The Fallout games are a huge cash cow for Bethesda. For example, Fallout: New Vegas raked in more than three hundred million dollars in the first month after its release. Pause for a moment to reflect on what a tremendous sum of money that is. There are blockbuster films that never touch anywhere near that amount of money. How is it that this series has made Bethesda so much cash? What is it about Fallout that is so compelling that people just have to have it? Granted, it’s not the Elder Scrolls or the fame of Skyrim, but there’s definitely something there that people want. So what is it? What’s with all the Fallout video game shirts?
There are a few things. First of all, the post-apocalyptic genre is relatively underplayed. Yeah, there have been a few movies like Mad Max that had post-apocalyptic settings, but overall, it’s not a hugely popular genre. There are way more high fantasy and sci-fi/space opera settings than post-apocalyptic. Since it’s such an underused genre, Fallout comes across as a very original game by using a post-apocalyptic setting. Moreover, you would expect post-apocalyptic games to be either action or survival horror. Fallout, however, is decidedly a role playing game, which is unexpected and thus a fresh combination.
Secondly, it provides Bethesda with a series that is somewhat less cartoonish than their other games. Skyrim is an enormously popular game, but the voice acting, writing, and plot are all on the same level as you’d see in a Disney film, or perhaps slightly below that. The Fallout games just feel somehow more serious. Part of it is the superior quality of the voice acting and dialogue, as well as the writing. But another big part of it is the setting. While fantasy can be done well, it’s something that must be “sold” in order to be convincing. If we are going to take magical dragons seriously, then we have to be persuaded to do so. Post-apocalyptic settings are just easier to take seriously and lend themselves more to suspension of disbelief.
Another big issue with Fallout is the consistency of the series, which is an element that is missing from the Elder Scrolls. The Elder Scrolls was never a very consistent series. There was Arena, which was more of a beta or prototype than a series-launching game. Then we had Daggerfall, which is the first game that felt a bit like the Elder Scrolls but was still more of a historical achievement than a game that people still want to play today. The first really great ES was Morrowind, which was very different from Daggerfall. Oblivion felt like a more canned Morrowind with slightly better graphics, and Skyrim was just a straight-up action game.
Fallout, by contrast, is a very consistent series. That’s not to say that all the games are, or even feel, the same. However, they’re all clearly in the same genre and proceed along the same general lines. This is in stark contrast to the Elder Scrolls, which feel like a weird experiment with each new game. Fallout, by contrast, is a series where the gamer knows roughly what they’re going to get.
Mega Man is a very recognizable video game character featured on many video game shirts. A lot of people know who he is even if they’ve never played any of the games. Released in the late 1980s, the first Mega Man game was revolutionary because it allowed the player to choose what order to defeat the bosses in. Each boss gave the player a new weapon to use, which would be very effective against at least one other boss. For example, an ice-themed boss might give you a weapon that works well against the fire boss. Choosing which boss to beat and in what order made the original game stand out.
But what was the story of Mega Man? In the original game, the robot (originally known as Rock Man) was a robot created by a scientist named Dr. Light. Dr. Light had a colleague named Dr. Wiley who helped created robots. When Dr. Wiley went rogue and reprogrammed Dr. Light’s robots, one of the only ones who escaped was Rock Man, who offered to be converted into a combat robot to stop Dr. Wiley. This was a simple enough story, and Dr. Wily was the boss of the original game. He was one of those old style video game bosses that is beaten in several stages.
This was a short lived part of the whole mythos, though. A few years later, in 1993, the character who would come to truly define the series was created. The character’s name was X, although he is commonly also called Mega Man. X is a successor to the original Mega Man that was created and placed in suspended animation for a century before being recovered by Dr. Cain. He was originally created by Dr. Light, but Dr. Cain was the scientist who found him a century later. Ignoring Dr. Light’s warnings that were logged in the time capsule, Dr. Cain proceeded to replicate Mega Man and create many more robots like him, called Reploids.
