Posts Tagged ‘Movie Reviews’

So I saw Jurassic World.  As some of you might know, I was cautiously optimistic about it (leaning a bit on the side of negativity).  But I saw it last night and unfortunately couldn’t post sooner due to a day job.  I really, really wanted to write last night because I had such strong emotions following Jurassic World.  The premise of the movie is something everyone knows by now it seems: A working, 21st century version of Jurassic Park is made by Simon Masrani, who bought out InGen from Hammond.

As always, a little story for you first.

Jurassic Park and I have a love-hate relationship.  The fandom can be a bit dramatic, and I’ve truly met some less-than-desirable people while navigating my way through it writing this blog.  If there was one thing I wish for this fandom it would be that everyone shuts the fuck up and gets along.  We have something new, don’t ruin it with unneeded drama.  We have waited for 14 years for this movie.

That ultimately brings me to my next point, here.

How did I even get into this Jurassic Park thing to begin with?

Well, it wasn’t some epically major introduction.  I had been a huge dinosaur nerd while I was a kid (I still have a whole bin full of dinosaur toys I refuse to get rid of much to my parent’s dismay).  My dad was watching it in the living room, and I happened to walk in on the part when Dr. Grant and Ellie Sattler first see the Brachiosaurus for the first time.  I stopped for a minute, and was completely taken aback.  I wish I could make it up that I walked in on that moment, but I actually really did.  So I had a JP Chasmosaurus toy someone gave me, and I always looked at the symbol on the leg wondering what it meant (the J and P together).  It was the only JP toy I had and the only original one I owned.  Finally a few years after wondering what it was, I noticed it in the movie my dad was watching.  I had seen The Lost World and hadn’t realized that movie and the movie my dad watched were related.  Then I saw that it was Jurassic Park.

Dinosaurs in particular got me through some rough times.  During one hard time, I was waiting for someone to arrive and I knew it wouldn’t be fun.  Before they came, I watched a documentary about T. rex.  I always had dinosaur toys, I was teased in school because I liked dinosaurs.  I had no friends in school, and still, I had dinosaur toys.  That’s part of why I liked Jurassic Park.  Dinosaurs led me to Jurassic Park.  The old scaly raptors, the big, lumbering T. rex… they led me to it.

At first I wasn’t a huge JP fan, but it grew on me, mostly because of how prominent T. rex is.

A lot.

So when JW happened, I was skeptical if it should be brought back at all.

It didn’t disappoint.

Spoilers here on out.

From the opening, the link between dinosaurs and birds is made with a crow.  We are linked with the past of dinosaurs through Gray’s little toy thingy that flipped through the drawings and pictures of dinosaurs back when they were thought to be big lumbering dumb beasts.  This scene I loved.  It set just such a great tone and gave a nod to science – something so many people decided to bitch about (by the way, if you want astronomy information, you don’t watch Star Wars).  Then later on with Dr. Wu admitting they may look very different if they were pure dinosaur genetics was another nod to science.  As a self-proclaimed weather nerd, geologist/earth science junkie, dino lover, and psychology person (so many thoughts right now on that) I enjoyed the nods to science.  It was just enough to be recognizable, as there was no reason to get carried away and begin proclaiming science as if it was a GEO 225 course.  Because it’s not.  It’s Hollywood, and it’s a movie, and it worries about artistic message and articulation – not if the T. rex head is slightly bulkier than the real one.  Obviously some research is always good, as well as some explanation in some cases, but not everything can be as it is in the real world.  Because if Hollywood was the real world, most of this wouldn’t be known or be a thing.

We continue on through the movie, seeing bits and pieces of the park.  I will say the beginning felt rushed, as if the directors and writers knew we were expecting a failing park.  But – The park is gorgeous, really – any JP fan was probably overwhelmed by it completely.  The park really seems to embody what Hammond wanted.  There was a lot of turmoil about the fact it’s a new park – and I’m sure there’s still people around who insist it was a bad idea.  But, mind you, the original Jurassic Park happened twenty years ago.  The original book happened even farther away.  Do you really think many people remember the novel and original movie in great detail?  Maybe the movie.  Maybe.  But not The Lost World or even Jurassic Park 3.  They don’t.  Casual fans and general audience don’t remember what Jurassic Park even is.  When I mentioned it to a friend a year or two ago, it was referred to as the movie where dinosaurs eat people.

He learned this the hard way.

So while your idea for a movie about how DX overtakes Isla Sorna (wait, there’s two islands?) and a whole team of researchers need to be assembled by Dr. Wu (wait, he was in the first one?) and like Ludlow’s half brother (who the fuck is Ludlow?) to find stuff on Isla Nublar to cure Isla Sorna and the Costa Rican government and blah blah blah… nobody would care.  People don’t know about DX, people don’t realize there’s two islands, and people don’t realize everything the super-fans do in general.  Which is part of the only reason I was cautiously optimistic at all about the new park plot – I knew if we gunned for some elaborate plot, the general audience wouldn’t know what it was.  Critics would maybe, but you can’t please everyone.  Ultimately, critics aren’t going to make it rake in 100 million on opening weekend.  The general audience, and making dinosaurs cool again (and in the 21st century) will.  I liked that the film nodded to the original JP many, many times, without making it too much.  i liked the old Jeeps (even if I think it’s ridiculous they found an old battery and managed to start it – I considered it unrealistic).  I liked seeing the Visitor’s Center ruins.  It reminded the viewers why they were there, even as the film struggled to explain to us why it was important.

So the new park is fully operational, and Claire, the person in control of the park, knows she must keep interest in the park for it to be successful.  Claire and Wu go on to make the Indominus Rex, a hybrid creature of raptor, cuttlefish, and T. rex.  She needs to ensure the safety of the visitors while preparing Indominus, so Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) is called on to inspect the walls.  Claire is initially painted as stiff.  Originally, I thought, oh great, another bitch woman to fulfill stereotype.  Then I realized something.

While conversating with Owen about Indominus, it’s made apparent she knows a thing or two about these animals.  She knows Indominus ate her sibling.  She knows how Indominus acts – saying things like she’ll come out.  She knows how dangerous Indominus is.  But yet we are constantly calling Claire stiff.

Claire is not stiff.  And that moment, when she was talking about the Indominus, did I realize that.  Claire is a woman in a man’s world (seriously, they’re all men except Zara).  She has a position to maintain.  She has a job to keep, which someone may say a man could do just as good if not better than her.  She needs to play her cards correctly.  Perhaps the reason for her stiffness goes well beyond the so called stereotype – I mean, hell, Masrani flies a helicopter without a license yet on an island full of dinosaurs that could kill him or thousands of others should he crash (kind of like, you know, the Aviary).  She has a right to be concerned with his lax attitude – he’s like a kid in a candy store, all while housing extinct creatures that could escape or kill anyone at any moment should something go wrong.  Claire, in my eyes, doesn’t underestimate the creatures she has on the island – she simply tries to keep up with Masrani.  Masrani seems super relaxed about his creatures and his occupants.  Even when Owen suggests to kill the I. rex to save lives, the person who objects is MASRANI – not Claire.  He states it costs millions of dollars to make the I. rex, hence not wanting to kill it.  Claire freaks out when the Indominus escapes, clearly worrying about the park and the people on it – she’s torn.  Owen has nothing on the line.  He could leave Isla Nublar, maybe go to college courtesy of the Navy, find a nice IT job.  No.  Claire has something on the line, she knows her boss does not want the island evacuated.  She knows her boss doesn’t want Indominus to be killed.  In the corporate world, it doesn’t take much to be fired.  All it takes is a little disagreement or a little disobedience.  Should she show she cares about the creatures that much, it could come off as being anti-profit or anti-guest.  Even when Masrani asks her if the dinosaurs are happy: how can she know if she’s in a huge security office every day, running the park, gathering sponsors, and trying to make money?

And she may just not like children, or be too fucking busy to deal with it.  Corporations void people of their humanity, their feelings.  Claire is a victim of it.  That’s why it takes a dead Apatosaurus for her to realize they’re living creatures.

Claire is the brains of Jurassic World.  Not Masrani.  And perhaps, she’s just too busy.

That leads me to my next point: The acting.

Other than some cheesy lines (“What kind of dinosaur they cooked up in that lab”) and some cheesy acting (see Beanie Guy in JW pressing the big red button to release the raptors as if he’s just beat someone on Xbox 360) I was pleasantly surprised by the acting.  Chris Pratt did… good.  Bryce Dallas Howard did.. good.  Ty Simpkins was perhaps a bit too over the top at times, and I really hated Nick Robinson staring at women (seriously what even is that shit?).  That was the only bit of acting that truly bothered me.  He could’ve been the grungy kid without staring at women constantly.  Just because it’s frequently done in culture does not mean it is right.  It would’ve also been nice for the kids to recognize how badass Claire was too for shooting a gun and doing everything she has done to save them.  It wasn’t all Owen.  Regardless, they were perhaps a bit cliched, but I could kind of overlook it because Claire took no shit from Owen.

But both characters had their badass moments.  Owen is the raptor trainer.  They were not kidding about it resembling real, wild animals.  I actually really got into it as a person who is into psychology (and dog training).  Owen was using a clicker.  The raptors must’ve been conditioned to think that the clicker means food, and food means they did something good, which you don’t necessarily need to be near the animal to do.  It’s simply conditioning, as is imprinting.  Imprinting actually makes a lot of sense for dinosaurs.  Now, I am not getting into a scientific debate (because this isn’t a fucking science blog thanks), but birds very much utilize imprinting.  It’s the only reason I can buy imprinting being effective.  These animals aren’t like other animals, and I know John Hammond tried to do conditioning via imprinting on the JP animals but we never really saw it in action.  These raptors are not his pets.  Most intelligent animals can be clicker trained – sharks, crocodiles, goldfish, dogs, cats.  Just about anything with a half functioning brain.  I have actually clicker trained (granted, it was a 40 pound dog) but I was very, very excited to see Owen using a clicker. That also brings me to that Vic dude (and some characters being underdeveloped).

The dude has like an OCD obsession with military.  Okay, I get it both he and Owen are former military guys – but it almost felt like too easy of a plot device.  I mean come on, most people with functioning brains can realize that wild raptors – or any animals – don’t generally function well as militarized animals.  Even if he proposed editing their genetic code, I highly doubt Wu would be able to get the exact qualities.  While in the end it was sort of why the Indominus was killed, it also felt like too easy of a plot device.  In addition to that, he really just ignores Claire’s authority after Masrani’s death.  At first, I didn’t see why they needed to kill Masrani, but now I get it.  Masrani needed to die for Claire to show herself – who she truly is.  She is quite obviously concerned for the families in the control room, but Masrani knows the profits will take a hit.  She quite obviously knows a thing or two about the creatures, but Masrani bogs her down with running the entire park herself practically.  She quite obviously could be up tight because of how chill Masrani is.  With Masrani gone, Claire can release herself.  Her boss is dead.  She can take the action she feels she needs to.  She can see the creatures and realize what they are without being in a control room.  She can let loose.  She can show Owen she can kick ass without the risk of being fired.

And she does.

That’s her badass moment.  Don’t lie to yourself.  This movie is about Claire.  Claire is the main character.  Not Owen, not the kids, not Masrani.  Claire.  I hear a lot of bitching about how she’s wearing heels – let me give you a quick lesson in feminism and realism.  Let’s be real, a lot of action movies with kick ass women do have heels on.  While it’s not the most practical footwear, I won’t bitch about it.

Oh.. oh god, are her shoes raised?

Wait.. maybe I’m missing someone.

… More heels ….

…. Seriously, I’ve had it.

The fact is, men do not generally wear heels but they are more than welcome to.  Claire is wearing heels, big whoop guys.  Women wear heels.  They can wear heels because they want to wear heels.  It is not for you.  In an interview with Colin Trevorrow with a news source, Bryce Dallas Howard insisted on wearing the heels for the scene (I can find it later).

Do you know why?

Because women wear heels.  And they can wear heels because they want to wear heels.  We do need to learn how to walk in those things, you know.  I have actually seen women run in them as well… and beat people up while wearing them. Wearing heels can be a part of being a woman (IF YOU WANT IT TO BE).  We don’t want to be men.  We want to be equal to men, and that includes wearing whatever the fuck we want to lure a T. rex out of a paddock.  If it’s unrealistic, please go ahead and erase all of Hollywood.  Drop a nuke on it (or would that be unrealistic?).  But, do not expect a woman to wear heels.  She needs to do it.  And she needs to want to do it.  It is part of our choices as women.  When you wear heels, you’re not the goddamn secretary anymore.  Of course there’s better footwear.  But if Owen led the rex out of the paddock barefoot and in his fucking pajamas, nobody would say shit and you know it.  Don’t lie to yourself.  She is a woman, she is wearing heels because she WANTS to wear heels.  And she is the one who saved the day.

Not Owen.

And if you think she suddenly wants kids now, the director himself more or less said he had no idea where the audience got that from.  You can be a nice person (ahem, woman) and not want kids.  You can be a person who is drowning in your work, and once you get out of that work, you’re nicer.  Maybe even be friendlier to kids.  But it doesn’t mean you want kids. It just means you’re nicer to the kids.  Still, I thought the ending was sexist, and I hated how Owen used cheesy pick up lines on Claire, which was basically workplace sexual harassment.  It did have sexist undertones.  Everyone being shocked at Claire using a gun was sexist.  Her suddenly loving kids, regardless of the reasons involved, was sexist.  Her sounding like an immature kid to Owen while looking for the kids – also sexist.  Something can be unintentionally sexist.

Overall, it was a fun movie, and I loved how such insignificant things too on big roles.  The Mosasaur at the end put the kabash on the I. rex.  The Dilophosaurus hologram bought our characters more time to escape as they slowly reconciled with each other in a non-creepy way (a theme a few noticed).

It was a good way to reintroduce the franchise, and T. rex.  It was apparent the director and writers were trying to do right by the fandom after JP3. While I didn’t want another dino fight, I think this one was the most appropriate.  The Spinosaurus skeleton was smashed, the T. rex once again comes out on top, and they even scare you a little – you fear that Rexy won’t make it.  But she does.  I need to add, I was so happy seeing my original girl back.  The fight scene, perhaps a bit cheesy, was completely overlooked for the most part by Rexy making an appearance.  She just saved it in every sense of the word.

The score was generally very good, especially with the tidbits that related it to the first few movies.  But I had a few complaints on top of what I already said. The CGI, generally, was okay, with some parts that it wasn’t as good.  Rexy in the beginning didn’t look so great but it got better.  In addition, instinct could have been emphasized more in the final battle – it doesn’t matter that, the raptors and T. rex have never seen anything like the I. rex.  Even digging into their instincts they wouldn’t be able to place the smell.  I didn’t like much the raptors communicating with the I. rex and turning on Owen – I think that could have just been done by the utter confusion of the park going to shit and the raptors associating it with Owen.  Or, perhaps, the fight or flight response – when an animal is scared they can redirect aggression.  The raptors, simply, could have redirected the aggression toward Owen in their fear until he is able to calm them down.  I just don’t consider it plausible for them to be able to communicate.  In general, instincts could have been emphasized more in the final battle. That’s the only reason indominus worked as a rampaging dinosaur who is confused. Instinct or lack thereof.

Still, I’ve never been so happy to see a goat.

Ultimately, the movie had it’s problems, but for a franchise on the brink of extinction, this was a hybrid of the past and the future. I can only hope things keep going as they are.

Because this time, the Kirbys aren’t here.

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You heard me right.  Let’s talk about Christine.

Seriously, we are going to talk about Christine.  Christine needs to be talked about, here.  It is crucial.  Christine is a typical girl.  She does makeup, dyes her hair, and enjoys shopping. Travel and photography are a thing for her here.  Always doing that “posting pictures of her food” thing.  Obsessed with the arts and love stories.  Maybe she enjoys pets, too, always calling everything with two eyes cute.  Hangs out with guys.  This is Christine.  Maybe long, blonde hair if you want.

I know what you’re thinking: How could you do this to Christine?

Now, let me flesh out Christine a little bit more.

Christine does makeup and hair dye because she likes to cosplay comics and horror movies (her favorite kind of movies, mind), and her natural hair color isn’t blonde.  When she goes shopping, it’s for games, comic books, and sports supplies, because she rallied for her highschool to get a girl’s lacrosse team and ended up being the captain.  Her writing and arts interests lie in fantasy, like Lord of The Rings type fantasy, with a slight romantic and dramatic twist throughout.  Her favorite pet isn’t a cat – it’s a lizard, and she tends to think Skinks – yes, in all of their bug-eating glory – make the best beginner lizards, but her interests lie with the larger monitors.  She hangs out with guys, but hasn’t wanted to date.  And never has.  She’s not much of a cook either and is a blackbelt instead, so she didn’t cook that food she posted a photo of.

Right.. so that’s Christine.  What’s that?  Were you expecting Gucci bags? (Not that there is a problem with Gucci bags, but there is a larger point to this point.  She may buy Gucci every once in a while).

It was recently International Women’s Day, and while I am not usually a huge fan of Anything Day (reasons), I thought it would be an appropriate time to write this sort of post I have been planning quite a while.  Mind you, there is no real Christine, she does not exist.  If a Christine out there fits the description, you kick ass, except this is not intended to be you, or anyone you know, even if they are not named Christine.  Christine also has a birthday – she was born today at 8:00 PM, so unless you go through infancy to highschool in less than 20 minutes and happened to have physically come out of my head like something out of the Alien franchise are you the Christine I am referring to.  Sidenote:  I nor Christine hate men.  If I hated men, I certainly should not be involved in several male dominated fields (I am not referring to comics).

Regardless, I thought I’d take a look at the history of women in comics.  By the way, if you haven’t figured it out already, Christine becomes Christine the Comic Writer, much like Rosie the Riveter.  Rosie the Riveter has a better ring to it, though, I admit…

Christine is inspired by Nellie the Nurse, Millie the Model (good god, really?), and Tessie the Typist (aka a fancy secretary, not sexist at all).  Apparently, starting in the Golden Age Archie Comics geared comics toward women and women primarily read comics but I am not at all convinced the storylines were anything deeper than learning how to use the vacuum (of course, being taught by a man) or fighting over a guy.  .. Or both.  Considering Archie Comics made the comic known as, well, Archie, which features two ditzy women fighting over who gets to date one (gasp) tall blonde dude, I am probably not far off.

Another sidenote is that this isn’t some PR appeal or some awful attempt at being politically correct: this is not my motive, and considering I curse on my blog, that would be a very misguided assumption on your part because cursing isn’t politically correct.  I actually do have a post in the works (mentally) about something regarding men/boys/males.  Originally, I was going to merge those two together, but I’d like to go to bed sometime before tomorrow morning for once.  I’m giving up playing Civ V for you.  Appreciate the post (or else).

But after that Golden Age, Nellie, Millie, and Tessie were all born.  And I am making Christine be born.

