Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Let's continue to kill my childhood!

I think the direction that certain franchises have taken with various books and cartoon series from my childhood have been somewhat commendable attempts. But generally, they end up with mistakes like the 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie. Fail.

I keep my eyes peeled for things I even vaguely recognize from when I was a kid, and this year has decided to exceptionally nostalgic. Some things I am looking forward to, while others I am not as enthused about...but the entire spectrum of the entertainment market serves to revive my childhood.

Who you gonna call?

The Ghostbusters are making a comeback in a big way. In what is easily one of the most enjoyable videogames to be released so far this year (and arguably one of very few successful based on a movie), the entire cast of ghost-busting heroes returned - except for Rick Moranis, who respectfully declined - to voice roles in the game.

The all-star cast also began discussions of the definitive third movie in the series. Columbia Pictures has already begun production on the script, and filming is predicted to start in winter 2009. According to Harold Ramis, the videogame was supposed to serve as a sort of 2.5 version of the series, bridging the gap between the old-school busters, and the next generation of recruits to take on "spooks, spectres or ghost." It also means they intend to reprise certain new character roles for the third movie.

Final Verdict/Prediction: WIN!

More than meets the eye!

Perhaps director Michael Bay misunderstood that phrase when reviving the Transformers franchise. Yes, the audience was greeted by "robots in disguise", but also more movie than we wanted to meet our eyes. The sequel to the 2007 movie was recently released - Tranformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

In concept, this revival has been a brilliant move. It was a long-since untapped resource of science fiction, and reminds many people of their Saturday morning cartoon days. But it was just too flashy! I have enjoyed both movies purely from a male perspective (what with the explosions, robots, cars, etc.) but I am reluctant to say I enjoy this from a nostalgic perspective.

The film distorts the original story-lines from the cartoons series I remember, and seeks to boast Shia LaBeouf as a brave hero and Megan Fox (miniature Angelina Jolie in my opinion) as a sex idol. I'm not convinced of either, and I want more balk-talk from Starscream! He was intended to be the rebellious and more depraved Decepticon, but in the latest movie he is a cowering pile of scrapheap with bad aim...if Bay directs a third film, it had better be fucking Beast Wars, or I'm going to pass.

Final Verdict/Prediction: FAIL!

Real American Heroes!

I was somewhat excited when I heard that Paramount Pictures and Hasbro were bringing a live-action adaptation of G.I. Joe to the big screen; but then I remembered that these were the people responsible for the rekindling of the previous entry (those giant robots).

Once I realize this startling truth, I was filled with fear and disdain. I saw the previews for the upcoming over-the-top action movie, G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, and one thing was very apparent - there was no Cobra Commander mask anywhere to be seen. Immediate disappointment.

I give credit to Hasbro; they recently allowed the franchise to undergo a make-over in the cartoon world. The release of a (loosely) made-for-TV-movie G.I. Joe: Resolute was a huge success. It's darker than I anticipated, and keeps true to the characters we all once loved, while bringing them into the 21st century.

However, even with the new cartoon, I don't know what to think about the highly-anticipated film adaptation. I suppose when the film drops in August, I will know. "And knowing is half the battle."

Final Verdict/Prediction: Toss-Up

Let the wild rumpus start!

Contrary to what I may have said before, when I was a child I was occasionally prone to read out of boredom. In my defense, this was before the time of internet. Also in my defense, books were less bastardized and long than Twilight, and I was young so I read short stories like Where the Wild Things Are.

When I found out that there would be an adaptation of the book, I was in a state of shock and awe. I wasn't sure whether to believe the rumors, or to just denounce them as implausible (since the story itself is so short). But then I saw this...

I never even thought I would be excited for a children's book adaptation of a movie (I assure you I wasn't the least bit thrilled about the Dr. Seuss movies, even though I loved his stories) but I am genuinely excited for this film. If it works well, it might save what Jim Carrey and Mike Meyers killed: my love of children's storybooks.

Final Verdict/Prediction: Undecided

Off the top of my head, I can't think of many more rehashes being presented to the world this year, but I intend to research this a little further. I would have talked about Land of the Lost a little, but in all fairness I never really watched it when I was a kid. And as for Dragonball Evolution (based on Dragonball/Dragonball Z), well I don't think Anime otakus are Hollywood's target demographic anyway.

At any rate, just remember that your childhood was precious. I would hate the world if anyone tried to make live-action versions of Sonic the Hedgehog, Thundercats or (another) He-Man. It just seems so lost in transition between the things that made us happy when we were children, and the things that entertain us as adults.

So, future filmmakers keep that in mind - someday you will have kids (if you don't already) or younger siblings that adore certain shows. So, at least for now, please refrain from turning Yo Gabba Gabba, Digimon or Dexter's Laboratory into live-action movies. It just won't pan out well.

Over and Out,

David A. Lucio

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Second that Wii-Motion

Yeah, I know I said I wouldn't talk about it, but I just have to talk about E3 a little bit. Well, perhaps not E3 perse, but something that was lacking at expo: my favorite game series ever, The Legend of Zelda.

Sure, Miyamoto-san and the crew at Nintendo talked about a new game for the DSi, but handheld Zelda games haven't been enough since the Ocarina of Time. And since we haven't seen our hero, Link, since his appearance in Twilight Princess, consumers have been wondering when he'll be back.

Nintendo had nothing to say about any console-based projects Princess Zelda anytime soon, but recently Miyamoto-san was quoted saying that there's a specific reason they haven't been upfront about development: the next Legend of Zelda might include...

Wii Motion+!

The Motion+ is the second in Nintendo's movement toward a full three-dimensional interactive gaming environment. The first began with the Wii Remote's (Wiimote) three-axes motion detection and infrared location detection. What the Motion+ does is add angular detection to the remote, giving it a 1-to-1 motion detection on all three axes.

With the Playstation 3, Sony also has a controller with a three-axes system, known cleverly as the "SIXAXIS". At E3, they announced a multi-location detection system, but no working game titles for the project:

Honestly, it looks more like a pair of dollar-store magic wands, but the detection was pretty smooth for the test demonstrations. It works along with the Playstation Eye in order to add location detection (including depth) to the control scheme. This might finally give the PS3 a competitive edge...but first they have to finish it.

Before Sony even presented, Microsoft announced Project Natal: A completely hands-free motion-detection system; it takes controls, location, depth and force into consideration, making it a new level in virtual-immersion.

The project was such a hit, that it was featured on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last week. Natal is said to be functional with many current and upcoming titles on the XBox 360 - including a demo run with Burnout Paradise.

Of course the promotional video is blown out of proportion, but if it works like it's supposed to, then the XBox team might have a new titan on their hands:

In the mean-time, Nintendo already announced the launch of the first game that would require the Motion+: Red Steel 2 (by UbiSoft). The game is set to launch Fall of 2009, and features a tremendous amount of swordplay.

If it's any indication of the directions games are taking, then Miyamoto-san might have made a smart move by holding out on Zelda announcements (since our hero weilds a longsword, shield and a bow).

One thing is for sure, since the introduction of the WiiFit Balance Board and with the new directions controls are taking, in a couple of years it'll be hard to call gamers (casual or hardcore) lazy anymore.

Now give me my Zelda already!!!!!

Over and Out,

David Lucio

Monday, June 8, 2009

Apologies for the Lull

It's bound to happen more often than I'd like this summer. I just started summer classes which go from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. every weekday. I also just started a new webmaster job, and my first job is moving from an online host that uses FTP to a server (most likely using Apache).

In all likelihood, I will be so overwhelmed, I may get a blog post up every two-four weeks (if that). It's an ongoing battle between me and my sloth. I wanted to do an E3 related post last week, but I figured it's been done over...and plus I wasn't there.

Instead, I intend to make the next blog this weekend. For now, I will leave you with this story:

North Korea sentences two U.S. journalist to 12 years of Hard Labor

And what's worse is that there will most likely be no actions taken by the U.S. government to help these journalists, because of the haste in which N. Korea's highest courts responded to the incident. The verdict is upsetting to a lot of Journalists, as the "hostile actions" the journalists took have never been completely clarified. Bad times for journalists...

Over and Out,

David Lucio