Mixed Media, Wednesday 3 August 2016

Fiona and I recently watched Ghostbusters and Finding Dory in the cinema. Ghostbusters was fun, but it spent too much time paying homage to the original. What I’m really excited for is where they go next, now that they’ve got a great set of characters teed up, and have got all the introductions out of the way. Surely there is going to be a sequel.

As for Finding Dory, it’s both a sequel and a homage to Finding Nemo. It’s the same plot, remixed with different themes for a different protagonist. Despite trusting Pixar and director Andrew Stanton to deliver a beautiful, fun, and emotionally rich film, I hadn’t been looking forward to it. If Fiona hadn’t been so eager, I wouldn’t have made a cinema trip to see it. And I did enjoy it! Just as Dory stole the show in Finding Nemo, Hank the octopus septopus steals the show here. The two seals struck a curiously wrong note, though. In a film whose core theme is about kindness and emotionally supporting people in need, it was unsettling to see their constant bullying of a smaller, weaker, weird-looking seal being played for laughs.

Once I got past the initial hump of Person of Interest’s first season, I’ve been storming through the episodes. I’m almost at the end of season 3 now. I’m finding it especially interesting in the light of recently having read Nick Bostrom’s book Superintelligence, because the accidental emergence of AI is what drives the entire arc of the show. (It might look like just another altruist vigilante action show, but it’s actually science fiction.) The book’s academic themes and scenarios are still fresh in my mind, and I’m finding more depth in the show than I think I otherwise would. The downside is that I get impatient when they do a number-of-the-week episode that doesn’t move the big plot forward.

That big comic books haul from a few weeks ago? Here goes:

  • Wolverine (2013): Hunting Season and Killable. Lovely classic action superhero artwork from Alan Davis. Story: meh.
  • Wolverines: Dancing with the Devil; Claw, Blade and Fang; The Living and the Dead, Destiny. Mostly filler. Albeit with lovely visuals from a variety of artists. The art style changing from issue to issue kept things fresh.
  • Captain Marvel (2014): Higher, Further, Faster, More; Stay Fly; and Alis Volat Propriis. First two books are great, third one suffers from having to show just a single slice of a Marvel crossover storyline (The Black Vortex), and feels disconnected as a result.
  • She-Hulk (2014): Law and Disorder and Disorderly Conduct. Brilliant. Witty and full of superheroic antics, but without a constant sense of violence being the only option. In fact, Jennifer Walters being a lawyer makes it her least preferred option. Her desire to be accepted as a professional for her law practice makes this the kind of low-powered, relatable superhero story I love. I also adore Javier Pulido’s take on her, which is much more cartoonish and athletic than classic hyper-muscular sexualized She-Hulk. Not as obviously comedic as Howard The Duck and Squirrel Girl, but quite in line with their quirky and irreverent attitude to the Marvel universe. Want more of this.
  • Manhattan Projects vol 1. Intriguing supernatural alt-history, spinning off lots of ideas around what might have happened if the Manhattan Project was a nexus of paranormal investigation and engineering. Very dark. Not sure if I’ll continue with the series.
  • Rocket Raccoon: A Chasing Tale. Skottie Young’s art style reminds me of the loose and flowing art style of 1980s-era European comics like Robbedoes (Spirou). The storyline is I found bit take-it-or-leave-it.
  • Spider-Gwen: Most Wanted. It’s OK. I’m not really feeling it.
  • Silk: The Life and Times of Cindy Moon. Liked this a lot, especially Stacey Lee’s artwork.

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