Fantastic Beats And Where To Find Them: Vol: 3

Back By Popular Demand!  

(Not really – just always wanted to type that!) ūüėȬ†

“The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud… I may not dance your dances or speak your language. But be a blessing to somebody. That’s what I think” – Maya Angelou.¬†

We are going to have to wait AGES¬†for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but here – in the groovy sector of the blogosphere – you don’t have to hold¬†out too long for¬†Vol. 3 of those¬†Fantastic Beats.

Love the way this blogging platform allows me to insert music into my fiction Рto evoke mood, or enhance the wow factor. Sometimes, however, an irresistible, uproarious tune will pop up, but its deliriously distracting vid prevents it from inclusion Рhere, all the best examples have been presented. 

Besides, it seems like an eternity since the frivolous and frenetic dancathon that was Fantastic Beats Vol. 2. 

Hey, DJ Brad, you ask, where do we begin? 

What better place than @ the beginning?!

Detroit,¬†to be exact.¬†During the ’80s, when house music appeared, the much rougher sound¬†of¬†techno music¬†also emerged; one of its pioneers was¬†Jeff Mills.¬†After all this time, he is still experimenting with various kinds of infectious beats.¬†Recently – to my sheer delight –¬†he has incorporated¬†strong¬†sci-fi-vibes into a more ambient direction of his work.

Just the other day we stumbled across this zany vid to a fave old skool classic –¬†what a swell buncha’ fellas!¬†

No disruption. No damages. Just dancing. Delightful.

But why the masks for dancing in the street, amigos? 

If you’re worried about getting nabbed for “social disorder” then, blazes,¬†Brad¬†should’ve been put behind bars long ago, by Jove!¬†ūüėČ

“In these science fiction stories – even against enormous odds – people still feel the urge to go on, to discover… I understood it wouldn‚Äôt be easy to materialise some of these ideas slightly beyond the dance floor in electronic music. Actually there‚Äôs quite a lot of resistance against changing or using music in other things” – Jeff Mills.¬†

As you may have noticed, Paul Birken has become synonymous with my Fartlighter Bradventures. 

This following track can be found on Mr. Birken’s own YouTube channel, which is – as the neighbours can attest – visited every day.¬†

As far as we know, he even compiled the vid himself! 

Actually, the original Drvg Cvltvre track is kinda meh, but add a Paul Birken Remix and РWAHEY! Рit is transformed into a stupendous stomper: 

“The only thing that you have that nobody else has¬†is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can” – Neil Gaiman.

For the next tem, it was a case of looking for a cool vid, and decent sound quality. One fine example initially slated for this next spot has been taken down.

No worries: regularly listened to this stylish stand-by whilst writing fiction @ our Southeast Asian retreat a few years back.

Sandwell District was the sensational Рalbeit short-lived Рcollaboration between DJs Function and Regis (who is one of my faves).

The video is the short film: Tunnel of Love (1977) featuring Tamara Beckwith and Edward Tudor Pole.

Mesmerising…

 

“Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance” – Confucius.¬†

“Variety is the spice of Bradscribe,”¬†as they say.

It’s not all¬†about¬†bompity-bompitybomp records one after another here.

Fantastic beats can be found across many diverse musical genres.¬†Besides, you never know what you’re going to get on this site, but it’s best¬†to¬†prepare yourself for gorgeous grungy gems such as this next item.

Many thanks to the¬†Transexual Swiss Rebels –¬†yes! Them again –¬†for reminding me of the rich cultural heritage that is African-American music:

“Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy – your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place within yourself” – Annie Leibovitz. ¬†

It would be interesting to learn¬†what inspired¬†Steve Hillage –¬†legendary frontman of 70s psychedelic rock band: Gong –¬†to make the transition to techno music by the 90s.¬†He has adapted to it rather well, for how about this for fusion: never seen/heard anyone else playing electric guitar over electronic dance music.

If one could attend one more music festival, then it must have System 7 on the bill. Mr. and Mrs. Hillage have gained a reputation for being one of the best live acts in the land.

As you can see here, this vid was shot in the living room @ Brad Manor (hence the belly dancers):

Get on the good foot, Loki!¬†ūüėČ

“Towards the end of the 80s, when Acid House exploded, we felt, you know, we had found our new musical home…¬†and we just thought: we’ve seen the future! This is gonna be fucking massive, man! Electronic! Dance. Music. Eureka!” –¬†Steve Hillage.

Twenty years ago, coinciding with my giddy times @ university, the Tresor label (based in Berlin) brought out some of the most snazzy techno tunes, a lot of which helped me plough through some particularly difficult Рor just unbelievably dull Рessays.

Discovering YouTube eight years ago helped me to delve into the scintillating back catalogue¬†of¬†one of that label’s most innovative lights: an excitable – and highly enjoyable – bunny known only as Brixton. ¬†

Reckon a DJ just stands there, fiddling with a Roland TB-303, a Roland TR-909, or whatnot? 

Trust Brixton to put the LIVE into live set!

And remember: if at first you don’t succeed… just dance!

Cheers!

 

“What just happened? Please tell me nobody kissed me…” – Tony Stark.¬†

 

 

 

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Bradscribe Review

Your Spoilers – They’ll Have To Wait Outside! We Don’t Want Their Kind Here!

“Ryan Johnson’s movie has a sense of humour about itself and a sense of joy, but its emotional generosity, even in the midst of all the extravagant green-screen work, is its best special effect” – TIME Magazine.¬†

“I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror…

“I fear something terrible has happened.”¬†

You betcha!

Only the terror manifested more in the unwelcome form of spite and bitterness Рthere has been a Starkiller-sized amount of hate for VIII over this past weekend alone.

Truly, we waited on tenterhooks for two years for... THIS?! 

Okay, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is NOT terrible, but, alas, it is not great either.

You will be relieved to know that – unlike the barrage of bile foisted upon IMDb¬†over the last few days –¬†this review will refrain from descending into an expletive-laden rant.¬†

Unlike other episodes on the big screen, nobody cheered, nobody applauded,¬†as the goosebump-inducing score broke out, or the legendary title scrawl began trundling upscreen…¬†

Hello, methinks, quite a different Star Wars movie is unfolding here…¬†

“And, as for Luke, Hamill comes into his own here with a very intelligent and sympathetic portrayal of his great character. Luke is now part Prospero, part Achilles… potentially the great magician or teacher on this island, ready to induct Rey into the Zen priesthood of the Force” – The Guardian.¬†

The biggest gasp in the auditorium did not go to the – admittedly awesome – praetorian guard fight, nor¬†towards¬†the surprise appearance of a dear old friend on Ahch-to (arguably Last Jedi’s most charming scene).¬†No, as the opening space battle gets underway, the very first First Order officer we see on the bridge is played by none other than¬†Ade Edmondson!!¬†

My non-British blogging friends might like to know that this cult fave star appeared in a few classic BBC TV comedy shows during the 80s. To see him here was extraordinary, but, immediately, alarm bells started ringing.

