Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Of Cover Art and Titles: An Author-ish Sort of Question

As I grow nearer to the one-year mark of having my book self-published via Createspace/Amazon, I have been having some thoughts about it. I am considering making some changes to the book aesthetically, and wanted to get some feedback if you would be graciously willing.

Currently, the title of my first book is "The Beginning of the War."

What was I thinking? The more I see it, the more I despise that title. And, as I have been working on prequel material, I realize that it isn't even accurate with the history of the series. And so this has led me to think/decide that I ought to change my title. :D It's been done. T.A. Barron changed the first title in his Merlin series! And it would be nice to have an accurate title. I was thinking something that's generic enough to work...but not one-word generic. What has been stuck in my head is "Only A Beginning." Because, you see, the book isn't THE beginning of the story, but it's A beginning for certain characters, etc. (Hard to explain.) So, if you wouldn't mind voting on the poll thingy-ma-jigger on the sidebar, I would greatly appreciate it! And if you have other ideas, feel free to comment. 

So this is the current cover art (of course when isolated from the cover formatting): 

Over the past while, my brother has advanced A LOT in his digital imagery stuff, and there are two versions of a revised flag that he has made. The first has a layer of fog/clouds, and the second is without the layer. Which is preferred to you? There is another poll about this if I can infringe upon your kindness once more. 

Other than those two changes, the "second edition" of my book would have a bit of interior layout fixed up, and of course a new ISBN because you can't just change a book title and leave the ISBN apparently...but it would work fine. 

Any thoughts? Please feel free to give your opinions--I won't be offended and I would greatly appreciate feedback! :) 

My writing process

Saturday, March 3, 2018

War Horse: Michael Morpurgo vs. Steven Spielberg (sort of)


A Very Dear Friend gave this book to me and I immediately read it. (Of course, I was on a three-hour long bus ride stuck with a bunch of college band people, so that gave me a perfect time to read.) I fell in love the the movie War Horse the first time I watched it, and I've been wanting to read the book ever since I, ahem, learned that it was a book. 

(Also I've decided that since it's March now I don't want a wintery background.) :D

This was a very pleasant read. It was meant to be a children's book, and is definitely not a hard read--the spine is less than an inch thick and there weren't any words that I required the dictionary to understand. I still think that the story is a lovely one and the characters are very memorable, although I would rather it was in third person than told in first person from the horse's perspective. I like the idea of a horse story that isn't all butterflies and daisies (not that they ARE all butterflies and daisies), and this one has some nice realism and 'grit' to it, some life, if you get my meaning. And, although there are quite a few plot changes from book to movie, I still think that the movie did the book great justice. Neither were too graphic with the violence, but were both descriptive enough to be very sad and moving, to make the reader/watcher understand the horrible things that happened during the war. 

As to content, there really wasn't anything objectionable in this book. There might have been one or two slight language spots, but really, nothing bad--probably better content-wise than the movie. 

The plot changes that were significant? 

Well, first of all, after Captain Nicholls dies, Joey doesn't get taken by the Germans.  He is first assigned to another British rider named Trooper Warren, a very young man who is inexperienced with horses, but is a sweet, kind fellow. Trooper Warren was a very pleasant character and had quite a few memorable lines. My favorite part of his was when he is reading a letter from home to Joey (yes, they all talk to Joey), he talks about his sweetheart, Sally, saying that "as soon as this war's over and finished with, I'll get back home and marry her. I've grown up with her, Joey, known her all my life.  S'pose I know her almost as well as I know myself, but I like her a lot better." When I first came across that line, I had to stop and read it again several times because it was just so sweet I couldn't get over it! For some reason, I can't help but think that Steven Spielberg based the character Charlie (the one with the new hat, I can't remember his title) on Trooper Warren, but changed the character for his own purposes...anyhoo, that was the first plot change. 

 The little French girl's story was a little different, but we are given a bit more information about her sickness. In the book, she and her grandfather care for the horses and give them lodging while the horses work for the army by day, pulling ambulances. At one point, Emilie is seriously ill with pneumonia (on Christmas Eve night) and her grandfather confides his fears in the horses, Joey and Topthorn. However, at that point, she gets well again and all is happy, but Emilie is still weaker. That is the cause of her later death, we find out. Then the army takes the horses to pull their cannons.  Emilie insists she is "just lending them" to the soldiers and that she had to get her horses back someday, after the war.

