One of the strangest supervillains and comics, not to mention one of the most unique entries in Superman’s rogues gallery. Many superheroes have a “doppelganger” sort of villain with whom they contend. Batman has Catwoman and Spiderman has Venom. Superman’s doppelganger nails the exact purpose of a doppelganger villain, which is to have a villain who possesses many of the hero’s strengths while simultaneously embodying everything he is not. Catwoman has Batman’s stealth, but is fickle versus Batman’s rationality. Venom has Spiderman’s powers but is brutish and destructive versus Spiderman’s soft-heartedness and Peter Parker’s modesty. Bizarro has many of the same powers as Superman, but is a hopeless troglodyte who runs directly counter to the high ideals that Superman holds. Bizarro is a villain frequently featured on Superman t shirts.
Bizarro’s backstory changes, like all comic book characters, but there are some consistent themes. In most of the stories, he is the result of some kind of duplication experiment, such as a duplication ray. The general theme is that, whatever experiment accidentally creates him, Bizarro is an imperfect copy of Superman. He’s never quite the exact copy he’s supposed to be. This is why, whenever you see Bizarro, he seems to be stupid or speak in broken sentences. He is destructive, but in an oblivious sort of way. Very often, he seems to think that he is Superman. He doesn’t quite understand morality, either.
And that’s another big part of his personality. Bizarro, in most incarnations, is not exactly evil. It’s more that he is immoral, because he does not understand the difference between right and wrong. In a way, Bizarro is, in fact, quite innocent. This is another part of his opposition to Superman: where Superman has a strong sense of justice and stands for certain principles, of which he is keenly aware, Bizarro has no principles at all. Bizarro doesn’t even have evil principles. He’s just amoral. He’s a bull in a China shop, not only in the sense of breaking things, but in the sense that neither Bizarro nor the bull know what they’re doing or are fully aware that they are breaking things.
Very often, especially in more recent treatments, Bizarro is dealt with relatively more gently than other villains. Superman often stops or imprisons him somehow without hurting him. Also, Bizarro frequently escapes to live on his own somewhere where nobody will bother him. In one of the earlier adaptations of his character, the duplicator ray the creates Bizarro is also used on Lois Lane. This creates a Bizarro Lois, who is immediately attracted to Bizarro. The two escape to make their own life elsewhere. This is in keeping with the strange innocence of Bizarro’s character. Because he does not know right from wrong, he implicitly does not deserve punishment or “justice” of the same kind that other villains do. Instead, Bizarro often finds himself being released or isolated in a way that protects him from the world as much as it protects the world from him.
That is not to say it is not without it’s flaws. It still suffers from the age-old DC movie dilemma of “How powerful is this guy anyway?” Is Aquaman indestructible? He seems to have no fear of bullets and can fall from a flying aircraft to land on his back on a desert sand dune no problem (along with another Atlantean). He didn’t die of thirst while trudging through said desert looking for a Stargate-esque ruin (note to any Aquaman gold or silver age comic book fans-Aquaman would die if out of the water for more than one hour). He can pick up a submarine and swim faster than a speeding bullet (in fact he looks and acts remarkably like another DC superhero who shall go nameless but may or may not rhyme with Dupersam. By a totally unrelated coincidence I pulled this image out of our Superman t shirt category. ). However he gets his ass kicked by a giant sea monster and guys with swords nearly gut him (the swords are made from “Atlantean metal” which somehow changes the laws of physics).
The film also suffers from a certain amount “How did he get there?” syndrome. How did Aquaman walk across hundreds of miles of desert without so much as a canteen? How did he surface in Africa with the resources to hire a private plan much less buy a pair of pants? Why did he and Mera have to steal a boat when they can both travel underwater much faster? Were they really worried about the boat sinking? How does Aquaman actually find a single submarine in the midst of being pirated in the middle of the ocean? Do the fish tell him? If so how can the fish tell the difference between sailors and pirates? The list goes on.
