Friday, September 10, 2010

Good Morning America - Spider-man on Broadway Interview with Julie Taymor, Bono and the Edge

Includes pictures of Green Goblin and Swiss Miss costumes, talk of pop-up sets, flying and dancing over the audience, and don't forget tickets go on sale 

And here's a crappy video of  Spidey's performance of the first song. 

The riff has been on the official website for months already and is actually kinda catchy. And I know that the audio quality is bad here as the youtube uploader is recording his television, but I do think there's a little bit of a problem with singing over electric guitars instead of standard Broadway music when it comes to understanding the lyrics.

But will there be an action figure?

But if this is Swiss Miss, what will Electro wear?

Poor Gobby, everytime Spider-man breaks into a new medium, his costumes get worse.

I can't wait till these images and videos circulate a little more because we're looking at a few months of quality fanboy rage!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Walking Dead already renewed for Season 2

 According to the internets, AMC has ALREADY renewed Walking Dead for a 2nd season of 13 episodes.
This news was immediately followed with Fox has optioned IDW's Locke and Key (haven't read it yet), and WB's TV wing is in the process of acquiring the rights to Veritgo's Sandman from WB's publishing wing.

I'm not sure how well Sandman will port over, as it's mostly a bunch of short stories with the loosest of connections to each other. I'm also not sure how well I'll be able to deal with the Endless as the next batch of TV sex symbols.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Walking Dead Trailer

"I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 IN IT" -- James Silva

Ok, so The Walking Dead trailer has been officially released, and now we know it's premiering on Halloween.. Good call, AMC, I approve. So far this looks like a pretty good adaptation; they are going to be (p)adding things, but that's probably necessary if they want the show to have a lifespan.

I'm NOT caught up on the comic series,  I just finished the sixth TPB (issues 31-36), so don't spoil me fools.

I think it will be interesting to see how this one plays out on TV and how those pesky "mainstream audiences" react to it.

If you don't know what this post's quote is about, I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 IN IT is an XBox Live Indie game. And it's just a dollar! Lookee:

The incredibly catchy theme song that made this the best selling XBox Indie game is now also available on Rock Band Network!

After last week's release of last year's smash hit "Do You Want to Date My Avatar", it sounds like it's time to give Harmonix some more of my money.

I'm gonna go have a fantasy football draft...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

G.I. Joe - The Rise of Cobra Review

"Knowing is half the battle" - G.I. Joe

Don't watch this. Ever. And now you know.
G.I. Joe the Rise of Cobra decided that the Transformers movie didn't destroy our childhoods enough, so it had to try to reach the bar of ineptitude set by Michael Bay. Unlike Transformers, you can at least tell what's happening in the fight scenes. Somehow, this movie is still just as bad if not worse.

I can't even give this mess a proper review, and it probably doesn't deserve one, so I'm just gonna copy-paste my immediate post-movie rant.

why did Snake-Eyes mask have a molded mouth?

why is his nickname Ripcord if he isnt a paratrooper?

why did the writer/director think that Zartan had to whistle to make me understand he shapechanged?

why does Cobra Commander look like...I don't even know what he looks like?

I am 37 and what is this? I don't even
why did Snake-Eyes carve up Storm Shadow without even getting touched?

if it's called the Rise of Cobra, why did the top 4 ranking bad guys end the movie "dead", imprisoned or under gi joe medical care?

why did Heavy Duty exist?

why did the writers feel the need to make everyone related through blood or sexual partnering?

why was everything a computer generated effect, including the sand?  is real sand too expensive?

why did the heavily guarded nanomite case have a security code...of 6 digits?

why did the bad guys drill their way into the Pit...without setting off alarms?

why were the joe computers unable to figure out who the Baroness was....BECAUSE SHE DYED HER HAIR?

why did they need to shoot the Eiffel tower only from the top of one particular building instead of down the long avenue they were driving on that had a perfect view of the tower?

I watched the Transformers cartoon in the 80s, but GI Joe was my second-biggest-thing. (after Star Wars, duh) I used to run home from school to catch episodes and the GI Joe comic was how I got into comics in the first place.So I might be biased. But this was AWFUL on every level. It wasn't funny, it wasn't dramatic, it wasn't pretty to look at, and even the action sucked.

