Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Nostalgia Critic Reviews Barbarian & Destroyer - 19th January

I'm a fan of That Guy With The Glasses: he's a funny dude, and anyone who has Brazil as one of their twenty greatest films is alright.

Come 19th January, though, comes the single review I'm simultaneously anticipating and dreading: The Nostalgia Critic reviews Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer.

Witnesses to The Siege of Van Ostrand will know how nervous I am about this. The Critic is generally thorough in his research, although his greatest snafu--where he jokes about Mako's voice in a role sounding "like he smoked a million marlboros a day" unaware that the actor was suffering from oesophagal cancer during the recording--caused quite a bit of controversy. I dearly hope the Critic has the right sources, and that we won't have to order another assault in such a short time.

Still, even if NC trots out the same old nonsense, I doubt he has the malicious intent Van Ostrand did, and would be perfectly willing to apologise for anything he gets wrong, as he did with the Mako incident. Until 19th January, I'm hopeful.

Here's a couple of my favourite Nostalgia Critic Reviews:

Batman & Robin
Captain Planet
Saved By The Bell
Red Sonja
Alone in the Dark

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Triangulation: Ishtar, Worms and Christmas Bounty

I still don't know why I celebrate Christmas. It's such a bloody hassle getting the dinner organized, strategically mobilizing the presents, and dealing with the madness of a West Coast family. Still, for all the trials and tribulations, it's great being with the family, and spending a bit of time to appreciate them. Unfortunately, it means I've been a bit light on the posting this week, but I'm sure you'll forgive me.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

S.H.I.E.L.D.W.A.L.L. Operation Defenestration - SUCCESS!





Outstanding news, gentlemen!

Operation Defenestration is a complete success. Although Ms Van Ostrand's essay has not been removed from Fandomania, it has been effectively neutralized by an Editor's Note detailing the controversy.

S.H.I.E.L.D.W.A.L.L. New Orders: Operation Defenestration





Disturbing news, gentlemen.

The Enemy has many faces, some connected, some sprouting from the quagmire of intellectual pretension independently. Regardless of the origin, the heads of the Enemy must be relieved of their shoulders. Howardom has advanced far in the past few decades, and we cannot allow the old mistakes, myths, misinterpretations and outright lies to gain a foothold.

Your target is Margaret Van Ostrond. She is a humour writer, most well known for writing the insufferable gags of countless game shows, light opinion pieces in minor newspapers (light in tone and light in opinion), and her own technicolour-bordered website. However, this does not make her any less dangerous than former adversaries, for the power of The Enemy is subtle and insinuous. Already, two subjects known as Kelly Melcher & Summer Suzuki have been compromised, believing Van Ostrond's outrageous nonsense as truth. She must be stopped. A photograph of the target is provided here:

Your orders: review Margaret Van Ostrond's essay "Was Conan the Barbarian Really a Fictional Character" and post your response in the comments section. Van Ostrond's poisonous, sensationalist tract must be destroyed and discredited as the sub-literary hackwork it is. Many allies of S.H.I.E.L.D.W.A.L.L. and fellow proponents of The Cause have made their presence known: Damon Sasser, Scott Oden, David Gentzel, Dennis McHaney, Frank Coffman, Rob Roehm, Scotty Henderson, James Reasoner, Lisa Tomacek-Bias, and the mysterious al-Harron. S.H.I.E.L.D.W.A.L.L. are the front line in defense of Robert E. Howard, and we must lead by example. Suffer not the hack to lie.

Shields Up,

Agent Taranaich

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Troll & Flame, Living Up to the Name

As I've mentioned more than a few times, I quite like Conan the Barbarian. It ain't Howard, it ain't Conan, but it's a fun film. Great music, good set & costume design, good acting by the actual actors James Earl Jones and Max Von Sydow, a real atmosphere of a ruder, barbaric time. I'm always willing to defend it on the grounds that it deserves, despite it being about as Conan as Ally-Oop.

However, I'm not going to defend it for what it isn't: a good Howard film, a good Howardian-in-Spirit film, or a good Conan film.

What brought this on? This post.

Triangulation: Of Snow-Things and Female Hobbits

I neglected to put a Triangulation post for last week, sorry 'bout that folks.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Transformers: War for Cybertron

You know what I did this morning? I played the voice of a toy. Some terrible robot toys from Japan that changed from one thing to another. The Japanese have funded a full-length animated cartoon about the doings of these toys, which is all bad outer-space stuff. I play a planet. I menace somebody called Something-or-other. Then I'm destroyed. My plan to destroy Whoever-it-is is thwarted and I tear myself apart on the screen.

