Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Blade (1998)

As a gigantic Guillermo Del Toro fan I’ve seen Blade II probably a dozen times, and while it doesn’t reach the heights of Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone, Shape of Water or his Hellboy movies, it is a classic action horror movie that I fully intend to see several more times. I had seen the first Blade at least once a decade or more ago but had little memory of it, other than the the reflexive movie snob move of calling the the sequel the good Blade movie and dismissing the others as trash. I’m still a little bit of a movie snob, but I’m way more open to trash than I once was, and on this rewatch I’m willing to admit that Blade is first class superhero/horror trash (while still preferring Del Toro’s entry in the series).

In the age of the PG-13 blockbuster, it’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that the first successful (read: good) Marvel adaptation featured a club full of vampires at a rave getting a blood shower within the first 10 minutes of the film, leading into the first fight sequence. And that sets the tone for the movie. It’s incredibly violent but very effective. The fight scenes are all well staged, the info dump scenes were minimal and unobtrusive. For the most part the exposition and lore are worked into the film in a natural enough way. The dialog is silly at times, but that’s forgivable. The special effects work with the exception of the big fight scene at the end where the skeleton ghosts tear their way out of the pureblood vampires that are slated for sacrifice.

Highly Recommended.

Opening Statement and Scale

I plan to use this blog to record my thoughts on what I’m reading and watching, and other things as they come up. The idea of a canon of works that applies to everyone everywhere seems wrong to me. This is dedicated to me building (or in many cases just recording) my own personal canon of works I consider indispensable.

I will be covering a wide array of genres. I like a lot of pretentious stuff. I also like a lot of trashy stuff. My favorite movies are often crime stories or dark comedies. I love scifi in just about any medium. If I had to pick a genre for fiction it would be where scifi/fantasy blends into pretentious literary fiction from either side. But straight scifi or straight pretentious literary fiction appeal to me as well. I like horror stories and films more now than I did 5 or 6 years ago. I like biographies and history. I like essays. I will try to write about all of them.

Not every post will be a review, but when they are reviews, I intend to use the following categories for the time being, with the right to move a work from one to the other after further thought or a revisit. I'm trying to get away from a numerical scale, but I've included approximate ranges on a scale of 1-5 to correspond with the categories:

Canon- the book, film or other work is something I’ve read/seen at least twice and I consider it indispensable.

Canon-Worthy- the book, film or other work is very good to great. I have only read it once, or it is not in my canon for some other reason. I could have rated the work 4/5 or 5/5 on Goodreads or Letterboxd if it is in this category.

Recommended- I would recommend the book, film or other work to some people in certain contexts, perhaps with a caveat of some type. I could have rated the work 2.5/5 to 4/5 on Letterboxd or Goodreads.

Pass- Not a work I’d recommend. 2.5-3 or lower on Letterboxd or Goodreads.

Hard Pass- I’d actively advise folks not to read or watch the work in question.

This is a highly subjective scale. I do not claim to be absolutely consistent in my application of it. I will likely edit posts after further thought on a regular basis. I will provide content warnings as I think necessary. I will try to judge the work on the basis of  what it's trying to do and not blame it for not trying to do something else. It’s not fair to blame Black Panther for not being First Reformed, to use recent examples. I love both films. Reviews will likely skew to the higher end of the scale as I am more likely to talk about things I enjoy rather than tear into things I dislike.