Monday, August 28, 2017

Season Review: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7

Overall, I would characterize this season of Game of Thrones as a down season. There are a lot of contributing factors, but the shortened season clearly led to an increased pace that was fun as first but became overwhelming by the end. There is unique fun to be had when a show that has historically been the slowest of slow burns all of a sudden goes into overdrive, but it became too fast by the end. This season was filled with memorable moments and a couple of genuinely amazing episodes of television. Spoils of War and Stormborn come to mind, but those moments don’t take away the rushed nature pervades this entire season.

All of this is even more frustrating when you look at specific story-lines that made up a large chunk of the season. Arya, Sansa and Bran reuniting should have been a momentous, landmark moment. Instead we got a forgettable scene and a frustratingly stupid betrayal story-line for the entire season. At least it ended in a satisfying scene and Bran was able to do something to help out his family. Beyond the Wall was a fun episode, filled with amazing set-piece moments. It is unfortunate that the episodes fun is undercut by the bizarre plan that our heroes are trying to complete. Not to mention the even more bizarre plan that Dany has to save them.

One thing that I really appreciated about this season was the unpredictability. I think the consensus going into to the season was that Kings landing would be dealt with by the finale which would leave the final six episodes for our heroes to do battle with the Night King. That is not at all what happened and that was a good realization for me. The show still has some tricks up its sleeve, at least at the macro level. Now that the White Walkers are beyond the wall, with the Night King astride an Ice Dragon, I don’t see how the final season will be able to pump the breaks. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing, if they can write it competently.

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by Christopher Moore
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Monday, August 21, 2017

Season Review: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later’

To say that Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later took an interesting road to be created is a colossal understatement. Probably the epitome of the Netflix revival narrative, this season is a sequel series to a 16 year old independent movie which last year had a mirroring prequel series. Not to even mention the star studded cast that all (except Bradley Cooper) returned two times to reprise these goofy roles. Incredibly, it all works.

Where 10 Years Later picks up is just that, 10 years after the campers vowed to meet on the same stoop at Camp Firewood exactly a decade after the events of the movie. In a series filled with meta-humor, setting the series in the 90’s adds yet another level on top of it all. In the movie, these actors were 20 year olds playing elementary school kids. In the prequel series the same actors are still playing elementary school kids, in fact they are slightly younger. In 10 Years Later these actors are in the 40’s playing characters around the same age as when they were producing the movie originally.

Why this stuff works hits at the core of what makes this series so special. I feel like it taps into a kind of goofball comedy that just doesn’t work anymore. There are talking tin cans, characters reference the fact they are in a television show, people die and come back instantaneously. But it is all done with just enough of a wink and a nod that you understand they writers know exactly how ridiculous everything is. They are able to walk that fine line perfectly culminating in a fantastic season (maybe even series) finale

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by Christopher Moore
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Friday, August 11, 2017

My Pet Game of Thrones Theory

I’ve thought a lot about hanging threads this season of Game of Thrones . These last two shortened seasons are a time for finality and resolution. Whether we like those resolutions is another story. One specific thread has been barely touched on this season is Jon Snow’s parentage. Apart from the quick “I’m no Stark” line, we haven’t seen one story beat moving that issue toward a resolution. We know that Bran knows, but his new all-knowing personality doesn’t seem to deem that important information right now.

When thinking about how this thread could be resolved in some sort of poetic way, an interesting idea came to me. I believe that Sean Bean reprising his role as Ned Stark will appear in a vision to Jon Snow via the Three Eyed Raven’s powers and make good on his promise from season 1. Sure, this is wild speculation that is most likely false but I do have some history to back it up. As we know from Bran’s arc, the Three Eyed Raven can target visions to specific people to help them gain knowledge. In addition, Michelle Fairley reprised her role as Catelyn Stark in a previous vision. This would be a great, symbolic way to close the loop on this mystery and open the door for whatever fallout comes afterward. Plus it would show Bran actually doing something of meaning with his newfound abilities.

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by Christopher Moore
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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Review: ‘The Dark Tower’


The Dark Tower seems to me like a film that was beat into submission by too many forces competing for creative control. From the beginning, making a book series filled with brutal, vile imagery PG-13 meant you were going to cut out a lot of what gave the book series flavor. Then to make an unholy amalgamation of all the books, seemingly mashing together set-pieces from book 2, 6 and 7, makes matters ever worse. Almost none of this movie occurs in the books and what does occur is changed so much that it is almost unrecognizable. But they gave themselves a major out by making this a sort of sequel to the books, which is bizarrely never mentioned in the movie at all.

I tried to put myself in the shoes of someone who didn’t know anything about this world, or the long twisted history of the characters within it. So many scenes throw around phrases, special objects, or abilities that I’ve spent almost 5,000 pages reading about. So when Walter pulls out Black 13 from his cabinet and uses it to glamour Roland I know the importance of that item and the long bloody road it took to get into his possession (or rather Father Callahan’s). To the average viewer, Matthew McConaughey pulls out a magical ball from a cabinet and can suddenly teleport.

Another great example of this is the scene where Roland and Jake take refuge in what I guess is supposed to me a Manni Village though they never explain that in the film. The main Manni reveals to the tribe that Roland is Roland Deschain, Son of Steven, last in the line of Eld. Everyone is at a loss for words and can’t believe the last of the Eld, a true Gunslinger and protector of the White is here at their dinner table. That was great for me to see, it echoed back to Roland and his Ka-Tet meeting the kind folk of River Crossing. Roland promising to take a cross from them and lay it at the foot of the Dark Tower if someday his quest is fulfilled. I suspect everyone else in the theater was confused as to why this was so important and forgot all about it a scene later.

What really irks me about this adaptation/sequel is how far is strays from the soul messages of the series. The Dark Tower novels are not about crazy gunplay. Sure, fantastic action happens, but at the end of the day the series is about analyzing the concepts of destiny, storytelling, person bonds and purpose. None of that is conveyed in this film. Looking back I can’t remember a single time Ka is mentioned. What are we even doing here? If they get a shot at making a sequel or the series, I’d love to see them pull more from the messaging of the books and remember the face of their fathers.





tumblr_ockw6xwPZI1t7b5qro1_1280-300x153 Review: 'The Dark Tower' Movies

I would be remiss if I didn’t get super nerdy for a second and talk about the implications of this being a sequel to the books. The Horn of Eld is clearly seen multiple times in the film and bizarrely never mentioned or even touched upon. I found the addition of it to be a really cool way to get around the common gripe of the movie being different from the books. “Sure it’s different, it’s the next cycle in Roland’s Journey.” With Roland never getting to the Tower, I’m hoping a possible sequel will bring in Eddy, Oddetta/Detta, the Crimson King and even Oy. “Do animals still talk in your world.” King specifically said on Twitter that this is the last time around and Roland will reach the Tower and blow. I need to see that, no matter what. If I’m remembering correctly before the coda of the last book Roland hears a horn blow as he approaches the Tower. I never understood what that meant or symbolized. I’d love to see a re-done version of that scene.

Regardless how bad this movie was, seeing certain things on screen gave me shivers. When the “Tet-Corporation” production logo came up after the Sony logo I nearly lost my shit. So cool. Hearing Roland recite the Gunslinger’s Creed is inarguably amazing. I just wish the soul of the series was on screen along with the cool stuff.


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by Christopher Moore
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