DVD Tales: Adventures of Superman to Alien Planet

Following from the Abyss...

Adventures of Superman vol. 4 (various, 1952-3)
Just one disc from the Season 1 collection, in a simple CD case. I'm not entirely sure how he came about it, but it's a gift from Bauble again, no doubt because he got it as a promo somewhere, but also had the complete collection. I'm grateful, but I've yet to watch it. Mostly because it's not with the rest of the DVD collection.

After Life (Hirokazu Koreeda, 1998)
This Japanese film about a waiting room in the after life where you must make a film of one moment from your life is quiet, but brilliant, and uses a documentary approach in an interesting and lyrical way. It's one of those "Siskel & Ebert" recommendations that intrigued me at the time, but I'd forgotten the title. One lucky Google search years later and I became its proud owner.

Akira (Katsuhiro Ôtomo, 1988)
At one point, I really wanted to get into anime and didn't know anything about it. So I did the only thing I could do and subscribed to Columbia House's anime video collection. Not really a good idea, but at the time... Most of what they sent me was crap: a 1-hour episodes of Crying Freeman where the hero "breaks" the evil seductress by not ejaculating ("Why won't you come!!?" she screamed, over and over). Stuff like that. Thank God for Barefoot Gen. And Akira. Akira was the first video they sent out to reel you in and certainly the most accomplished. It was like a real movie. I didn't even mind the 2001-style ending. Thanks to DVD, a new and improved version came out and I snatched it, sending the old video to my kid brother who had enjoyed Akira with me those early years. I kinda wish I hadn't. Not that the new Akira is a bad dub - the acting is better and Kanada isn't played by annoying ninja turtle Michelangelo - but I miss the ultraviolent sounds of the old U.S. dub. When you got squished in the old Akira, it was WET!

Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)
The movie that changed the face of movie SF forever, Alien is more than just a grimy, practical vision of the future. And it's more than a slasher/monster movie. The reason I keep going back to Alien is that it has subtext in addition to the atmosphere, suspense and characters. Alien is really about the violence done to women. Why else would the film end with Ripley in her undies being attacked by a blind phallic creature? The Alien's life cycle itself, with its impregnator tube and c-section intro... the gushing android and its rolled-up magazine. Very, very disturbing.

Alien Planet (Pierre de Lespinois, 2005)
I love Walking with the Dinosaurs and the rest of the Walking with... series, so Amazon started suggesting other specualtive nature documentaries. Darwin IV is a CGI exploration adventure punctuated by commentary by scientific experts, including Stephen Hawking, George Lucas (yeah, some expert) and Douglas Barlowe, the artist whose book (Exploration) Alien Planet was based on. The ecology of Darwin IV is crazy, and I wouldn't put too much stock in its credibility, but the ideas behind how any alien planet might be explored via probes is immensely interesting. Not as good as the Walking with documentaries, but has some interesting notions.

But what did YOU think? Next: Alien3 to American Splendor.


rob! said...

i enjoyed After Life also. nice, quiet, thoughtful film.


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