Category Archives: The Ghosty Orb

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back – The 3D Breakdown, Part 2

Continuing the original Star Wars Trilogy breakdown, 10 mins at a time – starting with the first 10 minutes of A New Hope and ending with the last 10 minutes of Return of the Jedi. Each segment will include a brief synopsis, some truly nerdy trivia, thoughts about the scenes, as well as the moments that were Good, Bad, and Bantha Poodoo. All this leads to the premiere of the new Star Wars film The Force Awakens!”

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) 01:00:01 – 01:10:00

No disintegrations.

• Han shoots the floor of the cave which causes an asteroid-quake, which in turn causes Han, Leia and Chewie to reenact an old episode of Star Trek: “Okay, now everyone fall to your right! Now fall to your left!
• “I am not a committee!”
• “This is no cave.” You’re right Han, it’s not a cave, its a exogorth, or “space slug.” The space slug was developed in sketches by artists Ralph McQuarrie and Nilo Rodis-Jamero before being realized as a puppet seventy-nine centimeters in length and twenty-eight in diameter. The puppet was covered with an exterior designed by visual effects supervisor Phil Tippett and was operated by special effects artist Jon Berg for more than fifty takes over a period of one week. The space slug was a heavy puppet whose jaws were closed by a return spring mechanism. Gag footage was shot by night shift camera operators involving an alternate space slug puppet made out of a sock.

this space slug prop sells for a mere £4,245

Industrial Light & Magic chief model maker Lorne Peterson created a four-and-a-half foot long model of the creature’s hinged jaws for the shot of the Millennium Falcon racing out of the asteroid tunnel, casting the five-inch-tall teeth from a plastic urethane that possessed a translucent ivory quality. Additional teeth were later given as gifts to celebrities or industry guests to the model shop. The set of the interior of the space slug was created by the laying of black Visqueen plastic on the floor of the Echo Base hangar set, draping black curtains around the Millennium Falcon, and releasing a fog of dry ice. Visual effects supervisor John Knoll called it “undoubtedly the least expensive set built” for the film. To create the sound and feeling of slime when the film’s characters were walking on the slug’s tongue, Foley editors Scott Hecker and Robert R. Rutledge used nearly twenty-five pounds of pure beef fat in large slabs, as well as dozens of raw eggs, which they then walked on with various pieces of footwear to create the sounds of the characters’ footsteps.
• I like Luke’s Yoda Backpack. You can get one at Disneyland.
• Luke enters the cave that is powerful with the dark side. But how did that place get that way? welllll……Hundreds of years before the Clone Wars, the Jedi Minch battled and killed a powerful Bpfasshi Dark Jedi leader, and his energies absorbed into its surroundings, first tainting the passage with the dark side.
• Darth Vader shows up and fights Luke. This is what you call foreshadowing.
• “Bounty Hunters. We don’t need their scum.” No, but I do…
Hailing from Corellia! Dengar, AKA Payback, is one of the galaxy’s most efficient bounty hunters. And just look at the way he rocks that head-scarf.
Next up we have what looks like a demonically possessed C3PO, but no, that’s just 4-Lom, an ambitious protocol droid who overwrote his own programming in order to embark on a life of crime! Well done, 4-Lom.
His friends know him as “The Uncanny One” but we just call him Zuckuss, the bounty hunter from Gand with a renowned ability to discover hidden quarry, Never play “hide-and-go-seek” with this guy.
Weighing in at 113 kilograms, Bossk is one heavy-hitting bounty hunter. This Trandoshian’s name means “Devours His Prey.” You don’t have to convince us of that, we believe it Bossk!
Designed by Holowan Laboratories, this Assassin Droid has made a name for himself as one of the deadliest bounty hunters out there. Ladies and Gents, IG-88!

Boba Fett from The Holiday Special
Boba Fett from The Holiday Special

From his first appearance on September 20, 1978, at the San Anselmo Country Fair parade, and on television two months later, animated by Nelvana Studios for The Star Wars Holiday Special as a mysterious figure who betrays Luke Skywalker after saving him along with Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2 from a giant monster, this bounty hunter has become number one on everyone’s list. I give you Boba Fett! I’m sure we can look forward to many, many, many more years of Fett.
The Good: Boba Fett
The Bad: The “Star Trek” like flopping around during the space slug scene.
Bantha Poodoo: Dengar just looks like Bantha Poodoo. Continue reading Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back – The 3D Breakdown, Part 2

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back – The 3D Breakdown, Part 1

Continuing the original Star Wars Trilogy breakdown, 10 mins at a time – starting with the first 10 minutes of A New Hope and ending with the last 10 minutes of Return of the Jedi. Each segment will include a brief synopsis, some truly nerdy trivia, thoughts about the scenes, as well as the moments that were Good, Bad, and Bantha Poodoo. All this leads to the premiere of the new Star Wars film The Force Awakens!”

