November 13, 2012

Prequel-methius?! A Sleepy-Eyed Rant...

I am a huge fan of the Alien franchise, most notably Aliens (what can I say? I have a big boner for James Cameron. T2, anyone? The Abyss?? He can do no wrong!), but I also dig the original Alien. Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection not so much, but I still watched them because Sigourney Weaver kicks ass as Ripley.
Needless to say, I had high hopes for Prometheus. I was beyond bummed when I didn't get a chance to see it in theaters and I rented it from a Redbox on the first day it became available. I was soooo excited to finally watch it! I hadn't read any reviews, deliberately avoiding them for fear of spoilers. And I didn't want my enjoyment of the film to be tainted by someone else's opinion. So, the night of the viewing was a very big deal.   

I turned on the DVD player, settled in with some hot tea and popcorn drenched in vegan butter. And this was the first thing I saw...

This guy drinks some black sludge and breaks apart like a vampire in the sunlight. Then we see his DNA changing underneath the water to make what? Presumably, the first "alien." But it's never really stated exactly what's happening here. So, clearly this guy is sacrificing himself to create the alien. But what the hell is that black sludge? Where did it come from?? And, other than wanting to create something to kill humans with, what's the point? And since these so-called "Engineers" created human beings with their own DNA, couldn't they take them out without the aid of aliens? By the end of the movie, having gotten virtually zero definitive answers to any of these questions, it was a premise that just didn't fly with me.

According to the Xenopedia Wiki, "The Black Liquid was a mutagenic pathogen manufactured by the Engineers for war and genocidal purposes."

Okay, that makes sense. And it also makes sense to me that the pathogen got loose and infected the whole race of Engineers, which is why they're all seemingly dead and why there's black goo all over the floor of their spaceship. But if they're so smart, and "god-like" why would they be so stupid as to create a mutagenic pathogen for the purpose of genocide? I mean, it seems like they would be more "all-knowing" than that. I mean, c'mon Engineers - that's a Bush League mistake.

And then there's David, the robot played flawlessly by Michael Fassbender.
Prometheus' version of the "artificial person" was less confusing than the later androids, Ash and Bishop, who could blend in with humans and even deceive folks into thinking they are humans themselves. David is clearly not a human, but something about his demeanor and his exquisitely subtle reactions to criticism by his human counterparts left me thinking that he would like to be considered by humans as superior to them, since he clearly is, and to be treated with some measure of respect, which he definitely was not. 

I read online somewhere that, rather than take cues from the other two robots in the Alien franchise, Fassbender studied Rutger Hauer's portrayal of a robot in Blade Runner, and fashioned his voice after deadly computer HAL in 2001.

Honestly, David was truly the only character I found myself giving two sh*ts about, and he's certainly the only character that was even remotely interesting to follow. For real, let me just show you how boring this mess of underdeveloped characters is...

They're too clean, too lovely, too perfect, too contrived, and totally boring. They look like they spent hours with an acting coach learning how to configure the perfect scowl on their faces.

What makes great sci-fi work is when the characters are as real as you and me, scruffy and normal, rag-tag, people you could really know. Look at the cast of the original Alien...

These people are not bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. They look tired. They look hardscrabble, work-a-day. They look like people who work too many hours and make just enough money to feed themselves and maybe buy a round of beers for their friends every now and then. But, most importantly, they look like people I can relate to, which is why I can't help but to care about their fates!

Why do I care about what happens to a bunch of supermodels in spacesuits??
Oh yeah, I don't. That's the problem.

And, while we're talking about the loveliness of the film's stars, let's talk about Guy Pearce, shall we? Guy Pearce is a good-lookin' dude. And he's young. Not frat-boy young, but middle-aged, I guess. Still young enough to be considered young. So, why would the director need to use him to portray an old rich turd? First of all, he's Guy Pearce. He's a good actor, sure, but he sells tickets because he's hot. Did you see him in Ravenous (one of my favorite movies)??
Just look at the following photo...

So, why would you do this...

To this guy...??

See what I mean? It's a travesty. And it's totally unfair to elderly actors who don't get a bunch of roles to begin with and who might, just once, like to be cast in a big Hollywood production that's unofficially part of a huge franchise. But now that old guy, the one who could have had his last hurrah as an actor, has been usurped by a young sexy guy who had to spend five hours in make-up to look like a wrinkly old man. Totally not cool. Not cool to potential old-guy actors, and not fair to my eyeballs, the pair of whom love to get an eyeful of some Guy Pearce. The Guy Pearce without fake spider veins running up his butt.

Well, now I'm tired dang it. I had planned to rant on and on about all the unanswered questions, all the remaining stuff that irritated me, and even some more of the stuff that I liked. But it's late, and I'm sleepy. In the meantime, here's a good little link that hits on some of the same things I would have gotten around to saying if my eyes weren't starting to droop...

October 30, 2012

Beloved Characters Whose Deaths SUCKED

Number 1
(Battlestar Galactica)

Cally, Cally, Cally... *wipes single tear from eye* I loved Cally! She was so cute, so sweet, so seemingly positive and innocent amid the onslaught of the Cylons. On the surface, she was so adorably naive, but there was definitely a darker side to her. She was, after all, the one who shot Boomer. She was cute, but tough. And really smart, with mechanical aptitude I was pleasantly surprised to find assigned to a female character. She was only doing time in the Colonial forces to pay for dental school, and she was just days away from being honorably discharged. Then the frakkin' Cylons had to show up and ruin it all.

What pisses me off about Cally's death is that:
(a) she had a fat little baby to take care of, and... 

Behold the fattest baby in sci-fi history.
(b) it wasn't even a symbolic or sacrificial death (though opinions vary on this).

She just got unceremoniously sucked out of an airlock by the massive butthole known as Tory Foster. 
She deserved better than that.
In an interview I found on YouTube, the actress who played Cally said that she felt the death of Cally was badass. I do not concur.

Number 2:
(Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix)

At the very least, it was painless... I guess. I'm not talking about the movie version, either, where he gets Kedavra'd by Bellatrix. No, I'm talking about the book, where he was hit with a stunning spell (was it Stupefy?) and passed through the veil between the living and the dead, then never came out the other side.

Stupid butthole veil.
The poor guy spent most of his adult life being tortured in Azkaban, only to escape, live in hiding, then get killed. I guess there's still a big part of me that lives with the childlike ideal, "The good guy always wins." It pains me when my ideal is wrong.

What really pisses me off about Sirius' death, though, is that he was the only living family poor Harry had. Like all fans, I think, I had that thread of hope inside me that someday - when all the Voldemort hullabaloo was finished - Harry and Sirius would live a happy life together in that creepy old House of Black, with that cranky little elf, Creacher - hosting barbecues and Christmas parties for friends, Sirius being there for Harry's future wedding to Ginny. But, alas, neither Sirius nor Dumbledore are going to make it to that event...

Side Note: I have a black cat named Padfoot, called so in honor of Sirius Black. We call him Paddy, for short. He is very fat, very fluffy, extremely cuddly, and scrumptious to snuggle with. The only downside is that he barfs a lot. But we can't all be perfect.

Number 3:

Not a single episode went by on Lost where the viewer wasn't given the impression that John Locke is a full-on badass and is a major player in the salvation and lore of the island. His life before the crash of Oceanic 815 was storybook pathetic. His dad conned him out of a kidney, then pushed him out of a window, crippling him. So, John was a paraplegic before crashing on the island, then suddenly could walk. Not only could he walk, but he was strong and vibrant and vital. He seemed tied to the island by sheer destiny. So, how did he die? Strangled by the skeezy, weaselly, little rat-boy Ben, his funeral attended by no-one at all, his corpse just a pawn to return to the island for some other purpose. Wha???

Locke wanted to protect the island. In fact, I think he was the only one who really wanted to stay for the purpose of protecting it. Others wanted to stay to protect themselves from the punishments of the world away, but not John. I'll admit, he went to some seriously dark places, even murdered, to fulfill his perceived purpose, but there was still something noble in his dedication to unlocking the island's mysteries. His death seemed pretty empty and meaningless to me after all the time I'd invested in believing he was special.

