I Could Have Written a Better Screenplay for Mortal Engines . . . And I Kind of Did.

Universal Pictures, All Rights Reserved

**Spoiler Alert**

If you have not seen Mortal Engines and want to have a shot at enjoying it – do not read this review. You have been warned.

When I sat down to watch Mortal Engines, I did not have a lot of expectations. I had not read any of the related books nor had I read any reviews of the movie. I knew that the screenplay was penned by Peter Jackson and crew who had written The Lord of the Rings Trilogy screenplays (three of my favorite movies of all time), but even that did not give me any real anticipation of this particular movie. Good thing.

I would not say that I hated Mortal Engines as much as I was simply bored by it. One dimensional characters, a lumbering storyline and ham-fisted movie tropes all combine together into a perfect cacophony of icky gray blandness. If Hunger Games was a zesty southwest omelette, Mortal Engines is cold, unflavored oatmeal.

BUT, instead of going on and on about specifically what is wrong with this movie and offering nothing constructive, I am going to give a try at putting my money where my big mouth is; I am going to offer a critique and then try to offer a workable solution. You can let me know in the comments how great – or not great – of a job that I do.

Okay, let’s get started.

What the hell is going on and why are cities on tank tracks / wheels?

Let’s just call this problem the complete and utter lack of exposition. Here is what you get from this move: There was a big apocalyptic event caused by this machine called “Medusa” that took all of an hour to transform the world into a wasteland. Now cities are on wheels! EXCEPT for the part of the world that is NOT on wheels but it is behind a really, really big wall. Makes sense, right? Right?!?

No. 

What we need here, is some good old fashioned exposition to let us know exactly what the crap is going on.

Some of you out there hate direct exposition in a movie; that’s fair. But, what I think you actually hate is badly done direct exposition. If done correctly, direct exposition can help set a movie up to move forward with all wheels churning instead of leaving the movie audience scratching their heads and asking: why are all of the cities on wheels again? An example of good direct exposition was done by *GASP* Peter Jackson at the beginning of the Fellowship of the Rings. The first five minutes of the movie explain thousands of years of history in an entertaining and awe inspiring way. We see armies decimated by a mighty evil being. We see a magical ring float to the bottom of a river to be discovered thousands of years later. We are being told the history of Middle Earth and we are loving every second of it. This kind of exposition to explain what Medusa was, why it was and what is caused could have been easily just as entertaining in Mortal Engines. It took me Google searching to figure out that the cities were on wheels because apparently the tectonic plates of earth had been disrupted by the Medusa weapon. Why the movie could not have told us that, I do not know.

The Cardboard Cutout Characters

Why is Tom prancing about the wastelands as if he is vacation? Why is he utterly unaffected by being attacked by cannibals and almost being enslaved? Not to mention that he just found out that the savior of his society is a lying sociopathic serial killer bent on destruction for destruction’s sake (more on that later)! Tom needs to be hurting. Tom needs to be questioning the very nature of his existence because his whole world just got turned upside down. But instead he is a happy clown who is bouncing around the wastelands just waiting for his chance to fly a Rickshawesque plane thingy. Be less Tom and be more Jon Snow.

Why does Thaddeus Valentine want to kill everyone just to recreate a weapon that seriously screwed up the earth the first time around? I mean, seriously – what is his motivation? It ain’t family – after all, he killed the mother of one of his children and all but abandoned both of his daughter when it suited his purposes. It is not wealth – he seems to care little for the fact that he is throwing his entire life away to blow up a wall. What is behind that wall anyway? Do we even know that? We need a backstory here, folks. Maybe Thaddeus had a father that was abusive? Maybe his ancestors helped develop Medusa to start with? Just an iota of a reason for his actions would be better than the nothing that we are left with.