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) 00:00:00 – 00:10:00

I’d just as soon kiss a Wookie.

• Here we go! The opening crawl, this one written by screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and not Brian De Palma.
• According to the crawl, Darth Vader now knows it was Luke Skywalker that blew up the Death Star. I betcha Luke bragged WAY too much about “Oh man, did I tell you about that time I blew up The Death Star?” and eventually he ended up telling the wrong dude and it got back to Vader.
• The Imperial Probe Droid’s beautiful design was courtesy of comic book artist Moebius.
• The stop-motion used in this film holds up remarkably well. Phil Tippet had come up with a new technique called “Go Motion” and for all intents and purposes it was the CGI of its day. This shot of the Tauntaun running through the frozen landscape of Hoth is superb.
• Wampa attack!
• Luke’s all messed up. Mark Hamill was in a car accident before filming Empire and had to get reconstuctive surgery. There is a legend that the writers wrote in the Wampa attack to explain why Luke’s face looks different. But after reading some article on the subject, it’s clear that the Wampa scene was written before Mark even had his car wreck. Just chalk it up to luck.
• The full size set of the Millennium Falcon is amazing.
• Princess Leia was cute in A New Hope but now she’s hot, and don’t think Han hasn’t recognized that.
• I want Han Solo’s winter jacket.
• Okay, the scene where Han is getting ready to go out on his Tauntaun to find Luke, there is a dead Tauntaun on the ground. When Han says, “That’s right, and my friend is out in it.” you can see a big blood splatter on the wall behind him. This came as a result of a Wampa attack inside the Base. There was a whole side plot about Wampas inside the base and the rebels having to deal with them that got edited out of the movie. If you do enough searching on the Internet you can find footage and stills and storyboards of these scenes. Pretty cool stuff.
• There is not a Star Wars fan alive that hasn’t tried to move an object into their hand by using the force.
• The Hoth exterior scenes where filmed in Norway. No fake snow here; this is the real deal.
The Good: Han and Leia’s exchange in the hallway.
The Bad: Harrison Ford’s over-reliance on “the pointy finger” acting technique.
Bantha Poodoo: The Wampas scene getting cut. Continue reading Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back – The 3D Breakdown, Part 1

Episode IV: A New Hope – The 3D Breakdown, Part 2

Continuing the original Star Wars Trilogy breakdown, 10 mins at a time – starting with the first 10 minutes of A New Hope and ending with the last 10 minutes of Return of the Jedi. Each segment will include a brief synopsis, some truly nerdy trivia, thoughts about the scenes, as well as the moments that were Good, Bad, and Bantha Poodoo. All this leads to the premiere of the new Star Wars film The Force Awakens!”

Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) 01:00:01 – 01:10:00

“Where did you dig up that old fossil?”

• This one line perfectly sums up Han Solo: “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”
• Luke is already displaying Jedi skills with the remote.
• In the scene where Grand Moff Tarkin says, “She lied. She lied to us.” Darth Vader replies by saying, “I told you she would never consciously betray the Rebellion.” Watch Vader’s hand after he says that; it’s still moving like he had more to say but it got edited out. He was probably saying, “You should have let force choke her!”
• During this 10 minute stretch of the film Obi Wan Kenobi suddenly turns into “Know-It-All-Kenobi. Behold…
Han – “It’s been totally blown away.”
Know-It-All-Kenobi: “Destroyed by the Empire”
Han: “There’s another ship coming in”
Know-It-All-Kenobi: “It’s an Imperial fighter.”
Luke: “It followed us!”
Know-It-All-Kenobi: “No, it’s a short-range fighter.”
Han: “Chewie, jam its transmissions.”
Know-It-All-Kenobi: “Be as well to let it go, it’s too far out of range.”
Luke: “Look, it’s heading for that small moon.”
Know-It-All-Kenobi: “That’s no moon. It’s a space station.”
Luke: “I have a very bad feeling about this.”
Know-It-All-Kenobi: “Turn the ship around.”
Han: “They’re not gonna get me without a fight.”
Know-It-All-Kenobi: “You can’t win, but there are alternatives to fighting.”
Han: “Damn fool – I knew you were gonna say that.”
Know-It-All-Kenobi: “Who’s the more foolish? The fool? Or the fool who follows him?” What does that even mean?
• Ben Burtt created the sound effect for the Tie Fighters by combining an elephant call with a car driving on wet pavement.
• As they are getting closer to the Death Star, Han asks Chewie to “lock in the auxiliary power.” Chewie either doesn’t hear him or is doing something else because Han has to ask him again to “lock in the auxiliary power.” Finally Chewie locks it in but by then it’s too late; they are caught in the tractor-beam. Chewie could be responsible for them getting captured. If only he had locked in the auxiliary power the first time!
• Those Stormtroopers might be riding the slowest elevator ever!
• Dudes, get a dolly for that scanner! Thing looks like it weighs a ton!
• TK421 must have been some kind of slacker Stormtrooper for them to keep tabs on him like they did.
The Good: Probably Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill’s best scene together in the whole trilogy – when they are dressed up as Stormtroopers wondering how they are gonna get out of the mess they are in.
The Bad: ILM still hadn’t perfected the effect of turning the light-saber on and off.
Bantha Poodoo: Know-It-All-Kenobi Continue reading Episode IV: A New Hope – The 3D Breakdown, Part 2

Episode IV: A New Hope – The 3D Breakdown, Part 1

I will be taking the original Star Wars Trilogy (no “Special Editions” here) and breaking it down 10 mins at a time – starting with the first 10 minutes of A New Hope and ending with the last 10 minutes of Return of the Jedi. Each segment will include a brief synopsis, some truly nerdy trivia, thoughts about the scenes, as well as the moments that were Good, Bad, and Bantha Poodoo. All this leads to the premiere of the new Star Wars film The Force Awakens!” Lets get started!

Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) 00:00:00 – 00:10:00

“This is madness…. were doomed!”

• We get the opening crawl (written by Brian De Palma no less!)
• Space battle! Although by today’s standards it moves a little slow and static, it still packs a punch.
• First appearance of C3PO and R2D2, the only two characters to appear in every Star Wars movie filmed. (No, I’m not going to count the character of Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader. To me they are two different dudes.)
• First appearance of Darth Vader
• First appearance of Princess Leia
• When Princess Leia places the plans in R2 and then goes to hide, it sounds like R2 says “Okay see you later Princess Leia” in his beep-beep tones. Don’t believe me? Go listen to it again.
• Droids crash land on Tatooine
The Good: Opening shot of the Star Destroyer. This scene changed everything!
The Bad: C3PO and R2D2 walking across the laser battle without a scratch.
Bantha Poodoo: Threepio leaving R2 and going off on his own. Whatta jerk! Continue reading Episode IV: A New Hope – The 3D Breakdown, Part 1

Ghostmann’s Top 50 Movies of All Time! Part 4: #20 – 11

I made a list of of my favorite 50 films of all time – with #1 being my most favorite. Here are the films that make up numbers 20 through 11.

For Part 1: #50 – 41, click here

For Part 2: #40 – 31 click here

For Part 3: #30 – 21 click here

Before he talked to empty chairs, Eastwood shot the hell out of people.

#20. Unforgiven (1992)

Why? Clint Eastwood’s last western could just be his best. I love Fist Full of Dollars and High Plains Drifter, but those movies just focused on kicking ass – Unforgiven on the other hand has a lot more going on with it (although it does have a few kick-ass parts too). This is a film about redemption and if it’s still possible to attain it after a lifetime of sin. Can William Munny lead a normal life on the farm and put the past behind him? Or will temptation lead him back to his evil ways? Beautiful scenery dominates this film and Eastwood lets it alone tell the story for many scenes. A perfect end to his westerns – Unforgiven is a classic.

Best Scene? When Will comes back to Big Whiskey during a thunder storm to avenge Ned’s death and we finally see the person he’s tried to make amends for. But Will knows it’s too late and so does Little Bill – “I’ll see you in Hell William Munny.” Will’s response? “Yeah.”  He knows he is damned.

Best Quote?

“We all got it coming, kid.” – William Munny

Continue reading Ghostmann’s Top 50 Movies of All Time! Part 4: #20 – 11

Ghostmann’s Top 50 Movies of All Time! Part 3: #30 – 21

The countdown to my number 1 favorite movie of all time continues with the next 10 films on my top 50 list. Here are numbers 30 through 21.

Click here for Part 1: #50 – 41!

Click here for Part 2: #40 – 31!

This is what happens after Kubrick makes Jack do 103 takes of one scene. But it works and it’s take 103 where Jack really has “lost his mind” and it’s that take Kubrick will use!

#30. The Shining

Why? It may not be anything like Stephen King’s novel, but I think that’s a good thing.  Stanley Kubrick made it his “own” and The Shining will forever belong to him and Jack Nicholson. Both of those dudes brought to the table a perfection for their respective arts and turned a great early King novel into a pulse pounding exploration of the descent of the human mind into madness. From the opening shot of this movie there is a noticeable build up in tension that finally explodes when Jack comes smashing through the bathroom door with that ax, looking for Wendy. Like bricks, each scene builds on the last, and each one holds more and more DREAD until it all comes crashing down.

Best Scene? When Wendy interrupts Jack at work and we see just how much the Overlook Hotel is affecting him. (see quote below)

Best Quote?

