Source Code is one of those movies where you're constantly trying to understand what's going on, and long after it's over you're still trying to figure out the exact same thing. I like movies like that. It doesn't always make sense, and I'm pretty sure this one doesn't, but I found myself thinking about it for a long time until I found myself thinking of ways it could make sense. Suddenly, I was the sci-fi author, and that's the kind of transformation I look for when I go to the theater.
The film begins with Lt. Colter Stevens (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), who awakes in a wreckage only to be mentally transported into the mind of a dead man for eight minutes at a time. Why this is happening to him and how is a mystery to him, but the guy was trained to take orders and that's what he does. Not that he has much of a choice. His superiors communicate to him through a small screen and tell him that the man who died was a victim of a terrorist bombing on a train that same morning. His job is to revisit the man's memory over and over again until he has identified the terrorist so that the army can intervene before he strikes again, this time with a dirty bomb in a major city.
The film then leans from sci-fi into a mystery, and then, with the introduction to the dead man's girlfriend, into a romance. Colter likes her too, but with only eight minutes what difference could that make?
The film has so much going on and so much ground to cover in such a short amount of time, that it's a miracle any sense is made of it at all. The writer and director, Duncan Jones, has proven his sci-fi capabilities before with my personal favorite Moon. Here he's dealing with tangent worlds splintering off into infinite loops while juggling time travel, a political thriller and a romance. Think about it too hard, and things might unravel, but watch the movie and the loose threads won't matter. There are enough problems to deal with to avoid the question of how.
This might be a guy movie, but I suspect the inclusion of Jake Gyllenhaal could make it easier for the ladies. His performance is great, and I suspect this character could have been Donnie Darko all grown up. From the trailers, I expected a fair amount of action, and it does deliver, but what I didn't expect was the certain haunting feeling that the movie acquires. It takes science and adapts it to life after death. It takes physicality and removes it from the importance of influence. It doesn't matter if the whole concept makes complete sense, it only matters if the concept makes some sense out of you. This is a film I would be glad to revisit, even if I am just thinking about it.
Now, I for one am a huge fan of splicing when it comes to horror and sci-fi movies. After all, it worked great in The Fly, but then again, The Fly did have Jeff Goldblum. Splice earns it's own points with the casting of Adrien Brody, who appears to like alternating between roles in films like the Pianist with roles in films like, say, Predators. Luckily, this film is a bit more scientifically based than what Predators gave us, but then again, this is no Michael Creighton novel. No one is going to leave the theater saying "OH GOD IT'S SOMEWHERE OUT THERE RIGHT NOW AND IT WANTS TO BREED WITH ME," whether or not they're saying that in fear or unbridled anticipation.
Splice is about two hot-shot geneticists who make somewhat disconcerting wiener monsters in the name of science. This is done (you guessed it) by splicing the genes of various animals together. On the brink of finding the cure to cancer, the two decide to secretly go the distance and throw some human DNA in there as well, 'cause why not? The two scientists Clive and Elsa (Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley) waste no time and soon have a little bundle of razor-teethed joy scrambling around the office. They do what any sensible scientist would and make it wear a dress.
The little tyke is soon named Dren (Nerd spelled backwards), but she grows up fast. Like any sensible parents, Clive and Elsa lock her in a barn to keep her from staying out too late, which doesn't quite work when they realize she has some bird DNA in her too. With no one around it's easy to see that Dren wants some company. Perhaps a little bit too much, especially when it comes to Clive, who in my opinion, probably liked the alien girl from Avatar a bit too much.
For a horror film, the movie is not quite scary enough. For a science fiction film, it doesn't delve quite deep enough. The movie just hovers on the surface somewhere between laughably absurd and interestingly absurd. If honed a bit better, it could have asked a lot of interesting questions. The subject is timely, especially considering that we live in an age where scientists have just made a dog that glows in the dark. Had the story been a little less compromising, it could have been a thoughtful piece. Had it compromised more, it could have been a great mindless horror flick. The special effects are for the most part rather impressive. All things considered, the acting is quite good. Overall though, it's rather forgettable.
