Sunday, July 21, 2013

Pacific Rim (part 1) and "The Bitter Fruit"

As I've mentioned before, I have a friend that works for LucasFilm. Actually, I have two friends that work there, but one of them is being let go because of the Disney acquisition. His department was gutted, so it wasn't like he was singled out.

Anyway, every so often, these guys and I get together to see a movie and catch up, so we made tentative plans back in May to do that. At the time, I listed out all of the summer movies I was interested in. Pacific Rim was on that list, but I also stated that it was probably the movie I was least interested in seeing. I expected it to be eye candy, and, although I enjoy the occasional eye candy, I will almost always choose story over it. Or, at least, something I think will have story. However, my buddies, all three of them, chose Pacific Rim, so I sighed and came to terms with the fact that giant brawling things have more appeal for the age group of my buddies (a bit more than a decade younger than me) than they do for me.

So we made plans for the opening weekend of PacRim. They would all converge to where I live for a Saturday showing, which is good with me, because, as the only married one of the group, it's a lot harder for me to get down to San Francisco than for them to get to where I live. BUT, the day before the release, my buddy at Lucas let me know that they were doing a showing down there since ILM had done the effects. We had a change of plans.

Here's the thing:
Special screenings of movies used to happen at Skywalker Ranch, which is somewhat north of San Francisco and easier to get to (and you don't have to deal with parking, which is always an issue in the city); however, the Ranch was not part of the sale to Disney, so screenings don't happen there anymore, because that's where Lucas lives. Well, it was always where Lucas lived, but... well, it's complicated, because Skywalker Sound is still at the Ranch, but... Anyway, the screening was going to be held in the screening room at the Presidio, where LucasFilm is housed. Let me just say that the screening room there is one of the finest theaters in the world, as you might imagine. And the screening was in 3D, which we hadn't known about ahead of time. When we go to movies, we don't do 3D; it's just inordinately expensive. So the 3D was like a special bonus.

But let's back up a moment:
The building with the theater in it at the Ranch is pretty cool. There are a lot of vintage movie posters and the theater is underground and it's the place where I saw George Lucas that one time. But, aside from the movie posters, that building isn't full of cool stuff. At least, not that I ever saw, and my buddy and I did get lost in it one time trying to leave a screening of something through one of the back exits. There were some shopping carts and a Darth Maul bicycle, but that was about it for "interesting items." Aside from the fact that building has a movie theater in it, it's pretty much like any office-type building.

Now, I've been to the offices at the Presidio before (for an event for the release of The Clone Wars movie and the following television series), but I'd never been inside any of the buildings except to see the special Clone Wars exhibit they had set up for that release, which, of course, is long gone. The only other thing I'd ever seen was the Yoda statue (so cool) in the courtyard. Yes, I need to get a picture of it. This screening of PacRim was my first time to really inside. And, initially, it seemed like it was the same kind of thing as at the Ranch. Just a lot of vintage movie posters. That's what I saw before the movie.

Oh, yeah, the movie! Visually, the movie was AMAZING! And, I'm sure, seeing it in one of the finest theaters (and 3D theaters) in the world didn't hurt it any. I mean, this movie is seriously impressive to look at, especially in 3D. There's a lot of holographic imaging involved in piloting the Jaegers (the giant robots), and it looks super cool in 3D since you're seeing it the way the characters are supposedly seeing it. It's certainly a movie that I'm glad I saw in the theater, because a television set just would not do justice to the Jaegers and the Kaijus (giant monsters) fighting amongst skyscrapers and, frequently, knocking them over.

So, in short, if you want to see a film with lots of action and fight scenes, especially involving giant combatants, this movie is for you. Seriously, I think it's safe to say that there will not be a better looking film this year.

But... you'll have to wait for part two for the rest.

In other news!
Today is the FREE! release of "Part Twenty-six: The Bitter Fruit"! Remember, if you want to read the whole Shadow Spinner right now and get the exclusive short story "Like An Axe Through Bone" by Bryan Pedas,
you can do that by clicking on the link.
However, if you're  invested in the serialization, here is a list of today's (Monday, July 22) FREE! parts:
"Part Twenty-six: The Bitter Fruit" (This one is also FREE! Tuesday, July 23)
"Part Twenty-five: The Light of Knowledge"
"Part Twenty-four: The Serpent"
"Part Twenty-three: The Harlot"
"Part Nineteen: Lost in the Garden"
"Part Eighteen: The Angel"
"Part Seventeen: The Tree of Light"
"Part Sixteen: The Dark Tree"
"Part Fifteen: Food of the Garden"
"Part Thirteen: The Clearing"
"Part Twelve: The Gash in the Floor"
"Part Eleven: The Kiss"
"Part Ten: The Broken Window"
"Part Nine: The Shadow of the Tree"
"Part Seven: The Moth and the Shadow"
"Part Six: The Man with No Eyes"
"Part Five: The Police Car"
"Part Four: The Cop"
"Part Three: The Bedroom"
So there you go: 19 of 26 parts available for FREE! Go! Tell your friends! Tell them to tell their friends!


