For years, J.J. Abrams has used a "mystery box" system to, instead of making the most obvious plot development, make the most obvious plot development and then torturous lie about it for years on end to find out that the big secret of a given story is pretty much what you would guess five seconds after being told there's a big secret. This method has been so successful that people with no interest in seeing Star Trek Into Darkness need, nay, demand to know the secrets. Who is Benedict Cumberbatch playing? Is it Khan? It's Khan, isn't it? Well, now you can find out free of charge, except for the ones racked up on your credit card by the malicious malware embedded on our site.( Star Trek Into Darkness: A SummaryCollapse )
Fandom: Oz The Great And Powerful
Word Count: 2,979
Summary: Ever since Theodora's transformation, she's been wicked. Perhaps even more wicked than Evanora. And only the most wicked can sit on the throne...
"I will thank you," Theodora continued, in her loud, stringent, domineering voice, "by allowing you the privilege of serving me!"
Fandom: Once Upon A Time
Word Count: 4,738
Summary: Emma saved her from Greg Mendell. Regina guesses, technically, that this means Emma is her hero.
"How can you be this bad at rescuing people? Your family business is rescuing people. It should be simple genetics."
And in Chronicle, Michael B. Jordan played this cocky, fun-loving jock-type who got superpowers. If he were in Fantastic Four, he’d be playing Johnny Storm, a cocky, fun-loving jock-type who gets superpowers.
So my question is this: Having seen Chronicle, an original science-fiction movie that was inspired by comic books to tell its own story, has Hollywood just decided to remake the exact same movie in Marvel drag? Because that’s hilarious.
“Hmm, this Chronicle movie shows that not every movie has to be told conventionally and portray the exact same thing!”
“Let’s do it over again, but told conventionally and portraying the exact same thing.”
And now, the race angle on a black man playing the Human Torch. On the one hand, Johnny Storm is white. On the other hand, pretty much every white American actor in their twenties is a pussy. Zac Efron, Shia LeBeouf, Ashton Kutcher, Justin Timberlake—you say those names all in a row, they start sounding like feminine hygiene projects.
We should’ve seen it coming. The moment we started naming kids “Avery” and “Jaden,” the gig was up. For God’s sake, Zac Efron! The boy’s not even man enough for a K in his name, and that’s not a very masculine letter. Back in the day, you named a kid Kurt Russell, he was guaranteed to be a badass. Or John—short for Johnson, which means penis. Dick, same thing. Jack—you jack someone, you’re either beating them up or masturbating them, both of which are awesome.
But it’s alright, we’ve outsourced our badass needs to Australia, where from the day of their birth, children are forced to grow up in Australia. This gave us Sam Worthington, who is so badass he often forgets to act.
So it’s okay, America. Michael B. Jordan was on The Wire and Friday Night Lights, which is about as badass as you can get on TV without helping Walter White cook meth or trying to arrest Boyd Crowder. Can you name any reasonable alternative that wasn’t on A. a CW show, B. an ABC Family show, C. a Disney Channel Original Movie*?
*I’ll make an exception for Princess Protection Program, because it takes stones to protect a princess.
The other big news is that Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are going to be in The Avengers 2, which is legal, so long as Marvel doesn't mention they're mutants or that their father is Magneto. I never really 'got' how Wanda's mutant power was magic anyway--isn't that a little like Tony Stark inventing a laser that shoots magic? I suppose you could just handwave both of them as having magical powers, or that they got their powers from a science experiment gone wrong like fifty people do in the Marvel Universe every Friday. And I guess some people (me) had their hearts set on the Wasp, but with Ant-Man being a Phase 3 movie, that's not really feasible right now.
