Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Stupid Router

I am typing this from my phone, which is not an ideal way to do this, because my router won't let me on the internet.

Thus, the remaining December anniversaries, which I meant to do last week when this went to hell, will have to come after the new year.

Have a happy one, and sorry again.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Merry

What are you doing online?! It's Christmas! Open Presents! Be with Family!

Yeesh!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Expanding and Expanding

(Originally Written for Jedi News)



There seems to be a strange sort of correlation between ardent I-III haters and hardcore fans of what is known as the Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU for short), the collection of books, video games, comics, and even a cartoon or two detailing events in the galaxy far, far away that was not covered in the films. While this is certainly not true of everyone, I am never surprised to see a large selection of EU material in a hater’s library. In fact, there are many haters that hate on the fact that the films are not more like the EU, and in fact contradict it from time to time.

"This is Just the Tip of the Iceberg"

So I thought it would be “fun” for me to extrapolate upon my own opinions regarding the EU, which I have thrown out from time to time. But before we get into the opinion stuff, I do want to reiterate one solid fact that many EU fans either forget or purposefully neglect to mention:

The EU is, by design, since inception, for all intents and purposes, not canon.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

My Armor is like Tenfold Shields, My Teeth are Like Swords...

...Mt claws, spears! My tail, a thunderbolt! My wings, a Hurricane!

And my breath?

DEATH!!!!!!

WARINING! MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Can of Mace

(Originally Written for Jedi News)



No matter how much you love a work of fiction, there are going to be characters you don’t like for one reason or another. And that’s okay, it doesn’t necessarily reflect on the film itself. Some characters will not appeal to some. There are heroes that some find contemptible, villains that some find sympathetic, and every other permutation.

Sometimes, that’s the desired effect. I think JK Rowling would be glad to know that Dolores Umbridge was the one character in the Harry Potter series that I actually wish had died in the end. Gruesomely. And I have no doubt that instilling that level of loathing was a major purpose of her character.

But what I find far more interesting is when a character is presented in a more neutral way, and whether or not an audience likes a character is more left up to their own interpretations of events. Which brings me to the subject of this week’s article.

I See Fire

As "An Unexpected Journey" solidifies itself more and more as my favorite of Peter Jackson's Middle-Earth films to date, and as I hear more hypocritical criticisms about it (too clean? Did you SEE Radagast covered in bird poo?!) and calls for "redemption," I'm convinced that Jackson's Tolkien saga is shaping up to be the new Star Wars.

I wish him all the luck in the world, I really do. The LotR films are fantastic, and in spite of what people are saying the Hobbit films are also. Yeah, I don't care if only one is out yet, I can tell. It's just a question of exactly how awesome at this point.

But I'm not exactly enamored of the prospect of having to smack people upside the head (verbally, of course) about another set of long-awaited prequels that somehow disappointed people despite doing exactly what they needed to do. And I really hope that this gets nipped in the bud before it turns into a full-on I-III situation. The positive and negative are pretty equal right now, but then again it was the same with Phantom at this point in the releases.

But I'll get into all that another time, I'm sure. Today, I wanted to talk about a specific little teaser for the upcoming "Desolation of Smaug" - The song.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Listmas 2013: Eight Crazy Nights - Eighth Candle

So here's the final update list, and like last time I'm going into slightly more detail. I've upped the number and broke some ties to bring you my

TOP 25 FAVORITE FILMS OF ALL TIME



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Listmas 2013: Eight Crazy Nights - Seventh Candle

Some more important changes and rearranges here in the TV list. It's been a while since I've been able to really think about television even though it's been a huge part of my life.

Of course, some of you can probably see the biggest change coming...


Monday, December 2, 2013

Listmas 2013: Eight Crazy Nights - Sixth Candle

There's a new addition to my Video Games list, and it's right near the top:

Top 20 Favorite Video Games of All Time
20. Crash Bandicoot 1-3 and Crash Team Racing
19. Desert Demolition with Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner
18. Final Fantasy VI and IX
17. Spore
16. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
15. Freaky Flyers
14. Lego Pop-Culture series
13. South Park Rally
12. Star Wars Episode I Racer and Racer Revenge
11. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
10. Star Wars Battlefront II
9. Super Smash Bros. series
8. Mario Kart series
7. X-Men Legends/Marvel Ultimate Alliance series
6. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
5. Star Wars: The Old Republic
4. Skylanders series
3. Pokémon series
2. Kingdom Hearts series
1. World of Warcraft

Skyrim places a close 6th, just narrowly missing ToR. Not bad for a game I used to avoid like the plague.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Listmas 2013: Eight Crazy Nights - Fifth Candle

A very small change to a very small list:

Top 11 Favorite Novels
11. Frankenstien by Mary Shelley
10. His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philup Pullman
9. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
8. Darth Plagueis by James Luceno
7. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
6. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
5. The Spider-Man Trilogy novelizations by Peter David
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
3. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
2. IT by Stephen King
1. The Harry Potter saga by J.K. Rowling

Because Darth Plagueis was awesome and Revenge of the Sith novelization was not quite as awesome as I remembered when I wrote the last list.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Listmas 2013: Eight Crazy Nights - Fourth Candle

My music list last time was way too confusing, so this time I'm going to try and simplify it. The truth of the matter being: my music tastes are just too confusing.


