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How Stranger Things Books Made Season 3 Way Better | ScreenRant

Spoilers ahead for Stranger Things season 3.

The finale of Stranger Things season 3 was already emotional, but if one went into the latest batch of episodes having read all of the tie-in books, it’s made all the sadder – and more satisfactory.

The so-called Stranger Things Expanded Universe – which includes comic books and video games as well as the novels – has been quickly growing and includes a lot of background material on characters like Police Chief Jim Hopper and plot elements like Project MKUltra, the initiative that ultimately produced the superpowered Eleven. While some of these stories may seem like nothing more than filler on first blush, the Netflix show’s third installment really pays off on their developments in some perhaps-surprising ways, making them must-reads.

RELATED: Stranger Things Season 3’s Ending Irreversibly Changes The Show

There are two ways in particular this dramatic heightening occurs, and they both revolve around figures who perish by the season’s end (or, at least, who appear to be killed off): Billy Hargrove and Hopper. The most recent of the Stranger Things releases, Runaway Max, retells the events of season 2 from the perspective of Max Mayfield, dropping in a slew of flashbacks to how she first met her step-dad and -brother – providing a better understanding of how the deranged Billy came to be so psychologically damaged. Along the way, audiences learn about Billy’s special relationship with his car – the only one he truly cares about – and realize that he may very well physically brutalize Lucas Sinclair, Max’s newfound Midwest love interest, since the last time one of his step-sister’s friends defied him, he ended up breaking the adolescent’s arm.

The revelation at the end of season 3 that Billy was a good-hearted boy with a loving mom who was chased away by a sadistic dad doesn’t come as a shocker in the slightest. What does prove to be shocking, however, is the way in which the teenager both verbally and physically accosts his car, easily his most valuable possession and the thing that might best be described as his closest companion – meaning that the beginning of his character arc this season is weighted with a lot more emotion, thereby helping it better parallel his heartbreaking climax. (Speaking of which, readers might be forgiven for weeping alongside Max once he is slaughtered by the Mind Flayer.)

RELATED: Stranger Things Learned The Wrong Lessons From Season 2’s Backlash

Then there is Darkness on the Edge of Town, a novel that ostensibly is about Jim Hopper tracking down a (slightly-telepathic) serial killer in New York City six years before Stranger Things begins but which is really a meditation on his recovery from the Vietnam War and his relationship with his family, both in the past (with Sara, his late daughter, and his ex-wife) and the present (his newly-adopted daughter of Eleven). The book opens on Christmas 1984, just a few weeks after season 2 has ended, with the police chief actually enjoying his formerly-favorite holiday for the first time since his first little girl died, and it closes with Christmas 1977, the last one he would ever spend with Sara – a beautiful and yet haunting bookend that perfectly manages to get into the psyche of, arguably, the TV show’s main lead.

It’s easy to see how this makes Hopper’s apparent sacrifice in the third season finale all the more tragic, and how it would render it all the more devastating still for book readers. The scant pages both Jim and Eleven manage to share together in their little cabin, in the midst of a snowstorm with nothing else to do but keep each other company, suddenly becomes, in retrospect, one of the highlights of Stranger Things’ entire run to date.

It’s harder to think of a better compliment – or a better way to appreciate season 3.

NEXT: Predicting How Stranger Things Season 4 Can End the Show


2019-07-14 05:07:31

Marc N. Kleinhenz

How Stranger Things Books Made Season 3 Way Better | ScreenRant

Spoilers ahead for Stranger Things season 3.

The finale of Stranger Things season 3 was already emotional, but if one went into the latest batch of episodes having read all of the tie-in books, it’s made all the sadder – and more satisfactory.

The so-called Stranger Things Expanded Universe – which includes comic books and video games as well as the novels – has been quickly growing and includes a lot of background material on characters like Police Chief Jim Hopper and plot elements like Project MKUltra, the initiative that ultimately produced the superpowered Eleven. While some of these stories may seem like nothing more than filler on first blush, the Netflix show’s third installment really pays off on their developments in some perhaps-surprising ways, making them must-reads.

RELATED: Stranger Things Season 3’s Ending Irreversibly Changes The Show

There are two ways in particular this dramatic heightening occurs, and they both revolve around figures who perish by the season’s end (or, at least, who appear to be killed off): Billy Hargrove and Hopper. The most recent of the Stranger Things releases, Runaway Max, retells the events of season 2 from the perspective of Max Mayfield, dropping in a slew of flashbacks to how she first met her step-dad and -brother – providing a better understanding of how the deranged Billy came to be so psychologically damaged. Along the way, audiences learn about Billy’s special relationship with his car – the only one he truly cares about – and realize that he may very well physically brutalize Lucas Sinclair, Max’s newfound Midwest love interest, since the last time one of his step-sister’s friends defied him, he ended up breaking the adolescent’s arm.

The revelation at the end of season 3 that Billy was a good-hearted boy with a loving mom who was chased away by a sadistic dad doesn’t come as a shocker in the slightest. What does prove to be shocking, however, is the way in which the teenager both verbally and physically accosts his car, easily his most valuable possession and the thing that might best be described as his closest companion – meaning that the beginning of his character arc this season is weighted with a lot more emotion, thereby helping it better parallel his heartbreaking climax. (Speaking of which, readers might be forgiven for weeping alongside Max once he is slaughtered by the Mind Flayer.)

RELATED: Stranger Things Learned The Wrong Lessons From Season 2’s Backlash

Then there is Darkness on the Edge of Town, a novel that ostensibly is about Jim Hopper tracking down a (slightly-telepathic) serial killer in New York City six years before Stranger Things begins but which is really a meditation on his recovery from the Vietnam War and his relationship with his family, both in the past (with Sara, his late daughter, and his ex-wife) and the present (his newly-adopted daughter of Eleven). The book opens on Christmas 1984, just a few weeks after season 2 has ended, with the police chief actually enjoying his formerly-favorite holiday for the first time since his first little girl died, and it closes with Christmas 1977, the last one he would ever spend with Sara – a beautiful and yet haunting bookend that perfectly manages to get into the psyche of, arguably, the TV show’s main lead.

It’s easy to see how this makes Hopper’s apparent sacrifice in the third season finale all the more tragic, and how it would render it all the more devastating still for book readers. The scant pages both Jim and Eleven manage to share together in their little cabin, in the midst of a snowstorm with nothing else to do but keep each other company, suddenly becomes, in retrospect, one of the highlights of Stranger Things’ entire run to date.

It’s harder to think of a better compliment – or a better way to appreciate season 3.

NEXT: Predicting How Stranger Things Season 4 Can End the Show


2019-07-14 05:07:31

Marc N. Kleinhenz

5 Things HIMYM Does Better Than Friends (& Vice Versa)

Friends and How I Met Your Mother are both long-running sitcoms with a large fan base. Besides the fact that they’re both hilarious shows about friends, there are many things that each show does in its own way.

RELATED: Stranger Things: 10 Most Romantic Moments, Ranked

For example, Ross and Rachel went on that famous break that everyone still thinks about, and that added to the tension on Friends for quite a while. HIMYM often made fans wonder if Ted and Robin would end up together but most people would agree that their relationship didn’t have the same conflict and drama that Ross and Rachel’s did.

Read on to find out five things that HIMYM did better than Friends and five things that Friends excels at.

10 HIMYM: A More Compelling Premise

It’s fair to say that when it comes to what How I Met Your Mother did better than Friends, fans could argue that it has a much more compelling premise. After all, both shows feature groups of pals hanging out and cracking jokes, but what sets HIMYM apart is its original and fascinating concept.

Ted Mosby is telling the story of how he met his children’s mother to his two teenagers, and viewers often see these scenes. While it might be frustrating to have to wait nine whole seasons for this (and we all know how that turned out…), it’s still a great idea for a sitcom.

9 Friends: A Solid 10 Seasons

Even super fans of HIMYM have to admit that not every season was not the best. There were definitely some dips in quality along the way. Like a lot of shows, it started off strong and then seemed like it was on for a super long time.

RELATED: Friends: 10 Biggest Twists, Ranked

Friends, on the other hand, gave fans a solid 10 seasons. Not many sitcoms (or dramas, or a show of any genre) could pull that off because it’s just so much screen time. But thanks to its mix of good characters, funny storylines, and heart, Friends remained something that fans couldn’t wait to watch, right up until the very end.

8 HIMYM: Robin’s Quirks (And Quirky Job)

A running joke on How I Met Your Mother is that Robin wants to be a real news reporter and succeed in that industry but, unfortunately, she’s stuck reporting on the most ridiculous news.

Robin is a quirky character and has a quirky job, and this is something that How I Met Your Mother does really well. She never feels fake or forced, and instead, she’s an important part of the show.

7 Friends: Inside Jokes For Fans

From “pivot!” to basically every single thing that Chandler Bing has ever said, Friends provides plenty of inside jokes for fans. It’s impossible to love this show and have watched each episode multiple times and run into a fellow fan and not repeat at least a few of his quotes.

While Barney often says “Legen — wait for it — dary” and some fans liked it, it’s fair to say that became more annoying than anything else after a while. Friends totally wins in this category.

6 HIMYM: Ted’s Search For Love

While many How I Met Your Mother fans wanted nothing more than for Ted and Robin to be together, it’s fair to say that it was interesting to watch him date and look for love. In the first season of the show, he’s always searching for that special someone, whether at a wedding or at a Halloween party. Many people can relate to that struggle.

RELATED: How I Met Your Mother: 10 Most Underrated Supporting Characters

When the characters on Friends go on dates, it’s not that interesting at all… especially since everyone wants Rachel and Ross to just admit their feelings for each other already. It’s not fun to watch them go out with random people.

5 Friends: Monica And Chandler’s Relationship

While the gang on Friends have various jobs over the course of 10 seasons, their professional lives aren’t really why anyone is tuning in. But what did have people tuning in? That would be Monica and Chandler’s relationship.

Not many shows can depict what it’s like when two friends start a romantic relationship, but Friends did a great job with this storyline. Fans got to witness how nervous Monica and Chandler were about upsetting their dynamic and that of the larger friend group. And fans saw how everyone found out, which was, of course, totally hilarious.

4 HIMYM: Tough Times

While it was definitely sad to watch Ross and Rachel take some time away from each other and it was heartbreaking when Monica and Richard break out because of their huge age difference, those scenes don’t compare to the tough times that the characters faced on How I Met Your Mother.

Whether it was Lily and Marshall actually splitting up in the season one finale or Marshall’s dad dying in the sixth season, this show handled emotions and hard moments really well. These moments always felt real.

3 Friends: The Apartment Setting

The fact that Joey and Chandler lived across the hall from Monica and Rachel on Friends is not only fun to watch but a total dream for many people. Just imagine how great it would be to live so close to your best friends. This works so well since they’re always going back and forth and it’s easy for the characters to see each other all the time.

RELATED: Friends: 10 Funniest Ross Episodes

While Lily, Marshall, and Ted live together in an equally big (and equally unrealistic) apartment on HIMYM, it honestly just looks like yet another sitcom set and the setting isn’t quite as compelling.

2 HIMYM: An Interesting Final Season

While some fans might not love that the final season of HIMYM took place over the course of Robin and Ted’s wedding weekend, others enjoyed the different setting.

RELATED: How I Met Your Mother: 10 Biggest Twists, Ranked

No matter where someone stands on this, it’s fair to say that it was an interesting way to structure a final season of a show. After so many seasons featuring the same typical sitcom set-up, it was definitely a breath of fresh air. It’s nice when a series does something unique.

1 Friends: A Great Series Finale That Fans Loved

When it comes to the Friends series finale, it was definitely better received than HIMYM. Almost no one was okay finding out that the mother had actually passed away.

Friends could only ever end the way that it did: with the gang saying goodbye to each other, Monica and Rachel’s apartment, and then going to Central Perk. It was emotional, sweet, and exactly what fans needed and wanted. It’s always great when a show can deliver on an ending like that.

NEXT: Friends: 10 Times Ross Broke Our Hearts


2019-07-14 01:07:31

Aya Tsintziras

5 Things HIMYM Does Better Than Friends (& Vice Versa)

Friends and How I Met Your Mother are both long-running sitcoms with a large fan base. Besides the fact that they’re both hilarious shows about friends, there are many things that each show does in its own way.

RELATED: Stranger Things: 10 Most Romantic Moments, Ranked

For example, Ross and Rachel went on that famous break that everyone still thinks about, and that added to the tension on Friends for quite a while. HIMYM often made fans wonder if Ted and Robin would end up together but most people would agree that their relationship didn’t have the same conflict and drama that Ross and Rachel’s did.

Read on to find out five things that HIMYM did better than Friends and five things that Friends excels at.

10 HIMYM: A More Compelling Premise

It’s fair to say that when it comes to what How I Met Your Mother did better than Friends, fans could argue that it has a much more compelling premise. After all, both shows feature groups of pals hanging out and cracking jokes, but what sets HIMYM apart is its original and fascinating concept.

Ted Mosby is telling the story of how he met his children’s mother to his two teenagers, and viewers often see these scenes. While it might be frustrating to have to wait nine whole seasons for this (and we all know how that turned out…), it’s still a great idea for a sitcom.

9 Friends: A Solid 10 Seasons

Even super fans of HIMYM have to admit that not every season was not the best. There were definitely some dips in quality along the way. Like a lot of shows, it started off strong and then seemed like it was on for a super long time.

RELATED: Friends: 10 Biggest Twists, Ranked

Friends, on the other hand, gave fans a solid 10 seasons. Not many sitcoms (or dramas, or a show of any genre) could pull that off because it’s just so much screen time. But thanks to its mix of good characters, funny storylines, and heart, Friends remained something that fans couldn’t wait to watch, right up until the very end.

8 HIMYM: Robin’s Quirks (And Quirky Job)

A running joke on How I Met Your Mother is that Robin wants to be a real news reporter and succeed in that industry but, unfortunately, she’s stuck reporting on the most ridiculous news.

Robin is a quirky character and has a quirky job, and this is something that How I Met Your Mother does really well. She never feels fake or forced, and instead, she’s an important part of the show.

7 Friends: Inside Jokes For Fans

From “pivot!” to basically every single thing that Chandler Bing has ever said, Friends provides plenty of inside jokes for fans. It’s impossible to love this show and have watched each episode multiple times and run into a fellow fan and not repeat at least a few of his quotes.

