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EG’s Movie Review – Knight Rider (2008 TV Movie)

February 18, 2008

WARNING:  SPOILERS FOR THE RECENTLY AIRED KNIGHT RIDER TV MOVIE ARE AHEAD.  IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW, THEN DON’T READ THIS.  SERIOUSLY.  I MEAN IT.  I TALK ABOUT ALL THE INTERESTING THINGS, INCLUDING THE SECRET APPEARANCE OF HERBIE, THE LOVE BUG, AS K.I.T.T.’S NEW LOVE INTEREST.  WELL, NO, NOT THAT, REALLY, BECAUSE IT DIDN’T HAPPEN, BUT THOSE ARE THE KINDS OF SURPRISES I COULD POSSIBLY RUIN IN THIS LITTLE REVIEW.  SO, IF YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT THE ZOMBIE BATTLE IN KNIGHT RIDER, DON’T READ THIS.  SORRY.  AGAIN, NO ZOMBIE BATTLE TAKES PLACE.  JUST AN EXAMPLE OF ME SPOILING.  GET IT?  GOT IT?  GOOD.

To the NBC executives:

Just… just stop, okay?

Please?

I beseech you.  Seriously.

Stop raping my childhood.

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, let us talk about the recently aired Knight Rider TV movie. 

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A day that will live… in infamy…

Here is what I came away with:  2008 Ford Shelby GT 500 KR Mustang.

Buy it.

Buy it now.

It is too cool not to buy.

Why aren’t you buying it?

If you were cool, you’d buy it.

Ah, yes, I sat through this 2 hour commercial.  Actually, I taped it so I could skip through the commercials.  Shockingly, I was able to watch the entire movie in about 8 minutes.

Just kidding. 

I subjected myself to the entire debacle, though, with so many of the actual commercials starring K.I.T.T. and the new guy driving the car, it was hard to figure out where to stop sometimes.

Oh, where do I begin with this?  How about an overview?

It is 2008, and Charles Graiman, the developer of the original K.I.T.T. has developed a computer program, called Prometheus, that basically controls every military computer for the United States.  And the bad guys come looking for it.

(Please note – in an effort not to offend anyone, the bad guys are the current standard, which include a British guy, an Asian guy, an African American guy, and a guy that is probably German, but not really focused on.  You looking for diversity on TV?  Look to the bad guys.  They may be evil, but they are openly welcoming of all races.)

They break into Graiman’s home and steal all his hard drives, but can’t access the information because it is encrypted.  Unfortunately, Graiman died of a heart attack when they broke in and threatened him.  Whoops.  They decide to go after his daughter to help them access the hard drives.

While rummaging through Graiman’s house, the bad guys “wake up” the new K.I.T.T., who goes speeding off to save Graiman’s daughter, Sarah.

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What do you mean?  I am acting!

Sarah teaches at Stanford, so K.I.T.T. goes there to pick her up.  Unfortunately, so do the bad guys.  K.I.T.T. saves her, and they go to find someone to help them – Mike Traceur, teenage sweetheart of Sarah, former Army Ranger, current sleazebag.  Why?  Because Graiman programmed K.I.T.T. to do that… for reasons that really don’t make much sense, but become obvious later.  They don’t make any more sense later, either, but you can see why the writers decided to go that direction.

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I’m a dork!

Meanwhile, we find Graiman wandering in the woods.  Turns out it wasn’t him in the house, but his body double.  Yep.  His body double.  He goes and finds Mike’s mom for help… for some reason.

Sarah and K.I.T.T. go pick up Mike in Las Vegas, and then get a message to meet her father.  And they drive… and drive.  Occassionally, the bad guys catch up to them, but they get away.

Finally, they all meet up at this dumpy little hotel.  Here is where Mike learns from his mother that his father is actually Michael Knight, who drove the previous K.I.T.T. 

Meanwhile, the bad guys start hacking into K.I.T.T., because, even though this Graiman guy could encrypt all of his computers to prevent the bad guys from getting access to Prometheus, he obviously couldn’t do that with K.I.T.T., because that would make sense, and we can’t have this movie making sense.

Then the bad guys come.  And, they kill Mike’s mother.  Because they are bad guys.

The leader of the bad guys leaves, telling his men to kill Mike and Sarah.  That’s right – he leaves, and just assumes they will be killed.  He doesn’t just shoot them right then and there.  He drives away while his men are just standing there, with the guns aimed at the good guys.

Guess what?  That’s right – Mike and Sarah manage to escape!

Shocking, huh?

Mike and Sarah take K.I.T.T., and, via defying any sense of realistic physics, save her father.

Next, we go to Mike’s mother’s funeral, where Graiman, master of tact that he is, offers Mike the chance to drive K.I.T.T. for the Foundation for Law and Government (just like his dad did).  Mike, to upset over all of this, declines.

But (you knew there would be a “but”), at the funeral, Michael Knight (the Hoff himself) shows up to lend the words of wisdom, “One man can make a difference.” 

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The things I will do for a paycheck…

(Of course, Mike seems all too accepting of his long lost father just appearing out of nowhere, let alone trying to give him advice at his mother’s funeral… but maybe its just me.)

Of course, Mike decides to accept the position of driving K.I.T.T., and things are all set for an ongoing series.

(By the way, there were about a dozen extra characters we met along the way, including a lesbian FBI agent and Mike’s comic relief buddy, shoehorned in for no real reason, but I didn’t really feel the need to highlight them.  You’re welcome.)

First off, I’m a huge fan of the original Knight Rider.  I also concede that the show doesn’t hold up that well, but it is still fun to watch.

I think that was the big problem with the new incarnation – it wasn’t fun to watch.

The movie just tried way too hard to be be taken seriously.  It wanted to be innovative and edgy.  It wanted to be dramatic.

Oh, man, did it want to be dramatic!

I am of the opinion that, generally speaking, action movies and new TV shows need to be plot-driven and not character-driven.  With action movies, I’m not really looking for character development, and with TV, there will be time enough for character development after an audience is hooked.  Trying to completely flesh out characters right at the start comes off laughible at best (forcing situations to become a microcosm of the character’s beliefs), and terribly tedious at worst.

With this movie, it went for the worst.  It seemed like entire chunks of this movie were just K.I.T.T., driving along, so that Mike and Sarah could “talk.”  As in “we need to talk,” not just shooting the breeze.

The dialogue was just atrocious.  Bad, bad writing.

The exchanges would’ve been horrible even with good actors, but, trust me, we didn’t have to worry about that.  The cardboard stand-ups they cast in this movie managed to amplify the terrible, forced characterization.

You wanna know how bad the acting was in this movie?  When David Hasselhoff came on the screen for his little cameo at the end, he comes off like Lawrence Olivier compared to what we saw up to that point.

Seriously.

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A spoiler?  Really?  Like this blocky car is going to lift off the ground?!?

Besides the writing and acting, everything else is just nit-picking for me.  I don’t like that K.I.T.T. is a boxy Mustang, I miss the low “woo-woo” sound from the red scanner on the front of K.I.T.T., there was no sign of the famous “Turbo Boost,” and, while Val Kilmer was fine, he was no William Daniels.

Overall, I wouldn’t sit through this movie again, and I doubt I’ll be checking out any future series based on it.  If I want to watch Knight Rider, there are DVD’s out there of the real thing; I don’t have to depend on this pale imitation. 

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Ooh, stylin’!

Besides, there is always the big budget Hollywood film that is supposed to be coming to theaters in 2010.  It certainly couldn’t be any worse.

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Preview Review – Amazing Spider-Man #552

February 12, 2008

Howdy, folks!  Yes, ’tis I, the long lost EG, posting yet another infrequent post!

Today, I’m going to introduce a new feature – the Preview Review! 

And what is the Preview Review?

No, really…

I’m asking, ‘cuz I don’t have a clue.

Oh, wait… now I remember.  It is where I find the preview pages offered online for an upcoming comic, and write a review of the issue based entirely on that.

(Hey, I’m giving these comics more of a chance than the average fanboy!  They don’t even wait for preview pages, they just pass judgment on a comic based on announcements and rumors!)

Today, we look at Amazing Spider-Man #552, the kick off of a new storyline from Bob Gale (writer) and Phil Jimenez.

First off, let’s take a look at the pretty variant cover:

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Ooh, snazzy, huh?  Yeah.  The only thing is, Spidey is taking a picture, pointing the camera at the reader.  Yet, in the reflection, we see some sort of scarred, wide-eyed lunatic.  A Marvel commentary on its readers, perhaps?  Oh, and to get this variant cover, you are actually going to have to pay extra to get insulted.  But, then again, I’ve been to the Comic Con International in San Diego… the crazed look may not be that far off.

On to the first page of the preview!

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Hey, look, this issue guest stars Steven Tyler from Aerosmith!  And he’s carrying some sort of gold box.  Perhaps a Grammy is inside?

Evidently, Spidey is a HUGE fan.  I had heard a rumor that I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing was his and M.J.’s song, but I thought that was wished into the cornfield by Mephisto. Guess not. Look at that rain of webbing, just to get his attention!  Even all of those little faceless people are shocked by his fandom.  And then poor Spidey rips the back out of his pants!  Aw, man, and isn’t that always the way?  You get to meet a major recording artist that you idolize, and you end up embarrassing yourself in front of them like that.  It is the Parker luck.

Luckily, in that last huge image of Spidey, his arm is pretty much cover the rip from our point of view.  If we were behind him, boy, would we get an eyeful. Actually… if anyone were behind him, they’d get an eyeful.  But nobody is behind him.  Nothing is behind him!  Egads, the world has disappeared behind Spidey!  Swing faster, Spidey!  Don’t let the nothingness catch you!

Quick, the next page of the preview, so we can find out how Spidey stops the nothingness from consuming New York!

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Wait… what happened to the nothingness?  How did we get on top of a roof?  And did a bird poop on Spidey?  What is that stuff on his mask and chest? 

Spidey better be careful sitting like that.  I heard it (along with sitting on cold cement) will give you hemorrhoids.  Regardless, man, look at what nice hair Steven Tyler has.  He must buy that expensive conditioner.

Uh oh, a green box of money just fell.  Since it isn’t the same color as Steven Tyler’s box, I have to assume it belonged to Spidey.  But… I didn’t see him carrying a box.  Hmm… where did it come from… Spidey swinging, tears open the back of his pants, Spidey squats on a ventilation unit, we see box fall… oh… oh my.  Wow.  I always thought Spidey had a hidden pocket or something for his cash.  I never dreamed he kept it in a box shoved up his… *ahem*  Moving on.

Well, of course Spidey is concerned about losing his cash.  Probably been saving up for some botox for his Aunt May.  But, he doesn’t want Steven Tyler getting away before he can get an autograph.  I gues its logical to web him up real good.  Looks like Steven Tyler is breaking into one of those familiar screams that he demonstrates in many of his songs, too.

Spidey leaps down to get his money.  Everyone is looking up, amazed that his costume somehow repaired itself.  Too bad it didn’t do it before his green box fell out.Ooh, and look, Spidey staring that kid down, just daring him to go for his money!  With everyone reasonably intimidated, Spidey starts gathering the money.  What is that stuff on his mask and chest?!?Maybe the answer is on the next page.

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Holy cow!  Its Venom!  Shoot to kill!  Shoot to kill!!!

Oh, wait… it is Spidey.  Phew!  That was a close one.  Still no answer about what that stuff on his mask is, though.I do think it is a shame that those police officers are robbing Spidey, though.  Looks like Aunt May isn’t going to be getting that botox after all. 

Thankfully, Spidey escapes the crooked cops without being shot.  Although, it looks like one really wanted to shoot him, but the other stopped him.  No need to go shooting him.  They got his money.In the bottom three panels, it looks like they are debating which one of them is going to have to pick up that green box… knowing where it had been and all.  Ew.

Moving on to the final page of the preview.

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Huh?  Oh.  I guess we move to that evening.  Okay.  It is a party.  And there’s a creepy woman.  Oh, and I think that is Peter Parker, at the bottom, in the center.  Standing next to what looks like a mannequin of Harry Osborn.  Why does Harry’s head look detachable?

Anyway, Pete is chatting up that girl, probably talking about how he met Steven Tyler.

I can only assume that the next page is a big splash of Peter smacking himself in the head, remembering that Steven Tyler is still webbed-up on a rooftop somewhere.  D’oh!

Oh, Spidey!  You absent-minded superhero, you!

Well, I certainly enjoyed this issue.  It told the good about living in New York (running into Steven Tyler) and the bad (the NYPD will steal your stuff).  I don’t like all the loose ends, though.  What happened to the nothingness that was coming after Spidey?  How did his costume repair itself?  And, seriously, what was that stuff on his mask and chest? 

I give the issue 378 stars out of 753.

See ya next time!

Separated at birth?!?

January 28, 2008

The cover of Batman #676, set to hit stands on April 23, 2008:
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An uncooked Turkey:

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You be the judge.

January’s book selection is…

January 11, 2008

We don’t know yet.  But, we’re figuring that out.  Should be posted within a day for you, non-existent blog-reader, to join in!