Women were either “career oriented” (wtf does that even mean?), perky teenagers, or romance heroines.  The romance involved women could either be good or bad, and if they’re good, they were probably stuffed in the refrigerator.  I don’t really get the whole “bad” vs “good” distinction, just because we could have a gay superhero (I’m being 100% serious) being tempted by another gay man, or a strong superhero woman being tempted by a guy.. but.. ok. This is still around – I recently saw some kind of book regarding comics and it specifically mentioned “tempting women”.  Like as an entire section.  Are we career oriented in that our career is stalking a male superhero now in some sort of odd desperation to date or have sex with him?  I don’t understand…

Among the first female superheroes were Scarlet O’Neil and Black Fury.  Scarlet O’Neil aka the Invisible Woman was plain clothes and walked around doing things like saving little kids and getting kidnapped.  In general, it was not action packed (source: Wikipedia).  Then you had Miss Fury who was.. eventually turned into a dude, obviously?  Black Fury (aka Miss Fury) became John Perry and Rex King.  She then wasn’t revived until 1991 in which case I am not including it.  I’m strictly ’40s to late 50s right now.

Who knew one of them would maintain a blog in 75 years.

And I know I may get the crowd who is like “get over it” but I’m not like actively blaming society for doing this 75 years ago.  It’s really just retrospective out of my own curiosity.  And Christine’s.

Regardless, after the slight abomination that appears to be The Invisible Woman, we actually see Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.  Of course, she happens to be blonde, and tall, and wearing heels, and white, but probably the best of the bunch at the time.  From Wikipedia:

As Trina Robbins, in The Great Women Superheroes wrote:[5]

[M]ost of [Fiction House’s] pulp-style action stories either starred or featured strong, beautiful, competent heroines. They were war nurses, aviatrixes, girl detectives, counterspies, and animal skin-clad jungle queens, and they were in command. Guns blazing, daggers unsheathed, sword in hand, they leaped across the pages, ready to take on any villain. And they did not need rescuing.

Sheena seemed to be pretty successful, and seemed to have a fair amount of abilities.  She was able to turn into whatever animal she made contact with and ability to communicate with wild animals.  The first superhero though, who was a woman, was apparently Fantomah, a woman who never aged and turned into a skull-like creature to fight crime (nice, I like the morbidity; it’s not “lady like”).  In a time where saving children without any action was the norm, at least it’s a step in the right direction in a time when Peggy Carter was still Captain America’s damsel in distress (I fucking hate that term).  She had always been needing to be saved, and I admit as a Cap fan it was nice to see Peggy take the stage for another reason than needing Cap to come save her.. really.

Yes, we’re hopping over to the big guys. Particularly, the history of Wonder Woman.

Funny story.. Wonder Woman was the suggestion from a wife of a guy.  William Moulton Marston, a psychologist, thought comics had uncracked potential,and his wife insisted he create a superheroine.. so.. he explained it as Sigmund Freud would, while also believing women should rule the world?:

“Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don’t want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.”

If you’re unaware, Sigmund Freud had an R-Rated (is there something higher than R?) theory about women, that they didn’t want to actually be women, and they envied men because they were men, and they distanced themselves from their mothers for this reason and subsequently hung out with dad.  Frankly, I don’t want to be goddamn tender and submissive whether I am a woman or not.  But regardless, that was the mindset, I guess, of the time.  At least he listened to his wife and created the first widely recognized female superhero.  Really, I’m not delving too deep into this just because it’s blowing my mind a little bit.  That statement is clearly sexist but he also wanted women to rule the world, and was slightly sexist against men, believing women were more honest?  I’m supposing that is stereotype, therefore wanting us to the rule the world is also sort of sexist?  By the sounds of it, it’s meant in a stereotypical/sexist manner for both parties, with men elevated in importance, slightly?…

How I feel.

By now, though, we’re starting to realize women are people (now the Silver Age).  Lois Lane is created, Batwoman, Jean Loring, and Carol Ferris, all “career women”.  Iris West, Kathy Kane, and Vicki Vale have been thrown into the mix.  Still, though, sexism weaved some of their cores, as we all know Lois needed to be saved a few times, and Batwoman apparently used perfume and a hair net as weapons (god, at least make her use mace instead of perfume if you’re going to be sexist).  Unfortunately, I will not detail all of these, it’s 10 PM now, Christine is probably graduating high school, I feel like I am growing old writing this post, I’m eating peanut butter and jelly in mass quantities in an attempt to keep myself from starving.  Sort of like Tom Hanks in Cast Away.  But with a laptop, instead of a soccer ball.

Regardless of PBJ here, Marvel is playing catch up, and creates their first female superhero in the form of Invisible Woman…. several decades after Wonder Woman.. and Mr. Fantastic has had instances of.. abuse…

Come on.. you can do better than that…

Regardless, it is very interesting, considering Marvel’s movies/tv shows.  You know.. Black Widow.  Peggy.  Rogue.  Jean Grey.  All the superheroine Avengers. Wasp.  Regardless, originally, Marvel’s heroines (yes, we don’t need to say “female superheroes”) were treated as less than equal. It is almost as though they are quietly hiding away from their past mistakes.. and Not-So-Mr. Fantastic’s mistakes.. while creating all these strong women.  DC Comics was not a beacon of light, exactly, either, due to this policy:

[the] Editorial Policy Code regarding the portrayal of women, which stated, “The inclusion of females in stories is specifically discouraged. Women, when used in plot structure, should be secondary in importance, and should be drawn realistically, without exaggeration of feminine physical qualities”.

So more or less, women in stories was discouraged, unless they happened to somehow supplement the superhero.  Which.. just about makes sense.  Obviously.  Though, everyone did this it seems – I guess DC just put it in writing?  Did Marvel do it too?

Regardless, I’m moving on, because I bit off more than I can chew.  To the Bronze Age! (sidenote:  If I seem like I’m rushing, I’m waiting for a larger point and I am about to hit one.  This is all pretty generic information).

The part we’ve been waiting for.. assuming I was alive.  The feminist era.  The part where all the women realized, there is something seriously wrong with Mollie the Model or whatever godforsaken terrible name they gave her.

Aside from the comic character “Man-killer” being made, this was overall not that bad of an era.

I just.. I don’t have a witty comment for this.

People start realizing women are just as capable of leadership as men, and Mrs. Fantastic becomes the leader of the Fantastic Four, and Wasp becomes a founding Avenger.  Jean Grey becomes Phoenix, Storm is created, and one man sets out to revamp some of them: Chris Claremont.  He revamps and helps settle Rogue, Psylocke, Storm, Jean Grey, and Kitty Pryde.  Suddenly, the teenagers become serious, and women are now a thing (as in popular).  Notice a lot of those or all of them have been in movies, now, or very famous at the least.  But the elephant in the room is not any of these: It’s Ms. Marvel.

Ms. Marvel isn’t in a movie.  She is getting her own movie.

Ms. Marvel, apparently, seems to embody Marvel’s troubles with representing women during that time due to her controversy.  She worked at a magazine obviously geared toward women, and her headline was “This Woman Fights Back!”.  It’s very possible Marvel picked Ms. Marvel to be their first female-led movie, well, because that is more or less what she was designed for in the first place.  She was a symbol of the push to get more female characters and not portraying women as damsels in distress – let’s only hope she lives up to that despite not being known to the general public.  But still, despite the apparent symbolism here, do you think someone like Black Widow would’ve been a better pick?  Is there any possibility there will eventually be a Black Widow movie?  Is that why they picked her and not some other random superheroine?

In between all of this, we get Barbara Gordon, who is injured by the Joker after the events of The Killing Joke, who takes things a step further – she is disabled, now, but became the leader of Birds of Prey.  She’s another example of the strong women blossoming now, and everyone collectively realizing women are people and not cooking machines.

Now, we hit the Modern Age.  Now.  Probably your childhood.

We start off the era with Tank Girl:

The eponymous character Tank Girl drives a tank, which is also her home. She undertakes a series of missions for a nebulous organization before making a serious mistake and being declared an outlaw for her sexual inclinations and her substance abuse. The comic centers on her misadventures with her boyfriend, Booga, a mutant kangaroo.

I’m sorry.. I’m sorry what? A mutant kangaroo?  What the hell?  I know nothing about this, so I’m not commenting, but, if you happen to know, do tell me, because mutant kangaroos?

Still, women were treated as sex stories.  Because sex sells.  As a result, the wonderful and amazing and my personal comic writer hero, Gail Simone (she retweeted me once!), started the Women in Refrigerators campaign after seeing a Green Lantern comic where GL finds his girlfriend dead because of a villain and stuffed in a refrigerator.  Ever since that, using women for the “sex sells” excuse and depowering or killing women has become less and less.  And that is where we are now, along with more LGBT diversity such as Batwoman.

Yeah.. more work to be done, here.

I understand that both sexes are inaccurately portrayed, but this is also the guy who made “Captain America” become “Captain Americhest” (seriously, that drawing has obliques everywhere).  Above is Ms. Brokeback, considering her back is anatomically broken because of the need to exaggerate her chest and butt.  There is still work to be done, but hopefully, if that trend means anything, we can get it done – without gender tension.

At least X-Men has shown it has strong female characters, and two female-led movies are on the way.  Now, finally, we are reaching some semblance of equalization.  Peggy Carter helped paved the way.  Wonder Woman got it started, and Ms. Marvel helped us out.  Black Widow kicks ass, and X-Men is chock full of X-Women.  Finally, women are having a bit of a foothold in comics because of the characters.  We aren’t all the same, and we don’t have the same interests – including the traditional ones.

When you read comics or create female characters, think of Christine the Comic Writer.

(Happy belated International Women’s Day).

So I haven’t been updating as much.  A lot of you are probably wondering why.  I have always put something out… whether it was a spotlight post, small review, comic book review, QA.. I always pulled something out of the sky.  What happened?  Did you just get lazy?  Did you just stop caring?  No.  None of the above.  I guess it’s time I came clean, and after a day where it’s appropriate.

Feb. 28th is Rare Disease Day.  Recently, yes, my pets got sick – but that’s largely over now and everyone is better!

