Pandragon Dan http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog Pandragon Dan en Sat, 14 Jan 2012 14:32:19 GMT Thu, 21 Aug 2014 04:18:42 GMT 60 Top Five Robin Williams Films http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/top-five-robin-williams-films <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="652" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_394f7bd7559b44c28663a0a4809c8d53.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 400px; height: 400px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Like millions of people across the globe, I was absolutely shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Robin Williams. He was an incredibly beloved actor and comedian with absolutely perfect comic timing – and his range of voices was incredible. He could switch from one accent to the next just like that as it if it was second nature – but he could also move you to tears with his brilliant performances. Even if the film he was in was crap, he was mesmerising to watch. I must say, not since James Gandoflini’s death have been so affected by a celebrity passing away.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Now many tributes have already been paid to Robin Williams already and some might say that I’m “late to the party”. However, work commitments have prevented me from doing this blog until now – and I wanted to do honour this man in some way. Like many, Robin Williams was my childhood hero and I loved watching his films. So today, I am writing this list, not to mourn him – but remember what a fantastic person he was.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Today, I pick my Top Five favourite Robin Williams movies. These are the films of his that I enjoyed the most and can watch a million times and still love them. As always, this is based only on films I’ve seen, so films such as <em>Good Will Hunting</em> and <em>Dead Poets Society</em> won’t be on the list – however I am going to make sure that I see those films soon. <em>Hook </em>is also a film I should give an honourable mention to and, whilst I do love that film, I could only choose five for this list.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> As always, these films are in no particular order. Also, just in case you haven’t seen any of these films, I should warn you that spoilers are ahead. I just hope my emotions can stay in check whilst writing this.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width: 100%; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; text-align: center;"> <img original-height="978" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_0a074aa385da48a8af6877e013c9cf3a.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 300px; height: 450px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>1. Jumanji</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I saw this film at the cinema and it scared the living crap outta me! Based around a cursed boardgame, Robin Williams plays Alan Parrish, who was trapped in the game as a child and only released when the kids of a new family move into the vacant Parrish house. It’s up to them, and Alan’s childhood friend Sarah, to finish the game – and all sorts of chaos ensures as everything from stampedes to monsoons start taking over the house.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Jumanji </em>may be more “serious” than other Robin Williams movies, but Williams is, as always, entertaining to watch. His performance of Alan is a great balance between a man who has faced horror for all his life, mixed in with a scared little boy, coming to terms that everything he knew is gone. Especially harrowing is his battle with Van Pelt, a big game hunter that’s capable of reducing him to terror (interesting enough, Jonathan Hyde, who also plays his father – making Van Pelt a metaphor of Alan’s fear of his father).</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I love Jumanji as it’s a roller coaster ride from beginning to end. The special effects are awesome, Robin Williams performance is brilliant and it also has a good moral about facing up to your fears. Even today I still find that scene where Alan is sucked into the board game pretty scary. It may not be one of his best films critically, but it’s an entertaining family film nonetheless.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="500" original-width="375" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_fdc4d86956ff45658070c0435e66bd9f.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 300px; height: 400px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>2. Aladdin</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> This film is especially poignant in that a picture has been circling social media of the genie and Aladdin, with the words “Genie, you’re free”, which has been lauded (and in some cases, criticised) by the public. But let’s not dwell on the sad parts, we’re here to remember Robin Williams for the talented man that he was. And few films showcase his extraordinary skills than Disney’s <em>Aladdin</em>.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> As the Genie, Williams is quick witted, hilarious – dazzling us with amazing visuals and comedic dialogue that only Robin Williams could pull off. Even more amazing is when you realise that Williams actually ad-libed most of the dialogue in the film and let himself go crazy. Very few people could pull that off and make it convincing.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> And let’s not forget <em>Friend Like Me</em>, one of the most amazing Disney songs ever. Don’t believe me? See for yourself and tell me this isn’t fun to watch.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="345px" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/99Op1TaXmCw?wmode=opaque" width="420"></iframe></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> It is a shame that Robin Williams had a fall out with Disney and didn’t come back to do any of the <em>Aladdin </em>films for a long time (he was replaced by Dan Castellaneta of <em>The Simpsons</em> fame), but his voice on the Genie remains one of the most loved of all Disney films. We certainly will never have a friend like him, that’s for sure.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width: 100%; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; text-align: center;"> <img original-height="445" original-width="300" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_f7f1d183487240fdae5958c5d6888a7c.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 300px; height: 445px;" /></div> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> &nbsp;</div> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> &nbsp;</div> <p> <u><strong>3. Mrs Doubtfire</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I just had to mention this film, because this film deserves it for being both funny and poignant in a way no other film can match. Everyone remembers laughing themselves stupid at Robin’s Williams performance and his antics – and not to mention the excellent voices that he puts on during the film. However one of my favourite things about this film is that the main character Williams plays is called Daniel. Two thumbs up from me!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> In the film, Daniel is an out of work voice actor who marriage is on the rocks. When his wife files for divorce, and gets full custody of the kids, Daniel uses his acting talents to disguise himself as a Scottish Nanny so that he can be close to his kids. Through his actions as Mrs Doubtfire, he becomes closer to his children. However his family are somewhat threatened when his wife’s new love interest Stu comes to visit (played by Pierce Brosnan). I will admit I do like the dynamics between the two characters, it makes for some funny moments.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> As much as I love the comedy that Williams does, in <em>Mrs Doubtfire, </em>it’s the heartfelt moments that really catch you out. The last scene where Mrs Doubtfire (on her own TV show) reads a letter from a worried girl that their parents are divorcing, and Mrs Doubtfire tells her that as long as there is love there will always be a family is really moving and perfectly coincides with Daniel’s own fight to keep his family. It’s a film that can move you to tears as much as move you to laughter and that’s testament to Williams acting ability. A standout film for many fans of Williams and it’s not hard to see why.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="475" original-width="335" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_fd2b2f042b364a748a19bbe61473a348.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 300px; height: 425px;" /></div> <div content-type="media" style="width: 100%; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;"> &nbsp;</div> <div content-type="media" style="width: 100%; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;"> &nbsp;</div> <p> <u><strong>4. One Hour Photo</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Now this one I find is one of the most underrated Robin Williams films. Because unlike others on the list, this one isn’t a comedy – it’s a psychological thriller. You wouldn’t think that someone like Williams, who does mostly comedy, could do serious acting. You’d be wrong.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> In this film, Williams plays a photo technician called Sy, that takes his work very seriously. He leads a lonely life, dedicated to the old school art of printing pictures, leading no real life of his own. He becomes somewhat attached to the Yorkin family. And by attached I mean obsessed, wishing to be part of their happy family. When the husband, Will Yorkin, starts cheating on his wife, Sy becomes hateful of him and seeks to make him pay. What follows is a scene where Sy catches Will and his paramour unaware and torments them until he is captured by the police.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Yes, you heard me right, in this film Williams plays a psycho. It’s not the first time he played a character like this (he was the killer in the Chris Nolan Insomnia remake), but here he is just as chilling. But strangely enough, you actually kinda feel a little sorry for the guy. He’s not really a bad person. Sure he does bad things, but when it boils down to it, he’s just lonely. He’s never had a loving family or anything like that (in fact the film hints that he was sexually abused by his father) so he just wants to be part of the Yorkin’s family life. And in his own way, he believes he has good intentions, drawing attention to what a poor husband Will is.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> You won’t get many laughs in this film. But what you will get is a creepy, frightening, but somewhat sad character that you will either come to despise or feel really sorry for. If you didn’t think that Robin Williams could do serious, this film will make you think twice. As I said, it’s an overlooked film when people talk about their favourite Robin Williams movies, but I think it deserves a mention, if anything to demonstrate the range than Williams is capable of.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="467" original-width="300" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_90266264a6a94ce5bafd9c1a8455fc5a.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 300px; height: 467px;" /></div> <div content-type="media" style="width: 100%; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;"> &nbsp;</div> <div content-type="media" style="width: 100%; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;"> &nbsp;</div> <p> <u><strong>5. Good Morning, Vietnam</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I’m just gonna say that, hands down, this is my FAVOURITE Robin Williams movie. Very few films have made me laugh my ass off more than this one.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> In <em>Good Morning, Vietnam</em>, Williams plays Adrian Cronauer (of whom the film is loosely based on), a DJ that is brought in to do a radio show for the troops whilst stationed at Vietnam. Although his superiors hate him, his brand of comedy mixed with news, and a little bit of rock and roll, is highly popular with the troops and even lifts their spirits. But all too soon, the horrors of Vietnam start to take form and Adrian finds himself at odds with what his superiors want him to say and his own desire to make the truth heard.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Like all Williams films, this has some extremely funny comedy mixed in with real world issues. Must like with <em>Aladdin</em>, Williams improvised a lot of the radio talk he did – which again shows what a talent he was when it comes to it. The fact that he can change from one voice to the next in the drop of a hat, and do it so convincingly, just adds a lot to the performance and makes it amusing to watch.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I think may favourite scene is when he starts a fight with a soldier in a bar, declaring him to have big muscles but no “p***s”. It’s just the way that Williams can turn a serious and dangerous moment into a comedic moment at the drop of a hat. It’s one of my favourite comedy moments of cinema.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Like all films in this list, I could watch this over and over again, if nothing just for the brilliant impressions that he does. <em>Good Morning, Vietnam</em> is a little more light-hearted than other war films (although it certainly gets the point across as well) but it is highly entertaining and worth the watch.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Those are my favourite Robin Williams films, what are yours? Please let me know, and remember...</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="380" original-width="630" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_cfe1f5f141884a20a54a0fd6ee74c8d1.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 630px; height: 380px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> RIP Robin Williams, you made our lives so much better and you will be missed.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">------------------------</span></div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> All above images are copyright of their respective owners</p> Sat, 16 Aug 2014 12:36:53 GMT 35c48795-41f2-4b9a-9674-c18b84a4ff60 Top Five Saddest Deaths in Animated Films http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/top-five-saddest-deaths-in-animated-films <p> You know, there’s just nothing more heart-wrenching than seeing your favourite characters die on the big screen. I’ve talked about this before about how the death of a character can add a real emotional shock to a scene. And whilst these scenes can really impact on a story, I find that they are even powerful if they appear in an animated film.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Maybe that’s just me, but deaths in animated films get to me more so than in live action. I guess you don’t really expect things like that in animated films as they are, for the most part, aimed at a younger audience, so you expect them to be nice and jolly. So it can be a real shock to the system when they add in very really elements like this. That being said, if you look at many classic animated movies, they usually have that ONE death that will definitely hit you right in the feels.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Recently I’ve been catching up with some of the animated movies I used to watch when I was younger and was quite surprised with the hard hitting deaths of characters. No wonder I get so depressed! So today I decided to honour the lives of those characters who have passed away and whose death’s had (and still do have) the largest impact on me.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> For this list, I’m looking at animated films I’ve seen who had a death that affected me the most. I also would like to point out that I made a rule of including only ONE Pixar movie and ONE Disney movie (those films could be a list in themselves!). Also, as always, this is in no particular order. And just a heads up – spoilers included!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Have your tissues at the ready as today I countdown the Top Five Saddest Deaths in Animated Films.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="304" original-width="405" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_3af8eed2ddfd75328b706487b4b7f517.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 400px; height: 300px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>1. Littlefoot’s Mother in The Land Before Time</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Forget all the crappy direct to DVD sequels, the original <em>The Land Before Time</em> is a masterpiece of cinema – a wonderful tale of family and friendship with some loveable characters. Oh and did I mention its set during the time of the dinosaurs? It’s also notable for being the first film to traumatise me as a child. I don’t think any film made me cry so much – hell it still makes me weep when I see it 26 years later!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> In this particular scene that will haunt your childhood forever, Littlefoot and his family are migrating to The Great Valley after all the food in the area dries up. During the journey, we see how close Littlefoot is to his family, and how protective his mother is of him. It’s really heartwarming – but then, like with any tragedy, their happiness gets torn apart.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> When Sharptooth (a T-Rex) attacks Littlefoot and Cera (a young Three-Horn), Littlefoot’s mother comes to save them, but is fatally wounded in the process. What follows a few minutes later is a crushing scene where Littlefoot finds his injured mother and she imparts a few words of wisdom and support before she dies.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Annnnnnnndddd then the tears come… :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'(</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> This scene is tragic for many reasons. Firstly, not only does Littlefoot have to watch his mother die, he now has to complete the journey to The Great Valley alone. And let’s not forget – Littlefoot is just a kid. When you add all this up, it makes one of the most depressing scenes in cartoon history. But that being said, we can also give credit to Littlefoot’s mother – she sacrificed herself to protect her child, making her one of the bravest heroines in animated film. And even though she dies, she is still with Littlefoot in spirit.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> If you haven’t seen it, <em>The Land Before Time</em> is one of the best animated films you will see. It’s a tale of courage, friendship and hope, with some loveable characters and a tragic story. Just make sure you have some tissues at the ready, because this scene alone will definitely hit you in the feels!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="164" original-width="308" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_9a6dd38652f84305a3917d48f6360dd8.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 400px; height: 212px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>2. Flynn Rider in Tangled</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I’m sure when you heard a Disney film would be in this list, you were expecting me to include the death of Simba’s father in <em>The Lion King</em>. And yes, that scene is sad, but as I already included the death of Littlefoot’s Mother, I decided to use another film so as to vary it a little. Not only that, but I wanted to make it up to the readers who were upset by my last blog.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> When I did my first <em>Disney Deathmatch</em>, with <em>Tangled </em>Versus <em>The Hunchback of Notre Dame</em>, quite a few people on facebook were quick to voice their disapproval that <em>Tangled </em>didn’t win. I actually was kinda surprised how much people loved this film. I’ve done numerous mentions of how I think <em>Frozen </em>was an overrated film and hardly got any rage from it (luckily), but <em>Tangled </em>I got a lot of angry people at my throat– one of my best friends I thought was never gonna speak to me again!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Let me make one thing clear – just because <em>Tangled </em>didn’t win it DOESN’T mean that Tangled isn’t a good film. In fact, I would say that Tangled is one of the most enjoyable Disney films of all time. In fact, I’d actually say it was a better film than <em>Frozen</em>, that’s how much I enjoyed it.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> But I’m getting off track here.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Anyway, in <em>Tangled</em>, Rapunzel wishes to leave her tower and enter the great wide world. After Flynn Rider (real name Eugene) hides in her tower after a robbery goes wrong, Rapunzel “forces” him to take her outside and escort her, so that she can find the reason behind the lights that are released every year. But, like any Disney movie, as the story progresses Rapunzel and Flynn become closer and, as you may guess, fall in love. And you know what, I actually like Flynn – he’s a really good character for reasons I will explain later.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> At the climax of the movie, Flynn is wounded by Mother Gothel whilst trying to save Rapunzel. Rapunzel begs her to use her magic hair (which contains healing magic) to save Flynn, after which she promises to be taken prisoner by Gothel. However, Flynn – not wanting Rapunzel to be at the mercy of Gothel, cuts her hair off, removing her healing magic, which then causes Gothel to vanish to dust. Flynn essentially sacrifices himself to save Rapunzel, which is a very brave deed in and off himself. He then dies. And when Rapunzel’s starts singing and her tears fall, so do the audiences.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Ok, so this is kinda cheating as Flynn DOES come back to life – but before that it’s still pretty sad. I thought that Flynn was a likeable rogue and probably one of the best heroes in Disney history. Sure he’s brash, arrogant and selfish, but he’s very funny and a good man at heart. Through Rapunzel he finds something more precious than gold and in the end he is willing to give up his own life to save her. I reckon Kristoff could learn a thing or two from Flynn as to what a real hero should be like!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="376" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_e720debd586f416087a431752d9590a2.png" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 400px; height: 230px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>3. Optimus Prime in Transformers the Movie</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I’m just gonna come right out and say it, the recent <em>Transformers </em>movies suck and Michael Bay can go to hell! That is all I have to say on that matter. However, the 1986 <em>Transformers: The Movie</em> is a underrated classic that kicks the ass of anything Mr Bay ever did. But it is also infamous for one of the most shocking deaths in cartoon history.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Set in between Seasons 2 and 3 of the original series, this movie is a treat for <em>Transformers </em>fans. The voice acting is somewhat questionable, but the movie has great action, a kickass metal soundtrack and features voice acting from Hollywood heavyweights Leonard Nimoy, Eric Idle, Judd Nelson and Orson Wells (in his final film role). However, the film does have a much darker tone than the TV series – and even include character deaths! Yes, that right, characters DIE in this film! Ironhide, Prowl, Ratchet, Brawn, Windcharger, Wheeljack and Starscream all meet their end in this film. But NO ONE could have expected that the filmmakers would pull the ultimate asspull and kill off the most beloved character of all – Optimus Prime!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Near the beginning of the film, a final battle between Megatron and Optimus results in the Autobots leader being fatally wounded. Calling together his trusted Autobots, Prime passes on the Matrix (no not the Keanu Reeves film) to Ultra Magnus (who refuses it under grounds that he is no leader). After which he gives a final speech, turns black and his head falls to the side of his bed. And at that moment, every Transformers fan scream in disbelief!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Ok, so it may be a little weird to those that haven’t seen the series, but to any fan of the show, this was a real shock to the system. Optimus Prime was a badass warrior, but he was also a fatherly figure to the Autobots, willing to lay down his life to protect his troops and the humans that they lived alongside. Not to mention he could turn into a truck, which is pretty awesome. So why did the filmmakers kill off such a popular character? Blame Hasbro!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> When the film was coming out, Hasbro were bringing out a new line of toys for the <em>Transformers </em>franchise, so they asked for certain characters to be killed off to bring them into the series – Optimus included. However the backlash that resulted was intense and fans were quick to voice their disapproval of his death. Even Peter Cullen, the actor that voiced Optimus Prime, was surprised at how loved the character was. In fact, the backlash was so huge that they even changed a scene in <em>G.I.Joe The Movie.</em> In that film, Duke was supposed to die, but instead they wrote it that he entered a coma - which he then woke from at the end.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The impact of Prime's death was probably on par with The Red Wedding from <em>Game of Thrones</em>. It’s a death that many fans still feel for today. So much so that, when the Nostalgia Critic did his <em>Top 11 Saddest Nostalgia Moments</em>, he didn’t include the death of Optimus Prime, which caused a lot of fans to lash out at him. He did make a joke about it in his next video, and even included it in one of his <em>Top 11 Nostalgia Critic F*** Ups</em>.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Optimus would eventually return to the <em>Transformers </em>cartoon, much to the delight of the fans – but this death will forever live in peoples’ minds as one of the most traumatic moments of their childhood. Mine included.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>4. Gen’s Family in Barefoot Gen</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Due to the somewhat disturbing content of this scene, I’ve decided not to include a picture of it. But just be warned that this section does have some parts that readers may find upsetting.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> This one may be a bit of a stretch as I don’t know how many people have seen this film. But I wanted to include at least one Anime film on this list. I suppose it would be better to have a Studio Ghibli film in this list, and considering their recent announcement of their closure – or reorganisation – it would have been pretty easy to include one. However, I wanted to highlight this film as <em>Barefoot Gen</em> is, in my opinion, the most underrated of all Animes and one that gets criminally overlooked when people list their favourite Animes.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Starting off as a Slice of Life, it’s set around a boy called Gen and his life with his family, which is pretty decent for the most part. The first part of the film is Gen getting into mischief with his brother. However, a somewhat innocent story foreshadows a greater danger to come. Why? Because this film is set during the Hiroshima bombings.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> When the bomb drops, the film doesn’t hold back showing the full horror that the hydrogen bomb is capable of. In fact, the fact that it’s an Anime shows the audience just what damage it could do. People are melted, vaporised – and there is one scene where a mother tries to shield her baby from the bomb and they are fused together. Gen survives and rushes back to his family, who are trapped in the house. He gets his mother out, but his father, sister and brother are buried under the rubble and the house is about to collapse on them. Worst still, the flames around them from the bomb threaten to burn them alive.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Gen and his mother make numerous attempts to save them and pull them out and we watch with terror, hoping that there would be a happy conclusion. But it is ultimately hopeless and he and his mother break down. Gen’s father, knowing that his wife is pregnant and seeing that they cannot escape this, tells Gen to leave them and protect his mother. Eventually having no choice but the accept, the house falls on Gen’s family and they are consumed by the fire, their screams ringing out.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Never has any Anime moved me as much as this. Gen seeing his friends burned alive by the bomb is one thing, but then having to watch as his family die and knowing he is powerless to do anything to help really rips at your heart and you feel Gen’s pain. What makes this scene especially poignant is that the creator of <em>Barefoot Gen</em>, Keiji Nakazawa actually lived through the Hiroshima bombings and, from what I can gather, he actually lost his family this way. I don’t know how much of this film is actually true or made up, but knowing that this is based on the first hand experience of someone that lived through it just hits you right in the heart in ways that few films can.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Sadly,<em> Barefoot Gen</em> isn’t shown that often, but it is fairly easy to get on DVD if you look for it. I highly recommend this film. It’s not easy to watch and will definitely bring out the tears quicker than a waterfall – but the film does serve as a grim reminder of the price of war and the lives that are destroyed because of it.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="360" original-width="640" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_a380423b287a4fc8a300351f03ee0c24.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 400px; height: 225px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>5. Ellie in Up</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Yeah, you guys knew this one was coming. :) But then, as I’ve said, <em>Up </em>is and always will be the best Pixar movie ever – possibly even the best Disney movie of all time if you count Pixar and Disney as the same entity. One of my favourite love stories of all time, my plan is to watch this film without crying. Not succeeded yet.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> At the beginning of <em>Up</em>, we meet Carl and Ellie as children. Carl being a huge fan of the explorer Charles Muntz finds a common friend in Ellie, who wishes to one day move her “clubhouse” to Paradise Falls. Becoming friends, Carl makes a promise to take her there one day.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> After this we flash forward several years to when Ellie and Carl are married. We are then treated to a wonderful montage where we see them move into married life. Ellie and Carl settle into the “clubhouse”, making it their own home and they get jobs and eventually wish to start a family – only for Ellie to find that she is infertile, which is pretty sad in itself. Remembering the promise that Carl made, he and Ellie gather some money to pay for a trip to Paradise Falls, but real life gets in the way and they constantly have to abandon their plans (something we can all relate to). We watch as they get old, their love for each other never floundering. Eventually, they make enough money to travel to Paradise Falls and Carl tries to surprise Ellie – only for her to fall ill. It then goes from Ellie in hospital, to Carl at the end of her funeral, ending with him walking into the house – all alone.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Never have I seen a montage perfectly capture the love and pathos of a married couple within four minutes. Even though there is no dialogue, the music perfectly captures the love between the two of them and the audience feel what they feel. This is why it is especially painful for us when Ellie dies. It reminds us that we are only mortal, but love can live on forever.&nbsp; And when Carl tries to fulfil his promise to Ellie, it acts as testament to the love the two had for each other.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Another scene to mention would be the bit where he reads Ellie’s scrapbook near the end of the movie, seeing all the pictures of her and Carl in the “Things I have to do” section. But Ellie’s death is especially powerful as it is the driving force for Carl and invigorates him to do one more thing before he passes away. If that’s not an act of love then I dunno what is.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I dare ANYONE to see this opening montage without crying. If you can then you are either heartless or just a stronger person than me. This montage is one of the best I have ever seen in a film and <em>Up </em>is just one of the greatest love stories ever told. Proof that love never dies.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> So now that tears have been shed, I’d love to hear from you guys – which character deaths in animated films made YOU cry the most? Please leave a comment below to let me know.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Thanks for reading guys.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">------------------------</span></div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <em>All images above</em><em> copyright of their respective owners</em></p> Sun, 10 Aug 2014 12:14:52 GMT 39cd44fd-834a-4082-a1ef-5c4008cb0ec5 Pandragon Disney Death Match! Tangled Versus The Huncback of Notre Dame http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/pandragon-disney-death-match-tangled-versus-the <p> Today we’re trying something a little different. A piece I like to call... (add dramatic voice and hardcore thrash metal music here)</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <strong>PANDRAGONDAN’S DISNEY DEATHMATCH!!!</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Ahem, ok... it’s not going to be QUITE as bloody as the title makes it out to be, but... I couldn’t think of a witty title! XD</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> This is similar to a previous idea I had called<em> Animated Musical Showdown </em>– which I decided to stop in favour of this. For those new to this, don’t worry, you aren’t missing anything.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> As many of you guys know, I love Disney – whether old school or new school. Having purchased a bundle of Disney films with works vouchers over the last few months, it got me thinking – what do I consider the best Disney films of all time? And this is where this comes in! In this blog, I will pit two Disney films against each other to try and determine which film is better (at least in my opinion). I’ll try and pick films with similar themes and ideas to try and keep it as fair as possible.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> In each battle, there will be five “rounds”, of which I will talk about what I like, don’t like, etc, then award a point accordingly. Whoever has the most points at the end wins. Simple as that! And I’m keeping it to five so that there is no chance of a tie happening.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> And just so you guys are aware, elements such as animation and awards/recognition won will NOT factor into my choices – only the categories mentioned in each one will matter.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Just a warning, this blog may contain spoilers for each story, so consider yourself warned. All opinions/conclusions reached are my own.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> So with that being said, for my first Deathmatch, I’m putting up one of my favourite films of all time,<em> The Hunchback of Notre Dame</em>, against a modern reimagining of a famous fairytale, <em>Tangled</em>. Both are unique twists on classic stories – but which one holds up the most? Let’s find out.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="340" original-width="567" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_1b9131a4cc6e422eb5cf545933cac6a9.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 600px; height: 359px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <strong>FIGHT!!!</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>ROUND 1 – Protagonists</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <p> <img height="196" original-height="640" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_9e9e3f6b98e1400a88b453ded82acc93.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none;" width="265" />&nbsp; <img height="191" original-height="358" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_456b22d636174951aba2f86344df0da4.png" style="display: inline; border: 0px none;" width="300" /></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> </div> <p> Here I look at the protagonists of each film – Rapunzel for <em>Tangled </em>and Quasimodo for <em>Hunchback </em>– and decide which one of them is a more sympathetic and likeable character.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> In many ways, both are very much alike and have similar back stories. Both are locked away from the outside world by their respective antagonist, who in turn pretends to be a “guardian” for them. Both of them wish to be outside amongst the people, but are warned the world is cruel and will reject them. And both of them have a love interested that is “killed” by the villain. But each character has differences that sets them apart from the other.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> In Rapunzel’s case, she was born with the ability to heal through her hair, granted by a magic flower was fed to her mother at birth. Kidnapped by Mother Gothel as a child, who wished to use her healing powers to stop herself from aging, Rapunzel was locked away, never knowing who her real parents were. Every year, the castle would release lights into the sky in memory of the princess (and their parents hoping it would bring Rapunzel back to them) and Rapunzel was drawn to them, never knowing their true meaning. That’s a pretty tragic back story – and quite sad as she was torn away from loving parents, without ever knowing much of where she came from or the truth behind her being held. She was a prisoner without even realising it.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Quasimodo’s story is equally as tragic. His mother was a gypsy that was murdered by Frollo when he was a baby and Frollo was going to drown him – until the Archdeacon forced Frollo to keep him in penance for his sin. Forced to hide in the belltower, Frollo locked him away from the people of the world, telling him that his visage would frightened them and he would be persecuted. In many ways he has it a little harder than Rapunzel, because even with her long hair, at least she could fit in with the people of the world. Quasimodo is deformed and, unfortunately, people tend to be afraid of anyone who are “different”. It makes him just that little more tragic in my eyes as his appearance makes him a monster to everyone.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> In terms of character, Rapunzel is loveable Princess. Though slightly naive (she was locked away for years so we can forgive her for that), she is capable to an extent and can look after herself. She did knock out Flynn with a frying pan after all and she even managed to stop a whole gang of thugs from killing Flynn. Not to mention her hair is just badass! It’s so long that she can use it to lift people up, use it as a rope or a swing. It can even heal people – that is pretty cool! However, she is a little bit of a damsel in distress (which I never really liked), but to be fair to her, she DOES save Flynn’s life in the end. It would have been nice if she was a little more proactive and maybe a bit tougher, but I did grow to love her and totally bought into her story.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Quasimodo is also a loveable character and equally as naive as Rapunzel (if not more so), but I have a bit of a soft side for the guy. He’s deformed and looks like a monster, however he is anything but. He’s artistic, has a beautiful singing voice and also very trusting – maybe a little too trusting. He was fooled by Frollo for many years and, when Esmerelda shows him kindness, he mistakes it for love – then becomes heartbroken when she goes for Captain Phoebus. Though easily frightened and manipulated, Quasimodo does possess superhuman strength (he was shown ripping off chains that were holding him, albeit with some effort) so he can fight for himself, but due to his shyness and low self-esteem he rarely fights back. But in the end, the people do come to accept him after they see he is not such a monster after all – after Frollo tries to burn down Paris.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> It’s hard to choose between the two of them, as they both have tragic back stories and both are loveable. But, I’ll give the point to Quasimodo purely on the basis that his tragedy was based on his deformity, whereas Rapunzel was held capture for her magic hair. So, as much as I love Rapunzel, the point goes to <em>Hunchback</em>.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="340" original-width="567" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_1b9131a4cc6e422eb5cf545933cac6a9.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 567px; height: 340px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <strong>0-1</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>ROUND 2 – Antagonists</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <p> <img original-height="366" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_da3a41208f1341718d1a27b408e3a89b.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 300px; height: 168px;" /> <img height="167" original-height="358" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_999783be580148fa9fb5cea1af05afaa.png" style="display: inline; border: 0px none;" width="300" /></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> </div> <p> A hero is only as good as their villain – and both <em>Tangled </em>and <em>Hunchback </em>have some pretty nasty villains to boot. For <em>Tangled </em>we have Mother Gothel and for <em>Hunchback </em>we have Judge Claude Frollo. But which of them do I love to hate the most?</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Firstly, I’d like to say that both these characters are somewhat unique amongst your typical Disney villains like Maleficent, Jafa and Ursula (to name a few) in that they don’t rely on magic to perform their deeds, which I think makes them more believable. Also, both these villains lock the main character away from the rest of the world and both of them also die by falling.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Mother Gothel is an aging hag of a woman that found a magic flower that she used every now and then to stop herself aging – the film hints at her being well over 400 years old. But when this flower was taken to use on the sick Queen, Rapunzel was born and the magic was held in her hair. Mother Gothel stole Rapunzel (in fairness to her, she did only intend to take just a lock of her hair – but realised that when her hair was cut, the magic was lost) and kept her locked in a tower, where she periodically visited her to use her magic to keep her young, keeping her locked away from the outside world. Geez, what a bitch!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Judge Claude Frollo is a fundamentalist xenophobe that seeks to have all the gypsies (who he considered sinful) cleansed from Paris. A devout man that sees himself doing the Lord’s work, he is willing to torture and murder people to achieve his goals. In his case, he never WANTED to keep Quasimodo alive – in fact he murdered Quasimodo’s mother and tried to drown him as a baby, but the archdeacon forced him to stop. Since then he’s kept Quasimodo away from the world, pretending that he is doing it for his own good.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> In terms of character, Mother Gothel is the more “lighthearted” of the two, to an extent anyway. Most of the time she is sarcastic to Rapunzel, often putting her down and making fun of her like the mean girl she is. She talks down to Rapunzel with a condescending “mother knows best” tone – but man can she turn nasty when she wants to! She was even prepared to murder Rapunzel’s love interest and lock her away in darkness to keep her away from the rest of the world. Mother of the year she is not! But despite her wicked nature, she does occasionally get a few funny lines in now and then.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Frollo, by contrast, is much darker and takes himself a bit more seriously. In fact, one could argue that he is the darkest of all Disney villains. He murders and tortures, lusts over Esmerelda and even burns Paris in his search for the gypsies. And yet, in his own mind, he believes that he is doing God’s work. He sees himself as a holy avenger, sent to cleanse the world of sin. Ironically, whilst Quasimodo is viewed as a monster because of how he looks, Frollo actually is a monster because of the evil deeds he does. And yet he justifies his actions by claiming to be a good Christian – although whether he believes this and whether he is just using this as an excuse is open for debate. As Clopin states in the film &quot;who is the monster, and who is the man&quot;. All these factors make Frollo much more interesting as a villain as unlike Mother Gothel (who was motivated by her own vanity and desire to cheat death), Frollo is motivated by his religion and his desire to see sin cleansed.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> All these factors (plus the fact that Frollo was voiced by the incredible Tony Jay, who’s baritone voice adds a sinister threatening tone to the character) make Frollo a much more rounded villain. So, not surprisingly, I’m giving the point to Hunchback for this one.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="340" original-width="567" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_1b9131a4cc6e422eb5cf545933cac6a9.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 567px; height: 340px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <strong>0-2</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>ROUND 3 – Supporting Characters</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <p> <img height="168" original-height="366" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_05b5d36c00b84aa29edfdd9166a7b01b.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none;" width="274" /> <img height="167" original-height="337" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_9024375c931d496992a482c35a896081.png" style="display: inline; border: 0px none;" width="300" /></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> </div> <p> Here I look at the supporting characters in the film. For <em>Tangled </em>I’ll be looking at Flynn Rider (aka Eugene Fitzherbert), Maximus the Horse, Pascal the chameleon and the thugs. For <em>Hunchback </em>it’s Esmerelda, Captain Phoebus, the gargoyles and Clopin.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Let me just start off by saying that the characters in <em>Tangled </em>are some of the best I’ve seen in a Disney film. Flynn Rider is actually my favourite Disney hero out of all of them – he’s a dashing rogue that seeks nothing but fame and fortune and comes across as quite arrogant and full of himself. But then when he meets Rapunzel, that kinda changes for him and he finds something else worth fighting for. Learning that his real name was Eugene and that he got his name from a character in a book was a nice twist as well and actually makes him a lot more believable as a character. Maximus, the horse, was just funny as hell to watch. The scenes between him and Flynn as they try to outdo each other are just entertaining and crack me up every time. Pascal... I gotta be honest, he didn’t do much for me. But the thugs were also very funny. They look like some of the toughest people you will ever meet, but they are just so overly camp and silly that you can’t help but smile, despite their frightening looks.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Now onto <em>Hunchback </em>– and yes, I am just going to say this now. Esmerelda is the sexiest Disney heroine ever in my opinion! Whether it’s just that she looks beautiful, the outfits she wears, or maybe it’s the fact that she’s voiced by Demi Moore, Esmerelda is a great character. She is tough and streetwise, but also gentle and sincere, especially to Quasimodo, who in many ways she shares his plight as she’s an outcast because of who she is. Oh, and her goat Djali is also entertaining to watch, that little goat kicks ass! (pardon the pun). In fact, Esmerelda can also fight when needed, making her tougher than most Disney Princesses. Can’t blame Frollo for wanting a piece of her. Captain Phoebus, whilst on the antagonistic side, is more heroic than Frollo is. He is a soldier that tries to do the right thing and eventually sees through Frollo’s wicked action, becoming ally to Quasimodo and lover to Esmerelda. Nice guy, but pretty much your standard hero. The gargoyles are a source of a lot of the humour in Hunchback and are a lighthearted touch in an otherwise dark movie, which I think helped balance the story. Clopin, the leader of the gypsies as he acts as a kind of narrator for the film, explaining through performance Quasimodo’s backstory. He is entertaining to watch, but is willing to do some pretty dark things to protect his people.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Whilst I like the characters in <em>Hunchback</em>, I have to say that the scenes with Flynn and Maximus are entertaining as hell to watch. So this time, <em>Tangled </em>gets the point.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="340" original-width="567" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_1b9131a4cc6e422eb5cf545933cac6a9.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 567px; height: 340px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <strong>1-2</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>ROUND 4 – Music</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <p> <img height="197" original-height="366" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_6a027956d59b47bca4cf1c1b0db20ea9.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none;" width="300" /> <img height="198" original-height="351" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_30c7bf3bed57409686ee09701ce228bc.png" style="display: inline; border: 0px none;" width="303" /></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> </div> <p> Now let’s look at the music in each film. I’m quite lucky here because both films are scored by Alan Menken – who is a god amongst film composers in my eyes!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The music in <em>Tangled </em>is a little more modern than <em>Hunchback</em>, incorporating a lot of modern day pop elements and folk. Not surprising seeing as Rapunzel was voiced by pop singer Mandy Moore. Now some reviews say that the songs in <em>Tangled </em>aren’t that good, but I disagree. <em>When Will My Life Begin</em> is a catchy, upbeat number where Rapunzel wonders when she will leave the tower and begin her life. <em>Mother Knows Best</em> is a jazzy number by Mother Gothel with dark undertones and becomes really dark later on. <em>I See The Light </em>is a beautiful ballad to listen to and actually brought me to tears – not to mention the scene itself (with Flynn and Rapunzel on the boat at the lights are raised up) is just amazing to watch with all the flying lights. I would actually go so far to say that it has more heart and is more entertaining than <em>Let It Go</em> from <em>Frozen </em>(sorry guys). My favourite one though is <em>I Got a Dream</em>, sung by the thugs. It was a fun musical number and seeing all kinds of barbarians singing and dancing (including a scene where a thug with a hooked hand played piano) made me crack up no end. Overall, the music is brilliant, has a lot of heart and is pretty upbeat for the most part, but dark when it wants to be.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> But no matter how dark the songs in <em>Tangled </em>they are nowhere near as dark as the songs on <em>Hunchback</em>. Incorporating a lot of themes from religion to xenophobia, the music in Hunchback is often foreboding, but also full of pathos. It has a couple of typically upbeat Disney showtunes such as <em>A Guy Like You</em> and <em>Topsy Turvey</em>, but the real power comes from songs like <em>Out There</em>, where Quasimodo laments his desire to be amongst the real people – and <em>God Help The Outcasts</em>, which is a heart moving song about Esmerelda praying for her people’s salvation, interjected with people praying to God for rather mundane and material means. These songs don’t hesitate to get the emotions riled and the tears flowing. And if that doesn’t do it for you, the end credits song <em>Someday</em>, sung by Eternal, will most definitely hit you in the feels.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> However, there is ONE song in this film that I think, without question is the greatest Disney song ever made. Yeah, you know the one I’m talking about – <em>Hellfire</em>! Man I can’t get enough of this song – it’s powerful, dark, twisted and has a lot of mature themes in it. I love how the song perfectly captures the many sides of Frollo, his zealous belief in his faith, his secret lust for Esmerelda, his growing insanity as he believes he is turning to sin – and then his final dark wish that he will burn everyone and everything to get what he desires (you know, for kids XD). It kinda foreshadows Frollo’s eventual fate in many ways as when he dies, there is fire like imagery, symbolising his fall to hell. Not to mention that Tony’s Jay’s vocals are just chilling to listen to. No matter how many times I listen to this song, I still get goosebumps! As I’ve said before on previous blogs, this song isn’t just better than<em> Let It Go </em>in my opinion – it eats it for breakfast! Menzel, take a hike!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="289" original-width="631" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_f968ba75446c4ba68b634b43b7127dd1.png" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 300px; height: 137px;" /></div> <div content-type="media-description" style="width:100%;text-align:center;"> <p style="text-align: center;"> Awww... why you gotta be so mean?</p> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I’m sorry, Elsa. Do you want to build a snowman? That cheer you up?</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="119" original-width="288" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_a5babc85fda64edfa557c920e4b84f71.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 300px; height: 123px;" /></div> <div content-type="media-description" style="width:100%;text-align:center;"> <p style="text-align: center;"> Snowman? YAY!!!</p> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Just promise me the snowman won’t be as annoying as Olaf.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Anyway. Moving on...</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> So with all that that being said, it should come as no surprise that I’m giving this point to <em>Hunchback</em>. Even though I love the songs in <em>Tangled</em>, I just can’t get over how powerful they are in <em>Hunchback</em>.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="340" original-width="567" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_1b9131a4cc6e422eb5cf545933cac6a9.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 567px; height: 340px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <strong>1-3</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>ROUND 5 – Story and overall theme</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> In this last section, I look at the story and overall themes of the film. What I think works and what doesn’t work.<br /> <em>Tangled </em>is a really enjoyable fantasy romp, with colourful landscapes, vibrant characters and entertaining songs. It has plenty of heart with some really moving scenes – the love story between Rapunzel and Flynn I actually would say is the best of any Disney film. The idea of Rapunzel being held back by Mother Gothel is a symbol of breaking free and discovering your true potential, and not being bullied by abusive parents. I just wish that Rapunzel wasn’t so much of a damsel in distress and had a bit more strength to her, like Esmerelda. Sure, Esmerelda got captured as well, but at least she could fight and look after herself a lot better. But overall, I say <em>Tangled</em> had a strong plot and is easily accessible.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>The Hunchback of Notre Dame</em> may be a little harder to take for some people. It’s much darker than other Disney films with a lot of mature themes, but does have the usual Disney humour that makes it entertaining for younger audiences. For me though, I think <em>Hunchback </em>has a much stronger message. It’s a story about acceptance and finding your way in the world, regardless of race or appearance. It also highlights racism and the dangers of fundamentalism, but doesn’t completely say that religion is the enemy. It’s heart warming as much as it is heart wrenching and carried across by some brilliant characters and performances. It’s a story that I personally can relate to, often I feel isolated as I don’t seem to fit in with any particular trend or sub-culture.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> So even though I do love <em>Tangled</em>, I have to go with what I think has the more meaningful story. And <em>The Hunchback of Notre Dame</em> just has more emotion and a stronger message for me. So therefore, the point goes to <em>Hunchback</em>.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width: 100%; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; text-align: center;"> <img original-height="340" original-width="567" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_1b9131a4cc6e422eb5cf545933cac6a9.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 567px; height: 340px;" /></div> <div content-type="media" style="width: 100%; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; text-align: center;"> &nbsp;</div> <p style="text-align: center;"> <strong>1-4</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> And at the end of this battle, with 4-1, the outright winner is <em>The Hunchback of Notre Dame</em>!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="317" original-width="214" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_25f01be9c8fb45f3ad02c53ae6af2f40.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 300px; height: 444px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <strong>WINNER!!!</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> &nbsp;</p> <p> So does this mean I don't like <em>Tangled</em>? Not at all. In fact, as I said in the blog, I love <em>Tangled</em> and think it's one of the best Disney films of all time. I just feel that <em>The Hunchback of Notre Dame</em> has more emotional appeal and a stronger moral. Both films are amazing in their own way - but there can only be one winner.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Agree with this? Disagree? Please comment below to let me know what you think. And please suggest any ideas for Disney films you’d like seen put together.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Next time on Pandragon Disney Deathmatch – the King of the Jungle goes up against the Queen of the Box Office.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Be prepared – to let it go.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">------------------------</span></div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <em>All images use are owned by Disney. No copyright infringement is intended.</em></p> Sun, 03 Aug 2014 11:30:13 GMT 83bcac09-d1c8-40d7-bfd6-038e62594ad7 Final Ragnarok Competition - win a free copy of Final Ragnarok: She Returns http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/final-ragnarok-competition-win-a-free-copy <p> Well, <em>Final Ragnarok: She Returns</em> less than a week for release, I figured it was time that I put out a little competition to get you guys ready for the release.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <span class="fbPhotosPhotoCaption" id="fbPhotoSnowliftCaption" tabindex="0"><span class="hasCaption">Starting today up until the release of<em> Final Ragnarok: She Returns</em> (7th August), you guys have a chance to win yourself a free ebook copy of <em>Final Ragnarok: She Returns</em>. How do you win it? Simple, each day up until the release, I will be giving away a free copy of Final Ragnarok: She Returns EVERY SINGLE DAY to one lucky reader! How do you win? <span class="fbPhotosPhotoCaption" id="fbPhotoSnowliftCaption" tabindex="0"><span class="hasCaption">As a famous meerkat once said - &quot;Simples!&quot;</span></span></span></span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <span class="fbPhotosPhotoCaption" tabindex="0"><span class="hasCaption"><span class="fbPhotosPhotoCaption" tabindex="0"><span class="hasCaption">Each day in the FB event page, I will be posting a teaser picture from <em>Final Ragnarok: She Returns</em>. All you have to do is add a comment below of what caption you would give this picture (s<span class="text_exposed_show">orta like a meme if you will). Funniest or cleverest one I think will win a free ebook! Simple as that! You can put any caption you like, but please keep them clean guys - overly offensive ones will be disqualified.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <span class="fbPhotosPhotoCaption" tabindex="0"><span class="hasCaption"><span class="fbPhotosPhotoCaption" tabindex="0"><span class="hasCaption"><span class="text_exposed_show">The competition has begun now - so head over to the FB Event Page to get started!</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/308593229310210/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming"><u><strong><span class="fbPhotosPhotoCaption" tabindex="0"><span class="hasCaption"><span class="fbPhotosPhotoCaption" tabindex="0"><span class="hasCaption"><span class="text_exposed_show">FACEBOOK EVENT</span></span></span></span></span></strong></u></a></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Good luck peeps!!!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">------------------------</span></div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> Sat, 02 Aug 2014 13:18:00 GMT 0352cd41-1fde-424c-ab1f-da2b6edfbb9e Final Ragnarok Blog Tour Starting Tomorrow! http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/final-ragnarok-blog-tour-starting-tomorrow <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="922" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_f5bbde83cbbc4dc78063cab4f0cec602.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 300px; height: 424px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Sorry that this is so last minute, but I'm pleased to announce that starting tomorrow until 15th August, the <em>Final Ragnarok: She Returns</em> blog tour begins! Join in the fun as I talk a little bit about Final Ragnarok, do a few interviews and even give you some interesting insight to the creation of this novel.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> This blog tour is done in conjunction with <strong><u><a href="http://www.backcoverpromotions.co.uk/">Backcover Promotions</a></u></strong>, who I have done tours with in the past and had a lot of fun with them. Please check them out and contact them if you are organising your own blog tours!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> List of blogs and the lovely peoples blog I will be visiting are listed below, along with the post I will be doing.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> 7/28/2014 - Guest Post - Kristal McKerrington<br /> 7/28/2014 - Author's Choice - Francine Alli<br /> 7/29/2014 – Interview – Mysti Parker<br /> 7/29/2014 – Review - victoria brinius<br /> 7/30/2014 – Spotlight - Lori Hayes<br /> 7/31/2014 – Interview - David Berger<br /> 7/31/2014 – Review - Sheenah Freitas<br /> 8/1/2014 – Guest Post - Lori Hayes<br /> 8/4/2014 - Author's Choice - Lynn Reynolds<br /> 8/5/2014 – Interview - M.M. Shelley<br /> 8/5/2014 – Review - Mysti Parker<br /> 8/6/2014 – Spotlight - Sarah Barnard<br /> 8/7/2014 - Interview - Brian Wilkerson<br /> 8/8/2014 - Guest Post - David Berger<br /> 8/11/2014 - Guest Post – Mysti Parker<br /> 8/12/2014 – Interview - Charles O'Keefe<br /> 8/12/2014 – Review – Francine Alli<br /> 8/13/2014 – Spotlight - SJ Dagg<br /> 8/13/2014 – Spotlight - J S Council<br /> 8/14/2014 – Interview - Francine Alli<br /> 8/15/2014 – Guest Post - Lori Hayes</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Don't forget that 7th August is ALSO the release day of <em>Final Ragnarok: She Returns</em>, so in conjunction to this I will also be doing a special competition the week before the release date for some free ebooks! If you're a fan of the <em>Draconica</em> series you <span data-ft="{&quot;tn&quot;:&quot;K&quot;}" data-reactid=".10.1:3:1:$comment10154434050945331_10154434103785331:0.0.$right.0.$left.0.0.1:$comment-body"><span class="UFICommentBody" data-reactid=".10.1:3:1:$comment10154434050945331_10154434103785331:0.0.$right.0.$left.0.0.1:$comment-body.0"><span data-reactid=".10.1:3:1:$comment10154434050945331_10154434103785331:0.0.$right.0.$left.0.0.1:$comment-body.0.$end:0:$0:0">definitely</span></span></span> want to be checking out this novel and learn the exciting next chapter in this story.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The blog tour and competition will be updated on the following social networking sights, so if you want to follow the action, you can do so at the following links.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>FACEBOOK: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright?ref=hl&amp;ref_type=bookmark"><u>Pandragon Dan</u></a> - <a href="https://www.facebook.com/TrappedonDraconica?ref=hl&amp;focus_composer=true&amp;ref_type=bookmark"><u>The Draconica Series</u></a> - <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/308593229310210/?ref=2&amp;ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming"><u>Final Ragnarok Facebook Event</u></a></strong></p> <p> <strong>TWITTER:</strong> <strong><a href="https://twitter.com/PandragonDan"><u>@PandragonDan</u></a> - <a href="https://twitter.com/DraconicaSeries"><u>@DraconicaSeries</u></a></strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> A HUGE thanks to Backcover Promotions for organising this for me and for all the bloggers taking part in this tour. Looking forward to having a great time with it and hope you all will follow me!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Cheers guys. See you at the tour!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">-------------------------</span></div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 15:59:32 GMT fa12420b-f1df-499d-8c99-9a6adc6ee952 Pandragon Reviews - Underneath the Draconian Sky http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/pandragon-reviews-underneath-the-draconian-sky <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="466" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_ae133df47376ee959e4ecf94c6187b3b.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 652px; height: 466px;" /></div> <p> When an author submits a book for review to me, the one thing that I ask is that they let me know if there is any strong sexual content. By that, I don’t mean a standard sex scene, or even an erotic sex scene, that I can handle. However, what I take issue with is the more, shall we say, extreme type of sexual content – such as torture, rape, bestiality and, um… scat. And no I’m not talking about the music genre – google it at your own risk.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I really just don’t enjoy this, it’s not for me. When I first started getting into Anime and Manga, a friend of mine showed me some hentai stories and personally I found a lot of disgusting (let’s just say I’ll never look at an octopus the same way). For me, rape and torture should be put across as a despicable act to horrify the readers, not be put across as a sexual fetish.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> So when I was reading <em>Underneath the Draconian Sky</em>, I was a little dubious about it if I was being honest. But I did promise a review – and the author, Dale M. Chatwin was a reasonable enough guy when we talked via email, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt. So today here is my review of Underneath the Draconian Sky, a Steampunk/Fantasy/Horror novel that delves into the depths of insanity and depravity. Those with a weak stomach may want to look away now!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>About The Author</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Dale M. Chatwin was born in Warwickshire in 1988 and grew up in a small town called Sedgley located in the Black Country.&nbsp; He part wrote his first novel at the age of 14 titled Destiny and Death, a vague pastiche of The Body and Dreamcatcher by Stephen King with elements of his own folded into the mix. But writing has been a passion and lifelong dream of his since before then. At 19 he moved to Southsea in Hampshire to gain some independent experience in life, and as a result of his time on that island (many short stories and poems later) he produced his first complete novel at the age of 24: Underneath the Draconian Sky which is available in paperback and eBook on Lulu and Amazon. Now after realising his dream of becoming a published author, Dale M. Chatwin is on a mission to expand and perfect his craft as a writer.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The link to his author central page: <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dale-M-Chatwin/e/B005Y4GT9S"><u><strong>http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dale-M-Chatwin/e/B005Y4GT9S</strong></u></a></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="841" original-width="595" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_00cf90f66e3b4000aa1168a2fae22683.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 400px; height: 565px;" /></div> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> &nbsp;</div> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> &nbsp;</div> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>Cover</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> For a novel that is so brutal in its content, this cover is surprisingly gentle. It almost leads the reader into a false sense of security – which I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but that’s an interesting technique if so.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>Synopsis</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>When 1107 is hired by saloon proprietor Sylvester Claproot to exterminate a group of escaped residents from the Bachman Gardens Institute for the Criminally Insane, it all seems like a run of the mill extermination: capture, torture and kill. He soon finds himself plunged into a brutal world of sexual lust, unhindered violence and where the fringes of sanity are lost to the winds of time. At the heart of this dark tale is the story of one man's acceptance of his own demise and his journey into a chaotic world where he is forced to chase his death across a brutal dystopian landscape. It is a novel that will keep you reading until the Sun scars the horizon.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>What I liked</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> 1107, also known as The Guy is an interesting anti-hero – the kinda “shoot first, forget the questions” sort that Clint Eastwood made popular. He’s a brutal, no nonsense kind of mercenary that likes to get the job done however possible – and some of the stuff he does would make Jack Bauer cringe! Whilst I personally don’t enjoy these type of characters, the world he inhabits is a cruel and unforgiving one, so I could accept the brutal things that he did to an extent. That being said, he did show some signs of humanity every so often so he wasn’t completely a monster.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I also have to give particular praise to the world of <em>Underneath a Draconian Sky</em>. As previously mentioned, the world is a mix of Steampunk, Sci-fi and even Fantasy. Normally, if you mix in too many genres, it can sometimes make the world a little too over the top and unbelievable, a trap I myself have fallen into. But the elements mixed in here work well and create a nightmarish hell – with dusty deserts, rusted industrial areas, dirty streets and decedent, corrupted religious ideology. It is a place that has no place for kindness or meekness, ruled by alien creatures that are pretty much dictators. It builds a dark and creepy atmosphere that puts you at unease pretty much the entire novel.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The story is both straight forward, but also quite complex at the same time. We follow The Guy as he tries to track down the High Occultist, who is the “Big Bad” of the story. There is a lot of build up to this character prior to meeting him, which worked well. Along the way, we learn a little more about the history of the world and the characters. It was good that the book didn’t give too much away at once so that we only learned a bit at a time, this helped paint a gradual picture of the events and created an interesting story.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> All in all the plot works and sets up a nightmare of a trip where the fragility of the human mind is explored in horrific detail. However, there were some issues I had with this that I will explain in the next section.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>What I didn’t like</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Now, I have no problems with stories being disturbing or having disturbing imagery – in fact I like it when a story leaves me in a disturbed state of mind. However, what I did find hard to take was the amount of strong sexual content involved. Practically every other chapter involved someone being raped, tortured or worse. As I’ve said in my intro, I am not a huge fan of stories that put across rape and torture as a sexual fetish. And whilst I’m not saying that <em>Underneath a Draconian Sky</em> is anything like that, I do felt there was too much of this.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The major problem I had was that a lot of it was unnecessary and just put in just for shock value. The plot had already set a disturbing element, but this extra content just seemed to detract from that in some way and make it feel more mean spirited then it needed to. Plus, most of it I found was out of context and didn’t really do anything to help the scene. A lot of it could have easily been cut out and it would have preserved the nightmarish themes and atmosphere. Not only this, but I think it could also put off a lot of potential readers. Which is a shame as there is a good story underneath, exploring the themes of insanity and the dark side of human nature – but it kinda gets lost in all the rape and torture. And that’s just the stuff I can tell you about!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> As you probably guessed by now, this book is NOT suitable for young readers. Also, I don’t recommend reading this whilst you’re eating. I made that mistake when reading it at lunch and I couldn’t finish my sandwich!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>PROS (Sky’s the limit):</strong></p> <ul> <li> <strong>Main character is pretty badass!</strong></li> <li> <strong>Disturbing atmosphere.</strong></li> <li> <strong>Mythos of the world nicely thought out.</strong></li> </ul> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>CONS (Draconian tactics):</strong></p> <ul> <li> <strong>Overly sexual context undermines the otherwise good setting.</strong></li> <li> <strong>Relies too much on shock tactics.</strong></li> <li> <strong>Totally unsuitable for younger readers.</strong></li> </ul> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>Summary</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> It’s a good story with some nightmarish themes and disturbing imagery – but the extreme sexual content and unnecessary torture undermines it somewhat and takes away from the tension. Not one I’d recommend to someone with a weak constitution, but if you like your stories dark and atmosphere tense then you’ll most find this one an interesting read.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>FINAL SCORE: 3/5</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">-------------------------</span></div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 10:03:03 GMT 5ee9f383-583c-4afa-8648-45220aee9ffc New Release by Paper Crane Press: Recollection of Shared Days http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/new-release-by-paper-crane-press-recollection <p> Exciting news! I am pleased to announced that my publisher, Paper Crane Books, have published a new anthology set around the theme of holidays. It contains a series of really good short stories - including one by yours truly! It's a little different to the Fantasy style stories I normally write, but I think it turned out ok.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Quick synopsis for you:</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>The desire to celebrate is intrinsic to human nautre. Whether it be a victory or a new season, humans have found something to use as an excuse to get together and party. The authors at Paper Crane Books have written original stories to showcase the days we all love best: holidays. Seven stories. Four seasons. They span across time, countries, and even worlds. Come and celebrate with us!</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Best of all, it's free to download until 27th July! Click on the picture below to be taken to the Amazon page, where you can download your free copy!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Recollection-Shared-Days-Stories-Celebration-ebook/dp/B00M0DUG40/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1406138296&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=recollection+of+shared"><img original-height="216" original-width="520" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_8d40727379854fc5ba191bc44868dca2.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 520px; height: 216px;" /></a></div> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> &nbsp;</div> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> &nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">-------------------------</span></div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:02:59 GMT 0e41df72-cf4f-41a8-90c5-bf1eef7bf0ca Totalitarian Warlords and Termination Squadron Episode 3 http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/totalitarian-warlords-and-termination-squadron-episode-3 <p> Just an update - the latest video in my <em>Totalitarian Warlords And Termination Squadron</em> series is now up on Youtube to watch. For those that have been waiting for the next episode, apologies for the wait.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> In this episode, the Man in Shadow introduces a new member to the team, they debut their new villain song and the Man in Shadow lets us know what he REALLY thinks of a certain Disney song - which could prove to be his undoing. There is also a little nod to a classic anime for all you otaku's out there ;)</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Check it out below and feel free to leave a comment to let me know what you think.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width: 100%; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; text-align: center;"> <iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="345px" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/sS7zabFDxqQ?wmode=opaque" width="420"></iframe></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">-------------------------</span></div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:02:17 GMT 372adac7-ef30-44e9-9858-a7a086bbe929 Interview with Andrez Bergen http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/interview-with-andrez-bergen <p> Sorry for the lack of updates lately. Things have been a little tough at work recently and, what with the release of my new novel in a couple of weeks, I've been keeping myself busy.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Nevertheless, I intend to make up for that today, as I once again have the pleasure of my favourite author back with me. He took time out from his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his work and a little about his upcoming novel (which he briefly talked about on my blog a few weeks back). He was willing to impart his knowledge about writing to me and also a little about his forthcoming novel.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Whaddya say? Let's get down to it!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="1005" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_54f53e91f9ca48afa183f2eb05d25465.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 300px; height: 462px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>1. Thank you for taking the time to appear on my blog. Can you tell my readers a little about yourself?</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Thanks for having me, Dan. In a nutshell? I'm an Australian (born and reared in Melbourne) who's lived in Tokyo these past 13 years. I'm a journalist and I do electronic music under aliases like Little Nobody and Funk Gadget, but since 2011 have focused on writing fiction — with no particular genre holding precedence, though everyone knows I love my noir.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>2. Wow! Sounds like you keep a busy lifestyle! So what first inspired you to get into writing?</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I've been pushing a pen since I could hold one — and before I could spell, apparently, if you look at some of the old stories my mum kept from primary school. I love doing the thing. It's a form of escapism and adventure in which I have no idea of what direction we'll take. Later reading people like Graham Greene, Raymond Chandler and Philip K. Dick inspired me to bird-dog the passion into novels.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>3. Thumbs up for the Philip K. Dick mention! Who are your favourite authors?</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Definitely still Chandler, and I still pick up Greene and Dick occasionally. Dashiell Hammett, Nicholas Christopher and Angela Carter. More recent people like Michael Chabon and China Mi&eacute;ville.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>4. Do you have any other hobbies other than writing or is that your whole world?</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> No, no, I have way too many of the things. I really enjoy making music, as I mentioned, along with catching up with experimental electronic sounds. I love movies and anime — I was a film reviewer for several years — and I'm a comic book buff. That's where I'm right into other writers like Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction. I'm right into trying new, obscure foods. And I also make comics too.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>5. Is there no end to your talents? Ok, that's not my real question. Haha. Do you have a favourite genre to write in?</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Anything goes — seriously. I've brushed up against fantasy, surreal, slipstream, magical realism, farce, sci-fi, dystopia, coming-of-age. They're all fun. But hardboiled noir often undercuts the lot.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>6. Without giving away too many spoilers, can you tell the nice people (us) a little bit about your new book?</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Yep, that's a toughie — a few reviewers have already commented that it's hard to talk about this story without giving away essential parts of the yarn. Basically, it's the story of a teenage high school girl growing up in Nede, pronounced 'Needy', which is a surrogate city for Melbourne in the 1980s. She comes from an abusive family, discovers herself through music and subculture, and then stumbles across a possible murder-mystery — or is it just plain madness?</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>7. Ah, sounds interesting. I'm gonna add that to my to be read pile! Where did you get the inspirations for this?</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Some of it is based on my own childhood with an abusive older brother, as well as the tales of friends who went through a similar experience, particularly in the goth/post-punk scene in the 1980s and '90s. The rest is pure fiction, directions that I didn't plan and came out of nowhere.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>8. Do you have any favourite characters in the story?</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Um... definitely Mina. Without giving away much, I've worked with her before and will do so again. I love the hidden strength of her character. She reminds me of a female Sam Spade — if he were a teenage girl with a passion for post-punk tunes and bubbly. So I guess Spade mixed a little with another Hammett creation, Nora Charles from The Thin Man. I also loved working with Animeid, and felt regret for Mina's friend Sarah.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>9. If your book was turned into a film/TV series, who would you get to play the characters? Do you have a favourite director you would choose for this? Also, can I have a bit part in it?</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> XD&nbsp; Ha Ha Ha — yep, of course you can! We can work together as the toilet cleaners at Flinders Street Station during the crowded mardi gras scene! This one's always a tough, and constantly changes depending on what I'm exposed to at the time, cinematically speaking, and their age. Obviously I think Chlo&euml; Grace Moretz would be awesome, and she's the right age (17) — but she's American. I'd prefer an Australian, British or New Zealand actor to play Mina. Mia Wasikowska? Perfect if she were 7 years younger. I'm not really up on current Aussie actresses having lived in Japan all these years. But ideally? Brigitte Bardot when she was a brunette in the early '50s, or Michelle Pfeiffer circa 1980. Don't get me started on the other characters — you'll stop paying attention before I'm half-way finished. Director? Five years ago I would've said Peter Jackson. Now I won't — The Hobbit scarred me a bit. He's still great, but needs to go back to his roots. I love what Christopher Nolan does, and I'm a Terry Gillian fan from way back — in fact he'd excel with the middle part of the book. I'm tempted to say Spike Jonze. But if John Schlesinger were still alive, I'd opt for him — Billy Liar, The Falcon and the Snowman and Cold Comfort Farm are still brilliant films.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong><u>10. Some good choices for directors there. And I did used to work as a cleaner as one of my old jobs. XD Which, in your opinion is more important – story or characters?</u></strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Can I say both? For me, definitely both, with characters (and their dialogue) only slightly edging the plot.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>11. Of course you can say both. It's your interview after all. ;) What do you look for in a good story? </strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Something that keeps my attention from wandering. A good yarn that builds to something special, with characters I dig even if they're not the most likeable of people.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>12. So I understand that one of your other books, <em>Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat</em> is being turned into a graphic novel. Do you have plans to turn any of your other works into graphic novels? </strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Yep, I just wrapped up that graphic novel in May, and it's being published in August. I did the artwork as well, and it was a mind-blowing experience. I realized partway into it that it was impossible to do the entire novel, and concentrated instead on the first 100 pages, plus added some new plot-twists that have occurred to me over the ensuing three years since TSMG was published. I'm also currently developing my novel from last year, Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?, as a continuing comic book series — which is appropriate since it's heavily influenced by golden and silver age comics. But another graphic novel? I haven't thought that far ahead... yet.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong><u>13. What’s the best advice you can give to authors?</u></strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Perseverence is the thing to hang onto. Don't give up just because you get knocked back a few times. And you need to have faith in what you do. I know that's hard. But if you don't believe in your work — who will?</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <u><strong>14. I agree with you wholeheartedly on that one. And indeed that's something that I myself have come to blows with sometimes. Ok, now for the REAL question of the interview – and this is real life or death here! The fate of the world rests on this question and could cause a time collapse that will wipe out all life in the Universe. So think carefully before you answer. What DOES the Fox say?</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Yikes — this question. Was praying you wouldn't ask. So I'm going to dip back into my favourite Dr Suess tome, since this is the wisest fox in the world: “When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles and the bottle's on a poodle and the poodle's eating noodles... they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle.” Exactly.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Thank to Andrez for an amazing interview! Be sure to check out his novels here:</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Andrez-Bergen/e/B009I1QB2I"><u><strong>Amazon Page</strong></u></a></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">-------------------------</span></div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 14:30:09 GMT 2f6f1c1f-da01-48d4-8fc8-5cc78a2ba128 Pandragon Reviews: Blue on the Horizon: Troll http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/apps/blog/pandragon-reviews-blue-on-the-horizon-troll <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="466" original-width="652" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_ae133df47376ee959e4ecf94c6187b3b.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 652px; height: 466px;" /></div> <p> Today I’m reviewing a very interesting piece on trolls. No, not the type that cause chaos on the internet, but rather the mythical creatures. Now trolls often get a lot of bad press in Fantasy stories, but this time they are the central characters, which is a refreshing change to say the least.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> This one is heavily stepped in Norse mythology, but also adds a lot of social commentary. Which is an interesting concept that made me want to read it. So, why don’t we dive into the world of Fantasy and review <em>Blue on the Horizon: Troll</em> by Rebecca Ferrell Porter.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>About The Author</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I wasn’t provided any links from the author, so I got a link to her Goodreads page. Feel free to check it out if you wish to follow this author.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7110063.Rebecca_Ferrell_Porter"><u><strong>Goodreads</strong></u></a></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;text-align:center;"> <img original-height="400" original-width="267" src="http://static.wix.com/media/c0cd1c_626ff744e7f742938e886690240a7395.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px none; width: 300px; height: 449px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>Cover</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The cover certainly matches the title, and it is a nice cover. You can see the blue eyes with the aurora borealis, looking over the horizon – so it’s Blue on the Horizon! Get it? Ahem, anyway, I think it works well and certainly attracts attention.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>Synopsis (from Goodreads)</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul, but what if those eyes reflect your worst fears? Fairies have planted a changeling in the poor troll village of Torv. Gaven’s blue eyes blink out at a world where only fairies bare the pale eyes of the fey. She is declared an abomination, and as the fear oozes through Torv, Gaven is banished and bullied, left to linger in the marsh, where alone, she will not survive. Then, mere heartbeats from the snapping jaws of a fearsome predator, Gaven finds a friend: Azool, the most feared fairy in the valley. How could the trusting trollkin have understood the implications as she enters into an apprenticeship with the duplicitous blue fairy of Torv?</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>The treachery expands as Azool orders her swarm to invade the dragon lair where she forces the mysterious creatures into colorful saddles, and uses the murderous lizards to incinerate the wealthy village of Breen. Azool and her swarm assume everyone is dead, but as Uredd stumbles from the only home he has ever known, his mother’s words echo in his head, ‘he is the one’.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>With both ends of the valley in turmoil, the fairies start to squeeze the middle, but Azool’s changeling has grown stronger. Still, it will take everything Gaven has to survive the events that follow, but with help from her squabbling friends, she might avoid a fate worse than death.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>What I liked</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The first thing I liked was the role reversal of the trolls and fairies. Normally, fairies are considered the good guys and the trolls the bad guys. But here, it was the mirror opposite – in fact the fairies are actually really nasty to the poor trolls, wanting to destroy them all, burn their village and even use poor Gaven as part of their plans. It kinda felt like a social commentary, the fairies representing the “master race”, wanting to wipe out the inferior species.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> In fact, <em>Blue</em> has quite a few social commentaries. Gaven is an outcast because of her blue eyes and is often bullied for it. It brings up a lot of ideas of bullying and the fear of those that are different – something that I’m sure everyone can relate to. It’s a good message and it works well in this context. Thankfully, Gaven does work hard to find acceptance from her people and in the end is able to use her fairy powers to her advantage. Overall the book has a very good moral – and being a Young Adult story that’s important to have.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Uredd is the only troll that accepts Gaven for what she is and I have to say the paring worked well together. I have to say, I didn’t really like him as much as Gaven as he didn’t really do a whole lot – but he was there for Gaven where it mattered so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. The dragon (Stump I think his name was) was also a great character – he’s one of the funniest and wittiest characters in the books. Think Yoda, but more sarcastic!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Each chapter is a POV of the main characters and this is something that I really like, hearing the characters thoughts and seeing things from their own POV. Each chapter is actually pretty short as well (usually about 3-4 pages or so, at least on my kindle) and you can breeze through it in a few moments. I actually read through about twenty chapters in one sitting without realising it. It makes this book really easy and very quick to read.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>What I didn’t like</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> This is where I kinda will contradict my earlier statement. Despite what I said about the short chapters and it being quick to read, not a lot really happens in the book. I’m not saying that there isn’t any storyline, because there is, but most of the time it just focused on Gaven and Uredd’s relationship and trying to settle in and setting up a new home after their first one was destroyed by Azool. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I just felt that some stuff that could have been cut out to get to the action a lot faster.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Also, if I’m being honest, I found the final battle with Azool a bit of a cop out. I can’t really say why as it would spoil the ending (and I like to keep spoilers down to a minimum in my reviews as much as possible) but I think the last fight could have been a little more epic, considering all the build up it had. But that’s probably just me nitpicking – I guess once you’ve seen The Battle of the Blackwater or Helm’s Deep, you expect every Fantasy battle to be huge. XD</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>PROS (I’m a troll man):</strong></p> <ul> <li> <strong>Interesting role reversal of the trolls and fairies.</strong></li> <li> <strong>Strong moral message.</strong></li> <li> <strong>Short chapters makes the story quick to read.</strong></li> <li> <strong>Accessible to all ages.</strong></li> </ul> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>CONS (Trollololo):</strong></p> <ul> <li> <strong>Balance of action and story could have been better for me.</strong></li> <li> <strong>Ending a bit of a cop out.</strong></li> </ul> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <u><strong>Summary</strong></u></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> A nice Fantasy story with a strong moral, based around the theme of acceptance – all set around a magical world of trolls and fairies. If you like stories with a strong message then I recommend you check this one out. It’s suitable for all ages so anyone should enjoy this tale.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>FINAL SCORE: 4/5</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: left;"> <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242);">-------------------------</span></div> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">PANDRAGON</strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Facebook:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandragonDanWright" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">LINK</a></u></strong></u></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Twitter:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/PandragonDan" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> <p style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 24px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(249, 242, 242); text-align: left;"> <strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Website:</strong>&nbsp;<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;<u style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.pandragondan.co.uk/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">LINK</a></u></strong></p> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 12:27:28 GMT 11b27397-decd-4163-ad81-29ce0918cd01