Friday, December 10, 2010
As I always thought that it was at least superior to Philosopher's Stone I never quite understood why people ranked CoS as the least great one. It wasn't until my recent read through of it, now that I can see it with more experienced eyes, that I can understand why this is/was the case.
I still don't agree with the assessment that it should ranked last though.
Monday, November 29, 2010
The way I saw the fifth and sixth movies were much less of a spectacle compared to the previous four that I had seen with large groups of friends. I saw them alone some time after they had opened up at the cinema and found that, to my surprise, not only were they really good movies they were good adaptations of the novels as well.
Which, after a long story, brings us to the subject of this review. Yates' third movie in the franchise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
As cynism had marked his once naive soul it was with caution that he opened the book.
And then he smiled.
The magic was still there.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
While I think that the way the game sets-up Pain's invasion of Konoha was a little lack-luster it did provide with some fun match-ups before the last big boss battle.
And that's where the epicness comes in. I only screwed up a single quick-time event so the whole thing flowed nigh-perfectly smoothly. And kicking Pain's ass in normal battle mode felt as satisfying as it looked in the manga. The only part that annoyed me was that Hinata was allowed to completely get her crowning moment of awesome, it was replaced with a heroic sacrifice that looked sort of lame. So that was bad.
The pay-off however was cool. Taking on a shinra tensei spamming Pain as the uber-powerful six-tailed Naruto was explosive and the battle looked truly awesome.
The end part to the fight was great as well. With both Naruto and Pain being limited to only basic combos and their standard ninjutsu move. No throws, no items, no ultimate jutsu and no support. But Pain was constantly awakened so he dealt out much more damage than the player did as Naruto. It's a simple idea but worked out well. It was a challenge and very satisfying to beat.
I'm also impressed by how the story parts and themes where all fitted into the epic finale. It was rather gripping and felt a bit more enjoyable than in the original series. Maybe because I've realised how it all works out a little better by now. Either way it was fun to see.
So now the game's main story is done for my part and all that's left is to be a completist. But I just want to get all the playable characters for free battle mode. So my friends and I can kick each others' asses. I also want to beat the shit out of the evil puppet guy. He annoyed me. So I get to have fun in travelling the game world with a the four-man team of Naruto, Hinata, Gaara and Rock Lee!
Today I got to a fragment where you got to fight the ever awesome Killer Bee as Sasuke, now in his Akatsuki uniform and with new abilities. The guy was suprisingly, yet saddly, easy to beat up. At least in his first form. Then he got to be permanently awakened and kicked my ass at first. But that was a fun challenge as well. Beating his superior power with tactics and skill was rewarding as all hell.
And... that's about that. A fun game overall with lots of fun things to accomplish and good retelling of the Naruto Shippuden storyline. Though, I wonder what a sequel would be like since Naruto doesn't get to be in all that much action after the Pain fight. He'll get his share eventually but right now he's taking a training back-seat. Oh well, if there is a sequel I'll probably get it just for all the new characters that are certain to be added to the roster.
Until next time, when I'll start something I've been looking forward to.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Fought and defeated Hidan and Kakuzu. The Kakuzu boss battle was the most difficult one yet and pretty freaking epic.
Played through the Sasuke storyline of the game. Got some good laughs from the game implying that team Taka are actually good at what they do. Was disappointed that the Sasuke/Deidara battle didn't get boss battle treatment. But that was fixed with the Sasuke/Itachi battle which was just great fun.
And now I've played through one of my favourite parts of the Naruto series. Jiraiya's infiltration of the Hidden Rain village.
The atmosphere in the village was great. With dark and gloomy colours that contrasted Jiraiya's own bright outfit, making everything feel foreign. This feeling was further enforced when talking to the NPCs in the village. All of them seemed perfectly fine and sort of happy despite the gloomy appearance of the village and the constant rain falling down on them. A somber musical tone kept me on edge, though the fact that I knew what was going to happen helped as well. I was seriously itching for the battles to come.
First of was lovely Konan and her paper style jutsus. I won but she surprised me with her speed and range. Then came the battle I've been itching for almost the entire game. The war between Jiraiya and Pain. It was always one of my top two favourite fights in the series. Not only would we finally get to see Jiraiya going all out while at the peak of his healt but he would fight alone against the leader of the Akatsuki. It was a battle destined for great things.
As a boss battle it shared the same quality as the Gaara/Deidara boss battle in that you never really did the same thing twice. The straight up fight sequences never had you fighting against a normal playable character, instead giving you some unique enemies to battle against. The quick time events were used to showcase the abilities Pain had that couldn't really be fitted into a normal fight sequence and the final moment were just a hopeless struggle for survival before it all ended with one crowning moment of awesome. There was so much creativity put into this battle and I applaud the game designers for making the whole thing so very awesome.
Then came the story elements with Jiraiya's death and Naruto dealing with it. All of it was handled beautifully and I actually shed a few tears. Excellent stuff really.
Now then, it's the final chapter and all that remains is Naruto's training, the Taka/Killer Bee boss battle (at least I hope that it's in there) and Pain's assault on the Hidden Leaf village. I'm very interested in seeing how they'll do that one.
