The Wheel of Time Trailer

The 1st trailer Amazon Prime’s The Wheel of Time has been released and I am over the moon! Having watched it numerous times, here is my take on what was shown…

I was supposed to write a blog entry a couple days ago. That entry was to be about the fact that I finished writing the first draft of my novella. The last couple of days, however, my brain has been in a bit of a “reboot.” Now that it is getting back to a “ready status,” I must hold off on that entry as something big has dropped that I need to talk about. Yes, Amazon Prime has dropped (what they call) the teaser trailer for their The Wheel of Time adaptation.

For anybody who has been following my blog, I have been anxiously awaiting this first glimpse of the show. Having started my journey in this series back in 2007, it has been a long wait. For many who have been following from the beginning, it has been about 30 years since the first book was published. After watching many other fantasy adaptations come to life (for good or for ill), this trailer is the stamp of reality that it is happening. As an expecting father, I can relate it to the third trimester sonogram when the feeling actually hits that this is happening, and it is happening soon!

Diving into the trailer…. It opens with the characters of Egwene (Madeleine Madden and Nynaeve (Zoë Robins) standing on a cliff before Egwene is shoved off into the water below. From there, we hear Rosamund Pike (who plays the Aes Sedai, Moiraine) begins reciting the first line from the opening paragraph of the book as the trailer goes on showing shots of various characters, scenes, effects, and other surprises. From glimpses of the trio of Rand (Josha Stradowski – First name pronounced ‘yo-sha’), Perrin (Marcus Rutherford), and Mat (Barney Harris) to the epic Lan (Daniel Henney) kicking shadowspawn butt, every cut, every scene had me glued. I’m not going to recap the whole trailer, that would take a while. I was certainly pulled into the trailer as it carried on, trying to take in every scene and every word.

I watched it many times already. I have reveled with other fans on social media including Facebook groups and #TwitterOfTime. Needless to say (but I will anyway), I am excited! My reactions were of awe and wonderment as my eyes searched out every detail. By and large, I think it is safe to say that (initial reactions at least) the majority of the fanbase is as over the moon as I am. There have been a few that have been nitpicking some details like some of the CGI effects and the rich color palette used (I, for one, love the color palette). But overall, I am satisfied, and November 19th can’t get here soon enough.

Shortly after the trailer posted, Showrunner Rafe Judkins and Rosamund Pike took to social media to answer questions. It was wonderful to see Rosamund join in the Q&A festivities. When asked what part in the trailer are they most excited for us to see in full, Rafe answered “Winternight” and Rosamund answered Shadar Logoth. In another question, Rosamund answered what drew her to the role of Moiraine. Her answer was that it was how the women “harness the elements of the universe to unleash incredible power. For more of the Q&A you can check out this thread on twitter here: Rafe/Rosamund Q&A

While the pair answered many questions regarding the show, there were a few questions that I know that did not answer. Of course, they weren’t going to answer any questions that gave anything away. The question that I submitted appears to have been glossed over (even though I know I wasn’t the only one to ask it). That question is regarding the unique “profanity” used in the books. For those that don’t know, these are expletives that are commonly used throughout the series by characters much like our own swear words. Things like “blood and ashes,” “flaming,” fish guts,” and “mother’s milk in a cup!” They add a certain character to the series, and I worry that the show will be lacking these terms.

What else has me worried is regarding the plot. It was clear from the trailer that many scenes have been changed from the source material. It has long been expected that there would be changes from the books. There are certainly scenes in the trailer (like the opening scene with Egwene and Nynaeve) that were added to the show. Perhaps the most concerning aspect is how this will affect the story going forward? Many elements from later seasons could be greatly affected by the events changed for the first season. Because of that, epic moments from the books could very well be cut, and that is a great concern. However, I am refraining from judging too much until I see season one for myself. Until then, I will trust in Rafe Judkins, book consultant Sarah Nakamura, their team and crew, and the blessings of Harriet McDougal (Robert Jordan’s widow) and the rest of team Jordan who were consulted.

Regardless, the trailer has certainly whetted my appetite for the series. It is, perhaps, the second biggest thing I am looking forward to this year (after the birth of my daughter Sophia a month before its premier). The more I see it, the more I love the colors of the different Aes Sedai (pr. eyes said-eye – the female magic users of the world) ajahs (pr. ah-jah) the different sects of said Aes Sedai).

