photo saturday: fancy boy

rasim - vintner, investigator, sneak

Am I obsessed with tall boys in high heeled boots? Maybe. Shut up.

Also, I've never played a male tiefling. In fact, to date I've only played one tiefling. Although I've had ideas for a few others. Once again though, Rasim is me fucking around with the idea of different rogues.

I need to play an Inquisitive Rogue at some point, I really do. And, probably, an over-the-top male tiefling. Generally speaking I like the "virtue names" for tieflings... 

And some younger tieflings, striving to find a place in the world, adopt a name that signifies a virtue or other concept and then try to embody that concept.

But, this guy felt like a tiefling from a line of tieflings, to whom his birth name was more important than some random name he'd pulled out of a hat.

I didn't dig into his history very much, beyond an idea that he was from a noble family who were winemakers and/or winegrowers... basically the entire business from grape to bottle.

Also, fun fact, in a very "mashing the words together" kind of way, the surname Dhu'Deneb means "possessor of tail", which seemed like a cute tiefling surname. And his first name means "planner". Which is also apt.

I do kind of get the gist of his personality just from the way I posed the character and how he's dressed. He feels about 50% The Scarlet Pimpernell and 50% The Man in Black from Princess Bride.

Anyway...

First up, I'm much improved from this time last week. I still have a little bit of a stuffy nose, but at least it's not the sinus-y thing that absolutely reduces my brain to mush.

Next up, this week's soup of choice was, unsurprisingly, chicken noodle soup... that I may have put a tiny bit too much pepper in... but then, it was probably useful for clearing out the sinuses.

Otherwise, big news... we actually had a Thursday D&D session. And started the final adventure of the book. So fingers crossed it doesn't take another month and a half in order for us to actually finish it.

I will say though, and it's no reflection on DM Fluffy... but I don't like the way the adventure is put together. Because throwing a bunch of status conditions at players and debuffing them or just inflicting damage on them arbitrarily is a poor substitute for making an adventure that's actually challenging or interesting.

So, I'm just gritting my teeth and waiting until the end of the adventure/we actually get to something interesting.

Not really the way I wanted to finish this particular series, but, it is what it is.

Friday night's DnD was fun. And I'm calling this session "Hello Bavlorna", because they finally met one third of the antagonists in the book... and I think it went better than they were expecting it to go. I mean, they took on a sentient tube of goo and survived.

It's also been fun that for the last two games, I've been able to end on a cliff hanger.

Anyway...

Today was much of a muchness.

Supermarket, then we did a little trip to Spotlight so Ma could get more wool for things. And I could look over the Halloween decorations that I don't much care about as Halloween, but they're otherwise my vibe. Or at least bits of them are.

And that was it really.

Current mood:

photo saturday: hogweed

professor hogweed - alchemist, goblin, artificer

At some point there will be an Artificer character that actually sticks with me and that I really want to make. And I'm fairly sure that that character will be an Alchemist. But it hasn't really happened yet.

It doesn't stop me from making the characters... they just don't seem to latch onto my psyche in the way other characters do.

Which brings us to Professor Hogweed... a very smart goblin. with very big boots. And possibly not a real professor... but don't tell anyone.

He'd also be a character for a specific campaign in a specific place. That's about all I have, honestly... like I said, none of these characters really dig into my brain enough to get past the surface level or the opening idea.

Anyway...

Fun fact: The last time I was "sick" (at least enough that I referenced it in the blog) was May 2019. Which makes sense, given the world, and all the masks and hand washing and staying away from people.

Which may indeed be why I went down like the proverbial bag of shit this week. Yeah. But backing up a second...

Ma mentioned she'd had "a cold" last week, and while it was front of mind when she mentioned it, I didn't think about it when we shared snacks at the movies. So, when I started feeling a little flat on Sunday as I was making a functional if uninspiring vegetable soup, I didn't really think much of it... but by Monday, yeah, I was sick.

And I always know that I'm definitely sick if I go and nap. Because there was definitely fully clothed napping.

Just to be completely sure, I went and got a PCR test on Tuesday morning. In my car... because, honestly, that's just easier. And I think that I spent more time giving my details to the woman with the iPad than I did waiting for the test itself. Got the results back later in the afternoon... negative. Which was as expected, but I just wanted to be sure.

So, instead, I went down to the chemist on the corner and bought a big box of Codral. Because that always makes things better.

Otherwise, I cancelled the rest of the week, so no DnD for anybody this week. And then my back decided to really play up (which may well have been from the fully clothed napping or else from dozing more than once in my chair), which made a couple of the mornings more of a challenge than they should have been.

But otherwise, I'm on the mend, each day is a little better than the previous day, and at least today I'm the least sinus-ey that I have been all week.

Today we literally went to the supermarket, came back here... and then Ma headed home.

So there's that.

Current mood:

movies: lightyear

lightyear - to infinity...

So, fun fact, Lightyear isn't a kid's movie. It's that movie that seems to be a rare beast these days. A family movie. It's not a little kid's movie, even though it seems like it might be. But, then, honestly, when was the last time that a Pixar movie was "for kids".

You want something that's going to hypnotise small children into an hour and a half of shutting the hell up, go to whatever small, yellow, overall wearing fart joke movie is currently showing.

Honestly, I didn't know what to expect from Lightyear. I knew it was "about Buzz Lightyear" and I knew that Chris Evans was playing the titular Buzz. Which was a good choice. Tim Allen is great in the Toy Story movies, but I'm always here for Evans.

And it kind of makes sense that the action figures for a movie would have a slightly off-brand voice.

Without spoiling it too much, because it's basically the opening of the movie, in the universe of "Toy Story", this movie is the movie that Andy went to see in 1995 (presumably a live action movie) which became his favourite movie and inspired his transition from cowboy stuff to space stuff.

I won't lie, that opening nearly got me. All of the feels. From like a dozen words of text.

Also, writer/director Angus MacLane really dotted his I's and crossed his T's in this movie. There's a whole bunch of references to the toy version of Buzz and things from the movies. Again, without giving too much away (because it's the first two minutes of the movie), Lightyear's first words in this movie are the same as Buzz's first words in the first Toy Story movie.

It's also a beautiful looking movie. They've gone for the "Pixar version" of photo real. I mean, you can see it in the poster. And the cat looks like it looks for specific reasons.

It is definitely a Pixar movie though. And it's a sci-fi/drama... it's not a comedy. Just because it's animated, doesn't mean it has to be a dumb comedy. See also, the entirety of Pixar's back catalogue.

Also, let me have a controversial opinion for a second. I'm very quickly approaching being over Taika Waititi. He's fine as a director. I just maybe don't need to see/hear him as an actor anymore. Because, he's only ever himself. And as soon as I hear his voice, it's just so obviously him. And it throws me out of the movie. Add to that the fact that the character is just supposed to be comic relief, but, you know, isn't actually funny and gets annoying really quickly.

And, since we're talking about a Disney/Pixar movie... let's talk about "Disney/Pixar's Gay Problem".

So... we have a gay character in the movie. Cool. However, if they actually self identify as gay in the movie, they have to be a lesbian. And they can have a partner, but that partner can't be a character, have any lines or be a person. And then you have to kill off your gay character. Or have them leave the movie. For a perfectly understandable reason within the movie. But the end result is the same. Dead gay.

It could not be any more a Bury Your Gay trope if it tried.

Is there a single, chaste lesbian kiss? Alleged. I didn't actually notice. Because it's such a non-moment between one person we've known for about five minutes and one person who isn't actually a character.

Disney/Pixar, please note, you don't get any fucking kudos for this. Because, once again, a gay woman of colour's story is only really important if it impacts the story of your white, straight, male protagonist.

You wanna make an actual lesbian character... cool. Make it woman who is actually in more than three minutes of the movie.

Was it one of the great Pixar movies? No. But it's solidly mid-tier.

yani's rating: 3 zurgs out of 5

photo saturday: bafflestone redux

bo bafflestone - drake-friend, ranger, guide

Yeah, I know, this is possibly the character who has appeared the most and had the most potential versions and redesigns. I think we're at 6 appearances and about four redesigns, including one that I don't think made it to the blog. But we're calling this one the final version. Or at least final_final_final_v6_final.jpg.

And yes, he's still missing his left leg from the knee and he's missing two fingers on his left hand, but he has more refined prosthetics for both now, and I figured that those elements were more interesting as a reveal while playing the character (which I still really want to do, both from a character and a class/subclass perspective). And he still has additional tattoos under the shirt.

But I like this version. I've been playing a lot with the colour/texture of the leather, and I'm very much getting it to a place that I like. Plus, they added a new crossbow that didn't look quite as huge or lumpy as the old ones.

One day he'll see table time. One day.

Anyway...

I made chowder this week. Quite a bit of it. It wasn't bad.

