Sep 19 2009



As this is the first Lounge Monkey movie review, let’s get this straight from the beginning. There are spoilers. There will always be spoilers. Lots and lots of spoilers! If you don’t want to know anything about the movie itself, go to Rotten Tomatoes, look at the Tomatometer and decide whether you want to see the movie based on that. If you’ve already seen the movie and want to talk about its content, read and post here.

Last night we went to the theater and watched an interesting little computer animated movie titled “9“. The movie revolves around a collection of little sack-people as they attempt to carve out a safe haven in an alternative post-apocalyptic world, circa 1939. The creators of 9 did something that I always feel is risky, combining science with magic. Sometimes it works but most of the time, it doesn’t. I enjoyed watching the small army of para-mechanical homunculi running around fighting against the Soulless Monster-Machines of Science. I was willing to believe a scientist could have resorted to the teachings of Paracelsus once science was turned against him! Why not? I liked the contrast with  Frankenstein, who studied alchemy before entering medical school (not the other way around). In fact, I liked most of what I saw, until the end… The end left me feeling a little empty.

Leaving the theater, I thought of numerous ways the creators could have ended it–but I don’t get a say in these things, except for here… *sigh* I also think they should have developed the scientist more… and made each of the homunculi an aspect of his personality rather than just a collection of standard archetypes (e.g., entrenched patriarch, big dumb fighter, crazy clairvoyant guy, girl-power adventuress, rebellious thinker).  A small complaint, but I think it would have added some depth to the film. Do animations need depth? *shrug*

My last point has to do with what comes afterward. At the ending the remaining heroes stand victorious above a desolate world. There is hope! There is promise! But they are sexless (unless they’re hiding some other things inside those zippers)… Ah well. Hope they know how to build more…

“I’m not sure. But this world is ours now. It’s what we make of it.”

3.5 out of 5

Sep 15 2009

The Metamorphosis

GregorIn my attempt to read through as many classics as possible before the urge abandons me, today I devoured the 1915 novella by Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis.  Despite the book’s title, the story actually starts immediately following the unfortunate Gregor’s hideous transformation (see below). The story revolves around Gregor coming to terms with his new body and the effects this has on his life, work, and family.

One of things I liked most about The Metamorphosis was the fact that the author never felt the need to explain how the change happened. Not only does the author seem completely unconcerned with the cause of this fantastic event, but Gregor’s family seem to accept their loved one’s misfortune as awful, tragic, but not particularly out-of-the-ordinary. It’s almost as if Grete had given birth to a severely retarded son, and moved by compassion and stigma, decided to shelter him away from prying eyes. I found this acceptance of the bizarre even more evocative than the metamorphosis itself.

“One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.”

4.5 out of 5

Sep 15 2009


SiddharthaLast night I finished Herman Hesse‘s 1922 classic book (translated to English in 1951) Siddhartha. The book tells the story of an insightful young man and his journey to find enlightenment.  Siddhartha eschews the teachings of holy men, preferring instead to learn from his own experiences.

As per usual, I didn’t know a great deal about this book when I started reading it. The lyrical style takes some getting used to. By the time the second book began (the novel is divided into two parts) the story unfolds both richly and quickly. Not knowing a great deal about Buddhism, this book seems to be a great introduction to a wide culture I knew almost nothing about. People more familiar with Buddhism might appreciate Hesse’s incorporation of the four noble truths and eight-fold path into the structure of the story. While the story itself wasn’t particularly compelling, I enjoyed many of the characters’ observances and lessons… Which is sort of the point.

“Let the things be illusions or not, after all I would then also be an illusion, and thus they are always like me.”

4 out of 5