Sunday, June 17, 2012

Prometheus: An Aesthetically Attractive Pile of Aweful

Holy SHIT! Did not see this one coming. If you told me a few months ago that Prometheus was going to be the most infuriating and disappointing pile of shit-on-screen that I have paid to see since Journey 2, I would never have believed you. Funny how life works out sometimes isn't it? Im gonna say this right now, this is going to get long and its going to be full of spoilers because to explain WHY this movie is awful I have to pic apart pretty much every other scene. So for those who don't want to sit through it all or dont want any spoilers, heres the quick version. Every action taken by any of the characters in this movie is either stupid, inconsistent or completely inexplicable. When the characters themselves are not destroying the scenes, the story and the situations around them boldly take up the mantle and make sure that the level of awful is maintained. Now, lets dive right into this and see what sense we can make of this debacle.

The Good: Pretty Pictures!
This will be short. One thing that can be (rightly) toted about this movie is the amazing visuals and attention to detail applied to the sets. As far as creating the possibility for immersion, this movie really delivers. I cant really think of too many other movies that have created a unique universe that can rival Prometheus on the visuals front. Yup, thats about it. Wait...let me think...yup thats it. Anything else that could have potentially been good was ruined by the writing. 

Oh and a quick note. The ability to create a visually impressive universe  in a film does NOT make it a good film. You want to argue that point? Well I accept your argument and I guess that means we should retroactively award all of the Transformers movies best picture due to their execution of visual mastery. 

The Bad: Everything else!

So apart from the visuals, everything else in this movie ranges from irritating to just flat out stupid. Where this is most obvious is in how the characters are written. So lets jump right into that!

Characters and Science: 
The first glaring problem with the characters in this film is that they are, predominantly, scientists, and not a single one of them acts anywhere CLOSE to how a scientist would act. Now before you start thinking im being nit-picky, you have to understand how characters and characterization work in a film.   While thats a topic for a film class, there is one message that we need to remember; you need consistency and common sense for characters to work and if you DONT have those two things, your characters will fail and your movie will as well. So I'll say this again, the characters in this film are, predominantly, scientists, and not a single one of them acts anywhere CLOSE to how a scientist would act. Because of this the characters just don't fucking work because anyone who has taken a science class before can pick apart almost every action taken by every character because they all violate basic common sense. Lets make a list of common sense rules that, I think, we can all agree on shall we?

1) DONT TAKE YOUR HELMET OFF ON AN ALIEN PLANET WHEN YOU HAVE ONLY BEEN THERE FOR AN HOUR! I can't believe they let this slide in the writing process. No one would do that. I dont care if there is breathable air. There is breathable air on THIS planet and yet there are still airborne contagints that can kill us HERE. How face-meltingly stupid do you have to be to risk contamination on an alien planet where, if there are microbes there, which there are, have the potential to kill us with no possible way to cure us cause guess the fuck what? Our immune systems never ran into anything like what would be on this new planet because we have never been there before. I don't care if it's actually the case that we were made by people who spent time on this planet, that doesn't mean our immune systems have magically become prepared to fight anything there! 

2) In a operation room, maybe behave like doctors? Again, we have scientists doing something that no scientists would do, operating on a foreign life form with no quarantine and almost no attempt at shielding themselves from anything that may be harmful. Also, electrifying a 2000 year old head to bring it back to life because you saw some cell growth on it? What the hell does that accomplish? Did they really think that it would come back to life? Are we, the audience, supposed to buy that that shit can happen just by shocking the brain? Why did it explode? Is this alien from the Ren and Stimpy universe?

3) When exploring alien ruins, ruins that you have fully mapped, how bout consult that map and those monitoring it instead of just wandering away. Probably one of the most contrived plot elements of this movie is the geologist and the biologist getting lost and left behind in the ruins, setting up for a couple of pointless horror scenes. How they got lost is beyond me. Seriously, they had people watching the mapped out ruins with everyones' position locked down. Not only that, they were in a crescent moon shaped area of the place, only two ways to go, left or right, how the fuck do you get lost in that? Seriously, it hurts my head thinking about this part. Speaking of our geoligist and biologist friends... 

4) Don't put your idiot face in the face of an alien snake. This one was really really really really painful. So we have a biologist, apparently, who, while previously being scared of the 2000 year old corpse of a new species (which, really, what biologist would be afraid of something like that? Wouldn't they instead be going absolutely crazy with joy and excitement being present at the greatest biological discovery in history?) decides to try and grab an alien snake thing with his hand. No equipment, nothing to contain the creature, just his hand. Wanna guess what happens? Surprise surprise he gets the shit killed out of him by getting face fucked by Mr. Snake. No biologist, no one in general, would do anything so stupid.

5) When running away from a falling object that is moving along a straight path, dont travel along the same path to avoid that object. Try moving left or right. Or dont. If you can't figure that one out you probably should get squished because you are an embarrassment to science and the human race in general.

6) Don't jump to conclusions, especially when you have no real grounds to make them. Lets break down the mission debrief scene. Our two main characters, after being introduced by someone in terrible old man makeup, present what the mission goal is; search this planet because they found it using cave paintings found in ancient civilizations across earth. The woman calls these aliens "the engineers." The other scientists ask why they call them that. She says something to the affect of "they created us." Biology boy asks, "whats your evidence?" She says, "Its just what I believe." This moment, roughly 10-15 mins in the film, crushes any immersion that had built up for me to this point and made it really really difficult to get back into the movie. No scientist would present something as fact when they have no evidence to do so. Now I don't care if thats what she wants to believe, I don't care that it turns out to be true, on a trillion dollar mission, surrounded by great scientific minds, you dont say something that stupid and present it as a fact. 

Ok, there is seriously more I could talk about, (don't build amazing surgery machines that are sex exclusive, don't wake up an alien with no containment planned, don't just run into an alien ruin, use your amazing space ship and its technology to tell that a storm is coming sooner than a few minutes before it hits) but number six is a good segway. one final note, some of these may seem nit-picky, things I should ignore and suspend my disbelief. Heres the thing though, good writing can get you to suspend your disbelief, but if you have massive lapses in common sense like those listed above, they will always take the audience out of that state and, if you continue to present lapses in common sense, they will never get back to it, and as result your movie will fail. So now lets get into the stupid ass story.

Creation and Aliens:
Like i said, the two main scientists are operating under the assumption that the aliens depicted in the cave paintings are the creators of humanity. Not, as is constantly claimed by the history channel, merely a force that uplifted us from primitives to a technologically advanced civilization, but the literal creators of the species. The reason for this choice is that there is a clear bullshit religious message that is the foundation of this movie. Now, going with the uplifting society rather than a creation story would make a much more convincing and cohesive story. But thats not the way they went so its time to  pull this nonsense apart.

