Archive for December, 2014

As you may or may not know, there are certain movies people watch at certain times of the year.  Some people reviewed Christmas movies in particular.  Some people reviewed classics.  I’m going to review a movie that seems to take place just before or around Christmas – and unlike my other reviews, I’m not going to spoil this movie for you.  This isn’t a superhero movie I could presume you’ve seen.  This isn’t some new movie that young people following me have probably seen.  However, I just want you to know it’s set around Christmas time, and I’m going to intertwine some other messages in this review.  I know I said I was doing Big Hero 6, recently, but I’m actually a little all over the place getting back into the groove of this (and Christmas making it worse).  However, it is connected to superhero movies in a truly bizarre way.  You’ll see how.

The actual name of the movie is The Horse Whisperer.  The premise of the movie is – a young girl, living in New York, owns a horse.  She and a friend go out riding, only for her friend’s horse to slip on ice.  As a result, both friends end up tumbling down onto a road, where a truck eventually hits them both (this is all pretty much within the first 5-10 minutes of the movie).  The friend dies, the young girl we’re following lives but with a handicap (watch the movie), and her horse is traumatized.  Traumatized to the point where he has a complete change in personality.

So… why the hell am I reviewing a horse movie?

I used to ride horses.  I’ve stopped now, but I’ll be going back.  To review a movie such as this is really only appropriate.

Oh yeah… the little girl.  Remember how I said it’s somehow related to superhero movies?  Well, Scarlett Johansson is that little girl.  Her name in the movie is Grace.  If you want a taste for 13 year old Johansson, watch the movie.  But, someone else from a recent superhero movie happens to be in this movie:  Robert Redford, complete with the obligatory question about milk (seriously expected Sebastian Stan to show up).  And I have to be honest, Redford wasn’t terribly interesting – I mean, he was, but Johansson really peaked my interest.  Thinking of her then and now, it’s just really strange.  I mean, I have to be honest, she didn’t actually change all that much, but it’s like seeing a retrospective work of an actor.  It’s like taking a look into their past without even realizing it.  Honestly, Johansson wasn’t a household name until now.  She is a kid in this movie, and she works with Redford long before The Winter Soldier was even on the table – or any tables.  It sort of gives you insight into her acting style, long before Lucy, Avengers, The Winter Soldier, or any other big name she is known for.  You get to see a kid Scarlett Johansson act.

And all things considered, she wasn’t much different.

She was amazing as a child actor.  I mean, it’s easy to say that now because she became Black Widow, but she is actually very true to herself in this movie.  She is still snarky, witty, etc.  Sure, she doesn’t kick Redford’s ass in this one, but they do semi-battle it out in parts.  And I have to wonder: what was it like for her to work with him so long after a movie like this?  This was made in 1998.  Redford literally saw her grow up.  Considering he directed the movie, he was the one who probably found her in the first place.  And I can’t help but wonder how weird that must have been on the set of The Winter Soldier.  I can’t help but wonder their feelings toward each other or if there’s any other movies they did together (actually, if you know that, please tell me).  Seeing two actors suddenly take such a different stage, while one of those actors is so different, is just really weird to me.  I don’t know why.  It just is.

And for the JP fans following me: Sam Neill is there, too.  He’s Grace’s dad.  He presents himself in his usual calm, cool style with some outbursts.  Sam Neill is a smooth actor, I’ll never say otherwise.  I find his acting style quite mesmerizing.  Probably because whenever I see him, he comes off as someone with a lot of wisdom even if he doesn’t actually have wisdom in the movie.  Even in this movie, he just comes off as the Good Guy because of being level headed during a certain moment (watch the movie).

But let me continue my short summary: Because the horse is traumatized, and her friend is dead, Grace’s mom stalks down (basically literally) and drives several thousand miles to meet The Horse Whisperer (Redford).

So… I need to review from here with no spoilers.

Redford is not entirely different from his Winter Soldier counterpart, by the way.  He comes off as cocky in the beginning.  Overall, I feel like this movie really gave me an insight into some of these actors.  A real, serious insight.

But from this point on, Redford tries to work with the horse, and I feel as though the plot could’ve focused a little more on the horse in the end.  I mean, Pilgrim (the horse) is completely and utterly why they drove that far.  The resolution with Pilgrim appears to happen awfully quickly.  The movie was criticized a bit by horse people (don’t be offended, I am one of them) because of the training techniques used, but, I mean, you could kind of criticize any movie for anything like that.  Star Wars depicts space inaccurately.  Jurassic Park depicts inaccurate dinosaurs (oh, shut up).  The Dark Knight doesn’t represent real jokers.  I mean, hello?  You seeing a theme here?  Yes.  It’s hollywood.  That is what Hollywood does.  If you criticize hollywood that much, you will have a breakdown at what occurs in Bollywood.  I can see criticizing an actual movie with actual animals more than I can understand criticizing Star Wars for lack of space realism – how many friends and family of yours have gone into space?
Exactly.

