Archive for February, 2009

Week Eighteen: #34 – Star Wars II

February 13, 2009
The Nitpicker’s Guide to the movies

“See the films you love in a whole new way!”


It’s the digital age!  We can make explosions, spaceships, entire planets that don’t slightly exist!  It’s absolutely incredible!  By the way, we spent the whole budget on the effects computers, about a thousand of them, that there wasn’t any left to hire a writer—but who cares if the script is terrible?  Digital explosions!!!


-0:05:40           Yoda, to Senator Amidala: “Seeing you alive brings warm feelings to my heart.”  Is he just being polite?  The Jedi know no emotions, only peace

-0:12:57           R2 is supposedly on watchdog duty.  Yet there is no reaction from the droid as a bright green light lasers the outside window apart, and nasty centipedes loudly drop to the floor…is the droid sleeping?  (Do androids dream of electric sheep?)

-0:14:24           And, oh yeah, the window.  This is the top floor of a hundred-some story building.  Why is there glass in this window, instead of Star Wars Universe brand transparisteel?

-0:19:27           Well, old Annie must be using the Force to help him—he jumps over the side of the speeder and falls about a thousand feet before catching the assassin.  By that time he’s probably at terminal velocity, yet he catches the speeder without breaking any bones.  Apparently he was using the Force to cushion his fall…

-0:20:10           Then the assassin gives Annie thirty seconds uninterrupted free-time to climb back onto the ship.  She doesn’t try to brush him off, shoot at him again, roll the ship and let inertia help dislodge him…nothing

-0:20:49           The way Annie falls off the assassin’s ship and the way he lands are inconsistent.  Plus he falls off a ship doing at least fifty miles an hour, yet he only rolls for about three feet?

-0:25:08           Yeah, Yoda’s definitely losing it.  Obi-Wan is sent to track down the bounty hunter, so who will watch over Amidala?  “Handle that, your padawan will.”  Sure, have the hormone-crazed teenage boy watch over the woman he’s thought about every day for ten years.  Even if Yoda can’t sense the kid’s emotions, can’t he at least read his body language?

-0:27:44           They make Jar-Jar the representative for Naboo?  Jar-Jar the mentally challenged?  Oy

-0:29:07           Maybe I don’t understand females.  (Okay, there’s no maybe about it.  Anyway)  Anakin stands in Amidala’s room whining about how Kenobi won’t listen to him, how the counsel doesn’t understand…why does Amidala fall for this petulant child?  Emotionally, he’s still nine years old!

-0:30:48           I honestly have never thought about this before.  Obi-Wan: “Anakin?  May the Force be with you.”  Anakin: “May the Force be with you, master.”  Why do they say this?  Is it possible for a Jedi not to have the Force with him?  I don’t tell my friends “Hey, keep breathing.”  It’s a given that they will.  I dunno, just never considered how silly that iconic saying really is…

-0:31:41           It’s a long time ago, and far, far away—and yet the 50’s diner looks exactly like a 50’s diner, buzzing neon sign in the window and all!  Okay, the server is a droid and it’s an alien wearing the stained cook’s apron, but still…it’s a freaking 50’s diner!

-0:34:34           Snooty librarian: “If an item does not appear in our records, it does not exist.”  Is that any sort of attitude for a gatherer of knowledge to have?  If we can’t find it nobody can?  Seems very closed minded

-0:36:15           A group of young children wave around little lightsabers, their faces covered with helmets, so they can’t see.  Does anybody else have a problem with this?  Giving a bunch of kids lightsabers?  Then blinding them? 

-0:38:15           “Only a Jedi could have erased those files.”  Yoda couldn’t be wrong, therefore only Jedi are used to do archiving.  Because if any regular human was involved, that regular human could have done the erasing.  So the all-powerful, all-important Jedi have some in the ranks who just do data-entry?  What a waste of the Force…

-0:41:10           Interesting how the ship’s design is older, more art-deco looking than the X-wings we know from the classic movies—yet the digital information readouts are much more advanced!  Apparently at some point in the near future they do away with such elegant design, preferring instead Commodore-64 type graphics?

