They say Hollywood doesn’t listen to the fans. When the big studios decide to take a beloved franchise and turn it to a movie, they sometimes take secondary characters and mess them up. The fans might cry out because this character has a fairly large following and ask for a movie for that character to fix the issues. Most of the time they studios ignore it. But if there is enough support from an actor with a bit of star power and the studio, already making money off the franchise and character rights, says what the hell, you get a movie like Deadpool.
Deadpool stars Ryan Reynolds at the titular (anti)hero, a role he (sort of) played in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It is considered part of the X-Men film franchise The movie is directed by Tim Miller, which is his first movie as director. The film had been in development since 2004, with Reynolds being attached to star since 2009. It is rated R in the United States and 18A in Ontario, Canada as there is strong language, excessive violence and nudity.
The movie follows Wade Wilson, a down-on-his-luck mercenary getting by on small time contracts. The film references that he was part of a special forces team but doesn’t directly reference Team X (or fit in the X-Men Origin: Wolverine timeline.) His life turns around when he meets Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin) an escort who is a messed up as he is. They end up living together for a year before Wade becomes sick. They discover that he has terminal cancer and not long to live. Then it gets worse.
Wade is approached by a recruiter to join a special program that would not only cure his cancer, but give him super human abilities. He leaves Vanessa in the middle of the night, promising himself to return when cured. However, the organization he joined intended to turn him into a mindless super slave to be auctioned off. Wade was injected with a serum to activate dormant mutant genes than tortured by the head scientist, Ajax/Francis (Ed Skrien) and his assistant, Angel Dust (Gina Carino). After a week of torture, his powers manifested (super-healing) but at the expense of his looks and his sanity. He broke out and set fire to the lab but was beaten and left to die by Ajax. But he survived the fire and escaped back to the city.
Deformed and deranged Wade couldn’t bring himself to go back to Vanessa. Hoping that Francis would be able to undo the disfigurement, he embarked on a one man war against his organization. With the help of his friend Weasel and roommate, Blind Al, he starts taking apart Francis’ operation, but his methods have attracted the attention of the X-men, in the form of Colossus and Teenage Negasonic Warhead(?)
Deadpool is a hyper-violent movie that doesn’t take itself seriously. Like in the comic books, where he sometimes talk directly to the readers, the Deadpool in the movies sometimes talks directly to the audience, often confusing the characters around him, While the events of the first solo Wolverine movies are not directly referenced (and are, in fact, ignored), there are a few references to it, such as an action figure of that Deadpool and a line about sewing his mouth shut. They also take a shot at Ryan Reynolds’ other superhero movie by having Wade ask that his costume, “not be green. Or animated.” The inclusion of two X-Men help to create the shared universe, with Colossus and Negasonic being used to add humor mostly. There is even a scene (filmed outside Hatley Castle in Victoria, BC) where Deadpool remarks that there are only two X-Men because “Fox cut our budget.”
Deadpool and X-Men fans with love this movie as it get the character right after previously messing him up. Fans who only know the x-Men from the movies might not like the less than serious approach, but in this day and age of overly serious superhero movies, it is nice there is one that can gladly take the piss out of itself and reveal in the absurdity.
Yesterday was a sad day for me. I had to say good-bye to a pet that has been with me for 12 years.. Meeloo was my first cat and my first pet I had with Chantale, though I knew the cat before I met her. She had definitely left her mark on me as I would have not called myself a cat person before I took ownership of her. I still would not call myself that, but, she was a dear pet that I have fond memories of.
I first met Meeloo as I moved into a townhouse with a friend from work. As I was unpacking, she came in, sniffed at me, meowed and left. I guess she was sizing me up to see if I was a threat. Once I was fully moved in, she would greet me each morning by the bathroom and we were have a conversation of sorts.
Me: Good morning cat.
Me: You good?
Me: I’ll feed you after my shower.
She’d then head downstairs and wait. My roommate thought I was a bit crazy talking to the cat but I didn’t mind. It became a morning routine with the cat.
About 6 months after moving in, my roommate moved out and left the cat. I had been dating Chantale for a few months and she came to live with me. I don’t think Meeloo liked her at first. She was a bit stand-offish and did not like to be touched. She also had some bad habits, like biting and pooping on the floor (the downstairs bathroom was her litter box for a while,) but we tried to get her out of those habits to various degrees of success.
Meeloo warmed up to Chantale in about a year. She even warned her when the bedroom was flooded by a broken eavestrough during a summer rain storm. Chantale warmed to her too, being genuinely concerned when she fell out a second story window when the screen gave way. Chantale rushed outside to see her on the grass, crouched on all fours, wondering where she was. Meeloo was an indoor cat but she was always wondering what was outside.
She even tried to escape sometimes. Once, I found her in my gym bag, trying to go to work with me. Luckily I noticed before I left home, and got her out of there. Another time she ran out when I opened the door in our townhouse complex. Imagine her shock when she saw nothing but doors! She would have to be contend with looking outside the window for now.
