The Dark Knight Rises Reviewed

I just got back from a family wedding weekend but I managed to sneak in a showing of The Dark Knight Rises while I was gone. I hesitated about writing this review because it seems so trivial in light of what has happened.

These massacres are beyond tragic. They show us the very worst and the very best of humanity. One deranged human being shot up a movie theatre but countless real life heroes were born that night. For every life lost, three more were saved by the brave actions of those around them.

In the grand scheme of things, no movie or fictional character could ever be as important as the stranger standing next to you in the grocery line. Life is fragile and precious and I ultimately decided to do an abbreviated review of the movie because it’s one of the lessons it tries to teach us at the end. That life and living is what is truly important. We can’t let the bad guys win but we can’t lose ourselves in that pursuit either.


If you haven’t seen the movie yet this is the point where you should stop reading. I try really hard not to spoil anything but I don’t want to risk it without warning you first.

I used to have the biggest crush on Christian Bale when I was a kid. I was a Little Women fan and he played Laurie. I’m not gonna lie, I probably would have had a crush on whoever played Laurie. But it didn’t hurt that Bale was also in Empire of the Sun, Newsies and Swing Kids, some of my favorite movies when I was a youngin. People like to poke fun at the gravelly voice he uses at Batman and I’ll admit that it’s been a little hard to understand at times, but I truly believe that Bale has done right by Bruce Wayne and his tortured alter ego. We’ve learned from past films that not many people have the chops to pull it off. We get to see many sides of Bruce in this climactic end of the trilogy. Broken, curious, humorous, tortured, reluctant, triumphant, peaceful. He is all these and more. A totally evolved human being who has seen the best and the worst that life has to offer.

I’ve been a huge Tom Hardy fan since Star Trek: Nemesis when he portrayed Picard’s Romulan-raised clone. I think he’s brilliant and adorable. Even though I only got to see his unmasked face for about 2 seconds, I think that Christopher Nolan was smart to cast someone who could express Bane’s emotion through his eyes and mannerisms. A lesser actor would not have been able to pull off this role.  I guesstimate that they stayed true to about 50% of the comics in Bane’s back story, etc.  The Pena Dura prison was portrayed beautifully but his story was combined and mingled with another character for the film so I can see why it would be confusing to the layman/average moviegoer to see such a highly intelligent and superhumanly-strong character if you don’t have any knowledge of the comic books. Still, I thought Bane was well done. The costume/facial gear was intimidating and not cartoonish. His voice was better than I expected it to be, though I probably missed about 1/3 of what he said (can’t wait to watch it at home with the subtitles on).  The 30 lbs of weight Hardy put on made him virtually unrecognizable.  It had to have been a daunting prospect to follow Heath Ledger’s Joker as the main villain and I think that they succeeded admirably.

I go back and forth on Anne Hathaway. Sometimes I like her and sometimes I’m not impressed. She definitely brought some comic relief as Selina Kyle aka Catwoman. Her smooth, instantaneous transition from frightened maid to sly jewel thief was pretty brilliant. And I really dug how they never called her Catwoman but when she lifted her eye wear-glasses-goggle-thingies they gave the impression of cat ears. Having her masquerade as a cat at the charity ball was another nice touch.  The only thing that really bothered me about her getup was the stiletto heels. As gorgeous as they looked and despite their seemingly practical blades and obvious stabbing properties, no woman can run around in those shoes. I’m sorry, it’s just not going to happen. However, this is movieland and not real life so I’m willing to overlook the heels.

Gary Oldman is the shit. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one of the best actors of my generation. Michael Caine broke my heart and then stitched it back up again. Marion Cotillard surprised even me. I love Matthew Modine because of Full Metal Jacket but I really wanted to punch him in the face until the epic cops-united scene. I just like to hear Morgan Freeman talk. He has the most amazing voice.

There were times when I was very much aware that I’d been sitting in a movie theatre for 3 hours but I must say that I was deeply satisfied by the ending. It felt like closure while still keeping the story open for future installments with different main players. Certain scenes were very moving because they showed groups of people coming together and demonstrating bravery and goodness despite their bleak and hopeless surroundings. I’m a sucker for those moments regardless but they were definitely made more poignant by the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado.

In Roman mythology, Aurora is the goddess of the dawn. She renews herself each morning and flies across the sky, announcing the arrival of the sun. She represents renewed hope and another chance at life. I’m not an overly religious person but I do believe in a higher power and I’ve been praying for those affected by the massacre. I pray that Aurora holds true to her name and that the residents there can find some hope in the aftermath of this horrendous tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with them. Always.

