March 30, 2015

Shadowcon Reviews- Project Predacon

Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime Season 3, episode 5, “Project Predacon”

Hi! It’s been like six months since I’ve done a Prime review, and the gap hasn’t been helped by the fact that the show was recently taken off of Netflix for god knows what reason. But, I’ve managed to get my Season Three DVD here with me, so that problem’s rectified now! Yay!

Season Three is probably Prime at its most consistent. Unlike Season Two, which had a weird habit of fluctuating between awesome and piss awful, this season has a good stretch of solid if relatively unremarkable episodes before closing with a bang. The relic hunt formula is back, but as I’ve mentioned previously, this season tries to switch things up and actually make the show more about the characters than about the plot. It succeeds to varying degrees, and this episode offers our first look at how this season attempts to redo its relic hunt from Season Two.

March 22, 2015

Shadowcon Mini-Views- Big Hero 6

So, this is a film that I had heard a lot about but didn't actually watch when it first came out because I didn't think it looked all that good. It seemed to me that Marvel and Disney were making a film simply for the sake of making one, and the whole thing didn't seem very interesting to me.

I tell ya, I haven't been this surprised by a movie since I saw The Lego Movie back in October, and it seems that my streak of seeing 2014 movies that would have made my Top 10 list of that year's best films after I released it is alive and well, because boy howdy, does this one fit that bill perfectly! Big Hero 6 follows Hiro Hamada and his robot sidekick Baymax as they team up with a group of college students to take down a supervillain after Hiro's brother perishes in a fire.. It's strait-forward with a few admittedly sharp reveals out of left field (I thought Callaghan's daughter was introduced just a bit too late to give motivation for the villain in particular), but as with any good Disney film, the emotional pull is here in spades to pull you through any minor hiccups in the plot, and there's plenty of fun to be had throughout the movie besides. 

Taking a page from The Iron Giant, seeing Hiro teach Byamax about humanity, specifically emotional care, is both sweetly amusing and really touching. I particularly loved when Hiro has to sneak Baymax into his own house without his aunt noticing- very Iron Giant there. Baymax himself is adorable in his naïveté, and his development throughout the movie from huggable plain robot to badass superhero with a big heart is one that is so enjoyable to watch.

Hiro's journey is the thing that really strikes you where you feel, and this really surprised me given that this is a Disney movie, because Hiro is not only dealing with the loss of his brother and grieving for him, but this movie also takes a rather dark theme of revenge and not only has the bearings to plasters that onto the protagonist, but its level of depth into the subject of grief and what that can do to a person, especially a teenager, is handled and presented beautifully. It reminded me a lot of Finding Nemo actually, just in how the film handles its dark concepts... yet never manages to become macabre or dour because of them. Indeed, Baymax and Hiro's friends provide a great balance of pathos and light-hearted antics to balance things out; it never becomes depressing, but it's still incredibly touching nonetheless.

The scene in the middle of the film after Hiro and Baymax have their second fight with Callaghan and escape, where Hiro becomes increasingly more frustrated and agitated just had me weeping because the tension quietly built up alongside Hiro's mounting grief; it was simply beautiful and super touching. The theme of grief and love and friendship is something that has rarely been presented as the central driving theme in a Disney film; sure, that is often the beginning causes of the journey of the hero of the movie, but this film delves into these concepts and explores them in and of themselves, which I find refreshing and important given that this is a kids movie- I liked the tone of this a lot.

But while the movie deals with that, it never forgets itself in terms of fun, and man oh man, is there so much fun in this movie! Rarely is there a moment of action or comedy where I didn't have a huge smile on my face! The animation is of course Disney-gorgeous, and the setting of San Fransokyo (yeah) gives this a great amount of scenery eye-candy! The way the sidekick heroes use their various equipments and gadgets had me on the edge of my seat for most of the film (the character GoGo definitely has the best weapons to me, though she borders on SFC-status more often than not, I'm sad to say). They work great as a unit, though there's not much character to them as individuals. That's not really a negative considering the film's run time and its excellent exploration of its themes, but it is worth noting that this is not an ensemble film. The team surrounding Hiro is mainly there for laughs, and they succeed quite well at that! The chase and fight scenes are just absolutely stunning, and considering how over-saturated the film industry is right now with superhero movies, I give the creative team and animators a lot of credit for keeping things fresh and unique for this outing.

