Monday, 20 September 2010

The view from 34000 feet

I love my job and I am very lucky to have it. I'm. First Officer for a UK Airline flying the Airbus A320 series round Europe on a mix of schedule and charter flights. It's great- I get a fantastic view from my office window, and I get to fly with some interesting people, with wildly varied backgrounds.

So much badly researched nonsense hits the newspapers when there is an Aviation story (usually sparked by The CEO of a budget airline) that I thought I should use this blog to promote understanding of what I do as a First Officer, why it can be an utter pain in the body-clock, but why I love it anyway. I hope you find it interesting.

I'll start the ball rolling with some photos

Didcot, the Oxfordshire town where I am Warlord!

The Scilly Isles


Sunset over the Atlantic

Poole Harbour and early morning sea fog at Swanage

-Blogged from my iPad at 34000'

Monday, 6 September 2010

AVATAR- Speccy Twat Edition

I just got home from seeing Avatar Special Edition and since my blog really doesn't have a purpose yet, thought I would shoehorn in a movie review.


First off, I loved it. But I loved it because it was AVATAR, which utterly blew me away last year. The visual experience was (and still is) stunning, a league above anything else that has hit the screen in 3D or otherwise – Lets see if TRON can come close at Christmas. I came out of the cinema with the same buzz that I got last year, and this is my 3rd viewing.

Well, I would have been happy with the chance to see it again on the big screen, but clearly to justify the new release to everyone else, something extra had to be added.
On reflection, the new stuff didn't really work. I know of at least one proper critic who disagrees with me, but here's a scene by scene breakdown of the new bits:

The School Ruins
When - Just after Jake, Grace and Norm get dropped off in the Jungle, and just before Jake gets chased by the Thanator they go to the ruined school to collect something.
And? - This is a fantastic scene, well shot and well acted. But fitting it in here is a bit clunky. The original cut has them walking into the jungle, and taking samples, and it's seamless.
It also runs against the story arc of the humans escalating their military action. Machine gun holes in the wall of a school? It paints the humans as too evil too early on.
And picking up the copy of the LORAX? We know its an environmentalists propaganda film, no need to bash us over the head thanks!
Verdict- would be better as a DVD extra.

Why the Mountains Float
When – as the link rooms get moved to the Halleluia mountains
And?- The science geekery that surrounded the original floundered with the floating mountains. Everything else seemed so scientifically plausible and well thought out. But floating mountains? Oh the wails of geek anguish! So in this version Jake's voiceover explains its a “Mag-lev effect, because unobtainium is a super-conductor or something”
Verdict- Superfluous. The mountains look stunning so just suspend your disbelief, and don't draw attention to the obviously dodgy physics.

The Rhino-thing Hunt
When – during the “Jake learns to fly and becomes a member of the tribe” montage, just before the Turuk attack.
- Absolutely brilliant. Great action, cuts perfectly into the montage and makes the previously disjointed comment about becoming “a stone cold aerial hunter” make much more sense.

Tsutei's Death

When- after the battle.
And?- In the original, Tsutei dies a Warrior-hero's death. In this version, he survives being shot and falling hundreds of feet to the jungle floor below, so that Jake can finish the job according to (previously unmentioned) tradition.
Verdict- detracts from Tsutei's heroic sacrifice. Should be left out altogether.

Overall verdict

If this had been the original theatrical release, then what we saw last year would be the internet fan edit. It's great to see Avatar on a big screen again and in 3D, but the new bits really don't add anything to the stunning vision of the film.