Friday, November 20, 2009

Dethklok at the Hollywood Palladium, November 19, 2009

I got to the concert late. Those of you who know me (hi Mommy!) know that I don't deal well with being late. At all. So that was a hideous, horrible tragedy that ended in me not getting to stand in the front row. Darn the luck. (I really need to learn to control my not-being-on-time panics.)
Last year there were Dethklok necklaces for sale, which I stupidly didn't buy. Now I not only can't find one online, but they weren't selling any at the merchandise table. It's like they never existed. But, because I stood in that line for way longer than necessary it would have been dumb not to buy something. I bought a wristband. Now my right wrist will be warmed by the power of Klok.
I guess there were two opening bands and two headliners. I missed one of the openers completely. The second (whose name I don't know) looked, from where I was standing, as though Johnny Rotten, my friend Amanda's brother and twin Rob McElhennys formed a metal band. They sounded something like this:
A lot of the audience seemed to really enjoy them but I didn't really get it. I was amused at how ridiculous they seemed to me. I guess this is why I don't go to a lot of metal shows (that and my ears are still ringing a little bit).
Mastodon were the first co-headliner and they made me sleepy. I don't think that was their desired effect. Again, the crowd seemed to be really into them, but I just couldn't get excited.
The thing is, I have a Mastodon album (Leviathan) and I really like it. It's heavy and melodic and it's about Moby Dick. It's totally awesome.
Last night they only played one song from Leviathan, but I didn't recognize it. I only knew it was from that album because of the painting of Moby Dick on the screen behind them. So, based on that one song I have to assume that Mastodon weren't very good live. Maybe if I knew all of their music (I think most of what they played was from their new album) I'd have thought they were great, but I had nothing familiar to latch onto and all the songs blended into each other and sounded the same to me.
After Mastodon finished the guy who had been standing to my left went away and a girl and her boyfriend moved into his place.
Then Dethklok came on and I turned into a yelling, screaming, singing, bouncing, devil-horns-raising fangirl machine. I was actually a little worried that I may have been annoying the people around me, but I'm never going to see them again so what do I care?
I picked a good spot in the back to stand and I had a clear view of the stage. Brendon Small is glorious and the rest of the band is also quite wonderful (although I didn't watch them much; I was too busy staring at Brendon).
I only have one complaint, which is funny considering a few days ago I told my brother "Since they're promoting the new album they probably won't play anything from the first album, which sucks because I want to hear Hatredcopter."
Hatredcopter was the third (I think?) song they played, and the first of many songs from the first album. I actually think they played more from Dethalbum than Dethalbum II, and that is my complaint.
I have two absolute favorite songs on Dethalbum II and they only played one of them (The Gears; which was glorious, although I wish more people had screamed along with "We fear not our mortality; we'll serve to the best of our ability; we give our lives for our masters; we vow to smite our enemies." I felt like I was the only one).
My other favorite song on Dethalbum II is Murmaider II: The Water God.
They played Murmaider, which is a good song but I liked it better when it was a throwaway joke in the second episode of the show. That moment in the series is less funny now that Murmaider is a real song. Conversely, The Water God is a brilliant, gorgeous and far superior song and they totally didn't play it at all.
Near the end of the show Brendon talked to the audience as Nathan, Pickles and Skwisgar, which was hilarious (even he thought so; why is it very annoying when most comedians laugh at their own material, but when Brendon Small or Eugene Mirman laughs at themselves it's completely acceptable and kind of adorable? Me and my double standards). He told us that Los Angeles is the most brutal city in the world and that we were all out of work actors. Then they played Fansong. (Fansong is about how much Dethklok hates their fans.)
Then Brendon (as Brendon) thanked the audience and introduced the band and that was the end of the show.
Remember the couple standing next to me who I worried I may have annoyed? They both shook my hand after the show for "having good energy." (They must not have been standing anywhere near me while Mastodon was playing.) They were both really nice and not at all irritated by my exuberance.
I bought a bottle of water from the bar, managed to get outside and did something I had wanted to do when I was in New York but never got the chance to: bought a hot dog from a street vendor. You know what? It was delicious.
Then I sat on the hood of my car, drank my water, ate my hot dog and read The Haunting Of Hill House for about forty minutes while I waited for the kajillions of other cars leaving the parking lot to clear out.
Now my throat hurts from screaming and life is good.

End of line.

