Skip to main content

Arts & Entertainment

“The Umbrella Academy” is a new take on superheroes shows

By Savinie Lin

The new Netflix show “The Umbrella Academy” has met positive criticism for its cast and visuals.Photo By: Wikimedia Commons

  TV shows and movies involving superheroes are a way for audiences to get a look at their life behind the powers and the fighting. Sometimes I feel that a lot of shows and movies involving superheroes are repetitive or have similar ideas. However, “The Umbrella Academy” defies all the classic storylines with a darker outlook on the lives of the protagonists and answers the question, “What happens to the heroes after their peak?”

  Personally, I enjoy action shows and movies that revolve around superheroes, and, despite the countless clichés and antagonists who often have the same reason for their crimes, each of them have their own charms. “The Umbrella Academy” doesn’t give a perfect image of the characters and rather glorifies their flaws instead of trying to hide them.

  Developers Steve Blackman and Jeremy Slater have the storyline follow the comic books under the same name and revolves around a dysfunctional superfamily. The Hargreeves are a group of adopted siblings, who went their separate ways after being one of the world’s most famous superhero group. But after the odd death of their father, they reunite to prevent the apocalypse that is going to happen in eight days.

 

  The timeline is set in an alternative universe where President John F. Kennedy was never killed. Although the show is confusing at first, the plot quickly picks up with the revelation that on the 12th hour of October 1st, 1989, 43 women around the world gave birth. But the odd thing is that in the beginning of the day, none of the women were pregnant to begin with.

  What separates this show from all the others is the unapologetic flaws in characters. One is a drug addict; another is a narcissist, and a third being far too controlling, which creates distance between him and the rest of his siblings. All of them are emotionally-stunted adults as a result of their entire lives being spent under a household where their only purpose in life was to be superheroes and go on missions; They were never treated like children and haven’t interacted with anybody other than each other.

  Unlike the source material, one major distinction is the diversity in characters. In the comic books, all the characters are white, but in the show, they’re all diverse. For example, Allison is biracial, Ben Hargreeves is Asian, and Diego is Hispanic.

  Blackman explains why that is with, “The real world is inclusive and diverse, and this family is.”

  The casts acting is some of the strongest I have seen. Aidan Gallagher is a 15-year old actor whose character is a 58-year old man in a preteen body. But his acting sells the image of an adult with his language choice and with and how unnaturally mature his character is compared to the others. Robert Sheens, who plays Klaus Hargreeves, the drug addict brother, acts with a unique flamboyant persona that isn’t exaggerated or too-over-the-top that it isn’t believable. With how odd the characters are in general, the entire cast does an amazing job at portraying them and bringing them to life.

  I really like how the show portrays the characters as someone you can relate to. Whenever I watch these types of shows or movies I often feel that they’re better than me because of their morality or how making the right decision is natural for them. But watching the Hargreeves, who are this renowned group of heroes curse at one another, exclude one of their sisters from everything their plans, and even going as far as killing in some cases, makes me feel that they’re not better than me and that they too have their own flaws.

   "The Umbrella Academy” is a show I’d recommend for those who want a change from the classic superhero storylines or wants to see a hero that isn’t always perfect. The unique characters and storyline bring a whole new definition to what a superhero is. They’re not perfect or morally right, but they’re a family who will do anything to save the world once more.

Netflix series “Elite” shows a very realistic reflection of social injustice.

By: Krystal Liu

All the main characters inthe Netflix drama which called“Elite”. Photo By: Diana Payan

 

  “If we don’t lose ourselves now...when?” said Marina Nunier Osuna, one of the characters in “Elite”. The Netflix series “Elite” is a Spanish teen drama series created and written by Carlos Montero and Darío Madrona, and directed by Ramón Salazar and Dani de la Orden. Life always provide us many challenges. Instead of saying I want life to be equal and fair for everyone, I believe we should fight for our lives, and make our lives own life.

              “Elite” not only talks about what teenagers do in high school, but it also zooms out to connect with our society at large. Three students named Samuel García Domínguez, Christian Varela Expósito, and Nadia Shana, all from working class families, are given scholarships to attend a new school after their previous school, poorly constructed, collapses. Their new school, called Las Encinas, is the most exclusive private school in Spain. Most students at this school are from wealthy or elite families, which leaves these three characters feeling like the odd ones out. Because of these students’ economic class, they are often ridiculed and treated unfairly at their new school. These students felt that the three of them were unfairly treated differently from the other students. The principal even asked Nadia to take off her headscarf, which is an important part of her culture as a Muslim.

