Saturday 21 November 2009

Wandering about Belshaft in the wee hours...

Checked out the Odeon sci-fi all-night anime marathon: it had it's ups and downs, but did improve greatly when those who'd come along to find the presence of subtitles a source of shock and confusion eventually became too tired to continue a running commentary beyond "for fuck's sake, stick your cock in her!" in a half-hearted sigh every half hour. We got a goody bag full of what I would charitably call tat if I was charitable man and not a cynical one, so I shall call it crap: a BPM energy drink that was actually the green brand (which contains no caffeine), a packet of Bear in the Big Blue House bacon flavour corn snacks, a packet of Doctor Who stickers, a pencil, an offer to see Almost Famous, and glowy stick which they asked us not to use.

Anyhoo, the Odeon itself is a reasonably-placed multiplex and we were early enough that for some reason we ended up going to see The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which you may be surprised to discover I did not think was very good at all. It was packed with 8-10 year-old girls who gasped and drew breath when the 16 year-old 'native American' (it says on the casting call) pulled off his shirt, but surprisingly, the kids were much quieter than adults usually are at these things, and there was an air of audience participation to the viewing that began with the sighs of puppy-love for Teenage Wolfman (a wolfman) and arguably reached a nadir when the sight of Twilight (a dracula) and his girlfriend traipsing through the trees like something from a Hovis advertisement had the entire audience in stitches. New Moon's biggest problem is that it just isn't a knowing or self-aware film, which might have helped detract from the fact that it is a nonsensical and self-important one that suffers from something that the audience didn't really need spelled out as clumsily as it is here: Twilight is a wanker of a character, while the slightly more intense Teenage Wolfman seems to deserve a better break than he actually gets but is still an ethnic character in a white man's summer movie and for that reason alone you know he ain't gettin' the girl and it's got nowt to do with doomed romance and everything to do with the sensibilities of the middle-class America that made and watches this guff in the first place.

After that, we hung around for a bit and then wandered into the first anime movie of the evening: Mamoru Oshi's dour and pointless Sky Crawlers, the story of immortal kids drafted to wage 'safe' wars on behalf of nations through corporate third parties. According to other cinemagoers, the original novel was a commentary on the undemanding nature of anime fandom and the film was deliberately made to have a slow pace and obtuse story, but no matter how much you go out of your way to replicate the trappings of a bad plot and a lousy film, you still end up with a bad plot and a lousy film and it's not art, it's just poor film-making. My main gripe was that there are no clues to the situation for the viewer to unravel, a character just wanders in at the end and spells it all out for you, which might be a deliberate artifice for all I know, but is still pretty lame.
First Squad is the story of a team of Russian super-teens killed during WW2 who are resurrected to fight a zombie hoard of Templar knights raised by Gestapo mystics to turn the tide of battle on the Russian front. Their only link to the world of the living is the pre-teen Russian samurai Nadya, who must brave the land of the dead and jailbait SS kung-fu twins to win the secret war the world never knew about, and the whole thing is interspersed with live-action interviews with (fictional) WW2 Russian vets, historians and psychologists. It's a bit goofy, but fun nonetheless, with a nice design sensibility, even if the animation isn't what you'd call great in places - though it's always functional.
Time of Eve held it's English-language premiere - for all of five minutes before the film had to be stopped as the subtitles on the print were actually off the bottom of the screen and couldn't be fixed, so I have no opinion on that. Instead the screening of the current revamp of Gainax evergreen Neon Genesis Evangelion was moved forward and it looks as cheaply-animated as ever, with several episodes chopped down to make the first part of a trilogy. I've seen most of this around ten years ago and it was just as overrated (though undeniably solid) then as it is now, albeit there's the odd extra frame of animation thrown in here and there in the new version.
King of Thorn is a post-apocalyptic story about a small group of characters escaping from the cryogenic suspension chambers in which they were supposed to sleep through the destruction of the human race - except then it isn't about that and goes a little bit off the rails. You might guess a twist or two, but the big picture remains an unmistakably anime tale full of visual excesses and logical failures as only the Japanese can do with an utterly straight face, but it's a seriously mad bit of business that went down well with the audience.

They spent millions of pounds on ^^this^^ and there are dozens of people homeless in Belfast. Just sayin'.
It reminds me of that Thundercats episode where they discover gold on Third Earth and Panthro bends it into a necklace then throws it in a bin.
Homeless people.

The Belfast Eyesore.

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