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Showing posts from September, 2010

Stargate: Universe - So Terribly Afraid of Change

Stargate kicked off season two last night. Rejoice!

I enjoy this show quite a bit, it's got a nice kind of classic kind of scifi feel to it, for my thoughts in general on the series, see the previous blog post. I do have one gripe about it, which has been a few times over on IO9.com, it just seems like the show is glued to the status quo. At the end of a typical episode, everything is more or less the same as when it started, no one dies, nothing significantly changes. They're still not really in control of the ship, they're still short of resources, Greer is still angry. On the rare occasion when something does change and isn't resolved by the end of the ep, it's resolved by the end of the next ep or two.

Some examples:

In one episode, they come across a planet in a system where it seems like the entire solar system has been created by some unkown power. Leaving a huge momument, a number of the ragtag group of survivors decide that this is God, and they should …

The Devil You Know: More English Wit Than You Can Normally Get In The States

In case you hadn't noticed from the content of this blog, I consume a great quantity of media. Videogames, movies, TV shows, anime, comics, novels. I'll take it all, and there's so much good stuff out there. It's a pretty hard thing to manage not to get inundated with it all, so hard, that I just don't even try. I have wish lists that are pages long for all of these things. So, kind of a rambling lead-in, but I finally made it to one of those items, which is the Felix Castor series by Mike Carey.

I was on a message board for comics, and people got to talking about books, and the statement was made "If you like the Dresden Files series, you really need to check out the Felix Castor series, it's even better."

So, I dove in. I always have a problem with these urban fantasy novels, and a lot of writing in general, but there's always the first chapter that you have to get through, where they explain just how "cool" their character is. C…

Prince of Persion: The Sands of Time: The movie: Surprisingly Not Crap

Yes, I was trying to use as many colons as I could there.

Really, I've got very little to say about this movie. Have you played any of the recent Prince of Persia games? If so, it's exactly what you'd expect. Lots of fun action scenes, with a good mix of parkour and just general acrobatics.

Everything else about it is pretty much crap though. I usually don't like to point out the tendency Hollywood has to cast actors in spite of the logical ethnicity of the setting, but Jake Gyllenhal and Gemma Aterton as Persian royalty.

Oddly Alfred Molina is actually pretty entertaining as the owner of an ostrich racing gambling establishment. Really, there's ostrich racing, after watching the initial, surprisingly long ostrich race, I found myself saying "what the hell am I watching?"

Bottom line, it's fun, but you definitely have to turn your brain off before watching.

Machine Wars Optimus Prime: Bastard Stepchild of the Primes

I'm going to skip the backstory of the Machine Wars and this particular toy, and save it for the end.

This Prime toy was released a little before I started collecting toys, and it's not been reissued since, so I never picked it up. I saw that someone had one on ebay only missing one missile for not too bad a price.

He's surprisingly small for an Optimus Prime with trailer toy, normally they're a bit larger than this (see the GI Joe figure for a scale comparison). Also odd is that the trailer isn't capable of swiveling on the hitch, on account of how closely the trailer fits to the cab. It also doesn't really have any kind of cargo capacity, the Fansproject commander armors seem to bear a surprising similarity to this now that I've seen it.








The transformation is very simple, and the finished bot bears very few similarities to the iconic Prime toys, although it does have the same joined feet as the generation 1 Prime, oddly. The articulation on this guy is a…

The Deep: Submersible Drama For the New Millenium

Really, right off the bat, The Deep has nothing in common with Seaquest other than they're both underwater adventures.



The Deep kicks off with some kind of research submarine losing power, with one lone research out in a mini-sub, also losing power and sinking to the depths.



Once into the show proper, we're introduced to a new submarine crew, in a new sub built from the same plans as the first one, setting out to complete the research that the first failed, and possibly bring back news of what happened to them. The original mission was to investigate thermal vents found under the North Pole, which is home to all kinds of undiscovered life forms.



It's really difficult to talk anymore about the plot, because there are twists and turns starting from the very first episode. There's a lot of tension, the special effects are wonderful, the characters are written well, and acted better. James Nesbitt (Jekyll, watch it now if you haven't) is phenomenal as the engineer/haunted…

Metroid: Other M: For Those Other Guys

I believe that Metroid Other M is the worst of Nintendo's core franchises that has been brought to the Wii. I say this, not because it's a radical departure from the past installments (it is), but because it is a bad game.

While I have enjoyed most of the past installments in the series, I would not considered myself a hardcore Metroid fan. I played Super Metroid back on the SNES, it was a very minimalist exploration game, with virtually no storyline, and a large world to wnader through, with each new upgrade letting you access more of it.

When they announced the first Metroid Prime game for the Gamecube, a lot of people were worried that it was going to become a first person shooter, lots of straight up action without the exploration and isolation aspects of the original games. This turned out to not be the truth. Sure it was a first person perspective, but instead of frenetic shooting action, it was more slow and deliberate. The exploration and sense of isolation were still p…

The new 360: Black is slimming

Over this last weekend, I downloaded Dead Rising 2: Case 0, which is sort of a prequel to Dead Rising 2, but a digital only title. Quick review: If you liked Dead Rising, Dead Rising 2 seems to be everything it was, but better. $5 for more Dead Rising? I'll take 5!

I started to notice my screen was kind of flickering green while playing though, I just assume it was a bug, since it was a new game, and that I'd be getting a patch in the next few days that would fix it.

The next time I turned the 360 on though, it would turn on, but no video would display. I tried all of the standard stuff, switching cables, hooking it straight up to the TV, trying a different source on the same cable. In the end, it was toast, and I could pay Microsoft $100 to repair, and risk something else crapping out after 90 days, or I could buy one of the new slims, and I did have $150 in Amazon gift cards.

New 360 it was!


Okay, so, I got the new 360, it's not really "slim" but it is quiet.…

Gone in 60 Seconds: Not the one with Nic Cage

I didn't realize for quite awhile that the Gone in 60 Seconds movie released in 2000 was actually a remake. The original movie was made in 1974 and has the same basic premise as the later remake, although this one seems to have been much more a labor of love.

H.B. Halicki wrote, produced, directed, and starred in a movie about an insurance investigator who runs an auto shop. On the side, however, he buys totaled cars at auction, salvages whatever parts they can, and then steal all of the identification numbers off it. The next step is to go steal an identical car, and swap out all of the identification numbers and sell it. Much like the hitman who says "no women, no kids", this car thief only steals from people that are insured. It's a victimless crime! (Not really of course, but that's the impression the movie tries to give you.)

Our hero takes on a job from some foreign scary guys, to boost 40 cars in 48 hours, and deliver them to the docks, I assume for exp…

Are Transformers Too Complicated To Be Toys?

Occasionally a Transformer is released that is just too damn complicated, it has too many moving pieces, too many motions you have to go through, and/or pieces frequently pop off while transforming just because there are too many things to move around.

The toylines for the recent movies are full of figures like this. The (big) Optimus Prime toy from the Revenge of the Fallen movie probably takes me about 10 minutes to transform, if I remember all of the steps, and don't have to search out the instructions again, to figure out how to position his gas tanks in order to allow the movement of some other esssential piece.

This got me thinking, and it's been stewing in my brain for a couple of days.
It does seem that a lot of transformers, especially the movie toys, just aren't designed with the traditional play scheme of two kids playing with their toys, and having them fight each other, in mind.
I just don't see a kid getting any of the movie Primes and making him drive arou…