Thursday, April 29, 2010

Iron Hamm 2

Some musings on a movie where the deepest thoughts are still prompted by the Stan Lee cameo.

The best thing about living in the future is that sometimes Iron Man 2 comes here first. I attended the first IMAX showing, 9:30 Thursday morning. This despite my best efforts to just attend the regular screening at 9:00. The CGV simply would not sell me a non-IMAX ticket, so I made do. I honestly brought ear plugs in case that happened, so I was content. ish.

Overall, then, I'm sure a lot of my opinion of the technical aspects of the movie is biased by the presentation. It's a given that if a film isn't a documentary about either scaling a glacier or alien cat people, it's aesthetic isn't being done any favors by the over-large IMAX screen. Then again, maybe all the props look like plastic toys and everyone's complexion has distinctly marked them as reaching their sell-by date in a regular screening of IM2. I DON'T KNOW. But what I'm saying is this: on an IMAX screen, all the props in this movie look like plastic toys and everyone's complexion has distinctly marked them as reaching their sell-by date.

And I loved every minute of it. I loved half of the minutes of it. Okay, I loved this part:

But a lot of the movie was dull and plodding and not that interesting and it took forever to get there and fairly early on I realized, "You know, I probably would not have come to see this movie if it wasn't for Scarlett Johansson and Olivia Munn" (and a blonde at the beginning who I thought was Taylor Swift, but there's nothing online about it so I'm guessing not). And my preference would have been for Munn to be Black Widow and Johansson to be the reporter who was shot from an unflattering brightly-lit angle for ten seconds, never to be seen again, but I think we all know how that wish turned out. 

A big detriment to the film was the lack of awesome set-pieces, unfortunately brought into sharp relief by the fact that there were some awesome set-pieces. I mean, two awesome set-pieces: the racetrack at Monaco and the Japanese garden. Besides that, IM2 spends too much time at Stark's house and the Stark Expo stage, and going back to these places again and again. You know how Wayne Manor is different in every single Batman movie? I grew up with a borderline annoyance that there was no consistency to the presentation of that place, but after two Iron Manses with the exact same mansion, all I can think of is Stan Lee's best quote, "Never give the audience what they think they want."

Speaking of The Man, he shows up early on in IM2, this time playing a Larry King analog. Or is he? See, the same questions still apply. Is this Larry King? Or is it Stan Lee wearing suspenders, and Tony is once again mistaking identity? It is a mystery.

And I lied before, because while that is a very deep thought, it turns out my deepest thoughts on this movie were spent imagining what it would be like if we could have just substituted the cast of "Mad Men" for all the principles involved. Not that deep, though, because John Slattery already appears as Tony Stark's dad, and I didn't get any farther than thinking, "Heyyyyyyyy...Jon Hamm as Tony? That would be classic."

Which would be great because he would be awesome at the drunk scenes (important boozy Iron Man character stuff!), and he wouldn't need lifts, either. Seriously, look at the shoes Robert Downey Jr. is wearing in every scene. They aren't even hiding it! He gets up on a table at one point, and those shoes are just...there. But hey, that's IMAX for you.

I gave it ten more seconds of deep thinking, and I can say for a fact that I would have enjoyed this cast more than what I got:
  • Vincent Kartheiser as Justin Hammer
  • January Jones as Pepper Potts
  • Jared Harris as that stuffy senator
  • Rich Sommer or Bryan Batt as Happy Hogan, I don't even really care, hell, make 'em switch out every other scene
  • that guy who played the elevator operator as Nick Fury (ha ha racism)
  • a jazz musician as War Machine (I am just not seeing these guys on IMDB)
  • annnnnd Kiernan Shipka as Whiplash
I know what you're thinking. "Hey, that sounds great, but you forgot Black Widow! Christina Hendricks, right?" What are you, retarded? Alison Brie.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Maintaining the indefensible position that it's not creepy to take pictures of a bunch of 15 year-olds wearing angel costumes.

Seoul Comic World was held at the aT Center in Yangjae this past weekend, April 10th and 11th. It was the 93rd Seoul Comic World, which makes sense because the event began in 1999, exactly 93 years ago.

The main convention floor was set up with about two dozen rows of mangaka booths, and all of the artists were exhibiting their personal works for sale. The production value on all the buttons, keychains, alarm clocks, tote bags, posters, and actual comics was very impressive for the prices being charged by each artist: even a hardcover artbook was only 9,000 won. One artist was sketching as I walked by, so I tried to ask if she had any original art for sale, but no such luck. But for about the equivalent of 15 bucks all together, I got a ticket for the show (4,000 won), five posters, an artbook, ten postcards, a button, a totebag, and a bunch of stickers.

It would have been possible to attend the show without even buying a ticket for the exhibition hall, though. Most of the people who came in costume were milling around outside. There was a huge park directly behind the convention center, and everyone decked out in their anime finest were being continuously photographed by people with much nicer cameras than I.

Some costumes were better than others, though. I don't know, this must have been some character from Final Fantasy Mystic Quest Adventure Legends or something. I never played that one.

This is, of course, me posing with a blue duck. The duck was actually white before post-production, but I made the duck blue because I'd never seen a blue duck before and I wanted to see one. This picture also represents my only photo of someone in costume without questionable sexual undertones. 

And here I am achieving minor celebrity status as Token Foreigner on the stage in front of the convention center. I made pig noises, said three things in Korean, and practiced the Dim Mak in front of a crowd of several hundred. I am not even making that up. Ironically enough, a lot of 15 year-olds wearing angel costumes wanted to take my picture after that. Which is probably not too creepy, so there's that.