Chewie … We’re All Home

If you somehow missed it last week …

In my mind, any concerns about Star Wars: The Force Awakens are now officially put to rest.  I shamelessly hereby abandon all cynicism and firmly place my fan boy hat atop my head.  The above trailer hit all the right chords with me.  This looks like Star Wars.  This sounds like Star Wars.  This is Star Wars.

Who can deny the Darth Vader helmet, the X-Wing and TIE Fighters, the fallen Star Destroyers, and the Stormtrooopers?  Who didn’t rejoice at the roar of the Millennium Falcon, the reverberation of the lightsaber, and the hiss of the TIE Fighters?

Who felt chills at the sound of Luke Skywalker’s voice?

Who flat out teared up at the sight of Han Solo with Chewbacca.

Thank you, J.J. Abrams.  Finally, we are all home.

My First Thoughts Concerning the Batman v. Superman Trailer

First of all, if you haven’t yet seen it …

This was a very good couple of days for me, and the premature arrival of this trailer played no small role in that fact!  I am very excited for this film and all it portends, but that doesn’t mean I can’t remain objective about it.  There are some things to gush over, there are some concerns.  Humor me as I expound …

1.  The Tone – I like the tone.  Batman appears menacing, society seems both enamored with and distrustful of Superman, and everything looks cinematic.  The music is brooding yet epic.  I’m sure the movie will be as well.  If nothing else, visually speaking, it’s beautiful.

2.  False God – As stated above, I very much think our present day society would have a field day with Superman if he truly existed. We love our larger-than-life figures, and you can’t get bigger than Superman.  I have no doubt our celebrity culture would deify him, and this looks to be the case according to the statue.  However, as is so often the case, we always tear down our celebrity heroes, it’s only a matter of time.  Again, the graffiti scrolled across the statue would suggest as such.  Superman appears to be no exception to our base behavior.

3.  Kneel Before Superman – But what if he’s more than just a celebrity?  I’ll be honest, Superman looks pretty malicious in this trailer, and when the soldiers dropped to a knee before him, I saw shades of the book and video game called Injustice.  Could this be a world where Superman has sworn something awful like Zod can never happen again?  Has he lost his sense of justice and become a world enforcer? I can’t imagine that’s the Superman they want to build a franchise around.  I’m still troubled by the role he played in the decimation of Metropolis a few years ago.  To be fair, though, it could make him psychologically more interesting …

4.  The Voice – I like the armored Batman voice.  It’s gravely, yet metallic.  It effectively hides Bruce Wayne’s real voice, as one would expect in the real world.  Is it the same voice even when Batman isn’t armored up?  Only time will tell.

5.  Dark Knight Returns Returns – The armored Batman calling out Superman on the street … straight out of The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller.  This is a good thing.  I can’t imagine the movie will end as did the book, but the mere fact they are paying homage to such an iconic moment … it’s thrilling.

About Arrested Development Season 4

My wife and I loved Arrested Development when it aired on Fox.  Sure, it took some getting used to, but we came to adore its weird, quirky stories with such flawed, lovably dysfunctional characters.  From week to week, I’d have a new favorite Bluth, which says a lot about the show’s magic.

When we heard it was coming to Netflix to continue with a fourth season, we were elated.  Unfortunately, I’m enormously cheap and refused to open a Netflix account when we already paid for cable and Amazon Prime.  I guess my love for Arrested Development was a conditional one.

However, we recently picked it up on DVD, and though it took a few episodes to get back in the swing of things, it once again won us over and proved itself a worthy addition.

In fact, I would argue it’s the most ambitious season yet in terms of pure story execution.  If you haven’t seen it, the fourth season basically occurs over a few days.  However, each episode focuses upon one character and their perspective pertaining to the overall story.  At first it’s very confusing, to be sure, but as the episodes unfold, the audience begins to realize what’s happening.  I can’t imagine the editing process for this season, but I’m sure it was a herculean task!  Each character has a subplot, yet they all intertwine with one another.

