Look Forward to: Rogue One

look forward

Hey there!

So, I thought about doing this post for a while but I wasn’t quite sure of it because (don’t tell anyone!) I’m not really a Star Wars kind of gal. Sure, I see the potential and the many doors the franchise opened, but all in all, it does not really push my buttons. Or at least not the right ones. 

However, I do realize that for many (many, many, many) people, it IS a big deal, so I figured that I would bring it over anyways, since it is a piece of speculative fiction after all, and that is what we do here in this little corner of the blogsphere.

So, ladies, children and nerds: Rogue One. A Star Wars Story. 

Rogue One, A Star Wars Story poster.png

What is it about?  

Kids, I really don’t think I need to answer this question, but for those of you who’ve been living in Nepal with the monks, or in Santa’s Workshop in the Pole, or under your average large rock, I’ll give a brief overview.  Rogue One is a stand-alone story within the Star Wars universe, happening sometime between episodes III and IV. It aims to introduce us for the first time to the rebel forces that have gathered after Revenge of the Sith, and that will go ahead and cradle Luke Skywalker and company for the original Star Wars. The story brings about an entirely new set of characters, along with a premise that fans are sure to love: the small, brave group of heroes who need to sneak into the heart of the empire to steal the schematics of their new (old!) terrifying weapon, the Death Star.    

Why you should give it a shot?  

Ok so, as I said, I am not a Star Wars freak. I enjoy the movies with the intellectual curiosity of any speculative fiction writer, but they are not much my cup of tea. However, there’s no denying the amazing creativity and world-building techniques this mega-saga displays. The universe of Star Wars is vast, and, considering the events of last year, quite likely to expand. While Rogue One might not directly tie in to the worshiped franchise, it’s definitely a nice morsel to include in the collection, and also an interesting test as to whether there can be value to the universe in general and not just the heart-wrenching characters. A sort of testing the waters, to put it another way. If it succeeds, we might be seeing more light sabers, Jedi knights and The Force that have nothing to do with the original franchise. Something to keep an eye on, indeed.

Fans and enthusiast of the genre certainly should give this movie a chance, because it’s sure to be a well-crafted, entertaining affair that will add value to the current sci-fi market. I, for one, am happy that speculative fiction is taking a more active part in mainstream motion-pictures, and you won’t see me complaining if more space opera films come around as a result of the Star Wars re-revolution. So bring it on!

Release date: December 16, 2016.   

 

Moana (Movie Review)

Hello, fellas!

So in the spirit of my Top 10 Best and Worst Movies of 2016 (look forward to it!), I headed over to the local motion-picture house to get me some writing material. Among them was Disney’s most recent release (and a recommendation in this very blog last month), hailing straight from the Polynesian islands, new princess on the block, Moana.

Some Background ———-

Moana is not Disney’s first attempt at tackling a minority in one of their feature films (can somebody say The Princess and the Frog? How about Pocahontas?) and when they set up to do so, they normally do it with a vengeance. Moana is a film rich with the culture of Polynesian and Hawaiian islands, and despite much discussion, there is no doubt that effort was put into preserving and enhancing the traditions the film highlights. Cast and soundtrack take deep care to honor the movie’s main setting, with voice actors who all have some sort of Pacific Islander heritage, and songs that include intricate lyrics in a Polynesian language that is actually spoken in the American Samoan Islands.

All in all, Moana paints a really complete picture of the world it’s trying to offer the viewers. It opens a new, innovative and interesting setting for Disney to explore and audiences to enjoy and learn about, all while shedding some light over the rich oral traditions and stories of the Polynesian communities, too long ignored in mainstream film.The movie tells the story of Moana, a young girl who struggles with her place in life and the responsibilities her father and her tribe have put on her shoulders. Much of it we already know: the struggle, the self-doubt, the moment of truth when the heart finally tells the young heroine what to do… Pretty basic Disney stuff. It’s old and it has holes, but we love it. Like most of Disney animated hits, filmmakers make Moana’s struggles personal enough that you can relate and care for her, that you shed a tear or two when she crosses a milestone, and don’t feel guilty because of the simple gladness you get when she comes out victorious at the end.

