Mr. Bean Movie
Getting to the Theatre
I managed to get to the Westgate theatre on Wednesday in time for the
Mr. Bean matinée (teacher's strike still on). The
delay was due to an extended meeting at work and then a slow lunch at
Lone Star (because we were half an hour late), and then a bit more to
scarf down a second free desert (because of the delays) at Lone Star.
Even though there are many other
here is mine. The first half of this movie was painfully funny, the
second half was funny (guess I got used to it). It centers around
inept museum guard Mr. Bean being sent to the USA as the representative
of a British art gallery, to handle the showing of Arrangement in
Grey and Black No. 1 (Whistler's Mother) (See James McNeill Whistler
biography) (the board was trying to fire Bean but the chairman foiled
them so they got revenge).
Naturally, everything he touches gets destroyed or warped. The police
take him in a couple of times (once for pretending to have a gun in a
vest pocket, once for reprogramming a virtual ride to be faster) but
his genius reputation gets him out. There are some awkward moments in
the men's room and board room when he's trying to dry off his pants
after splashing water on them in a conspicuous spot (he, umm, dances in
front of the hot air blower and an oscillating fan). The curator at
the US gallery that bought the painting has his wife and children leave
(they can see how horrible Bean is, unlike the currator who interprets
his grunts and stupid remarks as genius, and doesn't clue in even in
the exploding turkey scene).
The climax is when Whistler's Mother gets destroyed, and the surprising
ending where Mr. Bean successfully makes a forgery of the real
painting. Well, that's not really the ending, there is an add-on at
the end where he picks up a doctor's dropped stethoscope while waiting
in the hospital, the rest of the script is predictable based on what
you know about the forgery.
Previous History: Troll Food
The RuneQuest rôle playing game resumed on Friday night, after a
long summer absence due to Monopoly Star Wars. While I was gone,
aftershocks from the hibernating troll fiasco resulted in Puck's
permanently maimed leg (he had charged into the cave while my less
brave character was running up a tree). No, he didn't get injured in
the cave, he wounded the troll and got away. But later, the troll died
from the wound and its children came and wanted revenge. After a bit
of fighting, the affair was settled when the party agreed to do the
troll funeral ceremony for the deceased. This involved eating the dead
troll, raw. Fortunately it was winter so it hadn't gotten too gamey.
Still, it took a week, a long boring week from what I hear. I also
hear that I got the story wrong, but I'm writing this so, unless
someone gives me some corrected text (hint hint), this is the story.
Economics: Lumber Trade and Ship Salvage
Anyway, the party succeeded in its spring time lumber run down the
river, and sold the Giant Boot Wood trees to a shipbuilder down in
Corflu for a good sum (paid in pearls). They also raised the
previously sunk Esrolian cargo ship (they had stolen it from the Lunar
military dock at Corflu a season earlier in a stealthy night raid) and claimed
it as salvage. After some legal wrangling, the Lunars agreed to let us
have it (the govenor had a policy of friendly occupation). So, now the
party has a sea going boat. Next, we needed to learn a bit about going
The Search Mission and Sea Training
The ship builder's client, someone called Barran the Monster Slayer,
was looking for a group of non-Dormal cultists to do a bit of searching
for him. We agreed to help, in exchange for some training in running a
sea going ship. Apparently there is a group of islands and nearby
waters that is off limits to his cult due to a previous agreement with
a sea monster. He wants us to go there and look for the princess of
the sea, someone with white skin and green hair.
The Hunt and the Hunted
We went. After paddling around, looking on assorted tropical islands,
fending off giant turtles and water dinosaurs with lots of teeth, we found
a lady with green skin and black hair. Close enough. We invited her
to go with us to the ship, and she agreed, after hearing the captain's
name. On the way back to the ship, a giant white shark with black spots was
spotted, chasing us. We activated the emergency undine and surfed down
it to the ship. The lady also helped, by jumping into the water and
enlarging the wave. Some mobility spells helped even more. Still, it
was close. We got to the ship, where they were waiting for the shark,
with harpoon ready. The undine deserted us to help push the ship
towards the shark, and we got to watch a great sea battle. The captain
won after several hours of bloody fishing. Later, after getting
cleaned up, he met the lady and chatted with her. A bit later, we found out
that she was the wrong one, but the captain didn't mind, and headed
back to Corflu without any furthur searching. Hmmm, were we used as
bait? Oh well, at least we didn't die and we did get paid.
