Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Star Wars: A New Hope

Molly's first Halloween. Incidentally, it was the only Halloween where she would be Yoda-sized.

Alright, so Molly wanted to watch Star Wars the other day and we sat down and watched it together while Jessica was out. She chatted with me throughout the whole movie giving me her insights to it, so I knew then I wanted to eventually try to review it with her. Jessica is out again today and when I asked what Molly wanted to do for a Daddy-daughter night, she chose watching Star Wars again. So after watching it, I sat her down for a review.

My portion of the review will be rather light. I mean, I've seen the movie a thousand times and for her first Halloween, I dressed my daughter up as Yoda. I also taught myself crude video editing effects a few years back to make a video of my daughter with a lightsaber. I've been to various conventions and I have a collection of business cards for Lightsaber enthusiast clubs, where you build your own lightsaber and you get to train in different styles of wielding them. I haven't joined any of these clubs, but, over the years, I still have not discarded the business cards. A part of me hopes that one day I will find someone to go with so I can feel just a bit less nerdy about the whole ordeal. Who knows, maybe it'll be Molly when she gets a bit older. I know exactly who the first woman (other than my mother) that I truly loved was: Princess Leia. I obsessed over her when I was about Molly's age and I used to have a Star Wars picture book and I used to kiss the pictures of her in it. While most kids were drawn to being Han Solo as we played Star Wars, I was always Luke. Sure, he was a whiny brat, but he had two things going for him: He was blond and so was I and he got to kiss Princess Leia. Fortunately, I was a bit older when I found out that Leia was Luke's sister and my childhood fantasies were actually really rather creepy.

So, anyway, I grew up with Star Wars. My mom loved it. When Empire Strikes Back opened (on a Wednesday), my parents both took off of work and took me and my brother out of school so that we could watch the first showing of it.

I'd have to say that I really like Star Wars, but it is such a part of my heritage that I cannot really view it as a movie anymore. It is just something that was a part of my childhood since it was that culturally large and such a part of my family life.

Sure, Greedo shoots first in the version that I watched with Molly, and while that is just a silly and frivolous thing to change in the movie, it is also a silly and frivolous thing to get that upset about as an adult. It did not change my childhood one iota. Yeah, it's a shittier version of the movie, but it didn't change what I experienced. And for Molly, well, she's never seen Han fire first. But she still loved it nonetheless. So, while grumbling about the changes may be a fun little side-hobby, it doesn't change the fact that the movies still have an effect on kids.

Molly: (As usual, Molly is sitting next to me at my computer as I write type this. Because of her age, her review will be in Q&A form. I'll transcribe the best I can what she is saying as she is saying it and will format it later.)

Chuckie: So, what did you think of the movie "Star Wars"?
Molly: Um, I loved it.
Chuckie: Loved it? Usually just say you like things.
Molly: Yeah. That was my best opinion.

Chuckie: What did you like about the movie?
Molly: Um, that there was awesome in it. And that he got a new life and he liked it.
Chuckie: A new life?
Molly: Ben Kenobi.
Chuckie: What do you mean, Ben Kenobi got a new life?
Molly: Well, because he got invisible. Remember?

Chuckie: Oh, after Darth Vader hit him with the lightsaber?
Molly: Yeah.
Chuckie: What kind of a life was it?
Molly: An invisible one. And he was more powerful.

Chuckie: True. Okay, do you want to talk about the story first or the characters?
Molly: Characters.

Chuckie: Alright, who were some of the characters in the movie?
Molly: Lucas.
Chuckie: You mean Luke?
Molly: No, Daddy. Luke is short for Lucas. My friend is Lucas Caller. People call him Luke, but him real name is LUCAS. So, Daddy, Luke is a nickname for Lucas.
Chuckie: Fair enough then. So, who was Lucas?
Molly: He got eaten by a monster that was living in garbage water.
Chuckie: That's it?
Molly: Mm-hm.
Chuckie: That sums up Lucas Skywalker? He almost got eaten by garbage water monster?
Molly: Yeah. And he almost got squished.

Chuckie: Alright. Who else was in the movie?
Molly: A big gorilla.
Chuckie: Chewbacca?
Molly: Yeah. But big gorilla is easier to remember.
Chuckie: So what did the big gorilla do?
Molly: He tried to open a door and he wasn't listening.
Chuckie: That's it?
Molly: That's all I remember about the gorilla.

Chuckie: Who was the gorilla's friend?
Molly: Nutrients.
Chuckie: Nutrients?
Molly: To help him grow.
Chuckie: What?
Molly: To help him grow big and strong and so he can be healthy.
Chuckie: What? No. I mean his friend, Han Solo.
Molly: Oh. I thought you meant nutrients.
Chuckie: No. Not at all. So tell me about Han Solo.
Molly: I don't remember. He was the gorilla's friend.

Chuckie: Who else was in the movie?
Molly: Princess Aleia. (pronounced AH-lay-ah)
Chuckie: Who was she? What did she do?
Molly: She was a princess that helped a Dalek.

Chuckie: A Dalek?
Molly: Yes.
Chuckie: What Dalek?
Molly: R2-Dalek.
Chuckie: (laughs)
Molly: What's so funny, Daddy? This is a very serious review. (She whines and pouts a bit, crossing her arms over her chest.)
Chuckie: Okay, sorry, Pixie. So tell me about R2-Dalek.
Molly: Um, he got shot. And then his guts fell out of his head, but they were robot guts which are mostly wires.
Chuckie: So he died? Did he become a more powerful invisible ghost too?
Molly: No! He got fixed at the shop.

Chuckie: Who was R2-Dalek's friend?
Molly: That tin man.
Chuckie: Do you remember his name?
Molly: Ummm... C? C-something. Uh. C-14? I don't remember.
Chuckie: C-3PO?
Molly: Yes! That's it, Daddy. Thank you.
Chuckie: So tell me about C-3PO.
Molly: He was gold and he was mean to that Dalek. And he went the wrong direction because he wasn't listening and he didn't go the right way. R2-Dalek gave him the right directions, but he didn't listen and he went the wrong way and said that the Dalek tricked him, but he didn't. He told him the right way, but the tin man didn't want to listen. Daddy, why are they friends?
Chuckie: What do you mean?
Molly: They don't even like each other! So how can they even be friends?
Chuckie: Well, what do you think?
Molly: Maybe when they were little kid robots they were friends. Maybe at that time they liked each other and they were good friends and they played nicely and were polite. And they had good adventures where they listened to each other and didn't make each other frustrated and then maybe a bad witch showed up and cast a spell on the tin man and made him forget that he was supposed to be nice and so he wasn't polite and was mean and kicked the dalek.

Chuckie: That's one theory, I suppose. Any other characters that you can think of?
Molly: Ben Kenobi.
Chuckie: Tell me about him.
Molly: He was a ghost.
Chuckie: Was he always a ghost?
Molly: No. He was not always a ghost. He used to be a human and somebody got him and he got turned into a ghost, but he was more powerful and now he only talks to Lucas.

Chuckie: Who was the guy who got Ben Kenobi?
Molly: Dark Vader.
Chuckie: What was he like?
Molly: He was mean and nasty. He tried to steal Princess Aleia.

Chuckie: Okay, so that's most of the main characters. Can you tell me about the story and what happened in it?
Molly: The bad guys were shooting and the robot buddies went down to the planet and then--my favorite part--the guys shot the Dalek and then they yelled "Utini!" (She laughs hard.)

Chuckie: Then what?
Molly: The guys caught the tin man and the Dalek. Then Lucas bought them. He buyed the red one first, then the red one's head blew up and he said, "What?!?" And then he said, "Let's buy the blue Dalek instead." Then they walked to a home, Lucas's home. Then the tin man fell down and his arm came off so they visited Ben Kenobi's house and he gave them a Life Saver...

Chuckie: We talked about this during the movie, Sweetie. It's a lightsaber because a saber is a kind of sword and it is made out of light.
Molly: Actually, Daddy, I think it is a Life Saver, because when Dark Vader hit Ben Kenobi with it, it made him a more powerful person so it SAVED his LIFE.

Chuckie: Fair enough. Anyhow, what happened after they visited Ben Kenobi's house?
Molly: Then they left to rescue Princess Aleia. She was on the Death Star. But, Daddy, it wasn't a star. It was a planet.
Chuckie: Ah... I guess.
Molly: Yes, you see stars at night time and they are bright and like the sun. That wasn't like any of those things.
Chuckie: It's just a name.
Molly: Death Planet!

Chuckie: Alright. So they go to rescue the Princess. Then what happened?
Molly: Um, they rescued her, but they almost got squished in the garbage. But they got saved by two angry robots.
Chuckie: Angry robots?
Molly: They were mad at each other. That's angry.

Chuckie: Fair enough. So, then what happened?
Molly: Then the gorilla kept banging on the door and they got saved and then goed and fight the Death Planet. And the Dalek got shot, but he got fixed. Oh, and they blew up the Death Planet. And they gived out medals to the boys, but not to the gorilla, so he losed.

Chuckie: Was there anything that you didn't like in the movie?
Molly: No.

Chuckie: You liked everything?
Molly: Yes.

Chuckie: I think I know the answer to this, but what was your favorite part of the movie?
Molly: When Ben Kenobi got a new life.
Chuckie: Really? I thought it would have been when the Jawas shouted "Utini!"
Molly: Oh! Yeah! Yeah! That was my favorite part. I forgot about that.

