January 13th, 2019

Spike-Dawn no good

media consumed

Bird Box: On one hand, I'm really glad Sandra Bullock is still getting interesting work, and it's interesting to compare this to A Quiet Place, which is absolutely its spiritual twin. OTOH I am so fucking pissed that the apocalypse happened and our movie is still about judging a mother for being too emotionally closed-off and not ~nurturing enough. SO. PISSED.

Spider-man: Into the Spiderverse. Okay, the story here was fine, I enjoyed it, but the animation was fucking amazing. If you think you have even the remotest interest in this movie, I strongly encourage you to go watch it in the theater on the big screen. I feel like after twenty years of animation studios trying to be Pixar, someone finally realized you can use today’s technology to do more than animate really realistic seaweed. Just incredibly gorgeous and creative.

The Ballad of Black Tom, by Victor Lavalle. This was sold to me as an interesting subversion on Lovecraftian horror, being about Lovecraft's horrors from the perspective of a black man. I didn't think it was very good, unfortunately. The characters all felt extremely thin. I could never get a good sense of who our protagonist was supposed to be at the beginning, so it was hard to really appreciate his transformation.

I think I might have liked it better if I hadn't kept waiting for it to live up to the tag line: People move to New York looking for magic, and nothing will convince them it isn't there. This... has nothing whatsoever to do with the book. The book is not urban fantasy, the only recent New York arrivals we encounter are beleaguered immigrants who have better things to worry about than magic, and there's magic in the book from like page three, so anyone convinced there's magic in New York would be right anyway.

The Terror: I described this to someone as "Ice and misery and a bear monster and then there's cannibalism at the end. It's great!" Honestly in all the time I've heard about this show (and the novel before it), I've always been confused by why the story needed a bear monster. The actual historical expedition died miserable deaths all by themselves, no monsters required! I do not feel like watching the show illuminated me on that point; it also seemed fairly confused about what it was try to do with the monster, at least plotwise.

On the other hand, I loved the Inuit woman who came along with the monster bear and wanted more of her. Her story was adapted from the novel in ways that left a lot of open questions and interesting thematic threads regarding her relationship to the English, on both a symbolic and personal level.

More generally, I enjoyed the whole show (it's a 10-episode miniseries) a lot. The cast was fantastic, there were lots of delightfully icy wastes, and I came out with several ships. No, not that kind of ship. I've spent the last week or so reading fic, which seemed thematically appropriate while the days are still barely eight hours long. I shall have some recs soon.

I had a kids' nonfiction book about the Franklin Expedition that fascinated me when I was about eight, so I feel like that fascination has come full circle, even if the latest research suggests that the crew did not specifically die of lead poisoning, just regular malnutrition, exposure, and illness exacerbated by a zinc deficiency. Did you know they JUST found the two ships of the Franklin expedition in 2013 and 2016? After searching for them for 150 years?!?! That is pretty fucking cool.

Round Planet: This BBC documentary series (available on US Netflix) is basically a Planet Earth parody. It is DELIGHTFUL. The voiceover is frequently hilarious and never takes itself too seriously, and meanwhile this is still a legit nature documentary with original footage that included animal behaviors that my friend, who watches a LOT of nature documentaries, had never heard of before. A++, do recommend.

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