-0:41:34           I suppose this isn’t a nit.  Kenobi lands on the heavily rain-soaked platform, and opens the canopy to get out.  Which allows roughly a gallon of rainwater to pour inside.  This is a starship.  Wouldn’t that be a bad thing, rain on the electronics?

-0:41:44           It’s subtle, but Kenobi’s position changes here as the shot changes

-0:44:19           This also may not be a nit.  As previously stated, I just don’t understand females sometimes.  (Often)  Amidala has said that Anakin must not look at her in that smoldering way of his, that it makes her uncomfortable.  We’ve established that Jedi are not allowed to love.  Yet here she is in a very clingy, alluring outfit, one that exposes her shoulders and all of her back.  Does she not know how this outfit is going to act upon Anakin’s hormones?  Is she that stupid—or does she desire to manipulate him?  Either way, that outfit is not okay.  But I’m sure she’ll come to her senses and we’ll see no more of this kind of behavior…

-0:50:10           Once again I spoke too soon.  Happily playing in the meadow, the Jedi padawan and the Naboo Senator are here found rolling in the grass as if they were seven.  If he must not be in love with her, what in the world is she doing?  We’ve already seen that Anakin has no emotional maturity, but what’s the Senator’s excuse?  I suppose she’s just getting it out of her system—we’ll be fine from here on out…

-0:50:50           No wonder Boba Fett grows up to be so screwy.  He’s living on a planet completely inhabited by weird tall aliens, his own father, and eight skillion clones of his father in different stages of development.  Hardly a normal childhood…

-0:53:52           For someone who doesn’t want to be fallen in love with, Amidala is sure wearing a very revealing gown.  She’s almost topless.  What is the deal?  “We can’t,” she says to his advances.  “We can’t.  It’s just not possible.  We’re living in a real world.  Come back to it.”  And yet she’s wearing that. 

-0:57:47           Windu and Yoda sit in a council room, alone, watching Kenobi in the rain via hologram.  Were they sitting there playing Mahjongg or something, waiting for him?  Or did they have to be fetched?  If so—why didn’t Kenobi have enough sense to get in out of the rain, and send his transmission where he couldn’t be overhead or rained on?  And how is he hearing what Windu and Yoda are saying back to him, over the rain?  Is he seeing little Windu and Yoda holograms?  This method of communication looks cool but makes very little sense

-0:59:25           Okay, by now it’s ridiculous.  Miss “Don’t Touch Me, Don’t Kiss Me, We Must Live Separate Lives” comes out in the morning in another clinging, almost sheer gown.  I know she’s not that stupid, and I can’t imagine she would be that cruel, so it just makes no sense at all!  In fact the whole love story between these two is stupid!  So I officially give it the Will Award!  My exclamation key is stuck!!!!!!!!!

-1:00:58           Jango Fett fires three shots at off-screen Kenobi.  There’s no sound of lightsaber deflection.  Is Fett that bad of a shot, that he just missed with the first three?

-1:01:00           Big continuity error here.  One shot Kenobi is swinging his saber, it’s pointed at the ground, then the shot changes and it’s still in front of him.

-1:01:55           Obi-Wan is dragged along the ground by a very thin wire…yet doesn’t lose a finger, doesn’t even get cut!  Not even when he braces himself against the tower, to bring Jango down out of the sky!  Amazing!  He shouldn’t have any fingers left!

-1:02:29           Or now, as he hangs by his full weight from the same cable—no problem!

-1:07:15           I know I harp on this a lot, and the sound is very cool—but an explosion in space wouldn’t have any sound.  No sound in a vacuum.  Ever.  Even a long time ago, far, far away.

-1:11:43           What are the odds—Threepio, which little Annie inexplicably build when he was nine, is still around!  Is serving at the Lars place!  Sheesh.  I’m surprised they didn’t work in a tiny Han Solo around here somewhere…

-1:14:50           Even the first time I saw this movie I laughed right here.  Anakin is blazing along on a hovercycle, doing probably seventy, eighty miles per hour.  No helmet visor, no goggles…I may not know from lightsabers, but I do ride a motorcycle.  Believe me, over about thirty miles an hour without eye protection and you can’t see anything, even if you’re not on the extremely dusty, wind-whipped, desert planet of Tatooine

…There were tons more, we’re only halfway through the movie, but that’s all space will allow me today.  If you want the full version, keep coming back and watch for exciting news soon to come!  In the meantime, you can always go to if you just can’t wait until next week—where we exchange spaceships for pirate ships, and lightsabers for cutlasses!  Pirates of the Caribbean, right here, right then!

See you in seven…


Week Seventeen: #35 – Kung Fu Panda

February 6, 2009
The Nitpicker Guide to the Movies
“See the films you love in a whole new way!”
If you haven’t seen the movie, I don’t think this will ruin anything for you—the secret of the dragon scroll, the secret to unlimited power, is believing in oneself.  This would be a fantastic movie for that message alone—but the incredible art direction, character progression, and story make it a thoroughly fantastic movie.  Truly marvelous!  (By the way, if you haven’t seen the movie, why are you reading this?  Not that I mind…)
-0:03:28 Well, this bugged me all film—Po’s father is a stork of some kind?  I really thought when Dad went to tell Po his big secret at the end, it would be “you’re adopted”, but they never did explain this…
-0:05:30 As Master Shifu defends against attack, all of the Fearsome Five jump in at the same time—yet somehow Viper gets to him first?  That shouldn’t be
-0:05:52 The messenger bird must be practicing at the ninja school down the road—Master Shifu is berating the Five when suddenly the messenger bird is there in the circle, with no sound alerting us to his sudden presence!  Ninja bird!       
-0:07:00 Master Uguay says, and I quote: “Nothing is impossible.”  Obviously Master Uguay has never tried to ski through a revolving door
-0:07:03 Ninja duck returns!  Master Shifu calls for him, and though he and Uguay were completely alone in the great hall, now suddenly the bird is there, again silently!
-0:10:48 How long of an opening ceremony did this tournament have?  It’s, like, a couple of thousand steps up to the palace, and Po isn’t exactly running up them.  Did the fanfare go on for three, four hours, and he just barely gets there late?  And why do they shut the doors anyway, besides that it makes it conveniently hard for him to get in and he has to burst in with a rocket chair?
-0:12:48 Po flings himself out of the tree and bounces off the pagoda—which is some distance inside the wall, yet he drops straight down and lands somehow outside once again
-0:13:02 “I sense the dragon warrior is among us.”  Interesting choice of words, as the dragon warrior turns out to be Po, and Po certainly isn’t among them, he’s locked outside!
-0:14:24 These are pretty dangerous fireworks.  The fuse goes out, seemingly, and nothing happens for ten seconds, and then they go off!  Probably a lot of children in the village missing fingers, I would think
-0:14:49 It is remarkable that Po survived a fall from that height, straight into stone, without a single broken anything.  Dude is seriously resilient!
-0:19:33            Considering that carrying Po into the temple is supposedly a task of honor, I find it surprising (though funny) that the pigs would just dump him on the floor while the doors are still open and everybody can see them do this
-0:25:10 Is the kiddie punching bag made of steel?  It knocked out one of Po’s teeth!  (Which we never see missing later)
-0:25:25 The Will Award: Po is thrown haphazardly into the Fearsome Five’s training ground, and though he is seriously knocked about, everything that could kill him doesn’t.  The club has its non-spiked side turned to him, the flames char but don’t seriously burn…it’s fun, I laughed, but I don’t buy it!
-0:27:45 After all the bruises and burns Po suffered in the training ground, he is surprisingly bruise-and burn-less as he talks to Crane later that same evening.  Does Po have a Wolverine-like healing factor?
-0:29:08 I’m not sure how Master Tigress and Tai-Long can make their eyes glow like that.  Sure, cats’ eyes glow, but only when light reflects off them, they don’t glow from inside.  It’s cool, though
-0:30:22 It’s funny that Po has to stop his belly from jiggling—but this is the only time in the whole movie.  Why?
-0:34:42 Tai-Long uses the explosives to blow the door off the jail, yet the guards and messenger duck caught between door and explosion are not only not killed, but not even badly hurt.  (And that is all the nitpicking I can bring myself to do on the prison breakout!  It is so fantastic!)
-0:36:09 The next morning, Po is found stuck during his morning warmups.  Master Shifu sends Crane to help him.  Crane?  Are Tigress and Monkey too important?  They certainly have a better chance of lifting Po without sustaining major injury
