Fantasy

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Like the constant of the celestial bodies and seasons King Richard’s Faire once again opened at the beginning of September and will run through October 25th this year.  If you are a local and have not heard of King Richard’s Faire I urge you to run to their website, learn about their events and to come experience the family entertainment that the Faire provides.  

We started going to the Faire about 20 years ago. My children came to the Faire as toddlers and still come now that they are in their teens. I will return to the Faire as long as it is running and I encourage you to do so as well.  Where else in Massachusetts can you see live performances, knights and jousts, blacksmiths, big cats, clothing and jewelry artisans and an abundance of food and drink in the same location.  King Richard’s Faire is a unique New England experience.

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There is something special that happens at events like this. Once you walk through the castle façade you are in a crowd where the pressure and stress of everyday life are left at the door. Weather you come in dressed in civilian clothes or costume you get to lose yourself a little and be who you want without fear of feeling out of place.  King Richard’s is a place of play and when everyone is playing the rest of the world seems to fade away, at least for a little while. I am no stranger to running around in the woods, swinging swords and shouting taunts at an imagined enemy.  The world may be a better place if we all felt free to do so.  

The Faire will be running events every weekend and you can check the schedule HERE.  One Oct 24th there will be an adult costume contest filled with cosplay and open to all attendees and on the 25th will be the final drum jam at the front gates.  Don’t wait though, there will be things happening every weekend till the end of the month, so come when you can.

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This year both giantjapaneserobot.com and mastermindadventures.com will be running ticket giveaways for the event.  Check out the contest HERE to enter!

DISCLAIMER: Giant Japanese Robot received tickets to visit King Richard’s Faire and for the giveaways.  They really are very nice people.

 

Let’s get some biases out of the way. I’ve spent the last few months hate watching Arrow. I’m a little reluctant to blame the show itself for my distaste. I expect I am being a fuddy duddy and am trying to project my long held understanding of the character onto Stephen Amell.

I’m not generally insistent that fantasy shows have any sort of basis in reality, but characters in Arrow consistently pull 180 degree morality turns.  Kill or not killers, I love you today, hate you tomorrow and love you again during the next story arc. The whole thing feels very frustrating.

The Flash shares some of these problems, but I find that enjoyable. I don’t think it went as far as it needed to in the first season, but now that the main arc is finished they may be able to explore some some of the more gonzo story lines, which is where the show excels.  That may be part of the problem with Arrow, because the show is trying to be grounded it may not be capturing my attention.  Moody, unshaven angst bores me while a telepathic, genetically modified gorilla causes me to cheer.

I have high hopes for DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, you can see their version of Hawkman and Hawkgirl above.  Hawkman looks a little like Batmanuel, but having more Tick in the world is never a bad thing.  LoT is a time travel show and I have long maintained that the only way to do a time travel show properly is to go full gonzo. A series of insane, confusing, logically suspect “I am my own grandpa” style of stories.  Doctor Who does this well, and LoT needs to follow suit.

I’m grateful to the Arrow for giving us these shows, but wish it could become more like them.  Maybe the CW will skip ahead a few years in the plot and do aging, on-armed, cantankerous Green Arrow from The Dark Knight Returns.  Now that would be good television.

Source: First Look at Hawkgirl & Hawkman’s “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” Costumes – Comic Book Resources

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Takumi continues to be awesome, delving into Mad Max: Fury Road with his take on a young Immortan Joe. This just makes me yearn for the Blu Ray to come out.  He better not lean forward though or else he will get skewered on that pointy belt buckle.

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Live action role playing has always been derided in the US, even in geek-centric communities. The idea of dressing up as a character, going out into the wilderness and hitting each other with swords has been considered too childish and goofy. I do find it funny that if you grow up as a geek, you almost always come up with the idea independently of LARP culture and try and get friends together to participate in a LARPish game.  Something along the way introduces shame and we become concerned what other think about our behavior.  

Full disclosure, I have been one of the people who considers LARPers to be lesser geeks. In the past couple of years we have been running role playing games for kids and teens and I have seen the sheer joy and camaraderie of kids playing together in a group without having to worry about what their non-geek peers think. The joy is infectious and the events attract all kinds of people including those who would not normally participate in group activities and those would would never publicly admit to waving a foam sword around with other kids.  Once again, kids are awesome and I was wrong.

When searching for ideas for these role-playing events we have come across several adult events that are amazing.  You can jump on Youtube to see things like The Bells of Newtown or The College of Wizardry to see of the sophisticated storytelling and play that people are putting together.

What really caught my eye yesterday was a Swedish group that took New England’s own H.P. Lovecraft’s work and wrote a story revolving around this mythos set in the 1920s.  We were looking at introducing Lovecraft elements into our stories already but to see the professionalism and commitment of this group is inspiring.  Check out the video below and let us know what you think.

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Sometimes the world feels pretty gross.  Bad things happen to good people and sometimes people say some terrible things in response to the bad things that happen.  It can be pretty exhausting.  

I am acutely aware of the tragic nature of life, it is easy to get caught up in it. I need reminding that there are better things in the world aside from negativity and cynicism. Fiction seems to be where the optimism gathers.  If writers don’t like the world they experience they have the opportunity to craft one better.  These are not rose colored glasses covering the truth, but they tend to be worlds that represent the best of us, what we can become in our shining moments.    

When Rod Serling became frustrated working in traditional media he created the Twilight Zone, widely regarded as being some of the most challenging television material of the period. Concepts considered too intellectual or too controversial within the bounds of typical narrative became easier to digest within a world of distorted pig faced aliens or gremlins on the wings of planes torturing a lone man.

Humans (myself included) tend to not react well when confronted with change or concepts that are foreign.  This is the benefit of animation as a medium.  The simplified, illustrated humanoid form is abstract enough to experience the emotional content without awareness of confrontation. Note that I am speaking from personal experience rather than gathered data, I’ll let experts talk to the reality and numbers.

After what feels like decades of dark, gritty animation or shows that consisted of pure absurdity it feels like we have a block of shows now that speak to the concepts I mention above, optimism, hope and the struggle to maintain your innocence despite external circumstances.

There are multiple shows that fit this criteria, Adventure Time, Bee and Puppycat, anything that Lauren Faust has created in the past few years and anime like Girls und Panzer, lately I’ve been focused on Steven Universe.

From the promos Steven Universe looks like every other Cartoon Network program.  I would not be shocked if people just passed it by like I did thinking it was standard animation fodder. I finally decided to watch it because of the continued noise from social media regarding the show.

It was the second episode that made me a fan, I felt like I understood exactly what show creator Rebecca Sugar was trying to accomplish. 

Steven Universe has a simple fantasy structure.  A boy of limited ability living with three super powered caretakers going on a hero’s journey to achieve his destiny.  That setup could be any number of fantasy novels or movies in the past few decades, but Rebecca Sugar has turned this on its head by having our protagonist Steven ask questions and perform actions that any human can relate to.  

Where Adventure Time was a television show that celebrated play and childhood, Steven Universe is about the actual experience of growing up, of doubt and discovering that adults are just really taller children with a bit more time under their belt.  Every character here is deeply flawed without being discouraging and overwhelming. The battle is uphill but you know in your bones that they will succeed.  The skill in the writing is that you don’t really know how the character will get there, but you know that they will.  The characters come in every shape, size and temperament and there is bound to be one that your child and you as an adult can connect with.

Despite the outrageous framework Steven is a very real child, arguably one of the most realistic children on television and this has been compelling to children and adults alike.  Steven Universe is a my prime example for how television has changed and overcome the eighties and nineties toy driven properties that had little impact outside of amusement.

