Attack of the Clones Trailer Review (really) (G)
Monsters, Inc. was a cute animated movie that is pretty funny, but definitely for kids. You should go see it if you have kids, are a kid, or like to pretend you're a kid late at night by wearing diapers. It's made by the Pixar people, who did Toy Story and A Bug's Life, and that pretty much tells you what to expect. Same technology, but a couple years later, so it's a little better, a little more lifelike. Movie gets a nice, solid 3 6/7 Babylons. You'll have a good time, but try not to see it in a theater filled with too many kids- they can be annoying. Especially when the one right behind you spends the last fifteen minutes kicking your chair telling its Mommy that it needs to go to the bathroom.
OK, now let's talk about the Star Wars trailer.
By now, you have seen it, or heard it, or had it described to you by a cyber-dork named C3PO4EVR on a host of fan sites. You know it's really short. You know there is no dialogue. You know that the only sound you get is Vader breathing through his iron lung.
So let's talk about what we see, and what it may mean, and what it tells us about Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
First shot is a close-up of Padme, followed by a close-up of Anakin. Obviously, these two are the center of the story. These are our leads. Natalie Portman, who was damn cute when she was 13 in The Professional, is now officially hot as she becomes 20 before our eyes. Newbie Hayden Christensen looks like he has just the right amount of hunkness in him to carry the whole tortured hero thing off. Together, they are a tragic love story waiting to happen.
Next shot is some ship flying across a desert world, most likely Tatooine. Now I don't know about you, but I am damn tired of that puny little sand dune of a world. It was the most boring planet in the first Star Wars, it hasn't gotten better with age. I'm not sure why Lucas is hell bent on getting the blazing ball of nothing into just about every pic he makes, but he's dangerously close to following in the sandy footprints of Ishtar if he doesn't get a move on.
Now the glamour shots. Look! There's C-3PO. Look! There's Yoda. Look! There's Boba Fett (or at least a Boba Fett look-alike, could be anyone under that armor) and he's FLYING! COOL!!!
Now we have a shot only the mother of a cgi-artist could love. Fake ship zooming through a fake city. Nothing in that shot that you wouldn't be surprised to find in Monsters, Inc. Which also tells us something we've known for a while, this film series is becoming more and more a animated feature. Oh sure, we've got live actors all over the place, but we're doing more and more to them in post. I mean, unless you want to believe they really did slice Darth Maul in half to make Phantom.
Next shot is young Obi-Wan and young Anakin doing what young Jedis do best, run around with lightsabers.
Next we get a glamour shot of Mace Windu. Still bald, still hanging around with Yoda. Then we get a shot of some transport-looking ship flying over a cliff dwelling/meadow ecosystem. Followed by Lucas' Waterworld, which looks a hell of a lot cooler than Costner's Waterworld.
Then Lucas drops a bit in my opinion because he gives us a shot of a Jedi mimicking the chick in Disney's recent Atlantis cartoon. You know, where she gets lifted up in the pillar of light? We'll call this shot "Jedi gets lifted up in light." Not a good sign when you're copying Disney.
Now Lucas starts to really sag. He brings back one of the more undesirable characters from Phantom, the annoying guy who owed Anakin, and then gives a shot of a spaceship flying through an asteroid field. Uhm.. George? You already did asteroids. Pretty well. Move on. Comets are nice, use one of them.
Now we get a shot of two people hugging at Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru's house. Which, I guess, means we'll meet a younger Uncle Owen and a younger Aunt Beru. Like we care.
More glamour shots. R2D2. More ships flying around looking cool. A bunch of people at a bunch of stations, like a galactic mission control or something.
Then we finally get what we wanted. Clones. Gagillion of them. Boarding a ship. From far away, so we can't really tell what they look like. But they're clones. And there are a lot of them. Yummy.
Speaking of yummy, remember our two young, sexy leads? Here we get a kiss. Yowza!!! A Star Wars kiss!! Wooo!!!!
End it all with a final shot of a lightsaber battle and you've got yourself a trailer.
What does it tell us about the movie? Absolutely nothing. It's about 10 seconds long, and does nothing for you. Nothing at all. So don't go to Monsters, Inc. to see the trailer. Go to Monsters, Inc. to see Monsters, Inc. More than that, go to see the Pixar short about a bunch of birds that precedes the film. As good a Monsters, Inc. is, this bird beauty is better. A real hoot.
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Mundane Journeys through an Amazing World
begins with Interstate 80. Not the most engaging topic, I know, but when you think about it, I-80 runs all the way across the North American continent linking San Francisco and New York. It's not just a ribbon of asphalt, it's a portal to far away, almost magical places.
My visits to major cities like Tokyo, London and Washington DC have been business affairs. I haven't rode a lot of roller coasters or ridden in open air buses, but I have visited with senators, bought yams from the back of a truck and barely escaped complete embarrassment when I was introduced to Matt Wiener in Vegas.
As I wrote the book I realized that over the years exotic, distant places have become more like the mundane places I've called home. But, as it turns out, there really aren't any mundane places, only mundane ways of looking at things.
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