Media Musings Stuff

Not Enough Prey

It feels like it has been ages since a game was available as a demo. Lately it has been a sea of pre-orders and paid early previews. Aside from Steam’s policy of refunds if the game was only played for short time, to get into a game you just had to shell out. There was a nice smattering of episodic games that softened the blow a bit, but it just wasn’t the same.

The Prey demo sauntered in like a good friend that you hadn’t seen in years, covered in an aura of nostalgic demo glory. It promised a wonderful introduction into a game dripping with content that you just couldn’t pull yourself away from after you got your hands in it.

The first hour of Prey, while gorgeous, was empty for me. The corridors felt too familiar.  The setting felt too familiar. The story twist that was being setup was telegraphed hard enough that I figured it out from first few scenes. The combat almost had me intrigued, but still came up short.

The helicopter ride with the credits was quite beautiful. But after watching it, I was a little sad that it was just a pretty loadscreen meant to make the game seem grander than it was. There is a comfort dealing with the familiar, but I was not drawn into the atmosphere or engulfed in the gameplay.

Initial impressions brought to light that the Prey creators were fans of many previous games. They seemed to borrow so hard from other titles, that it sucked me out of the atmosphere and made me think about the other titles. No game is wholly original, but there needs to be something that is more interesting than slapping a pile of copies together.

Even the music left me wanting. At first it made me want it to be better and then it made me want it to stop. It was jarring and irritating, an amateurish attempt at amplifying a jump scare that wasn’t good enough.  I was relieved by the silences not because I wasn’t being pursued by monsters anymore, but because my ears were able to rest.

Prey just made me want to play Dead Space, BioShock and Dishonored instead. So I will.


Media Musings

Q & A with Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne

Recently I was given the honor to join in on a chat with the lovely Amanda Tapping and the challenging Robin Dunne. Usually when people end up in a discussion with someone they have dogged in their recaps, they make apologies and dump piles of praise on the previously attacked person. I’m not going to do that. Heck, I didn’t even do that in the discussion. Robin is a good guy though, he is a real sport about it and has a nice sense of humor.

Amanda and Robin both were very excited about and upcoming episode called “Normandy.” The title alone is intriguing, but the excitement in their responses makes me a little eager to get to that one myself. The discussion overall was a bit silly, but it was pretty fun that Robin and Amanda are so comfortable with each other.

One of the highlights of the experience is that PRG gets the exclusive privilege of not having my name mistyped as Abner.

Here are some of the good bits from the conference call:

So of the episodes that are still to come for the rest of the season – for the third season, do either of you or both of you have a favorite moment from shooting those remaining episodes?
Robin Dunne: The great thing about the second half of season three is that all the things that the team – the Sanctuary team – Magnus and the Sanctuary team have gotten into in the first half really, really become back to the ramifications they have to deal with in the second half. And it’s really quite a roller coaster ride the second half.

I think if I had to pick a favorite moment, we have an episode coming up that is the biggest episode we’ve ever done scope-wise, story-wise, everything. And it takes place in the past, back in World War II, and it was a really special episode to shoot. It’s quintessential Sanctuary thinking outside the box.

When we were on set shooting those things with tanks driving around, it was really quite an experience. So I guess if I had to pick one, I love every single moment, every waking and sleeping moment that I have on Sanctuary. But if I had to pick one, I think it’d be from that episode.

Amanda Tapping: Yes. The episode is called Normandy, and there was just something very special. There was an interesting vibe on set when we shot it. And the look is very different, but it’s a really cool episode.

And what would you say for each of you has been the biggest challenge for you working on Sanctuary?

Amanda Tapping: Well, I had to direct Robin Dunne in an episode called One Night. I’m just going to stop there.

Robin Dunne: And I think my most challenging moment was being directed by Amanda. I mean, she’s just a sadist. She made me do 750 takes of something once, just out of pure…
Amanda Tapping: Because we had the time.
Robin Dunne: Yes. She made me sing Hot Blooded in front of the entire crew for no reason. It was just to humiliate me. It’s really been a challenge.

So I saw some of the little preview clips and it looks like Amanda, you’re rocking a red wig. Is that true?

Amanda Tapping: It is true. It is true.

Robin Dunne: And it’s hot.

