Monday, May 19, 2014

Godzilla - a scattered review

Massive spoiler alert for anything below this text because there's really no other way to review this thing.

Characters: Most, if not all, of the characters in this film were really one-dimensional. Pretty much all of the characters are defined by their professions. The main soldier guy is just a good-guy soldier. The admiral is just a trying-to-do-right-by-my-country-and-citizens admiral. The wife/nurse/doctor woman is all of those things, but she has no quirks. The relationship depicted between her and soldier-guy was so empty. I wanted to see him do something really in-joke between them, something that made them real, if they were going to exploit people's emotions by introducing some kind of romantic thing into the movie. I was annoyed that it was yet another Hollywood standard issue movie that they like to give the contrast of the hero & his support at home. And then it's all set up for a happy reunion at the end! It was under-played and pretty useless. More effort on the impact of the MUTO presence on the military structure would have been more interesting than the romance angle.

My favorite character was probably the scientist guy (the Japanese one, not the American, I don't know any of their names) because of how horrified he was about the whole business. It seemed like nobody really took him seriously, which was stupid, but he also wasn't making the most compelling arguments. Mostly, I enjoyed when everybody in the theater giggled every time a character said "Godzilla".

Hulky pointed out, "How would an EOD Naval lieutenant know how to do a paradrop that is strictly a special forces thing?"

Plot: Throughout the movie, I kept making guesses about what would happen. I was wrong most of the time, by the way. Godzilla did not eat the bomb at the end and disappear into the depths, but he did disappear into the depths after taking a dirt nap in ruined San Francisco. Okay, so the movie had a lot of unintentionally hilarious moments filled with dramatic music. This would be a good movie to watch while intoxicated, I think. I also guessed

The movie could have focused on the problem of nuclear energy. Hell, it could have been some been some epic drawn-out thing that resulted in nations trying to rid their nuclear waste or bombs in order to avoid drawing the MUTOs to them. The whole "let's lure them with this bomb" thing was beyond idiotic. Yeah, really, Armed Forces? You could not think of anything else? I mean, I realize these things are massive, but c'mon. The whole secret organization thing was stupid too. They just kind of toss it in there, but the ramifications of that organization coming to light could have been a WHOLE huge part of the movie. Instead, they were just like, "Thanks for being here, we're going to ignore you now."

Really, what the movie needed, was less people and more monsters, or at least more focus on the monsters. We got plenty of shots of male- & female-Mothra moving around, but not many of Godzilla. What does it look like when he swims? Does he paddle his feet? What does he eat? There are so, so many problems with the monsters in these movies, it's hard to tackle them all.

I loved at the end when the news thing said, "King of Monsters: Savior of our city?" and everybody cheered as Godzilla got up from his nap and swam away. Yeah, I'd probably cheer if I was well away and it looked like he was leaving, but if it's only been one or two days? I'd probably still scream in terror first. More about how the media handles the whole thing would have been really interesting. The only snippet we get is that one line, really. Keeping the public perspective positive about the PTSD-causing experience would probably sell more than the truth: no idea if this monster will come back to eat our power plants, no idea if there are more monsters that might ruin our cities. Godzilla will save us!

Monster design: Most of the people who encountered Godzilla or Mothra (they don't name the two other "MUTOs" in the film, but that's what they are) in the film would have been deafened, or worse. The force of male-Mothra's cry would have blown people away. They show female-Mothra blasting these lanterns in Chinatown and it is definitely hurricane-force winds. I am also pretty sure that the force of these creatures walking around would have ruined a lot more than was depicted in the film. Godzilla's steps are not going to leave the streets uncracked. A lot more people would have been killed.

This isn't even beginning to cover how it's physically impossible for a creature of that size to exist on this planet. Scientists know that the one of the reasons why giant dragonflies and dinosaurs existed is that the oxygen content of the atmosphere was much richer back then. The largest creatures on our planet now are blue whales and elephants. Godzilla is a hell of a lot bigger than an elephant. How could a creature like that exist and presumably not change very much over millions of years (since that's how old they're saying his species is, not saying he's that old) and be able to breathe in and out of water, be able to swim down 2 miles AND walk around on land, and then they didn't even cover the biology of WTF is that breath attack?


