October 18th, 2007

A Dame Like Julia

Earth Needs Intelligent Women

I was sorry to hear that Deborah Kerr died on Tuesday. Michael Powell called her the most intelligent actress he ever worked with. It was always nice to see her in a movie. Even in a crappy movie like Separate Tables, you could count on her doing a good job, though I mainly appreciate her as integral parts of the Archers films, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp and Black Narcissus.

In other death news, Death Note is starting to suck. I guess things started to go south at around episode eleven where a pop idol character, Misa Amane, was introduced. She's a typical, cheap caricature of a pretty girl often seen in anime. Some bubbly dame whose whole purpose in life is fawning over one or more of the male characters. It reminds me of something Roger Ebert said in his commentary for Floating Weeds--he recalled asking someone why Japanese actresses were almost invariably excellent, and was told that Japanese women are forced to be actresses from an early age in order to present as fundamental a semblance of subservience as possible. A lot of Japanese films and anime give me hope that Japan's moved beyond that, but then a character like Misa Amane comes along and disappoints me. Especially since Death Note did feature one interesting and intelligent female character prominently in an earlier episode.

It's not just Misa, though. The tone of the series has largely changed, L's being given increasingly cloying mannerisms and the main character, Light, has been lobotomised and sidelined. I have no idea how things got this bad--there doesn't appear to be different writers or anything. Maybe Tsugumi Ohba just had a breakdown at some point and she wasn't able to channel it as effectively as Hideaki Anno was with Evangelion.

I'll be staying in a lot working on my comic in the coming weeks, but I'm strongly tempted to see Ang Lee's new movie . . .
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