Thursday, 28 April 2011

Let's Talk About Trailers

I love films. It's really no secret. I've spent countless days in the past just sat watching any film I can get my hands on. But there's one thing that I detest about films; the trailers.

My problem isn't with regular trailers, it's with the trailers that paint a film to be something it isn't. There are hundreds of trailers that don't even brush the plotline of the film, and that really ticks me off. Evidently, there are some trailers that do exactly what they say on the tin, showing explosions, giant robots and scantily-clad Megan Foxes, and delivering explosions, giant robots and scantily-clad Megan Foxes

It runs along the same lines of someone changing the sleeve on a hardback to Dickens, when the actual novel is Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. The premise is the same; why paint a film out to be something it's not? Surely if you're having to lie about what happens in your film you shouldn't really be producing it.
The moral of this story: Film-producers, stop lying about your films.

Tune in again for another "Let's Talk About" segment.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Knights of the Boss Republic

Leviticus 35:17
And God said unto man, "No nerd shall be without a love for Star Wars". And it was so

Star Wars is a unanimously loved film, for all the right reasons; lasers, lightsabers and the Mos Eisley Cantina theme. It is one of the few films that has survived the trials and tribulations of terrible prequels, still being loved by tens of thousands worldwide. Knights of the Old Republic was the first PC Star Wars game I played and I can honestly say it was instantly amongst my top 3 favourites.

The game takes place long before even the prequels, telling the story of the mysterious Republic soldier and his crusades against the Sith. A straightforward story, admittedly, but it is filled with charismatic characters, a fantastic soundtrack and memorable landscapes.

Let's start with the characters. One of the things I loved most about this game was how starkly they contrasted the films, whilst simultaneously staying true to the Star Wars Universe. Whereas in the films there was always a definitive line between Light Side and Dark Side, with all Jedi being paragons of justice and all Sith being dastardly criminals with the scruples of an SS Soldier. KoTOR, however, blurs this line slightly. though the game starts with the Sith being quite definitely evil, there are sections in the story where you are forced to interact extensively with them (don't worry, this is a no-spoiler zone), and I have to admit: they have some persuading arguments. I found myself questioning whether the Dark Side were actually as evil as the Jedi always profess, and I started leaning more and more towards the thinking of Jolee: People shouldn't get so hung up on the whole Light Side, Dark Side thing.

The Sith were painted more as troubled and misdirected than they were actually evil. Many of them seemed to have noble thoughts and actions, yet directed them in a more unorthodox way. Though Hayden Christensen tried to portray this "troubled youth" angle in the two latter prequels, though the notion was lost on his god-awful acting.

The only negative point I think I can make about this game is the stunted combat system. Whenever you see an enemy, the game automatically pauses, and lets you plan the start of the battle. Though this is useful, and definitely saved my ass more than once, it staggers the action, and made the fights, for me, less fluid (something I always loved about lightsaber battles).

Regardless, this game remains one of the best games I've played to date. And a word of advice if you're to play it: Never stop spamming Power Attack.

Monday, 25 April 2011

A rather average attempt at Minecraft Skins

Thought I'd try my hand at making some skins for Minecraft. So I chose to do myself and a couple of friends. Turned out...unextraordinary.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Crows Zero: Fighting, hilarity and chain-smoking abound

Modern martial arts films have never really sat well with me. With the exception of the occasional star (like Ong-Bak or Seven Swords), they seem out of place and outdated. Crows Zero, however, is far from that.

Based on the manga Crows by Hiroshi Takahashi, the film tells the story of student Genji who transfers to the notoriously violent Suzuran High School and fights his way through the school to try and conquer it. The premise of the film is that each student has to fight others to 'recruit' them to their group. But Genji goes about this slightly differently in some cases (for example trying to get Makise laid to get him to follow him)

From the start, the action is beautifully choreographed with just the right level of exaggeration and humour thrown into the mix. The comedy in this film is fantastic. There were several instances I was crying with laughter by the sheer stupidity, especially as Genji and Ken (his drop-out life mentor) try to set Makise up on a date. 

All in all, the film is definitely worth the watch, even if you aren't a usual fan of the martial-arts scene. Final thoughts: Thank god for Japan. 

Saturday, 23 April 2011

The Not-So-Great Gatsby

I think it's more of a personal preference which I attribute my dislike of this novel to. Fitzgerald isn't a bad writer, by any extent of the word, however, there are a few features which, personally, aren't very appealing. 

First, the positives. Fitzgerald is fantastic at crafting settings; in particular, his wasteland. The barren area between the Eggs and the city is rife with symbolism, character development and crucial plot-points. Of the entire novel, T. J. Eckleburg was by far the most intriguing - religious symbolism has always been a point of interest for me. 

Unfortunately, that was pretty much where the good points stopped for me. Mainly my problems were with characterisation. I didn't care much for Nick's narration. Though I realise it was a personal choice of Fitzgerald to make Nick more detached and uninvolved, even as a first-person narration, I can't help wishing he wasn't so lacking in depth. Gatsby himself, though lending his name to the novel's cover, seems far too ambiguous. His mysterious characterisation was extended so long that it lost almost any intrigue I had in the first place. 

Overall, I don't regret reading this book. It was interesting, and held enough symbolism to keep me marginally engaged, though I doubt I'd re-read it unless contractually obliged or threatened in some manner. 

Nothing of any Real Interest

Here I'll be posting some of the most average book, film and game reviews the world has to offer, along with some little opinionated articles about things that are just generally stupid. Enjoy.