The piece I was actually to going to write yesterday was based on the new article in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) about the long-term benefits of running, but I am converting that into a book, so more about that later. All the highlights in Bold are the ideas that are just waiting to be written up…stuff that happens to me as part of my daily routine.
I have come down with a bad bout of flu. I was so looking forward to this long weekend and hoping perhaps to get away to our house in Lonavala from Thursday evening to Monday evening. Instead on this Saturday evening, I am still in Mumbai dripping away, the fever under control, but the body aching, especially along the lower back, reminding me that at 49, it takes just that little longer for things to get back to normal. My 14-years old son had a similar bout earlier in the week and he bounced back in just two days…rubbing into my face, the fact that I have an older body.
I was sick staying at home, so I decided, despite the dripping nose and aching back and legs to go to Don Bosco for a walk, a run being out of question. I also wanted to listen to the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 of the Guardians of the Galaxy (GoG) and so putting on my Blaupunkt bluetooth headset and my iPhone 5S in my WristBand, I set off as usual.
After I came back, while writing this piece, I decided to anyway sip a little bit of the new tequila that I had just ordered (Ocho Reposado), hoping that the alcohol will also help kill the flu virus.
James Gunn, the director of GoG is 44, just 5 years younger than I am. It really helps when directors of movies like these are around your age. GoG is a terrific film, but the music soundtrack seriously makes a difference. Especially when a Walkman with a cassette tape are part and parcel of the personality of the lead character, Peter Quill and among other songs, we hear “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede, “Moonage Daydream” by David Bowie and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell along with tracks from The Jackson 5 and 10cc. Wow!
My son and I follow the Marvel Universe and were looking forward to GoG for the past few weeks. The only way to watch movies like these is on the IMAX 3D screen, and the only one in Mumbai thankfully is literally just a 10 minutes drive away.
I think Winter Soldier (Captain America II) is perhaps the best Marvel film till date. But GoG comes a very close second. GoG is fun, unlike the others that sometimes take themselves a shade too seriously, except the Iron Mans, since Tony Stark is anyway supposed to be funny (and yet Iron Man II was such a mess). The GoG characters are not too well known and I remember that even during my teen years, when we read all the comics we could, courtesy Abbas Library, there were perhaps just a couple of GoG issues available even at the time. Currently all my comic reading is through Comixology on my iPad, where I am able to download all the new stuff that comes in pretty much as it is released (including the Death of Wolverine).
GoG does not have as much baggage as the other characters in the mythology. And while the characters span the larger Universe, which at times does collide with the Earth stories, (e.g. when Thanos decides to go after Earth, or when Tony Stark joins the Guardians for some time), the two worlds do tend to be kept separate.
GoG is fun because it does not have to pay homage to a large number of fans, can afford to be irreverent and funny and has this fantastic soundtrack. Did I tell you that you can download the soundtrack on ITunes India for just Rs. 120? i.e. Rs. 10 per song, when the same album costs $8.99 (Rs. 547) on the US iTunes site, which is literally a 4.5 times difference. Sometimes it is not a bad idea to be living in India. And there was a time, when for the love of money you couldn’t get recent English music in India unless you knew a pilot or a steward or air-hostess or had a cousin visiting.
GoG also does not have to tie in with any of the ongoing Marvel story arcs as well. The comics are stand-alone, but the TV and movie rights to some characters are with other production houses. For e.g. Spiderman and Wolverine are part of the Avengers in the comics, but because they belong to different production houses (Spiderman with Sony and Wolverine as part of X-men with Fox), Marvel has to do without them in the TV series’ and movies. Marvel had to tie in the TV show, Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D halfway through the show with the story arc in Winter Soldier the movie, simply because S.H.I.E.L.D was being taken down in Winter Soldier after being infiltrated by Hydra and the TV show obviously had to follow the same story. The same situation will probably continue with the Avengers: Age of Ultron, which is the next Marvel movie that will be released next year.
On the other hand, the Avengers animation TV show on the Disney channel, which I stopped watching after the first six episodes, is just not as good as the DC Animated Universe. The DC Animated Universe brings out full-length Superman, Batman, Justice League, etc. films every 3-4 months, direct to DVD and these are really worth the effort. They are all available if you know where to get them and I just finished watching the 2012 Superman and the Elite, which pits Superman against a band of superheroes called the Elite and reaffirms Superman’s ideals in the current morality confused world.
Superhero films and television serials are the flavor of the day. Arrow Season 2 was so much better than Season 1 and when the first episode of Flash Season 1 was accidentally released on YouTube for just an hour or so before being taken down, it went viral and was the most downloaded Torrent TV episode that week.
Even Mahabharata with all its religious overtones, is eventually nothing but a superhero saga with Gods and mortals where almost everyone is someone’s illegitimate child and uses cunning or force to get his/her way. While the winners (Pandavas) have managed to convince us that they were the righteous ones, that is typically what winners do anyway. And yet, so much of Mahabharata (from the initial riffs of the music to the blood and gore and beheadings) is just a rip-off of Game of Thrones, which is another epic set in another world just like Tolkien’s or the Foundation Series or Dune.
Bottomline. If you haven’t watched GoG, please do so. If you love 80s music, download the soundtrack…preferably watch the movie first and then download the songs.