Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Why I Love The Digimon Movie

I was going to make this blog post in the same vein as some of my “Problem” posts, but I just couldn’t do it. Despite its flaws (which I will address some) I love The Digimon Movie. And since I just finished watching it again (I always put it in the viewing rotation when I finish the Digimon Emperor arc in Adventure 02–stay tuned for a post about Ken’s character development) I had to gush about it for a bit. The internet has no shortage of complainers, so I just wanted to be grateful for a moment that this movie exists. That being said, no movie is perfect (not even Emperor’s New Groove) so let’s start by taking a look at where Digimon fell short. 

I didn’t know until I was older that the English Digimon Movie was a Frankenstein’s monster of short films. I knew it was based on three movies, but I didn’t know as a kid just how unrelated they were. Not only did it take some extra work for the three movies to become one cohesive film (cohesive enough for kids and nostalgic grown-ups), but the plots didn’t flow together (not to mention the animation styles) without considerable work. In the end, this Frankenstein’s monster turned out alright, at least enough for me, but there were elements of Hurricane Touchdown (the Adventure 02 segment of the movie) that were lost and made the ending of the movie feel rushed.

The thing I’m most grateful for with The Digimon Movie is simply that it exists. Digimon has always had to compete with its cousin Pokemon, so when Mewtwo Strikes Back came out, I’m glad Digimon did something to attempt to be relevant in comparison. Digimon was never popular where I grew up (rural Canada), especially past the first couple seasons, so maybe it was a losing battle. All the same, Digimon has never been the franchise to give up without a fight. And that’s why we had the latest Adventure 02 movie and Digimon Adventure 2020 dubbed into English–still waiting on Xros Wars Season 3, Appmon, and Ghost Game though.

In the end, the biggest reason I’m grateful for The Digimon Movie is because of nostalgia. I remember my oldest brother taking me and my little brother to the movie theater and getting packs of Digimon cards with our tickets. Years later as adults we went to see some of the Tri movies together and had movie nights for the others and Kizuna. I’ve seen the three segments of the movie in Japanese and they're wonderful, but subtitles don’t mix well with chores and charting at work. So when all is said and done, I’m going to keep watching The Digimon Movie. Digi-Rap and all.

Though I could do without the Angela Anaconda short.

Monday, April 15, 2024

LDS Geeks Podcast #16: Interview with a Dalek

Instead of continuing my adventures through Classic Doctor Who with TJ (because sometimes life gets obnoxiously busy), I had a chance meeting with someone who got to be an extra in the Moffat era of Doctor Who (pictures below with some of his appearances). He agreed to be my guest on the podcast, even though he's not a Latter-day Saint. I hope you enjoy my interview with Harry, who was once a Dalek. Please excuse/enjoy our tangents about parenting.


Friday, April 12, 2024

5 Fantasy Book Recommendations


A few years ago, I went to a graduation for my spouse’s master’s degree and one of the speakers talked about how after graduation many graduates stop reading. This was one of the motivations for me to get started in reading. I was not much of a reader prior to this experience. Anyways, I have read a lot of books and I have more books to read in the future. For those of you that are starting to read or should read here are five book recommendations that every fantasy reader should read. I will not include Young Adult series in this post because that can be their own post.

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Of course, the first recommendation for fantasy reads should be the one that inspired the genre, Lord of the Rings. It is a timeless tale of Frodo Baggins and his companions as they embark on a perilous quest to destroy the One Ring and defeat the Dark Lord Sauron. Set in the richly detailed world of Middle-earth, the story explores themes of friendship, heroism, and the struggle against tyranny. With its intricate mythology, diverse cultures, and stirring battles between good and evil.

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (and later Brandon Sanderson)

This epic journey of Rand al'Thor and his companions as they navigate a world on the brink of destruction. Set in a meticulously crafted universe where the Wheel weaves the pattern of time, the series chronicles the battle between forces of light and shadow, weaving together intricate plots, diverse cultures, and a rich tapestry of magic. Spanning fifteen volumes, it delves into themes of destiny, power, and the cyclical nature of history, offering a gripping saga of prophecy, adventure, and the struggle for survival.

The Cosmere by Brandon Sanderson

The Cosmere is a grand interconnected universe encompassing multiple series and standalone novels, each set on different worlds but sharing a common cosmology and magical system. Spanning genres from epic fantasy to science fiction, the Cosmere explores themes of power, redemption, mental health, and the nature of divinity. Through intricate worldbuilding and compelling characters, Sanderson weaves a narrative tapestry that invites readers to explore the depths of his vast and imaginative creation. See my previous post on my opinion on what order to read them in.

Cradle by Will Wight

A series where individuals strive to ascend to higher levels of power through martial arts and cultivation. In a realm governed by sacred arts and mysterious forces, the protagonist, Lindon, embarks on a journey of self-discovery and growth. Filled with exhilarating combat, intricate worldbuilding, and dynamic characters, Wight's series offers a captivating blend of action, intrigue, and exploration of the human spirit's boundless potential. If you are a fan of the anime One Piece then you will like this series.

Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

a mesmerizing tale that follows the enigmatic Kvothe as he recounts his journey from a gifted young musician to a legendary figure shrouded in myth and mystery. Set in the richly imagined world of Temerant, the narrative weaves together elements of magic, music, and adventure, exploring themes of love, loss, and the pursuit of knowledge. With its lyrical prose and intricate storytelling, Rothfuss crafts a captivating narrative that immerses readers in a world of wonder and danger.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Kites and Commandments

(Guest post by Russell)

Mary Poppins is a beloved story of a British nanny with special powers coming to help the Banks children. The movie was enjoyable for me as I was growing up. I loved the combination of live action and cartoon animation. Dick Van Dyke was great alongside Julie Andrews in the cast, and the music was wonderful. From “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (I had to look it up to get it spelled right) to “Step in Time,” there are a number of musical numbers that bring back a host of childhood memories. There are simple things throughout the movie that bring joy to children, such as feeding the birds, looking up chimneys, and dancing with penguins. At the end of the movie, Mr. Banks, the changed banker, takes his children, Jane and Michael, out to fly a kite. I love seeing all the kites flying around in the final scenes of the movie, and they set a beautiful backdrop against which Mary Poppins flies off into the distance.

A kite is able to fly because of the air differential between the bottom and top of the kite, allowing lift to be created. The string that attaches the kite to the person on the ground provides stability that allows the kite to fly. That string may seem restrictive and to be holding the kite back from going even higher; however, if that string were cut, the kite might fly on its own for a short time, but eventually it will fall. With the string and proper weather conditions, the kite can continue flying for long periods of time.

Likewise, the Lord gives us commandments, which allow us to figuratively fly. They might seem restrictive and like they are holding us back, but in reality, they give us the framework that allows us to remain aloft. It’s been said that God binds us to set us free while Satan sets us free to bind us. This is very apparent in the interactions that Alma has with Korihor. In Alma 30:13, Korihor asks, “O ye that are bound down under a foolish and a vain hope, why do ye yoke yourselves with such foolish things? Why do ye look for a Christ? For no man can know of anything which is to come.” In keeping with our kite analogy, Korihor is asking, “Why are you letting yourself be tied by that silly string?” Alma bears powerful testimony in the ensuing verses, but the most telling verses are Alma 30:59-60:

“And it came to pass that as he went forth among the people, yea, among a people who had separated themselves from the Nephites and called themselves Zoramites, being led by a man whose name was Zoram—and as he went forth amongst them, behold, he was run upon and trodden down, even until he was dead.

"And thus we see the end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell.”

In essence, Korihor cut his strings and learned from his own experience this truth: Satan would have us cut ourselves off from the source that gives us the power to keep flying. Following such a course leaves us adrift and perhaps even feeling free for a moment, but eventually–like a kite who’s string has been cut–we fall back down. The truth is we are all going to have days when we “cut” our proverbial kite strings. Fortunately, repentance is one of the greatest gifts we have been given and as many times as we need to, we can start “flying” again. And unlike a kite flown by a mortal person, the one who is holding our figurative strings has a much greater interest in seeing how high we can soar. So, “Let's go fly a kite, up to the highest height, Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring!”

Monday, April 8, 2024

Good Movie Additions: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Book-to-movie adaptations get a bad reputation from years and years of Hodge podge work (see fans of Percy Jackson and their movies) but I still stand behind the apple pie metaphor from a blog post TJ did years ago. It’s an adaptation, after all, not a direct translation. So some artistic liberties are taken. Some adaptations cause fans to die a little inside (see the Burrow burning in Half-Blood Prince) because they’re unnecessary, but some enhance the feeling and theme of the story (see Stephen’s post about Dawn Treader). I guess my point is that not all creative additions to book-to-movie adaptations are bad. That’s what I want to delve into with some of these blog posts. Today’s example: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Scenes from the Blitz

The book starts out with the four children arriving at the professor's home. The blitz has already happened. But in the movie, the Blitz scenes make the war more real to modern audiences. The war had barely been over five years when The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was first in print, so readers of the book probably didn’t need reminding of the traumatic experience. But those of us in modern days, especially those of us in North America, have never experienced night time air raids. So seeing the bombings, and what the Pevensies (and other kids) were running from makes the urgency much more real. In addition, there were several references to the war throughout the adventure in the movie setting up a juxtaposition of the war in the “real” world, fought by others, to a war fought in Narnia, in which the Pevensie children were commanders. 

Entering Narnia

In the book, the siblings were simply exploring when Lucy wandered into Narnia. And then later, during a game of hide and seek, she and Edmund ventured into Narnia more or less together. Finally, when they entered the wardrobe as a family, CS Lewis simply had them hiding from visitors. As grateful as I am to the writer of these wonderful stories, those situations don’t exactly come across as good cinema. Instead, the movie portrayal created a greater sense of mystery around the wardrobe and entering Narnia; Lucy checks the wardrobe during a game of hide and seek, and then tries to return during a midnight walk. And when she returns with both brothers  and her sister, the broken window provides a sense of urgency that drives the story forward. 

Peter’s Shadows

Even before entering Narnia, the movie gave greater depth to the characters, especially the brothers, that was not as obvious in the text especially during a first reading.Even before entering Narnia, Peter and Edmund were at odds with each other; this conflict was only magnified as they entered the wardrobe. For example, Peter’s pride reinforced Edmund’s betrayal, as he gave a woman’s coat to his brother. In contrast to that pride, we also saw Peter’s fears and insecurities, as he’s hesitant to fight, while the book makes it seem like accepting his destiny was easy for him. “We’re not heroes,” he claimed. Movie Peter directly told Mr. Beaver and Aslan that he didn’t want to fight and instead just wanted to get the family home. Instead of running away, he found the courage inside to face his destiny.

Edmund’s Betrayal 

Peter’s pride may have reinforced the betrayal (like with the lady’s coat mentioned above), but the movie added layers of emotional baggage and depth to Edmund’s betrayal beyond the sibling relationships. From the moment they arrived at Beaver Dam, Mr. Beaver noted to Edmund, “Enjoying the scenery?” There was a weight upon Edmund. Add to that when he saw Tumnus turned to stone, instead of simply seeing a statue, and his failed efforts to save the fox. It became obvious early on that Edmund wanted to turn back, but couldn’t.

The Journey to Aslan

From the moment the children meet the beavers in the film, there was a sense of urgency, lost in the wordiness of the novel (Tangent: I love the added line from Susan in the movie, “He’s a beaver; he shouldn’t be saying anything.”). I particularly found Mrs. Beaver’s urgency more understandable in the movie and honestly found her slow speed in the book off-putting (you have a witch chasing you; take all the head start you can!). The depiction of the battles in the movie, including the skirmish on the frozen river, added a sense of action lacking in a direct translation of the book. 

So agree or disagree? What were the best parts of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe movie? What could you have lived without? Next up for Narnia posts is going to be about The Horse and His Boy—my favorite! 

For Narnia and for Aslan!

Friday, April 5, 2024

5 Relatable Spongebob Moments


Like many of you, watching Spongebob was a staple of our young lives. I frequently watched the show and thought it was hilarious due to it overdramatic humor. As a kid I thought it was unrealistic. Yet, as I have grown older, I realized the truth: Spongebob is pragmatic. In this post I will go over 5 scenes that are relatable to us as adults.

1. The Lid

Have you ever been given a simple task and yet it seems difficult to you and you continue to make the same mistakes? In season 2 episode 23 "Big Pink Loser" Patrick had the same problem when he was tasked to find the lid at the Krusty Krab.

2. Wumbo!

On the other hand instead of working on an easy task, you are given a difficult one and you wish that you could switch it to wumbo and have all your problems easily fixed. In season 3 episode 5 "Mermaidman and Barnacleboy IV" spongebob takes Mermaidman belt and causes everyone to become mini by shooting the laser in the belt. Patrick's epiphany to get them large again was to switch M to W.

3.  Weenie Hut Jr's.

 For the days that you think you are tough enough to do something hard. Like attempting a personal record at bench press, asking for a promotion, or telling your child "no", but then reality kicks in an reminds you that you belong to Super Weenie Hut Jr's. In season 3 episode 48 Spongebob wants to enter The Salty Spitoon, but the bouncer, Reg, rejects Spongebob and directs him to Super Weenie Hut Jr's. 

4. Spongebob Procrastination

I don't think I need to go over this one much, but most of us have been in school and their has always been that one assignment that we did not want to do, so we procrastinate. Like me needing to write my dissertation. In season 2 episode 37 called Procrastination, Spongebob is given a writing assignment from driving school to write an 800 word essay. Like any student he wastes his time trying to get this assignment done.

5. Here lies Squidward's Hope and Dreams

I find this one purely funny and still somewhat relatable. When we are children we have huge hopes and dreams, but as we grow older we learn what we are good at and what profession we can make from that. As we make a destination to our careers our childhood dreams are put to rest. In season 3 episode 46 "One Krabs Trash" while Mr. Krabs is looking for buried treasure he comes across Squidward leaving flowers for his hopes and dreams. 

I hope that you found theses scenes funny and relatable. What other scenes do you find yourself quoting often and why? 

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

The Fugitive Doctor

She was a mystery in the era of the Thirteenth Doctor and the controversial Timeless Child arc and we were led to believe that her tenure was prior to the First Doctor. However, there's a portion of the Whovian interwebs (including me) that believes she’s a forgotten incarnation after “The War Games” and before “Spearhead from Space” so I’m going to talk about her here, before continuing onto Third Doctor blog posts. She really only appeared in 3-4 episodes (depending on how you count her hologram appearance in "The Power of the Doctor").

Top Story: Fugitive of the Judoon

Honestly couldn't have asked for a better reveal to an unknown Doctor incarnation. We got callbacks to Judoon, Time Lords, chameleon arch, and (of course) Captain Jack Harkness. I know the whole Fugitive Doctor idea is controversial, as it's implied to be part of the Timeless Child story. However, Ruth's story, while representative of all the time the Doctor has lost (maybe including the Child), is great storytelling. And since her TARDIS already looks like a police box, there could be more to this story than meets the eye. That being said, she doesn't recognize the Sonic Screwdriver. Maybe we'll learn more in the RTD 2.0 era.

Flop Story: Once, Upon Time

The concept of this story is actually really nice, with the Thirteenth Doctor falling through her time stream (not too unlike when Clara jumped into Eleven's time stream) and landing in the Fugitive Doctor's memories. However, because the episode is split between four storylines, we don't get a fully cohesive Fugitive Doctor story. I know it was kind of the point of this story to make it confusing, but all the same one of the Fugitive Doctor's stories had to be the "flop".

Honorable Mention: The Timeless Children

It's debatable if this story even counts as a Fugitive Doctor story. She appears as a vision to the Thirteenth Doctor inside the Matrix, but that's not really any different than the Fifth or Seventh Doctors appearing as a hologram to Tegan and Ace. However, whether the Fugitive Doctor really is or isn't part of the Timeless Child story, this episode is representative of all the time lost because of the Division's interference. 


Lee Clayton      UNKNOWN - The Fugitive of the Judoon 

Karvanista        UNKNOWN - Once, Upon Time - UNKNOWN

Favorite Companion: Lee Clayton

Reminiscent of when Martha Jones tried to keep the Tenth Doctor safe, Lee showed unfailing loyalty to the Doctor. It's unclear how much he knew of her past and her lost memories, but he loved her. He died trying to protect her. It's hard to gauge a favorite companion from only an episode, but I would love to have seen more of Lee. Maybe from when the chameleon circuit was activated? 

Least Favorite Companion: Karvanista

When you wound a puppy, it'll fight back. Karvanista is no exception. He loved the Doctor, as only his/her companions would, but he felt abandoned. So to find her again as the Thirteenth Doctor would be incredibly complicated. I can't say Karvanista is a bad companion. Just wish I had more time of him as a companion to judge him by.

Alright. Now with the Fugitive Doctor out of the way, it's time to move onto the Third Doctor's era. And as soon as TJ and I can find more recording time, we'll be back with more Doctor Who podcast episodes.

Until proven otherwise, my theory/head-canon is that the Fugitive Doctor belongs between the Second and Third Doctors. Only issue is how she doesn't recognize the Sonic Screwdriver.

Monday, April 1, 2024

LDS Geeks Podcast #15: Yu-Gi-Oh Nostalgia

Back when I finished watching Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal and Arc-V after it, I struggled hard. Ever since, I couldn't decide if I enjoyed the original Yu-Gi-Oh for its content or if it was just the nostalgia. So Joe and I took up the conversation to decide which parts of the original Yu-Gi-Oh are quality content.


Friday, March 29, 2024

First Impressions of X-Men '97

(Guest post by Miguel)

The 80s and 90s were a time when Saturday morning cartoons reigned supreme. Even now as adults with children of our own, many of us still remember the theme songs from our favorite shows. Out of all of these opening themes however, one of the most iconic was the opening for X-Men the Animated Series. While there are many popular Marvel IPs nowadays, it was not always so. The 90s was a dark time for Marvel. The once successful company found itself in nearly 610 million dollars of debt by 1996, and filed for bankruptcy. By 1997, the last and final season of X-Men the Animated Series aired and left a hole in the hearts of all mutant lovers. Fast forward to Disney+ Day 2021 when all of that changed.

When X-Men '97 was announced, there were so many questions. Would it be a remake? If not, what would the storyline be? What changes would be made? Would Disney destroy yet another show with unnecessary plot line changes to make it more sensitive to modern demographics? We would have to wait till 2024 to find out. March 20th, 2024 was that fateful day, and if you haven’t watched the first episodes of X-Men '97 yet, you are missing out.

While the show was created with the intention of not only bringing back old fans, but also gaining new ones, a rewatch of the original series is not required. However, in my opinion, it would not hurt to watch one of those YouTube recaps before starting the show since it begins right after the original series ends. In episode one of X-Men '97, we are reintroduced to characters and names that fans of the original show will immediately recognize. Bolivar Trask, Master Mold, and the Friends of Humanity are all still meddling in the lives of our beloved mutants, Jean Gray is pregnant, and Professor Charles Xavier is no longer on earth. While technically off planet, Professor X is talked about as if he is dead. In fact, the first episode ends with Magneto showing up with Charles’ last will and testament gifting all that he once had to Magneto, including the X-Men. Would the X-Men be able to trust their greatest nemesis?

Each of the episodes was 33 minutes long, which is a 50% increase from the original series’ episode run time of roughly 21 minutes. After opening my Disney+ app, I was relieved to hear my beloved theme song in HD. Not only that, but they reimagined the opening with updated animation, character intros, and scenes. The nostalgia was almost too much to handle. The show felt new, yet familiar. Not only that, but Disney managed to bring back some of the same voice actors from the original show. Fans will be happy to know that Beast, Rogue, Wolverine and Storm are all voiced by the same actors as the original series. Let’s be real, who else could voice the mistress of elements but Alison Sealy-Smith? And who else could deliver the back-handed southern quips beside Lenore Zann? The animation style draws its inspiration from the original series’ style, but comes across as fresh, colorful and interesting. Disney and Marvel have done a terrific job with the show’s revival. 

The hour invested in the first two episodes of X-Men '97 flew by in the blink of an eye. I wanted more, but knew I would have to wait a week for the next episode. Another thing that X-Men '97 does similar to the original series is the fantastic use of cliff hangers. The original show had different plot arcs, often coupled with multiple episodes dedicated to them throughout the show. The second episode ends with one heck of a cliff-hanger! It is obvious that the creators of the show are drawing upon the comics for their inspiration of the storyline. Just in these two episodes we see Storm lose her powers (which is a significant plot for her in the comics) and Jean giving birth, only for another Jean to show up at the front door. We know that Mr. Sinister cloned Jean in the comics, but the question remains, is our Jean the real Jean, or the one the showed up at the door? We know how the comics play out, but will X-Men '97 follow suit? 

Whether you are a newcomer or an old fan, the first two episodes of X-Men '97 are a must watch. The only bad thing about the show is that it is slated to be 10 episodes long. I need more! This is the first time in a while where I have been so excited for a new episode of a show to air. X-Men '97 is a perfect mix of nostalgia and innovation. I am ready to see Cyclops use his optic beam to land from a falling ship again, are you?

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Scripture Hero Spotlight: Nephi

We've spent the past three months of Come Follow Me study curriculum learning from the words of Nephi. For the first few weeks of the year, my four-year-old would refuse to go to Primary by herself, so I was blessed to revisit some classic Nephi songs, inspiring this new blog post series. So while our Creature Features and Character Spotlights gush about fictional characters and monsters, today I wanted address some of the reasons I love Nephi and what I've learned from his writings over the years.

"I Will Go and Do!"

One of the things I'll always respect most about Nephi is his faith. Not just because there's a cool Primary song about it and a Living Scriptures song too. But during the episode of retrieving the brass plates, Nephi had no clue what was going to happen, like his brothers. However, unlike Laman and Lemuel, he held to the base belief that Heavenly Father would provide a way to accomplish his work. In a recent Sunday School lesson about the Isaiah chapters of 2 Nephi, President Nelson's interpretation of Israel meaning "Let God prevail" was mentioned. And maybe this was obvious to some, but it struck me that day how I need to get out of God's way and "let [Him] prevail." If I listen to my faith, instead of my fears (and other feelings), it's easier to trust God work "for good to them that love God." (Romans 8:28)

The Iron Rod

Lines from Nephi's vision trigger powerful memories for me from the Hill Cumorah Pageant, which I will always love. But setting aside the vision as a whole and looking just at the rod of iron, which has been interpreted as the word of God, and it's easy to see how important the scriptures and the law were to Nephi. Multiple times it was stated that their descendants would need the law to keep the doctrine pure (that was the whole reason for going back for the brass plates). Add to that how much Nephi obviously loved Isaiah and other prophets, it's plain to see how much he feasted on the words of Christ.

Nephi's Boat

I will forever have a sweet affection for this scripture story, because it was my scene as a ten-year-old in the Hill Cumorah Pageant (I was Laman's son). Nephi's insistence that he could do all things that God asked him to do hearkens back to getting the brass plates. But in addition to that, he didn't let his greatest opposition stop him in building the ship or in leading it to the Promised Land. This story illustrates the love he felt for his brothers and how much he hoped for them to change, a hope unfulfilled when he recorded these stories on the small plates years later. But because of the Plan of Salvation and work for our ancestors, Nephi's hope might not be in vain.

The Psalm of Nephi

He called himself a "wretched man" but I think I'd be in pretty good shape if I were as wretched as him. That being said, Nephi's Psalm (2 Nephi 4) reminds me that even the most valiant disciples have their faults. We don't know what sins so easily beset Nephi, but that's just what makes this poetry so applicable to all of his readers. "Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul." These words always bolster my soul and keep me hoping.

Glorying in Isaiah

While notoriously difficulty among modern readers, Nephi loved reading the words of Isaiah and likening his words to his people. I've thought for a few years how people count themselves out when it comes to understanding Isaiah. While I still don't understand most of Isaiah's words, some of my favorite powerful scripture verses come from verses Nephi quoted from Isaiah. And according to the Follow Him podcast, Isaiah was influential in many of Nephi's personal writings as well. So even if it takes the rest of my life to understand him, I'll keep trying.

If you liked this spotlight on the prophet Nephi, let us know your favorite part of Nephi's story on our social media pages. Also let us know if there's a Book of Mormon hero you want spotlighted as this year goes on.