Obscured View

A few chosen words on the world of video games

Archive for the 'Movies' Category

Who keeps a masturbation journal?

Such a huge fan.  For those of you not in the know, the original creators of MST3K have gotten back together for Cinematic Titanic, up to their old tricks yet again.  August 7th for this new one.

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Can’t wait.

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WALL-E and Wanted — does the R rating do anything?

So my wife and I went to see WALL-E Friday night (great film), and were waiting in line for our 7:15 showing to start.  There were about 20 people ahead of us, and about 20 behind us that got there a bit early.  Most of them were couples with or without kids, and some families with friends and kids in tow.

Right next to us was the line for Wanted’s 7:10 showing.  There were about 100 people in line at least, and most of them were large groups of kids that weren’t anywhere near 17, and families with their kids, which ranged in age from 11 and up.

I was confused and had to go ask an employee if I was in the right line.  Yes, I was in the right line.  So there were more under-age kids in the line for Wanted (an R rated film) than in the WALL-E (rated G) line.

I have no problem with Wanted being more popular on a Friday night… but the number of 11-14 year old kids seeing the movie really threw me.  Did anyone even bother to check their IDs?  I’m figuring there was one kid that was 17 in the group, which allows the entire group in under the “parent or guardian” clause.  As for families with younger kids… OK, that’s cool if you want to parent that way… but WTF?

So what does the R rating mean any more?  Does it even have a place?  Most of what you see in an R rated film is on TV (cable at least) these days.  It seems like perhaps PG-13 is enough, and R should be what NC-17 is now, and NC-17 removed.

How the hell does the ratings board even make sense any longer?  I went and saw Orgazmo in the theater and it was NC-17… after which seeing it (and laughing until it hurt), I have no idea why it was rated as it was.  Oh wait that’s right, it made fun of religion (although it didn’t really).  Instant NC-17 for that, because kids could get the wrong idea!  Slow-motion bullet through the brainpan in full graphical detail?  Oh, that’s a bit graphic… but kids can handle that as long as they’re with a guardian.  We’ll say R.

I’ve made some violent games in the past, but I certainly wouldn’t expose kids to them at an early age.  The world is violent enough as-is that I don’t think kids need to see that kind of stuff until they’re older.  Be a child for a while, eh?

Amusing tidbit: “The Blues Brothers” was R rated when it came out in theaters.  Man, how times have changed.


MGS4 Review

Is it entertaining? Yes.

Is it fun to play? Yes, most of the time.  Some of the aiming mechanics are a bit off for my tastes, but for the most part your character does what you want them to do when you want them to do it.  The controls become second nature after a bit, although CQC combat isn’t explained at all through game play.  You have to read up on it via a menu.

Does it wrap things up? Yes, for the most part it does.  I’ll not give anything away, but you certainly get a lot of payoff.

Should you play it? Yes, absolutely.

Should you buy it? Depends.  If you’re going to play it more than once or play online, yes.  It has tons of collection items, rewards, and achievement-like things to gather in both multi and solo play.

Adam, you finished it already? Already?  There’s an achievement for finishing the game in under 5 hours with no kills… even bosses.  So yes, at my more lethargic pace, I finished it in about a week of on and off play, with at least one “holy crap it’s 3AM?!” session mixed in there.  That’s one nice thing about this game — you can actually finish it — and it keeps your interest throughout, unlike some other major releases this summer.  I’m looking at you, Niko Bellic!

If Michael Bay, the director, was a character in a book by King or Koontz, Bay would go off into some secret chamber somewhere in his compound, play MGS4 in some kind of all-encompassing aural and visual experience, and pleasure himself (in either simple or twisted ways, author dependent) while dreaming of making action scenes in his films that work on the level that some of the stuff does in MGS4.  When MGS4 is good, it’s really, really good.  It kicks Bay’s ass all over the place.  It laughs at him, then headlocks him and knocks him unconsious, steals his rations, and dumps him in a locker.  It may even put a claymore outside the locker for when he finally wakes back up, just for laughs.

Of course, you have to give Bay credit for creating the kind of patriotic bad-ass film that inspired Kojima’s team, but man if the Japanese didn’t just take it and run off with it, improving it at every turn.

If Kojima took any influence from Bay, it’s unfortunately in the lack of having a good editor, or listening to an editor if indeed they had one.  Anything you do in MGS4 is a time-commitment.  Watching a briefing can take 30 minutes… or more.  Try 90 minutes.  That’s almost half as long as Bad Boys 2 (yes, I’m joking).  Although you really don’t notice the time going by (unless your spouse is waiting for you for something) while playing the game, you still notice that you just burned hours of your day in a “quick” session once you’re done.

