Ooh Promethean Tentacles

Prometheus

Hey let’s wander around in the dark and feed vagina snakes.

Prometheus breaks the first rule of movies: don’t make your audience think! Any movie that violates this taboo gets exactly what it deserves and Prometheus is begging for it.

Let’s get the good stuff out-of-the-way. Prometheus looks great. It throws up one fabulous tableau after another. To all the set designers, CGI programmers and other visual artists that worked on Prometheus take a bow; you did a superb job. I am not kidding when I say this would be a better film if you simply turned off the brain numbing sound track and soaked in the sights. Unfortunately the sound track is left on letting us in on the shallow thoughts of the too stupid to live protagonists.

I won’t dissect Prometheus’s numerous Promethean logical affronts. The blogosphere has already boiled and rendered that beast. Google the phrase “Prometheus too stupid to live”; the deluge of scorn will restore your faith in mankind.  I could join in the script-savaging but I’m a kind, loving and compassionate man. I like science fiction. I want science fiction screen writers to succeed but the poor lost souls need help. Here are three “rules” that might have saved Prometheus.

1. Any “number” that appears in a science fiction movie must be real.

Numbers incite analysis and analysis plops you right back into reality which is not a good place for any movie especially science fiction. Prometheus violates this rule early on.

When the spaceship Prometheus arrived at its multiple-star-grouping destination the film makes a point of informing us that it’s 3.27 x 1014 kilometers from Earth. My little cinema bound brain went to work. A light year is roughly 1013 kilometers thus Prometheus was about thirty light years from Earth.  I’d turned my cell phone off to watch the movie so I didn’t check the Hipparchus star catalogue but I’m pretty sure there are no large visible multiple star groupings that close to Earth.  It’s possible a grouping of nearby brown dwarfs has escaped detection but then the color balance of the giant planet the spaceship was approaching was all wrong.

Flashing bogus numbers distracts and infuriates audiences. If you must insert numbers in your scripts make sure they are 100% scientifically credible.

2. Do not populate your spaceship with suicidal dolts.

It’s hard to relate to complete brain-dead tools. About halfway through Prometheus I realized the only creatures acting sensibly were the tentacle waving predatory aliens.  They were busy going about their prey stalking ways. I can only imagine what they thought.

“Hey Sam,” alien vagina snakes call themselves Sam, “can you believe this fool wants to pet me. I bet his esophagus is going to be really tasty.”

“Uh, I don’t know Sam; something that stupid couldn’t survive in the wild unless it was highly toxic.”

“Yeah, you may be right but I’m going take a chance and stuff myself down his pie hole anyway.”

Nobody mourns the death of imbeciles. Sympathetic characters should have at least room temperature IQs.

3. Never show superior beings.

Good science fiction works best in the imagination of its audience.  Nurturing a sense of mystery, awe and wonder is what this genre is all about.  Showing too much kills the imagination and frankly my imagination took a few sniper rounds to the head when a “superior engineer” turned out to be bald, ripped, roid-raging bodybuilder that was as stupid as every other character in this film.

If the Prometheus of myth was as reckless as this “engineer” then Zeus did us a solid when he chained his dumb ass to that rock.

Evil Queens are getting Hotter

There’s not a lot of good news out there. Our currencies are being sodomized by economic imbeciles. High unemployment has demoralized the masses and forced lobotomized bureaucrats to get off their entitled asses and redefine it. The suck—oops stock—market has returned SFO for a decade. CO2 levels are rising. The seas are not subsiding; they didn’t get The One’s memo. Goons are getting nukes. Species are going extinct. The freaking LA Kings are two up in the Stanley Cup finals and, Mohammed in a transvestite musical, the Kardashians are still on TV. In this bleak, soul suffocating, Obamalypse we must take solace from any quarter and I’ve found one; evil queens are getting hotter!

Regina

Regina, (Lana Parrilla), Once Upon a Time’s Wicked Queen.

This positive trend surfaced with TV’s Once Upon a Time: a rare, well written, series that ripped familiar fairy tale characters out of children’s books and deposited them in Storybrooke: a small fictional town in Maine. All of our favorite characters are present: Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Pinocchio, Rumplestiltskin and, outclassing them all, Regina, Snow White’s poison apple wielding nemesis the Wicked Queen played by Lana Parrilla. Regina is no hook nosed NPR feminist hag. This wicked queen is a high-caliber alpha cougar. Frankly, I envy her victims. Please Regina; make me your next man-toy.

An even hotter queen is Ravenna, another incarnation of Snow White’s mortal enemy, from Snow White and the Huntsman. Huntsman is a dark straight up high-tech rendering of Snow White’s tale. The movie is competent but is afraid of veering off well-trodden material. I found it flat and predictable. Great movies astonish, good movies surprise, ordinary movies entertain and bad movies are lauded by liberal film critics.

Ravenna's spa

Ravenna, (Charlize Theron), in her spa.

Huntsman is ordinary but has its charms. The best character is Charlize Theron’s wicked queen Ravenna. Ravenna has an endearing nasty bitch habit. She must periodically slurp up the life force of attractive young women to stay “the fairest of them all.” Think of it as extreme celebrity Botox. You may object to Ravenna’s ravishing methods but you cannot argue with the results. This wicked queen is setting new standards for maximum babe bad.

As a mainly manly man I thank the FSM for Regina and Ravenna. Evil queening: it’s not for obese dykes anymore.

The Hunger Games: a Libertarian Dead Teenager Movie.

