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Review: Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen by Jamie

Here is the review of Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen. My written accompinament will follow shortly.

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Documental: Darkon by Jamie

I consider myself a geek. I own a Force FX Lightsaber, over twenty Masters of the Universe action figures and a painting of the cast of Heroes hanging on my wall. But there are limits. There are lengths that even I will not go to when it comes to pursuing the geek arts and one of those lengths is LARPing (Live Action Role Playing), although I must admit, it does kind of fascinate me. I can certainly understand the appeal, the desire to pretend to be something more than what everyday modern living will allow but hell, I just drink to deal with that. In the world of Darkon, people take up sword and shield and fight to the “death” for honour and for country. Huzzah!

It is without a doubt the geekiest fucking thing I have ever seen. There are people who wear armour, people who wield foam covered sticks and people who paint their faces black and call themselves elves. They even speak in a crazy made-up elf language. To be fair, a lot of love and hard work has gone into the game and the world it takes place in. People band together to form different countries and the battles are fought in order to settle border disputes and outright invasions. These people even have a goddamn map so as to keep who own what exactly in order. Conflict arises when Bannor of Laconia challenges the imperialistic Keldar of Mordom throwing the whole realm of Darkon into war.

The movie does a good job of showing something that we all know. These people are sad. Really sad. They all pretty much admit that their lives have failed and that at least in Darkon they are in control, which is why it must really, really hurt when they lose a battle. And it’s not a sympathetic kind of life failure/dedication to one seemingly pointless thing like in King of Kong. You never really feel for any of the characters in Darkon like you do Steve Wiebe though I suppose you could pity them. Despite this the film  is still engaging. Perhaps it’s simply down to the fact that the people play the game with such sincerity and so seriously that you kind of get dragged into the story line of the realm they are playing in.

In fact, I’m beginning to think that that’s definitely it. The pieces between the battles where the people discuss their actual lives, why they play the game and how much better life is as their Darkon character are actually kind of distracting. They do provide background for the game and the characters within it but each time one of them pops on screen, I find myself getting bored until the next battle comes up. What can I say? These people have been role playing for a long, long time and have gotten the world down so perfectly that they are very adept at telling a story within it. Oh, and I’ve also learnt that you should never, never trust the black face paint elf dudes. They are treacherous bastards.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend at least renting Darkon and if you can find it cheap it really is worth picking up. It’s got people in armour on American football fields pounding the shit out of each other with foam covered weapons. How awesome is that? Now, I’m going to find out how much a spot of paintballing will cost. It’s no where as geeky as Darkon. Darkon was all about simulated battles using faux representations of actual weapons whereas paintballing is… Laterz.

Buy Darkon Here!



Review: Terminator Salvation by Jamie
Review: Terminator: Salvation
Disclaimer: Spoilers have been avoided, where possible but some might have slipped out here and there.
Terminator: Salvation is a very difficult film to review. I can adequately judge whether or not it lived up to my expectations because, in all honestly, I’m not entirely sure what my expectations were. I knew going in that this would be substantially different than any other Terminator film, dealing as it does with the post-Judgement Day war rather than time travel, and so all the film really needed to do was show a few major battles between humans and robots and I probably would have been sated. Did the film deliver on this? Not quite.
The film does deliver on special effects, for the most part, with massive explosions, giant robots and the classic skeletal Terminators. There’s even an appearance from a CGI Arnie, a scene which I couldn’t help but smile at. There are massive explosions, robo-bikes and air raids galore but it seems to feel as though there’s much more show than substance here.
A great example of this is pretty much the whole first half of the movie. There’s plenty of action sequences with giant robots and flying machines but the whole thing seems boring. In fact, my biggest complaint about the film as a whole is that it seemed to take a damn long time to get into. Seriously, how do you fuck up so badly that you make robots blowing shit up boring?
Another thing that I’m not entirely sure how to feel about is the fact that neither John Connor or Kyle Reese are the main character in this film. That goes instead to a new character named Marcus Wright. Ok, so here comes a spoiler… kind of. To be honest if you haven’t worked this out fairly early on in the film for yourself then you’re a moron. Marcus is a cyborg. Human brain, human heart, robot/human hybrid nervous system and a Skynet chip attached to his brain. His storyline is basically the same one that we’ve seen in things like Battlestar Galactica and even, to some extent, Terminator 2, what does it mean to be human? Is it your birth/creation that defines you or is it your actions? It’s an interesting concept to be sure but it’s explored so much better in the previous two examples for one simple reason. Marcus Wright has a human brain ergo he’s a human. Simple as. Oh and is human heart, is a very strong, powerful heart. Trust me, that’ll be important later.
Marcus also brings about what is, in my opinion, the worst special effects in the film. Part of his face is blown away revealing the metallic skull beneath and it just looks shit. I can’t exactly place my finger on why but it looks so strange and unrealistic and far, far worse than similar effects in the first two films. I don’t understand why it was so difficult to pull it off. I guess it just goes to show yet again that sometimes physical effects are more effective in certain situations than computer-generated ones.
Christian Bale is pretty much Christian Bale in this, playing the part well though in some scenes he just seems to be going through the motions. Anton Yelchin is pretty good as Kyle Reese though he doesn’t really have that much to do past the halfway point of the film and, despite my general dislike for the character, Sam Worthington was pretty good as Marcus Wright. Perhaps the worst actor was Common who thankfully only had a small part. Seriously Hollywood, not all rappers need to become actors. In fact, I’d go so far as to say most of them don’t. Seriously.
So to sum up, first half fairly boring, picks up in the second. Story is pretty much lacking as is character development but it’s probably still better than you’re average summer blockbuster mindless action flick and I can pretty much guarantee you it’ll be better than Transformers 2.  At least I could tell what was going on during the action scenes (except for the opening one. That one seemed almost Bay-esque.) Overall I think it’s worth a watch just for the second half and CGI Arnie. That was pretty fucking awesome. Now I’ll finish this review with some minor gripes that’ll make much more sense once you’ve seen the film.
Ok, why do the Robo-Bikes have a USB port and why are they constructed so that someone would be able to ride them? Why is it that, despite it being a dark, grimy future everyone has impeccable teeth? How come a bunch of people can stand in the middle of SkyNet’s command post without being swarmed by Terminators? And why is it that John Connor doesn’t realise that if Kyle Reese is killed before being sent back in time, Judgement Day won’t happen? Sure John, you won’t be born but then a Terminator won’t be sent back in time to stop Kyle and Cyberdine will never find the chip and design SkyNet in the first place. Damn, Terminator time travel logic fucks my mind. Laterz.
Disclaimer: Spoilers have been avoided, where possible but sometimes, they just can’t be.

Terminator: Salvation is a very difficult film to review. I can adequately judge whether or not it lived up to my expectations because, in all honestly, I’m not entirely sure what my expectations were. I knew going in that this would be substantially different than any other Terminator film, dealing as it does with the post-Judgement Day war rather than time travel, and so all the film really needed to do was show a few major battles between humans and robots and I probably would have been sated. Did the film deliver on this? Not quite.

The film does deliver on special effects, for the most part, with massive explosions, giant robots and the classic skeletal Terminators. There’s even an appearance from a CGI Arnie, a scene which I couldn’t help but smile at. There are massive explosions, robo-bikes and air raids galore but it seems to feel as though there’s much more show than substance here.

A great example of this is pretty much the whole first half of the movie. There’s plenty of action sequences with giant robots and flying machines but the whole thing seems boring. In fact, my biggest complaint about the film as a whole is that it seemed to take a damn long time to get into. Seriously, how do you fuck up so badly that you make robots blowing shit up boring?

Another thing that I’m not entirely sure how to feel about is the fact that neither John Connor or Kyle Reese are the main character in this film. That goes instead to a new character named Marcus Wright. Ok, so here comes a spoiler… kind of. To be honest if you haven’t worked this out fairly early on in the film for yourself then you’re a moron.

Marcus is a cyborg. Human brain, human heart, robot/human hybrid nervous system and a Skynet chip attached to his brain. His storyline is basically the same one that we’ve seen in things like Battlestar Galactica and even, to some extent, Terminator 2, what does it mean to be human? Is it your birth/creation that defines you or is it your actions? It’s an interesting concept to be sure but it’s explored so much better in the previous two examples for one simple reason. Marcus Wright has a human brain ergo he’s a human. Simple as. Oh and is human heart, is a very strong, powerful heart. Trust me, that’ll be important later.

Marcus also brings about what is, in my opinion, the worst special effects in the film. Part of his face is blown away revealing the metallic skull beneath and it just looks shit. I can’t exactly place my finger on why but it looks so strange and unrealistic and far, far worse than similar effects in the first two films. I don’t understand why it was so difficult to pull it off. I guess it just goes to show yet again that sometimes physical effects are more effective in certain situations than computer-generated ones.

Christian Bale is pretty much Christian Bale in this, playing the part well though in some scenes he just seems to be going through the motions. Anton Yelchin is pretty good as Kyle Reese though he doesn’t really have that much to do past the halfway point of the film and, despite my general dislike for the character, Sam Worthington was pretty good as Marcus Wright. Perhaps the worst actor was Common who thankfully only had a small part. Seriously Hollywood, not all rappers need to become actors. In fact, I’d go so far as to say most of them don’t. Seriously.

There are some good things to be said for this film though, paticularly in the second half. Things really begin to pick up and the T-800 series of Terminators is finally brought to life. I also really like the previous model, the T-600’s who seem to ahve rotting or melted flesh on their metal skull. They are also a little bulkier than their sleeker brothers and lumbering killer robots are always cool. There’s also some nice nods to previous films such as utterances of classic lines like “Come with me if you want to live,” and “I’ll be back”, the afforementioned CGI Arnie and a brief snippet of “You Could Be Mine” by Guns N’ Roses. Very nice.

So to sum up, first half fairly boring, picks up in the second. Story is pretty much lacking as is character development but it’s probably still better than you’re average summer blockbuster mindless action flick and I can pretty much guarantee you it’ll be better than Transformers 2.  At least I could tell what was going on during the action scenes (except for the opening one. That one seemed almost Bay-esque.) Overall I think it’s worth a watch just for the second half and CGI Arnie. That was pretty fucking awesome. Oh, and it’s still better than Terminator 3.  Now I’ll finish this review with some minor gripes that’ll make much more sense once you’ve seen the film.

Ok, why do the Robo-Bikes have a USB port and why are they constructed so that someone would be able to ride them? Why is it that, despite it being a dark, grimy future everyone has impeccable teeth? How come a bunch of people can stand in the middle of SkyNet’s command post without being swarmed by Terminators? Where the fuck were the skeleton strewn streets that we’d seen in previous Terminator films? And why is it that John Connor doesn’t realise that if Kyle Reese is killed before being sent back in time, Judgement Day won’t happen? Sure John, you won’t be born but then a Terminator won’t be sent back in time to stop Kyle and Cyberdine will never find the chip and design SkyNet in the first place. Damn, Terminator time travel logic fucks my mind. Laterz.



Threads: The Single Most Depressing Thing Mankind Has Ever Put To Film. by Jamie
07/06/2009, 8:54 pm
Filed under: Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I love post-apocalyptic films and games. Despite the harsh existence that the people living in the post nuclear war landscape have to eke out, they always seem fun, especially something like Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome or Fallout 3. So I decided to buy and watch the DVD of the BBC’s 1984 nuclear war drama, Threads. Spoilers ahead.

The synopsis promised a realistic look at what would happen if Britain were suddenly struck by nuclear weapons launched by then biggest threat to the Western World, the Soviet Union. I know what the effects of a massive nuclear launch would be, so I wasn’t expecting to be shocked by anything on screen. How wrong I was.

Let me start off by saying never ever watch Threads. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a brilliantly made drama, especially for the time it was made but if you ever want the possibility of happiness to be present in your life ever again, then you really should watch a Mad Max movie instead. Seriously, I think I may have killed joy by viewing this.

The story follows two families in Sheffield, one working class and one middle class. The two families are linked by the fact that the son of the working class family has gotten the daughter of the middle class family pregnant and they have become engaged to be wed. The first forty-five minutes follows their everyday lives whilst highlighting the fact that tension between the US and the Soviet Union are growing due to military movements by both sides in the Middle East.

The film is also interspersed with narration and text that highlights the fact that Sheffield would be a prime target for nuclear strike due to it’s economic value as a producer of steel and chemicals and it’s proximity to a US Air Force base. These little pieces of information continue to mount the tension as relations between the US and the Soviet Union continue to become increasingly strained.

Then the main event occurs. Britain is essentially nuke raped by the Commies. Sheffield itself is devastated, with buildings being flattened and bodies turned to ash in seconds and the pregnant girl‘s fiancée is killed. There are some who have built shelters but the film makes it perfectly clear that the radiation will destroy those peoples futures. Hooray!

The film then follows what happens to the survivors during the years following the nuclear strike. Nuclear winter sets in meaning that during the day illumination remains at twilight levels. This, compounded by massive radiation contamination of the earth, makes the growth of crops increasingly difficult. The ozone layer is massively depleted allowing increased ultra-violet exposure resulting in more instances of skin cancer, premature aging and cataracts and the population of Britain dwindles to medieval levels.

Children are being born more frequently with physical and mental mutations and even those who are born normal have no education and speak broken English. Their parents generally die before the children are able to take care of themselves and many of them scamper through the ruined cities, trying to scavenge for food and clothing whilst avoiding the gunshots of people who shoot looters on sight.

I’ve pretty much avoided any major plot points of the story because, despite what I said earlier, I think it’s worth a watch. For a made for TV British production it’s all pretty good. The acting and special effects are a little dated but bearable. In fact the only things that don’t are the fashions and the haircuts. So yes, I’d highly recommend it. But if you do watch it, be warned. Once you watch something, you can’t unwatch it. I spent the day after viewing this film wandering around in a kind of daze, not entirely sure what the point in doing anything was.



Cool As Ice Solo Review: Part 5 by Jamie
04/06/2009, 4:51 pm
Filed under: Cool As Ice Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This movie actually has what must technically be called an end because nothing else happens after it! Huzzah!




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