Gobbledygeek episode 335, “Annihilation: For Those That Follow,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Self-destruction. Division. Separation. Annihilation. These are the frivolous, lighthearted concerns of Alex Garland’s latest film, a mind-expanding sci-fi trip that finds Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, and Tuva Novotny exploring “Area X,” a mutated piece of land encompassed by the full-on-double-rainbow-all-the-way that is the Shimmer. What’s going on here? What’s causing it? Does an answer even matter? Paul and Arlo dig into Annihilation’s writhing, metastasizing guts to discuss the beautiful, macabre work of production designer Matt Digby; the organic/electronic discomfit of Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury’s score; how Garland’s approach intentionally places the viewer at a distance; and that goddamn bear. Plus, Paul watched something called the Olympics; Arlo wants to help The Breadwinner make some dough; and Paul gives Arlo shit, what else is new.
Next: the episode we teased last week! For a musical Geek Challenge, Arlo must watch Kenn Anakin’s 1982 “classic” The Pirate Movie and Paul must endure Jacques Demy’s 1967 classic (no quotation marks necessary) The Young Girls of Rochefort.
(Show notes for “For Those That Follow.”)
THOR (DVD/Two-Disc Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Combo/Three-Disc Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Combo)
The penultimate pre-Avengers Marvel franchise hit like a thunderbolt! Well, a severe summer shower at least. Chris Hemsworth (Papa Kirk from Abrams’ Star Trek) plays the titular Thunder God, an impetuous and brash young warrior eager to earn the respect of his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Instead, he reignites a war with his people’s ancient enemies the Frost Giants, and finds himself exiled, penitent and powerless, to Earth. There’s a rushed romance with a sexy scientist (Natalie Portman); a fun but sadly bloodless battle to reclaim his birthright Mjolnir, the literal hammer of the gods; and a final showdown with his half-brother, the once and future God of Mischief. But the real highlights of the film aren’t the action set pieces: Hemsworth is a joy, with the muscles and the cocky but charming smirk; Hopkins chews the scenery appropriately, adding to the Shakespearean vibe director Kenneth Branagh was aiming for; and Tom Hiddleston as Loki steals the show with his wounded-little-boy-in-the-body-of-a-god routine. My earlier review was perhaps a bit glowing for what is probably just a good-not-great summer popcorn film…but then perhaps not. I look forward to watching it again and seeing if the ol’ Asgardian magic can still enchant me like it did before. – Paul Smith
(Originally reviewed by Paul and myself in “The Hammer Is His Penis.” Like Paul, I also wrote a review for the blog.)
The lost episode of Gobbledygeek, “True Swan/Black Grit,” is available for listening or download right here.
Recorded way back on January 8, this was initially conceived as a test episode for the show’s new format. We then thought, “Hey. Because we’re lazy bastards, this might also make a really convenient filler episode.” And now, ladies and gentleturkeys, the time has come: half of the Gobbledyteam is away (on business, we’re told), so we’re unearthing this oft-mentioned chestnut in which Paul and AJ review the then-current films True Grit (harmony!) and Black Swan (dischord!). And we thought last week’s episode was about time travel! Plus: outdated news, AJ reviewing The Fighter and Never Let Me Go, Paul reviewing Justified, and possibly more!
Next: we take a week off for Memorial Day, and we return June 4, on which date you best be prepared for a Geek Challenge.
Gobbledygeek episode 51, “The Hammer Is His Penis,” is available for listening or download right here.
Thor kicks off the summer movie season this weekend, so Paul and AJ get hammered–by, uh, by the movie, of course. Yeah. They discuss the look of Asgard, whether or not the mythology stuff is super goofy, Chris Hemsworth’s terrific performance, and what Thor means for Captain America and The Avengers. Plus: news and Formspring questions.
(Show notes for “The Hammer Is His Penis.”)
I’ve long thought that Marvel’s overarching plan for its homegrown superhero movies was absolutely insane–and pretty ingenious, too. Spider-Man, the X-Men, and some other notable players are tied up at other film companies, but Marvel wisely held onto the rights to each member of the Avengers and ever since Iron Man in 2008, they’ve been working on getting the band together. Iron Man had some subtle Easter eggs and a nifty post-credits scene, and it’s a miracle that Iron Man 2 didn’t entirely collapse under the weight of its Avengers teases; The Incredible Hulk, besides a brief scene between Tony Stark and General Ross, was too busy restoring its hero’s rep to get involved. Thor is the next Avenger to get the spotlight and, well, he’s an interesting case.
Well, that settles it. Kenneth Branagh is a geek. How else to explain the brilliant blending of Shakespearean pomp and circumstance with the Lee/Kirby pseudo-sci-fi goofiness? Thor the comic was always just a tad inconsistent in the way it imported ancient Nordic mythology into the modern superhero landscape. The two writers that, in my opinion, handled the sacred and the profane best, Walt Simonson and J. Michael Straczynski (the latter one of the five credited screenwriters), each found a way to strike a comfortable balance. Thor the film favors the sci-fi over the fantasy, no question. But Branagh manages to create a cosmology here that is both theologically intriguing and satisfyingly silly.
So what is all this about, anyway? Well it’s that old familiar tale of the beautiful astrophysicist that discovers a fallen Norse god in the New Mexico desert, teaches him how to eat Pop-Tarts and wear low cut jeans, and ultimately helps him learn humility by being sweet and pretty and trusting of him, which of course allows him to regain his divine power just in time to destroy the god-killing robot set upon him, return to his heavenly realm and defeat his traitorous brother before he can steal the throne from their father. So, basically it’s nothing we haven’t all seen before.
But it’s gods damned fun!