Uh-oh, they’re gonna play this for laughsunfortunately, this proved to be precisely the misguided and cringe-inducing case¬†as a thoroughly underwhelming first act ensued.¬†There are certain lines that should never be uttered in the¬†Star Wars galaxy – “Let me put you on hold” (?!) should NOT be one of them, by Jove!

Amidst all the much-maligned New Hopisms of The Force Awakens, the trio of new characters: Rey, Finn and Poe were most welcome, and refreshing additions. Here, none of them, frustratingly, were allowed to develop any further.

The only thing to strike me about Holdo is that she looked all dressed and coiffured ready for Canto Bight, not saving the Resistance.

Laura Dern?! As an Admiral?! 

Come OFF IT… That absurd premise turned out to be more hilarious than anything “General” Gleeson managed to spout…

And “Captain” Phasma…? Soz, but that was the moment Brad blinked…

With¬†the Asian cinema market larger than ever, it was just a matter of when, not if, a character like¬†Rose (Kelly Marie Tran)¬†would appear in this franchise.¬†Personally, she gabbled too fast, so none of her scenes could be followed.¬†No matter,¬† by the time she had become miraculously embroiled in the shoddily “written” derring-do,¬†my attention had well and truly drifted.¬†

Speaking of cringe-inducing: by far the weakest Рcertainly most useless Рsequence takes place on Canto Bight.

A cosmic Monte Carlo might be more suitable for crap like¬†Valerian.¬†But not¬†Star Wars, for cake’s sake!

“We seem to be made to suffer. It’s our lot in life… …”

On a positive note, however,¬†it was fabulous to see the¬†lovely – and still feisty – Princess (sorry) GENERAL Leia again –¬†thankfully, watching Carrie for the very-last-time proved not to be the emotional slog one had expected.¬†However,¬†one particular scene glided past ūüėČ that elicited a few sniggers in the darkness around me.

My time and patience was also saved by Adam Driver, who managed to bring some much-needed gravitas as perpetually-petulant-teen-with-ridiculous-mask: Kylo Ren.

And Chewie!

But then again, despite his instant-classic “Roast Porg” scene, this weary Wookie had – as feared – too little to do.

More sketches with those delightful, albeit dotty, “Caretakers” on Ahch-to¬†would have cheered me up.

Most of all, though, it was great to catch¬†a powerful and moving performance by¬†Mark Hamill¬† as Ireland’s living legend: Stragglybeard, Lord Of The Grumpy Teatsqueezers.

The Last Jedi ranks with the very best Star Wars epics by pointing ahead to a next generation of Skywalkers – and, thrillingly, to a new hope” – Rolling Stone.¬†

Mercifully,¬†this instalment is not as atrocious as the universally-reviled prequel trilogy, but¬†still lags several parsecs behind last year’s Merry Sithmas Special:¬†Rogue One.¬†

Disney – obviously –¬†were too preoccupied with designing those cute critters: porgs, crystal foxes and whatnot – and all that blasted associated merchandise! –¬†to¬†worry about the inconsequential stuff. Such as story structure and a cohesive narrative, etc. etc.

And what is so Supreme about this Leader?

Deeply disappointed.

After being so intrigued¬†by such a potentially-menacing figure, and wanting to know more about his origins/history,¬†here (in his snazzy golden dressing gown) his “character” is – shamefully, almost embarrassingly – barely onscreen long enough to frighten us, let alone fascinate us further.

Snoke is a joke! (And like this film’s other “light-hearted” moments: simply not funny. And doesn’t deserve to be.)

Similarly, our fascination surrounding Rey¬†remains almost-painfully unresolved.¬†Amounting to nuthin’, this simply splutters out as the most annoying non-event ever.¬†

And Brad¬†grows tired of asking this so it will be the last time:¬†how did Maz find Luke’s lightsaber?!

Oh, never mind…

Not only do these unsettling anti-climaxes remain unsettled, but the way we all got psyched up and brainstormed out for NOTHING¬†(partly inciting the extreme antipathy that has clogged up the internet these past few days) has brought me to the brink of indifference.¬†And a complete, crushing state of apathy towards Episode IX, or – Sith forbid! – a whole new trilogy by Rian Johnson.¬†It’s as if he didn’t BOTHER to watch The Force Awakens. Or, at least, consult JJ Abrams’ notes…

Whilst pondering whether to discuss Spoilers in this Review, let me conclude by stating that this whole bally venture felt like it spoilt just about everything that makes the Star Wars phenomenon so stupendous and awe-inspiring.

 

The most memorable moment of this particular viewing experience happened to be the severe cramp. 

After two and a half hours, all feeling in my right leg had gone.¬†As the last dude stuck in his (plush, velvet, Edwardian) seat after this evening’s performance of¬†The Last Jedi,¬†a young attendant –¬†black eyeliner, black lipstick, rings and studs protruding from the most unlikely places –¬†came to check on me.

After explaining my predicament, whilst rising awkwardly to my feet, she chortled:

“Yer jus’ gonna ‘avta FORCE yerself, darlin’, he he!”¬†

Honestly!

What IS it with Brad and cheeky Goth girls?! 

She noticed me grimace at the endless end credits.

“I know!” she complained.¬†“Absolute blooody roobbish, innit?! I ‘avta put up wiv this three times a day fer the rest o’ the week!”¬†

Ah yeah, your job really sucks…

“Anyways, enough abaht¬†me – what did YOU think of it… …?”

 

 

BRADSCRIBE VERDICT: 

“That’s NOT how the Force works!”

 

 

 

Qwerty Dancing: The Curse Of NaNoWriMo

Are You Prepared To Stand Up And Fight The Battle Between Write And Wrong? 

The first sentence of every novel should be: ‘Trust me, this will take time but there is order here, very faint,¬†very human'” – Michael Ondaatje.¬†

Since the last ‘Scribe Post, Brad has committed murder.

What, again?! 

Well, yes.

No matter how you look at it, that particular devious miscreant had it coming. 

Does the fact that he was NOT human lessen the shock…?¬†

Truly, as writers, we are Lords Of Our Own Creation(s). 

We have conjured fantastic worlds before dinner, despatched heroes on fabulous quests before teatime, even created and Рoh yes Рkilled off the most groovy Рor garish Рcharacter(s) during the midnight hour.

Forgive me for the prolooooonged absence, but¬†this hapless cake-scoffing fool¬†though it would be a blastha! –¬†to shut himself away within his¬†Sanctum Sanctorum,¬†participate in¬†the whole¬†NaNoWriMo¬†thing,¬†and, mayhap,¬†attempt to¬†rectify the minimal progress made on MY OWN NOVEL recently.

By Jove, what a discombobulation!

Unbeknownst to me, the whole horrendous cavalcade dwindled into something more infuriating than the lousiest Transformers movie,¬†AND got tougher than any holiday camp…

Barely got out of November with life – and sanity – intact.

As that other writer named Brad said: “we should be continually jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”¬†

Aha!

That would explain why my snidely-regarded intuitive brain seems smashed to pieces and my legendary ripped bod feels absolutely shattered. 

So,¬†released this Post (still took too many days to get back to this Bradform!) to reassure you that¬†Brad¬†is STILL HERE, but – by Aquaman’s quindent! –¬†only just…

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are” – W. Somerset Maugham.¬†

Just two Summers ago, the itch to write a novel struck me. But which one? 

TWO choices lay before me.

Should it be that futuristic noir thriller concerning bounty hunters? Or should it be that historical mystery tour inspired by the local medieval studies recently preoccupying my working hours?

In an ingenious twist Рas deft as some of the greatest plotlines in SF history Рan easy solution presented itself = combine BOTH into one unprecedented framework. Thus, The Monastikon Chronicles emerged. Brother Brad hunts the unearthly wraiths, who infiltrated 12th century English society in human guise. To read how this concept came to be, see here; to follow how chapters of my novel are developing, see here:

The first week of NaNoWriMo began encouragingly enough – filling in some narrative gaps;¬†fleshing out some peripheral characters promoted to more vital roles;¬†as well as finally dealing with one mischievous monk (not the first, but will he be the last…?) who turned out to be¬†something completely different…¬†

So far, so groovy.

The third week, however, was spent wondering where in blazes did the second week whizz off to at such an incredible rate. Bah…

And the last week of November?

My main concern¬†focussed on trying not to pass out at my desk…

Actually,¬†by this stage it had got to the point where not a single coherent sentence could be formed, let alone any powerful passages of pulsating prose be produced –¬†so what bare modicum of creative faculties remained were plied instead into sketching until December mercifully rolled into view…

But nevertheless, to experiment with language. 

Twist and turn the imagination. Then slip and slide it in other directions. 

Conjure the most bizarre characters and let them perform the most unexpected actions.

Traverse the plot in totally, radically, unforeseen directions. 

Let the material run RAMPANT. It is, after all, MY novel!

To plunge headlong into all the above opportunities? 

How could one NOT resist? 

Such strenuous¬†mental endeavours exercised (exorcised…?) at a daily rate? For one month?

Yikes, not the piece of cake one thought it would be.

Anyway, same time, next year, then?!

“I should flamin’ coco!” as Billy Shakespeare ‘isself was wont to say…¬†

“Practice any art, no matter how well or badly, not to get money or fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow” – Kurt Vonnegut. ¬†

Yay, another completed (and legible)¬†Bradscribe Post – after too many weeks, it doesn’t seem possible, does it?¬†

Hark!

We can just¬†about¬†hear someone clapping nervously in Row Z…¬†

WHO CARES if this blog is doomed NEVER to receive more than 200 Followers? 

NEVER MIND, Brad knew from the startFOUR YEARS ago(!) – that he was never going to be No.1, or considered among the “best,”¬†or most popular¬†bloggers out there, but even so…

The novel has stalled in the same way that the blog posts have slowed:¬†will ANY readers show up to read my stuff…?

Having made no progress with several rudimentary Posts this past fortnight – could not even compile that Post¬†entitled:¬†No Justice For Brad!¬†(discussing why the Justice League movie would not even get a cinema visit, let alone a Bradscribe Review!) –¬†plus, the immutable low and discouraging state of my Stats,¬†it got to the point: should Bradscribe¬†be discontinued?

No need to make this “crisis” into a drama – these low spirits should be attributed to low energy, nothing more.¬†

Ultimately, in what has proved to be a¬†physically and mentally trying eighteen months for yours truly,¬†these past few weeks turned out to be a most welcome break –¬†a chance to recharge.

Now is the time to rebound!

Brad may not make a difference, but he’ll certainly make a scene. Or three.¬†

Just keep on pressing Publish, and if HARDLY ANYBODY wants to read, then¬†so be it…¬†

But surely, writing an unread piece of work is far preferable than never to have toiled and troubled to produce one at all…right?

WRITE!

 

For all of you who may have struggled with¬†NaNoWriMo last month –¬†or those of you who have wrestled with writer’s block –¬†this, my friends, is our Anthem:¬†

“You want the reader to remember. You want her to be changed. Or better still, to want to change…

“Never forget that a story begins long before you start it and ends long after you end it.¬†Allow your reader to walk out from your last line and into her own imagination.¬†Find some last-line grace. This is the true gift of writing…

“Your last line is the first line for everybody else” – Colum McCann.¬†

 

The Journey Of Bradskald: My Reimmersion In Norse Mythology

 The Realm Eternal: Asgard РThe Beacon Of Hope, Shining Out Across The Stars

And A Source Of Limitless Possibilities For My Fiction…

“Once, mankind accepted a simple truth: that they were not alone in this universe. Some worlds Man believed home to their Gods. Others they knew to fear…” –¬†Odin All-Father.¬†

There was a great noise of shouting and fury in the Palace of Jotunheim where the great Norse Giants lived.

“What have you done, Rungnir?”¬†some of the Giants were shouting at one of their number.¬†“You have agreed to fight the great god¬†Thor!¬†You are mad, quite mad!”

“Thor is our greatest enemy,¬†Rungnir,” other Giants cried in alarm.¬†“…You have brought disaster upon us! Not even a Giant can resist¬†Thor¬†with his mighty thunder and his deadly¬†hammer Mjolnir!”

Aye!

And no one can resist the God of Thunder as his latest adventure: Thor: Ragnarok has conquered the box office (and deservedly so) on Midgard (Earth) this past fortnight. Having thrilled me with its wholesome cosmic fun, Thor: Ragnarok slings me back along the Bifrost of nostalgia to a time when all-things-Norse were craved. The more scintillating aspects of that mythology seeped Рwholeheartedly or inadvertently Рinto my own otherworldly works.

So,¬†away from the hassle, tech difficulties and trolls of the 21st century,¬†and let’s return to¬†the¬†great beards, moody Giants (and Trolls)¬†of the Nine Realms.

Pre-Christian Vikings¬†shared a common view of the universe.¬†The one insurmountable truth held that the Norse pantheon of gods, known as¬†the¬†√Üsir,¬†made their home at¬†Asgard.¬†This is a compound name, whose first part As- refers to¬†the¬†√Üsir, while the second part gard means an ‘enclosure.’¬†Hence Asgard is ‘the enclosed region where¬†the¬†√Üsir¬†live.’

