July 31, 2011

James Cameron, Terminator 2 [Musings and Review]

"There's no fate but what we make for ourselves."

Just a few thoughts on Terminator 2 as I watched it last night.

Great story about mankind being wiped out by machines. I noticed the point keeps being driven home that it's man that is a force of destruction. Sarah Connor and her son John are repeatedly placing the blame and responsibility for what's happening on human nature.
"The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it, for the first time, with a sense of hope. Because if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too."

July 30, 2011

Reading Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club [review time]

"Well. Whatever. You can't teach God anything."
It's very hard to review this book without comparing it to the movie, but Fight Club as a novel really impressed me. It's unsurprising, given that typically an original book will be better than it's screen adaptation, but Fight Club is a rare case where the movie comes close and in some ways even supersedes the novel. The ending of the film adaptation has been praised by critics, but I find that it's very epic and world-relevant - it makes a clear point about Tyler and what he wants for society, his world view - where the novel's ending is more character-centred and I find it magnificent. If you haven't picked up this book yet, you really should. The movie stayed fairly close in terms of plot and even specific scenes, but there are extra goodies that you'll really enjoy if you're into Tyler Durden's philosophy.

July 23, 2011

Romance in Battlestar Gallactica? [review time]

Love is a strange and wonderful thing, Chief — you be happy you experienced it all — even if it was with a machine. -Gaius Baltar
Ok, I'm going to go ahead and be the girl here and talk about romance in Battlestar Gallactica, but it's not what you think. I'm not going to go all Team Tyrol on you or moon over how sexy Apollo is and how perfect he is for Starbuck and how I'd throw Dualla out of an airlock. Actually, I find most of the love subplots on BSG to be very trivial and unrelatable, but since I find the show to be incredibly masterful, I'm going to argue that these love affairs really contribute to the overall themes of the story. Because there is a pattern here. Some might say the drama between romantically involved characters was a filler addition to BSG aimed toward mass appeal, but I'm going to say that this drama was necessary to the show. I'm two seasons in right now and I find that it's the human relationships on the show that are fickle, shallow and unrelatable, while somehow the Cylons are capable of meaningful relationships, involving commitment, and inspiring of unconditional love.

July 5, 2011

Excited for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2! What a mouthful. Midnight showing July 14th? I think so!

July 4, 2011

Fantasy in Paul Harding's Tinkers [story time]

It seemed to me as if my father simply faded away. He became more and more difficult to see. One day, I thought he was sitting in his chair at his desk, writing. To all appearances, he scribbled at a sheet of paper. When I asked him where the bag for apple picking was, he disappeared. I could not tell whether he had been there in the first place or if I had asked my question to some lingering afterimage. He leaked out of the world gradually, though. At first, he seemed merely vague or peripheral. But then he could no longer furnish the proper frame for his clothes. He would ask me a question from behind the box on which I sat shelling peas or peeling potatoes for my mother, and when I answered and received no reply back, I would turn around, to find his hat or belt or a single shoe sitting in the door frame as if placed there by a mischievous child. The end came when we could no longer even see him, but felt him in brief disturbances of shadows or light, or as a slight pressure, as if the space one occupied suddenly had had something more packed into it, or we'd catch some faint scent out of season, such as the snow melting into the wool of his winter coat, but on a blistering August noon, as if the last few times I felt him as another being rather than as a recollection, he had thought to check up on this world at the wrong moment and accidentally stepped from whatever wintry place he was straight into the dog days. And it seems that doing so only confirmed to him his fate to fade away, his being in the wrong place, so that during these startled visits, although I could not see him, I could feel his surprise, his bafflement, the dismay felt in a dream when you suddenly meet the brother you forgot you had or remember theinfant you left on the hillside miles away, hours ago, because somehow you were distracted and somehow you came to believe in a different life and your shock at these terrible recollections, these sudden reunions, comes as much from your sorrow at what you have neglected as it does from dismay at how thoroughly and quickly you came tobelieve in something else. And that other world that you first dreamed is always better if not real, because in it you have not jilted your lo lover, forsaken your child, turned your back on your brother. The world fell away from my father the way he fell away from us. We became his dream.

Another time, I found him fumbling for an apple in the barrel we kept in the basement. I could just make him out in the gloom. Each time he tried to grab a piece of fruit, it eluded him, or I might say he eluded it, as his grasp was no stronger than a draftof air threading through a crack in a window. He succeeded once, after appearing toconcentrate for a moment, in upsetting an apple from its place at the top of the pile, but it merely tumbled down along the backs of the other apples and came to rest against themouth of the barrel. It seemed to me that even if I could pick an apple up with my failing hands, how could I bite it with my dissipating teeth, digest it with my ethereal gut? Irealized that this thought was not my own but, rather, my father's, that even his ideaswere leaking out of his former self. Hands, teeth, gut, thoughts even, were all simplymore or less convenient to human circumstance, and as my father was receding fromhuman circumstance, so, too, were all of these particulars, back to some unknowable froth where they might be reassigned to be stars or belt buckles, lunar dust or railroadspikes. Perhaps they already were all of these things and my father's fading was because he realized this: My goodness, I am made from planets and wood, diamonds and orange peels, now and then, here and there; the iron in my blood was once the blade of a Roman plow; peel back my scalp and you will see my cranium covered in the scrimshaw carved by an ancient sailor who never suspected that he was whittling at my skull-no, my blood is a Roman plow, my bones are being etched by men with names that mean sea wrestler and ocean rider and the pictures they are making are pictures of northern stars at different seasons, and the man keeping my blood straight as it splits the soil is named Lucian andhe will plant wheat, and I cannot concentrate on this apple, this apple, and the only thing common to all of this is that I feel sorrow so deep, it must be love, and they are upset because while they are carving and plowing they are troubled by visions of trying to pick apples from barrels. I looked away and ran back upstairs, skipping the ones that creaked,so that I would not embarrass my father, who had not quite yet turned back from clay into light.

-Paul Harding