Hey, there. Been a while. Things get crazy sometimes, but don’t fret. I’m back. Feel free to commence adoring me again.
Isn’t it weird that we’ll push our television and movie technology to absurd levels of “improvement” while we’re still debating whether or not we should burn oil and coal to power our world? We’ll rush out to buy the new I-phone 4, which is only a marginal improvement on an already perfectly good product, but we refuse to buy more efficient cars. What’s the deal with that? Seriously, if we pushed our energy technology with the same mad zeal we did electronics, we’d probably all have flying cars that ran on toxic waste and produced clouds of anti-aging mutagens.
I don’t begrudge people their love of technology, but I do find it annoying that we’ll claw each other’s eyes out for the latest gizmo but are still perfectly content with 19th century energy technology. Damn it. This is the 21st century. We should have dilithium crystals by now. Or, if not that, at least be using mroe effective technology. There’s a car now that runs for 40 miles on electricity before requiring a gas motor to kick in. And we don’t want it. We’re too damn busy with our Ipads and 3D movies and non-flying cars.
It just cheeses me off.
Off my soap box now.
Saw Despicable Me this weekend, and I loved it. I know that it’s standard to say at this point that Pixar is the greatest thing to happen to animation since Steamboat Willie. And it’s true. But Pixar might have opened the door, but plenty of studios have walked through it at this point. Despicable Me is great fun with an original story, fun characters, and enough good humor and originality to make it a worthy entrant in modern animated films. I was surprised at how much I cared about the characters, but I did.
The only negative is the standard Everybody Dances ending. I don’t know why people keep doing this uninspired bit, but it really needs to go. Fortunately, I enjoyed the movie enough to overlook it, especially since it’s not too long.
But, really, Hollywood, if you happen to be reading this, KNOCK IT OFF! It’s just so . . . generic, and a truly uninteresting way to end a movie.
So I was perusing Amazon, and I think I’d really like more reviews for all my books. I can’t make you do it, of course, and I appreciate all your support, my lovely, intelligent, and sweet smelling fans. But if you happen to have a few minutes to kill, I wouldn’t mind if you dropped by Amazon and mentioned how brilliant I am.
Oh, and if you happen to hate the books (possible though unlikely if you’re taking the time to check me out) I understand if you want to write a negative review. I’m a grown up. I can take it. But can we break 100 reviews on Gil’s? Because that would be awesome.
Or not. I know you’re busy. I’ve only given you hours of amazing entertainment, and, sure, I got paid surprisingly well for it, but let’s just ignore that for a second. Pretend like I’m an insecure guy sitting on his couch, typing this out right now, begging for validation other than a sweet paycheck. Maybe it’s a bit mercennary, but the more reviews the better I look. And I think we can all agree making me look good is a wonderful thing.
Meanwhile, what else is there to say? I still love Monsterpocalypse. I still love robots of all sizes. I’m still playing World of Warcraft. I’m thinking about checking out the DC Universe Online game when it comes out, but I remain undecided right now.
Oh, and speaking of DC Comics, I’ve had it with the Superman VS. Batman debate. They’re both great characters. We are allowed to like both. On the same note, can we put aside the console wars? Wii, PS3, and Xbox are fine game systems with their own strengths and weaknesses. And I’m going to say that, on the subject of Batman, I’m on record as saying I like Batman: The Animated Series, The Batman, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Each showcases a different, wonderful aspect of the character and if you can’t appreciate that, you have only my pity and / or contempt. (Well, not really. They are just TV shows.)
Oh, and just to be controversial, let’s end on this. I’m not so sure that Harry Potter will be as timeless as people want it to be. I’m not criticizing the writing, plot, or characters. I’m just suggesting that it lacks the visual punch that science fiction needs to be timeless.
One of the things that makes the original Star Wars trilogy so great is the look of it. The Star Wars universe isn’t our universe. It doesn’t even really look like our universe. It’s filled with colorful characters and cool visuals. Harry Potter has some of this, but for the most part, it’s just humans walking around in frumpy robes.
To me, everything wonderful about Star Wars can be shown with that most wonderful character: ADMIRAL ACKBAR. Ackbar doesn’t have much of a part, not much screen time. But he does make every moment count. Not only does he look instantly distinctive, he has one of the most quoted lines of the film series.
“IT’S A TRAP!”
Granted, I really don’t know much about Harry Potter. I’m not as immersed in the fandom as many, but I’m hard pressed to know a Potter catch phrase or to know a character instantly by sight. The Potter characters are defined by their actors. If I see Daniel Radcliffe, I see Harry. But there’s little about Harry himself that is distinctive. He has his glasses and his scar, so that’s not too bad. But Ron, Hermoine, Snape, and Dumbledore are more identified with their actors than anything uniquely obvious about them.
In comparison to a character like Batman, who can be played by a wide range of actors because the cape, the cowl, the logo all say THIS IS BATMAN! Same goes for Superman’s red and blue underwear. And Admiral Ackbar’s white jumpsuit and giant red squid face.
These characters transcend the actors who play them. Everyone knows Harrison Ford is Han Solo, but if you put on black pants, a white shirt, and a black vest, everyone will know who you are, even if you look nothing like Ford. But if you’re wearing generic Potter wizard robes, they might know what you’re emulating, but they won’t necessarily know who you are.
There’s a reason people tend to think of Luke as in his pajamas or Princess Leia’s cinnamon roll hair. And Darth Vader is an icon for a reason.
Potter has elements of this. Hagrid is fairly distinctive, as is Dumbledore. Although both require copious amounts of facial hair to pull off, which makes it a bit tricky to cosplay unless you happen to already be hirstute.
Don’t mistake me here. I’m not saying I know Harry Potter‘s eventual place in pop culture. Who does? One of the things I’ve learned is that guessing at pop culture in the future is a sure way to be wrong. And I’ll say Potter’s cast is more interesting and varied than Twilight’s generic pale, non-smiling vampire teens and dark, non-smiling werewolf teens. (ASIDE: Have you been to Burger King lately? If you can tell one blandly attractive sallow teen from another, you have a better eye than I do.)
So relax, Potter fans. I’m not bashing your passion. Different strokes for different folks, and I certainly can’t argue with success. And, yes, Twilight fans, I am sort of basthing your passion because I really don’t like Twilight for all the standard sociological reasons that have been discussed elsewhere. But that’s just my opinion. I don’t fault yours, even though I am famous and thus, my opinion is more important and valid than yours.
It’s a burden I bear with distinction and grace because somebody has to.
Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,