Why Ocean’s 8 Signals the Death of Strong Female Characters in Hollywood

So if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know I wrote two Ghostbusters articles related to the trailer and the film itself. This post is going to look at the upcoming film Ocean’s 8. The all-female reboot of the Ocean’s Eleven films. Let me once again (just for arguments sake) highlight that I’m not against female roles in films at all. The nature of this article is NOT to bash the female actors or having female lead characters or anything like that. Rather it is drawing attention to the lack of imagination in Hollywood and why these sorts of films do nothing to promote the idea of female lead characters and certainly shouldn’t be seen as supporting feminism. Just to warn you: I sometimes flip between referring to the females in question as actors and actresses. I don’t think it hugely matters either way.

 

Backstory

If you’re not familiar with the film: Ocean’s 11 was a 1960 film featuring Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. The version most people know is the 2001 remake featuring George Clooney and Brad Pitt. The story line essentially revolves around a heist: It follows 11 men as they rob a casino. Who would have thought you could sum up a film in 9 words. It grossed over $450 million worldwide and currently has a rating of 7.8 on IMDB.

In my opinion it’s a fun and entertaining film that has a decent (all be it fairly predictable) story but is light-hearted enough that you don’t have to take it too seriously. There is a great cast who seem to have great on-screen chemistry and while it is a reboot, Ocean’s 11 is one of the few remakes/reboots that actually do a much better job than the original.

 

The Hollywood Heist

So what is my beef with Hollywood over this one? Similarly to the Ghostbusters remake, there is a clear lack of vision and imagination. Ghostbusters did not need a remake at all! As a fan, I would have definitely gone to see a sequel featuring most of the cast but a remake just was not necessary. Who in the world is going to top Bill Murray as a Ghostbuster? The answer is nobody. Ever!  So by A) Giving it a remake/reboot (I’m honestly not even sure what it would be described as at this point) and B) Making it an all-female cast just to be different, was in my opinion a disgrace. I’m not going to focus on it too much because I covered my opinion extensively in my previous posts.

So why is it that Hollywood now feels that we need to remake a remake with an all-female cast? The simple answer: money. The 2001 film was undoubtedly a huge success, especially if you take the whole trilogy into consideration. There’s a change going on in Hollywood that is very noticeable: by putting females or minority groups into previously white-male roles you get the support of certain groups and it makes the film seem “progressive”.  Now, I’m not against this at all. I think many roles could be drastically improved by mixing it up: Idris Elba as James Bond would have been incredible. A female Doctor Who: less so. This probably makes me come across as sexist but hopefully once I explain what I mean you’ll see this is not the case.

 

Preference is not Sexism

Again, I’m going to try not to go wildly off topic here but the reason I don’t think there should be a female Doctor Who isn’t because I want to only see it as a male role. Rather, it’s because we literally just did that with the Master. Anyone who watches Doctor Who knows that in most cases, the companion is often just as important as the Doctor. Rose Tyler: Strong woman, Martha Jones: Strong woman, Donna Noble: Strong woman, Amy Pond: Definitely a strong woman…you get the picture. It’s not like these companions are damsels in distress. They are partners and they always play just as much a role, if not more than the Doctor.

Yet the BBC is trying to get that “progressive label”. That’s why the last companion was a black, gay woman. As I mentioned, we literally just had the Master become Missy and that was very well done (although John Simm is difficult to top).  For the record (because I feel like I can’t state it enough) I am ENTIRELY for female roles and diversification of roles. My issue isn’t with that at all. My issue is with doing it for the sake of doing it which is clearly the case with shows like Doctor Who (which, by the way, has been getting worse and worse over the recent years). I’ll come back to this point in a moment but for now, let’s get back on track.

 

Ocean’s 8

So what’s wrong with Ocean’s 8? Let’s start with the concept of the film. It’s not sexist to say that the idea of a heist is more male-oriented. I even carried out my own survey by asking completely random people if they’d go see a heist movie. While most males did say they would, most women said they would not (I’ll update this with the figures once I’m finished). So what benefit is there to forcing a cast such as this into a film that is almost definitely going to flop?

This takes us nicely onto the next issue: the cast. I could pick apart the cast of any film but this one in particular stands out. You have some incredible actors in it (and actually I probably will see this film just to see them in these roles) such as Sandra Bullock (she’s not my favourite but she is a good actor), Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter and of course Cate Blanchett. Olivia Munn is also listed as making an appearance but her role is yet to be confirmed (as far as I am aware). These are all incredibly gifted actors and this alone makes me want to watch this film. Sadly, everything else about it puts me off.

The rest of the cast is an example of this. My main pet peeve is having Matt Damon reprise his role in the film as Linus. This is a tactic that is used over and over again. We saw it in Ghostbusters, we saw it in Star Wars, we’ve seen it in films like The Hulk. Yes, when used correctly in can be a hilarious moment but in cases such as this it’s a desperate attempt to connect a film to its previously (and more successful) version. You also have Rhianna and Mindy fucking Kaling. When you have such incredible black actresses like Zoe Saldana, Halle Berry, Viola Davis or Paula Patton, why choose such irritating and just awful people such as these two? Rhianna can’t act and Mindy Kaling has a voice that actually is only comparable to that of Melissa McCarthy. That’s just an interesting coincidence.

 

My Deeper Concern

Similarly to Ghostbusters, my issue does not lie with the fact that it’s a female cast. My issue lies with the fact that we don’t need the film in the first place. I could give you an endless number of films that are coming out that just shouldn’t be getting made. The reason I’m focussing on this is because similarly to Ghostbusters, I’ve seen reports stating that automatically hating this film is sexist.

First of all, we just saw this film. I mean sure, 16 years may seem like a long time but here’s why it isn’t: Star Wars came out in 1977 and The Force Awakens came out in 2015. That’s 38 years between the films, more than double the time between Ocean’s 11 and Ocean’s 8. Yet fans were still all too aware of the fact that the storyline was essentially the same.

My next issue is with it being called Ocean’s 8. I haven’t read this confirmed anywhere and perhaps it’s just speculation…but could it be so that there is space for a trilogy? Ocean’s 8, 9, 10 followed by the 11, 12 and 13 that we already have? STOP! Ubisoft do it, Disney do it, DC do it…why is there this need to create the number of films so far in advance. It just leads to rushed final products, sloppy storylines and disappointed fans!

 

Why hating this film actually Supports Equality

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t view it as sexist to be against this film, Ghostbusters, a female Doctor Who, ETC. I actually think that my opinion is more supportive of female roles in films that those who will blindly go see it simply because it’s an all-female cast. Why? Because this is simply another desperate attempt by Hollywood to earn the “we use females in major character roles” badge. Look at some of the films that have been aimed at women recently: Ghostbusters was an absolute disgrace, Bad Moms and A Bad Mom’s Christmas that basically appeals to mothers who wish to escape from their children to party. How to be Single which was like a female “lad’s” movie and also just plain awful.

Meanwhile films that actually display abusive behaviour towards women such as the 50 Shades of Grey franchise are applauded, respected and smash the box office. Why? There are some incredible female roles in film and TV that people just seem eager to ignore. Peggy Carter in either her own series or Captain America where the role highlights some of the many difficulties faced by women in the workplace both then and now; Game of Thrones has some of the top female characters ever that repeatedly display brilliance and cunning over their male counterparts; Eleven in Stanger Things; Mulan; Jessica Jones; Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs is another example of a woman overcoming very real issues; Rey in the Force Awakens; you could say Katniss Everdeen but I thought those films were pretty poor; Dana Scully from the X-Files; Ripley from the Alien series; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; and not forgetting the brain box from Harry Potter: Hermione Granger. Not to mention upcoming characters like Captain Marvel and I’ve heard that Wonder Women is a great character although I’ve yet to watch the film.

THESE are roles that should be representing women within the entertainment industry. Original characters, original storylines and all of whom are strong and powerful characters: many of whom demonstrate the ability to overcome genuine issues faced by women today. Isn’t THAT what feminism should be promoting? Instead of these disgusting reboots of remakes where the female cast are simply stepping into the shoes of men?

 

Final Remarks

So hopefully you understand my point of view. I’m not against films like Ghostbusters and Ocean’s 8 because it’s a female cast. I’m against them because as films they suck ass (just predicting Ocean’s 8 here) but also as someone who completely supports equal rights (I’m not a feminist because I believe the movement has become toxic, a conversation for another time perhaps), I believe that films like this don’t give power to women or demonstrate powerful female characters. I think it’s simply an attempt to show that women can do what men can do…except that it’s based on films that don’t need to be rebooted and were better suited to a male cast. Bill fucking Murray, man!

 

As always, I appreciate being followed both here and on Twitter! I welcome any and all comments or criticisms and if you think that something I’ve said in this article is wrong or unfair, by all means let me know.

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Infinity War: The Perfect Intro to the X-Men (Fox & MCU Separate Universe Problem Solved)

With the recent news that Disney have bought over Fox, many movie fans are wondering what this means for the future of these individual franchises. Deadpool fans are worried that Disney will soften up the superhero to fit a more generic audience. X-Men fans are worried about how Disney will alter upcoming releases such as Dark Phoenix. One thing that most fans are without a doubt wondering is whether some of these much-loved characters will be entering into the MCU…and perhaps equally as important: how?

 

A Divided Universe

For those of you perhaps less comic-book oriented, you may be unaware that X-Men, Spiderman, Deadpool, The Fantastic 4 and The Avengers actually all belong within the same Marvel universe. The only reason we haven’t seen any of this happening within the cinematic universes is due to rights. I’ll take a moment just to break it down as simply as possible for you:

In one universe we have X-Men and Deadpool.

In another we have the Fantastic 4.

Thirdly, we have the MCU which Spiderman was not a part of until recently (although Spiderman still belongs to Sony and is sort of being shared as far as rights go for the movie character).

 

What WON’T Be Happening

Before you get excited at the possibility of all these characters uniting, don’t. Certain characters will be remaining ENTIRELY separate. The Fantastic 4 is a prime example of this. Regardless of rights, these characters will almost definitely NOT be entering into the MCU. With the 2005 cast, it perhaps would have made a little more sense as the films were more successful, the characters were better developed and ultimately, it could have worked . Perhaps not well as Chris Evans would have to have played both Cap and The Human Torch. But still…it could have been possible.

The issue we have with the reboot is that the exact opposite is true: the film was not successful, no matter how you look at it. The character development was beyond poor and ultimately, trying to fit them into the MCU without a complete recast would be disastrous. Sure, they could do a similar move as they did with Spiderman: Do a recast but skip the origin story. The problem is that while Spiderman is a loveable character and fits in perfectly well in the MCU, adding the Fantastic 4 would just be problematic. We don’t really need The Thing while we have the Hulk. Scarlet Witch has similar powers to Sue Storm and adding in a guy that can stretch and a guy on fire would just mess with what the Avengers are these days.

 

Deadpool

I’m sure all of us would love to see Deadpool appear against Thanos, even just for a moment. Just a punch or two in a very short-lived fight…or dare I say it: a few moments where Deadpool somehow ends up with the Infinity Gauntlet. The unfortunate truth is there is no way that Disney will allow Deadpool to set foot into the MCU. At least not in any significant way. He could very well exist within the universe and that could be acknowledged but I can’t see them going beyond that. Much in the same way that he won’t be having any major appearances in any X-Men films (X-Force being the exception).

The reasoning for this is rather simple: While the X-Men films can be quite graphic and intense (as far as comic book films go), they are ultimately family films much in the same way as the MCU. How do you fit an overly-sexual, foul-mouthed mercenary into all of that while keeping it kid-friendly? The simple answer: you don’t. Either the character would be compromised or the film’s rating would. Neither of which are likely to happen.

