The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

This is a movie set in a fantastical world of four realms. The Realm of Flowers, the Realm of Ice, the Realm of Sweets and the Fourth Realm. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see much of that at all.

Clara is our main character. Her and her family are still dealing with the loss of their mother. On Christmas, she gets a gift that leads her on a strange adventure into a magical place. As for our Nutcracker, he’s more of a sidekick. So in a movie called the Nutcracker and the Four Realms, you barely see the realms and the Nutcracker is a side character. It leads to a plain movie, unfortunately.

Our main character, Clara, is fine. She’s a young girl coming to terms with what to do and finding strength in herself. There are several emotional moments for her, but they don’t really feel planned out or earned. She’s upset about something one moment and gets over it pretty quickly the next.

That seems to be a trouble throughout the movie. The characters don’t achieve any big emotional attachment to the viewers. Some of them are quirky, others are funny, but none are impactful. Perhaps the most impactful character is the Sugarplum Fairy, but even her backstory falls a bit flat.

The Nutcracker could have had potentially some cool backstory. Why is he the last one? Who knows. In the film, he feels like a normal guy. There are cool action scenes at times, but he’s not the one doing any of the interesting stuff. It’s all the other characters. Give the Nutcracker a cool fight scene at least!

While we only see the four realms for a bit, they do look great. The visuals in the rest of the movie are nice, too. They do evoke a fantastical feeling. The central palace is grand. The dark forest is spooky. It looks like a cool place to be in. The music is great, too. The costumes are also fantastic. Everyone is distinctive while still fitting together. There are a lot of recognizable songs from Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy and the Nutcracker retuned to fit the scene. It really makes the action better when accompanied by the music.

Also, this movie has some cool ballet scenes if you’re into that.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms needs better character moments. The story is fine. Nothing new but it’s good. The parts in the regular world is pretty interesting. It could have been much more magical.

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NaNoWriMo 2018

It’s time for this year’s NaNoWrimo! Once again, I jump in, trying to do things with little planning. I am doing the next installment of my Milly series, a story about a girl in a strange, fantastical land. I’m doing something different this time. Like the third book, this book is going to have a different point of view character.

You can follow along with my as I try to write 1700+ words per day.

Read the latest book in the Milly series here.

You can also catch up on the older installments here. I apologize for not tidying  them up, yet. I still need to go through all of the older works to proofread and edit them down. I’ll get around to it one day. I hope.

Alright. Short post this time. I also plan on doing design notes for the fifth book. Probably after November. Enjoy reading.

Smurfs, The Lost Village

I am not a large watcher of the Smurfs. I haven’t even seen the other movies (which is a different continuity, I think). Still, I found this and gave it a whirl! Smurfs are a village of small blue people, each one with a trait or characteristic, and you can tell what that is because it’s their name. They are all male, except for Smurfette, the sole female, and she isn’t even a real Smurf. She was created to infiltrate them but decided to join them instead.

Smurfette is actually the main character of the film. It centers around what being a Smurf means to her, an artificial Smurf, and her trying to help out a newly discovered separate village. Brainy Smurf, Hefty Smurf and Clumsy Smurf join her in warning the new village about the dangerous wizard that wants to steal smurf energy.

What follows is a fun story with some sight gags, character conflict, character introspection and all that stuff. The main bad guy is humorous most of the time but can get threatening. Overall, it’s a nice film, but nothing really stands out.

I don’t have much Smurf experience to compare to, but I had a good time watching this. But I feel that this movie is sort of easy-watching. Nothing is bad about it, but nothing stands out. There’s zaniness and a fine, if simple, story. It’s bright, colorful, and there are a few musical numbers.

Smurfs, the Lost Village, is an apt introduction to the world of Smurfs, and is entertaining. It’s not any more than that, though.

Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Men Tell no Tales

I remember when the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie came out. It was great fun. And I enjoyed parts 2 and 3 as well, though it was getting over the top by part 3. Then there’s movie four, which didn’t feel too memorable to me. Now, it’s time for the fifth one!

Hmm. As a concept, I really like what they set out to create, a pirate fantasy story full of swashbuckling, magic and all that. But the constant resets done in the fourth movie and fifth movie really drags things down. Jack Sparrow, too. He is sort of just there, now, because he’s the most popular character.

In this movie, there are two new characters, Henry and Carina. Henry is the son of Will Turner (and yes, Will does show up for a bit in this film!) And he’s trying to break his father’s curse. Carina is a scientist that’s trying to find the destiny her father gave her, a diary of a navigator.

Henry has a cool introduction as a kid and another one as an adult. Those scenes work alright. But later on, both characters get swept up in some zany thing, partially kicked off by Jack Sparrow. It feels too much for trying to ground the characters. I didn’t have time to appreciate what they were doing because of all the craziness going on.

Hmm. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about the characters in the fourth and fifth films just feels uninspired. I didn’t care for them like I did Will and Elisabeth and even Bootstrap Bill. The characters in this movie is there because we need someone to get involved with the action and craziness.

The main bad guy, Salazar, had a pretty cool effect. I liked him and his crew. The Pirates of the Carribean movies always does some really great villain crews, and this one is no exception. They also do great crazy ships that’s always fun to watch.

There’s also some element of the law in this movie, but they feel really not worth the time. The movie would have been better cutting down on them and instead putting more focus and slower scenes in regards to the characters.