Simply put, while I can understand why it was criticized *more than other movies*, everyone in the general public needs to remember it’s a movie.  If you have a horse problem, talk to a horse trainer.  Do not listen to Robert Redford, no matter how legit he may look as a cowboy… because he does look legit.  The main point is, someone might actually try to be Robert Redford (Darwinism at it’s finest), but nobody is going to try to turn the International Space Station into the Death Star.  While I don’t generally approve of constant nitpicking for accuracy within movies (see: “Documentaries”), I can see why a little nitpicking might be necessary here: people are stupid.

Aside from the possibility everyone tries to become Robert Redford, the plot itself got a little slow, because as I said, it felt like it didn’t quite focus on the horse as much as it was in the beginning.  It’s also a little bit muddled in it’s morals and the moral messages it’s trying to get through to you.  I haven’t actually quite figured it out yet.  Is it about loyalty?  Is it about not always getting what you want? Is it about being open minded?  I can’t actually figure it out, and the general consensus is actually that the ending sucks, at least within my household (I can’t disagree that much, but the polar opposite you’d just call “predictable” so they lose either way).  The problem with the ending is that they picked such a likeable person for it to be involved with.  It’s genuinely hard to hate the person that is involved with this ending.  The ending actually leaves you morally split.  To me, it’s almost as if it embodies the choices we need to make without owning a horse. You know, your dream job or a secure life type deal.  Overall, yes, the messages are a little bit muddled, but I definitely took that home.

I also took home a few other things: the power of animals, and how quickly people can change.  It’s no secret animals help people heal.  Therapy dogs.  Animals that visit nursing homes.  Dogs that visit cancer hospitals.  Seeing eye dogs (companionship).  I mean, if nothing else, Grace has her horse.  After the accident she is somehow disabled, and bullied for it.  You don’t need to own a horse to be disabled or be bullied.  You don’t need to own a horse to have family tension or a mom who works a lot.  If the messages were a bit more clear, I would say this movie isn’t about a horse at all – but it teeters between a horse movie and a moral movie with a horse in it.  It doesn’t fit either clear cut category.  At times it gets corny, as well.  It sort of speaks to people who watch it through one situation or another. It doesn’t really matter if you have a horse or not – you’ll relate to some situation in this movie.  The morals might be a bit muddled, but the fact is, everyone has something they’re grappling with.  The power of animals completely changes one person.  The characters are fairly developed, certainly, but follow stereotype.  Redford seems cold and distant (and underdeveloped), and the chemistry just isn’t there between he and Kristin Scott-Thomas.

And there’s more that makes you step back a bit.

The shots in this movie make you want to hop in the car and go on a road trip.  I shit you not.  It’s drop dead gorgeous.  It really does the mood of the movie itself justice, especially with the constant heartbreak going on.  It’s just awfully contradicting.

Overall, the movie isn’t terrible but isn’t great.  But if you ever want a movie to see struggle, or see a difficult choice, or just need something human to relate to that is in your face, and feeling like nothing is there for you – hug your dog and watch it.

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So I’ve been planning on coming here for months on end. I never got around to it because of schoolwork, life, and well, everything else.  Let me tell you I was so excited for this I could barely see straight.  When I first found it out, I pretty much said I’m getting tickets it and going, crawling if I need to.  So upon entrance, I was so happy to be there, it was crazy.  I felt confident in the exhibit. Well, um.  That wasn’t the case…  Fun fact:  I usually listen to superhero music during these posts.  I am listening to something completely unrelated to superheroes.  It was actually that bad.  I thought for sure, it’d be something to rave about..

That was not the case.

Like, at all.  I’m actually wondering if someone blindfolded the media when they wrote their reviews of it back in July, because I just can’t see how it was so utterly amazing.  (Sidenote:  Any civilian reviews of this is almost overwhelmingly negative).  That, or they were offered a shitload of money.

Upon entering – the entrance sets a really high bar.   First of all, the Discovery Center in NYC does not allow photography, as such, that includes the Marvel exhibit.  Which to me, already, you are setting a really high bar for yourself.  You need to make this exhibit so unforgettable, so amazing, that you don’t need a selfie with the Iron Man suit to remember you went in 2 years.  The fact is, people are surgically attached to their devices.  I’m not saying that’s right, or even that should be the case – it just is.  We also live in a world of complete documentation – our phones document what we see.  To deny people to document is a pretty big deal nowadays, really, and I am not the only one with this sentiment because I looked at reviews of this place, and everyone apparently hated you couldn’t take pictures.  Well, if you are one of those people:  That wasn’t Marvel.  That was Discovery Center, which seems to have a business model of “No pictures +  cool exhibit idea + ???? = profit”.  I have been near or in Discovery Center a few times (I live in NYC), and I have to tell you it’s really more of a tourist trap half the time in my opinion, aside from the fact that if the exhibit is actually good, you can’t take pictures – which to me is a boatload of bullshit.

But let’s get started on the actual exhibits… if you really want to call them that.

