Wednesday, October 5, 2022
Monday, October 3, 2022
Friday, September 30, 2022
In 2001, Peter Jackson released the first part of The Lord of the Rings trilogy to near universal acclaim. Over the next two years, this ambitious project (which had never been done before) would rise to become one of the greatest film franchises of all time, not only helping to popularize the fantasy genre for blockbuster audiences (a trait the Lord of the Rings trilogy shares with the Harry Potter series) but also ensuring that the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings, would become a household name.
With an expansive and immersive world, fantastic characters with beautifully realized archetypes and a true sense of focus that George R.R. Martin could only dream of, The Lord of the Rings has long become a cornerstone of the fantasy genre, almost to the genre's detriment if I'm being particularly critical. But it was not the only exploration that Tolkien took into the world of Middle-Earth. Before The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien had been working for decades on several projects including works that would eventually become The Silmarillion and, of course, the book that propelled him to popularity in the first place, The Hobbit.
Thus when the fans of The Lord of the Rings cinematic trilogy began to express their hunger for more content, The Hobbit was the clear and obvious choice. Despite this obvious recipe for success and profit, the world would not see an adaptation of Tolkien's beloved children's book until 2012, with a brand new trilogy of films: An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, and The Battle of Five Armies.
At last after a decade of waiting, a new trilogy within the world of Middle-Earth was available for people to enjoy. And audience's collective response to this trilogy was...lackluster, to say the least. Initially, I couldn't decide if I wanted this article to be a Building Better Backstories or just a general editorial. Because of that, this edition of Let's Talk...will be something of a discussion and consideration. We will look at what worked and what did not about Peter Jackson's second trilogy in the world of Arda. I will naturally discuss my passion for the greater Tolkien mythos and ponder on what alterations might have been made to improve the overall product.
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Friday, September 23, 2022
At long last, we come to the end of my retrospectives with regards to the ClueFinders series.
While I know for a fact that The Learning Company released nine different games under the ClueFinders name, my sister and I only really grew up with and experienced the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grade games, so those were the only games I felt comfortable in the immediate to reflect upon.
If I ever find myself in a position where I could perhaps play the other games, then I may yet again visit the series to discuss the "missing" games from my childhood.
The ClueFinders 6th Grade Adventures: The Empire of the Plant People was without a doubt the strangest game in the series in terms of story and I find myself reflecting on the game in a way that is markedly different from any other game in the series with the exception of perhaps Puzzle of the Pyramid.
Thursday, September 22, 2022
Friday, September 16, 2022
2008 was a year that, in retrospect, really was a truly different time that seems more defined by hindsight than maybe any other year. In the political sphere, a seemingly political nobody named Barack Obama was running for President, the final Harry Potter book was released only the year before and the sixth film wouldn't be released for another year, and the US economy was slowly approaching a recession as the War on Terror continued to spiral out of control.
In this environment,Marvel and Warner Bros. both released two films that would have a profound impact on the superhero genre, though both in very different ways. Marvel took a tremendous risk by releasing a superhero film based on a hero that almost nobody had heard of named Iron Man, to fairly good reviews; though their idea of creating a massive "cinematic universe" was almost certain to be failure as how on Earth could a single "Avengers" film be filled with so many strong personalities and not be overwhelming right? By contrast, Warner Bros. released a sequel to their moderately successful Batman Begins known as The Dark Knight, a Christopher Nolan take on an already tried-and-true superhero brand, as Batman had starred in several prominent films throughout the 1990s.
With the benefit of hindsight, its rather amazing that two influential films for a single genre would be released within weeks of each other. Iron Man and the setup for The Avengers completely revolutionized how audiences and studios saw superheroes and how their stories could be told through interconnected narratives. By contrast, The Dark Knight though lauded as one of the greatest superhero films in isolation, has arguably done more damage to the superhero genre then any other film through many film studios' efforts to maintain the same "gritty realism" of the Nolan classic. As much as Iron Man relished in the silly and fun, The Dark Knight treaded through pathos and tragedy and the DC Cinematic Universe, in my not so humble opinion, suffered as a result.
The impact of The Dark Knight is without question, but does the film actually deserve its reputation as the greatest of superhero films. Or has Warner Bros. been seeking to emulate a film that was far too overrated?
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