6 October 2009: Weekend update Part 2: Documentaries and SF

Brutal Legend

Among
other things, I caught up on recorded and broadcast television this past
weekend. It's easy for critics of any art or media to become jaded, but I try
to watch for things I'll enjoy, including the occasional documentary.

Ken
Burns' The National Parks: America's Best
Idea
on PBS provided insight into the evolution of U.S. policy setting aside land
for tourism, ecological protection, and historical preservation. I wasn't fully
aware of the controversies among environmentalists, those who used the land for
things such as lumber or ranching, and people who explored natural and
historical sites. I'm not the outdoorsman that friends such as Steve M. are,
but I still appreciate the challenges facing our country.

I'm
glad that naturalists, government officials (including both Presidents
Roosevelt), and ordinary citizens came together to set aside territory for the
benefit of future generations, despite the ever-increasing degradation of our
biosphere by human activity. Burns' documentary could have been paced better
and rhapsodized natural vistas without giving enough representation to both
sides of various debates, but I'd still recommend this miniseries.

On
VH1 Classic, I watched the long-awaited Anvil!
the Story of Anvi
l
, which chronicled the 30-year struggle of a heavy metal
band to attain commercial success after initial popularity and artistic
acclaim. There were uncomfortable moments that reminded me of the parody This Is Spinal Tap or the psychodrama of
Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, but
this documentary showed that bad agents, personality quirks, and the fact that
only a small percentage of performers (artistic, athletic, or otherwise) are
able to achieve their goals.

The Anvil
profile was followed by the season premiere of That Metal Show, and I caught Tenacious
D and the Pick of Destiny
on Sunday. I only mention the Jack Black mash note
to the musical subgenre because I've used a wallpaper for his upcoming game, Brutal Legend, for this blog post.

As
previously noted, Thomas K.Y., Beruk A., and I didn't screen the new Bruce
Willis action flick
Surrogates
because of numerous mixed reviews. The previews for the science fiction film
reminded me of the bastardization of Isaac Asimov's I, Robot starring Will Smith from a few years ago.

Still,
the concepts brought up by the cyberpunk movie (and its graphic novel source)
intrigued me enough that I may eventually try to catch it on video or cable. As
with the Terminator franchise, fears
of technology
embodied by killer robots remain as timely as ever. Of course,
speculative fiction has had as many bad assumptions and adaptations as good
ones.

Coming soon: Cartoons!

Advertisements