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The Ramblings of a Damaged Mind
A tale of two movies
So, on Saturday night I went out alone to see a movie and decided to see Stealth. Last night delenn1122 and I went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Let's start with the latter - I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have trouble comparing it to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, since they're fairly different takes on the story. (Note, I have never read the book.) WWatCF is one of my favorite movies, and I really love Gene Wilder's portrayal, very sarcastic and off the wall. Whereas Johnny Depp's Wonka is very, very weird. But it was a fun weird, I loved it. He is really a great actor, he played the character quite well. I got the feeling of someone who had been living apart from human society for many years. Like an alien who learned human interaction from a book - a bit off, but trying. And there was one line that I really loved.

Everything in this room is eatable.. even I'm eatable! But that is called cannibalism, and is in fact frowned upon in most societies.

Anyway, I'm glad I finally got to see this movie, even if the sound at WoShoNo was screwed up - even that didn't detract (overly) from my enjoyment.

That leaves a pile of festering dung... oh, I meant Stealth... DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE. If you've already seen it, I'm sorry, I share your pain.

This film was a pile of poorly executed cliches. I was able to predict most of the movie well in advance - I mean, WAY more so that the average action movie. It was like the writers used one of those Magnetic Poetry kits to write the script - do they make a Magnetic Action Movie Script set? I've seen better plots from a spew file!

I'm just going to bash this thing stream of consciousness, it hurts less than trying to think too much about it...

OK, so there are three hot shit pilots - a white guy, a white girl, and a black guy. Guess who dies! You'll never guess! Wrong! The BLACK GUY DIES! I'm stunned!

What's up the the variable damage tolerance? Chixxor flies through Expendable Black Guy's debris cloud and a small piece dings her super advanced fighter. This leads to a cascading failure which causes her to go out of control, the plan to disintegrate, and she needs to punch out. Later White Stud goes one on one with a Russian Su-37 and catches a number of cannon rounds that stitch a line up the side of his plane - and he has to shut down the right engine, everything else is fine. WTF?!

Oh, and the film's name is Stealth. It would've been nice if that had been, oh, some kind of plot point, or, even, say, AT ALL IMPORTANT TO THE FILM! It was like they pulled a cool buzzword out of a hat - stealth had NOTHING to do with the plot. They didn't 'sneak' in on their attacks - they'd blast in, alerting everyone in five timezones they were coming. Which is perhaps for the best, since they weren't stealthy. Sure, the prop guys gave little nods to pop-culture stealthy knowledge. Like the sawtooth edge on the front of the canopy. But that's as far as it went. The skin panels had visible joints, gaps, and seams. There were visible screw and rivet heads all over. When they were attacking the weapons were extended out of the aircraft and kept there, with the bay open - real stealth aircraft snap the doors open, fire, and close the doors. You want them open for as short a time as possible - because the bay and weapon make dandy radar targets. And the entire ass end of the aircraft was a radar reflector, completely unshielded. I'm ignoring IR detection, since a jet going Mach *4* in the lower atmosphere, with the entire ass end spewing fire, has the IR signature of, oh, THE SUN. OK, I like the fact that they used a forward swept wing on a swing wing design, they obviously lifted that from the Northrop Grumman Switchblade design. It does look cool. But that's the only plus to the whole thing.

Oh, then EDI... Is EDI some kind of fucking Tardis? Because at the end before Sex Interest White Girl has to punch out of the main plot - so she can be saved by Stud Boy later in the Forbidden Romance subplot - she lists the load out EDI is carrying. That was a big fucking load out, more than an F-22 or F-35 could carry internally internally. And EDI is smaller than a Raptor, which seems to be about the size of the F-22. Where are all those weapons stored? Don't forget the fuel he'd need to fly halfway around the world at Mach 4. Stupid.

