Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Internet's Hottest Thing

So you know what's winning the internet right now? Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. It's quite good. It's got everything you'd want in a Sing-Along Blog, including: Neil Patrick Harris as an aspiring super-villain; ill-tempered horses; extended musical numbers; sporks; copious amounts of frozen yogurt; and much, much more.

It was available for free on the internet for a while, then taken down and sold exclusively on iTunes, and now is back up again. I don't know for how long the freeness will last, so maybe check it out sooner rather than later.

The conception and production of this were cool: creator of Buffy and some similar shows, who also moonlit as a writer for The Office last year, got bored during the writer's strike, and wrote, produced, and filmed this 42 minute film pretty much independently. You can read more about it on wikipedia's entry, but the guy in charge expressed pleasure at being able to free himself of the time- and creative-constraints of the studios.

In short, I like it. And it's my solemn duty as a blogger to link to free things that I like. (Note: The link to the hulu video is the second sentence.)

UPDATE: You know something's big when it's eliciting popular youtube response videos:


joshua said...

Great posts this week.

I had to comment on your review of Batman. I'm surprised that one of your complaints was the "laziness" of the movie to show certain scenes. First of all, the movie is 2 and half hours long and although it still leaves you wanting more, do you really want it to be three hours plus? But since that's a weak arguement, the real reason I'm surprised is that I enjoyed how the movie made the viewer work and didn't do everything for him. Particularly the scene where the Joker kills one of the mob bosses and then tells the mobster's henchmen he has one spot open in his gang and there will be "tryouts", the scene ends with the Joker breaking a pool cue and leaving it in between the henchmen. That works for me because the movie challanges you to use your imagination for what happaned and doesn't need to spell it out for you. If anything I think it's not lazyness but respect for the audience. Plus if you have an active, healthy imagination what you picture happened can be far better than a quick weak scene. Often great movies show the aftermath of violence instead of the acts themselves which encourage the viewer to put the pieces together himself. No country for old men, seven, and even though I've never seen it, Silence of the Lambs come to mind (which I read in a review of Hannibal was more powerful than Hannibal which showed the actual gruesome acts of violence). Althoigh, the movie was PG-13 and may have passed on showing unneccessary violence to keep it's rating (even though it did have that scene where the Joker makes his pencil disappear). Still, the "torture" scenes that end with the joker looking into a shaky camera I found to be more powerful and disturbing than if they actually showed what transpired next.

Also, I think the Scarecrow scene was a little weak, but it was tying loose ends up from the first
movie where he is working with Ras Ah Gaul who is an anti-hero like the bat-vigilantes (they have the right idea but don't use pure methods like the batman).

My only real complaint about the movie, was how they tried to make Batman into Spiderman. Someone who isn't trusted or beloved by the public, and is filled with self doubt and the desire to lead a normal life. Which isn't Batman, but since it's supposed to be early in his career I'll let that slide and give it the full 5.

Avi said...

I agree wholeheartedly with most of what you say in those first two paragraphs. Especially with the concept of violence or suspense or emotion sometimes being more powerful if the viewer isn't spoon-fed those images. I think this is very much related to my post about the theater of the mind (

But I stand by the two examples I provided in which I think Nolan should have shown the viewer more. Especially the kidnapping incident which occurs totally off-camera. It's not quite this extreme, but I think it's akin to a novelist who pulls an undeserved ending out of nowhere: "And it was all a dream," or something like that. The author is not being fair to reader by engaging in this out-of-leftfield storytelling. I'm not saying that dream sequences are totally off-limits and bad, just that the author needs to earn the right to use that concept if he doesn't want it to feel trite. The kidnapping scene wasn't exactly fair to the viewer. There's no indication that anything is amiss, and all of a sudden--after I, for one, mentally moved on to another aspect of the story--you get word that this really significant plot development happened without me.

I think that may be the big difference here between the graphic violence which was rightfully not shown on screen and this important aspect of the storyline which, I believe, should have been. The violence isn't a major plot development in its own right, while the kidnapping of two of the main-est characters of the film is really crucial. That and, somewhat subjectively, the violence worked for me, and the kidnapping didn't. I don't think that everything needs to spelled out for the viewer, but I think one of those things which did need to be shown onscreen was the kidnapping scene--and it wasn't.

joshua said...

Okay, I can agree with your feeling cheated by not seeing the kidnapping scene (although I thought the movie worked even without showing it), it did sort of have a leftfield feel to it, which maybe they did to sort of catch the viewer off gaurd (I know I didn't see it coming). I'll concede the point but as joseph so eloquently put it, "it is quite possibly the best movie ever!"