spoiler alert: lazy witch somehow less annoying than lazy scientists

Last weekend a posse of nieces/sisters/moms & I went to see “Brave”.

It was a great outing with the fam and I’m a longtime Disney/Pixar fan anyway. Also, I keep reading things talking about how Merida is an Excellent Role Model or something, though she seems pretty bratty to me- she almost gets her mother killed, btw, and then also poisons her brothers, and refuses to take responsibility for any of it – but I do really, really like her hair. I always wanted red hair! (But I am too lazy for the necessary maintenance.) And it was fun and entertaining and amusing and pretty to look at.

But. Didn’t the plot seem a little…thin? Technically, the only thing that happens is that she asks a witch for a spell, her mom turns into a bear, and she has to spend the rest of the movie hiding her mom from hunters and trying to stitch up a tapestry. That’s pretty much it. Not a lot of twists and turns or subplots or hilarious sidekicks.

Like the spell itself, for example. Strangely, this is a one-trick witch here. Her only solution to any problem is: bears! Bears everywhere! Well, let’s be clear: unless there is actually a life-threatening salmon overpopulation emergency, and frankly that is hard to believe, bears never make the situation better. And why the crazy-short time frame? Usually you get a good three days for your spell to get some results. (And by “usually”, I mean in “Little Mermaid” universe.) But this spell turns permanent by the “second sunrise”. Well, I’m sorry, but that’s only one day. That is not a lot of time to solve any kind of human or bear-related problem. How many salmon can one bear eat in a day???

All that being said, I still had fewer problems with a movie about magical bears than I did with “Prometheus”, which I saw a few days later. I have a list of comments/questions below. Any answers you have would be helpful.

1. Why does Vickers (Charlize Theron) wear such hideous shoes? Hideous, uncomfortable shoes, too; she can barely walk in one scene. Isn’t she a gazillionaire? Doesn’t she have choices? Ditto with the ugly prison jacket. (Catsuit, fine; I never begrudge a girl with a good figure the choice to show it off.) She doesn’t have to do anything but walk around and glare at people. She doesn’t even get off the ship except at the end. Why doesn’t she just wear fancy pajamas all the time? Or velour pantsuits? Those are awesome. (Full disclosure: I own three.) If I were in space for 5 years, that is definitely what I’d pack.

2. How did the alien gods come up with that helmet design? What is that elephant trunk even for?

3. Going hands-free into certain (movie) death = unexpectedly funny.

4. Do all archaeologists have abs like Dr. Holloway? If so, I’ve apparently gone into the wrong profession.

5. If I were Dr. Shaw, I would  have only taken robot man’s head with me. He’s been nothing but trouble, and he can be nothing but psychological trouble without arms, which I do not discount as unserious but at least he can’t poison your next boyfriend or implant a baby octopus in your stomach while you sleep or whatever he might come up with next.

6. How come the alien gods are all piled up outside the door but not ripped apart by alien monsters? What killed them, then? And….what does this have to do with the Earth humans, again? Did we get that answer? I’m confused.

7. Who painted all those star paintings on Earth? Why?

8. How come no one seems to understand what the hell they are doing at any time? No one knows why they’re there. No one knows anything about this planet. No one knows how to use the equipment, which breaks down all the time. No one is clear on their job duties – specifically as shown in related question #9:

9. How come this crew of scientists is so damn unprofessional? Why don’t they do any observation before they tramp all over the place and steal things and push buttons and start taking things apart? How come Dr. Shaw, who is allegedly an archaeologist, is doing biological dissections instead of the specifically-hired biologist? What kind of biologist tries to pet a new species he knows literally nothing about, including whether or not it is murderously dangerous? How come Mohawk Geologist is furiously angry that the biologists/archaelogists are interested in biology/archaeology instead of rocks? Isn’t that why he’s there? And why doesn’t he go look at rocks instead of storming off to the ship (and getting hopelessly lost on the way, somehow, instead; shouldn’t you be rock-observant if you are a geologist, mohawked or otherwise?)? Why did we hire you?

10. Why doesn’t Dr. Holloway have anything to do except taunt robots and hurt their feelings? Shouldn’t he be doing crunches? And relatedly to #11:

11. Why does the robot get his feelings hurt if he’s a robot? Also, isn’t he a little sarcastic for a mechanical being?

12. I love Guy Pearce, but why did they cast a young actor and a truckload of makeup to play an old guy for 7 minutes of screen time? Why didn’t they use an actual old guy? And if you’re going to use a young guy, shouldn’t you also age his arms/legs in body shots? Because he clearly has 30-something-year-old legs in his first scene.

