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Two of a Kind 
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Two of a Kind
Two movies I recently saw struck me as fundamentally alike: The Immortals and Battleship. Now, maybe you're thinking, "Peter's finally lost it," but hear me out. It's a simple proposition: Each one was visually gorgeous and yet the story, characterization, and acting sucked donkey gonads.

The Immortals is so redolent of ancient Greek imagery that you could frame every frame and hang it on the wall; whether or not it is actually accurate in its geography, set design, costuming I do not care because it was a visual delight. It therefore made my teeth itch to endure such juvenile plotting and dialogue. The acting was reminiscent of a high school play. I felt sorry for Jon Hurt being the token veteran actor who had to endure the company of amateurs saddled with lines that would embarrass a pulp author.

Battleship - okay, ignore the nonsensical origin from a board game. Any excuse for a good story will do. Unfortunately we got a bad excuse and a bad story. I could forgive the exploitation of seniors - Cocoon made that work - but not the hyper-aggressive sailors some of whom were so high on their own testosterone they would have been court martialed in any real armed service. It's not that I needed a motivation for the aliens - the one in The War of the Worlds is brief enough to be missed in a blink - but they should at least be consistent in their fighting tactics and not go from invincible to mumbling morons in half an hour. Yet the special effects were first class, the integration of live action and CGI perfect, not a single shot was shied away from out of budget or technological limitations. It made me gnash my itching teeth to think what the directors of some of the best s-f movies of the 50s and 60s would have been able to do with that capability. This movie's token veteran was Liam Neeson, a still-rising talent suffocated by a straitjacket of a part.

Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:37 pm
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Post Re: Two of a Kind
I saw Battleship for free from Verizon because we had a credit for a movie. My ten-year-old wanted to see it. That was about the right level of audience. It was enjoyable eye candy for free. I give the producers major props for figuring out a way to work the board game into the "plot" (such as it was).

You're right that it could have been much more--I'm pleasantly surprised that it was enjoyable at all.

Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:44 am
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I agree with Peter's basic premise that these are both weak movies that are visually stunning. However, my reactions to them were very different. I actively disliked Immortals. Sure, it was pretty but I did not like the characters and the story made no sense. On the other hand, I enjoyed Battleship quite a lot. It's story was silly in spots but it did kind of make sense and I did like some of the characters. And I really liked seeing the ships in all their glory. The battles were fun as long as you weren't looking for sound military tactics. Sure, it could have been better but I like it. I could watch it again. You could not pay me to watch Immortals again.

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Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:13 am
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Post Re: Two of a Kind
Generally, with films like these, 2012, Transformers I-XVII, etc. we are seeing the peak of mega-CGI for it's own sake. With any luck these will burn out the audience taste for such, and krazy-CGI will devolve to the current-day Roger Cormans.

There are few movies made that don't use CGI - it's now much cheaper to let wild scenery grow outside a window and lay in whatever's supposed to be there instead of constructing an elaborate backset. Some of the films I know that have used CGI in the most subtle and devious ways are some of the best being made.

Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:04 pm
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Post Re: Two of a Kind
I saw Life of Pi last night in 3D, and its use of CGI is stunning, especially the tiger character.

“Don’t believe everything you see on the Internet.” –Abraham Lincoln

Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:43 am
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