The long wait is almost over. It is a sure bet that in a couple of months, my eyes will be feasting upon every beam of light emitted as this series plays out on my TV screen. With trollocs and half-men aplenty, battles and magical weaves galore (sorry, I couldn’t resist it) … I am ready to take on another turning of the wheel.

For further reviews, reactions, and info, check out the links below. Just beware… there may be spoilers!

LINKS

(1631) The Wheel Of Time – Official Teaser Trailer | Prime Video – YouTube

The Wheel Of Time on Twitter: “Rosamund Pike and @RafeJudkins answer your questions about #TheWheelOfTime!” / Twitter

Daniel Greene – Wheel Of Time Trailer Breakdown! – YouTube

The Dusty Wheel – Wheel of Time Trailer LIVE COVERAGE! #TrailerGaidon – YouTube

WOT UP – Wheel of Time Trailer Breakdown! – YouTube

Exciting Look at The Wheel of Time TV series from Amazon Prime

As the premier of The Wheel of Time TV show comes closer, newly released images stir up some feelings of excitement.

It has been a little bit since my last blog post… about a month and a half. I’ve been busy. Hopefully the fruits of my labor will come to bear soon. In the meantime, something I am looking forward to, The Wheel of Time TV show, has had some major reveals recently. At the virtual SDCC last month, Amazon released a poster and the premier month (November) for the show. And just today, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly magazine, we were bombarded with several images from the show featuring the cast in full costume. And it is glorious.

Quick Analysis of Pics

The article is a good read and clearly intended for those unfamiliar with the series. Perhaps the most striking thing is the first image shown… the main cast all in a line and in full costume. At the center we see the character Moiraine (played by Oscar-nominated actress Rosemund Pike) flanked by her Warder al’Lan Mandragoran (Daniel Henney). Fanning out from them, you have the remaining cast members including (from left to right) Nynaeve (Zoë Robins) and Mat (Barney Harris) on the left and Egwene (Madeleine Madden), Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) and Rand (Josha Stradowski).

“Wheel of Time” S01_106_D04 – 6/28 – EXT MEADOW/WAYGATE MOIRAINE arrives at the Waygate, met by LOIAL. And all the other. Who is the Dragon?

My impressions of the cast are that they all look fantastic. I know some have complained about the costumes and how they don’t look medieval enough. However, I am fine with the clothing. The series is not set in our own history and, if anything, it is more closely related to the renaissance period as far as tech and fashion level. In any case, I love the looks of all of the characters and look forward to seeing more of them soon.

“Wheel of Time” S01_Ep103_D14 – 3/22 – EXT. CARALAIN PLAINS EGWENE and PERRIN see wagon tracks heading east, friend or foe?

Another image is that of the fearsome Logaine (Álvaro Morte) looking fierce while held in a cage with a couple of Aes Sedai (the magic users of the WoT world) looking over him. His expression is perfect as someone who is smug despite being held captive, while the two women immediately behind him, Aes Sedai Allana Mosvani (Priyanka Bose) and Kerene Nagashi (Clare Perkins) look on with a bit of concern. That picture certainly makes me look forward to seeing that scene play out on my TV Set.

Two other images included one of Rand and Egwene sitting together and one of Lan carrying Moiraine into a dark, forboding building. For those images, you can check out the article. The first image is sweet in its appearance and hints at chemistry between the two cast members. It will be interesting to see how that chemistry shows up on the screen. From what I have seen of the cast members, they have all been getting along great, so I expect the chemistry to shine between them all (for the most part). The last image is for those of us who read the books as it points to a particular scene from them. I won’t go into it here, but it should be one of the highlights of the early episodes.I am certainly looking forward to seeing more. The series is set to premier in November (as mentioned earlier), so it is getting closer. It has been a long time coming and I know us WoT fans are anxiously awaiting that moment. One thing that can be said about the production team is that they have been friendly with the fan community. Over the past couple of years, many of the info releases (such as casting news and small glimpses) were released on a Wednesday. The moniker #WoTWednesday was born in that and has become a tradition of sorts.

