Thursday, February 06, 2014

Genre Items: Titan and Her

Out of all the recent genre books, films, and series I've taken in, Attack On Titan was the one that just floored me.

Intense. Awful. Dark. Heroic. An amazing soundtrack. Gorgeous animation. It falls somewhere between steampunk and medieval techno fantasy, with well-written characters. Part Ender's Game with a focus on the technical details of three dimensional tactics, and young people coming of age against the backdrop of a desperate war, and part Neon Evangelion Genesis with creepy, giant cannibals who are the all the more terrifying for their mindlessness.

I almost bailed out of Titan when two episodes focused on long internal narrations that lead up to characters screaming out their feelings at the top of their lungs. Then making dramatic decisions that could have been arrived at with more punch (imo) in four or five minutes rather than fifteen or twenty. And there are times I've doubted that the show can come up with a strong enough payoff to make it worth the suffering endured by the primary characters.

And yet it's pulled me back in so hard that I'm watching the whole thing over again.

In part, I like the show because a section that features horse-mounted scouts. Nothing personal there. The author clearly gave some serious thought to what it would be like to maneuver a cavalry unit through territory occupied by murderous giant cannibals.

Also, the show does a great job of depicting good, if flawed, men and women persevering through terrible situations, while other good men and women crumble under the same circumstances.

And seriously, someone needs to put the soundtrack up on iTunes or Amazon here in the US already. As a content creator who likes getting paid for his work, I don't pirate music. But damn if I'm not tempted when it comes to the awesomely metal Titan OSTs.

Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the genre spectrum is Her, by Spike Jonze (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich.)

Sublime, where Titan is brutal, and very, very cerebral, it's a near future love story that manages to avoid all the traditional Hollywood cliches about artificial intelligences. It's also the first mainstream film to address a soft singularity. Additionally, the film takes a sideways look at a future in which technology has become almost seamless and does not draw attention to itself. Rather, computing and augmented reality focus users' attention outward toward the physical world and people in it. An almost inversion of our current tech, which demands we sit down and pay attention to it.

Why Her Will Dominate UI Design Even More Than Minority Report | Wired Design |

'via Blog this'

Kyle Vanhermert has an excellent piece up on Wired Magazine examining the wonderfully minimalist user interfaces in Her's setting, in which technology has become very polished at connecting people to one another.

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