BLISTERING BLUE BARNACLES!

Or, I’m sorry, world, for being ignorant (and American).

My parents weren’t readers, so anything I read as a kid it was because I would be dropped off at the library and/or bookstore. There wasn’t anyone in my life to shove important, life changing stories into my hands. Those I had to find on my own, and very often I came to them later in life because I was very much a book-by-its-cover sort of gal. Lord of the Rings is the most tragic example in my life; I didn’t read those until a friend bought the trilogy for me as a pre-Christmas-Fellowship-is-being-released-in-18-days-you-can’t-see-it-until-you-read-it-bitch present.

Sad, but true.

So, I was AWARE of Tintin, but only in a vague “oh, it’s a European comic thingie, right?” I had no one that I was aware of to shove the comics in my hand with the firm assurance that I would fall in love. It just never came up in conversation!

And much like when I FINALLY sat down and watched Doctor Who, I am a changed Nella.

“The Adventures of Tintin” is the perfect example of a gateway movie. I’ve seen it twice, will probably see it a third time, and upon discovering Elisa has EVERY TINTIN COMIC, I can’t read them fast enough. I get it. I get why everyone is in love with Tintin, that bullheaded, fool heartedly courageous, fact-finding, Macguffin-chasing ginger. And this is VERY much a Macguffin chasing movie, which I’m sure will piss off some people. But I understand why you all love these characters; Tintin and Snowy and Haddock and the rest. I UNDERSTAND, BECAUSE I LOVE THEM TOO NOW. Especially Haddock. OH HADDOCK, YOU GREAT BIG BESOTTED WOOBIE.

Some people have complained about the motion-capture, which I have found to be the least Uncanny Valley movie I’ve seen yet—at times I didn’t even REMEMBER it was, oh hey, motion capture. THEY GOT THE EYES RIGHT. THERE WAS SOUL IS THOSE DAMN EYES.

This was a movie that felt like a labor of love, a work of geekery, an effort by fans for fans. I know there are Tintin purists that are upset by some of the changes…but I remember how much we all grumbled about the changes in the Lord of the Rings movies, so I let that pass. I FELL IN LOVE BECAUSE OF THIS MOVIE.

And in the end, that’s all that matters to me. :)
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I have a confession to make.

I am…a DC.

Now, I’m not saying I hate Marvel, oh hell no! It’s just that if I were to pick up a comic, it’ll be, say, Justice League rather than the Avengers. I grew up with Spiderman and X-Men and the like, but my loyalties keep wandering back to DC.

That being said, I will NEVER say no to a new superhero movie—a lesson I learned the hard way thanks to that Seth Rogan-driven, piece of shit Green Hornet.

*lip wibble*

I am NOT as familiar with the mythos behind the Marvel heroes that make up the Avengers. Honestly, I’m sort of glad I don’t, because I’ve been coming to these pre-Avengers movies able to enjoy them as the ignorant wo-manchild I am, getting to watch them as new, interconnected building blocks of AWESOME. Ever since Iron Man I’ve been ready for the pay off. I want to see how this all comes together.

--although the whole time I’ve been wondering where this Norse-ish God-like dude fits in.

Yes, yes, yes. I admit it. I don’t know Marvel’s Thor from Adam. As I kid I’d look at the Thor covers and think that seemed all a little too ridiculous for my tastes*. There. Scorn me. Go ahead. I’ll wait for you to finish.

So I went into a viewing of Thor on Saturday with 3 purposes in mind:
1) To get up to speed on Thor’s place in this Avenger’s movie-canon
2) To see some Pretty a.k.a. Chris Hemsworth a.k.a. Papa!Kirk.**
3) To see what would hopefully be a good movie.

3 out of 3, BOO YEA!

I didn’t think I’d buy it as hard as I did. Asgard. Bought it. Frost Giants. Bought it. 9 Realms, Rainbow Bridges made of Science-Magic, Thor the Idiot-but-Will-Learn-His-Lesson Muscle, Loki the Embodiment-of-Chaos-and-Always-Thinking-Everyone’s-as-Duplicitious-as-he-is-and-it-Drives-Him-Bad, S.H.I.E.L.D. just ALWAYS having to DEAL with this CRAZY ASS BULLSHIT--

BOUGHT IT.

I’m going to stop there. Suffice to say it isn’t BETTER than Iron Man, but it’s a solid origins/journey story that makes characters that looked as if they stepped out of a damn DnD campaign FEEL like they belong as well to a world that has Stark Industries and a Big Green Guy who just has problems with his feelings and a Dude in red white and blue who fought for Truth and Justice—

And I loved every minute of it.

Come to me, Oh Captain America. Come, oh Avengers. Let’s DO this.



Also, stay for the end credits. Cause hell yea. HELL. YEA.





*I know. Eesh, younger self, they’re frickin’ COMIC BOOKS. *eye roll*
**What? I never claimed I wasn't shallow.
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So. Avatar: The Last Airbender.

I am impressed. No, really. I’m IMPRESSED. I mean, how can you take a beloved cartoon, one BRIMMING with excellent characters, joys and trials and tribulations and friendship and betrayals and and and—

Cut out EVERYTHING that is good in it?

Maybe it wasn’t a terrible movie in the technical sense. It didn’t even destroy my faith in cinema the way that Wild Wild West did (but then again, that WAS the first movie that ever Hurt Me, Betrayed Me) What do I know, I’m no Ebert, my life isn’t Movies. But--
I mean, isn’t there a POINT when you are creating something that you step back and realize…Huh, you know, it sorta looks WRONG that our main good guys are white but their entire tribe is ethnic-looking. It’s sorta really BORING to having Katara only around to declare it’s time to go, to have Sokku around to…really do nothing, not even insert any much needed levity. Isn’t there a POINT where you realize how horribly you’ve miscast people, or how MIND-NUMBINGLY DULL it is to use landscaped voice-over exposition scenes to move the plot forward when that’s ALL you’re doing?

I could go on and on, like, exploring how the series addressed the issue of the Earth Nation’s enslavement and how they find the courage to rise up against the Fire Nation—and how the movie MADE IT REALLY FUCKING STUPID. But you know what? I just feel…numb. M. Night Shyamalan obviously didn’t give a shit about what he was doing, so, why should I even bother?
If M. Night Shyamalan made this because his daughter loved the series, than he must REALLY, REALLY hate his daughter. That’s the only way to explain how he managed to suck the soul out of something he was handed on a silver-screen platter.

And wow, Aang. Aang. Aang, Aang, Aang. I’m so sorry. You were such a fun, interesting, slightly tragic but AMAZING little boy of a character. But here…you’re nothing but a bland, blank...well…AVATAR of a character.

I can’t claim I’m a die-hard Airbender fan, I’m still working my way through the series. But to all Benders out there, you have my Deepest Sympathies. I know your pain. Take comfort in the fact that they may have fucked your Movie, but they will never take your Original.

Nella Out.
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If you've never watched "The Madness of King George", I highly recommend it. It's an absolutely smashing movie which takes place in a historical period I've always been fond of about a king I find rather fascinating.

HOWEVER….

Not 13 minutes into this movie, and I both had already fallen in loved AND was writhing in pain on the floor to my roommate's great amusement.

Now, there's a whole lot of historical inaccuracy I can overlook for the sake of plot, or for staging ease, or just because the director says "fuck all, it'll look cooler this way"*. I myself like it when things look cooler. The point is I CAN take historical inaccuracy with a grain of salt, because it's a MOVIE. It's FICTION (even when they are "Based on true events"). The point is to tell a story and that's THAT.

But nothing makes my jaw drop faster, my eyes roll backwards and foam start to come from my mouth than historical inaccuracy due to SHEER LAZINESS.

I know this is a very petty thing to get hung up on, but for ME to notice it within the 1.2 seconds it on the screen makes it a GLARING act of LAZINESS, so much so that I must take issue.

I ask you my friends. For a movie taking place in 1789, what is wrong with this globe that King George is pointing too?

I'll give you a hint. Jefferson wasn't President yet. And John Quincy Adams wasn't busting Spanish balls for land yet. Oh, and Daniel Webster wasn't busting Canadian balls for land yet as well. Oh hell, just scroll down and I'll give you a brief history of American ball-busting for land pre-1850.


Oh god! Oh god the humanity HISTORICAL INACCURACY!!!

Here's a brief review over why this map made my jaw drop (i.e. all the things that are on this globe that most definitely weren't there in 1789):

1) Louisiana Purchase, 1803: We all (mostly) know this one. Napoleon--having realized that creating an empire takes a lot of moolah, and having failed to re-enslave the newly independent Haitians (aw, SHUCKS /sarcasm)--decides to sell the Louisiana Territory ('tehrritorie', if you are saying it in an OUTRAGEOUS French accent). Jefferson hits that like the first of an angry god with a cool $11+ million, PLUS the cancellation of some $3.75 million of debt. Which, THINK ABOUT IT: Alexander Hamilton managed—through the consolidation of individual states' war debts into a national debt, the creation of a Federally-control National Bank (with a big FUCK YOU to Jefferson while doing so), and by pushing for a pro-Federal interpretation of the Constitution (again, another fuck you to Jefferson)—managed to make the American market legit enough by 1804 that France was hitting the U.S. up for cash, cash we could give them. EVEN THOUGH America had suffered CRIPPLING DEBT due to that whole 'War for Independence' thing almost 20 years before.

...Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE Alexander Hamilton?

Anyway, Jefferson, in his usual move of saying one thing and doing the exact opposite in real life, takes that money and COMPLETELY oversteps the Constitutional limitations of his presidential powers to authorize buying the whole kit and caboodle.

Proof, of course, that Jefferson always WINS, even when by his own philosophy, he shouldn't.

*glare*

2) Adams-Onis Treaty, 1819: This treaty, signed in 1819, was the diplomatic equivalent of John Quincy Adams** sitting on top of the Spanish foreign minister Luis de Onis and threatening him with a wet willy and a sound pounding unless he cried "UNCLE!! UNCLE!!! FLORIDA IS YOURS!! EVERYTHING ABOVE THE 42 PARELLEL AND TO THE PACIFIC IS YOURS!! THE RIVERS ARE YOURS!! JUST LET ME GO FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!"

Needless to say, John Quincy Adams (and a lot of historians afterwards) considered this act of diplomatic bullying his single greatest contribution to American diplomacy.

3) Treaty of 1819: 1819 was a good year for American land grabbing. Not only did we wrestle the Spanish government into submission, but we got our 49th parallel border between us and Canada ok'ed by the British government. However, this line wouldn't be really set in stone until the Oregon Treaty of 1846 and the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1849. Which leads me to my LAST point…

4) The Webster-Ashburton Treaty, 1849: This mother fucking treaty wasn't signing until 1849! And yet there's Maine in all of it's glory on Georgie's globe!


GOOD GOD, IT'S LIKE THE DOCTOR OF GLOBES!!

…ahem.

This treaty was a sneaky, sneaky back handed win on Webster's part, which cemented the border between Maine and Brunswick, as well as cemented the eastern border between America and Canada at the 49th parallel, and extended that border to the Rockies. Also—as I recall from my high school history textbook—the only reason we have all of what we have of Maine is because Webster's ace-in-the-hole was "Franklin's map"; a map SUPPOSEDLY draw by Ben Franklin which proved that America had owned and therefore STILL owned more of Maine than Brunswick would have liked.

Conclusion? American: 1. Canda: PWNED!1!1!!!


So, just to recap...



*sigh*

I know what you're thinking; "my God, Nella, don't you have anything BETTER to do?" But COME ON. This movie takes place RIGHT AFTER the American Revolution had been won (…make that lost, as this is a movie about King George). You don't go out of your way to draw attention to King George's anger and disappointment over losing the colonies and then bullshit with a globe laying out 1850-ish American geography!

FOR SHAME, Movie, FOR SHAME.




And the Footnotes of my short rant…er…treatise…
*See Ridley Scott's Gladiator for an example of this.

