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Dear Reader, if it hasn’t become apparent at this point that I’m a fan of sci-fi B-movies, then I apologize for neglecting to reveal such an essential aspect of my personality. Thankfully, there’s a new Kickstarter campaign ready and willing to meet all of my B-movie needs while feeding my religion + intelligence + humor = Happy Sam formula. See my reviews of James Asmus, Jim Festante, and Rem Broo’s The End Times of Bram and Ben as well as Justin Aclin and Nicolas Daniel Selma’s S.H.O.O.T. First for further proof. So, with that frame of reference in mind, I’m very pleased to present Sharkasaurus!
Written by Spencer Estabrooks with art by Tyler Jenkins and based on Estabrooks’s short film of the same name, Sharkasaurus is, in the words of its creators:
…a horror comedy that pits creationists and paleontologists against the prehistoric Sharkasaurus. The story follows a pair of star-crossed lovers; the rebellious emo son of Paleontologist falls for the promiscuous daughter of a widowed creationist. After they accidentally awaken a prehistoric tunneling dino-shark, they must evolve their ideological difference or succumb to the inevitable jaws of Sharkasaurus. Set on the Heavenly Holes creationist themed golf course, the story is full of satire, incredible death scenes and epic one-liners. The characters, although stereotypes, are flawed but cheer-able heroes marching forward towards enlightenment and death.
First and foremost, the book is about evolution and promises readers the satisfaction or disgust of watching characters grow and change in the face of death. It’s always in those moments of heightened emotions that we face our true nature, so I’m looking forward to watching the cookie-cutter, trope-laden characters break out of their molds once the Sharkasaurus arrives. Yes, that is a sentence I just wrote.
I must confess I’ve never seen any of Estabrooks’s work, but from the way he describes it there’s plenty to sink your teeth into – so to speak. I am, however, very familiar with artist Tyler Jenkin’s work, namely Peter Panzerfaust, Neverboy, and Snowblind. Jenkins is top notch and the preview art already has me excited for what’s in store.
If you need further convincing, check out the Kickstarter page, and the many rewards available, as well as the official website where you can watch the short film that was a darling of the indie film scene last year.
I feel like going on a Disney kick right now. In light of the recent controversy surrounding Princess Merida and Disney’s most recent statement not to back down from using her revamped image for marketing purposes, I thought I’d muse a little bit about another movie starring a red-headed princess, The Little Mermaid.
Now my aim is not to hate on the film. I clearly remember loving it as a child, but as I’ve grown up and re-watched it, there are a couple of thoughts that spring to mind when you consider Disney’s adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s relatively dark fairy tale. And since I clearly have a lot of time on my hands and, unlike Paul McCartney, no hole to fix, my mind has wandered to these thoughts that I will now share with you. It’s really for the best since they’re just taking up space that could be better put to use on some other rant-based article.
In terms of the overall story, I’m not really going to delve into that aspect, though I would recommend watching the Nostalgia Chick’s video about The Little Mermaid since she does make some excellent points about character development and yadda, yadda, yadda. If I were to sum it up: Ariel gives up everything for a guy she just met, makes a bad deal with Ursula, her father Triton learns a lesson while Ariel learns nothing and gets what she wants. The end! Yeah, I’m not looking to do what’s already been done. Nope, these are just some extra tidbity thoughts for you to consider. That, or I’m about to ruin your childhood.
Sorry? You’re welcome? Anyway, here we go!
What About Ariel’s Sisters?
Remember how Ariel was late to that whole concert thing in honor of her father, Triton? Remember who was singing his praises before everyone realized Ariel wasn’t sitting in her scallop ready to display “her voice that’s like a bell?” That’s right, Ariel’s six older sisters! (Side Note: It’s really Sebastian’s fault for not checking that ALL of the daughters of Triton were present and accounted for. Seriously, who puts on a concert without checking all of the performers are there?)
So Ariel has six older sisters: Attina, Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Adella, and Alana. They all give a lovely little display of their own singing abilities before bestowing praise on their youngest sister as the greatest gift to mer-kind. Other than the very brief scene where her sisters pick up on the fact that Ariel’s in love, we don’t see them again until the end of the movie at Ariel and Eric’s wedding. Now, if I were any one of the older sisters, I’d be just a bit peeved with the amount of attention Ariel gets. Their father clearly favors her since he’s really concerned with just about everything she does (he’s also super controlling), puts all of his resources into finding her when he thinks she’s – for lack of a better term – run away from home, and he gives up his trident and power to get her out of the deal with Ursula – thus condemning the entire kingdom to ruin over an idiot teenager’s dumb decision. I mean…is Ariel really that important? You’ve got six other well-behaved daughters who seem pretty content with being mermaid princesses. Then again, we don’t really know much about them, so I’m sure at least one of them could have a surly attitude if Triton bothered to pay attention.
