Once Upon a Time 2×24 finale “And Straight On Til Morning”

There’s no leaving the need for spoilers:

 

-Does anyone else find it highly suspect that the holy Tamara and the sacredness of her quest allow her to leave escape plans with the most selfish males she meets, aka August and then Hook?  ANYONE ELSE feel that’s pretty much a red flag around here?

-So, Snow White is now clearing the darkness in her heart AND proving her and her hubby’s leadership skills by…declaring that she wants to risk the lives of herself, her family, and all of her subjects for Regina’s because it’s the “hard path” and because she still feels guilty over killing her mom.  This is the most selfish, horrible leader thing ever.  Luckily, I love Regina and really need her to live, I just thought we were going to get there through Henry or even Emma’s that-is-wrong-FAMILY feelings rather than hearing one woman using her guilt to imperil her people being portrayed as Great-yay!  And then to top it all off, it is Therapist Approved!  Come on, Archie!

-It is amazing to me that, in spite of being all moonish and anguished over Milah’s image, Hook never seems to think of Bae as Milah’s son, just Rumple’s.  In his private references to him it’s always the Dark One’s son or the kid the shadow’s looking for, only after Bae brings up Milah does Hook use her as a tool to persuade Bae into staying aboard.  This bugs me-just one more way in which Hook’s lovesick story is inconsistent.

-Technically, Cinderella’s baby was also born here, so Henry would have had it for company.

-I am gratified Granny was finally called in as babysitter, though.  Greg and Tamara wouldn’t get past her shotgun at Henry.

-There was a pathetic lack of Ruby.

-Emma’s magic powers are extremely convenient at all times, I must say.

-Was anyone else expecting Belle to wake up, remember all the bad things Gold let himself do at Lacey’s urging, and be all upset at him?  At least a little bit?  Make SOME comment about her Laciness?  After the town was saved, at any rate.

-I loooooove everything Regina in this episode!  On point, focused, and without even any really long speeches or claims.  That is the best media dying ever and no one ever, ever does it!

-Does everyone just assume if the diamond got sent to another land it would just not do anything, as opposed to simply exploding somewhere else?  Cause the random missile plan is truly not heroic.

-We’ve been over this-it took him forever, but Gold has magical security on his shop now!  Did Lacey let the dwarves in?  Also, we’ve been digging up memory-reviving fairy dust for weeks now and Sneezy STILL NEVER GOT HIS IDENTITY BACK???  THE HELL, SHOW?

-You’d think Ruby could survive as a wolf, right?  I mean, her wolf self did get born again in Storybrooke, so it was technically born there, sortof.

-I do finally buy a storyarc of Hook’s in this episode, though.  The reaching of his wearing-down point and willingness to try new tactics was believable and touching.

-These Lost Boys…first, do you suppose the confiscated shadows are then sold to the coachman in Pinnochio to be his creepy shadow workers on Pleasure Island?  Second, why are they dressed like Robin Hood?  Three, if they’ve just been looking for Henry all this time, as opposed to even a small short-list of desirable boys to kidnap, life in Neverland just got reeeeally boring.  I do not find this as Neverland version as intriguing or dangerous as others seem to, because….how frustrating and tedious is that?  Fourth, we saw a lot of scenes there at night.  Shouldn’t we have heard this creepy crying for parents Wendy spoke of?  Five, if there’s a picture of the boy the shadow wants, can’t he see whether he’s got the right one or not?  Geez.

-Please let Tamara and Greg be quickly dispatched and replaced by more interesting higher ups in the next episode.

-Someone could explain how Phillip got revived, perhaps?

-Perhaps we can finally get some Pirates of the Caribbean references?

-Also, Tiger Lily!  Get on it!

And that’s Season 2!

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Once Upon a Time 2×21 “Second Star to the Right”

This is the episode where they stopped trying to wrap things up for the finale and just threw things into a box.  Fairly sturdy box, though.  SPOILERS:

 

1. Am I the only one who thought the “I love you”s between Emma and Neal were too abrupt and forced?  Perhaps if Neal, as someone who thinks they’re about to die, had started it as opposed to Emma, who was in denial, I could have bought it.  As it is, I just think that there goes another storyline that could have been interesting, super-condensed and disposed of.

