Thursday, May 31, 2007

May Ends Well

The LOST season finale was quite good...who would have thunk it possible? Lots of great moments: Jake beating the crap out of Ben, Sawyer blowing away Mr. Friendly and Hurley mowing a guy down with the van. Yes all very violent, but pretty cool none the less.

The flash forward, as it was revealed to be, was kind of cool but I'm not sure I want that happening all next season. I say this because the producers have said that next season the format will be changing....hummmm. By showing us the ending and then how everything got to that episode or two maybe but not the whole season.

Charlie finally died after all the teasing. While he could have most likely made it out the door, sealing the flooding compartment, I think Charlie realized that death was calling, either then or later. Desmond told him episodes before that no matter what he did, Charlie was gonna die, so he and us, knew it was coming. I think the little hobbit decided to go out a hero rather than get an arrow in the neck or step on a poisonous sea urchin. Sniff...bye Charlie.

The only major problem I had with the finale is the pirate that will not die. This guy has been zapped by the sonic fence and now shot in the chest with a spear gun and somehow he survives. I don't care how fast the island may regenerate you, yanking a shark spear out of your chest is gonna leave a mess and a big hole. I can only hope that exploding a grenade at point blank range was enough to do him in or else maybe his pirate chunks will reform like Voltron.


POTC: At World's likey. COTBB is still the best of the series, but I thought this third and possibly last movie was a lot of fun. Jack was crazy again, Barbossa was awesome and the tone of the film, while serious at times, had the whimsical sense of adventure as the first film.

People have complained that the story is too complex and too hard to follow, but honestly I had no problem keeping up. Some of the backstabbing, double crosses came a little quick at times, but I like the fact that these movies make you pay attention. Yes you may miss stuff the first go around, I know I did on the first two films, but its fun to discover the stuff you may have missed on future viewings. It's kinda like watching LOST...but with no polar bears.

Case in point: the locket that both Tia Dalma and Davey Jones have. There is shot in the 2nd film when they go to see the voodoo lady and Jack is busy stealing things. He reaches down and takes a ring off the table and that locket is sitting there. Very subtle but kinda cool.

A couple things could have been tweaked like the wedding sequence; I thought it should have happened quicker given the current you, do you...fine your married. The Attack of the 50 Foot Tia Dalma was....weird. I was expecting her to turn into a mystical, translucent...something. What she was yelling..who knows...but I read on a forum that someone thought she was screaming "I want Cracker Barrel!!" which made me laugh.

If you stayed for the credits, and by now you should know there is always something after the credits, you saw the 10 years later bit with Will returning to Port Royal to find Elizabeth and son waiting for him. In the theater I figured that the flash of green indicated his return to the living for one day, however reading some stuff on the forums at the site of writers Ted and Terry I discovered that is not correct.

They say that since Will returns home and Elizabeth has stayed true, the curse is broken and he is free to go ashore whenever. The flash of green indicated his return to the mortal world. They also mention that it is a little difficult to get this given the current cut of the film, but if you listen to when they talk of the green flash, its said that it indicates a soul returning to the mortal world. Like what happened when Jack returned.

Anyways there was a lot I liked about the movie like Jack ending up in a dingy just as he was at the start of COTBB. I also liked how Will sort of acted like Jack when he had his meeting with Jones and Beckett. Sad to see Norrington bite it...I like that actor. Some stuff could have been better and there were some missed opportunities; I still want to know what mark Sparrow left on Beckett. But overall I enjoyed it and my pea size bladder made it through the whole thing...go pea bladder!

I will admit I was a little depressed later in the day though. The thought that there may not be more movies kind of bummed me out. I love the characters and the world they inhabit and would love to revisit it every couple years, sort of how the Harry Potter movies have rolled out. At least one more sequel is assured but will it happen soon or be another Indiana Jones and the 19 Years Since My Last Movie....guess we will have to see.

To complete my May, we went to the new Red Robin that opened near our house where I enjoyed a Whisker River BBQ Chicken Burger and Chocolate Shake, for the first time in a long time.

P.S. Heroes....I'm still not pleased.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Time for Planting

Over the weekend we bought three, 15 gallon trees to plant in the yard. Between cloud bursts of rain I managed to get two planted which was a small triumph because it has been raining A LOT lately. The forecast for this week was rain, rain and more rain and I didn't know when I would be able to get the last one planted. Digging a giant hole when the ground is soaking wet is not fun at all.

But I did see a window of opportunity. The forecast for today called for showers in the afternoon. Perfect. I got up early to dig me a big hole and plant me a tree before the afternoon rains came. The radar was on my side showing storms way east of us...awesome....what could possibly go wrong?

As I finished the digging of the ginormous hole, I noticed the sky was starting to darken a bit. Not a big deal. Sometimes the sky will get a little dark and nothing will happen. I figured that as long as there was no thunder I probably had some time and besides....I was almost done. I cut the bucket off the base of the tree and sat it in the hole.. then I heard a rumble. I looked at the sky behind me and it had quite suddenly gotten insanely darker...much darker than it had been all week. Oooooooooooh crap.

With with one hand holding the tree and the other working the shovel, I started quickly filling in dirt around the tree while chanting a certain four letter word. I heard another rumble of thunder which was followed by rain. Not just a sprinkle of rain mind you. No no the weather gods pushed the "Instant Hurricane Rain" button. Splooooosh.

There comes that moment when you realize that you are so wet that it just doesn't matter anymore. That moment occurred about 20 seconds after it started raining. I was completely and utterly soaked. Then the winds picked up (I found out later they reached 60 mph) and the tree was weaving all over the place. Things had gone from zero to suck in under 30 seconds.

As I continued the struggle of getting fill dirt around the tree I thought "This is actually kinda fun..its like I'm a pirate out at sea." Arrr. As I yo-ho-hoed, splashing in the mud puddles that were forming around me I had another less fun thought, I have one hand on a tree and another on a shovel...and its storming and this could end really badly. Then I heard fire engine sirens.....hummm..mostly likely responding to a lighting strike. Well ok then...

Wanting to spare my wife the embarrassment of having to tell people I died planting a $150 tree, I staked the tree as best I could and headed to the garage to dry out and wait for the rains to stop. After about 45 minutes the rains died down.

From all the tossing around the fill dirt had sloshed under the tree, so when I stood it up straight, it sat up way too high. Time to start over. Trying to yank a wet tree out of a muddy, wet hole was like trying to pull Excalibur out of a boulder. With a huge suction noise the tree finally came out and I got to dig out the sloppy, wet, muddy earth which now weighed about 200 lbs.

Eventually, I got the tree planted and staked. In my desire to find the perfect window of opportunity to plant that tree...a time when the ground wouldn't be too wet...I ended up picking the worst possible time I could have ever imagined. Yay for me!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Puss N Boots

One of the shots I did withPuss N Boots is now up in the ALL NEW but mostly the same Animation area. This was a spot for Spanish television to help promote Shrek the Third. Hopefully over the next several days I will get my other shots on there as well.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My Perfect Month

The month of May was going to be a big geek month for me. On the movie side we have Spider-man 3, Shrek 3 and Pirates 3. Being a comics, animation, and pirates fan, I could not be happier. On TV we have finales for 24, Heroes, Smallville, the Office and LOST. Again being a fan, I was excited to see how everything wrapped up.

Toss in my birthday and by golly May was looking like Raytopia. What a jammed pack month of goodness. But then May got here and the disappointments began.

Spider-man 3: big disappointment number #1. Go read my previous posts for details.

Shrek 3: felt like a forced sequel to me, but still entertaining. The animation was probably the best of the series and there was quite a few laugh out loud moments. In general I think part 2 was a stronger film. Mildly disappointed that the story wasn't stronger.

My birthday: turned 36....had a good day with the family...had some cake and got a replica of the Black Pearl....not too shabby. Yay a high point of May!

The Office: pretty funny finale. Not quite as many laugh out loud moments as other episodes, but still good. Solid season, solid finale.

Smallville: the finale was typical Smallville cheese until the very end when the super being that Clark is battling (that looks just like Clark) turns out to be Bizarro. During the course of the fight when evil looking Clark says, "I'm just like you, just a little more bizarre" I admit my eyebrow did that Spock "I'm intrigued thing". The finales are typically pretty good and this one was as well. Color me: satisfied.