Until next time.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
But yeah, I'm really having fun with this game. So much so that I don't really care that's it's a glorified fighting game with a pretty weak free-roaming section. It's fun and it's a good retelling of one of my favourite manga series.
Now, I was a bit disappointed in the 4-tailed Naruto/Orochimaru boss battle. There's was no standard battle with Naruto in this form and the shooting gallery style battle which was just not really working for me. Also the quick-time event part took me an embarrassing number of tries to get through.
However, the Naruto/Sasuke boss battle totally made up for it. Finally a battle that match the epicness of the Gaara/deidara battle. It wasn't the same scale but in made up for it in inventiveness. The small flashes of Naruto and Sasuke's previous battle interspersed in during the fight was a neat touch and the quick-time event sequence was fittingly awesome.
And I thought that it was a nice touch to let you play as Asuma for a while. It made his inevitable doom a bit more heart breaking, it also helped that he's now one of my favourite playable characters. Oh well, I got to beat the shit out of Hidan with him. That was fun.
Speaking of Hidan, his english voice actor is freaking rocking the role. It is one of the funniest voices I've heard in quite some time and he can still be creepy when the story needs that.
As the story has reached Naruto's wind training I've now experienced a funny trait from a game with... shall we say limited gameplay option. With only a fighting game mechanic and a free roaming mechanic there's not really a lot of ways to show that Naruto has actually learned anything new. So it's been resorted to just having him getting his ass kicked by his teachers or kicking their asses.
Great way to learn there. By beating people up. It sort of reminds me of the Harry Potter games where the teachers send Harry on freakishly perilous quests to learn new spells. I just find stuff like that really funny. At least in Ultimate Storm 2 Naruto gets some off-screen training, which is really doing its jobb in building up to the grand reveal of the results.
So yeah. I'm having fun.
Until next time.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Back to the fun stuff now. The story is so far a really well-abridged, not the parody thing, version of Kishimoto's original story as it keep all the elements and important scenes without slowing down the pace of the game.
The boss battle against Sasori was not as epic as the one against Deidara, nor as difficult, but still plenty fun and awesome with some great quick-time events thrown into it, I just need to get better at them. It does get me thinking about which other boss fights I'm looking forward to the most right now. For once I might actually get to enjoy the Sasuke/Itachi battle entirely instead of just parts of it. And man o man am I looking forward to the Jiraiya/Pain battle.
Right now I'm meandering around the various world maps to see if I can't get some other fun hidden items and stuff. Also looking for these evil little dolls that appear around the world. Will get back to the main story tomorrow.
Gai and Rock Lee are freaking beasts in this game. Possibly the best characters as far as I can see.
Tenten on the other hand kind of sucks. As always.
I cannot express how great this game truly looks.
Maybe I should get a second controller.
Oh well, time to get right into the least fun story arc in the series.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I. Am. A. Nerd.
Here's the thing. Me and my friend Anton usually visit a place in Stockholm that sort of acts as a library for comics books of all sorts. On occasions this place will show a movie for anybody that wants come in and just watch a cool and/or nerdy movie.
This evening they showcased the movie Ninja Assassain starring South Korean entertainer Rain. It was a pretty fun, over the top, just a tad bit too gorey action movie about ninjas. Good action scenes and plenty of neat little details. Overall enjoyable, if you're into that sort of thing.
But before the movie there was a 'ninja quiz' where all the questions were about ninja related stuff from comics, manga & anime and crappy 80s action movies with ninjas in them. 30 questions in total with one elimination question (a picture of the ninja turtles with the question "Which doesn't fit in with the rest?").
As far as my cynical self is concerned I never win anything like this. It's just fun to play along when the arrangers have gone through the effort. So I answered all the questions that I could answer and wrote down that Donatello doesn't fit in since he relies too much on modern science over his actual ninja skills (it was the best thing I could come up with so I won't disagree if anybody says that I'm wrong, besides it's better than the one that answered "Leo because he's lame and boring", but I digress).
After the movie the answers were read up to the audience, around 8 guys, and I just nodded as I noticed how many wrong answers I'd gotten. The questions about the 80s movies sort of set me back. Luckily I could copy a few answers from Anton who did the same with me, he copied a lot more from me than I did from him. And when all was said and done it became apparent that I'd actually won the whole thing with 16 correct answers.
I realised that before it was properly announced and my first thought was "Oh dear, I AM a nerd."
...and I was ok with that. It didn't bother me or anything like that. It just struck me as funny.
Then I got my grand prize. A 7 disc box set of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja (Hero) Turtles. One of the most nostalgic shows from my childhood. Fucking awesome!
All in all. A fun night that I just wanted to share.
The game follows the second part of the manga/anime series starting after a two-three year time-skip where the titular character has undergone some training. Training which most fans seem to agree yeilded some fairly unspectacular results. But that isn't a problem here. In fact it seems to be the opposite.
As with the other titles this game franchise, which previously consisted of only fighting games, every character seems to have had their abilities and special moves amped up by a degree of 5-10, resulting in some almost hilariously over the top moments of awesomeness. But hey it's a good way to give the player some epic boss battles so I'm not complaining.
So far I've played two of these boss battles that seriously rival the God of War franchise in terms of cinematic scale. The first one was against Naruto's instructor Kakashi, who claims that he was just testing the kid while throwing fire balls, water dragons and assassination moves at him. It was a fun fight and I didn't really have any problems with it.
Then came one of my favourite battles from the original series. The air duel between the sand village leader Gaara, my favourite character in the series, and the artistic and explosive terrorist Deidara. This fight was quite a bit more difficult as I got my ass kicked a few times and a groan-inducig number of misstakes during the quick-time events. It certainly showed that I'm still a beginner at this game and would've revealed my button mashing tendencies to anybody watching. Nevertheless I had loads of fun playing this boss fight as well. The developers managed to make an already epic battle even more epic while still keeping the events in order.
So the boss battles are great fun but I'm wondering about the other gameplay elements. So far it just seems to be running around a lot and buying stuff and talking to people on the streets. Less exciting but that's ok. I'm here for the story anyway and so far the game is doing a good job of faithfully retelling it. I've decided to stick with the english voice cast just out of interest and they're pretty damn good. And the graphics are breath-takingly beautiful.
I think that I'll have much fun with this game and once I'm done with the story mode I can hopefully try out the Vs. mode with some of my friends.
Until next time.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Just got home from seeing it. The, for me personally, most anticipated movie of the entire year, partly because it took so freaking long for the thing to get to Sweden. But man o man was it worth the wait.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is AWESOME for so many reasons. But let's sum up the story first.
Scott Pilgrim is a twenty something slacker with a slight case of douchebag in him. He's in a crappy band called Sex Bomb-Omb (if you get that reference the chance of you liking the movie increases quite a bit), lives with his gay friend Wallace and he's dating a 17 year old catholic school-girl. Then he meets Ramona Flowers. A stoic, tough as nails gal who can see through what Scott is about with ease and doesn't like to talk about her past. The two begin dating and then Scott has to fight her seven evil exes.
You think that last sentence is weird? Then try this on for size. The movie's world runs on video game physics, meaning that whatever looks awesome will most likely work.
The action scenes in this movie are among the best I've seen. Ever. Either they were really inventive or extremely well-coreographed and all of them were epic fun. At the same time they all meant something. You see, the fights scenes are basically a visual representation of how people like Scott Pilgrim wish that they could deal with the emotional problems that they go through and serve as metaphors for Scott's issues and stress at the time.
Which brings us to the romance. From the above descriptions it might be believed that Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is nothing more than a geek-out extravaganza. It's actually more than that as it tells a mature and deliciously human love story between two young adults that grow as persons and as a couple inbetween all the awesome stuff of epicness. It's a good love story and I do so love a good love story.
Then there's the humor. I, along with pretty much the rest of the theatre, laughed my ass off at several points. It's a funny movie.
So it's a movie that has awesome and epic action scenes, a well-written and mature love story and hilarious humor. In short, basically everything that I love form a story. And it's supported by a great cast. Michael Cera makes Scott believeable and enjoyable without necessarily making him entirely sympathetic from the get go. The seven evil exes easily steal the scenes that they're in. Just about everybody absolutely nails their part and I wish I could've seen more of them all.
According to other reviews I've read, the graphic novels on which the movie is based on expand upon several of the supporting characters greatly. Saddly most of this is cut in order to get through all the fights agaisnt the evil exes but it's not a deal-breaker or anything. It just makes me want to buy the novels more.
Despite being almost two hours long the time just flew by for me. Sure the movie does tend to speed through things at certain parts and while the action is awesome it is totally understandable that some would find there to be too much of it. But none of that stopped this from being one of the most enjoyable and entertaining movies I've ever seen. It just kicked ass.
If you like awesome geek-out stuff then you should totally go see it. And if you can appreciate a good movie then you can see it and enjoy it, though you may want a friendly geek with you to explain a lot of the stuff that the movie throws at you.
Monday, October 18, 2010
In short, the origin of the most important characters, who tend to have the most complex origin stories, will have been told to the non-comic book reading movie goers so that the movies can focus on the gathering and first adventure of the team. Not only is that sort of brilliant from a marketing stand point, I can't think of any other instance in cinema history where a project like this has been attempted.
And it's real. There's a schedule for when each movie is going to be released. The entire main cast has selected and revealed, a few of which we've already seen in the Iron man movies. They all even appeared together for a panel at the San Diego Comic Con International along with the director and one of Marvel Studios film producers.
Who's the director you ask? None other than Joss Freaking Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer! ...I should be more excited about that than I actually am. The thing is that at the height of my BtVS fan-frenzy the announcement of Whedon directing The Avengers movie would've been like a god-send for me. But in later years I'm more capable of seeing the flaws in his story-telling skills. That's not to say that I dislike his work. I still admire the guy immensely. I'm just a bit vary about what he might do with the movie.
Then again, with a project like this I have no idea at all who would be able to direct it in a way that would be satisfying to both common movie goers and fans of the comics. At least Whedon has shown great enthusiasm for these characters and he's a fully capable director and a gigantic geek with the full force of Marvel Studios at his disposal. There's a good chance that it'll all end up being awesome as all hell.
