The movie (Disturbia) was okay, if a little too hip for my liking.
~~~("Quick-we want the kids in the audience to identify with Shia-Kid. Show him with an XBox360. Now with an iPod! Now with a PsP! Now with iTunes! Now with a mall-bought faded Ramones t-shirt! Now have him refer to the "jocks and bimbos" at school! Good!)~~~
But the thrills were decent and that Shia boy is damn likeable. He will be a famous actor leading man type in a few years. I know it.
Funnily enough, i felt the same way about Transformers. Except it was a Strokes t-shirt instead of The Ramones. Both movies had entire scenes of exposition dedicated to Shia's character oogling over the impossibly hot high school crush doing impossibly hot things.
~~~("Oh, why don't I fix your car in my jean mini and bend over so my tan tummy and chest are glistening in the sweat and sunlight" & "Oh, why don't I take my shirt off in front of my bedroom window and then walk away teasingly, not aware I'm being watched...then I'll go for a swim in my lil bikini. Mm!")~~~
As someone who has stared through many a window, I can say for sure that girls never just take off their shirts and walk away. Believ it or not, girls don't tend to randomly strip much at all, unless they're changing clothes or something. Maybe someone should pass this along to some movie producers.
Transformers was funny though, and half-enjoyable. Ish.
There's this thing that's happening with CGI in adventure type movies that I think really needs to stop. It's when there's a climactic scene, and because the filmmakers Can go big and insane and epic, they go much farther than neccasary. See: Matrix 3, Pirates 3, Transformers, Star Wars Prequels, King Kong.
There is SO much happening on screen, so fast and such a huge scale, that my mind seriously becomes numb, and I'm no longer sure what I'm looking at.
~~~(Megatron tackles Optimus Prime. They fly through a building, then roll down a street, punch through a bus, fly back into the air, spin in circles, fly through a bridge, etc. OR Giant huge whirlpool surrounds everything. Cut to Jack Sparrow in an unlikely swordfight moving a mile a minute. Cut to Barbosa laughing and shooting something. Cut to Elizabeth and Will swordfighting--with banter. Cut to Jack Sparrow making some sneery confused face that is probably meant to be funny, but it's been like...three movies of this already. Cut to Keith Richards shouting. Cut to Will and Elizabeht kissing, while swordfighting, while Barbosa is behind them shooting people and laughing and making jokes, with the whirlpool the size of Cuba still spinning and the ship colliding with another ship. TWO T-Rexes!? Everyone reacts. Jar Jar drops a blue waterballon ball. A Starship explodes. Cut to millions of squid-like robots. Cut to Neo exploding a building and flying around like a Dragonball Z character.Then...the inevitable slow motion shot with the chorus hitting that long....epic...note.)~~~
It is just Too. Big.
And the worst part is, judging by the music and the way this is plotted, I get the feeling that we as the audience are supposed to be magnificently awed by all this, gripping the arms of our chairs with excitement. I think that's what they're going for.
Instead, i look around the theater and there's a dozen people staring upward with slack jaws and faraway looks. Dumbfounded.
There really is a difference between Epic and Overblown, and it is a line people need to start considering.
I think the Lord of The Rings movies did it well enough. There was tons and tons of crazy, CGI shit happening, but somehow the moments manage to be small and important, both alone and how they're weaved together. It might have to do with the fact the while yes, there are hundreds of CG orcs and creatures running around, the scene is shot in a real place. Well, kind of real. New Zealand.
I don't know. It just really gets to me. I hate that feeling when the stuff on the screen is so extreme and cold that I'm sort of looking around the room for more interesting fare. You can only watch a nameless Spartan shove a sword through a nameless Persian so many times before it becomes very, very tired. Some superhero movies are guilty of it too.
Basically, when you go so big, it becomes impossible for any true emotional involvement with the scene to happen, and really that's the only part of a movie that matters, from horror to action to drama to comedy. If you can't feel deep in you how scared the girl running from the guy with the knife is, or how important it is that this guy not let his boss get shot, or how much is riding on our heroine reaching the magical item before her enemy, then the movie has failed. This is where modern movies, especially in the action-adventure corner of things (and comedy too...come to think of it) have been missing lately. They stop making sure we really care, and just want us to be impressed.
And don't get me wrong. I love me my adventure movies. They're possibly my favorite.
They bring that hair-raising, sharp intake of breath, Oh My God They're Finally At Mount Doom Holy Shit Run You Little Pudgy Hobbit Bastard, feeling to me that I value oh so very very much. A good adventure is like a good theme park ride. Thrilling and exciting but not the point of throwing up and swearing it off forever.
Which brings me to Beowulf. A movie that I was quite sure would follow this less heart/more shouts craze. I've been more or less anticipating this movie for a few years, as it was announced forever ago and I learned that Neil Gaiman had written the script with Roger Avery, Quentin Tarantino's writing partner. The I heard it was directed by Robery Zemeckis, who did Back to the Future and Roger Rabbit, and more recently, Polar Express, and Beowulf was being done in the same Motion Capture style. This was an odd choice, I thought. I had read Beowulf in high school and then a few times since, and its such an odd story, and very contextual. Plus the added weight of being one of the oldest written works in existance.
Then I looked it up.