Also, I was supposed to have a rental inspection this week, but my land agent sent me an email saying she was sick and saying that we're going to skip rescheduling and just do the next one in November. Yep, not going to argue with you there.

However, I had already mentally partitioned by brain to do my usual inspection clean. So I did it anyway. Because, you know, it needed doing, and now it's done.

Granted, I did it over two days.

No Thursday DnD this week... because, we're still cursed. In theory, back to our regularly scheduled programming next week. To at the very least start the final adventure from the book.

Friday was also Chiro Day... which was good, given that it was rescheduled from last week, and I'd done a big old clean. Again, needed to be done.

Friday's DnD... was... wow.

First, the players had been having a group chat and discussing plans behind my back. COLLUSION! By which I mean, yeah, that's totally fine, and we've done it in every campaign thus far "behind the DM's back".

I think this week's episode is best titled as "Best Laid Plans"... because those plans definitely crumbled into a heap after about twelve seconds.

All they had to do was find a boat and go visit the villain for this area. But, what, like I'm gunna make that easy for them. So I threw distractions at them. Which resulted in an extended conversation with a fire spirit who didn't speak a language that the party understood. Cue me jabbering in nonsense for an extended period of time.

But, they ended up brute forcing the puzzle, so they got a potion. And then Mr's character just straight up drank the potion. Because, sure. And turned into a giant dragonfly.

Yep, we're officially off the rails boys and girls.

So instead of having to access the villain's lair by using, you know, the stairs... they flew up to the top and basically shortcutted their way past half the lair. But I can't be mad at it. I gave them the tools, they just used them against me.

Does that mean I'm not going to punish them with those same tools later? Of course not. I also called the session to a halt right at a cliffhanger moment. Because, honestly, I need the extra week to work out what's going to happen next.

It was good though.

And proves the old adage that no DnD plan survives first contact with the PCs.

Anyway...

Today was short and simple.

Supermarket... same old same old... unpacking.... then we went to the movies. More on that later.

But yeah, that's the week that was.

Current mood:

photo saturday: silver slide

timoth sevoy/lord silver the slide

Yeah, we're talking a little bit of a right turn this week. Not as a new rabbit hole to go down on-goingly, more of just a one-off experiment.

Blades in the Dark is "a tabletop role-playing game about a crew of daring scoundrels seeking their fortunes on the haunted streets of an industrial-fantasy city"... basically, it's a game about heists. And one that I'd be interested in maybe having a go at one day.

Then a video wandered across my YubTubs feed of someone putting together a Blades character... which made be wonder... what kind of Blades character would I play. Which sent me down a brief, but predictable rabbit hole of character creation.

And dumped me out on the doorstep of the Slide. Which is a Playbook, the Blades version of DnD classes.

Talk your way into trouble, then talk your way out again. Pretend to be someone you’re not. Bluff, lie, and manipulate to get your way. Every problem is ultimately a problem because of people - and people are the instrument upon which you play your music.

Or, if you prefer... the shorter version...

Slides are good at social situations and subterfuge. Play a Slide if you want to manipulate and deceive people.

Yeah, that sounds pretty much up my alley. Honestly, there were a few I liked the sound on... the Lurk, the Spider, the Whisper (honestly, the names for the "classes" are great)... but I kept coming back to the Slide.

So, without going through all the minutia of character creation, I ended up with the scion of a fallen noble house, who knows any time he's being lied to and whose vice is pleasure, specifically gratification from lovers... specifically male brothel workers. Because why the fuck not. Which is what the dots on the map are... providers of his particular vice (although technically you only choose one location, so in reality it's probably the one at the top).

Top that off with an alias where you give yourself a title that you, quite likely, don't have... or that other people have given you because you're clearly a fancy fucker showing up in less fancy places.

I'm not unhappy with the results. I particularly like the way the design elements of the image came together. Whether he would work in an actual game or not, I have no idea.

Anyway.

Halfling Tomato Soup this week. It's, honestly, the perfect tomato soup. The one downside being the general faffing about that needs to happen alongside said soup, because a grilled cheese/cheese toastie is a definite must. But I also got that pretty right each time too.

Wednesday it was time for my booster shot. Fourth times the charm and all that.

The shot itself was quick and easy. In fact it took them longer to find/print out the paperwork than it did for me to get the shot and fill out said paperwork.

The downside, I felt like shite for two days. And my arm still feels sore in the spot I got the shot. But it's a small price to pay and, honestly, it's better than the alternative. It did put a bit of a crimp in my mood/ability to give a shit for the rest of the week.

