Grind’s Head Podcast, Episode 3 After-Show Discussion is now available! GrindheadJim on Twitch!
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Jim describes what being a Veteran has meant, what it means, and what we can hope to achieve for veterans in the future.
The following article contains minor spoilers for the movie “Blade Runner 2049”.
You have been warned.
The day I’m writing this is the day I saw both the original Blade Runner (Director’s Cut) and the subject of this article, the 2017 sequel Blade Runner 2049. As such my thoughts are gut/initial reactions to both, so keep that in mind, please. That said, this will primarily be my thoughts on certain aspects of the sequel. Though there are some thoughts on the original that I’ll be bringing up when they’re relevant.
With that preamble out of the way, let’s get to it.
(Final note: Occasionally I’ll simply refer to the sequel as “2049” for short)
Blade Runner 2049 is a movie I’m surprised actually managed to turn out the way it did. This, a sequel to a neo-noir sci-fi movie from the early eighties that actually manages to keep the spirit of the original intact. Logic dictates this should’ve been an action-filled mess, or generally have just missed the point of the original entirely.
I would assume the involvement of Ridley Scott (who I was surprised to learn was just an executive producer, not the director for this) helped with that. And the safe assumption the director, Denis Villeneuve, was committed to keeping the tone in line with the original. Also helps that one of the original writers was on board. Generally speaking, the stars seemed to align in this specific case, and the movie is all the better for it.
The main talking point I have is something I might as well get out of the way now, and is a nice segue from the point I just made. 2049 has several moments where it looks like it could turn into an action-movie out of nowhere. But it doesn’t. Sure, there are some action scenes, but they’re very subdued and brief. The most “action-movie” thing that happens (apart from a few, very brief fight scenes) is when the character “Luv” and some lackeys come to kidnap Deckard.
They blow a section or two out of the side of the building Deckard & K are in, which knocks them (and Deckard’s dog) back as a result. From memory that was the only explosion in the movie, and even then, it was a fairly small one. Especially given the size of the building being hit. This was one of few key instances where I expected the movie to devolve into a typical action set piece…and (thankfully) that never happened.
Don’t get me wrong, I like big action set pieces as much as the next person. When they actually belong in the movie in question. Blade Runner & 2049 are not action movies, and they never really try to be. While I’m not sure how much this made Blade Runner stand out back in the early eighties (given I wasn’t born yet), I know for sure it makes 2049 stand out among the movies of today.
Of the few sci-fi/sci-fi-related movies I have seen (and one yet to be released) this year, 2049 stands out like a sore thumb in the best way possible. I have a feeling Hollywood thinks this kind of movie can’t be made anymore, or can’t make money. Hopefully the fact that 2049 has already made its budget back proves them wrong. Though at the same time, I hope it doesn’t make them try to milk the franchise dry. Given rumblings of sequels to 2049 I won’t hold my breath though.
Tangent aside, I’ll now end on my thoughts comparing the original to the sequel. Straight to the point, I actually like 2049 more than the original. While I will concede I may have to give Blade Runner a proper watch later on (and also watch The Final Cut, as I’ve only seen the Director’s Cut), there’s just something missing from it that I feel 2049 actually has. And while I can’t pin-point too much, there is one major factor 2049 has over the original. Time. 2049 has a run time of almost three hours. Blade runner, no matter which version you’re watching, falls short of two hours.
While this might seem like an odd thing to bring up as a flaw of the original, I really do believe a lack of time is what hinders it slightly in comparison to 2049. 2049 has plenty of time to set up the plot and characters involved, especially the main character K. Blade Runner has some characters that you could honestly cut out entirely and it feels like you ultimately wouldn’t lose much. At least from a story perspective.
Whether it was thought a two-and-a-half-hour movie of this nature wouldn’t sell in 1982, or Ridley Scott just envisioned it as being as long as it was, I don’t know for sure. But again, I feel an extra half hour could’ve been added, which could’ve allowed for certain aspects to be expanded upon. Oh, also, I feel 2049 has a better/more fulfilling ending than Blade Runner. Sue me.
All-in-all I enjoyed the absolute hell out of Blade Runner 2049. And while I am very sceptical about any potential sequels that may happen in the future, I feel the future is bright for this franchise so long as the team behind 2049 is kept around to make sure it’s handled correctly.
The Podcast Without Banners returns as Thomas, Maeve & Bill give their thoughts on the season finale of Game Of Thrones season 7.
The Podcast Without Banners returns as Thomas Fyrehart, Maeve LaFey & Bill Silvia give their thoughts on the penultimate episode of GoT season 7, “Beyond The Wall”.
The Podcast Without Banners returns as Thomas Fyrehart, Maeve LaFey & Bill Silvia give our thoughts on episode 5 of GoT season 7, Eastwatch.
The Podcast Without Banners returns, this time they give their thoughts on episode 4 of Game Of Thrones season 7. Due to technical difficulties, only Bill Silvia & Maeve LaFey will be giving their thoughts on this episode.
The Podcast Without Banners returns as Thomas Fyrehart, Maeve LaFey and Bill Silvia give their thoughts on episode 3 of season 7; The Queen’s Justice.
The Podcast Without Banners returns as Thomas Fyrehart, Maeve LaFey and newest recruit Bill Silvia give their thoughts on episode 2 of season 7; Stormborn.
The Podcast Without Banners returns after a two year hiatus, as Thomas Fyrehart and Maeve LaFey give their thoughts on episode one of season seven; Dragonstone.
When Riley’s away, big sister will play. Rila finally cracks open one of her favorite anime of the year by reviewing the first cour of Little Witch Academia! Stay Toon’d!
Rila – Mocha Vampire
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Note: There are spoilers for the first episode of the anime in question in this article.
You have been warned.
Welcome back folks. As a quick reminder for those who are new or have forgotten, the concept of these “At First Glance” articles is that I watch the first episode of an anime I’ve never seen and give my thoughts on it.
Simple, right? With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.
Ah yes, Black Butler. This one has been on my to-do list for a while, especially since it was suggested to me back when I started doing these in 2016. So, to the person who did suggest/request this…sorry it’s taken so long. As far as my knowledge of the anime went, this was another of those anime I was vaguely aware of but had absolutely no idea what it was about. And going by some of the promotional imagery, including this article’s banner, let’s just say you could be forgiven for expecting something other than what we get.
No, Black Butler thankfully isn’t what the imagery implies, it’s just a story about a rich tween boy called Ciel Phantomhive in Victorian England who has a Demon Butler, and is also apparently Queen Victoria’s Guard Dog, investigating and solving crimes in London’s seedy underground. You know. The usual. Oh, also he has three other servants who act as comic relief, and one of them looks like an interpretation of the Final Fantasy character Cid.
Which makes sense given Square Enix had a hand in publishing the manga
There isn’t ultimately too much to say about the events of episode, other than it serving as a good introduction to the characters more than anything. We’re not given much of a background on the characters yet, aside from a cold opening showing the deal being made between Ciel and Sebastian. Though we’re given no context as of yet exactly why this deal was made aside from hints. Though I am aware due to reading up a tiny bit.
I must admit, I actually expected this episode to have action in it. I mean, you know, demon butler and all. The actual approach of playing this more like a drama with some psychological horror kind of thrown in as well ended up working fairly well. Though I am aware there is action in this anime. So, this episode being more of a set up explains the lack of it.
One thing that irked me about this though is the English dub. Yes. I’m complaining about the English dub. I rarely if ever do that, but this is one instance where I will indulge in that kind of snobbery. The English accent in this are horrible. Just horrible. Well, most are anyway. Sebastian is fine, and to an extent so is Ciel, but Baldroy, Mey-Rin & Finnian’s accents are all just so terribly exaggerated that it takes me out of the moment. Whatever comic relief they’re supposed to provide just turns into annoyance.
Also, those three having very thick working class English accents makes no sense. Baldroy is from the US, Mey-Rin is of Chinese descent and Finnian is of German descent. Baldroy might as well have a thick US accent of some kind, and the other two should either be speaking English with a much posher accent than they are, as they’d have been taught English by Sebastian, or they’d be speaking English with an accent fitting their heritage. And yes, this is normally a silly thing to expect from an anime dub, but they went through the trouble of bothering to give them accents at all, so they could’ve afforded to be a bit broader with their choices. Maybe that’s just me though.
I’ll just stop there so I don’t end up talking in circles. In any case, will I continue to watch Black Butler? Well, the concept has me interested enough, plus I can’t really judge it too much on this one episode. I will say however, I’m not watching it in English again.
For those who are interested, Black Butler consists of 46 episodes across three seasons (24 in season one, 12 in season two, and 10 in season three “Book Of Circus”, respectively), all of which are available in both subbed and dubbed formats. There are also nine OVAs for the show overall (one for season one, six for season two, and two for season 3 respectively), all of which are also available in both subbed and dubbed formats. Lastly there is also both an animated Black Butler movie (available subbed and dubbed) and a live-action one.
Well, that about covers it. If anyone has any suggestions for anime I should watch for this in the future, give me a shout and I’ll put it on my list. If it’s already on my list, I’ll bump it up in priority. However, if I’ve already watched it then I’m obviously going to have to decline.
I’ll see you next time folks.