Not very good: Thoughts on Wolf Creek 2

No. Redeeming. Qualities. This movie has no redeeming qualities.

I shall summarise in point form my various opinions, because it's all I can be bothered to do. This will be pretty much entirely spoilers, but given that the movie's already spoiled by virtue of being terrible, there's not much to lose.

  • The character of Mick Taylor, such as he is, isn't really strong enough to warrant an appearance in a sequel. He was cool in the original Wolf Creek, because he was new and interesting, but he hasn't changed since then, and he's still just a stereotype. He's essentially Jason Voorhees with an Australian accent.
  • There were numerous moments throughout the film where I expected something to happen, but it didn't, and the outcome was not as interesting as I was expecting. Case in point: When Ryan Corr's might-as-well-be-nameless character is trouncing about in a paddock in his orange Jeep, relatively free and unscathed after having removed the dead backpacker from his car, I expected the story was going to shift to a vendetta story as Paul (evidently that was his name) becomes the hunter, and Mick the hunted. This did not happen.
  • The whole "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" scene goes on far, far too long, and nothing useful comes of it. This was a perfect opportunity for some character development for Mick (something he desperately needs), but instead we spend twenty minutes singing drinking songs and playing trivia.
  • Actually, speaking of character development for Mick: He's basically the personification of the Alf Stewart internet meme. Except the Alf meme has had more character development.
  • How many times did the writers get to the end of a scene, realise there's not really much they could do to actually end the scene, so they just knock one of them unconscious and change locations? (Four, if you're curious.)
  • Another scene that disappointed: I had expected the old couple in the farm house to turn out to be Mick's parents, or something. Another opportunity for character development, and an awkward situation, to boot. Didn't happen.
  • There's a really nice shot early in the film, during the blue-truck vs. orange-Jeep chase, where the dust from the Jeep is illuminated by the spotlights on the truck as they speed through the empty landscape.
  • Why does Mick have catacombs beneath his dwelling? Wait, was that where he lives? Didn't he live in a junkyard in the original Wolf Creek? Still, why are there catacombs in the Northern Territory? Did Mick build them himself?
  • Was it truly necessary to have the first twenty minutes of the film in German with subtitles? Does the expected demographic for this kind of film appreciate subtitles? Did I just generalise horribly? Yes. Yes, I did.
  • On the up side: nice use of animal sounds for Mick's various vehicles.
  • Kangaroos. Why?

Oblivious: Thoughts on Oblivion (2013)

Yeah. Yeah, spoilers. And stuff.

Oblivion.

It's very pretty, but not very good. The story is poorly paced, awkwardly revealed and thoroughly confusing. It also has Tom Cruise in.

The story, such as it is, is set in a post-apocalyptic future where the Earth has been ravaged by the final blow of a war with an alien force. We "won", having scorched the planet with atomic hellfire, repelling the aliens but leaving our planet barely habitable. The surviving humans fled to a bizarre pyramid-shaped space station in orbit, leaving a few of the invaders scattered about, doing what they can to survive on the surface. Meanwhile, the future of humanity is assured by giant machines that float over the oceans, sucking up the water to use, ostensibly, as fuel for a trip to the nearest habitable rock -- Saturn's moon of Titan.

Tom Cruise is Jack Harper, a technician who lives in a peculiar house on top of a pencil-thin tower with a vacuous British redhead that operates a talking table all day long. His job is to fly his mechanical dragonfly down to the surface to repair security drones that patrol the ocean-sucking machinery, keeping it safe from the aliens.

From here, it all goes to shit. Big spoilers to follow, for more than one film. I don't care. I like to live dangerously.

Tom ultimately discovers that he's a clone, apparently designed after one of the only two surviving humans, and his purpose is to continue to maintain the technology of the "humans" aboard the pyramid in the sky, which is not manned by humans at all, but by the alien invaders. Alien invaders who aren't harvesting the oceans for fusion fuel for a trip to Saturn, but simply raping the planet of all its remaining natural resources.

