another misAdventure

"We are all of us living in the shadow of Manhattan."

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Movie Night: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

As mentioned previously, Ellen and I (finally) saw the latest episode of Star Wars on Tuesday night. It was ... alright. For the first 30-45 minutes I was thinking how bad the film was, then it hit the meat of the story and I started enjoying it. Overall, I thought it was pretty good, and a fitting way to bridge to the original Star Wars (now Episode IV), but it also displayed a number of Lucas's weaknesses.

I had had a lot of the movie spoiled for me. In particular, I shouldn't have read Kevin Smith's review as it spoiled what was probably the biggest emotional impact scene of the movie, and one point that wasn't patently obvious from having seen the rest of the series. Still, as Joe Straczynski said with parts of Babylon 5, it wasn't about where the story ended, but seeing how they got there. And at that, the movie succeeds, but not in an overwhelming fashion that I would have wished for.

More, including SPOILERS, after the break.

What sticks out most now, a while after seeing the film, is how clumsy some of the scenes were. Worst is the Frankenstein homage with the fully outfitted Darth Vader near the end. It just looks like the chains (or whatever he's breaking free of) are plastic, and that I could have filmed the scene in my basement with a $100 budget. While it probably still would have been cliche', giving us a closeup of the bonds as he strugggled against them would have been better. Also, after Order 66 is given, we just see Jedis getting shot, pretty much all in medium length shots with next to no chance to react -- a bit more variety in these scenes would have helped (and yes, I recognize that there was some variety -- like the speeder bikes -- but it wasn't quite enough).

And, the thing is, I'm not a great student of film. I'm pretty insensitive to stuff like this. If it bothers me, it's got to reach major levels of "bad" to someone who actually knows something about cinema.

General Greivous amounted to basically nothing. His design was cool, but he really didn't turn out to be a major menace, or at least that didn't come through well. And I could never quite understand why a droid was coughing -- even with some living organs I didn't see anything approximating lungs (Matt says it's explained in Clone Wars, so I'll have to re-watch that). The same with Count Dooku. I understand why they are both there in story terms, but with a bit more work these two could have been combined or given a bit more to do.

What it boils down to is that there's a really good film in here, but it needed someone who could really give a final good edit to it. As it is, it's probably that Lucas is too close to the material, and can't see where the flaws are.

Perhaps he'll get it right in the 20th anniversary special edition 3D datacrystal version in 2025.

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Playing with Blogger Features

Hi, folks! I'm playing with Blogger tonight a bit, to see what I can do with the HTML and with some of the CSS features. Right now, I'm seeing if I can add a link to open the remainder of a long post. If this works, you'll see a "Read more!" link below. Try it out.

OK, it looks like it works, but only if there's a "Read more!" link on every post, not just on selected ones.

OK, that's all the feature playing I'm doing now. Now I have an assignment for you. Leave me a comment, or drop me an e-mail if you'd rather not comment. I'm just checking if I'm talking to myself. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing.

(I'm expecting that most, if not all, the folks reading this know how to e-mail me -- if not, it's not hard to figure out).

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A Lot of Little Stuff

I broke a tooth three weeks ago, the evening after my regular dental exam (go figure). Yesterday I got the permanent crown on. It feels much better, texture-wise, than the temporary that I had.

Ellen and I went to see Star Wars Episode III last night, finally. When our schedules matched up prior to last night we always had things we thought needed doing more, or were too beat from the day's activity to consider going out. I'll post my comments on the movie soonish. We got out of the movie too late to go to a decent restaurant, so we wound up at Steak and Shake.

Also finally, got a printserver dongle for our printer so that we can now print from every computer in the house rather than just Ellen's desktop. In particular, Ellen wanted/needed it so she could print clothes patterns from her laptop, so she can work on some costumes for the girls for Gencon.

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Fun with Google Maps

If you haven't tried it yet, Google Maps is a fun toy to play with. It allows you to zoom in and out of a map view pretty dynamically, and allows you to scroll to adjacent areas without refreshing the whole screen. The most fun, though, is switching between the street map view and a satellite photo of the same area.

I can tell about when some of the satellite pictures were taken. For example, in our area, the houses in the tract west of us are complete, though there's still some construction in one area. The townhouse areas south of Bilter shows only a cleared area and the street, no buildings. And there's no sign at all of the outlet mall a mile from us that opened in May 2004. The fields to the east of our subdivision are just dirt, but the lawns looks like they're greenish. So, the pictures were probably early spring of 2002. Different areas will from different times, for example if I look at the view of Missouri Valley I see the remains of snow on the ground.

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We've got a new zip code. We're now 60502 rather than 60504. How many times will I trip over that before I get the change committed to muscle (tongue) memory? I'd have forgotten to get that on my driver's license renewal last week, but apparently the DMV guy has seen a lot of people with changes recently, so he thought to ask.

One of the things we get for moving into a fast-growing area. This is our third zip code in the same house, now matching the three area codes we've gone through.

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Fun at the Old Ballpark

It was hot everywhere else in the area this weekend, but it was very comfortable in section 118 of "The Cell" today. A seat in the shade, on the aisle, at the top of the section (lower bowl), and with a nice breeze to keep things cooler. Add in a one-hit shutout (pitcher's duel - only 4 hits and 2 runs for the Cubs), with several fine defensive plays by both sides, and it was pretty much a perfect day.

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Movie Night: Batman Begins

Matt, Ryan and I went to see Batman Begins this evening, and it was even better than I had heard. Without any spoilers (at least, beyond what you'd see in most previews or ads): Ras Al'Ghul and Scarecrow were both handled pretty much perfectly. In particular, neither were really played as costumed villians as many would expect from a comic book movie (you'll have to see how that applies to Scarecrow). There have been some slight liberties taken with the Batman origin story, but none that were particularly out of place and all strengthen the plot overall.

This one cleanly takes the title of "best comic book movie" away from either of the Spider-man films (I personally preferred the first of those, though the second seems to get much more praise). It's very much an iconic Batman story, with a well told story, strong acting, and a well designed production.

I'm going to put a spoiler or two after the break in this post, specifically the one big plot mistake that I see, one there was really very little excuse for.

OK, here are the spoilers: So, the fear chemical has been in the Gotham water supply for some time, it just is waiting for the villain to vaporize the water so the populate will breath it. Wow, it's a good thing water doesn't vaporize easily! Only the evil mcguffin device can vaporize water! Oops, just a sec, the tea kettle is boiling.

Ah, that's better. Besides that gaff, the only problem I had was with the extended Batmobile sequence, which seemed gratuitous. At first I thought it was totally pointless, as I thought he should have the antidote with him. It wasn't until the end of the sequence that I realized that Fox had delivered the antidote after Batman went to Arkham.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

First Post!

OK, here's an initial posting onto my new blog. This will let me see how this looks, as well as managing expectations of anyone who might look here.
  • I don't know how often I'll add to this blog.
  • I don't know IF I'll add anything more than this post to the blog.
  • I'm not even quite sure why I'm bothering, other than "It is here". I'm just playing around with some other Google features and decided to throw this in.

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