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Entertainment in Review: Kung Fu Hustle; Hitchhiker's Guide; the Firefly pilot

Other than movies and TV, it's been working and setting up my spiffy new laptop (I hate adjusting to new keyboards), so here's what I thought of Kung Fu Hustle, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and the Firefly pilot.

Chad called Kung Fu Hustle a Bugs Bunny cartoon with live actors, and while I would not have thought of this description on my own, it's pretty reasonable. I was briefly dismayed by the level and type of violence in the opening sequence, but the following scene of the Ax Gang doing a little dance number (with their axes) generated the kind of half-incredulous laughter I expect when watching a movie by the guy who did Shaolin Soccer. If you're allergic to musicals, don't worry, as that's the only dance number in the movie—though there is a very cool fight sequence later involving music, which also happens to be a example of the movie's use of cheap CGI to good effect. (Such as a riff on the Matrix Reloaded's scene with dozens of Agent Smiths fighting Neo, which is vastly more interesting at probably a fraction of the cost.) About as silly as Shaolin Soccer, but with less emotional whiplash, and the same nice multi-generational mix of characters.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is about what I was expecting from the reviews: silly, great visuals, with an earworm-inducing opening song and an annoying romantic subplot. (Trillian is not like that, I'm sorry, she just isn't.) It had more narrative cohesion than I'd expected, for all that the cohesion came partly from the aforementioned romantic subplot. The Guide sections, the dolphins, and the Vogon sequences were sufficient to have me feel that I hadn't wasted the time or money, but I'm not particularly looking to see it again.

Oh, there's another Guide section in the closing credits. And I now want a knitted Arthur, a jeweled crab, and a Deep Thought as desk toys.

We didn't get the Serenity trailer on the big screen yesterday, alas. The trailers were a dire lot, with the exception of Batman Begins, which might be interesting. I did watch the Firefly pilot on DVD last night, which was (to borrow a word) shiny. What fun—spaceships and smuggling and sharpshooting and snark. The characters are terrific, and I like them all already, except for Jayne of course (as he's the deliberately unlikeable one).

FireflyWiki.org's Episode Guide has translations of the Mandarin phrases and shooting scripts, which among other things answers why they didn't use subtitles.

I am suddenly awash in serial-format narratives: more episodes of Firefly to watch, more volumes of Lucifer to read (I've read the first so far and am salivating over the rest), and the whole darn Dark Tower series to re-read. Mmmmm, big crunchy narrative arcs.

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orzelc

2005-05-01 11:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Trillian is not like that, I'm sorry, she just isn't.

I thought the romantic subplot was cheesy to the point of being dorky, but I wasn't offended by Trillian's character. Mostly because I don't recall thing one about her from the books, which leads me to think that she didn't have much of a character to begin with.

Of course, I said the same thing about Faramir in Lord of the Rings, so I may just lack the gene for finding deep reservoirs of personality in bit players.

kate_nepveu

2005-05-02 12:23 am (UTC) (Link)

She's the only sensible one in the whole damn series, and goes off because she had an astrophysics degree that was languishing while she was on the dole (there's a point in favor of it being a 1980s British book), not because she's all big-eyed and breathy for excitement and better relationships.

It's not as bad as Faramir, but it's annoying all the same.

montoya

2005-05-02 03:49 am (UTC) (Link)

You have ascribed more personality and motivation to Trillian in that sentence than I got out of reading the book dozens of times.

kate_nepveu

2005-05-02 12:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

To be fair, some of that's from the third book, where she is the one to save the day.

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