Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6 ended up being less than what I had hoped for thanks to the trailers.

In order to explain why, I need to risk spoiling some things, which I do with great reluctance. Before I start, if you haven't seen the trailers for Big Hero 6, stop reading this and go see the movie! It's got lots of heart, and is beautiful, exciting, imaginative, and fun. And the trailers are misleading.

SPOILER ALERT:

The trailers make it look like our inciting incident is the scene in which Hiro and Baymax (the boy and the balloon-bodied robot) are attacked by a man in a Kabuki mask who is operating an army of tiny robots.

Nope! Our inciting incident (the thing that sets the whole story in motion) occurs half an hour earlier, and most of the first act is a complete surprise for those who watched the trailers. Unfortunately, the direction of that first act is NOT a surprise, so I spent the first third of the film waiting for a moment that had been described in great detail in the trailer. "Come on, movie, get on with the story you promised me!"

I know, I know, it's hardly fair to judge a movie by the trailers, but I've never claimed to be fair. I had less fun at the theater than I wanted to, and while the film easily clears my Threshold of Disappointment, it didn't clear my Threshold of Awesome.

I also had some non-trailer problems with the film, and they're the same sorts of problems I have with the Iron Man films. If, however, you are in the superhero frame of mind, you'll enjoy things just fine.

Probably.

Don't watch the trailers!  

(Aside: The short which preceded Big Hero 6 was wonderful.)

(cross-posted from howardtayler.com)

Interstellar

I am quite happy to have looked up the length of this film prior to scheduling a trip to the cinema. Per Twitter:

This one didn't clear the Threshold of Awesome, but it worked well in spite of the way it shamelessly luxuriated in those 169 minutes. Unlike a lot of genre films, Interstellar gives the viewer time to process what's going on, and to feel what the characters are feeling. It's good art.

Still long, though.

I have two major quibbles with the film: it is deeply pessimistic (or at least it strikes that tone in order to present a cautionary tale) and it deploys the dreaded deus ex machina. Sure, it's a great story, and there is plenty of human heroism in it, but those two elements dampen my excitement about science, and I'm pretty sure that's almost exactly the opposite of the reaction the film makers had in mind for me.

In context of those two issues the bad astronomy and crazy astrogeography were only mildly annoying. I know why the film makers did what they did, and those decisions made for a much more powerful human story, but now I want a space travel hard SF movie that doesn't invoke magic. But if you're going to invoke magic, you can't do it much more beautifully than Interstellar did.  

(cross-posted from howardtayler.com)

World Fantasy 2014 this weekend

I'm at the World Fantasy Convention in D.C. this weekend. I'm not exhibiting, and I'm only on one panel. It's kind of relaxing. I have a badge, and I can wander around aimlessly without getting in trouble. It's a little bit like a vacation.

There are a few panels and readings that I've penciled into my schedule to prevent complete aimlessness, and my social calendar has the right amount of delightful company and delicious calories, so I'm certainly not going to be bored. That said, VACATION. A little bit of bored is okay.

And yes, I have some writing to do. That's what vacations are for, right?

2015 Calendar Wallpapers

The 2015 Schlock Mercenary Monthly Calendar is just about ready to go to the printer. One of the things that is included with it is a digital version with desktop wallpapers. Here are a couple of samples:


These are designed to work really well in a desktop slide-show. The background texture remains static, but the colors shift with each Maxim. I've been using them this way for a couple of days now, and they're nice. 

You can still pre-order the calendar, and sketched editions are still available, too.

The 2015 Calendar Has A Cover!

The  2015 Schlock Mercenary Monthly Calendar finally has a cover!

We'll be sending this off to print in a couple of weeks, but pre-orders are still open

Happy Halloween!

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