The Incredibles 2 – A Science Fiction & Fantasy Movie Review

The trailer for this movie says it is fourteen years since the original Incredibles debuted.  That must be true but because at that time I had neither children nor grandchildren of an age to watch it I missed its appearance altogether.  Probably four or five years ago I read that it was probably the only Disney film of recent vintage without a truly ponderous social justice taint so I took it out and liked it.  I watched it with the grandkids and they really liked it too.  But when I saw the coming attractions for the sequel I was annoyed to find a bunch of blather about Mr. Incredible being relegated to Mr. Mom and Elasti-Girl (Mrs. Incredible) being the heroic superhero who earns the daily bread.  And so, it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I took Camera Girl and the two older grandsons to the dying local movie palace to see the film.

Well, my fears were unnecessary.  The movie is good.  By the necessity of a sequel being somewhat derivative by its very nature Incredibles 2 may not rate as highly by some measures and to some audiences.  I found it extremely enjoyable.  Aside from any measures of technical or visual excellence the story line is meager as expected for this genre but acceptable, the main characters retain their original charm and the interactions between the family members defines the heart of the movie.  It is a celebration of the traditional nuclear family.  Mr. Incredible is a 1950s Dad.  Elasti-Girl could be Donna Reed and the kids are the usual bundle of sibling rivalry, growing pains and mischief but whenever the chips are down the family pulls together to save the day and each other.

I’ll keep this short.  If you have kids or grandkids bring them to this movie.  And if you don’t, then go see it yourself.  You’ll have a good time.  My personal favorite scene in the movie is Mr. Incredible coming to terms with his kid’s “new math” homework.  His anguished cry of, “Why would they change math?”, brought back such memories of exactly the same scene in my home that I probably laughed out loud in the theater like an idiot.  Maybe there is still some hope for Disney.  I mean I doubt it, but at least they didn’t alter the characters.  They’re still who they were and still a lot of fun.

Vox Day Has a Good Link on the Star Wars Debacle

So, it seems Disney has realized that Kathleen Kennedy drove the Star Wars franchise into the ground by turning a boys’ adventure fantasy into a girl empowerment snoozefest.  And according to the source quoted nobody is willing to take over from her because the risk is too great.  http://voxday.blogspot.com/2018/06/will-no-one-rid-disney-of-this.html .

Oh, this is too much!  Can schadenfreude cause a stroke?  I laughed so hard I think I burst an aneurysm in my brain.  When you add up the ESPN, Star Wars and the Roseanne debacles SJWs must have cost Disney at least several billion dollars in lost revenue.  Can you imagine the heat that Iger must be feeling?  Oh, it’s marvelous.  And with the ninth movie of the Star Wars saga in production already and J.J. Abrams refusing to take more than directorial control over that pile of risk I wouldn’t be surprised if the House of Disney doesn’t have a major shake-up on the horizon.  It couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of progressives.

Read the whole thing including the info at the link and the comments at Vox Popoli, they’re hysterical.  It’s like a textbook case of feminism running a male based activity straight into the ditch.  Oh, my poor ribs, they ache.

Let’s review, Disney pays Lucas umpty-ump billions of dollars for a franchise that is basically a boomer/millennial male-bonding experience and they let a bitter feminist turn it into young Rosie O’Donnell with a light saber meets the First Wives’ Club.  With apologies to Count Rugen, I think that’s the worst thing I ever heard.  Is it possible that Disney is purposefully bankrupting itself to help tank the economy to spite Trump?  It seems plausible.  I mean no one could be this stupid right?

Full disclosure, I’m not the target audience for any of these movies.  I thought the first Star Wars movie was great fun when I saw it on the big screen back in the seventies.  But the second one was kind of disjointed and not as much fun.  The third one was a hot mess.  I mean, ewoks?  After that I was glad that it seemed to be over.  The newer editions are by most accounts terrible and I couldn’t imagine wasting time on them.  But I brought my grandsons to see the seventh one and I was amazed at how derivative it was from the first movie and how unpleasant it turned out.  Now, I’m far from disappointed that the series looks to be going down for the count.  What someone should do is start a new series based on an interesting and fun sci-fi or fantasy series that will draw kids and their parents in.  Hell, they could update the Lensman series and they’d get more mileage out of that than they’ve managed from Lucas’ anemic vision.  The same can be said for the Marvel and DC cinema series.  They’ve milked those characters and story arcs so strenuously that there’s nothing left but watery skim.

