Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Time For Some Crappy Blu Ray Covers!

Pictured: A lazy ass cover.

It’s funny, as mediocre as I felt Cowboys and Aliens was as a film, I’m honestly surprised to see it hit the DVD stands with such hideous cover art.

Seriously man, the cover above represents one of the more lazy efforts I can recall for a major DVD release.

It’s got the obligatory orange and blue color contrast thing goin’ on, which shows at least some degree of competence/lack of originality on the part of the designer, but when you look at the individual elements with even the slightest attention to detail, it looks just plain ratty.

For one, all the major figures in the image are lit inconsistently, but more importantly, they’re blended together with little to no finesse.

It’s like they took a bunch of stock images from the film, through color filters over them, and slapped them together with no regard for how they might interact with one another.

Actually, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what happened.

Anyway, let’s take a look at some other crappy DVD covers, shall we?

Pictured: The nasty-ass cover for the Rocky blu ray.

… Okay, now that’s just sad.

Not only do we have an inappropriately dark and brooding color palette and theme for THE GREATEST-FEEL GOOD SPORTS DRAMA OF ALL TIME, we also have a truly sad super imposed Stallone head atop a stock model body.

Honestly, I do crappy head swaps in Photoshop as a joke, so why the fuck did this guy get paid to do it, to ROCKY of all things?

Let’s move on to something worse before I throw a Rocky fanboy related fit, shall we?

Pictured: Crap in a shell case.

Ladies and gentleman, I believe we’ve found our cream of the crop.

Probably the funniest thing about this cover, besides it’s utter craptacularness I mean; is the fact that it represents a film that actually has quite a lot going for it in terms of visual aesthetics.

Seriously man, as “meh” as it might have been, Minority Report was one beautiful fucking movie.

From the excessive airbrushing of Action Cruise’s face, to the boring and plain-as-fuck layout, this is one hideous fucking cover.

Honestly, and I mean this in absolutely the most negative way possible; this cover looks like something from The Asylum films catalog.

It’s that fuckin’ bad.

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Filed under: Movies, , , , , , , , , , , ,

October 25th: The Day Lots Of Nerds Buy Lots Of Movies

Pictured: The Super-Deluxe-Ultimate-Jurassic Park Blu-Ray Set + Dino-Diorama Playset!

Holy fuckin’ shit, it’s October 25th!

The stars have aligned, Santa’s come to town, and Jesus has WISE-D FWOM HIS GWAVE!

I’m guessing you’re probably not aware of this, but for whatever reason a shit ton of cool movies are coming on video today!

I know DVD releases are traditionally on Tuesday’s, (no idea why) but this week is probably one of the biggest weeks, at least for me; that I can recall in recent memory.

First and foremost, we have the greatly anticipated blu-ray release of the Jurassic Park series pictured above.

I know I’m getting the first movie on it’s own, but time will tell whether I’ll be picking up a copy of The Lost World or not.

As for the unfortunate third entry in the series, Jurassic Park III can suck Tommy Tomasino’s cock for all I care.

Moving on, Captain America: The First Avenger also drops today, hopefully with the cover pictured below:

Pictured: The "good" cover for Captain America.

Seriously man, I don’t what it is, but there are a lot of shitty alternate poster and DVD covers for Captain America floating around out there, so hopefully the one above is the one they actually printed.

Fingers crossed.

Next up is the U.S. release of Attack the Block, which I’ve heard a lot of good things about, but honestly….. don’t have much interest in seeing:

Pictured: The cover of Attack the Block. *NOTE* You must be cool/hip to purchase this film.

I loves me some martial arts in my movies, but something about European extreme sports/parkour/horror-action-comedy movies just turns me off…

Probably has something to do with me not being cool/stoned enough to understand the appeal of the movie.

Next up is a documentary that struck my interest awhile back, The People vs. George Lucas:

Pictured: The cover for The People vs. George Lucas. Nice caricature, though I think it could do with a little more "turkey neck."

The subject matter of this documentary could make for a lot of fun considering how much fodder Lucas has given his fans to work with over the years, not mention how passionate said fans can get whenever he gets the urge to fuck with their nostalgic treasures.

I definitely won’t be buying this one, but I would certainly like to see it someday.

Finally, and I might be the only dork on this blog that gives a damn about this one; the WWF (that’s right, I still call it that) is launching a new series of videos today in the form of a new documentary entitled Greatest Rivalries: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart:

Pictured: The cover to Shawn vs. Bret. I'm not typing the whole title again.

Again, I realize that this one is probably off most people’s radars, but hey; I typed up a little blurb about Attack the Block for you, so in exchange; you have to indulge my old-school wrestling fanboy-isms.

