Zombies and Frozen

I watched two things this weekend, one with my family, the other one without. The first was Frozen, the second was the Walking Dead finale.

I’ll let you figure out which was which.

I’m going to talk about the Walking Dead first, because there are spoilers for Frozen embedded deep in this post and I’d be more worried if someone read those than any spoilers for the Walking Dead.

The finale was…frustrating. It was great the way Darryl rejoined the group and Rick and Michonne slaughtered the Claimed folks. Rick has always been a character that was an extreme badass of the best kind…the type that doesn’t have to constantly prove it. The best moments in the series were when he shot that guy in the bar (Nebraska man…), killed Shane, and last night when he ripped that guy’s throat out with his teeth.

Because in the Walking Dead, people are made of playdo and that’s possible, but you get my point.

That was all great and then they arrived at Terminus. I don’t know why, but I honestly expected that place to be safe. I guess because I knew there was a colony that came up after the prison, I assumed this would be a fill in for that. They did a great job of building the tension. Things were too nice, too calm, and too civil. As it is, I’m still not entirely sure the Terminus folks are evil. They didn’t kill anyone, just locked them in a boxcar and took their stuff. Bad, sure, but not the worst and I wouldn’t be surprised if they had some BS reason. There was a lot of herding activity with them purposefully pushing them in a certain direction.

Of course, there was also the room filled with candles and no one with a cult vibe is ever good.

The internet has a year to stew on it so I look forward to the theories.

Now to Frozen. There will be SPOILERS!!

It was good, but I find myself debating about how much I enjoyed it. It’s certainly one of the most unique Disney movies, with a twist that just about knocked me on my ass. Up until that point I kept asking myself where the villain was. Sure, the Duke was obviously not a nice guy but he seemed like such a weak antagonist for a studio that has turned out some of the best of my childhood. The worst villain Disney has ever produced was the hunter from Bambi and look how that turned out.

So when Hans ends up being the villain, I was completely surprised. The genius of that moment wasn’t even the turning the Prince into a bastard. We’ve seen that before. The genius was in Disney using their own tropes, the themes and cliches they themselves have utilized over sixty-odd years of filmmaking, to make you assume Hans was the good guy and the Duke was the badguy. He even had an accent. Disney villains always have an accent.

Then there is the fact that it has two leading ladies, who are both fabulous and flawed, who friggin’ own that movie. Anna proves herself pretty capable and highly entertaining, with Kristoff just kinda tagging along for her shenanigans. Elsa is just as strong and possibly the only good Disney character who is, like literally, an unparralelled badass. I read that she was originally supposed to be the villain and I all I can think is that it was good she wasn’t because she would have wiped that dinky little country off the face of the planet.

I liked all the other characters as well. Kristoff is, frankly, obviously insane from his troll captors and I even liked the little snowman.

What I didn’t like was the music.

Apperently, I’m the minority on that. Sorry.

It just didn’t mesh well with me. Elsa’s song is good but the whole rest of it was forgettable to me, lacking a lot of the energy and charm that makes Disney musicals fun. It’s very well voiced, simply unnecessary. I had sorta hoped this was a trend, that we were leaving the music behind as it was growing dated, but I think that was just a bump in the road, especially since I believe Frozen had more music time than just about any other Disney movie.

All that said, it’s a great direction for Disney to be moving in. Like Tangled, it uses its own legacy, all the qualities we’ve all grown up on to breathe new life into these stories and make them something new. Tangled did it with some of its humor, Flynn Rider being the only character in Disney to notice and question the cast’s tendency to break out into song. Frozen did it in a much more important way, by making the sibling relationship more important than the romantic one, in fact, making the romantic one the antithesis of the character’s goals. That whole aspect was very well done and a huge success.

I look forward to the next story Disney turns out.

The Wolf Among Us

I knocked out the first two episodes of TellTale Games’ (Creator of the Walking Dead video game) The Wolf Among Us over the weekend.

For the uninitiated, Wolf is based on the comic book series Fables. Published by Dark Horse comics, it tells the story of a community in New York City made up of all the storybook characters you love and know after they escaped from their Homeland dimensions following a devastating war with a being known only as the Adversary (unless you’ve read far enough, and I’m not about to spoil who the Adversary really is). Fables is the only comic book series I’ve ever followed long term. It will get its own post, mainly because playing the game made me dive back into the series, but know this, it’s fascinating.

The game follows one Bigby Wolf, sheriff of Fabletown, formerly known as The Big Bad Wolf. The game does a fantastic job of summing up a complicated world very quickly. You may not understand the significance of the Farm or the Adversary, or perhaps why Bluebeard is like he is, but you have everything you need to enjoy the story. If you already are into Fables, it’s filled with little easter eggs and surprises. Meeting Grendal, in particular, was a lot of fun.

The storytelling, like the Walking Dead games, is top notch. I cared and hated for all the characters involved, everyone comes off very interesting, and the plot is an intriguing whodunnit, all mixed with the rich lore of the Fable world.

I have only one problem. At first, I thought maybe I was just remembering things differently. This is what actually made me dive into Fables again, to see if I had been mistaken in my perception.

What was it?

Snow White.

In the comic, Snow White is the Deputy Mayor of Fabletown. She does all the nitty gritty work that Mayor King Cole can’t be bothered with. She’s confident, strong, and intimidating.

In the game, she’s the assistant to Ichabod Crane, who is himself the Deputy Mayor. That’s canon, and what they’ve done with that is great and accurate. No complaints there. The problem comes from the timid, nervous, fretting Snow White who doesn’t stand up to anyone, hugs her arms, and whose eyes dart around in whatever scene she’s in. She’s steadily getting stronger, and I think they’re going for a buildup to the character we see in the comics, but I don’t buy it as a fan. She’s hundreds, if not thousands, of years old. Portraying this as a young Snow White, when really this is a small fraction of her life, doesn’t correspond to what I know about her. Even before she fled the Homelands, Snow was a stone cold bitch who didn’t take shit from anyone. Charming, Rose, and the Dwarves taught her those lessons. This was the woman who held a sword against the Big Bad Wolf, not a girl who was cowed by Ichabod Crane.

I hope to see that change a bit as the story goes along, otherwise everything works perfectly.

If you like TellTale’s games, Fables, or adventure games, give this a try. If you’re not familiar to Fables, this will introduce you to a world like nothing you’ve ever seen.