2. I feel Disney really missed out on opportunities for fun references here.  I knew hoping for some kind of “Great Mouse Detective” thing in Big Ben was probably too much of a long shot, but shouldn’t there at least have been chimney sweeps?  A Mary Poppins hat?  A chimney sweep’s broom???  Come on, people!

3. This Neverland story doesn’t make sense to me.  If the Shadow just wants boys-Lost Boys-then why bother with Wendy in the first place?  If it was supposed to be a preview so her brothers would want to come, the shadow was pretty stupid to let her stay so long or tell her about the soil rule.  Why on earth would Bae think pots are a good defenses?  If the real plan was to get everyone in the crawl space, why not start there?  If the Shadow started showing up at the same time as Bae, wouldn’t he wanted Bae instead of the brothers in the first place?  How was Bae surprised about winding up in Neverland?  If he had a lighter up his sleeve to make Shadow go away, why didn’t he just try fighting with it before making the deal to leave the Darlings alone?  And on top of all that…taking in a hungry urchin is one thing, but letting him sleep in the same room as your preteen daughter seems screamingly out of place anywhere, but particularly in Victorian London.

4. Most important thing in this episode: Maleficent lives!!! Hurrah!  I’m going to go ahead and decide that she also survived Greg and Tamara due to that super-survival spell and just shape-shifted again.  Perhaps into a raven akin to her companion in Sleeping Beauty this time?  I felt incredibly cheated that we didn’t get to see the real fight with her.  Her shape and strength was amazing and even Hook managed a good line in her presence.

5. Okay, having Regina use her magic ‘obliviate’ just so she can tell the audience what she wants to do, since it’s obvious it makes no sense for her to be saying this to Henry, takes me right out of the story.

6. Also, what’s with the torture?  If they’d referred to things like no one withstanding the machine or this being Regina’s pit of despair I’d be okay with it, but…it just wasted time .

7. The minute Tamara said “unholy” I checked out.  Not that I was ever interested in that storyline to begin with.  However, if their headquarters can just inform Tamara that gem=a curse failsafe, then…First, that’s insane.  Second, I want this to go back to Jekyll and Hyde, the good doctor founded this to try and stop Hyde before its magic curse killed him.  Third, shouldn’t they be interested in using that technology whatever to make more anti-magic shields or whatever, prevention rather than eradication?

8. This complaint is late since haven’t reviewed the last couple episodes, but: You’ve got a field of magic portals that are your only hope for your desired future and you don’t leave anyone on guard???  I feel Granny or Ruby would have thought of that.

9. It’s a little difficult to take seriously the saying “No one steals from a dwarf!” seeing as most of them start life by doing grunt work for the fairies’ dust, which all goes to them, and so they don’t really have possessions to steal.  Even outside of that, they stick in packs, so it should at least be “No one steals from dwarves”?

 

Overall: Thank God that whole Tamara-Emma-Neal love triangle no one really committed to can stop bungling around.  Kudos for Regina for keeping everyone on point with what’s important.  Who wants to bet Antoine’s got some extra beans on his person since he’s learned it’s good to have failsafes too?  Anyhow, not totally great, but not a bad showing, either.  We’ll see how the finale goes.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS.

 

I saw this at the midnight opening.  Yet, there were no lines, there were available seats, and although only 2 hours before midnight, my party got to choose prime seats.  This is not the nerd-experience I expected.  Fun, in several ways more familiar than I was expecting, but just profoundly not the thing I’d been looking forward to.  The film itself I found to be: Exactly Like That.

 

The main, overall issue that I have with Jackson’s new first film of a Middle Earth trilogy is this: it tried to be exactly the same as his last first film installment of a Middle Earth trilogy:

-Why did it start with an overarching backstory narrative instead of one of the most famous first lines ever?  Because “Fellowship of the Ring” starts that way.  (Don’t get me wrong-that sequence was perhaps my third favorite, but as the opening of a “The Hobbit” experience-hell, no, do the line we know and love, please.  By the way, my reaction to this is a very good indicator of my reactions to the movie in general.)

-Then both have a party in the shire, though the dwarves do change the tone of the comedy.  Both Bilbo’s party in “Fellowship of the Ring” and the dinner party in this one end up with somber proposals for an expedition at Bagend itself.  This particular similarity I don’t mind as everything from dwarves singing about breaking dishes to dwarves singing about the Misty Mountain is definitely my second favorite thing about the whole film, but still-it is there.  Not to mention the fact that the segues to these parties are set on the exact same day, with the exact same cast.

