The Hobbit

The third and final installment of the Hobbit is now out! And thus, end’s Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings 6 movie extravaganza. I would like to talk about all three movies at once. I held off on making a review about the second movie because I wanted to get all three of them at once. There will be spoilers.

Now, how does one turn one book into three movies? By adding a lot of stuff, some from the appendices and some just out of Peter Jackson’s own making to more strongly tie in The Hobbit with Lord of the Rings.

First off, I’ll admite to only having read part of the books. I’ve read none of the appendices, part of the Hobbit, The fellowship of the Ring, and the non-Frodo parts of the Two Towers and the Return of the King. I did read the parts with Faramir, though. So I’ll be going into this review from the perspective of seeing how complete and satisfying the movie is, not how faithful it is to the books.

In the sense of being fun to watch, the Hobbit definitely is that. And all of the Lord of the Rings tie ins actually make sense, unlike say, the Star Wars Prequels where they jammed in every old character they could. In the Hobbit, everyone that appears has a pretty good reason for doing so.

The party of dwarves is really fun to watch. They all have their own little ticks, and the costuming department did a great job with all of them. It allowed the minor dwarves to be memorable without having a lot of lines or important scenes. I have never seen such wild and glorious beards before anywhere.

I mean, I can not remember one thing Nori does in the film, but I still remember his character well all thanks to his appearance.

The tone of the film slowly gets more grim as things get more serious. The first is more light-hearted while the third is grim and dark most of the way through. Martin Freeman does a good job with Bilbo, showing how much Bilbo is out of league as an adventurer but growing to like it and relish it. The encounters with Gollum and Smaug were both really well done, especially in terms of being intimidating and creepy.

As for the Battle of Five Armies, if there is one thing Peter Jackson/WETA does well, it’s armies. Both the marching and the wide shot conflicts are amazing. Someone over there must be salivating at not two, not three, not four, but FIVE! Five armies.

The last film felt shorter, though. I haven’t checked running lengths, so I’m not exactly certain, but it felt the most light on plot. But it made up for that in some of the greatest action scenes around. Even Elrond and Saruman got in on it. And I love the individual designs for the Nine. It’s unfortunate they got beaten so badly that they lost all their cool powers for the Lord of the Rings.

Also on the bad guys side, Azog and Bolg were fantastic, too. If more orcs were like them, the plot of the Lord of the Rings would have gone differently. Bolg, especially, was a threatening force that felt like the more dangerous of the pair.

Now, from the previous film’s love of long endings, this one was cut too short. They left many plot threads only implied. Bilbo’s story was resolved, sure, but a lot of other fairly important stuff never got a conclusion. I am fairly certain they’ll be on the extended version, though. It feel like they wasted too much time on Alfrid’s character. For someone that neither changes nor really gets punished, it dragged on too much.

But as a whole, the trilogy is a fun romp. Even without the threat of Sauron, there are still big visuals and large stakes. The added tie-ins with the Lord of the Rings were cool to see.

For a fantasy adventure, look no further, especially if you are tired to pretty-boy knights and princesses.

Once Upon a Time Winter Finale

First off, I would like to apologize to all long time fans of Once Upon A Time because I only started watching this season. And that was due to Frozen. So the writer’s plan worked! Come for the recent movie reference, stay for the main story. Because after watching it, I really enjoy the premise of Once Upon a Time.

For those that don’t know, it is a remix of popular Fairy Tales and stories such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan and etc. I know this despite not watching the first three seasons because (and again, I apologize) I looked things up on the internet. I don’t have any way to binge watch the first three seasons. If I did, I would have.

A short read into the characters background helped me enjoy the relationship between the chracters much more. Now for the my thoughts on the first half of the season. There will be minor spoilers.

Anyway, yes, the primary reason I watched was just to see the Frozen characters. I was surprised just how much they kept to the movies. It’s almost like a direct sequel. They also gave both Elsa and Anna a good and fun plot arc with their secret aunt. They acted a lot like the characters from the movie, minus the random bursting out into song. Other than that, the frozen characters are all lifted directly from the movie. They even have the trolls and the shopkeeper!

The first plot arc melds the film nicely with the book by introducing an actual Snow Queen. Though I’ve read the original story and the Snow Queen was really more of a neutral character. She is of the tragic villain variety. Of course it’s all still her own fault that people see her as a monster, but you wouldn’t feel wrong for wanting her to get happiness.

That seems to be a theme for Once Upon a Time, that villains can be redeemed. I haven’t seen the Regina of previous seasons, but I like the frenemy vibe she has going on with Emma and Snow. And I don’t have and dislike for the evil stuff she did previously. Win!

I don’t know about previous seasons, but I really want to see Regina having a happy ending. Or at least not an unhappy ending.

They set up (what I assume to be) the seasong long plot with the Sorcerer’s hat. Wow. They’ve gone full Disney now. It’s pretty exciting for me, but I’m not sure just how much Disney was in the previous seasons.

I’m really enjoying Once Upon a Time, and not just for Frozen. The entire concept is a fun retelling and combining of various stories. The main characters are all great to watch as well, and I really like the relationship of Regina and Emma. The huge amount of flashbacks is a fun way of telling the story, too. It shows off the magical world they all came from and then goes back to the modern world.

I’m really enjoying Once Upon a Time. And I want to see what kind of characters they’re throwing into the mix. I mean, possible magical Cruella? Scary.

Nanowrimo Retrospective

This is my thoughts over the last nanowrimo that ended a couple of weeks ago. I did manage to get 50,000 words, so yay me! However I have not finished the story.

First up, you can find the story here https://docs.google.com/document/d/138vKTNJamk47jwnSeJxQNtlw2n1jw1Zt9UGnO65gD6c/edit?usp=sharing

Now then, I think this year’s Nanowrimo went about as well as the previous year’s. I decided to make a sequel to the previous story, so it’s more adventures of Milly! If things go well, I’ll probably do one of Milly’s story every Nanowrimo.

It’s pretty fun to do, but tiring. I think I ramble far more than necessary, especially for this year’s Nanowrimo. Last time, I finished the story with about 1000 words left until 50K, so I had to put in more filler. This time, I started out with too much filler so I’m over 50k already and the story is about 95% done. I’ll finish it, of course.

My big problem is that I wonder too much about the character’s daily lives, how they get food, get clean and all that stuff. And since I think about it, I feel compelled to let the readers know, too. I hope I kept things moving along at a decent pace. Not too fast, give enough details so people will learn about the fantasy world Milly is in. But also not so slow that it feels like its dragging.

The good thing about Milly’s story is that it’s one of those that I can shove events into at random. If I ever need to lengthen it, I can just add something random. It takes pressure off me each day, especially since my plan going into Nanowrimo is to have no outline. It’s part of my fun. I have ideas and plans, but nothing officially written down before the writing period begins.

Yeah, it leads to struggles on what to write some days, but I think it’s interesting to do.

For future Milly stories, it’s going to follow a pattern of go to new province, find a part of Gale. The first book covered two provinces and the second book covered a third one. For the third part of her story, here is a spoiler. She will be going into the Night Province of perpetual darkness. Note that it might change by the time next year rolls around, but that’s the current plan. A moth-people like race lives there.

Perhaps I’ll do a writeup on my thoughts and ideas for making Milly in future posts. It would start from the first book since I never did one for that. So long!161

Peter Pan Live! Mini Post

This will just be a quick small post on the production of Peter Pan Live! For those who don’t know what that is, Peter Pan Live! is a musical production on NBC of Peter Pan. Imagine that.

It was fun with a lot of great dance numbers. I mostly liked all the large group ones, with the Pirates, Lost Boys and Indians. That was fancy.

Compared to a production of Peter Pan I saw as a child, I think I prefer that one more. Or at least I was enamoured by that one more. I have not seen that one in a while, so it might be nostalgia or just me being younger. But it was great to hear all of the songs again. The new songs were pretty good as well.

And I liked Christopher Walken as Hook. He had a charm and swagger that fit in well wit the coloful productions of the live show. He wasn’t really menacing, but Hook had a style all his own while most of the other characters were more reasonable in their acting. It made him fun to watch. Side note, the guy playing Smee had buff arms.

The two most disappointing parts of this was the weird CGI used for Tinkerbell and the fairy dust. Sure, actual dust might be hard to show up on camera, but maybe foil confetti or something. And I liked the old spotlight Tinkerbell. It gave her some sense of being around the set.

The second thing was the final fight choreography between Pan and Hook. That was the most ridiculous flynning I’ve ever seen. If they tightened that up, the finale would have been much better and climatic.

I did enjoy the songs-and-dance numbers a lot, and that is the main point of the musical, not the fighting. So, it was good.

Gotham, Fall Finale

It’s only the middle of the season, but I suppose it’s as good of a time to look back at the episodes they showed so far. First off, for those not watching, what is Gotham? It is the story about the city of Gotham from the Batman comics before Batman came about. Corruption is running rampant and only one man is standing up to it. That man is Jim Gordan.

The show does take some liberties with the age of characters mostly so they can show the future Batman villains in some capacity. Some backstories are also changed around. I think the show works well, and it is helped along by the mythology and setting.

Gotham is captured in all of its grimy, dark and gothy glory. Most of the side-characters also have the look and feel that matches well with the city. Only Gordon is a clean and upstanding man, and his personality pretty much grates on everyone around him that just likes to keep their heads down and out of the way.

In Gotham, Gordan is a fresh transfer and immediately gets assigned to the Wayne killings. Oh yeah, random spoilers for age old Batman lore, Batman is Bruce Wayne and his parents get murdered.

The plot shifts between whatever crazy the police is tackling at the time to Bruce Wayne dealing with his parents being killed to the plot of the Penguin. It’s a lot of fun seeing all the future villains when they still aren’t quite so monstrous, yet you know they will win in the end. Each week’s criminal is fun to see because they can go into some ridiculous elaborate thing without seeming too crazy for the world of Gotham.

Without Batman, the rest of the characters have really stepped up in terms of being interesting and fun to watch. This includes original character Fish Mooney, who is set up to be a criminal mastermind. Yet you predict her to fail because she is not an enemy of the Batman.

And seeing the villains and other characters back when they were all normal makes you wonder how things go so very wrong in the future.

Hmm, I think the revision that bothers me the most about Gotham is Poison Ivy. They changed her name which was really unnecessary. It became a blatant hint with her first name being Ivy. (Not that Edward Nygma is better, but at least that came from the comics). And her backstory was given more of a relation to Bruce and Gordon. Though she recently came back into the series, so I’ll see how her character develops.

The show is fun to watch, and seeing all of the villains grow into the monsters everyone knows is fun. A Batman without the Batman works surpisingly well.