Moana is a likable character. She is caring, determined and kind, and displays a level of maturity that is quite alien to regular Disney princesses and I believe is very refreshing. She has a dream yes, but she doesn’t let this dream overcome her own responsibilities to her people. And even when she does decide to pursue it, it is always with an optimistic but practical mind that is willing to learn and face the challenges that are sure to come. Her quest is somewhat reminiscent of Rapunzel’s in Tangled, but she lacks the sometimes annoying naivete, and her attitude brushes on Brave‘s Merida, but without the spoiled rebelliousness and selfishness of the red-headed Scottish lass.

The rest of the characters do a good job of complementing her, especially Maui, demigod extraordinaire, but it’s Moana herself who holds the weight of most of the movie. It’s a refreshing new trend by Disney:  a girl interesting enough that she can hold your attention throughout an entire film, without needing a love interest (or a sister) to help her. They first introduced this trend for Brave, and now for Moana it has definitely being perfected. Disney embracing the concept of woman empowerment after almost a century of damsel-in-distress-type heroines is definitely a plus in my opinion, so thumbs up for that.

The story, although simple, is well-thought and complete, with a surprising ending that is very moving and teaches about understanding and trust, all the time keeping the mysticism and subtle sense of surrealism of old oral legends.

Disney lovers will like Moana, and even those who are not avid fans of the animation giant will enjoy this movie’s well-crafted action and its clean, simple humor that leaves you chuckling all the way through. Will it stand beside its blockbuster princess predecessor, Frozen? Hard to say. Moana is an entirely different animal with entirely different aspirations. But what it’s obvious is that this brand-new Disney movie holds its own weight in the Disney universe, and hopefully it will become the gateway to many more exploring and voyaging to far lands and untold stories.

10/10!

Archangel’s Heart (Nalini Singh)

Image result for archangel's heartTitle: Archangel’s Heart

Author: Nalini Singh

Series: Guild Hunter Series #9

Date: November 1, 2016

Summary:

One of the most vicious archangels in the world has disappeared. No one knows if Lijuan is dead or has chosen to Sleep the long sleep of an immortal. But with her lands falling into chaos under a rising tide of vampiric bloodlust, a mysterious and ancient order of angels known as the Luminata calls the entire Cadre together to discuss the fate of her territory.

Accompanying her archangelic lover Raphael to the Luminata compound, guild hunter-turned-angel Elena senses that all is not as it seems. Secrets echo from within the stone walls of the compound, and the deeper Elena goes, the uglier the darkness. But neither Raphael nor Elena is ready for the brutal truths hidden within—truths that will change everything Elena thinks she knows about who she is…

Nothing will ever be the same again.

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Review Day! 

That annual date with the authors I follow has come again, and this time it’s one I have talked (and praised) before, Best-Selling Paranormal Romance Author Extraordinaire Nalini Singh!

I introduced Mrs. Singh’s Guild Hunter Series last year with her Archangel’s Enigma  and today I bring you yet another treat in the form of the next book in this amazing series about angels, vampires and overall Urban Fantasy goodness for the lovers of the genre. So, without further ado, enter Archangel’s Heart!

More information, visit the author’s website: http://nalinisingh.com/

The Review ———-

Back to the New York of The Guild Hunter Series. There, the Archangel Raphael, oneImage result for archangel's heart of the all-powerful archangels of the Cadre of Ten, rules over North America with a severity and power that are awe-inspiring. By his side are his Seven, an elite guard of angels and vampires tasked with protecting Raphael and his domains, and Elena, Raphael’s ever-adored, Guild Hunter consort.

Ever since Elena was turned into an angel some short years ago, troubles have rained down non-stop over her and her archangelic lover, testing their bonds and those of the city of New York as a whole. But for the last 2 years, things appear to have settled down. Or have they?

For this book, and in true Nalini Singh’s fashion, the author once more takes on the couple that started it all and launched this series into bestsellerdom, Raphael and Elena Deveraux.

Unlike my usual Romance reviews, these characters are in no way unknown to fans of the series, and for those who are new to it, some advice: don’t make #9 your series starter, kids. Play by the rules! So this time I’ll try to review any changes in attitude and behavior for this particular book.

Raphael is the Archangel of New York and undisputed lead male of the Guild Hunter series (even though he sometimes cedes the spotlight to one of the members of his Seven). In Archangel’s Heart Singh takes on Raphael again now as a “married” or “mated” angel who is very much in love with his consort and very much involved in her affairs. Raphael and Elena’s love story happens basically during Angel’s Heart (Book 1), but the aftermath of that love story is what has fueled or the books since, and to be honest, it never gets old.