In a tweet the other day, I had said that Steven Universe was more grounded than most prime time television and I meant this wholeheartedly.  Just like Rod Serling did decades ago with difficult moral choices and warnings against losing your humanity Steven Universe does with hope, optimism and making childhood a little less frightening.

In this case I’m giving the same advice that I normally give to parents about video games. Invest in challenging media for your children and engage with them.  Watch cartoons, perform a role, get nerdy about speculating about plot points and connections, write your own stories about the characters. In essence play just like your children are playing.  

I think parents often complain about the declining attention spans and television being vapid, but the kids who sat in front of a blue glow with a bowl of sugary cereal on Saturday mornings have grown up to create some important stories.  At first glance you may not be able to recognize them as such, but I promise, you will be rewarded.

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Without directly knowing, Mike Ploog has been with me my entire life. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that Mike has intersected with the things I love from childhood to the present day.

There are a variety of images I could have chosen as the lead for this, but I think simple demonstrates his talent best. Mike Ploog seems to effortlessly display movement. When you look at a Ploog sketch you intuitively know what is going to happen after and what has happened before. You can feel Werewolf by Night’s mouth open in close in a menacing growl, his shoulders roll and his hands moving towards you. You instinctively feel that you are in danger. It takes a great talent to convey that.

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Mr. Ploog was in the marines for a decade before working for the mighty Filmation and Hanna-Barbera and then with the great Will Eisner on the Army’s Preventive Maintenance Monthly. During Marvel’s horror era Mike Ploog was the artist for the creation of Ghost Rider and Werewolf by Night. He drew some of the most dynamic versions of the Man-Thing and several other titles.  His career in the film industry is nothing short of astounding working on design, illustration and story boards for Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards and Lord of the Rings, Heavy Metal, The Thing, The Dark Crystal, Superman III, Supergirl, Return to Oz, Disney’s forgotten Black Cauldron, Young Sherlock Holmes, Little Shop of Horrors, The Witches, The Tick television series, The Prince of Egypt, Titan A.E. and 2000s X-Men.

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Ploog’s early comic work drew me to his style in the seventies, even when I didn’t quite understand who he was but then he followed me throughout my teenage years by working on and influencing some of the greatest fantasy ever put to film.  Almost without exception, if I was obsessed with a fantasy film Mike Ploog was behind the scenes laboring on it in some fashion.   Carpenter’s The Thing is my favorite horror film, Superman III inspired me to become a software engineer (weird, but true), I fought with my parents because they were going to see Lord of the Rings without me, I can sing most of the songs from Little Shop of Horrors and Young Sherlock Holmes is a bizarre masterpiece that also introduced the world to John Lasseter, now Disney and Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer.

I’ve passed these loves down to my children and I hope they do the same.  There is something special about each and every one of them and Ploog’s contributions large or small resonate still.

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After almost fifty years of working in creative industries Mike Ploog is releasing an art book filled with his life’s work.  This will be 320 pages of illustrations and examples from his career. The Kickstarter will run through July 16th of 2015 and I highly recommend you pick it up. In my mind, supporting a man who has given so much to what we love is an important thing to.  His work draws you in and seeing it together like this will pull you back into worlds of your childhood and inspire creatives of the future.

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One of the communal benefits of being a geek culture enthusiast is enjoying conventions.  In a room filled with other obsessives it almost feels like home.  I love seeing celebrities and love seeing the gaming and pop culture shops that collect at these types of events.  

 

The best part of a convention isn’t the big names, it is walking around the convention at the edges finding the person who is not famous but is working their darndest because they love what they do.  Frankie Washington (Facebook) exemplifies this, he loves giant robots, he loves giant monsters and has dedicated his art to them.

 

I talk about things I love, but they are often somewhat frivolous or obscure. If I can do any good in these articles it will be highlighting the hard working local creator and give as much exposure as this medium allows.

 

Above you see his work for the upcoming art book Gamera vs. Zine-Ra, a celebration of one of our greatest kaiju heroes and Creature Double Feature star.  