You walk in, and they make you make out a SHIELD Agent card.  At first, I thought this was just a cute gimmick.  No. That card ended up being the entire exhibit.  Literally.  I asked to confirm the no photography about a million times, but a Discovery Center employee (not Marvel-specific employee) informed me that they just throw out whoever tries to take any pictures, but told me if you can sneak it do it, because “I love them too”.  She/He told me the employees (Marvel) are a special type of asshole when it comes to any device that could take a picture, no less actually doing it.  Like, if you just take out your phone, more than likely a shitload of employees are just going to turn into some SHIELD police gimmick and take you down for real.  Not to sound nitpicky (although once I hate something, I’ll nitpick it down to the color of it), but, like, maybe people have legitimate reasons to use their phones.  I don’t know.  I went on a vacation about a decade ago, and everything went to hell.  If I was a tourist, and I went into Marvel on that vacation, there was no way I wouldn’t use my phone or at least check it. It was legitimate emergency level stuff, such as emergency sick family members and the like (yes, while on vacation, thousands of miles away).  It’s really not that hard for a vacation to slowly take a really shitty turn, since I know someone probably thinks I’m doing it to be nitpicky – but trust me, I was on that vacation where it just went really bad, and we all relied on our cell phones, and kept them available at all times.

But I made it through making a card.  Yay.

Now I go into another room, where there is a guy with a camera and a green screen.  I’m not getting much of an explanation as to why I am standing in front of a green screen, why this person is telling me to “pose like a superhero”, or why he is here at all.  I already made the card, what are you possibly using my picture for?  The lack of explanation was really quite confusing, so I took one serious one and one not serious one.  Still, I had no explanation as to why I am standing in front of a green screen.

Then this is where they set the bar really high.  You go into this chrome-looking square (as a miserable looking employee escorts you – dude looked like someone told him his pet hamster died), and Agent Felix Blake comes on.  I’m Agent Felix Blake, and this is top secret blah blah blah.  The walls in front of you literally become the screen you are watching, which is really cool tech.  So then that’s all over, and you go into another room, and another series of small TVs tell you the same exact explanation the other guy just did.  It was literally almost verbatim, and you are wondering why you are hearing this again, why your neck needs to fucking crane out like a giraffe over this thing (if you happened to stand relatively normal, it looked like a laptop/flat screen on a bad angle), and when you are actually going to see something.  It was cool technology, please don’t get me wrong, but I just thought they could show something different.

It only looks cool.

(photocred: Timeout.com)
Finally, the meat and potatoes, or the very little meat and potatoes, of the exhibit are after this explanation.  You walk forward, and there are costumes.  Namely, Black Widow, Coulson, Nick Fury, Hawkeye, and that should be it (Also, really, no Peggy costume from TFA either there or in the Captain America exhibit?  Hello? marketing committee, are you sleeping?  She is getting her own show?).  And to accompany these props – which initially really left me in awe, despite the fact I couldn’t take photos – were none other than touch screens giving a brief explanation of the heroes.  I didn’t actually play any of them because I played one and lost interest in about .5 seconds, because all it showed was scenes from The Avengers.  I don’t believe it actually went into the character’s history very much other than perhaps their role in Avengers, but I could be wrong considering my interest instantaneously was lost.

The next exhibit was probably the only reason I went: Captain America.  I am a huge Captain America fan.  I saw pictures of his exhibit and knew I needed to go.  Honestly, for how ridiculously famous he is now, you would’ve really expected more.  There were the cards, his shields, costume, various other props, and that was basically it in props.  Honestly, if you want to see his props, save your money and just Google “Marvel Avengers STATION Captain America”.  You’ll see almost everything if you look hard enough.  Aside from the props, there were “testing” yourself against Captain America machines… Which, really, if you have any interest in actual comic books or are over the age of 5, that isn’t going to be your big thrill.  I don’t know.. considering how famous he is now, a little history in the character would’ve been better than these machines.  Wow! Captain America is stronger than you (spoiler alert).  The machines were also corny enough to tell everyone who used it they made it to the high scores. One machine even told you your height and weight, and Cap’s height and weight, and the differences in both.  You don’t need to pay 30-50 dollars to be told that, and you can just Google Captain America’s height and weight and do basic math without uber-engineering getting involved.

Whatever machines weren’t “tests” against Captain America, it went into the science of Captain America.  Except.. Captain America isn’t science.  I don’t care if he has different hemoglobin oxygen levels.  I don’t care about his liver working overtime – really, I don’t.  They should have had more on Captain America, than literally a room full of “test yourself against Captain America”.  I don’t know…. the fact his debut comic was punching Adolf Hitler?  His past movies?  His past anything?  But, at least I got to see his costume, which somehow got me a dirty look from the employee.  I did not have a phone out, nor did I have a camera (like, with me, at all).  Why enthusiasm warranted a dirty look, I do not know, but, the Discovery Center person wasn’t wrong.

And it only gets worse from here.

Next exhibit is the Hulk.  As you can imagine, unless they custom-make giant shorts, I don’t see what props they could include in Hulk’s exhibit.

Bingo.

