Kiki’s Delivery Service Changes, and the “Dub vs. Sub” Debate

Kiki’s Delivery Service is one of my favorite childhood movies. I didn’t see My Neighbor Totoro (or indeed many of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s other works) until later in my life, so Kiki is to me what Totoro is to most other fans. The story of a young witch who leaves home to train for a year and finds her purpose in a new city is a treasured memory, and a film I like to go back to when I find myself lost or lacking inspiration. Beyond the coming of age narrative, it’s a story about not giving up when life throws difficulties at you, as it inevitably will. Things may change, but you will never truly lose that which make you special.

 

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Recently I purchased a DVD copy of the movie, since my old VHS has long since vanished to some garage sale, Goodwill, or ignored corner of the house. I popped in the film and was quite unpleasantly surprised by what I found there. Half of the music was rearranged and redone, and scraps of dialogue and goofy ad-libbing were completely missing! ‘What the hell?’ I thought. ‘This isn’t Kiki!’

Yes, it was. I was just late to the punch.

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It turns out that the new 2010 DVD had been redone to resemble the original Japanese version, which was very minimalist, especially compared to the English dub put together by Disney. For those who are new and unfamiliar with the terms, a dub refers to the voice overs in a language (usually one different from the original recording), while a sub refers to subtitles. To say that a version is “English subbed” implies that the audio is still in the original recorded language (for example, Japanese), but that English subtitles have been included. “English dubbed” implies that the film or show has undergone English localization, with English-speaking voice actors and sometimes fixed or edited music.

The original Japanese film had music and very little dialogue, especially when the characters were offscreen. I don’t know entirely if it was Miyazaki, the fans, or some portion of both who demanded this change, but I do know that it was not advertised (explained) very well, and I would not have bought this specific copy, had I known.

(note: there is another English version from Streamline Pictures, but I never saw it and it’s harder to find)

The dub/sub debate is a large one in the anime community. I discovered this first in high school, just looking at the divide in my Japanese language class. I would say that half of the students in that class were there because they watched Japanese animation (anime for short) and liked it, and the other half because they were strictly interested in Japanese language and culture. Both groups seemed to thumb their noses at the other, and I could never understand it because I was there for both reasons. I liked anime, and that inspired me to learn more about culture, history, language, etc. I found both equally interesting.

The divide was even greater for the anime fans. Some are interested in culture, history, language, etc., and some of those argue that the Japanese dub (or English sub) is the only version anyone should watch. It’s the original after all; the closest to the creator’s true intent. Bringing it to America or other places just pollutes it, taking out all the jokes and references foreigners wouldn’t get and replacing them with ones they do understand.

I understand this mindset, but at the same time I appreciate what English dubs can do. They’ve grown a lot over the years, getting better at pronunciation and keeping closer to the original material, while bringing the content to a wide audience. Anime has grown in popularity in America in the last two decades alone. Sure, older generations still blink and gap in bemusement at fast talking, choppy animated Speed Racer and the like, but we have beloved films and shows that still have large followings today, even the ones heavily edited by folks like the infamous 4Kids Entertainment. Look at 90’s darling Sailor Moon. It’s getting a revamping with Sailor Moon Crystal.

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So what if some people call her Serena and the rest call her Usagi? That only matters in online forums and chatting with your Japanese friends, and I personally think it’s interesting comparing and contrasting the versions. As for which one I go with, usually it’s whichever one I like better (not necessarily which version I see first, though it is certainly that in the Kiki case). I watch Black Butler, Spirited Away, Madoka Magica, and Hetalia in Japanese, but I watch Wolf’s Rain, .hack//SIGN, Princess Mononoke, and Ouran High School Host Club in English. I can watch the other versions too, but it’s just personal preference, mostly pertaining to beloved voice actors and no other rhyme or reason.

Whatever you change, heart, effort, and charm should shine through, no matter what. Changes have to be made in adaptation.

So why am I mad about Kiki again? Mostly because of the advertising of this new feature (rather than, say, having the original Disney dub and the new 2010 Disney dub available in the same package, like a theatrical and director’s cut) and the choice of doing such a thing over a decade later, at the expense of someone’s memory.

What do I mean by that last bit?

This article takes an in-depth look at the story and changes made, but let me point out a few things here for the uninitiated:

“The 2010 DVD drops a considerable amount of character dubbing. Most affected is Jiji (Kiki’s cat), for whom (Phil Hartman) had provided a number of witty ad-libs. Here, unless a character is explicitly shown to be speaking, they’re silent. The silence goes even further in few scenes that had score apparently added for the English dub; these now appear without music. Other noticeable losses include Kiki and Jiji’s in-flight and in-rain banter (particularly the latter, upon arriving in their new town), some of Tombo’s lines, and a radio report. Furthermore, some minor changes occur in the credited titles of certain filmmakers.

Film revisionism is generally something I never like, especially when an original version is no longer offered. In this case, however, we’re not talking about an original version but a dubbing. Still, the English version is definitely untrue to Disney’s original dubbing, which has existed for 12 years. While the changes bring the English version closer to the original Japanese, which sounds fair enough, anyone wanting the original Japanese probably would have simply already chosen to watch that version. Something about removing a whole bunch of Phil Hartman’s lines from one of his final movies, a project dedicated to him, also doesn’t feel right. I’m not sure how worked up anyone will get over this surprisingly thorough re-editing. I would guess that those accustomed to the dub are more likely to mind the revisions than to appreciate them. And it seems to me that if Miyazaki had objections, he should have voiced them back in the ’90s.”

~ Luke Bonanno

 

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The character who “suffers” the worst cuts is Jiji, whose voice actor was murdered. The original Disney dub was dedicated to him, so cutting half his dialogue, even if it was ad-libbing, after the project was released to the public for years feels like an insult to his memory.

Also, MAJOR SPOILER HERE:

 

Kiki seems to lose her magical ability during the second act, and regains it by the end (all but speaking with Jiji). This is the big growing up moment, as far as Miyazaki and the purist fans are concerned.

“In the original Japanese script, Kiki loses her ability to communicate with Jiji permanently, but in the American version a line is added which implies she is once again able to understand him. Miyazaki has said that Jiji is the immature side of Kiki, and this implies that Kiki, by the end of the original Japanese version, has matured beyond talking to her cat.”

~Kiki’s Wikipedia page

I can see why fans might have a beef with that line added into the ending, but I never saw the cat as Kiki’s childish side. I saw him as her companion, and her ability to speak with him as just another benefit of having magical powers. The fact that her parents don’t have any other pets, and are never shown speaking to Jiji (or any other animals) never led me to believe that they couldn’t understand him, and that only Kiki could. In fact, Kiki not being able to speak to Jiji was the first sign that she was losing her powers. Would it really make sense for her to lose one power, but not the rest?

But that could have just been poor writing/elaboration.

