Saturday, March 31, 2012

In Memory Of Xehanort



Today, I shall honor a fallen friend. A villain whom I have, and always shall, love, hate, and love to hate. I speak of Xehanort, the main villain of the "Kingdom Hearts" video game series. For three main games, he was a compelling antagonist and one who was always fun to watch and interesting to explore. But once Tetsuya Nomura officially mutated the series into a saga bearing Xehanort's name,  the great villain's fate was sealed. He was doomed to total decay, just like just about everything else in this franchise. But before we get to that sad point, let's look over the detailed history of Xehanort's character, his various guises, and how he "evolved" over time.

ANSEM
In the original classic "Kingdom Hearts", there was no Xehanort. There was only Ansem.  Supposedly, Ansem was a wise researcher and the ruler of Hollow Bastion. When he discovered the Heartless and the true nature of the heart and darkness, he did experiments with the darkness that ultimately drove him to madness. He turned himself into a Heartless but was able to hold onto his feelings even so. He commanded the Heartless in bringing about the ruination of his own world. Now the pure evil Heartless master, Ansem believed that since all worlds and hearts are born in darkness, they must return to darkness too, so he sought the heart of all worlds, Kingdom Hearts, in order to claim its' power and use it to cast the universe into everlasting darkness. But since he lacked the strength to seek out the door to darkness that would lead him to where Kingdom Hearts resided, he gave control of the Heartless to Maleficent so that she may direct them in their world conquest and direct her band of villains in search of the seven purest hearts that would open the final keyhole. Eventually, Ansem took possession of Riku's body and entered through the final keyhole. Sora, Donald, and Goofy pursued him. Ansem fought them at the Endless Abyss but was defeated. He beckoned the door to darkness to open so that Kingdom Hearts could rejuvenate him with more darkness, but what came out instead was a shining light that struck him down, obliterating him.   

Ansem was a well designed, well conceived, well written, and well handled villain for this story and his dubbed voice done brilliantly by the marvelously hammy Billy Zane. However, there was one thing about him that could rub one the wrong way: he was essentially the Disneyfied version of Final Fantasy VII's Sephiroth. And not just in his character design, either! If you were to take his backstory and replace being a wise researcher/king with a respected SOLDIER commander, and replace the Heartless with Jenova, and who do you have? Yeah, I can call Ansem many great things but "original" isn't exactly one of them. But for what he is, Sephiroth clone or not, he's a great villain.

XEMNAS AND XEHANORT
In "Kingdom Hearts II", the story changed. In a shocking twist revelation made halfway through the game, Ansem was revealed to have not been Ansem at all! He was actually Xehanort, Ansem's young chief apprentice who ran experiments on darkness even after Ansem had forbade them, wrote reports under Ansem's name, and eventually betrayed Ansem by banishing him into darkness and taking his place. And when he had become the Heartless who was the first game's villain, his empty shell that was left behind became the Nobody Xemnas, who is the leader of Organization XIII. Xemnas also wanted to claim the power of Kingdom Hearts, which he intended to use to cast the universe into a state of nothingness so that he could rebuild it "one heart at a time", with him as the supreme ruler. Through manipulating Sora into using the keyblades' power to release captive hearts from Heartless that the Organization then captured, he forged his own link to Kingdom Hearts, a heart shaped moon. When Ansem the Wise gave his life to hinder his plans, Xemnas attempted to take over the great heart from within using power from hearts filled with darkness, but was defeated by Sora and his friends. Drawing fourth one final lifeline from the nothingness, Xemnas tore apart the existence of the World That Never Was and threatened to do the same with all other worlds. In the final showdown with Sora and Riku, light and darkness joined together to destroy Xemnas for good.

Xemnas was originally planned to be Ansem's Nobody, keeping with what was established in the first KH, until Nomura decided to change that. There was thus a lot of controversy over the twist that Ansem wasn't really Ansem and was actually Xehanort, because it was, I won't lie, a plot twist for 
the sake of being a plot twist. Whether it made the character better or worse is up for debate. 
I personally thinks it made him better. He had slightly less of a Sephiroth rip-off origin now and "Xehanort" was just a cooler sounding name for the Big Bad than "Ansem". Meanwhile, the REAL Ansem was revealed to be the true identity of DiZ. This is another thing that shows me that the twist worked out, since Ansem the Wise is quite an awesome character, and he has Christopher Lee's voice in the English version too! Xemnas was also an impressive villain: as badass and edgy as the best "Final Fantasy" villains and yet still an expressive, pompously melodramatic, hammy windbag even whilst being unemotional. And really, Ansem actually not being Ansem but instead being his apprentice committing identity theft really isn't all that convoluted a concept to understand. The problem, I think, lies in the fact that they had DiZ impersonate "Ansem" (Xehanort's Heartless) back in the "Reverse/Rebirth" mode of "Chain of Memories" and now since it turns out that DiZ is the real Ansem, that essentially means that DiZ was Ansem who impersonated a guy impersonating another guy who was impersonating Ansem! And also the fact that Riku, for some reason, took on the form of "Ansem" when he fully embraced his darkness and conquered "Ansem's" darkness that was still inside of him.  So that means we had DiZ, Riku, and Xemnas all being Ansem in the same story!  Total mindfuck. If they had only not had Riku and DiZ take "Ansem"'s shape at any point, the whole Ansem thing would be easier to understand. Take that away, and the Xehanort twist is perfectly fine and comprehensible. However, Ansem's other reports mentioned that Ansem took Xehanort in after "rescuing him from death's door" and Xehanort in fact had no memory of who he was other than his name. Uh Oh! There was still something hanging here!  Where oh where could THIS be heading?

MASTER XEHANORT
Here's where thing officially start to go crazy. In the prequel game, "Birth By Sleep", we discover Xehanort's forgotten origins. He was a boy from Destiny Islands who wanted to leave his tiny prison of a world and see other worlds, exactly like Riku, meaning that "Ansem"'s words about Riku can now also be applied to himself. As a young man, he escaped his world and became a keyblade wielder, eventually joining the ranks of his colleagues Yen Sid and Eraqus as a keyblade master. Upon studying the nature of light, darkness, hearts, and the universe, Xehanort realized that there should be equal balance between light and darkness, and thus delved deeply into the darkness (without even wearing his protective armor!) while trying to exploit it's power. He opened his heart to it and was driven to madness and evil. His dark heart now burned with ambition to unlock all the World's secrets and a desire to recreate the entire universe how he saw fit, and to do that, he'd have to first recreate it's initial destruction, which was stated in legend to be the outcome of a great Keyblade War. As an old master, he's the main villain of the game, in which he enacts an incredibly convoluted scheme with two end results to be met: re-forging the mythical X-Blade so that it can unlock the true power of Kingdom Hearts to start another Keyblade War, and finding a younger, stronger new body with immense darkness for his heart to possess. The first goal of his plans were thwarted by Aqua and Mickey, but he was able to successfully manipulate Terra into fully embracing his darkness so that he would be the perfect vessel for him. Xehanort cast aside his old body and took over Terra's, but Terra fought back from within. In a bout of insanity, he used his keyblade to lock his own heart and would have dissolved into the darkness had Aqua not saved him. That's when Ansem the Wise found him, completely amnesiac due to the heart lock, and made him his pupil. When Xehanort took part in the darkness experiments under guidance from Braig, Master Xehanort's heart was reawakened and completely consumed Terra's essence, giving the villain full control of the body. He then went on to do the things described earlier and became the villain of the original trilogy, meaning Xehanort was two guys who became one guy and then that one guy became two guys.

