I’m like half a month too late to offer a punctual response, but the blog’s up and running again. Flying Omelette tells me Dreamhost had been upgrading their servers, and that must’ve prompted some crummy coding in the WordPress database to screw up… we think. I’m still not entirely sure what happened, but it’s up again, so that’s as far as I’m concerned.
I really haven’t been up to anything exciting this month, and thus haven’t had anything worth saying. I may as well just play catch up with what I’ve watched recently.
Jeepers Creepers: I’ve caught the climax of the sequel about four times over the years, but I’ve never seen it in full, nor have I seen the first movie, so why not rectify that? It’s an okay horror flick. There are some creepy sequences and setpieces, but looking back at it, it seems like it kinda streamrolls through a whole bunch of horror features but didn’t want to spread them out over multiple movies.
“Okay, we’ve got a creepy truck! It’s got a creepy driver who dumps bodies down a pipe! The pipe leads to a cave where the walls are lined with human corpses! Oh, and the driver eats people’s tongues! And he’s got bat wings, too! And he can tell where you live by smelling your laundry! Great, now is there any space where we can throw in a fat psychic chick as well?”
Great song, though.
Daybreakers: A virus of some sort has turned a majority of the world’s population into vampires, and humans are farmed for blood, but things are turning bad – they’re running out of humans, and instead of just getting a bit grumbly (what is the official explanation for what happens if vampires don’t get blood anyway?), they turn into freaky bat-zombie monsters if they run out of blood. So you’ve got people trying to make a blood substitute, the blood industry trying to find more humans to farm, and the humans trying to find a cure for vampirism.
It’s an intriguing watch! The visuals and atmosphere are very nice and noir-esque, and I just love the lighting. The concept is pretty neato too, and the premise that vampires are running out of humans wasn’t something I’d seen before. After all, how well can a civilisation sustain itself if everyone’s immortal? (I was also wondering if that would mean an infinitely expanding population if women are still bearing children but nobody’s dying, though it never mentioned if kids are still born or not – there’s only two brief scenes of vampire children, and one of them commits suicide. Looks like fanfiction is where I’ll have to find answers!) It was a bit goofy at times (the fact they violently explode the moment they get a stake through a chest was a bit unexpected, especially when the rest of the setting at least attempted to stay closer to earth – if you ignore the bat-zombie monsters and the whole inherent concept of fuckin’ vampires), but it was a pretty good watch.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes: Caught this one today. I haven’t seen the original Planet of the Apes, nor read the book, or even seen the Tim Burton remake, but I do know the ending. And I also watched Spaceballs. That counts, right?
A medical organisation are trying to make a cure for Alzheimers that will repair ‘damaged’ parts of the brain, and it’s tested on apes first to astounding success, though a violent mishap gets the research shut down. The ape’s child survives and is adopted by the project leader, and observes that over the years, the ape’s intelligence grows substantially. However, the ape struggles to find its place in the world, and tries to determine who it belongs with and where it calls home. Meanwhile, the humans realise they probably shouldn’t fuck about with everything. Just a thought, y’know.
It seems a lot of folks were dubious about the film, especially with so many remakes or films based off pre-existing licenses these days (was the world really desperate for a CGI Smurfs film? Did the world even want Smurfs to begin with?), but what helps Rise of the Planet of the Apes is that it’s telling something different. We see the how the apes first gain their super intelligence, their desire to find their own home, and also how humanity’s going to eventually snuff it. As such, it feels a lot more closer to home. The drama lies more in the main character’s desire to create a cure for mental illness, but to also maintain the well-being of the apes and the general public in the process, versus the brash boss man who just wants fat stacks of cash. It’s not about space dudes asking “where the simian women at?”
The CGI is really remarkable, and the apes are just a wonder to watch. I was really blown away by how well their story, personalities and attitudes are expressed solely through their expressions and movements. It sounds kinda dumb to say it when such a thing is already achieved without multi-million dollar special effects (protip: it’s called body language!), but really, it’s just incredibly impressive. All the important critters are visually distinct, and you can spot Caesar out of a crowd with relative ease thanks to his bushy facial hair. The orang-utan stole the show, personally. I get the impression there wasn’t a single real ape used in the film, every single shot of them was CGI, though I might be wrong. It makes me interested to see if anyone will ever try telling a story entirely through CGI animation, without voices or text. Those monkeys could pull it off, I’m sure.
I could also waffle another paragraph about the whole cure for mental illness storyline, which I found pretty intriguing because I’m fascinated by that sort of stuff, but I’ll spare you the essay. Perhaps another time. I’ve kinda forgotten most of the movie now because I spent so long being wowed by the CGI apes, but I’d probably recommend it. It was a very nicely done film that had heart, and let’s face it, there’s not much on in cinemas worth going to. When’s Cowboys Vs. Aliens coming out anyway?