 

Frankie’s work reminds me of classic manga, gonzo trading cards like Mars Attacks and Dinosaurs Attack! and a healthy measure of Mike Ploog.  

 

Here are a few other examples, I hope you enjoy:

 

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Colossal Kaiju Combat trading card game.  Washington does the artwork based on feedback from the community forum.

 

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The Last Daughter of Lilith cover design, book by J.L. Metcalf

 

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The Secret Lives of Villains webcomic, written by Matthew Blair and lettered by Rebecca Currell

 

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Reckless Sidekick Productions’ Kid Switch Comic anthology

 

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Mech: Age of Steel anthology by Ragnarok Publishing

 

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When discussing yesterday’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer I mentioned to a few folks that there were a lot of adults who shed a tear or at the very least got goosebumps when they watched it for the first time.

When people ask me to define the word ‘geek’, I tell them that geeks are people who are unapologetic about the things that they love.  What they love isn’t important, it can be anything.  What is important about the things they love is that they are inspired by them and it causes them to experience joy. Just like all humans, if it makes us feel something good we then pursue it.  Star Wars is an almost universal example of this for a couple of generations.  The trailer yesterday turned us all into six year olds watching Luke Skywalker battle evil for the first time.  It reduced us to the raw emotions we felt on that day and everything else melted away.

Below we have your average American male, Matthew McConaughey, viewing yesterday’s trailer for the first time.  I think it is fair to saythat a lot of us recognize every single emotion that washes over his face.  Celebrity or not, some things make us all six years old inside.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=PYHdQUyOunA%3Fw%3D640

 

A bit of a warning for those of you that are coming here excited. This is only a twenty second teaser and very little is revealed. The most you are probably going to get out of this is a slightly better look at the top half of the batsuit. The batsuit itself seems a little odd, like patches of kevlar glued together in an uneven fashion. I assume this was done to make the suit look a little more organic and realistic, but I am not sure I like the choice.

I am actually deeply worried about this movie, but I hope all my fears are unfounded.  I like Zack Snyder quite a bit, but I think he is being asked to do too much.  There are too many characters and I feel like they may be forced in to the universe that Zack and his team are created ending with something that feels pasted together rather than the careful golden and silver age inspired feel of the Marvel/Disney movies.

Twenty seconds isn’t enough time to make any judgement, so I guess we will have to wait until the full trailer is revealed on April 20th to get any definitive impressions.

Update: If you can’t see the embedded video.  Click this link to view the original post.  

Update: If you can’t see the embedded video click this link to view the original post.  

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Perfect blending of both fantasy epics. My only wish is that it could be longer. All the art here is perfect and it makes me want to dive into Legend of Zelda right now. Alas, it is a work day.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=QGxy1SpZYPQ%3Fw%3D640

Guest post by James P. Burke

Cosplay is often the highlight of Anime Boston, as it really is a noticeable part of the convention experience for this event, moreso than (for example) PAX East. And I have to admit that the activity of people greeting each other over their creations generates more convention energy than all but the most outstanding panels and presentations.

This year I didn’t think there was a single standout cosplay category as often I have seen in other years (e.g. Homestuck trolls a couple of years back, or Attack on Titan last year). A lot of what you would have seen in previous years, and a lot of mashups including video games, movies, comics, and popular classic anime (One Piece, Evangelion, Naruto, etc.). The obscure character here and there is always special, and people appreciate a shout out from fellow fans. One thing I noted was a dearth of Frozen cosplay when last year it seemed poised for continuing popularity, even before it took off with the general public. One has to wonder whether some kinds of popularity and exposure do not get reflected in cosplay.

It was great to see a number of couple and families with themed cosplay, and such coordinated efforts usually come along with a willingness to pose and emote in character. It just makes everything better.

There was a good deal of excitement on Saturday over the premier of the English dub of Sword Art Online 2. The lines were very long to get into Exhibit Hall E for that event, however the convention crew managed the hundreds of SOA fans very efficiently. The high-capacity hall nearly filled, but everyone was accommodated.

