December 14th, 2007


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jimbojones
10:18 pm - I Am Shitty Movie
So, I saw the new Will Smith flick I Am Legend with Nate and Kristen tonight.

Suckity suck suck suck. Nate and Kristen liked it okay, but they're WAY better at toggling the "suspension of disbelief" switch than I am. I learned the following things over the course of the two hours I was stuck in I Am Legend:

  • Although it takes decades for grass to really make an inroad on an untended sidewalk in the yard, all kinds of rank growth will sprout up through the roads of downtown Long Island within three years.
  • enough rank growth to support several HUGE herds (100+ per herd) of whitetail deer. which are also there in three years.
  • and prides of lions to feed on them. (not mountain lions - LIONS.)
  • and they will be able to outrun a Shelby GT Mustang. Floored. On a paved straightaway. For several blocks.
  • the "Rage" virus from 28 Days Later apparently is fair game to put in your own crappy movie.
  • the "Rage" virus might have already been an unwieldy concept, but it's even harder to swallow as an "accident" than it was as a specifically, deliberately tailored bioweapon.
  • using really shitty CGI for all your "Rage" victims also doesn't help you suspend your disbelief of how silly it is.
  • you can choke out a rabid full-grown German shepherd with your forearm practically effortlessly. with your eyes closed. you don't even need to adjust your grip or anything.
  • Will Smith is so fucking stupid, the VERY DAY AFTER he traps a dude with a noose trap powered by a falling car, when he steps in a noose trap, hears the sound of cable going zzzzzzzzz, looks to his side, and sees a car falling... he will stand there for a good three seconds just sort of watching it go. And be surprised when his foot goes up in the air.
  • noose traps don't actually need anything to trigger them. if you just sort of have a loop of cable on the ground, and tie it to a car somewhere, as soon as somebody conveniently puts their foot dead in the middle of the noose trap the car will fall and hoist them up.
  • vaccines work great on people who already have full-blown viral infections.
  • blood serum (and by "serum", I mean "some blood that just came out of some bitch's arm and straight into the tube") is okay in an unrefrigerated test tube for days on end.
  • human flesh and bone is strong enough to shatter building joists and tear giant holes through roofs, walls, and even fire safes.
  • grenades only work if you hold on to them.
  • an M16 on full auto fires about one and a half rounds per second.
  • you can just sort of point an M16 in the general direction of a store mannequin 150 feet away without making any attempt to sight down it at all, and if you hold the trigger down for four seconds you'll put six rounds in its chest.
  • you can ask Will Smith to do "cocky", or "pissed", or "sad", but if you need somebody to sell "crazy" in any kind of convincing way, cross him off your casting director's list.


Another thing that really pissed me off that doesn't fit well into a bulleted list: Will Smith is all super soldier/scientist (yeah. that. don't get me started) and he's all determined to go all sciency on this Rage virus thing that, you know, you can't call the Rage virus 'cause that was 28 Days Later (shit dude we TOLD you not to call it that, now we're gonna have to re-shoot this scene!). And he's keeping, you know, a nice science-y log, complete with video as well as notes, where he gives dispassionate science-y observations about stuff. And he makes this huge point of dictating how the victims of the Rage virus have "completely socially de-evolved; subjects show no remaining human behavior whatsoever". Despite this, when THE VERY NEXT DAY one of the Rage zombies subjects SETS A FUCKING NOOSE TRAP for him and SETS HUNTING DOGS AFTER HIM, he never says word one about this, or seems to find it odd in any way. He continues to not find this odd, even when the same guy LEADS A PERSONAL ARMY after him.

If you're really, really uncritical about movies and thoroughly capable of ignoring inconsistencies and idiocies as "part of the movie-going experience", you might like this movie. Otherwise... do yourself a favor and pass. 28 Days Later (Lite) is a turkey.

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[User Picture] From: wanton_bliss
Date: December 15th, 2007 - 04:12 am
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This makes me all the happier that I settled for the steampunk-ish children's fantasy of The Golden Compass.

