9.28.2009

adaptation

So the day after I mused about getting stuck with the Harlequin-romance-novel era of movie adaptations, it comes out that they just gave all 150,000 books in the Sweet Valley High series to Diablo Cody. Ha.

I remember the Sweet Valley High books. I wouldn't feel one twinge of anything if they were made into movies. I know a few girls who might.

ALL the American Anime Adaptions are going to fail HUGE. Probably financially, absolutely artistically and conceptually. Only the Japanese should be live-actioning their own anime. "Akira" isn't even a good movie for chrissake, it just looks so cool because it's drawn cool, ya know?

The only one that has a chance is Robotech, because its story has been fine-tuned into the Western soap opera milieu, and still only if they do a few things exactly right, like Max & Miriya, Yellow Dancer, songs by Kelly Clarkson, and making it a two-parter skipping the Southern Cross.

...Don't get me wrong, it would be great to work on....almost any adaptation project...but getting put on "Connect Four" or "Care Bears: The Movie" would be basically like getting the Beta fighter, pictured here. It's great because it's an amazing space fighter that transforms and has like 188 missiles and you can blow things up with it....but it's not the cool jet-looking one that has sleek lines and transforms into the sexy-looking battloid that, let's face it, has even more missiles and takes the point against shock troopers. The Beta fighter is not that thing; it's useful but kind of lumpy.

9.19.2009


Re-liveblog on hold because I'm in NYC doing meetings for my screenplay "Look For Water." I really wish, though, that I'd brought the Robotech: Battlecry PS2 game I got for $5 with me, 'cause I'm staying in an apt with a PS2.

(I got exactly the wrong PS3, btw: the one that doesn't play PS2 games, but also is not slimmer and more expensive. FML.)

A confessment: My timeline for becoming successful as a writer-director has never been based on outracing death, but rather on wanting to be in the mix before they stop making the nerd-adaptation-movies and move on to, I dunno, Harlequin romance novels. It'll be a pain seeing the Robotech, JLA, West Coast Avengers films if they come out and are directed by some indifferent yokel, knowing that I didn't do enough to avoid the tragedy. We'll see if in a few years I look back on this post and weep while watching the Mike Bay-directed Robotech, in which the Valkyries have their chest missiles replaced with heaving breasticles, as they swoop in and attack, inexplicably, Miami.

9.15.2009

ep65: curtain call


This ep is particularly awesome. I started this liveblog with some idea about reflecting on the big issues via Robotech (e.g. pop culture, Japanese fetishism, war n peace, lost youth, blondes vs. blue-hairs, etc) but now I just sound like a fanboy. I'm cool with it.

Yellow Lancer does a big rock concert to distract the human collaborators while Scott & team sneak into their base and steal some Protoculture, then the requisite fight with Invid Shock Troopers.

The real art of this ep is the soundtracking of the action drama with the pop/rock songs, a skill that I, Kenny Loggins, and perhaps a few other people on the planet really appreciate. The minor-key disco anthem "Look Up The Sky Is Falling" matches Scott & Co.'s underground crisis like a fine wine pairing, while keeping the apocalyptic overtones of the series perfectly in frame. Her next song, the upbeat rocky one, kicks in just as the team escapes the water trap and the good guys officially Start To Win. (For no reason other than my mind being full of crap, I know that that song is called "It Don't Get Any Better.")

Like the guy in "High Fidelity" says, These Things Matter. Yes the songs are stupid. Yes, the whole idea of heroes fighting alien villains is stupid. Yes, I am stupid. Yes, chest missiles are stupid. But you put them all together (for the record: songs, heroes vs. aliens, me, and chest missiles) and you have something really special that will last forever.

P.S. The music in "Tranformers: The Movie", while goofy, helped the story, whereas the music in "Michael Bay's Transformers", while ostensibly hipper, helped you want to kill yourself. Just as an easy illustration of what I'm talking about.

ep64: survival

This one's pretty funny because it has leeches in it.

ep63: lonely soldier boy



What else do ya need to say? Best song in the whole series.

Annie: "Whaddya think they do for fun around here?"
Rand: "Probably sit around and watch their floorboards warp."

Yellow Dancer is a kind of flower, I never knew that. I had thought it was just of those Japlish-isms, like "Jello Fighter." Remember the days before search engines when you couldn't instantly look up anything?

Enough beating around the bush. Yellow Dancer is the GREATEST CHARACTER EVER IN A CARTOON IN AMERICA. She's a guy...with purple hair...who dresses in drag...so he can lead an alternate identity as a famous dead-sexy rock star...to support his other life...as a Highly-Trained Guerilla Freedom Fighter. I mean, did you get all that? The Transformers had to go through like five seasons before they even had a female.

This ep also has a good example of the "fire 167 missiles to hit 2 targets" rule of Robotech warfare, which comes up from time to time.

ep62: the lost city

Scott and Rand meet Annie, and I really want to know what age she's supposed to be...but maybe I don't want to know. She's allegedly 15, but she's about 2 feet tall and functionally pointless on the team (as we know from later, they make plus-size Cyclone armor, but not junior) and is obsessed with boys. Which I guess is fine as long as she stays Completely Non-Sexual. Which, in the series, she doesn't. She's definitely drawn to look like a little kid. Sort of. See, it's a weird area there....

Some nice beauty shots of the Cyclones transforming in this one, and going to town on the Invid Shock Troopers. God this shit is good.

9.14.2009

ep61: the invid invasion


OK, so part III: The New Generation is really my favorite part of the whole saga and I'm glad to start it. Why is it the best? There is one simple reason.

