Friday, 15 April 2016

I don't care about your vampire politics!

Just in case future historians perusing the blog archives - presumably trying to understand the terrible things I did to all those people - wonder why I suddenly started giving my impressions of books without pictures in them, I am attempting to read what are considered the 100 best sci-fi books of all time, but such a list is obviously a malleable and fluid thing, prone to late entries from fly-by-night flavors of the week, so I typed "100 greatest science fiction novels" into Google and picked a list from a random website - because there are a lot of top 100 lists and they don't all agree - and pasted it into a text file on my desktop and never looked back.
Although I probably should have looked back after reading the dreadfully dull Starship Troopers, though a rewatch of the film adaptation convinced me that science fiction was worth giving another go and I got stuck into the Foundation Trilogy and now A Princess of Mars, which is the tale of the enigmatic John Carter, whose first person account of his interplanetary travels never gets tired of telling you how awesomely manly he is - though to be fair he goes on to recount how he beat up the planet Mars, so I can sort of understand why the man would have a high opinion of himself.  He's a bit of an imperialist scumbag, too, smiting his way through the natives like a walking smallpox until he finds himself a bit of posh Martian tottie to lay some eggs with - but his tale is an enjoyable romp with some good world-building along the way, even if the politics of the text don't bear up to modern scrutiny.

Should you be wondering, the full list is as follows, with books I have managed to read so far being bolded - yeah I know there's only 12 of them so far, but I am reasonably sure I have actually read one or two of the others:

Frank Herbert - Dune
Orson Scott Card - Ender's Game
Isaac Asimov - The Foundation Trilogy
Douglas Adams - Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Robert A Heinlein - Stranger in a Strange Land
George Orwell - 1984
Ray Bradbury - Fahrenheit 451
Arthur C Clarke - 2001: A Space Odyssey
Philip K Dick - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
William Gibson - Neuromancer
Isaac Asimov - I, Robot
Robert A Heinlein - Starship Troopers
Larry Niven - Ringworld
Arthur C Clarke - Rendezvous With Rama
Dan Simmons - Hyperion
Joe Haldeman - The Forever War
Aldous Huxley - Brave New World
H G Wells - The Time Machine
Arthur C Clarke - Childhood's End
Robert A Heinlein - The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
H G Wells - The War of the Worlds
Ray Bradbury - The Martian Chronicles 
Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse Five
Ursula K Le Guin - The Left Hand of Darkness
Neal Stephenson - Snow Crash
Niven & Pournelle - The Mote in God's Eye
Orson Scott Card - Ender's Shadow
Orson Scott Card - Speaker for the Dead
Michael Crichton - Jurassic Park
Alfred Bester - The Stars My Destination
Philip K Dick - The Man in the High Castle   
Isaac Asimov - The Caves of Steel   
Frederik Pohl - Gateway   
Roger Zelazny - Lord of Light   
Stanislaw Lem - Solaris   
Jules Verne - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea   
Michael Crichton - The Andromeda Strain   
Kurt Vonnegut - Cat's Cradle   
Philip K Dick - Ubik   
Carl Sagan - Contact   
Madeleine L'Engle - A Wrinkle In Time   
Isaac Asimov - The Gods Themselves   
John Wyndham - The Day of the Triffids   
Vernor Vinge - A Fire Upon the Deep 
Walter M Miller - A Canticle for Leibowitz   
Kim Stanley Robinson - Red Mars 
Anthony Burgess - A Clockwork Orange   
Robert A Heinlein - Time Enough For Love   
Ursula K Le Guin - The Dispossessed   
Isaac Asimov - The End of Eternity   
Mary Shelley - Frankenstein   
Daniel Keyes - Flowers for Algernon   
L Ron Hubbard - Battlefield Earth   
Jules Verne - Journey to the Center of the Earth   
Philip Jose Farmer - To Your Scattered Bodies Go   
Peter F Hamilton - The Reality Dysfunction 
Neal Stephenson - The Diamond Age   
Philip K Dick - A Scanner Darkly   
David Brin - Startide Rising
Kurt Vonnegut - The Sirens of Titan   
Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale
Greg Bear - Eon
Iain M Banks - Use of Weapons 
John Scalzi - Old Man's War 
Arthur C Clarke - The City and the Stars   
Michael Crichton - Sphere
Alfred Bester - The Demolished Man
Robert A Heinlein - The Door Into Summer
Alastair Reynolds - Revelation Space
Harry Harrison - The Stainless Steel Rat
Iain M Banks - Player of Games
Edgar Rice Burroughs - A Princess of Mars
Connie Willis - Doomsday Book
Cormac McCarthy - The Road
Robert A Heinlein - Citizen of the Galaxy
Gene Wolfe - The Fifth Head of Cerberus
C S Lewis - Out of the Silent Planet
Dan Simmons - Ilium
Philip K Dick - The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
Richard Morgan - Altered Carbon
John Wyndham - The Chrysalids
Niven & Pournelle - Lucifer's Hammer   
Robert A Heinlein - Have Space-Suit - Will Travel   
Edwin A Abbott - Flatland   
Clifford Simak - Way Station   
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games   
Arkady & Boris Strugatsky - Roadside Picnic   
Ursula K Le Guin - The Lathe of Heaven   
John Brunner - Stand on Zanzibar    
Richard Matheson - I Am Legend    
Stanislaw Lem - The Cyberiad    
Neal Stephenson - Anathem    
Clifford Simak - City   
Julian May - The Many-Colored Land
Robert Louis Stevenson - Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde   
Philip K Dick - VALIS    
Orson Scott Card - Xenocide 
David Brin - The Postman   
Theodore Sturgeon - More Than Human   
Arthur Conan Doyle - The Lost World

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

By the time I've prayed and taken all my medication the day is almost over

Some nerds are really angry at Batman vs Superman, but I'm not sure why - mind you, I liked Iron Man 2 and Thor 2: Through the Portal of Time, so possibly I am not a great judge of the quality of anything.  Maybe Batman vs Superman is indeed a cinematic atrocity for which all the cast and crew should be put on a plane and then that plane be 911ed into a prison full of child molesters as has been suggested by the Guardian's online review in a shocking but in retrospect probably inevitable decline in their usual standards, but for me, I thought BvS was a middling affair punctuated by some nice visuals but ultimately scuppered by a mechanical coldness to an unfocused story, and a lack of likable characters underscored by the only "civilians" in the film being fickle rabble.
These are my thoughts, such as they are, and may make little sense without a knowledge of the plot of the film, which can be found HERE on Wikipedia.

The opening of BvS sees a recreation of the ending of Man Of Steel, an event known in-universe as "OMG Metropolis 911", and Bruce Wayne is seen running headlong into the dust cloud rolling down the street that you will likely remember from footage of 911 - don't worry, no-one thinks this 911 reference stuff is tasteless anymore, they're putting it in Superman films and everything.  Bruce runs straight into 911 and starts helping the victims of 911, including a security guard who will later blow himself up for some reason in a suicide bombing like the terrorists of 911 did, but again, don't worry, none of this is tasteless anymore. There's a bit where Bruce Wayne saves a little girl wandering around 911 - as little girls are wont to do - and then hugs the little girl and watches the aliens falling to Earth in destructive fireballs, and the stabbing music sounds just like Jeff "no relation" Wayne's War Of The Worlds theme, which I thought was actually pretty neat.

When Batman beats up a slave trafficker, he momentarily turns into the Alien to run around some walls while being shot at by a cop - I also thought this was pretty neat.  Some people complain that this version of Batman isn't one they recognise, but I don't think this is a fair criticism of BvS because this is (/does nerd maths) the fifth distinct version of Batman to hit movie screens (or the sixth/seventh if you count the change of actors in the 1990s franchise as separate continuities) so Snyder and his small army of writers can hardly be blamed for going a different route in order to differentiate themselves.

I like Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne and I like his Batman - particularly as it doesn't look like his cowl is trying to eat Batman's tiny face like what was the case with the Nolan Batflicks - but I am not sure what to say about Jezza Irons' Alfred Pennyworth because the actor in real life reckons people of the same sex shouldn't be allowed to marry because that would be like a man marrying his own son to avoid paying taxes, and whatever else you think of Batman vs Superman, I think that we should all agree going forward that this is the worst thing about it and nothing else.  NOTHING ELSE.

