Archive for the video games Category

Tron Legacy Review

Posted in 2.5 Stars, New Movie, Review, Sci-Fi, video games with tags , , , , , , , on December 22, 2010 by russellsreviews

The original Tron motion picture has a very special place in many peoples hearts. Tron never reached Star Wars like fandom or Blade Runner critical success, but remains a classic to this day. Tons of fans wanted a sequel, and would line up to see what the world of Tron could look like using today’s graphics. Disney is finally giving them what they wanted and betting fans will fill the seats. Can Tron Legacy live up to the hype that’s been building for over 28 years?

Tron Legacy tries its best to reconnect you to the first film and does a fairy good considering the first film came out in 1982. After years building his company Encom into the Tech giant of the world is very close to inventing something that could change the world even more.  Expect for an unknown reason he disappears abruptly, and leaves his only son Sam behind. Sam grows up never really getting to know his father other from all the stories of this computer world he always talked about making which leads him to try to harm the company that he feels that kept his Dad away from him. Shortly after this cry for help, Sam finds out from a close family friend that there is a slim chance that his Dad could be still around just hiding out in his old arcade building he used to run. Sam investigates and doesn’t find his father, but accidentally gets digitize in the very world that his dad told him stories about.

The movie does a good job shifting focus from Kevin to his son Sam, but not long after the awe and the excitement of seeing the world of Tron in 3D wears off that you start to see that Tron Legacy has been stripped of what makes the original so memorable. If you have seen any trailer for the movie then you pretty much know what almost every fight scene and plot point that’s going to happen in the first hour. The only mystery is why Kevin Flynn got trapped there. Your not shocked when Sam finds his father alive 40 minutes in because well you saw him in the first five seconds of the trailer. This development takes too much time in the first act that the movie plot would of benefited from simply the teaser trailers. The first Tron had tons of wonderment and you never knew what or who could be coming at you next in this computerize world. Yes, this being the sequel your obviously not going to have the same awe, but literally if you have see the trailer, minus a flying battle and a guest appearance of the music group daft punk, you have seen everything the movie has to offer. You have a new disc battle and light cycle to look forward to, buy both are quick and over in the first 30 minutes. The original Tron was ahead of its time handling tough topics of what could happen if computers got to powerful (which by the way Tron came out way before Terminator), what it means to be human, and makes you think about religion. Tron Legacy never goes deeper than the chase. Tron had an interesting villain that was relative and somehow made sense to be a threat in our world and the computer world. Tron legacy’s Clu was interesting concept, but never fully emotionally fleshed out besides a couple lines of meaningful dialogue at the end of the film. Not to mention that Tron, the program himself, is hugely misused. The first Tron was exactly Shakespeare either, but made most of its fans from the fantasy of what a world would be like living in the computer. So if the graphics and world lived up the movie could still work right?

Right, however in my opinion that doesn’t measure up either. The 3D really added nothing to the experience, and the world never felt realized. Tron was a little silly and campy in the graphics, but for its time it was mind blowing. It started new techniques that even creator of Pixar gives credit for helping him start CGI like graphics. Tron Legacy is very paint by the numbers graphics. You never feel like your in another world. Everything is too dark and the characters and world just look like ours just with neon lights everywhere. Legacy does nothing overly special or groundbreaking. The first movie did a better job in making you feel in a computer world and it was made 28 years ago. Clu, the villain of the film, is a CGI recreation of a young Jeff Bridges that looks good in the Tron world, but very plastic in the real one.

Tron Legacy ties into the original well at the start, but very slowly through its run time disappoints. If you have never seen the original there is still stuff to enjoy, but most you will likely be a little confused and wonder what all the hype was about. Tron Legacy isn’t necessarily a bad movie, it just hurts when you think what the movie could have been.  It could have been Terminator 2 good, instead we got Terminator 3. Its still well made and enjoyable and the new character Quorra is cool and interesting. It’s still worth seeing if you have a lot of fond memories of the original, but greatly lower your expectations and maybe wait till you can rent it and save the money.

2.5 STARS

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Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Posted in 5 Stars, Action, Comedy, Drama, New Movie, Review, video games with tags , , , , , , , on August 15, 2010 by russellsreviews

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is  very appropriately named. Just like Scott is fighting for love and the social status quo, so is the film itself fighting against really every other movie ever made. Scott Pilgrim vs the World doesn’t pull any punches or ask itself how can I make this work for the mass audience.  Just watching the trailer for this film a lot of people will just think oh well a geeky flashy film for the “Gamer” generation, but they couldn’t be farther from the actual truth. There is always a balance between style and substance. Scott Pilgrim manages a rare feat. It says you can massive amounts of both.

Scott Pilgrim is your less than normal guy. He doesn’t have that many friends and just enjoys just hanging out, playing video games, and listening to music more than partying. He is socially challenged which more guys can relate to than you know. Scott meets Ramona Flowers, literally the girl of his dreams, at a party and luckily manages to get a date. There is just one problem. Actually seven problems. All of Ramona’s Exes have formed a evil league that dedicate to make her life miserable and kill anyone she dates.