But first things first. For now we wait for the Captain America and Thor movies. Those will be very interesting to see next year.
So, am I done with this for now? Hell no! With The Avengers movie coming and Disney having bought Marvel comics you can bet your beepy, whatever the hell that is, that there's a cartoon based around the team coming. In fact, it's going to premiere on October 20 this year. But they've already aired a number of mini-episodes on youtube. I've watched them all and they are awesome.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Of course, this is just my interpertation of Samus. Others might disagree on some points but overall I think that it fits what we know rather well.
And that's not the only situation where the descision to deactivate seemed none-sensical. Samus was also made to turn off her grapple beam, a thether-like beam weapon that she normally uses to swing across large gaps and to pull shields away from enemies and similar things. In short, it's not a particularly destructive weapon but it's still turned off. In Other M there's a situation where Samus needs to save a friendly marine but he's on a place that she can only reach with the grapple beam. It's immediately activated at that point in the game but there was still a risk that she wouldn't have been able to do that in time.
Again, the deactivation of certain items makes some sense and from a gameplay perspective it's just a standard staple of the series to not start out with all of Samus' equipment. But from a story perspective the reason for deactivating the equipment just doesn't make much sense. A lot of the upgrades Samus deactivated weren't all that destructive at all or even weapons at all. That Samus is willing to deactivate them so easily without protest simply because Adam ordered it left a bitter taste in a lot of peoples' mouths. I'll get into that relationship later.
So overall, the reason for denying Samus her upgrades, while clever, doesn't hold up all that well and doesn't reflect well on Samus. Someone with her experience should know better than to downgrade her abilities like that. And Adam himself should realise that she'd be an even greater asset with her full capabilities. Overall, it just didn't work out and that Samus roled over and allow it without a single protest made her look bad.
The second instance in Other M that fans really seem to have a problem with is the encounter with Samus' arch-nemesis, Ridley.
Chronologically Other M takes place after the SNES game Super Metroid where Samus has not only defeated Ridley rather thoroughly, he falls to pieces after the fight, but she's also left his remains on an exploding planet. So understandably Samus is relieved that the monster is FINALLY dead. In Other M Samus discovers a tiny creature whose scream pushes other creatures to more aggresive behaviour. This little fellow is later on revealed to be the first evolutionary form of Ridley. When the bastard, or rather his clone actually, appears again in all his purple dragon glory Samus reacts rather strongly.
The guy in clip with Samus is an old friend from her time with the federation, just so you know.
The main reason this scene angers a lot of people is because that generally isn't how Samus behaves around Ridley. Normally she'll just blast the crap out of him, a feat that she's pulled off almost ten times by this point in the series. They were even in a free-fall once and she kicked his ass in an awesomely epic boss battle. So if she's defeated this hated enemy then why does she go into a despairing fit when she sees him this time?
It is heavily implied that she's reliving the nightmarish day of when her parents were killed and the shock of that is causing her to lose focus so badly that she can't even keep her armor on. Added to that is probably the shock of seeing Ridley alive again after his previous death, though it isn't really hinted at in the game but it makes sense. So seeing him again, even if it's a clone but that's probably an unimportant detail, was bound to incite a strong reaction from Samus. She is still human after all, as I described in detail above, and in the end she does get it together and kicks his once again.
However, despair might not have been the reaction I would've chosen personally. I agree with the game that the situation would get a strong reaction from the armored heroine but instead of despair I think that she'd get angry. Really angry. So furious that she becomes reckless and gets smashed down by Ridley when she tries to take him on without thinking ahead.
So while I don't entirely agree with how it played out the scene in question doesn't bother me as much as it does others. It can't be denied that it's a weak moment for Samus but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's a bad moment. Though I do understand how it can be seen as such. But even badasses like Samus are allowed to spaz out now and again. It shows that they're human underneath all of their ass-kicking glory.
Now those were only the two most controversial individual moments that made Samus look weak, incompotent and/or less interesting than first percieved in the eyes of a lot of gamers. There's still lots of other reasons why they frown on this story. But they can all be sort of be summarized by one individual aspect of the game. The writing just isn't all that good.
After years of being a silent protagonist you'd think that they would treat Samus fist fully voiced game with meticulous care. In some aspect that was the case. In a lot of other cases that it wasn't. For example, the writing is about as subtle as a boulder launched from a catapult. By the end of the game the theme of motherhood will have been hammered into your head so intensely that you'll never want to read The Joy Luck Club ever again. Then there's a rather hilarious cut-scene towards the end where we get to see a corrupt officer from the federation. I don't know about other people but the way this character looked, moved and grunted brought on the following thought from yours truly.
"Ten bucks says that your name is Puppy-kicker McBadguysson."
The story's un-subtle nature is further displayed by Samus narration. She will describe the things that are happening on screen in teeth-grindingly annoying detail. Even freaking really obvious things will be described in this manner. It's made even worse by the fact that Samus won't ever shut up.