Now, I said I was not a cat person. I could have justified giving her up and taking her to the Humane Society. But I didn’t. I feel that, when you adopt a pet, you are responsible to that animal for its entire life. Stories of people dropping the pets off at pounds or the side of the road or give the pet up to punish children anger me. Allergies and bad reaction to babies I can understand but I still find it sad. So, when it came time to move to Victoria, I took her with us.
Driving with a cat in a carrier in your back seat is an interesting experience, at least with Meeloo. She would be quiet at first, but after a while, she would meow incessantly. We would stop for food of a break and I would put here on a leash to let her stretch her legs. Oh, the looks I got trying to walk a cat on a leash! At night we would set her up at the hotel, with her food and litter and go out to eat. When we came back, she had eaten, done her business and was exploring the room. The next morning, we would put her in the carrier and it started again.
Once in Victoria, I notice a change in her. She became our cat and let us pet her and she would sometimes snuggle up to us. We would still have the same morning ritual, her greeting me in the morning and me feeding her, but changed slightly. I worked shift work and on occasion worked from the evening to 6:30 AM. Meeloo would wait for me in the living room window and greet me as I walked in:
Me: Morning, cat. You want food??
Me; Here you go. I’m off to bed.
She still had an obsession with the outside and wanted to go out. For all I know, she could have been an outdoor cat a one point before as she was an adult even when my roommate got her. I was not really sure of her age, guessing a birthdate of 2002 though she could have been 2 to 6 years older than that. But she still seemed like a younger cat, then. She would look out the windows, see the birds and “trill”, like a meow/purr combo. She even like to see the deer. She once got out and ran towards one but stopped short of it. She seemed to be in awe. The deer itself (tame and used to humans) sniffed her them walked away. She never went up to one again, but loved it when they were in the yard.
She also got loose a few times. Once a winter storm knocked the power out in my neighbourhood for two days. The power came on early Sunday morning, waking Chantale and I. We went out for a late meal and came home afterwards. After an hour. I noticed we hadn’t seem the cat. She must have snuck out as we left or came home as I found her on the front step, meowing to come in. When I opened the door, however, she ran off but into another cat who hissed at her. She dropped down and I picked her up and took her inside.
Another time was during a spring storm. Again, she snuck out as we came home from grocery shopping and we didn’t notice for hours. Our neighbour came by, telling us she saw our cat huddled under the back step. Sure enough, Meeloo was there, soaked and shivering. I picked her up, brought her in and swaddled her in a towel. And she let me. Her limit for affection was usually a few minutes before she got bitey, but she let me dry her off and hold her for few hours. She even let me rub her belly after that.
Soon, we had to move again. We went back to Kingston and bought a house. But we decided to add to our family by getting a dog. When we brought Azrael home, he was a 10 week old puppy, shy but curious. As he explored his new home Meeloo came up to him. With is stubbly tail wagging and went to sniff her and she bopped him in the nose with her paw. For the longest time that’s how she greeted him. Azrael thought that’s how you greet a cat and did it back. When he got bigger, Meeloo found herself at a disadvantage. Azrael so wanted to play and be her friend, but Meeloo’s age was beginning to show and she wanted very little to do with the dog.
My relationship with her changed too. Dogs are more needy so Azrael got most of the attention. Meeloo would prefer to hide until he was sleeping or outside. I wouldn’t usually see her until after my shower, once I went to the kitchen to eat.
Me: Morning, old girl.
Me; I gave you fresh food and water earlier. You should be good.
Me; You dish is full! Look-
I’d noticed that the dish was empty. Azrael has snuck in and ate her food. That’s okay because Meeloo would occasionally snack for his dish. She would also what treats all the time, which we would withhold his she pooped on the floor instead of her litter box, which was often. Luckily the poop was confined to the laundry room where her litter was. This was nothing new: old habits being hard to break.
Meeloo eventually learned to accept the dog. Azrael would occasionally try to play with her but she’d meow and take off. When he was calm, however, they would lay down near, but not quite beside each other. They would sniff each other, sleep in the same bed as with each other (with us) and even exchanged licks. I got a couple of pictures where they were sitting near each other . Azrael really wanted to play more with his “sister,” but Meeloo was getting old.
In 2014, I noticed how Meeloo was a bit slower getting up the stairs. In 2015, she started to take longer to jump up on the couch, sometimes failing to jump up and walking away to avoid embarrassment (if cats could feel that.) I’d brushed it off as her age catching up to her. She was more affectionate thoug, laying next to me on the arm of the couch or crawling beside me on the bed, despite the dog being there. She also was more demanding, pawing at door until someone got up and checked her dish (if she could see the bottom of her food dish, there wasn’t enough.) She’d even climb in the shower after we were done and lick the condensation off of the shower curtain. Meeloo was still a demanding cat, but seemed full of life.
On February 5th, I got at text from Chantale asking me to come straight home from work. When I left that morning, it started off like the usual day. I saw her in the bathroom after my shower. She demanded her dish to be up to her standards. The previous day she had crapped outside the laundry room, which wasn’t normal, but it could have been stuck to her fur. She wandered off to sleep as I was about to go. Chantale saw her too that morning, but she disappeared into one of the bedrooms. At 2 PM, she saw Meeloo walk out of the spare bedroom, limping like her leg was cramped. She hobbled into the room where I keep my kit. Then she began meowing loudly. Chantale found her under an end table. She pooped herself and could not move her hind legs. She was breathing rapidly and appeared to be in discomfort. As we didn’t have a vet for her, we had to wait for the Pet hospital to open at 6 and too her there. I figured that she wouldn’t be coming back. I thought I could handle it.
After taking a look, the vet said she might have had a heart attack. Her heart was beating erratically and had a murmur. She had fluid in her lungs. Meeloo could move her legs due to a blood clot. Medication could clear out the clots but her heart was bad and there was no guarantee of recovery. I admit I teared up when I heard that, but I forced it down. Not wanting her to suffer, Chantale and I agreed with the vet that euthanizing Meeloo was the most humane course of action. I stayed close to her. I whispered in her ear that she was a good kitty as they shaved a spot for the needle. I stroked her head as they injected her to put her to sleep. I felt her last breath leave her little body. My friend, my cat, my beloved pet was gone.
I cried. After the vet confirmed she passed on, I hugged Chantale, meaning to comfort her but seeking solace from her too. I remember other pets that I have lost, wishing I was there with them when they, too, left this world. A grown man, crying over a cat! But I did. She was part of my life for 14 years. She deserves a tear or two.
It’s been a day now. Azrael has looked for her. He was confused when we packed her dish away and move his dish to her spot. He doesn’t quite understand wan his Mon and Dad are sad or where his older sister has gone. I hope he remembers the kind moments he had with Meeloo. I know Chantale will miss her, despite her occasional desire to kick the cat outside (I sure she feels the same about me, some times.) I will miss her. Her antics. Her presence. But most of all, I’ll miss our early morning conversations. Azrael doesn’t stay too long after I take him out for his duties (unless I have toast) and he rarely talks back. I like to think that if she could talk, once last time, she’d say she’ll miss us. I know that I, that we all in this house, miss her.
With the launch of the Smuggler’s Bounty bi-monthly subscription last November (see review here), Funko’s Star Wars themed subscription got off to a good start. Each box promises to have a theme based on the movies and characters in the Star Wars universe. The initial box was based on the First Order, the evil faction in the then still unreleased Star Wars The Force Awakens. It was a good choice, helping to ramp up excitement for the new movies and showcasing characters who we knew little about, but still looked cool. You can’t go wrong with a shiny chrome storm trooper. January’s box focuses on the Resistance, the successor to the Rebel Alliance . How does this box compare to the other one? Let’s find out.
Like in the first box, the art on the box features a character from this month’s theme. We get BB-8, the little ball droid from the new movie featured on the box. Other than that, the box is the same as last time.
Opening the box, you see this boxes collector patch and pin. The patch is of BB-8 to match the box (like November’s box with Kylo Ren) and the pin features a Resistance pilot. There are nice enough and complement that last set well The flap features the same tag line as November’s box, “Behold Your First Share of Smuggler’s Bounty.” Now, since the this is the second share and the boxes are different, it is strange that they did not change that. It is minor since I will eventually recycle this box, but it would have been nice.
Opening that flap will reveal the rest of the goodies. The T-shirt features not one but six characters (counting BB-8), showcasing the heroes of the new movie. There is Poe Dameron, Finn, Rey, Han, Chewie and BB-8. The Millennium Falcon and a X-Wing are also featured. The T-Shirt designs are the same, but there are four colours.. I got a dark blue one; one You Tube blogger got a gray shirt.. But the art is cute, in the Funko style and is a great T-Shirt.
It would not be a Funko box without a Funko Pop! bobble head and we got a special one. The Pop! is of Chewbacca and he is flocked. It has a velvety feel to him and is really cute. The box has a sticker stating that Chewie is a Smuggler’s Bounty exclusive. I guess it means the flocked version. He is definitely going on display with my Phasma and Tie Pilot from the first box and my Rey Pop! Bobble head.
Lastly, this month we get a coffee mug. It is a Funko Pop! Home C-3PO head 12 oz. coffee mug. It has a large mouth and can fit a fair bit of coffee in it. It is yellow, not gold, but that’s okay, and it has a red handle, referencing the new movie. I had hear a few people got broken mugs so be careful. It is ceramic and will break if mishandled. I have had no issues with mine and use it for my weekend coffee.
This month box is a good second outing for the Smuggler’s Bounty line. I will use all the items on the box (save the pin and patch, but like the Pop! itself, is more for displaying than wearing) and I feel I got my money’s worth. The new box will ship mid March and the theme will be The Cantina (Greedo features prominently on the box.) We will see if the line can still deliver an enjoyable box without there being a new movie to draw inspiration from. At least until Star Wars Rogue One in December.
See www.smuggelrsbounty.com for subscription details. Deadline to subscribe in time for the Cantina box is 15 March 2016.