Category Archives: Movies

Star Wars vs. Star Trek: Beyond the Force Awakens (A Double Review)

When it comes to dramatic science fiction, no two names evoke as much passion as Star Wars and Star Trek. These two storied franchises have been pitted against each other for decades now. (Even if the two properties are apples and oranges). Conveniently, the newest Star Wars film, The Force Awakens was released only a few months before the latest Star Trek film, Beyond. That means I can do a double review and pit these two films against each other. Which one is the better film?

First, a disclaimer. I am a bigger fan of Star Trek than I am Star Wars. I have seen pretty much every episode of Star Trek (though I have only completed Deep Space Nine). I have also seen every film. My familiarity with Star Wars rests solely with the seven films. I have zero interest in the Expanded Universe or whatever the new version of it is.

All of that said, I am not going to tear either movie down for the benefit of the other. I enjoyed both The Force Awakens and Beyond immensely. I do give the edge to Beyond because there are elements in The Force Awakens which annoys me to no end.

The Force Awakens

On the whole The Force Awakens is a return to excellence for a franchise that suffered through a not well received prequel trilogy. The film is beautiful and finely acted. The narrative is pretty good save when nostalgia trumps originality.

The film looks amazing. From Jakku to the Starkiller Base everything is gorgeous. Even when the set is meant to look menacing. The CGI is excellent and seamlessly merges with the real sets.

The acting is very well done. The principal leads (Isaac, Ridley, and Boyega) are amazing. Fisher and Ford are great in the brief time they are on screen. Carrie Fisher is especially compelling as General Organa (pity she isn’t more prominent in the film). Gleeson and Driver a pretty good as the villains Hux and Ren. I am not fond of Kylo Ren. I think he is the new Jar Jar. But Adam Driver wonderfully captures that manchild.

I love the main narrative of the film: the search for Luke Skywalker. It allows the new characters a chance to develop outside of the parameters set by Luke, Leia, and Han.

I am annoyed, at best, by everything related to Starkiller Base. Narrative sacrificed to nostalgia of the original trilogy does not make for a good secondary arc. I would not be so annoyed if plot beats did not repeat from the first films. Is there not a ring system or asteroid field around the Resistance Base? Why not use some of them in mass drivers to assault Starkiller once the shield is down? Or come up with some original battle plan?

Overall, though, I did really like The Force Awakens. I especially like the new trio of Rey, Finn, and Poe.

Beyond

I cannot say that I have liked the Kelvin/ reboot Star Trek films. While successful, I do not believe that Abrams’s vision of Star Trek is anything other than turning a great science fiction franchise (flaws and all) into nothing more than a blockbuster without much soul. Of the three films, Beyond is the best. While not what I want in my Star TrekStar Trek Beyond is an enjoyable and fun film.

The film is beautiful. I especially love the Yorktown. That is an amazing scene. And the battles are awesome.

The acting is good. I especially like Sofia Boutella as Jaylah and Zoe Saldana as Uhura. I do think that Idris Elba and Shohreh Aghdashloo are underutilized in the film, though.

The story is good and fun if a little repetitive (the plots of all three Star Trek reboot films are very similar). I like the fact that the crew is split up and engaging in their own character arcs that further develop them all (rather than just Kirk, McCoy, and Spock).

My lone problem with the film, besides the lack of material for Elba and Aghdashloo, is the final battle. In a battle to save thousands if not millions of lives, is it not corny to rock out?

Despite that one grievance, I really like this film.

So, which film is better? Again,I give a slight edge to Star Trek Beyond. I cannot get over my annoyance with Starkiller Base. Or my hate for Kylo Ren.

The futures of Star Wars and Star Trek are bright. If you haven’t seen both these films, what are you waiting for? Go watch it now!

Bond Films, Ranked

I’m a huge fan of the James Bond films. I think I’ve ranked the films before the release of Spectre. So, I think it is time to write a new list.

Before I begin, however, I think I should explain my preferences when it comes to Bond films. My favorite Bond films tend to hew closer to Fleming. I like Bond a little darker and “realistic.” I am not as fond of the Bond films that approach science fiction levels of gadgets and plots. So, it should not come as a surprise  what two films come in at the bottom of my list.

Without further ado, from worse to best,  here are the films.

24. Moonraker, This is my least favorite Bond film. It takes the science fiction elements to the extreme. Add to that it has Jaws, who I have no interest in. Just a really bad film.

23. Die Another Day, This movie is bad. The villain is ridiculous. Just bad.

22. The Spy Who Loved Me, Stromberg is a non entity as a villain. The plot is dull.

21. The Living Daylights, Yes, this film is one of the darker Dalton films. But the only good part about this film is Nekros in a speedo.

20.The Man with the Golden Gun, Easily the worst Bond Girl to date. Why is J.W. Pepper in this movie? And the final confrontation of Bond and Scaramanga should have been so much more tense and dramatic.

19.Live and Let Die, I like this movie. But I think it is too silly in parts. And, again, J.W. Pepper is in this movie, too.

18. The World is Not Enough, Second worse Bond Girl, who should not have existed. I feel that Elektra King should have been more menacing. I really want a strong woman Bond villain.

17. Quantum of Solace, The worst of the Craig films. I like Quantum. I like Greene’s plan. But there is something off about this film.

16. From a View to a Kill, Third worst Bond Girl which is mitigated by Grace Jones’s May Day and Christopher Walken’s fun turn as Max Zorin.

15. Tomorrow Never Dies, I like this film. Wai Lin is one of my favorite Bond Girls. But I would have liked her not to be captured so often in the final act.

14. Goldeneye, The best of the Brosnan films. I really like this film.

13. Diamonds are Forever, The worst Connery film. I am torn about this. I do like the campiness of this film, especially Charles Gray’s performance as Blofeld. But Diamonds are Forever is one of my favorite Bond novels and I do want a proper adaptation of the novel like Casino Royale.

12. For Your Eyes Only, Probably the best Moore film, though not my favorite Moore Bond film. I adore Carole Bouquet’s performance as Melina Havelock, Topol is a trip as Columbo, and Julian Glover is charismatic as the villainous Kristatos.

11.You Only Live Twice, I like this film despite the heavy science fictional elements. I like this film largely because Bond doesn’t save the day himself. He works with a team.

10. Octopussy, I love this movie. Objectively, it is a middle ranked Bond. But it has always resonated with me. I think it has a lot to do with the glamour of the film. Octopussy is my favorite Bond Girl, and Kamal Khan is a great villain. Plus Mishka and Grishka.

9. Dr. No, I really like the first Bond film. I enjoy the back and forth between Bond and Dr. No.

8. Casino Royale, I really like this movie. I like how the film updates Fleming’s novel for modern viewers. However, I’m not fond of the extended poker game sequence.

7. License to Kill, I like this movie. It is dark and menacing.

6. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, This is a gorgeous movie. And tragic. But I wish Blofeld was played by someone other than Telly Savalas.

5. Thunderball, I love this movie. Largo is amazing. Fiona Volpe is awesome. That is all.

4. Skyfall, I love this movie. It is so freaking well shot. And tragic. And it gives the supporting cast so much more to do than the average Bond film.

3. Spectre, I love this movie. It takes Skyfall and builds on it. The supporting characters are as important to foiling Blofeld as Bond is. What holds it back from being higher on the list is that I am not fond of Blofeld’s relationship with Bond. Nor am I happy with every other Craig era villain being connected to Blofeld and Spectre.

2. Goldfinger, This is a great movie. I can watch it and rewatch every day. Goldfinger is an amazing villain.Honor Blackman is great as Ms. Galore. Connery is mesmerizing as Bond.

1. From Russia, with Love, The best Bond movie, bar none. A great plot. A great set of villains. Bond is amazing. It has Lotte Lenya.

I’m going to end this post now. What are your thoughts on Bond films? How would you rank them?

 

Sulu vs. Sulu

In Star Trek Beyond, Hikaru Sulu (portrayed by John Cho [formerly portrayed by George Takei]), will be revealed to be in a same sex relationship. Well past damn time there is a LGBTQ character in Star Trek! So I’m doing a happy dance (even though I am not fond of the reboot/ new timeline). And it is being reported that there will be LGBTQ representation in the new Star Trek television series. So excited for that! (even if I’ll have to get CBS All Access to watch it).