“Now, we’re going to make a new rule. When you come in here and you hear me typing [types] or whether you DON’T hear me typing, or whatever the FUCK you hear me doing; when I’m in here, it means that I am working, THAT means don’t come in. Now, do you think you can handle that?” – Jack Torrance

“Yeah.” – Wendy Torrance

“Good. Now why don’t you start right now and get the fuck out of here? Hm?” – Jack Torrance

Continue reading Ghostmann’s Top 50 Movies of All Time! Part 3: #30 – 21

Ghostmann’s Top 50 Films of All Time! Part 2: #40 – 31

The countdown to Number 1 continues!

I made a list of the Top 50 films I love the most – with # 1 being my favorite of all time. Out of a Long List of 250 movies here are the films that made #’s 40 through 31.

Check out part 1:  #50 – 41 by clicking this link

Now, back to the list…..

Jay going “circus seal” on Bob

40. Clerks (1994)

Why? El Mariachi may have ushered in the “Do It Yourself” age of film-making, but Kevin Smith’s Clerks made it clear that it was here to stay. Made for pennies and shot at the video store that Smith was currently working in at the time, it once again proved that if you had the talent (in Smith’s case, it was his flair for dialogue not his cinematography) you could make a movie. Smith would go on to make bigger movies but it’s this one that is his finest work and stands up the best.

Best Scene? Randal’s brilliant rant about Return of the Jedi.

Best Quote?

“My love for you is ticking clock BERSERKER! Would you like to suck my cock BERSERKER!” – Olaf Oleeson

Continue reading Ghostmann’s Top 50 Films of All Time! Part 2: #40 – 31

Ghostmann’s Top 50 Movies of All Time! Part 1: # 50 – 41

I wasn’t going to arrange my list of these 50 movies in “best to least best” fashion, but then I said fuck it and decided it would be cooler to list my  favorite films in order of the ones that are my favoritist. So after weeks of going over my Long List of 250 movies (which I will post later. and yeah, most of them are American films. What can I say, we make awesome movies)  I have come up with my top 50 films IN ORDER (With #1 being my most favorite film of all time. Natch)!

Ok, let’s go!

50. High Fidelity (2000)

This is what our Idle Time meetings look like – just not as cool.

Why? Because if you didn’t know by now, we here at Idle Time live and breathe by this movie. It perfectly captures nerding out over music and movies and making lists.

Best Scene? The Break Up Scene. We’ve all been there. Some of us more times then we would have liked.

Best Quote?

 “What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?” – Rob

Continue reading Ghostmann’s Top 50 Movies of All Time! Part 1: # 50 – 41

Ghostmann’s “The Dark Knight Rises” Review

Yeah, there are spoilers here so if you haven’t seen the film go away!

Back in the 80’s being a Batman fan meant you collected his comic books and action figures – maybe you watched the Super Friends on Saturday morning and played some NES games, but that was about it. There were no movies about Batman – unless you count the campy 1960’s Adam West bullshit.

I did all of the above in the 80’s  – I even had to make my own Batman t-shirt as there were none to be found in the stores. All that changed in 1989. Tim Burton’s Batman film hit the screens on June 25th 1989, my birthday actually, and Batman was fucking everywhere!

Behold, the Summer of Batman!

I saw the film with my family on our summer vacation to Disneyland. We stood in line for an hour at the smallest theater I think I’ve ever been to. The excitement was palpable – everyone was stoked, including me. I couldn’t believe I was about to watch a huge blockbuster based on my favorite superhero of all time, by one of my favorite directors at the time. Then the movie started. Something was not quite right. Something felt off. It felt…. staged. Shot in back-lots and sound stages. It felt unreal and fake.

Take a look at Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman: The Movie. He took the absolute cheesiness of Superman and made that shit seem real as hell. I believed in that film (this was also due to Christopher Reeve’s performance. Still the greatest single superhero acting job of all time). But here, this Batman film with it’s Prince soundtrack and Nicholson hamming, just left me wishing for something more honest. On the bright side, you could now buy a Batman shirt at K-Mart for 10 bucks.

“Swear to me!”

1989’s Batman was a huge success though, regardless of what one nerdy 17 year old thought about it, and soon the sequels starting rolling in. One after another – Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman and Robin – Hollywood kept cashing in on the caped crusader until the well ran dry and the public said enough of this shit. Not only did Batman disappear, but the comic book movie genre did as well.

Bat Nipples marked the end of the comic movie for the 1990’s

Then, at the dawn of the new millennium, came The X-Men. Bryan Singer’s film once again made people take notice of the comic book movie and wiped away the stain of Shumacher’s bat jizz. Singer showed us that if you treat the material with respect you can get the people to come out in hordes to see your film (Just as Donner did all those years ago). X-Men was the start of the Golden Age of Super Hero movies.