I wouldn’t say it’s the funniest season, but it’s certainly funny and highly entertaining.  A lot of the jokes were standbys from previous seasons, but still executed creatively.  I especially enjoyed the “meta” commentary throughout.

The final episode took me aback though, because it felt a little anticlimactic and ended abruptly.  However, that could very well be by design.  After all, this news arrived just today.

Do You Like Jewelry? Check Out Steampunk Mamas!

Jewelry is not something I ordinarily write about, but my aunt and cousin have created a brand of jewelry all their own, and I implore you to check them out!

They call their brand Steampunk Mamas and it is obviously meant to appeal to the steampunk fan.  If you’re unfamiliar, steampunk is a genre largely imagining complex science fiction during the Victorian era.

I’ve taken a look at their various websites and it’s pretty cool jewelry!  This mother and daughter team are musicians, artists, craftswomen, as well as jewelry makers.  They make a creative duo!

You can find them at the following links …

Facebook

Artfire

Etsy

Here’s a picture of one of my favorite items that they’ve created …

Dragonfly Necklace with gears and black beading on gold colored chain

I do hope you’ll pay them a visit!

Concerning Star Wars: Rebels

Before I begin, it should be noted I’m thirty-eight years old – born in 1977.  I grew up watching the original Star Wars movies.  I clearly remember seeing Return Of the Jedi in the movie theater.  My older brother, best friend, and I loved the action figures, vehicles, and sets.  I had lunch boxes, masks, we’d make our own lightsabers out of wrapping paper rolls … you get the idea.

When Lucas unveiled the second set of films with The Phantom Menace, I was in my early twenties and, well, it just didn’t quite feel the same.  Maybe it was because I was older, maybe it’s because the films lacked some of the magic … it was probably a combination of the two.

I thought The Clone Wars cartoons were neat, but they didn’t really capture my interest and demand my loyalty.  Again, perhaps it was because of my ever-increasing age, but I think it also had to do with the fact that Anakin Skywalker didnt’ really interest me.  Darth Vader interests me – does even to this day – but not Anakin.  In my mind, Anakin was backstory, and it wasn’t until he began to turn in Revenge Of the Sith that he really started to grow on me.  I knew The Clone Wars cartoons dealt primarily with Anakin before the turn, so I wasn’t all that into it.

So here we are.  I started seeing commercials for Star Wars: Rebels during my own kids’ cartoons and I thought they looked interesting, mainly because of the astro droid, Chopper.  He cracked me up in the little commercials.  Unfortunately, I never made the time to check an episode out.

Until last week.

I decided to watch the first episode last week, and it hooked me right off the bat.  I can absolutely tell you why – it all looks familiar.  For better or worse, this is my Star Wars.  I see the creatures from my Star Wars, I see the vehicle designs, I see my Stormtroopers, I see the retro/funky hairstyles and facial hair, I see the weird tattered clothing mixed with armor and technology, I see the weapons, the architecture.  It’s amazing.

And though the main characters are new, they are extremely likable and charismatic.  Ezra is our orphan runaway, Kanan is our space cowboy, Zeb is our rough monster with the heart of gold, Sabine is our graffiti and explosives artist with the Boba Fett helmet, Hera is our cool-under-pressure pilot, and Chopper is our malcontent, possibly demented, droid.  When we learn that Kanan is a surviving Jedi, and Ezra has potential as his apprentice, it ups the coolness even more.  For example, I grinned from ear to ear the episode Ezra earned his lightsaber.

Plus, though the stories focus on this group of rebels, we get plenty of cameos from old favorites such as Lando, C-P30, R2-D2, wookies, Grand Moff Tarkin, and Senator Organa.

There’s also a new Sith known as the Inquisitor, and he’s awesome.  It’s like they combined Darth Vader and Darth Maul to come up with him.  I’m not complaining – I love the guy.  I hope he lasts a long while.