So, read the article and get a good laugh.  But honestly, we’re going to need to let these movie studios go broke.  They’re too stupid to live.

John Nolte at Breitbart Reviews the Box Office Performance of Solo and Adds a Little Snark

How the mighty have fallen.  When the big reveal came in the Last Jedi and we found out that the Force is just estrogen for a lot of fans it must have felt like that scene in Christmas Story where Ralphie is feverishly decoding a secret message and finds out the the secret is a commercial for Ovaltine.  Screw them.

 

Let the Schadenfreude flow.  Embrace the Dark Side of the Force which must therefore be testosterone!  Who knew?

 

http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2018/06/02/box-office-solo-officially-disaster-media-cover-why/

Deadpool 2 – A Very Warped Science Fiction and Fantasy Movie Review

Deadpool was my favorite movie of 2016.  I saw the movie on a recommendation and really didn’t know what to expect.  But from the first moment of the intro with Angel of the Morning playing over the comedic version of the credits revolving around a freeze-framed photo of a hyperkinetic centrifugal multi-villain murdering automobile rollover I knew it was gonna be great.  Now granted, Deadpool viewing does come with some penalties.  Deadpool is a fan of Wham and George Michael in general.  This is painful.  The end credits roles through an entire Wham song.    So, you take the good with the bad.

I went to see Deadpool 2 today.  I won’t put in any spoilers.  In the latest installment Deadpool puts together a team that he calls X-Force because he says X-Men is too sexist.  He faces off against Josh Brolin as a time travelling mercenary called Cable who sports a bionic arm.  And the scene where they first deploy as a team is hysterically funny.  Negasonic Teenage Warhead is back but this time with hair and a Japanese girlfriend.  Colossus is also back and even develops a little edge by the end of the movie.  And Morena Baccarin and Leslie Uggams and that doofus from Silicon Valley are back too.  And once again Wade Wilson is plunged into despair.  And that means he will be employing barrels full of ultra-violence and mayhem will rain down on his enemies and of course also hilariously on his unkillable self.  There is a scene where Deadpool is regenerating his lower body that is truly disturbing and symptomatic of some psychotic issues among the writers.  And there is plenty of truly horrendous schmaltzy music.  But Deadpool keeps the terrible sight gags and banter flowing throughout the show.  And there are even a few scenes of tenderness and love.  And unlike the terrible unhappy ending of Avengers: Infinity War, if you stick around during the credits there’s a bonus that sets some things straight.

Deadpool is a guilty pleasure.  He is obscene, sacrilegious, depraved and extremely gross.  But it cannot be denied that he is funny.  And in our increasingly humorless politically correct environment that alone should be enough to justify the time spent.

26MAY2018 – OCF Update

The thirty degree mornings have relented.  There is a break in the seemingly endless succession of torrential rain and wind storms.  I have a non-work day where I can cut the grass and put the yard in post-winter order.So today may be a bit slow.  What’s on tap and coming up soon:

  1. Photos from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
  2. Photo essay on the Sigma 150-600 Sports lens on the A7 III.
  3. Book Review on Robert Silverberg’s “Valentine Pontifex.”
  4. Book Review on “Kill Team (Galaxy’s Edge Book 3).”
  5. Book Review on “Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past.”
  6. Review of the Vanguard Alta GH-300T Grip Head for heavy lens shooting.
  7. Review of Deadpool 2.
  8. Review of Capture One 11 Photo Editing Software.
  9. President Trump’s summary firing of the intelligence agency conspirators.  Wait I’m not supposed to write that.  Let’s call that Trump Humor.

And some of these may not be in this order.  I am human after all and sometimes the mood strikes me to switch stuff up.  So stay tuned.

