aberration: Anthy and Utena in the Utena movie, dancing in the flooded rose garden above their reflection. (we shall all be healed)
veronica ([personal profile] aberration) wrote2016-03-18 01:00 am

there's so much down here

Or: super long media talky post from hell, I'm sorry. Also, it's kind of image heavy, somehow.

First, unsurprisingly:

Also, some minimal talk of Clone Wars and Rebels -

Okay I like Star Wars. In such an escapist nonsense way that I'd border on calling it a guilty pleasure, but. Okay I like it kind of a lot. Maybe not to the extent that I was super familiar with the EU or something, but enough that I didn't realize how shitty the prequels were when I was a kid (I DO NOW, OKAY), and had all those visual dictionaries and tie-in novels and a Queen Amidala Christmas tree ornament and whatever. (Why don't I have a Leia ornament??? Because kid me was stupid, that's why.) The point being leave me alone.

Really, the extent to which it is escapist nonsense for me is probably exemplified by my eating up Star Wars Rebels in two days but kind of bouncing on and off with Clone Wars. And while there are other issues with Clone Wars (mostly being that it's stuck with a lot of the problems that come inherent from the prequels, like how a lot of the premise of the wars themselves makes no sense; how literally no one objects to the moral/ethical issues with clone armies and the closest we get to addressing that even in Clone Wars is a clone-ist(???) Jedi general who ultimately is so evil that it kind of misses the point; HEY MAYBE WE SHOULD FOLLOW UP ON THAT STUFF THAT HAPPENED IN ATTACK OF THE--- nahhh; I know I'm going to get some The Jedi Have Issues and by that I mean they're a creepyass cult but; Padmé isn't exactly a damsel in distress, but they don't seem to know what to do with her beyond she-has-to-go-on-a-diplomatic-miss-IT'S A TRAP!!!!!), the bottom line is it's a lot easier to engage with the super simplistic and very seductive good-guy-rebels vs. an Evil Empire narrative. (And that Rebels is basically Firefly in Star Wars but that kind of further goes to the point.) It's a lot easier to root for the effectively powerless than deal with the complexities of actually having power and being involved in anything like an actual war. But, like I said, escapist nonsense. Which leads us to –

Yes, The Force Awakens is effectively a hard reboot to recreate the Evil Empire vs. the "Ragtag" (whatever) Rebellion, pushing aside any kind of narrative about rebuilding a society or other Things That Are Hard. Yes it pretty brazenly recycles A New Hope, down to the by-the-way genocide and shallow emotional follow up. I'm totally not disagreeing with any of that but, and just hear me out on this, THEY'RE ALL SO GODDAMN ADORABLE I WHAT DON'T -

In conclusion: everyone's cuuuute and funny and the narrative is ripped off but easy to engage in so I mostly don't care. >___>

Utterly disordered thoughts, keeping in mind that I'd read the novelization first so a lot of it ends up being about that:

- I somehow didn't think of BB-8 as very robotic before actually being able to watch the movie. I knew they had live props and everything, but somehow I just thought of her as super CGI before hearing all his little mechanical clicks and whirrs and thunks. Being totally honest my favorite scene in the move might be it following Rey down the stairs in Maz Kanata's basement and rolling her little dome head down each time she takes a step. Also I love it for being the first droid I can believe would believably move quickly.

- Also for some reason there were multiple characters I'd imagined as aliens who turned out to be humans. By which I mean the Guy Poe Gets the Map From, and those dudes who were mad at Han. I don't know why I thought of them as aliens, other than maybe that I'd been watching the prequels and there had to be a ton of human-cgi alien interactions in those.

- I'm sort of mixed on whether I'd want more political background information. Because on the one hand, I mean, I would. I would like more information on what the Hosnian system is and why the fuck they're blowing it up and what that means and what's going on and WHATEVER. (Yes I read the book I know I know I KNOW, I just mean in the movie.) On the other hand, people seemed to hate that in the prequels, which was kind of for good reason as the "political intrigue" of the prequels really made no goddamn sense. And the answer is ultimately that they're just recreating Empire vs. Rebellion. My understanding of what's going (using real world comparisons which I'd rather not do but the movie.. kind of did it first...) is that it's like if during the rise of Nazi Germany (First Order), an independent, multinational militia formed (the Resistance) in opposition to the general policies of isolationism/appeasement/alliance that the existing nations had toward them (the Republic). And then the Nazis simultaneously blew up the Soviet Union and the United States, so good luck RAF + the international militia. And also within the last thirty years they had basically controlled the world. Okay this isn't the best analogy.

- Also why is all of the First Order's leadership like thirty years old. I mean I like Domhnall Gleeson sneering at everything well enough and enjoy Hux and Kylo Ren's bitchfests as much as the next person, but you'd think there'd be some adults around. None of these guys are exactly Grand Moff Tarkin is all I'm saying. (Though yes now I am hoping there's a Poe-Hux scene at some point because that would obviously be hilarious.)

