Far Away, So Close. From Home.

Film Seeing Apollo 11 at FACT's Picturehouse on Monday was a bit of debacle. The aircon had  broken down in screens one and two, their answer which being to install giant industrial fans at the front of the auditorium which hammered away all the way through the adverts. As you can imagine I couldn't settle and as my anxiety began to coalesce in my stomach about having to endure the noise during a film which was surely going to have periods of silence, I left the screen and approached a staff member. 

I explained to him it sounded like a jet engine, which it did. He informed me that the room would be like an oven so they would not be turning it off and the best he could offer was a refund. Which I took, of course.

I tried sitting back down and relaxing, the thing kept hammering away, not apparently bothering anyone else, but of course I'm me and considered leaving and watching the screening at the Odeon an hour later. As the noise continued in the background of the trailers, I decided that's what I'd do.

But as I was heading up the stairs to the exit, the staff person entered and sheepishly walked to the front of the screen and turned the fan off, his manager standing at the top, leaning against the back chairs.

"My manager's agreed to turn the fan off during the film ..." the staff member said to me as he passed by.

So I stayed and went back to the box office on my way out to pay again, despite having spent much of the first half of the film with all of this rolling about the insides of my brain and the picture looking like it wasn't being projected properly because the masking curtains as they explained were broken too.  Plus as ever the fire exit sign blurted light across the bottom left hand side of the screen, giving space a light green hue.  If only they'd used a less transparent design for this important safety feature.

After this mess I decided, after many years of seeing the MCU at FACT, that I'd brave the World of Cine at Speke instead for Spider-Man: Far From Home. I knew what I was signing up for and sure enough there were screaming children (which I couldn't begrudge due to them all being dressed in Spider-man pyjamas) and half the audience walking in front of the screen to get to the toilet. One bloke was gone for at least ten minutes during one of the key exposition scenes. God knows if he could follow the plot once he returned, assuming he was bothered with it anyway.

Short review: It's as entertaining as most second tier MCU films, essentially Eurotrip with superheroes, embracing that film's stereotypical approach to nationalities and featuring very well known British television actors of the "Who's in it from Doctor Who?" persuasion. Incidentally this isn't a spoiler, but that is incredibly distracting. Soon as you see them, you'll be waiting for them to have a much larger role because of who they are and it doesn't happen. Which is a kind of spoiler I suppose but not as much as some of the howlers I've seen in professional reviews.

By why am I hear? In the run up to the release of SM:FFH, I posted twice on the topic, with trailer speculation and considering the infrastructural implications of Endgame post-Thanos. Let's revisit those. SPOILERS FROM THE START. To give you some space to look away, here's a photo of Daisy Ridley making an o-face while holding a large photograph of the big Tesco on Hanover Street in Liverpool, which has nothing to do with SM:FFH but is very funny.



You can see the rest of this completely mad video here.  She's a treasure.

Trailer speculation.

This is was not Nick Fucking Fury. Not Nick Fucking Fury at all. So everything we assumed about Mysterio turned out to be exactly as we expected with everything he said taken at face value by not too bright the Skrulls from Captain Marvel pretending to be Fury and Hill. So the entire rest of that post is sadly redundant. There's some speculation about whether every chronological appearance we've seen of Fury and Hill from Captain Marvel onwards is actually the Skrulls, but I think that's a stretch. Given the easter eggs dropped throughout the dialogue, alt.Nick and alt.Maria seem only to have been replaced for this adventure. Which makes you wonder where the real version of the latter is.  Living her best life elsewhere, hopefully.

The infrastructural implications of Endgame post-Thanos.

Or post "blip" as it's called now, which is handy.  Here are each of the old sub-headings in turn.

Birthdates

Inconclusive.  All the vacation preparations from the trailer have been cut (and will apparently turn up as their own thing on the blu-ray), including the passport moment.  The drinking scene on the airplane implies that the kids don't have updated IDs and that it's up to them to keep within the spirit of the law - see also Peter in the bar with Quentin. 

Assets and housing

As the trailer suggested, a lot of the people who returned after the blip found themselves displaced from their apartments including Aunt May (who we now have confirmation was blipped along with Peter so at least she didn't have to deal with the grief of him having gone for five years).  As I speculated, despite being alive again, they're completely fucked and apparently in the deleted scenes, there were shots of Peter having to sell a whole lot of his stuff in order to afford the trip (which explains why his room is so empty in the moments we do see him there).

Relationships

Since this is a teen film there's not much on this, apart from the teacher explaining that his wife had pretended to blip so she could run off with another fella.  That's something which hadn't occurred to me, people taking advantage of the situation.  

Not related at all but what about prisoners?  Presumably the blip time isn't included in the sentence, so despite having been brought back to life, they'll still have to see out the rest of their sentence.  Imagine the jolity when they reappear in their old cells, now occupied by new convicts.

Premierships

Nothing much at all that I remember.

Technology and the Arts

The Earth-199999 was already technologically more advanced than Earth-1218 (Mysterio getting the designations wrong is an early indicator to viewers that he's full of shit) but it does seem to have moved on again in some respects, like the giant video screen on the building in New York (and they couldn't really have anyone else play that character in the mid-credits sequence could they!?!) but less so in others.  The kids seems to be clinging to slightly lower-fi technology like wired earphones and phone designs which don't seem to have moved on much.

Factionalism

From the looks of things, the MCU is largely going to move on after this, otherwise the opening ten minutes of every film with characters affected by the blip will be about wrestling with the implications which could get samey.

Not that we actually know what the next films in the series are going to be for the first time in years.  We know there's going to be something next year but it could be anything.  Something to do with Black Widow is shooting but I haven't seen reports of much else apart from vague announcements.  Isn't it fun?  Role on Comic-Con.

The editing of Apollo 11.

Film Fascinating interview with Todd Douglas Miller, the director of new film Apollo 11, which goes into some detail about the editing process:
" The first order of business was working with Robert [Pearlman] as our independent chief historian, Stephen Slater, who was our archive producer, and putting together a nine day version of the film. We really want you to look at every single second of the mission which spanned nine days—eight days and some change. All told, it spanned nine days—to look at every available still image—whether it was 16mm 35mm large format, TV broadcasts, and links, we wanted to see all of it. Of course, all the audio, too. That was a real tedious way to do it but we need to know exactly what was all out there not only to educate ourselves but also we had so much new material. We needed to see where things lined up and where the holes were and what we could do with those."
Apollo mission fans like me are clearly look at that and salivating at the idea of a nine day long version of the film version in which the action occurs in something akin to real time. Though of course to an extent it will be quite tedious with plenty of repetition. But this methodology has worked wonders. The great strength of the theatrical release (which I saw today) is that it shows the familiar event with unfamiliar footage at unusual angles.

Flappo Bird.

Games A Flappy Bird clone for the Atari 2600. Browser play available.