While Barney often says “Legen — wait for it — dary” and some fans liked it, it’s fair to say that became more annoying than anything else after a while. Friends totally wins in this category.

6 HIMYM: Ted’s Search For Love

While many How I Met Your Mother fans wanted nothing more than for Ted and Robin to be together, it’s fair to say that it was interesting to watch him date and look for love. In the first season of the show, he’s always searching for that special someone, whether at a wedding or at a Halloween party. Many people can relate to that struggle.

RELATED: How I Met Your Mother: 10 Most Underrated Supporting Characters

When the characters on Friends go on dates, it’s not that interesting at all… especially since everyone wants Rachel and Ross to just admit their feelings for each other already. It’s not fun to watch them go out with random people.

5 Friends: Monica And Chandler’s Relationship

While the gang on Friends have various jobs over the course of 10 seasons, their professional lives aren’t really why anyone is tuning in. But what did have people tuning in? That would be Monica and Chandler’s relationship.

Not many shows can depict what it’s like when two friends start a romantic relationship, but Friends did a great job with this storyline. Fans got to witness how nervous Monica and Chandler were about upsetting their dynamic and that of the larger friend group. And fans saw how everyone found out, which was, of course, totally hilarious.

4 HIMYM: Tough Times

While it was definitely sad to watch Ross and Rachel take some time away from each other and it was heartbreaking when Monica and Richard break out because of their huge age difference, those scenes don’t compare to the tough times that the characters faced on How I Met Your Mother.

Whether it was Lily and Marshall actually splitting up in the season one finale or Marshall’s dad dying in the sixth season, this show handled emotions and hard moments really well. These moments always felt real.

3 Friends: The Apartment Setting

The fact that Joey and Chandler lived across the hall from Monica and Rachel on Friends is not only fun to watch but a total dream for many people. Just imagine how great it would be to live so close to your best friends. This works so well since they’re always going back and forth and it’s easy for the characters to see each other all the time.

RELATED: Friends: 10 Funniest Ross Episodes

While Lily, Marshall, and Ted live together in an equally big (and equally unrealistic) apartment on HIMYM, it honestly just looks like yet another sitcom set and the setting isn’t quite as compelling.

2 HIMYM: An Interesting Final Season

While some fans might not love that the final season of HIMYM took place over the course of Robin and Ted’s wedding weekend, others enjoyed the different setting.

RELATED: How I Met Your Mother: 10 Biggest Twists, Ranked

No matter where someone stands on this, it’s fair to say that it was an interesting way to structure a final season of a show. After so many seasons featuring the same typical sitcom set-up, it was definitely a breath of fresh air. It’s nice when a series does something unique.

1 Friends: A Great Series Finale That Fans Loved

When it comes to the Friends series finale, it was definitely better received than HIMYM. Almost no one was okay finding out that the mother had actually passed away.

Friends could only ever end the way that it did: with the gang saying goodbye to each other, Monica and Rachel’s apartment, and then going to Central Perk. It was emotional, sweet, and exactly what fans needed and wanted. It’s always great when a show can deliver on an ending like that.

NEXT: Friends: 10 Times Ross Broke Our Hearts


2019-07-14 01:07:31

Aya Tsintziras

5 Things HIMYM Does Better Than Friends (& Vice Versa)

Friends and How I Met Your Mother are both long-running sitcoms with a large fan base. Besides the fact that they’re both hilarious shows about friends, there are many things that each show does in its own way.

RELATED: Stranger Things: 10 Most Romantic Moments, Ranked

For example, Ross and Rachel went on that famous break that everyone still thinks about, and that added to the tension on Friends for quite a while. HIMYM often made fans wonder if Ted and Robin would end up together but most people would agree that their relationship didn’t have the same conflict and drama that Ross and Rachel’s did.

Read on to find out five things that HIMYM did better than Friends and five things that Friends excels at.

10 HIMYM: A More Compelling Premise

It’s fair to say that when it comes to what How I Met Your Mother did better than Friends, fans could argue that it has a much more compelling premise. After all, both shows feature groups of pals hanging out and cracking jokes, but what sets HIMYM apart is its original and fascinating concept.

Ted Mosby is telling the story of how he met his children’s mother to his two teenagers, and viewers often see these scenes. While it might be frustrating to have to wait nine whole seasons for this (and we all know how that turned out…), it’s still a great idea for a sitcom.

9 Friends: A Solid 10 Seasons

Even super fans of HIMYM have to admit that not every season was not the best. There were definitely some dips in quality along the way. Like a lot of shows, it started off strong and then seemed like it was on for a super long time.

RELATED: Friends: 10 Biggest Twists, Ranked

Friends, on the other hand, gave fans a solid 10 seasons. Not many sitcoms (or dramas, or a show of any genre) could pull that off because it’s just so much screen time. But thanks to its mix of good characters, funny storylines, and heart, Friends remained something that fans couldn’t wait to watch, right up until the very end.

8 HIMYM: Robin’s Quirks (And Quirky Job)

A running joke on How I Met Your Mother is that Robin wants to be a real news reporter and succeed in that industry but, unfortunately, she’s stuck reporting on the most ridiculous news.

Robin is a quirky character and has a quirky job, and this is something that How I Met Your Mother does really well. She never feels fake or forced, and instead, she’s an important part of the show.

7 Friends: Inside Jokes For Fans

From “pivot!” to basically every single thing that Chandler Bing has ever said, Friends provides plenty of inside jokes for fans. It’s impossible to love this show and have watched each episode multiple times and run into a fellow fan and not repeat at least a few of his quotes.

While Barney often says “Legen — wait for it — dary” and some fans liked it, it’s fair to say that became more annoying than anything else after a while. Friends totally wins in this category.

6 HIMYM: Ted’s Search For Love

While many How I Met Your Mother fans wanted nothing more than for Ted and Robin to be together, it’s fair to say that it was interesting to watch him date and look for love. In the first season of the show, he’s always searching for that special someone, whether at a wedding or at a Halloween party. Many people can relate to that struggle.

RELATED: How I Met Your Mother: 10 Most Underrated Supporting Characters

When the characters on Friends go on dates, it’s not that interesting at all… especially since everyone wants Rachel and Ross to just admit their feelings for each other already. It’s not fun to watch them go out with random people.

5 Friends: Monica And Chandler’s Relationship

While the gang on Friends have various jobs over the course of 10 seasons, their professional lives aren’t really why anyone is tuning in. But what did have people tuning in? That would be Monica and Chandler’s relationship.

Not many shows can depict what it’s like when two friends start a romantic relationship, but Friends did a great job with this storyline. Fans got to witness how nervous Monica and Chandler were about upsetting their dynamic and that of the larger friend group. And fans saw how everyone found out, which was, of course, totally hilarious.

4 HIMYM: Tough Times

While it was definitely sad to watch Ross and Rachel take some time away from each other and it was heartbreaking when Monica and Richard break out because of their huge age difference, those scenes don’t compare to the tough times that the characters faced on How I Met Your Mother.

Whether it was Lily and Marshall actually splitting up in the season one finale or Marshall’s dad dying in the sixth season, this show handled emotions and hard moments really well. These moments always felt real.

3 Friends: The Apartment Setting

The fact that Joey and Chandler lived across the hall from Monica and Rachel on Friends is not only fun to watch but a total dream for many people. Just imagine how great it would be to live so close to your best friends. This works so well since they’re always going back and forth and it’s easy for the characters to see each other all the time.

RELATED: Friends: 10 Funniest Ross Episodes

While Lily, Marshall, and Ted live together in an equally big (and equally unrealistic) apartment on HIMYM, it honestly just looks like yet another sitcom set and the setting isn’t quite as compelling.

2 HIMYM: An Interesting Final Season

While some fans might not love that the final season of HIMYM took place over the course of Robin and Ted’s wedding weekend, others enjoyed the different setting.

RELATED: How I Met Your Mother: 10 Biggest Twists, Ranked

No matter where someone stands on this, it’s fair to say that it was an interesting way to structure a final season of a show. After so many seasons featuring the same typical sitcom set-up, it was definitely a breath of fresh air. It’s nice when a series does something unique.

1 Friends: A Great Series Finale That Fans Loved

When it comes to the Friends series finale, it was definitely better received than HIMYM. Almost no one was okay finding out that the mother had actually passed away.

Friends could only ever end the way that it did: with the gang saying goodbye to each other, Monica and Rachel’s apartment, and then going to Central Perk. It was emotional, sweet, and exactly what fans needed and wanted. It’s always great when a show can deliver on an ending like that.

NEXT: Friends: 10 Times Ross Broke Our Hearts


2019-07-14 01:07:31

Aya Tsintziras

Stranger Things: 10 Things Season 3 Does Better Than The First Two Seasons

Stranger Things is the ultimate blend of Stephen King and Steven Spielberg. Due to the fantastic performances, high production value, and unabashed nostalgia, it quickly became an absolute phenomenon. However, this unhealthily binged juggernaut has been through a lot of changes over the last three years. The tone has shifted often, and the beginning of every sequel season always plays catch-up for a couple episodes. There’s plenty of pros and cons in the new season, and it’s crucial to bear in mind that it carried a uniquely summer theme with it this time. Now that you’re all done with barbecues and fireworks, here are ten improvements that season 3 has delivered.

10 Moral Ambiguity

There was a lot of black and white morality in the first season, thanks to the kids’ innocence. Now that they’re older, some more interesting questions come into play. The misuse of Eleven’s powers to spy, and Hopper’s threatening mania towards Mike, for example. There’s even a point where we are reminded why the doorway in Hawkins was opened to begin with. But then there’s the sleazy mayor. And smaller moments, like Mrs. Wheeler’s thoughts about cheating in the premiere. Or Joyce, unsure if she should move on, and date someone new. Even more fascinating, there’s the endearing enemy of the state, Alexei, who we should otherwise despise. It wasn’t absent before, but it’s more emphasized now, and it all adds up to a richer story.

9 Pacing

This show started out as more of a slow-burn mystery, something akin to The X-Files. This is definitely reinforced by the Halloween-themed release of season 2. But the subject matter of a kidnapped child is treated very seriously, and that mystery takes a while to get going. This manic new season decided to go for a breakneck pace, with almost non-stop action. It’s exactly what we needed after season 2, which had an entire subplot about Dustin finding his very own Gizmo. The mystery unfolds quickly, thanks to some sharp investigations from various groups of characters. Actually, it’s adapted the pace of an actual 80’s movie.

8 Convincing CGI

Alright, so maybe those fireworks don’t look especially convincing at all. However, the success of the series has clearly granted it a much higher budget. The new villain looks like it belongs in a Hollywood creature feature more so than any TV show. We’ve been spoiled by modern television, and have come to accept that such creations are simply made available. However, it’s actually pretty stunning, especially compared to something like Dustin’s pet in season 2. Also, those dog-creatures didn’t look quite so sharp. We’re thankful that the VFX department has kicked it up a notch. It’s more immersive this way, pushing the limits of CGI on television.

7 Relationships

A whole lot of puppy love is going on this season. It might be groan-inducing for some viewers, but the show seems to be pretty self-aware about all of it. Lucas and Max are a hilarious couple, and they seem to be racing ahead of their age. They function as agents of that self-aware tone, although the show often portrays precocious children, like Erica. There’s plenty of flirting all around, even between Hopper and Joyce. Then there’s Steve and Robin, the latter of which thankfully points out what a jerk Steve had been. But the relationships are a fun addition to the show, causing a lot of division among friends, and emphasizing change. Steve isn’t a bully anymore, Hopper is a neurotic dad now, and the kids are all falling for each other. It’s silly fun.

6 Comedy

The volume of jokes per minute was cranked up to, well, eleven for this season. Aiming for a 4th of July, summer bash attitude, the show has abandoned most of its gritty tone. Given that the majority of the comedy is surprisingly sharp, it’s a very welcome addition. This show hasn’t exactly been known for delivering the laughs. Now, every character makes light of a situation, and there’s even a lengthy truth-serum gag. Seeing Stranger Things take itself a little less seriously actually has a lot of charm, and its attempts to do so are far more successful. This is because it chose that lane, and stuck to its guns, rather than contrasting it with the prior mood.

5 Lots Of Music

If the show was going to adapt this new tone, it’s only sensible that they would soak the entire thing in music. It’s something an actual 80’s movie would do, and indeed, there’s a full montage set to Madonna. The series has always been steeped in nostalgia, and few things establish an atmosphere like music. Sure, it felt more organic before this season, but it’s also a lot more fun this time around. That seems to be the general goal for season 3, overall. Either way, the soundtrack has another set of great selections—and if you’re fueled by nostalgia, you may as well own it.

4 Cheese

Probably the most fascinating creative decision for this season is its determination to literally become an 80’s movie. Rather than simply pay homage to the decade, this season has become full of excess, and its references are more blatant than ever. More so than season 2, this is mostly a successful experiment. Much like Rocky IV or Red Dawn, the Russians are the bad guys. We even have a full-on Terminator, with matching appearance and depiction. We’re already invested in these characters, and this season was a chance to give them fun over logic. Sure, a lot of senseless things happen, with plenty of conveniences. But you’ll have to decide if the entertainment value outweighs the plausibility. There’s more cheese, but it’s done so effectively!

3 Structure

The habit of binging isn’t always helpful for a television show. You don’t allow the audience time to process and reflect, or even to miss the show between episodes. However, stories like Stranger Things were designed for sudden mass consumption. They’ve generally been one ongoing narrative, like a non-stop movie. However, this season, each episode has a tidy structure that allows people to enjoy them at a more reasonable pace. The plotting moves along nicely, there’s a cliffhanger at the end of every episode, and the story is more digestible for it. You can watch a single episode and feel like you got the full Stranger Things experience. Also, the easygoing tone doesn’t prevent the escalation throughout the season from being smoothly executed.

2 The Mystery

The mysteries actually unfold surprisingly well, especially given that we already know what the source of the problem is. It’s the manner with which the characters go about discovering them that’s so effective. The characters all become involved in an organic way. Joyce is understandably neurotic, Nancy has become a reporter; Eleven has the power to read minds. And Dustin sets an entire group of kids off on an adventure in the nerdiest way possible. It’s tightly woven, and playful. Season 2 didn’t quite deliver that, and mostly felt like a retread of the first season’s mystery. The symptoms of the new mysteries are also more intriguing, including rabid rats and people, rather than some decayed pumpkins.

1 Horror

The heavy emphasis on horror this season works like a charm. Again, this is a result of excess indulgence this season. There’s murder and monster mayhem galore. With nods to Aliens and other classics like The Blob, the new villain is fantastically disgusting. The revolting sound effects for its movement, and the sheer amount of gore are very effective. Given the villain’s goals, it’s fun that the show references Day of the Dead. But it’s also an indicator of what level of blood is in store. The kids are older now, and that’s the kind of movie they want to see—so, it makes perfect sense to allow the same for us. The stakes never felt quite as high without this degree of horror, which balances out the comedy.

NEXT: What To Expect From Stranger Things Season 4


2019-07-13 05:07:26

Anthony Fertino

Dragon Ball: 5 Things GT Did Better Than Z (& Vice Versa)

Comparing Dragon Ball GT to Dragon Ball Z should be a recipe for disaster. After all, the former is the reviled sequel to one of the most influential and important franchises of all time. Even as an anime, Dragon Ball Z was as much a game changer as its manga counterpart. Here’s the thing, though: Dragon Ball Z was always just an adaptation with flaws. 

RELATED: 10 Things You Never Knew About Goku’s Gi In Dragon Ball

With that in mind, how different was it really when compared to the series that followed it up? Dragon Ball GT may not have had a manga to base its story off of, but it was the direct continuation of Dragon Ball Z, sharing many of its strengths and flaws. When it comes down to it, it even outshone Dragon Ball Z in some areas. 

10 GT: Pacing

It doesn’t matter how bland or uninteresting Dragon Ball GT is when it actually manages to tell a cohesive story with next to no padding. No, not every episode is good (most aren’t) and the series does love wasting time, but only ever one episode at a time. Rarely does GT drag itself out the way Z did. 

To be fair, Dragon Ball Z was following a manga and ended up needing to pad out of necessity, but that doesn’t excuse its faults. When it comes to pacing, Dragon Ball Z does a pretty bad job that comes off even worse when taking into account the manga’s naturally fast pace. 

9 Z: Character Development

GT might have an edge when it comes to pacing, but it has nothing on Dragon Ball Z when it comes to character development. Akira Toriyama is a master when it comes to character writing. With a single moment, he can naturally pivot a character down a new path or revelation. Since his writing wasn’t used for GT, it only makes sense that the series suffers as a result. 

Worse yet, GT has two characters prime for development: Oob and Pan. Unfortunately, while they both have character arcs, they don’t develop naturally, consistently, or satisfyingly. Pan especially is a bit of a disappointment considering how much of the series she’s in and how little she meaningfully develops. 

8 GT: Completing Character Arcs

With that said, however, Dragon Ball GT does do something Dragon Ball Z doesn’t: it definitely ends character arcs. Not just that, it respects character arcs that are over. It doesn’t bother bringing back fully developed characters, even refusing to leave them in the background. If someone is developed, they simply won’t participate much. 

Piccolo’s arc comes to a definitive close, ending with him dying while reflecting on his relationship with Gohan; Vegeta’s arc is already over by the time the series starts and he acts far more mature and less egotistical as a result; and characters like Yamcha and Tenshinhan exist in the background as their arcs are long over. Fans may not like it, but it allows GT to breathe as its own show. 

7 Z: Resolving Character Arcs

That said, Dragon Ball Z may not complete most arcs, but it does resolve them. Every single character in the series’ run either started DBZ with a resolved arc or reaches a natural resolution. This isn’t hyperbole, either, this is true for every character in Dragon Ball Z. The heroic ones at least. 

RELATED: Dragon Ball Super: 10 Changes It Makes To The Canon

GT doesn’t have that luxury. Goku doesn’t even have an arc to resolve in GT after the Baby arc (and even then his character arc is very weak.) Dragon Ball Z, on the other hand, is constantly pushing Goku forward, resolving his current arc with each passing saga. As a result, characters may linger in the background, but always with the promise that they might be developed further. If not, they’re in a good spot. 

6 GT: The Music

Dragon Ball Z’s music is legendary. Anyone who grew up with the real soundtrack will never forget Cha-La Head Cha-La or Zenkai Power. That said, this doesn’t mean that Dragon Ball GT’s music isn’t great as well. Specifically, its opening and ending themes. Everyone knows Dan Dan Kokoro Hikareteku, but those endings are equally fantastic. 

With four different ending themes, most of which are actually sampled in the show’s score, Dragon Ball GT ends up creating a very cohesive sound that doesn’t rely on Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball Z’s scores. The fact that Kikuchi didn’t work on the soundtrack is a minus, but the fact it doesn’t sound derivative is a huge plus. 

5 Z: The Score

Speaking of Kikuchi, Dragon Ball GT really cannot compete when it comes to pure score. The music that plays during Dragon Ball Z’s moment to moment action is incredible. Well, so long as it’s not the Faulconer soundtrack. Kikuchi’s original score is downright legendary, solidifying a tone for Dragon Ball that perfectly matches Toriyama’s manga. 

It isn’t as if GT’s score is bad, far from it, but it lacks Kikuchi’s signature style while also just lacking his general quality. He understood Dragon Ball on a level that no other composer for the series has other than Kenji Yamamoto. 

4 GT: Gohan’s Character 

Gohan has an incredible character arc in Dragon Ball Z… that doesn’t really reach a logical conclusion. After coming to terms with the fact that he needs to take responsibility for the world and train himself even during times of peace (both in the Cell arc and even more prominently in the Boo arc,) he ends the series a retired martial artist. 

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Which Dragon Ball GT completely ignores. Yes, he’s a scholar now, but he’s a scholar who understands the importance of his own power, going so far as to keep his Gi around in the event that he needs to suit up and fight. He may not be the Great Saiyaman anymore, but he’s a scholar who also happens to be a martial artist instead of one over the other. 

3 Z: Fight Choreography 

There really is no competition when it comes to Akira Toriyama’s fight choreography. Although the Boo arc’s fights are noticeably shorter, Toriyama never loses his luster, providing amazing moment-to-moment action in a clean, refreshing way. Something the Dragon Ball Z anime adaptation translates rather well. 

Goku’s first fight with Vegeta is a standpoint example. It’s a movie quality fight in a weekly anime, and it’s easily the best bit of animated action the series has ever seen (sorry Dragon Ball Super: Broly.) Dragon Ball GT doesn’t have anything that even compares to Akira Toriyama’s choreography at its absolute worst. 

2 GT: The Final Battle

The final fight against Pure Boo is incredibly cool. Goku, Vegeta, Mr. Satan, and Fat Boo all work together to take him down. But it’s not Dragon Ball Z’s final battle, that honor belongs to Oob. And, while it’s an interesting fight, it doesn’t last long and it isn’t too exciting. By proxy, Dragon Ball GT has something of an edge. 

Of course, choreography wise, it doesn’t compare, but the final fight against Omega Shenron is surprisingly emotional and somber. Dragon Ball GT takes on a completely different vibe in its final episodes and it leads to a sentimental finale that transitions rather well from the final battle. Many would argue that GT’s ending is better as a result, but many would be wrong. 

1 Z: The Ending

Yes, the seemingly reviled ending to Dragon Ball Z is better than GT’s. Why? Because it actually feels Dragon Ball. GT goes too sentimental, contextualizing Dragon Ball as an epic scope story that begins and ends with Goku. DBZ takes a more mature approach, keeping things grounded and focusing on the series’ core themes.To someone who only watches Dragon Ball Z for the action, the ending is underwhelming. For those who cares about the arcs and themes (while also understanding Goku’s character,) it’s a poignant finale that lingers on threads that link back all the way back to the beginning of the franchise. What’s not to love?

NEXT: Dragon Ball: The 10 Best Fights (That Don’t Feature Goku)


2019-07-12 01:07:32

Renan Fontes

5 Things The What We Do In The Shadows Show Does Better Than The Film (& 5 Things It Doesn’t)

When a foreign indie film or television series becomes a worldwide darling, more often than not it gets the Americanized treatment. When the property makes the switch it often loses the quintessential aspects that audiences loved in the first place. Luckily, FX’s What We Do in the Shadows reboot continues in its predecessor’s footsteps, delivering much of the same oddball weirdness audiences came to expect.

The FX series succeeds due in part to its behind the scenes team, recruiting both Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi. But as with any reboot, there are pros and cons to nearly every aspect. Here are 5 reasons FX’ s What We Do In The Shadows is better than Taika Waititi’s original film, and 5 ways it doesn’t even come close.

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10 Better – The TV Format

What We Do In The Shadows is full of instantly likable characters that could entertain audiences in any number of situations. The film presented this clearly. That being said, there is only so much that can be covered in 90 minutes. Film’s smaller scope simply limits the ability to tell stories in comparison to television.

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The television format fits this premise better than a film ever could. With the expanded runtime that comes with a full series, writers can craft so many more situations and character beats which would only be sidelined in a feature film. The side story with Nadja and Jenna would have been cut if this was a film reboot, and it was some of the strongest and funniest character moments so far in the series. Because of the transfer to television, audiences are treated to even more laughs and more nuanced storytelling.

9 Worse – It Lacks The Indie Charm

Although the new TV format might offer more time with these new characters, there is a bit of that indie charm missing that made the original film so loveable. What We Do in the Shadows, the film, felt like a homemade project through and through. Granted, much of that had to do with its mockumentary style, which is far more common in TV than it is in movies. At the same time though, there was a sense of comradery and collaboration that is somewhat lacking in the new series.

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For those familiar, Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi have been filmmaking and comedic partners for many years. The two have an electric chemistry that bleeds through (no pun intended) both on and off the screen. Their energy and personal touch on the original film is its greatest strength. Although both have been heavily involved in the series, the film has a rebellious anti-establishment personality that was lost the minute a major network like FX took over.

8 Better – More Gender Diversity

There is no denying that the original What We Do in the Shadows was a bit of a boys club. Vampire or werewolf, both sides of this supernatural spectrum lacked in female representation. Sure there was Jackie the familiar and Vladislav’s former lover The Beast, but neither had top billing in the feature.

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In FX’s series, there is now a lady vampire front and center. Instead of focusing on a trio of male bloodsuckers, the dynamic switched to two men and a woman. Nadja, played hilariously by Natasia Demetriou, brings different motivations and dynamics to this undead trio as compared to the original movie. This choice not only allows for a more diverse cast but enabled the series to stand on its own as well.

7 Worse – The Main Trio

There is no denying that FX’s reboot gathered some of the best comedic talents around. All three of this new trio bring fresh, and hilarious takes to their vampire counterparts and certainly stand on their own in comparison to the original. Unfortunately, at this point in the series, this trio’s chemistry is nowhere near as strong as the original’s.

Part of this is due to the real-life relationships between the original cast. That was a filmmaking and acting partnership between best friends and longstanding professional relationships. Much of this group has not worked together in the past, and it’s not something easily replicated. Also, the actual character dynamics are not laid out for success. Pairing off two of the characters in a romantic relationship instantly isolates the other, building an emotional barrier among this new trifecta.

6 Better – The Supporting Cast

One thing this series has in loads is an incredible supporting cast. So much of the original film focused on the iconic comedic chops of its main cast with a few highlighted moments with supporting characters. The series, on the other hand, has so much more playing room to explore side characters. More often than not, the supporting players seem to have more fun than the actual leads do.

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Mark Proksch, who plays the energy vampire Colin Robinson, is an excellent addition. Possibly his best performance to date, Proksch has often been sidelined to minimal supporting parts. Since his appearance on The Office, a featured role such as this has been a long time coming. Harvey Guillén, who plays Nandor’s familiar Guillermo, is another stand-out. A relevantly unknown performer, he is slowly becoming the shining star of the show. Serving as a semi-audience surrogate, his reactions earn the biggest laughs thus far.

5 Worse – Not As Stylistically Innovative

Mockumentaries, specifically great ones, are few and far between as far as film is concerned. There are standouts, from This is Spinal Tap to Popstar, but great ones are rarities. What We Do in the Shadows was so unique for its blend of the mockumentary style with horror and comedy. There was no other film like it. Television is a different story.

RELATED: 15 Funniest Mockumentaries Of All Time

So many TV comedies have adapted the mockumentary style that it has become the status quo. The Office, Parks and Rec, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and many, many more have used this style. Mockumentary is anything but innovative anymore, and although it doesn’t necessarily hurt this series, it doesn’t help it stand on its own either.

4 Better – Expansion of the World

When turning a film into a television series, far more storytelling devices and world building opportunities arise. The What We Do in the Shadows series is no exception. The original film barely touched upon the greater dynamics of this underground vampire society, let alone the other supernatural beings who existed among them.

RELATED: What We Do In The Shadows Teaser: Get To Know Your Vampire History

As stated before, the series introduced Collin Robinson, the energy vampire. This concept was never present in the original film and now offers a whole new set of narrative and comedy roads to explore. The same can be said for the hierarchy with the Baron Afanas. There is a worldwide community of Vampires bent on world domination. That was never touched upon in the original film whatsoever. There are so many more avenues to be explored through a long-form comedic series.

3 Worse – The Visual Effects

Possibly a point of contention, but the series’ visual effects seem fairly standard if not bland. Much of the charm of the original film was the restrictions of a low budget. Whether its the shaky cam werewolf attack or the insanity of Vladislav’s feline form, the original film pulled off as much as they could with little financial backing. In the series, the visual effects are far less hidden. The budget seems to have been increased from the film, but not enough to earn their new spotlight. The new CGI bat transformations are far less believable than they hope, and the werewolf transformation is just ridiculous. That being said, the show’s job is less to make audiences believe in vampires, and more to get them to laugh at their mishaps. They deserve a bit of a pass for this one.

2 Better – Character Pairings

Where the first film was more of an ensemble piece which relied on interactions as a group, the series chooses instead to pair off characters for individual A and B stories. This offers a better glimpse into these characters as individuals than the original film allowed. The pairing of Nandor and Guillermo is undoubtedly a favorite, as their power imbalance offers some incredibly funny beats. Having Nadja and Laszlo paired off as a couple also provides a great exploration into relationship dynamics for romantic couples (particularly undead ones). Although the fraternal dynamic might be missing from the group, it is nice to have so many other pairs and stories to be invested in.

1 Worse – The Werewolves

The most significant discretion the series has made thus far has been its version of werewolves. In the original film, the werewolves almost stole the show. Perhaps the most quotable line from the entire movie was “Werewolves not Swearwolves”. Their whole dynamic and relationship with the vampires was instantly iconic. Their series counterparts are a substantial step-down. They are nowhere near as funny or memorable as the original pack, choosing to riff off pop culture references alone. The series definitely has a long way to go to improve on them, but so far they have been the biggest disappointment.

NEXT: Taika Waititi Developing Time Bandits TV Series For Apple


2019-04-20 09:04:32

Matt Berger

Coraline: 5 Things The Book Does Better Than The Movie (& 5 It Does Worse)

While both the LAIKA film version of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and its original novel format differ widely, both are incredible works of fiction to be enjoyed by most ages (they are probably too creepy for young children). Those who haven’t read the book might not know just how far they differ. Many details were added to the movie and some were cut, resulting in two separate yet equally enjoyable entities that can both be appreciated for their differences.

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From Coraline’s companion to her own personality, the Other Mother’s reception to how “brave, tricky and wise” both versions of Coraline are in their own ways, there are lots of variations to celebrate between the book and the movie–as well as several to despise.

10 Better: Coraline Knows Something’s Up In The Book

Book-Coraline is much more astute than movie-Coraline, who desperately wants something new and exciting to happen in her life. Movie-Coraline is quick to embrace the new world that the Other Mother has created for her, finding it much more vibrant and fun than her own dull life, but book-Coraline is suspicious right away. She knows something is wrong and quickly uses her wits to evaluate the situation and work her way out of it.

Movie-Coraline has been hailed as a more realistic tween, which is probably true. But she also illustrates the growth of a coming-of-age story in her transformation from bratty whiner to the hero of her own story, which makes it so good in the first place.

9 Worse: Their Personalities Are Completely Different

In the film version of Coraline, the titular character is sassy and sarcastic, pretty much rolling her tween eyes over every adult comment she hears at the beginning of the film. It’s not until she loses her parents and has to save them that she fully appreciates the life she found so dull only days before.

RELATED: 15 Things You NEVER Knew About Coraline

Book-Coraline, on the other hand, is much more kind, being polite to all of her odd neighbors. Some say this makes her too perfect, but it really does portray the characteristics of an only child, especially a daughter, who has grown up around adults and is expected to be more mature as a result.

8 Better: The Dangers Are Different

Most of the scenes that feature dangers in Coraline differ widely from book to screen. The basement scene in which Coraline has to blind the Other Father, who looks like a big grub, and quietly escape so he can’t hear her, which is frightening, is replaced by the less scary (but still creepy) garden scene with the Other Father on the back of a praying mantis where he apologizes and says he doesn’t want to hurt her.

This doesn’t make much sense since he’s supposed to be the creation of the Beldam, but it does provide striking visual effects. One thing that many readers agree on is that Gaiman’s book leaves enough room to let us really scare ourselves, which can often be more disturbing.

7 Worse: Her Parents Are More Hands-Off In The Film

To be fair, Coraline’s parents are not negligent in either version of her story. They are just busy people who have to work, move into a new home and do all of the things adults have to do to create a home and maintain a family. Much of Coraline’s alone time is healthy for her; it allows her to utilize her imagination and creativity. Children don’t have enough daydreaming time as it is, as George Carlin once said.

RELATED: 15 Hidden Details From Coraline You Probably Missed

But it can be said that her parents in the film are more hands-off, ignoring her much more and appearing indifferent to her requests for fun with them. Her parents in the books seem to care a bit more, although they, too, are busy.

6 Better: There’s No Wybie In The Book

One of the most annoying things for many readers was the addition of Wybie, a character that’s not found in the book at all. His presence seemed as if it were forced in to appeal to more male viewers, or to take away a bit of Coraline’s “tricky, brave and wise” characteristics, giving him more credit in directing her in how to free herself when book-Coraline has to rely on herself.

Then again, there are also fans who appreciated the addition of another character, especially since it gave the two some humorous moments to share in the movie. It also gave her a friend in an otherwise lonely place for a kid to grow up in. Wybie’s grandmother is also absent from the book.

5 Worse: Little Character Differences

There are lots of little character differences that aren’t much on their own but, when added up, point to entirely different pieces of media. Mr. B. is named Bobo and not Bobinski in the book, for example, and he raises rats instead of mice. Coraline is naturally English in the book, like Gaiman himself, and the door she uses to enter the other world is quite small in the book–more like an Alice in Wonderland kind of door than the regular door we see in the film.

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The dogs in the theater talk in the book, and the cat’s eyes are green instead of blue. Coraline’s hair is black in the book, and there are no snow globe or ghost children eyes to find. Instead, the ghosts ask her to help find their souls. Coraline also talks to herself a lot (which is why Wybie was added–so she’d have someone to talk to instead) and the Other Mother is tall with long fingers right away in the book.

4 Worse: Coraline HATES It When You Mispronounce Her Name

While movie-Coraline only mildly corrects people when they mispronounce her name as “Caroline,” book-Coraline gets much more incensed over the mispronunciations. It makes sense since a kid’s name is always the most important word to that child and getting it wrong feels like breaking the law.

It’s such a bone of contention for Coraline that it’s presented as something as bad as being bored in the books: “Nothing’s changed. You’ll go home. You’ll be bored. You’ll be ignored. No one will listen to you, really listen to you. You’re too clever and too quiet for them to understand. They don’t even get your name right.”

3 Worse: The Dialogue

As with any adaptation, the dialogue varies a lot once it’s been translated to the film. Part of this is just due to Coraline’s more refined manners and inner dialogue with herself in the book, but she’s not the only person whose dialogue is different. Much of what the Other Mother says is different, as are many of the quotes from other characters. Coraline’s neighbors, Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, are also the people who advise her to not play near the old dangerous well, which of course intrigues her enough to go and search for it.

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One of the biggest dialogue differences, though, is in the nameless cat, who is so much more snarky and funny in the book. Even though Keith David voices the cat wonderfully in the movie, he doesn’t get to say lines about humans not knowing who they are or not wanting what you want because it would be no fun to get whatever you wanted all of the time.

2 Better: The Other Mother Is Scarier In The Book

LAIKA’s version of the Other Mother, who is voiced by Teri Hatcher, is definitely a scary monster who will give you nightmares, but Neil Gaiman is famous for being scary by NOT telling us certain details or describing them in ways that just make us shiver. For example, when Coraline asks the Beldam to keep her word, the Other Mother says she swears on her mother’s grave.

Coraline shrewdly asks if she even has a grave, to which the Other Mother replies, “Oh yes. I put her in there myself. And when I found her trying to crawl out, I put her back.”

1 Better: The Endings Are Different

The ending of the Coraline book is thought to be much more appealing by many fans. In it, Coraline already knows that the Beldam’s hand crossed over into her world, so she sets a trap to catch it by setting up a tea party of sorts on top of the well. It’s another example of her being “brave, tricky and wise,” and she even does it days after her big escape, proving her strength even further. Who could patiently wait like that without losing their mind in terror?

In the film version, it’s more of a reactionary situation where Wybie helps Coraline get rid of the hand in the well. It’s certainly more exciting than having a few normal days before the big trap, but Gaiman’s is more satisfying.

NEXT: 10 Animal Documentaries You Can Stream On Netflix Right Now


2019-04-18 03:04:39

Sara Schmidt

The Rise Of Skywalker: 5 Star Wars IX Title Predictions That Were Better (& 5 That Were Worse)

Well, after months upon months of speculation, we finally know what Star Wars Episode IX, the long-awaited final chapter of the saga, is going to be called: The Rise of Skywalker. There are dozens of title theories out there that turned out to be wrong because Star Wars fans hate not knowing things. If there’s a thing they don’t know, they’ll guess what it is until they’re told.

RELATED: 10 Crazy Fan Theories About Star Wars Episode IX’s Title: The Rise Of Skywalker

There were some pretty cool predictions. It’s tough to theorize about which titles would’ve been better and which titles would’ve been worse because none of us have seen the movie. The filmmakers gave Episode IX the title The Rise of Skywalker, because they know the plot and they know that that’s what it should be called. Still, let’s give it a go. Here are 5 Star Wars IX Title Predictions That Were Better Than The Rise Of Skywalker (And 5 That Were Worse).

10 Worse: The Spark of Hope

The theorized title The Spark of Hope was taken from The Last Jedi’s opening crawl text when fans realized The Last Jedi’s title was taken from the opening crawl text of The Force Awakens.

The title possibilities in The Last Jedi’s opening crawl were pretty scant, so all they got from it was Spark of Hope. To be fair, it does also reference Poe Dameron’s great quote: “We are the spark that will light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down.” But The Spark of Hope just sounds silly. Is this a Star Wars movie or a wannabe Terrence Malick movie? The Rise of Skywalker is a far better title.

9 Better: The Will of the Force

A Redditor proposed the incredible title The Will of the Force. The only problem with this title is that it’s a little repetitive. The Last Jedi felt repetitive, reusing the word “Jedi” just two movies away (in terms of continuity) from Return of the Jedi, and The Will of the Force, if that had been the title used, would’ve been two movies away from The Force Awakens.

But still, it’s a great title for this movie. It seems as though, thematically, this is going to be a movie about the way the Force pulls people. Palpatine has used the Force to keep his physical body alive for so long, Luke has become one with the Force in death, Rey is questioning the Light Side, Kylo Ren is questioning the Dark Side – this would’ve been an awesome title for that!

8 Worse: The New Order Rises

This is a pretty cool title, and it was Screen Rant’s official prediction for what the title would be. The only issue is that if this was the title, it would spoil the ending. If something called “the New Order” were to rise, that would mean the Resistance won and the First Order crumbled and peace had been restored to the galaxy.

Now, while anyone can see that that’s almost definitely how the movie is going to end, we need to be kept in suspense by the title as we head into the movie, and that’s why The Rise of Skywalker works so effectively as a title. The New Order Rises would be a great title for the first chapter in the next trilogy: Episodes X-XII (if that even happens).

7 Better: Ashes of the Empire

The Last Jedi was taken from The Force Awakens’ opening crawl text, so some fans figured the Episode IX title would be taken from the opening crawl of The Last Jedi. When a lot of them found little in terms of title possibilities in that text, they turned their sights back to The Force Awakens’ opening crawl and found the phrase “ashes of the Empire.”

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Ashes of the Empire would be an awesome title, because it sounds semi-obscure, like the title of an Expanded Universe novel and not a core saga movie. And as we’ve seen from the trailer, the ruins of Death Star II – the literal ashes of the Empire – are heavily involved in the plot, so the title would fit.

6 Worse: Return of the Balance

It was one thing that The Last Jedi repeated the word “Jedi” from a previous Star Wars title, but to copy the whole phrase “Return of the…” from the chronologically previous trilogy’s big finale would be a step too far. Plus, “Balance” doesn’t work as a buzzword in the same way as “Clones” or “Sith.”

It refers to the balance of the Force – and Balance of the Force might not have been a bad title – but that’s not clear to passive moviegoers and it just doesn’t grab the audience in the same way a really great title like The Rise of Skywalker does.

5 Better: Children of the Force

Another suggestion from Reddit, the incredible title Children of the Force gets rid of the pesky “The”s that have marred the sequel trilogy’s titles and brings back the classic “of the” titles that promise action and transition and conflict.

This is the end of the Skywalker saga, and who are the Skywalkers? Children of the Force! Luke and Leia are children of children of the Force. Kylo Ren is a child of a child of a child of the Force. So, this title would tie everything together. It would also follow up on the promise of the next generation of heroes teased by the appearance of “Broom Boy” at the end of The Last Jedi. The only downside is the horror-y shades of Children of the Corn that the title conjures up.

4 Worse: Legacy of the Jedi

This one wouldn’t work. It makes sense as a progression of the story. The Jedi Order was put to rest in The Last Jedi and now, the new generation of heroes will be inspired by the myths of the Jedi, hence the importance of their “legacy.”

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However, you can’t follow one movie with “Jedi” in the title with another movie with “Jedi” in the title. And “Legacy of the…” just doesn’t have the same cinematic oomph as “Revenge of the…” or “Attack of the…” It makes it feel like a postscript or an afterthought, not the “all-out war” that John Boyega has promised it’ll be.

3 Better: To Restore Hope

One Redditor theorized that Episode IX would be called To Restore Hope in order to complete the following phrase: “The Force awakens the last Jedi to restore hope.” It reuses the “hope” motif that has driven the whole saga and brings the sequel trilogy full circle as Luke’s journey to save the galaxy by confronting the very real darkness inside him.

To Restore Hope doesn’t follow the usual Star Wars titling formula of “The Something” or “Something of the Something,” but this is a different kind of movie and a very special part of the Star Wars saga (by being its conclusion). An unconventional title would be a great way to sell that.

2 Worse: The Knights of Ren

While a leaked poster revealed the complete bunch of the Knights of Ren, finally together to wreak havoc, The Knights of Ren wouldn’t make a great title for Episode IX. It would be an awesome title for a Star Wars movie, but it can’t be the name of the last one. This is the culmination of the Skywalker saga; a definitive end to the journey that we’ve been on since 1977.

So, the title can’t just be thrown away on something like The Knights of Ren. It needs something grandiose that emphasizes the finality of that journey, like The Rise of Skywalker. This title can still be used for a video game or tie-in novel, but it wouldn’t make a great Episode IX title.

1 Better: The End

This is the one that most fans thought it would be, to the point that a logo for it was widely circulated online, because it is the end. This is the end of the Skywalker saga – the final chapter of the core Star Wars storyline we’ve been following since the beginning.

The End isn’t like the titles other Star Wars movies have – it’s more final and unambiguous than those other Star Wars titles – but isn’t that kind of the point? It marks a departure from theatrical titles, just like the movie itself marks the story’s departure from the Skywalker bloodline.

NEXT: The Star Wars 9 Title Doesn’t Mean Rey Is A Skywalker


2019-04-18 01:04:37

Ben Sherlock