As a result of X-Men’s success the Batman franchise was reignited with a talented director and cast. Everyone involved in this re-boot treated the material as if they were filming Citizen Kane. And because of this we got the outstanding Batman Begins – Christopher Nolan’s opening shot of his Bat-Trilogy

(side-note: it was discussed tonight at our weekly Idle Time Meeting if Nolan really envisioned his Batman films as a true trilogy – much like Peter Jackson’s Rings movies – or if he decided after the fact? It was determined that if you “pretend” that the 3 films were all part of the Nolan’s plan from the start they work a lot better).

Never before had a super hero movie felt so goddamn real and important. But that was just the beginning, because the next film he gave us, The Dark Knight took the notion of “real” and “important” and sent it into the stratosphere. The Dark Knight is a masterpiece of comic book cinema. I’ll go on record here and say that this is the best comic movie ever made (sorry MDG, The Avengers is damn good but it’s no Dark Knight). From the start of the movie with the bat symbol in flames coming right at you, to the end with The Joker hanging upside-down laughing, nothing in this film is wasted. Every beat is pitch perfect and played for keeps. And of course Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker? Fuck.

So how could Nolan top That? How could his third film be better and improve on the comic book film genre even more? Well, it can’t and it doesn’t. And honestly, I think Nolan knew that and doesn’t even try to top The Dark Knight. What we get instead in The Dark Knight Rises is the most “Un-Super-Hero Super-Hero” film ever made. That make sense? What I’m saying is that this movie doesn’t feel like a comic book film. It feels like something else. But I’ll get to that in a bit – let’s start at the beginning.

The Dark Knight Rises begins eight years after the events of The Dark Knight. Batman has disappeared, becoming a fugitive and taking the blame for killing Harvey Dent, who has become a champion of Gotham City – dude even got his own “day”. But all that shit was built on a lie that only Commissioner Gordon, his family, the Joker, and Bruce Wayne/Batman know. During a speech on Harvey Dent Day, Gordon almost lets the cat out of the bag, but holds back, knowing that the city needs Harvey Dent to be the hero he never was. This lie needs to be maintained or The Joker wins. Gordon and Wayne can’t let The Joker win so they lie about Harvey, but deep down they know, yeah, the fucking Joker beat our asses.

Speaking of beating asses, its time to meet the villain of the movie, Bane. While not as theatrical and flamboyant as The Joker, Bane more then makes up for it in shear unstoppable force. The dude is one imposing motherfucker. Throw in that creepy mask and he is barely human at all. To make things even more unsettling, his voice, which you expect to sound like a cross between Darth Vader and Godzilla, sounds more like a cross between Count Dracula and Stephen Hawking. It works though.

Bane stages a hijacking at the start of the film that is easily one of the best segments of the film – and I kind of wish I hadn’t of already seen it in a preview before watching Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol in IMAX. But regardless it is a pretty amazing piece of stunt work and film making.

We then meet up with a broken down Bruce Wayne. His knees shot from years of abuse, he now uses a cane to get around the mansion. His butler Alfred follows him around giving him a hard time for not getting out of the house and getting laid.  During all of Alfred speeches of wisdom, he starts to cry. It’s like Alfred has the end of E.T in a perpetual loop inside his head that causes him to tear up at the drop of a hat. Poor guy.

Around this time we also meet Selena Kyle – aka Catwoman. Anne Hathaway is decent in the roll here, and I wasn’t too annoyed by her or her character – which I was expecting to be – but her scenes with Bruce Wayne/Batman are some of the best in the film and she holds her own against Bale’s growling and brooding.

It turns out Bane wants to finish what Ra’s Al Ghul started way back in Batman Begins – destroy Gotham City – like Rome and Constantinople before it. Bane is part of the League of Shadows and was trained by Ghul, just as Bruce Wayne was. This is a nice connection with the first film and ties those two movies together beautifully. But what about tying in that awesome second film, The Dark Knight? Well the Harvey Dent connection is evident, but there is no mention of The Joker at all in the TDKR, which is too bad. Not even when Bane releases all the prisoners from Blackgate Prison do we see or hear about the Joker. I guess they keep him locked up somewhere else. You would think that Bane, who knows all about Bruce Wayne and Batman and where he keeps all his wonderful toys, would have recruited The Joker as one of his number one guys or something.

Bane does get Johnathan Crane, The Scarecrow, to be his Judge and dispense sentences to those that break the rules of his new Gotham, but no Joker. Was Nolan scared that no one could replace Heath Ledger? Or was it out of respect for his performance that he didn’t re-cast the role? I’m sure Bane and the Joker would have been BFF’s. Anyway, yeah it’s a bit of a stretch to connect the 2nd film, but like I said if you “pretend”, it all flows seamlessly. Now Nolan’s films join the ranks of the greatest movie trilogies of all time – Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Beverly Hills Cop.