Heroes: big disappointment number #2. Dear, dear Heroes. We had a good season didn't we. There was something special there. I felt it. Did you? Then why oh why did you punk out on the finale? The showdown between Sylar and Pete. This is what we were waiting for and it amounts to a Vader force choke and a couple of right hooks. Lame.

Sylar can stop bullets but not swords apparently as Hiro impales him with such ease a toddler could have done it. Nikki makes a guest appearance during the "battle" (I use that word loosely) wacking Sylar with a parking meter and then takes a seat. Hey thanks for that. We see Sylar die but his body is mysteriously gone at the end. Is he alive? Most likely. Even without Claire's power the guy has been shot repeatedly, killed by a drug overdose and impaled, yet still manages to survive. I also "enjoyed" how no one seemed concerned that his dead body was gone during the ending scenes.

The cliffhanger: Hiro being back in 17nth century-ish I don't know if I can wait three months to see what happens next. I mean what an exciting...ah never mind.

The episode from a few weeks ago that was set in the future rocked. It rocked hard. The Heroes finale was just an alright episode; not an awesome finale.

24: big disappointment number #3. This one was expected. A lame season capped by a predictable and lame finale. "Jack was right" duh Jack is always right. Everyone should always listen to Jack. And even if Jack creates an international situation that nearly brings the country to war, still give him a gun, let him lead operations...all that...because he is never wrong.

The ratio between May disappointment and satisfaction is pretty even. So now we have LOST and Pirates. LOST season 3 has gotten better but can they pull off a satisfying ending or will something random happen like astronauts on the moon detecting a magnet pulse in the pacific.

I have watched Dead Man's Chest a few more times since my initial disappointment last summer and have come to enjoy the film on its own merits. Will part three make amends for past mistakes?

My May can still end on a high note if LOST and Pirates don't suck. I'm excited for both yet keeping my expectations on a average to low level. I'm not asking for perfection from either of you, just try to get it 80% right. Don't destroy my Raytopia.

P.S. Heroes I'm still mad at you.

Monday, May 21, 2007

What To Do In The Event Of An Earthquake

This is for all my friends out on the west coast. Knowledge is power my safe.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Office

I found this clip for my lovely wife who laughed and laughed and laughed at this opening to "The Office".

Monday, May 07, 2007

Along Came a Spider Part 2

**SPOILERS a plenty....shield your eyes**

If you didn't read part 1 scroll down and then come back, I will wait..............all read? Great..let us continue..

Since two movies were being smashed into one, several moments were rushed for the sake of time. For instance: After the symbiote covered Pete goes building hopping we next see Peter at Dr. Conners lab with a symbiote sample. When did Peter discover what had happened to his costume? Remember its just a big stain. How did he get a sample off of it? Did he freak out a little when this gooey alien thing started oozing off his clothes?

Apparently none of that matters audience, just roll with it. Where the previous films would take a little time to explore such things, Spidey 3 just steams along. Even the scene in Conner's lab is all quick exposition. No experiments with the symbiote sample are shown. No no Dr. Conner's has seen this kind of thing many times before as he tells Peter all about it.

This sort of abridged storytelling happens throughout the movie. Several "you get the idea" sequences. Or there is exposition out the wazzoo like the Dr. Conners sequence or like when Harry's butler explains that "oh yeah I meant to tell you, but I checked your father's wound that night and he did impale himself. I should have told you before but I forgot and stuff...sorry". Thanks old man now all my bent up hate and rage is suddenly gone.

Then there is the cheese factor. The previous films had a couple cheesy moments however since Spidey 3 is a two for one kind of film the cheese has been excessively piled on.

Take Stan Lee's all too obvious and super lame appearance. Hello I'm Stan Lee creator of Spiderman and I am here to say something profound....and then walk away....sigh.. But the biggest slice of cheddar goes to Emo Pete, the product of wearing symbiote stained clothes.

We are supposed to believe that the symbiote channels aggression and is bringing out Peter's dark side when in fact the symbiote is really turning him into a dancing a-hole; I almost wanted to gauge out my own eyes. The dancing a-hole even goes on a revenge date to get back at MJ where of course he dances and sings. Oh Emo Peter you are so maniacal, Harry take notes.

