This last weekend we watched San Andreas, with Dwayne Johnson. While on the one hand, yep, it’s a disaster movie and you know what that means… on the other hand, it’s a really solid disaster movie, that doesn’t stretch out the tropes too much.
One thing I can say about disaster movies is that they make great popcorn movies – as in, there’s thrills, adrenaline, amazing effects, and somewhere along the line that can mean that tropes are relied on heavily, audience expectations that you feed on purpose – or subvert on purpose. So I’ll get to those after the jump.
But the one thing I want to say as a general, non-spoiler review: the destruction and mayhem in San Andreas is really solid. There’s no bad guy, no monster or aliens or evil corporation. It’s not even much of a social commentary, unless you count “man it would be great if we could detect earthquakes before they happen.” No, it’s just a massive, act-of-God disaster movie, without far-reaching world-destroying effects – but you know things wouldn’t ever be the same again. The effects were great, you got to see all kinds of things just fall apart. In other words, this was a fun movie. Now on to some analysis below!
Posted in Catching Up, Movies
Tagged disaster movies, Dwayne Johnson, Earthquakes, Genre, Godzilla, Independence Day, popcorn movie, Recommendations, Review, San Andreas, Storytelling, tropes, World War Z
Hey look, I finished a book! It’s our first done of the year, with plans to read many more. To be fair, I cheated, by starting this book half a year or more ago… So we’ll see how I do with book number 2!
I picked up Anne Rice’s The Mummy because she’s one of those authors I figured I ought to read, but wasn’t sure where to begin. I had tried to read Interview with the Vampire but didn’t get very far… and there would have been oh-so-much to read after that! A stand-alone novel like this was a much better taste of her writing, and lets me move on to another author’s work next…
As a first thought on the novel – and as an observation that probably applies to much of the rest of Rice’s work – it’s incredibly hard to pin down its genre. The gut reaction is that it’s a monster story – like the Universal monster flicks. However, it’s not really a horror story. It has romantic elements, but isn’t a romance novel. It is placed in a historical moment, but it’s full of alternate history (you know, the living mummy). The only alternate technology is the elixir that gives long life, so not really Steampunk. Kind of fantasy with the immortality, but also like science fiction in that it must have an explanation with modern science… Modern adventure fantasy? Something.
Whatever it is, it’s good.
Posted in Books
Tagged Anne Rice, Genre, Immortality, Life, monsters, Ramses the Damned, reading, Recommendations, Review, Storytelling, The Mummy
So, back when Avengers: Age of Ultron first came out, I read the following review on Wired:
I felt that I wanted to see the movie more than once to really know what I thought of it. Because of the Geek Baby, that second viewing only happened recently. I’ve been mulling over the movie, with posts like this one and like this one.
To sum up reviews of the movie, I think that it was alright but nowhere near as good as the first Avengers. It’s not doing something new and different like the first one did (bringing together how many individual movie franchises), it’s not as excellent a dark trilogy sequel as some of the classics (Empire Strikes Back), and it has Too Much Going On And Being Set Up syndrome (but not as badly as, say, Amazing Spider-Man 2). Do these statements seem fair?
I talked about the first couple of things in my prior posts, so let me just say something here about Too Much Going On And Being Set Up. Some of the most hotly debated scenes from the movie – Thor’s vision quest, the Banner/Natasha “monster” discussion – had extended, deleted scenes. That was really interesting to find on the disc. These scenes that the fans saw as particularly troubling were ones that, apparently, Joss Whedon had trouble with too.
Was it because he was trying to succumb to the all-powerful Marvel plan? Yeah, maybe some. But the two versions of scenes like this show me that Joss did his best to work them into the movie in its final form. Successfully? Eh. Clearly debatable. But the theatrical versions were the ones that he meant for us to see… the scenes of lesser evil?
However, my main purpose here is the review from Wired. It says it was picked up from another site, so it was opinionated enough for syndication. It got me fired up before, but rather than a point-by-point rebuttal or some other Nerd Rage, I want to just address the main point of the article.
Posted in Comics, Movies, Rant, Science Fiction
Tagged Age of Ultron, Avengers, Definitions, Genre, Joss Whedon, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Medium, popcorn movie, Superheroes, Wired