Friday, June 05, 2009

Suspension of disbelief

So, two things...

First, and intriguing new blog in the Nunavut blogsphere that I only noticed last night even though it's been running for several weeks - Advocatus diaboli. What makes it intriguing is that it's written by Nunatsiaq News editor Jim Bell. Jim has the potential to bring a take on journalism that surpasses even what Megan talks about, a much needed perspective on Nunavut politics that is absent from most blog writing done here and certainly the potential to give an interesting perspective on how Iqaluit has changed.

I've only been here four years and the changes are occasionally shocking to me. Jim's been here more than 20 years, so I'm willing to bet that if Jim doesn't know where the bodies are buried, he at least knows where the ghosts hang out. I look forward to this in particular. I've heard stories about the old Iqaluit from 20 years or so ago. About what The Snack used to be like. About the guy who used to run a business in town that was a front for other, more illicit activity. And one day people had enough, so they went into his store, grabbed him, dragged him out to the airport, stuck a plane ticket in his jacket and shoved him onto the plane with the warning that if he came back, he wouldn't be flying back out in the passenger cabin.

Stuff like that I think people would find interesting. Of course, the challenge for Jim will be to keep up with the blog writing when the demands of the writing that pays the bulls takes hold. But I hope he sticks with it, and I hope he brings an interesting new voice to our online community.

Secondly, Cathy and I saw Angels & Demons last night which, if nothings else, we'll end up buying as a really pretty and well-shot souvenir of our trip to Rome last year. We were constantly nudging each other throughout the movie whispering "we were there!" Or we were in that computer generated facsimile that was up on the screen, as I have my sincere doubts the Vatican allowed filmmakers to shoot in the Sistine Chapel when I wasn't even allowed to use my Pentax SLR in there.

The movie is fine, harmless fluff. The only thing preventing it from being laughed out of the theatre is the anchor presence of Tom Hanks who is playing, as best I can figure, Tom Hanks. Apparently Tom's serious acting days are done. It's not unlike Taken from earlier this year. The material is silly enough to get laughed out of the theatre, but you do have Liam Neelson running around, being scary and kicking ass. If you don't have an actor of that calibre anchoring these pieces of fluff, they just blow away in the wind.

However, Angels & Demons was also a useful reminder of the fickleness of "Willing Suspension of Disbelief." To give an example, in last year's Iron Man the audience was willing to accept that Tony Stark could have a powerful electro-magnetic power source that he built from scraps, implanted it in his chest in a cave in Afghanistan, then build a suit of armor, kill terrorists, come back to American, build a better suit of armor and then fight a giant robot. No problem. People are riding that fun horse for as long as she wants to keep going.

The instant Pepper Potts has to run anywhere in those five inch stilettos, people started to laugh and question the realism of it.

Like I said, willing suspension of disbelief is a fickle beast.

So in Angels & Demons I'm willing to accept a Vatican conspiracy involving a resurgent Illuminati. I'm willing to believe in the creation of anti-matter which is stolen and is being used as a potential bomb to wipe out the Vatican and half of Rome. I'll even take weird symbols being planted all over the place point to the next clue. Sure, all right.

But the moment you tell me you can get from one end of Rome to the other in 10 minutes, you lost me. I'm laughing at you, not with you, right there.

Perhaps you have had to visit Rome to actually appreciate that fact, and that's what the film makers are counting on. But trust me when I say you can't get from one end of the block to the other in Rome in less than 10 minutes, I'm not exaggerating by much.

All of the running around the Vatican doesn't make much sense either. I'm not really believing you can get from one place to another in the Vatican in five minutes. There are some floors I'm willing to bet you can't get off of in five minutes.

When we were at the Vatican, we were trying to find the museum, but took a wrong turn. So we ended up on one side of the Vatican, the museum was at the furthest point away on the other. We had 10 minutes to get there or we would miss our tour and be out a considerable amount of money. We did it....barely. We were hot, tired, sweating profusely and our feet were killing us.

Everybody in the movie is a fresh as a daisy after all that running.

So maybe others didn't have a problem with that aspect of the movie. But for us, well, our eyes were rolling just a bit. The whole time clock thing might add to the suspense of the movie, but trying to get the audience to believe that the characters can do the things they do in that time frame might do more harm than good to the movie.

Last Five
1. Stadium love - Metric*
2. Oh my God, whatever, etc - Ryan Adams
3. Long time comin' - Bruce Springsteen
4. Silent all these years - Tori Amos
5. Here comes a regular - The Replacements


Megan said...

I am THRILLED to have Jim with us. I was just reading his paper the other day and thinking how valuable his work is.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Craig -- you're very kind. I find himself buried in work most of the time so I won't post every day. But I guess I'll keep doing it until it's not fun anymore...