Snyder Cut: Reactions

As we (my husband and I) were about to start watching the Snyder Cut, Shaggy suggested that I write my reactions and thoughts while watching since I had already made blog posts about it. I was hesitant to do that as the movie is four hours long. Reminding him of the run-time made him realize what a massive undertaking that would be, so he told me to forget about it. He shouldn’t have said that because I couldn’t help but think “Challenge Accepted”. 

I am never going to do this for a movie longer than two hours again. It did make the ending of the movie that much better. I was so happy it was over!

So here it is. All of the best reactions to the Justice League Snyder Cut. I’ve done a little editing to some of my thoughts on the list to make it more readable. Anything written with italics was added during the editing process to show what part of the movie corresponds with the reactions. 

If my readers have enough interest in this post, maybe I can be convinced to release the entire list. Snyder Cut Reactions: Extended Edition… Comment below! 

*This entire post is nothing but spoilers! You have been warned.* 

  • As my husband pressed play he said “Let’s get this over with.” So we are starting on a high note.
  • Intro
    • Dang, Superman can really yell.
    • I forgot Luthor had hair in this film. I didn’t recognize him. Shaggy had to tell me who it was.
    • Still, it’s funny, this movie starts like an anime, with incomprehensible dramatic fight scenes and lots of yelling from a shonen protagonist. 
    • Mountain scenes and dramatic orchestral music? This is a rip-off of LOTR. 
  • Batman meeting Aquaman
    • Why are the townspeople just standing around staring at Batman?
    • These villagers have a lot of free time if they sing to Aquaman every time he swims out of town. 
    • Do they worship him or something? Did he start a cult by accident? 
    • Lady stiffs shirt while singing. I think it’s a full-on religion now. No wonder he doesn’t want to leave. 
  • Padding
    • Clark Kent’s middle name is Joseph! I didn’t know he had one!
    • “Maybe a man who broods in a cave isn’t fit to be a recruiter.” I love Alfred. I forgot how much I loved him
    • Lois Lane is sad. Artistically sad. 
    • This is Les Mis, geez. Sad musical while staring sadly in the rain. 
  • Wonder Woman’s Intro
    • Hey, I was right the kids are from a Catholic school! I knew uniforms like that belonged there
    • Could you stall the magic Lasso by telling any truth or are you forced to answer the questions?
    • Wonder Woman is still a boss. I think she’s faster in the Snyder cut. Epic fight scene.
    • “If she’s this fast why do we need the Flash” – Shaggy
    • I feel like she used unnecessary force to stop one guy. Like did she need to make a massive hole in the wall?
    • *Insert blah child admires superhero cliche here
  • Amazons getting robbed 
    • Oh no, not the bugs…
    • Have you heard about our Lord and Savior the Great Darkness? 
    • Why is it boring??! Amazon warrior ladies are fighting aliens how is that boring?
    • The big bad’s “NOOO!” had real Anakin Skywalker vibes, overdramatic
    • “A lot of this feels pretentious” – Shaggy 
    • They don’t mess around when they seal off buildings. Shut it down then chuck it in the ocean.
    • The ocean failed. Alien bugs: 1 Ocean: 0 
    • Villain – Looks at the approaching cavalry. “Eh… not today.” Leaves
    • Light the beacons! Another LOTR rip off
  • Villain scene
    • “It’s toxic. That’s good” *slow clap* Good villain dialog writing team
  • Our first look at the suspicious lab
    • Never be a night janitor at a lab.
  • Back to the Amazons
    • There’s a lot of pomp and circumstance to light the warning fires. Like, apocalyptic level threat but we take time for the ceremony. 
  • Cyborg Intro
    • “I don’t know. That’s why I was studying it” – gold 
  • Aquaman and the Atlanteans 
    • Aquaman commands the ocean and orchestra
    • It’s a musical! Yay! The title is I’m wet and brooding
    • “How many shirts does he have? Where does he keep them?” – Shaggy. Good question, who knows? 
  • Diana and Bruce with exposition 
    • Darkseid’s power is a boom spear and an army. 
    • With technology magic so advanced and powerful, you would think they would get a better name than Mother Boxes.
    • Why didn’t the Green Lantern guy take the boxes? I saw him in the battle. Wouldn’t he be able to better understand and neutralize technology like that? I guess if he did there would be no movie
    • Atlantians and Amazons create well-guarded prison cells for the bad boxes. Humans: put it in a normal hole in the ground. “They will never find it.” 
  • *Movie paused*
    • “It’s just been an hour!?” – Shaggy, Had to pause for break #1
    • We are only an hour in and it feels like we should be halfway done
  • Flash’s Intro
    • Aw dog! 🙂
    • Poor dude needs new shoes and a job now 
    • Does every character get a musical??
    • He has time to grab a hot dog before saving her. Priorities am I right?
  • Cyborg’s Backstory
    • “When does slow-mo become too much slow-mo?” – Shaggy. Same honestly
    • Mom and son in the car, Dad busy at the lab missing the game… is this where the mom dies in a tragic car accident?
    • Immediately after typing that “Oh it is!”
    • If you are just trying to save your son’s life why add the extra capabilities? I think he secretly wanted to upgrade a person into a cyborg. 
  • Flash backstory and meeting Batman
    • Barry’s dad is in jail, so that’s two people with Daddy issues. Batman doesn’t count as he has parental issues. 
    • At least he’s not sitting in your favorite chair, right?
    • “I need friends” “Can I keep this?” “I am a snack hole” I love Barry.
    • Barry – “What are your superpowers again?” Bruce – “I’m rich.” Still the best and accurate.
    • “This is the first entire scene I wasn’t bored in. It didn’t drag on, it was perfect. If this was a TV show I would have stopped watching two episodes ago.” – Shaggy
  • Diana with Bruce and Cyborg
    • Sassy Diana – “Work on a lasso too, in black.” – she knows what’s up
    • Dang her pants are super tight. Are they comfortable?
    • If burying the box didn’t work the first time, why do you think it will work now Cyborg? You may be sad and angry but you’re smarter than this. 
  • Atlanteans get robbed
    • Good thing Aquaman showed up at the perfect time
    • Mommy issues… Glad we addressed Aquaman’s tragic backstory. Diana is lucky to be an Amazon.
  • First Team and Villain fight
    • It’s the Eye of Sauron with a cage. 
    • We saw Part 4 flash on the screen, but somehow we both missed part 3. I thought we were still in part 2.
    • Batman is standing on top of a hooded skeleton. Symbolism 
    • Commissioner Gordon is pretty chill, His expression of just a tired “Well okay then” is really funny 
    • What is darkness supposed to smell like Diana?
    • “I’m real when it’s useful” Sigh, good work Batman
    • Ancient lamentation music playing – closed caption is good
    • 2 hours in and we finally have a cool fight with all our peeps
    • Alfred being happy that his invention works is very pure
    • Barry Allen zipping along the walls and booping Diana’s sword is cool. Too bad he tripped at the end
    • “Do I know you?” Alfred being unintentionally funny
    • Finally, this movie had some stakes and epic feel to it, with everyone fighting together
    • I’m glad Aquaman showed up to stop the flood, but I can’t help but feel he was still late to the party 
  • After the fight
    • The Anti-Life Equation… That’s how I felt about math classes 
    • Steppenwolf is ugly without the armor! Ew. 
    • Darkseid needs to learn how to move on from past failures. It’s not healthy
    • Barry – “You talk to machines?”  Cyborg – “I speak to intelligence.”  Wow, what dialog
    • The Nazis found the box. Because of course, they did. 
    • Was Cyborg’s origin story always tied to the box? It made it interesting at least. 
    • Science magic! 
    • Let’s use alien technology we don’t understand to raise the dead! 
  • Back with Lois Lane again
    • You know, since he died you could have told the world who he was. What would it matter now?
    • Can we get back to the plot, please? We know you’re sad but you’ll get him back soon enough. 
    • Martian Manhunter? What? What are you doing here? 
  • Reviving Superman with alien necromancy 
    • “She’s 5000 years old. Every guy is a younger guy.” – Alright, that was funny. 
    • Cyborg – “I’m always dressed.” he says while stripping 
    • Why are you guys breaking into the lab when you could just call up Cyborg’s dad and get him to help?
    • Aw, good to see his dad supporting his illegal activities. “Eh he’s hanging out with Batman and Wonder Woman, it’s probably fine.” I bet he thought something like that 
    • You should probably listen to the computer AI
    • The box moves as fast as Flash for reasons
    • Barry has some powerful boops
  • It’s Alive! Superman edition
    • Hey look at that, Superman’s back
    • His dad’s face when he saw the box, just what the bleep is that boy doing?
    • Here we go! Superman fight time!
    • I don’t think you’re going to win a tug of war against Superman
    • “Maybe if you shout Martha at him” – Shaggy
    • Hey, now it’s time for Lois to be useful 🙂
    • The Aquaman and Flash interaction right after he left was good. Nice display of petty
  • Cyborg’s father dies 
    • It was a good idea to try to destroy the box but I think it was a desperate attempt he knew wouldn’t be likely to work
    • Cyborg now has Batman syndrome 
    • Oh… so that was his plan. Makes more sense than I thought. 
  • Part 6. almost 3 hours in. I think this is the third or so break. Almost done
  • Superman on the farm
    • From bad guy to idyllic farm scene 
    • I don’t think Martha would have left clothes there. She would have either packed them or donated them.
    • Henry Cavil’s lip still looks weird sometimes
    • Superman is in a better mental place. Do I care? NOT RIGHT NOW!!
    • Okay, you kissed the girlfriend and hugged the mom, let’s go save the world now ‘kay?
    • Superman – “I have to go, I was pretty angry and I don’t know if I hurt people” Gee I wonder, it’s not like you were fighting or something
  • Final Battle 
    • Yay Alfred, you got the ship working! Good job!
    • Glad Flash still has a sense of humor. “With the power of love.” That man watches anime.
    • Clark and the ship, completely unnecessary padding. We don’t need to see a fashion show of his suit choices 
    • Aw, but they just finished that ship 😦
    • Off to storm the castle
    • RIP Batmobile – died like it lived, for justice
    • Bruce was pretty good with an alien gun. Are guns universal? 
    • You know it’s serious when their eyes glow
    • Don’t make Diana angry. She can and will kick your ass
    • Superman deus ex machina arrives! Though not as stupid as the original 
    • Steppenwolf has a lot of fingers! Weird
    • Don’t wear spikes if you don’t wanna stick to walls
    • Time for Flash! Come on reverse time! WOOOOOO I’m excited!
    • “Make your own future, make your own past, It’s all right now,” Nice call back to what his dad said
    • Barry boops again!
    • They did it! Yay. 
    • Aquaman is brutal he just stabbed him
    • Not as much as Diana! Geez Decapitation, no wonder it’s rated R
  • Aftermath of the Final Battle
    • Oh, look at the setup for a sequel that won’t happen. The old-fashioned massive alien army invasion
    • Photo finish for photographers that aren’t there
    • How does that ship still fly?
    • Is Barry still injured or did the time travel fix him?
  • Epilogue?
    • Barry – “Don’t get maced again.” Ha, his dad was so proud of him. This was a good scene. Both funny and heartwarming
    • “I bought the bank.” what a flex.
    • Now, do we get the Joker?
    • Nope, just Lex Luthor. At least he’s bald now.
    • Slade and Luthor on his ship. Nice, too bad it’s not going anywhere. 
  • Dream Sequence
    • Why is it still going??!
    • Why is anything? Why is this happening? This is like an end credits scene but it’s still a movie.
    • Finally, the Joker shows up. And it had to be in this weird surreal ending
    • Somehow letting Lois Lane die creates an apocalypse. 
    • Why is Superman helping the bad buys now? Just because she died does not mean he would side with the villains. What happened?
    • It WAs OnLY a DReAM! I hate this movie
    • Martian Manhunter! Why wait until the end to have him talk to the main characters? Why didn’t he help?! 
    • Batman has seen some crap. Meeting him was just another day
  • I’m so glad it over!

