I see that while I was away Mr. Catcher in the Rye J D Salinger entered the tall grass for the last time. As I predicted a year ago, when celebrating his 90th on this blog, that we'll see a lot of new material be published after his death; looks like it will be at least two novels and several collections of short stories. I have a feeling it might be a lot more than that. And can you imagine the attention if it includes continuing adventures of Holden Caulfield?
Having finally seen both Avatar and District 9 I was quite surprised how much they have in common. Both are about humans exploiting alien culture and their willingness to destroy that culture in the process. Both productions were heavily dependent on the talents of people under the employ of Peter Jackson. Both have climaxes involving walking power armour.
After that, though, they diverge radically.
One is a visually rich and intense cinematic experience that doesn't compromise storytelling and characterization while still staging complex and intricate action sequences, ramping up the tension while continuing to raise serious moral questions about human nature and how far we'd go for selfish dehumanising greed, all within a package of top notch special effects that integrate live action and computer animation flawlessly, creating a new sense of fantastical realism, and thus elevating the art of the cinema aesthetic and contributing to cinema art in general. The other film is Avatar.
Don't get me wrong, Avatar is a very pretty movie, one of the most handsomely produced ever and it's entertaining enough, well, for a kid's movie. And it is especially enhanced by the 3D experience, but it is ironic that District 9 is actually the 3 dimensional movie. Also I can't ignore the fact that District 9 cost one tenth of Avatar yet is ten times a better science fiction actioneer slash morality tale with far more convincing aliens and a heaps more interesting central protagonist (who must have come close to a Oscar nomination, but sadly missed out, like Sam Rockwell for his performance in the sublime Moon).
I am the master of reading the first few chapters of novels, so it was refreshing to have enough time to actually finish a book. In this case it was Nick Harkaway's The Gone-Away World, a post-apocalyptic adventure with nasty ninjas, enigmatic pirates, evil corporations and mutant monsters. Yes, it's a sci-fi martial arts epic extravaganza. Or so I thought, until I got to my first digression. Can't wait to get back to the action, you ask. Not when I realised the digressions are actually what are the soul and core of the novel. Harkaway's satirical wit and socio-political commentaries enrich this alchemical potboiler. It's like combining Terry Gilliam's Brazil and Jackie Chan's Drunken Master with Christopher Hitchens adding the footnotes. It's Thomas Pynchon doing Indiana Jones, Chuck Palahniuk doing Mad Max, Clive James doing Kickboxer. Very entertaining, insightful and, best of all, it is groovy and cool.
Well, now I get back to the regular blogging of snazzy, keen things. Plenty on my things to blog list; plenty of artists, writers, filmmakers to talk about before even thinking of anniversaries and historical landmarks in pop culture and the artistically neat. I will try to be a little more informal in my style, addressing some supportive criticism that I was a little too dry. And thanks for that support, including the majority of you who prefer commenting on my facebook.
Anyways, I'm back and lets get the show on the road for 2010.
And dugongs are very cool.