Bourne vs Bond

The Die Hard essay below links to an interesting short comparison of Bond and Bourne, which suggests Bourne’s innate navigation of city space is what gives him the edge, as opposed to Bond’s reliance on gadgetry and overwhelming force:

Rather than Bond’s private infrastructure [of] expensive cars and toys, Bourne uses public infrastructure as a superpower. A battered watch and an accurate U-Bahn time-table are all he needs for a perfectly-timed, death-defying evasion of the authorities.

Bourne wraps cities, autobahns, ferries and train terminuses around him as the ultimate body-armor.

I love this. It unravels what I find appealing about the Bourne films. The Waterloo train station scene from The Bourne Ultimatum is a perfect example, and a scene that has long stuck in my mind due to Bourne’s superb spatial awareness and use of that space.

(Amazingly the scene wasn’t shot in a closed station - those aren’t extras wandering around).


Architectural Die Hard

Terrific BLDGBLOG essay by Geoff Manaugh on the unorthodox navigation of Nakatomi Plaza in Die Hard:

The majority of that film’s interest, I’d suggest, comes precisely through its depiction of architectural space: John McClane, a New York cop on his Christmas vacation, moves through a Los Angeles high-rise in basically every conceivable way but passing through its doors and hallways.

Over the course of the film, McClane blows up whole sections of the building; he stops elevators between floors; and he otherwise explores the internal spaces of Nakatomi Plaza in acts of virtuoso navigation that were neither imagined nor physically planned for by the architects.

Includes some scary stuff about the Israeli Defense Forces using the same techniques IRL.

(via @tcarmody)

The anti-free-software movement

Nice argument from the Pinboard crew for paying for web services you like: if you don’t, someone will buy them or they’ll go out of business. Includes a handy chart.

Only companies the size of Google & Apple are immune to this, and the obvious trade-off is you’re at their mercy.

Related: Shifty Jelly, developers of the excellent Pocket Weather AU, on the joy and horror of independent app development. Having read the Pinboard piece, why not go buy a copy (for iOS & Android).


Tolkien’s legacy

Adam Gopnik on high fantasy, for The New Yorker:

It is still one of the finest jests of the modern muses that this fogged-in English don was going home nights to work on perhaps the most popular adventure story ever written, thereby inventing one of the most successful commercial formulas that publishing possesses, and establishing the foundation of the modern fantasy industry.