I made it myself! Well, mostly. Beth actually helped out by making the pom pom and adding the red trim at the bottom. The rest however was mostly crocheted with a pen while I was at work. Now I just have to learn to use a real crochet hook again. It turned out a bit bigger than I expected, considering that I have to duck through doorways when it's standing upright, but that's how I like it.
I wore it while making Beth's birthday breakfast in the kitchen and pretended I was a Keebler Elf while whipping up some crepes. We're both 24 now, which is kind of weird, but I think we're getting to a place in our lives where we have a better idea of what we want to accomplish, which for me is finishing the last page of Where's Waldo. After that, who knows where we'll end up.
This is an American flag right? ...No? Dang.
It's the Fourth of July today and I thought it was time for the Awkward Unicorn to give a few top tips on how to keep your displays of patriotism safe. You know, for the children.
#1. DO NOT EAT A MEXICAN POPSICLE FROM THE DOLLAR STORE LABELED AS "MANGO AND CHILI FLAVOR"
This piece of advice comes from personal experience. If you happen to come across a popsicle labeled with the promising combination of both Mango and Chili, just walk the other way. Trust me. This terribly awful dessert appears to have been mistakenly labeled, as the only taste I can detect is that of human sweat scrapped off the back of a laborer working out front of Home Depot. With an aftertaste that is reminiscent of spicy sea water, I'm not altogether sure this popsicle is healthy or sanitary.
#2. PLEASE DON'T THROW FIRECRACKERS AT ME
Although it actually hasn't happened yet, I'm really paranoid that someone's going to throw firecrackers at me. If you happen to see me ducking every time a moving vehicle comes my way, don't be alarmed, and don't throw a firecracker at me. Again, stop throwing firecrackers. I've actually never seen anyone do this, so I'm certain I'll be the first person it ever happens to. So if you think about it, just don't. Don't. Seriously. Also, do not suddenly point at my feet and yell "FIRECRACKER! FIRECRACKER!" as I will probably believe you and scream like a japanese school girl.
#3. IF YOU HAPPEN TO KNOW HOW TO SET UP A TRAMPOLINE COME OVER TO MY HOUSE
Okay, so this isn't so much of a "safety tip" as it is just me trying to set up a trampoline that was given to me for my birthday. I have a box of various sized springs and I'm not sure where they all go or if they serve any kind of purpose at all. I tried piecing things together, but I ended up with a boat, and boats do not bounce and I wanted to bounce for the Fourth of July. If you're angry that this isn't actually a very good safety tip then here:
#4. NO THROWING FIRECRACKERS ON THE TRAMPOLINE
One might hit me and that is NOT COOL.
#5. SOME DOGS DO NOT LIKE FIREWORKS
I learned this last night when my neighbors were celebrating. From all the barking in my house I deduced that dogs do not like fireworks, and therefore gave up my plans to strap sparklers to our Corgi. I suggest you do the same. Although I do recommend you imagine a Corgi holding a sparkler, as that is what America is truly about.
#6. DO NOT LIGHT FIREWORKS NEAR THE HOUSE OF MY CRANKY NEIGHBOR
Although some of my neighbors seem to like festivities, if you're looking for a place to celebrate tonight I do not recommend a place near the yard of the cranky old guy who lives on the other side of my block, as he occasionally likes you yell "Hey you no good kids, git off of mah property! Yeah, that's it! Scram! Scram now! Git out! Go!" And will continue to yell long after you're gone.
#7. WEAR SUNBLOCK
Although this tip doesn't always apply to nighttime festivities, I still suggest it nonetheless, especially seeing that I have two strange circular sunburns on each of my hands. I'm not sure how they got there, but suspect it was some kind of weird Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind situation. Solution? Always wear sunblock.