Saturday, August 06, 2011
This was what my Second Life avatar looked like when I won seventh place (out of, if I remember, 24 or so people) in to-day's chess tournament. The best I've done, I think--I won three and lost two, the last one I won against a very good player. But, one of the many enlightening things about using a female avatar has been discovering how guys you barely know can feel comfortable dumping their unhappiness on you--the guy started talking to me about how he felt bad for not placing higher. It's gotten so I feel bad when I lose and guilty when I win.
Maybe if I could've worn these shoes I'd have felt more in my rights crushing others;
They're part of the Macabre collection from Vita's Boudoir--the rest of which you can see here. My avatar's actually wearing my least favourite of the three--I love the pair with the still beating hearts (they're animated) impaled on the heels, and the other one with the handles on the top making it clear these are stilettos in more ways than one. But I couldn't wear any of these shoes. They had too many prims (complex 3d parts) for the sim I was in, which had 34 people and I crashed twice as it was.
I wonder how long until there's Chess: The Movie. I suppose it'll involve an alien invasion like the upcoming Battleship movie. Despite the fact that the U.S. Navy no longer uses battleships, the movie's set in modern times because I guess setting it in the 50s or something would've cost money. And they fight aliens because an enemy human nation would cost a portion of the audience.
That's a bad reason to use aliens. Cowboys and Aliens, which I saw last night, put aliens to good use. One could point to the basic fact that the aliens are all anonymous, evil by default kill fodder, much in the way Terry Gilliam complained about the stormtroopers in the Star Wars movies. But if one considers how alien the Europeans must have seemed to native Americans in the early years of conquest, it's a fitting device to explore the exploitation of a people by a nation that sees itself as unquestionably superior. This is one of the reasons Cowboys and Aliens succeeds where Avatar failed. It also has characters with more satisfying complexity--people who are more than just cursors, anyway.
This seems to be Jon Favreau's strength, his ability to work with actors. Reading an interview with Harrison Ford about how impressed he was with the time Favreau took to work out characters with the actors reminded me of an interview with Scarlett Johansson for Iron Man 2 in which she said exactly the same thing. So Ford, along with the other leads, embodies a very definite character motivated by pride and repressed emotions
The character work dominates most of the film, which is a good thing, as the aliens, although fundamentally employed well, are still just another retread in terms of design of the H.R. Giger alien and the action sequences, although satisfying to probably most people, are too reliant on editing and feel generally weightless to me. I rather agree with Roger Ebert in wishing it had simply been a straight forward western. I would have liked to have watched a lot more business between Dolarhyde and Lonergan.