Xehanort was much simpler back in "Kingdom Hearts II" when we knew nothing of his past. Now he was a far more convoluted existence. And yet somehow, he still worked.  This was partially due to Master Xehanort's character coming off incredibly well, being a deliciously evil and vile monster of a man with all the melodramatic hamminess you've come to expect of this villain and the powerful voice of Leonard Nimoy. The sheer depths to which he sinks in pursuit of his goals and the predatory manipulation he pulls on other characters, even Eraqus, who used to be like a brother to him, are compellingly repulsive. It was also because, when you really analyze him, he's still a perplexing entity, but pretty damn fascinating too. Of particular interest is the fact that the Xehanort who initiated the plot of the original KH games was really Master Xehanort's heart commandeering Terra's body, which makes "Ansem" the Heartless created from Master Xehanort's heart, and Xemnas the Nobody of Terranort, explaining why he acts upon the leftovers of both Xehanort and Terra; the body is still technically Terra's, but the evil essence that corrupted it is all Xehanort. And if you study the charts above, everything about this character actually adds up as long as you don't try to factor in Riku and Ansem the Wise as truly being part of his character. When all was said and done, Xehanort was an excellent, beautifully realized villain and this was a perfect place to leave his character.  BUT.

XEHANORT XIII
...Nomura was not about to let go of Xehanort because he had already predetermined that the entire "Kingdom Hearts" series as we know it was now "the Xehanort saga." So for the sake of "surprising the players", Nomura added new twists to Xehanort's character and has as of now put a whole new spin on him. First, the secret ending of "Re:Coded" reveals that Master Xehanort has risen from the dead due to some previously unheard of rule that killing a Heartless and a Nobody of a person in that order will result in the person returning whole again. Then came "Dream Drop Distance." It seemed Xehanort had returned to his pretentious younger self and was playing the part of main antagonist in that form, while wearing the fashionable black raincoat that as of now has no meaning behind it whatsoever. But then it was revealed that Young Xehanort was actually a phantom existence of Xehanort as a boy taken out from his own time period. Immersing himself in darkness, he has the power to travel through time and is doing so in search of other "Xehanorts".Wait, what? It's also revealed that "Ansem" can also travel through time and actually used this power to go to the past and convince his young self on Destiny Islands to embark on his quest that would end in him turning to darkness! WHAT? Are you kidding me? And THEN it's revealed that old Master Xehanort is the present-day Xehanort who was revived, and in order to enact whatever new evil plan he has to take over Kingdom Hearts via that damn X-Blade, he's creating an organization of "XIII Xehanorts", which consists of either different forms of Xehanort from different times (such as "Ansem" and Xemnas), and people who have been made into Xehanort through being infected with his darkness (such as Braig and Isa), and somehow he has enough ties to Sora to want Sora, who already has enough people who are somehow eventually him or part of his heart or connected to him, to become Xehanort too, and that this organization of Xehanorts, and the plots of the original Trinity games for that matter, was all part of his magnificent grand master plan from the start because now he can okay, stop! STOP!!! God, I'm sorry but this DOES NOT MAKE SENSE. Nothing in this story is coherent, nothing adds up, everything is too convoluted or pretentious, and the very idea of the all-consuming Xehanort is now enough to break one's brain trying to think about it! The writing here feels like it comes from a different planet or realm with an entirely different logic entirely. As of this game, the "Kingdom Hearts" series has completely lost it's plot because Tetsuya Nomura has completely lost his mind. The original storyline of this series and all of it's ideas and elements is now drivel. It is dumb, DUMB, DUMB.

And as of now, Xehanort has lost all sense of individuality, originality, and specialness because anyone and everyone can now be him. He's no longer a credible villain because all the evil stuff he says and does is stupid. And like Sora, he's not even a true character anymore: he's a thing. An idea, a concept, an entity, a tool. He's basically been equated to a plot disease that all these original villains have caught due to the darkness and his heart and time travel or whatever. Now to his great credit, he's still an often incredibly entertaining entity because of all the ex-characters that he has encompassed and how almost self-aware Master Xehanort seems to be in his new roles, and for that  I shall always enjoy him. But I cannot appreciate him any longer because he has lost his integrity and dignity as a creation, being the "heart" of this abysmal Dark Seeker Saga notwithstanding. 
I wouldn't be surprised that if by "Kingdom Hearts III", Master Xehanort starts to express himself as if he has a death wish. So I hope his final appearance will at least be enjoyable before he's at last put out of his and our misery. And I can also hope the same to befall Sora as well. I can only hope....

"Please....someone....end me....END MEEEEEE!"

Sunday, March 25, 2012

And now I shall speak for the trees...

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:
Just felt like bringing this up. It's very rare that something makes a REALLY good first impression on you. Rarely does a trailer ever get me super hyped to see a movie unless it's a trailer for a film I'd already heard about and was already looking forward to before the first teaser even came out.  However, as of recently, there has been something I've been dying to see ever since the first trailer.
It actually got me really interested in seeing how it's going to be. That trailer is: 

"The Lorax" has always been a great story by Dr Seuss, and one of the few heavy handed environmental message stories that I actually found meaningful and well played. Now this trailer comes out, with mixed reactions from many people, especially those who love the book. Personally, 
I think this first trailer was brilliant. When it opens, you literally have no idea what the movie is based on or what story it's telling. It seems like just your average CG animated kids' movie about teenage kids living in this strange, otherworldly neighborhood. Zac Efron voices the boy, which is good since 
I already know he has talent and the more that breaks him away from "High School Musical" the better, and Taylor Swift voices the girl he has a crush on. Taylor Swift is an incredibly talented singer but I'm not so certain about her acting skills, but from what I hear of her here, she does a good, cute "hippy like" voice for this character. Then the girl shows off her painting of bizzare looking "trees", which supposedly don't grow anymore so she's never really "seen" one. At this point, I'm thinking "Wait, is this....nah, couldn't be." 

Then the boy asks his family where he could find anything on trees in order to impress his crush. Cut to him riding his scooter down a dark and spooky mountainous road, with "Beware, Danger, Stay Out!" signs posted on the side. Now I'm like "Ho-ly shit, is is!" a second before Dr Seuss' name even shows up on the screen and we see the Once-ler's creepy Lurkin tower. 

Apparently, Once-ler does not like visitors and has set traps that nearly kill the boy. Immediately, the awesome sounding song ("Light and Day") kicks into high gear as the Seuss style images fully rendered in 3D come onto the screen. We see the Lorax's woodland home, the creatures that inhabit it, a young Once-ler voiced by Ed Helms arriving and chopping down his first tree, and then the Lorax shows up...with the voice of Danny Devito.  When Jim Carrey was cast as Horton back in the CGI "Horton Hears A Who" movie, I had my doubts but he turned out to be great in the role. (Though I will always say that Will Ferrel would've been better.) With this, though, there was no doubt in my mind; this is perfect casting. Devito's voice somehow fits the Lorax's short, stubby, hairy design perfectly. We then see more images flash by, including a brief shot of Old Man Once-ler reaching out his window, grabbing at Zac Efron's character. And I'm thinking "What the hell is he?"  From what little we can make out, he has yellow eyes, hair all over his face, and long green gloves on. It freaked me out a little the first time I saw it. Appropriately enough, the trailer ends on the only genuinely hilarious joke in it, made funny by Danny Devito's delivery of the Lorax's utterly sincere confusion. We hear "Reach for the SUN!" one last time, and I'm sold.

I hear that the story's been altered a good deal. Well, that was obvious. A lot of purists still don't seem to grasp that no short story can be adapted as a full length movie without adding new stuff in. The stuff that's here seems promising. We have Thneedsville as a nice, happy place where everything is artificial and nobody can ever leave due to some sort of government conspiracy, the lead boy and girl and their families getting involved somehow, and the main villain named O'hare, who apparently started off a canned air salesman and is supposedly the devil with whom Once-ler makes a deal in the backstory. The biggest change is that we're going to see what happens after the boy gets the seed from Once-ler. That's going to be interesting. The movie's outcome could be made or broken depending on how this is all used. I, for one, am definitely looking forward to seeing it in March. Once I have, I'll write up a review to sum up my thoughts. 


Alright, I promised I would give my review of "The Lorax" once I'd seen it, and now I have. Let's go:



Books by Dr. Seuss have always had great half-hour cartoon adaptations. But when it comes to Hollywood, I think the quality has varied due to the big changes that had to be made to the material. We've had "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" (which I thought was good), "The Cat In The Hat" (which was awful), "Horton Hears A Who!" (which was okay) and now, "The Lorax", which, like "The Grinch", I thought was good. Oddly enough, these two movies have a divided reaction among critics. You either love 'em or hate 'em. Personally, I really liked this movie. I had expectations set for it after the first trailer and I received exactly what I expected: a good, fun movie based on a great story. Now for this overview of my reception towards the film, I'll list what I liked and disliked about overall:

PROS:

- The computer animation in this movie looks fantastic. The town, the environment, the creatures, the people, and even the objects look distinctly Seuss-like. 

- The musical score and songs were great, too. Especially the Once-ler's Villain Song, "How Bad Can I Be?". All pieces of music in this movie set the moods perfectly.

- I liked the characters of Ted, Audrey, and Grammy. They all played their roles well and their voice actors made them very likable. I was actually impressed to see Ted go from someone who was only "interested" in trees just to impress his dream girl to a young hero who genuinely cared about carrying out the Once-ler and Lorax's wishes. Audrey was really pretty and cute, and I liked that despite her obligatory love interest role, she wasn't really interested in "love" and was instead dreaming about seeing real, natural trees, and only fell in love with Ted once he learned to really care. And Grammy was awesome: Ted and Audrey even say as much!

- I loved this take on the Once-ler. He was hands down the best character in the film. I really enjoyed Ed Helms' performance as both young and old Once-ler, and loved seeing him go from good natured young aspiring businessman to a friend to the Lorax and all the forest critters to a ruthless, uncaring business tycoon bent on "biggering" his empire at the cost of the environment, to a broken, regretful, reclusive if not slightly looney old hermit who helps Ted realize his destiny. He was funny, charming, and likable, inconsiderate and despicable, and very sympathetic all at once. I also actually loved the expansion on his motivations of wanting to make his family proud of him, even though his family was a bunch of reprehensible hicks, and how in the end, his brotherhood ("bromance") with the Lorax ended up more important and fulfilling for him. Made especially blatant in that last scene. D'aaaw.

- I also loved the Lorax, how he spoke for the trees, how he was sort of a grouchy extremist jerk with a heart of gold who still tried to be as reasonable as he could, and Danny Devito as his voice.

- I really loved the story and how it was ultimately handled. When it was faithful to the book, it was REALLY faithful to the book. But when it went on it's own, it was still really engaging. I loved the disturbing idea of a civilization that's secluded and walled from the outside world and everything is fabricated, I loved the "bottled air", I loved how the unnamed boy from the book was made into the protagonist character, I loved that the backstory telling was divided into three trips to the Once-ler's place rather than one, I loved the added scenarios to the backstory (like the marshmallow bit and the floating bed bit), I loved the pragmatic changes (like the people NOT immediately buying into the Thneed BS when Once-ler first starts selling it, and the Villain Song being used as a montage song), and I loved the ultimate resolution, similarities to "Wall-E" that preceded it be damned. And I thought the serious, emotional bits were really effective. I was close to getting choked up at the last scene between the Once-ler and Lorax, and when the book quote from Dr Suess came on screen...damn.


CONS:

- C'mon, guys, you don't have to be ashamed of Seussisms.  Put some more in!  "Truffula Trees" isn't said as often, and words like "Grickle Grass", "Lurkin", "gruvelous gloves", "whispermaphone", " super axehacker" and various others are omitted entirely. 

- I know that the people who made this made this also made "Despicable Me" but God, they really could've cut down on making the critters act like the Minions! I mean, the studio logo bit at the start of the movie showing a Barbaloot Bear falling on top of a Minion should have clued me in for what I was in for, but still...

- The main villain, Mr. O'Hare, was really overplayed. And he was also lame. VERY lame I mean, I got the idea behind him and know why he had to be here, but he really grated on my nerves after awhile. His Edna Mode-esque design, short stature, loud and obnoxious voice, and the fact that he was a flat stock cooperate villain purely motivated by greed. Worse is that he knew damn well he was polluting and didn't care so long as he got profit: heck, he even seemed to get off on being an evil slimeball, like a Captain Planet villain! That kind of sends the wrong message: Once-ler is a great antagonist because his villainy comes from the human flaws of being careless and ignorant. Rarely ever in real life are there just these megalomaniacs who deliberately pollute for profit and go through over-the-top villainous lengths to stop anyone from planting so much as one real seed. And I was disappointed in how he wasn't in any way connected to the Once-ler's story like I initially thought he would be. Nope, he was just some diminutive geek who took Once-ler's Thneeds business and designs for Thneedville for himself and completely took over. It would have been more interesting if he had been an old employee of Once-ler's. That would mean they'd have to age him up in the present time, but y'know what? He'd probably be more interesting that way! As he is, though, he's annoying, he's boring, and really weighs the whole thing down. At least his eventual comeuppance was satisfying, but only because I hated him and not for the right reasons.

- There were several blatant moments where the "3D" gimmick was clearly meant to be used. I am so sick of 3D. Why can't movies be made without that shit being shoe-horned in? Though I did love the "Ted on his scooter" sequences, especially when he actually made use of the weird Seuss-like structures to go around them. But did those sequences really need 3D?  Did they?

- I didn't really like Ted's mother. She only did one redeeming thing during the climax but other than that, she didn't seem all that much better than Once-ler's mama!

- And while I liked how the Villain Song was used as a montage before we cut to the dark wasteland the Truffula Valley has become, I really wish there had been a little bit more Lorax vs Once-ler conflict after that because instead we immediately get the final confrontation before the last tree is chopped down. I understood why the animals all had to leave at the same time as opposed to one after another like in the book, and it even made for a nice scene where Once-ler's mule and "teddy bear" turn their backs on him, I really would've liked to see the Lorax point out the exact effects of what Once-ler's business venture has been doing to the environment and its' inhabitants. This conflict took up most of the book's story and I felt it was really lousy for so much of it to get cut.


But overall, I really enjoyed the movie. It was silly alot of the times, but you have to expect that from Dr. Seuss movies and Dr. Seuss in general, and the environmental message that mattered was still kept and delivered in a satisfactory, even moving way. In fact, after I left that theater and drove back home to my neighborhood, I really took in my surroundings and looked around at the sunshine, blue sky, grass, and trees. I really appreciated the natural beauty. It really is a lovely world we have, and UNLESS...unless we stop being selfish and foolhardy, unless we do things to help preserve its' beauty and really lift a finger to clean up the man-made trash that pollutes the earth, things really won't get better. They won't. They'll just keep getting worse until we lose all of God's gifts that we used to have. That's something Theodore "Ted" Seuss Geisel realized when he wrote "The Lorax" and I'm glad that the message can be heard by a modern generation now. In their hands, and ours, and mine, hopefully we can keep the world a life-filled, beautiful, and wonderful place to live in.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Legend of Korra

Okay, I just got done sneak previewing the first two episodes of "Avatar: The Last Airbender"'s sequel series, "The Legend of Korra" and I'm blogging my thoughts on the show thus far here:

Let's get the most obvious thing out of the way first:

 KORRA IS HAWT.