Yeah, I know I’m an overly critical movie-watcher. And I’m not asking things like “why are aliens real here?” because, look, you create the universe, you create the rules. That’s fine. Just…stick with ’em, all right? Your rules got to make sense in your universe.  That’s all we ask as credulous audience members.

And seriously, WTF is with those ugly, ugly shoes?

Yeah. Exhibit A. They look like hooves, don’t they? And just picture how much more smiley she’d be in a nice navy blue hooded velour pantsuit.



i saw the hunger games movie tonight

I saw The Hunger Games movie tonight, and I liked it. I think I’m “in” with this series, especially now that I see the allegorical tie to Greek mythology. I’m all about modern storytelling with allegorical ties to Greek mythology. In fact, that might be the crucial missing piece to the Twilight series. Minotaur fail, Cullen.

also…i might be ambivalent about the little prince

So I watched the Golden Globes this week. In addition to the entertainment factor of Ricky Gervais’ snarky hosting – I particularly like that he starts drinking onstage near the end – it gives me a list of films with some of the “best performances of the year”, with time to see them before the Oscars. Since the studios now like to release the movies they think will be nominated near the end of the year to capitalize on awards show buzz, you find them in the theatre all at the same time. In some ways that annoys me; it would be easier for us the audience if they were spread out. On the other hand, how would we know they were good unless the awards show told us so? (At least, that’s how it feels sometimes. But I still hate The Ice Storm. No one will ever convince me that is a brilliant film.)

I loved The Descendants; I hear great things about The Artist; I’m psyched to see Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady; if I can get over my Keira Knightley ennui I might see A Dangerous Method. I’ll tell you what I’m not going to see, and that’s War Horse. I would never have admitted when I was 13 for fear they would revoke my Girl License, but the fact is: I’m just not that into horses.

I realize this is a horrible thing to say. Who doesn’t like horses? And it’s not that I don’t like them, exactly. I just don’t get the whole mystical connection we allegedly have, man and horse. I don’t feel a spiritual connection with a horse, I don’t think they are looking at me with intelligence and feeling, I don’t get tearful in movies about horses and how brave and noble they are. I don’t get it.

Specifically, here’s mostly what I don’t get: why are they so hysterical all the time? What is that about? Any book or movie involving horses has that scene when the horse gets “spooked” (they always use the word “spooked”, not “startled” or “temporarily and inexplicably frightened by small noise”) and throws the rider or scatters the cattle running off. You know it’s true. It’s not even something major and completely reasonable, like a cannon (horses are apparently fearless and warrior like and have that stiff upper lip thing going on in wartime and other real crises, as far as I can tell from the movies, which is an admirable trait they should totally put on their resume and then start applying to their everyday life); they are always getting freaked by stupid things, like a raccoon stepping on a twig.

Now, if a regular animal, or a person, heard a raccoon step on a twig, they would be startled for a second, maybe, jump, maybe utter a “yikes!”…and then get over it. Like, almost immediately. Horses evidently feel the need to jump, screech, throw a person off their back, and then run for 5-10 minutes. Seriously, I wouldn’t run for 5 straight minutes unless a murderously hungry zombie* popped out from behind a tree and then continued to chase me for the full amount of time.

[*Note: obviously, I am distinguishing Fast Zombies, of the 28 Days/Walking Dead variety, from Regular Zombies in this instance; the slow, staggering, muttering kind that are of no particular threat as long as you are mobile. My sister Katie and I agree: we don’t like Fast Zombies. We have no strong feelings about Regular Zombies, unless they get in the house, which is basically my policy about ants, too.]

I went to a steeplechase a year or so ago and one of the horses got loose after the race and went galloping madly through the course with a handful of trainers chasing him down before he trampled an unwary pedestrian. I went into pretty much this same rant to my friend Lauren, including the argument that other animals – squirrels, for instance – never got this distraught.

“Squirrels?” she says. “Your example of a rational animal is squirrels?”

Okay. Rational is perhaps not the best word for squirrels. (I have a lot of words for squirrels…more on that later.) I’m saying, they get over it. Unlike stupid horses.

On the other hand, I really did like Seabiscuit. Perhaps a Netflix date?

Update: Amanda went to see War Horse and said it was super cheesy, of the slow-motion-reunion-at-sunset-Lifetime movie variety. (No offense to Lifetime movies, because I secretly love you.) Maybe not even a Netflix date. I’m officially a bad person.

%d bloggers like this: