Captain Marvel, Memorabilia, and Music

Captain Marvel Mini-Review

(I don’t think I’m spoiling anything in the sense of revealing anything non-obvious but, if you want to be in suspense about whether, in the most general sense, Captain Marvel saves the day or not, skip to the next sections.)

It wasn’t my idea but I saw Captain Marvel this evening. It opens with an infodump which shows part of the plot, sci-fi comic book stuff notwithstanding, to be something suitable for a WWII movie with a spy behind enemy lines in need of extraction. It then intermittently moves between action and talk as the heroine tries to Discover Her Identity and Find Her True Strength. There follows an unbelievable reversal (though probably obvious and taken-for-granted if you’re more familiar with all this stuff – the movie assumes you’re steeped in its lore and innumerable related films) and then the net comes completely down as everything turns to ludicrously hot butter before the Woman (the grrl-power motif is extremely ham-handed: male pilot to female pilot, “You know why it’s called a cockpit, don’t you?” and the Montage in which the female is repeatedly knocked down but, nevertheless, she persists, and so on). That said, it looks fantastic with spiffy special effects (but for what movie is that not true these days?) and segments of it are entertaining with a nice 90s soundtrack (not an easy feat) and lots of other period elements as well as a couple of young SHIELD agents. And, of course, I’m evil and boneheaded and wrong for saying such offensive things and she’ll kick my ass, but the heroine is attractive and has an appealing sense of whimsy. I assume fans of this sort of thing will enjoy it and those who aren’t won’t find it too painful (aside from the butter thing).

Musical Interlude

My “rock/classical” ratio has been skewing more classical than usual lately and it occurs to me that, if I had to pick a dozen favorite composers on a sort of combo of the two factors of being reasonably massive and really enjoyable to me (as opposed to relatively obscure people or one-hit wonders I like inordinately) they would be (in chronological order): Corelli, Albinoni, Vivaldi, Telemann, Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Brahms. Which is to say, my taste in classical music is very boring, I suppose. (Now playing: Telemann’s first set of Paris Quartets.)

They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To

When I was reading Berserker recently, my 1978 copy had accidentally doubled inserts from the SFBC (Science Fiction Book Club) and one of them sort of fell out and I sort of fell off my chair looking it over. (I meant to comment on this after the review post but forgot.) The insert offers 25 books from which you need to pick four for ten cents. You have to buy four more books in the next year, which will cost at least $1.98 (plus the shipping and handling, which will be more than you’d imagine but still leave it a decent deal). What struck me was that I would have been perfectly willing to take twenty-three of them. I currently own sixteen and have read two others. Titles such as Asimov’s The Hugo Winners, Vols. I & II (2-in-1) and The Foundation Trilogy (3-in-1). Wollheim’s 1977 annual (with Varley’s “Overdrawn at the Memory Bank,” Asimov’s “The Bicentennial Man,” and Tiptree’s “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?”). All My Sins Remembered by Joe Haldeman. Gateway by Frederik Pohl. The Faded Sun: Kesrith by C.J. Cherryh. Starlight (2-in-1) by Alfred Bester. The Best of L. Sprague de Camp. The Book of Skaith by Leigh Brackett and The Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison (both 3-in-1). More titles by Burroughs, Silverberg, Ellison, Clarke, Anderson, Niven, Benford, Dickson, etc.

Musical Conclusion

Dick Dale, the king of surf guitar, dies at 81. Sad news that I had to note. A true trailblazer. In addition to the unbeatable “Misirlou” and the great version of “Pipeline” in the article, here’s “The Wedge.”


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