Categories
Comics Review

Comic Book Review – Star Trek: The City on the Edge of Forever

The City on the Edge of Forever is often described as the best episode of the original series of Star Trek, and it’s hard to argue against that.  The script, written by Sci-Fi legend Harlan Ellison, won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1968, and also the Writer’s Guild of America award of the same name.  That those awards were actually for different scripts is where the comic book adaptation comes in (here is some background).  As you can see, Ellison – never one to stay calm in the face of even imagined slights – famously criticized the edits done by Trek’s writers to his story, a “fatally inept treatment”.  I remember discovering this after seeing Ellison doing his best ‘Andy Rooney of Sci-Fi’ in remarks on the old Sci-Fi Buzz show on the Sci-Fi channel, and being curious about what his story was like.

BlockQuoteCityEdgeForeverI no longer have to wonder, as IDW has published a faithful adaptation of one of Ellison’s drafts of the script.  (spoilers possible from here)  Many of the story beats are the same – Kirk and Spock must travel back to fix the timeline after a crewman screws it up – but the devil is in the details.  Here, a drug-dealing crewmember is the one who mucks things up, something that probably wouldn’t have flown with Roddenberry’s vision of the future.  His treatment also dealt more with the racism of the time, which was present but toned down in the TV episode.  Gone, also, on TV was the fact that the Enterprise changed after the crewman escaped to the past.  Ellison’s script actually has a rather badass picture of Yeoman Rand standing with the redshirts on this other ship in the changed timeline, phaser-blasting and elbow-dropping dudes to buy Spock and Kirk time to beam back down to the Guardian of Forever.

But the most intriguing change is to the end, with what happens to Edith Keeler.  In this story, the crewman (this vile drug-dealing killer) attempts to save Edith from the truck while Kirk stands dumbfounded.  Spock knocks the crewman away, and Edith dies as she is meant to.  It provides a bit for Spock and Kirk to ponder at the end, debating how good and evil can come from the same place.

I enjoyed the book quite a bit.  Scott and David Tipton ably adapted the story, and the JK Woodward art comes across as a series of paintings, expertly capturing the actors in their youth.  I could’ve used some smoother transitions from scene to scene or panel, but it does the job well.  Of course, this version would’ve been impossible to film at the time it was written.  Too long to film, too much stuff to make.  But hey, now you can see the story as Ellison meant it.

Thanks again to NetGalley for the early review copy.  Pre-order your own trade at Amazon.  Or check on the individual issues at your local comic shop.

Categories
Books

Book Review: Star Wars – Tarkin

Remember how strange it was in Ocean’s Twelve when it was revealed that Danny and the boys had won because they had outsmarted the bad guys off-screen? Yeah, pretty much what you have here.  We begin Tarkin, by James Luceno, with an attack on a station Moff Tarkin is familiar with, so Palpatine (now the Emperor as the book is set not long after Episode 3) sends Tarkin and Vader to go check out what happened.  BUT!  It turns out it was a ploy to get Tarkin out there, as Rebels steal his badass stealth ship to go rampaging.  It’s up to Tarkin and Vader to get it back.

Unfortunately, ‘getting it back’ mostly involves Tarkin being outsmarted at every turn, and Vader mostly being there as a threatening presence.  How many of you buy a book about the bad guys on the threat that Vader might force-choke a dude?  Tarkin spends most of the book getting outsmarted and relaying to Vader barely-related stories from his childhood, until the end when it’s revealed that no, I meant to lose all along.  He and Palpatine had a plan to ferret out some traitors in their midst and deal a blow to the barely-formed Rebel Alliance.  But we are really only told about this as an after-the-fact taunt.

Tarkin is really hard to justify.  Grand Moff Tarkin was a great villain in part because of the mystery.  We have the amazing Peter Cushing on screen for a few minutes, he orders a Princess tortured, snarks at Lord Vader, and blows up a whole damn planet because it makes a good example.  If you are removing the air of mystery surrounding a character like that, you would do well to make them a heck of a lot more interesting than this.  As always, thanks to NetGalley for the chance to check this out.

Amazon link: Tarkin: Star Wars

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PC Games Review

State of the Game: Marvel Heroes

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You’ve played a game more than this, right? RIGHT?

Note:  I looked at Marvel Heroes before, but the game has changed even more since then so I’m starting fresh in this article.

I tried Marvel Heroes when it first came out (it didn’t have the ‘2015’ in the name then) but only played about 20 or 30 hours before setting it aside.  Loved the subject matter and style of game (Diablo with Marvel super heroes?  Sold!) but the execution just wasn’t there.  I kept on the e-mail list though, curious to see if the game would die out or come around, and ended up trying the game out again after I got a message about an event that sounded interesting.  As you can see, I’m hooked.

If you are not familiar with the game, Marvel Heroes is an action-RPG where you can play as one of forty different Marvel super heroes and villains.  If you’ve played the Diablo or Torchlight series, you know the style of game.  The difference here is MH is a free to play massively multiplayer action role playing game.  An ‘Action RPG’ is just a role playing game where you click on enemies to attack them, using various abilities directly, rather than selecting attacks from a menu and watching them happen.  ‘Massively multiplayer’ just means hundreds to thousands of users are playing alongside you, though in practice most places you go split you into manageable chunks of players in a particular zone.  ‘Free to play’ means you don’t pay up-front for the game but you can buy stuff, but unlike many games that make F2P a hated term, Marvel Heroes handles it pretty well.  A currency drops every 8 minutes or so, and you can use that to unlock every hero in the game, and many other things like some team-ups.  The main thing you end up running short of is storage space.  You have your inventory, your team-up inventory, and one ‘STASH’ but if you tend to keep interesting gear or play a bunch of heroes, you’ll want to chip in some bucks for extra space.  However, by the time you get to that point you’ll know for sure whether or not you like the game.

In my previous look at the game, I mentioned that the characters hewed pretty close to the standard Diablo archetypes (Ranged, Melee, Pet class) but I’m happy to report that as they’ve gone on, the characters have gotten more and more creative.  Rogue in particular is a ton of fun, as she can steal powers or knowledge from over a hundred heroes and villains in the game – the ultimate in customization.  The unstoppable Juggernaut was just released, and uses his momentum to power hard-hitting movement powers.  The devs are also deep in a process of completely revamping the earliest heroes to bring them up to the level of fun and uniqueness of the newer ones.

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Taskmaster is ready to take you chumps to school.

The story is fun the first few times through, with motion comics as the cutscenes at important spots.  Gazillion has tried to hit all the high notes in Marvel’s stable as far as enemies go, so you fight everyone from Shocker, Doc Ock and the Kingpin to Loki, Doctor Doom and Magneto.  Eventually as you gather more characters, you will not want to just go through the story over and over, and there are more options.  For instance, there is a Midtown Manhattan patrol (and within a few weeks, another Patrol map) where boss fights occur every few minutes.  Holo-Sim pits you against waves of enemies or boss events either solo or with a partner, which X-Defense lets you defend Xavier’s mansion against threats.  Gaz has also released two ‘One-Shot’ stories that exist outside of the story, the Wakandan Mines and the Bronx Zoo, which added the Lizard, Kraven the Hunter and Mr. Hyde.  They also set up ‘terminals’ where you can fight harder versions of some of the story chapters, with chances at better classes of loot or special drops from the bosses.

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Part of the training to defeat Shou-Lao the Undying is how to not check out every mutant who flies by. Also helps to remember that Misty Knight will kick your ass.

There is raid content too, though I’ve never done that – I have too much fun playing each character to the cap and trying the next one.  Cyclops is next, after I finish Taskmaster and Rogue.  I’m also excited for the characters coming this year, as the Winter Soldier, Iron Fist, War Machine and Blade are all on the way.

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One possible way to build Taskmaster.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out our Random Hero box giveaway!

Categories
Movies Review

Movie Review – Big Hero 6

Took the kids to see this at an advanced screening, and had a blast.  It is technically a Marvel movie, though the book is not exactly well-known.  Consider this in the vein of How to Train Your Dragon, in that a lot of the same parts are there, but plenty was changed to work better in a movie.  Some light spoilers from here.

The movie focuses on Hiro Hamada, a 14 year old genius inventor living with his older brother and Aunt after the death of their parents (Disney, I know, right?).  He spends his time building fighting robots and hustling in the underground bot-fighting subculture in “San Fransokyo”.  That is, until he gets inspired by visiting his brother’s lab at college, where Tadashi and his nerdy friends are building all sorts of cool inventions.  He decides to finally stop brooding and go to college, and just needs to prove himself at a high-tech science fair.  However, tragedy strikes, and Hiro is again dealing with great loss.

That’s where Baymax (the soft, inflatable robot) comes in.  Tadashi built Baymax to be a healthcare bot (based on real-world research into making robots friendlier) and picking up on Hiro’s distress, Baymax does whatever he can to help Hiro.  He get’s Hiro and Tadashi’s school friends involved and allows the ‘upgrades’ so Hiro can look for the culprit behind the fire that killed his brother.

