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Posts Tagged ‘science fiction movies’

So when I said last time I’d post Part Two “after Christmas,” I didn’t intend it to be literally after the entire Octave, but that’s how it shook out. Welcome back, and here’s wishing you all a joyous and blessed New Year!

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SPOILERS FOR ROGUE ONE AHEAD. (Also The Last Samurai, if you haven’t seen that.)

 

So, last week in Part One, I talked about some of the cool stuff they did in Rogue One. Mostly it boiled down to genre and tone, and how the movie opens the door for lots of different kinds of stories in the Star Wars milieu. I didn’t talk about all the nerdy Star Wars-y stuff, the Easter eggs for fans, or anything like that, because yeah that stuff is cool but not necessary to the story, and it’s all been pretty thoroughly canvassed elsewhere.

 

But if Rogue One is cool but not perfect, then: what are the raisins in this delicious Star Wars trail mix?

 

Let’s start with the biggest raisin of them all: (more…)

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Hi guys! I’m still alive! Life has been relentlessly lifing at me since my last, and as I said awhile back, the first thing to get dropped is blogging. I just saw Rogue One, though, and I am full of thoughts that I wanted to share.

So full of thoughts that I’m splitting this post into multiple parts. Part Two should be up after Christmas.

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SPOILERS AHEAD! SPOILERS AHEAD! Oh so many spoilers for all the Star Wars things. I’m going to talk about Rogue One and related Star Wars media under the assumption that we’ve all seen them. If you haven’t and want to remain unspoiled, TURN BACK NOW.

 

So, Rogue One was a pretty seriously mixed bag of a movie, like the trail mix you buy at the store because you like the little chunks of dark chocolate–but it also has horrid little bits of dessicated ex-fruit in it. At least there’s chocolate, though, right? Okay, maybe this metaphor is not working for me, but you get the idea. Lots of delicious stuff to love, but also some severe flaws that keep the film from greatness.

 

The following is in no particular order, but let’s start with the stuff they got right. (more…)

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SPOILER WARNING!  Lots and lots of spoilers.

WARNING: Lots and lots of spoilers.

So, Age of Ultron having made approximately a squillionty dollars this weekend, it’s fair to say people want to see it.  It’s got a lot of good stuff for the Marvel fan, loads of action, artsy camera angles, and wow the first half was a whole lot darker than I had anticipated, even knowing it’s a killer-AI story.  (Fortunately they front-loaded all the really dark stuff, leaving the second half free to be mainly about punching, shooting, smashing, and lightning-ing evil robots.)  The following is not a review, just a bunch of reaction thoughts.

Clint, you and Wanda are the sexy ones; show us your backsides.

Clint, you and Wanda are the sexy ones; show us your backsides.

Yes, Tony’s prima nocte joke was gross. But was it in character? Keep in mind that Tony until very recently was a womanizing cad, and old habits die hard. Plus he strikes me as the kind of guy who willingly sacrifices good taste for the funny, and if you’ve been drinking steadily all night with your buds, your standards for funny are going to be low. (Plus–not to wax all philosophical, but are we to outlaw all crassness and all … for lack of a better word … unattractive flaws in our flawed characters? Tony’s on a dark path, and it’s interesting that some commenters are willing to forgive a little bit of creating-a-killer-AI-that-almost-wipes-out-humanity but not a tasteless quip.)

Thor had more good character moments than in the previous team outing. The first time the team assembled (see what I did there?), it seemed like Whedon sympathized more than a little with Loki’s view of his adopted brother, and Thor’s only moments of humor were inadvertent. This time the future king of Asgard has a lot of lines that showcase the sly humor we haven’t seen from him since his first solo film. (Also a little bit of Hemsworth’s no doubt contractually obligated chiseled torso.)

I deeply appreciated that the team’s efforts during the final climactic battle were evenly split between Defeat Evil Robot Menace and Get Civilians to Safety. Especially after all the discussion about Man of Steel and its flagrant disregard for collateral damage, it was cool to see the issue explicitly addressed. Also, I don’t know about you guys, but when Hawkeye went back for the little kid, I was gripping the arms of my theatre chair thinking DON’T DIE CLINT/DON’T YOU DARE WHEDON.*

Of course, Whedon dared. That man has a pathological need to kill off characters. Is that somewhere in the DSM? I had been all ready, going in to the movie, to gripe about the MCU version of Quicksilver (I enjoyed the DoFP version, but I didn’t think Singer and his crew got Pietro right)–but I kind of fell in love with him, despite the dark roots and the weird sweater. He and Wanda made a great team, and their backstory is both poignant and horrifying on its own terms, and another marker on the road to Tony Stark: Evil Dictator.

But is Pietro really dead? I’m thinking of Barry Allen, aka The Flash, who not only runs amazingly fast but heals amazingly fast. Does Whedon’s recent griping about Marvel’s Hand of God returning other dead characters to life mean good things for fans of the silver-haired speedster? Fingers crossed, true believers!

So many hearts

So many hearts

Aaaaand … hands down my favorite part of the movie, the character I was most looking forward to seeing on the big screen, Paul Bettany’s absolutely note perfect VISION. I am in danger of falling into fangirl squeeing just thinking about him. The movie condensed a whole lot of rather complicated comics history into a nice compact little story, there, and Thor’s charging in and powering him up while everyone else bickered was just so take-charge-y and perfectly Thor, and then the business with the hammer! I am swooning, and little hearts are coming out of my eyes.

Might have some more coherent review-ish thoughts once I’ve slept/seen the movie again. I know bits of it frustrated me, and in parts I was actively bored, and I also know that I’m glad this is Mr Whedon’s last Marvel movie. Whether or not Age of Ultron succeeds as a story, or an action movie, it sure was full of robot-punching action, and it provides plenty of food for thought.

Ex-shell-sior!


*I know “Joss” is already a verb, as in, “Oh man, my pet fan theory totally got jossed by the new episodes,” but can “Whedon” but the new verb for gratuitously killing off characters? “You totally whedoned my favorite character, you unprintable swear!”

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Jupiter Ascending is like the dream you might have, if you fell asleep on the couch after a heavy meal, probably involving alcohol (not beer, though; or even wine–too common. Absinthe or chartreuse), in a room with an Art Deco book on the coffee table and a Matrix poster on the wall, where your roommate was marathoning science fiction movies like Dune and The Fifth Element. Which is a pretty specific set of circumstances, come to think of it.

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What I mean is, like a dream it lacks all coherence, you can’t recount what happened in it once you wake up, and though it looked pretty cool (my dreams always look cool, don’t know about you guys), you can only enjoy it because you were asleep. It’s terrible in a way that we don’t even have words for, so terrible that even now, having seen it, I’m not sure what I saw or if I actually saw it. As in dreams, characters come and go without explanation or purpose, conversations occur that seem to their participants to convey meaning but are actually nonsense, the scene jumps from place to place with no explanation so that a new nonsense conversation can take place.

And then, at the end, Channing Tatum has wings. Because at this point, why not.  (Actually, my favorite part of watching this film was when Tatum’s character ripped his shirt off, and one of the teenage girls in the front of the audience gasped audibly.  It was almost as great as the shirtless scene in Thor 2, when a woman in the audience actually yelled, “OH MY GOD!”)

It’s like the worst YA book* you’ve ever read, and the most frustrating, because it seems full of interesting ideas, ideas with a lot of potential for a cool story, but none of them are fully thought out or employed effectively, and then there are so many elements thrown in because why not? They are just cool. So what you have is idea salad, but no story, and that’s a shame, because Art Deco Vampire Space Royalty, and a beautiful Space Princess and Wolf Angel Boy who have to Put A Stop to their Evil, sounds like a really cool story, doesn’t it? Or maybe just a dream.

*Just to make it clear, I’m not bashing YA. I love YA, and many of my favorite books are marketed as YA. But even the most ardent YA fan has to admit that there are a looooot of terrible books on the shelves in the YA section, and that terrible YA has a different flavor than terrible SF or terrible romance or terrible fantasy. Some books–and some movies–are just terrible, and that is fact, but that fact doesn’t condemn a whole genre. Cool?

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