The Dark Knight Rises is one fucking long ass movie and unfortunately you start to feel it at about the 2 hour mark. I can’t help thinking that this film could have benefited  from some serious editing, but I get what Nolan was trying to go for here – the LONG passage of time for Batman to RISE out of that hole in the ground he got tossed into after Bane broke him. And I do mean BROKE. Jesus fucking Christ, the fight scenes between Bane and Batman are bone-crushingly brutal and unrelenting. I also love how Nolan isn’t giving us any overly fancy film making during these fight scenes  – ala Zack Synder and Micheal Bay. There are no slo-mo shots or crazy back flips over shit. Nope. Just punch after punch after punch after punch after punch after punch…..


Bane is a wrecking ball and completely sure of himself as Batman’s better – and he is. Batman never truly beats Bane. In the end it took a fucking cannon from the batcycle to bring him down just has he was about to cave Batman’s skull in. Bruce Wayne is one lucky billionaire bachelor.

Over the last few years since The Dark Knight came out there have been a shit load of comic book movies. Some good, some bad, but one thing they all did was acclimatize us into what a comic book film should be. The AvengersCaptain America, Iron Man, all great and fun movies. We have become adjusted to what to expect from a comic book film now – we are all old pros in the genre now. The Dark Knight Rises is not really a comic book film and I think that is throwing a lot of people off. The masses are heading to the theater to see Batman fly his awesome Bat-Plane and blow shit up and save the day, all the while making witty remarks (ie: Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man). What they got instead is the dismantling of Bruce Wayne’s Batman and the rise of another.

The “other” I’m talking about is Robin. But don’t call him that, he’s a bit embarrassed by that name. He much rather be called John Blake, a young “hotheaded” officer in the GPD, but also a fairly good detective. Dude figured out that Bruce Wayne was Batman, and dug up some shit on Bane to help save the day. Joseph Gordon Levitt nearly steals the show from Bale here, but pulls back just enough at the right times. Bruce likes this kid and starts to give Blake advice like “Get a mask. It helps protect the ones you love from getting hurt by your enemies.” Blake moves up the ranks quickly and groomed by both Batman and Commissioner Gordon to replace them when they are gone. Without knowing it he becomes the heir to the cowl.


So what feels like 10 hours later we finally get to the last act of the film – here things get a little formulaic. We have the ticking time bomb plot mixed in with the “shocking twist” reveal. Both work fine within the context of this epic and Nolan is a talented enough filmmaker to keep us interested and invested (although I groaned when Comish Gordon fumbles the box that he needs to attach to the bomb to disarm it with only seconds left!). If you are a devoted reader of the comics you probably could have seen the “twist” coming too – Tala Al Ghul turns out to the mastermind behind the whole thing and Bane was just her bodyguard. I could have done without this plot twist – things were working just fine with Bane running the show. Oh well, minor issues that might play better with repeated viewings.

Overall I liked The Dark Knight Rises. Loved? Maybe. One day. Christopher Nolan does a nice job wrapping things up and sets up the possibility of a new Batman franchise (with Gordon Levitt) or will Warner Bros leave this trilogy alone and do an Amazing Spider-Man and re-boot the whole deal – new origin, new cast, new everything. Either way rest assured, in a few years we will know the answer.

The Dark Knight Rises – 7 out of 10 ghosty orbs! 

P.S – This film was meant to be seen in IMAX and you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t see it in that format. Almost half the film was shot using IMAX cameras and those scenes are incredible. Do it!

Before Watchman: Ozymandias #1 – Page by Page Review

BEFORE WATCHMEN: OZYMANDIAS #1 – Written by Len Wein and drawn by Jae Lee
The title of this issue is “I MET A TRAVELER…” which is the first line of the poem about Ozymandias written by Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1818. Here is the poem…
“I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away”
Of course in the original series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ issue #11 was titled “Look on my works, ye Mighty…” also taken from this poem. Issue #11 is referenced a great deal in Before Watchmen: Ozymandias, so much so that it could almost be considered plagiarism on Len Wein’s part.

Page 1
The first caption reads “October 11, 1985”. This date is significant because it is the day that Adrian Veidt murders Edward Blake, The Comedian, by throwing him out his apartment window. We know this because of Rorscharch’s opening line in issue #1 of the original series, “October 12th, dog carcass in alley way….”.
So, Adrian Veidt is recording his life’s story in the slim chance that Edward Blake will overtake him and kill him instead. But I also think that Adrian is just in love too much with himself and likes to tell this story as many times as he can (in fact, he will tell the same story to his servants just 20 days later at his Antarctic headquarters in issue 11 of the original series). No, Adrian knows he can take Blake, and I think Blake knew that as well – always knew that – this is just Veidt praising himself, to himself (or to Bubastis, who is pretty much his only friend).
And let’s just get this out of the way here in the first page, Jae Lee’s art on this issue….. spectacular. I could go on for days about the work Lee has accomplished in this issue, but let’s just say that it is fucking beautiful art and this issue is a must read because of that fact alone. This first page is an indicator of things to come in this issue. Lee’s use of squares, rectangles, and circles instill a sense of order and perfect construction of Veidt’s word. Most of the panels are a “head-on” shot, again giving us a sense that everything in Veidts world is straightforward, like a horse with blinders on – he has no desire to view the world from any other angle.

