They Lost the Power: Revelation

Well people of all ages, it’s that time again: Time for a creator to bring a new and creative spin to an existing franchise…and time for some “fans” to freak out about it. The most remarkable thing about any of this is that it’s actually not Star Wars for once. So what franchise are the woke elite after today? None other than:

Is nothing sacred!?!

Yes, today’s victim of the cruel SJW agenda is none other than He-Man, beloved action figure, not even remotely homoerotic hero of Eternia. I recently sat down to watch creator Kevin Smith’s new take on the Masters of the Universe…and really loved it. Like yeah, I hope the ending doesn’t stink but I’m very much onboard with this new exploration.

But of course, I never really watched the original show. It was a bit before my time (He-Man being really popular from roughly 1981 to 1987). I had the toys though, by virtue of having two older brothers. Oh lord did we have the toys. I’m honestly not sure if there was anything we didn’t have – we had all the characters, all the playsets, it was awesome. I say this to give my background as a He-Man “fan”…someone who likes the universe but really never got into it beyond as an action figure line, at least until Noelle Stevenson’s excellent She-Ra series came along in 2018.

Had all these and so much more!

After all these years, it’s wonderful to see such awesome stories coming from Eternia and Etheria. What’s less wonderful? Seeing continued toxic reactions to the efforts to update He-Man and She-Ra for the 21st century. I wish I could say it was a new phenomena, but sadly this has been around for a while.

He-Man and the Masters of Sexism

And you don’t need to take my word for it! Just give the He-Man episode from the Netflix show The Toys that Made Us a watch. One of the creators involved basically blames She-Ra for He-Man losing popularity. It’s been a while so I won’t try to quote, but what he said basically boiled down to “once girls had the power it wasn’t fun anymore.”

Boy does that seem to have some real truth to it now, doesn’t it? It truly does appear that certain people only care about having the power so long as it means taking it away from someone else. When women have the power? Ah they ruin everything! Just look at this planet largely ruled by men…hey wait a minute…

Not to get dramatic about it, but this is so tiring. First She-Ra “ruins” He-Man by daring to exist (all to bring more money to Mattel). Then Noelle Stevenson “ruins” She-Ra by daring to draw the character as anything less than a super feminine goddess. Now, even super geek Kevin Smith has managed to “ruin” He-Man by focusing and expanding upon a character that the old show was happy to have only as window dressing: Teela.

For the record…this was the She-Ra image that sparked the controversy. Wow, right? What a thing to get angry at.

I can’t wait to see how the upcoming cgi series manages to “ruin” the series next.

Change: A Never-Ending Story

As American culture continues into the roaring (or maybe frothing?) 2020s, it has become clear that the backlash against change will endure. Many “fans” have taken it upon themselves to become guardians and gatekeepers of the art they love and are willing to turn incredibly hostile whenever they perceive something new aka threatening.

And of course, since it’s the age of the internet, trolls are along for the ride, striking whenever and however they can. Some of these trolls are random idiots with nothing better to do. Others, well let’s say they have a bit more funding from a foreign source. Russia. I’m talking about Russia.

All of this to create a sort of constant culture war whenever anyone dares try to bring something new to an established property. And when I say something new, I mean something that doesn’t neatly fit into the original patriarchal image. See He-Man has been remade and rebooted before, once in the early 1990s and again in the early 2000s. I actually watched the latter. It was…a show? Like totally fine but not at all exceptional in any real way, at least in my opinion.

But both of those remakes were relatively safe. Both kept the focus exactly where it had been when interest dried up in 1987. Neither tried to really bring in anything new. Hey do you want to see He-Man fight Skeletor again? Well you’re in luck! Everyone else who doesn’t care about He-Man (aka the majority of audiences) went right on with their lives. This is why He-Man sank from a pop culture icon to toy collector obscurity. As American scholar Michael G. Cornelius puts it: He-Man is a narrow definition of masculinity, one that is only really focused on physical strength.

Can We End the Review Bomb?

Okay very witty, but what can we do? Well, the good news is that – so long as people keep their heads – we shouldn’t have to do much. Toxic people and trolls love to review bomb. It is their first weapon in the war to shut down the scary new. Next they will allude to these obviously fake reviews on their social media, thus trying to legitimize them in their own social circles.

Does it work? Oh yeah – been working like a curse in the American political space. Just say something is true and that everyone believes it over and over again without ever providing real proof until it is suddenly part of the cultural narrative. Masters of the Universe: Revelation is currently being review bombed on Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB, and probably Metacritic (I haven’t checked but it is super easy to review bomb on Metacritic).

Just as a refresher: review bombing does not mean that many actual people are complaining (that almost never happens so quickly). What it does mean is that a select few people are using bots and other online tools to create fake accounts for the sole purpose of driving down overall scores. Since many review sites now use aggregates to give first-glance appraisals, review bombs can have immediately visible consequences. For example, if I recall correctly – Last of Us II, a 20+ hour game, already had over 250,000 negative reviews on Metacritic inside of 12 hours of release.

Now we as normal people can’t really do much about this apart from writing said aggregate sites and asking them to improve their internal policies to stop this before it gets rolling. Rotten Tomatoes tends to purge every now and then, as does Metacritic – I’m not really sure what if anything IMDB does.

But sadly, Masters of the Universe: Revelation may have the same “controversial” label as The Last Jedi, Ghostbusters 2016, The Last of Us II, and anything else in the near future that dares take a property some “men” have dubbed theirs and empower women within the storytelling.

Is it a correct narrative? Hardly ever, but it is the one they’re desperate to keep us talking about. Why? Because someone else now also has the power, and that really upsets them. Personally, I can’t wait to talk about the themes of Masters of the Universe: Revelations once the story concludes in Part 2.

Oh, and since Netflix is doing so many new takes on He-Man, can this be a show:

Also for the record, nothing in this article was directed at those who actually watched Masters of the Universe: Revelations and just didn’t care for it. I’m specifically talking about the idiots who made up their minds before the show aired and were ready to start review bombing right away. You know, the people who heard the word “Teela” and immediately dubbed the show “woke.” That crowd.

Masculinity in Jackson’s Kong

My post examining racism in the 1933 King Kong gave me a new appreciation for Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake, and the changes he made to remove or at least minimize the unconscious prejudice of the movie. So much so that I decided to pop in the Blu-ray and give it another watch. While I’m a fan of Jackson’s version, I won’t deny the film definitely has bloat. It’s a massive movie, clocking in at over three hours if you watch the extended edition (yes, there is an extended edition).

That said, I always find that there’s a lot more that I like in the film than dislike and, even after numerous viewings, I’m still catching new things. This time – well I picked up on a greater thread that I hadn’t noticed before. Oh sure, I’m seen pieces, but I never realized just how much was there. Way too much to be coincidence, that’s for sure.

Now – I still don’t know what everything means or even how much I think it works. But that’s the benefit of having a blog. I can write out my thoughts and see if they make sense. And who knows, maybe someone will tell me this was all obvious and I was very late to the party. Let’s look at masculinity in Peter Jackson’s King Kong.

Continue reading Masculinity in Jackson’s Kong

Is King Kong Racist?

Whenever people ask me to name my top ten films, I can’t do it. How do you narrow down hundreds of exceptional motion pictures to a measly top ten? I’m sure if I thought long and hard enough about it, I could make it work – but I just don’t have that kind of time.

I am, however, always able to answer the question: “What’s you favorite movie?”

King Kong – the original 1933 stop-motion special effects film starring Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, and Bruce Cabot; directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. I don’t know  how young I was when I first saw it but I have watched it countless times since. It, more than any film, impacted my sense of creativity and my desire to tell stories.

Continue reading Is King Kong Racist?