Sunday, July 08, 2007

Non-Political Rant

The other night, me and a couple of friends went and saw "The Transformers". I did not want to see this movie. The fact is that as a child I loved the stupid show and the toys that came with it. As an adult (more or less) I am embarrassed I loved the half hour thin excuse for a commercial. Still, even though the television show was a nonsensical show with a weak motivation for robots to fight each other, the nostalgia was something I didn't want to be messed with. As was said by a commenter over at Punkassblog, "If you were born past 1975, your childhood was sponsored by Viacom, Mattel, and Hasboro".

But, my fiancé and his friends saw the movie, and he told me I should go see it. He swore to me up and down that the movie was much better than the trailers showed, and it had actual plot and character development. So, with some hope, I ponied up the $5.75 and went and saw the matinee.

It didn't start out too bad...a group of Air Force Special Forces joking around the Iraq desert and the evil Decepticons come and blow the hell out of them. But, a plucky group of soldiers with the help of a little Iraqi boy take a picture and survive the attack.

Then it just got bad. It started flipping between characters without any rhyme or reason. And instead of furthering the plot, we get a lot of stupid car chases and battle scenes. And not only are the car chases irrelevant and the explosions contrived, they do that stupid shaky-camera angle thing that I HATE and is the cheapest video trick in the history of the universe. Yes, we get it; it's supposed to be chaotic. We never learn WHY the Decipticons want to take over the earth, or why the Autobots protect us or what really happened on their planet, or where the all-spark came from, or why it was on earth or anything. When a non-speaking robot that shifts into a Camero has the most development, we have a problem.

What's worse, the movie stayed very true to the spirit of the television show. Panasonic, Ikea, Camero, GM, the military, there were so many product placements in this movie that it felt like a 2 and half hour commercial, instead of the half hour commercial that the TV show was. Of course, these "toys" are slightly more expensive, but seriously: that ploy worked when we were seven and hopped up on sugar but as adults, I hope we aren't that stupid.

All in all, a waste of 3 hours, 6 bucks, and a few minutes on my Verizon phone explaining the words "plot" and "character development" to my fiancé.

Friday, July 06, 2007


If there is one thing my friends talk about way too much (aside from Dungeons and Dragons) is what we would ever do if there was a zombie attack. Now, all of us may be a little off, and perhaps possess less than mainstream social abilities*, but we are all perfectly sane**. We know that zombies do not exist. Yet, we spend time talking about this stuff: figuring out side routes we know so that we can avoid lots of people, we know how to meet up, we've mapped out ways to get to the airport and fly out (if we needed to), we've talked about which buildings would be the best to hole up in***, who would do what, what we would do for water, et cetera et cetera. We all think we'd probably do okay in a zombie invasion, mainly because a) we have a lot of combined survival skills and b) we have more firearms and armor mints in three apartments than Luxemburg.

My mom says that she did that a lot as a young adult as well, only instead of zombies, it was Martians.

I have no idea what drives us to talk about this stuff, but my suspicion is that we talk about this stuff because we won't talk about something else. We talk about end-of-world scenarios because it's more pleasant and fun to think about zombies than terrorists, or our government. It's better think of a break down in society coming from fantasy than something that could actually happen. I think my Cold War era mother did the same thing with Martians: better Martians than the Russians or the US. If zombies don't exist, and Martians don't exist, than society is not going to break down. We don't ever have to mention the idea of society ever breaking down, or face what might realistically happen. But yet...we're prepared. We have a contingency plans. We are strong, and we know we can do. We don't build bomb shelters, we collect guns.

And just like the bomb shelters of our parents, all the guns in the world won't truly protect us from another terrorist attack, or an attack from our government. Our rifles would be like pea shooters against tanks. And no matter how well we know first aid, if we are hit by jet plane we are dead, or probably maimed for the rest of our lives.

*Probably as a side-effect of too much gaming and too little television

**And have the psychiatrists documentation to prove it.

***Right now, it's split between Wal-Mart and Cabalas. Both have ammunition, both have lots of food, both have no windows, and easily re-enforceable front doors, and lots of things to enforce them with. Cabalas has more weapons, but Wal-Mart has more food. In a pinch, we could go to a casino for the same reason.