You'll Shoot Your Eye Out, Kid!

You know, I wanted to give this its own space because it deserves it. But you know what?

It's a Christmas Story. It turns 30 this month.

We all know it. We've all seen it (if you haven't, what's wrong with you? Either go out and get it or wait until Christmas and turn on TBS where they play it all day). We all love it. Even though it takes place obviously in the late 40s/early 50s, it's pretty much most Americans' childhoods in some form or another.

Honestly, 'nuff said.

What's the Pedulum of Doom Doing There?

I don't get people sometimes.

Many people remember fondly the film "Space Jam", a movie that nearly destroyed the image of the Looney Tunes by making them basically do a two-hour basketball commercial.

Yet when a good director captures the essence of the classic Looney Tunes nearly perfectly, while updating it for the modern age and adding some of the better (though admittedly not quite best) live-action/animation mixing since "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," it not only flops but goes down as a synonym for "bad Looney Tunes picture".

It's not fair.

"Looney Tunes: Back in Action" turns 10 this month.


November Anniversaries

Just to reiterate.

A) I'm doing mostly just movies this round. Next round I'll be more diligent with things like TV shows and Video Games (I'm upset I missed Animaniaces back in September...ah, ten more years, if I last that long).

B) I'm doing mostly movies I've seen or know enough about through popcuktural osmosis. If there's a movie you love that I've left out, shout it out in the comments! However...

C) Wait until the end of the month if you can, since sometimes I do special single anniversary posts, as I will do in just a few minutes.

With that out of the way...


Friday, November 29, 2013

Listmas 2013: Eight Crazy Nights - Third Candle

Stop the presses folks!

My list of Top Star Wars Characters? My Order of Preferred Films? The ones I've referenced in dozens of articles? The things I was set on?

Well, I'm changing them!

That's right! I've changed my mind about how certain things are ordered in these lists! Bet you never expected THAT!


Heartbreaker

(Originally Written for Jedi News)



One of the more contentious aspects of Revenge of the Sith is the fate of Padmé, specifically her death. Many viewers felt that, especially after the strong woman we’ve seen through Phantom and Clones, her dying after having “lost the will to live” was a major cop-out for her storyline; sweeping her under the rug once Anakin went dark and the twins were born.  I used to feel the same. I’ll admit when I first saw Sith, after spending pretty much the rest of the movie on the edge of my seat, the whole sequence at Polis Massa had me raising my eyebrows. I may have audibly said “Really?!”

"Is...your...degree...in...poetry?! *ghrrrk*"

Begun, The Clone War Has

Ten years ago, George Lucas and Cartoon Network conspired to tell stories from the fabled Clone Wars, taking place between the recently-released Episode II and the in-production Episode III.

They tapped Genndy Tartakovsky (of "Dexter's Laboratory" and "Samurai Jack" fame) to make a traditionally animated micro-series. The result was simply "Star Wars: Clone Wars."

Now, I'll admit to only having seen bits and pieces of this special over the years, but its lasting legacy is felt. Asajj Ventress, one of the more popular EU characters, made her debut here inspired by rejected concepts of what would become Count Dooku. General Grievous also made an early bird cameo, and became more of a player as events lead up to the Battle of Coruscant. And though I find its CGI spiritual successor a far better show overall, it's obvious that the character designs were greatly inspired by Tartakovsky's (and they work better in traditional animation as well).

Like any expanded universe story, much of it is not quite canon and from what I understand some of it was contradicted in the later series. While this is probably for the best, one must pay homage to this first and pretty decent attempt to tell of this legendary time.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Listmas 2013: Eight Crazy Nights - Second Candle

This is going to be so short I'm not even doing a page break.

I've updated my list of favorite Tolkien characters to reflect characterizations seen in the first installment of Peter Jackson's new Hobbit trilogy, even if they're...err...expanded from Tolkien's original writings.

Top 11 Favorite Characters from Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit
11. Bofur
10. Bilbo Baggins
9. Treebeard
8. Peregrin "Pippin" Took
7. Grima Wormtongue
6. The Great Goblin
5. Radagast the Brown
4. Saruman the White/Many-Colored
3. Smaug
2. Gandalf the Grey/White
1. Sméagol of the Stoor strain/Gollum

I was going to list the films to date in the order I liked them, but it occurred to me that, as it stands, I like each film better than the last. That is, Unexpected Journey is my favorite so far, followed by Return of the King, followed by Two Towers, followed by Fellowship of the Ring. Hopefully next year's Listmas will see both the remaining parts released, and perhaps them I can do a proper ranking.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Listmas 2013: Eight Crazy Nights - First Candle

One of my more profoundly aspie traits is that I have a great love of lists and listing things. I love seeing the correlative order. It's why I stay until the end of the credits in movies even if I know there's no stinger. It's why I read and/or watch Top [X] Lists even though I hate how arbitrary they can be.