If you’re not interested in anything remotely personal, I suggest you stop reading.  Don’t be an asshole, either, because that’s not cool.

Here’s some happy shit before we start.

So, what’s the problem?  Why did I figuratively and literally fall off the face of The Planet? Well it was Rare Disease Day.

(FYI: I’ll go back to full time.  The fact I’m even writing this is amazing enough, and means it’s slowly going back to normal.)

I fit into that category.  I have a rare disease, and that is why I haven’t updated.  While I’m not ready to reveal exactly what it is, I’m going to ask you to not foo-foo rare diseases.  There is a larger point to this post other than me telling you why I haven’t been here and why I haven’t been able to update.  Before you click off in an attempt to save yourself from a state of depression, I’m really actually pretty cool about it and I make it funny (I think?).  Think of it this way – you’ve been reading me this long without knowing a thing about it.  It’s only since it completely KO’d me have you found out anything.  And I didn’t want to tell you.  I didn’t want to tell you I had anything wrong with me.

It’s like I’m in a relationship with my blog.  Facebook status changed.

My pets ended up being okay a few weeks ago. But, the fact is, you know some things about the people you read/watch/hear/etc.  You know maybe they have kids or are in college.  You know circumstances of their lives that will affect their content in other words.  Unfortunately, this is my circumstance that makes a pile of dog shit more attractive than my life at times.  Long story short, I am a superhero.  Yes, you read that right.  I am a superhero.  I am an X-Men. I am the Batman.

Nevermind, I’m getting carried away.

Here’s the deal: I have superpeople powers (oddly, my own character is not superpowered).  I have a connective tissue disease.  I’m uber-flexible to the point where I could join the circus and probably become filthy rich and famous, and I could be on American Horror Story (technically). I can tell the temperature without even looking at a thermometer, and certain normal medication doesn’t work on me because of genetic resistance (in other words, taking Motrin is like eating Skittles).  In fact, I once needed local anesthetics and the doctor would have overdosed me if he gave me any more.  It does not work on me.  Yeah, I felt the entire procedure, because local anesthetics don’t work on me (I could see the look of horror on your face already).  It made for a very uncomfortable procedure and a very freaked out doctor. In all honesty it was hilarious.

I wish I could say I possess super-strength, but I’m working on it.  Yes, this is all a part of that “rare illness” thing I mentioned.  It affects everything. Eating, sleeping, blogging, fish tanks, what I can eat, college, what jobs I can get, etc.

So now that I’ve related it to something you clearly will be able to relate to as a comic book reader, you need to understand the other side of the coin.

For every superpower, there is a downside.  The uber-flexibility means I’m also in pain a lot without much rhyme or reason.  The pain also means I have the attention span of a squirrel when I am in pain. Normally people say attention span of a goldfish, but because I have fish as pets, fish have longer attention spans than you think so I will not diss them!

Most of the time, I’m fine.  But lately, it’s kicking my ass – it’s like as if Superman couldn’t control his super senses for a little bit.  In the process, you couldn’t tell that there is anything wrong with me.  I look completely normal, until I make giant claws come out of my han-… wrong power..

But you know, I’m also telling you because our heroes do have limitations.  Superman was bullied because he had super-senses.  Wolverine can’t go through metal detectors.  Cyclops needs those fancy ass glasses. Even Batman probably could be his own psychology case study, and forget about Captain America, who had a long list of illnesses in The First Avenger.  Granted he’s not sickly now, but they all had limitations.  If you ever wanted to know what being a real life superhero was like, you could interview me – because being uber-bendy has it’s perks.  I’ll probably never break a bone because I’m flexible.  I could prevent slipping better than any person in my immediate (and probably extended) family, possibly better than my cat.  It requires me to exercise a lot, so that also means I have some semblance of super strength involved here.  I could pinpoint the temperature inside or outside because of my hypersensitivity to it – I know if someone raised the heat 1 degree in my house. One.  Degree.

In elementary school – and high school – I was probably the fastest or in the top three of fastest people in the classes because of my flexible legs, and I never have an itch on my back I can’t get to.

^ you.  Itches you can’t get to suck.  Sucker.

So, everyone has their bad times.  Superman, Wolverine, Cyclops, Professor X (seriously I reacted the same way he did almost), Captain America, Magneto… and every other super powered person you could imagine.  The concepts of illnesses isn’t new to comic books and Barbara Gordon brought it even more into the spotlight.  Hell, even Hulk qualifies a little bit, and if you consider Iron Man to be unhealthily conceited, he does too.  You can’t “fix” me just like you can’t “fix” them.

Don’t define my blog by the one reason that I can’t write for a few days.  If it must be in the equation, define it by letting it drive my interest in comic books.  Define it by  “she’s a real superhero” (yep, I’m a she, people). She could be an X-Men.  But know that’s why I haven’t been here – been out saving the world, you know?  Busy…

I will be back full time within the next week or so, and I don’t let it keep me down – if I did, I’d be writing about how much my life sucks.  If I did, I wouldn’t write here or take care of big fish tanks or dogs or cats or cooking my own meals.  If I did, I wouldn’t go to a gym or go to college or do everything else everyone else does.  If I did, I wouldn’t still want to be writing comics or have another job I do now, whether it’s mine or someone else’s character (yeah, I want to write comics, and I am working on my own character book).

Just remember, I’m not any different than the people you read about. I identify with them because people think I’m weird when they hear I’m so stretchy. People have asked what is wrong with me and then stopped me halfway saying they didn’t want to know. People have outwardly asked me if it will kill me in very insensitive ways. An ex-boyfriend left me over it via text message while I was in a doctor’s office trying to figure out what exactly was wrong. The fact is, people have been prejudiced against me because I’m bendy and need some small but significant accommodations sometimes – like being able to move around if I need to. It really is nothing graphic or strange – but people don’t like it. I scare people but I am not scary. Just like the X-Men.

I’ve always identified with Barbara Gordon and the X-Men since my diagnosis, and that’s why we need more characters like her. We need more disabled people talking regardless if you can see their disability or not. My disability is genetic so it was always there even before I knew it was – and I always felt out of place or as if something was wrong with me. Then I found out and I had doctors sitting around debating the course of my illness/life and when I’d need a wheelchair, if I ever did – and if that were to happen, I’d like to think I’d be the real version of Barbara Gordon.
But the comic characters get it.

Do you?

(This post was also meant to raise awareness for Rare Disease Day 2015).

Where do I start?

I’m a woman in comics.

It doesn’t get much better than this.

Let me start by saying it is wonderful that girls have something to relate to.  I love male characters as much as the next guy (or girl).  But really, the fact is, its so different when the lead is a female – at least for me.  It’s different when it’s set in a time when sexism is glaring – Because you and I both know comics and traditionally male topics went through that stage.  I refuse to air my opinion on if it still has a hint of sexist, but man, Peggy took some major steps in the right direction.

How is this different for Black Widow for me?
If you read my blog you know I love Black Widow.  Black Widow was different because Captain America and Falcon were involved (mostly cap).  And there were a good few moments she didn’t feel like an equal or she didn’t quite come off as the same caliber as Captain.  And that’s okay to some extent – I mean, the name of the film is Captain America.  She shouldn’t be the main star of the show.

So why do I love Agent Carter?

Simply put, sexism is glaring and she’s the only one who is being put down.  Also, truthfully, originally I had the notion in my head that there was a significant chance that Agent Carter would just be touting a constant “girl power” schtick.  But then, I realized a few things – significant things (I’m just laying some groundwork for a larger point):

(Spoilers)

– Peggy Carter is, quite literally, a woman in a man’s land.  It’s easy to say her constantly punching people and throwing people out of windows is really just making the girl power schtick go too far.  But the fact is, back in the ’40s, a woman probably couldn’t punch a man without getting the crap beat out of her herself.  I totally understand the notion that it’s too much or too far, but she couldn’t casually walk into the room asking for a meeting when she wanted to find the bomb (the glowing orange thing – the name evades me).  He would’ve told her go home sweetheart, this work is for a man.

–  At first, I understood it when people said, “All the males are sexist”.  Google 1940s advertisements.  Have you seen that shit?  Also, like I said before, it might also be done to highlight Steve Rogers and his qualities, putting emphasis on their relationship – he is decidedly not sexist.  If a Good Not Sexist Guy shows up, we might be rooting for Peggy to date him, who knows.

– I’ve seen the argument be used that she makes men out to be stupid (not true), and I’ve seen the argument be used that it takes away from the overall message for the makers to use her as a sexy blonde and using lipstick to get someone to pass out.  Herein lies the problem: While today we don’t need to do that and we *can* ask for a meeting or just kick ass to begin with like Black Widow does, odds are the men consider her to be too stupid to pull off that kind of thing.  They blatantly call her stupid more than once.  They don’t expect her to use her brain and con them out of things via their own sexist desires – it’s not that they’re stupid.  It’s their blatant underestimation and own expectations that lead to that result.  You wouldn’t at all be puzzled over a blonde woman in a low cut dress suddenly appearing in your office?  Well, you would be – turns out they’re not puzzled by it.  They’re that good.  That desirable (Yuck).

– People are saying if it’s a powerful tv show for women – there should be more women.  Except, it’s the 1940s, and they call her a secretary.  It’s hard enough for her to be there and it’d take away from her character.  Also, maybe how this is received will pave the way for other non-ridiculous public relations pitches.  Maybe we can get a Black Widow movie out of this. Maybe we can get Poison Ivy her own comics.  Peggy Carter is, in a way, paving a way, even if she’s in such a sexist 1940s land.

So I still haven’t answered the question:  How has Agent Carter changed things for me?

Focusing on her gender might have a good result in the end.  It might eventually result in us having more female-led comics.  More female-led movies.  More female led anything (sidenote:  exactly 1 grown woman in Ant Man’s trailer if I remember correctly). Things like that are a problem.  I thoroughly enjoy the male leads.  I thoroughly enjoy their acting ability.  But I can only relate to them so much – it reaches a point where I can’t relate to them because they’re guys aside from being superheroes.  It’s hard enough to relate to super soldiers and giant green people, but now you’re changing the gender on me. Agent Carter nips that in the butt for me.  I can relate to her.  I can say I want to be like Peggy Carter.  I can say I want to be Peggy Carter for Halloween (and if I were 12, I would be).  It also appears the next episode is going to let her personality blossom, and yes, she does have flaws (she forgot leaving her tracks behind?).

Not only is she not a superhero, but she’s also one of the characters who used to be put in refrigerators – the killed love interests to rile up the superheroes, or to get revenge.  She is a love interest, but I don’t suggest you try to fridge her – she shot at him, and she’ll shoot at you, too.

Overall,  Agent Carter took one big step in the right direction – in a big, red, high heel.

So I’m doing a comic book story arc today so I can review Agent Carter later (because I love Peggy, so, so, so, much… just letting you know) and there is absolutely no way I am missing the 2 hour premiere.  So without further adieu:

I had been planning on reviewing this, it’s just been a hard week or so.  The thing about holidays is that they’re supposed to be fun but they really just become completely exhausting.  Couple that with having no life during the school semester – and suddenly wanting to have a life if not for a week or two – and you have a complete exhaustive disaster.

Now the premise of the story is that Catwoman – Selina Kyle – heads to Rome to find her roots in the mafia, and brings along The Riddler who actually isn’t as honest as he says.  Then they find this blonde guy hitman and he helps them.  More or less, that is the synopsis.

But actually, I wasn’t as impressed with When In Rome as I thought I would be.  It felt a little bit like a maze but then at the end of it, it was like, cheese?  That’s it?  It felt actually kind of predictable to me.  I didn’t actually like how Selina Kyle was portrayed this time around all that much – she kinda just came off as a total bitch, as opposed to a strong woman with an occasional bitchy attitude with something always up her sleeve.  She kinda just felt one dimensional to me.  You can tell me I’m way off here, I just didn’t like her this time around.  I just… I just didn’t.  Selina also reminded me of Wonder Woman; she didn’t feel sleek, she felt like thunder thighs. I mean, sometimes it was funny, but, really, most of the time it just felt a little ridiculous and kinda overdone with some parts that were meant to be humorous. I liked the aspect of her wanting to avoid Batman at all costs so she could do her thing, but then the other guy is constantly showing up and saving her ass.. and it’s like, this is why we didn’t want Batman around, and then we just get… a Batman… without the batsuit… Not named Bruce.. Um..

I found the ending kinda anti-climatic.  I expected the whole thing with (spoilers now) Louisa to be intriguing, but it really just dove after that for me.  I couldn’t actually find The Riddler’s actions remotely surprising in the end, either.  Some things about it were surprising (like his motive  – or the fight that ensued with a certain someone’s ice gun), but he’s the Riddler, people.  You couldn’t have honestly expected anything different from him; “riddle” is in the guy’s nickname, what makes you think he’s honest?  There were parts that got me thinking, but as I said, the ending was like,  that’s it?  Just cheese?  It wraps up nicely with what it has, but I just think it could’ve used better wrapping paper.  It does give you a glimpse into the window of Catwoman, but by no means do I consider this the entire window.  I like her constant self-battle over being involved with Batman romantically/her nightmares, just because I consider that a part of Catwoman and Batman both.

And Catwoman’s suit.. I’m sorry, but, that just wasn’t it for me.  It looked kind of ridiculous.  I know both Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale are kind of big people and this might be a big deal that I’m criticizing them both, but… really, it was not it for me.  Those ears make you wonder if she was receiving satellite dish tv or something, especially with the accompanying whiskers.  Some of the anatomy drove me fucking crazy, and I kept looking at Catwoman’s legs and wondering why they were hyperextending.  The art was good, the coloring was good, but some of the anatomy – YES I KNOW IT’S A COMIC BOOK! – drove me to Rome.

Overall, if I were to tell you a comic book that embodied Catwoman to me:  As of now, it wouldn’t be this.  It’d be Hush.

Special:  Agent Carter review tomorrow.

What do I look forward to in 2015?

Simply put.  Sorry I’ve been a little irregular lately, and also not terribly active on Twitter.  I’m sick (again, but different type of sickness this time). However, I went places and did things… probably too much so, resulting in my head cold that I am trying to get rid of.

Tom Hanks, anyone?

Tom Hanks, anyone?

Yes:  I went to FAO Schwarz.  However, my Manhattan excursions for this year are now over, and if I didn’t decide that, I’m sick, so I’m forced to decide that.  Tom Hanks, though.  I want to watch Big so terribly bad, now.  yes, I bought a stuffed animal.  It was obligatory.  Everyone thought I was a tourist, anyway (sidenote:  New Yorkers normally hate being mistaken for tourists in the city they live in).

So in terms of movies, what do I look forward to?  Looking over a list, I’m going to tell you.  Right now.

January:

I keep seeing commercials for Blackhat, and I sort of want to see it if I don’t even know what it’s about.  I can’t tell you much more than that because I don’t actually know about it.  I’ve just gotten bombarded with commercials.

Another movie on the list is Selma.  I have a particular fascination with history-related movies, particularly semi-modern history movies.

Perhaps my guilty pleasure will be Taken 3, though.  Yes, I realize critically they bomb.  I realize it has a cult following.  I see the flaws with the Taken franchise, but I still love it nonetheless.  The characters are the epitome of stereotype, but that’s okay, because we get to see Liam Neeson kick ass.  And who doesn’t like a good Liam Neeson ass kicking?  To be fair, if someone was going to kick my ass who is famous, I’d want Neeson to hands down.  He’s good at a nice ass kicking if you need one.  Therefore, while I fully understand why the Taken franchise is nothing but a cult following, I understand why the followers follow it.

You see this? This is why I’m rambling.

I want to see Agent Carter in January as well.

February:

In this month, I will probably find a way to see Kingsman: The Secret Service, even if it’s another movie I don’t know that much about.  I know it’s comic related, so why not?  (I also know Samuel L. Jackson is in it).

Nothing in February really jumps out at me.  Spongebob movie, maybe?  Jupiter Ascending, perhaps?  Probably Jupiter Ascending.  I’m telling you right now, though: I don’t look forward to Fifty Shades of Grey.

Will I review it?  I don’t know yet.

… I mean, maybe if it’s wildly popular or really good, but I really just don’t want to.  I will if it’s popular, in the end, which it probably would be.

March and April:

Nothing really pops out here.  I see Mall Cop 2 listed, another Paranomal Activity, and Cinderella.  Sidenote:  I am not seeing Chappie.

May:

Now the big kahunas are starting.  Yes, no duh I am excited for Age of Ultron.  I’d say most comic fans are. They’ve built the hype enough for it.  I think it’s safe to say this movie is shaping up to be a good one.  I mean, I sort of already gave my thoughts for Ultron in my Avengers review, so if it’s a bit lacking, that would explain it.  I look forward to Ultron, I look forward to building our Cap VS. Iron Man feud, I look forward to seeing a not-so-lighthearted Avengers film.

June:

Perhaps the most controversial of all.

Jurassic World.

I guess I’m excited, but not really because I have hope it’ll be a good movie.  I’m excited mainly because I’m finally seeing a JP movie in a theater, even if it doesn’t feature Sam Neill.  From a critical standpoint, I’m really pretty hesitant because of stuff like this:

Yeah….

The fact is, they’re going to have a hard sell with this and with the D. rex.  I get where they’re going, but they’re going to need to juggle corny and story and making statements, which is generally a hard balance to get.  I understand they want to make a statement that humans are bored of the natural world and no matter how much we get, we just keep on taking – but the fact is, they’re going to need to effectively juggle that efficiently.

Also, Ted 2 comes out here.  Seth McFarlane, so I’d expect it to be a comedy.  Again, don’t know very much.

July:

Terminator: Genisys comes out, which as far as I can tell is a gimmick considering they purposely spelled Genisys wrong.  From what I know, this movie is just going to piss off a lot of people.  The movie Minions comes out, which are from Despicable Me.  I’ll definitely be watching this, and considering the internet’s mild obsession with minions, I don’t expect this to have too many problems with drawing people.  Another movie on the slate is Ant Man, which I don’t actually know the general consensus for.  It seems split, last I checked.  Honestly, I’m a comic fan who doesn’t know that much about Ant Man.

August:

Goosebumps and The Fantastic Four.  I’m having an incredibly difficult time taking F4 seriously, and Goosebumps is a long-running book series turned movie, so I’m presuming this is going to be geared toward children.

September and October:

The Intern, which I’ve heard a lot about, comes out.  Myself personally I am not terribly excited for this movie, but it might show me otherwise.  The Jungle Book comes out in October, along with an untitled Tom Hanks movie focusing on the Cold War.  The second movie, of course, has peaked my interest.

November and December:

The Peanuts movie!  Yes, perhaps a bit childish, but I do want to see it.  I remember being a kid and always watching the Peanuts around holidays so excuse me if I consider this a must.  The Good Dinosaur seems kiddish but cute, and of course The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 is in this.

December is probably what everyone is waiting for with the release of Star Wars The Force Awakens.  I had someone else write my Trailer SW post, so I’ll let you know in 12 months… I have some catching up to do..

Not going to watch Star Wars movies, or anything.

I’m sorry this is short and sweet, but..

I’m sleeping.