Gear selection choice is through the roof in this game, and frankly I don’t know why half of them are featured.  I realize that most are real weapons (neat to see the FN in the mix) and we’re traveling around the world, so different ones would be represented, but do we need 15 different rifles?  Really?  How about three diverse ones and one really customizable one?  No, 15?  Really?  Oh, ok.

I can’t tell you the chills I got playing this late at night with the lights down while Laughing Mantis was screaming “SNAAAAAAKE!!!” at me (complete with great reverb effect) and taunting me to find her.  Creepy!

So far this year, Metal Gear Solid 4 is the first must-play game of 2008.  Highly entertaining from beginning to end, and even more so if you’ve played the previous series entries… all the way back to the NES.

And just think!  You can now skip the next 4 or 5 (movie ticket price dependent) Michael Bay movies and still come out ahead, because MGS4 likely just did it all better.

P.S. I really have nothing against Bay or his films, it was just fitting to use him in this post… although he does need to get a better editor, or listen to one.


The Green Effect Happening

I didn’t see the film, nor will I, but I had the displeasure of ending a wonderful stay on an island in Australia by reading “The Green Effect” script. Like most, I really enjoyed The 6th Sense and Unbreakable, and had varying love for Signs and The Village. I didn’t bother with Lady, although Giamatti is always engaging.

From what I understand, Green Effect was turned down by every studio that read it. I really don’t blame them, because it was just awful. But, I have to blame the one that signed it as “The Happening” because it can’t be that different from the original script, in which trees kill everyone because we’re over populating… and an old lady in the middle of nowhere was crazy and talking evil to her plants for 60 years.

Oh, and Green is the color of love, which is what you better be feelin’ 24-7 or the plans will pwn you.

So far this summer:

  • Caspian : –
  • Iron Man : +
  • Indy IV : –
  • Hulk : ?
  • Happening : –

Will we be redeemed by WALL-E and Dark Knight?


Indiana Jones and the– WTF?!

I don’t get it.

I really, really don’t get it.

I don’t see how Spielberg, Harrison Ford, and hell, even Lucas could look at the script for KotCS and not just collectively say “uh, yeah, not really feeling it.”

If you’ve not seen the film, then this is your spoiler alert to stop reading right now. Honestly, if you loved Raiders and liked the other two to varying degrees, you should not see this film anyway. It is indeed a logical progression to the trilogy — logical in the sense that with each film they got more comic and less threatening than the film that came before.

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Can Bioshock survive the game to movie transition?

I have a lot of discussions with friends about how you would make Bioshock into a great film, and we’re having a very hard time coming up with solutions to its issues.

First, let’s get it out of the way that it’s a dynamite environment. When I first heard about it, I immediately thought of a chapter from Logan’s Run (the book, it’s not in the film) about Logan chasing his runner to this underwater dome / city that was abandoned and being reclaimed by the sea one bulkhead and passage at a time. I LOVED the images that conjured up, and I guess so did Ken Levine, since he mentioned that book specifically in one interview.

So the location and setting is compelling. Rapture, this dream of an underwater utopia gone sour. Awesome stuff. Free market principal taken to the extreme. Great. The discovery of Adam, which corrupted the entire city. The literal apple to Ryan’s garden. Wonderful.

Ok, so now what?

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Teasers at the end of credits…

…they’re getting old.

Maybe it’s an age thing, but after a film is over, if there’s nothing to really compel me to watch the ever-expanding credit lists of a film — seriously, do we need to see the receptionists at the effects houses credited? Human resources?! The people that hired the people that worked on the film?! — I’m out of my seat once the initial rush for the exit calms a bit.

If you want there to be something for the audience, put it at the front of the credits, or mixed in with them, like Pixar’s “outtakes”. Or, offer a hint that there may be something for the end credits if you really, really feel compelled to put it there.

Better yet, put that scene out on YouTube (legally) so that those that didn’t stay have something to continue their interest in the film. I can’t justify going back to a theater to see a film (although in this case it was certainly an enjoyable one) just for a 30 second scene.

So waah, yes we didn’t stay through the entire credit list after Iron Man, so we missed the Nick Fury scene. If you’ve not seen it yet, I guess you should stay to the very end.

At least that way, whomever is working in HR will feel a bit more loved.

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