This Week in Geek (22-28/09/08)

Buys

My copy of Sequarts' Teenagers from the Future has finally come in, and I've already started it. In case you're not yet in the know, it features some 18 essays on the Legion of Super-Heroes, some by bloggers I follow every day like the ISB's Chris Sims and the Absorbascon's Scipio Garling. Great homage cover too.

And to make my order get above 39$, I also picked up that long overdue Time Bandits DVD. It should be in every geek's collection.

"Accomplishments"

Finished Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys. Though an early novel of his, the prose still sparkled and I was sorry to see the pages run out. I then proceeded to watch the movie adaptation (for the first time), which answered one question people always ask. Which one is better, the book or the movie? For me, each medium has always had its strengths, so while I don't want to make a qualitative judgment call, I will say that I prefer seeing the movie first and reading the book second. With enough time between reading and viewing, this isn't so bad, but back to back (and in this case at least), the novel's depth outshines the film's by a mile.

Even while reading, I knew the film would omit the whole Jewish family sequence, one of my very favorites, so that's where the film starts to derail a bit. In fact, while the movie's casting and acting can't be impeached, and the director does well with the material, it's the script that injects bad movie clichés into the story in order to connect the dots. The movie's coming of age ending for James is saccharine sweet and awful. If the novel is a coming of age story, it's a belated one for Grady Tripp, a man who has coasted all his life and avoided making choices. He finally grows up. Though the film brings that theme into focus even more than the book, it does take away his final choice in the ending. I miss that little boat. Anyway, the DVD is a simple package, but not a bad one, with some good interviews, an insightful tour of Pittsburgh, and commented song choices.

I also flipped Dr. Strangelove, a film I'd of course seen a couple times before on video, but which never seemed so sexual before. I don't know where my head was at in those original viewings, but it's now becoming incredibly evident that the cold war is seen as sexual tension between two countries, a tension that both desperately want to consummate in a "nucular" war. The DVD features a long documentary on the making of the film, and a shorter one on Kubrick's earlier work, plus odd splitscreen interviews in which YOU can ask questions to Sellers and Scott, just like your local stations did!


The rest of my DVD time was spent on Doctor Who releases. First was Doctor Who and the Silurians starring the 3rd Doctor, Liz and the Brig, up against sentient reptiles from Earth's prehistory. Against? Well, it's not necessarily so black and white, which is the story's great strength. The Silurians remains very watchable today despite some really strange musical cues and rubber outfits. One thing I really love about BBC Video/2|Entertain's DVD packages is that, with so many Doctor Who stories to do, they really vary the focus of their documentaries. Though there's a shorter making of piece, there's a long featurette on the socio-political climate that shaped the story. Visits to locations, pieces on the music and the color restoration, and the usual commentary track with the people involved.

The Invasion of Time may not be as good a story, but it has its moments. The interplay between the 4th Doctor and his former teacher Borusa is intense and Leela, well, I've always had a crush on Leela. It's the plot that doesn't make sense, and the production values are quite horrible (even with the CGI option which certainly can't fix the inappropriate location work). The commentary track and documentary are a little more positive than I am, but everyone acknowledges the production problems. The DVD also offers a short bit on the rise and fall of the Time Lords, which sadly doesn't reach the present era, and a comedy bit on the pseudonymous writer of the story. The deleted scenes aren't much to rave about given the amount of padding left in those episodes. But I needed to flip this one because...

New Unauthorized Doctor Who CCG cards: 16, all from The Invasion of Time. Ahhh, there it is.

Someone Else's Post of the Week

What's better between All-Star Superman and All-Star Batman & Robin? Tim Callahan and Chad Nevett duke it out to get you the answer on Sequart's website.

I know who I'M rooting for...

2 comments:

Teebore said...

Interesting thoughts regarding Dr. Strangelove...I've never thought of it that way before.

Siskoid said...

The keys are: the opening credits, and the absurd comments about bodily fluids made by Ripper.

I should do an entire post on it.

 

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