Scott Pilgrim vs the World is based of a indie comic by Bryan Lee O’Malley and doesn’t hide from that fact. Every comic movie before always asked itself OK how can I make this work in the real world. To director Edgar Wright credit this one doesn’t. He didn’t try to make a movie but hide where its from or who its for. The action is fast and every punch or feeling gets animated with text straight of a comic. They even use parts of the comic for flashbacks. Its not just comics, the film is overloaded with pop culture and video game call backs. The Universal studios title sequence alone got me grinning more than any movie in years. If you pay attention all of the music cues in the film are done with famous 8 bit music from Zelda and Mario.

Scott Pilgrim isn’t just love letter to geeks, it has surprisingly emotional stuff. The romantic elements will have your heart pounding and rooting for someone more than half of romantic movies made nowadays. Scott Pilgrim does a great job of giving people an accurate telling of whats going on in nice guys head when trying to get the girl.  The film also has a great coming of age story for most of its characters and you can see real growth on how to deal with relationships and other people’s feelings. If Scott Pilgrim vs. the World didn’t have all these things going for it it would have just been simply amusing and then quickly faded and forgotten. These issues give the film true staying power.

The movie just hit all the right notes for me. Not just the story, but how everything was cut, transitioned, and brought out with such enthusiasm just made it unbelievably awesome. The movie’s really only flaw is that unless you grew up on going to the comic shop on Wednesdays, staying up late at night on soda playing Nintendo, or experience true rejection pretty much most of the jokes might seem over the top to you. Normally I take things like that into count when I rate the movie, but this movie is so special and unique I have to only look at who it’s trying to reach and accomplish and it did that in spades. Although, even if your not a geek gamer there is still tons of things to love and get. I hope this becomes like the movie Inception and people recognize that there are still fantastic movies being made and go out and see it. The biggest compliment I can give is the Scott Pilgrim vs the World really has just created a new genre that I hope grows and lives on.

5 STARS

Russell’s Rant: New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Posted in Non-Movie Related, rant, video games on November 20, 2009 by russellsreviews

Last week New Super Mario Bros. was finally released on the Wii. There has been many Mario games and spin offs in the past, but its been a very long time since a true sequel. Yeah, there was Super Mario DS over a year ago, but a it wasn’t a true flagship title. Not since the super Nintendo believe it or not has Mario returned to his 2d roots. What’s been bothering me about the game is how most mainstream video game “journalist” have been reviewing it.

Some sites like 1up gave it a perfect score, but most were all in the mid 80’s. They all praised the level design, fun factor, and the new multiplayer option, so why no 90+? The reviewers took points off for lack of originality and claimed Nintendo was playing it too safe. Well, ok, everyone has an right to their opinion.

Now, lets look at another recently released game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The game was critically acclaimed by all websites and magazines and no doubt will earn many awards. None seem to mention the obvious flaw, need I saw the same “flaw” that reviewers took of points for the new Super Mario. Let’s take a look. and its gaming past.

COD MW 2

COD 5 Word at War

Call of Duty 4

COD 3

COD 2

COD

Well do you see it? No way, could the newest Call of Duty be playing it safe too?? Crap man, they are even holding the guns the exact same way with the same camera angle. Actually, you could say gaming as a whole has been playing it safe. Lets see some screen shots of some other games that came out in the last few years that were all highly rated and sold fairly well.

Halo 3

Killzone 2

Borderlands

Fallout 3

Everyone has different taste, I understand that, but when you are a critic and you review things you have to try to set your personal biased aside. Obviously, this hasn’t been done lately. If New Super Mario can loose points for simply being more fun with just new 3d graphics, new costumes, new multiplayer, but guilty of not reinventing the wheel then all of these shooter games should be hold up to the same standard. In fact, these games should be more critically reviewed. There has been a new Call of Duty game for every year in the last six years. New Super Mario , in 2d not the spin-offs, has just now reached six games in its left time with Mario Bros, MB 2, MB 3, Super Mario world, New Super Mario Bros. DS, and now Super Mario Wii. They always say yeah “generic FPS” doesn’t do anything new, but you will have so much fun online you can look past it! 9.5! Super Mario Wii added for the first time ever multiplayer. Yeah, you can’t go online, but last time I recall you could call your friend up and have him cover and you can play the game together, in the same room even! COD MW2 added nothing new. In fact the single player game is two hours shorter, but that doesn’t stop them from singing its praises on top of rooftops. COD MW 2 is a fun game and I will probably will end up getting it like I did most of the games above. Truth is maybe reviewer “A” just doesn’t like the genre of “B enough” to be able to look past certain problems as game “C.” Although I look forward to Mario Galaxy 2, New Super Mario Wii should be applauded for going back to its roots, before gamers became jaded with A.D.D., and not criticized for it.