stars

ST: TNG ReWatch, "Encounter at Farpoint, Parts 1 & 2"

Netflix's very careful, non-spoilery summary: "The new starship Enterprise and its crew's first mission to explore the mystery surrounding the creation of Far Point Station on the planet Deneb IV."

There are two elements of this opener, one of which involves Q putting Picard & Co. on trial as proxies for the human race for crimes against... humanity? The universe? Crabgrass? Or something. (This part of the episode plays out like the worst job interview ever, complete with crazy outfits and impossible questions.) The other involves (obviously) the "mystery" of Far Point station, where everything is built to exact StarFleet specifications by some ~*~mysterious~*~ means and everything that people want keeps magically appearing. I use the sarcastic tildes and stars above because the idea that people (especially Star Fleet engineers) would dismiss this magical perfection as "just a coincidence" when they know that the planet doesn't have the materials to do this is ludicrous. The opening exposition dialogue between Riker and Dr. Crusher is really odd in this respect. My mental summary was:

Riker: Everything's too weirdly perfect here!
Crusher: LOL, you're such a suck-up.
Riker: But, APPLES!
Crusher: If only this cloth had an ugly pattern.
Shopkeeper: (eerie stare)
Riker: BUT!
Crusher: Whoa, this cloth has an ugly pattern!
Wesley: That pattern wasn't there before!
Riker: See?! Something weird--
Crusher: It's just a coincidence. Good luck with that sucking up while I reveal my angtsy past.

Seriously, StarFleet doesn't seem like an organization which would ignore weird coincidences, especially not on planets where it wants to build a permanent base. Of course, there's an explanation: Collapse )

The solving of this mystery leads to the other part of the episode, which is Q's trial for humanity, in a courtroom that's rumored to be modeled on one in the year 2079, after some event called "The Atomic Horror." It appears to be canon that ST:TNG's working model for our immediate future is that Mad Max does happen at some point, and that armies drug up their soldiers to get them to perform... better? Run faster towards their deaths? Or something. The courtroom is filled with people who look like they're all in a community theater production of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" and Q has this awesome scissor lift chair that I noted as, "must own." Q and Picard have a snarky battle of words; Q uses his infinite cosmic powers to ice Lt. Yar like he's Mr. Freeze in an old Batman episode; and while this is all very dramatic, it's weird sequence of events. The pacing is really odd, with a lot of reaction shots from all the characters involved, and they all look awkward and grouchy.

This leads me to my other area of surprise in the rewatch: everyone is awkward and grouchy around each other. Collapse )

There is something interesting character building that I had forgotten: Geordi, for example, reveals that using his visor means that he can effectively see, but that he's in pain most of the time, and he's not going to let Dr. Crusher meddle with his brain to deal with that pain if it means he can't do his job or be himself. Geordi is a total badass. I also liked the revelations between Crusher and Picard, even if the entire tone was awkward; it still felt right, given what they'd been through together. Data and Riker's first meeting was pretty nice, too.

Awesome-est part of the episode: DeForest Kelly! And Majel Barrett Roddenberry's familiar voice.

Signs it's not the future:
* Picard orders the Enterprise to cease all internal communications in order to fool Q; he says they should use "print outs" instead. ZOMG.
* The lighting in this episode is very odd: sort of florescent, but weirdly dark in patches.

Signs that it's the future:
* Cloth is sold in cylinders, not in bolts! THE FUTURE!
* The Enterprise's elevator technology is YEARS ahead of ours. Years, people.
* Far Point station is in the form of a city with a pointy spire at its center. Pointy cities = always the future!
* People are always poking at wall computers, although it's never clear what they're doing (except for the time when Riker uses the computer to find Data in the Holodeck.) Wall computers! THE FUTURE!

Next time: Everyone gets some virus that makes them act drunk; Lt. Yar goes to that planet where she has to fight some guy's wife. This should be good.
kitsune

2015 Resolutions, Pop Culture Wise

2014 has been a good year for pop culture activities, even without SDCC tickets. I've been lucky enough to see about half of the movies that I wanted to; I've read 53 books (it would be 54, but I abandoned one because of sheer boredom/desperation); and I've had wonderful times speaking to many fun, knowledgeable, and interesting people about shared fandoms and pop culture interests. I hope 2015 brings more of the same, especially since there is Star Wars to look forward to, and Avengers, and Agent Carter and all my returning favorites and, really, far too many upcoming titles to entirely list in one entry.

