Food for thought: Reception on The Last Jedi

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Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the Media Dome!

Today I’d like to not necessarily do an all-out review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but I still want to take time to discuss the cultural impact this movie has had. I’ll probably give a more complete review in the future once I review the other films in the Star Wars Franchise.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi continues the highly successful Star Wars franchise, as a young woman named Rey goes off to find Luke Skywalker, the legendary Jedi master. She is sent by his sister Leia in order to take him to the rebel resistance as someone who can help take down the First Order. Meanwhile, Finn, Poe, and a new character named Rose are trying to help the Resistance escape the power that the First Order has over them before its too late.

My general thoughts on the film are very good. It was beautiful storytelling and I felt like the characters were very well-developed. The acting was as strong as usual, and the battle scenes were cool. Both of the major storylines in this movie flowed together nicely as well, with Luke and Rey’s story being darker in tone while Poe, Finn, and Rose had a lighter tone in theirs. Both major plots flowed well together and created a nice little package of a film. I’m not saying that it’s perfect, but it’s definitely a well-made film and was enjoyable all-around.

However, fans seem to not think the same way as many of the critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, an official movie review website, The Last Jedi has a very stellar score of 91/100 from professional critics. The pros seemed to love this film to death. However, fans, by comparison, gave this movie a very average, mediocre score of 50/100. Why are fans disappointed by such a movie? Well…my theory is that fans desired their own theories and expectations to be proven as correct, but that ended up not being the case. For a while, fans have theorized many stories that could be possible from this film, such as Rey becoming a “gray Jedi” and becoming more of an anti-hero rather than a full-blown hero. There’s also been the fan theory that Rey is Obi-Wan Kenobi’s daughter. For context, Obi-Wan was an important character in the prequel trilogy and main trilogy and was both the Jedi master of Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker, who are the two main protagonists in both the prequel trilogy and the original Star Wars trilogy, respectively.

When Last Jedi was released, many fan theories were proven to be false, as director Rain Johnson took the story in an unexpected direction. This made many Star Wars fans mad. Yes, someone’s expectations were “ruined.” However, does that make Last Jedi a bad film? Certainly not! The issue here is that a select group of fans weren’t pleased with the film simply because it wasn’t what they exactly wanted, even if the movie is acclaimed by critics and is killing it on the box office. My recommendation to people who have yet to see The Last Jedi is: take the movie as it is. Don’t have any expectations going in. When you go into the film with an open mind and no strong presuppositions, it will help you enjoy the movie a whole lot more. Last Jedi was excellent storytelling, and I would certainly recommend watching it. Just, please remember that something being different or particularly unexpected does not make it bad.

Until next time, everyone!

 

Sources:

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/star_wars_the_last_jedi/

https://www.elitedaily.com/p/is-rey-a-gray-jedi-star-wars-fans-have-a-theory-about-the-last-jedi-7211779

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/ben-ostrower/rey-is-obi-wan-kenobis-granddaughter_b_8911656.html

Movie review: Frozen

 

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Elsa: A cultural icon

Greetings, everyone! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays ❤

With all of the snow falling and the holiday season still in action, I’ve heard a lot of Christmas music played on the radio lately…and what stunned me is how songs from the Disney movie “Frozen” were played right alongside the traditional holiday tunes. None of the songs in this movie are necessarily related to Christmas…yet they’re played frequently on the radio. This film wasn’t even released in December…Frozen was released in November of 2013. Four years later, it’s still one of the most popular animated movies in the past decade, potentially even THE most popular. Does it deserve all of the hype it receives? Let’s find out.

 

Story Synopsis: A young girl named Elsa who’s part of the royal government family has ice wielding powers, and while she loves using them she isn’t able to control such powers properly. After accidentally injuring her sister Anna, her parents command Elsa to hide away her ice powers and to never use them.

Fast forward many years, with Elsa turning 21 and Anna turning 18. It’s the day when Elsa takes the place on the throne to replace her deceased parents. During the ceremony, Elsa’s powers get unleashed once more, and in the process, she strikes Anna once more by accident. Elsa flees her hometown and lives in isolation, while Anna needs to be cured of the eventually fatal “ice disease” that was caused by being struck by Elsa’s ice powers. Both sisters must be cured of their respective conditions: Anna must be cured of the ice power side-effects placed on her, while Elsa must be cured of her isolation from her sister and the rest of the land that she is supposed to lead.

 

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Anna with Olaf; the snowman character.

