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Messages - Wizard Police

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1
Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / Re: Ant-Man!
« on: August 11, 2015, 07:59:37 AM »
Saw it last night. To me, it felt like the turning point for Marvel. Basically, that they're in it for the money now, not the creative direction.
*blinks* Ah yes. Because as we all know, Ant-Man is such a sure-fire money maker property.

Hmm. Well, it did gross $114 million already with a budget of $130 million. Not great numbers, but people still lined up in droves because it was a Marvel movie.


Seriously though, of course Marvel are in it largely for the money. They've always been in it largely for the money. Every major film studio is largely in it for the money. And that's understandable because these films cost a lot of money to create. But it's hard to call Ant-Man the tipping point into lazy cash-grab, considering it's... well... Ant-Man. And the only reason it was greenlit was specifically because of Edgar Wright's creative vision (even if he ended up leaving the project before it began).

And see, I could forgive their "lazy cash-grab" if the, as I said, overarching plot went somewhere instead of acting as a origin story/set piece of Civil War later down the road (do we really need another character in the story?). There's also the paint-by-numbers plot, which I wasn't exaggerating when I called every plot twist and turn, save the
Spoiler for Hiden:
tank.

I mean, if the prologue wasn't the first indicator of cliche, I don't know what was.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Obviously they'd never do that because that would be a completely out of nowhere Downer Ending that adds absolutely nothing to the film. Adding pointless darkness to a film or any property doesn't instantly make it better.

Spoiler for Hiden:
See, this is the main problem I had with the movie. It doesn't take any risks, and in a market bloated with Superhero movies, you need to push the narrative. Marvel doesn't ask any tough questions. It's just campy family fun, but even Disney and Pixar doesn't take that excuse and really delivers on each and every showing. See, what Marvel movie has had a Downer ending, let alone one that could make sense if they had tried? None in the previous half decade at least.

All in all, it felt like a lot of inside jokes, too many references (did we really need that Avenger sub-plot, Stark and Avenger note, or Hydra to be the bad guys?), and not enough risk-taking. A few reviews have summed up my thoughts better though, in that, as I said, it's cliche riddled but funny and well-acted. I didn't mind watching it, but it's an obvious cash-grab. If "Ant-Man" doesn't scream gimmick, I don't know what does.

I disagree that it didn't take risks. Taking their most boring superhero and creating a solo movie for him is a big risk enough. They also deviated away from the path of normal conventional superhero films that focus on fighting. There were a lot of fight scenes in Ant-Man, but the primary goal here was to sneak into a building and steal something. That is a bloody brilliant angle to take in a genre that's becoming so cookie cutter, where superheroes build up their strength in order to take down the big bad guy. No, the goal here is for Scott to hone his superpowers so he can do something else with it, sneak into a building.

And taking the least interesting superpower out there and making it the focus of the movie is the last thing from a gimmick. And also the purpose of a gimmick would be to take something to hook the audiences in and never use it. The powers in Ant-Man were so thoroughly researched and thought out that it mined almost all the possibilities you can use his superpowers with.

2
The First Law Trilogy- I mean the writting was great and I kinda cared for the charactes until I figured the kind of book I was reading. I really dont get gritty books where charcters get what they dont deserve and lose the thing they do the entire ride. After book 1 the rest, I struggled like I was Logen in the giant grip.
Spoiler for Hiden:
West Dies and the asshole noble becomes a puppet king. Bayaz was behind evrey mystrey the cripple ecounterd. Just testing the spoiler tags

Me too, but not for those reasons. Nothing about it grabbed at me in any way. I've actually have yet to complete it.

3
The good news is that he's going to be skipping out on events just so he can concentrate on the next book. The bad news is that the event he's skipping out happens in November. That means he'll have spent another entire year writing the book.

Martin owes us nothing, and I can sympathize the pressure he faces as a writer when he really has no obligation to fulfill his fans' wants, but this is frustrating to say the least.

4
RE: Knights and Samurai, I've read the same myself. Most of the time they were seen as corrupt who pilfered money from the poor. Ninjas were actually created in order to combat the Samurais. Doesn't seem too far off from how the modern world, or at least Americans, view police officers.

I think there may be a psychological reason for why time romanticized these high authorities as noble and honorable, and it could be tied to why romance readers find it hot to be seduced by a vampire and/or werewolf when those types of creatures should be feared. There's something alluring about a person with power not succumbing to their vices, even when they're fully capable of getting away with it. The act of self restraint itself is seen as more powerful than the authority they wield. And story is going to prop up the few that battled and tamed their temptation rather than the ones who didn't, which seems to be the overwhelmingly majority of knights and samurais.

The problem though being is that time has fazed out all the corrupted individuals with the few good virtuous ones only being remembered, misinterpreting the samurai/knight class as a whole as being virtuous for those that haven't lived through those experiences.

5
But I should probably make this clear before discussion takes a left turn (just a precaution people), but try not to sway too far into this territory. Keep things sane please.

WTF

6
Guns, Germs and Steel is great, Diamond's later book Collapse is even better in my opinion. It deals with how civilisations sometimes fail and die, and how other civilisations survived situations that killed others. As a pair those books should be required reading for anyone who wants to write a realistic world  :)

I haven't read the books but I did watch the documentaries that were up on Netflix based on the books. It really opened my eyes about our world and how it may have been shaped and form. One of the most fascinating parts was how he discussed in length about how African civilization was a thriving land despite the conditions that currently plagues it today, and then Europeans ruined their way of life by "modernizing" their culture. The ancient Africans had a perfect system that had been developed for centuries on how to adapt to the African environment, and all that was forgotten thanks to the Europeans.

7
Yesterday only wrote 1000, I could have written so much more if someone didn't introduce me to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood on Netflix, which is so much better than the 2003 version. I watched 18 episodes straight.