I’ve always enjoyed watching teenagers die. Even when I was a teenager, back in the early Pleistocene, I couldn’t get enough adolescent annihilation. Now that I am a certified, some would say certifiable, drooling old fart boomer I enjoy it even more. Youthful folly: it’s riveting entertainment for the elderly. Given my macabre inclinations I looked forward to the Hunger Games with the same — oh my god, lol, like enthusiasm — of a screeching teenage girl which, oddly, is the movie’s target demographic. Well did the Hunger Games disappoint and, more importantly, is it worth ten bucks? In two words: no and yes.

The world of the Hunger Games is your typical progressive green fascist paradise. The sort of place our global warming alarmists, whale saving eco-warriors, Volt driving poseurs, anti-capitalist philosophers and leader venerating loons would like to live. Panem, the principal nation-state depicted in the Hunger Games, is split into two familiar classes: the haves and the have-nots. The haves live in a gleaming special Capitol city and the have-nots grunge away their pointless little people lives in twelve impoverished out-lying districts. Naked force keeps everything in a nice green line. Sure the people in the Capitol while away their carefree days in an endless who can dress like the gayest circus clown contest while the peons in the outer districts fantasize about bread but sacrifices must be made to manage our carbon footprint.

To break the oppressive tedium of face painting, hair dressing and color coordination every year the rulers of Panem select twenty-four lucky teenage Tributes from the twelve out-lying districts and make them fight to the death in Panem’s version of ultimate survivor: The Hunger Games. There’s some background filler about how the games are a punishment and reminder of a long ago civil war that went badly for the out-lying districts. The games, as one smarmy TV announcer played by Stanley Tucci said, “bring us together.” Yeah, there’s nothing like raw fear and continual humiliation to bring a people together.

Face paint and swashbuckling hot heroine, (played by Jennifer Lawrence), aside the world of the Hunger Games is the most credible Sci-Fi dystopia to emerge in years. The laws of physics hold in this movie! There’s no flying faster than the speed of light, no summoning of magical or supernatural forces and no hinging entire pocahantian plot lines on imaginary Unobtainium. Nothing depicted in the Hunger Games is, as far as we know, impossible. We could build Panem today with off-the-shelf technology. It’s probably lost of the popcorn crowd but the world’s physical plausibility is a powerful frame for the story because this shit has already happened. The mayhem of Hunger Games is no worse than what transpired for centuries in Roman amphitheatres, Aztec ball courts or medieval jousting tournaments. Humans can be gamed to death for the filmiest of reasons. This is the real horror of the film; it’s not much a stretch from where we’ve been, to where we are, to what we might become.

I do not fear imaginary monsters; there are plenty of real ones to worry about and the real Hunger Game monsters are with us now. Our biggest monster is our naïve belief that we’ve put all this aside: that no modern democratic state could degenerate into a tidy Panemian tyranny, that liberty and freedom, once achieved, is eternal. I’m not so sanguine; we’re a lot closer to a Panem than you might think. If you handed out firearms to the contestants of your average reality TV show we’d be there: minus the green high-speed maglev trains of course. (Don’t worry there’s a stimulus boondoggle for the maglev trains.) Ask yourself, if we armed the Kardashians and made them fight to death on TV how many would care, how many would be relieved, how many Vegas bets would be made? I suspect most would dress up in their gayest apparel and party like Panemians celebrating another dead teenager.

The 20 seconds that ruined Inception

Inception Token

Last week I saw Inception with my daughter.  I was seriously considering giving this flick a miss after reading Michelle Malkin’s rant about its empty-headed actors.  Nothing ruins a movie faster than an actor going off-script!  Actors are given scripts written by others for very good reasons.  Most of them have stunted childlike minds that rarely emit ideas worth considering.  I have no patience for such nonsense and I certainly won’t pay for it. Lucky for Inception its Cineplex competitors were defining a new standard of airbending suckitude — move over Plan 9 there’s a new fetid pant load in town.

Spoiler Alert

To my relief the juvenile politics of Inception’s actors did not manifest in the movie.  Inception is a fine film but it threw away its slim chance at greatness in the last twenty seconds.  At this point I must issue an all points spoiler alert.  Do not read  beyond this paragraph if you want to preserve your faint chance of being surprised.

Inception is all about recursive nature of reality and dreams.  What is a dream and what is reality?  How does dream time relate to real-time?  Does such a question even make sense? Are we in a dream?  What happens if we dream in a dream?  The movie tackles these themes with technical gusto. The special effects are so special you forget about being impressed and just enjoy the story.  On this account Inception succeeds were Avatar sounded some sour notes.  You cannot fault this movie on technical grounds.  Nor can you fault it on cheesy subject matter.  How many Hollywood blockbusters deal with the nature of reality?

To avoid getting lost in dreams the Inception dreamers carried a personal test token. The test token is a small object that behaves one way in dream worlds and another way in reality. And, this is crucial to Inception’s plot, only one dreamer should know the token’s trick. DiCaprio’s character used the spinning top shown above.  As some readers have pointed out the spinning top is DiCaprio’s wife’s token but he knows that in dreams the top never stops spinning while in the real world it tips over. By spinning the top he can distinguish dreams from reality.

In the last twenty seconds of Inception DiCaprio’s character returns home and starts the top spinning on a table.  Throughout the film he has been trying to catch glimpses of his children’s faces.  In his dreams their faces are always turned away.  Finally, they turn their heads and he sees their faces.  Then the camera cuts to the spinning token. It’s still spinning but it’s wobbling and starting to fall.

The film ends before the token falls. I’m guessing the director just couldn’t stomach the focus group happy ending and spared us the indignity of watching the top fall.  Despite the residual uncertainty, maybe it doesn’t fall and this isn’t reality but another dream, the implication is clear enough we are safe and sound and back in the real world.   A better ending would have been no top wobbling and no child faces. Then everything would have been marvelously ambiguous and unclear.  Never pander to the audience art is to delicate for that!