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WednesdayFeeling Bad About Feeling Good61 comments · 582 views
(Sorry about the doublepost. Accidentally published too early, and I didn't want comments coming in on the incomplete version before I had a chance to explain myself...)
So. Just watched "Rainbow Rocks" again.
I actually really like this movie, and it makes me sad, because I keep on imagining what Ms. Faust must think of it, and what she would think of me, by proxy.
This is nothing new to me, of course, speaking as a Cadance fan. It's well-known public record by now that the show's original developer never wanted more than two alicorns, and yet, here I am, devoting most of my creative energies in this fandom to the once-controversial third alicorn. (Is Cadance drama even a thing anymore?) When pressed on this topic, I will always fall back on the following conclusion: Cadance is a Bad Thing, and we are making the most of it.
If I am being brutally honest with myself, however, I realize that I am saying this because I have the specter of a disapproving Lauren Faust watching me over my shoulder. I like alicorns. I like to have a selection of alicorns. I like that there's a younger alicorn. I like that I do not have to choose between "godlike, regal, and canon-perfect" and "struggles with inner darkness." I like everything about the fact of Cadance...
...except for the fact that I feel like I'm stepping on someone's childhood imaginings by doing so. Pity the professional artist, who frequently has to sell control of her childhood friends to a corporation who never knew them, and who will take them places you never wanted them to go. Craig McCracken, Ms. Faust's husband, as much as confirmed that "Equestria Girls" was contrary to her original vision. And I can see why, of course.
The original Equestria Girls was very much an honest "making the most of a Bad Thing" period for me. That movie was a bit of a mess; I enjoyed bits of it and did not criticize it too harshly. The fans and creators were both dealt a bad hand by management, and I liked the idea of us all sort of enduring it together. But now we have a sequel, and while rough edges still exist, on the whole, it's a much more satisfying film experience.
Nothing about it being a satisfying film experience changes the fact that it's never going to be the direction this show, this franchise, was intended to go.
My entirely non-scientific surveys of the Ponynet suggest that people are generally pleased with "Rainbow Rocks." I am... disheartened by the people who are unquenchably angry about the whole thing, the ones that point and say, functionally, Skywriter, you are the problem. That you continue to consume this media spits on the thing Lauren Faust was trying to do with this show. You, Skywriter, have participated in muddying this from something great into something merely okay. One in particular has exhorted the general public as follows: "Don't you dare forget what could have been!"
I wonder what this hypothetical show looks like in that fan's imaginings.
I wonder if I would like it as much as I like the show I'm currently watching.
I wonder if I am a worse person for liking what "could have been" greater.
I wonder if it's even true that it "could have been" greater at all.
I wonder what Lauren Faust thinks of me.
Ms. Faust, there is no chance that you are reading this, so I say this purely for myself: I actually like what they did with the characters you thought of first this time, and I'm sorry if anything has been diminished because of what I do or don't like.
It's the best I can do.
Final non sequitur: Why haven't I seen any crackfic stories where Cadance is actually the fourth siren of the coven, the only one redeemable by Star Swirl? Get on it, fandom!
54 comments · 661 views
Welcome to another edition of "Because You All Perforce Must Care What I Think." Let's make this short and sweet, shall we, getting the unpleasant bits out of the way first.
Category A: Things That There Was Never Any Hope For Improvement On
1. Human character designs still not doing it for me. No amount of time and effort will make our girls not look like somewhat sexualized and rainbow-hued versions of Mr. ZIP what with the huge heads and stick bodies and all.
2. Still no substitute for actual pony film. Actual pony screen-time even lower than last time around.
3. All protagonists are suddenly skilled musicians, when canonically only Pinkie, Fluttershy (maybe?) and A.J. have even been shown handling an instrument. And Twilight is appropriately lampshaded in the narrative, so I guess I'm only questioning Dash and Rarity? I dunno. Let's move on.
Category B: Things Actually Worse Than Last Film
1. Vinyl Scratch. I am absolutely great with fandom nods. No allergy whatsoever to seeing Octavia, Snowflake Bulk Biceps, and lots and lots of Trixie. Welcomed. But basic storytelling dictates that you cannot have a functionally nameless character pull not one but two eleventh-hour saves without seeding the plot properly first. Story structure demands that the protective qualities of her omnipresent headphones be hinted at before they are used to save our heroes' bacon (something so simple as including a version of the the disapproving Celestia / Vinyl interaction we saw in the "Music to My Ears" short would have been absolutely sufficient) and the Bass Cannon Sedan needs to have been at least established (if not fully revealed) prior to its use as a problem-solver. When you count on an audience's in-joke knowledge and delight over a character to fill in the cracks of a story, that is when your fandom nod has crossed the line. Furthermore, I can't tell if the creators are putting her forward as a strong-silent master of her craft or actually envision her as the same loudmouthed Bohemian that the fans see and are merely having her stay mute to appease the "Nowacking or Nothing" crowd. I wish they would just pick one, because the more the plot actually hinges on her the more distracting her silence becomes. Thank goodness they actually had Octavia speak a line.
2. No Candybutt, not even in cameo. This is not a fault in the story as such, I'm just (predictably) disappointed and furthermore holistically trepid that my functional OC will continue to fade into the background as Twilight becomes more and more Cadanceified. She's got wings now, is a princess, and lives in a crystal castle. All she needs is a coat of pink paint and to get married, and the narrative will have no use for dear sweet Candybutt whatsoever.
Category C: Things Better Than Last Film
1-n. Virtually everything else. The scene compositions were more visually adventurous and intriguing, the villains had a plot which made some damn sense this time, the songs are marginally superior, plot points are followed through on and not just mentioned and dropped, and the whole thing seems to have been stitched together with a lot of love and affection for the property. And Sunset Shimmer is handled exactly the way I wanted her to be handled. The scene where she once again attempts bad-girl intimidation in the darkened hallway only to have it fizzle this time is just splendid, and I for one gratefully welcome Sunny as the unexplained sixth peripheral star in "Magical Mystery Cure."
That is all. Thoughts?
21 comments · 315 views
I am... a tad gobsmacked but nonetheless unquestionably overjoyed to report that via the generosity and talent of esteemed pony musician Night Breeze/Wind Wolf and my good friend S.R. Foxley, "Cadance of Cloudsdale" has an upcoming song cycle dedicated to it! So exite! Very yes!
Check out the first track, "Reduit," below. Thanks, you two. You helped make my day.
103 comments · 814 views
No secret whatsoever: the number one reason people hate this story is the flippin' ending.
It's not the number one reason I hate this story, but it's certainly up there. Those of you who have gone on to read "A Short Story by Twilight Sparkle" have doubtless perceived the autobiographical inspiration in Twilight's experience, particularly this part:
...the whole ending felt shockingly rushed and weak, because, frankly, I was so darn tired of writing it by that point I couldn't see straight. I had testily sworn to myself that I would not endure another morning with that stupid "Tea" story hanging over my head...
...which is, of course, all true of me. That said, it's not like another day of writing it would have "fixed" the ending, either. It's been like two years now (insert shocked-dismay emoticon) and I have yet to come up with a "better" ending that feels right.
So. Message received, from like hundreds of you. You hate the ending. I get it. I hate it too. It's too late to edit the original story, but if it had a sequel, what do you most want to see in it? What, specifically, chafes your gizzard about how this story closes? The general lack of all-around happy? That Twilight doesn't get her just desserts for an entire evening of torturing Celestia with the memory spell? That, in a world where you can literally turn birds into oranges, that some kind of solution wasn't forced using unicorn magic? What?
Please note that the characters will remain kind of panicky and stupid, so if the fact that the characters are panicky and stupid is your major beef, I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to accommodate a fix of that nature.
18 comments · 364 views
In a short story done for a fic competition! It was written by Eakin, a master of arts; his story "Hard Reset" is top of the charts. This one is does not deal with time loops and despair, but rather a fortress and the Sisterhood there. I'm so glad to see another tale told of our Pretty Pink Princess when she was just a foal. It's really good work--if I haven't been clear--and I recommend checking it out over here.
(If you are concerned why I'm talking this way, it's apparently "Type Like Zecora Day." I find my Zecora-style writing quite dismal on account of my rhymes being hella abysmal.)