Thursday, June 05, 2014

An Update

Things have been, as they often are, quieter here than I'd like. I've mostly been busy with work, and the remainder of my free time has been looking for other work. I'd much rather be writing blog posts than cover letters, but that's where I'm at right now. But now I have a moment or two to procrastinate, so have some bullet points! Spoilers for summer movies ahead.
  • I started reading Greg Rucka's novel Alpha. It's still pretty early in the book, so not much has happened, but I'm enjoying it so far. There are some interesting quirks with how Rucka describes and words things, and I'm trying to determine what's his style versus what's his choice for the narrator's voice. Aside from the way he refers to military minutiae like a seasoned expert, it doesn't feel much like any of the other stuff I've read of Rucka's.

    The lack of pictures may be a contributing factor to that.
  • I picked up "Scribblenauts Unmasked" and beat it in fairly short order. I was going to outline my thoughts here, but I think I'll put together something more substantial shortly. In any case, I quite liked it.
  • I saw "Amazing Spider-Man 2," and was underwhelmed. I quite liked the first installment, but this one was (as I might have predicted) overstuffed and rushed. The Electro plot, Harry's illness, and the mystery of Peter's parents could easily have taken up a whole flick without shoehorning in the Goblin and the bridge scene as well. I frankly would have liked another movie with Gwen in it before the inevitable end, and especially one without the college girl equivalent of being one day away from retirement. On top of all that, it felt like there was just so much dialogue (the entire graduation speech, for instance) that felt too convenient, too on-the-nose, too plot-driven. Sony's clearly on a mad dash to make their own "Avengers," without learning from the mistakes of "Spider-Man 3" or the successes of "Avengers"--specifically, laying the groundwork for that movie over the course of years, through several other films, where the worst of them also happened to be the one that diverted too much of its energy to laying the groundwork for the team film. Argh.
  • Seeing "Godzilla" made me realize that I haven't actually seen a Godzilla movie outside of the last American Godzilla movie. This new one was better by far. I especially liked how incidental the humans were to everything. They set the plot in motion by unleashing Muto, but humanity went mostly unnoticed by the creatures, which followed the basic drives of nature: mate and eat. Including another monster was a smart choice (making it look like the Cloverfield monster: doubly smart), because it shifts the narrative. When Godzilla is the only monster, the plot becomes humans vs. Godzilla, which in the "Godzilla" franchise, can end in a stalemate at best. "We drove the creature back into the sea! Yay, I guess? But, like, he's still right there. In the sea." Pitting Godzilla against a bigger threat makes us root for the titular monster, and just hope the humans don't screw things up too badly.

    I think the one thing I would have changed is letting the generic protagonist disarm the damn nuclear bomb. They were setting that up for the whole movie, only to have him stymied by a panel that he could easily have pried off with the harpoon he found there on the boat. It was tough to watch the happy ending reunion scene at the end knowing the radioactive fallout from the detonation of a nuclear warhead just off the coast of California was going to render half those happy families dead from leukemia within a few years. I get that part of the message is that nature points up the folly of men, but at least let some men solve their own follies maybe?
  • I was interviewed this weekend for the Chippewa Valley Geek podcast, where I talked way too much and way too incoherently about some topics regarding canon and comics. It was tons of fun, and I'll post a notice here whenever it gets uploaded.
  • I'm still working on that Superman QuizUp question set, though I hope to finally finish it up soon. If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears.

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