*Image does not belong to me. It belongs to the Justice League Snyder Cut, I did do the edit to add the text.

Snyder Cut: Expectations Fall Flat

Normally I would be posting another entry in my “Memoirs of a Geek” series. But it’s been a weird week. We have a wedding to go to on the weekend. We have a relative who is spending a couple of nights here. It hasn’t been one of my better weeks in terms of my mental health. 

Instead, I will post a follow-up to my original post about the Justice League Snyder Cut. I watched the Snyder Cut last Saturday. Right after the movie ended I revisited my list to see how the movie lived up to the expectations I had. 

*Spoiler Warning! Read at your own risk*

  1. Making a mediocre movie longer will not make it better. Justice League wasn’t a horrible film. It was dull and suffered from what I consider lazy writing and characters. I don’t expect the Snyder Cut to improve this movie from blah to good. I think it will be a longer blah movie. 

I was correct. Making the Justice League twice as long did not change the fact that the story wasn’t good. The main antagonist was uninteresting. It took way too long to assemble the hero squad. There were several things I think Snyder Cut did better. However, the whole thing just took so long, that by the end the only thing I felt was happy to have it over. The problem is, a mediocre action film is an okay experience with normal movie runtimes. It has good moments, then the rest you can pay half attention to until the end credits. BUT when that time is extended it gets harder and harder to pay attention to something not interesting. That extra effort required to watch Snyder Cut makes it a frustrating film. Like a lecture with a professor who decides to talk about the history of calculus for 3½ hours before he uses the last 20 minutes to teach something.   

  1. The movie is four hours long! That is so stupidly long for one film. There better be a legit frame with the word “Intermission” around the midpoint of the movie for snack refills and bathroom breaks. 

There was not a frame with “Intermission”. I was honestly disappointed. There were shots with Parts 1-6 throughout the film. Which is equally pretentious without the utility of a break. And if any cinematic experience ever needed a break, it’s Snyder Cut. Maybe in the extra pretentious black and white version, there is one. But I’m not watching it to find out. 

  1. The Joker will make an appearance and won’t be a lame version of the character. (I already know the Joker will show up but I don’t know anything else about him.)

I like how the Joker was characterized in this. He was chaotic and unstable. There was a sense of logic despite his twisted sanity. Joker also clearly portrayed emotions, both sick joy at messing with Batman and genuine disturbance at Harley Quin’s death. This is what I had hoped for. 

  1. The Joker’s role will have a significant impact on the story or at least on Batman’s backstory. 

ARRRRGGHHHH!!! You finally bring in the Joker and it’s only one scene at the end, IN A DREAM SEQUENCE!!! I was so angry at this. I’m still angry at this. You guys finally made a decent Joker and it’s just a teaser for later films which won’t happen. Sigh. 

  1. The alien big bad, uh… (Google search in progress) Steppenwolf will be a more interesting villain than he was in the original. It’s too much to hope that he would be ditched entirely.

He was equally boring in both versions of Justice League. But in Snyder Cut, you get the disgusting, horrifying image of Steppenwolf without his armor. Why was this necessary? Why would you hurt your audience like this?

  1. Cringey quippy dialog. It happened in the original Justice League I think it will still happen in the Snyder Cut. Hopefully, it will occur to a lesser degree or in a way that doesn’t feel as forced. Normally I like funny quippy dialog, but this movie did not do it well.

They improved this. In Snyder Cut, the quips aren’t as cringey. I think they also occur less frequently too. Either way, well done. Except for the scene when Aquaman sat on the Lasso of Truth. It might have required several leaps of logic, but it was both funny and served as minor character development. 

  1. Superman will still be used as a cheap deus ex machina. I mean, the dude’s so overpowered most villains don’t have any hope of putting up a decent fight let alone winning.

I was right. He still is a deus ex machina for the final battle. Heroes are about to lose and then, Bang! Superman shows up. At least the final solution of destroying the Unity was up to Flash and Cyborg. It did improve the narrative of the last battle. 

  1. Cyborg won’t be as brooding. This is more of a hope than an expectation. Because I was hoping for a Cyborg character like the one in the original (and best) Teen Titans animated series. I was supremely disappointed by this version of him. Not a single “Booyah!”… it was very sad.

Cyborg did start equally angsty and broody at the beginning and through most of the movie. In the end, he did seem to accept his new state of being. I thought his relationship with his father and the shock of his death was done better than the original. Oh, and through rewatching the honest trailer and cinema sins for Justice League, I found out I was wrong. Cyborg did say “Booyah” in the original. I forgot. I guess I was disappointed that this Cyborg wasn’t like the Teen Titans Cyborg. He is Cyborg but not my Cyborg. 

  1. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Justice League, so I’m not going to remember this accurately. There is that one scene when Batman and the Flash are talking about how fear powers the enemies (or something like that). But somehow Flash’s fear didn’t do anything? It just didn’t make any sense. In the Snyder Cut, I expect that will change so it logically makes sense.

This part is gone in Snyder Cut. Clearly, they also realized the plot hole and got rid of it. Good choice. 

  1. The scene of Superman attacking the rest of the heroes will be changed significantly. It felt unrealistic considering Superman’s nature. It was unnecessary drama padding out the content of the movie.

I think the length of their fight with Superman was shorter. Otherwise, it’s still unnecessary drama. Goodness knows, this film clearly needed more padding. 

  1. Diana will have a bigger role in the movie. Or at the very least, her role will be more memorable. For the life of me, I cannot remember what she did.

Her role didn’t seem that different from the first time. The movie spent more time with its new characters as her story has been established in other films. Diana’s fight scenes were pretty good. 

  1. Batman will still be a serious, brooding, easily mockable character.

I was right. He was an okay Batman and I had fun with occasionally mocking him. I think the character Batman is inherently mockable. It’s part of the Batman charm. 

  1. I remember not liking Lois Lane in the original movie. So I hope that she will get a less annoying characterization. 

She did not. Her role was to pine for Superman until he showed up. Then once he appeared her role was supporting him. When a movie is about superheroes fighting an alien invasion, I don’t want to be constantly taken out of that narrative to see a woman dealing with grief. Understandably, she’s suffering from a deep personal loss and it’s correct to portray that. However, when the entire world is at stake, I don’t care. There are more important things to focus on. Also, her entire character was framed around Superman. It felt like lazy writing to make a female character’s importance revolve around her relationship with a guy. 

  1. The Flash will make his appearance in the Snyder Cut faster than he did in the original. 

I think so? The whole thing is so much longer than the original Justice League. Plot-wise, I think Barry was introduced and became relevant sooner. 

  1. Finally, I expect that my opinions on the Snyder Cut will end up offending someone. Because I highly doubt this movie will be worth all the effort it took fans to get it. Guess I’ll find out in the comments section. 

I think it’s pretty clear I didn’t like this movie. While there are parts I enjoyed for the most part I didn’t like it. Snyder Cut is an endurance test of attention and I didn’t appreciate it. It might be the movie we asked for, but it’s not the movie we deserve.

*Image does not belong to me. It is the final frame of Snyder Cut. I added the text.

Snyder Cut Expectations

The time has finally come. I finally have a weekend with no plans and a subscription to HBO Max. It’s time to set aside my entire afternoon or evening to watch the Justice League Snyder Cut. I’ve already seen the original and have been disappointed at it. So now it’s time to see if adding two hours improved it. 

I thought I would make a list of my hopes and expectations before watching the movie. Then once I’ve seen it I’ll revisit the list to recount what actually happened. I haven’t made a post like this before and wanted to try out the idea. 

  1. Making a mediocre movie longer will not make it better. Justice League wasn’t a horrible film. It was dull and suffered from what I consider lazy writing and characters. I don’t expect the Snyder Cut to improve this movie from blah to good. I think it will be a longer blah movie. 
  1. The movie is four hours long! That is so stupidly long for one film. There better be a legit frame with the word “Intermission” around the midpoint of the movie for snack refills and bathroom breaks. 
  1. The Joker will make an appearance and won’t be a lame version of the character. (I already know the Joker will show up but I don’t know anything else about him.)
  1. The Joker’s role will have a significant impact on the story or at least on Batman’s backstory. 
  1. The alien big bad, uh… (Google search in progress) Steppenwolf will be a more interesting villain than he was in the original. It’s too much to hope that he would be ditched entirely.
  1. Cringey quippy dialog. It happened in the original Justice League I think it will still happen in the Snyder Cut. Hopefully, it will occur to a lesser degree or in a way that doesn’t feel as forced. Normally I like funny quippy dialog, but this movie did not do it well.
  1. Superman will still be used as a cheap deus ex machina. I mean, the dude’s so overpowered most villains don’t have any hope of putting up a decent fight let alone winning.
  1. Cyborg won’t be as brooding. This is more of a hope than an expectation. Because I was really hoping for a Cyborg character like the one in the original (and best) Teen Titans animated series. I was supremely disappointed by this version of him. Not a single “Booyah!”… it was very sad.
  1. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Justice League, so I’m not going to remember this accurately. There is that one scene when Batman and the Flash are talking about how fear powers the enemies (or something like that). But somehow Flash’s fear didn’t do anything? It just didn’t make any sense. In the Snyder Cut, I expect that will change so it logically makes sense.
  1. The scene of Superman attacking the rest of the heroes will be changed significantly. It felt unrealistic considering Superman’s nature. It was unnecessary drama padding out the content of the movie.
  1. Diana will have a bigger role in the movie. Or at the very least, her role will be more memorable. For the life of me, I cannot remember what she did.
  1. Batman will still be a serious, brooding, easily mockable character.
  1. I remember not liking Lois Lane in the original movie. So I hope that she will get a less annoying characterization. 
  1. The Flash will make his appearance in the Snyder Cut faster than he did in the original. 
  1. Finally, I expect that my opinions on the Snyder Cut will end up offending someone. Because I highly doubt this movie will be worth all the effort it took fans to get it. Guess I’ll find out in the comments section. 

*Image does not belong to me. It belongs to the DC Extended Universe and the producers.

A Fantastical Flop: Xanadu

Have you heard of the Golden Raspberry Awards? It’s a parody show that awards the worst cinematic flops. Normally it’s called the Razzies. What caused this to happen? Xanadu and Can’t Stop the Music were such monumentally bad movies that the Golden Raspberry Awards were created. It even won the first Razzie for worst director; an honor much deserved.   

I’ve never seen Can’t Stop the Music, but I did watch Xanadu. It was just one of the weirdest cinema experiences of my life. How do I even start to describe this mess? I barely understood what I was watching! The only reason I knew anything about what was happening was because other people explained things as the movie played. Still, I’ll do my best to describe this psychedelic cinema flop. It’s a musical set in the ‘80s with vague Greek Mythology references so minuscule you need a microscope to see them, real estate, and flashy musical numbers. Just your typical musical, nothing to see here.

Verdict

Xanadu: ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

 Xanadu plays less like a movie with a cohesive story and more like a series of music videos for an album. The whole movie is disjointed and doesn’t explain why things happen. The musical numbers are beautifully choreographed. But they occur in a vacuum. There’s hardly any plot to connect these song and dance routines to a bigger picture. Watching it is a mental puzzle of finding out why things are happening. Unfortunately, the story and characters are so lacking as the music itself is good. The soundtrack is truly one of the best, and the musical numbers are flashy. I didn’t have any reason to get invested in bland characters and inscrutable overarching story. 

Yet I did get invested. I paid active attention to this train wreck for the entire film. Why? Because it’s weird. Xanadu is a fever dream of neon lights, dancing, bad acting, and ‘80s aesthetics. I’ve never been high before, but I can imagine that the sensation would be very much like the first time I saw this film. It’s the reason why despite my three-star rating, I still appreciate this movie as a completely unique “What the absolute HECK??!?” experience. Xanadu isn’t a good movie, but wow is it something special.   

You would like this movie if

  • You’re a theatre nerd.
  • Really love the soundtrack.
  • Love watching bad movies.
  • Take joy in watching people’s first-time reactions to Xanadu. Because those are a thousand times better than the movie. 

Story

None of what I’m about to type is fake. This is really what happens in Xanadu. The movie starts with paintings of girls on a billboard coming to life. They dance around for a bit and then turn into balls of colored light whooshing around the world. The yellow magical girl leaves her friends to go roller-skating in a park and meets the protagonist Bland Boy. He instantly becomes enamored with her because she kissed him then skated away. We find out that Bland Boy tried to be a freelance artist and failed. He is working in an art studio for a boss he doesn’t like. While chasing after Magical Girl he meets Gene Kelly. Gene Kelly is a rich real-estate person of some sort. Bland Boy and Gene Kelly bond over a shared love of music. When they encounter Magical Girl again in an abandoned auditorium, she tells them they should buy it and start a nightclub. Since it makes perfect sense to pick a stranger as a business partner, Gene Kelly and Bland Boy decide to go for it. While they work on creating a nightclub, Bland Boy continues to pursue a relationship with Magical Girl.   

The Tradition of Xanadu

In my husband’s family, it is a hazing tradition to show Xanadu to anyone who hasn’t seen this musical. This is because his mom loved the music when she was a teenager. She even bought the vinyl record. Sadly when it made the rounds in movie theaters, her local movie theater was temporarily closed. Years after the movie was released she was gifted a DVD of Xanadu. She did not expect the movie to be that strange. Her love of the soundtrack and the sheer power of nostalgia overcame all else about Xanadu. So much so that she makes sure her kids and friends all see the musical at least once. 

It also includes the significant others of her kids. Watching Xanadu was a family affair when I was introduced to it. Only two people liked this movie out of the whole group. All of the others just wanted to see my reactions. And boy did I react. Apparently, my constant confusion was hilarious. 

Now my husband and I continue the tradition. He enjoys Xanadu. Me… not so much. It’s a trainwreck. I’ve already seen it. I’ve done my time. No one needs to see the musical more than once. What I do like, is showing it to other people. Because then it’s my turn to watch their reactions and confusion. If I had to watch this, it’s only fair my friends are subjected to the same experience. 

What the Heck!? WHY!?? Reactions

Normally in my reviews, I have the Worst Parts and Best Parts sections. This didn’t seem fitting for Xanadu. Instead please enjoy my most shocked and befuddled thoughts I had while watching Xanadu

  • The opening number. It sets the tone of “Did someone spike my drink?” right off the bat. Well done.
  • Did Magical Girl sexually assault Bland Boy? I know I wouldn’t be happy if some weird girl ran into me, kissed me, and skated away. Pretty sure she did. Great start to a romance. 
  • This coworker of Bland Boy tells him that he is the fastest painter in the world. Camera cuts away. Camera cuts back and BOOM! This barely started sketch is suddenly a completed painting! If the coworker is that fast, how fast is Bland Boy? Scary
  • I haven’t seen transitions between scenes like that since the first time I used PowerPoint in middle school. Cinematic Gold. 
  • Why is everyone roller-skating? 
  • We could solve global warming for the next century with the heat of this romance.  
  • Wow…. those outfits…. Only in the ‘80s can you find this wild of colors and styles all smooshed together.  
  • The letters on the building Bland Boy and Gene Kelly buy disappear and reappear throughout the movie?? Why is that happening? 
  • An animated song suddenly happens for no reason! The entire film is live-action, then out of nowhere, it becomes a beautifully animated Don Bluth film for one song. I’m not kidding, it was animated by Don Bluth. Who thought that was a good idea? Why is this the best part of the movie?
  • Since when do Greek gods do disco?
  • They’re still roller-skating!! Why??!
  • I am in absolute awe that Xanadu managed to get such big-name actors to sign on to this hot mess. Seriously, how? This film did Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly dirty. I’m pretty sure the producers hooked them with the soundtrack while pretending they had a plot to go along with it.

