Review of Hulk Vs.

January 31, 2009
Wolverine shitting himself in fear.

Not seen: Wolverine shitting himself in fear.

My nerdiness rears its ugly head yet again, as I’m here to give a review of something that probably nobody reading this cares about: the Hulk Vs. animated films.
Since we’ve been entertained thoroughly by recent comic-to-film adaptations (well, some adaptations), I thought I’d take one for the team and watch and review the Hulk Vs. movies, especially since they may have fallen under everyone’s radar. Since these two features are in a direct-to-video set, you’d be inclined to think that they’re hit-or-miss, and they are, but they’re entertaining for what they are nonetheless.

First up on the chopping block is Hulk Vs. Wolverine, which I’m sad to say is the weakest of the two features. Given that this film focuses on two of the most well-known characters from Marvel Comics, you’d think that this one would be the best; however, that’s not the case.

The story begins with Wolverine being forced by the Canadian government to track down the Hulk as he has laid waste to a small village in British Columbia. Why was Wolverine specifically chosen to do this? That’s been left a mystery, but what we are told is that Wolverine has to find the Hulk before he causes any more property damage. After a little snooping, Wolverine’s tracking skills lead him to the big green guy himself, and before you can say Weapon X, both Hulk and Wolverine are captured by a veritable rogues gallery of characters who have a personal vendetta against the ragin’ Canadjun.

And here is the point where things begin to derail.

My main problem with the film comes down to motivation. I’m aware that one can only tell so much story in 40 minutes (both features together add up to be about an hour and a half), so some characters’ backstories will have to fall to the wayside. However, when your entire roster of villains in a story have no story of their own, it all just seems like mindless violence.

Why does Lady Deathstrike hate Wolverine so much?
How do Deadpool and Wolverine know each other so well?
Who, or what, in the hell is Omega Red?

If you can’t answer these questions off the top of your head, you should either head to Wikipedia for a little educational course in comic lore or just accept this film as a series of completely mindless, unmotivated, violent scenes. And yes, there’s quite a bit of violence to be had. Plenty of death, blood and loss of limbs — no joke.

(As an aside, Hulk and Wolverine fight each other for maybe a minute or two before they’re sidetracked into this separate story…. So why is it called Hulk Vs. Wolverine, exactly?)

The biggest saving grace (or most distracting element, depending on your point of view) is Deadpool, the Merc with a mouth. They really nail that character down and make him a nice compliment to the other villains. He’s genuinely funny and is definitely the most memorable part of the cartoon, hands down. Seeing him here actually makes me look forward to see how Ryan Reynolds will portray him in the upcoming X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie.

The next feature is Hulk Vs. Thor, which, despite my preconceived notions, was actually quite good. Unlike Hulk Vs. Wolverine, Hulk Vs. Thor sets up the world and the characters, and at no point did I ever find myself looking for plot holes or character motivation. Perhaps it’s because the makers of this feature knew that not that many people know Thor, so they did a more thorough job of explaining things. Then again, my passing knowledge of Norse mythology probably didn’t hurt in understanding, either.

The story takes place on the last day of Odin’s winter sleep, where the minions of darkness lay defeated at the hands of the defenders of the Norse god kingdom of Asgard. Loki, Norse god of Petulant Assholishness and Goofy Headwear, brings the Hulk to the realm of the gods and takes over his mind in order to use him as a weapon in one last, desperate bid to destroy Thor and rule Asgard.

The story, despite being only about 40 minutes long, still manages to not only give clear explanation as to what’s going on, but it also provides some twists and turns to the story. Not only that, but the animation is even better in this cartoon than in HVW. Given the epic nature of this story and the fact that it focuses on warring gods who fight with swords and sorcery in a mystical kingdom, the whole feature felt a little like an animated Lord of the Rings cartoon… except the Hulk is there. Which is awesome.

Whether you’re a fan of the comics or not, I’d recommend watching Hulk Vs. Thor… should you find yourself with the option to watch it. It’s not so great that you should go out of your way and buy it immediately, but it’s worth a rent… or download, depending on your views of video piracy.

Overall, this set is candy for the comic faithful, but won’t convert the uninitiated.
Hulk Vs. Wolverine – 6/10
Hulk Vs. Thor – 8/10


WHAT THE–!?: Dog Edition

January 21, 2009

Deep in the semi-arctic tundra known as Russia, there lives a beast. It is a foul creature, as terrifying as it is large. It could swallow a double decker bus with its gaping maw, and it prays on the villagers of–

I’m kidding — it’s just a dog. An enormous dog, but still, it’s just a dog… despite appearances.

Oh my God.

Oh my God.

The breed name of this monstrous, furry beast is the Caucasian Shepherd, also known as the Caucasian Mountain Dog.
“But, Boone,” you say with a condescending tone. “That dog isn’t white. Why call it Caucasian?”
It’s named after the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia.
“But you said Russia and–”
There’s a Georgia in Asia, too; not just the United States.
“Oh.”

Holy shit.

Holy shit.

The dog was specifically bred to protect livestock, primarily sheep. It would literally walk with the sheep, blend in with the herd and then attack approaching wolves. Despite being dark in color, the dog can blend in with a sheep herd because of its bushy fur. Also, it’s about the same size as a full grown sheep.
It can grow to be up to 29 inches tall from shoulder to feet and can weigh up to 160 lbs. In other words, no matter who you are, odds are that it’s about as big as you are, if not bigger.

Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ.

If you think this dog is cute and might make a good pet, you might want to wait a moment. The breed has a decent temperament and is great around children, but won’t respect/listen to them. In fact, the dog only responds to people whom it sees as being superior to it. Basically, it has a very “alpha dog” mentality and is not recommended for anyone who isn’t completely serious and experienced in handling dogs. However, should you actually train this dog, it’s apparently very loyal and protective… not to mention terrifying to intruders.

AAAAAHHHH!

AAAAAHHHH!

And because I know you’re curious, this is what they look like as a puppy.

Only 2 months old... WTF

Only 2 months old... WTF


National Body Challenge 2009

January 9, 2009

Before I get into this blog entry, I have to give credit where credit is due; a friend of mine (Thanks, Emily!) pointed me to a completely absurd commercial that I just had to talk about.
It’s insane and goofy, yet filled with mixed messages. And people in food costumes.

I’m of course talking about the new commercial for Discovery Health’s National Body Challenge 2009.
Haven’t seen it? You’re not alone. But hey, thanks to YouTube, you’re going to get an education!

Ooooookaaay…? Odd.
For the sake of this post, let’s ignore the weird quasi-fetish on display here (what would you call that, anyway — dressing in a food costume and porking…. A Foody, perhaps?) and focus on the message.

Based on the commercial, it’s implied that the fast foods are the ones who are caring, long-lasting lovers who crave attention and that vegetables are the attractive new flings. Shouldn’t that be flipped around? I mean, I eat burgers and pizza because, even though I know they’re bad for me, they’re exciting and tasty. Does anyone outside of a PeTA rally really see healthy vegetables as the exciting alternative to hamburgers and fries?

Here’s a more honest (debatable) and funnier (because I wrote it) approach to the concept of that commercial….

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It’s completely dark. Obscured by shadows, a woman in a celery costume flips on a light to reveal herself and her surroundings. She’s inside a house, specifically a bedroom, and she drops the suitcase she had been carrying. She enthusiastically says, “I’m home, honey! Did you miss me?”
As she speaks, she looks up and sees a man in bed with a woman dressed in a hamburger outfit. The man, completely startled, whimpers out a pathetic, “Hi…. I… didn’t expect you home so–-”
In complete shock, celery-woman runs out of the room and puts a hand to her mouth to try to hold back from openly sobbing.
The man, dressed in a wife-beater and boxer shorts, desperately follows her outside while calling out to her. “Honey? Honey, come back!”

Outside, celery-woman is crying, her face buried in her hands as she’s leaning against the side of the house. The man comes out of the front door and runs to her. “It’s not what it looks like. She was–-”
Celery-woman socks the man in the eye.
“How could you!?” she says through gritted teeth. “How could you do this to me? Don’t you care about me at all? After all I’ve done, I…. I feel like an idiot.” She turns away from him in disgust.
There’s an awkward pause.

“How many times?” she asks.
“Oh, Sheila, that’s–-”
“Just answer me — how many times, and don’t lie to me! How many times did you go behind my back to be with her, or others like — oh God, are there others!? Oh no! No, don’t say anything! I don’t even want to know! I feel sick just thinking about it.”
“Look, I–-” The man tries to put his arms around her, but she slaps his hands away.
“No!” she yells at him. “Don’t you even touch me!”

The two stare at each other in an uncomfortable silence. The man sees pain in her eyes — pain he caused her. She breathes in deeply, holds her chin up and approaches him.
“You’re sick, Jerry,” she says with a matter-of-fact tone. “You’re a pig. And I hope you can live with yourself and what you’ve done.”

Celery-woman walks to her car and drives away. The man collapses to his knees and starts sobbing. The screen fades to black, and white letters appear on the screen: “Vegetables deserve to be treated better. Start eating right today.”

==================

I think I need to stop writing about relationships and couples fighting. People might begin to suspect things aren’t on the up-and-up with me.


Happy Birthday!

January 6, 2009

happy-birthday-prissy

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SIS!


Cinematic Titanic

January 3, 2009

Sorry for being gone for so long, friends. I’ve been busy… I mean, lazy.

Before I get into the main thrust of this post, I’d like to briefly mention the film The Spirit. Not long ago, I wrote about how I thought the movie was going to suck, and I’d like to point out that I stated that before there were any advance reviews of the film.

Well, The Spirit is out now, and I recently dragged one of my friends along to go watch it with me. My reasoning was that if the film was going to be bad, I didn’t want to suffer through it alone.
I wrote an in-depth review of the film elsewhere on the internet, so if you’re curious about my thoughts, click [here].

Now… where was I? Oh yeah! I was going to tell you about going to see Cinematic Titanic live in Chicago.

For those who still need a refresher on it, Cinematic Titanic is the latest pet project of Joel Hodgson, creator and former host of the show, Mystery Science Theater 3000. CT (as it will be called from here on out) is basically MST3K except without the forced plots and commercial breaks. Oh, and you get to see the whole film. (MST3K would sometimes edit movies to fit in the time allotted.)

Now that we’re all up to speed, I went to the live performance with a few friends (and a friend of a friend). I had heard that for live performances, the cast of CT would perform films that hadn’t come to DVD. On a whim, I checked out if the film we were going to see was listed on their website, and it was. After seeing its title, we were all a ‘twitter. The title of the craptacular film we were going to see was called… drum roll please… Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks. Allow me to repeat that so you can soak it in….

FRANKENSTEIN’S CASTLE OF FREAKS.

That title just reeks of awfulness, doesn’t it?
Despite the adage that you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can certainly judge this film by its title because it was terrible. It had one of the most incomprehensible plots I have ever seen, and I’ve watched Manos: The Hands of Fate and The Star Wars Holiday Special.

The plot and its details are sketchy at best, so the only thing that I can say for certain about the film was that it centered around Count Frankenstein’s (yes, I said, “Count”) eponymous “castle of freaks” and the experiments he conducts there. Early in the film, Franky’s niece shows up for no reason*, along with her financé and her beguiling and busty best friend who just happens to get naked a lot. Oh, and a hunchback and a shrewish, heavy-set scullery maid slap each other around and have rough sex. Also, a dwarf befriends a caveman. And this film takes place in nineteenth century Romania.

-coughs-

Seriously, this film is all kinds of messed up. Then again, what would you expect from an English language Italian film made in the 1970s?

The general feeling of the whole night was really loose. The performers had their scripts perched on music stands while they sat off to the sides of the stage. In center stage, an enormous screen was pulled down for the film to project on to. It was like a roundtable Q&A session, except they were facing away from us.

The CT cast was really excited, and you could tell they enjoyed being there. There was a great sense of comedic spirit and comraderie amongst them — when someone’s joke went over well, the other members would applaud them or give them a thumb’s up. At one point, Frank Conniff actually turned around and thanked us for laughing at his joke because he didn’t think anyone would get it.

As expected, the whole evening was great. The CT crew had a film that was perfect to make fun of, and they did an awesome job of ripping it a new one. I had an absolute blast.
But then I went and humiliated myself at the meet-and-greet after the show.

300px-crow_t_robot

My favorite cast member from MST3K was Trace Beaulieu, the actor behind Crow T. Robot and Dr. Clayton Forrester. Since he is a member of CT, he was there that night, and he stuck around to sign autographs and speak to the fans. I got all excited at the chance to speak with him…. Unfortunately, I made such an ass out of myself that I didn’t actually get to “talk” to him.
Here’s a general synopsis on how the interaction went….

(I approach him, giggling like a school girl near her crush.)
TRACE: “Well, look at you! You’re downright giddy!”
ME: Pthbth frrvnt thbpt shmnk thhfnerrrr….
(He signs my copy of Cinematic Titanic: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians)
TRACE: “I hope you liked the show!”
ME: “Shmengy thmem nrptk ngtkomlrkr.”
TRACE: “Thanks for coming down!”
(I’m then pushed down the line to meet the rest of the cast.)
ME: “I LIKED YOUR SHOW!”

Luckily, I wasn’t such an ass-hat around the rest of the cast. And I must say, Joel couldn’t have been nicer. He was really outgoing and happy to be there — shaking hands, smiling and taking photos with fans. You just got a good vibe off of him.
Frank Conniff, on the other hand, was sick as hell. He mentioned before the show that he got a cold coming into Chicago, but it didn’t seem to hinder his performance. Afterwards, it was really apparent that he was under the weather, and considering how crappy our weather has been, that’s saying something.

It was a great night. I wish I could watch their riffing of the movie all over again.

…Hey, wait a minute….

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*That’s not entirely true. When the gang arrives at Frankenstein’s castle, they mention that the niece and her financé came “for their wedding.” Since this “wedding” never takes place and is only spoken of in a single line of dialog with no mention of it again throughout the whole film, I’m chalking their visit up to “no reason.”