Tomorrowland: The Review

Ladies and gentlebeings, we’ve reached the Tomorrowland stop on my Strange Age of Tomorrowland World Awakens 2015 movie tour. You may proceed with this review without any major spoilers. Please feel free to stretch your imaginations, take small children by the hand, and be sure to hang on to any personal belongings.

This is my favorite stop so far.

There’s a clear enthusiasm and momentum behind Tomorrowland. And it’s so many things I hesitate to label it as thrilling or reflective or hope-inducing, because as much as it has those elements within it, it’s a much more intricate piece of filmmaking than a broad label can do justice. I have to wonder if that’s why some critics aren’t liking it; it’s not easy to pin down. (Pun completely intended.)

Tomorrowland is reminiscent, modern, and forward-thinking. There is action, adventure and impressive special effects. Moments of whimsy appear and a few times it runs right up to the line of being too silly, but this movie isn’t shying away from the fact that it has a message for you–a very wordy message, but an interesting and thought-provoking one nonetheless.

I’ll admit the narrative is a bit messy and gets complicated at times but the world Brad Bird created makes it easy enough to suspend disbelief and take it all in stride. Fun references to Disneyland are heaviest in the beginning, there’s a bunch of Star Wars in the middle, and a scene right out of The Rocketeer appears towards the end. . . . → Read More: Tomorrowland: The Review

Get Your Geek On with Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy

Two paragraphs into Sam Maggs’ The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy and I was hooked. She starts by clarifying the term “fangirl” and it meant a lot to me because back when Tricia invited me to join FANgirl Blog, I hesitated. I didn’t want to be labeled a fangirl. The connotation I associated the term with was negative. But Tricia convinced me this was an opportunity to redefine the word in my own terms, to contribute to thoughtful fandom discourse, to show that not everyone is a fan of everything in exactly the same way.

I’m not a screaming-her-head-off, jumping-all-over-the-place kind of fan. I may cheer from time to time or applaud really loudly but for the most part the more moved I am by something, the stiller I get, the quieter I get, and sometimes the more teary-eyed I get. If that’s you too, then here’s a high five of solidarity. And if that’s not you? That’s ok too. That’s what Fangirl’s Guide is ultimately about–that there are so many different ways to participate in a fandom and you get to choose what you want to do.

I got to meet Sam Maggs recently and her friendliness translates well to the page. In the book she even makes a point to welcome anyone who wants to read this guide, regardless of gender identity. And while it’s a formidable companion if you’re new to this whole larger world of fandom, Fangirl’s Guide could really be applicable for anyone. Although I . . . → Read More: Get Your Geek On with Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy

Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

Avengers: Age of Ultron begins by dropping us right in the middle of the action–the action of the Avengers actually working as a team. After their last outing (2012’s The Avengers) of clashing egos and getting-to-know-you activities along with the cinematic age we’re currently in of rebooted origin story after rebooted origin story after origin story, it’s a welcome start.

Of course Age of Ultron doesn’t completely escape having a genesis feature but with more than 9 superheroes and multiple villains in the mix, someone had to start somewhere. Originally I was pumped for this go-round with a seemingly unstoppable villain, but I got hit with Avengers fatigue before the movie had a chance to come out. The marketing campaign felt like it showed, out of order and out of context, most of the movie. While I understand they were trying to reach a wide audience, a MCU fan like me just wanted to watch the story the way Joss Whedon intended it to be shown. And although I reached a point where I was actively avoiding any more trailers (or exclusive scenes or commercials or featurettes), some of what should have been exciting or a discovery within my viewing experience was tempered by the feeling that I’d seen it before. To top it off, the marketing sold Ultron as a more formidable adversary than he ended up being.

That being said, Avengers: Age of Ultron is not a bad movie. There’s a little something in it for everyone: philosophical . . . → Read More: Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

Lords of the Sith – Reviewed by Kay

In Lords of the Sith Darth Vader and Emperor Sheev Palpatine head to the Twi’lek homeworld of Ryloth to quell rebellion. Cham Syndulla, father of Hera from Rebels, awaits them with a company of dedicated fighters and a trap he hopes will spark a larger rebellion across the galaxy.