1) The creation event: So the movie opens with what I assume is the creation event that is credited to the aliens. A totally ripped white dude drinks some black goo which disintegrates him and he gets all up in the earths water supply. Presumably, this is what makes "us" possible in the logic of the movie. Ok. Lets look at that. Its not like humans just flopped up out of the water a couple days later, all of evolution  still took place. Regardless, after all of that, humans still ended up a 100% match with the aliens DNA. This means one of two things. Either the story doesn't make sense at all because thats not how evolution works (hundreds of millions of years separating the initial creation event from the advent of humanity would make the likelihood that our DNA would match with the aliens about as likely as me hooking up with Christina Hendricks IE its not fucking happening) or it implies these alien dudes were hanging around throughout all of the biological history of the earth ensuring the development of the human species from the very first microbes onwards, which is equally stupid.

2) Religion and the creation event: There is a clear message about faith in this movie. The message is,you should have faith that there is a higher power than yourself, and you need to maintain it. This comes in the form of the hit-you-over-the-head messages from the main lady scientist in what she says, her attachement to her cross and her bullshit behavior (note the scene where she gets all mopey that she can't give birth, otherwise known as the worst bit of characterization in the film). However, there is more of this nonsense worked into the film in very subtle ways that you may not have noticed. Thankfully I'm here to point out this bullshit. As far as characters go you have three teams essentially.

Team 1: Christian archeologists
Team 2: Non-believing science heathens
Team 3: Team lets exploit our gods

Team 1 consists of our two main characters, who are depicted as being as perfect as possible, are  clearly supposed to be the characters we like. They are smart, pretty, kind, understanding blah blah blah. What's more, the lady of this group, the one who maintains her stupid faith, is the one who survives to continue her search for answers. The guy, who loses faith half way through (he gets sad cause the aliens were not alive so he gets all drunk) is punished because of this loss of faith.

Team 2, our geologist and biologist friends, who didn't have faith to begin with, are depicted as cowards, fools and assholes. They are bland, one dimensional characters and they die in the worst (and most contrived) ways.

Team 3 is the old man who wants to live forever, his daughter, Charlize Theron, and Mr. Robot. Old man and Mr. Robot, who are secretive, manipulative, uncaring for human life, and they, when they finally achieve their goal to meet their creator in an attempt to gain some form of power over death from him, they get the fuck smashed out of them. Charlize Theron's character is the person who is supposed to be in charge but she is depicted as a cold, unfeeling bitch who also happens to be a useless space slut. She fucks the pilot just cause he suggests that she is a robot and to make matters worse she is engaged in a power grab from her father.  She dies too. Mr. Robot does live but I believe thats more of necessity to further the plot as opposed to any intelligent message behind his survival.

The message is clear, have faith, don't stop searching for the answers within your faith, and you will be  a better person than those who dont have those characteristics. But the creation in question is so dumb that we cant buy into enough for this characterization to make sense to us. Heres the thing dear readers, the elements present are not intrinsically bad, they are just fucked up due to lapses in common sense and no intelligence behind the concepts. A lot of these concepts could be saved with some simple rewrites (maybe ill do that next blog) but as they stand, all these elements serve to derail the plot and the movie as a whole

Fuck it, I am done. There is still so many things to talk about in regards to how stupid this movie is but I covered the big bits, story, plot, characters. The guys over at, who I generally respect, were iffy about writing this movie off because of the aesthetic value it has and because they were not sure if the movie was too smart for them or they were too smart for the movie. The answer is clear, we, the people, are too smart for this fucking movie. This script, when you pay it about a minutes thought, comes off like it was written by a seven year old. Its sad because there are elements in this universe that would be great to explore. Too bad. Maybe  if they get the sequel going they wont have the dude who wrote Lost work on the script, cause if Lost and Prometheus has taught me anything is that that guy can't write a coherent plot so he tries to hide behind a bunch of idiotic mystery and uses religion as a crutch because he can't write creative new concepts. Too bad its really easy to tell when its condensed down to two hours.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Eye on E3 - "The Last of Us" (PS3)

So after an exhausting scrutinizing of the latest and greatest titles that will be showcased at E3, I've decided to throw caution to the wind and leak one of the more impressive games to you 3 days after the Expo has ended. Your welcome.

This possible little gem is called The Last of Us, and it's set in the US so perhaps that is a little pun there? Oh developer Naughtydog (of the Uncharted series), how clever and inappropriately named you are. But drunkenly selected developer names and game titles aside, this adventure/shooter/survivor looks pretty damn impressive and in-depth. The attention to detail and physics appears to be pretty top notch. The graphics are pretty, and dealing with enemies looks engaging and challenging.

Fresh off the disappointing single player campaign in Mass Effect 3, I am currently on the rebound, and if Last of Us has a decent story then I will probably be driven right into its loving arms. Now yes, it has no release date save for an ambiguous "2013," but I usually stay on the rebound for a long time, as few games can live up to my high standards to swoop up and sweep me off my feet and treat me right. The last time I was in a serious relationship was with ME3 and I got my heart broke. I loved ME soooo dearly...that I will probably be vulnerable for some time. It took some serious bro talks with Chet, during which we did not make direct eye contact and mostly conversed in a series of grunts and high fives, for me to realize just how deep ME3 had cut me.

No matter. It's time to look at and focus on the future. The Last of Us, as I mentioned, is set in the US -specifically beginning in a Boston quarantine zone. You play Joel, a black market dealer and protector of 14 year old orphan Ellie (not yet explained). Upon escaping the quarantine, your enemies are the survivors (people who are not infected) and the infected. The virus that has apparently infected human beings in this story is apparently not a virus at all, but a fungus - based on the horrifying parasitic variety that produced the infamous "zombie ants" captured in the popular BBC documentary, Planet Earth. I'm glad that the writers decided to go with this theory, because it adds a lot of legitimacy to the "how did these brain eaters come to be" question (I'm sorry but no, I don't buy that everyone in the world is just addicted to bath salts. Seriously, just shut the fuck up about bath salts already). Too often this part of the story is ignored, (zomg o noes I woke up one day and them zombie mahfuckers erewhere!)

All in all I'm pretty impressed with what I've seen so far and it'll be exciting to watch it as it develops toward its release date on some day, at something o' clock, 2013.

Well that's it for now. Keep checking in as Chet and I bring you our favorite picks from E3 (or don't check in because, let's face it, were both lazy pieces of shit).


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Diablo III: First impressions

Jesus its been awhile! Fucking Mass Effect 3 got me so depressed I couldn't even gather the energy to tear it apart with my highly trained dagger esque critiquing, let alone take on any other topics. However, after some soul searching, punch dancing and drinking dark manly beers I am back and ready to start talking about important things again. The topic today? The long awaited Diablo installment and what i've noticed thus far.

