Monthly Archives: August 2017

I Survived the Eclipse of 2017

That shouldn’t be a big deal, but for me it kind of is. You see, last week I made the mistake of reading the Isaac Asimov/Robert Silverberg novel Nightfall, which is about a planet with six suns that experiences an eclipse for the first time in 2,049 years. Let’s just say the inhabitants didn’t handle the darkness very well.

I admit, I was half-expecting fires and madness and the collapse of civilization as we know it (that’s how it went down in the book). But everything passed, and everyone was fine. So now I know that eclipses don’t usually have the same effect as they did in Nightfall.

Nightfall, by the way, is an incredibly good book; I highly recommend it. It was co-authored by two Hugo Award winners, so you can’t really go wrong with that.


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The Phantom and Nightcrawler: There’s Always a Choice

I stumbled across a website that contains archives of old comic books, and I took advantage of the situation to learn more about Nightcrawler of the X-Men. Learning about his origins, I realized there were some interesting parallels between his origins and those of Erik, the Phantom of the Opera (and phantom of this blog for as frequently as he manages to insert himself into posts).

To make a long story short, Kurt spent most of his childhood as a sideshow performer at a circus–a lot like Erik did. They also experienced similar treatments of hatred and fear, and both escaped as soon as they got the chance. Where they differ, however, is how they reacted to their situations. We all know what happened to Erik–he turned his back on the world and became an insane, homicidal psychopath. Kurt, however, chose to forgive and not lose hope in humanity.

That decision really impressed me. I knew he was one of the good guys because of X-Men United, but when I was reading his story, I really felt that I was reading the origin of a villain. But that wasn’t what he chose to be. So I found his story extremely fascinating when compared to Erik’s; although they both suffered similar misfortunes as children, they reacted to that misfortune in drastically different ways.

I also feel a little less sorry for Erik now. My reaction to him was similar to what Christine and the Persian felt for him, loathing mixed with pity. But now that I know that Kurt had an almost identical childhood and yet did not become an insane, homicidal psychopath, I’m like…sorry, Erik. You had a choice, buddy, and this was what you chose to be.

But at least he achieved a redemption of sorts and probably made it as far as Literary Purgatory.

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So Apparently “The Last Jedi” is Retconning the Chosen One Prophecy

It came to my attention today that The Last Jedi is rumored to reveal that Luke Skywalker operated under the belief that Kylo Ren was the Chosen One. And now he might believe that Rey is the Chosen One. Naturally, my jaw was on the floor. Everyone knows the Chosen One was Anakin/Vader–George Lucas himself confirmed it multiple times–so how they think they can get away with saying he wasn’t the Chosen One is beyond me. We spent six movies with this character with the knowledge he was the Chosen One; you can’t just change that on the fly! They even stated it explicitly with the Mortis storyline from The Clone Wars!

But that’s not all. They are also completely retconning what the Chosen One prophecy stated. I don’t believe it was ever recited in full, but the gist of it was that there would come a Jedi who was conceived not by a human father but by the midichlorians, the microscopic life forms that allow people to commune with the Force, and this Jedi was destined to overthrow the Sith order and bring balance to the Force. But now they are changing the prophecy; now it says that the Chosen One is the reincarnation of the founder of the Jedi Order.


I really, really hope a lot of this stuff turns out to be rumors, and they leave the prophecy alone. My geek rage levels will not be pretty if it’s true.

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“Shin Godzilla” Proves No One Does the King of the Monsters Like the Japanese

Due to the success of the 2014 Godzilla movie from Legendary Pictures, Toho decided to reboot their beloved monster franchise. Originally the movies were supposed to end with Godzilla: Final Wars in 2004, but the King of the Monsters proved to be so popular in the latest American film that the Japanese couldn’t resist dusting off the original and putting him back in action.

Except it’s not quite the original. This was a complete reboot, meaning that all of the previous movies from 1954 onwards didn’t happen. It felt a bit weird at first, especially when everyone was gasping in awe at “How can he do that!?” and “Why is he destroying Tokyo!?” Guys, if you had kept the original movies, you’d already know the answers to those questions. And interestingly enough, it was not an actor in a suit this time–apparently they tried the suit, but it didn’t work, so they used motion capture instead. I must say they did a darn good job; it looked like a suit.

The good news is that it kept a lot of the spirit of the original movies–ordinary weapons being useless, important lessons about the dangers of nuclear weapons, Godzilla’s radioactive breath razing Japan to the ground…they even kept the original Godzilla theme! There were some cool new things about Godzilla as well, especially his evolutionary stages (I call Stage 2 Godzilla the Awkward Teenage Years).

Yep, even Godzilla had to put up with puberty.

Speaking of appearances, the Shin Godzilla design was pretty controversial when it was first revealed, but on the whole I liked it. It was definitely more menacing than we’ve seen before. I just didn’t particularly like the arms or the tail; they looked way too disproportionate to the rest of the body. Then again, Godzilla hadn’t reached his final form yet, so perhaps when he was fully grown, everything would have looked fine.

In terms of effects, I think this is the most visually stunning Godzilla movie we’ve ever seen. This was especially evident with the radioactive breath.

Burn, baby, burn…

It wasn’t perfect; the parts without Godzilla seem a bit dull, but I think that’s been true of all the Godzilla movies–we’re here for the monster fights, not the human subplots. But I must say that they did come up with a clever, not-too-pseudo-sciencey way of defeating Godzilla, proving that they actually thought about the story.

What’s my final decision? The Japanese are the only ones who know how to do a decent Godzilla movie; the Americans should never have tried, and I hope we start to see more of Godzilla’s frenemies make a comeback as well.

Long live the King!

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