The Reploids (replica androids) were different from their predecessors. Like Mega Man X, they had free will and could make their own decisions. Disaster struck when a certain group of them became known as “mavericks”, turning against their human masters with their newfound free will. A group of maverick hunters was created, consisting of loyal reploids who could hunt down and kill the mavericks. One such maverick hunter was called Sigma. Sigma was originally a maverick hunter, but he eventually became a maverick himself and becomes the main villain of Mega Man X. Another character is introduced, named Zero, who is like the opposite of Sigma: originally a creation of Dr. Wily, he joins the maverick hunters later on.
The plot becomes more complicated from there, of course, but the brass tacks of it have been laid out. The plot as a whole is very confusing for a newcomer to the series, so if you don’t want to sound like a fool in front of die-hard fans, this article should help you out.
If you were a gamer of any stripe during the early 90s, you knew all about Streets of Rage. One of the most famous examples of the beat ‘em up genre, Streets of Rage allows you to pick from one of three characters: Adam, Axel, and Blaze. The characters are all very similar and possess the same movesets. What differentiates them are the character sprites, which look very different, and their stats. Adam has high power and jumps high, but is slower. Axel has high power and is fast, but does not jump very high. Blaze, the female, has high speed and jumps well, but has lower power. The game can be played with one or two players.
While the characters do not have unique styles or super moves (this comes later in the series), they do have something resembling a super move. If the special button is pressed, the camera will shift backward to reveal a police car. The police car will pull up and a policeman will pop out of it with either a bazooka or gatling gun. The policeman fires the weapon. Then the camera shifts back to the battlefield, where fire will rain down and destroy or greatly damage all enemies on screen. Each level, the player begins with one “special” use to call the police officers.
This is a very strange mechanic, but not totally unheard of in beat ‘em up games. For example, in Spider Man & Venom: Separation Anxiety, both the players can call superheroes from the Marvel Comics Universe to come attack all opponents onscreen. So the use of “summons” or “calls” during beat ‘em up games does have a history outside of Streets Of Rage. Later installments in this franchise would delete the “call” move in favor of special moves unique to each characters, and even give multiple specials to different characters. However, the call mechanic, as discussed earlier, would go on to crop up in other side scrolling beat ‘em ups later on in the 90s.
The game is fairly short and ends when the players defeat a gun-wielding mob boss named Mr. X. Mr. X is the antagonist of all three of the original Streets of Rage games. He wields a tommy gun and is portrayed as the boss of the criminal syndicate that sends out all of the goons that the players encounter.
Streets Of Rage is not the best beat ‘em up game from the 90s, but its two sequels were some of the greatest beat ‘em up games ever made. Streets Of Rage is therefore very important historically because it marks the beginning of the one of the most successful (and playable!) beat ‘em up franchises. Check it out for its historical importance and not-too-shabby gameplay, but keep in mind that Streets of Rage 2 and Streets of Rage 3 are the real crown jewels of this franchise, and the ones whose cover art frequently appear on video game t shirts.
Atari is not really a household name anymore, but dedicated nerds know what Atari was. Long before the X-Box and PS4, the two big contenders were Sony and Nintendo. Before that, Sega was in the fray as well. And before all three of those, all the way back in the late 1970s, there was Atari. Even if you’ve never heard of Atari, you’ve probably heard of Pong. Pong was the world’s first coin-operated arcade game, and it was a huge success. Pong made a big splash. In fact, one of the first mass-produced consoles was a console that did nothing but play Pong. Both the Pong arcade game and the Pong console were created by Atari.
But Atari’s big contribution was the Atari 2600. What was the Atari 2600? Simply put, it was one of the first mass-produced consoles that worked off of ROM cartridges. ROM stands for Read Only Memory, meaning memory that is only read and never altered. The game cartridges that were common to the NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, and Sega Genesis were all ROM cartridges. Many such cartridges also had a small amount of static RAM in them, which made it possible to save your game. Static RAM, or Random Access Memory, is similar to the RAM in your computer, except it doesn’t clear when you turn the system off, unlike your computer’s RAM. While the Pong system was confined to only one game, the Atari 2600 allowed for removable carts. Given the fact that the Atari 2600 cost $200 (more than $800 in today’s money), it stands to reason that it needed the capacity to play multiple games. Few people would want to pay $800 just to play a single game!
The Atari 2600 was great because it brought arcade gaming into the home. That was ultimately the trick: instead of having to go out and pop coins into an arcade machine to play a game, you could have that entertainment in your living room. And indeed, the “homeliness” of the Atari 2600 was intentional and reflected in its design. The original console had a wood grain finish. The point of giving it a wood grain finish was to make it fit with the decor of the average person’s living room. The “now you can play at home” vibe was completely intended by Atari.
Of course, there is plenty of history since the late 1970s in the gaming world. The NES was yet to come. Sega would still make its mark. And Atari itself was comparatively short-lived because of all the competition. Following the release of Pong, several competitors in the arcade market immediately sprang up. The same thing happened after Atari switched to at-home consoles. This meant that Atari quickly fell into financial trouble because it couldn’t move enough units, and the Atari 2600 itself cost nearly half a million in 1970s dollars to develop. So while Atari was not a terribly long-lived brand, it still left a significant mark with the Atari 2600. This is why you can still see the Atari logo on video game shirts.
Resident Evil Resistance really wasn’t the game we wanted. After the excellent re-release of Resident Evil 2, any new title looked poor. So the announcement was received with disdain by the players.
On the other hand, after Capcom confirmed Nemesis ‘return, Resistance was quickly eclipsed from gamers’ memories. In fact, the game has even disappeared a little from the collective mind. A few months later, we finally got our hands on Resistance and Resident Evil 3, so it’s time to draw some conclusions.
Resident Evil 3 being a bit short and unfortunately unable to recreate the magic of the original game, it is obvious that Resistance serves as a consolation to consolidate the overall proposition of the game. On the other hand, to our surprise, it does not stop at this reason to be. We must admit having had a great time on this multi opus.
Even though the two are sold together, Resistance stands apart. Ironically, it might have been better if the game was included in the menus of RE3 for the latter to feel more fleshed out. So what is this multiplayer experience that works but nobody asked for? We will explain to you.
Using the same engine as RE3, this is a third-person, 4v1 multiplayer game. Graphically, it is as stunning as its opposite solo and even includes certain areas of the main title. But the graphics and sound qualities are already hallmarks of Resident Evil remakes since RE2, so let’s get to the interesting stuff.
Right now, you can choose between six different Survivors and they each have their own abilities. Becca excels with firearms, Valerie is a careful and Samuel is quite a melee-oriented. We are especially fans of January who has the ability to hack cameras and is a fan of explosives. All have their positive and negative points and interesting thing, at the start of a game, you can only choose from 4 of the 6 characters.
Video Game T-shirts are available
Everything is based on cooperation. Each part is divided into zones and you must work with your allies to move from zone to zone and complete the objectives (find a magnetic card for example). To summarize, the game consists of completing small puzzles to get out of one section and move on to the next, all while facing hordes of the living dead, naturally.
If one team member decides to go it alone, it just might hurt the rest. We mentioned a 4v1 mode, didn’t we? This is because against these four survivors stands a fifth player, in the skin of the “Mastermind”, the Brain. An evil genius who has at his disposal a number of traps and a small army of zombies to launch on the survivors. You will be able to choose from familiar faces such as Annette Birkin, who has the ability to unleash William on other players.
The Brain spies on survivors through security cameras much like Five Night at Freddy’s. Your trap options are displayed as cards. You choose what you want to lay, such as infected soil, and position it where you think it will be most useful.
There is a whole range of traps and enemies that you can deploy. A thick brute that can tank multiple hits; fast attack dogs that are hard to hit or crawling zombies that crawl on the ground and grab your ankles. After a while, you will be able to use the unique character in your Brain, and even take control of it.
Video game Shirts are available
Another very nice element in Resistance is the level system. Nothing new, of course, but it sticks well to the experience. Your characters (good and bad) can all be upgraded. Each character has a special ability, for example, Becca can channel her focus to perform a more precise shot. These abilities can be improved before games, but also during the game thanks to the money you collect while fighting.
And that’s the core of the game. Four players push their way through the hordes while a fifth tries to stop them. Despite this rather simple format, Resistance does it all in a nice way that helps extend the life of the RE3 experience.
