Mar 192019
 

From a Certain Point of View (Star Wars)From a Certain Point of View by Ben Acker
My rating:

When I picked up this book to read, I had similar concerns about it as I did about the Princess Leia book. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. In fact before I even added it to my “Currently Reading” list on Goodreads, I read the first chapter. It didn’t take much after that for me to keep reading it. This book was published back in 2017 for the 40th anniversary of the Star Wars franchise. It is a massive collaboration of 40 different authors (because 40 years, get it?) each writing a chapter. Some of the more well-known contributors are Christie Golden, Chuck Wendig and Wil Wheaton (yes, Wesley Crusher). Here is my book review of “From A Certain Point of View”.

No Synopsis Required

I should have read the synopsis before I picked up this book. This book doesn’t require a synopsis because it’s the plot of Star Wars A New Hope. If you don’t know the plot of Episode IV then why are you here? The unique feature of this book is the events of A New Hope are told from the perspective of background characters. As boring as that sounds, it’s actually quite interesting.

Every chapter isn’t as interesting as some of the others. In fact there are a few chapters that are really superfluous. There are too many chapters that focus on the events in the cantina. The Greedo chapter and, perhaps, the Wuher chapter are really the only ones worth keeping. There are a couple of chapters on the Death Star, during the destruction of Alderaan that are pretty uninteresting too. For example, the chapter with the MSE droid and TK-421 is probably my least favorite chapter. His personal life and aspirations of MSE racing were gratuitous; so much so I actually skipped some of it. Another chapter I felt similarly about was Omi, the trash compactor beast. Pretty dull.

A Handful Does Not Ruin the Bunch

Despite the handful of tedious chapters, there are many that more than make up for it. There is a chapter where Qui-Gon is communing with Obi-Wan that I really enjoyed. The chapter from Tarkin’s point of view as well as a couple of members of the Imperial High Council are really fun. I think my favorite chapter is the one where a stormtrooper is filing an incident report from the events at Mos Eisley. I know that probably sounds as dreary as MSE racing but the author, Daniel Jose Older, makes it very entertaining. In fact his Star Wars book, Last Shot, is on my short list to read next.

Superfluous chapters aside, this is a great book to read. I would definitely recommend it for any Star Wars fan. If you’re reading a chapter that you find especially boring, you can freely skip it without missing something important. None of the chapters really build on each other, they only accompany the main plot of the movie. I’m really glad I decided to read it.

View all my reviews

diablo3-reading“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss

 

Mar 182019
 

The best Diablo Immortal Gaming Rig!I call this a gamer’s blog but I haven’t posted anything related to gaming all year, so I’m overdue for some gaming ruminations. The reason, primarily, is that I’m only really playing one game and I’m sure there aren’t many interested in more World of Warcraft posts. If you’re interested in a brief raiding update on our progress in Battle of Dazar’alor, we’re 9/9 in Normal (i.e. farm status), and 3/9 in Heroic (with more to come tonight).

I jump into Overwatch occasionally, but not with any regularity. I don’t have any of the other Blizzard games installed anymore. I jump on the Switch every now and then to play some Mario Kart, Mario Odyssey or Smash Brothers. Some of you may remember that I used to post, almost weekly, a recap of gaming news. However it became too difficult to keep up and there seemed to be no interest. Besides gaming news today has stalled or rarely contains any more surprises.

Be that as it may, I’ll try to mix in more gaming posts as inspiration strikes. However I don’t foresee any more recurring posts like I used to do with MMO Times.

The things that go through my mind when I’m alone with nothing but my thoughts for entertainment is dangerous. Some might even say eccentric. Consider this your warning about today’s Random Thought of the Day

 

Mar 182019
 

Captain Marvel

Directed By: Anna Boden
Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson

My Rating:

A Kree by the name of Vers (Brie Larson) crashes on Earth, circa 1995. She is hunting Skrull who are seeking technology the Kree do not want them to have. Assisting her on her mission is SHIELD agent Nick Fury. During her search she also has flashbacks that seem to be from a previous life. Are these flashbacks key to defeating the Skrull and/or helping her find out who she really is?

Biggs’ Review

I really enjoyed this movie. I can’t say if it’s the witty writing or the homage to the 90’s that I found truly entertaining. The flashbacks to Blockbuster Video and Alta Vista were especially memorable. This movie ties into all the other films so nicely (and not just the specific Avengers movies). It is also entertaining to see a young Nick Fury and a young, newly recruited, Phil Coulson in action. I hope Clark Gregg is comfortable with being typecast because he’s going to be Phil Coulson for the rest of his days.

In fact one of the fun things to do during this film is to spot the easter eggs, especially if you are a child of the 90s. However, it isn’t just the 1990 cultural references. There are also little bits of minutiae from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as the other MCU movies.

The SHIELD Inconsistency and Stan Lee

Perhaps the one issue I found to be inconsistent in the film is the use of the S.H.I.E.L.D. acronym. The events of this movie takes place in 1995, which is 13 years prior to Iron Man. When Coulson introduces himself in Iron Man he always recites the entire name of SHIELD. There are even jokes about “working on the name”. However throughout the entire Captain Marvel movie they always call themselves SHIELD. So either Coulson is being a smart ass in Iron Man or its a missed inconsistency. If anyone knows of another explanation which I have not yet found, please comment.

