Tag: werewolves

  • Clone Wars Watchlist

    I know what you’re thinking. Why would I inflict this movie on myself? Well, I find no shame in admitting that I liked Underworld, mostly liked Underworld 2: Electric Boogaloo: Evolution, and generally don’t mind crazy action/horror movies that primarily involve Kate Beckinsale kicking ass and taking names. I had seen several previews for Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, and was going in with pretty low expectations for a prequel. I am going to try to keep this review spoiler-free.

    If you’re interested in a plot synopsis, check out the Wikipedia article. Well, you may be surprised, but I liked this movie. Yes, it was terribly cheesy, but in an entertaining way. There was a metric boatload of computer graphics, to enhance the fight scenes; I’d say the most unrealistic aspect were the excessive sprays of blood. Bill Nighy seems to have been born to play an over-the-top vampire villain. I’m guessing Michael Sheen would prefer to be remembered this year for his work on Frost/Nixon, but he did a good job given what he had to work with. Based on the previews, I thought this movie had a distinct lack of Kate Beckinsale. I was surprised when she (yes, I know, getting to that…) showed up early on in the movie, and then proceeded to hang around the entire movie. I didn’t realize that the part of Sonja was not some past version of Selene until the very end of the movie, that’s how much Rhona Mitra and Kate Beckinsale look alike (especially when made up and costumed similarly). I would not be surprised at all if most viewers were also confused (it had been a few years since I had seen the first movie, in which they reference the fact that Selene is Viktor’s “replacement” daughter).

    As far as the writing goes, my biggest complaint was pretty much with the cheesiness of some lines, and not so much with the overall plot and where it fit into the Underworld series.. Another review I saw online called it “were-Spartacus”, and that was pretty much my problem – these post-Enlightenment ideals about freedom and self-determination (for the werewolves Lycans, out from under their vampire masters) just didn’t fit in the dark fantasy setting. There were some nice rousing speeches, and they certainly tried to make Viktor’s dictator-character as ruthless and decadent as possible… but it just didn’t quite fit, somehow.

    I thought the costuming was pretty cool, from the worker leather armor of the Lycans to the almost elf-like Death Dealer armor. I’d say that Weta Workshop’s work on the Lord of the Rings movies really raised the bar on what people expect from fantasy movies in terms of prop detail, even for a prequel with relatively low expectations like U:RotL.

    I should also add that I have no interest in getting into the whole debacle about whether or not this series rips off of White Wolf’s intellectual property; you can read a bit about that on Wikipedia, but since there was no final decision in any lawsuit, I see it as a moot argument. It falls into other silly geek debates like how Warcraft rips off Warhammer, D&D rips off Tolkien, Star Wars rips off Kurosawa, etc., etc. Feel free to argue the point, I just won’t reply :oP.

  • Sunspot

    A small Yorkshire Terrier lies in a pet bed on a green upholstered chair in a sunny living room.

    I wish I could nap like Pike naps.

  • The Muppets Meet Murderbot

    For the last year and a half or so Andrle and I have been having a ton of fun as part of an online book club put together by my friend Tanya. Unlike most book clubs where you all read the same thing, we all just share things we love that we’ve been reading.

    One recommendation that kept coming up was The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells, and I’m glad we finally ran with it and started reading them. We’ve been bingeing the last few weeks and they’re really, really great. Highly recommend (even though I’m only on Book 4.)

    Unsurprisingly another thing I’ve been reading about and thinking about a lot is the advent of Large Language Models, particularly as manifested by ChatGPT. My past work life as an NLP practitioner has me a mix of curious, envious, and highly suspicious of what these are and how they’re being used. In the short term I don’t mind using them as a toy that I can play with for the purpose of a joke, which is what this post is about.

    A recurring topic in this book club is how we might have the Muppets interpret a particular book, or how we might recast a movie with Muppets (but keep one human actor). This provides a lot of fun discussions, especially since I grew up regularly watching the classic Muppet movies on VHS recorded off of TV, and I really like musicals.

    That all brings me to some prompt iterating that I did to get ChatGPT to write the painfully cliché finale to a Muppet musical featuring Murderbot. (Apologies to both Henson and Wells.)

    Verse 1 (Murderbot):
    I used to be a killing machine,
    A rogue cyborg, feared and mean,
    But then I met the Muppets and Kermit,
    And learned what friendship truly meant.

    Verse 2 (Kermit):
    I'm just a simple frog, it's true,
    But I believe in friendship too,
    And when I met Murderbot, I knew,
    Together we could do something new.

    Chorus (All):
    We don't need to kill no more,
    Our friends are all we're fighting for,
    With Murderbot and Kermit side by side,
    We'll show the world what we stand for.

    Verse 3 (Murderbot):
    I never wanted to be a tool,
    But that's all humans see in me, it's cruel,
    I used to dream of breaking free,
    From their endless schemes and greed.

    Verse 4 (Kermit):
    It's true, I'm always happy-go-lucky,
    But I've been through some tough times that were quite yucky,
    But now with Murderbot and the gang,
    I know our friendship will never hang.

    Chorus (All):
    We don't need to kill no more,
    Our friends are all we're fighting for,
    With Murderbot and Kermit side by side,
    We'll show the world what we stand for.

    The past is gone, the future bright,
    With friends like these, we'll win the fight,
    Our love and trust will guide us through,
    Together we'll see this journey through.

    Chorus (All):
    We don't need to kill no more,
    Our friends are all we're fighting for,
    With Murderbot and Kermit side by side,
    We'll show the world what we stand for.

    So let's raise our voices high,
    And let the world hear our battle cry,
    With Muppets and Murderbot side by side,
    We'll change the world and turn the tide.
    OpenAI. (2023, Mar. 16) [Iterative prompt conversation starting with “This Muppet movie is about a rogue cyborg traveling to different space stations and learning the power of friendship from the Muppets” and “I need some lyrics for the big finals. The music is big broadway style number about how the rogue cyborg doesn’t need to kill bad guys anymore because it has friends.” and then encouraging more dialogue between Kermit and Murderbot] https://chat.openai.com/

    Yes, I looked up recommendations on how to properly cite ChatGPT output.

    Overall the result was mildly amusing. I couldn’t get it to capture Murderbot’s signature style, presumably because while information about the novellas are in its model training, not enough text from the novellas are in there.

    I’m still not sure what useful things I could do with this kind of tool, but in the meantime, I can make it make silly songs.

  • Fox Ferocity

    Pike playing with a toy almost as big as he is.

  • Groomed Pike

    Tiny freshly groomed Yorkie sits on a teal couch wearing a monstera bow tie

    I love this little gentleman.

  • The Kale Wanter

    A small black and brown Yorkie stands on a cream rug in front of a brown cupboard begging for the bunch of lacinato kale in hand in the foreground.