Music Monday – Stolen Treasure

Not one of their greatest, but the girl speaks truth:

That line is, of course, a reference to the wonderfully 1950s Secret of the Incas, starring a pre-superstardom Charlton Heston as a leather-jacketed scumbag who only narrowly redeems himself throughout the film.

A type of role he didn’t play often but was ironically very good at.

The movie also featured Yma Sumac.

Lord of the Rings, Adaptations, and Thoughts

– I turned off the Rings of Power after about five minutes, not because I was outraged by every detail and deliberate choice made by the filmmakers, but because I was actively zoning out after a mere five minutes.

– There’s plenty to be outraged about, sure, such as the film style of the prologue-flashbacks being a deliberate and obvious homage to the Lord of the Rings‘ flashbacks, with none of the quality. But also it seemed like the actors were kind of in on the joke. Galadriel’s short-haired brother seemed to be actively holding back a smirk during the “rocks look down, ships look up” discussion.

– In contrast, The Fellowship of the Ring‘s prologue is seven minutes long, and riveting.

– The Extended Editions of the Lord of the Rings movies….are great when they’re putting back in plot-relevant information that had been omitted for time. When they’re adding unneeded filler, they destroy the pacing and tension of already perfectly-paced, beautifully-tensioned movies. The Two Towers and The Return of the King Extended Editions are okay…The Fellowship of the Ring, which was the most deliberately paced of the three, suffers from this. No, we didn’t need to see Bilbo spazzing out looking for the Ring when the theatrical edition gave us a slow-burn, perfectly-acted introduction to its addictive nature. No, we didn’t need to see Bilbo hiding from the Sackville-Bagginses at the Long Expected Party and also giving Frodo a rundown on the fact that he, Frodo, is an orphan adopted by Bilbo and expected to be his heir. It wasn’t necessary, and it interferes with the actual plot. Ninety seconds of Aragorn humming  a song about his girlfriend’s great-great grandma was unnecessary and useless.

– Look, I know that Glorfindel was supposed to meet Aragorn and the hobbits at the ford of Bruinen. I actually like the fact that it’s Arwen instead, and I think the scene is badass. That being said, it was also a mistake for two reasons: first, because it’s a great introduction to a character–and it’s the entirely wrong introduction to this character. Having Arwen be a warrior who sasses her love interest and spits defiance at the enemy after leading them into a trap, contradicts [yes, Helm’s Deep, they course-corrected, etc] the rest of Arwen’s character. For the rest of the movie, she’s gentle and passive and….kind of doesn’t do a single other thing else plot-relevant. Like, not even get kidnapped and need to be rescued, weirddddd.

– Maybe have one or other of the sons of Elrond be the rescuer, and then have Arwen be somewhere near the river and be the one who “unleashes” it, okay okay, fine, along with her father and Gandalf. Still not canonical, but then it gives Arwen something to do, and introduces Elros or Elladan for them to come back in RotK with Aragorn’s reinforcements and spiffy new banner.

Oh well.

– The second error in judgment is that it heralded the new wave of Tolkien-Ripoff Fantasy Love Interest Characters who are spunky, ride horses, use swords, sass the hero, and….uh….then lose their entire personality, because neither Tolkien nor Peter Jackson’s team provided the rest of the template they were copying.

– This seems an excellent place to insert a link to the wonderful Jill Bearup’s Fantasy Heroine series, which mocks the everliving heck out of this and sundry other tropes:

Poetry Corner – Where are–

STILL the white stars burn overhead,
    The green earth swings upon her way:
Where are the voices of the dead,
            The hearts of Yesterday?
Drawn by what strange, mysterious power,
    From what dream world and magic sky
Came they to laugh on earth an hour,
            To weep, to toil, to die?
And whither gone? On what wild flight
    By planet pale and sceptred star?
What realms of sorrow or delight
            Now wander they afar?
Pale Wayfarers, whose noiseless tread
    Is near me as I seem to see
The mighty generations dead,
            And all that yet shall be!
Are Past and Future, then, a breath
    That one vast Present makes its own?
The Angel, Birth, the Shadow, Death,
            Each guards a world unknown.
Wayfarers all, we know not whence
    We came, nor whitherwards we go.
Deep in our hearts a haunting sense
            That somewhere we shall know.
Still the white stars burn overhead,
    The green earth swings upon her way:
Where are the voices of the dead,
            The hearts of yesterday?

- Yeats, probably.

Overheard: tYpE oF pEoPlE

“I mean, I have a reasonable belief that I am not the only crazy person in this situation!”
“….you are crazy.”
“Yes, I know, but I’m not the only one!”

“Okay, so, P. She’s one of those really nervous, careful people–”
“And then her husband isn’t like, super cantankerous, but he makes up for her.”

“They are the sort of people life happens to, they never happen to it. And I don’t know that you do anything for them.”


