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Wednesday, April 7, 2021 10:03 AM
(Last updated on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 10:07 AM)
On the Viewer - Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003)
 by Fëanor

Here's another live-tweet compilation, this time from a re-watch of Genndy Tartakovsky's Clone Wars micro-series, which recently got added to Disney+. Technically, I believe this series is no longer canon, but as this article points out (thanks to my friend Camden for sending me the link), it could pretty easily be inserted into the story that the later The Clone Wars series tells, with a few small exceptions. And it should be, because it's great!

——

Like a lot of Tartakovsky's work, the original Clone Wars strongly emphasizes action and awesome visuals over words. There are lengthy sequences with no dialogue of any kind. Yet you always know what's going on. It's a very clear visual story, often told on a massive scale.

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A lot of really fun and inventive designs, for the characters, settings, and vehicles. Also some great characters are introduced and developed here, like Ventress and Grievous. The Grievous we meet in this show is far more terrifying and dangerous than the one in the movies.

——

Durge is another really interesting character design. The way he bulges and extends and persists reminds me of Akira, and of the rampaging poisoned animal spirits in Princess Mononoke. I'm pretty sure the character never speaks, either. At least, he hasn't so far.

[Editor's note: indeed, he does not.]

——

One of the things Tartakovsky's Clone Wars is better at than maybe any other Star Wars show or movie is capturing the awesome power and incredible abilities of the Jedi, especially Jedi Masters like Windu.

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It's also amazing at handling things of massive scale, like a gigantic warship with a huge, army-flattening piston on the bottom. Not a vehicle we see anywhere else, but this show makes it very memorable.

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Anakin's duel with Ventress near the end of volume one of Clone Wars is just a masterpiece. Gorgeous setting, dramatic lighting, amazing action. And then of course the powerful metaphor of him picking up one of her own red lightsabers to ultimately defeat her.

——

The duel is followed by the introduction of Grievous, which is equally fantastic. Previous episodes have established how powerful the Jedi are, and now we see them defeated and cowering in terror from Grievous, who easily defeats a group of them single-handedly.

——

On Tartakovsky's Clone Wars, we learn more about the rituals and ceremonies of the Jedi than we ever have before. We learn there's a series of trials a padawan normally has to overcome to be granted knighthood, and we even get to see the rite where Anakin becomes a knight.

——

Yoda himself cuts off Anakin's braid to officially knight him. In a nice touch, Padme receives the braid and places it in a keepsake box along with the japor snippet necklace Anakin made for her when he was a boy. There's also some nice Qui-gon references.

——

There's a funny scene where Anakin gets to see 3PO in his gold plating for the first time. Then scenes of Anakin being a competent hero, coming to the rescue of other Jedi. Which is nice. Sometimes in the movies he's such a jerk it's hard to understand why anyone likes him.

——

Padme sees Anakin with his scar for the first time. R4 is destroyed and R2 becomes Anakin's droid. Lots of milestones in their lives, but it doesn't feel like they're just ticking boxes; it feels organic, like you're watching these characters change and grow.

——

I appreciate that Commander Cody first appears flying in with a jetpack. He's named after an old serial character who was famous for flying around with a jetpack.

——

Star Wars repeats lines of dialog like it repeats musical phrases and themes. I like that Obi-wan gets to say, "What an incredible smell you've discovered." They do a good job here developing their slightly antagonistic, big brother/little brother friendship dynamic.

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Anakin is the hot-headed, action-oriented guy, while Obi-wan is more patient, thoughtful, precise. "There are alternatives to fighting," more repeated dialog...

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It's nice that Mace Windu has a purple starship and a purple droid, all to match his purple lightsaber.

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I'm not a huge fan of Star Wars' heroes tending to take advantage of a native alien culture's beliefs to manipulate them into assisting in their wars. It happens again here, with Obi-wan putting Anakin forward as some kind of prophesied hero.

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Yoda absolutely wrecking the droid invasion forces with jaw-dropping displays of power. Good stuff.

——

Let's pick up where we left off with Clone Wars!

Yoda & Windu together are an almost unstoppable force.

I love the image of the Chancellor calmly drinking tea, watching the battle outside his window. He's orchestrated this war between disposable armies and he's gonna enjoy it!

——

Fantastic build of drama and tension as the Jedi wait at the elevator, watching the closed doors of the chancellor's office, behind which they can hear Grievous picking apart the clone soldiers...

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Grievous is a deadly force of nature in this show. Just a terrifying monster. It's great.

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The Ithorian Jedi's roaring trick is a unique ability that we haven't seen before. Fun.

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I think this marks the first appearance of Grievous' staff-wielding bodyguards, another fun creation.

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One of the trials a padawan faces to become a Jedi is the trial of the mirror, where they must overcome the darkness within themselves. This is the trial Luke faced in the cave on Dagobah, and the trial Anakin is facing on this alien world.

——

In Anakin's cave, the pictures on the wall begin to move, and they tell the story of a warrior whose hand was lost in a battle with evil. The new hand that took its place gave him power with which he defeated many enemies. But the power ran wild and killed his friends, too.

——

As the story ends, a face appears in the midst of the twisting vines of darkness: the face of Vader.

What a powerful moment. And as with a lot of Tartakovsky's most powerful scenes, it is entirely wordless - a purely visual story.

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I love the realistic details, like the recorded voice repeatedly asking them all to "please deposit two Republic credits" as they run into the subway.

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I love the inventive ways they use the force here: quietly lifting up the end of Grievous' cape and tying it to the end of a departing train. Brilliant!

Also, "no capes!" :LOL:

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Yoda and Windu aren't just incredible warriors, they're also brilliant thinkers. As they're fighting, they both realize at the same moment that the invasion is just a distraction to hide the enemy's true purpose: the kidnapping of Chancellor Palpatine.

——

Shaak Ti stays behind to give her fellow Jedi time to get Palpatine to safety. Man, you just hate Palpatine even more in this scene, knowing that her sacrifice is meaningless, that this is all just a little play he's directing, and that his kidnapper is really his servant.

——

Anakin: "Do you think they'll be able to reclaim their old lives?"
Obi-wan: "I sense they will, as long as each of them is able to accept himself."

Anakin cringes at this. He doesn't seem sure he can accept what he might become...

——

Shaak Ti actually survives this, but is defeated. Windu manages to get a parting shot in on Grievous, crushing his chest plate, which explains why Grievous is always coughing and wheezing in Revenge of the Sith.

——

Anakin replaces his destroyed mechanical arm with a new one, now gloved in black - an ominous sign of what's to come. Obi-wan tries to comfort him, saying what we see inside ourselves can be frightening, but our choices shape our destiny. Unfortunately, Anakin makes bad choices.

——

Clone Wars takes us right up to the opening of Revenge of the Sith, ending literally moments before the events of that movie begin.

It's a thrilling, gorgeous, brilliantly realized part of the Star Wars story. I was really glad to be able to see it again.
Tagged (?): On the Viewer (Not), Star Wars (Not), TV (Not)
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Tuesday, April 6, 2021 07:06 PM
On the Viewer - Godzilla Vs. Kong (2021)
 by Fëanor

This is another live-tweet compilation! I hope that's okay! There are some spoilers in here, so beware.

——

[Thread #1]

"Kong bows to no one."
:Thumbs up: :COOL:
#GodzillaVsKong

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I like that each monster has a girl as his advocate. Also, spoiler: the scene where Kong talks is real good. I came in a much bigger Godzilla fan, but they're selling me on Kong here.

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It's interesting how the military guys just wordlessly do whatever the scientists say. I guess that is generally what happens in these movies, but it seems like at least in American movies there's usually more friction.

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Also, I strongly suspect we're going to see Mechagodzilla, and I'm HERE FOR IT!!!

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Can you really break into a secure electronic door by breaking open the keypad and jabbing it with a screwdriver that you licked the end of? I mean, I'm asking, maybe you can.