In order to understand the rudiments of¬†Norse mythology, one must refer to The Prose Edda –¬†the most renowned of all works of Scandinavian literature and our most extensive source for Norse mythology –¬†written by the 13th century Icelandic chieftain:¬†Snorri Sturluson (1178-1241).¬†Mayhap ’twas the un-Viking way in which he met his own violent end against the King of Norway’s assassins¬†– cowering in his own cellar – helps explain why his name is not¬†hailed among other historical literary giants.

However, through his seminal work, numerous¬†Old Norse¬†words crept into the English language; for one, it is from¬†Sturluson¬†that we get the word: ‘saga.’

“The Prose Edda… summarizes the pagan Germanic myths and reviews the rules of skaldic rhetoric.¬†The mythology documented in these texts reveals an earlier, peasant stratum (associated with the thunderer, Thor)…” – Joseph Campbell.¬†

“I came up with Thor. I know all about Thor, and Mjolnir, the hammer. Nobody ever bothered with that stuff except me.¬†It was the thing that kept my mind off the general poverty in the area. When I went to school that‚Äôs what kept me in school. It wasn‚Äôt mathematics and it wasn‚Äôt geography – it was history…” – Jack Kirby.

“…Thor is the foremost among them. Called Thor of the √Üsir¬†[Asa-Thor] and Thor the Charioteer [Oku-Thor], he is the strongest of all gods and men.¬†He rules at the place called Thrudvangar [Plains of Strength], and his hall is called Bilskirnir…” –

Gylfaginning 21.

Before the Viking Age, in a time known as the Migration Period (from the fifth to the seventh centuries CE), when various tribes laid siege to the last remnants of the Roman Empire, numerous heroic stories originated, formulating a tremendous Scandinavian oral tradition.

The¬†most substantial section of¬†The Prose¬†Edda, is known¬†as¬†Gylfaginning,¬†in which the characters we have become accustomed to via¬†Marvel’s¬†comics and movies – the¬†√Üsir, namely Thor, Odin, Loki, Heimdall, et al. –¬†were originally introduced.

Of equal intrigue in the Eddas is the portion called¬†Skaldskaparmal.¬†Skald is the Old Norse word for ‘poet,’ or ‘scribe’;¬†skapr means ‘creation’ or ‘craft’;¬†mal is ‘language’ or ‘diction’ – thus¬†Skaldskaparmal¬†means the ‘language of poetry.’¬†This section in particular – a combination of dialogue and third-person storytelling –¬†collects those oral traditions that arose from this¬†Migration Period.¬†

The most celebrated hero of¬†Skaldskaparmal¬†is Sigurd the dragon-slayer.¬†He and his treasure: the Rhine Gold,¬†not only formed the basis for¬†the¬†Saga of the Volsungs¬†and Thidrek’s Saga,¬†but¬†the epic poem of South Germany:¬†the Nibelungenlied,¬†wherein¬†Sigurd is known as¬†Siegfried.¬†Classical composer Richard Wagner¬†made¬†Siegfried¬†the hero of his epic Ring Cycle opera:¬†Der Ring des Nibelungen.¬†

Thus, the epic prose of Norse mythology converted into epic music.

As you may have gathered, music has always¬†played a decisive, inspirational role in my¬†creative writing.¬†Whenever epic storytelling had to be undertaken, nothing like¬†Wagner could set the right mood, tone and atmosphere¬†for conjuring the right words.¬†Admittedly, my jaw-dropping introduction to the wonders of¬†Wagner‘s music¬†came through watching¬†Excalibur,¬†John Boorman’s lavish 1981 depiction of the Celtic legend of King Arthur and his Grail knights.¬†

Interestingly,¬†incorporated into¬†Skaldskaparmal¬†is the story of the ancient Danish warrior King Hrolf Kraki, who – much like King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table –¬†was accompanied on his multifarious exploits by a dozen champions. ¬†

“The universe hasn’t seen this marvel since before my watch began. Few can sense it, even fewer can see it. But while its effects can be dangerous, it is truly beautiful” – Heimdall. ¬†

If a Ragnarok would burn all the slums and gas-works… I’d go back to trees…” – J.R.R. Tolkien.¬†

“The gods seated themselves on their thrones and held counsel, and remembered how dwarfs had quickened in the earth…

By the decree of the gods they acquired human understanding and the appearance of men, although they lived in the earth…”¬†

There is clear evidence that¬†John Ronald Reuel Tolkien –¬†Oxford Professor of Old English/Anglo-Saxon and Middle English language and literature –¬†used the Edda as inspiration for his literature.¬†Many of the names he used in his most celebrated works:¬†The Hobbit¬†and¬†The Lord of the Rings¬†were taken from this source material.¬†

Like the One Ring of Sauron, an all-powerful ring: Andvarinaut, forms the basis of Der Ring des Nibelungen. 

“Both rings were round, and there the resemblance ceases,”¬†Tolkien insisted,¬†keen to assuage his critics.¬†Nevertheless, the figure of Gandalf – named after one of the dwarves mentioned¬†in The Edda –¬†was particularly influenced by Odin in his incarnation as¬†“The Wanderer”:¬†an old man with one eye, a long white beard, a wide brimmed hat, and a staff.

Tolkien’s depiction of Giants, Elves and Dwarves are very much drawn from the¬†Old Norse originals.¬†And – oh yes – an extra slice of cake for those of you who spotted that the¬†Balrog of Moria¬†and the collapse of the Bridge of Khazad-d√Ľm¬†was an exact rendering of fire-giant Surt[ur]’s destruction of Asgard’s Bifrost [the Rainbow Bridge]!

And so, you enquire – cleaving this rambling prose in twain like the fabled blade of And√ļril¬†isself! –¬†how did¬†Norse mythology¬†inspire me?

Ah yes – just like King Kirby – bored senseless by Geography homework, my impatient, cartographic mind escaped, instead, into creating my own fantasy world, fuelled by¬†Fighting Fantasy gamebooks – “where YOU are the hero!” –¬†which became all the rage for much of¬†the 80s.¬†

Aeons ago – almost lost in the mists of time – at the dawn of the Teen Age ūüėČ Bradskald created Atlansia.¬†

In the accompanying “Atlansian Manual,”¬†maps of both West and East¬†Atlansia – plus the islands of Thalios and Kalonth –¬†were meticulously drafted.¬†As for the fantasy epic that threatened to come to fruition, in true Tolkien style, long ago (of course), along the northeast coast¬†of¬†Atlansia,¬†Sentinels from the Ion Hills constructed the Great Wall of Mithris,¬†to deter the advancing evil-most-foul hordes of Doragar (a sorcerous crossbreed of Orcs and Trolls).

