Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Heroes or Zeroes?

by Charlie Albuery

Queen Gorgo – Near the end of 300, we take a break from all the slow-motion homoeroticism (slomoeroticism?) to show the Council deciding whether or not to send Leonidas the reinforcements that he desperately needs. Leonidas' wife, Queen Gorgo, is explaining to the council the painfully simple logic of "If we don’t send the reinforcements or we are all going to die," and then some doofus in a toga accuses her of trying to seduce him. The council are horrified, judging by the series of gasps and face-palms that follows. However, Queen Gorgo defuses the situation by stabbing Theron in the crotch, causing a bundle of Persian coins to spill onto the floor. The council recognizes that he was a traitor, and Leonidas has his reinforcements sent(and then he dies anyway, but that's beside the point). Her response to an accusation of treachery was to literally stab him with a sword, right in front of everyone else?
Um, OK.
There's no way the queen could have known that he had chosen to bring his bribe to the meeting, and she sure as hell didn't know that he was carrying the coins in that particular vicinity, otherwise she could have just said, "Hey, check out this guy's loincloth, it's full of coins with the Persian King’s face on them!"It was only the queen's astonishing luck -- and the fact that Theron was an idiot with a belt purse -- that saved the situation. Why would Theron carry the evidence of his treason into the meeting in which he was planning to accuse someone else of being the traitor? Because he’s a baddy and baddies have no pattern recognition; that’s why they never think they’ll be defeated.

The Watchmen – Toward the end of Watchmen, we learn that the recent string of superhero murders is part of a vast conspiracy headed by one of the heroes, Adrian Veidt, aka Ozymandias, to destroy the entire planet. The only two remaining heroes who aren't either the bad guy or on Mars decide to check out Veidt's office for clues about what the hell is going on. After logging in to his computer, Nite Owl and Rorschach find evidence that Veidt is behind everything and travel to his Antarctic hideout to confront him -- leaving New York just in time to avoid an attack that kills half the city's population.
You guys see what’s wrong with that, right? They got into his computer with little-to-no effort. Did he leave it unlocked? Was he downloading the new iTunes? Did he just not have a password? No, Veidt wasn't stupid. The password turned out to be "Rameses II," the Egyptian pharaoh also known as Ozymandias.Hold on. Veidt used his own superhero name as his password? The smartest man on the planet? That’s seriously like the level of stupidity of those people that use ‘password’ as their password.The luckiest part here is that Nite Owl even bothered trying to guess the password, when there was absolutely no reason for him to believe that it would be anything less than 8,000 random characters mixed into some sort of complex sequence. I would’ve just given up and focused on trying to force his top desk drawer open. With my superpowers, which I have in this scenario, God I want to be a Watchman…
Aladdin – Ok, maybe not badass, but he does have a tiger and a monkey with a fez. Anyway, Aladdin is a street urchin who goes from stealing food in markets to hanging out with the Arabian upper class in a matter of minutes after coming across a mystical lamp.
Jafar steals his magic lamp and uses it to become the most powerful sorcerer in the world. While no one in the movie ever thinks to ask the genie for infinite wishes, Jafar does the next best thing --- he wishes for virtually infinite power, turning himself into a giant red smoke monster.
Things seem pretty hopeless, but Aladdin has one more trick up his sleeve. When Jafar proclaims himself "the most powerful being on Earth," Aladdin taunts him by pointing out that the genie is more powerful. Jafar uses his last wish to become "an all-powerful genie" ... and becomes trapped inside a magic lamp, just as Aladdin planned.
Seems like a brilliant plan doesn’t it?
There’s only one problem.
It was a stupid plan, and it shouldn't have worked.
His success relied entirely on Jafar using the exact words that, by astonishing coincidence, he happened to use. If Jafar had said "I wish to be more powerful than the genie" or "I wish to be the most powerful entity in the universe" or pretty much anything else logical, then the Aladdin’s situation would have gone from hopeless to ‘the-world-was-about-to-end-and-it-would-be-all-his-fault-levels-of-hopeless’. And yet Aladdin is so convinced that his misguided plan will work that he pulls an expression that can only be described as the world's first troll face.
 Or, you know, Jafar could have simply wished for the genie (aka Aladdin's friend) to kill himself in the most gruesome manner imaginable, and he would have been forced to do exactly that. Had the villain taken a moment to consider his wish, the straight-to-video sequels would have been about Jafar continuously playing tetherball with the earth for all eternity.
The original slumdog millionaire is a lucky man.

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