In the coming months, the fantasy genre will become the focus of the American culture wars as The House of the Dragon (21 August) and The Rings of Power (2 September) are released on HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video respectively.(more…)
Erasing Tolkien? What’s that about? Well, the showrunners and actors of Amazon Prime Video’s Rings of Power series have declared that their series is a version of Tolkien’s work that reflects modernity – “To be part of creating accessibility for generations to come. For new generations this is their version of Tolkien, this is what my daughter will see of Tolkien’s works.” That is a direct quote from actress Sophia Nomvete, who plays Disa, the wife of Dwarf king Durin.(more…)
A caveat before I share this opinion about Religion and Anxiety. This is based on my own experience and is not intended to denigrate anybody’s religious beliefs. However, if you are triggered and offended by my personal sharing, then perhaps you need to reflect on your own religious experiences rather than lash out irrationally in anger. If you can take this opinion in that spirit, please read on – if not, then please stop right now and move on…(more…)
Social media is an integral marketing tool for blogs such as ours. Or at least that’s the conventional way of approaching the issue. But the fact is, most of the platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter suppress any opportunity for our posts being viewed by our followers unless we pay them money to advertise said post.(more…)
The superhero movie genre originated in comic books at the tail end of the 1930s and flourished during one of mankind’s darkest epochs viz. World War II. Since the conclusion of that war, superhero comics have been struggling for acceptance as an art form in its own right.(more…)
The superhero movie genre is now the dominant genre in the entertainment industry. From a 1% market share in 1998, the superhero movie genre grew to a 20% market share in 2018. Marvel Studios – now owned by Disney – is the undisputed leader in the genre earning over $22 billion at the global box office in about 12 years, since the release of Iron Man in 2008.(more…)
Q: Into the Storm is an American documentary television miniseries directed and produced by Cullen Hoback. It explores the QAnon conspiracy theory and the people involved with it. It consists of six episodes and premiered on HBO on March 21, 2021.(more…)
It has been more than 25 years since the death of Kurt Cobain, the last rock iconoclast that had a major impact on popular music before the rise of hip-hop. That is a generation ago and since then, Classic Rock as we understood the genre in the last forty years has declined to insignificance as a cultural force.(more…)
Since I rebooted Power of Pop in late July, I have been moved to focus on movie and TV reviews with hardly any music reviews featured. This change in direction might be somewhat bewildering to anyone who has followed Power of Pop in the decades that it has been around.(more…)
In my last post on coping with anxiety, I discussed how self-awareness (both internal and external) was a vital starting point for anyone who wants to manage the anxiety disorders in their lives. This is a good time to begin to look at individual symptoms that need to be tackled in order to successfully deal with anxiety. So, let’s look at Obsessive Problem Solving.(more…)
Global pandemic aside, the last 20 years have been horrendous for music and the music industry. The music culture that I have grown with from the 60s to the 90s has been utterly devastated for reasons I have enumerated in two articles viz. music is dead and the music industry is dead. However, despite all this, I can still defiantly proclaim : LONG LIVE ROCK!(more…)
“We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far” is a lyric from “Video Killed the Radio Star” and perfectly encapsulates my opinion that music is dead. But music is everywhere you protest, how can music be dead? Let me explain.(more…)
Growing up in Singapore in the 60s/70s, we were cautioned against getting involved in politics or even be seen talking about politicians in public. While – like most folks around the world with access to radios, cinemas and TVs – we were besotted with U.S. pop culture, the same cannot be said about U.S. politics.(more…)
People are encouraged to have dreams – to be chasing rainbows. Inherent in this is the pressure to be our best selves but not as defined by ourselves but by external parties. Unfortunately, this pursuit of the presently unattained – whether it be of a career, romantic partner etc – is the root of expectations and desires, which will invariably lead to disappointment and despair!(more…)
WHY RAP IS NOT MUSIC is a PoP Theory opinion piece. Nothing more, nothing less.
Form not substance
To avoid any misunderstanding about the opinion I am about to express here, please note that this post is discussing Rap as an art form and NOT a substantive judgement of the merits (or otherwise) of Rap as a genre. Now that that’s out of the way, let us begin.(more…)
UNDERSTANDING MUSIC GENRES – THE BASICS is an opinion piece. Nothing more, nothing less.
Why understand music genres?
Music continues to be a major player in modern life and impacts all spheres of social and cultural influence – from politics to business to entertainment and so on. Even though the value received by music artists has been marginalised by record labels, publishers and more recently, tech companies – the value added by music artists remains vitally important.(more…)
Music is An Artform is Dead. How and why are the questions.(more…)
TITANS IS A DARKER VERSION OF SINGER’S ORIGINAL X-MEN
Already more than halfway through its first season, the DC Universe streaming series is proving to be problematic at best, and at worst a badly written super-hero adaptation.
An opinion piece about The Worlds of DC – will it bring about brand confusion?(more…)
The end of the DC Extended Universe. An analysis follows….
Once upon a time, Warner Bros ruled the superhero movie genre with its DC Comics lynchpin characters Superman and Batman.(more…)
MAKE MINE MARVEL is an opinion piece.
A decade ago, Marvel Studios released its maiden production – Iron Man – and the world of movies have never been the same.
GEEK OUT!!! SUPERHERO FILMS | NO WAY BACK FOR THE DC EXTENDED UNIVERSEGEEK OUT!!! SUPERHERO FILMS | NO WAY BACK FOR THE DC EXTENDED UNIVERSE
Black Panther‘s astonishing domestic box office numbers for its opening 4-days is $245 million, which actually betters Justice League‘s lifetime US box office of $228 million!
GEEK OUT!!! THE LAST JEDI CONFIRMS THE END OF GEORGE LUCAS’ STAR WARS LEGACY [SPOILERS]GEEK OUT!!! THE LAST JEDI CONFIRMS THE END OF GEORGE LUCAS’ STAR WARS LEGACY [SPOILERS]
Diehard Star Wars fans who were somewhat mystified by the ‘soft reboot’ that director JJ Abrams fashioned with The Force Awakens (TFA) will find little comfort in Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi (TLJ), which remakes creator George Lucas’ legacy into a generic movie blockbuster. Spoilers follow.
The mischaracterisation of Luke Skywalker
If portraying Luke as a coward in TFA – running away and hiding from the rise of the First Order – wasn’t bad enough, TLJ does its best to denigrate the memory of our hero.
First, he tosses away Anakin’s light sabre like it was so much garbage and then stubbornly refuses to train Rey whatsoever. This Luke Skywalker basically gave up and is just waiting to die.
Seriously, what the fuck?!
Then we find out that he intended – even for a split second – to kill his nephew (Ben Solo aka Kylo Ren) when he saw the darkness in him.
C’mon, this is the man who refused to believe that his father (Darth Vader!) could not be redeemed despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. And yet, we are led to believe that he wanted to kill Ben Solo? Ridiculous.
Also, remember that entire vision sequence of the Knights of Ren killing Jedi trainees in the rain at Luke’s Jedi school? None of that appears in TLJ! Instead we have a quite lame scene of Kylo Ren bringing the roof down and Luke emerging from the rubble later on. Really really atrocious.
And … did Luke really need killing off at the end? Sigh.
A middle finger to the Star Wars diehard fans
As inferior a Star Wars movie as TFA was, it did at least lay down the groundwork for a new universe that got diehards in a tizzy coming up with theories regarding Rey’s parentage, Snoke’s background, the circumstances behind Luke’s disappearance, and so on.
TLJ basically shits on all this – giving diehards the finger in the process. Rey’s parents are nobodies, the mysterious Snoke is killed off (unnecessarily and in a silly manner to boot!) and remains a mystery, and the less said about how Luke is treated the better.
Dig deeper and one realises the obvious message here. Disney does not give a fuck about George Lucas’ original story ideas and not only does this new trilogy depart significantly, it also states emphatically that there is no connection whatsoever to Star Wars lore.
An utter lack of respect for the original material is displayed and simply put, Star Wars is reduced to a brand, which Disney can now exploit as it thinks fit without any reference whatsoever to the Lucas legacy. The ultimate “FUCK YOU” to George Lucas.
The pointless Finn-Rose sub-plot
The most frustrating thing about TLJ, without a doubt. A meaningless diversion from the main storyline finds Finn and Rose travelling to Canto Bight on a mission to find a code-breaker.
Considering the movie is 150 minutes and the manner in which this sub-plot pans out, this entire sequence could have been left out without any impact on the story whatsoever!
Perhaps it was included for Rian Johnson to make a comment about arms dealers? Or maybe to introduce the concept behind his own upcoming Star Wars trilogy? Who the fuck knows or even cares? There is just no logical reason for this sub-plot to exist. A waste of screen time.
The non-sensical expansion of Force powers
Remember the scene in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull where Indy survives a nuclear blast by hiding in a fridge?
Well, the Star Wars franchise finally has its own ‘jump the shark’ moment with Princess Leia flying through space like Superman! Did she ever demonstrate Force abilities before?
Not only that but where in the past, Luke and Darth Vader (and Leia) had a telepathic connection (they are family after all), now in TLJ, Kylo and Rey somehow get ‘Force Skype’ powers and are able to video conference across the vast span of space and somehow touch as well, without any connection between them whatsoever! How exactly does that work?
And of course, finally, the coup de grace, where somehow (again!) Luke is able to project himself (astrally?) to confront Kylo in the third act from light years away. Simply incredible Force powers that function as deus ex machinas for both Leia and Luke.
We can see how these new Force powers serve as exciting plot twists for the average movie-goer but for the diehard fan, it’s a kick in the teeth!
The silly premise of the slow motion chase between the First Order and the Resistance
Much of the second act was occupied by the farcical sight of the First Order pursuing the Resistance in outer space, as the latter is somehow (!) out of range of the former’s weapons yet running out of fuel at the same time!
Have you ever come across space ships of this size in the Star Wars franchise running on fuel (?) and this is taking place a good 30 years after the original trilogy, mind you.
But we guess that if you can have a planet serving as a weapon without explaining how it moves from point to point (Starkiller Base), then anything goes, right?
Worse yet, Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, who takes over from Leia when she is incapacitated – flying in space sure takes its toll! – refuses to explain her plan to Poe Dameron , which results in the pointless Finn-Rose subplot etc.
When Holdo’s plan is finally explained to Poe by Leia, he thinks it’s a good one! All that time, effort and angst wasted!
AND why didn’t Holdo’s suicide mission happen earlier? That would have guaranteed the safety of the escaping small transports
Really really bad writing by Rian Johnson!
The final analysis
With TFA and TLJ, Disney’s agenda becomes crystal clear – to bring Star Wars as far away from Lucas’ original vision as far as possible.
Which is fine as a concept but the execution is really poor. Inconsistent characterisation, a lack of respect for lore, bad writing, inconsequential sub-plots and characters (Captain Phasma?) make these movies truly messy affairs.
Mission accomplished as far as Disney is concerned. Star Wars is now a run-of-the-mill mass market blockbuster, no longer the singular vision of an artist but a corporate vehicle for maximum profits made by committee.
… still there’s more …