A few more Watchmen thoughts:
I think Alan Sepinwall’s review pretty much nails it. He correctly identifies Malin Akerman (Silk Spectre II) and Matthew Goode (Ozymandius) as the weak links. Part of Goode’s problem is an actor’s conceit that ultimately works against his character. Picking up on a reference in the book to Ozy’s German parents, he adoptes the notion that Ozy uses an American accent while in public, but drops back into his native voice when ensconced in his lair. As his heritage is never mentioned in the film, the Germanic accent arrives from nowhere and has the unfortunate side-effect of making Ozy seem exactly the sort of stock villain he claims not to be.
On the graphic violence: I went back to the book last night and found that I was wrong about the difference being simply one of a stationary medium versus one in motion. Snyder definitely ratcheted up the gore. Some of it can be excused; I would argue that the bone-breaking on display in the alley scuffle could be viewed as a deconstruction of movie fight scenes similar to the way that the graphic novel deconstructs superhero tropes. However, the method in which the film dispatches Big Figure’s henchman during the jailbreak strikes me as entirely gratuitous; in the original, the violence occurs mostly off-panel and in a far less gruesome manner.
It’s been pointed out to me that I haven’t blogged in some time. Indeed, when I logged into this site this morning, I was surprised to find that it had been longer than even I’d thought: twelve days since the last post. So, to the dozen of people who stroll by here on occasion, my apologies.
I attribute the silence to a combination of work-related issues, a massive amount of cleaning necessitated by the aftermath of Basement 2.1, and the visit of my good friend Dave Lartigue, who has been staying with us since last Friday while handling his own work-related issues here in Champaign.
Oh, and an awful lot of Spore. Once I hit the Space Stage of the game, I found the experience very addictive. The Spore galaxy is made up of what appears to be thousands of star systems. And unlike a lot of space exploration games, you are by no means expected to visit them all. I have perhaps a dozen or so planets in my little empire, and they’re about all I can effectively manage. It seems as if I’m always being called home to handle some sort of environmental disaster or fend off yet another attack by the Grox.
Ah, the Grox. The constant thorn in the side of every Spore player. A thoroughly belligerent alien species that starts the game pissed off at the player and generally grows in anger with each successive contact. I understand that it’s possible to come to terms, and even to ally with the Grox, but at the cost of every other species in the game hating you.
When one isn’t defending colonies from the Grox, there’s a lot to do. I particularly enjoy terraforming planets to support my type of life form. Over time, the player acquires tools that allow one to coax the atmosphere and temperature into the habitable range, and then to transport various species abducted from other planets to form a “food web.” I like watching the planetary conditions change in response to my ministrations, and love the planetary sculpting and painting functions. The latter make me feel like I’m one of the custom planet-designers from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
While I may have found some of the earlier stages of Spore a bit lacking, what I do like about them is the way that they inform this final section of the game. A player will find planets at every level of development. Back in the Creature Stage, one would experience mysterious circumstances such as meteor showers or hovering spacecraft abducting fellow nestmates. In the Space Stage, the player is the one calling down those meteors and snatching the locals.
In addition, the online aspect of Spore means that your personal galaxy is filled with a potentially infinite number of life forms and structures designed by other players. There’s always something new to find.
This weekend, while Dave L. was asleep fighting off a bad cold, I decided to make the perilous journey to the galactic core. Which, unfortunately, is surrounded by thousands of star systems…all inhabitated by angry Grox. After a dozen or so tries, I finally reached it. And met Steve, of whom I will speak no more.
And then I buzzed the Grox world closest to the core, and dropped a Planet Buster bomb on it. It felt good.
To be honest, I don’t have much to write about the Motorcycle Apaches. They were Indians. On motorbikes instead of horses. And their leader was Geronimo, who was known to shout “Meeeeeeeeee!” as he rode into battle.
The Apaches regularly harassed convoys on their way to the Space Development Base, so it was up to Speed to convey the latest shipment of Uraniumtane in the trunk of the Mach 5. Meanwhile, Spritle and Chim-Chim were tasked with driving an old-fashioned wagon full of food to the same base, along a different route. Ultimately, it turned out that Speed was a decoy and that Spritle’s wagon actually carried the Uraniumtane, because the U.S. space program often put children and monkeys in charge of their radioactive materials.
The reason I bring all this up is not to praise the Motorcycle Apaches, but to comment on the far freaky dream Spritle had while en route to the space base. In it, he saw himself as a Western gunslinger riding into a bandit-ridden town to go all Sergio Leone on their asses.
That’s right: an afternoon kids’ show featured a school-age child gunning down outlaws. Sure, everything except Spritle was rendered as still images in some sort of chalk-and-charcoal style, but that’s still what appears to be a gout of blood erupting from that bad guy’s chest.
Here’s some more:
And then, because it wasn’t disorienting enough, the masked Spritle was romantically serenaded by Queen Starsha of Iscandar. Thank you, early ’70s syndicated TV, for rocking my world.
By the way, I believe “The Masked Spritle” would be a terrible name for a professional wrestler.
Gawker has posted a marvelous three-minute video compilation of local TV news reporters being beaten, trampled, mauled, bitten, buried in snow, annoyed by dogs, and run over by everything from snowboarders to airplanes. I’m pretty sure at least a couple of them died. You can watch the carnage here.
Updated: I wondered whether the guy getting hit by a plane had been faked. Nope. And he lived.
So did the exploding woman: she’s Anthea Turner, whose long British TV career included a stint (and Vic will appreciate this) as a host for Blue Peter.
Not sure about the guy run over by a horse.