I spotted an Asian in the film so it's time for a racist rant WAIT COME BACK - I mean only to comment upon the surge of late in seeing Chinese actors in American films, as once you know that China is a ludicrously big market for Hollywood movies, it's hard not to see where Chinese actors are shoehorned with varying degrees of success into tiny roles in films like Age Of Ultron, Iron Man 3 and Terminator: Genesys in a bit of reverse-racism that I certainly understand as a business concept, but cannot comprehend how it isn't just regular racism, on account of
(1) you're singling out someone on the basis of their ethnicity.  Kind of like those television producers who announced that they were open to more diversity in their casting of Nancy Drew (commendable) by saying they were excluding white actresses from the casting process (racism), and
(2) if Hollywood gave two fucks about diversity it would have done something about it by now.
Anyway, I'm noticing a lot more Chinese people in films now so clearly I can't throw stones at the racism of others.

Metropolis has its own 911 memorial called "Heroes Park", and this is a concept I have a problem with in the context of the fictional world that has been created, mainly because it hasn't adequately been explained why people think of Superman as heroic, or even why they see him as in any way distinct from the other aliens who did Metropolis 911 - this is a guy, after all, who leveled a city and killed thousands, and then topped it off with a cold-blooded murder in front of a terrified family - so why they would make a multi-story statue of him and then locate it right next to the memorial to the thousands of people he killed is something that needs a little clarification.  I suppose it's most probable that everyone is just so terrified of Superman that they've built this mighty idol to appease the angry city-murdering god so that he doesn't do something worse next time.

Perry White is terrible at writing headlines going by his dialogue in this, but I am going to go further and say that he is also terrible at his job period.  In Man of Steel, Lois Lane comes to him with a story about an invincible alien demigod who walks among men and indulges in terrifying acts of destructive vandalism upon arbitrary targets of opportunity and Perry's response is that Lois should bring him "some real news", while in this very film, Clark Kent approaches White with a story about police corruption, a vigilante that's a bit like the Alien who brutally brands criminals in order to expedite their deaths in prison, and furthermore it's already on the tv news and people are interested in it, yet Perry White once again doesn't think it's news.  This guy is the reason newspapers are a dying medium.  Although you could try a different reading: in Man of Steel, the targets of Superman's wrath were working class people (whom he stole clothes from, put out of their jobs, destroyed their livelihoods, etc), while Batman pursues criminals who prey on the working classes - Clark Kent even calls Perry White out on it, asking "what - poor people don't buy newspapers?"  White's reply is "people don't buy newspapers" and when those who edit them have an attitude like that is it any wonder?
White is completely terrible at his job, and I get the idea that Zack Snyder's inspiration for him came from ex-Sun editor and walking sack of excrement in human form Kelvin McKenzie, because you can't tell me that someone this terrible at their job  didn't run headlines after the events of Man Of Steel blaming the destruction of Metropolis on its own citizens.  Yes 911 and now a Hillsborough joke God help me I'm a monster.

Bruce Wayne meets Wonder Woman at a party, and he seems very hostile to this attractive and flirtatious woman.  I made a joke that it's probably because Ben Affleck knows that Batman is traditionally portrayed as gay, but this spurious and borderline homophobic reading is sadly quite plausible once you start asking yourself why Zack Snyder thought "Jeremy Irons is the perfect guy to play Alfred in this movie."  Alfred goes beyond the traditional portrayal of the character as a weary snark and is openly hostile towards Bruce and the things he does, no matter how noble in intent or contextually justified, often harping on about how there will never be another generation of Wayne children, how Bruce should meet a nice girl - Bruce even tentatively offers an explanation as to what his legacy might be because kids - for some reason - will never be it.
Anyway, hilarious as that "Batmin is teh ghey" thread is to pull upon, Bruce is hostile towards Wonder Woman and the hostility doesn't feel earned in the context of the story, so it's a bit odd.  I have a theory, though: Wonder Woman's part was originally written for Lois Lane.  She investigates Lex Luthor, Batman doesn't like her on their first meeting (because she's Superman's cheerleader and rumored love interest), her appearance coincides with that of Clark Kent at the party Lex is hosting, Lois has sod-all else to do in the film, and Wonder Woman barely appears in it apart from this one scene.
An alternate theory is that Batman is not an Islamophobe and so he is simply outraged by Gal Gadot's real-life comments supporting the bombing of Gaza, though this theory is blown out of the water when Batman personally bombs the living fuck out of a dockyard like his Batplane was Israel and that dockyard was a children's hospital.

I like the bit where Clark Kent confronts Bruce Wayne and they trade barbs, mainly because it highlights what a simpleton Clark Kent is, as he has by this point figured out that Bruce Wayne is Batman - by accidentally overhearing his communications with Alfred with his super-hearing - and starts out by asking him about recent Batman sightings without ever realising - because these comments are written for the audience rather than for the characters in the scene - that these are only barbs if Bruce is aware that Clark is actually Superman, and so he just looks like a pretty rubbish journalist for asking random people about his story, or at the very least he looks like that guy who says things like "oh you're from New York?  Then you must know my buddy--"  Bruce doesn't know that Kent has figured out who he is, so he responds in kind with dismissive jibes about how people from Gotham know all about "clowns in costumes" so it's supposed to be this cute meeting of two alter-egos but all it does is demolish Superman, as Bruce is putting on a drunken playboy act and Kent knows it but still comes out looking like an idiot.

All of Batman's legwork turns out to be his trying to find someone called The White Portuguese, except it turns out to be the name of a boat.  Don't they have Google in this world?  I have an in-universe explanation: Lexcorp is a interwebz company and they scrubbed all mention of the boat from the interweb to keep it hidden.  Or something.  See, movie writers?  It's that easy to think of things with your brain.

There's a bit where a senator lady said Lex couldn't import Kryptonite into the US for some reason, but here it is being imported anyway - on the White Portuguese boat Batman has been pursuing since long before the Kryptonite plot strand was even introduced.  Batman pursues Lex's cronies until Superman shows up and makes the Batmobile crash, then flies off after telling Batman they can never be friends.  Clark brought up the fact that Batman only pursues the worst kinds of criminal with Perry White earlier in the film, and must surely have seen or heard the explosions and military-grade machine gun fire on the docks, yet he confronts Batman by letting the people he's pursuing escape.  At the very least, they're domestic terrorists, yet Superman lets them get away scot free.

Capitol Hill is suicide-bombed by the 911 security guard from the 911 bit at the start of the film - or possibly it was Lex Luthor rigging the man's wheelchair in order to frame him as a 911 bomber.  A senator lady twigs that she is about to be 911ed when she sees a jar of Lex Luthor's urine on her desk.  No really.
Americans don't like 911 - except in their superhero movies when it's being punched by someone in a fetish outfit - so they turn against Superman.  Why they didn't turn against him when he did that other 911 in the last film is - again - not explored.

Lois finds Superman stalking around the outside of her apartment, recreating the single creepiest part of Superman Returns (if you ignore the fact - and you should - that Superman super-roofied Lois at some point before the film began so she's brought up her child believing him to be the product of date-rape).  Superman mopingly opines "all this time I've been living my life as my father saw it - righting wrongs for a ghost" er... no, that's the exact opposite of what his dad taught him.  This character arc for Superman is confusing because when Superman talks about his dad teaching him to do good things and be an aspirational figure, he can only mean the dad from Krypton played by Gladiator, but when he actually sees his dad as a ghost later in the film, it's the dad played by Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves, who was always telling him that people were fearful, not to be trusted, and that he had to hide from them and even let them die to save himself if need be.

Batman decrypts the information he stole from Lex Luthor earlier in the movie and finds pictures of Wonder Woman in 1918 and footage of various superhumans, which strikes me as the kind of thing Batman would already be aware of in some fashion since his entire deal is that he's fearful of superhuman potential. Lex has also apparently taken the time to design logos and individual branding for each superhuman for some reason.

Superman's ghost dad - as an actual ghost now - told him he believed there was good in the world.  This - again - is somewhat at odds with what we saw in Man of Steel.

Lex blackmails Superman by holding his mum hostage, saying that if Superman kills Lex or flies away, his mum will be killed, and it never occurs to Superman to say "I'll just bring her back to life with my spaceship's resurrection machine when I get done shooting all your limbs off with my laser vision."

Also: Superman's spaceship has a resurrection machine.

"Lois... I have to go to Gotham to convince him to help me... or he has to die."  For some reason, this made me laugh.  I don't know why.

Lois demands a chopper to Gotham and Perry barks "A chopper?  We can barely afford a bicycle!"  She looks him in the eye and reassures him that she isn't doing it for a story so he gives her a chopper.  Seriously, this is what happens - he lets her use the helicopter only after she assures him she will not be using it for journalism.  This man is terrible at his job.

