Thu, 21 August 2014
It's the thirteenth episode as Dan and Andrew do their best to avoid any and all calamity.
Week in Geek: Andrew plays the new Dungeons and Dragons to...interesting results. Dan bought a book about comics theory, Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner.
Boasts of Bethel: Dan discusses why he doesn't think the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Movie isn't a complete disaster.
Discussion: Now that they have both seen Guardians of the Galaxy, they discuss its impact within the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe and how the MCU could and/or should look from this point forward.
Andrew's Cross-Examination: Andrew interviews Seattle-based indie game designer, Kai Cambra about his interesting thoughts about game design.
Nerd Question: It's almost time for Peter Capaldi's Doctor to be revealed to the world; so, with that in mind, we ask:
With the coming of the 12th Doctor, who is your favorite Doctor and/or what is your favorite Doctor Who moment?
Answer in the comments to this episode's post at forall.libsyn.com. Or feel free to e-mail your answer––and any comments or questions about the show––to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For all intents and purposes, that's an episode recap.
See you next week!
I am one of those who discovered Doctor Who in the modern incarnation and it was because of Christopher Eccleston. I had an absurd love of the movie Elizabeth for a few years, so when I hear the Duke of Norfolk was going to be playing this silly sci-fi character, I couldn't resist. I still haven't been exposed to much early Doctor Who, but of the modern incarnations, my favorite moment is from the 9th Doctor. At the end of the episode 'The Doctor Dances', the Doctor gets to send out nanobots, previously terrorizing London, to go heal the world. The line 'This time, everybody lives!' hinted at a tragic past I had no knowledge of, but I could understand how deep the pain must go with the joy expressed in that moment.
You're right that it got cut off; that's what I get for writing a 1600 word response. That aside, I really don't like how Libsyn doesn't apparently recognize paragraph breaks. We agree on the cartoon, undoubtedly. It was garbage, has always been garbage, and always will be garbage. As for the rest of my missive, it was merely more defense of the first live-action movie. Basically, I worry that you did not consider it in the correct context, that it had to, surely, concede some elements from the cartoon, but it overwhelmingly was an ode to the original comic. And I don't care if you crap on it, but it's that your crap seemed unsubstantial and insubstantial considering the context of the movie itself. What I like about the movie, and what it does better than both the comics and the cartoon (and pretty much any iteration, really) is that it seems to wholly take into consideration all three adjectives of the title rather than simply emphasizing "ninja" (as is the case with the comic) or "teenage" (as is the case with the cartoon, though even that's debatable). But we can agree, that cartoon is a blemish and cannot be appreciated on any level aside from making the franchise a world-wide phenomenon.
Like I said, I didn't mean to crap on it. You make a lot of really well articulated points about the film: it's definitely dark and follows the comic more closely than the cartoon ever did. And I do like your point that each of the turtles is given a character archtype and become more playful, instead of just being stoic ninjas follow the code of honor, etc. I just found the cartoon to be such a shameless cash-grab. The comics, and even the roleplaying game based on it, were just so freakin' cool; it appealed so strongly to that angsty, metal-head, directionless punk that I was in my early teens. The cartoon just makes me cringe, and anything that takes from its iconography--the color bandannas, pizza fixation, and surfer slang--turns me off. But, that's me. Also, I think your text got cut off in your comment. It seems to end in mid-sentence.
I'm pleased that you went and watched the movie after my referencing of it, but I feel you were rather unfair to its ratio of comic:cartoon, if only because you are judging it out of context (and aside its rather impressive technical prowess, for being a movie starring four guys in rubber suits). [Warning: some of this comes from my as-of-yet unpublished extended BoB.] One must remember that the only reason why the movie happened at all was because of the success of the cartoon, and if they wanted to secure any success at all, it must carry some (or, I may concede, many) references/qualities of the show. So, yes, we get exaggerated "cool speak" and pizza and goofball antics. But we also get a visibly and ruthlessly tortured Splinter; we get the straight-up murder of Shredder; we get––in what is ostensibly a children's movie––about ten minutes of ninja turtles sitting around a farm dealing with grief in unique and interesting ways; building on that, we actually have an ostensible children's movie espouse philosophies on death and forces the "children" to deal with, and accept, the loss (nay, a murder) of a parent. Combine that with what is actually rather stellar cinematography and you have a TMNT movie that can't honestly be written of as being "too cartoony" though it does, indeed, have its silly, cartoony moments. Oh, and Raphael says "damn" a lot. Now, to put that into context of what TMNT was at that time. In popular culture, it was the cartoon––I would argue that a majority of those with general awareness of the turtles (and a majority of the children who were fans of the cartoon) had no idea it started as a comic book series. In the context of the TMNT zeitgeist, the comic has little foothold to its popularity aside from the ever-important one of being the phenomenon that caught some media attention. That being said, it sounds like our history of TMNT appreciation is very, very similar. I, too, was incredibly unimpressed by the cartoon––though I enjoyed the toys quite a bit. However, being caught up in the moment, I did try to get my hands on as much TMNT merchandise as possible. I know you can imagine my surprise in 1989 when I was in our open-air mall's Waldenbooks and found a colorized compilation of the first three issues of the original comic (plus two side stories), collected and published by First Publishing. Its earnestness blew me away. The blood! The violence! The philosophizing! They straight-up killed Shredder (sort of, he comes back later)! It was a dark, interesting, and challenging vision of the turtles and I tried to share it with as many people as possible. Many shrugged it off, though, and I felt like I had found a gift from an alternate reality. First Publishing ultimately released four collections of the TMNT comic and when I bought the first one, they had the remaining books as well, and, over the next few months, I dragged my mom back to Walden books on the promise that I could buy another. I devoured them and was intrigued by how weird they were: the crossover with Dave Sim's Cerebus; travelling through time and space [triceratops people!]; the Utrom (the comic prototypes for what would be Krang in the cartoon); recuperating at April's family farmhouse after her second-hand store gets burned down in a Foot clan attack (Shredder returns but Casey Jones also shows up to save the day...kind of). Reading each of these volumes only soured me on the cartoon even more because it lacked the depth of character, the variety of story (the focus on story), and the continuity that worked so well on the comics. I will admit that I missed the character-specific colored bandanas. But that leads to my biggest criticism of the comic––and is something I touch upon in the audio BoB in this week's episode––the turtles are very mature and focused in the comic and there really isn't much diversity between the turtles in terms of character and wants and needs and flaws, etc. The brothers are basically a single unit and, as my reading goes, serious exploration of their individual inner lives isn't really explored until volume IV of the First Publishing collections (when they're at the farm). Sure, the cartoon's personalities were over the top and dumb, but at least it established a precedent and did, to its limited extend, approached these characters in a way that the comics didn't too often: the fact that they were teenagers. The turtles in the comics were basically the stoic, strong-jawed, bared-teeth superheroes that they were created to parody. The fact that the cartoon really is the first time that they opened up the teenager aspect of the franchise must be reason enough to give it credit––if not much, because better creators in better times would explore that aspect much better. But if I missed anything from the cartoon, it was that diversity of character (it wasn't much of a longing, the stories of the comics were interesting enough to compensate for that lack). That's where the live-action movie comes in. Pretty much all the major scenes and beats in the movie come straight from the comic. Facing Shredder on the rooftop, the origin, the showdown and subsequent burning of April's second-hand store, the recuperation on the farm. Not only that, but the tone was much more mature and nuanced than anything found in the cartoon. If you disagree with me, then I dare you to watch the second and/or third movies to show you how much more like the cartoon the movie could have been like––those movies are abominations. As I was watching the movie, I was losing my mind from shock and happiness. Though I was nine when the movie came out, I was a bit skeptical because I feared it would be like the cartoon. With every reference to those original comics I saw, however, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. By the end of the movie, I was standing in front of my seat because it felt like the filmmakers saw this weird, dimensional-hopping remnant that I saw and loved, and––to be cheesy––it was like they made the movie just for me. The cartooniness was there, but seve
Responding to Dan's riff on TMNT, I did find the original movie on youtube the other day and watched it based on Dan's comments. I don't mean to crap on one of Dan's favorite movies, but I thought it took far too much from the cartoon. For some reason, when I was a kid, I got really excited about more mature cartoons and comics: stories that dealt with death and hardship. I was really bored of the Saturday morning fare of "Thundercats" and "Silver Hawks": every week, Monstar or Mumra would pull some shit, and every week the heroes would defeat them. Or the dog fights in "GI Joe" that were careful to show every pilot safely ejecting from his destroyed plane, "don't worry kids! He's parachuting to safety! War isn't dangerous at all." Even to my kid brain, this seemed formulaic and tedious. When I discovered titles like "Valley of the Wind" or "Fire and Ice" my little kid mind was blown. And, so it was with TMNT. I bought a compilation of the first issues of the comic series and was shocked at how serious it was...still am, actually. Shredder gets his ass handed to him in the first issue! The tone of the comics was very somber: the turtles speak like humble warrior poets, NOT in even-for-the-day outmoded surfer slang. The cartoon and the endless merch that it spawned just seemed like a watered down version of something that was really cool. On to this weeks question...my first encounter with Doctor Who was Tom Baker. Doctor Who was rebroadcast on PBS and that's where I saw it for the first time. Now, I like Doctor Who, but I wouldn't call myself a Whovian, nor would I describe myself as a fan: I'm happy to watch it, and hear more knowledgeable people talk about it, but I don't really know much about it myself. Yesterday, while working my shift at the Bahnhofsmission, I met this girl from Wales, and mentioned that the only city I knew of in Wales was Cardiff...and that was because of Doctor Who; she lit up like a Christmas tree and started talking about how her whole family were big fans. She should be answering this question instead of me.