Shit That sucks but I wont talk about:

If you have been paying attention to what the internet is saying about this game, the launch problems and the DRM bullshit keep cropping up as big problems. They are indeed problems but having a single player heavy game that requires connection to a server and having massive server issues (so bad that customers have completely nuked its metascore on many a review site) are no duh problems. It doesn't take a lazer guided razor brain like my own to pick on that. So I am going to talk about two problems that are really hurting what is overall a potentially awesome experience

Problem #1: Difficulty and Hand Holding:
So I have gotten almost all the way through Act 1 twice with a Monk and a Witch Doctor and something odd, at least according to my seasoned Diablo veteran mind, has happened; I have not died once. Not once! Not ever fucking close in fact. My monk got half his health knocked down once and my Witch Doctor has gone through with basically no damage. I have never had to use a health potion! Christ, remember the first mini boss in Diablo 2? You know, this bitch?

God Damn Blood Raven...
How many health potions did you have to down to get by her the first time? How ingrained was the lesson to always open a town portal outside a boss area so you could get back to your body when you inevitably got owned? I'll tell you the answers to both those, a fuck ton and so ingrained that it became as subconscious as blinking. So what the hell is happening in Diablo 3? Well first, you are over powered from the beginning. Every character has AOE attacks and all the characters thus far regen their mana so fast you can basically spam your most powerful spells. Gone is just the basic "hit with weapon" attack, you just constantly use spells so you just walk through enemies with no worries. This is compounded by constant health drops from enemies and the ultimate bit of handholding, extremely limited control of how your character develops. You can't really fuck up your character like you could back in the day, their stats are auto assigned each level and so far what skills your choose to run at a given time dont really change how effective your character is and even if it did you can change them whenever. Now im not against the latter bit perse, in fact I certainly prefer it to making a whole new character when I want to try something new, but not letting us control the stats? In an RPG? 

The reasons for these changes and this utter lack of challenge could only be the flawed logic that the game needs to be easy to be accessible to the widest market, saving the true challenge (I fucking hope at least) for nightmare/inferno mode. This is wrong because first, human brains like challenge and get bored with ease. Without challenge things get monotonous. Second, geting your shit owned makes completing tasks way more rewarding and way more fun. Most people dont just stop because they get beat once by a boss, the keep playing, and when they beat the boss they feel accomplished and want to keep going to the more difficult challenges ahead. Shit, I got one shot by Duriel in D2 for about 2 hours the first time I was trying to get past him, and when I eventually did I ripped my shirt off, flexed my 13 year old muscles and felt like an invincible beast god who could punch Odin himself in the face and live to tell the tale. I'll amend this if the difficulty gets harder post Act 1, maybe Act 1 is just a long tutorial, but if it keeps this pace, and if the difficulty doesn't go WAY the fuck up in nightmare mode, I will be upset. 

Problem #2: Aesthetics:
First things first, this is a totally subjective opinion. Never ever stay away from an experience simply because someone else doesn't like the way it is presented. Note the following;

This game, on the aesthetics front, is appalling. The graphics are terrible, the animations are glitchy, the heath/armor/weapon drops look like they are from about 1995 and the dialogue is so god awful its laughable. Regardless, its one of the most intensely enjoyable experiences I have ever come across in a video game, and if I judged it purely on aesthetics, as I am sure many have, I would have never played it and been a lesser person for it. However, I have a strong dislike for the Aesthetics in Diablo 3, and its not because of just one thing. So here comes a LIST!

1) Color Scheme: 
The colors in this game are just off for someone who is a veteran of Diablo. Everything is bright, sharp and generally the pallet, instead of being dark red/black/dead grey, is more blue, bright red and purple. As a result it makes it hard to feel oppressed and unnerved by your environment and its even more difficult to take your enemies seriously.

2) Silly enemies and Cartoony Graphics:
Look at these things

First of all, I couldn't find a good in game shot of these guys so this picture makes them look way cooler than they look in game. In game they look like Oogie Boogy from Nightmare Before Christmas is running up to give you a big hug. Then there are the Imps, hands above heads, mouths open, flopping around like a cartoon monster. Silly, silly silly in a game that silly shouldn't ever cross your mind. Part of the reason is that this game looks way closer to a cell shaded cartoon than it does to what many people, myself obviously included, think a Diablo game should look like. To sum up, when your taking part in the final battle between heaven and hell, it shouldn't look like a silly children's cartoon, and unfortunately it kind of does. Blame WoW and the drive for mass appeal.

3) Voices:
There were voices in D2 of course, but they were very sparse. Now everyone fucking talks and a lot of that dialogue really takes you out of the game. I suppose its supposed to make the game feel more real, people in town chatting etc, but it actually makes it feel way more fake and forced. The world benefited by leaving itself more of a blank slate to be filled by the players imagination, and sadly thats lost so far. 

4) Characters explode with all the colors! 
Everything your character does is bright, shiny and flamboyant. Not necessary at all and it would help the game to have that kind of stuff toned down.

5) Outlined targets:
When you hover over an enemy, they get a giant red ring around, making them even MORE cartoony and even MORE difficult to take seriously.

Overall the aesthetics are not appalling and I do enjoy a lot of the details, there just feels like a lot of missteps. Let me take off the targeting highlight at least. Im 24 years old, I know how to click on the shit I want to kill.

Good News!
This game isn't bad, im actually having a lot of fun with it and it shows promise. I like a lot of the new touches like how loot is divided in multiplayer and the skills show promise for complex gameplay. The things I have complained about could be changed later in the game or are not enough to make me regret my purchase. I am excited enough about the story to want to see what happens next and I can barely advance because I want to see how the other classes handel. So fuck it, play the game! The servers will be fixed and you will have fun. Do you want to join me in an adventure? My battletag is DeathBurger#1631!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mass Effect 3 part 1! THE REVIEW! (no spoilers)

So after 30 hours of in game play and who knows how many spent in multiplayer I have now come to the end of Mass Effect 3, the end to a series which is consider by some to be one of the most important contributions to Sci-fi in this generation (and I tend to agree with that sentiment). Heres the deal Lazer-readers, I have a lot to say about this game so this entry could get very long. As a result, im breaking this analysis up into three entries. The first one (this one) is the general gloss over review with no spoilers. The second is the what went wrong analysis with TONS of spoilers in it so if you have not played it you probably wouldn't want to read it. The third is me flexing my many brain wrinkles to show how easy it is to fix these problems. So here we go with part 1!

The Review 
Lets get one thing clear out of the gate. I wouldn't have spent 30 hours in this game if it was terrible. There are many good moments within an amazing universe that made it worth while to play. However, there are many internal flaws (and external influences) that keep what should have been a defining moment in rpg gaming from being anything more than an adequate cover based sci-fi shooter. That said, lets get to it. 

Lets get whats good about this game out of the way (which interestingly enough actually lends to the flaws). The universe is deep, the characters interesting and awesome and the gameplay functional. The problem is that all of these factors have always been good within the Mass Effect series so the game cannot simply rely on these factors for success (in the eyes of the customers. Bioware is undoubtably rolling in the many dollars it has gained from this game already). It has to go above and beyond with the writing and story and that is where we hit our first bumps.

The writing in this game, while steller at parts, ultimately lags far behind the first two installments. Its not as though the Bioware team took stupid pills and then decided to go on writing the script, its more of a feeling that this game was rushed. There are glaring continuity errors, strange and obviously problematic decisions about pacing and tone and just an overall increase of "what the fuck?" moments from 0 in the previous two to about 5 in ME3. Heres the thing though; every idea in this game is solid. Its clear what they were going for and all it needed was a good editor, which the lack of one lends to the thought that it was rushed. There are plenty of theories of why this may be the case, the tainted hands of producers concerned about profits, too many resources devoted to the Star Wars MMO etc (more on this in the next section). Regardless, the biggest flaw is the way the story is presented and the writing within it, and as Mass Effect has always been a series defined by its stories and writing this is a big big problem. 

There are more signs of rushed production, more graphics and gameplay glitches, interesting flubs in dialogue pacing and in conversation camera movement (its always great for an intense/stirring moments when the camera cuts away from the person talking to get stuck focusing on a wall for 30 seconds). Finally, because this is the third installment in the series, the production team had two options. 
1) Develop the characters more, requiring a greater amount of time focusing on writing and greater risk
2) Rely on call backs to lines/behaviors from the previous games to cash in on the fan service train
ME3 went with option 2. Bad choice. The way returning characters are presented often has the vibe of a long running sitcom (heeeeeeeeeres Jack! Boy is she a fire cracker!) Its just lazy and a sad departure from the amount of time and effort that Bioware famously devotes to character development.

There are a few obvious missed opportunities to involve the player in gameplay that is more engaging and exciting than mere cover based combat. The only reason why they did not capitalize on a few obvious diversions from the norm could only be time and money on their minds, which of course ultimately hurts the game. Finally, they bring back a lot of things from the first game (characters that we stopped caring about/had closure for already, weapon mods and inventory which the ME2 system handled much better I thought), got rid of things they shouldn't have (no vehicle sections at all, much less focus on moral choice and consequences for your actions) and kept things they should have gotten rid of (the thermal clips! FUCK that shit. The first games ammo system made it feel unique and awesome and nothing breaks immersion like running around in battle looking for glowing ammo)

Oh yeah, and the ending. Big ol' thumbs down.

Ultimately, a game like this must be reviewed on two scales

First, in relation to games in general this game would rate pretty high. Again, a game in the Mass Effect universe cant help but be good because of the universe that it takes place in. As long as they dont fuck that up and make all the characters retarded its going to be a solid game, especially in comparison with a lot of the drivel that gets put out into the market. So, in that regard ME3 would probably rate an 7-8 depending on whether or not the game play/graphics issues I have been having are widespread. 

Second, this game must be rated in comparison with its predecessors. That rating will obviously not be as good. For me, ME1 would rate a 9 and ME2 was a home run at a 10. ME3, for the issues I mentioned and will extol in GREAT detail in the next installment would barely rate a 6, im holding it too that because im curious to see how Bioware fixes the issues with DLC. 

So, if you have never played a Mass Effect game, play the first two. If you have played them, play this with the knowledge that its worth the effort but it wont be what you want or what it should be and that Bioware will be draining even more money from you with the DLC that actually provides a proper end to the game you already paid for. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Journey 2: The best ipecac Straight from Hollywood

So dear readers, it has been a while since I have delved into the fecal matter that is the bottom of the barrel hollywood ejaculate that comes out at around this time every year. You know, after the big christmas and oscar season movies are gone and before the summer blockbusters hit they use the months in-between to dump cheaply made garbage to make their budgets back on the opening weekend and a bit of profit over seas. As a result we get Journey 2, staring The Rock and Michael Caine, a movie so bad that it is actually below both of them.

The Review: 
This movie is so utterly terrible that I honestly, in retrospect, would have rather watched The Scorpion King again. OR perhaps a peoples elbow to the nuts would have been preferable. This film is a prime example of what has happened to modern movies. Hollywood, like the music industry, has spent the last decade-ish attempting to find exactly how little work they can put in to a project while still making a profit. Their breakthrough is that you dont actually have to make movies in which things like plot, story, characters/character development matter. All you need to do is get the appropriate names as far as actors and brand recognition go and put them into a trailer compelling enough to get people out of their homes for one weekend, thus allowing the studios to make their money back. As a result, and as Journey 2 is the lastest test subject in this horrid experiment, what you get with this movie is a collection of colorful images and action sequences intercut with "hilarious" dialogue that are cobbled together in a way that convinces you that you are watching a movie. Its just a series of things that happen that begins and eventually ends with little that connect the two points together. Heres a couple of images to show exactly what I mean.

This is a bare bones representation of how the plot of a movie is structured. This is basically how most movies are built, exposition leading to an initial point of conflict with rising action building to the climax and then dropping off towards the end. Journey 2 is not quite structured the same way. Heres a diagram of how its plot progresses. 

Yup. Its all over the fucking place. There is no exposition in this movie. Within the first five minutes you have some shit eating kid breaking the law and the Rock being kind of mad but still, wanting to connect with the aforementioned shit eating kid, he helps him crack a secret code and flys him to some island to buy his favor. All of this SHOULD have happened, in a reasonably structured film, in about the first half hour, giving us time to get to know the characters, their motivations, establish some actual mystery behind the mysterious island, you know, compelling movie things. Instead, in minutes they are on the adventure to the island where they meet the required ethnic stereotype and the love interest who take them into a permanent hurricane which of course lands them on the mysterious island in question. What follows is the most illogical string of action scenes with dialogue that just screams punch up writing, IE the question was asked multiple times "ok we are done with the scene with X giant animal, how are we going to make the five minutes of dialogue we have to put in to make it feel like there is some sort of plot funny and interesting?"The answer? The following three things would happen. 
1) The Rock calls Michael Caine a grandma and Michael Caine is snarky and british back at him. 
2) The boy is awkward around his love interest/mad at the Rock for trying to be a good father
3) Our ethnic stereotype says something completely retarded that no grown man would ever say ever

This movie is one of the many tumors that is slowing killing American culture. However, I am going to end on a bit of a bombshell. I had SO much fucking fun watching this movie and laughing at it that its difficult for me to not recommend it. The level of idiocy, while painful to someone who knows what makes a good movie, was so over the top that it made me howl and tear up from laughing so hard. For instance, in the trailer ( at about 2:20) you see the Rock doing a bit of peck dancing and the kid flicking a berry off him. You would think this scene maybe lasts another five seconds, given thats how long the joke actually needs. No. It goes on for something between two and a half to five minutes! Holy FUCK I was dying. Its just so ridiculous. So heres how I will approach this recommendation. First, know that by giving this movie money you are literally killing the culture of the human race. Secondly, you need to see it with at least one of your best buds. And finally, you need to see it in a completely empty theater so that you can get involved in yelling and laughing in disbelief at the train wreck of awful you are witnessing. If you can ensure the latter and live with the former, I cant help but suggest watching this, if for no reason other than coming to comprehend just how far mainstream American cinema has fallen. 

Twisted Metal...6?

So recently, toiling under the oppression of philosophical schooling, I was trudging in a mild stupor of depression and insomnia through some type of retail giant when I stumbled across the new Twisted Metal. Holy. fucking. shit. the 10 year old in me screamed. I dropped the 60 bucks right then and there and in-between bouts of homework and staring into the middle distance out of the window contemplating VERY deep things I have been playing it. I have now played it enough to give it a proper review!

The pros: 
Any review of this game will require a great deal of discussion about its predecessors, specifically Twisted Metal 4 and Black. So what has been changed for the better in this game? Well the big thing is that this game is FUN. The gameplay is straightforward and simple and they have made some key changes for the better. They got rid of the lives system and instead simply made the cars last longer, making the battles feel more fun and engaging. The maps are fun, the cars handle great and the new boss battles are pretty epic. Further more, this game got one big thing right, bringing back the rad soundtrack. In Black the game just didn't feel right without Rob Zombie blaring in the background. 

Aforementioned Boss Battle of Epicness 

The cons: 
A few big ones sadly. The voice/character acting? Terrible. The writing? WAY worse. The dialog sounds like it came from a 13 year old juggalos diary. 
And now heres the big one: They fucked up pretty much the whole point of the game.
Heres the thing. The lay out of the previous twisted metal games was simple; bunch of crazy characters that you took through their individual bare bone story in this competition. One character with one car that was unique to them with a fair amount to choose from. Now you get three characters, Sweet Tooth,   Mr. Grim and Dollface, who can choose whatever the fuck car they want. What this leaves you with is three character specific vehicles that can be used by anyone and a handful of cars with nothing interesting about them. This messes up the whole game! The basic logic of the universe (not like it needs much logic at all but for fuck sakes BASIC logic is required for any story) is messed up and with no unique characters or stories to fill the other vehicles they are just boring old cars with guns, just tools which you cant get invested in. 

The Final Verdict:
Meh. This game rates a big old Meh on the ambivalence scale. Because of the problems I mentioned with the story, which is hardly worth playing through because of the terrible writing, its not worth buying for its single player content. So in my book its really not worth buying. The functionality of the game does lead to very fun multiplayer content but thats not enough to revive this series. The people who made this really dropped the ball. Final word: Dont buy this game for full price unless you only care about multiplayer or you really want to play twisted metal black which comes with the game. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

To the good ol' boy that drives a BIG OL' PICK-UP with HID headlights

Great. I'm glad you can see where you're going...EXCEPT NOW NO ONE ELSE CAN, YOU WHISKEY SWILLIN', BRAD PAISLEY LOVIN', REDNECK WANNA BE PIECE OF SHIT. Do us all a favor, go down to the saloon, have your usual few too many, then wrap that offensive hick mobile around a telephone pole.

"Hell yeah, bra! I fuckin wrecked that shit!"

Friday, March 2, 2012

People who use rolling bags should get slapped in the mouth

Mother fucker. So I wake up this morning, get on the facebooks and apparently someone Dilly knows wanted to hear my opinion on the issue of people who use rolling backpacks/bags who are not at or heading to an airport. Well at the mere mention of such scum sucking mutants I immediately flew into a rage, spewing liquid loathing from every orifice of my body.

Just look at that shit! Useless, lazy, self-important wastes of life who are just too precious to join the rest of us in the oh so arduous task of carrying our fucking bags. Lets go over some reasons why this shit is unacceptable.

1) Invasion of space.

Just look at this gentleman. He is conquering nature itself, all the while only adding a mere foot or so  to the space he occupies because he has sacked up and put the shit he needs in a backpack he actually wears on his back. Now look at this. 

I couldn't find a real person doing this, presumably because they lack souls and as such dont appear in pictures.
Look how much space you now occupy! Oh you're on campus? It won't matter, it's not like there are hundreds of people going to and from class at all times during the day, you deserve to have an extra five feet behind you. Oh you're in a hurry? Well let that weak, limp noodle you call an arm stretch out behind you as far as possible to reach maximum velocity! Now it's like theres another you being dragged behind you! JOY! This brings me to my next point

So I mentioned these pricks occupying even more space as they attempt to reach maximum travel velocity with their precious rolling tumors stretched behind them. Funny thing about that, the maximum velocity with these things is about as quick and spritely as old people fucking. The only time you can be quick with these things is if you are on a perfectly flat surface and its smooth. And by perfectly flat and smooth I mean that it needs to be as such on a micro level. You know why? Because your tiny little wheels cant handle any kind of bumps or terrain variation that can be seen by the naked eye. Oh your taking it on a sidewalk or a college campus or anywhere that isn't a gymnasium floor? I'm sure the people behind you won't mind stopping every five fucking seconds so you can readjust your bag after it topples over. Or even better! You try to prevent the toppling by twisting your hand around while still in motion, making the bag sway to and fro like a vomit inducing ballet of failure. This always works...for about another five feet until the bag THEN toppels over. Good. Now you've held everyone up and make a complete ass of yourself. 

3) The only people who use these bags are morbidly obese women wearing shawls, shit-eating pukes of children with god awful parents, and rail thin, precious, indie-hipsters who struggle enough to lift their ray-bans to their eyes, much less lift their bag filled with their hand made parchment and calligraphy pens. 
None of these people are a good example of what you should aspire to be. Especially if you aspire to be a child, in which case go ahead and commune with Michael Jacksons ghost and ask him how it went. 

4) GOD DAMNIT I WANT TO BITE THESE PEOPLE ON THE FACE! The following is a representation of what goes on in my head when im stuck behind these people.

There it is folks. Join the good fight and warn your friends and family against rolling bags used outside of an airport.  Be hero. Im going to go into the forest  and punch trees in half to help take the edge off of the the rage that has developed writing this entry. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Top 5 movies for kids born around 1988

So Dilly talking about Ren and Stimpy got me thinking about the good ol' days of VHS and the movies I watched over and over again to the point where, because of the fact they were on VHS, I couldn't watch them any more because the tape was warped, broken, or melted by the sun.

