Daily Archives: 15 October 2005

Serenity

Went to see this last week. While I would agree that it isn’t the best film ever, as a Whedon-head I did enjoy it enormously. It was certainly more on a par with Star Trek 2: the Wrath of Khan than Star Trek: Generations in terms of successful transition from goggle box to silver screen (personally I’ve never really enjoyed a Next Generation film, although I love the spin offs from the Original Series, even the bad ones).

One problem I found was however that most of the best Whedonisms in the dialogue had been put in the trailer, meaning that all the best lines tended to be underwhelming when they finally appeared in the film. This is a common mistake of film promoters. I seem to recall that they did this with Crocadile Dundee, the difference in that case being that the only half-decent bits were in the trailer (indeed, admitting that Crocadile Dundee had ANY redeeming features is likely to get my in trouble in some quarters. What can I say? I was young and I’m not saying it wasn’t shit overall!).

Read after here for minor spoilers… Continue reading Serenity

Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit (no spoilers)

…is excellent. Haven’t laughed so much in a film in ages.

I’m not one of thse anti-CGI doomsayers, but it has to be said that the craftsmanship in an animation such as this (which in fact did use CGI for one or two effects) is there for all to see. When you just have to use an algorithm to build a townscape or whatever, any in jokes you add will be an afterthought. If however, you have to painstakingly build every single house and shop front, you’re bound to add a whole extra level of detail.

So it was with this film. In all the action I only read one or two of the shop hoardings, but every one I did read was a bad pun. There’s a scene when Wallace skims his finger across the books on a shelf and the title of every single one is a bad cheese joke (“East of Edam”).

It’s one of those films you’ll be able to watch again and again, each time getting more detail.

Oh, and one last thing. One of the best jokes can be found right at the end of the titles. As someone who always watches the titles, it never ceases to amaze me how few people seem to be aware that film makers do this sort of thing all the time.

I wouldn’t join any cult that would have me as a member…

I got the latest issue of the British Humanist Association‘s newsletter in the post today. Weird, since I don’t recall asking for a copy. As a secularist and an atheist, I happen to also believe that data protection is a pretty important thing as well, so whoever decided to pass on my contact details, bad move pal. I very much hope it wasn’t the newly formed Liberal Democrat Humanist and Secularists Society, which I may or may not have contacted at some point (it certainly didn’t include a covering letter from them).

It’s a bizarre newsletter, and reads like a parish magazine. On the left hand column on page one, they’ve included a list of recent opinion polls that suggest that religion is a bit shit. One of the most spurious is a phone in poll of New Statesman readers, 96% of whom are against faith schools. Big surprise there then! Then there’s the frankly surreal article about a humanist families day out in York, where concerned humanist parents got to share horror stories about religious images and propaganda “even at toddler group.” For shame.

A few things really bugged me. For starters, why is “Humanism” presented as a proper noun? Another is a quote from a Concerned Parent about an RE lesson: “In his second RE lesson of the year the RE tacher wrote the word ‘Atheist’ on the board (I guess ‘Humanist’ is a bridge too far) as part of a questionaire about Year 6 children’s beliefs and values…” What the bloody hell is wrong with the term “atheist”?!

It all smacks me as a little cultish, and that’s coming from a subscriber to Liberal Democrat News (bdum, tshhh!). In fact, what it reminded me most of all was the stuff I read at university (doing my, um, religious studies degree), about Auguste Comte and his attempt to replace Christianity with Positivism, which to all intents and purposes resembled another religion. As an atheist, I don’t have any hole in my life that needs filling with something. I don’t need to give my lack of believe a sense of importance by capitalising the first letter in the term commonly used to describe it. All it is is a lack of belief, period.

One thing I never realised was that humanists, as part of their unceasing campaign against idolatry, seem to want to replace the Christian cross with a Humanist stick man, shaped like an H. The only problem with that symbol is it looks like the poor fellow is being tortured on a rack. It’s hardly a step on from crucifiction, is it?

Finally, they helpfully provided me with a flyer of Christmas, sorry, “Winterval” cards for me to send to friends and family. However, unlike the charity cards I usually buy (and always fail to send), the money raised from these cards appear to go towards enriching an individual. Perhaps they should call themselves Materialists, capital “M”?