4.5 out of 5 sci-fives

San Diego Comic Con, Part 1 – The Panels

Hot Nerd Girl and Geek Outlaw at it again

I promised detailed blogs about Comic Con and by golly, I aim to keep that promise. There’s just one problem. There’s waaaay too much for just one post. I tried. I’ve gone through approx. 1000 pictures (no joke) and narrowed them down to the best of the best and even then I was left with so many that I had to break it up.  So I’m splitting SDCC into 3 (or 4) blogs.  The first of which is the panels.

FRIDAY (Community, Legend of Korra, Firefly):

I’ve been to many conventions but this was my first time at the mothership aka Comic Con and boy, did I learn a lot about what to do/not to do (but that’s a whole ‘nuther post). I thought that because I live in San Diego County I could sleep at home and drive to SDCC each day.


I’m ridiculous.

Parking is a bitch so what you end up having to do is drive to a trolley station and take the trolley the rest of the way. They helpfully provide CC-specific trolleys to make it easy for you. One problem, the first one gets you to the Convention Center just after 7:00am. Waaaay too late if you want to get in line for one of the big panels *cough cough Firefly cough cough*

Daniel to the rescue!

Lucky for me and Geek Outlaw, our mutual fan (and now fave friend) Daniel, had planned to camp out and saved a spot for us in the Ballroom 20 line. I felt guilty about cutting in line for exactly 3 minutes at which point I saw everyone else doing the exact same thing and got over it.

I’m not gonna lie, I was there for Firefly and Firefly alone. But you have to sit on all of the panels before Firefly in order to have a seat for Firefly (they seriously need to figure out a better system) so I ended up sitting through the panels fro Community and Legend of Korra as well.

I wasn’t the only one.

The first panel of the day was Community. I find Community highly entertaining so I was more than happy to sit in on their panel. They did not disappoint. The cast and crew were hilarious and the film clips they put together for Comic Con were chock full of funny shenanigans. Chevy Chase and Donald Glover were noticeably absent. Which is too bad because LeVar Burton was there and they could have had an epic Troy/LeVar moment.

Cast and Crew of Community

The second panel of the day was Legend of Korra (I’d like to know who they had to bang to get the lucky spot between Community and Firefly). This panel was like Chinese water torture for my sister-in-law. She looked like she was either going to explode or throw up. Maybe both. Simultaneously. I had an advantage because I’ve seen a bit of Avatar: The Last Airbender. So I actually enjoyed the panel. It was notable in that I recognized two of the voice actors. Bud (David Faustino) from Married with Children and Janet Varney from The Selling (which I reviewed a while back because it’s directed/produced/starring our mutual friends from SFSU). It was also fun because they recorded the audience doing crowd voice work for a future episode. I’ll admit, it got me intrigued about checking out an episode or two of the cartoon. For those who are Korra fans, they did a preview of an upcoming episode by reading the script live while showing concept sketches of the episode. They also showed off future costume and character designs.

The cast and crew of The Legend of Korra

Hey! It’s the chick from Falling Skies!

Then came the panel we were there for, the 10 year Firefly reunion. It was epic. Truly epic. I felt like I was a part of history. The sheer volume of love being poured forth was incredibly intense. The actors and Joss all cried at some point. Most of the audience cried at some point. My mom cried through 90% of it. It was magical. I took video of parts of it but then I found this full length video and thought you would appreciate it more.


Nathan Fillion was so overwhelmed that he totally missed a question that was directed at him and his costars had to answer for him.  They all said that Firefly was the best job they’d ever had. At one point they all blamed Summer Glau for something (which you’ll find hilarious if you’ve watched the extras on the DVD) and the look on her face was priceless. Gina Torres, Jewel StaiteMorena Baccarin, and Ron Glass were missing and their absence was felt deeply by everyone in the room. The most touching moment in an hour chock full of touching moments was when the last question was asked of Joss Whedon –  “what do the fans mean to you?”


It was the most beautiful “thank you” I’ve ever witnessed and I feel truly honored to have been there for it.

Tid bit excited!

SATURDAY (Spotlight on J. Michael Straczynski, Roddenberry Presents):

Saturday was the day I cosplayed as Thor. Which was awesome but awful at the same time. It was my first time cosplaying at a convention and I underestimated the amount of time it would take to get ready. As a result I got to Comic Con about…ohhhhh….5 hours later than I’d intended and missed a bunch of the morning panels I’d wanted to check out. I’m a little jealous that Geek Outlaw got to sit it on the Powerful Women, Simpsons, Futurama, Once Upon a Time, and Peter Cullen panels but meh, what are you gonna do?

(Be sure to check out Geek Outlaw‘s blog if you want to get the dish on those panels I just mentioned!)

No matter, I had something uber awesome to look forward to. I was scheduled to interview Rod Roddenberry after his 3:00pm panel.

As a result I caught the Joe Straczynski panel right beforehand. The best part of that panel? One guy complained that a Joe comic had kept him up on a school night so Joe reached into his wallet and gave the guy a $20 refund.  It was quite hilarious.

