Happy? Index 1.30

My view of the second quarter of 2012.

A tough last few months that has seen my working life turn into an absolute grinding bore. Luckily I have been entertained elsewhere;

  • Sites in my reader: No real change. One site added to my feed reader – Arbitrary Genius – welcome back Bex!
  • Magazine subscriptions: No change. Plenty of catching up to do here.
  • Movies watched: 19. The Avengers and Prometheus both viewed at the cinema and both impressed but for different reasons. I’m using Letterboxd – now in open beta – to record all my movie watching and if anyone needs an invite then I still have a few spare.
  • Comic books: Finished volume 7 of The Walking Dead which seemed to spend the time building up to the confrontation at the end. Both volume 6 and 7 have been above average reads. The prison setting seems to have stifled the group and how they are becoming a little too comfortable is clear. The mantra should be that there’s no safe haven no mater where you look. I do have volume 8 waiting for me and the first volume of American Vampire in the post. I’m also planning a visit to GOSH! Comics very soon, as I haven’t seen the Soho store yet. From there I’ll be looking to sort out my subs but can imagine I’ll be going graphic novel only from here on in.
  • Books read: zilch.
  • Music: No further gigs to talk of but a couple of CD purchases worth mentioning. A new Smashing Pumpkins album – Oceania – and the Silversun Pickups with their best so far with Neck of the Woods. Compared with the last few years this must be the most CDs I’ve paid for and enjoyed. I hope the trend continues throughout 2012.
  • TV: The second season of The Walking Dead started slowly but picks up well towards the excellently devised 7th episode of the season, Pretty Much Dead Already. Although themes are similar between the TV show and comic book, I’m trying hard not to compare the two. One is based on the other but what will be interesting is if they begin to take queues from each other.
  • Gaming: Completed the second episode of The Walking Dead – Starved for Help. Excellent again from Telltale Games and although it doesn’t fulfil all my gaming desire, it’s the only game I’ve really been hooked into. Both Diablo 3 and Max Payne 3 remain unfinished and underplayed. I can’t see myself pre-ordering many big AAA titles this year. Firstly the factor of cost puts me off but also how disappointed I have been with a number of major titles of late. Max Payne 3 hasn’t helped dissuade me from this view either.

Created in thy image

These are my thoughts on Ridley Scott’s movie Prometheus which is set in the same universe as Alien, a movie he directed over 30 years ago. Be warned – there be spoilers ahead.

Movies that make you think? Sadly modern movie-making is almost exclusively in the hands of those that feel a blockbuster experience shouldn’t be allowed room for a free-thinking audience. It’s all about those bums on seats. So when a movie like Prometheus comes along, I have to go see it on the big screen. And so I did.

Things I liked, on reflection, about Prometheus? The movies ambition; the themes of faith and scientific discovery and the idea of big things come from small beginnings. I also like that the movie didn’t try to recapture the tension of the original Alien movie. I believe it would have been a waste of time to sit through another ‘Alien’ experience. Those who wanted Ridley Scott to right the wrongs, of the lesser movies in the franchise, by making such a movie obviously don’t think outside the box much.

The other theme I believe should get more of a mention is the subject of female infertility. It’s a topic that is very rarely broached in movies but has to be one of the most important subjects in any woman’s lifetime. The ability to reproduce is often taken for granted and for a woman not to have the option to carry a new life to term needs far more understanding and compassion than you can ever imagine.

Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw represents a strong female role-model that has to struggle with, not only her faith, but that she will never have the experience of giving birth to children of her own. My hope for any sequel of Prometheus will be that Ridley Scott develops Elizabeth Shaw’s struggle with both her faith and her own infertility. I believe – hinted at during the scene where David is watching the dreams of Shaw – that there could be a rich character there in Elizabeth Shaw. Her continued involvement and relationship with David in future movies could also be very engaging.

Much has been made of the weak script and, bar Rapace and Fassbender, the characterisation is rather poor. I agree to a point but a longer movie – Ridley’s first cut was 2hrs 27mins – and maybe a directors cut could reintroduce some of what is missing from the movies shallow points. I’m not saying it would improve the overall experience but it could make the experience a little fuller with regards to the characters of the supporting cast.

If my recommendation means anything, then I highly suggest you go see it before you listen to others make up your mind for you.

Sanctuary within the story

I know when I’m not well. I’ve learnt to take heed of the subtle symptoms that creep up and snatch away my time. When I can’t enjoy a story and be enveloped in its drama, that’s when I know things are going bad. Luckily this is not a situation I have had to deal with for at least a year. I have a muzzle on that black dog.

The kryptonite I use is a good bit of storytelling with a splash or two of interaction. If I get a good dose of those elements inside a month then I llegitimi non carborundum. If I fail to escape reality within a calendar month, either I’m dead or I know my head is in the wrong place. If I’m not careful, the heart could indeed follow.

I say playtime is not just for children. We force children into being adults BUT how dare we allow adults to still pursue childish things? Adults love pretending to be all ‘grown-up’ but hate to admit to themselves that they’d rather be anything but. We are organic, not robotic. If I need to run the gauntlet of Mass Effect 2 – which I did throughout February – then blow me, I will! Role-playing a character in a videogame is essential to me, like going to watch a band like Fugazi was to me in the ’90s or in a future-proof kinda way when I get to see a movie like Prometheus. That’s right you gotta future-proof your well-being. Stop them dogs well before the gate.

When my Dad died at the young age of 62, I promised myself I wouldn’t fall down the same traps that he did. As time has passed, that promise has been harder to keep. Other ‘adults’ like to reinforce their own fractured belief system by forcing it to fit mine. We are not a hive mind fuckers! We are not the Geth! We don’t fit, fine. Get over yourselves already!

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