In The Armchair

Classics Massacred

Posted in Movies and Entertainment by Armchair Guy on October 20, 2007

Cinema has a way of bringing some great books to life, while destroying some other classics.

Success stories include the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which, while it’s not as good as the original, still made the story accessible in a good way to many people. Two of the failures which bother me — because I loved the originals — are Tarzan and Flash Gordon.

Disney’s Tarzan is the worst type of destruction, because it fundametally changed the nature of the character. Tarzan was not a wimpy nice-guy. Tarzan was essentially a wild animal with intelligence and a sense of honour. And Tarzan did not skateboard on tree branches.

The other massacre is with Sci-Fi Channel’s current series, Flash Gordon, based on the comic strip. The character of Flash Gordon himself is intact, but Zarkov’s character is completely destroyed. The original Zarkov was a scientist, true, but he was very far from the sniveling coward in the TV series. He was, if anything, more decisive than Flash, a daring fighter. It is sad to see what the character has been reduced to. Perhaps there’s something in someone’s psyche that needs a geeks vs. jocks dichotomy in order to make sense of the world? Other than this, Ming’s original character is much more fearsome than the tame Ming in the TV series. The planet Mongo is very poorly realized, although this may be a result of scarce production resources rather than lack of talent.


China and the Dalai Lama

Posted in Armchair Ruminations by Armchair Guy on October 20, 2007

China seems to lose all sense of proportion and balance when it comes to the Dalai Lama, who was recently awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bush.

China has “summoned” the US ambassador to convey that ties had been “gravely eroded”. Their spokesperson claims that “The move of the United States is a blatant interference in China’s internal affairs, hurts the feelings of the Chinese people and has gravely undermined relations between China and the United States.”

According to this article:

Liu said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi summoned US Ambassador to Beijing, Clark Randit and lodged a “solemn protest” for disregarding repeated Chinese requests not to honour the Dalai and prevent senior US leaders from meeting him.

The Chinese government is probably the only entity that fails to realize how ridiculous these claims are. By asking the US to prevent its leaders from meeting the Dalai Lama, it is China that is interfering in the affairs of the US. Before setting about summoning US ambassadors, China would do well to remember that (unlike Russia) it owes 100% of its current prosperity and technology to the US. And the Chinese melodrama about their commie government choosing the next Dalai Lama is the most ridiculous farce ever. By what right do the Chinese commies choose the Dalai Lama, the leader of a religion that stands for the opposite of everything the commies do?