- And I still don't care about Kylo Ren. I actually find Hux more interesting, just because I have any idea what his motivation is (and I don't imagine any redemption arc in his future, which actually makes me like him more). I don't really get much from Ren. He wants to be like Vader? Okay, why? What was so great about being Vader? If it's just about power then I don't see where the redemption's going to come from, and if it's Snoke magically got in his head then I just find that kind of boring, because there's no real responsibility anywhere. It's not really that powerful for a person who was only evil Because Magic to turn good, not any more than it was tragic to spend the prequels watching a clearly evil person turn evil. (Because we were never allowed to forget for one second where Anakin was going, which was part of what made them pretty bad.) And I for-that-matter don't care about Vader's redemption in Jedi. I care about Luke's bittersweet victory. I care that Luke held onto hope right until the end and that his perseverance and ultimate belief in the continuing good in others was rewarded in the only way it really could be. That's about Luke, and who he was – it's not about Vader. And I don't know at this point how I'd square that with Ren, to be honest. (Other than that seriously stop comparing him to Zuko. The only thing worse is the then comparing Rey to Katara ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, SHE'S AANG, THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT OF THE MOVIE AND I LOVE KATARA BUT YOU'RE ONLY DOING THAT BECAUSE THEY'RE BOTH GIRLS. uh anyway.)

(Also, even Luke's story makes me less comfortable when we're talking about a female character in Luke's role. Male heroes aren't really expected to believe in the best in their nemeses, even when they are related. Luke's ending was kind of unconventional in that he ultimately never defeats the primary villains himself, at least not through battles or violence. His incredible selflessness, in essentially choosing to die rather than believe his father is past any sort of redemption or mitigation, is what shapes his overall narrative victory. But there isn't such a social expectation for men to passively give of themselves to help others be saved; there is such an expectation for women. Women are expected to be selfless, and to be passively selfless, and to "fix" men. A man is a wise hero; a woman's just fulfilling her gender-specific duty. Which, I'm not against all use of the feminine selflessness narrative at all, but – I just don't easily see a narrative I like that's essentially Rey "fixing" Ren, so to speak. I don't want her to be his Luke Skywalker. Being really honest if I were in charge I'd consider killing him to push Rey toward the dark side. Uh. I mean. Wh- who would do that. >______>)

But I don't begrudge anyone else for liking him, even if I am going to repeat "war criminal who massacred an entire village and tortured prisoners (and yes, at least in the novelization, this includes Rey – in the book it says the mental invasion is so painful that she wants to scream but he won't let her... which I can totally see being into when it comes to our own interests – I'm not someone who thinks fanfiction has to be all perfectly unproblematic, in fact I think to a degree indulgence and let's say risky exploration let's say is what fanfiction is for, BUT I'm also gonna call it what it is), and is complicit in genocide" when I have to. Again, liking him is fine!!!!!! I've just... grown super weary of seeing tumblr rationalize that shit.

(and while we're on the subject Anakin Skywalker MURERED A BUNCH OF CHILDREN AND ALSO BLEW UP A FUCKING PLANET okay I'm done now; no wait is someone still irritated at "Mace Windu sure eerily echoed Palpatine, guess it's time to lightsaber slice some children" because that makes any sense, yes maybe)

(and for the record my FAVORITE show on tv right now is about a couple who have murdered many people and are horrifically manipulative and psychologically abuse their daughter and I LOVE them, but I'm not going to pretend like any of that shit is okay, even though while I don't want a happy ending for them, I am totally in favor of seeing them make out a lot until that point. ... oh jesus IT'S THE AMERICANS, I'm talking about The Americans. My point being you can like a character and not also say "no see it's GOOD thing that he murdered everyone in that village." Really, it's okay.)

- Also also I need to note that while everyone is a lot wordier in the book, Kylo Ren is ESPECIALLY so. His tendency to be your white-dude-condescending-Libertarian-acquaintance is way more pronounced when he's constantly lecturing people on random bullshit. "Revenge is little more than an adolescent concession to personal vanity." Yes we get it Ben no one cares. It does occur to me that being introduced to this version of the character first may have colored my view of him in general.

- Not really relatedly, but I had the impression in the book that the First Order mass evacuated the big Death Star because that would have made sense, but apparently only Hux and Ren did??? All I mean is there's no real reason to lose all those personnel and craft unnecessarily. It seems like there was time to get away if they'd made an effort.

- Also me, explaining TFA to my mom: "No the weird face guy didn't die, he didn't fall in that hole and also the big CGI-guy told Bill Weasley to go get him and get off the planet."

- Other important opinions from my parents: My Dad: "I don't think Oscar Isaac was good for that role." Me: "That is... a very unpopular... opinion." (tbh I think this is because my Dad has only seen movies where Oscar Isaac's character is kind of a dick. Which is a lot of the characters Oscar Isaac has played.)

- I feel like people make way too big a deal out of the Rey-not-wanting-Finn-holding-her-hand thing. Okay it is a thing for Finn because he's adorable, but for Rey I'm not sure it has to be indicative of some past trauma so much as: 1) she's known this guy for all of two minutes and he's grabbing her and there's blaster fire; and 2) NO ONE LIKES TO BE HELD WHEN THEY RUN. Seriously, do you like someone holding your hand while you're trying to run? Generally when people are running they like to control their own speed, because it's really hard to be synched with someone while running, so if you're being held by someone you're either going to be dragging that person or being dragged, and that's not exactly reassuring or comfortable. What was indicative of her past trauma was her pause when Finn immediately asked her if she was okay; and then of course, she offers him her hand. (But that doesn't mean they hold hands while because no one likes that.)

- No but seriously Finn has zero concept of personal space it's hilarious. Like he just CLIMBS on top of Rey to get a better look at something and she's understandably like wtf. But they're also both giant dorks who have no idea how to be human beings and it's AMAZING.

- Did watching the movie do anything to lessen my OT3 feelings? Hahahahahhaha no. Even if I'm sad that the movie didn't include the Poe-Rey exuberant-hug-followed-by-awkward-introduction that TOTALLY HAPPENED. See!!!!:

canon the end it happened

But seriously, I actually don't usually even read fanfic that much and afkalsdjfasjdlfkaslkdjf I've read soooo much ot3 fanfic help meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

- Though on that note I feel like I should address the potential of SURPRISE INCEST. I mean, I think the character we're all safest on is Poe, as his parentage has been firmly established elsewhere and is least likely to have some kind of plot significance. ... and otherwise I'm just going to keep hoping it won't turn out that Finn and Rey are related. Of course, Rey and Ren are the most obvious Surprise Incest potential, and I both feel like they may twist it in an unexpected way so they aren't, or somehow play it straight. I don't know. If Rey is going to have a big relationship reveal, I'd prefer the Rey-is-a-Kenobi theory except that I'd be really mad if she was actually his grandchild or something given the stupid prequels' stupid Jedi celibacy. If the prequels just didn't exist I'd be fine with it, but it was such a big damn deal that now it'd be hard to ignore. I do think there was enough in the movie to indicate Villain Crush from Ren, but, that's all I can say about that. I'm firmly for canon!Rey/Finn and my never going to happen OT3. ... assuming no surprise incest.

(That being said I told [personal profile] varadia beforehand that I'd be SO MAD if Poe/Finn wasn't the biggest pairing, or at least biggest m/m pairing, in fandom. GOOD JOB, FANDOM. And also, pretty much any shipper could find some enjoyable passages in the novelization. Finn/Rey, Poe/Finn, Rey/Ren, Poe/Rey... Poe/everybody, yeah it's pretty much all there. And for the record my biggest objection to reylo, aside from I guess narratives that I potentially wouldn't like as described above, is that I just find it SUPER BORING. That's it. I don't have some righteous, My Opinion Must Be Correct Social Justicey Reason for it because that doesn't exist. I just think it's boring. And you could just turn around and say the same thing to me about Finn/Rey or Finn/Rey/Poe and you'd be just as right about yourself, live long and prosper.)

(But fine I don't really want this to turn into this but SIDE NOTE of I can also get why some people would have stronger objections to certain pairings for personal reasons, in that I for example had the experience of being triggered by a scene in a Major Motion Picture that proved Very, Very Popular with people on the internet, and gif sets of that particular scene were being blogged just, CONSTANTLY, EVERYWHERE for a while, often without proper tagging, so yes, tag your shit. But as someone who experienced that – yes, at least for me, I think tag your shit is perfectly adequate.)

- My only real objection that cuteness didn't overcome was, yeah, Phasma with the shields. Beyond that it didn't make any sense, it also seemed unnecessary (surely they could've just blown something else up or something, it's Star Wars) and actually more for the purpose of giving Phasma something to do. But, again, it made no sense. I can only assume that in the next movie she'll show up kind of like Norrington in POTC2 and/or it was to make sure her feelings toward Finn are like this. Because mostly I want this trilogy to be Everybody Loves Finn.

- Because hahahaha I love Finn okay he's funny and adorable and he loves everyone and I have... a narrative weakness... for engineered bad guys who lack a family structure and ultimately defect away from their bad guy engineering, let alone that I read that damn Greg Rucka tie-in book where Finn feels like he's broken because he feels empathy and god damn it. tl;dr, he's my favorite new character, I love him and I love that if there weren't, you know, particularly awful people I think he'd kind of want to love everyone. So I mean. In conclusion: looooooooooooove him.

- And I love Poe, even if his character in the movie is like, well we're not going to kill him so HERE HE IS AGAIN YAY. (Again, I read the stupid book first, and in the book while still kind of tacked on a bit he is much more clearly a Third Major Character; at least, he has more screen time and his story is seemed to be written to parallel that of the others', especially Finn's. That being said, man, Abrams was sure being initially cold-blooded, introducing this dude, torturing him, and killing him immediately after, geez.) But lfakdklfj I love Shara Bey and have already pretty much read all the Shara Bey/Kes Dameron fic there is, and would be really super into the kind of dynamics there are with Leia essentially leading two generations of this family in a rebellion. Even if, while I do think they're probably expanding Poe's presence after this, I'll probably mostly get this from fandom/my own musings. But still, I am really super into that.

- And yes, I love Rey. I do kind of appreciate finally having a female main character who... well, isn't yet royalty (I know that in a lot of ways both Padmé and Leia's royalty could be read as more about them being political and military leaders, but I also felt that this was never really explored in the films (and maybe the Star Wars films weren't really up to that task), nor do I think it was something that Lucas really cared about, at least not as much as copying Kurosawa movies, I guess). I love that she's reluctant to trust people but ultimately seems to want to, I love that her time on Jakku has made her unused to care and camaraderie from others, but hasn't hardened her imagination or spirit – I love that this makes sense, given that she could have left, could have changed her circumstances, but chose not to due to continuing to hope that someone would come back for her. (Yes, I'm sorry, I love that Finn did come back for her - what a way to make that some in and of itself emotional and connected to her narrative without making her a damsel in distress.) Really the only thing about her I'm not that interested in is her parentage – none of the theories have really satisfied me, and if anything I'm just kind of hoping her story is still about her, rather than whatever that mystery turns out to be.

- As for the Original Trio – I was glad to see them, though I'm not really that sad that Han Solo died. Of the three of them he was one most likely to draw the story away from the new characters, as kind of happened with the whole random alien-monster-smuggler thing. Though even if I guess we're not going to see Jedi!Leia, I'd like to at least see her use the Force at some point. There was apparently a deleted scene with Maz Kanata Force-pushing some Stormtroopers – that's pretty much what I'd want.

... no, what I want is a scene where Kylo Ren is fighting someone and about to deliver a death blow before being suddenly Force-shove away, with the rescuer dramatically revealed to be Leia. That's what I want. Come at me.

(And to briefly address it – Carrie Fisher looks great and Kyle Smith is an asshole who thinks it's okay to steal poor people's babies, so.)

- Also while I would have liked to have seen Lupita Nyong'o, I also really liked Maz Kanata, would read a bunch about her, and thought Nyong'o did a really nice job with her. Though now I really have to wonder what a scene with her and Chewbacca would look like... um... I'm just going to choose to think of it as like Jake the Dog and Lady Rainicorn. That seems nice.

- Oh and Snoke is never the name of a character I'm going to take seriously, sorry.

- Looking forward: I love Rian Johnson as a director, so I'm definitely looking forward to his installment. My only real reservation about him is that I haven't seen a film of his where the handling of women was particularly impressive. I love love love Brick, it's one of my favorite movies ever, but yeah women are pretty much all Victims, Vamps, or Femme Fatales. (Don't get me wrong, I even love them, but yeah it's a legit critique.) The whole mother-, women-generally-fixing-men aspects of Looper went far enough to drag it down for me. But this comes with some great women built in, and I'm excited about some of the new actresses apparently involved (Gugu Mbatha-Raw! Laura Dern!) so I'm hopeful on that. ... and seriously his directing is sooooo good, augh.

- I can't really say I've noticed much when it comes to Trevorrow. I liked Safety Not Guaranteed, but more for the screenplay (which he didn't write) than anything memorable about the directing. I didn't like Jurassic World, but as he was like fourth co-writer I don't know how much of that I can ascribe to him, other than that again, nothing about the directing was particularly striking to me (aside from the stunning product placement).

- Mostly I am kind of a lot looking forward to Rogue One >___>. And am one of the few people who was actually happy that Episode VIII: Space Bears has been pushed back. I'll likely be near a movie theater by December 2017! HAPPY 30TH BIRTHDAY TO ME.

In conclusion, here are some of the Star Wars-related texts I've been subjecting [personal profile] varadia to for the last month:

More things!!!!

The Man in the High Castle is a tv show adaptation of the Philip K. Dick book which I have not read. Though I know enough about it to know some of the differences. Also I'm doing this because I realized if someone just clicked one cut in this post and then scrolled down it'd be like random new thing!!!!

- I'm apparently the only person who doesn't hate Frank, but I think that's because: a) I just ignore how much of his story makes no god damn sense, like how he vows revenge on the Japanese police and they just LET HIM GO so he can "lead them to Juliana" or what the fuck ever, and then she shows up AFTER the crown prince assassination attempt and... what? They still need to build a case against him???? They don't NEED any evidence against him, his existence itself is illegal, that's the entire point. And I get that Kido needs an assassin and not just to kill him because he's Jewish, I guess, but does his personal morality really extend to not too blatantly framing a guy he knows he's framing anyway????; and b) because I guess people don't like that he's sad a lot or something but I mean I kiiiiiiiind of feel like he's entitled to be sad and angry at everyone. I mean I WOULD BE SAD AND ANGRY AT EVERYONE. I don't know, I just feel like some level of that is probably reasonable and even expected from an actual in-progress Holocaust victim. And I did, at least, find Frank's complicated relationship with his Jewish identity and the extent to which he explored that interesting, unlike basically anything about the other main characters. And I guess the ending means we can continue the story of Frank making apparently magical fake Americana/degenerate jewelry for Childan to sell to progressive Japanese fans/America fetishists, which also could at points be interesting, so… okay? Which yes is accomplished by his kind of screwing Ed over, but to be honest Ed was also sort of an idiot who screwed himself over. It's like none of the main characters can show bravery unless it's in the form of entirely pointless self-sacrifice. I'm either frustrated with them for doing nothing or for displaying absolutely zero sense of self-preservation.

- Speaking of: Joe and Juliana. Joe is so pointless and boring and HE'S A NAZI can we just move the fuck on??? I was okay with Wegener as our sort-of-reformed Nazi, but beyond that Joe never seems to actually give a shit about anything, I'm really really not into the whole BUT JULIANA CHANGED HIM!!!!! thing because I don't care and also I don't know what about Juliana could have possibly inspired in him to do anything. I don't know, this is the sort of plot that I could imagine maybe working if this were set more like several decades post-WWII, when the Nazis would have had time to reinterpret their atrocities in the public's memory, but as it is it's just like… no, HE'S A NAZI.

(And also yes I get that I'm approaching this from my own modern distanced viewpoint of The Nazis Are Obviously Evil but the point of this is less even just NAZI so much as everyone seems to know what's going on, so you must know what's going on, so no this one lady is really not doing it for me in terms of "well maybe I shouldn't be in the mass-murderer organization.")

And yes. I get that Juliana's sister died. That's about all she has going on for her character. I liked certain aspects of her story, like her working at the Nippon Building, but I got tired of her taking like eight episodes to cycle through the same goddamn plot, I got tired of "I'm only doing this for my sister," and after a while I just wanted her to take a stand on literally anything, though at the same time I'd get annoyed at her whenever she did manage to take a stand on literally anything because it was always a stand I'd disagree with. Which I guess isn't fair but I reeeeally don't care. I just feel like I have zero sense of what she's about as a human being beyond, yes I know, her sister was shot. At least with Frank I feel like I have some sense of that, and so can get why he gets pissy with her because she feels less like his girlfriend and more like this plot device that just shows up to fuck up his life. There were a few seconds where I actually liked them together, for a second, and then BOOM Joe-plot and I'm out again. Maybe if Joe just weren't a factor I'd like her better.

Anyway, setting aside the main characters, pretty much every other character works for the Japanese Empire or Nazis. There are a couple present-when-convenient true resistance fighters and that's it. While on the one hand I could get into the political intrigue surrounding the Cold War-esque state between the Nazis and the Japanese, I also felt kind of uncomfortable in focusing attention on those in power at the near-total expense of those without it. And I get that they're adapting a book, so I don't know. My feelings on these aspects of the show also seem to be … different, from others', so I guess, take that as you will.

On the East-Coast-Nazi side, and this seems to be where I'm taking it really differently than others do – I feel like the show is really depicting a United States that was able to easily embrace Nazism, at least on the part of the stereotypical WASP society. The Head American Nazi character is named John Smith, about as quintessential a WASPy name as you can get, and his white, apple-pie All American family blends seamlessly with swastikas and black eagles. While some American characters on the West Coast seem to parrot their conquerors' lines out of self-preservation, there also seem to be plenty on the East who were perfectly comfortable to realize the Nazis' genocidal vision, probably based in their own antisemitism, racism, and ableism. One of the early scenes that kept me watching the show was Joe (ugh) being pulled over by a Midwestern cop, a WW II American vet who didn't display much regret for losing the war and casually talked about the local hospital euthanizing disabled patients. While our existing national memories paint the Allies as the inherently good forces against the evil Axis powers, I felt like the show was suggesting our lack of engagement in actions on par with the Nazis had less to do with inherent goodness and more to do with fortunate circumstances. Even with Germany assassinating FDR and nuking Washington, D.C. in this timeline, the way the characters talk or talk about it at points suggests pretty strongly that the Nazis found a lot of perfectly welcoming ground for their most horrific policies.

Which I'm not saying is a perfectly accurate picture of what would happened had Nazis managed to invade the U.S. – aside from anything else I have zero idea what that would look like. But it's certainly part of American national memory to conveniently forget our own xenophobia and antisemitism and racism and ableism and anything else that could have proved fertile ground for even more-oppressive-than-already-existed policies. It's easier to fall back on an idea of inherent goodness than to conceive of it more as managing, in certain respects, to be good. And also failing in others, though I'm not going to say our failures were on par with the Nazis at that moment in time. And this really isn't the point. ANYWAY.

But we do spend a lot of time with American Nazi Head John Smith, and while I wouldn't say his story tries to humanize him very much exactly (other than that he's a pretty thorough fascist and fascists are human, too), it does sort of play on his Americaness vs. Nazism. His German isn't very good, when German competency seems to be expected of Nazi officers and East Coast Americans generally. In a plot turn that tried to make me feel bad for him which really annoyed me, he finds out his eldest son has muscular dystrophy, something his elder brother had also had, but which at this point is essentially a death sentence. His wife, not knowing of their son, brightly tells him that at least what happened to his brother didn't happen any longer, because "people like that aren't allowed to suffer" or something, but that plot is left unresolved on the note that Smith seems to have a problem with it now that it's affecting him. His plot does also go into what I worried was going to be "well, here's the WORSE Nazi" with Reinhard Heydrich pushing a war with Japan that Japan would almost definitely lose because it doesn't have the atomic bomb, but while somehow managing to create a scenario where killing Hitler would ultimately be a bad thing, by the end I felt… less that way about it, I guess. Though I still don't know how I feel about the finale's implication that Hitler is literally the man in the high castle.

On the Japanese side, Trade Minister Tagomi is certainly our Horn-Rimmed Glasses-mysterious figure who initially just appears to be doing any kind of scheming he can to avoid war with Germany while also being magic????? kind of. We see more of the Americans' interaction with the Japanese regime, as while I guess White America could be subsumed into Nazism, it doesn't work the same way on the Japanese side. But that, I'll acknowledge, is me drawing conclusions from what is more than anything a lack of information. Maybe to put it another way – if Nazism subsumed White America, then on the other side, America adapted to Japanese culture. You hear a lot of the white American characters throwing around the word "Jap" and there seems to be more resentment about losing the War, but they're also all watching sumo and drinking sake and learning Aikido. The Americans don't seem to be treated as second-class citizens if they don't run afoul Nazi racial purity laws that the Japanese comply with – but the only non-Japanese characters we see are white or Jewish. Black characters only show up in the Neutral Zone (though then Lemuel – aka Number Four from BSG if we're being honest about what I'm thinking – can walk with Juliana outside the German Embassy in San Francisco so I… don't know…) and there's… nothing on anyone else. What happened to California's Chinese-American population? Or anyone else who wasn't white or Japanese? That's kind of a big deal???? Nope time to spend more time with Joe the Boring Nazi.

In any case, I have a lot of conflicting feelings about the Japanese characters. I felt like the show was trying in a lot of ways, but it also came up short a lot. The whole seppuku thing… I mean, it's not like there was systemic use of that in modern Japan, I don't think??? so it didn't… work for me. I also have a HUGE pet peeve about characters speaking English when there's no reason they wouldn't be using their native language. The Germans were allowed that, but the Japanese characters would often speak English bookended by konnichiwa and arigato and it would really bother me because I've been so spoiled by The Americans. I've also read that not much careful attention was paid to things like signage and other background imagery, and… well just in general it was going to be tread-carefully sort of deal. And again, I think some issues had to do with the fact that our main American not-cool-with-the-regime characters were all in the West, so when we saw abuses of power used against the population (e.g., the Nippon Building boss who demands sexual favors from his employees, Japanese or American or Japanese-American), they were almost exclusively involving the Japanese regime against the (white) American characters, while the Nazis are only briefly shown persecuting resistance members and are waaaay more often just having home lives or involved in political intrigue. Tagomi is probably the most likeable and interesting character on the show, and I will say he manages to do this without, say, the suggestion that he's been converted to some kind of American Ideal or something, but more just by Not Being Boring and showing a genuine interest in limiting loss of life. But it's so easy to fall into traps with the Japanese regime, and given the difference in just what they're busy with onscreen, I felt like the show was trying not to slip but… still did. I don't know, I'm also really not the person to talk about any of this and yet look it's almost 2000 words later and I'm still here.

And then, okay, this is also in a universe where the multiverse is quantifiably real, and where other universes can be viewed through magically-appearing film reels and possibly even accessed by mediating really hard while holding Frank's magical wu/suffering-infused jewelry. Because, I mean. Sure!

Yes, Jurassic World... well, confession - I watched Jurassic Park as a kid and remember basically none of it, sorry.

So... I mean, that was a really long, weird Mercedes commercial. I'd complain about the paper thin characters and retrograde gender politics, but those are what I'd expect from a Mercedes commercial, so.

The Martian, or, my mom has a crush on Matt Damon. Great now I'm going to have 'I'm F*cking Matt Damon' stuck in my head all night.

It was really fun! My only complaint is all the manufactured Earth-based drama. No, you wouldn't need to IMMEDIATELY release … any of that information, that is not what "public domain" means. And Kristin Wiig's PR objections just felt half-hearted and pointless. The raging-against-the-bureaucracy cliché wasn't one that really contributed anything to the movie. But otherwise, it was fun! As far as meant-to-be-realistic NASA movies go, I liked it a lot better than Interstellar, and particularly liked Jessica Chastain's character in this a lot more than her character in Interstellar.

I chose Deadpool over Zootopia in my rare trip to an actual movie theater. Yay or nay?

It was pretty entertaining, though I ultimately felt like the plot was kind of bland. Like it was all, fuck cliché superhero movies… while also kind of being a lot that movie. But at the same time it was a lot of stuff that could work well in movies if studios had the willingness to make R-rated comic movies instead of relegating them to Netflix. That being said I'm still not holding my breath to see non-straight people outside Netflix, at least for the time being. Which -!

But because of studio licensing, Deadpool isn't likely to show up and be an asshole to Jessica Jones. Good for her?

I generally really liked it! I agree with the critiques concerning it (mostly about only being inclusive of white women), and at times it was a little – I don't know, everything that can go , wrong goes wrong so much. But I loved a lot of it – I love Jessica, I love Jessica & Trish, and Jessica/Luke is definitely my MCU OTP now. (Actually for that matter Jessica Jones is probably the most of I've enjoyed an MCU piece of media.) I super super love Malcolm and am looking forward to a second season that looks to be Jessica & Malcolm's PI business. I enjoyed Kilgrave as a villain and how his power worked, and felt that overall the use of violence and sexual violence was handled in the way it needed to be. My only real complaint is Simpson, whom I haaaaaaaated (also – he DIDN'T DIE??? WHY WAS I CONVINCED HE DIED??? I WAS SO DISAPPOINTED WHEN REWATCHING AND REALIZING I'D SOMEHOW MADE THAT UP, WTF), and yeah Clemmons' death was kind of bullshit.

And though I don't have a problem with how Kilgrave and Jessica's relationship was handled, I also felt like – in some ways, it's kind of the simplest kind of relationship to portray. As in there are victims of abuse who have actual relationships with their abusers (which Jessica did not, outside of Kilgrave's mind control), who can love their abusers and have even a certain kind of participatory relationship with their abusers, and this does not make them less victims for it. And I think those kinds of relationships can be much more complicated to portray, but… well, they also exist, not everything is as straightforward as a stranger stalker with, moreover, mind control. But this isn't really an objection to the show – an experience like Jessica's is also something that exists and also something that should be discussed – so much as the reaction, which I sometimes feel like is split between "this is the ONLY kind of abusive relationship" and "well it's not REALLY abusive because I want them to get together."