If that wasn't bad enough, most every major character cries in the film, sometimes multiple times. Tears a plenty. Even Sandman, who is allergic to water, squirts some tears....somehow. This brings us to the big unfinished, cheesy, teary ending.

After pounding the crap out of Spiderman, and with Venom/Eddie dead and Harry dieing, the Sandman confesses that this isn't what he wanted. He did it all for his sick daughter and, oh yeah, he accidentally killed Uncle Ben; big salty, sandy tears swell up in his eyes. Peter seems a-ok with all of this, and says "I forgive you" while crying....again. His "I forgive you" is the Vader NOOOOOOOOO of Spiderman 3. After this Sandman becomes dust in the wind and just flies away, perhaps heading to a Mummy 3 audition. WTF just happened? What about the sick daughter and all the money he stole and the fact that he just nearly beat you to death Pete? Nope not going there apparently.

The final shots of the film are at Harry's funeral much like the Norman funeral sequence in the first film. The last shot is of MJ and Peter hugging. Are they getting back together? Does Peter now realize that she will always come second to his being Spiderman? Does she need a ride home? Who knows......

After ALL is said the film is still fun. Between periods of stunned disbelief I did enjoy a great deal of the movie. The confrontations with Peter and Harry are all good. The birth of the Sandman is great. Eddie Brock is fun. Venom's 15 minutes of life are fun. The action sequences overall are all great and well done.

But as a movie, as a third movie, it does not live up to its predecessors in ANY way. There is so much potential here that is misused it boggles the mind. Venom should have never been in the film until maybe the closing few minutes as a set up for Spidey 4. The themes of redemption and forgiveness should have been handled much more masterfully, rather than being so damn cheeseball you almost want to laugh. Hopefully, maybe, things can get put right when a Spidey 4 is made. Of course if part 3 makes a jillion dollars, and it most likely will, part 4 will have five bad guys, three new characters that do nothing and lots more crying, dancing and singing.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Along Came a Spider Part 1

So on Friday a few of us took a long lunch and headed to the local Imax to catch Spiderman 3. It was my first time watching a full movie in Imax and it will most likely be my last. The action sequences, because of the HUUUUGE screen, were a little hard to follow so that was a little annoying. Also we were sitting to the side of the theater so that might have had something to do with it. Wasn't terrible, but I think I will be seeing Pirates on a normal sized theater screen.

**SPOILERS...oh yes there are a few**

Going into the movie I had seen the trailers and knew that it ran the risk of too many villains/characters. I had anticipated this and the movie meet my expectations in every way.

The Sandman: His whole purpose in the film is to be the object of Peter's revenge because you see Flint Marko (aka Sandman) really killed Uncle Ben..accidentally..sorta. Yes Uncle Ben's death has become the Wayne parent's murder of the Spiderman movies, where it must be mentioned and brooded over in every damn movie. He's dead. Move on.

Unlike Norman Osborn or Doc Ock, villains you get to spend some time with, get to know, Flint has a big scene up front where he says to his wife and sick daughter, "I'm not a bad person, I've just had bad luck". And this is about as developed as this character ever gets.

Harry Osborn: As he tells Peter "You knew this was coming.." and indeed we did. Harry and Pete finally throw down over this whole "you killed my father" business. Setting aside the dorky costume papa Goblin wore and zooming around on a hoverboard from Treasure Planet, Harry gets an ass whoppin by his former best friend leaving him with amnesia. He doesn't remember Pete being Spidey, how to flip an omelet...nothing.

This could have been cool, I thought maybe that was it for new Goblin in this film at least. But a handful of scenes later his memory is fully back..... ok so what was the point of him forgetting? Harry gets lamer and more bizarre when in an attempt to do his father's wishes, to attack Peter by attacking his heart...he......makes Mary Jane break up with Peter. OMG Harry you are maniacal. I was waiting for him to then paint "Peter Sucks" on the side of a building. Yeah Harry I don't think that's what daddy had in mind.... more on him later.

The symbiote: I really wished Sam and company handled the symbiote differently. It doesn't really attach itself to Peter but one of his costumes. Essentially the symbiote becomes this giant stain on a costume that Peter can put on and take off. O-K. If I'm remembering the comic correctly the symbiote was always with him and when it was Spidey time it would cover him in the suit and he was ready to go.