 

 

General thoughts:

Frozen is one of those films that can be enjoyed by many, but unfortunately, it’s over-shown and over-hyped to the point where people grow sick and tired of seeing and hearing about it. Whether it’s songs from Frozen being played on the radio frequently during the holiday season despite none of them sounding especially Christmas-y, or playing a Frozen short that takes up too much screentime within a movie theater before the actual movie is shown (see the Olaf’s Frozen Adventure example, concerning how an overly long short was played before Disney’s Coco), it seems as if Frozen is being over-shown and to an extent has the potential of being overrated as a film.

From a personal standpoint, I’m tired of people talking about Frozen myself. It does some things right, but not to the point where it deserves to be exalted as Disney’s best film ever released. The best part of this movie is probably the bond between Elsa and Anna, the two main characters of the film. Both of them have very different personalities, with Elsa being intelligent yet cynical and sometimes too blunt for her own good, while Elsa is a bit naive but very optimistic and friendly. With how the two sisters come to understand each other throughout the film, it goes against the well-known Disney formula of “Disney prince meets Disney princess and they get married and live happily ever after, etc.” This movie deviates significantly in that it portrays the importance and wonder of a sibling bond, and that’s something I very much appreciated. Speaking of character development, Elsa is probably the most well-developed character in this film. At first, I honestly disliked her because of how she acted a bit rude and cold towards Anna right before her ice superpowers are once again unleashed against her will during her coronation party. However, during the film, Elsa matures and learns how to open up and be willing to face her fears and past rather than simply running away from them. Anna also serves as an important foil to Elsa and is also the more relatable of the two sisters. Both of them are easy to like in their own ways. The overarching story and message of sibling love and not running away from your problems serves as a good story and moral. Finally, the aesthetics are handled with care just like usual. Music is catchy and well-written, and the graphics are gorgeous.

But…I dare say that Frozen is an over-rated and/or over-hyped film. From a personal standpoint, like others, I’ve grown sick of seeing Frozen everywhere because of how frequently it’s referenced, whether on the radio, on the tv screen, or otherwise. Not only that but sometimes the story and characters can drag. Olaf is set-up as a comedy relief character, but I can’t remember a single joke of his that was legitimately hilarious. Kristoff starts off as being likable enough but ends up being just a plot device for Anna’s portion of the story rather than having a memorable character all on his own. There’s one more character I’d like to mention…

*SPOILER SECTION*

The worst out of the cast is Hans. He’s a very cliche villain, as in he only wooed Anna simply to gain power and comfort. He’s a very bare-bones antagonist who isn’t even entertaining as a character, either. I like my characters to have at least a little bit of depth…but with Hans, his motives are childish and very basic, even compared to other Disney villains. In the Lion King, as an example, Scar wants to become the head of the family and have all the power. However, it’s at least made clear to us that there’s family tension within the lion pride. This makes Scar’s motivations more sensical and deep. Hans’ motives aren’t properly explained nor shown well in Frozen. He’s seriously frustrating as a villain because of how he’s a basic bore.

*SPOILERS END*

Overall, the story itself is interesting at least. The storytelling ability is pretty competent for a kid-friendly film. However, I found most of the main cast to be unlikable overall, and the over-saturation of Frozen within our culture just makes me want to re-watch it even less in the future.

Why is this film so popular again? It’s probably due to the soundtrack, and only the soundtrack. The songs may be over-played, but they’re very catchy and memorable. With how Disney went all out to make Frozen’s soundtrack one of the most played movie soundtracks in the current decade, it makes sense as to how people are immersed within this film and love it so much.

 

Final verdict:

This film does have positives, and I think the story can be pretty interesting and the morals of family love to be a good message as well. The aesthetics are all beautiful as well. However, with the cast of characters being a mixed bag at best, it took out the immersion for me and left me thinking that it’s a film that’s over-hyped. Elsa’s got good development but she’s hard to like at first. Anna’s likable enough but isn’t as deep as Elsa. The other three main characters are much harder to like if you aren’t a kid. Frozen falls into my middle tier concerning my rating hierarchy. It has positives, and there are certainly likable portions for most people. However, I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it again, mainly due to how frustrated I was with most of the main characters (especially Hans). It’s good enough, but not brilliant.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frozen_(2013_film)

https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/12/4/16709884/olafs-frozen-adventure-coco-disney-pixar-explained

 

Total Drama follow-up: Shock and awe

Hey everyone, welcome back to the Media Dome.