It's honestly like she's trying to make up for the being silent in the nine previous games by filling each second of each cut-scene with her narration. It grows tiresome rather quickly. Most of it is her own inner monologuing and the introverted character I describe above is very likely to have a lot of thoughts running in her head. So it is reasonable that she has a lot to say in her narration. But there are ways having a character narrate excessively without making it annoying, one of them would've been to get a better voice-actress. Which leads into the next great problem that comes from bad writing. Crappy dialogue.
I don't know if something got lost in the translation from japanese to english but the dialogue just does not work. It's stilted, sort of clichéd and it just doesn't draw me in. All the big moments and surprises in the movie-esque youtube clips I saw were sort of ruined because the dialogue, probably aided by bad and tedious voice acting, just made me role my eyes and wish for the parts where I was watching somebody else play the game. There were some bright moments here and there but Samus was only part of one of them, and that was a four word sentence at the beginning of the game.
But there's one example that just really shows how poor the writing of this game. Some time into the story it's revealed that there's a traitor in Adam's team. A person sent in to kill all the other members for some evil conspiracy bruhahaha. He even attacks Samus while riding around in large robot-tractor thing with hi face hidden from the audience. This sub-plot is never resolved and the entire team dies, though all aren't killed by the traitor. How's that for lazy writing.
Well, I've danced around it lon enough now so let's get into the part that really is a hot-button topic among Metroid fans. The relationship between Samus and Adam. Like everything else in the story it is without subtlety to the point where Samus flat out narrates how she sees Adam as a father figure and the only person that understands her. She also tells us that they had falling out after Samus left the federation. And from a previous game we know that Samus always respected Adam and that he saved her life.
Throughout most of Other M Adam mainly communicates with Samus via radio-contact and tells her when and what weapon/equipment to use. That alone might irk some gamers. You see, in most Metroid games Samus usually gets told where to go and what the problem is but at the end of the day she's the one that actually has to come up with how to fix the problem. In this game Adam often ends up telling Samus which weapon to use, not all the time but enough that I can imagine some fans getting annoyed by it. Samus has been doing this for long enough to not need some man telling her how to do her work, at least that's how I think some might see it.
Other than providing unnecessary advice people think that Samus is too submisive to Adam, exemplified by the whole deactivating weapons dealy. Now while I do agree with that assesment it is sort of understandable that she would let Adam act as commander for her. He was after all her boss earlier and is still a father figure. For a lonely person like Samus I can imagine that falling into routine isn't unlikely at all. Besides, it's not like Samus ever actually asks for advice on how to do her job or begs him to allow her to use any equipment, even in situation where she should do that. Adam just provides it whether Samus, and the players, needs or wants it.
There is a scene however that not only demonstrates the submisive way the game has Samus act in but also the bad writing. It's a rather important scene at that, namely when Adam sacrifices himself to save Samus. The problem is that he doesn't actually save her as much as he puts her in harms way, for illogical reasons, and she doesn't even get a bit miffed about it. Hell, he actually shoots her in the back, completely disabling her armor (which is weird since Samus has taken way stronger hits without losing it), to save her from a threat that it turns out she could've destroyed easily on her own. Then his great sacrifice comes and it just seems like it could've been averted by Samus just going into the same place doing her job and then going down to the final boss a bit later than planned. In short, bad writing strikes again.
I'm being deliberately vague here because the scene is so stupid that if I went into more detail I'd make his a lot longer than it already is, which is alreadly a lot. So let's conclude.
And for all those that think that Samus isn't badass in this game think about this. She's still able to kick the crap out of all the big bad bosses and monsters that show up in the game all on her own, even the building sized ones, some times with limited weaponry. Also, this is just one game with bad writing. Samus still has nine games of ass-kicking awesomeness, and better written stories, to fall back on. So at the end of the day she's still a badass and interesting character. Don't let one poorly written story tell you otherwise.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Clash of the Titans was a neat treat but a little weak at the end.
Kick-Ass was a delight.
Prince of Persia: Sands of Time was a fun adventure movie with one of the best action scenes I've seen in a long time.
Iron man 2 was pretty much everything that a sequel should be with a many a geek-out moments, especially after the credits.
Inception was a clever mind-bender that tried a lot of things and pulled them all off really well.
Robin Hood was good, not great but good. I wish they would've gone with the original idea of having Robin as the villain but what are you gonna do?
The A-Team was a great mindless action spectacular.
The Karate Kid was great. Both as a remake and as its own movie. It gave me a newfound respect for Jackie Chan as an actor.
Left on my list are The Expendables and Toy Story 3. But I'm gonna do something about them soon enough. There's however one movie that I really want to see that has caused me some grief. You see, here in Sweden movies rarely ever air on the same date as in their original countries, though that's probably the all over the world. In some cases it's a matter of waiting a few days, maybe a week. In lucky instances we actually get to see the movie before even the americans, that was the case with Iron man 2. And then there are the times when we have to wait several months for a movie to show up after its premiere.
That is the case with... Actually no... it's more than just waiting for a few months.
