Monday 30 June 2014

Strange Days

If there was a competition for comic covers that bluntly depict the threat of reality invading the fantasies we've decided to live in, I'm pretty sure this would win.

The more you know about Adam Strange, and his story, the more this makes sense.

Depending very much on how you want to read it, Adam Strange could well be about a man fantasising that he is Adam Strange, which is not an altogether unappealing pass-time.

Fantasising about being Adam Strange is not a stretch for me. It's a fairly straight forward sort of activity that falls under the category of 'I import my heroes from space, and being one would be nice'.

Sometimes when I forget that people can see me I hold my arms out at an angle, and imagine that they help me steer my jet-pack adventures across alien landscapes. Sometimes I'm other things. Robots and dinosaurs are fun too.

Adam is not from the current space. He's from the old one, cut from the same space-cloth as Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. You know the one. The one with the ray-guns and spandex.

Remember when space was like that?

On good days Panda and I try to find some balance between being space heroes and being mildly productive by some generally accepted Earth understanding of the word.

Strictly speaking we are not always successful. One might argue that Rann is defended with greater frequency and regularity than what should probably be the status quo is defended.

We pretty much have our own status quo. I've come to understand that it isn't unique to us.

'There are many like it, but this one is mine.'

It has less laundry than it should, but we're getting better at that.

Friday 20 June 2014

Alien 2: Bro-Dudes in Space

I would like to preface everything that gets said later on with: I really like Aliens. That needs to be known. I think it is a fantastic movie, and under no circumstances do I want anyone to think that I don't like it, or that I am saying that I don't think very highly of it.

Whenever I voice this opinion in public everyone jumps on me about how 'it doesn't have to be the same movie as the first one'. I know that, but plot-wise it is very similar to the first one regardless.

I like that the sequel to what is essentially a cabin-in-the-woods movie in space is a war movie. Two thumbs up! I think it's great. Alien is one of my all-time favourite films, and any sort of sequel that was tonally too similar would have to be pretty good not to seem entirely unwatchable.

So, they did a great job following up a fantastic film. Aliens is a great film.

... but it is essentially about arrogant, talking-monkey, bro-dudes in space, and why that is where they are going to die.

Of the four films in the Alien franchise, it is the least reliant on the eponymous aliens for the plot. Their actual being there is important to the plot, but what I am saying is that they could be any aliens. It didn't really matter who turned up or how they got there to bust down on the 158 residents of Hadley's Hope. At no point do they need to be those specific aliens. This film could've just as easily appeared in a different franchise with no real changes to the script. Especially not to the plot.

You also could've shot it as a satire without any changes to the script.

It's still a great film.

It doesn't detract from the franchise. It just doesn't really contribute much of anything in terms of concept. It's just lots of the plot of the first film rewritten to explain how they got their again, and to accommodate the aforementioned bro-dudes.

Those bro-dudes who are in the end mostly responsible for their own demise, because they're too cool for too many of the things that people who aren't fuck-wits might tend to get involved with: quarantine; covering up of exposed skin; following orders; actually paying attention when their situation is being explained to them. Nup! Bro-dudes in space!

Still a great film.

I actually enjoy counting them off as they die. 'Good-bye, fuck-wits 1 through n'.

Hudson's diatribe about what bad-arses they are nearer the beginning gives the impression that the great many of their 'combat drops' probably took places in malls, and that a lot of the hardware he talks about probably only saw action against frenzied late-night shoppers.

These guys were clearly out of their depth.

And then they died for not listening.

And isn't that what the Alien franchise is really all about.

That and black men sacrificing themselves to save white women.

Great film. Great franchise.

Not that I condone any sort of sacrificial activities, let alone those that are racially based. Probably especially those that are racially based. It isn't a good scene to get involved in.

It's bad.

Look, some very questionable decisions were consistently made in the making of these films, and lends credence to the possibility that sections of the first script were perhaps recycled.

Some of these are disputable. It's clear that Parker isn't 'sacrificing himself'' per se, but he essentially secured his own fate in order that Lambert may live just a tiny bit longer. But, It's a trend.