Considering I recently blogged about how I used to love the Total Drama series and it’s fall from grace, I figured that now would be as good of a time as ever to discuss a recent announcement about the franchise: the new season will be titled “Total Drama Daycare”, in which all of the teenaged characters are de-aged to 4 years old, and the setting is a daycare…yep, you heard right. Now before you read this post, I would HIGHLY recommend that you read my previous post discussing the Total Drama series. It’s a must-read, for context’s sake: https://animedome216.wordpress.com/

Total Drama Daycare is a thing that exists and will be a non-canonical entry to the franchise. This ties in with my previous post because not only did I discuss the entirety of Total Drama, but it also just reinforces how the series has jumped the shark, and I’m not optimistic at all of it once again finding its original charm and footing.

At the same time though, I don’t want to write off this series completely even before it airs. There are a couple positives I see so far, after all. The “cuteness” factor is at least somewhat appealing, albeit odd and out of the blue. Many of the fan favorites from the original seasons return for this season, just…many years younger. Heck, the writing could even be good this time, even though that’s left to be determined.

Basically, what I am trying to say is: while this concept feels awkward at first and could very well miss, it could still end up being good. While Pahkitew Island and Ridonculous Race don’t recapture the writing and magic of the first few seasons in general, they still had decent enough writing to be watchable all the way through. There’s still a little potential yet for this franchise to deliver something worthwhile. At the same time though, I can’t help but feel unfortunately pessimistic. Revenge of the Island wasn’t that good of a season, and All-Stars totally bombed. Viewership has gone down because neither of those seasons were good, and even still the franchise hasn’t been able to regain “greatness” status, to put it into coarse words. The writing quality has been declining, the seasons have lost some charm, and it’s just gotten worse as a franchise all around. However, the target audience is also something that I’m worried about as well. With the TD franchise, they’ve always had a target audience of teens and young adults, but with the main characters being de-aged to preschool levels…that leaves me skeptical concerning the traditional target audience for this franchise.

The silver lining is that if this season does do poorly, then fans can rest easy in that the season is non-canon, since in season 1 (TDI) all of the characters were meeting for the first time. Logically speaking, based on the timeline, this would mean that TDD would have to be non-canon…unless the writers decide to make the timeline and canon confusing. Either way, it would be nice to see the TD franchise get back on its feet, but we’ll see how this season folds out.

 

References:

http://kidscreen.com/2017/12/19/cn-teletoon-open-up-total-drama-daycare/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_Drama

Total Drama: A Tragic Fall from Grace

Hello all, and welcome back to the Media Dome. Today I’m going to be taking a look at a certain cartoon franchise as a whole…and a couple specific seasons in particular. Today I’ll be discussing the Total Drama franchise as a whole, with taking special attention to seasons 1 and 5.

 

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The cast for all-stars…aka the worst season.

Synopsis:

The Total Drama franchise serves as a series of seven seasons that parodies reality television as a whole, with the strongest references relating to Survivor. Total Drama is a cartoon series in which teenaged characters that embody adolescent stereotypes compete on a reality tv game show in order to attempt to win the one million dollar prize. While drama (obviously) and character development does have a focus, much of the series is spent satirizing and poking fun at the standard reality television tropes, along with satirizing cliche teenage stereotypes as well. The first season (TDI) premiered in 2007, and with the latest season and semi-spinoff, The Ridonculous Race, airing in 2015. There hasn’t been another season since.

 

Pros and the first season:

If I were to recommend any season to watch, it would certainly be the first season, also called Total Drama Island (TDI). The reason why is because the first season is still fresh on re-watch. The humor is surprisingly clever more often than not, and if you’re a reality tv fan then you’ll most likely enjoy the first season. It satirizes the standard reality tv tropes very well, from the over the top elimination ceremonies to the crazy backstabbing to the dangerous challenges that the producers make…there’s much fun to be had in the first season, especially if you’re a fan of shows like Survivor, Big Brother, or Fear Factor. Along with the positives of the show being cleverly written in its first season, the characters actually get good development. Even with all of them being stereotypes of many different personalities common within adolescents, many of the characters get enough screen time to be relatable enough. Even the queen bee Heather and the punk delinquent Duncan have their likable moments, such as Heather’s snarky, entertaining, villainous confessionals and Duncan secretly having a heart of gold under a cold exterior. This was also at a time when Chris was a likable host. The humor is also mostly clever, and the original Teletoon version isn’t afraid to push the envelope and inserts some raunchy yet die-hard funny humor from time to time. If you’re looking for a 26 episode parody of one of the more controversial television genres in existence, Total Drama Island is definitely for you.

