Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Whole Bunch of Reviews:

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies Review:
Peter Jackson did not deviate much in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but we did begin to see him shift more to the appendixes and such in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Everything truly changes in The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies and I keep on accidentally writing armeis instead of armies. I'm very angry right now while writing this review, I am so, so, so angry and I feel I've only been getting angrier. I liked, this movie, however, and writing this review will hopefully alleviate some of that rage.

The biggest deviation that is in the film... and it took me so long to finish this sentence because I tried to pull my USB out of my tower and half the USB stayed stuck in there. The Five Armies is where it deviates, there never really are five armies. The human army isn't really an army, it's more of a militia. The elven and dwarven and orcish armies are still present, yes. Still that's only three and if we consider the humans as an army, it's four. Where's five? Apparently Azog and Bolg are leading two different orcish armies. There is no army of wargs, Beorn does not kill Bolg and I could list the differences, but I'd rather not. It's very trivial because The Hobbit as a novel does not work as a live action film, an animated film is different, you see, because Tolkien supported this idea. I personally do not like the idea of there being two Orc armies, because, really? It's technically just one army with two large garrisons. I'm willing to abide by it, however, because of how it is executed.

Smaug is vanquished at the very beginning in a fashion different to that in the novel. It works, however, because it establishes Bard the Bowman as a legitimate hero. Smaug is terrifying. He was not that terrifying, more amazing, in the second film, but he is terrifying in this film. Why? It's different seeing dungeons where there are massive dragons than it is seeing the terrible lizards roaming out in open land. Seeing him relative to an actual human civilization was wonderfully crafted and what little dialogue he had was handled well. On to Bard the Bowman, Luke Evans perfectly stole the show. Honestly, I have no doubt that if he does stick with it, The Crow, will be a success just because of him. Fast and Furious 6 established him, but this film has made him prominent. If Dracula Untold had it's release date delayed, it would've gotten better reviews and higher sales no doubt. What makes Bard the Bowman the film's standout character is his portrayal, Evans shows him as a troubled man of self-doubt and unlike Aragorn, the film does not need to explicitly show that for you to believe it. You believe it when you see him choosing peace over war because he does not know if he will be able to lead his people to victory... but he does it anyways when Azog and Bolg arrive.

Now, time to talk about the other performances. Bilbo sort of fades into the background during the final fight sequences, but what we see in Bilbo thrusts him into a Samwise Gamgee role in consideration towards Thorin. Unfortunately, even though Martin Freeman's performance is as strong as ever, Richard Armitage's is what is lacking. It feels like there should be so much more and the problem is not that it's bad, it's that it is too good but after shining two times, he can't use the hammer to strike thunder a third time. Evangeline Lily's character is the one you start to hate, because everybody liked Kili and for him to die for her is just sort of disappointing, based off of her portrayal. The entire crew does do a good job, however:


inFamous: Second Son Review:

Now this is a game that knows what it's about and tries to make you strive to do it, and it accomplishes that goal, because you as the player want to do it. The game follows a canonical heroic choice actions from both inFamous and inFamous 2. The thing is, that the developers want to push us to do the right thing but with Cole MacGrath, I never wanted to do the right thing. Look at Star Wars, lightning is a seductive power of danger. With Cole I wanted to be the bad guy, the tyrant of New Marias. With Delsin Rowe, I don't. The character of Delsin is a much better character and he makes the game. He is far more fleshed out and it is a joy playing as him, in fact, I feel bad when I make the villainous decisions wit him.

However, that faults the morality system, does it not? Providing us with a character whom first, we wanted to do something bad with and now, a character whom we want to do the right thing with? It is skewed, is it not? Karmic systems, and I hate to call them that because it is not a proper representation of Karma at all, are faulted in video games. The Fallout series does it best, but giving inFamous a blank face would go against the series.

Gameplay is the most important aspect. At first we gain smoke powers, then neon, then video (?) and then concrete. Out of all of those, I hated video. It was poorly handled and seemed to be just thrust in there for sake of having enough powers. Smoke was my favorite, but that may just be because I liked smoking around the place like I was a demon from Supernatural. Neon was handled so well, however, that a video game based off of the Flash could work. Concrete was just badass, did it add anything and sort of ruin the final boss battle? Yes, it did, very much... but I mean, it was fun to play as and after the main storyline finished, was all I'd use. I have two gameplay test videos coming, both which will be different.


Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor Review:

The second review based off of a property made by Warner Bros off of their The Lord of the Rings license. Imagine Batman: Arkham Asylum being made now, this is what you would get. Honestly, it is. The counter system is sort of flawed, gameplay does get repetitive and despite the open world environment and attempts to make travel faster, you sort of don't always want to go around. Also, like Batman: Arkham Asylum, this game is very, very, very awesome. Combat is amazing and very well done, where repetition is concerned, it's in the sidequests, so complaining about it really should not matter and the open world environment is the most beautiful thing seen so far in a PS4 game so who cares if you have to tame a caragor?

