Sunday, August 25, 2013

On The World's End

Where do I begin? 

Edgar Wright.  Now, as an American with no too much free time on his hands, I have not seen EVERYTHING Edgar Wright has been a part of.  I have, however, seen every major theatrical release to date.  So, I feel it safe to say that Edgar Wright can do no wrong.  Shall we take a quick tour through his filmography?

Shaun of the Dead: Probably the best romantic comedy disguised as a zombie movie ever.
Hot Fuzz:  Carrying that same brand of humor into the police buddy-comedy.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World:  How perfect was this comic book adaptation?  Perfect.  

And now, The World's End.  IMDB synopsis:  Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind's only hope for survival.

The World's End marks the end of what is being called the Cornetto trilogy.  The name stems from the Cornetto ice cream that appears in each of the flicks (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End).

But there's more that ties these movies together.  There's running gags (failed fence-jumping scenes) and there's the important thing.  All of these movies take ordinary people and place them into ridiculous situations.  But no matter how ridiculous the situations are, the stories are something of a bildungsroman.  That's not exactly correct as these aren't children coming into adulthood, but rather adults learning to "grow up." The movies are laugh-out-loud funny in the complete absurdness of the situations these characters are put in, but are also touching, heartwarming, and fully relatable.

The World's End is no different.  It is a story about growing up, about admitting there is more to life than those childhood fantasies of forever doing nothing but having a good time, and behind it all, it is the story of aliens attempting to take over the world.  Simon Pegg is fantastic in his Sisters of Mercy loving, alcoholic, broken man role.  Nick Frost, for a change, gets to play the straight character - no longer the bumbling comic relief, and he does it well.  The friendship between Simon and Nick outside of the movie universe gives the emotional scenes a sense of realism.

The movie is incredibly funny.  It's almost unfair but is inevitable that the movie be compared to Edgar Wright's previous offerings.  It's unfair because Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz have benefited from multiple viewings.  I can admit that I grew more fond of Hot Fuzz after subsequent watchings.  It's almost like Super Troopers - a comedy that really needs additional viewings to catch all of the more subtle comedy that is easily missed the first time around.  As such, The World's End doesn't seem to quite meet the standards of the first two in the "trilogy." The setup to the pub crawl is a bit on the slower side.  But once the movie gets going, it is relentless.  Action.  Laughs.  This definitely has the potential to grow on you as it is easily re-watchable.

Not owning Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, I can certainly see myself purchasing a box set of the trilogy upon its inevitable release.  Highly recommended.

On a side note, Edgar Wright's next movie will be Ant-Man for Marvel.  While I was never much of an Ant-Man fan, I am very excited to see his take on a superhero movie.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

On True Blood and Escalation

Spoiler for the end of True Blood season 6 in here somewhere (let's put something right here).

Suppose that will help with my female audience.

With the end of the sixth season of True Blood, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the season and the series as a whole.  I should start out by restating I have not read any of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, so this post will avoid my trend of "but in the book..."QQing.  

The True Blood series went to the George R.R. Martin school of escalation.  In the beginning you take a story that is mostly grounded in some form of reality - with some *slight* twists - and over the course of many seasons or books or what have you, the amount of "magic" that exists in the world escalates.  In Game of Thrones (book one of ASoIaF), we barely get a taste of white walkers, the dire wolves are just pups, and dragons don't appear until the very end of the book/season.  As the story moves forward we get the addition of dragons, warging, giants, white walkers, red priests, etc.  So, how did True Blood follow this path?

Season One:  Yes, there are vampires, and yes Sookie is a telepath, but the story is really about Rene.  Push comes to shove, season one is a human season.

Season Two:  Eric and Godric, the anti-vampire church, Bill and Sookie - Season two really focuses in on the vampire aspect of the True Blood universe.

Season Three:  Werewolves.
Season Four:  Witches.
Season Five:  Back to vampires, but now we have a developed vampire Authority.
Season Six:  Vampire God.  Faerie Vampire.  Fae.  

Which leads the show to where it's heading: Season seven - the aftermath of the release of hepatitis V.  Did this setup not look like True Blood jumping on the zombie bandwagon?  