Maybe she should have turned from animal to human friends (as a part of growing up), but she had plenty of human friends, both before and after skipping town.

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So I have never had a problem with the line revealing that Kiki can understand her cat again; I found the Japanese ending bittersweet and sad for what felt like a no real reason. Princess Mononoke”s ending was bittersweet, but it felt earned. So did the ending for Spirited Away and even Castle in the Sky a little bit. Although, Jiji is portrayed differently there, more “cautious and conscientious” than his “wise cracking” Americanized counterpart. I can accept it if people say “it’s just you.”

Some people found Phil Hartman unfitting or obnoxious as Jiji, hating his general hamminess. I did not. But while I can’t fault those people, I would have preferred (as I mentioned above) something along the lines of a theatrical/director’s cut pairing of DVDs, not just quietly and effectively replacing the old version from the general market. Miyazaki approved the changes made to his work at the time, even if he didn’t agree with them. Now he, or someone else on his team, has pulled a George Lucas.

Miyazaki, I love you man. I respect you so much. I’ve visited your museum in Mitaka

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and it was magical.

But please don’t do stuff like that.

I can’t say which version is better, because all versions have their own values and merits. I just miss the ad-libbing, the mickey-mousing, the wonderfully fitting Sydney Forest songs I sang along with every time.

 

 

I’ll keep the new DVDs and the new and interesting features available on the second disc, but I’m determined to get a copy of pre-2010 Kiki. I advise all fans of the original Disney dub to be wary, lest you get the shocking, depressing surprise I got. For everyone else who may or may not care in this instance, look into the production of some of your favorite shows and movies. They take a lot of work to make the finished product, and you might learn some interesting things about what is and what could have been.

Like David Bowie could have played Elrond in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptations.

True story.

And fans…go there ^. Or here:

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As usual, pics and other media don’t belong to me (although I personally took the photos of the Studio Ghibli Museum and the shopfront. They belong to Studio Ghbili, Hayao Miyazaki, and Disney, etc.

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Top 5 Worst Romantic Comedy Cliches

Don’t get me wrong; I love romantic comedy as much as the next girl. It’s like entering a sugary alternate reality where hot movie stars try to be clumsy, cute, and relatable human beings; even a “loser” can get the girl/guy; the bad guy gets his comeuppance, or at least spends the rest of his life miserable and alone; and happily ever after always wraps up nicely for two souls who were bound to be together.

It’s an alternate reality where everything is how it should be.

Romcoms are a fantasy. Not the type that invokes images of grand adventure, dragons, and wizards, but in its own right, it involves just as much suspension of disbelief. It’s a type that deals with idealism and simplicity. It’s definitely got a charm to it, but sometimes people take issue, whether it’s because it’s not a fantasy they personally subscribe to, or because all fantasies give unrealistic expectations for the complicated world we actually live in.

Sometimes we need a break from the unshakeable truth: “Life isn’t fair.”

So while I’d be a snob and a hypocrite to act like I’m above all the cotton-candy clouds and sparkly fairy dust, I maintain that romcoms are, consistently, the least challenging, most pandering genre, next to robot/monster beat-em-ups. It is emotional “porn”  for women (though some men enjoy it as well), and there are a couple of common tropes and trends constantly being used and abused that I take particular umbrage with.

1# Lack of Humility/Subtlety in the Writing

 

A lot of films (besides just romcoms) have a tendency of “breaking the fourth wall.” For those of you who have never heard this expression before, look at your T.V. or computer and image the show you are watching exists in its own separate reality, not connected to yours. “Breaking the fourth wall” is, in essence, transcending beyond the screen, the wall that separates you from them. It’s when the characters implicitly or explicitly refer to the audience. One common example is talking or “winking” to them.

If you still don’t quite get what I mean, think of the side glances into the camera you see on Looney Tunes, or comments like “gruesome, isn’t it?”. Look at Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, where the titular character isn’t narrating so much as thinking out loud in the moment, all the while smiling and looking right at you, like he knows you’re there. Games do it too. Without spoiling too much, the cult classic Conker’s Bad Fur Day‘s ending pretty much obliterates any semblance of fourth wall left standing at that point.

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This is often, if not almost exclusively used for comedy.

Sometimes, writers use a subset of this to poke fun at themselves via the trope Who Would Want To Watch Us? Other times, they like to verge on fourth wall breaking with something called Lampshade Hanging, or “spotlighting.” That is when you take a problem or an unbelievable element within your own work and drag it into the spotlight within said work, so that everyone can see it. It can’t be ignored because the creator is addressing it. They knew it was there, even before you did.

Some writers do it because they think it’s really funny, or self-mocking. Others treat it like critic repellent.

I don’t mind Lampshade Hanging here and there. I love self-referential and self-debasing humor. But it irritates me when films sneer down their nose at common cliches and tropes, only to then use them later down the line in the same work. As if somehow that makes the overdone original again. I find it pretentious, cheap, and lazy.

Here is one example:

In the movie Pitch Perfect, Jesse, the love interest, (who is downright adorkable, by the way) tries to get Beca, the snarky sound-mixer protagonist, interested in movies. She totally gets the appeal of music, but movies just bore her. Jesse insists that the endings are the best part, but Beca gives a little speech about how they are so formulaic and predictable. Why would you want to watch something when you know how it will end?

Guess what happens:

Jesse and Beca hook up in the end. The guy gets the girl. That is as predictable as the sun rising in the morning. But wasn’t that snarky little speech just so enriching and innovative?

Allow me to quote a new favorite critic of mine, TheMysteriousMrEnter, from several of his reviews:

“Pointing out your problems does not make them go away.”

This can also work out badly in the inverse. If the writers are actually doing something unique or interesting, but feel the need to bash us over the head with it as much as possible. That’s obnoxious too.

For that example, look at Disney’s self parody, Enchanted. It turns out Princess Giselle has to save her damsel-in-distress boyfriend from a giant dragon. Instead of just letting the scene play out on its own, the evil queen/dragon has to make dry remarks every few minutes about how interesting and flipped the situation is.

I THINK WE GET IT.

As with many things in life, balance is key. Also, don’t pee on your audience and tell them it’s raining.

2# I Hate You, I Love You

 

Chicks love seeing relationships where there are none. Whether characters are just friends, bitter rivals, or hated enemies, odds are that you will find a fandom for every possible couple. I think romcom writers recognize this, because they seem to get a lot of mileage the “will-they-or-won’t-they” trope, particularly when it involves open hostility.

The Ugly Truth. The Proposal. Leap Year. And those are just some of the more recent ones, to name a few. The couple starts out with one or both parties hating the other, only to find out in the end that – surprise! – they actually love each other.

In some cases, the parties may even go back and forth.

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I’m aware that there is a thin line between love and hate, and both require a level of passion and devotion, but used as often as it is, this trend quickly becomes annoying. Either put a new spin on it, or let it sleep for a while.

