Ah, it feels good to get back in the swing of things.

Real quick, thanks to Wes Molebash, Brandon J. Carr and Clay & Hampton Yount covering for me last week while I was away helping to see my Dad through his open heart surgery. I took off Monday as well and filled in with a review of Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull. We were having some site isues on Monday, so it was posted late.

For those of you who are wondering, we brought Dad home on Sunday, less than a week after his operation. Everything went better than expected. They were able to repair my Dad’s mitral valve and he was out of the ICU in less than 24 hours. I was amazed that they had him up on his feet and walking so soon after surgery.

Right now Dad is at home, building his strength back up. Even the little things wipe him out completely. But, fortunately, we found that he doesn’t have to do physical therapy and only needs to walk on a daily basis to help build him back up again. After 6 weeks, he’ll be clear to go back to work part time.

Everything leading up to the surgery was pretty scary. There was a lot of invariables. Turns out the surgery was the easy part. It’ll be a long road to recovery, but my Dad’s young age plays to his advantage and I know he’ll be up and around in no time.< I wanted to reiterate my thanks to everyone who sent positive messages of support. I really appreciated them. I wish I could respond to everyone individually. But, at this point, I'm just trying to get caught up. Thanks again. It means a great deal to me. ... Back to movies, I was able to catch Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull Friday night before Cami and I left for Rochester to visit my Dad. We left Henry with my in-laws for the weekend and it was a nice break for the two of us. As I mentioned in the review, I liked the film. I left feeling entertained and that the film - at least partially - lived up to the hype. HOWEVER, I'm not turning a blind eye to some of the more ostentatious "WTF" moments. Most notably during the jungle chase when Shia LaBeouf character gets knocked off a moving vehicle and gets tangled up in some hanging vines. In true, implausible fashion, it’s not long before he extracts himself from the situation by mimicking the CGI monkeys that have surrounded him by swinging vine to vine, Tarzan style. I turned to Cami during that scene and say “Boy, you can really see George Lucas’s Ewok-lovin’ mitts all over this one!”

There’s been a lot of hullaballoo on the internet about these credibility straining moments in KotCS and some of them I’m willing to give a pass on. But I haven’t talked to ANYONE who thought that vine-swinging sequence with the monkeys was kosher.

It’s symptomatic with the "everything and the kitchen sink" approach Spielberg took to the film. Truthfully, that whole jungle chase sequence is a perfect example. It’s not enough to have a chase sequence. You have to have a chase sequence where people are constantly falling off the roof of the car, rear-ending each other, throwing passengers from one car to the other, firing hood-mounted machine guns at each other, engaging in a 50 MPH sword fight with each other, nearly ramming each other off steep cliffs before finally ending up in a river and plunging down three impossibly large waterfalls.

Oh, yeah – and monkeys who know the difference between the greaser good guy and the Soviet dominatrix bad guy and will help in a fight.

Truthfully, if you want to talk overblown, don’t forget the CG gophers in the opening sequence of the movie. I don’t know why real gophers couldn’t have been used. CG gophers strip credibility from the film when their inclusion offers nothing of value. Do we REALLY need a CG gopher to give Harrison Ford a quizzical look after a harrowing escape? REALLY? Because guess what? That shot just cost $50,000.

It’s bloated and wasteful and indicative of filmmakers over reliance on this technology. Especially when the director vows up and down to use practical effects whenever possible in a year’s worth of interviews. If you’re going to use CG, at least make it so I can’t TELL if it’s CG!

I’m kind of beating up on the film a little bit. Actually, a lot – especially for a movie I professed to enjoy. I started to fall into the same trap during last night’s recording of The Triple Feature. If you missed that show, you can download it here. I encourage you to do so. We had a very lively exchange. I had a lot of fun.

Beyond that, I’ll leave you with an illustration I found over at the Digital Pimp Online forum. It comes from illustrator Jolly Jack and I think it sums things up nicely…

↓ Transcript
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was cool. But what's up with Shia LaBeouf swinging through the jungle with a bunch of monkeys?

NO DOUBT! By far, one of the dumbest things I've ever seen in a movie.

What are you smiling about?

Oh, I'm just pleased to see my subliminal sabotage campaign was so successful!


"Shia Labeouf - King of the Monkeys!"
"Shia Labeouf - King of the Monkeys!"