Sunday, May 24, 2009

Follow-up and News

Well, Terminator Salvation did, indeed, suck. And that's an understatement. Perhaps, if there were no acting or writing, the film would have been watchable. I mean, Christian Bale is so boring. He puts me in mind of the part of Paradise Lost where Jesus appears, the most uncharismatic and stultifying Jesus ever, whose overbearing seriousness instantly forces you to Satan's party.

*

In other news, it turns out that Joshua has a radio show--Jane Dark's Cultural Revolution--and it also turns out that I'm going to be on it tomorrow, talking about pirates. I don't think you can download a podcast after the fact (the link is broken) but you can stream it live: Monday the 25th, 5:00 pm. After that, Joshua and I are going to read at the Sacramento Poetry Center.

3 comments:

Chris said...

And no phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range. What's up with that?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H47QlGq3zQ4

C

zunguzungu said...

Good lord, yes it sucked. One of the most amazing ways in which it sucked, I think, is that the entire movie's narrative structure consisted of creating and then knocking down deus ex machina problems, such that by the end of the film nothing of consequence had happened. Which actually might be symptomatic of something if it didn't hurt my head so much to even think about the movie.

Jasper Bernes said...

Yeah, once the credits started rolling, the people behind us said, "how in the hell did those guys win?" It was entirely too easy, no? Kind of like Bale and his crew had typed in the cheat codes, or set the game to "easy". . .The deus ex machina thing has something to do with its notion of fate--the future is past, the past is future, etc.--and so nothing can really be consequential.

To my mind, the real failure of the film, aside from the abominable acting, the art design, editing, camerawork, the shoddy plot and the sentimentalizing liberal-humanist boilerplate tacked on for "depth"--the whole "we're human, we have beating hearts, etc., now that Bush is no longer our president" theme--was its inability to make the bots scary, or depict them as operating according to a reason in any way alien or mechanical. The telling detail here is the scene where Marcus Wright accesses skynet via some kind of graphical interface. There's a real condescension in those choices, an assumption that viewers are too stupid and un-curious to confront anything that looks or seems different than the world as it appears on other screens. . . A good piece of spam is much more frightening than the bots in that film. This lines up with Chris's comment in the post below. The human remain the boundary of these films. There's no willingness to think the machine as such.