Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Cowboys & Aliens Was… Alright

*Warning! Extraordinarily minor spoilers ahead! Read at your own risk!*

I had a good feeling coming into Cowboys & Aliens.

As detailed in some of my previous posts, I found both the premise and the surprisingly straight-laced advertising campaign of the film to be provocative to my tastes.

I like cowboy movies.

I like alien movies.

A movie that slams both of genres together, while maintaining some semblance of seriousness should be the stuff of dreams, right?

Well, as it turns out, Cowboys & Aliens didn’t really live up to the sum of it’s (considerable) parts.

Despite a terrific cast, a solid premise, and one of the goofiest titles to a summer blockbuster this side of Snakes on a Plane, Cowboys & Aliens failed to be little more than “alright” in my eyes.

I won’t go into any details of the plot, but I will say this:

It’s predictable to the point in which a major character arc was spoiled for me IN THE TRAILERS, and there are more than a few moments towards the end that had me and my friend referencing Independence Day.

We also had a mutual flashback to Total Recall at one point, but that may have just been the 2 of us being weird… And dorky.

"Quaid... Quaid... Start the reactor... FREE MARS..."

The first half is decent enough, with a slow burn sort of pacing that would lead you to believe the second half is going to have some sort of pay-off; only for the climax to come lurching into the view and offer absolutely zero sense of satisfaction to the audience.

Put it this way, if you’re looking for good action, or even aliens doing cool shit with cool toys; Cowboys & Aliens is not the movie for you.

Truth be told, that was probably one of my biggest issues with the movie:

The damn aliens turned out to be one trick ponies!

When you think aliens of the technologically advanced variety, inevitably one’s mind pictures them using said technology to their advantage.

While it made me happy to see that the aliens featured in the movie weren’t complete feebs like some of the “green men” of old, I gotta’ say, and this is only a minor spoiler, after watching an alien do his spear/chokeslam combo to a horse for the 50th time inside of 20 minutes, I started to get kind of bored.

Remember, this is coming from someone who would tell you the best part of Inception was when Joseph Gordon-Levitt choked a dude out while hanging upside down.

ECW! ECW! ECW!

Don’t get me wrong, I likes me some chokeslamming aliens as much as the next guy, but when that’s all they ever fucking do; well, it gets old.

There’s a reason a chokeslam is a finisher, and that’s because it has a lot more impact when it’s used to finish people as opposed to all the fucking time.

Long story short, if you saw a trailer for Cowboys & Aliens, congratulations; you’ve seen every fuckin’ trick the aliens have up their sleeves with the exception of spears and chokeslams.

That being said, it needs to be said that the acting of the movie were actually pretty good.

Then again, with a cast that consists of the likes of Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Clancy Brown, Olivia Wilde, Toad Face, and ADAM FUCKING BEACH; it’s kind of hard to fuck up in the acting department.

Craig didn’t really bring anything to the table in terms of emotional weight or investment, but I gotta’ say; the man has the perfect silhouette for a Western.

Even if all he did was stand in this movie, he still would've done better than half the cast.

Seriously man, I don’t know if he went to mime school or anything, but the way Daniel Craig hold’s his arms, the way he plants his feet just the right distance apart; he really just looks like a savage-ass cowboy hero.

Given the limitations of the script, it’s hard to say whether Craig could’ve done better in the role or not, but in all honesty; I think he did just fine looking the part if nothing else.

Moving on, Harrison Ford growled and scowled his way through the movie as kind of curmudgeonly old, post-war Indiana Jones.

He’s quite hammy throughout the film, though never pandering; but in his quieter moments, particularly with Toad Face and ADAM FUCKING BEACH, he manages to steal the show from time to time.

Outside of these 2, the rest of the cast was a little subdued, to the point of being kind of a let down.

Clancy Brown was more Mr. Krabs than The Kurgan, Olivia Wilde may as well have been window dressing, Toad Face was even uglier than he was in The Last Airbender, Sam Rockwell had a funny ad-lib here and there, but was unfortunately cast as a sniveling loser.

Despite this, ADAM FUCKING BEACH managed to have a few good moments, though many of them were squandered by him being cast (as tends to happen when you’re one of like 3 Natives in Hollywood) as the stereotypical “Spiritually Strong and Morally Pure Native Dude.”

ADAM. FUCKING. BEACH.

A cowboy movie with stereotypes?

Surely you jest…

That being said, Cowboys & Aliens was far from a let down, but nowhere near as good as I would’ve hoped.

In general, the movie felt like it was rolling down a hill in neutral.

While I tend to like Jon Favreau as a director, the Iron Man movies and now Cowboys & Aliens have me convinced that the man needs to work on his pacing when it comes to making popcorn movies.

The action scenes were plainly choreographed and devoid of drama, largely amounting to scattered shots of cowboys shooting AT POINT BLANK RANGE, and aliens tackling them shortly thereafter.

By the way, make sure to pay attention to the number of cowboys featured in the finale, as personally; I found that I saw more cowboys die than they actually started out with.

Anyway, the movie was “alright,” but nowhere near The Valley of Gwangi in terms of cowboy vs. the monster of the week novelty.

Captain America totally kicked this movies’ ass…

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Top 5 Games That Should Be Movies

THE game that needs to be a movie...

Today I read an article on IGN titled “Videogames That Should Be Movies.”

In this article, the author discussed a number of game franchises that they personally would like to see adapted to film.

While many of the games cited seemed to be of the jokey variety, namely their concepts of what an Excitebike and Star Fox would be like; most seemed to be largely genuine.

While the article was kind of a fun read, I found myself disagreeing with some of the selections listed.

Metal Gear and Halo felt like poor (but inevitable…) choices for films, given that both have sprawling canon that is far too dense for feature film; and both have a feel and presentation style that is already film-like in the first place.

If Avatar: The Last Airbender is an indication of the shit storm that can crop up when one tries to cram too much into 2 hours, I don’t wanna’ know what would happen if someone tried to do the same with a Metal Gear game…

At the same time, Portal struck me as a weird; somewhat fanboy-ish choice, given that the game has no real narrative; not to mention the gameplay mechanics are very much a novelty that is more fun to experience rather than watch.

Then again, I’m among the minority of people that didn’t really get much out of Portal, so I might be biased on that one…

Nitpicking aside, as I pondered on this topic; I found myself coming up with my own ideas of game series that I think could be fun in movie form.

That being said, while I can’t call them my “top” 5, being as they’re really the only ones I came up with; here are 5 choices/concepts for games that I felt should be movies:

#5. Saturday Night Slam Masters

Saturday Night Slam Masters may not have been the best of games, however it’s core concept and brilliant character designs (courtesy of Tetsuo Hara of Hokuto No Ken fame) made it a favorite of mine in my youth.

I loved how Slam Masters took the colorful pageantry of wrestling, exaggerated it in a borderline realistic manner; and then mixed it together with the 2D fighting gameplay of Final Fight and Street Fighter 2.

While the game really had no story to speak of, I think a Slam Masters movie could be a lot of fun if the wrestling universe was treated as reality ala Kinnikuman.

Basically, you take a fairly basic storyline; like Mike Haggar vowing to win the Slam Masters championship for his daughter/the glory of Metro city/an injured Guy or Cody, and then combine it with the tournament structure of Bloodsport or Enter the Dragon.

Make Scorp/The Astro out to be a Chong Li-esque uber-bastard, and boom; you’ve got a movie.

While the story or writing wouldn’t win any awards, in all honesty; I would happily pay money to see a pro-wrestling version of Bloodsport, provided the characters and costumes remained intact, and the fight choreography was up to standard.

I know this one is definitely not for everyone, but in my eyes; it could be a lot of fun.

#4. Final Fight

Despite it’s status as a beat ’em up, Final Fight actually has a fairly decent story to it.

For those that are unaware, the basic plot of Final Fight, is that the Mad Gear gang of Metro City kidnap the mayor Mike Haggar’s daughter in order to force his cooperation in their unlawful wrongdoings.

Being as he’s a beastly former pro-wrestler, and THE MAYOR to boot; Haggar instead decides to dish out some street justice on the Mad Gears via his fists, but not without first recruiting the aid of his daughter’s boyfriend/fiance Cody, and his random ninja buddy Guy.

While it isn’t much, I really think Final Fight could be a lot of a fun as a vigilante justice movie with a high quotient of hand-to-hand fight sequences.

Think The Warriors meets Taken/Edge of Darkness/The Man from Nowhere.

Besides, who the fuck wouldn’t want to see a Mike Haggar go toe-to-toe with Hugo Andore in live-action.

