Movie Review – Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

Directed by Kevin Smith

Starring Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Shannon Elizabeth, Will Ferrel, Deidrich Bader, Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Mark Hamil, and many cool cameos and guest appearances.

I remember when I became a Kevin Smith fan. It was in my freshman year, and I was just hanging out in the floor lounge watching TV on a Friday night. Someone and his girlfriend came in, and they wanted to watch this movie they had rented: Mallrats. I found it to be the funniest movie I had ever seen. Since I had just discovered the Internet, I began using it to seek out more on the film’s director, Kevin Smith. His first film was Clerks. The name was familiar because Siskel & Ebert were constantly raving about it. I found out that his next project was called Chasing Amy, about a man who falls in love with a lesbian. I rented Clerks, and, since there were no art house theaters in Camrose, I had to wait over a year for Chasing Amy to come out on video. I followed the development of Dogma, but managed to miss its theatrical run. And finally, with eager anticipation, I was ready to finally see Smith’s “View Askewniverse” on the big screen.

Jay and Silent Bob (Mewes and Smith) are hanging out in front of the Quick Stop as usual. But, those intrepid clerks Randal and Dante finally have enough of their antics and get a restraining order, keeping them away from the Quick Stop. As they unload their woes on their former fellow mallrat Brodie, they learn that their comic alter-egos, Bluntman and Chronic, are getting their own movie. So, they go to comic artist Holden McNeil to try to and get their share of the royalties. Holden reveals that he no longer has any involvement with Bluntman and Chronic, having sold out his half to his former partner Banky. But, Holden introduces Jay and Silent Bob to the Internet as they try to find out the latest scoop on the movie. At one movie gossip site, they find a whole bunch of people saying how much they hate Bluntman and Chronic and their “secret identities” of Jay and Silent Bob. Disturbed at how their good names are being dragged through the mud, the real Jay and Silent Bob decide to sabotage the movie so people will stop saying bad things about them on the Internet. So, the road trip from New Jersey to Hollywood begins! Along the way, they run afoul of an all-girl gang of thieves, liberate an orangutang from an animal research lab, get pursued by a somewhat slow-witted wildlife marshal, and Jay finds true love with woman named Justice. Will Jay and Silent Bob stop the Bluntman and Chronic movie? Will Jay and Justice live happily ever after? Will Silent Bob speak?

I dare say that this is the funniest movie of the year. But, it comes with a condition. To get a lot of the jokes, it really helps to be a Kevin Smith fan. Just about every character from a Smith movie makes an appearance, and there are tons of subtle references to previous Smith films. But, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty for the non-Smith fans to laugh at, as Smith goes about ripping on Batman, Scooby-Doo, Charlie’s Angels, The Matrix and even The Fugitive. Oh, and there are the Star Wars jokes, which has become a Smith trademark. Mewes is really enjoyable as Jay, as everyone’s favorite drug dealer finally shows us his soul. Shannon Elizabeth is wonderfully sweet and innocent and Justice, Jay’s true love. As many a critic has pointed out, this isn’t the poignant, thoughtful, comedy-drama of Chasing Amy. It’s just one huge movie by geeks for geeks. And since I am a geek, and a Smith fan, I found that it just rocked.

(And on a side note, I don’t know what was cooler: seeing Mark Hamil meet the same fate that he did in Empire Strikes Back, or seeing Mark Hamil actually deliver a few lines in his Joker voice from Batman: the Animated Series)

4 Nibs

Random Thoughts

Chaos in Print

Hey, all you lucky loyal readers! So, this has to be posted within a few hours, but I really haven’t had the time this week to write the thought-provoking miniature works of literature you’ve become accustomed to. You will not get an angst filled rant about virginity tonight. You will not get a venting about how much my job sucks tonight. Hell, you won’t even get a Midnight Rambling. Instead, what you’re going to get stuck with is a collection of paragraphs and sentences that have nothing to do with each other! Each one could become the basis of a future column, or each one might never be mentioned again. Either way, they all have one thing in common. They are being put up to fill space. My, don’t you feel lucky that I feel such a great responsibility to all 12 of you that, even when I have nothing to say, I still say something? Listen up, then, for this glimpse at the sewer of my mind.


