Magpie’s Top Races of Middle Earth

Have just finished watching all three extended version Lord of the rings films, so as you would expect I desperately wanted to write a blog post on them. But you see I work better with a central focus to nit pick, even something as this is disgustingly stupid.

I have nothing to nit pick with these films, there just that good. Beautifully acted, magnificently written, gloriously directed.. my knowledge of good adverbs had failed me at this point but my main point still stands. If you can name it The Lord of the Rings did it well.

And then it dawned on me, the movies might be unpick-able but the world they’re situated is far from. *Well it wouldn’t be having a war if it was* I’ve spoken before of my preference for certain middle earth races over others, so I thought why not go all out and do them all. Oh Side note: This isn’t going to be like my other lists, this will start with my favorites and then work it’s way down to the ones I loath.

1. Hobbits. Yes I think this a surprise to no one who’s read my blog before. Or even glanced at the tags. Too much sense to do something daft like start a war, these hairy toed fellows instead spend their time more productively.

Their list of accomplishments is: buttons, stoves, pocket watches, clocks in general and indoor plumbing! Hobbits might never have invent the canon but I’d bet my life they’d have been the first to invent the computer.

2. Dwarves. Lets face it the dwarves have had it ruff, from the line of Durin getting kicked out of their home by a fire breathing dragon to the gentle Petty dwarves who were slaughtered for game by the elves. Despite that they still end up being one of the most bad-ass races in Arda! Come on people we need some more dwarf love all round.

3. Ents:

I am on no one’s side, because no one is on my side little Orc

Do I really need to say anymore?

4. Goblins: Here’s another species I feel have gotten a bum rap. They’re allergic to sunlight so they have to live underground which makes ‘em stunted and deformed. Plus to top all that off everyone seems out to kill them! Poor things no wonder they were angry at the dwarves dropping in.

5.Easterlings: Yeah…em give me some proof that they’re actually evil and I’ll show you an elf that’s actually immortal.

6. Rohiriins: Oh my god, these guys are awesome! Not pretentious or thinking their better then others just flat out bad-asses! This is what the race of men should be!

7. Wargs: Aww…come on they’re cute…you know when they’re not trying to eat you.

8. Orcs: If we’re going to talk about creatures who’ve had it ruff orcs came into being because they were tortured. They’re as much victims as anyone else here.

9. Gondorians: What’s all this about being the last free kingdom of men? And their king ruling over everyone Else’s? God no wonder Rohan hates them.

10. Elves: Rather like hobbits I’ve said all I really have to say about these people in other posts. So  to put it bluntly  I don’t like them, or rather I don’t like how they’re often portrayed. Like they can do no wrong, people… who made the rings of power in the first place?

11. Eagles: Because they could have easily fixed everything.

A Formula one Masterpiece

It was once said by a wise person *I can’t quite remember who* every story has the same plot, someone wants something, if it’s commercial fiction they get it if it’s Literary they don’t. But just imagination for a seconded that you combined the two, can’t be done you say Magpie has finally gone off her rocket. Au contrair mon ami, for you see just days ago I witnessed such a phenomena in a little film by the name of Rush. *It’s still out in the cinema so you’ll forgive me if there isn’t a link for it yet*

Set around the world of 1970′s formula one racing *which believe you me if you’ve been raised in the noughties really is a different world* the film tells the story of the legendary *well I say legendary but this is the first time I’ve herd of it* rivalry between James Hunt  and Niki Lauda.

Seeing as how the Grand Prix is at it’s very essence a race their can be only one winner. If the film had chosen  to just follow one of them, IE giving only one point of view and one story line to be invested in, it wouldn’t have been an  awful film by any means. Mainly because the writing was fantastic and Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl *I know that’s spelled wrong but I’m not sure how to put dots over the u so this will have to suffice at least for now.* were sensational as Hunt and Lauda respectively.

However upon saying that nor would it have been one of the best films I’ve ever seen. * and yes I will go to my grave saying that* Alone they are good stories but twisted together in a hot mess of anger and sweat *and yes I know what that sounds like I can assure you it was quite deliberate* they transcendent into a true greatness upheld by very few…God I’m so good sometimes I scare myself!

I’d tell you a blow by blow account on what happened in this masterpiece of a film, but I believe even my unbelievably awesome prose *does that sound too self satisfied?…Ah, who cares it’s completely true* would be unable to truly capture the true magistracy of this wondrous piece of cinema. * Am I being a tad over dramatic? Well kind of but my point still stands*


The Supposed Comedy

What defines a film as a comedy? If I was being cliche I might say that the dictionary defines it as, but this is 2013 and no one does that anymore so… Wikipedia defines a comedic film as

 a genre of film in which the main emphasis is on humor.

Well that certainly clears up something for me , the film I watched last night, The Joneses claiming to be a dark comedy  was in fact lying. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t a bad film by any means, in fact it was a very good film; full of good acting, writing and an intriguing plot, it’s just it was clearly not a comedy!

Sure there were bits that made me laugh, there should be in every film, but the fact was that it wasn’t the emphasis. This isn’t the first time I’ve been lied to in this fashion, a while a go two other films did something similar if not exactly the same thing.

Rather like the Joneses The Kids Are All Right and Spanglish are very clever films with great actors, strong characters and again intriguing ideas for their plots. However like before for something that claims to be a comedy *not even a dark comedy, which can get away with slightly edgier stuff then just plain comedies can*  the balance of both films *one of which actually has Adam Sander* in general really isn’t on the comedic side.

Was this the filmmakers intention the whole time? If so why call them comedies in the first place?  Well honestly *if it was deliberate at all* I think  it  had a lot to do with marketing. Of course this theory is based on what made me more keen to see these films in the first place, which is my love of humor and my believe that it’s a vital  if unappreciated academically part of any good piece of fiction. * I’d have still have watched them if they’d been  honest, just with a lot more kicking and screaming.*

Perhaps the reasoning was that people *meaning the general public* are more likely to watch these films if their hidden behind a lair of comedy. But on saying that, that raises the question on why they didn’t just make it into a comedy in the first place?

Not every comedic possibility has to be Adam Sander esc slapstick there are other types of humor. A lot of comedies mange to do the exact same thing with out sacrificing the actual comedy!

For what they are these films are all fantastic and if * emphasis on the if ’cause if  I promise to do a blog post on something I usually end up not doing it.* I was to do another Magpie’s top films list they’d most likely be on it. So yeah I don’t hate these films and I can even understand the route they took them in, because it worked for the stories they were trying to tell…It’s just that I really *eye twitches” really HATE being lied to.



The Last Air Sucker

Yesterday we watched The Last Airbender and I got to say I feel kind of dirty. I mean if you put aside the fact that the original cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender was a masterpiece of Storytelling, animation and acting this an awful film.

I’d say there was too much expatiation and not enough of well any other kind of storytelling but that would be a bit of an understatement. Not only does this thing *for a quake at the thought of calling it an actual film* commit the deadly sin of showing rather then telling to what some people might call an excess, but it repeats things it’s already told you.

Yes I already know that Aang ran away when he found out he was the avatar, I don’t need you to tell fifty different times. The Real Avatar was able to show it much better with one simple exchange.

Katara: Why didn’t you tell us you were the Avatar

Anng: Because I didn’t want to be

In that one line you get more understanding and more emotional depth then in the entire of the film

Look I realize that making a film is a completely different thing to making an animated TV show and with the limited running time they would have to squeeze a lot in… There was some kind of other point I was trying to make but I think I just hit the nail on the head. It would be impossible for anyone to fit a world as complex and as big as Avatar’s into a at most two hour film. Could it have been done any better? Yes, but if you really want to experience the true world in all it’s glory stop pointlessly whining and watch the original.

The innocent Demon

I’m on a roll! Yesterday I found the secret behind Jeeves true feelings for one Bertie Wooster and today I find the secret behind The Omen
! Do want to know what it is? Lean closer then… *leans forward and whispers* Damien isn’t actually the Antichrist.

Yes, yes I know the whole story rides on the fact that this innocent little child or rather I should say innocent looking little child is in fact the Antichrist. But come on, where’s the actual proof?

All we have is a bunch of slightly insane people saying he’s the Antichrist, no where in the film do we actually see Damien do anything of an evil nature. Or for that matter anything of a mildly unpleasant nature. For all intense of purposes he’s simpley a well behiaved, quite little boy.

He does have that slightly creepy stare throughout the film but remember in the beginning of it he sees his nanny hang herself. Yeah, everyone goes on and on about how traumatized the mother and the other children at the party were but no one even asks about the closests person  to the dececesed.

That’s the hidden plot, this isn’t about a little boy who turns out to be the Anti Christ it’s about a little boy who is surrounded by insane adults. No I take that back, he’s surrounded by insane selfish adults All the mother can do is think about herself, the father rejects him because he’s not his real son, despite the fact that the great oaf was always aware that Damien was adopted *yeah great advertisement for adoption there movie!*

Oh and who could forget our dear old professor Lupin masquerading as a muggle photographer, who tries to convince a father to kill his only child so he himself *mean Lupin* will not die. Yeah I think we can all agree choosing competent teachers for his school isn’t exactly one of Dumbledore’s strong points.

Boredom Ho!

Before we get started fully I think I should explain my theory on film series, or rather the types of film series. In my  opinion at least  there seem to be two, the first being one that was meant as a series, having a more flowing narrative and clear story line through out  and the other is what I like to call the accidental series. Some of the best series I’ve seen have been this seconded kind, Shrek for instance. It’s undoubtedly one of the best series I’ve seen, mainly because the writers understand their characters so well that it doesn’t come off feeling forced.

Which bring us to our main topic of conversation, Ice Age . Rather like Shrek Ice Age began as one film with the others added on latter after it became so popular, or so I believe. They’re fantastic films in of themselves but somewhat lacking in the narrative flow of say something like Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings Trilogy or even Star Wars.

However having said that each film does continue the story on from the one before it. In the first film they form their strange herd made of a mammoth named Mannford * played by Ray Romano* a saber-toothed Tiger named Diego *played by Denis Leary* and a Sloth named Sid *played by John Leguizamo* is formed.

In the second  Manny gets a mate named Ellie *played by Queen Latifah* In the third  they have their baby and in the forth  the baby is a teenager. It’s a bit of a weak link but it’s a link neither the less, each film had it’s own feeling to it and each film brought something new to the table wither it be a new character or simply a different experience. So what did the fourth film in our now not a trilogy bring? Pirates…Pirates and teenage angst. And yes you herd me correctly.

Now before I start on the multitude of complaints against it let me just say that this isn’t a bad film precisely, it’s not even that bad of a film in comparison with the other Ice Ages it’s just it had more…aspects that grated.

Oddly enough it wasn’t the pirates that grated on me, if you can get over the fact that they’re animal pirates in the Ice Age they do make quite good villains. Plus their captain is played by Peter Dinklage and who doesn’t love him?  Nor was it completely the teenage angst  that turned me off the this film. True it wasn’t partially original and it was something we’d seen a million times before, but it got away with it slightly. Mainly because it’s actually quite an unusual setting to try this storyline out.

So what you may ask did in fact grate my nerves to fine thin shreds? Well really, it was the new characters;  a pirate sabre-tooth by the name of Shira and a molehog by the name of Lewis.

Shiras’s and Diego’s romance was much more cliché then then teenage subplot, mainly because it was dull and predictable. First they hate each other, then they start to warm to one another and before you can even blink they’re in love.

It’s rather disappointing when you consider how this franchise has handled other romantic storylines. With Manny and Ellie it established that they did grow feelings of genuine affection and yes love, be it in the span of one day but it’s an animated film what you gonna do. With the two tigers it doesn’t even feel like love;  with Shira it was just her realising the pirate *named after how he killed people* was actually kind of a dick, and therefor wanting to get away from him and Diego it was just plain lust.

For god’s sake  the relationship between Mama T-Rex and Sid was more believable and touching  then this load of crap. In fact what am I saying that was the best romantic storyline in the franchise. They had something real to fight about  and it actually showed their affection for one another growing.

However after saying all that at the very lest we got to witness the two tigers meeting, we weren’t  shot into the deep end of their relationship and expected to feel something for the new character, like we were with a certain molehog.  I suppose my feelings for that character  really somes up the whole film for me; I didn’t hate it nor did I partially like it, at most I felt a burning indifference for it.




The Teacup of death

I spoke in my last post of how a really good film can redeem an actor you’ve lost faith or interest in, well the same can be said for a subject. Which brings us to our main topic of conversation…politics.

Now before we go full swing there’s something you should know, my brother loves politics, like more then air so I there for do not. In fact when ever he starts talking about it I drown him out with white noise, it’s actually quite a talent to trick someone into thinking you’re listing to them.

This is the way it’s always been since as far back as I can remember *which admittedly isn’t that long* and it’s how I’d always believed it would be, but that was until…The Iron Lady

Starring Meryl Streep as the infamous Margret Thatcher The Iron Lady brought a whole new perspective on what had thus far been nothing but a boring stuffy subject. Starting at Thatcher’s old age the film looks back on her illustrious carrier starting with her exception into Oxford as a young woman.

The passion with witch Thatcher speaks of her principles and her believes really makes you feel the power behind them. Even if you don’t agree with what she believed you have to admire her conviction to do what she believed was right.

A lot if not all of this comes from Streep’s performance, it’s one thing to just spout off a lot of political  gibberish in your film and hope someone out there agrees with you  it’s quite another to have the character actually believe it.  I can’t count the times I’ve herd an argument in a film that I technically agree with,  but because I can’t see the passion for it in the character’s eyes I  find it hard to get behind them whole heartedly.

I think one of my favourite parts of the film would be the speech she gave to her husband then boyfriend on how she didn’t  want to die drying a teacup. The speech was moving and inspiring  not only because of the performance but because they took the time to show us how she’d come to these conclusions.

It didn’t even take that long, but it made the character and there for her believes more three dimensional. In fact that could be  said about the whole film, because it took the time to show us rather the tell us it made even the washing of a teacup a profound event.