Thursday, May 29, 2008

Prince Caspian

If I had to describe my reaction to this movie in one word, it would be: Disappointed.

There's plenty to like about the movie and it is entertaining, but I just was not impressed. I imagine that if I weren't such a big fan of the book and didn't have such high expectations, then maybe I would have enjoyed it more. But as it stands, I really was just disappointed. (SPOILERS to follow, do not read ahead if you haven't seen the movie)

The first thing that seemed obvious to me was that these kids aren't very good actors. To be fair, I think it was probably poorly written dialogue rather than bad acting, but it felt forced and unbelievable. However, I could have lived with sub-par acting. After all, Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe didn't have spectacular acting, and I liked that one. It's not like you go see this movie for a chance to watch Oscar talent on the big screen.

I think the most disappointing thing for me was in the way the movie separated itself from the book. Characters and their relationships were changed (for the WORSE), and for no apparent reason (except maybe to add unnecessary drama).

I guess I'll just make a list of the things that pretty much ruined the movie for me. In order, here they are:

5) Doctor Cornelius. The doctor's role is greatly diminished, which was a huge disappointment to me, because he's such a great character. They literally could have just taken him out of this movie and it wouldn't have changed much. That's just poo, cause he's awesome in the book.

4) Battle of Beruna. I liked this battle scene the first ten times I saw it. How many times do we have to see large catapulting contraptions demolishing the undermanned hero? I admit that I liked the sinking earth trap, although it's a pretty ridiculous idea that would never really work.

The fighting trees were stupid too. Ents have been done before. They're supposed to be the nymphs and dryads who are more like giants with leafy arms. Why change this to something we've seen before? I didn't like the river god either, but at least the rushing water didn't turn into horses. And I was really hoping to see Bacchus make an appearance in this movie (he's actually the one who frees the river god). Another good scene wasted.

3) The Castle Siege. I admit that this was a good action scene, for the most part. But I don't understand how it helped develop the (original) story in the least. Sure, it helped to ruin Caspian's character, by pitting him against King Peter (which never happens in the book).

And I can guarantee you that if an army of minotaurs and centaurs came storming in, the people would die of fright. In the book, there is a real sense that the Telmarines FEAR Old Narnia. They had no idea that these creatures still existed. Every soldier would have peed his pants and dropped his sword. This scene just should not have been thrown in. It doesn't make sense and adds nothing to the story (at least as the story was originally written).

2) Reepicheep. Reepicheep is by far one of the most popular characters in all of Narnia. This movie did a terrible job of developing who he is. He was turned into some sort of caricature of himself. The scene at the end where he loses his tail is one of the best scenes in the book, but it was almost an afterthought in the movie. I bet if I hadn't read the book, the significance of that moment would be totally lost. Such a shame.

I hated that they threw in the "You're a mouse!" bit before he killed someone with one swipe to the nose. There are freaking griffins and goat-men running around, and you're going to be surprised at a mouse? And it was retarded having him single-handedly taking down grown men. That never happens in the book, and was just a joke in the movie.

And please tell me why they added the scene with the cat being tied up in the castle? AAAAAHHH! So stupid! "Ooh, look, it's the mouse's natural enemy: the castle cat. Come on guys, there's always enough time for a chivalrous mouse to find some rope somewhere and tie up a sleeping cat." Ugh.

1) Prince Caspian. I can't believe how much they botched up the title character. Mostly, it was because of his relationships with the other characters.

Let's start with Caspian and Miraz. So Caspian learns that Miraz killed his father, and runs through the castle (a-la Inigo Montoya), so he can avenge his father. In the book, he never seeks this vengeance (it doesn't fit his character). Rather surprisingly, he cannot bring himself kill good ol' Uncle Miraz. Shocker. That first scene was so dramatic, we get to see it again at the end of the movie. I really thought he was going to kill him that time, though.

Then there's Caspian and the Old Narnians. In the book, he's already gained their favor and is leading their army against King Miraz. He makes decisions and has character and leadership. It's only after their army is outmatched and as a last resort that he blows Susan's horn, and then the help comes. In the movie, there's none of that. Help comes almost by accident (because he doesn't even know what the horn is), and because he fell off his horse (being chased by Telmarines who somehow found the courage to follow him into a forest that is known to be haunted and hasn't been entered for centuries).

Then we have Caspian and King Peter. Darn that know-it-all King Peter, with his hair brained raid schemes. I have no idea why they felt the need to have some kind of bitter rivalry between these two kings. From what I remember, this isn't the case in the book and definitely not to the extent it was portrayed in this movie. That was almost as ridiculous as...

Caspian and Queen Susan. Seriously? I mean, seriously? Somebody explain this to me. If everything else in the movie was exactly like the book and was made perfectly, this would still have ruined it for me. So fake, so unbelievable, so unnecessary. Complete with the terrible "let's make money off of the music industry as well with our top 20 love ballad" at the end. I just laughed my way through every one of these "love" scenes. I don't see how anyone could have enjoyed the movie while having to endure this ridiculous addition. Stupidest. Decision. Ever.

This post turned out way longer than I expected. I could keep going, but I guess the point is, I just didn't see the need or the purpose of going so far away from the context of the book. If you need filler material for the movie, you have 1500 years of undocumented history that would make for awesome back-story (like the opening scene in the first LOTR trilogy). Why not go back and show the Telmarines first coming to Narnia and sending the Narnians into hiding? There's so much there you could use, which wouldn't change the original story.

