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Tinker Bell
I just saw the last Tinker Bell movie, and WOW, I haven't cried that hard in a movie in ages.  I didn't expect to like the movie because I was lukewarm about The Pirate Fairy and I've never really warmed to Fawn.  I don't hate her but neither she nor her talent are interesting to me.

But they did such a good job with this movie.  They really developed her character.  The development of the NeverBeast was great too.  I certainly wouldn't have cried so hard if I hadn't connected with it.

I liked seeing more world building from Pixie Hollow.  The scouts were cool.  I liked that Nyx was acting out of concern, and I can totally see where she and Fawn are coming from.  You can just see how horrified she is when Fawn dies -- to realize that her actions ended up killing a fairy, which was the last thing she wanted.  And also, to realize how wrong she'd been about the situation.  I feel like she does care deeply.  I also liked seeing more about the animal fairies and where they're set up and how they spend their days.

I thought the explanation of the NeverBeast was good.  They did a good job of making its makeup conform to what it needed to do.  I thought the lightening storm was a little weird in that they don't really explain what it is or where it came from or anything like that.  I think I just needed some line or other to give it a little more weight (not realism necessarily but something to tie it better to Neverland).

The one thing I really wanted at the end was to see Queen Clarion's reaction to the NeverBeast.  When it was being led back to its cave (and WOW was that scene beautiful), I thought the fairies that were waiting for it were Clarion and the Ministers.  Considering what the NeverBeast did and the big ceremony they just gave the NeverBeast, I thought it was fitting that Clarion and the Ministers would be there.  So, that was a small little gripe of mine.

Man, was I gone when the fairies started cracking up and crying.  The ending was so sad.  I want to know what happened after that.  Does Fawn go down there from time to time?  Did what happened change her standing among the fairies in any way?  I really loved her heroic actions in flying up into the storm.  She died doing it -- that's hardcore for a Tinker Bell movie.

I do kind of ship Nyx and Fawn now.  They seem like they actually would get on well since they are both very devoted to seeing innocent lives are protected.  Once they recognize that in each other (which I think they did by the end of the film), I think they would find common ground to build on.  But, I think there's still a spark between them from seeing the world in slightly different shades that would keep their relationship interesting.

Also, Silvermist wins at life.  Trufax.  Seriously, she has only a handful of lines and every one of them is gold.  Even her lines from the deleted scene are awesome.

Seeing this movie made me really sad that the franchise is coming to an end.  If they can make me like Fawn and be this moved by an animal fairy storyline, I can't imagine what they'd do for Silvermist, whom I already love.  I'd love to see what kind of storyline she would get -- what new facets of her character they would open up.  Even Iridessa might be interesting in her own movie.  It's a shame we'll never see that now.  I hope they decide to try again because these characters are just great and there are so many more stories to tell.

But at least they ended on a high note.  I was so sure it would be another Pirate Fairy (okay but not great in anyway) but I really loved this film.  The music was good and the story was great.


NCIS
Ep: Blast from the Past
This ep was okay until the end, which seemed really far-fetched to me.  It feels like the gimmick of the episode was Gibbs as an IT guy.  But that wasn't interesting to me at all (and actually didn't last too long) so that fell flat.  I knew as soon as we met the cat lady that she was in on it some way.  Ditto for the neighbor.  They spent too much time devoted to talking to him and he didn't give them anything useful.  I knew he was going to be the handler (or something like that).  The wrap-up was just sloppy.  The guy just spilled everything because he had immunity (except that he didn't)?  They don't even explain why he thought that or give us the satisfaction of the scene telling him where that's not true.  I was with the ep until then.  They just explain the rest without any justification; it felt really sloppy to me.

Ep: Artful Dodger
I didn't care for this ep very much.  I do like that Tony seems happy and is moving forward with a new, healthy relationship.  But I am so over Senior.  It's like watching Tony with Ziva all over again; Tony's characterization takes a serious back slide (though it's a little better explained with Senior).  I thought Senior's involvement in the case was super weak.  And their argument was also weak, as was their reconciliation.  Senior's comments at the end did not earn him a look of admiration, nor did Tony seem to have that look on his face when Senior said it.  I just find Senior's storylines to be really annoying.

I did like the Gibbs/Tony moments though.  Gibbs was nice to Tony several times.  I really like when Gibbs shows he cares for and knows Tony so well.  He let Tony go home early to have his date.  He and Tony shared that moment about Gibbs hiring a probie for dumpster diving, and Tony appreciating it.  And Gibbs called Tony a friend (which is maybe a stretch since Gibbs was looking to use the codeword but Gibbs could've said he just knew a guy).  Also, Gibbs didn't get too upset with Senior and Tony having an argument through him (and he solved the argument).  He also noted Tim's suggestion to give Senior something to do and let Senior involve himself in the case (which I'm sure they could've found someone else to help them with).  Overall, I really like the subtle moments of connection.  The big grand gestures are great too but I just really appreciate when Gibbs is nice to Tony in these small ways.  It makes them feel more like a family.

