07/10/2005: Tying up a few loose ends....
Things have been busier than average in my professional and personal lives, not so busy that I have had to curtail blogging (though that may be coming shortly), but busy enough that I've had to pick and choose what I want to blog about, and I've occasionally not gotten to everything I've wanted to blog about. A few things that I meant to mention, until the press of other activity pushed them so far down the stack that I was worried I'd never get to them:
- Coca-Cola Zero has hit the Memphis area. Actually, my first taste of Coke Zero was on a short trip out of town to "meet a friend halfway" between us. First taste was Coke Zero in the 20 oz. bottle (actually two 20 oz. bottles; on on the way out and another on the return trip), and I had to confess that it wasn't completely taken by it, but at least it had a hint of the Coke Classic taste. Since then I've gotten ahold of a 12 pack of cans (seemingly the last one available at the Schnucks Union Avenue store when I bought it; that might just be a good sign), and the canned version has been much better than what I remember the bottled stuff being. The taste isn't quite Coke Classic (Chris Lawrence gets that right, unfortunately, since my Holy Grail is basically zero-calorie, sugar-free Coke Classic), but it's a damn sight closer to it than Diet Coke. I can but hope they get it closer in the future.
- I've seen War of the Worlds twice. Not so much because I needed to see it twice, or particularly wanted to, but the second time A Great And Good Friend had passes to see any show at a Malco theater, she needed to use them, and of all the movies she and I were jointly interested in seeing that was the one that appealed most to both of us. For a capsule review I'm going to steal the idea from BSTommy, but try to express it in different words: sometimes, it's fun to go to a movie just to watch things blow up. And in War of the Worlds, things blowed up good. Real good. So I definitely got my minimum summer's requirement of things blowing up good.
- I also went to see Fantastic Four. Before I give a capsule review of this one, I should give a shout out to BSTommy, who read of my desire to see the 1994 Roger Corman production of The Fantastic Four, and nobly volunteered to dupe a tape of this timeless classic from his own collection. His selfless contribution gave me something to compare the most recent FF to (I mean, besides comparing it to Every Other Superhero Movie Ever Made, that is).
Overall, the 2005 FF is much, much better than Corman's version. As it damn well better be, considering that it was actually made as a serious flick (well, more serious than the Corman version, which was made simply because it had to be made to preserve the legal rights to make it, and was never intended for a theatrical release (read: with a budget so small you'd have trouble seeing it with an electron microscope)). The Corman version, granted, is bad, but not excruciatingly or nauseatingly so; it's more like "failed TV pilot" bad. In fact, the Corman FF might have made a decent TV pilot (and with some actual commitment to the project it might have made a decent TV series during one of the periodic vogues for superhero TV series).
The 2005 FF isn't really that bad, I don't think. The plot and screenplay is around the level of Speilberg's War of the Worlds in terms of plot holes and extra suspension of disbelief required, but without the glaring continuity errors. To compare it to the competition, I don't think Batman Begins was strikingly better. The worst miscasting was Jessica Alba as Sue Storm, but at least we got a glimpse of Ms. Alba in her bra and panties as partial compensation. On the other hand, Michael Chiklis was outstanding as The Thing (a bit miscast for Ben Grimm in terms of his looks--if one wanted to go by strict faithfulness to the comics, but you can't have everything). All in all, I wouldn't necessarily pay full price to see it, but it was worth the price of a matinee admission, and is probably well worth the price of a rental when it hits the home video market.
Len on 07.10.05 @ 10:45 PM CST