(again, I don't care about your dirtywrong trashfic, I REALLY don't, just don'tttttt ratIONALIZE IT.)

But yeah. I liked it? I will be watching the Luke Cage show when I can! I can watch Daredevil but haven't gotten to it yet.

And if nothing else, now when men tell women to smile I just think of this:

Smile, assholes.

... I don't have a clever thing here. I'm talking about Master of None! It's also on Netflix! Aziz Ansari did that funny thing at the Golden Globes!

Also, very good! Aziz Ansari's really great in it, as is... pretty much everyone else! There was definitely a tendency of [theme episode] (today's episode is about Racism In Casting or Patriarchy or Grandparents) or [relationship episode], but I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with that, and I liked both types, so. I also thought it managed to be like… millennial-y without being twee? I don't know, it's a weird line, but I didn't feel like I was being too constantly beaten over the head with MILLENNIALS!! THE INTERNET!!! HISPTER HOBBIES/TEXTING OKAY!!! even when they were definitely there. Albeit Dev also had a pretty amazing job if he can afford his giant Williamsburg apartment off the royalties of a Go-Gurt commercial he did years ago. Can I become a commercial actor? I have no stage presence but I could probably become a hand model, I have nice hands.

… this isn't the point. I will also say that I watched the first episode, was okay but sort of blah on it, and didn't get back to it until like a month and a half later… when I watched the rest of the season in a single night. So I guess I mean I thought the pilot was the weakest episode.

I also don't know how to say this exactly, but I also felt like some of the actresses, especially Nina Arianda, Claire Danes, and Noël Wells, got to be really goofy at points in a way I feel like I don't often see actresses besides, say, Amy Poehler be. Granted, Arianda's role in particular was sort of slipping into a crazy-girlfriend… thing, but even so it sort of seemed intent on giving the actresses in the show spaces to be comedic, rather than just, well, love interest eye candy as is often the case in male-driven comedies.

So I often decide what movie to watch by using a random letter generator and choosing from... that. Cloud Atlas is brought to you by the letter C! (fyi if you've only read the book there are big differences)

When I first finished this, I had really mixed feelings – there were things I really Did Not Like (most notably, the decision to use the same actors for the various roles – yellow-face and silly-looking prosthetics and also reincarnated people wouldn't look the same and I get you think you need a visual indicator but still - and that I just didn't feel the movie managed to make the telling-six-different-stories thing work), but not having read the novel, I felt sympathetic to the idea that it would have been difficult to adapt, that they had to make choices that would communicate things onscreen that may have been easier to communicate in the book, and that a lot of my ideas for dealing with that involved major changes to the story (e.g., having Adam Ewing be the eventual Sonmi incarnate, or making that story about Tilda Ewing, whatever, and Autua be the eventual Hae-Joo, as their stories would have dramatically paralleled instead of "oh yeah here's the actress who played Sonmi supposed to look white near the end), which I assumed the filmmakers were avoiding to be faithful to the story.

BUT now I'm reading the novel and I see that the filmmakers DID make a lot of major changes, but like, the opposite of the changes I thought they should have made!! And the novel even gives a visual cue for the reincarnation??? So what the hell????? whatever.

Did I also use random thing for Theory of Everything? Yep.

Maybe this sounds... not nice, I don't know, but I basically left this feeling that it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. And also I have just enough knowledge about theoretical physics to object to its depiction of Einsteinian relativity vs. Bohr(..ian?) quantum mechanics.

And N for Network! Now I get what all those white dudes still revere.

While there was a lot great satire and a still-applicable themes, I couldn't help but feel that the main takeaway was "whores ruined the pure journalism of old white men."

Yep again. Now I also know every Breakfast Club reference in Community, but I kind of knew that anyway.

I mean, it was fine? I feel like I just don't click with everyone's favorite 80s movies. And I kind of wish Bender could have sexually assaulted Claire just a little less.

Die Hard I decided to watch without randomizer app telling me so. I also get the Community references to this now

It was fine! Alan Rickman's German accent was pretty unconvincing! … to be honest my favorite part of the movie was the three minutes of Gruber and McClane teaming up under false pretenses. But it was fun to watch!

... I don't have strong feelings about it beyond that, okay, I'm sorry.

Other things about my life right now:

- I hate dogs I haTE DOGS I HATE DOGS. And anyone who wants to judge me for that can get charged by a pack of dogs while trying to walk to the grocery store. No but seriously, if you have an aggressive dog that you don't properly restrain when people need to come to your place, you are a shitty person. (And yes, they're treated badly – but there's not a lot I can do about that and I still have to get followed around by possibly rabid dogs so, thanks.)

- I know the election is happening. Being out of the country hasn't really shielded me from that. I plan to vote in my primary, but given that it's not until May 3 I'm still thinking things will be essentially decided by then. Which is fine with me, to be honest. I'll just phrase my opinions as, growing up far-left in a deep red state maybe paradoxically made me pretty pragmatic – I'm not a principled voter, I'm a survival voter. Which may seem like damning with faint praise but... it's not, at least not for me. And also [long lecture about electoral systems and how they determine election outcomes, nerrrrrrrd.]

- I am super behind on writing about books! Which I guess is a good thing on the one hand because it means I'm reading a lot of books, but on the other hand, !!!!

- On that subject, one of my daily life patterns has been to come home, light a fire in my stove, and put on classical music and read until the place warms up. At first I was using iTunes Radio which was both nice and bad because they give you the little option to buy whatever's playing really conveniently right there and I probably used that five times in the first month of my doing that. But now all iTunes stations are subscription only, so I switched over to a New York classical music station. Because I'd rather listen to ads than pay a subscription, and oh yeah, I won't have to anyway because literally no classical music stations use advertising. But now I won't be dropping any more money on iTunes and their super-convenient-way-of-doing that, so... good job iTunes???

- And I guess I could talk about some things in my real life, so... it's okay! I feel like I've hit a slump at work, but I think that happens for a lot of people, and in particular some stuff is going on that made it sort of inevitable. I need to get the motivation and energy to push through the kind of stasis that's built up, and I'm... working on that.

- But my mom visited recently so that was really nice. I also now feel a little bad about ... I don't know, doing this now, being so far away. (Even for where I am, for various reasons, I'm additionally far away, and that can be difficult.) But I got to spend a lot of time with her and she bought meals at a lot of fancy places in the capital for me for like a week, so that was cool.

- I've been playing waaaay too much neko atsume. If I can't be a real crazy cat lady, I'll be a fake one, dammit.

- OKAY, and briefly, – yep, yep, and yep. As someone who tends to defend Harry Potter's magical system despite its lack of logistical coherence and etc., I can also recognize that this means that it really only functions (or at least I think so) in the specific setting it was designed for. Which I'm not saying was perfect in and of itself, but I don't think that's a problem for telling the specific story Rowling was telling, but yes will become a problem if applied more expansively. It may be that it just can't be, or if it can be, it has be done by those who actually know what they're talking about, which Rowling just really didn't. I guess speaking personally, I've also sort of played with some of these mechanics in... fic I never posted anywhere, and the general conclusions I reached were: 1) Real world prejudices exist, but play out in different ways (I'd assumed, for instance, that racism, sexism, and homophobia existed in the magical world, but how they existed had to be as different as say, how they can exist and play out differently among different countries and cultures); 2) you can't ignore that transportation and communication would be so radically different for the wizarding community, and that would have to mean some aspects of that world are just going to be radically different; 3) ABSOLUTELY NO USE OF REAL WORLD HISTORICAL INCIDENTS, THE END. Which is actually probably the most problematic, and I'm surprised I haven't seem more things like, the ethics of the wizards not intervening in history, but I guess I think if we're already here, I think paralleling can... function, but coopting real historical events is just not going to work. But I'd also get the argument that this is really just not poking at an already existing hole.

- ... and yeah, I think that's really probably long enough...
varadia: (Default)

[personal profile] varadia 2016-03-17 06:54 pm (UTC)(link)


(Also now I am glad I chose not to watch Theory of Everything when I had the chance. Bleh boring and nothing new.)
vivien: (hee hee hee)

[personal profile] vivien 2016-03-18 01:40 am (UTC)(link)

I pretty much absolutely share your opinions on Star Wars aside from I dig Kylo because I have a Thing for Ambiguous Evil-ish Villains, and I am not ashamed! Despite a chunk of Tumblr users wanting to condemn my horrible perversions.

(I tag my shit. That is perfectly reasonable! The Internet is large! There is room for every ship! I like every SW ship! THEY ARE ALL SO CUTE, as you said, and adorable together. And Kylo, for all his faults, rocks some serious locks.)

(And there is more to that character than we know. Just like Finn, Rey, and Poe have WAY more depth and substance than the movie has time to show, but YA books like Before the Awakening, which I'm reading now, show. But, uh, even though I do like Kylo Ren's character, he's also fun to mock. Because, yeah.)

... no, what I want is a scene where Kylo Ren is fighting someone and about to deliver a death blow before being suddenly Force-shove away, with the rescuer dramatically revealed to be Leia. That's what I want. Come at me.


There is a SW novel coming out in May called Bloodlines that focuses on Leia and her career six years before TFA and what looks like a reveal of her true parentage to bad political repercussions, and I am, like, going to take the day off and wait for my pre-ordered copy to get here.

(That is an exaggeration. Probably.)

I binged Man in the High Castle despite myself having had no real plan to ever watch it, and yeah, again we agree. I can't say I liked it, but it was fascinating enough to keep me watching even as I rolled my eyes and said "Oh for f-s sake, Julia, REALLY????" Rufus Sewell is an amazing actor, though, because I actually... liked his character. I didn't want to. But I did.

(Is it the villain thing? Shit, it's the villain thing.)

But one thing really, really bothered me - they called Cañon City "cannon city" when it should be pronounced "canyon city". I go there for work! I know these things! That drove me nuts.

Oh, with Jessica Jones, I do wish to share that Killgrave did nothing for me, villain-wise, even as they set up the traumatic childhood and gave us David Tennant being witty. There was no ambiguity or latent possible goodness left there, so nope. Glad he's dead, wish it had been a little more lingering of a death, but mostly just glad he's dead.

Yay catching up with you!!!