Last saturday we went to the mall around 11 to see the latest Twilight movie. shelleycat insisted she wanted to see it before seeing any other new movies, though to be fair she did offer to go see it on her own :) Both the fandom and the philosophy behind the universe make me grind my teeth, but the movie was... okay i guess? The first movie was amusing because of the sillyness. This one was less silly but had more action bits. I'm not sure if that's really a gain or not. I _was_ amused however by the direct correlation between the insistence of "we can't have sex until after marriage" with "okay, fine, let's get married as soon as i get out of high school." I'm not sure if the author didn't see the correlation herself, or just really thinks that's the way things ought to be. Of course some people have wondered if perhaps her writing a story about a girl who was so desperate to get laid that she got married as quickly as possible... to someone who sucks the life out her... might be expressing some frustrations with her own life, but i think that's probably a bit too subtle :)
Anyways, the movie i was interested in was "Inception," which we'd originally been thinking of going to see that evening, but shelleycat ended up not feeling up to it. We did stick around the mall long enough to have a yummy linner at Island's.
Instead we went to see Inception early sunday morning. Inception didn't seem to me to be quite the kind of movie that you then spend the rest of the year raving about, but it was quite good. The commercials had made it look a lot like a Matrix rip off. Well in some ways it was similar to the Matrix, but with a very different twist. The basic gimme of the movie is that there's a technology that allows you to put someone in a dream state and then allow other people to enter that dream. The dream is lucid to an extent, but the person actually controlling it doesn't have to be, and usually isn't, the person having the dream. The person having the dream may or may not even realize it's a dream. There's a further conceit that once inside the dream, you can use the same device (one dreamed up by the person controlling the dream of course) on the person in the dream to go into a second (or third, or...) level of dream in which they gain access to deeper and deeper levels of the subconscious. (The part where it really stretches belief is the idea that time moves faster inside the dream. This is perfectly believable within the first dream, but less so when they say that the effect is compounded with every level you go down. It doesn't help that part of the explanation for this involves the disproven urban legend that normally we only use a fraction of our brain. You just have to accept the idea and move on if you want to enjoy the movie.)
It's unclear how public this invention is, clearly many people in positions of power know about the technique, and at least some apparently "normal" people use it for general recreation. Presumably one could also use it for psychoanalysis and treatment, but it's not shown if that's actually done or not. Of course since this is an action move it focuses on people who use the technology for more nefarious purposes, namely corporate espionage.
The most interesting thing about this setup is that it provides the best excuse ever for past traumas and mental issues to adversely affect the mission at hand. Since they're in a dream world their subconsciouses can literally jump out and get them. More obviously of course it provides a similar ability to warp reality like in the Matrix movies, though not to the same effect, and a question about "are we actually in the real world or is this a dream," but in this case since they keep hopping in and out and there's not always an obvious difference between the different levels and states it's not really a question that can be permanently answered.
So yeah, it's a good movie, not as much action as the Matrix, but all in all it's better thought out and they make better use of the rules they've set up. Some people might be frustrated by the "glass is half full/empty" ending though.
In other news, i didn't go to the SF Final Fantasy concert last friday, but i did go to the Distant Worlds 2 release party/Nobuo Uematsu signing on monday :)
I got there around 6:45, and there was a moderate line already. I joined it, and as the line continued to grow two people back from me were the only three people to actually show up in cosplay, as Snow, Serah and Sazh. They were kind of sad that they were the only ones, but it meant they ended up being super popular with everyone, including Uematsu :)
The place opened up at 7:30, by which point the line had stretched around the corner, so by that point i was comparatively rather near the front. The line moved inside fairly quickly at first but then slowed down again since it led directly into the signing line. The $60 admission included a copy of the Distant Worlds 2 CD and a poster, both signed of course. They were already pre-signed, but a lot of people had brought other things to get signed and/or wanted to get pictures. I'd thought about what i wanted to bring and ended up deciding on the original US release of the "Final Fantasy 3" OST, and the Project Majestic Mix: A Tribute to Nobuo Uematsu CD, of which i have one of the 2000 numbered collector edition. (Of course i don't know if the actual total number of that CD sold, of any version, numbered much over 2000 at all =) I saw some people in line right ahead of me get a copy of the FF12 game signed, and a couple people ahead of that was someone carrying some kind of poster, though i never saw of what. I don't know what all else got signed, though i am rather curious.
After getting through the line and getting my signatures and getting some pictures that may or may not come out, i snacked on some of the free fancy cupcakes that were available (and bought a small bottle of diet coke for $3, just cause i felt like i ought to support the place =P) and spent awhile talking to some of the other people around. After awhile we noticed there was a back room where some kind of video was being shown, so i went back there and found a trailer loop of all the latest Squenix games. I saw trailers for FF14, Front Mission Evolved, MindJack, Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, Kingdom Hearts Recoded, Final Fantasy the 4 Heroes of Light, and maybe one or two other games i'm forgetting about. (Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep looked like it had a cute new female good guy, too bad i won't get to play it since i don't have a PSP =P)
After going through the entire loop i wandered back out and talked to people some more. Then i noticed that the end of the line had made it through the front doors and some people had gotten in line a second time. When i'd been getting my stuff signed the Distant Worlds 2 director had mentioned that there were some Black Mages CDs for sale in the back, so i wandered around until i found them and checked out what they had. What they had was just one CD and one DVD, both of the third Black Mages album. However that also happened to be the one album i didn't have already :) They cost $30 each, and i wondered if i might be able to find a better price online, but hey, this would likely be my only chance to get it signed, right? Unfortunately they didn't take credit cards and when i checked my wallet it turned out that i only had $28, curse that $3 diet coke! However when i cursed the fact that i only had $28 the guy selling them said something along the lines of "let me see," so i passed him all the money remaining in my wallet, and he counted it and said okay, i could have the CD for $28, which is not what i had been intending when i'd complained about being $2 short, but i was happy for it none the less :) (And it turns out the CD costs $59 from Amazon and $33 from other sellers (who could be selling pirated copies for all i know) so i actually got a good deal!)
I got back in line with my new CD, but unfortunately he stopped signing things so he could go get his picture taken with the FF13 cosplayers and then pose for a lot of other pictures. Thankfully after the picture taking was mostly done with they made an announcement about the Black Mages CDs being for sale, so i went up to him and said i'd just bought one and could he please sign it, and he did :)
Spent a little while more talking with more people, and then headed home around 10 or 10:30 when they started kicking the last few of us out :) All in all it was a fun and probably rather unique experience.
In other-other news, i picked up Dragon Quest 9 on wednesday. Barely gotten past the intro section though. I am amused by the fact that during the intro section you're a "Celestrian," or a guardian angel by any other name. You've got a halo and wings and are invisible to mortals. (And if you're familiar with DBZ the fact that your mentor looks exactly like an angel version of Krillin is an awesome and hilarious in joke =) This sets up both the most believable explanation and the most amusing situation for the standard RPG klepto/jerk behaviour ever :) You spend half your time doing good deeds in the hopes that the faithful will thank you for helping them, thus resulting in "benevolessence" (also hilarious) and then turn around break into those same peoples houses, listen in on their conversations, break all their stuff, and steal all their gold and knick knacks, and they can't do anything about it because you're totally invisible to them. It's really amusing that they'll give you credit for the good things that happen to them but never think to blame you when all their stuff ends up smashed or missing. I'm kind of sad that it doesn't stay the same way for the whole game :)