Even the most talented ponies stumble once in a while. Rarity is out of ideas for the first time in her fashion career and it's making her miserable. When her friends find out, they decide that a trip out of Ponyville is the answer. The six friends travel to the most inspirational places they can think of to reignite Rarity's spark.
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FridayThe Force Awakens16 comments · 68 views
So the new Star Wars trailer is out.
Looks pretty exciting, but definitely suffers from that "We know you're so excited to see a Movie X sequel that we're not even going to bother to define the movie. Here are bunch of shots of Movie X-y stuff!" thing that seems common nowadays. I'm sure later trailers will define it more, but I'm always kind of bothered when editors/producers don't let me know in a vague sense what their movies is about. It's a little condescending, I feel.
That aside, the shots are looking pretty nice. Not quite as glossy as Lucas's prequels, and that's a great thing. For all the money he spent trying to make the CGI seamless, the CGI was not seamless. It was jarring a lot of the time. And Jar Jar Binks-y a lot of the time, which was much worse.
People are having a minor conniption fit about the cross pieces on that lightsabers, but whatever. Yeah, it seems dangerous, but jedi/sith are supposed to be unholy level experts with their weapons and it's a space opera. The character isn't going to cut his own hand off.
All in all, this trailer does what it expects to, I suppose. I feel excited about this movie, though annoyed that it's so ambiguous. That curiosity to know more about it can't be such a bad thing in the eyes of the production team. I'd have like it more if they'd given me some more detail, but that will come. We have a year's worth of time.
WednesdayScratching My Head13 comments · 77 views
I just read a critique of My Roommate is a Vampire, and one of the commenters mentioned that they thought Octavia was out of character in the story.
Is that possible? Can Octavia be out of character? I mean, as long as it's consistent within the story?
18 comments · 108 views
As I’ve said before, I’m a very slow consumer of media. You know that song you’re sick of? I’ve probably never heard it. Your favorite video game? I probably haven’t played it. All those movies at the Oscars? I’ve never seen any of them. I tend to live in my own brain because I’m too poor (cheap) to afford easy access to these things, and I don’t have the motivation to figure out torrents and the like.
What happens because of this is that I see just a few movies a year, and they tend to be older. Something my wife and I can pick up at the store on sale. A few weeks ago, she picked up Frozen and Brave. I watched both last night, and kinda wished I hadn’t by the end of things.
Brave was firmly okay. Not great, but not actively bad. I was caught a little off-guard by the thrust of the film. I was fully on board up until the bearification, and from that point on, the film became a baffling series of weird decisions by the characters.
One of the things this movie does that I detest is that it highjacks Merida’s character for the sake of convenient plot. When meeting with the witch, she makes sure to give her a very vague idea of what she wants. The movie tries to set this up with earlier snippets of dialogue, but I don’t buy it at all. Merida is a headstrong teenage girl who knows exactly what is bothering her: She doesn’t want to get married. Yes, I know it’s deeper than that, but the marriage is the primary concern. But she doesn’t ask the witch to make is so that she doesn’t have to get married. She asks her for the very broad “I want a spell that will change my mom. That will change my fate.”
This does not sound to me like natural phrasing. It feels like the script’s author is trying to be clever about things. Contrast this with the wish Geppetto is granted at the beginning of Pinocchio. Geppetto is a lonely man, and when granted a wish, he knows exactly what he wants. He doesn’t ask for something vague. He wants his creation to be a real boy, not for his creation “to experience life.” Aladdin doesn’t as the genie to “change my life somehow.” He wishes to be a prince. Ursula tempts Ariel by saying she can transform her into a human, not that she could give her something the prince might like. She’s very direct about it.
