A synopsis of Thor

Last night, I saw Thor. Here is a synopsis of the movie: God sends his son to earth, who dies and is resurrected, saves mankind and ascends to the right hand of the father, where he reigns on high until he will return again. (In the Avengers.)

Wait. I think I read that before somewhere.

Thor wasn’t life-changing, and it was somewhat formulaic, but it was passable. There were no obvious plot holes, and there was lots of punching and smashing and attractive-looking humans. (If you’re into that sort of thing.) I recall thinking at one point that the music was partly plagiarised. Some of the things that were supposed to be funny weren’t. Oh well. I did like Loki. I found that by the end I was rooting for him, and hoping that he would turn out to be the hero in the end, through his trickiness.

A funny thing happened to me at the theatre. For those of you who haven’t seen me recently, I’ve recently buzzed my hair to a length of approximately 3mm. I blame my current hairstyle for what happened at the theatre.

A guy came in wearing a red bandana on his head. He sat down as close to me as he could (my big black leather jacket was occupying the intervening seat—thank goodness) and he asked if I was “Justin Timberlake.” (Justin Timberlake is an American musician who has his hair buzzed short in some of the photographs that I found on Google.)

I told him that I’m not. He stayed right next to me the whole time, and after the film, he tried to make awkward conversation with me a number of times. I think he seriously believed that I was this famous person. He followed me around a little but I lost him by the time I got to the métro station.

An alternate ending to Inception

General review of Inception

Warning: Don’t read this post if you haven’t watched Inception or Shutter Island and plan to, and don’t want the movie spoiled for you beforehand. There’s spoilers.

I saw the movie, Inception, this weekend past. I liked it. I don’t know if it’s one of those movies I’d watch again and again, but I’m glad I saw it.

First off, I thought that the special effects were very visually appealing, but not over-done, by which I mean that I didn’t feel like the film was driven by the special effects. The fight scene with Tommy from 3rd Rock from the Sun in zero-gravity was Matrix-esque, but for some reason, it didn’t look completely ridiculous like most of the reality-defying scenes in the Matrix. Not only that, but the zero-gravity scenes weren’t “gratuitous.” By this, I mean that often fancy special effects are added just because they look cool in the movie trailer, and not because they are needed to advance the plot. In this case, the zero-gravity scene, for example, was a part of the story.

The premiss of the film—people entering other people’s dreams—was interesting, although not entirely original, which is okay. I was engaged by it, and able to suspend disbelief throughout. I have to say, though, about halfway, I remarked that there would have to be some sort of unexpected dream-within-a-dream at some point. I felt really vindicated at the end.

I kind of think of this movie as a combination of a number of other ones. It’s 1/2 Paprika (2006) + 1/8 The Matrix  (1999) + 1/4 Shutter Island (2010) + 1/8 Ocean’s Eleven (2001). I was reminded of Ocean’s Eleven because of the way it started—the protagonist putting together this team of super-criminals so that he could pull of a really daring heist.

And of course I’m sure that I’m not the first to notice certain parallels to Shutter Island. Probably because it shared a few relevant details:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Looks really grungy the whole time
  • Kills his wife
  • Wife, children haunt him from beyond the grave
  • Plot twist at the end

Alternate ending to Inception

So here is the alternate ending to the film that I propose: Just push the “stop” button about 30 seconds before the film actually ends. Et voilà. Totally new movie.

My family’s favourite Christmas movie

Little Shop of Horrors
Little Shop of Horrors

For some people, it’s that terrible stop-motion animated feature about Rudolph-the-red-nosed-reindeer, and for others it’s one of the millions of adaptations of A Christmas Carol. In the same way that there are certain smells or decorations or sounds that remind different people of Christmas, there are movies that do the same thing. It’s almost Pavlovian.

But for me and my family (except for my older sister, who likes to pretend she doesn’t like it) our favourite film to watch at Christmas-time is Little Shop of Horrors.

Five points for whoever can give me the weirdest true Christmas tradition that their family regularly observes. It has to be something real, and it has to be something that is done regularly.

I just remembered

District 9
District 9

I just remembered why it is that I posted my review of District 9 under bioethics.

[There is a medium-grade spoiler in this post, so if you want to know nothing about the film before you see it, stop reading.]

I realised while watching the movie that my bioethical training has been having an effect on me. There is a scene toward the beginning of the film, where the main character is about to be cut up and his organs harvested for scientific experiments, against his will, while he is still conscious. When I saw that, I was struck with the horror of the idea of that happening to someone, but in my mind, all my objections were couched in the language of academic bioethics:

“He has not given informed consent for this research!”

“They are breaking the Dead Donor Rule!”

“That action is contrary to all four of Beauchamp and Childress’s principles of medical ethics!”

If you can name all four of Beauchamp and Childress’s principles, then you get 8 points. Two for each one.

It was much better than I thought it would be

District 9 Poster
District 9 Poster

District 9 was a very good movie. I was surprised. I didn’t think that I would like it, but Pickles and I went to see it and it was certainly worth our time.

There is certainly violence in this movie, but the violence wasn’t gratuitous—it always serves the storyline.

The story itself is engaging and I found the characters convincing. The story also serves to make a commentary on human nature, generally.

This is very grown-up sci-fi, in that the aliens are not there just because it’s cool to put funny make-up on people. (To be honest, I think they were computer-generated anyway.) The way that they look is an essential part of the telling of the story. One immediately has a gut reaction against the “prawns,” due to their physical appearance. The way that one comes around to see things from the perspective of the aliens by the end of the film is a very clever bit of storytelling, and it’s worth the time to watch it.

I liked the way that it ended, with a bit of mystery. As much as I liked this film, I don’t think I would want to see it again, though. It was really quite graphic.