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Yeah, get out there, find that assassin!

Guys, I’m very excited to talk about Rogue One next comic update! I’m so hyped up for this movie, I can’t even think straight. I hope it’s actually great and not less than great! In the mean time, everyone should maybe go see Moana (if you like musicals, of course). It’s a solid movie. It’s maybe got a few pacing issues, but the music will burrow into your brain and hole up, exactly what you want out of a musical!

I picked up The Last Guardian the day of release and played through it in like three four hour chunks over three days. It’s a beautiful game, I’m totally in awe of the world design and atmosphere. It’s a seamless continuation of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus’ world, so if you loved those games, you owe it to yourself to play this one (assuming you’ve got a PS4 lying around). For anyone intent on playing it, a few tips:

  • The movement controls are gods awful, but not much worse that Shadow or Ico, although those games were two console generations ago. Just brace yourself for some janky, imprecise jumping and movement!
  • Holding L1 will focus the camera on Trico, which is super helpful.
  • I recommend adjusting the camera speed to maximum in the settings, otherwise it feels like the camera is moving through molasses.
  • When the game gives you the ability to command Trico, that doesn’t just mean holding R1 and pointing in a direction. pressing R1+Triangle/Square/Circle/X are also various commands. I got stuck for a long time because I couldn’t figure out how to make Trico do a thing that I was certain he was supposed to do! R1+Triangle is your best friend.
  • Expect to cry at the end, but maybe not for the reason you think.

I can’t even believe Last Guardian actually exists and I can play it, that is unreal for a game that was originally announced in 2009. Granted Nioh started development in 2004 and is coming out in February, and Final Fantasy 15 was announced in 2006 and somehow managed to come out just a week or so ago also. My wife picked up that one and she seems to be really enjoying it, although as a cohesive world it make no sense. Your main characters are these black leather clad guys driving this souped up Audi while everyone else you encounter looks like they’re from the 1950’s. It’s like WHAT? I can’t imagine any in game explanation for this, except time travel.  Also, something about Noctis’ pants are endlessly frustrating to me. They’re like capris that cut off just before where his black boots begin. GET SOME LONGER PANTS, NOCTIS, I don’t need to see a sliver of your beautiful calves. Also, black coats with short sleeves? Fashion disaster, friends! ( Because I know so much about fashion, why not)

Image result for noctis

 

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Events are transpiring at a rapid pace!

Just a warning, about to rant on and on about that new Harry Potter-verse movie. If you love Harry Potter, it’s okay to totally disagree with me! *SPOILERS*

Man, I do not get Harry Potter. Admittedly, I didn’t read the books as they were released, and I may have already been too old or already exposed to a lot of other fantasy authors when Rowling was on the rise. I’ve always found the Harry Potter books and movies frustrating contradictions. The world established in the series is one built on whimsical fantasy, with silly names like “Hogwarts” and “Dumbledore”. It’s full of magic trains and candy, and quirky magical creatures and characters. But the stories most often told in the Harry Potter universe are dark, angsty, and permeated by a theme of death and suffering. Maybe that’s part of the appeal of the franchise for some, but it’s always felt like stories diametrically opposed to the world they’re set in. Aside from Prisoner of Azkaban, I can’t say I really love any of the films, and that one only because of some clever time travel, which actually opens a whole well of plot holes in the entire series, if we’re being honest.

Anyway, the whole reason I bring this up is because I’d kinda hoped that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them would be a new beginning, one where we could finally tell some whimsical stories that worked in the context of the world. Instead we got a film about child abuse (*spoilers* the child dies). The first 15 or 20 minutes don’t bother to tell us who any of the main characters are, we just watch them bumble around watching each other with little context given. There’s also a lot of slapstick comedy to establish the tone of the film, but once all the protagonists are introduces, we immediately jump to some political family that plays basically no role in the film, and then a hyper religious woman who physically and emotionally abuses her gaggle of adopted children, especially an older boy that she beats with a belt. It’s tonal whiplash and sucks all the fun and energy out of the film. The whole movie is very slow, doling out information at a snail’s pace.

