damkianna: A cap of Korra from The Legend of Korra. (I have to find my own path.)
[personal profile] damkianna
Tell yourself you can take a week off from posting because you're traveling, and suddenly it's a month and a half later and your delinquency is only worsening. OOPS. I'm going to have to pick out one of those post-a-day meme thingies just to get back in the habit.

ANYWAY. Between my last meaningful post and today, I saw Maleficent like four times and COMPLETELY FUCKING LOVED IT. I think that's the most fanficesque movie I've ever seen; that entire plot was exactly the kind of AU + backstory revamp I'm most into, and so adeptly wielded my pre-existing canon knowledge not even against me but for me. That moment where she makes her staff was just so perfectly done; you knew she was going to have it but the movie told you why, and slotted it so neatly into everything they'd already told you that I don't know how to describe the feeling it gave me except HEADCANON ACCEPTED. YES. And the true love's kiss as a jab at Stefan, both of them thinking it's impossible from opposite angles and the audience aware of everything it means to both of them even though nobody else in the hall is—LOVED IT. UGH MY HEART. This story was basically a glorious romp through my id in nearly every way!

Ways in which it wasn't:
:: Princess Leila. (HI ELEANOR GUTHRIE HI.) I appreciate that she spoke! But I am still sad that she died offscreen and basically nobody cared about her at all—her dad was a shit, Stefan was a shit, nobody else really interacted with her. I watched the rest of the movie raptly, but part of me was already composing the AU where she met Maleficent instead of Stefan and Maleficent helped her become queen regnant after her dad died even though none of his douchy power-grubbing nobles wanted her to. <3 Her attitude toward the fairies was obviously not the same as Stefan's or her father's—I want to know where it came from, I want to know who her mother was, I want I want I want.
:: That Maleficent began with an eternal sleep rather than downgrading from death. The only reason I can come up with for that is not wanting the audience to feel she's crossed a moral event horizon; Maleficent herself has absolutely no reason to go with sleep alone at that point, and I think it would make perfect sense to swap from death to the seemingly lighter sentence of sleep and then tack on the true love's kiss, which to Maleficent and Stefan means she'll never wake and therefore might as well be dead. PERFECT SENSE. And "prick her finger and DIE" is way more effective than "prick her finger and FALL INTO AN ENCHANTED SLEEP THAT'S A WHOLE LOT LIKE BEING DEAD BUT NOT QUITE."
:: The big final fight thing in the hallway with all the guys with iron shields and everything wasn't really my favorite part. Partly because the bit with Maleficent helpless on the floor with the shield guys surrounding her went on longer than I think it should have, and partly because ... well, Maleficent helpless on the floor with the shield guys surrounding her. I mean, I guess the length contributed: it felt like we were really wallowing in helpless Maleficent, and—I don't know. It bugged me a little.

But honestly that's basically it. Maleficent and Aurora shared true love's kiss and then got married bound their kingdoms together forever. And Phillip was totally adorable—he got SO LOST in those woods! What was he doing still wandering around in there when Maleficent found him??? OH PHILLIP. Obviously in my head his relationship with Aurora is a totally platonic BFFs/devoted-knight-and-his-queen thing, because I'm easy for messed-up dark-haired older ladies and their young golden-haired bright-eyed girlfriends (oh hey there Xena). But still! ADORABLE.

And then also Book 3 of Korra happened! I can't even imagine how annoying this whole airing schedule/swap-to-online mess was for anybody who'd been following along solely by watching Nickelodeon, and I really hope they aren't kidding about the show having had better viewing online anyway. I haven't posted about this season since the leak, so I suppose I might as well run through the whole thing at once, and divide it by feeling like always. (Feel free to read the cut whose tenor appeals most to you and not touch the other two!)

In the SQUEE category:
:: YAY TEAM. One of the major things I disliked about S2 was that Team Korra just didn't really spend that much time together—I like rolling around in the friendships on A:tLA and Korra both, and S2 didn't give me much to roll around in. This season was way better in that respect, and I enjoyed that part a lot.
:: YAY KORRA. Still so tough and strong and leaping into everything head-first! Korra herself is none of my quibbles with this season. KORRA.
:: YAY ASAMI. So much more Asami this season! YES. And MECHANIC ASAMI FIXING AIRSHIPS is what my dreams are made of. Being Korra's sparring partner! Lying to the Earth Queen! Building a sand-sailer! YES YES YES.
:: YAY LADIES. Lin! All the Lin and her emotional walls. Flashback!Toph, YES. JINORA IS THE BEST. (And Jinora and Kai were adorable.) All these new ladies—Suyin, Opal, Minghua, P'li, Hou-Ting, Yin. I wish Opal had been around for more episodes, obviously, but this season introduced a bunch of new women and I loved it.
:: YAY PHILOSOPHICAL CONFLICTS WHERE NO ONE IS RIGHT. This doesn't trip off the tongue quite the same way, but I really enjoy how nothing mapped out perfectly in the abstract. Hou-Ting wasn't wrong about Republic City being on land that used to be Earth Kingdom; but that didn't necessarily make her right. The Red Lotus wasn't wrong about leaders sometimes being bad for the world; but that didn't necessarily make them right. The execution of this concept wasn't everything I'd hoped for, but I felt like it was there and I very much enjoyed the glimpses I got of it.

I enjoyed the first half of the season a lot, and I loved seeing Zaofu and Suyin SO MUCH. I also loved Jinora's mastery ceremony. THERE WERE A LOT OF THINGS I LIKED. <3

In the Meh category:
:: Pacing. I didn't hate it, but I don't think it did this season any favors, in the end. I wish switching to online had meant the season or the episodes could be longer, even though I know the animation happens way ahead of time and all, because I think that would've helped a lot. As noted above re: philosophical conflicts, this show is totally trying to tackle some interesting aspects of politics in Avatar-world—which is great! But I never felt like it had quite enough time to do it in. As I mentioned in the post where I talked about the leaked eps, there were parts of some episodes that could have been an A-plot on their own but got demoted (like the taxes/bandits thing—rewatching that ep still makes me feel like that would totally have been an episode of A:tLA, starting with being asked to retrieve the taxes for the queen and ending with deciding whether or not to actually give them to her). I felt like the first part of the season was kind of okay here, albeit with some blips; and then the more complicated things got, with the Red Lotus and all, the more they had to zip through or ignore or not get into. Meh.
:: The new Air Nomads. This is more of a balancing-out thing: on the one hand, I LOVE the idea of people spontaneously starting to Airbend in a general sense, and I liked that the show realized that didn't automatically mean all of them were going to want to shave their heads and never eat meat again, and I loved the whole recruits-bonding subplot. On the other hand, I have to admit that I HATE that this means all Katara and Aang's kids are now benders; and I HATE that they used the opportunity to reduce the already paltry cast of nonbenders by one. (And Zaheer would have been one, too, except oh nope now he Airbends.) You still aren't making Amon seem wrong, show. COME ON. I'd also have loved more of an examination of what this meant to the pre-existing acolytes, but there wasn't really time for that, which is too bad. Meh.
:: The execution of the philosophical conflicts goes here, because it annoyed me rather than actively making me angry. Watching the latter part of the season gave me the same feeling I get when I watch XMFC, which is that none of the writers seem to actually understand and/or be able to articulate what the characters are supposed to be arguing for. I don't understand why Korra didn't argue that imposing your own idea of government (even if it is the lack thereof) on the entire world is not what freedom means—and the Red Lotus will become what they hate besides, if they have to stick around forever making sure that no one tries to form a government ever again. (Which is something Zaheer utterly failed to address—even the Air Nomads, whom he seems to admire a lot, still had councils! Governments happen for reasons, even if you personally don't buy into those reasons, and someone who's as interested in governments' failings as Zaheer should know and care about those reasons if he wants to make sure governments are no longer necessary.) And calling President Raiko "moronic" for ... being upset that Korra set a lot of spirit vines loose in a heavily-populated area and then couldn't fix it? I don't like the guy and I think he's a crap replacement for a council, but I don't think his reaction to that was particularly unreasonable. I don't know, I found most of Zaheer's conversations with Korra pretty frustrating to watch. Meh.

This mostly boils down to failures of execution. Overall, I liked this season better than Season 2, but it reminded me a lot of Season 1: the essence of a show I would absolutely adore is in there somewhere, but I'm looking at the shadow on the cave wall and it's really, really not the same.

In the bleh category:
:: The whole spirit vine subplot from the beginning of the season. WHAT HAPPENED. Korra didn't fix it, she left when Raiko asked her to, and then he shows up at the end and ... doesn't mention it? Is it not still an issue? Did the viney stuff just go away on its own? Maybe they'll address this next book—maybe Raiko's been sending Firebenders to clear it all out and the spirits are really angry, maybe he met with the spirits and made a deal, I don't know. But having it be serious enough that it gets Korra booted out of the city and then just ... having it go away was downright bizarre. bleh
:: Hou-Ting's death was incredibly disturbing and unpleasant to watch. P'li's death actually makes me actively queasy to think about. Minghua's death was just basically awful. Please note that this list constitutes fully half of my list of the new women introduced this season; Ghazan also died, but a) he kind of killed himself by bringing the cave down around him, rather than being murdered, and b) that's ... one, which does not bring me the sense of balance I might have hoped for. And Zaheer? Why, he lives and goes back to prison! bleh
:: I am soooooooo leery of where the season ended. I'm sorry, but Korra in a wheelchair crying while President Raiko demands to know who's going to protect them all is just—what the fuck are you doing, show? I'm assuming the wheelchair is a temporary measure post-poisoning (much as I would love an Avatar who uses a wheelchair, I somehow doubt they're going to go there); but that still means that so far we've had Korra immobilized while her bending is taken away (which is something she had nightmares about and was very much afraid of), we've had her connection to her past lives utterly severed by her uncle's attempt to pretty much kill her, and we've had her chained up and poisoned while we watched her writhe in pain. This ... is not what I wanted a story about a woman who was the Avatar to look like, show. BLEH

One and a half of these are things that might be addressed by the fourth season, although I've told myself that twice already and it hasn't worked out great for me. Let's face it, I'll probably watch the fourth season, if for no other reason than I need to know what happens before I can plot the sequel series to ItO; but I spent most of the finale feeling vaguely sick to my stomach for a bunch of different reasons, and that wasn't fun.

Sleepy Hollow has also started! Yay I'm so happy. <3 I love everybody in this bar everything about this show, from the ridiculous "historical" shenanigans to the hugs, and everything in between. I didn't even freak out when Abbie implied that Jenny and Katrina were dead, because I was pretty sure there was some kind of pocket universe/hallucination shenanigan afoot; and, indeed, there they were. ALIVE LADIES. IT'S KIND OF SAD THAT I'M SO HAPPY ABOUT THIS. The only thing I want for Halloween is more things for Katrina to do besides be menaced by the Nice Guyiest Nice Guy. She has PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWERS. GIVE HER THINGS TO DO ALREADY. (Somebody's written the AU where she's the one who woke up and is buddy cops with Abbie as her powers slowly recover, while Ichabod appears in her dreams giving her cryptic warnings—right? Right?)

And somewhere in there, the first book of ItO cracked 10k hits! I remember when I was posting happily about 500, I am SO THRILLED. (That is almost 3x the population of my hometown! I mean, I know hits != unique visitors. BUT STILL.)

I think that's everything I have feelings about; I haven't watched the new ep of SHIELD, or Guardians of the Galaxy. Back to working on treats for [community profile] femslashex!

Date: 2014-09-27 12:35 am (UTC)
ambyr: a young girl with a creepy expression (Creepy)
From: [personal profile] ambyr
I have just very belatedly finished S2 of Korra, and . . . blah. I am covering my eyes for your S3 summary because I want to retain some hope about it.

(Also, having just reviewed your S2 thoughts--seriously, WHY does the Avatar team fail so hard at including background female characters? So many female leads! . . . so few female villagers or shopkeepers or soldiers or policepeople or, well, anything else. The gender balance sucks in A:TLA and it sucks even worse in Korra. I have to assume that in this world people procreate via rabbitstork or something, because there are just not enough women to do it the normal way.)
Edited Date: 2014-09-27 12:36 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-09-27 02:13 am (UTC)
ambyr: pebbles arranged in a spiral on sand (nature sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy) (Pebbles)
From: [personal profile] ambyr
Having said all that, I just watched the trailer for S4, and DAMN, Avatar team, how do you always know how to pull on my heartstrings? That last line, oh god, now I MUST WATCH.

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damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
'tis not so deep as a well

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