That alone would be worth the price of admission if it was staged with any sort of professionalism.

Shit, now all we need is a Marvel vs. Capcom 3 movie and we’ll have a cross-franchise trilogy of Mike Haggar movies…

#3. Front Mission

The Front Mission series plays host to some of the grandest and most believable storylines I’ve encountered in all of gaming.

While I honestly haven’t played all that much of the series, (half of #1, and half of #3) what I experienced was incredibly detailed, and more importanly; polished.

Reminiscent of the politically charged story Gundam, only far more accessible due to it’s story roots being set in existing continents and nations; Front Mission is a superior war drama that benefits from likeable characters and a largely believable art style.

While many have cried out for a live-action Gundam movie, personally; I feel the money would better spent bringing the far less gaudy Front Mission to the screen instead.

Truth be told, I think Front Mission would work best in long form, as a TV series or anime; but even so, there’s many elements of the timeline that I feel would be worth telling in standalone films, particularly the Huffman Conflicts that served to shape the Front Mission universe as a whole.

#2. Sunset Riders

 

Weird, somebody shopped the guns out of their hands. Damn censors...

I’ve actually wanted to see a Sunset Riders movie since I was a little kid.

Just like in the case of Saturday Night Slam Masters, I’m pretty sure it’s the colorful cast of characters in Sunset Riders that have always been the selling point for me.

In every story I’ve ever written, or dreamed up, or wanted to write; the characters are always the one element that I put most of my efforts into.

In my eyes, if you take a fairly pedestrian storyline and stuff it with quality action sequences and cool characters; chances are you’re going to end up with a really awesome movie.

It’s a simple formula, and I think it’d work just fine for Sunset Riders.

Think about it:

4 trigger happy, bounty hunter cowboys embark on a suicide mission to free the West from the evil of a gang of ruthless killers.

Sure, it sounds like every Western ever told; but with the awesome boss designs of the game, as well as the lack of assurance that everyone was going to make it to the end to ride into the sunset; and you have a classic Western with the added bonus of an action quotient like no other.

I’d picture it being kind of like a combination of the more colorful elements Tombstone, and the fatalistic “men on a mission” feel of The Wild Bunch.

Anything that can be compared to Tombstone or The Wild Bunch, let alone both; is guaran-damn-teed to kick-fuckin’-ass.

If ever I become a Hollywood film director, I will fight tooth and nail to get the licensing from Konami to make this movie.

#1. River City Ransom

You know how I said I wanted a Sunset Riders movie since I was a kid?

Well, even though I honesty didn’t start working on it until about 5 years ago; River City Ransom was a game that I actually tried to write up a plot outline for.

Technically, I used the original Japanese version of the game, Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari; as my jumping off point, but the only real difference between the 2 is the fact that one takes place in America, and the other takes place in a Japanese high school setting.

Anyway, the basic plot of River City was that a simple kidnapping of Ryan/Riki’s girlfriend, resulting in him and his rival; Alex/Kunio reluctantly joining forces to save her from a mutual enemy.

To me, the shaky alliance between the 2 is the real reason it would work.

I think if you were to establish them as hot-blooded rivals early on, a lot of drama would naturally spring up as a result of them working together as the story progressed.

I even remember putting a note in my plot outline explaining the bandages on Riki’s torso, and the band-aid on Kunio’s brow as actual bandages (as opposed to character decorations) for wounds they inflicted on one another near the beginning of the movie.

Combine the strained relationship between the 2 protagonists, with the awesome characters of the Kunio-kun series of games, including the Double Dragons; and I think you’d have a really fun high school gangster story with, of course; awesome fight scenes.

I put a lot of time into my idea for a River City Ransom movie, and I’d like very much to post it here someday; but for now, I’ll just say this:

River City Ransom needs to be a movie someday.

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Thundercats Movie?

Let me lay this shit out for you:

The Grammy’s are on tonight, my WordPress is fuckin’ broken, and I’ve been playing Valkyria Chronicles all day.

Add all that shit up, and you get an evening scenario that involves me not wanting to write tonight.

That being said, you remember that fan-made fake trailer for a live-action Thundercats movie?

In case you don’t, here it is:

As goofy, and unintentionally hilarious as that may have been, I tip my hat to whoever made it; as I can’t imagine the time they must have put into it.

Anyway, for all intents and purposes, this clip serves as the best indication of what a potential remake of the Thundercats series could look like in this day and age.

That, and fuckin’ Avatar

Getting to the point, I was pokin’ around Twitchfilm.com earlier today, and I happened to notice a news post regarding the emergence of possible footage for a CG Thundercats movie or series:

Wow, I can’t speak to the quality of the audio, (no sound on my computer…) but that shit looks dated.

Like, CG TMNT movie dated…

Based on the quality of the animation, my guess is that this footage was indeed produced for a feature film; (albeit, a shitty one) however that’s just a guess, and an uneducated guess at that.

Thundercats was a product of it’s time.

It was a decent cartoon, with terrible animation, horribly dated character designs, and one of those gorgeous opening sequences that so many cartoons of the era used to trick kids into thinking they were getting ready to watch the coolest shit ever.

Hell, the same production company, and the same voice cast tried the same damn thing with the equally mediocre Silver Hawks:

… And then tried the same shit with the crappy, utterly doomed-from-the-start show that was Tigersharks:

The point is, Thundercats worked for us as kids, but I guarantee you that if you take a look back at it now, you’ll find that the magic has long since faded away.

Trust me, I’m speaking from experience on this one.

The question I ask in regards to a possible redo/reboot of the Thundercats franchise, is the same one I ask whenever something of a previous generation is recycled/repackaged for today’s youth:

Why?

In the interest of brevity, I’m going to leave things at that and go watch a stupid fuckin’ music awards show that involves not one artist I’m familiar with.

Man, I need a job…

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Motion Capture Is Cool…

I was watching my newly purchased Blu-Ray of Avatar tonight, when it suddenly hit me that I forgot to write my blog.

Nah, just kidding, I never forget…

While I’m on the subject of movies though, I figure now would be a good time for me to talk about my feelings on motion capture technology; something that Avatar couldn’t have been made without.

I’ve always been fascinated by the artistry of the human body in motion.

I’m a firm believer in the concept that much of how we communicate our image and demeanor to the the people around us, stems from our body language.

That being said, whether it be in stage acting, professional wrestling, dance, mime, sports, or fighting; a person’s character, both fictionalized or genuine; shines through in the manner in which the move their body.

For me, a person that doesn’t converse with new people often, or well for that matter; being able to understand gesticulations and body language goes a long way towards getting to know people.

Though I can’t pin down the first time I saw it in action, motion capture technology is an amazing tool that I’ve grown to love very much.

The basic concept of it alone is utterly intriguing to the point in which I found myself wanting to be involved with it at some point.

Seriously, if you know anyone with an “in” to the motion capture industry, let me know!

For those who are unaware, motion capture is a technology that uses a specialized camera and computerized tracking system to map out and record the movements of a subject’s form.

Using the data recorded through this process, said movements can then be transposed onto the anatomy of a digital character.

In the context of movie or videogame production, doing so allows CGI animators to save (some) time by using actual human actors to map out a performance for digital characters, which can then be finessed or tweaked further by the animators.

In many ways, it’s the heir apparent to the classic animation technique of rotoscoping.

In many ways, the largest benefit of motion capture technology, is that it grants directors and animators an incredible degree of control over their projects.

If George Lucas is any indication, control is something that is very important to filmmakers.

They say some of the best moments in film history have been the results of happy coincidences, or even mistakes.

While that may be true, CGI stands as a counter to that, as a tool that allows filmmakers a degree of control that makes the word “mistake” seem almost obsolete.

CGI allows directors to create and animate just about any imagery that pops into their head, but motion capture technology allows them the ability to continue to work with actors, while taking advantage of the technology to precisely extract the desired performance from said actors.

While I don’t see live-action movies going away at any point in human existence, the inherent possibilities of producing digital motion captured films are downright incredible.

Think of it this way:

When producing CGI films with motion captured performances, one gains the freedom to set their film anywhere they want, populated by whatever they want.

They also retain the ability to cast big-name actors that put asses in the seats, not to mention gain the capacity to modify the actor’s appearance to their liking.

Not only that, motion capture also allows for stunt actors to be inserted into scenes without having to be shot at distance or from behind, as the whole process would be seamless.

Come to think of it, the whole concept of “stunts” as a whole could potentially be removed when making a motion captured film.

After all, the whole thing is performed in a sound stage, not to mention the actor can be “removed” from scenes whenever necessary, thereby allowing the animators to take over for the dangerous or “un-performable” sequences.

Still, the idea of being able to slip Donnie Yen’s motion capture performance into Tom Cruise’s digitally de-aged body is something that I’m sure a lot of people would pay to see.

To me though, the most interesting aspect of motion capture in film, is it’s effect on the acting process.

Acting in a green room, surrounded by artifice, actors have to dig deep and use their imagination to summon strong performances.

In short, more stress is put on the actor to use their body to convincingly occupy the digital landscape their character inhabits.

From the audience’s perspective, I find it changes how we view these performances as well.

While I myself am normally attuned to the physical aspects of an actors performance, when I watch motion captured performances, I find myself drawn to dig a little deeper.

I can’t tell you how much fun it is to see a digital character walk around in a movie, only to find the tiniest little inkling of evidence of the fact that you are in fact seeing a familiar actor, give a performance in an unfamiliar shell.

In many ways it reminds me of my lifelong love of Godzilla, or any sort of “suit acting” for that matter.

When Haruo Nakajima stomped around in a Godzilla suit, you could instantly tell it was him by the “largeness” and sheer character of his movements.

When Kane Hodder killed bitches as Jason Voorhees in the Friday the 13th movies, we could always tell it was him by how savagely he went about killin’ bitches.

When Peter Weller was switched out in favor of Robert John Burke (the fattie from Thinner) in Robocop 3, we were all up in arms; not just because that movie sucked, but because Burke’s physical performance simply wasn’t Robocop.

While motion captured performances will never beat good ‘ole “man-in-suit” acting, the concept is similar enough that is brings me great joy to watch.

I look forward to seeing the day when Donnie Yen steps into the motion capture studio and shows us what motion capture pictures have been missing out on.

Seriously, why the fuck hasn’t anyone made a martial arts movie in mo-cap yet, huh?

That’s right Robert Zemeckis and James Cameron, I’m lookin’ at you two…

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“What Do You Know, Blu-Ray Really Is Better…”

When it comes to home video mediums, I’m not a fan of changing formats.

For the first half of my life, VHS was the end all be all home video format.

If you wanted to buy a movie, you did so in the form of purchasing a fuzzy, artifact ridden VHS cassette.

Well, that is unless you were one of those hipster-douchebags that had a Beta player, or worse yet; a fuckin’ Laserdisc…

Anyway, the point is; for most of my life, there was one way to watch a movie.

All of that changed around the time I was just getting into high school, with the advent of DVD.

While DVD had been already been around for some time, from my perspective, it really hadn’t “caught on” with the general public until the early 2000’s.

Kind of like how CD’s have been around forever, but it wasn’t until sometime in the early 90’s that it truly became mainstream.

Being as I was a very young badger of 13, with no income of my own; DVD failed to capture my interest in any way.

Everyone knew the image quality was superior.

Everyone knew the sound quality was clearer.

Everyone knew that DVD was, on paper; better than VHS.

Only thing was, no one I knew, myself included, ever actually watched a movie on DVD.

While many of my friend’s families would go on to hop on the bandwagon and purchase DVD players, my household would remain without digital video for little longer than most.

That all changed in 2001, when my mother surprised my brother and I with a Playstation 2 that Christmas, despite preemptively outright telling us that we weren’t going to get one.

Mothers:  You can grow up all you want, but they still fuckin’ own your ass…

I’ll never forget that Christmas, as it was a particular emotional time for our household, and I suppose the PS2 helped a little too.

Anyway, as you probably know, one of the pluses of owning a Playstation product, is the fact that it doubles as a media player.

The original Playstation served as my CD player, (not that I had any CD’s…) and the Playstation 2 would go on to serve as my first DVD player.

True, it was a shitty DVD player with some of the muddiest and darkest fuckin’ image quality imaginable, but it was a DVD player nonetheless.

Despite having never really given much thought to the idea of owning a DVD player, my Playstation 2 took my thoughts and considerations on the matter and basically shouted in my ear:

LET ME TELL YAH’ SOMETHIN’ BROTHER!  YOU’VE GOT A DVD PLAYER WHETHER YAH’ LIKE OR NOT NOW, BROTHER!  SO GET OUT THERE AND BUY SOME DVD’S DUDE!  SHOW ‘EM WHAT HULKAMANIA’S ALL ABOUT, BROTHER!”

Okay, so maybe my PS2 wasn’t possessed by the wayward spirit of the still-living Hulk Hogan, but you get my meaning.

With the tools to explore the medium now at my command, I set out into the world to grab a DVD, and finally see what the big fuckin’ deal was.

I’ll give you one guess as to what my very first DVD purchase was.

If you guess Rocky, Godzilla, or some form of kung fu movie, *BUZZ!* you’d be wrong!

The Azn Badger’s very first DVD, was in fact:

Transformers: The Movie.

Haha!  I know, awesome, right?

Watching Transformers The Movie on DVD for the first time was like seeing it for the first time.

For one thing, my original VHS copy of the movie was in fact just that, a ratty-ass copy recorded from an original rented from Blockbuster.

The difference in image and sound quality was like night and day.

Despite the perks of the enhanced audio and video, by far my favorite innovation that DVD brought to home video, was the chapter select function.

Being able to skip to your favorite parts, without fear of stretching and ruining the tape, was a godsend.

Seriously, do you know how many movies I have in my DVD library that are good for only 1 or 2 scenes?

Let me put it this way:

Without chapter select, I probably wouldn’t own half the movies I do.

Anyway, the point of this post, is to point out that, for maybe the 3rd time in a row, a Sony Playstation has served as my “ambassador” to a new medium of digital entertainment.

I’m of course referring to the new standard HD video disc medium: Blu-Ray.

As was the case with DVD, I wasn’t all that thrilled at the prospect of switching to Blu-Ray.

I loved my big-ass DVD collection, and the idea of turning my back on the medium I had grown so comfortable with, just felt wrong.

Then something inside me changed.

As I sat watching my very first Blu-Ray, Iron Man 2; on my Playstation 3, I came to realize that my reservations were unfounded.

Just as was the case with DVD, I was blown away by a format that, on paper; was regarded as “better.”

From a visual standpoint, Blu-Ray really was something to behold.

Like with VHS and DVD, it really was; night and day.

While Blu-Ray has yet to bring a major innovation like chapter select to the table, it still needs to be said; the visual one-up is downright spellbinding.

Now, don’t write me off as some videophile fanboy for Blu-Ray, as that’s hardly the truth.

As of now, I’ve only seen 1 Blu-Ray movie, and it was a brand new and intensely visual film, perfect to test the strengths of the medium with.

I’m sure Blu-Rays of older, less visual films are far less impressive.

At present, I’m thinking of maintaining my purchases of DVDs for films that aren’t deserving of the extra graphical fidelity I.E. dramas or comedies, while reserving Blu-Ray purchases for “louder” shit like Avatar or Iron Man.

While I’m not ready to go all-in on Blu-Ray as of yet, my reasoning behind this post, is that I want to point out that this is a road I’ve been down before.

I switched from cassettes to CDs.

I switched fromVHS to DVD, and willingly at that.

While I’m not sure I’ll be switching from DVD to Blu-Ray wholeheartedly any time soon, the point is; I’m no longer afraid to.

Change is not always a bad thing.

It may be uncomfortable, or worse yet; inconvenient, but the point is, we’ve all done it before and the world kept turning regardless.

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New Story Idea

BEST. COVER. EVER.

Well, it’s been about 2 years overdue, but I think I finally came up with a new story idea to keep me occupied for the forseeable future.

Bear in mind, when I say “story idea,” I’m referring to something along the lines of a concept for a comic book, short story, or *GASP!*maybe even a novel!

Pictured: "Novelists."

Don’t worry, I promise I won’t go all counter-culture hipster on you guys.

Anyway, at this point in time, with my idea less than 6 hours old, the whole thing is more of a concept than anything else, but even so I think it has a lot going for it.

In interest of saving some time, namely my own, here’s a basic rundown of what I’m shooting for:

Basically, you take the setting of that movie The Village, (I haven’t seen it, but I’ve had the ending spoiled for me)

... Yeah, chances are I'll never sit down to watch this one.

marry it with the aesthetic and monster populated world of Capcom’s Monster Hunter game series,

Haven't played any of these, not sure if I could put up with the grind-fest gameplay. Even so, the art and music alone have got me tempted to pick one up sometime...

and then give it the Dances With Wolves/The Last Samurai/Avatar treatment.

This may as well be the title of said movies.

