Josh60502, JustMattPwn3r, and LostAddict1993 meet up again to record a new episode of Frayed Wire X. Do they have an idea of what they are going to talk about? No. Does that matter? Def no.
Listen in for discussions about the lack of new posts on the site, the general suckiness of Sonic the Hedgehog, upcoming gaming consoles, and the public’s inability to accept change in games like Metroid: Other M and Final Fantasy XIII.
Due to some issues retrieving the snazzy intro I introduced last episode, this one starts off right away. U mad about that?
Stream it in your browser or subscribe to us on iTunes!
Bringing back the rarely seen audio reviews, Josh60502 and JoeWillBeatJohn recorded this snazzy discussion about District 9 on Wednesday. It’s on YouTube, and it’s even been uploaded to the iTunes podcast feed. Two other talks we had were recorded that same day, but I’d rather not release all of them at once. Since this was the most currently relevant, it has appeared first, but look out for the other two soon!
A couple of months ago, I read the Watchmen comic out of curiosity. The movie was in theaters and supposedly the graphic novel was one of the best ever made. I found the comic to be enjoyable and intelligent at times, but I never achieved a level of extreme fanboyism that many who have read the comic have. And so, sitting down to watch Watchmen (non-Director’s Cut) on DVD last night, I wasn’t grimacing thinking that “oh, they’re going to ruin the comic!” because frankly, I didn’t really care if they did. I was ready to watch a movie and judge it on its own merits. And that’s what I’ll do in this review. Even though I will compare the movie with the graphic novel at times, the movie will be judged on its own.
On its own merits, Watchmen both impresses and disappoints. Starting with the good, the art direction is both colorful and dark, keeping the bright, bold colors of a comic in place while the darkness of most of the locations complements the dark atmosphere of the story. With Zack Snyder directing, you know there’s going to be plenty of slow motion action sequences, beginning right at the beginning of the film where a masked attacker busts down the door of apartment 300 (in reference to Snyder’s other popular movie). Simply put, I think the general art direction overall fits the story perfectly.
The story itself is the reason so many people are such huge fans of Watchmen. Set in an alternate 1970’s and 80’s, normal people who have been dressing up as superheroes and fighting crime are banned under a government law, yet some of this group of vigilantes known as the Watchmen still combat injustice in their own ways – some more violent than others, as in the case of Rorschach, the trenchcoat-wearing man with an always-changing mask that resembles images in the Rorschach inkblot test. All the while, Cold War tensions are running high, due much in part to the existence of Dr. Manhattan, a real “superhero” that gained god-like powers in a scientific accident. When the retired masked vigilantes start getting murdered, Rorschach enlists the help of another hero by the name of Nite Owl and decides to investigate, eventually uncovering a twisted plan far bigger than anything he ever imagined.
I just briefly went through the story in that last paragraph. There are many more characters, and several more plot points – too much to try to describe in this post. The movie also seems to fall into this same problem. The Watchmen story is just too massive and in-depth to thoroughly cover in a two-and-a-half hour film. As a result, all the big plot points are touched on, but only a few go very deep, leaving a viewer with uneven character development. One of the best parts of the graphic novel was how much it fleshed out its many different characters, and how it painted none of them as pure good or pure evil as many superhero stories do with their characters. The same cannot be said about the film, however. I’m glad I had the background Watchmen knowledge that I did, or I probably would have been lost in the long, twisting narrative well before the movie ended. However, I’m judging the movie based on its own merits, so instead of saying “it doesn’t have the depth of the comic”, I’ll say “it doesn’t flesh out all of its characters evenly.”
The visual effects are quite impressive throughout the film, and may very well be the thing that keeps the flagging interest of viewers getting bored with the movie. Fight scenes are much more prolonged than they were in the comic, but I don’t think that’s an entirely bad thing. When the comic focused on story, and the movie can’t possibly focus on it as much, of course it has to give more attention to something else, and that is the visual effects and action. As he did in 300, Snyder throws buckets of blood into every fight scene. Actually, Watchmen the film is far more violent than I remember 300 (or any movie I have seen recently) being. While seeing such extreme amounts of gore and blood sprays may enhance the “dark” feeling of the movie, without the necessary character development the comic gave, it just goes to make nearly all the main characters look like either psychopathic murderers or complete whores when you add in all the sexual content. It’s kind of hard to want to root for these people when they appear to be just as immoral as their enemies.
In the end, I think trying to fit the Watchmen story into a theatrical release was just a bad idea from the get-go. There’s no way to bring the full story to life without skimming over necessary parts, and as a result, this movie is too bare bones to please fans of the comic and too confusing to entertain people who haven’t read it. I saw the theatrical cut, so maybe the lengthened director’s cut has a bit more in the way of the needed character development. That said, I do think that Zack Snyder did just about the best he possibly could with the story, and I can’t imagine a film adaptation of Watchmen in the future with better production values. In the end, it just comes down to the fact that Watchmen is a graphic novel, not a movie. It’s interesting to see the panels come to life with a big budget behind them, but I don’t think this film quite gives the story what it deserves, or what it needs.
Pros: Great art direction and visual effects, slow-motion sequences are handled better than they were in 300, the source material is adapted about as best as it can be
Cons: Characters are not fleshed out equally or well enough
Final Score: 7.7 out of 10
Even though the Halo games are extremely popular, even this is something I didn’t see coming – a Halo anime. Well, more like 7 short Halo animes, put together into one DVD a la Animatrix style. I’m not exactly well-versed in Halo lore, but I’ll probably rent Halo Legends when it reaches Netflix next year. The studios involved with this project include BONES (Fullmetal Alchemist), Production I.G. (Ghost in the Shell, the anime sequence in Kill Bill), Studio 4°C (Tekkon Kinkreet), and Toei (Dragon Ball Z, One Piece). Lots of talent there, and lots of different styles as well. It will be interesting to see how they handle this western property, but until then you can watch the trailer and “Major’s Minute” segment with some clips of it below:
If the first thing you thought when reading the title of this post (and also of the newest podcast episode) was “why did he spell ‘lasers’ wrong?”, then you obviously need to visit YouTube more often. And while you’re out surfing the web, why not give episode 8 of the Frayed Wire podcasts a listen? You can either listen to it here in your browser or subscribe to us on iTunes. Either way, leave some questions that we can answer in the next podcast in this post’s comments. You might even win some Wii points for it!
Recorded by: Josh60502, JustMattPwn3r
– Post: Free App Spotlight: Vampires Live
– Post: Reader Poll: Which Album Should Matt Review For Sure?
– Post: Reader Poll Results: Which Album Should Josh Review For Sure?
– Post: “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Movie Review
– Post: Well There Go My Dreams
– Post: I Touch the iTouch
– Post: Current Happenings
– Post: “Call of Duty: World at War Map Pack 2” Review
– Post: New Conduit Header
– Post: “1 vs 100” Beta Impressions
– Post: Internet Gaming Spotlight: Pandemic 2
– Post: COD: WAW Shi No Numa Glitches
– Post: Need More Witty Banter
– iTouch games
– Urban Reign
– GameStop’s shady buisness practices
– De Blob
– Are you listening, M80?
– Offroad Velociraptor Safari
– Brawl Tournament #2?
– Gramers in GameStop
Depending on who you talked to, there have been a lot of different opinions people have had going into Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. While many critics hated the first Transformers, the general public, ages 5-16, thought it was amazing. I myself thought the first Transformers film was good, but not entirely great. However, I went into the movie theater showing Transformers 2 last night not expecting a great movie like all the adolescent boys of America, nor expecting a similar film to the first one like the 35-40 year olds would say; no, I believed I was about to see a bad movie. Combined with less-than-desirable reviews and a long hate rant I heard on one of IGN.com’s “Three Red Lights” podcasts, my expectations were not set very high. Why did I bother going to see it? Why not – it’s always fun to go see movies at the theater. I’m probably lucky I set my expectations of Michael Bay’s second blockbuster about robots in disguise so low, because when I walked out of the theater two-and-a-half hours later, I was pleasantly surprised.
Now although I had a good time watching Revenge of the Fallen, the movie will not appeal to everyone – namely, those who expected a lot from it. One of the main problems with the film was that it could never really decide what to do. For example, the plot flew all over the place, introducing characters then leaving them for the rest of the movie, re-introducing minor characters throughout the movie without ever making the viewer care about them, and changing settings before you realized the setting had just been changed. Most of all, the movie could never really commit to either being a mindless summer blockbuster or an epic action classic, and as a result, it doesn’t work as either of those (the latter in particular). There’s definitely enough action to keep the ADD kids in your family happy, and thankfully the cameramen finally learned to zoom out a bit and stop shaking the camera so much during fight scenes – some of my biggest complaints towards the first Transformers. While there are some truly spectacular moments due to the excellent visual effects, sometimes there’s too much of the same going on and you zone out without realizing it. Some people might say, “You can never have too much action,” but I disagree.
If you thought the story in the first Transformers was hard to follow, then don’t even try to make heads or tails of Revenge of the Fallen‘s convoluted plot. I saw the movie yesterday and can only recall the most basic of the plot points – a fragment of the AllSpark has transferred all its knowledge to Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf) and now the evil Decepticons want to dissect his brain. Much dialogue is packed into this 150 minute film, and while the acting is adequate, it’s never enough to get you truly interested into the characters or their troubles, unlike last year’s incredible Dark Knight. Normally for an action movie with a forgettable story, I’d tell you to “turn off your brain” and just watch the explosions. But for a 150 minute story, that’s not the most enjoyable thing to do.
Even with these faults, Revenge of the Fallen is not the worst movie out there. It kept my attention for the first hour and a half or so, and for the last hour where I wasn’t quite as enthralled, I still wanted to keep watching. It’s obvious Michael Bay and his team wanted to make a better movie than the first Transformers. Their high ambition is clear in the outstanding sound and visual effects as well as the scope of the story. Although not all of the ambition pays off, enough of it does to make Revenge of the Fallen a better movie than the first, and an interesting, if not tiresome, action movie.
Pros: Incredible visual and audio effects, fight scenes between Transformers are much easier to follow than first movie, Megan Fox
Cons: Convoluted story that goes all over the place without actually going anywhere, characters are poorly developed, too long, a couple racist scenes, doesn’t have the quality to back up its high ambitions
Final Score: 7.8 out of 10
Josh60502 and JustMattPwn3r express a lot of indifference towards the glut of topics in the latest episode of the Frayed Wire podcast (or Frayed Wire X, as some call it). It’s the longest one we’ve ever recorded (70 min. and 25 seconds!) and includes debates and comments on the following subjects:
– Post: What I’m Looking Forward To
— The Conduit
— Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days
— Mario and Luigi RPG 3
— Nintendo’s E3 Press Conference
– Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
– Post: What’s Going On Around Here?
– Post: “Lily Allen – It’s Not Me, It’s You” Music Review
– Post: Thanks, Oprah. For Nothing. (Or Something?)
– Post: “Virtual-On: Oratorio Tangram” Demo Impressions
– Sin and Punishment 2
– Post: Oh Yeah… Podcast Number 5 Has Arrived!
– Wii vs. DS
– We pull out the newest issue of Game Informer (June 2009) and begin to discuss what it has to say…
– Modern Warfare 2
– DJ Hero
– Final Fantasy XIII
– Muramasa: The Demon Blade
– Red Dead Redemption
– Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
– Grand Slam Tennis
– Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
– Batman: Arkham Asylum
– Fight Night Round 4
– Need for Speed Shift
– Need for Speed Nitro
– Dante’s Inferno
– Guitar Hero Smash Hits
– The Saboteur
– Battlefield: Bad Company 2
– Red Faction: Guerilla
– Spore Galactic Adventures
– America’s Army 3
– 6 Days in Fallujah
– Brutal Legend
– Saw (the game)
– Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2
– Katamari Forever
– Virtua Tennis 2009
– X-Men Origins: Wolverine
– Bionic Commando
– Ninja Blade
– Sacred 2: Fallen Angel
– Boom Blox Bash Party
– Excitebots: Trick Racing
– Patapon 2
– Matt hates on the PSP
– GTA: Chinatown Wars (again)