Solo: Finally

So this week we finally get Solo: A Star Wars Story.

I have been waiting for this movie for a lifetime it seems.
Since before it was announced.
Since before Rogue One, before The Force Awakens.
I have been waiting for this movie since 1977, since I first saw Han Solo kick the Millenium Falcon into hyperspace like a space cowboy.

While some have been enthralled from the start by the mysteries inherit in the Jedi Knights that did not do it for me. Luke was meant to be the great hero of Star Wars but he was always overshadowed by Han.

With each trailer I have gotten more and more psyched. There is always a concern whenever a new actor is put in a role made famous by someone else but I feel Alden Ehrenreich has taken to the role very well. He looks to be every bit the young, cocky scoundrel we have fallen in love with over the last forty years. Add to that the work Donald Glover does as Lando Calrissian you may have something special.

George Lucas gave us all a huge toy box to play with. Too often we barely touch the rest of that galaxy far, far away. That is what I loved about Rogue One-exploring the universe Star Wars has given us.

I do not need Jedi or Sith or the Force. I will gladly take smugglers, criminals, rascals.

Here is to Solo shooting first and hitting the target.

Coming Home

Life is a journey

Journeys end. Time comes for a man to find his way back home.

Before I sweep the cobwebs away and dust off my trusty typewriter (laptop) I have a story to tell.

I started The Pulp Chronicles in the summer of 2013. I had been doing some freelance sportswriting and I wanted a venue for some of my other writing endevours.

And write I did. I am still proud of the work I produced under this banner. But it was not easy writing here, doing my sportswriting, not to mention my day job that paid the bills. Something had to give, something needed to change.

So in 2015 I had a bright idea. I would create one site to put all my creative pursuits under. No longer would I have to run multiple sites, just distill it down to one with separate sections. OneTrueGeek.com was born. I could see it: Sports Geek, Comic Geek, Writing Geek, etc…

It simply never became what I envisioned. Life got in the way, writing did not come. One True Geek slowly withered away.

Last year some friends and I started a comic news and opinion site ComicBook-Underground.com (come take a look). I was writing again. I was not on my own anymore. A team of writers and editors talking about the things we love.

Still I found myself longing for more. Sometimes you need a place all your own. A place that feels like home.

So I returned to a place I loved. After I unpack a bit I hope to get right back to work. Talking about movies, writing and yes comics. And not just other people’s stories. I have my own to tell. It may take a while. I feel like I am chipping away at a grand canvas but I am sure that it shall be worthwhile.

And the journey begins…again.

Black Panther: We Are All The Same Tribe

black_panther_2018_4k-3840x2400(Originally published on ComicBook-Underground.com)

A movie is not always just about one thing. There are layers.
On the surface the Black Panther is an excellent superhero film. Well-acted and direct, with some stunning special effects. They brought the fictional nation of Wakanda to life before our eyes.
Chadwick Boseman and Michael B Jordan were perfect as two sides of the same coin. The Black Panther and Killmonger. It was a nice illustration of the sins of the father coming home. But that is not the whole story.
Director Ryan Coogler manages to weave multiple themes into one beautiful tapestry. There are minor missteps. Slight things that as a comic fan stood out to me but the average viewer might not even notice.
They explore some big ideas. And not just the low hanging fruit.
Yes, they explore the treatment of different ethnicities by those that wield power across the planet. Jordan’s character references the plight of slaves taken from Africa during the era of Colonization wanting to die a free man rather than live in a cage.
Beyond that they ask the question: Should those of us that have the means help the rest of the world? Is there a responsibility to care for our neighbors?
Can a world leader simply close their borders and ask everyone else on the planet to fend for themselves?
Yes, there is that temptation. The argument that it is not our problem, that we need to take care of our own house first.
This is a very ‘American’ question. It has come up time and time again and they do a nice job of framing their argument about it.
Ultimately we are all brothers across the world no matter how often we try to blow each other up. Taking care of each other is the only way we can take care of this Earth. Putting aside our own arrogance and selfishness to reach out with basic human compassion can save the world.
We are all the same tribe. We are brothers. We are sisters. We are family.
Time to act like it.

Christopher Reeve is Superman

christopher reeve

We now live in a renaissance of super-hero movies, two or more movies a year is common place. This was not always the case. In 1978 the first of the big screen super-hero movies would arrive. Superman: The Movie.

I happened to catch it on TV the other night, it still holds up. Yes, it is a little cheesy but that is ok. It has heart and a sense of hopefulness.

And it has Gene Hackman being a bucket full of awesome as usual. (Love Hackman, just love him.)

Most importantly though it had Christopher Reeve. For many, myself included, Christopher Reeve was Superman. He was the Superman we grew up on and he was the Superman we think of when someone mentions the movies. Yes other actors have played the part. George Reeves, Dean Cain, Brandon Routh, to the current actor Henry Cavill. They each brought something to the role but we keep returning to Reeve.

Christopher Reeve is Superman, emphasis on the ‘man’.

That is where some writers and filmmakers lose me. They get distracted by the incredible power of Superman that they forget about the man-part. Reeve is corny as you can get but it works. You absolutely believe that he was raised in Kansas and you believe that he could fly. If you were an all-American kid from Kansas who could fly you would be a little corny too. There is the gravitas that comes from such powers, but there is also the joy.

It often comes down to nature-versus-nuture. Yes Superman is a Kryptonian with fantastic powers, but he was raised on a farm in Kansas. This is no stranger in a strange land. Kansas is his home not Krypton. He is so human and you see that in Reeve’s portrayal. There is humour, but more important there is humanity.

Watching that first movie I remember what made so many love the character of Superman but more importantly his better half Clark Kent. Kal El is not the super one, it is always Clark.

The powers do not make him a hero but his humanity.

 

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy-buncha losers…

guardians

A talking raccoon and a tree walk into a bar…

I was sold on this movie from the get go. Not from the first scenes, not even from the first trailers they released. But from the very first I heard that the movie was being made. They had me from the word go.

When it was announced the Guardians of the Galaxy would star a walking tree of few words and a sarcastic raccoon many were beyond skeptical. Me, I thought it was brilliant. Yes I already had some familiarity with the characters, even without that I loved it.

It is fun. That is all. Fun. Too often movies miss out on that element of film-making, the joy.

What brought me in was not that we had another superhero movie, it was that it was a space hero movie. From Star Wars to Star Trek and beyond I love sci-fi and space movies. I cut my teeth on Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers on TV in the early eighties. More recently I found unending joy in Firefly and Farscape (one of the best sci-fi series ever), even if both series ended before their time.

There are no true superhero movies. You just have movies staring superheroes. It is that simple. Whether it is a cop movie or fantasy or action-adventure story, simply add a superhero and you have your superhero movie.

What made this awesome was taking superheroes and putting them in space. All the questions about realism go out the window, because you are already taking a leap of faith setting it in a far corner of the galaxy.

Guardians did a wonderful job of introducing unknown characters(to most of the audience) in short order. Even better it let you care about them. Yes it was heavy on the laughs, even in the face of danger. That is ok too. It is human, even if the characters are not.

Even after we get used to the jokes they managed to turn it around and shine a light on what loss these characters have suffered. Star Lord was taken from his home as a child, Gamora tortured and turned into a weapon by her adoptive father, Drax’s family was slaughtered, Rocket did not ask to be made and remade and experimented on. Groot is the purest of these characters. The best friend of Rocket he only speaks two sentences in the whole movie: “I am Groot” over and over again, and towards the end of the movie “We are Groot”. Groot had found his family. In the end they discover that they are each others family.

We all have been losers at one point or another. As Rocket said, “We all have dead people”. They come together because they are losers, people who have lost.

We could all learn something from these losers.

 

The Rise of Jar Jar

“Secrets. They define us, control us, they may free us or destroy us. We all have them, from the highest king to the lowliest of fools. Oh the fools they have the darkest secrets of them all.”

And it begins…

JarJar1

Ideas fall from the sky sometimes. They come from a sound, an image in the distance, sometimes they come from a friend. This one came from a picture of Jar Jar Binks, an image of him leading the Jedi in a future Star Wars movie. He suggested that they should make this movie, I of course had other thoughts.

My first thought, my first response was:

“Only if they kill him in the first 20 seconds…”

Jar Jar has always bothered me. He just irks me. For many critics of the prequel-series of Star Wars movies Jar Jar was the symbol for everything that was wrong with those very movies. I do not blame Jar Jar. The prequels have major issues for me but it is not Jar Jar’s fault. He just bothers me. Killing him off quickly would be nice, having him suffer a Kenny-like fate of repeated deaths would be even better. The very idea brings a smile to my face. It would be simple passive-aggressive revenge for the perceived failures of those movies.

Then I thought better of it. The joy of killing Jar Jar would be so fleeting, it did not do justice to the depth of my feelings on the matter. No, more was needed. We must redeem Jar Jar. In this case redeeming is not bringing a character back from the brink, but in making an worthwhile character out of a caricature. A villain he shall be.

This Jar Jar would be outrageously evil and vile. Only the most depraved actions would do. I am looking for behavior which would turn Jabba the Hutt’s stomach. Jar Jar is cute and funny, but the potential is there. Somehow this fool got elected to the Galactic Senate, he was even involved in giving Chancellor Palpatine the power necessary to overthrow the Senate. What if he was not a fool, what if it was just an act to cover his own scheming.

Hiding in plain sight he could direct a vast criminal empire. No one would suspect him, not Jar Jar. He might massacre Ewoks, torture Chewy (well until Han rescues him), worst of all he pumps helium into the room when Darth Vader is speaking. No one is safe. He would make a wonderful villain: horrifically sadistic, yet still obsessed with fart jokes. The possibilities are endless.

Someone has to fill the void left by the fall of the Empire. Why not the Dread Binks. I can see him now channeling Joe Pesci…

“Do I amuse you? Do I make you laugh..?”

After the rise of Jar Jar no one would laugh again…

The Journey Continues…

earthriseThe Ball has dropped…

Another year has passed. So many new memories good and bad. Adventures had and passed by. Time moves so quickly and at the same time not at all. Often it is a time for reflection, while we examine our journey. For the journey is so much more important than the destination. The destination is the goal, a finish line. The journey informs the whole of our souls.

Is it time to change our goals? Shall we wander off this path and explore new vistas? What new adventures await?

I am ready for them. I await new stories, new movies, new comics. Such wonderous new adventures.

This world is always full of possibilities. That is the promise of a new year, of each new day. While we look back fondly of what we have done it is nothing in comparison for what awaits.

So I close my eyes knowing it is a new world into which I shall awake. I so look forward to exploring all the lands that lay before me.

Won’t your come join me?