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An Aesthetic Divergence

June 11, 2018

Just got back from HOTEL ARTEMIS, which I quite enjoyed, though there were some places where I wanted the writers to trust the audience just a little bit more in terms of Repeated Important Dialogue. Aside from that, a smart and funny series of interlocking crime stories set against the backdrop of an LA tearing itself apart when the faucets get turned off.

 

It's also a very successful evocation of the atmosphere/sense that I got from reading William Gibson's pre-Sprawl trilogy short stories. There's a sense of dilapidation, of old luxury going to seed, going long in the tooth, going all GREAT EXPECTATIONS wedding cake. But that's mixed with very high technology that's just a heartbeat away, of consumer interfaces slapped on military-grade medical technology where your ticket out of a sudden urban war is an Uber-style 'copter ride. 

 

I don't want to give too much of it away, but it feels a lot more successful in that sense than say the trailer for CYBERPUNK 2077, which dropped today as well. 

 

HOTEL ARTEMIS is the new being injected into the old, with that uneven distribution we've come to know and love.

 

 

CYBERPUNK 2077 is a crazy set of skins put on GTA. Pretty skins, but just skins. (Though the moment where the model is adjusting her makeup and we pull back to see she's all Ms. Cyberdyne of June 2077 was pretty cool. Other than that, didn't rock my world.

 

 

Don't get me wrong. Lots and lots of eye candy. Lots of it. But it's super-refined, leaning on an aesthetic that's been old for twenty years now.

 

I'm probably just old, but I'm liking the sense of the past being incompletely buried, letting it yellow and crack but still stand for awhile before the neonized future completely gentrifies it.

 

Most resonant moment in HOTEL ARTEMIS, other than seeing the Eastern Columbia building's clock still lit up, was a zebra skin rug in one of the rooms, reminding me of the one that was on the floor of my room in the Hotel Figureoa last time I was there. The hotel still stands, but its Moroccan fantasia decor is all but gone, according to last reports.

 

Anyways, recommended.

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