I take advantage of my father’s new toy to play some old records for you! I also tell you why high school kids will never have to read another book, and give you the Spice Report.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Directed by Gore Verbinski
Starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightly, Bill Nighy, Naomie Harris, and Chow Yun-Fat.
I’ll admit, I’ve never been able to get behind the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise like the rest of the world. I thought the first one was merely “pretty good” and the second one was just bad. But, as I tend to do in summer blockbuster season, I succumbed to the peer pressure and went to see #3. Would it redeem the whole trilogy for me?
The seas have grown rough. The evil East Indian Trading Company has captured Davy Jones’s heart. Using this to blackmail Davy Jones, they rule the seas with an iron fist and are killing pirates on site. Enter our heroes, Will Turner, Elizabeth, and the back-from-the-dead Barbossa. They set out to save the seas and make it free for pirates once again. Step one: rescue Captain Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones’ Locker, cuz they need him, and it’s just not a Pirates movie if it doesn’t have Jack Sparrow. And then, step two: unite the pirates of the world for one last assault on Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman. And, thought it all, will Will and Elizabeth learn to love again? Will all the backstabbing and backroom deals finally make everyone happy? And will Jack finally figure out what it is he truly wants?
What I Liked
There’s some pretty cool special effects. The sea battle at the end is amazing, and the plot seems to be a lot clearer than the last film. And, I gotta confess, Captain Jack is pretty darn cool.
What I Didn’t Like
Having followed a lot of sci-fi franchises with deep, drawn out continuities, I can tell when a mythology is being made up as they go along. In the Pirates films, they were making it up as they went along. That makes it very difficult to follow. And, like the final seasons of The X-Files, it collapses under the weight of the mythology. And, like another trilogy that collapsed under the weight of its mythology – the Matrix – the creators are forced to come to a conclusion that I found mildly unsatisfying.
I may be biased because I’ve never been fully on-board with this, but at least it was better than the second. And it’s just bogged-down with an overcomplicated mythology.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Directed by Tim Story
Starring Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Andre Braugher, Julian McMahon, Kerry Washington, Doug Jones, and the voice of Laurence Fishburne.
Ever since my childhood, I’ve been a sucker for superhero films. Especially now that Marvel Comics is bringing all of their heroes to the big screen. Now, when I saw Fantastic Four two years ago, I was unimpressed. And, with the trailers for the second one, again, I wasn’t impressed. But I still went to see it, because I’m a sucker for those superhero movies.
After three false starts, it looks like the wedding day is finally here for Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) and Sue Storm (the Invisible Woman). But then, false start #4 is on the horizon, when a mysterious silver object appears, and the Army calls on the Fantastic Four to investigate. It turns out that silver object is the one, the only, Silver Surfer, and he’s come to start preparing the Earth for his master. And then, Dr. Doom returns, wondering if there’s some way he can capture the Surfer and harness the Power Cosmic. It’ll take all four working together to save the day!
What I Liked
Fantastic special effects…in some areas. I know there’s been some grousing about turning Galactus into a cloud, but when you see it on the screen, they do it in a way that works. And one thing I liked about the first film is retained. Unlike other superhero movies, these guys actually enjoy their powers and enjoy being superheroes. That makes it fun.
What I Didn’t Like
Bad special effects…in other areas. Reed Richards still looks a little too CGI. In fact, the “low budget/Made in Canada” look permeates the film. Sorry, Vancouver, but I can tell you’re not New York. And will Dr. Doom ever be the armor-clad badass he is in the comics, and not just another slick business man? Just wondering. And the Fantasticar is a Dodge? Freakin’ product placement….
Still not as good as the X-Men movies or the Spider-Man films, but at least it’s better than #1. And you know what? It has a sense of fun to it that most other superhero films are lacking, and that makes it enjoyable.
The newest episode of my podcast, U62: The Targ is up!
“But Mark!” you’re saying. “It’s 2 days early! Does this mean you’re taking off for the weekend again?”
Yes. Yes it does.
This week, or next week, really, we’ve got Episode 53: More Memories of Kumagaya. As I noted in my podcast around this time last year, June is the anniversary of my year in Japan. I left in June 02, and came back in June 03. So, once again, I’m sharing a few stories of my adventures in the Far East, and playing some of the songs that always take me back to that lost year.
And hey! I’ve got some bonus materials! I ripped off some anime theme songs to open and close the show this week. Here are the anime opening and closing segments that match up to the music!
We come to you live from Red Deer, as I take you to my sister’s college graduation!