Saturday, June 10, 2017

Wonder Woman Review

There are so many things I could say about women, and their portrayal in movies and television!  But as a guy, I'm extremely unqualified to write anything about it, and just barely smart enough to know that I shouldn't even try.

And I really can't say I'm an expert on Wonder Woman either, because I've never followed the comics.  But, I loved the Lynda Carter 1975-1979 series!  She's always been the perfect embodiment of what I felt Wonder Woman should be.  If you're interested, I recommend watching season two and three when the show was moved to a new network and took place in modern times. Even as a kid watching, I remember thinking the World War II stories in season one were cheesy. 

I'd also suggest the Justice League animated series from 2001 which often featured Wonder Woman, as well as her solo animated movie from 2009.  For a long time, I kept shouting, "Why don't they make a live action version of this!"  

But nobody ever listens to me.  Instead, we get:

Is it wrong for me to ask how this version of Wonder Woman... stacks up to others?   I have a feeling I will be apologizing a lot after writing this...

Traditionally, Wonder Woman was associated with World War II.  However, someone at DC/WB decided to move her origin story a bit further back to begin in World War I.  This way nobody would try to confuse/compare it with Marvel/Disney's Captain America: The First Avenger.  But in the world of 2017, I don't think people notice the difference.  It's still a war against Germans.

And the Amazon women on the island of Themyscira don't know the difference either, because they are hidden and completely isolated from the world of men (which could be for the best).  Until Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) shows up accidentally, bringing the war with him.  Typical. 

Yes, this is an origin story.  And as far as theatrical superhero/heroine origins go, this was awesome!  After so many misses from DC/WB, it's nice to finally see them do it right.  They created a fun and cohesive story that kept me entertained from beginning to end.  In my (simple) mind, I don't think they made a movie for women or for men.  They just made a movie that everyone could enjoy.  And if someone tries to tell you it's just a rip-off of Captain America... they're an idiot!  Other than fighting Germans in a war, there are soooo many differences.   

And yes, I know casting Gal Gadot as Diana was not anyone's first choice (or second... or third choice).  But she did fine.  I sort of accepted her accent since she was far removed from America.  I could even accept her physicality for the role.  I know prior to filming, she had been training hard to appear less frail, and it showed.  She had the intensity when needed, but remained feminine as well.  She also played a great fish out of water character, but still appeared emotionally invested during key moments.  I didn't see her (or anyone in the cast) delivering an Oscar winning performance, but none of the acting took me out of the movie either.  I did appreciate all the key characters.  Everyone in their final ensemble were well crafted and interesting, creating a lot of depth to the story.

But all hail the real Wonder Woman here:  Director Patty Jenkins.  I could see the action, and I loved her use of colors!  *gasp*  I don't think DC/WB has accepted color since Christopher Nolan banned them in Batman Begins from 2005.  To me, this has always been the biggest difference between the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and DC.  Marvel knew how to make things colorful.  DC seemed to film everything in mud... in the dark.  After seeing how well Wonder Woman worked visually, I sincerely hope that DC/WB producers can finally understand that sharp reds, blues, and well lit scenes will not terrify audiences.

And I know, a lot of people have said that Patty's use of slow motion during fight scenes was overused, and most likely stolen from Zack Snyder.  To this I say Bah!  I always loved the slow motion fights from Zack!  But I don't think she borrowed/stole this idea from him.  Maybe producers heavily suggested it to her, but I clearly remember watching awesome fight scenes on television from the Six Million Dollar Man, Bionic Woman, Incredible Hulk, AND Wonder Woman, where they often fought in slow motion.  Those were fun!  Okay, sure it's always nice if a movie has impressive fight choreography, but to me, I want to see the camera pulled back so I can watch it.  Sadly, too often you can't see it because the camera is so close, or the scene is edited too quickly.  If those are my options, I'll take slow mo any day.   

So yes, I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable Wonder Woman was.  Maybe if you're not into fantasy/comic book stories, this isn't really for you.  But if you are, it's a very well directed movie, with some interesting characters, while making some very powerful statements about war, and gender differences, without being preachy.

But I still think they created the worst theme song ever (which originated in Batman vs Superman).  That annoying guitar riff seemed a bit more buried in orchestration here, but it was still there, grinding painfully into my brain.  Maybe they should have let a woman create her theme song.

