Monthly Archives: May 2012

Maximum Ride: School’s Out–Forever Spork Part 11

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(Sorry for the delay on this one–some non-internet stuff resulted in me not writing it till Tuesday, and then I managed to completely forget about it.)

Chapter 123

Hee hee, sequential numbers.

After the Erasers had taken the inferior Max away from the motel, I quickly lay down in her spot and pulled the blanket over me. I closed my eyes, positive I wouldn’t sleep a wink.

I was so hyped up–it was all finally happening. No way I would sleep. . . . Out with the old Max, in with the new and improved Max. All according to plan.

“Wagh!” I woke up flailing, dreaming that I was being sponged by aliens. (pg 355)

  1. Awfully great grammar, vocabulary, and eloquence from this presumably really young clone.
  2. Shouldn’t that be “I laid down”? Genuine question; I’m not a hundred percent sure either way.
  3. I don’t like the passage of time, or lack thereof, in this excerpt. As there is no break in the writing, there is nothing actually saying time passed, which means she got into bed and then woke up directly after without falling asleep. I suppose you could say that the passage of time can be inferred, but then it just plain reads awkwardly since you’re going from “awake” to “waking up” with nothing in between.

So anyway, fake Max, blah blah blah, she proceeds to be entirely conspicuous because DUH.

Chapter 124

Max freaks out for two pages because she’s in nothingness, and while it’s still Maximum Ride and thus boring it’s better than JPatterson usually bothers to write. On the third page, the voice tells Max she’s in a “sensory-deprivation chamber.”

Chapter 125

Basically every thought I’d ever had in my entire life, I had all over again, one after another in a rapid-fire succession. Every memory, every color, every taste, every sensation of any kind replayed itself in my fevered brain, endless loops of thought and memory and dream and hope, over and over, until I couldn’t tell what had been real and what had been wishful thinking and what had been a movie I’d seen or a book I’d read. (pgs 361-362)

…Right.

(And don’t bother to tell me what any of those things are, because they definitely wouldn’t add to your character.)

So then the tank gets opened!

Chapter 126

Jeb gets Max out of the tank and has a bunch of meaningless talking with her before she gets put back in the tank.

Chapter 127

Fake Max goes on a brief monologue about how the flock suck, which surprisingly doesn’t seem to have any issues in its logic.

Anyway, she’s leading the flock into Itex.

Chapter 128

Max decides to fake dead and 1) manages to fake dead, because sure, and 2) I’m assuming will succeed, because the scientists obviously didn’t bother to have anything set up to check Max’s vitals.

Chapter 129

I see no need to go into a lot of boring detail, but we [fake Max and the flock] found our way to the Itex computer room.(pg 272)

Funny, because to me it seems more like JPatterson being lazy and not wanting to think how they’d get in than the details actually being boring.

And, say, why is fake Max’s narration in this book? In first person, no less? Is there supposed to be any pretense of this being real anymore? I mean, there was a real world Fang’s Blog and everything, and JPatterson just adds in a random first person villain perspective?

So, yeah. Fake Max and the flock are in the computer room, and Nudge is hacking the computer with her ability that exists only to hack computers.

Chapter 130

The scientists take Max out because sigh and then she escapes.

Chapter 131

Fake Max and Nudge are computering stuff, and Nudge finds a video of her parents being distraught and apparently the signatures on the consent forms for them to give away Nudge “looked exactly like Jeb Batchelder’s.”

So, he didn’t even try to do a forgery? Is this a real thing that could actually work? Because I feel like it shouldn’t.

Aaaand then Iggy says someone is coming because of super hearing or something.

Chapter 132

Max is raging against the scientists because aaagh! and all the other things they’d done to Max don’t compare to the fact that they put her in a tank. (And I swear, she actually says this in what as far as I can tell is seriousness. She even includes the whole “they kidnapped Angel!” thing.)

Chapter 133

And then Max gets attacked by snakes.

Is this supposed to be a real novel?

Chapter 134

So it seems that Fake Max’s plan was to get the flock into Itex, at which point they’d be attacked and subjected to their “worst fears.” (Which include spiders and rats–real complex characters you’ve got here, JPatterson! Fang’s in a cage, at least.) This is happening now.

I’m really not sure what the point of it is.

Chapter 135

Max can now follow the flock’s scent.

I am trying to think of something to say and I just fail. I just… I just can’t find a way to express what horrible writing this is.

So just think of the worst insult you can and pretend I’m saying it to JPatterson.

Max finds the flock and Fake Max.

Chapter 136

Apparently the worst fears thing was a holographic virtual-reality system.

JPatterson. Holograms are not corporeal. They are 3D images. Fang cannot be imprisoned in a holographic cage.

As if there was ever a pretense the flock might be fooled, Angel identifies fake Max as fake Max because mind reading.

Chapter 137

Fake Max attacks real Max while Jeb and some scientists look on, wanting one of them to kill the other. The flock don’t try to help real Max, though.

Chapter 138

Fight fight fight and then real Max wins and says nope! she won’t kill fake Max sorry.

Chapter 139

Um. Nothing of importance happens other than silly speeches about morals? (And also Max saying the scientists probably didn’t date enough in high school. Because all teenagers have to date. And because she dates. (Oh wait she does because even crazy bird kids have to date or oh my god what are you some kinda weird person who doesn’t date?))

Chapter 140

Explosion, courtesy of Gazzy!

Chapter 150

And then everyone escapes.

Epilogue

Chapter 142

No, I don’t think it makes any sense either.

Blah blah blah happiness.

And then the book ends.

Yay!

As with between The Angel Experiment and this book, expect some delay until I get my hands on the next one. Also expect some heavy retconning on JPatterson’s part when we get there.

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Adventures in Netflix! Episode 21: The Guardian

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Hello and welcome to episode 21 of Adventures in Netflix! Today I’ll be talking about the 2001-2003 television show The Guardian.

This week I actually managed to watch the first two episodes of the show I’d chosen, as opposed to the one I normally have time for. Still, that’s a fairly small sample size of a series with three full seasons, so this will only be a first impression style feature as apposed to a review.

The series centers around Nick Fallon (Simon Baker), a young corporate lawyer sentenced to 1500 hours of community service as a child advocate after a drug charge. The first two episodes of The Guardian see Nick adapting to his new life as he struggles to balance his community service and his responsibilities to his father’s firm, at which he is still a full time employee.

The ever charming Simon Baker.

The Guardian, like countless legal dramas that have come before and after it, seeks to explore the morality of its characters and the legal system itself. While other courtroom dramas–and indeed dramas in general–can feel a bit heavy handed with their commentary, The Guardian takes a more measured approach. At least as far as the first two episodes were concerned, I never felt like the show was preaching to me, or even asking me a question necessarily, but simply telling a story in which the characters often have to deal with difficult situations.

Wow, that’s some bad Photoshop. Also turns out it’s a bit hard to find pictures from this show of people other than Simon Baker.

Nick Fallon himself comes across as a charmingly genuine, if somewhat bleak man, often exhibiting great strength of character, though he becomes visibly cowed in his father’s mere presence. His father (Dabney Coleman), for his part, is archetypically gruff, but but aside from that does not at first appear particularly unpleasant, leading me to wonder if there might be something more to their history.

Case in point. I literally found two identical screengrabs of Simon Baker in a row.

The actual cases covered in the first two episodes of The Guardian were good, but somewhat unengaging. In the first episode Nick begins representing a young boy named Hunter who had witnessed his father stab his mother to death in their home. This sounds shocking in summery, and it is in the episode, but I just didn’t feel as drawn in as I felt I should have given the quality of the acting and writing. In the second episode, while Nick continues to represent Hunter, James Mooney (Charles Malik Whitfield), his co-worker at Child Services, represents, or tries to, an eleven year old boy whose brother and mom are both in jail for drug related charges. Again, when described this it sounds like gritty, emotional stuff, but it played out in an almost boring way. Maybe I was just in the wrong mood, but the drama failed to resonate with me the way it should have.

Aha, finally a picture not of Simon Baker! It seems to be a picture of a guardrail with a man who just happens to be standing in the distance.

All in all The Guardian seems like a decent, well acted, well written show. Maybe not the best of its kind, but worth a try if you’re in the mood for it.

~NekoShogun

A brief hiatus

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Due to some non-internet stuff, EmotedLlama and NekoShogun will not be posting their regular content from Friday, May 11th to Friday, May 18th. (NekoShogun should still have this week’s Adventures in Netflix up.)

Sorry for any inconveniences! (That is, if you actually follow our schedule with anticipation which, given our small number of subscribers, seems dubious.)