I had that dream again last night. You know, the Ally McBeal dream. Yeah, I know what you think. These dreams are weird. You think that if I were to have an Ally McBeal dream, it would involve Callista Flockheart and Jell-o, or some such erotic nonsense. But no, I have something more straight-laced. In these dreams, I am Mark Cappis, the new lawyer at the firm. It’s like I’m just the new character on the show. How lame is that?


“How many times do I have to tell you? I’M NOT A POKEMON!”


As I was lying naked in the tub, I started thinking how much more relaxing this would be if the tub were filled with water.


The whole concept started with the cavepeople. See, we originally had these two cavepersons, let’s call them Zog and Zorg. Zog grew potatoes and Zorg was a hunter. Then, one day, Zorg was getting tired of bronto burgers every night, and Zog was getting tired of french fries. So, Zog said, “Hey, Zorg! I’ll trade you a couple of potatoes for some bronto steaks.” And thus bartering was born. Society was happy with bartering. But then, a third caverperson was introduced to the mix, Zach. Zach had no meaningful skills whatsoever, save for the gift of gab. Zach wanted some bronto burgers and potatoes, too, but had nothing to trade. So, Zach grabbed a handful of rocks and polished them up in the river. He went to Zog and Zorg and said, “I’ll trade you these shiny rocks for meat and potatoes.” Zog and Zorg, being easily impressed with shiny things, gladly accepted. Zach thought this was great, but he wanted more meat and potatoes. So, he said to Zog and Zorg, “Having one shiny rock is good, but having lots of shiny rocks is even better. Keep giving me meat and potatoes, and I’ll give you more shiny rocks.” Before long, Zog and Zorg were doing nothing but getting meat and potatoes for Zach, all in the name of more shiny rocks. But, Zog and Zorg started catching on. Soon, they too started trading the shiny rocks for other necessities of life. The friendly spirit of bartering and cooperation had died that day, and along came the concept of money. And now, we find our days constantly filled with working for cavepeople so we can get more shiny rocks.


And Kenten curled up into the fetal position and began weeping like a little girl. (Sorry, Kenten, I just felt like throwing that in there.)


And that’s when I started thinking, “When A&E does do a Biography on my life, what are people going to say about me?”


Death is a funny thing. I laugh about it constantly.


I needed an anime fix tonight. It had just been so long since I’ve seen some, that I was starting to get the shakes. So, I went to the video store across from work, and rented Sailor Moon R The Movie: The Promise of the Rose and Sailor Moon S The Movie: Hearts In Ice. Of course, they were dubbed and severely edited, but it would make the cravings subside. The first one was about this guy, who was a friend of Darien’s when they were kids, who had come back to earth to “reclaim” his friend, but he accidentally teamed up with something evil and was about to destroy the world. The second one was really Luna’s story, as this talking cat and Sailor Moon’s mentor actually fell in love with a human male. And, as with the entire Sailor Moon universe, the recurring theme of fighting for love and friendship was underscoring both productions. It was near the end of the first one, when all the Sailor Scouts were rising up to fight along side their friend, and thus lend her the energy from their friendship, that I came to startling realization about myself. I am such a girl.


Tonight, we will rely on our brains, and our hands.


We have greater worries than a dead Spock with no pants.


Just as I was placing the role of tape on a scale to determine its mass (what can I say, it’s a really boring night), Beverly walked up to me. I often wonder just what the hell Beverly is doing working here. She has recently finished high school, but has yet to go off to college or some place like that. It’s obviously where she belongs. But yet, she’s here. She has long dark hair, and deep brown eyes that you could get lost in. Her smile is the cliched kind that lights up her room. In the black hole that is this grocery store, she has a kindness and purity to her heart that she hasn’t lost yet. She makes working here tolerable. And it’s for those reasons that I think she should get out of here as soon as possible. At least she’s my supervisor on this long, boring day.