Chuckie: So, Pixie, how would you--
Molly: Wait! Daddy, we forgot another character!
Chuckie: Who did we forget?
Molly: Those ones who called out "Utini!"
Chuckie: The Jawas?
Molly: Yeah. "Utini!"
Chuckie: So, what did you think about the Jawas?
Molly: I like that they yell out "Utini" when they're happy. They hit that little robot who was going on an adventure. And they catch robots and they sell them. They sell them to Lucas whenever he decides that he needs robots and then they come to his house and they show him all of the robots that they have for sale and Lucas gets to decide which robots he wants and he chooses them and buys them so that he can have adventures with his new robots that he just bought.
Chuckie: You know that you remember more about the Jawas than Han Solo, right?
Molly: I don't even know who that is.
Chuckie: The gorilla's friend?
Molly: Oh. That guy.

Chuckie: Anyhow, how would you rate the movie?
Molly: Sixteen stars.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Out of six. And moons, Daddy.

Chuckie: How many moons would you give it?
Molly: Seventeen.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Out of ten. And suns.

Chuckie: How many suns would you give the movie?
Molly: Two. Like Lucas's planet had two suns.
Chuckie: That's true. Out of how many?
Molly: Out of a Jack-in-the-Box.

Chuckie: Who do you think would like this movie?
Molly: Um, does Grandmom and Pop Pop like it?
Chuckie: Yes. Grandmom really loves it and saw it in the theater like a hundred times.
Molly: Why did she watch it? She loved it?
Chuckie: Yup. So, who do you think would like the movie?
Molly: Um, Grandmom then. And Pop Pop and Mike and Grammy and Pappy. And maybe Edison and Ellen and Mason and Ava.

Chuckie: Do you think that kids would like this movie more or would grown-ups like it more?
Molly: Hm. Both.
Chuckie: Good answer. Why do you think that?
Molly: Because kids will like when they yell "Utini!" and grown-ups will like the parts with the gorilla in it.

Chuckie: Alright. Is there anything else that you want to say about Star Wars?
Molly: That it had a happy ending because the boys got medals. Except the gorilla didn't get one. So it was a sad ending for him, but it was a happy ending for everyone else.

So, that's our review. Molly really loved the movie and I haven't even told her that there are more of them yet.

I, of course, love it. I'm also considering recording Molly as she talks to me through the movie one time because she just chatters about theories on everything. It would be a fun commentary track to watch the movie and listen with her when she gets older.

Molly thinks that it is a great movie with awesome in it. She gives it sixteen out of six stars, seventeen out of ten moons and two suns out of a Jack-in-the-Box. She is also spot on that both kids and adults would love the movie, but probably not for the reasons she stated, but rather for its rich, inspiring and memorable characters who are a part of our cultural heritage like, Lucas Skywalker, Princess Aleia, R2-Dalek and the Tin Man. And, of course, who could ever forget that gorilla and his nutrients?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Smurfs

Colecovision's Smurfs game. Since gameplay was much more simple at the time, they increased the difficulty by giving the Colecovision the most fucking awful joystick in history.


Alright, this is massively late. It's been sitting on my desktop waiting for me to format it and I've finally got around to it. But anyway, a few weeks ago, Molly and I saw the Smurfs movie. This is our review:

I felt a little guilty taking Molly out to see the Smurfs without my wife. Not that my wife is really a big Smurfs fan, but she is a huge fan of Neil Patrick Harris. She is absolutely in love with him and is a bit disappointed in the fact that he is gay. So, I know that my role in our relationship is that if I ever have a chance to have sex with Neil Patrick Harris, I will take one for the team and do it so that I can describe it to my wife afterward so that she can experience sleeping with him vicariously through me. I just hope that my wife doesn't mind that my description of the experience will probably include the phrases "kind of awkward" and "really hurty" a lot.

Now, I grew up watching the Smurfs and I was really worried about watching this movie that it was going to be some horrible destruction of my childhood. However... it wasn't that bad.

Trust me, this isn't a flowering or glowing endorsement of the movie, but I was surprisingly not disgusted by the movie. The plot involves Gargamel finding the Smurf village because of Clumsy Smurf's blunder. As the smurfs try to escape, Clumsy gets separated and accidentally goes down the wrong path. Several other smurfs follow him and Gargamel follows that group instead of the 90 other smurfs. Anyhow, this splinter group gets sucked into a portal that leads them into Manhattan, as does Gargamel. Once in Manhattan, the smurfs need to find their way home while escaping Gargamel who is tracking them down. They meet Neil Patrick Harris who is married to the doe-eyed guidance counselor from Glee, who is pregnant (this, by the way, makes for an interesting post-movie discussion with my daughter who loves Dr. Horrible and Glee and has trouble disassociating actors from characters). Well, blah blah blah, predictable things happen and ultimately it is Clumsy who saves the day and rescues everyone and stops Gargamel and he is celebrated as a hero. But again, this leads me to the problem that I have with this standard kid movie plot: If Clumsy hadn't fucked up in the beginning, none of these threats would have come to bear and no one would have had to have risked their lives. So Clumsy's actions at the end weren't exactly grand at the end, but rather all he did was just karmically return to status quo.

Anyhow, the movie really only focused on a handful of the smurfs and introduced a new smurf, Gutsy Smurf. I have a bit of a problem with Gutsy Smurf for several reasons, however.

First of all, Gutsy Smurf and Hefty Smurf's personality overlap quite a bit. If you were to make a Venn Diagram of the pair, you would be very close to having a single circle.

Second, Gutsy Smurf has a heavy Scottish brogue. I am a little curious as to where he picked this up. Though perhaps there is some kind of Smurf Village Exchange Program that he is a part of.  Ultimately I suppose the accent doesn't bother me that much other than to make me really wonder about Smurf regional dialects.

But the biggest problem I have with Gutsy Smurf is this:

He wears a kilt. Now, I don't have a problem with kilts at all. I wear them and I love them. However, I have a problem with him being called "Gutsy" and he is wearing pants under his kilt. If he really wants to be "Gutsy Smurf" then he'd go full commando under his kilt while jumping around and fighting like he did in this movie.

The thing that I did like about the movie, though, was that it actually kept to canon fairly well. There were references to the fact that Gargamel created Smurfette. There were other subtle references to some of the smurf history as well (including the strange, out of chronological time explanation of how Azreal got that notch in his ear).

However, this strange nod to the adherence of Smurf lore made a few things in the movie odd. Such as, in the cartoon, Gargamel had always wanted to catch the smurfs because he had an alchemical formula that could turn smurfs to gold. Occasionally, his motive was just to eat them because they were delicious. However, in the movie, Gargamel wants the smurfs because their essence grants wizards their power for spells.

I also never really understood how smurfs were supposed to be "three apples high". I mean, an apple is on average 3 1/4" in height. Even if we shave that down to just 3", then we're looking at a smurf being 9" tall. There's no way that smurfs are 9 inches tall.

But anyhow, the movie was kind of clever and had some subtle humor in it that didn't make it too terrible for adults. It wasn't some horrible memory destroying piece, but it was just safe, dumb movie-making. I've had to endure much worse with Molly.

Molly: (As usual, Molly is next to me as I type this. Her portion of the review will be in Q&A form because of her inability to read. I'll transcribe what she is saying and format it all later.)

Chuckie: So, what did you think of the move, "The Smurfs"?
Molly: I liked it.

Chuckie: What did you like about it?
Molly: Um, that it was long.
Chuckie: What else did you like about it?
Molly: That it was nice.

Chuckie: Did you like the smurfs in the movie?
Molly: Yes.

Chuckie: What did you like about the smurfs?
Molly: That they were saved by the giant moon that was blue.

Chuckie: What were the different smurfs in the movie?
Molly: Um, one was  girl and the others were boys. And one was crazy. And one was a grandpa and one was clumsy and here's something really different about them: two people were humans.

Chuckie: Well, yes, but they weren't smurfs.
Molly: Yes. But one smurf was a chef.

Chuckie: Okay. That's true. So, tell me what happened in the movie.
Molly: Um, they got... Uh, Clumsy went the wrong way and they through the portal thing and then they went to a different land. I think it was New York City. And then they stayed with somebody else. One was from Glee Club and one was Doctor Horrible.

Chuckie: Then what happened?
Molly: Then they stayed with them and they stayed in a little mushroom. And then they went in a taxi and then they went to a shop and Smurfette was getting baby doll clothes and the other two was looking for the looking glass and the other two were playing around and then they went back home and then Papa Smurf looked out for the other smurfs. And then Dr. Horrible and the girl from Glee Club had a baby. Daddy, why was Dr. Horrible married to her?

Chuckie: Ah, well, Penny died at the end of Dr. Horrible. So I guess he moved on.
Molly: Mr. Shue is going to be mad that she married Dr. Horrible.

Chuckie: Yes, I suppose so. So, who was your favorite character in the movie?
Molly: The girl smurf. Wait! I mean the cat, sorry.

Chuckie: What did you like about the cat?
Molly: Um, I liked the cat because I like kitties. I think kitties are adorable.

Chuckie: Even when they're trying to eat smurfs?
Molly: No. Only when they do things that aren't eating smurfs. Like purring.

Chuckie: Well, isn't eating smurfs what he was trying to do in this movie?
Molly: Yes. Those parts he was less cute.

Chuckie: What was your favorite part of the movie?
Molly: That they goed back home. Wait! I mean when the kitty laughed instead.

Chuckie: Were there any parts of the movie that you didn't like?
Molly: Um, yes. That they were being mean and evil to those nice smurfs.

Chuckie: Gutsy Smurf was a completely new character and wasn't one of the original smurfs. What did you think of him?
Molly: He dressed like he was at the Renaissance Faire.

Chuckie: Yes, that he did. What can you tell me about the evil wizard, Gargamel?
Molly: He was mean. Mean, mean, mean!

Chuckie: Why was he after the smurfs?
Molly: I think because he wants more power and he wants to kills smurfs.

Chuckie: So, how would you rate this movie, Pixie?
Molly: With stars.

