I can't believe I went into the city yesterday. With the winds we had, and the incredible amount of blowing snow, it was one of the most difficult drives I ever undertook. But, I had a pocketful of gift cards and Christmas cash, and it was itching to get spent.
First stop: the movies! Of course, the big holiday blockbuster I'd been wanting to see is The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. And because it is such a long movie, my theatre-of-choice, the Soctiabank Theatre in West Edmonton Mall, had it starting at 11:30AM. So seeing the movie was the first order of business. I kind of like getting to West Edmonton Mall before noon. Things are kind of quiet in the mall, and it's not so crowded yet, so you have lots of room to just enjoy the place. But I didn't have much time to enjoy it, as the movie was starting!
With The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, I kind of have the same complaint as with the first film. Having read The Hobbit several times, you can feel the padding. So many new characters are introduced...so many characters who didn't have backstories before suddenly have epic backstories. It just bogs things down. I know, I know, it is all still canon as Peter Jackson poured through Tolkein's appendices and Middle Earth encyclopedias, but it just slows things down.
Lots of good stuff, though. The sequence with the wine barrels is one of my favourite bits from the book, so it's nice to see that on film, and they nicely expanded it into a pretty good action scene. And Smaug the Dragon is amazing. As large and as terrifying and evil force as he is in the books.
But the ending. Oh my God, the ending. If the angry groans in the theatre were any indication, that was NOT a good place to end the film. As I was chatting with a friend last night, with the first film, and indeed, the Lord of the Rings films, the endings were all pretty satisfying conclusions. You knew the saga continued, but that particular chapter felt closed. With The Desolation of Smaug, it's so abrupt and so surprising, that you get no satisfaction at all. I think it shows that the decision to make this a trilogy was very much a late-in-the-game decision, and despite all the re-shoots, they didn't know how to end this chapter.
I give it 3 Nibs. I do have the complete review up over at my website, so feel free to click on through and check it out.
But now it was time to spend some gift cards! And I walked away a little disappointed. I was really hoping to snatch up Disney's The Lone Ranger on Blu-Ray, but all my favourite DVD haunts didn't have it! Either it turned out to be really popular on home media, or it was such a huge bomb that stores are refusing to sell it. So I guess I'll have to break down and buy it online.
I did, however get The Alien Anthology, which is the big boxed set of all the Alien movies. When it comes to sci-fi franchises, I've always been pretty indifferent towards Alien, but it was so ridiculously cheap I couldn't say no. I also snatched up Kick-Ass 2, having enjoyed the first film, and finding the second one to be just as over-the-top ridiculous.
To finish things off, I had one last stop to make. If you've been reading this blog for the past few months, you know I've been on a quest to get a new printer. I love my old one, but being 10+ years old, I discovered they stopped making the ink cartridges for it. And with my Christmas cash, and some great after Christmas sales still going on, I knew I'd be coming home with a printer.
I swung by Staples, went to their printers section, went to the one on sale that I had all picked out...and they were out of stock. So I started thinking. Do I want to come back another day...or do I want to get the slightly better printer which is also on sale, but still a little more expensive? So I thought, "Screw it," and got the the slightly better, slightly more expensive one.
When I got home last night, I had a great time playing with it and getting it set up. My new printer is one of these "all in one" units, which means it has a printer, scanner, and copier all in one. (Oh, so that's where they got the name.) I've had fun printing stuff, but it's so cool finally being able to scan stuff.
Some of my sample scans.... There was an event in Athabasca a couple years ago where some of the Edmonton Oilers came up. I got me a signed Louie Debrusk hockey card.
Oh, and my parents went to Germany about a year-and-a-half ago. Knowing my love of greasy fast food, they grabbed me one of those cardboard Burger King crowns from a German Burger King. As you can see, it's in the colours of the flag of Germany.
So that's going to provide hours of fun. Finally time to get on Instragram and share some of this with the world.
All in all, not a bad day in the city, if it just wasn't so tough driving in.