Katniss’ Red Fire dress


One of my sisters commissioned me to make this for our youngest sister’s Christmas gift. 🙂 Katniss’ interview “girl on fire” dress from The Hunger Games movie. It differs from the original dress in that I added cap sleeves for modesty. It’s a red silky materiel with an attached ruffle of sparkly red lace, and a red wire ribbon flounce/bow.

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It was fun getting to go back to my old hobby! 😀

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies


I know, this review is late- sorry! Also, it goes without saying, but there are spoilers. Images are from the Hobbit Facebook page.

I feel like there isn’t much to say because, well, it’s basically one big battle. As the title reflects. But here are some thoughts. Before I get started, let me just get out of the way what I didn’t like about this movie and about the Hobbit trilogy in general.

• It’s too long and drawn out. It just feels…”stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread” (Bilbo in FotR).
• The Fili-Tauriel-Legolas love triangle. So ridiculous. And the tension between Legolas and his father Thranduil because the latter doesn’t approve of her. Legolas leaves in the end because of this.
• The title. It was supposed to be called There And Back Again (which would’ve been much better) but with the move to a trilogy, the title was changed to the current one. It made a huge deal of something that took a few pages in the book and sounded like any cheesy action flick.

And I was pretty annoyed that the killing of Smaug was over in like 5 minutes. Bard was such a hero and that part was so spectacular.

20150422-214153.jpg And then- whoop, it was done. That said, this movie was a satisfying ending to the Hobbit trilogy. The focus moves from killing the dragon and taking the mountain to international relations 😛 The Elves have heard of the turn of events and come bringing relief for the people of Dale (which is really decent of them, seeing as how Thorin’s company didn’t even offer after inadvertently unleashing the dragon on the town); they also wouldn’t mind some of the treasure that’s just been freed up. Dale’s mayor and Bard, leaders of the townsfolk, agree to seek some help from Thorin’s company in the Lonely Mountain, as they’ve suffered the brunt of the dragon the company stirred up, and were also responsible for killing it. These both are reasonable requests. 20150421-230751.jpg But Thorin is so full of himself, proud, greedy, struck by gold lust, and absorbed with finding the Arkenstone and being the king that he rejects all attempts to talk. 20150421-230643.jpg He ends up sending for reinforcements and his cousin Dain comes with a Dwarf army. Talk about a mess caused by selfishness and bad communication. Tensions abound. 20150422-210921.jpg20150422-210930.jpg20150422-211617.jpg The White Council also makes an appearance as they go to rescue Gandalf and come upon the Necromancer in Dol Guldor. Elrond, Saruman and Galadriel get some epic fight scenes in. But they made Galadriel use the “dark” mode that was used in “Fellowship” to indicate how she’d become with the power of the Ring. That was weird as she had a strong, good power that she would’ve used to cast down dark powers; she wouldn’t have gone “dark.” There was a great line used by Galadriel in the White Council parts—

“I am not alone.”

While the evil feels confident against just one of the Council, Elrond and Saruman appear, showing that evil flees in the face of united goodness.

Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. -Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

20150421-230541.jpg 20150421-230549.jpg So, battle lines are being drawn between the Elves and Men on one side, and the Dwarves on the other. Bilbo tries to smooth things over by giving the Arkenstone to the Men for them to bargain with, as he knows Thorin really wants it. He totally loses Thorin’s friendship over this. He is courageous and commendable, for all he wants to do is make peace.

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. -Romans 12:18

20150421-230849.jpg Ultimately, Thorin’s cousin Dain arrives with a mass of Dwarves ready for battle intent on “liberating” Thorin’s company from the Lonely Mountain where the Elves and Men have “besieged” them, and a battle appears imminent. Gandalf arrives just in time to refocus them onto the real threat, Azog and Bolg’s huge Orc army arriving just then. So, finally the Elves, Dwarves and Men join forces to defeat the real enemy. There were quite a few heroic scenes as the Dwarves rally behind Thorin, their rightful King. 20150422-210248.jpg Thus, the battle that comprises most of the movie. It was filled with unrealistic but cool stuff, like Legolas jumping UP falling rocks like stairs. The killing of Fili and Kili was definitely not done in the best way either. They fell defending Thorin in the book, so I was expecting a heroic stand, but was quite disappointed. Fili being ambushed was really sad, and worked in the movie story, but Kili’s dying in defense of Tauriel was ridiculous and took the focus off the family bond among Thorin and his nephews. 20150422-212856.jpg But everyone good had a hard time against their foes. Bolg fights Legolas and Thorin and Kili and Tauriel and still is ok. Thorin is killed because of a stupid mistake in not making sure Azog was dead. But it was nice that the book was followed in Bilbo getting knocked out on a rock, and the Eagles saving the day. 🙂 20150422-212549.jpg20150422-212822.jpg So it was sad because three members of the Company were lost. But Thorin and Bilbo part friends. Then Bilbo returns to his home in the Shire only to find his house a mess and his belongings being auctioned off as everyone thinks he’s perished. So it’s not as neat an ending as Return of the King, but it works. The messy houses fades into the scene in the beginning of Fellowship, as Bilbo is making party preparations and Gandalf comes to visit. And totally made me want to watch the LOTR saga again 😀

So though it wasn’t the best Middle Earth movie or even the best of the Hobbit trilogy, this was a nice ending to the Hobbit movie trilogy. And the ending song was just perfect. So sad 😥

And to finish things off, here’s a cool wallpaper generator: http://wallpapergenerator.thehobbit.com

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Review)


(Contains spoilers.)

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Wow! This is now my second favorite Marvel movie, after The Avengers. It’s especially relevant because of all the surveillance going on now. This movie finds Cap in an America dealing with freedom, restrictions, expanding government, privacy, and how to balance it all. And he doesn’t give up on an old friend, which pays off!

Few initial observations:
•The Falcon is a nice addition to the team – a real friend for Cap.
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•Can I just say it’s really annoying whenever someone in Marvel “dies”? 🙄
•The Winter Soldier…wasn’t in the movie as much as I was expecting. The story turned out great anyway, but they only just opened up the possibilities with Bucky here.

I like how the privacy intrusions committed by SHIELD and the government all turn out to be bad, because Hydra is revealed to be in charge. The movie makes a excellent point about how complacency, apathy, and backing down results in a loss of our freedom.

Dr. Arnim Zola: “HYDRA was founded on the belief that humanity could not be trusted with its own freedom. What we did not realize was that if you tried to take that freedom, they resist. The war taught us much. Humanity needed to surrender its freedom willingly. … HYDRA created a world so chaotic that humanity is finally ready to sacrifice its freedom to gain its security. … People will fight for their freedom if people try to take it from them. But if you cause enough trouble, people will willingly give up their freedom for a more secure world.”

“Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.” -Thomas Jefferson

Steve Rogers: “Don’t let control take the place of freedom!”

As SHIELD crumbles, Cap and Natasha Romanoff are forced to go on the run.

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The unstable situation is reflected close to home for Cap as he observes Natasha’s style—one of being willing to do anything, to play the games and tell the lies, in order to stay alive and do her spy work. Cap, on the other hand, holds to moral standards. And that’s refreshing to see in this day and age.

Nick Fury: “Now Agent Romanoff is comfortable with everything.”

Natasha Romanoff: “I find that it’s easier to keep your true self buried under several layers of untrue selves, to protect yourself.”
Steve Rogers: “That’s not a good way to live.”
Natasha Romanoff: “No, but it’s a good way not to die.”

God doesn’t ask us to sway our standards with changing situations; following God’s Word ensures success.

The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established; he will not be afraid, until he sees his desire upon his enemies.
– Psalm 112:6b-8

He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.
– Deuteronomy 23:4

Through it all, as Captain America fights for right, others join him. His dedication to truth, honesty, and friendship influence those around him to those things as well. His shining example is the cause of much good in this movie.

