Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Review: The Incredible Hulk

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Movies,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:12 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous


Originally uploaded by Network Geek

Yes, I saw The Incredible Hulk Friday night.

But, I swear, I am not a hardcore movie or comic book geek. It was just coincidence that my buddy and I went to see this on opening night. Honest.
In a nutshell, The Incredible Hulk was a good movie. Not as good as Iron Man but way, way better than the last Hulk movie directed by Ang Lee. He may be a great director, but he just doesn’t understand American comic books. This movie, however, was better than average. And, from here on out, the spoilers are rampant, so if that bothers you, stop reading.

The movie starts with Bruce Banner in the slums of Brazil, hiding from both his green alter-ego and General “Thunderbolt” Ross and the U.S. military. He’s shown working with a martial artist learning both self-defense and how to control his emotions in an attempt to rein in the chaotic Hulk. (Incidentally, the martial arts instructor is “played” by Rickson Gracie, a world famous jiu-jitsu fighter and instructor.) Then, during the opening credits, they pay homage to the Incredible Hulk TV show, by showing a different version of the Hulk’s origin which, amazingly enough, blends both the old movie and the new version together quite well. The opening credits also have design documents from Stark Industries, referencing the Iron Man movie and highlighting Marvel’s brilliant strategy of crossing their movies over a bit for some built-in self marketing.
Of course, it doesn’t take long before Banner, played quite well by Edward Norton, runs into problems both with some local toughs and General Ross’ team of commandos. The end result? Here comes the Hulk, naturally. Well, Banner “Hulks out” and ends up several countries away in Guatemala, when he wakes up from his Hulk induced blackout. Naturally, he decides to keep heading North through Mexico to get back into the US where he hopes to retrieve the data from his old experiment that made him the Hulk to aid him in his quest for a cure. Naturally, this brings him back in contact with his old flame, Elizabeth Ross, played by Liv Tyler. Frankly, I don’t care for her as anything but an elf or a video vixen in her daddy’s videos. She is easily the weakest part of this movie. Well, as you might have guessed, old Thunderbolt Ross is there, watching and waiting for Banner. This time, though, he’s got more than just commandos to help him capture the good doctor. He’s got a full array armament, including a pair of sonic cannons that are fairly cool. Oh, and he’s given his pet commando, Emil Blonsky, played by Tim Roth, a super-soldier serum to make him, well, super.
Of course, Banner Hulks out again, and gets away, but this time he takes Betty Ross with him on the run. They try to find the scientist who’s been helping Banner find a cure, armed with the data for which Banner has risked all this trouble.

Well, I won’t tell you all the secrets in this movie, in case you plan on seeing it, but, I do have a couple more cool things to look out for. First, let me remind you of the Stark Industries reference to last month’s Iron Man movie. Also, there’s a cameo by Robert Downy Jr., aka Tony Stark, during a bar scene that also ties into Iron Man and the upcoming Avenger’s movie.
Naturally, there’s also a cameo by Stan Lee, Hulk creator and comic book legend. He plays a regular guy who drinks some tainted South American soda and, unfortunately, expires from gamma radiation poisoning. But, as always, his cameo is fun and funny.
Also, there are numerous tie-ins to the rest of the Marvel universe, which is very cool. In fact, there are many setups for a second Hulk film as well as the other references to recent and upcoming Marvel films that I’ve already mentioned.
I was disappointed that they edited out the Captain America cameo. Not sure where it was supposed to be, but it seems like a number of things that we were shown in early trailers and previews got trimmed or cut completely. Oh, well, at least it didn’t take anything away from the movie.
Oh, and don’t forget to look for a cameo by Lou Ferrigno, who played the original TV Hulk, as a security guard.

One small criticism, though, is the CG. You’d think it’d be the last thing I’d complain about, right? I mean, I’m total CG fan, sure, and the more realistic it is, the better I like it, but they almost go too far on the Hulk. He’s a little more than “real”, I think. I don’t know how much time they spent on it, but I think they spent a little too much time. Sometimes, less is more and I think this is one of those times. Or, at least, the should have spread the CG budget around a bit and used the effects on something other than the Hulk. I definitely think that the CG in Iron Man was better but, honestly, it’s only a minor thing.

So, in short, to sum up, The Incredible Hulk was good. Not as good as Iron Man, but better than Ang Lee’s version. Well worth seeing, especially if you’re a comic book fan.
Now, go see it!

Happy Birthday, UNIVAC!

Filed under: Apple,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:34 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

On this day in 1951, my profession was, essentially “born”.

Today marks the anniversary of the unveiling of the UNIVAC, the world’s first commercially produced and available electronic digital computer in the United States. The first electronic computers were invented during World War II by the military. Engineers in Great Britain invented the Colossus computer to help break Nazi codes, and engineers in the United States invented the ENIAC, to help calculate the trajectories of missiles.
The ENIAC used 17,468 vacuum tubes, 7,200 crystal diodes, 1,500 relays, 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors and around 5 million hand-soldered joints. It weighed 30 tons, was roughly 8 feet by 3 feet by 100 feet, took up 1800 square feet, and consumed 150 kW of power. The ENIAC radiated so much heat that industrial cooling fans were needed to keep its circuitry from melting down. It took two days to reprogram it for each new task.

The men who created the ENIAC decided to go into private business for themselves, and it was on this day in 1951 that they unveiled their first product, the UNIVAC I, the world’s first commercially available electronic computer. It was quite an improvement over the ENIAC, using a mere5,200 vacuum tubes, UNIVAC I weighed just 29,000 pounds (or 13 tons), consumed 125 kW, and could perform about 1,905 operations per second running on a 2.25 MHz clock, which was the fastest calculation rate in the world at the time. The Central Complex alone (i.e. the processor and memory unit) was 14 feet by 8 feet by 8.5 feet high. The complete system occupied more than 350 square feet of floor space.
The first customer to buy the UNIVAC was the United States Census Bureau, and the computer was used to predict the presidential election of 1952, after early returns began to come in. It correctly predicted that Eisenhower would win. Originally priced at $159,000, the UNIVAC I rose in price until they were between $1,250,000 and $1,500,000. A total of 46 systems were eventually built and delivered.
Thomas J. Watson, the chairman of IBM at the time, thought that computers, with all their incredibly complex vacuum tubes and circuitry, were too complicated. He famously said, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” But with the invention of the microchip in 1971, all the processing power of those thousands of vacuum tubes and punch cards could suddenly be crammed into a space the size of a postage stamp. Within a decade, the first personal computers, or PCs, began to appear. Ironically, Apple made them popular and inexpensive enough for the home user and drove what we think of as the computer revolution.

But, it all started with UNIVAC. So, happy birthday, big guy. Thanks for being just delicate enough to keep me working!

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