“Whatcha doin’?” she asked.

“Putting my education to work,” I replied. “I’m analyzing the motion of this roll of tape. As soon as I get its mass, I can determine its velocity as it smashes to a halt.”

“Why?” Wow. This is the most she’s ever said to me.

I really hate going through this for my co-workers and the customers, but if I have to, I have to. “Because I have degrees in math and physics, and I hope to get out of this hell hole someday to a job where I actually use those degrees. Until then, I may as well keep my skills sharp.”

I never liked teenagers, and I think I never will. When I was younger than them, they were this dark, mysterious force. Now that I’m older than them, I find the immaturity and arrogance that dominates their lives to by annoying. And when I was a teenager, I hated my own kind, which I’m sure you’ll agree just isn’t natural.


How come I never told her I loved her?


Just stop the fighting. Stop the fighting. STOP THE FIGHTING.


People are stupid. There’s just no other way of saying it.


The bolt of lightning shrieked from the sky; unknowing of its destination. It did not know where it was going, nor did it care. All it knew is that it must strike the ground and die, for it was a bolt of lighting, and that’s what bolts of lightning do.


If Jack helped you off a horse, would you help Jack off a horse?


I once read that all people who keep diaries have a subconscious desire for someone else to read it someday. What better way to get some attention than to make the subconscious conscious? So, I satisfied my craving for attention by posting my diary online, and calling it a “column.” It’s not exactly the best thing to do. There’s this new advice columnist in the Edmonton Journal: Caroline Hax. This young man once wrote to her for advice. It seems that he met this really cute girl and got her phone number. Then, at home that night, he was just goofing around on the Internet, entered her name into a few search engines, and it wasn’t long before he found her website. He began reading her online column, where she’d spill her guts about her inner demons on a weekly basis. After reading some of her works, this guy didn’t like her so much anymore. So, he asked Ms. Hax for her advice on how to deal with her. Ms. Hax responded that she’s obviously just a loser seeking attention, and that, despite how cute she is, he shouldn’t call her back. This got me thinking. This woman’s website paralleled mine in so many ways, and that was enough to make this man not like her. In my cravings for attention, I never stopped to think about what kind of impression I’d be making on the world. Revealing all my secrets on the Internet isn’t such a smart thing to be doing. It’s time to make my secrets a secret again.


This has been my opinion. If you disagree, that’s your right. If you agree, I thank you. Now go forth, ask others, and get the balanced argument on your own.


And, just like when I was writing papers for university professors, the word count tells me this is long enough. I hope you enjoyed this wild ride though my psyche.

Adults Only

Chaos in Print

Who should we be more worried about: the man who rents 18 hours of porn movies, or the man who rents 18 hours of Disney cartoons? — From a Talk Back posting at Ain’t It Cool News

When we are children, we are fascinated with the facets of the adult world. This fascination, no doubt, comes from the mystery of said world. We discover that there are certain things off-limits to us because we are too young. We can’t go into a bar because we are too young. We can’t buy lottery tickets because we are too young. In our teen years, the fascination reaches its peak, and so we use the alternative methods to get into these forbidden zones. Thanks to clerks who neglect to ask for ID, or just have trouble spotting a fake one, teens get their hands on their much coveted beer and lottery tickets. Then, after they’ve gotten a taste of this contraband, they ask the immortal question: “Why was this kept from me for so many years? It’s so lame.” By the time they can acquire this contraband through legal means, the fascination has worn off. Like most, I, too, was fascinated with these vices I was deemed to young for. I have sampled beer, decided it sucks, and don’t drink. I have bought the occasional lottery ticket, but don’t play, simply because, well, I know I’ll get a million dollars sooner by saving the money I’d spend on lottery tickets. But there is still one aspect of this adult world that I have yet to indulge in. There is one facet that I have yet to venture in to. I have yet to walk through those swinging doors in the corner video store. I am talking about the world of adult movies.