Some people are seeing it as a sign of a crossover between the Fox X-Men movies and the Disney Avengers movies, which-ehh. I kinda like that corporate shenanigans have resulted in an environment where different aspects of the Marvel Universe can't interact. It gives it a kind of purity or something? Possibly it's just that a huge movie where Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and the Avengers all team-up would never be good anyway (remember how much of a clusterfuck X-Men: The Last Stand was. Now imagine that with five times the characters). Maybe it's just that, while I can buy that War Machine's cell phone battery was dead while every other superhero was fighting Loki, it'd be a little harder to explain why a good thirty people decided to leave saving Chicago from a nuclear explosion to the Hulk. Or why multiple Lawful Good superheroes see government agencies building giant kill-bots to go after their friends the X-Men and said to themselves "Eh, Wolverine's got it. He has metal claws."
Thought it would be a little amusing if right in the middle of Spider-Man wangsting over fighting the Lizard--"How can I hurt him? I created him! He's a good man!"--Thor just straight-up coldcocked the guy. "Forsooth! This dragon shall trouble fair Midgard no longer!"
Really, it's quite a recent development in the comic book universe that every superhero is good friends with each other and generally even working together in the same government office. For most of Marvel's history, Spider-Man has rarely crossed paths with Captain America, and they'd regard each other with suspicion. It gave the Marvel U a fun "Wild West" vibe that I guess can't really be gotten back after umpteen guest appearances (not that this would ever stop Quesada from doing a "Spider-Man, respected Avenger, IS WANTED FOR MURDER!!!" story).
Anyway, I doubt Fox would've done Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver anyway. It's been five movies, so we're well past the point where it'd be only a little awkward to suddenly reveal Magneto's long-lost twins. Imagine the revelation that Mystique, ALL ALONG, had been Xavier's adopted stepsister, times infinity. If the need arises, you could always throw in Polaris as Magneto's daughter. Then you could have father vs. daughter in a battle of the magnetic superpowers--which would just be them getting stuck to each other, I guess.
( Spoilers.Collapse )
I guess the thing itself is that the game's thesis is throwing the previous games under the bus as, pretty much, sexist tripe and now, finally, they're doing Lara Croft as a strong, independent woman who don't need no man. And I'm no scholar and I'm not a Tomb Raider mega-fan, but I did play a few of the old games and I don't think they're the most problematic things in the world. I know, I know, Lara Croft in a wetsuit or a tanktop and shorts, but is that so out of line? I know Tomb Raider: Underworld gave players the option to choose Lara Croft's costume, so she could be in the iconic outfit or in long pants and a jacket. So is Tomb Raider suddenly feminist, just because they removed the option of shorts altogether?
I think that's a bit of a gray area of game design social justice. I know there's been some resentment of Batman games where Catwoman has her costume unzipped, and it does get pretty ridiculous. However, what if the default option was for her to be zipped up to the neck, Brubaker style, and the game gave you the option to show some cleav, the way some fighting games have alternate costumes for the characters? Would it be sexist just having the option?
Anyway, the new Tomb Raider goes to almost ridiculous lengths in the opposite direction. "So, won't take Lara seriously because she's hot, huh? Well what if we just COVER HER IN SHIT FOR THE ENTIRE GAME!" No, seriously, pretty much the entire game. Which sorta short-circuits the whole "hero's journey" thing since she starts out the game beat to shit and pretty much just gets beat to shit in other ways. Imagine if John McClane had started Die Hard with his feet cut up and his wifebeater covered in blood. Honestly, I'd be more impressed if Lara had taken a jacket off a dead nogoodnik before she climbed one of the snow-capped mountains instead of staying in her grimy tanktop throughout. Maybe all the blood and shit on it provides insulation.
Speaking of nogoodniks, I can't help but be unimpressed. The game's villains are a cult of strange, woman-hating assholes, but they come across as the same Eastern European terrorist mercenaries you'd find in any other game, chatting about who stole whose lasagna out of the fridge and whatnot. They're a strange, woman-hating cult! Can't they talk about something more interesting, dare I say creepy? The extent of their religion seems to be having candles everywhere, so I have no way to prove they're not worshipping a love scene in a Cinemax movie. And the Big Bad has the most obnoxious voice actor. When he first shows up, he does everything but yell at Starscream to identify himself as absolutely being the villain. Alright, I get it, yous evil. Tone it down a notch. I would've been more impressed if he actually conducted himself like someone who truly believed his shit, like a youth pastor for Darken Rahl, instead of having an Evil League of Evil union card.
As I was saying, I don't buy this as an origin for the Lara Croft we know and are aware of. I suppose that's nothing new; could you see Casino Royale leading to anything Roger Moore does? But there's a certain commonality to all the Bonds. This Lara Croft doesn't feel at all Croftian; she feels like generic Nolanism. I played a few of the games and I watched the movies, and Lara always came off as a thrill-seeking adventurer who raided tombs for fun and excitement. I don't see anything particularly wrong with that characterization; why can't a heroine be cool and sassy without having standard-issue secret pain and survivor's guilt and parental issues?
I suppose the answer is that explaining how Lara, however she started off, could go from that to a cool, nigh-invincible tomb raider was too hard. It's far easier to turn her into Ripley, even if it doesn't fit the character. After Batman Begins, I could kinda see Christian Bale as Michael Keaton's Batman, in a rough sort of way. But I couldn't ever see this Lara going on another "adventure." She'd be like the final girl after a slasher movie; popping pills and having nightmares and possibly cutting herself.
Really, the problem goes all the way to the logline of the project. "A survivor is born." Would "survivor" be anyone's first choice to describe Lara Croft? Adventuress, maybe, thrill-seeker, daredevil, etc etc. Survivor—every action hero is a survivor! John McClane is a survivor, but we don't watch his movies because he happens to be really good at not dying from being shot, stabbed, and blown up. Making Croft's defining characteristic "she doesn't die" is like Casino Royale's tagline being "A wine snob is born."
Now, there are some good moments where you can believe that Lara is transitioning into a badass and not just someone with a high tolerance for horrible things happening to her. After she gets a machine gun, she basically runs around yelling for everyone to LICK IT UP BABY. But those are few and far between, which is weird, because it seems like they're the entire point of the exercise.
Also, the QTEs pissed me off. Sorry I didn't hit the arbitrary button in a half-second, I'll just watch Lara Croft get strangled again, that's fine.
Or, if you want the usual "I'll wait to see it in motion/CGIed" caveat, I at least respect it. Maybe it'll look totally awful on screen, but I appreciate that instead of some dumb Green Lantern thing where they go "OH, LET'S CGI JAMIE FOXX, WE'LL CGI HIM SO HE'S MADE OUT OF LIGHTNING AND HIS EAR IS MADE OUT OF LIGHTNING AND IT FLICKERS IN AND OUT AND YOU CAN SEE THE BILLBOARD THROUGH HIS EAR!", they painted the dude blue, put lights in his hoodie, and it looks good. It at least looks a lot more like an electric guy than the Lizard looked like a giant lizard. Remember that? They fucked up "it's a big lizard in a ripped lab coat."
Guy, I don't like Tron: Legacy, but I respect that they made costumes that lit up instead of whatever the fuck Green Lantern was on about. God, that movie came out in like 2008, and I'm still hung up on how bad THE TITLE CHARACTER'S SUPERHERO COSTUME LOOKED. It was that bad. He had webbed feet or something. Who in the American public wanted to see Ryan Reynolds with webbed feet. Did they think "hey, it's 2008, they kicked Conan O'Brien off The Tonight Show, anything goes!" Because this country has rules, damnit! Jay Leno still ends up losing his show, just to Jimmy Fallon, and the United States does not tolerate webbed feet on Ryan Reynolds!
I will admit to some surprise that they can take a guy who wears a yellow starfish on his face and come up with something as halfway decent as that, but on the "really hot redhead" front, they get Shailene Woodsley. That's like Jackie Chan somersaulting through a burning building and landing on a speeding motorcycle, then choking on a jelly bean at the craft services table.