It's why, last year, I made posts on the Twelve Days of Listmas, listing my favorite things by categories.

Funny thing about personal tastes is that they can change based on new information and the growing of a person. Hence I wanted to check back in once a year to do it all over again. At this point, however, I don't have quite enough changes for twelve.

But I can push it to eight.

Thus, with Hanukkah coming early this year (yes I'll still blog my loot, but it'll start a day or two late due to Thanksgiving), I'm revisiting some of my lists over the next week.

First up: Pokémon!


Friday, November 22, 2013

Creating Life

(Originally Written for Jedi News)



When George Lucas first conceived of the Force, he was drawing heavily from eastern philosophy, especially the concept of Chi or Qi. However, he added a bit of a twist: a biological component.

This was for two reasons. The first was that he didn’t want to turn into another L. Ron Hubbard and wanted to head off people trying to make a legitimate Jedi religion by making sure everybody knew he knew those telekinetic feats of the Force were strictly fantasy. Secondly, and perhaps much more importantly, he became fascinated with the idea of mitochondria, how an entire separate species of bacteria not only resides in all eukaryotic cells but is essential to that cell working. Lucas thought, what if in the galaxy far, far away, a strain of mitochondria evolved that allowed people to channel their life force, THE Force, to magical effect?

Lucas would call this strain Midi-Chlorians.

"The reading's off the charts! Over 20,000! Not even 'Twilight' has a hater count that high!"

Saturday, November 2, 2013

You Finally Watched WHO?

Well, about a week ago, after years of everyone on the internet going gaga over it, I finally gave in and decided to give the long-running British TV show "Doctor Who" a chance. With 50+ years of canon and 11+ Doctors, where's the best place to start?

Well, going off of certain beginner's guide sites, I opted to start with the 9th Doctor at the beginning of the 2005 revival series, since that one was meant to bring in new viewers in the first place and it's easier to catch up to the present (at which point I can peruse the best of Doctors 1-8 at my leisure).

This post was meant to be a lot longer, giving my first impressions, but I'm going to hold off on that for now. I will say upfront that I very much enjoy the show and am looking forward to catching up. However, there's a disconnect I'm experiencing, and I want to get a few more seasons (or series, as the new ones are called) under my belt before I go off and talk about it.

These nagging thoughts aside, which will be discussed at a future date, I again must state I am officially a fan. I don't like it quite as much as other things - yet - and it's not one of my favorite shows - yet - but I am enjoying pretty much every minute thusfar.

More to come. If you don't want to wait, there's always the TARDIS...

....*whur whur whur*

Okay, so I wrote this earlier, and I'm coming back to edit that apparently the show turns 50 this month so...Anniversary! Bye now.

*whur whur whur*...

Friday, November 1, 2013

We All Wear Masks....

So for years, I've been dying to dress up as my all-time favorite comic-book character, but nobody sold ready-made costumes and it would be so time-intensive that it was hardly worth it for several years.

Well this year I finally did it. I was the Green Goblin last night for Halloween.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

In This Town We Call Home, Everyone Hail To The Pumpkin Song

Twas a long time ago, longer now than it seems,
In a place I have often seen in my dreams
For the story that you're about to be told...

...Is that Nightmare Before Christmas is 20 Years Old...this month....


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

WW: Rolling for Purples All Week Long

I meant to post this months ago, but I was too busy playing WoW. Then work sped up and I found it hard to find enough spare time in a sitting to even do that.

But I'm a full-blown raider now!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

You And I Have Unfinished Business

There are two directors I know who can make films that are little more than gigantic homages to the films they grew up with, and have me enjoy it through them even if I've never seen what they're homaging.

The first is George Lucas, the second is Quentin Tarantino.

Kill Bill turns 10 this month.


Monday, October 28, 2013

MM: Pokémon Y Version Review

Well, I did not expect to be able to write this so soon, but I was luckily somehow able to get my hands on Pokémon Y version recently. I've played through the first seven gyms and most of the main story, so I'd like to give you my thoughts.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Post A Day!

Next week we'll have a rare occurrence: I will make at least one post every day through Saturday November 2nd. Stay tuned and enjoy!

