I’ve always been a Trek fan. Not as fanatic as Trekkies (Trekkers, whatever), but I did watch the entire original series of Star Trek over a couple of summers as a boy. So when I say I’m looking forward to the new Star Trek movie, I mean I’m looking forward to it. Well, I don’t know what else I’d mean if I said that…chalk up another pretty much useless statement by me.
Today, January 28, is the 50th anniversary of the modern Lego brick. I’ve played with Legos since I was, oh, quite small. It’s probably safe to say that I’ve owned Lego products for around 15 years. It all started with Duplos, which were quickly abandoned for a blue bucket of random Lego pieces. So started a life-long love affair with the brick, resulting in a few stop-motion videos and, at one point, an entire room full of creations. While I’ve since packed away my Legos, I still remember fondly the days that I wasted away giving my mini-figures funny voices and having them battle each other in long, drawn-out wars involving space ships and car chases. Yes, I actually did this. I was 13, give me a break.
I just thought I’d share that little bit of nostalgia. I wouldn’t have even known it was the 50th anniversary if it wasn’t for Google.
DISCLAIMER: There’s no such thing as a Lego. It’s a LEGO Brick. Copyright dilution and all that. Whatever.
So I went and saw Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer the other day. I must say, it wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be. Granted, it did have it’s moments (as I’ll explain below), but it was a decent sequel, or at least as decent as it could be given the original movie (I wasn’t floored by the first Fantastic Four, either).
Superhero movies have the tendency to get campy. Most of the recent ones have, luckily, avoided that pretty well, albeit with some glaring failures (emo Spidey, anyone?). Batman Begins was good, all three X-Men were good, Superman Returns was all right (could have only been better with Chris Reeve). Sure Catwoman sucked, but she wasn’t really a superhero anyways. I know there are a lot of other superhero movies I didn’t mention, but that’s because I didn’t want to make an impromptu list of every superhero movie made recently. That’s what Wikipedia is for.
Anyways, Silver Surfer really wasn’t that bad. Good action sequences, good villains (Dr. Doom makes a reappearance!), and a good storyline, especially for fans of the Fantastic Four comics. All in all, it was typical but enjoyable summer movie fare. My biggest beef was the Fantasti-Car. If Reed Richards built it himself…why was it a freakin’ Dodge?! I mean, seriously. If the iconic Dodge grill design wasn’t enough, they had to show a Dodge commercial for the car before the movie. Come on! Blatant advertising within a movie is something that just doesn’t fly for me. It was the same way with Minority Report with the futuristic Lexus I had to keep hearing about. It’s okay to use branded stuff in a movie; just don’t overplay it.
Anyways, that’s my take on the movie. It really wasn’t too bad, unlike certain sequels (or should I say threequels? …I hate that word). Oh, and for anyone complaining about Galactus being just a giant cloud, be sure to look closely when the Silver Surfer is inside the cloud. There’s a glowing silhouette that’s the exact shape of the comic version’s helmet. Of course Stan Lee is going to make a homage. I personally think the movie would have been worse with a gigantic man threatening to consume Earth. Dark clouds are much more sinister.
Last night, I went out and saw 300, the Spartan ballet of death movie that’s supposed to be the first blockbuster hit of the year.
In short: it was.
I walked out of that theater with a smile on my face. No, not because I’m a creepy person who loves decapitation and nude women dancing around, but because that movie was everything I expected it to be. It was action-packed to the max, and the slow-down, speed-up sequences were evocative of the Matrix movies, but with less silly plot lines. There was even a nice little subplot featuring the Spartan queen, battling political corruption (and slimy councilmen) at home. This is definitely a movie I’d recommend people to see.
Was it stylized? Oh yes. But that was just another thing that made it worth seeing. You don’t go to the movies to learn history. You go to be entertained. 300 was definitely more of a fantasy film with some of the elements in it (9 foot tall God-kings, executioners with bone-saws for arms, etc.), but they just made the movie that much cooler. I don’t know why, but I have a thing for “last stand” type movies, which is probably why I liked the movie so much. If I had a little star rating thing, I’d give 300 five stars out of five. Because I’m cool like that.