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#468: It’s a Miracle

May 3, 2010

Notes from the Manager

Related Strips: #425: A Christmas Miracle; #431: Evil to the Last Drop

I know a few of you are dying to know what's up with Whitey and Ariela, but I had to fit this one in, since it's sort of based on my own experience with this movie. (Those of you who follow me on Twitter or are Facebook friends with me will have already heard me gush about this movie, but… well, whatever.)

After How to Train Your Dragon had been out for a couple of weeks, all the glowing reviews finally got me to check the movie out. It wasn't that I didn't think it would be good; I just didn't expect it to be very good. I mean… it's Dreamworks Animation. I love (and own) Kung Fu Panda, but every other movie of theirs I've seen has just been pretty good — at best — just barely worth watching, nevermind buying on DVD.

To my surprise, I didn't just think How to Train Your Dragon was a good cartoon. I flat-out loved it. Yet to say that How to Train Your Dragon is Dreamworks Animation's best movie doesn't even begin to explain how much I love it. It — like my favorite Pixar movie, The Incredibles; and only a handful of others is what I consider to be a perfect movie.

The characters are wonderful. The film looks breathtakingly beautiful. The 3D flight sequences are exhilirating. The story has a surprising emotional depth, despite an impressively brisk pace. John Powell's score is both rousing and deeply moving — it's easily my favorite score of the past few years. I rarely see a movie in theaters twice, but I've seen it three times already and have every intention of seeing it at least once more before it leaves theaters.

All three times, tears welled up or full-on streamed down my face at all the same points; my heart burst with joy or sadness at all the right points; and what could only have been the most ridiculous smile ever plastered my face for every other second.

As I've told everyone I've recommended the film to, your mileage may vary — but it's absolutely no exaggeration when I say that How to Train Your Dragon is the most fun I've had at the movies in the past decade. As a proud, jaded 35 year old cynic, I was actually a bit surprised to learn that I'm capable of loving an unabashed children's film as much as I do How to Train Your Dragon, but I guess that's the secret behind HTTYD's magic: it takes me back to when I was a kid like no other movie I've seen since I was a kid.

 

For the curious, the only other movie I've seen more times in a theater is Braveheart, back in 1995. I saw it five times in the seven months it spent in theaters. (Dragon probably won't make it  to three months. The movie theater biz has changed an awful lot in the past 15 years.)

Braveheart hasn't aged as gracefully as other movies in the wave of the action epics it ushered in, but Gibson's most recent directorial effort (Apocalypto) was a lot of fun, so when Mel Gibson comes out with his planned Viking movie, I could be in trouble. (Unless maybe I'm just a big fan of Scottish accents.)

UPDATE: The bad news is, Thursday's comic will be late! Sorry, spent too much time getting the Chapter 5 HD Edition eBook finished. The good news is, the Chapter 5 eBook is finished and available, and for you non-Kickstarter backers, there are six new-to-you strips in it. The free Online Edition will be up in a few days.


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Leonard Nimoy (1931–2015)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

I was never a huge Star Trek fan, exactly. I love some of the early episodes, and I think Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time. I enjoyed Star Trek III and IV, too, for what they were. I read a bunch of the DC Comics Star Trek stuff at that time, because my brother bought them. And I watched a bit of the Next Generation and then fell off the wagon. Kirk and Spock were my Star Trek, and the Star Trek 2–4 “era” was its peak for me, warts and all, because that’s the “era” that really hooked me. And really, for me, it was all about Wrath of Khan.

In addition to playing Mr. Spock, of course, Leonard Nimoy did a lot of other things. He was on Mission: Impossible. He directed a few movies (Three Men and a Baby!). He was a photographer. He was the voice of Civilization IV. But one thing I really loved of his was Standby: Lights, Camera, Action, on Nickelodeon from 1982–1987, which provided a behind the scenes look at movies like Star Trek III, Return of the Jedi, 2010, and more. Nimoy hosted and occasionally interviewed guests like George Lucas. As a budding film nerd in the pre-Internet Dark Ages, behind the scenes specials like Standby: Lights, Camera, Action were hard to come by. I ate that show up.

Anyway, as you’re undoubtedly aware by now, Leonard Nimoy passed away on the 27th. As cartoonists do when they’re sad about these kinds of things, I drew a picture:

Leonard_Nimoy

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