So, Tom's a clone. That sounds familiar. How did he find out he's a clone? He discovered a duplicate of himself, doing the same job he should be doing. Still sounds familiar. Why does it sound familiar? Oh, yeah. Moon. Sam Rockwell did it so much better.

After this reveal, the rest of the film falls roughly into place, following two additional reveals that really didn't take me by surprise. I have to admit, I was a bit taken aback by how blatantly the key plot point from Moon was "borrowed", and I lost a bit of enthusiasm for Oblivion's remaining twists. The biggest plot hole still revolves around the clones-of-Cruise idea, though.

The original Jack, imaginatively labeled "Jack 49", meets up with a duplicate of himself in the middle of the desert, attempting to repair a drone. They proceed to beat the crap out of each other, ending with Jack 49's revived wife being shot, and Jack 52 (the other Jack) being crudely tied up and left in the desert while 49 rushes the shot wife to a nearby cave and steals 52's helicopter-dragonfly to go get her some magical fixer-upper drugs from 52's pole house. This is all fine and dandy, except:

Jack 49 apparently borrows Jack 52's clothing (they have numbers and colour coding on them) in order to convince Jack 52's own version of the cranky British redhead that he's her colleague and not some clone of him. He then somehow swaps back to his original 49 uniform before the story continues, which is fine. Well, sort of. It'd be fine if Jack 52 himself didn't up and disappear entirely until the unsatisfying end of the film. I don't know if the changing number on the jacket is a continuity error or an intended thing, or what. If it is a continuity error, it's a fatal error because the story relies on very subtle hints about what's going on, and the number and colour of Jack's uniform is pretty significant.

Jack 49 also steals Jack 52's helicopter-dragonfly for the remainder of the film, and proceeds to fly it -- while wearing his 49 regalia, again -- into the alien mothership masquerading as a human space station (did I mention spoilers?). Do they not notice that he's a 49, and it's a 52? Actually, I suppose they don't. Their scanning systems can't even tell the difference between a frozen Russian woman and a frozen black man.

Also, the alien mothership? Independence Day. Big triangular doorway. Massive internal corridor with foggy crap in it. All it needs is an army of marching insect creatures on the floor.

Final verdict: Very pretty, a bit boring, and very confusing. Taking a simple, mysterious story and trying to make it more mysterious by going all David Lynch on it is bad decision. Just tell the story. And maintain your continuity. Please.

Be more Pacific: Thoughts on Pacific Rim

I shall summarise: It's awesome. This probably contains spoilers. If you're not into having things spoiled, then, uh, stop reading. Or don't. Your choice.

It's like Real Steel meets Transformers meets The Abyss meets Cloverfield meets other stuff.

Pacific Rim is one of those films that takes an utterly ridiculous premise and puts all its chips in, producing something completely enjoyable. The premise, such as it is, is that there are a bunch of gigantic electric dinosaurs emerging from a hole at the bottom of the ocean, and man has built a bunch of enormous robots to fight them with. Because nothing else worked. Because there can't possibly be a simpler solution than gigantic super-complex machines that mimic the human form. It's a bit like The Core in this regard, in that it takes something ludicrous and plays it for all it's got.

I think the entire film can be summed up in one scene from the trailer: The giant robot walks calmly out of the ocean into the streets of Hong Kong, dragging behind it an ocean liner, whilst the enemy dinosaur grins at it from the far end of the street. After raising the ship like a baseball bat, the robot then swings the boat at the dinosaur's face -- all of this occurs to the film's theme music (all six notes of it), and they properly chose to play it, for the only time in the movie*, on guitar. Proper, old school, heavy-ass guitar. This is robot violence porn at its finest.

Everything about the film is massive, awesome and fun. It goes boom, and it goes boom a lot. There're explosions, missiles, electricity, dinosaurs, alien entrails and whacky scientists. The heroes are appropriately heroic, and the villains are massive and hideous.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film.

