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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Batman is a Creeper

There have been a lot of changes to the DC Universe since it was rebooted last year with the new 52. One of the characters that has experienced the more drastic changes to its history is Superman. Superman is no longer married to Lois Lane, has quit the Daily Planet, and has become a social crusader. Very interesting so far.

But he wouldn't be a superhero without a love interest. Enter Wonder Woman. In their Justice League series, DC showcased the budding love of these two individuals. All the while Batman is watching. Click here.

WTF, why has Batman become a little creeper? Would it kill DC to make Batman a fun character again. He doesn't necessarily need to be the Adam West Batman, but does he have to be so serious all of the time. I love Batman as the dark brooding character, but it just seems over done now.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Alternative Hero

So I'm reading this book called The Alternative Hero. The story centers around Clive, a struggling music journalist who is trying to interview Lance Webster. Webster is the reclusive lead singer of the Thieving Magpies, Clive's favorite band, and whom just so happened has moved onto Clive's block. This sends Clive on a quest to find out find out why the Magpies broke up so suddenly.  I'm just about half way through the book, so I don't know where it will take me, but I am really enjoying the ride.

One aspect of the novel that really has hooked me is the music references. The story takes place in the early to mid 2000s, however the height of popularity for the Thieving Magpies was the late 80s to mid 90s. This was during the height of the alternative music scene. I absolutely love this genre of music. At the beginning of each chapter, on the top of the opening page we are provided with a "suggested" song or album to listen to. What's cool is the songs or albums are relevant to the particular events of the chapter and to the over arching story.

For me, this small feature adds so much to the story telling process. If you are not familiar with this genre of music, the author is allowing you to hear exactly what music inspires the hero of the story, and how that particular piece of music is reflective of the character's emotional state. Clive lives and breaths music, so knowing the music that inspires him gives us the reader a greater connection to the character.

If you are a big fan of music, I would suggest you check out this book. The chapter I am about to begin suggests we listen to the album Voices of Animals and Men by The Young Knives. Below is a track off that album. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Star Wars...Which One Will Show Up


About two weeks ago, a bomb was dropped in the entertainment world. Disney announced that it was purchasing Lucasfilm, which includes Star Wars and Indiana Jones, for $4 Billion dollars. That is billion with a B. But that wasn't all. Disney proceeded to announce that production would begin on a new Star Wars trilogy, amply titling the new film Episode 7. Since then, the Internet has been a buzz on who would write the script, would any of the original actors return to their iconic roles, and in what capacity would George Lucas serve?

Slowly or quickly depending on whom you speak with, new information has begun to leak out. I won't get into all of the details here, but if you are interested in a good read, Paste Magazine and have great articles on this subject matter, which you can read here and here. It's been awhile since I have watched any of the Star Wars films, so I decided to pop one into the old DVD play and get reacquainted with an old friend. 

Unfortunately I watched Episode III, Revenge of the Sith. It's not that Revenge of the Sith is a bad movie, it isn't. In fact it is the best out of the prequel trilogy. Watching it just reminded me of how much of a missed opportunity the prequels were. 

Now this isn't going to be a blog post bad mouthing the prequels. There are plenty of those out there. What I mean with missed opportunity is the over use of CGI graphics. One of the absolute best things about the original trilogy was the sets and the models. For many months skill craftsman and carpenters built Jabba the Hut's fortress, Yoda's home on Dagobah, or the Death Star. This created a realism that had never before been seen in SciFi. And ultimately it added, in my opinion, to the overall success of the series. The viewer was truly transported to a galaxy far, far away. 

(Looks so awesome and realistic.)

In the prequels, the filmmakers completely abandoned this in favor of creating everything through CGI. While they were able to create some never before seen worlds, the SFX did not age well. As I watched Episode III, a major distraction for me was all of the actors seemed to pop out from the background. That is because everything was shot against a green screen. As CGI graphics advance, the flaws of its predecessors become much more noticeable. The perfect examples are the prequels. 

(Is this even real?)

Now if you are able to watch the original trilogy, without the CGI alterations, you will see SFX that have aged gracefully. Are they perfect? Absolutely not. Yet when you see the Millennium Falcon, not once do you doubt whether it is real or not. That is because it is real. Someone actually built it. It physically exists. When I watch the prequels everything looks cartoony, and I don't believe that the ships, creatures, or worlds are real. In fact it becomes very distracting to the story telling process. 

What my great hope is, with this new trilogy is that the film makers return to classic style of movie making, and use some of the special effects techniques that made the original trilogy so special. Real sets, the use of models, and for God sakes a puppet Yoda!!