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Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “World War Z” (The Movie, Mostly)

Dear Frank,

World-War-Z-posterYou and I have been through this already, the whole thing where I don’t love zombie stories as a rule. BUT! That rule has plenty of exceptions, including the times when those zombie stories go post-modern.

Which is to say that yes, Frank, I am one of those people who has read Max “Son of Mel” Brooks’s (wonderful!) World War Z. It’s a really cool book! I mean, I read it years ago, but I have noble intentions of rereading it soon, and appreciating its intelligence in approaching the idea of a zombie outbreak post-facto.

I have also read a draft of J.M. Stracynski’s attempt to turn Brooks’s book into a screenplay that would then become a movie. And I have read so many of the articles about how making this movie was a major kerfuffle.

::SARCASM VOICE:: Oh, you mean attempting an intellectual approach to a classically low-brow genre wasn’t warmly embraced by a major motion picture studio? I AM SHOCKED. ::END OF SARCASM VOICE::

My point is: I saw World War Z with the lowest of expectations… Read the rest of this entry

Liz (And Jeff) Tell Frank What Happened In “Rising Stars”

Don’t forget, friends — “Liz Tells Frank What Happened In…: The Book” is now available on Amazon!

Dear Frank,

While you may not have ever read Rising Stars, there is no doubt in my mind that you have heard of it. That’s because I have been arguing about J. Michael Straczynski’s, um, unique take on the superhero mythos with our mutual friend Jeff since…

Jeff: Some drunken party in the mid-00’s.

Liz: Yes. At our friend Asa’s house, undoubtedly, because Asa had a bunch of comics and parties at his house often devolved into drinking and reading comics. The HOTTEST PARTIES.

Jeff: Our lives were basically GOSSIP GIRL.

Liz: Yes. Except we were all old enough to rent cars.

(Frank, Jeff insists on sitting in on this one. I’m sure that he’s able to approach this comic book from a highly respected creator with objective distance and clarity–)

Jeff: Straczynski’s a garbage pile. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Babylon 5″

Dear Frank,

So I don’t think it’s any secret that I pretty much spent the 1990s watching whatever sci-fi television was readily available to me. But one that I’ve never given much thought to was Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski’s five-year tale of a space station caught in the middle of intergalactic war. Maybe a part of it was the fact that my heart at that point belonged to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and there were only so many space station shows to which I could pledge eternal fealty? I dunno, to be honest. I just know that it’s weird, because I have been rewatching Babylon 5 this week, Frank, and Babylon 5? Actually kind of awesome.

The basic deal was this: Babylon 5 was a space station created as a port of call for a Mos Eisley cantina’s worth of alien races as well as a neutral seat of politics for various planetary federations — ostensibly doing what the United Nations did after World War II to prevent another interstellar war.

Instead, though, it ended up becoming an independent political force that led a war against a totally ancient first evil called the Shadows (you know they were evil because their space ships looked like giant spiders, and yes, it’s a first evil with space ships, just go with it), not to mention an Earth gone completely fascist and no shortage of inter-species fighting. It’s an incredibly dense four seasons of narrative, covering the political situations on at least four different planets simultaneously with the on-station intrigue, while also managing to find time for some incredibly endearing characters, romance, time travel, religious symbolism, telepaths and the occasional Looney Tunes clip. Read the rest of this entry

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