More on the crew. While it is inevitable that you encounter some overenthusiastic crew members who are yelling (and not always in helpful ways) the crew there were organized, prepared and efficient. The line at registration was nonexistent by 10AM on Saturday, which has not always been the case in previous years. The line to get into the Con and past bag check was long, but quick moving, diverting temporarily out into a protected outdoor area in the brisk and windy Boston daylight. The queue, which doubled back on itself, served as yet another way for convention goers to see others and be seen, with many opportunities to point out a favored character or particularly impressive costuming effort.

Back inside, the Exhibition Hall A had slightly less variety of vendors from years past, but the same volume. This con tends toward a lot of games, plushies, figurines, T-shirts, and art. A new addition was some impressive metalwork from vendors offering real aluminum masks. And others dealing in both metal and leather for steampunk paraphernalia that could literally be used to build an entire costume if you had the money to spend, including masks, goggles, holsters, chestplates, flask holders, hats, etc. The dice dealers of previous years were not in evidence this time around, but a new game seems to have risen in popularity. Betrayal at House on the Hill, which was obscure last year was on display at several game dealers. It has possibly gotten quite a boost from its exposure on Tabletop.

In summary, Anime Boston 2015 is a great experience provided by a clearly seasoned convention organization in a venue that provides ample space to an enormous crowd. I suggest cosplaying to get he full experience, and to engage with as many convention goers, inquiring about how they made their cosplays and congratulating them on their creativity and hard work.

A couple of tidbits in the new spot. We hear of Indominus Rex’s cannibalistic tendencies and chaos in the park, with one unfortunate park guest being flown off to be eaten by what I assume are pterodactyl hatchlings. I think I’ll choose Disney instead. Disney doesn’t have a “No guests eaten in X days” sign.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=yaWuNjHH2xA%3Fw%3D640

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We are off and running today to pick up our launch copy of Bloodborne. Another spiritual successor in the tradition of the Demon Souls series, Bloodborne is a dark, violent fantasy with more grey than most modern humans can handle. I love having more than three colors in a game, but I will forgive a game when it is this beautiful and carefully constructed.

We have been Souls fans since the early days, but games of this ilk are not for the weak, they are insanely difficult and frustrating, but the rewards and accomplishment are unique to the series. If you are fans of disturbing fantasy then this could be your thing.  Warning: The following trailers are filled with gooey, squishy violence and may not be appropriate for children or the workplace.

Launch Trailer

Story Trailer

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New Avengers 2 Trailer
New Avengers footage, with more clues and possible connections to the Black Panther mythos and upcoming movie. Video below.

Firestorm’s costume created on a visit to Hobby Lobby
Eh, his costume could use a little work and maybe a little less hot glue.

Space X Explosion
One small step for giant explosions and self-directed landings on unmanned barges.

RIP Origa
We lost a unique talent on Saturday to lung cancer.  The Russian born singer who was famous in the US and Japan for Ghost and the Shell and other anime tracks died too young.  See one of her most popular tracks below.

Fox Bringing Back X-Files?
With Anderson and Duchovny?!?  It’s possible and it seems like Fox wants it.

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The more I see of Fury Road, the more excited I am about it.  It feels like the eighties all over.  The production values are slicker, there is obviously more money behind it but it all feels warm and familiar.

When I first saw the new Star Wars trailer  I was a disappointed. The narration by Serkis and the extra pointy light saber just pulled me back to the last Lucas trilogy.  I doubt that the trailer really reflects the quality of the finished product, so I am not too worried.  The Fury Road trailer had a lot of the same elements, bombastic music, explosions, rapid edits and large in your face text, but for some reason all of these things worked to create a perfect trailer.  This is going to be a good time.

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As many of the die hard fans already know we got our first real look at Star Wars VII yesterday. I still have high expectations and I expect Abrams will be respectful of the source material. Overall I think we are in for a treat.

Without getting too negative about the trailer I have to say that I was let down a bit.  This is a situation where less would have been more.  I am not sure if Abrams was directly involved in cutting the trailer but it seemed to be edited poorly.

SPOILERS: Watch the trailer before reading.

The shots of X-Wings, the Falcon, John Boyega and new Stormtrooper designs are fantastic, but the narration was goofy, forced comic relief moments were one of the major issues with the last trilogy and I am having a really hard time taking the light saber seriously.

Now Star Wars has it’s roots in pulp movie theater serials and I always need to remember that, so I do need to be forgiving, but I get the feeling that tease could have been edited tighter and it would have been terrific.  We still have a year to wait for the movie and an unknown amount of time before a full trailer so no need to freak out at this point.

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I know I am a couple of weeks early but sometimes the spirit of the season just takes over. Last year we introduced our friend the Krampus, one of the weirdest holiday traditions that I know of.  Since we last left our furry monstrosity he seems to have been gainfully employed and taken to Twitter, which is good because kidnapping poorly behaved children can’t be lucrative.

As you can see, Krampus is now working as a Mall Krampus, it doesn’t appear that he has changed any of his style though. He is still generally cantankerous and loathsome.

I guess that is all we can expect from him, and I suspect it is better that we know where he is rather than have him randomly patrolling our communities looking for mischief. He doesn’t really have the strongest social skills either, so he just speaks his mind without a lot of concern for others. I don’t know about you, but I plan on following his feed to see how this whole thing develops.

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No doubt that Guardians of the Galaxy was a huge and unexpected hit this year, so there was bound to be Halloween costumes and a million kids (and adults) dressed up as the characters.  The costume for Drax the Destroyer though has me a bit confused.  Somewhere in the depths of someone’s design department is a Barney Miller fan.

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As with all my fan theories, take them with a grain of salt. My theories are generally poorly thought out, brought on by consuming too much genre film and diet soda.  Bear with me though, at the very least it is something to discuss on our Facebook page or in the comments.

Big Trouble in Little China takes the form of a classic Yellow Peril film. A stereotyped Fu Manchu villain (played by the amazing James Hong), a white hero who is so American that he apes John Wayne, a mystic and martial arts.  All the right pieces of dozens of offensive films that came before it.  I think John Carpenter was being a little sly though when he released this gem to the American public, it plays like your average buddy film sprinkled with a good bit of gonzo storytelling so if you are not paying too much attention it is easy to digest, if not it is delightfully odd and refreshing compared to other movies of the time.

Egg Shen (the late Victor Wong) in the beginning of  the movie states that Jack Burton showed great courage, and to be fair, the character did, but after the umpteenth viewing I have a couple of thoughts:

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  • As the hero, he basically does nothing.  He does eventually defeat the big baddie, but mostly by luck.
  • He pretends to have wisdom, which boils down to meaningless quotes with no practical application.
  • He attempts to be a ladies man, mostly fails, chickens out in the end.
  • Jack doesn’t really have any income prospects outside of the truck, he gambles, doesn’t really have a home and is most likely an alcoholic.
  • In a film centered around Chinese lore Jack is wearing a Japanese t-shirt.  Possibly to show how disconnected he is.
  • Jack gets knocked out for most of the main fight.
  • Jack continually increases the danger of several situations more than necessary because he is an idiot.
  • He more than likely becomes wild man lunch after the credits.

Despite the above I think Jack is terrific and loads of fun to watch. When I was growing up I thought he was impossibly cool, but I think the point that Carpenter may have been trying to make was that the typical Yellow Peril protagonist is a fool and the local community never really needed him.  In fact, he probably made things worse in the end.