Chuckie: Okay. How many stars would you give this movie?
Molly: Eight.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Um, zero.
Chuckie: We've been over this before. If it is out of zero, it becomes an imaginary number.
Molly: That's fine, Daddy. Lots of things are imaginary anyway. Now I want to give it suns.

Chuckie: Okay, how many suns do you want to give it?
Molly: Um, nine.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Um... I don't know. I don't want to pick something that will make it turn into imagination. So... six?
Chuckie: Yeah, nine out of six a real number.
Molly: Yay! Now moons.

Chuckie: How many moons do you want to give it?
Molly: Three.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Reindeer.
Chuckie: Reindeer?
Molly: Yes.
Chuckie: Why reindeer?
Molly: I was just looking at my lip gloss reindeer and I thought, "Huh. Why not?"

Chuckie: Okay, fair enough. So who do you think would like to see this movie?
Molly: Um, Abby, Ellen, Ava and Elise, my best buddy who used to be at my school. And I think Mason, and Grandmom and Pop Pop and Grammy and Pappy and Daddy and Molly and Mommy. But no one else. I don't think we should take Dr. Opoly or Utini or baby kitten to the movie though, because they might learn bad habits from the cat in the movie.

Chuckie: So, is there anything else that you want to say about the movie?
Molly: Yes. Captain Hammer should have beat up Gargamel and saved the day.

So that's our review. I thought that it was mindless, but inoffensive to both the adults seeing the movie as well as those who may have watched the Smurfs a little too long through their childhood. Molly really enjoyed it and has been singing the la-la-la-la-la-la smurf song a little too much since seeing it.

I give it two out of five stars. I would have given it more, but Gutsy Smurf couldn't live up to his name and go commando under his kilt.

Molly gives it eight out of zero stars, nine out of six suns and three moons out of reindeer. She also doesn't think that this is a good movie to take our cats to, because they may pick up some bad habits. She's also apparently very concerned about Mr. Schuester and Emma's relationship in Glee and Dr. Horrible's intrusion in it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Spy Kids in 4-D

For being in 4-D, there were a surprising lack of tesseracts in this movie.

Spy Kids 4-D: All the Time in the World, despite being advertised as being in 4-D, has absolutely nothing to do with the fourth dimensional coordinate geometry and vectors. It also has nothing to do with the physics concept of the interception of spacetime as a single continuum.

Instead we had scratch-and-sniff stickers that the movie prompted us to scratch and smell at various points.

How does the addition of the sense of smell work to enhance the viewing experience of someone like me who has no real sense of smell? Not at all!

We were given a sheet with eight different numbered spaces and had to smell them at the appropriate time. However, the movie itself didn't even use this well. First of all, two out of the eight of the scents dealt with fart or poop jokes. That is a solid 25% of the additional scents presented in the movie. A whole quarter of the scent experience of the movie dealt with poop smells. Granted, this is a kids movie, so fart jokes are to be expected and I would have perhaps tolerated 1 out of the 8 smells being fecally related, but two? Secondly, they kept teasing scents. The characters would say things like, "Did you smell that?" and everyone in the audience would grab their sheets, but there would be no prompting to scratch and sniff. They left us hanging and honestly, being left to hold a scratch and sniff sheet at the ready to no pay off gives the same sort of awkward feeling of being left for a high five. And at one point in the movie, one of the characters found a lot of different candy and we were prompted to scratch and sniff three different numbers simultaneously.

But anyhow, that was just a gimmick. A crappy, crappy gimmick.

The movie itself was about as good as 2 of the 8 scents.

Basically, the movie starts with the mother, who is a spy, at the endgame of a dangerous mission. However, she is fully 9 months pregnant. Now, I am fully down with and rather liberal when it comes to pregnancy and maternity situations in the workplace, but I think I draw the line at a full-term pregnant mother sliding down a zip-line into a convertible to start a high speed chase through traffic and ending in a confrontation with the bad guy and his minions and starting hand-to-hand combat during which her water breaks. This does, however, foreshadow her seemingly unerring ability to thrust her children into danger later in the film.

She swears off spy work and we cut to a year later. She's married to Joel McHale, who, for once in his life, was cleanly shaved and didn't have his sexy two-day stubble. Anyhow, Joel McHale has no clue that his wife was a spy and he has two kids of his own from a previous marriage, who view the spy step-mom with a bit of derision.

So, blah blah blah, shit happens and she gets reactivated as a spy and in the process the kids are left home by themselves and the house is attacked and they find out that their mom was really a spy and that their dog is really a robot voiced by Ricky Gervais. Stephen Merchant got to do really awesome voice-over work in Portal 2. Ricky Gervais, however, does voice-over work on a dog who makes fart jokes and says the word "chillax". Stephen Merchant wins that round. However, Gervais delivers his lines with such apathy, I doubt he spent more than one take on anything and didn't really give a shit anyway.

The kids are rather shallow personalities. The older girl likes pranks and has more issues accepting the mom. The younger boy is obviously really smart. How did I figure this out? Well, he was reading a book titled "Quantum Physics" while wearing a shirt that read "E=MC2".

Yes, yes. Kid's movie. Blunt should be forgivable. However, it shouldn't be insulting. Kids really can grasp and take in and understand a lot more than we give credit for.

But, anyhow, so the kids risk their lives and nearly die several times over and confront the bad guy who is using some time travel device to try to go back into time to spend more time with his father that he felt he never had enough time with. I happen to love time travel stories. I am also incredibly forgiving of time travel movies. But this made no sense.

So they stop the bad guy and decide to be a whole spy family. Since being reactivated as a spy, the mother carried the one-year old baby around with her on a front papoose--again, while sneaking around, getting shot at and getting in hand to hand fights.

I do not expect the genes of this family to continue on.

Molly: (As usual Molly's portion of the review will be in Q&A form due to her age and the fact that she cannot read. She's sitting next to me at my computer as I type this. I'll go back and reformat her review later.)

Chuckie: So, what did you think about the movie, "Spy Kids 4-D: All the Time in the World"?
Molly: I liked it.

Chuckie: What did you like about it?
Molly: Um, wait... what does fragile mean, Daddy?
Chuckie: That something can break easy.
Molly: Well, something broke easy.
Chuckie: What?
Molly: When the boy did that. (She mimes punching the wall.)

Chuckie: Okay, true. But you didn't tell me what you liked about it.
Molly: I know. Uh, I liked that baby made her first bad guy and that they were safe and that they saved the world and that two big Spy Kids made up.

Chuckie: What did you think about the scratch-and-sniff experience of the movie?
Molly: I liked that it smelled pretty good, except for number 4 because it smelled it smoke.
Chuckie: And that two of the eight scents smelled like either a dog fart or a baby fart, right?
Molly: No. I didn't like those either.

Chuckie: So, tell me what the movie was about?
Molly: Um, well it was about two Spy Kids and four Parent-level Spy Kids and three of the Parent-level Spy Kids fell into that globe thing full of numbers that was running out of time and two Spy Kids got trapped. And the baby farted and the dog farted.

Chuckie: What was the bad guy's plan in the movie?
Molly: Um, he tried to travel through time to get back to his dad because he missed him. So that's what that was all about. But here's the important part: he tried to kill the kids. But it didn't work. He didn't realize they were Spy Kids.

Chuckie: Did the time travel part of the movie confuse you?
Molly: No. I know about it from Doctor Who.
Chuckie: That's good to hear.
Molly: Thank you, Daddy. Oh! Here's a part that I did not like: She tried to warn the mom that it was a trap, but she didn't listen. She thought that it was a prank, but it wasn't.

Chuckie: Tell me a little about the characters in the movie.
Molly: Well, the characters... um, the dog character said, "Pull my tail" and they did that and he made butt bombs and when they pulled his finger he farted because it was funny. The boy said, "What was that supposed to do?" And the dog said it made him laugh.

Chuckie: Were you a little disappointed that the movie was advertised as being in 4-D, but there was really nothing pertaining to coordinate geometry and vectors and polychora?
Molly: I do not know what those words mean.

Chuckie: Okay, fair enough. So what did it being in 4-D lead you to expect?
Molly: That I needed to have 4-D glasses on instead of 3-D glasses.
Chuckie: What do 4-D glasses do that 3-D glasses don't?
Molly: Well, 3-D glasses make everything look like they're coming out into your eyes. And I would guess that 4-D glasses wouldn't make them come out into your eyes, but they would act like regular glasses and just help you see better.

Chuckie: Like Daddy's everyday glasses?
Molly: Yes, because I can see the computer on your glasses, so they made the computer come out onto your glasses in 4-D.
Chuckie: That's just the reflection of the computer screen on my glasses, Pixie.
Molly: Oh.

Chuckie: So, what was your favorite part of the movie?
Molly: Um, twiddling their thumbs.
Chuckie: What?
Molly: They were doing that and the girl won.
Chuckie: Oh! You mean the thumb wrestling?
Molly: Yeah.
Chuckie: Really? That was your favorite part?
Molly: Yeah. But that wasn't the funniest part.

Chuckie: What was the funniest part?
Molly: I have two funniest parts. When they said, "I think we need another way out", and when they said, "Baby got her first bad guy." Oh! And another part. You want to hear my favorite part?
Chuckie: Sure.
Molly: Um, my favorite part was that the world was saved.

Chuckie: Judging by your reaction, I thought it would be when the girl shot the jetpacks and said, "Hope you enjoy the ride."
Molly: Yeah! That's what I was going to say, "Enjoy the ride!" That was my favorite part ever.

Chuckie: So how would you rate this movie?
Molly: Um, happy.
Chuckie: Happy?
Molly: Wait, what does rate mean?
Chuckie: It's how you think about it in comparison to other things.
Molly: Oh, yeah! I like a lot of stars. Want to know how many?

Chuckie: Sure. How many stars would you give it?
Molly: Um, twenty-five thirty-four.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Out of my birthday. Oh, right! It's another number. Out of seven. And moons!

Chuckie: Okay, how many moons would you give the movie?
Molly: Twenty-five. I'm doing big numbers, Daddy, because it's impressive.
Chuckie: Okay. Out of how many?
Molly: Out of Africa.
Chuckie: What is it with you and having your ratings be out of Africa?
Molly: Because... um... I... uh... because I thought we were in Africa? I mean America! Thanks for correcting me, Daddy. Out of America.
Chuckie: Uh, okay.
Molly: It should be out of from wherever we live.

Chuckie: Sure. That's fine. So, who do you think would like this movie?
Molly: Um, everybody that is a kid because it's a kid show. And not you though, Daddy, because you can't smell very good.

Chuckie: Yes, that's true. I didn't get to experience smelling dog and baby farts on the card.
Molly: I'll tell you what they smelled like and then maybe you would like it better.

Chuckie: Okay.
Molly: One was very gross. I do not want to tell you what the gross one was. Number Four smelled like smoke. The other ones smelled like lollipops, a candy cane, Christmas tree and McDonald's food and one smelled like a butterfly and one smelled like a princess that was taking a shower.

Chuckie: Wait, none of these things were in the movie.
Molly: I don't know why it smelled like that. Maybe they gave me a card for a different movie. Oh, but one of them smelled like a girl Spy Kid. THAT was in the movie. And one smelled like cat fur.

Chuckie: Was that all of them?
Molly: Yes. But on the second one, it was different. One smelled like ketchup and one smelled like a zebra and one smelled like a star--

Chuckie: What does a star smell like?
Molly: I don't know. Outer space? And one smelled like Ariel--

Chuckie: Hold on, there weren't that many scratch and sniff spots. And what does a princess taking a shower even smell like?
Molly: I don't know. Like a princess and some soap?

Chuckie: I think you're making this up.
Molly: (Taunting.) How do you know? You can't smell.

Chuckie: Ouch. Touché. So, anything else you want to say about the movie?
Molly: I want to be a Spy Kid.

So, that's our review. Molly was very excited to see it and really enjoyed the movie. She had been talking about the scenes from the commercials non-stop since seeing them on teevee. And she got excited whenever she could tell that a scene that she had seen in advance was coming up and she had a great time watching it. I thought it was a really, really bad movie that they tried to enhance my enjoyment of the film by making me smell poop twice.

I give the movie a half-star out of five. I am seriously being very generous in this rating. This movie assaulted my intelligence was terribly filmed, constantly irresponsibly put an infant in danger and tried to make me smell dog and baby poop. The only reason why I did not give it less is that I feel that there was still a potential to make this movie worse. It could have been in "5-D" and handed out Willy Wonka style lickable wallpaper sheets, but instead of snozberries, I had to lick and taste actual dog shit. So, good job in not doing that as well, movie. You get a half-star.

Molly, however, really liked this movie. She gives is twenty-four-thirty-five out of seven stars and twenty-five moons out of America. When she gets older and develops taste, I plan on making her watch this movie to prove how much I did for her when she was a kid. If I am getting anything out of this movie, it will be future parental guilt.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Zookeeper

I wish Kevin James left a trail of bricks behind him.

Do you know how much I love my daughter? I just took her to see "The Zookeeper". Do you know how little she respects me? She asked me to take her to see "The Zookeeper".

So, Mommy is away on a conference this week and we've been spending some hardcore Daddy-Daughter time. Mommy and a couple of our friends wanted to see Harry Potter with us, so we kept that option off the table. So, I looked to see what kid's movies were playing. Our choices were essentially between this and Winnie-the-Pooh. Molly claimed that Winnie-the-Pooh is a movie for three year olds, so we saw the much more intellectually stimulating Zookeeper, which is apparently for four year olds.

I knew this would be a piece of horseshit going in and the movie did not fail to deliver. For those of you that don't know, the movie stars Kevin James who plays a Zookeeper who once had a "hot", but bitchy and superficial girlfriend that dumped him. Well, five years later she's back and the animals decide to break "the code" and talk to him and proceed to give the shittiest advice possible on how to get a woman.

I suppose the advice isn't that shitty in the sense that it somehow wins over the girl who apparently falls into some crappy anti-feminist stereotype that all women are putty in the hands of a prick who treats their woman like shit. All the while he doesn't see that a much better woman is right beside him and she loves him for who he is and he never had to change to impress her.

So, essentially, the animals should have never talked and Kevin James' character would have defaulted for the girl he ended up with at the end of the movie anyhow, but he wouldn't have become such a prick in the process. So, thanks animals. You really fucked up.

I mean, really, when Kevin James is taking advice from animals to out-alpha male Joe Rogan, you've got to figure that something might be a little extreme in their advice. And, apparently Kevin James is so easily manipulated, that he takes the animals' advice and ends up doing things such as pissing on plants in a fancy five-star restaurant to "mark his territory".

Yes, I forgot to mention. The backdrop of this movie is occurring around Kevin James' brother's wedding. So all of the alpha male showmanship, pissing on plants, demolition, ruckus creating and fight picking occurs primarily during a wedding reception. Although no big deal is made about it on-screen, I am sure that off-screen everyone is complaining about how the wedding was fucking ruined by these schmucks.

But anyhow, the plot is predictable and essentially follows the "Teen Wolf" formula, but instead of finding out that he has a family of werewolves, Kevin James discovers that animals can talk. He becomes an animalistic prick becoming more popular and winning the affection of a shitty, superficial girl that he's hung up on, fucks her for a little while, then ultimately leaves her for this movie's Boof. But again, not until he's fucked the hot girl for a little while first.

This movie is absolute shit. But here are a few things that I noted about the movie:

First of all, it is full of product placement. I mean, seriously. They even promote the product placement in the commercials promoting the movie (TGI Fridays). However, the weirdest bit of product placement is with Red Bull. The lioness is choking to death and nearly dies until Kevin James reaches down into its mouth to pull out a Red Bull can from its throat that it was choking to death on. He pulls the crushed, slobber-covered can from its mouth and turns it so that the label faces the camera. So there you go, Red Bull people! Your product kills lions. Hope you're fucking happy that your product was responsible for a near-death scene that upset my daughter. As she gets older, hopefully she'll subconsciously remember that your product upset her as it nearly murdered a lioness.

Animals are racists against crows.

The movie takes place in the Franklin Park Zoo. I know a fucking lot about that zoo. Well, at least a portion of its history. Franklin Park Zoo is in Boston, Massachusetts and was founded in 1913. It was a free zoo until the 1950's, and it suffered from neglect during the Depression era. So, they would often try to entice more people to come out to the zoo during the Depression era by having events and renting out space for things like carnivals next to it to draw in bigger crowds who would flow over into the zoo. Despite all of this information (including exhibits at the time,  zoo lay-out and a little mini-Mythos associated story seed), the characters in the 1934 Call of Cthulhu Boston-based campaign I was running never left the fucking carnival to go to the zoo next door.

And this movie has a standard movie-cliché ending that pisses me off. So, his best friend that he realizes is really his true love thinks that he doesn't love her because, you know, he's been fucking the hot superficial bitch for a few weeks. So she takes a job in Africa tending to a new modern state of the art zoo or some shit. So, she's on her way to the airport as Kevin James rushes to catch her before she reaches the airport. To get to her before she reaches it, he drives like a madman, nearly kills motorists and pedestrians as he speeds after her, almost dies himself as he and a gorilla take a kayak then climb a bridge to intercept her on the bridge before she hits the airport and... well... why the fuck didn't he just call her fucking cellphone?!? Seriously, movie. We all have them now. Absolute worst case scenario is you email her once she's in Africa. Believe it or not, email is fucking global. But all of the risk to life and damage to property could have been avoided by calling her goddamned cellphone.

Molly: (As usual Molly is at my side. I'll do her portion of the review in Q&A form and will transcribe what she says. I'll go back and format it later.)

Chuckie: So, what did you think about the movie "The Zookeeper"?
Molly: I liked it, but I wanted to see Popper's Penguins.

Chuckie: Well, Popper's Penguins wasn't playing anymore. So you picked between the Zookeeper and Winnie-the-Pooh.
Molly: Winnie-the-Pooh is for three year olds.

Chuckie: Yes, which is why I ended up watching the Zookeeper. Anyway, what did you like about the movie?
Molly: Um, I liked that the animals talked and they can speak because you want to know why I'm glad about that?

Chuckie: Why?
Molly: I'm glad about that so that the people can know what they're saying. So then if like they're saying water and they know that they want water and not something else. But if they're saying food, then they know that they want food and not something else. That's my hypothesis.

Chuckie: Your hypothesis?
Molly: Yeah. Like if a pumpkin sinks or float, and a pencil sinks or floats, and a duck sinks or floats and you have to make a hypothesis if it sinks or floats.  You have to pick one of those options.

Chuckie: Wow.
Molly: Yes, that's science.

Chuckie: Yes it is. Anyhow, so tell me what happened in the movie.
Molly: Well, the zookeeper traveled in time into the future.

Chuckie: No, Pixie, I just read the caption that said, "Five years later".
Molly: And so he traveled five years?

Chuckie: No, five years passed in that bit of the movie.
Molly: I didn't see it.

Chuckie: It was off-camera.
Molly: Daddy, does he have a TARDIS.

Chuckie: No. Five years passed regular. He didn't travel in time.
Molly: Then why did you tell me he traveled five years into the future?

Chuckie: I didn't. Nevermind. He traveled five years into the future.
Molly: Yay!

Chuckie: What else happened in the movie?
Molly: Two people kissed. And those two went to a party because people invited them.

Chuckie: So what did the animals try to teach them?
Molly: Um, to break up with her.

Chuckie: Well, didn't they try to teach him how to get together with her first?
Molly: Yes. And then break up with her.

Chuckie: So you agree that the animals gave shitty advice?
Molly: Yes.

Chuckie: And he'd have been better off if the animals never talked to him to begin with?
Molly: No. Because like if they don't know what they're saying and they want water, but he thought they wanted something else.

Chuckie: Okay. Fair point. But they shouldn't have given him advice though, right?
Molly: Right.

Chuckie: So what were your favorite parts of the movie?
Molly: The kissing.

Chuckie: Really? The kissing? Not the talking animals?
Molly: Yes. Because they gave him advice that was crap. But I did like the talking gorilla because he gave not crap advice.

Chuckie: Were there any parts of the movie that you didn't like?
Molly: Yes.

Chuckie: What?
Molly: That he was being mean to his girlfriend that he didn't kiss.

Chuckie: Why was he being mean?
Molly: Because the animals just gave him crap advice.

Chuckie: So, since the animals gave such bad advice, what should they have talked about instead?
Molly: Not crap advice.

Chuckie: Like what would have been not crap advice?
Molly: They should have asked him if he wanted to break up with her or not and if he said, "I want to break up with her" then he should break up with her, but if he doesn't want to break up with her, then he doesn't even need to say anything.

Chuckie: That sounds like good advice, I suppose.
Molly: Thank you.

Chuckie: Was the movie funny?
Molly: No.

Chuckie: You're right on that. What kind of movie would you say it was?
Molly: Lame movie.

Chuckie: I thought you said you liked it?
Molly: It wasn't Popper's Penguins.

Chuckie: Fair enough. So anyhow, how do you want to rate the movie?
Molly: Stars.

Chuckie: Okay, how many stars would you give the movie?
Molly: One hundred. That's for the movie. But this is for the laughter: can I give zero?

Chuckie: Sure.
Molly: Then zero for the laughter.

Chuckie: Okay. Anything else?
Molly: The suns are for one of each: One hundred because of the party, one hundred for the good dancing and one hundred and four for the badness.

Chuckie: The badness?
Molly: Yes, that's how much bad.

Chuckie: So now I'm confused. Did you like the movie or not?
Molly: I liked it.

Chuckie: Why do you keep calling it lame and crap and rate the badness?
Molly: Um, for all the badness in it. And all the goodness is like "Yaaaaaaay!"

Chuckie: Alright, I guess. So who do you think would like the movie?
Molly: Everybody that's at my school. That's a real lot of people, Daddy. I don't even think they'll have enough chairs for everyone. Maybe they can sit on the floor because there's a new baby coming to school, so that's one extra person now.

Chuckie: Okay, so anything else that you want to say about the movie?
Molly: Gorillas give the best advice.

So, that's our review. I knew it would be shit and the movie did not fall out of my level of expectation for it. The movie is really insultingly bad and there was not a single laugh to be heard from the dozen or so people in the theater. The plot is really demeaning in a lot of ways, reinforcing rather two-dimensional stereotypes about how to win a woman, but ultimately the animals did not give good advice. Had they never spoke to Kevin James, he would have eventually ended up with his "soulmate" anyhow. But then again, I suppose they did let him fuck the hot girl for a little bit. But that little tidbit kind of invalidated Kevin James' little speech to  his nerdy soulmate at the end where he woos her with this speech about how eagles mate for life and he wants to be with her. Well, if they mate for life, they probably didn't spend the last three weeks fucking some superficial hawk first.

I give the movie one-half star out of five. I would give the movie even less, but hopefully the horrific product placement of Red Bull has scarred my daughter so much that she will avoid drinking Redbull and Vodkas as she gets older and will instead use her college experiences to study.

Molly gives the movie one hundred stars, but gives zero stars for the laughter. She also gives it one hundred suns for the party, one hundred suns for the dancing and one hundred and four stars for the badness. I think she is also firmly of the opinion that this movie was no Popper's Penguins.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Restaurant Review: Dumpling Restaurant for Food

This is a repost from something that I tried to put on Yelp. However, the Yelp people have no sense of humor and denied my entry for a new restaurant. And for the record, my daughter named the place.

Dumpling Restaurant for Food

Category: Chinese Food

Hours: Mon-Fri; varies
Good for Kids: Yes
Accepts Credit Cards: No
Parking: Street
Attire: Casual
Good for Groups: No
Price Range: $$$$
Takes Reservations: Yes
Delivery: No
Take-out: No
Waiter Service: Yes
Outdoor Seating: No
Wi-Fi: No
Good For: Lunch
Alcohol: No
Noise Level: Loud
Ambience: Hectic
Has TV: Yes
Caters: No
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

It is easy to miss Dumpling Restaurant for Food since it is tucked away in the school-ager's room of Curious Kids Preschool Center. However, I kind of like finding little niche non-chain restaurants and when I went in to pick up my four-year old daughter, she quickly grabbed me and told me to eat at the new restaurant.

First of all, seating is sparse. I occupied one of the five chairs available. Seating is kind of hibachi style, as I was not given my own table, but rather sat down community style. This style of seating isn't bad, but it does take away from the intimacy of the dining experience.

The table I sat at already had the other four seats occupied and the other customers were arbitrarily yelling out their orders to the wait staff who also served as the cooks. By the frenzied pace that orders were being shouted out, it was difficult to tell what kind of food was being served since I was not given a menu when I sat down. Two of the girls at my table asked for dumplings while another customer shouted for corn on the cob and a donut, while the fourth customer just sat there. When I told the staff that I didn't have any silverware or a plate I was given one chopstick and told that I had to share with my neighbor. While I do not mind the communal seating, this was just ridiculous!

I barely had time to complain to the wait staff when one of them approached me and put a large white oniony looking thing on the table in front of me (since I did not yet have a plate) and told me that it was my dumpling. When I argued that I didn't order a dumpling and didn't even like dumplings, I was told to "pretend it's something else". The waitress then left. Mind you, she served me with her hands which I could visibly see dirt on. It was almost like she was playing in the dirt just before cooking my meal that I didn't even order.

I decided to try to make the best of my ordeal and asked what they served for drinks. I was given conflicting reports by the staff: one said that they didn't have any drinks (?!?) and the other told me that the only had tomato juice.

I passed on the drinks and told my daughter to get ready as we were going to leave. At this point I saw one of the customers at my table get up and go to the kitchen and get her own food. I do not blame her! As I was preparing to leave, I was given a menu by one of the staff. I told him that I was leaving and could have used one when I first arrived. He then told me to give it to someone else at the table then. He wouldn't even give it to them himself!

At this point I noticed that one of the other customers from the table got up and got plates and place-mats from the kitchen herself. Again, I don't blame her! As I gathered my daughter and we moved to leave, a staff member stepped in front of me and told me that my bill was two hundred hundred dollars. I balked at the price for the single dumpling that I never ordered. It made me realize why they are reluctant to give out the menus beforehand. Just wanting to leave, because I wanted to take my daughter bike riding, I asked if they took credit card. He said no, only money. I said I didn't have any cash on me and he said that was okay and let me pass.

Dumpling Restaurant for Food is a chaotic mess with no real organized business model. I'm all for niche little restaurants, but the ambiance is loud, distracting and half the staff looked like they had just been playing in the dirt. I really cannot recommend Dumpling Restaurant for Food to anyone. I do not see how the disorganized restaurant can last with the business model they support.

0 Stars.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Green Lantern

One of the Lantern Corps.

I've never been a huge fan of Green Lantern comics. I tried to get into them a few times, but it never worked out for me. Didn't matter if it was Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner or John Stewart (the black architect, not the Daily Show host). Part of the reason why it never meshed with me was because of the weirdly abstract and both unlimited and limited nature of the ring's powers and the application in the comics and cartoons. I mean, it was rife with scenes like, "Holy shit! That woman is falling off of the top of the Empire State building!" Well, thankfully the Green Lantern is there and moments before she smashes into the pavement, she is instead caught be a giant green catcher's mitt. That was always just awkwardly difficult for me to swallow.

And I guess that's where my problem with the majority of the DC comics line came from: other than modern Batman, the comics just seemed to lack a more gritty realism. DC heroes stand like Greek Gods to the humans they protect. They are above them with powers that are near limitless. Meanwhile, Marvel was fully of geeky guys who became powerful, but had to try to learn to work and contain their abilities through their flawed characters. These guys were relatable. And for some reason, someone shooting laser beams out of their eyeballs just seems more "realistic" to me than some guy making a giant baseball glove to catch falling damsels in distress.

Now, I do know enough about the Green Lantern to know that they played around a bit with his abilities in the movie. For example, in the comics, the ring does not allow the Lanterns to create complex machinery. However, in the movie, Hal Jordan was conjuring up Gatling guns and M-198 howitzers. However, to the movie's credit, there were two scenes in which people or things were falling and needed to be saved; neither one was caught in a catcher's mitt. Instead, the world's longest helicopter crash was instead saved by giving it green wheels and putting it on a winding kid's racetrack (incidentally, there is a Green Lantern/Hot Wheels product tie in that involves being able to purchase a Green Lantern race track). And when a woman who was smashed forcefully into a wall by the bad guy finally started to fall to the ground, Green Lantern didn't catch her with a catcher's mitt, but instead made green water for her to land in and she went splashing away in the turbulent waters, leading her presumably out of danger. Unless, of course, she had spinal or neck injuries from her initial crash. In which case, I'm sure she will now be a paraplegic.

 But that's my problem with Green Lantern. The powers seem limitless, but the application is always silly. I mean, were I the Green Lantern I'd be constantly worried about people thinking my creations were odd and geeky and people would laugh at them. So, despite having a power limited only by my imagination, I would be a Green Lantern that was much more subtle in application to minimize the potential laugh factor of on-lookers  so that I could still get girls.

Here's a quick comparison of how I would use my powers compared to "real" Green Lantern:

Woman falling to her death:
Real Green Lantern: Big Green Catcher's Mitt.
Me: Beam of green energy that makes her float.

Bad guy charging, ready to smash to bits:
Real Green Lantern: Big Green Baseball Bat to knock him away.
Me: Beam of green energy that knocks him away.

Huge alien attacking the city:
Real Green Lantern: Big Green sproingy spring to make a fuel tanker truck fly in its vicinity, followed by a big green howitzer to shoot the tanker truck to make it explode on the alien.
Me: Beam of green energy that hurts the alien.

So, yes, my ability would be much more subtle and subdued. But mine wouldn't look silly. I'd be a Green Lantern out to impress chicks and not 9 year olds with baseball fetishes.

But anyhow, the movie. It was standard, predictable superhero origin story. Nothing that interesting, except how the movie treated a few things strangely. Hal Jordan is a test pilot. And first of all, I hate when movies make pilots crazy-ass maverick wannabes instead of the calm, collected military specialist trained people they tend to be in real life. But whatever. Anyhow, they are testing out billion dollar AI fighter jets against the top pilots in hopes of winning a lucrative contract. Now, first of all, AI fighter jets are pointless. It would be a terrible investment. Wars are not fought with aircraft dogfights these days. AI drone bombers, maybe, but no real need to spend billions, if not trillions of dollars on these AI fighters for dogfights that won't happen. But anyhow, Hal beats the AI jets by breaking the "rules of engagement". But because he broke the rules of engagement, they didn't get the contract and so the company decides on the spot to lay off a shitload of people.

So, later, in the parking lot of a bar, Hal is grabbed and roughed up by three guys who proceed to beat the shit out of him for his causing them to lose the contract and therefore, them getting laid off.

These are aerospace engineers. I don't know if the three were aeronautical engineers or astronautical engineers or a combination of the two, but the movie essentially portrayed a gang of rocket scientist thugs beating the shit out of Hal Jordan. How fucked up was that?

Also, Hal eventually beat the giant monster by flying towards the sun. Because the monster is bigger than him, it is more effected by the sun's gravitational pull, because, as Hal learned earlier in the movie, bigger objects are more affected by gravity. Wait, what? What the fuck?!

Yes, apparently the movie was written by people who so despise science that the aerospace engineers are bullying thugs and they totally disregard basic, elementary physics.

Anyhow, the effects in the movie were actually pretty lame as well. The CGI effects really looked like a top end video game effects rather than effects you would expect to see in a movie. Really, I would have been fine seeing any of those scenes as a video game cutscene and would have thought nothing of it. But as a movie, they just were distractingly bad.

Anyhow, the movie. Big bad monster, uses the power of fear. Green Lanterns use the power of will. Fear is stronger than will. But Hal Jordan realizes that he can move past living in the shadow of his father who died in the world's longest jet crash and proves that humanity trumps all.

But the movie tells that last paragraph in a much more lackluster way than I did.

Molly: (As usual, Molly's portion of the review will be in Q&A form. I'll write what she says and format it later.)

Chuckie: What did you think about the movie, Green Lantern?
Molly: I liked it.

Chuckie: What did you like about it?
Molly: People was friendly, except the bad guys.

Chuckie: How were people friendly in it? What did they do that was friendly?
Molly: I'll get back to you on that one. (takes a big bit of her Devil Dog and chews it down, eventually swallowing and continuing.) I think there was a purple alien and he gave that ring to him.

Chuckie: What did the ring do?
Molly: Chose him.
Chuckie: Well, yes, but what could the ring do?
Molly: Um, I don't even know.

Chuckie: Well, let's talk about this for a moment. What kind of powers did the ring have? What could it do? What could he make with it?
Molly: A brick wall.

Chuckie: Well, yes, but were there rules or limits to what he could make with it?
Molly: Yeah.
Chuckie: What were they?
Molly: He can't make the whole universe with the ring.
Chuckie: Why not?
Molly: Because he doesn't have that kind of power and you can't put a universe inside of another universe.
Chuckie: Oh. Okay. Out of curiosity, why can't you put a universe inside of another universe?
Molly: Um, because you can't take another universe and put it into another universe because there can't be two universes there so they would just be one universe.

Chuckie: Wow. Okay. Anyhow, back to the movie.
Molly: That alien, he gave him the ring. I wonder why he was purple.

Chuckie: Sorry, Pixie, you really stumped me with your universe talk.
Molly: What does "stunked" mean?
Chuckie: No, stumped. That means you said some things that really threw Daddy off. I wasn't expecting it.
Molly: Oh.

Chuckie: So, tell me what happened in the movie?
Molly: He was going to turn green, but he needed more batteries and then he charged it with the ring lantern and then he turned green and he sang the pledge allegiance to the lantern that the dying purple alien that gave him it. And I think he saved somebody. Oh, yeah! He did save somebody. He saved some people in his universe from a giant octopus.

Chuckie: Yeah, the bad guy in this was kind of weird looking, huh?
Molly: Yeah. So I thought it was an octopus.

Chuckie: Can you tell me about Sinestro?
Molly: Who is Sinestro?
Chuckie: He was the purple guy who wanted the yellow ring.
Molly: Yes. He was the purple guy who wanted the yellow ring.
Chuckie: Well, yes, that's just what I said though.
Molly: I know. I copied you. And the yellow ring is bad though. And we had to wait through the words at the end of the movie to see him take the yellow ring. I can't read though.

Chuckie: So, do you think that Green Lantern was a good hero?
Molly: Yes.

Chuckie: Who do you think were better heroes, Green Lantern or the X-Men?
Molly: I think Green Lantern was  better hero. The helmet guy from the other movie yelled at that girl. But Captain America is an even better hero. He's there to help! And Iron Man.
Chuckie: Are you excited about the Captain America movie?
Molly: Yes!  Now I'm ready for Captain America.
Chuckie: Well, we'll have to wait a little bit for that movie.
Molly: Oh barnacles!

Chuckie: So, Daddy always thought that Green Lantern's powers were sort of ill-defined and it really hurt the storytelling as a result of that. DC's character tended to be almost Greek Gods in stature, powers and abilities, which made them less relatable to me. Daddy liked heroes who were flawed people, but strove to do good nonetheless. What do you think?
Molly: I'm on your team.

Chuckie: Good. Glad to hear that.
Molly: Thank you.

Chuckie: So, how would you rate this movie?
Molly: Stars, moons and suns. Daddy, I got over what I was sad about.

Chuckie: What were you sad about?
Molly: Well, I was sad about Jonesy and I was sad about that dying alien in Doctor Who.
Chuckie: Yeah, you took that last one kind of hard, didn't you?
Molly: Yeah.
Chuckie: Brave heart, Molly.
Molly: Thank you.

Chuckie: So, how many stars would you give the movie?
Molly: Ten.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Out of one.
Chuckie: So you're giving it nine stars more than it could possibly have?
Molly: No! I said ten.

Chuckie: Okay. How many moons would you give the movie?
Molly: Ten.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Out of two. Ah! I mean, out of ten! No, out of zero!
Chuckie: You know that by making it out of zero, it's not a real number?
Molly: I know. But it's just a big round "o", Daddy, so you don't have to worry so much.

Chuckie: (laughs) Fair enough. So how many suns would you give the movie?
Molly: Um, eight million. That's a big number.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Out of the carnival?
Chuckie: The carnival?
Molly: Yes. I like the carnival and I want it to be sun shiny when I go there.

Chuckie: Fair enough.
Molly: Daddy, I wish we had thirty-five suns in the sky.
Chuckie: Why?
Molly: Then, in summer, I could go swimming every summer day.
Chuckie: You can do that already with one sun in the sky.
Molly: Okay, just eleven suns then in the sky so it can be a little bit more cooler than with thirty-five, but still hot enough that you'll have to let me go swimming.

Chuckie: So, who do you think would like this movie?
Molly: People who have Green Lantern shirts.
Chuckie: True. But Daddy has one, and I wasn't thrilled with the movie?
Molly: Barnacles!

Chuckie: So anything else that you wanted to say about the movie?
Molly: The Green Lantern can fly, but he can't fly faster than light because that's the fastest thing in the universe.

So, that's our review. I thought it was uninspiringly standard for an origin story. The CGI effects were on par with modern video games, but were distractingly poor for a major motion picture. The subplot of the xeno-biologist gaining powers only to get killed (not by the protagonist of the movie) at the start of the third act was just rather weird. All it did was lead to a final confrontation and battle with a bad guy that the movie failed to develop, resulting in a rather unemotionally satisfying end battle scene.

I give the movie one star out of five. I would have given it more, but the movie made me afraid that scientists are going to beat the shit out of me now.

Molly gives the movie ten out of one star, ten out of zero moons and eight million suns out of the carnival, so it would be bright and shiny when she went there. She also posited that you cannot put a universe inside of another universe because since a universe is everything, they will, by definition just be one universe. She also pointed out that Green Lantern cannot exceed the speed of light, because nothing in the universe can go faster than light. So, perhaps I should be concerned since my little girl is on the path to growing up to be a bully thug scientist.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

X-Men: First Class

Yes, we got the metaphor.

Note: I was a huge fan of the X-Men comics, back when there was only the Uncanny X-Men and there was only one incarnation of the team. Claremont wrote good stories and the metaphor was there but not blatant. Good stories were told and sometimes there was fighting, but the best issues involved things like Wolverine betting Nightcrawler to walk down a street to see how people would react. I abandoned ship right around when things got shitty, that way, I still have fond memories of the X-Men stories.

