For those of you not familiar with the reference Tom makes in the second panel and the menacing, destructive figure in the third and fourth panels, that's a Benbot - a cybernetic duplicate of actor and hair gel host Ben Affleck.
I guess the timing felt right to bring them out of storage to explore Terminator Salvation coming out this weekend.
So, yeah. Despite there not being much of a punchline for today's comic, you can expect a continuation of the story line this week. More Benbot action in your browser. LOOK OUT!
Speaking of Terminator Salvation, if your a fan of the franchise, you're going to want to check out the drawing I did for today's incentive image over at Top Web Comics. It's a T-800 and I'm really proud of the way it turned out.
I have ambitions to sell these sketches at some point. I don't know if it will be through the site or at conventions. Regardless, if and when I make these drawings available, I'm pretty my version of the T-800 will be one of the first to be sold. To see it, vote for Theater Hopper at Top Web Comics.
As for Jared's assertion about the Terminator franchise, I'm sure there are those who will disagree with him. Personally, I love the Terminator films - even the jokey third movie. But you can't help but overlook the fact that a lot of painstaking effort went into sending the increasingly complicated machines back in time to kill John Conner.
Obviously it wouldn't make a very interesting film if the T-800 had been sent back in time with sniper skills. No conflict. But if your contention that Skynet is a ruthlessly organized computer system that prides itself on brutal efficiency... well, having Arnold leave a trail of destruction around Los Angeles is kind of makes it look like Skynet doesn't have it's ducks in a row. When you consider how advanced the T-1000 and the T-X are in the sequels, they should have had even LESS difficulty doing the job.
I'm just sayin...
I have more to say about Terminator Salvation, but I want to save those thoughts for later in the week.
In the meantime, I wanted to talk to you about Angels & Demons, which Cami and I were able to see together this weekend.
I can't tell you the last time we went to the movies together. I go by myself from time to time, seeing stuff she has no interest in seeing at late hours - usually so I have something to talk about for the site or The Triple Feature. So it's nice when we can go to a movie together and it's something she wants to see.
Both Cami and I liked the movie insomuch as we were still thinking about it and talking about it the next day. It's a little bit more straight forward than The DaVinci Code. It doesn't emphasize history as much and I think the plot is bolstered by the fact that the bulk of the story is told within a four hour time span. Also, Tom Hanks's hairstyle is CONSIDERABLY less distracting.
But despite the fact that the movie has urgency, I felt it dragged out a little long. The idea is that there is a bomb planted somewhere in The Vatican, threatening to kill thousands in St. Peter's Square as they await the confirmation of a new Pope. Watching the movie, I kind of wanted them to hurry it up and get to the inevitable scene where they uncover the bomb (with 5 minutes left to spare!) and try to dispose of it. The stuff leading up to it was... interesting. But excessive.
To put this in perspective, there are a few scenes shot inside the Vatican archives. After the movie was over, Cami confided, "I wish they would have spent more time in there! I would have loved to have seen more of their old documents!"
The film also has an annoying habit of over-explaining itself. As Vatican security are being shown a live feed of the bomb from a wireless camera (tech savvy, no?), they realize that it is being illuminated by an independent light source. In an effort to uncover it's location, they cut power to individual grids all over Vatican City.
Every time the power goes out - usually just as something important or tension-filled is about to happen - one of the characters has to remind us that individual power grids are being shut down to find the bomb. It happens at least three times in the movie and by the third time you're sitting there thinking "Yeah! We get it!"
I won't talk too much more about the film because I think, despite its flaws, it's entertaining and worth your time. Although Hanks sometimes appears to be an incidental contributor to his own movie, the performances in the film are very good. Particularly Ewan McGreggor who plays a priest of passionate faith, but who is also keenly aware of religion's competition for influence in the modern world.
Ultimately, I think what I took from the film was more personal. Having been to Rome and visited the Pantheon and Vatican City, it was interesting to me to look at the locations and say "I've been there!" I experienced a bit of cognitive dissonance, however, because I had a hard time believing that the Vatican would give that level of access to the filmmakers in some locations.
I mean, the catacombs in St. Peter's Tomb and the Vatican Archives are obviously sets. But I couldn't reconcile if they were able to shoot interiors in The Basilica of Saint Peter or how they were able to recreate it if they weren't. My eye told me one thing, but my mind told me another. It's a good illusion, but one I never fully accepted.
That's all I have on Angels & Demons. I was a little surprised that it came in first this weekend at the box office. I was expecting Star Trek to edge them out. I began to revise my thinking when I noticed packed the theater was at our showing. Did you see the movie this weekend? What did you think? What about Terminator Salvation? Are you getting excited for it? Leave your comments below!
Not really. I mean, the Terminator movies are fine action films. I just never bought into the concept.
If Skynet were serious about killing John Conner, they would have poisoned his chocolate milk when he wasn't looking. Introducing a killer cyborg was just an excuse to give Schwarzenegger a chance to blow stuff up.
But didn't you once dismantle a warehouse of cybernetic Ben Affleck doppelgangers?
That's a totally different thing, man.