Posts Tagged ‘military’

Wonder Woman.

Sat ,17/06/2017

Saw the new Wonder Woman movie today with kerewin. Definitely one of the better superhero movies out there, albeit the first DC-related one i’ve seen (haven’t seen the Superman reboot, and Superman vs. Batman looked very, very dumb). Hoping to see some of The Flash tv show at some point and the Justice League trailer we saw today looks good – but I digress.

So compared to the 70s tv series with Lynda Carter, naturally this is higher budget and far better special effects. But despite her origin on an island full of kick-ass women in semi-revealing outfits (worn while full-on fighting on foot, horseback and flying through the air at intervals), this movie avoids the usual ‘movie hot woman’ factor in most cases and simply tries to tell a compelling story instead.

The island part could have been a bit shorter, and as per usual, the Germans are the always-convenient bad guys, even though these are WWI Germans, not Nazis. But Diana keeps on kicking ass throughout the movie, both in attitude and action, which just builds until the end (definitely a good thing).

Now for the other minor complaints – If Diana is a god, why do they need other superheroes at all (given that the story is told in flashback format when it begins with her getting a package from Bruce Wayne while working at the Louvre in Paris)? Much like Thor in the Avengers/Marvel movies – again, if gods are on Earth, why bother with the rest of even mutants or superheroes, period?

I liked the turnaround with ‘Lupin’ (David Thewlis) playing Ares, the god of war, though, and didn’t see it coming, so that was cool.

While we missed any cameos from Lynda Carter (apparently scheduling problems prevented it) it was very cool to see Lucy Davis, whom we knew was familiar but didn’t recognize until we looked her up afterward.

And Chris Pine plays it pretty straight as Steve Trevor, which was a relief – while it’s likely given the time period of the movie being in around 1917 that he’d be definitely trying to keep Diana in check at all times, he doesn’t try to do it in a bad way unlike other male characters might have and he does fairly quickly realize his limitations in comparison with her – he’s not deluded.

All in all, an entertaining movie – I wonder if Gina Carano will show up as a Diana nemesis in a future one?

Other Reviews:
Rotten Tomatoes
The Guardian


Museum of Flight, part deux….

Sat ,01/04/2017

So following on from the previous post regarding touring the Shuttle Trainer at Boeing’s Museum of Flight, here’s the rest of all the ‘plane nerd’ photos from most of the rest of the museum – enjoy!

I have to say, despite no flash, that ridiculous new phone of mine actually takes decent pics… on one from the gallery, then click it again to get the high-res version….


Sleeping Giants – Book Review

Sun ,27/11/2016

Just finished reading this book – Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. This is a sci-fi story told in an somewhat unusual way, via ‘interviews’ – most often with an unnamed lead interviewer we never meet. I won’t spoil the main storyline (plenty of other places online can do that for you) but to say the following:

– The main story ‘device’ of the interviews works very well, IMHO. It makes you think harder about the motivations behind and the mentality of the main characters, especially as the ‘unnamed interviewer’ most often heard from is usually not sympathetic.

– I like the focus being first and foremost on the characters and not the main overarching plotline. While that may get further development in a future book (looks like a sequel is coming out possibly next spring?) and it will be interesting if the ‘interview device’ is maintained there too – this book ticks right along and definitely holds your attention all the way through, with at least two major plot twists I never saw coming.

– Finally – while there may be some story elements here that are inspired by past classic sci-fi (or even anime/kaiju), I still think the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and this is a great read – DEFINITELY recommended!


Other perspectives (and spoilers – you are warned!)
NPR – The Sleeping Giant – The Sleeping Giant


Sun ,10/01/2016

An alternate take on SkyNet’s rise to awareness?

It took a lot of booster rockets, but luckily Amazon had recently built thousands of them to bring Amazon Prime same-day delivery to the Moon colony.


Not bad….