Page 2
Again, Lee’s use of the squares and rectangles brings to the forefront the geometry of perfection. The building blocks of creation that Veidt feels a responsibly to look after and care for, by any means. Veidt talks about on this page that despite his greatest efforts, mankind continues to roll headlong towards its own destruction. Veidt has taken on the burden of all mankind to see that we do not destroy ourselves as a species – to save us. And the only way he knows how to do it is by “forcing” it to happen.
The circle dominates this page. Early science, particularly geometry and astrology and astronomy, was connected to the divine for most medieval scholars, and many believed that there was something intrinsically “divine” or “perfect” that could be found in circles.
This page is also where Wein starts to recite Moore’s issue 11 verbatim. I do like how little Veidt is spelling “Genius” with his building blocks. He also learn that Veidt’s father sold perfume. Adrian himself would soon follow in his fathers footsteps by selling his own scent “Nostalgia”.

Page 4
Notice the raven outside of Adrian’s bedroom.
Adrian asks his father, “why must I be the one to hide my light under a bushel?” This comes from the Bible, Matthew 5:15, “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” There is a also a great quote from Carl Jung in issue 9 of the original series, “As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.Carl Sagan, another great Carl, talks about how Science is a candle in the darkness of this world. Is this the “light” that a young Adrian Veidt is talking about? As a boy, Veidt has yet to see the true horrors of the world. Could it be that Adrian was “good” at this early point in his life? His parents seemed to be good people, so where did things start to go wrong for Adrian? What made him do things he did? Nature vs. Nurture. It is clear that Adrian’s parents did indeed nurture him and loved him, so then it was always in Adrian’s nature to become the man he became and end up killing 3 million people in New York City. Veidt was a bad from the start, he just didn’t know it yet.
and to drive this fact home, we see the poster hanging in his bedroom, “The Thing From Outer Space.” This “thing” will become Veidt’s light to the world. No longer hidden. And that light will cleanse them all.
Jerry becomes Veidt’s introduction to the harsh realities of the world. That there are people out there that don’t give a shit about you and are evil and deserve to be punished, but are not always done so. Jerry is the first block on which Adrian’s life is built. We all experienced bullies in our youth, but rarely did any of go to the lengths that Adrian does to exact justice. Jerry is the catalyst.
Jae Lee uses the same panel layout as page 3 – with the circle being the prominent shape – that page also featured Adrian’s parents as well. The circle is less harsh a shape then the square, softer, more open. Veidt tells us that the beatings by Jerry lasted for months, everyday at lunch. It seems unlikely that Adrian’s dad would allow this to take place for so long and not intervene. but maybe his son had more influence over him then he realized.
Not sure that tree looks that safe to have two swings on it. Maybe Veidt has been watching those girls swing all this time waiting for them to fall. Is it just me or do you get a little “Scott Farkus” vibe from Jerry?

Page 8
We’ll pause here to talk about Jae Lee’s art again. I’ve been a fan of Lee’s since I first saw his work on Namor and The Inhumans for Marvel, and Hellshock for Image Comics back in the 90’s. His style has changed over the years and now, if you took a page from Ozymandias and compared it to one from Hellshock you would think they were drawn by two different people. Lee has grown in my opinion into a better artist and his work now is lighter and less “dark”. Also, he is doing more with backgrounds then he did in the 90’s. It seems lee has put down the Ink pen in favor for a pencil.
On this page we get more insight into Adrian Veidts psyche. He claims that busting a bully’s leg almost in two is “justifiable” act towards getting his sandwich stolen and roughed up  by Jerry. Veidt thinks in complete absolutes – right and wrong, not necessarily “good” or “bad”, because Veidt isn’t “good”, but he feels that he is “right” in his actions.
And then in that 4th panel, Veidt has that Alex from A Clockwork Orange” look on his face. Chilling.
Here Lee’s use of the square and rectangles enhance the narrative of a turning point in Veidts life – the death of his parents. Again, the building blocks are being put into place, piece by piece. I also love the birds flying by the library window in the second panel. The second time birds are used as a omen or harbinger of things to come.
I’ve come across rumblings about this issue of Before Watchmen and how it shows Adrian Veidt as “disturbed” from the start. And that in the original series he didn’t start to crack until after the Crimebusters first meeting. That in the original series he was basically good and had good intentions at the start but along the way he lost himself, and became the villain we see at the end of the series. But there is a single panel in the original Watchman that speaks volumes and leads me to believe that Adrian Veidt hid his true self from the world. And that here, in Before Watchmen, Len Wein is showing us that true face. The panel in question in in issue 11 page 8 of the original series. It is almost, “blink and you will miss it” sorta panel. It is the one where after Veidt’s parents have died he is at the graveyard, sitting on top of their tombstone, chewing on a twig, almost like he is picnicking. This panel to me shows there is no heart in Adrian Veidt. That his soul is cold and black and always has been that way. He sits on his parents grave almost as if he is sitting on a tree stump, watching girls swing from a tree.