Also, can we do something about the awkward love triangle? You know, where the woman has a hot nice guy and a rude, obnoxious but also hot other guy, and she never fails to go for the jerk? Blah blah blah bad boys are cute. Blah blah blah nice guys finish last. How do we know life isn’t mimicking “art,” and not the other way around?

3# Obligatory Third-Act Misunderstanding

 

This is an epidemic. Not just in romcoms, but in movies as a whole. It needs to be destroyed, preferably with fire and salt.

Some stupid, contrived thing must break up the characters, all because the writers can’t figure out how to write a full story without cramming one in for pointless drama. It seriously just drags out the inevitable for another 20 or so minutes.

Yes, people can be dishonest and keep secrets. Yes, sometimes there is a liar, and he/she gets the mask pulled off at the wrong time. Stuff like this can happen in real life. But often this trope is, as I’ve mentioned, stupid and contrived.

Maybe the guy waffles around, debating when is the best time to tell his girlfriend that he was dating her only because of a bet. Or maybe he vehemently denies his growing feelings, only to have her accidentally overhear.

*COUGH COUGH*
*COUGH COUGH*

 

Or maybe he just can’t admit his feelings to her face because he’s stubborn (a man, basically) or awkward, and she’s had enough waiting.

Maybe Hugh Grant is Hugh Grant-ing it up, and the woman identifies him as an a-hole.

Take your pick, or fill in more blanks with your personal favorites. You know what I’m talking about.

And this isn’t just about nitpicking, or not acknowledging that sometimes avoidable, asinine things can happen in real life. Because they do. This is wondering why no one ever calls the police or arms themselves in a horror movie. This is wondering why they always run upstairs when a maniac is chasing them. The reasons for this trope are so idiotic; things that could easily be solved by something in the real world that we call “open communication.” Or having two working brain cells to rub together.

But then again, an open, healthy relationship is boring. And normal.

How about we put these misunderstandings in the first act and then get past them? How about that? That isn’t too overdone…yet…

4# The Woman is Always Right

 

Most romcoms, usually as a result of the totally necessary use of #3 above, end with someone (most often the woman) storming off. It is almost always up to the man to figure out what went wrong and fix it.

a la tvtropes.com
a la tvtropes.com

 

Okay, I’m a woman. I get other women. We’re emotional beings that don’t always recognize logic. I admit this. But we’re not stupid and crazy and hormonal all the time.

Half the time when I see this contrived bs, I am yelling at the woman to use her Cosmo-clouded brain.

“Confront the man, and I don’t mean like a closed-off idiot!” “Be honest and tell him what in holy hell is bothering you!” “THINK!”

Sure, the men do stupid things too. They can make mistakes and not recognize them. But romcoms like to make this a big thing that happens all the time. No one likes being wrong, and certainly not the women inserting themselves in the protagonist’s place.

This is not a romcom so much as a family comedy, but look at the Lindsay Lohan movie Parent Trap. Elizabeth (the mother) up and left Nick (the father), effectively splitting up their twins for life and content to never inform them of each other’s existence, and then she got upset that he didn’t come after her. He, on the other hand, figured that was what she wanted.

(note: I loved that movie as a kid, but I find the parents stupid, impossible to relate to, and damn near despicable)

As another example, look at Bride Wars. Emma’s boyfriend Fletcher calls her out for being crazy and catty (and stupid), and Emma and the movie frame him as the a-hole who just doesn’t understand. Sure, he isn’t gentle with his words, but he told her what none of her other girlfriends would, and he had every right to question why the woman he was marrying seemingly changed overnight into a childish, vindictive, passive-aggressive jerk. In the end, the two girls (Emma and Liv) who fought stupidly the whole movie over the “ideal wedding” become bestest friends again like nothing ever happened, and Fletcher is told off and leaves the movie entirely. Even though he was technically right, he’s wrong.

Women win, even when the conclusion makes no sense or is terribly skewed. As much as I dislike Leap Year, at least the confusion is on Anna, and she goes after Declan and proposes to him. Even Pitch Perfect tried it, with Beca driving Jesse away, only to win him back.

Contrivance and cliché can have some flavor with a little mixing up every now and then.

5# Woman as Lonely Cat Lady/Loser.

 

She’s insecure. Don’t know what fer. She turnin heads when she fix herself up mo-o-ore.

…Sorry. Just thought I could sum this one up while simultaneously mocking One Direction.

The woman in the movie is supposed to be you. Yes, you, lonely girls and aging women. She’s just like you, but hotter. She just doesn’t know it/own it yet. Again, they can insert themselves into the place of the lead woman and get a sense of catharsis from it.

Maybe she’s clumsy and awkward. Maybe she doesn’t know how to pick clothes or styles that flatter her, and just stumbles around in a baggy t-shirt and loose jeans. Maybe she has – gasp! – glasses!

Regardless of how it happened, it must be fixed. Usually with the introduction of a love interest. I guess that when I get right down to it, that’s the gist of what bothers me.

It is at its most egregious state in The Ugly Truth. But I can’t even talk about it, because it is seriously one of my most hated movies ever. Right up there with Identity Thief. That disgusting piece of trash thoroughly insults both genders, and the pig-headed man is always portrayed as being “in the right.”

My favorite romcom of all time,  My Big Fat Greek Wedding, is also guilty of this one, but I don’t mind it so much there. I thought it was used effectively. Sure, Toula sees a man and feels bad about herself, but I don’t think that is really the impetus for her fixing herself up and going to college. She didn’t need a man so much as a fulfilling purpose in life, and the backbone to put her foot down sometimes with her wacky family. The man came later, when she was much happier and more confident with herself.


The problem with mirroring real life so closely is that, at times, it tends to highlight our grievances with the real world, rather than let us temporarily forget them. Why aren’t all men dashing princes, ready to sweep you away to their castles astride gallant white stallions? Why don’t nice women with wonderful personalities and quirks always find Mr. Right at the opportune time, or sometimes ever? (ask the same question for the fellas)

I wouldn’t mind a little less simplicity, a little more variety, or at least changing things up more often. The world is complex, full of plenty of unique, possible scenarios, but here the writers are, sticking to what is familiar. Comfortable. Routine.

And so are we.

Even fantasies have become standard and predictable, when they were meant to excite and stir the imagination. So what does that tell us?

Disclaimer: Photos and gifs belong to their various owners, not me. Keep in mind that this is my list, and I’m not insulting you if you like any of the movies/things I referred to negatively. I’m also not saying that said films don’t have an original bone in their body.

 

 

Zelda 2015 Theories

Sorry everybody, I’ve been a way for quite some time. I had a couple of difficult things come up in my life that I needed to handle, but I am back to have my take on the Zelda E3 trailer.

