Sunday, August 27, 2006

Random thoughts about fiction

Here is another flashback episode from the blogosphere. Random thoughts about science fiction and other fiction that finally aggregated together.

"Stargate SG-1": The series has finally been cancelled (hat tip: slashdot). I haven't watched Stargate in years, but from what I've seen, there were plenty of lousy plot developments that could have taken the show down. Since it lasted so long, I can only assume that they finally ran out of ancient Egyptian sarcophagi filled with boogy-men.

"Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith": The thought occured to me the other day that Episode III barely has any real connection to Episodes I and II. That is, if one were to simply throw Episodes I and II out the window, Episode III actually works reasonably well as a movie on its own terms. I think this underscores the fact that for Lucas to spend most of two movies focusing on poor little Anny growing up into a seriously Oedipus-complexioned killer Jedi was a major aesthetic (not financial) blunder.

"eXistenZ": I just finished watching "eXistenZ" (notice the trendy gen-X spelling pattern there) tonight, so these are a few of my initial thoughts. Generally speaking, the movie plays a bit like a clone of "The Matrix", except that, unlike "The Matrix", the movie does not spend a lot of its time on wordy exposition of the technological and social underpinnings of its plot.

A benefit of this approach is that when the game players in the beginning of the movie start messing around with organic-looking whatsits that are used as virtual reality game consoles, the actual mechanics of whatever is happening are completely irrelevant. Another benefit is that whatever background we need to understand the plot arises naturally in more visual and dramatic terms than in "The Matrix".

Another fringe benefit of "eXistenZ" is that the lead female character doesn't transform into a stereotypical movie "girlfriend" of the lead male character by the time the movie is over (ala Trinity in "The Matrix" series).

"Kung Fu: The Complete First Season": I used to love this show as a child, so I bought the complete first season on DVD. Watching the episodes again, they do seem somewhat dated now. The idea that Shaolin philosophy is the universal solvent for dissolving all of your 19th century wild west snafus seems a bit too 70s nowadays, although this is probably because the western as such seems a bit too 70s nowadays. The one thing that impressed me about the show now is David Carradine's (aka Kwai Chang Caine aka "the Kung Fu guy") portrayal of a Shaolin Monk. The show tries desperately to portray Kwai Chang Caine as a man of peace and a guru of ancient wisdom, but whenever Caine is forced to get violent with someone, you sometimes get the sense that, yes, Caine really is this dangerous guy.

"Kung Fu: The Legend Continues": Kwai Chang Caine is timewarped into the 1990s to fight crime with his estranged son who is also a cop. Except this time, Caine is such a pacifist that he gets his ass kicked whenever he is forced to attack someone instead of defending against someone's attack. Give me a break!

"The Passion of the Christ": You can tell that liberals view this movie as a major propaganda success of the religious right because they have launched a campaign to pressure Mel Gibson to renounce the movie as part of the price of his "rehabilitation". The latest contribution to this campaign to come to my attention is from Rob Reiner. This is just the standard liberal "art of war"; the cultural equivalent of trying to convince Saddham Hussein to give up WMDs by launching a few cruise missiles at one of the dictator's unoccupied palaces.

The mass negative response that liberals have launched against "The Passion of the Christ" is, of course, a load of baloney. My understanding is that "The Passion of the Christ" is a faithful movie adaptation of the Gospel of John. So, if "The Passion of the Christ" is anti-semitic, the Gospel of John is anti-semitic, but you'll notice that liberals aren't exactly ripping the Gospel of John out of their bibles in protest of anti-semitism.


Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

I think what happened with "Episode III" is that Spielbergo and Lucas' other buddies finally had an intervention and made him watch "I" and "II" in their entirety .. realizing the atrocities he has inflicted on mankind, he must have cleansed himself and started anew again, because "III" was lightyears better than those other two

3:11 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

You're right. I'm sure Lucas still has the memo from Spielberg that reads "It's the lightsabre battles, stupid."

6:09 PM  

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