Let’s talk Ninjago

First off, I’m sorry that I’ve been away for so long. I have no excuses, and I hope that this blog can somehow continue to grow.

That out of the way, let’s get into the meat of this thing.

I got to see The Lego Ninjago Movie. After seeing The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie, I came to the conclusion that this Lego film franchise is my favorite film franchise. Why does this take the cake over the stuff offered by the likes of Marvel, Dreamworks, and the Disney Animated Canon?  Mainly the fact that every movie in this series is a movie I look forward to seeing as soon as I can, and this was no different.

What’s this movie about, you ask? The Lego Ninjago Movie takes place in Ninjago Movie where a teenager named Lloyd leads the charge to protect the city from the evil Lord Garmadon as the Green Ninja. There’s a little wrinkle to this: Lord Garmadon is Lloyd’s father. That’s a big source of humor for this movie, although that aspect can take a while to see some payoff. Also, as the movie goes on, the interactions with Lord Garmadon and Lloyd lead to the emotional moments that this franchise has beneath the comedy. These emotional moments also take some time to show up, although when you see them, you’ll probably get the feeling that they’ve been earned given what you’ve seen Lloyd and his friends have gone through. The other thing I can say is that if you’re going to mix comedy and emotional moments, you need to know when to apply each, and this movie knows when to do that most of the time. I’d say that this franchise knows how to do that particular skill pretty damn well.

And now let’s talk about what I loved the most from this movie: Jackie Chan as Master Wu, Lloyd’s teacher in all things ninja. Jackie Chan had the best lines in the movie, I was just smiling in every scene he was in, and in terms of the best character, I’d say it’s a toss-up between him and Lord Garmadon. When I walked out of the movie, I told my mom that I think Jackie Chan makes everything better, while my mom said that Jackie Chan was the best part of the movie and was pivotal to the movie’s success. I will say that I came into this not knowing who the cast would be, so I don’t think I’m in a position to talk about this aspect, although I will say that Jackie Chan was a good call to have in this movie if I could say so myself. I don’t think this is one of those things I can explain. I honestly can’t think of someone who could take that role and play it as well as Jackie Chan did.

In terms of how good this is compared to the other Lego films, I’d say that it’s not as funny as The Lego Batman Movie, but it’s still pretty good when it comes to providing laughs. Compared to The Lego Movie, I’d say that it’s kind of a different situation in that this movie is more for the Lego connoisseur as it’s based on a particular Lego line instead of something the general public such as the fun of playing with Lego blocks or Batman. I honestly don’t know anyone that knows Ninjago, though that may have to do with the fact that Lego Ninjago started when I was in high school, and I don’t know anyone that plays with Lego, let alone knows of the Lego Ninjago franchise.

As for score? I’m going to give The Lego Ninjago Movie a 7/10. This movie may take a while to find its groove, which may have to do with the fact that it kind of needs to establish the world it’s in, but once it does hit its groove, it’s super enjoyable. Also, Jackie Chan is the man. Jackie Chan is a treasure. Jackie Chan is the best part of this movie.

And now, I leave you with Jackie Chan singing “I’ll Make A Man Out of You” from Mulan. In Chinese.  

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I get a win in Vegas!

So, it finally took a while for me to post about this after it was announced, but I’m happy to report it now. My screenplay Wrath has been named as one of the top 100 screenplays at the Las Vegas International Screenwriting Competition. I am so happy right now. It feels really amazing that somebody actually thinks my work is some of the best out of God knows how many entries is pretty freaking awesome. What happens next? Well, at the end of this month, they’re going to name the top entries out of every category, but just making it this far is a win in my opinion.

If you want to support Wrath, you can buy it on Amazon. 

 

And to everyone who’s supported me: THANK YOU!

So, my mom and I went to see Wonder Woman.

NOTE: WHILE THIS WON’T HAVE MAJOR SPOILERS, THERE WILL BE DISCUSSIONS ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS IN THE MOVIE. SO, IF YOU WANT TO SEE WONDER WOMAN, I RECOMMEND THAT YOU SEE THE MOVIE BEFORE READING THIS. IF YOU SAW THE MOVIE, I HOPE YOU ENJOY WHAT I HAVE TO SAY.

Ah, Wonder Woman. DC’s Finest Lady. I’ll be honest, I’m not much of a comics fan. I don’t read comics and I don’t get super excited for every comic book movie that comes out. But I’ve seen some. As for Wonder Woman, I’ve only ever seen the 2009 animated film and a few episodes of the 1970s show with Lynda Carter. But I know enough about them and their powers and their enemies thanks to pop culture, and this movie was one I was super excited for. And oh my God this was awesome. If you get to know me, it’s kind of rare that I get super excited that I want to see it either on opening night or in the days immediately after. And 2017’s Wonder Woman is one of those rare movies. I’m glad I had this hype, and I’m glad this movie delivered. Wonder Woman is a pretty cool hero, and people have been wanting her to get a solo movie for years. I can see why. This movie had great action, great characters, and surprisingly great comedy.

