As my cultural event of the week, Rhonda and I went with some friends to see The Amazing Spiderman.
I’ve previously blogged about my love of going to the movies. I think communal events need to happen in this world of isolated iPods, iTouches, and other “i” devices that, when spoken out of context, sound super creepy. (Try just chanting “iTouch” as you walk down the street and you’ll see the crowd part as quickly as if Moses himself were standing over it with staff in hand).
We got to the theater early, a mega-plex (as the little place I dig was sold out), and because we had a good 40 minutes and I tend to like childish things, I invited my good friend Jason to come play some video games with me at the in-movie arcade.
There are two Jasons mentioned in this post, btw, so keep up.
This particular arcade only used tokens, which I always take offense at. It’s like going to a currency exchange, only they won’t exchange it back. Trust me. I’ve tried to get my quarter back from an unused token, and the only response I’ve gotten is, “I’m sorry, you’ll just have to play another game.”
What game takes only one token?!
Even Mrs. Pacman, arguably the most loserist game still in modern play, sucks up two tokens in order for you to eat ghosts while maintaining that damn pink bow which is holding up, yeah that’s right, absolutely NO hair.**
No. The only “game” that takes one token is the swindler game known as the “Claw Crane.” Which means I might as well go throw the token in the toilet, because I’m just as likely to pick something up out of there as I am that stupid bin filled with plush things that no one wants (hence why they’re in there).
Reluctantly, I got behind a small kid who was diligently feeding his money into the token exchange. Dollar after dollar. Seriously, this kid must have put in like 20 singles into that machine, reaping this bountiful clank of coins in the deposit slot. So many coins, in fact, that when he went to pull them out of the coin deposit (after a good 10 minutes of feeding that machine and making me wait), half of it fell to the floor.
Being the good citizen and pastor that I am, I knelt down to assist him. At which point he started yelling…because he thought I was trying to steal his tokens. His father came over, gave me a dirty look while boxing me out, and started to assist his son in picking up his doubloons.
Yeah, great dad. Where were you when your kid was blowing his hard-earned allowance on coins that will allow him to blow-up aliens for the next 5 minutes before he runs out of tokens (because a kid that small was not going to get to level 2 in any game…). Great parenting. Thanks for coming to the rescue today, but who is going to rescue your kid in 10 years from spending all his days locked in his room on World of Warcraft? The only chance he has to get married is if his Sim character finally scores a beauty.
I’m finally able to get my tokens after Money-bags Malone gets out of the way. I get four dollars worth of coins. Enough for four games…or two minutes, depending on how you’re measuring things.
We start out with the motorcycle game. You know, it’s the one where the two guys in their upper 20’s/lower 30’s look like they’re riding a rocking horse in public. I got 2nd place. Jason got 6th. I figured I’d get to play another game (2nd is pretty good, after all).
So we went over to the shooting game where you pretend you’re a cop on a runaway train, and you have to kill hijackers by starting at the back of the train. Note to self: if trying to take over a hijacked train, I will start from the front. Where the head hijacker is.
We lasted two rounds on that, a good 1 minute 20 seconds, before the knife wielding hijacker miraculously killed us both, somehow dodging our machine guns.
And as I replaced my replica rifle, I realized two things. First: video games are like life, as in, it seems I only get two minutes into it before I realize how inadequate my skills are. Secondly: It’s worth it and makes me smile.
…are you done with the touchy feely part of this post? Good. There won’t be another one.
So we decide to head into the theater. While Jason and I have been at the arcade, somehow our group has grown by one. There is a woman I do not know now following us around and talking to us as if she knows us. I’m suspicious, but Jason and Jason don’t seem disturbed, and it appears that Rhonda has already talked to her, so I’ll pretend it’s normal that she’s there, too. I just hope we’re not all pretending it’s normal because we assume the other one knows her. She could be a killer.
Video games make you think such things.
I stop by the counter to get a drink before heading in. I asked for the large, and they handed me a cup that could fit almost two liters into it. Apparently I’m supposed to use it as a urinal half-way through the movie, because if I drank this much I undoubtedly would have to.
When we get to the theater we see that everyone is wanting to see The Amazing Spiderman on opening day, and we’re relegated to that front part of the theater on the main floor that forces you to arch your neck as if you’re watching an air-show. It’s no matter, though, we dutifully arch our necks, feeling our pain is but one offering to the movie gods.
And then the movie starts. And I quickly realize that watching the fourth installment of this film is much like watching a second run of Les Mis: same plot, different actors. I mean, I didn’t expect the whole thing to be different, but they really didn’t need to go through the back story of how Spiderman came into being. We all know this. The story of the radioactive spider-bite is as familiar as the story of how God put man in the garden and then tore out his rib to make a lady.
We all know it.
And if you don’t know it, and you’re planning on commenting something akin to, “I’m glad they included the back story because I’ve been living under a rock and eating bugs for the past 40 years…” you can save it, sister. Such comments are not only annoying, they are an insult to the intelligence of everyone who actually pays attention to the world.
As far as the characters go, I like that Mary Jane was replaced by Gwen Stacy, if only because I think Emma Stone is prettier than Kirstin Dunst. That’s a total judgment call, I know. That being said, I think Toby Maguire is much more intriguing as Spider Man than the former co-founder of Facebook. I mean, their acting skills don’t have to be awesome either way. They spend most of the movie behind a mask, or in a computer generated form flinging from building to building.
But I don’t discount the ability of people in masks to be the best actors in movies. After all, R2D2 was by far the best actor in Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones (in Revenge of the Sith the lava that appeared at the end of the movie was the best actor, mostly because it saved us from having to watch Hayden Christensen try to act anymore).
As far as the other characters go, I found it difficult to believe that the Boniva (TM) spokesperson Sally Fields could be Aunt May. I mean, I get that she now has good bone density (due to those confounded supplements), but her hair wasn’t nearly grey enough and her back wasn’t nearly arched enough. I mean, Aunt May in the comic books looked like she could die in any issue from natural causes, and I’m supposed to buy that this Boniva (TM) popping, Zumba class attending, hair-dying woman is the same woman?
To quote Macaulay Culkin in the seminal movie Home Alone: “I don’t think so.”
What they should have done was brought in Jessica Tandy. Yes, I realize that Miss Daisy has been driven off into the sunset (may she rest in peace). But you see what I’m getting at there.
On the other hand, I totally dig Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben. I like to see former Presidents in their civilian roles.
As for the villain, The Lizard, he’s a pretty good character in the comic books. Complex. Tortured. In the movie he resembles Lord Voldemort in his lizard form, and I half expected him to hex Spiderman and throw a snake at him. He’s semi-tortured in the movie. I would have wanted a little more torture.
The graphics were good, and I liked the movie overall, but with this “re-make,” and the upcoming Total Recall re-make, and the rumors of a Neverending Story re-make and Goonies re-make…my Spidey patience is dwindling for these re-made movies.
Are there no more myth-makers in the world?
C’mon nerds, come up with some original ideas. Or semi-original.
Get from behind the video games, turn off the World of Warcraft, divorce your Sim wives/husbands, and get to some writing. Please.
**And before anyone starts to comment to laud Mrs. Pacman as the best game ever, don’t waste the digital ink. If you want to love a woman who continually chases after ghosts and eats cherries and rabbit pellets all day, be my guest.