Drabble Reviews Blog

For any and all info or discussion of podcasts and podcasting. Also community related miscellanea.
User avatar
StalinSays
Beast-Master
Posts: 1709
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 4:58 am
Location: West Los Angeles, CA
Contact:

Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by StalinSays » Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:21 am

I'm gonna' have to split with out fearless leader somewhat - 8 tentacles. The story is pretty flat, irksome in how predictable it becomes. Serviceable is as kind as I'll be. The spectacle of it though is hard to oversell. A very luscious setting, really fantastic creature design. Impressive animation everywhere. If you care enough to ask about Avatar, you'd enjoy seeing it.

It bares mention, Avatar is the umpteen billionth 'white man saves the (insert color man) from the white man, becomes beloved hero of the natives' movie. I was always find that rather shameless, but then I'm easily tripped up by sub-text.
Instagram: @Bokaier | Twitter: @BoKaier | Vine: @BoKaier | Tumblr: bokaier.tumblr.com

User avatar
normsherman
Site Admin
Posts: 1417
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 4:58 am

Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by normsherman » Sun Dec 20, 2009 10:15 am

Yep, I agree, not perfect. I'm sure I irritated one or two movie-goers with a big disappointed groan during the film myself-- but I also maintain my statement that it's the best movie I've ever seen (based purely on how engaged I was-- #2 being Life is Beautiful-- no aliens!)

It's Hollywood, I've long since given in to that fact. I hear a lot of Ferngullyness and "it's messagy" criticism about Avatar and honestly I just feel bad for those folks. Sure, that stuff is there, especially if you are bent on rooting it out and dancing around it. But holy mother, enjoying the spectacle of this film is WAY more fun than trying to come across as cynical and psuedo-intellectual to other people about "what it was saying."

I had my mouth open most of the time. The CGI is amazing. There isn't a word for this kind of awe yet. The visuals are staggering. The world building is so brilliantly well thought out and awesome. The creativity and ingenuity behind the avatar idea and the bio-tech eco system had me pondering long long after. So many cool ideas here. And just when you think it can't get any cooler.... an alien dinosaur will fight a mech warrior, and basically you crap your pants.

This is cinema making big strides in the right direction in 8/10 ways. We want more movies like this-- we can't let it be brought down by trashy comparisons by nattering nabobs of negativism. Don't expect perfection, just let your eyes roll when they need to and appreciate the other 95% of the time when they are glued to the screen.
"Give us all some Jelly"

User avatar
alhilton
Member
Posts: 295
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:42 am
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by alhilton » Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:35 am

Saw Avatar. Wow. I see why Norm likes it. This _is_ mega-beasts, people. It's worth the price of admission just to watch pterodactyls tear apart helicopters in 3-D. Also, it's jaw-droppingly beautiful. Go see it.
http://cowrycatchers.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false
http://panamindorah.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false

User avatar
eric_marsh
Member
Posts: 1053
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2009 5:03 pm
Location: La Drova, Valencia, Spain
Contact:

Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by eric_marsh » Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:38 am

I saw the trailer a couple weeks ago and thought that the CGI looked a little phony. Essentially it seemed too perfect to be realistic, a common CGI problem. But after reading these reviews I'll have to see the flick.
Life is a tragedy for those who feel, but a comedy to those who think. - Horace Walpole
Eric's Drabbles: http://eric-marsh.blogspot.com/"

User avatar
normsherman
Site Admin
Posts: 1417
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 4:58 am

Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by normsherman » Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:35 am

The uncanney valley. Yah, there are moments of that, mostly at the beginning when you are first seeing the avatars up close. But for some reason it became less and less of an issue as the film went on, at least for me.
"Give us all some Jelly"

User avatar
alhilton
Member
Posts: 295
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:42 am
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by alhilton » Mon Dec 21, 2009 3:07 am

Scalzi did a review on his blog, which I pretty much totally agree with: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2009/12/20/avatar-review/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false.
http://cowrycatchers.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false
http://panamindorah.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false

User avatar
StalinSays
Beast-Master
Posts: 1709
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 4:58 am
Location: West Los Angeles, CA
Contact:

Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by StalinSays » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:00 pm

See I didn't really have uncanny valley issues after about the first quarter hour. So much of the movie is CG that things don't 'stick out.' Without exaggeration there came a point where the real actors were the thing that looked odd. It's akin to the uncanny valley in a Pixar movie. You don't spend all of Ratatouille stewing, thinking 'real talking rats don't look like that.' Same here. Real six legged jet black hyena raptor wolves don't look like... uh.. ok, I'm going with it.