Given that it’s available directly with the remake, it would be silly not to at least take a look at Resident Evil Resistance. We wouldn’t recommend it to you as an argument to buy the pack but if you’re hesitant to take RE3, this multi feature should be able to tip the scales. To sum up, if you’ve purchased Resident Evil 3, don’t overlook Resistance, it might surprise you.
My best friend gave me an Xbox 360 and helped me hook it up to my entertainment system. Xbox live rocks, and he and I are having fun playing Halo Reach together (I don’t have any images from Halo Reach, but this poster for Halo 3 I have stuck in with the video game t shirts. It’s pretty cool). The game came with Mass Effect 2, and I was thinking about playing it. Another friend of mine told me to play ME1 through first because it is supposed to have this amazing story on the order of Knights of the Old Republic. This is saying a lot, because Knights has one of the best “OMG” moments in game play history in my opinion, but I figured I’d try it out and see what it is like.
I downloaded it last night and started playing this morning. After two hours I am bored stupid. I have probably spent 2/3ds of that time generating my character, watching cut scenes, grinding my way through interminable dialog sequences with every dope in the universe, trying to figure out the game interface (the in game controller guide offers a chance to change your Y axis, something I have never ever known anyone to ever do, and that’s it. No manual with a download. Besides, I’m not trying to break a government spy code. Most games are pretty intuitive and I can usually figure them all out within a few minutes. It shouldn’t be this painful) and micromanaging not just my inventory but the inventory of two other NCP morons who seem to feel the best way to protect me is to get in between my gun and the enemies. The game itself plays like I’m trying to push a car to a gas station while steering it through the open window, and aiming feels like I am trying to flick a light switch from across a room with a 30 foot PVC pipe.
I am sure that over time once I figure out all the controls, level up so I am not worthless in combat, get some decent gear upgrades, and stop caring about all the dialog and inventory crap, it could get fun (although the reason I keep getting sucked into the dialog is because I want to see this amazing story and I feel if I don’t play the RPG part of it I might miss something cool), but why would Bioware make a game that starts you off feeling like you are trying to pass a kidney stone rather than make it fun and interesting so you get sucked in and want to play it through? Most games start off easy and get harder as it progresses, but I don’t know how much harder to play they can make it without figuring out a way to electrocute me through my controller.
As for this amazing story that is supposed to surface if I can stomach about 1,000 hours of dialog boxes, during the 20th minute of trying to figure out how to level up, or if that was really an option in this game, or if it was an option at the baby level I was on, it suddenly occurred to me that if I really want to see an amazing story maybe I should go watch a movie, something I have a bit of experience at and (sort of) get paid to do if in a roundabout manner. While I have had a couple of very positive video game story experiences (KOTOR and Silent Hill, for example) for the most part a story is icing on the cake for games. If the icing is delicious but the cake itself is made of sawdust, asbestos, and dog excrement I am pretty disinclined to eat it.
I’ll probably return at some point and see if it is due to improve, or if my attitude is better, but to be honest I don’t have time for it. My time is better spent writing up reviews for bad movies. As for comments, feel free to post here but be warned that anything on the order of “You must suck at video games (and/or life) to not be able to play ME” will be promptly discarded. I am not an maniacal video gamer, but have been playing them for most of my life and like to think I am at least of average ability. If an average person cannot make this game fun than that pretty much says there is something wrong here. I am sure ME2 and 3 are better from a game play point of view, but at this moment I think I would rather go back and play a few hours of I Maed a Gam3 W1th Zom1es in it!!! Follow me on Twitter @NerdKungFu or email specific questions or suggestions to [email protected]. More movie stuff coming out soon. Talk to you later.
It is pretty widely known that Microsoft if the Evil Empire of software companies, but this goes beyond the pale. Basically if I understood what I just read the new X-Box 720 is supposed to have a system in place to prevent the use of used games. How is that a good call on their part? Is it not enough that they already get a ton of money from the video game players out there? They have to stomp on all the kids who don’t have enough money to buy games new but have the patience to wait a few months to play it? How about old games from the 360 days? Are those wasted when you buy the new 720? Technically they are used.
