Friday, December 25, 2015

The new Star Wars is true to the series' B-movie spirit

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As one of a select minority of people who both enjoyed the Star Wars prequel trilogy and are unafraid to say so, I was ambivalent when it was announced that George Lucas had sold the series to Disney, who planned to finally continue the story with Episodes VII through IX (at least.) On the one hand, I thought it a shame that one of the few major creator-owned properties in film was no longer so, but yet another IP in the arsenal of a major megacorporation, and I was unsure how best to continue the story after both the Sith and the Empire were thoroughly defeated.

On the other hand, I like movies where spaceships explode and where people fight each other with laser swords, so, yes, I had to see it at least once.

The Force Awakens is also divided, telling a new story for a new generation while, at the same time, appeasing everyone who grew up on the originals and rejected the prequels with so much disdain that Lucas himself is now something of a pariah. The needs of nostalgia (and of the Disney corporation) do pull at this film, but there’s enough talent and genuine ingenuity at work for it to be a satisfying space opera in its own right. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Audio Locke & Key Is Potent Stuff, Worth Reopening a Blog For

 Free until Nov. 4!

American audio drama has been very slowly rebuilding itself ever since the massacre that was the coming of television, and over the past few years a critical mass has started to form. Locke & Key is an ambitious epic, a thirteen-hour-plus adaptation of Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez’s graphic novel featuring a massive cast and co-produced for Audible by Audio Comics and Final Rune productions. I haven’t actually read the graphic novel, so I’m forced to judge this entirely on its own merits. It can best be described as an adult take on a YA fantasy concept, using magic and the supernatural to tell the story of a family haunted by bad decisions made in the past and by the ones they keep making. Parts of it are whimsical, other parts are very sad, and the overall effect is very powerful indeed.