Tuesday, June 25, 2013

General Zod is a lousy tactician.

Spoilers ahead.

I recently watched Man of Steel. It's exactly the movie you'd expect: larger than life, artfully shot and kind of lacking in character development. Oh, and the soundtrack is FANTASTIC.

Like the recent movie, Star Trek Into Darkness, there were some interesting themes that could have elevated the movie from good to great. But studios seem to be afraid of exploring bigger ideas. For instance, one of the themes in Man of Steel is a legitimate fear of an all-powerful being. After the final battle, that surely yielded ten of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of casualties, that concern seems valid. The film, however, never addresses the consequences. It never shows us the people who died in the epic battle. Sure Superman saves the planet, but at what cost? Can you protect humanity without losing your own? What happens when the people you save hate you for it?

These are heady questions for another time. Perhaps in the sequel.

Instead, let’s talk about General Zod. Zod is a lousy tactician. Embarrassingly bad. I suspect the character must have originally been called General Zed and that there were 25 generals before him—General A, General B, etc. Because Zod most certainly graduated last in his class. Again SPOILERS.

1. He has superior alien technology and weapons, but doesn't use them effectively. Once on Krypton and even on his own ship, blasters are used to take down Kryptonians, but Zod never once thinks to use them on Superman. Wha??? He even has a pointy stick he uses effectively early on and yet he never brings that little number out to use on the Man of Steel. WHA???

2. He has a numbers advantage, yet doesn’t press it. There seemed to be about a dozen Kryptonians featured on the Phantom Zone ship. There’s only one Superman. That’s a dozen to one. AND ZOD BLOWS IT. Does he send a dozen to take down Kal-El? Nope. He sends two (2) Kryptonians to fight hand-to-hand. That's right: Hand-to-hand.

3. He doesn't understand basic defensive strategy. Zod is a clod. He has a dozen Kryptonians to start. Sure, Superman, Lois and a hologram (don’t ask) take out another 3-5. That still leaves Zod, a creepy scientist and about six soldiers. 
Floating perimeter, yes?

If you assume that it takes one person to run a ship and there are two of them (Creepy Scientist runs one and Zod runs the other) that still leaves three soldiers to form a nice floating defensive perimeter around each machine. 
Like a helmet!

If you have an extra, you add them to the top to cover an aerial assault. 

Super swooper up the pooper.

And, yes, you still leave yourself exposed underneath because you are, after all, a super villain. Butlet's face itthe crime you’re committing shouldn’t be lousy tactical execution.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Romancing the Screen.

This past weekend, I participated in my first 48 Hour film competition. Tonight is the screening. That's right, people, I woke up a big shot.

It was a blast. And an utter failure--we had technical difficulties at the end that delayed us, thus putting us out of contention for the main prizes (c'mon People's Choice Award!). But it was also a blast.

Some highlights:
  1. Assembling a team of six highly talented guys.
  2. Showing up to the genre drawing and getting assigned "Romance" (see point number 1).
  3. Having our friends/arch-nemeses also draw "Romance". 
  4. Calling/begging/pleading a few women to come out and film a few scenes (well, okay, that's every weekend).
  5. Working with the idea of "Girlfriend in a Coma" to limit the amount of female camera time.
  6. Coming up with something more exciting and hilarious.
  7. Writing until the wee hours of the morning.
  8. Having the subject matter go in areas you never expected or intended.
  9. Outstanding special guest stars.
  10. Biting body parts to keep from ruining a take from laughing too hard.
  11. Texting our arch-nemeses "Today is daylight savings time, so you have an extra hour".
  12. Having that come back to bite us in the a$$. 
I'll post/link to the final once we're able.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Zookeeper Wanted

I always felt like the now defunct show, 30 Rock, worked best when the main character, Liz Lemon, was a normal person in the midst of abnormal circumstances. She was my conduit into the crazy, zany world of high-powered executives, diva superstars and country bumpkin pages, without feeling like I was any of them. No matter how insane the plots became or how implausible the storylines, I could relate to Liz and her frustrations. The show was dynamite in Seasons 1 & 2. And then Liz became weird, too. It started slowly with a few “working woman” plots and then “I can’t get a date” and then “I’m so quirky” and before you knew it, she was just as wacky as Tracey or Jenna. When it’s all animals and no zookeeper … there’s going to be a lot of poop.

Which brings me to the latest “season” of Arrested Development. Michael was the normal person in the midst of abnormal circumstances. He grounded the show and Seasons 1 & 2 were dynamite. And then, in Season 3, Michael dated a mentally handicapped person and the show was soon cancelled. But there was still some love because, if nothing else, the writing crackled on that show.

Season 4 is more art project than sitcom. It is wildly ambitious with a darkness to match. Shockingly dark. For all the talk of a movie, it sure feels like the creators wanted to salt the Earth so that nothing else would grow.

That’s not to say it’s not hilarious* or ingenious, but it’s not the same sort of dysfunction it once was. Dystopian dysfunction, perhaps?

And I blame Michael’s character journey for that. He Liz Lemon’d it. Or to put it in the show’s vernacular: He blue’d himself.

*Andy Ritcher(s)