Caragors and Graugs. From what I have done the game so far I have heard of Wargs but no mention of Trolls. I understand Wargs not being in Mordor, they never were if I am right, but Trolls were always in their army, or was that Angmar? Nonetheless, it is probably a licensing issue, if anything. Caragors and Graugs are very well done enemies, as are most of the Orcs. The system given for the Orcs, the Nemesis System is well done and I am sure it will only improve in sequels. I don't want to go into too much depth, but battling different Orcs, each with their own attributes and weaknesses makes for a much more enjoyable game.

This review isn't going to be too long because the game quite frankly is very very amazing and I can't praise it enough. The story is the one thing that gets me. Made entirely of references and mentions in the appendices of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Monolith have made the most in depth story of a video game set in this universe yet. I haven't played The Lord of the Rings: War in the North yet, I do intend to, so take my comment with caution. It is personal and moving, especially Talion's conflict, but we see how that ends up. A key theme of The Lord of the Rings is becoming the enemy. Sauron's Ring, the Ring of Mordor, the One Ring or whatever you call it is the weapon of the enemy. If you brandish the bayonet of the opposing army, you are supporting their weaponry and in a way, supporting the enemy. Talion is using his powers of fear, powers of evil, to try and fight evil? It is possible to fight fire with fire, but evil and good are abstract concepts that have deep meanings; it is not a wise idea. I have not yet recorded any gameplay of this, maybe later.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Organic Molecules Found on Mars

No, we did not find aliens or anything on Mars. I just thought it'd be fun to post about the fact that we found the molecules that have the potential to house organic life on Mars. It's molecules like carbon and the methane levels that have scientists intrigued. Look, no life confirmed, but it's the closest we'll be for years, I'm guessing. Y'know, unless a bacterium jumps in front of Opportunity or Curiosity runs over a space rabbit.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

So About Spider-Man

Okay, let me start this story from the top. Spider-Man 3 was released to great commercial success and a degree of critical success, but the fact that the positive feedback wasn't good enough forced late production of Spider-Man 4. This, production issues and the fact that Sam Raimi wasn't confident he could make a film as good as Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 in such short notice, caused him to abandon the fourth outing. This led to them declaring reboot, which I hate. The Amazing Spider-Man was released to average critical reviews and mild commercial success, but nothing was too negative (aside from me, of course). It was a solid start (according to some) and they went ahead with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and halfway through, studio interference destroyed what could have been a decent flick. They announced The Sinister Six and Venom because they saw how successful The Avengers was and realized just how good X-Men: Days of Future Past would be. According to lead star Andrew Garfield, this is what may have caused the film to be less than good.

Now, unfortunately, Sony Pictures was hacked. We now have access to private information and while some people may be mad at their comments, please note, that is their private information, you and I are in no place to judge their opinions. We can, however, judge the facts. The second Amazing flick was less than amazing and it effectively dampened Sony's plans because Venom is cancelled, The Sinister Six is the main priority and The Amazing Spider-Man 3 is delayed. Out of all three of those films, the only one I would be excited in is The Sinister Six because it sounds pretty awesome based off of concept, but with The Suicide Squad taking off with Lex Luthor and the Joker, it now sounds pretty less than stellar. In any case, though, despite my feelings about the entire reboot situation, this whole plan, if initiated successfully could have been actually amazing.

Reports started off with the idea that Sony Pictures was considering a deal with Marvel Entertainment. This would have effectively rebooted Spider-Man once more, but the studios could not come to finalized deals over story, costume, marketing and creative control. It appears they had profits under control, but the entire creative process was the problem. So, even though these talks fell through, Sony Japan executives maintained belief that it could come through and apparently this was because, even though Sonyh hasn't officially fired Andrew Garfield, Sony Japan believes him gone and what Japan says, goes. So, with that said and in mind, Sony Japan believes that The Amazing universe needs to be rebooted one way or another. Sony, if they do go with this reboot in the MCU, want Captain America in The Sinister Six and Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War. However, Sony's biggest gripe seems to be what film should they do next. At one point they were considering it being The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and then they changed it to The Sinister Six. Whether or not they reboot again is a moot point, the fact is, they don't know what to do next. Amy Pascal is reportedly going to have another meeting with Kevin Feige but the key thing to note is that if Avi Arad is involved, the whole thing is kaput. That's monumental because it would effectively push Avi Arad out of the Marvel Cinema business, and this is the guy who started the X-Men, Spider-Man and Fantastic Four film franchises and effectively started Feige on the path to the MCU. They had their split, but pushing him out, especially when he founded Marvel Studios, is tremendous.

Then comes in another variable: Jeff Robinov. This is the guy who ushered in such films like Batman Begins and Man of Steel but was also the man who claimed Superman Returns didn't gross enough (it did) and pioneered Green Lantern. He has left Warner Bros for Sony Pictures, and he did save WB and probably could save Sony as well. Amy Pascal is a good businesswoman who knows nothing about story, Robinov is a bad businessman who knows everything about story. In between their discussions came the possibility of returning to the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire pairing for another trilogy. It would work, definately, but Pascal is a proud woman. She shut this down claiming Raimi "Schumachered" the franchise, when that was actually because of her and Avi Arad not believing in Raimi enough. If he could come back, he could save the franchise, though. In response to that, Robinov suggested what I believe is a bloody brilliant idea. James Bond the whole thing. You have one set of films with Maguire, you have one set of films with Garfield, have a set of films with other actors and so forth. Given that Sony Pictures makes the James Bond movies, they probably know that this formula could work. Hell, it will work because it'll keep everything fresh, so long as they don't keep telling the origin story.

Out of all this, the one thing to note, though is that at this point, only one thing is for certain. In 2018, we will get The Amazing Spider-Man 3. As much as I don't like this series, it needs to end and have a conclusion. It's the best thing for Sony Pictures at this point, to end their current series. They could pursue placing him in the MCU after that, or they could reboot him once more. They could make spin offs in the Amazing universe while keeping the Spider-Man films on the backshelf for a while. Or they could do the smart thing and bring back Raimi and Maguire. All in all, though, all the discussions seem to point towards The Amazing Spider-Man 3 happening before any reboot or whatever will occur and these discussions point toward it being directed by Miller and Lord instead of Marc Webb. Chances are, if it does happen, and does get produced by the Russos, it will be the final non-MCU Spider-Man film. So there's the census: Spider-Man will get his third Amazing property as soon as Sony figures out what to do with it, and after that you may see him be like the WWE wrestler who was gone for long and join the MCU, or see Tobey Maguire come back.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Shut Up Alex Leadbeater - It's Been Enough

Alex Leadbeater is an editor on WhatCulture. Given that Knight says I have the most pull on this blog, it seems reasonable that I do this before anybody else does. Shut up man! Nobody cares! Okay, that out of the way, let me give some insight. WhatCulture is a website that many sites want to be, it has a plethora of articles all detailing different topics. Alex Leadbeater is a member of WhatCulture's editorial team. He is very good at what he does (almost as good as me). How? Look at all of the articles, he's published, most of them are quite amazing. Then it gets to Man of Steel, he's like the opposite of Knight, who spends most of his posts gushing about the film. Deadbeater, if you can't say something good, right something bad once and don't have the need to do it again. It's like OCD for this guy, I mean write the articles that people want you to write, y'know, the articles of yours that are enjoyable, fun and everything that people want of you.

His most recent article, Suicide Squad: 10 Reasons It Will Save the DC Cinematic Universe, is a Man of Steel bash in disguise. I mean, seriously, read it, it's entirely him saying why Suicide Squad will be better than Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. He's freaking comparing two movies that haven't even come out yet, one that hasn't even finished it's script. Go further down his list and you get 10 Signs Warner Bros Have No Clue About Batman v. Superman. Now Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is not going to be like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 where all of the cinematic decisions were made halfway through the film. All of that was finalized in the first draft of the film, the worst it could honestly end up being is Iron Man 2 (which sucks. It's not a bad movie, it's just a pointless movie. It's actually a fairly enjoyable flick that suffers from reasons I'll promise to detail in an article later). The movie has not finished filming yet, all you know is from what interviews and casting decisions have told you and you are judging it off of leaked set photos? Call it overcrowded sure, but by that same standard, Captain America: Civil War, is also overcrowded and there you are sucking that film's dick. 14 Most Divisive Films Since 2000 once again contains Man of Steel.
Yo dawg, shut the fuck up!

Funnily enough, Man of Steel isn't even mentioned in his 10 Movies That People Hate Because Their Popular article even though that definition truly does apply to that film. Don't get me wrong, Leadbeater has written articles about Man of Steel that relate to easter eggs and such that are completely unbiased and such... but it's when he decides to write his opinions that it gets too much. I want to go on WhatCulture to read a diverse array of articles, not see Leadbeater's beaten horse opinion on the front page over and over and over again all relating to some seething hate he has for one film, get over it! He's made 9 Reasons Why Batman Begins is Better than Man of Steel (and 1 why it isn't) and 10 Bad Movies (Other than Man of Steel) That Should Put Batman in Their Sequel. I'm sure there are more, but I'm too tired to point it out right now. Shut the fuck up Leadbeater.
Giant Ass Picture