It’s fascinating to see this extremely powerful, extremely dominant man butt heads with a woman that will never be a damsel in distress, who throws out as many punches as she receives and it’s never afraid to tell the supreme ruler of North America when he is being an a*hole. In this book, we get to see a Raphael more used to dealing with Elena (versus earlier books where he was often bewildered by her) and more confident in his part of her mate. It is also endearing how he tries to protect her without undermining her, and how he always tries to cultivate her strength instead of demanding that she conforms with being protected by his far, far superior abilities.

To be honest I like Raphael’s character, his and Elena’s relationship dynamic is very fluid. They are always exchanging barbs and teasing each other and the chemistry between them is very smooth. This book was no different, except for the fact that Raphael, unlike previous books, took a veritable backseat compared to Elena, who gets much more development. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t get more couple time, but other than that I cannot fault the interactions.

Image result for archangel's heart

Elena, on the other hand, gets her workout for this book. We discover a lot of new things about her and her background, and we also see how she has finally adapted to her place as an Archangel’s Consort and how she is slowly growing into her strength as a “baby angel.” It was very interesting to see Elena more comfortable in her position as Consort, to see her moving among the Cadre with ease and sure in her skin for once.

We always get Elena strong in her warrior suit, but this book proved that she can be interesting when she is not fighting as well. Archangel’s Heart Elena is on a mission to find the truth about her roots and to discover herself and the story of her lost family. She will have to put down the knives and use the head first and foremost, and the wiles and wit that are unavoidable in the sharp political environment of the Cadre of Ten, where relationships are threaded on the finest silk and any small misstep can mean war. We got to see some of this in Book #2, Archangel’s Kiss, but we get to revisit it, very successfully, for this book.

Now, I’ll be honest, I liked this book. I enjoyed reading it and I had a good time revisiting old characters and getting glimpses of past couples. I am also excited to see what will Nalini Singh bring us next. Now that said… I really don’t understand what is this book’s objective. The plot-line doesn’t tie up to the rest of the series’ central arc, and at the end of this book, nothing has changed in the overall story versus the beginning. Sure, we know some new things, have a couple new interesting characters, but all in all, it’s same old. This book can be skipped completely and readers would barely notice it, because the characters that appear are not relevant to any future development, and the story that unfolds is completely separate from the main line.

My rating:

4

“Almost There!”

A very good book, with just a couple of minor details that didn’t appeal to me personally, but that in no way diminish the value of the entire piece.

Shout-out to an amazing artist: Check out “To Belong”!

Hi, guys!

So everyone here knows I love to recommend creativity and good work, and that is what I come to do today. I’ll bring you To Belong, a fan-made crossover web animated series by talented YouTuber The Nameless Doll. 

By mashing together a bunch of Disney and animated movie scenes with great talent and more than a little creativity, this artist has managed to bring to life an original story in a way that is interesting, engaging, and impressive. As she prepares to launch To Belong with original art and animation through a Kickstarter campaign, I wanted to give her a shout out for the amazing job she’s done so far.

Comes to prove that creativity comes in many forms, and writers don’t need to publish books to offer great stories. Check out the web crossovers below to learn a little more of the story, and don’t forget to go to the author’s website and support her Kickstarter campaign so that this talented, creative storyteller can keep regaling us with her amazing gift!

To Belong Series Official Website

The Nameless Doll Tumblr Blog

 

Marrying Winterborne (Lisa Kleypas)

26242354Title: Marrying Winterborne

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Series: The Ravenels #2

Date: May 31, 2016

Blurb:

A ruthless tycoon

Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better…

A sheltered beauty

Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable… the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…

Marrying Mr. Winterborne

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Review Day! 

As promised, today we take on Lisa Kleypas’ Ravenel Series book 2, Marrying Winterborne. 

Not too many days ago I introduced this series when I reviewed book 1, Cold-Hearted Rake. Now I bring you the sequel, and what a joy it is. This book took me back to the good old times of Kleypas and filled me with hope of great things to come. Hopefully, the significantly higher quality will continue on to the rest of the books in this series, and Kleypas will keep on delivering Historical Romance jewels like this for a very, very long time.

The Ravenels’ next installment, Devil in Spring, hits shelves February 2017, and I for one am looking forward to it.   