Thu ,10/09/2015

A bit weak on plot, some quibbles with the firepower of the relative ships, and the closeups of the basestars look a bit too ‘Lego-y’ but otherwise not bad…. He really likes the ‘flip over flyby’ too – a bit overused, nearly every ship does one at some point or another in the video…stupid robots, you messed with the WRONG starships! Although truth be told, I bet the Defiant could take a couple base stars on its own… 🙂


Jurassic World – Hmm.

Fri ,12/06/2015

Our company had a free screening of Jurassic World yesterday evening – interesting. It was harmless fun but for the money the studio likely spent, they could have worked far harder on the plot. The movie was well made but offers nothing new in light of three previous JP movies as well as the whole ‘dystopian theme park goes very wrong’ theme done first (and arguably best) by Westworld. Ironically, that movie was written and directed by a 31-year old Michael Crichton, the original author of Jurassic Park. Amusing.

Chris Pratt is the main ‘reluctant hero’ star, and while this movie is nothing to write home about, his career will not be hurt by it, either – he’s definitely the most interesting thing in the movie, despite the writers’ efforts to turn velicoraptors into CP’s trained posse. I’ve liked Vincent D’Onofrio since his Private Pyle days, but here he’s just a cheesy fat ham (in more ways than one). Most of the rest of the actors are unknowns or on their way up (Bryce Dallas Howard, Irrfan Khan and BD Wong) – probably how you keep costs down with so much expensive, extensive CGI in nearly every scene.

I kept also thinking of Futureworld, the even lamer (than this JP sequel) Westworld sequel from the mid-70’s. It’s kinda sad how Hollywood just keeps betting that sequels will do more than trick people into movie theaters expecting the same magic as the first time. That’s only happened a FEW times, guys and you are paying these lazy writers WAY too much in the meantime!

other voices:
Seattle Times
Rotten Tomatoes


Avengers: Age of Ultron

Mon ,25/05/2015

So finally saw the new Avengers movie Sat evening. I liked it, despite my causing us to get there late and having to sit way up front (never optimal) – there were a number of funny parts and as always, the effects were well done. Definitely an entertaining movie overall.

But there were a number of things that definitely make this a lesser movie than the first one, much the same way the two Iron Man sequels are definitely lesser movies than the first one – to wit (Spoiler alert):

1) This movie follows on the timeline from Captain America: Winter Soldier, so SHIELD is dead yet Hydra still somehow exists (if memory serves, they still had Loki’s sceptre at the end of that movie) – and this gets to the first problem – how many big, secret conspiracy orgs STILL exist in the world, for pete’s sake? Especially those claiming to have existed since WWII (started by the Nazis – who else)? So that’s a bit farfetched to begin with.

2) Ultron is a good bad guy, even if a bit too sardonic (James Spader, eat your heart out) but he ‘springs into being’ a bit too quickly for the plot – one minute he’s parts on a series of tables, the next he is a fully-formed, morphable android with hundreds of copies? Where are the Koch Brothers who bankroll all this? Too fast.

3) Why is Thor the only ‘god’ seemingly interested in getting Loki’s gem back? Wouldn’t Loki himself have an interest in it? Wouldn’t Odin have a way to ensure Loki helps Thor and takes the gem back to Asgard where it belongs?

4) As pointed out by Kerewin – Scarlet Witch fulfills the role of ‘Storm’ in this movie – seeming a wimp, then at one point seems to be among the most powerful of all? You can’t have it both ways, guys.

5) The whole fight between Iron Man and Hulk was silly and a distraction. Why didn’t Hulk just run away? And it’s getting WAY too convenient for Tony Stark to just whip yet more Iron Man suits, ever more custom and more powerful, just out of nowhere whenever the plot demands it? Lame.

6) I liked the attempts to give these characters more than one dimension, but really the only three that have their heads on are Cap, Hawkeye and Black Widow, and the latter two are just badasses, not even enhanced. And of course the appearance of SLJ helps right the ship (mentally and then later, literally).

I think the main thing about these comic movies is whether or not they make you want to watch them multiple times. The first Iron Man – definitely yes, have seen it several times. The first Avengers – same. This one, like the recent CA movie and the Iron Man sequels – not so much.