I don't know how they decided to go with this mix of characters instead of some of the more usual pairings from the cartoon or the comics. Surely Gung-Ho or Roadblock or Quick-Kick or  Alpine and Bazooka would have provided better character interactions.

I also don't understand removing the Joes' individual uniforms or specialties. That was the whole point of the unit.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Silent Hill 2 Review

 "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." - Verbal Kint, the Usual Suspects

First, I can't believe that quote originates from the Usual Suspects, but the internets seems to imply it's a paraphrase from the French poet Baudelaire. (who?) Because you'll want to know: the Usual Suspects sucks and I figured out the twist to the movie about 5 minutes in without any prior knowledge at all.  But anyway...

The ACTUAL greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing people that Silent Hill 2 was a great video game.  This might just be a side effect of him convincing the world that the Playstation 2 was a great console.

This could be the most over-rated video game of all time.

Silent Hill 2 (PS2, later Xbox (glitchy if played on 360) - released September 24, 2001)

I know the game is 9 years old, but the game was never really hyped as having cutting edge graphics (because the PS2 was only capable of 2 colors...gray and brown) so I figure I should still be able to comment on the supposedly amazing atmosphere and story.

First, let's look at the atmosphere.

Here's a typical in-game view of your surroundings.

Fog. Fog is not atmosphere. Covering up graphical inadequacies with fog or darkness to produce the smallest viewing distance in video game history is not atmosphere. Three types of super-slow-zombie-things-that- wander-aimlessly-and-only-attack-you-if-you-stand-next-to-them are not atmosphere. The music might have been good at the time, but in no way does it compensate for the lack of atmosphere elsewhere. And I'm pretty certain I would've felt the same way 9 years ago.

Even the bosses weren't scary. Abstract creatures that look like failed "paintings" by "artist" Dave McKean? I mean, c'mon people, are you really telling me Pyramid Head used to be scary?

This isn't scary.
The scariest parts of the game are clearly the controls and the forced camera angles. You could argue the Resident-Evil style camera and controls are a product of the times, and therefore a little unfair to pick on in 2010, BUT these are the main reasons why I never had a PS1 or PS2 of my own in the first place. Bad game design like this can never be bashed enough, less future game developers try to revisit it for nostalgic purposes.

As far as gameplay elements are concerned, the combat is pointless (and completely avoidable except for the bosses), the puzzles are easy except when they rely on pixel-hunting and the only reward for exploration is additional ammo and health that you will never need.

For those of you who haven't yet played the game and don't plan to because you've learned from my mistake, the "storyline" of the game consists of generic protagonist James returning to the town of Silent Hill because he got a letter from his wife....who died three years ago.  He wanders the foggy town, encountering mindless zombies and only 4 other "living people" as you put the obvious pieces together and conclude that you killed your wife, and this whole thing is you going crazy to try to deal. The girl who looks like your wife is a manifestation of your wife! The suicidal and homicidal NPCs are aspects of you! And the little girl is your guilty conscience with the added bonus of being someone for you take care of!

I was a little upset that as the clues continue to progress, you find out that your wife was already dying, and it was mostly a mercy killing.  It probably would've worked better for me if the main character actually was an evil murderer, but I still don't think we've had a game where you were the bad guy on purpose and NOT just being lied to and used as a pawn. (Braid didn't take it that far and was too obtuse, Shadow of the Colossus' ending makes no sense to anyone and is too open-ended.)

Many people praise the story as being "subtle" because it doesn't spend all game beating you over the head with what's actually going on with NPC or book-within-the-game exposition. The problem with this is that when you ONLY meet four people in the game,  they are the only things drawing your attention, and that's not subtle. The beating-you-over-the-head portion doesn't come along until the very end, and is still less skull-bruising than usual, but I would never accuse the game of being subtle.  Or good.

Hey, maybe I'm wrong about the subtlety, just look at this poll.Or this one. Nah! This is CLEARLY a case of people remaining in denial cuz they didn't get it.
Silent Hill 2 also has multiple endings, but according to the the internets, the game selects one of the main three randomly but giving the options higher percentages by taking some of your gameplay choices into account. Apparently, not healing yourself constantly is viewed as self-destructive and will most likely give you that suicidal ending. I bet 95% of gamers wouldn't agree with that statement. I'm pretty happy with the ending I got, as it seems to be the one that made the most sense.

