Roz Kaveney (rozk) wrote,
Roz Kaveney

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How we avoid thinking about the Republican Convention and the imminent destruction of life on Earth

There was never a chance - no matter how bad the reviews - that I would miss 'Chronicles of Riddick'. Even if I were not trying to be an eminent critic of sf film, and therefore obliged to see crap in order to think about it, I would have wanted to see it, just for Alexa Davalos and Judi Dench. Because those two in the same film makes it a trivia deal-breaker...

So anyway just as the problem with 'Pitch Black', notionally the first of this franchise, was that it neglected any sort of sf logic in favour of Old Dark House/Planet horror tropes, here the problem was that it was a space opera whose internal logic was that of sword- and-sorcery. You can always get away with this to some extent, but it is not the case that the two sub-genres are simply the same thing in marginally different frocks.

The whole point here was that Judi Dench's character had manipulated the Grand Marshal of the Necromongers by making a prophesy to him in the sure and certain knowledge that his attempts to circumvent destiny were - via the Appointment in Samarra effect - the very thing that would bring his destiny about. Tell him that he will be killed by a Furian and he will start by exterminating or converting every Furian he can lay his hands on, and then pick an entirely unnecessary fight with the one Furian left, who wants nothing to do with the war until the Necromongers come after him and kidnap his sort-of sweetie. This is myth logic and something that usually goes wrong - see 'Star Wars', passim - when pulled into the notionally rational world of sf.

And the whole 'only man who went to the Underverse' thing only makes sense if you rephrase it as 'man who went to a demon dimension and came back wrong'. Same with the soul-snatching ability - though the way they finessed that in the big fight at the end made a sort of raw poetic sense.

Some of it is, of course, good old fashioned sf bollocks like the stuff in 'Pitch Black' - there it was creatures with a life cycle that involves only getting to eat random visitors to their world during its very occasional total eclipses and here it is running, yes, RUNNING, ahead of the terminator between boiling day and freezing night. Which is possibly the silliest idea I have ever seen in a film, though yes, sure, it looked very cool.

And at the end, stuck on a vast throne with his enemy and his sweetie dead at his feet, suddenly Riddick becomes King Conan instead of the Dark Emperor, and this is why it feels so very wrong. I found myself weeping with glee without even having giggled first.

Nice pompous architecture though.

It was also potentially slashtastic - it cried out for the scene in which Thadie Newton's evil bitch character expedited turning Alexa Davalos as Kira to the dark side with sapphic blandishments and sharp sticks. As it is, Kira turns up at court scrubbed up nice and with a different frock and a hole in her neck, and we are supposed to think her an entire convert, only we don't, because we /go to the movies. I hope there is a deleted scene of seduction, because I can't be arsed to write it myself and I don't expect anyone else to.

Riddick himself gets a lot more homoerotic action this time - one of the Necromonger priests is clearly up for it and Thadie Newton's tame Macbeth figure casts a lot of lingering glances. But the point is that this is a dumb dumb film which does not know where its own potential strengths are...

More dark side and slashiness in The Bill, because suddenly everyone female is slashable again. Gina Gold and evil Irene Radford (Linda Bellingham) smouldered at each other; Gina smouldered at Kerry that she was going to throw her out of the police and, o dear, it looks like Kerry has gone over to the Radford side of the Force. Gina smouldered at Yvonne a bit as well, while Yvonne smouldered at the idiot teen she has taken under her wing for no reason that she will acknowledge to herself. And little Abigail Nixon is giving us the hot action her mother never does by playing kitten games with her bestest bestest friend on a webcam prior to disappearing into the night. Debbie MacAllister, on the other hand, is too busy tormenting poor ickle Gary Best to remember to be bi any more...

The boys have a lot of catching up to do - Reg has forgotten his pure love for dead Des and Phil Hunter hasn't tried to impose his will on Gary yet. About the only ones that keep up the good work are evil councillor Jerome and his manipulation of Thatcher to bring down Superintendent Okaru - Jerome and Okaru so have past. After all, Okaru's pre-marriage affair is supposed to have been with Gina, which does not compute...

And just think, there are about eighty hours of 'The Bill' every single year to obsess about.

In other news, I went to the party for Susanna Clarke's 'Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell' , which, I assure you, you will all be reading the moment it comes out, and saw faithtastic and dolores and the amazing Missus for tea and Chinese food. And limped on my bad knee and winced with my bad rib and wrist, and will try not to fall over for ages.

I am working through a bunch of Nigel Slater salads and made a fab one last night...Chick peas, sliced feta, chopped red pepper, chopped parsley and a dressing made from walnut oil, lemon juice and half a spoon of harissa. Actually, I used mozzarella, since it was to hand, and the red peppers and harissa were a bodge replacement for bottled hot peppers, but it was really nice anyway. As was the grilled fennel, black olives and mozzarella one we did the other week.

N. Slater is a foodie god.

Talking of foodie gods, glossing did such a good job of faking Borough Market in one of her new Oz fics that I assumed I had got her location entirely wrong and she did not live in Canada at all. She wrote accurately about a place I shop most weeks - the only thing that might have made me suspect anything was the purple chicory, because, I wish...It would look so very good in Slater's chicory, cos and Roquefort salad.
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