This will stay a rare occurrence, by the way.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Think of the Children

(Originally Written for Jedi News)



Revenge of the Sith remains so far the only film in the Star Wars Saga to receive a PG-13 rating, even retroactively. There are many sequences that contribute to this, but one of the most unsettling is during Knightfall, the combined execution of Order 66 with the purge of the Jedi temple. Anakin Skywalker, newly christened Darth Vader, walks into the council chambers to find a number of younglings huddled in hiding. Seeing a familiar face, they ask “Master Skywalker” what to do, only to be greeted with the ignition of a lightsaber. Though we are thankfully spared what Obi-Wan and Yoda would later see on the holorecordings, we know the younglings’ fates are sealed.

"Every single Jedi is now an enemy of the Republic..."

For some ghoulish individuals, this is what they wanted to see Vader doing from the start. For most of us, though, it was heartwrenching but inevitable. Anakin had fallen to the dark side, and we see just how dehumanized the Jedi are in his eyes.

But was it really necessary beyond tying up a loose plot thread?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dig on This

A while back, the Nostalgia Critic did a list of the "Top 11 Dumbest Spider-Man Moments." Regrettably, I watched it again recently because I had forgotten.

Now, he's pretty fair in theory - he likes all three movies, and says that even though they all have these moments, they all have good moments as well. This is true, and this attitude is why I continue to watch and enjoy NC...most of the time. But his list in the end seemed to devolve into the general mindset of adult geeks expecting "serious business" out of something they really shouldn't be (oh yeah, Lucasfilm digs abound).

Now, a couple of points I actually agreed with to a degree (I understand the flags in the first one even if they were shoehorned, being after 9/11 and all, but the other two should really have not gone there). Some I disagreed with, but understood where he was coming from (I don't blame Venom fans for wanting more of him, but his limited screentime made sense and is hardly an objective flaw). But many I thought were missing the point and/or making a subjective issue objective (Never. Insult. Willem. Dafoe. As. Green. Goblin. In. Front. Of. Me).

His number one pick, though, threw me for a loop.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Coming Soon (tm)

So, some of you may have noticed that my article isn't up yet.

That's because things got crazy at work and I barely handed it in by deadline, and things are even crazier at Jedi News and my editor didn't have time.

So the article is set to go up next week, and my Editor is taking some time off and told me I earned it too.

So while I'll be preparing a bit, no new Star Wars articles after the next one until my editor returns.

That's not to say that there won't be updates here. We have the October Anniversaries coming up, and some Monday Mons-Day and WoW-Wednesday stuff I've been meaning to do for a while.

It'll take me a little bit longer to get used to my new schedule and find time to write all this stuff, but I swear to any and all deities that may or may not exists that they WILL be here and in a TIMELY FASHION!

For real this time!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Han and Boba Show

(Originally Written for Jedi News)



The more I listen to the kind of Star Wars “fan” who mercilessly bashes I-III and the people who love them, the more I see a common thread. Not all such folks fall into this category, mind you, but a fair number of them seem to act as if they view the Saga in a specific way. What way is that? Well, if asked for a synopsis of IV-VI, something tells me they would say something along the lines of:

“Han Solo jets around space with the Millennium Falcon, falls in love with Princess Leia, and reluctantly helps the Rebel Alliance battle the Galactic Empire with his roguish charm and wit. In the process, he takes on such baddies as Boba Fett, Jabba the Hutt, and most dangerously Darth Vader (who incidentally is the father of Han’s friend Luke). There’s also lightsabers and The Force.”

"C'mon, who could say no to this face?"

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Great Warrior

(Originally Written for Jedi News)



“I’m looking for a great warrior,” says Luke Skywalker on the swampy, dark-infested world of Dagobah. The old goblin hermit who has surprised him hops off a tree root giggling, “Ohhh, great warrior! Wars not make one great…”


Friday, September 27, 2013

The Tragedy of Representative Binks

(Originally Written for Jedi News)





Did you ever hear “The Tragedy of Representative Binks”?

I thought not. It’s not a story the haters would tell you. It’s a fan legend.


Jar Jar Binks was a Gungan from the swamps of Naboo so bumbling and so annoying, that his own people banished him under pain of death. He had such a penchant for getting into trouble, but could also uncannily get himself out of said trouble relatively unscathed without even thinking about it.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Early Bird + Announcements

First off, there will be no Jedi News article this week. My editor accidentally forgot to put "What Measure is a Tusken?" on the main page, even though it's already in my archives (hence the link). I did have another article completed for this week, but it's being pushed back. In return, I was allowed to leave the version on my blog up.

This will actually allow me to ask my loyal readership for help. The way I'm structuring the articles from now on is that I will do about five articles mainly centering around one film in the Republic era of the Saga, one article more about the Saga as a whole, then the next film in the series, rinse, repeat.

I'm almost through Clones, and will start Sith in a few weeks. Trouble is, I'm having issues figuring out what to write about. I have some things planned, but not enough to fill the blocks. So I want to ask you, my readers, to tell me in the comments anything I-III related that I haven't yet covered that you'd like to see me tackle or get my opinion on. It could be a common criticism, a philosophical debate, or just gushing about one of your favorite aspects.