In one of my posts, I briefly mentioned the new Zelda Wii U trailer that premiered at this years E3 Convention and of course, since it’s Zelda, new content sparks a lot of speculation. But before we delve too deeply in thoughts, theories, and the trailer itself, let me examine the information given by Eiji Aonuma in the very beginning of the trailer, and further more, establish what we can surely expect from the new Zelda title.

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Expectations
1. Exploration and Puzzle Solving
“As far as what you can do with such a vast field to explore…as soon as those boundaries are removed. It means you can enter any area from any direction.”
From this inference, we can safely assume that exploration is going to be a premium focus on Zelda Wii U. Aonuma has said that the inspiration of this new game has come from both Wind Waker and the first Legend of Zelda, where the player had the freedom to explore new areas in the world. You can also infer that it will be a non-linear story structure, giving more flexibility to the player when finding dungeons or exploring the vast over world. Part of the puzzle will be how to get around to certain places on the map.
Open World Zelda
2. Environment and Enemies
“Enemies appearing in such a peaceful world is one of the defining features of the Zelda series. That is one convention we can keep, right?”
From this quote, we can make a valid guess that the world be colorful, beautiful, and serene despite large enemy engagements as demonstrated by the beautiful presentation in the E3 2014 trailer. You can even see the finer details of the shadows changing as the clouds pass the sun if you look at the grass.
3. Character Presentation and Progression
This is a quote that backs this up this idea is from an interview back in late 2013.
“Something that is ‘traditional’ is in a sense often something that copies previous works, so if you continue doing that, it gradually takes away from its uniqueness. So we’re currently working on making those parts more and more unique. So, by no means, am I tired of it. Rather, the more we change it, the more I get fired up. Having someone think ‘Huh? Is this Zelda?!’ at first, then ‘Oh, it is Zelda,’ is what we’re going for. Something that wouldn’t make it matter whether Link or Princess Zelda appear in it or not. Something where it wouldn’t even matter if Zelda is actually a princess, or not.”
Note this interview will not mean that Link or Zelda will not appear. Rather, it’s saying that this title will present a new and unique game experience by changing some of the conventions that we have known throughout the series. In other words, we can expect an unorthodox storyline and character arcs for the next Zelda title, something that no other Zelda title has explored.
Speculations
1. It has been noted that the play can explore anywhere at any time. In the trailer, looking at the opening scene alone, there’s a lot of stuff that can easily be missed at first glance. Open World Zelda
It’s easy to be caught up in by the shear render-distance of it all alone. But when not staring in awe and wonder at the vast expanse of terrain, one can see that Link and his trusty stead are actually standing in a village of some sorts. Not only are there homesteads with long, steap, and triangular roofs, but there are some additional structures further back, including a well, stone pillars, and some elaborate outposts.
In addition, varies villagers or farmers and goats that can be seen in the background. You may also notice what appears to be Death Mountain and possibly Zora’s Waterfall off in the distance. It is also possible that Zora’s Waterfall is some new area since Zora’s Domain is generally in the west, while Gerudo Desert is in the east. Furthermore, there’s a large town in the back and , based on its apparent position on the map, this has me believing it to be Hyrule Castle.
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But based of of the surrounding environment in this trailer, we have our first identifiers in aiding and supporting an open world environment and a non-linear story. Look at any sandbox and non-linear environments and it fits the bill perfectly.
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Example of Sandbox/Open World Environment

But just because the game is non-linear it doesn’t mean that the game is non-directional. There will have to be a quest system in place for the player to interact with the environments and explore dungeons. From this, we can assume that the villager can be quest givers.

Even if you look even further back you can notice some type of town or outpost, which can serve as the main hub for requesting and accepting quests. We can assume that the inhabitance of this world have interactions with Link in some way. Furthermore, A Link Between Worlds did this in a similar way regarding the order in which you could visit dungeons.
2. It is hard to tell whether or not the horse Link is riding is Epona or not, due to lacking evidence. But the horse from the trailer seems to be a change in the structure of the body and has a darker coat than Epona in previous titles.

Epona in Twilight Princess
Epona in Twilight Princess
Mystery Horse in Trailer

In addition, the function of the horse seems to have made a change as well. We can see what appears to be a shield, which resembles the round shield in Skyward Sword, and the bow and arrow off to one side of the horse. images We can also see to the other side of the horse what appears to be a satchel, the machanized arrow, and possibly a sheath of a sword. By having the horse wear a satchel and a backpack, this could suggest that the horse could manage and store your quest items as you travel throughout the land, kind of like the banking system used in Skyward Sword. 

It is also suggested that the horse can be used to execute certain attacks on large enemies as seen when the horse give Link a boost to launch an arrow at the enemies’ eye.

EAGLE!!!

3. Aonuma did say that he wanted to keep the convention of battling tough enemies in peaceful environments. However this doesn’t mean it will stay a peaceful enivironment through the course of the game. Possible evidence for this speculation comes from this quote made after the E3 2014 announcement.

“Many people from the media kept asking me if the footage from the new Zelda game for Wii U is just a promotional movie, but that really is actual gameplay on Wii U.”
 It is my personal speculation that this quote and from the looks of the trailer, that the game may feature some sort of destructive environment. tumblr_n6yk2sh3ng1qcbq9jo2_r1_500 This is indicated by the destruction of the bridge and one of the large Mayan-looking rock structures in the background as the monster smashes into it. 7664dOP This is also seen in the first reveal of the monster with the destruction of the grass surrounding, in what I can assume to be Hyrule field. tumblr_n6yk2sh3ng1qcbq9jo3_r1_500
However, Aonuma made no indication if the entire Zelda Wii U trailer was actually gameplay or if only a part of it was, so it is still to early to tell if this is a valid expectation.
4. Link appears to be wearing a unique wardrobe. All of it borrowing from different cultures within the Zelda universe.
He is wearing a blue tunic, similar to his pajamas in Wind Waker, at first glance. But besides the color scheme and the possibility of it being a starter costume, it bears no further similarities. The pattern around the collar is most similar to the waves the patterns on Groose’s pants in Skyward Sword. But overall, the pattern is too common to other swirly designs to really narrow down.
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He also appears to be wearing Gerudo styled gauntlets, in particular it resembles Ganondorf’s. Link is missing the blue squares in exchange for a blue-green line, but this may be just to distinguish him from Ganon.
Gerudos
He also is wearing a mysterious looking dark cloak that has a crest that may indicated where Link is from. The color scheme and style of the cloak is very reminiscent of some of the clothing that we’ve seen both Sheikah and Ganondorf wear. However, the iconography on the back of Link’s cloak in the trailer does not match up with any of the designs on cloaks we’ve seen in the past.
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Link also appears to be a dominate archer. Though there is a small sheath that is visible right side of the horse near his backpack, we have no further information of his sword skills and may be a lesser game mechanic than in previous Zelda games. But it does beg the question, could he be some kind of hunter or charter? It would make sense considering his eclectic attire, but it is still too early in the development to tell or confirm.
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But since we are on the topic of Link’s bow, it just looks like the Hero’s Bow from the last few console iterations, with the same bird-beak shapes around the grip. Where things get interesting are the arrows. One thing that is very interesting is that this attachment looks like it was tied on to the arrow and not the arrow itself, suggesting Link may be able to craft new and interesting arrow types.
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Link’s arrows also appear to be highly advanced and mechanized and using some type of magic or electricity, much like the robots in Lanayru Skywards Sword. Like the mechanized creature he is fighting, they also resemble connected circle motif that we’ve seen from steampunk type characters and artifacts from areas in Lanayru in Skyward Sword.

