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Browsing Posts published on May 3, 2007

I saw it before you

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So earlier this evening I saw one of the most fun movies I’ve seen this year. Spider-Man 3. Yes, I already saw it. Apparently at some point over the past few months, they changed the release date in Japan to May 1, while the rest of the planet has to wait until May 5. I assume this is because of Golden Week, but who cares? I got to see it before pretty much all of my friends.

Now, I will post a very long and nerdy entry about the movie. There will, of course, be spoilers and stuff, so if you don’t want to spoil any of the movie for yourself, DON’T SCROLL DOWN!

スパイダーマン3

Now, this isn’t really going to be a true review or anything. Just me running my mouth. If you want to read a review or something really objective, I suggest you look elsewhere. And since I’m writing this half-asleep at past 4AM, things might not make sense. There is a change I’ll edit this post later, but mainly I wanted to get it up before you guys actually watch it in the US. But yea, I loved the past Spider-Man movies and even used to be really into Spider-Man stuff back in school, so of course I was looking forward to this movie for a long time. Just the fact that Venom is in it would be enough to get me to pay money to see it. I’ll say some negative things about this movie, but overall it was a lot of fun and very entertaining. The story and everything isn’t necessarily the best in the world, but if you want to just be entertained, you’re getting your money’s worth. If you like action, sci-fi, comic book stories, etc, then you’ll be getting more than your money’s worth.

As usual, the movie starts off with a really long and drawn-out credit sequence, with CG graphics and a musical score. This time, however, it didn’t seem as eye-gougingly boring since they gave us a nice summary of the past two movies through short video clips. Spider-Man’s life is great. People love him, he’s got his picture on magazines, a hot girlfriend on Broadway, parades in his honor, yada yada yada. He is, however, still fighting with his pal Harry, played by worst actor in the world James Franco. This time, it’s literal, since Harry, who couldn’t pass high school science without help from Peter, has somehow managed to use his father’s leftovers and engineer himself a brand new set of Goblin equipment, including a new glider that looks more like a hoverboard from Back to the Future on crack. And with his new gear, he attacks Peter. The fight is pretty sweet, especially since Harry ends up getting destroyed, laying unconscious in a rainy ditch Did I mention I hate James Franco? So he goes to the hospital, gets fixed up, but conveniently now has memory loss and can’t remember anything that happened since before the first movie.
Note: there are an awful lot of things that happen in this movie that are very convenient for the plot.

Oh yeah, Peter is going to propose to Mary Jane, but of course not before a long speech from Aunt May. There is also a small meteor that has crashed on Earth, conveniently bringing with it a black symbiote alien that attaches itself to Spider-Man. Next up is Flint Marko, played very well by Thomas Hayden Church. He is the guy who really killed Uncle Ben, escaped from prison, has a sick daughter, and is on the run from the cops. He is being chased at one point, jumps a barbed wire fence into a molecular alteration lab area, and falls into a pit. This pit is filled with sand, and also a giant machine being used to alter the particles of the sand in the pit. Although it’s sometime very late at night, the scientists at this lab are hard at work and getting ready to run a test. Marko gets sucked up in the particle changer gadget, and instead of dying like in real life, gets fused with the sand into Sandman. He is the emo villain, who is supposed to be a good soul who is only fighting and destroying the city to save his daughter. Yeah yeah yeah.

Spidey saves this girl from his science class, Gwen Stacey, as she is falling from a building that is being destroyed by a construction crane run amok (huh?!). She is actually pretty hot. Who would have known that Ron Howard could have a hot daughter? Anyway, since he is such a super hero, the town gives him the Key to the City, with her presiding over it. She gives him the upside-down kiss, and Mary Jane gets angry. She is pretty much angry the entire movie, by the way. Sandman interrupts the parade, fights with Spider-Man, and escapes for now. We then find out that Sandman is actually the guy who killed Uncle Ben, which gets Peter all pissed off. This goes well with his new black/symbiote suit, which amplifies his anger and rage and stuff. Black Spider-Man goes to track down Sandman. Bunch of fights, sweet. Since I’ve forgotten most of the intricate details of the movie’s chronology, I will mention here that Bruce Campbell has a long cameo in 3 as a French Maître d’, and it is awesome.

Oh yeah, Harry also regains his memory and attacks Peter again, but the black suit has warped Peter’s mind so he’s all angry and moody, causing him to totally own Harry again in their next fight. Dark Peter has a pretty cool scene at the end of this fight, throwing a cheap shot of a Pumpkin Bomb back at Harry. Although the bomb goes off right next to his head, it doesn’t kill him and somehow only gives him a slightly disfigured face. Ah well. All along in this movie, we also have Eddie Brock, a new photographer character played by Topher Grace. He is more of an Eddie Haskell type, sucking up to people and saying all the right things. As if his personality wasn’t enough of a giveaway, he is a con, revealed after he Photoshops a picture and sells it to the newspaper. He is ruined by Dark Peter who exposes his Pshop job. Now Eddie Brock is angry. Dark Peter is almost completely mental from the symbiote, which makes him either be really nerdy, dancing down the street like he’s a ladies man, or really angry and wanting to beat the crap out of everyone.

Spider-Man finally ditches his symbiote on the top of a church, where a down-and-out Eddie Brock happens to be praying. The symbiote latches onto Eddie, and we now have the sweetest movie villain ever: VENOM. Unfortunately, Venom isn’t used as much as I would have liked in this movie, which is a real shame because Sandman was overall pretty boring and the New/ninja-like Goblin also overall sucked. What we do get to see of Venom is awesome, but it just makes you wish you could see more of him. He teams up with Sandman, and Peter convinces Harry to help him. We have 2 on 2, in a huge fight that is overall pretty amazing and very well put together. Sandman is lame and has morphed into a giant monster, and he fights Harry. Harry gets killed saving Peter from Venom. Sandman ends up…dying? I don’t really get it. He apologizes to Peter, they make up, and he flies away.

