Turns out that, despite everything in West Wing being 100% accurate, raising the Debt Ceiling isn't that big of a deal...or it is. I'm still not sure. But raising the [chat] ceiling? That's something we have to do every week, lest the blog tumble into obscurity.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
I saw Thor for the second time last night and I have a few things I'd like to talk about.
First, I rather enjoy the way this origin story plays out. Granted, I still usually enjoy watching a (kid/adult/dog) who (suddenly/gradually/unfortunately) gains super powers and then learns how to use them to (save/destroy/pee on) the world*. That arc is fairly well played out, however, so it is quite refreshing to see Thor take a different, even opposite, approach.
It is the opposite in the sense that much of the major plot points are arranged in reverse order to the norm. Thor doesn't gain powers, he loses them. He doesn't build a team, he is kicked out of one. Hell, he is even the aggressor in an invasion of another world, all of which makes for a more interesting journey than what is usually presented.
Not everything is reversed, of course. The old standards of learning the true meaning of friendship and using one's power to create harmony rather than chaos flows in the usual direction. But it does so almost completely without the messy soul searching and internal conflict that often accompanies a shift in a hero's perspective.
There is internal conflict, certainly, but the second aspect of Thor that I continue to enjoy is that he is a relatively uncomplicated character. He approaches problems with an obvious solution already in mind: Mjolnir or, failing that, his fists. This approach gets him into serious trouble very quickly, but even when he eventually learns that one needs to act with others in mind, he does so in a way that does not invalidate his "smash shit with my hammer" plan.
In my mind, this serves to make Thor a much more fun character than even a delightful douche bag like Tony Stark or a creature of action like Bruce Banner's Hulk. I have nothing bad to say about Stark's sarcasm and bad behavior or the Hulk's smashin', but it is a welcome change to see a guy who is sincere and often polite, and can do so without being a boyscout, which would definitely spoil the fun. This is a guy who drinks and carouses itches for a good fight, after all, but he can drink and fight without being self-destructive like Stark or Banner.
As it happens, those fights do not exactly adhere to the theory I embraced a few years ago that Marvel had found the appropriate number of action set-pieces to include in a single movie and still leave ample time for exposition, character work, and other miscellaneous story requirements. This leads me to the third item I had in mind, which is the apparent negation of what I had pegged as a "three fight rule".
Thor gets into four fights, more or less, two of which are Big Fights, and two of them are minor scrapes (in duration, even if not in importance). All I really want to say about the rule and its fate is that I accept two small fights in place of one big one because it upholds the purpose of the rule: to give fights more weight by contrasting them against periods of inaction and also to keep battles from halting every few moments so that characters can expound on story elements that should have been covered while fists were at rest.
As a final, more personal, note, prior to seeing this movie, I knew that Thor needed to answer a few questions. Not about the Marvel Universe or the Avengers or anything like that, but important questions such as "how is the rainbow bridge not going to look like something on a little girl's Trapper Keeper?" and "will Thor's spinning hammer or Loki's horned hat look anything other than ridiculous?" It was a great relief to see these questions answered and in a satisfactory way.
I give Thor five beards out of a possible Frog of Thunder.
*The third option is describing Underdog, incidentally.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
While bored on youtube I happened upon this advertisement. After staring for a bit, I decided that I could improve upon it by adding some honesty.
Also, did you know that Full Sail University is both an online university AND a scam? I know; I am shocked as well.