With that in mind, this article was made public (though the official publication of the article is in Friday’s issue of the magazine) on a Wednesday. The last few months have seen the last Wednesday of the month to be the day when elements of the show were released. From small 3 – 5 second clips to tidbits here and there, the production team at Amazon has wet the appetite of the fandom. As November gets closer, I expect that to ramp up rapidly. Being as next Wednesday is the last one of August, I expect something big. It is my prediction that the trailer will drop on that date. At the very least, we should get a short (30 second) teaser trailer. The showrunner, Rafe Judkins, did say that we will get a trailer before the end of summer. Whatever the case, the premier of this show is the second biggest thing I am looking forward to this fall (the first being the arrival of my second daughter).

Links to Know

If you are familiar with the series, or are curious to learn more, there are many wonderful sites and YouTubers around the web. A word of caution, however, spoilers abound for this epic show throughout these locations. However, most sites and YouTubers are pretty good about warning ahead of time. There are a lot, so I will just touch on a few of them here. A whole blogpost could be dedicated to the resources throughout the web regarding The Wheel of Time series (both the books and the TV Series).

First of all there is Dragonmount.  It is a popular news site regarding the series that also features in depth discussions of various aspects of the books (and show). If you are on Twitter, there is a fan community known as #TwitterOfTime. It is a very welcoming community to those familiar with the series and newbies alike. Another popular website is Theoryland. This site is really for people who have read the series and to discuss speculation regarding the books and open-ended mysteries. The owner of the site, Matt Hatch, runs a call-in YouTube channel called The Dusty Wheel. He and his guest hosts have a lot of fun talking about various aspects of the books and shows.

That brings us to the other YouTubers. One of the first that I encountered was Daniel Greene. His channel is general Fantasy News, however, he is a big WoT fanboy and is prominent in the community. He is also a published author. Then we have others that are focused on The Wheel of Time itself. First, there is Nae’blis. He covers the news and has a lot of in-depth videos about various aspects of the series from backgrounds of characters, cultures, and locations to battle analysis. A good resource if you want to know more of the background before diving in fully. And there is WOT UP!, a news channel focused solely on The Wheel of Time.

There are many more great YouTubers, sites, and podcasts that delve into the series and I wish I could list them all. Many of the sites that I have listed have aggregated lists which include many of those sites. If you are one of those YouTubers, Podcasters or Websites, feel free to post a link in the comments here (and/or in my Social Media posts for this blog). One thing I would be remis NOT to include is the fabulous narrators of the Wheel of Time audiobooks, Michael Kramer and Kate Reading. They really bring the story to life in audio form.

Voices of Time

To wrap up, I will leave you with a treat. About two years ago, the Wheel of Time online community was bombarded by a slew of posts where people would read the iconic first paragraph of the first chapter of The Wheel of Time. This paragraph repeated in every book (with only a slight alteration for where the “wind rose”). The trend came to be known under the hashtag #VoicesOfTime. So I leave you with my (nearly 6 year old) daughter reading doing just that.

Links

Rosamund Pike is Moiraine in first look at Amazon’s The Wheel of Time | EW.com

News – Dragonmount.com

#TwitterOfTime – Twitter Search / Twitter

Home – Theoryland of the Wheel of Time (Robert Jordan)

(1540) The Dusty Wheel – YouTube

(1540) Daniel Greene – YouTube

Breach of Peace: Greene, Daniel B: 9780578840772: Amazon.com: Books

(1540) Nae’Blis – YouTube

(1540) WoT Up! – YouTube

Michael Kramer-Kate Reading Audiobook Narrators (katereadingaudiobooks.com)

(1) #voicesoftime – Twitter Search / Twitter

(1540) Voices of Time featuring Savannah – YouTube

Weekly Wheel News (@weeklywheelnews) / Twitter

An Ode to Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy has had great impact over the years. It’s stories have made a difference in my life, for certain, and could be labeled as the source of my inspiration in writing and the fantasy genre in general.

I have long loved the fantasy genre of fiction. Whether books, movies, or video games, I find myself pulled into worlds of mystery and magic. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, The Wheel of Time is one of my all-time favorite series in the genre (and of all time, for that matter). As a kid, I watched and enjoyed movies such as Legend, Star Wars, Labyrinth, and Willow. I can quote many lines from The Princess Bride (I consider it fantasy, even though there is little “magic”). But I never really grasped the genre until I played a little game called (ironically) Final Fantasy.