Actually, what if I have a couple cool games and want to go over to a friends house and play them there? Is that no longer allowed? My friend is sick and I want to lend him some games so he can rest in bed? Oops. Microsoft says to hell with you.
When you think about it, when I sell a used car to someone the car manufacturer doesn’t get a chunk of the sale. They gave that up when they sold it to me. Sorry, but I am a big fan of used video games and this whole concept is driving me nuts.
The control freak shirt I found in Dave’s video game t shirts. Seemed kind of appropriate given Microsoft’s attitude.
Martin Scorsese throws a nod towards Steam Punk.
I find myself in a weird spot reviewing this movie. I mean, who am I to review the work of a true movie making genius like Martin Scorsese? He is responsible for so many of my favorite films, including Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Shutter Island, and The Aviator. Of course, he has done a lot of stuff no one has ever heard of, including a ton of documentaries. However, for a movie amateur like myself to offer criticism feels like I am hanging around giving advice to a brain surgeon.
But then I remember that I have an obligation to deliver my unbiased and honest opinion to you, my beloved reader. Fortunately, Hugo is a decently fun movie, and even if I didn’t know Scorsese had directed it I would have enjoyed it. It was fun, well acted, extremely well directed, and overall a quality movie experience. Like pretty much 100% of the movies I nit pick apart it has a few items I can take issue with, but overall pretty cool. I think one of the things that really works for me on this film is it is so different from any of Martin Scorsese’s other films. It’s great to see a director head into something new.
It is the story of young Hugo (Asa Butterfield-the Boy in the Striped Pajamas, the Return of Nanny MacPhee), the son of a clockmaker who has been orphaned and now lives in a Paris train station, winding and maintaining the clocks. His only legacy of his father is a mysterious steam punk automaton that was rescued from a museum store room and is in need of repair (steam punk Sonic image courtesy of the Video Game T Shirts). He gets caught trying to steal parts from a grumpy toy shop owner named Papa George (the great Ben Kingsley-Sexy Beast, Ghandi, Shutter Island, Schindler’s List), who confiscates Hugo’s fathers notebook. He gets Hugo to work for him repairing windup toys to make up for the stolen goods. Meanwhile Hugo befriends George’s goddaughter Isabelle (played most excellently by Chloe Grace Moretz, the Hitgirl from Kick Ass. She was also the vampire from Let Me In. What a talented young actress. I am sure we will see some amazing things from her in the future), who is something of a bookworm and looking for adventure. She sees the potential with Hugo and together they work on the mystery of the mechanical man.
I don’t want to get too much into the story, as I don’t want to hand out any spoilers. Hugo is beset by the station inspector (Sasha Baron Cohen-Borat, Sweeney Todd, Bruno, Ali G) who adds an element of danger to the story. Papa George has a mysterious past that he wants to keep secret. Clocks get wound. Mysteries are solved.
The stars. All around quality film. Direction, story, and overall experience excellent. Two stars. The acting was awesome, although how could you expect any less from Ben Kingsley? Chloe was decent too, although occasionally she and Asa seemed to have forced the scenes. Two stars. The camera work and visual were really, really good. Two stars. The story overall was very immersive. You really felt like you were in the Montparnasse train station in the 30’s. One star. Steam punk-ish. One star. Based in part on a true story. One star. Total: nine stars.
Now, though it galls me to do this, I have to award the black holes. The biggest one is going to have to be the fact that 3D sucks. It really did nothing to in any way enhance this film, and it is obvious Martin Scorsese, being new to the 3D art form, was looking for and writing in extra visuals to better display the 3D effects. Unfortunately this really did nothing but aggravate the next two black holes I am about to give. One black hole. The movie, perhaps due to the extra visuals, seemed to really drag at points. The fun of watching Hugo wind his was through the massive gears and cogs of all the clocks in the station kind of loses it’s magic when we have to watch it a second and third time. Plot progression seemed really slow. One black hole. The movie, supposedly for kids, runs a whopping 127 minutes. I saw more than one family have to leave early after the kids got bored of watching gears spin, and even I had to take a bathroom break about 3/4 of the way through (the ocean tanker sized Diet Coke did not help). One black hole. Finally, while Sasha Baron Cohen was probably the best actor in the film, his role as the menacing station inspector was significantly compromised by his comedic bearing and delivery. It literally felt like Hugo was being chased by Inspector Clouseau, and it is tough to feel concern for anyone in that situation. The rest of the movie is actually really poignant and serious with whimsical element, but every time Sasha got on screen the slapstick-o-meter dipped deeply into the red. One black hole. Total: four black holes.
So a grand total of five stars. Not bad, but not awesome. Hugo is a fun, quality movie. But it in no way compares to Shutter Island or Goodfellas. Worth seeing? Yes. Worth seeing in a theater? Yes. Worth seeing twice in a theater? Probably not, unless you are into the 3D art form or the movie history portrayed. Good date movie? Sure, as long as your date is a visual person. Not my first choice.
Thanks for reading, and don’t hate me for not gushing all over this film. I really am a Scorsese fan. Just not his best film. Perhaps he was so distracted by the details of 3D he couldn’t apply as much focus as usual on the other aspects of the film. Short review, but that’s what usually happens when I enjoy the film. I will write up the Descendants tomorrow, and hopefully see something else then for Monday. Maybe Arthur Christmas. Follow me on Twitter @NerdKungFu. Talk to you soon.
Ever feel like you don’t have enough germophobia in your life? Contagion has the cure.
So tonight it was Contagion, a movie about a plague that kills millions and causes Purell sales to skyrocket. Overall a decent flick, if a little dry and, ironically, low impact. What do I mean? Let’s find out.
The movie starts off with Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) coming home from a wild trip to Hong Kong filled with drinking, casino gambling, and adultery. She comes home not feeling well and falls over to shuffle off this mortal coil, followed shortly by her young son. Her cuckold husband, Mitch (Matt Damon) is somehow immune. Meanwhile, the camera runs around the world showing major metropolitan cities where people traveling from China are infecting their local communities. We cut to several CDC lab scenes and officials, including Lawrence Fishburne as Dr. Cheever, the head. Plague chaos and medical research ensues. A local blogger manages to disrupt things by claiming a homeopathic remedy is the cure and runs around San Francisco in a homemade bubble suit (never underestimate the power of a well crafted blog. Of course, for this blog underestimate all you want. Also, did they really have to make the crazy conspiracy nut reside in San Francisco? Weren’t their other stereotypes they could exploit?).
This movie was well written and directed. The most interesting part for me was the progressive degeneration and break down of society they showed, although I think a few steps ended up on the cutting room floor as at one point the chaos went from fairly concerning to chaos on a massive scale in one scene change. The science seemed pretty solid as well, with nothing obviously stupid being done. The movie did manage to illustrate how the US has a really hard time moving quickly when dealing with drugs and vaccines that have to get out to the population in a timely manner, and there were undertones of pharmaceutical companies intending to exploit the health needs for profit, something I firmly believe they would do without hesitation.
Why, then, do I say kind of low impact? The fact is, after the two initial deaths, for the most part none of the main characters died or were connected to people who died, in spite of any number of secondary characters introduced seemingly to provide fodder to make the movie more poignant. There were a couple of mass grave scenes, but nothing that really looked like more than a bunch of carpet remnants being buried. One doctor died, but the guy who was supposed to care didn’t even mention her again. Basically the deaths took on a number aspect with little to no real emotional impact. It started to feel like racking up kills in a video game. The movie tended to be pretty dry anyway, with no violence to speak of or any kind of real conflict between characters.
Of course, I spent a lot of the movie hoping the corpses would get up and start trying to eat the flesh of the living, so maybe I’m a little skewed here. I guess not all deadly diseases can be as cool as the T Virus (image courtesy of the video game t shirt category).
The stars. Very well and intelligently written. Two stars. Nobody did anything stupid that made me want to scream. One star. Acted very well across the board. One star. Marion Cotillard (the hot French girl from Inception), who is one of my favorite actresses and hopefully my future wife, spent the movie looking pretty good. One star. The progression of anarchy and the CDC and government responses to the epidemic felt very real and well thought out. One star. Good science. One star. The research episodes appealed in the same way CSI seems cool. One star. Overall a good movie. One star. Total: nine stars.
