Sunday, March 25, 2018



Well, I've been on a bit of a movie thing lately and it's time to review another one.  Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters is already 5 years old and I'm just getting around to it.  Typical.  But I have to say I'm DISAPPOINTED, not to say DISTURBED, by what I saw in this story.


>> The acting is OK. 

>> The visuals are pretty cool, if wildly inaccurate.  Check out the gif above which shows you what some dry-lander thought Charybdis looks like, for instance.  I mean, I love it, but come on now!!!

>> I found the pacing pretty decent.  A little slow at times, but overall pretty decent.

>> The plotline is almost exactly the same as the one in the first Percy Jackson story.  Percy, who now knows who his father is, goes on a quest to yattatta yattatta yattatta and struggles manfully with his friends to blah blah blah, and eventually succeeds in achieving what have you, making friends and doing good along the way.

>> The logical gap here is exactly the same as in the first movie, too:  how it is that the world is littered with these relics of Greek mythology -- gods, chimeras, nymphs, Harpies, oracles and whatnot -- but somehow they only apply to a secret society of people who are directly related to the stuff of those myths?  What about everyone else?  What are they here for, huh??? 

>>  They do imply at least that the ocean gods are really, really important to the fate of the world.  But they also make clear that only a few people will ever be aware of that fact because only they are privy to the secret reality that the Greek myths are alive in a sort of hidden room off the servants' pantry on the back stairs of the everyday world.  To me -- your North American Conspiracy Zone leader bringing the good news of the coming flood to EVERYONE UP ON DRY LAND -- I have to say this idea is PRETTY OFFENSIVE.  TRY and hide the ocean if you can.  I DARE YOU.

>> This movie is also, in a word, MONKEYCENTRIC.  That's obviously going to be my first and last problem with any movie like this one.  This story, supposedly about the Sea of Monsters, is really about Percy's need to prove to his old nemesis Clarice, from the first movie, The Lightning Thief, that's he's not a weenie.  THAT IS NOT A FISH MOTIVATION, LADIES.  And this kid is supposed to be one of the sons of Poseidon, for crap sakes.  He's no more a leader among fish than Natalie Wood was, with her lifelong terror of water and eventual humiliating death in the ocean that, I regret to inform, did NOT lead to a new and more glorious existence beneath the waves.  But I digress.

>> The loud and clear message is that even though Percy is the son of Poseidon, he's also flat-out TERRIFIED of sea creatures and uses HUMAN weapons to defeat them instead of simply ANNOUNCING HIMSELF TO THEM AS BEING THEIR NEW BEST FRIEND, AND TEAMING UP WITH THEM FROM THAT POINT ON.  He claims to have all these special abilities related to the water, right?  BUT HE'S SCARED OF A FEW SEA MONSTERS.  Give me a break.

>> And this brings me to another core problem with this movie.  Percy is the son of Poseidon, and they make a big deal out of the fact that he's the ONLY extant child of one of the three really, really major Greek gods.  Except his long-lost brother shows up, and somehow that doesn't change Percy's status at all, even though the brother has all kind of special powers that make Percy look pretty lame.  And let's not forget those sea monsters.  WHO DO YOU THINK MADE THEM, THE EASTER BUNNY?  They are also Poseidon's children.  Which makes them Percy's BROTHERS AND SISTERS.  But nobody in the movie ever sees this for what it is, even though they're insiders supposedly blessed with the straight poop on how it all really works.

>> And what's the happy ending in this story?  Percy gets to go back and hide from the scary old ocean at the demigods' summer camp in the deep, dark woods.  Are you people completely out of your monkey minds???

All this movie is going to do is scare the horseapples out of those who are already afraid of the water, making it even HARDER for us to recruit them.  I really wish it had never been made.

Saturday, March 24, 2018


Well, I got around to this movie QUICKER THAN USUAL because of all the hubbub.  After The Creature From The Black Lagoon almost vanished from human ken for DECADES -- and certainly never won an Oscar -- I thought this sort of piscatorial romance story would never get our operatives ANYWHERE with the Shaved Monkeys.  BUT LOOK AT US NOW, center stage with a spotlight on us because of this film!

Academy Awards for best picture and best director of the year!
A Golden Globe award for best director!
A Golden Lion, whatever that is, again going to the movie's director, Guillermo del Toro!
Academy Awards for best musical score -- because this is kind of a musical -- and best production design, whatever that is!