Pitcher:  We want zombies in next season.
Executive:  I don't know.  There's a lot shows with zombies in them these days.
Pitcher:  Wait.  I got it.  Vampire zombies.
Executive:  Shit, now we're talking.  Go on.

The problem with this escalation - if it's not done carefully it can come across as over-the-top.  GRRM was very careful not to slap the reader in the face with the fantastic elements of his universe.  He made the story about his characters.  The "magic" becomes a tool to further those characters' stories.  True Blood I think has a tendency to cross that line into the camp-zone with all the sub-plots.  There can no longer be simple human sub-plots in the True Blood universe.  No, there needs to be witches, fire/smoke demons, shifters, voodoo masters, were-leopards, gods, clairvoyance, fae, mediums, ghosts, etc. etc. etc.  All of this is on top of the extreme personality humans in the anti-vampire church/government.  

What True Blood does though, is keep at least one story-line interesting.  Ok, so Sam's girlfriend dies, and here's another chick, and now she's pregnant, and there's werewolves out to get them, but not this one werewolf, and who cares anymore?  But, systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored, persecution and murder of vampires in small-town Louisiana; that's interesting.  There's always that one element within the overarching season that keeps me coming back.  I'll expect the vampire-zombie apocalypse to be no different.  

On Penny Arcade and Warcraft

I've been reading Penny Arcade for years now and every once in a while they just hit the nail on the head.  I don't think they've ever been more accurate at portraying my own feelings.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

On the A - Z Reading Survey

Ok, I'll jump on the bandwagon.  This meme was created by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner. Who doesn't love a good list?

Author you've read the most books from:
School-related, the easy answer is William Shakespeare.  Since I majored in English (had to be so contrarian to what was expected of me, only to end up back in the business world...  on the plus side, it was the English degree that led me to my wife).  Based on Goodreads, the answer would be GRRM.  It's likely that Stephen King wins this though, since those books were mostly read before my Goodreads days.  

Best sequel ever:
Does it count if I say A Storm of Swords?  It's a sequel to the sequel.  Or maybe The Wise Man's Fear. That'd be a tough choice to make.  Both fantasy, yet completely different from each other.  I choose both.

Currently Reading:
The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks.

Drink of choice while reading:
This is going to make me sound boring.  I'm going to have to go with water.  Unless it's the morning, then it's coffee.  

E-reader or physical book:
There's nothing like the weight, feel, smell, etc. of a book.  However, I wouldn't trade my nook for anything (except maybe a Kindle if B&N ends up going the way of the dodo).

Fictional character you probably would have dated in high school:
Lena Greenwood from the Magic Ex Libris series by Jim Hines.  

Glad you gave this book a chance:
Libriomancer (book one of Magic Ex Libris) by Jim C. Hines.  Based on the cover, I never would have picked this book up (yes, I'm one of those people).  But after a glowing recommendation from Patrick Rothfuss, I decided to give it a go, and it was some good fun.  

Hidden gem book:
The Six Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher
Belcher crafts a tale that is cliche and yet unique.  It takes a premise that has been used time and again - small town of down-on-their-luck individuals group together to defeat a greater evil - yet changes it with the addition of every fantasy archetype and philosophy.  

Important moment in your reading life:
The decision to pick up Bram Stoker's Dracula when it was not part of the high school curriculum.  This was probably the first book I picked up on my own and enjoyed, which created a late love of reading.  This was shortly followed by The Hobbit.  

Just finished:
Codex Born (Magic Ex Libris #2) by Jim C Hines.

Kind of books you won't read:
I tend to stay away from non-fiction.  Can add straight romance to that list.  

Longest book you've read:
I should be able to look this up.  According to Goodreads, A Storm of Swords is 24 pages longer than The Stand.  So, George R.R. Martin's epic tome wins.

Major book hangover because of:
I had to look up "book hangover" in urban dictionary.  Shut it.  
I would have to go with Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles books (The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear).  Followed by A Song of Ice and Fire by GRRM and The Lightbringer books by Brent Weeks.

Number of bookcases I own:
This one is easy.  0.  None.  Nada.  Nil.  We donated our book collection to the library upon purchase of our e-readers.  No need for bookcases anymore.  Though technically, our daughter has built-in book cases in her room, which holds a ton of children's books.  Does that count?

