Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Night at the Museum 2 and Moon

Do you hear that screaming? That's the sound of the one guy in Hollywood who said it would be a bad idea to make a sequel to the fantastic Night at the Museum. Every sequel like this makes me cry a little. Apparently the first movie was based off a children's book by Milan Trenc. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is not based off a book and it shows. It sprang forth from the great minds of the movie industry trying to find more ways to suck the American wanker until it spews a huge load of money all over them. Judging by the film's weekend numbers, they achieved their goal.

If you don't care about my views on this movie, at least watch the Moon trailer at the end of the post.

*Spoiler Warning* (If you can spoil a movie like this?)

If you've seen the first film you know the drill. An ancient Egyptian tablet makes the whole museum come to life at night. Ben Stiller returns as Larry Daley in the second movie. Since the last movie he has quit as night guard at the Museum of Natural History in New York and started an As Seen On TV company selling his many terrible inventions. To a make a ridiculous story short, the tablet is moved to the Smithsonian by accident and he must go retrieve it.

When he gets to the Smithsonian he finds the tablet in the hands of the villain Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria) who is determined to use the tablet to open a gate to the underworld and take over our world. All of this is really far fetched, even for a movie where Egyptian relics bring wax figures to life! Kahmunrah is also the most annoying character I have seen on screen for a while. Every time he came on screen I wanted to tear out my ear because of his terrible lisp. At one point wax figure Oscar the Grouch and Darth Vader come to join the fight. My biggest complaint of the whole film is that Vader's force choke doesn't work and Kahmunrah simply turns them away. I would have loved to see Vader choke the lisp out of that little A-hole.

Also, Ben Stiller makes out with wax figure Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams). While common sense says there is no way they end up together, my mind had to wonder. What if they did get together? Do the wax figures become fully human or are they still wax inside? Would it have been possible to pork wax Amelia or would Stiller undress her only to find a blank Barbie like crotch? This is where my mind goes when a movie slightly bores me.

As in all good movies, huge stone Lincoln Memorial Statue comes, smashes through a stain glass window and saves the day. Then Amelia flies Larry and the tablet back to New York where everything gets neatly tied up. Did no one in Washington notice the huge mess left from the battle at the Smithsonian? (see what I did there ;) At least in the first film when there is a mess after the nights events, Larry has to clean it up and he gets in trouble. He should go to jail for breaking into the national archives and letting a giant, fake, wax squid into the Reflecting Pool at the Washington Monument. And I'm not even going to get into historical accuracy (General Custer) because it may just send me into convulsions.

So, kids will undoubtedly love the movie and as much as I complain, it was way better then lots of other movies I've seen recently (Paul Blart: Mall Cop!). But why did there need to be a sequel? Why? This is my problem will all Hollywood these days. Sometimes they should just leave some movies alone, they don't need more installments. (Indiana Jones!) But money rules the world, I guess I should have realized this by now.


I saw this preview a while ago and really haven't heard much about it since. This is one of the few movies I'm really excited for. Unfortunately it looks to be low budget and therefore will never make it to a theatre near me. If you like science fiction, or great movies, I suggest watching this trailer. If you know a theatre that is going to show this, please let me know where!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Game Night

My wife and I rented Guitar Hero: Metallica tonight for our 360. Generally when we rent GH games I just sit back and enjoy the music while she plays. I prefer it this way because I really suck at the game and its more fun to watch and just listen to the music. I have to say I'm pretty lucky to have a wife that rocks out to Metallica. It's even cooler when Enter Sandman opens up and she freaks out, plays it and sings along. The game has a great play list, probably my favorite track list of any GH game. We probably got through most of the game before she got tired and we switched to the movie we also rented.

Unfortunately we rented Paul Blart: Mall Cop. How far Kevin James has fallen. This movie is so disjointed and absurd I can't even find a redeeming quality in it, and I can always find something about a movie I like. To quote my wife "This movie's stupid; not funny stupid, just stupid." I agree dear, I agree. Now I see why it came to DVD so soon.