In this film Peter keeps the stained costume in a trunk, which the symbiote seems ok with, pulling it out for those times when he......wants to be bad? I really don't know. If the symbiote increased his powers we never saw that, so I honestly don't know why he felt tempted to put it on...lock it up...ok ok one more no lock it up. Had the symbiote always been on him, we would see him slowly losing himself to the dark side. By the end when he decides to rip off the symbiote, we would believe that it was really that bonded to him. The way the film handles it I wasn't really buying it....

Eddie Brock/Venom: I loved the Eddie character and if Sam wasn't trying to squeeze a 5 hour movie into 2 and half hours it would have been great to see more of him. He's the anti-Peter, more brash and cocky and more scenes between the two would have been cool. Now when Eddie becomes Venom the first thing he does before even going up against Parker is enlist the help of Sandman. Wow what a puss...your not even gonna try killing Spiderman by yourself....well ok. Venom enters the land of lame...

The battle between Spidey and Venom is pretty great though with the symbiote pulling back off Eddie's face so he can deliver some punchy taunts. Unfortunately the greatness comes to an end when Venom and Eddie get defeated and destroyed which in a phrase: pissed me off.

So we have Sandman, Harry, symbiote and Eddie/Venom. Also Gwen Stacy is introduced in this film and has absolutely nothing to do but look amazing in every scene. Everyone is fighting for screen time. Oh yeah Peter/Spidey and Mary Jane are in the movie too. Aunt May has a couple scenes. JJ Jameson gets a little screen time as does Gwen's dad Captain Stacy. A character smorgasbord....

Next time: Hurried scenes, cheese and salty tears....

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Late Night at ILM

Conan visits ILM and hilarity ensues...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Baptisms and Beaches and Birthdays Oh My!!

The blog updates have been sparse lately and for good reason. We have been busy busy at the studio with Shrek 3 commercials for Dreamworks. I did a bunch o shots with Puss N Boots (who is my favoritest character in the Shrek universe) for Spanish television...a couple of which where in actual Spanish which was interesting. So I was jamming on those shots, trying to get 40 some seconds of animation done before heading out for vacation.

Yay vacation!!! And where do I go for a weeks vacation? Why Florida of course. Did you really have to ask. And a busy week of vacation it was.

First we attended the baptism of my brother's daughter, Little Miss Pretty Hair. It was the first time we got to meet her so that was fun and since she and Lil Pumpkin are super close in age they had lots to discuss.

I was asked to be her godfather and as such, I spent the day of the baptism making people offers they couldn't refuse and stuffing orange peels in my mouth. The usual godfather kind of things.

After baptism weekend 2007, we borrowed my dads SUV, packed it with a ton of beach gear and headed to Amelia Island, which is located on the Atlantic, near the border of Florida and Georgia.

Ah the beach. The crashing waves, the salty sea air....I love it. When I becoming uber rich, which should be any day now, I will be building a house on a beach someplace and there I will stay...for the rest of my natural life or until I get bored.

Wonder-pea loves the beach. She loves chasing the birds, splashing in the water and digging for buried treasure. One of my favorite moments of the whole trip was running with her on the beach, splashing in the surf and gasping for breath; I need to exercise more often I suppose.

After a few days of beach trip 2007 it was back to Orlando and on to Disney's Beach Club Resort. This is probably one of our most favoritest resorts at Disney World mainly because they have amazing sandy bottom pools and a beach..right there at the pool. Unfortunately its also an amazingly expensive place to stay, but since my parents are cast members at D-World they hooked us up with a discount...huzzah!!

We spent a fun day at the Beach Club pool where Wonder-pea chased birds, splashed in the water and dug for buried treasure all without the threat of being sucked out to sea. That night we went to dinner for Wonder-peas 4th birthday. We took her to a character dining place which means that Mickey and company will come around and interrupt your meal every ten minutes. It was all good though as Wonder-pea was super excited.

With birthday weekend 2007 complete it was time to head home. The flight back was less than ideal as Lil Pumpkin cried most of the way. At one point he was crying, Wonder-pea was crying, my wife was crying and I was buying up all the little alcohol bottles that were on board....and I was crying.

But we had a great time so the hellish return trip was worth it.