Wednesday, February 28, 2018

ReBoot: The Guardian Code. ReBoot's... Reboot Reimagined

ReBoot was an animated show that aired in the mid- to late- '90s that had the distinction of being a) the first fully CGI animated show and b) Canadian. Not only was it groundbreaking technologically, it was also made in the best country in the world (of course, as a Canadian, I may be slightly biased.) It expanded quite a bit narratively in later seasons, but the basic premise was simple: a bunch of digital sentient beings living in the city of Mainframe were protected by a Guardian named Bob and his companions Enzo and Dot Matrix from a multitude of threats in the form of anthropomorphized computer viruses like Megabyte and Hexadecimal as well as games being played by the user, which manifested as giant glowing cubes of energy that would engulf and endanger huge swaths of the digital city and its inhabitants.

In short, it was sheer awesomeness.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sitting on the Dock of the Baywatch, Watching a Film Float Away

As I was watching the 2017 cinematic reimagining of the staple '90s TV show Baywatch, one question kept popping into my head: Who was this made for? It wasn't a rhetorical question either. I genuinely couldn't fathom who the intended audience of this movie was. I wasn't a huge fan of the original Baywatch TV show, though I was familiar with it insofar as many young men of my generation were familiar with it as ready source of scantily clad women running in slow motion directly off the screen and into the hearts and spank banks of millions. I don't know if you could have beeen a heterosexual boy or teen in the '90s and not have Pamela Anderson be a part of your sexual awakening.

The point in danger of getting lost is that I am by no means an expert on the plot lines, characters, or themes of individual episodes. All I am left with is an overall impression of the show in general and a grudging respect for David Hasselhoff's impressive chest hair. And despite the fact that the original Baywatch TV show seemed like an excuse to show off some fit dudes and chicks in their bathing suits wrapped up in melodrama, it all seemed to be earnest in its intent. There was no satire or winking at the audience; there was no need for any of that. There was no deeper or secret meaning or commentary or metanarrative. Everything that Baywatch wanted to say was out there, barely contained and bouncing around in a bright red bathing suit.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Somewhere Over the Deepwater Horizon... Unnatural Disasters...In Search of a Villain

I'm always kind of leery about movie based on modern historical events, i.e., anything that's happened within decade or so of the movie being made about it. I think it's difficult to get the perspective needed to truly treat the subject matter in as dispassionate and objective a manner as possible, which is the goal - stated or implied - in any kind of based-on-a-true-story movie. Unless you're someone like Oliver Stone, whose movies like JFK are actually best classified as historical fan fiction, as they borrow the names of actual people, but in no way attempt to represent actual events in any effort to achieve any semblance of verisimilitude (much to the protestations of Stone himself). Don't get me wrong: I love JFK (the movie). I think it's scarier than most horror movies (something about conspiracies, when done well, creeps me the fuck out), but it's also mostly based entirely on the mad howlings of conspiracy theorists, and its wild claims are easily debunked with the combination of a few minutes of your time and a working Internet connection.

Despite my misgivings and the temporal proximity between its subject matter and its development, I was genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed Deepwater Horizon. The film covers the immediate aftermath of the disastrous explosion and resulting catastrophic oil spill of the titular drilling platform, depicting how the workers on the oil rig were able to survive those harrowing first hours until they were able to be rescued. It's a surprisingly apolitical depiction of the worst ecological disaster in recent memory, choosing - quite correctly if somewhat unsatisfactorily - to focus on the human cost and toll instead of taking the all too easy approach of vilifying BP, the oil company in charge of the site and ultimately held responsible for the horrific events of that fateful day, including the deaths of eleven people.