James realizes that this is all him coping with killing his wife, gets in his car and drives into the lake. 

Which is a great lead-in for a future post.Why do video game developers suddenly so keen on the main character dying all of a sudden? It's no longer unique and is not as cool in video games as it is in movies. 6 of the last 8 or 9 video games I've finished have ended with the main character dying. And only 2 of those are from before 2008.

In Silent Hill 2's defense, the dead protagonist makes the most sense here as opposed to all the games that followed.  I suppose it's possible that I've become jaded against swerves or character deaths and this would truly have been an OMG ending in 2001, but I doubt it.  I vaguely remember (translation: clearly remember) controlling Cecil and Kane as they destroyed a town in Final Fantasy 4 way back in 1991. And by 2001 we would have been a decade past Twin Peaks and halfway through Buffy and well into the geekification of TV and movies.

As a comparison, last Christmas I was playing Luigi's Mansion to entertain a 5 year old. That came out only a few months after Silent Hill 2, and is a lot more fun even if the story isn't attempting to be art. And maybe that's the problem. If Silent Hill 2 was one of the first attempts at "adult" video gaming, I can understand everyone's nostalgia, but somewhere along the way, the developers forgot the FUN that should exist in all video gaming.

Which, unfortunately, is a problem that still rears it's head today.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Spider-man on Broadway

"With great power comes great responsibility." - Ben Parker

Ok, so my great power is living in NYC.

So my great responsibility is going to see Spider-man on Broadway!

From the people who brought you Lion King on Broadway and um...the Joshua Tree.

Tickets went on sale last Friday and I immediately bought me some a few hours later. Opening night is December 21st, but no tickets were available, so I got some for December 22nd.  Just in case it fails as epically as some doomsayers are predicting I should still get to go.

"Broadway fans" seem to think that Spider-man is a bad idea and Spider-man fans seem to think that Broadway is a bad idea. (Although they were fine with comics, movies, video games, action figures, coloring books, bed sheets, napkins, and coming soon: pizza toppings.)

So, basically, nobody is excited about this except me, one of the interns at Marvel, a hot dog vendor in Times Square and  maybe this guy.

But all three of you reading this will get to hear all about it.

Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland Review

"I wish I knew how to quit you." - Brokeback Mountain

Ok, so I haven't posted in a week again, I warned you this would happen.

I did watch Alice in Wonderland like I said I would, but it was kinda meh, so I didn't feel the need to run back to the internets to talks about it. Then I didn't rant about other stuff, cuz I wanted to comment on this first.  Let's chalk it up to work in progress and move on.

The movie was Alice-revisits Wonderland with some grrlpower thrown in, and absolutely ZERO actual sets or props. EVERYTHING was green-screened in except perhaps one table and a chair or two. Most of the effects are passable, except for the Knave who looked ridiculous, but if you're not going to use anything real, you might as well just make a cartoon.

The movie tells you how it's going to end about 20 minutes in, and then just builds to that spot. Depp's Mad Hatter and Bonham-Carter's Queen are dripping with been-there-done-that because the two of them and Burton have obviously spent one too many nights together sharing a brain. (The funniest thing on the Blu-ray was the extra where Burton and Depp show their character sketches of the Hatter, and they're almost identical.)


Alice's armor at the end of the movie was pretty, but the Jabberwock kinda just stood around acting like target practice, so the movie never rose above meh at any point.

So it sounds like a good time to rag on Tim Burton

I have a love-hate relationship with Tim Burton. As in...I watch all his movies and then I hate them. I figure he must be doing SOMETHING right, because every time I see trailers for a new Burton movie I want to see it, but I'm never satisfied at the end. I've been trying to figure out a a valid explanation for years.

Beetlejuice was bad.

Batman and Batman Returns both sucked. You can blame the scripts, you can say that letting Jack Nicholson over-act and chew on scenery was the reason they were successful, but at the end of the day, they were both horribly bad movies.

Edward Scissorhands was actually pretty good, probably just a little bit of luck due to right place, right time for both Burton and Depp.

Nightmare Before Christmas is one of the most over-rated movies of all time, Mars Attacks! was awful, Legend of Sleepy Hollow was boring, Planet of the Apes wasn't any fun.

By the time Corpse Bride and Sweeney Todd rolled around, I was wondering why Burton didn't find a dead body to have sex with and get it over with already, to which some internet denizen replied "How do you know he hasn't?". Which should probably be the end of the conversation.