Steve Rogers: “The price of freedom is high, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay!”

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Random Thoughts #12: Actually, foods, & these kids


1st graders playing “pretend” during recess:
“Okay, and pretend I didn’t care.”
“No, pretend you did.”

Oh hey! Those peanut-flavored Cheetos things I talked about last time? Dipped them in frosting and they tasted much better 😀 Vanilla was best XD

I actually like those apples that wrinkle up when they get dry. Yum 🙂 I need to do that drying apple slices for snacks thing.

The captions on our iPad got messed up so the first lines of dialogue came below and subsequent lines came on top. And now Elrond talks like Yoda. XD

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When jump ropes tucked into little girls’ back collars and drifting down onto the floor turn them into Rapunzel…that’s imagination for ya!

Interesting is… A pair of women’s pants that are “raisin” in color.

This kid had a toy truck that actually folded out into Optimus Prime 😎

However did this knot get into this single strand of my hair?

Why do all the pictures of Sleeping Beauty have her in a pink dress, when for most of the movie she’s actually in a blue dress? Besides her waltzing about the forest in a peasant dress, she goes into the castle, pricks her finger, falls asleep, is woken up, and dances with the prince ALL in a blue dress. The only times her dress is pink are when it’s being made and during her wedding dance, at which times the fairies are alternating it between blue and pink. But in all the common Disney princess pictures, her dress is pink. 😕

My littlest brother to older sisters: “Can you do me a favor? Can you make more fireworks?” It was so cute, particularly because he’d never before used that first sentence 🙂

Chili hot dogs are better than chili cheeseburgers.

My littlest brother had a hard time understanding why, when my sister had an earache, she got shots in her arms and legs, not her ears.

Once you start eating it, it’s hard to stop. You do realize I’m talking about watermelon, right? 😉

This lady was wearing a plain grey-and-white striped maxi dress, but she’d jazzed it way up by adding a hat, hair tie, earrings, necklace, belt, purse, and sandals—all silver and sparkly. Completely transformed it 😎

Teal and bright cherry red. At first, they’re a bit of a jarring sight when you see them on alternating nails, but after some time they actually seem to meld pretty well.

An out-of-towner accidentally drove his car into a deep ditch on the side of a country road. Luckily a farmer happened by with his big old horse named Benny.
The man asked for help. The farmer said Benny could pull his car out. So he backed Benny up and hitched Benny to the man’s car bumper.
Then he yelled, “Pull, Nellie, pull.”
Benny didn’t move.
Then he yelled, “Come on, pull Ranger.”
Still, Benny didn’t move.
Then he yelled really loud, “Now pull, Fred, pull hard.”
Benny just stood.
Then the farmer nonchalantly said,
“Okay, Benny, pull.”
Benny pulled the car out of the ditch.
The man was very appreciative but curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times.
The farmer said, “Oh, Benny is blind, and if he thought he was the only one pulling he wouldn’t even try.”

I think this joke actually has a point. Unlike Benny, we do have others around us who are on the same mission. Reminded me of this verse: “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18).

Don’t despair, there are others out there who still love God and want to follow Him!

Summer kids movies: “Earth to Echo” & “Dragon 2”


At my work (daycare), we took the kids to see a couple kids movies recently: “Earth to Echo” and “How to Train Your Dragon 2.” Here’s what I thought 🙂 (Contains spoilers.)

Earth to Echo

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“Earth to Echo” is a movie about how some kids find a lost alien and help it get to its spaceship and get home. Just some initial observations: it’s filmed like the boys are filming it with handheld cameras, each of the pre-teen boys has his own cell phone, and they use the word “Dude” way too much. You’d think it’s a nice kids movie and all, but it actually features kids breaking rules and doing all the wrong things. But somehow that’s ok because of their quest to help the cute little alien. Quite the “ends justify the means” story.

