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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Last evening, Ol’ Robbo got around to watching “Midway” (2019). I will admit that I went in prepared to dislike it because I know what a pig’s breakfast Hollywood can make of WWII films these days. (See, e.g., “Pearl Harbor”.) Well, it wasn’t as bad as all that, I suppose, although I really wasn’t all that impressed, either.

For one thing, it seemed to me the film tried to jam too much into setting the battle up: We get Japan’s pre-war ambitions, Pearl Harbor, the Doolittle Raid, and the fighting in the Carolinas and the Coral Sea all played out instead of summarized, leaving only about fifteen minutes (or so it seemed) for the actual action at Midway itself. It struck me that the time could have been better used for setting up the tactical problems, pointing out the relative strengths and weaknesses of the opposing forces, and then going into detail about how the battle developed. (For instance, there is absolutely no explanation whatever in the movie for why the American fighters and dive-bombers arrived at high altitude while the torpedo bombers lumbered in low. It’s a critical point to the way the fight turned out. At least Ensign George Gay got a little nod.)

For another, the CGI effects. Here, Ol’ Robbo will start pounding on the keyboard. When I am Emperor of the World, one of my very first decrees will be that no machine will be made to do by CGI what it can’t do in the Real World. The punishment for violation will be slow, painful death. So let it be written, so let it be done. I am Sick and Tired of WWII-vintage aircraft being made to look and act like Star Wars spaceships. And aside from the disregard for the laws of physics, there’s the pure art of aviation cinemaphotography. Think of the beautiful shots in such classics as “Tora! Tora! Tora!”, “The Battle of Britain” and “The Blue Max”. Then think of the dreary, soulless light and noise of the aforementioned “Pearl Harbor” or that ridiculous movie about the American pilots who flew with the French Air Force in WWI, the name of which escapes me at the moment. I mean, I ask you!

Anyhoo, there you are. I won’t say I wasted a couple hours, but at the same time I’ve no real desire to see “Midway” again. One final thing: If you’d told me back in the “Cheers” days that Woody Harrelson would some day play Chester Nimitz, I’d have told you to go home because you were drunk.

On a completely different note, the other evening Eldest and I sat down to watch “George of the Jungle” (1997) both because we wanted something really mindless and also because we both like Brendan Fraser (who I hear has had a really awful time of it in recent years, poor guy). We were….not at all disappointed.

As you may or may not know, part of the movie is set in San Francisco, and Mayor Willie Brown makes a cameo appearance. Eldest immediately started in on the Kamela Harris jokes. Heh.

By the bye, we couldn’t for the life of us figure out who the target audience was supposed to be. It’s a Disney film, but there were things that I certainly wouldn’t consider kid-friendly in it. (Perhaps Der Maus figured they’d just go rocketing over the li’l darlings’ heads and keep Mom and Dad entertained.)

Next up: The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” (19 2018). Because Terry Gilliam and Jonathan Pryce, a combination with which Ol’ Robbo has been delighted for many, many years.


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October 2020