Valkyria Chronicles: A Spectacular Period Mashup in Tactical, Turn-Based Form
I really enjoyed this game. One aspect of it that struck me was the way that it deals with racial prejudice--not just in the cut scenes, but in the actual game mechanics. For instance, there's one character (I forget her name: it's been a while) who has great stats and would be an excellent addition to your squad, except that she's an out-and-out racist, to the point that she takes an actual statistical penalty due to hatred if she's within close proximity of a Darcsen, the Jewish- or gypsy-analogs of the game (and the comments she makes are pretty awful). So as the squad's commander, you're essentially given the choice of not using her at all and placing a less capable character in that slot, or using her, but not fielding any Darcsen in order to take full advantage of her capabilities. Rarely do games present you with those kinds of moral decisions. (I got the feeling that the game was slightly more challenging if you didn't use Darcsen Haters, but since I only fielded one once during my playthrough, I can't be sure.)
Blogging Warner’s Opera: What’s Opera, Doc?
Easily my favorite Chuck Jones cartoon, and I didn't have anything of an idea of what opera actually was when I first saw it. (Coming back to it as an adult makes it read differently--it still seems just as surreal, but has the additional effect of pointing out how surreal opera often is.) Thanks for the post.
Blogging Wagner’s Ring Cycle: Götterdämmerung, Act II
@sps49: I'm pretty sure that the only time the Ring's powers are utilized in the entire cycle is when Siegfried uses it to teleport back to the Gibichung's hall after having won Brünnhilde for Gunther. And that's a matter of narrative convenience more than anything else--it's barely remarked upon.
Blogging Wagner’s Ring Cycle: Götterdämmerung, Prologue
BenPatient: also, clicking on my name at the top of the post should bring them all up. I've been going through the operas in sequence, one post for each act (except for Das Rheingold, which has no act breaks).
The Sorceress Armida!
If you saw this at the Met on May 15, we were in the same audience. I was really knocked out by this, not just because of Fleming, but because of Mary Zimmerman's direction. A couple of years ago I saw Mary Zimmerman's retelling of the story of Jason and the Argonauts, which had a similar sort of brightly colored minimalist style, with touches of humor throughout. It was great to see what she could accomplish with a large budget and an enormous stage. And the ballet that takes up most of the second act is one of the coolest things I've seen on a stage in a long time. I'm glad that's going into the repertory--I might go back again next year.
Blogging Wagner’s Ring Cycle: Siegfried, Act I
There's actually a silent version of the Nibelung legend directed by Fritz Lang, that predates Metropolis and covers some of the same material as this opera: I'll mention it in my next post.
Blogging Wagner’s Ring Cycle: Die Walküre, Act II
The thing I like about the Ring cycle in general is that it's such an undertaking to stage that it's impossible to have a definitive version, which at the very least gives people something to talk about. I still think I prefer the Solti audio recording so far, but I'm only halfway through this new version (I'm working on my post for Act III of Die Walkure in another window at the moment). Though I am dying to know what this new 2011-12 Met Opera production of the Ring is going to turn out like—it seems like they're also heading in the direction of minimalism and electronic gimmickry, but we'll see how far they go with that. I know what you mean about the group Valkyrie scenes—I'm watching these operas on Blu-ray with lossless audio and surround sound, and those bits were the only part of Die Walkure that seemed to have less than perfect audio fidelity (though I couldn't tell if it was the sound mix, or the singers, or the acoustics of the hall). As for Brunnhilde, I quite like Nilsson in the Solti recording, but Jennifer Wilson is by no means unpleasant.
Blogging Wagner’s Ring Cycle: Die Walküre, Act II
I noticed you didn't say anything about Brünhild's costume. Too scared? *grin* See, the thing is, based on what you told me before, when I saw Brünnhilde, I was expecting cleavage from here to Tuesday. But instead, her chest is sheathed in a (yes, okay, rather large) false bosom of plastic. I do appreciate that the singer cast as Brünnhilde was somewhat stout, though. This production seems to be cast for looks as well as talent, and so that strikes me as a deliberate decision. Hey, you forgot totally about Brunhilde, and you need it if you want to understand Act III at all! Holy crap: you're right! I was sure I'd managed to fit that in there somewhere. But you can't blame me.
Blogging Wagner’s Ring Cycle: Die Walküre, Act I
The love potion goes back to the Edda version of the tale of Siegfried and Gudrun (Gutrune). I didn't know that--interesting. My primary experience with this story is through various derivative versions (this, and Fritz Lang's silent films) so any commentary on the source material is welcome.
Speed Racer: misunderstood art film?
Hatgirl: Other people who love this movie! I never thought you existed!!! I haven't been able to check in here for a couple of days, but it's cool to see the affection for this movie. If I've been able to bring people together, my work here is done. Robotech_Master: It seems to be a relatively common thing that some of the movies that are later considered the most popular cult films are nearly total flops when they come out. I would put John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China on that list as well. If memory serves, it did poorly on its initial release for the same reasons as Speed Racer: namely, that it was brightly colored and weird, and not really like earlier movies by the same director.

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