More information, visit the author’s page: http://www.lisakleypas.com

So, the review! ———-

 

Marrying Winterborne is a novel with many echoes. Frequent readers of Kleypas will find allusions to earlier novels by this author such as Secrets of a Summer Night, Tempt Me at Twilight, and Where Dreams Begin. The industrial tycoon who29475665 falls in love with the high-born lady is a strategy Kleypas has employed several
times during her career, and has always brought her success. This book is no different.

The main characters are Rhys Winterborne and Lady Helen Ravenel.

We met Rhys before during his foray into Cold-Hearted Rake. Rhys is the son of a small grocer of Wales, who, through his own effort and determination, grew his father’s business to a world-wide empire. He is ruthless, harsh and regards the aristocracy with cynicism due to the contempt they showed him while he was still poor. There are few gentlemanly traits about him, and he has no intention of changing. However, he happens to fall in love with Helen, a high-class lady if there was ever one, and this throws the ordered life of Rhys into chaos. Unlike other heroes in his same situation (see novels above), Rhys didn’t actually held the control of his attraction fro Helen. I liked that. Kleypas tends to give us really assured heroes that know how to manage the girls like little puppets. Rhys is not like that. At the beginning of the book he is frustrated, confused and bewildered by his own attraction, and these feelings only intensify as the book goes on. His vulnerability is both endearing and surprising, especially because he accepts it and shrugs it off early on, as something inevitable. It was not hard to like this character, to be honest, and I kept rooting for him the whole way because, despite the ruthlessness and roughness of his personality, there is never any doubt from the beginning that he loves Helen dearly and would never do anything to hurt her.     

Image result for marrying winterborneHelen, on the other hand, was not what I expected. I thought she was going to be the kind of shy bride that would evolve into a more assured wife as she realized her power over this really strong, really powerful man. And she did. However, she went further than that, developing a personality and a set of morals completely separate from her relationship with Rhys, which is rare in most Romance novels. Normally the leads evolve due to their respective influences on each other but Helen was able to separate herself as a character and make meaningful and important contributions to the plot, without having to rely on her fellow lead for this. Even though she never quite looses the shyness and sweetness we were introduced to during Cold-Hearted Rake, she is able to put these aside and find a moral code to guide her actions that sets the base for her personality. As a result, I ended up liking (and respecting her) as a single character, and not a part of the couple. Her determination to stay true to herself, even when it may cost her happiness and the love of her life, was really believable and gave the character a strength I had not seen in a Romance novel in a while. It made me think of other leading girls such as Eleanor Ramsay, from The Duke’s Perfect Wife, Christine Derrick from Slightly Dangerous, and Evangeline Jenner from Kleypas’ own Devil in Winter  

Marrying Winterborne is a magnificent new novel by Lisa Kleypas. It fills my heart with hope to know that our favorite authors as always still have a lot left in them to give, and this book is definitely an example of that. I, personally, will be counting the days until the release of Devil in Spring, so we can see what new Historical Romance delight this author will deliver to our doors.

My rating:

5

“Grab ‘n Go!” 

The Altar! The crème de la crème. The book that ’ll revisit several times a year, just so I can re-read my favorite part. It’s not easy to get that coveted fifth star, so if you did, rest assured: you’ve definitely earned it!

Cold-Hearted Rake (Lisa Kleypas)

24431358Title: Cold-Hearted Rake

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Series: The Ravenel’s #1

Date: October 27, 2015

Blurb:

A twist of fate . . .

Devon Ravenel, London’s most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl’s three innocent sisters are still occupying the house . . . along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon’s own.

A clash of wills . . .

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she’s ever known?

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Review Day! 

This week I started reading the new series by one of my favorite Historical Romance authors: Lisa Kleypas! 

Those who have enjoyed series like The Wallflowers, The Hathaways and The Stokehurst among many others, will certainly know who this author is, and those who have not read them, should definitely give these series a try. Lisa Kleypas stands at the very top of the Historical Romance genre, and each one of her books is a delight of charming romance and great historical context.

Needless to say, the minute I learned that Kleypas had a new series out, I went for it at once, so today I bring you the review for the first book: Cold-Hearted Rake and later in the week we’ll take a look to book #2, Marrying Winterborne

More information, visit the author’s page: http://www.lisakleypas.com

Image result for cold hearted rake

So, the review! ———-

The Ravenels Series takes place during the Victorian era, when England is is struggling with industrialization and most aristocrats are seeing their centuries worth of agricultural wealth dwindling away. Readers of Kleypas will be pleased to know that the story happens some 30 years after the events of The Wallflowers, and we are going to be seeing some of the beloved characters of that series take part in this one as well.

The main characters in the book are Devon Ravenel and Kathleen Ravenel, dowager countess of Trenear.25685080

Devon is a good character. He is bold, rakish, self-assured, enjoying the good things in life and refusing responsibilities as best as he can. However, things go awry for Devon when he is saddled with a (bankrupted) earldom and all this means: hundreds of tenants, thousands of acres of land, and four young ladies, all of whom depend on him to bring prosperity and security.
Needless to say, it is not an easy task. Devon takes on his new appointment with aplomb and does whatever he can to fulfill these responsibilities. I thought the transition from irresponsible rake to concerned lord was a little rushed and abrupt, but regardless of that, the change works for the better. Devon becomes a more likable character and of course, his new-found sense of honor comes a long way to endearing him to the lady of the house, Kathleen. Devon also has had a difficult childhood, somewhat dark not unlike those of other Kleypas heroes like Westcliff, Merripen and Nikolas Angelovsky. However, I would say this backstory was not exploited enough in his case, and it could have yielded far more interesting results if the author had brought it forward a little more.   

30653412Kathleen is our heroine. She is the young widow of the late earl, and, of course, she buts heads with Devon every step of the way when it comes to ruling the estate. Her impetuousness is meant to be conflicting and sparking, to create friction between the two leads, and it does. The problem is, it doesn’t seem to have a good base. At the beginning of the book Kathleen has been married for a really short time, so it makes no sense that she will react so viscerally to Devon’s actions. With Kathleen, she seems to go from an utter dislike of Devon to an ardent love, and again, the process is fairly abrupt. I have to confess I was not charmed by her character, because it seemed as too volatile and a little unfinished. Her interactions with Devon were good, but there were many rough edges to her characterization that did not quite make sense.

Overall, the story of Cold-Hearted Rake was enjoyable and easy to read. It has a good flow, good chemistry between the leads and the subplots introducing the secondary characters are all well-crafted and interesting enough to leave you wanting to know more. I don’t see this book becoming one of my favorites of Kleypas (she has a lot to choose from after all), but I concede it was a quick, and good read.

My rating:

3 stars

 

“One of Many”

 Not a book I particularly loved or hated. But not one I’m likely to come back to in the future either.

Look Forward to: Disney’s Moana

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Third in the month!

See? I told you I would do three of these this month. You won’t be getting anymore juice like this for a while so enjoy it while it last, guys. 

So today in our Look Forward To… we go back to my geeky, less than mature roots and take on the newest princess movie by Disney’s very capable staff, a Polynesian 3D princess with some amazing powers of her own.

Enter: Disney’s Moana. 

Moana Teaser Poster.jpgOk, readers of mine, I like Disney. That’s not a secret to anyone. I know all the songs by heart, I have them on a playlist I put on when I’m taking a shower, and when I find a Disney movie while browsing through my cable channels, I normally leave it on (and make popcorn). So sue me!

Moana comes to take the place of the newest princess movie that Frozen last held, and does it with flair by taping into a culture that is both mysterious and familiar for Americans: the far-away cousins from Hawaii we all go to see whenever beach season opens up. I, for one, find it quite the interesting approach. Disney has been trying for a while to appeal to the minorities and portray itself as a multicultural company that respects diversity. Movies like Mulan, Pocahontas and The Princess and the Frog came to help set up that notion. Disney Channel’s series Elena of Avalor, the first Latina princess in Disney history, already started this year’s effort with its July TV premiere, and now in comes Moana.  

What is it about?  

Moana is a young, adventurous teenager who leaves in Montunui Island, in the Polynesian region. Her father is the chief of their tribe and descendant of a long line of navigator that three thousand years ago traveled around the Pacific, having adventures and discovering all the island of Oceania. So when her family is suddenly put in danger, Moana doesn’t hesitate to sail on a journey to find a mysterious island that holds the key to save them. She will get more than she bargained for, though. Aided by mighty demi-god Maui and her own affinity with the ocean and the creatures that populate it, Moana will live a thrilling, dangerous adventure, encountering scary monsters, impossible odds, and fulfilling the ancient quest of her ancestors while discovering the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.   

