Thanks in large part to a Netflix subscription, I’ve been watching a fair number of videos from various sources recently (and have posted before on some). Here are a few quick observations or comments about some of my more recent viewings.
After a brief miscue a ways back (see http://www.ron-oakes.us/wordpress/?p=2660) on Sunday I watched the film Gamerz about an FRPG gaming group at Glasgow University. I did enjoy the movie – even if there was something odd about either the DVD or how the DVD’s encoding played on our Blu-Ray player which made some of the pan shots very jerky. There were also a couple of points that the Glasgow setting made some of the dialog harder to understand than the same story made and set in the US or Canada (or possibly other parts of the UK) would have been.
While I’ve never (to my knowledge) been involved in a gaming group where the players got that wrapped up in their characters, I know that I’ve met people either in gaming or fandom in general who are quite similar to almost all of the main characters. Perhaps most worrisome, I could see aspects of a couple of the characters in me.
Black Adder The Third: “Nob and Nobility”
Another evening when I had less time between other things I was doing and bed, I watched a couple more episode of Black Adder the Third. In the episode “Nob and Nobility” I found myself having more trouble than I sometimes do separating the character from others played by the same actor.
In the first place the fop played by Tim McInnerny, at least at first, bore a striking resemblance to Lord Percy Percy played by McInnerny in both of the previous incarnations of Black Adder. Of course it turns out the character is quite different, but that isn’t seen until a much later appearance.
But I had more problems with the character of the French Ambassador – a revolutionary – played by Chris Barrie. In this case I had a hard time not seeing Rimmer through the dirty makeup, messy hair and French (or at least French as protrayed in English comedies) accent. However, I have noted that his role on Black Adder preceded Red Dwarf so either he reused some of the same mannerisms for Rimmer, or they are (or were) part of his standard set of mannerisms for comedy acting.
The Pixar Shorts: Volume 1
Last night I watched (twice, the second time with commentary) the recently released collection of shorts from Pixar. One thing I could appreciate was the state of the art of computer animation when each of the early shorts (“The Adventures of Andre and Wally B,” “Luxo Jr.,” “Red’s Dream” and “Tin Toy”) were made, and how while all of them may see a bit primitive by today’s standards, they were groundbreaking. I’ll admit that until listening to the commentary I didn’t know HOW groundbreaking some of them were, however.
And, while I enjoyed the later shorts, the commentary wasn’t always as interesting since it was more “artistic” than “technical.” Then there is the weird commentary on “Mike’s New Car” (done by the young children of the directors rather than the directors themselves) and the complete lack of commentary on “Jack-Jack Attack” (I suspect that Brad Bird was unavailable for the recording session).
The accompanying documentary was also interesting – even if I’m not sure when it was made: it almost sounded like it was made for the release of Toy Story except that in some of the interviews with John Lassiter he was wearing a shirt that had a print containing several of the logos from Cars. In that documentary the most telling comment about where Pixar had gotten was Lassiter recalling being at SigGraph after showing “Luxo Jr.” and having the CGI pioneer from JPL (whose name I don’t recall) approach him with a question. Lassiter was concerned that the question would be technical – probably about the shadow algorithm – but was revealed, and honored, when the question was asking if the big lamp was the father or mother. (While Lassiter never said what his answer, if any, was, I’ll admit I’ve always thought that the big lamp was the father – but that could just be my bias).