I feel bad, but I can't help it. It's expected of me. I have a couple of nitpicks. They're not big deals, though.

Hollywood is currently drowning in Australian actors. Everyone who's ever appeared in Home and Away or Neighbours seems to currently be starring in a superhero franchise (except Alf Stewart, who should be). Somehow, the creators of Pacific Rim couldn't find any actual Australians to play their Australian characters, so they settled for an American and an Englishman, both of which proceed with the most embarrassingly atrocious attempts at the Australian accent I've heard in a long while. There's also an "Australian" newsreader and interviewee, both of which sound terrible. Surely it wouldn't have been too hard to cast a couple of Australians as the Australians.

I also found the two whacky scientists were a bit too whacky for my liking. A good comedy duo has an idiot and a straight man, but these two were both the idiot. Sorry.

Also, the bends apparently don't occur in the future.

* until the end credits, but y'know.

Thoughts on The Lone Ranger (2013)

This may contain spoilers. Your mileage may vary. You've been warned, I guess. Don't get me wrong, I like Johnny Depp. Unfortunately for The Lone Ranger, there are times when he can ruin a movie. Mr. Depp has a well-known history of playing weird and whacky characters, from Edward Scissorhands to Willy Wonka to Jack Sparrow to the Mad Hatter. They're all much of a muchness, it's Johnny with a painted face and a twitchy personality. You could interchange them, and no one would notice. He's not a bad actor. He's a scene stealer.

Lone, lone on the range(r).

In The Lone Ranger, Depp's Tonto thoroughly overshadows Armie Hammer's titular ranger -- admittedly by intention, as the story is based more around Tonto's history than Lone's -- unfortunately leaving the rest of the cast gasping for recognition. Among those you might not have noticed: Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner and Helena Bonham Carter. A personal favourite underrated actor appears also, Leon Rippy as an ageing ranger.

I found the film enjoyable, but suffering from confusion as to what it intended to be. Parts of it are flat-out, blatant and hilarious slapstick. Some are built around fairly blunt insult humour. Certain scenes divulge into basic toilet humour. Others are thinly veiled commentary on racism and the treatment of the Native American people. Surrounding all of this is a simple story rooted in some pretty serious drama.

It's difficult to take a character like Tonto seriously when his dialogue switches from lighthearted conversations about the stupidity of a horse to lines like "Blood has been spilled, and the rivers will run red", all the while as he attempts to feed a dead bird some corn. This wouldn't be so bad, were it not for the scenes that set up his character's behaviour coming at least half way into the epic 149 minute running time.

There're also a few dischordant moments where an idea is set up to be quite sacred or respected, only to have the piss pulled out of it a few scenes later, usually by Depp's peculiar character. While it's hard to call any action "breaking character" for someone who's clearly not the full quid to begin with, it's a little awkward as a viewer to be fed what seems to be a subtle moral concept, then have it jerked away disrespectfully.

The Lone Ranger is enjoyable, chaotic, action-packed and a bit disjointed. It could certainly have been worse, and I don't feel like I wasted either my time or money by watching it.

Sharktopus: A work of genius

This is going to be a remarkably brief review, but I'm still going to do my best to convey exactly how bad this film is. It's presented by its producer, Roger Corman -- famous for some semi-bad things like Death Race and the 1960s version of Little Shop of Horrors, and a film I've mocked previously, Time Under Fire. ...yeah.

Sharktopus has a fairly loose storyline, governed largely by the instruction to show, as often as possible, a literally unbelievable creature eating as many people as possible.

Eric Roberts (older brother of Julia) "stars" as Sands, the father of Nicole, reluctant creator of the Sharktopus. The creature is a military creation, intended as a tracking device, or at least that's the best I can figure from the film's limited exposition. It's given the code name "S11", by which it's constantly referred to, probably due to the realization that "Sharktopus" is the stupidest word ever coined.

Toss into the mix a Lara Croft knock-off news reporter and her stereotypical Mexican camera man (complete with inconsistent Sharpie tattoos that change from scene to scene), and a few scattered bit parts by terrible actors, and you have the closest thing to a story that Sharktopus has to offer.

I'm going to bullet-point some of the highlights, in no order in particular:

  • The majority of the film's intro and establishing shots appear to have been lifted from the holiday home videos of the crew. Every single one features dodgy hand-held camera shake, and several shots dim and brighten under auto exposure. Nice!
  • The bulk of the "actors" were clearly hired for their physique, and not their acting talents. With a couple of notable exceptions --
  • The bikini-clad young lady with the metal detector who gets dragged down the beach by the Sharktopus may possibly not have been born a woman.
  • Roger Corman's daughter makes an appearance as a bungee-jumper. It's worth noting that she was probably not hired for her looks, and definitely was not hired for her acting talents.
  • Some of the Shaktopus visual effects are decent, if let down by the ridiculous design of the (ridiculous) creature. Other shots, though, look like they've been rendered out on a Nintendo 64.
  • Eric Roberts (Julia's older brother) spends most of the film getting progressively drunk as a means of dealing with the ludicrous situation. I suspect that this may not be acting, and I can imagine Mr. Roberts probably had similar feelings about the ludicrous film he was making. I do hope he was paid well.
  • Kerem Bursin spends most of the film confused as to why his shirt keeps disappearing and reappearing, as continuity had clearly taken the day off while his scenes on the boat were filmed.
  • The spectators at the inexplicable dance scenario toward the end of the film are apparently totally blind to the shark/octopus hybrid that climbs atop the pavillion until it begins to eat people.
  • Almost all of the Jaws-style scenes in which a random beachgoer is killed by the monster are completely disjointed, and really serve no purpose to the storyline (although I'm willing to accept that they are the storyline).

All in all, I don't feel my time was wasted watching it, as it was entertaining for all the wrong reasons, but I'm afraid I can't, in good conscience, recommend it to anyone, as quite frankly it's a stinking pile of bilge, and shouldn't be cast onto the retinas of a human being under any circumstances. That said, I'm sat prepared to watch another Roger Corman entry tonight: Camel Spiders. I can only imagine it'll be awesome.

Prehistoric obsession

This is something I worked on a while ago, but it seemed appropriate with Jurassic Park: 3D being released this week. This is a mockup of a poster for a fourth Jurassic Park movie, which I created while I was entertaining the idea of writing a JP fan film (the idea hasn't completely dissipated, by the by). The byline is "Las Cinco Muertes", or "The Five Deaths", which was the eerily appropriate local name for the chain of islands that John Hammond bought up in the novels by Michael Crichton.

JP_LCM_PosterIt's one of those projects that I started, then couldn't stop until it was perfect. This happens, occasionally. Sometimes I don't get much sleep.

The logo and poster are entirely made in Photoshop. The credit text is the only thing I skipped out on: It's "borrowed" from the poster for the first Jurassic Park.

Enjoy! And if you're Steven Spielberg, Universal or Amblin Entertainment, don't be offended, it's just an image. If I've stolen your idea, then damn -- I'm better at this than I thought I was.

Just a quicky, but don't steal it --

Here's a little fact I wasn't aware of, brought to you by the always educational Doctor Karl: The music on that annoying "You wouldn't steal a car.." bumper on the beginning of almost every DVD in the early '00s is...wait for it...pirated music. Dr. Kruszelnicki has provided much more information than I ever could, so I point you to the above link and leave you in peace. Should you not remember the horrid advert, here's a youtube link to refresh your memory.