-There are heroic action shots of a journeying company in the exact same manner as the fellowship was shot.

-The fighting stone giants scene is the Hobbit version of the fellowship trying to cross the mountain pass and being turned back by Saruman.

-After which, they wind up underground in caves filled with enemies where all seems inevitably lost and Gandalf faces down the one biggest, toughest, bad guy of all and then falls down into darkness.  The fact that the dwarves fall with him in this version is not that big of a deviation.

-Thorin has been changed to resemble Aragorn-battle-worn, dark-haired, warrior leaders separated from their homeland.  This is fine, until scenes start changing to make the dwarf prince start charging around and being epic-ly glorified.  While pretty, it just kills any thoughts that this might start resembling canon sometime.  Kili is clearly the Hobbit’s version of Legolas.  I cannot find it in my heart to dislike this one, but still it took me straight out of the movie and into comparing shots and going, “Oh, PJ, couldn’t you do something new?”

-It ends with a looming sense of danger and a glimpse of the dark enemies ahead, just like “Fellowship of the Ring.”

 

The second thing I had a major issue with was that this film kept changing things in order to glorify Bilbo Baggins.

-Firstly, Bilbo Baggins is one of my favorite book characters and he NEEDS no glorification.  I felt insulted on book!Bilbo’s behalf that PJ felt he needed to do those things.

-Secondly, it took away from other characters’ moments.  The troll scene is a great favorite of mine from “The Hobbit” and the trolls get turned to stone because Gandalf copies the trolls’ voices and insults them.  This causes a fight and distracts them long enough for dawn to ossify them.  I was dearly looking forward to seeing this and feel cheated.  When actually thinking about what did happen in the scene, I do realize it was well done, and humorous, and Martin Freeman did it well.  Unfortunately, it’s just not what I wanted to see.  The other time this became a really clear issue was when Bilbo charged the orc to save Thorin.  If it had simply stayed that way and then the eagles had rescued them, it’d be okay.  But instead-like 30 seconds after Bilbo charges the other dwarves follow.  I’m sorry, but if the dwarves were physically capable of charging to save their leader, who they’ve actually known all their lives, are akin to, and believe in, it’s utterly implausible to me that they’d arrive behind Bilbo.  And if I make myself believe it did happen…instead of liking Bilbo better I simply like the dwarves less.  I cannot like the dwarves less at the end of the first film involving them if I’m going to be excited about seeing the second.

 

Third big movie thought: Riddles in the Dark was glorious.  I’m fairly certain Andy Serkis’s Gollum is incapable of doing anything without being awesome.  Additionally, this was the scene where Bilbo felt more like Bilbo to me.

 

Other things:

-Thror’s beard is hypnotic.

-Galadriel’s clothes are so ridiculously, dazzlingly, beautiful it was hard to pay attention to anything else.

-I am totally good with the blatant reunion scenes like Galadriel and Saruman showing up at Rivendell.  It’s just so good to see them.

-Radagast the Brown threw me for a loop.  I sat there going, “I have no memory of this.”  On the other hand, it’s been long enough since I read “The Hobbit” that I couldn’t be completely sure I hadn’t just forgotten.  Once I assured myself this actually was a new thing, it kindof rocked.  I’m a fan of smacktalk involving bunnies, saving hedgehogs, and mysterious ghost blades.  Also, Saruman’s scolding about mushrooms even outdoes his chiding of Gandalf in “Fellowship of the Ring” about smoking “the halflings’ leaf.”

-All the elves and their new accoutrement: it is glorious.

-I’m reacting to the Pale Orc the same way I do to purely decorative but not very tasty frosting: I understand why it’s there, so I tolerate it, but I’d sooner it were gone.

-It truly bothered me that at the end no one thanks the eagles for saving them, even a little bit.  No wonder they take so long to show up in Lord of the Rings.

-In the book Bilbo’s grand rejoining of the company after the goblins’ mountain was far more rockstar.  I don’t understand passing up this opportunity.

-With three films to fill I was expecting more of Tolkein’s songs.  Think we’ll get more of that in the next one?

