Something you get used to while living in Canada is that we are a passionate bunch when it comes to politics. Sure Americans love to complain about how Congress never gets things done, but how many of them really know what they’re talking about? Even the ones that consider themselves “political” fall into a quagmire when it comes time to explain what they mean when they say they’re “fiscally conservative”. Not so with a large amount of Canadians. We get angry, we get involved, we care. Unfortunately, caring deeply for something comes with the risk of being sucked into the drama and the muck of it. This combined with a boat load of money going into campaigning has led to some truly nasty campaign ads over the years. Historically, no one does crushing campaign ads quite like the Conservatives, and if you need a reference, just take a look:
A lot has changed since I last wrote about The Good Wife, and unfortunately these changes have been for the worst. After dubbing this show the most impressive show on TV following its amazing fifth season and good first half of its sixth season, the show has hit some unexpected turbulence. The second half of The Good Wife season six was as aimless as its lead was by the end of her arc. A major theme during this period on the show was that Alicia didn’t know what she wanted, which was sadly wholly appropriate for the show since it didn’t seem to know where it was going either. Hitting us with yet another election story line, isolating the Alicia from the supporting cast, and going to great pains to invalidate all of the major changes that happened over the course of the show’s fifth season really put a damper on things. For a series that is often praised for its boldness and refusal to conform to network TV standards, it seemed oddly eager to revert back to its status quo. For those who want a basic understanding of what went wrong, here is a brief overview.
“A man who loses everything is capable of anything”
– Law Abiding Citizen guy, I think he was in 300 too or something
You see that cryptic quote above? It’s something I often repeat to myself out loud whenever I just missed a bus that would take me home. That feeling of desolation… of being abandoned by fate is something I didn’t fully understand in those instances… not until recently that is. On May 8th, 2015, at 7:45 pm, my laptop died. It was just over three years old and was only one day away from retiring from the force when it was tragically shutdown from a broken recharger port. This laptop, encrusted with Cheetoh dust and dreams, which has endured so much before, was brought down by one obscure mechanical failure. This is a laptop whose ‘S, Q, W, Z, and X’ keys were functioning only selectively, this was a laptop that would freeze after any sudden movements, and this was laptop that was literally coming apart at whatever the laptop equivalent of seams are. The signs were all there, but I still feel absolutely gutted by its death. Especially since this is the second time that its died.
People have developed so many ways to express themselves with language, and the internet has afforded us with what can be considered an infinite amount of opportunities to do so, but this fact acts as a double-edged sword. So many people are expressing themselves in different ways that many of these expressions (most notably in our language) have lost all meaning. Obviously, this has occurred before the advent of the internet with words like “terrific” and “awesome” essentially meaning totally different things in recent history, but it cannot be denied that the internet has accelerated this process. Just as the internet has changed what it means to be a critic, it has also crept into the development of human expression, often to a negative effect. Valuable words, words that used to hold important meanings have been lost forever within the consciousness of the internet’s populace. There have been many, but today I’m going to look at just 3, so without further ado, let’s begin.
The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride, the 1998 sequel to Disney’s The Lion King (something you may have heard about), was received poorly from critics. It happens to be another dreaded “Direct-to-DVD sequel” to a Disney film (a distinction that comes with the assumption that the product will be terrible), which probably gave a negative impression from the start, although the plot proved to be problematic as well. If the original Lion King was supposed to be a Disney retelling of Hamlet, this film would be its retelling of Shakespeare’s other supremely famous play, Romeo and Juliet. While its predecessor brought a fresh take on a timeless tale of fratricide, The Lion King 2 suffers from being highly derivative of other romantic stories. You have the outsider infiltrating our lead’s society for nefarious purposes only to end up falling in love with the person he was supposed to hurt and being forced between choosing between love and duty. There is nothing involving the romance between Simba’s daughter Kiara (Neve Campbell) and her boyfriend Kovu (Jason Marsden) that you won’t see coming, but the movie’s true strength lies in the story that is being told around them. Above all else, The Lion King II is a story about parenthood, and as a discussion on that subject this movie is very good.
A good villain has the power to elevate any story they’re in. They drive the plot obviously, but more important is the fact that they challenge the hero. Beyond physical confrontation, their goals are in direct opposition to whatever ideal the heroes are striving for, and because of that writers are given a wonderful opportunity to say something interesting about a specific subject. For example, Syndrome from Pixar’s The Incredibles argues that only people’s perception is of value while the rest is irrelevant, but he is proven wrong by the heroes when they demonstrate that the substance and not just the appearance of being a hero matters more than anything else. Sometimes, the villain will carry the weight of the world on their shoulders and if the audience doesn’t connect with them, the story will have an enormous gap. There are many ways to connect a villain to the audience, some of which include sympathy, fear-factor, and relatability. In the case of Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, the titular Ultron is written to connect with the audience using humour.