Given that this is a Marvel property, I was also pleasantly surprised at how non-superhero-ish this movie felt. Oh sure, there are definite nods to Iron Man, The Avengers, and the aforementioned Iron Giant (if you count that as a superhero flick), but this movie has an identity all its own in terms of action, comedy, and especially in terms of the themes that it chooses to explore. Definitely, if you haven't seen this film yet, do so! For me, this ranks as one of Disney's best, and certainly a prime example of how to tell a wonderful superhero story with grace, and most importantly, with a hell of a lot of heart!

March 19, 2015

New Medley Up!!!!

Hey all!

Here's a little something I decided to throw up here after watching The Wrath of Khan again in honor of Leonard Nimoy. I balled my eyes out more than usual after the film was over, and the score really stuck with me this time around (despite having watched this a billion times before this), so I decided i had to write something involving it. So, I give you a piano Star Trek medley, based loosely off of my violin Star Trek medley I did a few years ago, but with added stuff because this is piano, and I actually know what I'm doing now, so there's that! Anyway, have a listen if you want, leave a comment, and let me know what you think!

March 12, 2015

Some Lifelines are Going Away... But That's Okay, I Think

I gotta get better about posting more shit one here! Three months into 2015, I have four posts to show for it!

Anyway, something personal happened to me yesterday, and normally I wouldn't write about that kind of stuff here, but what the hell. It's not really all that big a deal, and it got me thinking about a universal issue: dealing with your flaws.

I lost a pretty close friend yesterday (no one died, don’t worry).We had a small argument that apparently was one too many small arguments for this friend, so they decided to cut ties with me. I’m saddened by this loss, of course, but also hopeful that this will help me grow. And even more than that, I'm more interested in how this friend decided to go about severing ties with me, because it made me think about how we all deal with our own flaws, especially when those flaws are called out by other people. Many of the ones that my friend pointed out about me are ones that I’ve recognized in myself and I’ve tried to correct in past. (Obviously I’ve not done as good a job with that as I otherwise could be doing.) So, why did this hit so close to home for me? It could be because this friend was super close to me, true, but it is more likely that because those flaws were ones that I was trying to correct anyway that it did little good to have them blatantly pointed out.

And that hurts.

It hurts that my friend pointed them out, but I’m also saddened and almost frightened by how on the mark my friend was about a lot of my character flaws. And this got me thinking, how do you deal with your character flaws in the eyes of other people? Do you just let judgement go and live your life? What if you've unintentionally harmed other people (emotionally, physically, psychologically, etc.), how do you attempt to correct that without trivializing the other person? Are you able to stay true to yourself if you attempt to correct or right your flaws, or are they an inherent part of your character? These types of questions just kinda hit me yesterday, and they've been on my mind a good deal in the past few weeks even before this happened.

However, as I said I hope to grow. I’m making some good friends here in college and I still have a few friends back home who I’m still close to too. This experience was a shocking one and it was painful. All I can say is that I hope that my character will be able to grow past these flaws, and that this experience will make me a stronger person.

And to the person with whom I had the argument: I'll just say that I'm sorry that my opinions and tendency to engage in arguments where none exist made you uncomfortable. And I’m sorry that a lack of communication of our thought processes to one another resulted in this ridiculously over the top reaction from you; grow up.

Sorry, that was mean.

Anyway, I’m a bit bitter right now. My other friends are helping me out, and I'm genuinely intrigued as to how all of you deal with these issues. Maybe I'm alone in this, but I don't think so. Let me know what you think in the comments below. I'll try to be better about posting stuff (even if it's just bloggy stuff like this).

March 10, 2015

8 Things I Love About Worm

So, I don't really review web-based material... or normal books for that matter, so this might feel like it's coming from left field, which I guess it is, but I just have to talk about this web serial! As you may or may not have read, I published an article in my school paper about it in February, but being limited to 500 words or so really cut down on what I wanted to say. So I figure now I'd just sit down and hopefully get most of what I want to say out here now, and what better way to do that than in a Top 10 8 post (because I'm lazy and busy with school)!