It was the biggest, and also probably one of the most irrelevant, exhibits.  The exhibit had nothing to do with the Hulk and everything to do with random scientific information.  The Hulk’s exhibit featured everything from learning about gamma ray radiation in really god damn scientific terms (like, I’m talking words that would not generally appear in the Avengers, a history of the Hulk, or even Bruce Banner; they would appear in your local “radiation” college course).  You quite literally have no idea what you are reading, or why the hell you should read it at all, considering Bruce Banner or Hulk is barely mentioned in one of the machines’ descriptions.  Not to mention, before, on Captain America’s machines, there wasn’t really anything inherently scientific aside from the one prop that explained how he lived though being frozen (once again, in really complicated terms about hemoglobin, liver activity, and thyroid activity).  It was really just corny, so you didn’t need to re-read anything.  Well, the problem is, for all of these machines I’m mentioning, you are using that card.  You scan the card, and then you do the machine.

Seems simple, right?

Except for the fact that the makers of the exhibit expected you to be the Usain Bolt of reading and have a PhD in “Everything Science Related” so therefore you obviously know EXACTLY what they are talking about.

I needed to re-do one like 3 times because 1.  It was too fast and I couldn’t actually fucking read it, 2. it wasn’t explained properly what to do, 3. it went too fast and I couldn’t actually fucking read it.  Did I mention it was too fast?  Captain America’s information/machines were at least a little relevant (but corny), everyone knows he is a super soldier.  But tell me:  Why do we give a shit about the size of Hulk’s temporal lobe?  How about his Frontal lobe and Prefrontal cortex?  Amygdala?  Do you even know what any of those are?  Do you care what any of those are? If you do, don’t go to a Marvel exhibit.  Take a psychology course.

Yes, there was an exhibit on the human brain within Hulk’s exhibit (if you call it that), explaining all of the human brain and what it does.  Except for the fact that this is an Avengers exhibit, not a neuropsychology exhibit.  Tell us how Banner got the radiation.  Tell us his first comic debut. Now we’re really getting desperate: even mention the man who made him, Stan Lee.

And as you went on, it just delved deeper into gamma radiation, and kept ignoring Hulk.  There was an unidentified movie prop – once again, no explanation – along with more explanations about gamma rays.  I didn’t actually bother reading them, and I just kept going.  Next I found Chitaur props and Loki, which were cool.

…And then things hit a new low.  A really new low.

You know how people say Thor is ignored?  Well, Marvel definitely confirmed they ignore him too.

Literally, the exhibit consisted of a black room with Thor’s costume, and a hologram of his hammer.  It’s supposedly like, the world’s biggest hologram or something.  Why that would really matter to a comic book fan, I couldn’t actually tell you.  But it get’s worse.  Thor’s exhibit happened to be his suit, a hologram hammer, and… NASA.  That’s right.  Hubble Space Telescope, Kevlar, Wasp-2b planet, Constellations, Northern Lights.  How is that relevant to Thor?

Not explained either.

Yeah, I get it that he’s from Asgard and space and references, but literally, the entire screen had NASA information as if you just went to a space museum.  Thor’s costume had two screens that didn’t work next to him.  I normally love astronomy, but the fact is, I wasn’t there for astronomy.  They kept up the Avengers movie gimmick, but didn’t actually mention anywhere that Loki is the brother of Thor.  Bringing their A-Game, in other words.

Then you went around the back, and there is another giant screen explaining more astronomy, and suddenly something Thor related actually gets a mention – mind you, the screen is blocked by the NASA exhibit, so it’s not even near Thor’s costume.  Jane Foster is mentioned, as well as more scientific jargon.  I don’t have a lot to say… partly because there isn’t a lot to say.  There wasn’t much to see, therefore, there is very little to talk about.

Next, is Iron Man.

Iron Man gave me the finger.

I knew he was rough, but… wow.. Really..

Iron Man didn’t actually give me the finger.  They just had more gimmicky machines, and one of those machines was an Iron Man arm.  Except, the middle finger must have stopped working, and the ring finger only worked on the top (otherwise known as the phalanges, because apparently this is about anatomy and not comic books).  So you put your hand inside a sensor, and begin making hand movements… except for the fact the middle finger didn’t move.. And as such, Iron Man gave me the middle finger.

But it gets worse.  There was one machine that was so bad, I just stopped using it.  It was about how Howard Stark did engineering or something.  There were typos in each of these machines, somewhere, but this just topped it all.  It didn’t just have typos, but it didn’t explain Howard Stark.  It explained… types of rocks.

Gold is a soft metal.  Iron is a hard metal.  Titanium is found here.  Agent is bored to tears. Abort mission.

If I wanted to learn about metals, I’d take a geology course.  Ideally, if you want to know about Iron Man, you go to a Marvel exhibit… apparently, that is not the case, here.  His costume looked gorgeous, but really, more gimmick machines.  It was supposed to be “being Iron Man”, but like I said, if you actually like comic books, this is not the place to go.  I actually didn’t even bother finish looking at everything, just because I just wanted to leave.

But then, it abruptly ends.  And there is a gift shop…

… with items almost exclusively for children.

For adults, there’s a gray metal water bottle (Iron Man taught you about that.. Pop Quiz time), and really expensive shit.  For example?  There were canvas’.  They were nice.

They were over a thousand dollars.

There were child banks.  Child t shirts.  Child everything else. Thor’s hammer and Captain America’s other shield was in the gift shop, and those two things were literally the only things you could get a picture of.  (I took a Shield Selfie (TM)).  The only mention of comic books was the gift shop… with exactly two story arcs being there.

Everything else sucked, simply put.

Oh?  Remember that green screen?  Well, at the end, they put a picture of the Avengers behind you, and you could buy the pictures for a ridiculously overpriced amount and have them e-mailed to you (yet again for a price).

Turns out, still no pictures in my inbox.

Way to go, Marvel.

Villain Spotlight: Poison Ivy.

Posted: December 10, 2014 in Spotlight
Tags:

This post was actually inspired by a recent Twitter campaign to get Poison Ivy her own series/comic/etc.  It’s also inspired by Ivy in Batman: Hush.

She kinda blew me away.

Have to be honest, I never really paid attention to Poison Ivy. Not until Batman: Hush, where she really showed herself off. I never knew anything about her beginnings and quite frankly kind of didn’t like her. Now I just know she is very, very intense. Wow. She is, definitely, a force to be reckoned with. The idea that someone could use plants as weapons sounds really just utterly ridiculous. Photosynthesis! Photosynthesis!

Really, though, it’s a pretty modern idea. The media was losing their minds about Ebola because of the possibility of a terrorist utilizing it… Not that thousands of people were (and still are) dying currently. But you get the point. On her Wikipedia she is described as an eco terrorist. It’s a very modern thing. Batman himself is not exactly “modern” in his genesis (spandex?). He didn’t have all the expensive equipment back then partly because it didn’t exist. Ivy is a little more recent. It’s a shame she’s not used more often. Kinda wish she would be. I read up on her backstory and found it interesting since she was originally a quiet unsuspecting young girl getting seduced by another scientist.

Yet again such a modern idea.

If you paid any attention to recent news you know the world as a whole landed on a comet. You also know there was a freak out over the shirt of the man who did it despite his accomplishment. Regardless of my opinion on it or your opinion on it (really there is little reason to involve my opinion), it reminded me about a rather serious issue: that does happen in science. Poison Ivy is real, as evidenced by the reactions to that guy’s shirt. Like I said – I am leaving my opinion out here. I consider it too much of a hot button and frankly useless issue to bring up since its over and done with. Why piss people off if you don’t need to?

The fact isn’t the shirt. The fact is her genesis actually happens… Minus the whole terrorizing cities thing.

Also, I sort of agree with the Twitter campaign. She feels ignored.. at least to me. She’s not in suicide squad (movie). She isn’t very much in the spotlight.

Why don’t we change that? Do you like Ivy?

PS: A movie review is coming soon. I’m drowning in college papers.

TV Talk.

Posted: December 4, 2014 in Updates/Gen. Info
Tags:

I don’t have the time to write a post about a movie review today unfortunately.  I have 5 papers due in about a week and a half.  It’s going to be a rough week so I’m trying to give myself as much time as possible.

However.

I don’t watch many of he tv shows other people do.  I don’t watch agents of SHIELD, Gotham, Arrow or the Flash although I want to watch the Flash.  As you might imagine – it’s sort of from lack of time. 

So I’m really curious – who of my followers either on WordPress or Twitter watches these shows?  What do you think of them?  What TV shows, superheroes or otherwise, do you recommend?

Sound off in the comments below.

Hello,

If anyone is happening to want to be like my Star Wars guest poster and write a guest post (or want me to write a guest post), feel free to contact me at twitter.com/FictionalPlanet.  Just tweet to me!  If you need an alternate way of contacting me, comment below you would like to have my e-mail address.

I’m open to comic arc reviews, movie reviews, trailer thoughts, etc.

As some Twitter followers may know (twitter.com/FictionalPlanet) I plan on releasing my own comic book.  This was posted on my blog while it was on Blogger.  I have decided to repost it here:

Without further adieu:

Q: so… What’s his name?
A: not going to give you that just yet!

Q: Give us something! What is his character like?
A: you are using how many social profiles right now? Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr?
This character is a play on the world we live in.  He’s a play on various aspects of society that are hotly debated (like SOPA).  He is a very political character and he is very relevant to society.

Q: hero or villain?
A: neither.

Q: anti hero or anti villain?
A: honestly, not even that is too clear cut but I’d lean on anti hero.

Q: so any other heroes?
A: what’s good about this character is that I don’t need to make him the only hero in whatever universe he is in.  Truthfully, no other heroes want to actually interact with him because they don’t trust him.  He isn’t innately bad or a villain.  He just makes you question morality, good and bad, the basics of what make us human.

Q: Did any work influence you?
A: George Orwell, 1984.

