Snowpocalypse 2: The Rising
Well, this snow day was unexpected. Before everyone jumps on my case about having a four day weekend, remember that I’m going to have to make up these days in June. Oh well, it’s giving me time to catch up on some Dr. Who episodes, and read some comics.
Starring: Elisabeth Shue, Ving Rhames, Kelly Brook, Adam Scott, Jerry O’Connell
Directed By: Alexandre Aja
Let me get this out of the way: Piranha (2-D) is NOT a good movie, by any stretch of the imagination. However, unlike most bad movies, the cast and director of Piranha and definitely in on the joke, which makes the movie so enjoyable and hilarious that it has to be seen.
The movie starts out with a came by Richard Dreyfus pretty much playing Matt Hooper from Jaws. Of course for legal reasons they can’t actually say this, but it’s so implied it’s almost amazing that you wouldn’t get the joke. After an underwater earthquake hits a lake in Arizona, a rift opens up releasing prehistoric piranhas. Of course this is also happening the exact same weekend as Spring Break. What follows is a lot of blood, a lot of nudity, and a lot of (intended) hilarity. Also, Doc Brown himself as a fish scientist!
None of the characters in Piranha are fleshed out, nor are there a lot of surprises in the plot, but you know what, sometimes you need a dumb movie, and Piranha delivers that in spades. I think the best scene that captures the tone of the movie is when Jerry O’Connell’s d-bag director character is attacked by the man-eating fish, and all he cares about after being pulled out is that a certain……piece of his body is now gone. If you enjoy really dumb and hilarious B-movies, then Piranha is the way to go.
3 1/2 dismembered spring breakers out of 5
Star Wars: Dark Empire Trilogy hardcover
I had actually bought this nice little collection over the summer, but until recently I hadn’t had the time to read it. Dark Empire is one of the many expanded universe “sequels” to the original Star Wars trilogy, and I have to say, I was expecting more from it. I had always heard about the original story and was very intrigued by it, but I think the execution, while good, could have been a lot better. Originally released in 1991, 1992, and 1995 as the mini-series Dark Empire, Dark Empire 2, and the one-shot Empire’s End, they have long been out of print, until this new Dark Horse hardcover.
The story takes place roughly ten years after Return Of The Jedi, and directly after the events of the Thrawn trilogy novels. The Empire is still around, but in the midst of a massive civil war. Numerous generals and admirals are vying for power, even though they all want to destroy the rebellion, which is now as powerful as the Empire was in the original trilogy. As Luke, Leia, Han, and Lando struggle to end the Empire once and for all, Emperor Palpatine mysteriously returns, and threatens to destroy everyone around him. In the first story, Luke joins the dark side in order to try and destroy Palpatine from within, while Leia, still training to be a jedi, tries to stop him. The second and third installments tell the overarching tale where Palpatine returns (yet again), except this time with a new weapon called the Galaxy Gun, which can fire a missile into hyperspace. Essentially it is like the Death Star, but it doesn’t need to be near a planet to blow it up.
One of the biggest things that stuck out to me in this collection was the artwork, and not in a good way. The coloring is very muddy, and many characters don’t look like their big-screen counterparts. While I wasn’t expecting anything photorealistic, the fact that every character has the large-broad shoulders and looks kind of like Sin City rejects is not very appealing. the story is very serviceable, but its a bit difficult to follow, especially when it calls back to events revealing Palpatine’s past and the Clone Wars that probably have now been retconned due to the prequels. However, Palpatine’s use of clone bodies to resurrect himself is kind of cool, and keeps in line with his use of clone troopers. The plots of both stories are quick, and almost too quick. In the course of the first Dark Empire, Luke joins the dark side, the Rebels fight the Empire again, Leia finds out she’s pregnant with her third child, fights Luke, and the Emperor is killed again. A lot of key moments happen off panel, and while it doesn’t hurt the story too much, it would have been really helpful to get more scenes with Luke and Palpatine so that the reader “buys” his turn more effectively. Another odd choice is that there are panels where the scene is described for you, almost like the editors decided to use the notes for the artist as captions. I know that these stories were written in the early 90’s, but I think that readers would be able to figure out that the statue in the Sith Castle is of Darth Vader by looking at the PICTURE OF IT!
Despite all of this, I still think the story is pretty cool, and the scenes with Luke turning to the dark side are pretty interesting. It’s just a shame that there wasn’t a whole lot more fleshing out with the story (which one could argue is something nearly every Star Wars project suffers from). I do think these would make some cool movies, but of course, the original cast is way too old to make this seem plausible, and I don’t think the nerd world could handle a new cast taking on these iconic characters. The Dark Empire Trilogy collection is the only way that you can get these stories now without dropping some serious cash on ebay, and if you’re really interested in it, then check it out. It’s better than the prequels!