Gotham can be seen from Metropolis, or at the very least you can see a torch shone into the Gotham sky from a rooftop in Metropolis.

Superman and Batman do a big fight and

There's lots of CGI for Superman's powers, then they punch each other in the head for a bit, then Batman realises that Superman's mum has the same name as Batman's mum and they bond over this piece of comicbook trivia to the point that they are totally bros now.
No really, ask anyone who's seen the film already, this is absolutely how this pans out.

One thing that I find a bit off is that Superman doesn't seem to need much convincing to murder Batman.  He goes to meet up with him and Batman shoots him with guns - which is a thing Batman does now - and Superman shrugs it off like he usually does with bullets, and then it's murdering time.

Batman's warehouse fight makes it clear that the director has been playing the Arkham games A LOT, and has seen Robocop.

It is really obvious that the CGI Hulk - sorry - the CGI Doomsday's animators - oh yeah, because Zod is Doomsday now - didn't give him a CGI penis.  Perhaps in the R-rated blu ray they'll fix that.  Yes there's an R-rated Superman movie coming out - such a wonderful time we live in!
Doomsday also turns into the Destroyer from the end of the first Thor movie, then Wonder Woman shows up because why not?  She was in the trailer, so there's probably a law that says they have to have her in the actual film because of advertising rules or something.  Wonder Woman's theme is terrible and I hate it.  It sounds like the BGM from a PS1 room-clearing dungeon crawler dear God what do these words even mean?

For some reason Doomsday looks like Boss Nass in some shots.  Just saying.
This fight with Doomsday is unconvincing not just because of the CGI, but because Doomsday is Zod, and Zod is the biggest wimp in the galaxy, most notably being beaten up in the opening scenes of Man of Steel by Krypton's equivalent of a nerdy scientist, and ending that same film being broken in two by a farmer who had literally never been in a single fight in all his life.  What Batman should do in this fight is kneel down on all fours behind Doomsday when Doomsday is looking at something else, and then Wonder Woman can push Doomsday and he'll fall backwards and probably break his neck.

Superman is shooting lasers from his eyes at Doomsday and going ARRRRRRRRGHHHH which I don't understand because isn't the process of shooting lasers just him looking really hard at something?  UGH just don't get me started on laser eyes in these fucking movies.

There's some thing with Lois and a Kryptonite spear going on.  At some point I lost track of what was happening and I have no idea if the following makes any sense, so I apologise: Lois finds a Kryptonite spear Batman was going to use to kill Superman but he changed his mind and threw the spear away.  Lois went looking for it and then threw it away again, but then she came back and decided to get it back from the water where she threw it for some reason, only it had moved for some reason, so she swims around a bit and then a building collapses where she's swimming but she's not squashed flat because concrete floats, but she does nearly drown until Superman saves her, and then Superman jumps into the same drowning pond to retrieve the Kryptonite spear - without at any moment considering there may be a Basic Flaw in this Plan - and then Lois has to save him from drowning because The Basic Flaw In That Plan.  Maybe there's some attempt to make this a sort of Arthurian analogy with the magic weapon from the lady in the lake and that, and just to really hammer it home there's a bit where Superman and Doomsday have run each other through and Superman pulls himself along the weapon he's impaled upon in order to push his own weapon deeper into his enemy, which was at the end of that cinematic classic Star Trek Nemesi - sorry, Excalibur, and which of course makes Superman a murderer for two films in a row now.

Wonder Woman's magic sword can chop pieces off Doomsday, which I am reasonably sure makes the Kryptonite spear thing redundant as a story device.  Why don't they just cut off his head and run away with it?

Okay, I'm just going to say this: why is Wonder Woman even in this film?  People keep saying OMG WONDER WOMAN IS AWESOME I CAN'T WAIT FOR HER MOVIE but she has something like four or five minutes of screen time in a two and a half hour film and in all that time she does not prove useful in any way, or achieve any of the things she set out to do.

Lex Luthor is in jail now - I literally blinked and missed where he got caught by the popo.  They shave his head, which I am pretty sure they don't actually do in prisons, but you probably want it done if you're going away for a spell as they do bad things in prison to dudes with long hair.  Yes a rape joke now - I think I have a problem.

Superman gets Spock's funeral song played on the bagpipes during the state funeral he receives from the people who literally hated him about twenty minutes ago.  Presumably he won back their trust by leveling only a small part of the city this time around, though if it were my decision, I suppose I'd want the occasion marked just to reassure people that the unstoppable murder god was actually dead.
People at a memorial event scrawl a message along the lines of "if you want to see his legacy look around you" on the ground, which I found funny because it's very similar to one of the final lines in the (mostly dreadful) Starship Troopers 2, only in that film it was meant to be a satirical comment upon how even the deaths of disgraced figures can be hijacked in order to further the cause of fascism.

Superman does a Jesus right at the end - returning to an unwelcome and stupid narrative theme from Man of Steel that has been largely absent from Batman vs Superman in favor of other mythic tropes - or as most people call them, "cliches".

Whatevs.  That was the film.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

I'm speaking loudly so you can hear me over the gap in our status

Having nothing better to do with my time, I am trawling through yet another mammoth series I barely understand on account of I am always at best one step ahead of my own ignorance and inability to grasp nuance.  Thus the charms of Second Foundation, the third or fifth novel in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series are probably largely beyond me, devoid as the book is of fart jokes or swordfights.  A game of two halves, the first part of the novel is about some telepaths second-guessing each other until one of them declares victory but then "HAHA FALSE MEMORIES" and it turns out they didn't win at all.  This continues for some time, even into the second part of the book, which is about a precocious teen searching for the titular Second Foundation and thinks she's found it until "HAHA FALSE MEMORIES" again.  To be fair, this is actually appropriate to the themes of the book, which explores the idea of a colony of telepaths manipulating events on a grand scale via obsessive long-term micromanagement of seemingly unimportant people, which creates a nice juxtaposition between the great conceit at the heart of the Foundation novels - that a macroscopic overview of history past and future called The Seldon Plan has been constructed - and the given caveat that the vagaries of individual lives and choices are largely irrelevant in the greater scheme of things.  There's an inference - through the pivotal importance of the actions of individuals followed by the book and how they interact with each other - that this is possibly not true, and that the Seldon Plan is a long con on the wider galaxy, its creator's true work being the creation of telepaths who would manipulate events into something arguably better than the cyclic rise and fall of empires that leads to lengthy eras of depression.
I'm probably missing loads in the text as usual, but I enjoyed the overall experience.  I thought the change to proto-YA novel territory was an interesting swerve for a series that - three books in - has been pretty consistent (though not exclusive) in front-and-centering older males in its overarching story, and thought that the mix of chases and twists probably make it the most film-friendly of the Foundation books so far.
Now in the public domain and available for free download to your tablet or smartphone, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London is a post-apocalyptic tale that I checked out on account of its seeming similarity to A Canticle For Liebowitz.  There's some overlap in the basic premise, but unlike Miller's eons-spanning tale, London's work concentrates on a single group of characters in the year 2072.  Originally published over a century ago (in 1912), it's obviously dated a bit, but still holds up surprisingly well to a contemporary reading, with London's version of the future seeming to retroactively fall into steampunk territory.  A good - if brief - read.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

I'm just happy to finally have ladies on the bus who aren't wearing penis helmets

The Forest is deeply insensitive about its subject matter*, but it performs a clever sleight-of-hand in its writing to disguise its insensitivity by hiding it behind a racist depiction of Japan and its people.  Most people would call this "compounding an error", but the writers** of The Forest probably call it "doubling down", which is a poker metaphor, on account of what they have done is basically a gamble - one which sadly does not pay off for either film makers or film watchers.  The film is also based on nothing more than the fleeting notoriety of Aokigahara after viral videos circulated a few years back of decaying corpses discovered unattended within the forest bounds by hikers, so it starts with nothing, and then adds insensitivity and racism and hopes that's enough to support a film.  So far as I can tell: not so much.

*Japan's Aokigahara Forest, described outside the country as "notorious" as a suicide spot, but inside Japan is thought of in much the same way we in the UK might think of Erskine Bridge or Beachy Head.  By comparison, the London Underground sees twice as many suicides each year as Aokigahara does, and reports considerably more well-documented hauntings - one can only wonder why it doesn't also have its own horror film where superstitious locals warn of terrible danger awaiting white Americans who dare venture to such a cursed place.

**It took three whole people to write this racist horseshit.