I do have a bunch of projects that I want to bring to fruition in 2015, some of them big, and some fairly small and relaxed. In no particular order:

1) A Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell reread, to get ready for the BBC adaptation. My target date for this is January/February, just so I'm not attempting to finish such a long book too close to the release date. I'll blog about this in chunks as I go through it, and if there's anyone who wants to join in, I can get more specific about these chunks and when I plan to have them done. :)

2) Yebisu and I are planning, thanks to Netflix, to do a Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch, probably two episodes a week. I'm hoping that the two episodes a week format will help balance out some of the truly regrettably bad episodes that I remember from the first few seasons by contrasting bad with good, or at least passable. I'll blog about this, too.

3) Photography of the action figures in SOME format; I just haven't settled on what yet.

4) A far more cryptic pair of projects, one of which hinges on acquiring new skills, and the other of which depends on time. I'm remaining cryptic in hopes of actually accomplishing both and/or confusing my older self when I review these entries years from now.
oh you bad guys

The Hobbit: Orcs Ruin Everything!

My subtitle for the last installment in this franchise was, "The Hobbit: Everything's Coming Up Arrows!" and after careful reflection, I came up with a few more for this final chapter:

The Hobbit: Everyone Has an Ironic Steed!
The Hobbit: Women and Children First!
The Hobbit: Orcs are the WORST. (Also up for consideration: the title above, and Orcs are the jerkiest jerks ever.)
The Hobbit: Wait 'till HR hears about this!
The Hobbit: No, seriously, let's catch the express bus to Gundebad, we can hitch a ride back afterwards.
The Hobbit: Not without my mommy-/daddy-issues! (Close second: Family is sooooo embarrassing.)

I don't mean any of these in a mean-spirited way; I really did enjoy the film, and there are so many beautiful elements in it that I'm willing to ignore a lot of weirdo plot contrivances (most notably that the map of Middle Earth that I thought I had pretty clearly in mind was *completely* wrong.)

Collapse )

In summary: Lots of fun all around. I've read some pretty negative reviews of this film, and I'm not sure what the reviewers went into the film wanting. It's called "The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies," not "The Hobbit: Peter Jackson sat down and asked YOU what you wanted out of a Hobbit movie," for gosh-sakes. There are five armies, there is a mountain of cursed dragon gold, and there are more than a few heroes. What did everyone expect, Citizen Hobbit? The Maltese Dragon? I don't know. Anyway, I thought it was fun and diverting, and that's exactly what I wanted when I went in, so that was perfect.
run away!

What Happened, Sleepy Hollow?

I used to be so excited for the Monday night block of shows. But Gotham has been... somewhat uneven (another entry for another time) and Sleepy Hollow has become even uneven-er. This used to be a show that I would unreservedly recommend to all and sundry because it was so much fun. Somewhere along the line this season, though, that fun just drained away, and last night's mid-season finale clinched it for me.

Collapse )

Collapse )

I do love this show. I love Abbie Mills, and the Mills sisters working together (and the episode with them last week was the strongest all season long). I love Crane vs. 2014. I loved Abbie's speech in last night's episode about how she wasn't going to let Moloch take away any more people--that's the core of part of the reason I love the show right there: it's a story about a strong woman, who is surrounded by other strong women (because in the scene in the church before Henry showed up was Abbie, Jenny, and Katrina vowing to shop evil, with Crane chiming in, a rarity for a mainstream network show.) Most of the men on the show (when a romantic subplot isn't ruining everything) are compelling characters in their own right, and I want to know their stories, too, but the most interesting thing about the story remains Abbie, and her facing down evil with a platonic partner. I want the show to go back to that, and stop shoe-horning in people I don't care about, and subplots that go nowhere. I'd like it to be funny again, too. Basically, I want to go back to that feeling of recommending it to all and sundry, not the way I feel right now which is, "It's OK, but..."
yuuko

Happy Things: Big Hero 6

Yesterday, Yebisu and I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Big Hero 6, which is one of the rare movies that I didn't want to end because it was so beautiful and so entertaining, and because the ending of the film provided a springboard for so, so many stories that would be equally as fun and interesting as the movie itself. This isn't to say this was a perfect or flawless film, but it's pretty damned good in almost every respect, and that is saying quite a lot.

There are quite a few plot summaries that are easily available on the web, and I don't want to add to what's been already said in that respect. Some of the plot aspects that I found especially interesting, though, had to do with the depiction of science and scientific process. Science, although it provides our heroes with their gadgets and weapons, isn't a solution to all problems, or something that's so simple and quick that it looks like magic. Instead, science is something all of the characters think over carefully, and get their hands dirty for. In one pivotal (and very touching) sequence, we see that one of the characters went through so many proto-types for a project that he forgot which number he was on, and what time of day it was. Being smart and willing to approach problems through trial and error is never, ever shown as a liability for any of the characters, and the story is richer for it. No one gets a free pass to becoming a hero/heroine.

The design aspect of this film, from the robots to the city of San Fransokyo, is excellent. It's hard to say where to begin with this: the Golden Gate bridge has been re-imagined in the most wonderful way, and a lot of classic SF buildings have, too. (I crossed my fingers that City Lights would appear, but it didn't, to my slight disappointment.) Everything in the city, from the signs to the trolleys, was just beautiful, and if the whole movie had just been a tour through the city, I probably would have been good with just that. (Note to my subconscious: If you want to add this city to your map of dream!San Francisco, please, please, please go ahead.) But there was more than that--all of the objects and homes and buildings around our characters felt right. Hiro's home, in particular, has that "lived in" patina of family photos/fannish posters/random pictures on the wall and discarded projects and games strewn around the floor of his bedroom that make it feel like a real space, not just a CGI, story-necessitated one.

The overall plot is the only place where things start to get shaky: for anyone who's seen a film before (or read the works of Joseph Campbell), certain aspects are visible miles away. This is a mostly a pretty kid-friendly film, although death and revenge are two of the major plot elements, so perhaps think carefully before taking younger kids. But if your kid is up for it, you won't be disappointed. Stay until after the credits have rolled to catch a scene that is just... well, it's hilarious, and I was so happy because it validated a theory that I'd formed halfway through the story. :D
stars

A Rare Misstep for Sleepy Hollow

Parts of last night's episode worked well enough, but the central plot device of the episode was the disturbing Mystical, Forced Pregnancy trope. These kinds of episodes never end well for me, because they either become a political screed (any episode where Camille Paglia is a spiritual consultant worries me greatly) or they are gross and wrong and hit all my squicks.

On the plus side, though, it should be said there was plenty of time for Abbie to be awesome, and I liked the inclusion of Reyes and the local police force as "Abbie's army," although that plot arm made me nervous because if it had gone wrong, I was worried that Abbie might have lost her job. I also thought that Sleepy Hollow is the only show I know where a disguised PSA about Election Day suddenly becomes plot relevant and is genuinely entertaining. I also loved the final dialogue at the end of the episode, where Crane realized how much he loves Katrina, and he and Abbie were able to shore up their resolution to defeat the bad guys.

On the minus side, I have the following concerns:

1) Who are Henry's minions? Cultists? Sorcerors? Rogue demons? (What's a rogue demon? Heh.) I feel like this could be resolved so easily with just a few lines of dialogue, and it would lend urgency to the story. After all, what's Henry going to do next week when all of these thugs are in jail? Does he get them from rent-a-thug? Are there more? Do they have a health plan and benefits? Etc.

2) I am very tired of the is-she-or-isn't-she-EBIL plot meandering for Katrina. Just really tired of it. Seriously--either your character is evil or she's not, and we need some definitive plot confirmation one way or another.

3) And speaking of Katrina: OMG, where to begin? I began to wonder if the real reason the show has held back on letting her come into the main timeline is because a witch as powerful as she is would upset the balance of reality. If Katrina is as powerful as the story says she is (and the glimpses we've gotten every now and then), then she could, almost single-handedly, make things work out for our heroes in the coming battle. I would rather see her try that and die heroically than be stuck in the background as a half-neutered character.

3a) DAMMIT, mystical forced pregnancy trope: I don't like to see characters suffer like that, and I really don't like the idea that women's bodies are incubators that can be highjacked and used for demon baby vessels anytime. It's also lazy writing: if Moloch could have done this from the get-go, why didn't he try it sooner, and with anyone else? Nope, it had to happen at this specific time to this specific character. (Yes, it was inferred that Henry's minions had tried with other people to no avail, but OF COURSE it works exactly the way it was supposed to when it was Katrina's time.) It's almost as if this storyline was a punishment for her omissions of truth previously. (UGH, the implications of the whole thing give me the heebie jeebies.) The resolution was also ridiculously rushed and particularly deus ex machina.

