Oct. 10th, 2010 08:28 pm
yeloson: (Default)
So, you have to watch until AFTER the part where they all get home.

I'm not sure how to take this. On one hand, yeah, fucked up sweatshop shit, calling it out!

Then there's the dolphin head, bear, etc. Um, did the critique shift from consumer society or what?
yeloson: (Default)
Imagine the most awesome X-wing dog-fight you can imagine. Now make the X-wings owls. And the owls are ninjas.

Now that my inner 12-year-old has summarized how I feel about this movie, let me say I really really enjoyed it.

So the basic storyline is that there's a group of evil owls calling themselves "The Pure Ones" who are basically trying to raise an owl-supremicist nation by kidnapping kid-owls to raise as soldiers or slaves.


Opposing them are the Guardians, who have been hidden away in isolation, for a few generations at least, to the point most assume it's just legend at this point.

The story follows Soren, a young owl who is kidnapped by the Pure Ones, escapes, and his journey to seek the help of the Guardians.

The story manages to do the hero's journey without falling into the usual annoying tropes - Soren does important things without becoming THE CHOSEN ONE or surpassing the other characters- it's pretty clear he's outclassed by most of the other characters, even at the end.

Actually, part of what I loved about this movie was all the annoying tropes it didn't dive into- the wacky misfit characters get just enough screen time you get who they are without making you want to beat them to death. The villains tell you what they're about, but don't do huge exposition or speeches - it's all pretty short and to the point.

I thought there'd be only one, but there's actually three awesome female owls who are each badass.

Graphics-wise, it was ridiculous. So much gets communicated through facial expressions. Beautiful scenery, amazing fight scenes, just perfect. The normal shots were great and the money shots were WTF.

If you're in the mood for a fun, action-ey movie, that is just well crafted... and you have a penchant for flying ninja fights, this movie is really worth seeing.
yeloson: (Default)
M. Night on the casting choices for Avatar:

Here's the thing. The great thing about anime is that it's ambiguous. The features of the characters are an intentional mix of all features. It's intended to be ambiguous. That is completely its point. So when we watch Katara, my oldest daughter is literally a photo double of Katara in the cartoon. So that means that Katara is Indian, correct? No that's just in our house. And her friends who watch it, they see themselves in it. And that's what's so beautiful about anime.

Where to start?

As a movie director, he knows that visual continuity is created deliberately- you can't haphazardly throw visual elements together and make it work. It's not ambiguous, the series team did a giant amount of research - the architecture, the characters, the clothing, all of this had to be communicated to the animation team.

Sure, his daughter identifies - because how many brown female characters are there for kids? Does she also identify with random white characters? (Maybe. Look at the implication in mentioning her friends identify as well. All white social circles?) Of course, maybe she's just happy to have A Girl Like Me in her cartoons.

Also, I like the "Well I could have used these other ethnicities, but I didn't" as if the would have, could have actually impacts the final result. Kung Fu the TV series could have had Bruce Lee in it! Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee could have been true to the original story! Wizard of Earthsea could have had brown characters! 21 could have had asians in the story, just like the real life events!

What makes this intent bit completely moot is that basically, at the end of the day, despite it all, he chose white actors. Actors of color don't even get considered in many roles, so it's not like "well we could have" works the other way.

This is someone who very deliberately chooses roles. He's very careful with his visuals. Am I to understand suddenly he became enveloped in a magic fog of color-blindness that overwhelmed his craft and experience as a director? (Was this the same magical force of post-racism that exploded across the nation when Obama took office?)

White supremacy isn't everyone's fantasy. There's nothing ambiguous about white folks getting roles and actors of color not.

Try restoring the balance yourself, before telling movies about it.

ETA: Because it cannot be said enough times: These are the Ghosts of the Heroes I never had.
yeloson: (Default)
I just watched 009-1 on Hulu. It's a modern reboot of a 60's manga, which, is basically James Bond style international spy adventure with cyborg women who kick ass.

The series has a fun mix of 60's style to things, retro looking laser guns, sports cars, and yet high tech things like regular flights to the moon colonies. It also has stuff that dates it to that era, such as machine-gun breast weapons, catsuits and mini-skirt outfits. If you can accept the cheese, it's basically women do James Bond awesome shit all day. Including the sexuality- like Bond, the agents are down to seduce their enemies, but in control the whole time.

The lead character, Mylene, often just "Nine-One", plays an interesting role. Aside from kickassery, there is a lot of sketchy missions that bring her more and more into conflict with the government she works for. As the series progresses, she begins finding her own path, which is pretty cool to watch happen.

In classic 60's fashion, the world is divided in the Western and Eastern Block, with a strong Cold War going on. Aside from the expected issues, there's also a growing population of mutants with psychic powers, which the Eastern Block gathers to experiment on, while the Western Block simply exterminates them - making neither side particularly nice people.

It's a pretty fun series, and I wouldn't mind seeing some more of it. The writing quality stays strong throughout the whole series, and it avoids the modern anime issue of holding all the good development for at the end - instead it's steady character growth and entertainment rhoughout.
yeloson: (Default)
I powered through the 12 episodes of this on Hulu over the last week.

I was intrigued because this was a period anime (1600's Japan) with a dojo on hard times- stylistic art, and brutal fights that are "stylistically realistic" - if that makes any sense- people get nasty wounds, they don't heal nice, and even winners don't come out that ahead.

The story is about two students of a run down dojo who end up in a blood opera rivalry. The sensei suffers dementia, and on his good days, is sociopathically abusive. Story wise, I was hooked along trying to understand why anyone was ok with this abusive situation, and whether anyone would get their comeuppance - which never really materialized.

There was lots of misogyny! They made sure to include that! For 12 episodes, there had to be at least 6 rapes or attempted rapes of women (half are incestuous or close enough to), two sexualized mutilations, and two women killed randomly. The only points of "agency" granted to one character were either suicide attempts (two) or attempted violence in an act of insanity.

There's one queer relationship between a man and a boy, and they die within 2 episodes.

Needless to say, pretty failtastic. I was kept on hoping that either a) some kind of condemnation of the whole situation would occur, or b) the women would get some agency. So yeah, I'm telling you it doesn't and don't bother watching.


Dec. 22nd, 2009 09:52 pm
yeloson: (Oh NOES)
This is why children should watch the Twilight Zone.

yeloson: (You win the prize!)
I was brought back to my youth, watching cartoons before going to work. Warren Ellis' GI Joe:Resolute reminded me everything good about cartoons. I'm amazed that he manages to hit so many fan notes (Snake-eyes vs. Stormshadow? Hell yeah) without having been a fan from get go, AND avoids the things that didn't work so well for the series.

Also reminded about how much they were willing to break stereotypes as much as reinforce them:

Tunnel Rat is the code name of Nicky Lee, a Trinidadian Chinese who lived in Brooklyn, New York prior to joing the US Army where he had Ranger training. He specializes in explosive ordnance disposal. The character's facial appearance is based on G.I. Joe comic book writer Larry Hama.

What what!


yeloson: (Default)

November 2012



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