So when Merida meets a weird stranger in the woods, doesn’t worry at all that the witch might not have the best intentions or if she even knows what she’s doing, then gives her an obviously vague set of instructions, it makes me roll my eyes. It’s established early on that Merida is at least somewhat enamored with magic, but come on. With that kind of set up, you either make me question the writers of the character herself. Either the writer is being lazy or the character is kind of dumb. I don’t like either of those options. It think it would have been better to introduce the witch a little earlier. Merida could have heard her offer and refused, then caved when things were looking bad for her. It would have felt a lot more natural to me than just taking the word of some bizarre stranger that she just met all of a sudden.
The mother is shockingly okay with becoming a bear. I mean, she’s obviously concerned, but they kind of play it mostly like, “Gosh! Isn’t this very awkward?” rather than “Holy shit, my daughter just completely ruined my life!” Not that I wanted it to fully swing in that direction, but it felt odd to me.
Then when it’s found out that they have two days, they basically spend the first one bonding. That’s nice and all, but, um, your… your mom’s a bear, Merida. Like, she’s going to be permanently a bear really soon. Some urgency in the solving the bear problem would be nice.
This film also has a pet peeve of mine going on: People not listening to extremely shocking news. Merida tells her father repeated that the bear is her mother. She’s in a room in the castle… with a bear… that is not mauling her… telling her father that it is her enchanted mother… and he never stops and says, “Wait, what?” I know that they said he doesn’t believe in magic, but that’s just defying any level of rational curiosity.
My last real gripe with the film is the mending the tapestry thing. The idea of that is fine, but why on earth would they try and get back into the castle? Have Merida go in and get it. They can mend it outside! Have the boys sneak it out! Yes, I know they were bearified at the time, but Merida didn’t know that. Not that it impeded them in any way. Tell a guard to go and get it. She’s still the princess. Anything other than “Let’s drag a huge bear through a castle filled with people that like to kill bears.”
Besides story structure, there was a lot to like about the film. The voice acting was top notch. Character design was appealing. The humor was generally good. I loved Merida’s hair, especially when she was a little girl. I was deeply enchanted by the way she said, “I missed” right at the beginning of the story.
Overall, I liked this film, but I liked it less than I expected. I was completely caught off guard by the bear thing. I was expecting a heroic journey kind of thing. I don’t really mind that they went in another direction, but it was surprising. My quibbles with the movie are more based in details than the overall plot.
If you haven’t seen this film, I think it’s worth checking out, but it isn’t Pixar’s best.
On the other hand, I thought Frozen was actively bad. It seems like this movie needs a director’s cut or something, because there seemed to be whole swatches of information missing. The trolls just, um, keep Kristoff? And no one cares? Anna never gets to see her sister, and her parents don’t have some kind of rationale for that? How does Anna know where Elsa is when she flees the city? How did the snowman get into the castle to free Anna? Just on and on. I kept watching and thinking, “Wait, how…?”
I didn’t particularly care for any of the songs except for Let It Go. I just found the music in the whole thing to be generally lackluster.
Lots and lots of plothole and contrivance in Frozen. Way too many to just wave off as “Well, no film is perfect.” For example, Elsa wants solitude and can control ice in cold to such a degree that she can make a pretty fantastic castle up on a mountain. A castle with a huge friggin’ door that everyone can come in through. All the people that she doesn’t want to see. Just a parade of people coming through those doors…
Or, um, isn’t there a regent or a chancellor or something in the kingdom? The parents died pretty early on, and it’s pretty obvious that the girls weren’t running things, so why is control giving to some random dude that showed up all of a sudden. Granted, he’s apparently a prince from some neighboring place, so I guess he has cred(?), but that’s just a bizarre thing for everyone else to accept.
But mostly I felt like Frozen was a collection of good scenes that weren’t held together very well. Watching any scene by itself, I’m sure I’d like it, but it rarely felt to me that one scene was a logical progression from the one before it.
Also on display here was some writer contrivance that I can’t stand. For example, Kristoff and Anna show up to meet the trolls, and this whole scene is a nightmare to me, but what I gritted my teeth at is that the trolls are in rock mode when they show up and stay that was for no good reason other to allow Olaf and Anna to have a joke-y scene where Kristoff is talking to rocks. Exactly why are they just standing stock still and not responding? I don’t know, I have no good explanation other than “Well, it wouldn’t be funny if they didn’t.” Then we get into a song about marriage that doesn’t really serve any purpose.
Now, I’ve always said that I don’t mind if a story meanders off from the main plot for a while, and I stick by that, but the caveat is that it must be entertaining. Douglas Adams is the master of that, in my opinion. He can write things that are basically totally irrelevant to the plot of the story, but are wildly fun to read about. Probably a quarter of the Hitchhiker books are useless errata, but we love them for it.
That’s the problem here for me. We go off on this marriage song and dance, but it didn’t entertain me at all. That’s just a personal opinion, of course. Given this movie’s success, I’m probably in the minority about that scene, but it was like nails on a chalkboard to me.
I could go on and on about the storytelling problems in that movie, but I’m sure you get the gist of it by now. There is a school of writing where the author moves the plot along by what seems to be the first thing that comes to mind. In MLP terms, this is kind of what Merriweather Williams seems to do. Bats! relentlessly moves forward, ignoring much better, completely obvious solutions. Frozen suffers from this, though it’s considerably better than Bats! Much, much better. However, I still got the feeling that someone would say, “But why didn’t the parents have some explanation as to why their eldest daughter is a recluse” and the room would go quiet for a moment, then someone would finally say, “Oh, whatever. It’s just a kid’s movie.”
And if you don’t think that happens, think again. I have a friend that works for Hasbro, and he has lots of stories about execs using the “Whatever, it’s just for kids” line. Tangentially related to that is his many stories he has about how dumb they think that kids are. Lots of decisions and discussions where he has to argue not to assume kids don’t understand a single thing.
Back to Frozen. It’s not all bad. The character designs were nice. The animation was pretty good, though at certain points it had this kind of bizarre stop motion feel. I happen to love stop motion, so I was good with that, but it was a little strange to get that stuttering effect all of a sudden. I kept wondering if my blu-ray copy was messed up somehow. It felt very Rankin Bass at times. And like I said, the individual scenes themselves often were satisfying to watch.
Overall, I just can’t recommend Frozen. I enjoy lots of flawed movies, but this one just had too many of the things that specifically irritate me. It’s a smash-hit, though, so my opinion should be taken with a huge grain of salt. I’m definitely not the target audience, it would seem.
1w, 2dShut Up, Brain!8 comments · 62 views
It's really annoying when you have what should be a passing idea that becomes a permanent, insistent idea. I was talking with Steel Resolve the other day, and he was lamenting the dearth of Fluttershy/Rarity romance stories. Mostly joking, I told him that I'm going to write him one some day, and that it would suck, but I'd write it for him all the same.
Strange thing is, I can't quit thinking about it!
Now let's break down why this is ridiculous:
1) I don't have any freakin' time. Seriously, I just semi-retired because I can't get three seconds together to write.
2) Fluttershy is not a favorite of mine. I don't particularly care for writing her.
3) I've tried to write romance several times. It's never really come together, besides what I write with Steel. I'm going to have to give him most of the credit on that one.
4) Every idea that I have for it is miserably sad.
All of this points to it being a horrible idea, but my mind is fixated on it for some reason. I should probably just bang out a chapter so that I can look at it and say, "Oh, yeah. That's bad. Let's throw that in a drawer where no one will see it again."
But it's something about challenge. I have all these great ideas that I think people will like and that I know I'll enjoy writing, but they aren't as challenging as writing a miserable romance about a character that I don't like in a genre that is my weakest. So my interest is all piqued. It crowds out all the thoughts that I need, and I find my imagination playing out scenes of a story I don't want to be working on.
Why, brain? Why?!
1w, 6dIt's My Cheeri-versary!26 comments · 134 views