Yeh, the Fern Gully thing pops in quick, but how self-congratulatory and clever you are for that thought should pop out just as quickly. Anyone leaving the theater with only that to ramble about has a piteous one track mind.
Instagram: @Bokaier | Twitter: @BoKaier | Vine: @BoKaier | Tumblr: bokaier.tumblr.com

User avatar
alhilton
Member
Posts: 295
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:42 am
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by alhilton » Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:58 pm

StalinSays wrote:See I didn't really have uncanny valley issues after about the first quarter hour. So much of the movie is CG that things don't 'stick out.' Without exaggeration there came a point where the real actors were the thing that looked odd.
I do remember thinking that the actual human beings looked weird and wrongly proportioned when they were in Pandora. The only places I noticed the uncanny valley were when human faces were very close to alien faces, which only happened a couple of times. By the end of the movie, it was the humans that looked fake.
http://cowrycatchers.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false
http://panamindorah.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false

User avatar
ROU Killing Time
Notorious Forum Hog
Posts: 4253
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:07 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by ROU Killing Time » Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:37 am

Hmm I haven't seen any movie rate this many postings on the reviews thread. Perhaps I should burrow out of my cave and give it a look. In reality, I'll probably wait for the Blu-Ray though.
"Never fuck with The Culture"
Sublime In Peace Iain M. Banks.

User avatar
StalinSays
Beast-Master
Posts: 1709
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 4:58 am
Location: West Los Angeles, CA
Contact:

Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by StalinSays » Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:45 am

ROU Killing Time wrote:Hmm I haven't seen any movie rate this many postings on the reviews thread. Perhaps I should burrow out of my cave and give it a look. In reality, I'll probably wait for the Blu-Ray though.
3D, blasting audio, crazy visuals. This is one for theaters, I promise.
Instagram: @Bokaier | Twitter: @BoKaier | Vine: @BoKaier | Tumblr: bokaier.tumblr.com

User avatar
alhilton
Member
Posts: 295
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:42 am
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by alhilton » Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:59 am

ROU Killing Time wrote:Hmm I haven't seen any movie rate this many postings on the reviews thread. Perhaps I should burrow out of my cave and give it a look. In reality, I'll probably wait for the Blu-Ray though.
This movie may not be worth seeing on a small screen, ROU. It's worth shelling out the extra bucks to watch in 3-D, IMAX if possible. You want to be in the front of this rollercoaster, or its not even worth waiting in line.
http://cowrycatchers.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false
http://panamindorah.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false

User avatar
F5iver
Member
Posts: 326
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:20 pm
Location: Connecticut
Contact:

Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by F5iver » Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:30 am

I can't wait to see this tomorrow and come back here and have something to say other than "I can't wait to see this tomorrow and come back here and have something to say other than."

User avatar
ROU Killing Time
Notorious Forum Hog
Posts: 4253
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:07 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by ROU Killing Time » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:24 am

F5iver wrote:I can't wait to see this tomorrow and come back here and have something to say other than "I can't wait to see this tomorrow and come back here and have something to say other than."
Ah, you know how to jump out an infinite loop. You are clearly not one of those androids from "I, Mudd."

Good to know.
"Never fuck with The Culture"
Sublime In Peace Iain M. Banks.

User avatar
tbaker2500
Site Admin
Posts: 3612
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:03 pm
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Contact:

Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by tbaker2500 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:32 am

It is remarkably hard to drag myself out to movie theatres. I guess I'm just lazy. But the theatres we have around here, well, my home setup is better. I'd have to spend 3 hours round trip going to Indy to see it in IMAX.
You're my quasi-ichthian angel, you're my half-amphibian queen...

The Dribblecast, we don't care if you sound like an idiot.

User avatar
strawman
Member
Posts: 5966
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: South Georgia

Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by strawman » Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:00 pm

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/gre ... 5812904687" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false

Scathing revue of Avatar environmentalism. Most of which I concur with.
But what I find interesting is that question of whether the environmental message has any effect,. I thought about the Transcendentalists of the 19th century, in which Thoreau wrote Walden. His audience was influential, and Thoreau and Emerson were popular, but Walden was a popular ideal set against the backdrop of an industrial revolution that people eagerly pursued to improve their comfort and security.

As far as I can see, the Walden ideal was a natural product of industrialization rather than an ideal that changed the direction of society. It was like the wake of the boat rather than the rudder or the oars.

