Tentacles of Dawn

Found on an i09 comments page, and presented with minimal comment.

Turns out Rainn Wilson is the son of a science fiction writer, Robert Wilson (no, not Anton or Charles), who had one novel out in the Seventies. Not one of the good ones, by the sound of it.



I'm not much of one for writing movie reviews, mainly because I'm lazy, but myself and Emma were checking out the listings for something cool to see, and it came to a choice between Fair Game (interesting-looking thriller based on a true story), The Adjustment Bureau (based on a PK Dick story), and...Rango, an animated CGI comedy about a chameleon that's also a spoof on the Western Genre. Given that I feared Adjustment Bureau might wind up with me spitting out my own teeth if they did (as has been hinted) ass-rape the corpse of Phil Dick by turning it into what looks suspiciously like an inoffensive light romantic thriller, it was only really a choice between two. And Rango is voiced by Johnny Depp, a man with a pleasing habit of choosing some fairly off-beat cinematic projects to get involved in. So Rango it was.

Do you know what I mean when I say there are moments in a film when your brain says 'Sold'? It's a line, an image, something that makes you think: I'm in. Whatever you do from here on in is okay by me.

I fear becoming SPOILERISH at this point but the scene I'm about to describe occurs at the opening of the movie, and gives away little. Rango - the chameleon voiced by Depp - has, along with the glass case that has been his home until now, been sent tumbling out of the rear of a car on some lonely midwest highway. He is sent bouncing around the road, and between cars and trucks, surviving at improbable odds. At one point he splats onto the windscreen of an open-top convertible, with his head stuck inside a plastic smiley face.

With Hunter S. Thompson at the wheel.

And Dr Gonzo in the back.

And with that, I was won over. They're even wearing the same goddamn Hawaiian shirt. But it's that same out-there-ness that ultimately works against the picture's chances of success: is it a kid's picture, or an adult film masquerading as a kid's picture? Hard to tell. I enjoyed it, although the story was a little uneven in places, and I'd certainly watch it again (Hunter/Duke is not the only real-life character to get an unnamed cameo), and it's without doubt a hell of a lot more original than much of what comes out of Hollywood these days. Do I recommend it? Yes, absolutely, and it frequently steers into the wildly surreal in a manner I find highly entertaining, but it does seem to be trying to be two things at once.

But that scene, near the beginning. I laughed out loud and resisted the urge to start clapping, thereby making myself look like a total freak. Maybe I was the only one who got it, maybe not; most of the audience were students, whom, I rather suspect, are this film's true target audience.


On a slightly more sober note

Watching the footage, live, from Japan: scary stuff, especially when you see a car belting down a highway away from the surge of junk and water spreading across fields on that country's East coast. After a couple of years in Taiwan, I'd only rarely experienced tremors, but one of the things that I remember is the eerie silence of it all. Things shake, but more or less soundlessly. '70's epics like 'Earthquake' on some subliminal level caused me to believe the air would be filled with a constant RRAARRRR but it's not so.

If you want to get some idea what it feels like, stand on a table and get four people to stand around you, jerking the thing from side to side. That's pretty much what it feels like.

At some point, some of those waves are likely to hit Taiwan, but I don't expect them to have too many problems. People on the Japanese coast only had a few minutes warning before the waves hit, but Taiwan'll have hours to prepare before the waves reach their low-lying coastal areas.

UPDATE: According to someone reporting from Taipei (Taiwan), the time at which the waves were expected has come and passed with no significantly damaging coastal activity. They're not definitely in the clear just yet since this depends (according to the BBC News) on such things as sub-aquatic topography that might slow things down, but for the moment they've lifted their tsunami warning.

My Favourite Tweet, So Far

You got to love this one, picked up by a search filter I set up on Twitter a while ago:
"My dads about me on fb is "reading nova war by gary gibson" lol wtf father this is a social networking site not a bloody book club"
Lol, wtf, indeed, @marquezfan. And if you're reading this...
n, may I also +, yr dad hs xpressd phat taste n hs readN material, + I do hope he keeps posting 2 FB whnvr he chooses 2 read 1 of my bux.

(For a translation, go here)