** The then Secretary of State who would later be forced, while PRESIDENT, into giving an interview to a female journalist because he had a habit of skinny dipping in the Potomac that she found out about, and exploited to her journalistic advantage. HELLO WHY HAS NO ONE MADE A SKETCH ABOUT THIS?!?!?! Or, if someone has, WHY has it not been brought to my attention yet!
I saw Alice in Wonderland last night, and decided to sleep on it before I attempted to put my thoughts on the matter into words. This probably explains why I had a truly epic dream about a banished prince and his sorceress-knight and their adventures against sea monsters and an enchanted forest—

But I digress.

Down that old rabbit hole then... )

On the whole, I saw it. You'll want to see it too. I just hope you come out feeling more satisfied with it than I did.

Also, it is now my head canon that Alice was directly responsible for the Boxer Rebellion. THAT’S MY STORY AND I’M STICKING BY IT.
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Saw Sherlock Holmes Christmas Eve at midnight—you know you're far too invested in a series when you skip Midnight Mass for it.

I do consider myself a Sherlockian. Four years ago the amount of detail I could quote to you about each of the tales, of the "world" of Victorian England, and of the characters' respective backgrounds would probably make you smile, nod, and back away slowly. I could argue how many wives Watson had (I throw down for 3), where his bullet wound was (I say he was kneeling down, and the bullet passed throw his shoulder, hitting him in the leg. THERE. PROBLEM OF CONTINUITY SOLVED.) I am a bit rusty now, but I can still hold my own in "The Game".

However, I've ALWAYS been one for the crackier aspects of Sherlock Holmes canon; like, Rex Stout's 1941 speech upon how Watson, was in fact, a woman, or how Sherlock Holmes was in actuality, a Vulcan ancestor of Mr. Spock, or just the simple notion that Watson DOESN'T HAVE TO BE CONSIDERED A RELIABLE NARRATOR.

SHOCKING, I know.
If you are a tried-and-true purist for the Canon, go back to your sitting room, curl up with your pipe and tantalus and pretend like this movie doesn't exist, because you will HATE IT. You will hate it with the fiery passion of a thousand fistfights at Reichenbach Falls.

If, however, you are like me—who love a good, energetic retelling by people who OBVIOUSLY know their canon well and yet want to gleefully play with it, muss up it's perfectly parted and slicked down hair and blow some shit up in the process--

Well, then, what's stopping you?

I think my years of being corrupted by fandom, there's a lot I've learned to forgive by way of characterization, as long as you make me fall in love with the characters and the setting. People claim RDJ's Holmes is NOT Holmes. But the more I think upon it, the more I think "Wait, wait; he is—in a fashion".

Thoughts on RDJ's Holmes… )

The movie isn't perfect by any means—far too long, for one; it could have been compressed a bit. But the creation of Victorian London was to die for. I enjoyed the Macguffin, even though the villain was…well, I giggled more than I should have, probably. I think it was because he LOOKED more like a Sherlock Holmes than RDJ ever could.

I approve of the inclusions of Mary and Irene, though I feel that Mary, for all the smallness of her role, complimented the other roles better. Irene had a tinge of a feeling that she didn't quite belong, and perhaps rightly so. I did enjoy her criminal competency, however.

Words can not contain my love for Jude Law in his role as Watson. Spot On, Sir.

You know, people have the gall to claim that the problem with Watson in this movie was that he was too much of an equal to Holmes? Again, I think we've gotten snooty in how we view the characters. Watson was an intelligent, handsome doctor, who only looked dull-minded because he was standing next to Holmes. But in the stories, Holmes does acknowledge at times that Watson is using his intellect and Holmes' methods to good use. Watson may not be able to go theory-for-theory with Holmes--for who can truly keep up with that mind?--but he can hold his own, offer his own insights and experiences, and be side-by-side with Holmes as the solution is reached. Watson is not an equal to Holmes, but a perfect compliment. WHICH HE IS IN THIS MOVIE.

In Conclusion: Please sir, I'd like some more.
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