But, dammit, he is special. They're ALL special to me!
*wipes another lone tear away*

October 29, 2012

Walking Dead S3E3: "Walk With Me"

Well... we all knew it was just a matter of time before ol' Merle Dixon showed his face (and his stump) again. I am convinced that, in real life, the actor who plays Merle, Michael Rooker, is a saint of epic proportions. I doubt I can even count on two hands all of the old ladies he has ushered across a busy street to safety, but his portrayal of the racist, redneck, aggressively vile Merle is so convincing, I would probably be scared of him if I ran into him at the grocery store. And I am a Southern woman! Racist rednecks are no strangers to me. I grew up around them (not with them, mind you, just around them). But Merle still scares the living crap out of me.

Of course, therein lies the genius of this show. Half the time, the characters are way more frightening than the walkers - or "the biters" as they are so called by the Governor. If the only threat was the walkers, the show would be simply two-dimensional. But the inside threats, the human error and sway, is really what makes the story so great.

Speaking of the Governor, can I just say that his speech was so "political" as to be fantastically satirical of the modern politician? Take a heinous crime, lie like crazy and spin it to your advantage, then stick to that lie no matter how far-fetched it becomes. Yes? I'm sure that was the point.
But what exactly was the point of killing the soldiers?? Wouldn't you want trained soldiers manning your fortress? My husband and I debated about this a bit, and we came to the conclusion that the Governor is probably a former Xerox repairman or something (kinda like the bad guy in "The Postman"), and this is his bid to power in the apocalypse.In the former world, he was squat. But now's his chance to be a badass. I suppose he fears that if real soldiers come in, they might usurp him and take over. That's my guess.

I have not, and do not intend to, read the graphic novels until after the show is long dead. I enjoy playing the guessing game. I love debating the characters' intentions, then finding out if I'm right or wrong. It's actually way more fun when I'm wrong.

Now let's discuss Andrea. First of all, I wanted to know what ailment she had. My guess was pneumonia, but we were never told. The lady-doctor in Woodbury just gave her some magic medicine and suddenly she's good to go. Huh?? In the premier episode of the season, when we saw that glimpse of Michonne and Andrea together, Andrea seemed as if she had been sick for months, mentioning that she was slowing Michonne down or getting in the way or something like that. But one dose of the special elixir from Woodbury and she's fine? All I can say is... I have a really bad cold right now. Can I please have some of this fabulous stuff?!

Like many fans, I am very intrigued by one Miss Michonne. Would she kick my ass for referring to her as "Miss Michonne?" Possibly...
I initially thought she was just pure badass of the highest form, and I still do! But after this episode, I'm starting to see some kinks in her armor. And I'm very curious about her life before the outbreak. What did she do? I don't think she was behind the counter at CVS. Maybe she was a self-defense or survival instructor. She adapted quite beautifully to the new world, is even "thriving" in it, one might say. So, who is she? And, of course, the latest question is... who were her walker pets? Someone she knew?? And she obviously doesn't know everything about the outbreak, as exhibited by her shock when the Governor explained that "we all come back" even when unbitten. But she somehow knew to use her pets as repellants to other zombies. I raise my eyebrows at Michonne in curiosity, and bow my head to her in reverence. Because, yeah, she's a total badass. And I can't wait to find out more about her.

Okay, who would win in a fight? Michonne against Merle.  My money is on Michonne. A three-foot-long katana sword seems way more effective than a stump-knife, but I dunno. Merle has sheer violence as well as redneck stupidity on his side, and let's not forget that he's racist so he already hates Michonne. That might drive his bloodlust even further. Please feel free to weigh in on this.

And, lastly, I just want to interject a little lady-girl squeeeeee to the fact that I love Glenn and Maggie together. LOVE them! I want them to get married and have a bunch of little "breather babies" together. Babies that are way cuter than Lori and Shane's butthole lovechild.