Amanda Tapping: In an episode that – in the episode called Normandy…
Robin Dunne: She’s wearing it right now actually.
Amanda Tapping: But that’s just for fun. I actually – it’s sort of an homage to my grandmother, who grew up in England and lived through two World Wars. She was born in 1901 and lived to the ripe old age of 103-1/2. And, her entire life had this red bob haircut and dyed her hair red up until she was like 102 I think. And so, that was in homage to her, but I really liked it.
So who knows? I mean the beauty of this character is she’s old enough and has been around enough that she can kind of do whatever she wants.

Is there anything that really surprised you coming up about your character that you weren’t expecting or that happened earlier in the season?

Amanda Tapping: We had a cool episode towards the end of Season 3 that shows you a different side of our characters, and it’s a rather unexpected view of these two people. Magnus much more vulnerable and kind of freaked out than you’ve ever seen her, and…

Robin Dunne: It’s like many episodes of Sanctuary; kind of unrecognizable but in a very different way. I think you could even say that the characters themselves — Will and Magnus — are – don’t even recognize themselves. And it was a really interesting episode to shoot. Completely different location. The lighting. Everything looked like a totally different show and it was very interesting to shoot.
Odd in a way because you’re playing the same character but in a completely different realm. And yes; it was exciting. That’s coming up – what number is that? That’s…
Amanda Tapping: 19.

And Robin, I’m looking forward to talking to you a little bit later or sometime about Metamorphosis.

Robin Dunne: Yes. That was a really cool episode too. I just did the DVD commentary yesterday with the director, Andy Mikita, and just…

Amanda Tapping: Robin was amazing in this episode Metamorphosis, because he was – also acted as the camera man. He wore a helmet cam, so a lot of the show is his POV. So not only was there a physical transformation in terms of prosthetics, but also Robin worked the camera. He was exhausted. I was so worried about him when we were shooting that episode because he was just doing everything. And, it’s an amazing performance.
Robin Dunne: The one good thing about that was that I wear a helmet cam in my private life, just shooting my own life, so I was really used to using one of those things. So, yes; the learning curve wasn’t so crazy for me on that one.

Who would be your ultimate guest stars to have on the show?

Robin Dunne: Ultimate guest stars?
Amanda Tapping: Wow. We’ve had our ultimate guest stars.
Robin Dunne: We’ve had some great, great people on the show.
Amanda Tapping: We’ve been so lucky. I mean, I sort of jokingly said this once that I think it would be really cool if Helen Mirren came in a flashback as my mom. But, that’s thinking so far outside the box that it’ll never happen.
But we’ve been very lucky in that every guest star we’ve brought on has sort of been somebody for the most part who’s not that well known and who has ended up becoming a massive fan favorite. And you know I speak of Jonathan Young, and Ian Tracy, and Peter Wingfield, and Vince Gail; like all these incredible actors have come on our show – and actresses. We had Polly Walker and she was great.
We’ve been really lucky. Besides Helen Mirren, I’m not sure who to suggest.
Robin Dunne: I’d like to see Bill Clinton on the show. I think…
Amanda Tapping: Will’s like, “Yes!”

Okay. One last question. Let me side track and ask you both about different shows for a second. Amanda, can you talk a little bit about Riese? And then Robin, can you talk about working on NCIS?

Robin Dunne: Yes.
Amanda Tapping: Riese for me was sort of a gift that feel from the sky. I knew the guys who were doing Riese. I had met them – of course, we know almost all of the actors on the show. And, they had put together this really cool web series, and I had seen some of the Webisodes and I just was blown away by how well they had done it on such a small budget. And the production value was great and the story was cool.
And then I got asked by Syfy if I would be willing to do the voice over – sort of narration. And so yes – I said, “Yes. Are you sure the Riese guys are okay with that?” And they seemed pretty cool, and that’s how I got involved. It was really, really very simple.
And I was able to sit for about four hours one night in our sound booth in our sound stages at Shark Sound, and with a Network Executive and the producers of Riese and we just went through everything and narrated it. It was really for me a very small commitment, but a really great opportunity.
Robin Dunne: Thanks for asking about NCIS. I’m a child of the ‘80s. I grew up watching all those great ‘80s movies and you know, Summer School. And I was a big fan of Mark Harmon, so I kind of hounded the Casting Director of that show. I go, “Let’s go and do an episode of NCIS. I got to do an episode of NCIS.” And that was a truly amazing experience.
Mark Harmon – I can’t say enough about this guy. He is the classiest, most gentlemanly person that I’ve experienced in the business. He’s just a truly amazing guy, and it was really a wonderful experience working with him. I think every young actor should do an episode – should work with Mark Harmon just to have a lesson in how to comport yourself. A wonderful guy and it was such a lot of fun.
And again, I’m a big fan and I got to talk to him about Summer School, which was cool. Not going to summer school, which I did, the movie Summer School. So yes, it was a lot of fun and I can’t say enough about that guy. What a great guy.

What are some of things that you do? You’re coming back for a fourth season now. You’ve had a break. What are some of the things that you do to get back into your characters?

Amanda Tapping: It’s a really good question Michael, because for me it’s really hard, because I don’t – I find her very confusing and besides just going and getting my hair cut and dyed dark brown and getting rid of my blonde roots and learning how to walk in Stilettos again. There’s sort of a physical transformation for Magnus.

I kind of have to wrap my head around a different head space with her. And for me I always get very nervous at the beginning of the season as to whether or not I’ll find her again. And the writing is there, and so you know as long as I know all of the scripts I’m pretty safe. But it is a bit of a panic at the beginning of every season.
Robin Dunne: For me it’s the exact opposite. I have to learn how to not walk in Stilettos and wear regular – which is awkward. And sit ups I guess. I try to do at least 4 sit ups a day, and I haven’t seen any results yet, but I’m sticking to it. But yes. I think also there is – you know, this is Friday. We’re starting Season 4 on Monday, and every season, I have the same feeling of like, “Okay. Here we go. Back into the jungle for you know, more insanity.”
Amanda Tapping: Yes.
Robin Dunne: So, there’s a little bit of talking yourself off the ledge at this point.
Amanda Tapping: Yes. A bit of a panic.
Robin Dunne: And then once you’re into it and you’ve got a few days under your belt, it’ll be back on the…
Amanda Tapping: Yes. I’ve been taking kick boxing this hiatus. And I think – and I loved it for a lot of different reasons. But, I think now it’s sort of become more technical for me, so I think – and that’s been in preparation for some of the fight sequences coming up, and I’ve talked to our stunt coordinator. So stuff like that when your real life actually ends up leading into your work life in a positive way, that’s been really fun. So, I’ve sort of been ramping up my kick boxing workout.
Robin Dunne: Purely just so she can beat…
Amanda Tapping: Kick your bum.
Robin Dunne: …beat me up.
Amanda Tapping: Yes.

And then there were was me. Someone clearly knew the spelling was incorrect, because my name was the only one in parentheses:

(Me): I didn’t actually know Robin was going to be on the call, so I’m just kind of winging it with the questions now.

Robin Dunne: You’re just going to hang up now. You’re like, “What? He’s there? Oh, forget that. God.”
Amanda Tapping: Oh, man.
(Me): I thought about it. I really did.
Robin Dunne: I don’t blame you. I honestly don’t blame you.
(Me): Well, I had a – you said you loved going on set to get your hair done. Is it your fault that Will went from slightly nerdy to – as Kate would say, “coated in hair gel?”
Robin Dunne: Everything’s my fault I think. I just say it as there’s a blanket thing.
Yes. There has been – the hair has gone through many versions throughout the…
Amanda Tapping: There’s been quite an evolution.
Robin Dunne: Evolution of Will’s hair.
Amanda Tapping: It started sticking up so much that the Vis Effects team said, “Don’t put him in front of a green screen with that hair.”
Robin Dunne: Yes.
Amanda Tapping: Then we knew we had to do something about it.
Robin Dunne: Yes. When…
Amanda Tapping: That’s when we knew an intervention – a hair gel intervention was needed.
– We continued the tangent, but I forget the detail and the transcription wasn’t complete. –
Robin Dunne: When Lee Wilson, our Visual Effects guy and also one of our Executive Producers and Directors, kind of cornered me and just said in his voice, “You know, listen. We really got to do something about your hair.” I realized – okay. You know, maybe a change needs to come.
But, I think Kate was exaggerating. I don’t know that I really coat – was covered in hair gel. Maybe…
Amanda Tapping: You were.
Robin Dunne: A little bit. I mean we all need some product. I don’t know. But yes. Yes.
Robin Dunne: The hair is interesting.
I don’t mind what it looks like as long as I manage to keep it on my head, you know, which is a daily struggle.
(Me): I had some questions for you Amanda, but it seems like they were already answered or you can’t really answer them.
Amanda Tapping: Oh.
(Me): Some of them concerning your interest in – love interests I guess.
Amanda Tapping: Oh yes.
Robin Dunne: But the best thing about…
Amanda Tapping: The episode hasn’t actually been written yet, but I just put it out there to the writers and they seem to have embraced the idea. And, that’s all I can tell you.
Robin Dunne: And embrace…
(Me): I want to ask you if it has anything to do with the Comic-Con discussion that you had with Damien.
Amanda Tapping: Wow. Remind me.
(Me): I think it was last year’s Comic-Con. You were talking about a colleague from your past that came back.

-Transcriber missed this bit too, but we were referring to Magnus’ likely open sexuality.  –

Amanda Tapping: No. This is somebody entirely different.
(Me): Okay. Well you said interesting, so I was thinking back to that.
Amanda Tapping: Ah.
Robin Dunne: Magnus did have a fling with Elvis, but I don’t know that that’s going to — she was at Graceland for maybe three weeks or so in the late ‘60s.
Amanda Tapping: I just couldn’t find the door. That was the problem.
Robin Dunne: Yes. Awkward.
Amanda Tapping: Awkward.
(Me): Very. You guys were talking about the guests that you’ve had. And just one raging question is has Mark Sheppard ever signed to show up on your show, because he’s been on everything else.
Amanda Tapping: No. Hasn’t even expressed an interest.
(Me): Wow I guess he’s just busy.
Amanda Tapping: Should we be offended?
(Me): I don’t know. I mean, he’s been pulled in so many directions. He’s been on everything at least once.
Robin Dunne: Yes. What the heck you know?
Amanda Tapping: Yes. Gee. I’m feeling slighted.
Robin Dunne: I’m going to call him. I’m going to get him on the phone right now and just be like, “Hey…”
Amanda Tapping: “Dude? What up?”
Robin Dunne: “…what’s up with that? What are we? A mirage?”
(Me): That’s been requested many times by a lot of folks I know, so – he’s required.
Are there going to be more episodes like to go back to The Five?
Amanda Tapping: Yes. Yes. There are a couple coming up in the second half of this season. Normandy in particular, the episode we keep talking about, brings back The Five in a really, really cool way. Awakening is an episode where we have Jonathan Young, everyone’s favorite vampire.
(Me): Great.
Amanda Tapping: And our last episode, Into the Blue, or second to last episode, brings back Druitt in a weird way. So yes. The one that probably speaks to The Five the most is Normandy.
(Me): Okay. It sounded like it, but I had to make sure. So is there going to be a lot more of just you and Chris in particular?
Amanda Tapping: In the second half, there’s a couple. Yes. There are a couple of episodes that speak to that relationship, as you know dysfunctional as it is.
(Me): It’s like watching an entirely different show.
Amanda Tapping: Yes.
(Me): Yes. I think ran out of stuff. But yes, it was great talking to you guys. I think I’m done now though.
Amanda Tapping: Okay, great.
Robin Dunne: Cool.
Amanda Tapping: Thank you so much.
Robin Dunne: Thanks a lot.

There were a few more questions after that but I was busy messaging all my nerdy friends that I just got to talk to Amanda Tapping. I can admit this here because I am neither ashamed about being really excited about it, nor dishonest about gloating and because I wouldn’t have gotten to without the fine folks here at PRG.

It was fun times I hope that the season goes great





Media Musings

Plain Man

This book was a long, painful read. I put this review off for ages because I didn’t want to just type “I hate this book!” and hit publish. I tried to take a step back and attempt to evaluate this piece of fiction without loathing, but as it stands…

I hate this book.

When I received the book, I had forgotten that I had even asked for it. This was probably a bad sign, but I decided to let it go and put it in the queue. After finishing the novel that I was already in when it arrived, I picked it up and read the dust cover. It talked about secret government organizations and magick.

Meh. I put the book aside for a month.

While cleaning, I found it again and felt guilty that I had just put it away and forgotten about it. Something told me to mix a drink and just sit down and get through it. My initial perception would be that it might just be a bit blah, but not so bad. I was wrong about that.

This book is the third in the series so you would think that even with not having read the first two that there would be a good plot flow going by round three that I could just jump in and roll with. Nope. What I waded into was a mountain of jargon with desert sex on top. (Ok, mountain of jargon is being polite and the whole plot is about the lead’s friends shagging the bad guys.)

I trudged through the first 90+ pages of the book very slowly. I could only get through a page or two before falling asleep and didn’t give a crap about the characters or the tiny bit of plot that was happening at a snail’s pace. I tried pretty hard to find something to like about the book until the author decided to flesh out some of the side characters. Unfortunately, this just made me want to read a whole book on August’s friends Rosa and Sly instead of the dreck I was in the middle of.

The organization that the villains were a part of had a silly name and I could never take them seriously because of it. This tidbit is part of the whole series, but then names that were supposed to be synonymous with evil sounded like they were in a movie block aired late at night and hosted by Rhonda Shear.

One day I decided to end the suffering and just sit down and finish the book in one sitting. I did find something to like about the reincarnated character in the final few pages, but still don’t care about the two leads. There was almost a hint of what felt like character development with the female lead, Pamela, but maybe the author just used up all that juice in the book that came before this. Amidst the onlsaught of things that I was never made to care about were touches of interesting things that should have been fleshed out instead the main story. The repetition of uninteresting elements didn’t help anything either.

The way the narrative is blocked out also makes you feel like the author was constantly getting bored as he was writing it. Instead of full chapters, the book stumbles forward in a series of tiny pamphlets that all feel like they lack useful information. This leaves no room for any buildup, because by the time anything happens the reader has been given plenty of time and reason to forget what was going on before.

Maybe the previous two Max August novels were fantastic. I have no idea. This one doesn’t make me want to read them to find out though. All this book did was make me further wary of reading anything else that revolves around magic.

Media Musings Stuff

Hemlock Grove Hems and Haws

Most shows don’t need 13-20+ episodes per season. Hell, many shows don’t need that many episodes total.

I’m a FIRM believer in 6-8 episode seasons.

Whether we want to admit or not, the people tuning into your show/movie aren’t trying to get into long novels. If they wanted that they would pick up the novels that the show is based on. Sure, there will be some crossover audience, but one set doesn’t want to sift through the stuff that works much better on paper than in video.

Part of the transfer from text to screen is ditching the extraneous descriptions to get to the meat and bones of the story. All the flowery prose describing the background needs to actually become the background, not really turned into janky dialogue that nobody wants to hear.

Blatant filler in a show works my nerves, and I’m a fairly patient individual. I watched almost all of Heroes and doing that was probably just me hating myself. Most of the public is not going to give you that much slack.

Hemlock Grove didn’t need to be 13 hours.

I really wanted to love Hemlock Grove. The werewolf transformation alone attracted me to the series and the actors lined up to star in it were a big fat Amber magnet. The combination of those things with gore-fiend Eli Roth working on it, should have at least had it somewhere in the range of awesomely bad if things took a turn for the worse.


Half the damn show felt like filler. Probably more than that, but I would forget I was watching it and get up to do other stuff.  I went outside and did yardwork in the middle of episodes and missed nothing. Some of the later reveals which were ridiculously exposition heavy could have been peppered into the boring earlier episodes with little effort.  It could have managed to round out at a somewhat clunky 8 hours instead of a punishment 13.

It felt like there was a good 4 hours of Roman and Peter saying they needed to do something, then just sitting in the car for a while.  The camptastic dialogue that other actors got kept cycling the same conversations with different awkward wording. It’s ok to write some characters like that, but the whole town shouldn’t sound like they are the same weird person flopping out lopsided “cool guy” prose.

That sentence got away from me, but at least I’ll admit that it wasn’t pretty.

The best way to describe the accents would be to use one of those wave text tricks.

It seems that the show was littered with too many subplots for it to focus on any of them, so it doesn’t. The show doesn’t care that innocent-ish teenage girls are dead, so you don’t. The show also doesn’t want to flesh out any of the ideas in a reasonable timeframe, so you forget you are supposed to care about them. The boys don’t even bother to really try and solve the crime well. The villain just shows up and tells them EVERYTHING.

The actors who tried to take it serious did a pretty good job, and the ones riding the camp train hit all the right buttons in their own way. Just too bad the writers stretched the life out of it.

If the show didn’t have 13 whole hours to work with, some of these gaping  holes would be a little smaller and harder to fall in. Hemlock Grove is one of the big reasons that scaling back runs could improve quality. The novel wasn’t even long enough to merit such a hefty runtime. It could have just been a nice little 90 minute movie.

Seriously though, 6-8 episodes.


Media Musings Stuff

I’m An Evil Gamer

I buy games used. I go back and play old games that people forgot about. I play single player. When I do play with others I prefer my multiplayer to be split screen because they are sitting right there with me. I sell games to other people. I didn’t even notice when my Xbox Live Gold ran out. I take my games to friends houses and we trade.

According to folks who make games, I’m the scum of the earth.

This completely ignores the fact that I purchase the games in the first place. No matter how many similar-than-siblings sequels they release, I still keep pushing them cash for the ones I like. I don’t even complain about the Day 1 DLC that most others hate if the game is enjoyable otherwise. I buy stupid outfits that do nothing but make my character have a bigger closet. I pay to upgrade weapons that I wasn’t using and I  buy the silly toys that come with some of the games.  Expansion packs are like drugs to me – Hell,  I get the ones that only add like an hour of gameplay.

But I’m still a thorn in the side of “good” because I want to play a less than $60 game with someone who doesn’t have an awesome internet connection that is sitting on the couch next to me.  Blasphemy, even though I have pretty much done that my whole life.

I don’t want to play uninventive multiplayer modes where I join and a bunch of people with scads more free time take me out before the map loads. I don’t want to be always connected for a single player game because a few jerks modded something. I also can’t afford to buy EVERYTHING new.

I guess I am the bad guy.

It sucks that most of the customer base is too.

Media Musings Stuff

Back in the Day – Shenmue

Do you know where sailors hang out?

I have to admit that I dramatically flutter from love to hate with this game. I ran out and bought it when it was released because it was the prettiest game on the Dreamcast at the time. Sometimes I think back to the hours I spent trying to beat it and wonder if I was just bored or hated myself.

Shenmue wasn’t like all the titles I usually played. Up until that point, I was big on games that had to be approached with at least one other person. Even when I had played single player games it was a play until you get stuck or died, then pass the controller deal. Shenmue was just me vs the world and I was determined to complete my mission of vengeance.

Shenmue existed, at least for me, in the time before those big fat strategy guides and folks on the internet with maps and video aids. When I wandered the streets in the town, I was really just wandering.

It took me eons to find those damned sailors.

To finish the game I think I had to talk to and follow every NPC on the disc. I continue my belief harboring feelings of self loathing when I think back to the “ninja training” provided in the game which consisted of what felt like one punch and one kick until the end. That wouldn’t have been so bad if the final battle in the title didn’t have the player fighting 70 dudes at once.

QTE’s are evil.

This was the first game that I could remember ripping me from otherwise normal gameplay to tell me exactly what button to push by taking over the screen or making me replay the entire sequence over. Sure, I’d died many a time on other games for essentially not jumping at the right time, but it’s much worse when it glaringly flashes a sequence of what feels like random button presses in the middle of the screen to do stuff that you already had a button for. If I need to duck and I have a duck button, having me press something else just to screw with me is dirty.

For all the real nerds, this game was filled with what were technical marvels like varying weather and the setting was rich with the history of the region. The world was so detailed that you could get lost for hours searching cabinets and drawers before even observing all the different NPCs going about their lives. You even had time to lose yourself in that horrible, but well done, job at the waterfront. There is even a ragingly awkward love interest thrown in the mix to top it all off.

This was continued in the second game to a lesser extent in order to make the playable area more expansive. If only more folks had checked the game out, there would have been more titles. The money they had to throw at the series to make it so nice was pretty much lost at launch and Ryo will likely never get his revenge.


Media Musings Stuff

Elevator Ride

There are quite a few angry Resident Evil: Retribution reviews in the wild. I find the disappointed reviews out there about as hilarious as the movie itself. The sad part is that neither the reviewers or the folks that got together to make the movie intended to make either as funny as they were.

When Boris Kodjoe is doing the best acting in a movie, you put the stars back in the box and go on about your day.

Reviewing an RE movie like it is supposed to be as serious as a standard film is like trying to add the text that cats type when they walk across the keyboard into the dictionary. It is just not right, no matter how you try to justify it. I watched a 95 minute stroll to an elevator twice (IMAX 3D and RealD 3D) and I was perfectly ok with it.

The RE movies are about Milla Jovovich killing zombies in a snug outfit for around 90 minutes. That’s it. Attempting to make out a decent plot or even caring about continuity is just lying to yourself and everyone else. These movies are so entrenched in a mythos solely based on her looking good splattering zombie brains that any other interpretation is pretty much equivalent to self-flagellation.

Let it go.

The only people in the theatre for the fifth installment of this series were either diehard fans of Milla, or respectable movie critics who had nothing better to watch on its opening weekend. I feel sorry for the critics, because this wasn’t their movie.

Fan service.

Back in the 90s, I played the first RE game for about 15 minutes before I became frustrated with the game mechanics and returned it to the store. Nevertheless I knew that the characters on the strike team were more ham fisted fan service than the previous installment in the series. I didn’t even know most of the game character’s names until the movie felt the need to namecheck people that would normally just be zombie fodder. From Ada Wong rocking her more fashionable red dress to Barry Burton’s beard there was a big fat platter of “We put that in, you are welcome.” Hell, the movie was just a series of levels and the acting was on par with the polygon models in the first few games.

Not just catering to the masses who played the game, there were so many action movie bits that were borrowed that I wanted to tear through my movie collection when I got back home. This movie borrowed so heavily from other action flicks that I probably didn’t even catch them all, and I have watched a shitload of movies.

Anderson: I also liked Dawn/Day of the Dead, Alien(s), Fifth Element, Underworld, Sucker Punch, Inception, Blade Runner, -insert asian film here-, etc…

Pretty filler.

I’ve said before I’d be down with watching Milla do anything on screen, apparently I really meant it.

Media Musings

WhoReview: A Good Man Goes To War

originally on Technicolor Commentary

I wanted more.

I wanted more than River being Amy and Rory’s kid. It was so obvious that I hoped it would be a red herring. All that build up for something I gathered when I saw the casting info.

I wanted more than a big battle that didn’t happen.

I wanted more than a retread of a retread and yet another young girl that met and then became obsessed with The Doctor.

I wanted more than another “enhanced” companion.

I wanted one of the species that The Doctor loves so much to actually be his equal. Having her be part Time Lord just cheapens her. Having her be Amy & Rory’s kid just cheapens them all.

I just wanted something to make it feel like it was worth looking forward to.

I’m not disappointed with the actors, the effects crew or even the boom mic guy. They were fantastic.

I guess I wanted too much. Won’t make that mistake when it returns in the fall.

Media Musings

WhoReview: The Almost People

originally on Technicolor Commentary

Dug the episode. Many of the issues I was having with pacing were cleared up. For some odd reason I have a feeling that there was heavy editing by the showrunner in this one to make up for the past lopsidedness.

Rory has been having sex with fleshAmy. Fodder for awesome vengeance right there. This brings up questions that I don’t feel are appropriate to bring up when discussing a “family show”.

I like the concept of fleshAmy and not her being somehow “extra special”, but the inference to her pregnancy producing a Time Lord bangs against my annoyance to almost all of the companions in the new series saving the day with their magical powers. I would be happy if it were Sexy’s doing, but it might not be.

I’m just glad that it doesn’t immediately come off as an ending we have already done. Might still turn out that way, but at least I get to be optimistic for an episode. That may be mostly attributed to the reappearance of River. While still part of a multi-episode arc, this episode sat better by itself than any of the other ones since the Moffat takeover.

FleshJenny was a bit much, but it made sense in the plotonium and foreshadowing department. At least fleshAmy was slightly different from the initial flesh beings in that she doesn’t seem to have been a copy, but more of a projection.

Part of me wants to see who River is in the next outing, but another part of me doesn’t. I would be content if The Doctor was made privy to River’s details without the audience being informed, but I don’t think I will get that satisfaction due to Moffat’s previously discussed stance on women. The equal footing I crave to be maintained will likely slip through the cracks.

Media Musings

WhoReview: The Rebel Flesh

originally on Technicolor Commentary

Another multi-part episode, this one penned by the guy who wrote “Fear Her”. I don’t think I need to bother making a joke here to get my point across.

Eye patch lady still creeps me out. It just isn’t anything introduced in this episode, so I can’t make that a plus. Seems like eye patch lady functions like a Silent, since Amy still hasn’t mentioned her and her nightmare fueling glory.

I agree with Charlie at io9 that The Doctor was pretty useless in this one. Would have been great if he had dropped Amy and Rory off and the first part was the “Doctor-lite” episode. It also would help if this didn’t feel ridiculously similar to The Hungry Earth. The sad thing is that I liked the first part of that one better.

I guess I should be less annoyed since the episodes overall haven’t been terrible when they are bad, but just blah. Then again at least when they were terrible, they had comedic value.

Part two needs to better dammit.