First time I saw a trailer for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World I was stumped. It just looked bizzare, insane and I needed to see it. The anticipation rose with each new trailer and I looked up more about the comic book series it was based on. Without spoiling anything for myself I only got more intrigued. I even bought the first book to get a bit acquainted with the series, but I've been told to see the movie first then buy the rest of the books.
I looked up when the movie was going to air in sweden, because in my mind there was no way that such a fantastic looking movie wouldn't air here. My search yielded no results. There wasn't a single mention of the movie being shown at any cinema in my dear little home country.
The F-word I uttered at that time was probably the loudest I've roared yet.
A little while later dates for the movie's sweden premiere began poping up a little here and there. In forums, magazines and IMDB. They were all different and the cinema site still didn't mention anything about the movie.
So I decided to just get in contact with the cinema company to get some straight answer. The reply was that it wasn't certain that they would show Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, but the chance still existed.
Being a natural pesimist I despaired that I would have to wait for the movie to come out on DVD or that I'd have to download it, I don't stuff like that. What really annoyed me is that the list of cming movies being shown in Sweden included the live-action version of the comic strip Marmaduke was clearly posted.
Nobody in Sweden gives a shit about Marmaduke and that has a better chance of being aired than Scott Pilgrim? I really wanted to punch somebody that day.
Luckily it has recently been revealed that the movie will be shown in Sweden... starting October 29. That's six weeks and six days from today. Stupid cinema company not understanding how awesome Scott Pilgrim vs. The World probably will be. Now I don't feel at all guilty about using a voucher to see the movie for free.
Oh well, until then there other fun nerdy stuff to look forward to in Sweden. The closest would be the marathon of The Phantom shorts being aired at the local cultural centre. It's going to be dorky as all hell. But that's the kind of stuff I live for. Which is pretty much why I look forward to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and why I hate waiting for it. It's a bit like waiting for me to actually write something on this blog.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
As a person who enjoyed the original movie very much I was a bit worried that I'd be comparing this remake to the older one too much to fully enjoy it. That was not the case luckily enough. The 2010 movie is strong enough to stand on its own two legs and successfull in being an homage to the original while at the same time adding new elements to the story.
Of these new elements the one that stands out the most is the setting. The movie is filmed on location in Beijing, China, which naturally gives the audience some beautiful scenes. It also adds to the story by more or less isolating the main lead Dre (Jaden Smith) in a culture he knows nothing about and he can't even communicate with the majority of the population. Dre is so very American in his attitude, pop culture references and unfamiliarity with his new home. The contrast between cultures is immediate and very believeable. Jaden Smith works well in this role as showcases a large variety of emotions and he does them all very well. I especially appreciated that in this movie it's the american that has to adapt himself to his new home's culture rather than him showing how his American style is the superior one. Believe me, it's a refreshing novelty in movies like this.
Now while Jaden Smith is good in his role the movie's shining star is without a doubt Jackie Chan as Mr. Han. I now see this veteran action star in a whole new light. He pulls of the old, withered and eccentric master role brilliantly and makes it his own. There's a sense of sadness and mystery to Mr. Han. He has a personal secret that is subtley hinted at up until it's revealed. At that point the catharsis scene is one of the most poignant things I've seen on the big screen all summer.
The teacher-student friendship between Dre and Mr. Han is of course the very cornerstone of the movie's story and it is a pleasure to see how it goes Mr. Han barely responding to Dre trying to get his attention to the two of them learning life lessons from one another. It's all pulled off very well and with a sense of sincerity that I personally loved to see.
Unfortunately the romantic sub-plot doesn't hold up as well as the main plot. It's a contrieved and forced and the actress that plays Dre's love interest has basically two expressions. Sad face and big smile. However, it does what it's supposed to do and the conclusion of it was one of my favourite scenes.
Now for a quick list of other notable things in the movie. Taraji P. Henson as Dre's mother is very good. I'm rather impressed that there wasn't any real rousing speech throughout the entire movie. The fighting scenes where well-coreographed and only really implausible towards the end of the last one. I also enjoyed how there was several training montages instead of one which made Dre's eventual improvement feel more natural.
All in all, I really enjoyed this movie. It was one of the most touching films I've seen this summer and I recommend it to everybody that's seen the original.
Monday, July 5, 2010
The narration reads as follows: They sing no songs in Hel, nor do they celebrate heroes. For silent is that dismal realm and cheerless. But the story of the Gjallerbru and the god that defended it is whispered across the nine worlds and when a new arrival asks about the one to whom even Hela bows her head the answer is always the same. He stood alone at Gjallerbru. And that answer is enough.
Another heroic death scene that seems to have stuck can be viewed in the case of Rex-splode from the Image comic Invincible written by Rober Kirkman, who more or less writes EVERYTHING that happens in the Invincible universe, meaning that it's unlikely that some other writer will have a chance to much his work up. In the series' 60th issue Rex sacrificed himself to save his injured teammates from an over-powering opponent. Prior to this Rex had been something of an annoying jerk, cheated on his girlfriend among other things. But after some character development he'd begun to be less of douchebag. Then he died. Unlike Skurge who evolved more as a character in death more than he'd probably ever do in life there were still more stories to tell with Rex. This is an example of that bitter-sweet feeling I mentioned before. The fans of the character want to see more of him but at least he went out like a hero. But because Rex died like that it become more poignant. The readers will not only miss the character but the stories with him that won't be told because he's no longer there, making the scene and aftermatch all the more powerful. A revival would take away a lot, if not all of that power.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
The Finale of the Worldwide Phenomenon
The Motion Picture Event of a Generation
More specifically it's the words Finale and Generation. It just sort of dawned on me that I'm part of that generation that's refered to there and that this will probably be the last big thing regarding Harry Potter. It was just a bit of a surreal moment for me.
Friday, June 18, 2010
It doesn't quite seem to be this country's year now does it.
Our entry in the Eurovision Song Contest got out-voted and didn't go to the finale, causing an embarrassing hissy-fit with the swedish people.
And our national team in football flat out lost and didn't get to go to the world championship in Africa. I don't really know how people reacted to that but I bet that it involved lots of swearing and disappointment.
In short, this country needs something to cheer up its spirit. Something that doesn't happen on a regular interval. Something that's a bit extraordinary. Something that the media just won't shut up about.
In short, again, it's rather lucky that our crown princess is getting married tomorrow.
The extraordinary bit is that she isn't just going to marry some random foreign royalty but a man of the people. A personal trainer/gym owner/entrepeneur named Daniel Westling, who in a cute little coincidence has the birthday as the current King of Sweden. So the whole thing has a sort of modern fairy tale wibe to it which people love.
Personally I have no love or hate for the royal family of Sweden. They could stay or go and I'd barely raise an eyebrow. But I do have to admit that seeing Daniel and Victoria together is a bit nice. They look genuinely happy together and the clip of them announcing their engagement is actually touching. I just like seeing happy couples. Which is good in this case because, like I hinted at before, the media will not shut up about this wedding.
I know that it's a big deal and all but it gets a bit annoying when basically every channel has at least one program dedicated to the wedding itself, the royal family as a whole, Victoria and Daniel as a couple or royal weddings in general. And it's not just television. In the papers people on the streets and celebrities have asked boring generic questions about how they feel now that this is happening. There was even a paper that had what was basically a fan fic about the couple five years from now, was a bit long-winded and had a predictable twist at the end, written by an acknowledged swedish writer.
And then there's the newspaper that had a rather detail layout of the wedding and what route the couple will take after he wedding so that they can wave to the people. I'm most likely being irrational about it, but isn't that the kind of information that creepy and dangerous people could use to... I don't know, assassainate one or both of them. Or just be an asshat and do something silly like streak in middle of it all? But they're going to have like 2000 policemen guarding the whole thing. Meaning that it's a perfect time to commit a crime in Stockholm as long as you stay a fair distance away from the wedding couple.
But overall the only really interesting thing that's popped up in the news because of the wedding has been the inevitable bit of controversy. In this case it's all about who will walk down the asile together with Victoria.
You see, in Sweden the tradition is that the bride and groom walk down the asile together to signify that they are truly equals that have chosen to make a commitment towards each other. Following this tradition would mean that Daniel and Victoria would be walking down the asile together.
But a short time ago there was the announcement that Victoria's father, the King, will be escorting her down the asile. It's Victoria's own choice but it has sparked a large debate. On the one hand, it is Victoria and Daniel's wedding and they have a right to do it however they want. But at the same time there's a chance that because they do then many other wedding couples will follow in their footsteps with the father handing over the bride thus further breaking the tradition of equallity in swedish weddings.
Personally I'd wish that they would stick to the swedish tradition. But that's not because I'm a traditionalist of any kind. I just think that it's a nicer sentiment behind it.
When a father escorts the bride to the groom it kind of seems like she's just some piece of property that is getting pawned over to a new owner.
When a couple walks down the asile together it's like they're walking on the path towards their future together as one. I just like that one better.
There's some news that a compromise would be that the King will only escort Victoria halfway down the asile where Daniel will be waiting and from there they will walk the rest of the way together.
Yeah, that's doesn't really change anything. It's not the distance that's the point of debate, it's that she will be escorted at all. But in the end it's Daniel and Victoria's decision to make and that alone seems to have gained them the favour of the populus, at least if we are to believe this site. Hopefully this won't mean that there'll be a rise in fathers escorting the brides down the asile.
Escorting controversy aside I can be happy for Victoria and Daniel. In fact, I'll be extra happy for Victoria. Due to her honeymoon it seems like she won't have time to sit through that god awful televised show where her birthday is celebrated by various artists and she has to sit on the front row smiling for cameras when she'd probably want to do something less public. At least this year she won't have to sit through that shit.
Good for her.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
My friend, whom I'm going to assume still wants to be called Sharkazzz instead of his real name, found a Star Trek fan club/society based in Stockholm and found out that they were going to have a gathering that was sort of open to anyone, who was willing to pay, he asked me to tag along. I figured that it could be fun and I'd always wanted to see a larger group of Star Trek fans so I agreed. Basically they had hired a small movie theater where they would show episodes of the various Star Trek series for a total of twelve hours.