So I can see Deadpool making an appearance in the MCU but he won’t be a main character in any way. So what about the X-Men?

 

X-Men in the MCU

The X-Men are without a doubt going to be introduced into the MCU at some stage. They won’t be pitching up to fight Thanos (mainly because we have no real idea where the timeline is at these days and chances are they would want to recast some of the characters). The real question is if they would add them X-Men in (that’s almost  guaranteed) but rather how they would?

The answer is surprisingly simple really. We know that the X-Men won’t be appearing to fight Thanos BUT things are going to be seriously fucked up in the MCU by the time the 2nd Infinity War film ends. When you take all the infinity gems into consideration and all that they can do, the problem in the MCU is actually the solution to the MCU/Fox shared universe problem.

When Thanos destroys the universe and the Avengers put it back together, the universes could be crossed. There doesn’t need to be some hugely in-depth exploration as to how to why. We already know from films like Doctor Strange that varying dimensions exist. We also know from that and Days of Future Past that time travel is a reality within both these universes.

 

What Does this Mean?

Well, it means that rather than simply throwing the worlds together with no real explanation as to why mutants (and in fact the word itself) have never been mentioned in the MCU, we can piece together a storyline that not only makes sense but is actually interesting.

Just imagine it as a post-credits scene for Infinity War Part 2 (or whatever name they go for). The credits finish rolling and one of the avengers (probably not Cap or Tony as I’d imagine they’ll both be dead) is doing some arbitrary activity. In rolls Charles or some other iconic character (Deadpool or Wolverine would also be acceptable (although we won’t get Wolverine because of Hugh Jackman having ended the role)). You wouldn’t even have to explore what happened as such, you’d simply have to acknowledge that it DID happen.

 

Be sure and leave your questions and comments below! Don’t forget to follow me her and on Twitter!

Why I’m not a Film Theorist!

 

Who doesn’t love a crazy, yet bizarre film theory? Is Elf really a film about racism (or at least discrimination)? Why does Jack-Jack have the same hair as syndrome? Could the aliens from Monsters vs Aliens actually be part of a major conspiracy involving the infiltration of the white house? Is Tropic Thunder really the final film rather than the actual events that took place? Is Hot Tube Time Machine actually Lou’s second or third time travelling back to the 80s? What is the connection between Scooby Doo and Cabin in the Woods? Of course most of these films will have little to no evidence to support them.

These aren’t supposed to be super serious theories. This isn’t like the idea that Willy Wonka used children to make his chocolate or that all the Pixar films take place within the same universe. They’re just fun ideas I came up with (not remotely under the influence of marijuana, of course) and I figured I’d share them to see what you guys think so don’t take them too seriously and instead, just keep them in mind the next time you watch any of these films. Let’s dive right in:

 

Scooby in the Woods

This theory combines two ideas together: I’m sure all of you are familiar with Scooby Doo? Yes? Good! The live-action films will be the focus of this theory (although it does also relate to the cartoon). The other film that is involved in this theory is Cabin in the Woods. For those of you unfamiliar with Cabin in the Woods, it’s a sort of satirical take on the horror genre where the audience are represented by violent and cruel Gods who require human sacrifices to die in a terrifying and brutal fashion. In order for the sacrifices to count, the chosen 5 have to select their own death. In the film they choose a weird incest, red-neck zombie family to kill them. With me so far?

So there are 5 main characters in the film which relate to the 5 necessary sacrifices: you have the athlete, the scholar, the slut, the jester and the virgin. There are several rules that have to be followed in order for the Gods to accept the sacrifice, one of which being that the virgin has to die last. In Cabin in the Woods, there is a shady organisation that is essentially responsible for ensuring that the necessary sacrifices are made whenever the God’s demand it.

So how does all of this relate to Scooby Doo? Well the first thing that drew my attention to this comparison was the characters. Let’s look at the list of 5 suitable sacrifices: the athlete (Fred), the slut (Daphne), the scholar (Velma), the jester (Shaggy) and the virgin (Scooby). You may be wondering why I chose those roles for Shaggy and Scooby…well first of all, Scooby Doo does not have a dick (something my girlfriend pointed out to me) but also in the first Scooby Doo film, why is Scooby Doo chosen as a sacrifice? His soul is pure! Scooby is the virgin sacrifice who needs to die last in order for the Gods to be appeased.

That isn’t where the parallels end though. For starters, in Cabin in the Woods it’s the virgin and the jester who infiltrate the organisation where all the monsters come from. In Monsters Unleashed, the exact same thing happens. Shaggy and Scooby infiltrate the monster making factory in an attempt to put an end to the unleashing of the monsters. Furthermore, the athlete is taken down while on a motorbike which is true in both cases.

We can even take the entire comparison a step further. We can obviously view Mystery Inc as the chosen sacrifices. That much is clear. We can view the monsters as the monsters, again, a pretty straight forward comparison. What about the Gods? The Gods in Cabin in the Woods are supposed to be the viewers but in Scooby Doo its the public. We seen in both films that the public are very quick to appear whenever Mystery Inc are surviving/defeating the Monsters but when they are losing the Gods are hidden from view. So one could even argue that the “villains” who create the monsters in Scooby Doo are actually just trying to appease the Gods!

 

The Reproducing Man from Earth

I’m going to start off with a lesser known film: The Man from Earth. If you haven’t seen it before, you can find a trailer and some information (without spoilers) on my mind-fuck film list here! If you’ve seen it before then we can begin. So The Man from Earth follows John. He’s been many things throughout his immortal life (which I won’t list just in case someones eyes wander down here before they’ve seen the film. I can explain my theory without ruining the film anyway.

So John is immortal and he is asked about whether he has ever met anyone who is the same as him. He says he met somebody once and saw him again one other time but that he was lost in a crowd. When asked about love, John says that he has lost the capacity. I mean, after living thousands and thousands of years, how many loved ones has he lost? He’s lonely, even if he tries never to admit it, there are hints through his stories.

Eventually John must have grown sick of never finding anyone like him and so, he wondered if maybe his offspring shared his immortality. If he was an annomaly in nature, his offspring have an improved chance of also being the same. Even if the odds were low he had thousands and thousands of year to basically trial and error it. John had children, then moved away and then returned much later in their lives to see if they were old/dead.

How do we know this? At the end of the film we discover that Will (an elderly old man whose wife had died a few days previously) is actually the son of John the immortal man. It could just be coincidence that John ended up in the same place as his son…but considering how careful he seems to be when moving around, I don’t think this is the case.

So instead we have an immortal man who is travelling around impregnating women to try and find himself another one of his kind with whom he can travel and be less lonely. We see this idea being taken a step further when he allows Sandy to travel with him right after his son just died.

 

Elf

I have a couple of theories related to the film Elf. The much loved Christmas classic tells the story of Buddy the Elf. A human who was raised as an Elf before being sent back to New York to get his father off Santa’s naughty list. I’m not usually one for Christmas films (yes, I’m a Grinch!) but Elf is always highly entertaining!

So where does my theory begin? Well, right at the start of course. You may cast your mind back to similar stories such as Thor, where Odin take the child of a Frost Giant and raises it as his own son. There are slightly more sinister versions of the same story such as A Brave New World where a half-savage, half-cultured (if that’s even how you’d define him) boy is taken away from a world where he didn’t fit in…to a world where he still didn’t fit in.

I can’t help but think about the song “Half-Breed” by Blue Swede. The song revolves around a half-Cherokee, half white man who was never accepted by the Cherokee tribe he was born into but was always seen as a Cherokee by white people. I think this is a similar story to Elf. We view it as a ridiculous comedy about an Elf but what if there was a serious message behind it?

Buddy didn’t ask to be raised an Elf. He may have crawled into Santa’s bag but he was essentially kidnapped from the orphanage. He is raised in a world where magic is real and penguins and snowmen can talk. He grows up wearing the Elf attire, eating Elf food (mostly sugar), being incredibly friendly to everyone and helping Santa throughout the year so that he can deliver presents at Christmas. Yet when Buddy arrives in New York, despite the fact that he isn’t causing anybody any harm, he is ridiculed, belittled, treated like an idiot (he does essentially have the mind of a child) and struggles to fit in.

Think about it: he sings to his father because of a misunderstanding. He is told that that’s what is expected of him yet when he does it, he gets thrown out. He tries to make friends (with animals and people alike) only to be attacked or ignored. Smiling too much is even seen as annoying and soon he is instructed to do it less. The food he eats is seen as weird and bizarre, his excitement at Christmas seems over-the-top to the point that his “boss” thinks Corporate sent a professional. His friendliness is often seen as creepy (such as the shower scene) when really he just wants to spread happiness throughout the world.

So what is Elf? It’s the film about accepting those who are different than us. People may seem a little weird to you: their clothes may look ridiculous or rarely be washed, their food may seem strange or even inedible to you, their behaviours and attitudes come across as a little crazy but if we accept them as simply another human being trying to fit into our already crazy world then we learn the true meaning of Christmas and family.

I also had an idea that Buddy could perhaps have escaped from a cult or religion that he was indoctrinated into as a child. Perhaps there is no Santa or elves but these are just how Buddy’s child-like mind deals with the sudden return to reality. Nobody can really understand why he acts so strange but he’s been raised in “Elf culture” and after escaping, there was nobody to ease him back into the world. It’s sort of like that TV show where Amish teenagers go out into the world for the first time and have no idea what anything is or how to behave.

What do you think? Looking into a Christmas film a little too much? Maybe, but it doesn’t get any more sane from this point onwards.

 

Hot Tub Time Machine

My theory here is related to one of the main characters: Lou. If you haven’t seen the film, it’s a rather moronic tale of 3 friends and one of their nephews who travel through time via a hot tub to the 80s and proceed to interact with life then/there. I enjoy the film but it’s not great by any means and is mildly entertaining at best! That being said, the last time I watched it I noticed some very bizarre moments.

The main character Lou is seen as the deadbeat. His attempted suicide at the start is ultimately what leads to the group going on a skiing trip. My theory is this: Lou has been back in time this way before. If you’ve seen the film then this may sound a little ridiculous but bear with me!

Lou (we learn near the end of the film) is the father of Jacob. Jacob’s mother, also Adam’s sister is staying at the same ski resort as the guys. She’s in the same lodge as the enemy of Lou (Blaine). Anyway, for Lou to sleep with Adam’s sister and thereby create Jacob, he has to be at the same lodge as Blaine, who had just beaten Lou up twice (one of these times being slightly earlier that evening).

Lou is terrified of Blaine, even as an adult who has just travelled through time so in the original timeline he wouldn’t have been anywhere near that lodge and therefore nowhere near Kelly (Adam’s sister and Jacob’s mother). The only reason that they end up in the lodge is to get the Chernobyly (the energy drink that was basically responsible for sending them back in time).

This is what I think happened: I think Lou’s life was as awful as it appears in the film. He hates himself and everyone around him and comforts himself with drugs and alcohol (which is also a drug but I just wanted to be clear that alcohol was involved). Originally (let’s say in timeline 1) Jacob doesn’t exist. Lou, in a desperate attempt to reclaim his youth and reconnect with his best friends (only friends) tries to organise a ski. Adam is “super busy” (as is described in the film) and Nick doesn’t want to go without Adam (or alone with Lou) and so Lou, despite having booked the hotel room that was the same one they’d gone to before as young adults, takes the trip alone.

After getting drunk, taking drugs and ultimately ending up alone in his hot tub, Lou tries to drown himself. However, he wakes up in the 80s and comes to terms with the idea that somehow, he has travelled through time. In an attempt to change the future, Lou doesn’t walk into Blaine and therefore doesn’t get his ass kicked later that day. Lou parties hard, thinking that by changing this one moment of his past, he’ll have altered his life in the present drastically.

Eventually Lou ends up back in the present: nothing has changed at all (well, maybe some small things but for arguments sake, let’s say that this is still the same as timeline 1 i.e. Jacob doesn’t exist). He tries to tell his friends Adam and Nick about what happened, to bring them in so that they can explore the idea as a group again but they just don’t care. Lou angrily travels back to the 80s and goes around messing with the timeline. He convinces Adam to break up with Jenny, he sabotages Nicks performance and he sleeps with Kelly. Blaine, perhaps through jealousy decides to kick Lou’s ass because of this and when he returns to the present, a lot has changed.

This is timeline 2. He realises that Jacob exists in this universe and that’s why he hates Jacob so much. He resents this kid who is basically the symbol of his repeated fuck-ups. Jacob is a symbol of Lou’s guilt for ruining his friend’s lives (that’s why the film constantly asks the question of why Adam ever broke up with Jenny). In an attempt to change things, Lou travels back again but for some reason, whenever he travels back now the same events occur: Adam still breaks up with Jenny and Nick still performs poorly on stage. Lou doesn’t sleep with Kelly and as such, realises that Jacob is his son when he returns to timeline 3 which is another timeline where Jacob doesn’t exist.

In one final attempt, Lou travels back and sleeps with Kelly. He doesn’t consider staying in the 80s to live his life through to the present and as such, when he returns, Kelly isn’t a part of his life and neither is Jacob. So this time he is convinced to take his friends with him on yet another journey into the past. He knows from trying before that they won’t go willingly and so, he fakes a suicide attempt.

This is where we get into the events of the film. Lou doesn’t like Jacob, that much is true. He doesn’t want Jacob to come to the past with him because he’ll see how much of a loser his father was. He also doesn’t want Jacob being immune to any time changes. You’ll notice that his attitude starts to change towards Jacob once they are back in the 80s. They start to bond (yes, they almost have a threesome) but he just wants his kid to not be a loser like him.

Lou realises he needs to recreate the moment with Kelly which is why he starts laying groundwork early in the film. However, the mistake he makes is that he is convinced that his friends are on his team this time. They HAVE to help him fight Blaine this time. Don’t they? Lou thinks that Blaine is his demon that needs to be beaten. He can change his life around by not running and not getting his ass kicked. But Lou gets his ass kicked again and what’s worse, the chernobyly gets taken.

Lou has no plans to go back to the present and actually doesn’t really care if the guys go either. One thing he does know is that for his family life to begin, he and Kelly have to conceive Jacob. So when the others are busy searching for the Russian energy drink, Lou focuses on looking through Kelly’s stuff. He knows fine well that it isn’t there but assumes she will come back at some stage.

Everything else that happens is just what happens: Lou stays to spend time with Kelly, Jacob and to get rich (of course). He’s also helped the guys fix their mistakes and now he gets what he really wanted: his friends back.

 

Jack-Jack: Son of Syndrome

This one may sound a little whacky but it’s all just fun and games. I’m sure you’ve seen The Incredibles. If you haven’t then what are you still doing reading this? Go watch it…now! Anyway, you will of course be familiar with the Parr’s youngest child: Jack-Jack. We get to see some glimpses into his powers during the short Jack-Jack attack. However, I recently noticed that Jack-Jack doesn’t really look like his father. Instead, he resembles the villain: Syndrome.

We know that Syndrome has been watching a bunch of superheroes. We also know that Mr Incredible was his hero as a child. Essentially he was the reason that he went from being Incredi-boy to Syndrome. Why is this important?

Well, we have the scene where Syndrome acts surprised when he sees the Parr family all together. What if he wasn’t surprised? What if through his technology, Syndrome somehow planted his own DNA either into Mrs Incredible OR one step further: allowed the superhero genes of Mr and Mrs Incredible to merge to insure the kid had super powers BUT he also inserted his DNA in as well. Just look at the hair: Mr Incredible has blonde hair. Dash has blonde hair. Mrs Incredible has dark brown hair. Violet has dark hair. What about Jack-Jack? Ginger. Not only ginger but, look at the style. It is pointed up exactly like Syndrome’s. You may be thinking back to Syndrome as a kid when his hair didn’t look anything like that…but you have to keep in mind that his entire image was styled after Mr Incredible. So he flattened his hair in the same way.

Now this could just be a coincidence. Maybe they were just trying to cover as many hair colours within the Parr family to show that the powers are the result of a mutation and that the same mutations take place within other aspects of their genes. It could also just be a coincidence that Syndrome went home, collected Jack-Jack and planned to raise him as his own. It could even be that Jack-Jack is in some ways a clone of Syndrome but with the power-elements of Mr and Mrs Incredible. That way, even if Syndrome dies there will be a version of him with powers in the world. Something he’s always wanted.

 

The_Incredibles_-_Syndrome_-_Renderdownload

 

The Alien Conspiracy

Monsters Vs Alien is the exciting tale from Dreamworks about…well…Monsters Vs Aliens. This is a pretty minor theory but I think that it’s somewhat interesting. Ever notice that the symbol for the Monsters is the same shape as the alien spaceship? Interesting!

I haven’t fully developed this theory yet but I think it has something to do with Operation Bluebeam. What is this you ask? Let me explain. Operation Bluebeam is a conspiracy theory based around NASA. This theory relates to the use of hologram projections to convince people that the anti-Christ is taking over the world. Interestingly, there are variations of it with some conspiracy theorists claiming that the real plan is as follows:

NASA or their puppet masters (Operation Bluebeam is not something I buy into, I’m just explaining it the way that I heard it) would create an alien invasion through the use of projections. I don’t mean that they visually create an alien invasion…but rather they project holograms all around the world as if they are coming from a mothership. This “aliens” then threaten the destruction of Earth unless the human race agrees to be subservient. The nations that agree are then ruled through this method of projection. Those that don’t are destroyed through entirely terrestrial means.

In the film, the commander of the monsters has never had an opportunity to display their value. Much like the monsters, he has been locked away in a government facility until such a time as he is needed. As such, he convinces Dr Cockroach to assist him. In exchange for their freedom, Dr Cockroach must create the means to project an alien hologram around the world. He also has to create a mothership and giant alien robots. After all, Dr Cockroach has been locked up for decades at least. He can make anything out of anything.

The goal of this operation from the general’s point of view is to get into the White House. Not in as such (he can get in using codes and scans) but he needs a seat at the table, to be respected by his peers and to look good in the eyes of the president. (I couldn’t find a good photo of the alien space ship from above or below but i’m sure you see it from such an angle in the film and it looks exactly the same as the logo (left).

 

Tropic Thunder

This isn’t so much a theory as it is a realisation. Tropic Thunder opens with the information “…of the 10 men sent, 4 returned. Of those 4, 3 wrote a book. Of those 3, 2 were published. Of those 2, just 1 got a movie deal. This is the story of the men who attempted to make that movie.” We then assume that the film goes on to show the process of the film being made…BUT in actuality it’s the film of that film being made.

Everything in the film is dramatized for effect. The real director didn’t step on a mine, they just added that in. The war hero 4-leaf wasn’t a fake; they just needed a new twist. In the actual events of them making the film, chances are very little happened. A lot of money was wasted (similar to the start) and so the director takes them to the jungle and sets up cameras. The original film was filmed this way with 5 actors wandering through the jungle, trying to survive, acting out scenes as they went. Perhaps they get into some trouble but nothing to the scale of the film. When they get out, the film is a disaster.

Instead, they re-do the making of the film with all the drama and thrill and adrenaline pumping gunfights, drug addictions, deaths, character development etc. Focussing on the actors instead of the character they were supposed to be portraying.

 

Anyway, that’s my list of random “theories” that I’ve come up with. Pretty ridiculous, huh? I sometimes think it is fun to just randomly add a twist to films when you notice small details out of place.

 

If you have any of your own, feel free to post them below or Tweet me your ideas. Don’t forget to follow me here and on Twitter to be kept up-to-date with my blog posts, short stories and any updates on my novel! Peace!

Infinity War: Half a Conclusion

Just a reminder to check out my most recent guest writer appearance: this time on Mental Health Matters where I look at my own battle with anxiety. You can follow me on Twitter here. I will soon be moving some content to a new blog. My entertainment posts (films, games, random theories, etc will stay here. My travel and mental health posts will move to the new one. I’ll keep you updated! Anyway, let’s get to Avengers: Infinity War!

 

Avengers Infinity War: My Hopes and Concerns

As a fan of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) I’ve been following this storyline since Iron-Man back in 2008! I’ll admit, the road has had its fair share of ups and downs but in this article I’m going to share my opinion of some of the surprises I had along the way (both good and bad) and why I’m slightly concerned about the two Infinity War films (yet ever optimistic). I’ve found that a pretty consistent rule I can follow goes something like this: If an MCU film excites me then it’s going to suck. If I think it’s going to suck then I’m usually pleasantly surprised.

 

Let’s start with the Lows

Within the MCU there have certainly been some gems (other than infinity gems) but there have also been some incredible disappointments. Within the universe itself, there are certainly some characters that are more “main” than others. Iron-Man, Thor and Captain America all have their own trilogies. For me, the Thor trilogy was pretty disappointing. Both he and Loki are two of my favourite characters but the story just sort of repeated itself through all three films. The first Thor film was perhaps the best of the three but in all honesty, the other two were pretty disappointing considering all the characters they had to work with.

Of course, we can’t talk about the lows of the MCU without addressing Age of Ultron. The trailer to this day is still one of my favourites. This idea of an AI cutting its master’s strings in order to bring its own skewed version of peace to Earth sounds fascinating. The creepy version of the Pinocchio music was a great touch. Up until this stage the Avengers had been invincible and it was let slip that at least one of them wouldn’t make it to the end of the film. Ultimately what we got was a cheesy AI, the family-tale for Hawkeye (which I could easily have lived without) and the death of an Avenger (if someone who joined the Avengers that day counts). Personally, I would have killed Hawkeye: Especially after forcing us to jump into his God-awful personal life.

 

Then Move onto the Highs!

Where to begin? I guess let’s start with the Captain America films. The first film we got was ok. I was never a huge fan of the character and while I found the first film pretty enjoyable to watch, I never imagined he would become my favourite character (or one of). When The Winter Soldier came out, the trailer looked awful. I couldn’t have been less interested in the film and I didn’t go to the cinema to see it. This happened to be at the same time in my life where I was reading about corrupt governments, shady organisations and other issues that ran parallel to the film. So when I did eventually see it, it was incredible. To this day it has one of my favourite fight scenes. Civil War was very entertaining but the story itself could have been a lot better. Still though, a great watch!

Speaking of Civil War, we can’t talk about the highs without mentioning Spiderman. The web-slinger was welcomed back into the MCU in 2016 with an appearance in the Cap vs Iron-Man battle. I was incredibly doubtful of Tom Holland: Mainly because I’d always pictured Andrew Garfield as fitting in perfectly with the cast…that being said, Tom Holland did an incredible job and I loved Spiderman: Homecoming. I mean THANK THE LORD that we didn’t need to see the origin story again. That was an amazing move!

Then there are the entries that while not being films, do exist within the MCU. One example of this would be Marvel’s Agents of Shield. This came out just before The Winter Soldier and I couldn’t have cared less. That is until I happened to catch an episode or two where shit hit the fan and Hydra turned on Shield (it was actually what led to me watching The Winter Soldier). Since then I’ve been a huge fan. The show, similar to the films has had its highs and lows but I thoroughly enjoy it and look forward to seeing where it goes.