The largest share motion capturing was finished "filming" by the end of 2005, and then there was two years of post production. The script was written in 1997. This movie isnt so much riding a craze as blazing new territory. The CG world it's in has been rationalized by saying its the same as choosing to do a movie in color versus black and white, or as an animated feature--the technology is there, and needs to be explored. By doing the MoCap thing, the world feels smoother, and you don't have CG creatures fighting real guys, or get that awful washed out look of dudes standing a room that is clearly not the Grecian coast, like 300. It's not an animated feature, it's not live action. It's a third option. It's new. And on top of that, this IMAX release thing theyre doing is incredible. More releases in 3D than any other major film before it. The thing is Meant to be seen in IMAX. It's being released in normal theatres too, but without the full experience. Suposedly.
I'm not saying it will work.
Remember when everyone thought mixing 2D animation on screen with clunky CG enviroments and objects. Titan AE? Treasure Planet? The Mecha Warrior Fox Kids show I can't remember the title of?
That ended up not being so good.
Plus, I know that Neil and Avery have made at least two Major plot changes/twists to the Beowulf legend in order to make it work as a film, and while they seem sort of logical to me, many predict elitists will scoff. ~shrug~
So we'll see.
I listened to Neil Gaiman's phone interview about the film, hours after he'd seen it, and he was blown away and somewhat at an admitted loss for words. And this isn't a man known for being short winded. He called Anthony Hopkins' performance Oscar-Worthy, and mused for some time how the Academy would consider this movie, if it all. He said the 3D parts he saw were like being inside a graphic novel (that's fancy talk for comic books) and he was truly amazed. And he sounded sincerely proud to be a part of this movie, and saw it as important, if nothing else.
Also--He said that he was worried, given that the trailers have been so...well, not so great, (i think they're obtuse and forced, and really, they just push the reasons in my head to never watch trailers in general, and stick to print buzz) and that his fears were alleviated by the actual movie. He's excited to hear what people think, and so am I. I'm also extremely excited to see it. I hope it breaks free of the Epic Over Emotion curse, and have faith in the talents of Neil, Avary, and Zemeckis.
Here's the link to the site. http://www.beowulfmovie.com/
Don't let the music scare you. Just follow Neil's name and listen to his voice, still charming and insightful over the telephone lines.
I spent the weekend before at Kate's (like the three previous weekends, which were also action packed. Sorry journal, I haven't an internet connection handy to keep you in touch. Not unless I'm at school or on Nick's. ~sigh~) and Michael and Katie came down and it was pretty fun. We went to an apple orchard and didn't pick apples, but played with them instead. We threw together costumes, and marveled at the completely absurd world of a university in costume.
It may very well have been the closest I will ever be to Wonderland and the like. Indiana Jones smoking and shotting the shit with the Pope. Pac-Man riding by down the street, closely followed by his ghost enemies. A few Borats, some ghosts, and more scantily-clad, cleavage drowning drunk chicks than one could imagine. The Life sized traffic cones who walked and directed traffic were by far the highlight of the evening though.
Katie and Michael were each other, for a while..
Kate was the color Yellow. mm.
Shannon was a Bunny in a tan coat.
I was a mustached Chicago polish sausage vendor (Ralph Jeblonski) turned zombie fighting mystery man (Captain Sausage).
See pictures that Kate and I took here: http://www.facebook.com/photos.php?id=1952226
Otherwise...I'm not sure how far back I'd need to fill the journal in, so I'll leave most of the past for another time.
Some Present and Future notes, however:
This weekend Kate comes home for the first time in a while. It will be marvelous.
My parents leave for Singapore soon. This week?
Kate and Shannon are seeing Tori Amos live and in character at the Auditorium Theater on Monday.
Then Kate and I are seeing Tori Amos live and up close at the Vic Theater the following night. Uber-excitement is happening on my skin. right now.
I need to write a paper. Like. Now.
My stories are being edited (Wave One) by Shannon, and I am hoping to finally enter some contests soon. Tori has (in theory) aso edited them, but has had trouble getting them to me, and I think I'll be getting them in two weeks time. And i still have Katie Martin and others willing to take a look over, and my chances of publication by next spring are getting better.
I finished my novella Bryan's Extra-Ordinary War Under Lou's Floors (which is, somewhat coincidentaly, Beowulf themed) and now just need some people to read it. Kate has, of course, and she helped me fix the ending. It's quite long, but I like it and need to just start handing copies to friends whom I know enjoy reading.
I've started (accidentally) working on something that might actually end up being novel length, and gotten down thirty-something pages in a couple of days. It's complicated. Fifteen stories (well, actually it's nine short stories with a tenth story told in six parts, interdispersed...) all centered around one night a wedding, and most of the characters are contract assassins. It's really not as hokey as it sounds, and I haven't been this fiery to write something in ages. Now THAT, i am thrilled to have people check out. It's different from most things I write, I think. But probably not.
I need a job. I've been looking fervently.
I rocked my Western Civilization test...? I dont know. I've gone and run out of things to say.
So maybe I'll be back again when i can steal some time on nick's computer again, or something.
Be seeing you.
If you're a creative person and force yourself to be creative (or at least throw something at your craft, as crappy as it may seem) about once a day, good things will eventually happen. Good things like creative disclipline and short stories about colors. More on this next post.