Hester Shaw wants to kill Thaddeus Valentine because he killed her mother. That’s all you really need to know as far as the makers of this movie are concerned and by limiting Hester in that way, they are missing out on a goldmine of character development. Hester was raised by an undead zombie cyborg names Shrike who is, by all accounts, the most complex and interesting character this movie has to offer (What does it say when the movie’s best character is literally the emotionless dead guy?). Shrike was a man once with a family. He yearns for the life that he had before becoming a killing machine in way that he does not understand. He has a photo of himself as human with his son that he hides away even from himself. He collects dolls and broken things and repairs them because he longs to repair the broken thing that he himself has become. He takes in Hester – scarred and broken from her battle as a child with Valentine – and he nurses her back to health. All the while, he is still a green eyed emotionless killing machine. Shrike wants a family so bad that he makes a cyborg body for Hester and makes her promise to join him in his eternal life of not-quite-living. He is a tragic and triumphant figure full of contradictions that we can all relate to. Focussing more on the relationship between Shrike and Hester would have helped to humanize Hester as well. A good chunk of the first part of the movie should have been devoted to that story instead of giving it short shrift as paltry flashbacks.

Boring, Safe Storytelling

Look – within the first 15 minutes of this movie, we know who the bad guy is, who the big-hearted romantic lead good guy is, who the grizzled female lead who will give into love is and how this is all going to play out in the end with the good guys winning (living) and the bad guy losing (dying). The only thing that takes a while to get introduced into the movie is the best part of the movie: Shrike.

So, let’s do a little exercise. Let’s flip things around a bit and see how it plays out:

The scene is a dark scrubland at dusk. There is red dirt rock everywhere. A few clumps of grass grow here and there. A single tree is silhouetted against the setting sun. The tree and the land begin to shake. The shaking grows in intensity until rocks jump on the ground and a flock of small birds erupts from the tree. Suddenly, an unbelievably large tank tread is roaring deafening by, missing the tree by inches. It digs and cuts at the land. As the vehicle moves further away, we see that it is, in fact, a small collection of buildings undulating on some sort of flexible platform set atop the giant tank treads. In its wake – close to the camera view – it has churned up a human skull caked in dirt. We watch the mobile town drive further into the distance. Suddenly a large metal, claw-like food crushes the skull like an egg. The camera pans up to show us the back of Shrike, with an eerie green glow emanating from his face. He clutches a tattered doll in his hand and we hear his voice whisper one word, “Hester.”

Cut to the half covered face of Hester Shaw as she walks the streets of what is obviously the same small city that trundled past in the opening. She peers back over her shoulder ominously.

From here, things would be similar to the movie where Hester’s city meets up with other small cities and then gets consumed by London. But now, let’s change things again. Instead of Tom intervening and saving Valentine’s life, resulting in Valentine all but yelling “I’m the villain” as he pushes Tom to his doom, Shrike boards London in secret soon after the smaller city is consumed. When Hester makes her strike at Valentine, Shrike intervenes to try to stop Hester from becoming the killer that he has become. A struggle ensues between the forces of London and Shrike. Hester flees and Tom pursues. Tom slips and falls after Hester when trying to pull her up from the swirling vortex exiting London. Shrike is captured and Valentine, using some of the technology he has accumulated, hacks into Shrike’s memories, learns who Hester is and reprograms him to execute Hester and Tom. Up until the point that he commands Shrike to kill Hester, we are lead to believe that he is trying to gather information to help save London and to send Shrike to rescue Tom and bring Hester back to justice. This would be a much more gradual and satisfying reveal of Valentine as the villain.

This version of the movie would proceed in a more realistic manner with a slower pace and with a more in depth and realistic look at the characters.

I could go on with several more aspects of this movie that could use some TLC; heck, I wrote like the first 25 pages of a new screenplay for this joint in my head in the shower the other day! Alas, though; I have other things to attend to at the moment. I have to go get my house fitted for wheels just in case the tectonic plates doing the tango and I have to drive it away from bigger cities trying to eat me!

3 of the Best Reasons Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” is Goblin Dung

1.) Radagast The Brown

Not much to say on this one.  Just give it 5 seconds with Rad’s bird feces covered face to distract you.  Someone in makeup really got on a roll.  Originally portrayed as  a quirky but noble wizard, Radagast is relegated to bunny driven sleighs and comic relief devoid of comedy.  I understand leaving Tom Bombadil out of LOTR, and I would also prefer a Radagast without a principle role that eats up screen time in an already over indulged script.
radagast-hummingbird

2.) Azog

Not a major figure in Tolkien’s version, but now seems to be slurping up the screen in a vainglorious attempt to showcase CGI.  In the book he is reported to have been killed years earlier.  I have no problem with creative license as long as it serves to better the story, but the whole Azog backstory just muddies up an already crammed and forced extrapolation.   A simple quest story doesn’t need it.  The primary villain in Tolkien’s tale is Smaug; The Necromancer is secondary and enshrouded in mystery.  With a primary and secondary villain in place, there is definitely no room for a contrived demonstration of total CGI, Azog the Destroyer!
azog2

3.) Expanded Discussion of Witch-king of Angmar’s Sword

No one ever needs to see LOTR celebrity brands, Galadriel and Saruman in an extended scene discussing the blade and the necromancer.  This whole scene sweeps attention away from the upmost quest: retrieve what was lost under The Lonely Mountain.  Understanding that we all perceive what we read differently, and a director’s creative license may deviate from the text, it still should be said that Tolkien’s original tale kept the reader focused on a quest with a simple purpose beset by difficult adventures.  The extended witch-king discussion not only shamelessly parades LOTR characters sans pretense, it beleaguers an already languished pace, slowing down the pages and making room for sequels.
White-Council

Ultimately, what sends this movie that I wanted so badly to be good into Azog the headless orc’s latrine are the diversions from the quest!  The soul of an original There and Back Again story turns into Jackson’s bloated exploitation of what has become a very valuable franchise in cinema.  It seems more CGI and character branding can earn its keep at the box office and look fair indeed, but surgical modification of a beloved text for the purposes of branding rarely lends itself toward catharsis.

May the Mouse be with You: Disney Buys LucasFilms

Disney just bought LucasFilms. Let that sink in a second. Disney, which already owns Marvel and, well, Disney, now also has total control over the Star Wars franchise. I, for one, could not be happier. Since Disney has taken the helm of the Marvel Films, we have seen nothing but highly successful, quality films. Plus, could they possibly do a crappier job than George Lucas? No. Now, let’s all go thank our lucky stars that the idiot boy-man, Georgey Lucas, can no longer visit retro-fitted, CGI, 3-D nightmares on us.

Oh, and don’t skimp out on the big announcement at the end of the press release. Don’t want to ruin it for you, but it may or may not have something to do with something Star Wars on the big screen.

“BURBANK, Calif. & SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.

“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”

“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.”

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and “evergreen” Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.

Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Additionally she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney’s global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximize the value of this global franchise. Ms. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.

Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United Looks Kind of Crappy

It is an undeniable truth that Marvel has made excellent movies in the last decade, starting with the first Iron Man movie and following straight through to this past summer’s blockbuster, The Avengers. What some folks might not realize is that Marvel has also released some pretty entertaining straight-to-DVD (or in my case, straight-to-NetFlix) feature-length, animated movies. Some of the best that I have seen include Hulk Versus, Planet Hulk and both Ultimate Avengers features (You can go HERE for a pretty comprehensive list of what Marvel has available on NetFlix Streaming).

Marvel is now releasing Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United, and, quite frankly, it looks like doo-doo. I don’t say that lightly because I really have liked most of what Marvel has done recently, and I always pull for them whenever they release something new.
Continue reading “Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United Looks Kind of Crappy”

Celebrate Lord of the Rings Day!!!

It is Lord of the Rings day in my house; a day where all I do is sit around the house and watch all three LoTR movies back to back to back. This year, for the first time, I am watching the movies on Blu-ray on a high definition TV, so I am pretty excited about that. I just thought I would share my thoughts, meals, and bathroom breaks with the world as I celebrate . . . LORD OF THE RINGS DAY!

*Just refresh the page to see the latest snarky comments*

The Fellowship of the Ring

9:38AM- Galadriel’s voiceover has started. Let’s go, Fellowship!

9:40AM- The picture quality is amazing! I can see all of the creases and folds in the map of Middle Earth.

9:43AM- Green screen effects when Isildur puts on the ring are pretty bad. Why the heck would he put that ring on anyway? Seriously?

9:48 AM- Anyone else ever notice that the “pipe weed” that the Hobbits smoke seems to be a little stronger than tobacco? No wonder Hobbits eat so much; they are stoned all of the time!

9:57 AM- I think I am going to start calling people a “block-headed Greyskirtle from Harbuckle!” The look of confusion on their face will make it worth it.

10:08 AM- Has anyone else ever wanted to live in a Hobbit hole? They seem awfully comfy.

10:26 AM- “Your love of the halfling’s leaf has clearly slowed your mind.” See? Even Saurumon knows that the Hobbit weed is bad for you, and is he is crazy-evil!

10:37 AM- First Peter Jackson cameo: Drunk guy eating a carrot and belching on the streets of Bree.

10:41 AM- Enter Aragorn stage left. Let’s watch his beard grow as the movies progress, shall we?

10:50 AM- Weathertop: A great place to take the family camping . . . if you want to get attacked by Nazgul!

10:58 AM- Is sticking what you just chewed up in your mouth into Frodo’s wound really all that sterile, Aragorn? #gross

11:02 AM- What I have learned about Nazgul so far: 1) They are extremely flammable, and 2) They apparently can’t swim. Sooooo scary!

11:05 AM- Elrond: “Welcome to Rivendale, Mr. Anderson. I mean, Frodo!”

11:11 AM- Hey, Elrond. I have an idea. When Isildur refuses to toss the ring into Mount Doom, just kick him in the crotch and throw it in yourself. Duh.

11:24 AM- Elrond: “Where did all of these Hobbits come from? Didn’t we just have this place sprayed for Hobbits?”

11:26 AM- That is the end of disc 1 of the Fellowship of the Rings. Time for for a bathroom break and then: disc 2!

11: 30 AM- Scary, vampire-monster Bilbo face gets me every time! Agh! Stop it!

11:35 AM- That’s right, Boromir: just ruffle Frodo’s hair when you give him the ring back and no one will think you’re creepy. Creep.

11:46 AM- Watch out! Cthulhu is in the lake!

11:55 AM- “They have a cave troll.” First great fight scene of the trilogy. I love how the music cuts out during the fight to make it even more dramatic.

12:07 PM- “You shall not pass!” People who had not read the books must have been freaking out when Gandalf fell into the chasm.

12:15 PM- Time to take the doggies out for a potty break. Stomach is starting to get kind of grumbly too. What to eat for lunch? Elven bread?

12:29 PM- Scary-face Galadriel is not nearly as bad as monster-face Bilbo. “All shall love me and despair!”

12:45 PM- I think I am going to save my monies and put together a Fellowship-style Aragorn outfit for next year’s Dragon*Con! I already have the beard!

12:57 PM- Legolas stabbing an Uruk-hai in the eye with an arrow and then using that same arrow to kill another one = freaking awesome!

1:02 PM- Goodbye, Boromir! We hardly knew ye! Seriously though, hard not to get a little misty-eyed when he is calling Aragorm his Captain and his King. *sniff*

1:08 PM- “Let’s hunt some orc.” And on that note, the Fellowship ends and it is definitely time to eat some lunch. The Two Towers is up next!

The Two Towers

This is probably my favorite movie of the trilogy; something about the people of Rohan and the battle at Helm’s Deep really appeals to me.

1:37 PM- After a short break, and with some veggie-filled pitas in hand, it is time to get the ball rolling on The Two Towers.

1:43 PM- The beginning of the movie with Gandalf fighting the Balrog at Khazad-dum is brilliant. It is a great scene and it pulls the watcher back into the movies (presumably after they watched Fellowship the year before, not the hour before).

1:49 PM- Heeeeere’s Gollum! I remember how impressed I was with the CG for Gollum the first time I saw him; still just as impressive today as it was then.

1:56 PM- I have seen some people at Wal-Mart who look kind of like Uruk-hai.

2:06 PM- Aragorn Beard-check time: Looking beardier and manlier than ever. Still not Chuck Norris level yet.

2:15 PM- Why does Aragorn’s scream of agony sound so real? Because Viggo Mortensen broke his freaking toe when he kicked that helmet. Ouch!

2:25 PM- Hey Frodo; pretty sure he said NOT to follow the lights. Thus begins Frodo’s annoying habit of trying to get himself killed and either Gollum or Sam having to save him. #harrypottersyndrome

2:32 PM- SPOILER ALERT! Gandalf isn’t dead! OMG!

2:46 PM- Pippin drinking the water and getting taller than Merry always cracks me up! “You just said something tree-ish!”

2:57 PM- The guards really should have taken Gandalf’s staff away from him. #stupidmoves

3:09 PM- $250 seems like a pretty good price for an Aragorn outfit. No pants or duster, though. Hmmmmm.

3:19 PM- Gollum might have been okay if only he would have had a good psychiatrist on hand. #multiplepersonalities

3:26 PM- “War will make corpses of us all.” You are kind of a Debbie Downer, Faramir. And on that note, disc 1 of The Two Towers comes to an end. On to disc 2.

3:30 PM- I wonder if there is a recipe somewhere out there for Eowyn’s gross stew. What is in that stuff anyway?

3:34 PM- Holy Crap! A Middle Earth foodie blog! The internets has everything! http://midearthfoodie.wordpress.com/ Did not see a recipe for Eowyn’s stew, though. Probably a good thing.

3:41 PM- First Gandalf, now Aragorn; why does everyone in this movie keep falling off cliffs? #lookoutbelow

4:00 PM- Faramir: “Boromir was my brother.” Frodo: “Ah, snap!”

4:05 PM- Dr. Bishop from Fringe sure is kind of a jerk to his kids when he is ruling Gondor. #worstdadever

4:20 PM- Boromir was creepy, Faramir is kinda creepy and Denethor is uber-creepy. Must be a family trait.

4:29 PM- Battle for Helm’s Deep! Probably my favorite part of the entire trilogy. Woot!

4:31 PM- Ever wondered what tens of thousands of wet, sweaty Uruk-hai must smell like? Not good, I can tell ya that much. #dirtysockswrappedinburntbacon

4:37 PM- Look out everyone! It’s time for the Orc Olympics!

4:44 PM- Next up on our Olympics Coverage: Dwarf-tossing featuring Aragorn and Gimli! “Don’t tell the Elf.”

4:59 PM- The secret to taking out a Uruk-hai? Shine a flashlight in its eyes! It might help if you also have a horse to ride it down with, too.

5:07 PM- Uruk-hai #1: “Hey, where did this forest come from?” Uruk-hai #2: “I don’t know, but it looks safe to me. Hey, is that tree moving . . .*Gagh*!”

5:10 PM- The Hobbits are getting high on pipe weed again. I am starting to think they may have a problem.

5:15 PM- As the Hobbits follow Gollum into Mordor, that is the end of The Two Towers. Gonna take a break, get some sunshine, and finish things out with The Return of the King.

The Return of the King

6:12 PM- After a quick walk with the wife, it is time to start The Return of the King! Sandwich in one hand and beer in the other, let’s get this thing done!

6 :20 PM- Watching Smeagol transform into Gollum at the beginning is pretty disturbing. My Precious!

6:23 PM- The Hobbits are smoking leaf again. No surprise there. Might need to turn this into a drinking game for next year. Take a drink every time someone smokes. Take a drink every time someone says the name “Frodo,” “Sauron,” or “Gandalf.” Shotgun a beer every time some one puts on the One Ring. Could get dangerous.

6:27 PM- I wish it was Magneto and Darth Tyranus facing off at Isengard! The Darks Side of the Force versus the Master of Magnetism!

6:30 PM- Dang it, Pippin! Do NOT pick up that shiny, big marble! Agh! Why doesn’t anyone listen to me?

6:31 PM- Hail the Victorious Dead!

6:43 PM- Dammit, Pippin! I said NOT to pick that up!

6:57 PM – One day, I will build a Minas Tirith sandcastle, like this one.

7:05 PM- Gandalf is smoking; take a drink!

7:20 PM- The beacons to Rohan being lit; another one of my favorite scenes.

7:27 PM- Pippin said “Frodo.” Take a drink!

7:28 PM- Denethor said “Mordor.” Take a drink! Yea . . . probably not a good idea.

7:45 PM- Pippin singing “Edge of Night” always gives me chills.

8:00 PM- I really need to visit New Zealand some day. Seems like an awesome place.

8:16 PM- Kind of cracks me up that the army of Mina Tirith is flinging pieces of its own city at the attacking orcs from Mordor. Oops, I said Mordor. Take a drink!

8:21 PM- Mordor (take a drink) is bringing out the big wolf-shaped battering ram. That’s the end of disc 1; time for disc 2!

8:23 PM- Peter Jackson cameo #2: Pirate that gets killed by Legolas.

8:37 PM- Burning yourself and your son alive is not crazy at all, Denethor. Totally normal!

8:45 PM- I feel like the Knights of Caledonia would provide an excellent soundtrack for the final battle at Minas Tirith!

8:49 PM- The Riders of Rohan have arrived; time for my second favorite battle right behind Helm’s Deep!

8:55 PM- Rider of Rohan overheard at Battle of Minas Tirith: “They have elephants? What the hell?!?”

9:03 PM- “I am no man!” Take that, Witch King of Agmar! Straight up in yo face! Dang, but that was a huge morningstar, though!

9:05 PM- And Legolas takes down the whole freaking elephant by himself. Show-off.

9:10 PM- Battle over. Really, it was the stinking ghosts that got the job done. Not a deux ex machina at all. Nope! No,sir!

9:14 PM- What do ya know: Frodo has an outy! C’mon, give the guy back his shirt!

9:16 PM- This whole “Samwise the Super-Warrior” bit is just too forced to me. Those orcs would have handed his butt to him. Sorry, Sam, but its true.

9:22 PM- Honestly, this is the part of the movie that starts to drag a bit for me. Pretty sure things could have wrapped up a bit faster here. Every time I see Frodo and Sam between now and when they reach Mount Doom is just an irritant. By the way, Gimli was just smoking: Take a Drink!

9:25 PM- Aragorn Beard Update: Looking as Beardy as a Beard can get; quite Kingly, too! Good thing since Aragorn is going to be King and all.

9:26 PM- Eowyn and Faramir makin’ a love-connection! Cue the Marvin Gaye music!

9:30 PM- This whole part with Frodo and Sam in the orc army, trying to blend in, just makes no sense to me. I mean, I think the orcs would see and / or smell the difference and it is doing nothing to progress the story. This might be a scene that is just in the extended-edition, I honestly don’t remember. Either way, it is superfluous.

9:42 PM- Sam: “Blah, blah, blah.” Frodo: “Blah,blah,blah” Sam carrying Frodo to Mt. Doom! Yay! Go Sam!

9:45 PM- Gollum shows up to smack people on their collective heads with rocks, bite them, and generally make a nuisance of himself. Dang- pretty sure Sam has a concussion now.

9:46 PM- The eagles show up and at this point we all ask “Why didn’t Gandalf have the damn eagles just fly Frodo to Mt. Doom?” Because he is a jerk- a wizard jerk.

9:49 PM- Gollum just freaking bit Frodo’s finger off! He might have questionable hygiene, but no one can question his dedication!

9:50 PM- Gollum takes a lava bath (how refreshing), and the ring is destroyed! The Eye of Sauron looks pretty durn surprised, considering it is a disembodied eye and all, and everyone is happy!

9:54 PM- Now they are not happy because the geniuses just realized that Mt. Doom erupted and FRODO IS PROBABLY DEAD! Thanks, Frodo? We guess?

9:58 PM- The eagles just flew Sam and Frodo out under a rain of volcanic debris, but they could not have flown them in while dodging the flying ring-wraiths? I mean, come on!

10:00 PM- Final Aragorn Beard Update: Definitely a Beard for a King! This is a beard that Kenny Rogers would be proud to wear during his “Gambler” days. The singing by the new King somewhat detracts from the manliness of the beard, though.

10:03 PM- Aragorn is reunited with Arwen. Do we remember enough about her from the first two movies to care? Maybe not, but good on them anyway.

10: 06 PM- Aragorn to the Hobbits: “My friends, you bow to no one.” Gets me every darn time. Not afraid to say I teared up there.

10:10 PM- Overheard at the Green Dragon Inn: “Big Pumpkin? Big Deal! Don’t these hobbits know we saved the whole of Middle Earth?”

10:20 PM- Frodo and Bilbo (great names, guys, by the way) sail off with the Elves. Sam returns homes to his wife. Presumably, Merry and Pippin are back to committing acts of mild larceny and mischeif. That’s the Lord of the Rings trilogy, folks. God help me when all three upcoming The Hobbit movies are out on Blu-ray. Not sure I could survive an entire weekend, but you know I will try.

If you read this during or after the fact, please leave a comment below. This took a little more dedication than the normal article, and it would be great to see that people actually read it by leaving a comment!

Thanks! See you again next year . . . maybe?

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

“The Amazing Spider-man”, or, as I like to call it, “Sony Desperately Trying to Hold on to Spider-man Intellectual Property Rights,” came out on Tuesday, July 3rd. By all accounts it has raked in the dough since then despite meeting mixed reviews from critics and fans alike. Well, in case you have not read enough of those reviews yet to decide if you want to see the movie, here is another one.

I will start off by saying that there was not one particular part or aspect of the movie that I either really hated or really liked; it was all pretty lukewarm. The only possible exception was the performance that Emma Stone turned in as Peter Parker’s love interest, Gwen Stacy. Although it was difficult for me to suspend my disbelief and see Ms. Stone as a teenager, she managed to capture the awkwardness and brilliance of being a teenage girl who is both attractive and intelligent. The interactions between Andrew Garfield’s Peter and Gwen Stacy were probably my favorite parts of the movie. Not sure what that says when this is a movie about my personal favorite superhero which did feature a good bit of action in the second half.

Continue reading “Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man”

Movie Review: The Avengers

I have been looking forward to watching “The Avengers” ever since I found out that was the ultimate plan during Iron Man II. Every trailer that I saw was great and I even liked Joss Whedon for the director (despite Dollhouse – that awful, awful turd of a show). I watched both Ultimate Avengers cartoons in order to brush up on the Chitauri when I found out they were Loki’s army. In case you were wondering, the studio used the Chitauri instead of the Skrull because the intellectual movie rights to the Skrull are tied up with Fantastic Four, which is currently owned by Fox Studios. So, to say that I had high expectation was an understatement, but I was not disappointed. Before I go any further, I am telling you to go see this movie as soon as you can. There is a reason “The Avengers” is breaking box office records wordwide: it is freaking awesome. Continue reading “Movie Review: The Avengers”