a school to the ground and then start on the city. But what do I know?

So yeah...I'm grossly disappointed in Game of Thrones. But I also don't like how people use "Mad" and "Crazy" to describe anger and hatred. Hatred is not a mental illness, which is why mental health professionals will do nothing to stem the tide of mass shootings in our country. Hate and anger can't be dismissed, but addressing these emotions and the causes of them are probably too complex for people to want to take on unless there is no other choice.

I did love the special effects though, and I am going to finish this series by watching the last episode. I've come to far to quit now. I'm just glad it's finally over.

Monday, May 13, 2019

If I had known Game of Thrones was going to finish with such a depressing ending I wouldn't have watched the series.

Spoiler Alert and rant warning....

All my predictions have run out, and many of them proved to be not true. To say I'm disappointed in Game of Thrones's last season is an understatement. I feel like I don't even know these characters, that they have turned one-hundred eighty degrees from how I knew them to be for seven and a half seasons. I guess Daenerys is the only one strong enough to take the throne, and she is proving to be undeserving of that honor. Jon Snow is worthy of the throne, but he's not strong enough to take it, and he's completely uninterested in it. The Starks just want to be left alone. The North wants to be left alone. This whole thing just feels like a colossal waste of time.

I'm disappointed in all of the character arcs and the various plot armors that found their way onto certain characters just so that we could have ridiculous showdowns like "The Clegane Bowl."

Brienne deserved better. Jaime Lannister really went back to Cersei after all that? Blah.

George R.R. Martin spun some very interesting characters out of the ether. But if his one lesson told through the lens of a fantasy world is to say that it takes tyrants to unite kingdoms and that there are no happy endings and no true heroes, I guess I'm wondering what the point of it all is? Isn't fantasy a place where you are supposed to indulge things that don't exist in the real world? Since when did fantasy become a place to tell (and air) such depressing stories.

Ugh. The Iron Throne indeed.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Disney should redo the Battle of the Heroes in A New Hope by hiring ILM to follow FXitinPost's video as a guideline.

So, I've never been a real fan of George Lucas messing around with the original trilogy of 1) A New Hope, 2) The Empire Strikes Back, and 3) The Return of the Jedi. But after seeing this "battle of the heroes" redone online by a huge fan of the series who goes by the name FXitinPost, I now wish that Lucas had done this (or that Disney does this) to make it mesh better with the way Obi-Wan and Vader (and everyone else) fights in the prequels and sequels. The way Obi-Wan and Vader move in the original battle filmed in the seventies makes me think that they are both dealing with an enlarged prostate, which is just not how I see either of them. Please take the time to play the embedded video and let me know if you are as impressed as I was. Keep in mind that this is just some fan playing around. It'd be so much better if Industrial Light and Magic did it, using this guy's video as a starter. The whole thing is about six minutes long.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

There's one surprise that could be left in Game of Thrones and that would be making Jon Snow a benevolent Night King.

I want you to know that I didn't just "arrive" at this conclusion. I've thought about this for days, and I have evidence of foreshadowing that this "could" happen. I'm not sure as to exactly how it would go down though? I do know that Bran has seen how the first Night King was created, i.e., that a shard of Dragon Glass was thrust into his heart by the Children of the Forest.

So about that foreshadowing, which I thought was particularly heavy-handed within the confines of the script. First off there's Tormund who says to Jon before he leaves, "The North is in you, it's in your blood," or something very close to that as it may not be an exact quote. I've been thinking about that quote and wondering exactly what it means within the context of the show. Well, my conclusion is that Jon belongs North of the wall up there with his friends kinda like Uncle Benjen was doomed to stay up North.

Second, Ghost is in the North because "direwolves don't belong in the South." What kind of man abandons his dog/wolf? I know it sounds like I'm reaching, but I think that he and Ghost are going to be reunited. What better legend than the Night King and his faithful dire wolf wandering the wilderness of the North in the Lands of Always Winter?

Third, Sansa says, "Stark men get killed in the South." Well this seems like a lot of foreshadowing too. I think Jon Snow dies to become the Night King. I also think it foreshadows his eventual return to the Northern wilderness.

Fourth, the introduction of the last episode, "The Last of the Starks," didn't change. It showed the White Walker path going all the way up to Winterfell, which makes me think that maybe it's a hint that the "Night King may not be completely done."

Fifth, there are lots of moments where the Night King stares off with Jon Snow. It's like they are reflections of each other. Plus I don't think the Night King really had his heart in killing Jon Snow. I think he certainly could have chucked a spear at him or done some other thing countless times.

Sixth, Euron looks really surprised in the preview for this Sunday's episode. What could surprise him? A dead dragon with blue fire that is immune to their weapons, and a Night King on its back.

So now onto the "What is the motive for Jon Snow to become the Night King."

Well, first off, he doesn't want to live in the South and he doesn't want to be King of the Seven Kingdoms. That's rather obvious.

Second, I don't think that Daenerys can win this thing. The scorpion ballistas will not allow her living dragon to get close enough to King's Landing to make much of a difference, and I think we are going to see the Golden Company be super effective at decimating what's left of Daenerys's army. Dany is going to be on the brink of losing when Jon Snow becomes the Night King. He then raises all the dead on the field to fight and directs them to fight an Dany's behalf. He also raises Rhaegal (the dead dragon) which will probably be washed up on shore someplace at some point or maybe the harbor around Dragonstone isn't too deep. Jon as the Night King rides ice dragon Rhaegal, takes out Euron's entire fleet and then helps Dany to take the Iron Throne.

Then Jon bids farewell to Daenerys and returns to the North with his army of the dead. He's a Targaryen which means "Fire and Blood." He's the Night King, which means "Ice." So he is the Song of Ice and Fire.

A grateful and changed Daenerys becomes a benevolent queen to rule the seven kingdoms, and Drogon is the last of the living dragons.

Anyway, that's how I see it ending. I guess we'll see this week.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Everyone in the seven kingdoms is suddenly a mastermind except Dany's crew who are all morons now.

Ahead...there are spoilers...valar morghulis.

Sigh. Oh Game of Thrones, why must you end this way? I never thought I'd say this, but I'm really glad that this series is almost over. I'm invested to the end, and I think they've accomplished some great things in the epic fantasy genre. George R.R. Martin should pat himself on the back, because he's changed how everything works in entertainment from killing off beloved characters to inspiring others to follow his footsteps. However, my small criticisms of the show need to be aired out or my head will explode.

1) Why is it that Euron's fleet can just appear out of nowhere and apparently surprise anyone, even those flying in the air?

2) Why does it never occur to Daenerys to fly at Euron's ships from behind?

3) How did half the people in the north apparently survive the Battle of Winterfell?

4) Those balistas are super effective. Are balista bolts really that effective as medieval weaponry?

5) All the people went into the ocean and Missandei gets plucked out by Euron's forces? Of course she does.

6) Why is Bran not helping Daenerys by supplying her with sorely need information?

7) Sansa is terrible at keeping secrets, because...of course she is.

8) I'm still upset that the Night King is just gone. It feels like as if Harry Potter had killed Voldemort in the sixth book, and the seventh book was all about trying to take down Dolores Umbrage.

Anyway, criticisms aside, the third to the last episode ended up being pretty good. I'm kind of wondering what Jaime Lannister thinks he can do in King's Landing other than get killed by Cersei. And I'm kind of wondering why Cersei didn't just kill Tyrion. She had her chance. She paid Bronn to do it, but it was right there. What was stopping her? Maybe Jaime thinks he can kill Cersei, but I'm betting Arya gets her because she needs another name to cross off the list. I just hope it doesn't happen like it did with the Night King. In other words, Cersei is just about to triumph when Arya appears like a deus ex machina and kills her out of the blue. I don't think I'd be satisfied with that.

I guess we only have two more episodes to wait in order to find out. From here, writing this blog post, it feels like a long wait.