Scouring my yellowed and crumpled pages again after all these years,¬†the Norse inspiration still shines through:¬†Frost Giants¬†reigned in the Icypeak Mountains to the far north;¬†Dwarfs kept themselves to themselves high in the rocky citadels of the Moonstone Hills;¬†while down to the southeast, Elves dwelt deep within the¬†Silver Forest…¬†

Amazing to think how this exotic – yet extraordinary – Bradworld¬†has lain dormant and unexplored for over three decades…¬†

Ha, if those brazen berserkers Рthe Doragar Рshould decide, once more, to raid and plunder the hamlets to the east, then doughty Bradskald will sally forth Рtrusty broadsword: Fopslayer slung across his back Рto smite the unholy threat. 

Or maybe he will just remain atop the ancient Book Tower in ye olde village of Crickhaven and simply write off said hordes with a (hopefully deft) flick of his mighty quill

 

“Bradskald…?! I thought he was a myth…” ūüėČ

“This book is called Edda. Snorri Sturluson compiled it in the way that it is arranged here. First it tells about the¬†√Üsir [the gods] and Ymir [the primordial giant], then comes the poetic diction section with the poetic names of many things…” – Codex Upsaliensis.¬†

 

“From Ymir’s flesh¬†
was the earth created,
from the bloody sweat, the sea,
cliffs from bones,
trees frow hair,
and from the head, the heavuns;

And from his eyelashes 
the gentle gods made
Midgard for the sons of men;
and from his brains
all the oppressive
clouds were formed” – The Lay of Grimnir 40-41.¬†

 

Me√į krafti Bradskald! Bor√įu√įu k√∂ku og vertu gla√įur!

By The Power Of¬†Bradskald!¬† ūüôā

 

Here’s To Hela: The Girl With The Awesome Antlers

A Dance With The Goddess Of The Underworld 

“I thought you’d be glad to see me!” – Hela. ¬†

In this unpredictable universe,¬†Norse mythology¬†first came to my attention in the most unlikeliest form… a comic book.¬†Out of all the ishs that could have introduced¬†me¬†to the God of Thunder,¬†so glad ’twas¬†The Mighty Thor #314 (December 1981).¬†As explained in¬†this Post:¬†the bonus feature:¬†Tales Of Asgard:¬†Judgment… And Lament¬†just blew me away.

Who in the Hel¬†could that tall, elegant, yet deadly, lady, clad in a green and black one-piece, be?¬†Wielding such an elaborate headdress, she had single-handedly slain ALL NINE of¬†Odin’s Valkyries,¬†and recast Valhalla in the same grim and mist-beset manner as her own dread-realm of Niffleheim.

Our eyes met across a crowded comic book…

So accustomed to the dreary Western European concept of Death as a hooded skeleton wielding a scythe, Hela turned out to be quite a life-changing revelation. 

What was the significance of the green colour system? Moreover, what was it with those bizarre, yet impressive, horns?! To me, my tomes of esoteric knowledge!

“You look like a smart boy…”¬†

My quest to find out more concerning this dark enchantress¬†began with the most reliable option:¬†The Prose Edda –¬†the renowned of all works of Scandinavian literature –¬†written by the 13th century Icelandic chieftain:¬†Snorri Sturluson.

Daughter of Loki (in both the original mythological tales and¬†The Mighty¬†Thor¬†comic) and¬†Angrboda [Sorrow Bringer] – an ogress who lived in Jotunheim (Giant Land) –¬†Hel¬†is the¬†sister of Fenris (aka Fenrir)¬†the giant wolf and Jormungand the Midgard serpent –¬†NOT Thor and Loki as depicted in the latest movie!

In The Prose Edda, the passage known as Gylfaginning 34 states:

“When the gods discovered that these three siblings¬†were being brought up in¬†Giant Land –¬†they learned through prophecies that misfortune and evil were to be expected from these children…

“Hel Odin threw down into Niflheim and made her ruler over nine worlds…”

“Her hall is called¬†Eljudnir,¬†[Sprayed With Snowstorms]¬†her dish is Hunger, her knife is Famine, her slave is Lazy…

“The threshold over which people enter is a pitfall called¬†Fallandaforad [Falling To Peril], her bed is named Kor [Sick Bed],¬†and her bed curtains are named Blikjandabol [Gleaming Disaster].¬†She is half black and half a lighter flesh colour and is easily recognised.¬†Mostly she is gloomy and cruel.”¬†

It is important to note that half her body (and half her face) is corpse-like, although this point was never accentuated in the comic books. 

Hela’s¬†billowing green cloak somehow ensures that her¬†metabolism is kept stable – take her cloak away and she would, theoretically, wither away into nothingness¬†but then,¬†she is far too strong and powerful to allow anyone near her…

Thor: “Mine enchanted hammer shall lead thee far from Earth… as only Mjolnir can. Then when I have lost her… Thor shall strike once more. But Hela shall not know the where or when…”

Hela: “Flight is useless. To¬†Hela all of time and space are one.¬†There is no time –¬†there is no place – where death does not hold sway.”¬†¬†

Hela made her debut in the Marvel Comics Universe in Journey Into Mystery #102 Death Comes to Thor (1964) adapted from Norse mythology by the masters themselves: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. 

Hela possesses attributes common to Asgardian gods: superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility and durability – and vast mystical powers which she can use for various effects like limitless astral projection while retaining many of her powers and abilities, firing deadly bolts of energy from her hands, levitation and the creation of illusions. Her most powerful ability is her Hand of Glory, a technique that uses mystical energy to enhance the strength of her punch to kill even an Asgardian.

Intriguingly, during her very first Marvel appearance, the Goddess Of Death is instrumental in Thor gaining Mjolnir. How ironic then, that Thor: Ragnarok contains that now-iconic scene in which she shatters that very same hammer!

That‚Äôs Hela for you – as unpredictable as death isself…

Stand thee back, Asgardians! Hela must now gather all of the awesome enchanted power at her command! Gaze in unheralded wonder as she doth conjure a monumental spell which shall seal yonder pit into its own accursed dimension forevermore!” ¬†

Only last month did the¬†sensational #190 (July 1971)¬†come into my disbelieving grasp.¬†Paid twice as much as usual for this. But no matter –¬†…And So To Die!¬†is an EPIC – and one of THE most moving – stories of the Bronze Age.¬†Odin¬†is prepared to eliminate Hera once and for all, but how can Order be maintained if ’tis bereft of Death?

And so Thor agrees to forfeit his life.¬†But his beloved¬†Lady Sif –¬†shocked to learn of this ploy – pleads with¬†Hela¬†to save the God of Thunder’s life:

Sif: “Hela! Though thou be the Queen of Death, thou art a woman, too – surely, love hath touched thine heart?”

Hela: “Why speakest thou to me of love?”

Feelings wert awakened within me… feelings of compassion… desire…¬†and love. At long last, Hela knew what it meant to be a woman, but I be Goddess of Death, as well… and can ne’er consummate these longings… for all I touch turns to dust, a tragedy ne’er to be resolved…”

If my Top 10 Fave Comics In The Bradscribe Collection were compiled now, expect to find this ish riding high in that chart. 

Loki: “Hela, time and again have I striven to become Ruler of Asgard only to be blocked at every turn by Odin and Thor… ‘Tis my wish to cause the fall of the realm – aye,¬†no less than Ragnarok – the Twilight of the Gods!”¬†

Hela:¬†“Long hath Hela waited to hear thee say those words, God of Evil! Thou hast come to one who can help thee… one who profits greatly by the deaths of gods or mortals…” ¬†

In #278 Time of the Trolls (November 1978),¬†Hela¬†plotted with Loki to bring about Ragnar√∂k by slaying the god Balder then attacking Asgard. She summoned Volla’s spirit before this to tell her and Loki about Ragnarok, after which she prepared an army of monsters to attack Asgard. However, Odin used his powers to prevent Balder dying.

Although her role in this story is too brief for my liking, the panels she does get to own are suitably formidable. 

‘Twas a time when¬†Roy Thomas and John Buscema were at the peak of their respective powers…¬†

Hva√į varstu gu√įin aftur?”¬†

And a portrait of Hela by the great Charles Vess Рthis just gets better and better! 

“Now… tell us more than thou didst tell Odin! Draw aside the veil – further than ’twas drawn before!”¬†

Well, it never seemed possible¬†that a character as remarkable¬†as¬†Hela¬†could ever reach the big screen.¬†After disappointing interpretations of certain members of the X-Men –¬†and Drax The Destroyer –¬†there were nothing but misgivings¬†regarding her cinematic debut in¬†Thor: Ragnarok.

Fortunately, with some memorable badass lines and a phenomenal performance by Cate Blanchett, her onscreen presence is a triumph, even if it barely scratches the surface of this tantalising Рyet tragic Рcharacter.

Recently in the comics, Hela has, apparently, begun hanging out with the death-worshipping Thanos. Can we, therefore, expect to see this formidable couple together in Avengers: Infinity War?!

The case continues…¬†

 

More Thorsomeness Next Thorsday!

“Cate Blanchett is just brilliant as Hela. She is one of the greatest actors… I was so excited to see what she was going to do with Hela… I was completely blindsided by the outcome. She just has this insane off-kilter attitude or look or kind of movement to her character” –¬†Chris Hemsworth.¬†

 

“Asgardians… farewell.

When next I come,

not all thy tears…¬†

not all thy pleas…¬†

shall stay me…

Till then, rejoice!

Ye have each other

while¬†Hela endures… alone…”¬†

 

Norse Mode: The Rough Guide To Thor: Ragnarok

Thank Fudge It’s Thorsday!

This’ll Be SUCH FUN!

“I’m not overly fond of what follows…” – Loki. ¬†

“In a world of portentous blockbusters getting ever darker, it’s a joy to see one throwing on the disco lights.”

And that happened to be just the first review¬†of¬†Thor: Ragnarok –¬†set to be the biggest – and most entertaining – of the solo Thor movies.¬†Here, the Mighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against The Hulk, his former ally. The God of Thunder¬†must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful HelaGoddess of Death – from destroying¬†Asgard.¬†

In Norse mythology, Ragnarok is translated as Twilight of the Gods. The myth tells of the eventual destruction of the universe and mankind, as well as the deaths of several key figures in Norse Mythology, such as the gods Odin, Thor, Loki, Heimdall et al. 

So…

Billed as a fun and funny, colourful and crazy cosmic caper… Thor: Ragnarok just MIGHT kill off a bunch of main characters?!

Hmm, more than any other Marvel movie, it will be¬†interesting to see how¬†this latest MCU instalment plays with our emotions,¬†as well as juggling with our expectations…

“Hela is the Goddess of Death, and I’ve had incredible fun playing her” – Cate Blanchett.

“Oh, I’ve missed this!”¬†rasps Hela, Goddess of Death, strikingly played by¬†Cate Blanchett.¬†

That could be Brad gleefully uttering that line as it seems ages since we were treated to a blockbuster that turned out to be just an inoffensive, energetic and entertaining slice of escapist fantasy fare. 

As you may have already gathered, Hela is one of my All-Time Fawe Comic Book Characters. She first mesmerised me in a poetic and moving Tales Of Asgard that accompanied The Mighty Thor #314, (Hela Рthe Goddess of Death Рhas wrought havoc in Valhalla, twisting it into the icy foreboding image of her own dreaded kingdom: Niffleheim. Only the bold and sagacious intervention of Odin РRuler of the Gods Рsaves Asgard).

During this past year alone, numerous classic Thor ishs (specifically featuring Hela)¬†have come my way – the depth of her characterisation is astonishing.¬†How far¬†Thor: Ragnarok¬†will delve into her character, and not rely on just malevolent quips and badass fight sequences, remains my primary concern.¬†Visionary director:¬†Taika Waititi¬†(he prefers to be referred to as a visionary director, or better still: “visionist”!)¬†assures us that, as Marvel’s first female movie villain:¬†“Cate has destroyed the idea of your typical villain.”

In the original comics,¬†Hela is Loki’s daughter.¬†Now, bet you all the groats on Sakaar: the makers have twisted this – she’s become Odin’s¬†(disowned) daughter; this, at least, would help explain how she was able, so dramatically in the first Trailer, to catch – and breakMjolnir.¬†(But hey, Lord of Dipwits here managed to guess only 1.5 out of 14 on the¬†Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 Soundtrack¬†so proceed with caution!)

Hela is: “not a queen, or a monster, she’s the Goddess of Death!”

And your correspondent is still so looking forward to seeing how she is brought to life on the big screen!

“Thor finds out much about his family and tries to save his planet and the universe, while overcoming the machinations of a grand funny fun figure such as myself” –¬†Jeff Goldblum

“Hey, Sparkles! Here’s the deal. You wanna get back to As-place? Asberg?”

Yes,¬†Jeff Goldblum – verily, for it is he! –¬†speaks this line while portraying (quite flamboyantly, it has to be said)¬†the Grandmaster,¬†an immortal trickster¬†who maintains control over the populace of¬†Sakaar¬†by giving them a constant fix of gladiatorial games.¬†Sakaar looks like an irresistibly¬†fizzy and candy-colourful addition to the MCU – it’s the sort of galactic world one always wanted to see on the big screen.

The Grandmaster¬†is a villain who stormed into my Marvel collection last year¬†via (reprints of) The Avengers.¬†The storyline in which¬†the Grandmaster¬†transports Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to his¬†arena¬†to fight a team of super-villains: Contest Of Champions,¬†provided the core element of this movie.

You’d think that playing a blue-skinned alien would pose no challenge for Jeff as he has already played one way back in¬†Earth Girls Are Easy (1988);¬†but his Hollywood clout has spared him the ignominy of that daily five-hour make-up job; instead, he sports a snazzy lil blue splodge on his chin.

Just seen a hilarious exclusive clip, concerning the “Lord” of Thunder(!)¬†and it so happens to be¬†Classic Comedy Gold(blum)!¬†Actually, as it turns out,¬†Jeff¬†is quite the “Grandmaster” when it comes to improvisation.¬†Apparently, the majority of his lines ended up being randomly improvised, to the full consent of the director. Forever the visionary.

Jeff “Must Go Faster, Must Go Faster!” Goldblum Forever!¬†

If the rest of his scenes are anything to go by, it sounds like the Power of ROFL will be unleashed!

Let’s hope so! ūüôā

“NO TEAM, ONLY HULK!” –¬†HULK.

And, of course, how could we get through this guide without the big, green fella. After all, this cosmic caper was billed as Thor vs. Hulk. 

Not only did this movie present Chris Hemsworth with the opportunity to refresh the character of Thor,¬†it gave Mark Ruffalo the chance to reinvent the portrayal of the Green Goliath.¬†As we saw in the Trailer, Hulk¬†is allowed to speak a lot more. It seems like he will have more lines in this movie than both Avengers movies put together!¬†Here, we get to see the premise of¬†Planet Hulk –¬†the Incredible one is a champion gladiator on a distant alien planet: in this case it’s Sakaar; it’ll be intriguing to learn how he got there…

Let’s not forget that cameo appearance by the Hulk’s fellow Defender:¬†Doctor Strange.¬†How and where¬†Stephen (the ever-immaculate Benedict Cumberbatch, of course!)¬†will appear in this movie is a particularly perplexing matter –¬†actually the thought of dear Bennybatch being underused here is a slightly disorientating one…¬†

Last, but by oh no means least(!)¬†is¬†that essential¬†Stan Lee¬†cameo. Betcha he’s the Demon Barber of Sakaar – the one who shears the godly Goldilock’s locks! ūüėȬ†

For me, what’s so cool about each movie of¬†the Marvel Cinematic Universe¬†is¬†its boldness in¬†reinvigorating the whole concept of what a comic book movie should look – and feel – like.¬†Kudos to Kevin Feige et al for daring to select the most unexpected talent of¬†visionary director Taika Waititi¬†and allowing him to imbue this unique and harmless 130 mins bundle of fun with the¬†“kind of energy and¬†crazy sort of Flash Gordony-tone that it has.”¬†

Oh yes, get that energy. 

Chris¬†admitted:¬†“This was one of the best experiences I’ve had on a set.¬†We laughed way too much.”

With unanimous positive feedback from the preliminary round of film reviews, it sounds like we will be¬†laughing way too much too…¬†

“I tried to start a revolution… but I didn’t print enough pamphlets!” – Korg.¬†

“Basically what they were saying was like: “We‚Äôre a bit tired of, um, you know, this fish-out-of-water thing with Thor on Earth”, you know? So why not go towards the direction of the comic books from the Seventies and Eighties and have Thor on a cosmic adventure, you know?” –¬†Taika Waititi.¬†

“I‚Äôd loved Iron Man, you know, with a passion. I thought that was the most fresh, cool thing, in terms of superhero movies, that I‚Äôd seen in a long time,” said¬†Taika Waititi,¬†the (visionary) director of¬†Thor: Ragnarok.¬†

“I don‚Äôt know what they were smoking when they were writing those storylines [in the 70s],” he continued,¬†“but they had some pretty wacky ideas in those old comic books.”

With such critically-acclaimed comedies such as¬†What We Do In The Shadows and Hunt For The Wilderpeople,¬†Taika¬†has carved his own¬†pretty wacky niche in movies, so his brand of humour seems well suited to the MCU.¬†And if his helmsmanship was¬†not enough,¬†he did his own motion-capture performance as never-before-seen-on-the-big-screen¬†Korg the Kronan.¬†This rock-skinned supporting character, who made his debut in the Planet Hulk comic, was described by¬†Taika as:¬†“hard on the outside, and gentle like a marshmallow smudged together with daffodils on the inside.”¬†Wow, an alien with a New Zealand accent. Now this is something we need to see… ¬†

Taika also proposed the idea of including Led Zep on the soundtrack:

“I put together a sizzle reel… because there was no storyline, or anything… I don‚Äôt really know what I‚Äôm going for, so I‚Äôll just get shots from movies I think are cool [laughs] – the energy and the colour and sort of what might look cool for this film. And I put Immigrant Song over the top of it, and then played it for them.

“And they were like, “Oh that‚Äôs really cool. That‚Äôs a cool song. What‚Äôs that?”

“I was like, [deadpan] “It‚Äôs Immigrant Song, Led Zeppelin – one of the most famous songs of all time.”

“They were like, ‚ÄúOh cool, never heard it before, very cool.”

“And I was like, “Oh fuck, really worried now.” But from the start we‚Äôd always talked about using Immigrant Song in the film, because it just makes perfect sense for that character, doesn‚Äôt it?”

Aaah, AH,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
The hammer of the gods
Will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and crying:
Valhalla, I am coming!
On we sweep with threshing oar,
Our only goal will be the western shore. Aaah, AH”¬†

Led Zeppelin РImmigrant Song. 

Valkyrie: “This team of yours, it got a name?”

Thor: “Yeah, it’s called the… uh… Revengers!”

“It was all great stuff to do. I had a ball. I only wish that I’d been in it longer” – Sir Anthony Hopkins.¬†

 

Blade Runner 2049: The Bradscribe Review

Future Perfect? More Sequel Than Sequel…?

“This is not some clunky franchise-farmed cash-in… With all the art and craft of the original, Denis Villeneuve has… gotten down and dirty in the gene pool, marinated in its enzymes, slept in its bed and dreamt its dreams. And then he’s gone to work” – The Sunday Times. ¬†

“I want more¬†life!”¬†demanded¬†Roy Batty,¬†the peculiar, but poetic, doomed replicant from the classic original¬†Blade Runner.¬†

Well – after all this time –¬†should that masterpiece,¬†one of the greatest – and self-contained – SF classics¬†reviewed here:¬†have been granted an extension of its existence?

