Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy: The Problem With Dramatic Comic Book Movies

We all know Batman.  We all know Chris Nolan.  And we’ve all seen his Dark Knight trilogy.  It kicked off in 2005 with Batman Begins, a fresh reboot of the popular character after he had languished for eight years in the great silence left by the utterly baffling 1997 production from Joel Schumacher, Batman and RobinBegins offered viewers a new, refreshing, more realistic take on the Batman origin story, featuring characters more grounded in a conceivable and relatable reality, an emphasis on cutting-edge technology, and a steady directorial hand in drama.  Drawing from the grittier, noir-inspired Year One and Long Halloween, it functioned as an ode to the modern world of its time, tackling issues of vigilantism, corruption, and self-deception, in addition to being an thrilling romp through the familiar tale of Batman’s canonical formation.

But therein lies the rub.  Exactly how serious is the trilogy?  Does its content justify its tone, or vice-versa?  How much should the audience actually suspend its disbelief when watching it? Continue reading “Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy: The Problem With Dramatic Comic Book Movies”

So You Want To Get Into Gundam

Gundam is great.  I’m not kidding.  It’s probably the best thing since sliced bread.  Or Dune.  And it definitely beats whatever passes for Star Wars these days.

But it’s dated and it’s Japanese, and it’s massive.  The original TV series dates back to 1979, created by Yoshiyuki Tomino.  Although not the best success upon its initial airing, it did better on reruns partly due to its successful toy and model line.  Now, the entire franchise spans seventeen TV series, three films, and numerous OVAs, video games, specials, and toy lines.  But I get ahead of myself. Continue reading “So You Want To Get Into Gundam”

Anno’s Animator Exhibition as a Trace (Nihon Animētā Mihon’ichi)

Through most of 2013, Hideaki Anno was in a much graver state of mind than his usual. His general skepticism and pessimism were aggravated over the direction of an stagnated animation industry (within the wider anguish of contemporary Japan’s uncertain economy and future) and his concerns over it, as well as the creative outburst of the newest iteration of the Rebuild series (Q/3:33) throwing him on an emotional slump of a level he hasn’t been in since he finished the original series more than a decade ago. Continue reading “Anno’s Animator Exhibition as a Trace (Nihon Animētā Mihon’ichi)”

Mothy – Evils Theater (III)

Well, I let my schedule slip again.  Whoops.

EVILS THEATER, TRACKS 5, 6, 7, and 8: Miscellany

Saa “hontou no” kaasan to tousan ni ai ni yukou.

The fifth song on the album is “Okizari Tsukiyo Shou” or, “Tale of Abandonment on a Moonlit Night”, with the alternate title “Insane Moonlight”.  The song was originally released on 6 October 2008, on Nico Nico Douga.  Listen to it here. Continue reading “Mothy – Evils Theater (III)”

Fireball/Fireball Charming

Beginning in 2008, Disney’s Japanese division (of all studios) released Fireball, following it in 2011 with a prequel series entitled Fireball Charming. The series achieved moderate (if somewhat short-lived) success, enough to net it a small amount of merchandise and the previously mentioned prequel series. Despite being somewhat obscure (it has never been released outside of Japan in any official form), it is an intriguing work, and at least in my opinion deserves a closer look. Continue reading “Fireball/Fireball Charming”

Yet Another Star Wars VII: The Force Wakes Up Review

Opening Remarks

Star Wars doesn’t suck. Its characters have charm, motivation, substance; its plot is full of twists and turns, revelations and mystery; it takes you to varied locations, amazes you with great special effects, and keeps you entertained with clashes full of emotional and narratological weight. Sure, there were some missteps along the way: arguably, only the first two movies could really be described as being great; Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace having to settle for ‘mismanaged,’ and ‘disappointing’, respectively, Revenge of the Sith requiring a descriptor halfway between ‘boring’ and ‘poorly executed’; and the less said about Attack of the Clones, the better. But even amid in the grudgingly plodding tempo of Episode II, even amid the disorientingly over-the-top spectacle of Episode III’s climax, even amid the anarcho-primitive teddy bears and cringe-inducing exposition on mystical cellular biology, there was a seed of something, a grain thirsty for whatever Lucas had in these films that kept its audiences coming back for more.

I thought I’d known what that seed was. Apparently, based on the reactions I’ve found in my discussions with friends, colleagues, and anonymous internet denizens, I was wrong. Continue reading “Yet Another Star Wars VII: The Force Wakes Up Review”

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