Melrose High School, Melrose, MA

Melrose High School, Melrose, MA

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Conversation about The Hobbit

From the studio that brought you The Lord of the Rings comes the new trilogy of The Hobbit, the second installment of which, The Desolation of Smaug, was released on December 13th to great fanfare. Imprint Staff members went to view the film as soon as it was released, and were impressed and surprised at how the film was created. We are now joined by staff members Duncan McLeod and Andy Griscom, who saw the film together and have very strong opinions about several of the design changes made by the studio.
[Editor’s note: This is not a review. It is a conversation. It contains spoilers.]

Andy: So, The Hobbit. It was an interesting movie. You had to suspend your disbelief for a good chunk of the movie, but it still managed to keep me amused. What did you think, Duncan?
Duncan: I found it to be a remarkable movie, though in contrast to your “suspension of disbelief,” pretty much all movies do that. This one just might have required it a bit more than some people prefer.  Yet overall, most anything straying from reality was done to make the movie more epic and grandiose.
Andy: Certainly it was, and I do agree with you there, it did make the movie better from an entertainment standpoint. But there is a limit to that. I have no problem with making things more epic for a great audience reaction, but after a certain point it just becomes annoying. Case in point; all of the Lord of the Rings characters, none of whom appear in the Hobbit book, who were just thrown into the movie to get a reaction out of Lord of the Rings fans. Enough! You guys got your own movies, go away and let these guys have theirs!
Duncan: The Hobbit was a prequel movie; therefor it needs material to tie it into the Lord of the Rings. Peter Jackson essentially created more of a lead-in to the Lord of the Rings, like how he showed us what the Necromancer was doing for the duration of the movie, which in the book was just kind of left to the reader’s imagination.
Andy: I see where you’re coming from here, and it is kind of nice to not just have Gandalf disappear for half the time; we actually see what he’s up to, not just having it mentioned offhandedly after the fact. But a good chunk of the other stuff wasn’t needed. Legolas showing up in the forest? Makes a little sense; it was mentioned in the books that he was from Mirkwood. Having him save the gang from an orcish ambush (that also wasn’t in the book, but we’ll ignore that)? Okay Legolas, you got your screen time. Let us follow the people we actually came to see a movie about. Having him follow the gang all the way to Laketown and save them from more orcish hunters? Okay, enough already! Just go away! I came to see a movie about a gang of insane dwarves and a kleptomaniac midget, not to watch Orlando Bloom dancing around shooting orcs from the top of peoples heads!
Duncan: That does hit the upper limit of what I can take for changes on the book, however, it was done to add a level of characterization to Bolg, son of Azog, the most feared of orc hunters, beyond the level of just saying “Oh yeah, that guy is a scary person,” meanwhile, who better to test an orc heir than an elvish one? So I feel that the changes made not just improved tie-ins, but extended on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original introduction to Bolg.
Andy: That’s actually another thing that annoyed me. Who the heck is Azog? He never appeared in the book, that’s for sure. The character Bolg in the book appeared for like five minutes at the very end, leading the combined armies of every goblin kingdom in the North. He showed up, wrecked some stuff, and then died. End of story. There was no race against the orcs to get to the Lonely Mountain, or a revenge subplot going on in the background. It was the story of a group of dwarves traveling across the world, and the hazards they encountered along the way. The goblins were just another one of those hazards, nothing more.
Duncan: Once again, this is Peter Jackson’s unique approach to characterization.  He gets to turn one book into three movies, have twice as many epic scenes, and the people watching get to see a better demonstration of the bad guy’s character than something along the lines of a made-up history lecture, which many of Tolkien’s works can feel like.  However, I do feel that the matter of the black arrow is of great importance.  In the original book, the “black arrow” was a family heirloom, passed on to bard by his father, and it was essentially used as a fluke, the arrow had never missed, and bard used as his final arrow, hoping that he would be able to hit his mark.  However, the movie changes this idea.  Instead of the black arrow being some relic of an ancient line of archers, now it was some dwarven invention created only to be fired from a “dwarven windlass” (fancy giant crossbow with four limbs instead of two) that was created for dragon slaying.  Now this blatantly contradicts the idea of the black arrow as some sign that Gideon’s line (bards family) was blessed, and the fact that the dwarves never prepared for any dragon, and lost to Smaug because they had no such weapon.
Andy: Yeah, that annoyed me too. The Black Arrow was supposed to be some sort of magical, blessed, kill-whatever-you-shoot-this-thing-at arrow, not a mass-produced, glorified ballista bolt. And there just happened to be the weapon required to shoot it in Laketown, ready to go as needed, yet they didn’t bother to stock it with Black Arrows, which the thing was designed to fire. Not the smartest people, are they?
Duncan: So, the Black Arrow was a bit too much to take.  I feel that one of the strongest scenes, and the hardest to really believe, is the fight with Smaug near the end.  To see them taunt a dragon into lighting furnaces, use the Dragon’s natural obsession with gold as a weapon against him, to see them running like madmen and working in unison to take their revenge, is perhaps one of the most impressive parts of the movie.  Plus, there were explosives, and even more fun watching people fly around on pulley systems!
Andy: I do agree, it did look very impressive. Plus my favorite scene of the entire movie (Thorin surfing a river of molten gold on a wheelbarrow) came from that part. But it was also the part that strained belief to the greatest degree. The fact that the group had a live dragon, who happened to be fighting on his home turf and with a massive advantage in fighting power, chasing them all around for almost twenty minutes, trying his best to kill them, and not a single one was even injured, was a little much for me to take. I could understand that happening if they were sneaking around and trying not to get caught, but these dwarves were maintaining an average distance of some twenty feet away from the dragon. Words do not do justice to how horrendous an idea like that is, but it worked out just fine for them. Even Thorin, who, as earlier stated was surfing a river of molten gold at the time, had to run under Smaug’s legs in order to shred those waves. In fact, now that I think of it, the only time anyone gets hurt in the entire movie was when Fili got shot during the escape from the elves by one of the ten thousand orcs that snuck through the heart of elvish territory because, wait for it…, they needed to give that elf chick a reason to follow the dwarves to Laketown, in order to continue the romance subplot that they just threw into the movie because… well actually they had no reason. So yeah, that was stupid.
Duncan: True enough, the strange romance is totally unnecessary.  But if the argument is that adding extra material to a great movie that does entertain is a bad thing, then all of the Lord of the Rings movies, and the previous Hobbit movie, are in fact all bad.  The point is: how much material can be crammed into a three part movie totaling about 9 or 10 hours, in the Lord of the Rings that meant taking material out, in The Hobbit that meant adding more material.  The easiest way to do this is add more prequel material for The Lord of the Rings.  Essentially the romance between Fili and Tauriel (the elf chick) acts both as entertaining material and more reason for Legolas (Orlando Bloom) to have an unusual hatred for Dwarves.  However, I do believe that we can agree that extending the scenes with Smaug is worthwhile because of the sheer quality of Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice acting and the animation detail.