            One of the reasons that “Elite” is a good show because it shows both positive and negative things that happen in people’s real life. Working class families struggle for food, quality of life, and money. Working class parents want to give their children a better life, but, with the struggle some of these families go through, children may lose confidence and not go to school everyday because they never realize how important  education is. Even if you live in a wealthy family, you have a brother who protects you, and your parents indulge you, sometimes you will still get into arguments about family business and money.

             This show also uses some episodes to reflect on school violence and rumors. Rumors spread things that are untrue, and we never know how truly hurtful they are. They can escalate from words to violence, which could easily affect people’s whole lives. “Elite” shows the consequences of school violence. It also shows some sex scenes, which show that although sexual behavior is common and healthy in teen’s lives. Still, it shows that it is important to learn about protecting your body and  being able to say “no” to things you are uncomfortable doing.

             High school is meant to be a good memory in our lives. It is a time where everyone can make new friends and even connect with old friends from middle school. At the same time, many students are going through struggles similar to the characters in the show, and the series does a great job showing that.

  This TV show really touches people’s hearts in so many ways. It uniquely  brings many different stories into one series that, if we think deeply, we can relate to our own lives. “Elite” is a movie that, in it’s own special way, tells the stories that happen in this society.

“Apex Legends” is a wonderful game that is still on top

By: David Huang

Starting from (left to right) Bloodhound, Warith, and Gibraltar arethe player in Apex Legend.Photo By: David Huang

 

  “Apex Legends”, a free battle royale game that can be downloaded on Microsoft Windows, Playstation 4, and Xbox One, originally came out on February 4, 2019 and was created by Mackey McCandlish. The game has eight hero’s that you can choose to play with and differs from most battle royale games by incorporating Legends, pre-defined heros with unique abilities that fall into roles such as Offense, Defense, Support and Recon. Players are grouped into squares of three, each player selecting a unique legend in turn and each match featuring up to twenty teams competing with each other to win. All teams start with no equipment and are flown over the game’s map via dropship from a random direction where they drop onto any spot on the map they can reach. Teams scout throughout the game map for weapons, ammunition, and other equipment while fighting to be the last team standing, all while staying within an ever-shrinking safe zone on the map. Players freely gain legend tokens for playing matches as well as for leveling. The game has boxes that you can open which are used to unlock new legends and certain cosmetic items, but if you want all the items in the game, you can pay to get more boxes.

  “Apex Legends” received very positive reviews from critics who praised its gameplay, progression system, and fusion of elements from various genres. Some considered it a worthy competitor to “Fornite Battle Royale”, a similar game that had gained massive popularity in the previous year. The game surpassed two million players on launch day, and saw twenty-five million players in a week.

  “Apex Legends” is a great game, but one that still has a lot of issue with it. Some players say the game always logs them out when in the middle of the game fight or when they are flying off the ship onto the map. As a player of “Apex Legends”, I have that issue when playing as well, but aside from them, I enjoy the game play. I would mainly recommend “Apex Legends” to players that like playing in first shooter.

“The Wandering Earth” has become a milestone in the history of the Chinese Science-Fiction movie genre.

By Tiffany Hu

“The Wandering Earth” original movie poster. Photo by: Ai Yan

 

  “The Wandering Earth” is undoubtedly the best Chinese Science Fiction film that was made in 2019. The movie is basically about saving our planet from destruction due to the sun's expansion, which people are worried will engulf the whole solar system. Consequently, the United World Government (a body that constitutes every country’s president) decide to build large thrusters running on fusion power to propel the Earth away from the sun. After the planetary engines stop the earth’s rotation, people suffer from a catastrophic tsunami. As a solution, the government builds underground cities for the rest of the population to live. But, the gravity of the Jupiter suddenly increases, and the earth has a crustal change which shuts down the planetary engines. In response, the rescue team begins performing tasks to save our planet.

  "The Wandering Earth" was directed by Frant Gwo and is based on the novella which was written by Liu Cixin. The movie had a lack of funding and because of this, took nineteen years to produce. When Gwo finally got the budget to film the movie, he used technology to create splendid looking scenes. The visuals and the music in the film are magnificent. Not only did Gwo put in effort on the screen, but he also did lots of background research to determine the possibility of if the plan to “save the earth” in the film would actually work.

  More than any other Chinese Science Fiction movie I've watched, "The Wandering Earth" used impressively striking CG techniques and special effects. It has become a milestone in the Chinese science fiction movie, grossing over six hundred and fifty-five million at the box office. Besides the special effects, the way that the acting is so realistic and emotional. Further, one of the reasons that I like this movie is, instead of focusing on a certain character, "The Wandering Earth" puts equal emphasis on every character.

    The film is charming. There is an impressive transition of scenes, splendid special effects, top-notch acting, and an interesting plot. I would recommend this movie to every movie lover, especially the ones who are interested in the science fiction genre.

