Blame the Wookies.
I managed to get the comic working again (yay!) but am having some formatting issues with the navigation. Things will be a little wonky over the next few days, so thank you in advance for your patience. That being said, no comics shall be delayed! A new one will come each day from now until I run out of stream.
The new theme is courtesy of the designer Mflat, so check out his site for it saved me. He’s got an interesting review of the film The Raid as his first post on the site which just demands how more awesome he is. Here’s a link to his review, translated through Google. I’m bringing Mflat some love because over that mention of a movie we both have seen, we bonded. I know this man. I know what he likes because I like those things. So show Mflat some love because he has great taste in movies. Not many people have seen The Raid.
Here’s a link to Robert Ebert’s review of The Raid.
Now I don’t agree with Ebert. He so easily dismisses a film like this because of the violent surface, but at it’s heart is the nature of the only true universal tale; Revenge and Payment. To keep a film so well-paced and to keep the audience glued is very difficult, no matter the genre. A film that is a single action sequence, however, demands the attention if only for that. I can’t count how many times in a film an action sequence has gone on for too long or simply bored me (Transformers II‘s big epic finish could have been cut by 15 minutes for example, or even Guy Pierce’s motorcycle ride in the recent film Lockout, a closer example to the hearts of men might be the 15 minute alley fight between Roddy Piper and Kieth David in They Live). To have a complete 2-hour film that’s once action sequence and keep it compelling from one moment to the next… That IS ART.
That is called “capturing the moment and sharing it with an audience.” I don’t agree with Ebert’s assessment that it’s gore-fodder and testosterone injections, because I like neither of those things and love this film. Pacing and timing are as important to a director as the camera itself. Without those elements, the whole ensemble falls apart. This is why a film like Meet Joe Black falls flat despite having a fantastic cast- it’s not timed very well. Asian films fall very hard onto their archetypes. They use them in every story (every culture does). But unlike European cultures that feel comfortable changing the elements or handling a trusted theme with a twist and know the audience won’t be closed to it, Asian films shy away from that. It is safer to tell the safe story. This is probably a cultural phenomenon as those parts of the world hold more of a colonial mentality (all for all, and one for all, but none for one and no one for themselves).
Films like The Raid are forced to break outside of those norms. if they stuck with the expected stereotype for every scene, it would suffer from that “action sequence that’s gone on too long,” feeling. Instead, it forces the characters to look within themselves to see what’s there rather than on the surface. There’s a lot of ass-kicking, sure… But there’s also the heroes losing their nerve and showing their true colors as cowards, the old ladies who surprise you by standing up for themselves, the glints of respectful looks between foes over a battlefield. There is a story beyond “the story,” of “fight these guys and get here to fight this guy;” there’s also the rite of passage tale. “I will do this thing, no you can’t, look -I just did, and now I’m going to fight you.” That journey might be a simple one, but it’s compelling all the same. Like Odysseus just wanting to return home to his wife… It’s not the destination, it’s the journey that proves who a man is.