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Author of the Bloodbound and Nicolas Lenoir novels. Holder of opinions.
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ALL THIS BEING SAID... We gleefully nitpicked the shit out of the movie on the Wired magazine podcast a few weeks back, all while agreeing that we liked the movie (to the foaming RAGE of the internets). Some of the things you mention above made my list of Boo-worthy moments. And I definitely hear you that the closer something is to perfect, the more frustrating it is when they get the simple things wrong.
Toggle Commented Jan 12, 2018 on Star Wars: The Last Jedi at Pornokitsch
I think your last point touches on the bigger issue. Sure, there are plenty of flaws in the movie -- just as there were in the original trilogy. But the spirit in which the flaws are received strikes me as being very different. For one thing, we live in a more cynical age, where we demand a degree of "realism" that didn't used to be required (or even necessarily desired). I think it's also partly down to social media, where outrage is its own currency and nitpicking offers us a way to feel like we're contributing something fresh to the conversation. (And to be clear, I'm not referring to your comment specifically here; this is a general remark about how a lot of fandom has received this movie.) Back when the original trilogy was released, there was no shortage of people pointing out little things that weren't quite right, but that didn't stop people from loving the movies. Flaws were either kind of cute and endearing ("A parsec is a unit of time? Adorable!") or they were explained away through almost Herculean feats of logic (e.g. inconsistencies between A New Hope vs. Empire, or the Han Shot First controversy). There were a few divisive things, like Ewoks, but even then, it seems to me that you heard more "Ewoks are rubbish" than "Return of the Jedi is a steaming pile of turd". I'm tempted to say we were a more naive audience, but you could also argue that in some ways we were more mature, accepting that everything has its flaws and there's no sense letting a few little things get in the way of rollicking good fun. As for SciFi in general being especially prone to plot holes, not sure I agree. I do think it's especially prone to people *looking* for them, for a variety of reasons. Part of the problem, I think, is that if the writing is any good, we aren't given an exhaustive cheat-sheet of what is or isn't possible in-universe, leaving us to fill in the blanks. Back in the day (good Lord I'm sounding old), as I said before, I think we filled these holes with "benefit of the doubt". These days, notsomuch.
Toggle Commented Jan 12, 2018 on Star Wars: The Last Jedi at Pornokitsch
Familiar and yet surprising, The Last Jedi is a worthy installment in the franchise. Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2017 at Pornokitsch
Khan doesn’t actually get a chance to prove his superhuman intellect, because Kirk is such a bonehead. Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2017 at Pornokitsch
He looks about as badass as your geeky cousin – which is of course the point. Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2017 at Pornokitsch
Interesting proposals! I could be convinced of the Game Player. Sort of a mashup of the Obsessed and the Psycho. Aside from Moriarty, who else would qualify under this heading? We have to be sure there are enough specimens before declaring it a species. The Bureaucrat would probably fall under the True Believer, as in Dolores Umbridge's case. In some cases, the ideology might be nothing more complicated than obedience, or conformity, or similar. (I was going to say efficiency and then I remembered we were talking about bureaucracy.)
I think it depends on your definition of "villain", and the extent to which you view it as something distinct from "antagonist". For me, an antagonist is any person or force that acts in direct opposition to the protagonist -- but they don't have to be "bad" per se. Sometimes the antagonist is just an ordinary person who makes poor but understandable choices that land them in conflict with the protagonist. Sometimes the antagonist is a shark, or a tornado, or a sharknado. To go the extra mile and qualify as a "villain", though, the antagonist needs to make choices that fundamentally cross the line, morally speaking. That's how I view it, at any rate. Which isn't to say that villains can't be sympathetic. We've covered quite a few sympathetic villains in this feature, and they tend to be some of my favourites.
OK, maybe not so much “official” as “preliminary and largely arbitrary”, but hey – you have to start somewhere. Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2017 at Pornokitsch
Sorry, but your credibility as a pedant has been severely affected by your lumping Superman I and II in with III and (egad) IV.
Lego Batman is above Superman and Superman II? ... I'm not sure we can be friends anymore.
One of the most essential features of True Believers is their tendency to bend reality to their will. Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2017 at Pornokitsch
She’s not the toughest or the cruellest or even the most cunning, but it doesn’t matter. She’s something much more sinister: an evil bureaucrat. Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2017 at Pornokitsch
That's a good one for sure. So many gems to choose from, it's hard to have a favourite. He must be one of the most quotable characters ever.
I looked for a GIF for that, but alas. :)
If the Bible shows salvation being delivered in a barn, Deadwood gives us civilization birthed in horseshit, mud, and moral quagmire. Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2017 at Pornokitsch
Hi Talena, thanks for commenting! Fair point about Lewis inventing the cliche. I can't say I recall an older instance of a magic wand turning people into stone, specifically. But the lore about magic wands turning people into nasty things in general goes waaaaaay back. There's one in the Odyssey, if memory serves, that turns men into beasts. (Pigs, I think? Or was that just Willow?) And fairies have long been associated with wands possessing various transformative powers (which is probably where Disney got the fairy-godmother-wields-magic-wand idea). The best part about The Machine, though, is that it's entirely arbitrary. :) I haven't put Voldemort through it ... yet. But it so happens that I have a different Harry Potter villain on deck for the month after next... (cue mysterious music).
Jadis is a one-woman embodiment of the Bible’s Greatest Evil Hits. Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2017 at Pornokitsch
That subtle sneer that says, I’m smarter than you and we both know it. Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2016 at Pornokitsch
String uses mind over muscle (though for the record, Mr. Bell has very, very fine muscles). Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2016 at Pornokitsch
Some great examples there. Others that occur to me are Al Swearengen from Deadwood, The Operative from Serenity, and even, dare I say it, Darth Vader. It's so much fun watching them do the right thing, especially when they team up with the hero, if only temporarily. I'm a sucker for that.
Toggle Commented Aug 31, 2016 on Villain of the Month: Loki at Pornokitsch
He goes toe-to-toe with some of the MCU’s baddest baddies without batting an eye. And yes, it helps that he looks very pretty doing it. Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2016 at Pornokitsch
Me too! We've got some great villains on deck...
Toggle Commented Aug 17, 2016 on What makes a great villain? at Pornokitsch
I’ll be looking at a different villain each month, so if you’ve got a favourite baddie, let me know in the comments, and we’ll hook ‘em up. Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2016 at Pornokitsch
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Jun 4, 2016