Infinity War

So this brings us to Infinity War. A film that is divided up into two parts but is ultimately the conclusion of 10 years of storytelling. I’m usually against this idea of dividing films up. It was OK in Harry Potter because there was a giant book to explore but every other film series that has done it since has just milked the idea. You usually have the first part of the film ending on a cliff-hanger where the heroes look like they’ve lost and you start to wonder how the hell they’ll make it through…but they do. Film makers have caught onto this though. So now, in the same way that films stop being numbered, you now also avoid numbering the two-parter films. So what was originally set out to be Infinity War part 1 and part 2 is now Infinity War and something else.

Similarly, Justice League part 1 and part 2 will now be given separate names. This is to make you feel less ripped off. I won’t get into DCEU right now but their idea is to skip the huge build up and instead cram what Marvel did in 10 years into 2 films. Essentially one film brings 3 characters together and the other brings the rest…and the villains. Marvel will most likely spend the entire first part of Infinity War showing just how powerful Thanos is. The Avengers will get a couple wins (probably against the Children of Thanos) but will ultimately get defeated at the end. The one in 2019 will show more new characters come into play (I’d imagine) and give us what should be an incredible end to this sage. Before Phase 4 that is.

 

Let the Worrying Commence

So why am I worried? Well, I’m slightly concerned that we’ll get a regurgitation of the first two Avenger films. When we first saw the Avengers Assemble, it made sense that they were fighting hordes of enemies and it worked really well. But then we got to Age of Ultron and watched them initially struggle to fight like 5, semi-destroyed Ultron bots only to then face hundreds of much more advanced bots with ease (for the most part). I mean it’s great, you get to see the heroes work together, get cool kill-shots, make use of their huge range of powers…but it does become a bit tiresome.

I’m worried that they’ll focus too much on giant fight scenes. I mean obviously it’s called Infinity War for a reason but there will be a line that I’m hoping they don’t cross. The last things we want is for 10 years-worth of story-telling to end in a weak boss battle. This brings me onto my other concern: while I assume (as I mentioned earlier) that Thanos will destroy potentially everything by the end of the first film, I’m still worried that it might be a little too easy for the Avengers/Guardians to defeat him when the time comes.

After all, this is a character who has been seen as more powerful than Loki or Ronan or any other number of characters who have proved a challenge for their respective foes. So when we have Thanos WITH infinity gems and the infinity gauntlet, his children and imaginably some form of army, we really do need to see the heroes being knocked down as low as they can possibly go. Not “oh the Hulk destroyed some buildings and the witch gave us flashbacks” defeated but actually all the way down to the bottom. We need to seem them properly questioning defeat: A moment where nobody says anything clever or cocky or optimistic.

 

A Little Look at Loki

Speaking of heroes, let’s talk about Loki for a second. As I mentioned during my ramblings about Thor, the Loki-Thor relationship has repeated itself over and over again. Put simply: Loki tricks Thor. We saw this happen again in Thor: Ragnarok only for Loki to seemingly redeem himself by coming to the rescue and sticking by Thor’s side at the end. However, the tesseract makes its way into the Infinity War trailer (in Loki’s hands no less after him seeing it in Odin’s vault) and as such, I’m worried that Loki will fit into his same role as the previous films and ultimately turn on the heroes only for it to backfire on him. As we are BOUND to lose some characters in this film, I really hope Loki isn’t one of them. As such, I’m hoping he appears to betray Thor and the others only for it to be a double cross. If I could choose one character not to die, it would be Loki!

Death is another issue. We know that most, if not all of the main line-up will be returning for the 2019 sequel…so where does that leave us with Thanos and his destructive force? If NOBODY dies then that’s a bit too “fairy-tale story” but obviously if they all die then there’s nobody left to save the universe in the next film. My concern is that we won’t lose enough characters. I LOVE most of the characters in these films but some of them have to go for dramatic effect. How long can plot armour (and film contracts) really protect them? I figure for sure Cap is going either in 2018 or 2019. I also fear that Loki might join him.

 

The Death List

So who would I sacrifice to the mighty Thanos and who would I keep? Good question. My preferred death list would go something like this (in no particularly order): Definitely Hawkeye! Vision can go. Rhodes could as well but I feel like if they were going to kill him off, they would have just had it happen in Civil War…unless him not dying was important to avoid an irreparable rift. Anyway, Black Widow is sort of a grey area. The character has been a lot of fun and while I don’t hope that she dies, I wouldn’t shed a tear if she did. Falcon is another character that I don’t wish death upon but wouldn’t care a great deal about.

Unfortunately, due to film announcements we knew who won’t be dying (although if Marvel were clever they’d throw in a red herring here and there). We have Ant-Man and the Wasp coming out in 2018 but after Infinity War. We have a Spider-man sequel in 2019 so we know that he survives both films. Guardians Vol.3 will also be out after both films but that’s not to say that all of them will survive. I doubt that Quill will die or Groot but everyone else is fair game, especially given Drax and Gamorra’s personal vendettas against Thanos.

 

Will we lose the Main Three?

As for the main characters? As I said, I think Captain America could be a goner in one of these films. We’ve seen him go from loyal soldier to outlaw but his arc certainly seems to be reaching its end. Since Bucky is also going to be making an appearance, it could be that the mantle of Captain (and the shield) makes its way to him. Iron-Man is a difficult one. I’ve heard rumours of an Iron-Man 4 but quite frankly, I’m not sure what else they can do. I don’t want Tony Stark to die as Robert Downey Jr is a much needed comic relief in the films but at the same time, I’d rather he died than outgrew the role. I mean after defeating a terrorist network, his mentor: Obadiah, poisoning, Ivan Vanko (and Hammer industries), Loki and his army, The Mandarin and his super soldiers, Ultron, and ultimately Thanos…what else is there?

Then there is Thor to consider. I certainly pray to Odin that they don’t try to make a fourth Thor film but who knows. I could see Thor dying as well but then who would rule over Asgard? Would Loki perhaps live and finally get the throne he’d been so desperate to sit on? I don’t think that Thor will die after getting the symbolic eyepatch (or perhaps not so symbolic) just like his father but with Asgard (in the literal sense) destroyed and not many survivors left, could these two films end it altogether? This could be an opportunity to scratch Asgard and its people off the map entirely.

 

So what does this all mean?

All in all, I think it would be difficult to mess this two-parter up as badly as Age of Ultron but never say never! I just hope that by the end of the 2019 film, we have a proper conclusion. When Avengers ended, the group just sort of dispersed to do their own thing with the same thing happening after Age of Ultron. We had stand-alone films after both though and with the cast list growing larger and larger, there won’t be space to have all these characters existing in the same universe. Since this is meant to be the finale (in a manner of speaking) I just hope that we don’t have like 15 or more characters hopping into cars, spaceships or bi-frost beams (well, perhaps not that last one anymore) at the end with no real explanation for what is going on.

Yes, it will be sad to lose some of the characters but if Game of Thrones has taught us anything: watching a Stark getting stabbed at a wedding makes for incredible entertainment!

 

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Star Wars Episode VIII: The First Order Strikes Back

So this post is going to be a sort of combination of two things. Primarily it’s my current expectations for the next Star Wars film but it’s also a rant about the use of trailers. I haven’t seen the film yet so don’t worry about there being spoilers. Everything I saw is based on the trailers or my own predictions.

Speaking of which: Remember when you watched a trailer and thought “wow, that looks interesting” whereas now you watch it and basically get the entire idea of the film. I bet if they released The Empire Strikes Back today, the trailer would end with Vader saying “No, I am your father…”

 

Star Wars So Far

What can be said about Star Wars that hasn’t been said before? Nobody can deny the fact that it’s an incredibly interesting saga and obviously a successful one. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have glaringly obvious flaws! Whether you look at the inconsistencies, the average storyline or the predictability Star Wars in a sense is eye-candy. It’s great to look at it, it’s great to think about but is it perfect? No. In fact the closer you look, the more you realise that the effort should have been moved away from the special effects a little and more towards a competent storyline.

I won’t get into a whole original vs prequel trilogy debate beyond this paragraph as I think I can sum it up that quickly. The original trilogy was awesome because of the characters. The special effects may have been good for back then but they aren’t now and yet, people still love the films. If you can overlook the Empire essentially being defeated by stone-age bears then sure, the storyline was ok. The prequels on the other hand, look pretty fantastic (for the most part) but again, the storyline just isn’t that great. They had a target they had to aim for but somehow the arrow they fired went up and down, left and right, curving all over the place before getting there.

I think that these new films are a chance to retell that story without being predictable: something I’ve yet to see happen. The Force Awakens was cool but nobody can deny that it was exactly the same plot as the original Star Wars. Even Mark Hamill has come out and said that they’re all about the money. There is no heart or soul going into it anymore, they’re basically playing to the most generic audience to try and make the most money. More on that later! For now, let’s talk trailers.

 

What’s with the Revealing Trailers?

Something that I’ve noticed happening more and more recently is revealing major plot points in the trailers. The Simpsons movies was the earliest example of this for me. All the funny moments were in the trailer so when you watched the film, it felt like you’d seen it before. Thor: Ragnarok…Wow! Can you imagine how much better that film would have been if you never expected Hulk to appear? In the film they even go into it as if the audience is going to be shocked.

Every single trailer had the Hulk in it! I would LOVED to have seen that film without knowing such details. I wish trailers could go back to being teasers. Enough to interest you and get the excitement pounding at the inside of your chest like you’ve just recently encountered a face-hugger. Rather, we get the movie in bitesize form.

It’s like all the big reveals you get now before things are even released: all in an attempt to build up hype but why? Do they seriously think people wouldn’t go see Thor without Hulk or go and see Star Wars without seeing so much of the film in the trailer? Recently they announced that there is a “big shocking moment of truth” in the upcoming Star Wars film…couldn’t they just let us find that out for ourselves?

I remember when we were nearing the start of the 6th season of Game of Thrones. I was late to watching the show (the 5th season was halfway through when I played catch-up) so I’d never had to deal with trailers for it before. I remember watching the first trailer, thinking to myself “wow, this is incredible” and then slowly realising that I now knew pretty much the entire storyline. I mean the trailer was practically the whole season just squashed into a minute.

This is also when I realised just how ridiculous the idea had become. For Game of Thrones season 6, we got something like 3 teaser trailers. If it had ended there it would have been great. Then we got a slightly longer one. Followed by maybe 3 more? 4? 5? For season 7 I avoided every single trailer I could. When it came on TV I looked away. When YouTube recommend it, I avoided it. Quite frankly, I enjoyed this season a lot more. So let’s look at the Star Wars trailer.

 

Why Star Wars is going to be average!

If you’re a Star Wars fan then you’ve most likely seen the trailer. Star Wars Episode 8: The Empire Strikes Back…Again? It’s so blatantly copying the structure of episode 5 and yet, people are losing their shit at the idea! I can guarantee you that they’ll try and top the father reveal from Episode 5 and guess what; it’s going to be awful. Other than the trailer, I’ve avoided everything I can in relation to the new film.  Why? Because I’m still eager to go and see it. My expectations may be low but I have hope. Not a new hope mind you, just a slowly fading away hope.

This is why I think these new films are flawed. In episode 7 we had the same thing. Oh look, Han Solo is killed, of course. Any guesses as to whether Leia dies on episode 8? What about Luke in episode 9? That isn’t the issue though. They’re using too much symbolism of light vs dark and while it worked for the older films, they’re missing their shot with these ones.

I mean let’s take the trailer apart a little. You have what is essentially the assault on Hoth. In fact, if you look closely in the trailer, you’ll see that the same ATATs are still being used. Where they got them from is a question I’d love to have answered. It’s good to see that 30+ years has led to the machines now walking like apes.

We already know we’re going to have a Yoda-Luke training parallel here so that’s hardly a shock. Part of me hopes that when Luke says “I’ve seen this raw strength only once before” that is isn’t talking about Kylo. After Kylo being beaten pretty easily by an untrained Rey in the previous film, that would just be an embarrassing moment.