The movie is beautiful – the stylized San Francisco/Tokyo hybrid city is super-cool.  The bit where Hiro and Baymax fly for the first time takes me right back to the pure joy of Tony Stark’s first outing in the Mark II suit.  The movie slows down a bit in the middle but my kids had no problems staying with it.  There is one twist in the plot as far as who the villain is – genre savvy parents might figure it out, but the smaller ones will be surprised.  The movie definitely plays with the concept of a sympathetic villain.

We had a great time, and I’m looking forward to seeing it again (and if my kids have their way, again and again and again).  It won’t capture the world the way Frozen did, but that’s a tough act to follow.  Definitely on par with Wreck-It Ralph.  See it.

Categories
Review TV

The Legend of Korra Book 3 and 4

The above picture shows a happy time, with Korra and Asami bonding like sisters (or depending on how you ‘ship’, something more).  It’s pretty much the last happy moment Korra will have in her life.  I might be exaggerating but not by much.  Book 4 starts tomorrow so if you aren’t caught up, here are my long-delayed Book 3 thoughts.

After the uneven Book 2, Korra had left the Spirit Portals open, and Book 3 dealt with some of the ramifications of that.  Korra is maturing, but it’s still tough to be the Avatar in a rapidly progressing world.  I thought the antagonists of this season, the Red Lotus, were fantastic.  Varied, with real personalities that could shine through.  Too often the bad guys in a cartoon are a faceless organization or you have one guy who has to carry the villainy.  We had the ‘one guy’ method with the first two books with Unalaq and Amon, so this was a nice change.  Henry Rollins was downright creepy voicing Zaheer.  I got chills when he said he had ‘entered the void’ after witnessing the death of his love, P’Li.

The final battle between Zaheer and Korra was every bit as action-packed as Aang versus Ozai – it even recalled that fight visually with the pillars of stone.  Korra fought valiantly but the poison Zaheer used on her took too much of a toll.  Zaheer was taken down by the airbenders though, with Jinora at the lead – earning her arrow tattoos! – and Suyin was able to metalbend the poison from Korra just in time.  It appeared to be mercury.  Mako and Bolin both take out the other Red Lotus members – with Mako FINALLY getting a chance to be clever, and using a burst of lightning on Ming-Hua while she was in water to subdue her.  Loved that moment for him.

Two weeks later we see a wheelchair bound, depressed Korra appearing at the ceremony for Jinora.

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Moreso than the physical toll the combat and poisoning took on her, it’s her mental well-being everyone is worried about.  And I know Tenzin was trying to help when he told her that he, Jinora and the airbenders would take care of things while she recovered, it had to feel like a “we don’t really need you” to an already depressed Avatar.  Seriously, this is how Book 3 ends:

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So where will Book 4 find Korra?  It’s three years later, and the Air Nomads, ably led by Master Jinora seem to have things in hand.  From the first few minutes put online the other day, Republic City has adjusted to the spirits, and Asami helped rebuilt things with Future Industries.  Beyond that, we don’t know a lot.  The trailer shows a ton of images of Korra up and moving, but seemingly fighting against herself.  Is Kuvira (one of Suyin’s trusted metalbenders) the bad guy?  Does Zaheer escape custody?  There’s very little to go on for enemies from what we’ve seen, but it sure looks like it’s shaping up to be a dynamite final season.

Categories
TV

New Fall TV Thoughts

I’ve watched some of the new shows this fall, and want to get my thoughts out of my head.  Rather than try to do a post for every one, I’m collecting them here.

New shows:

  • The Flash – Yes, I was weak and downloaded the leaked pilot.  It is great.  Very few of the ‘pilot problems’ you run into when you have to introduce all the characters and explain the world.  Though it probably helps that you have familiarity with the world via Arrow.  Still, they go all-in with the Rogue’s Gallery right from the start, and tease some huge events in the DC Universe.  Very solid.
  • Gotham – Remember those ‘pilot problems’ I mentioned?  Yeah, this show has was the perfect example.  Tons of characters, way too many references to the future Batman mythos considering the Waynes die in this very episode.  It felt like they were in a rush to just establish EVERYTHING right away.  Bruce isn’t going to be Batman for like, 10 years, you can do a slow burn on some of this.  In two episodes we have all the main crime bosses (Falcone/Maroni/new character Fish Mooney), Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, the Dollmaker, Poison Ivy, not to mention all of the important cops (Gordon of course, Bullock, Montoya, Essen, Crispus Allen and on and on).  Add in the Alfred/Bruce stuff and it’s just too much.  The best thing the showrunners could do with this is dial back the future supervillains, and focus on Gotham falling deeper into chaos after the Waynes’ death.  Play up the mob bosses going to war, with the Penguin as a wild card (so to speak).  If you MUST involve other villains, stick one guys like Zsazz who we’ve already seen in trailers for the season.  Gordon’s struggles with the corruption and rampant mafia are more interesting than devoting 10 minutes of every episode to young Bruce, who might do something interesting in a decade.
  • Forever – Watched this one on a whim.  Kind of fun, it follows Ioan Gruffud as an immortal working as a medical examiner in New York City.  He’s trying to figure out why he can’t die (permanently, his body disappears and he reappears in water) while using his years of experience solving crimes.  Only Abe, played by Judd Hirsch, knows the secret.  It feels very much like Highlander: The Series, without the swordfights, complete with flashbacks that often shed light on something happening in the present day.  Biggest mistake the show has made so far was introducing another ‘immortal’ who calls and taunts Gruffud’s Dr. Henry Morgan.  I feel like, you don’t lead with that.  Let the world get established a bit, then spring that surprise on him – do it at a midseason break, if you’re going to have one.  Even that may push it.

That’s all I’ve seen for now.  I’m not really a sitcom guy, and nothing else new grabbed my interest.  Anything else I should be watching?

Categories
Comics Life

The “For Boys” Problem

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My girls!

This is my daughter, Mattie (and the back of my other daughter, Eva).  The girls have taken on my love of comics, mostly due to the show Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  M is wearing her new Captain America hoodie which may be her new favorite possession.  Upon seeing it in the store, Eva squealed “Daddy, do they have a THOR ONE???” but a quick check of the racks showed that they did not.  Hey, his last movie came out a while back.  So I did a search for ‘Thor hooded sweatshirt’, and the first link went to the Disney store.  As soon as the link loaded though, I rolled my eyes.  “Thor Costume Hoodie for Boys” it says.  The thing is, for a kid that is under say, 10, hoodies are all pretty much the same.  I had no problem buying that out of the ‘boys’ section, but a lot of people would avoid that.  Online, it shouldn’t even BE a problem.  Just tag it for both and drop the “for boys” out of the name.

It didn’t get any better when I scrolled to the bottom of the page.  Six more related items, all hoodies for Marvel heroes (and R2D2), all “for boys”.  The Thor character page for girls is desolate, with a Mr. Potato Head toy, a set of figurines, and Disney Infinity 2.0.  Last I checked, glasses, wall clings and books work the same for either gender.

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I find the lack of Thor stuff for girls particularly funny right now, as Thor in the comics is going to BE a woman in just a few weeks.  Cosplayers of both genders have been dressing as Thor forever.  Women and girls go to comic book movies, they work in comic book stores, they read comics.  Why don’t the companies making this stuff get that?  There are sources for stuff at some of the more niche sites on the web, but most folks aren’t going to WeLoveFine or SuperheroStuff.  The girls who want to wear this now are the ones who will pick up a Spider-Man comic on a whim when they get to be teens, and will be filling Tumblr (or whatever fills that role in 10 years) with GIFs of whoever the next Hugh Jackman, Chris Evans or ScarJo is.

I hope this gets better.  DC and Marvel both have some really great books starring female heroes they could get more gear out there for, but sometimes your daughter just ends up loving Captain America, despite how many times you read Ms. Marvel or Captain Marvel around them.  Let’s support it, okay?

Categories
Books Review

Book Review – Half a King, Joe Abercrombie

Joe Abercrombie’s Half a King is my first book of his, and it’s great, if not ground-breaking.  It follows young Prince Yarvi, who has a withered arm, content to step away from the throne and dive into a life of books and study.  Not strong enough to fight, he hones his mind, but everything changes when his father and brother are killed and the throne is thrust back upon him.  It goes from bad to worse when he is betrayed and left for dead.  What follows is a quest for vengeance, and to retake the throne he didn’t even want.

Joining Yarvi are a cast of odd crooks and malcontents, forming an uneasy alliance while fleeing captivity.  Undoubtedly a YA novel, it’s not nearly as dark some of Abercrombie’s other work from what I’ve seen, but the book serves as a great palate cleanser between heavier reads.  There’s action and humor and twists you may or may not see coming.  The book is available now via Amazon or B&N.  Thanks to NetGalley for the copy.

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Movies Review

Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy

I saw an early screening of Guardians of the Galaxy Thursday night, and let me tell you, I had a blast!  I may have only read the actual Guardians comic that was the biggest influence on this after the movie was announced, but I’ve quickly fallen in love with these a-holes.  Of course, I did know of Drax and Gamora from my reading of the Silver Surfer back in the day.  And Thanos and Ronan.

But the movie!  As you could tell from the way it was promoted, this is a whole new animal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  There’s no super-soldier, or technical genius inventing powered suits or serums.  Chris Pratt plays Peter Quill, an Earth kid (well…) abducted by aliens called the Ravagers, thieves and smugglers led by Yondu Udonta.  Quill has only what he was carrying with him, which includes the Walkman and the ‘Awesome Mix Vol. 1’ we’ve heard in the trailers and clips.  He’s stealing a mysterious orb – and getting away from the Ravagers at the same time.  He thoroughly establishes that he’s a goofy man-child (the dancing!  wait for the GIFs).

skip this next section for the biggest spoilers

This puts him on the path to meet the rest of the Guardians – who either want the orb, or to turn him in for a bounty.  That leads to the prison scenes (the Kyln!) you see featured in the trailers.  That orb contains another of the Infinity Stones (we’ve seen the Tesseract and the Aether so far), and Ronan the Accuser, renegade Kree, will not stop until he gets it.  Ronan, played by the Piemaker Lee Pace, is over the top evil.  He gets a bit more to do than Chris Eccleston did in Thor: The Dark World, but not by much.  He’s got a deal in place with THANOS to deliver the orb, assisted by Nebula and Gamora.  Once he realizes the orb has an Infinity Stone inside, well why does he need THANOS anyway?  He can destroy the Nova Corps home planet of Xandar all by himself!  Nebula is okay with this, which goes to show how little you can trust minions that you kidnap, experiment on, and abuse.

This leads Quill and the other misfits to loosely ally – Rocket, with Groot tagging along, to make sure his bounty stays alive, Gamora to make sure the orb stays away from THANOS and Ronan, and Drax who just wants to kill Ronan.  They bond, guys, and it’s great.

end major spoilers

I feel like I could try and explain what I loved about the movie for hours but it wouldn’t do it justice.  Yes, there are changes from the comics.  That happens any time you adapt to the big screen, especially the MCU which is getting well established all on it’s own.  The core of the Guardians are there, especially from Rocket and Groot.  You might find yourself tearing up just a bit as a talking raccoon laments being tortured and experimented on.  I AM GROOT will mean something.  You will laugh, more than you’ve laughed at any MCU movie.  My kids want a tiny Groot all their own.  The music, it’s just as great in the movie as it is in the trailers.  There are things that bug me, but seriously, there’s so much right here.  We see and hear THANOS – yeah, I’m gonna keep capitalizing that – we go to Knowhere, the cameos are there.  Now I just need to see the after-credits scene.  To Friday!

Categories
Movies Review

Movie Review – X-Men: Days of Future Past

The X-Men movie franchise has had it’s ups and downs.  The first two movies were very good despite the myriad changes and tweaks to the characters, while X-Men 3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine were on the rough side.  First Class was good, but went a long way towards making the continuity issues worse (How much older is Havok than Cyclops?  Are they even related? Xavier knew Mystique as a child?).  The Wolverine went a little sideways for the ending but I freaking love Yukio.  A lot of eyebrows were raised when the next team movie was announced as Days of Future Past, with a cast of thousands.  I only exaggerate a little there.  DoFP (see my review of the comic) is a time travel story that covers both the younger First Class version of our favorite mutants, and the dystopic future that needs to be stopped.  I was very curious to see if a time travel story could be pulled off, and am happy to report that Singer and company probably did the best you could expect.

First things first – if you read the comics, you know that Kitty Pryde is supposed to be the one that goes back in time.  Unfortunately, they change that to Wolverine (who else?) mostly so they can keep both casts involved.  I really liked Kitty in those issues of the comics, and love Ellen Page, so it’s hard to see her basically stuck holding onto Wolverine’s brain for 2 hours instead of kicking ass herself.  We do get Storm and Blink with the future mutants, and with Blink in particular, I hope we see more of her.

