Saturday, August 25, 2012

248. The Return of the King

On the Euros and beyond

So Spain were worthy winners, at the expense of my beloved Italy. But who can begrudge a team so talented as them? True, they only hit top form in the final, but there's no one else in Europe, not even Germany, who can match their play when they're on their day.

Italy? Well, until they find a new no. "10" to fill Bobby Baggio's shoes and a "3" to fill Maldini's, this Italy team will continue to be a hard-working and solid team, but sad to say, not quite world beaters. Giovinco doesn't seem up to the task...who else?

Two years to Brazil...might come too soon for Italy, and probably it's one tourney too many for this Spanish team. Belgium, if they mature and get their act together could have a decent run, and probably will be genuine contenders in the next Euros. They have generation unlike no other at the moment...Hazard, Kompany, Vermaelen, Vertonghen, Lukaku, Dembele, Witsel...unless they go all Dutch-like, I'd pick them as dark horses...perhaps a quarter-final finish in the World Cup, and a semi-final run in the Euros.

I still want Messi's Argentina to win it in Brazil, if only because a player as great as him deserves it to get all the hacks off his back. Messi's the greatest there is, and perhaps, the greatest that will ever be.

On Eden Hazard

Stamford Bridge hasn't seen a true king since the halcyon days when Gianfranco Zola reigned over all amongst it's hallowed walls.

Now, the season has thus started...

Spears shall be shaken,
Shields shall be splintered,
A sword-day, a red-day, ere the sun rises!

And a new king be revealed beneath the summer sun. His raiment is blue, as apt for a great knight of the hither lands. He comes forth from glory, and he be joined in glory. And he sings, for his motion is poetry...a poetic song of such singular passion and beauty that it shall move all who witness it to tears...

That is all.

On the Olympics

Brazil and Spain inevitably disappointed. But both Neymar and Oscar look the real deal. Luckily Oscar's off to Chelsea and Neymar's staying in Brazil. Stay there you fool, stay! But if we can't have you, no one else can! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Erm, ok.

Archery is my new favourite sport. That legally blind Korean dude who won it all is totally bad-ass.

I will shoot this arrow up your ass, and I can't even see you
Second to that is volleyball, women's volleyball...the Brazilian women's volleyball team to be precise. And I swear to you that it has nothing to do with one Jacqueline Carvalho who plays for them...

Gold goes to Brazil...damn right it did
The Olympics are truly a marvellous spectacle...

On the Dark Knight Rises

Let me get this straight. The Dark Knight Rises wasn't really a Batman movie. It was a Nolan movie. Bruce Wayne just does not retire to enjoy Florence with the Catwoman in tow. That's not who Bruce Wayne is. But I guess it works for the Bruce Wayne of Nolan's trilogy of films.

There were moments in the film that were great, but also many parts that were troublesome and didn't work. It doesn't quite achieve the grandeur and spectacle it wants to be, and it does fall beneath the weight of it's own bloated script. Whilst The Dark Knight was truly a masterpiece for the tale it wanted to tell, which was a good old-fashioned sprawling crime yarn akin to Michael Mann's Heat, you could tell that TDKR was aspiring to be something greater and momentous (Nolan drew inspiration from Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities) but didn't quite get there.

TDK was carried by Ledger's brilliant performance as the Joker, and had some truly gripping set-pieces. TDKR had an ok villain, a weak first and third act, and sadly, no emotional weight to it. I wished I cared more for Wayne's final act of sacrifice, but I didn't. Nolan directs his movies cold, and it was none more apparent than in that scene. You can't have an emotional pay-off if there's no build-up to it. And also, Nolan still doesn't know how to direct action.

Don't get me wrong, TDKR is still superior in all aspects that popcorn flicks like The Avengers (save for the action scenes), but it's well below the bar set by TDK and just below the enjoyable but still flawed Batman Begins.

For the inevitable reboot of the next series of Batman films, what we need is something more ambitious in scope and grandeur, a series that will tell Batman's tale end-to-end. And it can't be told in a trilogy, no way. Seven films seems right...with Batman: Year One being the starting point of the first film, and ending with The Dark Knight Returns.

We need to see a story told similar to The Wire, charting Batman's rise and fall, and rise again, and have the tale told from all Gotham's denizens. From Gordon to Dent, the Joker to the Penguin. I can do without the supernatural elements, and too much high tech stuff (Batman is not Bond). Plus the action scenes need to be kick-ass. It's probably time to design a suit that is mobile and actually is conducive to fighting.

Now who can direct such a feature? I love Neill Blomkamp's District 9, that was truly a flick that combined action, humour and heart into one. Let's see how he does with his new effort Elysium. If he proves to be consistent, he might be a smart choice.

On Life in General

Apple's won it's suit against Samsung. Good or bad? Who knows...Apple ripped off Xerox back in the day, and Microsoft ripped them off in turn. It's a pirate rip-off pirate world out there. The game is rigged...but you cannot lose if you do not play. I just so love The Wire.

There's shit going down in Syria which is bad for everyone. But aren't we just so desensitised by what's been happening in the Middle East that it's just images and words flashing before us on screen? It seems that we're more interested on which celebrity did what rather than tackling some truly important issues. Life is like that. The world has moved on, and many have forgotten the faces of their Fathers.

The local political scene has just taken comedy to new heights with the release of that May 13 flick. That one should be a gem.

And the final word goes to Richard from Danny Boyle's adaptation of Alex Garland's The Beach...

"I still believe in paradise. But now at least I know it's not some place you can look for. Because it's not where you go. It's how you feel for a moment in your life when you're a part of something. And if you find that moment... It lasts forever..."