The story takes place five years before Star Wars: A New Hope, and even though it’s a cartoon, if you’re an old fan like me, you’ll love it.  It’s just flat-out fun.

I hope you’ll give it a try, especially because if you stick it out to the last episode, you will be handsomely rewarded with the greatest Star Wars character of all time.

 

Regarding NBC’s Constantine

I should say from the start that I am not a John Constantine die hard fan.  In fact, until Justice League Dark, I really wasn’t terribly familiar with the character.  I knew of him, but that was really about it.

When I heard NBC planned to air a show using the character, I got excited.  When the first photograph arrived featuring Matt Ryan bedecked in the brown trench coat, loose tie, and disheveled white shirt, I got even more excited.  It appeared as though NBC took this effort seriously.

I’ve watched the show from the start, and though I’ve had an opinion about it for a long time, I wanted to keep watching and keep watching before I voiced that opinion.  We’re now at January 28th, and I think the show has probably found its identity as much as it can for this first season.

I first want to say that Matt Ryan, in my opinion, is perfect.  He looks the part, he acts the part, and he sounds the part.  He’s got swagger, he’s got the hair, he’s got the thin frame – I think this is expert casting.  Furthermore, his face actually looks like it’s lived.  It’s got lines, it looks weathered, I believe this man has seen some serious stuff.  But it’s Ryan’s eyes that really make me believe he’s John Constantine.  When the camera pulls in tight on Ryan’s eyes, they shimmer like little beads and look both haunted, demented, and hopeful all at once.

I also appreciate the “look” of the show.  Each episode looks like a little movie.  The locations are always interesting and vivid.  Furthermore, the special effects are more than respectable, especially for being a weekly show on the small screen.

And while I watch Constantine and enjoy it, I won’t pretend it’s perfect.  The dialogue is sometimes downright awful.  The stories, supposedly based off of classic Hellblazer comics, don’t always translate well to mainstream television.  Some are better than others, and they’ve all entertained me, but none of them ever made me sit up in awe.

But the biggest problem in my mind is the acting.  Other than Matt Ryan, I don’t believe in any of the show’s characters, particularly Zed and Chas.  I realize bad dialogue can impact acting, but the actors playing Zed and Chas always feel a little off to me.  The timing is never quite right, the tone and inflection don’t ever quite fit, and, to be honest, even the body language is awkward at moments.  They may very well be wonderful actors, but I’m not connecting with their takes on Chas and Zed.

I would personally like to see Constantine take on greater scope.  “The Rising Darkness” is so generic and plot driven – I can’t really take it seriously.  I would really like to see Constantine dive into the dark side of the DC Universe.  I don’t know if NBC has rights to characters like Zatanna, Dr. Fate, Swamp Thing, Dr. Occult, The Demon, Tim Hunter, Dr. 13, and Deadman, but their inclusion would truly heighten interest in the show and juxtapose Constantine more powerfully than the sporadic evils he faces weekly.  The best we’ve gotten is Felix Faust, which speaks volumes.

I will keep watching Constantine.  I want it to succeed, I’m rooting for it to prevail and get a second season, yet, at the same moment, I must admit it’s not a show I feel comfortable recommending to friends.   I think the creators and actors are giving it their best effort, and I commend them for making something very watchable, but I don’t feel they’ve yet found an identity that amazes the audience with each episode.

The 12th DAUSTER

I love Doctor Who, though I’m a relatively recent convert.  I think I became a fan about two years ago.  I’m very much enjoying Peter Capaldi’s take since taking over the role of The Doctor.

It was around 2004 that I discovered one of my favorite authors, Paul Auster, and I’ve read nearly every one of his books since.  Of late, Paul Auster has been appearing in my various Facebook and Twitter feeds for this video/article.

And then it hit me – Paul Auster and Peter Capaldi look very much alike.  I created the below image very much in admiration of the two men.

12 DOAUSTER