Monday, September 29, 2014

Reactions to Gotham, Second Episode and more on the first

I'm hooked on Gotham now, the Second Episode has me sold on it.

The chemistry between Gordon and Bullock is falling into place pretty well.  The Mayor is interesting.

What really sold this episode was Selina, she is proving to be a wonderful little Street Urchin.

I don't really have a lot specific to say on Episode 2 that I didn't already say in Tweets.

 ·  17m 17 minutes ago
I could not stop Geeking over the part about Bruce creeping up on people.
 Of course what we really need to see Bruce do is sneak away while Gordon is talking.

I want to say some more on the Pilot, mostly what I feel is the most unfair criticism, all the stuff I see in other reviews about "clobbering us over the head" with who they will be.

Oswald Cobblepot being insultingly called a "Penguin" because of his unattractive features, and being constantly bothered by that, is part of the Character and his issues.  People who know the character beyond the Berdgess Meredith caricature should understand that.  Instead I keep seeing "we don't need be told he looks like a penguin every scene".

As for Edward Nygma, if this wasn't a show that was an Adaptation of something I think that scene in the Pilot would've been recognized as a perfectly natural way to established the character as being eccentric with a need to express himself in an unusual way, and the hardass Cop is of course annoyed by it.

And I've even seen people complain that Selina had to have a scene with a Cat.

The Gimmicks these people are nicknamed after are part of the character and a part of setting they character up, they didn't just come out of nowhere.

I’m really sick of people who hate The Prequel Trilogy

I don’t care what their opinion is, what annoys me is how these people feel like they own Star Wars, and there are so many places on the Internet where I can’t express my Love of Episode I or the others without being told that somehow invalidates any opinion I’ve ever held.

Not only do I like the Prequel Trilogy, not only do I like it MORE then the Original Trilogy. I would not be a Star Wars fan at all if it was still only the OT. I enjoy those films like I do lots of movies, but their appeal to me is very limited.

Criticisms of the Prequels fall into 3 Categories

1. Problems that the OT also had but OT fan-boys are in denial about, bad dialogue, wooden acting and poor writing, being Kid friendly ect…

2. Ridiculously pointless nitpicking.  This of course plagues lots of movie among online haters.  Inevitably overlaps with the number 1.

3. The very things they don’t like are why I love them, i.e. they want different things from a Space Opera then I do, and that’s fine but they consider their preferences to be an indisputable agreed upon standard. Examples, Taxation Dispute, not being as simple Black and White as the OT is ect….

For me Episode I is the most Nostalgic, I was only 13 when that came out, it is a big part of the tail end of my Childhood. And seeing it on the Big screen again for the 3D release brought me right back to it, right from the Opening scroll, actually the first time I’ve ever began to tear up in a movie theater.

That’s why the “Lucas ruined my childhood” people outright offend me, they can’t respect people who have different Childhood experiences then them. Episode I was for me everything the OT was for them, and what I experienced for the re-release I’m sure is like what it was for them when the Special Editions came out in 97.

Taxation Dispute

I find it humorous when people complain about the Taxation dispute, with the OT they love to brag about how it echos various mythologies, but this is just another example of that theme.

The Iliad begins with a dispute between Achilles and Agamemnon over the spoils of War. Bram Stoker’s Novel Dracula is initially about a Real estate transaction. The Richard Burton film The Robe’s events are instigated by the protagonist besting the future Emperor in a slave auction. The Burton and Peter O’Tool film Becket revolved around the controversy over what to do when a Priest is accused of a Crime. The story of David opens with a disagreement between King Saul and The Prophet Samuel about what to do with a Political prisoner.  The events in Batman Returns are largely set in motion because Max Shreck wants to get around red tape keeping him from building a Power Plant.  And the crisis in Jurassic Park is caused by Corporate espionage.

It’s a framing device, not what the film is actually about, is Episode IV merely about the transportation of a Battlestations’s stolen Blueprints?  But only with Episode 1 is this kind of framing device ever a criticism. It just shows how irrationally obsessed these haters are with finding things to B!tch about.

The Trade Federation is also clearly modeled after the old East India Company, with the term Viceroy and all.

The film I’ve been writing in my head about the Hasmonean Revolt also begins with a Taxation dispute, still during the Reign of Seleucus IV who Daniel calls “A Raiser of Taxes” in chapter 11. The opening narration deals with the prophecies in Daniel and the back-story of Alexander, the Wars of Succession, The Laodicean War and Antiochus Megas, but ends with the statement that Helicon, the King’s treasurer is coming to Jerusalem.

Captian America is an Archetype

Captain America is a more archetypical character then people realize. They see his Americanness and figure he can’t very relate to any Ancient Archetypes.

The thing is that Steve Rogers is for the U.S. what Lancelot is for the English and D’Artagnan for the French, and Achilles and Hector to the Ancient Greeco-Romans. Each is that culture’s concept of their ideal Solider/Knight.

And that often includes a willingness to go against their own Government when it goes bad.  And that is why Winter Solider is an awesome movie.

Only a Sith speaks in Absolutes

Thing about this quote that Obi-Won says to Anakin in Revenge of The Sith after he says "You're either with me, or you're my enemy".  What people miss is that it's Ironic.

I don't know if it was intentional on Lucas' part or not (Update: I do now think it was intentional), but the fact is it's inconsistent with the entire rest of the movie in terms of how the Sith and Jedi are portrayed philosophically.

Palpatine wasn't speaking in Absolutes when he said "Evil is a point of view Anakin" or "to understand the great mystery one must study all it's aspects, not just the dogmatic narrow minded view of The Jedi".

But later into their fight scene, Obi-Won and Anakin have another exchange.

Obi-Won: The Chancellor is Evil
Anakin: Form my point of view The Jedi are evil
Obi-Won: Then you are truly lost

Who's speaking in Absolutes there?

The truth is, it's Palpatine who comes off like a Moral Relativist.  And The Jedi like narrow minded absolutists.

The main reason so many mis this is that so many people were working at the time under the assumption that Palpatine=Republican=Conservative.  Truth is however in Episode II he was faining reluctance at going to War, which is much more like Obama's current strategy, then Bush and the Neo-Cons in 2002.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The strong Women of French Pulp Fiction, and their unexpected authors
The struggle to gain better female representation in Genre fiction is an interesting and complicated one. Recent years have seen a lot of progress with the success of movies  like The Hunger Games, and Divergent and Frozen  and Wonder Woman finally coming to the big screen (First in Batman Vs Superman, then finally a solo movie). But also lots of developments that demonstrate how much more work needs to be done, like the recent controversy with the latest Assassins Creed game announcing it won’t have any female playable characters.

What continually interests me is how surprisingly ahead of their time many older authors were. Both the frequently revered classics, and the more obscure ones, both English and French. In this post I’ll be discussing mainly what I see as an interesting observation about 4 of the major feuilletonists, but I’ll be making more posts on other characters.

I want to point out something interesting I've observed about the four major feuilletonists of the Golden age of the Romans-Feuilletin. Alexandre Dumas, Eugene Sue, Paul Feval and Ponson Du-Terril.

Brian Stableford spends a good deal of  time in the Introduction and Afterward material for the Feval and Ponson translations he’s done for BlackCoatPress talking about the political alignments of those four authors. What I find curious is that the two who were the “Conservatives” in the contexts of post Revolutionary France (in being devout Catholics and Royalists) Feval and Ponson. Seem to me to have over all been more inclined to write surprisingly well written strong independent women.

Dumas arguably invented the modern Femme Fatale, between both writing the Le Tour de Nesle play and the character of Milady d’Winter in The Three Musketeers, but like many firsts I feel they pale in comparison to their more fleshed out literary descendants (both the well known and less well known). And I of course love the heavily implied Lesbian characters of The Count of Monte-Cristo, Eugenie Danglars and Louise d'Armilly. And I find Ziska from his Le Vampire play fascinating. But beyond those examples, Dumas’s women conform to the stereotypes you expect, still well written characters because Dumas was a great writer of Melodrama, but not too innovative.

Sue is admittedly the one I’m currently least familiar with. But still, plenty of what I've heard about what transpires over the course of Les Mysteries du People wouldn't sit well with Feminists.  And I've read the stage play he himself made of The Mysteries of Paris (Translated by Frank Morlock).  And the two main female characters are a typical Ingenue (clearly part of the inspiration for Cossete in Victor Hugo's Les Miserables), and Countess Sarah who's a fallen woman desperately seeking redemption (I think the play makes her ending happier then the original Novel based on what I read in Shadowmen).  I feel for the character, she's not horribly written, but also not subversive like I'd expect from France's top Socialist writer.  The character of La Chouette (The Owl) is only mentioned in the play and doesn't appear directly.  She at any rate was an ugly evil old crone.

Ponson was seemingly more inclined then Feval to let his political-religious views influence his writing in a very obvious and, intentionally or not, preachy way.  I've often found myself thinking “really? that’s what’s honorable to you Ponson?”.

But none the less, in what would become known as the Rocambole saga, Bacarat proves to be a very formidable woman. In the first novel she’s an important but minor role, however in the second and third novels she proves to be the real Hero of the story. And Torquise proves to be a very mesmerizing Femme Fatale in the second Novel. The two Ponson Vampire novels Stableford has translated for BlackCoatPress both have compelling women as the title Vampires. In his introduction-afterward material for The Vampire and The Devil’s Son Stableford discuses how Ponson kind of innovated a lot of the tropes common in modern Romance Novels. (Update: more on Rocombole here)

Paul Feval’s characters are endlessly fascinating.  Plenty fit the norms you’d expect of the time, but many do not. I personally think two of the greatest Femme Fatales ever written are Countess Marcian Gregory of The Vampire Countess and Marguerite Sadoulas of The Blackcoats saga. But Sarah O’Neil of John Devil is also an interesting early experimentation with that archetype. The saga of the Habits Noirs also has some strong heroic women. Rose de Malvoy is the real hero of The Heart of Steel, Valentine (Fleurette) and Maman Leo are the core protagonists of The Invisible Weapon. Regina from Bel Demonio is bound to gain conflicting responses from a modern feminist reader, I’d dare say she’d fit in as an Anime character quite well. Susannah gets an opportunity to show some impressive courage in Les Mysteries de Londres.

In Le Bossu our young female lead is allowed to actually save herself from an attempted Rape, something Stableford suspects Feval might have originally intended to do again in The Sword Swallower. Vampire City has both Anna Ward (Anne Radcliffe) and Polly Bird, (warning though, the desire of some modern reviewers to describe Polly Bird as transgender is very misleading).

And there are still so many Feval works not available to me yet. Among them La Louve (The She Wolf) the prequel to Le Loup le Blanc (The White Wolf), and quite possibly the first depiction of a masked female vigilante.  The novel it prequels was the first depiction of a Masked Vigilante period, well before Zorro or the Scarlet Pimpernel.

I want to go back a bit now.  Stableford describes The Heart of Steel as "Unintentionally Proto-Feminist".  I've suggested elsewhere it may not be as unintentional as you'd think.  But by no means do I think Feval would be a cheerleader of modern Feminism.

In the case of the Invisible Weapon.  I'm not sure, but I think it may very well pass the Bechel Test.  Considering how rare passing that still is, I think it's really fascinating to consider that a forgotten work of 19th century literature (a sequel to a prequel) by a man fighting the tides of a change could be capable of passing it.  (Update 12/23/2015, since I've seen it argued The Force Awakens passes, The Invisible Weapon certainly would by that standard).

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Final scene should be The Bat flying into Bruce's study

In the original iteration of Batman's origin story, published in Detective Comics No#23 in Novembers of 1939.

The Legend of The Batman and how he came to be
The origin of Bruce getting the idea to become a Bat was him sitting in his study knowing he needs a disguise and trying to think of one, saying "Criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot" so determines it should be a scary disguise.

Then a bat flies in through the window and he goes "A Bat!That's it! It's an Omen. I shall become a BAT!"

This scene has never been dramatized in Live Action. And even in Animation only in the adaptation of Miller's Year One that adds unneeded additional drama with Bruce bleeding out and planning to kill himself if he doesn't see some sort of sign.

In the 80s Denny O'Niel had introduced an alternative explanation of Bruce as a kid falling into a Cave with Bats. Both Batman Forever and Batman Begins borrowed this. But Forever made it a giant Bat-Demon, which I felt was a DKR Homage.

The BTAS continuity establishes in Mask of The Phantasm him getting the idea from a swarm of Bat's cockblocking him.

I remember on Smallville's IMDB board we had a lot of fun giving our own ideas on what the very last shot of Smallville should be. Clark ripping his shirt open to reveal an S on his chest was a popular suggestion.

I think, IF this show manages to last 10 seasons and end with Bruce 20 or older. That Iconic scene should be how it ends. I really want to see it in Live Action, out-dated dialogue and all.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Gotham Pilot Reaction

"I want die peacefully in my sleep with my eyes closed like my father.  Not screaming in terror like his passengers."
 Not sure I quoted that exactly right.  It was funny.  So getting down to business.

We meet Catwoman first, and she's pretty cool, like a female Artful Dodger.

The murder of The Waynes was done well.  The Iconic shot of Bruce kneeling over their bodies I felt was better here then in Begins.

I've become ok with this skinny Penguin.  Bullock is great, Gordon and Alfred are good too.

I'm glad we get to see Renee Montoya, I'm glad they're including her Sexuality.  Randomly making her involved with Gordon' fiance feels like a poorly thought out way to do it.  Why can't the Lesbian's Romantic/Sex Life be part of the show the way is for straight characters on a Cop Show?  Or give Renee a love interest she's had in The Comics.

So this fiance is Gordan's first Wife Barbara, but she looks like the spitting image of Essen.

Overall it was a decent start, I'll keep following it and hope it stays strong.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Once again I am published in Tales of The Shadowmen.

I'm still Alphabetically the last one too.  Long as no X, Y or Z join the Shadowmen Author Crew I'll always be the closer.

This Story is much shorter then my first Published story in Volume 10.  But I think Historically literate individuals will like it.

So, make sure you get TOTS 11 on December 1st.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I have 4 BlogSpot blogs

This is sort of the default one, for any Nerdiness that doesn't fit the others.

I recently changed the Names and URLs of 3 of them, including this one.  Creates awkwardness for my past self promotion.

I'm thinking of making a Fifth.  This time I'll think much harder on what I want to call it before I actually create it.

I also have my Tumblr,
 which form now on I'll mostly be using for Reblogging fun stuff I see there.  A lot of past stuff I've posted there I intent to eventually repost here or on another Blog.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

When the Fall TV Seasons starts, I'll be blogging my reactions to some TV shows I watch.

I figure that will help me keep this Blog active.  They won't be proper reviews on ReCaps, jsut me stating some thoughts.

On Mondays the focus will be Gotham which starts on the 22nd.  Wednesdays will be Arrow, what other shows I'll include I haven't decided yet.  But I do know for it's Christmas Special and next you you can expect me to include Pretty Little Liars.

The reaction my not go up till the next day, it depends.

And I'll start including reactions to Sailor Moon Crystal, and my the new Dubs and Subs of the old show when they go up on Mondays.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I rented and Watched Divergent today

This isn't a review so much as some random thoughts.

First off I feel like the perception "conservatives" have that Hollywood is all Liberal and Socialist is kind of undermined by all these Dystopic movies about how horrible an attempt at a state managed Communist Utopia would be.

What's kind of unexpected is that what makes Tris Divergent is that she's indecisive.  That's mainly the first thing we're told about her, that she doesn't know what she wants the outcome of the test to be.  The test goes wrong because she can't make a decision, and wants to be told what she's supposed to do.  Then she's really annoyed that the Test didn't make choosing her path easier.

What I would usually expect in a Sci-Fi speculation about such a society would be that our POV character is someone who definitely knows they don't want what they've been assigned (like Fry in the Pilot of Futurama, that's a parody however).  And that people who are OK with their decisions being made for them are what the system wants.

The way Tris at first handles the Dream Fear Test kind of made me think of The Kobayashi Maru.