Cold Creek Manor: An exercise in common sense

MPW-9510

This is a brief study in logic. Occam’s Razor postulates that of all available possibilities, whichever is the least ridiculous is probably the right one. Sherlock Holmes postulates that when everything impossible is removed from the scene, whatever’s still hanging around has got to be the truth. Schroedinger postulates that a cat can be a zombie. Today’s film of choice is a “psychological thriller” under the guise of Cold Creek Manor. I’ve come to the conclusion that a “psychological thriller” is in fact a horror movie with everything good removed from it.

CCM is the story of a frustrated family of New Yorkers, who, upon their young son being ploughed by an SUV in the city, decide to move to the country. Where SUVs are less prevalent. Or something.

So, Irritating Video Journalist Daddy packs up Sleeping With Colleague Mummy, Overdeveloped Teenage Daughter and Annoying Young Son and heads off to purchase a piece of prize real estate in the form of Cold Creek Manor.

Having moved in to their new home, IVJ Daddy and AY Son start snooping about and find a bundle of curious evidence about the previous owners, including a scrapbook created by the previous owner’s child, laden with dodgy imagery and even worse poetry about demons, and a bunch of polaroid photos of what I assume to have been the previous owner’s wife with her wobbly bits awobble.

To cut a long, tedious and stultifyingly boring story short, previous owner shows up, hangs around, proves himself to be as dodgy as everyone suspects, becomes bad guy, tries to kill everyone.

Now. Leaps of logic.

1. Kid convinced Daddy hit horse with car.

Father, drunk from trying to butter up the locals at the saloon, drives home. Previous house owner gives chase, Daddy winds up colliding with a deer. Previous owner retreats. Next morning, kiddies wake up to find Daddy’s car is damaged, and their pet horse is dead in the swimming pool, which is in the back yard of the house, clearly flanked by the house on one side and trees and gardens on the other.

OCCAM, SHERLOCK AND SHROEDINGER AGREE: Daddy did not hit the horse, as there are clearly no skidmarks on the ground, nor is there enough room in the entire yard for Daddy to gain enough speed to collide with a horse and fling it into a swimming pool! Daddy probably hit the deer that Daddy says he hit.

MOVIEMAKERS AGREE: Daddy did not hit a deer. Daddy hit the horse. Somewhere else. Then dragged the horse’s dead carcass back to the pool and dumped it in. At night. Without making a sound. Oh, and Daddy killed the horse with an impact that was only strong enough to damage one headlight and bend his front quarterpanel a tiny bit.

ANYHOW. Second leap of logic ahoy!

Cold Creek Manor is essentially The Ring with The Ring removed. Brief synopsis:

Ring: Chick hires video journalist to discover the meaning of a videotape about a kid who was killed by her parents and dumped down a well.

Manor: Video journalist buys house then discovers previous owner killed his kids and dumped them down a well.

I digress. Second leap.

2. Thin nylon rope can lift anything!

Spoilers ahoy. Upon learning that the previous owner probably disposed of his children in a well on the property, IVJ Daddy sends his waterproof handycam down the well on a bit of bright yellow nylon shoelace. He reels in the camera and discovers their remains on the tape.

Daddy goes to the car, as far as I can tell for the sole purpose of seeing whether the tyres had been slashed (what astounding clairvoyance!) while Mummy inexplicably remains near the top of the unguarded well waving a lantern about. Previous house owner leaps from the bushes and pushes Mummy into the hole. Then, uh, disappears. For no reason I can fathom.

ANYHOW. Daddy comes to the rescue and flings the bit of nylon shoelace down the hole for Mummy to climb up on.

OCCAM, SHERLOCK AND SHROEDINGER AGREE: Nylon shoelace will not hold the weight of Sharon Stone at a length of, eh, thirty feet, probably.

MOVIEMAKERS AGREE: Sure it will. However, she’s going to mostly climb up the REALLY OBVIOUS TREE ROOTS (or “vines”, as Dennis Quaid calls them) which could have supported her without the aid of the amazingly yellow string.

