Friday, April 28, 2023

Why You'll Enjoy Power Rangers Once & Always

Like many kids in the 90s, I grew up on a steady diet of Power Rangers. So when David Yost and Walter Jones announced the 30th anniversary special, I was excited. With these two original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers returning after over 25 years, this special doesn't disappoint. So here are a few of my thoughts as to why any Ranger fan would enjoy Netflix's "Once & Always".

Respect to Canon

For whatever reason, when there's a Power Rangers event on the horizon like this, I worry that there'll be something that contradicts Power Rangers canon in a big way. I mean, it's a kids show that's been running for 30 years; there are a lot of details to keep track of and you wouldn't expect kids to keep track of the continuity throughout all these years. But instead, even when they could get away with it, Power Rangers stayed true to it all: Billy's love interest on Aquitar (first referenced in Zeo's "Rangers of Two Worlds"), Tommy and Kat's marriage and family (seen in a flashforward during Zeo's "A Season to Remember"), Zordon's death and purifying wave (which happened in Space's "Countdown to Destruction"). 

Returning Rangers

Five dino Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers were seen in Beast Morpher's dino-themed crossover "Grid Connection", but only Jason appeared unmorphed. This time, all but four of the Mighty Morphin' Rangers appeared (face and all) in this special. Some have appeared over the years, like Adam (last seen in Operation Overdrive's "Once a Ranger"), Kat (last seen in Super Ninja Steel's "Dimensions in Danger"), and Rocky (also seen in "Dimensions in Danger"). But the others hadn't been seen since leaving the show. For Billy, it had been 27 years since his departure in Zeo's "Rangers of Two Worlds" (David Yost hadn't appeared as Billy since the story before, "King for a Day"). For Zack and Aisha, their last appearances were in the Mighty Morphin' Era ("The Power Transfer" for Zack and "Hogday Afternoon" for Aisha). With how involved these six have been in fan events and showing appreciation for those fans, it was beautiful to see them in character again.

Easter Eggs and Cameos

Not only was this special a treat for the original fans of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, but there were lots of easter eggs and cameos to satisfy the long-term fans of the franchise as well. For example, if you look at the initials on Adam and Aisha's uniforms, it says "SPA" short for "Space Patrol Alpha" which is very likely the predecessor to SPD's title organization. Also, if you look closely at Alpha's computer you'll see the homes of past Ranger teams, including the Space's Astro Megaship, Dino Thunder's Reefside, and Wild Force's Turtle Cove (to name a few). Likewise, on Rita's machine you can see captured Rangers from various teams, including Ravi (Beast Morpher's Blue Ranger), Carlos (Space's Black Ranger), Trent (Dino Thunder's White Ranger), and Tanya (Zeo's Yellow Ranger), among several others.

Darker Moments

Even just watching the trailer, you knew this special would be darker. Robo Rita literally talks about killing the Rangers in the trailer. Yes, Rangers have died before (Kendrix from Lost Galaxy died midseason and came back at the end and Alex from Time Force supposedly died) but never anything like this; all they were missing was a mangled body. Even on the side of good it was darker: talk of revenge (even just in the trailer) after a Ranger's death (no spoilers here, but you can guess). So the stakes are higher guys. Power Rangers is getting serious! I can only hope this translates over to the series itself, but that's unlikely. 

Tribute to Fallen Rangers

Two of our original Mighty Morphin' Rangers had passed prior to the release of this special. Thuy Trang (who played Trini, last seen in "The Power Transfer") died in a car accident in 2001 and Jason David Frank (who played Tommy, last seen in "Dimensions in Danger") was lost to suicide last year. Both Rangers were honored in this special, despite not being seen unmorphed. Their stories were beautifully told and (to some extent) wrapped up. It's sad that we won't seen Trini or Tommy again. But it was touching to see them honored at the end of the special.

If you made it this far in the post, what are you still doing here? Go watch Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Once & Always.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

HBO Harry Potter Fancasting!

This is a fancast, or dreamcasting, if you will, that would shake up the Harry Potter cast, and keep the TV series reboot in great hands.

I hear the cast will be all British, and so my pitiful American taste will definitely not take in the full breadth of actors at the casting director’s disposal. But anyway, these choices would make me excited to see the new HBO TV series that is rebooting the entire Harry Potter series, from book one to seven.

Vernon Dursley- Jared Harris

He’s funny, and plays a great villain, both of which they’ll need for this abusive uncle.

Petunia Dursley- Caroline O’Neal

I know her from Endeavour, a PBS Masterpiece detective show. She’s brilliant, and can have a real vicious streak in her that would be perfect for petunia.

Hagrid- Andy Serkis

Mr. Serkis can play anyone, and I would love to see him provide a lot of warmth and care and Hagrid, while also pivoting into a loose cannon whenever his pet hippogriff or blast-ended skrewt isn’t treated right. Put that man in a big coat, and stilts, and bam, he’s a giant, lovable, and at times lethal groundskeeper.

Ollivander- Jeremy Irons

I hate to confine Jeremy Irons to a small role, I mean, wouldn’t he be a great dumbledore? But I figured Ollivander would be a nice, mysterious and odd person to make that one scene in Sorcerer’s stone really shine. I mean, again, I wouldn’t say no to Irons as Dumbledore, but I just don’t want to get my hopes up. That would be so perfect, but I was thinking of someone else.

Severus Snape- Paul Bettany

So, I would love to have Paul Bettany as any frequent flyer in the Harry Potter world. Snape would give him the opportunity to be greasy and vicious, and I would be there for it. Take his range from Knight’s Tale to the MCU, Bettany would put a new spin on Snape we could all enjoy.

Lucius Malfoy- Daniel Craig

This one came to me first, and it would be amazing, guys. Daniel Craig would knock it out of the park! He’s so likable, and yet, as Lucius, I know he would make us all despise him. Just imagine his rage being fooled by HP at the end of Chamber of Secrets. Guys, Daniel Craig has got this!

Professor Quirrell- Cilian Murphy

Some fancasts have put him as Voldemort. I can see it, but also I can’t. Perhaps just because his scarecrow in the Batman trilogy felt a little too buttoned up, and didn’t command the presence I want from HE-WHO-MUST-NOT-BE-NAMED. I wanted more psychosis from him, and in the end he just felt like a nervous wanna-be gangster. Anyway, I feel his professor Quirrell would have a nice wacky quality, with the refinement of an actor very comfortable with his craft. If he gets chosen for Voldemort though, may he prove me wrong!

Minerva Mcgonigal- Eva Green

Okay, okay, this is a weird one. She’s young, yes, but there’s this thing called makeup and prosthetics. I loved Eva Green in Miss Peregrin’s home for peculiar children. She was great! In this, she would keep things mysterious, while having a severe, unpredictable quality that would be great for McGonigal. And let’s be honest, they have to swerve right, because you can’t have someone too similar to Maggie Smith. Only Maggie Smith can be Maggie Smith. Eva Green could make McGonigal her own is all I’m saying.

Voldemort- Matthew Goode

Okay. You’re not going to agree with me on this, but let me explain. 

The first thing I saw Matthew Goode in was Imitation Game. He had this ability to put up this ‘it’s my way or the highway’ wall with every look. I see him as very capable of filling up the room with a will to dominate and entitlement that suits Lord Voldemort. For some reason, when I look at him I believe that he is capable of any evil act. Maybe it’s his ability to project contempt and disgust like it’s in the air he breathes. I don’t trust him… except to play the dark lord like he was born to.

Albus Dumbledore- Ian McKellan

Listen, I decided to make this obvious choice here because, well, it would be perfect. He turned this role down once in the past, and this time, why not just say yes? Honestly, HBO should just knock on his door and say, “Listen, Ian, it has to be you for Dumbledore. Name your price, we’ll do anything.” I know he has some tricks up his sleeve to make this character a completely distinct and separate one from Gandalf, and yet, who else could be such a quirky and captivating mentor?

And the kids? Meh. I'll let somebody else fancast them. ;) Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco, Neville, Ginny, the Weasley twins, and Percy, and the many, many other kids will probably be played some breakout new actors ready to launch a crazy successful career. Should be fun to watch!

Monday, April 24, 2023

Kingdom Hearts II: Summary


So far for the Kingdom hearts reviews I have been explaining the summary of the game, but in this Kingdom Hearts II review I will through a different approach. I will highlight the main plot points and talk about character development, gameplay, favorite highlights, cons, and gospel relation. 

Since this game came out in 2006 this review will go into spoilers. You have been warned.

Main Plot:

The game starts off with you playing as a boy named Roxas, aka Sora's nobody (see previous reviews). Unbeknownst to Roxas he is dwelling in a virtual simulation that is a copy of Twilight town by his captor Diz (aka Ansem the Wise), who is trying to merge Roxas into Sora, so Sora can gain his memories back and restore his powers. In the end Roxas chooses to merge with Sora and becomes forgotten.

When Sora awakens, he, Donald, and Goofy set out and meet Yen Sid and learn about Organization XIII, nobodies that are created when heartless are made. Sora and the gain are sent out to discover Organization XIII plans while trying to find Riku, Sora’s friend growing up. 

As Sora goes to from world to world, he resolves each planets problems and learns more about the Organization. Eventually in Hallow Baston he learns that Ansem, the main villain in KHI, was Ansem assistant Xehanort and his nobody is the leader of Organization XIII, Xemnas. Sora also learns that Organization XIII is after the power of Kingdom Hearts so Nobodies can gain their lost hearts. They also capture Kairi, Sora’s love interest and holds her hostage.

In the end Sora finds Riku and after rescuing Kairi, they stop Xemnas after he gains some additional power from Kingdom Hearts. After his defeat, Sora and Riku are trapped in the realm of darkness until the find a portal, thanks to Kairi, to the realm of light allowing them to join up with everyone else.

Character Development:

Sora, Donald, and Goofy do not have much character development. In the first game Sora develops to what he needed to be and since then he hasn’t needed to develop further because he is the hero and the protagonist, a christ like character. Even though they don't develop other characters do.

We, as the player, play as Roxas for 1-2 hours and it was sad seeing Roxas choosing to sacrifice himself so Sora can awaken. Even though he is in a virtual simulation, Roxas has friends that we follow, and Axel from Organization XIII. We know near the end as playing him he doesn’t want to die and be forgotten, but he chooses to sacrifice himself. 

Axel is one of my favorite characters from KH. Even though he doesn’t have a heart he will do anything for Roxas. At first, he tries to get Roxas back from Sora, but when he learns that is impossible, he sacrifices himself to protect Sora from an army of Nobodies.


Even though Riku is a broken record about being trapped in darkness I still like his development. He is willing to do what he thinks he must do to help Sora. Even though it is not the right path to take because he feels like it is the only choice. However, by the end of this game he learns that there are alternate routes than following darkness.


This game has a new mechanics that none of the other games has, “drive gauge”. It transforms Sora into a super saiyan like character that give his certain buffs. It was very fun to play with, but my only complaint is I wish it was more important to use during boss fights. Usually, for boss fights I found using drive gauge made it harder to win because I couldn’t use certain actions that is needed to beat them.

Favorite Highlights:

I got into this game because it brought Disney characters and Final Fantasy games together. In the first game the best world was Traverse Town with most of the final fantasy characters. They were my highlight, but most of the game focused on Disney characters. However, in this game we spend much more time with beloved Final Fantasy Characters like Leon (Squall), Cloud, Auron, etc. One of my favorite worlds is Hollow Bastion and interacting with these final fantasy characters.

Another aspect of this game that I liked was if we revisited a world from the first game the story is different from what happened then, and when we revisit a world, the story continues from where we left off. For example, we visit Mulans world and defeat Shan Yu, the antagonist in the movie, but when we return a second time, we help Mulan and her love interest Li develop as a couple.


At this point I have replayed Kingdom hearts I and II, finished playing chain of memories for the first time, and watched 258/2 and their is one plot hole I don't understand, what is Kingdom Hearts? In the first game Sora says its light, in KHII Xemnas uses Sora to give it hearts when Sora defeats heartless. By then end of the game Xemnas uses the remnant of Kingdom Hearts to get stronger. Organization XIII believes that getting to or satisfying the demands of Kingdom Hearts will give the nobodies hearts. Everyone has hypotheses on what Kingdom Hearts can do, but nothing has been concrete. All we know is it dwells in the realm of Darkness, but we don't know how Xemnas got to it in this game.

My only other confusion I had while playing this game is when Sora completes the main quest in each world a keyhole is shown and he either locks it or unlocks it and I don't know why. In the first game he locks the world from the heartless and I assume that is what is happening here, but I am not to sure.

Gospel Relation:

One of the main messages from the game is whether we choose to follow the light or the darkness. One message I take away from it is when we choose the dark it is hard to leave it. Riku followed the dark and he struggles staying in the light because he feels that the only way, he can succeed in using darkness. However, by the end of the game he learns that there are other, better ways.

The other gospel message that I got was sacrifice. Roxas and Axel sacrifice their lives so Sora could live and save the world (Sora is a savior type character). As faithful disciples of Jesus Christ we are asked to make sacrifices that are hard for us. Even though we may not understand the commandment we can be assured and have faith that it God will prevail.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Friday Creature Feature - Yeerks

If you grew up in the 90s, you may remember the Animorphs fighting the Yeerk Empire, either in the books or on TV. However, if you’re like me, you probably didn’t finish the series. As a kid I probably only read half a dozen of the books (at most); just depended on which covers looked cool. In the last year and a half I’ve been slowly working my way through the books during my commute. I’m working on a highlight list if you want to skip the filler, but in the meantime I wanted to do a spotlight on the Yeerks while I wait for Visser to be available in audio form. 

What is a Yeerk?

On their own, they’re blind, gray slugs. Barely any sense of touch or anything. So getting a host and being able to experience sound, sight, colors, light, etc. opened a whole new world to the Yeerks. Still, there’s the limitation that they had to return to the Yeerk Pool every 72 hours to feed on Kandrona Rays. 

Using their ability of infestation, they enjoyed a semi-symbiotic relationship with the Gedds. However, these hosts were very limited. Their situation all changed when Seerow showed up… 

Seerow’s Kindness

After the Andalite Prince Seerow found the Yeerks and trusted them with some Andalite technology, things took a turn for the worst. Having betrayed the Anadalite’s kindness, the Yeerks took to space to find bigger and better hosts.

Within only a few decades on Earth, the Yeerks conquered and made hosts of a number of races, with Hork-Bajir and Taxxons being some of the more common. Eventually, their invasion brought them to Earth, where the human race provided so many potential hosts. 

Invasion of Earth

By the time Animorphs begins, the Yeerks had already controlled a substantial number of humans. The efforts of Edriss 562 (later known as Visser One) and her cohorts had been in the works for at least a decade before that fateful day when Prince Elfangor fell from the sky to Earth. 

War with the Animorphs 

A small group of teenagers with attitude fought against the Yeerks, mostly just deterring their plans and delaying the invasion. But eventually this group of misfits got the upper hand against the little slugs. 

Along the way, they met the Yeerk Peace Movement, a group of Yeerks that didn’t want to enslave other races to experience the five senses. Inspired by the Peace Movement, the Animorphs ended the war by giving the Yeerks a chance to become another animal permanently. Finally, the peace-seeking Yeerks could experience life on their own! No more need for enslavement.

Cassie once morphed into a Yeerk to save her friend Aftran.

The complex philosophical nature of the Yeerks’ inner battle is crazy when you start digging into it, which the books definitely do with 60+ novels. So if this post has wet your palette for some Animorphs, go track down the first book “The Invasion”, currently available for purchase in Graphic Novel and Audiobook forms. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Why Guardians of the Galaxy Could be Good


Even though Marvel movies have not been performing as well, Guardians of the Galaxy volume 3 has the potential to be good; not great, but above average compared to the movies that recently have been aired. This post will go over 5 reasons Guardians of the Galaxy volume 3 could be good.

1.     The Soundtrack

The Avengers assemble melody might be easily recognizable, but as a soundtrack nothing can beat Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack. To adults these songs, such as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Come and Get Your Love”, were heard in our childhood which reminds the us of simpler times; at least it did for me. For the younger generation it’s new music from often-heard classics.

Not only did they resurrect classic music from my parents’ era when dinosaurs roamed the earth, but they were also perfectly placed for the best impact. For example, when Star Lord is first introduced “Come and Get Your Love” was playing and that song set the tone for how this movie will be played out.

Also, the trailer for the 3rd volume was playing “Remember the Titans”. A great song with hidden meaning that I will go into more detail later this post.

2.     Star-Lord and Gamora’s Love Story

Peter Quill and Gamora fallen in love before. It started with a song, and it ended in death of Gamora by her father Thanos. Yet with the timeline being scrambled Gamora from the past before she joined the Guardians is in the present and Peter wants to find her and fall in love with him again. Like amnesia she has no memories with Peter so everything will be overwhelming and new to her. Hopefully music will play a role, but looking at the trailer it seems that pictures will be more meaningful.

3.     Someone in the Team will Die

After watching the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy we can suspect that one of the guardians is going to die. “Remember the Titans” is a song that implies death or the end and throughout the most recent trailer that song was being played. My guess as well as the other geeks believe that one of the Guardians will die. What is funny is we all suspect different characters to die. I believe Drax will die because of what Dave Bautista has said online. Other Geeks think Peter will die after Gamora falls for him again. Who knows maybe all the Guardians will die. One thing is highly probable; one person will die. Who do you think it will be? Who do you not want it to be?

4.     The Last Movie

James Gunn, director of all three movies has stated that Guardians of the Galaxy will be only a trilogy. I think that will be nice to have another series concluded. I appreciate that this trilogy has kept the same actors and director. Maybe “Remember the Titans” song was being played to tell us that this is the final movie, and the guardians want to say goodbye. I hope that this movie will end on a high note. I have seen the other two movies in theaters and since this is being the last one, I am considering seeing this movie in theaters. I want to see how this series ends.

5.     JK I can only think of 4 good reasons

I will be honest with you I could only think of four reasons, so maybe this movie will not be as good as I think it will be. I hope it will. I remember seeing the first movie and being surprised at how much I liked it. I hope that this movie will surprise me as well. If any MCU movie surprises me, I would think it would be this one. Guardians of the Galaxy has done this for me before, it can do it again.