Except I really liked Big Fish. I've only seen it once, but I have very positive memories of it, and I'm sure it's better than most of this other stuff. What makes it different? I'm betting he was more willing to let the screenplay work for itself, and had less control over the final product than most of his other films.

Liking 2 out of 10 movies isn't a very good track record. but every single time I see a new Burton trailer, part of me says "gee, that looks swell". What is it that appeals to me? I'm not a necrophiliac. I never did drugs. I was never a goth kid. Do I have a little goth kid inside of me? I really wish I could figure it out, so I could fix myself and just avoid these movies altogether.

Anyway, I'm gonna go listen to some Depeche Mode.


Friday, August 6, 2010

You're the worst there is at what you do and what you do is everything.

“An expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less, until eventually he knows everything about nothing.”

Ok, so I'm playing ModNation Racers tonight and I kept winding up in full gamerooms with 11 other people too cheap to buy a microphone. To make it worse, the hosts are just running official tracks or the worst creations they could find.

I'm getting frustrated and then I wind up on a track full of jumps from invisible jump pads at random intervals of the track, and blimps flying along at ground level so they can take out racers with no warning.  I played a few wacky tracks tonight, but I think this one also had one turn filled with falling explosive barrels that are also completely random.

So getting frustrated, I decide to volunteer my opinion, "This track sucks!" I say diplomatically, "If the person who created this track is here, it sucks..." and then I was randomly exploded by some un-playtested nonsense that made me go back to focusing on the race.

Moments later, the track's creator gets on mic and says, "I ain't getting paid to make this" and "you must be hatin' cuz you suck and you're losing." Once the race is done, he checks out my profile and provides this insightful gem, "Man, you don't even have a track. How can you talk about my track and you don't even have a track. You can't say other people's tracks suck if you don't have one for us to rip on too."

So this toolbox hit on two of my peeves about people who complain about complainers in less than a minute.

First, just because I hate on a video game does not mean I suck at it, and/or just because I suck at a video game does not mean that's the only reason I hate it. Maybe YOU aren't self-aware enough to be able to separate your skill from opinion, but we don't all suffer from your birth defects.

And more importantly....  

I do not have to make a track to know if your track is unplayable. I do not need to make a game to know your game sucks. I do not need to write a novel to know you murdered trees. I do not need to work in the movie industry to know that yours is the worst movie ever! 

When I praise something, I never hear anybody say I have to do something myself to decide if I actually liked it, so why does every special snowflake think that negative opinions need to come with a resume?

I don't need to work in the industry to be an expert on entertainment. I'm an expert on me. I've been reading and watching and playing stuff for 30 years. I've seen good stuff and bad stuff. I know what works and what doesn't work. For me. And for every right thinking person who shares tastes and opinions with me.

I'm gonna go find more right thinking people.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

DC Universe Online Cinematic Trailer

 "I'm in the stupid future."  - Superboy Prime

 Ok, so here's yet another 10 day old video from the in-case-you-missed-it dept. The super-long cinematic trailer for DC Universe Online. (Also available on the official site and for download on PSN.)

This was put together by Blur, who also put together the cinematic trailer for Star Wars: the Old Republic that everyone raved about. Somehow, they do a DCUO trailer, and half the internet is complaining that there isn't any gameplay footage.

I've been following this game for a long time now, so I've seen plenty of gameplay footage from the demo at NYCC in Feb 2009 through the E3 2010 mini-trailer/Harley Quinn episode/Q&A. If you haven't seen it here's some fuzzy footage from E3. (This mini-trailer also available for download on PSN, or available on the official site)

I've never really played an MMO, because the earliest ones involved way too much pelt-hunting for 1 gold and 1 xp, and because PC gaming sucks in general. I did try City of Heroes for a couple of hours last week just so I have a source of comparison later on, and the click-wait-click-wait gameplay was a perfect cure for insomnia. So I'm really looking forward to a console, action MMO.

The developer interviews sound like they're doing their jobs... the episodes all have at least one recognizable hero and villain to help or fight, the loot can be worn or just used for abilities so you can keep your own unique look,  and having a famous character as your mentor is sweet.

