This weekend we babysat my wife’s cousin’s kid, so it’s a nephew that’s twice removed I think. I’m not terribly good at family tree math. I have 2 girls, so the added “Godzilla in the city” of a little boy was fun to watch. Not that my girls are princesses mind you, but they certainly don’t have the same aggressive nature little boys have.
Easy enough of a day, Santa Clause parade, good weather, crafts, legos, food. Then we sat down to watch a movie in the basement. Kids love popcorn and the 8 foot screen helps too. My wife suggested we watch Inside Out, that there Pixar movie. It certainly had some positive reviews from critics.
Pre-amble before the ramble. I’ve seen nearly all Pixar movies. They strike a nice balance between kids movies about exploration and some adult jokes inset as well. My kids generally like them, in particular the Toy Story series and Cars. As a general rule, they follow the same plot arc in each movie. Picturesque situation to start, disaster for the main character, lessons learned (and hijinks), 2-3 spots of ups and downs, revelations, back to beginning. While it’s a simple formula, it’s the character’s strengths and weaknesses that make a film work.
Inside Out has a single lesson learned in the movie, it’s OK to be sad (or perhaps that you can feel more than joy and be happy). And it’s the most depressing kids movie I have seen in years. From the moment Riley steps out of the car to see her new house, until the moment she steps on the bus, it’s disaster after disaster. The kids kept asking questions as to why everyone was crying all the time, why they kept falling and losing things. When Bing Bong goes away…the hell man, is this ol’ Yeller? This isn’t to say it’s not a good movie, it’s really quite a good one. It’s more than the concepts are not ones that a kid can appreciate until they are quite a bit older. It’s a psychoanalyst’s dream mind you, and I think that’s my issue.
Riley (and her parents) aren’t on screen enough. They are complex people. Riley’s emotions on the other hand are clearly one-dimensional – that’s the whole point. Seeing Anger shoot flames is funny the first and second time, after time #6 you’ve had enough.
It’s a weird thing watching kids’ movies as an adult. You’re not looking for the same thing anymore (well, maybe I am), so you sort of lose the ability to appreciate it on the same level. I like to watch my kids watch a movie. Their reactions and questions say a lot about what they are thinking and how they are absorbing the material. I guess we’ll come back to Inside Out in a few more years.
Running Around in Fallout 4
I just seem to be wandering around lately in game. There’s a whole lot of “oooh what’s in here” going on. Mind you, I completed the Fort Hagen part of the main quest, so I’m seeing more synths and the Brotherhood of Steel’s vertibirds are showing up all over. As I’m exploring further into the land, more difficult enemies are starting to show up. The far north east corner had a neat little tower protected by raiders. I made my way to the top and notices a fight between 2 deathclaws and some legendary raiders take place. Deathclaws won, I sniped from afar and collected some nice loots.
I found a fish packing plant on the NE corner, completely surrounded by dead raiders. So that’s a good sign right? Anyways, I stepped in, searched around and nothing except a giant pit in the middle. So of course I head down. About 30 syths later I exit the pit and get ready to leave. Opening the door has an ambush attack force of synths waiting for me too. Every darn corner in that place had something waiting to kill me. Even when I thought it was all over, more combat.
It’s these neat little adrenaline rushes that are a ton of fun in game. You’re never really quite sure of what’s on the other side of that wall. There’s a 50% chance there’s nothing there, but if there is something, odd are very high that it wants to kill you. That the game is able to insert so many areas of silence and slowing of pace allows the firefights to mean more. This isn’t a Michael Bay movie, that’s for sure.