Ran

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Everything posted by Ran

  1. I'm really fond of it as well, actually, although the second half is not as good as the first half.
  2. True. I'm trying to work it over in my head, and maybe if it's the prologue, and maybe if Erik's involvement in the killings seems more like something that was forced on him by Klaue rather than just an example of ruthlessness, you could sell the idea that whoever this guy is, he's not really on board with Klaue. Then of course later it turns out he was manipulating Klaue, and he really didn't care about the people, etc. as a way to maintain the initial impression that he's potentially a "good guy" to then fit with the rest of the idea. Don't know. I just keep circling back that they oversold Killmonger as utterly amoral and ruthless, which really undercut his intentions (for me, at least). Had they rolled it out more slowly, I would have found him more compelling, but maybe that's just me.
  3. Nice. Yeah, I think this would mesh well with my idea of how to reconfigure the story to be tighter and more interesting. Can practically start with Seoul and down the road Shuri could figure out that Killmonger was helping Klaue before he turned around and killed him as his way to get himself into Wakanda. Have to fit in M'Baku's initial challenge somewhere -- maybe Killmonger witnesses it on the sidelines, and draws some conclusions about his chances against T'Challa later... Dr. Strange was so forgettable that every time I try to remember the Marvel movies, I forget that it existed. I've seen the new Avengers movie trailer a couple of times and it's always, "Oh, right, Dr. Strange." Weird. My Captain America fanboy is always happy with how well the Cap movies have come out.
  4. Agree with you. I've quite enjoyed it, and always have. But it's a terrific introduction to the setting, with a fairly complicated main character. I think perhaps when people say they dislike it, it's just in comparison to other, generally easier and more polished Culture novels (like Player of Games or Use of Weapons).
  5. I came out of it with the impression that there was a lot of wasted time, though, especially at the start. I think with some heavy reconfiguration, you could do something like the above and still keep more-or-less the same time frame. Skip the lead up to his arrival in Wakanda, flash to Nakia sorting out her mission solo rather than making a whole sequence out of it, have Erik betray Klaue in Seoul in a way that makes him look like he was always gunning for him and then reveals who he is to T'Challa and co., they take him to Wakanda, run from there. Could be wrong, though! Maybe the slow start felt longer than it really was.
  6. I think it's important that someone who has been in the outside world be the person driving the action... but I could have seen the argument that, instead of Erik, perhaps a War Dog such as Nakia might have worked somewhat better as the person who saw what was going on in the outside world and decided enough was enough. That said, I'd just stick with Killmonger. But instead of having him simply challenge for the throne, he should have accepted a place as a prince of Wakanda, and begun to influence people toward revealing Wakanda, putting the focus on the many things Wakanda could do for others, etc. Have the traditionalists -- T'Challa included -- take the "wrong" side. Perhaps have some brutal civil war going on on Wakanda's border that the Wakandans have fastidiously stayed out of, and have it be the breaking point where Killmonger has support to take over and redirect things, revealing in the process that his father was murdered, and so on. Then you can start seeing that he bears a personal animosity towards T'Challa thanks to his father's death after this point, and that what he went through in life has left him morally broken and utterly ruthless. When his interventions fail or lead to more problems, he starts seeing every problem as a nail and Wakanda and its advanced technology as a hammer, and in the process has found supporters who buy his argument that a new world order, led by Wakanda, needs to happen. The intervention in the civil war leads to more inequities, while Killmonger prepares to send out arms and support to forment revolts and wars elsewhere, saying that it's the only way to change the system that's been stacked against Africans and their unwilling diaspora for centuries, etc. Feels to me like you'd have a significantly more nuanced character, one who isn't just a wild, murderous radical, while still being able to get across that he has a point.
