My Tuesday Movie Night: Dinosaurs, Locusts, and Commie Invaders
This morning I updated my Collection page in my Member profile at www.bluray.com and moved three titles – Jurassic World Dominion – Steelbook (Expanded Edition), Jurassic World: Ultimate Collection, and Red Dawn: Collector’s Edition from the Ordered section to Owned. The package with those pre-orders arrived yesterday at 3 PM, along with two bottles of Listerine Clear Mint mouthwash and a 48-count box of Quaker Instant Oatmeal that I ordered on Monday.
In my old Miami life, which was not beholden to somebody else’s work schedule and need for near absolute quiet around her workspace, I might have had a “double feature” with the original 1984 Red Dawn and the more recent Jurassic World: Dominion, which was in theaters not that long ago and was originally scheduled to be released on home media in January 2023. Instead, I waited until early evening to venture out into the family room and try to watch Jurassic World: Dominion on the high-definition TV with the home theater system and a 50-inch screen.
I could have watched any of the movies, including one of the other films in the Jurassic Park/Jurassic World series, on my 4K UHD set (which is the only one on which I can watch any 4K content because the family room TV is a 1080p set attached to a “2K” Blu-ray player), but I am not fond of that set, partly because I hate my futon cos it’s not the most comfortable couch I have ever owned, but mostly because the Caregiver – who used to be better about such things as this – still has not connected the TV to the small ONN soundbar that’s already fitted to the wall.
So, whenever I get new 4K titles that include 2K Blu-ray discs as part of a “combo-pack,” I sacrifice superior video quality on my 4K set and go watch the still impressive Blu-ray on the set that has a larger screen and a better sound system, not to mention in the room with a more comfortable couch on which I park my ass.
After a quick dinner that consisted of leftovers from Monday night (two slices of Hawaiian pizza that I heated in the oven and three boneless chicken wings with honey BBQ sauce that I ate cold), I proceeded to park my ass on that more comfortable couch and watched roughly two-thirds of Jurassic World: Dominion. I stopped it at that point not because the movie was bad – it was actually pretty good, considering that many Jurassic Park fans were disappointed because Colin Trevorrow, the writer-director, didn’t give them what they expected to get, according to the comments in a Facebook group that I belong to – but because I was unusually tired and couldn’t focus on the story or the characters.
After I ejected the disc from the Blu-ray player and put it back in its collectible “steelbook” packaging, I went to my bedroom/study/mancave and decided to check out the 4K disc (by Shout! Factory) of Red Dawn just to see how nice the 4K video image looks.
I watched, oh, around 20 minutes of Red Dawn – from the startling sequence in which Soviet paratroopers land on the Calumet High School’s practice field and kill Mr. Teasdale, the poor history teacher – played by former NFL player Frank McRae – who goes out to investigate this unexpected invasion and is promptly shot by a Russian paratrooper, to the scene where Jed Eckert (Patrick Swayze) watches a fighter-bomber (it’s not clear if it’s a Soviet SU-24 or a U.S. F-111) drop a bomb on a target in the distance and says “Oh, Jesus, oh Jesus Christ!”
I stopped the movie there because it was getting late, I was tired and sleepy, and I’ve seen Red Dawn many times (twice in theaters in 1984, perhaps a dozen or so times on VHS, and maybe another 10 times either on DVD or in the 2012 MGM reissue that was released when the awful 2012 remake was in theaters. It does look good on 4K, and if it wasn’t for a nagging headache and my uncomfortable futon, I’d be watching the rest of it now, even though I’m keenly aware that Red Dawn is the kind of movie that is more in line with how right-wingers see the world than with my left-of-center political stances.
The Armchair General Strikes Again – or Tries To
I am a bit late with my blog writing not just because I have a headache – probably because I have not made the time to fix a quick breakfast beyond my usual Caregiver-provided cup of café con leche – but because I decided to spend a little time – less than 20 minutes – trying out Regiments, the new Cold War-turned-hot game created by Bird’s Eye Games and published by the new incarnation of MicroProse.
In Regiments, which is a real-time tactical level game featuring armored combat in a fictional scenario in which the Warsaw Pact invades West Germany before the events of November 1989, you are in charge of a regiment/brigade-sized unit (which varies in size, type, and available equipment, as not only does Regiments depict units from armies from different countries, but also the division types and their Tables of Organization & Equipment, or TO&E in military jargon) either in the Warsaw Pact or in NATO.
So far, I have not taken the time to really dive in and try playing a mission from start to finish. Partly because most games sold today are downloaded from vendors such as Steam and don’t come with discs or physical manuals (to be fair, 99% of my Steam games do have digital manuals, but the reading experience is not the same -or as pleasant – as holding a physical book-like guide to a game. Regiments apparently does not even have a manual you can access without playing the game – it has a Regipedia (like Sid Meier’s Civilization’s Civilopedia, but you must run Regiments to read the relevant information.
Thus, I’m doing what a good armchair general does not do; I am trying to learn the game through trial and error and “best guesses,” both in the sense of making tactical decisions and figuring out the User Interface (UI).
Since I have some “book knowledge” of late 20th-century armored warfare and U.S. Army doctrine – which includes nuggets of tactical wisdom like “use attack helicopters to take out Soviet self-propelled AA guns and mobile SAMs before calling for air strikes” or “know the time lag between calling in artillery and the time that the batteries fire a volley” – I am able to figure out a few things about how to best maneuver on a simulated battlefield. What I am not good at is issuing orders to multiple units in a short time, and I have to make guesses about which objectives I should send, say, a scout section and a tank platoon to without getting them killed quickly by the enemy.
I have, happily, learned that if I slow the game’s speed a bit I can do better with my command and control of units and make somewhat reasonable tactical decisions. But compared to how I used to play the original MicroProse’s M1 Tank Platoon back in the early 1990s, which usually entailed much reading of the manual before playing the game, learning how to play Regiments will not be easy unless I devote more time to it.
The graphics in Regiments are nice; they’re more detailed and 3-D than the game’s nearest counterpart. Armored Brigade, although I prefer the older Finnish-made game – so far, anyway – because issuing orders on that one is far, far easier than in Regiments.
Still, as the old saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
 Today, for instance, I figured out how to use A-10 Thunderbolts in a tank-busting mission. It helps, of course, that I had two two-plane flights available, one armed with Maverick anti-tank missiles, the other with unguided “dumb” bombs.