The Death of Childhood
So Im going to throw out a list of the best of the best from this era and see if these movies still hold up to my now all grown up self. Heres the rules:
1) No disney, because thats just too universal and the desire to put A Goofy Movie for all 5 spots is so damn strong. 
2) Made before 1995, because by then I was 8 and had discovered things like Jurassic Park and Star Wars and other non kid specific entertainment

So here we go! 

5) Fern Gully!

Hell yeah, everyones favorite early 90s animated film depicting the evils of logging in the rainforest/pro fairy propaganda. The reasons why we all loved this as kids was pretty clear, magic, a Ton Loc lizard and a rapping Robin Williams bat, and to top it all off a really inappropriately sexual villain in the form of a smoke based Tim Curry under the name of HEXXUS! (seriously LISTEN to how sexy this is. Starts about 45 seconds in)

Does it hold up? 
Im really torn on this one. On the one hand there are some really sweet things and nostalgic moments, Ton Loc in general and Hexxus being the most awesome and inexplicably sensual bad guy in a kids movie ever, but this movie really does reek of 1992. Idiot jerk bag with a walkman as our main character, rapping Robin Willams bat, that shit really dates the movie and after the nostalgic haze wears off its kind of annoying. Its worth watching now but don't expect to fall in love all over again. 

4) Ewoks!

Now I'll admit that I obviously had watched the original trilogy before this but I still watched this pre 1995 so it works. This movie kicked ass when I was a kid and I'll be dammed if I didn't want to live on Endor and hang out with Wiket and Wilford Brimily. There were a couple of these movies made and I watched them both about a million times. 

Does it hold up? 
Meh...not in the way you think. They are still fun to watch with the right kind of eyes and the right state of inebriation. First, these movies feel really weird. If it wasn't for Ewoks, there would be nothing that links this to Star Wars. They are like fantasy movies with magic and shit. Second, its hilarious how oddly creepy they are. Wilford Brimley taking a little girl up into space with him, alone. Wilfords pal the cracked out little rabbit with soulless eyes...

We will eat your soul in your sleep
It's all really fun and funny if you can laugh at stuff like that. So yeah, grab some beers and watch the shit out of these movies!

3) The Secret of Nimh!

Oh my god. This movie comes from the school of thought that "we dont give a shit how fucked up this movie is going to make your kids, they are going to watch it and LOVE it." This movie has it all, a really awesome and interesting story line, good writing, great characters, super intelligent rats planning their uprising, demon owls, actual consequences and stakes, moments of real fear and suspense, you know, everything that kids movies are missing these days. 

Does it hold up?
Yes. Yes it does. I dont even want to take the time to explain why it does hold up, I just want you to go out and fucking watch it again. NOW!

2) Transformers the Movie!

Wait what is that? Mired in the veritable swamp of fecal matter and Shia Leshits stuttering you forgot that there was a Transformers movie before Michael Bay dipped is tainted balls in the mix? Yes indeed my friends, this movie happend and it was amazing. Transformers how they were ment to be, animated and fighting a giant planet swallowing Orson Wells in his farewell roll. 

Does it hold up?
Hell the fuck yes! This movie has quite possibly the weirdest and best soundtrack of any movie ever. They didn't even try to match the songs to the scenes, they just threw a bunch of awesome tunes, from Stan Busch 80s pump up jams to Weird Al, and it made the movie enjoyable just in virtue of the soundtrack. The rest of the movie is also really sweet, cool animation, interesting story, great adventure. If you loved the Transformers and have had a hard time holding on to that love through the Michael Bay hurricane, go back and watch this movie. And always remember, You've got the touch, you've got the POOOOWEEEEEER!

1) The Never ending Story!

So if you did not watch this when you were a child I am deeply sorry. This is one of the most amazing children/fantasy movies of all time. There are so many memorable moments and images from this movie that its really on par with Star Wars for me as far as that nostalgic feeling you get when you see the cover again for the first time in awhile or hear a song from the movie. How could it not be on the same level? One of the reasons this movie sticks with people is that it was created before CGI came and dominated/ruined everything. The sets were real, the creatures were actually made and moved through animatronics and puppetering. This fantasy universe felt real and you could easily put your young self into to world, going on adventures right along side of Atreyu and Falkor, a feeling that comes so rarely in the history of film that every movie that can make you feel that is worthy of all the Oscars ever. 

Does it hold up?
Yes. This movie is beautiful and immersive. Even people who have not seen this movie before will love it its that good. From scenes that make you cheer like Bastian chasing the bullies while riding Falkor to the slow and soul crushing death of Artax, Atreyu's horse, this movie will fucking move you. If you have any doubts about watching this movie again now that you are all grown up and responsible I fucking dare you to listen to the opening theme song and not start singing/crying joy tears. 
Do it!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Almost 10 reasons why you should be watching The Ren and Stimpy Show (on Netflix)

     Hello boys and girls, it's your old pal, Stinky Wizzleteats. Okay not really...and let's face it, if you're reading this (and I doubt that you are) you're most likely a 36 year old man-child living with your parents, eating a microwave burrito, watching re-runs of Happy Days. Well one of the reasons you're probably still sleeping in your race car bed in your parents' basement is because they didn't let you watch the show I'm about to comprehensively review for you. What show is it, you ask? Well maybe if you didn't interrupt people all the time, they wouldn't hate you so much, and you wouldn't be sleeping in a race car bed in your parents' basement. But I digress. The show (actually, it's an AMAZING CARTOONY PICTURE) is called The Ren and Stimpy Show, and I'm going to lay down the law as to why you shouldn't fall in with the crowd of people who "don't much care" for such "grotesque humor." What are the reasons, you ask? Seriously? What did I just say? Good god you're irritating. No wonder my sister's boyfriend made you eat dirt in 7th grade.
     I want to point out right now that I'm talking about the original Ren and Stimpy Show; I am not talking about the newer Ren and Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" which aired briefly on SPIKE in 2003, and of which we must never speak again.

     You should be watching at least an episode of this fine cartoon every night, because The Ren and Stimpy Show is now on Netflix! It's so fucking convenient that you have no excuse. NO EXCUSE. Now, in case you have an excuse, I'm going to go over that too. Here are some common excuses for not watching Ren and Stimpy:

Excuse A: "It's too gross/stupid/vulgar."

Response A: You are truly a sad fucking excuse for a human being. Life is not always dainty and wonderful and flowery and nice. The artistic way in which Ren and Stimpy captures the vulgarities of life is what makes it beautiful. I suppose you're one of the types who won't read Huck Finn because you might accidentally see the "N" word or watch a horror movie because you might accidentally get scared. Oh boo hoo you poor thing you MAKE ME SICK. It's the concept of the "sublime" people. You take in art because it makes you FEEL something, whether it be happiness, sadness, fear, disgust; it's the simple act of enjoying those sensations, of being put on edge, that this show taps into so wonderfully well. So if you are not afraid to break out of your consumerist, imagination-defeating bubble, then read some poetry, listen to some music you haven't heard before, and watch THE REN AND STIMPY SHOW. I promise you, if you actually take the time to absorb the content, rather than just take it at face value (like the idiot who laughs through every horror movie and then complains about how lame it was) you will agree with me on the points that I'm about to lay down [below]. Also, watch it with FRIENDS (if you have those)! Laugh, squirm, enjoy it with them.