Admittedly, it has been a while since I picked up a Final Fantasy title. Aside from dabbling in some of the offshoots (Final Fantasy Tactics) or using the characters included in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, I have not really played any of the games much. I have a couple of the classics on Steam, yet I haven’t really dived into them yet. Actually, I haven’t really picked up a Final Fantasy game since Final Fantasy IX on the original Playstation. I guess a big part of it is that the series seems to have slipped away from what I loved back in the glory days.

It’s not that I hate the Playstation Final Fantasies. When FF VII was released, I marveled at the FMVs that carried the story along. I enjoyed FF VIII despite its challenge. I actually liked FF IX the most of the Playstation FFs even though I never finished it (largely due to life and circumstance). But there was something missing in those entries that I could not just get. Perhaps that is why those iterations don’t really resonate with me like the earlier entries in the series.

One of the biggest moments that everyone sites from Final Fantasy VII [SPOILER WARNING from here on out] was when Aeris was killed by Sephiroth. I admit that I was shocked at that moment too, but I think I was more mad than anything. I spent so much time leveling up and powering up the character for her to be gone not even half way through the game. The emotional resonance just was not there as strong for me.

Those who site Aerith’s Death as the most impactful obviously did not live through the sacrifice of Palom And Porom who turned themselves to stone to save the party. Sure, they were restored at the end, but it still stung when it happened. Then there was the moment when Celes, stranded all alone after the world broke, threw herself from a cliff in desperation because all hope was seemingly gone. And while she did so, a version of the song she sang at the opera played sorrowfully in the background, adding to the raw emotion of the scene. It was a masterpiece.

No, nothing beats the glory days of the SNES Final Fantasies. I stand by that statement! Final Fantasy IV and VI (2 and 3 as I remember them) were the real games that got me into the genre of fantasy and, also, inspired me to become a writer. From the moment that the airships are flying across the screen, the story of Final Fantasy IV pulled me in and never let go. Sure, it had some moments of cheesiness, but often that cheesiness added to the narrative in a delightful way (I’m looking at you, “Spoony Bard”). It was an epic battle of Good vs Evil with characters coming and going that elevate it to the Lord of the Rings of video games. It was amazing what could be accomplished with 16-bit sprites.

If Final Fantasy IV was the video game equivalent of LotR, then Final Fantasy VI could easily be equated to Game of Thrones. I mentioned before the scene where one of the main characters attempts suicide. But that is just one of many impactful scenes. The number of impactful, sorrowful, or just plain emotional scenes could fill a book. It was story telling at its finest.

Despite the more steampunk setting, FF VI had the pivotal impact that drove home my desires for my future. I just didn’t know how to get there at the time. Since that game, the phoenix has resonated with me. I feel it is because of the scene where Locke (who I always assumed as myself when playing) attempted to raise his lost love through the power of the phoenix. Now, I have a tattoo of a phoenix on my back. Perhaps it is because no matter what hardships I go through, I keep rising back up to face new challenges.

Whatever the case, Final Fantasy has clearly had a great impact on me and my life. I will always remember the trips I took along the way. Whether it was flying to the moon or taking an airship into the earth and dealing with Dwarves or defying a tyrant by “riding” a castle into the sand or spending a night at the opera, the fondness of those memories will carry on forever.

With that said, I have been working on a project over the last few weeks that would bring my own game to life. Utilizing the program RPG Maker MZ (a tool designed for making games similar to Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest). It is a game dedicated and for my daughter, Savannah. As of this moment, I am about halfway through the outline for the story, and I have found many scenes and elements that are reminiscent of those old Final Fantasy stories. The theme of crystals has popped up in my story and I have quite a few little homages to the series. I find it fitting.

In the days and weeks to come, I would like to share some of the development of this game, and eventually, when I complete it, share it to the world. While the story is more lighthearted and a bit tongue-in-cheek (it IS for a soon-to-be 6-year-old), some deeper elements are seeping in. That is OK. I would be happy if it grows with her. Ultimately, I hope that, years from now, it causes the same feelings for her that I feel for those classic Final Fantasy titles.