Then the story is mostly like the movie, although everything seems to take a much longer time. The only thing I was disappointed in was the ending. The British find Joey again (after the toss of a coin by the German and British soldiers to see who gets the horse) and the doctor agrees to let him live. Now, Albert is, at this time, helping in the army's stables with his friend David. Unlike the movie, Albert's eyes were not hurt and he was in perfectly fine condition. He thinks his friend is teasing when he says he's cleaning a horse that looks exactly like Joey, but when Albert whistles his owl whistle, Joey comes and Albert knows that it is his Joey. I almost like the movie's version of this better for some reason, but the book is good too. 

There were about three things that were in the movie, not in the book, that I wished would have come from the book. One: the flag that Joey has tied on him throughout the movie is not really a part of the book’s plot. Two: the ending; Albert’s eyes aren’t hurt and it isn’t quite the same. Three: the German brothers, Gunther and Michael, aren’t in the book. I loved the story with the two brothers in the movie and I was a little disappointed that it didn’t come from the book.

Oh, and it didn’t have the scene where the soldier is walking through No-Man’s-Land quoting Psalm 23, which was a really beautiful thing in the movie. Other than that, though, I thought it was a lovely book. I enjoyed it and there are quite a few note-worthy quotes. To wrap up, I’ll just share a few quotes, and some pictures from the film too. I think Spielberg did a really good job capturing the feel of the book as a movie! It feels like a seamless transition from text to screen. (Please don't be depressed! I know it's a kind of sad story...but I don't want to make you sad.) 

“I always knew the British were crazy. Now that I know that they use horses such as you as cart horses, I am quite sure of it. That’s what this war is all about, my friend. It’s about which of us is the crazier. And clearly you British started with an advantage. You were crazy beforehand.” 

"There are brave men, German and English, lying out there on stretchers in the trenches." 

"They saved good lives today, those two - good German lives and good English lives."  

"Someone suddenly remembered it was Christmas morning, and they sang slow, tuneful carols all the way back." 

 "Captain Nicholls walked by my head turning his eyes out to sea so that no one should notice the tears in them. The wounded were everywhere - on stretchers, on crutches, in open ambulances, and etched on every man was the look of wretched misery and pain." 

"He'd have been proud of you, Joey. He'd have been proud of you, the way you kept going out there. He died leading that charge and you finished it for him. He'd have been proud of you."

Have you seen or read War Horse? What are your thoughts? 
Is there anything I didn't cover in regards to book vs movie? 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Additional Thoughts

It has been a month or two since I last saw The Last Jedi and I had originally posted a first-impressions review here. Since that time, however, I have had a few more thoughts than "OH MY GOODNESS IT WAS SO GOOD!" and these are those thoughts. PLEASE NOTE: There are some spoilers in this post if you have not seen it! 

As Relates to Plot: 
The first time you watch the movie, you don't realize this, but a whole lot of the plot was actually not even necessary.
Image result for star wars the last jedi admiral holdo

FIRST: Can we talk about this lady? I have quite a few questions, such as: 
  1. Who is she?
  2. Who does she think she is bossing Poe around like that?
  3. Why does she have purple hair? 
  4. What kind of an outfit is that? It's awful! 
  5. Why didn't she tell them the plan? 
  6. Why was she even in the movie?
  7. If she was so important why didn't we ever see her before this?
  8. Just WHY? 
The thing is that I think Holdo would have been a competent leader but she had severe communication issues. I mean, she obviously knows what kind of a guy Poe is and knows that he's a loose cannon ready to blow something up if nobody tells him the plan, so why didn't she tell him what was going on? It would have been simple: "Poe, I'm fueling up the transports because there's an abandoned rebel base on a nearby planet that I think we can reach so that we have a safer place to get our battle plans ready." This would have solved a lot of problems. Poe wouldn't have started a mutiny (even though, admit it, we were all on his side), Finn and Rose wouldn't have gone on a completely useless mission (which I will talk about in a minute), and maybe people wouldn't have died as much.

This leads to the whole mutiny thing. Now, I know that mutiny is bad and any pirate captain can tell you that too, but, like I said, we were all rooting for Poe and his buddies. Why was this? Because Admiral Holdo was a jerk and annoying and we all hated her! Okay, okay, once she blew up the bad ship in that cool soundless scene, I hated her less because at least she did something helpful.  I guess my whole point is that I don't understand why she couldn't just tell Poe/everyone else the plan instead of just telling him that "you're the last thing we need right now." Yeah, maybe he is, but at least tell him what you're thinking of doing. You know he's going to do something equivalent to jumping in a spaceship and blowing something up if you don't tell him what's going on. Instead she starts sassing and just being obnoxious, rubbing it in his face that he was just demoted (which was hilarious when Leia did it, but nobody likes Holdo). Naturally, he's going to go blow something up. Poe was a little pigheaded and didn't think things through, but, overall, I think we can agree that the percent of things going wrong was 90% Holdo, 10% Poe. 

You can't tell me that this wasn't your reaction to Holdo

Okay, that's topic one. Topic two is the whole Rose and Finn side quest.

They go to the city and park ON THE BEACH instead of like, in the grass where nobody would notice their ship????? Hello? Then we get the whole "don't be cruel to animals or small children" lecture from Rose, which is true, yes, don't be cruel to animals or small children! But right at that time they really needed to get out of there and go save the galaxy. Then again, without the little kids' help (that little boy was so sweet though) they wouldn't have been able to actually survive, so I guess it worked out. 

And then there's the codebreaker. Who was slightly useless. They got in, got the thing, and then it turned out that all their efforts were for nothing and they were just gonna die anyway and the codebreaker was deserting them. I wonder if he's going to conveniently return in the next episode and help them out for real, or actually turn out to be a significant character? But seriously, everything that Finn and Rose did just seemed extra, and they really didn't accomplish anything other than set the animals free and say hi to the cute little kids. Maybe that'll turn out to be important later. But other than that, they just return to their friends on the red salt planet (why was the salt red?) and all is as it was before. (And we got to see some of BB-8's skills.) 

There isn't much to say about Luke, because he was just...Luke.  He was funny at times, and just very much like Luke. I've heard complaints that he was too mean and angry, but, take into account that he's been alone on an island for years without any other human interaction and he is still bitter about what happened in the past.  His duel with Kylo was pretty cool, even though he wasn't actually there and was just a ghost. (I don't understand how Yoda could use force lightning as a ghost, though. Was he just that strong?) And also, the Jedi texts (insert derisive snort here) aren't lost like Luke thinks they are. "Rey has everything she needs," said Yoda, and later, right when Finn is getting bandages out of the Falcon for Rose, we see the texts in a cupboard, at least I'm pretty sure. So Rey stole them. 

Not even gonna talk about Leia surviving floating through space using the Force because I think we all understand that's stupid and she should have died then. Not that I want people to die, would have worked plot-wise.

I was disappointed that Kylo didn't turn good or Rey didn't turn bad, I was expecting one of the two. When they fought as a team, I was so happy, but then he had to go and wreck it. Also, I still don't know if I believe that Rey's parents were nobody. She had a rebel pilot doll in her old home on Jakku! What does that mean? Also related to the Jedi island, why are people so crazy about Porgs? What's so great about them? I mean they're cute and all but they have absolutely no impact on the plot or character development at all. Chewie should have eaten them.

All right, last thing. When they are fighting on Crait (that's the name of the salt planet right?) and Finn is flying straight into the battering ram laser beam, that whole sequence didn't make sense. For one, Finn would have been dead just from the intensity of flying straight into the laser beam. For another, I thought he was going to fly into the cannon and sacrifice himself (wow a move that is not running away for once!), thereby saving the rest of the Resistance, but Rose wrecked that idea. Yeah, it would have been sad for Finn to die, but at least he would have saved the rest of them somewhat. Oh well. It was not to be. 

So anyway, these are my further thoughts on The Last Jedi. I still love it, but of course there are some things that make me scratch my head and wonder "why?" The characters are great and already becoming iconic in the Star Wars universe. Most of the humor is great too.

All right, that's all. Now I need to go watch it again. Also just found out that the working title of Episode IX is "The Black Diamond." 

I'm not sure how I feel about that title....
Any thoughts? 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day, Ash Wednesday, or In Other Words February 14

All of a sudden it's February 14th. How did that happen? Yesterday it was Christmas and now it's Valentine's Day!!!! So, this post is going to be very discombobulated, BUT I had a few thoughts with the arrival of this holiday that I wanted to get out in writing.

Personally, I've never been a huge Valentine's Day person. When we were little, my mom would help us decorate cookies for our cousins and maybe our music teachers, and of course every year we make my dad a big cookie, but I have never put much stock in the whole idea of Valentine's Day. Of course, there's the whole St. Valentine thing, but, considering everything, for some reason I've just never been a 'roses, hearts, and baby Cupids' person. One story of the origin of Valentine's Day is that it was set up, supposedly, to commemorate the martyrdom of Christian saints, especially by the name of Valentine, who were executed in Rome, but another origin story has the day coming from the Roman holiday of Lupercalia, which was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, Remus, and Romulus (according to The legend is that the church made an attempt to "Christianize" the holiday by commemorating the saints on the day that the pagan festival traditionally took place. But anyway. That doesn't have anything to do with anything.

This year, Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lent season leading up to Easter, coincide.

I've never considered myself a romantic person. I get mad if a movie is too mushy for my taste or if kissing scenes last more than three seconds (about). But, as much as we yell at the TV screen, as much as we groan and complain and gripe about romance and how big a deal we make about how gross it is, I think that down in their hearts everyone, EVERYONE, appreciates a good, clean love story.

And that's what so interesting about Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday coinciding this year. Even though Valentine's Day was set up, allegedly, to be a pagan holiday, Ash Wednesday reminds us of Lent, which reminds us of Easter. And the whole story of Easter is the greatest love story ever told, of a Savior who gave Himself up for his loved one, the church, and the people of of the church as individuals. It's interesting, how things that were (allegedly) instituted and kept up by pagan or non-Christian traditions have a way of pointing to Christ in the end.

 Now, I'm not saying anything against baking people cookies or making a card or giving roses to somebody. That's fine, make your friends, teachers, family members, and sweethearts (if applicable) cards and cookies, smile and say thank you if you receive something. Remember the martyred saints and their loving service to others. But remember also that Ash Wednesday leads to Easter. And Easter leads to the glorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And that, my friends, is the greatest love story ever told, "which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”-C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle.

Monday, January 29, 2018

A Period Drama Tag

Hallo, alles! 

Okay, enough with the German. Ruth at Amongst Spring Blossoms  has tagged me for the period drama tag (thanks Ruth! :D), and I think it looks exceedingly enjoyable! I will do my best to answer the questions! So here we go:

1: Answer the questions
2: Link back to the person who tagged you
3: Tag at least one other blogger to do the tag


1. What was the most recent period drama you watched? Share what you thought of it.

I think it was The Darkest Hour. We went to see it in the theater a couple of weeks ago, and I enjoyed it a lot! I know I talked about it on my last post, but here is the gist of the film: it was about Winston Churchill and World War II, and I was surprised at how short a time span in his life it covered.  It was well done, well acted, and painted a very poignant picture of life in that time, how people felt and how the situation was. There was a bit of language, so I wouldn't recommend it for young kids, but I think it is a good film for any World War II history fan. Plot-wise, acting-wise, and simply quality-wise, it was very good and worth the watch. A moving story beautifully told (for the most part). Plus, I was surprised by Lily James and Ben Mendelsohn (who is Director Krennic in Rogue One) showing up!

2. Do you generally prefer period dramas in the form of a movie or TV series/mini series? Why?

Ummm....I don't really know. I've never thought about it! I think it depends on how long the story is; like for something really long that needs plenty of space to develop the plot, I would say a mini-series or a movie broken up into TV episodes like P&P 1995. I would almost always prefer one coherent movie than a long-running TV show though. 

3. What is your favorite musical period drama?

*hides* I actually am not a huge fan of musicals (I know, I know, I'm a terrible human being!)....BUT the one that I like is Mary Poppins.

4. Read the book first or watch the movie first?

I would always like to read the book first, but lots of times it ends up that I watch the movie first and then say "This was based on a book???? Where is it???" :) 

5. What is a valuable lesson you learned from a period drama?

To not try matchmaking! To be a respectable and respectFUL person, I guess! 

6. Which period drama hero would you be likely to fall in love with in real life?

Mr. Darcy helloooooo people! :P Or Mr. Knightley. 

7. Do you ever like to binge-watch a period drama series?

Ha ha, I would if I had the time! :D 

8. What things go best with watching a period drama?

It's no fun to watch them alone. You have to watch them with a friend or with your family, and with some ice cream (then again what doesn't ice cream go with?) or hot cocoa or coffee or maybe just some cookies and milk. 

9. Which period drama do you think you would fit into best?

Ooh...that's a hard one. Cranford? Because I'm a nosy gossip? :P No, probably not. I'm trying to think of allllllll the period dramas I've watched and there are more than I thought! Ya know, maybe Cranford wouldn't be too long as it was the one when Dr. Harrison was gone and couldn't ruin anybody's life with his infamous social blunders. I'm tempted to say Pride and Prejudice 1995 though, because then I could just sit in the library reading books all day. And go to dances. That kind of dancing is amazingly fun! 

10. If you could have any period drama character for a best friend, who would it be? And why?

Weirdly enough, I'm going to go with Mr. Bennet--as more of a mentor than a friend. He's just such a funny guy, and his wit and sarcasm I hope would rub off on me. He seems both intelligent and kind, but would keep me in line and not let me do anything stupid. 

11. Show us a picture of a period drama costume you wish you could wear in real life.

Ooh, this one! 
KIDDING!!! There are quite a few that I like. I really do like Lizzy's red dress though. I would want the neckline just a leeeetle bit higher, but other than that change I would just steal her entire wardrobe.

12. Are there any period dramas you like to watch during a particular season or holiday?

It's a Wonderful Life at Christmas time or New Year's.  Then a while back we started the tradition of watching either Emma 2009 or P&P 1995 on my mom's birthday in June.

13. Which period drama has your favorite soundtrack?

Please tell me that War Horse counts!! It's so beautiful! I think that John Williams' music improves with age. The early Star Wars soundtrack is iconic, but I think in his more recent stuff Williams' music has really been improving even more. 

14. Dream cast your favorite actor and actress in a period drama of your choosing; tell which parts they would play and why.

Ah-hah, see, I actually have an idea this time! I think they should make a good version of the Little House stories! I have no idea who would play anybody...the only actors/actresses I know are British (well mostly)! But please let me know who you think should play people in Little House! I would love to hear any ideas you have. :) 

15. Are there any period dramas you like more than one version of?
Top one wins every time

Yes! I have seen two versions of Pride and Prejudice (1995 and 2005) and two versions of Emma. 

16. What are the top three period dramas that you haven't seen on your to-watch list?

1: I would LIKE to watch the 2012 movie of Great Expectations but I'm not sure about content, etc. 
2: North and South (BBC) again! :D
3: The Greatest Showman (that's a period drama, right? Well, even if it isn't, I still want to watch it!) 

17. Show a picture of your favorite period drama hairstyle.

I really like Margaret Hale's everyday hairstyles, maybe because her hair seems a little bit like mine: thick, brown, and rather curly. 

18. What was your favorite wedding in a period drama?
This one!
"Dearly Beloved, we are gathered together in the sight of God..." I just really like the way that wedding was handled in the movie. :)

19. What is your favorite biographical period drama?

Amazing Grace was sooooo good! And even while I'm not sure if it's officially "biographical," it's about a specific person's work/life, so...we'll go with that. 

20. Which historical novel will forever recommend to anyone and everyone?

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Ugh, it's sooooo goooooood!!!! The ending is worth crying over like no other ending in the English language. 

Thanks for the tag, Ruth! Really enjoyed it! :) Annnnd....I'm not going to tag anyone in particular...cause most people have been tagged already. If you haven't been tagged, then go for it! Seriously. People say that they tag whoever wants to do it, but I'm serious. If you want to do it and haven't been tagged, then go for it and say I tagged you! I won't be offended! :D (I mean, I could tag my brother, but I don't think he'd appreciate it). 

And with that....

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Winter 2017...Movies, etc.

You know that sad feeling you have the first day of school after Christmas break? When you have classes but you just feel like studying and going to school is literally the last thing you want to do at the moment? When you get exceedingly grumpy for seemingly no reason and just mope around complaining (which I shouldn't do by the way--don't follow my example)? When basically you feel like this?

Going back to school after break is the saddest moment of the school year, worse than exams I think. But anyway, I digress. Other than school, here are a few movies in no particular order that I've been watching lately (the subtitle of this post should have been: "Movies I intended to review but didn't"). 

Okay, I'll start with Boss Baby. We watch a lot of animated movies and love lots of them. In fact, I'm pretty sure that we have more animated movies than plain old live action ones, but I digress. Boss Baby was actually a pleasant surprise! I was expecting it to be rather ho-hum and boring, even rather stupid, but it was really cute and had some EXTREMELY FUNNY moments with sibling humor. There wasn't any objectionable content *that I remember*, although there were a whole lot of diaper jokes and babies without any clothes on, but...other that that, I would recommend it! It was very fun. Also the way they used "Blackbird" by The Beatles was really kind of sweet, surprisingly touching for an animated movie. 

.....................................meh. The first two Despicable Me movies were good, more than tolerable, but I found this one kind of bland. It was mediocre. There were some funny moments, but we had to wait through the rest of the movie filled with Minon humor *yawns* and no real plot line other than "this stupid 80s brat is trying to take over the world" and "Gru has a brother." It wasn't awful, but was definitely a step down from the other two. That's Universal's problem, they make too many sequels and then they ruin a perfectly good movie/series! That's what happened to Ice Age (that was Universal, wasn't it? If it wasn't, it's still what happened.)

Wow, this was a quite good drama. Obviously, it was about Winston Churchill and World War II. I was surprised at how short a time span in his life it covered, but so much happened in that time! I really enjoyed this one. It was well done, well acted, and painted a very poignant picture of life in that time, how people felt and how the situation was. There was a bit of language in this one, so I wouldn't recommend it for young kids, but I think it is a good film for any World War II history fan. Plot-wise, acting-wise, and simply quality-wise, it was very good and worth the watch. A moving story beautifully told (for the most part). Plus, I was surprised by Lily James and Ben Mendelsohn (who is Director Krennic in Rogue One) showing up!

I was surprised at how cute this movie was! I was definitely expecting it to be a stupid talking animal movie, but they made Paddington rather adorable and sweet! It's a very British movie, and I am not a huge fan of how the parents and children behave to each other, but they are reconciled in the end. I was so glad that the mother's "hero" in the story she was trying to write (she was an artist/writer/something) turned out to be her husband, not the bear. Hmm...what is there to say? It was a cute movie, totally unrealistic, but nice all the same. I wasn't a fan of the villain (of course, that's probably a good thing). There was a little British humor and one use of a synonym for 'gender-y' as a joke which will most likely go over the heads of kids (plus, the person it is said about is actually a man in disguise and a very poor excuse at pretending to be a lady--it's difficult to explain). Other than that though, it was quite entertaining and nice.

Sherlock Holmes: the 1930s/40s version with Basil Rathbone
I picked a collection of old Sherlock Holmes movies up at a secondhand store and was super excited to watch them! I love the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories, and while I have not watched BBC's Sherlock and I probably won't, I still think Martin Freeman IS WATSON! (Get that? I haven't seen Sherlock and I'm not planning to, but from pictures I've seen and the stories I've read and seeing him in The Hobbit, I've decided that Martin Freeman is the one and only Dr. John Watson. Except without a moustache.) What I have seen of the old Sherlock has made me love the stories all over again, because Basil Rathbone...I never thought I would say it, but here is an actor who exemplifies Sherlock in every way! I thoroughly enjoyed it! Of course, they are mostly murder mysteries, so there is a bit of violence involved, but it's from the 40s so (at least so far) nothing has been unwatchable. We can argue about the portrayal of Watson later.
I mean, come on! If it was possible, wouldn't they make a great team? 