Okay, I think I've done enough mansplaining for now.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Long Division

Math just sucks, amiright?  Sometimes numbers just don't add up.  Between the multiplying, dividing, and all their freaky formulas, I just don't get it.  Maybe that's why I've always appreciated words so much more.  But, you know what sucks more than math?  Politics.  And when politicians start dividing us, that's when we have real problems.

United we stand... Divided we fall.

Most of us want the same things.  We just want to live peaceful, happy lives.  And apparently (for some reason), venting about politics on Facebook or Twitter has become vital to our inner peace. But when did insulting strangers become an essential part of our collective happiness?  Of course not everyone does this, but recently, politics and online fights are becoming the standard way of living for some. 

To be clear, at it's core, this is not about politics. Hating politicians is part of human nature.  When the very first caveman became leader, Grog was pissed because he knew Gork would be a better choice.  But whenever he complained about it, others just rolled their eyes and figured it was because he was stepped on by a woolly mammoth as a small child, so they would just ignore him.  But with the advent of social media, it's becoming easier to insult others, when you don't have to look them in the eye.  

So here is the formula of words.

Someone makes a statement online concerning their views on a current political situation.  Whether the statement is true or not doesn't seem to matter.  People don't listen.  They insult.  Sure, the comment may garner a lot of support from others who wholeheartedly agree, but often dozens (hundreds?) of others start name calling. Everyone wants to be a comedian. 'Likes' are becoming the newest designer drug.  Shares are suddenly much more important than compassion or *gasp*... facts.  Everyone is too eager to have the most powerful zinger that will finally butt-hurt the original poster into shame and submission.  It seems Conan was right about what is best in life (look it up).

But when are people going to figure out... this ain't working.  

Do you really think you're going to educate someone if you start insulting them?  All those 'likes' you got, isn't going to solve the problem.  Nobody will listen when you use common popular buzzwords like "libtard", "snowflake", "deplorable", or "nasty women".  Can't you be original, or are you so indoctrinated by those politicians you love, that you have to rehash the same comments ad nauseam?  

And if you scroll through enough comments, there is always the truly deep thinkers that just tell someone to kill themselves for being so stupid.  Don't be too disgusted.  They usually get quite a few 'likes'.

The comments from regular people have gotten out of control, and "they" are successfully dividing us.  

"Hey you lost, get over it!"
Not everyone sees the world the same way you do.  And what's wrong with a peaceful protest?  People have been protesting for thousands of years, and sometimes it actually works!  But my personal feelings are, current politicians don't care.  They worry about their own 'likes' (read $$$$).  They've made choices about our lives, and most of them are so out of touch with who we are, it doesn't matter what we do or say.  Welcome to the United States of Oligarchy.  If something really bothered them, they'll fix the problem.  

But, on the off chance that protesting actually does help, or even if it makes you feel better... great!  You're not hurting anyone. 

"These 'peaceful' protestors are starting riots!"
I don't care if you're Democrat or Republican or Independent.  There will always be violent protestors.  I'd like to imagine both sides have peaceful people as well.  But with the help of social media idiots, they'll only focus on one group that got out of control, but if we share it enough times, maybe people will think they're all violent.  Just stop.  In the words of Corpsman Rhomann Dey, I don't believe anyone (or any group) is 100% a dick (Guardians of the Galaxy - 2014).

"90% of them don't even know why they're protesting!"
Seriously?  Just like the violence, I'm sure there is a small percentage of idiots that have no idea what they're doing.  But most are very passionate about recent events, if you took the time to actually listen to what they say.  Maybe if you listen, you could understand their reasons. 

Those are all comments I've read in the last couple weeks.  For every horrible comment against, there are literally thousands of comments in favor.  So who is right?  What makes everyone so sure they are right and thousands (millions?) of others are wrong?  Think about what someone says.  


We will NEVER agree 100%.  So what's the solution?  Civil War?  East and West America?  I have a silly idea.  Let's figure out what we do agree on and maybe make an effort to talk to each other and listen without the condescending attitudes.  

We ALL need to be educated.  Learning about the world is good.  Understanding how people think is awesome.  But remember there are so many better ways to be happy in your life.  Be aware of what's going on in the world, but don't let it bring you down so much that you can't focus on what's right in front of you.  

And be very aware of how the powers that be, seem to be trying to divide us.  I wrote a whole conspiracy rant on it, if you're interested in checking it out here

And I seriously need to stop reading the comments on social media, because it is making me quite ill.  I have better things to do with my life than worry about the opinions of strangers.  I have plenty of nerdy things to focus on.