What'cha Watching? (TV or Film)

Having seen The Matrix: Resurrections about an hour and a half ago… I’m definitely a lot more positively disposed towards it than half the professional reviewers seem to be. The script gets away with several not-even-really-hidden take-thats and political comments (I feel like no-one has talked about the “Zion failed because it was all about ‘us’ versus ‘them’” discussion, which is transparently a comment about Israel as well as anything else) which you wouldn’t think Warner Bros would have wanted in their blockbuster movie, and it’s actually a well-constructed narrative in its own right.
I agree with Jimbot that it does feel like the only thing that really lets it down are some of the action sequences, which feel a bit lacklustre in places. (I’m pretty sure, as they are, that this must be budget + covid).
Oh, and there’s the weird Merovingian insert, where he just rants about social media from the sidelines.

Edited to add: Also also, apparently it’s Lana Wachowski who’s the one who likes romance shown by a couple flying together in the closing scene - the final sequence is very reminiscent of the end of Jupiter Ascending to me…

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Honestly I just thought Trinity getting powers was Lana saying “How the heck did we not give Carrie-Anne Moss superpowers?” and then doing something about it but I’m glad she’s a sappy romantic like me too

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I mean, sure, that’s the first flying scene, I agree, along with a bit of reification of the moral that being The One is something that could happen to anyone (as Smith notes), with the correct experiences and impetus - Trinity, of course, being in the best position to make that final leap than anyone else.
The second brief flying scene feels very “lets have two people flying together representing empowered love”… just as it’s used at the end of Jupiter Ascending.

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Yeah I just loved the movie with the same action scene caveat. Another nice. Zion touch, the name of the new city is ‘io’, both the core of ‘Zion’ and a reference to the machine city 01, (I thiiiink the next part of a binary code sequence?). Oh also I love that after the waypoint podcast we got both a city with an understandable layout and establishing shot AND a literal coffee shop AU. I’m not sure what exactly made go down this line of thought after the movie, though probably it’s deconstruction of the ‘The One’ narrative, but I realized the Oracles prophecy for Trinity can be interpreted differently and still totally work, she doesn’t fall for Neo because he is the one, he becomes the one because she falls in love with him.

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Yeah, Matrix Resurrections ruled. It’s not an absolute revelation like the first one was, but unlike the earlier sequels there was no part where I thought to myself, “Eh, I could do with a little less of this.” Just a really damned good time throughout.

Also, Boomer Merv made both me and my partner LOLIRL. Does it have anything to do with anything? No, of course not. But it feels right.

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Watched The Seventh Seal

The Black Death seemed like a vibe-killer, not gonna lie. Seems like it was very not fun to live around that time. Hell of a film though

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So, I started randomly watching Netflix series over the winter break, and semi-unexpectedly (I mean, I watched the first episode because I remember the positive comments from a few communities I’m adjacent to) ended up watching all 5 seasons of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Which is, as an aside, weirdly mis-named, since She-Ra remains the “princess of power” with other princesses having their own specific specialisms as in the original 80s series… I know they’re going for a more equal billing for everyone, but it ends up being a bit of an artifact title.

I find it hard to estimate what age group She-Ra is aimed at - I’m guessing, what, teens, given the approximate ages of the principal characters?* - but, especially once it gets going after Season 1, it’s considerably better written than anything that was around when I was that age. (It also goes for some genuine horror moments - again, buffered a bit by the art style - especially in Seasons 4 and 5, which I don’t think would have been allowed for a non-adults show back in the day.)

What’s also interesting to me, having seen the entire thing now, is how determined the show is to give everyone, pretty much, a “happy ending” - and to show that even the “villains” are nuanced to some extent. I’m not sure this always works - from a morality perspective: given what Hordak was up to over the first 4 seasons [and presumably, for a decade and a half previously, in setting], he seems to get off quite lightly with a “well, his creator was even worse, and now he’s sorry?” excuse, having put in very little of the efforts that the other “pre-season 5” antagonists have to redeem himself; and the ending is super-keen on romantic pairings for the cast, which just doesn’t work for me with the Bow/Glimmer thing. You can actually have valuable non-romantic close friendships, you know, even with people of the genders you’re romantically attracted to (and it’s equally important to show that this is possible to young people as much as it is important to show that all kinds of romantic pairings are also okay).

But! I actually enjoyed a good 90% of the entire series, which is pretty impressive. There’s a surprising amount of relatively deep commentary on the kind of issues - colonialism, rights, depression, and so on - that some shows for adults don’t manage. And there’s also some nice attention-to-detail, especially in the later seasons (the title sequence changes every few episodes throughout Season 5 to reflect changes in the story). Plus I actually really like both the Sword-mediated and “natural” She-Ra “magical girl transformation sequences” (which they definitely are more like now, than the original series’ lower-budget sparkles).

*the art style makes it genuinely hard to tell how old especially the adult characters are - apparently Entrapta’s supposed to be possibly as old as 35 according the the writers… - without them actually saying so. But apparently Adora and Catra were considered old enough to actually lead troops in Season 1, so they can’t reasonably be assumed to be younger than 16 or so, even in the kind of militaristic culture that the Horde represents.

I decided to check out Peacemaker. Basically I’d say if you liked James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad* then you’ll probably like this, but I know his style can be kinda marmite (I generally love his stuff, and while The Suicide Squad wasn’t my favourite of his, it’s up there). Great cast (hello, Danielle Brooks and Robert Patrick). I described it to a friend as “what if The Boys was really dumb”, and yes, we both appreciated that The Boys is already pretty dumb.

*Minor note that the opening recap says “Previously, on The Suicide Squad” and proceeds to recap the entire movie, so uh, watch them in the right order I guess?

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Watched Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy this morning, that was a fascinating watch, a new favorite for sure.

The end point of espionage, after all the glory and heroism. Bored and paranoid sociopaths embedded deep in an inscrutable maze of torture and murder. “It was an aesthetic choice, as much as a moral one. The west has grown so very ugly… Don’t you think?”

Studio ZA/UM should be tapped to make a George Smiley game, I’d play the hell out of that

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