Today’s Space Sunday concerns the Curiosity Rover mission on Mars. It’s fitting, because this week marks the two-year anniversary of the rover’s landing on the fourth planet from the Sun. As far as birthdays go, Curiosity’s a toddler now, so you’ll want to blow out a candle for our little Rover-That-Could on August 6th.
Two years ago, this mission created quite the stir not only in the science world, but also in the general public. The craze struck a chord deep in my heart. Looking back, I imagine what I felt was akin to what the people felt back in 1969, when man first landed on the moon. It was a strong sense of connection to a large group of people I didn’t even know, all wanting and hoping for the same thing. Maybe it’s best described as being in a stadium supporting your favorite sports team, and cheering for them along with thousands of other people. Emotions!
It’s go-time for the Legend of Korra. Episode nine of the series’ third season, “The Stakeout,” begins slowly, but when the bending rains, it pours.
There’s a lot to like in this episode: well-placed humor (the Nuktuk fanatics), beautifully drawn environments (once more into the Spirit World, with feeling!), and even some philosophophizing. Zaheer and Korra finally get their duel, but instead of bending, they sit down for a chat. It’s a concise, philosophical palaver that I felt teetered on the edge of contrived (you could tell the writers simply wanted to get explanations out of the way), but made sense once the viewers were filled in on Zaheer’s plan.
The first episode in three (or four) that Team Avatar is on the move again, and they’re all captured/separated. So far, not a great track record. But with Mako/Bolin in Zaheer’s hands, and Korra/Asami in the Earth Queen’s hands, I think it’s safe to expect a thrilling final four episodes of the season.
Yeah alright, I watched the first season of this, so go ahead and judge me. But hey, there are far, far worse things to come out of Japan than this Goddammit Kyle. I could have talked about a really good show like Hyouka or Space Dandy, but I lack the mental depth to do either justice. So in lieu of them, we’ll go with buff swimmers. Try to keep your clothes on.
If I were to describe Guardians of the Galaxy in one word, it would have to be “unapologetic.” In the first 15 minutes of the movie, I was bombarded by a triad of expression: smart-ass humor, sci-fi action, and somber loss. Director James Gunn makes no apologies for being all over place. In fact, it’s as if he’s saying, “This is the movie. Get used to it.” And it works. It’s this threefold tonality which remains consistent throughout the rest of the film (in varying degrees, of course), and which hooked me for its entire 121 minute duration.
Guardians of the Galaxy does not take it self seriously, and viewers really shouldn’t either. It is a shameless exercise in dazzling good looks and death-defying comic-book spirit. It has all the feel of a just-for-fun B movie, with just enough cheesiness thrown in. Guardians is not a perfect movie. But you definitely get the impression that it isn’t trying to be.