The Roddenberry panel was a whole ‘nuther level of awesomesauce but I’m saving all of the Roddenberry stuff for its own post later this week. So stay tuned for that!

SUNDAY (Fringe, Supernatural, Doctor Who):

I was supposed to cosplay on Sunday as well but my experience on Saturday convinced me that it was a terrible idea so I reverted back to an HNG t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. Comfort and timeliness will always, always win out for me. I am nothing if not practical.

Morgan to the rescue!

The one panel that I was determined to see was Doctor Who. I lurv me some Doctor. Again, thanks to the trolley schedule, we were pretty much screwed but miraculously, another HNG/GO fan came to our rescue. Morgan camped out and let us join him in line for Hall H. Seriously. Best. Fans. Ever. I’ve promised myself that I will plan this better and do my own camping out next year.

Immediately upon walking into Hall H we were handed Fringe fedoras a la The Observers  (fun fact, while I was in New York I saw Evita on Broadway starring Michael Cerveris as Peron and he was AH-mazing)

Fringe was the first panel of the day and after mentioning their brushes with cancellation, there was a very lovely moment when at least half the audience held up pictures of white tulips. I’ll admit that I got a little verklempt.

Despite the best efforts of the audience (and some teasing from Joshua Jackson), the Fringe cast and crew revealed no secrets about the upcoming final season.

It was kind of a kick to see the actors smile and laugh. There was one especially funny moment when Anna Torv said she “was coming…” and then paused in her sentence. The audience started laughing.

Then Joshua Jackson got it and started laughing.

Then the rest of the cast got it and started laughing.

Then Anna got it and was completely mortified.

It then became a running joke throughout the rest of the panel. I feel for you Anna, that is totally something that would happen to me. The mood quickly shifted when the cast were asked what their favorite scene was that they were not in. Cue the waterworks! Anna Torv,  Jasika Nicole, and Lance Reddick all teared up when describing memorable and beautiful scenes from the show.

And then shifted back again just as quickly when the best audience questioners ever took the floor. I can’t even remember what their question was, I was too busy laughing at their deadpan Observer impression. Seriously, they never broke character once and the girl in the back right had the most amazingly creepy buggy-eyed thing going on..

It was an all around awesome panel and made me want to run home and catch up on my Fringe episodes on Netflix.

Next up was Supernatural, a show I’ve never had time to get into. Seriously, I wish that I didn’t have to sleep, I would be more than happy to fill 100% of my time watching every awesomely nerdy show there is. I have some friends that are obsessed with this show and have been trying to get me to watch it for years. They were very jealous that I got to see this panel. The running joke here was that “anything is possible” was used to answer at least half of the questions they were asked.

I may not know much about the show but I do know about Mark Sheppard and I was SUPER excited to see him. I’m pretty sure that he’s contractually obligated to only appear in TV shows/movies that are nerd-worthy.

I never really thought that Jared Padalecki was that cute but I must admit, he’s pretty damn good-looking in real life. He and Jensen Ackles win major brownie points for their gag reel antics.

Then came the panel that I was really there for, Doctor Who. Or should I say “Doctor WHOOO???” Seeing these people in real life is kind of a surreal experience. I usually only get star struck by Star Trek actors but I was totally star struck by these guys. I literally sat on the edge on my seat the entire time. And that’s only partly because the girl in front of me was so tall she most likely plays in the WNBA.

First of all, let me just say how incredibly gorgeous Karen Gillan is. Seriously. I didn’t think she could get any prettier than she is on TV but she can! I’ve seen it with my own two eyes! Just stunning.

The moderator of the panel was one of my nerd crushes, Chris Hardwick (not Wil Wheaton as some mistakenly believed) and he was nerding out just as much as the rest of us. He even brought his sonic screwdriver.  There was a bit of good-natured ribbing between him and Matt Smith. Apparently they ran into each other the night before at a party and this happened:

Oops! Chris blamed it on his pointy face.

The best audience question came from a little girl dressed up as a Dalek. She wanted to know what button, screen or object on the TARDIS was their favorite. The cast took this question very seriously and even admitted to stealing a few of their favorites (a pair of binoculars for Karen). Matt’s favorite is the main lever he yanks all the time. The little girl walked away but Matt Smith called her back and asked her if she had a favorite button, screen or object on the TARDIS. She looked at him very pointedly, said “NO” and walked away again. The whole room was laughing so hard I think we all peed ourselves a little.

They were also asked what they find annoying about each other. Matt said that Karen picks her lip, Karen said that Matt shakes his head and they both agreed that Arthur Darvill goes into “dad mode.”

Having seen the Firefly and Doctor Who panels, I can now die a happy nerd.

Stay tuned for more posts about Comic Con 2012 including the Roddenberry interview I mentioned and all of the awesome costumes!