Thanos and Elon Musk

[Spoilers for Infinity War]

So, you might recall the news story from the past few weeks about those Thai boys stuck in a cave. The world watched as qualified professionals led a dangerous mission to rescue them. Tragically one of the divers lost his life. However, all twelve boys managed to get out alive. What a heartwarming story! Then Elon Musk. Musk began to insert himself in the news story by building a submarine that no-one asked him to build and travelling to the already-crowded rescue site. Now, you might be thinking that there’s nothing wrong with a wealthy individual using their money to try and help. Sure, if that were the end of the story Musk would come out of this smelling no worse than he did before. Oh. Oh no. Following some comments made on social media, Musk has taken a Twitter-sized beating. Now, how does this relate to the menacing villain of Infinity War, Space Grimace?


The Benefit of Writing in an Established Universe

So, this past week I’ve been writing up elements of the world that I run D&D in. Now in my campaign, I have three players new to the world of D&D and one player who has been running his own games of D&D for ten years. Often, I will add elements of the lore of D&D into my world. When these elements are discussed, there is a back-and-forth about how they are typically portrayed in the canon of the lore and where my world differs. While writing up the deities of my world, I’ve thought more about where the stories that have been told about the gods differ. So, that’s a fun writing topic, what are the benefits of writing in an established universe?


Should You Remake a Movie?

So recently there has been a small and vocal group who are dedicated to remaking the Last Jedi. Attempting to remake a movie that was a success at the box office by professionals from one of the richest studios with crowdfunded money and fan support, not even a year after the film was released, does shine a light on the absurdity of remakes. Remakes are often lambasted when they are announced. Why remake something that is already great? More importantly, what is the purpose of a remake?


How to Build a Jurassic Park

So recently there was a new Jurassic Park movie. This piece isn’t about that. This is about the tie-in game: Jurassic World Evolution. Jurassic World Evolution is a Jurassic Park theme park builder game. Those of you who have been around a while may remember that I’ve expressed my fondness for Jurassic Park Operation Genesis in the past. That game was also a Jurassic Park builder. While I am enjoying the new game, I do have some issues that I’ll explain by comparing the older game and the newer game. Hopefully, the developers of Jurassic World Evolution have plans to expand on the game and address some of the critiques of its shallow aspects. In that regard, this comparison might point them in the right direction.


Hail Scorpius!

The interview began normally enough. A full-time job as a personal assistant. As it was explained to her, the person she would be assisting was a successful businessman who needed someone to organise his life so that he could focus on the content of his discussions. The job paid well and came with some great travel options. This businessman was often meeting with foreign governments and the like. Things began to get strange when he entered the interview room. His name was Armando Scorpius and he spoke with an accent that she couldn’t quite place. It was eastern European but beyond that, it was impossible to tell. He sat next to the man conducting the interview. Scorpius dressed in an immaculate white suit. He had a strong jawline and tightly groomed grey hair. His most notable feature, however, was a deep crimson birthmark that curled out from his shirt cuff and swirled like a tentacle onto his right cheek. The man conducting the interview began to talk about the great health care plan. Then Scorpius cleared his throat. The room was quiet except for his voice.

‘No fraternising on company time,’ he told her authoritatively.


Revisiting Iron Man 2

So last week I had a look at the first Iron Man film. For me, the thing that surprised me the most about the first film of the MCU is how interesting it’s geopolitics were. 2008 seemed like an epoch ago in the grand scheme of history. It seems that our news focus has shifted from Afghanistan, the country in the first Iron Man, to Syria. Now instead let’s turn our focus to the second Iron Man film. Iron Man 2 is not so well liked amongst Marvel movies, but like most of them (bar the dour Incredible Hulk and Thor: The Dark World) it is supremely watchable. The cast work wonders in that regard. Downey is magnetic. Cheadle, Johansson, and Jackson give enjoyable performances in their role. Sam Rockwell is having too much fun as Justin Hammer. So, let’s look at the movements and the plot of Iron Man 2 and reflect on where we’ve been and what that means for our current moment in time.


Revisiting Iron Man

So, with Infinity War coming out just last week I decided to rewatch most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. A look back at where the universe has been and where it is now. Now, when I rewatched these films I skipped 2008’s Incredible Hulk, which meant that my marathon began with the first two Iron Man films. An interesting beginning. I’ve never been Tony Stark’s biggest fan. I’m more of a Captain America guy. Looking back at the first Iron Man films is interesting because those films begin with Stark embroiled in the military-industrial complex. Now, Tony Stark may have transitioned away from that model into being a futurist, but his solo films are all about corporate power struggles and the next big weapon.


Batman is Boring … for Now

Look, I hypothetically like the idea of Batman. You’ve seen the title. Over the past decade, Batman has become the patron saint of white male internet geekiness. That’s why I feel I have to jump on the defensive. I like Batman, I do. Just, he’s boring right now. Batman has stagnated since he was re-invigorated for the mass audience by Burton. The Batman of Keaton is only marginally different from the Batman of Affleck, or even the Batman of Bale. For twenty-nine years, Batman has remained a brooding, black-clad, boring bastion of a male power fantasy.


Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame and the Madonna-Whore Complex

I’m a big fan of Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame. Look, there are plenty of reasons to not gel with this film. It has weird tonal problems, the villain wants to commit genocide and feels weird about his boner, it’s an adaptation of a French novel that seems largely concerned with architecture over people. In my younger years, I was certainly more of a Lion King fan but as I entered adolescence my tastes changed. Hunchback was now the film for me. There is a lot to like thematically in Hunchback of Notre Dame, and themes tend to pull me in. The tyranny of godly men, the oppression of minorities, don’t judge a book by its cover, and so on. When I was an angst-ridden teen, convinced that I was an un-loveable monstrosity, that last theme appealed a lot. Now that I’m older, there’s another theme that grabs me. How do the men of Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame view and objectify Esmeralda?


Harry Potter’s Epilogue Doesn’t Feel Right

Alright! Welcome to 2018. Now, time to talk about a book that came out eleven years ago and a movie that came out eight years ago. Now, in case you missed the whole thing I am going to spoil the series as a whole. So, let’s recap. Harry Potter is the story of a racist dictator, obsessed with immortality who was defeated by a teenager. Voldermort’s belief system is based on a belief that only ‘pure-blood’ wizards are true wizards and that ‘mudbloods’ are dirty pretenders and usurpers. This, despite the fact that he’s a Muggle-born wizard himself. That little hypocrisy is part of the theming used within the series. Overall, JK Rowling is very wise with her theming. There is a general throughline in the text about respect for those are downtrodden and discriminated against. Racism is bad! Yay! Only the worst of the worst people would utterly disagree with that sentiment.

However, I believe that there’s another aspect of Harry Potter that falls by the wayside a bit. Now, before I talk about my issues with the epilogue of Harry Potter, first I’m going to talk about S.P.E.W. (more…)