Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Strange Days

So anyway - seems to be quite the odd little world we live on here in the last couple weeks or so, eh? My celebrity obit column has more or less imploded on itself, kinda like the Freeling house at the end of Poltergeist - you know, leaving nothing but this glimmer of light just sort of emanating from nowhere. If things like this really come in three's, then I figure we should expect two more within the next few days. First good ol' Ed McMahon, then Farrah and MJ on the same day. Then, day before yesterday we get Bill Mays (aka - the Screaming Salesman/Guy-who-single-handedly-made-me-want-to-destroy-my-TV-every-time-he-came-on-it). So technically...that's four (you can debate the pros v cons of calling Mays a celebrity to yourselves - I count him because, unfortunately, he was on my TV...a lot). I was watching CNN when the ticker at the bottom said that Billy Mays was dead. I...smiled. Is that completely awful, or just mostly awful? I mean really, the first thing that popped into my mind was "Well...at least I won't have that asshole screaming at me anymore." What's worse, Mrs. Pikey kinda smiled too when I told her...and more or less said the same thing I did. So...did she start out evil or have I turned her to the dark side after all these years? If it's the latter, then sorry baby! But if it's the former...shit, what kind of gal did I hitch myself to anyway?!?!

So...Michael Jackson. Lew Black said once that Michael Jackson had basically become a punchline for any joke - Why did the chicken cross the road?...Michael Jackson! Yeah, ok...so it works. Still, regardless of your thoughts on the man, his music, his turmoil, his...erm, eccentricities, consider this for a second: Michael Jackson's death has garnered more worldwide attention than any other person or event (save 9/11) since Elvis died. In fact, his death has done to the world wide web what no other event (including 9/11) has done since it's inception - it nearly collapsed it. The headline on CNN.com read "Michael Jackson dies and nearly takes the Internet with him!" Now that is funny! Servers all around the world were locking-up and even crashing because of the influx of people craving more information on what happened to this one man. Good or bad, love him or loathe him, that says an awful lot about the effect he had on this world. I for one have never had a real problem with Michael Jackson. I've always been a fan of his early musical output - yes...I had a Thriller jacket when I was six - fuck you very much. And argue with me all you want, but I never really bought into the whole paedophilia thing...fuck you again, I'm sorry, but I don't believe it. I give you that yes - the man was weird. Eccentric doesn't cut the mustard here - he was downright weird. He was a black man who seemingly had a child's mentality...and also had a desire to become a strange, white woman (and the bank account to make it happen). Did he place himself into the questionable position of getting too close to several young boys? Absolutely! Did he ever actually do anything illegal with them...I don't think so. But what do I know? I always saw the man who loved children and spent untold fortunes for the benefit of needy children around the world - call it naivete, call it a little gleam of light trying to escape the black hole that is my soul, whatever. That's just how I feel about the subject. "But Pikey - the guy spent millions in payoff to shut that one kid up!" Yeah...he did. That's exactly what he did - he spent millions to make a problem go away, that's not an admission of guilt. Ask yourself this...who was he really paying off? The kid, or his money-grubbing parents who saw an opportunity to make a quick buck by exploiting an odd situation that they allowed their child to get into?! Did anyone ever consider that the mere accusation was devastating to the man and that throwing a shitload of money at it was simply a way to make it go away so he could move on? It's a stretch, but it's possible! Rest in Peace Mike...you really were the King. Anyway, a person could go on and on about this shit (too late?)...

Then there's Bernie Madoff. Yesterday, he got 150 years for bilking all those people out of billions of dollars. I'll say that again - yesterday, he got 150 years for bilking all those people out of billions of dollars. I'd say he got off easy. Sure, he's 71, he'll serve (I'd guess) about 10 years of that sentence before he either dies of old age or trauma from his weekly ass-pounding. The government has seized over $160 million of his assets for restitution to his victims. That's nice - sorry you lost everything, here's a coupon for a free cheeseburger and a prostate massage! His wife, Ruth, was allowed to keep something in the neighborhood of $2.5 million in assets so as not to be left with nothing...awwwwwww...poor, poor lady! This was also to avoid prosecution as an accomplice. Too bad she's gonna charter the first flight to Switzerland she can get and start siphoning off the billions from the offshore accounts the U.S. government couldn't touch. It's going to happen...you know it, I know it, she knows it! Which in my mind makes her as big a crook as him! If there was any real justice in the world, he would've been sentenced to having his nuts smashed repeatedly by all his victims, one by one, with one of those carnival "ring-the-bell" hammers. "WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER!" Then they could all take turns showing Mrs. Madoff's asshole the business end of a cattle prod. I see a reality TV show somewhere in the near future...