Anyways, as we all get into the long weekend, I do think everyone should remember it is Memorial Day weekend. Whether you visit the grave of a relative who served or simply watch a great war movie, Saving Private Ryan for me, do something to remember those who have served. They made it possible for us to play great games  and watch terrible movies if we choose.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Star Trek *Spoilers*

Let me get this out of the way before I begin. I've always considered my self a Trek fan. I haven't seen every episode five times over and I don't know Klingon, not for lack of trying, but I do consider myself a mild trekkie.

For the most part the new Star Trek is a fun, fast paced summer hit that will surely make ton of cash for Paramount, which will in turn spawn sequels for years to come. When I remove myself from knowing anything about Star Trek, it's probably going to be my favorite movie of summer 2009.  Non-trekkies like my wife will probably enjoy it in ways the old trek faithful never will. This isn't a bad thing for Paramount, taking Trek out of the niche zone and into the main stream has always been their goal and I think this movie will do that.

It was really hard for me to see Kirk and Spock Played by different actors; Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto respectfully. Pine made no effort to mimic William Shatners portrayal of Captain James T Kirk. I feel like it was both his and director JJ Abrams decision to do this and was a great move. Intentionally attempting to mirror The Shat would only have ended in disaster. Pine did a great job with the character that was written for him, which may or may not be the Kirk I remember; then again this IS literally a different Kirk than we have seen before. Nero altered the future, or created a parallel universe depending on who you talk to, when he killed Kirk's father, thus creating a new version of Kirk with different motivations and pains.

I give Quinto real props for having to stand face to face with Leonard Nimoy and managing to not be over taken by his simple presence. He did a great job with young Spock, a version we haven't seen in any Trek before. His struggle with being half human and learning to cope with this was great. However, I do hope in later films he can get back to the Spock we know and love from the show and movies and lose the temper tantrums. The relationship with Uhura was something I didn't see coming. It seemed an odd choice at first, but if they handle it well in the future, it could be a real great story thread going forward.

I loved Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy and the only negative I have with him is that he wasn't on screen enough. All the supporting cast was there and for the most part they felt right. One spot that I can't quite figure out is how they made Scotty into a stereotypical bumbling Scotts man. He was funny, yes, but I hope they do more than comedy relief with him or I'll be really disappointed. Not to mention when did Scotty come up with beaming from a planet to a ship traveling faster than light half a quadrant away?

All that said, I cannot forgive this movie for what it has done to the Star Trek universe. I will now spoil the entire movie. Nero, the villain for the film, blandly played by Eric Bana, is another in a long line of bad Trek Villains. I understand every Trek villain can't be Khan, but really this is getting bad. So in the present time, sometime after the events of Star Trek Nemesis, but I'm not sure how long, the Romulan sun begins to go supernova. Spock tries to save the Romulan home world, fails and it get destroyed. Anyways they both end up going back in time. Nero decides the only way avenge his lost home is to destroy Vulcan, Spocks home plant and then try at Earth as well. So a natural disaster wrecks your pad, and you go planet decide killing? How does that save your planet Nero? Why not head over to Romulas and warn them all so they have 200+ years to prepare?

But that's nothing. When Nero comes back he changes all Star Trek history when he nukes Vulcan. Official word from Trek land is that the movie was based in a parallel universe to what we know and Spock and Nero jumped from the one we know to this one. Lame. This is the writers way of clearing space for sequels without having fanboy's breaking down the door. I don't get why they couldn't have played in the existing universe accept that they were to lazy to research the extensive Trek lore. But I guess I can live with there being two Star trek universes, one with all the characters i know and love, and another with young versions of some of those characters, going on much sexier adventures.

My one nip pick. I write, and I understand that sometimes things just happen because you say so. But Kirk went from Academic Probation to Ship Captain in about a week, I just think that's lazy, and my wife would have a big problem with him if she had been in his class at Starfleet.

So there, I'll return my inner Trekkie to it's little hiding place for a few years until we get a sequel.