Don't let invading Kaiju keep you down... because Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Rim! Okay, I am having trouble deciding if Pacific Rim is so bad it's good... or so bad it's bad. The concept of giant robots fighting giant alien monsters is fantastic. But the story they came up with around that concept was shockingly bad and hugely inconsistent (IT TAKES TWO PILOTS TO OPERATE A JAEGER ROBOT... UNLESS IT DOESN"T!). The acting was, with one exception, awful. And it didn't help that they were being given groan-inducing, cheesy dialogue to work with. That being said, I am still glad I saw the movie in a really good theater because the special effects and battle sequences were mind-blowing...
All in all, a bit of a misstep for brilliant director Guillermo del Toro... but an entertaining one. If you have time to kill, it's worth watching on the big screen. Just keep your expectations in check.
• Acting! The one exception to the really bad acting in Pacific Rim I was talking about? Mana Ashida's performance as young Mako. Absolutely riveting. You could feel her terror in every frame, and it was almost enough to believe that she was actually being chased by a Godzilla-sized monster. She should get some kind of award for that...
I'm guessing this photo came from Warner Bros. and/or Legendary Pictures.
It will be very interesting to see where Mana's considerable talent takes her as an actor.
• Idris! Yeah, okay... if I'm being honest here, Idris Elba was pretty brilliant playing Stacker Pentecost considering the genuinely awful lines he had to deliver.
• Stereotypical! One last comment about Pacific Rim... thanks to everybody involved for once again giving us genius scientists that act so damn stupid and geeky that it's impossible to believe that they are, in fact, genus scientists. Burn Gorman and Charlie Day, both of whom I like as actors, were completely wasted in their roles, being used as some idiotic attempt at comic relief that only served to disrupt the film. Badly. Can we please give up on this overused, stereotypical crutch that never ends up as hysterical as was intended? (see: Brent Spiner in Independence Day or any number of other flicks in genre entertainment where genius scientists appear for "humor value" in a script).
And in another direction entirely...
• Verdict. Well, I wish I could say I'm surprised, but the not-guilty verdict for George Zimmerman was hardly shocking. I'm not going to pretend I have all the answers here, but there's a few things I feel I have to get off my chest...
- "Are you following him?" — "Yeah." — "Okay, we don't need you to do that." The operative word in the phrase "Neighborhood Watch" is that you are there to watch what's happening, then report anything suspicious to the authorities. Not to hop out of the Batmobile and track down a potential "suspect" whom, by the way, you didn't see commit any criminal act whatsoever. That's for everybody's safety. NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF ZIMMERMAN HADN'T THOUGHT OF HIMSELF AS FUCKING BATMAN OUT TO FIGHT CRIME. You're in the neighborhood watch, not the police force... so, yes, this is all Zimmerman's fault, regardless of his intent, and I don't care what some jury says. Because being followed by a uniformed officer of the law is a completely different situation that being followed by some random creepy guy watching you from his truck, and Treyvon's reaction would have undoubtedly been very different in that confrontation. If he had confronted the police officer at all.
- The way people have dredged up every conceivable infraction that Trayvon Martin ever had in order to paint him as a villain who was somehow deserving of death disgusts me to my very core. People grow and change every day. Who a person was a year ago... a month ago... ten minutes ago... none of that is who they are right now. And it sure as hell doesn't have to be who they will be in the future. And there's the big picture. Nobody knows what Trayvon would have done with his life. And now we'll never know. So paint him however you want if that's what helps you sleep at night. But the simple fact is that George Zimmerman didn't know shit about Trayvon Martin's past when he stalked him into the night. All he did know was that Trayvon was walking while black, which was apparently all he needed to know./li>
- Zimmerman's illustrious past which, unlike Trayvon Martin's, is completely relevant when considering his actions.
- The one bit of testimony during the trial that I just can't let go of is the analysis of George Zimmerman's injuries. It is the story of the defense that Trayvon had jumped Martin and started bashing his head into the concrete over and over again. Then Zimmerman says that Martin told him "You're going to die tonight" after his gun was exposed. Fearing for his life, Zimmerman says that he grabbed the gun first and shot Martin in self-defense. But here's the deal... under expert analysis, Zimmerman's injuries were deemed superficial. The testimony of the expert witness was that the injuries could have come from a single blow. She also implied that the blow could have been self-inflicted. So where is the evidence to support Zimmerman's story if his injuries are not sufficient and, indeed, even questionable? An unarmed 17-year old kid was apparently bludgeoning the shit out of an adult male while covering his mouth while going for his gun... completely overwhelming him to the point that he thought the kid was going to kill him. And yet... no injuries were sustained that even remotely back that up. Hell, didn't somebody testify that Zimmerman refused go to the hospital? After the kind of beating he says he took? Somebody bashes your skull into concrete repeatedly, and you just say "Nah!" when they want to take you to the hospital to get checked out? How in the hell was this not enough to discredit the defense? Maybe it's just Zimmerman trying to exaggerate so that he can support his "self defense" claim, but WTF?
- And, I'm sorry, but if your excuse for stalking somebody is "I wanted to find a street sign so I could tell where he was going"... when you are part of a neighborhood watch in a neighborhood that has only three fucking streets... which you then explain away by saying that you have a "bad memory?" Really? Exactly how fucking stupid do you think people are that they are going to believe that load of bullshit? Oh... apologies... apparently they did believe it. Just another piece of Zimmerman's story that doesn't add up for me.
- My takeaway is essentially this: Zimmerman spots a black kid in a hoodie walking through his neighborhood at night. Racial profiling deems this suspicious and so he decides to get out of his vehicle to track the kid down while calling the police. And why not? He's the Neighborhood Fucking Watch and he's got a gun! Zimmerman eventually stops pursuit for whatever reason, returns to his vehicle, then is surprised when Martin shows up to confront him. A scuffle ensues. Martin lands at least one punch, at which point Zimmerman takes out his gun and shoots him dead. Zimmerman then lies about some events and exaggerates others to fabricate a claim of self-defense to cover up the fact that he just shot an unarmed kid he had been stalking. The unarmed kid with his bag of Skittles and fruit drink is painted as a violent thug deserving of death. Zimmerman deemed not guilty. Case closed. Justice is served.
- But probably not.
Zimmerman's story is, at the very least, exaggerated and not entirely supported by facts in evidence. And because of Zimmerman's actions and poor judgement, a 17-year-old kid is dead. Hopefully some lessons will be learned from this tragic situation. But the verdict has me worried that people will take away the wrong lesson.
Heaven help us.
As always, Faiqa has written up a response that's far better than anything I could come up with, so I leave you with a link to her blog.
Take care of each other out there.