The X-Men comic was always about metaphor and subtext. But it was subtle enough that it didn't overtake the story and it could be relatable to many different things: civil rights based on race, gay rights, gender equality--essentially whatever might be oppressing you, the X-Men was there to provide a relatable metaphor of how to deal with the injustices of the world.

Later in my reading, other less subtle metaphors began to creep into the stories: the Legacy Virus (AIDS) and the Mutant Registration act (which popped up around the time that the idea of people having the join a registry if they have AIDS was being tossed around). However, for the most part, even these more blatant metaphors still took backstage to the story.

With this incarnation of the X-Men, however, the metaphor was blatant and the subtext was replaced with obvious text. X-Men: First Class is a story about gay rights and LBGT acceptance, understanding and tolerance and how that was responsible for the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Don't get me wrong, I really did enjoy the movie. It was a good one. However, they were less than subtle about the metaphor, so I'll recap the movie and parse the metaphor for them.

So, our story begins in a concentration camp, where young Erik Lehnsherr was been incarcerated for being Jewish. However, his secret mutant power gayness is detected by the camp overseer who is also a closeted mutant homosexual, and wants to develop the mutant powers of out Erik.

Meanwhile, young Charles Xavier has found Raven, a young mutant lesbian, who has been rejected by society because of her obvious physical mutations she's flaming. He outs himself to her as well, and agrees to protect and shield her from society as he teaches her how to fit in live in the closet.

So years pass and Erik is bent on vengeance and Charles is questing to find acceptance from society. Charles and Raven are still close, but there is no sexual tension between them because they are both mutants gay. Charles' quest for acceptance brings him to the US military where he out himself before them to prove that despite being a mutant gay, he is still capable of doing things just as well as everyone else. He accidentally out another mutant homosexual already in the CIA with his mental powers gaydar. In response, the outed military man tells his commander officer, "No one asked, so I didn't tell."

Anyhow, the story moves along to the point where Charles and Erik team up and find young mutants gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people and offer them a place of acceptance. Each is surprised and happy to be around others like them. They had each thought that they were the only ones who were born felt that way and they take to one another quickly, even as the military soldiers around them mock them for their genetics orientation. Soon, they sit around and begin to take pride in who they are and accept themselves for who they are, despite society's pressures for them to conform. This outing and acceptance is symbolized by each of them accepting their mutant gay persona by coming up with a flamboyant code club name.

There is a subplot where Hank McCoy and Raven do not fully accept their nature and wish to suppress their mutations feelings even to the point where Hank works on a "cure", to which comes the question: does it really require a "cure"? Raven comes to accept who she is and Hank finds out that repressing what he is does not work. There is a true side to him that cannot be masked.

Oh, and during all of this, the Russians and the US are ready to start World War III, but the group works together and use all of their mutant gay powers to stop them.

So, despite the parsing of the metaphor above, I did really enjoy the movie. I liked it more than I thought I would. It was not at all actiony schlock and instead told a good story. I just wish that Hollywood wouldn't think that we are such idiots and did not have to make a metaphor so blatant and obvious. Messages are deeper and more meaningful when we unlock them in our subconscious, rather than when you have people running around shouting "Mutant pride".

A couple of quick comments though:

*Both Charles and Erik were cast and acted so well. Each threatened to upstage each other and when either was on screen, no one else mattered. They were both excellently acted.
*Emma Frost was horribly acted. Really, she was just terrible.
*Kevin Bacon should stop making movies unless they specifically require Kevin Bacon to play himself. He takes you out of the movie and you cannot help but think, "Hey, that's Kevin Bacon on the screen".
*I am beginning to believe that it is utterly impossible to have the blue "Beast" form of Hank McCoy to be portrayed in a non-distracting manner in any live action X-Men movie.
*X-Men purists will cringe at the new backstory and the fact that Havoc and Mystique were original X-Men; let alone the fact that Mystique was Xavier's foster sister and Juggernaut wasn't his step-brother.
*The movie was much more sympathetic to Erik's plight rather than Charles' dream.

Molly: (Molly's portion of the review will be in Q&A form. This is due primarily to her age. She's by my computer now and I'll transcribe our conversation and format it later.)

Chuckie: So, Molly, what did you think of the movie, X-Men: First Class?
Molly: Um, I liked it.

Chuckie: What did you like about it?
Molly: Um, that there was nice people.

Chuckie: What nice people?
Molly: The ones that were fighting the bad guys.

Chuckie: Do you want to tell me a little about those people?
Molly: Why?

Chuckie: Um, because it'll help the review.
Molly: Well, um, they showed their powers. Um, one can fly and I forget the one that sticks his head in the water.
Chuckie: He could adapt.
Molly: Huh?
Chuckie: He could adapt to survive.
Molly: Oh. I was going to say the one that kind of slowed things. (Molly's kitten, Pond, jumps and attacks her feet as she is talking to me.) Hey! Pond, we're doing a review now so I can't play with you.

Chuckie: The one that slowed things?
Molly: Mm-hm. The one that said, "Stand back."
Chuckie: Oh! Havoc. He didn't slow things, they just showed him shooting in slow motion.
Molly: Oh.

Chuckie: What did you think about the girl who could change forms?
Molly: Um, I liked her. I liked that she could change forms. Probably she could change into me. If she was pretending to be me she'd do everything that I'd do. She could even turn into you. But if she turned into you, what would you think she would do?

Chuckie: I don't know. The comics implied that she'd kind of like to hang out with Mommy.
Molly: It would be funny if Mommy kissed her.

Chuckie: Yeah. Well, what did you think about the girl with the wings?
Molly: I liked her.

Chuckie: So, was there anything you didn't like about the movie?
Molly: Yes.
Chuckie: What?
Molly: The exploding.
Chuckie: All the fighting and explosions?
Molly: Mm-hm.
Chuckie: What didn't you like about that?
Molly: 'Cause there was exploding and there was fighting.

Chuckie: Tell me about the movie and what it was about.
Molly: Um, people was fighting. People was , um, um, pretending.

Chuckie: Pretending what?
Molly: Well, they were actors. They weren't really those people. So they were pretending.

Chuckie: Okay, true, but what happened in the story?
Molly: There was bad guys and they fighted the good guys and the good girls.

Chuckie: Now, you disagreed with me when we left the theater. I said that the actor who played Emma Frost was terrible, but you defended her. Do you still think she was a good actor?
Molly: Yes! 'Cause I liked her.
Chuckie: But was it just the character that you liked?
Molly: Yes.
Chuckie: But the acting was bad.
Molly: I liked the acting!
Chuckie: Really?
Molly: Yes.

Chuckie: Okay. Fine. So tell me about the differences between Charles and Erik.
Molly: Um, well, I liked the mind guy a little bit better, but I liked the other guy little less better.
Chuckie: Why?
Molly: Because the metal guy after he got the helmet blamed the girl that the mind guy got hurt but it was really his fault. And he also broke out the diamond girl which was bad and that's why I liked him less.

Chuckie: Did you feel that they pressed the mutant acceptance metaphor a little too strong?
Molly: I forget that part.

Chuckie: Fair enough. So, how do you want to rate the movie?
Molly: (laughs) In my head I thought it would be funny if I said I hated it. But I liked it.

Chuckie: Yeah, that would really trick the movie-goers who rely on the opinions of four-year olds before choosing their feature.
Molly: (laughs) Daddy!

Chuckie: So, do you want to give it stars?
Molly: Yes. And moons. That will be it.

Chuckie: Okay.
Molly: If I was to rate the movie, I would give it one star.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Out of nine. Because that's the only number I could think of.

Chuckie: And how many moons would you give it?
Molly: Hm. One.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Out of one.

Chuckie: Okay. I guess that's pretty good.
Molly: Yeah, it's great.

Chuckie: Okay. So who do you think would like this movie?
Molly: Um, the people who watched it.
Chuckie: But I mean, what kinds of people would like to go and see it?
Molly: Um, everybody.
Chuckie: You don't think anybody wouldn't like this movie?
Molly: Yup, I think that everybody would like the movie.

Chuckie: Even with all the fighting?
Molly: Yeah. Why wouldn't they?

Chuckie: Because didn't you say that you didn't like all the fighting when we first left?
Molly: Yeah. But I meant everybody that isn't me, so I don't count.

Chuckie: Okay, so anything else you'd like to say about the movie?
Molly: Yes. (She waits a long beat and doesn't say anything.)
Chuckie: Okay. What?
Molly: Well, the people came to I think that it was a house and the people wrecked it. The people that had the powers.

So, that's our review. I really liked the movie. I wished that they could accept that the audience wasn't so stupid and let the subtext remain subtle instead of beating us over the head with the message. It happens to be a message that I believe in and agree with totally anyhow. There wasn't a need to make it blatant. You risk offending those who disagree with the message instead of letting it sink into their subconscious.  And the lack of subtlety was even more disappointing because the story was really a more cerebral story (for an X-Men movie, at least) instead of a fighty action flick. If Hollywood would trust it's audience more, it could have produced a much better movie.

I give it three and three-quarters out of five stars. Erik and Charles's characters were both compelling and masterfully acted and were, fortunately, on the screen much more than Emma Frost's cardboard acting. I would have given it a half-star more if the movie would have been a little more subtle in its message: gay people should be accepted because they have cool superpowers.

Molly gives it one out of nine stars and one out of one moon. She also thinks that Emma Frost's character was played by a masterful actor capable of emotion and depth. That and the fact that she is four makes me wonder why anyone would take her portion of our reviews seriously.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Doctor Who: A Good Man Goes to War

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

I usually don't worry about spoiler alerts. However, this episode has not aired yet in the US, so I kind of feel guilty in not warning people that there will be spoilers in this review about this episode. So, if you don't want to know about Amy's baby and River Song, you should probably stop reading.