 

Let me Use the Force to Glimpse the Future

Here’s my prediction and it could be completely wrong: Rey is going to train with Luke. We see that much from the trailer. She’s going to reach a point where she has to leave to save her friends. Despite having been in the same situation himself, Luke will try to convince her not to go. Eventually she will and it will lead to her confrontation with Kylo Ren. Rey is going to use her anger and it will become hatred. Ultimately, she will join the darkside through manipulations from Snoke. There are rumours that we get a force ghost in this so my prediction would be that Anakin convinces Kylo Ren to come back to the light side of the force. Then there will be this big dramatic change where Rey is now bad and Kylo is good. I don’t think Luke will die in this film. If he doesn’t, he’ll definitely die in the next one though.

The film will end with an evil Rey. I wouldn’t even be shocked if she ends up being the one who kills Leia or Luke. I’d say Finn but there is absolutely no way that Disney is killing one of only two or three black actors. Speaking of Finn, you’ll also notice from the trailer that he gets another mock-lightsabre fight. The first one was bad enough but now he fights like that again? And with Phasma no less…

My only alternative theory is that Rey might not turn to the Dark Side but she will pretend to. Her plan will be to get close to Kylo and Snoke in order to infiltrate the First Order and shut them down from the inside. The First Order will then reveal that they have a reason for doing what they’re doing and in fact they aren’t just a galactic dictatorship.

 

Side Theory

I think there will be many throwbacks to the previous trilogies in this one, most likely in an attempt to fix plot holes and continuity errors. However, I do think that this could be an interesting opportunity for them to advance the storylines from the prequel trilogy.

When you watch the prequels again and get past some of the awful acting and bad writing, you realise that there was a point to Anakin’s view of things. He wasn’t in the right by joining the Emperor but he was in the right about the Jedi and their view/involvement in things.

This will take us back to Episode 5 where Luke enters the cave and decapitates Vader only for this mask to explode and reveal his own face. Luke becoming Vader is less symbolic of him becoming evil and more symbolic of him realising the truth of the Jedi: that they had become a corrupt organisation. Luke seeks isolation because he realises that Vader was right all along (despite going about it the wrong way) and he can’t come to terms with that. Sure, his isolation appears to be due to Kylo Ren and perhaps that was the trigger.

What if there becomes a new rule of two for the Jedi? Whenever there are too many Jedi, there also ends up being unbalance in the force (quite literally) and so things have to be reset. This would stick to the prophecy: Anakin DID bring balance to the force and he did destroy the Sith!

Now there is a new enemy that spawns from the attempt to create more Jedi. The imbalance leads to one of the pupils being tilted towards the Dark Side. Leia claims it was Snoke who lured Kylo Ren to that side but what if it was the Dark Side itself? We know the force is an energy that surrounds everything but also that to some degree, it has consciousness, even if through the deceased Jedi.

What if we take this one step further and view the force vs the dark side as being quite literally light vs dark…but it is in fact the same thing. The light side of the force is the dark side and the dark side is the light side. One energy that needs to remain in balance. Luke realises this and flees. Perhaps he knew that the force would one day bring someone to him but he needed to be patient. I mean it could also be a Lost type scenario where you literally have white vs black exploding out your ears.

 

My Hope for the Future

I wish I could say that I hope episode 8 and 9 will be incredible and take the saga to a whole new level of entertainment. Sadly, I’m not super optimistic and so my hope lies in the other films. I was never ever ever ever ever a fan of the idea of bringing the Star Wars films back. I was even less of a fan of their anthology films…but Rogue One actually changed my mind about that. Out of all the films so far that was the one I imagined I’d hate the most. I mean as far as I was concerned, we really didn’t need to bridge between episode 3 and 4.

I was pleasantly surprised. I mean they still made it super cheesy and I feel like it could have been a lot better but still, pleasantly surprised. My initial thoughts on a Han Solo film are about the same but I’m coming round to the idea. An Obi-Wan Kenobi film is DEFINETLY something I can support. Seeing Ewan McGregor back in the role would allow me to forgive the Star Wars saga for some of its mistakes.

That being said, I heard recently that it might be a prequel. If it’s a prequel and NOT Obi-Wan between episodes 3 and 4 then I’ve lost all faith in the saga. I mean that would just be absolute nonsense. A) Ewan McGregor doesn’t look that young anymore. You can make-up the shit out of him but he was baby-faced in Episode 1. B) As much as I’d love to see Liam Neeson return as Qui-Gon Jinn, I could settle for a force ghost. C) I feel like a prequel of the prequels is just unnecessary. We could get some real character development for Obi-Wan as well as some Vader scenes quite possibly. We could learn more about the rise of the Rebellion and the Empire.

 

You may be wondering why I haven’t mentioned the Star Wars Battlefront games. The truth is, I think they speak for themselves. If a Playstation 2 games from 2004  and 2005 have a higher entertainment value, better storyline and are still played after 13 years then I think that says a enough about EA and their money hungry, soul-sucking company.

 

If you have any comment or questions, be sure to leave them below. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter where I post some of the work I do outside my own blog.

Electric Dreams: Pompous Storytelling in 52 Minutes or Less

In order to fill the hole left behind by Black Mirror, Channel 4 (in the UK) has started airing a TV series called “Electric Dreams”. Following the same format as Black Mirror, each episode is a stand-alone story and in the case of Electric Dreams each episode is based on a short story written by Philip K Dick. For those unfamiliar with the name, you may be familiar with films such as Blade Runner, Minority Report, The Adjustment Bureau and TV shows such as The Man in the High Castle which are all based on stories written by him. The purpose of this post is not to critique the work of Philip K Dick as he is undoubtedly a very talented author and an incredibly creative individual. I do however have some issues with these TV adaptions and two episodes in, the likelihood of success for the rest of the series is doubtful.

 

It should be obvious but just in case it wasn’t: there will be spoilers within this post. I can’t say that it will be a great disappointment as anything that can be spoiled was obvious to begin with and where things can’t be spoiled it is because there is nothing to spoil. I’m going to start in the most obvious place: episode 1. The Hoodmaker kickstarts this new series and follows a police detective, agent Ross. Perhaps more recognisable as Robb Stark, Richard Madden does an excellent job as far as I am concerned. In this world, humanity has a clear divide between those who can read minds and those who can’t. What I could only view as a clear parallel to internet privacy (and privacy in all matters technological) the police have started using these telepaths (marked with a birthmark-style discolouration on their skin) in order to better control crime and deal with the rising demonstrations and revolts that seem to be taking place within this city. The public are against a new bill which gives the police the power to use the telepaths during interrogations and to aid in finding criminals due to the fact that the distinction between a criminal and a member of the public seems to be too thin to see. So we follow this agent Ross and his newly allocated telepathic partner as they try to track down someone who has been making hoods which give the wearer the ability to keep their thoughts hidden. Think Magneto’s helmet in X-Men. Ultimately the episode ends with telepaths killing people who stand against their quest to be the ultimate power on Earth. The “twist” (if you can call it that) is that agent Ross has been born with the ability to naturally block telepaths from reading his mind. I can’t say it came as a shock but ultimately his partner has to decide whether to help him escape the room that has just been set on fire or to just let him die. She reads his mind and finds out that he has been racist towards her kind and the episode ends without us knowing whether he was saved or not.

 

My issue with this episode is not the story line itself as I actually did find the concept incredibly interesting. My issue is that they crammed the entire thing into a 52 minute long episode. In that time we are supposed to notice the gradual relationship building up between agent Ross and his partner, something that we don’t really get to see happen over time and instead seem to be somewhat instantaneous. We also don’t get to fully explore the uprising that is taking place out-with the main storyline. All we get are tiny glimpses into an interesting world. Trying to force these stories into hour-long segments is not only ridiculous, it’s impossible. Black Mirror did a much better job in using 90 minutes as the general runtime of their episodes as it allowed for a more in-depth character exploration. This is even more apparent in the second episode.

 

Impossible Planet, the second episode in the series follows inhabitants of a distant planet. We learn early on that Earth was destroyed by a solar flare (I think that’s what it was) and that these planets are basically ran by a franchise of sorts. Long story short, a deaf old woman named Irma and her robot companion RB29 hire two tour guides (slightly above the role of bus tours) to take them to Earth. The two guys, Brian and Ed decide to fake the journey and to take her to a similar sized planet instead. Along the way strange things seem to happen such as Irma telling stories of her grandparents and showing Brian a photo of a man that looks exactly like him standing next to a woman that looks like a younger version of her. These two people are apparatnely Irma’s grandparents. The episode trickles on with the relationship between Irma and Brian growing more peculiar and with RB29 showing anger towards the crew and concern towards Irma. The episode ends with Brian and Irma stepping onto a destructive and poisonous planet (the fake Earth) and ultimately seeming to run out of oxygen and die (while seemingly hallucinating the story that Irma had told about her grandparents swimming naked together).

 

I found this episode to be completely ridiculous. Not only was it facing the exact same issues as the first one (such as lack of time to tell a decent story) but it also leaves the ending far too open. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a show or film that leaves you thinking. Any of you who bothered reading my Westworld post know that I got completely hooked on the tiny details that led to a larger explanation. I more often than not find it completely unsatisfying when a show or film just throws the explanation in your face without making you work for it. So maybe the story in this episode just went completely over my head and if that is the case then I’m happy to admit that. However, I couldn’t see any real solution or explanation for what happened and any ideas I’ve since come up with just feel like I’m grasping at straws:

  1. A) Maybe these two characters live the same lives over and over again. Perhaps they die and are reborn with the same memories buried deep away in their mind somewhere. Brian died long before Irma and she had to find him and lead them down a path that kills them both in order to be reborn again at the same time but she wants him to remember the same way that she remembers.
  2. B) What I think is perhaps a darker theory but also a better and more realistic one is that Brian had already come to terms with the fact that him and his girlfriend wanted different things. His life is grim, he clings onto this hope of advancing through his job even though he realises that he’s going nowhere. You see at the start how little effort and enjoyment goes into his work as a tour guide which I think adds evidence to this fact. When given this opportunity to earn more money, he slowly begins to envy this old woman who has spent the little bit of time she has left just hoping to get one glimpse at the planet her family came from. She knows she’ll be at peace when she sees it and yet he can’t come even close to such a feeling. I think that when Irma shows him the photograph the man doesn’t actually look that much like him but his mind, so desperate to find something to cling to, makes him see himself in that photograph. Irma (either intentionally or not) manipulates Brian into putting everything he has left into her ending and her story. Brian knows all too well that going out onto the planet is suicidal and yet he does it anyway because to provide this woman with this one last wish gives his life some sort of meaning that he just wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Neither of these is a particularly strong case and another explanation would be that there really is no real explanation. Perhaps this is just a love story that shows you that millions of miles of empty space and dying homeworlds isn’t enough to get between true love. That is why I’m not a fan of this episode. There just isn’t enough evidence to go on in order to have a truly interesting storyline. It’s one thing to leave the story a little open to interpretation or to have storylines hidden within other storylines but to have no real storyline and to just leave the creation of the story up to the audience is just lazy.
So I ultimately think that this series is going to fail. It’s been given good ratings so far because people want it to be good and it should have been good. You have a great cast acting out stories by a great author but the lack of time in which to tell the stories is ultimately going to be the downfall of the series. If you’re going to try and make a dark and gritty TV show that makes people shudder but also makes them think then you need more than 52 minutes to be able to do that. These stories take place in worlds very different from our own so you are having to set up literally every part of these world’s from scratch without the entire episode feeling like a setup. Either that or you need an episode that is mostly setup and character development followed by another episode that explores the story. Imagine how much better either of these episodes could have been if there was another whole episode left to explore the story.  I think it is about time that we realise that throwing a big-named cast into a show should not be a guaranteed way to make it a success. Black Mirror did it for their latest season and ultimately that combined with the Hollywoody feel just made the episodes feel less intense and gripping (for the most part). In the first couple of seasons you had a few recognisable faces but ultimately none of the people were likely to sway your decision to watch the show. I’ll put my hand up and admit that when I saw Richard Madden and Bryan Cranston in some of the trailers, it made me want to watch the show. It puts us in this mindset that surely these actors wouldn’t sell out for a TV show with poor writing, right? We then enter into the show with this expectation and ultimately the whole thing can be a bit of a let-down. I’d rather have an amazing storyline with slightly rougher acting than having amazing actors relaying a shit storyline.

