In the interest of furthering human understanding on such an important topic, and in an extension of my previous Fantasy Monster Fights, most notably of the Vampire vs. the Werewolf, we must contemplate the result of a fight between a dragon and… well, anything else. Perhaps I display my biases here, but to me, a dragon is the ultimate killing machine. Or at least, it should be. I have always loved dragons. In my early childhood, I was a great fan of dinosaurs, and this naturally evolved into a love of dragons. Dragons rule! Hence, the name of my website: “A Toast to Dragons.”
Anyway, back to the discussion. What makes dragons so formidable? Well, I think good ol’ Smaug from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” said it best: “My armour is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!” Truly, a devastating array of attributes. And if we go further, and draw from the AD&D tradition, dragons are also capable of spell-use. As if they needed it. What could possibly stand before one?
A vampire? I think not. A full blast of flaming breath would reduce one to dusty ash. A werewolf? Him neither. The dragon has the size and strength to rip him apart with ease. A zombie? Heck, I’ll give you fifty zombies; nay, a hundred, and I’ll still vote with the dragon. Oh, I forgot to mention that dragons can fly. So, it could be a thousand zombies, and as long as they were land-bound (which zombies generally are), they wouldn’t stand a chance. The dragon would just fly above them, and breathe fire, incinerating them in large swathes until all were gone. To be honest, the only creatures that I think would give a dragon trouble, or might actually beat a dragon, would be a demon. Like… like… Lubrochius, the Eater of Souls (hah! I had to get a plug in for my book somewhere! J ) And if you are pitting them against demons, you could just as easily pit them against an angel or a god. But that’s really stretching the monster resource bag. I mean, really? Must we reach into the afterlife to find a sufficiently powerful foe to contend with?
No, dragons are the apex predators. They are just too big, too strong, too well-protected, and too-capable with their breath and spells. Oh, again with the AD&D tradition, there’s also things like generating fear and such. But that doesn’t seem to be so much a magical ability, as it is the preponderance of common sense that overtakes a victim once he sees a dragon. It’s a dragon! Run for your lives!
And so, the dragon is and always shall be the undisputed ruler of all fantasy worlds. In my humble opinion, that is.
I was never a huge fan of the Howling film series when it came out—what was that, the 80’s maybe? There was one exception, though, I think it was “Howling Five,” set in a castle where a werewolf was systematically killing off a group of guests, or something like that. That was probably one of the more suspenseful and better werewolf movies I’ve ever seen. Anyway, on a kind of spur of the moment type thing, a friend and I sat down to watch the movie “The Howling, Reborn” the other night.
“The Howling, Reborn” tells the story of Will Kidman, a young teenager soon to graduate from High School. Suffering the usual bullies and whatnot from his school, Will earns particular ire for his interest in classmate Eliana Wynter. But things rapidly take a turn for the worse, and before he knows it, he is on his way to becoming a werewolf and he and Eliana are pitted against a growing army of such creatures intent upon wreaking horrible destruction upon humanity. And only the two love-struck high-schoolers can stop them.
Overall, I thought the storyline was decent. It held me interested for most of the movie. It wasn’t exceptional, by any means, but original enough with a few clever surprises here and there to make it worthwhile. The special effects, however, were pretty lame. The werewolves looked like 80’s Halloween costumes. A far cry from say the more recent “The Wolfman” movie where the transformations were chillingly realistic.
Anyway, if you can put with the cheesy special effects and you are into werewolves, you might enjoy the movie. I’ll give it three out of five stars.
This seems to be a common theme on a number of web sites I’ve stumbled across. I got nothing else to write about today, so I might as well address it. There are people who, in all seriousness, are asking whether vampires really exist. Take this article, for example. The writer suggests that there is evidence for the existence of real vampires (specifically the similarity in certain vampire-like legends across multiple cultures) and then goes on to argue that since it has not been proven one way or the other, he/she chooses to remain open to the possibility to the extent that he/she takes precautions.
It may be worthwhile to analyze this question objectively. I studied analytical philosophy in college, so I have a better grasp of epistemological concerns than most people. And though the “existence” of a vampire is a metaphysical concern, our knowledge or lack thereof is an epistemological one.
Is it possible that vampires exist? Yes. It is possible. Just… not… bloody… likely! One of the first tenets of rational thinking I learned in philosophy is that you can’t prove a negative. You can’t prove that vampires DON’T exist because the universe is just two vast and varied. Proving they don’t exist would entail somehow being aware of everything happening in all of reality all at once. Human minds are finite. Even when grouped together. There will always be some corner of reality that remains unexplored where the vampire might be hiding. Let me correct myself, though. Some things you can prove don’t exist because they aren’t even thinkable; specifically, contradictions. Contradictions are objects which possess at least two characteristics which effectively negate each other. For example, round squares do not exist. There is no object that is both round and square in the same way at the same time; and no, octagons do not count as a counter-example. Then there is the realm of the silly. Such things might exist if there are no natural bounds on reality and all our scientific “knowledge” is either false or just far too-limited to encompass reality. Traditional vampires, nosferatu, undead, werewolves, fairies, unicorns, and other monsters–they all fall in here. To make it mathematical (although in a somewhat subjective way), we can rank a creatures possibility to exist on a scale where a 0 means the object is known to not exist (a contradiction), and 10 denotes that it most certainly does (your self-awareness), I would put vampires and their like in the region of 1.
So, as I said, vampires may exist, but they just aren’t very likely. You can, of course, play with the definition of the creature. Traditional vampires, also known as nosferatu, are undead. That means they are basically a corpse that has been imbued with a certain echo of life. They were formerly human, transformed into an evil monster by another such creature, and filled with an insatiable lust for human blood. If you stop there, you might be able to find something sort of like that in nature (although I would nix the undead aspect). There are humans who drink blood, some who even think they are vampires, but this is most probably a psychological disorder not a state of being that grants super-cosmic powers. The more powers you add from the traditional myth, the less probable you make finding that creature a reality. Are there creatures who, through innate ability, can control the weather? Probably not. Can transform into mist? Probably not. Can change into a wolf or bat? Probably not. Etc… If there is a common origin to the vampire myth in nature it is unlikely that it resembles our notions of the traditional vampire, except in the most vague, round-a-bout way. With that in mind, I don’t intend to take any precautions against vampires, nosferatu, undead, werewolves, dragons, or any other monster from myth for that matter. Dracula was based on a real man, Vlad Tepes. And though Vlad Tepes was certainly evil, he was just a man, not undead, just a cruel tyrant. Dracula, as vampire, is myth.
This is the fourth installment (I believe) in the Underworld series. I’m more a sword and sorcery guy, but vampires and werewolves suit me, too. I saw the movie this afternoon. Overall, I’d give it about three out of five stars. It was okay, wasn’t spectacular. I think the Underworld series is doing the opposite of the Star Trek series. In Star Trek all the even numbered members of the series were exceptional, the odd ones were pretty humdrum (except III–I think). In Underworld, the odd numbers rule, while the even ones are a bit lackluster.
There was a lot of blood, guts, and killing in the movie. That will appeal to some viewers; I, however, like a better developed plotline. This one had a pretty basic plot–which in some ways is good because it’s easy to follow–there were even a couple interesting… I’ll call them developments instead of twists. Logically, the movie held together well… those things that made me go, “Huh? What?” were explained by the end of the movie. And that’s good. Still, there were several incidents which I’d seen before in other movies particularly in the big battle at the end (can we say “Pirates of the Caribbean”–sorry for the spoiler–there was even stuff borrowed from “The Matrix” earlier in the movie). I guess the biggest weakness was that I think it was kind of formulaic. The “cool” developments I mentioned above were not enough to make the movie stand out. The plot was too linear and the movie only lasted a little over ninety minutes, so I walked away feeling that something was missing. There were really only four different settings and the movie as a whole seemed largely a compilation of shots of Kate Beckinsale looking “cool” in black leather, kicking butt, and taking names. Which are all good things, but not enough on their own to carry the day.
Anyway, like I said: three stars out of five. It’s all right for a single viewing and to pass an afternoon, but I’ll won’t go out of my way to see it a second time.