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Posts Tagged ‘Star Wars’

I despise movies that make no sense.

Let me rephrase it. I despise movies that make no internal sense.

As an appetizer before my main course, here’s an example that twists my knickers.

In both Men in Black III and Transformers: Dark of the Moon, there is an implausible image. In each of those cinematic ventures, there is a scene on the Moon. In those movies (and probably more), the camera shows an Apollo-style lunar lander. However, the lander still has the ascent stage attached to it which would be an impossibility because if the ascent stage was still there, the astronauts would not have been able to return home.

(Source: Men in Black III corrections and Transformers: Dark of the Moon corrections)

As a fan of science-fiction, I have no issue with movies that bend the laws of physics, as long as they do it consistently. Spaceships in the universe of Star Trek and Star Wars can travel faster than the speed of light, but they give explanations for it. The Enterprise has warp drive and the Millennium Falcon uses hyperdrive. Even time travel doesn’t bother me that much as long as, again, it is done consistently within the universe of the story. I know there is no way for an object to travel back in time, but that doesn’t diminish my appreciation for the television show Doctor Who.

All this brings me to today’s version of “nerd rage“. Last week, I saw the animated movie Mr. Peabody and Sherman. I could go on and blather about how Hollywood has strip-mined another aspect of my childhood for their gain, but I’ll leave that for another day.

Instead, allow me to ramble about the cinematic implausibility in that movie.

I do not have an issue with a talking (and bow-tie wearing…because bow ties are cool) dog. I do not have an issue with time travel. The genius canine and the WABAC machine are reality-bending items, but they are necessary for the story. So, I am fine with those reality-bending items (just like I am okay with the TARDIS and the Babel Fish).

What made me slap my forehead was the scene in this movie concerning the manhole.

Early in Mr. Peabody and Sherman, the duo are in the era of the French Revolution. During a chase scene that takes places in the sewers outside Versailles, Mr. Peabody causes an explosion that blows the manhole covers into the air.

So far, so good.

However, the explosion was all part of Mr. Peabody’s escape plan because the manhole cover falls through its own hole and lands on the baddie thus allowing the dog and his pet adopted boy to skeedaddle away.

See my issue?

It is a physical impossibility for a manhole cover to fall through its own hole. That’s way manholes covers are round. A round manhole cover is cannot fall through its own opening and that keeps sewer workers safe (see here and here for sample explanations).

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Unless Jamie and Adam over at Mythbusters have busted this idea, I will continue to slap my forehead over this scene (and all others like it).

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Before I raised anchor from the Continent, spent some time in the U S of A becoming reacquainted with my home culture, and before planting my new homestead in Thailand’s capital, I wrote a post about a double standard in the Arabic world.

Now that I am ensconced on the other side of the world, I am going back to mine that “double standard” vein…mainly because it is so easy.

Today’s installment deals with the treatment of mosques.

In April of 2013, LEGO announced that they would be halting production of the Jabba’s Palace playset. Cries of racism came from the Turkish Cultural Community of Austria as they claimed that the palace of Jabba the Hut, the criminal lord of the Tatooine underworld, looked too much like the famous Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.

Putting aside the fact that the LEGO representation of Jabba’s Palace looks almost nothing like the iconic Turkish mosque (i.e., zero minarets on Jabba’s Palace as opposed to the four on Hagia Sophia, the tops of the domes are different), I’m here to talk about the double standard of the reaction.

The Turkish Cultural Community of Austria (TCCA) threw out the cry of racism and took to the electronic media to decry the technical desecration of a historic mosque because of its questionable similarity to a toy.

So what do you think the reaction of the TCCA would be to the actual desecration and destruction of a real historic mosque? If you guessed “apoplectic” or “hysterical”, then you don’t understand the meaning of the phrase “double standard.”

When – also in April of 2013 – a minaret of a historic and ancient Umayyad Mosque in the Syrian city of Aleppo was destroyed during the civil war, the reaction of the TCCA was…

…absolutely ear-shattering nothing.

Go ahead. Look at their website here and you won’t find an iota or hint of any outrage at the destruction of the minaret in Aleppo.

The lesson here appears clear.

If a Western (in this case, Danish) toy company makes a product that looks something like a mosque (but only if you squint), then bring down the rafters with condemnation.

If an Arabic entity (in this case Syrian military or rebels) actually destroys part of a mosque, then shrug your shoulders.

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For college professors needed to know the cultural touchstones of the incoming freshman, Beloit College has unveiled its Mindset List for the Class of 2016. Some of my favorite items of note that show how those born in 1994 (those who make up the Class of 2016) differ from folks of my age (born 1968) include…

…They have never seen an airplane “ticket”;
…Lou Gehrig’s record for most consecutive baseball games played has never stood in their lifetimes;
…They have no recollection of when Arianna Huffington was a conservative; and
…NBC has never shown A Wonderful Life more than twice during the holidays.

The above is simply one of my hooks to dive into my real story for this post…which starts now.

In this e-space, I have often written about my children as other people. Examples include my eldest, Christopher, as a comics books expert; my middle child, Jared, as Roger Kint (the character from The Usual Suspects); and my daughter, Ophelia, as a corporate drone in training.

To this menagerie, I can now add my wife who enters this space in the cloak of a non-nerd. Submitted for your approval are two stories…

a) As a surprise to my boys, she went to a video store and rented what she thought was Star Wars: Episode III. She brought back this…

Cover of fan-made Star Wars flim

This is most definitely not Revenge of the Sith

Instead of the film starring Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen, she had picked up a fan-made film entitled Revelations.

We only watched 10 minutes of this work before we turned it off.

z) Jared told my wife that one of his friends was planning to dress up for Halloween as Hawkeye. My wife’s response was, “How does your friend know about M*A*S*H?“.

Of course, the boy was talking about the characters from The Avengers movie while my wife was thinking of the character played by Alan Alda.

Now, I cannot be too snarky about my wife being a non-nerd because I believe in the axiom that opposites attract. While she may not know the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek, or know what TARDIS stands for, or quote the Three Laws of Robotics, she does know how to cook like a boss, fix any deficiency with our car, and she can quote Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

BTW, that line submitted for your approval that I used above would have no resonance with the Class of 2016 because, as the Media List from Beloit College states…

The Twilight Zone involves vampires, not Rod Serling.

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Yesterday’s post about how much I love reading bad reviews had me thinking all day (when in reality I should have been watching my son’s lacrosse game).

The entire conceit of a review from an established critic (and maybe even a person with a degree in film or television) may be obsolete in this era of the social network.

Given the news that a new television show is debuting (or a new movie is premiering, or a new eatery is opening), who would I trust more – a fifty-something writer from The Washington Post or my friends on Facebook. My online friends are my buddies because we have similar tastes and interests. Those likes and dislikes are probably more in line with my own than some scribe than I have never met toiling away at a desk.

Then there are some movies where a review is pointless. Take a movie based on a popular franchise from literature or television (Star Trek, the Harry Potter series) and there is a built-in audience for that movie who will see the flick regardless of many critics pan it.

I’ve had the belief that people would line up around the block to see animated stick figures if it had the names of “George Lucas” and “Star Wars” associated with it. Now, starting in 2012, I will be able to partially test this theory as the Star Wars movies are getting the 3-D treatment.

Final Note – I’m trying to imagine a newspaper that would have the moxie to get rid of its critics (TV, movie, restaurant, music, etc.) saying that they are unnecessary in the 21st century.

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