The movie makers made the story so that these kids “have” to do all these things you’d never want your kid doing. Like lying to their parents and sneaking out of the house. Like sneaking out to bike out to the desert at night. Like going into a bar and to a wild teenager party (dim lights, drinking, dancing, women, and all). Like stealing and driving (on the road!) a car and a truck. Like avoiding and fighting police because they’re conveniently the bad guys. Like chatting about “hot” girls and kissing. Like breaking and entering. AND did I mention that these kids can’t be more than 12 or 13?! And the only kid who has any moral scruples and protests is made fun of, and then ends up just going along.

Oh, but they help the little alien escape the bad guys and get away to its home. Yeah, it’s got a message of friendship as these kids face danger, help each other, make friends with the alien, and grow to appreciate each other more…all while disobeying their parents and breaking the law… Which is supposed to make all that bad stuff not so bad at all? Quite fitting that the company that made it is named “Relativity Media” 🙄

All in all, not a recommend. This is no family-friendly movie.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

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I haven’t seen the first one in this series, but that didn’t seem to be a problem; this story was good on its own.

Dragons. They used to be the terror of the Viking village, but now the people have learned to get along with them and have domesticated some. But now rumors fly of a stranger who’s capturing dragons for a dragon army of his own, which he’ll mind control using a huge “Alpha” dragon, and then use to terrify the villages into submission. How do they stop him?

This story does stay true to the real meaning of family as a close-knit unit, though there are some problems at first.
• Hiccup has grown some years, and it’s time for him to get ready to take over as chief, but he doesn’t want to be chief, and ignores his father’s talk and training to go exploring. By the end, though, he does accept this responsibility.
• Hiccup disagrees with his father on how to handle the hostile stranger, thinking he can go and talk him into a peaceful solution (he is later shown to be wrong about this, and realizes it). Yeah, the peaceful way doesn’t always work.
• But the strangest thing regards Hiccup’s mother, who believed dragons were good even during the wars against them. She was presumed dead in a dragon raid when Hiccup was a baby, but was actually carried away, and in this movie, is revealed to have been living with the dragons for 20 years because she chose them over her family life (she didn’t know that the villagers and dragons are now friends). That, I thought, was not a right choice at all, and surprising for a mother to leave her baby (Hiccup). But when Hiccup and his father find her, she is apologetic for her selfishness and agrees to return, so that was good. The whole family fights together in a battle, which is very neat. Family is encouraged in this film.

Another positive message is the one of how powerful unity is. Hiccup’s friends don’t desert him in tough situations. He and his family together are a formidable force in battle. All the dragons standing together defeat the huge “Alpha.” Shows what being united and brave can do 😎

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
– Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

This movie was better than I expected. Still some things to think about, but a good movie overall.

Random Thoughts #11: Combos, stories, & opinions


So when is the Hobbit 3 trailer coming??

Some granola bars are actually better half-melted and smooshed.

5-year-old’s advice to her sister during dinner: “This doesn’t taste good. So don’t eat it.”

I had these “peanut puffs” that just tasted like peanut-butter flavored Cheetos. They didn’t taste any better than they sound.

So, I watched Monsters U and Monsters, Inc. in that order. I don’t see why Inc is said to be so much better than U. I think it’s the other way around. U has nice characters and lessons. Mike’s determination and Sully’s change from a spoiled brat are great concepts, especially coming from Disney. But Inc is just a cutesy story about the little girl and Sully while Mike is off chasing a girl. So yeah, I like U better than Inc. Am I the only one?

At work, the smell of grilling onions and burgers was wafting from the neighboring apartments. All day. C’mon guys, don’t torture us like this…

Wait, so, are “Klingons” bad?