Also of note is Christopher Plummer as a senile old man. Not a huge leap, there. Sorry.

Video game movies are DOOMed

Over the recent weekend, I had the opportunity to meet with Yahtzee from fullyramblomatic.com, and to watch the epic masterpiece of celluloid theater that masquerades as Doom. Movies based on video games are rarely decent. Lets explore.

Super Mario Brothers. The general concensus on the Super Mario Brothers movie is that it stands alone as a passable fantasy film, with unnecessary allusions to the Super Mario Brothers video games thrown in for no reason whatsoever. With the possible exception of “He’s got a Bob-omb!”, none of the video game references have even the slightest bearing on the plot. Grade: C+.

Mortal Kombat.liked Mortal Kombat. For a few reasons. Bridgette Wilson in short shorts is one of them. Of all the video-game inspired movies to date, this one’s probably the most accurate to the game, which is both a benefit and a downfall. Luckily, the backstory behind the Mortal Kombat games had a bit of beef to it, so there was actually something to build on, script-wise. Also, this movie features virtually every major character from the game, has a reasonable sense of humour, and doesn’t appear too cheesy. Also, CHRISTOPHER LAMBERT. Grade: A-.

Street Fighter. Oh, Christ no. Grade: D-.

Resident Evil / Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Again, the redeeming quality of this movie is that you get to see Milla Jovovich’s genitalia. Leaving the game connection out, it’s a pretty ordinary zombie episode. Grade: B.

House Of The Dead. Oh, Christ. It has clips from the game in it. Possibly the worst movie ever made. Also, it’s worth nothing that Uwe Boll is also in the process of cinematically destroying Alone In The Dark and Postal, too. Sigh. Grade: Q.

Doom. The plot of Doom, the video game, basically consisted of “there’re demons from hell on a space station, so marines go and kill them”. Sadly, the plot of Doom, the movie, is the same. I’m vaguely tempted to write a scene-by-scene description of it, but seeing as ABSOLUTELY NO PLOT DEVELOPS, there’s no point to doing so. However, here’re a few notes:

- The Bio-Forge Gun. The BFG. It’s introduced into the film with all the subtlety of a housebrick. That’d be okay, perhaps, if it wasn’t for The Rock’s emotionless delivery of the line, “Big…fucking…gun”. I want to stab the screenwriter.

- Dexter Fletcher. In another attempt at crow-barring a well-known reference into the flick, Dexter (from Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, among other things) is Pinky. Pinky lost his bottom half in a bizarre transportation accident, and now has his anus miraculously welded to a Segway Scooter. WIthout giving away any massive plot spoilers, he mutates and becomes the pinky demon. Whee.

- Gun Cam. The last 15 minutes of the film consist of purely random gun-cam violence. After our dopey marine hero is injected with antivenom..or venom..or whatever the hell it was, he’s overcome by a violent rage that can only be assuaged by strapping the film camera to his gun and shooting everything in sight. It’s so House Of The Dead it’s unbearable.

League of Extraordinary Guff

leagueofextraordinarygentlemenI wanted to like this movie. Seriously. However, the following things prevented me from doing so. Stupid-looking explosion.

Kenya. Connery and British Dude stand around while, quite obviously, the director yells "bang" in place of a craptacular special effect. Connery and British Dude pivot around unremarkably to see the building behind them burst ineffectually into RED FLAMES that look like they were tooled on with Paint Shop Pro. BRILLIANT START TO THE FILM.

Hyde.

Having watched the DVD special features and what-have-you, I'm willing to marvel at the technological wizardry involved in creating the Hyde suit. However, as great as it is, it still looks like Mr. Flemyng is wearing half a Silly Sumo suit.

The car.

I'll grant you, for entertainment purposes, for the sake of suspension-of-belief, that an internal combustion engine could have been invented in 1899. Also, I'll even go as far as to say it's not totally ridiculous that it could have been put into a four wheeled vehicle. Sure. Why not.