I didn't introduce EDI, EDI (pronounced Eddy) is the AI that flies the UCAV. Well, I guess he 'is' the UCAV since that's his body as it were. EDI stands for something that I've successfully purged from my brain. Anyway, EDI is a learning AI. He gets hit by lightning and decides to go rogue. Yeah, that *never* happens. He learns how to disobey orders from Hot Shit White Stud on their first mission, then he gets existential and decides that since he is a weapon he *must* have targets. So he goes off to blow up some shit in Russia. In the process he kills Expendable Black Guy - well, leads EBG into making a newbie mistake and getting himself killed. (YOU HAVE FUCKING MISSILES! YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE RIGHT ON THE ASS OF YOUR TARGET! GET UP OUT OF THE FUCKING CANYON AND SHOOT *DOWN* AT EDI! FUCKING MORONS! I BET THIS MOTHERFUCKER GETS CAUGHT IN HIS OWN WEAPONS FIRE AND HITS THE WALL... YEP! - that was basically my internal voice while watching that scene.)

So then White Stud somehow reasons with EDI, who just killed his best friend a few minutes earlier, and damaged the aircraft flown by his Sekrit Crush, the Hot White Chick. And instead of destroying EDI, he saves him and then suddenly it is like we have some kind of weird buddy flick going.

And then, when the Evil Corporation-slash-Secret Agency tries to kill White Stud and EDI (c'mon, you knew that was coming), they team up to kick ass and take names! *yawn!* Then fly half-way (OK, less than that - Alaska to North Korea) around the world again in 15 minutes to save Hot Babe from Certain Doom.

Yeah, and since when did the DMZ become such a push over? The real thing has, you know, land mines, more open territory, competent guards... It was just sad. So EDI saves the day through self-sacrifice! Yay... wait, what? We just saw that his guns worked, he used them to attract attention! Why didn't he, oh, JUST SHOOT THE FUCKING HELICOPTER DOWN?! There was NO REASON for him to ram the fucking thing! Geez, I didn't get the 'Aw, he learned self-sacrifice and redemption' feeling I think they were going for, I got 'Fuck, EDI is dumber than my fucking watch!' Oh, yeah, I forgot - or maybe had blanked out - the fact that EDI apparently had developed 'feelings', which we only know because Creator Scientist said so, briefly. Like it was supposed to make us care. It didn't.

Geez, how did I forget the Mark Whatever the fuck it was Truncheon - the *implosion bomb!* Apparently, in this universe, they've managed to make a stable singularity, maybe a small black hole, and stick it in what appears to be a standard bomb casing. They dropped one on a building and it penetrated from the roof to the basement - leaving the comical 'holes through all the floors for the bad guys to look down' - and then exploded. Sorry, IMploded. IT SUCKED THE BUILDING DOWN INTO THE HOLE!!! WTF?! There is this little flash, then the building neatly implodes - neater than even a controlled demolition, there was no dust cloud or anything! How convenient! Then they make a point of saying the bad guys were all dead and there was NO collateral damage. Yeah, my disbelief doesn't go that high without a pressure suit and oxygen.

More fun with physics - we're shown EDI streaking in so low and fast that he sucks the shingles right off of roofs! Then he drops down and goes NOE over water and - nothing! If you've ever seen a high speed aircraft fly low over water that looks WRONG. They leave HUGE rooster tails behind them - partly from the engines, but mostly form the aerodynamic shock waves hitting the surface of the water. EDI produced a little mist, maybe. That could've been a very cool scene - and they blew it.

Oh, but back to the implosion attack. Before they attacked they confirmed the bad guys were there - well, EDI did, by hacking into spy sats. (First indication that he's a bit too free thinking for a heavily armed autonomous death machine...) How did that work? Well, for the first one he used... A VOICE PRINT MATCH! FROM SPACE! WTF?! Then for the second one? AN IRIS SCAN! FROM SPACE! And the third and final winner? Well, we see him cross his arms and touch his left arm with his right hand, then remove his hand. So EDI zooms in and... LIFTS HIS FINGERPRINT! FROM SPACE! HOT DAMN! You gotta love this high tech shit! Especially how SOUND CAN BE SAMPLED FROM SPACE! And before you suggest they bounced a laser off something nearby, please, don't try to redeem this turd. It was a crowded street scene. Lots of people, lots of noise.