8
A Shadow In Summer. That was one of the hardest reads for me, I had to force myself to sit down and get through to the end of the chapter.

I'm reading A Shadow in Summer now, and it took me about 30 pages to really get into it (I almost gave up, but all the praise I had seen kept me going). I am now halfway through and absolutely hooked!  :)

The one thing that's really turned me away from it is the worldbuilding. It's unique and innovative, but I just can't get behind it. The whole "pose" thing feels like a gimmick for me. It would just work so much better as a movie because we'd be able to see what these poses are instead of reading "he did a pose to say hello" and not know what it looks like.

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Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / Re: Fantasy Anime
« on: March 13, 2015, 07:33:09 PM »
Recently I would say Attack on Titan was really great. 

I really wanted to enjoy this show, but they broke a cardinal rule for me, which is they strung me along for an entire season...
Spoiler for Hiden:
and then answered nothing. I was so mad. I don't think I'll watch it again.

I'm caught up with the manga and they've addressed some of the long burning questions left behind by the anime. Like a melting candle the story unfolds slowly, but oh is it so satisfying.

My recommendations:

12 Kingdoms
Guin Saga
Berserk
Claymore
Vision of Escaflowne

These are the animes I feel resemble more of a western fantasy feel than the fanservice boob popping saturated fantasy animes I see so often. All of these are fantastic, though 12 Kingdoms is the one I'd recommend first and foremost. The world building and character development rivals that of some of the best western fantasy has to offer.

10
A Shadow In Summer. That was one of the hardest reads for me, I had to force myself to sit down and get through to the end of the chapter.

11
Writers' Corner / Re: Brain Training
« on: March 13, 2015, 07:33:19 AM »
I tend to disagree with 3. Read by all means, in fact I think this is essential, but read everything and anything. In your genre and out of your genre. Widening your own horizons and getting out of your comfort zone every so often can improve your writing and prevent it from becoming too stale.
I read it as Conan arguing against the common advice, in which case you would agree with him (and me, incidentally).  :D
I was interested into where that was given as common advice, because a number of writers I've both read and heard giving advice, give the exact opposite and encourage people to read as widely and as much as possible.

I can sort of agree with what the OP is saying, however I would wound up on the parameters of his advice. I can't read fantasy that is too similar to the fantasy I'm writing at the time. However that doesn't mean you need to hop genres. There's no way I'd be able to write a fantasy while simultaneously reading Catcher In The Rye, they're just too different. Instead read fantasy, but a different kind of fantasy. If you're writing about a gritty dark fantasy, read a YA fantasy. If your book is based in medieval times, maybe read a dystopian fantasy.

It's worked for me so far.

12
Self Publishing Discussion / Re: Reduced
« on: March 12, 2015, 10:05:27 PM »
Just a quick FYI, the algorithm for Amazon's search engine exposes books more that have great/a lot of reviews. I condemn posturing myself but there are cases where people have to resort to propped up sugar coated reviews from friends and family so that it receives more visibility.

13
Writers' Corner / Re: How much did you write today?
« on: March 06, 2015, 02:25:50 AM »
For the past 3 days I've written 3000 words a day more or less.

I bought this tea called Calm Spirit Ginseng Tea in a small tea shop in Chinatown in LA. The owner said students from USC come to the shop and buy the tea when exams come. And man does it work. It's like all my creative road blocks inside my brain just free themselves up, and I just write write write without stopping.

14
I get behind what the author's message is, but I half disagree with it.

Everyone wanted to know how strong Yoda was, but wanted to see it themselves to validate that truth so that they know what the writer wrote wasn't just crap he tacked on without any authenticity behind his words. Like, how was this green pestering fur ball regarded as one of the most powerful Jedis ever? It's like if Tolkien declared "Sam can defeat Sauron in his absolute prime one on one," and the entire Middle Earth population acted like it was dogma. We're left wondering HOW? We as human beings only wholly validate truths with what we see, not with what we hear from other people.

The stark difference from my example though is that Yoda does display a fraction of his prowess by being able to lift the X-Wing out of the swamp. Still, I don't think there's anything wrong with giving the audience what they want, if what giving them what they want advances the character or reveals a truth to the character we were completely unaware of prior.

The problem with what George Lucas did in Attack of the Clones is that he made Yoda fight only for the sake of fan service. What did we get out of that fight, besides seeing a fight? Nothing. And that's why that fight feels so empty. In a way we wanted to learn why Yoda holds back his power so much, and the only answer we got out of it was just because.

I agree an extent to the message the author was trying to convey, but would add to it: don't give the audience what they want, unless it shakes up our perspective of the story.

15
Writers' Corner / Re: How to abandon a story?
« on: February 15, 2015, 03:59:20 AM »
not so much a case of abandoning as much as letting it ferment and age. it may turn into a fine wine, it may turn into vinegar. and, to mix the metaphors somewhat, you may just choose to dismember it and use some vital organs in another project :)

This and Elfy's first post really nails it on the head for me.

Sometimes your idea that isn't working doesn't work within the context of what you're trying to make it work in. That doesn't mean the core principles of it aren't interesting, they just need a change of scenery.

When this happens to me I completely abandon the idea, and then when I'm working on a new story, I see a scenario where the old scrapped idea will work perfect in, and then implement it there.

[edit] As far as trying to get the idea out of your head in the first place, I try to work on a new cool interesting idea to let absorb all of my attention. It's hard to let go of the first idea in the first place because we prize it as the coolest thing in the world, and it's so hard to let go of what we've built up in our heads as the coolest thing in the world. So to sidestep from this, I come up with another "coolest thing in the world" that I become insanely proud of and just focus all of my energy towards that.

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