Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Terminator, Wolverine, and Bryce Dallas Howard

So I've been making my rounds in geekdom lately.

I recently read Wolverine: Weapon X, which was interesting. It was an extremely short story--almost like a quick snapshot of Wolverine's life--that was stretched out with repetitive bloody imagery. It was a bit gruesome, but not unnecessarily. Being one of the most famous X-Men stories of all time (despite the fact that very little happens in it), Weapon X is definitely a must-read for any Marvel fan.

The new Terminator film is coming out this Summer. Yay. I am in dire need of a robot apocalypse movie.
Today, while watching the third trailer for the movie, I noticed something that I hadn't before:

John Connor's wife is played by Bryce Dallas Howard, AKA Gwen Stacy, AKA the only good thing about Spider-Man 3.

I am pleased. =D

But robots and city girls aside, my life has been rather uncomfortable as of late.
My allergies have been going crazy for the past 2-3 weeks, and last week they got really terrible. As my last post said, I was house-sitting for another family, and, as it turns out, their house is rampant with allergens of all shapes and sizes. Drugged on Benadryl (for all the good it did), I spent most of my Spring Break mornings in bed, only groggily getting up at noon or later. Oh, and my mom and I had a few "serious talks." Those are never fun.

I really am slightly annoyed at my Creative Writing class. I almost feel as though I have a moral aversion to creating something that I don't want to. It's as if I'm being asked to put my passion into something that my heart's not in. It bothers me.

On a shinier note, I've decided that I REALLY want a 2010 Camaro.

If anyone has $30,000 they'd like to give me, I'd much appreciate it. :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

House-sitting, Star Wars, Writing, and Teenage Violence (controversy!)

So this week I'm house-sitting for a family I know. That'll be fun. They have a couple of little dogs that are nice and cuddly. If anyone wants to come by and keep me company, that'd be great. I'll probably be bored rather quickly.

This past Saturday I was at an all-day Star Wars marathon. All six, all day. It was pretty awesome. That might be a fun annual thing to do. Now that I've had the chance to see all the Star Wars films again, I think I'm going to actually do some reviews for them. Hopefully I can get them all done over the week.

Speaking of writing, I've been extremely lacking in time-to-write as of late. I want to do more movie reviews and sci-fi storywriting (yes, Diana, I'm working on it), but I've also got school papers and other stuff to do. :P

On a totally different note, however, I've been thinking about how the media has been lashing out against video games for their violent content, and talking about how today's youth is "desensitized" to violence. I wonder, though: is that a bad thing?
We talk about desensitization as if it's this horrible thing that will turn children into apathetic serial killers. But really, does the fact that you're not grossed out by violent movies and games make you apathetic towards REAL people who are in REAL peril? I don't think so.
Heck, I think that a little desensitization can be good. It can help you learn to cope with some of the tougher things in life, so that when they happen, you're not shocked into helplessness.
People need to realize that there's a difference between physical harm and the act of cruelty. People get hurt and even killed in everyday life, but seeing the often-disgusting results of violence does not make you into a detached psycho-killer. If it did, then ER doctors and surgeons would be among the world's most dangerous people.

It's time that the greater minds of the world stopped believing that people are incapable of not mimicking every action they see. Unless your entire definition of reality has been changed, you're not going to shift your entire view on life, death, and murder based on a fictional medium.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Allergies are apparently rampant.

I've spent most of the day feeling like my brain was swelling inside my head. Not actually painful, just making it difficult to focus on anything.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Watchmen Review

The twelve-issue comic maxi-series Watchmen was published in 1986, and has now become recognized as one of the top 100 novels of the 20th century. Its deep study of the psychological reasoning behind superheroic characters has influenced every facet of the comic-book industry. The story is gritty, realistic, and shockingly dark at times. It is not a tale for children, as its content is entirely too mature.
Many had previously (and infamously) called Watchmen "unfilmable," citing its overly complicated narrative and nonlinear storytelling. Zach Snyder, director of this 2009 film, has now proven them wrong.

For those who don't know, Watchmen is set in an alternate 1985, where costumed vigilantes exist in the real world. With one major exception, none of the so-called "heroes" have superpowers, and many of them are slightly insane. The presence of these vigilantes has completely changed the world, with the U.S. winning the Vietnam War and the subsequent events of the Cold War becoming even more heated. In the present time of Watchmen, the "doomsday clock" stands at five minutes to "midnight," when nuclear devastation will be upon the world. The main plot of Watchmen revolves around a core group of "heroes," complete with lengthy individual flashbacks. When one of these heroes is murdered, a chain of events is set in motion that threatens millions of lives.

Watchmen is unique among comic book superhero films in that it is a literal adaptation of the comic's story rather than a re-imagination.

Fans of the novel may be dissatisfied with certain alterations to the original story. However, the changes all work in the end. Several alterations are actually superior to the original tale.

Zach Snyder will forever go down in history as the one man with the ability to adapt comics into motion picture form while still maintaining their original integrity. Watchmen practically uses the original novel's panels as storyboards, yet still somehow makes them work in motion. This may be the single most visually well-done film I have ever seen.

Parents must take note: This is not a film for children. Heck, it may not be a film for you. There are at least two notable sex scenes in the film, though only one of them was very graphic. There was also quite a bit of nudity in the film, but only once was it ever used in an unnecessary way. Curses are thrown about like lawn darts, though never without reason. The violence is brutal and bloody. When a younger friend of mine asked me if I thought her parents might allow her to see the film, I replied, "Nope. Too many broken bones and naked people."

Watchmen was always a tale of moral ambiguity, and this film is very accurate to its source material. This is not a simple film in which the characters are identified as "good" or "evil." This is a story about realistic human characters with real human flaws. Those looking for a superhero film will be disappointed: Watchmen is no such thing.

This film is an elaborate series of stunningly beautiful musical montages. Watching Watchmen is like eating New York cheesecake drizzled with strawberry glaze. I found myself wanting to cheer at the action scenes, which are overly stylish, yet kinetic and real enough to seem plausible. Set to electric guitar rock combined with traditional superheroic orchestral fare, the action in this film makes the men in the audience feel like eight-year-old boys again (provided that the on-screen bone breaks and cracked spines don't make them vomit)

Sadly, Watchmen does have its narrative flaws. Even the original novel felt lacking, as though the reader was only privy to short glimpses into the lives of these complex characters. This film has the same problem, but does make up for it somewhat with its highly enjoyable visuals. However, after watching Watchmen, I feel slightly robbed of some quota of comfort or satisfaction. That may be simply because Watchmen does not exist outside of this single story, thus severely limiting the depth of its fictional world. Whereas every other superhero franchise has a countless number of comic issues, TV series, video games and films to back it up, Watchmen will never progress beyond what is seen in the film's narrow view, and does not create a world for the fans' imaginations to delve into. However, the story's narrative is meant to be a psychological examination, and, in that respect, the novel succeeds, and the film does a decent job.

All in all, Watchmen is far from a perfect film, but is still good, acting as the new standard for comic book adaptations.


Star Trek

Go here and watch the new trailer. NOW.

Have you seen it? Okay. We can talk now.



The teaser trailer was cool, but not enough.
The first trailer was entirely too quickly-edited and cheesy.
This new trailer is more epic and exciting than any other Trek film has ever been. It's perfect.

I am now anticipating Star Trek more than any other film this year. Wolverine and Terminator can suck photon torpedoes.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Goodbye, Burgundy Friend

Circuit City's stores are nearly barren now.
I am sad.

CC was my favorite of the electronics giant stores. It had better deals than Best Buy, and a cleaner, easier-to-navigate store layout.

I will miss them.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Action Figures

I love action figures. I really do.

I'm not one of the weird guys who still play with their figures, nor am I a psycho who collects every figure produced and keeps them in their packaging. I'm the kind of guy who collects only the few figures that I really want. I don't want to get all the minor characters, just the ones that are really important to me. There's something about having an action figure--not a mini-maquette or something--that's just so cool. Even if I'm not going to play with them, and they're really only going to sit on my shelf and look shiny, I'm somehow happy with the basic idea that they're poseable--like they're some kind of mini-versions of the real characters.

I'm currently interested in three figure lines at the moment: DC Universe, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Marvel Universe.

The DCU figures are great. They're like 6 inches of plastic magic. Their sculpts are amazing, and their poseability is outstanding. My only gripe is that they don't release enough of the main characters, preferring to have mostly 2nd-tier characters along with one or two upper-tier characters in each figure wave. That annoys me, as we still haven't gotten a great Superman or Batman figure yet. (But we did get Nightwing!!! :D )
Actually, there are a couple of other gripes. Firstly, the scale. I love figures being in that 6-inch scale, but they simply take up too much room on my shelf. The 3 & 3/4'' scale is what I can handle. Mattel also has a smaller-scale DC line, but the quality of those figures is downright terrible. I believe that Mattel makes great 6-inch figures, while Hasbro makes good 3-3/4-inch ones. Secondly, I have a problem with the price. $10.99 was the last price I saw for the DCU figures, and that's just a little too much for figures that aren't my absolute favorites.

The Clone Wars figures are really nice. The "animated CG" style of the series is near-perfectly translated to toy form, and the overall quality of the figures is very impressive.
So far, I've collected Anakin, Ahsoka, Cody, Rex, Ventress, Obi-Wan, and Plo Koon. Next I'm looking to get Kit Fisto, Mace Windu, and any other Jedi or clone commanders they release.
At $6.99, they're just barely within my acceptable price range.

My latest obsession, the Marvel Universe figures, are quite remarkable. Their sculpts aren't perfect, but they definitely seem to be great little figures that are chosen straight from the current comics (which I am definitely happy about).
I just picked up Iron Man tonight, and he's pretty good. Not perfect, mind you, but good. He's got an absolutely perfect metallic sheen to his armor that is essential to the character.
I can't wait to pick up more of these, including:
  • Captain America
  • Spider-man
  • Iron Fist
  • Ms. Marvel
  • Thor
I'm also tempted by Ronin and Daredevil.

Another cool thing is that the new line of figures for X-Men Origins: Wolverine is basically an extension of the MU line. The vast majority of the figures are actually based on the X-men comics, and it's a great way to collect figures like Cyclops, Iceman, Gambit, and classic yellow/blue Wolverine.

But the best part about the MU line has to be the three-pack coming later this year:

Spider-man, Iceman, and Firestar!!!! The Spectacular Spider-Friends!!!! *geek squeal*
By the way, if you've never seen Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, you are missing out on life.

Sadly, however, the MU line has one major fault: its price. $7.99 is way too much. If the figures had an absolutely perfect sculpt or were in a bigger scale I could forgive the price, but eight dollars for something that small and (not to be insulting, but) imperfect is just ridiculous. I may have to hold off on getting some of these figures for a long while; hopefully I won't miss out on them entirely.

Cranberry Juice

I've discovered I like it.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


So today I'm in a Marvel comics mood. I don't know why.
For many years I slightly despised Marvel and their universe, despite enjoying many of their stories. It's only now that I've spent a good amount of time reading comic trades that I've started to become rather fascinated with the Marvel U.

It's true that the MU has a ton of problems, most notably the fact that they falsely believe that their heroes must be constantly broken in order to be interesting. However, their current comics have an extremely deep focus on character development. Ed Brubaker is probably the best character-based comic writer out there. I casually read through a trade of The Immortal Iron Fist and was enthralled, despite having had no prior knowledge of the character (I know, I'm lame).

I just read Secret Invasion, and was unimpressed. The lead-up to SI was perhaps too much, and the event itself was totally unsatisfying. I would have rather had the God-knows-how-many-issues that tied into SI dedicated to simple character-building stories. But oh well.

I've been really into the X-men lately. I'm highly considering buying the "40 Years of the X-Men" DVD so I can read through their entire history.
I've decided that I don't hate Wolverine anymore. Just FYI. I think he's okay. I wish I had claws. :(

Oh well. Time to sleep now.