Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Monsters In the Snow

It was raining when I woke up this morning...but by the time I looked up from the last few chapters of Dark Force Rising, the rain had been joined by a light snowfall. The snow continued as I ran a quick Sailor Moon episode and ate breakfast. "Usagi Dances the Waltz" when she and the other Sailor Guardians are invited to a ball by an older English friend of Mamoru's. While the girls fight to see who'll dance with Haruka, Usagi overindulges in wine and gets a tad tipsy. She sobers up fast when a tone-deaf monster crashes the party.

As soon as breakfast was over, I called Dad to see if I could get a ride. When I got nothing on that side, I went downstairs to see if I could fix the bike. I got so close, but the back of the chain was really stuck, wedged between the wheel and the frame. Richard ended up helping me.

He also told me he'll be working on the outlet in the living room that gave me trouble last year. Unfortunately, along with this, they could possibly need to re-do the wiring in the entire apartment. Not only is it old, but it was apparently done in a strange way that may not be up to current codes. I'm really hoping they can do it without me having to move out for three days. I don't know if Dad and Jodie will be able to take me at a moment's notice.

At the very least, I was able to get to work and back on the bike with no trouble. The weather likely chased most people off. It was still snowing and raining when I headed out, but the snow wasn't doing anything but making the grass look like powdered sugar on a bunt cake. The roads and sidewalks were wet, but otherwise fine. We also had tons of help. Along with the head bagger, there was a bagger outside at all times. I spent the first half of my shift cleaning the bathroom and helping to organize newly-arrived candy, and the second half bagging, gathering baskets, and doing cold returns.

Had a quick dinner as soon as I got home. I loved my taco salad from last night so much, I made it again, this time replacing the dressing with plain old taco sauce. Next time, I think I'll do the actual dressing. I missed the sweet-sour tang.

Though both the snow and rain were gone by dinner time, I still did a couple of snow-themed cartoons as I ate. Frosty's Winter Wonderland reunites Frosty with his kid buddies from the original Frosty the Snowman special. It also has a much better villain. Jack Frost is jealous of Frosty's popularity with the kids. He'll do anything to be the only winter icon! Meanwhile, the kids make Frosty a wife he names Crystal to keep him from getting lonely...but only he knows how to make her "all livin'."

The Backyardigans hold the world's first "Cave Party" in a cute first season episode. Mountain cave kids Austin and Tasha invite valley dwellers Uniqua, Pablo, and Tyrone to come howl at the moon with them. Uniqua and the boys create new inventions to get them to across the snow and ice more quickly. Austin and Tasha have their own fun making musical instruments and ways to help the others figure out where they're going.

Did some writing for an hour or so after dinner. Leia joins Pellaeon and Thrawn for a far more elaborate feast. Thrawn is a wealthy mole and former admiral who lives in as much style as an underground animal can muster. He's quite interested in the story of Leia's journey, and even likes arguing with her. However, he's not a fan of the fairies or any animals who live in the light and refuses to help her find King Han and Chewbacca.

Jodie called while I was working on my story. Evidently, I caught Dad in the shower earlier. By the time he got out and got dressed, I was already on my way out the door. She wanted to know, first of all, if I'll be coming to the Super Bowl, and if I am, could I bring a dessert? The answer to both is yes. I rarely work later than 6 or 7, especially on Sundays. They have plenty of people to work in the evenings. She also reminded me that Dana and Jesse are getting married this year. Dana's bridal shower is March 28th; the wedding is a month later. I need to ask off for both.

Finished the night with Pacific Rim after a shower. Here's another really bizarre sci-fi tale. In a creative touch, the "aliens" in this story come from a portal on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, rather than space. Kaiju are destructive monsters that attack cities around the Ring of Fire area like San Francisco, Sydney, and Hong Kong. Jaegers, Transformer-like giant robots controlled by two or more mentally linked people, are created to combat the menace. After years of losing pilots and property, government official Marshal Stacker Penetecost (Idris Alba) relocates the last four Jaegers to Hong Kong and starts building a wall to try to keep the kaiju out. Meanwhile, he recruits former Jaeger pilot Raleigh Beckett (Charlie Hunnam) to navigate one of the newly remodeled Jaegers. Raleigh insists on Mako (Rino Kikuchi), Pentecost's adopted daughter, joining him, as she seems to link to his mind easily (or be "drift compatible," in Jaeger pilot speak). The four remaining Jaegers are going to fly a nuclear bomb over the portal where the kaiju are coming from...but Pentecost pulls Mako, whose parents were killed by a kaiju, out before they begin.

Hoping to find another solution, Pentecost calls in kaiju experts Newton (Charlie Day) and Herman (Bern Gorman). They end up seeking a kaiju brain to "drift" with from Hannibal, a dealer in black-market kaiju parts (Ron Perlman). Newton's well-meaning experiment ends with two more kaiju coming back out and causing fresh havoc. Now Raleigh has to convince Mako to join him in the remaining Jaeger, as they could be humanity's only hope for survival.

I give director Guillemo Del Toro and writer Travis Beecham a lot of credit. This is one of the most original sci-fi movies I've ever seen. A complicated, noisy, and sometimes hard-to-follow story was offset by excellent performances (especially from Day, Alba, and Perlman), the truly novel universe, and some of the most incredible special effects I've ever seen. The details on the kaiju and their destruction alone was outstanding.

While this did well enough here in the States, it went over far better overseas, especially in giant monster-loving China and Japan. It garnered enough fans here for a sequel to be released in late March. If you're more into stories of rampaging monsters and robots and elaborate science-fiction universes than I am, you may also enjoy this tale of creatures run amok...and how dissimilar people still manage to work together to stop them.

No comments: