Category: Links

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Bad movies need to stop being made or else I am going to die. Today’s plan was to write a screed about reviews in response to Shamus‘ review lore. But first I am going to have to kill X-Men Origins: Wolverine in the face for being such a slipshod, lazy and uninteresting movie. Even as someone who doesn’t have an investment in the X-Men franchise, it wouldn’t have taken much to make this movie enjoyable. The premise of the franchise is sound: dudes have cool powers, get discriminated against because of it, and blow shit up in a variety of ways using those powers.

If you’ve seen the trailer for Wolverine you’ve seen all of the cool bits. The extent of the long awaited Gambit’s involvement is really throwing a few cards and using a sort of shock stick (I’m not a scholar; I don’t know the technical terms). What you have left after that is a total lack of momentum and a lot of smirking from Liev Schreiber. Hugh Jackman’s arms really cannot carry a movie by themselves, not even in conjunction with the unmercifully brief showing of Ryan Reynolds’ arms. It’s just not on.

Twitter is the place to go if you want a fairly instantaneous review from me, and I said all that needed to be said in 123 characters:

Wolverine was poorly shot, badly motivated and the characters seemed little more than cameos. I would recommend against it.

But I’ll write a little more and get the word out. I would suggest that if you were a kneejerk reactionary who doesn’t think about his choice of words, you could suggest that several of your favourite X-Men characters have been “raped” by this movie. If you want to say stuff like that, I’ll see you for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in a couple of months!

Watchmen: The Ramble

I realised, after watching the Watchmen film today, that I had been approaching it as an adaptation rather than as a film. I really don’t know how it is as an actual film, apart from the fact that it is quite long with no indication as to its pacing if you’re unfamiliar with the story, and that it remains fairly episodic.
What do I think of it? The reviews have been mixed, I know. Unlike Wil Wheaton, I have not been waiting for Watchmen for more than twenty years. Unlike Roger Ebert, I don’t consider it a four star film.
A brief history of me and Watchmen: I bought it about eighteen months ago, and read it last month. As is the case with such things, the moment of consumption is the moment that you kick yourself for not doing it earlier. It was very good. I was even moved at points, and would describe the end of chapter eleven as one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in comics.

The movie is brought to us by “the visionary director of 300“. I advise rereading that sentence. If it makes you shout “THIS IS SPARTA!”, carry on. If it makes your eyes roll back into your head and your mouth begins to foam, I accept no responsibility for your medical bills. I’m not sure how much of a visionary you have to be to produce near carbon copy faithful recreations of comic books, but I’m not sure that Zack Snyder is one – particularly in light of the fact that, despite the absolutely ridiculous fidelity to the source material, Watchmen differs in places both minor and key – including the much talked of yet infuriatingly vaguely whispered new ending.

SPOILER CITY FROM THIS POINT FORTH

NO, SERIOUSLY, I SPOIL THIS MOVIE SO HARD

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

I didn’t think that the first Hellboy feature was all that great, but I was excited for Hellboy II – probably because it seemed to Guillermo Del Toro appeared, in all of the promo materials, to have taken a leaf from his Pan’s Labyrinth book. That’s not to say, in the final breakdown, that The Golden Army is anywhere near the level of Pan’s Labyrinth, but it’s a good enough time.

Iron Man: Revisited

Having seen Iron Man again tonight, I have a slightly different opinion of it. When I see movies a second time, I can go either way: the analysis drive can start working overtime, or I stop worrying about what’s happening because I already know what’s going to happen. Knowing the balance of the film, it no longer felt unbalanced, or like I needed something to happen, because I wasn’t waiting for Tony Stark to bust out anything.

The second viewing of Iron Man was therefore a freeing experience, and the post-credits sequence was even more exhilarating in the context of an audience who vocally expressed their excitement over the content suggested. While certainly not on the level of the (new) Batman franchise, I’d probably place Iron Man as my favourite Marvel movie. Not that it would be that hard.

I guess that Tony shouldn’t have peed on Obadiah’s rug.

Cryptonomicon: No, I think you’ll find that I’m right.

Take this, Shamus!

It proves something.

You may recall, if you’re one of my three regular readers, what I had to say about Cryptonomicon. In fact, if you’re one of my three regular readers, you’ve already responded to it, either internally or on your own site. Mark bit first, and now Shamus has had a crack at it.

It’s nice to see that not everyone thinks that Cryptonomicon is the greatest book ever, but I never set out to dispel that; what I particularly like about this is that everything I stated is actually in the text proper – and liking it is simply a matter of interpretation. What makes it the best ever to some people makes it unfathomable for others. It’s an interesting examination of opinion, because it ultimately proves that one man’s novel full of digressions is another man’s novel full of digressions – but that Man A might be allergic to that while Man B bathes in it, and Woman C thinks “Dangit, Snow Crash was so compact, what went wrong?”

Which brings me to my next point (wait, I’m making points here?). Twenty Sided Reader dishuiguanyin states the following:

Even Snow Crash, while it has a wonderful racy plot, great ideas, and ancient near-Eastern mythology … also contains terrible dialogue and huge great infodumps from the librarian. So, yeah, tis a pity, but still hugely enjoyable.

The Librarian is great because the internet is reduced to goggles, and Hiro Protagonist can be doing whatever – speeding through the vast blackness of cyberspace, because they didn’t bother putting addresses on those bastards; fighting Raven; raving with avatars that all look alike – and he can still be being fed exposition! Snow Crash is awesome not because it’s got equal opportunity rapist pirates in it, but because it’s the literary equivalent of this comic:

Hacking revealed!

Sometimes all we require in life is goggles and fishnets, rather than eight page treatises on stockings and furniture. Goggles and fishnets delivered at HYPER SPEED while BYPASSING THE COMMON MAN to fight an ALEUT (like you’ve ever heard of them) with MAXIMUM HARDCORENESS. EXTREME!
Perhaps Snow Crash differs from Cryptonomicon in that it’s not afraid to be silly, whereas Cryptonomicon equates graphs with silliness. I think it hinges on Stephenson’s use of “badass”. You can see it in Snow Crash and say “fuck yeah!”, but you get a rather different, more selfconscious vibe from the later work.

Finally, as to XKCD:

Hacking revealed!

I think that says it all! Wait, it doesn’t. I just thought it was funny if you know the original strip.

Graph provided by Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
XKCD parody courtesy Nobody Scores

Smell the Glove Fear the Boot!

So you may recall Shamus’ gambit DM of the Rings. Well, Shamus is now owned by the denizens of the internet, and has followed it with a legitimately drawn comic, Chainmail Bikini.

The last year has left Shamus open to the darkest criticisms known to man, finding internet popularity, and already they’re trying to tear strips off of him. What we’ve got so far is writing comparable to DM of the Rings, which is not surprising because it’s been confirmed that they’re the same characters in the D&D group, drawings, and different fonts used for each character. While this makes sense to differentiate the characters from each other in the fantasy segments, I think that legibility may be a bit of a problem for Josh and Marcus.

Otherwise, I salute Shamus for having the ability to get a distinctive voice out there. As someone presently struggling to find my own voice, Beyonce style (if you don’t … if you won’t … listeeeeeeen), it’s something that I definitely admire. Some day, perhaps you’ll even want to read Batrock.net, gentle readers!