So, forgive the righteous indignation for a moment, but when the fuck are we just going to go ahead and nuke the entire Middle East and get it over with?!?! We don't like them, they don't like us - they're never going to like us. The West is always going to be the scapegoat for everything that's wrong in their world. A world that, I might add, seems perpetually stuck in the dark ages. It's wonderful that the U.S. military is going to start pulling out of the major cities in Iraq, really it is! But the real tragedy of it all (aside from the 5000+ American lives pointlessly lost over there) is that as soon as we're gone for good, the place is going to erupt into an all-out civil war anyway! The Muslims can't even get along with each other...how the hell can anyone expect them to get along with us pathetic infidels?! Don't even get me started on Iran...that "election" was the most ginormous, stinkiest pile of camel shit in the long, sad history of camel shit analogous elections. They know it...the rest of the world knows it...they know the rest of the world knows it! The Ayatollah and Ahmenlkaasdflgksadflhse1241tdfgw45rtporjad want "the bomb"...and that wasn't going to happen with Moussavi in charge. Sorry if that all seemed kind of like a buttload of generalized angst, but if I think too hard or get into too many details - the bad people in my head start talking to me! While we're on the subject (the Middle East, not my psyche), my mom's neighbor's son Josh is getting shipped over to Afghanistan in 3 months...he's a good kid, played Horn in band, got decent grades, never gave his folks a lot of grief, so if you've got a free prayer or blessing handy, might want to shoot it his way for me.

Alright, suppose I'll cut this one off...wouldn't want Brad's eyes melting out of his head from reading too much or anything! Too late Brad? Fuck it...you'll live.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


So anyway, this past Saturday we were supposed to make our long overdue (as usual) trip to St. Joe to visit the in-laws. Why the hell after all this time they can't band up in an SUV or something and come-the-fuck down here to see their grandson/nephew/etc is beyond me, but I digest (ahem...). Unfortunately, the Monkey broke his wrist on Thursday, and by Saturday morning, he didn't seem all that up for a road trip. See, there's a silver lining in there...my poor boy's misery worked to my advantage - cruel sounding I know, but hey, whatever avoids a day in hillbilly hell is good for me no matter how it came about. At any rate...we seized the opportunity to take the little bugger to his first movie...


Mrs. Pikey and I had already seen it once, though regrettably not in 3D (we're gonna make one more round of it to cover that base soon). Michael's been kinda itching for it ever since he saw the teaser trailer on the Wall E DVD. For him, watching that 30-second trailer was almost as exciting as the 90 minutes of movie that followed. Inevitabry, every time we would put the disc in for him the first thing out of his mouth would be: BOONS!!! (that's balloons in 3-year-old!). So...between the boons, the talking dogs, and that giant, goofy bird, it was just about a shoe-in that lil' man would love his first experience at a cinema. And boy did he! And why not...Pixar's now 10 for 10. It's like they just do not know how to make a bad movie. I'll admit, Up didn't have that certain something that, as I was watching, made me think, "Wow, I'm witnessing something really special here!" the way Wall E did. Honestly, of all of Pixar's feature films, Wall E's the only one that had that effect on me. The Incredibles was close...a credit to Brad Bird I think, but don't take any of that as a slant against the company's other works. I wonder what it would take to wrestle the rights to The Iron Giant away from Warners and let Bird direct a Pixar produced sequel? Pipe dreams I'm sure...but wow what a movie that'd be! Anyway...

