Posts Tagged ‘film’

Bootleg video of this Wednesday’s prez debate

I swung over to China this morning for some authentic Szechwan Style Red Snapper with a side of oppression. Afterward, I rolled through Shanghai’s America-town, where I found this bootleg copy of the upcoming third and final presidential debate. There’s a little off-color language, so don’t watch this at work:

Star Trek vs. Star Wars

In honor of Star Trek week, here’s by far the funniest Star Trek vs. Star Wars clip from Youtube:

Fan-Made “Green Lantern” Movie Trailer

Disclaimer: I owned a set of Green Lantern underoos as a kid, and I once created my own power ring, so I may be a little biased. But I would line up for this movie RIGHT NOW if it were real. Check out this incredibly well-made fake “Green Lantern” trailer:

Avatar Meets the Internet

I just had to repost this comment some guy posted at TrekBBS. If you haven’t yet seen Avatar, don’t read the rest of this until you do, or it’ll spoil the ending:

GotNoRice says:
I watched the movie and enjoyed it but did not really care much for the plot. I don’t like how easily the main characters just turned on their entire race and then toward the end of the movie Humans were getting killed left and right with little regard like they were no different than any other generic “bad guys”. I ended up sympathizing with the humans and wishing that the main character was going to get killed lol

Honestly who cares about a bunch of random primitive aliens? If the main character had just stuck to the original plan and kept providing intelligence, a lot of human lives could have been saved. It sounds like they already made a lot of effort trying to educate the aliens in schools, etc but were snubbed.

The funny part is that they are assuming that their offensive toward the humans toward the end means they will leave and won’t come back. More likely the humans will be back but with bigger guns next time, possibly nukes.

I’d imagine the aliens life could have been enhanced quite a bit by earth technology if the aliens weren’t closed minded religious fundamentalists.

Interesting. Instead of heading back to Earth, Parker Selfridge decided to head to TrekBBS.

Anyway, I went in expecting great FX, a crap story and wooden dialogue, because I’d spent too much time on the Internet. But I’d forgotten that the Internet is a big, jaded hipster whose favorite hobby is complaining to whoever’ll listen that almost nothing is sophisticated enough for him.

What I found was an adult, sci fi version of Disney’s “Pocahontas” (or Dances with Wolves, or Fern Gully, or any number of films about an invader who grows a conscience when he discovers the natives aren’t “savages”) with a Pocahontas who’s every bit as badass as any male warrior. It has probably the strongest female character I’ve ever seen in sci fi. I loved the story, the dialogue, the acting, and the FX. I’ll be seeing it again. I hope you all go see it. It deserves every last one of its billion dollars.

Five Years Till the Future

A good friend just reminded me that today, 7/6/10, is only five years before the day Marty McFly came to in the future, in “Back to the Future 2.” You people have FIVE YEARS to give me my flying car, my self-tying shoes and my hoverboard, or there’s gonna be trouble. Get to work!

Why Batman v Superman was Smarter Than its Critics

cv-batmanI’m sharing this Batman v Superman review because it’s representative of pretty much every negative review of the film. An entertaining critic who generally gives thoughtful reviews gives a few valid critiques, but ultimately seems to have not paid attention to huge chunks of the film. And seems not to remember that part of a film critic’s job is to look for metaphors (maybe because, as good as Marvel’s films have been, they seem to be straight-forward, relatively metaphor-free and easy to understand, and they may have trained us all to expect that from superhero movies).

Watch this review, and then read my own beneath it. If you haven’t yet seen the movie, there are MASSIVE SPOILERS ahead, so don’t watch the video and don’t read on… 

Still there? Ok:

One of this critic’s main gripes is that Batman kills people in this movie. Several people. Well, Batman’s been murdering people left and right in films ever since 1989’s Batman (where he did it with a psychotic smirk. Go back and watch it). This Batman’s body count isn’t any higher than Keaton’s, or even Bale’s. This is as strange as all those people who claimed “Superman doesn’t kill” when Superman’s killed plenty of times (even killing Zod twice in the comics and again in Donner’s Superman II… again with the psychotic smirk that we all found charming at the time. Maybe it was an Eighties thing.).

The critic says the movie didn’t even attempt to explain why Batman’s moral code has been abandoned. Of COURSE it explained why his moral code had eroded over the years. Bruce delivered an entire monologue about it to Alfred, just after Alfred (contrary to what this guy says) told him he was going too far.

If the critic’s real complaint is that Batman doesn’t seem to feel any *guilt* over the killings, well, maybe. But here’s the thing: that’s one of the main themes of the movie! Possibly THE main theme! It’s the reason your gut is probably telling you this was more a Batman movie than a Superman one: it was about *Bruce’s* painful journey into darkness and back out again.

Batman’s taken a step into the dark side. Alfred warns him that his branding criminals and becoming more ruthless is crossing a line. He told him that sort of thing is what turns good men bad. Bruce himself said it’s rare that good men (at least in Gotham) remain good, and whether he knew it or not, it was pretty clear to the audience (the audience that was paying attention) that he was also referring to himself. The movie was showing us that Bruce was at a crossroads. Seeing Superman as a two-dimensional alien monster who needed to be murdered was representative of that, and if he’d gone through with it there may have been no coming back for him.

Zack Snyder brilliantly shocked Batman back into his senses during the moment that most critics seem not to have understood at all (and if they did understand it, they just didn’t appreciate it): the moment when Batman was stunned just by hearing Superman utter the name “Martha.” And here is where the film is at least an order of magnitude smarter than its most vehement critics:

“Martha” was not just Martha. 

In Bruce’s nightmares, his mother Martha represented the good in him. We didn’t see her get shot over and over again just to remind us Bruce had a traumatic childhood. The repetition of that nightmare was to show us the goodness in Bruce being snuffed out by the surrounding evil. When the dream finally showed the light fading from Martha’s eyes, and Bruce’s father whispered “Martha” with his own dying breath, that was a *metaphor* for Bruce completely losing his way. Bruce knew this himself on some level. That’s why hearing Superman also whisper “Martha” just before he was about to die gave Bruce pause.

The necessity of murdering Superman had been a two-dimensional, black and white matter to him. But then Superman said the one word that reminded Batman of the goodness that was supposed to be within him. And Lois (the reporter, a metaphor for “the truth”) dived between them, literally adding a third dimension to the fight. This combination forced Batman to see Superman not as an alien object to be destroyed, but as a person with a human mother — a person who, even as Batman was about to murder him, was only worried about the safety of his own “Martha.” A person who was BEGGING Batman to save her once he’s gone. That’s why Batman threw away the kryptonite spear and swore “Martha will not die tonight” (metaphor, people); he didn’t just decide to save Clark’s mom, he decided to save *himself.* To pull himself back from the precipice.

The resulting fight with Batman alone in the darkness facing more than a dozen killers, culminating in him shielding Martha (who was now the personification of goodness) with his body from the exploding flame thrower couldn’t have been a more blatant visual metaphor for his jaded, blind rage at last being burned away in a crucible. That was the significance of Bruce NOT branding Lex at the end. The encounter with Superman and Bruce’s choice to save “Martha” had restored him to the man he’d always tried to be.

It’s just astounding to me that very few professional critics seem to have noticed any of that. They’ve been too busy saying how confused they were, and how disappointed they were that it wasn’t a simpler story, to even bother dissecting the abundant – and expertly deployed – visual metaphors. I remember a time when that’s the sort of thing critics loved to discuss. I remember a time when critics saw a “confusing” movie and were eager to find the meaning in it, instead of annoyed (or even oblivious to the fact) that they were being asked to.