Contrast that with the other great issue of the day. Emerson and Thoreau were both Abolitionists. There was the issue that was rudder and oar, and it destroyed a thousand Waldens.

I suspect that Andrew Bolt's observations will be similar to the 19th century literary critic who pans Walden because Transcendentalism is destructive of the economy and hypocritical (only independently wealthy people could really afford the Walden lifestyle). And the meme of humanities' evil permeated the Abolition movement.

So although I agree with Bolt, I'm not worried about Avatar. I don't think most people agree that the world would be a better place if they became one with the earth. Even a little kid would point out the obvious: "Isn't that what dead people do?"
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

User avatar
Mr. Tweedy
Member
Posts: 1733
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:03 pm
Location: Illinois (Land of Obama)
Contact:

Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:04 am

I finished Bioshock last night. Impressions are mixed.

The first and last thought I had about this game is "Whose stupid idea was it to make this a first person shooter?" Now, I love shooters. I've sent more aliens, Nazis and assorted mercenaries to their pixelie graves than I could possibly count, but Bioshock did not want to be a shooter. It wanted to be an adventure game or an RPG, something more like Myst and less like Doom, and I think it suffered heavily for being trapped in the wrong genre.

The premise is utterly amazing, as is the game's art style and design. The action takes place in a secret undersea city, built by an Ayn Rand Objectivist in 1946 as a haven for pure, beauteous capitalism in an increasingly bleeding heart commie world. The city, Rapture, is an art deco masterpiece, complete with striking statuary, soaring skyscrapers and gorgeous galleries... all built at the bottom of the deep blue sea where the squids and the crabs do play. The art design in Bioshock is A++, and just looking at the city never gets boring because, really, how could the sight of a art deco monumental city built at the bottom of the ocean get boring? It couldn't. Right.

Things went along swimingly in Rapture (or so it seemed) for more than 10 years. It attracted a large population of brilliant minds. Science flourished. Industry flourished. Culture flourished. The capitalist ideal bore great fruit! And then.... Something. Went. Wrong. Your character arrives in Rapture in 1960, and starts to find pieces to the mystery. There is a deep and compelling to discoverer!

If you feel like hunting down the pieces, that is, and if you can figure out how they fit together. Because the story is completely optional, and the pieces are hard to find, and the game doesn't give you any incentive to find them or care. Bioshock has this huge personality split between its literary aspirations and it's requirement that you kill everything you meet. See, everyone you meet is violently insane and wants to kill you. Why? What has turned the once prosperous people of Rapture into malevolent murderous monsters? Well, you might find out... sort of... if you stumble across the right audio recordings and listen to them real close, then connect some dots. Wikipedia helps. Details like "Why does everyone want to kill me?" kind of get glossed over.

A great premise, a great story and phenomenal artwork are all more or less wasted because the game is so preoccupied with killing. There is one moment early in the game that illustrates this: You come around a corner and see the shadow of a woman bent over a baby carriage. She's crying, and you hear in her sobs the heart-wrenching lament of a mother grieving for her lost child. "Oh why did you have to go?" she cries. Then, a little spookily: "Why is it now and not then?" Your head fills with questions and your heart fills with pity! You come around the corner and see the woman and... She attacks you, and you have to beat her to death with a wrench. Lots of spraying blood and gooshy sound effects. After she's dead, you look in the baby carriage and, oh look, there's pistol in there! Now it will be easier to kill the next person you come across.

The scene is pretty archetypal for the whole game. You go places and see things that hold this huge potential for drama, mystery, wonder, poignancy, tragedy and then... Shoot until everything's dead. Blood blood. Grab the key and move on. Wha?

And as far as the shooting goes, Bioshock isn't a particularly good shooter. The enemies are all human, and they all look like crazy tramps of one sort or another. The pace is slow and your guns are kind of clunky, and there's this goofy save system that makes it so you never really die, so there's never much tension. So, even coming from that angle, it's obvious that the material just doesn't fit the medium.

Bioshock is probably worth playing, if only for the fantastic sets, but it's only a shadow of what it could have been. Why didn't the developers put the guns away and focus on the world they obviously spent so much time creating? In the end, I'm not even sure what they were trying to say about capitalism, because the story gets so muddled that you're not even quite sure who killed who why or what started it. But there are lots of corpses lying around.

Tweedy Score: 65
Advertise in this space!

User avatar
TheJebi
Member
Posts: 237
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2009 1:17 am

Kingdom of Loathing

Post by TheJebi » Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:47 pm

I've been playing this mostly text based MMORPG called Kingdom of Loathing. It has very simple stick figure type drawings to go along with the hilarious text that manages to both pay homage to everything geek-culture, while at the same time making fun of it.

