Much like how I revisited the original Star Wars trilogy in anticipation of The Force Awakens, I found myself revisiting the prequel trilogy in anticipation of The Last Jedi. And jeez, has there ever been a pop culture property as picked over and obsessed about as the prequel trilogy? You could probably pen a thesis arguing that the movies act as a sort of Girardian scapegoat for the geek community, redirecting anger and aggression towards itself to take the heat off of the mimetic desires of nerd-dom.
At the very least, the amount of hand-wringing over it only makes sense in a context where Star Wars has been put on an impossibly high pedestal, and where the return of Star Wars provokes unimaginable levels of hype. It’s a failure, to be sure, but it’s more importantly an interesting failure. In particular, I think that Revenge of the Sith is my favourite movie out of the entire franchise.
So I actually went and addressed my complaint and made myself a site for my art – Purple Dragon Studios is now a Thing, so subscribe to it if you actually want my drawings clogging up your feed. It’s a pretty pitiful Thing right now, but you’ve gotta start somewhere.
My first post shares some character designs for my comic, A Princess of Arcturus Secundus (one of them is even human!). And indeed I’ll probably be talking more about that particular monster as time goes on.
I don’t really have a dedicated place to upload my art at the moment and am considering creating something like a separate wordpress site for it. But right now I feel that this blog could use a little more silliness.
Alas, the picture was slightly too big for my scanner.
I have found the time for some more Terence Malick, though, and it turns out The Thin Red Line wasn’t a fluke: The New World is even better, to the point where it may one day occupy that rather dubious category of favourite film (sorry, Inland Empire). It’s a very strange, staggeringly beautiful thing, at the very least.
I tried my hand at Inktober, but flamed out a few days in. For those not in the know, the gist of Inktober is that you do one ink drawing a day for the month of October. There are specific prompts which you can use, and which I found helpful, since they forced me to think a bit more in terms of composition. But I mainly wanted to do it in order to help get over my reluctance to use the sable brushes I bought. In recent months I had fallen in love with the sort of flowing linework you could get out of brushes and brush pens. They require a very steady hand and an intuitive grasp of how much of the brush is in contact with the paper, so they’re also intimidating to try and get good at. I didn’t give myself much more than a half-hour to do each one, in part because I didn’t want hours of my day to get eaten up, but also because drawing something quickly is a good way to not let your anxieties get the better of you. The above if my favourite of the few drawings I managed.
I’ve made too many top ten movies and games posts, but have never even made a proper top ten anime post. So it’s time to start mining this particular avenue of clickbait substituting for substantial content.
I don’t think my taste in anime is too esoteric or contrarian, so don’t expect too many surprises. For the sake of simplicity I’m not distinguishing OAV series from actual TV shows.
Posted in fragments of culture, Our Allies in Nippon, pop culture and its discontents
Tagged Anime, Cardcaptor Sakura, Cowboy Bebop, FLCL, Gurren Lagann, Haibane Renmei, Kill la Kill, OAV, Princess Tutu, Serial Experiments Lain, Trigun, TV Shows
I feel conflicted. On the one hand, I’m a bit annoyed that the best sci-fi movie, and indeed, the best movie since Mad Max: Fury Road is yet another sequel. On the other hand, Blade Runner 2049 is so good that it doesn’t really matter. Indeed it’s something almost of a necessary evil here, in that there’s no way a big budget sci-fi flick this challenging would have gotten greenlit unless it already belonged to an IP that could conceivably be bankable in this age of overindulgent nostalgia.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me resembles Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in some regards. Both movies are movie spinoffs of a TV show that in some superficial way seem to betray their respective shows (Khan takes a piece of sci-fi utopianism and turns it into a naval war film, while Fire Walk With Me takes some soap opera vaudeville and turns it into nightmarish surrealism). Both movies could conceivably work fine as a standalone piece, although they’re more emotionally resonant if you’re familiar with the show. Both movies are extremely excellent.
Even if this year has been mediocre in terms of movies actually released in 2017, it has been phenomenal in terms of stuff I’ve been introduced to for the first time, with Inland Empire, Suspiria and now The Thin Red Line establishing themselves as favourites. The last one in particular is the most surpsising, given that it’s a Terrence Malick flick, and a war flick.
One complaint about movies that you used to hear a lot was “it looks like a video game.” But it strikes me that the current movie industry has become more like the video games industry in a more fundamental aspect: its increasingly iterative nature. Everything is franchise-dominated, with sequels and remakes being cranked out at a breakneck pace.
This has more or less been the norm for video games, but it’s a norm that is more suited for that particular medium: games are, among other things, software and hence are very beholden to technical development and breakthroughs in programming knowhow. Ocarina of Time is really just a rehash of A Link to the Past, but the difference in technology that separates them makes them fundamentally different experiences. Movies, on the other hand, haven’t undergone a substantial change in form since the development of synchronized sound. Thus when The Force Awakens rehashed a forty year old movie, the intent and effect was one of nostalgic reminiscence rather than the creation of something new.
It’s rare to find a movie where it can justifiably be said that remaking it with contemporary technology would make it better. But a game, in its iterative nature, is more open to the possibility of improvement (or at least variation). All this is a way of underlining something which is often overlooked while comparing the two media while giving a sly dig at the movie industry while providing a segue into talking about how Metroid: Samus Returns can be one of the best, freshest games of the year despite being a remake.