Saturday, March 28, 2015

Adventures In Mutantland

Began a cold, sort-of-cloudy morning with shredded wheat, half a grapefruit, and It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown. Linus keeps insisting that the Easter Beagle will come down and give presents to all the good little children. Sally's more skeptical. She's dealt with his pet theories before. Snoopy wants to buy Woodstock a birdhouse to keep the spring weather off of him. Peppermint Patty spends her spring holidays trying to teach Marcie to color eggs, with little success. Lucy tries to get presents off of Schroeder and makes sure that she'll win the Easter egg hunt. And Charles Schultz makes a few jabs at very early Christmas sales.

Work was on-and-off busy, especially in the morning. It wasn't quite as bad as the other day, and it did thin out a little as the afternoon went on. It picked up enough by 2 that I needed a manager to come in for me. My relief, one of the college boys, was late.

I went straight home. When I got in, I changed and spent the next few hours working on my final project for class. The question is, "if it wasn't impossible, what would you do?" You have to brainstorm ideas, then let them sit for a while. I did some stuff online, then did my brainstorming. I'll start the essay - it has to be at least 10 pages - Monday or Tuesday.

When I finished, I made leftovers for dinner, then baked a pineapple-coconut cake while watching X Men: Days of Future Past. In the far future, Sentinels, robots with mutant-like powers, are killing off human and mutant alike. Logan "Wolverine" Howlett (Hugh Jackman) jumps back in the past to 1973 to stop blue-skinned assassin Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing the inventor of the Sentinels, Boliver Trask (Peter Dinklage). He'll need help from Professor Xavier (James McAvoy), who's become a drunk since the last movie, and Erik "Magneto" Lensher (Micheal Fassbinder) who is in a top-secret security prison in the Pentagon. Logan has to bring the two together, or there may not be a future for any mutant.

I'm not normally the biggest sci-fi fan, but this one was rather interesting. I suspect it might help if you know the comics a little better. Tighter focus helps, although there's still a few characters (like some of the mutants seen in the opening, Storm, and the hilarious sprinter Quicksilver) I would like to have seen more of. If you're a fan of this series, jump in. Newcomers and casual fans may want to check out at least the first two movies before coming here to get a better idea of the characters.

Moved to Little Nemo: Adventures In Slumberland while I frosted my cake with Coconut Cool Whip Icing. The title character is also from a comic book, in this case one of the earliest hit comics, going all the way back to the early 1900's. Little Nemo dreams that he's in a fantastic world where dirigibles are practically flying palaces, pixies control the weather, and jolly King Morpheus rides a toy train and wants to make him his heir. Nemo's not entirely sure about this, despite making friends with his daughter. When he and the mischievous hobo Flip accidentally open the door to Nightmareland, the evil Nightmare King kidnaps King Morpheus. Now Nemo and his friends have to get into Slumberland to free the king and show that in dreams, anything really is possible.

This was another troubled production that goes back even further than Felix the Cat and Happily Ever After. Originally a Japanese-American co-production, animation began in the early 80's. There was so much infighting and fussing over what tone to take (the Americans wanted darkness; the Japanese, whimsy) that the movie wasn't completed until 1989, and wasn't released in the US until the early 90's. They never entirely solved that problem. The movie goes back and forth from goofy fantasy to frightening dark sequences. Some of the animation is really awesome, though, especially in the second half in Nightmareland.

This was released on Blu-Ray a few years ago with the original Japanese soundtrack and some of the footage cut from the US release restored. It's worth a look if you love fantasy or unusual animated films.

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