Tuesday, June 28, 2016

One Prophecy Down....

Fire and Blood...

Season 6 of Game of Thrones has been perhaps one of the slowest starting but then action packed at the end of the series thus far; it seems like things progress very, very slowly at the beginning of the season and then everything happens in the last two episodes. By the way, if you are not caught up with the entire series, do not continue reading as I will spoil everything.

The Sixth Season of Game of Thrones ends with Cersei as Queen of Westeros, Daenerys Targaryen has her fleet, her armies, full grown dragons and is on her way to Westeros with allies from the Iron Islands, Dorne, and House Tyrell. Jon Snow is King in the North, and his brother Bran has taken up the new mantle of the Three Eyed Raven, while Arya has returned to Westeros to exact her revenge beginning with Walder Frey. People who are dead: Margery and Loras Tyrell along with their father; the High Sparrow, Lancel Lannister along with his father, Tommen Baratheon, Grand Maester Pycelle, Ramsay Bolton, Rickon Stark, The Blackfish, Doran Martell, Balon Greyjoy, Osha, and Hodor. As you can see a lot of major characters died in this season, which I think is good, because hopefully they can create a more focused story now rather than having dozens of independent storylines going on simultaneously. So yes, Jon Snow came back from the dead and is now a king; how fortunes quickly change in the midst of chaos. Danerys also had her fortune change similarly from being a prisoner of the Dothraki at the beginning to sailing to Westeros with a massive army and fleet at her side with all three grown dragons, and with Tyrion at her side as her Hand of the Queen, and Varys as her Spymaster. It also seems that Varys was able to galvanize support most likely for Daenerys from Dorne and House Tyrell, as they want revenge for what she and House Lannister did to them. Blowing up the Great Sept of Baelor with wildfire while it is packed with people, isn't a very popular thing to do, but when it is filled with your enemies, it is quite clever. However, Cersei's children are all dead now (Tommen committed suicide when all his advisers and his wife blew up) and the prophecy told to her by Maggie the Frog has come true..."Gold will be their shrouds..." So she doesn't have much to live for anymore. My guess is that she would rather die than yield King's Landing to Daenerys, so she will most likely take the Mad King route and attempt to burn everything, but Jaime will stop her by killing her and then killing himself. Very Romeo and Juliet like, which I think will go perfectly with the overall story thus far. Season 6 may actually be the finest season thus far. Bran as the Three Eyed Raven got to see some interesting moments from the past, including what happened to his aunt and why, although not fully revealed but she did have a baby and it seems likely that it is Jon Snow, but nothing would surprise me. It was also revealed how the White Walkers came to be and how the Night King was created and why. You saw a lot of good character development in this season, particularly with Sansa, Arya, and Daenerys which was great; actually this could be called girl power season in Game of Thrones as all of the men seem to be dying off and all of the women rising to power. Has a nice sense of irony and karma after the brutality they have endured for most of the 5 previous seasons.

So in Season 7, I think Daenerys will take King's Landing and finish off House Lannister and reinstate House Targaryen as the royal dynasty and ruling house of the 7 Kingdoms and she will cement her power. Then, in Season 8 (which I believe will be the final season of the show) everyone will band together and fight off the Night King, the white walkers, and his dead army. It is possible that John Snow will actually be revealed to be Rhaegar Targaryen's son from Lyanna Stark, and might fly on one of the dragons, or marry Daenerys. Also, it should be interesting to see what they do with Aegon VI, Daenerys nephew fathered by her brother Rhaegar, because he would have a stronger claim to the throne than her. Then there is Littlefinger, and what his plans are, as he desires to sit on the Iron Throne with Sansa at his side; should be interesting to see how he manipulates events in his favor. During all of this George R.R. Martin is supposed to release another two books I think, one of which is titled Winds of Winter, but he is taking over 5 years to complete it, so who knows. All in all, Game of Thrones is a series that has been getting better with each passing season, with perhaps seasons 5 and 6 standing out as my favorites. Yes there is a good deal of violence in the show, and sex (the least sex was in seasons 5 and 6), but there is something quite compelling about the characters and story. Try finding a quiz about which House you'd be; it's really fun! Oh and I do have to give props to the writing in this series which is phenomenal, as well as the production; very impressive for a television show.

Star Trek Beyond trailer

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them interview 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Fantastic Fantasy?

Maybe there is just some subject matter that works better in comic book mode, or animated television than a full fledged motion picture, and I do believe that The Fantastic Four franchise qualifies definitely. This is the 3rd attempt at making the characters into a successful film, and honestly I think it was the best attempt of the three. Unfortunately the film got a really bad rap right from the beginning, which considering all of the dreadful films out there was really ridiculous. So it is essentially an origins story and plot where the Fantastic Four are working together...or rather 3 at this point to create an inter-dimensional teleporter for biological matter. Experiment goes awry and thus births the Fantastic Four and Dr. Doom. Very vanilla like, although their transformation was very dark and visceral, which was a nice difference between some other super-hero films. They then battle and fight essentially Dr. Doom to save themselves and their planet basically. Not a very original plot, but there are some character and story developments that make it work from start to finish. Now, if there was one place this film excelled at it would be casting, which was superior. Miles Teller as Reed Richards was superb; he was funny, clever, heart warming, yet there was depth. Same thing goes for Kate Mara as Sue Storm; such a great talent, depth, humor and a certain level of character intelligence. Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm was perhaps my favorite of the four, and someone they should have gone into further depth with, and I would give him all of the similar traits as I mentioned concerning his cohorts. Michael B. Jordan is a talented actor, but that didn't really transfer to his character in this film as Johnny Storm; maybe it's because I don't really care for the character, but he really came off as flat and annoying most of the time, which is unfortunate because of his immense talent. Toby Kebbel as Dr. Doom was perfection beyond belief....and of course he had a small role that wasn't explored. He was dark, brooding, likable, sympathetic and compelling and then he made for an excellent villain. Reg E. Cathey was Dr. Franklin Storm and he was great to have in the film, so much talent, and he did quite well in his role as the surrogate father to the team.
Now, the reason why I think the film tanked was the material, because it wasn't the talent in front of the camera. I wouldn't come out and say that the writing was completely horrendous, but it was fairly close to that. Also, for some odd reason the running time for the film was only an hour and a half, which doesn't give much wiggle room for smooth transitions and character development; thus despite a very good look to the film and a talented cast, it sank. Okay probably the reason why it wasn't completely atrocious is because Simon Kinberg was one of the writers, the director Josh Trank, and Jeremy Slater were the other two writers. I'm not certain how much influence those two had on the finished product, but it should have been just Mr. Kinberg who wrote the screenplay since he has a proven track record already. Marco Beltrami and Philip Glass composed the music which was kind of forgettable as I just watched it last night and I cannot recall any motifs or themes that stick out, which is disappointing as I really like Marco's music typically. The costumes were well done, I thought, and the cinematography wasn't too bad either. There was one particular scene where the special effects weren't that great, but other than that not too bad either. Yes the film was mediocre, but I would watch it again. It just needed better writing and editing skills, and the film would have been a smash hit. Alas there is seemingly a severe shortage of writers in Hollywood these days. Watch it or don't watch it; it's one of those films. So the news around the world is becoming increasingly bleak, and I definitely believe the world is becoming more and more dangerous; more so than I can ever recall in my lifetime. I had conversations with my sisters to make certain that they can protect themselves, and I've talked about that with other people as well. Between Russia, Syria, North Korea, China, Daesh, Iran, and radical Islamic terrorists it's becoming a huge mess out there as US foreign policy retreats to pre-WWI levels. So God help and protect us all; we're going to need it.

Fasntastic Four trailer

Fantastic Four cast interview