nebroadwe: Write write write edit edit edit edit edit & post. (Writer)
Title: Cry Havoc
Fandom: How To Train Your Dragon (filmverse)
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Stoick, Gobber, and a dragon-keeper who should have known better ...
Rating: PG
Word Count: ~1650
Warnings: None
A/N: Thank goodness I have godchildren to introduce me to fandoms I might otherwise have missed; How To Train Your Dragon is a wonderful piece of work and that wailing sound you hear is me lamenting the fact that I missed seeing it in a theater. So here's a deleted scene from late in the movie, because Hiccup doesn't give up that easily and Stoick doesn't have enough to do to keep himself from thinking. Concrit welcomed with Freyja's sniffles (because if you're expecting tears in this economy, you should think again, bud!).
Dedication: This is for Luci and Noël, whose taste is unerring, and for Katie the Elder, who correctly coined the term "nose-head" to describe Toothless's snout.

Beowulf maðelode, beotwordum spræc
niehtstan siðe: "Ic geneðde fela
guða on geogoðe; gyt ic wylle,
frod folces weard, fæðe secan,
mærðu frimman, gif mec se mansceaða
of eorðsele ut geseceð."

Beowulf, lines 2510-2515

      Stoick was planning a war.

Read more... )
nebroadwe: (Bear)
Remember Star War: The Backstroke of the West, the so-bad-it's-hilarious English subtitling of Revenge of the Sith in a Chinese bootleg? (If not, you can find it here. WARNING: Do not view while drinking splorkable liquids.) Well, somebody found a Chinese bootleg of The Avengers that seems to have been subtitled by the same ... entity. Screenshots over here; see WARNING above. Share and enjoy.
nebroadwe: (Editor)
All her life, it seems, Princess Merida's tomboyishness has been indulged by her father, King Fergus, while her mother, Queen Elinor, attempts to mold her into a lady. No points for guessing whom the princess gets on with better. But when the queen announces that it's time for Merida's hand to be awarded to one of her father's vassals' sons for the good of the kingdom, Merida has had enough. Running away into the forest, she finds a woodcarving witch who gives her a spell that will change her fate by changing her mother. The problem is, Merida didn't specify the change she wanted; the witch has a thing for bears; and King Fergus has been planning his revenge on the bear who bit off his leg for years ...

I enjoyed this movie, but I have two problems with it that I need to get out of the way.

Problem One )

Problem Two )

That said, I had a great deal of fun watching this film. Pixar's animation improves by leaps and bounds with each feature: the fishing trip to the river full of salmon had me gaping at how so many difficult elements (light, water, stones, fish, bear, human) came together in a single, gorgeous scene. The voice acting, as one might expect from such folks as Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson, was top-notch and Patrick Doyle's score was nicely hummable. I laughed at all the jokes and enjoyed the comedic action sequences (Merida's little brothers are a riot, when one shuts off the part of the brain engaged with problem one above) and was pleased to note that Merida's bow was not, in fact, portrayed as an effective close combat weapon. The climactic battle in the stone circle was also very nicely choreographed and its redemptive ending effective. (I love me a good redemption.) The post-credits scene is not only amusing, but ties up a dangling plot thread, which warms the cockles of my writerly soul.

Recommended with reservations. That it gives us a female empowerment tale that doesn't require a dead mother or evil stepmother to work is a plus; that it does so using gender stereotypes is a minus; that it's Pixar and therefore lovely to look at and reasonably clever with its storytelling is enough to satisfy me at the moment. Now that the ground has been broken, however, I expect better in future ...
nebroadwe: (pic#1047247)
Once upon a time, a beautiful princess lost her mother to illness and her father to a femme fatale with a Freudian excuse. She escapes from prison and joins forces with a huntsman, eight dwarves, a childhood playmate, and an army. Together they defeat the femme fatale and the princess is crowned queen. Everyone lives happily ever after, except the eighth dwarf, who gets killed. The end.

Oh, my aching brain. Do not see this movie. Do not pay money to see it; do not buy or rent the DVD; do not watch it on television. I have never been so bored and irritated in a theater in my life. This film has no plot -- things just happen, one after the other. The characters are pretty or gritty (depending on the lighting) meat puppets spouting portentous dialogue that doesn't convey any sense of inner life. The actors' talents are criminally wasted: Charlize Theron has two gears, glare and screech; Chris Hemsworth's accent is so thick I had trouble understanding him; Bob Hoskins must have been taking Valium in his coffee for the entire shoot; and Kristen Stewart is a complete cipher. (Ian McShane as the head dwarf seems to be the only person actually enjoying himself.) Thematically, the piece is a mess; it's unclear how or why Snow White's Incorruptible Pure Pureness allows her to defeat the wicked queen, whose backstory of abuse and revenge is frankly the most coherent and compelling piece of storytelling the film manages to put across. It's not unusual for villains to be more interesting than heroes, but when I can't root for the heroes ... well. Eight words, Universal: I DON'T CARE WHAT HAPPENS TO THESE PEOPLE.

Bletch. Avoid, avoid, avoid. Thank goodness for a new episode of The Legend of Korra to take the bad taste out of my mind ...
nebroadwe: (Bear)
Diane Duane likes The Avengers. Phew. I will not have shelled out for a ticket in vain.
nebroadwe: (Editor) has a remarkably even-handed article by Adam Rogers about Joss Whedon's turn on The Avengers film in the context of his career:
With The Avengers, Joss Whedon Masters the Marvel Universe
The money quote, for me, comes near the end, as Rogers winds up a brief disquisition about the difference between working on independent projects and blockbusters:
[M]aybe the truth about Whedon’s work is that the more self-conscious it is, the narrower its audience. The Avengers wouldn’t work as a self-aware, postmodern deconstruction of superhero team gender dynamics. Hulk gotta smash.
Which might explain my own reaction to Whedon's storytelling: I usually enjoy it, having been trained in some of the same analytic techniques as he was, but because I come at his tales from a less existential angle, I can find myself fighting the thematics, which gets tiring. Sometimes I do just want to see the Hulk smash the bad guys and prevail when that's where the high-concept is. (I didn't even try to watch Dollhouse, because the high-concept there was repellent to me.)

Also, the moment in the article where Whedon takes down a previz artist for making a suggestion about the script sounded ... really disrespectful. I'm hoping there's some context missing here: the previz guy had a history of overstepping or Whedon was having trouble keeping control of the script in general (though the article doesn't seem to raise that as a serious problem). Otherwise it comes off as nastily anticollaborative.
nebroadwe: (Books)
Nearly a century ago, the thirteen districts of Panem rose in rebellion against their Capitol and lost. Ever since, each district has been required each year to send a tribute of one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to fight to the death in the Hunger Games. In all that time, District 12 has seen only one victor, so when Katniss Everdeen volunteers in order to save her sister Prim from being selected, she knows her chances are surviving are slim. Slim, but not non-existent: she has the help of her cynical mentor, Haymitch, her Capitol-assigned stylist, Cinna, and perhaps even that of her fellow tribute, Peeta … despite the fact that to win, she'll have to kill him …

Read more... ) Worth seeing in the theater, but I'm looking forward to getting the right distance on those opening shaky-cam shots on a television screen once the DVD comes out.
nebroadwe: (Bear)
I wasn't planning to see Battleship, but I did read this review, which explains how a lot of action films deal with narrative:
[T]here isn’t so much a script as there are two word vats, one labelled "exposition" and one labelled "one-liners", the contents of which are ladled with a cheery splat on whichever character happens to pointing at the Loud Thing Happening At The Time.
And this, children, is why the Transformers cartoons, even the cheesy '80s ones, are so much better than the movies. Roll out.
nebroadwe: (Books)
I tried to watch the FMA movie trailer over here, but even on my super-spiffy university connection it loaded in fits and starts. I did notice that Maaya Sue Sakamoto's character appears to be a sharpshooter -- also that a chimera seems to play an adversarial role. Hard to determine much else, really (though that may be the virus talking ...)
nebroadwe: (Books)
High-schooler Kenji just missed representing Japan in the Math Olympics, so this summer he has nothing to look forward to except working as a low-level moderator for OZ, the nation's premiere virtual reality social, business, and governmental networking site, with his friend Takashi. That is, until his classmate Natsuki persuades him to accompany her to her great-grandmother's 90th birthday party at the family's run-down country house, where he is unexpectedly introduced to the clan as her fiancé. Against his better judgment, Kenji goes along with the story, but matters take another unexpected turn when he solves a tricky math puzzle sent to his OZ account in the middle of the night. Next morning, he discovers that his account has been used to hack dozens of others, including those of government officials, with dire real-world results. But as Japan descends into chaos, Natsuki's great-grandmother picks up the phone and begins making calls to her own social network ... and her family once again finds itself on the front line of war ...

Spoilers ho! )
nebroadwe: From "The Magdalen Reading" by Rogier van der Weyden.  (Default)
When even Mr. Popcorn hates your movie, you're in trouble:
"The Last Airbender" is an agonizing experience in every category I can think of and others still waiting to be invented.
Ouch. Paging Opus the Penguin. I wasn't planning to see this film in any case because of the racebending, but it looks as if that will spare me the pain of enduring a piss-poor adaptation of an elegant story. Time to rewatch the series ...
nebroadwe: (Bear)
I like Terry Pratchett's books, but their film adaptations have been a mixed bag. (Someday I have to scrape up a copy of the animated versions of Soul Music and Weird Sisters, for comparison's sake. And because I'm a compulsive completist.) This trailer for Going Postal, however ... Read more... )
nebroadwe: (Books)
Sniffle. Goshwow! Sniffle! [rewinds to beginning and watches again ...]
nebroadwe: (Bear)
Many people of a certain age (i.e. mine) in the U.S. got their introduction to anime through Star Blazers, an English dub-and-edit of Space Battleship Yamato. It hasn't aged well, IMO, but I remember it fondly: it was my introduction to progressive serial narrative (they went somewhere and came back to solve the plot problem! people even DIED! OhEmGee!). So when I saw this:

... well, let's just say the SQUEE! factor was pretty darn acute. Given all the licensing hassles surrounding this property, I doubt I'll see it unless I import it, but still ... my inner twelve-year-old is settling down on the couch in the t.v. room and humming, "'Our Star Blazers!'"
nebroadwe: (Books)
Rumor has it that Peter Jackson is developing a film based on Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines!

I'd been holding out hope that someone would show the book to Miyazaki, but I'll take Jackson.

ETA: Further rumor-mongering here, likely the source of the previously noted rumors.

ETA 2: On a related note, has a Best Movies of the Decade List Aggregator running on its site. I am immensely heartened by the numbers of SFnal films making it into critics' lists, everything from Spirited Away and The Incredibles to The Lord of the Rings and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to Pan's Labyrinth and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (currently in first place, ha!)
nebroadwe: (Books)
Studio Ghibli is planning to film The Borrowers by Mary Norton and release it next summer. I first got wind of this yesterday, here and here. They won't be doing it as period piece; evidently the setting will be early-oughties Tokyo, right around the corner from some Ghibli offices. Hmm, opportunities for meta? The director, Yonebashi Hiromasa, is the youngest man ever to helm a Ghibli feature, so perhaps he's down with self-referentiality and other such hip concepts? :-) It's also his first time in the Big Chair, having worked as assistant animation director on Gedo Senki after serving his time in the animation ranks at various levels (including as a key animator on Serial Experiments: Lain). I had no problems with the animation of Gedo Senki -- it was the story I felt was lacking -- so this is potentially hopeful news.

Check out the pretty picture here.
nebroadwe: (Books)
Ah, the Bard. We can all quote him, but how many of us really know his work? Who has the time to read all 37 plays and 154 sonnets? Fortunately, the Reduced Shakespeare Company has done it for us! The three-man troupe of Adam Long (former anti-nuclear accountant and bassist), Reed Martin (former clown and minor league umpire), and Austin Tichenor (former director of actual plays) distills the entire Shakespearean oeuvre to its essence and presents it as a single night's entertainment, complete with all the fire-eating, vomiting and groin-kicking that so pleased the groundlings at the Globe! (Now with added Canadians!)

I'd heard several The Reduced Shakespeare Company's BBC radio broadcasts and enjoyed them, but I chortled non-stop through this live show. Whether they're "modernizing" Titus Andronicus as a cooking show (with utterly [in]appropriate nods to Emeril), rapping Othello, summarizing the history plays via football commentary, or workshopping Ophelia's closet scene with the entire audience, the company combines clever riffs on the original material with dopey slapstick and never lets up -- not even when one of their number tries to escape the theater just before the act break or another collapses in tears when the audience refuses to stop laughing long enough for him to deliver Hamlet's "To be, or not to be" speech. Not to be watched while drinking splorkable liquids. Highly recommended to lapsed English majors everywhere.
nebroadwe: From "The Magdalen Reading" by Rogier van der Weyden.  (Default)
Unless Jerry Bruckheimer is having us all on, he's hired Johnny Depp to play Tonto in his upcoming Lone Ranger movie.

Johnny Depp. Tonto.

Johnny Depp. Tonto.

I'd ask, "What were they thinking?" (and, possibly, "Doesn't anybody involved with the production talk to M. Night Shyamalan?") except, well ...
nebroadwe: From "The Magdalen Reading" by Rogier van der Weyden.  (Default)
Ran across the second trailer for Chris Columbus's upcoming adaptation of The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan:

Read more... )

I'm not sure what to make of this one. The book strikes me as eminently filmable (very shounen, so to speak, with more action than introspection through-lining the plot); though popular, it shouldn't have the same YOU MUST INCLUDE EVERY INCIDENT OR RISK THE WRATH OF THE FEN! impetus that dragged down the first few Harry Potter films. Which gives me some hope for Columbus: his HP installments were pedestrian at best, but there were touches here and there that made me wonder if he felt stifled by the material. (It may also help that the young leads are played by somewhat older actors in The Lightning Thief; the adult cast -- Pierce Brosnan as Chiron, Sean Bean as Zeus, Uma Thurman as Medusa, etc. -- no doubt will help them along.) I expect I'll be seeing this in the theater with my godchildren when it comes out.
nebroadwe: From "The Magdalen Reading" by Rogier van der Weyden.  (Default)
Yesterday I took [ profile] nateprentice's kids to see the English dub of Ponyo at one of the art-house theaters downtown. (It was their first time in such a theater -- they found the upscale selection of treats at the concessions stand disappointing. :-) We all enjoyed the film thoroughly. The plot takes its inspiration from "The Little Mermaid," but you might as well ignore that -- this is not a story about romance, though it is a story about love. The plot, as somebody's review pointed out, is simple at base -- boy meets fish-girl, boy loses fish-girl, fish-girl returns, boy must prove himself worthy of her -- but like the Devonian creatures that accompany Ponyo into Sosuke's seaside town, it's big and fantastic and trails a not a few whiskery subplots that seem strange, taken on their own, but considered as part of the whole add to its charm.

Read more... )


nebroadwe: From "The Magdalen Reading" by Rogier van der Weyden.  (Default)
The Magdalen Reading

August 2014



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