However, having spent a moment contemplating the Nemomobile, one cannot help but realise that on top of the internal combustion engine -- a supercharged V-8 engine, no less -- Nemo and his cronies also somehow managed to invent (and apparently perfect) the building of a chassis, suspension systems, steering -- four wheel, no less, more on this shortly -- a gearing system, air-filled rubber tyres, an ignition system presumably utilising a startermotor and alternator which then powers the lights (which if I recall correctly wasn't invented til near half-way through the next century, as almost all early cars had crank-starts) AND obviously, as Sawyer crashed the thing and survived, some kind of safety systems such as crumple zones and presumably some kind of laminated glass in the windows. Which, apparently, were rigged with winding mechanisms just like 20th century cars.

ALSO, as the producers pointed out in the special features, it'd be completely and utterly impossible to make a four-wheel-steer car complete a 180-degree turn, or, indeed, negotiate the narrow streets and cornering of Venice. ON COBBLED STREETS.

AND FURTHERMORE, Mr. Sawyer executes this maneuvre after approximately four seconds of experience driving the vehicle. Which doesn't sound so bad now, but hey. He wouldn't have even known the thing on the floor is what makes it go faster.

GPS tracking from a submarine!

And what's more, Nemo's ridiculous submarine can apparently track the position of the car in question! With what? GPS? Radar? Yay!

Sean Connery's Titanium Feet.

Connery leaps from the car, moving at about..oh..a hundred miles an hour, onto cobblestones, flat-footed, and walks away. Okay, then.

3D Dominos!

Venice is collapsing, so Nemo -- wisest of the wise -- suggests destroying an upcoming link, a building, in the chain of collapsing buildings to save the city. Which would work wonderfully IF THE CITY WAS ONE STRAIGHT LINE OF BUILDINGS. But it's not, obviously. In order for this to work, one would need to destroy an entire RING of buildings around the epicentre of the collapse. Yes.

Really Obvious Bombs.

Wouldn't some overzealous little crewmember aboard the Nautilus have perhaps spotted a dozen SUITCASE-SIZED bombs with AUDIBLY TICKING TIMERS on them? Particularly when they're just "hidden" along walls and behind occasional pipes?

Oh, dear.

DVD special features

These things irritate me. Why? Because they're all the same. They were fun to begin with. "Oooh! It shows how they made the boat sink!", "Oooh! An interview with the director!". But that's exactly what you get on every single DVD. I just watched The Emperor's New Groove. The movie's great. Possibly Disney's best. But the special features on the bonus DVD...stink. Sure, I'd love to see how they made the movie, and look at a bunch of preproduction designs and whatnot. It's fascinating stuff. But I don't want to see it narrated by two fecal goitres dressed in costumes rejected by The Wiggles claiming by means of subtitled nametags to be producers or directors or somesuch of the film itself. Sweet Jesus, these guys look like they'd have a hard time negotiating traffic on a one-way backstreet.

What further annoys me, particularly with the more average DVD (i.e. the ones without a bonus disc or whatever), is that the special features usually amount to being nothing more than clips from the movie interspersed with random interview dialog with the actors, telling you things you already knew. Example? Mel Gibson's Payback. Right. You've just watched the film. Unless your eyeballs are in backwards, you know fairly well by the end of it that Mr. Gibson's character is a bit of a moral enigma. He makes his own rules, and generally obeys them. He has a goal and intends to pursue it. So what do you get on the "special" features? Random out-of-time clips of Mel leaping about like a gibbon on speed with the voice-over from the interview, "My character makes his own rules, and generally obeys them. He has a goal and intends to pursue it..", et al. Give me a break.

And who ever watches the theatrical trailers? HM. THERE'S THE ENTIRE MOVIE SITTING THERE. I COULD WATCH THAT, OR I COULD WATCH THE TRAILER INSTEAD. HMMMM.

Conclusion? "Special" features are for "special" people.