Just forget the words and sing along

Monday, April 29, 2019

The Blinding Snow

The best thing about being up early for my job is you're quite often the first to hear about things when news breaks early in the morning.  So, a few weeks ago, when the news dinged that Avengers: Endgame tickets were now on sale, I snapped mine up immediately.  When for an Edmonton show on Saturday, April 27 at 11AM, because in my old age, I prefer to go see movies on Saturday afternoon. 

But, as always, there has to be a wrinkle in the plan.  As the day drew nearer, the weather report started listing one of those wonderful spring weather anomalies:  a snowstorm.  I kept an eye on the weather report as the week went on.  The TV weatherman said that the weather system would be moving south and east...my route to the city would just be getting the edge of it.  I woke up the morning of the 27th.  I looked out the window to see grey skies.  The road report said the roads were good.  The weather report said weather was good.  I was off to see Avengers!

I left Westlock heading south on Highway 44.  Grey skies, good highways.  I started running into the snow when I hit Villeneuve.  "No worries," I said.  "Just a little bit of wet snow.  Nothing I can't handle."  I went farther south, to where Highway 44 meets the Yellowhead Highway.  I hit the brunt of it.  The roads were terrible.  Whiteout conditions.  I could barely see in front of me. 

"Well, looks like I'm not seeing Avengers today," I thought.  "I'm not too far from the big Husky truck stop at the Acheson Industrial Park.  There, I can safely turn around.  Failing that, I can hunker down in their diner and have a bite to eat and wait for the storm to pass." 

Thanks to the whiteout conditions, I missed the Acheson overpass. 

I kept heading down the Yellowhead Highway in a panic.  I had no idea where I was going to turn around.  The speed limit is 110, but I was barely doing 60.  In the middle of this, I got a text from my mother.  "I saw on the news that that new superhero movie is out today.   You're not going to it in the middle of this snow, are you?"  And then, out of the blizzard, I saw a sign indicating an off-ramp:  Anthony Henday Drive.  Edmonton's ring road.  I saw that and thought, "Well, I made it this far.  May as well press on." 

I made it to West Edmonton Mall.  I parked the car.  It was around 9:30AM.  I went inside, and given that text I got from my mother, figured I should probably give her a call and let her know I made it OK. 

My movie wasn't until 11AM, so I spent the next hour just kind of wandering around West Edmonton Mall burning off nervous energy.  10:30AM rolled around, and even though it's a fancy-pants modern theatre with assigned seating, I got there nice and early and settled in to watch the Endgame

Avengers Endgame Poster

Are we past the moratorium on spoilers yet?  Because I'm going to get into some mild spoilers as I describe the plot and my favourite bits. 

The film opens shortly after the end of Infinity War, as our heroes regroup at the Avengers Compound.  With the newly-arrived Captain Marvel, our remaining heroes head off to kick Thanos's butt, reclaim the Infinity Stones, and undo the snap.  But when they find Thanos, there's just one problem:  Thanos used the stones a second time to destroy the stones themselves.  There's no going back.

We jump forward five years, and our heroes are wallowing in various degrees of self-pity.  But then, the newly-returned Ant-Man comes to our heroes, explains how he survived, and presents a plan to recover the stones.  The Avengers then head off across time and space on a desperate plan to resurrect the stones and bring everyone back. 

Two words:  "Avengers assemble."  I've been waiting the whole franchise to hear that line spoken, and when it is finally uttered, it is the ultimate payoff. 

I can't think of anything I hated about this movie.  It could have almost been called Callbacks: The Movie because it is so full of referecnes to all the other films that came before this.  When it's on home media, you're going to have to watch it frame-by-frame to get all the Easter eggs.  I like that the film mostly focuses on our original six Avengers and brings their stories to a close. 

The film is three hours long, but doesn't feel like it because it moves along so quickly. 

And I think we can finally retire the "massive CGI armies duking it out" climax that so many of these movies have, because Endgame has the biggest one that there ever will be. 

Another little thing I noticed.  I know the Marvel films have gotten a lot of flak for not having really distinct film scores, but I still listen to those scores a lot, and composer Alan Silvestri really tries hard with Endgame.  Don't get me wrong, his Avengers theme is, hands down, the best theme that Marvel produced, but in his score, I noticed Silvestri also slipped in a little of Captain Marvel's theme when she returns, and Ant-Man's theme when he returns, and even his Captain America theme at appropriate times. 

I'm probably just getting emotional in my old age, but man o man, this movie made me cry, it's so good.  I give it four out of four Nibs.  Full review on the website. 

Hey, I don't think I ever got around to blogging that I saw Shazam, too.  I saw Shazam, too, when it came out a few weeks ago.  I was reluctant to talk about it because, when I saw it, I was having a bit of a bad day, and I was in a bad mood, as such, I really couldn't get into the film.  Without getting into too much, April has shaped up to be a bad month for me.  Avengers made it better, though.

Anyway.  Shazam.  I've always had a bit of a fondness for the Big Red Cheese.  Young orphan Billy Batson is spirited away on a magic subway car one day, and comes face to face with the wizard Shazam.  By speaking the wizard's name, Batson is turned into the superhero Shazam.  But there are others who covet the power of Shazam, like the evil scientist Dr. Sivana, whom the wizard Shazam rejected as his champion years ago.  Now, the superhero Shazam and Sivana will come face to face to determine once and for all who will wield the power of Shazam!

The film is pretty good.  Zachary Levi makes a really great Shazam, showing of the "kid trapped in an adult superhero body" comedy aspect.  I really wish we got to know of Billy's foster family, though, to help flesh out this universe a little more.  And as I lamented, I've probably seen too many of these things now, as I saw a lot of the big twists and turns coming from a mile away.

I'd really like to see it again, because once I'm in a better headspace, I'll probably warm up to it more.  I give it three out of four Nibs.  And again, full review on the website

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Shadow Raiders: Volume 6

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I watch a DVD in my collection and blog about it.  We've reached the end of the 1990s animated classic Shadow Raiders.  This is in my notes at February 10, 2019.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Shadow Raiders: Volume 5

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  Watching DVDs and blogging about them as it gives some sense of structure to my life.  I'm continuing my dive thought Shadow Raiders as we get to volume 5.  This is in my notes at February 9, 2019.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Shadow Raiders: Volume 4

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  You know the routine, I watch a movie and blog about it.  We go back to my journey through the old late-1990s animated series Shadow Raiders, as we're now on volume 4 of the DVD complete series set.  This is in my notes at February 3, 2019.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Willow

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  I watch a film and blog about it, giving some sense of purpose to my life.  Today, we take a look at the 1980s fantasy epic Willow.  This is in my notes at February 3, 2019.