 

 

Once Upon a Time 2×9 “Queen of Hearts”

Well, that was a veritable cheesecake of cheesiness, family-home toppings, and crumbling plot points.  I’ll allow it because the holidays are almost here.

 

Spoilers and Thoughts:

1. For an episode called “Queen of Hearts” there was disappointingly little Wonderland.

2. They are doing it again, with trying to make Hook everything all at once: he’s the anguished, heartbroken lover who can’t rest without revenge.  He’s the callous pirate about to murder Belle for no reason other than frustration.  He’s the chivalrous pirate who freely returns Aurora’s heart.  He’s the badboy player who makes lots of references to sex and women losing their hearts to him.  He’s trying to have chemistry with Emma.  Just STOP IT.  Also, saying right out you would’ve betrayed Cora if Emma hadn’t tied you up right in front of the witch-mother herself was an absurdly stupid thing to do.  Why she just smiled I can’t say.  Perhaps she assumed it was a lie.  Simply couldn’t waste time on the fool when she’s close to reaching Regina.  Whatever-it was idiotic.

3. I am Extremely Gratified to see that with David out of the picture people did indeed begin to call in Ruby when there was an emergency.  Very good.  Perhaps we can keep that up as he will be busy with his family.

4. I am unclear on why no one but Ruby and Henry ran after Rumplestiltskin and Regina.  If no one steals from a dwarf, shouldn’t the dwarves have gone?  The only reason is that the show needed it to be only Henry who convinced Regina to switch sides in order to bake in more cheesy goodness.  I’m not adverse to that result, but there should be a reason why others couldn’t come.  Perhaps holding vigil over sleeping cursed people is addictive and they just couldn’t look away?  Could be the start of the fascination with zombies in Storybrooke.

5.  So, did Hook kill the giant in order to get the dead bean and we just totally glossed over that bit?

6. If they try to make the whole convoluted ‘we all get back because there’s really two ways that Hook knew all the time’ thing something he kindof did on purpose because he likes Emma and just wanted her to be in the new land with him, I will cut things.

7. Goddamn, Belle’s history gets more glum every time we see it.  Someone get the girl a tasting position on Iron Chef for the foreseeable future.

8. I dearly hope Cora’s keeping her heart the same way the villains do in Russian tales-in an egg, in a duck, in a fox, in a chest, at the top of the tallest tree (or similar things), and guarded by a fierce beast-in Cora’s case, the Jabberwocky.  I need this to happen.

9. I think everyone’s forgotten that Rumplestiltskin would also have ruptured feelings upon seeing a son abandon the parent who just magically tried to do everything they could to protect them.  After all, that’s EXACTLY what happened to Rumplestiltskin.  Granted, the details would give Rumplestiltskin a lot more guilt than Regina’s, but that will only make his emotional trauma worse.  His taunts to Regina could well be the automatic mechanism he’s built up in order to deflect his own tumultuous feelings.  Not that I promote taunting, but if we’re going to feel sympathy for Regina in this situation, Rumplestiltskin deserves a little, too.

10. Do we think the show will remember that magic is supposed to be different in Storybrooke and make her have trouble, or will they conveniently bypass that aspect on the argument that she came from a magical world to one which currently also had magic?

Lord of the Rock Operas

What the world needs now is a Lord of the Rings rock opera.  Here’s how it breaks down:

 

-The human heroes like Aragorn and Bormir are the rock gods.

-Rohan, home of the drum lords!

-Grima Flute Tongue!

-The orcs dance Bollywood (everything could use a little Bollywood).

-Wizards play keytar.

-The Mines of Morrhythm is inhabited by a bal-rap!

-The dwarves are like Stomp.

-Elves are the singers.

-The Eye of Sauron is the great silence, where there is suddenly no music whatsoever.  Because it is evil.

 

Musical interludes could include:

During the Council of Elrond:

One does not simply ROCK into Mordor!

In the land of Sauron

our hopes will be far gone,

The armies of Mordor

have orcs that are hardcore!

 

Not 10,000 men

could beard Sauron’s den-

One cannot simply rock into Mordor

We’re on the clock-let’s roll to Gondor!

(*expansive arm gesture as Boromir backs to his chair*)

And the guitar war between Aragorn and Boromir continues.

 

I see Gollum as having one simple theme music whose verses continue to change to such things as:

 

Tricksy precious sneaks!

Spies out what we seeks!

So beautiful, so bright!

The precious shall be mine-

Ours, my love!

 

Master I can se-erve!

Even the hobbit with cur-rves!

We don’t need you here anymore!

Good Smeagol helps now

So-run!  So, run!

 

They are tricksy, false, liars!

Stupid hobbitses-stupid shires!

The precious is mine!  My own!

We can takes it-us alone!

Our own, my love!

 

We can commit murd-er,

Herd them up to he-er,

We can survive, sure as sure,

Just trust your precious

Gollum!  Gollum!

 

Yes? No? Precious?

Happy National Hobbit Day!

I have been reliably informed by hallmark that today is National Hobbit Day!  Therefore, I did my humble best to pay tribute to this momentous work (as well as attempting to act more Hobbitably).

 

Bilbo Baggins meets Thorin at his home of Bagend:

 

Bilbo’s Trolls:

 

The goblin king stands over his hoarde:

 

Riddles in the Dark:

 

Invisible!Bilbo sneaks inside Lonely Mountain:

 

Smaug emerges from Lonely Mountain:

 

(Special guest appearances by Silast as Smaug and Rattafin as Invisible!Bilbo.)

 

 

 

Snow White and Prince Rufus

With all the Snow White tales floating in the air from the media lately, I’ve decided to add a flake of my own.  The older Snow White tales are the ones I find the most creepy.  They are filled with princes who find supposedly dead, yet fresh-looking, young women and decide to take them home.  Or ones who never bury their first wife, even after they marry a second.  My favorite has the second wife awakening Snow white (by removing a poisoned comb) and then they form a threesome.  These guys are creepy.  I find it highly ironic that of all the Disney princes to be simply known as “Prince Charming”, Snow White’s prince is the one.  (Yes, also Cinderella, but at least he dances charmingly.)

The following is my attempt to create a version of this prince who is not creepy, while adhering to the formula where Snow White is already out cold before they meet.  One who is even likeable, though not necessarily “charming.”  I give you: “Prince Rufus”

Prince Rufus sulked atop his horse.  When his elder brother took his year of pilgrimage, to see their lands and learn of life and wonders, his missives and tokens numbered dozens of marvelous treasures and unheard of wonders.  Now, his turn was proving miserably disappointing.

 

“Dwarves!”  The entourage of guards prepared for an attack by the Wood Dwarves, but it proved to be nothing but a small mourning party of Valley Dwarves.

 

Rufus proffered condolences.  “How long ago did you lose her?”

 

“A year ago last week, your highness,” the dwarves babbled together.  Puzzled, the prince took a real look at the girl in the coffin.  “…but she always looks so fresh.”

 

“I’ve found the girl who defeated death!” cried Rufus.  His natural vanity and sibling jealousy rejoiced at finding this wonder.

———————————————————————————————-

 

On returning home prince Rufus was shocked to discover his parents had construed the mention of a girl as news of his betrothal.  The court was thrumming with celebrations and preparations for his nuptials.  Too loyal to cause his family embarrassment, and used to feeling a fool (so long as it’s private), he married the Girl Who Defeated Death.

 

“It’s not so bad, really,” he explained to his captain.  “I would’ve had to marry anyway, and I definitely wasn’t looking forward to spending all my time meeting or courting girls.  I never have a thing to say to them, anyway.  With Snow White I don’t need to worry about that!  And you know my wife’s a beauty!”

 

The captain sighed.  All the soldiers loved Prince Rufus for his bravery and tenacity on the field, but his captains held him in special regard.  While brilliant in the moment, Rufus had no gift for planning ahead and, amazingly enough, he knew it.  He never tried to lord over the captains, and always adhered strictly to their advice.  Staunchly loyal as a brother, good-natured as a friend, and a proud enough prince to command the love and respect of every man in the kingdom, was their Prince Rufus.  If only he could think of himself alone once in awhile.  Not as part of the royal family, not as a fighter among many, but as his own man.  Long had Rufus’ friends hoped their prince would realize himself through the eyes of a girl-loving or mocking, it didn’t matter so long as he found her thoughts directed at him alone.  Now even that possibility was gone.  Snow White’s eyes held nothing.

 

“A beauty,” he repeated.  And nothing else. 

 

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