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New Escapist Column! On “Dune” and What It Means to Be Human…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Dune, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the new film.

Dune is an epic science-fiction story. It is a classic of the genre. One of the reasons that it has held up for so any decades is because its themes remain universal. Dune is essentially a story about what it means to be human. In particular, it interrogates that question through a postcolonial lens. The default logic of these sorts of narratives asks the oppressed to assert their dignity and humanity. (Even Denis Villeneuve’s last film, Blade Runner 2049, is about a synthetic human proving his humanity.) In contrast, Dune inverts this by directing challenging the humanity of those who would indulge in colonialism and imperialism.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

215. Dune (#—)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Charlene Lydon and Joe Griffin, The 250 is a weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released Saturdays at 6pm GMT.

So this week, David Lynch’s Dune.

The galaxy is in turmoil. Rumours swirl of a plot against House Atreides. As Duke Leto Atreides takes control of the desert planet of Dune, he tries to track down the traitors in his midst. Meanwhile, his son Paul finds himself on the verge of an awakening that will have a profound impact on the future of mankind.

At time of recording, it was not ranked on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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The X-Files – Gender Bender (Review)

Gender Bender is weird. As an atmospheric moody piece of television, it’s pretty phenomenal – the script manages to tap into a whole bunch of basic nineties fears and uncertainties, while director Rob Bowman layers on the sense that something is not quite right here. On the other hand, as a narrative, the episode comes up short. From the cop-out ending to the laziness of putting Scully in peril twice, the story for Gender Bender is nowhere near as tight as it needs to be.

And yet, despite that, there’s a pervading sense of dread and unease that makes it far more compelling than it should be.

In the woods...

In the woods…

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Y: The Last Man – The Deluxe Edition, Book I (Review/Retrospective)

In an effort to prove that comic books aren’t just about men in spandex hitting each other really hard, this month I’m reviewing all of Brian K. Vaughan’s superb Y: The Last Man. In April, I took a look at all the writer’s Ex Machina.

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his back a thousand times, and now how abhorr’d in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it.

Hamlet, Act V, Scene I

Y: The Last Man is perhaps a triumph of comic book story telling. Told over the course of sixty issues, it’s the story of (as the title implies) the last human male on the planet following the death of every other male mammal (save his monkey) in a mysterious plague. It’s not necessarily the most original idea – in fact, it brings to mind Frank Herbert’s The White Plague (although in that case it was a plague which killed all the women) – but it’s a well told story by author Brian K. Vaughan. Indeed, his work here would see him hired as a writer on Lost, perhaps the strongest affirmation that a multi-layere pop culture author can aspire to. All told, Y: The Last Man is a smart, fascinating a bold comic book narrative which perhaps demonstrated to the mainstream what geeks like us have known for years: superheroes aren’t the only thing in comic books.

Trying to figure out "Y"...

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