But what a curious movie they chose to heap all these awards on!  If they had been watching more carefully, they might notice that what seems at first to be a sweet romance between an orphaned cleaning lady and a Gill Man is also a FISH MANIFESTO.  Every frame in the movie makes clear why the events happening to Eliza Esposito in this picture need to happen to EVERY NAKED APE UP ON DRY LAND.


>> Clearly this woman was born to join us in the sea, to dwell with us in wonder and glory forever.  The first thing we see is the movie is Eliza dreaming that her entire apartment is underwater.  And check out those gill slits on her neck!!!

>> The whole story is told from her point of view, so it's entirely a romance, seen through the eyes of a woman who has clearly watched a few too many musicals.  (She even lives over a movie theater.)  But there seems not to be a drop of romance in her real life until our recruiting operative comes along.

>> She does all the right things, all the things we look for in a good recruit.  I won't spoil the movie for you by telling you too much; just go ahead and watch it.  IT WILL DO YOUR TWO-CHAMBERED HEARTS GOOD.

>> But beware, ladies; like most films about romances between fish and humans, this is painted as a horror story, and for once IT'S THE KIND OF HORROR ANY FISH OPERATIVE CAN UNDERSTAND.  There is an unbecoming thread of COLD WAR PARANOIA in the weave of this story and IT'S WRAPPED RIGHT AROUND THE HERO'S NECK.  While he's rescuing her, she's rescuing him right back.  AND ISN'T THAT THE STORY OF ALL OUR LIVES?

>>  The really amazing thing to me is that del Toro clearly based this movie on The Creature From The Black Lagoon, and CLEARED THE STORY UP COMPLETELY so it makes sense to both fish and human viewers.  It makes you realize all over again as you watch that there is NO CONTRADICTION between the human and fish points of view -- only misunderstanding.

>> If only the humans understood that this means, finally, CURTAINS for them.

>> May it happen soon!


Saturday, March 17, 2018



And what a fine film this is.  There are SO MANY THINGS to like about it:


>> The Shark recruiting team in this film looked, and acted, ABSOLUTELY REAL.  No stiffly-swimming bright-orange cartoon sharks here.  No video-game monsters with endlessly champing jaws and nuclear weapons strapped to their backs.  No Shaved Monkey telling them what to do!!!

>> The scenario was, you know, not UTTERLY convincing, but PLAUSIBLE.

>> I like the romantic undertone of the story.  The central Naked Ape character -- who for a change is also the central recruit in the story, not an extra -- is DISAPPOINTED IN LOVE, and to make herself feel better she GOES SCUBA DIVING WITH SOME SHARKS.

>> You can't miss seeing what she's struggling with.  It's written all over her face -- if you're a landfish or a former human you'll know what I mean by this.  Should she just go back to the USA and try again with another Naked Ape boyfriend?  Should she go on with her pointless status competition with her sister?  Or should she GET IN THE WATER?  

>>  What makes this so difficult for her is the fact that she can visibly FEEL THE SHARKS CALLING TO HER.  They circle the tour boat eagerly, and follow the sisters to the bottom with the HIGHLY FOCUSED ATTENTION that is the hallmark of Shark recruiters everywhere.  She WANTS to go and meet them, but she's TERRIFIED.  Why?  Because she senses on some level that this is not just a scuba-diving day trip, and SHE ISN'T SURE SHE WANTS TO COMMIT.  She did just get dumped by some guy, after all.   MANY OF US HAVE BEEN IN THE SAME POSITION.  Ultimately, as scared as she is, she still makes the right decision.

>> Her sister tells her again and again that there's nothing to be afraid of and it'll be all right.  She models bravery for the protagonist by getting right in the water.  And she's the first to make a meaningful contact with a recruiting operative.  The message here is:  YOU ASK, YOU GET.

>> Notice that the two guys, in whom the sisters are supposedly interested, go into the water separately?  Notice that they emerge quickly, and say NOTHING about what or who they saw down there?  Because they're just the bait.  THEY WERE NEVER GOING TO BE RECRUITED IN THE FIRST PLACE.  If we recruited them, they wouldn't be available to lure anyone else into that boat!!!

>> And what of the boat's crew, you ask?  GREAT BUNCH OF GUYS.  

>> I'm not going to give away the ending here, but I have to say I'm filled with a lasting feeling happiness after seeing the MESSAGE OF HOPE in this movie.  It's a MODEL OPERATION:  you call us and we will come.  

We're happy to meet you halfway.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Another Image For You To Gaze Upon

Friday, March 02, 2018

An Image For You To Gaze Upon

Doesn't it just make you feel all happy inside???