I'm a little scared that there may not be enough powers at launch, and some of the rumored limitations on color schemes (supposedly all fire will be some shade of red/yellow/orange so it can be recognized as a fire attack), and the mentors possibly only including the biggest names of the DCU. (Am I the only one who would rather hang out with Booster Gold than most of the JLA toolboxes?)

The beta should start soon, so hopefully I'll be able to check the game out, but as it stands now, I'm purchasing day 1 and staying signed up for at least a year, because I'm THAT kind of fanboy.

Young Justice Preview

"Titans Together!"

Ok, so there's also a new DC cartoon in the pipeline...Young Justice...featuring ONE original member of Young Justice???

First off, Greg Weisman is showrunning, which already makes this a must-watch. This guy brought you Spectacular Spider-man AND Gargoyles, which is definitely in the Steve Top 20 TV shows of all-time.

Love that it's going to incorporate the whole DC Universe with appearances by the JLA as idols and mentors. The art style looks neat and clean, and wait, did he just say people are gonna die?

But what's with this team? Dick and Wally instead of Tim and Bart? I like Dick and especially Wally but Tim's cool, calm, collected leadership and Bart's, well, impulsiveness were the whole point of the original Young Justice series. Superboy is the only actual member of the original Young Justice and then we round out the team with the Miss Martian, the new Blaqualad, and Artemis?  She doesn't seem to be Wonder Girl, or Arrowette, is she the adult Artemis from Wonder Woman or is she the red-shirt that's gonna die and set up the arrival of WG or Arrowette?

Peter David (writer of stuff...and the Young Justice comic) has confirmed he is writing some episodes for the show, but he couldn't tell us what the first one was about...because it's a Secret.  So we're definitely gonna get some Young Justice history in this show at some point.

I just hope Slobo doesn't show up.

Avenger's Earth Mightiest Heroes Trailer

"Avengers Assemble!"

Ok, so let's catch up on some random stuff from SDCC.

In case you missed it, here's the trailer for the Avengers cartoon coming to Disney XD. The show has a 52 episode order, so they should be able to develop some subplots and long-running story arcs.

The art style isn't great, but it's passable and there's a lot I do like about the trailer. The opening shot has newspaper articles about the Punisher and Man-Thing, easter egg or foreshadowing? Either way, it works for me. Tons of low and mid level villains which bodes well for variety.

Earlier promos implied that team would just be Cap, Thor, Iron Man, Hank Pym and the Wasp but now Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Panther are prominently featured in the promo images. I'm hoping Hulk is only going to be around for the first few episodes and the occasional guest appearance, and if they insist on keeping him around, I hope he's not just dumb-Hulk.

If they actually followed early Marvel continuity, I would be ecstatic, although I'm not sure if they'll be allowed to use Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver who did appear on Wolverine and the X-Men, or if Marvel-Disney can now use any character they want for the cartoons.

I don't know if they have the balls to remove Cap or Iron Man or Thor for any of the episodes to focus on the "real" Avengers.. Scarlet Witch, Vision, Hawkeye, Black Knight, etc but I'm already mentally prepared to be looking at the big 3 every episode so I should be ok.

It is a good sign that Cap is absent from the clip of the team's formation though.

I'm gonna keep my fingers cross that this (and the movies) turn out as good as they should.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Batgirl's new ride

"Where does he get those wonderful toys?" - Jack Nicholson as Jack Nicholson in Batman

Ok, so maybe one day I'll rant about comics. I kinda took a small break from my catching-up-on-the-DC Universe-from-Infinite-Crisis-to-present-day project to play Darksiders (review) this past week, and yes I just linked you back to two-posts-ago, "Whatever. I can do what I want" and you can get bonus points if you just read that quote to yourself in Cartman's voice, but returning to my run-on sentence I just had to comment on this image from Batgirl #7.

W T F ?

I blame the atrocity that was Batman Begins. The artist who designed this "bike" should be punished. The fictional character who designed this "bike" should be beaten with a crowbar Jason Todd style, and then given to Bueno Excellente for the weekend.




I'm gonna go bleach my eyes.

