Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Michael Crichton is Pissed. Be Scared, Y'all.

People have different ways of taking to criticism. Some get defensive, some ignore it, some refute it. Some people, however, choose to take the term "responding to criticism" to new heights.

Remember Michael Crichton? I loved some of his earlier works like Jurassic Park, but gave up on him after "State of Fear", his rant about the "massive hoax" that is global warming. (Read the book for his point of view... and go here or, of course, here for some of the better, detailed rebuttals I've seen!) Plus, of course, his writing's been become rather cliched by now, generally sticking to the same old "Marvelous new scientific discovery goes horribly wrong" pattern.

Which brings me to his new book...or rather, just two pages or so of his new book. You see, there's this political columnist in Washington called Michael Crowley who, after State of Fear came out, wrote a stinker of an article saying that Crichton was basically pushing anti-Science propaganda which was playing right into the hands of the Republican government - which has been talking about the perils of too much technology (think stem cells) for quite some time.

Well, Crichton's out with a new book, "Next", that talks about (surprise surprise!) biotechnology research gone horribly wrong. And in this book is a character who makes an entry for all of approximately two pages, is apparently quite irrelevant to the larger story of the novel and is a political columnist in Washington called (I wonder what made Michael Crowley so suspicious!) Mick Crowley. And guess what - Mick Crowley's character just happens to be a child-rapist, on trial for raping his two-year-old nephew. To top it all, "Crowley's penis was small". As Crowley (the real Michael, not the fictional Mick) himself writes, "In lieu of a letter to the editor, Crichton had fictionalized me as a child rapist. And, perhaps worse, falsely branded me a pharmaceutical-industry profiteer."

For an author whose novels have been prone a whole lot of mud-slinging...he seems surprisingly scared of criticism himself.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Dhoom 2: Attack of the Slow-Motion Scene

I saw Dhoom 2: Attack of the Slow-Motion Scene (D2ASMS) yesterday. I'd really liked the first one; Dhoom was relatively short, fast-paced, to-the-point and the music was decent so the songs were bearable on-screen. D2ASMS...ugh. What a bad, bad, bad movie.

WARNING: the rest of the post might contain spoilers about the wafer-thin plot of Dhoom 2. If you're exceptionally eager to watch the movie and don't want to ruin any of the non-existent suspense, kindly skip.

D2ASMS has about ten minutes of actual story line, stretched to over 2.5 hours using a slo-mo sequence at the start of virtually every scene (you know the kind, used in Hindi movies to introduce the hero, with the fancy music in the background!). The difference here being that they slo-mo every. time. Hrithik. does. anything. at. all. It's. like. reading. a. book. with. a. fullstop. after. every. word.

Not just Hrithik, in fact - they also do it with Aishwarya, Abhishek, Bipasha and Bipasha's twin sister...who suddenly turns up out of nowhere (co-incidentally, the original Bipasha's character suddenly disappears into nowhere around the same time!)

Irritating, pointless songs keep turning up at regular, way-too-many intervals, and they all sound similar to the original Dhoom theme - not really a surprise, seeing as the music comes from Mr. "Kya Mujhe Pyaar Hai" Pritam…

The movie has quite a bit of comedy, unfortunately unintentional, in the form of some hilariously implausible crime scenes. Imagine 7-8 guards circling a huge diamond, failing to notice a small book-size robot that walks between their feet, steals the diamond and replaces it *with a holographic image*. The main point of all robberies seems to be to say, "Hrithik's toooo cool…see, he can get away with robberies that no one else could get away with!". Which I agree with, primarily because anyone else would have to battle not just the cops, but also common sense and logic - Hrithik obviously doesn't have to face those two in the movie!

There's some bewildering character development also happening side-by-side. Bipasha the cop, incredibly angry with Hrithik, tears up her flight ticket to show that she's not going anywhere till she catches him. And guess what? That's her last scene in the movie. Hrithik robs by formula - attacking on specific dates, at specific places according to where he wants to leave his signature next. Somehow that formula never gets mentioned or applied after the first twenty minutes of the movie...sigh.

Aishwarya's done a great job in the movie - for the first three minutes or so. Then she starts speaking. Ouch. Aishwarya saying "Are you checking me out?" to Hrithik is enough to make anyone wish that the multiplexes would just put all of New York's rejected TransFats into the popcorn; it's a less painful death. Someone please teach this woman acting, it's been long enough.

And, of course, the other attractions: rib-tickling comedy (how could anything with Uday Chopra in it be without?), and a "sizzling" romance between Hrithik and Aishwarya (with enough holes in the development to give swiss cheese a serious complex)…leaving about fifteen minutes for all the action sequences. And about thirteen of these fifteen minutes are in, you guessed it, slow motion.

But Mommy, all my friends already have one!

...A blog, that is. So here I am, too, out to Save the World from Terrorists, one Blog Post at a time, as it says up there. Don't ask me how and why. If I knew that already, this guy would've been in the slammer a long time ago.
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