Friday, December 2, 2011

Boldly Going Where No Blog Should Go

This may come as a shock to some of you… but I’m a bit of a nerd. While I try to maintain a certain amount of coolness, at the end of the day, I’m just a big dweeb.

I try to balance my dork-dom with a bit of cool, by having a cool job, (well, its SUPPOSED to be cool anyway…), and by having varied musical tastes ranging from cool artists like Coldplay, Green Day, Beatles, Stone Temple Pilots and Neil Young; (well, some people say they're cool), to the not so cool, like… well, that’s kind of why I brought you all here today.

How would everyone feel if I say the name… William Shatner?




Yea, that’s kind of what I thought.

William Shatner is known for having a very ‘set-phasers-on-cringe’ musical styling. He is most commonly known for butchering Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, which is accepted as one of the worst cover songs of all time. George Clooney has said he would bring this song with him if he was stranded on a deserted island because, “…If you listen to [this song], you will hollow out your own leg and make a canoe out of it to get off this island.” Ironically, I felt the same way about watching your Batman & Robin, George.

Check out Shatner’s classic rendition of Elton John’s Rocket Man.




In the end, I respect this because it’s so bad… it’s good. Say what you want, but I do enjoy cheesy cover songs. I loved his versions of songs on the MTV movie awards years ago, and I enjoy the over-acting goodness of his Priceline commercials too.

So, when I accidently came across his 2004 song, Common People, I loved it! It was fun, and pop-rocky and really made you want to build a shrine towards all things Shatty. So, I got the entire album it was featured on, called Has Been.

Here’s where things get weird…

I expected big, over-the-top goofy Shatner. But, while listening to him doing a song about a man trying to meet his estranged daughter, and a song about a man striving for success but finding none, and then hearing him do a monologue on finding his wife in the pool after she overdosed on alcohol and valium, I began to realize… this is serious.

But here’s the twist… its good! I mean, NOT in a goofy over-acting sort of way, (although there are a few goofy songs on here), but in a well written, and well performed sort of way.

Not only is Shatner’s dialogue extremely enjoyable and heartfelt, the music is incredibly well produced and performed. Turn’s out there is a reason for this, by the name of Ben Folds, who produced and co-wrote many of the songs with him. It also features, Joe Jackson, who does the vocals on Common People, Aimee Mann, who does vocals on another song, and Henry Rollins on yet another. Isn’t this one of the signs of the apocalypse when Henry Rollins performs with William Shatner???

I don’t think The Shat did an actual video for anything from this album, (surprisingly), but I did find a live version when he performed on Jay Leno. While not quite as good as the CD version, this is still pretty decent.

Joe Jackson & William Shatner - Common People by Pius35

Bill (as close personal friends like me call him), recently released Seeking Major Tom, which didn't impress me as much.  Maybe he needs someone like Ben Folds, who understands him.  Maybe someone like me, (call me, Bill!). 

At this point, I usually make some attempt to summarize and wind this blog up… but I think I’ve said too much already.

DISCLAIMER
The picture on my profile is edited in Photoshop, and NOT me dressing up to go to the conventions.

Id like to say I still have some dignity but... okay, yes I've gone to conventions dressed up.  But NOT as any Star Trek characters!  

...Yet,
Deeesher

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Oh Captain My Captain... America

Yay for World War II!!! Wait... That came out very wrong, (although maybe a bit better than saying Yay for Hitler!). But you have to admit, without World War II, we wouldn't have awesome things like Raiders of the Lost Ark, or Werewolf Women of the SS, or Nazi Zombies... or Captain America!

I know what you're saying now, “But Deeesher, how can you say Captain America is awesome when you don't own any of his comic books!” First, what makes you think I collect comic books? Oh... *sigh*. And second, you're right, I have never had any interest in Cap (as his friends call him). In fact, he always seemed like a virus that just wouldn't go away! Every time I turned around, Captain America was making an appearance somewhere. Not really doing anything, just looking... buff. And when I first heard about the movie version, I did some serious eye rolling. You know, it was the same eye rolling I did when I heard about Thor, and Green Lantern, and another re-boot of Spider-man, and The upcoming Avengers movie. I'm all for a good comic book movie but I'm starting to wonder if everyone has run out of original ideas. Wait... don't answer that.