Venom is beat by Spider-Man, who uses a bunch of pipes and the vibrations from them to paralyze the symbiote, who is weak to noise. Spidey uses a Pumpkin Bomb to supposedly finish off Venom, although I’m sure he just escaped. Let’s hope they make a 4th movie. Venom’s voice was also slightly disappointing, because I was looking for a two-voices-at-once thing like they had in the 1990’s Spider-Man cartoon. While unfortunately there was no “We are Venom” quote, the Venom scenes are overall
amazing, although extremely heavy on the CG. I don’t think there were many shots of just Venom’s face, probably to hide the fact that his head was always CG (blame it on the huge mouth, which would require an animatronic head or something). The fights were very fast paced, with Venom flying all over the place and being awesome. Oh, and of course I couldn’t find a good picture of movie Venom online, but this concept art I found is pretty close to what he looks like. Very close to the comic/cartoon, but more realistic (not built like the Hulk), and definitely supposed to be a dark Spider-Man. Overall he looked great, trust me.

Definitely see this movie.

I love vacations

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It’s been a great Golden Week so far. A lot of free time, hanging out, eating, and most importantly, NOT WORKING. Basically, Golden Week is like a national spring break here in Japan; a week long period where so many national holidays ended up being close together that the country decided just to declare the whole week like a holiday. Technically, May 1st and 2nd this year were the 2 weekdays that weren’t national holidays, but a lot of people take these off anyway. Overall, a lot of people have a full week off at the beginning of May, including luckily AEON staff.

Sunday, spent the entire day sleeping and relaxing. Nick decided to come to Chiba/Tokyo for Golden Week, and flew up via Haneda. There is actually a bus that goes directly from Haneda Airport to Goi Station, so he took that and I met him at the station. Headed to Global Viking for dinner, that enormous yakiniku all-you-can-eat plus more restaurant up in Hamano. Checked out arcades in Chiba and Goi, and watched some of Curb season 4, which I had never seen. On Monday, we checked out Asakusa and Ueno, then stopped by the Don Quixote on the way back. The JR Holiday Pass or the Tokunai pass have been pretty useful so far this week, although I guess we haven’t been using it to the potential that we could be. Overall I think we’re at least breaking even on the value of the ticket versus how much it would cost if we bought separate tickets every time we went somewhere.

On Tuesday, had a scheduled “geek day” with Matt, Yori, and Nick. Went into Akihabara to play in the arcades, look at video game shops, etc. Also we decided to try a Maid Cafe, since none of us had ever been to one. We wanted to go to the one near Super Potato that they used in Tadano Hitoshi, but there was a long line and we didn’t really feel like it would be worth it. We just walked around and picked one, since there were quite a few around the same area. Overall, it was a really weird experience. The one we went to was really small, and had a little stage (more like a 2×3 ft platform against the wall that was only about 4 inches off the floor. Drinks, food, and coffee were of expensive but fairly normal prices for Japan. I guess where they get you is paying for maid services, which is not the sexually explicit stuff you would maybe expect when talking about a place like this. Maid Cafes are, in many ways, like sex clubs without any reference to or inclusion of sex. The nerdy customers who frequent these places are apparently perfectly satisfied with just saying Hi to a girl in a maid outfit, or maybe springing to take a picture with them. There is no kind of sexual interaction, no flash of skin, no dirty talk. In fact, the maids and stuff generally talk in a disgustingly super-cute manner. Oh yeah, maid services. We didn’t buy any of them, but we read the menu. Most things cost around 700 or 1000 yen, but they had stuff like “take a Polaroid with a maid,” “play video games against a maid,” or “have the maid do a song and dance on stage.” Really strange. During the 15 or 20 awkward minutes that we were there, this creepy guy in the corner paid for one of the maids to sing a song on stage. The entire time he just kind of stared at her like a creep. Overall, I’d have to say that maid cafes are extremely uncomfortable, expensive, and not really even that interesting as a cultural phenomenon. Or maybe we just went to a bad one.

After the geek day, we headed back to Chiba and were just hanging out in the Hana no Mae up there, which is very different form the Makuhari one, but a really nice place overall. Hana no Mae is another one of those Japanese restaurants that changes their menu with the season, and apparently the “new” menu now features horse meat and a whole selection of whale dishes. I’m going to try them sometime over the next few months just to say I did. After that, Yori headed out and Brian took his place after spending a day showing his mom around Tokyo. So it was me, Nick, Matt, and Brian. We then proceeded to Utahiro for 2 hours of karaoke. As if that wasn’t enough, we then headed to Kamatori, sort of near where Matt lives, for more karaoke. Of course by this time it was after 11, meaning we had to commit to all night. Oh well, we were having fun and it was Golden Week. Overall a very fun night although as expected making it all the way to 5AM was very very rough. Surprisingly, I think this was the first all-night karaoke session where I didn’t fall asleep, although Nick and Brian were sleeping for about 15 or 20 minutes near the end of it. As they did that, I played a bunch of Kamen Rider songs just to watch the videos in a daze.

Got back to Goi around 6AM, then showered and went to sleep until the late afternoon, which felt absolutely amazing. Completely refreshed. Some people would see waking up at almost 4 int he afternoon a complete disaster, but I see it rather as a great triumph. Finally got out of the apartment and headed to Soga with Nick to see Spider-Man 3 and eat tacos. What’s that, Spider-Man 3? Already!? Yep. And that will deserve it’s own blog post next…

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