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In addition, Link’s quiver, has a red ‘U’ shape, which we’ve seen before in the Lanayru Province in Skyward Sword, which coincidentally is where the Gerudos eventually set up shop by Ocarina of Time. With all these potential links to Lanayru and Gerudos, do you think that is where Link originates from in this title?

It is also to be noted that, Link appears to be a teenager in this incarnation. However we can not confirm what this all means in regards to timeline or storyline.
5. We can also assume that the map and HUD’s will appear on the gamepad. This speculation is supported by the cinematic and beautiful gameplay in the E3 trailer, notice that there are no visible HUDs or maps on screen. Also, Aonuma was very fond of this feature and had implemented it within the Zelda Wind Waker HD remake, so it would make sense that they had their development team dedicate that much time for that feature. Again, it is still to be reveal what the use of the gamepad will be.
Overall
Based on the information we have gathered it is sure to be a well crafted game and I am so hyped for this game to come out. Nintendo has announced that they will be attending gamescom, which I highly suspect that we will have more information or trailer of the new Zelda title in August. So only time will tell what we can expect further from this new Zelda title. I will hopefully be covering this in a timely fashion when more information is released. And as always stay thirsty my bros.
Sources

How to Train Your Dragon 2: An Honest Review

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Directed By: Dean DeBlois

Written By: Dean DeBlois, Cressida Cowell (“How to Train Your Dragon” book series)

Music Composed By: John Powell

Starring: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington

Marge and I just got back from seeing How to Train Your Dragon 2 and this movie wowed us. So, even though I have some E3 stuff to catch up on (o.O), both Marge and I will be co-writing our Honest Review of How to Train Your Dragon 2. Let’s dig in shall we!

Now, for those who aren’t familiar with the first movie…why are you reading? It’s a sequel! Get out of here!

…just kidding.

The How to Train Your Dragon franchise is based on a series of (currently) 12 children’s books, the first in the series falling under the exact same name. The first book has quite a few differences from the first film (which you can see by following the link above), but the books’ author Cressida Cowell has said that she likes the films, and understands that changes must be made in adaptation.

The first movie’s plot (spoilers, by the way) is centered on dragon prejudice, as the creatures repeatedly terrorized Berk, the home of the Viking characters. All of the humans have gross or unpleasant names to make them tough, we think, and they only kept dragons to train their young to fight them. They catalogued information about them in a book as well, noting that dragons breeds and abilities are about as varied as pokemon.

Hiccup, who is the son of the chief but weaker, skinnier, and more tender-hearted compared to other kids, struggles to fight the dragons like everyone else.

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Not because he really wants to, but because he wants to please his village and his father. He finds the latter particularly difficult, because his father regards him as kind of an embarrassment, and doesn’t listen to him much. Figuratively and literally, Hiccup has some big shoes to fill.

Trying to kill a dragon his own way (that being the brain over brawn, inventive way), he manages to wound a particularly elusive terror called the Night Fury, which no one has ever really seen. But instead of killing the thing, he befriends and learns from it, even inventing a way that it can fly again, with him in the saddle.

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Together, he and his new buddy, Toothless, work to bridge the gap between humans and dragons, culminating in a grand misunderstanding with the village and his dad, and, eventually, a climactic fight with a large “queen” dragon that has been intimidating the other, smaller dragons and demanding food sacrifices. The Vikings realize they were wrong, and they wrangle and ride the dragons to victory.

Hiccup nearly loses his life in the battle, but he makes it out with a brief fakeout moment (as you do with movies aimed at kids), and the loss of one leg.

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Quite a bold move for a family movie, too. But he and his blacksmith friend put together a neat, tricked-out peg leg for him, and he is back in the saddle in no time flat, finally accepted by his father and the rest of the village.

That, we believe, is Dreamwork‘s niche. They seem to love making stories about underdogs, as well as genre homages that end up becoming franchises of their own.

Another cool thing about this movie is that the loss of an important limb, for both Hiccup and Toothless, doesn’t ostracize or weaken them in any way from either dragons or the rest of Berk. The two primarily depend on each other, and become the strongest dragon/rider combo of the whole bunch.

But yeah. Happily ever afters all around! Everything is better than before!

Or is it?

*Warning*

This article contains not just some spoilers, but all the spoilers. So if you haven’t seen the movie and you want to see it for yourself, stop reading here!

Plot

Five years from the first film, the teens are now all young adults. The Vikings have reformed and the dragons are now fully integrated, contributing members of society. The other kids in the last movie, who initially thought Hiccup had some awesome dragon taming/slaying ability and only gradually figured out that he was befriending them in secret, have now become skilled dragon riders and racers.

Hiccup is being set up to be the next village chief, a responsibility he does not want. Though he, with his trusty pet dragon Toothless, has discovered many unexplored lands and territories, he has not discovered what he truly wants because he has not fully discovered himself.

While investigating a wildfire, Hiccup and Astrid discover the remains of a fort encased in a massive ice formation. They encounter a young dragon trapper named Eret, who blames them for the destruction of his fort.

Plus, Hiccup has a f***ing lightsaber!

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….Okay so it’s not a lightsaber. It’s called a Dragon’s Blade, nicknamed Inferno. But still, it’s freaking awesome and badass.

Eret then attempts to capture Hiccup and Astrid’s dragons for a conqueror called Drago Bludvist, from whom Eret has received a scar for failing to capture enough dragons.

Hiccup and Astrid are able to escape this encounter and return to Berk to warn Stoick about the dragon army that Drago is amassing. Stoick, who has decided to “protect his own”, orders the villagers to fortify the entire island and prepare for battle instead of attempting to reason with Drago, as Hiccup suggested. Hiccup then flies off with Astrid as they are closing the gates and they heroically…surrender themselves and their dragons to Eret, so as to be taken to Drago.

However, Stoick, Gobber and Berk’s other dragon riders pursue and find them before Eret takes him to Drago. Stoick explains to Hiccup that he once met Drago before. Drago wanted to convince the whole Viking console that he knew how to kill all the dragons and all they had to do for that would be to bow down to him. They laughed it off, as did most of the group listening to this story, but when Drago stormed out, an armored dragon crashed through the roof and burned the place. Only Stocik escaped with his life, and the event has clearly shaken him to this day.

Hiccup refuses to believe that war is inevitable and again, flies off with Toothless. They are captured by a dragon rider named Valka. Inferno can be used not only for the use of combat, but also to allow him to bond with wild dragons and show them that he is “one of their own.”

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Valka is revealed to be Hiccup’s long lost mother. She explains that she spent twenty years rescuing dragons from Drago’s traps and bringing them to an island haven created out of ice by a colossal Alpha dragon called a Bewilderbeast, to whom all dragons answer. The two of them then make up for lost time, bonding as mother and son over their mutual love of dragons.

As it turns out, Valka was once like Hiccup. She believed that dragons were good, and tried to persuade others to no avail. She realized she was right when, during one “dragon attack,” one of the creatures snuck into Hiccup’s room. Instead of hurting or eating him, it played with him, but Stoick muscled his way onto the scene and, mistaking the situation, engaged the dragon in combat. It burned the room and fled, taking Valka with it.

This explains most of Stoick’s dislike and distrust of dragons in the previous film, fixed only when he sees Toothless loyally defend and fight with his son, against all odds.

Stoick and Gobber track Hiccup to the island, where he discovers that his wife is still alive. Simultaneously, Astrid and the other riders kidnap Eret, thinking Hiccup has gone after Drago, but they are also captured and Drago learns of Berk’s dragons and the nest with the alpha, leading him to drop everything and hightail-it there.

His army lays siege to Valka’s sanctuary, where he reveals that he has his own Bewilderbeast to challenge the Alpha. A titanic battle erupts between the two Bewilderbeasts in a fight for control over all of the dragons. Drago’s Bewilderbeast emerges victorious (by killing the other one, albeit bloodlessly) and seizes control of all the dragons.

Hiccup tries to persuade Drago to end the violence, but Drago has a vendetta against dragons, and has grown increasingly unreasonable and power-hungry. With control of the new alpha, and by extension, the dragon army, he can wipe out dragons with other dragons, and subjugate the humans who come to him for protection.

He can’t see the potential to befriend the dragons and gain their respect.

Toothless, under the influence of the new Alpha (which Drago directly and verbally commands), approaches Hiccup and fires a plasma blast at him. At the last instant, Stoick pushes Hiccup out of the way, and is hit instead, killing him instantly. When Toothless regains his senses, a heart-broken and angry Hiccup drives him off. Drago leaves Hiccup and the others, riding the re-bewitched Toothless, and leads his now larger army to destroy/enslave Berk.

Stoick is given a neat “Epcot Viking funeral”; a cool image, complete with a ship set ablaze by flaming arrows. Hiccup, filled with regret at the loss of his father, but also new determination, decides that he will fly back to Berk to “protect his own,” as both Stoick and Valka advised him previously.

The dragon riders ride baby dragons, which are immune to the Bewilderbeast’s control (as they don’t listen to anyone. Haha, sure the parents got a good snort out of that one), and arrive at Berk after the Alpha has already attacked on the village and taken control of the dragons there. Drago destroys things and generally terrifies the village.

Hiccup confronts Drago and a brainwashed Toothless in the air, while the other riders work to distract the Bewilderbeast by catapulting sheep, among other things. Drago again orders Toothless to kill Hiccup, but Hiccup succeeds in disenchanting Toothless. He knew his friend never meant to hurt him, or his father, and his courage and unyielding trust in the dragon break through to him, and he fights the alpha’s control from there on out.

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Drago then orders the Alpha to shoot the pair, and the Bewilderbeast successfully encases them in a large blast of ice, seemingly killing them. His victory is short-lived however, as Toothless, now glowing with plasma, blasts away the ice, revealing that both he and Hiccup are unharmed. Toothless challenges the alpha, repeatedly fires plasma blasts at it. At this, the other dragons are freed from the Bewilderbeast’s control and all fire at it, severely injuring the colossal dragon until Toothless fires a final massive blast, breaking its left tusk.

Defeated, Drago and his Bewilderbeast retreat into the ocean as the villagers celebrate their victory. All the dragons acknowledge Toothless as the new alpha dragon, and Hiccup is made chief of Berk by the village elder. The film ends with Berk being rebuilt with a statue erected in Stoick’s likeness, and Hiccup living up to his duties as chief.

In the last film, the dialogue from the beginning is turned on its head in the end. Now, it reaffirms the convictions of the beginning, that dragons are their friends and worthy of their respect, with an extra quip that playfully warns away anyone who would rise against them. Hiccup proudly declares that while others may have armies and armadas, Berk has dragons. So good luck with that.

Characters

 

How To Train Your Dragon 2 Movie 2014

Hiccup is the main human character. He is a bit scrawny and wimpy, although now a bit less so, but makes up for it with his resourcefulness, intelligence, and his desire to keep the peace and negotiate. He hesitates a bit, unsure of himself and uncomfortable living in his father’s shadow, but both this and the previous film do a great job showing him coming into his own, finding his own strength as the next leader of his village. He can build traps, equipment for dragons and riders, and a glider that allows him to fly alongside Toothless, at times. He spends a lot of time exploring the land around Berk, naming and mapping it.

Toothless is Hiccup’s dragon companion. While he is silent (aside from gurgles and various sound effects), his face and body are very fluid and expressive, giving him almost as much personality as Hiccup. He is covered in black scales, has black and yellow eyes and a large mouth. The left side of his tail fin is missing, replaced by an artificial one that Hiccup put in place. He is a fast and agile flier, and rumored to be the last of his kind, the Night Fury, which is known as one of the most, if not the most, intelligent breed of dragons.

Stoick is the head of Berk, father of Hiccup, and best friend to Gobber, the blacksmith. While he is accepting of dragons now, he can still be stubborn and not listen to Hiccup, who frequently mumbles and beats around the bush anyway. He is large, strong, and extremely loyal, to the point that he does not appear at all angry with his wife, even though she essentially hid from him for 20 years.

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Drago Bludvist is a new character, and the resident “bad guy.” His unnamed village was attacked when he was a kid, and his arm was either chewed or blasted off. His only real character trait is ruthlessness. He shows no mercy to dragons, or people, if they cross him.

He could have been more interesting, given more motivation, personality, or even less vagueness in his backstory. He isn’t forgettable, necessarily, but he comes across as very standard. By the books baddie.

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Valka is a new character, wife of Stoick and mother of Hiccup. She has essentially gone Tarzan, living in harmony with the dragons and learning all of their secrets. She did not go back to Stoick and Hiccup (even after she learned to ride dragons) because she was convinced that nothing in Berk would ever change, and she couldn’t compromise what she felt was the right thing. As with Drago, it might have been interesting to learn more about her, but que sera sera…

Astrid is (now officially) Hiccup’s fiancé. In the last film, she was stubborn, proud, and violent, but now she is a bit more reserved emotionally. She still has her fun, snarky, ass-kicking moments, and moments where she mouths off at the bad guys, too. She is the best fighter of the group, and has become almost as good a dragon rider as Hiccup, despite getting pushed to the background frequently.

The rest of the group are Fishlegs, the large, clumsy, nerdy one; Snoutlout, the bro-y guy who thinks he’s cooler than he is; and Ruffnut and Tuffnut, fraternal twins that like to prank, bicker, and generally be vulgar with themselves and others. Ruffnut, the girl twin, crushes on Eret after she meets him, constantly flirting and making creepy faces.

<Marge note: 50% of the time, she is funny, and the other 50% is “Do. Not. Want!”>

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For a while, she also has Fishlegs and Snoutlout at her beck and call. I guess that is because she is the only single girl left in the group, but she uses them, then acts disgusted and annoyed by them, repeatedly.

These characters (other than Astrid) mostly make up different flavors of comic relief, usually relating to slapstick and clumsiness. Gobber is the dry-wit comic relief. He, Astrid, and Hiccup get most of the one-liners.

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Eret is a new character, a dragon trapper that works for Drago. He seems cocky, only interested in money and saving his own skin, but he turns around when Astrid’s dragon saves him from being murdered by Drago.

Music

Since music is my speciality, this part is strictly from me.

John Powell returned from the first movie, which he won his first Academy Award from, to score the sequel. Powell recorded his music in London with a 120 piece orchestra and a 100-voice choir. The music was conducted by the composer’s usual collaborator, Gavin Greenaway. Powell called the project “a maturation story”, stating that he also hoped to achieve maturation in the structure of his music, by further developing and pushing every aspect of his compositions from the original film. Even with such a good foundation, it can be a challenge building off of the old and making outstanding new.

<Marge note: At times in the score, I could swear I heard notes and chords from “Noble Maiden Fair (A Mhaighdean Bhan Uasal),” from Disney/Pixar’s Brave. Just a few, and I couldn’t be totally sure, but still. But I like that song, so no issue there 🙂 Also, all of the adults have Scottish accents (despite the kids sounding distinctly American) anyway.>

Also on the project were pipers from the Scottish group, The Red Hot Chilli Pipers (not to be confused with the “Peppers”), and Sigur Rós lead vocalist, Jónsi, who wrote the songs in collaboration with the composer.

A soundtrack album for the film will be released on June 17, 2014 by Relativity Music Group. The album will feature over an hour of score by Powell, along with two original songs by Jónsi. Powell is expected to come back for the next film as well, which is currently planned for sometime in 2016. Interestingly enough, Norwegian artist Alexander Rybak, who provides the Norwegian voice for Hiccup, also provides the song, “Into a Fantasy” in the European version of the film.

The songs and score combine some of the traditional and modern, which works nicely and fits the more modern characters dwelling in an old world” theme. “Where No One Goes” takes one of the main musical themes from the last movie, and adds lyrics and different instrumentation to it. This song is both of our favorites of the whole soundtrack.

Comedy/Drama/Things Parents Might Want to Know

We’ve already sort of brought up the comedy in the character section. It’s funny, if a little overdone sometimes (particularly Ruffnut). So let’s move on to the drama, shall we?

Oh, the drama. Be warned, for once you reach the second half of the film, the feels get pretty intense. There are aerial battles (of course), but also…

Hiccup’s dad dies instantly, seemingly painlessly, leaving no room for spluttering breaths or a death speech. Hiccup momentarily lashes out at Toothless for killing him (albeit unintentionally), but while Hiccup realizes it too late, as you would expect, it’s pretty quick by the standards of movie run time. Some emotions are short, but well played, making good use of what time they are allowed.

We heard a few kids cry in the theatre during the funeral scene, but at least it didn’t linger on the body so much, like with some other notable characters.

The original alpha dragon dies, but as we’ve mentioned, it’s bloodless and very quick. Marge almost didn’t realize it at first, so it might fly over plenty of people’s heads. At least at first.

We give Dreamworks credit: they certainly don’t pull punches. Maybe everything turns out alright in a Disney movie (except for the parents, because screw having parents!), but Dreamworks seems to like to mess with the typical idea of a “happy ending.” Just like they really like making the main characters of their movies losers, outcasts, or grotesque in some way (probably in an effort to make them more realistic, or at least relatable).

how-to-train-your-dragon-hiccup-leg-217Hiccup's_Prosthetic_Leg

 

A happy ending in the last movie meant dealing with the loss of Hiccup’s leg. This movie’s happy ending is moving on from the loss of his father and becoming head of the village. Sometimes, the happiest ending of all is just making it through the day. That can be a worthwhile lesson, even if it isn’t the cheeriest.

Effects

To quote the mighty, all-knowing, and infallible Wikipedia:

“How to Train Your Dragon 2 was the first DreamWorks Animation film that used ‘scalable multi-core processing’, developed together with Hewlett-Packard. Called by Katzenberg as ‘the next revolution in filmmaking,’ it enabled artists for the first time to work on rich complex images in real time, instead of waiting eight hours to see the results next day. The film was also the studio’s first film to use its new animation and lighting software through the entire production. Programs, named Premo  and Torch, allowed much more subtlety, improving facial animation and enabling ‘the sense of fat, jiggle, loose skin, the sensation of skin moving over muscle instead of masses moving together.‘”

Just as with How to Train Your Dragon, the highlights of the film are any given flying seen. Whether just flying to fly, or flying into battle, the characters and their dragons practically leap off of the screen.

Shiiiiiiiiiny.....
Shiiiiiiiiiny…..

If visuals alone could carry a film, this would definitely qualify as a good, strong one. Thankfully, it also has engaging characters and story.

But animation and graphics are crucial, for without them, we would not be able to buy the illusion, no matter how good the story was. That is the simultaneous goal and challenge of film as a medium, and How to Train Your Dragon 2 laughs at such a challenge, daring the audience not to be enthralled and enraptured by the world it has created. Look at the gif above again, and just stare in awe at the detail put into every wave on that CG sea.

Overall (and from both of us)

9 out of 10. Definitely a must see for kids of all ages, especially those at heart.

 

The Legend of Zelda Overview

How about that trailer for Zelda 2015?

E3 has come and it will be ending tonight, but it has left a huge amount of potential for new games….for 2015. Yeah, that’s right we have to wait for 2015 in order for the next gen to really kick-start. I will be going into more detail about this year’s E3 in a later article.

However, in light of two new Zelda based games, Zelda 2015 and Hyrule Warriors, I wanted to team up with Marge to do a Legend of Zelda series “review”. It is a favorite series of games for both of us, and the legends and the lore are as fun and fascinating as the gameplay.

