Little Joys Ch.39

This post is part of an ongoing challenge to share a little joy I have found each day of this year, and perhaps for the rest of my life. I hope you enjoy it!

February 8th, 2020

The world of film and television has been bombarded by low quality projects with very little effort put into the crafting of story or characters. But every once in awhile something comes around that jars you out of the disappointment zone and into that joyous area of  wonder that new stories bring.

Of course, this is a very subjective feeling. Everyone has their own subconscious criteria that allows them to enjoy a show or movie.

I came upon a new Netflix series release over the weekend called Locke & Key. Based off a graphic novel series, it has been in and out of development for nearly a decade, until it was finally picked up recently, and I have to say that I find Netflix did a great job with it.

It was suspenseful, kept you guessing, left enough clues that you could make assumptions and there was a 50-50 chance you were right or wrong. The young cast did well enough to make you genuinely believe in them, and the magic system and story were good enough to draw me in again and again.

It was a bit frustrating due to many decisions not making sense, so much could have been found out by characters by simply using the magic properly, but that is to be expected in a show that is trying to keep as much mystery as possible so that you come back for more.

All in all, it was a nice change to have a show with magic actually turn out relatively well, which bodes well for the future of book adaptations, I hope they continue to make more.

I definitely recommend checking the show out.

Fun times with Big Hero 6

For many of us, film and television hold a special place in our hearts because it is such an immersive experience combining many different forms of art when done well.

Animation has been the go to medium for me to get my imagination socks kicked off, after books of course, and I have watched so many great series and films that it’s hard to pick which ones to talk about first. But since I happened to re-watch Big Hero 6 yesterday, it gets the spotlight today.

Disney has been involved in most of the biggest works of animation in our history, even being responsible for much of Studio Ghiblis work being distributed outside of Japan.

You have to hand it to them, they have produced some outstanding work, and Big Hero 6 was a fantastic edition to their repertoire.

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The film meshes sadness and loss, silly humor and courage very well, albeit in a way that makes no sense in some instances(but that’s why we watch animation, to be pushed out of the norm) and manages to create a small cast of characters that you can relate to and feel like family very quickly.

Fred is probably the biggest reason that everyone seems to come together so easily as he is just such a lovable character, his enthusiasm for life is magnetic.

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Combine him with Wasabis quirkiness, GoGos badass-ness(woman up!), Honey Lemons energy, and Hiro’s emotion and you have a great little group. Throw in the adorableness that is Baymax, and your heart will melt.

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From an artistic perspective, the world is really vibrant and filled with life. Color is so well used in this film, and San Fransokyo, an eclectic mix of San Francisco and Tokyo is very, very cool, the kind of place we all wished we lived in.

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The build up to Tadashis death, and the heartache of his passing is difficult to deal with. Hiros journey of discovery of who was responsible, his seeking of revenge and then learning to deal with the rage and realizing that Tadashi would not have wanted him to become a villain was very well done.

The pacing never feels rushed, yet manages to really show some growth and development not only of Hiro and his ties to the group, but even allowing Baymax, a robot, to shift and change from a very stiff, formal medical robot into a fun friend that brings the group together.

Overall the film pulls off some great twists, throwing you around emotionally while getting you really invested in its characters.

I am thoroughly happy to hear that there will be a second film coming out in 2020, although I hope they have decided to separate the films from the tv series, so that there isn’t any confusion for those who haven’t watched it.

I would highly recommend everyone check this movie out if they haven’t seen it, as it’ll really juice your inner child’s happy place.

Share your stories

Stories shape us.

Since the first Humans began to communicate we have been sharing our thoughts, emotions and daily adventures through a host of mediums; cave paintings, pottery and simple drawings in the dirt.

The stories we tell ourselves and others help us to understand the world, to expand our limited perceptions and reach out across the void and touch, however briefly, the life of another, real or imagined.

The most important thing all of us can do is continue to share these stories for they are the bedrock of community.

Whether you are a writer, musician or painter never stop sharing because now more than ever, Humanity needs your stories.

The evolving landscape of gaming

As the years roll by and gaming becomes more mainstream, it’s quite surprising to look at how much things have changed in the last 20 years.

When I was young, game tournaments were a rarity, usually being held in cramped little venues with a few dozen spectators, really only the most hardcore enthusiasts in attendance.

Nowadays, entire weekends are taken as thousands go in to watch professional gamers compete for million dollar prizes whilst hundreds of thousands more watch from the comfort of their homes.

Counter strike, league of legends, fortnite, overwatch and a host of other games have captured the mainstreams attention, creating a multitude of celebrities overnight through platforms like Twitch and Youtube, making rock stars out of what used to be the uncool geeks hiding in their parents house.

It really is fascinating to see this evolution, and the future of gaming will probably create an even greater disconnect from the past as technology advances towards full immersion gaming where people basically live within the online worlds companies create.

The popularity of anime such as sword art online goes to show the desire people have to be able to really live in these games, really experience what it is like to be a military sniper or a sword wielding faerie flying across a fantasy landscape.

I know many people who still consider games to be for children, and personally I try to create a certain distance between myself and games due to the health repercussions of spending all my free time playing, but the amazing stories and stimulating challenges offered by well done games are definitely worth it in many cases, and for those who feel these things are childish, I believe simply lack the perspective to understand that difficult games are just as or more complex than a game of chess, and I doubt you’ll find anyone saying chess is bad for you or a waste of time.

I am truly looking forward to the future of gaming, and I hope companies really draw back and focus on quality and storyline and not waste time with cash grabs, forsaking that which makes games truly great.

After all, a great game is as inspiring as a great book, and we all need a little inspiration from time to time.

Initial thoughts on God of War

I know I am quite a bit late on speaking about this game as it has garnered so much attention since its release and been reviewed 9 million times so I will make this short and sweet.

Ever since I was young the biggest draw of gaming for me was the ability to be drawn into a good story while also being able to interact with that story through gameplay, nothing else added that sort of depth. Unfortunately not many games put the same amount of effort into their storyline development as they do their game mechanics.

God of War is a breath of fresh air, combining solid mechanics and a visually stunning world while simultaneously fleshing out the worlds lore. But what really does it for me is the interaction between Kratos and his son and seeing them both develop as people as the story goes on, it has been so long since I have been really emotionally involved in a character as I am with Kratos and his son Atreus.

Atreus desperately wants his Fathers approval and to prove his worth as an independant man, while Kratos struggles with being both a tough guide for his Son and also there for him emotionally through his development. It is really great and so far the game has me hooked and really hoping they both succeed as a family.

I truly hope the gaming industry uses God of War as a springboard to creating more games which actually flesh out their characters and create that intimacy that has been sorely lacking in most games for the past decade.

For now I will cross my fingers and pray to Kratos.