"We lead frantic lives. Filled with needs and responsibilities, but completely devoid of any actual purpose. I say let’s try to enjoy the simple things. Life should be like a basket of chicken wings: salty, full of fat and vinegar, and surrounded by celery you’ll never actually eat, even when you’re greedily sopping up the last viscous streaks of buffalo sauce from the wax paper with your spit-stained index finger. Yes, that is as life should be, Night Vale."
After several decades of hemming and hawing in the face of the evidence that movies about female heroes and/or starring more than one woman can be financially successful, I suspect that Wonder Woman finally was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Before Wondy, we had the moderately successful Ghostbusters: Answer the Call; coming next year, we will be #blessed by Ocean’s Eight. However, the thing about the latter two films, both reboots of previously all-male franchises, is that they are movies where the gender of the protagonists is incidental. That’s why it’s possible to reboot them with women; there’s no reason a lady can’t bust a ghost or rob a casino as effectively as a dude.
As is often our wont, we ended up reccing a fic for something before we actually reviewed the thing. Ah well; such is fandom. Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 3 was, as I mentioned in my fic rec, a bit, uh, brief; only seven episodes long, to be precise. On the upside, there will be more story in October when Season 4 drops; on the downside, S4 will only be six episodes long, which makes it kind of feel like it’s just the second half of Season 3 gussied up to look like its own season. While it was nice to finally get a continuation of the story that ended on such a cliffhanger in Season 2, and while this mini-season did give us some character development and history, it didn’t really feel like a complete story, and I’m worried too much got left by the wayside.
There’s always a mix of joy and frustration in revisiting old classics or old favorites for this column, but the proportions of the two tend to vary from topic to topic. This week I sat down with an old Roald Dahl book I haven’t cracked since probably grade school, and found that, while it’s overall sweet and somewhat empowering, it had several elements that left me rolling my eyes. This book is, of course, The BFG.
Voltron: Legendary Defender‘s Season 3 has come and gone already – pretty easy when the runtime of the whole season is less than three hours. With only seven episodes to satiate my needs for its particular brand of mediocre-to-promising character development and giant robot lions punching things, the obvious next step was turning to fanfic. And although the Voltron AO3 section can be like a kinked-out version of the Wild West on the best of days, I was lucky enough to find this character-centric gem after just a bit of searching.
As my favorite Voltron fics often are, this fic is told from a trans!Pidge’s POV, and centers on her relationship with Shiro following the events of this season.
When deciding what to write about this week, I was torn between a comic and this movie… and then the universe sent me a sign: a gif of one of the Hex Girls, free of context or even any tags, on my Tumblr dash. I’m not one to turn down the universe, so here we are. This is one of the few Scooby-Doomoviesclose to my heart that I haven’t reviewed for this column yet, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an enjoyable watch.
A frame from the famous (in cryptozoological circles) Patterson-Gimlin footage of what’s supposedly a Bigfoot walking through the woods. (via Wikipedia)
This may or may not be a known fact to our readers, but in case you missed it, I love cryptozoology. I think it’s a fun and harmless interest, and while you won’t catch me out in the woods doing Bigfoot calls, I won’t pass up the opportunity to watch a “documentary” about someone else doing just that. But despite the efforts to make cryptozoology seem like a serious branch of science to tie Sasquatches to a missing evolutionary link and lake monsters to dinosaurs who never went extinct, I think a lot of people, myself included, are interested in cryptids because they offer an element of somewhat fantastical chaos into a world in which it sometimes feels that there’s not a ton left to discover otherwise—especially if you’re a layperson without a handful of science degrees. Anyone can go sit on the edge of Loch Ness and hope to spot a monster. And hey, isn’t it hubris to assume we’ve discovered every known species when we’re constantly discovering new and bizarre creatures in remote areas?
That said, the general belief is that people who take chupacabras, skunk apes, Jersey Devils, and the Mothman too seriously are stubborn, stupid, and naïve. But though cryptids themselves are often fantastical creatures, the attitude we have toward them in the real world seems to be exclusive to the real world. While some fantasy stories do feature cryptid-esque animals, they’re never treated with quite the same sense of dismissive derision—by either the narrative or the people involved—that real-world cryptids and cryptid enthusiasts get. In fact, the farther you get from realism, the more likely it is they’ll be celebrated rather than mocked.
It was really only a matter of time before I picked up Jonesy. It’s got an eye-catching art style, it’s receivedlots of love, and if that wasn’t enough, artist Caitlin Rose Boyle is a resident of my hometown of Pittsburgh. That said, before getting the first trade, I didn’t actually know what the story was about. It was actually fun, though, to be able to go into a book basically cold and be surprised by what took place. In this case, what took place was an inclusive and diverse magical realist take on a typical high-school slice-of-life story.
We left last week’s episode with Cosima locked in Westmoreland’s basement and Kira determined to take a more active role in her family’s crusade against Rachel. So of course the clone we start out with this week is… Krystal? With only a few episodes left, it makes sense that she would come back to wrap up her plotline, but I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it quite so much.
I wasn’t sure what to expect going into Spider-Man: Homecoming. I did really enjoy Tom Holland’s outing as Spidey in Captain America: Civil War, but I was kind of out of the loop for the pre-movie publicity (I barely even remember the trailers) and I felt going in more like I was seeing it out of MCU obligation than genuine hype. Plus, I still had some lingering resentment from the whole “pushing back the entire MCU production schedule to slot another white dude in” thing.
Coming out of Spider-Man: Homecoming, however, I had a big ol’ grin on my face. This movie was fantastically well-crafted and cast, and was loads of fun while also telling a heartfelt and complex story at its core.
Major plot spoilers after the cut! Please don’t read if you are planning to see it; it’s really worth going in unspoiled!
there is a story among the Naboo, about a girl who went down to the shore and saw a man drowning, there in the deep water. She was a great swimmer (children of Naboo are) and so she shed her clothing and came out to him with strong, sure strokes. Yet he was desperate and flailing and would not heed her, and in his panic he dragged her down with him, into the dark water.
Her lungs were not so deep as his. She drowned.
this is a lesson, the mothers of Naboo tell their children. sometimes, to be strong and good-hearted is not enough to save yourself.
No one on Naboo seems to remember the name of the girl who went down to the shore. Girls in tales don’t need names.
(this story is different among the gungans. They say: there was a girl, and as she sank down into the darkness and the mud, she opened her eyes and breathed in, and she became a gungan, for nothing is made and nothing is destroyed, and all water that was once snow comes around again in rain.
Death is a rare thing, the gungans say. The rest is just a change of states.)
I’ve been thinking a lot about the next Star Wars movie lately, and about the astronomical (ha) hopes I have pinned on it to be even better than the last. I went looking for fics to preemptively fill the hole in my heart, but in the end I discovered one that, while excellent, doesn’t really speculate about the future of the sequel trilogy at all. (The AO3 gods are just like that sometimes.) While those immortal dead doesn’t offer any great ideas about what might happen next, it does offer a bittersweet perspective into what has already happened: namely, the passing of Padmé Amidala and its effect on the people in whose lives she would have otherwise been.