I've only been playing for about a month now, so I'm still a n00b, but it's been around for many years, and has a very devoted fan base, much like WoW. But unlike WoW, it's FREE... and turn based, so once I've used all my turns for the day, I must stop playing, and thereby avoid the trap that I've seem WoW players fall into.

What I really like about it is how literary it is. It forces me to read, which is always good, and short hand is very frowned upon in the chat, so much like this site I also get to practice proper writing.

I recommend it. :)
“I’m not TheJebi because I like the hum of a lightsaber in my hand… and I’m not TheJebi because I like being TheJebi. I’m TheJebi because the Galaxy needs me to be TheJebi.”

User avatar
alhilton
Member
Posts: 295
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:42 am
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by alhilton » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:10 am

I've been trying some new short fiction podcasts and happened upon the one for ClarkesWorld Magazine. They choose a "best of" story about once a month, so the podcast won't break your time-budget. The audio is about Escape Pod quality - flat, straight read. The content is pro level, and you can tell.

I was enjoying the stories, but then I got to the most recent, "Night, in Dark Perfection" by Richard Parks, and it absolutely blew me away. I sat there for 15 minutes after the story ended, thinking about it, and not even realizing I hadn't gone on to the next thing on my player.

So I recommend the podcast, but I *really* recommend that story. It's 27 minutes of twists you never saw coming. This is where it lives: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/category/podcast/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false
http://cowrycatchers.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false
http://panamindorah.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false

User avatar
ROU Killing Time
Notorious Forum Hog
Posts: 4253
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:07 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by ROU Killing Time » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:18 am

Mr. Tweedy wrote:I finished Bioshock last night. Impressions are mixed.

The premise is utterly amazing, as is the game's art style and design. The action takes place in a secret undersea city, built by an Ayn Rand Objectivist in 1946 as a haven for pure, beauteous capitalism in an increasingly bleeding heart commie world. The city, Rapture, is an art deco masterpiece, complete with striking statuary, soaring skyscrapers and gorgeous galleries... all built at the bottom of the deep blue sea where the squids and the crabs do play. The art design in Bioshock is A++, and just looking at the city never gets boring because, really, how could the sight of a art deco monumental city built at the bottom of the ocean get boring? It couldn't. Right.

Things went along swimingly in Rapture (or so it seemed) for more than 10 years. It attracted a large population of brilliant minds. Science flourished. Industry flourished. Culture flourished. The capitalist ideal bore great fruit! And then.... Something. Went. Wrong. Your character arrives in Rapture in 1960, and starts to find pieces to the mystery. There is a deep and compelling to discoverer!

If you feel like hunting down the pieces, that is, and if you can figure out how they fit together. Because the story is completely optional, and the pieces are hard to find, and the game doesn't give you any incentive to find them or care. Bioshock has this huge personality split between its literary aspirations and it's requirement that you kill everything you meet. See, everyone you meet is violently insane and wants to kill you. Why? What has turned the once prosperous people of Rapture into malevolent murderous monsters? Well, you might find out... sort of... if you stumble across the right audio recordings and listen to them real close, then connect some dots. Wikipedia helps. Details like "Why does everyone want to kill me?" kind of get glossed over.


Tweedy Score: 65
Maybe they were making a not so subtle commentary on the fate of a faithless society. My, albeit, limited understanding of objectivism is that it completely rejects concepts of "faith" or any sort of a mystical or supernatural component to reality. Shucks, even William F. Buckley is a critic of the philosophy, and he's about as pro-capitalism as you can be.
Of course, I might be giving the developers of Bio-Shock more credit for deepness than they deserve. They may have just thought that the milieu was cool.
"Never fuck with The Culture"
Sublime In Peace Iain M. Banks.

User avatar
Mr. Tweedy
Member
Posts: 1733
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:03 pm
Location: Illinois (Land of Obama)
Contact:

Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:45 pm

The problem with their commentary is that no character in the story was actually faithful to Objectivist ideals. If you're going to criticize a philosophy, you've got to have your characters be faithful to it, but no one in Bioshock is. All the characters who started out being Objectivists are corrupt by the time you meet them, and half the characters were corrupt to being with. The Objectivist utopia seems to fall because of simple badness on the part of its residents, not because of any flaw in Objectivism. That's why I think the commentary ended up being very week. :(
Advertise in this space!

Post Reply