Q: how about villains?
A: you’ll fine out in time.

I asked a knowledgeable friend to write my Star Wars post. He is probably more of a movie buff than me! I’m not the biggest fan and I wouldn’t do it justice. Contact me for more info on him! Thanks again for writing the post. If you want to be a guest feel free to contact me on Twitter.

Well it’s here, it’s finally here. Unless you’ve been living long ago in a galaxy far, far way then you have heard about Star Wars and more importantly for this conversation Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ inaugural teaser trailer. And if you do live in another galaxy in the past then we have other issues. Anyway, that trailer….As you can imagine, the response, views and reactions for it have been massive–record-setting–which isn’t surprising for the world’s largest movie franchise and, as a result, the world’s largest nerd community. The trailer was so big that at least two separate versions of it have registered 10 million+ views of it on youtube in 3 days; the Star Wars and MovieClips channel with the latter having 36+ million. Then there is the George Lucas-ized parody version of it with 5.5 million hits in 1 day and the lego version with 2.5 million in two days. It is probably needless to mention the many other uploads across youtube and the web that have hundreds of thousands and millions of hits as well. This movie is humongous and really anticipated.

And you must be thinking with that kind of pressure and that kind of angst and especially that kind of expectation this teaser will be 3 minutes and spoil half the movie? Well you’d be wrong because that isn’t Star Wars or J.J. Abrams style. Let me preface this by saying I am a prequel fan and an Abrams fan and so my opinion may not and probably is not the prevailing attitude of the Wars community at large–at least when dishing out praise for those two subjects. Anyway, back to that trailer topic. It came to my attention through an Abrams interview with Howard Stern on Stern’s radio show that Abrams has major reservations about revealing much of anything in marketing and prefers to keep the audience guessing and off-balance. As a result I did not expect much with the rumored teaser at all. As expected, the trailer was short, sweet and revealed nothing of import plot-wise. What we got were flashes of a handful of figures and then one massive fanservice tease that would make any fanboy with a soul or a pulse shit their pants. All of this was pleasantly positively received, fans of course have craved for another Star Wars since 2005 when the saga under George Lucas concluded, but when Disney purchased and announced new episodes anticipation was at a fever pitch to see what they can do; this may have colored a few opinions both ways but nevertheless the reaction to it had to be what Disney was pleased with. It was just like 1998 again when The Phantom Menace was teased–the first film from the second Star Wars trilogy. It did all it set out to do and left people wanting more excited and hungrier for more footage or info, a perfect storm for The Force Awakens.

Now to the part a lot of people may be looking for, a break down of some sort. To be honest the trailer was so short, so sparse with information and connectivity it will be quite difficult to make a proper breakdown, this will mostly be filled with background information, conjecture and facts about it that don’t involve the plot. So yeah I suppose it is time to start.

The teaser opens quietly on a very familiar landscape, one featured in every Star Wars film to date bar the highest-received on (Empire Strikes Back). That landscape, or should I say planet, is the desert planet Tatooine, the homeworld of the Skywalker boys Anakin and his son Luke. This time however there is a decidedly different character popping up. With voiceover provided by Andy Serkis (mentioning the film’s subtitle no less), a disheveled man stormtrooper armor sans the helmet rises into camera view in a befuddled tizzy. Said man is actor and presumed lead actor John Boyega. Anyway, the character who has yet to be named publicly appears to be in a sweaty frenzy in the middle of Tatooine’s harsh, rolling desert (with a slight audible probe droid transmission in the background–or at least the probe droid’s speech sound effects from Empire Strikes Back–perhaps hinting that he is being hunted for by Imperial Forces?). Next we see a squat, rolling droid/robot with the head of an R2 astromech (the production model/droid type made famous by R2-D2), making cute little beeps while rolling through a junkyard(?) in one of Tatooine’s many famous towns (Anchorhead, Mos Espa, Mos Eisley, etc) and surveying its surroundings. This character was also not given a name. Next couple shots deal with a squadron of stormtroopers in low blue lighting and traveling aboard a gunship or spacecraft of some sort before a ramp opens up, suggesting they jump out. Either this is hearkening back to Boyega’s character in full uniform or this is a separate Imperial Stormtrooper (maybe they are hunting him?) . Either way, eagle-eyed fans will notice the armor has been touched up with a slightly different helmet than what was issued in the classic original trilogy from 30+ years ago (upgrades?). They prepare to go out into a windy, dark, somewhat lit place.

After the brief glimpses of stormtroopers we see yet another new character being introduced on Tatooine–playing an important role in the film perhaps?. This one is a woman dressed in local/peasant garb riding a speeder bike of some sort. She quickly looks back behind her and races off toward a town. Maybe she is the object of the stormies search or the droid’s or even Boyega, either way she seems to be a popular character at this point. The actress playing her is Daisy Ridley, she has long been rumored to be the child of Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa/Skywalker–two important characters from the original films. No confirmation has been made on her as well. Now we are getting into the juicier stuff. Adam Driver has been the center of a great deal of speculation, with many stating he’d be a villain or working his way up to one starting with this movie. It is clear off the bat that the former rumor is false considering he is an X-Wing pilot and a member of the Republic/Rebellion’s militia who were the good guys in the older films. This, however, does not preclude him turning later on. We do know that X-Wings and Rebel pilots are still operating in some capacity which also makes one wonder whether the Galactic Civil War is still raging 30 years from the onset of the destruction of the First Death Star or if a tenuous peace was consummated between the Rebels and Empire–which leads to the crux of the conflict in this film and beyond. One thing is clear–both factions exist still, long after Darth Vader and the Emperor’s death.

Serkis’s narration continues over a mysterious cloaked figure trudging with purpose through a dark, wintry forest. He waxes philosophically about the dark side of the Force while the character reveals what happens to be a lightsaber hilt in the style of medieval broadswords such as Excalibur or Lord of the Rings styled swords. A red blade emits from the hilt and two smaller ones jut out as handle guards to protect the user’s hands from an opposing lightsaber. As we all know red is the color of the Sith which were purportedly destroyed some 30 years prior, have they returned? Was the Force not balanced or does that mean something else entirely now? Who is this guy and is he the leader or someone else leads him? Is he the narrator or not?

And boy oh boy did they save the best for last. I really mean that. This is where fanboys crapping their pants would occur. The one moment that makes this trailer worthwhile and quite possibly better than any other trailer that have graced our memories recently (many competitors for that between Jurassic World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, etc). I mean the scene is just that epic for fans. And that scene (with Serkis talking about the light side in juxtaposition) is the sudden appearance of the Millennium Falcon in full glory–AND ENGINES GOING FULL BLAST!–flying over the sunny sand dunes of Tatooine with the majesty and beauty of the Star Wars theme blaring (complete with a blaring brass section–did I mention the man was composing for this film? John Williams). It does a quick loop just before flying low over the dunes toward a duo of TIE fighters. Their familiar roar of their engines renewing a sense of nostalgia in us–as well as their horrendous aim–heading on a collision course with the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy. SPOILER: They do not crash. Further, sharp-eyed fans will notice the replacement dish on the Falcon in place of the one she lost at Endor at the end of Return of the Jedi.

Roll title and release date. And that is that. That is the trailer. It may be sparse and mysterious but that is how we like it and that is how Abrams likes it. Since he likes what we like or vice versa, it can be reasonable to state this franchise and we are in good hands.

We saw none of the familiar faces that made us fall for the series in the first place but it did have some epic moments and the return of our baby–the Falcon. All of that was against the teaser and it still worked. A trailer that doesn’t spoil anything and leaves us with a mere taste, fancy that. It was well-worth the wait and praise and I can’t wait for the next glimpse like everyone else. The intrigue and suspense will remain for a long time still, probably until December 18th, 2015 but it will be a fun ride.

Star Wars will live on in long, long from now in a galaxy near you.

Jurassic Park QA

Posted: December 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

So a lot of people know I am into dinosaurs and Jurassic Park.   Before the Star Wars guest post later today I am going to shed some light on it.

Q: what’s your favorite Jurassic park movie?
A: I know the JP nerds are going to be annoyed but The Lost World.
Q: what got you into Jurassic Park?
A: hmm.. probably owning this chasmosaurus toy and wondering what the hell that symbol meant on its leg.. and then I started to slowly piece it together.  Pretty sure I saw The Lost World before I saw Jurassic Park.

Q: favorite part of Jurassic Park?
A: rex breakout scene hands down.

Q: favorite part of the lost world?
A: definitely long grass raptor scene.

Q: favorite JP quote?
A: lunch box quote.   Google it.  It’s amazing.

I’m not spamming!  I’m actually an established blogger at FictionalPlanet.blogspot.com.  I’m making the big switch to WordPress!

Nice to meet you!

Thanks,
FP

Thanksgiving, why must you make my life more difficult than necessary?

A little story for you first.. If you did know, you know I don’t post a lot, nor do I often say my opinion on things.  And, you are FINALLY learning my opinion, you nosy little shit you.  (Relax, I’m joking.)

So.

Welcome to Jurassic.. wait, what?  World?

You did it.  You crazy son of a bitch.  You did it. Can I have a tissue please?

So yeah, we’re in 2014, and Spielberg finally like, gave us his promise he made us like how many years ago.  I actually remember that happening and thinking to myself, “Wow, Spielberg, you suck. He left us!  He left us!”.  However, all hope is not lost: Go get some soda and salty snacks from the vending machine and hold onto your butts, because it’s finally happening.  The director/team/people released the trailer early, which threw me off for posts.  Do-you-think-he-saurus did it because of the Star Wars trailer being released on Thanksgiving?  That’s partly why this post was so late.  I sat there for days analyzing Masrani, and then suddenly, a trailer is released.  That’s, that’s chaos theory.  Nobody could have predicted that director Colin Trevorrow would suddenly, suddenly release the trailer.

Now to get the big stuff out of the way:   Grant?  You’ll never get him out of Montana, he’s not in JW.  We will not be bringing a rock star.  So we see new characters, namely Owen, the two small versions of adults, and Bryce Dallas Howard’s character and we have to ask:  Who in God’s name do you think you are…?

Oh, did I mention we have Dr. Henry Wu here?  We’ve got Wu here.  We’ve got Wu here!  Yes, as far as I know, he was the only old character returning in the movie.  Correct me if I am wrong.  It is a breath of fresh air to see an oldie come back.

So unless you’ve been living inside fossilized amber for the last whenever, you have obviously heard about a JW trailer.  So, here’s the premise of the film:  God creates dinosaurs.  God destroys dinosaurs.  God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs.  Dinosaurs destroy park.  Another man creates dinosaurs … Woman creates D. rex.  Way off on this one, Ellie.  And we do hear  some of it in the trailer.  Now, I’m not going to make a decision on whether or not I’ll like the movie, because just wait a second now, we haven’t even seen the park…  It’s the most advanced amusement park in the world, combining all the latest technologies. I’m not talking rides, you know. Everybody has rides. They made living biological attractions so astonishing they’ll capture the imagination of the entire planet!

The point is, I haven’t see the movie yet. While I want to hear every viewpoint, I really do, it’s hardly appropriate to start hurling generalizations.  The trailer wasn’t one big pile of shit.  It just had some problems: not all the problems of a major blockbuster and a major sequel, at least.  It makes you wonder why someone would do this again: But relax, it’s all part of the miracle of cloning.  I’m skeptical of the new park plot, but I think it’s making different statements than the original Jurassic Park. Genetic power is the most awesome force ever seen on this planet, and Jurassic World wields it like a kid who’s just found his dad’s gun.  Jurassic Park was about the power of genetics and not tampering with them in parts, Jurassic World is about how we can utilize it because everyone knows it’s going to happen anyway; God help us, we’re in the hands of engineers.  The kind of control you’re attempting is possible in Jurassic World – almost.  The lack of humility that’s been displayed here before nature staggers me.

The trailer opens with a woman sending off her kids to Jurassic World; when you gotta go, you gotta go.  As we all know, this could only result in good things, because kids get scared especially when dinosaurs break out.

The trailer jumps around, playing on nostalgia.

They’re flocking this way.

What is that?  Can you tell me what they are?  They’re like a flock of birds evading a predator!  Overall, I can’t wait anymore, show me something different.  We see all the machines and computers Dr. Grant hated working, and the big Apatosaurus meandering in front of the kids we see sent to Jurassic World.  Overall, Apatosaurus was a big favorite of mine who needed to be in some Jurassic Park movie and I’m pretty happy to see it there.  We see something else new, though.

A… Mosasaur? Being fed?

A mosasaur doesn’t want to be fed; he wants to hunt. You can’t just suppress sixty-five million years of gut instinct.  I wonder what actual role the mosasaur is going to have, if any, other than being eye candy.  The Pterosaurs are back, although that wasn’t in the trailer.

But then, we see what we have to be afraid of:

What have they got in there, King Kong?

We have a D. rex!

I’m fairly alarmed here.  As it turns out, the Jurassic World scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.  Now, look, there’s no reason to speculate wildly, but I’m skeptical of the D. rex.  Given the premise of the film, I don’t want to seem as though I’m not giving them due credit or make the filmmakers feel underappreciated in their time.  What you call creation, I call the rape of the natural world.  I hope to not have a repeat of the original movie without Dodgson or Nedry (we don’t have them here). I can only hope JW manages to make it’s own statements, while people are dying.

It’s apparent Chris Pratt is not out of a job, and he stars in this movie. I sincerely hope he does not become a human piece of toast in this movie, because I do genuinely like Pratt.  He told them to please, chance it, because he knows how epically famous Jurassic Park is.  Life, uh, finds a way, and hopefully Chris Pratt will.

There is something else, though.  Spared no expense.

So at first when I heard about JW, I heard about trained raptors or something.  As it turns out, things are a little different than you and I feared.  Nobody took the advice that they should all be destroyed.  Nobody remembered that they’re lethal at eight months, and I do mean lethal.

But they’re casually following Pratt on a motorcycle (that cheetah speed).  I’m afraid he’s dealt with the raptors more than anyone, but he was not a Kenyan game warden.  Even if he’s not exactly controlling them, it’s interesting these animals could be trained.  Remember, they were testing the fences for weaknesses.  Systematically.  They remembered.  Who’s to say they won’t forget what Owen is like without his gun?  After all, they show extreme intelligence, even problem solving.

Overall –  The world has just changed so radically. We’re all running to catch up. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but look – – I’m skeptical about Jurassic World.  I’m cautious, but remain optimistic we can see more blood sucking lawyers be eaten.

Hopefully,  the makers of Jurassic World haven’t stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as they could, and before they knew what they had, they patented it, packaged it, slapped in on a plastic lunch box, and now they want to sell it.

Seriously, though, fuck lawyers.