Maximum Ride: School’s Out–Forever Spork Part 10

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Chapter 105

Angel talks to a bunch of sharks and has them head over.

I guess this is supposed to be funny?

Chapter 106

The flock head down to the Ocala National Forest (oh, and in case I forgot to say, they’re in Florida now).

An hour later we had a small fire going and were roasting things on sticks. I was so used to eating this way that even if I were, like, a grown-up making breakfast for my 2.4 children, I would probably be impaling Pop-Tarts on the ends of sticks and holding them over the fire. (pg 309)

I’m not a huge fan of how this is worded (especially with the unnecessary “like” cluttering things up), but I do find this humorous.

However, one funny aside in 300 pages of asides isn’t really good enough for me.

Everyone’s antics-ing when Max’s magical neck hairs tell her someone’s watching. Angel then confirms this.

Chapter 107

The presence Max sensed turns out to be a small boy and girl, who devour a bunch of the flock’s food (don’t ask me how they obtained the food, because I don’t know) before telling their story:

“We got kidnapped,” said the girl,

The boy nodded tiredly. “In south Jersey. From two different places–we’re not related.”

“We escaped a couple times. Even made it to the police station.”

“But both times our kidnappers were already there, like, filing missing-kid notices. They just found us again, real easy.”

“So, who were your kidnappers?” Fang tried.

“They were, like, doctors,” the boy said sleepily, laying down too. “In white coats.” (pg 313)

This, of course, frightens the flock because oh no scientists and stuff!

(Also it was at this point that I noticed most underage characters in the book overuse the word “like.” Apparently in JPatterson’s mind all kids are valley girls.)

Chapter 108

Max is on watch early in the morning when the boy and girl wake up and slink off away from the flock, at which point the girl starts speaking to a pen-like microphone. Max pounces on them, of course.

Chapter 109

Max interrogates the kids, who were forced by their scientist kidnappers to… do something. See, as far as I can tell, the entire plan of the scientists was “send these kids in to where the flock are and have them tell us where the flock are.” As opposed to just sending in some trained soldier-people to shoot tranquilizer darts at the flock.

So why did this encounter even happen? To give Max the name of the eeeevul company, Itex.

(You know, just your standard “throw sense to the wind so characters know what they need to” stuff.)

Chapter 110

An hour later we were almost a hundred miles away. (pg 320)

I still can’t get over the ridiculous flight speeds of these kids.

“So, Itex,” I said to Fang.

“I told you it was like a deer,” Angel said.

“That’s ibex,” said Nudge. “And they’re more goatlike than deerlike.” (pg 320)

Broken record complaint with this series #20: where do these kids get their information from?

The flock head to a library to research Itex, and Max conveniently remembers how the Itex logo was on everything in the School.

Chapter 111

The flock are now on their way to the Itex company headquarters, which is in Florida because of course it is.

Also the younger members of the flock want to go to Disney (broken record complaint number #7: why do these kids care so much about “normal” kid things?) and Max gives in. Also:

“Who let whom have a freaking dog?” I responded. (pg 323)

Fun fact: just recently, I started trying to incorporate proper usage of whom into my vocabulary. I am not knowledgeable enough about how to use it to say if this is correct or not (I’d say it is, since “whom” could be replaced by “him,” but the guideline that comes from isn’t concrete), but I certainly have to wonder why Max of all people is using the word whom.

Chapter 112

Ari viewpoint chapter! Also a really short chapter as he is angry at the flock for going to Disney and makes Disney puns.

Chapter 113-114

These chapters are pretty much just product placement for Disney World so I am not recapping them. No way no how.

Chapter 115

Ari is waiting for the flock to come out of Splash Mountain when a kid comes up to him and thinks Ari’s Wolverine. Ari gives the kid an autograph because the kid makes him feel wanted.

Chapter 116

Max sees Ari so time to leave Disney!

Chapter 117

“Black Ranger to Feather One,” Total said softly. “Coast is clear. Come in, Feather One.”

“Total, I’m right here,” I whispered. “We don’t even have walkie-talkies.”

“No, but we should,” Total whispered back. “I should have one, and it could–” (pg 338)

The kids at least have the excuse of the internet and television, but where the heck did Total get such a comic-relief attitude living in a cage?

The kids end up in a junkyard with a bunch of cards, at which point Nudge displays car knowledge she apparently got from car magazines Jeb got.

You know, just your typical “character gets a bit of history and a skill mentioned just when it’s necessary and then it’s completely forgotten about” shtick.

Chapter 118

The flock are driving because of reasons. (Actually, I think they decided to be on the ground after running into a news chopper. News choppers apparently only existing in Florida, since they’ve never encountered them before.)

Chapter 119

The flock get pulled over by the police for speeding, but Angel uses her mind control so it’s all okay.

“I don’t know, guys,” she [Angel] said. “I really think maybe I should be the leader.” (pg 247)

If Angel wasn’t so darn creepy (and this line was just a joke–apparently Angel was half-serious), this would actually be funny.

Chapter 120

The flock reach Itex, at which point they decide to come back tomorrow for a tour.

Chapter 121

I just want to point out that the book’s nearly over and barely anything has actually happened.

The flock are now at an inn that they somehow got into…

Chapter 122

…And then Max gets kidnapped and the Max clone heads into the room.

I can’t wait to see what idiotic plan this is a part of.

Adventures in Netflix! Episode 20: Gojira (Godzilla)

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Welcome to the 20th episode of Adventures in Netflix! Today I’ll be reviewing the 1954 classic Gojira, aka Godzilla.

When watching older movies, especially those as old as Gojira, it can be difficult sometimes not to hold them up to modern standards, even if only in the back of your mind. It’s impossible for anyone familiar with how far special effects and the like have come in the last sixty or so years not to compare such a movie to those more modern films with which they are familiar in everything from realism of effects, to cinematography, to style of acting. All of this makes it impossible to see the movie as it would have been seen originally, but not impossible to enjoy said film. When it comes to movies it’s important to remember that older is not a synonym for worse, but for different. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that Gojira is one of thoseĀ  movies that stands the test of time. Not because it hasn’t aged–it has–but because it is simply an excellent, well crafted film.

It was strange watching Gojira for the first time. Godzilla is such an iconic part of popular culture that it seems like I’ve always know about it, yet until yesterday I’d never actually seen any of the movies, whether they be sequel or remake. It turns out there is, at least in the original movie, a bit more plot and interesting social commentary than I’d expected. I thought it would just be an hour and a half of Godzilla mindlessly tearing up cities while everyone desperately tried to run away or kill the monster. I was wrong.

I don’t know what it is about this title card I like so much; I can’t even read it.

The story of Gojira begins with strange things happening along the coast; missing ships, damaged buildings, a mysterious hurricane. Before long a respected scientist, Kyohei Yamane, and his daughter, Emiko, set out to investigate, and quickly discover the existence of Gojira, a massive creature somehow preserved from the age of dinosaurs and awakened by nuclear fallout from the atomic bombs from World War II. With Gojira threatening the safety of Japan, the government scrambles to fight the monster. However, while the rest of the country is eager to see Gojira killed, Dr. Yamane sympathizes with the beast. Understanding that there is no malice behind the creature’s actions, he longs for the opportunity to study it peacefully.

Dr. Yamane and his daughter Emiko.

The themes and story of Gojira might be somewhat played out by now, but they are presented with such a genuine earnestness that they still ring true. Watching the movie, I found myself wondering what the story must have seemed like back in 1954, and whether some of the elements that now seem cliche might have then been fresh and new.

It’ll take more than an Electric fence to stop Gojira!

As for the special effects, well, they are what they are. Some of them are, even today, somewhat impressive to look at; there are several scenes of truly skillful miniature work, not the least of which being the sweeping shots of the wreckage of Tokyo. Other effects, however, have not held up as well. In fact, one of the “weakest” effects to the eyes of one who has grown up in the age of CGI is that of Gojira himself. As I’ve said before, I’m a lover of practical effects, but even I have to admit that Gojira, in some scenes, looks nearly comical. I don’t feel that this detracts from the movie necessarily–it’s simply a fact of aging effects. Some will stand the test of time and remain more or less effective, while others will become products of their time, surpassed and left behind to the waiting arms of nostalgia.

Gojira might look a bit like a sock puppet at times, but effects like this are still as effective as today as they ever were.

I didn’t expect Gojira to be half as watchable as it turned out to be, and I’m very glad I decided to give it a try. So if you’re like me and have never seen a Godzilla movie before, don’t shy away from the original just because it’s “old;” this movie truly is a masterpiece.

~NekoShogun