Someone else used to have the phone number I now have, and people keep calling for the previous owner(s?). Once I got a message, presumably from the previous number-owner’s boss asking if he could sub at work. Today I got someone leaving a message in Spanish for “Luis” and saying it was “muy importante” 😕 Well I wish I could help…

Beef jerky and potato chips: the dinner of champions. Or road trippers. Or both. (No, really, I love the stuff 8) )

I’m a reader. So, when a little 1st grade girl was trying to read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I thought it was so cute. Girl after my heart 🙂

Ahhhh my favorite TV series is breaking for the summer! 😦

“If you crush up bone you can make bone smoothies.” -kindergarten boy. Weeeeeell, yeah, technically. But I don’t know about you, but that’s not the first thing I think of to put in a smoothie. Though I do have a sister who used to gnaw on chicken bones.

Hey! Get some raw chicken breast, potatoes, and carrots. Dice it all up. Wrap it up in a foil pouch with some barbecue sauce or ranch. Then stick it in the hot coals of a campfire till cooked through. Then eat. Best. Thing. Ever.

Wonder what we’re having for dinner. It should involve potatoes. Or cheese. Or both.

Some American kids don’t call PB&Js PB&Js.

Speaking of combos, mercy and truth is an awesome one.

“All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.”
~Psalm 25:10

“Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before Thy face.”
~Psalm 89:14

“Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.”
~Proverbs 3:3-4

“the Tree and the Stars”


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There are banners, there are jerkins…and now, there are car decals, all emblazoned with the White Tree of Gondor 😀

Random thoughts #10: Advertisements, Sherlock Holmes, & Shirley Temple


Let’s talk pizza. Actually let’s just eat pizza.

“I am inclined to think—” said I.
“I should do so,” Sherlock Holmes remarked impatiently.
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: “The Valley of Fear”

Melon milk candy. You wouldn’t think those flavors would work (at least I didn’t), but they do #newKoreanfood #yumm

The next best thing to eating food is reading about it. For instance. Smooth chocolate pudding, bittersweet chocolate cookie crumbs, and light whipped cream combined in the goodness that is chocolate mousse pie. Didn’t that make you hungry? 😉 That ad is copyright starshining4ever, btw 😉

Elenda. It’s a street name but it sounds so Elvish!

Snow White in the animated Disney movie acts kinda like the little Shirley Temple.

Hey kid, let’s not hit your classmate with that basketball, ok? Thanks.

Suspect: “How do you know that?”
Holmes: “I followed you.”
Suspect: “I saw no one.”
Holmes: “That is what you may expect to see when I follow you.”
#likeaboss

Anyone else think that Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz acts too young for her looks? They should’ve gone with the younger Shirley Temple for the role, which they were originally planning to do.

Saw a guy who looked like an older Tony Stark wearing a Captain America T-shirt.

I have yet to taste a cheese I didn’t like.

Online ads sure are funny. You research for your planned medieval-style doll dresses, and then there are these ads for online fantasy/medieval role playing games everywhere.

When some company advertises themselves as “the most trusted name in…” or “most loved” or “most famous” and I’m like, Then how come I’ve never heard of you before now? 😕

Lestrade to Sherlock Holmes: “We have every hope of clearing the matter up, but we find a little difficulty in getting anything to work upon.” Uh-huh. Only every time.
And Sherlock, after solving said crime: “I should prefer that you do not mention my name at all in connection with the case, as I choose to be only associated with those crimes which present some difficulty in their solution.” Got a reputation to keep, you know.

Pre-K girl: “My teeth aren’t working, because I went to the dentist.” Can anyone relate? 🙄

If you lose yourself
Your courage soon will follow
So be strong
Remember who you are

-“Sound the Bugle,” Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

“In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” Romans 8:37

Remember who you are.

Random thoughts #9: Kids, storms, dolls, & cool movies


Maria Miranda. That’s a tongue-twister of a company name.

Now the kindergarten girls are reenacting Frozen. Save me…

An unusually smart kindergartener: “Do you know why I like burnt orange? It’s so realistic.” Is that pessimistic or something?

