Movie Reviews: Lindsey Stirling’s Brave Enough

Overview
It took me a full month—every second of the You Tube Red free trial—and about a dozen viewings, but I finally managed to get my thoughts and feels organized while trying to be objective about this amazing human being that I truly love—like a little sister, let’s be clear—for herself as much as her music.
Some of the personal stuff has already been covered in her book, but most is new, as the entire timeframe of this documentary was after the book came out. Starting on her 30th birthday, which she appropriately points out is a time for looking ahead as well as reflection, it weaves its way through the American portion of the Brave Enough tour, with plenty of concert footage from the Dolby Theater show that I attended (thankfully I did not make the final cut of any of the scenes; you’re welcome).

Writing
Documentaries like these are notoriously difficult to figure out as far as how much is written and how much is simply “talk to the camera.” There was obviously some kind of framework before it started, but it’s never firm. For instance, various topics might have been on the table, but it’s completely possible that their order was not known until it was assembled in the editing room.
Though the movie is about the recent tour, I do like when they venture into the past, such as Drew talking about how they started in 400-seat venues, then moved on to 800 when those sold out, then on and on and on to where she’s now selling out the Dolby and Red Rocks and the like; he seems amusingly shocked to realize he’s playing in the same place they hold the Academy Awards. Less happy was the footage from “America’s Got Talent,” even if it was part of her motivation to succeed. I really hope that part of the story gets put to rest, as I never again want to hear the words “Piers” and “Morgan” together, not even on the tombstone when she does Moon Trance.

Directing
In the live concert scenes, it’s hard to measure how much directing is going on. It’s probably not a live edit, instead having all the cameras record everything for editing later. The rest of the time it’s basically “stick a camera in the person’s face, ask a question, and let them talk.” Feels like the editor is at least as important as the directors and cinematographer here.
The topics are well interwoven with the concert footage, sometimes thematically, for instance her explanation of how she became anorexic leading into Shatter Me. Even more so was the moments with Gavi, both heartening and heartbreaking, providing the impetus for his tribute songs.
Only now am I remembering that the directors actually came out on stage at the Dolby show to announce the taping—to those who weren’t at the meet-and-greet—and asked us not to mind all the cameras swirling around on and in front of the stage, as well as the big crane on the left side of the auditorium.

Acting
Lindsey can be a bit of a ham, which might qualify as acting, but basically it’s her—and others—opening up to the camera to a sometimes astonishing degree. At times it’s hard to reconcile how this sweetest of all humans can turn a switch and become such an entertainer on stage, with a swagger she’d never show in real life.

Cinematography
The concert sequences are the main point here, and it definitely helps that they did a runthrough on a non-concert day for the cameras; having been at the show that was featured, I can attest that there were a lot of cameras around, including on the stage, but this was so much better.
Editing takes a big role here from the very start, with video of her as a child and then a similar pose or look in the present, usually with the violin involved. Lindsey has mentioned that the production cost a lot of money, and when I see the picture quality I can believe a lot of it went into renting the best hi-def cameras around. This was shown best in the colorful costumes the dancers and Lindsey–and the special surprise guest–wear in Hold My Heart.

Music
If you watch the closing credits, as I always do, you’ll see a lot of unknown songs, definitely not her own, that must have been part of the background soundtrack. They were very hard to notice, but I don’t mind that I didn’t hear them, that’s not why I’m here.
Like the picture quality above, the sound is amazing, but of course none of that would matter if the songs weren’t worthy. From the high energy of Roundtable Rival to the soft strains of Gavi’s Song, from the deep whir that is the dubstep of Crystalize to the multiple layers of the Bollywood-inspired Mirage, everything sounds perfect to my admittedly untuned ear. But the highlight had to be Hold My Heart, if only for the appearance of ZZ Ward as the only live singer of the night.

“Feel”
While there’s plenty of heartbreak and tough times in this work, it does not overshadow the positivity and optimism that inhabits the main character of this reality play. There are so many moments that are about human connection, stuff you would think are part of everyday life but really aren’t as much as they should be, like when her mom surprises her at the first show, and the moments with her dad and Gavi’s mom. Then you get a snippet of Luna Latte sitting there patiently, watching her practice or rehearse, and it’s so damn cute it perfectly encapsulates her personality.
There’s a lot packed in here; even on the last viewing before writing this I was seeing new stuff.
But as great as this was, and it holds up to multiple viewings, I have no doubt that fans like me are hoping eagerly for a full concert DVD.

8.5/10

;o)

Book Reviews: Erotic Motorcycles, Teachers, and Time Travel

I feel like instead of the usual funny line or snippet of conversation, I should post a nude photo or some such when it’s a review of erotica. . .
Nah. There is a photo I can recommend, of Katherine Heigl in a black leather catsuit, out there in the vasty internet, if that helps.

His Human Rebel
Fourth in a well-written series of male alien master/female human slave stories, this one features a more common soldier rather than aristocracy, as well as the most delightful lead character so far.
Unlike the previous reasons for buying up humans, this time a whole bunch are brought in from a jail to help the war effort. And in fact Cambry does learn to fly, but once Lundric has her in his sights that becomes secondary. . . though she does have a hidden agenda of her own.
There’s a formula to these dominance erotica stories, so I don’t worry about the plot too much. The guys almost always act like entitled Neanderthals, so it’s the female protagonist that will make or break a book. There’s some similarities in them as well, as they start out feisty and learn to love, or at least obey. But the women are sufficiently different to make them unique and entertaining.
In this case Cambry’s pretty awesome, my fave of all the ladies in this series, and that’s saying a lot. Too bad her trust issues keep her from being honest with him—not that he’s earned it, but still—but that’s the way of most romance novels, even the sci-fi erotic ones. Lundric’s even more Neanderthal than most, especially at the beginning, but if she taught him to treat people better then I guess her “sacrifice” was worth it.
4/5

Stay After Class
College senior virgin desperately wants her cork popped before her next birthday, because a psychic told her to. She’s got her sights set on her art professor doing the honors, but the last thing she expected was for him to take her on a long frustrating journey to that point.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand it’s a well-told romance, but on the other. . . I can’t imagine her being that patient with someone who, as much as he wanted to do right by her, was manipulating her the entire way. He certainly wouldn’t have done that with an older woman, or one not as innocent. Despite his claims, it felt like this whole long timeline was more about him; she could have been more open about what her deadline and the dating app meant, but he treated her like a child far too much, and his excuse of “protecting” her was the ultimate in condescension.
As for the characters, Amanda was a lot of fun, as was her BFF. Even their emoji use was on point; the cherry with the fireworks was particularly hilarious, as well as the band-aid. As for him, he seems to be a genuinely nice guy who simply has no idea how to treat a modern woman; he seems to be stuck in some sort of weird age of chivalry, mixed with some Neanderthal “She’s mine” crap. Every other character seemed to be differing shades of evil.
I will admit the author almost got me by including a musical piece by one of my fave musicians, Jesse Cook, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t give any extra credit for that.
3/5

Slave to the MC
In the second book of a series—I did not read the first—a smart sassy part-time stripper deals with trying to pay off her mother’s debts while being the sexual plaything of an entire motorcycle gang, including the wives.
This story is unusual: it’s one thing for a submissive to be such with one master, but to be a more than willing slave to a gang, not just in sex but having her entire life controlled. . . that’s not seen often. The good thing is that, even as she fights it, she realizes she enjoys this kind of thing, which makes it a lot easier to take. She’s surprisingly introspective, and pretty damn smart, at least in her thoughts if not in her life choices.
Wasn’t particularly a fan of the story, since I hate all the gangster stuff, but some of her thoughts were intriguing, and if she’s willing—as she always is—the sex scenes are pretty hot in a primal way.
3.5/5

30th Century: Escape
A military woman from long in the future sends troops back to the 27th to fix history so humans don’t get genocided, but instead of heading the mission she slips off to the 21st to start a new life.
This story had a lot of potential, but the writing was surprisingly stilted for someone who’s published so much. On the other hand, this might be his first work of fiction, and if so the inexperience shows. The conversations feel wooden and the descriptions lack style; oddly enough, that happened more and more toward the end. Having read other sci-fi erotica recently, this simply pales in comparison. In fact, it’s odd that it is listed under erotica, as there aren’t any sex scenes until the last half, and even then it’s lackluster, pedestrian. One of the main reasons is the use of the word penis. . . exclusively; apparently the author lives in an ivory tower or cave where he’s never heard of another word for the male organ.
It’s not just the sex scenes, though; there’s not a lot of emotion in the writing, period. She cried, she felt sad, that’s it; no elaboration. By contrast, the science stuff goes on for pages. Her dissertation defense lasted far too long, making me think this was the whole point of the book, with the rest just framing. And most of the science was far over my head even when she was asked to explain it in layman’s terms. Annoying.
Some of the writing is just ridiculous. “You are the mother of the children. . .” Did you really think she didn’t know that, Jen? Another example: “Jennifer gritted her teeth, hoping she was not talking over his head. If she was, would his attraction to her die?” Seriously? What a modern 21st century woman, let alone 30th. More to the point, in the few scenes we get of the 30th century—as well as the 27th—they show worlds that don’t seem all that different from today, especially socially as compared to technologically. That makes no sense; not much thought was put into that. Another problem was all the characters I had to keep track of, particularly the women, as some of them had similar names.
I wanted very much to like this, which might account for some of the disappointment. I enjoyed the premise, all the way up to her being alone on the island. Once she was rescued it went downhill. Jennifer is for the most part a likeable lead character, though there were times when she was simply too good to be true. The anthropology and archaeology of the Pacific Islands was interesting, as it fit into my own hobbies, but in the end it didn’t lead anywhere, so I suspect it was just the author’s pet.
And it was so sad that we never saw the dolphin again. . .
2/5

;o)

Book Reviews: Non-Fic Be Sick

“Did you just fall in love again?”
“Let’s label this one ‘severe like.’”

{Apologies for the title. My editor insisted.
No, I don’t have an editor.}

A Way of Life: Zen Monastics at Work and at Play
Photographs of a Vietnamese monastery through the eyes of an American.
The shots are often grainy, which lends itself well to the documentary aspect of the book. One of the first shots shows two women in profile walking past a lake, a red bridge before them. The background is foggy. It’s beautiful.
But mostly it’s about the monks. There’s a bald one with glasses, smiling as he/she paddle a rowboat. The masked monk on a riding lawn mower seems a little incongruous. There’s shots of them playing basketball, volleyball, badminton, hopscotch, and some sort of hackey-sack in a parking lot. Not what is expected from a monastery. There’s also a music section, the highlight of which is the little girl watching the cello player.
Some of the photos are complimented by sayings or poems, which does serve to make them a little more special, but even though there’s some beautiful images here, most of the photography looks like stuff taken at a backyard family party. Not all that interesting, unless the point was somewhere in the vein of, “Look, they’re just like us!”
3/5

Directing the Sitcom Joel Zwick
There’s nothing else that could explain this book any better than the title it already has. Mr. Zwick, who’s been doing this for decades, gets asked questions and answers them, period. A big part of this is the questioner, who is also in the business of show, as Tom Hanks puts it in the foreword—Yay for Bosom Buddies!—knows exactly what to ask the experienced director.
But despite the short length, it took forever for me to get through this. Sometimes it became too technical; I know some of the stuff as a professional photographer, and I’ve been on set shooting stills, but at times it just went right over my head. Oddly enough, less than half the book talks about the shoot itself—or as they call it, the film school portion—which I’m guessing is what most people are looking for when they buy this book. The highlights of this section are explanations of camera terms, such as extreme close up and cowboy, along with four camera setups, perfectly illustrated with basic drawings.
In the end, I liked the stories about the actors and other Hollywood people more than the craftwork.
3/5

Big Nate: A Good Old-Fashioned Wedgie
Just in case the title isn’t enough, the cover shows a kid giving another kid a wedgie. Believe it.
I’ve read this comic strip before, and despite the fact the main character is a total butt monkey it’s pretty funny, even hilarious at times. In this edition Nate’s back on the baseball team, though quickly benched for rapping from the outfield, falls in love for the millionth time, sees a past crush return from Seattle, offers to help dad with his manscaping, helps his buddy with a diet, binges on X-Files, and talks like Stewie from Family Guy.
Best lines:
“Historians are still debating that.” Works every time.
“Scooby Doofus!” Wish I’d thought of that.
4/5

If My Dogs Were a Pair of Middle-Aged Men
I can’t tell you anything more concerning what this book is about that isn’t already in the title; I do love it when it’s so on point.
Some of these jokes hit a little too close to home, some are kinda gross, but mostly it’s just taking usual dog behaviors and ramping them up to hilarious heights through rudimentary artwork that somehow makes it even funnier. The pooping and bathtime scenarios go into “I can’t believe he went there but I’m laughing so hard” range.
3.5/5

;o)

Travel Thursday Snapshots: Madonna Inn

“Wow, the fun starts in the parking lot. . .”
Looking around, I thought that, if forced to go somewhere with it, I’d call this a German or Swiss fairy lodge, the difference being that instead of following just one motif, it included too many. Right in front of me was a round brown-thatched structure seemingly made out of rocks, with a similar wing flowing to the right. Extending the wing, though going above the road in a way I’d seen in small German towns, was a mouth-watering representation of what the house of the witch in the Hansel und Gretel story musta looked like. In the other direction from the lobby there was more of an English Tutor feel to the building, complimented by the small garden in front of it.
Taking out the tiny digital camera and setting it for wide angle, I tried my best to encompass the whole thing but failed, so I reminded myself to do it before I left tomorrow, then concentrated on the juxtaposition of the cobbled-together-rock chimney and the cupola on top of the main building. Remembering how I’d always wanted to visit this place, I couldn’t help but grin as I made my way inside.
Just from simply seeing the exterior and the lobby, I wished I could look in on all one hundred and nineteen rooms, if the sign in the corridor was up to date, even though I’d checked every single one out on the website before choosing. . . or, you know, grabbing the one not already reserved. There were some obvious ones, like Cloud Nine, Just Heaven, Hearts & Flowers, and Bridal Falls, plus overly cute sets like Ren, Dez, and Vous, and Merry, Go and Round. Other names weren’t as interesting, but the décor sure was: Caveman, Jungle Rock, Highway Suite, Utility Room. . .
Of course it would have been a lot more fun had Katie not been forced to cancel at the last moment. She could have easily passed for a Suthin’ blonde “Daisy Mae,” and no doubt could pull off an “Austrian” mountain beauty, but neither room was really suggestive of their names; Daisy Mae, as a matter of fact, was a cave. “Romance” would have been good, but not so early in the relationship. Of course that had been back when I’d made the reservation, and things had certainly changed since, but she didn’t need to know that.
In the end I’d gone with “Swiss Belle.”
During all the signing-in nonsense someone had taken my bags up to said Swiss room, so the walk through the corridors was quick and easy, and just a few minutes later I was getting my first glimpse of my one-night abode. I spent the next ten minutes gaping, first going over to one of the rock walls and carefully banging a fist against it, wincing as I scraped my knuckles; yep, that’s the real thing. Next I moved to the window, which in this place was of course no ordinary transparent viewing device. I wasn’t sure it could be called stained glass, because it looked damn thick, and didn’t have bright colors, but quickly I left that alone and concentrated on the scene, which depicted Swiss-looking cows and a flower that I thought I might have seen in those same Alps. Next to my leg was a rock outcropping jutting out of the wall which served as a small table, looking appropriately weird but also fun-funky. I followed that up to the roof, where I saw wooden beams the likes of which might have been spawned in a beerhouse, leading to a seemingly sparse-looking chandelier. Not as fun to shoot, I mused, but then I had no model to work with anyway.
The bathroom wasn’t rock, instead decorated in pretty floral wallpaper, so I left that alone for now. The next thing that caught my eye was the headboard, a surprising shade of green that looked to be cut in the shape of a cactus, of all things. Not very Swiss there, I sighed, counting it as a miss despite liking it.
Tossing myself on the bed for a rest before dinner, I grabbed the brochures on the table on the way down. “The motel is a monument of unremitting, flamboyant kitsch: Alp exterior, Swiss country with a gingerbread fairy motif, lavish pink rooms. . .” A twenty-eight-foot fake gold tree! I need to find that! Then I came to most likely the place’s most famous attraction: “The rock waterfall urinal is a fixture along California’s Central Coast. Many tourists come to visit the urinal, to the embarrassment of males who genuinely need to use the facilities.”
I reminded myself to hit the floral-wallpaper head here before finding the restaurant, then persevered in my reading. “Anybody can build one room and a thousand like it. I want people to come in with a smile and leave with a smile. It’s fun. What fun do you think Paul Getty got out of his life? Hard to argue with that kind of logic.
After making a mental note to be on the lookout for the thirty-three-foot-long sofa, I let my stomach do the talking—or just grumbling—and headed back the way I’d arrived, looking straight ahead so I wouldn’t be distracted by the trademarked—really!—Pepto-Bismol-like-pink color scheme. Compared to that, the pomegranate décor of the restaurant—for lack of a better word—was a thin slice of heaven, although the prices were not. On the other hand, I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t try the bacon-wrapped filet mignon, and that was that.
Not in the mood to go back to my room after dinner, I nosied around and quickly found the entrance to the coffeeshop, known in these here parts as the Copper Café, featuring a wooden door set in a rock wall; I took a photo of it while imagining my six-foot-blonde almost-date sniffing the shrubbery hanging above the door. Then I sat by a huge window etched in what she would have called a Wild Rose pattern. Grinning, I pretended she was here, hearing her dulcet tones describing the table tops, then focus on the chairs, which had a huge cushiony seat but only skinny piping in a heart shape for back support, which would no doubt have my back aching before long.
Once Katie-in-my-mind got started on the wall displays I sighed and went up to my room, hoping for a fresh attitude in the morning to explore the rest of this palace of kitsch. . .

;o)

Movie Review: Wonder Woman

Overview
This movie is what I wished Supergirl had been.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the series, but I don’t love it, feel so many things could have been done better from the outset. This movie gets them right.
One more thing: I’m not a fan of superhero movies. I watched the first two Avenger movies because of Joss Whedon, caught the first Thor on TV due to Natalie Portman, and one rainy afternoon when my plans were cancelled I saw the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Caught glimpses of an Iron Man on TV, but that’s basically it: never seen a Spiderman or Hulk, and the only Batman I ever saw was because Uma Thurman was in (boy, did that suck). So yeah, this was unusual, especially seeing it in the theater.
The day before this I mentally shrugged as I flicked on Doctor Strange on Netflix. Perhaps the fact that I couldn’t stand most of it inspires me to give Wonder Woman such a high grade, but that’s doubtful; even without that waste of time, The Wonderful Woman was superior in every way.

Writing
As always, this is where it starts. The plot goes back to World War One, and for the most part is a slice of life in the giant conflict until the two supernatural beings butt heads. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing groundbreaking either. And since the character had already been introduced in a previous movie, it was necessary to find a frame to set what is really a prequel, and the photo did the job perfectly.
Thankfully both the writing and directing are just as interested, if not more so, in the characters as the story and effects, especially but not limited to Diana. While most movies, even superhero ones, have humorous moments, they abound here, most of it coming from Diana not having the slightest idea how to behave with people who didn’t have the same idyllic upbringing as her on the Amazon island—when Steve first shows up, then amongst the crowds in London—particularly with men. My favorite was her trying to get through the revolving door at full charge. There isn’t that much humor after that, other than a few moments with the motley crew assisting them. But even more so, there’s some beautifully poignant instances within the ugliness of war, of which the most endearing is Diana telling an obviously shell-shocked Charlie to stay, because otherwise no one would sing for them. The acting is fantastic here, both their faces perfect, but it’s the words that make the moment memorable.
While most superheroes seem to have a personal motivation for doing what they do, be it vengeance or wanting to prove themselves, I very much like that the writers made Diana’s inspiration, as naïve as it is, simply wanting to do what’s right. And while it’s one thing to write a strong character who can also be romantic and funny, they gave her a special quality not often seen: kindness. There aren’t many superheroes who show compassion, but she has it in abundance.
It’s always hard to tell how much of the battle scenes is scripted, as writers usually throw in the kitchen sink and then see it whittled down due to safety or budgetary restraints. But if there’s one moment from the final battle that had to be in the original script, it’s her levitating over Ares, showing him she wasn’t the least bit bothered after all his attacks. He’s obviously disturbed by that, goaded into overplaying his hand, launching basically everything he had at her, never figuring it would rubber right back at him.

Directing
Like a referee in a sporting event, I’m of the belief that if I don’t remember much about what the director did, then it was a good job. I can’t think of any particular scene in this movie that stands out from that perspective. Of course I’ve seen Patty Jenkins’ other film—being a Charlize Theron completest—and while it was thoroughly deserving of the acting Oscar, some of that is always attributable to the directing.
In this case she shows a more than knowledgeable grasp of special effects and battle scenes, as well as comedy and sweet moments, some of them romantic but others not. Perhaps it’s the pacing that deserves the most merit, with enough respite given between the grittier moments for the audience to rest and reset. More to the point, this did not feel at all like 2 hours and 20 minutes.
If there’s one particular moment that deserves some mention, it would have to be when Diana finally realizes what Steve had said to her—she hadn’t understood him due to momentary loss of hearing—just before the plane blows up above her. The view of the explosion over her shoulder—even though she’s lying on the floor—followed by the quick cut to her face is perfect, as is leaving the camera on her for longer than usual so Gal could run through all the emotions of the moment, which are discussed in the next section.

Acting
There’s an easygoing rapport between Gal and Chris, but my favorite relationship, brief as it is, is between her and Lucy Jones. It’s easy to tell when Diana is appreciating Etta’s humor; it feels like they instantly became sisters. This is the first relationship she’s formed with a woman not from her island, and she seems happy to realize things won’t be that much different from that particular standpoint. The men, of course, are a different matter.
As I mentioned above, the moment when Diana tells Charlie he needs to stay because otherwise there’d be no one to sing for them is superb. It’s easy to see how much he needed that validation, especially after freezing during sniper duty. Gal’s face is so perfectly sweet, and you can see in his eyes that he’ll follow her anywhere from that moment on. There’s an earlier scene when Steve tells the boys that the money’s run out and they should go home, and they all refuse, partly because they’re enjoying themselves but mostly because Steve’s their guy and they’re loyal. But in this instant it becomes Diana’s gang, though it helps that Steve becomes her follower as well.
As for possibly Gal’s best acting moment, if it’s not the one I just mentioned, it would have to be the same as I wrote about in the directing section above. Right before her heroic second wind, when she’s seemingly trapped and out of the fight, she takes a sideways glance and sees Sameer, Charlie, and Chief huddled together, preparing to die, and feels like she let them down. Then the plane explodes above her, and there’s so much to see in her face—disbelief, sorrow, rage—all culminating in the moment when she realizes her destiny, even more so than her No Man’s Land trek.

Cinematography
Other than island of the Amazons, there’s surprisingly little in the way of landscapes, unless you count the trenches. Even the establishing shots are dark and moody. On the other hand, walking through the London of 100 years ago is always a pleasure; particularly enjoyable were the train station shots, reminding me of the similar scene from The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.
Though the colors aren’t as dark as the broodiness of other such films, there’s definitely a lot that’s muted. Every yellow, for instance, seems to comes out as an earth tone. That’s fair in the trenches and No Man’s Land, but there were other places where I would have wished something different. In fact, the only place I can remember being at all bright is the German reception, where she dances with the secondary big baddie while the sword is tucked down the back of the beautiful blue dress she stole from the rich matron outside. And though it’s a bit of a cliché, the fire they’re looking at as Steve tries to pseudo-romance Doctor Poison is gorgeous to watch.
The stuntwork, especially the battle on the island, is spectacular, with some tricks I don’t think I’ve ever seen. The firing-arrows-while-swinging moment, as well as the jump/flip with multiple arrows, are wonderfully realized, the latter all the better for the slow motion. Wonder Woman’s battles—the trenches, the town, inside the baddies’ base—are more imaginatively staged than expected, but of course it’s the final battle between the gods that takes the cake. Throwing cars around is always gonna look good, especially when you’re not Hulk-sized.
I don’t have individual sections for wardrobe, makeup, hair and the like, but as a photographer I have to take a moment to mention how incredible—even more so than usual—Gal looks in London once they’ve finally figured out her style. In the trenchcoat, with her hair back, her amazing facial bone structure is in perfect display. I’ve been photographing models for almost a quarter of a century, and I’m often baffled at how popular certain supermodels are, when I would never want to shoot them. This look shows exactly why she was so successful in her previous career.

Music
Unless it’s John Williams, it’s hard to differentiate—or perhaps it’s easy to write the style—between the music, especially the main themes, in superhero movies. Which is why the moment that stands out the most is Wonder Woman’s first battle, when she throws off her overclothes—finally revealing her costume—practically runs up the trench ladder into No Man’s Land, and singlehandedly attacks the German lines. Whereas most of the time you’d get the battle cry—think Indiana Jones—in this case it’s anything but; it’s so soft and heartfelt that at times it’s almost a dirge, which perhaps stands for a loss of innocence, but somehow adds to the enormity of the moment much more than bombastic horns and the like. Most times music supports a scene; this is one of the rare ones that adds to it. Something similar happens after the climactic scene, when it’s time to decompress before the celebration. And bringing in her theme from the Batman/Superman movie, with Tina Guo’s crazy cello, the moment she bursts into the enemy HQ was perfectly timed.
And Ares of course gets an appropriately evil-sounding theme.
In the end I would qualify this soundtrack as for the most part happily restrained.
As always I stay through the credits, not always looking for easter eggs, mostly enjoying the music. The full theme is appropriately heroic and triumphant, but then it changes to a song that in and of itself isn’t bad, except it completely confirms why I can’t stand Sia’s vocals. You do get that we’re supposed to understand what you’re saying, right?

“Feel”
This is what makes it more than just a great movie. Go online and look at all the photos of little girls dressing up as a superhero they can actually look up to. All that would have meant nothing if the film sucked, but in addition to not sucking, it had an undeniable spirit, not just good triumphing over evil, but the feeling that it’ll all work out if we pitch in together and do what’s right.
Whereas nowadays superheroes are written as jerks—I’m looking at you, Ironman, but Thor and Batman and others too—it’s a breath of fresh air to see an origin story that not only starts with innocent happiness but also ends with the hero not completely giving in to the cynicism caused by the trials she’s been through. Yes, she stops superheroing for a century, but in that time there’s no indication that her love for humanity has gone away. There’s something in the framing moments, when she receives the photo Bruce Wayne sent her, that shows she does still believe in the ideals she was brought up with, as confirmed by the one man who taught her most about humanity and she’s now staring at for the first time in a hundred years: Steve Trevor.
One last note, though not about the movie: this was the first time I’ve sat in the recliner seats at a movie theater, and though I’ve been to other movies where the whole place shakes when there’s a big explosion, I felt it a lot more here, and I am not a fan of it! So there. . .

Overall
8.5/10

;o)

Poetry Tuesday: Rome

By Frenchman Joachim du Bellay, written around 1558. The first verse might have been an inspiration for Ozymondius.

You, who behold in wonder Rome and all
Her former passion, menacing the gods,
These ancient palaces and baths, the sods
Of seven hills, and temple, arch, and wall,
Consider in the ruins of her fall,
That which destroying Time has gnawed away–
What workmen built with labor day by day
Only a few worn fragments now recall.

Then look again and see where, endlessly
Treading upon her own antiquity,
Rome has rebuilt herself with works as just:
There you may see the demon of the land
Forcing himself again with fatal hand
To raise the city from this ruined dust.

;o)