One book you had to read multiple times:
I suppose classwork is omitted, otherwise Hamlet would be the book I've read the most.  Leaving schoolwork aside, the only book I can think of that I read multiple times so far is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  I will reread books four and five of A Song of Ice and Fire prior to the release of The Winds of Winter.  

Preferred place to read:
Couch.  Don't get me wrong, I love reading in bed.  However, once in bed, my body just shuts down, which means I don't get too far into whatever I'm reading.  

Quote that inspires you / gives you all the feels from a book you've read:
Honestly, nothing really stands out without my having to look back at things.  The most recent quote I highlighted was:

"Violence is what people do when they run out of good ideas.  It's attractive because it's simple, it's direct, it's almost always available as an option.  When you can't think of a good rebuttal for your opponent's argument, you can always punch them in the face." James S.A. Corey - Abaddon's Gate

I've read other books since then and found quotes I liked, but didn't actually write them down.  So, this will have to stand.  

Reading regret:
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill made me sad in that it didn't live up to Heart Shaped Box or Horns.  But it wasn't AWFUL.  The worst book I've read recently (though this is going back to last year) was Damned by Chuck Palahniuk.  Book was all shock value and no story.  And supposedly he's writing a sequel.

Series you started and need to finish (all books are out in the series):
That qualifier at the end essentially eliminates everything except the Night Angel series (by Brent Weeks) that I just started.  

Three of your all time favorite books:
The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger

Others too, but wanted to pick three that are very different from each other.

Unapologetic fanboy for:
I suppose "unapologetic" is supposed to imply that most people would not necessarily agree.  I would have to go with the Timothy Zahn Star Wars books - The Thrawn trilogy.  Not that anyone would say they're bad, but there's probably a little stigma attached to reading further into the Star Wars universe.  Or maybe I'm wrong and that's a bad choice.

Very excited for this release more than others:
The Doors of Stone (book three in the Kingkiller Chronicles) by Patrick Rothfuss.

X marks the spot: Start at the top left of your bookshelf and pick the 27th book:
Based on my bookshelf comment earlier, it would probably be something like If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.  Instead I will instead use the 27th book down on my "Read" list on Goodreads:  The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.  Ooh, and book three in that series is coming out soon!

Your latest book purchase:
Codex Born by Jim C Hines.  My next purchase will likely be The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastards #3) by Scott Lynch.  

Zzz-snatcher book (last book that kept you up way too late):
Maybe one of the Lightbringer books by Brent Weeks.  It's rare that a book will keep me up too late.  Especially if I'm reading in bed.  I'm more likely to fall asleep with nook in hand.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

On 2 Guns

Here's how I imagine the pitch going.

Pitcher:  I have an idea for a new movie.
Executive:  How many guns are in it?
Pitcher:  One.
Executive:  I don't know.
Pitcher:  No wait.  Two.  Two Guns.
Executive:  Shit, now we're talking.  Go on.

Kidding aside, 2 Guns was seriously a lot of fun.  

Synopsis (per IMDB):

A DEA agent and a naval intelligence officer find themselves on the run after a botched attempt to infiltrate a drug cartel.  While fleeing, they learn the secret of their shaky alliance:  Neither knew that the other was an undercover agent.  


2 Guns (the movie) is based on a series of comic books written by Steven Grant for Boom! Studios.  I've never picked up the books, but after seeing the film, I may have to look into it.  You've read the synopsis and likely seen the trailers, so I won't go into detail on the plot.  Marky Mark and Denzel play off each other perfectly.  Their banter was hilarious.  

The story is what it is.  When you expect someone to be in on the conspiracy, they likely are.  Nothing unpredictable, but you're not seeing this movie for unexpected plot twists.  

No, you're seeing this movie because not only does it contain a gun, but two guns.  Almost enough to get started on that gun rack.

You're seeing this movie for the witty (witty?) banter between these characters caught in a deadly game of "where's my money?!" between a drug cartel, the navy, the DEA, and the mystery mouseketool (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse helping to keep this spoiler free).  

This wasn't quite there, but was nearly as good of a shoot 'em up as, well, Shoot 'Em Up.  

See this if you're looking for a fun(ny) action flick a la Shoot 'Em Up and The Expendables.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

On Codex Born (Magic Ex Libris #2) by Jim C. Hines

Synopsis (per Goodreads) (slightly spoiler-y if you haven't read Libriomancer): 

Isaac Vainio's life was almost perfect.  He should have known it couldn't last.