  7. 18 MCU movies. Jeebus. BP is certainly in the top half, IMO. I often think of it along the lines of the Howard Hawks rule of thumb for what makes a great movie: three great scenes and no bad ones. I don't think any MCU film is genuinely _great_ in cinematic terms, but how close they get to the measure tells you how good they are. I think none of the MCU films have managed three truly great scenes in a single film, BP included. Many don't even have one. Most of them have avoided having any actually-bad scenes, OTOH (Thor has some real cheesiness to it, and I'll be honest, I'd say all three Thor films have at least one eye-rollingly bad scene.) For real greatness in a Marvel-based film, have to look at Rami's Spider-Man 2, which also happens to have one of the best villains (and best-acted villains) in any Marvel-based film. Wonder Woman vs. BP is another interesting one. They're very different in some ways. Wonder Woman is better structured in its first half (I really felt BP had a serious issue with its pacing in the first 30 minutes, and to a lesser degree its first hour minus the Seoul sequence), but WW's 3rd act suffered substantially from its reveal that the jejune bad guy was really not the big bad, but instead another entirely forgettable guy was the real bad guy (to some degree, this is again a comics problem -- WW has the least impressive "Rogue's Gallery" of the Big Three; only Maxwell Lord's heel turn in Infinite Crisis and comeuppance in THE OMAC PROJECT could really make a fine story, bent to a Wonder Woman focus... but I fear Netflix's Marvel's Jessica Jones has closed off exploring manipulative telepaths for awhile, and in any case the cancelled Justice League: Mortal was supposed to use him as the main villain and I'm not sure the failure of that project might not have buried him for future use at the DCU)
  8. Seen it, enjoyed it, certainly one of the better MCU movies thanks to its last 45 minutes or so, but at the same time "one of the better MCU movies" does not say too much (except, certainly, better than most DCU movies). Really liked Shuri and Okoye, and the Dora Milaje were awesome. The fight scene in Seoul was the only one I really liked (the ritual combats underwhelmed me, OTOH). Serkis was terrific in his scenery-chewing way. Jordan has always been terrific at conveying emotion and feeling, and he certainly looked the part. Boseman was solid in a role that didn't demand much of him. The costuming and production design, especially the all-too-few glimpses of the Wakandan city as seen in the streets, were stellar. A massive blockbuster with a cast that's 95% black is a watershed moment. The film itself, I think, is pretty muddled in its social and political messaging, but this is inevitable when you're dealing with a Marvel comic book property that was all too hamfisted in its world building. Autocratic Wakandan nobility, who rely on inheritance or violent combat to determine succession, being the primary protagonists and antagonist will never not be a weird thing to have in a utopia. Circling back to Killmonger, I have to say that his extreme ruthlessness -- casual murder of innocent bystanders and allies alike -- undercut any amount of sympathy I could have. The beats were right, I could see the underyling idea, but they made a hash of it by simply having him offer an unpalatable alternative to Wakanda's unpalatable isolationism. Also, instead of Seoul, that whole sequence should have happened in Johannesburg, and instead of Oakland, T'Challa really should have been embracing Pan-Africanism and offering to assist his neighbors who had had their development depressed by the legacy of colonialism. I know it's a corporate franchise film hoping to win hearts and many, many dollars in the U.S., so I guess it's not unexpected, but I feel like it undercut the wonderful embrace of African culture that featured in the film.
  9. And Laeta Kalogridis penned the pilot for Netflix's live action "Sword Art Online" adaptation, and will executive produce. Not supposed to be showrunner, but the fact that this news came out today makes me think that Netflix is leaning towards writing it off.
  10. Rotten Tomatoes also estimates average score of the reviews. 8.3/10 for the all critics score, 9/10 for the top critics, 77% audience score (bearing in mind this is being weighted down by the active anti-Disney/pro-DCU campaigns). Metacritic, which also estimates values, says critics are rating it at 87%. IMDB also gives a 7.5/10 score, but again, active campaigns. For my part, a movie that's just okay until the last hour sounds like a 7-7.5.
  11. And here is The Guardian talking to Morgan about things. Apparently, Kalogridis has expressed a hope to get five seasons to tell the story she wants to tell.
  12. Interview with the showrunners on many topics. She emphasizes that they do not yet have a greenlight on S2. Also, interestingly, @Richard either with the writers to come up with a second season that could incorporate part of the 2nd novel.
  13. Marvel was pretty infamous in regards to how tightly it held the reins, and how tightfisted it was. This loosened up eventually, but Whedon took the brunt of their paranoia and it definitely exhausted him. I wouldn't have any great concerns if he did an SW film... but the fact is, he's pretty bland as far as direction goes -- his strength is writing -- so I don't know if he'd be someone I'd be eager to see doing a Star Wars film. ETA: A review that sounded pretty balanced to me is that BP is not very compelling as a story for the first 75 minutes or so, but once it lays out the stakes and kicks into high gear, it's apparently very rousing and exciting (and this from a critic who generally hates CGI fests).
  14. Lyrebird to give him Ford's voice as well... could be amusing.
  15. I've not seen any of those yet. A few days ago, around when I posted, it was all just speculation. The closest anyone had gotten to an answer was, I think, Vanity Fair or THR, who said an HBO representative had declined to comment on the status of Confederate.