Excuse B: "It's pointless."

Response B: Okay, seriously, it's a cartoon, it doesn't need to have a moral agenda. Moreover, the episodes (if you actually took the brain power to have a serious watch) often make political, social, and other pop culture statements or references [see below for examples] that (along with the Simpsons which was just starting to do this at the same time) made it the first cartoon of its kind.

Excuse C: "That's a cartoon for kids. As an adult, I wouldn't enjoy it."

Responce C: *smacks head*, sweet cheese of nazareth you are so close-minded. Can't you ever enjoy something beyond it's popular boundaries? For the love of all things holy, be an individual for once. Think for yourself. This cartoon has been consistently acclaimed over the years for being enjoyable for both children and adults. In fact, kids are LUCKY if they get to see Ren and Stimpy these days. They don't allow kids to watch anything anymore that doesn't turn their brains to consumerist mush. This is probably the only cartoon I've ever seen that treated kids like human beings, and not retarded baby-kids.

     Now, please pay attention while I expound the virtues of Ren and Stimpy in no particular order:

1. The music - Perhaps the best thing about the music in Ren and Stimpy is that it's not some stupid brain hemorrhaging kiddie song with an obnoxious chorus of kids singing back-up. No sir, instead we get blues, jazz, classical, and folk - and the only jingles you hear are satirical tunes poking fun at traditional kid-geared commercials, like dolls or breakfast foods. Seriously, the music in RnS is AWESOME. I can't stress that enough. It works very well with the cartoon's 1940s Clampett-inspired artwork.

2. Political/social/pop culture content - Ren and Stimpy first came on the air in 1991, when I believe the Simpsons was about in its 3rd or 4th season, which is right when they finally started getting political (and funny). This was the dawning of a new era, when we began to see social commentary in cartoons not only for adults, but for children as well. It still amazes me to this day that RnS made it as many seasons as they did while giving kids a humorous, satirical, and refreshingly imaginative viewpoint to reflect on things in their own lives (later on, cartoons like Spongebob Squarepants would construct an experience inspired by RnS, except not nearly as edgy of course - not even close).

RnS's tongue in cheek narrative is riddled with tongue-in-cheek pokes at pop culture as well as things Texas schoolboard officials would paddle you for, such as:

a. Ren and Stimpy are themselves suggestively coupled with each other, apparently in a domestic partnership as a male dog and cat. On top of that, Ren abuses Stimpy constantly, beating and smacking him and calling him names. Of course, you will love this dynamic, because Ren's constant anger, greediness, criticism, and superiority complex are carefully balanced with the brotherhood he shares with his best friend, Stimpy. As he yells at the salesmen in the episode "To Salve and Salve Not," "how dare you take advantage of my blithering idiot!"

See, they're best buds.

b. Everything about the character Powdered Toastman (a spandex-clad hero with toast for a head who represents RnS's favorite breakfast food, powdered toast; he's also Pastor Toastman by day). In one instance, PTM saves a kitten that is about to be run over by a truck. How does he do it? He shoots down an airliner which then crashes into and explodes the truck. He picks up the cat to see if it's okay, only to receive another distress call, at which point he throws the cat offscreen where we hear the screeching of tires  fofllowed by a crashing sound and presume that it is killed by another vehicle. In another instance, PTM becomes president of the US after the previous pres gets his johnny caught in his zipper. It's cold in the oval office, and PTM decides to heat it up by burning some old "dusty papers" that are lying around. We see from reading the titles that they are the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Of course, Nickelodeon cut this part out when it aired on their network.

"Powdered Toast" was deemed inedible unless Powdered
Toast Man had farted on it.
3. Controversy - Which leads me to my next point, the controversy surrounding the show. You see, it took a bit, but the idiots at Nickelodeon started catching on to what creator John Kricfalusi (genius) was up to, and it scared them. They started getting all butthurt and all "oh Jesus think of the children they can't see farts or people getting slapped!" But they didn't want kids to see sophisticated sarcasm like the joke about the constitution either. So they started censoring the show. They even pulled an episode or two. And we all know that a kids show must be fucking awesome if it starts getting censored by its own network.

No sir, you won't see this in a kids cartoon again.

4. Artist controlled cartoon - Ren and Stimpy was the first artist controlled cartoon in a long time, like, since the golden age. That means Kricfalusi and friends got to do everything, write storyboards, illustrate, the whole bit as opposed to the previous model where everything was created from the top-down, with the networks in charge and cartoons built around merchandise that could be sold, such as action figures. I do have to give credit to the execu-turds at Nickelodeon for experimenting with this method of cartoon making, as it turned out so well in our favor.

5. Inspired many other cartoonists - Wikipedia says Beavis and Butthead, South Park, and Spongebob. I believe it. The show was also parodied on the Simpsons several times which I think it awesome.

6. Famous voice actors/cartoonist done voices - Kricfalusi himself voices Ren Hoek, and according to Wikipedia was able to attract the following guest voices:  Frank Zappa, Randy Quaid, Gilbert Gottfried, Rosie O'Donnell, Dom DeLuise, Phil Hartman, Mark Hamill, Frank Gorshin, and Tommy Davidson.

7. Premiere cartoon on Nickelodeon - Ren and Stimpy premiered with two other shows as THE FIRST CARTOONS EVER on Nickelodeon in the summer of 1991 (alongside Doug and Rugrats). Thus, if you are a true child of the 90s, you really have no excuse but to dig this show up again. What's that? You have an excuse? See above for my response.

The "Tooth Beaver" smashing a tooth nerve ending
with his mallet.
8. Artwork - Last, and certainly not least - in fact, most important of all - is the awe inspiring artwork that characterized the cartoon and revolutionized cartoon making, just look at some of these stills:

Note the splotchy background, which RnS became
famous for. In this shot it adds an element of
euphoria and happy dementia.
Note the simplicity of this shot.
I'm genuinely surprised that this was about the most
disgusting picture I could find. Guess you'll just have to watch.