Living and working as a part-time librarian in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Isaac had finally earned the magical research position he dreamed of with Die Zwelf Portenaere, better known as the Porters.  He was seeing a smart, fun, gorgeous dryad named Lena Greenwood.  He had been cleared by Johannes Gutenberg to do libriomancy once again, to reach into books and create whatever he chose from their pages.  Best of all, it had been more than two months since anything tried to kill him. 

And then Isaac, Lena, and Porter psychiatrist Nidhi Shah are called to the small mining town of Tamarack, Michigan, where a pair of septuagenarian werewolves have discovered the brutally murdered body of a wendigo.

What begins as a simple monster-slaying leads to deeper mysteries and the discovery of an organization thought to have been wiped out more than five centuries ago by Gutenberg himself.  Their magic rips through Isaac's with ease, and their next target is Lena Greenwood.

They know Lena's history, her strengths and weaknesses.  Born decades ago from the pages of a pulp fantasy novel, she was created to be the ultimate fantasy woman, shaped by the needs and desires of her companions.  Her powers are unique, and Gutenberg's enemies mean to use her to destroy everything he and the Porters have built.  But their plan could unleash a far darker power, an army of entropy and chaos, bent on devouring all it touches.

The Upper Peninsula is about to become ground zero in a magical war like nothing the world has seen in more than five hundred years.  But the more Isaac learns about Gutenberg and the Porters, the more he questions whether he's fighting for the right cause.

One way or another, Isaac must find a way to stop a power he doesn't fully understand.  And even if he succeeds, the outcome will forever change him, the Porters, and the whole world. 


Well, there certainly wasn't any holding back on that synopsis.

Jim Hines has managed to tap into what every fanboy/fangirl has ever dreamed of with his Magic Ex Libris series.  We read these fantastical tales of swords and sorcery, of lasers and space travel, and who secretly (or not so secretly) wouldn't want to reach into A Game of Thrones for their own dragon egg or wouldn't dry themselves off after a steamy shower with Arthur Dent's white towel?  The premise is genius.

However, a strong premise may garner interest in a novel (mutant octopi, after stumbling across Neptune's trident, are mankind's only hope against zombie Justin Bieber and his horde of Zeliebers - maybe I look into that; note: has nothing to do with Codex Born), but if the characters are weak, undeveloped, non-relatable, that interest quickly drowns out in a sea of undead pop tarts.

Codex Born continues to develop the characters of Isaac and Lena, with chapter-opening segments giving the reader the emotional backstory of the dryad, Lena Greenwood.  Smudge - I can't imagine anyone not wanting their own fire-spider after reading these books.

Character development - check.

Furthermore, Codex Born builds off of and enhances the magic system established in Libriomancer (read: pick up Libriomancer first if you haven't).  There is no slowing down to explain in this book.  Without the need to review the magic system, the pace is relentless.

Pacing - check.

Three days.  That's how long it took me to read Codex Born.  Looking at my Goodreads history, I have read 17 books so far in 2013 (over 221 days).  So, on average each book has taken me approximately 13 days to read.  Three days.  This does not mean I had more free time (job, two kids; free time is always inconsistent at best).  Further, I am not one of those "I was up all night because I couldn't put the book down" kind of people.  No, 11:00 hits and my body tells me it's bedtime whether I like it or not (was it really that long ago where I would just be leaving the house to go out at 11:00?).  This book lends itself to finding time to read (maybe my lunch "hour" was off a bit over those days).  Between the non-stop action, the humor, the suspense; one does not simply put it down for later.

Since I read Libriomancer prior to start-up of this blog, I never did write anything about it here.  My Goodreads review was simple: "This book was a fast, fun read, with a clever premise." (5 stars).  The same can be said for Codex Born, which may also be one of those rare exceptions that surpasses the predecessor.  I am now eagerly awaiting book three to see how the fallout to Codex Born's resolution is handled (must prevent self from fanboying out and nagging the author to write faster).

Read these books.

