Thursday, July 17, 2003

Two stories about librarians as action figures... I should probably be irritated at yet another reinforcement of the traditional stereotype, but, to be honest, I can't really be arsed. I do feel sort of sorry for the woman they modeled the thing on, however. I mean, they've pretty much said to her, "We want someone who's as close to the traditional--if misguided--image of the mousy old woman with her hair in a bun librarian that we can find, and you're it, baby!"

Much more interested in the upcoming TNT TV-movie, The Librarian, from Stargate/Independence Day/American Godzilla producer Dean Devlin. I'm sure it'll be about as accurate a depiction of librarianship as his film Stargate was a depiction of Egyptology and linguistics. But if my profession is going to be misrepresented, I'd rather it be as a two-fisted adventurer than an old biddy with her hair in a bun.

Other stuff, briefly: I recommend fans of Buffy and Angel check out Peter David's new comic, Fallen Angel. It's clearly influenced by those shows, without being overly derivative. The first issue is now on sale, and it's well-written, well-drawn, and a good debut for what looks to be a dark, possibly supernatural thriller series.

New must-see TV for me: Red Cap on BBC America. It's about British MPs on a base in Germany. Sort of the UK version of JAG, only darker, harder edged, and better. (And I like JAG.) Also highly recommend a "new" series on A&E, starting this week: MI-5, about British counterterrorist operatives. I just received the British DVDs of the first season (called Spooks in the UK; I hadn't realized A&E was getting the show when I ordered the set, but it's got all sorts of extras that make it worthwhile), and the first two episodes were great. Check it out.

Also enjoyable, though nowhere near as compelling, was the premiere of My Hero on BBC America last night. A romantic comedy about an ordinary woman and the superhero from another planet who falls for her, this one was nothing new. I suppose Red Cap and Spooks aren't really anything new, either, but they're presented with a bit of style and flash. This could have been made any time between 1970 and 2000, and... well, it's Mork and bloody Mindy, really. But the leads are relatively charming, and it's that point in the summer where there's nothing else on anyway. And it's only a half hour.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Okay, my biggest complaint about the movie The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen isn't that it takes huge liberties with a comic that I really, really enjoy. I had expected that, and to be honest, after just a few minutes into the movie, I had pretty much stopped comparing the two and accepted this as something completely separate. In fact, when the movie suddenly veered back to the comic and revealed the surprise identity of the master villain, I was actually caught off guard, because I hadn't expected them to suddenly become faithful to the source material. No, the big problem is that it's just ordinary.

It's pretty sad when you've got a movie featuring Allan Quartermain, Mina Harker from Dracula, Captain Nemo, Dorian Gray, Tom Sawyer, the Invisible Man, and Doctor Jeckyll/Mr Hyde, and come away feeling like it could have starred any six action heroes. But that's exactly what happens here. Sean Connery is just fine playing yet another bad-arsed aging, jaded, world-weary tough guy called back into the fray for one last battle, forced to grudgingly help/work with a bunch of younger partners... you know, just like EVERY OTHER FUCKING MOVIE HE'S BEEN IN FOR THE LAST FIFTEEN YEARS. He plays the part just fine, but at this point, these roles should be an autopilot setting for him. Naseeruddin Shah manages to bring a certain amount of heroism and dignity to the role of Captain Nemo, but every review I've read just talks about his beard. Jason Flemyng, as Dorian Gray, appears to be channeling Johnny Depp.

Ultimately, how pedestrian and unimaginative the movie is feels summed up in the lack of use of the Invisible Man. The most obviously gimmicky character in the whole ensemble, and the movie gives him nothing to do. Instead, we get car chases, explosions, gunfights... Oh, there's a CGI fight between Mr Hyde and another big transformed fighty guy, but that's about it. It just feels like this movie fails to ignite. It's not horrible, and I didn't feel like I'd completely wasted my time and money... but for a movie like this, with the source material being so wonderfully thought out, "not horrible" just isn't good enough.