Monday, May 15, 2017

A Second Thought on the 'Beauty and the Beast' Remake

I know my initial reaction to Beauty and the Beast was salty (or it comes off as salty, I don’t HATE it fcol). But I had a notion recently that made me think better of it.

The moments in the film that focus on the enchanted Objects focus on their relationships, specifically their romantic ones. We’ve got Lumiere and Plumette, Pianoforte and Garderobe. Some of our cast have absent partners, as in the case of Mrs. Potts and Cogsworth (although Cogsworth’s is...clingy). But the point is, the curse to some extent separated these people from those they loved.  To break the curse, the Beast needs someone to fall in love with him for his inner goodness, as well as have their love in return.

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Love is what makes us human. (The Verge)

Love is what makes people, well, human. Hence Gaston is the real monster because he only loves himself, and hence the longer that the Beast is unable to find love, the less human his subjects are.  Romantic love completes us.  For the foil, Gaston wants to marry Belle to satisfy his own vanity, when he does not understand at all who she really is, and she knows perfectly well that he is the kind of man that could never make her happy.

I don’t see how the film connected that to the curse that fell on the Prince for being uncharitable (although at the ball he was hosting he was either looking for a bride or a bedmate). But the theme is there, and it’s better developed than I thought it was.

Beauty and the Beast will be out on Blu-ray in less than a month from now. Chances are, I will be a lot less critical on the second viewing.

Read More: My friend Ibbet thinks Gaston is one of the best things about the remake

Monday, May 1, 2017

15 Things I Didn't Miss from Star Wars Celebration Thanks to the Interwebs

Middle of last summer I had a crazy idea come over me: go to Orlando for Star Wars celebration. I quickly figured out that I had no way of coming up with enough money to cover the costs of the trip, but for a few days, it actually seemed POSSIBLE. Not just POSSIBLE, but like it was going to happen.

A couple of weeks ago, Celebration Orlando carried on without me, but me being a good online fangirl I kept track of everything through Twitter and watched the live feeds and YouTube videos of the big panels later. It would have been magical to actually be there, but it was nice to experience it without the con fatigue, waiting in lines, crazy crowds, etc.

If there was one Celebration that was worth going to, it was this one. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Star Wars being released in theaters. Coming right on the heels of the passing of the legendary Carrie Fisher, Lucasfilm pulled out all the stops in honoring Carrie's legacy, celebrating the insanity that is Star Wars, and getting us all hyped up for The Last Jedi.

1. Warwick Davis as moderator

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Getty Images

Personal opinion: I don't enjoy Davis as the moderator nearly as much as I liked James Arnold Taylor at Celebration 2015. But after a while, you get used to it. The thing to remember about Warwick Davis is HE WAS ACTUALLY THERE. He was a little kid when A New Hope came out in '77. He was only eleven years old when he got cast as Wicket the Ewok for Return of the Jedi. And he gets along with everyone who's been a part of Star Sars ever since.  He's really perfect for the job, if you think about it. And plus, he's British.

2. George Lucas sharing the story of basically how everything began

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Lucas started off as a small indie director with a couple of films that weren't very big, and it didn't seem very likely that his idea for a Sci-fi soap opera would ever get off the ground. However, Alan Sheppard from 20th Century Fox came to a screening of American Graffiti and told Lucas he would buy whatever his next project was--whatever it was. The rest is history.

It was really special to hear from the guy who made this possible about what he meant it to be and how it became possible.

3. The Cast Reunion at the 40th Anniversary panel

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When he got on stage, Lucas admitted that he hadn't quite grasped how long forty years had been until he saw the gray in Warwick's hair. It was basically a bunch of people reminiscing--old people, some of them. But it was reminiscing in the best sense of the word. George Lucas, Mark Hamill, Warwick Davis and even (spoiler alert) Harrison Ford couldn't remember all of the details about filming the original trilogy and how the casting happened, what the funny incidents were. Warwick shared a story about a letter he'd written to Lucas after filming ROTJ to ask for some action figures. Very cute. And the fans were happy to see their favorite stars--ALL OF THEM.

Not to mention the video messages from LIAM NEESON and SAMUEL L. JACKSON ;jklasdfj;hksdafdsljk

4. The Memorials for Carrie Fisher

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Billie Lourde sporting a white Leia-style dress in honor of her late mother.  (PopCrush)

Oh. My. Gosh. Carrie. It's so unfair that she wasn't there for that panel. But I'll bet she was with us in spirit. George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy honored her. Mark Hamill positively LAMENTED her--and he also shared some stories of how she used to embarrass him. In a way, they really were brother and sister, Hamill said. And then Carrie's daughter Billie came out and gave that speech. *incoherent moaning noises*

5. The John Williams Concert

George Lucas called him the "secret sauce of Star Wars" and rightly so. I don't think I would like Star Wars half as well if not for the music. But to have Williams there, PERFORMING, CONDUCTING actual highlights from the score. I'd have died and gone to heaven if I was there. Bravo, Maestro!

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Inside the Magic

6. BB-8 Rolling Back on Center Stage

BB-8 came out onstage for The Last Jedi panel, and Josh Gad got to tease him a little. A good thing BB-8 knows how to keep a secret, right?

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Also, this happened:

Diane Gallagher/Twitter


A Prequels' fangirl's dream come true! Hayden made his only big stage appearance at the 40th Anniversary panel, where the only thing he got to say was that George Lucas had to tell him off during filming AOTC and ROTS for making lightsaber noises--and apparently Ewan McGregor and Ray Park also have this problem. Where did George find these children, seriously? It was darn cute. And Hayden looks like he almost hasn't aged a day in fifteen years, holy smokes.

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He got to be on The Star Wars Show, too, but he didn't say much there, either. But, come on, he's our Anakin! I understand if he can't say anything in front of George Lucas but there has to be more about filming Star Wars than just lightsabers.

Well, we also got this (Swag Eyes/Twitter)

But anyway, it's great to know that the fandom still appreciates Hayden Christansen.

Including his space son:

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Getty Images

8. Ian McDairmid giving the Tragedy of Darth Plageuis its due

I didn't appreciate McDairmid upstaging Hayden during the 40th anniversary panel. But Ian McDairmid is so fun to listen to, and this was no exception during his solo panel. He went into depth about filming the Darth Plageuis scene--he really has a grasp on Palpatine and just how deliciously EVIL he is, and yet McDairmid is so warm and funny in person--shocking, isn't it? 

9. Ray Park

I have seen Ray Park in person, I even shook hands with him. He might be Darth Maul, but IRL he is actually a goofball and a really nice guy. So I have heard some of his stories before, but it's always a treat to hear them.

One thing that Ray Park loves, and is good at, is interacting with the fans. He got a group of padawans on stage for a lightsaber demonstration (did you see his reaction to that spot-on Kylo Ren?). He and Davis also reenacted Darth Maul's untimely "death" in The Phantom Menace. Warwick got to be Obi-wan. Someone had to hold him over the side of the stage and then pick him up for that final jump.

10. All the Rian Johnson

When we were getting our first news about The Force Awakens, I said that if J.J. Abrams managed to pull it off he would be my new favorite person. Rian Johnson, on the other hand, doesn't even need a trial period. The night before the TLJ panel, he went out to greet the fans who were camped outside the auditorium.

Twitter/Viktor Lundberg

I was able to tune into the livestream of the TLJ panel before heading to work, and I actually saw most of it. Johnson kept a camera with him during the filming of TLJ and during the panel he shared some of his personal photos from the set--including a very candid shot of him autographing the Millenium Falcon.

And he was even taking photos on the stage during the panel!

Screenshot Twitter/ Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson is so endearing and cute and generous. Mark Hamill and Kathleen Kennedy had a lot of good things to say about him. Knowing all that, my expectations for The Last Jedi are even higher. And that's not necessarily a good thing.

11. Meet Kelly Marie Tran

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I've heard about Tran from listening to Far Far Away Radio, and for some reason I was expecting her to be a villain. But no, Tran is playing a run-of-the-mill mechanic in the Resistance. Tran got to come onstage for The Last Jedi panel and be in public for the first time. She told how she had been forced to keep her casting in Star Wars a secret from her family, to the point where she even sent them a bottle of maple syrup to convince them she was in Canada. Mark Hamill said if she was any cuter she'd be an actual Disney cartoon character.

12. The Golden Idol: Anthony Daniels

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Anthony Daniels actually shared a couple of stories from filming the prequels, oddly enough. He went into more detail about the deleted scene from AOTC where Padme had given him coverings--a part that would have done great service to both of their characters--and we even got a photo. He also had to tell the very embarassing story of how he fell over on the set of ROTS while Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman were trying to film a serious scene (and they both cracked up at him). Anthony Daniels, not surprisingly, made Warwick's job as moderator difficult. He even crashed the Droids panel--twice!  Daniels can come across as a bit vain, but he's really fun.

13. Mark Hamill--I need him like I need air

I cannot get enough of this man. Seriously. He loves the attention from his adoring fans. And he gives them much adoration in return. He kept talking for his "Mark Hamill Himself" panel in spite of a hoarse voice. What a trooper. Also his dogs.  Mark Hamill is so humble and grateful and I hope when we see Luke Skywalker again onscreen in December that he embodies at least some of that.

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14. Cosplays of Characters from the Books

I thought I was the only person in the universe thinking of cosplaying Lady Carise Sindian. But no, this girl at Celebration beat me to it. Along with a gorgeous Ransolm Casterfro and a Leia all dressed in black. Don't get the reference? It's the cast of Claudia Gray's Bloodline.


Here's Ransolm. I love him and I will protect him at all costs.

Twitter/Johnathan Nerf Baker

And here we have Grand Admiral Rae Sloane, who started out as a lowly captain in A New Dawn which is one of my favorite books ever. And Sloane is one of my favorite characters ever.

Screenshot Twitter/Nanci

15. Just being IN the Star Wars universe

For those of you who haven't heard of Star Wars celebration: think of Comic Con but exclusively Star Wars stuff. Displays of Star Wars merchandise, collectibles, models of every shape and size--anything you can do think of doing with Star Wars, it's probably there. Favorite character? There's probably someone--multiple people--cosplaying them. The Star Wars fan community has its own unique traditions and customs. To these people, that galaxy far far away is home. They might like different aspects of the franchise, but they make it their own. And celebration is a chance to actually be IN it and share that experience with thousands of other fans who share your passion. It's the chance to see the things you love about the Star Wars universe come to life in a way that they couldn't anywhere else.

I'm being a hundred percent serious when I say that if I could go live in any fictional universe, I would pick the Star Wars universe.

I am going to the next Celebration in Anaheim if it kills me.

16. I almost forgot to mention ALAN TUDYK!


Thursday, April 20, 2017

He is Risen: A Belated but Necessary Easter Post

Mormon friends: do you ever get tired of reading in the Book of Mormon about the Nephites and the Jaredites going through the infamous pride cycle over and over again? I mean, do you just sit down to read Helaman or Third Nephi and go uuugggggghhhh?
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And do I need to remind any of you here of the number of times that this happened with the Israelites in the Old Testament? Just as soon as Moses had them going straight, something would happen and they would start murmuring. AGAIN. And their life in the Promised Land was no bed of roses, because they would repeatedly forget the Lord, break the commandments, worship idols, and then end up in bondage to their enemies.

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Wheatley Scholars

In our day, the pride cycle can happen in our personal lives, but in society at large it doesn’t seem so much a pride cycle as a long downward slope. And just when you think the world has hit the bottom, things keep getting worse. We turn to the scriptures, and we see the exact same thing: war, wickedness, sin, and destruction. If the Gospel is in the scriptures, then where is the part with the “good news”? The scriptures were written for our day, to help us get through. But seeing more examples of what we’re already seeing doesn’t seem to give much comfort, much less answers.
It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out that those ancient peoples are US. And it probably doesn’t take much more thinking than that to realize that the wicked people who are ripening for destruction are not meant to be our role models.
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So what do we look for? We read about the people who stayed righteous in the midst of all that wickedness and all of their personal trials. We read about Abraham, Joseph the son of Jacob,and Moses; Joshua, Gideon, Ruth, Deborah and Barak, Samuel, Elijah, Hezekiah and Isaiah. We read about Lehi and Nephi and Alma and Alma the Younger and Nephi son of Helaman; we read about Mormon and Moroni and Ether. We read about Jesus Christ. We read about the people who followed Him, His mother Mary, Peter and John and the apostles, Stephen and Paul. What are they writing about their experiences and the lives of those who came before them? What are they learning that they want to share with us? How do they stay righteous in a wicked, difficult world?

Genesis 50:20 - As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.:
This goes for the Book of Mormon, too! (Pinterest)

In His final sermon to His apostles, Jesus shared the secret: “In the world ye have shall have tribulation. But be of good cheer: I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

One of my favorite verses. John 16:33  "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have OVERCOME the world.:

Jesus overcame the world. He rose above the sin, the sorrow, the despair, the grief, the lust. He rose above everything evil in this life. He descended below all things, and was thus able to overcome all things.

He did not get caught in the Pride cycle: HE BROKE THE CYCLE.

He is Risen, not just above death but above sin and above pain and suffering. Above repeated human errors and mistakes.

Happy Easter everyone.  He is Risen!  I wish you all a blessed day as we celebrate the sacrifice that our one and living God gave to us, his son Jesus Christ.  Praise the Lord for His love and mercy.:



In the Intercessory prayer (John 17) He asked the Father not to take his disciples from the world but to keep them from the evil. We are still supposed to be a part of this mortal experience. We came to experience the pros and the cons. But the cons don’t have to make us weaker. Christ can help us overcome the things that are difficult. Christ made it possible for us to be stronger than our pains, our temptations, our sufferings through His Atonement.

He is the Light of the world. He is stronger than the darkness.

All those people in the scriptures who still managed to make it through even though they were surrounded by wickedness and evil and destruction? They made it because they chose Christ.
In one of his last letters to his son Moroni, Mormon wrote a harrowing description of the atrocities committed by both the Nephites and the Lamanites. And then he said something to Moroni that I think we should all listen to: “My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever” (Moroni 9:25, emphasis added). Believing in Christ doesn’t necessarily make everything around you perfect or solve all your problems. BUT believing in Christ can help you to be all right when everything else is chaos.

"And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced by death." Revelation 12:11:

As he is abridging the record of the Jaredites, Moroni takes a chapter to write out some of his feelings on the subject and some of his experiences in coming to know the Savior. He says that he had prayed that God would “give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity.” But God’s response was,” If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father” (Ether 12: 36-37). We don’t have any control over what other people choose. But if we are faithful, then our own salvation is assured. Peace in this life. Eternal Life in the world to come. We will be able to overcome the world and have that reward.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.":

In Paul’s second epistle to Timothy, we read Paul’s counsel to those who were trying to stay true to the faith in a time of difficulty. The Great Apostasy--the time when the true Church would be corrupted and the truth of the Gospel lost--was at the doors. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4: 3-4). Paul would soon be going to his own martyrdom (vs. 6-8). But Paul’s counsel was simply to be ready for whatever came, and to stay true to the faith. In the previous chapter, he had reminded Timothy to “continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of.” The message for us today is the same: stay true to what you know, do the things you know are right. Doubt and fear can and will be overcome.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. 1 John 5:4:

In the book of Revelation, we read of God’s promises to those who “overcome” the sins and temptations that were plaguing the seven churches: they would be clothed in white, named in the book of life, have part in the first Resurrection, receive eternal life, and live in the presence of God (Revelation 2-3). And as recently as the last general conference, Elder Neal A. Andersen gave a talk on the attributes of those who overcome the world as Christ overcame it. Overcoming the world, Elder Andersen said, is not done in a single moment but over a lifetime. But it can be done. Christ overcame, and he will help us to overcome.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Some More Awesome Cosplay from FanX 2017

I have already written up about FanX 2017 for The Geeky Mormon, but I feel the need to go back and share more of the cool photos I got at con of all the cosplayers, characters, and creatures I met.

For instance, this adorable Jawa.

Agent 13 got to meet a lot of her fellow Marvel heroes, including Iron Patriot

Jyn Erso ran into a couple of very bizarre-looking and bizarre sounding aliens.

Serious props to this girl for portraying Shmi Skywalker. She is such an undervalued character.

Not to be outdone, here is Padme rocking her baby bump.

Padme's burial gown--I told this girl that this was one of the most beautiful cosplays I saw the whole con. 

I'd like you to meet my Sithsters Brittany and Melanie

Victor Sine and Marial Clark as the Green Lanterns

Sharon made it a point to say hi Cap--including my friend Ryan Stevens

She is a Wasp. Best beware her sting.

Princess Leia and a Jedi bodyguard

The Dark Side of the Force was strong at this convention

I'm not much of a Star Trek fan, but I know enough about the fandom to respect it--and enough to pull over Riker and Troy for a photo. 


Odin and Thor of Asgard. This father and son duo placed in the cosplay contest.

My friend Benji as Fred from Big Hero 6, who couldn't help posing for a bueno photo with Deadpool

I also haven't actually had the chance to sit down and watch Doctor Who, but I respect the fandom. A lot. And this duo as Twelve and a Weeping Angel were spectacular.

I asked the Doctor if I could get a photo with him. If Sharon Carter is up to anything after Civil War, why not having adventures in space and time?

Another VERY beautiful cosplay--Arwen from The Lord of the Rings


I found this Gandalf tramping around not far away from Arwen.

I saw several Moana cosplays at FanX, but this one was by far my favorite. Because Heihei.

My friend Stephan Watson as a Stormtrooper

A Hawkgirl with a very breathtaking wingspan

And last but definitely not least, Tai Lung from Kung Fu Panda