Well, let’s wrap this up before we turn this into a 9 hour trilogy. Despite all of the massive plot holes, it was still a very entertaining movie, which, when you come down to it, is what movies are supposed to do. Suspension of disbelief is something that just comes with the territory. Nonetheless, it was a good movie and we strongly recommend going and seeing it.

Friday, January 17, 2014


Room 328 is home to ten useless black hulks of metal some people call “computers.” They are undeserving of this name. Three refuse to turn on. The other seven take between twenty and thirty minutes to become even remotely useful. They all need to go.
            The problem is, with what do we replace them? Even buying cheap computers (which will themselves become obsolete in the next five years) will cost around 4,000 dollars. The school committee recently raised the concern that much of the technology will become obsolete at the same time, and at 4,000 dollars a room, this will certainly strain the budget.
            Fortunately, there is a much cheaper solution to room 328. The students who attempt vainly to use these computers are mostly in Journalism. They need to type articles for the school blog and paper. Instead of buying cheap computers that break down or slow to the pace of a snail every few years, the school can invest in typewriters.
            There are many advantages to buying typewriters. The first, and most obvious, is the cost. Ten typewriters would cost around 600 dollars. That is 3,400 dollars in savings, right off the bat. But typewriters will also save money in the future. They do not slow down when they get software updates they are not equipped to handle, because they have no software. When they break down, they are easier to replace individually, because they do not need to be hooked up to a computer network.
            Also, they will keep students more on task. A typewriter, as the name implies, is meant only for typing. A student cannot check emails or play games on a typewriter.
            When students finish their articles, they can type them up on their (working) computers at home, and email them to the journalism class. This adjustment will not add much to students’ workloads, because the articles are already written, they just need to be retyped. And with the typewriters, the journalism students will be doing much more typing, so they will be practiced enough to type fast.
            There is no need to sink money into expensive computers that lose their worth in ten years. Typewriters are a cheaper, more effective solution to room 328’s technology problem.

By: Emma Morrison

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

AFC Championship Preview

             Leaping, a 6 foot 6 inch tight end catches the pass, and quickly a defender slams his helmet directly into the knee of a super star. During the December 8, 2013 match-up between the New England Patriots and the Cleveland Browns, a traumatizing hit to the knee of Rob Gronkowski left the fans in awe. Running up the field with a perfectly thrown pass from Tom Brady, it seemed that the Patriots were in a good position to score, trailing the Browns 19-6. Soon after the hit, Rob Gronkowski was carted off of the field, the situation was not looking too good. Many figured that when Rob Gronkowski went down, the Patriots players would be hanging up their cleats until next year, but an outstanding performance led the team to victory clinching a spot and a bye weekend in the playoffs. Earlier in the year defensive tackle, Vince Wilfork, went down during a matchup with the Falcons. It was determined that he suffered from a torn Achilles tendon in his right foot and that he would be unable to return to finish the season. For the past four years, Wilfork has been a dominant defensive threat with his size and strength.                  
 Just this past weekend on January 11th, the rain didn’t hold back the thousands of fans who had their playoff tickets. The Patriots took on the Indianapolis Colts with Andrew Luck who has been a key component to the Colts offense. Although, the experienced Tom Brady used all of his talent and came out with a quick 14-0 lead within the first few snaps. LeGarrette Blount came alive for the Patriots offense finishing the game with four touchdowns including a 73 yard run.  That Patriots picked off three of the Colts quarterback Andrew Luck’s passes and turned them into touchdowns. The Patriots held on to win remarkably 43-22, advancing them to their third consecutive AFC Championship.
                Next weekend, Tom Brady and the Patriots will be facing the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning. The Broncos have had a successful season and should give the Patriots a good fight. Former Patriot, Wes Welker, will have the Patriots defense on their toes with his quickness and skill in the game of football. Be sure to tune in Sunday January 19th at 3:00 to see a football game you won’t want to miss.
               As it appears, the Patriots season has been a success and their continuous devotion to the game of football is evident in the beads of sweat dripping off of them after each and every practice.  Will this be another Championship? Patriot’s fans had to put their faith into the hands of head coach Bill Belichick. 

By: Ashley Harding 

Midterm Exam Schedule

Midterm Exam Schedule

Tuesday, January 21st              8:00 - 9:45                  A Block Exam

                                                10:00-11:45                 G Block Exam

                                                11:45-12:30                 Lunch/Dismissal         
                                                12:30 - 2:30                 Extra Help Sessions _______________________________________________________________________
Wednesday, January 22nd       8:00 -  9:45                  B Block Exam

                                                10:00-11:45                 F Block Exam

                                                11:45-12:30                 Lunch/Dismissal         
                                                12:30- 2:30                  Extra Help Sessions

Thursday, January 23rd            8:00 - 9:45                   C Block Exam

                                                10:00-11:45                 E Block Exam

                                                11:45-12:30                 Lunch/Dismissal         
                                                12:30 - 2:30                 Extra Help Sessions

Friday, January 24th                8:00 - 9:45                   D Block Exam

                                                10:00-11:45                 Make-up Exam

                                                11:45                           Dismissal        

Monday, January 13, 2014

Movie Review: Saving Mr. Banks


             “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!” As declared by one of our most beloved characters of all time, Mary Poppins.  Based on the screenplay by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith, John Lee Hancock directs the hysterical and heart-wrenching film, Saving Mr. Banks. Tom Hanks plays a convincing Walt Disney while Emma Thompson takes on the difficult task of adapting to the finicky tendencies of P.L. Travers, the author of the original Mary Poppins book.
            Throughout the film, P.L. Travers goes on a hilarious and life-changing journey to meet Walt Disney, who is most interested in turning her book into a film.  Disney gathers a creative team to collaborate some of their most brilliant ideas for the film, which Travers rejects left and right. He soon comes to realize the P.L. Travers is not easily convinced and that it will take quite some time to get any of the rights to make the movie of his dreams.
            Through the overall experience is rather uncomfortable for Travers, she learns the importance of letting go of her traumatizing and ultimately burdening past.  Emma Thompson’s performance will make audience members in every theater laugh, cry, and question her bizarre mannerisms.  P.L. Travers’ story will no doubt capture the hearts of many.  This movie is recommended for the people of all ages and specifically for people who enjoy the light-hearted spirit of Mary Poppins.      

Melrose High in Globe Art Show

   Browsing through the pieces of art Melrose High School students have produced for the 2013 Globe Art show, you will find that they have redefined the word “selfie.”
In this case “selfie” means constructing large self-portraits made up of many different colors and texture techniques, using only colored pencil. Many of these self-portraits and other pieces of art MHS students have created are being submitted to the statewide art show, also known as the Globe Show.
MHS students in the photography program are also submitting pieces to the scholastic show. Becca Kranz, a member of the Imprint staff, is among those students in the photo program submitting new pieces. Becca was last year’s winner of the golden key for her photo titled "Ireland in America."
These students are getting the chance to be recognized with an award or scholarship money. Ms. Melito, an art teacher at MHS, says that, “Melrose has been getting recognized by the award show since 2009.” Every year MHS students get recognized with gold keys, sliver keys or honorable mentions.
The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards was started in 1923 and the Award’s goal, according to its website is to, “recognize the exceptional vision of our nation’s youth and provide a singular opportunity for students to be noticed for their creative talents.” Teenagers in grades 7-12 can submit their writing or artwork to 28 categories and get a chance to earn scholarships and have their work exhibited or published.
This scholastic art and writing program claims to be the “longest running, most prestigious and recognized program for creative for creative teens in the U.S.” Some of its past winners include Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, and Stephen King.
This year, the MHS art program is submitting 35 pieces of artwork to the show. This is the largest amount of work the art program has submitted since 2005.

By: Anna Garofalo

Friday, January 10, 2014

Why Disney's Frozen Is Important

          Disney has always captured people of all ages with its stories. The music is happy and to me, well, magical. But in all Disney movies, there seems to be one thing in common—princesses all need a Prince to survive. Ariel literally morphs herself so a man will love her. Sleeping Beauty and Snow White can only live if a Prince kisses them. Even Mulan, a strong independent soldier who risks her life impersonating a man, ends up with the dazzling savior.
Two of Disney’s newest movies, Frozen and Brave, are finally catching onto something. There is no need for the focus on “True Love” for a fairytale to be successful. Girls can be strong without the help of the Prince. Brave is all about independence and coming of age, and while there is love, there is no romance. Frozen has also caught onto the trend: it has both the love and romance, but the romance does not control the story—or the girls.
Frozen tells the story of two sisters, Anna and Elsa, who rule a beautiful Scandinavian landscape. Elsa conceals herself from the public because of her inability to control her power to freeze anything that comes across her path. Things go horribly wrong and Elsa ends up freezing the entire land. (I’m not going to say much more because if you haven’t seen it, you need to.) It’s funny, it’s silly, it’s climactic, and the music is wonderful. But the most important part of Frozen is its focus on sisterhood and relationships between two women.
Between Brave and Frozen, it seems that Disney is getting it. While stories of romance are nice, audiences do enjoy something more. There is now a shift, a focus on a different type of love: Brave and Frozen are stories that depict strength and love between oneself and one’s family, and not just a general focus on a significant other.  Could this finally be the end of the depiction of weak women in children’s films? The impact both Frozen and Brave have on young audiences is significant—they grow up with these movies, this is what they learn, this is what they choose to watch over and over. When the girls are strong, brave, and independent, it creates a completely different—and better—image at a young age.
By: Becca Kranz

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

MHS Virtual Battle of The Bands

These are all the videos that have entered and are in round one of the competition. 
The two videos with the highest view count on Youtube move on to the finals!
The winner will be chosen by students at MHS.

Keep watching your favorite videos to help get them to the finals!

Anthony Naslas

Colin and Zac

Jared LeBlanc

Jump The Ship

Lilah Drafts-Johnson


Pat OConnor

Unnamed Band