And if you were wondering just how petty I can be about this dumb reboot/re-origin-story/ASM thing (I'll give you a hint: I consider myself vindicated now that Starkid Potter is on Team Tobey Maguire), I'll tell you that I'm not petty enough to nitpick the villain being a black guy in a hoodie. Somethings you gotta let go. Not Spider-Man having fucking stripes on his arms like he's a burlesque dancer, no, that's inexcusable, but we can take it easy on the racist molehills.
I read the pilot script for the Wonder Woman TV show. THAT Wonder Woman TV show. And it’s even worse than the pilot actually was.
-We’re introduced to Wonder Woman racing into action, risking her life against diabolical enemies for the freedom and safety of her fellow humans—set to Beyonce’s ‘Singles Ladies.’ Ya know, when Xena started, they didn’t feel the need to set any of the action sequences to I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar, and people got the gist of the feminism thing just fine.
-Marilyn Monroe drag queen!
I got him.
THE SUSPECT FIRES A CRISP RIGHT, STUNNING MARILYN, WHO RELEASES.
I don’t got him.’
-A bit oddly, Diana’s best friend is Myndi Mayer, and Etta Candy is her publicist. For some reason we need both these characters, even though they seem to do the exact same thing?
-During an awkward moment in her conversation with Myndi, Diana tries to change the subject and offers to tell Myndi anything she wants about Paradise Island. Myndi asks where their babies come from. Diana declines to answer and changes the subject again. WHY WAS THAT SCENE WRITTEN?
-That’s the sum total of what we learn about Paradise Island by the way. Not kidding. The script basically just says that there’s an island of female warriors, who don’t age for some reason, and the island can’t be found except by incredible circumstance, for some reason, and Diana can leave easily but can’t come back, for some reason, and then Diana left to be with Steve but then they broke up for some reason.
-This scene happens.
And by the way, as much as I realize that almost fifty percent of Americans are now overweight, and that it’s an untapped market…
She holds up a prototype of Fat Wonder Woman.
I will never be signing off on this.’
-Take that, toy companies, you and your overly inclusive action figures and overly realistic body images!
-Diana has a bunch of tech nerds called the Animals who “often break up their day with a little dancing.”
I need to get boned up ASAP on all the evidence we have on Veronica Cale and Cale-Anderson.
Bone you up right now, boss.’
-I’m pretty sure most bosses wouldn’t appreciate their employees making jokes about fucking them, let alone WONDER WOMAN.
- ‘DIANA IS SINGING TO THE SONG, ROCKING OUT AS SHE FLIES, SOARING ABOVE THE WORLD. SHE LOVES FLYING, BEING FREED FROM THE CORPORATE STRAIT-JACKET. SHE ZOOMS DOWN AND FLIES ABOUT FIFTEEN FEET ABOVE THE CONGESTED TRAFFIC, PERHAPS JUST TO TAUNT THE DRIVERS A LITTLE.’
Diana must be extremely popular post-9/11.
-There’s a scene where Diana goes to a Congressional hearing that goes on basically FOREVER. And you know how the Nolan Batmans had all these scenes of people debating Batman, since on the one hand what he did was illegal, but on the other hand it was effective, and everyone on all sides of the debate had good points and was treated respectfully? Here, everyone who disagrees with Diana is corrupt and evil, so she yells at them for being mean. And having small testicles.
-‘SENATOR FEINSTEIN DISCRETELY FLASHES DIANA THE “THUMBS UP” SIGN: “YOU GO, GIRL.”
Sweet Jesus, I think I found the last ever unironic usage of “You go, girl.”
-Wonder Woman has a super-badass jet called… Bam Bam.
-No, seriously, you guys, Wonder Woman has a slumber party. I’m just saying, I watched The Avengers, it was like three hours long, and at no point did any of the male heroes say “I’m feeling beat, let’s stay up late and watch some Katy Perry videos.”
-Not kidding. Katy Perry.
-‘Myndi, also in pajamas, is WATCHING KATY PERRY’S VIDEO. PERRY IS DRESSED AS WONDER WOMAN, SHE COULD BE A DEAD RINGER—AND SHE’S SINGING A SLOW, SEXUALLY-SUGGESTIVE SONG: “SUPER-DUPER ME.” This Wonder Woman is evidently super-duper between the sheets.
Is she slutty, this Katy Perry?
She’s certainly sexy.
Whatever Katy does, Diana and Myndi scream like schoolgirls.’
-Just for the record, I thought Katy Perry was more into innuendo-y teen bubblegum pop, not raunchy soft-R stuff. Goddamnit, if you’re going to make awkward and slut-shaming pop culture references, at least try to be accurate!
-Final shot: Wonder Woman cries into a pillow because her ex-boyfriend got married. I. AM NOT. KIDDING.
1. Bates Motel
Man, this was rough. I mean, for starters, you’ve gotta buy that Norman Bates moves into town and is immediately set upon by a roving band of attractive girls. I realize this is a more realistic reaction to a nerdily attractive British teenager than in Amazing Spider-Man, where everyone treated Andrew Garfield like he had the plague—wait, except then fucking Emma Stone hit on HIM, that movie was so dumb—but still. On the first day? And after knowing him for five minutes, the lead girl has this line about how he’s a deep dark lake or something? In a cement world? Like, damn, gurl, wait five minutes before you share your emo poetry. It’ll hold!
Plus, there was a rape scene that really played like it was done the way it was done for shock value rather than good taste. Like, you’d have to be really generous to not see that scene as gratuitous. The howling bad dialogue later on does not sell it as dramatically necessary.
(Sample lines: “I’m sorry that dirtbag raped me.” “Who would want to stay at the murder-rape hotel?”)
So I finally watched the episode of Elementary that everyone’s all up about and I do not get you, tumblr. I don’t.
Sherlock: We’re making Irene Adler a lesbian dominatrix.
Elementary: We’re making Mrs. Hudson a transgender* gold digger.
*By the way, is there any difference between transgender and transsexual? Because I've heard actual trans people using them interchangeably, so if we're doing a thing where one of them is a hate word and the other is the preferred nomenclature, can we not do it with two words that start with the same five letters and then end with the same amount of letters? I'm just saying, this is exactly why we don't say 'niggle' anymore.
3. Doctor Who
You know, didn’t enjoy this one either. It seemed way too weird and vague and a little anti-religious. Not even in a considered or provocative way, just in a kinda lame way. I’m pretty sure “silly space aliens, your god is a cosmic boogaloo!” should’ve been retired back when DS9 did it, since no one’s going to do it better anyway. And then I’m not sure why or how anything was happening.
So the Doctor takes Clara to see something awesome, which turns out to be a religious rite wherein a little girl will keep a sleeping god sleeping. The fact that this does not ring a million alarm bells makes me think that while the Doctor has been all over time and space, he has not been to TV Tropes. But anyway, he thinks it’s going to be one of those completely innocent rituals where little girls keep sleeping gods under, otherwise he just thinks Clara would find child murder awesome and is making the world’s most spectacular recovery from that. Onward!
But then Mary messes up the song to keep TSGS, so the Plan B is for it to eat her soul, or maybe that was Plan A? No one really seems sure. I thought there was some sort of problem or sabotage in the ritual, which otherwise seemed fairly benign—the believers got a nice sun and a fun culture, while the sleeping god got fed and stayed asleep. But apparently it actually ate little girls—which are/were somehow more filling than eating whole planets/star systems/galaxies?
Anyway, the Doctor gets two big speeches to give, one of which is lifted whole-sale from Carl Sagan’s famous “star stuff” quote (I think there’s a version of it that ends “Forget Jesus, stars died so you could be born,” which adds to the weird anti-religion vibe of the episode—odd, since there aren’t any religions that practice human sacrifice. It’s rather like getting upset with marijuana users over all those high-speed chases they embark on. And, taken at face value, the subtext treads the old “atheists are angry at God” characterization. In the Whoniverse, God is real and you yell at Him for being mean).
The other is no great shakes either, your standard “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe” monologue, but hey, any hero worth his salt is entitled to one of those. Although then it doesn’t work and the Doctor needs Clara to step in and say she writes AU fanfics, which manages to kill the sun. Which I guess no one was using.
I would’ve expected better from the writer, since he also did Luthor, but then I remembered the episode where Idris Elba had to fight killer RPG players and won by saying he was the level boss.
Also, who on the writing staff hates the make-up guys?
“Alright, for this episode, we’re going to need a hundred aliens for crowd scenes.”
“And then a costume of the god they’re worshiping, who will of course look like death with a hangover, since that wouldn’t raise any red flags.”
“Then their god also has these Cenobites he sends out instead of doing things himself.”
“Oh, fuck off.”
4. The Lost Girl where Bo misses Lauren's Award For Outstanding Achievement In The Field of Excellence
Man. Who knew so many Dark Fae were steampunk enthusiasts?
I don’t know, guys, for some reason when Neil Gaiman has stuff like people going to get a top from a woman in a beanie so they can get a special beanbag chair that teleports them to the land of top hats, it’s fun and charming. And when Lost Girl does it I just want to slap a hipster. Like, isn’t the whole premise of this that the Fae blend into the modern world while paying homage to the traditional ways? So the Morrigan is a record executive and stuff? How does it work to have some Fae who are just straight-up living in the woods? Eh. It bugs me.
Moreover, I don’t want to even get into the logistics of how the Invitation works and what all is even going on. Like, I get the basic idea—Bo is supposed to be doing the test of herself, whatever she chooses has a varying effect on her, but since she’s not there, the side effects have the possibility of being lethal. But then she’s literally just doing what Trick chooses, like he’s playing a LucasArts game, and then Ballsack’s whole thing WAS the invitation (so they kill a cowboy wannabe dude every time a Fae goes through Fae Puberty?).
I guess more important for our purposes is that this is the “honeymoon is over” episode for Lauren and Bo, but that nothing that happens in it seems organic to their relationship. Tamsin says “Bo, you lie to Lauren all the time,” but she doesn’t. She told her about sleeping with Dyson, for cripes’ sake! And saying “I got tricked by a Spriggan, I have no choice but to help him (or maybe try pushing past him or knocking him out somehow or just asking very nicely if I could help him after a brief delay)” would’ve been just as easy as lying. You could’ve still had Lauren get suspicious—and have Bo be upset that she WAS suspicious—when Bo called drunk.
Also, are they trying to imply that Bo doesn’t care about Lauren’s sciencing? Because it seems like Bo values Lauren’s sciencing a whole lot, given how often it saves her ass. “Here’s a shot, use it to kill the bad guy” comes in a lot handier and easier than “Use magic! Feel emotion! That will definitely maybe work!”
And then Lauren goes off with a dude at the end? I don’t know, the read they seemed to be going for was that she was playing at stepping out on Bo, like in every drama when someone gets stood up by their boo and then decides to go out with someone else attractive instead. But I really thought Lauren was an out-and-out lesbian? I mean, if any show would embrace the “everyone is bi” thing, it’d be this one, but I always thought, you know, Kenzi is straight, Lauren’s gay, God knows what Hale’s into.
Maybe it was just supposed to be Lauren reassuring herself that she’s desirable or something, but I don’t know, they’re going against the weight of TV Tropes to say there’s no attraction whatsoever.
Anyway, room for improvement notes: They could’ve easily made this a bit more specific to the Bolo relationship than just saying “You don’t take my work seriously”/”Honey, I’m sorry I missed your thing.” As I said, Lauren is self-sacrificing and asks for too much of a commitment from Bo. She could’ve gotten upset that Bo is apparently placing herself ahead of her and asking for yet another sacrifice on Lauren’s part, while also being suspicious of Bo and Tamsin’s ovaries. And maybe “the other woman” at the end could’ve been a woman? It at least would’ve made the situation more clear instead of making me think Lauren might be going “hmmm… have I ever REALLY given peen a chance?”