'Man of Steel treks Into Darkness' - A Review

Now that I'm into a writing halt for quite a while, I am actually reading and not skimming through every other blog, selected at random. This is me, figuring out how even the most elite class of bloggers get out of a writer's block. And I think I'm finally getting the answer. Either I should devote myself into writing about cellphones and apps and tablets and throw big words like 'SEO' and 'Microminiblogospherosomes' here and there, or I could write mystic, romantic poems that don't rhyme. Instead of ending each paragraph with 'the touch of his lips' type phrases, I'm ending up at 'the smell of her underarms' lines. And then I got to meet the third kind.

Movie reviews!

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Although frequently referred to as a dependable movie connoisseur, (within some secret underground niche) I have been deprived of a movie-watching experience of any kind after that of Kai Po Che. All Work and No Play is making me a douche-bag  Thanks to a couple of unfinished novels that kept me sane and a decent print of Spielberg's epic cinema Lincoln, which was an instant sleep-inducer. I used it again and again to fall asleep at night, and also kept count.

Twenty-three. 23.

So, among all the chaos that my dedication towards lab-work brought on me, me and my friend Noelle mutually promised to watch a movie together one weekend. We wanted to catch a show of 'Star Trek Into Darkness' in IMAX. Both of us are huge fans of the original series, of the SpocKirk Xeno-bromance, of U.S.S. Enterprise and of Benedict Cumberbatch. But none of that budged our respective professor's resolve of making us work only harder. So both of us kept mum on that plan.

While we thought the movie would 'live long and prosper' it was soon replaced by one of our Bollywood's 100-Crore-Club entry within a couple of weeks!

And by the end of that month, the internet chatter was already abuzz over a new movie. The third trailer of 'Man of Steel' was out and BOY! IT INDEED WAS ONE OF THE MOST AWESOME TRAILERS EVER MADE! Of course, the buzz in town was the involvement of Christopher Nolan - "Snyder kaun? Bhencho, Nolan ka hi movie hai!!"

Indeed, I was eager to watch it ever since I was made aware of Christopher Nolan, David S. Goyer and Hans Zimmer's involvement in the Zack Snyder team, with the first two being essentially involved with the story development and script. Plus, there were Academy Award winners and repeatedly nominated actors all over the trailer! Even in small roles. Amy Adams - so many movies, so few time to mention each. Russel Crowe, Gladiator! Kevin Costner, JFK! I was drooling. But still the biggest impact was Nolan's shadow over the project and Zimmer's background score.

So, me and Noelle decided to make one more promise!

...

But before I finally got to see Man of Steel, I did manage to sneak into one of the shows of the sequel of the popular sci-fi series rebooted in the 2009 movie with JJ Abrams at its helm, keeping my side of a broken promise. I've seen only two JJ Abrams movies earlier and loved both of them - Super 8, which although had kids as its main characters, was certainly not a movie solely for children and Star Trek, which was more of a good start to a rebooted franchise. Star Trek Into Darkness however, was awaited because of other reasons altogether. One of them being Benedict Cumberbatch.

And the other, his British accent.
'I well woke ovaa your cowld corpsis tu recova my peapl' I LOVE YOU!

Star Trek Into Darkness had a strong script apart from the SFX, something that the likes of Ironman 3 (or any other Marvel comics-turned-movie) always missed! In short (as its now an old movie, it'll be no fun reviewing something that everyone's already seen!), it not only lived up to the expectation of the fans, it also revived memories of a deadly sinister villain long forgotten for 300 years. No really, how many from the current generation would remember the tyrant, Khan Noonien Singh? Although I was always confused with how Khan looked like an over-tanned British sailor, despite his Indian nomenclature (or perhaps Canadian?), I set that thought apart to fit Cumberbatch in. And he did not disappoint!

I especially liked the coolness and precision about that of Cumberbatch's character while carrying out his sinister plans. Something I'll definitely except a superhuman would do easily. Some positives from the movie were the scene where the half-human side of Spock lets go of his Vulcan mannerisms to let out a cry of rage, 'KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-AN!!', the plot about the torpedoes, the otherwise-doomed decision to warp away from U.S.S. Vengeance, the character Scotty and his accent and how, for a major part of the film, the focus shifted away from Khan while him still being at the helm of events.

Oh, and also how they killed off Captain Pike in the very beginning. Killing off important characters always work wonders! Movie history tells similar tales: remember Santino Corleone, Godfather? Sardar Khan (or Sardar Single), Gangs of Wasseypur? Apollo Creed in one of the Rocky movies? Billy Costigan, The Departed?

I can almost swear by this formula!

...

But shame shame, Man Of Steel is one movie where that formula didn't work.

Why? Because there's really never been a tragedy with this Superhero (of course his entire planet went KA-BOOM, but that's a different story altogether). Superman is the sugar-daddy of the DC universe, notwithstanding the true meaning of the word. He is a soft spoken father figure with awesome powers who saves the world every time. An American alien with an almost correct sense of humour. He is easily more 'super' than all his friends. His only weakness is a rock. But so what?! He can become a total stranger by merely adding a spectacle to the finely chiseled face, and can even carry off a bright coloured brief over his costume without being eve-teased in New Delhi. Beat that, eh!

Oh Dark Knight, what have you done? 

But much like the curse of Tutankhamen, all the upcoming superhero movies of the DC universe nowadays, suddenly need to be dark, deep and insightful like that of The Dark Knight. This is precisely the point where Man of Steel derailed. In a story needing no tragedy, quite a few were wrongly introduced in many places. For starters, Superman doesn't brood! That's Bruce Wayne/Batman's job!!

The story was faulty, wrong and abrupt. After introducing the story to quite a few issues like the Al Gore-ish 'Fight Global Warming to save Krypton!' and Taare Zameen Par-ish 'Let Kal El choose his own destiny!' and also the case of an alienated extraterrestrial kid's 'E.T. go home!' crisis, they suddenly hurried everything into Clark's conversion into Superman. And why the cliched snap at the foster-father just before the latter dies? Did we not watch the Spiderman movies already?

Even the other actors disappointed big time! Except perhaps Kevin Costner. Also Russel Crowe can do nothing wrong when he's wearing Sandor Clegane's get-up from the Game of Thrones! Biggest disappointment was Amy Adams. She managed to render dumbness to the character of a smart-ass Pulitzer winning journalist! A better Lois would perhaps be one from the magic of animation, like they did with Snowy in the Tintin movie.

Visual effects were pretty good, but also it was nothing that we haven't already seen!

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The only takeaway from this no-chaddi Superman is his super good-looks! That, and with all the British accent, I think I know why the girls are loving this movie, way more than us guys!

A New Pup In Town

Second day in the new neighborhood, and my mum and dad still don't think it's safe for me to be let out on my own. Pity. Maybe I would just have to keep chewing my little teddy the whole day long. He's in tatters anyway.

Day before yesterday, before I went into a chemically-induced semi-hibernation, I was offered the sweetest biscuit I've ever tasted. I should've known something shifty was going on then as I immediately dozed off past that. I remember being carried by unknown people inside a cagey box. There was a moment when I panicked but then I saw dad's face. He had been there the whole time, giving careful instructions to the men who were carrying me and I knew whatever was being done was, maybe, necessary.

But I didn't know we were shifting to a new house! In an entirely new place! From what I've seen since yesterday, I now have a large garden to roam around. I can now be a little more carefree about hitting things with a single wag of my tail, as there seems to be more space for me to maneuver. I can no longer sense the stale, sickening smell of a lavender room freshener that used to be everywhere inside the last house.

Instead, here I can smell of some distant mangoes! The air is salty, and there is always a light breeze in the air. I like it inside the house, but I think it’s time I go exploring on the outside. I think I saw a cat giving me nasty looks last night; must check her out too.

Okay, hey I got to go now. I can hear dad coming - ‘Woof!’

...

Guess what, I got lucky. At last mum has asked dad to take me out!

As we got out of the gate, the road appeared inclined, and surprisingly empty. There were no speeding cars and hardly any people running about. From the hill side of the road, I heard some light soothing music, but the source did not come in sight. We started trotting down the hill, from where strong breeze blew on our faces. As we came to an end, full blast of blue, green, yellow and sunlight welcomed us. I inadvertently got happy, wagging my tail in excitement!

I didn't know we had a beachfront nearby. That explains the salty smell. As dad took me for a stroll, we met three other people with pets. First one to pass was a fat old lady, dad made small-talk with while I drooled at the smoking hot poodle beside her. She didn't pay much attention to me however. After the lady welcomed both of us into the neighborhood, we marched forward. Dad gave me a wink and let out a low whistle. Perhaps he read my mind, eh?

Next, while we met a few people who greeted my master, I came across an elderly Alsatian named Tyler. He appeared wise, and spoke less. Then I met a cheerful Lab of almost my age, who appeared larger than me. And my being a Golden Retriever, that’s saying something indeed. She welcomed me with a warm ‘Woof!’ as we immediately hit it off.

‘Firstly, you need to lose the stiffness in your walk, dear! You’re not in the city anymore. Here you've got plenty of places to roam around, plenty of room to run around and…’ she said with a wink, ‘plenty of poodles to hang around with. If you know what I mean?!’

My face must have visibly declared my happiness, so she continued with a wag in her tail, ‘You’ll get to meet the others soon. There’s Lennon, Jagger, Tyler, Harrison, Posh and me, Pink.’

‘What’s up with the names?’ I inquired.

‘We were all found and rescued as pups, by the local community church. You’ll find it up on the hill. The old Father of that church secretly seemed to like rock music back then, and so we were named accordingly. The nights used to be such fun, when we were little’ said Pink. ‘You’ll meet Goldie too, a poodle. She’s new to the locality. And between you and me, I think Tyler has got the hots for her!’

‘I think I already met her few minutes back, yes’ said I, without divulging any further piece of my mind. ‘Is there a cat around here too? I think I saw one giving me nasty looks last night.’

‘Ah yes, that’s Riddle. An old, disgruntled witch, she is! She guards the mango tree at the old bungalow on the other end of the hilly road, towards the beach. We’ll get there. That tree bears the sweetest mangoes we've ever had! We’ll take you there soon once you meet everybody…’

With a tug at our individual collars, we knew it was time to go. As we said our goodbyes, she promised to introduce me to the rest of the gang later. And then she sprinted away with her master.

Back in the city, I had Bruno - the pug - as my solitary company. And we were never allowed to venture outside the compound we stayed in. Suddenly having all the free space around me, and all the new friends, all the anticipated adventure that lay ahead - I think I’m going to like this place!

...

Back in the city, I used to sit in front of what the people call the air-conditioning system and watch my ears flap around in the cool wind that came out of it. Here, however, the air in general is windy. Sometimes I just close my eyes and stand in the sun. Then I go chasing insects and butterflies in the garden. I never get tired of them, there’s always some activity out there, waiting for me.

It is evening now, and it is raining. I gazed out of the kitchen window.

The raindrops sound different. In the city, the raindrops only ‘sputtered’ on the concrete window shades. While here the drops fell upon so many varieties of surface - the wooden porch, mud, grass, leaves and even tin roofs. It was all such a hullabaloo. My senses were tingling everywhere! Never before have they been put to test in such enriched environment.

As the rain fell hard on the wooden porch, I mistook the sound for yet another visitor. We’ve had lots of them today, with baskets of housewarming gifts and food, and I’m really tired of barking all day long. The wind blew hard and rattled the windows. They brought the smell of mangoes with them. And as the trees rustled in the wind and rain, my eyes started drooping.

I almost had given up on my final attempt at trying to keep my eyelids open when I saw some movement on the garden fence. I sat up in total attention. My ears went up and my mind was sharp as I listened. But all I heard was rain. It was only after a while of adjusting my focus, that I suddenly noticed something move gracefully on the fence, then jump down to the ground, walk to the porch, lick its paw and look up.

Riddle the cat, was staring right at me from the porch.

‘Stay away from the mangoes, newbie…’ warned Riddle and left suddenly.

I don’t know whether it was my inherent, general loathing for cats or it was the sight of that particular cat, which had managed to push me off the edge, I started howling loudly. Mum and dad came running and tried to calm me down. They fed me some water, patted and caressed me till I stopped after about ten minutes.

They thought it was the rain and thunder that ticked me off. But someone please tell them in the language they understand, we've got a psycho cat in the neighborhood!

After an hour of leisurely lying on the drawing room floor, I again went to the kitchen window.

The rain had stopped, but there was a chilly wind in the air. The trees continued to rustle in the breeze. The cat was nowhere to be seen. Now, I am supposed to be let out from tomorrow. I even have my own kennel being built in the garden! It was all very exciting for a city-raised dog like me who, till now, has lived his life in an apartment on the 5th floor.

The ambiance was such a bliss that I slept off soon enough.

...

I heard dad come to get some water. He stood next to me and amusingly remarked ‘they say be alert like a dog?! As far as our dog goes, he sleeps like a log darling!’ Mum also seemed amused. I didn't bother getting up. Instead I maintained my state of semi-consciousness as I heard him go back to bed.

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This post has been written in the Travel Experience genre for 'Indian Bloggers League' - a fun challenge, organized by the WriteUpCafe.com. You will also find it here. It is the official entry in this genre, by the team Coup d'east. Find the team members and other posts by this team here. Like us, Comment, Share and Follow. Every blogger loves readers, and I especially love you. But you know that already, don't you?

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