The first season would probably get an A rank from me. It only falls short from a perfect S rank because a couple characters lack development, and one of the main characters (Owen) can get really grating if you are an older teen or a young adult viewing the show. Most of the other seasons in the franchise have their great moments as well, even though I consider TDI to be the best of the seven seasons. However, even with season 6 (Pahkitew Island) and the season 7 semi-spinoff (Ridonculous Race) getting good reviews from critics, the show has had longer hiatuses between seasons 4-7 (or 4-the spinoff. All-Stars and Pahkitew Island is sometimes blended into a single 5th season). Viewership has also decreased over time, and the fanbase has seemed to be dwindling for a while. While one major reason is that the hiatuses the show has taken are probably to blame, I believe there is a second major reason why the show has really taken a dive and is not nearly as popular or easy to follow as it once was: ALL-STARS.

The con:

The fifth season of this show (All-Stars) is some of the worst television I have ever witnessed and it is by far the WORST season in the Total Drama franchise. If you decide to watch the franchise starting with season 1, all of the seasons range from watchable to great except season 5. Season 5, or All-Stars, is a trashy season and I seriously hate how it was handled. Many of the characters feel off as they lose some of their character development from previous seasons. Some characters don’t change at all (like Sierra). Mike, Zoey, and Cameron become frustrating to like because the main character trait of Mike is DISRESPECTED and terribly written in All-Stars, to the point where the terrible writing, in turn, disrespects the psyche that Mike possesses which *SPOILER ALERT* is Multiple Personality Disorder. The writing completely disrespects a real psychological disorder in how they portray Multiple Personality Disorder in All-Stars, which makes Mike much easier to hate in All-Stars, when he was easier to like in his first season appearance, season 4.

*SPOILERS END*

Continuing on with the terrible character development, Cameron and Zoey become clueless, ignorant people that have no clue what Mike is going through during the season despite being his closest friends. Lindsey and Lightning barely get any focus. Courtney isn’t as likable as she is in earlier seasons. Duncan is good enough but with this season being his 4th appearance and being the only character that is never an extremely early boot, his character gets tiring after a while. Heather is decent but isn’t what she used to be. The only characters that I believe are well handled in All-Stars are Gwen, Scott, and Alejandro. That’s 3/14 good characters, with the other 11 on the All-Stars season being just passable or outright awful. What a record (gag me).

The script is terribly written in All-Stars, the humor isn’t as funny as what it used to be, the character development is disjointed (ex: the chef and Duncan have had a rivalry for a couple years and despise each other. Yet, in All-Stars, chef complements him and gains positive opinions of him within one single episode. There’s no consistency here. It’s like the canon was forgotten about when this season was made), and the worst part is that the season gets worse over time. Yes, Total Drama All-Stars gets worse over time. While the storytelling isn’t as bad as what it could be during the first half of the season, it’s still lacking in the charm that early seasons have. Then, once the merge happens at the halfway mark when a major plot twist occurs between season 1 original Duncan, and season 4 originals Mike and Zoey. Once the merge episode happens, all of the goodness left in the writing (which wasn’t much to begin with) is thrown out the window and the season falls into absolute garbage.

TD All-Stars is NOT a kind of season that is “so bad it’s good”. Rather, TD All-Stars is just plain terrible and cringe. They execute almost every single little thing poorly in this season, so I have to give All-Stars a D for Dreadful rank. I hold this season partially responsible for harming the TD series permanently, and it is one of the worst stretches of television I have ever seen.

Hopefully, when season 8 is released (if it ever is), the series will break out of irrelevancy for good. However, even with seasons 6 and the Ridonculous Race being generally well-received, it hasn’t broken out of obscurity yet. It’s a shame.

Final Verdict:

This is a fun show most of the time, but you should seriously skip All-Stars under all circumstances. If I were to recommend seasons to watch, I would recommend seasons 1-3 (Total Drama Island, Total Drama Action, and Total Drama World Tour), and the Ridonculous Race as well. Revenge of the Island (season 4) is passable but is still pretty average. Season 6 (Pahkitew Island) is overall good but is only 13 episodes and the characters are less memorable, even with a much stronger storyline and better writing among the episodes.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_Drama

 

Movie review and retrospective: Suicide Squad

 

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Ironically, Joker had the smallest role of the main characters yet he’s in the center of this poster. Wasted potential, unfortunately.

Hello again, everyone. Welcome back to the Media Dome. Today, we’re going to delve into the movie section of pop culture again and look at one of the most divisive movies I’ve ever seen: Suicide Squad.

