Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Terminator series officially jumped the shark

I know the new Star Wars teaser is a tough act to follow, but come on guys. It doesn't even seem like you're trying. The trailer for Terminator Genisys (wow, I can't believe how icky it feels just to look at that spelling, let alone force myself to type it) feels like a lazy kid on YouTube edited it and tacked on whatever shitty music he already had lying around on his hard drive. Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese is such a gross miscalculation (here's proof) I initially turned the trailer off before it was over. That's never happened before.

To quote a hilarious line from Beavis & Butt-Head, "These special effects aren't very special, huh-huh." Watching a gray-haired Arnold Schwarzenegger dive into a helicopter prop is jumping the shark in the most disingenuous way possible. So is having a T-1000 chop off his own knife-arm to make a javelin. Speaking of the new T-1000, how is it physically possible for him to conceal all that liquid metal mass in something as thin as a car hood?

I'm not making fun of Arnie here—the guy's easily my favorite movie star ever—but he's gotta be sick of his famous catchphrase by now. According to Wikipedia, he's muttered the line (or an obvious variation of it) in over a dozen films. That's like forcing Travolta to dance in every movie he's made after Pulp Fiction. I know I'm not the only one rolling my eyes at this point..

You can read my review of Terminator Salvation here. In it I say Terminator 2 is the best in the series, but in the time since I've come to enjoy the original more. There's just something about it that's hard to define and Schwarzenegger seems more like a machine. Hell, the entire movie feels more like a machine, coldly logical and smoothy efficient.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Bullshit Awakens: Does anyone really care that John Boyega is black?

Answer: Not anyone who matters.

I'm really sick of this click-bait bullshit spreading like wildfire. Fans of Star Wars don't have a problem with the new lead's skin color. Rather, sleazy entertainment writers figured out they could design "news stories" around what know-nothing morons say in anonymous internet forums. And so it inevitably happened to Star Wars: suddenly there's a manufactured controversy.

There is no real controversy here. "Controversy" suggests Skywalker Ranch is getting picketed by nerds with lightsabers and nooses. "Controversy" suggests more than a vocal minority actually give a fuck. "Controversy," unfortunately, is nothing more than a buzzword that gets silly people to visit silly articles on silly websites like TMZ. The fans of Star Wars are too busy worrying about how a cross-hilt lightsaber works to care about an actor's skin color.

I'm an average fan of Star Wars who had an average reaction to the new teaser trailer. The second I saw Boyega's face pop into view, I breathed a sigh of relief. For one, I didn't expect to see a lead in the trailer at all. Two, the teaser immediately looks, sounds, and feels more energetic than most of the stuff we saw in the PT ("prequel trilogy" for all you muggles). Those were my only two reactions to Boyega's appearance and I've known and been around enough Star Wars fans to say with certainty that's a pretty universal response. The majority of us were thrilled when we originally learned the lead of Attack the Block had been cast... when the news was reported several months ago.

The only people who have a problem with Boyega's skin are anonymous internet commentators... you know, the people who don't matter in the real world because they don't even live in it. These are the same sheltered morons who believe humans never landed on the moon and that Obama is related to Saddam Hussein. So why, really, does anyone give a shit what they think on this matter when we don't give a shit about everything else they say? And why the hell haven't the rest of us figured out they'll keep coming back when we keep giving them so much attention?

Some fans are worried about the story continuity because they believe all post-PT stormtroopers are clones of Jango Fett, who wasn't black. But the most obvious indication that the reign of Jangos is over is that all the stormtroopers in the original trilogy don't all share the same voice or height. Yeah, I understand that the OT was made a long time before the PT and George Lucas may have just messed up. But given Lucas's reputation, we can be reasonably sure he would have dubbed over all the OT stormtroopers' voices in the newer editions if he had intended them to be clones.

But that's not our only indication that all stormtroopers are not clones. From the Star Wars wiki:

By the time the Galactic Civil War began in earnest, Jango Fett's clones were heavily supplanted by clones based on a variety of templates around 9 BBY,[13] followed shortly after by enlisted Humans.[19] Thus, the Fett clones were ironically reduced to a minority status after years of virtually filling the stormtrooper ranks in its entirety.

And even if all stormtroopers are clones in the new trilogy... who cares? I just assumed Boyega was wearing the armor as a disguise, the way Luke and Han did in the OT. It didn't even occur to me he might be a real stormtrooper until I started reading the comments on fan forums suggesting he was a bonafide deserter. (I still think he's just using the armor as a disguise, for the record.)

This is all to say that this is Star Wars, not Duck Dynasty. Nobody gives a shit what color your skin is in this fandom. The ones who do just aren't welcome and they never have been.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer

William Gibson: "How I wrote Neuromancer" @ The Guardian

From the article, written by Gibson himself:
My fantasy of success, then, was that my book, once it had been met with the hostile or indifferent stares I expected, would go out of print. Then, yellowing fragrantly on the SF shelves of secondhand book shops, it might voyage forward, up the time-stream, into some vaguely distant era in which a tiny coterie of esoterics, in London perhaps, or Paris, would seize upon it, however languidly, as perhaps a somewhat good late echo of Bester, Delany or another of the writers I’d pasted, as it were, on the inside of my authorial windshield. And that, I assured myself, sweating metaphorical bullets daily in front of my Hermes 2000 manual portable, would almost certainly be that.
Read the full article here.

Timothy Leary on Neuromancer:
"It's the way the world is going to be in ten years, like it or not."

I don't think there is, nor will there ever be, another story that makes as much sense to me as Neuromancer.