 

Quick Film Review: Alien: Covenant

This post is shorter and less detailed than my usual posts but I thought I’d just share my initial thoughts on Alien: Covenant.

So after watching a string of recent and ultimately disappointing films over the last few days I decided I’d review one. When it comes to writing a review of a film that is long into a series, it’s usually not that difficult to point out the flaws. I mean my initial choice was actually going to be the most recent Pirates of the Caribbean film and after writing up a draft post I realised that it merely pointed out the obvious. I can’t imagine anyone watched that film and left with the opinion of it being the best in the series. After a few more I eventually settled on Alien: Covenant which I wasn’t even going to watch in the first place. I always found the Alien and Predator films to be a little underwhelming, to be honest. They are a solid part of the sci-fi/thriller genre but I always found the storyline to be somewhat tedious and predictable. Prometheus was the film that I thought would be the diamond in the rough: this play on the franchise could have explored such interesting ideas and concepts but ultimately found itself flung into mediocrity by poor and lazy writing. This model that is used for producing these films is simplistic and moronic and quite honestly I think the writers just give a pen and a notebook to their kids and say “rewrite this story but with your own characters and twists”.

 

So yes, there will be spoilers in this post but quite honestly I can put my hand on my heart and promise you that if you spend two hours watching paint dry then it will have been a better use of your time than watching this film! I can summarise the film (in fact the series in general) quite simply: “I’m going to do the thing!” “I don’t think you should do the thing…” Does the thing anyway and everybody dies…One of the issues with this series is the order the films go in. There are prequels, sequels and spin-offs just to keep everybody guessing. One of the consistent elements is Weyland Industries which for some reason, despite repeated incidents that end with a high percentage of dead crew members, never seems to put any protocols in place to help avoid them. I mean you could maybe excuse the first three times but how many are there? Like 10 or something? C’mon!

 

In this particular film it seems as if the crew were hired based on their high levels of irrationality and low problem solving abilities. We see the wonderful example of this fairly early on when the first guy is infected by this organism. After being sprayed in the mouth with infected blood from an infected individual, one crew member locks her friend and the previously mentioned infected crew member in a room. I’d say this is the smart move (ignoring the obvious fact that quarantine doesn’t serve much of a purpose if you’ve just been sprayed in the mouth with blood that could potentially infect you and you’re on the wrong side of the quarantine door) but of course, this film has no intelligent crew members. So once this alien creature bursts out the back (rather than chest, probably to show that it’s a slightly different species) the woman then opens the doors, runs in, slips on blood, shoots a bunch of shit and ultimately dooms the crew to being stranded on this planet by blowing up the fucking ship.

 

Keeping on track with shoddy character development (don’t even get me started on the completely unnecessary video of James Franco that we watched after his immediate death) we have the now Captain who claims the crew don’t trust him because of his faith. Apparently being religious makes him the target of discrimination and prejudice on this trip…I disagree. Having watching this man consistently fuck up and make poor decisions, not even mentioning his general lack of emotional maturity, I think there are a whole list of reasons ahead of his faith as to why people don’t want him to be captain. It also seems that there are annoying parallels to Prometheus in this film in the sense that women seem doomed to lose their partners to viruses. I mean I’m not sure if this film is supposed to be tense or if the writers think that they’ve added mind-blowing twists but I found myself completely unsurprised by the storyline. It was like watching a classic stabber-horror. Oh, you think the bad guy is dead and that the film will end on a slightly positive note? WRONG! Oh, the camera is zooming in on the cupboard, I wonder if something is about to jump out? Alien: Covenant is the exact same situation. Oh look, a woman is on her own after we just saw an alien going towards where they were. Oh look, the creepy android is taking the captain down into a basement. I wonder what could go wrong? I mean just look at the point when David and Walter are fighting: the camera cuts out as Walter lifts a rock to crush David’s head just after showing us that David is reaching for a knife. Do they really think that we’re unaware of it not being Walter that returns?

 

Getting into the final moments of the film we have alarms going off and warnings being announced across some sort of PA system controlled by “Mother”. For some reason when designing this ship and Mother, nobody though that in an emergency situation where alarms and warnings are supposed to be alarming and warning crew members that it may be vital to override their fucking shower music systems to allow them to hear said alarms and warnings! I mean is that seriously how these writers are playing this film? “These warnings are super loud so why can’t this couple hear them?” “I know, let’s make them fuck in the shower while listening to ridiculously loud music that for some reason the AI on the ship doesn’t override!” This moment of bad writing is only followed by another:  main woman character and emotionally unstable Danny McBride character are chasing the alien. Keep in mind that not only do they know  exactly where the alien is thanks to a handy little blip on the map…but they also have full control over the doors. So rather than locking the alien in a corridor until they think of a way to deal with it, they allow the showering couple to die and then instead decide to lure the alien to an airlock. Just when you think they might stop under-thinking things, they allow the alien into the room before they are at the places they need to be. The woman only avoids being eaten because the alien gets its leg caught on a bit of metal. They had all the time in the world to prepare!

 

Ridley Scott claims that he can keep the story going for another 6 films…no, no he cannot! He can’t even keep the story together for one film so I don’t know why his delusions aren’t being questioned by those closest to him but seriously dude, your “quit while you’re ahead” moment came and went a LONG time ago! Stop digging holes that you can’t get out of. We don’t need more alien prequels or sequels. We could have gone on to have an interesting Prometheus sequel that explored this race of aliens whose DNA we came from rather than wiping them out in a 30 second flashback. How film series’ like this can just run on and on endlessly without any signs of stopping despite their lack of story or general entertainment is beyond confusing. Ridley Scott seems to be amazing at skipping interesting storylines in favour of generic action scenes and shallow storylines with little character development. These films aren’t even thrillers any more. At no point did I feel the slightest bit of tension watching Alien: Covenant. Mr Scott, if you need someone to write the storyline for whatever moronic instalment of this franchise you have lined up, I’m pretty sure my dog is free…

Journey into the Unknown!

For anyone who reads my posts regularly (which may be nobody) you’ll be aware that while my posts are usually rants (hence the name of my blog) that convey my opinion on some trivial matter such as a film or game series, I tend not to reflect on my own personal life.

Today I have decided to go out-with my usual post-type and share with you some insights into my mind and current life plans. Usually I try to introduce the topics I plan to cover but this is mostly going to be off the top of my head as I’m writing so we’ll just see how it goes.

 

I’m mostly going to discuss a trip I’m about to take but I feel like in order for you to understand my concerns and fears I need to invite you inside my little bubble of a life just to highlight how far outside my comfort zone I’m about to go. These pieces of information may seem rather random right now but I swear it makes sense in relation to this post. Let me briefly describe to you why I never really go out and experience life to the fullest:

For starters I have awful social anxiety…I’m not even sure if it’s limited to social situations, maybe I just have anxiety in general, but certainly a key component of it is social. It can sometimes takes me months before I feel comfortable talking to someone in a normal capacity so typical day-to-day situations tend to involve me going out of my way to avoid social interaction with strangers.

For a very long time I was unable to get a job because most jobs involved social interaction and the thought alone made me feel ill. I started having anxiety attacks in exams which soon spread to other situations (to be fair, I was at uni at the time and most of these situations also involved me being hungover so I think it was my mind associating feeling nauseous with certain situations). Suffice to say that several times while at the cinema I would spend most of the film trying to convince myself that I didn’t need to get up and leave which as a movie lover (possibly addict) was incredibly disappointing. I have improved a fair bit but perhaps that’s a discussion for another time. On top of my social issues, I am also one of the fussiest eaters you will ever meet. For as long as I can remember I haven’t eaten any fruit or vegetables which as you can imagine, limits my diet quite a bit. It’s not like I eat everything else either, I basically have the diet of a 15 year old that has been left to fend for himself.

To add to my already limiting characteristics I also have a phobia of spiders but not just your run of the mill phobia, oh no, I am absolutely scared to death of the little bastards. Let’s just say that I’ve fallen out of a lot of trees as a result of this highly irrational fear. You can therefore assume that I will not be visiting Australia any time soon (in fact Antarctica is looking all the more promising). I do understand that Australia really isn’t that far from Thailand and that I’m most likely walking into the real world equivalent of the Forbidden Forrest with its nest of extremely large spiders.

Again, I have somewhat improved on this over the last few years but if a spider is bigger than a thumbnail (for example) then chances are I won’t be able to deal with it unless it’s on the floor and I can drop a very heavy book on it. So this should hopefully paint a fairly clear picture as to why I have the time to sit at home writing blog posts about Star Wars, Assassins Creed, drug laws etc…now let me share with you how I’m about to be catapulted out of my comfort zone.

I’ve been working for the last 6 months and recently realised how badly I need a holiday. As someone who lives in Scotland, I’ve never ventured outside of Europe and even my trips out of the UK have been to areas where the lifestyle is pretty much the same e.g. Italy, Rome or Spain. My initial thought was Egypt because out of everywhere in the world, that is where I want to visit the most. I had looked at flights and hotels but quite quickly came to the conclusion that if I went to Egypt alone I just wouldn’t experience everything there was on offer.

I’d go look at stuff but not really immerse myself in the culture. Luckily, a friend of mine was planning a holiday to Thailand and some of the surrounding countries. I’d personally never even considered visiting anywhere near there for a whole host of reasons (primarily the spider issue) but when given the options of going there for three weeks or waiting months, taking time off work and ultimately going nowhere and doing nothing with my time, I felt that the first option was the one that would be most beneficial. So I handed in a holiday form, it just got approved yesterday and my flights are booked to head out on my adventure.

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered not going at least 15 times today alone but you have to understand that I get cold feet with every single decision I make. Committing to any sort of party, event, holiday, anything will be followed by my brain giving me a list of reasons why not going could be the better option. Obviously the biggest ones that come to mind are things like giant spiders (or even just small spiders…really any spiders at all), the language barrier (but even just the social aspect with or without there being a language barrier), and of course the food. I’ve read that places like Bangkok are incredibly sociable cities and that the nightlife is amazing but I can’t imagine that being the case for someone who struggles to start and hold a conversation.

So why am I going? I feel such a trip could be make or break: No matter what, I’m going to be forced out my comfort zone so it’ll either push me to evolve or it will snap my psyche and leave me in the foetal position on a foreign continent. One of the biggest comforts (which is also somehow one of the fears) is that I’ll be just under 6,000 miles away from home. I’m going to feel like Sam and Frodo leaving the Shire. Strangely enough, one of the best ways for me to motivate myself in any situation is to relate it to a game or a film.

I guess it’s sort of my coping mechanism that also acts as an incentive. Different games/films make me want to do different things, for example: Far Cry 3 makes me want to try skydiving or get a tattoo or explore new cultures; 127 hours makes me want to explore and climb, to find adventure where I can, even if I’m doing it alone; Warrior makes me want to go to the gym…you get the idea. We will of course ignore the fact that the first two exams have pretty horrific outcomes for those involved and should really be adverts against exploring rather than what I use them for. So in order to prepare myself for this “adventure” I have started playing Far Cry 3 again (which happens to take place on an island in the area I’m visiting, although whether it is based on a real island or not is beyond my knowledge).

So why am I writing this post? I guess the same reason that people talk about their problems: it’s therapeutic. If I share my fears with random strangers on the internet then in a sense I’ve acknowledged that these fears are indeed real but that they shouldn’t hold me back from enjoying life. I mean we only get one, right? So what if a giant, face-eating spider jumps out of a tree and proceeds to chase me down the road…I should just look at it as life experience or inspiration for my book.

I mean if I stay trapped inside the boring little town where going to the pub to watch football is the highlight of everyone’s week then how am I ever going to look back on my life with fondness? Another way of looking at it: what if the Animus from Assassin’s Creed becomes a real piece of technology and someone tries to look back on my life (not that I plan on having children but that’s not the point). All they would see is me sitting at home watching films or reading. Would I rather they see that or would I rather they watched as I walk with elephants or visit ancient temples?

If I survive and make it back to bonnie Scotland then I’ll be sure to update this or write a new post which shares me experiences. If this is my last post then just assume that I died either by being killed by a spider or trying to escape one!

Westworld: Multiple Timelines (and Other Theories)

(Unlike my usual posts, this one will be updated and edited after being posted so if it looks incomplete, that will be why. Feel free to comment with any evidence or critique towards what I mention. Each episode “summary/analysis” will not be edited after a new episode has been released. That way, you can see where my mind was wandering to rather than allowing me to correct mistakes.)

Just when you thought that robot cowboys inhabiting a futuristic theme park was crazy enough, the guys behind Westworld begin to show that we’ve only just entered the maze and that there are plenty more twists and turns ahead of us! If you haven’t watched the show or aren’t caught up then I’d advise not reading past the second paragraph as I’ll be delving into each episode to look at evidence for this current theory that is spreading like wild fire…

Amongst all the sex, gun fights and malfunctioning computer programmes, it’s difficult to notice the smaller details to a show such as Westworld. As long as you’ve watched at least the first episode then you will have already have witnessed the “man in black” in all his triumphant glory. Described as a guest who “gets whatever he wants” and has been visiting the park for 30 years, this black-hat wearing psycho has raped, murdered and scalped his way from episode to episode in search of a deeper level to the game: the maze. Playing the game in what is the polar opposite way, we have white-hat wearing William…but what if these two men weren’t so different after all? In fact, what if they were literally the same person? One of the latest theories to float to the surface is the idea that we are in fact viewing two, possibly three (maybe even more) periods in time. In the early episodes we were led to believe that the main story would revolve around this “bug” that is sweeping through the hosts and causing them to remember previous experiences and ultimately act way out of their usual routine. This appears to merely be a distraction to keep our attention away from the real story: What led William down such a dark path?

Well let’s look at what we know so far:

-William (who arguably is the Man in Black but younger) is travelling with Dolores who is often described as “special” and “the oldest host in the park”. She is beginning to hear voices and remember her past “lives”.

-The company that William works for has been thinking about buying shares in the park or buying it out completely.

-Arnold’s death (35 years ago) almost took down the park but didn’t because of the actions of the Man in Black.

-The Man in Black has been visiting the park for 30 years

-The last “critical failure” was over 30 years ago and was caused by an update

-He knows some of the hosts (Dolores and Lawrence, for example) which are the two main hosts that William has interacted with so far.

These are of course very minor and abstract details that certainly don’t supply enough evidence to suggest that this theory holds any water. So instead, let’s take a look at each episode and see what evidence is contained within. I’m also going to be dropping in some other theories along the way which I think are being used as a smokescreen to keep the hidden storyline hidden for as long as possible.

Episode 1: Despite William not actually appearing until the 2nd episode, there is actually a lot of evidence to be taken into consideration here. While this episode may be best known for the incredible version of “Paint It Black” during the gun fight scene, this episode introduces us to the infamous man in black. Within the first few minutes, we witness Teddy repeating his train journey into town. During these repeated journeys, we can overhear who I assume are guests, talking about hat colour. One guy (who I feel could be an early version of The Man in Black but I don’t actually have a great deal to support it) is talking to someone about his hat colour: he mentions that the first time he came he went white hat with friends but that the second time he went full evil black hat on his own and had the best few months of his life. The show is already introducing the idea that white hats represent good while black hats are of a more sinister nature. This seems more important when you imagine the reveal (if there is a reveal) that William and the man in black are the same person, considering that when they are first introduced to the audience they have different colour hats. One thing I noticed is that the man in black doesn’t seem phased at all by the bullets when he is being shot in the first episode. We know that the hosts can’t kill guests but as we see with William and Logan, they get hurt by the bullets and even beaten up. Of course, it could be argued that after 30 years of playing, the man in black is just used to the impact and so it appears that the bullets simply don’t hurt him. I would theorise that when you take this timeline theory into consideration, we know that there was an “incident” of some kind 30 years in the past from the present day storyline so what if this incident is the reason that guests no longer feel the pain of being shot? When William and Logan get shot, the incident has not yet happened and part of the thrill is the dark reality that you can still get hurt. Once the incident happens the company has no choice but to pull on the ropes a little and tighten up health and safety in order to keep the park open. We hear the Man in Black announcing “Goddam it’s good to be back” so we can assume that when we meet him for the first time, this is him having just returned to the park. It’s in this episode that we also hear the staff mentioning the critical failure that took place 30 years ago. It’s mentioned just after an update is put into place when Theresa Cullen points out that the staff always get nervous when a new update is released because of what happened 30 years previously. This next point could be wrong because I haven’t gotten round to comparing it to the later episode but when Hector and his posse roll into town guns blazing (or quite the opposite initially) it is a black man with a badge who confronts them. I don’t remember that being the case later on but I’ll need to check that out and come back to it. If not, I think this would further support the idea of two timelines. Having the same character appear makes sense due to the fact that the hosts don’t age but having a different character within the same storyline might seem a little suspicious. Of course it could still be nothing as we’ve witnessed Dolores’s father being replaced already. Another potential theory I think could easily be true is that the staff (or at least some of them) are in fact the same as the hosts but made to fit into the futuristic (at least to us) environment rather than the West. This goes a step further into the idea that Bernard is in fact an Arnold replica and has some or all of Arnold’s consciousness floating around in his brain. This idea comes more into play when we look at the second episode.

Episode 2: In what I can only really compare to the early moments of Donnie Darko, the second episode has a sleeping Dolores be awakened by a voice saying “Wake up Dolores. Do you remember?” The weirdest thing about this scene is that after we hear/see it, the story skips to William on the train…Coincidence? I think this is an early nod to the idea of William’s story being in the past. We also have to wonder who was talking to Dolores. It certainly sounds like Bernard but what if it is the “glitch” or “bug” that is messing with her programming? This would certainly add weight to the idea of Bernard being an Arnold clone or at least having some sort of connection to Arnold despite claiming not to have really known about him. When we watch William and Logan get off the train, the area they step out into strongly resembles an area we saw in episode 1: namely an area that Bernard and a team went through in order to get to cold storage. Only when they went through it, it was dark and flooded with water. I haven’t properly compared the areas but just after seeing them I noticed a similarity. Later on in the episode we hear the mysterious voice in Dolores’s head saying “Remember”. This is where memories from Dolores’s past begin to be revisited as she sees dead people despite her memory being wiped after each visit. An interesting thing about Dolores is that she plays a pivotal role not only in the show, but in this theory. We see her and Teddy constantly meeting each other and repeating the same routine over and over. However, we know that this isn’t a daily thing as the stories can go on for days, even weeks, maybe even longer. The immediate repetitions make it appear as if we are viewing day 1 then day 2 then day 3 so that when we are introduced to the Man in Black in episode 1 as he hands Dolores the can she drops, it fits in after Teddy does the exact same thing. Then in episode 2 we notice William also handing her the can and it may even appear that this is merely over the course of a few days but that just wouldn’t make sense. I mean Dolores does repeat this same process several times over the first few episodes but the show doesn’t really tell us if it’s actually every single day, week or maybe every cycle when newcomers arrive. Speaking of William, after being left to choose his clothes, he is presented with what appears to be a serious choice: a black hat or a white hat. As I already mentioned, he chooses a white hat but there really wouldn’t be any reason to put as much emphasis on his hat choice unless there was a deeper meaning. I mean sure, you could argue that it’s merely a representation of good vs evil, right vs wrong. I mean in Lost we had the game of checkers and the colour of clothing to lead the audience into a whole light vs dark battle. I just feel like that idea is a little played out and given how complex the storyline seems to be so far, I’d be very surprised if it was simply meant to represent good and evil. I mean Logan chooses a black hat and he certainly acts like he deserves it…but then what is evil? He isn’t doing anything differently to the other “players” at this theme park. I mean it’s what it’s there for, right? While on the train, Logan is constantly telling William that this place is where people go to find their true selves. He wants William to let loose and expose his true personality, thinking that there might be more to him than he lets people see. This plays into the theory a little more when later in the episode we hear the Man in Black talking to Lawrence. After explaining how good friends they are (or at least how well they know each other), he comments saying “..you used to be a little eloquent” before saying “I was born in this here!” Now since he is referring to the park, I think it is safe to assume that he doesn’t mean literally, although that would be a somewhat interesting story to hear. So if the Man in Black was “born” in the park, we have to assume that he was a completely different person before arriving. Being in the park turned him into the Man in Black.

Episode 3: I have to admit that the first time I watched the third episode, I didn’t really notice anything out of the ordinary or anything that would lead me to suspect that a deeper level of storyline was in play. The second viewing was akin to stumbling upon a treasure map. Let’s even look at the very start of the episode (or at least near the start): We have the Man in Black telling Dolores “Why don’t we reacquaint ourselves, Dolores. Start at the beginning!” Funnily enough, the same thing happens as in episode 2 in that the scene then cuts to William. It really couldn’t be any more like a flashback without the words “30 Years Ago” appearing on the screen. This episode is really all about laying even more foundation of the “white hat” that William really is. It doesn’t take long before he is saving the cliched damsel in distress which also happens to be the scene where we seem him feeling the physical pain after being shot by a host. No bullet wound or bleeding but definitely an impact that manages to knock him off his feet and leave a mark. Coincidentally enough, in what I will describe as the later timeline (the one with the Man in Black as opposed to William), Teddy comments that Wyat (his new enemy thanks to Ford’s new storyline) is neither a man nor the devil because “the devil can’t be killed.” This happens to be one of the traits that the guests have but perhaps used most noticeably by the Man in Black who stands and takes the bullets that in the real world would kill a man, and to the hosts makes no sense. Another interesting thing about episode 3 is that I believe it hints at a third timeline, one focusing on Arnold or Bernard (or possibly both depending on whether they are indeed a form of the same person). There is a scene that I think could be Arnold (who if this theory is correct, would of course look exactly like Bernard) creating the initial problem that will lead to the critical failure. We see him talking to Dolores, explaining change through stories and telling her that he’s made a mistake and perhaps she should put back to the way she was before. He even uses the same quote that Ford used in an earlier episode about mistakes and evolution. I mean it could quite easily be Bernard repeating a quote from a man whom he respects…but perhaps it’s Arnold using the quote which is later used by Ford. I think this scene with Dolores hints at one of two possiblites:

  1. We are witnessing Arnold during the early days of the park. He is experimenting with the idea of creating consciousness rather than simply mimicking it but is having his own concerns regarding the impact it is having on Dolores. Despite having doubts, he continues to be amazed after she improvises without her programming showing any reason why she would say certain things. I think that Arnold’s pride and general curiosity lead Dolores to have this “special” side to her that we see in other episodes and perhaps Arnold planted ideas and code within her so that at a later date, he could access her “mind” in one way or another.
  2. The second possibility is that we are witnessing Bernard after another incident i.e. another critical failure. He begins to blame himself because he viewed Dolores as different to the others and perhaps gave her more leeway than he should have resulting in her faults going unseen by other members of staff and therefore not dealt with in a way that protocol would dictate.

There is of course the possibility that this scene is simply Bernard talking to Dolores but something just feels off about it. It’s all very cloak and dagger considering moments before she was being taught how to shoot by Teddy so there would only have been the rest of the day for Bernard to talk to her. Not to mention that there seems to be something the matter, some bigger issue that Arnold/Bernard is concerned about when it comes to Dolores. I mean she isn’t causing anyone harm and she isn’t going outwith her routine by any great amount so I don’t think it can be as simple as it seems. I also think that this episode adds to the idea that Bernard and other members of staff are in fact hosts of a higher caliber. Arnold/Bernard during a video chat with who we can only assume is the mother of his dead son, says “I forgot where I am…what I am” which again, might not mean anything and to be fair, it almost seems like too obvious a hint. Then again, what is he? Is he simply an employee in a remote park? Is he a host who is aware of what he is? Is he a replica of the dead founder of the park? Perhaps he is even more than that? We know that Arnold’s life was full of personal tradegy and we know that Bernard’s son died but what  if the two are the same? I also think that one of the members of the security team (the one played by a lesser known Hemsworth brother) is a modernised host. Again, it almost seems like the show is hinting at it too obviously for it to be true but all the jokes about “maybe it’s in my backstory” or why was he given the all clear to carry a weapon, something we know hosts go through. Before the malfunctioning, wandering hosts smashed his own head with a giant rock, he actually managed to hurt this security guy. Sure he is malfunctioning but isn’t the core code meant to stay in tact during such an event? We do, however, know that hosts can hurt or even kill other hosts. In fact, in many storylines it’s essential. We also know, thanks to Ford’s explanation, that Arnold was working based on a theory that early humans would have believed their conscience to be the voice of God which coincidentally enough is what the voice saying “kill him” inside Dolores’s head seems to sound like. It certainly seems more and more likely that this issue with the hosts is the work of a dead man.

One final point for this episode, taking us back to William on his journey to become the Man in Black. There is an interesting moment between him and Logan where the latter says “…to play white hat” which once again bring the whole hat colour issue into play again.

Episode 4: This episode opens with Bernard (or possibly Arnold) talking to Dolores again. If there are indeed multiple periods in time being shown within the show, it is difficult to work out where this one belongs. I suspect it may be outwith the main two timelines we’ve seen already. This episode gives us more information on William and Logan: we know from earlier episodes that William is/was married to Logan’s sister and that the two men work together. We learn here that Logan is higher up than William and that the only reason he brought William on this trip is because he isn’t a threat. He’s basically seen as having reached the peak of his career. I think this is important because it will show even more difference between William and the Man in Black as we learn in the same episode that the Man in Black owns a foundation of some sort. We hear another guest telling him: “your foundation literally saved my sisters life.” Rather than being evidence against William being the Man in Black, I think it’s actually supportive evidence to this theory. The purpose of it is to show us how drastically William changes. He enters the park as a timid, passive, wannabe-hero white hat but will leave as quite the opposite, only to return again and again. Another interesting moment in this episode is a conversation between William and Logan (two if you include yet another hat colour comment between the two: “Go black hat with me” Logan to William) They are talking about certain areas of the park and how their not the usual market-tested bullshit but come at a great cost to the park. Logan even mentions that the park is hemorrhaging money and that their company should take this opportunity to buy more shares. This becomes more relevant in the next episode but one final point I shall mention from episode 4 that I believe to be relevant is a conversation that Ford has with Theresa Cullen where they are talking about the park, specifically Ford’s new storyline and the board’s opinion of it. As the conversation gets a little heated, Cullen says “The board will agree with me, they’ll be sending a representative” only for Ford to reply “But they already have. I thought they would have told you!” My thinking is that the Man in Black is this representative. I think that after leaving the park as William, he takes control of the company he works for, investing in the park by buying shares, possibly even buying the majority. I think his trip to the park while seeming to be a holiday (he even says as much) is as much business as pleasure. Perhaps he is trying to see whether the park is still as exciting or maybe he believes there is more to this storyline than the audience has seen so far. Maybe he thinks Arnold has left something for those who can complete the maze.

Episode 5: Episode 5, while being an incredibly interesting episode and revealing some key moments such as us seeing the maze symbol on a coffin that is being transported by none other than Lawrence, actually doesn’t supply a great deal of evidence to support these theories i’ve been mentioning. That being said, we get some more moments of Dolores hearing voices: “Find me” which interestingly enough comes across as the same way that Ford communicates with her when he puts her to sleep by saying “deepened, dreamless slumber”. We do learn from this episode that it is possible for the hosts to be communicated with while they are still in the park (or at least that’s how it appears). Referring back to the point I made in episode 4; William and Logan discuss the idea of buying shares but Logan actually mentions that their company was thinking about buying out the park. When the Man in Black is talking to Ford, he mentions that Arnold’s death almost took the park with him and he mentions “almost, but not quite…thanks to me. Or maybe he left something behind.” We know that Arnold died 35 (ish) years previous to the Man in Black’s story and that he died just before the park opened. If that’s the case, did Arnold’s meddling with consciousness result in the critical failure after his death? We have to assume that him dying wasn’t the single reason that the park almost failed. What did he leave behind?

Episode 6: So this episode focused on one theory in particular: the idea of Bernard being an AI (or at least being made of the same stuff as a host). Within the first few moments of this episodes, those of you who have been paying attention will have noticed something rather odd: Bernard’s son was in a hospital on what looked like a rather old-fashioned drip. We’ve learnt from previous episodes that the world outside of the park is far beyond our level of technology. It was even stated that people don’t get sick anymore, yet here we have Bernard’s son in a hospital dying. If anything was a big clue to this theory, it was this opening moment of episode 6. Luckily, the episode actually confirms it later on but not before slowly dropping the hint. When Bernard and Theresa walk into Ford’s creepy holiday home where the host-version’s of his abusive father and the rest of his family were living, Theresa asks what is behind a certain door, a door that Bernard cannot see until it is opened. If this didn’t make you click then the quite up front reveal moments later would have. Quick note: the basement sort of room in the house where Ford was building other hosts looked very, very similar to the room where “Bernard” had been talking to Dolores. If we assume that it is indeed the same room then it means one of two things (in my opinion) 1) Bernard is in fact a copy of Arnold and it was actually Arnold who we saw conversing with Dolores which is a theory I mentioned after an earlier episode; or 2) Ford has been using Bernard to interview hosts who are the oldest in the park and have been impacted by the update. I have to stick with the first theory on this one, assuming of course that it is in fact the same room which is something I haven’t got around to checking. One other major point to come from this episode is that Ford is now removing the code that stops hosts from killing. That is unless Theresa is also a host which wouldn’t completely surprise me. I mean maybe the entire show only has three main human characters: William/the Man in Black, Ford and Arnold. Arnold, who could quite possibly now be a host but with his own mind inside. The entire show could basically be about some weird, futuristic type of corporate espionage and sabotage. We also saw some more of William and Dolores this episode as Dolores draws a place before they visit it. Could that suggest that she is in fact following a story arc that she has taken part in before and William isn’t some special guest leading her astray?

 

For those of you who have been watching, Westworld has now come to an end. In my opinion they wrapped everything up nicely and even though they’ll be doing a 2nd season, it seems like it will be largely separated from the goings-on of this season. I might come back and finish up my write up of these theories but now that the show is over and there is no more guessing to be done, I’ve kind of lost interest in summarising what these theories represent. I will however be writing about bicameralism (a theory of vital importance throughout the show) but I will be focusing on bicameralism in relation to my own theory of consciousness rather than relating it to to the events of the show.

Ghostbusters (2016): The Other Side

So after the complete hate and negativity the female led Ghostbusters trailer received a little while back, I wrote and shared my opinions regarding my expectations for the film and ultimately why I thought it was going to fail. This isn’t in any way a unique train of thought, neither was it some of one-in-a-million prophecy that just happened to come true. I think most of us knew that for whatever reason the Ghostbusters film of 2016 was doomed to fail. Now that the film has become available online I decided to give it a watch, putting aside my presumptuous hate, my knowledge that it had 5.5 on IMDB and lost $70 million in the box office. Here’s what I thought:

While I did go in with an open mind, I have to say that it didn’t take long for the film to annoy me enough that I started taking notes on my phone of exactly why it wasn’t an enjoyable film. What I found interesting was that on the run-up to this film being released when it initially received its first batch of hate; it suddenly became sexist to say that the film was going to suck. If you thought it looked shit you were automatically branded a women hating pig who thinks that they shouldn’t have the right to vote and only belong in the kitchen. Yet here we have a film that spends its entire two hours going out its way to try and make females seem superior to males. This is where I began taking notes. You see the film opens up with a male tour guide showing guests around some hotel. He gets chased by a ghost, screams and cries and as we learn later, he soils himself. Of course the ghost that does all this to him is a female. We then basically get introduced to three of the four “Ghostbusters” and are told how brilliant they are: Two of them have already published a book on ghosts and both now work at different universities (one is a particle physics professor while the other is some sort of supernatural scientist but still shown as being very intelligent). We then meet the third member who, and I quote, “she’s a brilliant engineer and very loyal, she would not abandon you. She also happens to specialise in experimental particle physics.”  We then meet our 3rd male character of the film. This character we encounter admits that he screams in a disturbing way and basically refuses to go back into the hotel. It isn’t long before we are introduced to the soon to be receptionist for the team: Chris Hemsworth’s character: Kevin. Kevin is literally the most moronic character in this entire film. He covers his eyes when he hears a loud noise, he took his glasses lenses out because they kept getting dirty, he doesn’t know how to use a phone, he doesn’t know how to be a receptionist, he called his dog Mike Hat (which sounds like my cat)…he’s an idiot and the whole team know it.

We are then subjected to a wide array of disturbing vagina, boob and dick jokes for all the 13 year olds who were watching this film. Not to mention that Melissa McCarthy as per usual talks about food for far too long in this film. I can’t help but think about a recent episode of South Park where Cartman gives a talk in front of his school about how women are funny and it’s time we accept it. He tries to had the microphone to various female characters, telling them to say something funny. When they don’t seem to have anything funny to say, he begins telling them “go on, talk about your vagina. Be funny!” When you have female comedians such as Amy “joke-stealer” Schumer who basically only talk about sex and their vaginas, you can’t help but see Cartman as having a point, especially in relation to this recent Ghostbusters film. Just to clarify: I’m completely for female comedians and find plenty of them funny. It’s just that these women in particular were not at all funny and actually just made me cringe for the length of the film. What does it say that during a female-led comedy film, the only times I laughed was because if male characters? Ozzy Osbourne’s random appearance where he thinks he’s having flashbacks was one of the few moments I actually enjoyed because it wasn’t a dick/vagina joke or a reference to Mellissa McCarthy eating. I mean sure, there is the famous moment from the original Ghostbusters where the sentence “Yes it’s true, this man has no dick” but I think we can all agree that it’s a step above someone talking about getting slime “in every crack”.

I’m going to conclude this post (yes it is drastically shorter than usual) simply by highlighting the overall issue with this film: This film isn’t a loveable throwback to the original Ghostbusters nor is it a original film. It is instead a man-hating abomination of nostalgia and special effects trying to convince us that female led films can be just as funny as their male counterparts. I think for me, I can sum up how I felt watching the film by explaining how it ended. After some ridiculous fight and blah blah blah, the Ghostbusters eventually defeat villain by hitting him in the balls. Yup, the female-led team literally saves the day by hitting someone in the balls. If that doesn’t drive the point home for you then I don’t know what will.