Suicide Squad is a case study of the division between critics and fans and how opinions on media can be very drastic and stir up some juicy controversy. Despite having a terrible score of 26/100 on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, the general audience seemed to enjoy it for the most part, since the general audience score sits at a passable, good enough score of 61/100. What is the reason for this split between the critics and fans, and what’s my opinion on the movie? Also, how is it still semi-relevant despite it being over a year old and plenty of movies coming out since this film’s release? This blog will do its best to answer those questions. Now, let’s get right into it:

 

 

Synopsis:

After the tragic death of Superman, an intelligence officer called Amanda Walker becomes troubled by possible danger in the future and decides to enlist some of the most infamous supervillains in the greater metropolitan area in order to act as disposable units against greater threats. While this suicide mission squad is gathered, an evil witch known as Enchantress comes into the world in order to wreak havoc on the earth. In the end, it’s up to the group of villains to take down the greater evil and save the city.

 

 

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The Joker and Harley Quinn set up to be the definitive duo of the film.

 

Pros and Cons: 

I remember watching this film with many of my college friends last year, and if I have to say a single point before I dive into specifics: this is a mindless movie that is best watched with friends and loved ones that are enthusiasts of action movies, superhero movies, and can overlook sloppy storytelling. Suicide Squad is definitely good for mindless fun, but if you’re looking for a film that has cohesive, incredible storytelling…you’re best off looking elsewhere.

Suicide Squad is a movie that had many good ideas in place and does a couple things correctly, but also does so many things wrong that the movie left me with wanting more. The core main positives revolve around the appeal from the aesthetics and the acting. For the most part, the acting is done pretty well in this film. Jai Courtney was surprisingly enjoyable as Captain Boomerang, Will Smith can still feel raw and “real” when acting intense emotions and Margot Robbie was PERFECT as Harley Quinn. I think Robbie was the best actor in the entire movie by a longshot. Her portrayal as Harley Quinn felt faithful to the original comic book material, while she was also able to unleash Harley’s insane personality with care and excellence. The only person who I believe didn’t do a nice job of playing his or her role was Jared Leto as the Joker. While he wasn’t as terrible as what many of my peers believe, I still think that plenty of Jokers in the past can capture the Joker’s personality better.  The aesthetics were also nicely done, as the makeup jobs for all of the characters were incredible, and I was legitimately entertained by the action scenes in the movie.

Certain characters received decent character development as well, with El Diablo, Deadshot, and Harley Quinn having notable backstories. However…when I begin to talk about the characters, that’s when the flaws of the movie begin to appear.

The main cast for the film was too big, simply put. With how rapidly they introduced characters and tried to fit in a ton of backstory and exposition into one film, it felt awkward. Exposition dumping in cinema isn’t a smart move because it’s much less likely that the audience resonates with or empathizes with the character in question. When the introductions were done for the cast in this movie, with half of them I was just sitting there thinking “ok so they did a thing and this is the aftermath of it…alright.” Exposition dumping is telling information about a random character we just met without putting any heart into showing why we should feel for the character. The exposition dump in this movie, like so many exposition moments before, breaks the rule of “show, don’t tell” by telling us bits and pieces of information about a large cast of characters that’s hard to follow at first. Harley, Deadshot, and El Diablo are all good characters, especially Harley. However, does anyone remember Killer Croc, Katana, or Rick Flag? I had to look up Rick Flag’s name to remember who the character was, for pete’s sake. Out of the entire main cast, the only ones who developed well were the ones with the best backstories: Harley, El Diablo, and Deadshot. Every other character ranged from “good enough” to “useless and felt shoe-horned in.” Overall, half of the main characters I liked, while the other half I was left feeling disappointed.

With the storytelling quality, it doesn’t help that the exposition aids in the effect of causing the first half of the film to look like a jumbled mess. The bombardment of backstories in the first half can leave a viewer bewildered, and it doesn’t help that Amanda Walker’s character doesn’t think with common sense. If she was so scared as to potential threats that could occur to the city, why not hire heroes instead of villains? With heroes, at least you can trust them because that’s what they do: they save and protect. Walker hiring villains like Harley Quinn make no sense, so the premise of this film is quite silly. So, the first half of the film is pretty confusing. The second half of the film gets better and is more cohesive, but still left me with wanting more. The bar scene was at least well-written, as the different characters come together and are discussing their differences and woes. Some good character development is to be had in the bar scene close to the end of the film. However, the first half just left me with an odd feeling of awkwardness after viewing.

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Cultural impact: 

With the characters being overall average and the storytelling ability being shoddy, this film was heavily criticized by critics. However, the general audience still enjoyed it. Why is that? Well, I believe that it comes down to two things: a crazy yet interesting premise and nostalgia. It grossed nearly 750 million dollars, and it’s a testament to the DC comic fanbase. With how popular DC comics are, I think that the raw joy of seeing your favorite comic book characters come to life on screen, coupled with focusing on the villains rather than the heroes, isn’t just good for a cash grab from a director and box office but also is neat for the viewers. It’s not often in media where we get to follow the villains rather than the heroes of any given universe, so the premise of the movie is enticing as well because it’s different. With those core pieces, it still did well at the box office and also has enough positive aspects to keep many of the viewers entertained enough.

Is it still a good film overall? Well…

 

Final Verdict: 

My opinion is no, Suicide Squad isn’t a good film overall. While the acting is pretty good overall and the aesthetics are appetizing (at least for me, especially when considering the makeup quality), half of the characters are significantly poorly written and the story is not cohesive at all. It can be a great experience to watch with other DC fans or your friends if you’re looking for a simple, turn-your-brain-off action movie. However, this film isn’t a masterpiece. Suicide Squad ends up in the B tier, due to being about equal in strengths and weaknesses.

 

Sources:

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/suicide_squad_2016/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_Squad_(film)

Why I love hockey

 

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A hockey game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals during the 2016-17 NHL season.

 

In addition to watching different anime, cartoons, and movies, I have a fondness for certain sports. With being a sports fan, some sports will grab my attention better than others. Major League Baseball is the kind of sport that is normally slow in the modern era. American Football has become a hotrod of controversy, not only due to how the game has become slower in the past few years but also due to the entrance of strong political controversy during this current NFL season. NBA Basketball can be pretty fun to watch, but during the playoffs, it becomes harder to appreciate for some people due to how the infamously dubbed “superteams” always seem to clutch it out and win. However, hockey is a different beast for me. While all of the other sports have one major component that keeps me from becoming a die-hard fan of that sport, hockey is different because there’s so much to appreciate about the sport for me. The National Hockey League (NHL) may not be perfect, but out of the four major North American sports, hockey is definitely my favorite by far. Here are a few reasons why I believe that it’s the best sport of the four major sports in the United States and Canada:

  1. Good competitive balance: Becoming a dynasty in the NHL is harder than ever, and even the reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins have some tough competition when compared to the other 30 existing teams. There are only 6 out of 31 teams that have a losing record right now: the Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal Canadiens, Florida Panthers, Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers, and Arizona Coyotes. Along with that, the Flyers play in a very tough division which gives them one excuse for being mediocre so far. It also helps that, unlike other sports, if a team loses during overtime they still gain one standings point. This gives underdog teams a greater chance of making it into the playoffs. In other sports, you’ll have many other teams with losing records and thus have no chance of winning anything in the post-season, if they even make it in. With hockey, on the other hand, so many teams are competitive and have a chance of making the playoffs, and then still more than only a couple teams have a chance of winning the Stanley Cup championship. Seeing more teams compete is more fun. It keeps things diverse and interesting in this league. When you compare NHL hockey to a sport like baseball, one will notice that only 12 out of 30 teams in the MLB had a record better than .500% in wins. Even after that, only 10 of those 12 made the playoffs.
  2. The sport is as cool as ice: puns aside, I love how the sport is played on an ice skating rink. Ice hockey doesn’t involve your average field or court like other sports. Rather, the players have to try and get the puck into the back of the opposing net while skating at varying speeds. With seeing how different the sport is from others based on the skating and having an ice rink, it’s nice to see something different.
  3. Incredible skill: speaking of skating on ice, playing hockey is one of the toughest sports to play. This was tested by ESPN’s page 2 as well, being ranked as the 2nd hardest major sport in existence, being beaten only by Boxing. With how the different athletes need to move the puck intricately in-between players while still be physical enough to withstand body checking and also having to be a great skater, coupling all of those together is really tough. Also, let’s not forget how tough the goalie’s job is, especially when there’s a puck flying right at your face. This sport is not only physical but requires much skill and an ability to multi-task within the context of hockey.
  4. Fast pace: hockey is certainly the fastest sport out of the four major sports. The players have to move constantly and you need to keep your eyes on the small puck in order to keep up with the game. The shooting of the puck is fast, as are the players. It also helps that the commercials are short, so you get a ton of game time. The first commercial break is normally 7 minutes into the first period of the game, with the next break coming after another 4 minutes, and then a final break soon before the end of the period. After that, there’s an intermission report and then two more periods of play with a similar format. Not only do you know when commercials are coming, but each commercial break on average lasts only 2 or so minutes. It’s different with the other major sports, whether it’s the game itself being too slow or having too many commercial breaks. NBA can be fast and thus fun but there are times when commercial breaks can be too frequent, depending on the time of the game. The MLB is worse, with having a commercial break at every half inning (and there are 9 innings unless the game goes into overtime) and whenever a pitcher is swapped out. That’s a ton more commercials than necessary for a lot of people. However, commercials are at their worst in the NFL: change of possession, a scoring play, and kicking it back to the other team ALWAYS results in a commercial break. It’s a never-ending cycle. Not only that, but commercials aside the NFL has many replays shown which lessens the time of actual gameplay. The NBA’s foul shot portions can be slower, and the MLB’s game is naturally slow because of how much of the game is a duel between the pitcher and the batter. With hockey, the sport lacks those “slowness” weaknesses. It’s similar to soccer in that regard; nearly non-stop, epic action.
  5. History and rivalries: it’s frustrating to hear people write off hockey as being underwhelming when it has a thrilling history and plenty of incredible sports rivalries. The most intense rivalry in the entire sport, in my opinion, and in others’ opinions, is the Montreal Canadiens vs. the Boston Bruins. They have an intensity like no other: Montreal is the oldest Candian team, while Boston is the oldest American team. It’s America vs. Canada, and the Montreal team is known for strong talent, especially when concerning the goalies. On the other hand, Boston is known for having a gritty offense. They’ve had so many legendary matchups in both the playoffs and regular season, made all the more intense with fights as well. There are plenty of other great hockey rivalries as well. The Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs is the oldest rivalry in the league. The battle for Pennsylvania between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers is normally intense as well. The Detroit Red Wings, Colorado Avalanche, and the Chicago Blackhawks all have a rivalry going as well amongst themselves. Another good example of an intense rivalry is a three-way rivalry in California between the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, and LA Kings. One wouldn’t expect hockey to be so popular in California, but the state has three teams, and all of them tend to get pretty decent attendance. This is evidenced by how none of the Californian teams are in the bottom 5 for attendance. This reigns especially true for the LA Kings, who have a 100% seat fill so far in the 2017-18 season. There’s something exciting and special to watch when seeing two franchises duke it out on the rink, especially if their history and rivalry is well-established.

Right now the only thing I’m not a fan of concerning the NHL is how the reffing has been weak lately. It seems like there are a few bad calls made in multiple games, and it doesn’t help that when reviewing plays refs will often look at the replay on a tiny iPad screen, rather than a larger screen to easily see the picture. While the problem isn’t terribly frequent relative to the grand history of the NHL, it has been a problem this season in particular. Hopefully, the situation gets better sooner rather than later.

Other than that, I love the NHL and hockey. It’s a fun, fast-paced sport, there are 31 teams to root for and not that many of them are truly bad, once you adjust your eyes to follow the small puck it becomes envigorating and requires investment, but it’s truly worth it. It also helps if your friends are hockey fans as well.

Until next time, I’ll see you all later and #GoLeafsGo

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_hockey

https://www.nhl.com/standings

http://www.espn.com/mlb/standings

http://www.espn.com/espn/page2/sportSkills

Total Pro Sports: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TutJTKswUcs

NHL Network

http://www.espn.com/nhl/attendance/_/sort/homePct

Final change of direction

Hello everyone, I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving.

I’ve been thinking about this blog for a while, and since pop culture, in general, is something I love, I’ve decided to open it up more to writing whatever I’d like to talk about on any given day about pop culture in general, without a strong set schedule. This will help me out for a few reasons: 1.) I’ll be more relaxed when I write because I’m writing what I’d like to write about, 2.) a more variable, open-ended schedule will work better with my college life, and 3.) it continues to keep me open and involved with discussing many different areas of pop culture and reviewing them, whether it’s anime, movies, television, video games, or sports. I hope this will be fun for you all but also for me, especially since when I feel like writing and I’m able to write it can be a great stress reliever for me.

Take care.

Indefinite break

Hi friends. I hope you all are well.

I’ll spit it out because it’s getting late and I’m sleepy: I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to upload more reviews. Not only do I desire to continue to have much focus on schoolwork, but I don’t have passion for doing reviews right now. I need to take time away to focus on schoolwork and not worry about writing for you all, nor worry about my passion for writing (or lack thereof at this time). I want time to take a break, so when I do get back to writing I can write more quality reviews and other posts. Besides, I’ve been considering writing in a more freestyle way, in which I talk about whatever I want whenever, rather than having a rigid review schedule.

I hope to write again soon, and I hope you all understand. Have a nice evening.

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Image result for dark knight rises

Hello everyone. College has been keeping me pretty busy, so I thank you all for your patience over this past month concerning the lack of reviews. I would love to write more frequently, but since college exists I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like to. Hopefully I can figure out a schedule soon so I can write more! Anyway, here we are with the final movie in this Batman trilogy saga: The Dark Knight Rises. Let’s take a look:

*potential spoiler warning*

Synopsis: 

It has been approximately 8 years since Batman disappeared from the city of Gotham. Even though the Harvey Dent act has turned Gotham into a relatively clean city, Bruce Wayne still is struck by the crime of the past committed by the Joker and other infamous criminals, and is still mourning the loss of his best friend Rachel. However, when mysterious villain Bane and a rogue woman known as Catwoman appear on the scene, Bruce Wayne re-emerges as Batman in order to stop the crime in the city once more, and restore peace to his home of Gotham.

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The characters: 

Similar to previous films of the trilogy, Batman/Bruce Wayne is still very much an entertaining character to watch. This film continues to make the character interesting and entertaining at the same time. Bruce Wayne starts as a brilliant yet inexperienced hero in the first film, then becomes a jaded man in the second film, and in this one we get to see how Bruce Wayne copes with his new life without crime to fight AND without Rachel, which makes him deeper and more relatable. The other characters of the film all fulfill their purpose pretty nicely, overall. While none of the characters that aren’t named Batman aren’t overly deep or complex or as interesting as Batman, all of the different characters still fulfill their purpose. Catwoman is a character, for example, that isn’t as intriguing as Bruce Wayne as far as character development is concerned, but she’s still fun to watch because of how she plays off Bruce Wayne’s intentions and persona. Both of them aren’t exactly with the police force, but our main hero fights for justice and good, while Catwoman is out for herself. Yet, they are both masked beings shrouded in mystery and contrary goals. They are two sides of the same coin, in a sense.

Although, I don’t believe the character quality is as strong as the previous movies. While Batman is still great (and Christian Bale is a brilliant actor), the characters don’t have the same spark as Batman Begins or Dark Knight. More importantly, the main villain is really hard to appreciate, in my opinion. It can be hard to tell what Bane (actor: Tom Hardy) is saying in this film half the time, and Bane doesn’t have nearly as complex of a personality as the first movie’s villain nor the Joker in Dark Knight. The supporting cast is still fine, but doesn’t have the spark that the previous casts had.

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The story:

The story quality is overall strong in this film, as it wraps up this brilliant trilogy rather nicely. While the story pacing is a bit slow at times and the climax isn’t as resonate as the climaxes from the previous films in Nolan’s Batman trilogy, the story in this one gets the job done anyway. Seeing Bruce Wayne’s struggle with the life that he now lives in, and the whole fight with Bane and how Bruce eventually sacrifices himself in order to save Gotham…it’s a good ending to an even better story. But, there were some parts of the film that I think could’ve been much shorter. Some scenes dragged on for a bit too long, and Dark Knight Rises doesn’t have that perfectly balanced story pacing of the previous film. Unlike the last film, there were moments when I became bored and wanted to skip ahead to see the next scene.

Aesthetics:

The aesthetics for the film are still pretty strong, compared to the previous films in the trilogy. The best aspect of the aesthetics in this film is probably the camera work, as many of the shots are brilliantly done and are memorable. The Batman vs. Bane fight scenes and Bane’s speech in the football stadium stand out to me, personally, as scenes that have stunning camera work. The acting was still high in quality in this film, but perhaps not as strong as past films (especially since Heath Ledger’s Joker is perfect in a few regards). Makeup worked seemed pretty strong to me, but for the overall look of the film, nothing can match the beautify of the shot angles.

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Final Verdict:

The Dark Knight Rises is an overall good ending to the Nolan Batman trilogy. It isn’t without its bumps in the road and could be argued as the weakest film of the three. However, there is still much fun to be had and it’s still wonderfully produced. I just think that other films can top it in charm and overall quality. This movie gets a score of A.

Well, that brings the Nolan Batman trilogy review saga to a close! Soon enough, I will review another movie trilogy, and other miscellaneous movies as well. I will also be branching out into games, cartoons, and potentially other pop culture topics as well on this blog, so I hope you all enjoy that when the time comes 🙂 Until next time, see you all later.

Update

Hello everyone. Quick update post for now.

I know I haven’t posted in a while, and I apologize for that. I’ve been busy with college, college preparation, and work as well. Since college has begun, I’ve spent much less time writing and doing anything of leisure. I’ll do my best to write when I can and release more reviews for you all.