Friday, May 29, 2015

Blue Shells. Blue shells never change.

Yeah, I'm taking some time to work on a longer post, so for today, I'm just sharing this.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers - Episode 11: A Present From Tony!

Japanese cartoons can be a bit weird about story flow.  Say you have a manga (a fancy term for "comic book") that's really popular, and you decide to strike while the iron is hot and create an animated series based on the manga.  You want them to tell the same story, but there's one pesky problem:  you can cram a lot more story into a half hour of animation than into one small "chapter" of a manga.  What's the solution?

Well, you can either take the Game of Thrones approach and decide "eh, screw it, TV's better than books these days anyway" and spoil everything for the readers, or you can cram in a whole bunch of filler episodes that fit between key story points.  How many filler episodes do you need?  Well, depending on the series, they can sometimes be up to 40% of the entire 400+ episodes.   That's 40% that take the smooth flowing narrative of someone's story and just starts jamming random side stuff into it.

Even aside from filler, you can sometimes wind up with really disjointed breather episodes that just don't fit in.  These can sometimes be filler, but it's often just a chance for the characters to "catch their breath."  These episodes often suck.

This is a breather episode.  But it doesn't suck.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Suburban Commando

Why don't Hulk Hogan movies work?

Maybe there's just some types of acting that don't translate over to film.  Maybe it's that, aside from a few exceptions, wrestlers can't really act.  Maybe the Hulkster just isn't that good.

But I think there's more to it than that.

It only took me two days, but I got through Suburban Commando.  Here's the breakdown.

That's right, somebody got paid to think that this movie was "E.T. meets High Noon."

Friday, May 22, 2015

Mr. Nanny

Mr. Nanny is one hour and twenty-four minutes long.

That's the most important part of this review to keep in mind, because it took me four days to get through watching it.  I'd watch some, boggle at how terrible it is, and then have to stop because my brain was trying to invent new layers of ADD so I'd look at something, anything else.

Originally I planned on doing a scene by scene breakdown of it, like I did movies like Dead or Alive, Barb Wire, or Bangkok Adrenaline, but... I can't.  Those movies were at least ridiculous enough to be entertaining, while this one just feels like a group of "actors" got together and decided to do the minimal amount of work required to earn a paycheck.

When you manage to make a movie where I feel like even the cameras are bored, you know you've made a terrible movie.

Normally I'd just toss the DVD into my computer, rip some screenshots, and then post those, but I DON'T WANT IT PLAYING AGAIN.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers - Episode 10:Showdown! The Silver-Donned Samurai!

The last time we did one of these, we got through a huge confrontation between the Avengers and Loki's forces, and the plot moved on to the next stage of Loki's plan.  Playing off the fears that Spider-Man was killed in battle, Loki used his government "secret identity" to get the President of the United States to pass a bill requiring all superheroes to work for the government.

Tony Stark, possibly without even realizing he was doing it, managed to outmaneuver Loki by having the Avengers and their new child "handlers" move out to Tokyo, free from the rules and regulations they'd have to face back in the States.

So after a huge conflict and political tension, we ended the story with Tony and Akira going to meet the head of the Japanese underworld, the Silver Samurai.  What's Tony's next idea?  Is he really willing to make a deal with a proverbial devil?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tink Week and A Half: Day Eight

So, you're a large animation studio and, after a series of disappointing DVD releases and toy sales, you decide that a series that brought in 330 Million Dollars in video sales ALONE needs to be shelved.  You decide to scrap the last two movies and just put out one more.  It's the last hurrah for these characters for the foreseeable future, so how are you going to go out?

Well, obviously you need to go out big.  a huge, "save the world" scale event.  You need to be able to use all the neat tricks your animation studio has learned over the years, so you're going to want some neat creatures to animate.  You're going to want at least one big name guest actor to do a voice.

And you're going to want to shelve the main star of most of the movies for a character who has, to this point, been woefully underdeveloped.

...wait, what?

Yeah, I know, it doesn't have the title on it, but that's a pretty great poster.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tink Week and A Half: Day Seven

I remember seeing some advertisements for Secret Of The Wings when it was coming out on DVD, and before that I knew that the Disney Fairies were a franchise for Disney, but I didn't really realize just how big it became until this movie came out.