The black holes. The whole “death lacking impact” thing I just mentioned. One black hole. The CDC seemed to spend a lot of time trying to figure out where the disease came from rather than working on a cure, and as part of that pursuit spent a lot of time looking at security footage that looked exactly like it had been shot by the same film crew that did the normal scenes. Most movies at least try to make security footage look grainy and black and white, without sound and/or full effects. One black hole. They laughingly list the population of San Francisco as 3.6 million people. Most people don’t know this, but it is actually a fairly small city, with a population at last census of 808,976 people. I guess they were trying to increase the effect of an outbreak in SF. They can’t even claim to be using the population of the entire Bay Area, as that exceeds 7.6 million. They were doing this thing where they listed the population of each area and probably felt something that low would feel less impactful, but it took me literally 10 seconds to look up and that kind of lazy writing always bugs me. One black hole. Total: three black holes.
There were a couple in the irksome category. First off, I can’t decide if this movie was too gory or not gory enough. We get treated to a semi-graphic autopsy of Gwyneth Paltrow (would you like some surrealism with your coffee?) but other than people foaming at the mouth don’t see much. I think the lack of gore, while appealing to my desire to see movies not rely on that banal Hollywood crutch, kind of aided the lack of emotional content. A couple scenes of people coughing up their lungs while dying a painful, prolonged death might have brought it home more. I also found a few of the many sub plots kind of unnecessary. Not enough to hurt the plot. Just kind of dead time on the screen.
So a final tally of six stars, a very respectable score. I think if you are into medical dramas or CSI style crime investigation you will really enjoy it. However, there is nothing visually that really cries out for a big screen so if you want to save a few bucks wait for NetFlix. Not at all a good date film, as your date will not want to have anything to do with human contact after this film, and odds are neither will you. To be honest I went to the bathroom afterwards and really washed my hands. I think I will now give my bathroom and kitchen the scrubbing of a lifetime. OCD, here I come!
Follow me on Twitter, where you can stay in touch with no chance of any kind of disease transmission @Nerdkungfu. Warrior next, I think, if I can muster up the testosterone. Thanks for reading this.
Yes, I liked it. I’ve pretty much liked the whole series. I now realize there is no way I could have fairly reviewed it without having seen the rest of them, so I think I took the right path. I will also say that there was a lot of stuff I didn’t understand, and some stuff that came up in this movie that I probably could have used about five movies ago, so I guess I’m now at the point where I pretty much have to buy and read the books. Do they all have to look so goofy on the cover? One thing the Lord of the Rings has always done right is made their covers as dignified and ominous as possible. I think I would have bought the books years ago if they hadn’t all featured a skinny, bespectacled kid who has a goofy smile on his face.
By the way, after my rant about carrying a ton of extra wands and using a wand in both fists my best friend Dave invented the Gatling wand, so I want to give him props for that. I think it’s brilliant.
I am going to keep my questions down to the ones I feel won’t spoil the plot at all, in case someone like me has not seen it yet or read the books. I will also keep the story synapses to a minimum. Basically Harry and his friends are still on the horcrux Easter Egg hunt, and it leads them to Hogwarts, where the imprison the entirety of Slytheryn (finally) and then are besieged by Death Eaters. Cool stone statues come to life to defend. Stuff gets blown up. People gets killed. Everyone seems to have forgotten where they hid their brooms again. Voldemort rains unholy nostril-faced hell on pretty much everyone. Two of my three predictions pretty much came true.
The stars. Great ending to a pretty awesome story. Two stars. Great special effects and CGI. One star. I’ve gotten so used to all the characters that none of them bug me, and they have all matured nicely as pretty good actors, especially Daniel Radcliffe. One star. The story, in a very real way, was extremely satisfying. One star. They didn’t waste any time with a recap of Part I at the start of the film. It was a huge F you to anyone who didn’t see the first one, but really who is that dumb? Besides almost me. One star. Snape had a really cool, integral part that actually gave him a lot of depth. One star. Despite my fears, Draco Malfoy manage to not end the movie dead or in a horrible situation. One star. The plot was fast paced and made a lot or sense. One star. Ron and Hermione finally kiss. One star. They didn’t try to get a softer movie rating by holding off on the massive carnage. One star. Two more bonus stars for an all around great movie experience. Total: thirteen stars.
