Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Sorting Power Rangers into Hogwarts Houses

(Guest Post by David B)

Power Rangers, probably among some of the most well known super heros of all time, have been around for near 30 years. I remember rushing home from school praying the bus would drive a little bit faster so I could run in and turn on the T.V. so I could see how the Rangers would once again thwart Rita Repulsa, Lord Zed, and all their monsters! With the release of the reboot just 2 years ago brought back memories I cherish! While watching with my children the other day, something Rita mentions got me to thinking: How would the Power Rangers be sorted into Hogwarts Houses? Please note that this sorting is pure opinion and that I am sorting the Rangers of the reboot.

Zack Taylor: Ravenclaw
Somewhat of the class clown of the Rangers team, Zack frequently has smart remarks and quick wit to relieve tense moments. He takes care of his mom as best as he knows how, leaning on what he's learned to get through each day.

Kimberly Hart: Slytherin
Kim shows us that she can be kiniving and underhanded, typical traits of many well known Slytherins, in her actions toward her former fellow cheerleader and also with Trini, if only briefly, before discovering the comand center. However, she learns to value friendship and humble herself in the end for the betterment of the team so that they can all meet their potential.

Billy Cranston: Hufflepuff
Fellow Hufflepuff Billy is actually sorted by Rita, herself! She comments on his loyalty while interrogating him on the location of the Zeo Crystal. Telling her does not show weakness, but rather his faith in his team. He proves his loyalty and saves their lives, even at the cost of his own, knowing that even if it makes things more difficult, they will overcome together what they can't do alone.

Trini Kwan: Ravenclaw
Sharing a house with Zack, Trini was slightly harder to sort. She doesn't say much but what she does say is thought out and profound. She shows wisdom beyond her years and sound intelligence in her developement.

Jason Scott: Gryffindor/Slytherin
Jason was the hardest to sort of all of them. He shows ambition through his rise to leadership. His bravery shines through as he takes necessary and calculated risks to do what is important. So, much like Harry Potter, I guess it will have to come down to where Jason asks the sorting hat to put him!

Do you agree with my sorting? What other traits do you see within each Ranger and where would you sort them?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Heroes of Slytherin

A few months ago (after "Crimes of Grindewald") I did a post about the Heroes of Hufflepuff. As a proud Puff, we get disregarded by many fans (one of the reasons I love the "Fantastic Beasts" series). In that spirit of disproving stereotypes, I wanted to mention a few Slytherin heroes. Not all Slytherins are angry jerks or selfish villains. Selfishness isn't even a defining trait of Slytherin. Instead, their defining traits include ambition, resourcefulness, and cunning.

So here's to our cunning, resourceful snake friends.

Severus Snape
I have my opinions about Snape and the spotlight he gets among fans (I'll save that rant for later), but I would definitely consider him a hero. After losing the girl he loved, he secretly kept her son safe for almost 18 years. I can't exactly say that his motives for joining the Order or fighting against Voldemort were great, but he still made the choice to fight evil, even to the point of dying for it.

Regulus Black
We never actually saw Regulus in person, book or movie, but you could say he was instrumental in the downfall of Lord Voldemort. He found Slytherin's locket long before Dumbledore and Harry searched for it. Despite being a Death Eater, he tried to turn his life around and defeat Voldemort, dying in the attempt. I suppose Harry would have found the locket regardless of his efforts, but it doesn't make Regulus even less of a hero.

Horace Slughorn
He was hesitant to reveal his past with Tom Riddle, because of his shame. However, when it came down to it, he was loyal to Dumbledore and Hogwarts. Despite his pride and his Slug Club, what he cared about was his students. Unlike other Slytherins, he respected Muggle borns and Muggles. And after Voldemort attacked Hogwarts, he fought to defend the school from his former student.

Narcissa Malfoy
By no means is she a traditional hero, but in the end she put her family's safety above any other loyalties. While her family (including her husband, son, and sister) were close followers of Voldemort, her heart was with her family. When it came down to her sons safety or revealing Harry's survival, she chose to prioritize her motherhood and do what was needed to get into Hogwarts to rescue her son.

Leta Lestrange
She was the outcast among her peers, eventually leading her to relate to Newt Scamander and become his friend. Despite having many relatives that would follow Voldemort decades later, she sacrificed herself against another powerful evil wizard. Because of her sacrifice, Newt, Tina, and many others survived Grindewald's speech at the Lestrange Mausoleum. Perhaps she did it because of her inner pain and turmoil, but she still saved many lives by her sacrifice.

Any other Slytherin heroes that come to your mind? What stands out to you about these Slytherins?

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Spoiler-Free Captain Marvel Review

As always, I’ll try to keep my review spoiler-free. If you’re super sensitive to spoilers, hang up now and just go buy your ticket. And stick around for BOTH credits scenes.

Overall I loved Captain Marvel. To be fair, it takes a lot for me to hate their movies. And it takes even more for me to say they’re bad. For a stand-alone movie, it was good. Avid MCU fans with enjoy it even more.

I struggled with the opening scenes. I couldn’t tell if I was being thrown into the middle of things on purpose or if Marvel was expecting me to know more about the Kree from the comics. It’s one of those scenes that I’m sure I’ll enjoy more the second time around. If a similar scene had taken place on earth, I’d have been ok. But an alien world was kind of hard to adjust to.

I enjoyed the appearances of established MCU characters. After 5 seasons of Agents of SHIELD, I liked seeing Coulson back in the movie universe. I couldn’t get over his 90s hair. I wish he’d have been more prominent in the movie. But then again, this is the 90s. He’d probably barely joined SHIELD.

Speaking of SHIELD, I liked 1990s Fury. I kept waiting for them to explain how he lost his eye. Regardless of his eyesight, I liked this version of Fury. He was very different from how he’s appeared since his first appearance in Iron Man. Then again, that’s 10+ years of SHIELD stuff in between.

I’m excited to see how Captain Marvel plays into “Endgame”. I think I’ve heard she’s connected to the Quantum Realm in the comic. So maybe she’s connected to Ant-Man, since that’s where we last left him.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Dementors and Self-Doubt

“Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them... Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you.”
—Remus Lupin (“The Prisoner of Azkaban”)

Depression. Self-doubt. Self-hate. Dementors.

I don’t have a citation for it (if you know it, please put it in the comments), but it’s reported that JK Rowling based the dementors off her battle with depression. An apt comparison if nothing else.

I was talking with someone about self-esteem recently. He made the interesting point about self-esteem not being all-or-nothing. He talked about having self-esteem in some aspects and self-doubt in others.

What if I could focus my thoughts on the the self-esteem I have, instead of the self-doubt? When the dementors and self-doubt overwhelm my soul and cloud out the self-esteem, what if I could focus on the happy memories?

Very likely, my good memories and my self-esteem outnumber the world’s darkness, but what’s in my focus?

Focus on that Patronus memory. Your happiest memory. For me, it’s my wedding. My wife, my family, and my best friends. All that love surrounding me. How can the dementors get me if I’m surrounded by those memories?


Friday, December 14, 2018

5 Favorite Easter Eggs from Wreck-It Ralph 2

So I finally got around to seeing Wreck-It Ralph 2. I was a big fan of the original and I was not disappointed in the sequel. The characters' progression felt natural and the conflict wasn't what I expected (I expected Yesss to try to keep Ralph around for her own benefit). But this isn't a review. I just wanted to comment on some fun Easter Eggs that I liked.

Young Moana as "Mo"
In a "mid-credits" scene (because Marvel has conditioned me to not leave before credits are over), we get a familiar face driving home from the movie. If you're paying attention, her name is Mo and she looked exactly like young Moana. This one made me giggle.

Casual Disney Princesses
I mean, I could say a lot about the Disney Princesses appearing and their wardrobe and green room, but let's just appreciate for a moment on their casual outfits. I could go off on this, but just a few notes (just to keep it simple). Snow's shirt says "poison", Ariel's got a list of "thingamobobs", Elsa' shirt says to "just let it go", Moana has a #shiny and there are even more than I can't pull from memory.

Stan Lee Cameo
After the recent passing of Stan Lee, I don't think any of us were planning to see a cameo of him anytime soon, but we had a silent appearance as Vanelope and Ralph run through the web. His user ID character was seeing visiting "Oh My Disney". His appearance may have only been because of Marvel's deal with Disney, but I think it was fun, fitting addition to his legacy.

Merida, from the "other studio"
They actually did a pretty good job giving all the Disney Princesses decent talking time. One big exception is Merida. For the record, I tried really hard to understand what she said and I never had a problem understanding her when I watched Brave. They really amped up her Scottish accent this time and made the great joke about her being from the "other studio", since Merida is the only Pixar Princess in the franchise.

Internet Graveyard
When Ralph goes down to retrieve his cookie medal, there are a number of dead websites hidden down in the rubble. One I noticed was Geocities, a former Yahoo web hosting service. I remember making website with them when I was a kid, back when I was into website design. It was very primitive stuff, but to a 10-year-old it was great. So when I saw it in the background, I had to smile.

What other Easter Eggs did you see that you liked? Obviously too many to list them all. I'll have to watch it again to catch more.

Friday, December 7, 2018

4 Things We Learn From the Avengers 4 Trailer

I had a completely different post planned for this week and ready to post today... but then Marvel dropped the Avengers 4 trailer and that post will get pushed back a week in honor of some of the things I've noticed after watching the trailer a couple times.

Of course as I'm discussing the trailer, there will be spoilers ahead.

Tony Stark: Lost in Space
We last left Tony on Titan after nearly all of his companions had dissolved into dust. I had wondered how he was going to rejoin the rest of the Avengers (or at least the ones who survived) and it looks like he hasn't yet. At least as of the moment when he records his message for Pepper, he hasn't made it home. I have to assume that the writers don't let him die due to lack of food, water, and oxygen, but I guess we won't know for sure until April. Unless I missed something, it does look like he's parted ways with Nebula.

Clint Barton's New Outfit
I'm not savvy with the comic books, but I'd heard that Hawkeye was going to transition to a different alter-ego, named Ronin. I don't know who Ronin is in the comics or what this means for Clint, but the implication I'm seeing in the trailer is that his wife and kids died in the Snap. So now he's back out in the field to get them back maybe? Or maybe he just has nothing to lose anymore with his family gone?

"This is Gonna Work, Steve."
Black Widow says this to clean-shaven Cap, making me think they have some sort of plan. It's vague what the plan is or what the end goal is. I assume it'll be something involving bringing back those we lost, but I guess it could also just be revenge on Thanos. I remember rumors about going back in time, so that's my guess, but I could always be wrong. All we know is Steve is feeling a bit hopeless outside of that plan.

Scott Lang: Escaping the Quantum Realm
Last we saw Ant-Man he was twirling around in the Quantum Realm after Hope and her parents vanished during the Snap. Obviously he made it out of the Quantum Realm and now he's reached the New Avengers Facility to reach out to Natasha and Steve. I had hoped, based off a line in the mid-credits scene of "Ant-Man and the Wasp", that he'd maybe be traveling back in time... but maybe he still will and he'll be the means behind whatever Black Widow and Captain America's plans are?

Anything else I missed from the trailer? Any speculation or theories?

Friday, November 30, 2018

Heroes of Hufflepuff

I've had a conversation with one of my best friends at multiple times about how all the major heroes of Harry Potter seem to be from Gryffindor. In honor of "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald" coming out recently, I wanted to highlight a few heroes from the yellow house. Upcoming minor spoilers if you haven't seen the new movie.

Newt Scamander
Obviously our quirky magizoologist had to be on this list. Twice so far we've had adventures from our nutty Hogwarts drop out. We've far from seen the last of Grindewald, but in his first encounter he was able to subdue Graves/Grindewald and take him into custody. We know from "The Philosopher's Stone" that Dumbledore is the one who defeats Grindewald in the end, but I'm getting the sense that Newt will continue to play a vital part in his defeat. Not only that but he wants to do it in the most humane way possible.

Cedric Diggory
He may not have gotten the spotlight very much, but from the book and a half we know about him, we know Cedric was a good young man. He graciously accepted his win against Gryffindor in "The Prisoner of Azkaban" (and even tried to make a do-over happen). And then the next year when he and Harry were competing against each other for the Triwizard Cup. He showed dignity and loyalty to his school throughout the whole thing, even though he could have been mad at Harry like the others. In the end, he helped Harry win the Tournament, even though he didn't survive the trip home himself.

Nymphadora Tonks
We weren't introduced to Tonks until the Wizarding War was underway, but she showed more bravery than many Gryffindors. After she married Remus, she still put her life on the line to protect the Wizarding World, the Muggle World, and her son. Her sacrifice ended up being ultimate, being one of those lost in the Battle of Hogwarts, alongside her husband. I think it's safe to assume that her legacy was carried on by her metamorphmagus Hufflepuff son, Teddy.

Ernie Macmillan, Justin Finch-Fletchley, etc.
Despite being critical of Harry in "The Chamber of Secrets" and "The Goblet of Fire", the Hufflepuffs of Harry's year were loyal and kind people who always seemed to be there for him. We also had a fair number of them join Dumbledore's Army during "The Order of the Phoenix" and while none of them were enlisted to fight at the Ministry of Magic, they stayed to help with other DA members during the following battles at Hogwarts.

Pomona Sprout
Professor Sprout was the Head of Hufflepuff house and Herbology professor during Harry's education. She seemed to hang out more in the background for many of Hogwarts's major events. However, she stood out to help particularly during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower and the Battle of Hogwarts, standing up to Voldemort and Death Eaters, often just with her magical plants.

Bonus points for the hero of the play "Puffs". The parody play follows seven years at an unnamed British school of magic. The Puffs tend to hang out in the background compared to the other houses, but our hero Wayne is more of a hero than he realizes, even if it's just for making me happy to be a Hufflepuff. Bottom line: next time you're in NYC, get tickets for Puffs.