May 21st, 2012

dalek tea

Aliens vs. Vintage Ships

I took care of my civic duty this morning by walking over to the library for early voting in the primary. I found that if I take the route along the canal that comes up to the library the back way, I can avoid all the campaigners. They don't stake out the path from the canal, so by the time I'm in sight, I'm already within the "no electioneering" zone. No sea monsters this time, though I did chat with the staff about that. Unfortunately, the walk seems to have re-triggered my allergies. Oh well, it's that time of year.

My big entertainment for the weekend was the SyFy version of Battleship, called American Warships, and it was glorious. It might even have made a halfway decent big-screen movie with a little more thought into the script and a higher effects budget. Yeah, some of the acting was at "jock taking drama to boost the GPA" levels and the effects mostly looked like they were copied and pasted in (here's some film of a fire, now let's superimpose it on our action!), but I suspect it was still the better "the Navy fights an alien invasion" movie of the weekend.

The story was essentially Battlestar Galactica on the water -- there are mysterious attacks using EMP to fry everything with an integrated circuit, but the battleship Iowa manages to save the day because it's a WWII relic on its final voyage and is already being restored to its WWII state to become a museum. They can fight the aliens using WWII technology and aren't immediately disabled by the aliens' weapons. There's also a convenient SEAL team that provides an Aliens interlude by boarding the alien stealth ship and finding cave-like corridors (because, naturally, your high-tech stealth interstellar ship is going to have an interior that looks like a cave). Meanwhile, the aliens' evil plot is to make the Chinese and North Koreans think these are American attacks and make the Americans think they're Chinese attacks so they'll attack each other, nuke the planet and make invasion easy (these aliens apparently thrive on radiation). So everyone's scrambled bombers with nukes, and the Iowa has to defeat the mother ship and prove that it really is aliens before the bombers reach their targets -- and all they've got is shortwave, so they can't even send photos.

There was one big disappointment for me that I think a big-budget treatment would have avoided. At one point they mention that backup's on its way, as they've scrounged together a squadron of vintage aircraft that won't be affected by the EMP. Unfortunately, with a total film budget made up of change found between the sofa cushions, that amounted to seeing two planes that went down pretty quickly. I wanted to see an all-out battle of WWII aircraft vs. aliens. I'm one of the few people who actually liked the Doctor Who episode with the Daleks during WWII because, hello, Spitfires vs. Daleks! What's not to love?

However, the very, very best part of this movie was the disclaimer at the beginning that said something to the effect of: "According to the Department of Defense, these events never happened."

Really? You mean the Iowa didn't fight off an alien invasion that involved the sinking of the carrier Enterprise? I'm not sure I would have realized that this wasn't a documentary otherwise.

Anyway, it was totally worth a big bowl of popcorn and a root beer. But I do desperately want to see the movie it could have been. Oh, and apparently the big-screen Battleship doesn't contain the line, "You sank my battleship!" But this movie had the captain snarl, "They won't sink my battleship!" Which I think is a win.

In other weekend news, I had my fifth Sunday in a row of singing in two services, and this time there was a severe soprano shortage, so I switched to singing the first soprano part, which I hadn't practiced (I'd become accustomed to not needing to rehearse both parts). Of course, this was a weekend when the allergies meant I probably could have sung alto. Now we'll see if it'll be six weeks in a row. Will I get the frantic Saturday-afternoon "can you sing in a quartet?" phone call?