A sleepy California town is enclosed in a mysterious barrier at the same instant that, pop! Everyone over the age of 14 vanishes. And some kids get psychic powers. (Actually, some got their powers several months before the pop - no word yet on why.) And animals mutate.

Flying rattlesnakes! Talking coyotes! Kids running around with tentacle arms and telekinesis!

This would be utterly and completely up my alley... except for the non-existent characterization.

The characters are either good kids trying to do right, with maybe one or two other traits, like "leadership abilities" or "bulimic," or complete psychopaths, with maybe one or two other traits like "intelligent" or "seductive." Speaking of which, I don't love the stock character of the sociopathic manipulative seductress in general, but it is about 500% more skeevy when she's fourteen.

Cool mutant animals. Cool mutant powers. But, alas, I didn't care about any of it.

I also disliked the disjunct between the flat emotional tone (probably due to the paper-thin characterization) and the amount of horrific stuff happening to children, and by that I mean kids way younger than 14.

Spoiler for child harm.

Read more... )

Also could have benefited from characters I cared about. And less retro gender roles. Girls run the daycare and infirmary, boys run law enforcement and government.

There are three girls with powers that could be used in a fight. Two are not introduced till near the end, and the third dies on the same page she's introduced. The main boys' powers are very strong telekinesis, super-strength, laser beams, teleportation, monster-type physical alterations accompanied by super-strength, and altering reality. The main girls' powers are healing, sensing how powerful other mutants are, and sensing how awesome the hero is.

I am not kidding about the last one. Astrid, the love interest, has the power to sense how awesome people are. She's not sure what this literally corresponds to, except that it doesn't seem to just be about who has the most bad-ass power. (The latter is a power another girl has.) But she assures the hero that her mutant power has detected that he is objectively the most important person she has ever met.

A really fun premise and some intriguing mysteries, but not enough to make me continue the series.

Gone
rachelmanija: (Princess Bride: Let me sum up)
( Jul. 6th, 2009 11:08 am)
Not the Ben Affleck Armageddon, the Andy Lau Armageddon.

A disjointed, over-stuffed, intermittently coherent movie (or possibly several movies jammed together) made watchable and, if in company, extremely amusing, by the presence of the gorgeous Andy Lau and by its high WTF quotient.

I began watching this by myself. In the first two minutes, a priest spontaneously combusts. Then it cuts to sad computer scientist Andy Lau, moping adorably on his yacht. One of the very best features of this film was Andy Lau curled up sadly in chairs, sofas, etc. Oyce and I kept wanting to hug and cuddle him.

And then something happened that made me fall off my sofa laughing hysterically. I stopped the film, deciding that I needed to watch it with Oyce to watch her reaction to this.

Dehydrated humans can be reconstituted -- just add water! )

Armageddon
Note to helpful commenters: Please at least attempt to explain what is incomprehensible, even in brief (I realize this is inherently difficult.) For example, "I understood it until Dave turned into a giant space fetus, unless that was supposed to be metaphorical."

If the series/movie/whatever is still running or is very recent (like Tsubasa) please black out or rot13 spoilers! (Go to rot13.com to encrypt and decrypt, it's easy.)

I did not find Angel Sanctuary that hard to follow once I got past the first few volumes. On the other hand I am still not sure what what happened to God, Lucifer, or the flying cannibal angel embryo armada, so I think it qualifies. It was probably just comprehensible in comparison to, say, Fairy Cube.

I still have no idea what happened at the end of Akira, except that I think it involved destroying Tokyo.

My further nominees: The Quiet Earth: A mysterious event leaves Earth depopulated except for three people. I am not sure what happened at the end or why, but it's possible that one of the men was mysteriously whisked to a moon of Jupiter.

Was Altered States the movie in which William Hurt watches a trippy light show for twenty minutes, then turns into a chimpanzee?
Most Gratuitously Depressing Novel (involving an apocalypse)

I Who Have Never Known Men, by Jacqueline Harpman )

Most Gratuitously Depressing Novel (not involving an apocalypse)

Out of the Dust, by Karen Hesse )
Most Gratuitously Depressing Short Fiction (involving an apocalypse)

Most Gratuitously Depressing Short Fiction (not involving an apocalypse)

A Touch of Lavender, by Megan Lindholm, and The Necklace, by Guy de Maupassant )
Most Gratuitously Depressing Dramatic Work (involving an apocalypse)

Wolf's Rain )
Most Gratuitously Depressing Dramatic Work (not involving an apocalypse)

In the Company of Men )
I put off watching the last four episodes (27-30), the ones released to video after the totally inconclusive "conclusion," because I was worried that there was no Paradise and everyone would die in despair and it would depress me. I finally watched them last night. Um. I don't think it's a big spoiler to say that I was confused.

No comments in the body of the post as to whether or not there was death, despair, or Paradise, but if anyone has seen those episodes... do you have any idea what actually happened? I'm referring to the events in the very last episode; it seemed fairly straightforward up until that point. In particular, what the hell was the last three minutes or so supposed to imply?

Spoilers in comments, if anyone comments.
I started printing my memoir last night. I continued at 8:00 am today. I'm still printing the thing. With my advance check I will buy a new printer that isn't slow, evil, and insane. You don't want to know.

Since I'm stuck here apparently indefinitely, I will amuse myself by reprinting my thoughts on this o/v/e/r/r/a/t/e/d controversial anime series.

First report, from about half-way through the show:

As most of you probably know already, the Earth is under attack by giant things called angels, which look like robots, but later developments suggest that they're living, presumably bioengineered things. The first two attacks killed half the population; fourteen years later, everyone's hunkered down in fortified cities.

The only defense against the angels is the Evas-- giant robots (three so far) which can only be piloted by certain kids born nine months after the first attack. The kids are Shinji, a passive boy who's understandably depressed because his asshole father, who runs the program, doesn't love him; Rei, a girl who I suspect is either a clone or an android, because she has no past, no emotions, and no personality; and Asuka, another girl who's an annoying brat.

Despite the almost complete lack of likable characters, the story is gripping enough to keep me watching. Actually, the story per se is only so-so, but the hints of a larger plot occurring out of sight are quite intriguing: What are the angels and what do they want? Is someone sending them? Are the Evas based on angel technology? Are the Evas alive? What's so special about the kid pilots? Who or what is Rei? Is Shinji's horrible father plotting the end of the world, and why? Etc.

It's not uncommon in sf for the background to be more interesting than the foreground, but this show is a particularly notable case.

That being said, and admitting that I'll watch to the end to see how it comes out, I have to ask: what is it that's so special about this show, again?

It's supposed to be a dark, intense classic, but so far it hasn't been all that dark and intense-- angsty, yes, but not as much as a bunch of the other shows I've checked out-- and nowhere near as intense as its obvious comparison, that other story of kids fighting a war against aliens because their abusive-parents-by-proxy don't want to get their hands dirty, Ender's Game.

The animation is OK, nothing more, though some of the character, angel, and Eva designs are pretty good.

The weirdness quotient, so far, is pretty low. Actually, it's nil except for the strange use of Christian imagery and the presence of a penguin (the obligatory cute animal, here totally out of place).

Second report, of the complete show:

At about the halfway mark, the series switched from a somewhat generic sf show about angsty kids piloting giant robots called evangelions for an organization called NERV to save their post-apocalyptic world from invaders to a really interesting and weird sf show in which all the elements noted above are called into doubt, and Christian imagery begins to run amok.

Huge spoilers, including details of the worst ending of anything ever.

Read more... )
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