*Image does not belong to me. It belongs to Xanadu.

Everything Changed when the Fandom Attacked: Legend of Korra

Legend of Korra (LoK) has got to be one of the most controversial tv series sequels ever made. It takes place decades after Avatar the Last Airbender (AtLA) ends following the journey of the next Avatar, Korra, and the people around her. AtLA is universally loved both by the old fans who remember waiting for the episodes to air on Nickelodeon and by the new fans who decided to try it out since it came out on Netflix. I consider AtLA to be one of the greatest series of all time, of both animated and live-action tv. Fans loved it so much we all practically begged the creators to continue the story. They finally did and created LoK. This time though reactions were mixed. 

Verdict

Legend of Korra ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

I originally had so much HYPE for this series. AtLA was just so amazing. I was so excited to see more of the world! Then LoK changed so many things about the general tone and story progression. Yet I do enjoy parts of it. I don’t mind the darker, more adult overtones. LoK and AtLA did a fantastic job creating realistic and likable characters, both bad guys and good guys. There is still a lot of humorous moments I appreciate, reminiscent of the first series. I still really love the fictional world it was set in and was thrilled to see it later in its history. Despite all that LoK somehow missed the mark. I like this show. I’m glad I saw it and would possibly rewatch it. The best episodes I would definitely rewatch. But I don’t love it. 

Part of the problem was that I had so much love for AtLA. I had unrealistically high hopes for this show because of watching the first series. When it didn’t meet those expectations it made me sad and upset. Not angry, just disappointed. I am self-aware enough to know this is my own bias clouding my view but that’s just the reality of the situation. My disappointment of LoK not being like AtLA isn’t fair yet it does affect how I view the show. 

You would like this series if

  • Loved Avatar the Last Airbender. I can’t imagine watching this series without watching AtLA first. There are so many references in it that someone starting with this would miss out on a lot. 

Huh. Normally I can think of multiple reasons why people might enjoy something but this time I can’t. Legend of Korra heavily relies on the original series both for lore and for audience engagement. There are multiple characters and moments I like in LoK but the show as a whole is not good enough to recommend to people who haven’t watched AtLA. It was made for fans, not for people new to the world of Avatar. 

Story

LoK begins seventy years after AtLA with the next Avatar, a southern water tribe girl named Korra. As the Avatar it is her responsibility to maintain peace between nations and be the bridge between the physical world and spirit world. She leaves her home to go to Republic City to learn air bending, the last of the four bending forms she needs to master. The story follows her journey to complete her training as the Avatar, meet new friends, overcome challenges, grow as a person, and discover how to fulfill her role. Unlike AtLA where Aang and Team Avatar must try to end a war that had lasted one hundred years, now the world is at peace. Instead, Korra must stop those who would threaten the peace and new status quo that currently exists. 

LoK is a fantasy adventure like AtLA but more than anything it is a coming of age story. Instead of focusing on a single conflict between the heroes and the villain, LoK focuses on how Korra is faced with various challenges that force her to change her thinking or to understand new ideas. It’s not a hero’s epic. It is a story of self-discovery and the journey that is necessary to come to a more enlightened view of self, others, and the world. 

Sequel Series Yay or Nay

Well, I guess LoK earns a Yay from me. That sounds like a half-hearted endorsement because it is. There are many differences between LoK and AtLA. It comes down to a matter of opinion about whether or not these changes were good or bad. For me most of the changes weren’t good ones. Here I’ll discuss what I think are the three most significant overall changes.

LoK has a very different tone and setup than AtLA. It was created for a more mature audience. The main villains in LoK have more complicated backstories and motivations. Personal conflicts are openly darker and cover topics that younger audiences won’t easily comprehend. Many moments of this show are more unsettling or downright gruesome. Even as a college student watching this series I was shocked by how violent some of the deaths can be, even if the camera pans away or doesn’t show all of it. It almost makes it worse in a way as your imagination continues the setup. This tone seemed fitting and I think it was a good change. Not necessarily better than the tones of AtLA just different, and it worked well for Legend of Korra. 

The flow of the story is also incredibly different from AtLA. There are four seasons (called books); Air, Spirits, Change, and Balance. Each one has a main antagonist and conflict that drives the plot. All four cover different themes in the world at large and in Korra’s life. These themes tie into the book titles. In AtLA there are three seasons all setting up the big showdown of the series. It’s a continuous story rather than the sequence of events that LoK portrays. As a whole AtLA has a better focus on building up to a climactic high-stakes battle. LoK feels fragmented each book has its conflict that gets resolved and then the next one happens. It just wasn’t as engaging as the original story.   

In AtLA there is a strong team dynamic. Aang (protagonist of AtLA) starts his journey with two friends he meets. As a group, they face challenges, grow as individuals, meet new people, add to the team, and then face the final battle. Over the entirety of the series, there is a tight focus on the characters in Team Avatar, their relationships, and their personal growth. It’s a hero’s saga of a lovable, unlikely team trying to beat the odds to save the world from destruction at the hands of an evil tyrant.

Legend of Korra does not have this same feel at all. It starts with Korra meeting new people and finding her own friend group. Then after certain events in the series, the group splits off into different directions. Everyone has different goals and goes away to accomplish what they think is right. Now the core group always remains friends, yet it lacks that same epic group saga feel. Much of the character development happens away from the group as a whole. For a big chunk of the series, the new Team Avatar isn’t together. 

I suppose It’s realistic. Eventually, life causes separation between friends and difficulties in staying connected. Sadly it doesn’t make for a good story. I think this lacking of a good team dynamic hurts the series more than any other issue. This is what I consider the most disappointing change of the whole series.  It’s the main reason why my opinion of LoK is “Eh, it’s alright. Parts are good.”   

Worst Parts

  • The Unalaq and Vaatu arc in Spirits. I just didn’t like it.
  • Korra’s polar bear dog Naga really should have been more prominent in the series as her animal guide. Appa was so important in AtLA it was sad to see Naga not get the screentime she deserves. 
  • Not enough squad moments.  
  • Cringey romantic moments. I like romance and all but I get secondhand cringe. And hoo boy, were some moments very cringey. 
  • Where is Suki? I wanted to hear more of her story. 
  • Energy bending. It makes sense that the Avatar can do it. It does not make sense that random water benders can too.  
  • I wanted more of General Iroh in LoK!! More of Dante Basco’s voice acting!
  • The finale of AtLA was so good, the entire show had established how high the stakes were. All of the characters got fitting parts in the final battle. It was done so masterfully. LoK never captured this energy. 

Best Parts

  • The characters. Even with all my annoyances and nitpicks about LoK I still appreciate the impressive depth of personality, motivations, and progressive character development. The massive effort put into the character designs is easily apparent. They do some of the best work on characterization on tv (both animated and live-action). 
  • Dialog. This ties into what I said about the characters, but the dialog is top-notch. There’s a lot of good humor, dramatic moments that feel realistic, epic villain lines, and everything feels natural. 
  • The “magic” system of bending the four elements (air, water, earth, fire) is naturally incorporated into the world. Watching both AtLA and LoK each series sets realistic rules governing the mechanics of bending. This setup with part of the human population being benders and part being non-benders feels like a realistic society. Technology is developed inspired by bending or by incorporating bending. Socio-economic status can, in part, be determined by bending abilities or lack thereof. While bending is a key to combat, skilled non-benders can be just as deadly by mastering unique techniques and fighting intelligently. The whole world is a comprehensive setup. 
  • Radio announcer guy. He does the introductions on the episodes with a quick recap in the style of an old-timey radio show and I love it. Doesn’t hit like AtLA’s intro but I think it’s good that they went with a different style. Plus I’m a sucker for guys with a deep dramatic voice. 
  • 1920’s setting. It’s fascinating to see how much the world was able to advance in technology and culture since AtLA. 
  • Toph. Great in the original and still just as great. 
  • Seeing the descendants of the original (superior) Team Avatar. Especially Jinora and Lin Beifong. 
  • The episodes with Wan. Love the style of those even if it did tweak the lore. 
  • Red Lotus. Best villain group. I’d love to see a series focusing on them. 

* Image does not belong to me. This is a scene from Legend of Korra and belongs to Nickelodeon.

Nostalgia Revamp, Make it Darker – Fate: The Winx Saga

Let’s be honest here, Fate: The Winx Saga is a cash grab aimed at people who grew up watching the Winx Club Saturday mornings as a kid. Nostalgia baiting at its finest. I saw this bait, gave it a munch, and determined that it was quite tasty despite reusing stale ideas. As a member of the target audience, I enjoyed this darker reimagining of the Winx Club. It still has themes of friendship as part of the core plot but everything is darker: the characters with their newfound angst, political coverups/conspiracies, creepy new enemies, consequences of war, steamy hookups, trust issues, and Alfea isn’t pink anymore.  

Verdict

Fate: The Winx Saga (Netflix) ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

No, no, no, no, no, no… Wait hang on. They didn’t have Tecna! How dare they exclude one of the best (and my favorite) from the Winx girls. Fix this in season two people! -★

FINAL SCORE – Fate: The Winx Saga (Netflix) ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

This is meant to be an entertaining, darker remake for the now-adult fans of the original series. People who are completely new to the series may watch and enjoy Fate: The Winx Saga but it would be a completely different experience. I can’t view this show without comparing it to what I watched as a kid and my review reflects this. Most likely without the nostalgia goggles, the rating would change. Seeing the new versions of old characters in an updated grim version of this magical realm is fun. I get to compare and contrast the differences between the two and enjoy a familiar story with a setting that no longer has the childish simplicity of the original. It’s not something I would rave about to others and try to convert them to loyal fans. It is a show I would recommend to those who watched the original to see the changes and to those who would like to watch a slightly campy magical romp.

You would like this series if

  • Have watched the original series. Ahhh…. Nostalgia… so comfy. 
  • Like fantasy movies/tv shows.
  • Enjoy “teen dramas” because that is what Fate is according to Wikipedia.
  • Want to see a female Dumbledore. My exact words while watching were “Dang it, I was hoping for a McGonagall, but no, she’s a Dumbledore.” 
  • Don’t want to commit to a long series. There are only six episodes. 

Story

Bloom is raised by normal human parents in our world without magic. When she accidentally starts a fire due to her anger she discovers she has magic powers. Once she has discovered her powers and newfound status as a fairy Bloom decides to learn how to control her new abilities. Bloom is sent to Alfea, the most prestigious fairy academy in the kingdom of Solaria. She is assigned to the “Winx Suite” and meets her new suitemates. Early on Bloom discovers that her heritage isn’t what she thought it was and tries to find answers. 

Bloom’s quest for answers is the main plot but some secondary plots and events flesh out the story. Most of these events and stories have to do with relationship drama with the Winx girls, both boy drama and friend drama. I’m not going to elaborate on those so I can avoid spoilers. The other secondary arc introduces a character named Beatrix. She is a first-year student at Alfea. Immediately it is clear that she has hidden, possibly sinister, motives for her actions. What she does causes some dramatic chains of events that affect the plot just as much as Bloom’s search. 

Remake Yay or Nay

Remakes of old movies and tv shows are always hit or miss. Mainly because it will always be compared to the source material. If that wasn’t a big enough hurdle to get over, remakes also have to handle an audience with strong emotions and opinions about the original. Nostalgia is pretty powerful. These feelings become a desire to see the new version be just as good as the original or at least good enough to make it worth the time to watch. When a remake doesn’t live up to expectations it’s easy to feel angry at the remake not just for having wasted time on something bland or just plain ol’ bad but also because it’s easy to feel like the new material disrespected the original. 

Is Fate: The Winx Saga a good remake of Winx Club? Short answer yes. I think it is interesting and worth the watch time. I wouldn’t call it a remake though. Fate is more of a reimagining of Winx Club. While they kept most of the characters, settings, and base plots there are also many changes. The entire show has a far darker tone than the original. Coverups and covert spying are common themes throughout season one. Characters face deeper, more difficult personal challenges about identity, relationships, self-worth, grief/loss, their past, and insecurities. Not to mention, some characters are completely new while others don’t appear at all. (Seriously where is Tecna?) All in all that’s why I enjoyed the show. Because the creators didn’t try to just recreate the original. Instead, they used parts of the original to reimagine a different version of the story. It’s not a bright, colorful magical-girl adventure aimed at kids anymore. It’s an angsty fantasy teen drama now aimed at people like me and I liked it. 

Worst Parts

Things that cause me annoyance or anger:

  • Almost all the characters who are teenagers don’t look like teenagers. This is a common problem in movies and tv shows. It irks me though. The whole thing could have been avoided if they just made this a university instead of a high school. It would have made certain events less questionable if the students were adults. Plus it just fuels unrealistic beauty standards for teenagers, as most of us aren’t that pretty in the teen years and lean towards the awkward side of things. This fact alone cost it a star because it ruined the immersion. 
  • In case I didn’t make myself clear, TECNA IS GONE!! How dare they take away my best girl. I’m still very salty about this. 
  • Bloom’s origin story is a little unnecessarily angsty. She already has enough to deal with, I think we could have turned down the personal woe just a smidge. It was almost a cliche with how dramatically bad it was. 
  • Flora isn’t doesn’t make an appearance in Fate. It’s weird because now there is Terra, a fairy who has similar powers and takes her place in the Winx Club girls. It feels weird to change them. Will we see Flora at all?
  • The last 10 minutes of the final episode. So much happened and then the show left it at a cliffhanger. It left me shook and upset, and then infuriated when the credits rolled without the next episode button. 
  • No spoilers, but characters aren’t necessarily safe in Fate. People die in this one. Which is good for the plot, it just makes me sad, sometimes. 
  • The teen drama gets a little bit cringey at times. 
  • Why would the teachers look the other way and allow a wild kegger to happen?? Like seriously, THESE KIDS ARE TEENAGERS!!! Most of them probably the ages 16-18 and it’s honestly very concerning. Just as an adult why would you allow that to happen at your school?? Especially with kids under 18. Sigh, They really should have just made Alfea a University instead. It would make this less disturbing. 

Best Parts

Little things I appreciate:

  • Musa has great style. I just really liked her fashion and vibes. 
  • Sky is a fantasy world Steve Rodgers. Change my mind. Very blonde, buff, and handsome. He’s also got that chivalrous hero vibe like early Captain America. (I’m talking about a very superficial level here. Steve Rodgers is a far better character and his role in movies is way better)
  • *Mild Spoiler* Stella’s outfit when she meets her mother. It’s a proper and conservative outfit, something you could easily imagine a politician wearing to an event. It’s so different from her normal fashion and creates the scene of putting on a show for appearance’s sake and making an effort for approval. Subtle storytelling is just *mwah chef’s kiss” so satisfying. 
  • The burned ones are creepy in the best way. Can’t have a lame monster lurking about the woods. Being a boogeyman hunting in the shadows takes style. 
  • Fairy Instagram and all the text messages. Modern social media combined with a knockoff Hogwarts is honestly kind of hilarious.  
  • Cheesy teen relationship drama. In a fun way so far. 
  • *Spoiler* Stella and Sky having realistic consequences of a past relationship.
  • The instructors have more complex motivations, backstories, and relationships with other characters than they did in the original. 
  • There are male and female fairies. There are male and female specialists. If you haven’t seen the original series you don’t understand how surprising that is. Men were specialists, fighter boys with no magic. Girls are magical and are either a fairy if good or a witch if evil. It’s a good change. 

*Image does not belong to me. I got it from an article on OtakuKart.com by Vijayalakshmi Devanathan. Fate: The Winx Saga belongs to Netflix