So the first thing that Swamp Thing wants you to know about swamps is that swamps are terrible.
Coptering into the movie on a super shitty afternoon, which communicates to me that they could only afford to rent the helicopter for one day and couldn’t wait for the rain to stop, here comes Ms. Adrienne Barbeau, all dressed up in a suit and a disdainful expression.
She’s flying in from Washington as part of a government operation that’s so secret, they won’t even tell the audience which branch they work for. There’s a scientist around here somewhere, under all the cloud cover, who insists on doing top-secret voodoo science in a rusty old whack shack out on the far edge of the forbidden zone, surrounded by two feet of water as far as the eye can see, and a lot of drippy, decaying junk that apparently we’re supposed to think of as “the environment” these days.
As far as I can tell, the scientist is supposed to stay locked up in the house all the time and recombine DNA or whatever; the one time we see him go outside for a minute, he gets screamed at for breaking protocol. So why does he need to have his lab in the middle of the least convenient location in the continental US? People say that remote work is the new normal but look what happens.
Continue reading Swamp Thing 3.4: Love and Death
Well, this is going to put quite the crimp in the East Houston Cultural Arts and Ballet Festival coming up in a couple weeks. The orchestra is currently on fire, the dance studio no longer exists, and the recital hall has half of a burning helicopter in it. We’re going to have to cancel the Poetry Slam, and we won’t have time to dedicate the new wing of the East Houston Public Library, even if we manage to dig it out from under the rubble. This is going to set the local art scene back like you wouldn’t believe.
I’m kidding, of course; the population of East Houston, Idaho consists entirely of leering comedy hillbillies, and that’s why it’s okay to murder them and demolish their shitty business district.
Continue reading Superman II 2.27: Think Globally, Kill Locally
Let’s face it, transportation in Metropolis is fraught with peril. Just seven minutes ago, a detective was pushed in front of a train, and now there’s a busted helicopter dangling precariously over the edge of a tall building. Elsewhere in Metropolis tonight, there’s going to be a car chase and a shootout on a boat, and Air Force One is going to be one engine short when it lands in Metropolis Airport. Honestly, you can’t even walk down the street in Metropolis without getting mugged. It seems like if you want to go anywhere in this town, you need to have Superman specifically move you from one spot to another. Otherwise, it’s probably best if you just stay put.
But let’s focus on the current crisis, which is Lois and the helicopter. As I talked about yesterday, this helicopter rescue scene is a very complex sequence with lots of exciting action shots, and it took twelve months to complete, using just about every method of special effects available except rubber monsters. So today I want to take a look at the helicopter that can’t fly, the rooftop that isn’t a rooftop, and the building that’s only about two-thirds of the building.
Continue reading Superman 1.53: The Heights
“Her light is growing faint,” Peter says, “and if it goes out, that means she is dead! She says…” Dramatic pause. “She thinks she could get well again if children believed in fairies!”
The children in the audience stir, surprised, as Peter Pan turns to implore them from across the footlights. Their attention isn’t enough, all of a sudden. “Do you believe in fairies?” he asks them. “Say quick that you believe! If you believe, clap your hands!”
They clap, of course. What else could they do? J.M. Barrie has constructed a dramatic trap that snaps shut on every kid in the theater: if Tinker Bell dies, then you personally are an asshole.
Continue reading Superman 1.52: Clap Your Hands