Avengers: Infinity War – A Science Fiction and Fantasy Movie Review

Spoiler alert.  If you don’t want to know how this movie ends don’t read this.  But just know that I don’t recommend this movie.

Last week was a birthday party for one of my grandsons.  I was talking to my two older grandsons (13 and 10 years old) and told them I’d seen a commercial for The Incredibles Part 2.  They told me it was already out so I told them I’d take them to see it Saturday. (May 19th).  Well I checked the theater listings on Friday and it turns out The Incredibles doesn’t start playing until June.  Not wanting to disappoint the kids I asked them if there was anything else out they wanted to see.  Well, they said The Avengers.  I’d brought them to see the first two and they were pretty good.  But I’d heard that the third one (Civil War) was starting to get lefty preachy so I skipped it.  So, I went to Infinity War with some trepidation.  And I had good cause.

This movie is a hot mess.  They threw everything and the kitchen sink into it.  There’s all the Avenger characters, then they added in the Guardians of the Galaxy crew for good measure.  Then there was someone called Doctor Strange and some stray characters with him.  He seemed to be some kind of imitation Dr. Who – Time Lord character.  Then they threw in the Black Panther characters.  And just in case there was anyone who wanted more, they threw in Spiderman.  All these various characters are working together to defeat Thanos.  He’s collecting the Infinity Stones and if he gets all six of them he’ll be able to perform his plan which is to kill half of all the intelligent beings in the Universe.  There’s all kinds of battles and fights and at the end Thanos wins and his power kills half of the world.  You see half of the Avengers and the other super heroes evaporating into dust.

Now, what the hell kind of Super Hero movie is that to bring kids to?  The good guys lose and half of everyone in the world dies.  Of course, in the next movie they’ll bring them all back to life but what a depressing stupid mess!  Thanks Marvel.  Well I sure hope they don’t ruin the Incredibles too.  Honestly, I’m starting to wonder if the only movies worth watching are from a generation ago.  I’m going to start making a list of the movies that we watched as kids and renting or buying them so the grandkids have stuff worth watching.

Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket” – A Movie Review

Kubrick produced some very memorable films.  All the ones I’ve seen are extremely idiosyncratic.  Full Metal Jacket is definitely in the same mold.  It tells the story of a group of U.S. Marines from boot camp to their participation in the Tet Offensive during the height of the Vietnam War.

In the opening scene the Drill Sargent played memorably by R. Lee Ermey berates and sometimes beats on the recruits to cow them and focus their attention on how serious their situation was.  I won’t reveal the details of the boot camp section of the movie but suffice it to say that the consequences of the discipline prove to be as serious as the consequences of war itself.

After the boot camp scenes we go directly to Vietnam and meet up with the new Marines.  One has ended up as a reporter with the military news service “Stars and Stripes.”  He is bored and anxious to get into the field to see the real war.  With the beginning of the Tet Offensive he gets his wish.  He’s sent up country and meets up with one of his boot camp buddies and joins their patrol.  Here he sees the real war with all the brutality and even criminality associated with a guerilla war.  And here we meet the most interesting character of the movie, Animal Mother played by the inimitable Adam Baldwin.  He’s the M60 machine gunner of the platoon wearing ammunitions belts like bandoliers across his chest and shooting an enormous number of rounds at anything that fired at him.  When asked how the war should end he stated that the “smart guys” should bomb North Vietnam into surrendering.  He’s brutal and completely uninterested in helping the South Vietnamese, only in killing the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese and anyone else who gives him trouble.

The final battle scenes show the patrol running into a sniper position.  One of their men is hit in a forward position.  The acting squad leader is worried that a large North Vietnamese force is ahead and doesn’t allow his men to retrieve the downed man even after the sniper continues to wound him with additional shots.  Finally after seeing the wounded man hit several times, Animal Mother charges in.  He manages to reach cover and determines that a lone sniper is at work.  When the patrol reaches him they take further casualties including the acting squad leader.  The final scenes show the ironic nature of this unconventional war and the effect it has on the Americans who have to navigate it.  But as insane as their world has become, they still celebrate the fact that they’ve survived what so many have not.

Based on the tone of his earlier movie “Doctor Strangelove” I assume Kubrick was not a patriotic cheerleader of the Vietnam War but I would say he represented the war right down the middle.  He showed the horror but he doesn’t have the men represented by only pacifists.  They represent a cross-section of attitudes.  They show a cross section of behaviors from humane to sadistic.

It’s been called a classic.  I’d say Full Metal Jacket is a Kubrick style take on the Vietnam War.  I have a brother-in-law who was in the Tet Offensive.  I remember his description of what went on and it seems to jibe very closely to what Kubrick is showing.  That speaks well of what Kubrick made.  I think it’s a good movie and one of the few representations of that war that gets it right.

28APR2018 – Quote of the Day

There hasn’t been frost in almost a week and the grass is growing, flowers are blooming bees are buzzing, spring, renewal, all that crap.  Always loved Debbie Reynold’s voice on this song.  Very pretty.

 

The autumn days grow short and cold
Its Christmas time again
The snows of winter slowly melt
The days grow short and then
He turns the seasons around
And so she changes her gown
Mother Earth and Father Time
How very special are we
For just a moment to be
Part of life’s….eternal….rhyme
 Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman  lyrics from song “Mother Earth and Father Time,” motion picture Charlotte’s Web (1973)

A Few Thoughts About Space Opera

After finishing up my review of Galaxy’s Edge – Galactic Outlaws, it occurred to me that there was more to say about the category of Space Opera.  Some might say that I was a little unfair to social justice fiction fans.  After all there must be a significant audience of fans with blue hair and cats who really enjoy girl power super heroes and their adventures in space.  So, to say that these are automatically bad just because I heartily dislike them might seem arbitrary and unfair.  It might seem that way but it isn’t.  And that’s because I am the final arbiter of good and bad in science fiction.  I earned this coveted status by living long enough to see everything in the world.  So, once again, all Star Wars movies after Return of the Jedi (and even some parts of them before that point) are irredeemably bad and should be cast into the outer darkness where there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth.  And that lines us up for me to proclaim what does make a good space opera.  What follows is:

“photog’s RULE FOR WHAT MAKES GOOD SPACE OPERA” (patent pending).

It needs to appeal to the sense of wonder of the twelve-year-old boy in you.  Now mind you, it doesn’t have to only do that.  It can also be a brilliant philosophical treatise on the dualistic nature of the universe or a psychological study of the impact of technology on the human race, or even a deathless love story written across the stars of the galaxy.  But if it fails to inspire the twelve-year-old boy in you it’s not space opera.  It may be science fiction or anything else but it isn’t space opera.  And this isn’t even an exclusive precinct of science fiction.  Any adventure story has to satisfy that same basic requirement.  Take the literature of the late nineteenth century or early twentieth century.  A quintessential example that comes to mind is Treasure Island.  Here is a story that was tailor made for the sense of wonder of a twelve-year-old boy.  It has all the earmarks of the tale of wonder.  The boy who loses his father, the quest for riches, exotic locales, colorful and dangerous opponents, the revelation of secret knowledge, the coming of age experience of the world and the people in it.  An adventure story is a story for a boy that kindles his interest in the world around him.  It leads him to think there is more to life than school and chores.  It inspires him to strike out on his own and find his place in the world.

Now I can just hear the modern women and girly men screeching, “Girls want adventure too!”  To which I reply “Stop screeching, you’re hurting my ears.”  But also, I would say that what girls want is neither here nor there.  Boys need the adventure story because it fits their brains.  Girls have been told that they want adventure stories so they want them in order not to get left out in the modern #metoo world that they live in.  And in fact, I don’t really care if there are adventure stories for girls.  More power to them, I guess.  What I do mind is that for the sake of inclusiveness they are ruining all the adventure stories that are coming out of Hollywood.  And that is why I look for good old (and new) space opera and other adventure stories for my grandsons (and for me).