Because I'm not familiar with the original Captain America comic, I'm not entirely sure of his origin, so I have nothing to base the premise of this movie on, beyond what I know. And from what I know, it seemed authentic enough. Most of the movie takes place in 1940's at the height of World War II. And all hail director Joe Johnston who kept everything looking very authentically 1940's, with all it's dull earth tones, and the massive machine's and their giant dials and levers to the innocent sounding dialogue. Nobody said golly gee whiz, but I prepared myself for the possibility.

So we have overly eager but digitally shrunken and wussy-looking Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) trying to be all he can be in the army, when one day a kindly old scientist (Stanley Tucci) takes an interest in him (a story we've heard a million times before). After shooting him up with tons of experimental drugs, he comes out big and buff... sort of like me, (as far as you know), and eager to fight bad guys like Red Skull, (played by Hugo Weaving who made a great Elf, and Agent, and now he makes a great Nazi).

It's a simple plot, with some good action which makes it easy for my tiny brain to digest. And I'm far from patriotic (if you're really brave, read my political views here), but what makes Captain America work, is he is a hero! Sure most every country in the world hates us (with good reason) but I think most any country would be proud to have this man represent them. It just so happens that he has the name America, and not *insert country name here followed by obvious stereotype regarding said country here*. He put it all in perspective at the beginning of the movie, when they asked if he wanted to kill Nazi's. He said, “I don't want to kill anybody. I don't like bullies; I don't care where they're from.” That is a hero I can respect!

I saw Captain America: The First Avenger (the official title... whatever), in 3D (whatever again). I feel the same about 3D as I do all these comic book movies. Sometimes it works, but most times it seems unnecessary. This time, it sometimes worked, but you could save the extra few bucks and see it in two dimensions and your life will be just fine.

It was nice to see a director who knows how to edit a good action scene so you can actually see the action (what a concept!), but there isn't much about the overall style (beyond the bland 40's look) that jumped out and overly impressed me. I also thought, as impressive as the digitally shrunken Chris Evans was, they should have done something with his voice. It just seemed a bit odd hearing this deep manly voice coming from such a tiny body.

There is definitely a lot to enjoy about this movie so go check it out. And finally, if you're hoping for something sexy in your 40's flick, check out these gams...!

Yea, if you're not into staring at Chris Evans overly manly sized body (and why would anyone want to see that???), Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) showing off a bit of leg is as sexy as it gets for you...

Deeesher

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Who's Blog

If you are not watching the newest Doctor Who, (which airs everywhere from BBC America, Sci-Fi Channel, and yes, even PBS [???]), then you're IDIOTS!!



I have been watching this show since the revival in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston, and can I just say... wow!

Now, I say 2005, but 'unofficially', this is an ongoing series that started in 1963. Yes, I said 1963! There was a big gaping hole between some seasons, but that didn't stop Guinness Book of World Records from calling this the longest running television series ever, (take that Trekkies/Trekkers or whatever you call yourselves this week).

I confess I never watched it before the 2005 revival. And while I know for some that may be grounds for turning in my nerd-card, but... seriously, look at my profile picture... do I have anything to worry about?

The main reason I never watched it before was because when I saw the occasional 70's episode in the past, it would always be in the middle of some obscure story arc, and I have no idea what's happening, so I just never bothered to watch, beyond the cool intro music.

Fortunately, the BBC in all its genius has chosen to continue this series and for the most part, each episode stands alone, so you don't have to watch every one to know what's going on. Sure, there is an overall story arc that often ties things together, and it would help if you saw this episode, or that one... but its not required viewing thankfully!

All you need to know is that The Doctor is an alien called a Timelord, and he travels around in his time machine called the Tardis, that looks like an old British police call box, (the part that alters the appearance of the Tardis... um... broke, so its stuck in this form). When The Doctor dies, he conveniently regenerates, giving him a new appareance, (which is handy for whenever anyone's contract is up, or they decide they don't want to return for another season).

