Archive for May, 2013

What good are geeks? Geek Pride Day 2013

May 25, 2013

What good are geeks? Geek Pride Day 2013

Since 2006, May 25th has been Geek Pride Day. The date coincides with the release of the first Star Wars movie in 1977, Towel Day (celebrated in honor of Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy),and  the Glorious Revolution of the 25th of May (Discworld).

It was begun in Spain, but thanks in part to the internet, is now international (or perhaps non-national is a better term).

This the

Official Website

It hasn’t quite crossed over into the mainstream consciousness, but you will find some sales in honor of it (or that should be in honor of it, even if they don’t say so). For example,

ThinkGeek

is giving 20% on orders that are $42 or more (another reference to Adams) with the code GEEKPRIDE. That’s just today, and since I know I have readers around the world, check to see if it works for you.

Amazon doesn’t seem to be trumpeting it, but high on the paid app bestseller list today are some of the

Gameloft games in the Amazon Appstore

That includes The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man, usually each normally $6.99, right now $0.99 each.

I often refer to things as “geek-friendly” in this blog, and (yes, proudly) proclaim myself a geek.

What does it really mean to be a geek? Why should we be proud?

Well, the term “geek”, while it has older roots, once referred to circus sideshow performers who did strange things…like eating light bulbs or biting the heads off live chickens. They weren’t inherently different from other people (as was the case with some others in the sideshow): they had different skills. Sure, they were skills that most people wouldn’t want to have, but they had them.

That eventually extended into people who worked with computers. Again, back in the day, most people didn’t want to know how to do a spreadsheet…but they wanted somebody who could do it. That started to make geeks valuable: now, their unwanted skills actually contributed to a company’s success.

For me, a geek and a nerd are two different things, although you’ll hear a lot of debate about that. Geeks have unusual skills: nerds have unusual interests. You can be a “band nerd” and be totally into the marching band in high school…even if you don’t play an instrument, or don’t play it well. Not all of you will agree with that, I know.

Geek culture, though, has certainly gone beyond those with special skills, and I don’t think people really use it that way any more.

There are some things that I would say define geeks, and are reasons to be proud:

We are inclusive

It doesn’t matter if nobody else likes you. In fact, being looked down upon by the mainstream is more likely to get you into the geek inner circle. You can tell people who aren’t geeks, even though they may be into science fiction. If anybody uses the term “skiffy” (a derogative put down of “low grade” science fiction, being a deliberate mispronunciation of Forry Ackerman’s “sci fi” shortening), they aren’t being geeky. It doesn’t matter if other people think what you like is bad, or childish. We celebrate the underdog (and Underdog) and the dog who is so much of an outsider that they don’t even get invited to the fight in the first place.

Yes, we may catch ourselves sometimes condemning mainstream people…jocks and cheerleaders, and referring to people like that as “muggles”. When we do, though, we feel bad about it.

We may certainly have been picked on and excluded, and we don’t want to do that to other people.

We value ideas

We want to hear what you think…even if you think it’s ridiculous and silly. Yes, we’ll challenge it every way possible, and come up with new ways if we can. We love taking an idea and taking it apart. We’ll push it to the next level and the next, until it falls off. Just before it takes that ontological swan dive, though, it may have created something useful.

Not that we necessarily care about usefulness all the time. We may have these sorts of discussions about the most unimpactful things in the universe. We like ideas because they use the brain, not necessarily for the results they’ll produce. We aren’t exploiters of neurons…we just love to hear them fire, for whatever reason.

No question: thinking outside the box (and in it and around it and what really makes it a box in the first place and how do you define “outside”?) describes geeks. That combines inclusiveness and our love of ideas.

We can be obsessive

Look, a geek isn’t judging activity by what other people think. Let’s say that a geek decides to balance a quarter on a string. It might be three years later, but that geek has quarters balanced on strings, stacked on top of each in a numismatic pyramid, and the strings are tied to a solar-powered mech bot and a live dog called “Tissy” (short for TSSD or The Stainless Steel Dog).

Since we often weren’t allowed into the reindeer games, we made up our own. We “win” when we think we win…not when you think we win. That’s one reason we make up much more complicated rules for existing games: we like make things harder and harder. Geeks don’t like to win something easily: we want to be challenged.