Monday, August 5, 2013

On Skinner by Charlie Huston

Synopsis (per Goodreads):  

Skinner founded his career in "asset protection" on fear. To touch anyone under his protection was to invite destruction. A savagely effective methodology, until Skinner's CIA handlers began to fear him as much as his enemies did and banished him to the hinterlands of the intelligence community.

Now, an ornate and evolving cyber-terrorist attack is about to end that long exile. His asset is Jae, a roboticist with a gift for seeing the underlying systems violently shaping a new era of global guerrilla warfare.

At the root of it all is a young boy, the innocent seed of a plot grown in the slums of Mumbai. Brought to flower, that plot will tip the balance of world power in a perilous new direction.

A combination of Le Carre spycraft with Stephenson techno-philosophy from the novelist hailed by the Washington Post as "the voice of twenty-first century crime fiction," SKINNER is Charlie Huston's masterpiece--a new kind of thriller for a new kind of world.


LionEyes and I honeymooned in Walt Disney World, staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Most people remember their stay at a Disney resort based on the rides, the characters, the sounds and setting. Our experience was culinary, with every restaurant stop hand-picked months in advance.  One of those restaurants was Victoria & Alberts, a formal seven-course meal, $135 per person (an additional $65 with wine pairings).  The food was out of this world.  A meal might consist of:

Roasted Duck with Mango Vinaigrette and Lavosh
Alaskan Halibut with Yellow Tomato Bouillon and Almonds
Australian Kobe-Style Beef Tenderloin with Smoked Garlic-Potato Puree
White Chocolate Gelato with Tableside Shavings
Tanzanian Chocolate Timbale with Orange Scented Milk Chocolate Gelato

Looks delicious, no?  You see, there is one course in there, the halibut, that simply didn't work for me.  I do my best to appreciate seafood these days, trying not to place any food biases in the children, not to mention the health benefits.  However, back then I just didn't care for seafood.  

Which brings me to Skinner.  Skinner would make a fantastic movie.  The characters are engaging and quirky.  The plot is a modern technological thriller - spy vs. spy vs. spy and the effects of facebook and twitter and news 24/7.  This is a delicious seven-course meal, however, there was a fish dish in here, and for me that was the style of writing.  Huston writes as if a train of thought.  A character is thinking of what to say or emphasizing their point then maybe.  They.  Talk.  Like.  This.  

"I didn't understand it.  I still don't.  I wasn't human.  Raised in a box.  Copying behavior.  Inhuman.  Inhumane.  Very little differentiation.  Killing people.  Well.  I was a monster."

"No, this has not happened before.
"What has happened before are any number of things that feel similar.
"9/11.  The Invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.  London subway bombings.  Bombay attack.  Madrid bombings.  Asian tsunami.  European heat wave.  Darfur.  Somali pirates..."

That list continues for a full page.

And so how do you rate a book as such?  A book that has everything you want, but is just told in a manner that you find unappealing?  On Goodreads I went with three stars - "liked it" in Goodreads speak.  However this has potential for a better movie - fantasy casting:  Liev Schreiber as Skinner and Claire Danes channeling her craziest Carrie Mathison as Jae.  Make it happen!

Skinner was The Wolverine; a good story suffering from the manner in which it is told.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

On Sacrifice and The Wolverine

Hopefully I don't offend anyone with this post.  

I get it Christianity, Jesus died for the sins of humanity.  It's a powerful image, Jesus: our Lord and Savior nailed to a cross.  It's a powerful metaphor of altruistic sacrifice.  So powerful that Hollywood seems incapable of demonstrating personal sacrifice without defaulting to Christian biblical imagery.  

LionEyes and I saw The Wolverine last night, and once again were reminded that all personal sacrifice must be represented via allusion to the crucifixion.  As the titular hero trudges down the snow-covered alley, ninja arrow after ninja arrow shot into him, sacrificing his own well-being to save his new lady-friend, he can't lean forward and press on in a fit of rage, can't fall over and give in.  No, he must walk on, standing tall, arms extended.  

It's not as if this is the first action movie to resort to this the same imagery.  Spider-man, giving up on chasing down the villain, stretching his body to it's limit to save a train full of innocents is carried off - where have I seen that pose before?

Neo.  This was probably the most blatant savior metaphor in all of Hollywood - ever.  