Sailing, sailing…

Just saw the Tooth Fairy from Rise of the Guardians doing a commercial for tooth brushing. Y’know, ever since seeing her in that movie, I’ve wanted to do something artsy with multicolored feathers and blue sequins.

When you face into the wind and a little piece of something flies straight into your eye, like it was aiming 😡

Anna and Elsa dolls are accompanying kindergarten girls to school and staring annoyingly at me >.< But the seamstress in me admires the costumes and looks forward to coming up with my own versions 😀

Clever 😉

Handful of blue M&Ms

“He’s looking for a green jacket…” Normally this would be mundane, but not at the Masters. Yeah, I only just learned that people who win golf tournaments are given green jackets because the golf tournament was playing on TV at a friend’s house.

Never knew there were so many ways to go across monkey bars. The things you learn from kids…

Speaking of which, a kindergartener was singing “Let It Go,” which is nothing new. What was new was that she was singing it IN KOREAN. She’d translated it herself. Ai yi yi.

Pacific Rim. The cleanest Hollywood action movie I’ve seen. And also very cool. Spectacular humongous reptiles and robots, awesome fights, storms galore, cool future brain technology, amazing soundtrack, and a good message 😎

You calm the storms in my life
And give me hope to live
You guide me and lead me
Every day
Nothing will I fear
As long as You are near
Please hold me
Closely by Your side

-“Times,” Freddy Joseph

There’s the cutest little kid at my school’s daycare. Dreamworks’ “Joseph” movie was on. This kindergartener said, “Oh, I know that story” and proceeded to give a rundown of it, ending with, “And then Joseph got back to his father, and the brothers were on time out or something.” 😆

“That’s paying for brains, you see—the American business principle.”
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: “The Valley of Fear.”
😉

I do love me a good, long, comfy denim skirt 😀

This is a great movie any time, but especially at Easter time. He is risen! He has conquered!!

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Awesome action movies!


Last week we got to see “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug” at a theater 😀 Review is coming, but until then, here are some thoughts on some movies we saw over the summer.

Some time after several highly-anticipated movies came out in the summer, they came to a nearby dollar theater and, one day, tickets were $1/person instead of the $2 they normally are. So we went and got to see 3 movies!! 😀 It. Was. Completely. Awesome. We saw “Man of Steel,” “The Lone Ranger,” and “Iron Man 3.”

This was the second time some of us had seen “Man of Steel,” but the first time for our younger siblings. I really like how he is such a moral character (very different from, say, Iron Man). Some great quotes too:

Somewhere out there you have another father, who gave you another name. And he sent you here for a reason.

The symbol of the House of El means hope. Embodied within that hope is the fundamental belief the potential of every person to be a force for good.

One day, you’re going to have to make a choice. You have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be. Whoever that man is, good character or bad, it’s going to change the world.

We are fans of the 1950s “The Lone Ranger” TV series with Clayton Moore and
Jay Silverheels. So I was really pretty apprehensive about “The Lone Ranger” movie, especially after the couple of movie versions that were disasters before this one. But this movie was much better than I’d thought it would be 🙂 They did a good job making Cavendish a real terrifying villain (there’s one pretty grusome scene with him), but then also having a whole big scheme behind him. I wish they’d left out the whole romance between the Lone Ranger and his brother’s wife 😐 And there are some scenes involving immodest women. But the scenery and action are great! It was like they took the main ideas of the Lone Ranger in the TV series (especially how he started), but then added more backstory and a bunch of humor. Though if you’ve seen a lot of the old TV shows there’ll be neat little things you’ll notice 😉 The music was the best part—I love Hans Zimmer’s music 😎

“Iron Man 3” (which I’d not even seen a trailer for before we watched it!) was also better than I was anticipating. The finale was pretty spectacular. 😎 And the Mandarin…I won’t even put the appropriate emoticon here because it would give everything away! I like this one best of the Iron Man series 😀

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