- Orson Welles on Unicron, his final film role

You know, it only just occurred to me that despite being listed third of my main interests up underneath the blog's title, I haven't really talked about Transformers that much. I'd been meaning to, though, especially things that I've noticed few really talk about: the themes, history and metaphors of the Transformers. Most people tend to dismiss the Transformers fiction as little more than a soulless means of advertising an increasingly commercialized childhood, and that's certainly how the comics and cartoon came into being. However, the various writers took the inherently surreal SF mantra of gargantuan robotic organisms that, somehow, transmogrify themselves into vehicles, and they ran with it. Bob Budiansky & Simon Furman are probably the most famous of these, the latter in particular famed for bringing some much needed explanations & gravitas to a setting that could so easily have become a campy, trashy mess.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Trouble brewin' at the Ol' Conan forums

Recently, the Official Conan forums had been discussing a second leaked script for the upcoming Conan film. There were a number of differing details within the script, but nothing that saves it from the mediocrity of the previous iteration.

The posters over at the board thus expressed their discontent at the state of affairs. I myself noted some of the differences between the two scripts. However, that post, and others, have now been deleted:


In regards to any illegal links - such as links to the new Conan script - and all snippets that have been obtained illegally have been removed from this site. Posting illegal links is a forum violation and will be result in official warnings that may lead to suspension/banning from the site. Snippets obtained from such illegal links will also not be tolerated. All such posts have been removed or are in the process of being removed.

Worrisome news. Such a post and mass culling of messages did not occur when the first script was released, nor for the Solomon Kane script: there were reminders, but I don't recall messages being deleted as well. I don't hold the Mods or Admins, ever tireless and beyond reproach as fans, responsible for this. This is clearly the doing of CPI/Paradox.

Why now? I'm guessing the script is fairly close to the final draft. That bodes ill for the film, since outside one or two "improvements" (or rather, excisions of particularly odious elements), the script is no closer to Howard than the original was.

This is the first time something like this has happened on the forums, to the best of my knowledge. I really hope it's the last.

*Edit: originally, I called the mods "tiresome", when I meant "tireless": a very funny slip of the tongue in retrospect, but I certainly didn't want to offend any of the fantastic fellows bearing the Twin Spears of Moderation. You guys are great!

**Edit the Second: It has been made clear that CPI/Paradox were acting at the behest of Lionsgate. Damn you, Lionsgate!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Triangulation: Turtles All The Way

After a veritable hurricane of posts (by my standards anyway), I've kinda burned out a bit, so only one this week, about the upcoming Discworld fan film.

I really dislike shallow parodies. They bug the hell out of me. Now, I like Terry Pratchett's work, even if I've only read the first half of his ouvre (and The Last Hero), but to be frank, certain aspects kind of rear their ugly head. One is Hrun the Chimerian: a big, dumb barbarian with a magic sword from a Land of Mists which "only exist to produce heroes" who is involved in much derring do. Now one could make the point that Hrun is a parody of pastiche or movie Conan, or the poorly-disguised Conan clones who transplant only the surface elements, but it's pretty evident Hrun is meant to be Conan himself. Thus we get lovely phrases like "The strength of twenty men, the speed and agility of a black panther and the intelligence of a garden snail."

Honestly, if you're going to go to the bother of parodying Conan, then at least parody him right. Musclebound, hulking numbskulls just doesn't cut it: that could describe dozens of half-price barbarian protagonists. Luckily, Pratchett got more involved with his next Conan-alike in Cohen, though there are still a few annoying things like the permanent loincloth.

I don't know, maybe it's iconoclasm for the sake of iconoclasm.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

S.H.I.E.L.D.W.A.L.L. New Recruit, Codename: Le Vyonnaise





Gentlemen, we have another new agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.W.A.L.L. joining us today. As with Agent Theagenes, Agent Scammonjam had him under observation for some time, and is assigning him to the main division of S.H.I.E.L.D.W.A.L.L. Agents.

Agent Le Vyonnaise' role will be the search for news and information pertinent to The Cause. While it is the duty of all S.H.I.E.L.D.W.A.L.L. agents to be ever watchful of such matters, Agent Le Vyonnaise will be primarily active in this regard. All agents are encouraged to peruse Agent Le Vyonnaise' MINAC reports, the first of which, Assignment P-7920, has been delivered to S.H.I.E.L.D.W.A.L.L. HQ and disseminated online. Assignment P-7920 reports on Scott Oden, ally of S.H.I.E.L.D.W.A.L.L., and the release of his new book, as well as Tantor Media's release of Kull - Exile of Atlantis in audiobook form, The Men Who Made Argosy, and the latest work by Steve Jones.

We at S.H.I.E.L.D.W.A.L.L. welcome a new shieldbearer to the cause, and look forward to what he brings to the game.

Shields up,

--Agent Taranaich