Live Long and Prosper

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I was never a big “Star Trek” fan, either of the original version or its various spin-off iterations. It’s certainly in the cultural zeitgeist: the term “Trekkies,” various Shatner impressions, KHAAAAAAAN, and of course, the recent film reboots with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto. (I especially enjoyed JJ Abrams’s subtle use of lens flares in every single scene).

But despite my muted (at best) fandom of “Star Trek,” I was still saddened to hear of Leonard Nimoy’s passing. He has recently made cameo appearances on “The Big Bang Theory” and in the Abrams-helmed reboots. But to me, his most indelible appearance will always be from “The Simpsons.”

A quick tangent: When I was a sophomore in college, I took a course in the Philosophy of Language. We talked about the philosophical understanding of language – how sentences phrased differently can convey the same meaning; how language evolved as a survival mechanism (“Water,” “food,” “shelter” were likely early words) and then became useful as a tool to describe the intangible (“Love,” “hunger,” “Outrage that ‘The Lego Movie’ wasn’t nominated for an Oscar”). Mostly, we talked about the truth. What does it mean to say a sentence is true? Is a sentence only valuable if it is true? (If you’re interested in this topic, try this for starters, and then leave me a message in the comments and I can point you to some other interesting books). When my professor asked for our end of semester papers, I did what I always did before writing my college essays – looked at my notes, went over the important passages of the assigned texts, and outlined what I thought would be a strong paper. And I think it probably would have gotten me a decent grade. But I could not get Spock’s voice out of my head. I asked my professor if I could attach a CD with my paper, that would contain a short video (in 2002, pre-You Tube, this seemed like my best bet). He obliged, and read my paper. He asked that I come see him in his office, and told me that the video I included was the first time he had ever laughed while grading a paper.

In case the link above gets taken down, I want to preserve Mr. Nimoy’s words in full:

“Hello. I’m Leonard Nimoy. The following tale of alien encounters is true. And by true, I mean false. It’s all lies. But they’re entertaining lies. And in the end, isn’t that the real truth? The answer is: No.”

Thank you, Mr. Nimoy, for helping me get an A on that paper, and for your contributions to popular culture. You truly lived long and prospered.

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Spider-Man falls into Marvel’s Web of Heroes

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I was really excited at the news that Captain America 3 was going to be loosely based on the Civil War storyline, given that I like the idea of these larger-than-life superheroes getting into conflict. I thought Captain America 2 was fantastic, especially for its ability to be a taut spy thriller. (It’s the most “Three Days of the Condor” of a movie that Marvel has ever made.) The idea that Captain America 3 will involve Iron Man and Captain America disagreeing about domestic registration of superheroes (and potentially come to blows over this disagreement) makes me psyched – it’s the friction of the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, but with stakes other than “We have to save the world by capturing this MacGuffin.”

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So today’s news, that Spider-Man is officially joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, warms my heart. I love Spidey. Even the terrible movies (Sam Raimi’s third, the second Marc Webb effort from last summer) have always had some redeeming qualities (Topher Grace’s Venom or Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy, for instance). And the good one’s (especially 2004’s “Spider-Man 2”) transitioned the character from the comics to the screen in a way I didn’t think would be possible. So I am thrilled at the chance for Spidey to rub shoulders with Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and maybe even Groot.

I’m also very happy that this means Sony may abandon plans for the Sinister Six movies they had discussed. We didn’t need six stand-alone movies about Spider-Man taking on various villians. We didn’t need an Aunt May spin-off. We didn’t need any more than the five Spider-Man movies that we’ve already gotten. And we certainly don’t need to see Peter witness Uncle Ben’s death for a third time (on screen). No, a Spider-Man who’s been doing his job (fighting crime, swinging on webs, doing whatever a spider can, etc.) rather than another iteration of the petulant and angst-ridden Peter Parker would be a nice change of a pace: a fully-formed, adult Spider-Man, capable of trading barbs with the heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

While I do feel bad for Andrew Garfield (I think he did an admirable job given the sub-par scripts he was handed), some fresh blood in a franchise that, as of last summer, had lost serious momentum is a cause for celebration. Although, Marvel, I do hope that you heed the words of Uncle Ben: with great power comes great responsibility. You have stoked fans’ hopes: please don’t disappoint.

Now if only Marvel could also get back the rights to Wolverine…

Hey Listen! A Zelda TV Show that will HyRule!

Hey, Listen!

Hey, Listen!

There are few things in life that I’ve enjoyed as much over the past thirty-two years as The Legend of Zelda. The original Nintendo incarnation, its SNES successor, and the magical N64-based Ocarina of Time all became instant classics in my house. I grew up on the games, and even the cheesy cartoon show:

I love the mythology: the Gorons, the Zoras, the Triforce itself (balancing courage, wisdom, and power). There was a solid week in college where I played Zelda and did basically nothing else. (Don’t worry, Mom and Dad, I had already handed in my thesis and taken my finals.) If Zelda’s not my favorite entertainment property of all-time, it’s pretty close. Everyone loved Mario and Bowser; the cool kids loved Link and Ganon.

My dream NES

My dream NES

For years, I’ve advocated for an 8-episode TV series. A movie wouldn’t be able to fully capture the totality of the story (Link’s humble beginnings, discovering he is the hero of time, learning the history of the master sword, fighting in various dungeons, and, of course, ultimately rescuing Princess Zelda from the clutches of Ganon(dorf)). But a TV show, done right, could explore the Link and Zelda relationship, introduce Navi, explore various lands and dungeons and weapons, and have a satisfying conclusion. Today, my dream is one step closer to becoming a reality.

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