Friday, May 16, 2014

A Look Back at Pacific Rim

Time for a thought exercise.

I want you to imagine a child. A kind of small, impressionable young boy. He's playing in the bathtub with toy boats and rubber ducks and basically having a real fun time. And then he's like, oh man, what if the boat was a boat and the duck was a Godzilla. And he smashes the duck into the boat, making fake Godzilla roars with his mouth and just reliving the same moments he just saw on TV in black and white, but, like, it's him doing it. And he's pretty happy about it.

Now I want you to imagine that the kid has grown up and their name is Guillermo Del Toro and they're given millions of dollars to do the duck and boat thing but instead of a rubber duck and a toy boat in a bathtub, it's a real boat and a giant CGI duck in the Industrial Light and Magic office. And instead of making fake Godzilla roars with his mouth, it's Tom Morello making weird cool noises on his 'lectric geetar on the soundtrack. You've pretty much just imagined how Pacific Rim was made. Probably.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Review: "The Lego Movie"

The Lego Movie is high art. I stand by that statement with 100% conviction, too. Despite being a laugh-a-second, impeccably-timed, must-see family comedy, it is smart. And by that I mean book-smarts smart; it brushes on so many themes, most of them having to do with Lego itself as an institution, that it kind of defies rational explanation. It's majestic in its audacity and it is audacious in its majesty, and directors Chris Lord and Phil Miller have bought an influence to the table that is completely bereft of irony and cynicism. Which isn't so impressive considering their prior masterworks, until you realize it's a goddamn Lego movie.

In a world entirely made of Lego, we follow our protagonist Emmett, a minifigure so devoid of imagination, personality and free will, that he is a literal blank slate. He lives by the rules. He follows the instructions. The benevolent leader President Business (secretly the villainous and super-evil Lord Business) has basically brainwashed the entire world to be unquestioning and passive; none moreso than Emmett, who is basically destined to be completely forgotten. His only defining feature is that he is utterly generic and indistinct... until he stumbles upon the Piece of Resistance, and fulfils an eight-and-a-half-year-old prophecy, becoming The Special - a Master Builder so powerful he can stop the ancient weapon known as The Kragle, and save all the universe. Chased by Business' robotic minions, the schizophrenic Good Cop/Bad Cop, and his own looming sense of inadequacy, it's a race against the clock to save the world before Lord Business destroys it.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Post-Mortem Amalgam: "Spider-Boy Team Up"

Expectations are a funny thing. They can influence a bias on both sides; too high an expectation and you can be left disappointed, and too low and you may be made a laughing stock on the critics circuit when you give Grown Ups 2, like, B+, "better than diving into a bath of manure and maggots fast-first, at least!" You don't want to be made a laughing stock on the critics circuit, do you?? 

At some point, though, you have to be reasonable. No-one really likes being disappointed. It might be best to lower your expectations far through to the molten core of the Earth itself, if only to have a better time when you're being dragged to watch some film your stupid friends want to see or something. It's better to be mildly surprised than to be utterly crushed. So it's important to note that my expectations of the Amalgam line were well low. Well, well low. They may have been the lowest expectations I've ever had going into a series of comics, and I've read Freddy vs Jason vs Ash. So, let this be the story of how Amalgam Comics failed to surpass even the mildest of expectation. Oh my dear Jesus Christ, help.