As you may or may not know, there are certain movies people watch at certain times of the year.  Some people reviewed Christmas movies in particular.  Some people reviewed classics.  I’m going to review a movie that seems to take place just before or around Christmas – and unlike my other reviews, I’m not going to spoil this movie for you.  This isn’t a superhero movie I could presume you’ve seen.  This isn’t some new movie that young people following me have probably seen.  However, I just want you to know it’s set around Christmas time, and I’m going to intertwine some other messages in this review.  I know I said I was doing Big Hero 6, recently, but I’m actually a little all over the place getting back into the groove of this (and Christmas making it worse).  However, it is connected to superhero movies in a truly bizarre way.  You’ll see how.

The actual name of the movie is The Horse Whisperer.  The premise of the movie is – a young girl, living in New York, owns a horse.  She and a friend go out riding, only for her friend’s horse to slip on ice.  As a result, both friends end up tumbling down onto a road, where a truck eventually hits them both (this is all pretty much within the first 5-10 minutes of the movie).  The friend dies, the young girl we’re following lives but with a handicap (watch the movie), and her horse is traumatized.  Traumatized to the point where he has a complete change in personality.

So… why the hell am I reviewing a horse movie?

I used to ride horses.  I’ve stopped now, but I’ll be going back.  To review a movie such as this is really only appropriate.

Oh yeah… the little girl.  Remember how I said it’s somehow related to superhero movies?  Well, Scarlett Johansson is that little girl.  Her name in the movie is Grace.  If you want a taste for 13 year old Johansson, watch the movie.  But, someone else from a recent superhero movie happens to be in this movie:  Robert Redford, complete with the obligatory question about milk (seriously expected Sebastian Stan to show up).  And I have to be honest, Redford wasn’t terribly interesting – I mean, he was, but Johansson really peaked my interest.  Thinking of her then and now, it’s just really strange.  I mean, I have to be honest, she didn’t actually change all that much, but it’s like seeing a retrospective work of an actor.  It’s like taking a look into their past without even realizing it.  Honestly, Johansson wasn’t a household name until now.  She is a kid in this movie, and she works with Redford long before The Winter Soldier was even on the table – or any tables.  It sort of gives you insight into her acting style, long before Lucy, Avengers, The Winter Soldier, or any other big name she is known for.  You get to see a kid Scarlett Johansson act.

And all things considered, she wasn’t much different.

She was amazing as a child actor.  I mean, it’s easy to say that now because she became Black Widow, but she is actually very true to herself in this movie.  She is still snarky, witty, etc.  Sure, she doesn’t kick Redford’s ass in this one, but they do semi-battle it out in parts.  And I have to wonder: what was it like for her to work with him so long after a movie like this?  This was made in 1998.  Redford literally saw her grow up.  Considering he directed the movie, he was the one who probably found her in the first place.  And I can’t help but wonder how weird that must have been on the set of The Winter Soldier.  I can’t help but wonder their feelings toward each other or if there’s any other movies they did together (actually, if you know that, please tell me).  Seeing two actors suddenly take such a different stage, while one of those actors is so different, is just really weird to me.  I don’t know why.  It just is.

And for the JP fans following me: Sam Neill is there, too.  He’s Grace’s dad.  He presents himself in his usual calm, cool style with some outbursts.  Sam Neill is a smooth actor, I’ll never say otherwise.  I find his acting style quite mesmerizing.  Probably because whenever I see him, he comes off as someone with a lot of wisdom even if he doesn’t actually have wisdom in the movie.  Even in this movie, he just comes off as the Good Guy because of being level headed during a certain moment (watch the movie).

But let me continue my short summary: Because the horse is traumatized, and her friend is dead, Grace’s mom stalks down (basically literally) and drives several thousand miles to meet The Horse Whisperer (Redford).

So… I need to review from here with no spoilers.

Redford is not entirely different from his Winter Soldier counterpart, by the way.  He comes off as cocky in the beginning.  Overall, I feel like this movie really gave me an insight into some of these actors.  A real, serious insight.

But from this point on, Redford tries to work with the horse, and I feel as though the plot could’ve focused a little more on the horse in the end.  I mean, Pilgrim (the horse) is completely and utterly why they drove that far.  The resolution with Pilgrim appears to happen awfully quickly.  The movie was criticized a bit by horse people (don’t be offended, I am one of them) because of the training techniques used, but, I mean, you could kind of criticize any movie for anything like that.  Star Wars depicts space inaccurately.  Jurassic Park depicts inaccurate dinosaurs (oh, shut up).  The Dark Knight doesn’t represent real jokers.  I mean, hello?  You seeing a theme here?  Yes.  It’s hollywood.  That is what Hollywood does.  If you criticize hollywood that much, you will have a breakdown at what occurs in Bollywood.  I can see criticizing an actual movie with actual animals more than I can understand criticizing Star Wars for lack of space realism – how many friends and family of yours have gone into space?
Exactly.

Simply put, while I can understand why it was criticized *more than other movies*, everyone in the general public needs to remember it’s a movie.  If you have a horse problem, talk to a horse trainer.  Do not listen to Robert Redford, no matter how legit he may look as a cowboy… because he does look legit.  The main point is, someone might actually try to be Robert Redford (Darwinism at it’s finest), but nobody is going to try to turn the International Space Station into the Death Star.  While I don’t generally approve of constant nitpicking for accuracy within movies (see: “Documentaries”), I can see why a little nitpicking might be necessary here: people are stupid.

Aside from the possibility everyone tries to become Robert Redford, the plot itself got a little slow, because as I said, it felt like it didn’t quite focus on the horse as much as it was in the beginning.  It’s also a little bit muddled in it’s morals and the moral messages it’s trying to get through to you.  I haven’t actually quite figured it out yet.  Is it about loyalty?  Is it about not always getting what you want? Is it about being open minded?  I can’t actually figure it out, and the general consensus is actually that the ending sucks, at least within my household (I can’t disagree that much, but the polar opposite you’d just call “predictable” so they lose either way).  The problem with the ending is that they picked such a likeable person for it to be involved with.  It’s genuinely hard to hate the person that is involved with this ending.  The ending actually leaves you morally split.  To me, it’s almost as if it embodies the choices we need to make without owning a horse. You know, your dream job or a secure life type deal.  Overall, yes, the messages are a little bit muddled, but I definitely took that home.

I also took home a few other things: the power of animals, and how quickly people can change.  It’s no secret animals help people heal.  Therapy dogs.  Animals that visit nursing homes.  Dogs that visit cancer hospitals.  Seeing eye dogs (companionship).  I mean, if nothing else, Grace has her horse.  After the accident she is somehow disabled, and bullied for it.  You don’t need to own a horse to be disabled or be bullied.  You don’t need to own a horse to have family tension or a mom who works a lot.  If the messages were a bit more clear, I would say this movie isn’t about a horse at all – but it teeters between a horse movie and a moral movie with a horse in it.  It doesn’t fit either clear cut category.  At times it gets corny, as well.  It sort of speaks to people who watch it through one situation or another. It doesn’t really matter if you have a horse or not – you’ll relate to some situation in this movie.  The morals might be a bit muddled, but the fact is, everyone has something they’re grappling with.  The power of animals completely changes one person.  The characters are fairly developed, certainly, but follow stereotype.  Redford seems cold and distant (and underdeveloped), and the chemistry just isn’t there between he and Kristin Scott-Thomas.

And there’s more that makes you step back a bit.

The shots in this movie make you want to hop in the car and go on a road trip.  I shit you not.  It’s drop dead gorgeous.  It really does the mood of the movie itself justice, especially with the constant heartbreak going on.  It’s just awfully contradicting.

Overall, the movie isn’t terrible but isn’t great.  But if you ever want a movie to see struggle, or see a difficult choice, or just need something human to relate to that is in your face, and feeling like nothing is there for you – hug your dog and watch it.

So I’ve been planning on coming here for months on end. I never got around to it because of schoolwork, life, and well, everything else.  Let me tell you I was so excited for this I could barely see straight.  When I first found it out, I pretty much said I’m getting tickets it and going, crawling if I need to.  So upon entrance, I was so happy to be there, it was crazy.  I felt confident in the exhibit. Well, um.  That wasn’t the case…  Fun fact:  I usually listen to superhero music during these posts.  I am listening to something completely unrelated to superheroes.  It was actually that bad.  I thought for sure, it’d be something to rave about..

That was not the case.

Like, at all.  I’m actually wondering if someone blindfolded the media when they wrote their reviews of it back in July, because I just can’t see how it was so utterly amazing.  (Sidenote:  Any civilian reviews of this is almost overwhelmingly negative).  That, or they were offered a shitload of money.

Upon entering – the entrance sets a really high bar.   First of all, the Discovery Center in NYC does not allow photography, as such, that includes the Marvel exhibit.  Which to me, already, you are setting a really high bar for yourself.  You need to make this exhibit so unforgettable, so amazing, that you don’t need a selfie with the Iron Man suit to remember you went in 2 years.  The fact is, people are surgically attached to their devices.  I’m not saying that’s right, or even that should be the case – it just is.  We also live in a world of complete documentation – our phones document what we see.  To deny people to document is a pretty big deal nowadays, really, and I am not the only one with this sentiment because I looked at reviews of this place, and everyone apparently hated you couldn’t take pictures.  Well, if you are one of those people:  That wasn’t Marvel.  That was Discovery Center, which seems to have a business model of “No pictures +  cool exhibit idea + ???? = profit”.  I have been near or in Discovery Center a few times (I live in NYC), and I have to tell you it’s really more of a tourist trap half the time in my opinion, aside from the fact that if the exhibit is actually good, you can’t take pictures – which to me is a boatload of bullshit.

But let’s get started on the actual exhibits… if you really want to call them that.

