Fast Scifi Notes – 05/07/2017

This ripped tendon is still affecting my typing – saving my writing energy for Mesh. Still seeing/reading/experiencing sci-fi, so let me jot down a few notes.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

I’m going to get some flack for this, but I don’t care. Having seen the first GotG, and now the second, I am remarkably ambivalent about this Marvel franchise. Yes, the acting is great. In fact, the actors consistently rescue what would otherwise be a plodding, hum-drum action story piling layer after layer of perilous escapes until you’re dizzied and numbed, going “Did Michael Bay direct this thing?”

I mean, if Michael Bay is your thing, great. I’m not going to judge. I just didn’t find anything compelling or interesting in the main plots. I thought the underlying themes of loss, redemption and family were interesting, but I didn’t go into the theater looking for Good Peter Quill Hunting.

And what’s with the music? Are we now living in an era where people are prepared to believe that the Seventies soft-rock classics are the pinnacle of the audio art form? When did that happen. It’s like you’ve never seen a Time Life commercial in your life.

Here’s the other thing: Guardians of the Galaxy 2  is not for kids under 13. Forget the whole ‘Baby Groot’ thing. His adorable antics provide a strange counterpoint to the sex jokes, sure, but still … not a kid movie.

Marvel’s been edging a weird line in that the Iron Man, Spiderman, Thor and Hulk franchises were kid friendly, even if rated PG-13. The first GotG had some sexually tiled lines but were so subtly written (“Jackson Pollack,” anyone?) that they zoomed over the tween crowd’s head. GotG2? No such subtlety. They cheerfully stepped over that line again and again. Choosy parents would wisely save their theater budget for The Last Jedi or Ragnarok.

All in all, I can’t get excited about Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Love the actors, and Karen Gillian is a friend, but I’m not in love with it. As a Marvel franchise, it’s stylish but forgettable. Where most of the story themes of a movie like Age of Ultron or Winter Solder will stick with you, I found myself going “Yeah, Kurt Russell was his Dad” twenty-four hours later. That’s all I was able to remember. If movie dollars are important to you, you’ll want to invest your time and energy for a story that’s more compelling.

The Fifth Wave

If you’re going to write YA sci-fi, you have to read YA sci-fi, right? I picked up The Fifth Wave and holy crap, do I have a lot to catch up on. Great story! Well-constructed prose, paced like a rollercoaster with greased wheels, and enough big ideas to keep jaded geeks like me invested in the outcome. I avoided it, thinking I was going to find ‘Independence Day for Kids,’ but a professional screenwriter friend recommended it and I have to say, I’m glad I gave it a shot.

I’ll skip the synopsis, you’ve probably seen the movie already. The Fifth Wave is a decent sci-fi invasion story and I believe in giving credit where credit is due. After all, that’s what I hope people will do for me with Mesh.