Godot's Reviews

Godot

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Okay before I jump into this a brief warning: The religion of Ancient Egypt is kinda screwy, the gods and their relationships to each other were often rearranged and much like the Greek pantheon most of them are relatives. Trust me, we'll get into the commonly accepted modern interpretation soon enough.

So our story begins in Egypt centuries before the first human pharaoh. Set, son of Ra, had killed his brother Osiris for various reasons that change with every telling. Sometimes the motive involves Osiris sleeping with Set's wife (who was also one of their sisters, I told you it would be problematic) Nephthys. Sometimes it's because Set believes he's the rightful heir to their father's kingdom, either way Osiris is murdered and there's very little anyone can actually do about it.

Isis (the goddess, but that should be obvious given the context), Osiris and Set's other sister and Osiris's wife, grieved her husband/brother's death. Set takes Osiris's corpse, cuts him into many pieces, and spreads the pieces of Osiris around the entirety of Egypt just to make giving him a proper funeral that much more difficult. Isis with the help of Nephthys scoured all of Egypt to recover the bits and pieces of her husband's corpse. Thoth, Isis and Osiris's other brother, was called upon to heal the wounds and or resurrect the dead god. Anubis, Nephthys and Set's son (or Osiris's son depending on the telling we'll stick with Set though because adding that to it either involves making this a more uncomfortable topic or makes the story take forever), performed his uncle's funerary rites. Osiris is the first pharaoh to be mummified and Anubis becomes the god of mummification. Osiris and Isis's son Horus is positioned to become the new king, depending on the telling Horus either exists before this point or is born after Isis slept with her briefly resurrected husband. For the sake of my sanity, we'll say Horus existed before this point. Horus fights his uncle and wins, exiling Set, and Osiris becomes the god of the afterlife (and death).

I apologize if this retelling of the story made you uncomfortable, I tried to minimize the creepy or problematic parts while staying true to most of the myth. Sometimes it's split into three different segments and the details of each myth make me uncomfortable so I condensed a lot of it. As an explanation of why the afterlife is a thing in Egyptian mythology and how Anubis got his role, I'd give it one star. There's a decent, if Lion King like, story buried somewhere in there but it's kind of muddled in with the absolute garbage fire that is the divine family tree.
 

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Been a while. So mythology time... Because anything else would take a while to type a synopsis with jokes. And we haven't done Norse yet, so let's go Norse.

So our story starts off with Thor and Loki heading off to meet with a Jotun named Utgard-Loki. And yes, this will potentially get confusing just stick with me. So along the way, for no real reason other than the plot demands it, Thor and Loki pick up a boy and a girl. I'd say be careful about the babysitters you select, but if you can't trust the god of thunder and Loki then who can you... Oh wait, Loki. Right. Well if you can't trust Thor then maybe you shouldn't trust anyone.

Tired, hungry, and almost certainly listening to the children complain about being tired and hungry, our hero (and Loki) managed to find a convenient cave. Which turned out to be the glove of a massive Jotun (they aren't all massive, or maybe Loki's just short for his species) by the name of Skrymir. Skrymir kinda snores a lot, it's also late so when Skrymir goes back to sleep Thor is woken up by the snoring and thumps him twice with Mjolnir. Skrymir shakes the first one off and basically compares Thor's strength to an acorn or something falling on his head. The second one wakes Skrymir as well and he compares it to twigs falling from branches. Skrymir then tells Thor and Loki to not be boastful about their accomplishments as Utgard-Loki won't be impressed. Asking a norse god to not be boastful is like asking a cat not to be curious, it just doesn't work ever.

Upon reaching Utgard-Loki, the even more massive Jotun insists that they prove they're worthy of meeting with him. And Loki's first thought is to state he can eat faster than anyone... Because if there's anything Loki lacks it's commonsense and humility. Utgard-Loki basically says "yeah, that's a fine competition. Your opponent will be Logi. Good luck." A table is set and Loki and Logi start eating both at an alarming rate. They meet in the middle, but Loki hadn't eaten the bones. Logi on the other hand had eaten the meat, the dishes, and the table itself... Good to know I should never go out to eat with either of them.

Next the boy basically says something equivalent to "I'm the fastest person I know". Considering you didn't know the gods personally until just yesterday when you and your sister were forced into servitude to Thor, I doubt your speed. Utgard-Loki basically says "fine, you'll race Hugi." Hugi wins by multiple miles. Hugi is basically that one bit from the spongebob episode where everyone got powers from wearing costumes. "Wanna see me run to that mountain and back? Wanna see me do it again?"