I saw ads for this EVERYWHERE.  It was in books and on TV, there were trailers for it before movies, I had to watch the trailer before I could watch Youtube videos.

And yet, somehow it all still went past me without my even casting a curious eye towards it until just recently.  Which is too bad, because if I had started with this, it might have been on my "best of the year" list last year.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Tink Week And A Half: Day Six

In 2011, a 22-minute short taking place in the midst of the other Tinker Bell stories aired on television.  Pushing the main character of the series into the background, the story featuring a jack paired with the biggest "girly girl" in the land in order to compete in a series of contests is, for lack of a better phrase, great.  It's that simple.  It's great.  It's character-driven, small scale (no pun intended), and filled with humor and action.

The fact this didn't become a full-length movie saddens me.

It's The Pixie Hollow Games.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Tink Week: Day Five

Does it bother anybody else out there when the entire plot of a movie and all of its dynamic twists are revealed in the trailer or commercial?  It can't just be me, but for some reason studios just can't wrap it around their heads to not let people reveal important plot points before everybody sees their work.

I mean, sometimes it's an outside company, like the fact that LEGO keeps spoiling movie plots by revealing toy sets early, or the people who made the DVD sets that include trailers showing all the scenes in the upcoming season you're about to watch, but studios also spoil all of their own stuff all the time.

It's why I was puzzled why Disney would create a movie called "The Secret Of The Wings" and then blatantly advertise everywhere that the big secret is "Tinker Bell has a sister!"  ...okay, I mean, granted, there's one more secret to the wings, but that's still a pretty huge secret.

If they had just stuck with this, it'd be fine.  This is an awesome poster.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Tink Week: Day Four

So far we've had a movie that gave us a standard superhero-style origin story (argue all you want, it's true) and an action adventure film involving dire stakes for an entire kingdom.  Not really what you might think of when you first hear the name "Tinker Bell" but hey, if Disney's not afraid to try new things with these characters, more power to them.

We're now getting into what I call the "better" Tinker Bell movies.  The first two were good, but a bit limited by animation and lack of character development.  This film, we get LOTS of character development and a more personal story, but there are still some extremely high stakes.

Oh, and Vidia's back, so bonus points.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tink Week: Day Three

Last time, we discussed the first film in the Disney Fairies franchise.  It was a pretty decent story that introduced a science-focused heroine with a group of uniquely gifted/powered friends.  It was clean, well-written, and left the doors wide open for a sequel that would help flesh out the secondary characters and expand the world.

Instead, we get kinda-sorta half of that, with an action-adventure film that develops exactly one (1) character and takes us completely away from Pixie Hollow.

This is Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tink Week: Day Two

So yesterday I quoted Peggy Holmes, the director of Secret of the Wings and The Pirate Fairy when she talked about why audiences love Tinker Bell and the other fairies.  The full quote from the Hollywood Reporter article is, "What we've heard from our audiences is that they love the fairies because they have power and talents.  The fairies are superheroes to them."

Looking back at the films, I see it.  Whether it's something "mundane" like being able to grow flowers or something a bit more "action-y" like controlling water like you fell out of Avatar: The Last Airbender, controlling light, talking to animals, or, well, Tinker Bell's gift, it's still something that makes you special and unique.

And, like all superhero stories, you always start with the origin even if it has already been told several hundred times across all media so that people can get to know your character.

Hence, our first movie.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Tink Week: Day One

I remember when cartoons for girls were atrocious.  I had a younger sister (still do, in fact), and so while I'd get to watch some of the shows I thought were cool like G.I. Joe, He-Man, and James Bond, Jr. (I never said I had good taste), I also had to sit through programs like Jem, She-Ra, Pound Puppies, and others that, looking back on now, were much, much worse than I remembered them being at the time.

Then again, I didn't mind Orko way back in the day, and that opinion's sure changed.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Comicmix March Madness ("March" is used ironically, I guess)

Way back in the day, when I was a total nerd with no social life whatsoever, I used to read about 50 different comic series online.  You might call them comic strips, but the "cool" kids call them webcomics.

I read so many of them it was ridiculous.  I posted in the forums, I had them sorted in my bookmarks by what day they updated, I spent my time in chat rooms meeting admittedly interesting people but never really forming genuine connections with them.  I even, and this is a story that will probably never be told, managed to get myself not one but two cameo appearances in one of the biggest webcomics of the early to mid-2000s.

These days, I read about six.  I'll dabble in a few others now and again to see if someone has an interesting concept, a fresh art style, or is clever at telling jokes I haven't heard a thousand times before, but I usually drift back to the ones that hold my attention.  There needs to be something special about a comic for it to hold my attention.

That's why I'm discussing the ComicMix March Madness April Armageddon They Really Need A Name That Involves May Without Using Mania Because That's Really Overdone.

One of the comics I read is in the finals, and while I could just say "hey, go vote for this comic," I want to actually discuss this championship, and what it means.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Rifftrax: The Room

I can now state that I have watched Tommy Wiseau's The Room from opening credit to ending credit.

I cannot state, with any certainty, that I understood a single thing I saw.  I could not, for example, tell you who half of the characters that appeared on screen were.  I could not explain what much of the dialogue was supposed to mean, as I can't imagine real people ever saying the things this movie said.  I could not explain the motivations or plots of most of the story threads that Tommy Wiseau wove together into this elaborate tapestry of insanity.

In fact, I'm not even 100% sure that what I saw was a movie.  It was certainly images and sound projected onto a screen, but then again so is a PowerPoint presentation, and nobody really wins awards for those.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bioshock Infinite - Burial At Sea

If you've been keeping track of this blog for a while, you might recall that I absolutely loved the game Bioshock Infinite,  I spent weeks after I finished it debating the ending with people I knew.  I spent hours thinking about how it affected me both on an intellectual level and an emotional level.  It wasn't my favorite thing of 2013, but I'm rather surprised I didn't put it higher than The Last Of Us, if only because I still sometimes think back to Bioshock Infinite and what everything meant, but The Last Of Us has been out of my mind for quite some time.

However, there was something I wasn't proud of.  As of this last weekend I was yet to play the downloadable content "Burial At Sea," a two-part add-on to the game that, from my understanding, took place back in Rapture, the city from the first Bioshock.

So I decided to fix that.

And now I love the game even more.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron

I'm torn.

On the one hand, I can go into the review of a movie like Avengers: Age of Ultron as a fan, and simply crow about how amazing it is to see things I know and love up on a big screen.  "Look," the younger version of me that used to collect action figures and thought that stuff made in the 90's wasn't horribly dated, "they referenced Wakanda!  It's the Hulk fighting Iron Man!  There's a Jocasta reference!  This is the best!"  On the other hand, if I do my best to look at it as if I knew nothing about comic book characters other than what they've presented in the films so far, I'm less enthused about it.

But then I wonder if it's me, not the movie, that's having troubles.  Maybe I'm just jaded still after so many years of terrible comic book movies that I find it hard to believe there can be one that really reaches greatness, even after the first Avengers movie smashed through box office records like, well, like the Hulk smashing through drywall sheets.  Maybe it's my inner critic that just feels the need to nitpick things because I hold the sequel to a movie that broke box office records in the previously-referenced metaphoric way to high standards that I feel the need to be strict where I'd be lenient with other films.

Maybe I should just boil it down this way: Did I enjoy myself?  "Yes, But."

Friday, May 1, 2015

Review: Two Worlds 2

Last night I played three hours of Two Worlds 2, which I think is enough time to come up with a fully formed opinion about a game.  Well, okay, usually I say you can't just a book by its cover or the first chapter or two, but in some instances I think you say.  Say the book is riddled with typos, or the chapters are listed out of order.  Perhaps the first fifty pages are stuck together by spilled ketchup, or it has the words Fifty Shades Of Grey on the title.

Speaking of, how is it there hasn't been a huge outcry about the fact that Fifty Shades Of Grey is clearly a rip-off of Secretary?  Except, of course, the latter was nominated for awards, and I'm pretty sure the former is still sporting a 25% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Where was I?

Oh, right.  Two Worlds 2.

Man.  You guys.  This game.