Now the black holes. I am going to give one for all the stuff that I would have known had I read the book but they couldn’t stuff into the movie for illiterate morons. I know this would be almost impossible to pull off in a less than six hour movie, and I don’t hold it against the film, but I still see it as somewhat of a failure. One black hole. Voldemort seems to play pretty fast and loose with his last remaining horcrux. One black hole. Dumbledore resurfaces to ruin all the respect he gained from me in the last couple films in order to prove he was exactly the manipulative, heartless bastard I though he was in the first few movies. One black hole. A couple of the deaths of characters I liked kind of really harshed my buzz, especially Ron’s brother. One black hole. Total: four black holes.
So a grand total of nine stars, an excellent score for an excellent series. I feel pretty good about this. However, it would not be one of my Harry Potter reviews if I did not come up with more dumb questions to ask.
Back on wands. I now understand a bit more of wand lore, thanks to one scene where a wand loremaster kind of lays out some details, but I am still intrigued by the idea of size and shape. Could you make your want the size and shape of a baseball bat? Then, if you are in a duel and your opponent is kind of kicking your ass but you are up close you could give him or her a magical concussion. What if you made your wand into a broom stick? Then you could fly around and basically dive bomb people. What if you made it into the shape of a boomerang? Then, if someone disarmed you it could come back. For that matter, could you just make a wand the size and shape of a shotgun stock? And then just maybe mount a shotgun to it? That way, just as you are doing one of those different colored firehose duels, with minimal effort you send a load of buckshot at him. Sure, most if it would probably get vaporized in the conflagration, but if a couple pellets managed to hit Voldemort in the shin that would be a pretty huge distraction. (Shotgun image courtesy of the video game t shirt category).
There is a scene in the movie where a bridge gets blown up with explosives, along with a bunch of bad guys. That kind of implies that explosives have an effect on wizards. Why, then, instead of stone guys armed with medieval weapons does Hogwarts not just have a couple of self propelled artillery pieces? The part where the Death Eaters are all together on a hill shooting at Hogwarts could have gone pretty bad for them if someone had called in an airstrike. I don’t know if magic really has to mean you can’t occasionally throw in some modern technology, especially if your life is in danger.
Is Snape not still obligated to protect Draco Malfoy due to his unbreakable oath? He seems to take a pretty lax position with regards to that, letting Draco run around and get almost burned to death. If I were obligated to protect some kid on pain of my own death I’d have him locked up in an oubliette with crate of canned food and a Game Boy until the fireworks were over.
Where did the giants and spiders come from? Did they just see the action brewing and come along for the ride? Does Voldemort have an account with Rent-a-Monster, but his credit limit isn’t enough to get dragons so he just ordered the two he could afford? For that matter Hogwarts can afford to hire dragons, as they did for the Tri Wiz competition. I think I’d have a few of those locked up downstairs in case a huge army of Death Eaters, spiders, and giants happened to come calling.
So every single kid at Hogwarts is some kind of super brave hero? Sure, Slytheryn is evil and all got locked up while Gryffindor is supposed to be the brave ones, but there wasn’t a single Hufflepuff who was like “Hey, I’m just here to get an education. I don’t want to get mixed in this dark master crap.”? If an army of unimaginable evil had laid siege to my high school and I had access to a flying broom I would have bugged out so fast your eyes would spin, and I probably would have set up on a hill nearby with popcorn to watch the show. (Actually, if an army of unimaginable evil had had destructive intentions towards my high school I probably would have gone out the them with a bunch of Cliff Bars, in case they were hungry. However, we are not here to discuss my high school experience).
That’s pretty much it for now. I have to run. Thanks for sticking with me on my Harry Potter marathon. It has been a blast. New movies this weekend. Talk to you soon.