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The ship is sinking.

2 Sep

Hey to anyone listening I am moving this blog to this address: http://emereviews7.blogspot.com/

I will keep this up for my own use and so you can peruse my portfolio.

Now as always, see you later!

-DBSLAYER7

South Park the Stick of Truth

18 Mar

Words can hardly describe the experience that is, South Park: The Stick of Truth, as it is one of the raunchiest licensed games and the most “true to South Park” game created.

After several developmental pushbacks, instilled by the game directors themselves, Stick of Truth was finally released on March 4, 2014. And much to no one’s surprise the game lives up to the South Park name in its entirety.

Developed by Obsidian entertainment and published by Ubisoft, Stick of Truth tells the story of a silent new kid whose name is chosen by the player yet the characters refer to him as “Sir Douchbag” in true South Park humor, poking fun at one of the many RPG tropes. There is a standing war between the humans, who are led by Eric Cartman, and the Drow Elves led by Kyle Brofloski, in pursuit of control over an “ancient” artifact called the Stick of Truth, whose holder controls the Universe. This is nothing more than a dramatization of the boys’ playing since the story unfolds as a continuation of the Black Friday Trilogy form the T.V. show and blends incredibly well with the cleverly handled “Larping” RPG gameplay.

The player creates the character to their liking and can choose between four different classes, including Fighter, Mage, Thief or Jew, yes Jew. Once a class is chosen you are taught the basics of combat and the specialties of your class as the player is introduced to the basic, turn based RPG combat system, all while being entertained by the tongue in cheek dialogue. Speaking of which, every aspect of the game from the look, the animation, voice acting and writing are perfectly recreated and feel like you’re playing an interactive episode of South Park. This isn’t surprising given the team behind the development of the game.

For starters the game isn’t technically a “licensed” game as it was managed and directed by the creators Matt Stone and Trey parker, along with the same studio that produces the television show. That being said the two take full advantage of the freedom that comes with making a video game in America, and even the strong willed South Park supporters will have to brace themselves for the things found in the game. Not only does the game feature some the grossest most disgusting shock humor possible, it will also be fighting foreign countries on censorship of the extremely offensive material that could possibly be thought up by Stone and Parker.

That being said the game still feels natural in its execution and anyone who is a fan of South Park will know what to expect when picking this game up. Even if you are not a fan of the game it still could be worth a try as the gameplay is more than just an excuse for jokes as it takes notes from well-known RPG’s such as Super Mario RPG and the old Final Fantasy games. Mechanics like timed attacks and interactive actions keep every battle interesting and engaging, and cannot be completed by just mashing the same button.

The gameplay is also deep in its execution as it gives you new things to use throughout the campaign but so much of it that you get to choose however you want to play. That, coupled with four different classes, a cavalcade of adjustable equipment, side missions and 17 years’ worth of South Park history make The Stick of Truth an early contender for game of the year and well worth the price of admission.

The Monuments Men

18 Mar

An innumerable amount of movies, books, T.V. shows, and plays have been dedicated to the events that transpired during World War II, but in this movie the story focuses on a more intriguing subject not often looked upon in media.

The Monuments Men, released on Feb. 7, 2014, is an American-German war film produced and directed by George Clooney, and details the exploits of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program members, who return to service in the pursuit of retrieving and protecting art stolen by the Third Reich.

The Monuments Men is based off the novels of the same name, written by Robert M. Edsel, and was written by Clooney and screenwriter Grant Heslov. The film is home to a story that might have some movie goers scratching their heads at the notion of going into war torn territory with the intention of risking their well-being to protect pieces of art. And therein lays the strength of the film in both how it presents its characters and its overall moral on the importance of preserving culture.

The movie features the altered version of the book and the history it’s taking from but still represents itself as a non-fiction period piece that tells a bloated yet poignant story of how a small group of men realize that art is more than just a fleeting past time that doesn’t hold any importance. In a surreal self-representing metaphor the movie delivers the message that any and all art is not just a piece of paper, or a carved rock, nor just a collection of sounds but a reflection of the people who make it. The movie asks a very difficult but ultimately soul stirring question that is going to reach a lot of people, whether they like the movie or not, and that question is whether art is worth dying for.

As melodramatic as the movie may sound it is still an enjoyable experience that has the ability to balance comedy from natural camaraderie and the dramatic weight that comes with telling a story set in World War II. The film’s cast, featuring a few known comedians, knows just the right amount of attention, inflection and expression with every scene to make it fit together nicely. The movie is also filled to the brim with memorable and timeless moments that people will most likely be referencing for the rest of movie history.

The Monument’s Men isn’t a ‘Triple A’ blockbuster, nor is it anyone’s dream project, but  feels like home movie made among friends and filled with enough heart and care to warrant a second look. Not wanting to make waves the movie represents itself better than anyone can say and if this was the intent then the film makers have surely succeeded.

Thanks and see you later!

DBSLAYER7

The Lego Movie(Everything is Awesome!)

10 Feb

It’s a rare sight to see the stars align for a film, but when the gears mesh they sing like angels, and what better movie to represent this allegory then The Lego Movie.

Released on Feb. 7, The Lego Movie is a computer-animated adventure comedy film based on the Lego construction toys and the different licensed products made from them. From the trailers and initial speculation The Lego Movie seems like a hodgepodge of references and nostalgia, with a little star power thrown in for extra measure.

The Lego Movie actually houses a cleverly written and engaging world built with enough fervor and heart to rival the Pixar classics. The film tells a familiar yet unique story about an average construction worker, Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt), who goes about every day following the instructions given to him and never going outside the lines. Eight and a half years before this, an evil dictator by the name of Lord Business (Will Ferrel) steals a weapon called the “Kragle” and wants to use its power to make the Lego world perfect by his personal instructions. Emmet becomes wrapped in a prophecy foretold by a wise man named Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), who sees a chosen one called, “The Special,” as a the one who will use an artifact called the Piece of Resistance to destroy the Kragle and defeat Lord Business.

Seems simple enough but looks can be very deceiving. First off the first surprise of the film would be its cast and its refreshing lack of celebrities. Sure there’s Liam Neeson and Ferrel but the main cast consists of TV actors such as Pratt and Will Arnett as Batman. The best part is that The Lego Movie uses these actors to their full comedic potential and several scenes will have you chuckling throughout the movie.

Which goes by quick with a frenetic pace that seems to fit the movie perfectly as the beautiful faux stop-motion animation direction is incredibly fun to watch. But nothing is perfect and the film does lead to a few flaws such as the fact that since it has such a fast paced feel, the more slow moments seem out of place. The sound design seems a bit muffled and it’s not clear whether this was intentional or not.

Regardless of personal taste or the want for something that “seems” original The Lego Movie is a must watch for anyone looking for a fresh idea and film that stays 100% true to its name.

The Hobbit: The Desol(ook at that f$&#ing dragon!)ation of Smaug

16 Dec

Like the awkward middle child in an oversized family The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug seems to be going through puberty, finding all sorts of new things about itself while not being sure of what it’s supposed to do.

The movie takes place directly after the first Hobbit film and continues the unexpected journey towards the Lonely Mountain original kingdom of the dwarves. The protagonists, including the 13 dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), the wizard, Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellan) and the titular hobbit, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), must traverse the remaining land as they find their way back to the dwarf’s homeland. Along the way they must evade orcs, consult with the high elves and prepare to come face to face with the larger than life fire-breathing dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch).

Viewing movies such as The Hobbit trilogy piece by piece is equally as exciting as it is frustrating.

The ending cliffhangers still smack you in the face, even if you are someone who knows these movies are ensemble works, which is actually more of a testament to how engaging these films can be.

As the title suggests the main focus of the film is the inevitable encounter and interaction with a dragon by the name of Smaug, who is the same dragon from the beginning of An Unexpected Journey. I mention Smaug as a “who” because he is not your typical big dumb fire-breathing dinosaur. He has as much if not more personality as any of the other characters and is the main villain in the film.

As much as the movies defend their long running time, here it seems to put padding on top of padding, including a boring love triangle, single-shot filmed fight scenes, and an entirely different movie, with Stephen Fry playing a foppish aristocratic dictator of a lake top village adequately named, “Lake Town,” that just so happens to be next to the Lonely Mountain.

But with more padding comes quality filmmaking in both the acting and photographic departments. Every character, whether from the novel or not, is three-dimensional, with flaws and strengths brought to light by the actors, who do a great job of making the film a very organic experience. This is most evident with the group of battle ready dwarves who are now discernable from one another in big action vignettes and dialogues.

The visual effects are also some of the best seen in recent years, while the CG is still noticeable it’s very natural and never takes you out of the experience. The work done on Smaug alone is something that must be seen on the big screen.

A must see for fans of the book and the fantasy genre in general, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a movie that pushes the boundaries even further. The film is filled to the brim with something for everyone and a testament to good filmmaking that still includes the likes of fun in an industry that says otherwise. As frustrating as it is to see a cliffhanger the feeling of disappointment comes because the audience wants to see more.

This is my opinion, Thanks and see ya later!

DBSLAYER7

Fro(m the Renaissance)zen

2 Dec

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Frozen, a CG musical-fantasy released November 27, is the latest film done by Walt Disney Animation Studios that keeps the Disney spirit alive.

In a surprising return to form for Disney, Frozen, takes the tried and true princess formula and succeeds in making it feel as fresh and vibrant as it did during the Disney Renaissance.

Loosely based on the Hans Christian Anderson Novel, The Snow Queen, the movie sees two sisters deal with powers out of their control as they try to keep their kingdom of Arendelle afloat. Elsa, the elder sister, was born with the ability to create and control the power of snow and ice and after an accident that almost killed her younger sister Anna she was told to hide her powers from the world. This led to, her and subsequently Anna, being shut off from the outside world until the day of Elsa’s coronation where she must introduce herself to society. An incident during the coronation forces Elsa to reveal her powers and accidently cause an eternal winter in Arendelle and run away to a self inflicted exile. Anna with the help of ice salesman Christophe, his reindeer Sven and the animated snowman Olaf must find her sister and attempt to reverse the winter and save Elsa from not only the fear mongered populous but also herself.