Anyhow, so the Doctor finally decides to rescue Amy Pond after melting the ganger that was sitting in her place. However, he realizes that he'll need an army to help him "go to war". So, who does the Doctor round up to help him in his epic battle where he will "rise higher than he's ever risen before"? Well, he checks out the wardrobe and raises an army based on the extra costumes they have laying around.

Really, none of these people gathered were of any importance to the Doctor. At least not from the viewer's perspective. There is no Captain Jack, Leela, Ace, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart leading a squad of UNIT commandos, or any other warriors or fighters that would make sense in a time traveler's continuity to bring along with him. Instead we get random lesbian Silurian and her lover maid, a lactating Sontaran and that blue guy that was in a fraction of a scene last season. Oh, plus he also grabbed the pirates from the siren episode and Danny Boy and the space Spitfires (you know, because they are so much more effective than actual ships designed to fly and operate in space).

These are the people that owed the Doctor the most? These are the Doctor's trusted army? No. These are what was in the wardrobe and the actors who aren't too old to play their old roles now. So that was rather disappointing.

But anyhow, for all of the hype of River's speech, "The Doctor will rise higher than he ever has before, then fall to his darkest place," it actually played out rather undramatically. The Doctor falling was apparently him being annoyed and frustrated and giving up for half a minute. For all of the focus on that speech, there was not much pay off in the story's drama.

As far as the revelation that River is Amy's daughter? That was inadvertently guessed at the start of this episode for us. When Amy's daughter was shown I read the name of the crib to Molly, "Melody Pond." Molly then asked, "What's a melody?" Jessica responded, "It's a song." Then woosh. It clicked for me and we figured it out. And in our second viewing the relevance of River's two birthdays was not missed.

There was a lot of flash, but little substance to this story. I hate that I keep delaying my reaction to see how these two-parters will conclude, especially with Moffat's style, but we'll see. Really not much happened in this episode. It was a big build up with fewer answers given about anything other than who River is. However, that was an exterior question and wasn't really a question that I had about this episode's plot at all (such as, who the hell is the eyepatch lady and who is she working for?).

However, there are a few things I would like to comment on:

The Headless Monks. The moment you introduce characters in heavy robes with their hoods up and make a point that you are not allowed to look under their hoods, you just know it is a matter of time before the Doctor, Rory, River or whomever pops back the hood and yells surprise. However, their use of light sabers and shooting Jedi bolts out of their hands was really just a little silly and over the top.

I'm wondering if River's prison sentence is for killing the Doctor, since she may have been the one to do it when she was younger and in the space suit. I believe at one point she said that she was in prison for killing "a good man".

The best moment of the show was when Rory was tending to the dying Sontaran. Rory was in his "war" garb and as he tried to comfort the dying Sontaran as the Doctor listened in, the Sontaran tells him that isn't really a warrior. He's a nurse. That is the same for Rory. The Doctor turned his nurse into a centurion warrior and the moment was probably the most interesting one in the episode. And it isn't the only time that the Doctor has had this effect on people. Look at Martha the doctor and what she became. I've come to really like Rory. He's developed and become interesting. I'm rather impressed, since I really thought that they didn't know what they were doing with him and he was just "tag along" at the start of this series.

But overall, the episode didn't explain itself. It was too fast and furious and relied on too much flash over substance. What could have been a good story was lost in the process as new characters were introduced to die valiantly (with no audience connect because they are new characters that we have no attachment to their sacrifices) and no time was taken to explore and reveal anything from the current story. Villains need motives and backstories. This one doesn't have any.

And one last annoyance that I had. They had to open with one last "is the Doctor the baby's daddy?" moment as Amy was talking to baby Melody. Hopefully that was poking fun at themselves and they've move beyond any need for this in the future.

Episode Highs:
*The scene with Rory and the dying Sontaran made the episode and helped build Rory's character.
*Rory now has kept his no-dying streak to three episodes now!
*The lactating Sontaran was actually kind of cutely funny.
*Seeing the reveal of the next episode's title made me chuckle.

Episode Lows:
*The Doctor's army was really uninspired and was a hodge-podge of "what's available in wardrobe".
*The story was lacking in explanation and depth and the only question answered this episode was really one that wasn't even brought up by this episode or story arc at all. So it was a misdirection as they "satisfied" us with a reveal of something that wasn't even pertinent to the current story.
*So the Doctor isn't just older than River, but knew her and interacted with her when she was a wee baby. Doesn't that just make their romance all the more... creepy?

Molly: (As usual Molly is beside me as I write this. Her portion of the review will be in Q&A form and I will transcribe what she says and format it later.)

Note: Molly was rather down and a bit dour in giving this review. Apparently she was really affected by the death of Commander Strax in the episode, even to the point where we had to pause it and talk to her because she was crying. She apparently wasn't too happy with the death of the lactating Sontaran.

Chuckie: So, what did you think about the episode, "A Good Man Goes to War"?
Molly: It's Doctor Who.
Chuckie: Yes, but that's what the episode of Doctor Who was called.
Molly: There was... um... their pirate friends came.

Chuckie: But how did you like it?
Molly: I liked it and don't like it.

Chuckie: Okay. What did you like about it?
Molly: That there was... um... the Doctor in it.
Chuckie: Anything else?
Molly: No.

Chuckie: What didn't you like about it?
Molly: There was fighting and people died.
Chuckie: I know, that made you sad, didn't it?
Molly: Mm-hm.

Chuckie: Well, let's talk about the story. What happened in the episode?
Molly: Um, the Doctor came down the stairs and the baby wasn't real. It was really a... what's the melting white stuff called?

Chuckie: Gangers?
Molly: No, the white stuff.
Chuckie: Flesh?
Molly: Yeah. The flesh... The baby wasn't really real because it was made of flesh.

Chuckie: Anything else happen?
Molly: I don't remember anything else.

Chuckie: Really? Not even anything about River?
Molly: She's really the baby.

Chuckie: What baby?
Molly: Rory's and Amelia Pond's. (She looks at her kitten that she's named Pond.) And not you, Pond. It's a different baby.

Chuckie: So, how is it that she's their baby?
Molly: Amelia had a baby.

Chuckie: But how did it end up being River?
Molly: Crap.
Chuckie: (Laughs.)
Molly: What? Well they didn't tell us about it good enough so its crap. Time box?
Chuckie: What about time box?
Molly: Well, I thought that was the reason she was her baby and old. She traveled through time.

Chuckie: You kept saying that you were confused during this episode. Was the storyline too confusing for a four year old to follow?
Molly: No. Remember there was two rivers?

Chuckie: What two Rivers?
Molly: The baby and the one who was older.

Chuckie: That wasn't too confusing for you?
Molly: That part was.

Chuckie: Okay, well, did you think that this episode was good for kids?
Molly: No.
Chuckie: Why?
Molly: Because somebody died.

Chuckie: Fair enough, Pixie. So, how would you rate this episode?
Molly: Good. I mean bad.
Chuckie: Which one?
Molly: Bad and good. There was some good parts and a lot of bad parts.

Chuckie: Did you want to give it stars?
Molly: Um. One.
Chuckie: Wow. That's not many.
Molly: Because I really didn't like this episode.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Two.

Chuckie: Okay. Any moons?
Molly: I don't want any suns, Daddy. Just one moon, Daddy.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Six.

Chuckie: So anything else--
Molly: Daddy. I'll give it suns.
Chuckie: You don't have to, Sweetie. That's fine.
Molly: I'll do it for you.
Chuckie: Really, Pixie. It's up to you.
Molly: Okay. Then I'll give them.

Chuckie: Alright. How many suns?
Molly: One.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Nine.

Chuckie: Okay, so, who do you think would like this episode?
Molly: Everybody except Ava at my school and Karlie from dance.
Chuckie: Why wouldn't they like it?
Molly: Fighting and killing and all that stuff.

Chuckie: Okay, fair enough. Anything else you want to say about this episode?
Molly: I liked seeing the pirates again.
Chuckie: The Black Spot pirates?
Molly: Yeah. I liked that one. No one died and there was much more no crap in it.

So, that's our review. I thought that it was all-flash with little substance. Sure, questions were answered, but just not the ones posed by this story arc. There were a couple of good moments in it, but it set up a few moments for the characters to reflect what they have become, but also for the series to reflect on what it has become. From the Doctor being known to the soldier for being a mighty warrior and saying "Run!" to the Doctor being a name feared throughout all times of the universe, perhaps the show has gotten away from itself. Just as the Doctor was given the moment to reflect about what the nurse Rory had become under him, hopefully this is a chance for Moffat to reflect about what the Doctor has become under him. Hopefully River's words about the Doctor falling so far were meant for Moffat. It shouldn't be all running from monsters, explosions and action-packed battles-- I mean, the show began with the Doctor being fucking ancient. Hopefully River's words will be heard and things will be tempered a bit from this point on.

But I doubt it. The show isn't a kid's show anymore, but rather a show for those who remembered it as kids. But it still has its moments.

Anyhow, I give it two and a half out of five stars. The episode was entertaining, but it was lacking substance. Moffat was too busy giving us set-up moments to milk the last bit of "the Doctor is really the baby daddy" plot dry to give us actual character development, background and real plot. (Though I'm certain the fan-fic writers are doing a fine job of continuing the Doctor is the baby-daddy thread along)

Molly gave it one out of two stars, one out of two moons and a very reluctant one out of nine suns. This was definitely her least enthused review because of the death of Commander Strax. However, she was at least a little pleased to see the pirates make a return, as ridiculous as that may have been.