Tag Archives: Geekery

Geek Rage

Over at Den of Geek, Simon Brew’s written an intriguing editorial about why nerds hate on other nerds.

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It does get you thinking – why, when so many of us are ostracised on a daily basis by peers and colleagues for our geekery, do we then go home and head online to duke it out virtually with people that we probably have quite a lot of common ground with?

Self-hatred?  Blind dislike of media property X obscuring the fact that it’s no better than media property Z which we’re totally enamoured of?  Not having anything better to do?  Or our old friend, Blessed Internet Anonymity?

Whatever the reason, there’s no rationale for it and it just makes us look stupid.  Leave the blind hatred to the Sports Ball fraternity and let them waste their energy on pledging their troth to multi-millionaire half-wits who don’t know that they exist.  

We’re supposed to be busy inheriting the earth, for pity’s sake!

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Hijinks? They Ensue…

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Over at ace web comic Hijinks Ensue  – if you’re not reading it, how can you even consider yourself a proper nerd? – creative imagineer, Mac fancier and awesome dreamweaver Joel Watson is running an experiment with continuity in his comic which means that there’s never been a better time to hop on board and delight in his astute and hilarious observations on geek culture, out and out depravity and what not.  The only thing funnier than his comic is his podcast which went on hiatus as it was deemed likely to injure through excessive laughter and hilarity and so banned in several countries as it constituted a weapon of mass distraction.  True story.

It’s an “Avengers”-themed strip this week – go on, click through, you know you want to…

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Lego Avengers won’t Lego your heart…

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Ah, bless – you couldn’t stay mad at a face like that.

Per Empire Online’s story today, you can soon dip into your flat deposit fund and snap up Lego-ised versions of The Avengers, the movie’s still enigmatic bad guys and some S.H.I.E.L.D. vehicles, should you wish to.

No release date, yet, but if these sets and figures aren’t in a Toys R Us near you come the beginning of May, my name isn’t Fluffrick (well, you know…).

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When Superhero costumes go…strange.

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Fernacular examines what would happen if male Superhero costumes objectified the male form in the same way that funnybooks have done for Superheroines since the genre began.

I watched an episode of the Canadian IFC series, “Ink – Alter Egos Exposed”, which dealt with this issue and it really set me to thinking about why so many of the shows, movies and genre entertainments that I enjoy insist on depicting heroines in costumes which are so utterly impractical for the kinds of action that they’re engaged in.

There’s a fine line between celebrating female strength and a visit to the cheesecake factory and it’s one that comics seem to struggle with more than any other part of the Geek-o-Sphere.  Why is it that mainstream comics want to view heroines almost exclusively through the male gaze – we have female artists, writers and editors at the big two, but we still end up with stuff like the recent Starfire controversy which ends up turning off a large section of a niche audience, with legitimate objections to this redrawing of a popular character being dismissed with a kind of patronising pat on the head 

I think the awesome webcomic ‘Shortpacked!’ summed up DC’s dunder-headed, retrogressive gender politics brilliantly.

 

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Your Moment of Sunday Geeky Music Zen…

Via the very talented, singer-songwriterly musical stylings of musician, podcaster and all-round good egg, John Anealio.

 

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Empire magazine’s “Sexiest Characters in Cinema” list – nerd bait for nitwits?

You like lists – I like lists.

They inspire debate, prompt normally rational people to fume (“There’s no way that ‘Pretty in Pink’ is a better John Hughes flick than ‘Sixteen Candles’ – as if!”) and get those all-important clicks, hits and page views which underpin website visibility.

Empire magazine is at it again and have sought the earnest opinings of their readership as to the vexed question of whom the sexiest cinema characters of all time.

And, as you might expect, the results skew somewhat nerd-centric.  Check out the character chosen by male readers as their hottest of all time…

Ah, Lady Croft.

I know, right?  How very unexpected.  But, utterly in sync with the fanboy demographic who seem to be Empire’s bread-and-butter nowadays (or a sign that the Lara fan base voted early and often).  I’m kind of intrigued to see the amount of fetish-identified characters at the top of the list – with “Underworld” heroine Selene, the Michelle Pfeiffer iteration of Catwoman and Jessica Rabbit in 4th, 3rd  and 2nd places respectively, it’s like a ‘specialist interest’ website list or something.

As for the male characters, we’re going with the archetypes – this fine chap is number one.

Hmm...you would, wouldn't you. Just saying.

I hesitate to say that women have better taste in these lists than men do, but, you know, they kinda do.  The list of hottest male characters isn’t quite as pneumatic, rubber-clad and skewing towards ecdysiasts as we see in the list of female characters.  Does this speak to an essentially male nerd inability to deal with women more complex than the broadly-drawn Frank Miller archetypes so popular in our entertainment genres?  Probably so, sad to say.

So long as they kick ass, look sweet and fill out a rubber/leather catsuit, the geek hive mind seems paralysed by the visual and ill-equipped to deal with anything more complex.

Aragorn’s got depth beyond the grizzed good looks and soulful eyes – Lara?  Daddy issues and a cut-glass accent.  And the other assets, which I won’t insult your intelligence by discussing further…

Most lists of this type are now subject to the vagueness of memory – you vote for what’s in your head at the moment that you’re filling in the online form – or the demands of a devoted internet community who mobilise to perform the kinds of ballot box stuffing which sees Lara – a character not currently foremost in the popular consciousness – storming the chart.

What I’m getting at, fine reader?

Amelie. Who else?

How is Amelie Poulain not number one, dag blast it?!  Gorgeous, possessed of an actual character and indelibly etched in the mind of anybody who saw Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s breakout international classic.

Male nerds, I despair of ye – you’re supposed to be my people!

 

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Why “The Three Musketeers” isn’t as bad as you probably think it is.

Yes, it’s another apology post for Paul W.S. Anderson‘s career – feel free to tune out if you think of him as only slightly less reviled than Uwe Boll and only marginally less hateful to cinephiles than Michael Bay.

See, he looks really nice - how bad could he be? Photo by Albert Ortega.

If I’m writing one of these posts, that must mean that he has a new film out, yes?  Indeed, and it isn’t a new “Resident Evil” installment – this year’s chip off the Anderson block is “The Three Musketeers”, an adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas novel which takes a remarkable number of liberties with the source material – a more accurate title might be “Jules Verne’s Steampunk Remix – The Three Musketeers” as the film gleefully dispenses with any real sense of historical veracity as soon as it can.

I half expected D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) to rock up in Paris in a Hybrid SUV and arrange his initial duel with the disgraced Athos (Matthew McFadyen), Aramis (Luke Evans) and Porthos (Ray Stevenson) via Blackberry Messenger.  In terms of blithely gleeful anachronism, such absurdity would have fitted nicely with D’Artagnan’s Californian accent and shaggy, classic rock tresses.

Two Musketeers, One D'Artagnan and the back of Porthos' head

This is churlish, of course.  Anderson is making a popcorn, multiplex-pleasing adventure romp and any resemblance to historical time periods, events or people would be wholly accidental.

Witness the awesome:

I flippin' love Paul Anderson. Fanboys whine, he gets on with it and goes home to Milla J - Like a boss...

Yes, that just happened. In this movie and all up in your face.  If you go to see this film you should expect duelling airships.  This is where the steampunk or Verne-ian angle comes in – whenever the script finds a problem to resolve, it does so not with the expected horses, swashbuckling or period technology.  Oh no.  We get airships, all manner of automated cannons and elaborate, multi-barrelled pistols, costumes which look like they’ve just been borrowed from Lady Gaga’s dressing room and Da Vinci-inspired security systems which perhaps pay homage to the lethal Umbrella Corporation from Anderson’s previous “Resi” films.

There’s fighting, duelling, honour, guff about France, Cardinal Richelieu and the intrigue in the Royal Court to satisfy Dumas’ fans but suffice is to say that if you value the novel at all, you probably shouldn’t go to see this film – it uses the books as a jumping-off point and the plot sweeps ahead with little if any regard for 17th Century veracity. Even the dialogue, manners and characterisation seem to be drawn very much from our time, not always to bad effect.

As Anderson and his wife Milla Jovovich are involved in this iteration of Dumas story, the role of Milady is invested with rather more action than we are perhaps used to seeing.   Think “Mission: Impossible”-style incursions, abseiling, multi-dude sword take-downs and a distinct sense that Milady could quite happily and easily kick the bejesus out of most of the Musketeers if only (A) she could be bothered to and (B) it wouldn’t mess up her frocks.

No Zombies for Milla this time, but plenty of faceless Royal Guards in need of a shoeing...

I was particularly taken with one Anderson composition in the film – it’s in the scene where (spoilers) Milady is breaking into the French Queen’s dressing room to steal her diamond necklace (spoilers end) and is posed elegantly atop a tower before abseiling from a great height.  I feel sure that it must reference a painting of the period and is the kind of iconic, stylish moment of diversion which I sometimes feel that Anderson might want to interject into his work.  He’s got the eye and works with great directors of photography – I can’t quite get behind the notion that he’s a hack without talent, as he’s displayed his visual acuity in his previous films.  Serving the story and getting out-of-the-way of the movie is one thing – giving ammunition to the more blinkered critics is quite another.

You probably know after watching the trailer whether this is your thing or not – I really enjoyed it (and the blatant set-up for a sequel which follows the initial credit title card seems like it would get rid of much of the problem inherent in adapting a classic by being bat-shizz insane from the get-go).

The acting’s serviceable (although Christophe Waltz and Mads Mikkelsen as the bad guys are gloriously nasty buggers) and the script is frequently guilty of not knowing whether to fully embrace anachronism or make a late-in-the-game effort at authenticity.  The technical credits are excellent – photography, visual effects and sound mixing are top-notch.  I was quite fond, too, of the transitions between scenes – we follow a map between locations a-la forties cinema and Anderson’s found a way to do this in 3D, which I found really nifty and which also recalled Richelieu’s oversized war game pieces in his office.  It’s like the people who make films think about stuff like this – remarkable!

I would like to talk a little about what Anderson did with the 3D in this new adaptation, as he was using the Cameron/Pace camera system to shoot with – but, unfortunately, I can’t.  Although I paid for a ticket to the 3D screening of the film – I’ve made a point of only going to see 3D films shot ‘natively’ with proper hardware and composition, not the post-converted Marvel flicks – my branch of Cineworld didn’t programme their projection set-up correctly this morning and I ended up seeing a pristine, digitally projected presentation without any 3D lens in the projection chain.

This wouldn’t be a problem but for the fact that any cinema-goer seeing a 3D movie pays a price hike for the privilege.  I made sure that I got a refund, but it makes me wonder if any less astute film fans have ever found themselves getting a headache at the cinema because the theatre hasn’t properly projected the film in the first place?

The verdict? Not a classic, but a whole heap of silly, dressed-up, swash-buckling, steam-punk fun.

 

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