If you haven’t heard by now, Captain Marvel is the first Marvel movie to be released after Stan Lee’s death. Which means his cameo in this film is also the last cameo he will ever do (and its an excellent cameo, especially if you’ve seen Mallrats). To honor Stan Lee and his work, the Marvel Studios sequence at the beginning of the movie has been changed to be all of Stan Lee’s cameos. What a truly fantastic homage and I hope that is a permanent change (including the “Thank You Stan” at the end).

Female Empowerment

I am, by no means, a feminist. However, despite my presumed political leanings, I do support gender equality. Therefore I think this movie makes huge strides in support of gender equality. It is the first solo-female lead in the MCU universe. It is written exclusively by women. The soundtrack, which is very good, is composed by Pinar Toprak who is the first female to compose an MCU movie. In fact I really wanted my daughter to see this movie because its exclusively about a female super hero. The best part is, the movie never tries to make that point. There are no subtle undertones or subliminal messages and nothing is constantly shoved in your face. All of the female empowerment associated with this film is tucked away in the trivia. /end slightly political editorial.

Final comment: this is an excellent addition to the MCU collection of movies, definitely worth seeing in the theater, despite the lurking “super hero burn out”.

/cheers

film_reel“The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.”
– Stanley Kubrick

 

Mar 142019
 

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When I was a kid, it was a huge insult to be a geek. Now it’s a point of pride in a weird way.” – J.J. Abrams

Mar 112019
 

Some folks may have noticed I’m not posting that much on Facebook and Twitter. I’m not sick. I’m not in protest. I’m taking a break from all social media. I thought about saying something in a tweet or a wall post but then that would be using social media. Therefore, to avoid the dilemma, a brief blog post would suffice since WordPress auto-posts to Twitter and Facebook. In fact anything you see on either of my feeds will be generated posts.

I’m not gone permanently; at least I don’t think I am. In my 2019 intentions post I mentioned I would be trying to use social media less because it causes too much stress. Facebook and Twitter are toxic and I hope to feel more relieved by late April that it’s no longer something I feel compelled to check. I seek nobody’s approval and that’s all social media is. Everyone behaves like children seeking attention and approval by behaving badly.

In the meantime I can get my news the old-fashioned way. Google. I’ll see you all in a few weeks. Until then you can email me, text me, or (heaven forbid) call me.

/cheers


When I was a kid, it was a huge insult to be a geek. Now it’s a point of pride in a weird way.” – J.J. Abrams

Mar 112019
 

Several new stories keep popping up on social media that Disney (or J.J.) are calling in George Lucas to “fix Luke”. Apparently Luke’s character evolution did not appeal to many people. This isn’t just some other thing the manbabies cried about on social media; some of my friends have made similar comments. Luke’s behavior is exactly what I was expecting so I’m not sure what needs to be “fixed”. You’ve heard the idiom “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”; well I believe Luke isn’t broken in The Last Jedi.

The Trailer and TFA Made It Very Clear

When the trailer came out, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one watching it multiple times. However, I must have been watching a different trailer than other folks. There is plenty in the trailer (and The Force Awakens) to suggest that Luke is despondent. Luke, being the first of a new line of Jedi, would feel obligated to begin training new Jedi. His hubris would be his downfall when he fails with his own nephew. Yoda and Obi-Wan also went into exile when they failed the Jedi Order, Ahsoka did it when she left the Jedi Order. Luke doesn’t need to be fixed, he’s reacting as any human being would react; he’s reacting as even the most powerful Jedi reacted.

Look, I get it. I wanted to see Luke pick up a lightsaber and mow down some First Order and watch Kylo Ren soil his emo pants. However, that wouldn’t make any sense based on the events of The Force Awakens. It’s also against Luke’s character to be this Jedi harbinger of death. It would also make him like his father, whom he doesn’t want to be. So much so that when he was tempted to destroy Ben Solo, he exiled himself instead. His attempted murder is the catalyst for Ben Solo to become Kylo Ren. We all wanted to “fan girl” around Luke as he wields the Force with indestructible tenacity, but it would be completely incongruent with the story. The point is making a movie like Star Wars isn’t about pandering to the fans, it’s about telling a story.

Disney’s Perpetrating False Rumors

My other theory is that Disney is using this “power of influence” grip social media has on the world and intentionally stirring the pot. People are so gullible they will believe anything they read on Twitter and Facebook. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if there are people employed that knew just the right words to use to incite rumors and speculation. The point isn’t to reveal anything about the movie, just simply to garner attention and discussion.

If you think I’m stretching then let me provide some examples of conflicting reports. Around the 17th of February a story came out where Abrams stated any of the “complaints” [alleged] fans had with The Last Jedi won’t affect Episode IX.  Less than 10 days later the reports of George Lucas coming in to “fix Luke” started surfacing. Upon further observation of these two stories I noticed something interesting. The former is from a reputable source (aka. Screen Rant) while all the stories related to the latter are rumors concocted by bloggers, vloggers and theorycrafters. Which leads me to believe they are just wishful thinkers and bellyaching “fans”.

In all honesty, I trust Kathleen Kennedy and the folks at Lucasfilm. I’m open-minded when it comes to these movies, unlike all of those fair-weather fans. I love all of the sequel trilogy movies and if they allegedly “fix” Luke, then that’s cool by me. As long as the story still makes sense (and they don’t kill the droids).

/MTFBWY

Breathe. Just breathe. Now reach out.