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“On Game of Thrones and Gritty Fantasy: Why does it sell?” by Clifton Hill (Veil of a Warrior)

13 May

Visceral, terrible, gut wrenching, laden with death and loss. Why does it sell? And why in the genre of luminescent fairy wings, immortal wizards, and chivalrous knights that cannot die? Why do we want to bring in the grime, the stink of malice and the cut of despair?

In an industry dominated by the One Ring and a boy wizard — where there was death and violence, but only to an extent — it seemed that Fantasy was a soft genre. There was the thrill of discovery, strange wondrous new lands…and magic! So what made The Game of Thrones rise so high?

Perhaps because it was more real. The setting is not one of wonder; it is one terrible and dirty — where people die. A world where a single man rules with the authority to kill on a word, where political factions scheme for power and survival:  the landscape of influence can change in a heartbeat. Continue reading


Diversity in SF Film: Things to Come (1936)

21 Dec

This is my third post on diversity in Science Fiction films. I started with Metropolis (1927), and then skipped two decades to The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). Largely, my reason was that there weren’t any options for the 30s or 40s available on Netflix. Apparently, there aren’t very many SF films within that twenty year period.[1] I’ve decided to skip Frankenstein  although the novel is one of the first, if not the first, SF novels — because the classic film has more in common with horror than SF. I feel much the same about King Kong. Therefore, I settled on Things to Come (1936), which is based upon the H.G. Wells’ novel published in 1933 entitled The Shape of Things to Come. I know I’m risking a bit of confusion by going backward here, but I felt it was too important to skip. Also:  keep in mind that I don’t think I read the novel. At least, I don’t remember having read it.[2] So… Things to Come. Continue reading

Diversity in SF Film: The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

15 Oct

I thought I’d seen this film before, but apparently not. For a film made in the early ’50s — the era when post WW2 women were told to return to their “feminine roles” — it’s pretty inclusive. From the beginning, we see PoCs as part of the world’s population — even as part of the American population. They may not always have lines, and they may not be a big part of the action, but they exist in the background. Watch an American film today and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Not only do non-model-worthy people not exist, but neither do PoCs. Mind you, the British newscasters say things like “Throughout the Empire and the rest of the world,” and we see shots of these colonials in their colonial-ness — but hey, they EXIST. Wooo. Continue reading

Metropolis (1927), Feminism, and Influence

25 Sep

Since there seems to be so much noise these days about the Golden Age of SF, I decided to begin rewatching (or in some cases, watching) classic genre films in order to get a more sound foundation in my chosen genre. If I do this with novels, why not films? In this case, I’m glad that I did. One of my graphic design professors had us watch Metropolis in class. I’d vaguely remembered it as stylish — it’s a fine example of Art Deco design — and only a little coherent. At the time, I wondered why anyone would sit through the whole thing. It made no sense. The professor didn’t mention that the film had been censored. I’m not sure she was aware of how much it’d gotten cut as she didn’t mention it in the introduction. When I looked for it on Netflix, I found two versions. The first claimed to have restored footage and an 80s soundtrack. The second also had restored footage. What I failed to notice was that the first print was one hour and fifteen minutes long. The second? Two hours and fifteen minutes. I recall the version I saw in class was less than an hour. Wow.

Continue reading

Flick Bits: Game of Thrones DVD Sales Slash Record

16 Mar

Reuters reports through Yahoo AU that the DVD sales of Game of Thrones have crushed a previous sales record for HBO.  From the article in question:

Season one DVD sales reached about 350,000 units in the first seven days following its March 6 release, the network said on Thursday. That pace ranks ahead of other popular HBO series including “The Sopranos,” “Sex and the City” and “True Blood.”

Cue a geek celebration of enormous magnitude.  There is something deeply satisfying about this news.  As a fan of the TV series (and, now, the books), I worry about things like ratings and sales.  There is so much story left to tell.  With so many TV shows coming and going, I’m always afraid that HBO will pull the plug after the second season, or the third, or, dare I think it, the season right before the final moments of George R. R. Martin’s enormous story!  That would be awful.

But we’ve got good news.  Huge DVD sales.  Good job, geeks!  Now we just have to wait until April for Season Two…

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