Open The Work Pod Bay Door, Hal

    [vimeo []( w=601&h=338]

    Immersive Cocoon "2011" | 1080HD from adNAU on Vimeo.


    I love the homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey, but I'm not sure I could ever see myself working in one of these.

    A Pixar Goodbye


    The other great achievement of that guy who died

    Pixar's Brave Trailer


    I'm a sucker for anything Pixar do.

    I love Scotland (having grown up there).

    Red heads rock (see: my wife and Amy Pond, amongst others)

    Thus, this film will probably win my approval. :)

    Enjoying the Downbeat

    When I was growing up, I remember vividly my Dad choosing to absent himself from the living room when a depressing, downbeat or tragic fils, show or documentary came on. "I know these things happen," he would say. "But I don't need it rubbed in my face."

    Like the teenage tit that I was, I found this annoying. I was still stuck in the mindset that sad or bleak = "deep". My father was clearly not as deep as me. 

    Roll forwards a couple of decades, and I'm beginning to see his point. It's been a rough seven or eight years, with illness, mental health issues and death rocking the family. And now, in my precious leisure time, I've become somewhat adverse to stories tinged with bleakness and despair myself. Real life has plenty of that, thanyouverymuchindeed. Which is why I found myself a little thrown after we watched A Handful of Dust on the AppleTV last night. 

    Kristin Scott Thomas in A Handful of Dust.-003a I'm not sure where our copy came from - a free DVD with a newspaper possibly, or inherited from my mother. But a while ago, I ripped it, stuck it on the AppleTV and charity shopped the original, intending to watch and delete the digital copy. And last night, at a loose end after Science Online and a trip to B&Q, we finally got around to watching it. 

    I admit: it's been a while since I read any Waugh. And I do feel that this adaptation, as enjoyable as it was, lacked the satirical edge of Waugh's writing. But it was enjoyable, the characters believable and the acting uniformly great. But, my goodness, that ending was bleak. We spent the best part of two hours watching a decision, born of boredom, destroy a family completely. And what was the point in that?

    Sleeping on it, I realise that I've slipped into too much of a goal-focused mindset in recent months. The point of the movie, as in so much of life, was the journey, far more than the destination. Did I enjoy the process of watching the film? Yes. Very much? Did I enjoy the ending? No - but that doesn't diminish the enjoyment of watching the film. And, in a sense, the ending wasn't final. It was an endpoint to a certain situation, a certain voyage in the characters' lives, but for most of them, there was life left to live. I'm a long way short of being a person who heads straight to the misery memoir section of the local bookshop, but perhaps I'm crawling my way back towards enjoying some of the more downbeat aspects of art.

    From Comics to Screen

    I have a long-held theory: that for comics to successfully adapt to the screen, they need to keep the key visual elements of the comic with them, especially when those elements have been developed and refined over decades. You can bee too slavish about this (cf: Ang Lee's Hulk), but on the whole, comics are a visual medium, and they're very, very good at doing images. 

    So, whenever a new comics adaptation approaches, I always start my judgement with a look at how well the imagery matches those from the comics. Iron Man impressed from the start, with both armour and a Tony Stark that looked like they'd leapt straight from the pages of the comic, and certainly didn't disappoint on screen. 

    Now, the first wave of material on the sequel is coming, including the first photos of the movie version of the Black Widow

    How well does she match up to the iconic image test? Here goes: Here's the original Black Widow from a 1970s era comic:

    And here's Scarlett Johansson as the movie version:

    And the verdict? Well, allowing for make-up differences over the last 30 years - very promising indeed. Some suspension of disbelief is required (how is that hair ever going to be practical for superheroing/spying?), but otherwise very true to the source. A good sign.

    Attack of the Moans

    Am I the only person left who is still excited by the idea of a new Star Wars film? The teaser for Attack of the Clones is up on Apple’s web site, and it looks good. Now, I know that it will never give me the same sort of buzz I got from the originals when I was seven. Still, I don’t feel that the same level of visual imagination and co-operative world building can be found in the cinema in anything else.

    Sure, the plot’s simplistic. Talented kid goes bad, causes downfall of staggering republic and rise of evil empire. His son redeems him and together the destroy the mastermind of the evil empire. There you go, the six films in two sentences.

    The really enjoyable thing, for me, is the incredible vision that goes into creating the look, sound and feel of the film. Lucas may not be the best scriptwriter or director in the world, but as a visionary who can drive forward a team of creative people to produce something quite remarkable, he’s seriously short on equals.

    So, come the launch of Attack of the Clones, I’ll be there, enjoying the cool lightsabre fights. And I’ll enjoy it, even if I’m the only person in the cinema.

    See the Episode II trailer here.