As some things that geeks like have become mainstream (The Avengers, Star Trek), we haven’t abandoned them. We don’t say that just because everybody likes them, we don’t like them any more. We like everything, to some extent. Undeniably, we tend to want to look after and preserve and protect “unpop culture” that the mainstream just as soon would prefer to see disappear, but that doesn’t mean we reject football (although we do wonder what would happen if they played with their helmets on backwards or on Segways…you know, just curious). 😉

That is one of my favorite things about being a geek: a low threshold of entertainment.

So, yes, I am proud. I’m proud of being inclusive, about caring about the excluded, about loving ideas, and about going deeper into things that nobody else cares about.

I’m a proud geek.

Happy Geek Pride Day!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

Tim Curry reportedly has “major stroke”

May 25, 2013

Tim Curry reportedly has “major stroke”

Our best wishes go out to Tim Curry, who, according to this

The Wrap article

had a “major stroke” on Thursday.

The actor is reportedly doing well, speaking, and in “great humor”.

Regular readers know that Tim Curry is one of my favorite actors, as noted in this earlier post:

My take on Tim Curry

We’re all thinking good thoughts, and hope your recovery goes well.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

My take on…Star Trek into Darkness

May 19, 2013

My take on…Star Trek into Darkness

This one is easy…it’s the best movie I’ve seen so far this year, and my Significant Other a bit more than tolerated it, so that’s a win. 😉

It was exciting, fun, and moving. Special effects brought us a real sense of “Cool! I want to do that!” There were sly allusions to the original Star Trek series and movies (which probably gave me a better experience than my SO), but these actors and characters are also establishing their own territory.

My SO particularly noted Zachary Quinto’s strength as Spock, although it is quite a different Spock from Leonard Nimoy’s. I like Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk. Interestingly, my SO thought Karl Urban looked too much like DeForest Kelly…I didn’t have a problem with that.

The movie is a thrill ride, but one with a significant amount of effective humor. Simon Pegg’s Scotty is really there for comic relief at this point, but that works reasonably well.

Does it all work?

For me, the meta stuff can be a bit much. I understand how the alternate timeline from the first J.J. Abrams movie allows for some parallel, but skewed events. Although it wasn’t a big problem, it did seem a bit…contrived.

The other thing I’d say is that the great plot twists weren’t that hard to anticipate. That might be a strength, though, making this plot more linear than the first movie.

I’m careful about avoiding spoilers, so at this point, I won’t say much about the plot of the movie. If you do want that sort of  detail, here is the

Memory Alpha article

Bottom line…go see it, it’s fun. 🙂

By the way, if you haven’t seen this

Audi commercial

with Quinto and Nimoy, it’s worth a look…

To track the movie box office for the rest of the year see 2013 Movie Box Office: 40, 80, 1, 2 , 3.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

The fundamental difference between Star Trek and Star Wars

May 16, 2013

The fundamental difference between Star Trek and Star Wars

Star Trek Into Darkness is opening tomorrow in the USA, which will mean midnight shows tonight.

There has been quite a bit of talk about Star Trek versus Star Wars recently, especially now that J.J. Abrams is guiding both franchises.

Certainly, there are some similarities; however, there is one key difference that we hope the director keeps in mind.

The world is good (Star Trek).

The world is bad (Star Wars).

That’s what sets them apart philosophically. A fan can certainly like both…we might feel like we are struggling against evil on one day (or imagining it could happen) and fighting for good on another. The original series of Star Trek and the original trilogy of Star Wars make this a stark difference.

Who are the good guys in Star Trek?

The Federation. They are the establishment, the superpower…they have the dominant technology and the lion’s share of the resources.

Who are the bad guys in Star Wars?

The Empire. They are the establishment, the superpower…they have the dominant technology and the lion’s share of the resources.

Certainly, Star Trek’s Captain Kirk doesn’t always agree with the methodology of the Federation. Kirk doesn’t like the  bureaucracy which can slow things down. However, Captain Kirk does agree with the goals of the Federation…just not always on how to best achieve them.

On the other hand, Star Wars’ Luke Skywalker absolutely disagrees with the Empire, and wants to see them defeated and out of power.

As a fan, when you empathize with the two, that’s the dichotomy. In Star Trek, society is good and has lofty goals. The Enterprise crew fights for good. In Star Wars, society at the top is evil and has reprehensible schemes…the rebels fight against evil.

For good.

Against evil.

It’s pretty simple.

We can see this in a lot of ways. One of the obvious ones is the iconic weaponry. Star Trek has a phaser which can (and often is, especially in unknown situations) set on stun. It is designed to be used for non-lethal tactics.

The closest you can get to being non-lethal with a light saber from Star Wars is to just dismember someone.

If you think humans (and other intelligent beings) are likely to be good, you want your default setting to be stun. If you think they are likely to be bad, a light saber is more geared towards removing the threat.

What does Star Wars’ Empire do it when it discovers people who think differently and might oppose it? Build a Death Star and blow up the planet.

What does Star Trek’s Federation do when it discovers people who think differently and might oppose it? They leave them alone. The Prime Directive requires that societies be able to develop on their own (if they don’t know about a certain technology, Federation personnel can’t give it to them or tell them about it, even if it makes their lives better…that would change them and eliminate what might have happened). By definition, the Federation does not say that it is better than every other society…and it sees that more good is likely to happen than evil if people are able to choose their own paths.

There is the guiding principle, Mr. Abrams: fight against versus fight for.

Keep that in mind and we can love both of your visions for the two beloved universes.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

Man in Black talks about…UFO sighting?

May 14, 2013

Man in Black talks about…UFO sighting?

Okay, this was one of the weirdest stories I’ve read lately!

According to this

Huffington Post article

Lt. Col. Richard French recently spoke at the

Citizen Hearing on Disclosure

about having seen two aliens working on a UFO underwater.

That’s not the weird part, though…no, really.

The HuffPo identified French as “…a lead investigator of Project Blue Book in the 1950s”.

Some of you are now saying, “That’s the weird part, right? Wasn’t that the debunking group of the Air Force? How ironic!”

No, we’re still not to the really weird part.

The name was familiar to me, and I knew the names of the big players in Project Blue Book.

“Richard French” was the name given by one of the most infamous Men in Black in ufological literaure!

Before the graphic novel which inspired the Will Smith movie, the general idea was that the “Men in Black” might have actually been aliens, discouraging investigation into UFOs by pretending to be government agents. I’ve written about the history of the Men in Black before.

I mentioned in passing a MIB who tried to drink Jell-O…that was Richard French!

You can read a bit of that story here:

UFO evidence excerpt

It’s taken from John A. Keel, who loved the high strangeness stories like this. It’s reported in UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse (AKA Why UFOS).

So, this is bizarre!

If the 1967 Jell-O virgin was an alien, did that alien just speak out about seeing other (very different looking) aliens? If so, why? Would it still be part of an alien plan to discredit UFOs or discourage reporting?

Another possibility is that in 1967, the alien just “borrowed” the name of this Richard French. Keel says, “There proved to be a Richard French in the Air Force in Minnesota, but he did not even remotely answer to the above description. In that case, the one who just recently told the story might be the real Richard French.

That description, by the way? Again, from Keel:

“He was about five feet nine inches tall with a kind of olive complexion and pointed face. His hair was dark and very long…” (page 172 of the Manor Books edition).

Is that the person who spoke May 3rd? Well, honestly, it’s hard to tell in the video at the HuffPo article…remember, the Jell-O thing was more than forty years ago.

Here’s another possibility: Richard French was having a laugh at the expense of the UFO witness in 1967, pretending to be an alien.

One could also argue that Keel wasn’t accurate…but why use the name Richard French?

Perhaps the name is a coincidence…but the Richard French who recently spoke should have been investigating UFO sightings, which is what the 1967 Richard French did.

Let’s see…I’m just trying to cover the possibilities. Could the person who spoke have chosen that name, knowing it was the name of a famous Man in Black? I would guess the background would have been checked by the people presenting the speakers. I tried to open the document at the website with the testimony (figuring it might have a bio), but Word didn’t like it…and warned me not to open it if I didn’t trust it…

I have to say, I find it a bit odd that other people don’t seem to have made this connection, even people who are very knowledgeable of the UFO literature.

Thought you’d want to know…

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

Movies so far this year 2013

May 12, 2013

Movies so far this year 2013

We’ve already entered the hot days of summer, as far as the box office is concerned. Iron Man 3 is blazing along, and we’ll see a series of movies which will dogro (domestic gross) over $100 million in the next couple of months (Star Trek Into Darkness next week, likely both Fast & Furious 6 and The Hangover Part III the following week, Man of Steel, Monsters University, White House Down, and so on).

Before we get blinded by those blockbusters, I wanted to take a look at how things have been going so far this year.

Where I have the information, I want to especially look at dogro versus the reported production budget. It’s important to note that movies make a lot of money outside the USA, and then there are a lot of expenses besides the production budget (marketing, for one). Movies also can make money on merchandising deals. However, I find it informative to look at the movies which have made the highest percentage of profit comparing dogro and the production budget.

Let’s say a movie costs $50 million to make, and dogros $100 million. That’s a $50 million profit in this calculation…but it’s also a 100% profit ($50m+$50m). For this one, we are going to say that a movie that costs $10m to make and dogros $60m is doing better than that $50m movie…it has 500% profit. I know you can’t spend your percentage of profit, but it’s a better return on investment. 🙂

So, let’s take a look…I’m going to cut this off at the top 50 dogroing movies so far (after that, we get into a lot of art house fair). I also took out ones where I didn’t have budget data. Of course, some of these will make a lot more money yet (I’m looking at you, Tony Stark):

Title Studio Dogro Budget Profit %Profit
A Haunted House ORF $40,041,683  $       2,500,000 $37,541,683 1502%
Dark Skies W/Dim. $17,372,314  $       3,500,000 $13,872,314 396%
Mama Uni. $71,628,180  $    15,000,000 $56,628,180 378%
Jurassic Park 3D Uni. $44,118,910  $    10,000,000 $34,118,910 341%
The Call TriS $50,934,437  $    13,000,000 $37,934,437 292%
Identity Thief Uni. $133,522,005  $    35,000,000 $98,522,005 281%
Evil Dead (2013) TriS $53,465,508  $    17,000,000 $36,465,508 215%
The Last Exorcism Part II CBS $15,179,302  $       5,000,000 $10,179,302 204%
Spring Breakers A24 $14,019,724  $       5,000,000 $9,019,724 180%
Safe Haven Rela. $71,236,540  $    28,000,000 $43,236,540 154%
42 WB $81,192,000  $    40,000,000 $41,192,000 103%
21 and Over Rela. $25,663,612  $    13,000,000 $12,663,612 97%
Warm Bodies LG/S $66,380,662  $    35,000,000 $31,380,662 90%
Scary Movie 5 W/Dim. $29,938,030  $    20,000,000 $9,938,030 50%
Movie 43 Rela. $8,840,453  $       6,000,000 $2,840,453 47%
Pain and Gain Par. $37,932,000  $    26,000,000 $11,932,000 46%
Escape From Planet Earth Wein. $55,239,237  $    40,000,000 $15,239,237 38%
Olympus Has Fallen FD $95,877,624  $    70,000,000 $25,877,624 37%
Admission Focus $17,802,538  $    13,000,000 $4,802,538 37%
The Place Beyond the Pines Focus $19,303,536  $    15,000,000 $4,303,536 29%
The Croods Fox $170,315,000  $  135,000,000 $35,315,000 26%
Iron Man 3 BV $232,178,000  $  200,000,000 $32,178,000 16%
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters Par. $55,703,475  $    50,000,000 $5,703,475 11%
Oz The Great and Powerful BV $229,182,320  $  215,000,000 $14,182,320 7%
G.I. Joe: Retaliation Par. $119,156,891  $  130,000,000 ($10,843,109) -8%
Gangster Squad WB $46,000,903  $    60,000,000 ($13,999,097) -23%
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone WB $22,537,881  $    30,000,000 ($7,462,119) -25%
A Good Day to Die Hard Fox $67,305,159  $    92,000,000 ($24,694,841) -27%
Oblivion Uni. $78,792,000  $  120,000,000 ($41,208,000) -34%
The Host (2013) ORF $26,209,584  $    40,000,000 ($13,790,416) -34%
Broken City Fox $19,701,164  $    35,000,000 ($15,298,836) -44%
Parker FD $17,616,641  $    35,000,000 ($17,383,359) -50%
The Big Wedding LGF $16,356,000  $    35,000,000 ($18,644,000) -53%
Jack the Giant Slayer WB (NL) $64,235,588  $  195,000,000 ($130,764,412) -67%
Beautiful Creatures (2013) WB $19,452,138  $    60,000,000 ($40,547,862) -68%
The Last Stand LGF $12,050,299  $    45,000,000 ($32,949,701) -73%

Looked at this way, the biggest success is…A Haunted House. That’s a low budget horror comedy, and the return was phenomenal.

Clearly, supernatural horror (comedy or not) was rewarded: A Haunted House; Dark Skies; Mama; Evil Dead; The Last Exorcism Part II…all highly profitable under this formula. Even Scary Movie 5, widely panned, has made more than a 50% profit.

Action movies with no horror/science fiction/fantasy element? Not so much. The Last Stand, Parker, Broken City, A Good Day to Die Hard…all in the negatives.

Okay, I’m sure a lot of people are more interested in the actual dollars than the percentages (especially those who aren’t actually investing. Here you go:

Title Studio Dogro Budget Profit
Identity Thief Uni. $133,522,005  $    35,000,000 $98,522,005
Mama Uni. $71,628,180  $    15,000,000 $56,628,180
Safe Haven Rela. $71,236,540  $    28,000,000 $43,236,540
42 WB $81,192,000  $    40,000,000 $41,192,000
The Call TriS $50,934,437  $    13,000,000 $37,934,437
A Haunted House ORF $40,041,683  $       2,500,000 $37,541,683
Evil Dead (2013) TriS $53,465,508  $    17,000,000 $36,465,508
The Croods Fox $170,315,000  $  135,000,000 $35,315,000
Jurassic Park 3D Uni. $44,118,910  $    10,000,000 $34,118,910
Iron Man 3 BV $232,178,000  $  200,000,000 $32,178,000
Warm Bodies LG/S $66,380,662  $    35,000,000 $31,380,662
Olympus Has Fallen FD $95,877,624  $    70,000,000 $25,877,624
Escape From Planet Earth Wein. $55,239,237  $    40,000,000 $15,239,237
Oz The Great and Powerful BV $229,182,320  $  215,000,000 $14,182,320
Dark Skies W/Dim. $17,372,314  $       3,500,000 $13,872,314
21 and Over Rela. $25,663,612  $    13,000,000 $12,663,612
Pain and Gain Par. $37,932,000  $    26,000,000 $11,932,000
The Last Exorcism Part II CBS $15,179,302  $       5,000,000 $10,179,302
Scary Movie 5 W/Dim. $29,938,030  $    20,000,000 $9,938,030
Spring Breakers A24 $14,019,724  $       5,000,000 $9,019,724
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters Par. $55,703,475  $    50,000,000 $5,703,475
Admission Focus $17,802,538  $    13,000,000 $4,802,538
The Place Beyond the Pines Focus $19,303,536  $    15,000,000 $4,303,536
Movie 43 Rela. $8,840,453  $       6,000,000 $2,840,453
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone WB $22,537,881  $    30,000,000 ($7,462,119)
G.I. Joe: Retaliation Par. $119,156,891  $  130,000,000 ($10,843,109)
The Host (2013) ORF $26,209,584  $    40,000,000 ($13,790,416)
Gangster Squad WB $46,000,903  $    60,000,000 ($13,999,097)
Broken City Fox $19,701,164  $    35,000,000 ($15,298,836)
Parker FD $17,616,641  $    35,000,000 ($17,383,359)
The Big Wedding LGF $16,356,000  $    35,000,000 ($18,644,000)
A Good Day to Die Hard Fox $67,305,159  $    92,000,000 ($24,694,841)
The Last Stand LGF $12,050,299  $    45,000,000 ($32,949,701)
Beautiful Creatures (2013) WB $19,452,138  $    60,000,000 ($40,547,862)
Oblivion Uni. $78,792,000  $  120,000,000 ($41,208,000)
Jack the Giant Slayer WB (NL) $64,235,588  $  195,000,000 ($130,764,412)