Page 10
That scene shown here, in Before Watchmen, is a bit different, with Veidt casually throwing roses on their graves, but I think the same feeling comes across – Veidt is a bad seed. He wants to do good, but doesn’t have the proper wiring in his brain to let him know just what “good” means, and how to achieve it.
A few more telling lines of dialog here on this page. Veidt stands at the statue of Alexander of Macedonia, looking for an answer to his question, “how had someone so young come so close to uniting such an ancient and primitive world? How did one man drag a civilization barehanded from the blood and filth of such barbarity?” Veidt gets his answer from “the voices in his head”. cuckoo, cuckoo.
He also tells us that he expects to meet Alexander in the Hall of Legends. Delusions of grandeur to the n’th degree!
Notice this page and the panels how they are constructed to resemble an hourglass. The circle panel in the bottom half of the page is a falling grain of sand. Time is running out. But for who? For the world? For Veidt? For the predators that are following Veidt? All of the above.
That grain of sand continues to fall into the next page here, with the circle at the top of the page, representing the passage of time during Veidts travels. We also learn here on this page that in Memphis they proclaimed Alexander “Son of Amon” “, judge of the dead, whose name means “the hidden one”. This is Adrian Veidt in a nutshell.
More eluding to his fight with The Comedian in panel 2.
Then in panel 3 Len Wien confirms what many of us thought already – Veidt is homosexual.

Page 14
Side-note: Rorschach thought Veidt might be homosexual in issue 1, page 21 of the original series. After visiting him he writes in his journal, “Meeting with Veidt left bad taste in mouth. He is pampered and decadent, betraying even his own shallow, liberal affectations. Possibly homosexual? Must remember to investigate further.”
But I tend to think he is more Bi-Sexual as we see in the few more pages that he falls for a woman. But even still, with these scenes I feel Veidt has no need for sex. That he is Asexual. That perhaps he finds it helps past the time between plans to unify the world to be with a man. To taste all the pleasures life has to offer him. It seems to me that he is looking for happiness in anything he can. But the only thing truly makes him happy is his “quest”. We will finally see just how happy he is when that quest comes to its end in issue 12 of the original series and Veidt raises his hands, tears streaming down his face, and he proclaims “I DID IT!
I gotta say Jae Lee’s interpretation of Veidt’s hashish vision blows Dave Gibbons out of the water. Too bad Len Wein pretty much copies word for word what Alan Moore wrote in issue 11. Word. For. Word.
Well, looks as if time did indeed run out for the “same pack of animals” that were following Veidt in an attempt to rob him. This pages layout is identical to page 12 except that it has been turned upside down and there is no circle (or grain of sand) falling anymore.
I dare you to count how many squares there are on this page.

Page 17
I love Gunda Diner!
I also love the introduction of Miranda. A new character to the Watchmen universe. It’s too bad she o.d’s two pages later.
Again Lee uses the hourglass page layout, made even more significant with the giant clock in Veidt’s room.
Panel 3 = “Cum” joke number 2 in the Before Watchmen series.
Here for the first time Jae Lee incorporates “V’s” in to his drawings.
And it is clear that Veidt is not interested in sex, as I said before. Miranda was simply “something” to help past the time in between plans. He equates her to “wasting time”. I do think that Veidt cares for her, it’s just he has no heart in which to truly love her. He mimics the act of love when he feels he needs to – but it’s all part of the plan, so to speak.
Moloch sure was a busy super villain. Seems like that dude pops up everywhere!
I like how Lee constructs the panels on this page to mirror that of the syringes that Moloch displays in his coat pocket.
PAGE 21 through 23
So Miranda o.d’s and Veidt swears to get revenge on the people that did this. But did he really love her that much? I don’t so. Again, I think Veidt feels that “this is what I’m suppose to feel and do when something like this happens.” He is almost robotic in his thinking. Like an android trying to figure out why humans cry. I don’t believe Veidt for a second when he says that he wept. I think he is telling a bit of revisionist history – that when anybody listens to these tapes years from now they won’t think him such a cold and uncaring person.
Veidt becomes Ozymandias, which allows him to be larger then life. He is a super hero now – exacting his justice to world (like he did when he was a kid to Jerry). It makes perfect sense for a person like Adrian Veidt to become a super hero. Sure, a part of me believes he did it because he is bored to death. – he will soon retire from the superhero business before any of his other compatriots and reveal his identity.
“Fuck you DC Comics!”