I have so many season finales to watch now, it’s like the end of the world. The only one I’ve seen so far is Heroes, which I will refrain from commenting on here until I’ve thought of a better way to deal with the spoilers problem.
This is why this is not the post about season finales. Instead, it is about these things:
Pirates of the Caribbean 3: Dead Man’s World Of End-Sparrow. In one of those things that didn’t really happen to me much when I worked in a warehouse building skateboards, I was taken to a preview screening of this on Wednesday in a stretch limo with free champagne, which I did my level best to pour on the editor of Disney Girl magazine. It is, I thought, ‘okay’. I would stretch to ‘quite good’ if this was the first one, but it lacks so much of the fun of the second that I find it hard to recommend. Particularly since everyone hated the second.
The first one was the zombie pirates one, and was good because it was breezier and funnier than you expected. The second was the fish pirates one and was great for its absurdly long, wildly overdone, bloody-minded physics-driven set pieces on gorgeous tropical islands. The third is about a big book of rules and some crabs that look like rocks.
None of them make a whole lot of sense, and I don’t recall what actually happened, plot-wise, in any of them (at the start of 3, everyone is alive and roaming around, so I assume nothing of import happened in the last two). But the third one doesn’t use its license to be absurd to do anything very fun. All the spectacular bits are just ship battles, which we’ve seen in some depth before.
I actually love ship battles, but they can’t hold my attention for long in dumb films. The reason they’re exciting is that they’re so physical – you can see the cannonballs, you can see which bits of the ships they smash, the damage is all evident and so the outcome is believable. In dumb films, such as this one, captains are idiots and the hero’s ship wins because it’s made of magic.
At one point a billion-strong armada retreat from two enemy ships, because they destroyed the flagship (because, for no reason, the captain couldn’t decide whether to fire or not). John, who loved it, argues that this is normal film logic, but the whole setup for the scene is “They can take this guy, but what do they do about the billion ships?” It’s hard to enjoy a dumb film about naval combat, politics and trickery if you’ve ever seen Hornblower, which was eight non-dumb films about naval combat, politics and trickery, with characters it is possible – nay, easy – to like.
Aside: Geoffrey Rush is still such a watchable pirate. While Depp’s drunken eyebrow-work on Sparrow gets tiresome, Rush can still just say “Arr” or a sentence of the form “X be Y”, and I am immediately happy.
The reaction to my Galactic Civilizations 2 War Diary: which has been surreal. This is a ten-thousand word account of a single match of an expansion pack to a little-known turn-based strategy game with poor graphics, and no-one seems to mind. It’s not the hits or links that it got, surprising as they were, but the extraordinary comments. I just read someone saying- well, I’ll quote: “My brother and I would read the blog, then get together to discuss what he was doing right, what he was doing wrong, and what he needed to do to win.” This makes me feel amazing.
I like very much that I work on a magazine where I’m allowed to give stupid ideas like this a try. I did most of it at home or after work, but only because I love writing this kind of stuff so much. I had some New Years Objectives this year, one of which was to write something that got the same kind of reaction as my report on the Eve Online assassins – which has always frustrated me by being better-received than almost everything I’ve written since. This got a different kind of reaction altogether.
Facebook: it’s like social networking, except that I like it. I’m on everything – MySpace, LiveJournal, Blogger, Twitter, WordPress, Technorati, Tumblr, Flickr, Last.fm – but Facebook is the only one that seems really smartly designed in terms of how it connects you to people. It’s good at knowing what you’ll find interesting about what your friends are up to (almost anything), so the main news feed you get from it is incredibly fast-flowing and rich in interesting goings-on.
Now I have to watch TV.