  16. Where was this announced? Everything I can find suggests that Netflix has not yet said.
  17. In 1998, 9% of the top 250 grossing films were directed by women, according to this PDF from Celluloid Ceiling. In 2000, it was 11%. 2016, 7%. 2017, again 11%. There are also figures for top 100 grossing films over a wider time frame. This is true, and I don’t find much value to trying to act as if it’s bizzare that Lucas directed 4 of the 6 films he produced, given his role as creator of the franchise. Better to look at what Lucasfilms has done post-Lucas, and to be sure it has all been white men —7 directors or directing pairs attached to five films. Statistically, we’re soon due for a female director, based on the data above. And there is definitely at least one really experienced director out there with action, adventure, and SF under their belt: Kathryn Bigelow. Whether she’d be willing, I don’t know, but have to imagine Lucasfilm has sniffed around. FWIW, Marvel has a far worse record over far more films. Which tells me Disney doesn’t really care that much about optics, at least not until very recently.
  18. Over 30% of voters (181k people) rated TPM it at 8 or higher on IMDB. I think it's fair that this is a "ton" of people (actually, it's quite a lot of tons of people; nearly 1200 tons, in fact!). 7 and then 6 are the most common ratings, covering 264k voters. This goes to show that one's biases may lead one to not recognize that there are groups of people out there that have radically different tastes... and that there's no accounting for taste.
  19. That article would be September 2000 or 2001, given that Scorsese was working on Gangs of New York and Spielberg was filming A.I. But it's a good example of the fact that just because we hear about something doesn't mean it'll happen.
  20. I enjoyed it as well. It could have been much better, however. Kalogiridis' vision was inconsistent with the material she chose to adapt, and shows. I don't really get why anyone heads out to adapt something if they then say, "Well, except I don't want to adapt X, Y, Z, I think I can do a better job." And it's even worse when you set out to do that and fail. And, again, it shows. There's some real structure and pacing issues that are largely the result of these decisions. Which is a shame. Most critical reviews were mediocre and they may have been a bit better if they'd trusted Morgan's material (and themselves) more.
  21. I think you need to qualify what you mean by "divisive". Divisive across the general audience? Hell no. It rates between 7.2 to 7.5 among critics on RT, 74% according to Metacritic, with an audience score of 88% on RT and an IMDB score of 8.0 -- the general audience liked it. Divisive among hardcore Thor fans (do these even exist? The movies have always been pretty mediocre)? Maybe. They are a small group, much as hardcore A Song of Ice and Fire fans are a small group compared to global casual Game of Thrones fans. This isn't to say the small group is wrong and the big group is right, but merely to show that "divisive" is meaningless without giving a sense of who exactly are the people who feel that way. And to bring it back to Star Wars, fair to say that the question of future writers/directors/producers of Star Wars is a divisive topic when you isolate certain interest groups, but probably it's fair to say that the vast majority of the potential audience doesn't really care in either direction; they just want more Star Wars.
  22. Stay on topic.
  23. I'm inclined to pastimes, but I would be.
  24. Black Panther does seem to have spectacular production design, drawing a lot on afro-futurism, and having the sense as a director to really go for something like that is, IMO, the kind of thing you need in someone who'll do a Star Wars film. Fruitvale Station and Creed were very good, well-put-together films, and combined with the visuals of Black Panther and the buzz of it, I wouldn't have any issue with Coogler. DuVernay is, sadly, a name that crops up because no one can think of another black female director. DuVernay has a solid historical biopic and an important documentary to her credit, but yeah, she's not a name I'd consider at this time. A Wrinkle in Time may change that, but I've a bad feeling that it's going to be this year's Golden Compass. Hopefully I'm wrong. That said, I'd sooner see Dee Rees than DuVernay, just based on filmography (i.e. she's actually directed more than one feature film, and even has some SFnal work under her belt thanks to an episode of Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams) As to Waititi, he does quirky very well, and the Ragnarok production design was pretty good. Is there room for a quirky adventure story in Star Wars? Sure there is. If he was announced teaming up with Donald Glover to do a Lando movie, I'd be excited, especially as I don't suppose someone like Spike Lee could be convinced to go slumming.
  25. Done with the series. All in all, spectacular production values, I enjoyed most of the performances, but the problem is that there's a lot of questionable decisions made by the writing team that basically betrays the underpinnings of Morgan's work and, frankly, just ins't that good even looking aside from that.