This movie just feels sort of there. They do drop hints for a next movie that may be interesting, and I hope it is. I really like the ideas and the world they have here.

What I think Pirates of the Caribbean could use is a toning down of the crazy action scenes, but keep up with water myths and magic. Have some good proper swashbuckling. Make some nice, distinctive crews and ships. But yeah, not so many complicated and comedic action scenes.

The Outpost

The Outpost is a fantasy show with magic, swords and even some monsters. There are not enough of those shows on TV, other than the big Game of Thrones one, of course. So I checked it out. The show is on the CW, so it does go into some relationship drama and the characeters are all unusually attractive, even if they live in olden times. But they do throw in some other characters that I enjoyed.

The main character is Talon. She starts out as one of the most young adult story female protagonist I remember in recent times. Even the name is so young adult cool style. Tough, cynical, a better warrior than most, shows nothing but a scowl. Her character felt really uninteresting in the first episode, but later on, she really starts to grow on me. As Talon builds relationships with other characters, she starts to loosen up and open up. And I really like her character by the end of the season.

The Outpost takes place at a, well, outpost on the far edge of the kingdom. There, they stand watch against another race known as the greyskins. But there are more politics at play. The world is slowly introduced, starting at first with Talon’s personal quest. Soon, it gains more intrique and plotting.

Meanwhile, Talon is more focused on her mission, but she makes friends with a few characters. There’s Gwyn. I’m not going to go into her story too much, but I do want more interactions between Gwyn and Talon. They’re pretty fun together.

Janzo turns out to be one of her allies through all the trouble she gets up to. He’s an awkward character, but he’s done really well. And the actor can pull off some amazing eyebrow motions with him.

Then there’s Garret, a captain in the army. He’s a more straightlaced character, but somehow, I think he’s more interesting. I’m not sure why, since other times they make straightlaced characters I find them just there, but Garret has a bit of spark in there.

Another character I want to mention is Dano. He is a mute, but he shows a lot of character. And it helps he’s there in most episodes. I like his scenes and his reactions a lot, especially once he starts to interact with more characters.

The way the story goes makes me feel like this is based on a book, though I don’t think it is. Side plots carry on through multiple episodes and side characters get slow but decent amount of screentime showing their personality throughout the season. It starts off a bit cliche, but I think it turned out pretty well.

I’m interested in the world they built and I’m interested in the characters.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this movie. I knew it was by the guys from Lonely Island, and I kind of wanted a long movie based on those zany music antics. There was a good amount of antics, but it was different from their music videos. It’s more down to earth and plausible rather than quirky and weird.

Popstar tells the standard story of a guy that gets famous and then crashes. It stars Andy Samberg as Connor, who started with a band but went solo and took off in popularity. His former band members, Lawrence (Akiva Schaffer) and Owen (Jorma Taccone) are upset, of course. Lawrence goes his own way but, and I like this turn, Owen stays with Connor as his DJ. Owen is like the bridge that wants to reunite the band. He’s nice and takes a lot of unappreciation.

The movie isn’t too long, which is good. It told a fine story about the rise, fall and return of Connor. There’s no real surprises here, but the actors are fun to watch. They’re animated and get thrown into wild situations. And there are a lot of appearanced by musicians as themselves. It really makes the movie feel like a documentary on the greatest musician ever.

Popstar has some fun music in a similar style to their Lonely Island stuff. I really wanted more of that, but the end song was fun to watch. I sort of wanted the entire movie to be wackier, like Lonely Island, but it was probably made to be something more serious while still having a lot of humor.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a parody of those musical stories told with hints of that Lonely Island flair. The band members aren’t together enough during the movie, but it’s great when they are.

Trolls

This is the animated childrens film released in 2016. And this movie is a childrens film through and through. Though instead of popular modern songs, they go for remixes of older songs. Yeah, it was the stuff I heard when I was a kid, so I actually really liked the music. And there is a decent amount of lewd humor thrown in.

But the movie is fun, bright, with a strange mixture of being super sweet and kinda dark. In the film, the trolls are magical beings that, when eaten, gives great happiness. Yes, when eating. And there are the bergens, who are incable of experiecing happiness unless they eat trolls.

Now, upon seeing the first few scenes, I had a prediction for how the movie was going to play out, and it did. That isn’t a bad thing, though. I really liked the way the movie goes. And the journey along the way was fun and sparkle-filled. I will say that I did not expect a Cinderella plot, but it weaves in really nicely.

Poppy, our main character, is outgoing in the face of all adversity. Branch, our other main character, is cynical at all times. And they are great together. Poppy is skilled and smart, so she’s not just a naive princess. And Branch shows himself to be caring even in the beginning.

You feel for all of the major characters. They all have their vulnerable scenes, some better than others.

Trolls is a pretty fun film. Its fun, colorful and has lots of interesting characters. While yes, it can be predictable and is solidly a children’s film, it’s a pretty good one.

There are more things to go into in the spoilers section, so here we go.

The bergens. Just from how they’re introduced, I felt they wouldn’t be the bad guys. They’re just misunderstood. And some of my favorite parts involve Poppy getting to know Bridget, the bergen scullery maid.

My second favorite scene is just Poppy and Branche’s travel to Bergen town. It runs on all sorts of cartoon logic, but there’s just so many interesting things to see that I don’t care nothing makes sense.

Hair up!