Pixar just has this magic touch...more than Fox, or Dreamworks, or even Disney's Cell Animation studio (past and present) - they just have the right combination of talent and vision to put out a fantastic product with every effort. I know Cars isn't everyone's cup of tea, and some folks have issues with Toy Story 2 and/or Ratatouille, but even if I initially wasn't sure about one of those films (or any of them), I've grown to love them (yeah...even Cars!). I'll take Pixar on a bad day over any two of the other animation studios combined. And Up is no exception. If anything, the film serves to further solidify how smart Pixar is...and how with every film they get better and better at making animation for everyone! Their movies aren't out of reach for even a 3-year-old...and yet have plenty of depth and humor without resorting to silliness for just about any adult. Twice now, Pixar has (arguably) made the best film of the year (with The Incredibles and Wall E), yet Oscar was just too afraid to admit that a cartoon was better than anything made with "real" people. That may very well hold true again this year - I don't know what's in store for the fall season, but it's gonna have to be damn good. Like I said, Up isn't Wall E, but it's still fan-fuckin'-tastic. And besides...how many Wall E's can any one studio have in a lifetime?!

I do have to say that Up is likely Pixar's most "adult" film to date...despite the obvious ideas aimed at children (I'll get to that in a second). Sure, The Incredibles had its share of violence and mayhem, marking the studio's first PG-rated effort - but I wouldn't say that's necessarily cause to call it an "adult" film. Up has it's share of violence, but that isn't what makes it a little more grown up. Without giving away much detail, what stands apart with this film is the way it deals with life and living, and death. It might sail over the heads of some of the film's core audience, but that's ok...there's plenty there for the wee folk too. Death, as most child development experts and psychiatric types will tell you, is a subject most people are physically unable to really grasp until after the age of 5 or 6, sometimes even later than that. The brain of a child that age just can't grasp the concept yet. Up deals with this in a touching, unique, and really damned intelligent way...and that's through implication. And while it's tragic (particularly in one instance), it's also very touching (I'll admit it...I cried...a couple of times).

Then...there's Dug! Pixar always has that one character...one that's simple, and cute, and just uproariously funny. Here - that's Dug. Dug...is a dog, a dog with a collar that let's him talk to people. We've all wondered what exactly our pets are thinking (assuming they could think in our language). Watch a dog on an average day...what could possibly be going through that brain while it: chases its own tail, sniffs and licks its butt, pinches a loaf, harasses the mailman, finds endless hours of pleasure in a rubber ball? I can only say you'd be hard pressed to ever find a better representation of that than what Pixar has done with Dug. Case in point:

"Hi there! My name is Dug! I don't know you...but I LOVE YOU! My master made me this collar so that I could talk to people! He is a good and loving master and he made me this collar so that I could talk to people...SQUIRREL!!!!!!...Hi there!"

You've likely already seen most of that moment in the trailer...so I'll assume I'm not spoiling much for anyone. If so sorry, but...what fuckin' rock have you been living under anyway?! Dug doesn't even have to say anything...like any good dog, he makes things a little brighter just by being there. Having said that...keep an ear open of his, umm..."joke"! It's one of the most awesomely stupid/morbid moments I can recall in recent memory! And Dug isn't alone in the canine absurdity...the introduction of Alpha is likely to leave you in stitches as well. They got Michael's seal of approval - which basically amounts to a festive shouting of "PUPPIES!!!" every time they came on the screen.

Michael Giacchino is a busy muthafucka! He's already blown (most of) us away with his Star Trek score. I have no doubt that regardless of whatever kind of movie it is, the Land of the Lost score is a lot of fun. And now here's Up. Who does a summer blockbuster hat trick anymore? Michael Fuckin' Giacchino, that's who! Pixar really seems to bring out the best in him. Which is kind of a shame because the next two Pixar movies are going to Randy Newman (Toy Story 3 and Cars 2 - 2010 and 2011 respectively). Because let's face it - those are John Lassiter's babies, and he ain't lettin' nobody but Newman score them - though, really...that's probably not going to be a bad thing either. Anyway, as for the Up score, who knew Giacchino had such awesome "throwback to the golden age of scoring" chops?! The overall feel of it is very...vintage. Think MGM from the 40's through the early 60's. The piano work, while simple, is very moving and eloquent. It really pulls at the heartstrings, in ways that would give Tom Newman a run for his money. The whole thing just has an amazing whimsy to it. There's a "jungle trek" cue that really stands out for me - you'll know what I'm talking about when you see/hear it. It's just a shame really that there's no current plans for a CD release. Luckily, it's available on iTunes and other online digital download sites. Or if you'd prefer, and your a dirty fucking PIRATE (I'm not naming names - *Brad...COUGH...COUGH*), I'm sure you'll find some way to get your hands on it...and you really should.