The story hits the major comic beats as much as possible.  Mystique’s killing of Bolivar Trask (played ably by Peter Dinklage) sets their terrible future in motion, and Wolverine has to stop her.  We meet Quicksilver, who turned out to be a ton of fun.  Uneasy alliances form, and are crushed.

I had a lot of fun in the movie, but there were a couple of oddities.  They explain Wolverine having to be the one sent back that far with his healing factor, that only his mind could handle it.  The serum that Beast and Xavier use is stupid.  Something that can suppress mutant powers?  Why would beast be surprised at the ‘cure’ when he was halfway to making one decades before?  And young Xavier being able to walk while using it is almost as bad as the 90s cartoon, which also had his legs working while his powers were suppressed in the Savage Land.  The framing of Mystique’s arc as the choice between two men was a head-scratcher.

Despite all of that, you can tell Singer was here instead of Ratner – he manages to get some real emotional moments from these characters.  The big reveals after they win are great, and the setup is there for Apocalypse to take the stage.  Definitely worth a watch, though fans of Kitty may have a tough time with it.

Categories
Movies Review

Movie Review – Godzilla

Japanese kaiju (or giant monster) movies have been part of my pop culture since I was a kid, and my older brothers watched the various Godzilla and King Kong movies. Though I probably got the most enjoyment from the Gamera movies as they appeared on Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Even without Pacific Rim appearing on the scene, you knew there’d be a ‘reboot’ of Godzilla for American audiences, the question is, would it be better than the deplorable 1998 version?  For me, it’s a qualified yes.

The story focuses on the family of Joe Brody, played by Bryan Cranston.  Joe and his wife work at a Japanese nuclear plant experiencing some odd, rhythmic seismic activity.  Joe sends Sandra (criminally underused Juliette Binoche) and a team to investigate the sensors giving the reports when disaster strikes.  Joe is forced to seal his wife and her team inside to protect everyone else from an explosion.  Cranston and Binoche sell the heck out of this, and it works.

Fast-forward 15 years, and the Brodys’ son Ford is making a life for himself as a Navy man, in Explosive Ordinance Disposal.  That won’t come in handy or anything!  Unfortunately, his dad hasn’t been able to let go of what happened, getting pinched trying to sneak in to the quarantined area.  Joe convinces Ford to go back one last time to secure data he recorded that will prove his crackpot theory of what happened right…and they both get caught.  This time, they are taken into a secret facility where scientists (including Ken Watanabe, who I could listen to read the phone book) are studying a massive chrysalis.  Being movie scientists, they accidentally hatch the thing and the first MUTO lays waste to the facility (and Joe).  MUTO is an acronym, mind you, and not just something that sounds like what you’d name a monster.

The survivors at the base get taken to an American aircraft carrier which is trying to follow the beast.  But never fear, Godzilla is here!  Dr. Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) has a theory that Godzilla is nature’s way of balancing things out.  He rises from the depths to smack up anything that might wreck Mother Nature, other than us, I guess.  Maybe we’re next.  Here is where things go sideways a bit for me.  There’s two ways a movie like this can go.  One, you go full on MONSTERS WOOO mode, or two, you focus on the people surviving the crazy stuff.  This movie never made a choice.  It didn’t focus on the fights – more than once it cut away early from a fight or showed it small on a TV people were watching.  On the other hand, we didn’t feel much for our stalwart hero other than “Gee, it’s really lucky that a bomb disposal guy is just hanging out right where he’s needed”.  It did lead to one scene where Godzilla falls to the ground, and our hero Ford shares a look with him like “Ain’t this something?  Shoulda stayed in bed!”, which had me laughing out loud.

Anyway, this review is late, but I did enjoy the movie.  It certainly is a solid take on the classic Japanese version of the monster, and does well to ignore the American Godzilla of the late 90s.  Should be at your second-run theaters soon.

Categories
Movies Review

Movie Review – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while – The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a tough movie to get my head around.  It’s really two movies, a great Peter Parker movie, and a decent Spider-Man movie.  The personal moments between Peter and Gwen, and Peter and Harry, and Peter and Aunt May are all spot-on.  So much so that it feels like an odd shift when they go back to the heroes and villains side of the movie, with hammy over-the-top accents, weird characterizations (Dr. Kafka for instance), though the action was still great.  There was none of the feared villain overload, as it was really just Electro and the Green Goblin.  The Rhino is a barely-there reference at the end.  Justice is done to Gwen’s comic storyline.  The set-up for future villains is to be expected.

I enjoyed it quite a bit, though the shifts from the emotional bits to the action bits are jarring, thanks to the way the villains are characterized.