Oh, and doesn’t that mean the eldest daughter, Attina, is next in line to rule Atlantica? Shouldn’t there be some concern for her story since, assuming at least a year between children, she’s 22 and unmarried while her 16-year-old sister marries the first human guy she meets within five days of meeting him? I mean, by Disney standards, Attina’s a spinster and her other sisters aren’t exactly fighting off the merman suitors either. What the hell? Where’s Game of Thrones: Atlantica? Obviously Ariel’s human daughter (The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea) isn’t going to take over a kingdom under the sea, so one of those princesses has to become queen when Triton rolls over and rises to the surface to be picked up by fishing nets.
I’m just saying, if you wanted a new television show to cash in on the fantasy/royal politics fad going on right now, here’s your opportunity.
What Does Ariel Eat While on the Surface and What do Mer-People Eat?
We learn in the first five minutes that most fish and crustaceans are sentient. They sing and dance and have big eyes that make you feel sympathy for them should they become sad. I really can’t imagine Ariel laughing with a cod one minute and then stabbing a fork into it for supper. Firstly because she doesn’t know what a fork is and secondly because they have no means of cooking, so that would definitely be awkward. If that’s the case, then what do mer-people eat? I suppose if you don’t even know what fire is, then there isn’t a lot of cooking going on, so the only possibility is they eat a lot of kale. Like, that’s the only thing they can eat. Hang on a second, though, we see Ursula chomping down on a little shrimp with big, scared eyes when we first meet her, so does that make her a cannibal? Or is it just to emphasize that she’s evil? Probably the latter.
Then there’s the hilariously horrific sequence in the kitchen in Eric’s palace where Sebastian is essentially traumatized by the sight of fish and crabs being stuffed, fried, boiled, broiled, and served on a silver platter. Managing to escape to the dining room where Ariel is dining with Eric and his Alfred equivalent, she manages to get Sebastian over to her platter through a cunning use of distraction. But if he hadn’t been on the chopping block, would she have eaten the stuffed crab? For that matter, if Eric’s kingdom is by the sea, and all of Ariel’s friends and family are fish or part fish, wouldn’t that make things a bit awkward when entertaining guests?
“How’s the tuna, Ariel?”
“I sang a song with him once. We were the best of friends. I had no idea how delicious he was!”
She’d either have to get over it pretty quick, or outlaw fish from being consumed, punishable by death. Hopefully the cows aren’t sentient or no one’s going to be able to eat anything!
How do Mer-People Reproduce?
Uh…yeah, I think the less thought put into that the better. Plus Futurama and Saturday Night Live kinda covered this territory.
The Entire Movie is Over in Ten Minutes If Ariel Bothered to Write a Note
One slight turn from the original story opens up a lot of plot holes. The biggest one being that, had Ariel bothered to write a note to Eric along the lines of:
Hi, my name is Ariel. Yes, I am indeed the girl who rescued you from the shipwreck and carried you to shore where you clearly saw me. While you did hear me sing, I’ve unfortunately come down with laryngitis and find myself unable to speak or sing. Luckily, I’m capable of writing and have thus saved you the time of trying to guess my name and believing I’m not the girl who rescued you when clearly you recognized me as the same girl, but dismissed me when you found out I couldn’t speak.
Ariel (which is my name)
…then maybe we wouldn’t have a movie. It’s kind of a big plot hole, actually, when you consider that not only does Ariel sign her name on the contract with Ursula, but she signs it in cursive. You don’t teach someone to write just their name in cursive. You teach them to write in cursive because it’s formal writing befitting of a member of a royal family. So, when she gets to the surface, why doesn’t she write something down and explain herself? It’s never explicitly stated that she can’t write about it, only that she gives up her voice in exchange for legs.
Unless it was in the fine print that Ariel also forgot how to read and write along with losing her voice, there’s nothing preventing her from communicating with Eric through other means. Even Ursula suggests body language! Semaphore, carrier pigeon, singing telegram, all of these are viable options! But if she couldn’t talk or communicate otherwise, then we wouldn’t have the entire second act of the movie or “Kiss the Girl,” so make of that what you will. The only other explanation is that Eric is a vicious ruler who has outlawed reading and writing from his kingdom! Which means a rag-tag group of freedom fighters is gonna have to ride into the kingdom and stop this villainy from continuing!
So that’s all I got. Like I said, just some things that have popped into my head from time to time. Either you found this entertaining, or your ready to burn me in effigy. Let’s just say I’m flattered regardless.