For the case itself, some of it was a little uneven.  Like, Palmer and Abby's thing at the end.  The guy came in and Abby's super distrustful but then it seems like the moment is just set up to reassure Palmer.  The distrustful part seems weird.  If she'd just done as Gibbs asked, then it would've been fine.  And, I felt bad for the navy guy who died.  You find out his girlfriend basically used him (after setting up how he had no family any more and how sad that was).  No one mentions anything about that.  You'd think it would earn a line or two.


Immortals
I enjoy movies like this.  I like mythology but I'm not a purist really, especially for Roman/Greek stories.  I thought this was fun.  I liked the visuals from The Fall.  After watching the movie, I saw that it was directed by the same guy who did that movie and I could tell.  First, the designs really pop.  The colors are vibrant and the designs are interesting and unique.  Also, there's quite a bit of diversity.  I thought the lady who played the Oracle was gorgeous and I liked her sister-priestesses too.  I'm disappointed they were never given names.  I liked that they had a sisterhood and stood up for each other -- that they were kickass when necessary.  All of them were really beautiful.  I was right there with Phaedra when she found out what happened to them.  And, when the bull was opened, they were still saying they were the Oracle -- they still hadn't given her up.

I really liked how the religious people were shown.  I liked how devoted they were to their religion but it didn't feel preachy or overly dramatic.  Even the dude who cut out his tongue seemed like someone in an impossible situation who still stood up for his beliefs.  I was a little sad when he was finally going to throw away his beliefs to kill someone in the pit but I totally could see where he was coming from at that point.  And the Oracle was quietly confident.  She seemed ambivalent about her visions but her faith was so strong.  I liked that she didn't really try to change Theseus' mind.  Rather, she guided him but without deceit.  She told him the truth she knew and urged him on the right path.  I really liked her.

I thought the bad guy was terrifically awful.  I knew about the bronze bull before so I knew as soon as I saw it what was in it.  It's utterly awful so as soon as I saw it, I knew someone was being hurt and it was awful.  I wonder if it was different for people unaware of what the bull was and if they were kept in the dark until the moment they discover the other priestesses.  I can imagine the impact of that.  Even knowing though, it's so horrible that I can't help being horrified.  The other things in Hyperion's army are also awful.  What he does to that Greek soldier seems somewhat poetic because the Greek dude sucks but that they show it like they do makes it visceral and unsettling.  When Hyperion is introduced, I had a thought for an instant that he might prove sympathetic when he talks about losing his family.  But, yeah, there's nothing sympathetic about him.  He's pretty cruel to his people.  But he's commanding and quietly terrifying, more than bombastic.  He was creepy, and I definitely felt the tension that you didn't want him to end up leading the world.  That would've sucked.

Back to the designs, I thought the reimagining of the Minotaur was interesting.  I liked the imagery with the Titans trapped in the box.  The very first image of the movie is visually intriguing.  You don't know what you're looking at or how big it is.  And then you see the dudes inside and you think they're statues.  But then you see their eyes, and it seems horrible to be trapped like that.  They're not how I would imagine the Titans.  Other than being stronger and faster, they don't really seem like a match for the gods.  Like most cannon-fodder, they use numbers to defeat.  This makes them seem less effective as villains.  However, considering they've been imprisoned, perhaps they're weaker now?  It could've been more interesting is what I'm saying -- especially if some of the Titans were given personalities and ties to the gods.  Imagine Zeus facing off with his dad.  That would've been cool.

As for the gods, I liked the idea of them being young.  I liked how Zeus hid himself as an old man but that he's actually young and vibrant.  I really like Luke Evans and I thought he did a good job.  The other gods did seem more like a spread for a teen magazine, which is a little hard to take seriously.  Also, it was REALLY hard to tell the other gods apart.  Poseidon was easy so long as he had his trident.  Once I figured out Ares' head-thingy, he was okay too.  But Apollo and Heracles are super difficult.  And, when those four are in close-up, they're pretty much indistinguishable.  It doesn't help that they're wearing pretty much the same thing.  I mean, I'm not complaining because that was a lot to admire in those pretty gold outfits but it did make them hard to tell apart, which made it hard to care for them as individuals.  Also, they didn't address each other by name almost at all.

I thought the head-thingies were silly.  They also seemed misplaced.  The ray-thing that Ares wore seems like something Apollo should wear (being associated with the sun and all).  And then Apollo (I think, can't really tell them apart) was wearing something like wings on his head, which should really go towards Hermes.  Heracles appears to have had a circular cage, which I'm not sure how that represents him.  He also wore wings on his sandals (not sure if he's the only one), which should also belong to Hermes.  So, all of that was confusing.