There has never been anything cooler than a motorcycle that transforms into a suit of battle armor while you're riding it, with customizable weapons. Nothing is cooler. Not Gandhi. Not lightsabers. Not solar-powered cars. Cyclone/Mospeda cycles are the COOLEST THING EVER, EVER.

Also, of note:
- In New Generation, the pop idol character is a transvestite with purple hair who signs disco-rock and also kicks ass with his blue armored cycle perfection.
- Protoculture is now just like gas, a thing that you pump into your vehicles to make them go. The metaphor of Robotech as a war over energy resources for the miltary industrial complex is now fully realized. Except that Protoculture is basically bottled sexual tension derived from flowers.
- Rook Bartley.

ep60: catastrophe

My strong memory of this episode, the final one in the Masters arc, is that I was at a friends' house playing D&D in their basement and I forgot to set the VCR to tape it, so I desperately called my Mom and asked her to tape it for me.

So my beautiful Mom actually sat down on the old brown barcalounger and taped Robotech for me. And later I called to check and see what happened, asking with all innocence, "Did anyone die?" And she said yes, so many people died.

Mom also took a whole afternoon once (several years before this Robotech episode) to explain to me the Spider-Man origin story cartoon. My ethically-challenged wee self didn't get why Spiderman was so upset by his uncle dying which wasn't technically his fault. But my Mom took the time to make me understand that with great power also comes great responsibility.

ep57: daydreamer

Miriya in Macross. Musicaa in The Masters. Sera in New Generation. What do they all have in common? That's right: GREEN HAIR.

I just noticed this incredible thematic continuity in Robotech right now, and on my scale it's like discovering the Unified Field Theory.

Note to Alien Armadas Who Want To Conquer Earth: If you have a girl with green hair on your team, DO NOT BRING HER WITH THE INVASION FLEET. She will hook up with one of the human heroes, discover the meaning of love, and undo your whole shit. She knows your weapons and tactics. She may be your ace pilot/chanteuse/whatever, but she has this human fetish that is going to give you headaches and, honestly, get you blown up. All the chicks with blue and purple hair, it's OK to bring them. It's the green-haired overachiever ones that will really make you wish you'd stayed at home.

Also, for the record? Musica? Would not hit that. Why? Because the sound effect on her voice makes her sound like a frakkin preying mantis. Also, she seems to demand a lot of attention.

ep55: dana in wonderland

Going to NYC this week to pitch screenplay. In other news, watching Robotech.

This is one of those spacy acid-trip episodes that makes the Masters the best series for watching stoned and the worst for actually watching.

I will say, though, that whoever designed the interior of the Robotech Masters' giant starship also did a really good job on the Boulevard shopping corridor at Paris Las Vegas.

9.09.2009

ep54: mind game

Actually the fight between Dana's squad and the Invid Fighters is pretty cool in this one. Good use of motion lines.

ep53: the hunters

Louie invents some gaze technology, and the Robotech Masters invent the Invid Fighter, which is...a bioroid, with a different head. The head looks kind of like an inverted Cobra STUN vehicle. Woohoo. That's threatening. Could we get to the Invid already?

ep52: love song


If Nova Satori were a prehistoric animal, she would be a Babe-rtooth tiger. Also, if she were another similarly-drawn anime character, she would be Lum. I was going to put up two images comparing the two, but then realized that it would be completely wrong and creepy. Like the guy at the beginning of "The Brothers Bloom" who tries to pick up Bangbang with the line "I'm really into anime." That kind of creepy. I'm not that. I really AM into anime, not just for the cutely-drawn girls. For the robots, too.

I don't know which of those things I just wrote was worst.

9.07.2009

ep49: a new recruit

REASON WHY THE SOUTHERN CROSS PART IS THE LEAST GOOD PART OF ROBOTECH #49.2

The chanteuse/siren/inspiring pop idol character, called Minmay in part I and Yellow Dancer in part III, in part II is called..."Musica." That's just not as interesting-ica.

ep48: deja vu


Well check that out. Apparently the person originally taping this didn't like the Masters arc either, 'cause I'm missing like 7 episodes here. Hooray! It's like customized content specifically for ME! 10 years before its time!

These VHS tapes are really degrading, too. They used to stand for permanence and ownership. Now they are melty plastic bricks.

In this one, Nova interrogates Zor about his past and starts to get sweet on him. Zor is kind of the lamest character in this whole series. He's like what would've happened if Minmay and Kyle had a child out of incest, and he grew up into into a whiny purple-mulleted elf.

ep40: volunteers

It's Labor Day. If I still worked at the casino we'd be fighting over who has to stay with the shoeshiners and who gets to go to a BBQ. But screw all that noise, now I'm on the dole and I watch Robotech for a living.

MARIE: Oh! I've never seen anything this big before!
DANA: Uh, 'scuse me, what was that, Lieutenant?
MARIE: Ah! Paying complete attention to practically nothing today, aren't we, Lieutenant?

Honestly, the Masters arc is rapidly losing my interest, because the animation is getting shoddier and the mecha just isn't that cool. I'm not looking forward to the floofy part with the Flowers of Life and the harp music and the Protoculture Incest Matrix of Shroominess or whatever it is. I'm just keeping with it for the occasional glimpses of Nova, and that nerdy instinct to be absolutely completist in whatever ridiculous collecting endeavor you start. It's the desire to be made whole, really.

9.02.2009

ep39: southern cross

If Nova Satori were a Biblical reference she would be the Tower of Babe-l. If she were a set of children's stories she'd be Aesop's Babe-les.

Nice catty exchange between Nova and Dana before Dana gets promoted to first lieutenant. Nova is so BITTER! She needs Love! (I'm not sure if this fascination is gross yet.)