Alternative Media (Part 4): Realistic Fantasies

With my last article, I exposed how the Pinoy fantasy genre is degrading the minds of the Filipino people. As already mentioned, I still think there are a few fantaseryes worth looking into from time to time. Encantadia was actually pretty good because of the way it presented fae that were neither bad nor good and were every bit as flawed as human beings and there was the show Hirayamanawari aired during the 90’s that focused on a different story every episode. However, since then, I have very rarely seen a good fantasy show that doesn’t show cliched characters and erroneous themes that are being adapted into real life by the unthinking youths of today.

Incal LightSo now, I will focus on foreign fantasy media that might be more informative to our less-than-informed fellows…

The Lord of the Rings

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Yes, I know about the movies. Don’t rely too much on them. Peter Jackson did a good job but if you really want to understand the spirit of the story, you should read the books. Well, I admit that they are kind of complicated so let me just point out the more important details here for you.

The story goes that somewhere in the world of Middle-Earth, the medieval fantasy world that went on to inspire other worlds like Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer just to name a few, is the One Ring. An ancient and terrible artifact that can make one a god of sorts. But while certainly powerful, the One Ring comes with great consequences for those who wear it.

As the saying that “absolute power corrupts absolutely”, the same can be said about the One Ring. Regardless of what people may tell you, power of very high magnitude always has a very strong intoxicating effect and it is every bit as real in the real world as it is in Middle-Earth. That is why the heroes of the story, the fabled Fellowship of the Ring go forth to destroy it once and for all as power provided by the One Ring can never be hidden forever.

Gollum, the monstrous ghoulish creature that has been widely popularized by the films is the logical conclusion of someone who has held the ring for too long. Instead of being able to die peacefully, the ring simply forces him to live on in abject misery while yearning for the ring. Like an addiction, he knows that the ring has essentially turned him into a monster, but he cannot let go now that it has taken hold of his very being.

Like those who seek out the One Ring for its power, many politicians of today seek out political power with what is initially good intentions. However, as time goes on, their need for power changes their outlook on life until they become similar to Gollum spiritually and mentally.

Now, the One Ringits history and its powers are but a small portion of what Lord of the Rings is all about so, if you want to know more, I suggest you go read the rest of it.

Neverwinter Nights

Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2 are games created by the company Bioware, the same people who made the famous Mass Effect and Dragon Age. While these are works of fantasy, you can gain a good understanding of the weight of choices. This is certainly not a game for simple or easy thinking. If you want the best endings, you need to decide on how you approach others and how you interact with your fellows. Also note that you also control how your character develops throughout the game, whether you want them to become better at crafting items, strong enough to carry more equipment or smart enough to talk others into seeing things your way and avoid fights.

While certainly old and with outdated graphics, the Neverwinter Nights games are probably among some of my favorites because of the free reign you are given as a player character. I will also note that while Neverwinter Nights can be played at a casual pace, to really make the best choices and understand the game better, you need to pay attention to what’s going on and what you should be doing.

Star Gate

Yeah, I know it’s kind of old now, so sue me. Go on, you have every right to do so.

Anyway, this one all started with a film back in the 90’s that starred James Spader and Kurt Russel. In the original movie, they fought what seemed to be the Egyptian gods who turned out to be aliens with superior technology. They kept humanity in the dark about their true nature and seemed to just insist on their godhood both because it cowed people into subservience and because it was simply too difficult for them to comprehend the idea that everything they were seeing was the result of applied knowledge and not magic.

The film went on to spawn a TV series that continued the story of the characters, albeit portrayed by new actors and actresses and even added in a vast array of new characters. They went on to meet various other deities from other pantheons who turned out to be aliens as well.

On the whole, what I loved about this show is how they brought down the levels of the so-called “gods” to just “aliens”. Well, they were certainly advanced, the show showed that they were not without flaws or weaknesses that could be exploited by the heroes.

Now, what I’m trying to point out here is that many of our fellows worship politicians, celebrities and other famous people as gods these days, thanks partially to the misguided use of social media. I sometimes wish we had a show like Star Gate or at least something that makes fun of famous or powerful people, as one commenter once suggested, so we can finally avoid issues of idolatry in our country. While I do hold religious beliefs, I will say that no one of us is a god and that we are all essentially equals due to our mortality and frailty as human beings.

12 Replies to “Alternative Media (Part 4): Realistic Fantasies”

    1. Balawis could be considered a form of sci-fi I think.

      Batang X, for all its cheesiness had something going for it. While Gunslinger Girl is probably better in terms of originality, I still think it’s worth a look and perhaps a makeover.

      Rounin by Erik Mati (sort of I guess).

    2. The closest Filipinos ever came to Sci-fi are the E.T rip-offs: Tekke and Kokey. Unfortunately, they’re just as campy and cheesy as almost any Filipino movie.

    3. I recall a Filipino mecha movie (yes, believe it) some years back, Resiklo, with Bong Revilla. Another older film is Sagupaan: Huling Digmaan, which I will try to watch one time. My all time favorite among Filipino movies is the weird fantasy film Salamangkero, with Michael De Mesa. On series, there was Extranghero, and another groups of superhero kids whose team name I forgot (no, it’s not Pintados). And if you’ve read Pinoy Funny Komiks, there was a robot named Combatron.

  1. From the last article, my recommendations are Berserk and Shrek.

    Berserk, because despite it being fantasy, the characters are completely human as most of them react to things like normal people do as well as exploring themes such as humanity, dreams, religion and the lives inside and outside of kingdoms. (Kinda like Game of Thrones except with more demons and a badass with a huge sword)

    Shrek because it puts the fairytale genre to the test as the main character, an ogre keeps defying fairytale tropes by being creative and doing things his way.

  2. Lord of the Rings portrays the “power of the ring”…”absolute power, corrupts absolutely”…so, the Ring must be destroyed.

    Stargate is some sort of a “portal” from the Planet Earth, to go to other planets, dimensions, planes, etc…Technical people are looking for those “space holes”, from which men can travel beyond the speed of light.

    It can be thru our: consciouness, subconciousness, or superconsciousness…I don’t know. However, I believe in those UFOs, and Extra Terrestrial Beings. How they travel, beyond the speed of light, still astonishes me…

  3. neverwinternight is awesome and nostalgic.
    do you know Phoenix Wright game series? Popular on nintendo consoles. It is a strategy game where you play as a defense lawyer, talking to people intuitively, finding evidence, judging the verdict, examine the npc’s testimony and other lawyer stuff. the enemy lawyers you fight will have their own style. every series have 5 cases and each of it are different, long and difficult. it needs nerves, patience and over-thinling to finish the game. you can play the game via emulators.

  4. @ Grimwald: PLEASE show me the Filipino politician that has entered political life with ‘initially good intentions’ ? Could you point out even one? DOUBT IT !
    These POS come from ‘Family Dynasties’ that have one goal, and one goal only.

    1. Ramon Magsaysay. I think. I would also include Marcos as well in that list. His intentions to bring order are good but, like Sauron from LotR, his lust for power and wealth corrupted him.

  5. The fate of every democracy, of every government based on the sovereignty of the people, depends on the choices it makes between these opposite principles, absolute power on the one hand, and on the other the restraints of legality and the authority of tradition.

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