Welcome to Planet Freyja

17 Aug

Soooo…. I’m moving all my film and television posts to this site. Because… well… this column has long needed a theme and has suffered for it. I have a difficult enough time thinking of random interesting things to say about stuff for my own blog. I do best when I’ve a central theme to work with. So… Feminism, Science Fiction, and Fantasy Media it is. I don’t feel comfortable discussing fiction because I’m an author, and that brings up conflict of interest issues at once. Films and television? I can talk about those and feel relatively comfortable. So, that’s what I’ll do. I want to go all the way back to some classic films that maybe y’all haven’t seen or thought about in a while. I also want to talk about recent films as well. Hopefully, it’ll be interesting. The ‘title’ is a riff off of a Bloom County cartoon. I like that Freyja is a goddess of love and war which warps the original sexist concept into a nice knot. That said, here goes…

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First, I’ve a post about Starz’s Outlander series here. Starz has made the first episode available for free for a short time. So far, they’ve done a great job of adapting the novel. I recommend seeing it. One thing I will say about it that I did not on my blog (at least not on that post) is that I very much like that Claire is of the 1940s. She’s not a woman of the 2000s stuffed in a 1940s world. I also very much like that Jamie isn’t a man of the 2000s stuffed in the 1700s. Gabaldon did her research from what I can tell, and she doesn’t pull punches in Outlander. I hate it when authors decide to rewrite history in order to make it more palatable. At the same exact time I hate it when history is used to say that previous to 1960, all men were sexist barbarian assholes (thank you HBO’s A Game of Thrones). Although some would argue the point with me, I always felt like Diana Gabaldon did a good job of walking that line. I give the first episode five out of five stars.

Lucy (2014)

Second, my husband and I went to see Lucy in the theater today. Here’s the preview. First, Luc Besson gets my theater dollar because he’s done things like La Femme Nikita, Leon the Professional, and The Fifth Element. He’s willing to make female characters into more than pretty background images. He takes risks. Even though I’m not always comfortable with what he does, I like that he tries. He gives women bigger roles in his films, too. They’re people not props.

Now, I will say up front that I’m aware that the “human beings only access 10% of their brains” schtick is bullshit. We actually do use 100% of our brains. Brain science is actually pretty fascinating, and I recommend reading about it. Anyway, understand up front that the film’s premise is flawed and silly. Still, it’s fun. So, we have Lucy, an American college student living in Taiwan who has been dating a complete asshole for a week. Clearly she doesn’t know him very well. I like that she attempts to stand up for herself when he tries to weasel her into taking a briefcase filled with “paperwork” to some guy named Mr. Jang. The deal is obviously sketchy. Richard (asshole boyfriend) is frightened of going inside. Lucy is smart enough to twig to the fact that something is very wrong. His reaction to her rejection is to snap the handcuff attached to the case to her wrist and claim to not have the key. It is right there that she does something I wouldn’t have. She opts to go through with the deal for Asshole. Me? I’d have said, “Gee, Richard-Dick. We just broke up. You are an EX boyfriend. I don’t care that this means you’ll soon have much in common with the Ex-parrot in the Monty Python sketch. You’re willing to sacrifice my life for yours? Goodbye.” Then I’d have taken the case to the nearest locksmith, had it removed,  dumped it on the nearest police station doorstep and had a nice life anywhere else. The End. But hey, Lucy has “nice girl” syndrome, she’s young, and Richard-Dick Asshole™  is her boyfriend. I’ve dated my share of assholes. I get why she’d do this. It makes sense. Soooo… Mr. Jang turns out to be a super evil drug dealer who has a new drug — a synthetic form of CPH4[1] that he’s decided to ship to Europe and the US via surgically packed drug mules. It’s at this point I can’t decide whether she’s been kidnapped by an evil cab driver and his buddies with a slave-prostitute gig on the side, or Mr. Jang’s thugs are idiots. I decided to go with the former rather than the latter. Long story short, Lucy is beaten. The drug envelope inside her body is ruptured. The drug is released into her system “and then things go horribly awry,” as a friend of mine is fond of saying.

Yes. Yes. There are all sorts of things wrong with the film. However, the visual effects, cinematography, Scarlett Johansson, and Morgan Freeman aren’t any of them. Also? I liked how Lucy’s character was handled. I love that Morgan Freeman wasn’t killed. So, turn off your brain. Have some fun. Things go boom. There’s a mighty fine car chase scene. I like those. It’s not the best written SF flick ever, but it isn’t the worst by any means. I keep wondering that if the main character was male, there would be as much push back as there is. You know what? If you’re okay with a freaking talking racoon armed with a bazooka, you’ll be just fine with this film.

I give it three out of five stars.

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[1] A growth hormone produced in pregnant women that boosts fetus growth. Personally, I don’t understand why one would decide to base the next best-ever street drug on growth hormones. It doesn’t seem like the best place to start, but whatever. I decided to replace the silly science with “magic drug that does things the creator is totally unaware of because drug dealer and didn’t test it.” I see these things as faults in the writer’s handwavium skills.

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