Thor challenges Utgard-Loki to a drinking contest and... Well you probably see the pattern at this point. He loses only able to lower the amount in the drinking horn by a slight bit. Thor insists on a redo, so Utgard-Loki challenges Thor to lift his cat. Which Thor attempts to do, but only one paw leaves the ground. Thor, not to have his pride ruined, asks for yet another redo because at this point he's furious and just wants to bash someone's face in. Utgard-Loki chooses an old woman to be Thor's opponent and she beats Thor rather easily, that said Thor is able to put up a fight for a while.

Finally adhering to sacred hospitality, Utgard-Loki allows the hero and children (and yes, Loki too) to stay and party. After the party he escorts them out of his home personally and basically explains that everything Thor had encountered up to that point was a trick. Skrymir was Utgard-Loki in disguise and when Thor thought he was smacking Skrymir with Mjolnir he was actually denting entire mountains. Logi was literally fire, so that's why he was able to eat the table and everything on it. Hulgi was Thought, because light wasn't available that day I guess. The drinking horn was connected to the ocean and while Thor didn't empty the horn he did lower the sea level substantially. The cat was Jormungandr the world serpent and the fact that one paw left the ground is incredibly bad because it means Thor came very close to ending the world. And the old woman was old age.

Thor tries to retaliate, but Utgard-Loki and his palace disappear. Loki clearly knew all of these were illusions, but went along with it because he wanted to watch Thor fail spectacularly at all the tasks. The moral here is don't trust people named Loki... And also maybe blindly agreeing to prove yourself isn't the brightest idea.
 

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It's about high time I stepped outta this little niche I've built for myself. We're gettin' a little bit darker with this one. And I feel like kickin' this off right, so let's get anarchic (that's a joke, I have to say this because the movie is kind of political). Hope you paid attention in history class, because it's time to remember remember the fifth of November. This is gonna get political, and there's really no avoiding that It's kind of a political movie.

We start with ominous music over a monochrome Warner Brother's logo. Moving to DC's logo, ah good old DC comics back before the DCEU was a thing. After the logos have all stopped appearing, we hear a woman's voice recite a poem. This poem, being one of my favorites, goes like this: "Remember, Remember the fifth of November. The Gunpowder Treason and Plot. I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot". The narrator, for lack of a better word explains the details. Namely talking about Guy Fawkes and pondering what he was like when he wasn't attempting to blow up parliament. This narration of the nature of ideas and their importance is done as we watch Guy Fawkes get executed.

The narration wraps up and we're treated to the movie's logo. A V contained within a circle, or an upside down anarchy symbol without a line. After the title zooms towards the screen we see a news broadcast, which V is listening to as he puts on his mask. The camera then changes to a different room with the same news broadcast voice over as we see a woman putting on lipstick. The guy on TV continuing to spout British authoritarian propaganda as we continue to watch our protagonists get ready. In fact as the broadcaster keeps speaking, I see some very apt comparisons to be made to the republican party. Namely the fact that this news anchor, if he deserves to be called such, is a homophobic xenophobe talking about how the government he's singing praises of has practically eliminated most of the people he hates. "Unity through faith" As a Texan I can say that sounds like the type of thing I'd expect to hear from the right wing down here.

And both turn off their TVs in disgust. And Evey is harassed by three men in a dark alley and almost raped until V swoops in to kick the men's collective asses. Oh, and V's speaking in alliteration that consists primarily of words using the letter V. Now all that said, V is literally killing all these men so he's clearly not a good guy (even Batman would subdue them non-lethally). Similar to Watchmen, Alan Moore's other comic, the hero is really more of a deconstruction of the very concept. "Who is a form following a function of what and what I am is a man in a mask" Yeah we get that, asshole, geez it's like fictional Brits tend to be snarky or something. V's... For lack of a better term eloquent vocabulary can be a little frustrating if you're trying to follow whatever he's saying.

V takes Evey to a roof top so she can witness his "live performance"... It's the 1812 overture blaring over the speakers the corrupt government has placed throughout London. And the percussion is explosions, Michael Bay and Tchaikovsky would both be proud. And V's cackling like a madman the entire time, seriously he's not a hero (if you're blowing up buildings, you forfeit whatever right you had to be called a hero). We cut afterward to the head of this authoritarian regime talking to his advisers/lackeys about the thing V just did. We also get some of the names of these guys. The guy in power is Sutler, because what's subtlety? His lackeys are Finch, Creedy, Dascombe, Heyer, and a guy who's barely in the movie at all.

Orwell's influence is felt in this film and I can only imagine it was just as present in the graphic novel. We see that Evey's job is working as an intern at the news corporation and we know her bosses are corrupt and working directly for Sutler. We cut to Finch showing pictures of V to another guy. And then switch back to Evey carrying coffee and tea for her bosses. Dietrich, one of Evey's bosses and arguably the most likable character in this film, is a TV host. We cut from Evey with benevolent boss Dietrich to Finch finding out Evey's identity and where she works. Then we cut right back to Evey bringing a cart of strange packages to one of her other bosses. These packages contain masks and robes that look remarkably like V's.

Finch explains Evey's backstory as he and his employee drive to her place of business. We cut yet again and see V walking into the studio headquarters to reveal he's got a bomb strapped to his chest... V causes chaos, Finch and his employee find Evey, and we get a chase sequence. V has hijacked the network and is now broadcasting a dvd he made beforehand to all TVs in London. Okay, I'm expecting more than digital terrorism from V. Okay, he's using the smoke machines. V has also put those costumes on hostages,at least one of whom end up getting shot to death by the police force.

Dascombe sets to work defusing V's bomb with is now on top of the computer. While V has managed to trick police officers into believing another hostage was him. Once they've removed the hostage's mask, V strikes and there's no way any of these cops are surviving. With Finch no longer leading him around for the time being, Stone (I'm using last names for the sake of consistency aside from our protagonists) corners V and gets maced by Evey. He manages to knock Evey out, but V knocks him out immediately after that.

Evey wakes up in a room filled with books. V's hideout looks very dungeon-y or like he set up shop in a museum. V explains why he chose to bring Evey to the hideout and honestly it does make sense, if the government wants her dead she's safer where she can't be found. Though that doesn't excuse V's wanton murdering up to this point. Evey is understandably pissed off about her situation, especially when V mentions that she'll have to stay in the hideout for a year. Guy's got an obsession with the fifth of November, and while you could try to reason with him, he gives no fawkes. We cut to Stone and Finch talking about Evey's activist parents and her brother.

Cut back to V, now making breakfast. Through the ensuing conversation with Evey, we learn that V is as cultured as he is insane and we learn a little more about Evey's past and that Evey is also very cultured. "People shouldn't be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people" Yes and no. People have the power to change governments through rebellion yes, but that comes at a great cost and is only ever a last resort even the Glorious Revolution was a last resort. V waxes philosophical and then we cut to the news anchor from the opening who is so full of himself that he's watching himself on TV. We didn't catch his name earlier, at least I don't think we did, but this jerk is Prothero. And he is about to die very soon because V broke into his penthouse. Before V kills him we learn his name proper (I could have waited, but why wait?) and that they have some connection to each other. You could say V is seeking vengeance on Prothero and his ilk, or you could be use the title of the movie and say V has a vendetta but that's not as fun.

Ghost of christma... V, stick to one theme would ya I don't need to flit through Dickens references here too! Oh joy, he pulled a trick out of the joker's book and is now leaving calling cards... Which is to say flowers, he's leaving flowers at the scenes of his murders. Because V used Evey's ID to get in, well great if the government didn't want her dead before they certainly do now you masked jerk! His favorite film is The Count of Monte Cristo? Remind me why this pretentious psychopath is our protagonist aside from Alan Moore wanting to make a point. "Violence can be used for good" That's a line I'd accept from Batman, V, not from a mass murderer with a massive body count.

Prothero's death sparked Stone and Finch to do a deep dive into all his dealings a few scenes ago, but they're picking back up on it now. He owned a pharmaceutical company that assisted Sutler's rise to power. He was eventually put in charge of a detention facility, which is where he met V. When they try to get information from the guy who runs that part of the government, they get stonewalled. We cut back to Evey and V to learn more about Evey's past, specifically that she witnessed her parents getting taken away to be killed by the government. Evey agrees to work with V.

We cut back to Stone and Finch who have obtained files and are now searching through them happening to find out about Bishop Lilliman, V's next target, right before we cut to him. The bishop is rather corrupt and judging by his reaction to the mention of Evey being "older than usual" is also a pedophile, draw whatever parallels to the catholic church you want to I'm moving on. Evey initially tries to warn him about V then kicks him in the nards when he both refuses to listen to her and attempts to force himself on her. Then V breaks the door down and kills the ******* while Evey runs.

Creedy and Sutler are now suspicious of their own organization, or at least that's what Creedy tells Finch. Evey runs to Dietrich, because she's come to the realization the V can't be stopped. Dietrich says something about how if his house were searched Evey would be the least of his problems and then reveals a room full of things, but the most important is the Koran. Dietrich also reveals to Evey that he is gay. Meanwhile Finch is asking Dr Surridge about poisons and flowers, she asks about V but is basically told they still know nothing. Back at the computer Finch and Stone are trying to figure out what they can but are coming up short on information related to the only doctor V hadn't killed yet.

We cut back to Surridge, and it really should be obvious with how the film's cutting around like this. Surridge opens her safe and then we cut back to Finch and Stone who have put two and two together, albeit a little to late to save anyone. Surridge, knowing that V's here to kill her just has a calm conversation with him. She admits that she's not been able to live with the things she's done. She asks if he's going to kill her now and he explains that he injected a poison into her ten minutes ago. Unlike V's previous targets, she is repentant and actively apologizes before she dies.

Finch has a meeting with Sutler in which Sutler not so subtly suggests that Finch forget everything he's learned from covering this case if he wants to live. We then cut to a flashback narrated by the now deceased Dr Surridge. Surridge's narration explains that they were working on making a virus that could be used as a massive biological weapon. And they were testing on prisoners. The facility blew up on the fifth of November, V was the only surviving victim of the facility's evils. The fact that that bio weapon is responsible for so much death prior to the events of the film is sickening.

We see Finch alone, drinking in silence just after the flashback. Then we cut to Dietrich making breakfast as Evey wakes up. Evey notices similarities between Dietrich's egg cooking and V's. Which Dietrich seems to think is a good chance to make a joke about him and V being one and the same. Evey's not amused. Finch is looking into the articles about the virus and then explains to Stone, while telling him in no uncertain terms that this conversation doesn't leave this room, that he suspects the government might have used the virus against its own citizens. The ballpark estimate given is "almost a hundred thousand people" and is said to be the worst biological attack in English history.

Cutting back to Dietrich and Evey, Dietrich states he's celebrating his latest episode of his show. Which is an incredibly poorly thought out satire of Sutler, i.e. the head of the government that wants Evey dead. Made worse by the fact that Sutler, and the government in general, is listening in on every citizen in London. And a comedic V stand in is also present in the show making a fool of the Sutler impersonator... Dietrich really doesn't understand how poorly authoritarian regimes take criticism. A fact that's demonstrated for us when Dietrich's home is broken into and Dietrich is murdered by Creedy.

Now might be a good time to note we're over half-way through have seen some pretty bad things implied and also large amount of murders on screen. And now we're down several named characters, they're dropping like flies. With Dietrich murdered, Evey tries to make her escape. And gets captured and put in a cell. She's being interrogated by a silhouetted figure. Her head is shaved and she's locked in yet another cell, this time without a table. Eventually she starts getting notes through the mouse hole in her cell which seem like they're from another prisoner. These notes are written by a woman named Valerie.

Valerie mentions having a crush on another girl when she was younger, falling in love with a different girl when she was older. The rest of the biography is told in numerous notes, between each note Evey endures the torture. Valerie states that she was an actress and met and fell in love with a woman named Ruth while working on her first movie. Valerie describes moving in together and how Ruth grew the same roses that V now leaves at crime scenes. The roses stopped being imported due to the many wars that were taking place.

She describes the Norsefire Government's rise to power. How they took Ruth from her, we see that she went through the exact same torture that Evey's experiencing and Valerie even goes so far as to say she'll die here. It turns out V was doing to Evey the same thing that had been done to him and to Valerie and so many others. This torture wasn't done by the government, it was done by the very anarchist that had saved her from those jerks in the alley. This is another point at which I must state that V is beyond redemption. Because as an action this was "Identity Crisis" levels of ****ed up and I desperately want to forget that comic existed.

"You're cruel, you're evil" He's no better than most of the people he's been killing really. If anything Evey's been the real protagonist here, V's just the title character. Evey continues to point out that V isn't as heroic or virtuous as he perceives himself to be and rightly so. The only part of the torture thing that V had not entirely falsified was the notes. Evey finds out in this scene that Valerie was at one point a real person who's last letters were received by V. "I suppose I should thank you" Dammit Evey, the man's a psychopath who literally tortured you just to get his point across. What the hell!

Cutting back to Norsefire for a moment because of a meeting they're having. Most of the members of the Norsefire Government believe V will air drop his next attack on them. Finch has come to the conclusion that V will use a train instead. Finch and Stone find out that Creedy's been running things behind the scenes to the point of the virus being unleashed under his command and all three men who released it were killed to keep that information from spreading. Fortunately they have an informant who spills the beans on how exactly Norsefire came to power and who's actually running the government. It's Creedy and anyone familiar with quotes from this movie knew it already.

Speaking of Creedy, He's gardening when V catches him at knife point and turns on some music so the security team can't hear. When asked what he wants V states he wants Sutler. Which is one way to get a shot at him, I guess. Turns out that informant was V, and I'd say to be careful about verifying his information but Norsefire Government's almost certainly covering it all up. Sutler keeps ranting to his co-conspirators about how V needs to be killed. Not knowing Creedy's plan, of course. We cut around to V's plan being arranged along with V setting up dominoes, I guess even psychopathic vigilantes need something for when they're bored. And everything falls perfectly where V wants it.

Finch is able to make predictions about the outcome of this plan, but it's just a feeling as he put it. We get visual on what he thinks will happen, an absolute massacre. And then we see the dominoes all fall in a V pattern with one last domino that won't topple. Night falls and Finch looks out the window, V wanders into the main room of his hideout to find Evey has kept her promise. "Revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having" Well, you heard it here first ringing endorsement for Dance Dance Revolution from the psychopath vigilante.

Sutler rants again, V and Evey dance and Evey's about to remove the mask when V asks her to stop. Finch and Stone are driving around discussing the problems with V's plans, how everything could potentially go wrong, and then they reach a tunnel that Finch wants to explore. V reveals he's filled an entire subway train with explosives pointed towards parliament... Look I didn't want to say it earlier but now I must, this Guy Fawkes obsession is unhealthy. Evey attempts to stop V but he insists that he needs to see this through. V meets up with Creedy and demands he uphold his end of the deal. While Sutler keeps speaking on TV, a man with a bag on his head is dragged down the stairs and placed kneeling in front of V. It is in fact Sutler who's head was in the bag. V has Creedy shoot Sutler and then Creedy and his henchmen turn on V. V makes a simple threat, which seems hollow until he proves he can literally kill all Creedy's henchmen before they've reloaded. V manages to kill Creedy, but he's bleeding out and about to die as he walks back to Evey. V dies in Evey's arms, V's body is placed atop the explosives, Finch shows up to stop Evey but is unable to convince her, and citizens of London dressed like V march past the armed guards. The train laden with explosives moves towards parliament with the 1812 Overture playing.

I love this movie, but dear god all the things V does point to him being an anti-villain at the absolute best. Yes, The Norsefire Government is far, far worse but V murdered so many people. Most of his victims just happened to be in the exact wrong place at the wrong time and he's only marginally better than some of the folks he killed. Here at the end I feel it should be mentioned that this is not a negative review, in fact Alan Moore had stated that V was supposed to be more of a villain in the comic so as to question how far one should go to combat fascism. The film plays up V's more heroic side, but I feel that the villainous side of the title character far and away out weighs that. You're supposed to question V's actions and interpret it for yourself, or at least that's Alan Moore's intent. I personally think that V goes several steps too far in the practice of his philosophy and idolizes Guy Fawkes (a man who wasn't in any way the leader of the Gunpowder Plot and almost certainly is in no way a role model) way too much.
 
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Godot

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With October approaching quickly, and my tendency to write only a few reviews a month, I feel there's no better time to get started on the Halloween themed stuff. So I have choices tonight and those choices consist of Rise of Darkrai (which I recall thinking was the worst pokémon movie when I first saw it) or trawling through Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon to find something that's actually worth talking about. Considering my phrasing there, it should be obvious which choice I'm making. If you want to terrify yourself, the streaming services mentioned provide options. But I'm just looking for somethin' to get me in the spirit of the season.

So to get the blood flowing, let's go with vampires to start. I'll be reviewing Castlevania (the netflix series, not the games).


We open in 1455 in Wallachia. If you've got any knowledge of Romanian history (gleaned from any pop-culture) then you might understand exactly why there are impaled skeletons on the screen. As if to prove my point there's bats flying around. One of which is stabbed by a blond haired woman mid-flight (impressive considering stabbing a bat out of the air is probably really difficult).

This woman stands at the entrance to a mighty floating palace that runs on gears and stuff in a way that really shouldn't be possible given the time period. She knocks and is let in. We now see the palace's entrance hall which shows us more technology that shouldn't exist. And candles, whichever Wallachian noble owns this place really likes having large amounts of unnecessary fire hazards around apparently. There's a figure visibly standing on the second floor.

The woman the camera's been following for about half a minute so far introduces herself to the man as Lisa. She tells him specifically what village she comes from and that she wants to be a doctor. The man demonstrates inhuman speed and talks down to Lisa... Seriously if you don't know who this guy is by now, you'll be kicking yourself real soon... Or Vlad III can just introduce himself, using his posthumous nickname as a surname (I really wouldn't recommend that considering she's Romanian and logically should know it means Impaler). As we can see he's clearly already a vampire... I have a problem with this, but I'll save it for after the episode's done.

Lisa isn't superstitious, considering the nature of who she's dealing with that could potentially be a very bad thing. I mean the guy impaled people for the hell of it, I don't think draining a house guest dry is beyond him. Lisa wants to learn from him... I wanna know, can you show me. Sorry, I just got reminded of Tarzan out of nowhere. "Maybe I can teach you to like people again... Or stop putting them on sticks" Hate to say it but the impaling thing is kind of all he's known for, strip that away and he's practically nothing.

So Vlad's just hoarding all the science and tech for himself, damned one percent always holding back the other ninety-nine. "To make the world better" It might be how naive she sounds talking to the most famous vampire in media, but I like Lisa. There's no way this could possibly go wrong. Oh good, Dracula's warming up to her as well. We fade to black and when we come back it's 1475... I swear I blink for one second and suddenly I've moved forward twenty years! This time we get a city name, we're looking at Targoviste which is located in (and was the real life capital of) Wallachia. The citizens have come out to watch a public execution in which someone's being burned at the stake. It's Lisa and she's being burned by priests... I swear the "priests being terrible people" thing wasn't intended to be a pattern in these reviews, that's just how it shook out with V For Vendetta, Fate/Zero, and this!

Observations about portrayal of Christians (and Catholics in particular) in media aside, these *******s burning people at the stake deserve whatever comes their way. Which hopefully means ending up in the stocks, but this is a thing with vampires so really I think being drained dry is far more likely. Oh and the bishop responsible for this execution helpfully informs us that Lisa and Vlad are now married by calling her "Lisa Tepes". After Lisa's execution we get the opening credits. After the credits are done, we see Vlad walking home and I know his wife just died and he's known for being a ruthless tyrant but does this man ever not scowl?

An old woman informs Vlad of Lisa's death while she leaves flowers at Vlad and Lisa's burnt home... I don't know why they weren't still living in the high tech palace, but that's neither here nor there. Vlad then tells the woman to take her family and get lost because he's about to take his anger out on humanity as a whole. The voivode's got serious anger issues, but considering the impaling thing that should have been blatantly obvious. He then bursts into flames and vanishes, he is still alive the show would be pretty short if he wasn't. Even though he's talking to his subjects through the fire that just burned his wife to ash, Vlad still feels he needs to introduce himself... Like seriously, they're your citizens they should already know your name or that you aren't literally the devil.

"He was supposed to be a myth"... I have a problem with this line in particular for the same reason given for the dates. Keep this in mind, I'm coming back to it later. "You are not real" Good to see the clergy are in the business of denouncing both history and science, could someone please put this moron in the stocks before he causes more trouble for the townsfolk? In response to the asshole questioning him, Vlad gives all of Wallachia an ultimatum of one year to make up for what they did by promptly getting the hell out of Wallachia. If they don't comply, he will kill them all. Later Vlad exposits that he's going to raise an army from Hell. Someone in Dracula's home flat out states that he won't allow Dracula to commit genocide.

Cut to Targoviste in 1476, where the same church is celebrating one year since the burning. And of course the Archbishop is presiding over the whole damn thing. Do you want an apocalypse because this is how you get an apocalypse. When the vampire that literally runs your country tells you to GTFO you GTFO! "The devil lied" Don't equate Vlad the Impaler to the devil, nor accuse him of lying, that's just going to piss him off more especially because he's probably got some way of keeping tabs on everything that leaves your mouth. Also I just noticed the Archbishop's eyes seem to be looking off in completely opposite directions, I'd suggest seeing an optometrist but that involves science and they'd probably be burnt at the stake.

I also love that as the Archbishop speaks the sky gets filled with clouds and progressively more crimson and no one seems to be taking notice. Or at least no one takes notice until it starts raining blood. The glass from the church's window shatters and stabs through the archbishop just before the church itself goes up in flames. Vlad explains that he makes good on his threats, I expect no less from the psychopath that impaled people, and then it seems he took inspiration from a Ghibli movie. Ladies and gentlemen I give you Vlad's Moving Castle, albeit with far more blood and vampires than Howl's Moving Castle. Yes, Vlad's the villain in all this but the church screwed up when they immolated his wife... By which I mean the mistake was killing the psychopathic vampire warlord's wife! "Kill them all" Seems someone likes the Blue Lions' route, okay that's the first and last time I'll reference Fire Emblem in a Castlevania review I promise.

They say a ruler shouldn't kill their subjects, but Vlad's clearly not all there. He commands his army of the damned to kill everyone in Wallachia and stop at nothing until the genocide is complete. And this is what we call over reaction, he could have just purged the church of Targoviste and been done with it but instead he's going to kill all humans in Wallachia. We cut to a bar where two farmers are drinking and one of them is explaining how he's gotten in legal trouble because someone committing bestiality with one of his goats... Ya know if it wasn't for the all the blood and the fact that we watch a woman get burned to death at the beginning I'd say this was probably the most screwed up part of the show.

The farmer now decides, after being informed about the demon army advancing, that now is the perfect time to talk **** about the Belmonts. This guy goes so far as to state that the townsfolk should have killed all the Belmonts. Which seems to unnerve the well dressed man sitting alone at a table on the far side of the bar. We'll learn more about him later.

So that's episode 1 and... Well, it's dark that's for damn sure. So what were those problems I had earlier? Well let's start with dates. Okay so the first year we see is 1455 at which point Vlad's already a vampire. This raises questions for me because at the time Vlad would have still been alive and would have been right before his second reign as voivode of Wallachia. The second date we see is 1475, twenty years later and a year or two prior to Vlad's death. Vlad was born sometime between the years 1428 and 1431 which puts him at twenty-seven when he meets Lisa in the show at the oldest and twenty-four at the youngest. He died in December 1476 or January 1477, which makes him 48 when he sends his demon army out to kill all of Wallachia at the oldest or 45 at the youngest (and probably not dead yet at that point in time either). Now let's move on to his use of his posthumous nickname as a surname. As Vlad shouldn't be dead at the time, the nickname shouldn't be in common use also Dracula would be the appropriate surname because his noble house was Draculesti and his father was Vlad II Dracul. On to the line "He was supposed to be a myth", this is an egregious mistake that no one would have made at the time. It's like saying "Queen Elizabeth II is just a myth" not only does it show blatant disrespect for the monarch in question, but it makes the person saying it look like a complete idiot which I don't think was the intention.

I love the show and it is very good, but the little things mentioned above do add up. While I can ignore most of them, some such as the "he was supposed to be a myth" line is one that I can't overlook especially since the line preceding it calls him Vlad Dracula Tepes. Overall I'd give it 10/10, but that previously mentioned line is so egregious I'm deducting half a point. So 9.5/10 this episode shall remain, still better than being eviscerated by a vampire voivode's army from Hell.

Because this seems to be a running theme in the things I've reviewed recently it behooves me to make my stance on religious institutions known. I don't tend to agree with organized religions of any sort (including the ones that aren't theistic but would be offended to be referred to as atheist), generally because they require belief in something that I personally don't believe in. And I'm not making it a point to attack Catholicism or Christianity in general. I couldn't care less about what religion anyone practices, much like I expect no one to give a crap about my own lack of religion. What I abhor and what is portrayed in this episode of the show (and in V For Vendetta) is terrible people. Which I'll remind you exist in every walk of life.​
 
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Godot

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It's officially October... Okay, it's been officially October for about five days now cut me some slack please. Anyway it's time to review a thing again. What's it this time? Not vampires, that's for damn sure. There are other things to worry about other than the things that go bump in the night. Gold? Great, we're doing greed. Okay, due to what I'm reviewing here I need to do two reviews one of actual history and one of the movie. What could I be reviewing that requires such detail? Why it's none other than Dreamworks' The Road to El Dorado. Keep in mind, it's tough to be a god. After all you have to deal with Zeus who can't keep it in his pants, determine how much sacrifice should accompany a prayer, and of course figure out how to punish those who commit atrocities against your followers.

So you might wonder why a legend like El Dorado needs a historical review. Which is admittedly a fair question. You see the conquistadors (who were literally the worst people Colonial Spain had to offer) were a bunch of greedy, enslaving, murder-happy, conquest obsessed *******s (not too much different from English colonists, actually but that doesn't justify any of their behaviors). And yes, I know that some people proudly claim heritage from them but these guys were terrible.

The El Dorado myth popped up mid-conquest as a tale the conquistadors heard from natives about a place with a king who coated himself in gold dust. The legend of El Hombre Dorado, which coincidentally happened to be true although none of the men it led them to were kings but it was close enough and succession was ritually done for these religious tribal leaders through covering the successor in gold dust and throwing gold in a lake... As you can imagine, the conquistadors were both amazed and offended by the perceived waste of a large amount of currency. This led to multiple attempts to remove the gold from the lake (most of which were mostly failure) and inevitably the senseless slaughter of the people whose sacred lake they had defiled in the name of greed.

And because there was never enough gold (hey, it's like EA and literally trying to have all the money) the conquistadors chased down another myth of a gold covered location, only to find a lack of gold. This continued with them basically using this greedy myth of seven cities of gold as a means to justify the slaughter and enslavement of everyone they came across. When they found gold, it was never enough, and when they didn't it was treated as a reason to do exactly what they would have done anyway. They did find platinum that had also been used as decoration, but tossed it aside believing it was worthless. They would later do the exact same thing on the way back to Spain, tossing the "worthless" platinum off the ships... Considering Spain's gold coins ended up being counterfeited with platinum, this is just icing on the cake. There's a moral somewhere in here about not chasing legends, but the bigger moral is greed will just screw you over and for crying out loud subjugating people and/or slaughtering and enslaving them makes you an evil person.

We open with the Universal logo... Hold on, I thought this was Dreamworks. Oh well, let's just get out the obligatory "Comcast can go to hell" statement and get on with the movie. And now we get the Dreamworks logo! Opening credits too with beautiful music, although that said it is done by Sir Elton John. We open the movie proper in Spain and it's 1519 as they so helpfully display on screen... I don't think I need to keep track of dates much, this probably isn't going to have any historical... Hernán Cortés, well there goes the hope that dates won't piss me off. Just going to check dates for a moment. Okay so he shouldn't be in Spain in 1519, he should already be in Cuba and about to start conquering Mexico. Then again I don't know what to expect from a movie set in Mexico, loosely based on a Kipling book that was set in Afghanistan. Either way, it's less migraine inducing to ignore the blatant historical inaccuracies and just enjoy the ride.

After Cortés's warhorse is startled by gunshots... That's a phrase I never thought I'd have to write. We zoom in on a wanted poster of our protagonists and the price on their heads is 100 doubloons. For point of reference a single doubloon from this era would be somewhere in the ball park of at least four hundred USD, which means our protagonists are worth around forty thousand dollars... Keep in mind historical conversion rates are tough. And they're gambling... A hundred doubloons is the price for their arrest and their crime is illegal gambling? Someone challenges them to one more roll and puts up a map in place of money, because they're broke. The guy with black hair is Tulio and the blond one is Miguel. And of course the map leads to El Dorado... I have so many questions and the sad thing is I know none of them will be answered.

And in response to Miguel insisting that this could be their fate, Tulio points out that fate is pointless because they're cheating. How their bounty is one hundred doubloons is still beyond me. When the challenger insists on using his dice, Tulio rolls and panics slightly because the dice he's been told to use are fair. Only to end up winning the map, because these two fools need the damn thing to progress the plot. When they collect the money and the map the crowd finds out they were cheating in the other rounds... And then Miguel and Tulio start a staged arguement, which turns into a staged fight (which just serves to prove that these Spanish peasants know how to fence), to basically make their escape from the angry crowd. One slap-sticky running of the bull (there's only one in this entire chase scene) later and our protagonists have landed themselves in pickle barrels.

Miraculously they end aboard Cortés's ship... Yeah, it's contrived coincidence but it's better not to question it for the time being. When they inevitably get caught by the crew, they are put in manacles and taken before Cortés who insists on throwing them in the brig. And also says that he's going to have them flogged multiple times and enslave them... Conquistadors, what did I tell you, they're just vile. We then cut to them in the brig after a scene of falling apple ex machina, trust me there's a reason I'm calling it that. And they have no real escape plan, Tulio's idea is just get out (he has no idea how) and steal a rowboat and "sail back to Spain like there's no mañana". Without an actual plan, Miguel decides to distract Cortés's horse with an apple. And somehow the horse understands the phrase "fetch me a pry bar" and instead brings back a set of keys... Yeah, the horse comprehends human language just go with it.

And somehow the escape plan goes off without a hitch after that, albeit with a horse stolen from a ruthless conquistador surreptitiously in tow. I should mention getting the horse in the boat requires the apple to be thrown and break the laws of physics. What is this movie? Because I'm getting to tired to write anymore long drawn out paragraphs (this thing I do for fun is draining) about this nonsense movie (which I do enjoy) I'm gonna just go right for a simplified explanation of what happens over the course of the rest of the movie.

Miguel and Tulio, and horse, end up on a beach and follow the "trail that we dare to blaze". They meet up with Aztecs, who mistake them for gods. The high priest doesn't like them, they generally don't fit in and Tulio falls in love with an Aztec woman that they keep getting advice from on how to manipulate Aztec culture. Cortés appears on the beach and basically follows the same path Miguel and Tulio took. Evil Aztec priest does evil priest things and basically tries to kill the duo with a giant rock panther. Disaster occurs and Duo, plus horse and Aztec love-interest, escapes back to Spain while Cortés stays and inevitably slaughters the Aztecs (off screen long after the credits have rolled and the movie itself has been turned off) because despite the movie being a comedy that's what he historically did... Yeah, the historical bits and the fact that the protagonists and the villains both act on impulses of greed like the actual conquistadors did kind of muddles the movie. Historical context makes it worse but without the context Hernán Cortés is just a random inclusion in the movie and makes no sense. Like knowing what Cortés did in real life brings in a massive downer element because you just know it was completely futile, even though he doesn't find El Dorado.
 
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