This Week in Geek (6-12/06/11)


Spring splurge, the continuing story: This week, I got (all DVDs) The Good, The Bad, the Weird (from Korea, on KFF pal Marty's recommendation), Batman: The Brave & the Bold Season 1 Part II, the complete Larry Sanders Show, Being Human Series 3, True Grit (the Cohen Bros. one), Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods, and Iron Bodyguard.


DVDS: I guess I was too young when Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman originally aired (and not fluent in English), so I'm a late comer to the series. I was expecting a certain measure of campiness, and certainly an older style of television. What I wasn't expecting was to find it so delightful! I can now see how it made such an impression on people and why they generally can't dissociate the superheroine from the actress. Lynda Carter is incredibly charming even if she appears to be very much inexperienced as an actress. Her Wonder Woman is kind and unassuming, loves children and animals, and beyond the pilot, doesn't ever throw a punch (it's all throwing people about). Her smile lights up every room and she manages to make the "bullet-breasted" uniform iconic but not exploitative. I think what she gives off is innocence. Wonder Woman doesn't really know she's sexy; she just thinks these manly reactions are funny. Despite the disco theme song, the first season takes place during WWII, just like the original comics. A brave choice, but one that helps sell the campiness. Plus: Kicking Nazi ass. The Season 1 set includes a half-hour retrospective documentary and a commentary with Carter and the producer on the pilot. Both are charming and informative.

Hana - The Tale of a Reluctant Samurai - owes a certain debt to Kurosawa, of course, but the overall feeling is closer to that of The Royal Tenenbaums or Waking Ned Devine. Director Kore-Eda Hirokazu's lightly comic revenge story takes place in 18th century row houses (a sort of shanty town) as the protagonist searches for his father's killer. The community is just as much a character as he is, and perhaps sustains one subplot too many, but its daily life is human and funny. Amidst the comedy are great moments of sadness and profound images of nature. It's a lovely tale and one that avoids the usual violence of samurai films. If you're in the mood for a quiet and pretty film, something to make you smile, I heartily recommend it. The DVD includes a few minutes' footage from the film's premiere, but otherwise, only a few trailers (for Hana and other Funimation films).

Comics: I loved Jeffrey Brown's Incredible Change-Bots, and in fact named it the best comic of 2008 during my annual Siskoid Awards. The sequel, Incredible Change-Bots Two, is just as great... and "probably to be continued". Well, Mr. Brown, you've got a customer right here for when it's ready. In this pocket-sized graphic novel, the evil Shootertron is found alive but amnesiac and is taken in by a kindly farmer and his wife. The government is soon knocking at their door, while the rest of the Change-Bots, now allied, accidentally find their way back to Earth. As with the original book, Brown takes the piss out stories like this, never quite drawing a distinction between good and bad robots/people. It is as honest in its potshots as it is in its loving homage to, let's say it, the Transformers. Saying it's a million times better than Transformers II is damning it with faint praise.

Books: Michael Chabon's Manhood for Amateurs is a collection of biographical essays (I really am on an essay kick lately) that deal with being a son, a husband, and a father, and draws witty and truthful comparisons between the world he grew up in, and the one his kids are growing up in. I love the man's style, and geeks like us will find a brother in this man who has managed to write a Pulitzer-winning story about the dawn of American comics. Of special interest to my readers, there's a loving homage to Big Barda, and an analysis of geek culture represented by a story in which he and his family are caught out for loving the new Doctor Who series. Whether they are "geeky" or not (and most aren't), they are honest, personal and fresh. A lovely and all-too-quick read.

New Unauthorized Doctor Who CCG cards: Started conceptual work on the 2nd edition of my infamous card game, and all that work is occurring at new dedicated forums. More news as things develop through the summer.

Hyperion to a Satyr posts this week:
II.ii. The Players - Fodor (2007)


Chris79 said...

It's funny you talk about Wonder Woman, 'cause I was having a discussion with a friend about her few days ago. We agreed on the fact she was the only one completely useless in the Justice League. However, I did enjoy the TV show when I was a kid, but it was already a rerun at the time and it was in French. The thing is, now the only episode I can remember is the pilot. When she decides to contest against her mother's advice. The last scenes when she reveals who she is, the rope and the invisible plane... That's all the memories I have left of the show.
Also, you said you weren't fluent in English at the time it aired in Canada. New-Brunswick, I'm guessing French... Is the dubbing in Canada as dreadful as in France? Seriously, I've watched an episode of Doctor Who's 5th season yesterday and couldn't take it more than two minutes!

Siskoid said...

Which Justice League? If you mean the cartoon, I totally disagree. Superman was useless in that, Wonder Woman KICKED ASS! The only team she was on where she was useless was the original JSA back in the 1940s where she was only allowed to be secretary.

In 1976, I was 5 and living in Quebec. I have no recollection of the show later turning up in French dub. The translations we get here are in most cases the same as in France. There's just no understanding street slang. Eddie Murphy speaking in Parisian argot and all that. Only a few shows get Quebecker dubbing, usually meat and potato comedies like the Flintstones (funnier in Quebecois) and the Simpsons (so not).

Martin Léger said...

I've wanted to read that Chabon book ever since I saw it at chapters. I'll get around it eventually.

Chris79 said...

I meant in general and I did say "completely". As far as I'm concerned, my faves are Batman, the Flash and Green Lantern. Wonder Woman is so not a woman you wonder about. But maybe I say that because I'm a woman. I've got to admit I was more compelled by Marvel's heroins (especially in the X-Men) than DC's female characters when I was a kid. Also I couldn't stand Hawkman, Hawkgirl and Aquaman. Well, de gustibus et coloribus non disputandum!
I remember that the TV show aired in the first half of the 80's in France. I was about the same age you were when it aired in Canada, so I'd say 1984 or 1985. The actress dubbing Lynda Carter's had a very irritating voice, if I recollect it right, but it wasn't the worst, trust me!
I love Eddie Murphy's voice in French (I even think I like it better in French than the original). The Simpsons are pretty well done too but I wonder what it sounds like in Québécois... It must be either appalling or hilarious.
I think the only show I've ever been watching in Québécois was "Catherine", it was great. I didn't understand half of it, but the other half was very funny! :-)

Siskoid said...

So you mean the JLA comic then. Yes, it's probable Wonder Woman was badly utilized in large chunks of that.


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