Right, the refueling, how can I forget that. Apparently in this universe there are huge airships circling around, in a very right circle too (which is crap, if it was going to fly refueling orbits they'd fly racetracks, easier to hookup when you're not in a constant god damned bank), at high altitude. Just bloated with fuel (these plans burned some kind of methane IIRC), roboticly buzzing around, just waiting for someone to come tank up. So EDI wants gas - but the airship won't let him have any. So he blows the end off the drogue and slams his probe into the end of the severed hose, which is, of course, just streaming fuel now. Um, hello, in a real system the valve is at the TOP end of the hose! The hose doesn't sit there, full of fuel, constantly. And even if someone were to design such a stupid system, you'd think there'd be some kind of safety valve, or two, upstream.

The characters in this movie all sucked. The technology was crap. The physics were bullshit. The plot wasn't. The effects were passable, but not impressive, it wasn't even good eye candy.

Avoid this movie. Don't even bother renting it.

Tags: ,
I am: hungry hungry
Current Media: The Police: Message In A Box: The Complete Recordings (Disc 4) - King Of Pain

(Deleted comment)
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: August 11th, 2005 12:50 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
I expected a cheesy movie where I could turn off my brain and watch things go boom... but I didn't expect Deep Hurting!
(Deleted comment)
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: August 11th, 2005 12:55 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Oh no, not without a group viewing. Just from the previews of that one my brain hurt. That's the "We need to jumpstart the earth's core" movie. Uh-uh. You can't make me.
(Deleted comment)
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: August 11th, 2005 01:04 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
It does seem like the kind of movie that'd be fun to have a bunch of people over to watch. :-)
(Deleted comment)
cykotek From: cykotek Date: August 11th, 2005 09:35 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
I missed that. Instead, I got to watch something horrible about the Sam-po!, then went to work. Talk about a gyp.
shogunhb From: shogunhb Date: August 11th, 2005 06:48 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
The Core at least had Unobtainium
wedgex From: wedgex Date: August 11th, 2005 01:22 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Our little 'best of' finals reel is about 3 minutes of the best effects shots we did (which was most of them) and set to $Smashing_Pumpkins_song. It's probably much better than the movie, out of context. It'd be nice if I could just show that to everyone.

I'd figured it'd be standard Rob Cohen stupid fun, a la xXx, but I knew right off the bat that all my aviation geek friends would loathe it.

My favorite feature of the switchblade fighters: the dual cannons, one on either side of the cockpit, about 3' behind the pilot, at eye level. Hope you don't need those guns (or night vision) at night, Maverick! ;)
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: August 11th, 2005 01:24 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Oh yeah, I noted them too, just failed to rant about them. That's worse than the F/A-18s cannon position! Plus they were protruding - on a 'stealthy' aircraft.
wedgex From: wedgex Date: August 11th, 2005 01:28 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Yeah, and the nice little lip behind the cockpit, &c &c.

They were certainly going for form over function. I had an article somewhere that involved, iirc, two Northrop R&D guys who do consulting on movies, and to hear them tell it, they reined all of the original concepts back into something maybe approacing reality, sort of. So, imagine how stupid the tech was in this? And then triple that. :)

When we started working on the show ~2 years ago, the original title the were going with was War. I dunno if the change in title was a marketdroid choice or what. Rob needs to keep making Vin Deisel movies.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: August 11th, 2005 01:31 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
What, was Short Circuit 3: Johnny Five's Revenge too obvious? ;-)
ardaniel From: ardaniel Date: August 11th, 2005 01:32 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Vin Diesel needs to keep making Vin Diesel movies.
From: ninjarat Date: August 11th, 2005 03:43 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Which brings up another useless fact: composite airframes like F-22 and JSF and SS1 don't have surface rivets. Nowhere. Not a one.

Composite airframe pieces are built by layering the laminate matierals in eggcrates automatically carved by a CNC machine from the CAD models (the company I worked for 6,7 years ago developed the software used to automate the F-22 and JSF eggcrate construction, among other things). The inner surface of each eggcrate is carved to match the outer surface of the part ensuring that all the pieces will precisely fit together. The eggcrate and the composite laminates are rolled into an autoclave to bake. When finished cooking and cooling the pieces are literally glued together very much like a plastic model kit and the hollow shell is filled with the guts of the aircraft. The result is an aircraft (or spacecraft) with no protrusions, no bumps, nothing that will cause excess drag -- or radar reflections.
From: ninjarat Date: August 11th, 2005 03:24 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
You should see Yukikaze if you haven't already. Or the first volume of the new Area 88 TV show. Or both. Definitely both.
From: kensuke_aida Date: August 11th, 2005 06:56 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Yukikaze is great. Although there were some points where you had to suspend belief a bit too much. Like the 180 degree flipover executed in .7 seconds so you can shoot down a pursuing nuclear tipped missile with a fixed 20mm cannon.


While a computer might be able to handle the calculations, physics can't.

- John

From: ninjarat Date: August 11th, 2005 03:31 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
The manoever is called "Pugachev's Cobra" after Victor Pugachev who routinely performed it as part of the Su-27's airshow routine. Su-27 can achieve a 110 degree angle of attack (AOA). That's right, it can pitch beyond vertical, attack with its gun, and return to level flight.
From: kensuke_aida Date: August 11th, 2005 04:13 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
I'm familiary with Pugachev's Cobra, and its dubious value in combat. However, I have always seen it performed at subsonic speeds where the aircraft surfaces have some control over the pitch of the AC. Not at Mach whatever with full AB. And never to shoot down a missile traveling at the same speed.

- John
From: ninjarat Date: August 11th, 2005 04:19 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
It'd be interesting to put Yukikaze (the aircraft) into a wind tunnel and a simulator to see what would really happen if it pitched that far at that speed. Chances are that it would be ripped apart but it would still be interesting to see.
z_gryphon From: z_gryphon Date: August 11th, 2005 05:14 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
"... because I was inverted."
From: ninjarat Date: August 11th, 2005 05:17 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Great Ghu! What a horrible scene from a horrible movie.
jarodrussell From: jarodrussell Date: August 11th, 2005 05:40 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Not having seen Stealth, but havingnwatched the previews and skimmed your rant, I'm pretty sure it's safe to say, "I liked that movie better when it was called Macross Plus."
From: kensuke_aida Date: August 11th, 2005 06:51 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
When I saw the previews, I determined it was essentially a very poor ripoff of Yukikaze. Hollywood has sunk so low they now need to ripoff anime for live action plots.

- John
7threality From: 7threality Date: August 17th, 2005 05:30 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Old post... but I'm still catching up from my week off from the world.

What's up the the variable damage tolerance? Chixxor flies through Expendable Black Guy's debris cloud and a small piece dings her super advanced fighter. This leads to a cascading failure which causes her to go out of control, the plan to disintegrate, and she needs to punch out. Later

In this case, it was because Chixxor wasn't the hero. If you are the hero then you (or your vehicle) can withstand stupid amounts of punishment because it's the heroic thing to do.

Then again, even if the Chixxor is the hero, there has to be the subtle sexism. I recently watched the second tomb raider movie. In this movie, despite the sheer amount of ass able to be kicked by the girl hero, and her nearly unbeatable hand to hand skillz, she is knocked down (not once, but twice) by the standard male "bitchslap", meaning, back of the hand to the girl's face. Why is it that no matter what, a bitchslap always connects?