I'm not judging anyone's belief system.  If belief in a higher authority works for you, then that's great.  I envy you, really.  But maybe someone can tell Hollywood that we get it.  Superheroes (well, protagonists of all shapes and sizes) make sacrifices for the greater good.  That's inherently the story they were designed to tell.  Maybe it's time to create your own imagery instead of rehashing the most common metaphor in existence.  

Now that I have that out of my system...

I'm not entirely sure I'm saying much by saying The Wolverine was superior to X-Men Origins: Wolverine; a movie that took a cult character beloved by many, and did this:

No, it's entirely unfair to make any sort of comparison between the two.  XMO:W can join X-Men: The Last Stand in the realm of movies that ought to be forgotten (along with Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Batman & Robin).  The Wolverine is Fox's attempt to revitalize the X franchise (one could argue X-Men: First Class did that), to bring back the characters and story-telling that made the first X-Men movie so well regarded.  Does The Wolverine succeed?  To a degree.

There was A LOT of downtime in this movie.

Wolverine suffers from Superman Syndrome.  How does one tell a compelling story about a man who cannot be hurt?  We create ways to bypass that which makes the character who they are; like little robot bugs that zap your heart and therefore suppress your regeneration mutation.  Makes sense.

The buildup to the final battle was tense - and there stands the Silver Samurai in all his adamantium glory.  Perhaps more could have been done here.  After Wolverine had to claw his way to this final showdown, the fight was short and anticlimactic.  

Did I miss the explanation on how the swords became light sabers?

But the movie had a much-needed harder edge than XMO:W and interpreted a chapter in the Canuck's life-time that fans were eager to experience in this medium.  And Famke...

The Wolverine was a step in the right direction, but certainly was not the Wolverine movie fans have been clamoring for.  

With the green-light given to an X-Force movie (potentially including my favorite mutant duo on the roster - please don't mess up a chance of getting that solo Deadpool movie made), one can only hope that with X-Men: Days of Future Past, Fox has begun to get its X-Universe together.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

On Pacific Rim

I don't get to the movies as often as I like.  And when I do, the movies I see tend to be on the tail end of their cinematic run.  So any review I put up for the film tends to be significantly later than bloggers who stay current and get out more.  However, there is a pro to this, and Pacific Rim is a prime example of this.  

Movie trailers have one job.  They are designed to sell the movie to the consumer.  Pacific Rim, with it's cast of Sons of Anarchy actors, with Guillermo Del Toro at the helm, with it's premise (giant robots fighting giant aliens) was a pretty easy sell for me.  I had HIGH expectations of this movie, and was eagerly anticipating its release.  

But time passed and the stars never aligned with the availability of babysitting, movie schedule timing, etc. to allow us to get to the movies.  In that time the blogosphere (did I just write that) filled with review upon review of the movie.  And for certain things, I will try to avoid spoilery content, but this didn't fit into that paradigm seeming a pretty straight-forward concept.  So, I indulged in the opinion of others, and in doing so, learned that perhaps the movie would not be all I had hoped it would be.  However, that would not stop me from seeing it.  Giant robots fighting giant aliens.  I'm not turning that down.  So, we saw Pacific Rim, but with significantly reduced expectations.  And it was everything I wanted it to be.  

Sure, the acting wasn't top notch, the fighting...  I just don't understand why they need all this martial arts, ninja fighting training when the robot fighting is the equivalent to WWE Friday Night Smackdown (I lift things up and put them down).  But I grew up with Voltron, Tranzor Z, Power Rangers, Neon Genesis: Evangelion, etc. and Pacific Rim is a throwback to the robots of old.  An homage.  It needn't be perfect.  It wasn't perfect.  But it certainly was entertaining.  Hell, some of those scenes (particularly Mako's flashbacks) were so intense I had flashbacks to U-571 (seriously, one of the most tense, edge-of-your-seat, I'm going puke I'm so stressed, movies ever made).  

The musical score was phenomenal.

And so I wish to thank my fellow bloggers at cinematic corner, two dollar cinema, and whoa, this is heavy (amongst the many others) for reviewing this closer to the release date of the film.  You've tapered my expectations thereby creating an awesome movie-going experience.

EDIT:  5 hours later

Re-reading this, I understand there is very little review in this review.  It has been a rough couple of days in the Szever household and the old language formulation center is not fully operation.