(Continued in part 3 below)
I did enjoy this one as a kid. My father was in the Air Force and I liked jets a lot. As a movie reviewer I also have to say this is an example where a voice over monolog is well placed. The plot device of the Captains Log as a monolog is a great Star Trek trick and by using it at the beginning of this episode to replace filming the actual accident that sent them back in time they saved a lot of time.
The problem with this one is the very loose approach to the Butterfly Effect Spock takes. Sure Captain Christopher didn’t do much but just by not being on the planet things could have changed dramatically. If he hadn’t been on line at the bank one day someone might have gotten out 30 seconds sooner and been hit by a bus that would have otherwise not happened. This was kind of the whole point behind City on the Edge of Forever so I guess I have an issue with them changing time travel mechanics 9 episodes later. Also the “go super fast to travel back in time” was totally lifted from Superman. I like to see more imagination. (image from our collection of Superman t shirts)
the Infamous Dave Inman
This episode holds a very special place in my heart if only because it launched the best Star Trek movie the Wrath of Khan (Maybe I will marry TWOK! Shut up!). Even without the amazing movie following it up this would be one of the best episodes. Kirk is outclassed in every way by Khan physically, mentally, and sexually (yes, one episode where another stellar sexual magnet out sexy’s the Captain. Good thing they filmed this in Season 1 or Shatner never would have let that slide) and like in TWOK the only way Kirk can beat Khan is with his greater experience in the Enterprise and later in starship combat.
The base premise is cool although somewhat flawed. It made a lot of sense in the 70s to breed super men but honestly these days can you really imagine making a super human that would be able to out perform what we all know what machines will eventually be capable of doing? However I liked the idea of a crew of super beings running around conquering the universe. Too bad in Trek Into Darkness they didn’t thaw out the rest of the Botany Bay crew. I guess they were afraid to make the movie too interesting.
Anyway, awesome episode one well worth our love and admiration. The image I grabbed from our collection of Superman t shirts BTW.
the Infamous Dave Inman
Wedding Crashers hits Google.
The weirdest thing about this movie is I didn’t hate it. I have heard nothing but how awful it is from a bunch of other reviewers and I went in with my bile gun loaded for bear, but by the end of it I found myself kind of having fun watching it. It was like going in for a horrible root canal only to find the dentist is extremely generous with the anaesthesia and is a super hot, well endowed brunette who likes to lean in close while working, if you know what I mean.
That’s not to say this film is necessarily good. It’s derivative of other films in the same way saying a photocopy is derivative of the original document. Anyone remember the movies Meatballs, Revenge of the Nerds, Big, Sleeper, and Old School? Vince Vaughn sure does, and “borrowed” heavily from all of them while writing this film with Jared Stern. The formulaic and predictable story caged in Vince and Owen Wilson’s comedic ability, and for the most part the film was chained down with too many straight men (or women). Having the middle aged main guys surrounded by 20 year olds and yet are still the wild ones was more than a little disconnected, and there was an underlying message about how hard it is for current college graduates to find work that was kind of a bummer.
Yet all that aside I found myself laughing a lot. Of course I had a lot of personal connections to the film that most of you would probably be missing. First of all I live in the Bay Area and have any number of friends who work at Google, so the environment they portrayed made a lot of sense. Whenever they showed a scene in San Francisco or Palo Alto I could thing “Hey, I had a friend who puked on that corner”, which always improves a personal connection. Also the job that the main characters were doing at the beginning of the film (manufacturers rep) I have done myself for most of my life and I have worked for agencies exactly like the one they showed, so I could see a lot of humor that others might not.
This film also serves as some kind of Google marketing ploy, but what message it is supposed to impart I don’t know. On the one hand they seem to be showing Google as the coolest, most fun place to work in the world and all the employees are infused with “Googliness” (a term that comes up more times than it should in this film. More times=more than zero IMO) and a desire to make the world a better place with answers to questions like “do midgets have night vision?”. On the other hand the film seems dedicated to showing Google employees as the biggest dorks in the history of dorkdom (this is coming from as big a dork as you will ever meet in your lifetime) and the whole company as so bogged down with nerd culture and hippy dippy bull that you wonder how they can successfully turn on the light switch without falling down and breaking something. Kind of a mixed message. By the way, based on how much I pay every month for Google AdWords, I can tell you they are not not interested in making money.
