My time in Hell and other whimsical tales.

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It teaches the audience what its own heroes failed to learn: to love carefully, wisely, and without falsehood. But above all it teaches that sometimes, no matter your intent, fate has a hand in the way your story progresses. Sometimes you can do everything right, and still fall. Star Wars has always had fascinating planets with beautiful — if not deadly — scenery and ambiance, but nothing in the Original Trilogy prepared me for seeing the beauty of Naboo for the first time back in The land was lush, with bright green grass and architecture that spoke of grandeur and elegance, even to a nine-year-old.

And when we were lucky enough to return to that shimmering world in Attack of the Clones, I was not only thrilled, but immediately entranced and mesmerized by the sheer tranquility of the Lake Country where Padme and Anakin took refuge after her deadly assassination attempts. To me, Naboo symbolizes the very best the galaxy has to offer.

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From what we see of its landscapes, cities, and hideaways, Naboo has a near perfect blend of nature and man, with man-made structures that enhance natural beauty, not attempt to overpower or overshadow them. With its rounded edges, shimmering waterfalls, quiet strength, and above all tranquil peace, Naboo is what is missing from the sequel trilogy. We began TFA with our core cast on the desert planet of Jakku, a callback to Luke and Tattooine from the originals, but Luke was always the middle of the story — the real beginning was on Naboo itself in Episode I. And neither truly escape those self-imposed Hells, Anakin dies in space, and Luke dies still on his spit of land in the middle of a raging sea.

I think that is purposeful. What better way to end the saga of the Skywalkers than where it all began — and with another Skywalker male in dire need of redemption, forgiveness, and love. Anakin committed many heinous deeds and actions, but because we met him as a child and saw the conditions he lived in and the suffering he faced, we are much quicker to forgive him.

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But Kylo Ren aka Ben Solo is another matter altogether. He took our Han away. And that is unforgivable. So, of our three troubled Skywalker men, no one needs more forgiveness from not only their own world , but from the audience and our world, than Kylo Ren.

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Leia was strong and fierce and amazing, but she is sometimes overshadowed by her twin brother and even that rascal who won her heart: Han Solo. The victories, even the typically more feminine emotional ones, were mostly male accomplishments. So when the first great battle of the new trilogy was won by a girl about my age, let me tell you, it made me feel so powerful, so capable of anything. My fate will be no different to that of our people. Over the course of the film, we are visually bombarded with similar scenes of Padme trying to stand her ground and make life or death decisions while her councilmen, pilots, head of security, Jedi ambassadors, senators, and even the lackluster Supreme Chancellor all vie to make their opinion her decision.

She refuses to be left behind while Qui-Gon scouts Mos Espa for supplies to fix their ship, and it is her determination to see the world for herself and her curiosity of life outside of her own limited view that leads her to understand the issues of the galaxy at large — which later impacts her decision to remain in the political arena once her term as Queen has ended.

Shmi is a slave and an only mother raising an extremely gifted young son on a planet where she is considered cattle to be bought and sold, won and lost to the highest bidder. We must survive on our own.

The Padme that emerges from Tattooine is more grounded, surer of herself and the actions she must take. It is her humility and lack of ego, something she learned to put aside on Tattooine, that convinces the Gungans to help her, and it is only with their combined efforts that they free their planet. A true middle-ground, a shade of gray, placed here in the first movie as an example of what can come of later is others follow in her footsteps.

I can only hope to see her legacy live on in her grandson, another leader who has the greatest lesson to learn and everything that matters to either win…or lose. When I think about The Phantom Menace, I am overwhelmingly struck by the quintessential fairy-tale nature of the entire film.

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The scope, the dreamy colors, the adventure, and dangers, and daring! More than any other prequel film, it shows the working hands of fate — or the force — and all that was required for the story that we know and love to come into existence. Because how else would a Queen from a lush, green planet meet a slave boy from a harsh, desert world?

In short, this movie had to happen, these events had to take place for the rest of the story to mean anything. Without TPM the story of Darth Vader is still there, but the emotional impact is stunted, and the characters only partially fleshed out. After all, a villain is only a villain at a certain time in his life, and a hero is only a hero when the story is told a certain way. When I originally planned this post a few weeks ago I had the idea to do a running commentary of my thoughts and reactions to watching The Phantom Menace.

That being said, about thirty minutes into the movie I realized two rather crucial things. So, I had a dilemma… what to do for this post since I have all my other ones already planned out for the month and set in the order I want them in?

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And then it hit me. Book-lovers will be comforted by Harris's portrayal of Count Olaf. He's not as bumbling as Jim Carrey in the film, but manages to flip between ridiculous and terrifying in the blink of an eye or creepy wiggle of his unibrow. Montgomery Montgomery — yes, that's his real name — played by Aasif Mandvi. Aasif Mandvi as Uncle Monty, the siblings' second guardian who has a room full of cuddly reptiles. Cusack is a treat in a kooky wig with a drool-worthy private library for the Baudelaires to escape to when Count Olaf is his most vile.

Mandvi is the cool scientist uncle you've always wanted with a room full of scary-looking but mostly cuddly reptiles. As the three siblings bounce from one ill-fated guardian to the next, they stay barely a step ahead of Count Olaf, who dons increasingly more absurd disguises as the series weaves through the books. The Baudelaires spend 13 books trying to find some semblance of peace while surrounding by bumbling and inattentive adults who don't take their fears seriously and running from a madmen hell bent on obtaining their fortune even it means killing them.

The first season spans the first four books, making each a two-episode long adventure with plenty of time for narrator Snicket's depressing anecdotes and hints of conspiracy.

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Newcomers and book-lovers will adore the subtle plot twists involving the V. We promised Netflix not to tell. The series clearly gets right what the earlier movie got wrong. It stays true to its literary roots while building a richly dark world unlike any other family series we've seen. It refuses to treat children like children or dumb down its content to please a certain audience.

Both the books and the show implore you to find something more cheery to indulge in, reverse psychology to get you to explore a story with a more complex center. The Baudelaire's tale of woe is a feast for the eyes and will have you feeling optimistic no matter how dreary the story gets. Manage my subscription Activate my subscription Subscribe Log in Log out. Special Reports. Photo Galleries. Connect with us.

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My Time In Hell and Other Whimsical Tales

By Chelsea Tatham. Published Jan. Chelsea Tatham. Load Comments.

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