piątek, 29 kwietnia 2011

Thunder me 3D

Holywood got us a little present: Thor premiered here a week (or even more if you count the prescreenings) before its US arrival. I decided to treat myself with a 3D matinee and here's a couple of thoughts.

My personal prefference is to treat superhero movies as a genre of their own. Whenever my personal note is 9 or 10 out of 10, they are ready to compete in the transgenre contest for the viewer's attention.
This is not the case of Thor. Where Iron Man  charmed with its autoirony and stellar Downey Jr and Nolan's Batman was just a very good story, Thor fails to do so but I never said it's bad.

THUMBS UP: This is a one well-cast movie. Everything seems to be clicking, starting from the main cast (Loki was a nice surprise) all the way to Warrior's Three and Siff who get much more screen attention that I have imagined. Costume and architectural designs didn't disappoint me either, especially Bifrost, which, as one of the key features of the moviem is something to behold without being to corky.

Most designs follow closely the Marvel's sketchbook which is always a plus in my book.
Movie has a steady pace,the first 40 minutes make all Greek-mythology productions pale in comparison as Asgard and the Asgardians have much more style than Olimpians. Hemsworth feels pretty comfortable in the role and strikes all the right notes I like Thor for: big, oafish, noble golden heart.

The fight scenes are great and boy, you can deal hurt in a thousand of ways with a simple hammer. The big Earth showdown doesn't suffer from the usual problem of "we're are wrapping up the movie so we'll let you smash yourselves for another 20 minutes".

THUMBS DOWN: It's disasterously squeeky clean. It's like dirt doesn't stick to gods and their mates. Thor smashes through a skull of a giant only to come out without a drop of blood on his lush red cape (would make a great bed cover). Armor on close-ups looks very plastic, gold looks like plastic painted gold.

It looks like somebody was really afraid to use the word "god".  Marvel has a major problem with the mystical and occult part of their heritage, building up a thick layer of pseudoscience crap to distract from the fact that in this universe there are multiple pantheons, Satan, Dracula and many others and it can get really really dark (unless Nicholas Cage shows up). The whole process of "rationalizing of the mystery" leads to some really bizarre moments - Asgardian being overevolved aliens, mystical bridge Bifrost looking like a freaking Star Trek teleporter (try not to say "Scotty, beam us down" once) etc.

My last complaint is related to the Loki's origins in the movie (won't spoil it), I understand that two-hour movie needs to call on some character building dramatizations, but wasn't there a way to make it without completely messing up the mythology?

AND AFTER THE CREDITS... won't spoil it for you, but is much more interesting than just seeing Samuel L. Jackson again. It's much more of a story set-up for the next movie.

Overall, if you are a Marvel fan, go and see it. If you like big mythological movies, go and see it.
If you don't know who Thor is, keep it that way.

7/10 in a superhero scale.

środa, 27 kwietnia 2011

Eisner Time

I browsed through this year's Eisner Award (Oscars for comic books but unlike Oscars most of the nominees are pretty obscure for mere mortals) and on a whim bought three nice hardcovers that may steal the show this year.

Return of the Dapper Men (referred to as "the one I can't remember the title of"): OK, I got to admit I am still too scared to approach it. It doesn't look like a comic book. It doesn't smell like a comic book. It doesn't even fit the comic book shelf. But it is beautiful, strikes the fairy tale books nostalgia.
Buying it will certainly make you look smarter.

American Vampire: Safe choice. Stephen King + vampires are always a good match. Starts off as a wild west story of a common cutthroat Skinner Sweet that carries all the bad habits into unlife. The art nicely departs from the typical "King meets comic books" hyperrealistic style as in Dark Tower.
As a side note, I find it extremely funny that thanks to a certain Mormon, giants like King have to describe their vampires in words of opposition. So you will learn more about who Skinner Sweet isn't that about who he is.

Chew: The Omnivore Edition: Brilliant premise: and FDA agent who is a cibopath - whenever he eats something (except for beets), he gets fleshbacks on the life and death of his dish. Yes... you know where it leads to.
I am trying to love it as writing and art are good, but halfway through the book I am still more on "trying" than "loving".

All pictures from respective publishers.

Monstrous: It's born!

It seemed like the only logical way. I absorb monstrous volumes of data of all sorts and need a venue to let it live when my brain is done digesting.
The main goal is to organize emotions that are a by-product of my limited spare-time audiovisual adventures.
I will leave out the issues of life and death; politics and religion;  and focus on those useless things that will not grant the humankind's survival.

If it's a cheap thrill, won't feed or shelter you, I will probably write about it at some point.