Overall it was fun. The theme of the episodes was supposed to be fathers and sons and it overall held up pretty nicely but was something of a strech in a few episodes that they showed. Also, there was a clear over-abundance of Next Generation episodes, six while the other series only got one each. A bit boring since I've seen like 90% of the TNG episodes but what are you gonna do.
The fans themselves amounted to about 20 with only few dressed up in costumes, all of them human star fleet commanders. I had hoped for a bit more on that front. Generally they were male (shocker!!), with a few women, in the ages 25 and up and most of them were a bit overweight. So besides the gender ratio being flipped, and there being much fewer attentees, it was sort of like the Angel convention I'd been to a few years ago.
As for the episodes. They were are generally good, but there's one moment that I remember distinctly.
Captain Kirk from the original series had a most peculiar fighting scene. It looked sort of normal for the 60s, fake but full of energy, then Kirk pulled of a strange attack on his oppoent. At least it looked strange. Kirk's adversary was down on the ground and the brave captain was going for the finishing blow. Kirk runs up to his foe and leaps at him with a flying kick. That's what I assume it was supposed to look like. What I saw was Kirk's feets and legs going past his oppoent's head but the opponent still fell down as if he had been hit. A common mist-step that one can most likely find in loads of tv-series and movies. What made this one particularly memorable was that due to Kirk's angle it looked like he was hitting the bad guy's head with his butt. I actually LOLed at that. It was just funny.
Nothing much else to say really. The other friend that Sharkazzz had invited, and paid for, left sort of rudely before even the halfway point with no real good explanation. Though, it just wasn't his thing really and I wouldn't want to be something that's not my thing for twelve hours either. They're having a facebook argument about it now.
Then Sharkazzz left because he was dead tired, this had caused him to arrive annoyingly late this morning. But I'm used to that. Also they were going to show episodes from two other non-Star Trek scifi series. Sharkazzz being the Trek purist that he is didn't want to stay around for that. I did and discovered that Battlestar Galactica is really weird unless you've already seen the rest of the series.
Overall, a pretty fun and lazy day.
Oh and the lyrics to klingon songs are strangely, yet somehow understably, similar to the lyrics of Dragonforce songs.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Today I had one of those moments and did so to procrastinate a little. The usual suspects were shown. Crappy comedy, boring horror movie, stupid action movie, Twilight: Eclipse (HOW do they keep making these so fast?) etc etc.
Then something else showed up. The trailer started out in a ghetto setting with a black kid, that I sort recognised as Jaden Smith the son of Will Smith, as the focus. Then from what I could tell of the trailer he and his mom moved to Asia, Beijing to be more specific. In my concieted and cyncial mind I role my eyes and figured that it would be some sort of comedy about cultural conflicts and stuff like that.
Then Jaden Smith's character started getting his ass kicked by the native kids as he tried to protect a girl. "Huh." my mind went as its interest got peeked. It was surprisingly dark and brutal how these bullies kept beating him up. Then Jaden is saved by this cool looking old asian guy who whoops the bullies asses and scares them away. What follows is a training montage where Jaden is taught martial arts and later competes in a tournament.
I scoffed it off by thinking "Please, are you actually trying to do some hip Karate Kid knock-off?". Then I go two surprises.
The first was that the mentor dude was played by Jackie Chan. I was surprised because he looked totally serious and badass. Now I know that he is serious and badass when he does his stunts and fight scenes. But outside of those I'm pretty used to Jackie Chan looking like this nice, playful uncle kind of guy who's a bit silly. In this trailer the seriousness of the character fooled me and I couldn't see that it was him.
Second surprise was the title of the movie. It was plain and simply The Karate Kid. Cue my mind blinking for a few minutes.
Now, I love the first two Karate Kid movies with Ralph Maccio and Pat Morita. They're fun movies with interesting characters and entertaining martial art scenes. I even like the premise of the fourth one where Hilary Swank takes over as a female apprentice, saddly the execution of that one sucked. And considering the level of "quality" that remakes usually have in this day and age my initial reaction was a nerdy rage which almost caused me to denounce the movie.
Then my inner voice of reason told me to chill and pointed out that the trailer at least looked good and deserved some investigation and a look over with sound. So home I went.
I've now seen about three or four different trailers for the movie and I am intrigued to say the least. The characters are all different from the original movies and the setting has moved but the overall set up is pretty much exactly the same as that first movie, but with a little modern touch to them. I love this movie's take the whole "catching flies with chop sticks" bit.
I found the jokes funny and the style is certainly more cinematic than the original, probably due to the remake having more money to spend. At the same time it seems to have a more gritty tone to it to reflect modern times.
A nice little tidbit I found was that the film is actually... ehm... filmed in Beijin: China. That's pretty awesome and should give us some great visual backgrounds.
But remakes have stilled sort of burned me before so despite the general positive feeling I get I'm going to be catiously positive until I actually see it. But hey, I do want to see it. So the trailers have done their job.
Here's a link to my favorite trailer for the movie. If you liked the old movies, check it out.
Also, interesting note. Since the movie actually focuses on a kid learning kung fu in China it will be called The Kung Fu Kid in Asia. It will still be The Karate Kid in America simpy because that's probably more marketable.