Jun. 16th, 2008 07:13 pm
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It has been brought to my attention that some of my friends are wrongheads on the matter of M. Night Shyamalan's films. Hence:

[Poll #1205761]

EDIT: Martin has the summary poll.
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A Serenity filter.

I'll start: Book got completely screwed, didn't he?


Aug. 24th, 2005 11:54 pm
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I'm on my way home from a preview screening of Serenity, which was followed by a Q&A with Summer Glau and Joss Whedon.

Three words (for now), just in case anyone had doubts: it is good.
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The Guardian Guide reviews Primer:
If the term science fiction didn't conjure images of overblown special effects and alien make-up, it would be the perfect description for this: a gripping, low-budget thriller with lots of science. The premise is nothing new (two guys invent a time machine) but this feels like a film that doesn't know anyone's watching it. The performances are casual, the drama unforced and the exposition minimal. The latter makes things mighty confusing - you could well have to watch it twice, or take notes.
Much better is Peter Bradshaw's full review:
Primer really does spread a radioactive creepiness around its subject, simply by treating it as an everyday conspiracy thriller, and this radioactivity pours relentlessly from the screen. Like its characters, this film is very, very ambitious and rather mad. Yet how much more interesting than the usual low-IQ product elsewhere. It's an exhilarating, disturbing and funny experience.
It is showing at a limited number of cinemas in London. You should see it if you can.
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Tom requested a poll on the philosophy of The Incredibles. But, given that I'm me and not him, I'm going to preface his simple enquiry with a whole load of other quotes and questions.

Exhibit A:
The superhero was dreamt up by Nietzsche during the 1880s, and has been summoning humanity to transcend itself ever since. Does Mr Incredible's renunciation mean that the superman has finally despaired of the midget, puling race he was meant to lead onwards and upwards?

Exhibit B:
Is Dash, the supersonic third-grader forbidden from racing on the track team, a gifted child held back by the educational philosophy that "everybody is special"? Or is he an overprivileged elitist being forced to take into account the feelings of others?

Is his father, Mr. Incredible, who complains that the schools "keep inventing new ways to celebrate mediocrity," a visionary reformer committed to pushing children to excel? Or is he a reactionary in red tights who's been reading too much Nietzsche and Ayn Rand?

Is Syndrome, the geek villain trying to kill the superheroes, an angry Marxist determined to quash individuality? Or is his plan to give everyone artificial superpowers an uplifting version of "cooperative learning" in an "inclusion classroom"?

Exhibit C:
Who would have thought that an animated film would finally touch a nerve, putting egalitarians on the defensive? That is the achievement of Pixar Studio's new hit, The Incredibles, the story of a family of superheroes who struggle against the reign of mediocrity and finally break free to excel. Along the way it skewers the dumbing down of schools, the mantra that everyone is special, and the laws that give losers special status as victims.

Exhibit D:
The movie does come to some interesting philosophical conclusions, not least among them the way it advocates full-on Nietzschean ethics. The "Supers" -- literal Ubermensch -- are the strong, endowed with special gifts that place them beyond the range of normal men. The Supers also possess unimpeachably noble spirits, just as Nietzsche described. While competing amongst themselves to be the finest hero, they devote themselves and their gifts entirely to protecting the weak from themselves.

And, as mentioned in my earlier post, the Guardian has a roundup of comment here.

[Poll #399598]

Note that if you answer 'other' to question three, you should explain that in the comments, too. Myself, I'm undecided. So, convince me, one way or the other!

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