May 22nd, 2013

SteveDancy1

"Panic is a slow dissolve, a terror quiet calm."

1. Yesterday afternoon, we saw J.J. Abrams' Star Trek: Into Darkness, and I loved it. Delightfully superb! Do not listen to the nay-sayers.

2. Yes, I'm very sorry to hear that Christopher Eccleston will not be part of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special. The Constant Reader will recall that Nine is MY Doctor. But to these people who are acting pissy about Eccleston's declining to take part in the special I say fuck off. To paraphrase Neil, Christopher Eccleston is not your bitch. So, get over it. Also, he's still the coolest Doctor ever (I give Ten second place, and Benedict Cumberbatch is the best Doctor Who Never Was).

3. On Monday, I wrote 1,594 words on Alabaster: Boxcar Tales #12 and finished it. Today, I begin the thirteenth and final installment of Boxcar Tales. I may actually try to write the whole eight pages today.

4. There have been a lot a movies and TV lately. I get into these "watching moods." I finally saw Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty (2012). It was sort of like being hit in the face with a brick. An astounding, unrelentingly brutal film. It has surely deserved every awards nomination it received. Jessica Chastain's performance was especially impressive (also, the parallels between Maya and Claire Danes' Carrie Mathison are somewhat eerie).

And as it happens, the night before we saw Zero Dark Thirty, we'd seen Andrés Muschietti's Mama (2013), which also features Jessica Chastain – though you can hardly recognize her, her appearance is so different in the two films. Mama is one of those very, very rare dark fantasy films that gets everything right. A faerie tale for adults (the film begins with "One Upon a Time..."). Angela Carter meets Guillermo del Toro (who was an executive producer on the film). I've seen a lot of kvetching about the ending, and all I can say is that many people don't actually understand that when one enters the realm of the faerie tale – even when it's dressed up as a ghost story – one must, generally, play by the rules of Faerie. I thought at once of Tolkien's "On Fairy-Stories" (1939, 1947), in which he wrote:

It is at any rate essential to a genuine fairy-story...that it should be presented as "true."...But since the fairy-story deals with "marvels," it cannot tolerate any frame or machinery suggesting that the whole framework in which they occur is a figment or illusion.

Now, true, Mama does not strictly adhere to this rule. It does begin with doubters. But the film opens with two children – the central characters – existing completely within the realm of the genuine fairy-story, and, before the story's done, the adults have followed them irrevocably down the same path. We are left in the end with no possible conclusion except that "the whole framework" of the film was, of course, true. Hence, the ending, with it's complete absence of the sort of "resolution" that would violate the rules. Here, the faerie tale is a transgressive force, chewing up the delusion of a world not subject to the laws of Faerie, and the only resolution is that of a ghostly, changeling reunion. What happens to those who are left behind is irrelevant. Okay, I could also get started on Bruno Bettelheim, but I have gone on far too long about this film. Just see it!

As I said, we saw Star Trek: Into Darkness. There's nothing about this film I didn't love. Even the gimmick shots that were obviously placed there for 3D didn't distract from my enjoyment, and I strongly recommend a 2D viewing. 3D not only destroys cinematography, it's also – especially – anathema to story and character. I'm going to avoid all spoilers (which is more than I can say for a lot of people online), but I will say that Zachary Quinto and Benedict Cumberbatch continue to amaze me and make me smile. Also, the continued exploration of events familiar to Star Trek fans is handled with aplomb, truly going where we haven't gone before. And....okay, little spoilers...KLINGONS! I grew up on Star Trek, even seeing the original series' in syndication only a year or two after its cancellation. And Star Trek: Into Darkness is true to the spirit, moreso than some of the non-Abrams films with the original cast and...okay, let's not even talk about the abominations that were Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise. Anyway, collectively, Spooky and I give it four thumbs up.

We continue to follow SyFy's Defiance, which is, honestly, like the Second Coming of Farscape. If you're not watching it, you're missing out. I'm especially impressed by its use of "old world" music (id est, music predating the post-apocalyptic events of the series). Also, Spooky saw the Netflix original series Hemlock Grove and convinced me to watch it. It's something else that I highly recommend. Another dark fantasy that gives "pararom" and "shifter" pr0n the middle finger (Brian McGreevy, who wrote the novel on which the series is based, and who is a co-writer, producer, and developer on the series, has said as much).

Finally, we've made it through Season Three of True Blood, and you won't believe what I have to say about the series. You may want to brace yourselves. But it's gonna have to wait for another entry. Time to write, says Das Schnabeltier. Oh, the weather finally got sort of warm in Providence (83˚F yesterday). There was a beautiful thunderstorm last night.

Watching,
Aunt Beast

Note: I've just learned of a "racefail" (hate that phrase) controversy associated with the film. Not gonna go into spoiler specifics. But the people claiming racism in casting are...I'll be polite, and I'll just say they're wrongheaded.