While I'd like more about Revenge of the Sith and Phantom Menace, since those are next, I would also heartily accept ideas for the next round of Attack of the Clones as well, even though I know what I'm doing for this block.

I thank you all in advance, and with that out of the way...

Angry Birds Star Wars II was released yesterday (a day early)!


Friday, September 13, 2013

What Measure is a Tusken?



(Originall Written for Jedi News


 A young Jedi perches atop a desert canyon in the dead of night. Below lay a camp of nomads, such as the kind that have kidnapped the Jedi’s mother and decimated the band that had initially set out to rescue her. The young man drops down, stealthily infiltrating the camp, and manages to find his mother. But it is too late. She cannot even finish her praise of seeing him all grown up before she passes away, filling the Jedi with such sorrow, rage, self-loathing, and fear, that for a moment the dark side takes him. Blinded by the dark, he slaughters the entire camp.

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Tale of Two Fetts

(Originall Written for Jedi News)



I’ve touched before on my opinion of perennial fan-favorite Star Wars character Boba Fett. Namely: The polar opposite of the most vocal of fandom.


Now before I continue, I must stress that this is mostly my opinion here. Different people will connect to different characters for different reasons, and they all serve their purpose in the story. And while it can certainly be debated whether one has interpreted the character correctly or incorrectly (and whether that’s the fault of the viewer or the filmmakers), there is never anything wrong with liking or disliking any of the characters, especially in Star Wars.

Just don’t try to model your life after Palpatine.

With that out of the way…

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Beyond the Veil

Okay, so this should have happened in June, but as I explained before I've only been able to look up films for these. That said, this is one of the rare exceptions for this series of Anniversary reviews: A Book.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix turned 10.


August Anniversaries

First off, you've probably noticed I've only been doing movies so far this year. Well, that's because it's difficult enough for me to find the information on films in addition to looking for everything else. From now on I'll mostly be doing movies until the 10th anniversary of this site, in which time I will switch to television shows and other things. Of course, there will be a few small exceptions, including a belated anniversary from June that will shortly follow. In the meantime, please understand that I will eventually get around to honoring all of media. I don't plan on going anywhere for a while.

With that said, let's begin:


Friday, August 30, 2013

Weapon of Choice

(Originally Written for Jedi News)



Of all the various and sundry aliens, vehicles, and technology in the Star Wars universe, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t put the lightsaber at or near the top of the hierarchy of awesomeness. The legendary laser sword that could cut through anything except another blade (or certain rare materials if the EU is to be believed) like a hot knife through butter is one of the most enduring symbols of the Saga. Obi-Wan was right on the nose when he described it as “An elegant weapon for a more civilized age.”

I Dreamed a Dream/Opinions Are Like...

I want to share this with you. It's the Nostalgia Critic's review of the recent film version of the Les Miserables musical. I want to talk about this because I've noticed a trend lately. [[WARNING: contains Adult Language, horrible singing, and a minor but still unfair jab at Jar Jar]]

Meet me after the page break.


Whofleck?!

So no doubt by now you've all heard the news that Zach Snyder has cast Ben Affleck to play Bruce Wayne, better known as Batman, in the sequel to his Superman reboot "Man of Steel." Since everyone else in the world has already mouthed off about it, I figured I'd throw my two cents in the ring as well.

Friday, August 23, 2013

From Senator to Emperor (Part 2)


(Originally Written for Jedi News)


When we last left our villain, he had just managed to take the top seat in the Republic government, though not quite in the way he expected. He would have to be far more careful as he went on to the grandest scheme of the era...


Friday, August 16, 2013

From Senator to Emperor (Part 1)

(Originally Written for Jedi News)



George Lucas has said that the Star Wars Saga is Anakin Skywalker’s story. And it’s not that difficult to see when all is said and done, even though I’ve always felt it was more about the Skywalkers in general than any one member of the family, especially since IV-VI were half done before even the filmmakers knew Anakin was around.

This, of course, was the main reason for the existence of Episodes I-III. It was meant to tell the story of Anakin’s rise and fall, and then set up his eventual redemption in Return of the Jedi. And it’s a good story, all told. But just as interesting as Anakin’s tale, if not more, is the concurrent subplot of the one who would drive the final bolt into the iconic black suit.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

I'm Going To Pretend I Didn't Hear What I CLEARLY Just Heard!

It's interesting that in a week where I gushed about podracing, I happened to see another racing-related film.

A few months ago, my wife found this great racing game for our phones on Google Play, which was about racing super-fast snails. It was fun, but I was even more impressed at the production values, which were much better than most mobile games. I noticed that it was a game by Dreamworks, which threw me for a loop.

Then it hit me...this has to be a tie-in game.

Sure enough, I looked it up and the film "Turbo" was set to be released later in the year. We both decided we needed to see it, and we finally made the trek to the theater last Tuesday.