Actually, now that I think of it, that doesn’t reflect what I’m shooting for at all…

Here’s my idea, in my own words:

Our hero is a young man that comes from a small village of pre-Dark Ages technological status.

The village is surrounded by wilderness on all sides, and aside from a small water source and a single mountain peak visible from over the treeline, completely isolated.

Basically, the villagers live on the assumption that they are the only humans in their realm; that there is nothing for them beyond the forest.

The reason for this isolationist line of thinking is due to the presence of some truly ghastly and vicious man-eating beasts that live in the forest, thereby making travel through the wild all but impossible.

There is a very distinct border between the territory of the villagers and these creatures, crossing it by even the slightest amount agitates the monsters, yet they never cross this border.

These creatures, the wild landscape they inhabit, should be viewed as representing nature, or rather “the wild unknown.”

The real meat of the story, at least at this point, comes from the fact that sometime in the past, maybe a century or 2 ago, someone from the village in question looked upon his surroundings and found them inadequate.

He was disgusted by the sad state of his village and the fact that it’s inhabitants had begun to turn to inbreeding as a means to preserve their dwindling numbers.

He looked at the mountain in the distance and said to himself:

“I want to see the other side of that mountain.”

He was the first man in the history of the village to adopt this progressive line of thinking.

Think of him as sort of the Prometheus of this particular account of human history.

After rallying others to his cause for a time, this man eventually ended up leading a small but determined expedition into the wild.

Most were eaten by the monsters, several became lost in the woods never to be seen again, and that one man, the one that was responsible for it all, found a new life in a clearing at the opposite end of the wild.

He would be the first human to do so in the history of the realm.

This man would be the founder of a new, expansionist and progressive-minded civilization composed people who, like himself, migrated from their respective “island” villages.

Of course, this particular civilization exists without our hero’s knowledge.

The aforementioned people that became lost in the wild would become consumed by the very landscape around them, transformed into horrific and violent man-beasts.

The “wild” in this story is special in the sense that, to most of the characters in the story; it’s still unknown, it’s still dangerous.

In that sense, the wilderness in this story should be regarded as a truly hostile environment, one that not only presents danger to the humans that venture within, but does so willfully.

In this story, the natural world truly hates humanity, such that it produces horrible creatures specifically for the purpose of keeping man outside of it’s borders.

Think of it as a sort of Gaia-like Earth-spirit that exists to keep man in his place, to keep man from discovering the true depths of his insatiable lust to consume and destroy.

Huh, now that I think of it, it’s kind of like Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

With monsters, lots and lots of monster…

Anyway, that’s where our Prometheus throws a monkey wrench into the mix by surviving what was supposed to be an impossible endeavor.

In a symbolic sense, I guess Prometheus’ victory is supposed to signify the power and mystery of nature beginning to wilt under the tenacity, determination, and ingenuity of man.

The man-beast population don’t exactly represent both parties, humanity and nature, as one would expect.

Rather, they are a doomed element in the story, a group of survivors that have grown powerful and ugly due to the harshness of their environment.

No longer fully human, they are nevertheless still regarded by the wild as intruders, thusly making them targets for the monsters, as well as complete outcasts to whatever human elements they may encounter.

They are physically powerful, but inbred and prone to illness and early death.

At some point in the story, they will probably engage in violence with the Promethean settlement, as that is simply the only way the 2 civilizations can encounter one another.

I think the angle I’m trying to play with the man-beasts, is to posit to the reader/audience the possibility that perhaps the various creatures inhabiting the realm this particular story takes place in are all actually cut from the same fiber.

That is to say, perhaps the vicious man-eating creatures of the wild are in fact mutated humans that were trapped in the forest for too long, or perhaps man is result of some of the monsters stepping out of said enviroment.

The world of this story is meant to have some subtle magical elements, (no spells though, I fuckin’ hate that shit…) so such transformations could easily happen over a reasonable period of time as opposed to through genetic/evolutionary means.

I’m rambling, I’m sorry.

Anyway, the story is basically about a young man, a hunter raised in a small tradition-oriented society, discovering the true breadth of the world around him.

At this point in time, the only background I have established for him, is that he is hunter who lost a friend to one of the monsters in the woods, thusly resulting in him seeking revenge on said monster years later.

Near as I can tell, it’s his quest to slay this beast that takes him into the wilderness and beyond.

What happens from there, and why, I have no fucking clue.

Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got for now.

Don’t steal my ideas.

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