Monday, April 29, 2024

The BIG Problem with Bluey's “The Sign”

No, this is not clickbait. I am about to tear into everyone's favorite cartoon. 

The Plot

In the 20 minute Bluey episode The Sign Chili's best friend Aunt Frisky is getting ready to marry Bandit's brother Rad, a relationship we saw begin in the episode Double Babysitter. Meanwhile, Bandit and Chili are getting ready to sell their house and move to another city, following Bandit's opportunity for a higher paying job. Bluey of course is distressed by the idea of having to move away, and Chili isn't thrilled by the idea either. Bluey's teacher, Calypso, reads her a story about how everything will work out in the end and Bluey believes that means that they won't have to move if she can just find a way to stop it. She gets in her head that if she removes the "For Sale" sign in the front yard that the house will no longer be for sale and they won't have to move. 

Meanwhile Aunt Frisky and Rad get into a fight and Aunt Frisky decides to call off the wedding and runs away, leaving it up to Chili to pile Bluey, Bingo, Muffin and Socks into the car and chase after her. Since Aunt Frisky was going to remove the sign for the wedding Bluey believes that if the wedding is off that the sign will remain so she's doubly invested to find her and get the wedding back on. Needless to say Chili finds her best friend through a series of coincidences (Including a very illegal break of confidentiality from a cop) and the wedding is back on full of dozens of cameos from previous characters (We'll talk about that later) but Chili explains to Bluey that the house has already been sold and that taking down the sign wouldn't stop that. 

Later, just as the Heelers are pulling out of their driveway for the last time, Bandit gets a call telling him that the couple who bought their house has backed out, which as the audience we learn that it was due to the nonsense that happened during Chili and Aunt Frisky's chase. Bandit, knowing how much his family doesn't want to move, steps out of the car and pulls the sign out himself declaring that they are staying. 


My Issue

So why am I here complaining about all this? Bluey got her happy ending, the status quo has been restored, and all is as it should be, right? 

That's the issue. 

For years now children's entertainment has been challenging the idea that everything has a neat "happily ever after", moving more towards the idea that things happen that we may not like, even bad things, and teaching how to cope and understand those bad things. Bluey was no exception, even hitting a little harder than most other shows with some of its topics. The perfect example is the controversial and temporarily banned episode Onesie, where Chili's sister Brandy is subtly hinted that she wants children but for some reason can't have them. When Bluey finds out that Brandy wants something she can't have she states how unfair that is and is told that it's how life goes sometimes. At the end of the episode Brandy is still without children and is making steps to cope with this loss, including coming to visit her sister and her insane daughters, one of which turns into a cheetah and mauls her. 

During the wedding cameos in The Sign we see, without dialogue, Chili hug a very happy and very pregnant Brandy, meaning that whatever she had going on was fixed offscreen. That's the problem though: That one cameo undid the lesson and emotional investment we got from Onesie by saying that "Hey everything works out the way you want in the end!". Unfortunately not, in real life some people who want children can't have them and sometimes you have to move even if you don't want to, both of which were lessons that were completely lost in this episode. 

As a person who has dealt with similar issues both as a child and as an adult I find the entire "Everyone gets a happy ending" insulting. To me this isn't what Bluey is about and it isn't a lesson I want to be teaching children in a show that has done so well in teaching harsh life lessons in such a beautiful and understanding manner. 

A Deal's A Deal

I made a deal with another writer here, Spencer, that if I was going to rant about Bluey that I had to say something nice about it too. So here it is: 

The entire chase sequence with Chili and the girls is nothing short of comedy gold. Everyone shines as this stressful road trip is compounded by having four little ones along for the ride. They do as children often do: get in the way, cause more issues than necessary, and are in general not helpful, until they are. They are the ones who ask the questions, no guile in sight, that help them find Aunt Frisky in the end. Socks even spots Aunt Friskie's car while they're at a roadside bathroom (Good eye) and keeps the chase going. This is classic Bluey comedy and I was rolling when they were hot on the trail and Muffin needed to go to the bathroom stopping the chase in its tracks. 


