Monthly Archives: March 2016

Survivor Kaoh Rong Episode 7: Pick to Win Down

After Episode 1 I picked Neal to win it all.  Like season 25, Philippines, my episode 1 pick was medically evacuated.  According to Stephen Fishback Neal has already revealed the bulge in his pocket was not actually the idol but some fabric. Note to self do not carry around anything in my pockets.  Good bye Neal.  You were shown to be a great provider.  You did really well at the challenges.  You were good at strategizing, and you found an idol.  Your only problems were your attempts to not be a threat did not work.

I have been hearing a few fans call this the worst merge episode ever.  I agree with them (at least since Heroes vs. Villains when I became a super fan).  It was really disappointing.  It had two redeeming qualities.  One was the scramble for power of every merge episode ever.  The other was I really enjoyed the Aubry-Neal alliance and we finally saw more of it that was not in a secret scene.  Aubry was also really funny especially with the Oregon Trail reference.  Last time I played the more advanced version my group mutinied and left me.

What will the balance of power be next?  The title of next episode says it will be Beauty vs. Brawn and Aubry got a heavy winners edit indicating the Brain’s will get an episode to be in charge.  The problem with wier’s edits it PRobst seems to hate this season.  Could it then be we have no good winner?

I think going with the Brawn is a bad idea.  Two seasons ago everyone wanted to go with the unlikable people and they ganged up.  Only the largest immunity run in the games history stopped them.

My big winers are

Nick for winning immunity just like I predicted when I saw the press photos.

Aubry for realizing they are in trouble and really reading people well

Scot for taking charge and gathering a majorit alliance.

Most likely to go next are

  1.  Nick
  2. Jason
  3. Debbie
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Contested Sequels: Babe Vs. Pig in the City

Vs

Unlike an American Tail these films are generally more friendly towards each other.  It seems everyone likes the first one (by differing levels), but the second one is a base breaker.  George Miller, the writer and director of the Mad Max films, was the main writer of both films.  He directed two, but Chris Noonan directed one.  This gives a similar idea and moral, but a very different style.  One attempts to make every second enjoyable, while two relies on a few great scenes and the others build it, but feel like an afterthought.

I have more nostalgia for two.  I went through a pig phase at a young age.  I constantly saw trailers for one, and then bought the second one thinking there was only one.  The film still made sense without context.  I also saw the first one at a young age a few times, but most of m nostalgia is from the second one, which my pig phase made me watch constantly.  Like all Universal films at this era they have great trailers, but the second one especially has a really awesome Universal Theme Pzrk trailer with Spider-Man fighting Doctor Octopus, and that was my introduction to Spider-Man.

One has a superior opening.  One’s opening is slower and builds an atmosphere of a happy film with “If I had Words Playing.”  It makes a feeling of a deeply emotional film.  I also like seeing all the pig decorations, which are mostly about food.  It is some very dark foreshadowing.  It also shows the way things are, pigs are food, which is reinforced by the narrator.  The opening to two relies on having seen the first one by showing the trophy and parade.  After that…

Most people say the second film is incredibly dark and one is very light.  I actually think one is far darker.  How does one open?   With the narrator talking about how pigs leave to pig paradise, “A place so wonderful that no pig had ever thought to come back.”  It says that in a dark room, while the pigs are shown being packed in a  meat truck.  To make it more dark it does a very good job at making Babe sympathetic right away and portraying everyone else as content to wait their turn for death.  Two’s opening plot is the boss getting injured, but the writing makes it sound more like a poorly written comedy than a terrible accident but the writing in the next scene makes up for it.  Some well known dark scenes from two include a dog nearly drowning and that leads to the film’s best or second best scene, but an animal in danger was nothing new to me as a five year old who often watched The Land Before Time.  The clown having a heart attack and dying is dark, but I always assumed he was just having pains and needed to be in the hospital.  That is actually a major strength from two.  It shows how children could look past the darkness but still get the feeling of dread, but adults could see what is really going on and realize how bad things are getting for the main characters. The scene with the animals talking about being abandoned is very dark and it is handled well with a serious mood and then some needed comic relief from Ferdinand and Flea Lick.

Another major part of one’s darkness is Duchess.

Babe

She sure has changed. She is a wonderful villain.  She makes the main character try to die and she never tells a lie, a half lie, or leaves anything out.  She just tells how hard the world is and how unfavorable it is to pigs.  Her last shot is her being very happy.  She then gets refuted later.  She also has very little screen time to keep the focus on the heroes.  She is an incredible villain and makes one of the darkest scenes I have ever seen.  Normally the characters like this are reduced to only telling a half truth, but she tells everything.  As a result the main characters are speechless to respond.