Seriously, check out how well built she is! This may be the hottest girl in the franchise by far. And if you dare say you cannot be attracted to this cartoon character, you're lying. There's a reason she's
a Memetic Sex Godess, guys.  Everyone is Korrasexuual, even you! But not only is she hot, she's utterly adorable, she's got a great attitude, an interesting characterization, superb animation, skilled badassery, and great voice acting.  Just two episodes in and already Korra is a very likable main heroine. If her character development ends up solid (which it most surely will), she'll officially be right up there with Katara and Azula as a favorite female character in the Avatar world.

 Personally, I love the idea for this series and the direction Mike and Bryan are taking with it is absolutely the right way to go in my opinion. "Avatar: The Last Airbender" was such a magnificent animated epic, why should it have a sequel that would try to imitate, live up to,
or even surpass it's legacy?  Mike and Bryan must've realized that it couldn't, so the sequel series
is changing it's gears completely. Instead of an epic fantasy story stretched across three seasons, we're getting a modernized "Batmanish" show that revolves more around the characters and their setting than it does any overall plot, since there will be no overall plot this time: just different story arcs per season. The fact that it's set years into the future past the original show also gives it it's edge and we get to have an all new cast of characters with new stories to be told with them. While I'm liking "The Promise" as a bridge between the two series' that establishes the founding of Republic City, I think it also shows why it's best to let old casts and their stories go. There's just no more room for good development with them because their character arcs were resolved in the show itself: what we get in the comic is either the same old shit the characters usually did in the show (Sokka's jokes and Toph's snarks), stuff that we'd rather not have seen past its' resolution (Kataang couple), and rehashing of development that characters have already been through  (Aang and Zuko's conflicts respectively). Bringing in new characters, settings, and stories ensures that things are kept fresh.

 I also love that they've decided upon the title just being "The Legend Of Korra." While we all know that the title is meant to be "Avatar: The Legend Of Korra", that James Cameron turdfest movie made use of the title "Avatar" forbidden despite the fact that the original show used it for it's entire run four years before James Cameron's movie ever came out. But thankfully, they chose not to go with the working title "The Last Airbender: The Legend Of Korra", which would make no sense whatsoever seeing as there is no "last airbender" anymore and it would make the series sound too associated with M Night Shyamalan's sub-par live action adaptation. So compared to that, the simple title we've gotten is good enough.

 The animation for the backgrounds, characters, bending and action sequences, all that stuff...it's phenomenal as always. And the style and mood they've set for the show is great. It still feels very Asian, but much, much more modern, with Republic City being a clear Expy of New York City itself.  (Y'know, since Team Rocket's fight against Team Plasma is still postponed, maybe they should invite Team Rocket over to Republic City so that can terrorize it while duking it out with the Equalists instead.)  They've now got automobiles, planes, cameras, radios, newspapers, and much more modern conveniences. All we need to see now are phones and TVs and it'll officially be a nice place to live in.

 I love the Tenzin character and his family. Tenzin being the full grown son of Avatar Aang is interesting enough but his characterization is engaging too. He's a great stern, uptight, serious, wise and dignified man with a strong belief in how things should be done but he is also a wonderful comically serious character, being made the butt of several great moments of humor in the show while still being able to maintain his dignity despite that. You just gotta love him, and the voice acting by JK Simmons helps alot. His overactive kids and envious "normal" wife are funny too. I can't wait to see more of this family in future episodes.

 The metalbending police force of Republic City are hardcore badasses, being led by a badass captain voiced by Richard Epcar, who in turn works for the badass chief, Lin Bei Fong, Toph's grown up daughter. I love what little I've seen of this stone cold, hardass bitch. I wonder what is was in her childhood that made her grow up to be the total opposite of the rebellious Toph, but it makes for an interesting character conflict when she has to deal with the rebellious Korra. Bei Fong is entirely right that Korra shouldn't dish out vigilante justice if it means causing damage to the city and that "I'm the Avatar" should not be a get-out-of-jail-free card. However, Korra is right in that helping out in her own way rather than relying on the cops is what she as the Avatar should do, and that Bei Fong should be a bit more tolerant towards her seeing as she IS the reincarnation of her mother's friend. I hope this dynamic goes places and the two of them end up like Batman and Commissioner Gordon by the next season rather than staying enemies.

 Pro-Bending, as has been stated, is right up there with Quiditch and Blitzball with cool fantasy sports that we wish existed in real life. I enjoyed every minute of it in the second episode, the way its' animated is great, and now that Korra's joined the Fire Ferrets team alongside Mako and Bolin, I'm eager to see more of it. Speaking of Mako and Bolin, those two brothers seem like interesting characters too. Mako acts kind of like Zuko while Bolin acts kind of like Sokka, making the Zuko/Sokka "brotherly" dynamic more apparent. Bolin is amusing without going too over-the-top (yet), and while Mako may need a serious attitude adjustment, the guy's kick-ass. The way he implemented a brilliant strategy to take out all three of the opposing team members by himself was incredible! Looks like there's going to be some "relationship drama" between him and Korra down the road. And thus another shipping nightmare shall begin...

 And while on the subject of Pro-Bending, how about Anti-Bending? (Geddit?) The Equalists seem like very intriguing antagonists for this first season's story arc. Their arguments for why bending should be abolished so far actually make a good deal of sense, but with these sorts of anti-whatever revolutionary union groups, I have to wonder about their real motives. The mysterious evil leader, Amon, interests me greatly. He's only shown for the last few seconds of the first episode and is all over the promotional ads, and already he's a really cool villain. He seems to have a natural charisma, wears a creepy yet inspiring looking mask, and has the voice of Yamaki from "Digimon Tamers".  If he gets alot of supporters, I wouldn't blame them. And from the looks of things (especially the "I will destroy you" nightmare bit on the trailers) he looks to indeed be
a very frightening enemy for Korra. But what could he possibly be concealing behind that mask?

 Lastly, there's a character that has yet to appear that I am really eager to meet. No, not Dante Basco's character: we don't know who he even is yet. The character I want to see is named Asami Sato, the teenage daughter of a wealthy industrialist tycoon named Hiroshi Sato. From just the description of her character, I think I love her and am sure I can add her to my category of "Best Spoiled Bitches" that I've seen. Also, she's voiced by Sychelle Gabriel and since we know she's a Pro-Bending fangirl, she'll undoubtedly be siding against the Equalists. If we do not hear her at any point say "We'll show the Equalists that we believe in our beliefs just as much as they believe in theirs!", I will be immensely disappointed.

 Oh, and of course, there was a tease about "the amazing story of what happened to Zuko's mother...but not yet!" towards the start of the first episode. That all but confirms that Mike and Bryan have something specific in mind for that plot point and it will be revealed either later in this series, or in a graphic novel, or maybe even both! 

Cannot WAIT to see more of this show after it's premiere in April.

Friday, March 23, 2012

MTV Movie Awards: Villains

Now I follow up on my previous MTV Movie Awards entry with another one regarding one of my favorite subjects: villains! This goes over the "Best Villain" award and seeing if I think the right call was made:


1992:
- Peyton Flanders  (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
- Max Cady  (Cape Fear)
- The T-1000  (Terminator 2: Judgement Day)
- The Sheriff of Nottingham  (Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves)
- Nino Brown  (New Jack City)

The first year got this one right. While T-1000 is scary as hell and Alan Rickman as the Sherrif of Nottingham was the best thing in a bad film,  neither match the cold, persistent, intelligent evil that Peyton demonstrated as she continuously and methodically ruined the lives of those she blamed for the death of her husband and unborn child, always succeeding and covering her tracks brilliantly.
Her kind of villainy was compelling and disturbing, and it made her karmic downfall in the end an immensely satisfying payoff. On side note, I do not know who Nino Brown is and I did not like Robert DeNiro's Max Cady at all, seeing as it was an over-the-top imitation of Robert Mitchum's superior characterization.

 
1993:
- Hedra Carlson  (Single White Female)
- The Penguin  (Batman Returns)
- Pete Davis  (Unlawful Entry)
- Col. Nathan Jessup  (A Few Good Men)

Ummm...okay, I like Hedy alot and she easily beats out Pete Davis and (ugh) Danny Devito's Penguin, but I wouldn't call her best villain material if she's up against Col. Jessup.  In the end, Hedy was pitiable, tragic, even downright likable as a character. Jessup, on the other hand, was much more vicious and unapologetically villainous. His motives had a very good point to them, but that
didn't excuse his criminal actions nor his mean spirited arrogance towards others. Plus, it's Jack Nicholson, so it's bound to be a fantastic performance. The fact that Jessup desereved to win Best Villain is the truth, but THEY CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!


1994:
- Adrian Forrester  (The Crush)
- Henry Evans  (The Good Son)
- Mitch Leary  (In The Line Of Fire)
- Simon Phoenix  (Demolition Man)
- The T-Rex  (Jurassic Park)

I guess I could give this one a pass, though I probably would've voted for Mitch Leary on account of
it being John Malkovich. I don't know Simon Phoenix, Henry Evans was a terribly written villain, and the T-Rex has absolutely no business being here at all! Dennis Nedry and the Velociraptors were the bad guys of that movie: the T-Rex was just following its' instincts. Hell, it even saved the day in the end! That's no villain, that's a hero!


1995:
- Howard Payne  (Speed)
- Lestat  (Interview With A Vampire)
- Scar  (The Lion King)
- Ryan Gareity  (Blown Away)
- Meredith Johnson  (Disclosure)

I can give this a pass too because Dennis Hopper was outstanding in this role, but I probably would've voted for Scar here. I mean, c'mon: Jeremy Iron's voice performance was incredible and he had one of the best villain songs of all time. None of the competiton can compare, especially not prettyboy Tom Cruise as prettyboy vampire Lestat. Bleh!


1996:
- John Doe  (Se7en)
- The Riddler and Two-Face  (Batman Forever)
- Nicky Santoro  (Casino)
- Vic Deakins  (Broken Arrow)
- Alec Trevelyan  (GoldenEye)

This is pretty tough. Given my feelings for the movie, I didn't like John Doe: in fact, everything went irreversibly wrong the moment he decided to show his face! However, Kevin Spacey did play the part chillingly well. So I guess he deserves this award: I'll just pretend that he's getting it for being Keyzer Soze and it'll be alright. Besides, who else can top Kevin Spacey here? The Riddler and Two-Face?
Puh-leeze!


1997:
- The Cable Guy  (The Cable Guy)
- Gil Renard  (The Fan)
- Aaron Stampler  (Primal Fear)
- Freddie Lee Cobb  (A Time To Kill)
- David McCall  (Fear)

Jim Carrey couldn't cut it as the Riddler last here, so I guess this was his year to take the prize. And it won't be the last time either...


1998:
- Dr Evil  (Austin Powers)
- Castor Troy  (Face/Off)
- Ivan Korshunov  (Air Force One)
- John Milton/Lucifer  (The Devil's Advocate)  
- Cal Nathan Hockley  (Titanic)

Oh, Hell yes!  Dr. Evil definitely deserved this win. Mike Myers is consistently hilarious as this villain: his voice, mannerisms, background, and comedically evil antics makes him better than all the villains he's spoofing in my book. Al Paccino and Billy Zane gave fun hammy performances as their villains, but the parts weren't as well written. I don't care about the other two, whoever they are. 


1999:

I don't care about any of these villains at all!


2000:
- Dr Evil  (The Spy Who Shagged Me)  
- Tom Ripley  (The Talented Mr Ripley)  
- Kathryn Metruiel  (Cruel Intentions)
- Darth Maul  (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace)
- The Headless Hessian  (Sleepy Hollow)

Dr Evil wins AGAIN? While he probably earned it, two awards for the same villain is kind of unfair.
I would've chosen Matt Damon as the talented Mr Ripley himself or maybe Sarah Michelle Gellar as Kathryn 'cause I love her so damn much. Darth Maul and the Hessian don't deserve the award: they don't even talk! 


2001:
- The Grinch  (How The Grinch Stole Christmas)
- Sebastian Caine  (Hollow Man)
- Carl Rudolph Stargher  (The Cell)
- Hannibal Lecter  (Hannibal)
- Commodus  (Gladiator)

Gotta agree with this one. It seems this was the year of over-the-top villains (even the always great Anthony Hopkins was playing a far less subtle of Hannibal Lecter), and Jim Carrey is easily the best at playing over-the-top villainy. His take on the Grinch was very interesting and memorable to me, if not overly obnoxious at times. 


2002:
- Alonzo Harris  (Training Day)
- Queen Akasha  (Queen Of The Damned)
- Saruman  (The Fellowship Of The Ring)
- General Thade  (Planet Of The Apes)
- Hu Li  (Rush Hour 2)

Nothing against Denzel Washington, but Chrisopher Lee as Saruman would've been my pick here.


2003:
- Samara Morgan  (The Ring)
- The Green Goblin  (Spider-Man)
- Bill The Butcher  (Gangs Of New York)
- Bullseye  (Daredevil)  
- Dr Evil & Goldmember  (Goldmember)

All top-notch villains here, but I'd have to say that they made the right call here. Samara is easily the most sinister, frightening, most memorable and original out of all the villains here. And she's also the only one that isn't a total ham in any way, so that makes her stand out more. To think, all these evil men can't quite measure up against a long haired, pale, demonic little girl!


2004:
- O-Ren Ishii  (Kill Bill)
- Leatherface  (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
- Madison Lee  (Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle)
- Hector Barbossa  (Pirates Of The Caribbean)
- The Caller  (Phone Booth)

Yeah, I think not. Barbossa should've won this one. He was very well acted and very enjoyable.


2005:
- White Goodman  (Dodgeball: A TRUE Underdog Story)
- Count Olaf  (A Series Of Unfortunate Events)
- Vincent  (Collateral)
- Regina George  (Mean Girls)
- Dr Octopus  (Spider-Man 2)

I loved Ben Stiller as White Goodman, but I don't think he earned this. Jim Carrey as Count Olaf and Rachel McAdams as Regina George are funny as well but they're also not worthy. The title ought to have gone to Alfred Molina's Doc Ock, one of the best supervillains to ever be put on the big screen.


2006:
- Darth Vader  (Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith)
- Jigsaw  (Saw II)
- Lord Voldemort  (Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire)
- Johnathan Crane  (Batman Begins)
- The White Witch  (The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe)

Darth Vader's a villain icon, so I can see why he got the win here. The problem? The award was for Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader! Sorry but no...just no. I'd say Tilda Swinton as the White Witch should have won this year. Jigsaw's scary but not much else,  Ralph Fiennes was just starting out as Voldemort so he's not worthy yet, and Crane wasn't even THE villain of that movie: Ras Al Ghul was!


2007:
- Frank Costello  (The Departed)
- Jigsaw  (Saw III)
- Davy Jones  (Pirates: Dead Man's Chest)
- Xerxes  (300)
- Miranda Priestly  (The Devil Wears Prada)

Gotta agree with this one, seeing as its' Jack Nicholson finally winning the award to make up for the Jessup thing back in '93. 


2008:
- Sweeney Todd  (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street)
- Anton Chicurgh  (No Country For Old Men)
- Eddie Brock/Venom  (Spider-Man 3)
- Grendel's Mother  (Beowulf)
- Frank Lucas  (American Gangster)

They got this right. Sweeney Todd was a compelling and dark villain protagonist, and Johnny Depp played him to perfection. The other villains seem to all suffer from poor handling. 


2009:
- The Joker  (The Dark Knight)
- Prince Nuada  (Hellboy II: The Golden Army)
- Agent 23  (Get Smart)
- Jason Voorhes  (Friday The 13th)
- Richard Fenton  (Prom Night)

There was no fucking contest here. The Joker OWNED this award, as he should. I mean, who else would deserve it? Prince Nuada and Agent 23 are laughable villains, I have and always will loathe Jason Voorhes,  and Rick Fenton is probably just as bad. None of these guys even come CLOSE. 


2010:
- Draco Malfoy  (Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince)
- The Red Queen  (Alice In Wonderland)
- Leslie Chow  (The Hangover)
- Miles Quaritch  (Avatar)
- Hans Landa  (Inglourious Basterds)

Like the "Twilight" movies winning the Best Movie award, this vote seemed to be due to legions of fangirls.  I'm sorry, but as good as Tom Felton and the Malfoy character were in that movie, he's still not best villain material. This REALLY ought to have gone to Hans Landa. I may find his movie and its' director overrated, but he was a terrific villainous character. The Red Queen was a joke, Leslie Chow was an unremarkable baddie with a girly name, and I don't consider Miles Quaritch to be a real villain:
just a mean man!


2011:
- Draco Malfoy  (Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallow Part 1)
- Lots-O-'Huggin' Bear  (Toy Story 3)
- Rebecca Evans  (The Roommate)
- Ivan Vanko  (Iron Man 2)
- Benjiaman Bloodnovsky  (The Green Hornet) 

......UUUUUGHHH! WHERE ARE THOSE BLASTED FANGIRLS, AND WHO THE HELL LET THEM VOTE FOR MALFOY AGAIN? Malfoy was barely a villain at all in this one: he was barely even IN the movie, period! How in blazes does he win Best Villain award? EVERY OTHER choice was better!  Even the uninteresting, over-the-top Hedy rip-off Rebecca Evans was at least the real villain of her movie! Personally, I would've voted for my favorite evil teddy bear, Lotso. He was a damn fascinating and monstrously evil villain: one of Disney/Pixar's best ever.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The MTV Movie Awards

Here on this post, I shall do what GregX did on his blog with the Accadamey Awards, but with the MTV Movie Awards. Yeah, I know that they're much less credible but who cares?  It's fun to judge them!  (The winner is the one in bold letters

1992:
- Terminator 2: Judgement Day
- Backdraft
- Boyz N The Hood
- Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves
- JFK

They got this one right. "T-2" might have a ton of story problems, but beyond that it's still a very 
well-made, well executed, and really exciting movie to watch, with fun action sequences and solid characters and performances all around. Ron Howard's "Backdraft" is really the only competition for 
it here, seeing as the other choices just suck, especially Oliver Stone's horrendous "JFK".


1993:
- A Few Good Men 
- Aladdin
- Basic Instinct
- The Bodyguard 
- Malcolm X

I might be biased here, but I think this one should've gone to "Aladdin", one of the best movies from the Disney renniasance, and possibly my favorite Disney movie of all time. "A Few Good Men" is a little bit too drawn out, especially considering that the most memorable part is Jack Nicholson's epic performance at the very end. I have nothing against "Basic Instinct" and "Malcolm X" but they're not nearly as favored or as entertaining to me. And "The Bodyguard?" Do people actually remember this movie that spawned it's best selling soundtrack? Didn't think so.


1994:
- Menace II Society
- The Fugitive
- Jurassic Park
- Philadelphia
- Schindler's List

Er, NO. I don't care if it already won the Oscar: "Schindler's List" deserves every award it could possibly get! What the hell IS "Menace II Society" to even compete with it, much less win the award over it?  Haven't seen it or the other two, and Spielburg's other movie here, "Jurassic Park", is much more a "special effects over substance" movie.


1995:
- Pulp Fiction
- The Crow 
- Forrest Gump
- Interview With A Vampire 
- Speed

Here's where I go on the record to say that "Forrest Gump" is easily a better film than "Pulp Fiction".  Sorry Tarantino fanatics, but face it: it's a stupid, stupid movie. That's the whole point of what pulp fiction is. It's a very well done movie and I enjoyed it, but it's meant to be crazy and dumb. "Forrest Gump" is an unforgetabble viewing experience that has much more heart, soul, and meaning behind it, and features what is arguably Tom Hanks' finest performance. But seeing as it did win the Oscar, I guess I can let "Pulp Fiction" have this one. As for the other choices, "The Crow" and "Interview With A Vampire" are even dumber than "Pulp Fiction" and "Speed" was good, but not good enough.


1996:
- Se7en 
- Apollo 13
- Braveheart
- Clueless 
- Dangerous Minds

No, no, NO. They fucked this one up big! I despise "Se7en". It was a grotesque "dark, depressing, and cynical for the sake of being so" movie that could've been forgiven if it didn't have such a bad ending. Plus, Brad Pitt's acting in the film is WAY off for some reason ("What's in the boooox?") 
"Apollo 13" should have gotten this one seeing as it was probably Ron Howard's best work.  


1997:
- Scream 
- Independence Day
- Jerry Maguire 
- The Rock
- Romeo + Juliet

Now this one, they got right. With "Scream", Wes Craven made the greatest slasher film series of 
all time, and one that unfortunately gave new life to the genre because audiences were too stupid to realize that it was picking such movies apart and making fun of them. Gotta love a scary movie that rips on other scary movies. I'm not familiar with two of the others, and while "Independence Day" and "Romeo + Juliet" are fun to watch, I don't consider them particularly good movies.


1998:
- Titanic
- Austin Powers 
- Face/Off 
- Good Will Hunting 
- Men In Black

I know this is the unpopular opinions among alot of online movie snobs, but I freaking love "Titanic".
I thought it was an excellently done movie and it blew me away when I saw it in full for the first time. So yes, I think it deserved to win the Oscar. However, since it did win the Oscar, the alternative for the MTV award winner would have to be "Good Will Hunting". Another well done movie with probably the only good "serious" Robin Williams performance. "Austin Powers" and "Men In Black" are fun but not best picture material, and I don't give a shit about "Face/Off."


1999:
- There's Something About Mary
- Armageddon
- Saving Private Ryan
- Shakespeare In Love
- The Truman Show

Meh. I would've given this one to "Shakespeare In Love", but that's just me.


2000:
- The Matrix 
- American Beauty 
- American Pie
- Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
- The Sixth Sense

"The Matrix" is WAY overrated. It should've been "The Sixth Sense", seeing as it's the second best movie M. Night Shyamalan ever did ("Unbreakable" is better!) and the movie that put Haley Joel Osment on the map. 


 2001:
- Gladiator 
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
- Erin Brockovich
- Hannibal 
- X-Men

"Gladiator" is, again, a WAY overrated movie and one that really isn't even that good at all! This one should've gone to "X-Men" for starting a damn good movie franchise and containing the perfect casting of Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian Mckellan, and Hugh Jackman in their respective roles.


2002:
- The Fellowship Of The Ring 
- Black Hawk Down
- The Fast And The Furious
- Legally Blonde
- Shrek

Hell Yes! Any "The Lord Of The Rings" film deserves its' victory. 


2003:
- The Two Towers
- Barbershop
- 8 Mile
- The Ring
- Spider-Man

See above. While I freaking love "Spider-Man" and liked that other "Ring" movie, they can't compare. 

2004:
- The Return Of The King
- Finding Nemo
- 50 First Dates 
- Pirates Of The Caribbean
- X2: X-Men United

God, this was a damn good year and these were all damn good movies. However, we've gone with "The Lord of The Rings" for the past two years and we certainly can't deny it's spectacular conclusion its' award, can we? Sadly, after this one, the MTV Movie Awards would take a huge decline.

2005:
- Napoleon Dynamite 
- The Incredibles
- Kill Bill Vol. 2 
- Ray
- Spider-Man 2

Ugh, no. "Napoleon Dynamite" is another movie that I enjoy but is really, really stupid. Either "The Incredibles" or "Spider-Man 2" should have won this one, seeing as they're easily two of the best superhero movies ever made.


2006:
- Wedding Crashers
- Batman Begins
- The 40 Year Old Virgin 
- King Kong 
- Sin City

NO. "Wedding Crashers" sucks. This was rightfully "Batman Begins"' win. What do these award commitees have against superhero movies, anyway?


2007:
- Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Mans's Chest 
- 300
- Blades Of Glory
- Borat
- Little Miss Sunshine

Eh, "Dead Man's Chest" is okay but if the much better original "Pirates" movie wasn't an award winner, neither should this be. I would've given my vote to "Borat" simply because it's just such 

a bizarrely ambitous and hilariously "wrong" movie.


2008:
- Transformers 
- I Am Legend
- Juno
- National Treasure: Book Of Secrets
- Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End
- Superbad

"Juno" was a strong contender but overall, I'm going to agree with this one. The first Michael Bay "Transformers" film was a very fun and engaging movie, really the only good movie in the franchise. The rest of the choices...are just bad.


2009:
- Twilight
- The Dark Knight
- High School Musical 3 
- Iron Man
- Slumdog Millionaire


UGH, this one is just shameful. I would've given my vote to any of the competition here because all of them are better than the shit that is "Twilight". The best film here was clearly "The Dark Knight". 
That it lost out to fucking "Twilight" due to millions of votes cast by braindead, narrow minded fangirls shows a loss of credibility for the MTV awards.


2010:
- The Twilight Saga: New Moon
- Alice In Wonderland
- Avatar
- The Hangover
- Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince


Now this one's a toughie. A "Twilight" movie winning a second year in a row is bullshit, but this time the competition really isn't that strong either, especially not that abominable "Avatar". I suppose
I would've cast my vote for "Half-Blood Prince" because for some perplexing reason it's the first time "Harry Potter" was a nomination here.


2011:
- The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
- Black Swan
- Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1
- Inception
- The Social Network


Aaand we're right back to shameful BS with this last year, folks. Again, every other fucking move nominated was better than "Eclipse", and yet it still won because of all the screaming rabid fangirls 
in the audience who hastily voted for it. I defenitely would've chosen "The Social Network" here; 
it may be a dramatization but it's a brilliant one.

And now I shall wait for "Breaking Dawn Part 1" to inevitably sweep victories in the 2012 MTV Movie Awards.  (FANGIRL SQUEE)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What's Wrong With This Picture?


The upcoming installment in the "Kingdom Hearts" series, "3D: Dream Drop Distance", is as my brother has said, the first KH game to come out after the series has officially made its' jump over
the shark. Now that may seem unfair seeing as the game's not out yet, but all the trailers and all the promotional material has given us more than enough evidence that this game signifies that the series is lost beyond all hope now. Going over what is known about the game so far, I've made a laundry list of the few things I feel looks right about this game and all the other stuff that I think is wrong with it: 


WHATS RIGHT:

- There's an AWESOME FMV movie here.

- "Passion/Sanctuary" might just be used again in this one, rather than "Hikari/Simple and Clean" for the nth time. Such a relief, as I'd grown sick of the cheapening of that song by "Birth By Sleep".

- Xehanort in four persons (Young Master, Old Master, Ansem, and Xemnas) is pretty kewl, I guess.

- Riku doesn't seem to offend me too much.  If he ends up having good playability and being written more like Terra instead of his sullen persona of "Chain of Memories" and "Kingdom Hearts II", then he'll have things "the best in a bad situation."

- Riku and Mickey, aaaaaw.  We see Riku smiling about musketeer Mickey and interacting with sorcerer's apprentice Mickey.  Just give him the actual King Mickey to talk to again and I'll be happy.

- A Fantasia world sounds kewl and actually fitting for a "world in sleep."

- Xehanort summoning CHERNABOG? Oh, this had BETTER be good...

- More insight on "the past" with Xehanort's betrayal of Ansem and how he opened his world's door.

- Frollo. Just Frollo. Fighting and beating him up has been a dream of mine ever since the series began, and depending on how it's done, it will determine if I give this game a try or not.  I could rent the game JUST to play up to that point and fight him as much as I want to! Don't fuck this up!


WHATS WRONG:  (Hoooh boy)

- Instant pretentious light/darkness dialogue opens the trailers and appears to be the tagline.
"Light falls into darkness, darkness becomes light"....UGH.

- Needlessly nonsensical plot alert! "Worlds in sleep?" "Dream Eaters?" Realities within dreams within dreams?  THE FUCK? I don't know all the details and already I'm confused!

- Dream Eaters replacing Disney allies. This one was obvious.

- Sora and Riku starring in a game side-by-side together. They already had an epic final battle for that; an entire game just seems like Yaoi Fangirl Bait to me.

- Sora's appearance and Riku's haircut are stupid. Sora has an ugly looking model with an ugly outfit that seems to have taken basis from Vanitas' colors. And Riku's cut a whole layer of his hair and it just looks wrong. Bleah.

- Sora is (apparently) a dumbass again. I'm really growing tired of this kids' immature idiocy now.

- Riku is the deuteragonist again, which is a role he does not work as. Then again, I don't really like Sora as the protagonist anymore either, yet you have to play as them both! WHY?

- Joshua's pretentious ramblings. We do not need to hear light/darkness rubbish coming from HIM.

- Neku being emo. Never liked Neku and his emo-ness, so I'm not at all pleased to have him in KH.

- Rhyme's Memory Loss. God, I am so SICK of this plot point that Nomura is all too fond of recycling.

- Shiki: "Knaito-Sama!"  *GAG*, make it didn't happen!

- Beat: "Dream Eater, I Choose You!"  Need I say more?

- More Neku/Joshua pretentiouness with references to their own story straight out of "The World Ends With You." We could very well have the next Cloud/Sephiroth fiasco on our hands.

- Maleficent and Pete seeming not very credible as villains, while the Disney Castle folks seem too ridiculously stiff and serious. Guys, you're classic cartoon characters! Lighten up!

- For that matter, why's Maleficent in Disney Castle? Shouldn't the Cornerstone of Light keep her out? THIS AIN'T POSSIBLE!

- More Dream Eaters. They've been called "Pokemon on crack", but honestly, I really can't see much of a difference between them and a lot of regular Pokemon these days. (*drumroll*)

- The Mysterious Figure in that trendy black coat. Yeah, the "Unknown" coat has lost any meaning it ever had. It's just a pretentiously dark, emo fashion fad now.

- Dream Drop Distance! So we're literally dropping into dreams? I think I want the Gummi Ship back!

- There seems to be only five new playable Disney worlds and only one of them seems any good.

- The Tron Legacy World and The Vanitas Rinzler. It makes no sense to have this world and it's characters "in sleep" without connecting it to Space Paranoids in any way, and no sense for Rinzler to be here when he's both Tron AND way too much like Vanitas! His fighting stance is even similar!

- Sora's "Inception" rip-off scene on the beach. Nomura, you're REALLY going there?

- Riku and Joshua meet each other? Uh-oh! More yaoi bait, folks!

- "Pinocchio" gets a world with the plot straight from the movie!

- "Mickey, Donald, & Goofy: Three Musketeers" gets a world with the plot straight from the movie!

- "The Hunchback Of Notre Dame" gets a world with the plot straight from the movie, complete with those three irritating stone gargoyles! AAAAAH!!!

- "All for one and one for all!" with the three musketeers and the awkward original character out of place.  Look, that works between Sora, Donald, and Goofy, but THIS isn't "the Four Musketeers"!

- Riku faces Ansem at the burning Notre Dame cathedral with no clownish hunchback in sight!

- Sora confronts Xemnas at Prankster Paradise with no clownish puppet in sight!

- We have TWO France worlds that weren't combined!  I mean, think about how awesome it would've been if the Disney characters (Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Minnie, and Pete) had been in the Notre Dame world in their "Three Musketeer" guises, engaging in their own little subplot while the Hunchback events were still going on?  Wouldn't that have been a cool world?  But no, we're getting two French movie knock-offs instead. And yet we never got a French world that featured Gaston!?

- Monstro AGAIN?  I can only hope that the whale's inside design is slightly improved.

- Another Riku in a black coat. And to add insult to injury, HE has Riku's GOOD hairstyle! Is this somehow the Jiminy's Journal Riku or something else entirely? If it's the latter, than there's NO EXCUSE for him to be wearing the black coat other than its' trendy dark, emo fashion statement!

- Yen Sid being Mr. Exposition again. Just when he seemed to be becoming more important.

- A Mark of Mastery is totally unneeded. It's an outdated tradition that caused nothing but trouble, and Sora and Riku have already proven themselves.

- Where in blazes is Kairi? She specifically said in KH2 that she would no longer just "wait" for Sora and would always stick with him from now on, but now she seems to have taken that back and is staying back on the islands while the boys go do their thing. Even if she's not too good with the keyblade, there's no reason she can't just come along as a spectator. Ventus did it, so why can't SHE? What's with the sexist douchebaggery, Nomura?

-The Organization characters' past selves are back. Look, whenever I said that we should be done with the Organization, I meant that PERIOD. Bringing them back NOT as the Organization just makes them more useless. The only one with any sort of excuse to be back would be Xehanort and Braig. Everyone else...NO.

- "Lea" is a TERRIBLE CHEAP ASS CHARACTER. It's just Axel without his cool facial markings,
a personality that just rehashes everything fans love about him, but with no charm, appeal, or effort at all. Axel was a great character who went through severe shifts and derailments of his characterization through three games: Lea is just walking, talking Fanservice.

- Lea comes in to drive Maleficent away and says "Got it memorized?" with a wanky face. FAIL.

- As has been sadly true of this series for the past three games now, Disney is unimportant window dressing while the original storyline and characters are self-contained. You could put the events that transpire between Sora, Riku, and Xehanort in any backdrop and it wouldn't matter. With Disney not really mattering anymore, the original story arc for this series has just become so damn boring! 

- Disney is still used as a marketing device. There's little to no Disney magic to be seen in this game, yet (like "358/2 Days")  they slap Mickey on the cover so that Disney fans will buy it and be totally shocked and disappointed in the dull original experience that they actually get out of it. Tacky.

- There's no Final Fantasy guest stars in sight, yet the entire main cast of "The World Ends With You" is present as guest stars. That is just dumb, dumb, dumb on so many levels. 

- If Xehanort is only back because of some Ass Pull rule about the order in which you kill someone's Heartless and Nobody, then he probably shouldn't have bothered returning from the grave. Whatever stupid evil plan he has now will only reinforce this.

- Xehanort brings out Vanitas through his darkness and hammers in "Lol, other hearts are banging in Sora!" The Notre Dame keyhole appears after he leaves! With no clownish hunchback in sight!

- Why is Mickey in his sorcerer robes NOW?  He should've been wearing that in "Birth By Sleep",
as opposed to that monochrome version of his regular king attire.

- We see fucking Xion again! AAAAAAGH! Nomura made me tolerate and even like Tomoko Kanamaki's fanfic Sue creation before, but now he's making her worse!  Everyone forgot about all her
in the end! She's as dead as it's possible to be! Bringing her back would be just unbearable.

- We see Axel and Roxas eating ice cream and being "gay" again. I have no other comment.

- Roxas talks of Axel "being there to bring him and Xion back" and says "got it memorized?" too. Guys, the catchphrase was lame when Axel said it; why'd you go and make it even lamer?

- Lea wakes up and is just Axel without his markings. Odds are, his mission in this game is going to be all about "bringing Roxas and Xion back". Pathetic. Just pathetic.

- Mickey's still being too stiff and serious! LIGHTEN UP, MOUSE!

- Xigbar repeating the memetic "drowned goldfish" line to Sora who is Roxas who is Ven. Gah!

- Xigbar being XIGBAR! Why isn't he back as Braig? Is he taking a huge step backwards here?

- Lots of Xehanorts together in one place? What is this, a Xehanort reunion? Will the real Xehanort please stand up? Master Xehanort, what the Hades are you even doing with your new life?

- Xehanort cheesily imitating Riku's gesture 'cause lol, he's from Destiny Islands and was like Riku. 'Sigh' I was hoping that WOULDN'T become a pivotal plot point for the main forefront story. 

- More armor and black coats seem to flash by. Again, they have no meaning whatsoever.

- Namine AND Xion again? NOOOOOOOOO!!!

- The Total Mindfuck occurs in all of these trailers and I'm guessing the whole game, too. This series has officially reached the point of no coherence.

"Ohh...my Kingdom Hearts...ruined."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Who I Am & Why I Write

My name is Eric. I am an amateur writer in the making, and this is my blog. The subjects of my blog are to be anything and everything I consider interesting and relevent to my life, mainly works of fiction that I enjoy that capture my imagination and inspire me in my creative writing career. I'm not writing this blog for anyone but me and I doubt anyone will care to read it unless they're really into this stuff.

I was inspired to make this by reading the blog posts of another would be writer on the interent, Greg X of"Greg's Blog Of Clue-By-Fours."  I'm not in agreement with everything he says, but I do like the way he articulates his points and I owe him my thanks for his blog being an inspiration to me.

Here I shall explain my intent behind wanting to be a writer. I was born on the 19th of May in the 
year of 1989 and it was early in my childhood that my brother and I were diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. It may be due to the Asperger's Syndrome that I have...ideas. My mind works in a way that's considered unsual by others and I have thoughts and ideas that I doubt many others my age have. I've also been told that I have a great imagination. I want to be modest here but...yeah, I do.
I have lots of creativity inside me just waiting to be unleashed on something. Same for my brother. We've spent the entirety of our young lives making up and playing ellaborate games using characters from other fictional canons but story ideas all our own. My family, friends, and family's friends have told us constantly that we're very creative and that God gave us that gift so we can use it and share it with the world when we grow up.  

And I think they're right: I want to tell stories with my own characters, worlds, plot ideas, etc and share them with the world. I want to put my creative vision out there on the market so that others 
may know it and hopefully enjoy it. I want to be the author and illustrator of my own works. I want to express myself and for it to be heard. Basically, I want all the stuff that every aspiring writer wants in life. I intend to go into the book writing buisiness because books require the most imagination when reading. If my books were to be adapted to film, then I'd be flattered so long as they don't fuck it all up.  But mostly I just want to tell stories and want those stories to have an audience so that they can really "exist." And yes, I'll be doing it for me first and foremost but with the intention of others getting to share in it too. I don't even want to be super successful; I just want to succeed in getting my works published and making a good profit from them. Really  getting them published is the best profit of all. 

But I only just got started on the creative process of my first real story, and it's going to take a whole lot of time before I can implement all the other ideas I have in my head into proper stories. So as I go along, I'll write in this blog in my spare time and show my love and hate for the real life and fiction that I indulge myself in everyday. I hope you enjoy what I write, my invisible audience!