I started thinking about this trope and wondering if there were ANY narratives that did it "right," or if it was even possible to do right at all. The only other show I could think of that attempted something similar was an Angel episode from first or second season where Cordelia gets magically knocked up overnight and we had to go through the whole "pregnant ladies eat crazy things!" blah blah. Is there any show/storyline where this trope has been used for anything other than a rape allegory? Can it even be done without inspiring some level of squick? And what would it take to retire this particular trope from the writer's handbook? ;p
run away!

My Only Ghost Story

Happy Halloween, to all those who celebrate it!

I've been reading some AWESOME scary stories lately (one over at Jezebel bothers me very, very deeply, and I'm really, really glad I didn't read it alone at night!) and in the interests of adding to the general level of scare, I thought I'd share my only experience with a ghost. It's not particularly scary, but it was a pretty unnerving experience in both halves.

When we lived in Vancouver, we rented a basement apartment. I was initially against this, since I thought it would be dark and dreary. Instead, it turned out to be a wonderful space, painted white, with gorgeous hard wood floors. Yebisu and I loved it, and it was relatively close to UBC on the bus line. All of the public transport options were easily accessible from our apartment, including the trolley that ran on old-fashioned train tracks a few blocks over. Our neighborhood was laid out in a fairly straight grid pattern, so I never had a problem getting lost as I got to know it, and to top it off, it was a pretty quiet location (except for Chinese New Year and Halloween, when all of neighbors would set noisy fireworks off.)

One night in late September, I awoke around 2:00 AM to see a man standing at the foot of our bed. He was tall and pale and wore lumberjack style overalls and a plaid shirt. He was staring down at his hands. Fear gripped me and I started to shake Y. awake. For those who don't know, Y. is a terribly hard sleeper (years of being in the army reserves have given him the ability to fall deeply asleep almost instantaneously, no matter where he's sleeping) and he was slow to wake. As I shook him, I looked to the foot of the bed again. The man was starting to move, but incredibly slowly, like a slow-motion movie that was one frame too short. He was beginning to look up. I shook Y. harder, and eventually, he woke up as I turned on the light. The man was gone. Y. searched the entire apartment and found no one--the window next to us was locked tight, our doors, too. Y. assumed I'd had a bad dream, but I've never had the sleep paralysis that leads some people to ghost-story-like waking nightmares. As I thought over what had happened, I realized that I didn't feel that scared. It was out of the ordinary, of course, and it surprised me, but there was no lingering terror, no sense of malevolence from the thing at the foot of our bed.

I held onto the story for a few months, until our friend M. came to visit. M. had some amateur ghost-hunting experience and listened to my story. Then she asked if she could use some equipment to look at our room. Under a UV light, she found a long scratch on our bedroom wall that didn't appear when the regular lights were on. It was about the height the ghost-man's hands had been as he stood at the foot of our bed. M. walked around the neighborhood with me, and when we came to the train tracks, she speculated that the spirit/ghost had been looking for them. After much consideration, I came to the same conclusion, and I think now that the thing at the foot of the bed was lost and the scratch on the wall was a marker that he'd been there, a breadcrumb on the forest path. We never saw him or anything else again, and whatever he was, I hope he able to find where he was going.
  • Current Mood
    scared scared
stars

Constantine Reportage

Full disclosure: I am not a super-fan of this character, but I like him well enough that I stayed up late last night to watch the pilot of the show. (I regretted this somewhat this morning.) And I'm pretty OK with the decision to watch the thing, because there was enough Done Right to balance out the Wrong/Annoying/WTF. In many ways, this episode felt really like a pilot and not a presentative episode of what the show's going to be like as a whole: lots of exposition crammed in (and I mean crammed into every second of almost each shot, for good or ill), characters not really standing out (other than Constantine himself), and a whole lot of "look, look, this is cool and shiny! People will like it! Buy it!" I fervently hope that this frenetic, sales-focus approach will dissipate over the next few episodes and just let the stories breathe, because there is a lot that the writers can do here with a lot of talent.

