Recently, I had a double hernia surgery. If that happens to sound unpleasant, I would most enthusiastically agree. As a matter of fact, it was one of the most unpleasant things I have ever managed to go through. Some of the related unpleasantness involved being on a couch unable to move. At certain points, that also involved not having a remote. To say the least, I was not exactly overwhelmed in the joys of discovery. The following is a few of the things that I managed to discover during a little while of uncomfortableness. I freely admit that none of it was intended for a thirty-eight year old just coming off of surgery with no other real choices.
The Legend of Korra
I will pretty freely admit that I did not exactly get into Avatar: The Last Airbender with any sort of passion. The thing is that at the very least Ang and friends made a bit of sense to me. I understood the storyline if I did not exactly get overly entrenched in the mythology of the whole thing. So, when I went through a few of the re-runs of The Legend of Korra late at night incapacitated on a couch it was a little bit of a shock. Essentially to me, this is an attempt to appeal directly to today crowd by insinuating that they could have superpowers.. and you know… it helps if they are Asian. The trouble is that I was only really holding on by a thread to the whole thing when it was in what I considered to be a proper setting. I think the one that really got me was when Korra goes to the big city to learn and is really helped by the Airbender equivalent of participating on American Gladiators. Maybe, the fact that I have a teenager in the house having someone respond to something serious with “Ok, like whatever, wouldn’t it be better if I just kind of did it my own way because you are out of date old dude?” was not the proper thing to see while I was taking twenty minutes of painful crying just to make it to the bathroom. Either way. I did not really see Korra growing as a Bender. What I saw was an entire world bending completely out of their way to try and make something useful out of Korra. I can see why the message resonates with young people but again it is just not me or not who I am these days.
The Amazing Spider-Man
This is another one where I am positive that the problem is me and not the movie. When my wife came in and asked why I was watching Twilight, I could not give an accurate answer. I could also not really explain why I was not watching Twilight. Maybe, it is because I was sort of watching Twilight. To me, the most sympathetic character in the whole film was Denis Leary as Captain Stacy. Maybe, it was because it was a middle aged guy trying to raise a teenaged daughter. I have watched most every movie based on a comic book since I saw the original Superman with Christopher Reeve. I have seen many of them in the theater. I have always had a hard and fast rule to always accept the movie as its own entertainment and not compare the movie to the comics. However, with Amazing Spider-Man, it appeared to be an almost deliberate attempt to compare Spiderman movies to Spiderman comic books. The Stacy family as portrayed was a spot on interpetation of the comics that I knew and loved in the 1970s. Peter Parker was portrayed as teenager in the 21st century. If you were going to do Peter Parker as a teenager today, that would be how Peter would be portrayed. So in my mind, the movie was actually inviting a direct comparison. It is not a bad movie. As a matter of fact, if I was the target audience, it would probably be exactly what I would want out of a comic book movie today. That gets back to the problem being me. My generation was spoiled by the original Star Wars trilogy, G.I. Joe, Transformers, He-Man, and all sorts of other wonderful entertainments. As a matter of fact, they did such a good job of entertaining us that we just kind of assumed we would always be the target audience. Today, the target audience is people that are the same age that we were back then. Having now raised those people and not being one of them, this movie kind of flew by me. One of the sticking points to me was actually Sally Field having black hair. I have never seen Aunt May with black hair before. If they can grey this woman up for Forrest Gump, what was honestly the problem? At the end, I think that me and Captain Stacy gave up the ghost on this one at about the same time.
Valkyrie was one of those movies that I often put in the same category as Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. I will explain. For years, I looked at New Nightmare on video shelves and TV listings and thought “I really need to watch that one day.” However, it always seemed to be put off for one reason or another. Well, put off is one of those things that comes to a schreeching halt when you have a lot of painkillers going through you. Having now watched it, Valkyrie struck me in a rather particular way. It struck me that it was probably an incredible and wonderful journey for everyone involved in making the movie. I will admit that I have (rather awkwardly) done some acting as well as some re-enacting in my time. I have re-enacted with professional hobbyist who have done it for years. I have been the person who was along for the ride and reaping the benefits of a journey of emotional discovery. I know what that looks and feels like. Thats what these people were doing. Go back and watch something like Gettysburg or Gods and General. These were people in the background with tears streaming down their face because they had practiced for these roles all their lives. After watching Valkyrie, I was truly happy for all of the personal growth the people must have gone through but I did not really take the journey with them during the filming so I did not really take the journey during the movie. It is not neccessarily the wrong way to have a movie. It is also not really the most authentic either.