So Nelson Mandela, the man who led South Africa out of the notorious Afrikaner-nationalist regime (more commonly called the apartheid regime), has died. He has become known as a force of reconciliation, not vengeance. That is how he impacted world history. Considering his impact, I figured that I should pay my share of respects.
Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen. May his soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Impression of Frozen
I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to see Frozen from Walt Disney Animation Studios. I liked last year’s Wreck-it Ralph so I thought that this could be good too. On the other hand, I already paid for a lot of movie tickets this year and I spent A LOT on special tickets for the second Hobbit next month (I’ll explain later). I did see some good reviews, though, so I literally decided earlier today and get up and trek to a theater by myself to see Frozen.
This movie deliberately recalls the fairy-tale movies that the studio is most known for. The really nice thing about the plot is that it plays around with the stereotypical Disney-movie tropes—to state exactly how would be the spoil the plot. It also has some rather intense moments.
The characters are nice too. Even the dorky-looking snowman isn’t terribly annoying (though I still wish that he’d actually blow his own head off as he did in an early trailer). The graphics and animation are most impressive. Considering how this picture centers on snow and ice, it was critical that those look good, and indeed they do. The songs were a bit of a distraction—any kind of musical seems to inherently have that problem unless it’s a veritable opera like Phantom of the Opera—but they’re not bad at all and they do their job in developing characters and plot.
Impressions of Current Batgirl Comics
Gail Simone has a reputation as a talented writer of comics. She has made a name for herself with a number of stories for DC. I figured that I would take a look at the current Batgirl series. I downloaded the first two volumes directly from Amazon—as I had earlier downloaded a handful of individual issues from Comixology, I downloaded the remainders that were to comprise the third collected volume as well. Anyway…
At first we get plots that seem a bit generic and even a bit boilerplate for superhero/crime comics. Even then, though, Batgirl is a really nice character to follow as she gets back to being the masked heroine after recovering from a terrible assault. She goes through doubt and anger and fear and triumph. There is also a running plot of finding and confronting a family member with tragic results. As mentioned in a previous post, I had seen the issues where she also confronts the Joker, and rereading those is a real highlight too.
Impressions of Pi, The General, Et Cetera
The new dog that my family adopted is hyperactive and undisciplined, so she has to be penned up when no one is around to supervise her. Since my parents have gone out for a long vacation, I’ve been charged with tending to the house as well as the two dogs and three cats. I agreed to spend some time during the day downstairs with the dogs so that the new one isn’t isolated. I figured that I would stream some movies and some episodes of a couple of TV series via the PlayStation. I figured that I’d also take notes of my impressions then retype them for this blog.
The first move that I streamed is Trigun: Badlands Rumble, spun off of the TV anime series Trigun. There is solid artwork in the characters and scenery. The animation is on the average side though sometimes elaborate and very fluid. Vash is a funny heroic buffoon who livens up the whole movie.
Next is Superman Vs. the Elite. The first thing that you might note is that Superman looks almost as exaggerated in the movie itself as he does in a cheesy children’s cartoon at the beginning. Most of the characters do look a bit wonky, in fact. Still, there is smooth animation that really aids in the intense scenes. It also touches on the question on how to stop virulent enemies of the people, whether with mercy or with extreme prejudice. The climax is intense.
Next I streamed Nacho Libre, where Jack Black is a Mexican friar who moonlights as a luchador. Jack Black’s character mugging does amuse, as do the slapstick fights, but otherwise it is not often very funny. It often feels banal in spite of efforts to develop and humanize the characters.
After that I streamed Pi. I’m not talking about the one with the East Indian youth—I’m referring to the one with the disturbed mathematician. The plot, aside from showing this man’s obsessions and issues, is largely obtuse. However, it is spiced up with dynamic, gritty cinematography that might be described as avant-garde. It deals with the theme of search for truth and meaning, which is always laudable. There are some real emotive turns towards the end.
The last one that I’ll talk about in this post is famous silent picture The General starring Buster Keaton. In all honesty, I’m not sure whether it really impressed me as either a comedy or a drama. However, there were a few small funny bits, particularly as the movie progresses. The climax involves some real spectacle, particularly an actual train collapsing with a burning bridge. There are also some impressive stunts that Keaton did entirely by himself. His trademark deadpan performance helps.
As of this posting, my parents still won’t be home for several more days, so you might see another post like this early next week.