SPOILERS ahead.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Very Fast, Very Dangerous

(Originally Written for Jedi News)


In around 1998, I fell in love with racing.

No, not what they sanction for racing nowadays, with people just taking left turns all day. I mean racing through an obstacle course. Traversing an obstacle course at high speeds avoiding hazards and the machinations of other racers.

Namely, Mario Kart.

I’ve always had an aversion to organized sports. The only ones I’ve ever liked have been fictional, such as Quidditch and Calvinball. When a friend of mine got a Nintendo 64 with the game “MarioKart64,” I took to it like a duck to water. To this day, Kart-Racers have become perhaps my favorite genre of video game. I thought to myself, “if only real racing was like this.”

I was not prepared.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Doing Some Right by Layla

How the hell did I miss "Layla"?

When I did my Twelve Days of Listmas entry on Music, somehow, some way, I left "Layla" by Derek and the Dominoes off the list.

Now, I'm not a huge fan of most of Clapton's work, talented as he is. I'm even less of a fan of some of the things he's done in his personal life, including the inspiration for this very song.

But my god, that riff from "Layla" gives me eargasms like few other things can. Definitely in my top ten favorite compositions, almost certainly the top non-instrumental.

Why do I bring this up now and not in my updated list later this year? Only because I just discovered this the other day

It's hardly new; I think I read somewhere that it was from the 80s. But I had to share this with you all just in case some of you haven't heard it yet. This is a brilliant and beautiful adaptation. WHY is this not in an action scene from a movie? No, seriously, why?


Friday, August 2, 2013

These Federation Types

(Originally Written for Jedi News)



There are villains that scare you. They show their power, and you know you’d never survive an encounter from them. There are villains whose intelligence and scheming make life hell for the heroes, and you can be genuinely impressed by them. In both cases, love them or hate them, you know they pose a very considerable threat.

Then there are what TV Tropes describes as “Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains", villains that may be just as evil or at least amoral as other bad guys, but for whatever reason the heroes just can’t bring themselves to take them completely seriously.

As a lover of character archetypes, George Lucas has included this form of villain in the Saga more than once, most notably personified in the Nemoidians of the Trade Federation. While Nute Gunray and his cronies are hardly nice people, they are just as much victims of the forces behind the Republic’s fall as any of our heroes.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Anniversary

Let's take a moment to celebrate the birth of Harry James Potter. Oh, and these movies:


Sunday, July 28, 2013

You'd Best Start Believin' in Ghost Stories...

As I mentioned in my Lone Ranger review, I saw a movie on my birthday ten years ago with the same star, director, and writing team as that one. It was a movie I didn't think would go anywhere, but it ended up becoming one of my favorites of all time.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl is ten years old this month.


Kemosabe

Have I really gotten so cynical about mainstream criticism that the second something is said to be a flop, I naturally assume it must be an underrated and misunderstood gem? This was the feeling I had when I decided my birthday film this year be the new "Lone Ranger" film. Everyone was saying it sucked, and I could only find one theatre still playing it, so naturally I said "Gotta get me some of that, make up my own damn mind."

Though I confess that as the lights dimmed, I got a sinking feeling that maybe there was a reason everyone hated it. Maybe the critics were right for a change. Did I just drag my family to a dud just because I no longer trust what I read online?

Hi-Yo, Spoilers, AWAYYYYYY!!!!!


Birthday 2013 Post-Mortem

I used to really look forward to my birthdays because everyone would go all-out on presents for me when I usually couldn't acquire things the rest of the year. As I've gotten older and money has gotten tighter from everywhere, I can't count on it like I used to. But that's okay, because when I do get something, no matter how small, it means all that much more.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Phantom Phinds: Anakin's Speedway

(With Apologies to The Phantom Menace: The Holiday)

So my Wife and I were at Savers yesterday, just looking around, and I saw this:


Thinking this looked hilarious and adorable, I went to show my wife how hilarious and adorable is was. Seeing as how it was $3.99 for this and another kids game she wanted to have for work, we decided to actually get it.


2 Happy 7 Birthday 2 to 7 Me...

Today is the 27th. Today, I turn 27.

This is not wholly the reason why 27 is my favorite number.

The phenomenon described at this site has more to do with it.

More B-Day news to come in the following days...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Celebrate - No Column?! Come on!!!

So my Jedi News editor, lucky duck, is at Celebration Europe, and as that news is dominating the page my column is getting pushed to next week, so stay tuned!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Getting Places

So I didn't know until today that one could listen to a podcast without owning some form of pod. I feel like an idiot.

I'm also very humbled, since my esteemed Jedi News editor Mark Newbold was interviewed for a podcast called Bald Solo. The whole thing is very interesting listening, but I'm mentioning it here because at around the 23-24 minute mark, Mr. Newbold mentions me and my work by name, most favorably. Makes me guilty I haven't mentioned his prolific work here before.

Mark Newbold does a fantastic job, and I am thankful for the opportunity he has given me to write for Jedi News.

Some other Star Wars news broke today, but I'll save that for my JN article this week....

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Other Skywalker Children



(Originally written for Jedi News)

George Lucas is a huge fan of Akira Kurosawa, and one of his favorite Kurosawa films is The Hidden Fortress. There are several homages to this film in the Saga, but perhaps the most well-known is in the characters of C-3PO and R2-D2, whom Lucas specifically stated were meant to be the perspective from which the story of A New Hope is told. Just like the peasants Tahei and Matashichi.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Seven Reasons Why The Phantom Menace Matters

(Originally Written for Jedi News)

When I posted my May the 4th review of The Phantom Menace, I was shocked – SHOCKED – to discover a comment saying that the film was unnecessary! That it didn’t serve the overarching story enough to justify its existence! That the events that mattered could fit easily into a ten-minute prologue! And this is from someone who claims to enjoy the movie!


Friday, June 28, 2013

JJJ: A Measure of Character

(Originally Written for Jedi News)

I came to a revelation as I was making last week's video.

A few months back, when I wrote about my Top 11 Favorite Star Wars Characters, I listed Yoda as number 1. And yes, in the Star Wars Universe, I do like Yoda best.

But if I had to pick which star Wars character I would put at the top of my list of favorite fictional characters in general, well it would be good ol’ Jar Jar Binks.

June Anniversaries

Yeah, last minute ahoy!

Life, Ahh, Finds a Way...

*thud; BWAHHHHHHHHHHHHH*

*thud; BWAHHHHHHHHHHHHH*

*THUD; weeeeeoooooo...ooooooooo....*

Jurassic Park is 20.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

JJJ: Jar Jar Binks in....Frozen Peas

Full of Naboo Goodness and Green Peaness...wait, that's terrible...I quit!


...just a handful for the road....

Friday, June 14, 2013

May the 4th: Epilogue

(Originally Written for Jedi News)

If you’re reading this, you know the rest of the story so far. George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney in late 2012, and Disney immediately announced that it would milk the Star Wars franchise for all its worth, including making the fabled Episodes VII-IX. As of this writing, we still don’t know the whole story, but I hope you’ll allow me a small measure of conjecture.

Monday, June 10, 2013

JJJ: The Sad Sad Tale of the Hommade Jar Jar Shirt.

A while back, I went shopping for t-shirts. Like most people of my demographic, I'm partial to graphic tees. They're comfy and easy to wear. And stylish.

Friday, June 7, 2013

May the 4th: Revenge of the Sith

(Originally Written for Jedi News)


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

STAR WARS

Episode III
REVENGE OF THE SITH

War! The Republic is crumbling
under attacks by the ruthless
Sith Lord, Count Dooku.
There are heroes on both sides.
Evil is everywhere.

In a stunning move, the
fiendish droid leader, General
Grievous, has swept into the
Republic capital and kidnapped
Chancellor Palpatine, leader of
the Galactic Senate.

As the Separatist Droid Army
attempts to flee the besieged
capital with their valuable
hostage, two Jedi Knights lead a
desperate mission to rescue the
captive Chancellor....

Monday, June 3, 2013

It's Jar Jar June!

Happy Jar Jar June! I'm continuing a theme that Eddie over at The Phantom Menace Holiday started last year (but seems to be late on this year...)

While I won't be doing a Jar Jar article every day, I will have some cool JJB-related content this month, including a brand-spaking-new Jedi News article once I'm done with May the 4th.

Until then, whet your appetites with some of my previous offerings starring the Grand Gungan:
I Am Jarticus
How Did Star Wars Come To Pass
and
Why I Love Jar Jar Binks

Also, be sure to read some classic Binks articles from elsewhere such as this one and also these.

Dissen lookin' pretty okeyday to mesa!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

New Site in the Blogroll

First off, a few days ago I added the long overdue Lard Biscuit Enterprises to my blogroll. It's a fascinating reads, including some of my favorite essays on I-III ever.

The second new one has to do with a frequent poster here. T. Hartwell is not a fan of I-III. He constantly leaves comments on my Star Wars articles that make me facepalm so hard my nose is bruised. I'm afraid he's going to give me an anyurism one of these days. At the same time, I'm thankful that he keeps me on my toes, giving me a new apprciation of I-III as I battle his claims. He's become something of a worthy opponant to me.

What makes him worthy is that we find common ground on most other things, and we've had good discussions on a number of non-SW-related topics. I just found a blog by him entitled Toybox Memory, which really hits my nostalgia button hard, and I'm hoping it will hit yours too. Check it out.

Friday, May 31, 2013

May the 4th: Attack of the Clones

(Originally Written for Jedi News)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

STAR WARS

Episode II
ATTACK OF THE CLONES

There is unrest in the Galactic
Senate. Several thousand solar
systems have declared their
intentions to leave the Republic.