Thursday DnD is cursed until further notice.

Friday was supposed to be Chiro Day... but that got cancelled... which was probably a good thing, given the aforementioned. I rescheduled for next Friday.

Friday night's DnD was... interesting. And I mean that literally. It's infinitely interesting watching the player's reactions to certain NPCs and situations, and also hearing them theorise things and how more or less accurate they are.

And we finished up with a character lore drop from Fluffy... which I wasn't expecting... and honestly, I don't think he was either. It also resulted in him putting together two pieces of information he hadn't put together before thanks to questions from Mister. So that was fun.

Anyway...

Today... supermarket.

We followed that up by wandering back down the road to the bookstore on the Parade. And spent a good chunk of time in there. It's a good bookstore, even if we didn't end up buying any actual books.

And that's that about that.

Current mood:

movies: the sea beast

the sea beast

So... The Sea Beast. Is a movie.

If this was a live action movie, I would say that the costume and set design departments deserve all of the accolades. So, that, for the people who designed the character's outfits, the boats, and every single asset in this movie that wasn't a human face or the titular beast.

Other than that, this movie is, at best, mostly very pretty looking but a hot fucking mess.

It's also a much, much, much shittier version of How To Train Your Dragon. If you took that movie, misunderstood the assignment and tried to switch lanes in the last ten minutes in the most illogical way.

This movie is, perhaps, an abject lesson in why you don't employ a stage musical lyricist as your co-writer in a movie that doesn't have any songs.

And, that sometimes, there might be a reason why you've never been given the opportunity to direct something on your own.

Sorry, Chris Williams, I've very much enjoyed other projects you've been involved with, but I think perhaps it was in spite of your involvement, not because of it.

Because the things that are wrong with this movie are... as follows: 

  • The entire script, especially your understanding of how the world you created actually works and your need to put in a last minute reveal that undercuts the previous 100 minutes of movie.
  • The performance of your female lead. 
  • The design of your titular beast.

Let's start with the last one and work backwards, shall we.

Maybe making a big, red, mostly smooth, featureless creature that looks, at certain points, either like a thumb or a penis, is perhaps NOT where you want to go with that design in a children's movie. I'm doubly annoyed because the concept art for that creature is gorgeous by comparison. And fixes pretty much all of the problems I have with the beast. 

Maybe also understand how underwater air-breathing creatures and their nostrils work. Just a thought. Because I'm like 80% sure that even a sea monster doesn't work that way.

Also, next time (hahaha, what am I saying, like there will ever be a next time, unless Netflix wants to waste some money), don't take Toothless from HTTYD, paint it red, remove the wings, add flippers and call it job done. Or slam the back of a whale onto the front of a seal and then give it a lizard head.

The problem as well is that the beast that we see at the start of the movie is 1000% better designed than the beast that's our "third lead". In fact, every single other beast in this movie is designed better than Red.

And, it's very weird, the little blue weirdo creature, Blue (yeah, this movie and naming things)... I feel like I've seen almost exactly that character in something before. A slightly chubby, voiceless character who eats random things and is just generally weird. I have such a strong sense memory of having seen it in something, but I can't place where or what right now. Maybe, much like this movie, it's a combination of a bunch of different things, all recycled into something "new".

Next, part of the problem with your female lead is the god-awful script. However, the combination of the dialogue and Zaris-Angel Hator's performance makes the character of Maisie come of as so horrible precocious that I never really liked her at any point in the movie. She just comes off as annoying or dumb for the entire movie and so I didn't care about anything she was doing.

Karl Urban does pretty well as the other lead, Jacob, but I do feel like his accent is slightly all over the place throughout the movie.

My favourite character had to be Sarah Sharp, voiced by the wonderful Marianne Jean-Baptiste (who seems like I've seen her in a million things, but I think I mostly know her from a TV show from 20 years ago). If you want to pay someone good to write the script for a spin off movie starring her, I'd be here for it.

Let's move on to the script.

If you've seen How To Train Your Dragon, you've seen the good version of this story. Because, honestly, this movie is mostly that, but without the finesse and talent required to make the story effective and interesting.

It's also a painfully obvious script right up until the point that the movie totally shoots itself in it's own narrative foot.

And because it's bad and because it doesn't make any sense and because it's just most of the plot of a good movie that is twelve years old at this point, I don't actually care about spoiling it. So here we go.

The movie uses the same plot as HTTYD in that there are sea monsters (dragons), and hunters (vikings), and the hunters hunt and kill the sea monsters because the sea monsters attack their ships every time they go out. And also that it gets them a bunch of money, and, maybe, possibly, makes their kingdom a lot of money (it's unclear honestly).

And, of course, the fight has been going on for generations and generations.

Then annoying girl and white blond protagonist man (who, between them make up about one third of Hiccup), encounter The Worst Monster Of Them All (in this instance, Red... in essence, Toothless) and, what do you know, turns out that it's not bad after all. And it's not a mindless beast. It's... dude... it's fucking Toothless. The Sea Beast is 1000% just a shitter, female, bright red version of Toothless. From looks to demeanour, the whole nine yards.

And it seems like the movie is saying "yeah, both sides did bad things, nobody knows how this fight started, maybe it was the monsters, maybe it was the people, nobody can actually say, war is hell"... which is... How To Train Your Dragon. But, you know, not the world idea.

But then, in the last ten or fifteen minutes of the movie, the story takes a hard left into Crazy Town.

Because suddenly, Maisie makes the leap in logic (and it is a leap and it makes no fucking sense), that because the books that tell stories about the monsters attacking humans has the crest of the empire on them, that somehow the king and queen are... making a big conspiracy. Sorry, what the actual fuck movie.

Maybe the books all have the crest of them because they're PRINTED IN THE FUCKING KINGDOM. And even if the empire is printing those books, that doesn't mean that they know anything about how the war started or what the monsters are like. It just means that, in the way of empires everywhere, they will keep conflict going if it suits them. Although it's never made explicitly clear HOW... unless you're just supposed to assume that because the castle is a gold and pearl encrusted nightmare and the king and queen are likewise wearing All The Gold, that somehow killing the monsters make them rich?

At the end of the day... the problem is that the movie presents a (somewhat weak) "both sides are to blame" argument in relation to the plot, but then, without presenting any actual evidence or information or proof, makes a radical leap in (not) logic and suddenly decides that the empire is to blame.

Yep, sorry guys, no. You just ruined your entire movie. Well done.

So, know that the rating I give this movie is based entirely on how pretty a lot of it looks. And... that's it.

yani's rating: 2 dumb but pretty storybooks out of 5

photo saturday: that fey warlock vibe

mama lullaby - tiefling, hermit, carerflynn - actor, liar, scoundrel

Let's call today's DnD Character Colouring Book something of a thought experiment. Two interpretations of basically the same character build.

On the left, we have Mama Lullaby, my... second ever character (I think.. if not second, then third, but pretty sure she was number two). A tiefling Archfey Warlock, who I always described as being 45% Oprah, 45% Moana's grandmother and 10% Mama Odie from Princess and the Frog. And whose horns keep getting more and more elaborate as new options become available.

In her "in game" description, she wears a big long embroidered coat over the top of that outfit that has a lot of pockets and, basically, functions as her component pouch. She also always had pockets full of dried fruit and nuts and chocolate in the jacket, which I let function as the herbalism kit she was also proficient in.

Since I couldn't do the kind of coat I wanted in Hero Forge, I added a little embroidered detail to her skirt as a nod to it. I also really like the way that particular armour top works on a fuller figured lady.

There was also something fun about playing a character where the (predominately) grown men around the table (in that they were predominantly men, not predominantly grown) end up calling you Mama for four hours LOL.

On the flip side is Flynn Callahan. Flynn is based on the answer to a Reddit question. Which was "how do you make a non-rogue steal character"... to which I replied with an answer about social stealth. Basically, making a character that could look like they belonged somewhere. Blending in.

And for that we need an Variant Human (with the Actor feat and the Charlatan Background) Archfey Warlock... with a familiar that can communicate and go invisible, so I chose the Sprite, since it's the most fey of the familiars.

Also... for all that I have a... fondness (we won't call it a fetish, because I don't like the connotations of making a particular type of person into a fetish) for redheaded gentlemen. Doubly so for redheaded gentlemen with freckles. And yet I've never played one. Neither male nor female actually... although the original idea for Quillamina was that she'd be a redhead, before I realised she needed to have silver hair.

I haven't bothered coming up with a name for the sprite as yet. It will be something plant or tree based and either short or easy to turn into a short nickname. The name floating to the front of my brain right now is Bramble. But Rowan also keeps coming to mind.

Not that it really matters, since this was more giving form to an idea flitting around in my head than a character I ever intended to play.

It's also fun to try a different take on the same build.

Anyway.

I made... interesting soup. I hadn't bought quite as much vegetable stuff as I maybe needed for soup last Saturday, so I wanted to bulk it out a little and decided to add a bunch of rice. Which worked out really, really well honestly. Maybe next time, like 10% less rice, but overall, definitely one to revisit. Otherwise, it was just vegetable, tomato and bacon soup.

Monday I had to go and get a refund on some socks that were the wrong kind. Thrilling, I know. Honestly, though, the whole process took fifty times longer than it otherwise should have, just because there were about three staff in the whole store and the customer in front of my was buying All The Things while contending with two small children.

Tuesday I figured, given my experience with the flu vaccine, I could just wander down the road and get my fourth booster shot, maybe I'd have to wait until the following day, but, yeah, definitely in a day or two.

Nope, two weeks. I mean, I didn't check anywhere else, I just went to the chemist down the road, but still... two weeks. Well, a week and a half now.

No Thursday DnD this week, which we knew about, because Fluffy, who's running the adventure, the last adventure in the book, was busy on Thursday. But then yesterday we discovered that another member of the group has tested positive, so there goes next week.

Friday night before DnD Fluffy came down early and we watch a movie... more on that in a bit... but then Friday night DnD was pretty good actually.

They dealt with what could have been a TPK (total party kill) encounter with minimal problems and found a completely different way to deal with it than the way the book assumed... but it also made sense for it to work, so I totally allowed it.

And now they're in the main area for this first part... in a city full of frog people, when one of the characters is terrified of frogs. Fun times.

It's also interesting to see what they've fixated on as characters (and as players I guess).

I will admit to some trepidation about running the big bad of this area. Just because I'm not sure how it's going to go... but I also haven't actually done any planning for it yet. It'll be fine.

Anyway.

Today... wasn't the original plan. I mean, we did the supermarket and everything as usual. But there was a market we were intending to check out, but I didn't realise until late in the week that it was an indoor market, in a not huge space, and that it may or may not have had an entry fee.

But mostly because it was an indoor market, in a confined space, we decided against it.

Instead we took a little trip down to Big W. Not thrilling, but useful.

And that's that about that.

Current mood:

movies: thor - love and thunder

thor: love and thunder - the one and only

It's been a hot minute since we last went to the movies, but I absolutely wanted to go and see Thor: Love and Thunder on the big screen. 

And not just because Chris Hemsworth shows his butt in this one. It is a nice butt though.

This movie definitely went places I wasn't expecting. Good places for the most part.

Let me get this out of the way first off, because I talk about all the good things in this movie.

I could absolutely have done with at least 15-20% less of the Taika Waititi-ness in this movie. Especially a lot of the overly cringe humour at the start of the movie. And, sorry, but I needed one to two short cameos from the character of Korg, voiced by Waititi, not to have him be in, essentially, the entire movie. 

He was funny in small doses, but as a constant presence, he's very grating. Keep the narration though, the narration is probably his best dialogue, even though, for the most part, it's fairly unnecessary.

That was part of the problem in general, there were a lot of "Hey, hey, hey, you remember that really smart or funny thing we did in the last movie? Well, what if we did it AGAIN, basically the same, but just added MORE of it? Would that be good, would you like that". And, for the most part, the answer is "No, not really".

Waititi wrote this script with Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, and, I feel like it shows. There are parts of this movie that are 100% Waititi... and then there are parts of this movie that I would have to say, by contrast, are all Robinson. Honestly, I like the Robinson parts much more.

I also, kinda didn't need the Guardians of the Galaxy cameo at the beginning. Partially because it was so full of the cringy humour I previously mentioned. Also, because I'm kind of over Chris Pratt in general. And he looked weird in this movie. Shlubbier. I don't know how else to describe it, other than to say that he looked like he was being played by a Chris Pratt impersonator. And not a great one either.

If they had dumped a lot of the cringy, pointless and, mostly unfunny "comedy" in the first part, then maybe they could have put more energy and attention into the part of the story that was actually important. The relationship between Thor (Hemsworth) and Dr Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). With, you know, 15-20% less of the TV sitcom "my ex and my other ex are now a couple" of it all.

I like Thor being slightly dumb. I don't know that I like Thor being THIS dumb.

It would also have meant we could have had a little more Tessa Thompson. Because she's always amazing, but she kind of got the sidekick who's not the comedic sidekick edit. Which, also, knowing what we know about the character of Valkyrie is very much the Gay Best Friend trope.

Also... didn't they promise... way back when they first announced this movie that they were going to let her gay it up properly in this one? Yeah, that didn't fucking happen either. To the surprising of exactly nobody. 

Moving on to the good things.

Despite my quibbles, I liked a lot of this movie. 

I really liked seeing Portman back. But then, I just generally like Natalie Portman. Seeing her get to kick ass, take names and be a big old superhero this time around was great.

I'm very, very tangentially aware of the plotline from The Mighty Thor comic books, where Jane Foster takes up Mjölnir and becomes a female version of Thor. And, limited spoilers for both the movie and the comic book series, has cancer. But that's literally all I knew.

Honestly, that's pretty much about as far as the movie dives into it. Not quite, but almost.

And she looked great in the outfit. With her... muscle suit? I couldn't tell, but I assume, if they can give Hemsworth a giant gut in the previous Avengers movie, then giving Portman a set of buff arms and shoulders wouldn't be that hard. Or else, you know, they pulled some Reverse Captain America CGI on her.

The one thing I didn't really dig was the helmet. I kinda assume it was a completely CGI helmet, it just sat on her face strangely. And it made her NOT look like Natalie Portman somehow. It was weird.

I will say, that for most of the movie, Thor is possibly the least interesting character. But there are moments when the script actually allows him to take things more seriously that he becomes the character that I love. Hemsworth is good though. And he and Portman have good chemistry.

Let's talk about Christian Bale for a moment. Until last night, because I've stopped watching any trailers for movies I actually care about, I had no idea he was even in this movie. And boy is he IN this movie.

Well, it would be more accurate to say that he's in the part of this movie that Robinson wrote. He also disappears for large chunks of this movie so that it can do bad comedy.

The character he plays, The God Butcher (or Gorr... although honestly, I don't actually know how anybody knew that other name, if the movie mentioned it, I don't remember), has, for most of the movie, the same issue that I've felt with most of the Marvel villains and definitely with the Thor villains, with the possible exception of Hel. Because Hel was great.

He's... mostly ineffectual. He doesn't REALLY feel like a threat.

The design of the character is cool, Bale puts in a great performance, and yes, he kills a bunch of gods... off-screen. And then fails to kill Thor for the remainder of the movie. Also, you know, something something plot... something something manipulating him not killing him. But still.

And I worked out what his arc was probably going to be about a third of the way into the movie. With the exception of one piece of information I didn't have at the time, I was basically right.

What I will say is that the sequence in the Shadow Realm is possibly the best overall sequence in the whole movie. Because, who knew that a modern Marvel movie in black and white was a thing that I wanted/needed. But it absolutely was. And given that Thor movies made by Waititi are made of technicolour psychedelic rainbows (albeit very beautiful ones), it was a nice contrast.

Honestly, for me, the best parts of the movie in general are from the Shadow Realm onwards.

Well, that and the visit to the Omnipotent City. Once I got over the shock of seeing Russell Crowe pretending to be Greek, but not pretending to have gotten old and chonky. 

Of course that scene also contained both Thor's naked ass as well as the two, delightfully named, Zeus Pretty Boys... Josh Heuston and Adam Todd... who are both very much unspeaking background actors but also very pretty. 

The whole scene was the right kind of comedic (for the most part).

Breaking down this plot in my head now... there's actually not very much to it. And once again, that's partly because they waste so much time at the start of the movie just being "funny".

What I didn't expect was that the scene in the movie that I found the most emotionally effecting would include... mild spoilers... Thor marshalling a bunch of kids to fight a bunch of shadow monsters. And, most especially, one small girl and a stuffed rabbit.

As I said at the beginning though, the end of this movie surprised me. Not completely, like I said, I'd mostly worked out where the villain's story was going, but I wasn't expecting the reveal of the true meaning of the title of the movie. And the final, final post credit scene... yeah, that one got me.

If I had to rank the Thor movies, I think this would come in a solid second place. With Ragnarok in first place (or at least, from my memory of it), the original movie in Third and Dark World in a dark and gritty fourth.

All in all though, an enjoyable time, when it got out of it's own way.

yani's rating: 4 thunder bunnies out of 5

photo saturday: monster hunter boy

dembe khamari - hunter, fighter, mercenary

Dembe Himayat Chiamaka Khamari never really got a a proper go at it.

He was a character made to play a set of games that fell apart before they got started. It happens.

And he was also me experimenting with whether the Battlemaster Fighter was a thing I wanted to play. It's okay. I might go back to it at some point. I think he was also the first time I dipped my toe into the water with Ranger. I never got as far as the subclass though.

Today's DnD Character Colouring Book is the end of a long line of potential reskins for Dembe. I never played him enough to really get a handle on his look. But I like where this ended up.

I don't know whether the gold markings on his face are supposed to be tattoos or face paint. I feel like they should be tattoos, because fussing with face paint doesn't feel very him. Why are they gold? How are they gold? Who knows... something something a wizard done it. I can see there being magically created tattoos that are not, themselves, inherently magical.

And the little chest with the tongue? Yeah, it's not really part of his character, although he was going to be a monster hunter and he does have a speciality in hunting monstrosities, and a mimic is a monstrosity. I just like the idea of a "pet mimic" following him around, never doing any damage, just hanging around. And it being too cute or too pathetic to kill.

Anyway.

Soup this week was poh-tay-toe. Basically. There was some leek and some bacon... and some dill. It was... okay. I've made better honestly.

Otherwise this week was a whole lot of nothing.

And on Wednesday one of the Thursday boys pulled the plug on that week's game after testing positive for everyone's favourite friend. Then on Friday one of the other boys reported his partner was positive in the morning before confirming he was also positive by the evening. Fun times... or whatever. So, we won't be doing that for a couple of weeks.

Friday night's DnD game was... a little bit chaos, a little bit perfect.

I've forgotten to mention the session titles for the last couple of weeks. So we had Mushroom Dreams followed by Swampy Tales... and this week I'm going to call A Rose By Any Other Name.

Because you know, it's not all the time that a random die roll on a random table leads your players to ending up with an awakened rose bush as a travelling companion. Especially given that it was all unplanned, although the fact Fluffy's character had just had a dream about some particularly vicious roses certainly helped.

Rose Bush is probably not going to last all that long, all things considered. Ten hitpoints isn't very many after all. But we'll see what happens. And I have plans... or... a plan. I had thoughts on the drive home last night... whatever.

Today was... a return to the old ways. Or something.

We did the supermarket. I bought things. That I will turn into soup. Of some kind.

Then we headed off to the movies. For the first time since the end of September last year. So, nine whole months. And it was good. But more on that later.

That was it though. That was the day.

Current mood:

photo saturday: and then there was hush

hushed word - tabaxi, sage, hunter

Well this is slightly embarrassing...

This week's DnD Character Colouring Book is a character I totally forgot about. And it's not like she was a one and done character, there's a whole rich series of adventures with her.

This is Hushed Word. Or, Hush. She was never supposed to be a character. Hush was what happened during the first real "season" of Adventurer's League that I was involved in. When they decided that, because of something something reasons, nobody could be brought back from the dead that season. Or not without, you know, additional problems that I honestly don't give two shits about because it was a dumb idea at the time and I hated it.

But when I decided to play my first Druid and wanted him to be able to be dinosaurs... so you send him to the land with dinosaurs, which was where that season was set... and then he takes like 1500 hp worth of damage because something something cursed gold, in a dumb mechanic that they later ret-conned because it was dumb.

And the mechanic they had when characters died was that you got a "surrogate" character. A bunch of pregenerated characters that you could pick from, most of whom were boring, boring humans. Looking back at the list now, I'm not 100% sure why I chose Ranger instead of Druid. I guess I didn't vibe with the chosen subclass.

Honestly, I don't know who made the choices for those characters and why, but they didn't make any fucking sense to me then and they don't make any fucking sense to me now.

But Hush had a great time. She found a ruby, threatened a priest, had a hit put out on her, made a very good friend and ended up by voluntarily going to jail to resolve the hit.

Fucking DnD man...

Anyway.

I made my version of minestrone again this week. But forgot the beans. Also didn't miss the beans in the finished soup. So, you know, no loss.

Otherwise, not much to report.

Thursday night DnD was a bust... It wasn't going to be an actual game night anyway, and at the last minute someone was all "people at my work" that and "close contact" this. So we threw in the towel at the last minute.

Friday night DnD was good.

The thing that I wasn't necessarily expecting, but am loving, is how the party reacts to various NPCs. Particularly Fluffy, whose character is having a much worse time of it right now. It's also the most fun to listen to him hypothesise about his theories about things. And smile and say "could be" no matter what random wild idea he comes up with.

Anyway...

Today wasn't much of anything really. Did the supermarket thing, came back here, did the usual and then went to get some new socks. Thrilling, right?

Current mood: