Archive for November, 2012

STAR WARS: Obligatory Long Shot rev.

November 19, 2012

IS THAT GROVER?

Okay, I don’t like Star Wars. I can’t accept George Lucas as my personal lord and savior, and parts I-III, and V-VI suck. Re-title the series: Cliché Bores.

The special effects (eye-candy) are storied, superior and endless. Never have I been bored to death by more wonder, except maybe in a church crawl in Europe, a mosque crawl in Cairo, or camping out in Room 5,212 in the Louvre. Too much of a good thing?

Well, in the midst of all this mind-boggling clutter: our heroes and heroines, villains and villainesses (not too many of those – George doesn’t handle the female element very confidently or sympathetically – doesn’t seem to understand it). This is my major complaint with the whole second series: characters are as flat as cardboard cutouts, motivations as thin as tissue, dialogue as transparent as wax paper, drama as heavy-handed as wood chips in a roll of toilet paper. Lucas just does not understand either human psychology or actual human emotion; he’s a middle-class privileged guy from the Valley. He’s obviously read about them though, and borrows feelings one is supposed to have, according to his research, but it comes out so leaden, so slowly, tediously – just like the humor in Howard the Duck (was that supposed to be a comedy? I really don’t know. Howard makes my skin crawl).

And, although I shouldn’t expect unnecessary logic in a fantasy work, I find it utterly impossible to figure out why all the alien peoples have absolutely human earthbound attitudes, senses of humor, and even get hot for human women – isn’t there any sort of cross-species disinterest in outer space, or is the entire universe just get-anything-that-moves horny? Oh, yes, something else would require imagination, and might actually estrange audiences who only understand the just-what-they-know obvious – such as folks who go to Nascar (the kid in the flimsy-jack pod racer. Worst roadworthy design EVER). I know, picky.

However, I do find myself drawn to the enormous energy, will to succeed, and effort to achieve that Lucas demonstrates; he’s a pure work and win example of Horatio Alger proportions. He deserves his reputation for technical wonders, and for bringing the length and breadth of CG I to film. He is deservedly considered a pioneer genius of the technical side of film. So on that level, I totally GROK Star Wars. The cityscapes, et al are the best eye-candy without – I’m fairly sure – real rival. In this race, George is the one to beat.

And I just like to look at Natalie Portman – period. Sorry, women friends, I’m a guy – not dirty, just worshipful, watching a rare and unusual talent and charismatic feminine charm. She captivated the screen in her debut with Jean Reno in the Professional and has held it ever since.

I would gladly throttle the little kid in Part 1. Perhaps he was just playing the part of an insufferable little creep, in which case, he’s a fine actor.

In Parts 2 and 3 I kept hoping Hayden Christensen would misjudge those stories-falling leaps of his and hit an awning or a balcony. Something. Anything. Hated his hair, it blinded me to the rest of him. He does sullen and near clueless very well.

Someone should have given Ewen Mac Gregor something to say – he looked simply out of place, hard-working, a fine actor, but utterly wasted. He was supposed to be Alec Guinness later? Gotta say, there was a whole lot of learning to achieve Old Obi-Wan’s level of wisdom between Parts 3 and 4 that we obviously didn’t get to see. Maybe there should be a Midquel (bite my tongue, must not invoke the Force).

I could go on, but it would only be more of the same snarky thing.

Loved her, hated him. The eye-candy par excellence. Lose the kid.

George, hire a scriptwriter and let him/her come up with the storyline, character development and dialog. Stop pumping out your boyhood dreams and high school theme books, before we’re consumed by Star Wars the Postquel Parts 7-8-9 – suggested titles: The Republic Goes Rotten; Return of the Sith Lords; and Hell’s Bells, We’re Right Back Where We Started!

O, no, I said it aloud! Now the Force has been invoked! O, no! Scotty, beam me up!

The DOOM PATROL (det.)

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DISORDER and FACT reprise

November 17, 2012

Fantasy Eruption

MEDITATIONS ON DISORDER and FACT:

Persistent and determined belief in fiction over fact is a clear sign of an emotional disorder. – See also: religion, supply side economics, 7/17/05

Poseidon: “Without gods, man is nothing.”  Odysseus: “I was only one man in the world – nothing more and nothing less.”

GIBBONISMS: Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Of interest: “The Gregorian chants of the Christian church preserve the vocal and instrumental music of the theater in an attempt to imitate the melody of the Roman school, which was meant to soothe the distress, confirm the faith, mitigate the fierceness, and dispel the dark enthusiasm of the vulgar. ”

“It is not surprising that superstition should act most powerfully on the fears of her votaries, since the human fancy can paint with more energy the misery than the bliss of a future life.”

“Among the Arabian philosophers, Averroes has been accused of despising the religion of the Jews, the Christians, and the Mahometans.  Each of these sects would agree that in two instances out of three his contempt was reasonable.”

“…many a sober Christian would rather admit that a wafer is God, than that God is a cruel and capricious tyrant.”

“…such is the progress of credulity that miracles, most doubtful on the spot and at the moment, will be received with implicit faith at a convenient distance of time and space.”

“…the favor of the people is less permanent than the resentment of the priest…”

Ambition is a weed of quick and early vegetation in the vineyard of Christ.”

“The calculation of their number [pilgrims to Rome] could not be easy or accurate; and they probably have been magnified by a dexterous clergy, well apprised of the contagion of example…”

“The dominion of priests is most odious to a liberal spirit.”

“…all that is human must retrograde if it do not advance…”

OTHER PEOPLE SAY:

A guru will tell you just enough, but not everything, to lead you on.  A bad guru wants you to suppress your doubts and serve him, or you will be set aside, dropped from favor, lose the “love.”  A good guru tells you to serve a cause, not him, or yourself, and never demands belief.

“In the case of gods, death is only a matter of prejudice.” Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra.

“The history of Christianity is rife with violence resulting from an organized central authority wishing to force its minions to adhere to a rigid doctrine of belief…Even more ironic is the fact that the Church’s attacks on fellow believers have been the worst events in the history of religious persecution.” – Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar, Steven Sora.

“It is evident that use of manipulative methods and blackmail can be a very effective means of controlling members.  In certain organizations and movements secrecy and control are very important.” – ibid, Sora.

In order to control the mind, one must control the body.  That is the primary reason religions proscribe sex and cleanliness.

INTERESTING STRAY FACTS:

St. Morris was the African Christian who inspired the code of chivalry: Serve the king, but answer only to god.

Quid pro quo – one for another, tit for tat. (Only goes so far if chopping off fingers, say).

One light year is six trillion miles!

Humans are by biology and temperament, the dancing ape.  Our closest relatives, Chimpanzees, can’t dance.  Anyone or anything that stops, or tries to control the dance is anti-human.

SO, I THINK, IT’S FUNNY:

She looks like an old couch somebody threw out of a trailer.

“I’m really intrigued about what I’ve found out about this woman’s skull!” – bright cheerful English archeologist, History Channel, Meet the Ancestors, “The Tomb that Time Forgot.”  “Time” forgot no less.

Go ahead, make my dinner.

“How dumb can you be and still be useful?” – scientific question applied to robotics.

“If enough people say, ‘My god, stop talking,’ you become a good listener.” – Gilbert Gottfried, Becker.

“These days, doctors can keep people alive way past their usefulness.” – Hugh Neutron, Jimmy Neutron.

“Church Potluck: What a Friend We Have in Cheese Puffs!” – church sign, Simpsons.

“No one gives a [crap] about labor if they can get a delicious sandwich.” – Squidward, Sponge Bob.

Barbarians don’t have an education, so they go for the nearest thrill.” – History Channel professor.

END ON THE UPBEAT:

“One cuts it and the other gets first choice.” – How brothers should share pie, Baxter Black, PBS.

PRETTY IMPORTANT NEWS (earlier views, but obviously still true):

Published on Monday, July 27, 2009 by The Guardian/UK

World Will Warm Faster Than Predicted in Next Five Years, Study Warns.  New estimate based on the forthcoming upturn in solar activity and El Nino southern oscillation cycles is expected to silence global warming skeptics, by Duncan Clark.

The world faces a new period of record-breaking temperatures as the sun’s activity increases, leading the planet to heat up significantly faster than scientists had predicted over the next five years, according to a new study.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/07/27-9

Published on Monday, July 27, 2009 by The Telegraph/UK

Climate Change to Force 75 Million Pacific Islanders From Their Homes.  More than 75 million people living on Pacific islands will have to relocate by 2050 because of the effects of climate change, Oxfam has warned, by Bonnie Malkin in Sydney.

A report by the charity said Pacific Islanders were already feeling the effects of global warming, including food and water shortages, rising cases of malaria and more frequent flooding and storms. Some had already been forced from their homes and the number of displaced people was rising, it warned.

Published on Monday, July 27, 2009 by CommonDreams.org

Profiling CEOs and Their Sociopathic Paychecks, by Thomm Hartmann.  The Wall Street Journal reported last week that “Executives” and other highly compensated employees received nearly $2.1 trillion of the $6.4 trillion in total US pay in 2007, the latest figures available.”

One of the questions often asked when the subject of CEO pay comes up is, “What could a person such as William McGuire or Lee Raymond (the former CEOs of UnitedHealth and ExxonMobil, respectively) possibly do to justify a $1.7 billion paycheck or a $400 million retirement bonus?”

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/07/27