Re: Blade Runner FC at Venice

Danish journalist Thomas Berger was in Venice for the screening of Blade Runner – The Final Cut. In response to my speculation on the film (here, and here), he writes:

I was there and saw the film…
The changes aren’t major…

Yes, a few spinners have been added and the lighting has been adjusted in many of the scenes — only for the better. And it’s a new copy — the picture quality is simply fantastic.

Besides that, there’s very little difference between it and the Director’s Cut.

Thanks, Thomas. Sounds good, and goes some ways towards laying my quibbling scepticism to rest.

Concerning today’s hearing at US Congress

Today, top American commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus will appear on Capitol Hill along with the American ambassador to Iraq, Ryan C. Crocker. They are expected to argue the case that the troop increase there has been sufficiently effective to warrant a continuation next year. The administration has lately increasingly been relying on the military itself to address the situation in Iraq, which is understandable since polls now show that only 5% of Americans trust Bush and his crew to resolve it.

Anyway, it made me think of this thing. Old news, has made the rounds, but still poignant:

Grant Morrison’s ‘Signature Weakness’

Taking his cue from the recent postings on Douglas Wolk’s fine chapters, from his new book Reading Comics, on Grant Morrison (parts I, II, III, IV) Noah Berlatsky comments on what he sees as Morrison’s ‘signature weakness’, namely his failure to think visually and to truly collaborate with the artists he works with. While I think Noah is, as usual, unduly harsh in his assessment — Morrison has, from time to time, worked with competent artists, and Frank Quitely is great despite his storytelling weaknesses — I basically agree. Way too many inferior artists on Morrison’s scripts: everything from the almost two decades old Animal Man stories to the current Batman work, and especially The Invisibles, suffer immeasurably from it.

Blade Runner FC at Venice

Aintitcool has reports from the screening of Blade Runner – the Final Cut at the Venice Film Festival (for those who have no clue what I’m talking about – check out my earlier piece on the film). I ain’t trusting these people to quite know what they’re talking about; I can’t believe that almost every scene has been retouched in some way. That just seems nonsensical and I certainly hope it isn’t the case. Also, I find it difficult to believe that the filmmakers have added a lot of extra stuff, like extra spinners flitting through the air, George Lucas-style. If true, colour me even more sceptical. However, they have evidently left out the Hospital scene with Holden, which is a good thing. I’m not sure how crazy I am about this teaser of the recut unicorn scene – the idea of intercutting is fine, but it strikes me as weirdly stilted and insistent – but will wait till I have actually seen how it works in the film before judging too harshly. In any case: Looking forward to drop date, and wish I were in Venice (I will be later this month, but by then the festival will be over – argh!).

Christian Skovgaard’s “Owl”

As a special treat here in the Bunker, we present Danish cartoonist Christian Skovgaard’s latest comic, “Owl,” for your reading/ogling pleasure!

Christian Skovgaard Petersen is one of the Danish scene’s most promising graphic talents, with a sly sense of the weird in the world. He was in BLÆK, he published the strip “Hotellto,” amongst other things, in the Danish anthology Free Comics for a while (all available for free download at their site), and he has contributed illustrations and comics to a number of other comics anthologies and publications. Check his MySpace here, and this online gallery for more stuff.

Notes on the ongoing Cartoon Controversies

In what is a rather depressing turn of events, news came earlier today that cartoonist Guillermo Torres and writer Manuel Fontdevila have been fined €2.500 each for their cartoon, on the cover of satirical weekly El Jueves, back in July, of the Spanish Crown Prince and his wife in doggy-style position. “Insulting the Crown” is the offense, and they risked a prison sentence. Absolutely ridiculous (more on why I think so here). I sincerely hope the debate this has sparked in Spain will eventually ensure that this kind of verdict is never passed again.

On the other hand, it seems that the authorities in Sweden are handling the fallout over Lars Vilks’ childish Muhammed cartoons rather well, despite the temptation towards an inconcilliatory hardline stance that the usual, moronic death threats received by Vilks, as well as assorted flag-burnings in Pakistan might otherwise have provoked. Let’s hope this imbroglio dies the quick, quiet death it deserves.

Tour de France 2007: The Collected Metabunker Coverage

As this year’s Tour de France rolled around, the Metabunker’s own T. Thorhauge was as usual parked in front of the TV, but contrary to previous years, he this time around went in the footsteps of his avowed mentor Jørgen Leth (pictured) and provided commentary! For your convenience, here’s the collected linkage:

July 10: Fausto Coppi and ‘La Bomba’
July 13: The Thin Air Is Coming
July 15: Rasmussen’s Reign
July 24: We Few, We Happy Few
July 25: ‘Cycling is War’
July 26: Exit Chicken!
July 29: When the Second Best Man Becomes the Best (Or: Showdown in Angoulême)


Immersion and Alienation

On Thomas’ recommendation, I went and saw The Bourne Ultimatum last night. I now understand there’s been a lot of discussion of it online, with David Bordwell providing a great analysis of especially its “run-and-gun” visual style, as well as commenting further on the claim made by some that it is particularly innovative in this respect.

I agree fully with his analysis, though I still found the action entertaining, and not particularly confusing, to watch. But, since the avowed objective is apparently to create an immersive experience, I find it exceedingly puzzling that such jarring and alienating plot holes as not explaining how Bourne gets into his adversary, the CIA Boss,’ by all appearances highly secured and guarded office to steal his documents, are given free pass. In a movie so concerned with showing us the masterful, two-steps-ahead movements of the protagonist, this kind of thing is close to unforgivable. No amount of “immersive” bouncy handhelds, telephoto close-ups, rapid cutting, swishpans or pounding scoring can conceal such storytelling blunders.