He is mostly just a curious explorer that bad things tend to happen to. And normally he finds a curious female friend who just happens to be from earth, and happens to be attractive to travel with him to keep him company.

Here in the US, we are starving for decent science fiction. Sadly, all we have is the occasional better than average Star Trek's, or the New Battlestar Galactica... *insert taste of bile here*, and read my views on it here), and fortunately for us, someone at the BBC knows how to write it!

Doctor Who is real science fiction writing, with unique aliens, stories that are waaaaay outside of the box, (umm... no pun intended... police box... get it?), and very engaging characters.

I got hooked on the show watching Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Doctor, and then feel in love (heterosexually... for the most part) with David Tennant as the tenth Doctor, (if anyone's counting), and he was so much fun to watch! He's a bit psychotic, (but in a good fun sorta way), as well as energetic, fun, goofy, and extremely passionate. I can't say enough about what an amazing actor this man is! He has really helped give the extra kick to already fantastic storylines! (I'm just going to go ahead and put an exclaimation mark at the end of every line in this blog now, cause I'm that excited about this show!).

Find this show whenever it airs, record it, watch it, and then send a nasty letter to all the ....US.... networks saying WTF?!?! The ....UK.... has this, while we get a reality show about The Cape, or 16 and Pregnant?!??!! Seriously people!!

Now, lets talk about Martha and Rose!!



mmmmmm....!!!!

Check out the official website here !!!

Sorry this blog isn't longer, but now I'm off to check out the spin-off called Torchwood!!

Oh but wait... this is version 2.0 of this blog!
I've seen all of the first season of Torchwood!!
Its.... okay... I like characters.

But wait again!!!
Matt Smith is the eleventh Doctor and I'm still loving it!!!

But wait one more time!!!
How about seeing a short eight minute 'transition' video that was made before season 4 began?!?!

This short was created for a special on BBC, and pays homage to one of the original Doctors. Peter Davison returns to interact with the new Doctor. Maybe in this short segment you can appreciate how interesting this character is to watch. It is particularly interesting because David Tennant grew up watching Peter Davison as the Doctor, which is why he has the wonderful comment "...you were my Doctor." Enjoy!!

B.S. Galactica

It seems every week, there is a new crappy remake being made. But there is one particular crappy remake that has somehow managed to brainwash all of society! I constantly try to express just how bad this show is (was since it ended), but somehow, everyone feels I am the clueless idiot, (which may or may not be true, but not regarding this particular issue!). For me, this is a travesty still haunting our hearts and minds... I'm speaking of the New Battlestar Galactica.

Oh I heard the collective *gasp* from all of you B.S. Galactica lovers out there! I don't want to hear it! Especially since this is my blog. Let me take a moment to enlighten the world and maybe together, we can try to figure out just what went wrong...

Set your wayback machine to the year, 1978. Only a year after a little known movie named Star Wars hit local theaters, but a year before Buck Rogers in the 25th Century hit television screens, (mmmm... Wilma Deering in spandex pants... *insert drool here*). You know the time, the same year as The Incredible Hulk starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferigno aired, (WOW, what a kick ass era... if not for all that pesky disco).

A simple man by the name of Glen A. Larson, finally gets a script that he had been working on for the last ten years produced into a movie, named Battlestar Galactica.
It really is quite a shame that little Glen A. did not have more success. Instead he just kept cranking out flop after flop, like The Fugitive, It Takes a Thief, Quincy M.E., McCloud, BJ and the Bear, Manimal, Magnum P.I., Fall Guy, and Knight Rider to name a few. Maybe if he had better luck, one or two of these shows would have been a success, (for those of you not paying attention, that entire paragraph was thickly laced in sarcasm).

Now where was I? Oh yes, 1978...



This show had EVERYTHING! It had space battles (with lasers!), gun battles (with lasers!), scary robot creatures with funny voices trying to kill mankind, (aka cylons), it had humor, originality, a GREAT theme song (check it out here), adventure, suspense, drama, and some very impressive Shakespearean type of actors.

Ok, let me qualify the above statement... This show had its, corny bits too, which are most obvious in the goofy mechanical dog, and a couple of episodes that were just not well written. In fact, out of the 17 episodes (or so... some were two or three parts), that were made, many believe only three of them were any good. I think there were maybe five or six that were good. But the show had GREAT potential.

What made it particularly good, was that it was based on action/adventure, with a very insightful inspiring leader, (Commander Adama played by the late great Lorne Greene), and was essentially a buddy show. Apollo and Starbuck were opposites in many ways, but yet whatever they bumbled through, worked in the end, and usually involved lots of explosions, and we had fun along the way. It was very much in the style of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, (lets not discuss the attempts Lucas made to sue the show here).

Unfortunately, due to a HUGE price tag per episode, Universal Studios decided not to re-new the series for a second season, (go figure... Universal Studios trying to save a buck... weird). Fans were outraged and begged for more. Richard Hatch, (who played Apollo) was outraged and demanded more. For years, he fought very hard to get his version of Galactica aired. He had a vision of a new series picking up years after the original ended, where Apollo was now commanding Galactica.

For reasons that scientists will spend years trying to unravel, Hatch's Galactica was not developed... however, another.... gentleman, by the name of Ronald D. Moore FINALLY got the okay to do HIS version of the series.



In the essence of fairness, lets take a look at Ron's resume. Well, looky here... there are random episodes of Star Trek, (Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, AND Voyager), as well as First Contact (Star Trek 8 for those keeping score), Roswell, G vs. E (THAT was a great show FYI), Mission Impossible II, and Carnivale (which I have heard good things about)... and that's about it.

With that in mind, one might think Ronald has his finger on the pulse of science fiction... lets watch what happens, shall we?

First on Ron's list of things to do... make Starbuck a woman. Not a tough sexy chick mind you... just a total bitch. While we're at it, lets also make Boomer (originally cast as a black man), an Asian woman (mmmm... it is Grace Park... *insert more drool here*).

And to cut down on the budget, lets not feature the mechanical cylons on every episode... IN FACT, lets just say they look human now! Hey, it worked for the Terminator, so it will be even better here!

Lets also get rid of any pesky "lasers" and just have regular bullets. Lets also have every episode deal with things people can easily relate to, so nobody has to actually 'think' while watching this show. Things like, abortion, breast cancer, alcoholism, religion, and rigged elections just to name a few.

And so we can save money on a wardrobe person, lets give the cast regular suits and ties, and glasses to wear. You know, modern clothes, because I'm sure billions of light years away, people in space wear the same types of things we do.
While we're at it, lets higher a drunk cameraman so the camera doesn't hold still on any particular shots just so our audience doesn't get bored and fall asleep watching one steady shot.

I watched the first mini-series, with low expectations. Ironically, I was not disappointed. It sucked ass on levels that I did not know existed. I WANTED to like this show, but it really just wasn't that good. Maybe.... MAYBE, if they had called it something else, I might have accepted it a bit easier... but this was most definitely NOT Battlestar Galactica.

And in the history of bad television, the show got picked up for a series. So, again I think, ok... I will continue to give it a try. Maybe something will impress me somewhere.

Nope.
For almost six episodes, I kept waiting, but they were all the same sappy crap. There was no action. There was no adventure. The 'buddy' thing was completely gone. The inspirational version of Adama was replaced by the ultra-depressing Edward James Olmos. The cool cylon voices were gone... as were the cool cylons for that matter. When we DO get to see a cylon (every fourth episode or so for a tenth of a second of screen time), they look very cool.

In the end, I gave up on this show... until...

People started talking about it. People everywhere were telling me, "...Deeesher, you should watch it, its really getting good!" So... me being one that will forever give into peer pressure, I tried again.

I just finished watching both the first and second season, and I have to admit... it STILL sucks!

I am so sick of these peoples sappy issues, and constant whiny attitudes about everything! Or, maybe that's just the drunken cameraman making me sick.
Why is everyone saying this show is good? Someone explain to me, because I don't get it. Maybe one or two episodes were... interesting at best, but I see ZERO elements of science fiction in this series. The only sci-fi elements I see are the fact that they are in space, and that cylons 'clone/download' themselves after they die.