  1. Part Twenty Six is out now? Uh oh, I'm starting to fall behind again.

    Off to download...

  2. We saw it in 3D and that is the only way to view the film.
    Now I'm curious what else you saw there!

  3. I can't wait until you post about all the "plot holes" so I can debunk them. Bwahahahahaha

  4. The robots are called Jaegers? So... if a German guy masters piloting them, would he be considered a Jaeger Meister?

  5. I'd like to visit that theatre. Don't think I'd want to see the movie though.

  6. I've not had the chance to check out your series. I will rectify that today.

    Oh, Lucas Ranch is awesome. Its just before you get to San Rafael. I lived in Sebastopol and worked at the Civic Center. I've been away from the area for over 10 years and I didn't realize they had offices in the Presidio. It's a pretty area. It would be cool to see a movie in such a theater.

    I figured the action would be good, but now I'm curious about the story and if it matches the fab effects.


  7. I thought it was beautiful. Don't know where you land on the story, but I thought that held up too.

  8. I imagine parking in the city is much like it was in NYC, bumper parking or investing your life savings for a spot.

  9. Action? Fight scenes? I'm not sure I *...drops everything, rushes off, leaving a cloud of dust and a Briane-shaped hole in the wall behind him...*

    Actually, when Pacific Rim came out all I heard were bad things but now you and Grumpy and others have liked it, so I don't know what to think anymore. I would like it if the world would have one consistent opinion so I don't have to decide who to believe or ever think for myself. Wait, did I just describe Camazotz? I think I did. Nevermind.

  10. Wonderful description of the screening room!

    I'm undecided on seeing PacRim. My daughter was quite impressed by the trailer when we saw Trek but then we heard initial reviews were poor. But then our local weekly, not easily impressed by the blockbusters, gave it a strong review. So, maybe...

    I look forward to knowing your thoughts beyond the visuals.

  11. M.J.: The end is in sight! Thanks for downloading!

    Alex: Oh, just you wait till next time.

    PT: I'm not even going to go into them, because they can't be debunked. If you have to explain it away or make excuses for it outside of the material (a huge issue with Looper, also, with the director making appearances on forums to explain why the problem wasn't a problem), it's a failure.

    ABftS: That's a good question. They didn't say that, but it would have been amusing if they had.

    Jo: Everyone would like to visit that theater whether they know it or not.

    Sia: The story does not live up to the effects. At all.

    And the Ranch is awesome.

    S.L.: I felt it sunk, but that will be Wednesday.

    Crystal: Don't even get me started on how much it costs to park. Fortunately, I was able to actually park for free at the Presidio since it was after business hours and relatively deserted.

    Briane: I didn't say I liked it. See, I don't even have a consistent opinion on this movie.

    Michael: I'm glad you liked it.

    TAS: Make sure to tune in on Wednesday!
    However, if you think you want to see it at all, you should go see it at the theater. Seeing it on a TV will just allow all the problems in the movie to not be overshadowed by the giant robots.

  12. I know I'd love to go to a screening at that theater sometime! Sometimes I like mindless eye candy above all else. Depends on whether I want to watch a film or escape.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  13. Shannon: I think the only time I can deal with "mindless" is if it is in comedy. Like, we watched Dewey Cox the other night, and that was hilarious. I think the issue for me is that the "mindless" has to be on purpose.

  14. I've heard that even if you discount the amazing visual effects, it's not bad for a summer popcorn movie, so I'm interested to see what you make of it. It will be unfortunate if the graphics are all it has going for it.

  15. Jeanne: My take is that the visuals are all it has going for it. Still, it's better than Independence Day, so that's saying something.

  16. 3D makes everything cooler. I'll have to check out Pacific Rim, just for the visuals. Eye candy is worth the lack of story now and then :)

  17. Bonnee: Yeah, if it didn't cost so much, I'd see everything in 3D.

  18. Sounds like a very cool viewing experience :)

    I don't really do 3-D movies due to a combination of motion sickness and wallet sickness (I hate paying extra for something I already think I'm overpaying for in the first place) and will probably just wait for DVD or Netflix.

  19. Mark: Oh, I don't pay for 3D, either. We used to do some 3D shows right at first because the extra cost wasn't much. Since then, they've raised the 3D prices to ridiculous amounts, so we don't do 3D shows anymore. It's too bad because I really like 3D. So do my kids.

  20. I know what you mean. Like Avatar. Visually stunning but lacking in story. I felt that way about the recent Star Trek too. PAc Rim does look great, but you can kinda tell it's gonna be heavy on the effects, and light on the story.
    Oh well. If the effects are good enough, I can let it slide.

  21. Pk: I thought Avatar was pretty good, so, if you felt Avatar was light on story, PacRim will be like a black hole of story.