Why you should give it a shot?  

As casting comes, Moana is hitting the little-known button for the most part. Disney tried to stay true to the film’s premise and featured a voice cast with strong Pacific Islander roots such as 15-year-old Auli’i Cravalho, making her debut with this movie, and Temuera Morrison, supporting actor from Star Wars Episode II and III.

Notable in the cast though it’s the addition of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, portraying demi-god and male lead Maui, who had to reconnect with his Samoan heritage for this part. The Rock has become a Hollywood regular for the last several years, and has won the hearts of the audience with his easy smile, warm humor and amazing charisma that brings a good dose of lightness to the hard action thrillers he normally portrays. It’s bound to be interesting to see how he uses those same assets to his full advantage in this new setting, where his impressive muscles and physical prowess is not even showcased.

 

With Disney there’s always the controversy of whether the newest movie is going to live up to the standard set up by its predecessors, and being a direct follower of Frozen, Moana has it tough, I must admit. It will take a lot for this new princess to beat the winter blockbuster of 2013 (which also premiered around Thanksgiving) and the almost 1.3 billion green bills it put into Disney’s pockets. However, there’s always hope, and even if it doesn’t manage to get as much traction as Frozen, Moana is sure to be an fun, endearing and exciting experience for the whole family.

Release date: November 23, 2016.   

What makes a good Epic Fantasy movie?

sword-918542

Hello, everybody! 

This week, as I was running through my head all the possible topics to talk about in a blog post, I was meandering and lazing about the great, mysterious Internet and I found several useful tidbits that I thought would make an interesting discussion topic: What makes a good Epic Fantasy Movie?

Is it stunning effects? Good history? Engaging artistic performances? Or perhaps awe-inspiring makeup and costume treatment? Not to forget the music, creature design and old-fashioned-but-still-flair-full dialog fans expect from everything Epic.

Even though fans of the genre can have their dreams realized by tuning unto HBO’s Game of Thrones, is it really enough to fulfill our motion-picture needs?

Let’s take a look at the Epic Fantasy options 2016 brought with it:

 1- The Shannara Chronicles.  Ok so, January 2016 means The Shannara Chronicles, or how I like to call it The-Series-That-Tried-To-Ride-The-GoT-Gravy-Train-But-Failed-Miserably.

Now, boys and girls don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that for fans of lets say Twilight, this particular YA-Epic Mash Up works out fine. After all, if what you want is the shallowness, crazy-hormones-low-brain-activity high this particular series gives, you should go for it (and now it’s up for a second season, yay!). Personally, I started watching Shannara in search of a series that would take on my favorite fantasy topics, but lighten up a little of the gore and low-morals that are at the core of Game of Thrones. Hey, I wanted to watch an actually nice hero for once, sue me! Point is, it so didn’t work out. The Shannara Chronicles is like a weird mixture of Vampire Diaries, Buffy and GoT, except it takes the worse part of those three and puts them together. Flat characters, an under-developed story and oh, hey two girls fighting for a single guy! Just what the doctor ordered… not. Honestly
Galavant Intertitle.png, if I were to chose my Epic Fantasy series of choice on this 2016, I would go with Galavant over Shannara, and that is just a stupid gag series, with singing! Season 2 (January, 2016), had ostensibly less quality than season 1, but at least I didn’t want to put my hands around the lead girl’s neck like, oh I don’t know, every second!

Against a backdrop of Egyptian pyramids, an ensemble cast of Egyptian gods and humans on differing scales pose.2- Gods of Egypt.

Ok, this movie sucks. There’s really no other way to put it, and for someone like me who is a Mythology junkie, it sucks to hell and back three times. The characters are horribly under-developed, they literally have no motive whatsoever for the things they do in the movie, and the only one who actually has a little bit of layering is the bad guy, who, considering you are supposed to not like him, doesn’t bode well for the rest of the movie.

The story is spotty at best, and the performances feel flat because, as I said, there is no depth or background to pull up from. I guess the objective was for viewers to focus on the action, but the problem is, the action is not that hot either. It ebbs and flows without a clear pattern and since it doesn’t really build up, when you get to the final battle you are like “Oh, that’s it?”

