Picture the scene; A young, wide-eyed Alfie, about 4-5 years old, sitting down to watch Willow for the first time, I believe it was the first ever fantasy movie I saw. What I now realise is a highly underrated fantasy movie was, at the time, just a nice little movie with swords and sorcery, little men in rat suits, it was amazing. Until about 2/3 of the way in, this pops up:
HOLY SHIT WHAT IS THAT?! Even more than the death hounds that came before, even more than the troll that turns inside out and becomes a dragon, the image of mid-transformation Madmartigan haunted young me
I find myself unable to sleep, and it’s all because of comics. Y’see, in the marvel universe, assuming we put things into real time, there was a whole bunch of superheroes fighting nazis and junk during WW2, like Captain America, The original human torch and the rest of the Invaders, until around 1949. Assuming that Peter Parker watched the superheroes of his day for a good few years before suiting up at the age of 15, Spidey would’ve began his career in 1997 (The Amazing Spider-Man: Swing Shift gives Peter Parker’s age as 25 in 2007). Now, if we take into account Stark would’ve probably been injured during the Gulf war, and assuming he’s now in his early to mid 40s, I’d say superheros would’ve had to have cropped up no later than 1989. My point is, if my math is correct, that leaves 40-odd years where there were no superheroes. Where were all the superheroes and villains between ’49 and ’89?!
In Will Smith’s son “Black Suits Comin’ (nod ya head)”, from the soundtrack to the 2002 film “Men in Black 2”, there’s a lyric that goes: “Check it. Yo it’s this chick right, Serlena, making me sick right, Earth is worthless to her she be tripping like. Threatening me and my mens, trying to get the light. Thinking she’s superwoman, but Black Kryptonite finishing whatever you start son. The best looking crime fighter since myself in part one” Now, I can only assume from the reference of Serlena, the movie’s antagonist, being Superwoman that the term “Black Kryptonite” is something he’s calling himself, as he is a man in black and kryptonite is one of superwoman’s weaknesses, he’s basically saying “I will defeat you, because I am a confident man in black who is also Kryptonite, and you are Superwoman compared to my mad skills”, as such, the Superwoman/Kryptonite reference shouldn’t be taken literally. However, (I’m assuming) unbeknownst to Will Smith, Black Kryptonite is an actual kind of Kryptonite that has been brought up in the cartoons, smallville and the comics. It first appeared in the Superman Animated series episode “Monkey Fun” (first aired in 1997), in which Titano, Lois Lane’s beloved childhood monkey companion (I shit you not) returns from a years of suspended animation of space, radiated by black Kryptonite, which causes him to grow uncontrollably. Monkey fun indeed. Anyway, it reappeared in a 2004 episode of Smallville and a 2005 issue of Supergirl, where it split people into 2 separate entities, one good and one evil, but since this happened after the release of both MiB2 and Will Smith’s musical contribution to the soundtrack, we’ll ignore it, and focus on the 1997 interpretation of Black Kryptonite. what I’m trying to say is, exposing anyone, be it Superwoman or Serlena, is a stupid idea, especially if you wish to defeat someone. Fighting an evil alien lass is one thing, but fighting a GIANT evil alien lass, whilst giving off a radiation that will cause her to keep growing, is suicide. Now let me see ya NOD YA HEAD! etc etc.
Titano: The Definition of Monkey fun.
Recently, some friends of mine have discovered the joys of drinking in a dimmly-lit room full of strangers while loud music plays. I, of course, am talking about clubbing. Now, that isn’t really my scene, as the only reasons I can think of for going to a club is if you enjoy dancing (and don’t mind that people are watching), or if you’re “On the pull”, 2 activities I’m not comfortable taking part in. However, the option is there, and I believe it’s an important experience for a young person in our day and age. However, I don’t have I.D, preventing me from entering these 18+ clubs, despite being 20 years old. You may be saying “But Alfie, you’re a handsome, mature-looking young man. Surely your clearly adult face can get you in to a club. Will you marry me?”. Well, that’s the thing, my face kinda resembles that of a small baby. To the point that I’ve been refused lottery tickets and energy drinks. I’m not even sure energy drinks have an age limit on them! As for the lottery tickets, you must be 16 to buy them in England. Meaning that I – all 20 years, 5″11, 17-odd stone of me – look like I’m 15. Which means one of 2 things; Either I’m going to have to wait another 3 years until I can buy a gorram beer or shop staff need to get some common sense. I mean, I could always get some I.D, but I don’t have £50 to burn. Bloody society.
