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Bizarre arbitrary collective fantasy mileu

So this steampunk thing has caught on like gangbusters lately, and I think it's weird. Its origins go back a long time, but unlike a lot of collective cultural fantasies, there's no group of high-profile pop-culture works to propel it. The space opera collective fantasy, simmering for the entire 20th century in Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon comic strips and serials and such, suddenly got a huge boost with Star Wars in 1977, and has never looked back really. The vampire collective fantasy got its big launch with Bela Lugosi's dracula, and Universal pictures milked it successfully to the point that there's a vampire breakfast cereal, and vampire romance novels for teen girls.

But as far as high profile steampunk movies go, all I can think of are some serious bombs: Wild Wild West, League of Extraordinary Gentleman (the comic book source probably did more to help out the steampunk meme than the almost universally hated movie), and the tepid Hellboy sequel. I have no doubt that a hugely successful movie that exploits the steampunk trope will come out in a matter of months, and this discussion will be forgotten. But at this moment, it's baffling to me how many people in my life, on livejournal, and so on. seem to be fascinated with brass goggles, clockwork robots, and high tech plumbing. Can it all be from fantasy novels?

Some grad student somewhere is working on a paper explaining the appeal--the combination of nostalgia, hopefulness, fashion sense, ecological awareness, the alternate reality of the industrial/technological revolutions. I bet you have some opinions, too.

EDITED TO ADD: Please post a picture of yourself in your steampunk costume along with your comment.

New Soylent Screen Up!

Soylent Screen!
The Summertime Hiatus is over, and to celebrate, I needlessly brutalized the last work of a respected sci-fi writer, simply because the film is so talky that it makes "Star Trek The Next Generation" look like a Buster Keaton movie. It's The Man From Earth, where a 14,000 year old Cro-Magnon man and a room full of his college professor colleagues talk for ninety minutes, but it's not as interesting as that synopsis makes it sound. Call it The Big Chill meets Highlander, or My Dinner With EEGAH! but don't say I didn't warn you.

They're marketing to me, I can feel it

caveman jef
I'm inordinately excited about 10,000 B.C., a new action movie taking place in that year. The trailer includes what appear to be terror birds (or, one supposes, their old-world analogue) and sabre-toothed cats (which are too big, but whatchagonna do) and thousands of cgi mammoths. It's made by the same sick glorious bastard who made Independence Day and Day After Tomorrow (we're lucky this wasn't called "day way back in the past") two of the biggest and stupidest and most entertaining movies ever. Could this be the first entertaining prehistoric action movie? (I've seen Quest for Fire and One Million BC--I want something better.)

I assume that anyone with more than a cursory background in anthropology or paleontology would break a blood vessel trying to watch it. I don't know for sure, but Hollywood has a very poor record in this area, and come on, did you see Day After Tomorrow? Several climatologists has to be hospitalized with broken blood vessels after seeing that. Also, anyone who doesn't like to see white people with dreadlocks should probably avoid it. (My only objection: why are his dreadlocks so short?)

I'm also pretty interested in seeing Cloverfield or whatever it's called. (That's right, I'm the sci fi fan that pays half attention.) The biggest problem with Godzilla-type movies is that the view from above perspective distances you from the movie. You almost never are afraid of a rubber suit monster filmed from above, or even eye-level. The beginning hype (I've seen maybe 3 commercials) is starting to catch on with me. Apparently someone involved in "Lost" is involved in this movie, which has fans of that show excited. I've never seen it, just as I've never seen "Buffy," and as that was no obstacle to me liking "Firefly," I don't think it matters in this case either.

This is the first time in a long time there have been two movies in the theatre that I actually would want to watch in the theatre. I can barely find the spare time to watch movies at home, unfortunately. It seems to take a great deal of planning to get us out to a movie, so unless Alexis wants to see an prehistoric action movie or "godzilla meets blair witch" (as described by someone on my friends list) I'll wait to see them on Netflix.

Where's the sci-fi?

An awful lot of the movies I've been reviewing lately have been horror movies. Halloween is to blame for some of that: I see it coming and load my queue up with more horror movies than i could watch in a year. I'd like to review some sci-fi/adventure type movies, but I don't have many on the way. Here's a run-down of what i have coming that netflix considers 'Sci-fi/fantasy.' What do you think i should review?

pick what i should review from a long list of moviesCollapse )


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