Dude, that Coca-Cola bear can kick some Tartar ass!


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: December 15th, 2007 - 04:14 am
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Oooh, was that good? Or at least tolerable? I have been wanting to watch that polar bear fuck some people up for months now.


 
[User Picture] From: wanton_bliss
Date: December 15th, 2007 - 04:36 am
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I have no idea anymore. I have some homo on my friends list screaming about how, as much as they fucked up the story, the Chronicles of Narnia was still a better adaptation.

I never read The Golden Compass and knew next to nothing except that every trailer looked visually stunning and Nicole Kidman was always slinking around in evening gowns. Oh, and the fucking polar bears from the Coke commercials strap on armor and talk.

Can that really be bad?

It's a children's fantasy movie and clearly has been cut down from a bloated novel because the introduction of characters is very rushed; exposition is ubiquitous. That said, I haven't really seen some of basic concepts of the fantasy world before, which was good enough for me (WTF novelty???) As long as you aren't going to roll your eyes at talking animals and a little girl trying to gain her daddy's approval, I think it's perfectly charming. The fact that there are guns made the epic battle scene feel just a bit less fantasy and more brutal, despite the nigh complete absence of blood.

Just don't expect an ending of any sort. It's one of those goddamn-we-better-make-enough-for-sequels flicks. Honestly, even if I hadn't liked the movie, it would probably have been worth it just to see the Speed Racer trailer, which melted my brain into a pool of what-the-fuck.


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: December 15th, 2007 - 04:40 am
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Well, I didn't even know there was a book called The Golden Compass until well after ooh-ing at the talking-coca-cola-bears-in-armor trailer, so I think I'm okay on that score.

I am not asking for high cinema I just want something that declares its fantasy upfront (talking polar bears, magic, bloodless gun battles) and sticks to what-we-do-well and what-you're-supposed-to-buy-as-genre rather than some piece of garbage that just sort of randomly does whatever it feels like with no consistency and expects you to be too stupid to notice shit.


 
[User Picture] From: wanton_bliss
Date: December 15th, 2007 - 04:48 am
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Between this and I, Robot, I'm really curious what science fiction novel Will Smith can fuck up next to really up the ante.

I'm thinking maybe the Bible.


 
[User Picture] From: staringgoldfish
Date: December 15th, 2007 - 09:37 pm
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Golden Compass wasn't half bad. I would rate it higher than Stardust, anyway. The dialog was a little painful in spots, and the CGI was a might spotty in one or two places, specifically with Nicole Kidman's character's daemon. She just acted like she was working with a puppet to be replaced in post. Sam Elliot's in it, though, so it's got that going for it.

Also, armored-coca-cola-bears? Not as big a role as the trailer led me to believe. Still a sizable part, don't get me wrong, but there's really only one that goes in and fucks some shit up in the big fight at the end.


 
[User Picture] From: tawnyleona
Date: December 16th, 2007 - 06:04 am
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I read the books a few years ago, and have been looking forward to the movie, but not too fanatically, as you know that the movie will never live up the movie you watched in your head while you read the books.

You would probably like the books. They end up being a pretty good argument against organized religion, which is why the zealots are up in arms about this movie (even though none of that was actually in the first book). And the whole idea of your own personal piece of your soul disguised as an animal following you around is appealing:)


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: December 15th, 2007 - 04:17 am
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ps: when I say the CGI was shitty, I mean the CGI people HAD NO FREAKING SKULLS. Seriously. When they yelled, the shape of their freaking head changed; the sides dipped in when their jaws opened. It looked like instead of modeling flesh on top of a skull and skeleton, the CGI designers ran some kind of weird routine that tried to maintain the volume enclosed by the body as a constant.


 
[User Picture] From: wanton_bliss
Date: December 15th, 2007 - 04:38 am
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I think the polar bears probably looked better then.