People were so down on John Carter last year. It’s budget was about $250m, and it dogroed about $73m. Where would that put it on this list? Oh, yeah…still at the bottom with -$177m. Hm…makes it harder to hold out hope for a sequel. 😉

Next, let’s take a look at studios. This time, we’ll do their total profits (just in the group of movies above):

Studio Profit
Uni. Total $148,061,095
TriS Total $74,399,945
Rela. Total $58,740,605
BV Total $46,360,320
LG/S Total $31,380,662
W/Dim. Total $23,810,344
ORF Total $23,751,267
Wein. Total $15,239,237
CBS Total $10,179,302
Focus Total $9,106,074
A24 Total $9,019,724
FD Total $8,494,265
Par. Total $6,792,366
Fox Total ($4,678,677)
WB Total ($20,817,078)
LGF Total ($51,593,701)
WB (NL) Total ($130,764,412)
Grand Total $257,481,338

If you were a Warner Brothers exec, you wouldn’t want to bump into the Universal guys at lunch, right?

Lastly, as we did last year, let’s look at budget versus profit:

Profit20130511

As we saw last year, it’s really hard to make a profit with a big budget. Some of that will happen: Iron Man 3 will do it. So far this year, if you get over about $40m, it’s a losing proposition…

To track the movie box office throughout the year, see

2013 Movie Box Office: 40, 80, 1, 2 , 3

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

Ray Harryhausen reported dead

May 8, 2013

Ray Harryhausen reported dead

We casually say about people that they “make movies” (when their contributions may be quite small), but it can be said accurately and enthusiastically about Ray Harryhausen.

Ray produced, wrote, directed, and was the cinematographer on movies.

More importantly than that, Ray actually made the characters.

Sculpted them.

Made them move.

Made us thrill to them!

Made us want to make characters like that ourselves.

Ray Harryhausen is first and foremost associated with his ground-breaking and immortal stop motion animation.

Create a character.

Take a frame of film.

Move it a tiny bit.

Take another frame.

Make it live, make it threaten, make it sad…give it emotions.

Have it interact with flesh and blood actors.

Give us things that couldn’t exist…change the concept of a cyclops from just a big one-eyed human giant to a monster with a horn.

Set the pattern for so many videogames with a horde of skeleton warriors relentlessly attacking Jason and the Argonauts!

For a geek like me, I can’t say enough about Ray Harryhausen. Fortunately, I won’t have to…his name will live on and people will be writing about his contributions a hundred years from now.

Here are some of those movies which will still amaze children in the future, regardless of how the technology may change:

  • It Came from Beneath the Sea’
  • 20 Million Miles to Earth
  • The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
  • The 3 Worlds of Gulliver
  • Mysterious Island
  • Jason and the Argonauts
  • First Men in the Moon
  • One Million Years B.C.
  • The Valley of Gwangi
  • The Golden Voyage of Sinbad
  • Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger
  • Clash of the Titans

Pixar paid homage to Ray Harryhausen with an establishment named for the SFX master…you can see it prominently in the ride at Disney’s California Adventure.

Ray also voiced a polar bear in Elf, and had a cameo in the remake of Mighty Joe Young (he had worked on the original).

Good-bye, Ray Harryhausen…the world is less special without you.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

My take on…Iron Man 3

May 6, 2013

My take on…Iron Man 3

Look, you’re probably going to see it.

Iron Man 3 had a huge opening weekend, and is on its way to rapidly pass Oz the Great and Powerful to become the biggest dogroing (domestic grossing) movie of the year…so far (there are some big contenders coming).

Don’t worry, I’m not going to say you shouldn’t see it. 🙂 Ben Kingsley is great in the movie, and Robert Downey is entertaining. There is a lot of spectacle to it, and some excellent effects.

