Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

A Nightmare On Elm Street Death Reel

Should’ve figured Freddy’s death reel would end up almost 3 minutes shorter than Jason’s.

I suppose it doesn’t help that the Nightmare on Elm Street series has 3 fewer movies (including the reboots) than Friday the 13th.

Oh well, that doesn’t stop me from liking the Nightmare movies more overall.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s tons of fun watching a hockey mask-ed juggernaut tear his way through non-descript teenage delinquents, but I’ve always found the Nightmare movies’ special effects and more thoughtful structure to be more in line with my slasher movie sensibilities.

As is the case with virtually anything, quality counts more than quantity.

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Ghost Rider 2 Trailer Looks… Meh.

I’ve never really considered myself a fan of Ghost Rider.

His design has an undeniable “cool factor” to it, what with the flaming skull and tricked out hellcycle n’shit; but for the most part the actual character of Ghost Rider has never really done it for me.

I grew up occasionally reading Ghost Rider comics, however given my status as a 90’s kid, the stories I ended up getting were of the Daniel Ketch version of the character, not the Johnny Blaze original.

For what it’s worth, I’ve always preferred the Ketch hellcycle to the more Harley Davidson-esque original, however at the same time; most of the Ghost Rider comics I read in my youth failed to leave an impression on me.

Well, except for his pimp-ass fiery Akira-bike.

Maybe it’s just because I read all the wrong books, but in my eyes; Ghost Rider is one of those great ideas, and great designs that rarely gets used properly.

In that sense, it should come as no surprise that the Nic Cage Ghost Rider movie from a few years back stunk something horrible.

The movie was dull and boring, and while the effects work had a surprising amount of love put into it, the physical performances of the title character and his demonic opposition were stiff to the point of being embarrassing.

Maybe it’s just me, but in my mind I don’t picture Ghost Rider moving like Frankenstein after a few dozen choco-laxatives.

"Hold up guys. I have to poop... NOW."

To be fair, I’m guessing the technology used to create the “flaming head” effect was kind of iffy at the time, forcing the actors to restrict their actions to broader and more deliberate movements; but even so, it was more than a little distracting, at least to me.

Batman not being able to turn his head for 18 years is forgivable.

Ghost Rider walking with a rod up his ass and having CGI’ed abs is a whole ‘nother story.

Even Cameron Poe wasn't this cut...

Despite horrid reviews, color me surprised when it was announced awhile back that Marvel would be producing a Ghost Rider sequel titled Ghost Rider: The Spirit of Vengeance.

Check out the trailer here:

I really don’t care enough to look up a synopsis for the film, if it exists; but based entirely on the trailer above, the sequel honestly looks like it could surpass the original.

Not that that should be looked upon as any sort of achievement.

Truth be told, I kind of like the new design aesthetic for the Ghost Rider character.

The melting leather jacket, and charred skull add some much needed texture to what was originally kind of a sterile design.

Still not great... But hey, at least this time he can bend his fucking knees.

On top of that, the stunt work looks a little bit more imaginative, largely because; unlike the first film, there actually appear to be stunts at some point in the movie!

I can’t say I’m enthused at the idea of another Ghost Rider movie, however the best compliment I feel I can muster for this trailer is that fact that it doesn’t seem terrible to me.

I’d prefer to see Marvel dump their money into something else, like, I don’t know, A FUCKING MOON KNIGHT MOVIE; but oh well, that’s why they’re the high powered execs/producers and I’m just an unemployed blogger.

Good DVD sales revenue I.E. The Punisher and Ghost Rider, SHOULD NOT drive a studio’s decision making.

The desire to create good product SHOULD.

*AHEM!* Getting back to the subject at hand, in all honesty, the Ghost Rider 2 looks kind of “meh” at this point.

It obviously doesn’t have the funding that Marvel’s A-list character films have been getting as of late, and it has the stigma of being a sequel to a shitty going against it.

To say such a film looks “meh” as opposed to “crappy,” is actually kind of nice when you think about it.

Anyway, fingers crossed for Nic Cage having at least one epic freak-out in this movie, no CG abs, and please God; tell me the fire pissing sequence doesn’t make the final cut of the film.

It was funny when the dog pissed fire to resurrect Freddy in A Nightmare on Elm Street IV.

