Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My thoughts on "Man of Steel" (spoilers)

So, I saw "Man of Steel" last week and I really liked it.
I know that it has been getting a ton of mixed reviews and a lot of people have problems or issues with it for many reasons. Those reasons are exactly what I liked about this film.
First, the visuals and design:
I really thought that the production design of Krypton and the space ships was wonderful. It was a very new take on the look of Krypton, while still incorporating a number of items and elements from the comic books. The "organic" feel to the architecture and the planet differed greatly from the crystal technology of the previous films and some of the newer comic books. The floating robots did follow the general design of robots from one of the comic lines and a couple of the animated series while at the same time becoming something new.
When hologram Jor-El was explaining the history of Krypton and of Kal-El's flight to Earth, I found the scrolling Art Deco/Art Nouveau bas-relief visuals to be stunning. The team who designed and implemented that sequence used imagery and details from so many sources that I feel I need to see it again to truly appreciate it. Just two small examples are : an image of a male and female Kryptonian holding up the planet like Jor-el and Lara in the old comic book Fortress of Solitude and the "crystal star" space ship from the 1978 film.
I also really liked the use of color desaturation and over saturation for various things, like the sepia wash for Krypton and the kind of exaggerated color for Clark's memories. I also felt that the more muted colors of his suit helped ground it as a uniform rather than a costume and brought it into the "real world".
There were also a number of smaller nods to "those that came before". One of which was when introducing Dr. Emil Hamilton, the actor playing the army guy sitting in front of the Doctor played Dr. Hamilton in the TV series "Smallville".
The story:
"Man of Steel" has also been getting a lot of criticism for being too violent and for changing what many feel are the core tenets and moral structure of the Superman character. I do understand these points of view and I agree with them to a point, but I also find fault with them.
First and foremost, this is a movie, specifically the first in what I can only assume is a trilogy.
Second, this is a mythological story, an origin story, and a standard hero's journey kind of thing. Clark/Kal-El/Superman is beginning this journey and discovering who he is and where his moral center is, but he has not yet found it.
Finally, he's dealing with a man who is essentially a religious zealot who will never change his views.
This movie, good, bad or indifferent, is a modern myth for our current times. And that is not a bad thing. Our legends, myths and gods need to change and adapt to current times and themes and I truly believe that this is what Snyder, Goyer and Nolan have done. And in a very good way. I am extremely interested to see where they take this character and his mythology in the next films.
Superman's moral center:
A very large number of people have been very vocal about the amount of violence, destruction and innocent deaths portrayed in this film. And they have been very insistent that Superman would do everything in his power to keep innocents from dying. And I do agree with the second statement, with the following caveat: Superman has to come to that personal moral code somehow. He wasn't just born with it, and one's parents, no matter how good and well meaning, can only instill those kind of values to a point. After that a person has to rely on his or her own experiences to create their own moral center.
It seems to me that in trying to protect his adopted home from those who can only be viewed as terrorists from his birth planet, (which really is the first time he is publicly out in the world as Superman) he IS very single minded. And many, many innocent people die as a result. Along with the fact that he breaks the one supreme code that is traditionally at the very core of his character in dealing with Zod, are the things that will ultimately bring him around to the moral center that truly is at the core of his very being. He might not have gotten there otherwise.
I think that judgement needs to be reserved until we see the rest of this story.
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Location:Cleland Ave,Los Angeles,United States

Saturday, May 21, 2011

After "The Rapture"

Since "The Rapture" will allegedly be happening this evening, I have been thinking about the future of humanity and it's mythologies. Once all of the Jesus-y people disappear this evening the human race will most likely be looking for some new gods to believe in. Well, at least those of us who were raised all Jesus-y. I assume that the other 90% of the world will just keep plugging along with their gods and goddesses.
 I like to imagine that it is 5000 years in the future and that these are giant colossi that are worshipped as gods. But then I realize that the worship of The New Trinity (The Superman, The Batman and The Wonder Woman [also known as: The Last Son, The Dark Knight and The Warrior Princess]) was quashed a thousand years before when Our Robot Alien Overlords arrived and now worship of The New Trinity has been outlawed and is essentially the new voodoo that is practiced only by an underground rebel group that is slowly working to overthrow Our Robot Alien Overlords so that the Human Race can once again dominate the galaxy!
Anyway, just my thoughts on this lovely sunny raptury day in SoCal!
Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Superman : Earth 1

So, I am probably late in getting this out, but I finally got around to reading Superman : Earth One, written by J. M. Straczynski (JMS) with art by Shane Davis.
I know that there has been a whole lot of buzz, both positive AND negative, about this book. I have to say that for me the whole experience of the book was a very positive one.
JMS has always had a great insight into people who are at that point in their lives where they are faced with major decisions about themselves and where their lives are heading. This new retelling of how Clark Kent transitions into Superman is done really well. Clark is definitely a contemporary, twenty-something character who is trying to find his way in today’s world. He has finished junior college, has moved to the nearest big city and is trying to find a job, make sure his mother is taken care of AND figure out what his powers mean, both to himself and the world around him. It is during a battle with other aliens from his home solar system that he sees what Lois and Jimmy do to help him, a total stranger in mortal danger. It is these actions that really set him on his path to be Earth’s champion, or more accurately, Humanity’s champion. I think, though that the epilogue (set in the format of Clark Kent’s exclusive interview with Superman) is where JMS really defines the how and why of Superman and his relationship with our planet and our species.
I feel that the criticism of hardcore Superman fans is wholly unjustified. While the cover art does have a bit of an “emo” or “Twilight” feel to it, those similarities disappear once the book is opened. The styling and illustration of Clark Kent and his clothing and demeanor are all updated, but still maintain much of the classic Clark character. The uniform, the S-shield and its meaning are all explained very masterfully and really serve to more fully flesh out the character of Superman. The design and styling of the uniform really help to bring Superman, as an icon, fully into the 21st century.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Halloween - To costume or not to costume

I am trying to decide what costume to wear for Halloween.
Seth and I and our neighbors across the street and next door are throing a joint Halloween party and we need to wear costumes this year.
I'm thinking we just wear tuxes and look spiffy.

Not sure yet, I'll get back to y'all when we make a decision.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Okay. Type "Spidergoats" into Google and read the amazing scientific discoveries as well as the fucked up religious views about them.


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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Jet Lag. A Long Week. Lots To Do.

So, I am back in Singapore.
It's been a long week. I got in Monday afternoon and pretty much worked 12+ hour days for the first few days on Project #2. Unfortunately this meant that Project #1 sort of fell behind. So, from Thursday afternoon until this evening I have been playing catch up on Project #1. And it looks like I'll have to go to site tomorrow morning, Sunday, for a few things and then have to be back to the hotel by 3:00pm for an afternoon meeting about lighting. And this coming week is not looking any better.
And, most of all, I am really missing Seth. I just want to be home in my own bed, curled up next to him and our cat.
I mean, I know that this is what I signed up for. Being on site for install means long hours, long days and long weeks and being away from family and friends (at least the friends that are not on this project with me!). I was just hoping to be over the jet lag before all that started. I guess I was wrong.
And to top it off, I have not even gotten over to Bella Pizza for Antonio's wonderful Italian creations! An up side is that I am supposed to have dinner tomorrow evening with my friend Chuck Spina.
Alright, enough bitching for today! It's time for a few episodes of Dollhouse on iTunes and then bed so that I can start the whole thing all over again tomorrow!
Blog ya soon!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Back in Singapore!

Well, I am back in Singapore until he end of March.
I am going to try to be more consistent in my updates!
So, keep checking in.