Most people, when they find themselves in a position to stare bleary-eyed around a room upon waking and think "What did I do last night?" will be looking at discarded tequila bottles, a cowboy hat, maybe a dead hooker or two. Not me. I look at my DVD shelf, and spy both The Fantastic 4 and Casshern.
In the depths of the foulest mood yet to come upon me this year, which is really saying something, I decided I needed to watch some fairly trashy movies. Now, Blockbuster's 2 DVD's for £10 has previously supplied me with some fairly decent movies (also the Nicolas Cage version of The Wicker Man, but that's for a bet). Last night it provided me with those two.
The Fantastic 4 is nowhere near as bad as people make out. It's a kid's film, based on a comic book that has never really gone for any particular depth, and working purely on those terms it succceeds. It's fun, no-one really lets themselves down too badly (except Julian McMahon, who is the least threatening villain ever, although his previous ouevre has been so shit that I don't really think this represents a significant drop for him). It's also remarkably smutty in places, which I always get a laugh out of in a kids flick.
Casshern is a movie I've seen before, and I have no particular idea why I bought it. It's a bizzarre CG/live-action blend from Japan. It's about a guy who gets reanimated (also, superpowers) shoved in a spiffy white suit of armour, and heads off to kick the shit out of giant robots. The bits in which he does this are some of the most inventive and outright fun fight scenes in any film. Unfortunately, they are bookended by two hours of torturous and nonsensical exposition. You can really get more fun by watching the trailer over and over for a couple of hours. Still, it is full of giant robots. And I does love me some giant robots.
In other news, I seem to spend most of my gaming time not getting called 'a gaywad' by American teeenagers on Halo 3, but instead playing Probotector 2: a 20 year-old NES game. Peculiar behaviour, even by my standards, but the game holds a special place in my heart. For one thing, it was one of the games on an old Playchoice 10 cabinet in my local leisure centre, and the story of it's release in the west amuses me. Originally the series was called Contra. A couple of things got changed in translation. The human main characters and enemies all got changed into robots, so our sensitive European tastes would not be offended by all the violence. Also, and more obviously, the name got changed from Contra to something that sounds like a sci-fi themed sex aid, presumably so no parent would have to endure a conversation along the lines of:
"Mummy, what's a Contra?"
"Why, they're South American guerrilla fighters, Jeremy. The US government funds them to fight communists with money they illegally gained by selling weapons to Iran, a sworn enemy of the state. Don't trust whitey, Jeremy, whatever you do, don't trust whitey."
Or so I imagine. Thanks, Konami, for your enduring sensitivity.