That being said, if the WWF’s track record on documentaries over the past few years is any indication, the interview/movie part of this one will likely be sappy and PG-ed the fuck out, but even so; the promise of a collection of these 2 masters of the ring’s best matches against one another is entirely worth the full price if you ask me.

Anyway, I listed off all of the shit I was psyched about for today, but like any other Tuesday, there’s plenty of other shit coming out that you might be interested in.

Go forth nerds!  Purchase consumable entertainment and boost the U.S. economy!

Filed under: Comics, Games, Movies, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lucas Stuck His Chubby Fingers In The Star Wars Pie… AGAIN.

Damn George, lay off the pie...

George Lucas was, at one point in time; a visionary.

Said “point” in time lasted about 5 minutes.

Through films like THX 1138, the man demonstrated his eye for visuals; as well as his weakness in the areas of narrative and storytelling.

Films like American Graffiti, as well as some of the later entries in the Star Wars and Indiana Jones series made clear the man’s love for hot rod/car culture.

Given the ludicrous number of references to pre-existing films that are featured in the Star Wars films, it’s tough to say just how legit the man’s creativity was, but that’s not the subject of today’s article and I’d prefer not to get into to it for the sake of avoiding the inevitable case of carpal tunnel that would likely emerge if I were to attempt to address such an issue at length.

*AHEM!* That being said, despite all the wonderful franchises and stories that George Lucas has given us over the years, ever since the release of the Star Wars Special Edition series in the late 90’s, there’s been a recurring theme of “control freak-ery” regarding Mr. Lucas.

With seemingly every successive release of the Star Wars series (of which there have been many) numerous tweaks have been made, ranging from the major to the infinitesimal in regards to their impact on the overall package.

With the impending release of the Star Wars series on blu ray, (as well as the upcoming 3-D theatrical re-re-releases) it has been confirmed that more minor tweaks are on the horizon.

An article at Topless Robot covering each of these changes in detail can be found here.

Aside from R2-D2 hiding behind rocks that are physically impassible given his proportions, and Yoda being changed to a CGI character in Episode I, (a change I think is actually for the better) the one of these changes that stuck out the most to me, was that of the audio for Obi-Wan’s Krayt Dragon cry that he used to scare off the Tusken Raiders in Episode IV.

In my mind, the original audio had him sounding like a high pitched fire alarm mixed with a Dewback call.

Given, that’s just me going by memory, as it’s been a few years since I’ve seen A New Hope.

Anyway, this new version of Obi-Wan’s scream, sounds just plain weird to me:

I guess Lucas wanted to change it because, let’s face it; despite the series’ unbelievable sound design, Obi-Wan’s yell did indeed sound like a mish-mash of familiar elements, but even so; this sounds just plain odd to me.

It’s like the audio sounds too crisp for the video or some shit.

Oh yeah, and don’t pretend for a minute that it doesn’t remind you of this:

Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gamera 3 FINALLY Coming To U.S. Blu-Ray


Well, color me surprised, I didn’t actually think this would happen.

Awhile back Mill Creek saw fit to release a confusing Blu-Ray 2 pack of 2 out of the 3 Heisei Gamera films.

My best guess as to why they would consciously omit the third (and best) film in the series, is that they were unable to obtain the licensing rights to it.

Me being me, I took it upon myself to support the daikaiju cause and shell out about $12 bucks to pick up a copy.

Holy shit.

That means I’ve bought the Gamera series 3 times across 3 mediums.

I first picked up the series on bootleg VHS when they were originally released, then again (from the same bootleggers) on subtitled DVD, and now I’ll have bought them on domestic Blu-Ray.

Let it be known, my passion for these movies is not to be questioned.

It’s funny though, when I picked up the Blu-Ray 2 pack, I did so grudgingly; as for whatever reason I take issue with the idea of collecting a 3 movie series across 2 boxes.

Seriously man, that’s fuckin’ weird.

You just don’t fuckin’ do that, it makes the shelf look all wonky…

Anyway, as I said before, when I first heard that the Gamera series was being released in the states on Blu-Ray in this manner, my gut reaction was to remain skeptical as to whether the 3rd film would ever get printed.

Well, as you can probably tell from the image above, a cover has been released, and while it kind of sucks, it at least confirms that the movie will in fact be coming out next month.

Why does the cover suck?

Well, because the image they chose to slap on the cover comes not from the film it represents, but from the first movie in the series.

This wouldn’t be all that big of a deal, had Gamera’s design not undergone some rather dramatic cosmetic changes over the 4 year span of the series.

Don't tell anyone, but I think Gamera was rockin' the 'roids by the 3rd movie.

The worst part is, as seems to be the case with lots of DVD releases, the European cover art is far better.

Don’t believe me?