The film starts off with Billy (Vince Vaughn-Wedding Crashers, Dodgeball, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) and Nick (Owen Wilson-Zoolander, Midnight in Paris, Drillbit Taylor) working as sales reps when they find out their boss (John Goodman-Argo, Monsters Inc, the Big Lebowski) just closed down the company. They are desperate for work (at one point Nick takes a job with his brother-in-law, played hilariously by the great Will Ferrell). While looking for work Billy managed to sign them up for an internship with Google. They are accepted for the thinnest of reasons and relocate to California.
Once there they are literally the odd men out. They are insulted by their intern nemesis Graham (Max Minghella-the Ides of March, Art School Confidential, the Social Network) and are teamed up with the rest of the cliche rejects; an over achieving Asian guy (Tobit Raphael-no other credits), a wannabe geek slut (Tiya Sircar-Friends with Benefits, Hotel for Dogs, 17 Again), a depressive hipster anti-socialite (Dylan O’Brian-The High Road, Teen Wolf, the First Time), and the nerd team leader Lyle (Josh Brener-Big Bang Theory, the Condom Killer, Glory Days). Nick also meets his super hot but over worked love interest Dana (Rose Byrne-Get Him to the Greek, 28 Weeks Later, X-Men First Class).
They are then injected into an Apprentice style competition with the other teams and thanks to Billy and Nick start loosing pretty badly. Billy managed to get the team to bond during a game of Quidditch (no joke. By the way, I don’t care how geeky you are no one on this planet would ever choose to be Hufflepuff). At that point if you have ever seen Meetballs you can pretty much predict where this movie is going, only with less sex, camping, and actual physical activity. Billy and Nick take the team to a PG strip club. They meet a guy who looks a lot like Professor X.
The stars. Funny moments, and if you are looking for a lesson in the value of teamwork and fair play look no further. One star. I’m not a huge Owen Wilson fan, but I like Vince Vaughn and his chemistry with Owen is a winning combination (actually I liked Owen a lot in Zoolander). One star. I would risk serious bodily harm and/or death to have dinner with Rose Byrne, and Tiya Sircar is pretty easy on the eyes. One star. The team, while all plucked from the Tree of Cliches, were all different, decently written, and managed to contribute to the film. One star. I like the guy in charge of the interns (Aasif Mandvi-the Last Airbender, Spiderman 2, Dictator) a lot. In fact all the supporting actors were pretty good. One star. The cameo by Will Ferrell was pretty good. One star. Overall entertaining. One star. Total: seven stars.
The black hole. Not particularly original. One black hole. The whole film was pretty clearly either bankrolled by Google or the writers have a secret love obsession with it. They couldn’t have painted Google to be cooler or neater if they wrote in a device that turned raw sewage from the Google campus into life giving ambrosia. One black hole. The movie felt long and stretched. It could have lost about 20 of the 119 minutes without losing much. One black hole. Total: three black holes.
So four stars. Not awesome, but I don’t feel like I wasted my time. You might not get so much out of it if you are not really familiar with Google and/or being a sales rep, but overall you will probably enjoy it. There is nothing here requiring a big screen so feel free to NetFlix it. Date movie? Sure, why not. It’s cute, feels good, and not a lot of serious competition in the hot man department unless your date has a thing for blond guys with broken noses. Bathroom break? There is a scene towards the last 1/3rd where the team is trying to sell Google advertizing to a pizza restaurant and failing that doesn’t add a lot to the story. Go then.
Thanks for reading. I’m seeing Man of Steel in about 40 minutes so look for that review tomorrow (Man of Steel image courtesy of the Superman T Shirt category). Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu. If you have comments on this film or review feel free to post them here. If you have off topic questions, suggestions, or are Rose Byrne looking for a dinner date (I can promise you won’t be bored, Rose) email me at email@example.com. Thanks and have a great day.
Yes, I’m back and should have time once more to write all the wonderful reviews and theories that you, my beloved readers, have come to expect and adore. In fact I have one on deck that I am writing in a bit. However, yesterday I drove home from LA which is six hours of nothing but time to think. Sometimes I come up with something brilliant and other times I come up with questions like this one.
Think about it. Superman is effectively indestructible. Wouldn’t his hair destroy any scissors you tried to use it on? My best friend told me he was a comic once where Superman reflected his heat vision off a mirror to cut it. This is all well and good, but the thing is mirrors reflect lasers, not heat vision. He doesn’t have laser eyes. All that would happen is the mirror would just get super hot.
Let’s say that this were even true. First of all have you ever tried to cut your own hair in a mirror? I sometimes trim my eyebrows and let me tell you I am in severe danger of giving myself an accidental lobotomy every time. What happens if a fly buzzes by real fast and for just a second you track it with your eyes while styling your hair. Isn’t Superman in serious danger of giving himself an unintentional no-hawk?
For that matter, no one ever notices that Supermans hair length is the exact same as Clark Kent, and they get their hair cut at exactly the same time? How dumb is Lois Lane? If male pattern baldness runs in the -el family keeping his secret identity intact may prove problematic.
Sorry, I know. Completely irrelevant tangent. This is what keeps me up at night and awake on late night Christmas drives. Superman logo courtesy of the Superman T Shirt category. I will be working on a film review shortly. Talk to you soon.
I for one couldn’t be happier. I always felt the whole “Kryptonian society is all based on crystals” to be a little too hippy dippy new age. Also, how exactly do crystals grow without some other source to fuel the growth? Isn’t there some law about matter cannot be created or destroyed. Dave would know that. He’s the science nerd.
When you go back to the original comics there was none of this crystal crap either. Krypton was shown as a very advanced planet, not the inside of the universes biggest geode. They had flying cars that looked right. The ship Kal-el stuffed young Superman into looked like a Christmas tree ornament.
Also, what was the deal with using a giant flat crystal as a bed and then having sex with Lois Lane on it? I can tell you from experience that more than once a month on the kitchen floor is a little rough, and unless you are really drunk you don’t want to sleep on it.
It was all 70’s hippy junk IMO, and one of the weaknesses from the last movie was the need they felt to make the magic crystals into a major point of the film. I think Lex Luthor is smart enough to come up with a way to wreck the planet without stealing alien technology.
Like his Batman collection, Dave has a massive amount of Superman t shirts, which is where I got this image. He’s such a fan boy.
Not really sure how I feel about this news. Was Kevin Spacey so hard to get for a minor appearance? Honestly he made the last Superman movie for me. Without him it was really kind of dull and boring. Sorry, but Superman just doesn’t have the angst and pull of Batman or Spiderman. This Supes verses Doomsday image from the Superman T Shirts.
Bradley Cooper I find entertaining in comedies, but I don’t know if he can pull off a serious villain roll. My big worry is that given an actor known for comedy the director and writers will be drawn to making Lex Luthor the comedy relief. Big mistake in my opinion. There can be a certain amount of humor from him, but he can’t be made into a big joke. Although I have to say I am intrigued by the idea of Bradley Cooper completely bald. Will he man up and shave his scalp, or go the wimpy route with one of those skin caps?
Most reviews seem to have panned this, but I kind of liked it.
This week is more proof that I have been secretly transported to Bizarro world and that in it most of Bizarro humanity is comprise of freaks and I am the normal one. Everyone loved Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and I thought it was sluggish and confusing. Everyone seems to hate this movie and, to be honest, I really enjoyed it. I found it fun, interesting, and honestly frightening at points, and when I get back to the real, non-Bizarro world I am sure I will find any number of people who agree with me (in the real world I also have a ton of money and women find me irresistible. Bizarro world sucks. Bizarro image courtesy of the Superman T Shirt category).
That is not to say this movie doesn’t have it’s flaws, and I can totally see where a lot of the criticism stems from. We will get into that shortly, but overall I found this movie to be a good time.
