Waking this blog up

Noticed some people liking my previous posts, which I deleted because looking back, I felt like those were just complaining and whining. Probably wasn’t a good choice either.

But it’s mostly because I haven’t used this blog for primarily giving perspectives and reviews of other works and working on the fictional universe whose title this website bares.

Now I’m going to try do just that and promote indie works of individuals I’ve come to know and appreciate

So to those who recently followed me and still follow me, thanks for putting up with my procrastination

Conan The Barbarian: From Übermensch to The Knight of The Faith.

Conan The Barbarian in both Film and Books is seen as a Nietzschean fantasy that declares that God is Dead and we must rely on ourselves. But after my own personal soul searching to strengthen my own Catholic Faith and looking up the works of Christian existentialist Soren Kierkegaard, I’ve come to see that Conan the Barbarian, weather intentional or not, is a story that starts with the philosophy of the Nietzsche but transforms with its titular protagonist to the philosophy of Kierkegaard(though its done in a morally crude manner), which then a true and authentic religion blooms. Just as God did with the primal faith of Abraham to grow and evolve into the True Religion, The True Myth, as all things he creates grow and transform under his guidance.

Experience comes first, and then from that experience is doctrine born, as experience makes sense of doctrine.

“How so?” You ask.

One simple answer, or should I say name, Crom

Crom is the chief God and supreme deity of the Conan universe worshiped by Conan’s people, The Cimmerians. Though the way he is worshiped is a lot how Soren Kierkegaard describes how one becomes a Christian, not by doctrine, but rather an experience. Soren often used examples of Abraham and Mary and finally Jesus Christ himself.

Crom rarely intervenes, taking the role of an ancient monarch. He neither wants sacrifices of animals or temples, those are for the other gods who serve him. Rather, he gives his followers a will and courage, and then they must fight in combat to feel what he feels, and then when that experience builds up to a battle with no certainty of winning, they must pray to him for courage. Then with victory, can a warrior’s newfound faith make sense of all things.

This is not too uncommon with Soren’s idea of “The Leap of Faith” which is accepting the faith outside of reason when it feels like there’s a dead end. The only thing I disagree with, is that’s where it ends. Christians, especially Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Mainline Protestants in general need to take a leap of faith so they can understand their religion better. Once you do, you feel God and soon everything falls into place.

The Leap of Faith is something I would call…organic

So lets now look at the film

Conan’s village and parents worship Crom through their work, blacksmithing in particular. After Thulsa Doom and his followers raid the village and slaughter Conan’s family, he is sold off as a slave. Here as we see him grow as a slave and a gladiator, he follows Nietzsche which gets him pretty far as he becomes an Übermensch. But soon the movie shows something that I myself had theorized after reading bits of Soren.

If the Übermensch and the Eternal Recurrence do exist, they are the end of the first chapter, not the end of the story. They are but a crude accumulation of natural theology.

Conan grows bored of his savage and lecherous ways and decides to hunt down the man who killed his family and as he does, he slowly starts to restrain and reserve his primal traits. Soon he makes a friend of a thief named Subotai and learns to trust, then he finds a woman named Valeria who after looting a temple of Doom’s cult learns to love(though in a way not approved in my faith), then after being essentially hired by the King to reclaim his daughter from Doom, are sen’t off to the wilderness where finally Conan meets an old wizard name Akiro and learns wisdom.

But he foolishly goes off alone again to infiltrate the gnostic-like cult that Doom leads. Here he is captured and brought before Doom where he chastises Conan for stealing from his temple, but Conan like the primitive Übermensch he is rants and berates at Thulsa for what he did to his people. Doom nonchalantly told him why, the “riddle of steel” which his interpretation is Nietzsche called “The Will To Power”, to command people around like cattle. Afterward, Conan is crucified alone on a tree where he seemingly dies and then rescued by Subotai.

The director said its God abandoning him in opposite of Jesus Christ.

But I think what the director missed is Jesus was crucified in front of a jeering mob, which is just as bad as being alone, and like Subotai, only the faithful few where mourning him, the faithful individuals who he would send to inspire a reborn faith not only to Jews, but to Gentiles which grow into some so much greater than what Israel already was, something truly special that would even touch the heart of the Roman Empire itself and carry on where it collapsed.

Anyhoo, after resurrecting Conan from the brink of death, Valeria and Subotai accompany him back to raise hell and reclaim the princess. Sadly this ends in Valeria dying, but Conan learns to hone his anger and restrain himself. He and Subotai perform a funeral pyre for her, but she burns so bright that her corpse is gone the next day without a sign of ashes.

Finally as Doom sends his henchmen to pursuit Conan and company, Conan sets traps but knows thats not guaranteed to work. So in against all odds, Conan finally prays to Crom, understanding what he wants of him, and with that, Crom intervenes by reviving Valeria who has been transformed into a Valkyrie like state, in some kind of rough allusion to a Patron Saint before she returns to the barbaric heaven of Valhalla with the words.

“Do you want to live forever?”

After this, Conan finally understands the faith of the chief God of his people, he is no longer the crude Übermensch of Nietzsche who selfishly leads and pragmatically commands.

No, he has been reborn as Soren’s Knight of Faith, which now he can not only deliver justice to his people, but save and re-inspire those Doom has lured. For now Conan knows empathy and compassion of them and those whom Doom has turned them away from.

Friendship, Love, Wisdom, Loss, Empathy, all what he needs to become the king he will become in the future.

With this virtuous nature, he finally breaks the princess from the spell, ends Doom’s life and terrible reign, and the crowds return their respective kingdoms, homes, families, and gods.

Conan than sits at the steps of the temple, contemplating what Crom wishes for him to do next, and now with a clear mind and making peace with the past, he burns the temple and reunites with his friends. Those who would join him as his subordinates as he becomes a king chosen by Crom and raises a Kingdom in his honor and glory.

When the world was lost, God start with a seed of faith in Abraham, that grew into Israel which then God sent his son Christ, from there Christ sent his disciples to Rome as Israel fell as Christ and the Book of Revelation foretold, and from that came the Church and from the Church after the fall of Rome came the glorious West we know.

Great things start as a tiny seed, and when Great grows weary, it condenses its greatness into another seed, and the process goes on and on until the Last Day.

Because Good, will always prevail no matter it be collective, or individual, because they are ultimately one and the same.

Kentaro Miura: a Eulogy

Kentaro Miura, the creator of Berserk, has passed away. Now granted, I’m not into the story. It’s just to dark and freaky for my taste. I’m just picky about darkness in general, probably acts more of a vice at times than I admit.But I still feel respect for the man, from what my friends have told me, especially one who spoke highly of him, his story is as ProfessorGeek on YouTube would call a “Cathartic Motivational” epic.

The main character Guts and his love interest Casca show you that life can be hard and dark but we can’t give into the darkness.Not this is not to say stories like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Lord of The Rings and other epics don’t show this, of course they do, but Beserk, as I understand it, does it on a VERY extreme level, and Guts and Casca, figuratively speaking here, go through the 9 circles of Hell together. Kinda like Joseph and Mina Harker in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, if thats a good comparison, maybe it isn’t, I dunno.

But I think I still owe this man because while *I* may not be into epics like his, there are many epics I do like, which some, in anime and manga in particular, came about because their creators were inspired by Mr. Miura and if it wasn’t for him. They probably would never be inspired and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy those epics and in turn be inspired by them.

Heck, Warhammer 40k inspired my own fictional universe, PUNKS, and I have a friend who is a FERVENT 40k fan while I’m not too into it.

All art, wether it be paintings, sculptures, music, architecture, literature, plays, movies, comics all were influenced by someone. As such, that person has inspired another creator who’s work you enjoy and are even inspired by, even if you don’t like or agree with that artist’s own inspiration.

Modern Corporate Culture likes to have us think we are better than what came before us or even are some kind of correction to what came before us. But in reality that could never be further from the truth.

So I say thank you Kentaro Miura. You may not been my inspiration, but you probably were the inspiration for creators who’s work I enjoyed.

*batteries not included: A flawed but delightful tale of Magic Metal Space Munchkins

During the 80s and 90s the New Hollywood Renaissance had began reaching to its height with family films, notably revolving around science fiction, families, and either aliens or robots. The most well known of these kinds of films were ET and the Short Circuit Duology. But one under-appreciated film that combines both ideas in a story takes place in New York in a run-down apartment/diner, a group of its occupants, a sinister corporation and its leg breaking toadies, and a tiny family of saucer robots who fix things and eat electricity

This is the movie *batteries not included directed by Matthew Robins, this film was his debut as a screenwriter

Taking place in East Village in New York, the owner of the apartment/diner complex, Frank Riley(played by Hume Cronyn) struggles to keep the place from being torn down by property developers whose manager Lacey(played by Michael Greene) has hired a gang a thugs led by Carlos(played by Michael Carmine) to harass and loot the place to pressure the owner and his wife Faye(played by Hume’s wife Jessica Tandy) who unfortunately suffers dementia reliving the past. Also part of the apartment is a pregnant single mother Marisa Esteval(played by Elizabeth Peña), a struggling artist Mason Baylor(played by Dennis Boutsikaris) and quiet former boxing champion Harry Noble(played by Frank McRae). After Carlos tears up the diner and chases Franks friends out and the police are unable to act without Frank risking retribution, Frank quietly begs for someone to come and help them or face the possibility of him and Faye retreating to a retirement home.

The old couple are very sympathetic, especially Frank. He actually reminds me so much of my late grandfather on my Mother’s side. Frustrated and rightfully so with the despicable behavior of young people and the callous nature of those in charge while trying to make the best with his wife’s condition. As someone who has a grandmother on his father’s side suffering from mental deterioration, this hit me deep. Faye while suffering natural mental illness, she manages to retain cognitive thought to some degree, and her sympathy and never-ending compassion for her husband, the other occupants, and the Fix-Its. By being stuck in the past, she seems to produce some timeless wisdom that isn’t seen in this day and age.

Later that night, that plea Frank made was answered

Two small saucer-bots, who are later dubbed “The Fix-Its” fly into the home and the feminine one, exhausted and low on energy, plugs herself into the kitchen to recharge. Afterwards, they find one of the broken frames from the diner and fix it and find and fix the diner as well. Faye wakes up and is greeted by them, and she allows them to make a nest in the shack on the top of the building, which Frank and the others meet the morning after.

Mr. and Mrs. Fix-it are very cute, they seem to have a somewhat animal-like behavior, something I would compare to birds. They speak through whirring servos and bizarre sounds of beeps and various pitches of what sound like power-drills and buzzsaws

Later on its revealed that Mrs. Fix-It is “pregnant” as she is having cravings. So the folks of the apartment start feeding her all sorts of metal objects and a steady flow of electricity which results in her birthing three “baby” robots. Jetsom, Flotsom, and Wheems, the last seemingly stillborn, only to be resuscitated by Harry using parts of his TV set. The robot family helps fix the apartment and in turn the occupants provide them shelter and babysit the little ones which is provided by Mason, Marisa, and Harry.

The children are even cuter than their parents, and like they’re parents they have behavior akin to birds, chicks to be specific. They don’t do too much like their parents, but they don’t need to. The babies, Wheems to be precise, have a role to play later on. As Carlos damages the father and scares away the children and burns the apartment down, the former seemly drives the family away when they are reunited, but later revealed that Wheems returns to try to fix the apartment by himself, only to be joined by his family who were actually getting help as they return with an entire fleet of their kind to rebuild the ruins. The Development company concedes defeat and merely builds around the apartment

Now the plot, there isn’t much but it mostly revolves around the humans. It’s revealed later in the story that Faye and Frank’s son had died in a car crash some time ago and Frank had some very rough words with their son before. Faye seems to mistake Carlos for his son, but it’s never clear if this denial is deliberate or not, but I assume it partially to cling on to what cognitive function she has left and even by the end of the film we don’t know if there’s some resolution.

But I can’t help but feel the real issue I have with this story is Mason as his personality is rather inconsistent when interacting with the Fix-Its. At one point he is completely flabbergasted by their ability to reproduce, then he’s quick to dismiss a tragic stillbirth from the same little robots, and soon enough he’s the babysitter of the little tykes. I just cannot help but feel Mason’s character development wasn’t thought out in terms of chronological order. Meanwhile his love story with Marisa and his search of artistic inspiration while not bad in concept, doesn’t show too much in development, it just goes along a bit too quickly.

Speaking of Marisa, the biological father of her children happens to be a musician who’s part of something I would call a modern caravan, but sadly her story in regards of her pregnancy or her quasi-deadbeat boyfriend even gets less attention than Mason and Mr. and Mrs. Riley

Carols seems like a stereotypical hooligan, but it seems more like he’s a desperate man trying to get his own decent lifestyle as he lives in the Ghettos of New York, unfortunately they only explore this once with his interaction with Faye but once again the audience seems to be left guessing on what exactly his deal is, but we at least see he has regrets as he desperately tries to save Faye from the fire that engulfs the complex.

The whole film seems enjoyable in terms of the major overarching plot and the moments with the Fix-It family, but sadly the subplots seem to me a bit sub-par. I believe the reason this is due to the overarching plot taking up too much space for the sub-plots to have the proper pacing they need.

The Fix-It family was designed by Star Wars designer Ralph Mcquarrie and The legendary Industrial Light and Magic

The Music composed by James Horner

Would I recommend this film, yes. I really do love this movie in regards to overarching plot and the adorable robots, but I would request that you don’t put too much thought into the sub-plots. For me at least they don’t seem to do get much developed and left either resolved too quickly, or left with a rather nebulous conclusion.

I give *batteries not included Seven Comedy Masks out of Ten