However…

There might have been too much spectacle…too much happening.

I usually don’t go into a

SPOILER ALERT

this early, and I”m really quite careful about it, but I do want to mention some things. These are really on the order of minor spoilers…pretty much what you would know if you watched the trailers or read articles about the movie. I just like to give fair warning. I love to be surprised by my entertainment, and I don’t want to take that away from anybody else.

The main problem I had with the script is that there are so many Iron Man suits! Some of the suits are empty, but still move around…robot suits. Several of the characters wear Iron Man suits at some point. It became like an episode of the “Suprah Winfrey Show”: “You get a suit! And you get a suit! And you get a suit!” 😉 It was hard being very emotionally invested when Iron Man was in a  fight when we couldn’t identify Iron Man with Tony Stark. I mean, the way things are going, it seemed like an “Iron Dog” suit was going to be inevitable.

In fact, it was very telling that a shot at the end of the movie said that “Tony Stark will return”…not that Iron Man would. We are clearly supposed to think of them as two different things. I would guess that The Avengers 2, scheduled for May 1, 2015, will be the last time we see Robert Downey, Jr. play Tony Stark. It will then be time to reboot the role. That’s not because Downey will have turned 50 less than a month before that. It’s more that they will have done what they can with this version of Tony Stark…a clean slate will be easier when you write new heroic tales.

Another thing is that there appeared to be large logical flaws, although in a comic book world, you can often explain them in some creative way offscreen. People who could regenerate could fall into fire….and then be seen with their hair and clothes effectively intact. Okay, yes, it might be possible for your hair to grow back super-quickly…but into the same hairstyle and length? If the hair grows two months’ worth in seconds, does the person age that much as well? What about the clothes? Those obviously aren’t growing back…

Now, of course, I could just ignore logic, but that’s not how superheroes usually work. They have rules, and work within the real world. Even though those rules might not fit with our understanding of physics, you don’t just dispense with physics (especially for other characters).

For example, have you ever wondered how Superman shaves? Obviously, his hair is invulnerable, or it wouldn’t still be on his head with some of the super-speed things he does. No ordinary blade could cut it.

I remember reading a comic book where Superman bounced his own heat vision off a reflective surface to shave, but that didn’t make sense to me. When Kryptonians on Earth fight and hit each other with heat vision, they don’t cut the other person in half.

However, the fact that they tried to explain it in some reasonable way is my point.

This script didn’t seem to bother.

Then, there was this kid, Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins). Yes, you can have a child in a movie like this and make it work, but I have to admit…I was reminded too much (based on attitude) of Brandon De Wilde’s Oscar-nominated performance in Shane. I kept expecting Harley to say, “Come back, Shane!” and have Tony Stark say, “Is that some sort of Black humor?” See, Shane Black co-wrote the script, and directed Iron Man 3, and it would be an in-joke and…never mind. 😉

Seriously, though, the role felt like it was there to make the movie more accessible to kids…the same accusation that we hear about a lot of earlier comic sidekicks.

END SPOILER

Overall, though, I’d say go ahead and see it. There are some great action sequences, and when is it not worth seeing Robert Downey, Jr.? (Answer: never). It’s not a bad movie…it just makes me intrigued to see what they do with Iron Man in the movies in the future.

To track the movie box office for the rest of the year see 2013 Movie Box Office: 40, 80, 1, 2 , 3.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

Saturday is Free Comic Book Day!

May 4, 2013

Saturday is Free Comic Book Day!

Sure, tomorrow is Star Wars Day…that’s true every May Fourth. It comes from, “May the Fourth be with you…” There will be some deals in connection with it:

NBC news article
Star Wars store at Amazon (deals this weekend more than 50% off)

However, you can get an even better deal because it’s the first Saturday in May…it’s Free Comic Book Day!

On FCBD, you can go into participating comic book shops and pick up special editions comics for free. You can see the list of them

here

Since part of the point of it is to promote local shops, I don’t think they are doing digital comics yet, but perhaps some day.

These comics are intended to get people into reading comics, and so are more accessible than some series. Ask your clerk for help with something kid friendly, if you like.

Enjoy!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.


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