Despite two going for the big scenes its best scenes are inferior to one’s best scenes, which include the best song I have ever heard in a film, “If I had Words.” IT is funny and tear jerking.  The farmer cannot respond with reason as he did get Babe to eat him for the reason, but he also right away saw something in him, and to regain his trust Hogget must communicate that.

In one Esme plays second fiddle to Arthur, while in two that is reversed.  They are very different, and that is good.  It helps show that two is not a copy and paste of one.  Their different personalities are used well, but Arthur is better, as he has a very clear major characteristic that fits the films’ moral.  He sees the value where no one else does.  He made a gate out of trash early.  Then he realizes there is more to Babe than a dinner.  That is how he finally gets the sheepdog grand champion.

The side characters are very good in both films.

Babe

Flea Lick is awesome.  Thelonius is great.  The others have such great potential, but the film is a half hour too short to take advantage of them.  In one Rex and Fly are the dominant supporting characters and they are very well developed.  Ferdinand is an important side character in both films.  In two he is good comic relief.  In one he is a major part of the moral about changing the bad parts of life.

Two does have better end credits.  Randy Newman’s song is great at the end.  The mice singing “If I had Words” is still very good, but not as good.

Two is better for kids, but one is superior to adults.  Two is hard to follow the plot but easy to follow the characters.  Making them get fascinated bu it.  One is the most emotional film I have ever seen.  It is a terrific movie, while two is merel very good and had a tough act to follow.

 

Survivor Kaoh Rong Episode 6: Being on the Bottom

Peter, the bottom of the Brain tribe, has been removed from the game.  I thought his fight with Joe would just be a  red herring, but I was wrong.  It was foreshadowing and it helped make Aubry switch.  His problems were his inability to stop scheming in a season where everyone is trying to play a more laid back game.

He made an alliance with Liz deeming her the only other strategist.  This pitted more forceful strategists against the laid back trio of Neal, Aubry, and Debbie.  By always strategizing they could not make friends well and pit them against each other or recruit Joe.  A key part of strategizing is making friends.  Russell is known for having no social game, but he definetly made people want to work with him by finding those whom no one else wanted to work with and making them feel like he was irreplaceable.  Peter could not do that.

How did he come off as so untrustworthy.  He earlier got mad at Tai before the swap, and that him memorable for being angry.  Thus, the beauty and Brawn tribes did not want to work with him.  He also seemed to view everyone but Liz as a paw, and seemed to make it clear he thought he was the best strategist, as a result everyone correctly assumed he was waiting to blindside them.

Did Aubry or Joe make the right choice?  Having five brains i a tribe of 11 (especially if one is untrustorthy is very risky, but it also has the potential to take control early, but no tribe in a three tribe season has been able to do that.  Thus I think this was a good move to eliminate Peter.  Joe always called Peter “Pete.”  He confirmed in an exit interview that he thought Joe voted him out instead, and I think Aubry did that on purpose.

My big winners are

  1.  Scot for potentially making a beauty and brawn alliance.
  2. Aubry for removing a wild card.
  3. Julia for doing what Anna could not do.

The most likely to go next are (assuming no medical evacuation and Nick wins the next  challenge we saw photos of)

  1.  Debbie- No idol and a strategist.
  2. Jason- Blindsided with idol.
  3. Aubry as a physical threat and maybe Joe turning on her.

Survivor Kaoh Rong Episode 5: Tribe Swap

First off my episode one pick to win, Neal found an idol.

One on tribe there is Neal and Debbie for Brains, Cydney and Jason for Brawn, and Michele and Nick for Beauty.  Beauty has the disadvantage of no idol.  I think the two brains may have the best chance.  Jason makes people mad.  Nick is very arrogant.  The main hole is Cydney and Michele are very good social players and Debbie takes time to get used to.  I would think the Brains are safe.

Another tribe has Tai and Ana for Beauty, Scot for Brains, and Joe, Aubry, and Peter for Brains.  I think they have a less strong tribe.  If I were Scot my hopeful plan is to use Tai’s idol to remove a Brain.  That way they have one less and beauty loses an idol.  He instead seems to be playing both sides in a long term.  Now that Julia has replaced Anna Scot may want to consider voting her out as well.

Contested Sequels: An American Tail vs Fievel Goes West

An American Tail

Vs

This a really contested sequel.  It seems all animation fans love one more…

An American Tail
Not necessarily “one” as in first film.

Since many enjoy one or two based on nostalgia I want to start by saying I have no nostalgia for either film.  I first saw two, while fifteen and one while sixteen.  My only nostalgia for the An American Tail franchise is three episodes of Fievel’s American Tails and may trailers.  When I was thirteen I became a huge animation fan with Don Bluth as my favorite animator.  An American Tail is probably his second most well-known film and  I really wanted to see it.  I looked for it for years in thrift stores and online.  I found the sequel and I thought it was a poor film.  I finally found the first one on a website that only allowed me to watch fifteen minutes a day and I still loved it.  I later got the movie and it remains a favorite that I watch every February, while “Fievel Goes West” barely gets watched.  Despite being in my opinion the inferior film it may very well have qualities superior to the original, but they just do not work for me.  The first one is Don Bluth, but the second one is more like a Disney film.

There is the history argument of how ground breaking each film was and without a doubt the first film easily wins here.  Before “An American Tail” animation was in the dark ages.  Very little care went into them and very few made money.  The producer of both films, Steven Spielberg, was having recent troubles, and “An American Tail” ended both problems.  It brought Spielberg back on top and started the renaissance age of animation.  “Fievel Goes West” was the first film made by Amblination.  Only three were made, but the remnants helped form Dreamworks.  Of course Amblination was made from the remnants of Bluth leaving Spielberg, which would mean the original is almost as responsible for Dreamworks as the sequel.

The opening to one makes the crucial credits mistake of misspelling Fievel as “Feivel.”  Still, it has a much better score in the beginning.  It gives really nice animation.  It then begins the action by both describing the American dream and showing the horrors the Mouskowitz are trying to escape.  The beginning of II is more about just showing the West.  The main theme is the same as “Bartok, the Magnificent” that there is a hero in you.  I really do not see that developed.  In one I very much see the theme that despite its flaws America offers the potential to change your life.

Both films offer an early battle and here II is superior with the music.  They use a modified version of the main theme that goes wonderful with an action scene.  One has a mood breaking train sound effect, but one still has the better opening action scene.

An American Tail

is much more intimidating than An American Tail

Granted, the difference is not by much.  One mostly has a better scene due to a much bigger sense of fear and a better Fievel.

Fievel was redesigned and it really hurt the second one.

 

An American Tail

Image result for fievel

In II he was made to appear less vulnerable and older.  Since the first one shows Fievel being very heroic it is reasonable to think he would be like that later.  The problem is he gets himself into trouble more often in the second one and is far less successful in being a hero, which hurt the moral of the hero inside you.  Even worse is Philip Glasser’s changing voice could not imitate its previous great performance.  In the first one he comes off as heroic and capable of getting out of trouble.  In II he comes off as an action survivor thanks to others saving him.  From one he is one of my favorite protagonists, but it did not carry over.

One reason for Fievel’s decreased role is the film was disneyfied.  Don Bluth puts the main focus on the hero.  Disney puts the main focus on the villain and side characters.  It comes down to opinion and type of story which one is better, but I almost always prefer focusing on a wonderful protagonist.  II is more of a Disney film than a Bluth film (Bluth did not direct it), which I am sure is a major reason for the broken base.  Tiger is way more of the main hero than Feivel here.  Dom DeLuise gives the best performance of the sequel. The problem is his lines are really bad filler mostly.  The chases he gets in get really old before they even begin.  At least he offers some good jokes and scenes.  Wiley Burp is a horrible name.  It sounds like something a Junior high student will make up.  His whole fandom is based on being voiced by Jimmy Stewart and nothing else.  Shouldn’t he have had a planned replacement already?  Tanya gets a bigger role, which seems to be furry fan service.  Mama and Papa are so much dumber, less caring, and less funny i the sequel.  Mama went from a dead pan snarker to the miserable stereotypical mother.  Papa was an optimistic but grief stricken dad to a straw optimist.  In the first one I loved or really enjoyed every side character and they all had completely different roles.  In II I liked Tiger and found everyone else to be bland.

With their increased focus on the villain II should have an advantage there.  On paper Cat R. Waul is better than Warren T. Rat.  He is smarter, has a more complex plan, he has a better voice actor, better actor gave a great performance, he has a more menacing sidekick.  His sidekick, the tarantula is actually a better villain.  On screen Warre is better.  He is far more threatening.  With Cat R. Waul I doubt he would hurt a fly, mostly because he prefers to not kill anyone personally.  Warren is also more interested in money than killing, but he always comes off as more murderous and optimistic about future success.  He also has a much better plan.

Cat R. Waul wants to use mice for their labor.  The way to do that is to clean the big machines or something.  Instead they are shown struggling with a job that a cat solves in literally three seconds.  I was actually fine with the mouse burgers plot since badly worded plans happen, but it is still a minor problem.  Warren I better at making a believable plan and being a more relatable villain, the oppressive upper class who only want to make money.  Cat R. Waul is still the third best part of II.

The best part of II s its climax.  It is fun and even Miss Kitty works in it.  I liked the slingshots.  Fievel also finally got to do something notably important.  Still the climax in one is leaps and bounds better.  The part with the Great Mouse of Minsk is wonderfully animated.

The songs in An American Tail are my favorite in any musical.  Each one is better than the last, and they add to the story and characters.  “No Cats n America” further ads to why the mice are so scared of cats by focusing on the sadness (earlier scenes focused on the horror).  “Never Say Never” (besides being ripped off by Justin Bieber) is very important to letting the characters get over a sad time and doing the same with the audience.  It also stays in the head and ads hope later.  Why is “Somewhere out There” so great?  It does not try to sound pretty, but true.  The characters do not change their voices.  Besides that it is wonderfully written and fits untrained singers.  “We’re a Duo” is just wonderful.  It really helps with the symbolic message of the cats being the oppressive upper-class to the mice’s immigrants showing how both are needed.  Also to help is by then it is so great to see Fievel finally find a friend who does not get distracted from helping him (Tony was mostly useful later). The final ingredient was Tiger.  He was instantly likable. It is also made even better by the sequel, which is to Fievel Goes West‘s credit.

I never understood the love of “Dreams to Dreams.”  Of the flagship songs from all four movies it is the worst.  It sounds like it was made not sell rather than add to a story that sells, like Disney films typically make.  Her ice is way too focused on sounding pretty rather than getting emotion out.  Miss Kitty’s song is something I always want to fast-forward through.  “At Least ay out West” is a really good song, but overly loud for my tastes even for a crowd song.

I see why some people love the second one.  It offers several things to like for Disney fans and nothing is notably bad to distract from it.  It still cannot compete with the first film.  The first films a wonderful protagonist, my favorite songs from a musical, wonderful animation, a threatening villain, and a wonderful moral both literally and symbolically.

 

Survivor Kaoh Rong Episode 3: Brain tribe Analysis

I made a few recent mistakes.  I recently re-watched some challenges and Jason has been much better at challenges than I remembered.  Many things I thought Scot did were actually done by Jason.  It also turns out CBS have been misspelling “Aubry” as “Aubrey.”  Our mistake.

The Brains tribe had the clear distinctions of Neal and Aubry on one side.  Based on the videos they were the main providers.  They are both strategic but very quiet about it and want to avoid being voted out early.  Peter and Liz were according to Debbie the laziest two around camp.  They started out likable but slowly got more and more arrogant and demanded to be in control.  At least they wanted to make big moves, but that social failing is how to get voted out early.  Debbie and Joe were obvious older targets but considered to not be threats down the road.

In an interview Liz said they were given no rice, but they had hordes of shellfish.  She is allergic to shellfish and was barely eating.  It makes me wonder if they sent her home because she was probably the most Hungary.

It s really hard to rate them as challenge competitors, but they do seem to have good strength all the way down.  They are also very fun to watch competitors, which is why they had such a great episode.

Edit wise I doubt Peter could pull a Spencer.  He has not been show strategizing much or shown to have Spencer’s inner humility that rarely gets out.  Debbie will likely last deep.  Joe will probably be gone soon.  Neal is getting a fine edit with decent strategy each time.  I really think Aubry is getting a winner’s edit.  She had the great episode one story about overcoming her problems to win the first challenge.  They showed Debbie cheering on her and only her specifically.  They showed her suggesting they vote out Peter instead of Liz.  In Caramoan they showed Cochran making a plan like that, which did not happen when they ultimately voted out Malcolm.  They are showing her being strategic as both a red herring and to likely make sure the audience remembers her.

My big winners are 1) Caleb for infiltrating an alliance, having a close ally finding an idol, and being great in the challenge.  2) Jason for getting an idol.  3) Debbie.  She was instrumental in this episode, but I do not know if it really will help her in the end that much, and based on a few secret scenes and interviews Neal and Aubry already knew about Peter and Liz’s plan.

Most likely to go next is the medical evacuation. It looks to be either Caleb or Joe.