Saturday, February 8, 2014

ROBOCOP 2014


It is the year 2014 and as creative juices run dry and original ideas become extinct we watch as yet another franchise gets a new coat and layer of varnish. I present to you : ROBOCOP 2014.

First Impressions.

Watching the trailer prepared me for most of the decisions they had made about how they were going to proceed and thus I had time to come to terms with it. I will touch on them lightly and try not to spoil the movie for you.

Alex Murphy.

I never identified with him and having his mutilation done by car bomb was a poor choice in my mind. It made the whole thing seem distant and unreal. 
[Strike 1 for PG13]

Omnicorp.

Only once in the movie do they mention that Omnicorp is a division of OCP, and I'm not sure why felt the need to separate them. Copyright?
They also end up being the "bad guys" in the movie, and that feels fake and contrived. White collar criminals don't scare anyone.

Robocop.

They should have told his wife he was dead. Her interludes were annoying and had a jarring effect on the plotline. 

They should have listened to Bob Morton when he said : "Lose the arm!" The literally disembodied hand was ridiculous. 

I don't care about your career , wear the damn visor! They tried to justify why he doesn't wear it all the time and he ended up looking like someone wearing half a biker helm. 

Almost every firefight with humans was converted into a "gaming" interface with the violence watered down to thermal images falling down to the accompanying staccato of gunfire, or perps getting shot with a taser.
[Strike 2 for PG 13]

His first suit had the iconic thigh holsters, the black suit did not... which begs the question, where did he keep his guns?

He never once ran out of rounds....

His main weapon could fire live rounds and taser rounds without any visible means of switching.

His heads up display obscured things like THE ROAD RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIS FACE while he was driving on a motorbike traveling at speeds in excess of 80mph, and he never crashed.

ED 209.

An army of Ed-209's walking through the streets of some middle east country, had less impact on me than one ED-209 ripping into an accountant with hundreds of rounds of ammunition on the top floor of OCP Head office.

In every scene with an ED-209 they were either blowing up, or being totally ignored. [Strike 3 for PG13]

OVERALL IMPRESSION.

I didn't hate it. I found the homage to the original by keeping the opening score a nice touch and I love the concept of a robocop. I personally think they would have been better off creating an entirely new plotline though.

The original (after the introduction) had you meeting this Robotman who slowly became more human. In this version, the man slowly becomes more robot, and yet you welcome it, cos as a human, he is dull and uninteresting.

I appreciated their attempts to sneak in his original catch phrases but every last one felt forced and often came at the most inappropriate moments.

I didn't love it. I wouldn't recommend it if you loved the original. This movie will disappoint you if go in with any expectations of seeing the same quality directing.

I am keen to see a sequel tho, providing it is not a remake of the sequel but instead a new story about Robocop, this time with a Director that cares about the story more than the wallet.

But if I had to choose... I'd rather see a Dredd sequel.

Thank you for reading this far, if you are  a numbers man, I score this movie 6/10 - recommended for DVD


Green Lantern for Sector 2814 signing off.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Dominant Species!




"This is a Good Game. I like it" - Anonymous.


Goal: To Win the game by having most victory points.

How do I score points ?

Players take turns deciding on actions in the game-turn, some of which result in point scoring activities. Though some actions are available more than once a turn, it is unlikely that it will be performed by the same player. The number of actions are determined by the number of players. They may be increased or decreased during the game.

Point Scoring actions I have highlighted for your convenience :

1. Wanderlust. Players explore new territory by laying a terrain tile adjacent to other terrain tiles. The more adjacent tiles, the higher the score. (this action can be taken four times in a turn. In total, not per player)

                          Table 1.1
# of adjacent tiles*      -     number of points

            1                =              1
            2                =              3
            3                =              6     
            4                =             10    etc

2. Glaciation. Players can spread tundra by glaciation. Tundra tiles are played on top of terrain tiles and must be adjacent to previous tundra tiles. Points are scored according to the number of adjacent tundra tiles.(see above) 
(this action is only available once per turn but you can sacrifice actions to queue for this one in future turns)

3. Domination.  Players choose a terrain tile (preferably where they are present) and score points according to how prevalent their species are on the particular terrain tile. Sea tiles have the highest score available  (9) and tundra the least (1). (this action is repeatable five times.)

During the domination phase, cards are also played that may result in scoring. Only the dominant (see below) player in the scored tile gets to play a card.

Terms.

Animals -  the different playable animal types in the game being mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, arachnids and insects. All scoring ties are resolved in food chain order. (dominance ties go to neither).

Species - the cubes on terrain tiles. Each cube is one species. There is no limit to the number of cubes on a tile.

Elements -  the food or resource your animal type requires to live. Being: water, sun, grass, meat,seeds and grubs. 

Dominance (signified with the presence of a cone) is determined by multiplying the number of your animal's element (ie sun) by the number of element tokens of that type, present on the tile, and comparing it to other animals present in the area. 
In the case of multiple elements, they are totalled after multiplication. So if you have two suns and one grass on your card, and the tile has two suns, two grass and a meat, your domination total = 2x2+2x1+0x1 = 6.

If you are the only animal present, and you are not endangered, you are automatically dominant.

Phases.

Initiative : Play order starts in reverse food chain order (insects first, mammals last) but this action lets you jump one space forward in turn order. (you also get to reassign this action after it resolves making this a potential failsafe (and a free action) 

Adaptation : take an available element and add it to your animal (this means your animal can now survive in more areas than before. If your animal's resources ever disappear from a terrain your species will become endangered. Endangered species can never be dominant, and will become extinct at end of turn.

Regression : unless you take this action and protect one of the elements here, your animal will lose that element and will no longer be able to survive in areas that only provide that resource. (sometimes monkeys just get sick of Bananas.) Reptiles have fought long and hard for their adaptations and automatically prevent regression in one element of their choice for free. 

Abundance : this action allows you to place an available element on the terrain tiles in an effort to make you species safe from extinction or to assist them to spread to new areas. In addition, it can make your species dominant. 

Wasteland : The elements (resources) in this section will be eradicated if present adjacent to tundra  unless you remove the element and save it. Multiple elements of the same type spells doom for that resource as only one can be saved in a turn.

Depletion : Taking this action lets you pick an element anywhere on earth to remove, making the area inhospitable for species that need that resource.

Glaciation : the main purpose of this action is to score points, and to bring to an end a rival animal's population boom. Tundra tiles allow you to score points, but it also destroys terrain diversity, and eliminates all but one species per animal.

Speciation : This action allows you to generate new species (cubes) in all terrain surrounding a specifically designated element according to the terrain type. Seas and wetlands have the most diversity and deserts, mountains and tundra the least. Insects get one free species in a terrain of their choice, after all other actions here are resolved.

Wanderlust : After placing a new tile, and an element (optional) players who have species adjacent, may migrate into the new tile in food chain order. Mammals first, insects last. (Player who placed the tile scores points).

Migration : This action allows you to move your species to adjacent tiles. Birds may move 2 tiles, all others move one. The number of species that can migrate is dependant on who migrated first. (starting with 7 species, reduced by 1 each subsequent action)

Competition : this action allows players to eliminate one other species in up to three specifically chosen terrains where both are present (Tundra is always one of these terrain types). The food chain has no relevance here. In addition Arachnids get one free Nom..Nom in any area they like, before all other competition is resolved.

Domination : As explained before this is a scoring action. Only players who take this action will get to select a terrain tile to score. Once a tile is selected points are determined by comparing quantity of species of each animal type. Highest count scores terrain max (sea 9, forest 5, jungle 6 etc) and runner ups score half rounded up, then half rounded up of that etc.

The dominant player in the chosen tile MUST select and play one card. If that card is the Ice age card resolve its scoring condition (based on total number of dominated tiles (see table 1.1 - replacing adjacent tiles with * "dominated tiles" )

Extinction : This is a mandatory action, and all endangered species are subject to it. If your species are caught in an terrain with no resource/element of their type, they will be eliminated.  Mammals can save one endangered species in one terrain of their choice because they are so darn adaptable. (adorable?) 


