Friday, January 15, 2010

Book of Eli

I'll try to contain myself.

It seemed to go perfectly. In no particular order, the imagery was enticing, the story was gripping, the acting was brilliant, the directing was spot on. I've read plenty, seen plenty, and thought about plenty of post-apocalyptic scenarios and Washington's character makes every movement accurately. How he touches things, walks, talks, observes and measures and even what he takes, the character of Eli seems to be born for this situation. Everyone else seems to be born into their role, which is my only complaint.

You take a man and make him just power-hungry enough to kill and you have a villain. Make him someone you like and could even cheer for, and you have the perfect villain. I guess the screenwriter, Gary Whitta, skipped that second part. Every character - and they are all well directed and acted - plays their stereotypical role, even Eli. Not too much room for invention or character development, I suppose. The situation itself, "post-apocalypse," is becoming quite popular again and seems to the be complaint on everyone's lips.

After I see a movie I really love, I always look for negative reviews afterwards, to help me find balance. The primary complaints seem to be about the setting and the textbook characters. Also of concern to many is the religious tones of the book.

Book of Eli is based in the idea of faith. It is the main theme and it is going to be pounded into you, but pleasantly. It's gentle and it uses lube. The morning after, it will cook you breakfast and tell you that if you're uncomfortable doing this, that's fine, but you're welcome to come back. The ideas on faith are handled responsibly, as evidenced by the final shot of the film.

The twist is reasonable, exciting, and gives weight to the rest of the movie. Book of Eli was so well directed that I couldn't find any incongruent events after thinking on the film for an hour. It's just that well made.

I hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Three Favorite Fictional Characters of All Time

So, I checked through the tweets of whyiwatch (If you have any love for the Whedonverse, check her stuff out) and she asked her followers who their three favorite fictional characters of all time are. Twenty minutes later I needed to start writing stuff out, so here we go. If you want to cut to the chase, the answer is at the bottom.

Of course, my first instinct is to through out Spike, Mal, and Wesley. But then I realize I have an unhealthy obsession with Whedon's characters and I need to take a step back and think this through. What are my other areas of fiction I enjoy, what has influenced me, what have I observed since I was young? Here we go:

Spike: You folks want an accurate example of irony. Angel says, "People change," and Spike responds, "Not us. Not demons." Six years later, no character has changed more than William the Bloody. Rise to power, fall from grace, help the good guys, loss of love, return of confidence, get stuck with rebound girl, and neutered all before becoming a series regular. We all know what he goes through in the Buffy-verse and no one is more dynamic or shifting than Spike, and in his first episode, he seems disgusted with change. Also, he's hilarious, has his deep moments, and his fighting style is something I personally love.

Mal: Someone said I should cosplay as Captain Malcolm Reynolds. I could only think, "You don't ask a Christian to cosplay as Jesus." Everything you can put into a character to make them awesome was put into Mal and it worked. He's loyal to himself, his crew, and his ship. He's conflicted over how to live his life. He hates the establishment. And he is hilarious ("Kaylee's dead"). Smart and impulsive, he always makes for a good story. I'm trying to put together a Serenity RPG and my biggest problem is that the 'Verse feels empty without Mal.

Wesley: Like Whedon, I love for characters to change. For those unacquainted with the Angel series (and without spoiling), Wesley started on Buffy as a pompous jack-ass and as he progresses through Angel, he becomes a badass and loses his mind just a little bit once or twice. I loved, and hated, watching his character fall apart while researching. Beautifully done. Also, he had a thing with the character I had the biggest crush on in the Whedon-verse, Fred (especially season five, with the lab coat and the skirts...)

So, after getting that out of my system, I can move on. Man, this is going to take a while.

Kyle Reese (Terminator): I wanted to be him. Tough, resourceful, tormented, compassionate. This guy rocked hard. Take a man from hell and put him in the eighties in LA and what the hell can he do. Thank Odin he had a mission or he might have lost his mind. Well, lost it more. My mom sat me down to watch Terminator back when I was five and I still am obsessed. John Connor may be the hero of the future, but Kyle Reese created him. And not just in the sex way. I meant, you know, influencing Sarah Connor.

Odin (From Norse mythology): The god of battle, the god of poetry. Norse gods already get props for being so human (something us humans enjoy in fiction). They feel lust, greed, despair, betrayal, a full spectrum of human emotion and yet they are still gods. And Odin, the All-Father. Terrible One-Eye. After learning that Freyja, a goddess he lusts after, gave herself to the dwarves for half a week, he forces her to make men fight. Forever. He teases his own son, Thor ("Your wife's a whore") while in disguise. He sacrificed himself in an attempt to gain knowledge. I almost wish I lived in northern Europe in 800 ad so I could follow him, but I hate the cold.

Jesse Custer (Preacher comic books): Tough, funny, driven. Guy had a fucked up youth and is doing his best to make the world better, in his own morally questionable way. The guy is pissed off at everyone, especially God - for abandoning humanity. Here's the kicker: This series is probably hated by those who burn with righteousness, but it inspired faith for me more than anything I've read, watched, or heard. Also, he has the ability to make people do anything he says. That's just wacky.

Guy Montag (Farenheit 451): Like everyone else in his world, he's raised an idiot. he, however, realizes this and takes the initiative to change. There's strength in this man that was barely hinted at in the novel.

Kitty Pryde (X-Men, particularly Astonishing X-Men): I can't say much without spoiling this for the people I'm trying to get to read this, but her character is possibly my favorite in the Marvel Universe. Funny, strong, insecure (I love contradictions), and a big damn hero. Listen, read the book, you'll love her, too. (And I just realized that's someone else from the Whedon-verse. Damn it.)

Aragorn (Lord of the Rings): Like Kyle Reese, I wanted to be him. He grew up hard, living in the woods and being friends with the elves. Learned some cool tricks and how to be a real person, the whole time knowing that he's supposed to lead a kingdom. Finally, he gets the balls to take back control (I love character growth) and he takes it. Is enough of a leader to convince his people to take on a suicide mission.

Han Solo: He shot first. He came back to help Luke destroy the Death Star. He's witty, smart, and needs cash (at first). He changes and develops into an honorable man from a scoundrel. He's everything a less bad ass Malcolm Reynolds almost was. I suppose Mal would beat him out though, since Han Solo is less complex.

Kira (Deathnote): An incredibly intelligent young man who is overwhelmed with ennui is given the power to eliminate anyone. How could he not become a serial killer? And he truly believes he's creating a better world, and maybe he was. I love how brilliantly evil this guy really was. Forcing multiple people to kill themselves, infiltrating the investigation to catch him, manipulating people into helping him, and all while killing random criminals all day every day. Guy had a work ethic. Writing this now, I'm surprised how much I like his character.

This has been exhausting, and I'm sure I could think of more. I just want to give out some honorable mentions: Buffy, Batman, Johnny Truant (House of Leaves), Tyler Durden, David Dunn (Unbreakable), Snake (Metal Gear Solid), Parker (Leverage), Elektra (Elektra: Assassin). They are all great characters, but all have something keeping them out of the "Best of All Time". Buffy is almost a necessity on this list but I hate cliches, Bats has too little character development, I still don't have enough of a grasp of Johnny Truant's incredibly complex character, Tyler Durden is too close minded, David Dunn isn't substantial enough, Snake is too simple, Parker is great but her show is too new to make any "Best" lists of mine, Elektra was deep but mostly just bad ass.

So, choosing three is hard. I have to limit myself to one Whedon-verse character, to keep balanced. When I have to go with just one of them, it's between Mal and Spike. Mal was a better built character, but Spike grew much more as a character. However, only one of them was constructed nearly perfectly. Alright then, final answer is Mal, followed by Kira and Odin. I think I am comfortable with these choices, and it was no easy task. Thanks for coming out, goodnight.

tl; dr: Mal Reynolds (Firefly), Kira (Deathnote), Odin (the Norse god)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Linux - Part 2 of PS3 Fandom

You know what's awesome? Take a file from one site. Take the installation instructions from another. Miss a step in your configuration and next thing you know you're in something resembling a command screen where you don't know any of the commands. "Login name"? Hmm, I don't remember creating a log in name...

I saw myself faced with a choice. I could retry installing and not miss that step or I could sit there and learn how to fix it from there. I took the path less chosen.

Four hours later I began reinstalling.

Monday, January 4, 2010

PS3 Fandom

So, I had ordered a 250gb hard drive for my PS3 and apparently 3 day shipping means a week and a half but now that time has passed!

The screws on the original Hard Drive's carriage were nigh immovable, so I actually went to the nearby computer repair shop and he had a better screwdriver, I suppose. Once I put in the hard drive, I transfered all of my saved data, which took a minute or two. But nothing compares to the amount of time it's taking to sync my trophies. It's kind of killing me, because whilst writing that last sentence, my DVD drive popped open on my computer. The DVD for installing Linux finally finished. I'm fairly certain Ragnarok will come and the great Fenrir will devour the Terrible One, Odin, before my trophies are done. Guess I'll just watch Buffy tribute videos till then.