Egg Shen

  • Pretends to be a lowly tour bus driver, but is much more.
  • He is the only one who really knows what is going on.
  • Egg has trained his entire life to defeat Lo Pan.
  • He looks out not only for his companions but is there to protect all of China town and the world.
  • Egg has magic and supplies ready that he has gathered for years in preparation of the coming threat.
  • His wisdom is actual wisdom, when he speaks his words carry weight and meaning.
  • No one would have survived without him.

Compared to Jack, Egg is the real deal.

When I originally saw the sequence in the beginning when Egg is speaking with his lawyer I had thought that it was a bit of exposition tacked on to the movie to guide the audience through some difficult concepts.  Now I think that the sequence was originally planned.  Egg does a couple of interesting things here.  He continually pushes for Jack to be recognized as a hero but takes no credit for himself.  Egg seems to want to cast Jack as the savior even though Egg watched him bumble through the entire adventure.

During the lawyer sequence he demonstrates his magic ability to the skeptical attorney.  If you notice, the powers that Egg displays are similar to the lightning powers of the deities that Lo Pan controls throughout the movie.  I suggest that after the enemies were defeated that Egg Shen inherited the powers of the Three Storms and possibly Lo Pan himself as a guardian of the city. (as opposed to one who exploits it like Lo Pan)  From what I remember there is no other place in the film where Egg displays these types of powers, if he had them you would think he would use them in the final battle.

Egg may have been trying to protect Chinatown from outsiders and interference, but his full motivations are a bit of a mystery.  In my mind Mr. Shen is the hero of the film and he does everything he can to stay in the background.  When there is no more to do he quietly slips away. (I assume to be captured later to have meetings with lawyers) Little China is safe and his job is done.
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You can tell autumn is around the corner by the signs, tree colors start to change, Dunkin’ starts serving gourd flavored beverages, the smell of illegally burned leaves fills the air and you will spot oddly dressed enthusiasts descending upon Carver, MA by the thousands.

Off and on for about the last twenty years I head on over to King Richard’s Faire as the first event of the fall.  For the uninitiated King Richard’s Faire is the longest running renaissance faire in New England full of Middle Ages hijinks and lighthearted fun.

This year the Faire has been running weekends from August 30th to October 19th 2014, they will also be open on Columbus Day, Oct 13th.  Gates open at 10:30am and close at 6:00pm which makes for a pretty full day for a family.  You can find everything about the Faire HERE including ticket prices and how to find them.

Why do I go to the Faire?  Since I was a child I have been attracted to the fantasy aspects of these type of events and worshiped movies and books with this theme.  Way back in 1996 this fascination resulted in my Medieval wedding including my lovely bride entering the park on a giant black horse.  It was only natural that I would be hanging out with large crowds of folks with similar interests.

There are a lot of things here that are difficult to experience anywhere else.  Every year there are a different set of artisans, jewelry makers, leatherworkers, wood workers, artists who make chainmail armor and apparel.  Generally these folks are excited to talk about what they do and it is a wonderful opportunity to have your kids see people actually making things with their hands.  Bonus: There are blacksmiths, with an operational forge on the site.  Swords, knives and axes being made right on the fairgrounds, I don’t know about you guys but fire and pointy things are usually a winning combination with my kids. (and me too)

Then there are the performers.   You can go to any other theme park and get a pre-recorded or heavily scripted experience that never changes or you can check out King Richard’s and people who live to perform, working hard on their acts and giving their all to get applause or laughter out of their audience.  There are big cats, music, magic shows, juggling, acrobatics, sword fighting, singing, fire breathing and gentlemen covered in mud.  Are you not entertained?

There are some special events coming up which are always fun, you can check them out HERE.

Full disclosure: The Faire invited me to come this year and check them out, but I was already headed over this past weekend with my family.  This is a family owned business with real live human beings and hard working people, I am always happy to talk about the fun, the odd and the offbeat.  King Richard’s Faire always fits that bill.  Please check these fine folks out.

I leave you with my favorite act from the last few years, Jacques Ze Whipper, whip wrangler extraordinaire.