Among the Things Done Right: I like Matt Ryan as Constantine--he looks perfect, and even though his accent isn't, strictly speaking, correct, it's good, and his speech has the cadence and tone that I imagined for the character. He's good at weary, but not whiny at all, and he acts like a man who knows the cost of too much and not enough power. His looks, as I said, are almost eerily like the character stepped off the comic book page. Of course, when we see him as a person, I kept thinking, dude cannot tie a tie! Depending on your feelings about the character, this either makes him adorably rumpled or distractedly uncaring, both of which (again) Matt Ryan carries off well. The settings around him were a bit on the generic side (probably to hide the fact that they are NOT London), but the effects for the spirit world overlaying ours were very, very nicely done. I also like the look of the magic that we saw--wards and glyphs all over the place, a lot of dramatic flame, and a nice bit of scare/ick during the cold open involving cockroaches. Another plus was Jasper's hideout, which is basically the most awesome occult library ever, and contains the helmet of Doctor Fate(!)*, as well as a bunch of other, plot-related things. The entire episode could have taken place in this setting, and I would have been fine. Harold Perrineau's appearances were good in the same way, although far more cryptic. Still, though, an entire episode of his character and Constantine sniping at each other, and I'd put up my feet and settle in quite contentedly.

But the flip side of this is that because there was Harold Perrineau's character, and Chas, and one other guy whose name I've forgotten, the token female character got almost totally sidelined, even though she was supposed to be a featured character. (I know the actress isn't a regular on the series, and her character was written out by the end of the episode, in a way that felt like a DM trying to compensate when a pivotal PC suddenly has to leave the table early.) I felt sorry for her, mostly. The dynamic between her and Constantine was very much like the Doctor and a new companion, and I think people's experience of the show depended a lot on their tolerance for that sort of power imbalance. Half of the dialogue was like this:

John: [Cryptic statement about Liv's powers/the occult/adversaries.]
Liv: [Reasonable question or freakout about any of the above.]
John: [Deflection or cryptic warning about adversaries.]
Live: *eyeroll* or *distracted*

Matt Ryan's performance saved this from being condescending nonsense; he never acted as though he knew more than she or thought her inferior. It seemed more like he was juggling too many things in his head to answer properly. The other half of the time, a plot element would come along and interrupt the conversation, stopping any power imbalance talk in its tracks. In the end, I really didn't blame Liv for leaving, although it was mostly because I hadn't even had a chance to invest in her one way or another.

My biggest other quibble with this pilot was the decision to bring Constantine's past mistakes forward so quickly. The adorable-child-in-peril plot device is something that really, really grates on me, because there's only so many times it can be used before it gets old. This episode brought it out... about four times in total: twice in flashback, once in explanation of said flashback, and once in person during the big showdown at the end. I think a far more effective method of introducing this plot element would have come at the very end of an episode that built to it. After a prolonged fight against a much scarier demonic villain, a sidekick character demands to know why Constantine risks life and limb to help people he's never met and/or barely knows, and in a tight close up, he says something like, "Wasn't fast enough before. Never gonna let that happen again." BAM--compelling character shown through his actions, rather than just words, and a tortured soul to boot. I think it's fine for characters to mysterious pasts or refer to stories we never learn the entire truth about. Not everything has to be Chekov's gun. I would have preferred a more straight-up urban fantasy adventure, with implications around the edges instead of front and center.

My only real WTF about the whole thing is that for a show that features demonic villains, angels, and magical powers, there was absolutely no appearance of the word "God." Constantine only invoked a Creator, and when he did other spells, he named symbols ("the power of the Star of David, the power of the Cross.") I'm a bit confused at the absence of any larger divine presence, and while I'd like to think it's because the writers are rejecting the standard either-or, good-evil, God-Devil dichotomy, I suspect the truth is more aligned with fears of alienating religious viewers. I need to go back to the comics now and see what sort of spells Constantine uses there.

But I'm eager to tune in next week, because as I said before, this show has a lot of elements that I do love, and I think with some time, it could really grow into a strong contender for an awesome, fun DC show. Given their track record thus far, I'm willing to give them a lot of leeway to get it right.

* If this means that Zatanna gets an appearance later on, I will probably die of SQUEE.
yuuko

Mid-Season TV Report: Gotham, Huh? & Sleepy Hollow, 90% Yay!