But the best way to describe Lords of the Sith is that if I wasn’t reviewing it, I wouldn’t have finished reading it. My Star Wars is about hope and heart. This Star Wars was about anger, and efforts doomed before they even get started, all with a side dish of gore.

The relationship of Free Ryloth leader Cham Syndulla and his contact within the Imperial ranks, Belkor Dray, strikes an interesting parallel with that of the Emperor and Vader. The mask concept had potential, too, before quickly becoming too blatant. Beyond that, though, there’s little to discover as you’re repeatedly hit over the head with way more tell than show and explanations that unfortunately make it seem like the audience can’t be expected to figure out anything themselves.

Again we’re in that period in between movies where we know that certain characters will make it out of this story, but Lords of the Sith is more successful than Heir to the Jedi in ratcheting up the tension. Here it’s more about bracing yourself for the inevitable and probably graphic deaths of certain characters. There’s a challenge in writing an all-seeing, all-knowing, invincible character like Palpatine. So it’s not that . . . → Read More: Lords of the Sith – Reviewed by Kay

7 Reasons to see Furious 7

Linda offers seven reasons to see the latest entry in the Fast & Furious movie franchise. . . . → Read More: 7 Reasons to see Furious 7

William Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace as Reviewed by Kay

The Star Wars prequel trilogy never grabbed me as much as the original did, so I wasn’t nearly as excited for William Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace as I was for the first three books that came out in Ian Doescher’s Shakespearean Star Wars series. Before I even started reading this latest edition, I felt like the novelty of crossing the two streams had finally worn off. But by the time I was twenty pages into the book, I found myself giddy all over again at recognizing references to some of my favorite Shakespeare plays and lines.

If I thought The Jedi Doth Return would be hard to stage, this one is even more of a challenge. There’s water, larger creatures, and legions of battle droids as well as lots of balcony scenes and even characters jumping on and off said balconies. Luckily most of the podracing takes place off stage. Meanwhile the Opee and Sando mini-monologues may have continued in the vein of the rancor and wampa, but announcing they were sent by other parties was a bridge too far.

And then there’s Jar Jar. Doescher adds layers to the character in a way that makes him far less grating than he was in the movies while harkening to Caliban mixed with Trinculo of The Tempest. It’s a welcome adjustment. Anakin also sounds far removed from the kid we saw in the movie, but I’m not sure if that’s as good a thing. Queen Amidala/Padmé is quite fittingly a . . . → Read More: William Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace as Reviewed by Kay

Kay Reviews Companion Piece

Companion Piece: Women Celebrate the Humans, Aliens and Tin Dogs of Doctor Who is the first Doctor Who piece of literature I’ve read since I dove into the world of Who in 2014. The dust is still settling from me getting all caught up on New Who so I hadn’t planned on getting into any books just yet, but when Mad Norwegian Press offered me the chance to do a review of this one I was too intrigued to pass it up.

As the title indicates all the essays in Companion Piece are written by women, but not all the essays are only about female characters from the show. Some pieces are critiques, some defenses; others are tributes, reflections, or clever analyses. And if one thing is certain, all of these essays were written out of love.

Going in I was unsure how much I would be able to appreciate the writings about companions from the Classic Era of Doctor Who as my knowledge of that part of the show is comparatively limited. But I found it all depended on the author’s focus. I did not enjoy every Classic-focused essay but I did walk away with a list of companions from early Who that I feel compelled to check out – and others I will probably avoid at all costs. People have made suggestions to me as to which Doctors I should watch from the early days, but not which companions.

Unsurprisingly I was more at home with the pieces . . . → Read More: Kay Reviews Companion Piece

Star Wars Rebels Season One Review

Reviewing the success of the first season of the animated television series Star Wars Rebels. . . . → Read More: Star Wars Rebels Season One Review

Kay Reviews Chappie

Kay reviews Chappie. . . . → Read More: Kay Reviews Chappie

Kay Reviews Heir to the Jedi

Kay reviews the newest Star Wars novel from Del Rey, Kevin Hearne’s Heir to the Jedi. . . . → Read More: Kay Reviews Heir to the Jedi