-0:36:39 Tigress shatters several ceramic plates high in the air, and the debris falls around Po.  With one last piece hitting him in the head all by itself.  Why did that piece take longer to fall than the others?  Galileo would not approve
-0:40:00 Shifu found Tai-Long as a cub.  So some mother who didn’t want her baby climbed all those steps just to drop him off?  There ain’t no orphanages in Peaceful Valley?
-0:42:04 We find Master Shifu surrounded by hundreds of candles.  Considering how long it would take to light those suckers, why aren’t some of them more burned down than others? 
-0:43:50 Shifu halves a peach in mid-air, lands, and the seed falls to his hand.  How did he hit the ground before the seed, and where did the peach halves go?  (And is there any sort of peach tree that has both blossoms and fruit at the same time?  That one bugs me)
-0:54:13 “Panda, we do not wash our pits in the pool of Sacred Tears.”  Master Shifu is just being cruel here—not with what he says, but with how he led Panda all the way to a pool of water, knowing how tired and hot Panda must be, and said nothing about how he shouldn’t touch it.  This is, by Shifu’s admission, the birthplace of Kung Fu.  We’ve seen how incredibly enamored of Kung Fu ol’ Po is—for Shifu to allow Po to dishonor the pool and himself…that’s just mean!
-0:55:40 Shifu has discovered that Po’s secret is food—tempt him with food, and he’ll train for Kung Fu.  One shot in the montage has Po trying to do pushups over burning coals, just an inch away from the broth he craves.  Come on, this guy survived the thousand tongues of flame, back in the Fearsome Five training area.  As hungry as he is, Po would just smother the coals and drain the bowl!
-0:55:48 Po sneaks into the clearing, goes for the cauldron of food, and Master Shifu comes out behind him—out of nowhere.  Apparently his Kung Fu skills include invisibility
-1:00:23 The battle on the bridge (another great martial-arts setpiece) has Tigress hit so hard by Tai-Long that she slides along the ropes, breaking a hundred footboards as she goes.  I’ve been nice about physics up to this point, it’s a kung fu movie—but I don’t buy that one.  That the bridge would stay together yet allow all those boards to break—and that Tigress wouldn’t be broken herself, being hit that hard
-1:00:44 And Mantis can hold the entire bridge by himself, while Monkey, Snake, Tigress and Tai-Long fight all over it?  Never in a million years.  Not gonna happen. 
-1:01:40 What incredible Kung Fu magic does Tai-Long have, that he can swing the severed rope bridge around without the use of his arms or legs hard enough to throw himself across the chasm to where the Five are waiting?  The physics on that are mind-bogglingly impossible!
-1:05:04 After Shifu kindly opens the dragon scroll for Po, the Panda drops the scroll holder—and we never do hear it hit the ground
-1:07:38 Po’s dad has some ninja in him, too—Po returns to the family restaurant, and dad comes over to give him a big hug, empty-handed.  Po’s arms engulf his dad, and then when Po pulls back, dad has magically whipped his old apron around him
-1:13:45 Tai-Long pounds Master Shifu into the ground, hard enough to break the marble underneath him—yet Master Shifu is not seriously injured.  (Lucky for the little kids watching this…)
-1:15:10 Po and Tai-Long bounce each other down the steps from the Jade Palace to the village below.  They bounce only 9 times total, which is remarkable considering those same steps are about three miles long
-1:16:10 Tai-Long throws Po into a batch of fireworks.  Even granting that Po has matches in his pocket, or the foolish firework makers leave matches lying around…Tai-Long is racing for the scroll, and yet somehow Po has time to attach fireworks to another chair?
-1:18:14            Throughout the movie, Tai-Long has been taking hits like vengeance.  Right here Po steps on his foot and he reacts in pain and fear.  Whahuhh?
-1:19:08 Tai-Long falls from the sky where Po’s midsection has thrown him (love it!) and we see the crater he made when he landed.  A very well cut-out crater, it even includes a long hole for his tail.  Really
Still a great movie.  But I feel the need…the need for lightsabers! if you just can’t wait, but Star Wars II: The Attack of the Clones is under the knife next week!
See you in seven…