Comic Movies Should Use Codenames More

May 12, 2016 Leave a comment

Something which bothers me with a lot of comic book based movies is that they don’t use the characters codename more. A lot of characters will have two names, their civilian name, and their code name. For example, Clark Kent is Superman. It seems like for the past 15 years or so, the code name is hardly ever mentioned. I think that lots of the movie going public, they wouldn’t even know a character’s civilian name, yet that’s how they’re referenced for most of the movie.

To me, what movie writers should do is to always have the characters be referred to by their code name when they’re on a mission. For example, in Star Wars, when the pilots are flying, they always refer to each other via code names (red two, gold leader, etc). The idea being that you don’t want the enemy to learn your actual names, should they be able to overhear your radio chatter. Comic book based movies need to do the same. When Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff are on a strike mission, they should always refer to each other as Captain America and Black Widow. When Black Widow and Captain America are back at base, chilling out, they can refer to each other as Natasha and Steve. It certainly would give a purpose to having these code names in the first place.

Categories: Entertainment

What Captain America: Civil War Is Missing

May 10, 2016 Leave a comment

I loved Captain America: Civil War. It certainly draws one in, and makes one feel what the characters are feeling. And while there are some things which I would have done differently if I were directing the movie (and those opinions are my own) this is a list small things which would have added to what is already there.

The First Action Scene Needs To Be Tied In With The Rest Of The Movie

While the explosion at the end of the sting operation in Lagos does get the ball rolling for the rest of the movie, the scene itself is pretty independent of the rest of the plot. It’s a fun and exciting scene, but I think it was missing something; it was missing Zemo. In Winter Soldier where they’re rescuing hostages from the Lumarian Star, who was on the boat, and what it was doing in the first place, became significant to the overall plot. But in Civil War, the Biohazardous material and Rumlow trying to get it, had nothing to do with the rest of the story at all. I think it would have been great if there was some reference to Zemo sending Rumlow/Crossbones out on these “missions”, not to accomplish whatever they were trying to do, but to get the Avengers to commit some sort of collateral damage.

Each Side Needed One More Argument

While most people praise Civil War for not bogging down the movie with a dialogue and a debate between the two sides, I think that each side needed one more point to really round out their argument.

  • Steve Rogers should have asked “What would we have done differently with an oversight committee?” Until the end of Winter Soldier the Avengers did have an oversight committee in the World Security Council. All the good that did, given that they almost launched Hydra controlled Helicarriers into the air, and ordered a Nuclear missile to blow up New York. The only ‘mistake’ the Avengers made was trying to interface with Loki’s Scepter which resulted in Ultron. And Tony Stark intentionally didn’t tell the rest of the team that he was doing that, so he certainly wouldn’t have told an oversight committee.
  • Tony Stark should have mentioned more of the legal complications that he was having. He does mention the issue he was having with housing Wanda in the US, and there is a TV playing in the background where someone asks “By what authority were the Avengers in Nigeria in the first place?” I think this should have been given one more sentence of air time. Tony should have said that by not even having quasi legal status, they were running into issues with getting countries to prosecute and detain the bad guys that they captured. Or that people who died while fighting the Avengers don’t become homicide cases. I’m pretty sure that lots of countries wouldn’t like the idea of a rich, white man sending his private army into their countries to do whatever they felt like doing

Zemo Needed To Be Doing Something Which Needed To Be Stopped

I think that lots of people will feel a bit of a let down from the end of the movie, but will struggle with why they’re feeling that way. My thought is that people will be feeling “Shouldn’t that climax have been more climactic?” Don’t get me wrong, the final conflict between Iron Man and Captain America was given great motivation and passion. I’m talking more about Zemo. The second act airport battle happened because Captain America needed to get to Siberia ASAP, to stop Zemo from getting his hands onto something very dangerous. But when Captain America finally gets to Zemo, Zemo says (and this is paraphrasing) “I wasn’t going after the dangerous thing, I just wanted to pick up this VHS.” Once your brain processes the fact that the last step in Zemo’s plot didn’t really need to be stopped, it’s a letdown. Zemo could have been getting a hold of material in hopes that it would tear the Avengers apart, in addition to getting a hold of another weapon he could use to perhaps kill off one or two of them.

Conclusion

So there you have it. A list of things which certainly don’t require big changes to Captain America: Civil War, but if where done would have made this great movie, even better.

Categories: Entertainment

How Rey is a Mary Sue

April 10, 2016 Leave a comment

Ever since Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been released there has been lots of discussion on the internet on the Mary Sue-ness of the character Rey. I will sum up all of the arguments I’ve seen here with my thoughts on them. Note: Episode VIII has yet to be named, let alone released; so this is my thoughts consisting of just The Force Awakens.(While there is no official definition of a Mary Sue you can get the rough working definition at http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MarySue)

  1. Rey beats up the two men who were sent to kidnap her.
    1. This doesn’t come off as a Mary Sue to me. While I was slightly rolling my eyes at it when I first saw The Force Awakens, I’m more okay with it the more I’ve had to think about it. You have two guys who are caught of guard by the resistance their target was able to put up. So far, not a Mary Sue.
  2. Rey flies the Millennium Falcon well enough to fight off two Tie fighters.
    1. Given that she’s a junk collector and there’s no established precedent for her piloting abilities, solid Mary Sue. The only imperfection in the scene is that she had Finn go to the bottom turret instead of the top, but that just created more opportunity to pull off more unlikely maneuvers. Very much Mary Sue writing by the writers.
  3. Rey fixes issues with the Millennium Falcon on the fly.
    1. It’s been established that she’s a scavenger, so also being a mechanic isn’t too far fetched. At least a bailing wire and duct tape type of mechanic. It’s not out of character, not a Mary Sue.
  4. Rey has all of the impressive stats of the Millennium Falcon memorized.
    1. Very Mary Sue. She’s being a fan for the fans.
  5. Rey releases the Rathtar’s aboard Han Solo’s ship.
    1. This is generally pointed out how Rey made a mistake and therefore isn’t a Mary Sue. While it was a mistake, it resulted in getting rid of the gangsters they were trying to get away from, and none of the hero’s were harmed. But it wasn’t an expression of out of character ability, so I’m going with neutral. Neither Mary Sue or not.
  6. Ren captures Rey on Takodana.
    1. This wouldn’t have happened with a Mary Sue. So non-Mary Sue.
  7. Rey resists Ren’s invasion of her mind.
    1. I’m inclined that this should be a Mary Sue, given that Kylo Ren has been presented at being very good at memory reading, but there’s enough precedent for natural Force users to be different in certain ways that I’m going to let it go. So non-Mary Sue.
  8. Rey mind tricks the storm trooper guarding her, into letting her go.
    1. Solid Mary Sue. She has know idea that a Force user could even do such a thing, let alone doing it without ever having consciously used the Force before. Besides, wouldn’t it have been absolutely horrible if Finn actually had to have saved her? Can’t have that.
  9. Rey calls the lightsaber to her.
    1. Mary Sue. Ren is calling it to him at the same time and Rey get’s it.
  10. Rey’s lightsaber battle with Ren is a draw.
    1. Mary Sue. I don’t care if she’s a fighter, or that Ren’s hurt. Kylo Ren shouldn’t have been hit by Chewbacca’s shot anyway. It’s just that without it, even the writers couldn’t have justified a draw, so they did something very convenient for Rey, so it wouldn’t be so absurd for Rey to do as well as she did against Ren, using a weapon she’s never picked up before. So given that the existing premise of Ren’s abilities had to be bent to even get to that point, Mary Sue.
  11. Rey is sent to find Luke Skywalker.
    1. Given what we know from The Force Awakens, also a Mary Sue. Why would Leia send a newbie stranger to go find her brother that she’s been looking for for years. Oh I know, because it’s really convenient for the awesomeness of Rey.

And those are my thoughts. Rey is a Mary Sue. The biggest reason for why I see that she shouldn’t be is “She’s so cool, I don’t want her to be.” But that’s the point. She’s too cool.

 

Categories: Entertainment

Star Wars – The Force Awakens Review

January 12, 2016 Leave a comment

I saw The Force Awakens on December 24th when visiting family for the holiday. That was 19 days ago. Since then many people have asked me what thought about it. I liked the movie. It is fun to watch, and I’m glad that I saw it. It ‘feels’ more like a Star Wars movie than the prequels did. I particularly enjoyed the X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter battle during the second act. There was something about that which felt like I was a teenager again playing one of the X-Wing video games. It was awesome.

That being said The Force Awakens is not without its head-scratching moments. I’m not a fan of Star Trek, but I did enjoy the first J.J. Abrams Stark Trek movie. The second one though, is one of the worst possible abominations of all movie-dom. The plot holes were enormous, self-contradictory actions abounded, and universe defying tricks moved along the plot too conveniently. The big fear I had going into The Force Awakens was that J.J. Abrams would do the same to Star Wars, and he kind of did. But not too much to make the overall movie unenjoyable. When done it left me with a sense of lazy writing. The producers of the show wanted a bunch of cool scenes, but didn’t know how to tie them together.

The following list is a list of grievances I had myself while watching The Force Awakens, or my thoughts to ones which others have shared with me.

Han Solo Hyperspaces into the Atmosphere of the Star Killer Base

This to me is ultimate sin in the movie. It’s very well setup in the rest of the Star Wars movies that you can’t be in hyperspace too close to a large object; ie anything large enough to have a gravitational pull of at least a small moon. You can’t enter hyperspace if you’re too close, and you get ripped from hyperspace if too close. But what do they do when they can’t figure out a way to get Han onto the base, due to a shield around the base? He just takes a ship he hasn’t used in years, and manually pulls out of hyperspace meters away from a mountain top, beneath the shield. If it was possible to do that, there wouldn’t be a need for a Death Star or Star Killer Base. All weapons would become warhead armed hyperspace rockets. Say what you will about the prequels, none of them did anything as universe destroying as this.

Rey Becomes too Powerful too Fast

I know lots of people like Rey, and I don’t mind the character, but she became too powerful too fast. The rest of the movies go over how it takes years of training to use the Light side of the Force. Lots of meditation to not fall into the Dark side of the Force. Then with nothing but being told she might be able to access the Force Rey is mind controlling storm troopers, pulling objects to herself and away from Kylo Ren, and other feats. I didn’t mind so much at the very end that she could use the Force to come to a draw in the duel with Kylo Ren, I more was bothered by the fact that Kylo Ren seemed to be fine to let her do it. Seriously, there’s nearly a minute where she’s standing there with her eyes closed and Kylo doesn’t take a swipe at her. Some people will say that Rey learned Force lessons as a child, but then had her memories erased. Guess what, if you don’t have memories of doing something, and haven’t done it in years, you can’t do it. I don’t care if they explain that in a later movie, it’s a poor explanation. Plus, any needed explanation needs to occur in the same movie, or it’s bad movie! Either way, Rey’s rise to power was extremely inconsistent with all that we learn about the Force in the other movies. Say what you will about the prequels, none of them were this glaringly inconsistent with their use of the Force.

There’s a Map to Luke Skywalker

He’s a human, not a location. There shouldn’t be a map to him. Plus, when they look at the part of the map that BB-8 is holding they say “This doesn’t match with anything we have”. Then when R2-D2 wakes up with the rest of the map, you see that it’s containing about 1/12th of the known galaxy. How did that not match any known part of the galaxy? Every time they said “map to Luke Skywalker” it just felt so dumb.

Deus Ex-Machina

There are two really bad Dues Ex-Machina’s. One is when the planet creates a chasm between Rey and Kylo when it looks like Rey might beat Kylo, but they want the villain for another movie. The second is when R2-D2 conveniently wakes up, at just the time when the Resistance has a break (just defeated the Star Killer base), and they have the remaining section of the map. There’s no reason why Luke wouldn’t have had R2 with him.