Conclusion I’m far from the first person to point out the irony of the use of the word “final” in the title. Not just because the games are still being made, but because of how long even the earlier ones have endured. For me, it was not final, but a beginning.

How I Got Caught in The Wheel of Time

A look at Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, its impact on me and the upcoming TV series adaptation on Amazon Prime.

Over a decade ago, my mind got run over by a “wheel.” Not just any wheel, I am referring to The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I was not expecting it. At the time, there were 11 books published in the series and one prequel novel. The final novel was in the works. Only, the untimely death of the author threw everything into question. Fortunately, Harriet McDougal, Jordan’s widow and editor, ensured his legacy would see its end by bringing in Brandon Sanderson to finish the series (and in turn, dividing the last book into 3 for a total of 14 main series books).

The series would have a major impact on me, setting me on my own path of wanting to be a writer to doing it. It has inspired me. The worldbuilding within the series guides me in my own efforts. Following is how I got into the series to begin with, and my thoughts on the upcoming TV adaptation. There might be some minor spoilers, so tread with caution. Still, there shouldn’t be any of too much significance.

MY HISTORY

In 2003, I rejoined the Navy and was eventually stationed on the USS Enterprise (CVN 65). While stationed on the ship, I spent many days/weeks/months at sea. It was during this time that I took up reading a lot. Before that time, I had only read a handful of fictional books of my own choosing (other than the ones forced on my by schools). I got my entertainment from movies and video games. Despite that, I had built up a collection of books and I took some with me. That is when I got into reading R. A. Salvatore.

His books drew me in. I read all the released Drizzt books, The Cleric Quintet, the first three books of the Demon Wars saga, and many of his other series. I guess, in part, it was his name that drew me… Salvatore. But I stayed for the memorable characters and wild adventures. Now, I had heard of The Wheel of Time at this point, but I hadn’t gotten around to it yet. I was enjoying my time in the Forgotten Realms.

It was during the summer of 2007, after I left my service in the Navy, that I decided to see what that series was about. I sat down and started reading The Eye of the World. About halfway through the book, I set it down. It was while Rand and Mat were on the road to Caemlyn. I was getting wary of the journey and it seemed like nothing was going right. (I would later find out that if I had just stuck it out a few more pages, that feeling would have begun to change.) So, I put the book down and went back to Drizzt and company.

The following year, I started a job in Washington, D.C. At the time, I lived in Baltimore, Maryland (north of the city, in fact) and, at first, I rode the train for my commute. While dealing with a nearly 2-hour commute twice a day, I needed an escape. That is when I found audiobooks. I decided that maybe I’ll give The Wheel of Time another try and downloaded the audio of The Eye of the World. From the moment I heard Michael Kramer’s voice, I knew I was caught.

Over the next few months, I ran through every book available. Then as soon as the last three books were available, I got them and listened as well.  When I was at work imaging workstations, I was listening. When I started driving to work because I had to be there earlier than the trains ran, I connected my iPod to my car and listened while driving (that certainly helped to save my sanity during those years). Michael Kramer and Kate Reading filled my head. Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene, Nynaeve, Elayne, Min, Loial, and all the rest became my friends. I was hooked!

There are a lot of factors that drew me into the series. From characters to the worldbuilding, there is a lot to admire about The Wheel of Time. Those factors all gripped me, along with the many themes found throughout the books. The greatest of those themes, for me, is the theme of balance.

Balance is very important to me. I consider it one of my core philosophies, the primary tenet of my spirituality. Many times, I had professed about how the world is made up of opposites and one element cannot exist without its opposite. If there is no heat, there can be no cold, no evil, there can be no good, et cetera. To read a book series that echoes my very tenets back to me was unreal.

THE UPCOMING TV ADAPTATION

After finally getting into the series, I soon began digging for whatever information I could find about the series. I located fan sites such as Dragonmount and Encyclopedia WOT that delved into the series, with the latter giving recaps of each chapter of each book and breakdowns on characters, settings, etc. I also came across Leigh Butler at tor.com with her reread blogs.