All in all is a bad attempt at motion picture that I hesitate to call Epic Fantasy, but alas… here you have it.

The Huntsman – Winter's War poster.jpg3- The Huntsman: Winter’s War. 

This movie… what to say about it….

Just to get it out of the way, guys, costume design and make up in this movie is on point. Effects are not  bad either. Sadly, these two things are the only good thing about it. Not even Chris Hemsworth could save this movie, and I forgive a lot of things to that face of his. It just was so… BORING! Yes, that is the word. We watched it at home when it came out in Blu-Ray, with pop-corn and the lights out, and we were literally sleeping five minutes in.

It has too much exposition and to little character development. It doesn’t do a good job of connecting with its predecessor and the only action concentrates in about the last 10 minutes of the movie, when you are already hopelessly ashamed of having spent the past two hours watching it.

Warcraft Teaser Poster.jpg4- Warcraft.

For Warcraft, I will at least praise the CGI and Make up work. They do an amazing job with those orcs and the truth is they look amazing. Overall action is fast paced and the movie itself is entertaining. But (always there is one), that is all this film is. The main characters are too simplistic to engage. It perhaps comes with the fact that is based on a video game, but I don’t believe that forgives it. I have read books of the Warcraft universe and they are amazingly well-crafted. This movie is not. It’s great to spend a good two hours, it’s eye-candy with all that gorgeous special effect and costume work, but it doesn’t trap you. The only character that is relatable is Durotan, and only to a small degree, because with so many things happening we don’t get to see much of him. My opinion would be that this movie suffers from overdoneness (same problem that The Hobbit trilogy had a couple of years ago). Filmmakers tried to do too much and cram it in too little a space. As a result, everything feels somewhat exaggerated. It lacks the subtlety and careful treatment good epics need to make it to the heart of the viewers.

All in all, 2016 was definitely not the year for Epic Fantasy, and while the movie roster is yet to finish airing, there are no more likely candidates coming to take up the fallen mantle. We will have to wait perhaps for the second Avatar (if it ever does happen) or hope someone takes pity on us poor fans and throw us a bone of Epic Fantasy we can happily shew on.

For now, I’ll leave you with a throwback for your hungry hearts, from the most amazing epic movie saga ever made:

Look Forward to: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

look forward

Hi, everybody!

So I said this last week in another Look Forward To… post for Marvel’s Dr. Strange, but November comes bearing gifts this year, so here I am doing my job of presenting them to the eager world.

Today we speak of a very polemic release that has yet, for some reason, been quite ignored in mass media: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. 

Ok, so J. K. Rowling is big (who doesn’t know that?) but with the recent release of The Cursed Child to pretty good overall success we should probably say that she is big “again.” Reason why it comes as no surprise that this movie was finally made. Now, kids, I must confess. Neither The Cursed Child nor Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them have me jumping up and down of joy per se. Don’t get me wrong, I am as much a Harry Potter fan as the next girl, but I just don’t believe in milking the loyalty of your fans using their love for a series that (let’s face it) has nothing more to it, only to make money. Which is, I’m afraid, all this movie is going to be about. But anyways, let’s not be judgmental before actually judging, shall we?

What is it about?  

The Wizarding World has moved to North America! Newt Scamander is a wizard researcher who studies and rescues magical creatures, sometimes going so far as trapping them in his mysterious (magical!) leather case with none the wiser. He arrives at 1926 New York set on this noble task when his secret is accidentally discovered by Jacob Kowalski, a No-Maj (American form of Muggle) who opens his magic case and sets Newt’s creatures on the loose. Now, Newt, with the help of Jacob, underappreciated American Auror Tina, and Tina’s sister and roommate Queenie, must set to find and re-capture Newt’s creatures before they hurt themselves or the unsuspecting humans of New York.    

Why you should give it a shot?  

Alright so, first, let’s get casting out of the way: Eddie Redmayne. This guy you might know from hit 2012 musicale Les Misérables, 2014’s The Theory of Everything and 2015’s The Danish Girl. What do all these movies have in common? Easy, they were all Academy Award Nominated movies. Except for the error of judgement on his part called Jupiter Ascending, Eddy Redmayne can normally be trusted to deliver a stellar performance. His portrayal of world-famous scientist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, earned him an Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award all in the Best Actor category, for his incredible rendition of the ALS-riddled physicist.