Also, it seems every magic using character can teleport without reservation or restriction. Several times, the main character goes through a difficult or inconvenient scenario that would’ve been possible to completely bypass with a teleport. At the beginning of the film, he goes through customs when entering the U.S., and his magical creature suitcase is almost discovered. Yet he could’ve simply teleported from the ship onto the dock, avoiding customs security altogether. Another time he enters a jewelry store not by teleporting inside, but by shattering the store side window, attracting the police. The main character is played off as competent with magical creatures but otherwise a lousy people person and somewhat absent minded outside of anything pertaining to his interest. Unfortunately, he mostly comes off as an unobservant idiot.

I also have little faith in the American branch of wizarding society, since their police force seems wildly incompetent. They couldn’t even set up a security perimeter around a wizarding world leaders summit! One of the characters, a lady cop who’d been suspended from the force, walks right into this summit meeting and everyone’s just like “what’s she doing here?” Post some guards at the door, guys! You’re here to talk about a terrorist dark wizard threat, for potter’s sake!

The music in the film is trying SO HARD. The soundtrack works overtime to deliver emotional impact, sometimes with musical queues at odds with what’s actually happening on screen, but there’s jut not a lot of chemistry between the characters to get invested in. Probably the best of the cast is a muggle baker who just gets dragged along for ‘reasons’. He’s the only person genuinely having a good time throughout the story, but in the end, he’s basically told to stand in a corner for the film’s entire finale, rendering his character mostly pointless.

The finale itself feels like a huge turning point in the franchise lore that should actually contradict the previous eight films (since this is a prequel, after all). Basically a good chunk of New York is outright demolished by a rampaging magical creature (who happens to be the belt-beaten orphan boy, because ‘magic’). the creature/abused boy is murdered by fifty wizards shooting it to death with wands in a sewer, but the destructive aftermath of the battle is immense. It seems like there’s no way to keep the magical world a secret anymore, but then the wizards just wipe the entire city’s memory by poisoning the water supply and reversing time so that none of the destruction happened. But were there any fatalities in all those destroyed buildings? Can these wizards even reverse DEATH? In the end, the magic on display in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is so over powered and deus ex machina that any story tension is completely destroyed by the ending.

If the film had been about a quirky British wizard breaking all sorts of magic laws in an attempt to find some magical creatures in 1920’s New York, I probably would’ve loved the film. Instead, it’s just a slow, sloppy, plodding story with a lot of plot holes and very little whimsy to speak of…

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See ya round, beardy!

Thanksgiving weekend was a mass of travel and food, resulting in a lack of update. Nataku’s sudden but inevitable betrayal will continue next Monday!

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For those who predicted Atsumori’s fate, well, GOOD JOB. I hope you feel awful!

We went and saw The Arrival last weekend and it was damn good. For everyone sick of big dumb movies where all laws of physics are broken and the peril of the characters is intrinsically tied to dramatic plot moments and nothing else, The Arrival is like a life preserver in an ocean of blah. Even if it’s not the most complex story, and even if you do manage to see the twist coming early on, the journey there is still thoughtful, smart, well paced, and character driven. At no point did I think to myself “well, that was stupid”. In fact, the climax of the movie is SPOILERS someone making a phone call in a foreign language. It’s not overblown, bomabastic, or dumb. It IS tense, and exciting, and absolutely the movie I’ve been waiting for since being teased with scifi intellectualism by Interstellar. I’m not saying The Arrival is a perfect movie, as there’s a lot of science hand-waving, but nothing is dumb or contradictory, the problems dealt to the characters are all consistently worked out through a quality flow of logical deduction. So basically what I’m saying is go see The Arrival, it deserves your money and attention, because we need more stuff like this in theaters.

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Get with the program, Atsumori! We’re gonna win this thing!

Hey, I just saw that Doctor Strange movie! I don’t know if I have that much to criticize, it was a fun time. I mean, I’m kind of annoyed that Strange never gets called out for causing the car accident that ruined his hands, and also the movie probably gets too visually trippy for its own good. Also, who was the bad guy again? Some giant cartoon face from an evil dimension that uses evil energy to be evil? Oh well, whatever, it’s a comic book movie!

Probably my biggest disappointment in the film is that it glosses over Strange’s magic training quite a bit. That should’ve been the part of the movie that really established the rules and limitations of the magic in the film. Instead it just implies certain rules, and the resultant effective use of magic never feels clever, just plot driven. The lack of stated rules makes it unclear when someone is doing magic that’s wildly impressive or very mundane since we’re given little context for a person’s magical proficiency other than it being stated up front. Granted, this criticism is probably because I’m spoiled on Brandon Sanderson.

I enjoyed Doctor Strange more than I expected, and really loved the costuming and set designs. The movie has more visual flair than Civil War, which I found painfully bland, and I’m a sucker for Eastern culture/philosophy stuff even when it’s fictionalized and/or bastardized by Western media (not that I’d know anything about bastardizing Eastern culture…). So maybe go see it! It’s not like there’s been anything else this fun in theaters for the past couple months.

(EDIT: Also, it didn’t bother me in the moment, but upon reflection, the whole ‘white savior’ trope is so tired…)

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Eijiro’s very confident in his ability to conform Atsumori to his way of thinking! I’m sure it’ll work out great.

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As we all know, sons of Hirotomo are super into fightin’ wars! (EDIT: If Tadashii’ anger in the first panel doesn’t make sense, it’s because I realized that some of Honou-ko’s dialog had been omitted from the previous page. That has now been added back in!)

How bout that NINTENDO SWITCH, friends? It’s like an actual portable version of the WiiU’s second screen controller! Obviously we don’t know the system specs or the battery life, and, if we’re being totally honest here, a portable console isn’t exactly revolutionary outside of Nintendo’s insular logic. I mean, gaming laptops with HDMI cables? Smartphones with VR headsets? iPhones and AppleTVs? TV to portable gaming is faaaar from revolutionary, but that doesn’t matter in the slightest, because in the Nintendosphere, nothing could be more rad than the Big N combining its portable and console developers into a single device (well, okay, a unified eShop account would be more rad so I could stop re-buying Super Metroid). I mean think about it, the next Pokemon game will be a console game! It’ll have to be if Nintendo is merging everything into the Switch. I don’t even care about Pokemon games and I think that’s exciting!

So I have a dream scenario, and I’ve pieced it together through these simple logical premises:
* The PSVR headset can display any device that outputs to HDMI on a giant screen in VR.
* The Switch, we have to assume, will output HDMI for digital TVs.
* The Switch is portable and can play Zelda Breath of the Wild.

I WANT TO LAY IN BED PLAYING ZELDA ON A GIANT SCREEN DISPLAYED IN VR. LIFE COMPLETE.

(granted, it does occur to me that if only the Switch’s dock contains an HDMI port and not its portable screen, my dreams are waylaid…)

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Okay, I’m not pointing fingers, but who let that samurai into the bamboo forest? Now it’s RUINED.

I’m sure everyone’s seen the newest Rogue One trailer. Still looking super swanky! And sure, there are plenty of reasons why this movie might end up being terrible, I’ve certainly been burned by great trailer for sub-par movies before (Man of Steel), but for Rogue One I WANT TO BELIEVE. The trailer has a far more oppressive weight to it than any of the other films, the Empire exudes an overpowering presence, which I love. Also, and maybe these are hand picked for the trailers, but every shot looks like a painting pulled from conceptart.org. This movie is looking visually fantastic, and not just in a ‘nice special effects’ sort of way, but in terms of shot composition and lighting. Also I don’t see any silly cartoony action sequences that break my suspension of disbelief, which is SO refreshing. At this point all I want is for the movie proper to replicate the tone and pace of the trailers and I’ll be a happy fanboy.

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I know you’re all thinking “why is Tadashii standing shirtless in a forest with that creepy Honou-ko sneaking up behind him?” I assure it’s nothing weird probably!

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Hey, remember this flashback before it was so rudely interrupted by Ricardo’s proclamation on the acceptability of certain breakfast cuisines? Turns out there was more flashback to be had!

PSA, Red Letter Media’s Force Awakens Plinkett Review is finally out! It’s not as wildly entertaining as the prequels reviews, though, and that’s partly because Force Awakens isn’t a train wreck. But There are still come good points in there that I can get behind. I especially like their take on what the plot could have potentially been. Truly, the lack of a final scene between Han and Luke was a huge missed opportunity.

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