Let Me Tell You About Homestuck (Homestuck Review)

The reason I haven’t posted much (aside from the fact that I’m lazy and have had a bit of writer’s block) is because I started reading this webcomic called Homestuck. Not many people have even heard of it, let alone read it, and I only heard about it because of its vague and peculiar mentions on Tumblr. After reading a short synopsis I decided that it sounded interesting and thought I should give it a try. So as I was reading it (and procrastinating on my blogging) I thought “I should write a post about Homestuck!”. Although I’ve said this is a review, the ambiguous title implies that this is going to be more of an explanation/rant about it. You should listen to that title.

First off, I should probably mention that Homestuck is free to read at: mspaintadventures.com. It’s written, drawn and was created by Andrew Hussie. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself, I should probably explain what a webcomic is. It’s pretty much an online comic that uses a variety of different medias (from text, to gifs, to pictures). It’s kind of hard to explain, so hard to explain in fact that when I first starting reading it I didn’t know what adjective to use (reading/playing/watching). The first page was written on the 13th of April 2009, and has been updated almost every day since to create a webcomic that is over 6000 pages and is still growing. It is split up into a series of Acts, although these Acts are all different sizes and can sometimes have more Acts within them (for eg. Act 6 Act 5 Act 1).

The first page of Homestuck

To be blunt, Homestuck is easily the most confusing things I have ever read, and it doesn’t start making sense until Act 5. Act 1 in itself is pretty slow, and kind of dull. I think that might be one of the reasons why it doesn’t have a massive fanbase (at least here in Australia). To read Homestuck and fully appreciate it you have to look past all the confusion, because it just doesn’t make much sense. You have to have an active imagination to look through the simple conversation text and pictures to understand the characters because there isn’t much narration in itself. But once you get into it, the storyline just turns so epic.

Wow, I just realised that with all this rambling I haven’t even mentions what Homestuck is actually about! It’s hard to do without giving away any spoilers but basically, it begins with a boy named John Egbert on a day that just so happens to be his thirteenth birthday. I guess it’s a sci-fi, if that helps. But I literally can’t think of anything else to say about it that won’t spoil at least one aspect (that synopsis I mentioned pretty much ruined the punchline for the first few Acts for me which is why I won’t be repeating it).

The webcomic is usually set up in the format of one gif or image per page, accompanied with a slab of chat log, a short narration or no words at all. Hussie does occasionally shake it up a bit though, by sometimes giving the reader the option to choose which part of the story they want to read next. There are also some pages that consist of a video and others that are actually games where you can move the character etc. It really is mixed media.

My favourite thing about Homestuck isn’t the webcomic in itself but the fans. A lot of the time a fandom usually adds to a show/book but can also have a lot of hate and even cause you to have negative feelings towards it. But Homestuck was written for, by and about the internet generation. It’s meant to have an internet fandom where people can share and discuss it.

There’s a bit of music actually in Homestuck (usually in the videos) but there is also additional music in the albums. Here’s a taster; it’s a few songs that have been put together and used on one page to tell a pretty big part of the story. This YouTube clip only has the music though because the video would have spoilers:

Rating; 4/5 stars

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Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Web-Ministry Review

On my dash on Tumblr I kept seeing Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Horrible wearing a lab-coat and steampunk goggles. At first I thought it was from an episode of How I Met Your Mother but then discovered it was actually a completely unrelated movie so I decided to give it a watch. Warning that this post may contain spoilers.

Ok, first off, don’t get turned off by the title. It makes it sound really corny and cheesy when it actually isn’t. The background of the show is actually has a pretty interesting background. It was devised by Joss Whedon and was designed to be a completely free show spread only by the internet. It was written during the time of the 2007-2008 writers strike to circumvent the issues being protested.

It was created and written by Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon, Maurissa Tanchareon and Jed Whedon, directed by Joss Whedon and produced by David M. Burns, Michael Boretz and Joss Whedon. It stars Neil Patrick Harris (Dr. Horrible / Billy), Nathan Fillion (Captain Hammer), Felicia Day (Penny) and Simon Helberg (Moist). Here’s the video for it:

Anyway, I think it’s absolutely brilliant. I mean it’s got a limited (but great) cast, and a limited budget and yet it manages to be funny, emotional and entertaining. The acting in it is great, and how could it not be with the cast? I feel like all of them pull of their respective characters perfectly.

The actual storyline is a bit predictable most of the way through. I tended to has some idea of what was going to happen while watching it. Saying this, however, when things did happen it still had just as big an impact as it was supposed to. It’s a tragicomedy, and I didn’t expect that at all. I just thought it would be a simple and funny comedy, but I was greatly surprised. The ending shocked and I loved it. Unexpected feels are the best 😛

The music and songs is a really big part of this show. As far as the singing goes, it’s pretty good. Not always stage musical standard, but good. I was really impressed that the actors could song at all because I had no idea they could. I love all of the harmonies in the songs with multiple people singing. All the songs are also really catchy.

My main problem with the songs is the way in which they end. In the show it’s not really that noticeable and doesn’t really matter, but when listening to the songs alone most of them end on a note that make its seem like the song should continue. This my just be my OCD though.

Favourite character/actor: Dr. Horrible/Billy (Neil Patrick Harris)

Least favourite character/actor: Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion)

Favourite scene: The final song

Least favourite scene: When everyone’s getting ready to unveil the new homeless shelter

Media Wars Podcast Review

A few friends of mine put this podcast together, with its creator being Nathan, and it was he who suggested I review his podcast after his less-than-flattering review of my blog. He created the podcast for a TAFE course he is doing.

Media Wars is a weekly podcast with three presenters (Nathan, Bartek and Rhys) who discuss and review both old and new games, TV shows, movies and music. My opinion of the podcast is probably a bit bias because I know the presenters and, the people and events that they refer to, but I think it’s pretty good.

As far as content goes they discuss a wide variety of topics, a lot of which don’t tend to fall under the category of multimedia. The good thing is that no matter what you enjoy, there will be at least one segment of this podcast that you will enjoy. Each presenter has their own section and introduce topics but all three discuss them. When it comes to movies, however, they tend to mention a lot of spoilers, but they always tell you when they’re going to so you can fast-forward. They talk about the multimedia that has just recently been released as well as those that were released many years ago.

There is a lot of humour in the podcast as well which I love. I can’t really tell you what kind of humour it is, though. It’s the sort of joking you get when you meet up with a few friends and just have fun. Despite the structure, there is a very casual feel about the podcast. It feels like you’re just listening to a conversation between friends, which I quite enjoy about it. But, just like with friends, some of the facts they give aren’t always 100% accurate.

Another warning before you watch it, they tend to swear sometime, so if you can’t stand swearing, this probably isn’t the podcast for you. Also, it’s definitely not appropriate for younger children.

They’re a fairly new podcast so they haven’t done many episodes yet, some weeks have also been skipped because of illness, but when presenters other than Nathan go missing, they sometimes bring in guests to speak in their place.

You’re probably wondering why I’m giving Media Wars such a positive review when Nathan very obviously insulted the very blog you’re reading. The reason is that I like it, and Nathan’s not really the reading type. So check it out, it may be the next podcast you subscribe to.

Rating; 4/5 stars

2012 London Opening Ceremony Review

This is a review blog and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to review an event that occurs only once every four years, the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics. After the incredible opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, London had a lot to live up to. I thought they did a marvellous job.

It began with a trip from the end of the Thames, through the countryside, into London and then the stadium. Just before the stadium was reached a poster from every Olympic Games from the first one in Athens was shown; I thought this was pretty cool. The show started with the meadows of Great Britain before the industrial revolution. It was accompanied by beautiful music from each of the countries of the United Kingdom; England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Then the industrial revolution began. The green fields, crops, fences and bushed were replaced by giant towers of smoke and blackened cobblestone. This was accompanied by loud drumming that suited the mood perfectly. I loved the costumes in this part. It was a great way of displaying the UK’s history.

Then, the drumming and movement stops, as everyone looks towards a poppyfield to remember those who have died in war. A beautiful, sad song playing in the background. The bustle begins again with drums, and construction continues. Soon after, construction starts on the five Olympic rings which are beautifully ‘smelted’ and then lifted into the sky. This beginning of the ceremony probably had the best music of the whole thing.

Taking a dramatic and hilarious turn, the Queen and James Bond fly into the stadium in a helicopter and parachute down into the stadium. It was very corny but also pretty funny. The flag was then raised as a choir of deaf and hearing-impaired children. I thought they wouldn’t be very good but they actually were.

Then there was a rowing dance to celebrate the NHS (National Health Service) with the song Tubular Bells playing in the background. Then, J.K. Rowling reads Peter Pan to the children and some classic ‘bad guys’ emerge including a 100 foot giant Voldemort. Several Mary Poppins’ then come to the rescue and save the children, and they continue to dance happily. A giant, sleeping baby then appeared which really creeped me out. I didn’t like it at all.

The great Mr. Bean was up next. Everyone loves Mr. Bean and he didn’t disappoint for this, showing his usual humour. It was brilliant and very funny. It was amazing to see him being so ridiculous at the Opening Ceremony, an event that is shown around the world.

The next scene is a representation of the London lifestyle and English youth, as well as a tribute to British music through the ages and overall, the invention of the world wide web. It really made me want to party (something that I rarely want to do). Then there was a rather confusing tribute to those who were no longer here to see the Games and a sad song and interpretive dance representing the border on death and life.

Each of the countries coming at was just as it usually is, except with every country there was a child carrying a metal petal. I didn’t know what it was for until I saw the final Olympic torch being lit. It was such a cool idea, one petal, and one fire, from every country coming together as one. It was such an awesome symbolism that almost brought a tear to my eye.

While it was not as perfectly choreographed and didn’t have as many people involved as the previous Opening Ceremony, this one was far more emotive and beautiful as well as being humorous at times. It made me feel proud, sad, excited and just plain happy. One of the reasons I didn’t like it though, was because there was no mention of the famous and very British Sherlock Holmes! Despite this, it was amazing.