This separatist movement,
under the leadership of the
mysterious Count Dooku, has
made it difficult for the limited
number of Jedi Knights to maintain
peace and order in the galaxy.

Senator Amidala, the former
Queen of Naboo, is returning
to the Galactic Senate to vote
on the critical issue of creating
an ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC
to assist the overwhelmed
Jedi....


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Best Served Cold

I made it to the theatre to see Star Trek: Into Darkness the other day. Here are my thoughts

Captain, scanners are detecting major SPOILERS ahead. Proceed with caution.

Friday, May 24, 2013

May the 4th: The Phantom Menace

(Originall Written for Jedi News)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

STAR WARS

Episode I
THE PHANTOM MENACE

Turmoil has engulfed the
Galactic Republic. The taxation
of trade routes to outlying star
systems is in dispute.

Hoping to resolve the matter
with a blockade of deadly
battleships, the greedy Trade
Federation has stopped all
shipping to the small planet
of Naboo.

While the congress of the
Republic endlessly debates
this alarming chain of events,
the Supreme Chancellor has
secretly dispatched two  Jedi
Knights, the guardians of
peace and justice in the
galaxy, to settle the conflict...

Friday, May 17, 2013

May the 4th: Return of the Jedi

 (Originally written for Jedi News)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

STAR WARS

Episode VI
RETURN OF THE JEDI

Luke Skywalker has returned to
his home planet of Tatooine in
an attempt to rescue his
friend Han Solo from the
clutches of the vile gangster
Jabba the Hutt.

Little does Luke know that the
GALACTIC EMPIRE has secretly
begun construction on a new
armored space station even
more powerful than the first
dreaded Death Star.

When completed, this ultimate
weapon will spell certain doom
for the small band of rebels
struggling to restore freedom
to the galaxy...


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Happy Birthday, Nilbog's Storybook Land!/The Origin of The Nilbog

It was one year ago today to the minute that I made my very first post on this website. Since then, I've had over 200 posts and a handful of readers. Now...now I think it's been long enough. It is time I shared with you the origin of this website.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Am a Jedi, Like My Father Before Me

I'm going to go into a full review of this film at the end of the week for my May the 4th series. However, since it is Star Wars, and it is a favorite of mine, I wanted to share some personal reflections before going into a hard critical look.

Return of the Jedi is 30.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Happy Birthday George Lucas!

Further proof that May should just go ahead and be Star Wars month, George Lucas, the maker himself, is celebrating his 69th birthday today.


If it weren't for you, all our lives would be just a little bit bleaker. May the Force Be With You, Papa George!

Special thanks to faithful reader and frequent verbal sparring partner T. Hartwell for cluing me in to this momentous day. I'm embarrassed that with all the movie anniversaries I keep track of, I can't seem to remember birthdays of creators.

Monday, May 13, 2013

April and May Anniversaries

Since I missed last month, I'm putting it together with this month,

Site Update

Okay, so here's the scoop.

On the last week of April, I got hit with a stomach bug that took me out of commission, hence the only thing I was able to get out that week was the May the 4th article on New Hope, and I barely got that out. Since then, I've been too busy to do much other than the May the 4th reviews. So this is what's happening now.

This week, I'll post the May the 4th of Return fo the Jedi, plus an Anniversary Review of some more personal anecdotes regarding that film either tomorrow or Wednesday.

Also this week, I'll be posting the April and May Anniversaries.

The Skylanders thing I promised...while I still plan to do that, it won't start for another few months, not until more information comes out on Series 3 and what I can expect my lineup to be.

On the other hand, I should be posting more WoW Wednesday material by sometime in June. June is also Jar Jar June, so you can expect something special in that regard. June is also my vacation month from work, so posts may become more timely and numerous until after the 4th of July.

I thank all of my readers for being patient with me.

Friday, May 10, 2013

May the 4th: The Empire Strikes Back

(Originally written for Jedi News)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

STAR WARS

Episode V
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

It is a dark time for the
Rebellion. Although the Death
Star has been destroyed,
Imperial troops have driven the
Rebel forces from their hidden
base and pursued them across
the galaxy.

Evading the dreaded Imperial
Starfleet, a group of freedom
fighters led by Luke Skywalker
has established a new secret
base on the remote ice world
of Hoth.

The evil lord Darth Vader,
obsessed with finding young
Skywalker, has dispatched
thousands of remote probes into
the far reaches of space....

Saturday, May 4, 2013

May the 4th Be With You

"Dissen goin'any faster?"

"A disturbance in the Force, I feel..."
"You let them drive! *cough cough*"

"....putzes..."

Friday, May 3, 2013

May the 4th: A New Hope

(Originally Written for Jedi News)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Star Wars

Episode IV
A New Hope

It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.

During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy....