Archive for the ‘Trolls’ Tag

Snow White and Brave   4 comments

The last two movies I have seen were both fairy tales.  It is good to know that Hollywood will still make movies that are fairy tales.  They were both what I would call okay.  I rate Snow White a solid B, and Brave as a C+.

Both movies were fairy tales about a princess.  Both movies were swords and sorcery, though actual swords didn’t feature much in either one of them.  Both princesses were courageous and beautiful and firmly in the British tradition.  I hope it’s not too much of a spoiler if I say both movies carry through to a happy ending, but then I told you they were fairy tales.

Brave is a tale of loving conflict between a daughter coming of age and her prim and proper  but oh-so-competent mother.  Mother Elinor wants Merida to grow up, accept responsibility, and behave like an adult.  Merida wants to be a free person and a legendary hero(ine).

Robin Hood has nothing on this girl. She both brave and bow-tiful.

Pixar always does great animation, and that’s true for Disney also.  Everything is technically well done.  But I have to say that I kind of hated the fact that the women are all Disney princess beautiful and the men are all outrageously silly-looking and ugly.  If I were Scottish, I’d be offended by this movie.  The setting is clearly Scotland some time back before the time of William Wallace and Braveheart.  And it’s a comedy with dark undertones of an ancient curse that must be laid to rest.  Let me not go into the plot.  I’m just going to quote critic Andrew O’heihir who sums it up thusly: it’s an entertainment whose good intentions can’t conceal the fact that its story is thin and loopy, its characters (especially Elinor) woefully undercooked and its happy ending slapdash even by Disney standards.  I completely agree with him.  The move was okay.  It made me laugh here and there, but I wanted more of a hero story, and I got a little moral fable on what happens when headstrong children disobey their loving parents.  All packed in with a message that says men are generally silly and self-important, but good-hearted women love them anyway.  As a man, that’s not a message I’m going to subscribe to.  Well, the movie wasn’t made for me, obviously–it’s more for pre-teen girls and their frazzled mothers.

Snow White was better.  Screenwriters Evan Daugherty and John Lee Hancock took the Grimm fairytale and turned it into swords and sorcery.  They made it grim.  There are no laughs in Snow White, but plenty of death and destruction.  Our Snow White is a true heroine who spends her teen years in prison, fights her way out of a cell, escapes through a sewer, braves an enchanted forest, escapes all pursuit, and leads the rebels on a mad attack to retake her kingdom from the Witch Queen who killed her father and stole the throne.

I actually went to see the movie because I was told (more than once) that it has a great troll scene in it.  As a kind of champion for fantasy trolls here in America, I had to see this great troll.  It is indeed awesome.  The whole scene with the troll is just a short action sequence designed to show off how dangerous the land is, and how brave the protagonists are.  Here’s the scene that lured me into the movie–thanks to youtube.com.

I only have one problem with this fight.  The troll actually hit our heroic huntsman twice–hit him hard enough to send him flying 20 feet through the air.  Either one of those blows would have killed him, caved in his chest, broken his neck, separated head from shoulders.  He’s knocked out for 5 seconds, gets up, walks away without even a wince or a drop of blood.  Now it is the same actor who played the mighty Thor in the Marvel movie, and he must still be Thor, because only a god could survive such a beating.  Just look at what one trollish blow did to that tree stump.  Nope.  Lost me right there.  Huntsman should be dead.  They worked so hard to make this a realistic fairy tale.  Why not show the huntsman dodging every blow, or being merely grazed instead of taking a full backhand swing?

To give Snow White her due, the movie production was excellent.  The sets and the special effects were amazing.  There is a sense of magic and wonder permeating this film that Brave never captured or even approached.  The writers know their folklore.  I especially liked the unique version of the fairies.  Watch closely–they appear for just a second in this Magic Forest clip.  You also get to see the Dwarves, as villainous a bunch of outlaws as you never want to run into.

I enjoyed the Snow White movie, even though there was virtually no humor in it.  The troll was an original and powerful conception, and it was unconquered.  The evil queen’s magic was clearly sympathetic in principal.  Hollywood added an original gimmick–creatures made of chips of obsidian–many parts magically uniting to form a whole.  There is no precedent for that in actual magical tradition–it’s pure Hollywood “look what we can do with computer effects” bullshit.  Very slick effects, but hokier than the natural wonders achieved with the creatures.  I could accept a golem army, or a demon army, but not one made of chips of black glass.  Save that stuff for your nanotech sci-fi thrillers where it might make more sense.

I liked John Carter better.  Still, I’d be willing to watch Snow White again.  I really wouldn’t do that for Brave.

If you like Hollywood fairytales on film, or even if you don’t, leave a comment.

end

Dragons and Goblins and Trolls   1 comment

 
Creating fantasy games, reading fantasy novels and comics, and thinking and writing about such things are all things that I also do for fun.  Here are some slightly chaotic thoughs inspired both by Tunnels and Trolls and also by the card game known as Magic the Gathering.

Muscular Tunnels and Trolls goblins deal with a tentacled horror that lives in their lake. This picture was painted by and used here with the permission of Simon Lee Tranter. You can see more of his work, and possibly engage his services at http://www.simari.co.uk/.

Dragons and Goblins and Trolls!

Oh, my!

Dragons and Goblins and Trolls!

Oh, my!

DRAGONS AND GOBLINS AND TROLLS!

OH MY!

I think that I’m likely to die.

Oh my!

With a tip of the Trollish sombrero to A. A. Milne and Winnie the Pooh . . .

Yesterday I was talking a little bit about my latest Magic ™ deck–modified from the Dragons and Knights set.  Today it won some games against my son’s decks–lost some too.  I felt it did well, and the modifications were successful.  I still need to try it out against a variety of other decks.  Here’s a picture of my favorite dragon in the deck.

Voracious Dragon gets its power by devouring goblins.  I wonder where the card designers over at WotC got that idea.  To the best of my knowledge I have never read any fantasy story that used the idea of dragons eating goblins.  The great archetype for all fantasy role-playing games was Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.  Tolkien used both goblins and dragons in his book about THE HOBBIT, but they didn’t eat each other.  In fact, they were widely separated geographically.  The Hobbit started out as bedtime stories of John’s son Christopher, and featured trolls first, goblins, second, and Smaug the Dragon for the grand finale.   When Tolkien got serious about his fantasy, the goblins disappeared, and the main bad guys became Orcs.  Tolkien invented the Orc.

I’ve read a ton of fantasy–probably hundreds of different novels and stories.  I’ve never read about dragons eating any goblins.  If dragon’s eat anything, it’s usually domesticated animals, or the occasional human army foolishly trying to slay them.  But the very imaginative card designers at WotC came up with the planar world of Jund–a place where the two most common Kindreds are–you guessed it–Goblins and Dragons.  Dragons have to eat something, so why not have them chow down on the most common other critter in the landscape–namely, Goblins.  It makes perfect sense.

Dragons don’t seem to spend much time eating Trolls in fantasy literature either.  As far as I know, I’m the first person to even postulate the idea of a massive war between Dragons and Trolls.  I set it at the very dawn of Trollworld history.  Even then, Dragons wouldn’t eat my Trolls.  My Trolls are made of living rock–they would break the teeth of even the mightiest dragons.  Granted, the Dragons could melt my living rocks down into slag, but T & T trolls certainly aren’t good to eat.

Dragons and Goblins both feature prominently among the cards available for playing Magic.  There are dozens of varieties of both.  On the other hand, Trolls are few and far between, and not very interesting.  The only power the Magic designers have given Trolls is regeneration.  They all regenerate.  Kinda boring, really.  And there is something called Troll Shroud–the immunity to spells and effects cast by the opponents.  It’s a nice power.  I’d like to see it used more often, and more creatively.

Magic Trolls all seem to have been inspired by Dungeons and Dragons.  They are all what I call Meat Trolls–that is they are made of flesh just like you and me.  They may be big and mean and regenerate like crazy, but there aren’t any Trolls that I have found in Magic the Gathering that are actually made of living stone.  I protest!  Tunnels and Trolls is being unfairly slighted by the world’s greatest collectible dueling card game.  (grin)

Well, Dragons don’t eat Trolls, and Goblins don’t eat Trolls, but guess what . . .?  Trolls are more than happy to eat both Goblins and Dragons given the opportunity.  They especially like the crunchy calcium bones.

Dragons and Goblins and TROLLS!

This rock troll in a stone boat was drawn by David Ullery and is used by his permission and that of Trollhalla Press.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

The Stylish Blogger Award

A couple of days ago i was given the Stylish Blogger Award by two of my blogging friends who both run excellent blogs.  It looks like this:

This award is making the rounds.

While I appreciate the honor that my friends offered me with this award, it comes with conditions.  I’m supposed to link back to those who gave me the award, and I’m supposed to tell you all seven true things about myself.   However, I’m kind of grumpy and contrary today–I’m not accepting any conditions.  I don’t want to list seven true things about myself?  Pontius Pilate once asked Jesus “What is Truth?” and I repeat the question.  Nobody knows the real me.  I don’t even know myself.  I’m not going to do it.  I guess that means I’m not a Stylish Blogger.  To Hell with it!  I never aspired to that title.

To some extent WordPress controls what I can do in these blogs.  They limit me by the tools they provide.  I accept those limits in order to put my messages on the internet for anyone to read/see.  If I were more savvy about the tech, I could do more than I do with the WordPress tools–I really don’t know much–I can put up words and pictures.  Sometimes I can’t even get that simple format to come out the way I want it.  I’m a pretty lazy guy.  My motto is K.I.S.S.  Keep it simple, Stupid.  I’m Stupid.  I like things simple.

So, WordPress can limit my blogging form because the site is making the whole blog possible.  I don’t see why I should accept any other limits on what I choose to enter.  I’m only accepting my own self-imposed limits on what I share.  Just because some yahoo thinks up an award and it starts going around on the internet doesn’t mean I have to follow his rules for what I write.  I reject it.  I write what I want to write–tell you what I want to tell you.  You read what you want to read, and think what you want to think.  That’s our bargain as blogger and reader.

If you want to know more about the Stylish Blogger Award, and perhaps find the many stylish blogs that have accepted it, then Google it.  I’m opting out.

(The civilized and courteous thing to do with the Stylish Blogger Award, other than complying with its restrictions, would have been to simply ignore it.  Well, I choose to express myself on how I feel.  I’m neither civilized nor courteous today.  I am Atroll.)

End