Kylo Rens Fluctuating Power

One thing that was introduced was Kylo Ren talking about how he’s feeling a tug from the Light side of the Force. That’s never come up in either of the movies, or the Expanded Universe, and it doesn’t feel out of place. That being said, everything else about it was odd. He starts out super powerful; stops a blaster bolt he didn’t see coming, so arguably more powerful than Darth Vader; it’s established that he’s killed off the other Jedi trainees; and yet after killing his father (which is established in Return of the Jedi as a guaranteed way of becoming very powerful in the Dark Side of the Force), he gets hit with a blaster bolt he sees coming, while holding his light saber, and then doesn’t defeat someone in a lightsaber duel the first time they’ve picked up a light saber. They made him too powerful, and then didn’t know what to do with him at the end.

It’s Watching A New Hope Over Again

Yes. Annoying. Every other Star Wars movie is quite unique (including prequels). This was bothersome.

Han Solo Finding the Millennium Falcon

I know that Han says something along the lines that a sensor went off and so he hopped on over. I’m glad they at least through that line in. Lots of people are bothered by how convenient he shows up. I am a little, but I don’t mind it for the sake of the movie. What bothers me is how the First Order then never shows up. The First Order is chasing the Millennium Falcon off of Jakku, the Falcon can’t go to hyperspace, so the First Order should have been right on their tails. I’m fine with Han grabbing it first in his other ship, but then the First Order should have been right there! Especially since Han declared it the most detectable ship in the galaxy or something like that.

The Music

The music is good. But none of it feels like it’s Star Wars good. John Williams did the score again, but I’ve listened to the soundtrack over and over, and none of it feels like it has the staying power of any of the music from the other movies. Thankfully none of it was distracting, but watch The Phantom Menace; the worst of the Star Wars movies, and it’s easy to enjoy the music.

So, I liked the Force Awakens. But it has plot holes an inconsistency issues that no other Star Wars movie has had. I don’t care if some issues get explained in sequels. That’s never been needed before, and shouldn’t ever be needed. So it’s the first Star Wars which missed their usual success of knowing what needs explaining and what doesn’t.

Categories: Entertainment

Windows 10 Improves Themes

June 2, 2015 Leave a comment

One of the great things about Windows 8 was how you can sign in with a Microsoft account, and many of your settings will roam with you. One feature where it was attempted, but executed poorly, was the desktop theme. For example, if you set the desktop wallpaper to be a certain folder of pictures, only 20 pictures of those would roam/sync to a new computer. I also found many times that when signing into a new computer for the first time, the default wallpaper of the new computer would override my syncing theme. In Windows 10 the situation is better.

In Windows 10, you can set a folder of pictures to be your desktop background (not sure if there’s a limit), and then name the theme. You don’t have to worry about exporting it, or anything like that, just give it a name. Then, when you sign into a new computer, your named theme will be there in your list of themes. This way, even if there still is a bug, and your current desktop wallpaper is wrong, it’s really easy to correct the problem. Just reselect the well named theme. No more of the ‘synced theme’ crap.

It’s great to see it finally work.

The Major build number for Windows 10 is 10!

March 18, 2015 Leave a comment

I was disappointed with Windows 7, when the build number was 6.1. What happened was that originally the build number was 7.0 (like it should have been), but too many programs refused to install (there were hard coded build number dependencies on Vista as the max OS version). So Microsoft changed the build number to 6.1 (which should have been Vista SP1). Then for Windows 8 the build number became 6.2, and for 8.1 6.3. But what they did differently for Windows 8.1 was to shim out the version number. So unless a processes manifest file informed Windows that it knew about Windows 8.1, the build number that would be returned was the build number for Windows 8. This certainly was one way to force programmers to use the proper API IsWindowsVersionOrGreater.
By doing the shim and lying about the Windows build number, it freed up Microsoft to have proper version numbers for Windows again. This is what I just saw in PowerShell.
[Environment]::OSVersion.Version
Major Minor Build Revision
—– —– —– ——–
10    0       9932         0

I find it exciting.

Batman Aminated Series Title Cards

May 11, 2014 Leave a comment

I found out that I can pick an image that Windows Explorer will show as the thumbnail for a video by using MP3Tag and setting the “Cover” of the file to whatever image I want. That is way better than the default that Explorer picks, because it makes a folder of show episodes all look the same because they’re all playing the title sequence at the point that Explorer picks. So I used the Snipping Tool to grab the Title Card to each episode of Batman The Animated Series that I own. Here they are:

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Categories: Entertainment
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