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Bro. HOLLOW EARTH! So cool.

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It's just a tad hard to believe that these three yahoos could just wander into this extremely secure, top secret area without anybody noticing or challenging them. But whatever, I'm here for the giant monsters.

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MECHAGODZILLA!! Called it! Yeah!

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Kong, axe in hand, on his throne, in an ancient hall in the center of the hollow earth. That is freaking cool as hell.

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Ghidorah's skull as a living psionic super computer. Damn, they just threw all the crazy ideas into this, and I'm loving it. The visuals are fantastic, too.

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Taking a break for tonight, but I feel like this movie has captured more of the spirit of comic books than a lot of movies I've seen recently that are supposedly based on them. The wild invention, the crazy colorful visuals, the epic scale, the rivalry, the big brutal fights.

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[Thread #2]

Picking back up where I left off with #GodzillaVsKong !

——

I'm not totally clear on why they only need a tiny little sample of the hollow earth magic power rock, and boom, they're good to go. In fact, they don't even need the rock itself, they just need the data download about it. How does data let you produce enormous amounts of energy?

——

Godzilla shot a hole into the middle of the earth with one blast of his radioactive breath?? Dang.

——

Why did the hollow earth temple start falling apart anyway? Because of the tiny sample they took? Or because Kong switched the thing on with the axe? It seemed to start happening before Godzilla zapped the hole in...

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So, no massive gravity anomaly on the way out of hollow earth? That's only on the way in. Like the toll into Philly from Jersey.

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I love how colorful the movie is. Maybe partly a reaction from having recently seen the incredibly gray and drab Snyder Cut, but it's just beautiful.

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Did they consider a possible theme park ride based on this? The ship flying around between the battling titans is making me imagine a Star Tours type experience...

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Kong hanging off the top of the skyscraper is a nice callback.

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Not sure I ever remember seeing Godzilla crawling around on all fours. That was different.

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So, mechagodzilla just immediately starts thinking for itself once it's charged up with replicated hollow earth magic rock energy? Okay. Man, they're really asking us to swallow a lot here.

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Now we're gonna use the underground spaceship as a giant defibrillator paddle to restart Kong's heart. Sure!

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Okay, cool fight. But I feel like it would have been more interesting if people had actually been in control of Mechagodzilla, and if they hadn't just been crazy bad guys. I mean, there's a sane argument that can be made for destroying the Titans to protect humanity.

——

A fun movie. It's interesting that it's really Kong's movie. He's basically the protagonist. I didn't expect that.

I'm a little bummed there are no post-credits scenes. They couldn't give us a little tease for the next movie? Maybe a little Gamera or something? Ah well.
Tagged (?): On the Viewer (Not), Star Wars (Not), TV (Not)
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Monday, March 1, 2021 09:53 AM
For Amazonians Only
 by Fëanor

Exciting news! Amazon invited me to a private beta for self-publishing hardcover books, so both my books are now available on Amazon in hardcover format! Their hardcover format is a bit different from the Barnes & Noble format. Barnes & Noble prints the cover illustration on a paper jacket that wraps around the book. Amazon does what they call case laminate hardcover, which means the cover illustration is applied directly to the cover itself, and there is no jacket.

Anyway, here are the links! Thanks for looking.

Tree and Beast

Sea and Sword
Tagged (?): A Stranger World (Not), Book Report (Not), Books (Not), Mythology (Not), Sea and Sword (Not), Tree and Beast (Not)
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Monday, February 15, 2021 03:20 PM
Book Birthday!
 by Fëanor

Hey, just dropping a note to celebrate the official release of my new book, Sea and Sword: A Stranger World Adventure, in hardcover! Yay!

Right now it's available only in hardcover, and only online at Barnes & Noble. If you'd rather not fork over the big bucks for a hardcover edition, I get that! I'll be releasing paperback and ebook versions later on this year on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Google Play Books, and Apple Books. I will definitely post more about that when the time comes.

Sea and Sword is about the continuing adventures of a boy named Hunter Wilson in a mysterious magical world. He meets lots of new characters and creatures: bloodthirsty pirates, giant monsters, and creepy ghosts! But he also reunites with friends from his last adventure: a giant dog-like creature he calls Murphy, and a shape-shifting trickster named Raven.

We also learn more about the larger world he's fallen into: its history, its ruler, and its dangers. And Hunter learns more about stories, about magic, about families, and about himself.

I think you can pick up the series here if you like, but of course it's always better to begin at the beginning. The first volume of A Stranger World is called Tree and Beast, and it introduces us to Hunter, as well as Murphy, Raven, their world, and its mysteries. Tree and Beast is available now in hardcover, paperback, and ebook formats; you can find links to buy that book here. Also, I'm running a promotion right now on the NOOK version of Tree and Beast. If you go here and enter coupon code BNPSTRANGE75, you can get it for 75% off.

The books are for kids of a wide range of ages, and that includes adults. I tested these first two out on my seven-year-old, and he's a big fan. I hope you and your family will enjoy them, too.

Happy birthday to Sea and Sword!
Tagged (?): A Stranger World (Not), Books (Not), Sea and Sword (Not)
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Wednesday, February 3, 2021 07:27 PM
Reading My New Book!
 by Fëanor

In celebration of it being on pre-sale, I read the first chapter of Sea and Sword on YouTube. It's below.

Also, the first book is currently on sale! Use the coupon code BNPSTRANGE75 and you can grab the eBook version of Tree and Beast for 75% off.

Tagged (?): A Stranger World (Not), Books (Not), Sea and Sword (Not), Tree and Beast (Not)
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Monday, February 1, 2021 10:25 AM
Scum and Villainy in Bricks
 by Fëanor

I built the Master Builders Series Mos Eisley Cantina! Here's a video about it.

Tagged (?): LEGO (Not), Star Wars (Not), YouTube (Not)
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Tuesday, January 19, 2021 09:16 AM
(Last updated on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 09:17 AM)
New Lego Video on My YouTube Channel
 by Fëanor

Thought I'd drop a note here that there's a new video on my YouTube channel! This one is a look at a LEGO Star Wars set: the AT-ST Raider from The Mandalorian. Like and subscribe and all that...

Tagged (?): LEGO (Not), Star Wars (Not), YouTube (Not)
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Friday, January 8, 2021 07:26 PM
Kirkus Review Live
 by Fëanor

Hey folks, the Kirkus review of my first Stranger World novel, Tree and Beast, is now live! Go check it out. Wee!
Tagged (?): A Stranger World (Not), Books (Not), Tree and Beast (Not)
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Sunday, November 22, 2020 10:53 AM
Fixy Fixy
 by Fëanor

I noticed that the Facebook "Like" buttons on my blog got messed up somehow or other - the ends were cut off - so after an hour or so of painful struggle, I think I've got them fixed so you can see them properly again. It's been a while since I had to do front-end web design, and man, I forgot how frustrating fighting with css can be! Good times.

Anyway, as always, let me know if you see anything around here that looks weird, or you find something broken, and I'll see what I can do. Thanks!
Tagged (?): Facebook (Not), Meta (Not)
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Saturday, November 21, 2020 03:22 PM
(Last updated on Saturday, November 21, 2020 03:26 PM)
I'm a Goodreads Author!
 by Fëanor

Hey, I have an author profile on Goodreads now! Both my published books are on there, too, so if you use Goodreads, I'd really appreciate it if you'd add my books to your shelves, rate and review them, and maybe even recommend them to other folks. (Also let me know if my author photo is too ridiculous; I thought it was funny.) I added some Goodreads widgets to my website, so it should be easy to do. Thanks!
Tagged (?): Books (Not), Meta (Not)
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Welcome to the blog of Jim Genzano, writer, web developer, husband, father, and enjoyer of things like the internet, movies, music, games, and books.

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