September 18th, 2004



It is with great, great delight that I can honestly say that Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is one of the most spectacular films of the year (or in recent memory, for that matter). A dizzyingly diverse mixture of influences are brought into play: Flash Gordon, the Fleischer Brothers' Superman cartoons, MGM's The Wizard of Oz, King Kong, The Lost World (1925), Metropolis, Terry and the Pirates, various 1940-'50s serials including Commander Cody and King of the Rocketman, and numerous film noir classics -- and still, I suspect that's just a beginning. This is a beautiful, amazing film which manages to do what George Lucas did so long ago with Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, but has failed to do more recently. It takes the past and makes something new and brilliant and breathtaking from it. Some might mistake this for camp, but Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is emphatically not camp. Which, I fear, will make it even more unfathomable to many of today's moviegoers. I think Gene Shalit has best summed it up: "If you don't like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, you just don't like movies."

Kerry Conran's direction is spot on, and his script is, by turns, tight, suspenseful, humorous, bold, and minimalist. The casting could hardly have been better. Jude Law has just the right kind of good looks to pull off the role, Gwyneth Paltrow is the plucky reincarnation of a hundred lost movie goddesses, Angelina Jolie's "Frankie" Cook is a perfect mix of sexuality and no-nonsense airwoman, and Bai Ling's presence dominates much of the film, though she never utters a single line. Are the SFX good? They are beyond all expectation. They are such a seamless fusion of Fritz Lang's Bauhaus/Deco sensibilities with a CGI/post-Matrix paradigm one finds it hard to believe the marriage wasn't there all along. I know a lot of film critics are giving this one the boot, but trust me, they're wrong. See this movie. Please see this movie. But don't see it with a chip on your shoulder. You know what I mean. That, "Okay. Here I am. Entertain me." bullshit. Allow this movie to show itself to you on its own exquisite terms. It's a film that more jaded, cynical filmgoers will never get, because many of them have forgotten that it's okay to have fun at the theatre and spend 107 minutes smiling until your face aches. Without reservation, I adore this film. Oh, and Crimson Skies geeks, you might love it the most.

It's been a hit and (mostly) miss summer for movies. There has been brilliance, such as The Village and Spider Man II, and there's been unspeakable abomination, such as White Chicks and Open Water. Okay, mostly there's been unspeakable abomination. Maybe I'll do a best and worst list tomorrow.

Today, Leh'agvoi, by Va'ganor's burning eye, I swear that I'll get your latest Nar'eth manga up.

Yesterday, we got the print off to Mesa. I spoke (via e-mail; I rarely use the frelling phone) with Voltaire, Ramsey Campbell, and my editor at Penguin. I tried to think of something to contribute to the Fiddler's Green charity auction (proceeds go to the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund; suggestions welcomed). Mostly, I thought about how badly I need to complete "Bradbury Weather" and begin Daughter of Hounds. Oh, and the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology arrived, and that's always a good thing. Sadly, the chaos continues unabated.

I wanted to pass along the following excellent observations on Murder of Angels from my online discussion phorum, courtesy Matt Spencer:

I think the most surprising realization for me was that this story is, of all things, a fable of sorts. And not of the "and the moral of the story is ..." variety, but rather a demonstration of the need to recognize moral gray areas, of the dangers of too narrow a perspective, of tangling good intentions with skewed personal motivations. In a lot of ways, the more I think about Spyder, you successfully conveyed with her what I believe George Lucas was attempting with Anakin Skywalker; too much power, a genuine desire to do the right thing with that power, a genuine desire to love, be loved, to make everything right, yet also that tragic skewing of notions of the greater good with personal hang-ups, a lack of perspective of what it is or isn't one person's place to decide for everyone else, and so forth.

Which brings me to another point ... the Joseph Campbell myth approach is more pronounced here than in any of your previous novels. In
Silk, there were parts that I sensed it, though it never quite materialized. Not that it needed to do so overtly, but now that I've read MoA, it seems clear; Silk is, and always was, only the first half of the story.

I never, ever thought that I'd see MoA compared to Star Wars, but, looking at this, I think the boy may have a point.
  • Current Music
    Faith and the Muse, "Relic Song"

proof I was at Dragon*Con

Addendum: Because a lady writer should always try to keep her word, eventually, here are four shots from Dragon*Con '04. I think they were all taken at the Gothic Journeys' "Goth: 1980-2004" panel on Saturday, and the one in the hallway right after.

(Left to right: Storm Constantine, Rogue, me drinking water)

(Left to right: Rogue again, me again, and Anne Sudworth)

(Left to right: Kat, Sissy, Nar'eth, and Jean-Paul)

(It's only appropriate that this photo is out of focus.)

Actually, the third photo was taken on Sunday. Nar'eth hadn't even made Earth orbit on Saturday.

I'm going to try to get some Nar'eth photos up on the costuming page in the next hour or so. They'll be down at the bottom of the page. None of them came out good this year. Problems with lighting and me being too tired to pose.

Finally, the ninth chapter of Leh'agvoi's Nar'eth manga is finally online! I move at the speed of shifting continental plates, but by the gods, I move!
  • Current Music
    The Flaming Lips, "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots pt. 1"