Percy Jackson book and movie reviews

"Peter Jackson cut Tom Bombadil? How dare he! Who does he think he is?" - Internet, 2001

Percy Jackson & the Olympians - The Lightning Thief is the first in a series of young adult novels by Rick Riordan about a 12 year old boy named Harry Percy, who finds out his parents are wizards his father is Poseidon and he has special magic demigod powers, so he goes to Hogwarts Camp Half-Blood, plays Quidditch capture-the-flag and teams up with clumsy but loyal Ron Grover the satyr and smart and loyal Hermione Annabeth, daughter of Athena. The "similarities" to Harry Potter don't stop there and include some Slytherins children of Ares, mythological creatures that have no idea how to fight and can be bested by pre-teens, adult authority figures who are dumb as rocks, and a film adaptation!

The book is pretty much what you'd expect. Percy has dyslexia (because his brain is hard-wired for Ancient Greek not English) and ADD (because his mind fogs out all the random mythological things that happen around him) and keeps bouncing from school to school. His home life sucks because his mother is married to Vernon Dursley Gable Ugliano (Ugliano, really?), a crude and smelly dirtbag (his overly foul human odor actually masks Percy's demi-godness and protects him! TRUE STORY!)

You might wonder how any of this plagiarism is legal, but I'm still wondering how Harry Potter didn't get sued seven ways to Sunday by Tim Hunter...

This is Tim Hunter. Yeah, I had the same reaction.

Anywho, the book drags on the mystery of which god is Percy's dad for a few chapters, even though it's blatantly obvious to anyone reading. Percy is good at swimming and kayaking, controls water, heals when he's in water and it still takes some time for his guardians to figure out that his dad is Poseidon.

Zeus' lightning bolt has been stolen, and as son of Poseidon, Percy is the main suspect. Riordan tries to keep you guessing as to the identity of the god pulling the strings, but the best guess is Hades framing Poseidon, so the kids set off on their quest to the Underworld. But first Percy is given a vague prophecy telling him to not trust gifts from his friends, casting suspicion on Grove and Annabeth, Luke, son of Hermes, who has given Percy some flying sneakers, Chiron, protector centaur who has given Percy a pen-sword and anyone they meet along the way.

The quest takes a few stops in a statue garden (I wonder who lives there), the St. Louis arch, an off-road diner for a meeting with Ares and a Las Vegas hotel before the gang arrives in the Underworld. I thought Riordan had done a pretty good job mimicking the early Harry Potter books up to this point but he continued straight through the unsatisfying ending of half-explanations and exposition.

At the end of the day, because Percy, and more importantly Grover and Annabeth don't have the same charm as Harry, Ron and Hermione, the book can't even match the level of Harry Potter.

The movie on the other hand... is a contender for the most horrible adaptation of all time. To anyone who has ever nit-picked any other adaptations casting, or timeline or mash-up of comic book stories, I demand you read this book and watch this movie and realize would a truly terrible adaptation looks like.

The names of the characters are the same, Poseidon is Percy's dad, and there are battles with a minotaur and a medusa, but everything else is different.

Little changes in scenes create giant nonsensical plotholes. In the book version, the mom is snatched enroute to camp Halfblood. In the movie version she can't enter the camp due to her lack of god-blood, which causes her to get snatched. But if she can't enter the camp, why did Grover stop to get her first and bring her with them? GAH!

Minor quibbles like hair color (Annabeth's now a brunette) and race (Grover is now black) never bother me but a questionable decision to age the characters to the 16-17 range does. The guardians know that Poseidon is Percy's dad at the beginning of the book, and so does Zeus. Ares' children, so Annabeth is made tougher to take on the early-novel tough girl role. The prophecy and the secret mastermind and Ares himself are also removed from the story, taking away all suspicion and tension with them.

With the secret mastermind missing, I'm left wondering just how the ACTUAL lightning thief managed to pull off the heist by himself.

And the oft-repeated "Percy can't fly because Zeus will become aware of his presence and strike him down" is completely abandoned so that Percy can wear the winged sneakers in the movie and have his final battle take place in the air.

ALL OF THIS could still be forgiven if the movie had any redeeming qualities whatsoever. But it fails on every level. The special effects are on the level of a Sci-Fi SyFy made-for-TV-movie and the acting...oh, the acting... is an abomination in the eyes of god and man.

Logan Lerman (Percy) and Brandon T Jackson (Grover) spend the movie having a who-has-less-talent battle. I don't know who won, but the audience lost. In what particularly offensive scene, Percy wakes up after his encounter with the minotaur, thinking it all a bad dream and relating it to Grover, before realizing that Grover is standing in front of him on satyr-legs. Percy jumps back, "you mean it's all true? My mom... my mom is gone?" Horrible dialogue, but delivered with such a lack of emotion, that it can only be explained if Logan has never experienced the death of a family member.
Or known someone who has. Or took acting lessons. Or watched TV.

Clearly someone had blackmail photo or really big paychecks for really little work and wasted money on Sean Bean (Zeuss), Kevin McKidd (Poseidon), Uma Thurman (Medusa), Pierce Brosnan (Chiron), Joe Pantoliano (the evil step-dad) and even Rosario Dawson (Persephone). That money would probably have been better spent on acting lessons for the kids, a big-boy computer for the special effects department, or a studio executive with the balls to say "THIS MOVIE IS AWFUL AND SHOULD NOT BE RELEASED"

This movie should only be watched as a bad example.

Tune in next movie review for: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Daksiders review

"You underestimate the power of the Dark side" - Darth Vader

Darksiders (Xbox 360, PS3, PC - released January 5th, 2010)

Darksiders is an action-adventure game that was hyped as Zelda meets God of War and they weren't kidding. As an added bonus, a third popular game is also incorporated into the final dungeon.

The story is a mostly incomprehensible biblical epic. Angels fight demons and War, Horseman of the Apocalypse, has been mysteriously invited to show up early to the party. This breach of Armageddon-etiquette has apparently brought about the arrival of the Destroyer, and now everyone is REALLY in trouble. War is stripped of his Horsemen powers but convinces his bosses to let him go back to try to fix this mess and get his revenge. It all sounds like a bad 90s Image comic book, trying way to hard to be epic and doing as little as possible to explain what's going on in an effort to prevent plot holes and keep options open for sequels.

To go along with the mostly nonsense story, you might have noticed the mostly horrific design of the main character, War.

War - by Joe Madureira. Okay, COMPLETELY horrific.

While War looks mostly ridiculous, the overly bulky designs work pretty well for the demons, Samael and some of the bosses look especially good. (For more frightening Joe Madureira character designs dig up his old Battle Chasers comic book, although the Darksiders designs remind me more of Pat Lee's Warlands comic)

What really sets the mood for the game is the stellar voice acting. Mark Hamill voices your Watcher and even the merchant-demon Vulgrim is given a great performance by voice-over veteran Phil LaMarr.

The gameplay consists of God of War style combat breaking up Zelda style environmental puzzles. Like Zelda, you follow the plot through the over-world, until you get to a "dungeon" area. Solve some puzzles, fight a sub-boss, get a new toy, solve some more puzzles with the new toy, fight a boss with the new toy. Return to the over-world for more plot and extra pickups for health, wrath (magic), and pieces of abyssal armor. (Warning: acquiring the abyssal armor will make the endgame easy!)

I was having enough fun that I flew through the game in less than a week, and approximately 20 hours on the game clock. I found just about every chest in the game, and went back for the 3 i missed before fighting the final boss, so you can play through even quicker if you skip some collecting.

The gear is pretty standard, you get two alternate weapons (scythe and gauntlet that smashes rocks). glider wings, over-world warp tunnels, a horn that stuns creatures, boomerang, hookshot, gun, and the 4th dungeon surprise... a portal gun! Even with all this stuff, it remains easy to change items and weapons which is something a lot of games fail miserably at. You can also purchase more wrath abilities and combos for your weapons from Vulgrim. In a nice change of pace from most games, you don't actually get enough "money" during normal playthrough to purchase every option. This prevents the money from feeling completely worthless from mid-game like in too many other games.

The level design is very good. The puzzles are just the right difficulty to make you stop and think, without making you scream at the TV and run to Gamefaqs. The combat is pretty easy on normal difficulty. and gets easier as you power up.

The game's biggest weakness is the odd over-world map system, that only shows the main areas you can warp to, but not the smaller areas in between them or the dungeon areas. When backtracking for treasure chests, you can easily forget where certain "boards" are located on the over-world.

The game has gotten some mediocre and bad reviews that seem to focus on the "unoriginality" of the game, stating that it doesn't just pay homage to Zelda and God of War but copies them completely. I don't understand this complaint AT ALL. How many FPS games are released every month, and how many of them add anything new to the genre? (Hint: none)

I've been saying for years that Zelda needs more combat, and God of War needs more puzzles and now my prayers have been answered in Darksiders. Add in the Portal gun, which hasn't had the opportunity to get stale yet, and it's a winning combination.

