Archive for the ‘Movies/Videos’ Category

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DoNotWant: Monsters vs. Aliens.

June 18, 2009

Ah, Dreamworks, how ye have fallen.

I remember, way back in the day, when you used to be a respectable movie-making company.  Back in the days before you discovered CGI, remember?  Back when you were still making films like The Prince of Egypt and The Road to El Dorado.

Those movies… they were classics.  Funny (El Dorado), inspiring (Egypt), mostly-timeless incredible pieces of cinematography (both).  No, they weren’t the most “hip” things ever.  And they certainly weren’t up to Disney’s level, but not for want of quality.  You guys made some fine movies.

Then came Shrek.

The great thing about Shrek was that it was different.  It took a classic fantasy world, turned it on its head, then blended it with the modern world to create a unique, entertaining and seamlessly brilliant piece of work.  It was an instant hit, and with good reason – it was complete genius.  No movie could ever have been its equal.

Especially not the shameless rip-offs you guys have been producing ever since.

Yeah, I’m not blind to what you’ve been doing.  In your greed for cash, you’ve decided that the only solution is to reproduce everything that you thought we loved about Shrek, then wrap it in a new package and cram it down our throats.  Shark Tale? Shrek underwater.  Madagascar? Shrek on a deserted island.  Shrek 2 & 3? I think they speak for themselves.

The latest piece of crap you throw at us is Monsters vs. Aliens, a.k.a. Shrek with a Female Lead. And you’ve fallen into the exact same pitfalls.  Good story?  Check.  Star-studded cast?  Check.  Decent acting?  Strong script?  Houston, we have a problem…

Monsters vs. Aliens could have been so much better than it was.  It starts out with a good premise.  It carries it with an awesome cast.  But that is as far as it gets.  The script – which would have made a great first draft – is shaky and weak, and soon collapses under the weight of its own pop-culture references.  The characters, with the exception of Susan, feel flat and unrealistic.  Dr. Cockroach is supposedly a human scientist who mutated himself in an accident many years ago – except that he acts like he’s been a roach-man his entire life, and that life seems to have started maybe two weeks ago (during which time he learned modern dance moves and the expression “OMG”).  Link is even worse, with no obvious motivation even to live – he gets a passing reference to a fitness obsession, but this is treated like a throwaway gag.  At least Bob and Insectosaur, being inherently mindless characters, have a good reason – but none of the characters manage to feel like anything more than wall decoration.

And then there’s the acting.  Oooohhhhh, the acting. As I said before, the movie has a decent story – the tale of a young woman whose (personal) world is effectively destroyed on her wedding day, and who must learn to cope.  Unfortunately, she also lives in an alternate reality where all humans are obnoxious, overacting Pixar ripoffs – a common flaw in Dreamworks’ CGI films.  The characters speak as though they’re under a time limit – presumably because every character feels the need to supply a witty line in EVERY scene – and Susan’s voice is almost unbearably shrill.  The film, whose success seems to ride largely on its incredible cast, manages to distort every actor into a mangled, barely-recognizable caricature of themselves – to say nothing of the visual designs.

I know you guys can do better than this.  You did Sinbad – a silly but largely entertaining piece of work – and you did Kung Fu Panda, for goodness’ sake.  Admittedly, the latter falls into many of the same pitfalls as MvA, but you pulled it off.  Probably because it was set in a fantasy world where realism would have required the characters to speak Chinese.

Here, you were dealing with our world, our time period, and our people.  And, in your overzealous efforts to make the film accessable to the Blu-Ray generation, you blew it.  You took an incredible story and turned it into a shallow, largely pointless waste of an hour and a half.

Congratulations.

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iApprove: Where the Hell is Matt?

May 6, 2009

It’s a question I have heard many times: what do atheists have to be happy about?

Finally, I have an answer.

Where the Hell is Matt? (Dancing) is a video to warm the cockles of anyone’s heart.  Simply put, it’s a compilation of short video clips of one man (Matt) dancing badly, frequently with company, in various places around the world.  It’s incredibly heartwarming to see this one man, using nothing but a video camera and some traveling money, bring the entire world together for an epic dance party.  Despite the sheer silliness, I was somehow moved to tears.

You can watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlfKdbWwruY

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iLOL’d: Twilight with Cheeseburgers

May 2, 2009

Ever wondered what Bella looks like from Edward’s perspective?  Now we know.  (Warning: Graphic imagery involving a cheeseburger.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daTTOyu-E1w

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iApprove: Thriller.

April 27, 2009

I will be one of the first to admit, I do not really care for Michael Jackson.  He’s oversexed, he may or may not have a thing for little boys, and he’s had enough plastic surgery that by now he looks like a Barbie doll with slightly more hair.  Eew.

Heck, even Thriller gives me some problems.  It’s generally bizarre and the makeup is terrible and it’s way longer than any music video should have the good sense to be.

But come on… it’s Thriller.

It’s an 80’s pop icon.  It has inspired many a zombie raid and parody video.  The shiny red suit – what is that, duct tape? – is unforgettable.  The music is incredibly catchy; it practically begs you to get up and start dancing.  And holy crap, Michael Jackson can move.

You can see what I mean at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bReVr9z5RgA

Or, for the version that really got me hooked, watch Signature’s performance at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ePm6cjd1j4 .   They have absolutely all of the fabulous and no creepy Michael (plus slightly better fashion sense).

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iLOL’d: The Limits of Science.

April 5, 2009

I found this sweet little nugget over at Unreasonable Faith, and it is most certainly lulzy.  Although it is no longer Saturday, I thought I’d go ahead and share it.

What is The Limits of Science?  It’s a short “educational” video, made in the style of many such videos that were made between the 40’s and 60’s, but set in pseudo-medieval England.  Not only is it just plain silly, but it does an excellent job at pointing out some of the absurd ideas that humans have today concerning science.  What more could you ask for?

Watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQJ4VBq4n3U

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iApprove: Strange Sea Creature Battle.

March 30, 2009

Over at Pharyngula, I came across this marvelous video of a cuttlefish stalking its prey, complete with enthusiastic Japanese voice-over.  Stand in awe of the cuttlefish and his tongue-jutsu.

Watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4RU8dbeMMQ

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iApprove: The Blind Watchmaker.

March 29, 2009

I admit, I envy Richard Dawkins to a degree.  Being an actual biologist, he is qualified to do something that I am not: to make statements about evolution based on numerous observed facts, rather than cobbling something together based only on physics as I understand him.

And perhaps that’s as it should be.  It seems utterly ridiculous to me that for my “belief” in evolution to be held credible, I must have a complete working knowledge of evolutionary biology at the ready to counter any question someone throws at me.  Nonetheless, that exact view is held by many critics of evolution: that one would have to have a complete working knowledge of the subject, including the methods by which every unusual body part could ever have developed, in order to believe that evolution could happen.

I suspect that this is probably because of their own experience with belief.  The sort of people who are most likely to criticise evolutionary theory are accustomed to an all-or-nothing, house-of-cards sort of truth – one in which the removal of any piece will cause the entire theory to crumble.  They fail to understand the proper method in which we create scientific theories: that is, if evidence proves said theory to be false, then the theory is either modified to include the new evidence or exchanged for a more accurate theory.

But I digress.

Since I have been thrust into this situation – a rather uncomfortable and antagonistic world in which the phrase “there are no lay evolutionists” holds far too much weight – I will do my best to get the information I need so that I may defend my “beliefs” to the fullest.  In the meantime, rather than egging me about the minute details of evolution, check out Richard Dawkins’ video, The Blind Watchmaker:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fgf-g8jJ7Q