Thursday, May 21, 2009

War is Good for Robots

I noticed last night the Lynchianly named Laura Cooper is also twittering in iambic pentameter. So begins my total reshaping of Twitter. She's doing pretty well so far.

My own tweets from last night;

Right now my mind is a sustained blank beep.
I vow to fall asleep in two hours.
In two hours, need to be sleeping deep.
I'll deploy all of my mental powers.

Predictably enough, I failed. It didn't even matter I didn't get a full eight hours sleep the previous day. I ended up just going back to my standard tactic of staying awake until sleep became an inevitability and read more of War and Peace. Just finished a War section and am now in a Peace section--if there's a common theme to the two, it's that young people are completely helpless, at the mercy of the seemingly random physical acts of the universe, the machinations of their elders, and, above all, their own blind passions. This is all brought home by wonderfully credible characters, essential aspects of whom are often illustrated with just a couple short, amazingly direct sentences.

From after Rostof, a hussar, has been shot, his horse has been fatally wounded, and he sees one of his comrades taken prisoner by French troops;

"Is our man really taken prisoner? Yes! And will they take me too? Who are these men?" Rostof kept asking himself, not crediting his own eyes. "Can they be the French?" He gazed at the oncoming strangers, and, in spite of the fact that only a second before he had been dashing forward solely for the purpose of overtaking and hacking down these same Frenchmen, their proximity now seemed to him so terrible that he could not trust his own eyes! "Who are they? Why are they running? Are they running at me? And why? Is it to kill me? Me, whom everyone loves?" He recollected how he was beloved by his mother, his family, his friends, and the idea that his enemies might kill him seemed incredible. "But perhaps . . . they may . . ." For more than ten seconds he stood, not moving from the spot and not realising his situation.

I think a lot of writers would feel too embarrassed to even try writing about one of their characters like this, but it works so brutally well because it's the real, stunned, almost subliminal thought laid bare. The confusion, the tendrils of human feeling bereft at having none of the familiar things to grasp onto . . . It's great.

Anyway, on the other end of the war fiction spectrum, all the reviews I've looked at for Terminator Salvation have made me very much not want to see it. The first reaction I saw was through Jhonen Vasquez's twitter; "Well...Terminator: Salvation was no Terminator: Salvation trailer," and "Just picture the camera pulling up and away from me as I raise my clenched fists in the rain, crying out 'McGeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!'"

Once again, we were schnookered by Nine Inch Nails music in the trailer, but at least people weren't as conned as they were by 300. Who'd have thought the director of Charlie's Angels wouldn't make a movie with the depth befitting Terminator 2? We should have seen this coming. I blame the DP.

Well, the fact that Christian Bale clearly had more clout than the director--I'm not just basing this on the outburst but from the fact that Bale initially refused to do the movie until McG met his demand to bring in a new screenwriter (Jonathon Nolan, who apparently can't save everything)--probably cursed this film from the beginning. A ship needs a captain. I'm glad I won't have to see it.

Happy birthday, Lori Fury.

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