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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Spider-Man 3 in 3-D!

All right, so it wasn't in 3-D. But how many sequels did I grow up with in the 80s that were? There was the Jaws 3 travesty, I remember that one. It seems like there were several more, and all of them equally schlocky, but my increasingly unreliable memory is letting me down yet again on this one. And with the dial-up connection and my current lazy mood, I just can't be bothered to Google the rest. For a while there, it seemed like there was a compulsion with the third movie of a franchise to have it filmed in 3-D. So let me just say that I'm glad this particular third installment was not rendered in three dimensions.

Not that those white cardboard glasses with one red lens and one blue lens aren't cool! No, I really like them, but then I'm a geek so what do I know? No, the 'old school' 3-D glasses to me are way cooler than those bulky, black things you get these days when you go on some of the latest theme park rides, like the "Spider-Man" ride* at Universal's Islands of Adventure down in Orlando, Florida. Also, the newest ride Busch Gardens Williamsburg had (before I left - now they get the Griffon this year *sniff*) was the Curse of DarKastle and it, too, used these 'new age' 3-D glasses. Clearly they were going for 'sturdy' and 'functional' when they invented these, for they conform to your head rather tightly with these long plastic arms that don't so much as cling tightly to your scalp as burrow deeply into the uppermost layer of skin cells. They mat your hair down over this crude trough created in your skull, thus marking you for the rest of your day at the park that you either just rode this particular 3-D ride or you have survived an assassination attempt with some of that garotte wire!

Plus they always seem to be wet with something whenever you pick them up out of the box. Yecch. I just hope it's disinfectant! And they also usually have conspicuous smudges like greasy thumbprints all over the lenses, so even if the staff did thoughtfully disinfect these glasses after someone else used them, they neglected to clean the lenses themselves (kinda important, dontcha think?), leaving you to it. So you sort of clean them yourself and wipe someone else's grubby fingerprints all over your T-shirt and carry on.

But seriously, I know it's hard to believe at this point but I really DO enjoy these 3-D rides! In fact the new-school glasses do a mighty fine job (once you've cleaned off the smudges) of rendering all that you see into a very convincing three-dimensional experience, as I still jump every time the lycanthropic, sinister king of DarKastle swipes at me with his werewolf claws - even though I know it's coming. It's just that I think that 3-D as we currently know it should stay in the realm of the Theme Park Ride and not so much the Big Screen anymore.

And believe it or not, the point of this post was not to go on some rambling tirade about 3-D glasses, but as I started writing it just came out. So thanks for being there for me while I work out these issues with my visual entertainment.

The point of this entry was to give a review of Spider-Man 3 which I've just seen tonight with my friends:

It was good. Go see it.

G'night everybody! Thanks, you've been great! Try the pasta primavera, it's excellent!

Haha, just kidding. I mean to expand upon that a little bit, of course. Sadly the Spider-Man plotlines passed me by as a kid, for I was into other comics and not this one, somehow. And I didn't have my friend Todd with me this time to explain how the movie stacked up versus the many comic book plots that involve our mild-mannered hero in the red bodysuit, so I'll just be giving you the opinion of a movie lover but not necessarily a Spider-Man aficionado.

Spoilers coming! So read on only after you've seen the movie!

First I was pleasantly surprised that May 4th was an international release, so I did not have to wait a month or so for this movie to get here. So that added a little extra buzz for me. Also, I finally got to see previews for some of the other big hits coming out this winter (summer for you Yanks), like Pirates 3: At World's End, Shrek 3, and the Transformers movie. Those all looked great, plus I hear there's a Reno 911! movie coming out soon, so I've got to see that as well.

It was good to see Thomas Haden Church in something again, as I had always liked his Lowell character from the "Wings" TV show of the 80s, although certainly his Sandman character was a far cry from the dimwitted but nice airplane mechanic he played on television. You first got a glimpse of Church's acting chops as a villain in Tombstone back in the early 90s. The only other thing I've seen him in since was Sideways, wherein he was a villain of sorts albeit not one made of radioactive sand that had a penchant for smashing things and knocking over banks.

In addition to introducing new villains, Spider-Man 3 also introduced a new love interest for Peter Parker, one Gwen Stacy. She's played by a total knockout named Bryce Dallas Howard, and it's interesting to note that she was not killed by the Green Goblin in this movie, just like she infamously was in the original storyline in the comics. She even died originally in a fall caused by the Goblin, which happened in this movie, only without the very unfortunate consequences. So who knows what's in store for her character later on?

Finally, and as I expected he would, director Sam Raimi gave a bit more spotlight to that consummate performer, Bruce Campbell. You knew Bruce was going to have yet another cameo in this film (as did Sam's brother, Ted, and Spidey's creator Stan Lee had a line in it, too, I believe), but this time Bruce got more screen time. He stole the show in the middle of the film during a comical restaurant scene involving Peter Parker, his girlfriend MJ and an over-eager cadre of wait-staff. My friend Todd and I are of the opinion that - every year - there should be at least three big-budget movies released with Bruce Campbell in the starring role. Further, we'd like to see Bruce cast as a villain in one of the upcoming Spider-Man installments, but honestly we're just happy to see him in there at all. And as I said, he got more screen time this go around, and the most laughs yet.

For those uninitiated into the ways of Bruce, I refer you to the Evil Dead trilogy of movies, his role as "Brisco County" of the eponymous television series, and certainly his role as Elvis Presley (he's not dead) in the recent Bubba Ho-Tep. If you like those, you should read his first book, If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor. It's a great read about him and the Raimi brothers and a few others as they basically made themselves into the Hollywood hotshots they are today. Pretty impressive stuff and, just like Bruce, it's entertaining and funny and all quality.

Right, well this started out as a movie review but quickly morphed into an unintentional rant about 3-D glasses and then ended as a fluff piece about Bruce Campbell. Another post filled with tangents and random asides, but hopefully somewhere in there I've made a point. Pretty standard Brooksie stuff, really!

So in keeping with my erratic writing style, the next time I tune in here I'll be writing my restaurant review of La Bella Italia in Petone, which of course will start out with an aside about my childhood in Lynchburg, Virginia, then veer with startling suddenness into a rant about drink refills in restaurants, then I'll manage to make a few valid points about the restaurant and meal itself, but then quickly I'll wade back into my stream-of-consciousness method of discourse and manage to (try) and tie it all in to current trends in pop culture.

God I love writing this blog!
*Hey! There really is something involving Spidey that's in 3-D!


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