It was cool when Gabriel Byrne pissed oil in End of Days.

Ghost Rider peeing flames… Well, not only is it out of character, it’s just plain stupid.

 

Pictured: The most expensive flaming piss sequence in all of film history.

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The Thing Prequel Looks… Meh.

John Carpenter’s The Thing is a very special kind of horror film.

It horrifies as much as it chills, it awes as much as it intrigues; in short, it is one of the finer examples of a sci-fi horror film that is not only good by the standards of it’s genre, but by the standards of filmmaking in general.

Easily my favorite of John Carpenter’s “Apocalypse Trilogy,” The Thing is one of those movies I don’t see myself ever getting tired of watching.

The makeup and prosthetic effects by Rob Bottin alone, are worth the price of admission.

On a side note, it’s easy to forget that the movie was also a remake of Howard Hawk’s The Thing From Another World, which in turn was an adaptation of the John W. Campbell novella, Who Goes There?

I’d like to claim that I knew who John W. Campbell was before writing this article, but I’m just gonna’ call bullshit on myself right now and give thanks to Wikipedia.

Anyway, despite all this, The Thing bears little very little resemblance to it’s preceding film counterpart, which in many ways serves as it’s greatest strength.

Even today, The Thing stands as a very unique film, with a one of a kind antagonist, a memorable cast of characters, and one of the most oppressive and claustrophobic settings in all of horror cinema.

Which brings us to the 2011 prequel of The Thing that is set to debut this October.

I’m not gonna’ lie, even the title of this movie pisses me off.

Given that it’s a prequel, that means that if one were to watch the 2 films in sequence, the 2011 movie and the 1982 John Carpenter film; one would effectively be forced to watch 2 films with the same name back to back.

That’s just fucked up.

I mean, when you remake a movie and recycle the title, such as was the case with Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street; that alone is pretty confusing, but when you make a prequel that shares a title with it’s sequel; that’s just fuckin’ stupid.

You know that annoying bullshit that comes up whenever you mention Friday the 13th and some jerk-faced asshole has to chime in and ask:

“Which one?  The remake or the original?”

Guess what?

That’s shit’s gonna’ be 20 times worse when you’re talking to the same jerk-faced asshole about The Thing!

“The prequel?  Or the sequel?  The 2011 one?  Or the 1982 version?”

And you know some motherfucker is gonna’ have the gall to throw The Thing From Another World into the mix, just to obfuscate things and piss you off.

THE SHIT.  NEVER.  ENDS.

Gettin’ really tired of Hollywood doing stupid shit like this to cover their losses and get them dollars…

*ANYWAY* THE 2011 PREQUEL OF JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING apparently takes place at the Norwegian camp that originally discovered the alien menace of the title, however the trailer for this prequel feels much more like a remake.

TRAILER HERE

For fuck’s sake, the marketing crew even went so far as to reuse John Carpenter’s droning synthesizer music for the fuckin’ trailer.

Sure, the characters are different, as is much of the setup; but it bothers me that many of the key scenes of the 1982 film are apparently recycled and much of the set bears more than a passing resemblance to what’s come before it.

Sadly, I think that’s just what one has to expect when making a Thing prequel, which if you ask me; was never a good idea in the first place.

Given what we knew of the Norwegian camp from the first film, there’s just too many restrictions that have already been set in stone before the first reel has even run.

We already know the movie takes place in the artic.

We know nobody makes it out alive except for a couple of dudes that hop in a chopper and die a few minutes into the next movie.

We already know the nature of the title monster, which automatically kills about 90% of the drama and cleverness that the John Carpenter film brought to the table.

And to top it all off, we already know that the movie is going to end with a Husky running off into the sunset.

Oddly enough, despite all this I think the one objection this prequel that I really feel the need to throw out there, has to do with the inclusion of Mary Elizabeth Winstead as what I assume is the protagonist.

I don’t mean to sound chauvinistic or anything, but in my opinion The Thing’s all male cast actually served to lend it a great deal of dramatic weight.

When the paranoia settled in, and Wilford Brimley started ragin’ the diabeetus and breakin’ shit; there was a point in The Thing where you really believed, not only that anyone could be a Thing, but also that this was a bunch of guys that really were this close to gutting one another to survive.

In inserting a female character into the mix, you change the entire dynamic, and indeed the entire atmosphere of the film, largely because of horror movie traditions like the “Final Girl.”

It’s probably just me, but I don’t see something like The Thing benefiting from high-pitched screams, guys getting predictably killed off in savage ways due to their misogynistic practices, and dudes making it to the end on account of their romantic associations with the protagonist.

I realize the above statements were insensitive.

Fuck you, get your own damn blog.

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5 Movies That SHOULD Be Remade

And the point of this was.....?

These days it seems every big budget summer movie is a remake or a sequel.

While this is hardly a new phenomenon, it’s alarming just how many of these films seem unwarranted given the nature of their predecessors.

In my eyes, the point of remaking a film is to improve it, or in the case of films that are severely dated; repackage them for contemporary audiences.

Some of the worst examples of a remake that I can think of are A Nightmare on Elm Street, Psycho, and Rollerball.

In the case of the former 2, neither made any attempt whatsoever to expand on what made the original films great.

Psycho was of course a shot for shot retread, making it essentially “Psycho with Vince Vaughn” and little else.

Elm Street expanded on a sub plot or 2 that was already embedded in the mythology (though wisely underplayed) of the series, but ultimately came across as soulless and downright ugly due to it’s poor pacing and even worse special effects.

Sometimes the old ways are best...

Rollerball… Well, Rollerball was pretty much as complete a fuck-up a filmmaker can produce… Especially when said filmmaker happens to be someone talented like John McTiernan.

I think it’s best we all just move along and pretend Rollerball never happened.

Anyway, in light of all the buzz surrounding the new embarassingly Twilight inspired Teen Wolf and Fright Night remakes, I decided to put (literally) a few minutes into coming up with a handful of movies that I actually wouldn’t mind seeing get remade at some point.

1. Robot Jox

Robot Jox = Rocky IV with giant robots.

That alone should tell you this movie is worthy of a big budget remake.

The original Robot Jox was a pretty awful low budget sci-fi film with mediocre stop-motion and miniature effects.

Despite all this, the core concept; that of robotic gladiatorial competitions being staged in place of war between nations, definitely still holds water in my book.

It worked for Rocky IV, it worked for Ip Man 2, and it would’ve worked for Robot Jox, had the production had some flash to go with it’s premise.

The end product would be dumb as all hell, but with state-of-the-art special effects, and even an ounce of the heart of Rocky IV; I think it could be stupid fun.

REALLY stupid fun.

At the very least, a Robot Jox remake would probably turn out better than Real Steel… Or either of Michael Bay’s Transformer movies.

Anyone wanna’ come with me to see Real Steel when it drops this October?

2. The Land That Time Forgot

... Is that T-Rex drowning?

Surprisingly enough, this one was already remade in 2009, in the form of a “mockbuster” produced by the oh so infamous crew over at The Asylum productions.

Given that everything The Asylum produces is essentially of the “ironically bad” variety, I don’t think it’s asking too much if we pretend the 2009 version of The Land That Time Forgot never happened.

Hmm, I wonder how many times I’m gonna’ have to say that over the course of this article…

Anyway, The Land That Time Forgot was a classic adventure story loosely based on the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs AKA The Tarzan Guy.

When I was young, this film was one that I could always depend on to bring a smile to my face.

Even to this day, Land has a lot going for it.

It had cool period costumes and tech (WWI), explosions and volcanoes, and of course; giant dinosaur puppets fighting German sailors.

That's what I'm talkin' 'bout!

Dinosaurs are always a win in my book, but when you put them head to head with U-boats and machine guns, well; it’s very hard to get that wrong.

In my mind, a solid modern remake of Land would play out kind of like the Skull Island segment of Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake, only for 2 hours instead of… Well, 1 hour… And with less giant gorilla ice-skating.

In my eyes, more dinosaurs always equals a better film.

3. The Day of the Triffids

The Day of the Triffids’ plot concerns a meteor shower than blinds everyone on the planet who views it, leaving the vast majority of the population virtually helpless.

The remaining sighted individuals find themselves thrust into a nightmarish world of violence and danger as disorder and chaos threatens to consume the last vestiges of society.

As the icing on the cake of it all, a new threat emerges in the form of vampiric, mobile plant creatures called Triffids that consume humans and multiply at a fantastic rate.

Triffids has been remade before, but not successfully; or with a Hollywood budget.

It’s hard to argue Triffids’ premise isn’t intriguing, however the reason I’d be interested to see a remake, is because the film is kind of silly to look at by today’s standards.

Pictured: The title monster.

On paper, the plot sounds amazing, but in execution; the film just doesn’t hold up all that well.

As with seemingly every movie I mention on this list, I think Triffids would be a helluva’ thrill ride with a new coat of paint and a few extra bits of characterization.

4. 2o,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Anyone who’s read a post or 2 from this blog probably already knows how much I love Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

What can I say other than the fact that it’s a thrilling and accessible adaptation of an amazing piece of fiction.

From a technical standpoint, few films can measure up to Leagues’ combination of Oscar winning effects work and absolutely brilliant casting direction.

In that sense, it’s hard to imagine a retread of Leagues being better than the 1954 version, however it’s one of those stories that I feel should be shared with the youth of every generation.

What I wouldn’t give to see what modern special effects could do for the giant squid sequence…

5. Them!

Them! is a great movie.

It’s a B-movie by today’s standards, and is indeed kind of hokey; but if you ask me, Them! is a terrific suspense thriller.

The pacing is absolutely brilliant, the Cold War metaphors none-too-subtle, and the monsters memorable, formidable, and truly horrifying.

At it’s core, Them! is about giant ants trying to take over the world of man.

One of the greatest successes of Them!, is the fact that it tells an epic-sized story without sacrificing characterization.

To that end, if Them! were to be remade, I think I’d actually prefer to see it maintain a similar scale to the original.

Modern special effects allow filmmakers *cough!* Michael Bay *cough!* to fill the screen with all sorts of crazy shit, to the point in which some of the craziness and spectacle actually loses some of it’s impact, or worse yet; ends up going unnoticed on the periphery of the screen.

While I admit it would be cool to see an army of ants bum-rushing L.A., truth be told; I found the sewer sequence at the conclusion of the original film to be more than sufficient for a climax.

The really cool thing about remaking Them!, and this is totally unrelated to the actual integrity of the film; is the fact that you could do all sorts of crazy J.J. Abrams shit with the marketing.

A good chunk of Them! didn’t even make mention of giant ants, so I think it would be kind of cool to tease the movie as a cop thriller or military action flick, without showing a frame of ant action.

Imagine how fucked up that would be to show up at the theater expecting Black Hawk Down or L.A. Confidential, only to end up having giant ants thrown at you a half an hour into the movie?

Sure, plenty of people would feel robbed or jilted somehow, but if the movie ended up being half as good as the original Them!, chances are a lot of people would end up loving it.

Then again, maybe “a lot of people” don’t appreciate giant monster movies the way I do…

Anyway, there’s my list, feel free to point out some movies you think I left out.

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Batman: Arkham Asylum Is Good. Like, Really Good.

So, Arkham Asylum is a good game.

Like, really good.

Last night I parked my butt in front of the TV for a good solid 4 hours straight playing it, and by golly, I enjoyed every minute of it.

4 hours might not sound like a helluva’ long time to some of the more hardcore gamers out there, so allow me to elaborate.

These days I’m what is commonly referred to as a “casual gamer.”

Pictured: The Exact Opposite of A "Casual Gamer."

Not only that, I have this weird personal issue where after about an hour or so of playing videogames, I start to feel anxious; like I need to get up and do something else RIGHT NOW.

More often than not, I tend to prioritize activities like working out, going to bed early, or writing this fucking blog, over playing videogames.

In the case of my maiden voyage on Batman: Arkham Asylum last night though, this was not the case.

Near as I can tell, the game’s greatest success, is the constant feeling of progress and accomplishment that the game imparts to it’s player.

Last night I mentioned how I really don’t care much for Metroid-style games.

Like many non-Metroid fans, my biggest objection to the structure of those games, is not the fault of the designers, but rather my own stupidity.

Thought I’ve always said that Zelda games made me feel dumb as a kid, Metroid games made me feel downright “special.”

Like, helmet “special.”

Stone Cold demonstrating the image crippling power of The Retard Helmet.

Something about the layout of the map, and how the player was expected to wade their way through shit storms of enemies and hazards without knowing where to go, just never did it for me.

Though I’ve heard Arkham Asylum referred to as a Metroid-Vania style game, (a description which is fairly accurate) the experience is nowhere near as lonesome, nor the map layout as cryptic as either of those games.

Trust me, having Oracle on staff to order you around via radio every now and again is a godsend for exploration newbs such as myself.

Well hello there madam. Feel free to call me on my Bat Phone anytime you like...

In short, it’s similar to a Metroid-Vania game, but with a more structured and objective based progression.

Which is a good thing, seeing as I can think of no dumber element to a Batman game than having the player get lost.

Think about it, would the fuckin’ Batman ever get lost, much less at Arkham?

Pictured: Batman upon realizing he is in fact, a retard.

Batman is a man on top of shit in any situation, so I feel it is a wise decision on the part of the developers to have made the game’s structure reflect this.

Aside from the strength of the layout of the game, I feel that the games 240 or so collectibles really add a lot to making the player feel like their making some headway into the game, even in it’s early stages.

While part of me wants to say that, like Mega Man X3, there are in fact too many hidden items in the game, to the point in which you literally can’t turn a corner without accidentally bumping into something useful, thus far I think I actually like this element of Arkham Asylum.

It is kind of silly, walking into a room and finding Riddler trophies n’shit strewn about; but in a game with a map as large as this, any form of progress, no matter how minute, goes a long way towards making neurotic players like myself feel like they know what their doing.

Near as I can tell, this is Batman’s greatest success:

Spoon-feeding the player little rewards throughout the entire game so as to effectively stamp out the possibility of frustration.

It’s an incredibly elementary approach to game design, but it’s working for me so far.

As of writing this, I have had firsthand encounters with 2 major supervillains of Batman’s rogue’s gallery:

The Scarecrow, and Bane.

The developers take on Scarecrow was mighty impressive.

Both the level design and his costume for his sequence reflect a definite Freddy Krueger-esque sensibility, but given the seedier nature of Arkham Asylum’s art design, I feel it works very well.

Ninja + Freddy Krueger + Batman Begins Scarecrow + Psycho Mantis = Arkham Asylum Scarecrow.

From a gameplay standpoint, I found this “boss fight” (wasn’t really a fight…) to be quite entertaining.

Shifting the game into 2-D sidescrolling mode so as to allow for more streamlined movement and coordination really worked, and I applaud the efforts of the developers.

Bane, on the other hand, was a fun battle on a visceral level, however the comic fan inside me was kind of miffed by his brutish persona.

Bane as envisioned by the marketing department of the UFC...

As a kid that grew up reading Knightfall, Bane has a special place in my heart as one of my favorite Batman villains, and yet every time he’s used in media other than the comics, his character is grossly misinterpreted.

Um... No. Just, no...

Bane isn’t a massive brute or meathead, he’s a cunning and wily villain that could be called Batman’s equal on almost every level.

Oh well, my inner-comic dork’s objections aside, I’m happy that Arkham Asylum took a few seconds to at least explain why Bane suddenly went retard, not to mention Hulk-ed out beyond the realm of believability.

Essentially, Bane serves as key element to the game’s plot, not as a mastermind, or even hired hand; but as an instrument forcibly implemented by the combined will’s of The Joker and a mysterious Dr. Young.

From what I know at the 4 hour mark, the plot involves Joker using Dr. Young to extract and deconstruct the Venom Derivative from Bane, which they then mutate and enhance to create a more powerful Titan Formula which causes people to Hulk Out.

Basically, Joker plans to use the Titan Formula to create an army of Hulk-ed Out thugs to let loose on Gotham.

It’s kind of stupid, in a Silver Age comic-y sort of way, but the real experience of a game is playing it, and the minute to minute experience of Arkham Asylum thus far goes a long way towards making up for a slightly retarded plot.

Anyway, I’ve said about as much as I feel I can about Arkham Asylum for now.

I will say this though:

The combat system is a little simplistic for my Devil May Cry trained thumbs, but it’s rewarding in a “look what I just did with 2 buttons!” sort of way.

Now excuse me, I’m gonna’ go beat the shit out of some more Bat-Villains…

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