What I didn’t find this movie to be, however, was a good value for the money. It is a woefully short 87 minutes and the ending they pulled out of their asses with no sign of any kind of resolution, conclusion, or development. As it is a mock “found footage” documentary this is kind of understandable, but honestly this film looks exactly like a student film that the people working on it got bored and decided to just end it in one fell swoop. The film puts the “ow” in “low budget” and I think there is a distinct possibility they ran out of funds and decided to wrap it up quick.
The movie is presented as a documentary about a daughter named Isabella Rossi (Fernanda Andrade-Why am I Doing This?, Fallen, For Love or Country; the Arturo Sandoval Story) looking into the demonic possession of her mother (Susan Crowley-Born of Fire, Cristabel) with the help of a documentarian named Micheal (Ionut Grama-The Whistleblower, Guber’s Journey, Closer to the Moon) who wants to do a film about exorcisms. They travel to Rome where the mother is locked up in a Catholic mental hospital. In Rome they meet two freelance exorcists, Ben and David (Simon Quarterman-The Scorpian King; Rise of a Warrior, Inside, Perfect Strangers and Evan Helmuth-Garfield, Fever Pitch, Franks Book. Wasn’t the Helmouth the name of the portal to Hell in the basement of the school in Buffy the Vampire Slayer?), both priests who do exorcisms without the consent of the Church. The mother killed three people when they last tried to exorcise her so the Church wants nothing to do with her.
At that point we get a lot of character development. Interviews go on with Ben, David, and Isabella that explore their reasons and motivations for being into exorcism. In a normal film I would be very pleased to see such character depth presented, but in a documentary format I can’t really give props for characters more or less saying “The reason I got into exorcism is blah blah blah”. Fish in a barrel, really. This section drags on a little but the pacing seemed appropriate for a documentary. We get to the actual exorcism and at that point the story kind of drops the character exploration in favor of some scary scenes. A few minutes later someone switches the record player from 33 to 45 (all my older readers should understand that last one) and the story thunders to the conclusion like it activated the booster rocket embedded in its ass. Demonic chaos (haw!) ensues and some stuff that was hinted at never gets revealed.
The stars. Well done, given the limitations that found footage movies must labor under. One star. While it was obviously derived from Blair Witch Project, I didn’t feel like it was really just a remake. One star. The actors were all pretty good, and I liked all the characters. One star. Fernands Andrade is super cute in a wholesome way that I really liked (also brunette, my personal fav). One star. This horror movie was actually scary at points, and presented some creepy and interesting concepts. I found myself jumping at times. One star. Good use of camera and lighting to help set the creepy mood. One star. Good character development and presentation, at least in the first half of the film. One star. The didn’t do the whole camera-man-jogging-so-the-screen-is-constantly-jumping-around thing, which meant I didn’t lose my popcorn. One star. Overall entertaining. One star. Total: nine stars.
The black holes. The movie ended so abruptly I expected the airbag to go off. One black hole. The film felt really, really short and had a lot of padding in the form of characters walking down hallways and so one. Not a lot of meat. One black hole. While the horror buildup was presented with a nice progression once we got into the actual scary stuff the movie was pretty much over. It’s rare that I ask for more gore, but this movie could have used something. One black hole. There was a large number of opportunities for further plot or character development that were left by the wayside. Each character, including the possessing demon, had something hinted at that would have been really interested had we been given a little more. One black hole. Total: Four black holes.
So a total of five stars, which is way more than I expected it to get going in. I had heard this movie sucked and was more or less salivating in anticipation of something really juicy to chew on, but found that it wasn’t bad. In fact, I spent the first 20 minutes really looking for the suck before settling into my seat to enjoy it. Is it worth seeing? Sure, especially if you can see it for $5 like I did. It will do OK on a TV scree, but some of the exorcism scenes might lose a lot, especially the first one. Date movie? For the right girl, yes. Don’t take someone who is religious unless you want to get a religious lecture and a firm handshake at the end of date. Actually, I think this is an excellent date movie. Scary enough to have her holding onto your arm but not so frightening that she gets creeped out on the ride home. There are a couple scenes involving things that might creep out a girl particularly, but for the most part if she has a brain and sense of humor it should work OK.
Thanks for reading. Nothing to see tonight, so I will continue with my end of the year awards tomorrow. Follow me on Twitter @NerdKungFu. Have a good night, and I will talk to you all later.
So a few weeks ago I saw the most recent Superman movie again. Something has been always bothering me about Superman and Kryptonite, and earlier today while sitting in traffic on the Bay Bridge it suddenly occurred to me what it was. For this explanation we will have to turn to true friend of all nerds, science.
(Superman image courtesy of the Superman t shirt category)
Here’s the deal. I will buy that Jor-el was a super scientist who could make a space ship capable to traveling to earth in a matter of a few hours (any more than that might have resulted in a bad case of SIDS). However, if the planet Krypton blew itself up, how long would it really have taken for chunks of the planet to arrive on Earth? If we assume Krypton was close to us (and not on the other side of the galaxy) then at best it’s 4.5 light years minimum distance. Now, an explosion that propels an object is essentially a bullet. The fastest rifle bullets travel at about 4,000 feet per second. If we boost that up (assuming Krypton REALLY blew up) to about 5,280 feet per second, that’s about a mile a second (I never said I was going to make this science part hard on me).
So a mile a second (which is extremely generous) will essentially mean that it would take a chunk of Krypton 5,865,696,000,000 seconds to cover one light year. A little basic arithmetic tells me that it would take a meteorite of Kryptonite 837,000 years to reach Earth. Why, then, does the local museum have a chunk of it lying around for Lex Luthor to steal? For that matter pieces of it are falling out of the sky all the time in the comics. I’m sure some kind of argument could be made for a relativistic shift in time for Superman’s ship, but that would just make things worse. If his ship were slowing down it time it could only be because he were traveling at close to the speed of light, which would still have had him arriving here in a few short years.
Now let’s consider the geometry. I did some research and discovered that in order for a sizable meteor to arrive on the planet earth it has start out about basketball sized. In order to make things easier for me, I am going to assume a 1 foot ball. Now, assume Krypton were broken up into nothing but 1 foot squares (and none of it were broken up into marble sized of just vaporised outright). If Krypton were about earth sized it would have a radius of 3,963 miles, or 209,246,440 feet. Using the volume of a sphere equation, V=4/3(pi)(r)cubed, we get 3.86762×10(25)th power. That’s a lot of basketballs. However, if we take a volume of space with a radius of 4.5 light years, we get an area of space encompasing 8.4537×10(38)th power. That’s one basketball of Kryptonite per 2.18578×10(13)th power. At our largest point we are 94.5 million miles from the sun. That means we occupy a disk of space that is 4.70614×10(12)th power. In other words, in our little volume or space there should be exactly on chunk of Krypton big enough to land on Earth and, assuming it doesn’t get caught by Saturn or any of the other outer planets, there is only about a 1/10 chance of it landing on us.
Now that’s not entirely fair, as everyone knows that the basketballs would not be distributed evenly throughout the universe. They would keep traveling. So instead of volume, lets consider the explosion of Krypton the instigator of an expanding sphere of planetary debris. I think the best way to think of this would be as 1 foot chunks of Kryptons surface expanding outwards. Now the area of a sphere is determined by A-4(pi)r(squared). Again assuming Krypton about the same as planet Earth means the surface is comprised of at most 5.50206×10(15)th power basketballs. If they all blew up strait ahead (and assuming the debris underneath it more or less followed in a strait line from the center of the explosion) by the time the debris reach earth the area of the sphere would be 4.32363×10(26)th power square miles. That’s one basketball per 7.8219×10(10)th power. Assuming the eliptical plane of the planet rotation is exactly perpendicular to the expanding debris, our planet occupies a ring of about 5.9565×10(8)th power. That’s even worse than going by volume. And again, this is all based just on the area of space we are likely to occupy, not the fact that our planet is actually pretty tiny on an astronomical scale.
So you can see how dumb it is that Kryptonite be just lying around for any petty criminal or evil scientific super genius to find and fashion into a weapon. Sorry if I spoiled the magic for you, but I have always been more of a Batman guy myself.