Until next time…
For those who haven’t been watching The Pete Holmes Show on TBS, or perusing the YouTubes lately, prior to the show’s premiere Holmes released a video entitled “Ex-Men” in which Holmes, dressed as Prof. X, fired fan favorite mutant, Wolverine, from the X-Men for essentially being useless in a fight with the team’s main villain, Magneto. Why? Because Logan’s skeleton is made of metal, that thing Magneto’s really good at manipulating. The skit also painted Logan as a bit dense, probably because of the metal but that’s just a personal theory.
The response to the video has been overwhelmingly positive with Holmes’ joyous glee at making fun of Marvel’s darling cash cow coming across instantly. The follow-up saw Prof. X firing Gambit, Jubilee, Angel, Iceman, Rogue, Nightcrawler, Storm (technically she quit), and ended with Cyclops after the show finished its initial order of episodes from the network. As the videos continued, there emerged a particular brand of commenting, one that isn’t new but tends to rear its ugly head when comedic videos go after a particular franchise or fandom. These are the people who love that thing so much that even a joke at the expense of a fictional character gets their panties in a twist. All you have to do is look at the comments and you’ll find them. They really seem dead set on trying to school Holmes on the complexity and history of whichever character he’s “attacking” with his jokes.
Never mind the fact that the whole point of the skit is distilling each character down to the most obvious traits people would know about them. Wolverine’s metal skeleton, Gambit energizing an object and throwing it, Rogue can’t touch people, Angel…has wings, etc. It’s about getting the cheap laugh because it’s really about the reactions of the characters to Prof. X that are enjoyable. That and Holmes hamming it up as Prof. X and oh does he milk it for all it’s worth! The same is true of Holmes’ Batman (or Badman) parody videos that he and frequent collaborator Matt McCarthy started doing for College Humor. The comedic take on Christian Bale’s Batman became less about the buffoonery of Batman and more about how the other characters reacted to his stupidity. But you still get comments where people try to defend the character out of a weirdly placed sense of loyalty, as if Holmes’ mockery will somehow topple the whole system and no one will ever take Bale’s Batman serious ever again.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand having a deep, unabiding love of a particular fandom, but there comes a point where the intensity of that love and loyalty is destructive. It prevents you from seeing that there are inherently silly things about comic book superheroes, television shows, movies, and the like. Humor is important because it lets us embrace the silliness without losing the enjoyment. It’s okay to laugh at the things we love because there are always going to be flaws. Nothing is perfect, nothing is so sacred that it’s above being mocked. I love The Dark Knight. I love it so much I saw it multiple times in the theater and have a few copies of it at home, but the first thing I did when it came out on DVD was gather my friends together so we could watch it with the RiffTrax commentary. I refused to let myself be so taken with the movie that I wouldn’t allow others to voice a dissenting opinion or make fun of something during the film. In fact, a lot of great discussions have come out of a funny comment or someone pointing out an error in logic. You can’t take something that seriously because, at the end of the day, it’s about a person who doesn’t exist. I have a lot of other things in my life that require a higher level of intense thought, movies don’t always have to be one of them.
I understand, however, that humor is subjective. Not everyone is going to get the joke or see it as a joke in the first place. It’s why Honest Trailers and Cinema Sins come under fire depending on the movie, even though both teams have stated that just because they make fun or point out the flaws of whatever movie doesn’t mean they hate it. They’re pulling back the curtain and showing you the cogs in the machine. Some people just don’t want to see the cogs. If you happen to be one of those people, I have to ask, “Why?” Why do you watch videos you know will only piss you off? Do you like being angry? Do you fear the overwhelming number of “likes” on a video will invalidate your personal opinion? Personally, I’d rather laugh at something than pout and glare at a YouTube video.
Now that The Pete Holmes Show has been picked up for a second season, I hope he keeps doing the Ex-Men skits because there are a lot of X-Men. Like, a lot, and some of them could definitely use a dressing down from Prof. X. Hell, I hope he goes after the whole DC Universe as well. I’m sure the Lantern Corps. could use some humor levied at them.
Broadcast on the first live television link, “All You Need is Love” was written by Lennon and McCartney after they were asked to write a song that everyone could understand. This being the height of the counter-culture movement of the late 1960s, “All You Need is Love” encompasses the best qualities of the Beatles: their sincerity, their talent, and their humor. As wonderful as the message is, what really makes the song is the burlesque trombone after the chorus is sung each time. And if you make it all the way to the end, Paul starts singing a little “She Loves You” for good measure. The broadcast was watched by 400 million people in 68 countries, so hopefully somebody got the message.