Unoriginal? Maybe. But I could fill a few posts with my complaints about how the Zelda series has stagnated, and how God of War 3 was a bit of a disappointment in its sameyness. This game takes unoriginal parts of three games, but merges them together incredibly well. And that should be applauded not criticized.

The survival of certain characters and the last 10 seconds of the game do a great job of setting up the inevitable sequel, and if they can rein in Joe Mad's character designs and get someone who didn't grow up on 90s Image comics to flesh out the plot and dialogue, Darksiders 2 could really be amazing.

If you like Zelda and God of War and Portal and haven't played this game, what are you waiting for?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Deadpool's Comic Con Song

"He's a psychopath, he's also a psychopath." - Deadpool

Ok, so can anyone explain to me why ItsJustSomeRandomGuy doesn't have a job writing comics professionally yet?

Surely it can't be cuz Marvel and DC are filled with such talented, original writers who know how to keep a deadline.

I'm gonna go fantasize about a ItsJustSomeRandomGuy/Felicia Day crossover.

GRRM laments

"Upon further review..." - Ed Hochuli

Ok, so over on George RR Martin's not-a-blog, he's lamenting that all his editor-friends are partying at SDCC (translation: having drunken hippie orgies, ewww) and that filming is (finally) starting on HBO's Game of Thrones adaptation, and that he's "I'm missing all the fun, just to make more fun for you guys."

Excuse you, what?

NOW, after over 10 years of waiting for the 2nd half of the 4th book, he says he's writing the book for "us guys"? I'm pretty sure if he was writing it for us, the book would've been out already. I've had at least 3642 un-birthdays since Storm of Swords.

I thought there was much celebration from his royal laziness and his incredibly-wrong apologists that "GRRM is not your bitch." Full disclosure: Gaiman is writing stories for the next anthology GRRM is editing therefore his "opinion" is the equivalent of someone who is backing up their buddy/boss. Gaiman needs to go back to Sandman and STFU anyway.

Anyway...make up your mind, George! You can't play the disgruntled cog-in-the-machine author AND the martyr-for-the-cause. Pick the side you want sympathy for and stick to it.

Maybe if you woulda worked a wee bit harder the last 10 years, you wouldn't be missing "the fun" now. And that fun HBO show you wanna watch them film? Is gonna need an ending. I wouldn't even be surprised if part of the licensing deal REQUIRES you to finish your books in a certain timespan. Or else some HBO exec might need to be fired for stupidity. (If anyone reading this is a child of a stupid HBO exec, don't worry, there's PLENTY of room at FOX for stupid execs.)

I really wanted to rant about some comics, but that post just flabbergasted me.

But even though I'm should STILL go read his unfinished series. It's that good.
Here's an Amazon link just in case I eventually try to make money off your eyeballs.
But don't read the reviews, they're filled with spoilers. You just gotta trust me.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Geek and Destroy

"Nag, nag, nag, nag, NAG!" - JD, Heathers

Are you people happy now? Keeping with the sidebar theme:

Careful what you wish,
careful what you say.
Careful what you wish
you may regret it
careful what you wish

Introductory rant:

Ok, so why is it that with all the comic book and geek-related websites out there, there is no one website that can coherently report all the news from SDCC? Is it that complicated to get some recruits from your forums, possibly tempt them with a freebie or something, and have them blog back about the different panels?

Is is that hard for the bloggers to take a photo of certain wacky things they blog about?

And why aren't the panels streamed live on the internet anyway? The con is SOLD OUT, so they're not losing money. And if they really think that the option of a crappy internet feed would prevent the fanboys from attending in person in the future...they think wrong.

Why is it that I have to bounce through multiple websites, and if I find an interesting comment about a panel that I'd like to see a picture of, I have to run to YouTube to see if an epileptic audience member / Blair Witch cameraman decided to upload the panel for me?

Here's Michael Cera as Captain America:

Yes, there are other, better quality videos of this panel, but go search for them yourselves, that's what *I* have to do, and I'm trying to make a point here. Get with the program.

I'm gonna go hunt down the Chuck panel, cuz last year's Jeffster performance was amazing.