Okay, so recently, I’ve found myself getting annoyed at advertisements, but fraking hell, it’s getting beyond the point of common decency. Andrex have a new advertising campaign asking if people “scrunch or fold” (hashtag #scrunchorfold), basically asking how people wipe their arse. I mean, you could argue that they’re talking about blowing one’s nose, but come on! We know what they’re talking about, they know what they’re talking about, I don’t want to see this on T.V. It’s bad enough I have to see adverts for sanitary towels where they trivialise bladder weakness whilst I’m trying to eat my tea, now this. And from a company that has always annoyed me, with their fraking puppy mascot. Damn T.V.
So, just so no one brings it up, I know the terminator franchise is full of plot holes, with it’s paradox-inducing time travel and such, but I’m going to focus on this particular one. For this plot hole, we have to go back to Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Skynet had developed an android made of a mimetic polyalloy -liquid metal-, meaning it could change it’s appearance, turn it’s arms into swords and shit, it was, in essence, one of the most badass enemies in science fiction history. The only way it was destroyed in the movie was (SPOILER ALERT) when it was knocked into a vat of molten steel. All that changed when Skynet decided to send the T-X to destroy John Connor. Incorporating the mimetic polyalloy of the T1000 and an endoskeleton similar to that of the T-101, making it a self-repairing killing machine, with several weapons built in to it’s system. It is defeated when the T-101 sent to protect John Connor crashes a helicopter into it, then uses his power core to blow it up from the inside. My problem with this is, why wouldn’t Skynet send another T1000 back in time? It was extremely effective last time, and without Sarah Connor around to protect him, John Connor would be so dead. But nope. they took the awesome technology of the T1000 and gave it the weakness of a fixed physical form (Albeit a sexy, Kristanna Loken-based form), but still. It’s almost like Skynet don’t want to kill John Connor…
So, in my research for this blog, I learned that, in the novelization of Rise of the Machines, the T1000 was discontinued by Skynet because they started to become self aware. This seems like a pretty lame cop out, but frak it.
For the past 2 or so years, 2 particular advertising campaigns have annoyed me, and as someone who spends too much time watching T.V, they have been unavoidable. Let me start with one hated by, as far as I’m aware, the entire British public. An insurance comparing company, GoCompare.com, have advertised using a Tenor, who sings a variation of the 1917 song “Over There”, in increasingly annoying ways. The other ad that annoys me is, funnily enough, another insurance comparing company called comparethemarket.com, who’s entire premise is centred around a CG meerkat complaining that people are visiting his website, comparethemeerkat.com (Although anyone who types meerkat when attempting to write market must be dyslexic or, more likely, an invalid. At least in my opinion), advertising the former in the process. This advert, however, has been embraced by the public (the mascot even has 2 fucking books released! Fuckin’ clown shoes), Now, as annoying as these advertisements are, they aren’t nearly as annoying to me as what they’ve evolved in to. The gocompare ads have evolved to having the tenor mascot humiliated and injured in various ways (Most recently, by Professor Stephen Hawking) with the caption “Saving the nation”, in this case meaning both saving them money and saving them from the annoying jingle that has been drummed into our heads every fucking day for the past 2 or so years. The comparethemarket ads now feature comedian Robert Webb as a human counterpart to the aforementioned meerkat, pointing out that ‘market’ and ‘meerkat’ are different words. The thing that annoys me about both of these things is, the annoying things they’re speaking out against now were things they’ve created. I mean sure, it’s smart advertising, brilliant, even. But it also makes them awful people.