torstai, 19. heinäkuu 2018

Mad Max The Fury Road

Mad Max Fury Road operates on dream logic. Like all movies do, in my opinion, but Fury Road is particularly upfront about this. It does not aim to build a coherent post-apocalyptic world. The reality it portrays is of a different sort, the reality beyond such boring things as rational logic and facts. It's the truth of myths and desires and all this stuff world views are made of. Desert, swamp, eighteen-wheelers, blood, water, supermodels in ethereal white dresses, gangs of youths chrome-spraying their mouths before battle suicide, mother's milk and fire, put together in a way that's more than the sum of its parts. Not to forget the battle guitarist suspended as the figurehead of a truck. It's the landscape of our collective myths, easily recognized on an emotional level.

A parched wasteland of masculine aggression, where life-giving moisture is strictly rationed, as are conventionally pretty fertile women. But the opposite of the desert is not a lush green paradise of gentle femininity, but a wasteland of a different sort. How to reconcile? Where between the extremes is it possible to lead a positive life?

***

Mad Max is the titular character, but he's not a protagonist really, more a leaf tossed here and there in the winds. He introduces us to the story which has already begun some time ago, Furiosa's story of trying to rescue five beauties from a life of captivity. Luxurious captivity, but even a pretty prison is a prison, especially when you have a dream of a better life in a better place. For all the talk (both admiring and whiny) about Furiosa, she is not the protagonist either. The protagonist, I think, is Nux, one of the brainwashed sickly youths who dream of nothing but getting a dose of faux-fatherly approval before their pitiful deaths. He grows and changes (after some sympathy from a pretty girl, the usual, oh well..) and, hmm, finds meaning and collaborative friendship, a much more satisfying and humane worldview than the rivalry of angry young men. At the end of the movie my emotion towards Nux was 50% motherly tenderness and 50% respect.

Not to diss Furiosa though! She's fierce and righteous. She has her faults though, – good character writing – being stuck to a past-looking vision, a refusal to accept that her childhood paradise is gone. And it's no good doggedly riding towards the horizon, hoping for a safe haven to show up. Furiosa's steel-hard determination is not enough to change the world on its own. It needs a drop of Max's cynicism to transform into a very precious substance: realism. Acceptance of facts and working to change them.

It's a lot of emotional and conceptual content for a movie that can be also viewed as  "120 minute long exploding car chase" as it was accurately described at Maxim. But it takes the language of cars and explosions and chases and fights and uses it to say something about … hmm, hard to translate exactly to words, since it's a visual language and I guess the film crew would have written an essay instead of making a movie if it was something that was super easy to express in straightforward English. But anyway, something about gender in today's America, and the haves and the have-nots, and desperate search for a better world and/or a place and group to belong to.

It's quite similar, in structure if not in vocabulary, to Japanese pop idol Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's music videos, which use the visual language of fashion magazines and girl's manga to say something disturbing but profound about being a young female in Japan. Pressures and pleasures of presenting a certain predetermined image and in general being on display all the time. Eating disorders and culture of compulsive consumption.

***

What I'd like to know is, is it possible to interpret this symbolism in a few decades, when the topical questions are something else, does the movie end up as untranslatable hieroglyphic message of a lost language…

maanantai, 18. kesäkuu 2018

SF or F?

Back from a science fiction convention. Lots of interesting program, many interesting people, plenty of interesting discussion. Like: Is N K Jemisin's trilogy science fiction or fantasy? I was pretty amazed when I heard this question. I had not considered it could be anything but science fiction. Yes, some characters have powers not explainable by current science, but so what. We'd be left with just a tiny crumb of the huge body of work science fiction is, if we were totally rigorous with that demand. It's (imo) perfectly allowable to have the biological equivalent of handwavium that makes spaceships fly from galaxy to another in a matter of hours.
For some, the telekinetic powers in The Fifth Season place the book in fantasy genre. For me, the divide that separates fantasy and science fiction has little to do with actual science. It's geographical. Or geometrical. Fantasy is a genre of fiction that happens on a flat plane. The plane may have high mountains and deep chasms, but overall, it does not curve into a planet. Once the important 'fantasy map' does not conform to the flat paper page, but would require a sphere to present it accurately, we find ourselves in the science fiction genre, regardless of any seemingly magical powers, elves, curses, dwarves, princesses and prophesies. Fantasy happens in the classic Euclidean universe, in which the Sun circles the flat plane of the world, stars are pretty fairy lights, and things are made of the four elements (or five, or whatever) instead of atoms. There just are no molecules in fantasy. And no galaxy clusters. It's a human-scale universe. Science fiction happens in a non-Euclidean universe which on a fundamental level operates under the same conditions as our world.

Thus is this age-old question settled. Now I will take a nap.

 

torstai, 31. toukokuu 2018

Post-Deadpool 2 notes

Wade Wilson has to be a bit bi; it fits the character to be rowdy and handsy and not take 'no' seriously, but these days it just won't do to grope women's butts without prior consent. Hence, it's Cable's or Colossus's iron buns that get Deadpool fingerprints all over them.

I did the research for you; the bollywood song in Dopinder's taxi is from 2004 movie Swades, a heart-warming story about an Indian scientist living in the US who returns to his homeland and begins to improve living conditions in backward villages. So pretty close match to Deadpool 2! Emotional similarities between the two movies are astounding! The song Yun Hi Chala Chal is also set in a car, Sharukh Khan driving, so that's how Dopinder sees himself maybe? Or then the song was picked just because the rights were easier to negotiate than most bollywood songs, like some Indian movie gossip sites suggested.

I was pretty happy about Mojo World being mentioned (even if it was only in a single line by a throwaway character). Maybe we'll get Mojoverse stories on silver screen too some day! Spiral and Longshot – I demand they keep his mullet just as it was in 1989! – and Mojo himself! Psylockes's eyes! X-babies!

sunnuntai, 20. toukokuu 2018

Kehdon takaa kuiskaa ääni

Ota korpinsilmäinen vaihdokas syliisi. Miksikö? Minä kerron.

Keijuruhtinaiden luonto on alati piinata alamaisiaan. Vuorenalisen maailman asukkaat tuntevat tuskaa aivan samoin kuin sinäkin. On tärkeää, että ymmärrät tämän. Vain ajankulu on siellä toinen – silmänräpäys täällä, päiviä siellä.

Jatkuvaan kärsimykseen voisi turtua. Mutta keijuruhtinaat ovat taitavia. Kerran vuosituhannessa maailmojen välinen muuri ohenee, ja keijut huvittelevat ihmisten kustannuksella: varastavat vauvoja, vievät vaimoja, houkuttelevat sulhaset lumouksilla luokseen. Vaihdokkaan he valitsevat alamaistensa joukosta. Tuo vähäinen mahdollisuus pakoon pitää sydämen vereslihalla.

Tee oikein. Salli vaihdokkaan jäädä luoksesi. Mitä sitten, jos sinulta viety lapsi kituu vaihteeksi vuoren alla. Yhtä ansiotta hän on vapauteen syntynyt kuin vaihdokas kärsimykseen.

____________________________________

A whisper from behind the cradle

Hold the raven-eyed changeling tenderly against your heart. Why? I'll explain.

Fairy nobles are cruel masters, they delight in torture. Their subjects feel pain just like humans, but time is different in fairyland. An eyeblink here means days there.

If only it was just the pain! But every thousand years this world and fairyland connect. Fairy nobles play with humans: steal babies, swap one of their subjects instead. This slim chance of escape hurts the most.

Do what's right. Allow the changeling to stay. It deserves happiness no less than your stolen child. To resque one is to condemn another.

keskiviikko, 16. toukokuu 2018

Pre-Deadpool 2 notes

It may be heretical to say this, and I'm so not going to do it in public, but I may like Deadpool marketing, Deadpool fan videos, Deadpool memes and generally all Deadpool surrounding media more than the movies themselves...

His gender-messing gestures make me pretty happy.

I used to like in comics how he was delusional, thinking he's in a comic book. In the movies the 4th wall is blasted into oblivion, but this aspect is missing.