Saturday, December 31, 2011


This will be the first post about how Morgalla came to be.  The main character from "The Trilogy of Morgalla" started off as a tongue-in-cheek black comedy reply to many animes which I had been watching at the time in the mid-90's including Devilman, Project A-Ko and Devil Hunter Yohko.  In 1995 it was just an idea, a couple of sketches of a girl with horns.  First she would have red skin, yellow eyes and a tail but her look would soon change.

I recently had to think about where her inspirations came from and really they're all subliminal.

In 1981, one of the first movies I ever saw in the theater was "DRAGONSLAYER".  I would watch it a hundred times the following years on cable.  The movie is just COOL, even to a child.  Though I and my siblings couldn't wait to finally see the dragon.  It's kinda like JAWS where you know it's a shark and you get hints of what it looks like.  Due to restraints of budget and special effects, the film makers had to be clever.  For 1981, the effects were awesome.

My favorite character of the movie was Valerian, played by Caitlin Clarke.  When we first see her, she's actually disguised as a teenage boy to avoid the lottery that the King Casiodorous Rex (love the name) had implemented.  What kind of lottery you ask?  To keep the dragon Vermithrax (another cool  name) from torching the kingdom, a female virgin of a certain age is selected to be sacrificed twice a year. 

There are a couple of subtle hints as to Valerian's true gender and it doesn't take the main character Galen to discover (by accident while swimming) that he is a she.

"I knew all along."  He said.

*cough bullcrap cough cough*

But apparently the entire kingdom was fooled, I guess they're not exactly the brightest mankind had to offer.  A third into the film she reveals herself after everyone thinks the dragon is dead.  No need to hide now that the lottery is gone, right?

Oops...dragon ain't dead.  Lottery back on.

In this scene, you can see her apprehension along with the other girls.  It's very subtle on her face what she's thinking but she summons her courage and she has a lot of it.

I have to mention another good character that wasn't an inspiration to Morgalla, but I had to admire her.  Princess Elspeth played by Chloe Salaman is also courageous though she starts off as clueless.  See, the rich get to keep their daughters out of the lottery and she's the king's daughter...can't get any richer than that.  But when she finds out the truth, she decides to rig the lottery and sacrifice herself and go in place of all other girls.  I suppose she felt guilty that others died for her safety.  Not even the king could save her because of public opinion and the fact the entire kingdom was kinda watching this unfold.

Back to Valerian, her attitude towards life can be a little cynical at times but that chip on her shoulder wears down by the end of the film.  I think we all do that when we open up to others, something that I would learn for my own writing.

Though she's not the one who ends up fighting the dragon, it was her to sought out a wizard from another land to come and fight it.  She's no warrior, but then again neither is Galen, played by Peter MacNicol and he's the one who has to wield a spear and face Vermithrax.  I will commend her though for having the mindset and skill to make him a shield out of the dragon's scales that have been shed all throughout its lair.  She even faced off against Vermithrax's children.

Another aspect of Valerian that I liked was her look.  She's not supermodel pretty but her appearance is quite attractive in a "normal" way.  If I saw her out of costume and had to guess her profession, I would say she was a grade school teacher, maybe kindergarten.  One issue that I had with the abomination of a film Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes was the fact that even though the humans were supposed to be savage, the women still had make up, perfect hair and perfect skin.

Here, her physical attractiveness is believable even though it's still a movie.  Even though there is a very brief nude scene, it fits in with the plot and isn't used to "show how hot she is".  Not like Demi Moore in The Scarlet Letter.

Caitlin Clarke would go on to be in character roles in movies and TV.  She guest starred three times on Law & Order as three different characters.  Sadly, she died in 2004 from ovarian cancer, the same disease that claimed Gilda Radner.  Caitlin was 52.

I applaud her performance and I applaud the filmmakers for making both lead protagonists brave but in a believable way.

Both Valerian and Galen are mortal, living in a world where one can die very easily.  I would say that they both influenced Morgalla a little, but Valerian way more.  That's where her influence upon Morgalla comes in.  She doesn't sit around for someone else to do it for her.  If she does that, surely she would die.  She's forced to be strong.  She puts on a tough exterior but is able to love and open up to others.  Because of the fact that she has to hide what she really is, she is unwilling to open up to others.  Much like Morgalla.

Happy New Year to all.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Different Roles of James Macavoy

Okay I'm watching "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" with James Mcavoy as Mr Tumnus.
From shirtless with goatlegs to leader of the good mutants.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Disecting the Scrooges

Merry Christmas, one and all!

The story of Ebeneezer Scrooge has been marketed and packaged a hundred times over in many different ways.  Not just direct adaptations, but how many parodies have we seen, also?

Since 1970 there have been some memorable performances and films adapting the holiday classic and I wanted to mention them.

Honorable mention to Brent Spiner from the Star Trek episode Devil's Due.  Kinda ironic how Patrick Stewart is there, known not only for his rendition of Scrooge but doing a one-man show of A Christmas Carol.  Gotta love the voice.

Jim Carrey - How ironic that this story is supposed to be about a man regaining his soul and yet it's told in a way that drains the humanity out of performances.  This technology is still in the developmental stage but I've always said that CGI still has not made any realistic flesh-based characters.

Jim Carrey actually does a good job here to an extent.  I applaud his ability to disappear behind the character at different ages but the fact that he plays all the ghosts too is rather lame.  They spent upwards of 175 million dollars on this movie where they could have made the same film with real people.  Carrey is no stranger to the make up chair.  I'm sure he could have looked and acted old.

Was it necessary for him to play multiple roles?  Was it ego?  Did they spend all the money and couldn't hire more than one actor?

There was nothing new here but a bunch of pretty visuals.
George C. Scott - Yes, the guy who played Patton didn't play Scrooge very well.  Yes, he can be scary and intimidating no matter how old he gets.  He scared the crap out of me in the movie Firestarter.

The problem with Scott is the fact that he doesn't give any range with his performance.  He really hams the scene where he sees his grave and even when he's "happy" he can still seem like a jerk for some reason.  I guess it's just Scott. 

Everything else about this film works but when your lead character is the one who holds the work together and HE doesn't work, then it becomes a house of cards that crashes down upon itself.

Michael Caine - This is not a Christmas Carol movie, this is a muppet  movie that happens to be about the Dicken's story.  In this version, Caine is one of the only human actors and it takes a special man to make it work.  This film doesn't take itself seriously, which is what you should expect from a muppet film.  Caine does his best but brings nothing new to the role.  To him I think it was just a paycheck.  God Bless him, he's still Michael Caine and they were damn lucky to get him.

The songs are weak, though.  The muppets feel out of place for a story such as this.  Ironically, the look and feel of this film is better than the next.

Kelsey Grammer - What's amazing about Kelsey is the ability to look so mean and cruel one second, then sad and then happy.  His range is the advantage to the character.  He truly looks like hell in this film from beginning to even the end when he's reformed. 

The songs are its greatest asset and many are memorable and fit in with the film's look.  It would have been nice had it been a tad darker.  The production looks and feels like a high-school musical.  It would have been cooler if it were in better hands.

Another good element was the fact that it gave a more legitimate reason for Scrooge's money-holding ways.  The guy never seemed to spend money even on himself which never really made sense to me.  His father is sent to prison for not paying debts (something that happened in history) and that stuck with him.  He had a paralyzing fear of debt.

The scenes in the future though show doom and gloom also show more of a ray of hope and you see Scrooge's transformation through Grammer's performance.

Patrick Stewart - He's Patrick-freaking-Stewart which instantly makes him awesome.  Though the performance isn't perfect, he carries the entire film.  He's intimidating, something that Stewart isn't exactly known for.  As he raises his cane to a child outside of his building, the director has the camera pointed upwards, much like the photo below.  From the child's point of view, he can look damn scary.

He stands tall and walks confidently and his costume is brilliant.  The downside to the film is that nothing really new is brought to it.  It's like someone re-did the George C Scott version but this time with a better Scrooge.  Stewart's range is from annoyed to enraged, you can literally see his frustration with Christmas.  He then can show such vulnerability and then to great joy in the final act of the film.  Sadly, this is the shortest part of the film.  Scrooge is happy and spreading joy on Christmas morning and yet we barely see the good part.

As great as Stewart is, the 1999 Christmas Carol is still not the BEST.

Albert Finney - It was a toss up and a very close match between Stewart and Finney.  Finney's Scrooge is an entertaining romp with great music and songs.  There are very few flaws in the entire film, showing Scrooge's life even in times outside of Christmas.  Finney plays BOTH roles of old Scrooge and young Scrooge.

What's amazing is that Finney was only thirty-four at the time of the filming.  His body language and voice make him appear to be an old man.  Both the Grammer Scrooge and this one both have brilliant songs, but here they're more of a big-screen sound to them.  Grammer's Scrooge sounded more like a Disney film.  But if you were to take the best songs from that version and combine them with this, you have the makings of a perfect film.

This is THE best version of a Christmas Carol that has ever been made and sadly the film was seen as a disappointment when it first came out.  Its flaws are few and far-between.

But one thing that has always bothered me about Scrooge in general (and I blame Charles Dickens for this) is the fact that fear is brought about to bring change within the heart of Ebeneezer Scrooge.  Show him that the afterlife truly IS hell for those with no love or compassion for their fellow man and he'll change.  OR do you instead show him the good that he or any of us could do. 

The fact that he's rich also seems to be a major part of what Scrooge is.  Yes someone with money can do good, but really any of us can.  Would the spirits really try so hard to change this man's ways if he were just some jerk with no money?  I'd like to think they would.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Poison Ivy: Misandrist Environmentalist

One of the most underrated of all Batman Villains is the freak Pamela Isley, aka Poison Ivy.  Yes the Joker is the best because he's the opposite of Batman, but Ivy should be one of the most dangerous.

Many fanboys find her "hot" regardless of the fact that she's the "steal your soul and kill you in horrific ways".  She's a succubus or a black widow.  She makes a great villain for the fact that she can seduce a man...a BATman, whether through her charm or through artificial means.

This is a woman who once took control of SUPERMAN, for crying out loud and sent her after Batman.  If that doesn't make her dangerous, I don't know what does.

The second reason she's a great villain is the fact that she's an environmentalist freak.  Not the kind of person who just recycles, but someone who is willing to let people die or even kill them herself so that plants won't be hurt.  To her, plants matter more.

That's the scariest part of the character, when art imitates life.  People like her do exist, the most terrifying of villains are ones that reflect human nature.  Most bad people have just one reason to kill you, she has TWO.

Now in regards to the movie version "Batman & Robin", Uma Thurman did a poor job primarily because of the poor script and direction.  She gave monologues, for crying out loud.  But one aspect they got right was the fact that Poison Ivy was willing to sacrifice human beings to "save mother Earth".  She was also a loner, making men do her bidding and getting rid of women.  All men are property, all women are the competition.  That is the heart of Poison Ivy.

Poison Ivy is the personification of misandry, the hatred of men.  She's the most distrustful of all the Batman villains.  At least the Joker and others will trust each other at times, but the Joker would be a fool to trust even her.

We've seen Ivy twice in terms of animation, three if you include Arkham City.  These versions have been loyal to the character as well though at times they have had to make her more "PG".

Bruce W Timm's version was subtle and true to her nature.  I especially liked how in one episode she referred to Christmas Trees as "botanical genocide".  I liked her upgrade, the picture on the right.  The sharper lines looked cool and she looked less human.  I like the idea of Ivy being a mutant of some sort.

"The Batman" made Poison Ivy a teenager and though that might have worked for an episode or two but she works best as a woman, the same height as Batman and around the same age.  She should be on the same level as him but the reason why they made her a teen was so she was an equal to BATGIRL.  I do like her face and her hair, the curls looking like roses were a nice subtle touch.  I LOVE the fact that she was a terrorist, willing to do whatever it took to stop companies that she thought were destroying the environment.  Yeah, I can see her doing that.

The most recent incarnation of Ivy is from Arkham City and it might very well be the best.  They downplay the environmentalist angle but have her domain be nothing but green with the plants taking over.  Her sex appeal is still there and I like the idea that she's still wearing a big of the Arkham uniform.  The eyes especially spell out her intentions.  I like the green tattoo-like markings on he skin.

One important reason for her being so dangerous is the fact that human life means nothing to her.  It's not like an insane person who just kills and you're supposed to be shocked.  With her, she has a reason and it makes sense in her mind why a human being has to die:  To save mother Earth.

The best part of why she's a great villain is the fact that she's a loner.  She stands alone, something that's unique, even among antagonists.

Monday, December 12, 2011


I was unimpressed with MIB 2 because of the fact that it was basically the same movie as one with Will Smith being the noob and Tommy Lee Jones being the know it all.  Yes i thas a mystery to it but it seemed to not know what it wanted to be, a sci-fi flick or a comedy or an action/adventure, etc. 

Well they've made an MIB 3 and I'm not excited because it seems like the same problems, at least for the first act.  I will say this, I AM thrilled by the prospect of a new twist and that's the young K, played by Josh Brolin.

It's great that they got an ACTOR, a person, a human being to play the role and not have to rely upon special effects.  CGI and all that is great, but when you come down to it, you need people to perform in a movie.  This is the only reason I'm thrilled for the film and I hope they don't disappoint.  Yes, we hear Brolin only give one line, but based on this one line it seems like he NAILS it.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Hot on the heels of two reboots, next year we have the Amazing Spider-Man.  I'm not REALLY thrilled for this film, I guess we'll see whether or not it will be cool.  In the meantime, we have a teaser poster to which I have to admit....IS cool:

I'm shocked that Disney did an actual sequel of Tron: Legacy instead of a full imagining, whatever they call it.  I think the only reason a sequel was made was because of Jeff Bridges.

But I digress...

Many of these remakes are floating around Hollywood, one of which is Starship Troopers, based on the book by Robert Heinlein.  There was a film from 1997 starring Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards and pre-Harold and Kumar Neil Patrick Harris.

Holy crap did he look like a Nazi.

But I digress...

I suppose the primary reason why they're doing a remake of this film is because of moder-day special effects.  Yes, they bugs looked great in 1997 but some producers/director is thinking "we can make 'em look better!"  Not-to-mention the fact that they can probably be more loyal to the book.  In 1997 they were troopers armed with machine guns and hockey pads though in the book they were in battle armor.

Hey, you think they'll actually have Latin actors play the roles of Rico, Flores and Ibanez?  Nah, that would be SILLY, wouldn't it?

I can KINDA see why they're doing a remake of this film but usually back in the day if someone did a remake an entire generation had passed. 

Another remake announced is a film that's even YOUNGER:  American Psycho.  Based on the book by Bret Easton Ellis and the film starred Christian Bale.

Now THIS boggles the mind.  That movie came out only eleven years ago and it's not a special-effects-heavy movie.  At least with Starship Troopers one can understand that.  But Psycho was story, character and dialog-driven.  Then there's speculation of what differences are there going to be from the book.  One of the commentaries that Ellis was making in his book was the fact that Patrick Bateman was a stereotype of the 1980's Wall Street trader, vain and arrogant.  Will they do the same here?  The first movie was loyal in that regard.

I think this is a mistake, a HUGE mistake.  Bale's performance is creepy and iconic and no update of special effects will make that better.

I think both of these films are being made because of a deficit of original ideas and the grab for a quick buck.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Welcome all to the official blog of Morgalla, the main character of my book series "The Trilogy of Morgalla".

Here I intend to talk about many aspects of our eclectic and pop culture, whether it be writing, comics, movies or television.  I also intend to talk about my own writing, specifically Morgalla.

I hope you all keep checking back and enjoy!