 
From: mostlyfakinit
Date: December 15th, 2007 - 04:33 am
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[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: December 15th, 2007 - 04:36 am
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Given the choice between renting this movie and watching german gay porn with your mom at a Tupperware party, you should die in a fire.

I'm not sure how much dirt you need on Michael to make him see Sweeney Todd. Might not actually be a bad movie though.


 
[User Picture] From: discogravy
Date: December 15th, 2007 - 05:32 am
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but how does it rate against the charlton heston version is the real question (cos boy, can HE do crazy)


 
[User Picture] From: pantsnotneeded
Date: December 17th, 2007 - 12:51 am
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Moisturize with oatmeal!


 
From: jesebel
Date: December 17th, 2007 - 08:15 pm
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Gonna have to argue with you just a little...

Not that I am saying it is good, but there's very current cancer research in the exact direction they took - i.e. genetically modifying viral DNA to target cellular elements of tumors instead of healthy human cells. So there's quite a bit of realism to that. Viruses mutate ridiculously quickly, so it's possible - if a bit unlikely. Since rabies is also virus and viruses can exchange DNA or RNA through their hosts (not one for the other, obviously), it's also possible (if unlikely) for a virus to mutate to resemble rabies, especially if rabies was present in a host. It's unlikely, but it's a movie, after all.

Jeff liked it; I was bored, thought the CGI was way obvious, and also thought there should have been remarks about intelligence of the virus-infected people. Jeff and I also argued about cannibalism a bit - did it make these dudes less cannibalistic that they were eating non-infected humans while organizing with each other? Couldn't they eat each other since they were technically still alive, and wouldn't the fact that they weren't eating each other indicate some sort of semblance of humanity (unlike Will's remarks that they didn't seem human any more)? And wouldn't that mean that unlike 28 weeks later, they wouldn't eventually die out from starvation? That and the fact that Will Smith was trying to use a vaccine to cure an infection were probably my complaints; since they appeared to be doing stuff in the winter and the chick had the elaborate plan about how she could get to Vermont during daylight, I figured the blood went less than 24 hours without refrigeration, and not to mention they never said anything about curing anyone with the blood.

Oh yeah, also was VERY confused as to why he held on to the grenade instead of lobbing it through the hole in the glass. Dumbass.


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: December 17th, 2007 - 09:03 pm
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Re: Gonna have to argue with you just a little...

Except it DIDN'T resemble rabies; it induced a very specific set of behaviors in its victims that included specifically targeting non-infected while coexisting with already-infected. That's a lot to buy from ANY virus, but even more so when you're saying it's a random mutation instead of a specific bioweapon.

Add in that the virus suddenly gives its victims the ability to rend steel with their bare hands, and you're past "this is sketchy" territory and into downright "this is fucking retarded" territory. When you figure out how a virus can increase the tensile strength of flesh to a point greater than that of the steel on a fire safe (the rage zombies dark-seekers apparently were a lock to get into it if not killed, remember?) you let me know.

compare and contrast with 28 Days Later: you still have a ridiculous amount of higher-order behavior imposed by the virus there, but first of all, it is at least supposed to be a specifically tailored weapon (thereby eliminating the need for random chance to make it happen and introducing the possibility of some odd shit nature just hasn't done yet), and the rage zombies can't do anything normal people can't - they're fucking ANGRY, and they want to kill you, and they aren't holding anything back, but they aren't tearing holes in walls bare handed either. (third of all, the rage zombies SOLD it much, much, much better than the "dark-seekers" did - fucking christ those things were terrifyingly well portrayed.)

I don't have any problem with the idea of viruses evolving at all; and I'm quite aware that there's a lot of virological research towards treating genetic diseases (and tend to be in favor of it). It's the specific effect here I'm bitching about.

As for the grenade, lobbing it through the hole in the glass or not really makes no difference (it utterly destroyed the entire lab on both sides of the glass anyway); the important question is - given that you have a few seconds from the moment you let go of the grip on a grenade anyway - why the fuck didn't he lob it OUT of the safe and close the safe door after it?

srsly. retarded movie.


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