So, that's my take on things I reckon. After that last post I thought I'd keep it a little shorter for you folks (but just a little). Anyway...up and away, get out and see the gold standard in animation soon as you can - it's well worth it...even if you are the only adults without children in the audience (creeeeeeeeppppppyyyyyyyy!!!).

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

To Boldly Go...and All That Shit...

So anyway, enough fiddle-fucking around I suppose. So...Star Trek. Has anyone not seen it yet? No? Good...then I can proceed without fear of pissing on anyone's Corn Flakes. So where to begin. I suppose HOLY FUCKIN' SHIT is as good a place as any! My initial reaction after my first viewing was nothing short of complete and total geek-gasm in my pants. Seriously...the last time I had a smile like that on my face, my wife had just finished...er, uh, ummmmmm...never mind. But I thought, "No...I'll wait. I'll save my thoughts and reactions until I've had a second viewing. You know Mike, be a little more objective once you've had a second run at absorbing everything."

Did that work out like I planned. Yeah, um...not so much no (Sorry, thanks for playing - here's a lovely parting gift for you. What do we have for our contestant today Bill? Why it's a toaster Bob...that you can FUCK!). In all seriousness though, you'd have to be one bitter, hostile and cold motherfucker not to find something awesome to love in this new iteration on the adventures of Captain James T. I-Should-Totally-Have-Lost-My-Cock-To-Space-Chlamydia-By-Now Kirk and Co. In Insurrection, Ad'har Ru'afu insultingly commented that the Federation was old. And so too it seemed was Star Trek after the complete and utter box-office failure that was Nemesis (still largely the fault of Paramount's advertising department if you ask me), and Enterprise getting cut off after four struggling seasons. Prior to this film, the longest gap between any two Star Trek films was four years (between Insurrection and Nemesis), and averaged 2-and-a-half years. So it would seem, seven really is a lucky number.

So, from the minds of wunder-producer/director/writer J.J. Abrahms, and hit-or-miss screenwriters Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci (I mean really...The Island?!) comes a...restart/reboot/re-imagining of one of the most (arguably, I suppose) beloved ideas (sci-fi or otherwise) of at least the last century. I must admit, I hate this whole Hollywood concept of reboots/re-imaginings - there's just something so fake about it. With a few exceptions (this film being one of them), it demonstrates an unnerving laziness and lack of originality worming its way through the film and television industry. Remakes are nothing new in La La Land. There are 3 film versions and one TV miniseries about Beau Geste, and about 15 or so variations on Jane Eyre. I suppose that's the more "high-brow" end of the spectrum. Then there's the polar opposite, the likes of say...Friday the 13th. A film who just last year saw a "remake/re-imagining" even though the original is not even 30 years old and spawned 9 sequels.

Wait a minute...30 years/9 sequels - ok...that's weird. I just used that little factoid to piss all over one franchise when the exact same rule (or nearly so) applies to the subject at hand. Or at least the Star Trek film universe anyway. I suppose the difference is that one is an intelligent, engaging, and optimistic view of the future of humanity, and the other is about a mutant, all-pro linebacker in a hockey mask that likes to hack n' slash co-ed's whilst their boobies be showin'. Anyway, to get back on track, Star Trek as a concept has been desperately in need of a new set of eyes for a while - fresh blood if you will. I say they got it in spades. Dicking around with the space-time continuum is a bit of an old hat in the Trek universe. So, initially, hearing that this story was another time travel plot met with many a groan throughout fandom. But I think the take Abrahms and Co. took with it is actually quite refreshing. It basically allowed them to tell an origins story, and do it essentially with a clean slate - not always having to adhere to the 'oh-so-precious' Trek canon that so many Trekkies (literally in some cases I think) live their lives by. One of the really cool things (something I think some of the more hostile fans haven't considered) is that some or perhaps even most of the adventures we know this crew has already had can still happen - it may happen a little differently, but they'll still happen. Some of them have to happen - V'Ger is still on it's way, so is the whale probe; and Khan is out there...somewhere. The possiblities are almost endless. This gamble of theirs also allowed them to completely take some things that most superfans (and even those casually acquainted with Trek) take for granted and completely turn them on their heads - even one or two actual "Holy Fuck" moments.

I think one of the first of those was before production even began. It was that little moment (I think during San Diego Comic Con) almost two years ago or so when Abrahms walked out on stage with Zach Quinto and Leonard Nimoy and announced that the former would be portraying the younger version of the latter and both were going to be in the new Star Trek film (opening Christmas 2008 - yeah...that happened - fucking Paramount!). Generally speaking, I'd guess most of us were somewhere in the neighborhood of "Holy Shit...that's fucking BRILLIANT!!!". Otherwise, the film lay in a sort of "what is it?/good?/bad?" limbo until it was released last month - especially after Paramount announced it was moving the release by six months. Normally a move from winter to summer would indicate that they thought they had something good on their hands. But no one really knew, did they? I'd argue that they had something more than just 'good'...this is downright special. Abrahms has gone somewhere with Trek that even good ol' Gene Roddenberry couldn't seem to muster - he's made a Trek film for everyone.

Star Trek 2009 is a film that opens up the whole Trek universe to a new legion of fans and simultaneously engages and entertains most of the long-established fanbase. It would seem the only one's left feeling as though they just witnessed the rape and murder of their grandma by the family dog are the über-est of the über-Trekkies. Well...they can go back to fucking their blow-up Orion slave-girl love dolls in their mom's basements anytime they want. This Trek essentially took the layout and characters from a long-standing franchise, and cranked up the adrenaline by applying all the dazzle and pizazz of a slam-bang summer action blockbuster. And it works...for what ever reason, it works - gloriously. And it's ballsy. Getting back to those 'holy fuck' moments, what have we got: Obviously the biggest one - they fucking destroyed Vulcan...three words: GIANT BRASS COJONES. Then, let's see...how'sabout: They killed Spock's mom - Jebuth! Then: Spock's bangin' Uhura - Holy Jebuth! And then there's all the little in-jokes and references wallpapering the whole film - off the top of my head, a few of my favorites: Chekov's inability to pronounce V's; Kirk's complete inability to think with anything but his dick; Bones' space paranoia; the obligatory red-shirt demise; the Kobayashi Maru test (lamented by some - but I abso-fuckin'-lutely loved it); that slight "Shatner-esque" moment at the end when Kirk steps onto the bridge for the first time as the 'official' captain of the Enterprise; Captain Pike's seemingly predestined fate to end up in a wheelchair; the disappearance of Captain, er sorry...Admiral Archer's beagle. Some of it's in your face, some of it oh-so-subtle - but I loved so very much of it.

I thought generally, the casting was quite brilliant as well. I'd just like to say that Bruce Greenwood should be in every movie made from now on...ever. I didn't care for the look they gave Anton Yelchin's Chekov (he was brilliant in Terminator:Salvation btw), but the character and mannerisms were dead on. You can add Zoe Saldana to the list of women whom I'd like to suffocate beneath their buttocks...oh and her Uhura wasn't bad either. I found it odd that they cast a Korean to play an iconic Japanese man...but wtf, 'Harold' did a good job with what they gave him. I agree with Brad that it was a little bit of a bummer that we had to sit through half of the film before Simon Pegg's Scotty showed up - but it was well worth the wait (even if they did give him a weird little sidekick). Karl Urban's Bones was awesomely grouchy. If there was a fault to be had, it was that he was the only one who seemed to be trying to emulate their predecessor's performance of the character (that and the fact that he had the wrong eye-color...I know, details...). It was really geek-tastic (at least for me anyway) to see Lenny Nimoy play Spock one more time (even if the part was sort-of shoehorned in). He's been Spock for 43 years, there's a nuance, a sort of I dunno...comfort to seeing him. Like an old blanket your grandmother gave you. He is Spock, and he's always a welcome sight.

I read a comment on a website somewhere (I don't recall where) where someone was griping that the Romulan's all had Australian accents. Well let's examine that for a minute - for one: only two Romulan's had speaking parts in the film; and two: of those - only one is actually Australian; and three: the one that is Australian never spoke with an Australian accent. Bana's Nero, if not for the fact that he was a genocidal bastard hell-bent on his quest for revenge, almost seemed charming. I love his "Hi Christopher...I'm Nero." response to Captain Pike - hilarious. Nero...while not quite on par in villainy as Khan (will there ever be?), was an adequate nemesis for this film, and Bana's performance of him was adequately menacing (maybe too strong of a word) in turn. Then there are the two leads: Kirk and (young) Spock - Chris Pine and Zach Quinto. Boy oh boy...you know, I can't remember the last time, or maybe anytime, that two actors took two pre-established roles, especially ones as iconic as Jim Kirk and Spock, and really made them their own; really without any hint of emulation, parroting, mocking, any of that. I honestly believe that this is the best (as characters) Kirk and Spock have been together since The Voyage Home, maybe (maybe) even Wrath of Khan. It was quite effortless really, I was sold on both of them the second they each (respectively) appeared on screen. Quinto perfectly embodied that long-established conflict between Spock's logic and human nature. And Pine absolutely nailed that smart-ass rebel with a wink-in-his-eye but still commanding presence of James Tiberius Kirk. I simply can not wait for summer of 2011, these folks (the whole ensemble that is) really need to get back on the screen again - they just fit together.

Brad said he took the slightest issue with the 'stopping a supernova/supernova that could destroy the galaxy' plot element. I only slightly agree with half of that. I agree that a little more exposition as to how/why a supernova of the Romulan star could have such an adverse effect on the galaxy could've/would've/should've been included. The other notion, finding fault that they were able to halt the star from going supernova, I dismiss completely. To me, taking issue with that would be to take issue with the entire Star Trek universe. There's a short series of 'prequel' comics released prior to the movie that offer a deal of background detail on the events leading up to the beginning of Star Trek. Amongst those details is that the time-period 'old' Spock came from was roughly 30 or more years after the events of Nemesis. Given where the people of the Federation were technologically in Nemesis, I don't think it's a leap, even a skip really, in logic to think that they would possess the ability to do what Spock was trying to do. Just my two cents on that. Another detail I would've liked to have seen (which would have explained both the Romulan shorn and tat'd heads, as well as Nemo's missing ear tip) would have been the deleted sequence involving Nemo's time in and subsequent escape from the Rura Penthe prison whilst waiting for Spock to arrive in the past (maybe an extended cut DVD in the future eh?).

Then there's Michael Giacchino's score. While it's not quite on par with the grandeur of Jerry's TMP, or even Horner's WOK, it's still quite good. Especially in the context of the film. This score I think had a job to fulfill unique from any of the prior 10. It's really the only one that had to first be an action score, then be a science fiction score. If you listen to the FSM podcast about the new Star Trek from a couple months ago, someone made a comment that Giacchino's main theme sounds more like a counter-line to a stronger 'main' theme. I don't believe I would've put that association together had it not been for that comment - unfortunately, it is a valid point. Still, this new main theme is one of the catchiest fucking things I've heard in a long time. And, I think it's his most solid work to date - perhaps the additional orchestrators (aside from Tim Simonec) had some influence on that. Is Giacchino a busy little fucker lately or what. He's got three big summer scores all within 5 fuckin' weeks of each other. Nobody does that anymore! Anyway, if you head out to jwfan.net and search around there's a discussion thread that lists where all the cues from the score CD fit into the movie, as well as what's missing (somebody's seen this thing waaaaaayyyy too many times already). Essentially, we got a little less than half the score on the CD. Several great bits are missing (about half the ending sequence - including that awesome choral variation of the theme as the Narada gets sucked into the singularity) and some of the cues we did get are incomplete. If you want that awesome main title bit, I think all you need to do is splice the first minute or so from "Enterprising Young Men" to the last 15 seconds from that same cue. Simple as most of it is, I'd still say that overall it's the highlight of my summer movie-going/score listening season so far (still waiting on a few things: Transformers II, Harry Potter, hell even Silvestri's G.I.Joe could be interesting - oh and let's not forget Maestro Goldenthal's return to mainstream film with Mike Mann's Public Enemies...yea!).

Ok, so...you wanted it, you got it ("mostly..."). That's most of my thoughts on Star Trek - to sum up...I need a throwrag. I say that's most of my thoughts because I'm certain I have enough for another paragraph (or five) but I don't want to drive you guys totally crazy (or is that crazier?). I'll be back in a bit with my thoughts on Up (which by the way will be Der Monkey's first trip to the movie theater, here in a couple of weeks...how cool is that!)...after I've had a chance to see it again - in 3D!