You walk in, and they make you make out a SHIELD Agent card.  At first, I thought this was just a cute gimmick.  No. That card ended up being the entire exhibit.  Literally.  I asked to confirm the no photography about a million times, but a Discovery Center employee (not Marvel-specific employee) informed me that they just throw out whoever tries to take any pictures, but told me if you can sneak it do it, because “I love them too”.  She/He told me the employees (Marvel) are a special type of asshole when it comes to any device that could take a picture, no less actually doing it.  Like, if you just take out your phone, more than likely a shitload of employees are just going to turn into some SHIELD police gimmick and take you down for real.  Not to sound nitpicky (although once I hate something, I’ll nitpick it down to the color of it), but, like, maybe people have legitimate reasons to use their phones.  I don’t know.  I went on a vacation about a decade ago, and everything went to hell.  If I was a tourist, and I went into Marvel on that vacation, there was no way I wouldn’t use my phone or at least check it. It was legitimate emergency level stuff, such as emergency sick family members and the like (yes, while on vacation, thousands of miles away).  It’s really not that hard for a vacation to slowly take a really shitty turn, since I know someone probably thinks I’m doing it to be nitpicky – but trust me, I was on that vacation where it just went really bad, and we all relied on our cell phones, and kept them available at all times.

But I made it through making a card.  Yay.

Now I go into another room, where there is a guy with a camera and a green screen.  I’m not getting much of an explanation as to why I am standing in front of a green screen, why this person is telling me to “pose like a superhero”, or why he is here at all.  I already made the card, what are you possibly using my picture for?  The lack of explanation was really quite confusing, so I took one serious one and one not serious one.  Still, I had no explanation as to why I am standing in front of a green screen.

Then this is where they set the bar really high.  You go into this chrome-looking square (as a miserable looking employee escorts you – dude looked like someone told him his pet hamster died), and Agent Felix Blake comes on.  I’m Agent Felix Blake, and this is top secret blah blah blah.  The walls in front of you literally become the screen you are watching, which is really cool tech.  So then that’s all over, and you go into another room, and another series of small TVs tell you the same exact explanation the other guy just did.  It was literally almost verbatim, and you are wondering why you are hearing this again, why your neck needs to fucking crane out like a giraffe over this thing (if you happened to stand relatively normal, it looked like a laptop/flat screen on a bad angle), and when you are actually going to see something.  It was cool technology, please don’t get me wrong, but I just thought they could show something different.

It only looks cool.

(photocred: Timeout.com)
Finally, the meat and potatoes, or the very little meat and potatoes, of the exhibit are after this explanation.  You walk forward, and there are costumes.  Namely, Black Widow, Coulson, Nick Fury, Hawkeye, and that should be it (Also, really, no Peggy costume from TFA either there or in the Captain America exhibit?  Hello? marketing committee, are you sleeping?  She is getting her own show?).  And to accompany these props – which initially really left me in awe, despite the fact I couldn’t take photos – were none other than touch screens giving a brief explanation of the heroes.  I didn’t actually play any of them because I played one and lost interest in about .5 seconds, because all it showed was scenes from The Avengers.  I don’t believe it actually went into the character’s history very much other than perhaps their role in Avengers, but I could be wrong considering my interest instantaneously was lost.

The next exhibit was probably the only reason I went: Captain America.  I am a huge Captain America fan.  I saw pictures of his exhibit and knew I needed to go.  Honestly, for how ridiculously famous he is now, you would’ve really expected more.  There were the cards, his shields, costume, various other props, and that was basically it in props.  Honestly, if you want to see his props, save your money and just Google “Marvel Avengers STATION Captain America”.  You’ll see almost everything if you look hard enough.  Aside from the props, there were “testing” yourself against Captain America machines… Which, really, if you have any interest in actual comic books or are over the age of 5, that isn’t going to be your big thrill.  I don’t know.. considering how famous he is now, a little history in the character would’ve been better than these machines.  Wow! Captain America is stronger than you (spoiler alert).  The machines were also corny enough to tell everyone who used it they made it to the high scores. One machine even told you your height and weight, and Cap’s height and weight, and the differences in both.  You don’t need to pay 30-50 dollars to be told that, and you can just Google Captain America’s height and weight and do basic math without uber-engineering getting involved.

Whatever machines weren’t “tests” against Captain America, it went into the science of Captain America.  Except.. Captain America isn’t science.  I don’t care if he has different hemoglobin oxygen levels.  I don’t care about his liver working overtime – really, I don’t.  They should have had more on Captain America, than literally a room full of “test yourself against Captain America”.  I don’t know…. the fact his debut comic was punching Adolf Hitler?  His past movies?  His past anything?  But, at least I got to see his costume, which somehow got me a dirty look from the employee.  I did not have a phone out, nor did I have a camera (like, with me, at all).  Why enthusiasm warranted a dirty look, I do not know, but, the Discovery Center person wasn’t wrong.

And it only gets worse from here.

Next exhibit is the Hulk.  As you can imagine, unless they custom-make giant shorts, I don’t see what props they could include in Hulk’s exhibit.

Bingo.

It was the biggest, and also probably one of the most irrelevant, exhibits.  The exhibit had nothing to do with the Hulk and everything to do with random scientific information.  The Hulk’s exhibit featured everything from learning about gamma ray radiation in really god damn scientific terms (like, I’m talking words that would not generally appear in the Avengers, a history of the Hulk, or even Bruce Banner; they would appear in your local “radiation” college course).  You quite literally have no idea what you are reading, or why the hell you should read it at all, considering Bruce Banner or Hulk is barely mentioned in one of the machines’ descriptions.  Not to mention, before, on Captain America’s machines, there wasn’t really anything inherently scientific aside from the one prop that explained how he lived though being frozen (once again, in really complicated terms about hemoglobin, liver activity, and thyroid activity).  It was really just corny, so you didn’t need to re-read anything.  Well, the problem is, for all of these machines I’m mentioning, you are using that card.  You scan the card, and then you do the machine.

Seems simple, right?

Except for the fact that the makers of the exhibit expected you to be the Usain Bolt of reading and have a PhD in “Everything Science Related” so therefore you obviously know EXACTLY what they are talking about.

I needed to re-do one like 3 times because 1.  It was too fast and I couldn’t actually fucking read it, 2. it wasn’t explained properly what to do, 3. it went too fast and I couldn’t actually fucking read it.  Did I mention it was too fast?  Captain America’s information/machines were at least a little relevant (but corny), everyone knows he is a super soldier.  But tell me:  Why do we give a shit about the size of Hulk’s temporal lobe?  How about his Frontal lobe and Prefrontal cortex?  Amygdala?  Do you even know what any of those are?  Do you care what any of those are? If you do, don’t go to a Marvel exhibit.  Take a psychology course.

Yes, there was an exhibit on the human brain within Hulk’s exhibit (if you call it that), explaining all of the human brain and what it does.  Except for the fact that this is an Avengers exhibit, not a neuropsychology exhibit.  Tell us how Banner got the radiation.  Tell us his first comic debut. Now we’re really getting desperate: even mention the man who made him, Stan Lee.

And as you went on, it just delved deeper into gamma radiation, and kept ignoring Hulk.  There was an unidentified movie prop – once again, no explanation – along with more explanations about gamma rays.  I didn’t actually bother reading them, and I just kept going.  Next I found Chitaur props and Loki, which were cool.

…And then things hit a new low.  A really new low.

You know how people say Thor is ignored?  Well, Marvel definitely confirmed they ignore him too.

Literally, the exhibit consisted of a black room with Thor’s costume, and a hologram of his hammer.  It’s supposedly like, the world’s biggest hologram or something.  Why that would really matter to a comic book fan, I couldn’t actually tell you.  But it get’s worse.  Thor’s exhibit happened to be his suit, a hologram hammer, and… NASA.  That’s right.  Hubble Space Telescope, Kevlar, Wasp-2b planet, Constellations, Northern Lights.  How is that relevant to Thor?

Not explained either.

Yeah, I get it that he’s from Asgard and space and references, but literally, the entire screen had NASA information as if you just went to a space museum.  Thor’s costume had two screens that didn’t work next to him.  I normally love astronomy, but the fact is, I wasn’t there for astronomy.  They kept up the Avengers movie gimmick, but didn’t actually mention anywhere that Loki is the brother of Thor.  Bringing their A-Game, in other words.

Then you went around the back, and there is another giant screen explaining more astronomy, and suddenly something Thor related actually gets a mention – mind you, the screen is blocked by the NASA exhibit, so it’s not even near Thor’s costume.  Jane Foster is mentioned, as well as more scientific jargon.  I don’t have a lot to say… partly because there isn’t a lot to say.  There wasn’t much to see, therefore, there is very little to talk about.

Next, is Iron Man.

Iron Man gave me the finger.

I knew he was rough, but… wow.. Really..

Iron Man didn’t actually give me the finger.  They just had more gimmicky machines, and one of those machines was an Iron Man arm.  Except, the middle finger must have stopped working, and the ring finger only worked on the top (otherwise known as the phalanges, because apparently this is about anatomy and not comic books).  So you put your hand inside a sensor, and begin making hand movements… except for the fact the middle finger didn’t move.. And as such, Iron Man gave me the middle finger.

But it gets worse.  There was one machine that was so bad, I just stopped using it.  It was about how Howard Stark did engineering or something.  There were typos in each of these machines, somewhere, but this just topped it all.  It didn’t just have typos, but it didn’t explain Howard Stark.  It explained… types of rocks.

Gold is a soft metal.  Iron is a hard metal.  Titanium is found here.  Agent is bored to tears. Abort mission.

If I wanted to learn about metals, I’d take a geology course.  Ideally, if you want to know about Iron Man, you go to a Marvel exhibit… apparently, that is not the case, here.  His costume looked gorgeous, but really, more gimmick machines.  It was supposed to be “being Iron Man”, but like I said, if you actually like comic books, this is not the place to go.  I actually didn’t even bother finish looking at everything, just because I just wanted to leave.

But then, it abruptly ends.  And there is a gift shop…

… with items almost exclusively for children.

For adults, there’s a gray metal water bottle (Iron Man taught you about that.. Pop Quiz time), and really expensive shit.  For example?  There were canvas’.  They were nice.

They were over a thousand dollars.

There were child banks.  Child t shirts.  Child everything else. Thor’s hammer and Captain America’s other shield was in the gift shop, and those two things were literally the only things you could get a picture of.  (I took a Shield Selfie (TM)).  The only mention of comic books was the gift shop… with exactly two story arcs being there.

Everything else sucked, simply put.

Oh?  Remember that green screen?  Well, at the end, they put a picture of the Avengers behind you, and you could buy the pictures for a ridiculously overpriced amount and have them e-mailed to you (yet again for a price).

Turns out, still no pictures in my inbox.

Way to go, Marvel.

As some Twitter followers may know (twitter.com/FictionalPlanet) I plan on releasing my own comic book.  This was posted on my blog while it was on Blogger.  I have decided to repost it here:

Without further adieu:

Q: so… What’s his name?
A: not going to give you that just yet!

Q: Give us something! What is his character like?
A: you are using how many social profiles right now? Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr?
This character is a play on the world we live in.  He’s a play on various aspects of society that are hotly debated (like SOPA).  He is a very political character and he is very relevant to society.

Q: hero or villain?
A: neither.

Q: anti hero or anti villain?
A: honestly, not even that is too clear cut but I’d lean on anti hero.

Q: so any other heroes?
A: what’s good about this character is that I don’t need to make him the only hero in whatever universe he is in.  Truthfully, no other heroes want to actually interact with him because they don’t trust him.  He isn’t innately bad or a villain.  He just makes you question morality, good and bad, the basics of what make us human.

Q: Did any work influence you?
A: George Orwell, 1984.

Q: how about villains?
A: you’ll fine out in time.

I asked a knowledgeable friend to write my Star Wars post. He is probably more of a movie buff than me! I’m not the biggest fan and I wouldn’t do it justice. Contact me for more info on him! Thanks again for writing the post. If you want to be a guest feel free to contact me on Twitter.

Well it’s here, it’s finally here. Unless you’ve been living long ago in a galaxy far, far way then you have heard about Star Wars and more importantly for this conversation Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ inaugural teaser trailer. And if you do live in another galaxy in the past then we have other issues. Anyway, that trailer….As you can imagine, the response, views and reactions for it have been massive–record-setting–which isn’t surprising for the world’s largest movie franchise and, as a result, the world’s largest nerd community. The trailer was so big that at least two separate versions of it have registered 10 million+ views of it on youtube in 3 days; the Star Wars and MovieClips channel with the latter having 36+ million. Then there is the George Lucas-ized parody version of it with 5.5 million hits in 1 day and the lego version with 2.5 million in two days. It is probably needless to mention the many other uploads across youtube and the web that have hundreds of thousands and millions of hits as well. This movie is humongous and really anticipated.

And you must be thinking with that kind of pressure and that kind of angst and especially that kind of expectation this teaser will be 3 minutes and spoil half the movie? Well you’d be wrong because that isn’t Star Wars or J.J. Abrams style. Let me preface this by saying I am a prequel fan and an Abrams fan and so my opinion may not and probably is not the prevailing attitude of the Wars community at large–at least when dishing out praise for those two subjects. Anyway, back to that trailer topic. It came to my attention through an Abrams interview with Howard Stern on Stern’s radio show that Abrams has major reservations about revealing much of anything in marketing and prefers to keep the audience guessing and off-balance. As a result I did not expect much with the rumored teaser at all. As expected, the trailer was short, sweet and revealed nothing of import plot-wise. What we got were flashes of a handful of figures and then one massive fanservice tease that would make any fanboy with a soul or a pulse shit their pants. All of this was pleasantly positively received, fans of course have craved for another Star Wars since 2005 when the saga under George Lucas concluded, but when Disney purchased and announced new episodes anticipation was at a fever pitch to see what they can do; this may have colored a few opinions both ways but nevertheless the reaction to it had to be what Disney was pleased with. It was just like 1998 again when The Phantom Menace was teased–the first film from the second Star Wars trilogy. It did all it set out to do and left people wanting more excited and hungrier for more footage or info, a perfect storm for The Force Awakens.

Now to the part a lot of people may be looking for, a break down of some sort. To be honest the trailer was so short, so sparse with information and connectivity it will be quite difficult to make a proper breakdown, this will mostly be filled with background information, conjecture and facts about it that don’t involve the plot. So yeah I suppose it is time to start.

The teaser opens quietly on a very familiar landscape, one featured in every Star Wars film to date bar the highest-received on (Empire Strikes Back). That landscape, or should I say planet, is the desert planet Tatooine, the homeworld of the Skywalker boys Anakin and his son Luke. This time however there is a decidedly different character popping up. With voiceover provided by Andy Serkis (mentioning the film’s subtitle no less), a disheveled man stormtrooper armor sans the helmet rises into camera view in a befuddled tizzy. Said man is actor and presumed lead actor John Boyega. Anyway, the character who has yet to be named publicly appears to be in a sweaty frenzy in the middle of Tatooine’s harsh, rolling desert (with a slight audible probe droid transmission in the background–or at least the probe droid’s speech sound effects from Empire Strikes Back–perhaps hinting that he is being hunted for by Imperial Forces?). Next we see a squat, rolling droid/robot with the head of an R2 astromech (the production model/droid type made famous by R2-D2), making cute little beeps while rolling through a junkyard(?) in one of Tatooine’s many famous towns (Anchorhead, Mos Espa, Mos Eisley, etc) and surveying its surroundings. This character was also not given a name. Next couple shots deal with a squadron of stormtroopers in low blue lighting and traveling aboard a gunship or spacecraft of some sort before a ramp opens up, suggesting they jump out. Either this is hearkening back to Boyega’s character in full uniform or this is a separate Imperial Stormtrooper (maybe they are hunting him?) . Either way, eagle-eyed fans will notice the armor has been touched up with a slightly different helmet than what was issued in the classic original trilogy from 30+ years ago (upgrades?). They prepare to go out into a windy, dark, somewhat lit place.

After the brief glimpses of stormtroopers we see yet another new character being introduced on Tatooine–playing an important role in the film perhaps?. This one is a woman dressed in local/peasant garb riding a speeder bike of some sort. She quickly looks back behind her and races off toward a town. Maybe she is the object of the stormies search or the droid’s or even Boyega, either way she seems to be a popular character at this point. The actress playing her is Daisy Ridley, she has long been rumored to be the child of Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa/Skywalker–two important characters from the original films. No confirmation has been made on her as well. Now we are getting into the juicier stuff. Adam Driver has been the center of a great deal of speculation, with many stating he’d be a villain or working his way up to one starting with this movie. It is clear off the bat that the former rumor is false considering he is an X-Wing pilot and a member of the Republic/Rebellion’s militia who were the good guys in the older films. This, however, does not preclude him turning later on. We do know that X-Wings and Rebel pilots are still operating in some capacity which also makes one wonder whether the Galactic Civil War is still raging 30 years from the onset of the destruction of the First Death Star or if a tenuous peace was consummated between the Rebels and Empire–which leads to the crux of the conflict in this film and beyond. One thing is clear–both factions exist still, long after Darth Vader and the Emperor’s death.

Serkis’s narration continues over a mysterious cloaked figure trudging with purpose through a dark, wintry forest. He waxes philosophically about the dark side of the Force while the character reveals what happens to be a lightsaber hilt in the style of medieval broadswords such as Excalibur or Lord of the Rings styled swords. A red blade emits from the hilt and two smaller ones jut out as handle guards to protect the user’s hands from an opposing lightsaber. As we all know red is the color of the Sith which were purportedly destroyed some 30 years prior, have they returned? Was the Force not balanced or does that mean something else entirely now? Who is this guy and is he the leader or someone else leads him? Is he the narrator or not?

And boy oh boy did they save the best for last. I really mean that. This is where fanboys crapping their pants would occur. The one moment that makes this trailer worthwhile and quite possibly better than any other trailer that have graced our memories recently (many competitors for that between Jurassic World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, etc). I mean the scene is just that epic for fans. And that scene (with Serkis talking about the light side in juxtaposition) is the sudden appearance of the Millennium Falcon in full glory–AND ENGINES GOING FULL BLAST!–flying over the sunny sand dunes of Tatooine with the majesty and beauty of the Star Wars theme blaring (complete with a blaring brass section–did I mention the man was composing for this film? John Williams). It does a quick loop just before flying low over the dunes toward a duo of TIE fighters. Their familiar roar of their engines renewing a sense of nostalgia in us–as well as their horrendous aim–heading on a collision course with the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy. SPOILER: They do not crash. Further, sharp-eyed fans will notice the replacement dish on the Falcon in place of the one she lost at Endor at the end of Return of the Jedi.

Roll title and release date. And that is that. That is the trailer. It may be sparse and mysterious but that is how we like it and that is how Abrams likes it. Since he likes what we like or vice versa, it can be reasonable to state this franchise and we are in good hands.

We saw none of the familiar faces that made us fall for the series in the first place but it did have some epic moments and the return of our baby–the Falcon. All of that was against the teaser and it still worked. A trailer that doesn’t spoil anything and leaves us with a mere taste, fancy that. It was well-worth the wait and praise and I can’t wait for the next glimpse like everyone else. The intrigue and suspense will remain for a long time still, probably until December 18th, 2015 but it will be a fun ride.

Star Wars will live on in long, long from now in a galaxy near you.