The best part was the chemistry between Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot) and Steve Trevor (played by Chris Pine). Whether it was in the scenes in London or on the battlefields of World War I, you can see that they have this unbreakable bond, and you can see it forged. My favorite scenes between them were when Wonder Woman was adjusting from Diana, Princess of Themyscira to her secret identity of Diana Prince. There are a lot of jokes and fish out of water scenarios that had me cracking up. I don’t want to give them away because when you see an amazing movie, I think that the best way that you can sell this movie is when somebody asks you about a particular thing, you can only respond with “I can’t tell you. You have to see it for yourself.” I’ve only seen bits and parts of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, but I’ve heard that Gal Gadot was the best part of that movie. With her own movie now, I can’t wait to see what Gal Gadot does in the future.

The other thing that really worked in this movie was surprisingly the World War I setting. And I think it was because of how naive Wonder Woman was when she left with Steve and how she grows throughout the movie and sees more, and I don’t think that naivete works as well as it does if there was a performance as good as Gadot’s. Let me explain: I’m a bit of a history fan in that I like to read and watch stuff about history. And when you immerse yourself in history as much as I have, you notice something: the two World Wars are great at explaining subtexts and bigger things, and works will take the chance to use them as a backdrop. World War II is great at showcasing the ultimate conflict of good versus evil and all the derivatives that come from that. World War I is great at showcasing the horrors of war, mostly in the forms of what a soldier sees on the battlefield, the suffering a soldier endures, how much it sucks to realize you’re stuck in a war where you don’t really know what you’re fighting for (which can be said is the subtext of stuff that showcases the Vietnam War, I’d say World War I takes away anything that could be considered subtlety), and how generals and officers in cushy positions just don’t care about how every second the war continues, they prolong the suffering of civilians and grunts on the front lines. And with Wonder Woman, the crux of the character development comes from learning that there are times when war isn’t as black and white as World War II movies make them out to be, and being exposed to the shades of gray. And I’m in my seat going between riffing it in my mind and thinking, “Oh dear God, please don’t let Diana learn about The Holocaust”.

The only gripe I have is minor, and that the action scenes reminded me a bit about Batman v. Superman, and from what I’ve heard and seen from that movie, that’s not a good sign. But that’s a nitpick because the fight scenes in this movie are freaking awesome. I really like Wonder Woman’s fighting style and the way they were shot really makes me think wielding a sword and shield is pretty badass. Here are the action scenes I loved the most, though you have to see the movie to truly appreciate them:

  • The fallout of Steve Trevor arriving in Themyscira.
  • Wonder Woman going over a trench into No Man’s Land.
  • Also, there’s a move where you jump on a shield and wreck everything. It’s done in this movie, and it has to be seen to be believed.

That’s all I have to say. Here’s my mom to share her thoughts. She was looking to this as much as I was, if not more so:

Growing up a Wonder Woman fan, I was very excited to see this movie.  I had my reservations about Gal Gadot being cast as my favorite superhero but she more than did an excellent job in this role.  She made the warrior princess come to life.

What I truly liked about this movie was that Wonder Woman was portrayed as a woman – strong, intelligent, confident, fearless but with a soft, vulnerable and innocent side.  She had to learn about herself, her strengths and to truly believe she was powerful.  

This well written, well directed and well-acted movie makes you face the truth about humanity, how painful the loss of innocence is and what the meaning of true love is.  Fighting for something bigger than you requires strength, courage and a mental toughness that not everyone has.  Wonder Woman was forced to grow up emotionally and learn the harsh realities of the world her mother tried to protect her from.  Like many young women, the first time facing the real world alone is scary, confusing and heartbreaking.  Wonder Woman is no different.

The refreshing part of the movie was that Steve wasn’t the punkish weakling that continually needed to be saved like in the 70’s series.  Instead, Chris Pine’s Steve tried to protect Wonder Woman and help her accept the reality of the world off her island while still allowing her to keep her hope for a better world without war.  Even Wonder Woman needs friends.  She had a motley crew of supporters but they had her back every step of the way.

The action scenes were great, the light comic relief scenes will make you chuckle and the cliche that love always wins is done in a not so sappy way.  

Still a Wonder Woman fan and can’t wait to see her in more movies!

Martin’s Mom

So there you have it. Two recommendations in one blog post. I’d honestly say that you will not be disappointed if you see Wonder Woman. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to listen to the theme that Lynda Carter made famous.