January 4, 2005

New Format [Open Thread]

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at January 4, 2005 11:15 PM

I'm back in California, so here's the long-awaited sidebar update. I'm bored with the weekly quotes so for now I'm using my favorite of the previous quotes, which was from Paradise Lost. The previous quote was from The Simpsons, "Treehouse of Horror II", as Mr. Burns transplants Homer's brain into a Frankenstein-like robot.

If I'm not changing the quotes I need some filler for the open thread posts. My plan is to do mini-reviews for new sidebar items, since I should be saying more about them anyway.

Hero: Finally saw this on DVD. Loved the color-coded cinematography, liked the martial arts, hated the message (which was: Ruthless dictators are great, because they bring peace and order (after they conquer everything).). Also, loved Zhang Ziyi. Resolved: I will see House of Flying Daggers this week.

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes: Plays just like the first Metroid Prime with some new and clever additions, which is to say it's excellent. The feeling of exploration and discovery is very powerful, and I find myself using the scan visor on everything in sight to learn more about the world.

Iron Council: The third of China Miéville's Bas-Lag novels is also the most political, with strong Marxist undertones. But I'm not reading for the dance of revolution; I'm reading for the weird-ass monsters and magics, and in this regard Iron Council is less interesting and less gripping than its predecessors. I'm at about the halfway point, and hoping it will ramp up rapidly as the other books did.

Dear Catastophe Waitress: Belle & Sebastian create orchestral pop songs to which I have become quite addicted. The first two tracks are a bit overly cute, but the album really gets going with "If She Wants Me" . My other favorites are "Wrapped Up In Books" and "Piazza, New York Catcher" which despite the name is actually about love in San Francisco. The weakest song is "Lord Anthony", a fairly boring high-school-angst ballad.

Be sure to check out the 2005 Open Thread below which has lots and lots of media recommendations from commenters.


I think you may have missed the best message of Hero. *Cue Pops with "Hello Brother"* Broken Sword was a wise man who had every reason for revenge, but that is not what he wanted. He wanted a home. In the end, he could not make a home in this world for himself, but he saw a chance for others to do so and did not deny them the chance. The emperor's epiphany over the scroll explained my favorite message best.

Oh, and not to knock Zhang Ziyi, but Maggie Cheung had her beat in this one.:)

Posted by: Mylanda | January 5, 2005 4:37 PM

Maggie Cheung is too old. :)

Posted by: Mason | January 5, 2005 6:09 PM

With a grain of salt:
A family of accounts that House of Flying Daggers was no good.

Posted by: Vanessa | January 5, 2005 6:57 PM

Mylanda: Interesting point. Something I can't remember is whether the king had finished conquering China at the point he faces Broken Sword; I would think at the very least Broken Sword should want to kill him in an attempt to prevent future atrocities (rather than avenge past ones), but maybe it was too late for that?

Mason: Ah, but if we learn anything from kung-fu movies it's that older women have better technique. :P

Vanessa: Noted (but I am undeterred).

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | January 5, 2005 9:31 PM

My impression was the king had conquered China by the time the story starts, as he mentions that his conquest of China WAS (ie past tense) just the first step to the hero. The revelation that there could be more warfare was in fact the first time the hero tipped the candles. The fight with Broken Sword did happen a couple years earlier though, so it's unclear if the kind had finished conquereing China by that time.

Posted by: Mylanda | January 6, 2005 12:45 PM

And they whine less too :)

Posted by: Mason | January 7, 2005 9:10 PM
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