Supernatural

So, I just finished watching the 13th season of this still-going-strong show. I have to say, by far, one of the most amazing and consistent shows out there. While many shows waver, if not completely die off, and lose their charm after so many seasons this show has really hit the top shelf with consistent characters, evolving storylines and strong dialogue.

The show is about Sam and Dean Winchester, hunters of the supernatural. When Sam, the youngest brother, was only one year old their mother was murdered by a mysterious yellow-eyed demon. The boy’s father becomes obsessed with getting justice, dragging his two young boys across the United States fighting the things that go bump in the night along the way. Adults now, Sam is in college separated from the hunter’s life when his brother shows up. Their father was on a “hunting trip” and Dean hadn’t heard from him in a while. They go looking for him but only find more questions. And Sam soon realizes that maybe there is no “getting away” from the life.

My goal originally with long shows was to write snippets for each season to give a more well-rounded view of the ups-and-downs; unfortunately, some life things had me distracted and it just didn’t happen for Supernatural. What I can say is the show is a journey of truly epic proportions. It does have ups and downs in a couple seasons, some not so favorable plot twists and undesirable-for-even-an-antagonist bad guys. But the producers really listen to feedback from the fans and have always brought the story back with an even better season. For me, I felt even with the rougher seasons there were still some great episodes in between and in the end the character development was just an added advantage.

Sam and Dean are truly amazing characters. The actors (Jenson Ackles and Jared Paladecki) have embraced the characters to their core. I think for me after 13 seasons it’s just so amazing the growth alone the brothers have born. If you don’t believe me watch the 13th season and then the very first again. Most people can’t help but love them. Along with them are truly iconic characters: Bobby, Castiel, Crowley, Rowena, Judy. All of them have such in-depth stories that only add to the realness effect Supernatural has.

In the exploration of the supernatural I think the boys have really opened intriguing doors. They’ve more then just battled the weird, they are a part of it. They’ve seen the beginnings and the ends of almost of creatures. They’ve explored mythology and folklore. They’ve even taken the huge step into entering the world of religion lore, such as angels, God, heaven and hell. A leap like that could’ve hurt them, but I think they’ve found a way to explore those worlds in a way that is so hugely creative and interesting, it is to say the least intriguing and thought-provoking. Facing the big what-if of God and Death they’ve really opened doors into the scope of the universe.

The show is a lot of times dark, sinister and painful for the heart to watch, but I think, especially in these times, the Winchesters shine a much-needed light into their audience. They’ve faced horrible things, even their own deaths, but still they never give up. It’s something that anyone can watch and perhaps even find their own ass-kicking power to face their demons.

Goblin: the Lonely and Great God

Alright, so this drama was just as good as I was hoping it would be. I was really excited to see a modern fantasy show from Korea and this really set the record for one of the most fun and enjoyable. It was serious, but funny. It had strong story lines and in depth characters that all melded together really well. It’s always nice to see such a great drama that really makes me want more. The graphics were on-point and perfect. It also had one of my favorite male actors, Gong Yoo, as the lead (Coffee Prince); and, as always, his acting ability really is just awesome.

The drama is about Kim Shin, a Goblin, who must marry the Fated Goblin’s Bride to end his long life. When he meets Ji Eun Tak, it seems clear that she is indeed the destined one. The problem becomes apparent as the two grow closer and something blooms between them. Kim Shin is now pulled in that the very girl who could end his life could also mean so much more to him. Along for the ride is Ji Eun Tak’s boss, a fiery woman, who may hold a key to Gong Yoo’s past; and Gong Yoo’s roommate, a stoic grim reaper.

I really loved the dynamic of this show. It had a sort of playful tone to it and the flashbacks to Gong Yoo’s past when he was a mortal brought such a wonderful balance to the entire show. The characters were so real and they really played off of each really well. It was really a deep show about growth and forgiveness; about how much a person can really change and if a person can truly atone for past mistakes and sins. Just really fantastic.

Mockingjay Part Two

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So, this film is very turbulent. The war has gotten serious and the lines on both sides have been crossed. I think this film was still a great ending to the saga, not only because they stayed true to the book, but because they did a great job on balancing everything. I know that the ending seems odd to some, but that’s how it was done in the book. If you don’t understand the reasoning behind it then I’d suggest reading Mockingjay which perhaps better expressed it.
The fourth film finds Katniss in emotional turmoil. She tried so hard to get Peeta back, but he’s been brainwashed and tortured by the Capital until he barely resembles the man she knew. She’s struggling to continue to be the face of the Rebellion realizing now how much strength Peeta had given her all this time. The war’s atrocities continue to rise and Katniss begins questioning what lines should be crossed, but she’s helpless to stop anything as she realizes that she’s just a pawn. The Girl on Fire has to decide whether to stay and do what she’s told or follow her instincts and do what she believes is right.
The sheer scale of this film is amazing and the tone is so different compared to the first two films. Which, in my opinion, was necessary; it wasn’t a game anymore. The sheer level of war is terrifying and I think the director showed that. War has different aspects: the planning and discussions over a table in safety, the hurry up and wait moments and the battles where things are messy and plans are tossed out the window. It’s also in the moments when the characters have to just forgive and let go of things that happened in the heat of battle because they can’t do anything else. One mistake could turn the tables on the war and staying alive was like nothing they saw in the games, because there was seemingly no end.

 

Mockingjay Part One

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I already know that a lot of people did not like part one at all. It was too boring and too slow… so many things like that. I have to whole-heartedly disagree though. If you’re looking for a series that’s all about the action and main stream entertainment then you are looking at the wrong group of movies. From the very beginning Hunger Games has been about more than just action and a strong female lead. It has a very strong moral point to it; it’s about people and what they do to each other, how they are affected by war, and how people can change into either heroes or monsters.
Part One of Mockingjay finds Katniss in the mysterious District 13 where she finds the heart of the rebellion. Peeta, along with two other Victors, have been taken by the Capital. Katniss decides to be become the face of the Rebellion after finding out her home has been destroyed with only one main demand: the Rebellion must make an attempt to rescue Peeta and the other victors.
I know that this movie moves very slowly, but I think it was necessary. If the two film had been put together a lot of the little nuances would have been lost and it would have become way too convoluted. I think it was important that this film addressed the changing world and the part that Katniss was going to have to play in this war. Without the subtleties of motion and pacing that they used in this film I think the emotional and moral point of the story would have been lost in a whirlwind of activity. And I know I’ve said this a lot, but it’s the emotional turbulence through the eyes of Katniss that readers loved; it was through her eyes that they got to see the Capital and their atrocities. Also this film really needed to address the different facets of the building war so that people could understand everything that was going on. One film wouldn’t have been able to do all that.

Catching Fire

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Catching Fire is by far my favorite out of the quartet of movies; it’s the only time when the girly part of me goes ga-ga over the relationship between Katniss and Peeta. As a fan of the books I really like how the director was able to recreate the story in such an exciting and wonderful way. I remember that the second book seemed so intermediate (no pun intended) compared to the others, but in the movies it’s by the far the best. It has the best of the first and last films all put together in a nice, neat 2 plus hour package.
In this film, it’s a year after the Hunger Games. Katniss and Peeta have somewhat returned to their old lives and are both attempting to forget the painful memories of what happened; Katniss more than Peeta. Now the time has come for them to return to the Capital as Victors and to be paraded around the Districts as examples of how ‘great’ the Capital is, how ‘wonderful’ their mercy. But things aren’t as happy as they may seem: rebellions are breaking out across the districts and President Snow’s patience is wearing thin with the ‘Girl on Fire’ whose acts during the Hunger Games have thrown the world into a frenzy. As the 75th Quarter Quell grows closer, Snow calls for the unthinkable: this year’s Hunger Games contestants will be drawn from the existing pool of Victors.
It’s hard not to go on and on about the story, because it is just so tantalizing. There have been great stories in the past, but not as many that draw in the reader with a feeling of anguish, indignation and fiery injustice. The stories by Suzanne Collins aren’t just about some upstart heroine fighting against a big baddie; it’s about people and what they can do to each other. Catching Fire demonstrates this as the audience gets to see the aftermath of the Hunger Games and how the tributes are affected (PTSD for one).

The Hunger Games

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So, this film is one of my favorite fantasy films and I think most people would agree with me. Yes, it’s main stream, but at the same time the story is daring and harsh. I absolutely love Jennifer Lawrence in this and I think it was really well directed and produced. It’s also one of the few movies based on books that had the author so involved in the process which kept it true to the original story and feel.
The story is about Katniss Everdeen, a young woman, who lives in a future post-apocalyptic world where the bulk of the civilization is separated into ‘Districts’. The Capital of Panem regulates these Districts and keeps them in check by hosting a competition called the Hunger Games where two young adults (12 to 18 year olds) are chosen from each district to fight to the death. Katniss volunteers in place of her younger sister along with another young man, Peeta.
While this movie is awesome, I have even a greater respect for it after watching the behind the scenes. It was great to see how much the book meant to the director, producers, actors and others involved in the film, because they tried so hard to keep true to it. I personally think they did great on all accounts. The production team gave a great homage to the original, but also created their own cinematic masterpiece. Everything was thought through in amazing detail from the costume and set design, the stylistic use of the cameras and the balance of CGI, stuntmen and the actual realistic usage of the actors and the surroundings.

Secret Garden

 

Alright, so I’ve probably watched one too many things lately, but I loved this drama. I was absolutely addicted to it and watched it within record time.
The story was just so different. Gil Ra Im is a female stunt devil who crosses paths with the CEO of a popular mall, Kim Joo-won. Their story is mainly normal until they find this restaurant in the middle of a forest and after drinking some apparent ‘home-made alcohol’ they switch bodies! It was a total shock considering it was several episodes in. The whole thing was just entrancing and I loved the end of it. I’ve seen a couple shows where the ending was kind of “eh”, but I was left feeling fully satisfied.
Gil Ra Im was also just such an amazing character. I mean, besides being damn sexy, she was so strong! Putting aside how rare it is for a Korean drama to have such a strong-willed, athletic, fighting woman, even as an American it is rare to see a character like her. Most shows, even in the states, if they have a woman who can fight and such is usually seen as unfeminine, butch and unattractive. Gil Ra Im is NOT any of those things: she’s feminine, graceful and well-adjusted (as in she’s comfortable being a stunt-woman).

Joon-Won, as well, was such an eccentric character. Honestly, the amount of depth the creators put into this show and the characters is so wonderful. More often then not after watching a certain amount of shows from the same genre I start seeing the same character templates with similar story lines, but this show felt truly fresh.