I finally got around to getting Disney+, and I’m going to have a lot of watching to do. There were a lot of things I was interested in seeing, but the first thing I ended up watching was The Emperor’s New Groove because I was just in the mood for that sort of thing. It’s a hysterically funny movie with a lot of heart.
I’m currently catching up on The Mandalorian and really enjoying it. I like that it’s in relatively small bites. I’m not much of a binge watcher, but it’s nice to be able to watch about 40 minutes of something, take a break and watch another 40 minutes. The series gives me Firefly vibes, but then Firefly was basically the original Star Wars from Han Solo’s perspective. It’s all that space Western esthetic. In some respects, this show is like Have Gun, Will Travel in space.
I like the idea of the tough guy who has a strong moral code that keeps causing him trouble, and I especially like when a guy like that ditches everything to protect a child. I’m almost done with the first season, and it’s going to be sad when I run out of episodes.
Meanwhile, I found an interesting fantasy movie on Amazon last month. I’d put it in my watchlist as potential “Fantasy Cheese,” but when looking for something to watch, the reviews for it really intrigued me because it sounded very different from what I expected. The movie is I Am Dragon, and instead of being the kind of Fantasy Cheese that used to show on the SciFi channel on Saturday nights, it’s a Russian fantasy/romance that’s sort of a Beauty and the Beast story, but with dragons. It’s in Russian with subtitles (the reviews said to avoid the dubbed version because the voice acting is terrible, while you get the real emotion hearing the original performances and reading the subtitles), and is beautifully filmed and acted. There are some gorgeous visuals.
It’s set in very early Russia (back when it was still essentially a Viking land — yeah, the original Rus were Vikings). The people have to make offerings to a dragon, sending maidens in white out into a lake in boats and singing the song to summon the dragon that will come pick one to take. The betrothed of the chosen maiden sets out to slay the dragon. The dragon is no longer a problem, but some bits of the ritual make their way into wedding traditions. Generations later, a descendant of the dragonslayer is marrying a spoiled, shallow princess, and he wants to honor his heritage by doing the full ritual — and then a dragon shows up. Oops. The movie follows this princess and what happens when she finds herself a prisoner on the dragon’s island and meets a mysterious fellow prisoner. There’s a nice character growth arc as she finds inner strength and turns out to be pretty clever. It’s definitely a romance with not a lot of action, but if you like romance with your fantasy, character-based stories, pretty people (a rather hot guy who seldom wears a shirt), and are willing to read subtitles, this one is worth a watch. I might even end up watching this one again, just to look at the pretty. The way they film the ritual that summons the dragon is really beautiful and evocative.
I think I’m going to attempt to get into the Marvel movies. I’ve seen the original Captain America and wanted to follow his story, but there’s a lot to get through to set up the other movies where he appears. I’ll try it in small doses. I have very mixed feelings about superhero movies. I like the characters and am intrigued by the character side of things — how they get powers, how they deal with that transformation, the moral and ethical dilemmas, handling the secret identities, the clash between the secret identity and the real identity (and which is real?), etc. But most of these movies devolve into people running around and hitting each other, and then I get bored. So we’ll see how this goes. It’ll take me forever to get through all these movies at the rate I watch. I’ve seen suggested viewing orders that include everything, including the TV series, and I’ve seen some lists of only the ones that are critical to following the main story. I may start with the “critical” ones and fill in later if I’m interested.