This really won’t be a review as much as it will be us talking in-depth about each of the games separately and some of the theories that have spawned from each game, even adding some of our own theories and research.

We’ll be getting those out to you when we can.

Thanks again, and stay thirsty my bros.

Sia’s “Chandelier”

All right! Back to the jams!

I’ve been itching to do this one for a while now. I like Sia, and I really like this song.

Before we start, here are a couple of things to mention:

  • Sia Furler is a 38 year-old Australian-born singer/songwriter, who started out as an Indie darling and has since exploded into the mainstream pop world on such tracks as “Wild Ones” and “Titanium.” Recently, she has written much with and for other people, collaborating with David Guetta, Shakira, Christina Aguilera, and Beyonce, among many notable others.

 

 

  • The dancer is Maddie Ziegler, a contestant from yet another show about moms living vicariously through their children, wearing a “Sia” wig. No, I am not passing judgment on her as a person or a dancer, or people who watch the show. I’m just not crazy about the whole Toddlers in Tiaras trend for a number of reasons, so I don’t watch shows like that. I did see Honey Boo-Boo once out of morbid curiosity, and I swore never again.

 

And…that’s about all we need to know, so let’s move on to my review of the song and video.

Unlike with “Birthday,” my first time hearing the song was while watching the official video. Therefore, I shall talk about both. Don’t worry, though. I won’t take long. 🙂

Here is the official video, for your convenience:

 

 

Here are the lyrics, for double the convenience:

“Party girls don’t get hurt

Can’t feel anything, when will I learn
I push it down, push it down

I’m the one “for a good time call”
Phone’s blowin’ up, ringin’ my doorbell
I feel the love, feel the love

1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink

Throw ’em back, till I lose count

I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

And I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight

Sun is up, I’m a mess
Gotta get out now, gotta run from this
Here comes the shame, here comes the shame

1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink

Throw ’em back till I lose count

I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

And I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight
On for tonight
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Oh I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight
On for tonight
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Oh I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight
On for tonight”

 

Quick First Impressions:

“That leotard makes the girl look naked. Must be symbolism!”

“This reminds me of when I tried ballet as a kid. Except maybe the bugging eyes.”

“…Sia sounds a bit different this time around. What is with the Elmer Fudd and Rihanna impressions?”

“I hope that chandelier can hold her. If it doesn’t, she won’t be living ‘like tomorrow doesn’t exist’ for much longer…Personally, I’d go for the one from Phantom of the Opera.”

 

Actual “Thoughtful” Analysis:

In many song reviews, I will distinguish the singer from the “character,” as many songs are stories, or are written and produced by multiple people (this particular song definitely has the latter trait, if nothing else). Whether or not he or she is the “author avatar” is ultimately irrelevant, unless I’m review the singer/songwriter as a whole.

On the surface, “Chandelier” seems like just another “party like it’s no tomorrow” song. Like “DJ Got US Fallin’ in Love,” or pretty much any Ke$ha or Pitbull song. Not as pop-y, no rap cameos, and the singer feels genuinely and naturally talented (a rare occurrence), but the same basic principle. Nothing special, right?

What it really sounds like, when you get right down to it, is a cry for help. The verses reflect exhaustion, especially the second, shorter set, as the character seems to be enduring an almost robotic series of actions on repeat, literally going through the motions of partying again and again. She clearly feels like she has to. It looks like an addiction, no doubt escaping and/or covering up something in her regular, mundane life that is unpleasant. Stifling.

The chorus then explodes with a mighty surge; a veritable “Let It Go” moment, in which determination (or, more likely, desperation) kicks in and the character decides to go all out. What matters is feeling alive in the moment. She’s swinging on a possibly fragile chandelier that could come crashing down at any moment, but that moment is then, “tomorrow.” This is now.

That is what I have gathered.

Is this what it’s like for you, girls who party a lot? Is it so fun, it hurts? Do you keep on doing it anyway?

Who knows?

The nice thing about pop music (like having kids with talent, and unfulfilled dreams and parental frustration from your own childhood) is that you can live through it. Not a partier? Well then, don’t you worry! You can experience all the ups and downs of fame, popularity, partying, etc. by scanning Pandora and listening for half an hour.

The music itself is awesome, if a little melancholy at times. It’s like a good version of “We Can’t Stop,” in which being depressing was intentional. And yet it didn’t ruin the fun.

Not sure why it sounds like she’s keeping her lips puckered though. It didn’t add anything from the song for me, aside from confusion, but it doesn’t lower my ranking either.

For the video…

I wasn’t kidding when I said it reminded me of when I tried ballet as a little kid. My parents can tell you how I stood in the corner during class, off in my own little world, mimicking what I thought ballet looked like. I honestly have no idea what I was thinking back then, but needless to say, I quickly moved on to trying out other potential hobbies XD

The dancing is mesmerizing and certainly takes talent, but I maintain that a decent chunk of it looks like flailing. Stylized, timed and choreographed flailing, but flailing nonetheless.

 

I can see how it could be interpretive and symbolic, but personally, I think Pink made it work better:

 

The dingy apartment adds to the tone of the song I mentioned above, what with its ratty, minimalist furnishings and dull colors. The only thing that adds energy and life to the scene is, well, Maddie. I also mentioned above that her flesh-colored attire gave me the impression that this was the bared soul of the character, or even a representation of the character’s mind (in which case, Maddie would probably be the brain). Maddie looks like a doll, seeming very creepy at times, but still…

You can’t really look away. It’s definitely haunting.

I could probably dig up more with squinting and cribbing from other reviewers, but I won’t. Right now, I haven’t really looked at other people’s reviews in detail, but the general consensus seems to be “OMG SO GOOD!”

Suffice it to say that I think this song is good. If I gave it a score, for the video and song each, it’d be an 8/10 both times. It’s got a good beat that swells just right when it needs to; hypnotizing, yet simplistic visuals; and near heart-wrenching vocals with some effective mood-whiplash.

I’d say check it out, but if you’ve been following along, you technically already have. So instead, how about you check out some of Sia’s earlier work? 🙂

*Once again, no pics or videos are owned by me. Credit due to singers, songwriters, composers, musicians, studios, etc.

 

 

 

Non-Review Review: 22 Jump Street

The value of winking to the audience.

the m0vie blog

Comedy sequels can be a tough beast.

After all, a joke isn’t as funny the second time around and – if it is – there’s always the DVD.  Comedy sequels often find themselves trapped between a rock and a hard place. They have to pay homage and due respect to what came before, but they can’t simply tread out the same old jokes. It isn’t a case of simply doing the same thing but bigger, as with most sequels. Comedy sequels are a tough nut to crack.

The genius of 22 Jump Street is the way that it accepts this and turns it into the biggest joke of the film.

Jumping back into their roles... Jumping back into their roles…

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Movies, media, and what make them MASSIVE.

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