Monthly Archives: November 2014

How to Watch Star Wars

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey

Star Wars is arguably the most influential pop culture phenomenon in the world. Everyone knows what it is and recognises the characters as household names that only living under a rock would allow you to be ignorant of. Love it or hate it, everyone must agree that Star Wars is a major influence on our culture with six films spawning TV shows, spin-off films, books, comics, toys, and various merchandise.
However, what many people do not agree on is how Star Wars should be viewed. People have various opinions on what order the films should be watched and there has been no consensus.
In this post, I am going to present five different ways the series can be approached and I will explain the merits for each, but shall provide no argument as to which ones are better. To each their own, I say. Let the reader decide which suits them best.

I. The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of Anakin Skywalker

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This is the viewing order that George Lucas regards as the closest to his vision. Here we approach Star Wars as the story of Anakin Skywalker’s destiny to bring balance to the Force over a period of two generations of the Skywalker family. We see Anakin’s humble beginnings as a poor slave on Tatooine and his rise to a trainee of the Jedi. The seductive nature of the Dark Side grows too strong as he grows and he succumbs to the temptations of Darth Sidious leading to the rise of the evil Galactic Empire and his transformation into Darth Vader. A rebel alliance led by heroes such as Anakin’s own son, Luke Skywalker successfully defeats this Empire, returning democracy to the people and accomplishing Vader’s redemption where he completes his destiny by destroying the Emperor Sidious and bringing balance to the Force.
The upcoming sequel trilogy will undoubtably act as a continuation or epilogue to this saga.

The order:
1. Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace
2. Star Wars: Episode II: The Attack of the Clones
3. Star Wars: Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith
4. Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope
5. Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
6. Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
7. Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens
8. Star Wars: Episode VIII
9. Star Wars: Episode IX

II. The Legacy of the Skywalker Family

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This is the preferred viewing order of most people (including myself) you meet on internet forums and other residences of geek culture.
This method shows Star Wars as an epic adventure about a Rebel Alliance battling an evil despotic Empire. The youth, Luke Skywalker, discovers his destiny to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi Knight as his father was. In a heroic journey he learns that Lord Vader is none other than his father, Anakin Skywalker corrupted to the Dark Side. As he and his friends strive to defeat the Empire he leads his father to redemption and bringing back balance to the Force.
After this is over, we take a glance nearly 35 years in the past where we see the events prior to Anakin’s downfall and the birth of the twins Luke and Leia Skywalker.

The order:
1. Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope
2. Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
3. Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
4. Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace
5. Star Wars: Episode II: The Attack of the Clones
6. Star Wars: Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith
7. Star Wars; Episode VII: The Force Awakens
8. Star Wars: Episode VIII
9. Star Wars: Episode IX

III.  The Star Wars Trilogy

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This method of approaching Star Wars is the pinnacle of hardcore purism. People who watch Star Wars this way angrily dismiss the Prequels as a slap in the face to the “only good trilogy”, sticking to the original edits without the special edition alterations that Lucas had insisted on incorporating in 1997 and continued to do so in 2006 and again in 2011.

The order:
1. Star Wars (1977 edit)
2. The Empire Strikes Back (1980 edit)
3. Return of the Jedi (1983 edit)

IV. A Hero’s Journey

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For those of you have seen The Godfather Trilogy, you know that in the second film we witness a series of flashbacks to the rise of Vito Corleone as the Don mixed in throughout the story. This order of viewing Star Wars I am gonna discuss is similar to how that narrative structure.
We begin with A New Hope and move on through The Empire Strikes Back as the second and third methods above did.
At the end of Empire we get the startling revelation that Darth Vader is none other than Luke’s father. However, in this method, before we unveil the climactic finale, we shall take a look back at Anakin Skywalker as a young man being trained by Obi-Wan Kenobi before his eventual turn to the Dark Side. In a shocking flashback sequence we see the truth that Darth Vader is indeed Luke’s father as well as Leia’s. We see the origins of the Empire, the Death Star, and the apparent annihilation of the Jedi Order.
After this dark revelation we witness the triumphant conclusion of this epic saga about love, betrayal, and loyalty.

The order:
1. A New Hope
2. The Empire Strikes Back
3. The Attack of the Clones
4. The Revenge of the Sith
5. Return of the Jedi
6. The Force Awakens
7. VIII
8. IX

Note: The Phantom Menace is completely excised from this viewing order which means if you are a fan this is not for you.

V. The Star Wars Saga

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This method incorporates every element of the Star Wars canon as well as the expanded universe. The viewer lets it play out in chronological order seeing the amazing wealth of history in the Star Wars Galaxy.
Obviously I cannot produce an exhaustive list, but I shall make a list showing what I personally view as the essential stuff for hardcore Star Wars fans interested in the expanded universe.

The order:
1. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
2. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
3. Star Wars: The Old Republic
4. Star Wars: Cloak of Deception
5. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
6. Star Wars: The Approaching Storm
7. Star Wars: The Attack of the Clones
8. Star Wars; The Clone Wars (this includes the movie, and two TV series)
9. Star Wars: Labyrinth of Evil
10. Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith
11. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
12. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
13. Star Wars: A New Dawn
14. Star Wars: Rebels
15. Star Wars: A New Hope
16. Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind’s Eye
17. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
18. Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
19. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
20. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
21. Star Wars: VIII
22. Star Wars: IX
23. Star Wars: Legends: Heir to the Empire
24. Star Wars: Legends: Dark Force Rising
25. Star Wars: Legends: The Last Command
26+: Star Wars: Legends: The Rest of the E.U.

This is of course an imperfect list, but it’s the stuff I would make use of personally. The list is more flexible than the others, and can be altered at the ease of the reader.

And there you have it. Choose which of these five methods work best for you, and enjoy. May the Force (with or without Midi-Chlorians) be with you!

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How to keep a million commitments you have made to people?

Have you ever felt like you said yes to a million things? Have you ever felt like you said yes to somany things that you get nothing done. Well, I have and it sucks. It’s like living a life trying to constantly impress people when all you really want to do is impress yourself. In fact, sometimes I feel like one of the biggest causes of stress is trying to impress people that in reality you do not like. What’s worse is when the habit of saying yes becomes a habit to where you end up getting nothing done even the stuff you wanted to get done.Russell Simmons once said that if you do not have 30 minutes to meditate you need 3 hours. I have been thinking about this quote for weeks. Denying its importance. One day, it hit me like a sack of bricks the significance this saying plays in my life. If you don’thave them figure out what you want in life, then the only thing you’re going to get is what other people want in life. And to be honest that is frustrating. It’s frustrating knowing that I love writing because it helps me clarify my thinking and I want to share my opinions with others, no matter how strong they  feel about it, yet I have not written a blog post in over a month all because I said yes to too many things.And you know what that is, my fault. But I hope to learn that art of saying no so that I can in turn say yes to what matters.

Contributor- Kyle Gerst

Birdman Short And Sweet Review “Spoiler Free”

Because, I have been busy and lazy on top of that haha!! I know it’s short, but I plan to post more at a later date I do promise that. Plus, I just got back from the theater!! We are trying to get things situated once again here, and we do hope to push out more content as everyone has time. =)

Haven’t been that pleased with a project overall in a very long time. I didn’t walk out saying “Well, I didn’t like this or that.” Or “This is what I would have done to make it better” Birdman completely earns every bit of praise it has already received. Michael Keaton is still the genius we all knew he was. A wonderful mix of dramatic sequences, with rolling on the floor laughs. And moments where you go “What the fuck did I just see”. We need more films like that in Hollywood desperately!!! Would I recommend it to everyone? Probably not, because some people would get bored and crave more action. But if you appreciate and love true flawless film making, then this movie is absolutely for you.

Contributor- Chris Ballenger

Thanksgiving Spirit

CONTRIBUTOR: Raven Akashiya

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and everyone is doing last minute touches to ensure everything is perfect for the big day. A lot of people don’t think about much else; after we eat our big dinners either we laze around or get ready for Black Friday. We focus on the people around us, the people that are not with us don’t even get a second thought. Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day of thankfulness, yet for some it becomes a day of sorrow. Some people have no one to spend the holidays with.
Last year I was in a shelter, luckily I had friends that invited me to their Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. Some of the other ladies were not that lucky. I watched them sit and wait, some waited for a phone call that never came while others waited for the day to be over. The house was always depressing but on holidays it became even worse. It’s hard to be forgotten especially on holidays.
Tomorrow if you aren’t with everyone make a call or send a message. You might be the only person that does. You will totally make somebody’s day.

HAVE A HAPPY THANKSGIVING GUYS.

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My Top 20 Favourite Films #19: Empire of the Sun

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey

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Amongst the various historical films that Steven Spielberg has directed over his career this is one of his more forgotten pieces.

I was debating whether I should place Saving Private Ryan here, but in the end Empire of the Sun won out. Saving Private Ryan is undoubtably one of the greatest, most gut-wrenchingly emotional stories ever put on screen; but I prefer Empire of the Sun because it allows me to feel for the characters more. I am not saying Saving Private Ryan doesn’t do this but I think my number 19 spot does it better. In Empire of the Sun we focus on less characters which means we have more time spent with them making it easier to become emotionally invested in their story.

The film, based on J. G. Ballard’s semiautobiographical novel, is about a young British boy named Jim (played by Christian Bale) who lives with his wealthy family in Shanghai during World War II. He is a spoiled, naive, and selfish brat who gives the servants a hard time and expresses a nearly callous attitude to the political surroundings.
During a riot he and his family are separated and Jim eventually is forced to make a living in a Japanese internment camp.

Jim’s development throughout the film, especially in the internment camp is striking. We see his naivete and narcissism fade away when he witnesses the violence, destitution, and greed on the streets of Shanghai and in the camp. One of the most difficult scenes in the film to watch is where Jim, broken and altered by his experiences, comes to realise that one his friends who had taken him and helped him had used and lied to him the whole time.

How the film ends I won’t spoil, but it’s a satisfying and emotional finale that left me impressed and realising that I had seen a true gem of filmmaking.
I am not entirely sure why Empire of the Sun has not been embraced as a classic like many of his other historical films had, but it definitely deserves a better chance. It’s realistic, emotional, entertaining, and mesmerising with it’s cinematography, music, and acting. I recommend giving it a view.

Pokemon Omega Ruby Review

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Finally after many years of speculation, theories, and just overall want, Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, the remakes of the most beloved generation three games are finally here. And they’re back with a bang. As I played Omega Ruby, memories of playing the originals came rushing back, and I couldn’t help but play with a huge grin on my face. Being able to re-experience this classic role-playing game again in beautiful 3D was a true trip down nostalgic lane.

For those unfamiliar with Ruby and Sapphire, they were the third installments in the Pokemon RPG series as well as the best selling Game Boy Advance games of all time. While still following the tired and true formula of their predecessors, they also managed to introduce a handful of new things to this beloved series. Chief among these changes was the ability to have double battles, weather effects, abilities,(which can add advantages to battles) and natures (which can affect how stats develop) along with two new villainous teams in Team Aqua and Team Magma.

Each team’s goal at first may sound eye-roll worthy as Team Aqua wishes to expand the seas while Team Magma wants to expand the land. However instead of wanting to do it to take over the world like Team Rocket, they actually are wanting to do it for people and Pokemon alike. Other then this, the overall plot is the same as the other Pokemon games, attempt to catch them all, and earn all eight gym badges on your way to become the champion. T

Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are built using the X & Y engine and you can really see that Gamefreak put the effort into bringing these classics back to life along with including some of the best features that was integrated into X and Y. Chief among these are Pokemon Amie, Super Training, and the Player Search System. However there are also some new features that are exclusive for Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire like the Dex Nav, a unique app that comes into play when a wild Pokemon, sticks their tail or ears out of the grass, sand or water, the Dex Nav will alert you to things like what level that Pokemon is, or even what ability and rare move it may know.

Contests have also made their long awaited return in these remakes. Contests are pretty much talent shows that you can do with your Pokemon. While not really crucial to the overall plot, they do provide a nice little side activity in between the actual story of the game, and all the catching and training. Along with contests, these new remakes also see the return of secret bases. Littered around the region of Hoenn are areas which you can access by way of using the TM (Technical Machine) Secret Power. Once accessed, you can decorate your secret base to your hearts delight.

To some, the hoenn region may seem unbalanced, as the region heavily favors water type Pokemon. This is even more noticeable in Alpha Sapphire as Team Aqua use a lot of water Pokemon. However this shouldn’t detract anyone from the overall experience of the game. As the hoenn region itself is based on a series of islands so one should expect the the over abundance of water type Pokemon, along  with the need to traverse along large bodies of water. The Hoenn region itself is amazingly beautiful in its rich new 3D details and I enjoyed seeing it all again anew.

As a 3D remake, Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, do an amazing job at reintroducing Hoenn. The littlest details help bring the region to life. Small tweaks and updates also help make the journey a tad smoother and easier. While some may find problems with the excess water type Pokemon, that is barley anything to complain about and there are even a few post-game surprises that will keep you playing well beyond the 25 hour main story. My personal rating is 9/10

By Adam Buskirk

Top 5 Things You Do Not Say to Zelda Fans

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey

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1. Zelda is nothing like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, or Elder Scrolls. You know, real RPG’s.

2. What’s a Triforce? Isn’t that the stick Poseidon has?

3. OMG! I love Zelda! Pikachu is my favourite!

4. I hate Zelda! Every time someone cosplays as Link I get confused and think they are a thief from Final Fantasy or one of those wood-elves from the Hobbit. Screw you, generic unoriginal costumes!

5. I hate Zelda! Oh, I am sorry! Did I offend your silly fandom? Well, Excuuuuse meee, Princess!!!

Next Monday: Top 5 Things You Do Not Say to The Hobbit Fans