Maybe people say its good because the public is starved for a good sci-fi series. Check your tv listings. Do you see anything current (aka non-cancelled) on 'prime time', (whatever that is) even remotely science fiction? Well, Stargate, (whatever), and Smallville, but I don't think that counts since it was only good for the first four seasons, and Smallville wasn't a 'space' story, and the new Doctor Who, (not a fan of the older ones, but this is VERY good! Click here to hear me sing its praises), and Heroes, which I loved the first season, then slowly started going downhill just before it's cancellation *sigh*.

Wait, there is ONE element of science fiction in this series. Its was re-newed for a THIRD season.

By the way... did I mention Grace Park?



Deeesher

Sunday, May 8, 2011

It's Alive

On April 1, 2008, I documented my experience twelve hours after having an Aneurysmal Bone Cyst removed from my foot (or ABC... WTF???). It was something that just randomly starting growing in my foot, (which was originally diagnosed as Tendonitis, which I attributed to too much ass-kicking). In the MRI, it looks sort of like a coral reef where the bone should be. It was my first surgery ever, and hopefully my last. Although it was not as traumatic as I worried it might be, I thought maybe historian's would want to read about my thoughts before, during and after. I felt fine, but maybe my words show how heavily drugged I really was? Decide for yourself after reading... It's Alive!


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If I died during my surgery, then I am writing this as a disembodied spirit... and how cool is that! On the other hand, it means that I am roaming the earth with some unfinished task, or I am in hell, which looks a lot like the real world.

Since it seems I am alive, I thought I would document my experience this morning, instead of repeating myself over and over. Oh, that's right... not everyone reads my blogs, so I'll have to repeat this story over and over anyway.

I discovered last night that I have an addiction... to water. I was almost going into cold sweats after midnight when I was told I couldn't eat or drink anything until after my surgery. There is nothing worse than someone telling you to not do something. My inner child was throwing a tantrum. I would have screamed, but my mouth was way too dry.

Since I worked last night, I didn't sleep and went online to search out some much needed porn to help create valuable drool that my dry mouth needed due to the absence
of water. I also needed the distraction to not think about someone hacking into my foot in a few hours, and something to keep me awake so I wouldn't need much anesthesia to put me to sleep, if any.

Reluctantly, I left at 5:30am with my woman and my parents (who drove all the way from Indiana to hang out with me this week to listen to me complain... what are parents for?).

It is important to note that the zoo is right next to the hospital. I had imag
es of my parents dropping me off at the wrong one, or simply returning to the zoo for a replacement for me if anything went wrong.

At 6:00am, we arrived, (at the hospital, not the zoo... I think). Twenty minutes later, they called me back and let me take ONE other person with me. After much finger pointing from everyone, my mom went back with me. Is it that she stepped forward, or did the other two simply step back?

They lead us to the prep room, where they told me to remove all my clothes and put on this
unbelievably fashionable green gown. I did ask if I could keep on my underwear, and she assured me that I could because my Talus bone (the one about to be operated on), was not there. At least I could have some dignity... until they put on the silver fluorescent night cap. At that point, I was very eager for some good drugs.

But, I was denied the drugs, and simply had to wait... and wait... and
freakin' wait! I began to think this was an elaborate April Fools joke, (oh like you wouldn't laugh your ass off seeing me dressed like that!). Fortunately, my mom was very helpful at passing the time, since she is the best talker in the world. She could go on endlessly for 30 minutes about a piece of lint she found in her laundry.

An
HOUR AND A HALF LATER, someone finally showed up! They asked me a series of questions, and wrote down a bunch of things... and then 30 seconds later, someone else showed up, and they asked me a series of questions... wait, didn't the other nurse just ask me that? Then 2 minutes later, someone ELSE showed up and asked me a series of questions... the SAME freakin' questions! Was this a test??

Were they waiting for me to screw up?? I was ready to just write it all out and point to the answers. Maybe in the future, scientists will develop some type of 'chart' technology, where they write everything out so anyone can read it.

During all these questions, one nurse chose to start jabbing me in the arm with a sharp needle. Was this finally the good drugs I've been so desperately waiting for?? Alas... no, only some antibiotic.

Then, it seems they decided to ignore me again. So, we waited, and waited... and waited...
Then they told me I could have my other visitors come in to see me if they wanted to. So, my mom went and got them. I told them I was still painfully very coherent.

My nervousness became frustration as I continued to wait for SOMETHING to
start happening, (would it be wrong to say I was 'im-patient'?).

Finally, someone came in to wheel me back to surgery. *gulp*
WAIT! THE DRUGS!!! I STILL FEEL EVERYTHING!!!

I arrived in the operating room with two giant big screen tv's each displaying my heartbeat and other fancy information about me. As I watched all the bodies frantically preparing everything around me, I realized something very important... this day was all about me! Wait... is that country music they're playing??? NOOOOOOOO!!

Then someone shoved a gas mask over my mouth and nose, telling me it was some oxygen, and to breathe deep. Two breaths later, I was out like a light. You would think I would notice someone taking a knife and hacking deeply into ankle bone, but I slept through the whole thing. I know I dreamed, but I can't remember. Maybe I was dreaming about someone hacking i
nto the bone of my ankle.

I was woken by a nurse telling me it was all over. It felt like nothing. No, really, I mean it. I sat up and watched all the other nurses, and patients laying around in the post-op room. I felt very talkative actually. I began to try to have a conversation with everyone passing by bec
ause... it was OVER!

Apparently they even shoved a tube down my throat, (oh, not while I was trying to talk, b
ut during the surgery), and yes it felt a bit scratchy, but I was fine. I couldn't help feel a bit awkward when I realized none of the other recovering patients were talking. I then thought, maybe I should just shut the hell up.

By 2pm, I was home, and in bed. But I wasn't really tired. For those looking to 'score', the prescription I was given, is "Lortab"... sorry. I was originally promised Percocet.


I'm home, hobbling around on crutches for now, and other than feeling like my entire foot is encased in concrete, I feel like nothing happened.

For those with the foot fetish, my doctor plans to unwrap me in a couple weeks, then I get to wear my big S/M boot.

Trust me, you'll understand when you see.

Deeesher

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Punching Suckers

Last year, I saw previews for the movie Sucker Punch, and instantly felt this was the greatest movie I will ever see! It had everything; explosions, giant samurai robots, fire-breathing dragons, sword fights, women in prison and more...!




So here we are after a year of eager anticipation, and I see many negative reviews. Yikes. What went wrong?!?

Let me first say I disagree with a lot of the negative reviews. I enjoyed it quite a bit, (although it's not as perfect as I'd hoped), but this is much more of a cult classic than easily accepted general public eye-candy.

I think for the average moviegoer, the story was a bit too cerebral. Sure the setup is easy enough: Baby Doll (Emily Browning), is sent to a mental institute by her psycho stepfather a la a very cool music video style intro. And that's about where common sense ends... Well, if you call naming your main character Baby Doll 'common sense'. From there, her mind sends her to work in a 1940's brothel with other girls who just want to escape. During their escape attempts, Baby Doll dances, which transports us into an almost anime style steam-punk world where all the super ass-kicking happens. Um... yea.

Zack Snyder wrote it, as well as directing and while the writing isn't bad (although maybe a bit pretentious at times), maybe he should stick to making comic book movies like 300 (where my bromance with Zack began) and Watchmen. I also wonder if focusing so much on the writing, affected his directing. Zack loves his slow motion and generally in past movies, the action was very fun and exciting to see. This time however, some action scenes felt like he was falling into the Michael Bay trap of quick close edits. Oh don't worry, nobody is that bad!

The characters are all interesting to watch, and women should appreciate it because the girls aren't dressed gratuitously. I still think they could have made the outfits a bit more sexy... but I only say that cause I like a bit of sugar in my eye-candy. Oh relax people, they made a point to show the girls are over 18!

These legally aged adults consist of Baby Doll in her blonde pigtails and school girl outfit swinging around samurai swords, (if you're into that sort of thing). We also have Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), and my personal favorite's Amber (Jamie Chung), and Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens... who I hear has naked pictures of herself on the internet somewhere, again if you're into that sort of thing).

In a world where all men are awesomely evil, we do get one Wise Man played by Scott Glenn. While he did a fine job, all I could think was how perfect David Carradine would have been for this. Oh David, why did you have to pleasure yourself to death?!?

Sucker Punch is a unique movie with a look and style all it's own, feeling like a very fun mash-up of video games, and anime set to a great soundtrack. Much respect to Zack Snyder for filling in that steam-punk gap that has been missing from our movies for so long now making me very eager to see what he will do with Superman when it's finished sometime in 2012.

One last thought...
While we never got to see Baby Doll dance, I think maybe this is okay. I would be very disappointed to discover that the dance that mesmerized the bad guys so deeply was only the Macarena.


Terrified of the world I would be transported into if I tried to dance,
Deeesher

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Greatly Disturbing The Force

Many people think that since I used to have a goofy Star Trek picture on my profile, I am one of those 'anti-Star Wars fans. To them, I say bah! In fact, for many reasons I may be a bigger Star Wars fan, (mostly considering how disgusting the Star Trek franchise has been in the last few years… please don't make me hurt you J.J Abrams!).

So due to my high nerd status, you can imagine how eagerly everyone is waiting on my review of Star Wars: Clone Wars.



This is only sort of from Lucas the Hutt, (oh come on people… have you seen how he's let himself go?!).



I say sort of, because he only came up with the idea and did nothing else beyond signing the checks.

This one could also be called Episode two and a half, stuck somewhere between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Mostly it deals with Obi-Wan, Anakin, and his new Padawan Ahsoka Tano, (who is actually kind of cute in a young alien Togruta sorta way).

Originally debuting in the theater, I was eager to see a new Star Wars movie like any self-respecting nerd, (even if it is digitally animated), but I sensed a great disturbance in the force… or actually maybe it was just in the hard chiseled look of the characters. I mean seriously people, why do they seem to look like they were modeled after Mount Rushmore???




If this were 1998, the look of this movie would have been very cutting edge, and show an amazing advancement, but it seems like nobody at Lucasfilm has ever heard of Square Enix! Check out the recent character for Final Fantasy XIII.




Not only does the Clone Wars animation look like blocks of wood, they moved like they had a stick up their ass. I will confess, the Clone Troopers looked very good, as well as the droids and most of the environments, but the harsh rigid look of the characters really took away from any realism the movie and series could have had.

Sadly, this was not my only problem. Why do we have to endure no-name voice actors for most of the characters we are very familiar with??? Maybe I could have accepted one person not being available, but the majority of the characters were read by someone else. The only exceptions were Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu), Christopher Lee (Count Dooku), and Anthony Daniels, (duh). I mean seriously, are Hayden Christensen (Anakin) and Ian McDiarmid (Palpatine) that busy these days or was Lucas the Hutt holding out the credits on them??

But wait, there's more…!

Star Wars has certain expectations that are ingrained into your brain from many years of Lucas the Hutts brainwashing of the masses. First and foremost, one name: John Williams. You know the score, (um… pun intended), as soon as you see the Star Wars title, you expect to hear a certain theme song. Denied! Fine, you want to use a different composer, but just give me the freakin' opening credits people! Beyond this glaring faux pas, the rest of the music was actually fairly decent and had a different feel from anything John Williams had done. But I could not forgive them for instantly reminding me this did not feel like Star Wars.

The pain continued to build when I was also denied any type of opening scroll to read. Maybe I don't come to a movie to read, but the opening scroll is another expectation in the Star Wars universe. Instead, we were given a very cheesy narration to explain the status of the galaxy. At this moment, I almost walked out thinking I was in the wrong theater.

And at no point does anyone say, "…I've got a bad feeling about this." Although, they did say it twice in Episode IV, so maybe that will make up for this one.

By now maybe you're thinking there is nothing good about Clone Wars. Well, that's not entirely true. It feels a bit obvious the movie was made more for kids, who I think will really enjoy it. It does have a lot of good solid action scenes, and the story is fairly decent, even if it is a bit simple. Many of the new characters are also very interesting.

Is all that enough to save it? Eh…

On the other un-severed hand... the television series based on the Clone Wars movie is featured on Cartoon Network. Somehow it works better on a smaller screen, (assuming you're like me and aren't rich enough to afford the 60 inch DLP). The stories are 30 minutes (well, after commercials maybe 20 minutes) and each one continues to the next episode. I still feel the same way about the look of the animation, but the stories are actually pretty decent for the most part and add a good amount of action. In later seasons, they've realized maybe their fans are growing up (or already grown up), and started writing for this type of audience. If you're eager for your lightsaber fix, and want to know what happened between Episode 2 and 3, check it out... but try to overlook the block design of the characters please.

In the meantime, let's talk about Square Enix again shall we?




Mmmmmm… *insert digitally enhanced drool here*
Deeesher

Something To Scream About

I love my survival horror video games! Oh sure, I enjoy my Tomb Raiders, and God of War types but I can never get enough decent …boo’s. I guess I just enjoy being scared. I don’t mean ‘threat of nuclear war’ scare, or ‘why won’t this rash go away?!’ scare. I’m talking good old fashioned ghosts and monsters type of frights.

So when Deadspace was released (for Xbox, PS3, and PC), I thought this could be right up my dark demented alley. You play as Isaac Clarke (named after sci-fi authors Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke), who is part of a rescue team sent into deep space to figure out what happened to the mining ship, USG Ishimura. It seems they decided to stop sending communications after they brought a giant ancient artifact onboard. Maybe it had something to do with all the ships crew turning into disgusting monster/zombie/aliens.

There is a lot that is familiar in Deadspace because they borrow heavily from other horror movies and games. But is it an homage, or rip-off? I see bits of Event Horizon (one of my favorite movies), Silent Hill 2 (one of my all-time favorite games), Alien, and Bioshock sprinkled throughout. But this game seems to lack the soul of its source material. There are constant moans, groans, growls, rattles and bangs heard throughout the ship as it slowly falls apart around you, and there are plenty of ewwww moments as well. But is it as scary as a Silent Hill, or the Fatal Frame series (one of my other all-time favorites)? I think I jumped maybe twice during gameplay, (but I did so in a manly sort of way of course).

The overall story felt a bit drawn out to me, especially when you pretty much know how it’s going to end. And nothing is more annoying than being an errand boy, because everyone seems too lazy and/or terrified to walk out of their comfy safe zones to fix anything themselves. I spent most of the time just following the ‘objective path’ clicking on things without really knowing what I was doing or why.

They did do a lot of things right however. One of the best parts of this game is the way they keep you totally immersed in it. That means no opening up your inventory to catch your breath and get a quick health drink! Sure you can open your inventory, but it’s done as a heads-up-display. So while you’re enjoying a cool refreshing beverage, an alien/monster can tear your leg off. Even the cinematics are all rendered within the game, so there are no put-down-the-controller-and-watch-a-cool-movie moments, because you don’t know when things will suddenly throw you back into the action again. And yes, the visuals of the ship and space were very impressive, but I still miss the fully rendered movies.

I also enjoyed the over the shoulder camera for this game, (I prefer this style over a first person shooter, I guess because I want to see my hero getting his ass kicked). Once you get the hang of dismembering the alien/zombies, it is actually a lot of fun. There are a few different weapons available for purchase and upgrades, (purchase?!? Seriously?!? So in space, nobody can hear you scream but apparently they can hear you swipe your credit card!). Don’t worry too much about cash, because the monster/zombies carry tons of it so you can pick their pockets when they’re dead.

But most offensive to me, was the voiceless, faceless hero, Isaac. Didn’t we do this in Bioshock, Halo and Metroid? Being the strong silent type is one thing, but with so many interacting with him, why wouldn’t he speak?!? I want a hero with attitude I can look up to like Kratos, or Dante, or Lara Croft, or Mario… well, maybe not Mario so much. So Isaac as a character is a bit of a disappointment for me.

I would still recommend Deadspace, if you’re into this kind of thing. Maybe I’ve been a bit desensitized over the years and maybe for the average person, it is a terrifying game. There are also plenty of cool mini-games and replay-ability, (and the zero gravity stuff is a mix of fun and disorienting!). But seriously, for the current price of $29, how scary is that??



Moan groan growl rattle bangs… boo,

Deeesher