Another notable figure is Colin Farrell, who will portray an Auror and the main antagonist in this particular movie. This man I think deserves no introduction as he has been part of some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters such as Alexander, Total Recall and Minority Report. It will be interesting to see this action blockbuster star explore yet another type of role with this movie.

 Now, for our second reason I present you with a question:

What did you love about Harry Potter, the characters or the world?

Could you have one without the other?

That is basically what Fantastic Creatures asks you. You have the spells, the wands, the hippogryphs… But no Hogwarts, Ministry of Magic (not even Muggles apparently!) and most importantly, no Ron, Hermione or Harry. There is no doubt J. K. Rowling is a master at World Building, and now she is overseeing the entire process from the Screenwriter’s and Producer’s chairs! Her personal involvement, coupled with the stunning effects Warner Bros company can fund, this film is sure to be something to behold. However, it remains to be seen whether the Wizarding World alone can hold its own in the eyes of the fans, and Fantastic Creatures seems like the perfect test for that. Rowling’s last attempt at publishing, The Casual Vacancy, was not the most successful endeavor for the world-famous writer. Perhaps, if Fantastic Creatures holds its own against the eager, voracious minds of the Harry Potter post-ending fans, she might just go back to the world she created and bring us some more magic to love in the future (I’m crossing my fingers for a Marauders’ Prequel series right here!).

Just for that alone, this writer hopes Fantastic Creatures ends up being the biggest blockbuster of 2016. Amen.

Release date: November 18, 2016.   

Look Forward to: Marvel’s Dr. Strange

look forward

Hi, guys and girls!

Today I bring you yet another post in our Look Forward To… section. Things are getting interesting in the movie industry for the following months, so I predict many more posts like this one to let you know just a little of what’s going on. You’re welcome, I know!

Today we discuss one of three interesting movies to premier in the coming month of November: Marvel’s Dr. Strange.

Ok, so for those of you who are new and don’t know we rock in this part of the internet, you should know I like anything and everything that has to do with Fantasy, Science-Fiction and Speculative Fiction in general. This extends towards movies. From the masterpieces like Interstellar, The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, to the seriously flawed, seriously offending elements like, oh, I don’t know, I’m thinking Jupiter Ascending (and it had Shanning Tatum on it, I mean, come on!) and the most recent Gods of Egypt (not even the fact that I’m a mythology junkie saved this movie).

Anyways, as such, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that after Disney, Pixar and Ghibli Studio, Marvel is the other movie maker I am very fond of. I’ve been following the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) for a while now, and as such, it’s obvious I’m quite caught by this particular movie.

What is it about?  

Ok so, like all of the Marvel movies, the film is based off a comic book, in this case, telling the story of Dr. Stephen Strange, a top-grade neurosurgeon who suffers a car accident that leaves him unable to operate. As a result of this, and the shock of being rid of his one true worth (hint: Narcissistic much), Strange sets of on a journey of self-discovery and healing that takes him to the Ancient One, a Celtic mystic who teaches him about the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions.

Why you should give it a shot?  

Beyond the just stunning effects and honest entertainment Marvel movies usually deliver, there are many good things about this one. First of all, we have the leading character, Dr. Stephen Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Now, if you have not heard about Benedict Cumberbatch that’s because you’ve been living under a rock! He is the pretty face (and stunning acting) responsible for roles like Sherlock Holmes, from the hit mini-series Sherlock, Khan, from 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness, Alan Turing in Academy-Award-Nominee The Imitation Game, and he also lent his amazing, amazing voice to the dragon Smaug in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit series and the tiger Shere Khan in the recent Disney live action adaptation of The Jungle Book. 

The cast also includes many more amazing stars such as Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia 1 & 2) and Rachel McAddams (The Notebook, The Time Traveler’s Wife). All in all, the cast aligned for this piece is pretty reliable and I for once I’m glad they went with Mr. Cumberbatch for this character. All that British flair and aristocratic mien is going to go great to portray arrogant genius Dr. Strange. Fans of his performance in Sherlock are definitely in for a treat.

While it’s still not clear how this particular movie fits into the MCU, so far the creators behind this amazing project haven’t disappointed (much), so I, for one I’m willing to give them a shot (and two hours of my time) to find out just how Dr. Strange ties in with the overall story arc and how will he help further it.

Release date: November 4, 2016.