May 6, 2009

Star Trek

A recent Onion video (that you should watch here) pretty perfectly sums up my feelings for the new Star Trek film. Fans complain, "the movie is fun...watchable." And it was! But was it Star Trek? Not really.

Naturally, any big budget studio picture is going to do everything in its power to draw as wide an audience as possible. Unfortunately in this case, that means heavy handed action scenes (that get progressively less exciting), jokes that feel out of place (or aren't funny), and Tyler Perry (who is Madea). But cornball humor and the awful scenes of stupid kid Kirk aside, Star Trek was "fun...watchable."

It may even be better than Star Trek V. But what isn't, right?

To my surprise, Chris Pine did a fine job handling Kirk. Actually, the cast in general surpassed my expectations for them. For the brief spurts of time they actually spend together, they have good chemistry with one another. They carry an overall feeling of "Hey, we're having fun." It's just sad you don't get to spend very much time with anyone.

One problem I had that isn't solely aimed at this film is a matter of me being utterly tired of CGI everything. There are entire scenes that exist only for the sake of squeezing in more effects. And they're boring! They take away from time you should be spending with the bridge crew, but big summer movie = tons of unnecessary runtime supplements (aka. filler). I also don't like a few design elements, namely the ships (all of them), and the bridge itself. It doesn't feel like a place where commanders would give orders. It feels like a place where the crew would ask, "Will you be purchasing the touch or the nano today?" But hands down, my biggest complaint is the use of solar flares, or just glares in general. Every single scene is layered with glares that are a mix of diliberate lighting to gain the effect and adding the effect in post production. It's super distracting. It was like watching the film outside in the sun, but through a window.

Back to the subject of not being very Star Trekky, the movie is referred to as science fiction, but is more appropriately: space. You won't find any science here. Or philosophy. Or exploration. If they could have left out a handful of those arbitrary scenes and tried to incorporate these elements (that Star Trek is known for), they would have had a better film.

Nevertheless, the movie accomplishes what it set out to. It's big summer fun that people will like, it'll make a ton of money, and will be forgotten pretty shortly. It uses the line, "To boldly go where no man has gone before." But it didn't. It went where most movies like this go: safe, standard formula...because (sigh) it works.

I by no means hated it. But I'm just as far from loving it.

May 5, 2009

MVC2 Is Coming To XBLA!

Say what now? Nerds would know (inherently) that the above title reads Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 is coming to Xbox Live Arcade! This is MEGA news! The original arcade game, circa 2000, has certainly withstood the test of time. Nearly a decade later it remains to be one of the best fighting games ever made. The home console versions (Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox) are highly sought after due to a limited print (Capcom was loosing the Marvel license) and will run anywhere from $40-75 on ebay! The steep price tag has always been a factor in my never owning the game. That's not to say the game isn't worth the money, I assure you it is, but the Xbox and PS2 versions were...lacking. Elements were added that weren't needed or desired and the gameplay handles differently; a bit slow, clunky. The Dreamcast version, however, is the identical twin of the arcade birth mother due to the use of the NAOMI system (for coding), which the Xbox and PS2 weren't compatible with. That's the trouble with ports, things will often get lost in translation. So when news broke that the original version was coming to Xbox Live for a mere $15 (1,200 MSP), I swallowed my tongue, coughed it back up, then sang praises toward the heavens.

Why is this game so great? What's the hubbub, bub? Well, it's Marvel dudes, um, and Capcom dudes...and they totally fight each other! With a roster of 50+ playable characters, and some of those being Wolverine, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Ryu, Chun Li, and Megaman...I'd buy it if it were only those six. But I can almost guarantee your favorite Marvel character is represented. But what really sets this aside from most in the genre is the 3 on 3 battles.

Player: With so many awesome characters available, it's hard to decide which one to play.

Developer: You can have three at a time!

Player: Insanity! (Head Explodes)

It plays like any standard fighting game only your off screen pals can aid you during battle or simply "tag out" and take over as one of them. You're only defeated if all three of your characters health meters are drained. Each character has their own set of moves and combos plus group moves that include your whole team.

Here, poor Ryu is getting a makeover from a trio of badasses using said group move. He didn't stand a chance.

Update: A tentative release date of June 29. I'm counting the seconds.

May 4, 2009


I don't know if you are like me (you are probably not like me), but if you are--in the sense that the school year is almost over and you are knee-deep in shit FINAL EXAMS--I'm hoping this will cheer you up.

Even if your depression is not Finals related...well, GET OVER IT anyways. Why? Because of this:

Also, I realize I have filed this post under "Puppies and Kitties," and a slow loris is neither a puppy nor a kitty, so I offer this bonus:

From The Daily Puppy:

"This little duchess is a six-week-old Samoyed. Her name is Luna and she is a furry and cute little puppy who likes to chew on everything. She loves living with us and we love living with her. She has brought unbelievable happiness and joy to our lives."

Luna 2

Luna 1

Luna 3

You are welcome.