Thursday, March 18, 2010

I got bored at about 2 this morning.

So I rented a movie from On Demand.
I watched a scifi/horror flick by the name of Pandorum.
It starred this one guy, one of the Quaids and a German chick. And a couple of other people, but whatever.

It was ok.

The ship (LOVED the exterior design- very unconventional), was more believable than, say, the Event Horizon (inside-out porcupine was just too Hellraiser-ene), offering the dark, tight tension of the colony on LV426 (Aliens) on a much grander scale (again- ref. Event Horizon).

So, it's got a running thread about Hibernation Psychosis, Hibernation Instability, whatever. Cool- psycho-thriller aspects, but it doesn't hijack the scifi/action/horror core of the story. I can appreciate that- I didn't rent this hoping for The Usual Suspects- I don't need a mystery-thriller trying to take over my spaceship-in-danger movie.

It's also a race-against-time-to-save-the-ship movie.
That works, too. All things considered, the ship probably could have used some maintenance, anyway.

It's also an origin story of super-Reavers. Or something.
The monsters are kind of explained- just not satisfactorily. For me, anyway.
I mean, I understood the explanation, and I can even accept it within the realm of suspended disbelief- I'd have liked to have seen a little more crunch, though. Just my thing.

Now- the HUGEST thing the movie has going for it is the guy that plays the protagonist- you know: that one guy.

He can act pretty well, I suppose. I've got no real complaints.
But what he does brilliantly is this... well, it's like the sudden-pain "o-face".
He doesn't grunt, or scowl or grimace like a traditional action hero when dropped on his spine, oh no- his whole face widens with shock, his eyes bugging, mouth gaping like a fish as the air is knocked out of him.
It's perfect.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

oh- completely forgot!

I'm an internet hooligan!

I got banned from CNN's comments section on Thursday!
It all started with an article about suicide.

It was a pretty good article overall, if a bit narrow-minded for my tastes in certain areas.

Some cat commented that the nature of the individual must be considered, the situation, and above all, the individual's rights.
He didn't write well, and his opinion was fairly ill-received, but I felt his position had merit, so I stepped in to support his ideas.

Keeping things civil, I participated sparingly in the ensuing... conversation.
I was surprised how few religious-right "abomination against God" replies; but overall, no one seemed to be willing to consider the notion of a consenting adult's right to order their own life- or death.

No one was willing to accept the notion of choice.

So I tried one last tactic (as it turned out, one last post before everything I said was deleted and I was banned)-
I asked (more or less), "If you can support a woman's right to choose to abort a pregnancy, whether the choice is based on convenience or anything else short of medical necessity; how can you not support the choice of a 40 year-old severe chronic pain victim when he decides to abort a life of continued and increasing pain?"

Apparently CNN's got an allergy to my version of liberal ideology.
Not as severe as Fox News, perhaps, but still...

...just what the FUCK was that?!

Look- I don't usually blog about video games... hell , I don't usually blog at all, but shit, man!

Right, so here's the deal- last fall, a pretty sweet FPS (First-Person Shooter) by the name of "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" (henceforth, "MW2") was released. It was the sequel to the equally sweet CoD: MW released a couple of years ago.
The opening of MW2 was pretty intense, from this vet's perspective- 'urban' Afghanistan looks a lot like urban Eritrea or Somalia, or Iraq, for that matter. I've got an Iraq vet's testament for the... striking verisimilitude of the setting, as well.

After the opening of the game, though, with the Russian invasion of the US and all that stuff, the story becomes... fantastic enough that the stressors of simulated combat aren't really an issue.

Great game- graphically and technically astounding, great gameplay, far-fetched but entertaining story. However far-fetched the invasion might be, it was at least justified by the ongoing tread of the story.

More recently released is what is thought of as the prime competitor to MW2, "Battlefield: Bad Company 2" (BC2 from now on). It's gotten the same rave reviews from the same media sources as MW2.
And frankly: it sucks.

Graphically, it's far inferior; making out-of-date uniforms on 'near-future' US soldiers look like they're woven from coarse wool and poorly dyed, weird geometries slashing across characters' flesh instead of fluid movement, et cetera.
The mechanics of gameplay are old and outmoded, and the voice acting and characterizations are pathetic.
The player's team throughout the whole game consists of a crusty black sergeant on the cusp of retirement, a hillbilly Texan, and a techy machinegunner with acne scars from Jersey. Oh- and the civilian hippy chopper pilot that ferries the team around. WTF is that all about?

The story... hooooo boy... it started well enough, I suppose- a fictional Japanese superweapon towards the end of WW2- then sort of fell apart and oozed along. The superweapon is lost and forgotten as we drop the Bomb(s), and history moves on.
I'm still not entirely sure why my four-man team has anything to do with any of this- it's stressed over and over that we're not 'special ops'- so what in the wide, wide world of sports are the four of us doing in foreign countries waging small wars? Conventional units aren't that small and don't do that sort of shit.
But here's the real kicker: the thing that made the whole story a weak, derivative piece of coprolite: after all the shit you go through in the campaign, the game ends with you being informed (by a lieutenant general [the same asshole that got you into all this shit to begin with]who conveniently happens to be nearby when you crash a plane near Nacadoches, Texas) that the Russians are invading the US! Nowhere in the story are US/Russian tensions or hostilities mentioned- we save the day, get back to the US and then: "lol u n00bs- all ur base r belong to Ivan lolomgwtfhax!" Like I said- fucking pathetic.

A single huge credit to BC2- as you unearth certain parts of the Japanese superweapon history through the game, various cut scenes give you a little insight as to wtf is supposed to be going on.
What makes these cinematic intermissions frigging awesome is the musical score- it's straight out of the Indiana Jones movies. The softer, slower orchestral pieces as Indy examines a prize? Yep. That's the stuff.

I've got to try out the respective games' multiplayer functionality next- I can only assume that's what the comparative reviews are based on.
If they are, though, why are devs wasting their time making singleplayer campaigns? If good multiplayer excuses all faults in singleplayer, why waste the extra development time and effort?
If the BC2's multiplayer is so good as to rate the same overall ratings as MW2, then they should have just made a mp-only game with an sp tutorial.