Still worth a watch though….

Other voices:
Rotten Tomatoes


The Man in the High Castle.

Sun ,18/01/2015

So Amazon is trying to get on the ‘online studio/streaming’ bandwagon with a number of new pilots – most of which I haven’t paid attention to, but The Man in the High Castle is of particular interest, given that it’s based on a PKD book, one for which he won the Hugo back in the 60’s.

This the story of an alternate history where the Axis won WWI and divided up the world (specifically the USA for the plot of the book) between them. The story flips between the East Coast (dominated by Nazis), West Coast (run by the Japanese) and a central ‘neutral zone’ (I think it was called the Colorado Free State in the booK).

After some stupid tech issues, I finally got the video to run – the first episode is free, although it does make you log in with your Amazon account. Not sure if they are doing a miniseries (like the initial return of BSG was before it became a full-on series) or trying to extend the original story beyond that of the novel, but it’s an interesting start, and well-made so far. I liked the several Seattle ‘architectural cameos’ in it – nice touch, Bezos – and I liked that the actors aren’t big names – for a series like this, I think that in many ways detracts from the story, especially with an ensemble cast.

Definitely interested to see more – although now I may need to take a spin back through the original book too, as it’s been so long since I read it. Hoping they do this justice like A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report or Blade Runner – and NOT like the recent adaptations of The Hobbit (for which JRR T must be doing backflips in his grave about now) but time will tell….here’s a clip:


The most powerful cornholio in history…

Sun ,21/12/2014

it’d be funnier if it weren’t so close to the truth…..!



Ghost in the Shell: Arise

Wed ,03/12/2014

longtime readers – Hmmm…. – may have seen the previous posts on Ghost in the Shell – both the movies and the 2 TV Series. recently a ‘prequel’ 4-episode miniseries was done that arguably fits ahead of all of them in time, although it’s closest in plot, characters and mentality to the two TV series – Ghost in the Shell:Arise.

So these episodes are a bit of a mix – they attempt to tell more of Motoko’s backstory (I can’t remember if they did much in the series with this, certainly not the movies, with this, barring one notable episode) – and they show the forming of the team (Motoko, Batou, Borma, Paz, Saito and Togusa with Aramaki as the Chief) that continues in the two series. And they attempt to include the other characters a bit more than seen previously (in the series it’s all about Motoko, Batou and Aramaki with Togusa in close second, the rest of the team have fairly 2-dimensional roles) although with four episodes there isn’t much time for that.

Here they also develop Motoko’s origins in Army Intelligence prior to joining Section 9, which is interesting but definitely not explained enough. And her former captain (Kurutsu) is seen throughout this series, in part as a foil, in part as a potential adversary? It’s not really clear.

Like all the Ghost series and movies, the animation is top-notch, and the visuals are always interesting and offbeat. And in addition to the backstory development mentioned above, there are at least two major plot lines through the four series in parallel, and those are sometimes hard to follow but interesting also.

The Section 9 ‘think tanks’ (Tachikomas in the two TV series) are seen here as earlier versions called ‘Logicomas’ – while the characters sometimes slam their capabilities as outdated or inferior, they seem as useful as the later versions – and not quite as silly in voice characterization as the later Tachikomas are).

And another interesting side topic is the infrequent commentary on ‘cyberization’ of humans – the human dream of merging man with machine – as well as the flip side of it being forced on people in part due to corporate greed. I found it kind of ironic that the people (with one exception) doing most of the commentary on this in the show are full cyborgs (all the members of Section 9 excepting Togusa and Aramaki).

I would say that besides the first movie, the first TV series (namely the Laughing Man story cycle within) would be my favorite – but this mini-series is very well done and definitely next in line – there’s likely sufficient timeline available for yet another between this series and the events in Stand Alone Complex, certainly. Like Initial D, Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell rarely disappoints and ranks right up there with the best anime – can’t wait for the next one!