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...

November 5, 2012

The Walking Dead S3E4: "Killer Within"

This was arguably the best episode of the entire season, if not the entire series. It was emotionally draining, but damn it was AMAZING!

First of all, the title led me to believe (as I'm sure it was meant to) that either Lori's baby was going to claw its way out of her and show itself to be a zombie, or that someone inside the prison was going to be the killer - the two unwittingly rogue prisoners, perhaps? I was a quarter right, I guess. It wasn't the two prisoners we've seen before - it was the one that got away, the one thought to have been eaten by walkers in episode 2! And what on earth did he think he was doing, calling all the zombies to the prison? I mean, it's not like he was really helping himself with this tactic. Wouldn't it have been easier to approach the two prisoner guys, Axel and Oscar, and suggest a prison take-back, then plan accordingly? Why did he think it was such a super great idea to get a zombie riot going, then just take his chances from there?? What a douche. Well, obviously he's not super-smart. He's in prison...
At least, now we know that the comically-stoic prisoner, Oscar, is on Team Grimes!

Now, let's talk about T-Dog. He's easily the most underdeveloped character in the group. He barely gets two lines per episode, and I've joked several times that I had "forgotten he was on this show." So, basically, what I'm sayin' is that T-Dog has been wearing a red shirt since Season 1. It was only a matter of time before his number came up. And it's cool that he sacrificed himself so nobly to protect Carol. What I was not expecting was for T-Dog and Lori to die in the same episode! And only the 4th episode into Season 3, at that. Very shocking. 

Then there's my personal favorite character, Maggie. Beautiful, tough, but soft-hearted Maggie. She had the wretched job of delivering Lori's baby via c-section, with a funky hunting knife, right in front of Lori's boy, Carl. Now, there's a job I hope I never get! And, of course, I suspect that the care of this baby is going to fall to Maggie and her sister. I think Carol is still too messed up from Sophia's death to be able to do it properly, and Rick has a whole lot of survival stuff on his mind. Carl is going crazy. Hershel is healing from losing a leg. That doesn't really leave anybody else, unless Prisoner Axel turns out to be a baby-whisperer. Hell, on this show you never know!

I'm mildly suspicious that Carl didn't actually shoot his mom. I know he's gotten tougher since last season, but they didn't show us the actual shot. Could he have faked it? Is Walker Lori hanging out in the generator room? What if she's not dead at all??? Maybe she just passed out from the pain, and she's in the generator room feeling extremely thirsty right now. If she is really dead, how awful is it that the baby's half-brother killed both it's mother and it's father. Because, yeah, the daddy's Shane! You know it and I know it too. 

Extra Tidbits:
  • The look on Daryl's face when he found Carol's head-wrap... I think he loooooooooves her. 
  • At the beginning of this episode, T-Dog was proving to be the new voice of reason, replacing Dale as the group's conscience. And then wham-o. Done. Now who's going to be the Moral Police? My money's on Carol. Maybe Hershel.
  • Glen and Maggie in the guard tower. Hilarious. But I hope Glen is going to be cool with the fact that, after delivering Lori's baby, Maggie is probably never going to want to have sex with him again. At least not without a lead condom.
  • We know Oscar is cool, but I think Axel is a little nuts. Remains to be seen.
  • Michonne kind of wimped in this episode. If she wants to leave, wouldn't she just leave without Andrea? I know she cares about Andrea in her own dry way, but she seems like the kind of gal who would just say, "I'm out - you can do whatever you want." 
  • Was Andrea seriously flirting with Merle??? Seriously?!

Funniest Tweets Following Lori Grimes' Death

Lori left The Walking Dead the same way she came in. With her pants off.
-- Antonio Martinez

This baby is gonna have to prove itself. Rick doesn't trust newcomers.
-- Sean Clancy ‏

When Maggie says "Lori, let's get your pants off" I wish Carl would have said "That's what Shane said!"
-- Jordan Robertson ‏

 I killed your Dad and your Mom. Happy Birthday and welcome to the Zombie Apocalypse!
-Carl Grimes
-- Drae Dinger

Somebody better start lactating. I'm looking at you Hershel.
-- Ethan Robertson

That episode of walking dead was sadder then when Ash left Butterfree.
-- Jonathan Pummell