So there you have it, straight from the Mr. Horse's mouth, the resident Ren and Stimpy expert, Dilly. I invite you to comment and tell me your thoughts on the cartoon, whether you love it or hate it. And if you hate it, well then I invite you to use this as your response:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Predictions for the 2012 movie season #1: The Avengers

So we here at the lazer blog love to talk about our favorite movies from the days of yor. However, we have an important duty to analyze the movies of the now and the movies that are about to be. So heres what im going to do. Im going to look at whats coming out, pick the movies that matter and make predictions about them that will be roughly 99% accurate (by movies that matter I mean the things that arnt rom-coms, generic dramas or generic comedies. You have a 100% chance that those will be garbage)

First lets get some things out of the way.
Brave, Prometheus, Dark Knight Rises, Titanic 3D etc, we all know these are going to be good either in virtue of the studio making it (pixar) the people directing it (Ridley Scott and Christopher Nolan) or because it has already won like a billion oscars and has grossed even more money.

On the opposite end of that we can look at any completely unnecessary remakes/sequels and assume they are going to be absolute shit (with a few exceptions that maintain tiny shreds of hope like Men In Black III. So far we have one good one and one really bad one. This third movie will determine if this story is dead or still has somewhere to go)

Heres a short list of just some of the movies that fit this description that will be absolute bile.
1) Dredd. Thats right, a remake of the amazing Stallone epic. Everything ive seen about it makes it look very serious and as a result its going to suck (beyond the obvious reasons its going to suck IE that its a Judge Dredd remake). Shit like this needs to be campy and over the top, otherwise it just doesn't work

2) The Three Stooges. This movies trailer made me want to vomit out of my eyes. Heres the pitch, set the three stooges in modern times, make jokes about modern products to sell them and then we can also have them interact with the jersey shore mutants! WOOOOOOOO

3) G.I. Joe whatever the fuck its called. If you saw the last one and liked it, you should probably seek help. However, if you did like the first one its unlikely you can read well enough to actually find help sooooo I guess cuddle up in the fetal position and just die?

4) Scary Movie 5. I dont even have to explain this one do I?

5) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D. This isn't the original amazing one by the way, this is the shitty remake or one of them or I dont even know. Its fucking stupid and thats what matters.

6) 21 Jump Street. Clearly an attempt to play on the nostalgia of my generation. Guess what, this show sucked and the movie is going to suck way more.

Theres alot more but if I keep going I may just loose it and start my life as a movie vigilante, taking out people like Michael Bay batman style. Oh shit theres one more I have to mention!

7) Total Recall. That they are doing this is a crime against all that is awesome and I hope many a plague is vested upon the makers of this film.

Ok I have to stop this list even though there are SO MANY MORE! So, on to the business of movies that are relevant and that are not guaranteed to be good or bad right off the bat. Here is the first movie that I will be making a call on.

1) The Avengers

So we all have high hopes for this movie. I mean they have been building it up for forever and it is with out a doubt the most ambitious combo project we have seen to date. There are some dire signs however.

1) Only one and a half of the movies leading up to this has been good. Thor/Captain America, not so sweet. Not terrible but not good by any means. That leaves us with Iron Man (the wholly good one) and The Hulk (the half good one). Iron Man the first will go down as one of the best superhero movies of all time and thats 10% thanks to a decent director who knows how to do quick, tongue and cheek action (Jon Favreau) and 90% thanks to Robert Downy Jr. being absolutely perfect in the role of Tony Stark. The Hulk gets a half good because of the great performances by Edward Norton as the hulk and Tim Roth as the bad...hulk thing...skelehulk...whatever it was. Also, the script was co-authored by Norton and, if kept in its intended form prior to studio involvement, it would have added an hour to the movie and probably made it 10 times better. That means, in some universe the intended script was used and the movie really WAS 10 times better so it gets a couple metaphysical points for that. The point is, we are more in the red as far as quality going into this movie then we really should be.

2) Edward Norton is no longer The Hulk. Bad Sign. When the actor you set up for a project this fucking big isnt coming back, we as the audience should be worried. Thats problem number 1. Number 2 is that Norton is one of the best actors out there and any movie he is in is all the better for it. I mean common, look at this!

He played this

He also played this

There are very few actors that can go from American History X to Death to Smoochy. Losing Nortons presence in this film is a bad bad thing. Dont think that losing the original actor in the sequel is a bad omen? Name me one movie where a major cast change worked out and ill name you five where it didn't.

3) Too much for one movie, IE the "Third" syndrome. There have been two films in renent memory that were monumental in how much anticipation they generated and how much they sucked. 

There were a lot of terrible decisions in the creation of these movies and a lot of terrible things that they let get on the screen but the biggest problem with these two films is that they shoved way too much into the movie. Its the sequel multiplication fallacy, they thought that because its a sequel they need to throw in a bunch more stuff in order to get the audience to come back. In both of these movies we had too many storie lines (symbiote, Sandman, and Hogblin in Spiderman and Mutant "cure" and Dark Pheonix in X-men) and we were introduced to so many new characters that all of the stories and all the characters were left completely bare and lifeless. For a story and the characters in it to work we need time to get involved with them, but if you have too much in one department or the other, we cant get involved so the movie doesn't work. The same thing could happen with The Avengers. Yes, we have already set up the characters but the problem may arise that they will try and give every character enough screen time and enough focus on each heros own story line to appease the fan boys and doing so will stagnate the movie because there isn't enough time to do that and make a compelling overarching story. 

These are some big worries for a project that has as much riding on it as The Avengers does. However, there is a shining light beaming forth from the visage of a nerdy guardian angel, enveloping this movie in promise. That light is coming from this man.

Thats right. Joss mother fuckin Whedon. The patron saint of nerd culture on the screen. This dude knows what hes doing with material like this. In fact, I cant think of anyone who would be better suited for a movie that has the tone that the previous films set up. That tone is trying to capture the snarky, fast paced dialog and action from the comics these movies are based on. Looking at things like Firefly, I know that Whedon will nail this tone without issue. Other prominent comic book directors, while good, would do this movie all wrong. Brian Singer (X-men 1 and 2...and Superman Returns but lets not talk about that one) and Christopher Nolan (modern Batman) brought superhero movies to a level of prestige unseen before by being able to really bring out the characterization and dark dramatic side of the material. That style would fuck up everything that is going into this movie and make The Avengers feel really off. This movie needs levity, it needs over the top awesomeness, and because of that I believe it is in good hands. 

So all in all, my prediciton for this movie on a scale of 10 would be roughly an 7.5 to an 8. If they got a different director, it would probably be a 5 or lower. If Edward Nortan was still around, it would be a solid 8. However, we got the right guy at the helm and because of that I think he will handle the issues mentioned above and make something that is right on the nose for what this movie needs to be. Now this movie will never be a 10, that spot on the Chet rating scale is really fucking hard to hit (Citizen Kane, The Godfather, The Empire Strikes Back, Samurai Cop etc) but it was never intended to be. Its a summer popcorn selling blockbuster and an 7.5-8 rating for a movie like that is damn high. There it is! More movies will be discussed in the future!