The story at first glance already has enough twists to spin audiences upside down but it gets even more interesting as the whole movie is explored. The first twist is the absence of an identifiable villain as well as a lead. But this all works in the movies favor as it keeps you guessing throughout the entire movie and never leads itself into predictability. The movie is the greatest example of, “show don’t tell.” There’s no obnoxious narrator and the characters don’t say haw they feel, you see it in the beautiful animation.

The CG animation is standard Disney high-quality and uses its setting to the fullest extent in using snow, ice foliage and architecture to  

The movie has a break neck pace as literally years of plot and exposition is told within the first 10 minutes of the running time. But the film knows exactly when to slow down and take a breath from the action subtly introducing set pieces and characters and giving them all enough time to develop and interact with each other, such as when Christophe argues with Anna on how ridiculous “love at first sight” is.

Olaf, who serves as the token comic relief, brings the heart and laughs without the annoyance. Where similar characters like Mater from Cars seem obnoxious, Olaf does his job of being a nice break from the tension without ruining the investment. 

 Did I mention Frozen was a musical, cause you’ll find that out quick as the movie opens with a big booming catchy song about sawing and collecting ice. The characters all get their big songs, except for Christophe, who really needs one. The centerpiece of the music being Elsa’s “Let it go” song, which mirrors similar songs done in Mulan or Beauty and the Beast in terms of both inspiration and being memorable.

MINITORIAL-Two Princesses?: Frozen breaks the mold of having not one but two female leads who are for all intensive purposes Disney princesses on the side of good. Elsa being the one imbued with a magical gift and must learn to hide from everyone is an all too good metaphor for girls who grow up and discover more about who they are and not conforming to society’s wishes. Anna on the other hand wants nothing more than to conform as being shut away from the world has made her crave for attention and love and serves as a metaphor for girls who jump into situations too quickly without considering the consequences. Both juxtapose one another perfectly and let the movie have an interesting identity outside of being a rehash of an old story.

Frozen keeps the formula fresh and proves that no matter what may come Disney is still more than capable of turning out instant classics. A beautiful return to the female oriented fairy tale classic and a movie so good and filled with enough interest that a franchise would be obvious. 

Thor: The Dark World

13 Nov

Thor: The Dark World, released on Nov. 8, is the latest in the generous offering peddled by Marvel Studios and its revolutionary ideas on building an Avengers trilogy.

Thor: The Dark World is set two years after the events of the first Thor film and one year after the events of The Avengers and sees Thor(Chris Hemsworth) finishing up building peace amongst the nine realms and ready to take the throne of Asgard. Unfortunately his mind is towards Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) as she is imbued with an ancient sealed power called the Aether. The Aether is being sought out by an old enemy of Asgard, the Dark Elf Malakith (Christopher Eccleston) who has sworn vengeance upon Asgard for a war that killed his race. Thor must enlist the help of his enigmatic brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and fight to defeat Malekith and protect the realms he worked to make peaceful.

MINITORIAL-Divided They Fall?: The biggest question for people who enjoy the Avengers team dynamic is whether or not it works with only one Avenger. It’s gotten to the point where the individual hero movies cannot ignore their past exploits. The attention to previous details helps the films tremendously and keeps the entirety of the franchise alive and not repetitive. New problems, new villains and new macguffins that will be collected and used for different plots in the future. 

It’s at this point in the Marvel movie universe that no wrong can be done. Anything resembling a mishandling of an individual property or characters is immediately met with a good screenplay, great acting and love for the art of film that’s not found in many places today.

That’s Thor: The Dark World in a nutshell. Not perfect or fantastic, but just the right amount of dynamic between drama, action and comedy.

When the Avengers are together it’s a typical superhero flick with a team dynamic but when you pull them apart and you get some interesting possibilities. Namely that Thor and everything having to do with him and his world is a fantasy and the movie makers know this all too well.

Giving the Director’s chair to Alan Taylor, who handled various episodes of Game of Thrones, and can make the goofiest set pieces, wardrobes and colorful characters be taken seriously as they fight power ranger villains in plastic masks.

The biggest problem with the first film was the fact that Thor wasn’t actually Thor throughout the film and remained a human as he regained his power but that’s apparently resolved in The Dark World. Hemsworth played the fish out of water cocksure Thor we saw in the first film but now the actor gets to remain in the characters’ fantastical element and fight everything hammer, cape and honor in hand.

Special mention goes to Idris Elba as Heimdall, as he can go from dead serious to lighthearted in a second.  The highlight of the movie is definitely the banter shared by Hemsworth and Hiddleston as Thor and Loki respectively.

The biggest problem with this film is the villain and the somewhat plain performance given by Eccleston. Those hoping Eccleston would bring his “Doctor Who” charm to the role as an engaging villain will be disappointed yet he still serves the purpose of a legitimate threat and fits the movies wiry feel.

Thor: The Dark World is a great movie and deserves to stand among the ranks of the Marvel pedigree but if you’re a hardcore Thor fan it might seem like a wasted opportunity.