Don’t get me wrong, I have tried to satisfy this curiosity once in the past. I was still in university and had just returned some movies to Video Update. It was before lunchtime, and the store was deserted. After I dropped off my movies, I began skimming over the new releases, pondering whether to get something for that night. As I followed the wall of new releases, I soon came to the swinging doors. I looked at those doors. I took a quick look around. The store was still empty. The clerk wasn’t even visible. He must have been behind a shelf returning the movies I had just returned. I summoned up my courage, and ventured through the doors. I was greeted by the loudest squeaky hinges I’d ever heard. A SCREEEEECH echoed through the store. But I had made it to the other side. I just glanced at the walls around me. They were covered with videos featuring women in various states of undress. I didn’t venture forward any farther. I didn’t even randomly grab one of the videos off of the shelf to read the back. Only one thing dominated my mind. “I’m on the other side.” Completely stunned that I had gone this far, I didn’t know what to do next. So, I turned around and walked back out. Again, I heard the SCREEEEECH. It were as though it were screaming “PERVERT!” The clerk lifted his head up from the counter, took a quick glance at me, then went back to work. I breathed a sigh of relief that only one nameless clerk knew of my sin, then began the walk back to the university.

My friend Chuck once worked at this Video Update, and one time I asked him how many people actually rent porn movies. He told me that it wasn’t very many, but those who did seemed to fall into a type. What he described to me sounded a lot like what most of us expect a porn enthusiast to be: middle aged, balding, wearing a trenchcoat, and just a little secretive in their behaviour. This was a huge contrast to an article I had just read online. It was from a video store clerk who was talking about his first day on the job, and in his first few hours, he was completely stunned by how many people actually rented porn movies. Maybe Camrose is just removed from Los Angeles in more ways than one. My image of the typical adult film enthusiast tends to be that of Fox Mulder, perhaps the most prominent character on TV with that kind of hobby. Here he is, a distinguished professional in his field, who enjoys adult movies. He doesn’t go out of his way to hide it. He doesn’t go out of his way to proclaim his love for them. He just likes them like how I like cartoons. They’re just another genre of movie to him. So, if one of the iconic television heroes of the last ten years can adopt this attitude, why can’t I? I mean, I’m not one of these perverts that Chuck told me about. I’d just be renting one to see what it’s like. Or maybe two, because Tuesdays are 2-for-1 at most video stores, so I may as well get the free one if I go though with this on a Tuesday.

Well, right now, I do have geography working against me. I’m living at home. I’m sure my parents would have some pointed questions if I came home with one. There’s your ideal family viewing. And it’s not like I can just wait for a weekend in which I’ll be home alone. With Mom retiring from politics this fall, she’s going to be around home a lot more. With Dad taking a new job that’s closer to home, he’s going to be around home a lot more. Nope. It looks like I won’t be able to do this until I move out.

Then, we come to the whole relationship that I’ve established with my video store. The one I currently frequent is Video Headquarters, which is just down the street from where I work. I’ve been known to stop in and rent a couple of new releases and classics on my way home from work. Hell, I’ve even been interviewed to work there. Most of the movies I rent tend to be cartoons of the 80s. I remember the glee I expressed to a clerk at finally being able to watch Go-Bots. I remember that one clerk sarcastically saying to me, “I think I see a theme here” when I rented all the Alien movies. I’ve continuously harassed the management over not getting an anime section. I remember requesting to the management that they get more Stanley Kubrick films so I can finally experience his work. They know me and my habits. That image is going to be shattered as soon as I walk out from behind those squeaky doors with a movie under my arm.

But then, I guess I should remember that those clerks are idiots. “Do you have Princess Mononoke?” I asked. “Mono-WHAT?” they responded. “Do you have pi?” I asked. “Cooking movies would be in special interest,” they responded. “Do you have Cannibal: The Musical?” I asked. “No, but here are some other horror movies about cannibals you might like,” they responded. Should I really be valuing the opinions of these people? No. I of all people should know that customers tend to blend together after a while, so their memories of me are probably fuzzy at best.

My curiosity about adult movies is really starting to get the better of me. It doesn’t help that, during the last re-organization of Video Headquarters, they moved the DVD section to surround the swinging doors. Now, every time I’m looking to rent a DVD, I’m confronted with the swinging doors. I’m sure those clerks must be running some kind of pool by now, as whenever I pass those doors, I linger, wondering if I should go through them. “I betcha he’ll go in this time,” one must say. “I’ll take that bet,” another probably says. I go through the same questions I went through that day at Video Update all those years ago. If those clerks ever got a good look at what I was doing, they would see me squinting my eyes, trying to peer through the crack between the doors. I want to go through, but the thought of humiliating myself keeps me out.

Last time I was perusing the DVDs and glancing over at the swinging doors, a man came out from that room. He must have had 16 films tucked under his arm. And that’s when the fear hits. The real reason why I don’t go through. What if I do rent one, and I like it? What if I begin going though those doors more and more? What if I turn into that guy? That’s the problem with being mature and finally being able to realize the consequences of your actions. When we all took that first sip of beer, we weren’t thinking, “What if this turns me into an alcoholic?” When we bought that lottery ticket, we weren’t thinking, “What if this turns me into one of those nuts who spends hundreds of dollars on this and doesn’t win anything?” We looked around. There are millions of responsible drinkers. There a millions of people who just spend $5 a year on lottery tickets. There are millions of people who indulge in these vices and are normal, so we knew that nothing would come from one beer or one lottery ticket. So why can’t we think the same about porn movies? Why can’t I think the same way about porn movies? It should be no big deal, but to me, it is. I guess, even though I’m legally an adult, I’m still too young.

Movie Review – Osmosis Jones

Osmosis Jones

Live action directed by Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly; animation directed by Tom Sito and Piet Kroon

Starring the voices of Chris Rock, David Hyde Pierce, Laurence Fishburne, Brandy, William Shatner, and, in the live action segments, Bill Murray, Chris Elliot, Molly Shannon and Elena Franklin.

This film will always have a special place in my heart. I submitted a trailer description to Corona’s Coming Attractions, and they ran it. This is the only movie where a movie news site ran my news on it! But that’s not the only reason why I was looking forward to it. I had been greatly impressed with Warner Brothers Animation’s last product, The Iron Giant, and was looking forward to see what they’d cook up next. The premise was intriguing, and I went into the theater with an open mind.

We meet up with Frank (Murray), and he’s a complete slob. He scratches himself, he doesn’t shave, and he eats whatever he can get his hands on. His daughter Shane (Franklin) tries to get him to change his ways and eat healthy, but she’s had little success. Then, one day, Frank eats a hard boiled egg that he fought a monkey for, and we’re taken to the animated world that’s inside Frank’s body. Inside, we meet up with a renegade cop/white blood cell, Osmosis Jones (Rock), who’s working the beat in the mouth. On that egg, Jones spies what appears to be a virus, and goes chasing it down. This, of course, ends in disaster, leading Frank to take a cold pill. Back on the inside, Jones finds himself saddled with Drix the cold pill (Pierce) as his new partner. They go chasing down the virus, but find it to be, not a cold, but Thrax (Fishburne), a deadly strain who’ll stop at nothing until he kills Frank. The Mayor of Frank, Mr. Phlemming, (Shatner) wants to avoid a body-wide panic, but his chief adviser Leah Estrogen (Brandy) wants to be more honest with the people/cells. Can Jones and Drix stop Thrax? Will Jones’ smooth talking win him Leah’s heart? Will this whole incident finally get Frank to clean up his act and start taking better care of himself?

This seems to be two movies, as we follow animated plots inside Frank, and live-action plots about Frank’s life. The live-action bits are only so-so, with the Farelly Brothers (who did Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary) giving us more of their trademark gross-out humor. The fun part of this film is truly the animated plots. Rock is hilarious as the white blood cell who comes across as the kind of cop that’s in all these cop movies. Fishburne is a wonderfully menacing villain, and Shatner himself is pretty good as the mayor. The animated bits were very imaginative, full of dazzling visuals, and fascinating ideas. It makes me wish that there were more animated segments. And, since all animators are geeks at heart, the animated bits are full of jokes/references to The Matrix, T2, and even Titanic. Oh, and that Ron Howard cameo was just very cool. Since this is turning into one of the bigger bombs of 2001, I suggest you go see it while you still can. It’s just cool.

3 Nibs

Midnight Ramblings XIX

Chaos in Print

NOTE: I have this tendency to ramble and it generally manifests itself in long drawn out rambling e-mails to my friends until one day when I thought “hey, why don’t I format this ramblings into columns?” and so I did that but I still e-mail my friends and they still find it annoying but they love me so because I annoy them in that nice kind of way and…oh, I’m rambling again.

Hey Neelix!

I just watched A&E’s Biography on Tim Burton, and man oh man, I love that director more now than I ever did. In a hero worship way, of course. What stunned me was who all they talked to. Sure, they talked to the requisite people associated with Tim Burton: Danny Elfman, Michael Keaton, Paul Reubens, and long-time girlfriend Lisa Marie. But, they also talked to some of his old fellow Disney animators, like Little Mermaid and Hercules co-directors John Musker and Ron Clemmens. What amazed me the most, though, was they talked to his old college classmate, fellow former Disney animator, and director of Toy Story, John Lassetter! It’s weird, mainly because since they have two vastly different storytelling styles, you don’t think that they’d be friends. But they are. Very cool. And John Lassetter had some of the best stories, too. “The most amazing thing I’ve ever seen was when Tim first showed me his sketchbook. Each page was just so…alive.” “When Tim first told me he was doing Batman, I thought (eyes go wide, jaw drops), ‘WOW! HE MADE IT!'” “When I first saw Tim doing an interview in those dark sunglasses, I knew right away that he had created a character. He doesn’t do interviews as Tim Burton. He does it as Tim the Director.”

And the Disney animators also had some good stories. I knew that Tim Burton worked on The Fox and the Hound. I knew that he had done a lot of the conceptual art for The Black Cauldron. What I DIDN’T know was that all his conceptual art for The Black Cauldron was rejected because it was too Tim Burton-style and not Disney-style. Tim Burton was very unfulfilled with his work at Disney. The animators would tell stories about how Tim would hide under his desk and spend hours standing in the closet. “We’d go to the closet, open it up and say, ‘Hey Tim, you OK?’ and he’d just stare at us.” Man, I used to do that in junior high when an oral presentation didn’t go well. Tim later started focusing his creative energy into doing no-budget short films on video cameras with his friends during weekends.

And I finally got to the bottom of something! I had known for a long time now that, around the time Nightmare Before Christmas came out, Tim Burton and Danny Elfman had a huge fight and didn’t speak to each other for about a year and a half. That’s why Ed Wood is the only Tim Burton film without music by Danny Elfman. What happened? Well, Tim had worked for seven years straight. He was nearing a burnout. Then, he met his long-time girlfriend Lisa Marie, and he had trouble communicating that he was in love and wanted to spend more time with her. So, rather than say to his friends, “I’m in love and I want to be with my girlfriend,” he got testy. Elfman’s brief comment about the fight? “Tim and I are like brothers. But, we’re brothers from a dysfunctional family.”