Take a look:

A relevant and well-coordinated cover. Why the fuck can't we get more shit like this in the states!?

Oh well, a poor cover does not a bad film make.

Be a sport, make sure to pick this one up when it comes out next month.

You won’t be disappointed…

Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

New Laptop!

Guess what's playing on the TV: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

Well, that didn’t take long; did it?

As a young man, and a blogger at that, the idea of living without a computer to call my own was one I just wasn’t going to entertain for another day longer.

I tried to get by using mom and pop’s computer for only a few minutes a day, only to find that the load times were so severe, that I found the process of shopping for a new computer online to be utterly unbearable.

Because of that, I ended up truckin’ it down to Fry’s yesterday to take a look at their wares, hoping and praying that the sales staff there would be able to help me find what I was looking for.

As it so happens, the salesperson I ended up working with was quite knowledgeable, and if I can take a moment to be a chauvinist pig; very cute as well!

Sorry about that, I don’t get out much…

Anyway, I ended up getting a slightly outdated Sony Vaio laptop with Windows 7, a Blu Ray drive, and 512 graphics card.

Given that I’ve got friends that I intend to be doing a lot of HD video editing with, I felt I made a good choice in terms of catering to functionality in this area.

Imagine my surprise when I walked out of there only $750 (before tax) lighter!

As of now, I’m still familiarizing myself with Windows 7, as the last OS I worked from was XP; as well as busily re-acquiring and loading the majority of essential programs I had on my old computer.

So far the only hiccup I’ve run into with my Vaio, is that the wireless speed seems pitifully slow.

It’s probably a driver issue, or failing that; something way the fuck over my head as is the case with pretty much everything that has to do with computers.

Anyway, ‘imma get back to playing with my new toy and watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.

See you tomorrow, hopefully with a legit post on my new computer!

Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Arkham Asylum Stole My Day!

So…

Uh… What the fuck was I gonna’ write?

Oh yeah.

Um, I just spent my entire day playing Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Was that wrong of me?

Damn I feel like an uber-dork right now…

I’m pretty close to the end as far as I can tell, being as the Joker is basically asking me to come up to his doorstep and Bat-Fuck him in the ass.

Even so, I’ve decided to hold off and do a whole lot of that godawful Metroid-ian backtracking that I hate some much.

Turns out I found about 80% of the hidden goodies in the game without using my map, so I figured I’d take a few minutes to, well, bust out my Bat-Map and comb the island for everything I missed.

By “a few minutes” of course, I mean “3 hours of Jerry Seinfeld-esque neuroticism.”

"What's the deal with airplane peanuts?"

That being said, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute of Arkham Asylum thus far.

… Provided you don’t count the 3 hours or so of backtracking I’ve done.

… So far.

It needs to be said though, for completionists like myself; games like this are dangerous.

If not for this blog, I’d probably still be chasing little green question marks on the map.

Anyway, I’m about to go to bed now, being as I’ve got another 50 hour work week IN THE GODDAMN FREEZER to look forward to in the morning.

Damn, this was a hella’ wimpy-ass post…

What more can I say?…

I know!

If you’re at all into Azn movies, I.E. Korean, Japanese, or Chinese ones; Yesasia.com is having a pretty substantial sale of Blu-Rays until January 13th.

Most of the movies are unknown to me, and are thusly either crap or feature no scenes of people hitting each other SAVAGELY, but there are a few good ones I noticed.

There’s a few Bruce Lee movies, Shamo, (which I liked, despite the negative reviews) the mediocre Donnie Yen flick Dragon Tiger Gate, Beast Stalker, Once Upon A Time In China II AKA “The Good One,” Police Story, and for the weeaboos out there that can suck my half-yellow cock, Detroit Metal City.

There, I think that fills the quota for gratuitous tags on this post.

Anyway, just giving you guys a heads up.

See yah’ tomorrow!

 

Filed under: Games, Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Demon’s Souls: Conquered

*Ahem!* I win...

*WARNING! SPOILER ALERT PERTAINING TO END GAME EVENTS.  NO SPECIFICS, BUT IF YOU REALLY WANT THE END-GAME TO BE A SURPRISE, TURN BACK NOW!*

Last night was easily one of the worst of my life.

Don’t expect this to happen on this blog all too often, but I’m sorry to say that my experience of being stuck in a snowy traffic jam in the Seattle area for 6 hours straight was horrible to the point in which I don’t think I want to share the details.

Seriously, it was that bad.

Anyway, as a result of getting home from work at around 11:30 PM, as well has having my body be a complete wreck as a result of the harsh cold and tight confines of my car, I decided that I simply could not allow myself to go to work today.

Despite this, Amazon saw fit to penalize me for doing so; even going so far as to call me in the morning to chastise me for my actions.