On Saturday night I went with some of the Dad Fultz gang to see
Starship Troopers. This is a gory action film based on
Robert A. Heinlein's book.
The too perfect high school kids (how many hours did they spend in the
make-up department?) start out in civics class, where the battle
scarred teacher explains that citizens have to be willing to sacrifice
their lives for the greater good, while civilians don't and don't vote
either. A bit of emotional pull makes the poor student want to join
the Federation forces to follow the girl he loves, who is going into
the space force. His parents object, but he goes anyways. A couple of
other satellite lovers also follow the main pair.
Next, you get the usual boot camp scenes. Well, there is also a shower
scene in addition to the usual brutality and sad mail delivery. Brutal
is a good description, the drill instructor knifes one of the recruits
in the hand when he asks why they are bothering with knife instruction
when a push of a button will do it. There are several more such
incidents. The hero makes it to squad leader, and then makes a mistake
in a live fire exercise that results in the death of one of the
recruits. He gets 10 lashes in public. He decides to leave the
military, to give up a chance at citizenship, after his girlfriend stays
she really likes the space force and wants to make it a career.
However, an asteroid sent by "The Bugs" impacts on his parents' home
and kills them, so he says on.
Their first mission is reminiscent of World War I: bad intelligence and
planing lead to a slaughter. We get to see the great computer graphics
used for the bug infantry units. They have nice long pointed stabbing
legs/claws and are quite agile. They also have missile launchers -
giant bugs with impossible mechanics (but the missiles do leave behind
a nice debris trail of pebbles - perhaps that is what they use for
They Fight Back
They come back and a new force commander takes over. This time they go
in more slowly and are more successful. Soon, the hero gets transfered
to a unit led by a tough marine. Lots of death and desparate odds and
heroic actions follow (like jumping onto the back of a giant flame
throwing tank-like bug, shooting a hole into its carapace, and burying
a hand grenade in it). Lots of the good guys get killed in quite gory
ways, there are many impales, and sometimes the bugs toss around their
prey when they have the time. There's lots of blood and bug goo
splattering around. Both of the sub-lovers die. Space ships get blown
up and collide, quite realistically for a change (I like the way the life boat
crashes into debris on the way out of the battle zone, but I
don't like the way it bounces off the ground without crumpling).
Anyway, after a lot of close calls and desparite situations, the troops
manage to capture a brain bug and change the course of the battle.
Presumably it ends happily after that.
So, lots of action, lots of gore (maybe realistic too, I haven't seen
enough to know), some romance and sex, not much technology (space ships
but only two weapons - bullet spewing guns and tactical nukes, and not
much in-between). There is also a fascist undertone - might makes right
- to the whole thing (Heinlein's political system). There are even
some Nazi fashion references in the phychic officers dressed in great
coats and dark shirts with long neckties.
On the plus side, it was fun (if you don't mind gore). The computer
graphics used for the bugs were simply amazing. Quite believable.
Also, they had lots and lots of bugs, whole herds of them swarming down
on the beleaguered troops, which really added to the battle tension. It
reminds me a lot of my favorite 3DO game, Space Hulk. The
space ship battles (well, more like destruction by incoming missiles
than a two sided battle) were good too, with quite nice explosions and
destruction (you can see the decks and watch it break apart, though I
think there was too much fire in the decks open to space). Oh, I also
liked their web page news idea (click here for more...) which was funny
for a few of the topics.
On the minus side it's science had a few holes (why not use a virus or
nuclear bombs to destroy the planet rather than sending in the infantry
to do it hand-to-claw) in the story. Why were their space ships placed
so close together that when doing troop drops they keep on crashing
into each other? There was also that Heinleinian political spin on it.
Overall, I'd be happy to see it again.
Copyright © 1997 by Alexander G. M. Smith.