Archive for November, 2014


Lies! Nasty Lies!

Strange days in Thanet…

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Lilly’s battle face…quake in fear!

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Okay, this started for my daughter but quickly got out of hand…

The battle of the nine-spans.

Banjo the tongue-less toad who lived at the bottom of Fudge Lake, needed urgent help.

Above, at the surface, Banjo could hear Mike, Mikey, Mick, Michael and Mikael…the five flies of the apocalypse circling menacingly.

Who within the nine-spans could save him?

Neither his friend Carl-Paul Tunnel, the mole man, who’d yet to be released from rehab due to his tapeworm addiction, nor Maximilian Kidney who’d been sent to prison until next Wednesday for organ trafficking, could be counted upon.

With his options seeming limited, Banjo wept in despair. Then suddenly it hit him. He cried out at as loud as his scuba equipment would allow, ‘Lilly ‘the whirling dervish’ Thomas.’

Lilly who’d been completely exonerated of all wrong doing by the Council of Spam with regards to the abduction of Little Bo-Peep-Shows gyrating sheep, had been given back her tinsel spurs and could often be seen at the sweaty-pit pub in grotty hollow where she worked as a bouncer.

Knowing she’d surely help, Banjo rejoiced by quaffing a pint of fresh slug slurm.

Regardless of work commitments – for it was free-drink-Friday down at the sweaty-pit – Banjo’s twitching hair lip told him she’d surely help.

And help she did!

Lilly arrived upon a Stilton rainbow riding upon Crab-apple her crusty French bread unicorn.

Lilly met Banjo sunning his buttocks upon his favourite mat of flotsam and without a word being said she knew what was needed of her.

Digging in her heels Lilly spurred Crab-apple towards the horizon and headed for Adrian Dobb’s hide out. The creeper king had gone too far this time.

The battle was long and brutal and almost completely needless. Before Adrien could surrender, Lilly stormed his hide out, slaughtering two-thirds of his bread stick army and disembowelled Rhubarb Von-Crumble his trusted desert chef.

‘It was a joke’, cried Adrian but not sufficiently loud enough so Lilly could hear him above her humming diamond sword as she swept aside the last of the bread sticks.

Striding forwards, Lilly, with her spare hand, opened a can of whoop-ass and the explosion of light refracted off her polished diamond armour completely blinding Adrian.

Somewhere at the back of her enraged mind something awoke and just in time she checked her custard splattered blade.

‘Here take it,’ sobbed Adrian, ‘I didn’t mean any harm.’

In his hands he held ‘side-swipe’, Banjo’s trust fly swatter. For Banjo was keeper of peace and needed it to fight off the five flies of the apocalypse and restore order to the nine-spans. One day Banjo would win back his tongue from Mr. Cleavage and together he and Lilly would uncover the truth behind the fridge!!

Jesus, what is wrong with me?!

Matt..

Ps, I only put ‘urgent’ so someone might read it…

Interstellar.

interstellar

So, I went, I watched…but was it any good?

Right, before I get going I’d like to make it clear writing movie blogs isn’t something I ordinarily do. I do, however, love movies and picking through their plots.I’ll start on the defensive by saying I’ve honestly not read anyone else’s blog or review about the film and, again if I’m honest, I kept it that way to avoid regurgitating someone else’s opinion.

Oh and…**SPOILER WARNING! SPOILER WARNING! SPOILER WARNING!**

The movie begins by thrusting the viewer into a bleak future where mankind stumbles helplessly towards extinction. With the real possibility of starvation due to a mysterious blight that’s claimed all but maze, you immediately sense things are only going to get worse.

The brooding Cooper, played by the thoroughly excellent Matthew McConaughey, to me felt like a man out-of-place. It transpires Cooper is a talented and well-educated but now redundant NASA pilot. While he cuts a disconsolate and deeply unsatisfied farmer, he has a certain charisma that leaves you in little doubt he places others needs before his own.

The slightly unorthodox relationship between Cooper and his young daughter Murph, played initially by Mackenzie Foy, was, for me, a little understated given the level of connection needed later on in the movie. I’ll explain what I mean towards the end.

One idea I enjoyed immensely was how story allowed itself to develop and didn’t force the issue. While some might argue it had the time to do so – the film was over two and a half hours – it didn’t for me drag or seem padded with irrelevance.

Another notion I loved that permeated the movie was that maybe the planet wasn’t ours and that it’d grown tired of humanity. This, for me, really caught my imagination and gave the film a gritty, realistic feel.
Just ask my friends, I love dystopian ideas.

The sub-plot that drove the film was the supposed appearance of a ghost within the Cooper household. Murph, ridiculed by Tom, her older brother, played by Timothee Chalamet, is told by Cooper to document and evaluate her ghost’s behaviour scientifically. Throughout the early part of the film you get a sense that Cooper is trying to nurture Murph’s natural curiosity and maverick intelligent and save her from the mundane that is almost certain to be her future. Tom’s path, mind you, is all but set out for him regardless of his academic achievements. After all, the belligerent Cooper is told while attending a parent-teacher meeting, ‘the world need’s farmers, not pilots.’
While there is a definite sense of favouritism within the household, Cooper understands and appreciates Tom’s burgeoning skill in farming, but even so Murph is still his focal point.

The plot speeds up considerably when Murph, having done as instructed, finds repetition within the ghost’s activities. Upon sharing her findings with Cooper, the pair soon realise the patterns Murph found in the ever-present dust on her bedroom floor are in fact map coordinates.

While I’m going to skip most of the post take off story and concentrate on the under pinning ‘feelings’ and ‘emotions’ brought to bear, I would like to say throughout the film Interstellar is visually impressive and the sound track, while rather loud, fits perfectly.

If you’ve got kids there is no way the leaving scene between Cooper and Murph couldn’t have affected you; especially when a distraught Murph, having refused to say goodbye initially, runs out only to her father driving away. I felt sorry for Cooper during long space travel to the wormhole – especially as it was only Tom who’d recorded any messages for him. While Cooper had little or no choice to leave, I couldn’t help but feel he jumped at the chance, again backing up my ‘man out of place’ theory.

Shortly before take-off is the first time you get to see the awkward and somewhat daft droids. While initially their boxy appearance had me cringing, they seriously come into their own later on. As comical as the droids looked, their dialog absolutely sparkled. The tit for tat conversations between Cooper and the droids was not only a much-needed relief valve from the heavy setting but some of the most memorable parts in the film. That is, however, not to say the film was too heavy, hell no, let’s just say in my opinion the droids complemented the story perfectly.

Before the launch a mysterious ‘they’ are mentioned. It’s presumed ‘they’ are the creators of not only the wormhole but the gravitational quirks on earth and for some unknown reason looking out for mankind.

**Interlude** Well done and give yourselves a pat on the back for getting this far without falling into a comma, or stumbling over a full stop. See what I did there?

Ahem…I’ll continue.

Up until the point where the crew of the Endurance travel through the wormhole, the film has been mostly about survival of the species and endeavour in the face of adversity, etc, etc. While that might sound somewhat over powering, it certainly didn’t feel that way. I suppose the perfect antidote to all the go-getting was the subsequent betrayals that lent a little darkness to the mix. There had to be a little backstabbing, I suppose…after all we are human and skullduggery is in our nature.

Things become more desperate when the crew travel to one of twelve pre-selected planets. Each of these planets was visited by a single manned vessel in order to ascertain its capability of sustaining human life. These Lazarus missions called for extreme sacrifice on the part of the voyagers, for the secondary vessel would only be able to visit the three standout locations.

Upon reaching the first site it becomes immediately apparent that although the planet appears to be suitable, it is (hope I remember this bit correctly) caught in the gravitational pull of Gargantua, a nearby black hole and thus time moves more slowly on its surface.

It’s at this point crew member Brand, played by the lovely Anne Hathaway, questions Cooper’s time saving motives. Naturally Cooper is concerned with the planets time distorting effects and how he now runs the risk of breaking the promise he made to Murph when he left. He, disregarding the advice of his father in law (John Lithgow) to not promise something he couldn’t achieve, told Murph when he gets back they might be of the same age. Despite his fears, Cooper cooperates and fly’s them to the surface.

Having narrowly avoided complete disaster, the remaining crew are forced to move on to the next site. It is at this point that the notion of love rears its normally unwelcome head. I say that because once love infects a sci-fi or fantasy story, the wheels soon fall off and becomes mushy claptrap. I am glad, however, to say that this wasn’t the case with Interstellar. I suppose the camaraderie and backs to the wall setting is really just remanded affection? Yeah, I suppose loves always there, right? You know, lurking in the back ground like some soppy-sneak-thief looking to pluck…RIGHT, enough of that nonsense!

Ohhhhh, I’d better pull my finger out. I have to pick the kids up from school in an hour…and have yet to shower or get dressed. Currently I’m sitting here in my Liverpool FC dressing gown writing this.

Concentrate Thomas!!

Right…Brand is now at odds with Cooper as to their next destination. She chooses what seems to be the next most suitable location and intends to take the expedition there. However, it hadn’t escaped Cooper’s hawk like attention that Brand might have feelings for the pilot of that particular vessel and thus compromising her choice. If I’m not mistaken there are doubts as to whether both remaining sites can be visited due to fuel consumption being higher than anticipated. I’m not sure to be honest but Cooper overrules Brand by drawing upon something she’d said earlier in the film to the effect Dr. Mann, one of the two remaining sites, is the ‘best of us’.

They head to Dr. Mann

The fact that Brand’s loved one will surely die and Cooper’s continued sacrifice struck a powerful chord in me. I felt it helped personalise the movie and while that might, and most likely is, an obvious and a daft thing to say, it strengthened the films ‘feel’.

Fast forward>>>

Following more betrayal and a bold a piloting manoeuvre by Cooper, the mission is back on track – albeit it just about.

With the last just one site left to explore and not enough fuel, Cooper estimates if they sling shot the gravitation pull of the Gargantua that they can catapult Brand onward to the last destination. TARS, the main droid, sacrifices itself (don’t get mushy, it has no choice) to shove both Cooper and Brand free.
And off they go, right? Wrong. Cooper also follows TARS in to the black hole in an attempt to undo the lie perpetuated by Dr. Brand, played by Michael Cane. Yep you guessed it, DR. Brand is Brand’s father.
Dr. Brand’s deceit lay in his claimed he’d be able to conquer earth’s gravity by the time the team find a suitable home and thus save those on earth by propelling them to safety.

Murph, having caught Cooper up in age due to Gargantua’s time altering effects, has become Doctor Brand’s confidant. Thing’s change dramatically when the now dying Dr. admits to Murph his life’s work was a sham and not only is there no plan B.
Plan A was to find a home for the millions of fertilised human eggs upon the Endurance, whereas plan B involved cheating gravity and saving the rest of mankind. However, Dr. Brand used the theory as a ploy to keep people working and focused, even though he would never have been able to crack the gravity enigma due to insufficient data.

After the Dr’s death, Murph, distraught at the notion her father lied and never intended to come home, communicates with Brand upon the Endurance. Cooper over hears the message and if I’m not mistaken either Murph tells Brand that the only way to solve the Dr’s riddle is by recording data from within a black hole, or that Cooper deduces that himself. I can’t recall but either way that’s exactly what Cooper does.

With the spacefaring Brand now set free of Gargantua’s pull, Cooper detaches follows TARS into the abyss.