(example of a player information sheet)

The Ice Age card ends the game (at turn end) and a Final Scoring Round is observed. Each Tile is scored one final time based on the number of species present per player per terrain. Seas score most, Tundras least.

This public service announcement was sponsored by no one in particular and is made entirely for the benefit of people who intend to play this game tomorrow and want a quick overview of the game so they can start strategizing.

Thank you for your interest.

GL.


Monday, December 24, 2012

An Ode to Retail Christmas 


'Twas the Day before Christmas and all thru the store
there were mothers and fathers and children galore.
The trolleys were pushed and the baskets were carried
in hopes that the line at the tills would not tarry.

At the Pharmacy counter, oh dear what a sight,
It was "Dances with Elbows" and verbal fist-fights.
The Children were screaming, in anger and strife
as I weighed up the options... 25 years to life.

There was moaning and groaning and complaints from the throng
and over it all played that Boney-M song.
The holiday shopping continued unabated
as a murderous spree was internally debated.

But at long last the shoppers were finally content
and my thoughts shed their plans of malicious intent
and now i'm at home, snug as bug in a rug,
MERRY CHRISTMAS to all, and to all ...BAH HUMBUG!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Spiderman... amazing ? really ??

The Amazing SPIDERMAN has been released on the big screen in glorious 3D. This review will try and give you a glimpse into the movie without spoiling it for you.


Here goes...


Review : 


Movie length : Too long. This will seriously impact on re-watch ability.


Story : Pointless and boring, i have no idea why they felt the need to reset the franchise just so we could see uncle Ben die, yet again. The start of Spiderman's career of vigilantism is never ended or brought to fruition. At least Toby got his man and killed him, albeit by accident.


Dialogue : terrible. the scene with the car thief that looked so cool in the trailer, was ruined with unnecessary one sided banter. Spiderman is funny cos of his banter with his enemies, not his moody silences, or monologues.

Denis Leary in one scene denounces Spiderman with utter vehemence then 30minutes later (about 2 days in story) he backs him up, Coulson Style! With pretty much the same result...


Action : Terrific! Better than all the others put together! Spiderman ROCKS, with less emphasis on strength and a lot more on agility, as it should be.
The webshooters are a very nice addition to the franchise.


Acting : Andrew Garfield makes a really good Spiderman, but when dressed as everyone's favourite wall-crawler, who doesn't ? 
They try and show him as the school nerd, but he wears contacts, looks athletic and fit, and stands up to bullies, even before his powers kick in. 
How is this reminiscent of Peter Parker ? 


Emma Stone does an admirable job as Gwen Stacy, but watching her scene with Peter and Flash in the schoolground made me flashback to  scenes between Moose, Veronica and Jugghead from the Archie comics. 
Especially when Flash develops a personality later on in the movie and becomes almost likable. In fact he is the ONLY character in the movie that shows character growth. 


I don't think Sally Fields does Aunt May justice. Bring back the original.


Villain : The Lizard isn't the worst choice for a villain ever, but having his story basically mirror that of the green goblin almost entirely was a terrible idea. It is as if they changed the actor and the villain but kept the original script, down to the split personality arguments, something I don't recall Lizard ever having trouble with.


3D and camera work : The 3D element was largely unnoticeable and frankly that particular engine is starting to grind my gears. The only thing it adds to this movie is a ridiculous price hike.


The camera work in combat and webslinging scenes were exceptional, everywhere else, it fell flat. I saw way too many out of focus backgrounds that didn't need to be. The final scene between Peter and Aunt May was particularly bad. She looked like the murderer from Scream with the gaunt mask on, blurred as she was in the background.


Overall score  :       6/10

I recommend it for DVD, watch it at least once. Don't see myself watching it ever again.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

I flipped out nearly five or six times this morning. Seems I have these big green buttons that say "HULK mode" and they are flashy and sparkly (like twilight vampires) and have labels that warn everyone NOT to push them under any circumstances, which is of course the best way to get them pushed.


It's the little things that get me to be perfectly honest. The tiniest inane comment and all I see is a red haze and purple pants. 


" RING RING "
" John speaking, how can i help you? "
" hi there, this is Mr. Wilkens, can i speak to john please ? "
" John speaking, can I help ? "
" what ? "
" John speaking can i help? "
" oh, hi John, this is Mr. Wilkens. " (long pause)
" Hi. Can i help? "
" I wonder if you can help me ? "


*sounds of head being banged against nearest wall*


Why do people insist on asking questions to which they don't want any answers?
Why do they beg me for advice they have no interest in following ?


" Hi I have a terrible flu, can you recommend anything ?"
" yeah sure, try product A over here, great stuff, no side effects."
" yeah i prefer product B over there actually; that normally works for me."
" ok then, no problem, here's product B then if you prefer it. "
" or do you think product A will be better ? Which one is the best? "
" neither is better, they are just different, but if you prefer B then go with it.."
" gimme both."
" you cant use both... that would be an overdose. Do you want A or B ? "
" A... no B. wait. which one is better ? "


*more sounds of head slamming into flat surface*


There should be medication to treat indecision. I know Smith & Wesson used to make something that helped for that, but it is so difficult to get a licence for it these days.


Not even printed matter is safe. I was reading a  newsletter extolling the virtues of the company I work for, bragging about how much their turnover and profit percentages increased in the last financial year, when I was suddenly reminded of the paltry and pathetic excuse we were presented with when we failed to receive our bonus in March of this year.


"Terribly sorry but due to the poor turnover and loss of sales of the last year we wont be able to pay you a bonus" 
Considering that the actual "BONUS" makes out less then 16% of the average salary it just compounds the insult, and makes me want to add some injury of my own.


"Hey, at least you have a job, be thankful for that."  That comment slams down my biggest incandescent red button and earns the speaker a glare that could melt steel at 30 paces. 


Slaves have jobs too; you don't see them hopping and skipping with joy, do you ? Keep your malformed stillborn idiotic ideas to yourself and smother them in the chloroform of your own inadequacies. 


I worked hard to get where I am. That it ended up being the bottom of a slave pit was unfortunate but I'm still hopeful that some good master will see my diligence and reward it with a cookie. or some-such. 


Hope you had a better day then me.


Till next time.


GL

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Conan of Cimmeria in 3D

This new release of the Conan franchise hit the water running and seems to be staying afloat... mainly because it is in fact a Large Turd.

It is by far the worst remake I have EVER seen. If you are insisting on retelling a much loved tale and absolutely have to change it, then at the least try and make it believable or if nothing else, more interesting.

This movie is so bad, it makes Arnie's version look like Shakespeare. 

Story.
Really simple : it has none. Being largely a biography of a fictitious character, they start off by showing his birth on the field of battle by Barbarian Cesarean. A medical procedure fatal to the mother and any logic born of this earth. The little Plasticine infant is then whisked away and gets replaced by a mute nine year old, whom strangely enough captures the essence of Conan perfectly.

I believe the young actor will one day astound us with his acting skill, and if the end credits had rolled after the completion of his "coming of age" ceremony I would have left the cinema somewhat astounded at the short feature, but at least it would not have been in disgust.

It has a plot however, : Revenge.

He travels the world in leaps and bounds of logic to strange destinations which are all very clearly marked throughout the movie, to find the villains responsible for the death of his father (whom he never really seemed to get along with) and the destruction of his village (filled with people who could be best described as scenery)

Why exactly the destinations are so clearly marked eludes me, because the "story" is not in any way related to the books, hence no reason to try and appease the fans, they already lost them in the first five minutes. 
I doubt very much if any fan memorized the maps of Hyboria in the unlikely event that it might matter. 

They also seem to have access to Star Trek transporter Technology because at no point do they actually travel. Unless you count the  high speed chariot and horseback chase which seemed to occur between two points that could best be described as "start" and "end". 

Fortunately for Conan, no matter where he goes, there his enemies are, none the wiser of their peril, since they could never imagine that the nine year old they left behind unsupervised, could possibly escape their unnecessarily convoluted trap. (No Mr.Conan, I expect you to die.)

His progress is further aided by the fact that his enemies would rather sell each other out then die. Add a "sidekick" monk/love interest who just happens to be an expert in hand to hand (I'm gonna learn Jujitsu ?) and a extremely loyal thief (?) who promises to aid Conan after our hero frees him from prison. Interesting to note though that he was only in prison, because of Conan's direct actions.

Other great moments of logic is found in the "night attack" on a sailing ship owned by Conan's allies, during broad daylight. Everyone on the boat is asleep, including the guys in the rigging, and the soldiers launched their attack from several small rowboats, that somehow kept up with a sailing vessel...

I particularly enjoyed the scene where Conan calls in his loyal friend Eli's thief skills to pick the locks of the castle dungeons, to slowly make his way to the top of the highest tower of his enemy's Castle, just in time to see them hike across the field to the large skull rock cave for the obligatory sacrifice of the damsel in distress. If he had just been a bit patient, he could have ambushed them outside the castle gates.

The script writer for this movie has never even seen a Conan movie or read a single novel. Not ONCE does Conan utter the words "By Crom" which is as close to a catch phrase as he will ever get. I don't even know why they bothered calling him a Cimmerian, it made no difference to the story anyway.

Let me end this moan with a comparison between new and old Conan.

OLD CONAN                                 NEW CONAN

looked and sounded like a               Looks and sounds like a 
Barbarian                                     Gentleman
was a thief and a scoundrel             is a warrior and a hero
swears by Crom                             doesn't swear at all
whored in brothels                         makes love to his female companion                                    
trusted in friends to help him          Makes friends in case he needs their 
slay his many foes                         skill sets later.



Robert E. Howard told us tales of a time when Men were Men, and Women were glad of it. 
Sometimes it is best to leave well enough alone.

Thanks for reading my rant.
Please feel free to comment. (please refrain from defending this movie, I would rather you critique my writing skill - if such exist)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

R.E.A - Retired and Extremely Annoying

Every month I get hundreds of requests for assistance from people who are best described as elderly, and in some cases, senile. 


People seem to forget that the process of living involves large amounts of suffering and pain and occasional constipation. Yeah sure there's love and happiness and all that other hogwash , but mostly its suffering. 


If you managed to get to the ripe old age of 60, surely you must be accustomed to some amount of discomfort in everyday activities? Like walking uphill, or swimming the English Channel, or bending to pick up a dropped item. 


Yet day after day, old fogies approach me one after another with a non-stop barrage of complaints of joint pain and backache, and irregular bowl movements as if they invented the symptoms! Like it's never been noticed in Homo Sapiens before, until they started manifesting this dreaded mystery disease.


"YOU ARE GETTING OLD!", I feel like shouting at them. "Its entirely normal! Deal with it. I'm only thirty something and after a day at work, i have any amount of sore muscles, and at at least two really tired feet. 
What makes think that you should be exempt from all the suffering all the other Elderly and Infirm have to endure?


Then of course, theres the "you had to be there stories" and people of this age have volumes full of them. Stories about people you don't know, doing things that don't matter in a time long past. 


I don't care about your past. Hell, i barely have time to notice my own, and i certainly don't dwell on it, and i suggest you start doing the same. Every moment you reminisce about the past is another you waste, in the now, not doing anything worthwhile to remember.


As a wise man once said: "Get busy living, or get busy dying." 


I can hear you admonish me now, your scathing response along the lines of, "just wait, you will be old too one day" and my answer to that is, a resounding "YES! i will be old, but I wont be like you. I wont dance to your tune, I wont play by your rules, I defy the curse of age and i live every moment in the now. I will not waste any more time thinking about a past that went awry or a future that cannot be. 


I am ME forever more, and I am inviolate. You will not change me. I will not bow to your conformity. I belong to no-one. I am my own.


I leave you with this thought...


The past is a memory, the future is a mystery and right now is a gift, and that's why we call it the Present.




Thanks for listening to my rant. Till we meet again.


Green Lantern.