During that time, a little TV show began airing that peaked some folks interest in the mainstream. Something called “Game of Thrones.”  If you haven’t heard of it, it was a TV show based on a series of fantasy novels that had some moderate success in bringing in viewers. The thought of this got me excited for the possibility of a Wheel of Time production.

I began looking up information for a potential movie or TV series adaptation for The Wheel of Time. Other than a bunch of speculation, there were not many hints of any production. Mostly just legal issues that were hindering progress. I did come across a short fan-made film entitled Flight from Shadow. Then came the dreaded Winter’s Dragon premiere that rocked the fandom and fueled more legal issues. Finally came an announcement, 5 years ago, from Robert Jordan’s widow, Harriet, that all matters had been resolved and they were moving forward on plans to create a series.

The next few years saw a slew of details eke out of the nether and engulfing the fandom (while the rest of the world lay unknown about what was going on). We learned that Sony Pictures had picked up the series and that Amazon was working on the production. We learned the showrunner was Rafe Judkins, who soon enlisted the help of Sarah Nakamura, a Wheel of Time guru, to act as “book liaison.” This was all great news. We started learning about writers and directors and cinematographers, many who were top-notched and respected, being involved. Then came the casting news.

I have to admit, I was not familiar with Rosemund Pike when she was first announced to be portraying Moiraine in the TV show. But I soon learned who she was and began to grow excited. Then they announced Daniel Henney as Lan who I was mildly familiar from episodes of Criminal Minds that I happened to catch. Then came the ultimate blow… the flurry of announcements of the Emond’s Field Five. The central characters around which the series follows. And I knew nothing about them. My mind went blank as I stared at the screen through those announcements. These are the people that I came to know and love?

So, I thought, and I thought. I looked up info about the actors. I watched videos from WOT analysts like Nae’blis, Rebecca (from Reading the Pattern), and Daniel Greene. Slowly (then quickly), I began to like these actors. I liked the fact that they were relative unknowns to begin with. A show like this is a great way to introduce great new talent to the masses. While sitting with my daughter, flipping channels, I came across the pilot episode of Power Rangers Ninja Steel which has the actress portraying Nynaeve, Zoe Robins. Interesting… Then I took my daughter to the Dora the Explorer movie which included Madeleine Madden in the cast. I was beginning to feel out the actors who were cast as the EF5 and I liked what I saw.

So, it was settled! I was full on the “hype train” and looking forward to a see the show in action. #TwitterofTime became a thing (an amazing group of people including named character accounts and regular fans alike who have fun with all things Wheel of Time, including polls provided by @RogueAelfinn *WoTPolls*). In a way, #TwitterOfTime has become a bit of a family within the fandom where we discuss the books, the shows, and even personal events that affect us. It is fandom at its best!

Amazon released a table read which cranked up the engine. New cast members were announced ranging from major characters to minor. Production started in Prague back in September of 2019. Of course, nobody saw the log on the rail that would bring the train to a screeching halt.

By this time, I had been riding the hype of the potential series for a while now. I was looking forward to it as a way to introduce my friends and family to the series. My fiancée and I watched Game of Thrones together and I have been looking forward to getting her into The Wheel of Time. She doesn’t like audiobooks so it is hard to get her into it that way. And it looked like everything was running along swimmingly. That is, until that dirty, no good virus-that-shall-not-be-named showed up and wreaked havoc across the globe.

The delays left a drought of information. On the one hand, the delays did not stop production altogether as Rafe Judkins ensured that post-production for the episodes already shot were well underway. They were able to resume filming the remaining episodes and it appears that the marketing is gearing up to extend beyond the fanbase. That is a good thing. Over the past few months, Amazon Prime has been releasing short clip teasers revealing items and now characters from the show. The most recent is Daniel Henney as Lan (looking badass).

Still, some worries have crept in. Increasing talks of changes to the story have filled the internet. While changes are expected, the sting that was Game of Thrones season 8 are all too recent. The fears that changes done here in season one will drastically impact later storylines from the books. Worries about what scenes from the book will survive the adaptation (I may do my own “Must Have” list soon). At least we know that the show is in the hands of fans in Rafe Judkins and Sarah Nakamura. For my own humanity and entertainment, I picture Sarah chasing Rafe around the set, copy of the book in hand with notes and markers hanging out, in a Benny Hill like fashion over proposed changes.

*******

In the end, I leave my trust to the cast and crew of the show. Knowing that Harriet and Brandon are involved in the show gives me hope that it will fulfill the desire to watch the show play out on a screen and to introduce our friends and family to the series. Whether the show will succeed or fail, well, we’ll have to see how the wind takes us. Until then, “let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.”

Movie Review: Mortal Kombat

A quick (mostly spoiler free) review of the new Mortal Kombat movie.

When the first Mortal Kombat movie came out over 25 years ago, I was a fan. I loved the game; and the movie, while watered down and a bit cheesy, was still fun. Between the fight scenes and Christopher Lambert’s slightly over-the-top portrayal of Raiden (meant in as lovable of a way as possible), I felt thoroughly entertained.

Fast forward to today and I have to say, the 2021 reboot is even better and a worthy of its name. There was still a little cheese and some strange plot moves (like a character being abandoned and suddenly returning later), but other than that, I feel that it pays true homage to its source material. It shows that the writer knew the game series well.

The plot was less cheesy then the 1995 movie and, despite a couple choppy scenes, flowed well overall. Without getting too “spoilly,” the mystery of the new character, Cole Young, and how he fits into the mythology is strongly hinted at early on and fully revealed about half way in. The fight scenes were well worth it and included the gore that you’d expect from the source game without overdoing it (too much). They pumped me up and even gave me a thrill when certain catch phrases were unleashed, even when I predicted their usage a second before they were thrown out.

If there was anything I felt fell short was, as mentioned before, a couple choppy story elements. I would have liked a bit more development for some of the characters and character interactions. Perhaps I am a little spoiled by the Snyder Cut of Justice League now. There certainly felt like there were some scenes left out that would have helped the narrative. But, as far as I’m concerned, those were minor. Maybe a director’s cut will come out including some of those scenes, but what we did get was enjoyable enough.

Overall, I had an fun time with the flick and it helped to keep my attention during the whole movie. There was a good bit of nostalgia that pulled me back to playing the game, more so than the ’95 movie. I would definitely recommend to fans of the game or to fans of action movies and fantasy. Just be ready for a lot of blood.

Geek Dad

The love between a father and daughter can be a strong one. When you share a joy, it only makes it that much better.

Among the greatest joys in my life is raising my daughter. From the moment she was born, by bond with her was forged and has continued to grow. As she has gotten older, she has developed quite the personality. She is now five years old (she’ll be six in September), and despite some frustrations, I can’t love her any more.

One of the greatest bonds that we have is our love of many things that fall in the “geek” domain. She has turned into quite the gamer already. She’s even beaten me a couple times at Mario Kart 8. Her last birthday was even Super Mario themed. Heck, she wanted me to build a “Super Mario World” (complete with Question Mark Blocks that we could jump up and hit and flag poles we could slide down) in our backyard, but that was a bit out of my budget (and expertise).

When she was younger, I often put her to bed saying “sweet dreams of unicorns, butterflies, and rainbows.” She loves unicorns now. She is my princess (I don’t care if that is cliché). She’s no delicate princess. She is a tomboy through and through. She’ll wear a princess dress and swing a sword around with a snarl on her face that would put Rocky Balboa to shame.

I’ve done my best to foster her love of “geekdom.” We watched many shows on Nick Jr and Disney Jr that had fantastical elements. Some of our favorites have always been Shimmer and Shine, Wallykazam!, Nella the Princess Knight… just to name a few. I bought books such as The ABC’s of D&D and The 123s of D&D by Ivan Van Norman, and Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke. If you have seen some of my previous posts, I have even gotten her into tabletop RPGs via Amazing Tales.

Going forward, I hope to encourage her further (while I still have some influence). From Harry Potter to Willow, The Lord of the Rings to The Wheel of Time, and The Legend of Zelda to Dungeons & Dragons, I look forward to many adventures with her. Maybe one day her path may veer away from the world of Geeks and, if it does, I am OK with that. But perhaps the bonds that we share now will carry on her love and enjoyment and be more of a legacy than any book I may publish.

Worse comes to worse, maybe I can get her future brother/sister to take up the mantle.