Having said all that, if you don't really care about the books and how closely the movie follows them, you'll probably like this movie. It's entertaining with decent effects and definitely worth watching. But if you're a big fan of the books and character development and solid plot lines, you're probably going to be disappointed.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Overly Excited, Hyperactive Children

You know that wonderful feeling of anticipation, when you're expecting something spectacular to happen, and you can hardly contain your emotions? Usually, the waiting and hoping is even better than what actually ends up happening. Oftentimes, you'll hear someone experiencing this emotion say, "It feels like Christmas."

Hopefully in your youth, you had a chance to want something so bad, that the mere thought of actually getting it would pretty much blow your mind. It's like the scene in A Christmas Story, when Ralphie finally gets a chance to tell Santa what he really wants for Christmas. He's so excited, that he totally freezes under the pressure and can't even speak. Then when he's halfway down the slide he freaks out and says, "No! No! I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!" Aw heck, let's just look at the video:

Look at the devastation in his face, when Santa says those ill-fated words, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid." Classic.

Well, few things are more entertaining than watching a child, who has had all that pent up emotion and anticipation, finally release it in a moment of pure ecstasy.

So without further ado, please enjoy a few of the most entertaining moments of a child's life. Some of these are quite disturbing in the fact that the kids get so excited over something so trivial. If only we could all go after our dreams with the same amount of passion.

First up is a kid who gets a Nintendo 64 for Christmas. A few things of note: I like how the little sister mimics everything the boy does. And, the best is when they start pawing at the box, like two kittens chasing a mouse on a linoleum floor?

Next is a kid who opens up a pack of Pokemon cards (I think), to find a rare Blastoise (whatever the heck that is). This reminded me of finding rare baseball cards as a child, but I don't think I ever got this excited.

Then we have the other end of the spectrum, which shows a kid who thought he was getting an XBox 360 for Christmas, but opens it up to find a box of clothes. Poor guy. His face is priceless.

This last one may not apply, but these videos never get old. This is what happens when a baby gets too excited. The last set of laughing babies is actually kind of scary.

If you find that your children are way too excited and hyperactive, suggest that they do something constructive and creative with their energy. Here's a good example. The famous video of the dancing Crazy Frog Brothers.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Indianapolis Will Host Super Bowl XLVI in 2012! Why You Should Care.

If you live in Indianapolis or the surrounding area, this is a huge day for you. By now the entire city is buzzing with the news that we will finally get to host a Super Bowl. You should be excited.

After getting screwed in our bid last year (see here), the Indianapolis Bid Committee somehow put together an even better presentation this year and won the bid to host the 2012 Super Bowl. This is so awesomely exciting that I shouldn't even have to say it.

Let's take a closer look at why hosting a Super Bowl is such a huge thing for Indianapolis.

1) Colts at home in the Super Bowl?
The mere thought of maybe, possibly, seeing Peyton Manning play for a Super Bowl in... you know what? I'm not even going to say it. You folks should be excited enough.

2) Hometown Pride
So you say you could care less about football and a bunch of grown men getting paid millions to play a child's game? Well first of all, shame on you. However, if you have any sense of pride about where you come from, this is a big deal. The Super Bowl is a big deal whether you care about it or not and it will bring lots of attention (and some money) to the city. I don't care about dressing up like a Vulcan and hanging out with Storm Troopers, but I'm still proud of GenCon.

3) Economic Stimulus Package
Sure, you may read articles that say the economic benefits of hosting a Super Bowl aren't as great as many people think. Numbers get inflated and much of the money is spent hosting the event, but I guarantee you it's a better way of getting money into our local economy than say, oh I don't know... randomly handing out $600 to every citizen in the hopes that this will somehow benefit society.

4) Lasting Community Benefits
One of the best things about our bid was the proposal to build a big $9M dollar practice facility over by my old high school, Arsenal Tech. After the Super Bowl, it will be given back to the community to help the struggling east side. I have no idea how that will help, but it sure can't hurt.

5) Memories
How many memories do you have of hanging out in your hometown during a Super Bowl? You can't put a pricetag on that.

6) Justifying Lucas Oil Stadium
I don't know enough about politics and economics to know whether or not we should have built this new stadium. It's worth it to me just to make sure we'll still have the Colts around for a few more years. But at least now, I can argue that the new stadium will end up paying for itself since we're hosting a Super Bowl because of it. The LUKE!!!!

I could go on and maybe I will later. All I know is that this is an exciting day for Indianapolis. GO COLTS!!!!!

PS- Here's a few bloggers already getting excited about our Super Bowl. Let me know if you want your link added to the list.

By the Narrow Gate
The Gimcrack Miscellany
Back Home Again

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Man Goat: Searching for Bob?

All I know is, if this is for real, it's one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Man Goat:

Actually, if I saw that thing in real life, I would probably be freaked out. Bob!!!

Friday, May 02, 2008

RC Car + Bottles + Genius Asians + Mario Theme= Amazingly Awesome Video

Really, there's not much else I can say. I love smart people doing creative things based on the Mario Brothers. So naturally, I think this video is sheer brilliance. Happy Friday and enjoy: