More Random Reviews

Sorry for the missing post, yesterday.  Totally got absorbed into my netflix queue.  Speaking of which…

Secret of NIMH – I had watched this once upon a time when I was much younger (around 5-6 I think) and remembered a lot of scenes from the movie (especially the closing act of awesomeness) but not much of the plot.  So I thought I’d return to my youth and watch again something that I… well I didn’t hate it (same with Never Ending Story – should be here in a few weeks).  It does – in fact – continue to hold up pretty well.  If anything, I’d recommend it to slightly older children as there are many things which happen off screen but the viewer is made to nonetheless be aware of the pressure of presence of these (especially the lab of NIMH).  Younger children (as I was) might have some trouble connecting brief appearances and spoken references to each other as that’s still a strong “out-of-sigh-out-of-mind” stage of development.  Still, I was amazed at how well the movie kept my focus all these years later.  My only real complaint is that I wish they had toned down the the comedic crow.  And I did want to see more of this world, but these types of movies are supposed to do that to you – it fit with everything.  Well done.

All-Star Superman – Oh I had such high hopes…

I’d heard a lot about the comic, even heard others praising this movie.  And it was supposed to be a kind of return to classic Grant Morrison.  The one who got me to fall in love with comics again.

I just don’t know.

Maybe the debacle of the bad, horrible, atrocious, beastly, slipshod, dreadful Final Crisis soured me so much on Morrison that I’ll never be able to enjoy anything he’s done again unless it’s soaked in the waters of nostalgia (seriously, I’d rather watch either crappy Avatar movie than read Final Crisis again).  Whatever the reason this is just… ok.  Heck, I’d recommend it to many people, but I don’t want to watch it again.

And you know what I’ve noticed?  Grant Morrison cannot – to save his life – do nuance.  Which is funny because often I get tired of pop culture doing so many nuanced villains (they had a bad home-life, they’re just misunderstood, etc etc) that you think I’d appreciate Morrison’s touches – but he goes off into the other end, especially with villains that should be nuanced.  Darkseid?  Doomsday?  Even Mongul?  Those I don’t mind just being outright bastards.  But Luthor?  He’s supposed to be rather layered and in depth.  Morrison never writes him that way: Luthor is always just 1 step shy of Satan.  And of course Superman & Lois’ romance is played with all the overblown… everything that Morrison does with everyone else.

Of course it wouldn’t be Grant Morrison if there weren’t plot holes big enough for a sun eater.

Comparisons between this story and Alan Moore’s “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” are unavoidable because both deal with the idea of Superman’s hero career coming to an end.  Whatever else you might say about Moore (and there are a lot of things I think can be said), he really beat Morrison on this contest.

9 – Meh.  It’s a very visually interesting, movie, and I do like some of the narrative risks they took in the story but over all… what was the point?  To recreate Mad Max without people?  I’ve been reading some other bloggers lately that’s made me more aware of the sheer amount of nihilism that our pop culture drowns in, and as a result, I couldn’t help but see this as a very nihilistic story.  I wanted to like this movie but it gave me no substance with its flash.

Better off Ted – Now this has become one of my new favorite shows (after some that are so beloved, they’re not even on the chart).  I had caught a few episodes while it was on the air but not many before it went off after 2 seasons.  Which is a shame because it seemed like one of the best I’d seen in a long time.  Probably what appealed to me most (other than the hot babes peppering it), is that I think the writers tried to cram as many different types of humor as they could.  One minute the show is making a low-brow joke about farting or bodily functions – the next it’s making a very highbrow joke about word play.  We jump from a joke about human interactions and follies to a purely visual gag.  I’m seriously issuing a challenge: see if you can find a type or kind of humor/joke that the show didn’t use at least once, I’ll buy you a drink.  Actually it reminded me (in a lot of ways) of a live action Futurama or Simpsons.

Legend of the Seeker – Full on nostalgia here.  What’s that you say?  How can I be nostalgic towards a 2008-2010 series?  I’m not nostalgic towards the series, I’m nostalgic towards the type.  Way back when (around high school), a lot of channels seemed to be doing the hour-long, late night fantasy/sci-fi shows (or at least, that’s when I was most aware of it).  Yeah I had grown up watching Star Trek: the Next Generation and now there was Deep Space 9 but there was more!  Hercules: the Legendary Journey, Xena: Warrior Princess, the Invisible Man, Stargate (I was there before it was popular!), Outer Limits, Mutant X, Earth: Final Conflict, (how many more can you name*?) – oh man Friday and Saturday nights back then were a good night to be a geek.  Every week I would record about4+ hours worth on a VHS and then watch them over and over again until the next Friday/Saturday at which point I’d record over the tape for more.

*Only rule is that the show had to have a part of its original run during the 90s.  Oh, and aired after prime time – usually 11pm or midnight EST.

All of these shows had a certain… flair to them: Ambitious storytelling that couldn’t quite be matched by special effects, Action sequences involving swords or guns, Devastatingly beautiful babes (seriously, I think these shows gave me a medieval fetish).  The Legend of the Seeker is a fun throwback to all of these old shows (could Bridget Reagen be any hotter?).  It’s far from perfect, but I would recommend it to fantasy writers as a helpful guide for how to do some things.  For instance: keep in mind that no matter how awesome or badass a phrase/name/term is, it will get silly if it’s repeated too many times.  Giving someone the title of “seeker” isn’t too bad, but when they repeat it 5 times every episode, you start laughing at it (and wondering if your liver could survive the drinking game).

I’m not through the whole show run yet, but remain ever grateful at seeing an old friend style.  They really don’t make them like this any more.

4 thoughts on “More Random Reviews

  1. Regarding LotS… isn’t that kinda-sorta-loosely based on the infamous book series by Terry Goodkind?
    No, haven’t read it. Yes, I’ve watched a bunch of episodes.
    Not that bad at all – like you said, it fills us old guys with nostalgia for the 90s. Hercules was my all-time favorite (except some of those extra-uber-campy episodes, but let us not go there…).
    Still, some episodes are a bit off – like the one where Kahlan gets split in two copies of herself (nice to see two of her, though) and the one where they’re in a castle and unable to use Zedd’s magic due to an enchantment (general idea isn’t bad, just the way it was played out annoyed the hell out of me).
    I’d like to see your more detailed thoughts on the matter, though.
    Also, the “In case you forgot, this dude is the Seeker”-thing… hahahaha, I noticed. Kinda like how Worf couldn’t shut up about him being Klingon, and Bill Compton saying “I am vampire” or something every now and again. Use some subtlety, scriptwriter people!

    • From things I’ve heard… loosely based on and improved Goodkind series.

      I can see how the “no magic” episode was a bit off as it was definitely comic relief in the middle of a rather serious season. I have to admit to laughing my ass off at it, though.

      And yeah, I’m not just annoyed at scriptwriters not using subtlety, but not using their opening credits effectively. The opener has explained the basics to us! Stop bringing them up over and over!

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