Stardust -or- Stories Need Plot and Other Exciting Revelations

Okay, so this is sorted under my movies category, but I’m mostly going to be talking about the book, Stardust, by Neil Gaiman. Now, I’ve read very little Gaiman–I’ve read Stardust, American Gods, and his collaborative work with Terry Pratchett Good Omens–so I won’t  claim to be a scholar of his particular narrative technique, but I do know good storytelling when I see it, and while Stardust the book is imaginative and describes a rich and interesting world, it forgot the part where things need to happen.

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Speed Racer -or- In Defense of Fun

Here there be spoilers. You don’t get any fancy pictures with funny captions today, mis amigos, because copyright laws. Write your congressperson.

Speed Racer–the 2008 film by Matrix creators the Wachowskis–is by no means a “good” movie, in any traditional sense. It isn’t shot especially well (most of the CGI scenes are excessively cartoony and poorly-meshed with the actual actors), it isn’t particularly clever (barring what was at the time of first viewing a hilarious line by Christina Ricci regarding ninjas), and its message is a little shoehorned-in at the last moment. Its time-jumping storytelling and somewhat economically convoluted plot by the main antagonist (played by a wonderfully campy Roger Allam) make following the conflict in the story too difficult for a younger audience and too boring for an older audience. It isn’t really written with the fan of the original series in mind–and a good thing too, since I’ve never finished more than one episode–and since nobody talks faster than their lips move it isn’t relevant even to its own influences on popular culture. The acting is generally good, except that Emile Hirsch (who is, by the way, a good actor; he was certainly the best part of The Darkest Hour) delivers his lines as if half-asleep (technically canon; it’s how he starts the storyline proper). Continue reading