The Prisoner

Now, I'm not talking about the original Patrick McGoohan series that I love so much (although I can assure you it will be mentioned ad nauseum). I'm talking about the new one.
I don't even know where to begin.
All of the things that make it "The Prisoner" could easily be modified or taken out completely.
And really, that's most of what I have to say about it: If it hadn't been a The Prisoner remake it would have been pretty good.
What should have happened was the writers should have been "inspired by The Prisoner" but changed around the few things they took from it and given it a different name (and never ever mentioned The Prisoner anywhere outside of IMDB trivia). Then it would have been an interesting little science fiction miniseries.
Because taking on the title The Prisoner is a lot to live up to. There was no way in hell this miniseries could be that good. Why sink yourself by forcing people to compare you to one of the greatest television series of all time?
Good job, geniuses, you suck.
Also, I was told that one of the main plot twists was stolen from Finder. I don't read Finder, so I'm taking her word for it, but I'm honestly not surprised. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the other plot twists were ripped off from other places as well.
Sigh. So there that is.
I don't agree with giving Number Six a real name (and honestly, Michael? How lazy are you people?). And I don't agree with this particular Number Six being the protagonist.
Jim Caviezel is no Patrick McGoohan, I can tell you that much. I'd never seen Jim Caviezel in anything before this and I have to say, I don't like him. I don't think it was the character that was bothering me, I think it was him as an actor that I didn't like.
'Cause if you boil it down to the bare characteristics, this Number Six was kind of the same guy: argumentative and rebellious and sure of himself.
Patrick McGoohan plays that guy, you root for him. You think he's awesome, you want him to win!
Jim Caviezel plays that guy and all of a sudden I'm sitting there saying "Who's this jerkass? Get over yourself, dude. Quit bitching." (I have the horrible feeling that if I had seen The Passion Of The Christ I'd have been sitting there saying "Yeah, kill that cocky asshole!" Seriously, how the hell does a smarmbag like that get to be Jesus?)
Ian McKellen, on the other hand, was as charming as ever and I was all for Number Two winning. Bring it on, Ian! You break that jerk's spirit!
Then they added a romantic subplot. What the flugh?! No!
I know, I know, this isn't the original series, but whatever. The original series made a very strong point to have no romance. There are a couple of episodes where girls have crushes on Number Six, but one of those girls was brainwashed and the other was working for The Village the whole time.
The only actual "romance" in the show was in Do Not Forsake Me, O My Darling, which I don't consider a real episode (if there's no Patrick McGoohan it isn't a real episode; in that one they put Number Six's brain in another guy and send him out of The Village to run an errand for them; dumb).
This new The Prisoner relies heavily on Number Six falling in love with two different girls over the course of its six hours. That's not right.
And one of the girls was cute but the other is completely weird faced. Number Two's son was pretty weird faced, too. What the heck? Why is everyone in The new Village unpleasant to look at?
My complaints are scattered and not at all cohesive.
The point is that I didn't like it but I probably would have if they hadn't insisted on calling it The Prisoner.

End of line.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dracula: The Un-Dead

Here there be spoilers. Ye be warned.

Dacre Stoker, Bram Stoker's great grandnephew, has written an "official sequel" to the original novel Dracula. I'm worried that it's ruined the original novel for me.
Here's why: he took everything interesting out of it. He turned Dracula into some wangsty Twilight-style vampire. Turns out Dracula was a good guy all along (who only drinks the blood of animals, rapists and murderers) and was just trying to stop Countess Elizabeth Bathory. She's the evil one. And she's Jack The Ripper.
...Okay. ...?
Bram Stoker is a character in Dracula: The Un-Dead and there are special appearances from the Titanic and newfangled technology like motorcars and aereoplanes. There's even an "I am your father" moment.
Not only that, but Dacre Stoker basically undid pretty much everything that happened in the original novel. There's a scene in the book where Dracula confronts Bram Stoker for "writing lies about him."
Apparently Dacre just didn't like the fact that, in the original novel, Dracula can exist in sunlight without bursting into flame (his powers were diminished, that was all) so he just claims that's one of Bram's "lies."
Basically, rather than work with the source material, Dacre Stoker told the source material to go fuck itself and made up his own universe where Dracula was never a villain, thus taking a classic horror icon and turning him into an uninteresting bitch.
This book is completely stupid.

My heart isn't in reviewing right now, my heart is in complaining. So that's what I've decided to do.
First of all, I want you to ignore anything positive I may have said about And Another Thing... all those days ago. I have a bone to pick with all of these types of books.
There are a lot of books out now that are "official sequels" to books by dead people. There are also a lot of "Pride And Prejudice from Mister Darcy's point of view" type books, and I'm sure a lot of Pride And Prejudice And Zombies style books are on the horizon.
I'm sorry, people, but how is your fanfic getting publishing deals?
That's all these books are: glorified fan fiction.
"Oh, well I'm Bram Stoker's great grandnephew, and I wrote it with a vampire expert." So? Watch me care. Are you Bram Stoker? No. You're not. In the world of books, it can't be an official sequel if it's not written by the same dude. (These are my rules. I make them up.)
I don't care that And Another Thing... was based on Douglas Adams's notes. I don't care that Adams's widow asked Eoin Colfer specifically to write it. He fucked it up. All of the characters were wrong and the dialogue was awful. It isn't a real Hitchhiker's book.
Dracula: The Un-Dead is not a sequel to Dracula. Anything from the source material that's inconvenient gets thrown out for the sake of whatever nonsense it was Dacre Stoker wanted to do.
It's not clever to make Bram Stoker a character who happened to write a "fictionalized account of what really happened." It's lazy. You couldn't make your ideas fit into the real story, so you used some half assed explanation to throw the real story out the window.
Dacre Stoker and Eoin Colfer and whatever dingdong it was who wrote those godawful Harriet The Spy sequels need to stop it right now. So do all the people writing "revisualized" books or "Jane Austen and monsters" stories.
Write your own books. Don't fuck up the work of the dead.

End of line.

Kronk's New Groove

It wasn't worth it.

End of line.