Sunday, December 9, 2012


Warning this post has some serious spoilers.

Skyfall: Before I begin in the interest of full disclosure I should say that I am a huge Bond fan. But less you think that means I will somehow be unable to impartial and/or to critique the film, have no fear.  I have left Bond films before so disappointed I was close to demanding my money back or at the least wanting to give someone a good talking to. [1]

I was thrilled when Casino Royale was made and they decided to change the Bond movies from a self mocking, low brow waste of time, more worried about cramming as much advertising, locations, retarded gadgets and skin as possible than about making a movie that made any sense whatsoever [2] into a more serious movie.  Not serious as in Schindler's List, but serious as in we're telling a story.  Sure it's an action story, but it has a plot and everyone is acting their part and none of those parts are intended to be comedic relief.

Anyway, this review is about Skyfall and not Casino Royale.

I had a few problems with the movie. [3]

Let's start with the Excavator on the train.  What exactly was he going to do with it?  Was he planning on slamming the bucket into the bad guy?  Because while they didn't exactly say that he was a super genius, I don't think he would have just stood there and watched it hit him.  Excavators don't exactly move at lightning speed.  Also they have limited reach.  Here's my idea of what would have happened.

Bad Guy sees excavator moving at him at max speed. [4]
Bad Guy thinks to himself: Is he seriously trying to hit me with that?
Bad Guy spends some time pondering his career choices and whether this is worth it.
Bad Guy reminds himself that Bond has run out of bullets and thrown his gun away.
Bad Guy reminds himself that he has already shot Bond in the shoulder and thus Bond is hurt.
Bad Guy spends some more time wondering about career.
Bad Guy scratches itch.
Bad Guy takes two steps back out of range and either waits for Bond to get out of cab of excavator or simply walks away.

But instead the script had him shoot the coupling between cars.  Another option.  But perhaps not the best.

Another problem was the whole point of Silva's plot.  It seems to me the thing he wanted to do most of all was to kill M.  So why didn't he just do that?

Why exactly did he need to set everything up so that he could get arrested and get the British Secret Service to move their base into the underground bunkers?  As far as I can tell the answer was so that he could then escape and kill M.  This all could have been achieved much more simply.  He could have simply waited for M to actually get back to her office and then blown her to kingdom come.

But he wanted to talk to her face to face and then shoot her, you reply.  Okay, then he could have come to London and shot M in her house.  It doesn't seem like that would have been to hard.  Bond broke in no problem.

Also, how and why exactly did he blow a hole in the ceiling so that the subway could fall in and not really come close to killing Bond?  When exactly did he have the time to set up those explosives?  And assuming we can get past that problem, why did he do it?  Or rather how did he know that Bond (or anyone for that matter) would be chasing him and catch up to him at that exactly place and time.  And that there would be a train coming by at that point.  And as previously stated, it didn't really succeed in doing anything.  Bond took the tactic Bad Guy in the train scene should have.  He just stepped to the side. [5]  If Silva actually knew Bond (or whoever) was going to be there at that time, then he should have put the bomb where it would have exploded and killed Bond (or whoever).

Anyway, there are a couple of other things like this that strained the bounds of contrivances and made Occam's razor rusty, [6] but let's move past that.

I still liked the movie.  I am fully prepared to admit that that fact is probably because I like me some Bond movies, but whatever.  I do disagree with some articles I read about the film that said it was the best Bond movie ever.  Casino Royale was easily far superior (imho).  But it was other engaging and fun.

Perhaps the thing I like most about it is how it managed to both continue the Bond mythos on it's already set path at the same time it managed to reboot it as well.

They brought back a car from an old film linking this one to the past at the same time they introduced a new Moneypenny as if she was there for the first time.  And there's once more a stuffy British dude sitting in the red chair and if his mode and manner are very similar to the man who used to sit there so much the better.

Skyfall: B

[1] - For instance, Die Another Day was aptly named, because anyone who watched it died a little bit that day.
[2] - But then I already talked about Die Another Day.
[3] - Betcha didn't see that one coming.
[4] - Something roughly in the neighborhood of 3 m.p.h.
[5] - Okay jumped, but the train was actually moving fast, as opposed to the excavator bucket.
[6] - Like even a first year agent knows you don't hook a strange computer up to your network.  Nevermind somebody who's supposed to be a computer maestro.

Henry's Louisiana Grill

Henry's Louisiana Grill:  If you like Cajun/Creole food at all, go to this restaurant right now.  Seriously, stop reading this blog.  Get in your car and go.  It is that good.

Why are you still reading this?  Large portions of amazingly good food for a fairly cheap price.  What more do you want?

Go now!

For the record the Pook and I had between us:

Shrimp Creole
Red Beans and Rice
Jalapeno Hush Puppies
Corn Bread (w/ Jalapenos)
A side salad with Blue Cheese dressing and Blue Cheese Crumbles.

See, even the side salad was worth mentioning.

Seriously.  Go! Now!

As soon as we find some money and someone to watch the kids, we're going back.

Henry's Louisiana Grill: A+

Moby Dick

Moby Dick:

Call me Mr. B Grades.  Some weeks ago- never mind how long precisely- having little or no money in my wallet, and nothing particular to interest me on my shelf, I thought I would go see about that watery part of literature that people often talk about but nobody has ever seemed to have actually successfully read. For instance, my brother has assayed the task twice and given up. [1]  But I've come across the first chapter in several places previous and have thought that I might be up to the task despite others failures.

And so I set out on my journey. [2]

The truth is, the story of Moby Dick, Ishmael, Queequeg and Ahab is really rather short.  But wait you say, the very version you have linked to is just shy of 600 pages.  How can you say it is a short tale!?

Well the book may be ~600 pages, but only about 150 of them are given over to any type of story. [3]  The vast bulk of the book [4] is nothing short of a primer on whales.  Identification and categorization of whales.  The biology of wales.  How to harpoon and kill them.  How to dismember them and then how to get the various and sundry things that one might be inclined to find in whales out of the them.  The history of whaling.  The relations ship of whalers and whaling ships to other ships and other people.  The economics of whaling.  And lots and lots of pages about why wales (and the sperm whale in particular) are awesome.

In truth the book should be titled: Herman Melville's Cetology Primer (Now with a free short story entitled Moby Dick!).

So, if you ever wanted to know how to separate a whale from his head or how to peel a whale like and orange, then I highly recommend the book.

If you want a story about whaling.  The actual story is pretty good.  But you've got to wade through a lot of stuff to find it.  In fact, a fair amount of what does make up the "plot" of the book, is merely a device for Melville to move from talking about how to boil whale blubber to talking about how to throw a harpoon.

Also the first 100 pages or so occur before Ishmael even makes it onto the boat.  So when you are all said and done the actual story can pretty much be summed up like this: [5]

A bunch of whalers set out to kill whales.
The captain is nuts and wants revenge on a whale that bit off his leg.
They sail all around the world looking.
They find the whale and it kills everyone except the narrator.
The end.

There you go.  And I didn't really leave much out at all.

Oh yeah, and Moby Dick himself is only in about 10 pages tops. [6]

Moby Dick: B-
Herman Melville's Cetology Primer: A-

[1] - And it seems to me that is twice more than 99.9% of the rest of the population.
[2] - Of reading the book.  The journey to get the book was a simple one of walking to the bookshelf in the garage.
[3] - And I'm probably being generous by saying 150.
[4] - And boy is it bulky.
[5] - Warning huge spoiler ahead!  Not that you're going to read the thing anyway.
[6] - And it's the last ten pages.

 P.S. - You can get the book on Kindle for free.