What better way to follow up the Tim Burton Biography than by watching the “the making of” special for his latest movie: Planet of the Apes? When I read the blurb about the special in TV Guide, they said that, among those interviewed, were Trey Parker and Matt Stone. And I got to thinking, “Now what would these two have to do with Planet of the Apes?” So, in the special, they talk to a whole bunch of celebrities about Planet of the Apes. In this montage, they talk to Parker and Stone. Turns out that their band, DVDA, wrote a song about Planet of the Apes. It’s sung from the point of view of Charlton Heston’s character, and pretty much recounts the plot of the first film. But what they did in this special was, they took this song, and used it as the musical backing to a whole bunch of clips featuring Planet of the Apes jokes and references in various movies and TV shows! I just loved the scenes from The Simpsons, where Homer finally clues in on the ending during a NASA press conference:

Homer>> I have no problem with going into space. As long as they don’t send us to that horrible Planet of the Apes!
(various other clips.)
Homer>> Wait a minute. Half-buried Statue of Liberty…THAT WAS OUR PLANET!
(various other clips.)
(cut to Charlton Heston doing the same at the end of the first film.)

And then, at the end of this montage, we go back to Trey and Matt: “Oh yeah, we’re close friends with Tim. We’re sure he’ll stick it on the soundtrack. We hope he’ll stick it on the soundtrack.” Cut to Tim Burton: “You’re kidding, right?”

Man, I’ve got to hurry up and see Planet of the Apes before the media blows the new twist ending. You know what other big summer blockbuster I still want to see? Jurassic Park 3. Actually, I was reading an interview with Stan Winston online a few weeks ago. You know Stan Winston, right? His animatronics shop built the animatronic dinosaurs in all the Jurassic Park films. And what Winston does in his spare time is…cool. Ya know those TV shows that are currently on with 2 robots slugging it out? This takes it to the extreme. At the end of filming Jurassic Park 3, Stan Winston and his crew of puppeteers had the animatronic T-Rex and the animatronic Spinosaurus slug it out. The winner? The Spinosaurus, which ripped off the T-Rex’s head. Said Winston, “The head was lying there on the ground, with all this oil spurting out.” And (get this), the director of Jurassic Park 3 filmed the whole thing! Can we say “DVD bonus material?”

Speaking of DVDs, guess what’s getting the 2-disc special edition treatment? Tron. Yes, it’s already out in a bare bones basic edition, but Disney is preparing an all new, 2-disc super special edition for the film’s 20th anniversary! Expect the standard accouterments like a director’s running commentary, cut scenes, and an all new documentary on the making of the film. Plus, since it was the first film to feature computer generated FX, it’ll have a brand-new documentary about the history of computer animation. What’s getting most geeks excited, though, is the storyboard-to-film comparison of the light cycle chase. It’ll hit store shelves in January.

While I’m talking about DVD’s, let me boast of my latest acquisition. I got the big boxed set of the Die Hard movies. I watched Die Hard for the first time in years last night. Know what? It wasn’t as “big” as I remember. I’m thinking that maybe, for the sequels and rip-offs that followed, they just kept making the formula bigger and bigger, now making the original pale somewhat. But it was still good. But, following with the “bigger is better” logic that’s been incorporated into my personality, I guess I’m going to have to say #3 is my favorite.

WOO!! I just found out that Pokémon 3 comes out on DVD on Aug. 21! What’s really weird, though, is among the bonus features is the trailer for Pokémon 4. I thought #3 bombed, thus eliminating the chances for #4. Oh, well. I guess the straight-to-video market always needs product. And how else are they going to sell all those action figures?

Everyone’s getting in on the action figure game market now. I knew that when I first heard about the Bionicles. What’s a Bionicle? Well, you see, even Lego’s getting in on the action figure game now. The Bionicles are Lego’s premiere action figure line. The heroes are a group of funky Earth spirits that you build yourself out of Technic Lego. They’re in stores now! The villains, a group of funky Technic Lego demons, comes out this fall. Lego’s got a whole back story to these guys, with the requisite cartoons and video games in the works.

But besides old stalwarts like Lego getting in on the action figure game, everyone and their brothers are forming toy companies. Stan Winston has now formed his own toy company. But, rather than making action figures of the classic animatronic characters his company has made over the last 25 years or so, they are going to be ALL NEW creatures. Said Winston, “These are going to be all new creations from the people who designed Predator and the Terminator and the Jurassic Park dinosaurs. Rather than buying a copy, it’ll be the original.” And, each figure will come with a CD-ROM, telling you all the vital stats on this creature. How cool is that?

But enough of toys! What would one of these ramblings be without some mention of Star Trek? I’m doing more reading on Enterprise, and you gotta love how people look for loopholes. See, in Gene Roddenberry’s original vision of Star Trek, he had one simple mandate: it takes place far enough in the future where humanity has evolved to a point where only its good qualities remain. There is no racism, sexism, homophobia, war, poverty. The human race has become good. Then, Rick Berman comes along. He says, “Yeah, that’s good and all, but if the crew all likes each other because they are so evolved, you eliminate tension between the crew members, and thus lose a lot of dramatic possibilities.” So, all of Berman’s shows have been, “How can we get the crew to not like each other, but still stay true to the original vision?” For his first attempt, he said, “Let’s put it at a space station, with hundreds of different alien races, some hostile. That should do it.” Deep Space Nine had some mild success with this. For his second attempt, he said, “Let’s create this rebel faction in the Federation, and then have them and the Federation be forced to work together.” That was Voyager, and the whole Federation/Maquis conflicts tended to fade away in the second season. Now, we’ve got Enterprise, where they’ve said, “This time, let’s put it not so far in the future. Let’s set it where humanity hasn’t evolved to that point yet.”

This is starting to become evident as I read more about our new captain, Jonathon Archer. It seems that Archer doesn’t like Vulcans very much. He dismisses them as smug and suffering from a superiority complex. Archer’s distaste of Vulcans comes from the fact that he believes that Earth (and, more specifically, his father) could have made great advancements in warp technology if the Vulcans had shared their technology with Earth, rather than being so huffy about their “prime directive.” So, of course, there’s a Vulcan on his ship. A very sexy Vulcan. Or, at least, that’s the impression, seeing as to how the only piece of work I can find involving this actress is a Maxim pictorial.

And, that’s all for now. Well, maybe one last thing. At the recent San Diego Comic Con, the audience was treated to the first ever clip from Spider-Man! Just for you, here’s a description of that clip. We’re at a New York City science lab, where Peter Parker and his class are on a field trip. Peter and fellow geek loner, Harry Osborn, are hanging at the back, and Peter tells Harry of his love for Mary Jane Watson. Harry asks what kind of lines Peter would use to dazzle Mary Jane, so Peter tells him. Harry then goes and uses these lines on Mary Jane with great success, much to Peter’s dismay. So, the field trip continues, and they soon come to the insect room. Here, the tour guide tells the class that they are doing experiments on spiders involving radiation. As Peter gets close to one of the cages to snap some pictures for the school paper, he notices that one spider seems to be missing. The tour guide says that it’s probably been taken to another lab for experimentation. As the tour wraps up, Peter’s love gets the better of him and he snaps a picture of Mary Jane. Mary Jane, feeling goofy in that way that teenagers are, begins to strike a number of fashion model poses for Peter, and Peter gladly begins using up his roll of film. As this foolishness goes on, we see the missing radioactive spider descend on a webline behind Peter. The spider lands on Peter’s arm and bites Peter! Peter shakes off the spider, and gets up. And that was the clip! Oh, and the spider was described as looking like a Black Widow, only the trademark red hourglass marking was replaced with markings in Spider-Man’s red and blue colour scheme.

And that’s all! Until next we ramble!