So, the cold open for last night's Gotham featured a character we'd never met before, high on a Plot Device drug, running screaming at the camera. This image pretty much encapsulates the show for me: it's loud, it's not subtle, and if I'm willing suspend a lot of disbelief, it's fun in a "did they really go there?" sort of way. The best scenes involve Jada Pinkett Smith and her mob boss character's machinations, sexual and otherwise. The worst ones... I dunno. There's a lot of violence that's mostly necessitated by the plot, and there are a lot of minor villains who serve as antagonists of the week. The show is exceedingly well cast, but the writing feels kind of flat and predictable: Antagonist is introduced, Gotham City Police react carefully and sensitively like a blunt instrument and beat lots of people up, Jim Gordon does some detecting where no one else will, villains plot, and confrontation, and then foreshadow-y, meta-plot scene and credits roll.

My other big problem with this show (and, to a slightly lesser extent, Arrow, which we're catching up with on Netflix) is that I have yet to see any reason why Gotham or Starling City is worth saving. Gotham, in particular, is a dingy, grimy, just plain awful place that doesn't seem to have any kind or altruistic citizens, just wall-to-wall gangsters, homeless druggies, and criminals, with a few rich people here and there to be offended by the very presence of the lower class. Even the trees in the final moments of last night's episode were dirty--it's a freaking park on a sunny day, and the trees were just patches of dingy green and darkness. Seriously, TV shows, what gives? I don't think it would be a stretch to have an episode centered around someone who's trying to do actual, genuine good in these cities, not as a vigilante, but as a social worker or community advocate (and Councilman Blood on Arrow doesn't count, since we have yet to see him actually doing anything in the very community he's meant to represent.) All cities have their issues with crime and poverty, but I have yet to travel to a city that doesn't have any good people in it, or a nicely landscaped park or museum with adequate lighting somewhere. Further, adding some nice people or places wouldn't diminish the grimdark tone the writers/production people are going for, it would make the dark seem darker by comparison. Come on, shows, surprise me! Make me want to visit Gotham or Starling City!

I'm definitely enjoying this season of Sleepy Hollow more, but last night's episode brought up a few problems: Collapse )
stars

A Few Thoughts on Gone Girl

A lot has been written on Gone Girl, both book and movie, lately and I've been impressed at the topics of discussion that have come up because of it, mostly because they are things that people do not like to talk about: the failure of marriage, as an institution, to provide for all parties involved in a way that compensates for all the sacrifices they make and the identities that people assume to cope with that failure. When I watched the movie with a single friend of mine, I turned to her at the end and joked, "So, hey, feel like getting married now?" and she laughed but then vehemently replied, "No way." Actually, the audience at the showing I saw was pretty worked up throughout the whole thing, and I think there were a lot of people around us thinking much the same thing. Marriage isn't usually a villain in any equation, and seeing it act like that here is at turns awkward (Amy's diary monologues about wives who control their husbands like Dancing Monkeys) and outright disturbing (Nick's sheer cluelessness about what his wife does with her time; Amy's multiple, casual re-fabrications about her life.) People around us laughed at some points, but it was an uneasy, restless laughter that left a sad tinge to the credits.

The other thing that really impressed me about the film was the number of facades that the movie presented us with: Amy and Nick's house is a blank, bland slate, colored in beige and wimpy green (not actually verdant, just the pale cousin of bright, lifelike green); Nick's bar is as generic as it gets (almost down to the level of grit on the windows, which I got the feeling the set decorators measured to be absolutely, disgustingly perfect); and all of the landscapes in the movie are either empty (the vast fields that Nick and the army of volunteers comb through, or the vague blankness of the cabin in the Ozarks where a pivotal mistake is made) or prefab and fake (Nick's office has no decorations, only a computer and a desk, cementing his status as "fake professor.") I kept expecting the characters to go around to a back of a building, only to discover that it was just a false front on a Hollywood backlot. It's a shell of a movie--a beautiful, exquisitely constructed shell that's hollow on the inside, just waiting for one of the characters to come back and truly inhabit it.

All this said, it's not a "fun" film, or a simple narrative. The book is easy to read--Flynn's sharp-witted prose just slides by like nothing else is happening and as a "need to know what happens next" type of book, it shines. The film is like that, too, relying on an excellent script from Flynn and reasonably quick pacing. But neither of them is a settling experience, and both of them made me feel like I'd watched someone else's homemade, creepy porn by accident. I'm still trying to brain bleach out a few of the images and sentiments. They're both worthwhile pieces of work, but not for the faint of heart, or those who want black-and-white endings.