Speaking of Martin Freeman...I got to watch the extended edition of The Battle of Five Armies. Yes, it is rated R. Yes, this is the first and most likely last (last without any sort of filter, that is) R-rated movie I'll ever see. The violence really wasn't as bad as I thought it could have been, though there was a lot of splattering...need I say more? The thing is, violence with orcs being killed doesn't bother me much, as it would if it was humans being killed. I could never do that. But anyway, there are some excellent extended scenes that help the plot along, such as when Thranduil says, "If anything moves on that mountain, kill it." In the original version, he says that immediately before the movie cuts to Bilbo climbing down the mountain. In the extended version, Bilbo climbs down (after a conversation with Bofur, who is great) BEFORE that Thranduil scene. I feel like that makes more sense. And there was Thorin's (and Fili's and Kili's, but apparently they're not important) funeral added at the end, along with some other extra bits that I won't spoil right now. Overall I liked it a lot and it was just as exciting as ever. We still yelled at Thorin for following Azog under the ice...and I cracked up laughing so hard for some reason when an elf blew his horn...but that's another story. 

I was actually surprised at how enjoyable this movie was. As my brother said, it was pretty much "THE animated movie" and wasn't super spectacular, but it was fun to watch and very entertaining. I was surprised at how they could make a bull be so likable and sweet a character. It was a very cute movie which would be fine for kids, I really don't remember anything objectionable. The music was quite lovely, too! It was just a nice, fun story...about bulls in Mexico...but it was still good! The German horses were hilarious--I think that if bulls and horses did talk to each other, what happens in this movie is exactly how it would be in real life. The dance-off between the bulls and horses was very hilarious (except for the horses dabbing, which was cringey). In conclusion, Ferdinand was worth watching. I don't think I would pay to see it, but we had theater gift cards and couldn't think of anything else suitable for our whole family. I would watch it again when it comes out on DVD, if we get it from the library. 

*SPOILERS IN THIS PARAGRAPH* My older brother has been going on and on about how amazing this movie is ever since he watched it. Then when he got the DVD as a Christmas present, we had to watch it. The basic idea is this: aliens in their big egg-shaped spaceships have come and we need to figure out how to communicate with them. The main character is a linguistics professor (the lady) and that's probably why my brother likes it; he's a linguistics major. So, it's really artistic and quite well-done (there is some swearing, including an upper-tier word that would be easily skippable once you know where it is), really cool effects and the aliens are mind-blowing. Then I hated it once it was done. So, throughout the film, the lady has these flashbacks of her daughter, who died of a rare disease. Her husband had left her or they divorced I assume, and it's kind of a sad story. But then we learn that she was actually seeing the future and having "flash-forewards" and that she marries the guy that she's assigned to work with, knowing FULL WELL that he would get mad when she told him what she saw in the future would happen to their daughter, but decides to marry him anyway knowing all this!!! I mean, come on lady!!!!!!  I was done with it then, and once it turned out the message of the movie was that all the world should be at peace and unite in peace (which I mean isn't a bad thing, but world peace movies are annoying) just in case aliens ever come...the movie was interesting, but the ending disappointed me in SO MANY WAYS.
My reaction at the end of the movie

All right, last one. I was wanting to watch this for the longest time and finally got the chance to a while ago. It was excellent. Really. Very good. The acting was pristine, the story was great and the message was beautiful. It just had a very deep feeling to it that was satisfying to watch. There were a few more language issues than I would like, but overall was not bad content-wise. The descriptions/depictions of slavery can be a bit disturbing and very sad, maybe not fit for younger kids, but overall I loved the movie and the story of William Wilberforce (at least the fictionalized story--you can't take everything in a movie for granted you know). It was interesting to see Romola Garai in another role than in Emma, and she was pretty much the same person, I thought, but just as good as ever. Of course Michael Gambon was in it...he seems to be following me around...and Benedict Cumberbatch. He was good too, but I really wanted him to of just sitting in parliament with that sneaky smirk on his face. (N.B. Is he supposed to be good-looking? Everyone says he is...but I don't see it. No offense.) Ah well, wonderful movie, in all respects. Go watch it as an excuse to quit listening to my yakking.

And to close, two movies that I'm excited about that are coming out soon!!! 

1: Aardman Animation's Early Man

2: Peter Rabbit

Have you seen/want to see any of these? Any thoughts you want to share? Comment below if you wish!