Sunday, May 19, 2013

Some Late Nite Shat

I guess by this time everyone has seen the Spocklore rich Audi ad with Nimoy and Quinto.  I guess that the viewership of "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" has also been steadily ticking upwards on YouTube. I think I first heard it on the Doctor Demento show back in '87 or thereabouts, and it's a nice novelty song.  I've checked out the rest of Nimoy's discography and my reaction is a kind of "blech".  Not horrible, but not great either.

Now if one talks about how Nimoy's ego led him astray, you are almost obligated to then discuss the many songs of William Shatner and wonder what on earth the man was thinking.  Not I.  I actually like a lot of his musical work, including "Mr Tambourine Man".  I have a suspicion that 1968's The Transformed Man will be what future generations remember about William Shatner (if they remember him at all) and they will wonder why he wasn't appreciated in his own time.  Ok,  that may be a bit of a stretch, but he is worth listening to with an open mind.

It must be good, because "spoken word" usually means "pretentious crap" as far as I'm concerned.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ray Harryhausen

So Ray Harryhausen has passed at the respectable age of 92.  For a long time, he was special effects.  I know that even today special effects is still a tedious time consuming process, but old timey stop motion animation takes a very special kind of person.

To be honest, I always thought his work looked a little jerky and flat, even if I admired the effort put into it.  I think Harryhausen tended to be a little ambitious; living statues, skeletons and things that you imagined as moving stiffly from articulated joints looked well, but he had to overdo it and constantly animated birds and flying reptiles.  Not good.

Credit also had to be given to the actors who mastered the almost impossible task of crossing swords with something that wasn't there and making it look like they were fighting for their lives.  I know you may have starved yourself down to 80 pounds or earned your quadruple blackbelt with sash and tassel for your art, but that doesn't make it good acting.

The movies themselves were also good.  Old fashioned escapist fiction set in exotic locales.  You couldn't make a Sinbad film like that today without some heavy handed moralizing about Arab and Islamic virtues, probably made to the uncouth and ignorant Sir Bubba d'Rednec.