From what little I know about black holes, I presumed they’d either have been torn apart earlier or frazzled by radiation. However, they must have had some shielding or some über gizmo to protect them. However, the story speed bump was yet to come…

Basically when Cooper travels into Gargantua he finds himself trapped within a strange construct composed entirely of memories based around Murph and her room. Although this idea was a little trippy, I did like it.
Quickly Cooper ‘deduces’ he’s caught in what he believes to be a wormhole created by ‘them’ and by ‘them’ I mean a future version of humanity. While this did initially strike me as a bit of a ‘leap’, it does make sense. Here’s why. Cooper was privy to many of the happenstance going on in Murph’s room and now seeing them from this skewed perspective – the other side of the book shelf – he realises the anomalies weren’t a ghost trying to communicating with Murph, it was himself from the future.

It’s at that point that Cooper picks up a communication from TARS and instructs the droid to beam its sensory findings back to earth. TARS, however, is unable to do so due to interference, etc. Wracking his brains, Cooper understands that when he moves around the construct he is able to manipulate moments in which he can surreptitiously communicate with his daughter. Unable to beam the data to mankind, Cooper instructs TARS to relay the data to him so that he might be able to convert it into Morse code and program the watch he gave Murph that lays upon her book shelf.
Simultaneously (relatively) the older Murph has travelled back to her old bedroom for she has a feeling something there will help her crack gravity.

And here comes the story speed bump. Basically Murph picks up her watch only to see the second-hand flicking erratically back and forth. Within moments she realises the ghost was in fact her father and that he’s programmed something (the thing she needed) in to the watch.

Yay, mankind is saved! Wasn’t that easy really? Game over!

Okay, joke as I might, I found that part disrupted the otherwise smooth flow of the film and kind of left me feeling cheated. Is cheated too strong? No, I don’t think it is. Seeing as this twist was semi out of the blue, it felt cheap and half-baked. Up until that part I was hooked, and enjoying everything on offer.

The reason I’m writing this is because it took me a further few days to forgive the movie for the story blip and enjoy it for what it was, which was an excellent film.

Here, however, here is a simple suggestion that might have eased the twist upon the viewers.

Idea# How about the notion Cooper and Murph somehow share a level of mental connection beyond the norm and one not already indicated in the movie? While I’m not talking mind bullets or ESP, the idea they share a rare mental bond would have made the twist not seem so unlikely.

Regardless I loved the movie and I will keep my eye out for more from Mr. Nolan; especially as I loved Inception beyond words.

Regards, Matt..

Ps…I have another idea. I grant you this one is a little more sci-fi and maybe not in keeping with the theme, but I feel with a little tinkering it would fit seamlessly…ish.

Idea2# The world is rapidly falling down around our ears, we know that already. Surely the stain of would affect to other parts of society, making us less productive or tolerant, etc?
We know that Murph’s mother died sometime in the past but exactly when we’re not sure. Maybe she died before Murph was born and in a desperate bid to save his daughter Cooper, being the most compatible, donated himself as a surrogate body. While I’m not talking a pregnant man, maybe Cooper spent several months connected to an artificial womb?
Who knows, maybe this unorthodox and desperate connection could be the reason why the two might share feelings, thoughts or mannerisms? Surely that would have made Murph’s Morse code assumption easier to manage?
Okay, now I write it I see it is pretty far-fetched, but then again, so is worm-holing our way across solar systems looking for a new home.

I’m done now and well done if you stayed with me.

I am still about…

I’m writing a role-playing game system and grossly underestimated how much work was involved. Yeah, I know I should be doing other stuff with my time seeing as I am 41, but f**k it.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of what I get up to when I have time to mess about!

Like in home made battle helmet!

Like in home-made battle helmet!

Luke in home made battke helmet and two-handed axe!!

Luke in home-made battle helmet and two-handed axe!!

Lilly wrestling me.

Lilly wrestling me.

Peace and maybe I’ll introduce you to some of my work…inner perfectionist allowing, that is.

Matt..