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.