There’s no such thing as a free panda

Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 7:53 pm Comments (3)

Ugh. Designing a new layout for the various bits of the site isn’t too bad, and I’d dare say it’s actually mildly entertaining. Porting old content into the new layout is an entirely joyless affair that makes me want to cry, though. Why did I think this was a good idea?


Nah, just kidding. Though it’s probably not far from the truth. It’ll probably be sixteen months.

As usual, I haven’t really been up to much, and what little I have done I’ve mostly forgotten about. I haven’t been watching many movies lately either, and what little I have watched I haven’t commented on, so let’s try and catch up!

Jumper: Rather nice action flick with an intriguing premise. Dude can teleport! Religious fundamentalist Samuel L. Jackson doesn’t approve and wants his goose cooked! To go on a (hopefully) minor tirade, one thing that’s always bugged me about superheroes is how it’s pretty much customary for all the big shots to have lorry-loads of superpowers (insert half-baked Superman jab here), when it’s much more fun to have just one ability and see how it can be used in a variety of scenarios. The main character (I can’t remember his name, and there’s no way in hell I’m going to actually call him Jumper) is still just a regular guy who happens to have used his teleportation power to be a massive bank-robbing dick, so it’s not like he has super strength or anything. Yes, he can handle goons with ease, but only because he’s good at grabbing people and then using his inertia to ram them into walls or whatever.

I must be very old-fashioned for saying this, but the guy wasn’t a particularly ideal superhero. This is highlighted, of course, during the first glimpse of his adult life when he sees footage of a flooding in a foreign country, and rather than doing a thing about it, he decides to score himself a bit of booty in a local bar. A true hero to identify with! Of course, most superheroes need some kind of push to get them into tackling crime and helping the little man; Peter Parker had his callous attitude result in the death of his Uncle Ben, Bruce Wayne had his parents shot by some random punk (or did they retcon that?) and, uh, I think Clark Kent’s adoptive parents decide that superhero-ing is the best their supernaturally gifted adoptive son can give to the world, I guess. The hero of Jumper is just this guy nobody respects who only turns his life around after leaving his deadbeat dad and robbing a few hundred banks. Not exactly straight-arrow material.

None of the characters were particularly likeable, and I was actually more interested in learning more about the former-bully now-drunkard guy who the main guy slams around in prison at one point, as the main guy certainly wasn’t intriguing outside of his special power. I will say Hayden Christenden didn’t do a bad job as the main guy, though that probably doesn’t say much since I’ve never exactly held much respect for the actor (that’s what being a Star Wars nerd does to you!). Petty nags aside (pfft, like the story and characters mean anything!), it was a fun and entertaining flick, and it might be worth checking out the original novel.

Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb: I wasn’t really too sure what to think of this, to be quite honest. I was only aware of its many homages, such as the bomb dropping sequence, Strangelove’s evil hand and “mein fuhrer, I can valk!”, as well as repeated references to it as the one of the greatest war/comedy films of all time. I had no expectations, but, if I may sound utterly blasphemous to any movie buff in the audience, I was almost under the impression it was going to be a straight-up comedy. Instead it’s mostly the kind of dark satire where you’re unsure whether or not to laugh, as although the stuff is ridiculous, it never feels that far off from what people would’ve been seriously thinking during the Cold War.

You’ve got clear-as-day comedy like the gung-ho military fellow in the War Room who’s constantly trying to pin some kind of ridiculous plot on the Russian ambassador, and then you’ve got… other kinds of humour. Such as the off-his-nut General Ripper slowly going crazy and paranoid, detailing to Peter Sellers his belief that the Communists are contaminating the American’s bodily fluids, a conspiracy he cooked up after a bout of sexual intercourse that didn’t exactly blast off. The man plays the whole thing so straight, like a real paranoid rant in a military film that it’s hard to know in what light you’re meant to take it. And then, in between all this, you’ve got the very tense scenes of the bomber plane making an attack on the Russian target containing a bomb that’ll basically wipe out all life on Earth. It’s a big clash of contrasting moods that give the film a very strange ambiance.

So, yeah, I’m clearly not the man to speak about the movie’s themes with any degree of sensibility. I will say that, as always with Kubrick’s work, it has some absolutely fantastic camera work, and the whole thing, despite its strange clashing of themes and atmosphere, runs very nicely. I’ll basically summarise with the tail end of a conversation about it with RQ87.

Ragey: I guess in a way I’m not sure what to think of it.
RQ87: Would you recommend it to others?
Ragey: Hm. It’s a bit slow-going, though I was reasonably engrossed in it (though I admit when I knew it was leading up to the bomb sequence I was like “get on with it!”, but it was pretty tense). I love Kubrick’s camera work and there’s some fantastic comic acting, it is just so weird and mixed it’s hard to define it, y’know. I’d say give it a bash, just don’t try and have expectations, if possible.
RQ87: Too late for that man. It ranked pretty highly on the 100 greatest war films if I remember right.
Ragey: Um!
Ragey: Then again the movie was released in 1964, wasn’t it? I mean I’m kinda fifty years too late to just say “try not to have any expectations, you guys!”

Contrary to your first assumption, this fellow is actually discussing the various ways to eat a gumball.

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3 Responses to “There’s no such thing as a free panda”

  • Wes says:

    THERE IS TOTALLY SUCH A THING AS A FREE PANDA! But one day a free something will end up on your doorstep as well. :)

    And I request more information about this new layout and what it entails! I know I was a lazy bastard when it came to actually updating the SC layout, so I merely ported the navigation stuff into WordPress and left the articles as they were. Not as ideal for searching functions (since one can only search the blurbs rather than the articles’ full text), but maybe I’ll try to improve that with keywords in the future entries or something.

  • MightyKombat says:

    Ah yeah, Superman. If I remember, Superman,Clark Kent to the earth people and Kal-el to his homeland of Krypton, was sent to Earth by his father Jor-el so that he could escape the rapidly dying planet Krypton, which promptly exploded afterward. The Kent family found him and summarily adopted him as one of their own.

  • MightyKombat says:

    BTW working on another sprite sheet. Gonna take much longer than the last one.

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