Tuesday, January 04, 2005


Several commentators to the previous post said yes, Hero and House of Flying Daggers *are* fantasy, of a particular variety ('wuxia'), which is fine, I won't dispute that. So then, is Kill Bill fantasy? :) I'd say no, at least not in the same sense; KB is a metamovie about other movies, more than it's a movie of any particular genre. I finally saw KB2 after being less than overwhelmed by KB1, but I felt the second half redeemed the first. Though I admit my initial reaction was: Uma Thurman--best actress!

On another topic, I've been on the lookout for the John Scalzi novel Old Man's War for several weeks now, since I read Scalzi's blog and he's been crowing about its appearances at various retail outlets; and it sounds like a fun book, and the starred PW review doesn't hurt. But it hasn't appeared at any of the several Borders or Barnes & Nobles' in my area that I circulate among. Today I finally queried the Borders database: sold out(!), it says. Without ever a copy having passed through their stores, apparently. OK, fine. I came home and ordered it from Amazon.
I subscribe to the interpretation you described at the end of your previous post, that the flying is just an extreme example of stylized fighting. (And maybe not even that extreme, considering the physical impossibility of many of the things that occur in traditional action movies.) For me to consider movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to be fantasy, the fantastic aspects would have to play a more fundamental role in the plot. It'd be possible to re-choreograph the movie's fight scenes so that no one defies gravity, without damaging the essential story. By comparison, removing the fantasy elements from Lord of the Rings would render the story almost unrecognizable.

I'm not familiar with other examples of the wuxia genre, so there certainly may be other stories where the fantasy elements are fundamental. But I don't think CTHD is one of them.
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Mark R. Kelly

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Mark R. Kelly, and do not reflect the editorial position of Locus Magazine.
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