But there is controversy over Sulu’s gayness. Or bisexuality. Should a new character have been created instead? How does George Takei and his opinions factor into this?

(I’m not going to argue for what seems like the hundredth time defending diversity and inclusion. If you don’t get why it is so important by now, I’m not going to waste my valuable time on it.)

Sulu being depicted in a same sex relationship serves a number of functions. It rights a wrong in Star Trek that has been allowed to persist for far too long. It honors George Takei. It is narratively efficient. And the character already has a characterization (which promotes the narrative efficiency).

George Takei, however, has voiced his disappointment with the decision. Rather than recasting or queering a preexisting character, he has voiced support for creating a new character to be the vanguard of LGBTQ representation. His reasoning, if I have it right, is because he played Sulu as straight and Roddenberry wrote him as straight (even if they wanted to add some queerness at the time of the original series). I can see Takei’s point. Seeing your work discarded (even if it is an alternate version in some form) has to be frustrating. Especially when the discarding comes with the intent to honor.

Both sides, I think, have good points.

Queering Sulu is more efficient. Precious narrative time is not going to be wasted on introducing a new character. A new character who, let us all face it, will not have the impact or staying power of Sulu (as Iceman proved when he became the most prominent gay superhero after his coming out). There is also, as Simon Pegg points out, the perception of the new LGBTQ character as “The LGBTQ Character.”

A very compelling case for queering Sulu, I think. (Assuming he is even straight in the primary timeline. There has been some debate over whether or not there are explicit references to his sexuality in Star Trek and the subsequent movies he appears in.I really cannot comment on this with any authority, myself. I am a fan of Star Trek, but I am not as fond of the original series as I am the later series.)

Personally, I am reticent to promote the recast or queering of characters as an absolute good thing. Recasting/ queering must improve upon the original. It must, I believe, provide new avenues of narrative and characterization. Sometimes, editing existing characters is a sign of lazy writers, no matter how well the intent. A new character, well written and with a compelling narrative, can create a whole new fandom. (Pity no one takes the time).

Ultimately, I think Sulu in a same sex romance is the better option. Star Trek Beyond is only two hours. Not much time to introduce an original character with a compelling character and narrative that lifts him or her above the usual cast of forgettable original characters in Star Trek films.

 

Live Action Naruto?

What? 

Lately, I’ve wondered if a live action adaptation of Naruto is viable. The franchise is fifteen years old with 685 chapters and two very long running anime series (Naruto and Naruto Shippuden). With all that in mind, can Naruto be adapted for live action?

I’m honestly not sure Naruto can be adapted to film without some major cuts. A single movie is impossible without becoming a confusing mess. A trilogy or tetralogy is certainly more viable, but the filmmakers will have to find the essential narrative and, largely, cut the rest. Another option is to film every arc. But who would be willing to commit to fifteen plus films? And what will happen when the main cast age out of their roles?

The best option, I think, is for a Game of Thrones style ten to thirteen episode a season television series. 

Here’s how I envision Naruto  breaking down by season: The first season starts with Naruto becoming a genin and covers the Wave and Chunin Exam arcs. The second season covers the Invasion of Konoha, the Search for Tsunade, and the Sasuke Retrieval arcs. The third season would cover the Gaara Rescue, Sai and Sasuke, and Hidan and Kakuzu arcs (ending with Sasuke killing Orochimaru). The fourth season would cover the Itachi Pursuit and Invasion of Pain arcs ( ending with either the Raikage calling the Gokage Summit or Nagato’s death). The fifth season would, then, take on the Gokage Summit and the initial stages of the Fourth Shinobi World War. Finally, the sixth season would cover the Fourth Shinobi World War. 

You know, this could actually work. The only problem is one of production. I don’t know much about Japanese television, but I get the impression that the preference is, generally, for shorter, single season dramas. 

The problem with an American production company getting a hold of the live action television rights to Naruto is the danger of whitewashing the characters. Dragon Ball was whitewashed. The Last Airbender was whitewashed. And the proposed adaptations of Akira and Death Note features heavily rumored whitewashing of settings and characters. Hell, the rumored Naruto live action film featured some tween hearthrob up for the role of Naruto.

A solution to this problem, if American filmmakers get the greenlight, is to have a diverse cast. I’m not familiar enough with the current crop of actors to give a fantasy casting sheet. I’ll leave that to others.

I would love to see Naruto get a live adaptation. I don’t know if it is possible, but one can always hope. 

Romance of the Three Kingdoms (and Red Cliff)

A few weeks ago, I set myself the task to challenge my apathy towards historical fiction. The first novel in my challenge is a revisit. I first tried to read Romance of the Three Kingdoms, one of the four great Chinese novels, years ago. I couldn’t get into it and returned it to the library disappointed. But I’ve always wanted to give the novel a second look in the hopes that I will come to appreciate if not actually enjoy Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

 Damn, I’m glad I did. I love this freaking book. Even if it is too damn long at nearly 1400 pages spread out over two volumes. It is, despite its size, an addictive read. 

Romance of the Three Kingdoms reads like a chronicle. A heavily fictionalized chronicle that tells the tale of the dissolution of the Han dynasty into three competing kingdoms and the eventual reunification of the empire under the Jin. This approach strips away all but the essentials. Given that the the Three Kingdoms lasted about a century, there is still a lot of material to cover. But this approach does have its problems. Characterization is limited to only a few major characters. And even then, the focus is on single character traits (the hot headed Chang Fei comes to mind).

What I find so interesting about Romance of the Three Kingdoms is how much it explores the strategy of the myriad conflicts surrounding the dissolution of the Han dynasty. So often in fantasy fiction, the hero (or his army) blindly rushes into battle with no plan, no strategy, and wins the day. Here, the reader sees how the generals plan to attack, defend, and trap each other. It is freaking cool. 

But at the same time, Romance of the Three Kingdoms does have major problems, especially for a modern audience. Women are by and large non entities explicitly compared to clothing (so are children) by the designated hero Liu Bei. There are a few exceptions like Diaochan and Lady Sun, but their impact is relatively limited to single episodes in the larger epic. But it must be noted that many of these women are given expanded roles in adaptations. 

Which leads me to Red Cliff, the film of one of the most pivotal battles of the entire saga. I’ve been meaning to watch this film for months. I finally took the opportunity after reading Romance of the Three Kingdoms and damn it all, I love this movie. 

In 208 C.E., Cao Cao has consolidated his position as Prime Minister to the puppet emperor Xian (the last Han emperor) by defeating the northern warlords. To reunify China under his rule, he must conquer the last remaining opposition in the south led by Liu Bei and Sun Quan. To prevent this, Kongming advises an alliance between Liu and Sun. Thus the stage is set for the decisive Battle of Red Cliffs. 

It is freaking gorgeous. The visuals are amazing. The battle scenes are great. The acting is wonderful. How the hell did the film makers accomplish all of this for only 80 million?

What I especially like is how the film gives equal weight to heroic fights and to the strategy that leads to victory. While many of the characters are portrayed as near super human, like Zhao Yu and Liu Bei and his companions, it is the competing strategies of Cao Cao and Kongming that make the film so amazing.

Women play a pivotal role in the movie. Lady Sun, the sister of Sun Quan, with her body guard of women warriors prove key in early skirmishes and as a spy in Cao Cao’s camp. And it is the wife of Zhao Yu, Xiao Qiao, who proves essential to victory as she distracts Cao Cao. This, honestly, is an improvement on the source material. 

All in all, I love Red Cliff and Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Maybe I was wrong about historical fiction after all?

 

A Top Ten List

I promised  a top ten list last night. And I don’t know what to top ten list. I haven’t really read enough novels published in 2012 to make a top ten. Same goes for movies. I guess I could do comics. Or maybe a general my top ten favorite things that happened in 2012. Yeah, let’s go with that.

10) Reading The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer. Definitely on my shopping list.

9) Discovering Morning Glories and Sweet Tooth.

8) Going to my local comic book shop after years of not going.

7) The fun I’ve had with this blog.

6) Earth 2

5) Going to see The Dark Knight Rises in the theaters.

4) Watching The Avengers from my local library.

3) The reelection of President Obama.

2) The various marriage equality victories at the polls.

1) The various artistic breakthroughs I’ve had this year.

 

Well, that’s that. I’ll have something else tonight. And then tomorrow, post 300.

Criticism: The Positive and Negative

I’ve been thinking about criticism a lot lately. The problem, I think, is what is criticism actually good for? Are there times when criticism is alternately positive or negative? Or is it all negative? And really, what should the response be to criticism from creators, critics, and fans alike?

A Definition is in Order

A Handbook to Literature (Harmon and Holman) define criticism as “the analysis, study, and evaluation of individual works of art, as well as the formulation of general principles for the examination of such works.” Now, this definition is highly academic but still, I think, very useful. Especially for someone who comes from an English Literature major background.

Let’s try a definition from Merriam- Webster’s for criticize “to consider the merits and demerits of and judge accordingly” and “to find fault with.”  Very interesting definitions, I think.

To Help

Positive criticism, either focusing on positive, negative, or both aspects of a work can lead to improved works of art. The arts, of every kind, improve with continually engaging in it and listening to criticism geared toward helping to improve the work.

But I guess how positive criticism is worded makes as much difference as the intent. One must, I think, use kind and encouraging words when wanting to aid an artist in developing and improving their work. If a work isn’t doing it for you, explain why in as gentle and non aggressive way as possible.

The Place of Popular and Academic Criticism

Can reviews for popular consumption be positive? What about criticism for either popular or academic readers? This is a tough one, I think.

Maybe the issue is the intent on the part of the critic. If a critic intends to write a fair minded argument for or against, can that still be positive even if the verdict is negative?

Whenever I do reviews or critical analysis, I’m always afraid that I’m not being fair. Often times, I worry if I’m being too mean when I review things. Especially if I’m not a fan of the work. But even positive reviews can be problematic. If I really like a work, can my judgement be trusted. And vice versa?

I guess what got me started thinking about these questions is an article on After Elton. Com entitled “Hate Watching Glee.” From my limited experience of the show, I think Jurgens is largely spot on with his criticisms. And many in the comments section have excellent criticisms too. And I’ve gone on record with calling the writing atrocious and the narrative world building schizophrenic (and not in the good way).

But are we fair? Like I’ve said before, I have very limited experience with the show. But what about those who are passionate and know their stuff? The criticism seems right to me.

But, and here is the big but. How should “negative” criticism be taken?

Of Intent

I think the intent plays a large role in this.

If a critic’s intent is to be malicious, then their criticism is, honestly, worthless. Though his or her words may hurt, they offer nothing positive. Only vileness and negativity.

Now, if a critic is attempting to analyze and evaluate a work to see how and if it works, then perhaps there is something there to hold on to. Just like in the roles of alpha and beta readers (or Critters).

The Creator/ Artist/ Etc. Takes It How?

I think every one takes criticism differently. Some may genuinely take it to heart and use it to improve their art. And others may ignore it completely, even if it does have excellent points to think about.

But is that criticism good only for the creators targeted? I say, honestly, hell no.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not overly interested in working in television. But there have been tons of very useful advice coming out of After Elton’s articles concerning Glee (especially in the comments). Of course, there is also a ton (and I mean a ton) of worthless crap.

And I hope that other creatives take the time to appreciate good advice, too.

But What About the Fans?

The fans of a work can often be the most vicious when it comes to criticism. Both in attack and defense of the source of their fanaticism. Often times fans can be the most ardent criticizers of a work as well as the most savage when it comes to defense.

I think it is important to remember that no work is perfect. And never let the passions blind one’s judgement.

A Personal Example

I’m a fan of James Robinson’s Earth 2. I’ve fallen in love with that series. And it does hurt when comic book reviewers give individual issues ratings lower than I think they deserve.

Now, I will admit that most comic book reviews vary wildly in quality within even their own websites/ individual reviewers. And sometimes, they really don’t make a whole lot of sense in what they complain about.

But, I want to focus some on Sara Lima (of Comic Vine)‘s reviews of Earth 2. Do I think she was fair to give Robinson a lower rating for Sam’s death? And what about issue 6? Well, at first, I admit I was not happy. But the more I think about it, and reread the issues, I find that I’m actually starting to agree with her.

I’ve come to see that she has a point that Sam’s death is problematic. But isn’t the death of a loved one a powerful motivator for super heroes? Yes, but it sucks. Why can’t a hero be heroic for the sake of heroism? Why is that push needed?

And yes, Alan Scott’s defeat of Grundy is rather unsatisfying.

To Conclude

Damn it, this post is really long. And I wanted to touch on the role of bias in criticism. But, to be honest, I’m tempted to have biased criticism be adjacent to malicious criticism. I mean, if you can’t see the value in a work, why the hell are you criticizing it anyway?

Remember, Post 300 is coming up.  . .

 

At Last! The Avengers Reviewed

Oh my, The Avengers has got to be in the top two superhero films of all time. Damn, that was a great movie. I freaking loved it!

Everything about this film is almost perfect. And that makes writing this review so difficult. Where can I point out the flaws in all of the elements that are so right? Well, there are a few things.

I can’t say that I’m overly fond of Agent Coulson’s fanboy attitude towards Captain America. That kind of got on my nerves.

Another issue I had is the requisite superhero brawl before the inevitable team up/ team formation. Ugh, why does this always have to happen? Too big egos?

That said, I think Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson) does a stand out performance. And all of the actors who make up the Avengers do a splendid job.

The one acting job I have an issue with is Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. In ThorLoki’s tragic journey to super villain status is heartbreaking and very well acted. Indeed, I much preferred his story over Thor’s. But in The Avengers, he becomes just another petty wannabe tyrant. What made him work so well as a character in Thor just seems absent here. And that is a waste, to be sure. And the acting shows that, in my opinion.

And the credits interlude scene? Bah. I never liked Thanos. So I’m not really looking forward to him being a main antagonist in future films.

Now, let us shift a little to the action. Whoa, some of those scenes are just amazing. Especially the attack on the Helicarrier and the Battle of New York. Oh my, now that is how you do action sequences! Spectacular!

Is it possible to do a fair review when you really enjoy (or love) a film? I don’t know, honestly. I know The Avengers has its flaws, but what it gets right makes up for it by far. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, why the heck not?

 

I know this review is rather short, but it is late, and I have other things I want to do.

Also a quick reminder to comment topic ideas for post 300. If you don’t, I’ll write a post on my obsessions. Until my next post. . .

Thinking about Media and Genre: What Interests Me?

I’ve been meaning to write this post for two days now. And I’ve been rather distracted by life. And time. But now I’ve got some to spare, so I’m taking it. Tonight, I want to write about media and genre. I want to explore why I want to write in certain media and focus on certain genres. But as I’ve written before, never say never that I won’t migrate to media or genres I have no interest in now.

Media

Poetry: I’ve written poetry for creative writing course assignments. And some of my favorite literature courses have been centered around poetry. But I have no real passion for writing poetry.

Prose Fiction: Let’s divide this up in two, shall we?

Short Fiction: I know I should be passionately in love with short fiction. But I’m just not. I like to read short stories and novellas when I get the chance. But I have no real passion for them. And even less in writing them. I just don’t know. . . I just don’t dig it.

Novels: Now this is what I’m passionate about! I love getting in depth and exploring characters and worlds. Many of my ideas scream to become novels. Novels take a lot of work, though. There is a demand for novelists to have an eye for detail. And an ability to keep the readers’ interest for hundreds or thousands (yikes) of pages. When I develop ideas and projects, they are always divided in two categories: novels and. . .

Comics: To be honest, I’ve had a fraught relationship with comics. Comics were among my first loves. But I’m a fickle and inconstant fan. In recent years, I’ve fallen back in love with comics. Hard. And I want to write them. Now, my main focus is on creator owned projects. I have several ideas for comics series I want to develop. Would I ever want (or love) to write for the Big Two? Hell yeah. I would love to write Catwoman, Red Robin, Young Avengers, Storm, etc. Never say never.

Video Games: Much like comics, my relationship with video games is fraught. I love video games. And I suck at them. Really badly. I’ve only ever beaten a few games. More often than not, I quit at some point in frustration. That doesn’t mean I don’t love watching other people playing. Nor does that mean I’m not interested in how video games are made. Would I ever want to write for video games? I don’t know. I don’t know enough about the industry. But, never say never.

Television: I currently have an obsession with serialized fiction (of which comics and television are the prime examples of). But do I really want to put up with a team of writers, producers, show runners, etc.? Probably not. But who knows?

Movies: Again, I’m not too interested in writing for film. My brother once tried to get me to write a few movies with him. But I’ve never really felt an impetus to want to write a screenplay. I mean, I’ve written a play before. Didn’t like it though. So, I think I’ll pass.

Genre

This post is starting to go on longer than I really want (and I don’t want to write a two part post), so I’ll speed through this. Any questions, please leave me comments.

Given the nature of this blog (and my interests), I’ve always wanted to write speculative fiction. I’ve tended to naturally focus more on the fantasy side of things compared to science fiction. And as I’ve gotten older, that tendency has started to grow.

Perhaps the issue is that the type of science fiction popular with the internet circles I frequent are not the types of science fiction I would like to write. I’m more of a space opera guy. I’m not overly interested in hard science fiction or near future dystopia. Do like a bit of punk, though. If the writers actually know what the hell punk is. . .

But that is not to say that I’m exclusively interested in speculative fiction. For a long time, I wanted to write literary realism. I gradually abandoned that to focus on speculative fiction. But there are inklings of an idea that may be calling me back. I don’t know though. I could still somehow make it speculative in some fashion. You never know with me. I mean, I read a history book and I automatically get ideas for fantasies.

In the end

Crap. This post is getting more than a little long. There’s not much else to say except to always remember never say never. And to never try to predict the future.

With that in mind, lets have a preview of what I want to do the rest of this week!

I want to write a post on space opera. I want to explore my obsessions. And I have The Avengers to review.

There is one thing I want to try, though. In the next few weeks, I will hit my 300th post. I would like to give the choice for post 300 to you, the readers. Comment your suggestions, please.

Later.

Seven Bats on Film

If my memory serves, the only post on the Batman films is my review of The Dark Knight RisesI recently had the chance to rewatch the first two Batman films, Batman and Batman Returns. I originally thought that I preferred those two films to the other five. But now, I don’t think so.

Don’t get me wrong. The first two Bat films are far superior to the third and fourth films. I mean seriously, Batman Forever is okay but ridiculous and Batman and Robin is just unwatchable.

But compare the Burton Duology to the Nolan Trilogy. Perhaps the Burton films rose in my estimation given the fact that I haven’t seen them in a decade or more. Was my high estimation of the two films based solely on nostalgia and memory?

Well, I certainly think that is the case with Batman Returns. Rewatching after so long, I found that film to not really hold up. Especially when compared to The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. Why?

Well, time to compare Catwoman to Catwoman. Let me be clear: Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle/ Catwoman is far, far superior a character compared to Michelle Pfeiffer’s Selina Kyle/ Catwoman. Where BR’s Catwoman struggles to assume a stronger position (and is undercut by the hints that Catwoman is a “freak”), TDKR’s Catwoman has a subtle strength. That she can kick ass without becoming “abnormal” is so much more satisfying.

And overall, I’m finding that Batman Returns does not hold up very well in terms of plot. Penguin’s machinations, though numerous, always fail. Despite the illusion of a threat, he really isn’t. I mean, Batman defeats him quickly in each engagement.

And really, it takes months for recall and political elections to occur. And Batman Returns only lasts a week or two at most.

I am disappointed that I’m not loving this film as much any more.

So what about Batman? I don’t know anymore which Joker I prefer. To a degree, I almost want to say that I’m leaning more towards Ledger’s Joker. But, it has been years since I’ve seen the first two Nolan films, too.

Maybe I should take the time to watch them again.