Friday, April 26, 2024

Kingdom Hearts III and Re:Mind: Summary

Kingdom Hearts III, the long-awaited sequel to the beloved Kingdom Hearts (KH) franchise, was released in January 2019. I have recently played the game and finished it and I want to give you a summary of what happened so when the next game comes out in ten years you can look back on this post to remember what happened in the last installment. Hopefully there will not be as many games in between III and IV like Square Enix has done in the past. The only hope that it won't happen is they have announced KH IV and a mobile game (Which I expect to play an important role in KH IV). Anyways onto the summary

Kingdom Hearts III Summary

From the previous games we learned that Yen Sid is forced to get seven keyblade wielders as guardians of light or Master Xehanort will use seven princesses to construct the χ-blade with his Organization thirteen. Yen Sid decided that having seven keyblade wielders will give them a chance to stop Master Xehanort but really it is all part of his plan. Since this is a main game we play as Sora who is accompanied with Donald and Goofy. They are tasked to travel across worlds to regain his "power of waking" because after KH Drop Dream Distance (KH3D) he lost his powers to save Riku. While we play as him Riku and Mickey are tasked to search for Aqua in the realm of darkness, while Kairi and Lea (Axel) train as new keyblade wielders.


Throughout their journey they discover that Sora has three dormant hearts inside his body: Roxas, Ventus, and Xion. Sora suggest that they should implant them in artificial replica body's that were made by Vexen, one of Organization members. which will eventually explain how Roxas gets his own body. Xion body will appear later on, while Ventus body has been hidden by Aqua and near the climax he goes back to his body. 

Speaking of Aqua, while Riku and Mickey are in the Realm of Darkness, they are attacked by Aqua, who has become corrupted by the dark. Eventually, with the help of Sora and Master Eraqu's keyblade (her former master) she is restored. Aqua travels to Castle Oblivion to retrieve Ventus body and Sora rediscovers his power of waking and revives Ventus. 

With all seven guardians (Sora, Riku, Mickey, Aqua, Ventus, Kairi, and Lea) they go to keyblade graveyard to battle against the organization. Yet when they arrive they are confronted with Terra (aka master Xehanort puppet) and a swarm of heartless. They are loosing and thanks to Kairi Sora awakens in a limbo realm called Final World, where Chirithy (From the mobile games) guides him in restoring his fragmented body. He then uses the power of awakening to travel back in time to prevent that future. During the second run through Terra gains control of his body  and reunites with Aqua and Ventus. As they make there way to Master Xehanort, they fight with a puppet Xion and after that battle Roxas and Xion regain their hearts from Sora and reunite with Lea. 


After all the thirteen organization members are defeated, Xehanort provokes Sora into attacking him by destroying Kairi's body allowing Xehanort to acquire the χ-blade and unlock Kingdom Hearts. Sora, Donald, and Goofy hinder Xehanort by transporting him to Scala ad Caelum, his childhood home. Where they eventually defeat him. In Xehanort dying moments, Eraqus's spirit meets up with him and convinces him to surrender the χ-blade. Sora takes the χ-blade and with the help of the other seals up Kingdom hearts.

In the post-credit scene we learn that Xigbar, another member of organization thirteen is actually Luxu. one of the Master of Masters apprentices. 

Re:Mind Summary 

In this DLC package we follow Sora soon after the end of KHIII rescuing Kairi. He travels back in time to the battle between the guardians of light and the Organization. Eventually Sora finds and assembles fragments of Kairi's heart in Scala ad Caelum and restores Kairi. After revisiting the Final World, he Chirithy to come to the realm of light. He visits friends' worlds with Kairi before his disappears. The rest of the game is his friends searching for where he has gone.


Besides the long cut-scenes the was only annoying thing about this game: They do a lot of hidden reveals meaning that they start to reveal something then the audio turns off so we only get a taste of it. It is fine to do that once maybe twice, but this game did this way to often and it got annoying. I am not going to remember all these hidden secrets that will be revealed in future installments that will happen ten years from now.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

I am a Child of God; Therefore, What?

(Guest post by Spencer's dad)

Who are you? We are each many things depending on our family or employment and other chapters of our lives. President Russell M Nelson told the young adults of the church (May 2022) what our most important label should be.

“First: Know the truth about who you are. I believe that if the Lord were speaking to you directly tonight, the first thing He would make sure you understand is your true identity. My dear friends, you are literally spirit children of God. You have sung this truth since you learned the words to “I Am a Child of God.” But is that eternal truth imprinted upon your heart? Has this truth rescued you when confronted with temptation?”

He continued by describing labels that he once had “All other labels that have applied to me—such as a medical doctor, surgeon, researcher, professor, lieutenant, captain, PhD, American, and so forth —would fall somewhere down the list.”

Spencer with Papa at Master's Graduation

President Nelson goes on to describe a potentially negative label that could be applied to him. “Some might label me as an “old man.” But I’m a lot younger than Adam was —and Noah too. Agism, racism, nationalism, sexism, and a host of other -isms are universally limiting.”

Since I left on my young(er) mission (Feb 25, 1982) (42 years ago) I have watched (on video) or read every General Conference session. In 1982 Russell M Nelson was a heart surgeon. In 1985 he was called as a member of Quorum of Twelve. Each talk he has given in the last four years has been “his best talk ever” (according to me).

How much you and I would have lost had we labelled President Nelson as an old man!

President Nelson urged us to identify ourselves by three long term labels: “First and foremost, you are a child of God. Second, as a member of the Church, you are a child of the covenant. And third, you are a disciple of Jesus Christ.”

Like our eye glasses these identifiers changes help us more accurately see who we are and who others are. Some of our titles have not changed in decades father/mother, son/daughter, husband/wife, grandfather/grandmother, etc.

The practical responsibility of these eternal callings changes over time. When we pass into the next life we may find that these titles continue to adapt.

President Nelson concludes by saying “I am simply saying that no identifier should displace, replace, or take priority over these three enduring designations: “child of God,” “child of the covenant,” and "disciple of Jesus Christ.”

Ponder the first identifier - I am a Child of God. This song is beloved by church members of all ages.

I am a child of God - how does that affect how I see myself?

I am a child of God - how does that affect how I see my (imperfect, wonderful, sometimes annoying) family members?

I am a child of God - How does that affect how I see co-workers?

I am a child of God - How does that affect how I see other church members?

I am a child of God - How does that affect how I see strangers I meet each day?

Over the next ten days I will consider those questions. In two weeks I will write up some observations I made as I tried to see those around me?

Monday, April 22, 2024

6 Scenes I'm Excited for in Wicked

It's been a long time since the rumors of a Wicked movie began. Almost as far back as when I saw it with my brothers. We've had various iterations of Broadway musicals turned film, like Les Miserables, Hamilton, and Into the Woods. And now with the trailer released during the Super Bowl, it's almost time to see Elfaba and Glinda on the big screen. So in anticipation, I thought of six scenes/songs and what I'm looking forward to in the movie.

The Wizard and I

Specifically during this scene, I’m looking forward to seeing Elfaba’s vision of her “celebration”. I really hope they show us what she sees. But what will they show? We know from the Broadway play that she didn’t have all the pieces of the puzzle. But she did see herself happy. But it wasn’t the happy ending she’d expected. Maybe it was some inkling of being with Fiyero in the end? It’s a hazy, but they ought to show something right?

One Short Day

This song has so much stuff in it and it’s all supposed to be dazzling. What a spectacle this ought to be! From the palaces and museums to the horse of a different color (maybe), I want to be in awe just as much as Glinda and Elfie. 

Defying Gravity

With how much this song has become a powerful anthem for many people, I can’t imagine this song will simply be Elfaba flying off on her broom. I’m not sure what I'm expecting here, but something amazing I guess. 

As Long as You’re Mine

Mostly I’m curious how they’d go about shooting this scene. If it’s a romantic scene, it might look weird to have them singing to each other, though I suppose that’s what they do on stage. Instead, maybe the song could be playing over their scene, like “I See the Light” from Tangled? 

No Good Deed

The special effects of this scene could be crazy! Never mind how this song really pulls at Elfaba’s heart as she chants. I’m curious what kind of effects they’ll use for her magic and if we’ll see Fiyero’s transformation. I could see them show him glowing like the Doctor regenerating or a Pokemon evolving? Or maybe some smokey magic like Once Upon a Time. But whatever they do for Fiyero, I’m looking forward to having my heart broken by the grief on Elfaba’s face.

For Good

Another iconic song, one that I knew long before seeing Wicked on stage. The emotion and love that goes into this song. Like “As Long as You’re Mine” this song could be performed between Elfaba and Glinda or it could be a voice-over like “I See the Light”. Really what I’m curious about in this scene is if they’ll give some indication as to where Fiyero and Elfaba go at the end. My head-canon for a while was (and still is kind of) that they went through a portal, like on Once Upon a Time. For a while I wondered if they were legitimately going to end up in Storybrooke (but Zelena appeared–maybe in another part of the multiverse).

And now we wait until Thanksgiving (and until Thanksgiving 2025 for the second half). Just remember to consider the Apple Pie Metaphor when seeing this movie, but I choose to withhold judgment until I've seen the movie itself. Not sure anything will measure up to Idina Menzel, but that's okay. I'll make a point of seeing it anyway.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Hogwarts Legacy Review

(Guest post by Preston)

4 out of 5 stars

As a child, my parents thought video games were a waste of time and killed brain cells and did not permit gaming systems in the house. I did play some games on PC but even that was limited. They referred to Nintendo and “pretend-o”. Over the years, they relaxed and my older siblings started bringing systems into the house like the Xbox and the Wii. My parents knew it was in the house and just ignored it. When dating my wife, she bought a Wii and we would play Wii Sports and Wii Fit on Saturday mornings together. Now, married for 9 years and finally into my career, we recently purchased a Nintendo Switch with Hogwarts Legacy being one of the main games we were planning to buy when it was available. It has certainly not been a disappointment.

If you’ve never been exposed to J.K. Rowling's world of witches and wizards, be ready for a magical experience. Don’t expect Hogwarts Legacy to be an adventure quite like the Harry Potter book series in video game form. Comparing Legacy to the original Harry Potter-based PC games, there is much greater opportunity to explore and complete a wide range of side quests and activities while working through the story quests.

’s story did take me by surprise and I had to “get over” the shock of it at first. Rather than a student being accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry when they turn 11, the main character is accepted as a student at the age of 15. One’s character is brought to the school individually by a staff member and the story begins in transit. Once getting over this oddity, the story progresses in the midst of magical animal poachers, a goblin rebellion, and other dark wizard activities and is actually quite intriguing. Many of the side quests are also unique and exhilarating, not to mention the differences in quest progression depending on which Hogwarts house is chosen at the start of the game. That being said, if you don’t like spiders, you may prefer to follow the butterflies and look for a happier game.

Gameplay is fairly uncomplicated with the typical jump, dodge/block, and spellcasting abilities with a tool wheel for using potions and dangerous plants. In Legacy’s world of magic, however, the number of spells one can use is very limited with only about 24 spells, some of which can only be used in a specific location (the Room of Requirement). Luckily the potions and plants, including venomous tentacula and Chinese chomping cabbages, add another dimension not typically utilized in the Harry Potter book series or games.

The Legacy world itself is quite large with much to explore including 3 main areas of Hogwarts Castle, Hogsmeade, and “the world”, all with their own pros and cons. Loading time in Hogsmeade is a pain as every time you enter or exit a building the game has to reload, which is not a significant problem in the Castle or the world. The mini-map in the Castle is challenging as well as it does not account well for multiple floors and finding where things are on the map can be challenging. Other than a large world for exploration, another great aspect of Legacy is the Room of Requirement. Once unlocked in gameplay, you can use this room as a personal hub for designing a large room, brewing potions, growing magical plants, and raising magical beasts whose fur or feathers help upgrade one’s gear and strengthen the character. Being an animal lover myself, I find catching, raising, and breeding magical beasts especially fun (and the baby creatures are adorable).

Like everything in today’s world, Legacy is not devoid of diversity (take that as pro or con, however you decide). The game includes at least 3 LGBTQ individuals, although interactions with these individuals can be very limited if you choose for them to be so. My wife didn’t even notice any of the characters until I pointed them out. Obviously no transition or homosexual activities are portrayed in the game; but, for those who (like my wife’s grandmother) are vehemently against anything of this variety anywhere in life, you may consider avoiding Hogwarts Legacy

Overall, Hogwarts Legacy provides a large world of exploration with clever quests, magical battles, an easy to understand gameplay, and hours of enjoyment. I would certainly recommend this game to anyone, except my parents.

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?