“The Lego Movie 2” is not only for kids

By: Leo Lin

One of the movie poster of The Lego Movie 2 : The Second Part. Photo By : Gianluca Dotti

 

  Many people might think that Lego movies are for kids, but actually, a lot of adults find the new “The Lego Movie 2“ very entertaining. “The Lego 2”  is a computer-animated comedy adventure movie released on February 8, 2018. This movie was produced by Warner Animation Group and directed by Mike Mitchell. Chris Pratt and Elizabeth Banks were cast in the film to voice characters Emmet and Wyldstyle.

  This movie follows the events from the first film. Two heroes who save the world, Emmet and Lucy, moved to the west thinking that they can finally be able to relax and enjoy life. After the evil army leader and his army invade the world, Lucy, Batman, Benny, and other heroes get defeated and taken away when they fight against the army. Emmet drives the spacecraft to space to save his friends, but has many challenges, and meets the famous Reis Danjevit.

  In the first Lego movie, the animation is very creative and the most profound point is the relationship between characters in the LEGO world. It reflects the relationship between father and son in real life. There are also contrast between reality and the imaginary world. A fight between sister and brother made the LEGO world a disaster. However, because of Emmit, the timeline was changed, and brother and sister reconcile and share their LEGO world.

  For younger audiences, this movie might be just a simple entertaining movie with creative animation and exciting plots. For older people, this movie is about growth, one’s identity, and the losses and gains when growing up. You’ll remember you’re naive, embarrassing moments. What’s important is not how to forget those moments, but instead to think about how they will benefit you in the future. You will think about whether one day you will become your father, and if that is the future you want.

  I would recommend this movie. It is entertaining and very creative. I think that people would find something that is important to them in it.

Netflix’s ‘Sex Education” is a trailblazer for inclusivity and diversity in TV shows

By Olive Savoie

The characters Maeve, Otis, and Eric of “Sex Education” are pic-tured together leaning on the lockers in their hallway in the show’scover.  Photo By: Xander Donahue

 

  Teens’ hearts were stolen in early January when director Laurie Nunn’s “Sex Education” was released on Netflix. The show created a buzz amongst teens, who were “binge-watching” it all the way through within only the first few days of release.

  The show is a fun, fresh story following the life of a teenage boy whose single mother works as a sex therapist. Otis, an “entrepreneur” of sorts, is encouraged by his friends to start an underground service providing peers advice on sexual health in exchange for money.

  Filmed in a lush and colorful environment, the show is visually reminiscent of an 80’s show (upbeat music, neon headbands, scrunchies, and all). It is fast-paced; you will never be bored watching an episode. The awkward situations the characters find themselves in also make the show exceptionally funny. But the show is much more than simply an energetic and sex-centered piece of media, like many shows that draw a teenage audience. “Sex Education” reaches deep into our cultural stereotypes to disband them.  

  Of the diverse cast of characters, it seems there is someone in the show for everyone to identify with and see themselves in. Centerstage in the cast are: Otis, a socially awkward boy who is incredibly shy around his crushes, Maeve, a rebel girl who, along with attending girl punk-rock concerts, and is simultaneously an avid reader of feminist literature and Eric, Otis’s exuberant and unapologetically gay best friend.

  Despite this diverse cast, some argue that the show perpetuates harmful stereotypes. Otis fits both the stereotypes of the “gay best friend” and also the “black best friend,” seemingly secondary to the heterosexual, white lead. Similarly, the show depicts scenes where the “mean girl” stereotype is projected, pitting women against each other. These harmful stereotypes are difficult to avoid in any story, as they so commonly reflect the boxes society puts us in, but it does devalue the groundbreaking-ness of the show.

  However, the show, even with its stereotypes, does an excellent job bringing in different viewpoints. The single mother, who is capable and strong; the tough jock who allows his emotion to be shown and the quirky, artistic girl who is not ostracized as depicted many times before in TV.  

  The media often has unrealistic and unhealthy views of sexual health and relationships, “Sex Education” is an important show for teenagers to watch so that we may understand more about ourselves and the people around us. With the wide range of usually underrepresented identities, the show opens up a conversation about the importance of diversity and representation. It is laid out playfully but meaningfully tackles the struggles women go through with contraceptives and accidental pregnancies, the problems queer people face in society, and the ways that toxic masculinity can be dissolved. It also starts a necessary conversation about how to have and maintain healthy relationships.

  “Sex Education” is for you if you’re a fan of drama-packed, refreshingly honest, comedic, and romance filled shows. The characters are easy to love, and you can’t help but cheer for them when they make the team; earn the grade; get the guy; or kiss the girl. In no way is the plot predictable, and each episode bring a surprise. Be sure to clear your schedule if you decide to watch the show because once you watch one episode, I guarantee you’ll get hooked and watch them all!