Remarkably, these past few weeks, some critics have argued that Blade Runner 2049 has surpassed the original, taking the issues of humanity, genetics and identity to whole new astounding levels. 

Now, considering how this blogger included himself as one of those teeming masses baulking at a “new”¬†Blade Runner¬†movie, it is¬†a¬†revelation – not to mention a relief –¬†to¬†report¬†that¬†Blade Runner 2(049)¬†has¬†turned out to be a surprisingly engrossing¬†visual and¬†emotional experience.

“Despite all the overlaps, this is not a simulacrum of a Ridley Scott film. It is unmistakably a Denis Villeneuve film, inviting us to tumble, tense with anticipation, into his doomy clutches” – The New Yorker.

The plot of¬†Blade Runner 2049¬†begins with¬†Ryan Gosling,¬†turning in an appropriately vacant and artificial presence¬†as a new Runner: K (as in Philip K. Dick?),¬†paying a visit¬†to the isolated warehouse/abode¬†of¬†Dave Bautista’s¬†Sapper Morton –¬†retired from the rumble-tumble world of WWF to a barren sector of the Californian wasteland to Grow Green Stuff, Man.¬†What the officer’s surveillance equipment discovers onsite leads to the main plot development: K questioning the nature of his own existence –¬†“basically Pinocchio with more eco-pollution”¬†as one reviewer rather facetiously described it.

When we eventually get to see the Main Man/Replicant/? Himself,¬†it’s nice to see¬†Villeneuve¬†honour that traditional sci-fi dystopian trope¬†of the protagonist wandering into somebody else’s gaff without even a knock or a “Yoohoo!”

As tired and drawn as the world he now (barely) inhabits,¬†Deckard¬†cuts a haggard, whiskey-slugging figure, with only a dog and a holographic Elvis¬†to keep him company.¬†Perhaps Ford’s finest performance in years.¬†

That wasn’t a real dog… was it?¬†

Shame it wasn’t a sheep – that would’ve been neat.¬†No, seriously,¬†in the novel, Rick Deckard¬†keeps an artificial sheep on his roof, and only takes the job to retire those wayward¬† Nexus-6 replicants¬†so that he can afford to buy a real domesticated ruminant mammal with a thick woolly coat… ¬†

“The question at Blade Runner 2049’s pulsating heart has no glib answer… With dazzling adroitness, [Villeneuve] has built on Scott’s legacy to create something grander in scope and emotional range” – London Evening Standard.¬†

What about the Soundtrack? 

There¬†are no¬†exceptional tracks here –¬†nothing to compare to Vangelis’ sumptuous Blade Runner Blues, the sensuality of the Love Theme, the achingly beautiful¬†Memories Of Green,¬†or¬†the sweeping grandeur of Harps Of The Ancient Temples –¬†regrettably, the score is just as equally soulless as its artificial antagonists…

There is another unsettling observation concerning¬†Blade Runner 2049¬†that has largely gone unmentioned in other reviews.¬†In this post post-feminist “society” women can look forward – ha! – to not much in the way of beneficial or progressive roles.¬†There are some strong female characters –¬†who can forget Sylvia Hoeks’ “Luv”?¬†Robin Wright¬†is enjoying a promising upturn in her career – here she plays K’s superior:¬†Lieutenant Joshi,¬†in an interesting, but underused, performance.

Apparently,¬†Blade Runner 2049¬†fails the¬†Bechdel Test¬†i.e. can two female characters share the screen and NOT have a conversation¬†about¬†a man?¬†Morover, this movie just falls short of the¬†Bradscribe Test,¬†specifically: are there 3-4 lines cool or snazzy enough to be quoted herein?¬†When you consider how¬†the¬†original movie positively brims with terrific lines and conversations, sill fondly remembered and quoted 35 years later…

The virtual love interest is brought to you by¬†Joi (Ana de Armas), a hypnotic beauty,¬†but then, she would need to be a top-of-the-range model distracting enough to make any man (or woman?)¬†forget that they exist in a murky dystopia beset with biospheric collapse, child labour camps, distracting neon billboards¬†and¬†Jared Leto –¬†blind, bearded and as bonkers as a bat –¬†ruling the roost from his ambient asylum,¬†inflicting poor, unsuspecting souls with his unintelligible pseudobabble.¬†His (mis)casting as¬†Niander Wallace¬†is perhaps my biggest grumble¬†with this otherwise captivating movie.

Tell you what: going for a spin in his spinner, tha last thing¬†Brad¬†(hopefully not looking as old and thoroughly dischuffed as¬†Harrison Ford¬†does here)¬†will want is to be distracted by a 50 foot holographic ballerina¬†pirouetting past the bally windscreen, thank you very much…

“Blade Runner 2049 has been made with impeccable craftsmanship and taste, yet the film is so terrified of disreputability that it renders itself dead from the waist down, unable to derive pleasure even from a theoretically kinky robot three-way” – Slant Magazine.

Will 2049 end up matching – or even surpassing – its predecessor’s revered status in the pantheon of SF greats?¬†

Well, no. 

Look at its core components: more bleak, more brutal,¬†less memorable and less inspiring – can these really be considered to be superior traits…?

Certainly not. 

Those folks who reckon this movie supersedes the original are merely revelling (somewhat prematurely) in¬†hype.¬†Nevertheless, during all the time we were suppressing the prospect of a sequel, little did¬†we know¬†that such a wondrous filmmaker as¬†Denis¬†Villeneuve¬†could even exist…

“You’ve never seen a miracle,”¬†Sapper Morton¬†mumbles before being wiped off the cast list.¬†Considering how much the audience were fidgeting, yawning and groaning throughout¬†2049’s 2hrs, 44 mins¬†(unlike the spinners, time doesn’t fly in this hazy, amber-tinted future),¬†it¬†looked like they were being hard-pushed to find anything exceptional in this languid concoction.¬†

Always¬†keen to watch more sophisticated, less action-stuffed film fare, my patience, however, was awarded with incredible visuals,¬†an extraordinary narrative atmosphere,¬†and the¬†golden opp of seeing –¬†no matter how grumpy he looks these days –¬†the Ford Legend grace the big screen once more…

In answer to the question: “would you recommend it?” it strikes me as being one of those movies absolutely magnificent to watch¬†once,¬†but fails to incite¬†the¬†urge to pay it numerous viewings.¬†Guess one misses that rain-soaked Chinatown and those fire-spewing ziggurats of good ol’ 2019 a tad too much…¬†

Brad doesn’t know how long it will take to get round¬†to watching¬†Blade Runner 2049¬†a second time.

Who does…?

 

BRADSCRIBE VERDICT: 

4 out of 5 glittering C-beams, but ooooh, only just…

 

“I was quit when I come in here, Bryant, I’m twice as quit now” –¬†Rick Deckard.