Is Zack Snyder’s Justice League about nothing?

A four hour movie about fighting invading hordes can obviously not be about nothing. It has a very basic plot that we can all follow. Famously, only Ghostbusters is a movie about nothing. It has a plot, but it is thematically empty. Even the most cookie-cutter Hollywood movie gives someone, somewhere, something. I find meaning in most of them, I freely admit. Art is subjective, yada, yada. So I was surprised to find myself at an absolute loss after four hours of punching aliens. I love watching aliens getting punched, I even like it in Man of Steel, but this left me empty. What is Zack Snyder’s Justice League about?

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Norwegian Connections in Frozen

Frozen-movie-posterI have finally watched Frozen, and as a Norwegian I had a pretty great time finding some of the Norwegian elements in the film. The tourist website, Visit Norway is already using the film to do a bit of promotion. There is no doubt the film has a lot of Scandinavian elements, and I thought I’d catalogue just a few details I caught on my first viewing.

First a short review (spoilers):

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The Case of the Loneliest Holmes


Before Sherlock proved that the iconic character could survive anything, even Moffat, I wasn’t sure Sherlock had a place in modern television. Then came Sherlock, and everything changed. I saw Sherlock Holmes (2009) next, and then came the second TV-show,  Elementary,  and I loved that too. As the reviews and fandoms grew and evolved, it became clear that the BBC’s  Sherlock was of superior quality, Elementary was always underrated, and the movie Sherlock Holmes was fun and all, but not really in the same league.

My case is this: Robert Downey Jr.’s version of Sherlock Holmes (RDJ!Sherlock) is the loneliest, and in many ways the most tragic, of all three new Sherlocks. This observation was confirmed to me after watching the season finale of Sherlock, season 3. Do please comment if you disagree, or want to add anything to the discussion. There is really no point to all this, other than I found this to be just the right thing to do when bored and sick. Ignore this and wait for next week’s review of The Wolf of Wall Street, if you like.

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Finally, The Desolation of Smaug

If you’re not a fan of the first film, don’t bother with this one. If you liked the first one with a “meh”, then don’t bother with this one, or at least lower your expectations. If you absolutely adored the first one, you obviously are going to see this one, and you understand that this is the second part of a trilogy that is going to be epic. Book-purists can go make their own movie and stop crapping on this one.

There, easiest review ever. Beyond this point are my thoughts. Again, if you have no interest, why bother? SPOILERS beyond this point.

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Favourite Movie Scores for Studying

With the semester almost over and no more radio shows until next year, my time with movies mostly consists of listening to them while I read. So, to procrastinate a bit more productively, I thought I’d share my favourite movie scores for studying. Of course, there are other scores I like when I’m not studying that are a bit more upbeat. You won’t find the theme to Indiana Jones or Star Wars here. Anything by Howard Shore is also a given, and not mentioned below.

In no particular order, here are my go-to original scores for studying.

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Quick Day of the Doctor Review


So far the reactions to the Doctor Who reviewers I follow have been over-the-moon positive, and I have to admit I am right there with them. The Day of the Doctor was all we dreamt it could be. I am still in a bit of a shock that they had the balls to just go all out, and give us something that not only changed canon, but also fixed problems we’ve been dealing with since the reboot.

I’m not going to go into what was fixed and what was introduced, except to say that Moffat was lying when he said John Hurt’s Doctor wouldn’t ruin the counting. The counting isn’t technically used “in series”, though I do believe Matt Smith’s Doctor refers to himself as number eleven at some point. From now on, however, it seems he is Twelve, and come Christmas Capaldi is number Thirteen. I could not be happier with this. I know, “Ten-nant” fans might be annoyed they have to change their tags, but we will hopefully get a huge story-arch next season because of this. With Thirteen’s search for Gallifrey, he has to be searching for another set of regenerations. That ticking clock is going to create a lot of tension!

The second big thing I loved was the writing. Every line fell into place, every reference slipped in perfectly without drawing attention to itself, and every relationship was spot-on. John Hurt and Bad Wolf-Rose! Billie Piper absolutely nailed it, even next to a giant of acting like John Hurt.

I could go on and on. The story! So straight-forward (for Doctor Who) with not a single Moffat-twist in sight. The characters. Not a single misstep with any other them. And Tom Baker! The whole cinema gasped when they saw his face. It was amazing, and the implications of his cameo are very interesting. I’m sure there are going to be articles written about it.

I’m still so giddy, I wonder if I dare criticise any of it? There were a couple things I could have done with less of, to put it as mildly as I can. The editing during some of it was a bit much. I could have done without the constant slow cross-fades and the Doctor’s faces superimposed on war-torn Gallifrey. It wasn’t bad by any stretch, but after the first few cuts, it started getting annoying, especially with the 3D. I also wasn’t the biggest fan of Elizabeth I. She was fine, but just not to my taste and I didn’t find her funny. Quick side-note: how did the zygons mistake the real queen for their fake one? Was it not established that they kept their originals alive so they could continue to copy then? A real zygon would therefore not just kill their original, so wouldn’t they question her about that?

Despite these small issues, I am still in shock over how amazing everything was. Considering the time and effort I have wasted waiting for this day, the level of anticipation, and all our theories, it is truly a beautiful thing that the finished product met and exceeded our expectations.

Now, let’s start waiting for Christmas!

Why I Loved Man of Steel

I did an explanation post for The Hobbit back in January, and I enjoyed writing it so much I thought I might do something similar for all the big movies this summer – or at least those films I’ve had to defend the most to people.ManofSteel

Disclaimer: These posts do NOT mean I do not appreciate and agree with a lot of the criticisms and fan-feeling towards these films. They just an attempt to understand why I liked them so much more than I expected myself to. It’s not a defence, but an explanation.

So without further ado, here is why I loved Man of Steel. There will of course be spoilers!!

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Why I loved The Hobbit

the-hobbit-thorinOut of all the fandoms I belong to, I think I’m probably most geeky about Tolkien. At least I was back in my even more awkward than now teenage years. I could answer every question in my official Tolkien Quiz Book, and I wrote a grammar book for Elvish I would study in my spare moments.

I am therefore always excited when a new Tolkien film comes out. This time, however, I was much more weary than with the previous trilogy.

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Second Place in Scandinavian Film Championship: the best and the worst movies

I am a proud member of Team Trondheim, one of 18 teams that competed in the Scandinavian Film Championship last weekend, and well into this week. Despite serious misgivings on my part, we went all the way to the silver medal, though sadly we didn’t get an actual medal, just the well-deserved prize of sleep.

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Comments regarding the historical accuracy of Kon-Tiki

This is not a review! I just want to get a few points across about the issues regarding the historical accuracy of this movie.

First off: Explanations. Kon-Tiki (2012) is the dramatisation of the Kon-Tiki expedition by Thor Heyerdahl and his crew, where they drifted from Peru to a small island in the Pacific to prove the islanders had come from the east. It’s a very well-known expedition and Heyerdahl is considered one of the great Norwegian explorers. The movie was made with great Holloywood-esque effects and a big budget.

Second: The critique. Many people, the families of the expedition members included, have come out in the press to say how the movie simply ignores the facts. This is perfectly true; the real expedition went far more smoothly than- to us regular folks- seems believable. Also, the movie version of Heyerdahl’s second-in-command, Herman Watzinger, is a completely fictional creation. No one disputes this.

Third: My point(s). Having written a whole master thesis on whether or not movies can tell history, I have developed a compulsion to comment on issues like this. My main problem is the fact that some people seem so upset about it, and others have had to defend the film quite rigorously. So, I thought I might throw my two cents in.

The families do feel cheated, and I understand that. However, it is precisely because they comment and the press write about it, that a majority of the movie-goes are enlightened about the issues. No one involved in the movie is insisting they stuck to the facts. They weren’t trying to rewrite history, they were trying to make an entertaining movie. And thanks to the journalists, historians and families, the rest of us can go the cinema with a pinch of salt in our back-pocket and still enjoy an adventure.

Too often, writers deploring “bad history” on film give the audience too little credit. I constantly come across the movie Braveheart listed as one of the worst offenders, but I have yet to meet anyone who contends they know anything about Scottish history because they’ve watched Mel Gibson in a kilt.

I don’t want to give the audience too much credit, of course, as there is a very long way to go from 13th century Scotland to the Pacific Ocean in the 20th. The Kon-Tiki movie both suffers and is vindicated by this fact. Because the expedition happened relatively recently, we have all the facts, both in writing and on film, and we have family members to speak of the crew. Anyone can easily check these facts and so we can say the movie is wrong. At the same time this means the movie generates a lot of publicity and people are more aware of what type of history they are watching. We can read the articles, or the words of Heyerdahl himself, and enjoy the movie for what it is.

I, for one, am glad they didn’t spend all that money on two hours of guys sitting on a raft. It’s an incredible achievement, to be sure, but for that we have Heyerdahl’s own documentary. This was marketed as, and can not be taken for anything other than an adventure film. It could be argued they should have changed the names, but that’s too deep a discussion to get into now.

An Annoyed Droid.