Saturday, 8 October 2011

The Back to the Future trilogy directed by Robert Zemekis

              Just to establish before I get into this, I freaking love this trilogy. I consider it the benchmark against which all over trilogies are measured. My reasoning for this can be placed under several different aspects in which this movie shines. Firstly, this trilogy is self-aware that it is a trilogy. This is evident in the parallels that exist across the the different times that are visited, and the characters that are reprised to play both ancestors and descendants.
              Second is the dynamic that exists between the two main characters. They both are extremely large personalities, yet they never compete to dominate a scene, more playing off of each other. The supporting cast, though somewhat populated repeatedly by Michael J. Fox, is also held up with Tannen playing a definite "Bad Guy" that gets more exaggerated and comical through each incarnation.
               Thirdly, the intelligence of the script. In a time travel series where only three other times are visited (four if you count alternate universes), the story explores all the possible avenues available in defining them and establishing the links between them. Despite this, the Delorean  mostly keeps a backseat to the movie, used as a framing device rather than a macguffin.
               The trilogy was directed by Robert Zemeckis and the budget of $99,000,000 earned back a box office just shy of one billion dollars. A fantastic family movie that will have thinking of the nuances of the script years after viewing, I consider this to be the definitive trilogy in cinema.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis

           Transmetropolitan was always going to be one of the first comics I would review. Not because it is my favourite, because that accolade is already held in equal measure by The Sandman and Preacher, nor is it the most violent as I can obtain my dosage of the old gratuitous via the likes of Lobo and Hitman. Transmetropolitan is a brutally dark political/journalistic comedy that concerns the return of Spider Jerusalem, a jaded, cynical, hunter s. thompson-esque writer, who is dragged back to the city he hates. It is set in a cyberpunk future where society and technology has advanced purely in relation to human desire, resulting in a hedonistic attitude and the general apathy of most of the population. 
            Jerusalem initially returns under duress due to contractual obligation, but after studying what has happened to the city in his absence, he soon finds himself  drawn to the oncoming election for the US presidency. But this is just the bare bones. At it's core this comic becomes one man's view of a world that has gone crazy and has not realised, and his only sane response is to return the gesture lest he get left behind. Ideas, such as the kinds of social cliques that could establish in a world where genetic manipulation is available from a vending machine, are explored and taken to their logical extremes.
             Warren Ellis has crafted an incredible dark, yet still hopeful, view of the future, and tied it to the present via the medium of the journalistic word. At the same time, there is comedy gold in abundance and the climax of the series is gripping as his war against the President of the United States escalates. I wouldn't dare hint at the end, suffice to say read it if you have the opportunity.
               The series was printed via the DC vertigo label and ran for 60 issues, monthly. Time passed at the same rate within the story as it did in real life and the entire saga covers five years of Spider's life. For a different idea of what constitutes a graphic novel, lay your hands on this and I assure you you will not be disappointed.