Well Rick, there's good news and there's good news.
-- The Mocking Dead

Who gives a damn about Lori? T-Dog just earned the black man of the year award from the horror movie genre.
-- Kenny King

Lori wants to die giving birth to a zombie baby. I wonder how Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan feel about that.
-- Steve Garcia

You know that baby is all spread eagle inside Lori & like "Oh hell to the N & O! I ain't going out there!"
-- Kathi Seymour

Do you think it is maybe time to have "that talk" with Carl about the birds and zom-bees?
-- My Vogon Poetry

Wouldn't it be hilarious if it was only a fart?
-- Juan Merino

Shane in you...oops I mean...shame on you.
-- Haha One Liners 

Lori's baby will be immune to zombie virus because she sacrificed herself for the baby. Learnt that magic from Harry Potter.
-- Mandi Snow

November 4, 2012

Joss Whedon on Romney = Genius

Firefly 10th Anniversary Special on Science Channel

I wish I could be writing a review of this Firefly special, sometime in the not-so-distant future. Instead, I am writing to bemoan the fact that I no longer get the Science Channel, and I'm going to miss it! Waaaaaaaaah!

*** Jen sits in a dark corner, curled up in the fetal position, crazy dead-doll eyes staring straight ahead, rocking back and forth, repeating, "I aim to misbehave. I aim to misbehave..." ***

But, in true geek fashion, I am gleaning all that I can about the special from print media and the interwebs. And I'm finding some pretty interesting stuff! Here's what I read in my free issue of Entertainment Weekly yesterday:

"One juicy tidbit you'll learn from the reunion: Had Firefly continued, Wash and Zoe would have had a baby, and fans would have discovered that Inara was dying of a terminal illness."

 *mind officially blown*

Announcing the Firefly 10th Anniversary Special


Highly-Anticipated Special Chronicling Joss Whedon cult sensation starring Nathan Fillion Premieres Sunday, November 11 at 10 PM ET/PT on Science Channel

The All-Day FIREFLY Event Begins with a Full Series Marathon at 7 AM ET/PT
TWITTER: @ScienceChannel #FireflyNov11

After months of intense buzz and two blockbuster panels at both San Diego and New York Comic-Con, it's finally time for the main event — FIREFLY: BROWNCOATS UNITE on November 11 at 10 PM (ET/PT), Science Channel reunites Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion and the entire renegade crew of the Serenity for the first time ever to provide the complete oral history on the franchise that continues to explode in popularity — despite meeting its end a decade ago. The 60-minute special includes secrets from the set, exclusive cast interviews, and footage from this year's colossal Comic-Con panel that dominated the pop culture conversation. Joining Whedon and Fillion for FIREFLY: BROWNCOATS UNITE are Serenity crewmembers Sean Maher, Summer Glau, Adam Baldwin, Morena Baccarin, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres and Jewel Staite; along with executive producer Tim Minear and executive story editor Jose Molina.

This summer, FIREFLY creator Joss Whedon triumphantly exclaimed to a crowd of thousands at San Diego Comic-Con that "the story is alive." Legions of fans across the world couldn't agree more, proving that a series which is comprised of only 14 episodes had endured the test of time. Guided by Entertainment Weekly senior writer Jeff Jensen, Science Channel re-created the set of the Serenity for this epic gathering capturing the insights and memories of space's most-rebellious flight crew — including the moment they realized they were canceled and where they believe the FIREFLY universe could live next.

"When Science Channel began airing FIREFLY in 2011, we immediately realized that these fans are a subculture united by a unique and fanatical passion for the series," says Debbie Adler Myers, general manager and executive vice president of Science Channel. "Our goal is to present them the series they love — but in a totally new and surprising way. Whether that's through exploring the science behind the show or reuniting the entire cast for the first time, we want Science Channel to be the home for Browncoats everywhere."

Science Channel's FIREFLY Sunday extravaganza begins at 7AM ET/PT with an all-day marathon of the series. Then, at 10PM ET/PT, the event Browncoats everywhere have been waiting for — FIREFLY: BROWNCOATS UNITE premieres on Science Channel.