Godzilla's roar was great. So many tones & parts of it. I love the after-rumble. That is what gave me anxiety, just watching the trailer! The movie didn't make me anxious at all, fortunately. Unfortunately, Godzilla's body design was not as impressive. He looked like a guy in a suit to me, especially with those arms. They were too big to be T-Rex-like, but too small to seem really useful. The stocky legs made sense for his upright posture, but I feel like he should have been more dino-saur like. I did like the whole stegosaurus tail-smash move, but there should have been more like that, things that made me seem completely foreign and ancient.

In conclusion: Pacific Rim did all of that stuff better, in my opinion. Plenty of giant robots and giant monsters. Even the people were more interesting. I still enjoyed Godzilla and would totally see another if they make a second (aw hell yeah, just found that while writing this up).

Totally unrelated, watch this video if you are a fan of Hugh Jackman and/or Les Miserables and/or X-Men/Wolverine.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Introducing: Snuggle Pumpkin

4 weeks ago, Hulky and I headed to the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, MA to pick up a little gray cat.

When we first met this little fluff-ball, she was shy and terrified of everything. The shelter people put her on Hulky's lap and as he scritched her neck, she started to stretch out and roll around. He fell in love and I saw potential, so with some back and forth, we got our landlord to approve another cat with the shelter, and we brought her home. She spent a lot of time hiding in the bedroom we designated for her.

Aggressively ignoring me.

Lucky us, this furball came with friends: fleas and tapeworms (we found out a few days after taking her home when the shelter called with stool test results). A trip to a local vet office (fortunately with a coupon for a free exam) got us a pill for the worms and Advantage for the fleas. She has the STINKIEST poop I have ever smelled from a cat. I've started adding the contents of a probiotic powder to her food, thinking maybe the medicine did something weird to her gut. It seems to be helping. Right now, she gets a mix of dry food and canned food, because she ate the dry food too quickly and was vomiting, and she needs to put on weight. She was 5 lbs 12 oz at the vet. Eventually, I'd like to get her on an all raw diet, like Fae.

To get Pumpkin to warm up to us, we started off just spending time in the same room as her. We didn't hold eye contact with her much, or try to approach her. Over time, she'd let us approach her when she was curled up in the cat cave or in her box with the faux-sheepskin. When she's cornered, she welcomes pets and scritches and will start to roll around. It's become easier to approach her when she's exposed, but she still sets her own boundaries. We make soft noises ("pss pss" and kissy noises) when we approach her and she seems to associate those noises with getting pet now, which is exactly what we had hoped would happen.

Rolling around during scritches

The first time we allowed Pumpkin out of her room into another part of the apartment (with Fae secluded to the back), we lost her. After a while, we brought Fae in, but she turned out to be a pretty useless bloodhound. I found Pumpkin hiding inside a closed door for the entertainment center below the television. With the door open, she dashed back to her room and hid. After another week, she was getting more friendly in her room, so we let her do more exploring and made sure all hiding spots were opened up so we could always find her. She's still nervous about interacting with us out in the open, but she's improving.

Fae and Pumpkin will hopefully tolerate each other over time. We've seen progress already. At first, Fae was hissing at the closed door to Pumpkin's room all the time. We've let them interact face to face a few times and they are now mostly sharing the apartment (as of the last two days). They hiss and Fae chases, but Pumpkin is lithe and just jumps up to a high point (like the top of a five-drawer dresser) and gets away. aFae is fairly old, at eleven-years-old, so it's not that surprising that she'd be somewhat unhappy about an interloper. She lived with another cat for eight years at my parents' house, so I had hoped she was be a little calmer.
Look, they're close to each other!
I think the most frustrating part of this whole acclimation experience with Snuggle Pumpkin (Hulky named her, okay?) is that the shelter did give us some information about her background (was on a farm to be bred for $$, so not much human interaction), but they didn't use the term "feral". The vet's office did. I think that there's a big stigma with the concept of feral cats and feral cats CAN become very loving and sweet companions. For that reason, I understand why the shelter didn't use the term, but I still kind of feel like they should have.

Our biggest concern at this point is how we're going to clip this cat's claws. She doesn't let us her her or stay still when we pet her. Her claws are like needles right now and the scratching post isn't cutting it!