“I know Kung-Fu.” Neo (The Matrix)

A site that as compiled the top 20 shootouts of all time. The Matrix’s lobby scene is number four on the list, which is a respectable standing, I think. I haven’t seen the three above it, or many of the three below it either, actually.

Oh, and hey, cool discovery – the same site also compiled a top 10 movie fights of all time. Unfortunately, no Matrix films made it, which, I think, is a travesty. The two best scenes in the entire trilogy have got to be the 100 Agent Smith scene and the Neo Vs. Morpheus scene. There’s just so much about the Agent Smith scene that is amazing and mind-blowing – you never have any doubt who’s going to win (Neo) but the sheer coolness of all his moves is unparalleled before or since in any film, hands down.

Number four is Spidey vs. Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2, and I’ll have to agree with him there. That was a fantastic fight scene in virtually every way imaginable. And much to my delight, a scene from Legend of the Drunken Master made the list, all the way up at number two, wow.

This list makes me wanna see Mortal Kombat.

Hmm, wow, the fight from the Phantom Menace is all the way up at number one? I think I would argue that the fight scene at the end of Episode III, with Anakin and Obi-Wan, was better. The music was climactic and visceral, and the amazing rush we all felt when we finally saw these two titans go head to head in a battle of teacher vs. student is unparalleled, even by the Obi-Wan/Qui-Gonn/Maul fight. I mean, sure, that was the fight where we finally got to see what Jedi were truly capable of, but the fight between Anakin and Obi-Wan was the ultimate climax, the moment that we’ve all been waiting for. I did learn something from this blog, though – I didn’t realize Darth Maul had such a specific fighting style – apparently he was super focused on Qui-Gonn, merely batting away Obi-Wan like an annoying fly. I’ll have to watch for that next time I watch the movie. But yeah, I maintain that Anakin vs. Obi-Wan was so much better. I’d almost say Yoda vs. Dooku would top my list, but I felt that it was too short and didn’t contain enough visceral moments.

I think Spidey Vs. Doc Ock deserved to be over Drunken Master, though.

Here’s a link to someone who does not appreciate the economy of magic in Harry Potter. To summarize, she basically says that the magic in Harry Potter isn’t believable, because it is not consistent and it does not have any specific rules. I would have to disagree. There’s a school that wizards go to – why else would they go except to learn magic? She also states as an issue that producing a corporeal Patronus, is, at first, a very difficult thing to do for Harry, but that Rowling just switches it around when it’s convenient for her, as Dumbledore’s Army is able to produce Patronuses when in meetings. However, the key difference between them is that the DA is a happy place, and for the most part, the students there are very happy – that is why they are able to produce them. You can bet your ass that not one of them would succeed if they were to face up against a dementor – THAT is what makes Harry so amazing. Has this person even read the books? And what about the random flashes of magic that go unexplained in Lord of the Rings, when Gandalf sends a huge bolt of power somewhere, or the hand of the most powerful Dark Wizard (Sauron) in Middle-Earth is sliced off with a friggin pocket knife. The world of Tolkien is filled with things like this (yeah, yeah, I know all about back history that he wrote and blah de blah de blah, but I’m not going to slog through the terribly written Silmarilion just so I can bet a better understanding of LOTR) , and he also demonstrates a remarkable inability to kill his characters. I’ve read articles that accuse Rowling of chickening out in the Deathly Hallows, in terms of who she has killed, but eight of the original nine fellowship characters all live. How is that any different?

She also goes into great depth about all the ramifications of Wizarding school, questioning why wizards have to go to school, blah blah. Well, for one, they go to school so as not to be tempted by Dark Magic – just as much as it is an area for instruction, it is also one for learning how to do Good Magic, and the difference between the two. She also complains about how character withhold information from each other for the mere purpose of extending the book, arguing that if the characters would just talk to each other, everything would be resolved by page ten. Of course, this would be a valid criticism, if not for the fact that Harry and his friends are all teenagers, with all the problems and ramifications implied therein, and just because we as adults have forgotten what it’s like to be a teenager, doesn’t mean Rowling has. The world of high school (and, in the HP novels, Hogwarts), is such a melting pot of hormones, relationships, crushes, school, tempers, growing pains, and the whole nine yards, that OF COURSE people aren’t going to act in a sensible way. And when you’re a young kid who’s had the burden of the entire wizarding world placed squarely on your shoulders, it simply throws yet another rock into the machine. I mean, come on, people, this isn’t a business office where productivity needs to be maximized and everyone is working towards a common goal. There are treacherous loyalties, divided and severed friendships, secrets, lies, and videotape. (Not the last one.) How could anyone presume to blame the Harry Potter books for artificially extending themselves (except for book 5) when everything about the interactions of the people in the book make sense? I’m flabbergasted by people who presume to know everything about literature and thus criticize where no criticism is earned.

Some of the criticisms that are levied against Harry Potter are legit. One that is is the Harry jealousy that Ron is always feeling, but which never comes to a head. But Rowling has never claimed to write a masterpiece of literature. This is her first novel, she deserves credit for the wonderful job she did. I have no doubt she’ll go on to become an even greater writer. I think this series is merely warranting undeserved criticism because because some sour grapes are resentful of the resounding success it has achieved. Yes, it has its flaws, but what book doesn’t? You can bet that if Tolkien were alive today and he released Lord of the Rings just as many criticisms would be leveled against it, all the way from it being long winded to it being painful to read, to the over extended ending, to the over abundance of characters, the incredibly meticulous (and thus sometimes boring to read) world. Everybody’s a critic, I don’t understand why some things can’t just be enjoyed. Sure, level your criticism against Harry Potter. But don’t whine about it. Don’t bitch and complain and go “wah wah wah wah it’s not a perfect novel it’s not Lewis or Tolkien wah wah wah.” Just because it does not reach the grand heights of Tolkien does not mean that it is crap, and I don’t appreciate how so many people tend to label it as such. You want crap, go read Eragon, and leave Harry Potter alone. He’s sitting in 10.2 million copies sold on opening day, I think he’ll be fine. I still maintain that it’s no accident that this series has been such a success. Kids and adults worldwide love reading Harry for a reason – and it’s not because it’s badly written. It’s because it’s good.

On another note, check out this mind-blowing Blade Runner DVD set. I’ve been waiting awhile so I could get Blade Runner on DVD, but this??? Holy crap. And Close Encounters gets yet another homage.


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