Alien 3 and Prometheus are the worst (EDIT: in their race based sacrifices). They are not subtle.

Tuesday 17 June 2014

He'll be your captain

I finally got hold of Space Pirate Captain Harlock, which is that movie that I was talking about at some earlier stage (December of last year). This is to date the most recent of the Captain Harlock things that has been made (that I know of).

If you're into this sort of scene, which you may well be, it would be worth knowing that this is most in line with Harlock Saga (ハーロック・サーガ ニーベルングの指環, or Harlock Saga: The Ring of the Nibelung). But, at the some time it really isn't in line with it.

Harlock stories are constructed anew from familiar parts. That's how they're made.

A lot of the more important Harlock mythology is at least touched upon in this one. It always is. That is how it works. Yattaran, Kei, Miime are all there, but they've definitely taken more notes from Harlock Saga than any of the other iterations.

If a lot of this is kind of nonsense to you, it might mean more to you to say that this Space Pirate Captain Harlock is stand-up-straight, epic, pulp, space-mythology at its best.

There are a number pretty full on space battles, tragic heroes, questions of morality, people with scarred faces, and there is a deep disregard for the accurate depiction of a number of sciencey things. It's basically a super melodramatic space adventure in an impossible future, with the gothicocity turned way up to eleven. In a good way.

This is the high-fantasy of science fiction, and it's pretty incredible.

If the Germans had written operas about space pirates, this is where you'd have boarded, but with more singing, and in German.

If you know much at all about German opera, you would know that this is not the first time in this post that it's come up.

This has been pretty well timed for me. I've been dwelling lately upon my relationship with space voyages, and the voyagers who voyage such voyages. Which, for a change, is actually relevant to things that are going on for me at the moment, which has legitimised the dwelling. Not that I wouldn't've dwelt regardless, but I would've initiated what happens next with some alternative variety of preamble.

Star Trek comes last.

Well, not last, but it isn't first. When I think about people and or things making their way across the endless night, there are a fair number of cartoons, TV shows, and books that come to my mind first and foremost.

They got there first. That's all there is to it. Robotech (Super Dimension Fortress Macross), Star Blazers (Space Battleship Yamato), Captain Future, Ulysses 31, Space Pirate Captain Harlock, and Vehicle Force Voltron were sewn deep long before I saw my first Star Trek anything.

I really like Star Trek, but it isn't the first impulse that I get when this stuff comes up. That's just the way I was trained.

Friday 13 June 2014

Drunken Robot Pornography

I haven't played this game yet, and to be honest with you, I am not super sure that I ever will. There are a lot of things about this game that don't appeal to me. The title, music, and promotional material are not among those things.

If you had asked me during the nineties what I thought really popular games would be like in the future, I would have described something like Drunken Robot Pornography. I would've employed broad strokes in that description. Very broad strokes.

As a grouping of words 'Drunken Robot Pornography' does actually have something to do with the game. Not actually to do with the playing of the game, but to do with the other accumulated words that are meant to explain what is happening.

Even if I never play this game, I'm glad it's out there existing, and I hope that people play it.

Good luck to you, Drunken Robot Pornography.

Tuesday 3 June 2014

Would you like some chocolate?

Whenever you are presented with chocolate, you have to ask yourself a question: is it chocolate, or is it carob? There is only one way to find out, and it leaves you open to disappointment.

Once you've had carob you will worry about it every time you reach for chocolate. Maybe for the rest of your life. A single carob experience can be scarring. There is chocolate out there, but you just got carob, and carob is finding out that Santa Claus isn't real for your month.

It is important to remember that just because you've ended up with a lot of carob in the past, it doesn't mean that you will always get carob.

Sometimes you might have so much carob that you forget what chocolate tastes like. Maybe you've only ever had carob, and you don't know the difference.

If you always seem to end up with carob while the other people around you are getting chocolate, maybe you need to think about where you're looking, and who you're trusting.

If you've developed a taste for carob, maybe you need professional help. Never settle for carob. You deserve to be treated better than that.