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#468: It’s a Miracle

May 3, 2010

Notes from the Manager

Related Strips: #425: A Christmas Miracle; #431: Evil to the Last Drop

I know a few of you are dying to know what's up with Whitey and Ariela, but I had to fit this one in, since it's sort of based on my own experience with this movie. (Those of you who follow me on Twitter or are Facebook friends with me will have already heard me gush about this movie, but… well, whatever.)

After How to Train Your Dragon had been out for a couple of weeks, all the glowing reviews finally got me to check the movie out. It wasn't that I didn't think it would be good; I just didn't expect it to be very good. I mean… it's Dreamworks Animation. I love (and own) Kung Fu Panda, but every other movie of theirs I've seen has just been pretty good — at best — just barely worth watching, nevermind buying on DVD.

To my surprise, I didn't just think How to Train Your Dragon was a good cartoon. I flat-out loved it. Yet to say that How to Train Your Dragon is Dreamworks Animation's best movie doesn't even begin to explain how much I love it. It — like my favorite Pixar movie, The Incredibles; and only a handful of others is what I consider to be a perfect movie.

The characters are wonderful. The film looks breathtakingly beautiful. The 3D flight sequences are exhilirating. The story has a surprising emotional depth, despite an impressively brisk pace. John Powell's score is both rousing and deeply moving — it's easily my favorite score of the past few years. I rarely see a movie in theaters twice, but I've seen it three times already and have every intention of seeing it at least once more before it leaves theaters.

All three times, tears welled up or full-on streamed down my face at all the same points; my heart burst with joy or sadness at all the right points; and what could only have been the most ridiculous smile ever plastered my face for every other second.

As I've told everyone I've recommended the film to, your mileage may vary — but it's absolutely no exaggeration when I say that How to Train Your Dragon is the most fun I've had at the movies in the past decade. As a proud, jaded 35 year old cynic, I was actually a bit surprised to learn that I'm capable of loving an unabashed children's film as much as I do How to Train Your Dragon, but I guess that's the secret behind HTTYD's magic: it takes me back to when I was a kid like no other movie I've seen since I was a kid.

 

For the curious, the only other movie I've seen more times in a theater is Braveheart, back in 1995. I saw it five times in the seven months it spent in theaters. (Dragon probably won't make it  to three months. The movie theater biz has changed an awful lot in the past 15 years.)

Braveheart hasn't aged as gracefully as other movies in the wave of the action epics it ushered in, but Gibson's most recent directorial effort (Apocalypto) was a lot of fun, so when Mel Gibson comes out with his planned Viking movie, I could be in trouble. (Unless maybe I'm just a big fan of Scottish accents.)

UPDATE: The bad news is, Thursday's comic will be late! Sorry, spent too much time getting the Chapter 5 HD Edition eBook finished. The good news is, the Chapter 5 eBook is finished and available, and for you non-Kickstarter backers, there are six new-to-you strips in it. The free Online Edition will be up in a few days.


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Multiplex Movie Review: The Island (2005)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

multiplex-island

This is  not as accessible to people who haven’t seen the movie as I like these reviews to be, but if you’re not familiar with The Island or Never Let Me Go at all, the premises are that clones are raised and educated as “spare parts” — which is just plain absurd. (The idea that such a thing would be allowed by any reasonable society made the premise impossible for me to swallow, except as a very far-fetched Twilight Zone-style scenario. At least in The Island, it was secret and illegal.)

An absurd premise isn’t a deal-breaker, though, really. But The Island never lets you go past its implausible premise, because it is constantly trying to explain how it all works in equally stupid ways, further compounded by Bay’s typical disregard for logic and continuity:

  • Once Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) learns the truth about their lives, he goes to the apartment of Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johannson) so they can escape. She greets him at the door by saying, “How sweet! You came to see me off” (I’m paraphrasing some of that)… yet their next scene, moments later, she is surprised and exclaims that he isn’t allowed in the female tower (as it’s called). This might be able to be explained away by some contrived explanation, but… the two moments feel completely incongruous.
  • The massive underground facility the clones are kept in is maintained by presumably hundreds of normal human employees (including Steve Buscemi, Sean Bean, and Yvette Nicole Brown’s characters) — complete with a showroom for ultra-rich potential clients. Yet Lincoln and Jordan emerge from it into desert with nothing around. No helicopter landing pad, no parking lot… nothing. We even see a helicopter landing pad later in the film, yet it is again nowhere to be seen at the very end of the movie.
  • Pursued by mercenaries, Lincoln and Jordan end up in a train station. The mercenaries open fire, killing Steve Buscemi, and a panic ensues inside the station… yet Lincoln and Jordan run onto the train with oblivious workers and passengers milling around calmly — and it then proceeds to leave the station as if no one has just gotten murdered… and arrives some time later in Los Angeles, without incident.

Minor or not, the sheer number of them just keep piling up. sigh

Anyway.

This is the last of the Multiplex Movie Reviews I’ll be sharing here in the Deleted Scenes blog for the near future. I hope you’ve enjoyed them!

Patreon patrons and Kickstarter backers will see more of these in their respective feeds come January — as well as the Multiplex: The Revenge bonus comics, of course. (There may even be a few movie review comics during the semester as time permits, but I can’t really promise anything. I’ve got A LOT of work to do for my thesis!)

EDIT: By the way, I wasn’t familiar with Parts: The Clonus Horror when I did this strip. (I don’t watch MST3K; I can’t bring myself to watch movies that shitty, even if there are incredibly funny motherfuckers talking over them.) But several people have told me about it since. These kinds of things are usually largely coincidental (or unintentional) — different people independently arrive at similar ideas all the time. $130 million movies generally don’t need to rip off obscure B-movie (or book, or comic book) plots when there are thousands of equally good ideas that they can legitimately use for less money than a settlement.

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