Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ponyo on the Cliff

Oops. Been a while. You know how it is: school work, knitting, we just got cable. The usual distractions. Anyways, let's just get started.

Ponyo, or the literal title translation Ponyo on the Cliff, is a Hayao Miyazaki movie. You remember when I talked about him, right? Of course you do. Easily my favorite director. Well I have the great pleasure of watching almost all of his movies which didn't include Ponyo until just recently. I just got lazy I guess, or maybe the prospect of reading subtitles sounded too intimidating at the moment. Regardless, I finally watched it.

Ponyo is simply a retelling of The Little Mermaid. Sosuke, a 5-year old boy, finds a goldfish on the shore outside of his house and names it Ponyo. Turns out the goldfish is more then it appears. She is in actuality a Princess, the daughter of a powerful wizard and a sea goddess. Ponyo decides she likes Sosuke and wants to stay with him and become human - to the great displeasure of her father.

The movie was.. cute. I guess. As much as it pains me to admit, I didn't like it too much. The art was so un-Miyazaki like that it threw me for a loop and the story itself was nothing more then cute. I didn't get the heartfelt connection to the characters like I usually get. Past Miyazaki movies all had strong female characters and the movie portrayed a powerful message throughout the movie. Of course the movie had a message - you can't help who you fall in love with and once you find that someone, don't just give it up; however the message felt a little half assed. Sure the message was there, but it felt like it was there more because of convenience then actually wanting the message to be there.

I wished I liked it more, I really do. If it was on TV I'd watch it, but it's not something I'd go looking for.

Note: I feel the need to mention that I didn't prefer the sub over the dub, or vise versa. I had heard that the dub was terrible and only to watch it subbed. Well I watched both and found that I didn't care one way over the other - a heads up for anyone who wants to watch it and isn't sure which one to watch.

Monday, November 7, 2011


I feel vampires shouldn't sparkle. It's a personal preference really, but Twilight just isn't my jam. I don't need my vampires to be old school exactly, just don't make them goofy like sparkling. Which bring me to Moonlight.

Moonlight follows a certain vampire, Mick St. John, who is a private investigator. Usually the cases he takes on are the suspicious sort, ones that usually end up having vampires at the root of its problem. Throughout the entire show he battles with his vampire ex-wife, his general past, trying to not get outed as a vampire to everyone and possibly starting a relationship with a human girl named Beth.

Moonlights vampires aren't affected by garlic and crosses are just a shape to them. Their image can get captured on camera, which they explain by the way cameras take pictures now is very different by hoe camera took pictures in the older days – which makes sense to me. For them, the old myths hold the most stock in silver, stakes, fire and the sun.

They can go in the sun, they don't burst into flames and they certainly don't sparkle. If they stick to the shadows and wear sunglasses, vampires can go outside with some mild irritation. They can even go into direct sunlight for short amounts of time; however any longer and they start to get weaker and weaker until they die.

Stakes don't kill them. Instead it sort of paralyzes them, making them unable to move until someone takes it out. I find that to be an extremely interesting take on it, since most vampire fighting shows put so much faith in a stake to the heart. Although this sort of holds the same idea, if you stake a vampire in the heart you could do anything to them and they can do nothing about it. For them, a stake in the heart could very well result in death.

For silver, its best for everyone if they just don't touch it. It's poison to them. If they touch it, it burns. If it gets in their bloodstream, it basically kills them from the inside. Not pretty.

The only sure fire way to kill these vampires is fire (get it? Sure fire? Fire? Gosh I'm so clever).

Overall I really enjoyed Moonlight. It was disappointingly shot, having gotten canceled after just one season and definitely left me asking for more. I found the characters interesting and the plot even more interesting. The vampires were interestingly portrayed while still getting the idea of vampires out there. If there were more seasons, I'd definitely go out of my way to watch them.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Game of Thrones: From Book to TV

I don't even remember when I first read George R.R. Martins' 'A Song Of Ice And Fire' series - maybe 6 or 7 years ago. It's an intimidating book series. There are currently 5 books - A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, As Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows and A Dance of Dragons - and each book is over 1,000 pages give or take a few hundred, usually on the give side.

It wasn't the first medieval set world book I read and it wasn't the last, but its my favorite. There is so much thought put into all the characters and the world in general that it sometimes leaves me in awe. These aren't just characters you're reading about, its entire familys. At the back of every book there is an appendix where it goes through each major family and gives multiple generations of people as well as who there friends are, who there enimies are, who works for them, a short history of the house, and what their house motto is along with their house sigil. There are around 16 main houses and smaller houses. I can't even wrap my mind around how much thought was put into all of this.

The title of the first book basically explains the entire series - a game of thrones. We start off in a time of peace after a recent change in power. Of course there is the usual royalty shenanigans going on in the background, but then everything changes when the current king dies. The whole Kingdom is thrown into turmoil. The ex-kings spoiled son takes the throne and starts making kingly orders, his thought process ending as 'I want to do that so I will and no one can stop me'. The ex-kings brother claims it is his throne and that the ex-kings son isn't really his son. The ex-kings youngest brother claims it is his throne for no better reason that his older brother wouldn't make a good king. The north wants to split off with their own King of the North and the daughter of the King who was Overthrown is coming back with an army to claim her birthright.

The entire book is from multiple points of views. The chapters range from the Northern folk, to the daughter of the Overthrown King, and to the ex-kings multiple family members. There is no set good or bad side - which I love. Some sides may seem on the evil side, but then you see not everyone on that side is bad and you almost want to route for them to live just for the few good ones. Then the side that seems overly good has some bad blood of its own. It all feels so real and you almost want them all to win. 

I should also mention there are dragons. I couldn't find a good place to mention that, but it definitely needs mentioning. Everything in the series feels so realistic, just with the addition of dragons. I may or may not love dragons.

I wasn't sure how to feel when HBO announced they were going to turn George RR martins books into a TV series. On one hand I was so excited, who doesn't love to see their series in action? But on the other hand I was hesitant, there is so much stuff in the world George RR Martin created with so many characters I wasn't sure if it was even possible to turn it into a TV series.

I think they pulled it off rather nicely. Sure they couldn't include everything, but they did the best they could. I didn't feel like they left out anything major and they obviously put a lot of thought into how they went about doing it. I wasn't disappointed. What I was most impressed with were the casting choices. All the characters were almost exactly how I imagined them in my head and all of the actors performed so well.

Even if you don't feel like putting in the effort to read the book series, you should at least give the TV series a watch. It was a good introduction into the world George RR Martin created and might inspire you to give the books a chance. They are intimidating to say the least, but so satisfying. One of my favorite book series.