However, I did like the gold motif they had going.  I liked the flowing capes they wore in mourning.  I thought Olympus looked pretty and I wish we could've seen more of it.  I liked how they did their powers -- how they traveled and fought.  I wish we could've seen more gods.  The lack of other gods was glaringly obvious in the final battle.  Why only 5?  Or 6 if Ares hadn't been killed?  If there had only been 10 Titans, it might've been okay -- especially if the Titans were bad-asses that were the match of the gods in strength, intelligence and speed.  That would've made the battles cooler, more exciting, and more tense, especially if the lead Titan was taunting Zeus about what he'd do with men once Zeus fell.  So, all of that was a missed opportunity.  The lack of gods made it seem like the powers of the gods was already waning -- as if they'd been whittled down just to these few.

What I liked most about the gods was that they all seemed to care about mortals.  They wanted to help.  I loved that Zeus respected free will.  I don't think it was very clear exactly why he didn't want them to intervene.  What exactly did humans have to do to prove the faith the gods put in them?  What was Zeus waiting for?  But, other than that being unclear, I did like that Zeus seemed to respect and care for humans.  I liked that all the gods were right there with him in that.  I liked that it bothered them not to help.  I like that Poseidon and Ares helped Theseus specifically.  Usually, Ares or another of Zeus' children are always at odds with their demi-god siblings in these kinds of movies.  I liked that there wasn't a whiff of that here.  I liked that Poseidon noted Zeus favoring the mortal and that seemed to be partly why he helped -- that he valued his brother/king's judgment and would help out.  I just really appreciated that the gods were for humans.  Even when Hyperion succeeded, they didn't turn their backs or blame Theseus for not stopping him.  They were willing to die to stop the Titans -- and they did die.  I like that Athena's last words were about humans.  I just really appreciate this take since so many gods in other media always view humans as toys or unruly children who must be put in their places.

I liked how much Zeus cared about his kids.  He clearly loved Athena and I felt she loved him back.  It clearly tore Zeus' heart to kill Ares.  I like that no one really hated Zeus for that but Ares was mourned.  I liked how Zeus clearly struggled with the position he was put into when he had to confront Theseus as a god.  He didn't want to reveal himself but he was revealed.  I felt that Zeus wanted to help Theseus but knew he couldn't.  He yelled to motivate Theseus but also to distance them because it was hard for Zeus not to help.  He wanted to do exactly what Ares did but couldn't.  I liked seeing the gods struggle with humanity's free will.

The way Zeus interacted with Theseus definitely played into the father-son relationship but I realized that in this version Theseus might not be a demi-god at all.  Poseidon should be Theseus' father.  But, Poseidon doesn't react to Theseus at all like he knows or has any particular interest in him.  He saves him more because Zeus has singled him out and because he's with the Oracle.  Also, these gods don't seem like the kind who rape and kidnap the way the traditional Greek gods did.  I'd feel more comfortable meeting these gods than those.  Zeus also doesn't actually claim Theseus as his son.  This is actually rather interesting.  I like the idea that Theseus does all the stuff he does but he's just a normal man.  I like that Zeus picks a normal human and that he befriends him.  You can see that he cares for him.

I also liked how much Theseus loved his mother.  The treatment of women in Greek/Roman mythology has always bothered me.  The way the villagers treat her is historically consistent and I liked her son sticking up for her.  The film does give the possibility that one of the villagers who raped her is the one who sired Theseus.  It also leaves open the idea that she might've met Poseidon/Zeus later to father Theseus because it doesn't specifically say that Theseus was a result of the rape (though it is implied).  I thought his mom was great too.

I liked the bow a lot.  I liked how they imagined the labyrinth.  I did get battle fatigue at the end though.  When it went from the Titans/gods to Theseus/Hyperion to the battle in the tunnel, it was too much.  They were all too similar.  I would've liked to see a good guy (Zeus or Theseus) get the bow and waste a bunch of the Titans.  Hyperion's people seemed to be working on something but nothing came of it.  I thought they were making a tower of Babel or something like that.  And what was the point of the pit?  There seemed to be some point to all of that but it never came to anything.

I also liked Stavros and Helios.  I wouldn't say Stavros' story was fully developed but I thought his cheek was entertaining and I liked that despite his words, he did stick it out with Theseus and was with him at the end.  I liked the Helios treated Theseus with respect the whole way through.  He seemed like a good commander.

It did seem like there was one death too many at the end.  There should be five gods: Athena, Poseidon, Zeus, Apollo, and Heracles.  Poseidon and Zeus survive.  Athena is easy to distinguish from the others.  So, that leaves two to be killed but it looked like three gods had their helmets knocked off and were killed.  I think Heracles was killed twice.  There were definitely three killings but that doesn't make any sense, so that's a little weird and also doesn't help in determining who is who among the gods.

Sidenote:
I'm watching a TV show about the Minneapolis Bridge Collapse and you can totally tell it's not being produced by anyone who's from MN.  They show that 2 of the lanes on the bridge were closed so traffic was at a crawl.  Whenever they show this, they put honking horns on.  People don't honk their horns around here.  Maybe if someone cuts you off but that's rare.  Certainly every time I've been stuck in traffic, people don't honk their horns.

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September 2016

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