“Well, I got suspended from TV TROPES,”
“Oh, wow, how did that happen?”
“They didn’t like it when I said it was hilarious that Galadriel tried to swim from Valinor to Middle-Earth.”
“She what?”
“She dives off the boat that is taking her to Valinor and tries to swim back. I put it in the funny page and they didn’t like it.”
“….and they suspended you for that?”
“Well, what got me suspended is when I put it back again when they took it down. They didn’t like it. And they took it down right away, too. They were monitoring it very closely.”
“They didn’t think it was funny?”
“They said it was supposed to be dramatic, and therefore I couldn’t put it in the funny category. The funny category is supposed to be subjective, by the way, so they had no business changing it. They did it purely to protect the page. The Rings of Power pages are about, like, a tenth of the size of the House of the Dragon pages, and it’s because they won’t let anyone post anything except positives, and no one really wants to post anything positive for Rings of Power.”
“Don’t they post positive things?”
“There’s nothing good to say about it! They don’t really care about it, either. They really don’t, they can’t. They just want to control the information about it.”
“Huh. Do they work like Wikipedia?”
“I dunno, I don’t care enough to find out.”
“You have been on TV TROPES for a long time.”
“Yeah, well…”
“Well, you can change your IP, change your login name and get back to work in the trope mines.”
“Yeah, no, joke’s on them, I have blocked TV TROPES so I can’t get to it anymore. Except on my phone.”

QuikReiew: Black Adam (2022)

So I decided to watch Black Adam despite some reservations (i.e.: I didn’t want to pay money for it, because I knew it wouldn’t be worth it.) I was not wrong. This movie is really not worth paying money for, because obviously the studio execs didn’t think it was, either. At least, they didn’t think paying for a script was, and boy howdy does it show.

There’s isn’t really a plot, for one. There’s a series of vaguely-connected scenes with people telling Teth-Adam that He Must Be A Hero! and Save Khandaq! From INTERGANG! (Who are mercenaries with actually wicked sweet hoverbikes, MAN those things are cool, where can I get one and why haven’t they shown up in any movie before or after?) or, From….uh….them! or from…uh…resurrected demon king guy!

These scenes all play out the same way, too: someone (usually Annoying Kid) tells Teth-Adam that Khandaq needs a hero! Adam responds that he is no hero, leave him alone, and floats off in a random direction; at which point someone else will threaten the Annoying Skateboard Kid or his Woke Mother, and then there will be another smashy-lightning-buildings collapse scene. And this pattern gets very tiresome, very quickly.

Does the movie succeed in introducing and defining its main character? Surprisingly, for the most part, yes. However….it’s about twenty minutes of backstory stretched over an entire two hour movie, without any plot for said character to act on, which would make its inclusion meaningful. This movie could have been condensed down to a ninety minutes and greatly improved. Hell, it could have been condensed down to forty-five minutes and made a TV pilot episode. The fights get that boring after about the fifteenth one.

Does the movie succeed in introducing and defining its secondary characters? To an extent–and no further. Pierce Brosnan shines as Doctor Fate, whom I am guessing is the DC variant of Doctor Strange. He elevates every scene and all the material he’s given, purely by effort of being a good actor who can handle mediocre-at-best dialogue, and also by getting some good reaction shots in. Whats-his-face, as Hawkman….didn’t fare nearly as well, but: he tried. (Incidentally, if you have wind-based powers, and any kind of textured hair, you would ABSOLUTELY keep said hair in a tight protective style. Anyway.)

And one of the things that definitely drags the movie down hard is the presence of Annoying Skateboard Kid and his Woke Mother. Those two are insufferable, and besides being completely unlikable, they’re flat, insipid, and omnipresent. Like, seriously, I have no words to describe how extraneous these people are, and yet the movie insists that they remain vital to the (non-existant) plot. (“Teth-Adam, you have got to be a hero!” “No.” Boom, thud, swoosh, etc.)

Are there any good things about this movie? Eh. It’s not horrible. It’s just not good, at all. If I want to watch an series of strung-together action scenes, I’ll watch Final Fantasy: Advent Children.

Rated: that’s eight dollars I will not see again in a hurry, more’s the pity.

I got Porlocked

Go tell the Spartans:
Where the path of the fury takes us,
Though foundation and empire shatter
And the stars asunder wrend,
Til the mountains of mourning crumble
And a fire is upon the deep,
Til the shards of honor are gathered
And the forever war is won,
The guns of Avalon go silent
And the long patrol come home,
Ours is the fury--a high crusade-- 
To bring in the steel with our brothers in arms.
Soldier, ask not, lest darkness fall,
Of unfinished tales or a dry, quiet war.
For us the living, sum the cold equations,
Counting the cost of the human edge.
If the price of the stars 
Be the broken sword,
If the price of the stars
Be the rebel worlds,
If the price of the stars
Be the demon breed,
By God, we have paid it dear!