Welcome once again to Blog Spot, the monthly feature where I give an airing to other people's work. This month we return to the welcome stable of Chez Apocalypse, which we last explored two months ago with Stuff You Like. This time it's the turn of Dan Olson and Folding Ideas.
I first came across Dan's work through a crossover between two other reviewers I have covered on here, JesuOtaku and OanCitizen. During the latter's two-part special on Lars von Trier's Melancholia (which you can watch here and here), the former brought up the anime film The End of Evangelion, which I mentioned in my review of Pacific Rim. Shortly afterwards JO linked to Dan's review on her Twitter feed, in response to people asking her to review it. I followed the link, and have been a fan of his work ever since.
It's rather fitting that I came across Folding Ideas in this way, since Dan's appeal is very similar to that of Hope or Kyle. Like them, he is a intelligent person with a very wide-ranging understanding of Western culture and media. His reviews are deeply nuanced and analytical, but he's not averse to injecting a little dry or dark humour to make a point. His End of Evangelion review is a good case in point, with his detailed analysis of the author-audience relationship being interspersed with running gags about Shinji's... distinctive reaction to the comatose Asuka.
Like Ursa (Jill Bearup), Dan doesn't confine himself to a given genre or medium, preferring to jump from one thing to the next as the mood takes him. Sometimes he will do a more conventional, full-length film review, as with The Last Airbender, but most of the time he's more interested in wider themes and messages that permeate our collective consciousness. His most recent video, for instance, examines the questionable politics of many modern superhero films, arguing that films like Man of Steel justify horrible acts of violence against innocent people in the name of heroism. All his videos leave you with plenty to think about - and not all of them are designed to make you feel guilty.
The other interesting aspect of Dan's show is that, for the most part, he doesn't appear on screen. Instead he uses a puppet, the Foldable Human, which makes the show more visually distinctive without compromising on the content in question. If anything it makes it easier to take him seriously, since it goes against the stereotype of the internet reviewer as a camera-hungry loud-mouth with zero presentation skills. 'Foldie' may be a gimmick, but he's a very effective gimmick.
You can watch Folding Ideas on Blip.tv or on Chez Apocalypse. You can also follow Dan on Twitter @foldablehuman. For a good indication of his reviewing style outside of the examples I've listed, check out his very first video (here) on the origins and mechanics of internet memes. Enjoy!