Though I love buying products the company, working for Amazon gives me an insight into the inner workings of their ground-level management that really leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Oh well, it’s a job, and that’s more than a lot of people have at the moment, so I’m thankful.

Moving on, as any self-respecting survivor of a 6 hour traffic jam would do, I decided to use my self-enforced day off from work to play Demon’s Souls.

No way was I gonna’ go outside today, even to pick up a copy of The Expendables.

I’ll do that tomorrow…

*Ahem!* Anyway, in short; I managed to beat Demon’s Souls today.

Much like the rest of the game’s limited story sequences, the end of the game was quite flat, and very much anti-climactic.

Truth be told, it had been so long since I had started the game (just over 20 hours of game time) that I honestly didn’t even remember who the last boss was, or why I was fighting him for that matter.

In either case, the last boss was pathetic.

Like, “he couldn’t hit me if he tried,” pathetic.

On one level, this was quite disappointing, as many of the earlier boss fights in the game were quite epic, and fairly inspired in how the actual battles were carried out.

At the same time though, as I recall bits and pieces of the supposed “story” of Demon’s Souls, (seriously, there’s not much to be found) I’m starting to understand that the final boss of the game was supposed to be a pitiful creature, to the point where it’s ironic that it serves as the game’s final challenge.

Demon’s Souls was an excellent game.

While it indeed has flaws, as pretty much any game does; it benefits from an indefinable element in it’s gameplay and presentation, a “hook” that serves to draw in a certain demographic of gamers.

As it turns out, I fit pretty well into that particular category of gamer, as I enjoyed my time with Demon’s Souls.

In regards to it’s vaunted, and supposedly impenetrable difficulty level, I have this to say:

The game is indeed quite difficult, but only if you’re bull-headed and refuse to adhere to the “rules” of the game.

The gameplay of Demon’s Souls is methodical and rigid, meaning the game is difficult; but everything has a rhythm and a weakness, so it’s up to you the player to determine these factors before charging headlong into things.

Hell, I game in practically reverse order, resulting in most of the enemies being far too powerful for me to handle most of the time, and yet in the end, I managed to get past them all through careful planning and observation.

As you play Demon’s Souls, just remind yourself:

The game is challenging, not unfair.

If you get pissed and break your controller when you die in a game, then I’m sorry, Demon’s Souls is probably not for you.

Seriously, controllers are what, $50?

You’d be bankrupt in a week.

If however, you take every death in the game as a sign of your own failings, an indication that you could’ve played better or smarter, then chances are you’ll have a lot of fun with Demon’s Souls.

Now that I’m done with my little advertisement for the game, I feel I should take a moment to talk about some of the random things that stuck out to me in my first playthrough of Demon’s Souls:

I was a little upset at the very limited selection of armors I ran across in the game.

While it’s probably my fault moreso than the game’s, I found that as a Knight, I only ended up changing my armor maybe twice throughout the entirety of the game.

Maybe it’s just because I selected a Knight, who just happens to start out with some the better starting equipment, but I felt myself getting bored of constantly finding new weapons and equipment, but never finding an armor that was good enough to switch over to.

Seriously man, I ended up beating the game wearing Mirdan armor, something the Temple Knight starts the game out with if I recall.

To me, that’s the equivalent of watching a version of the Iron Man movie where Tony Stark remains in the original Iron Man suit throughout the entire movie.

That’s that just plain sad.

Another quick thing, from a gameplay standpoint, those fuckin’ dragons were truly fucking pathetic.

Seriously man, they’re not enemies, or bosses for that matter, they’re fuckin’ scenery.

Destructible scenery that can, and will; wreck your shit 20 times before you figure out how to get past them.

I found one of those dragons on a list of 2009’s worst boss fights, and I can honestly say, whoever wrote that list is certainly justified in doing so.

Don’t ask me how I found the patience to actually kill those motherfuckers, but I did; and that’s largely the reason why I’m writing this “I beat Demon’s Souls, quick everyone, suck my golden cock!” article today instead of a week ago.

Seriously man, that traffic jam last night might’ve taken 6 hours of my life, but I’ll be damned if those dragons didn’t take at least an hour between the 2 of them.

Other than that, I think that’s about all I’ve got to say about Demon’s Souls for now.

Now that I’m done with the game, I think I’m gonna’ move on to something radically different.

With Metal Gear Solid 4 as my first PS3 game, followed by Demon’s Souls, I think it’s time I played something besides a 3rd person action game.

My gut is telling me to try Valkyria Chronicles, but I’m also leaning towards something a little more mindless like UFC: Undisputed 2010 (*Gasp!* but Azn Badger, I thought you hated the UFC!?).

At the same time though, who knows; maybe I’ll surprise even myself and hop back on the Final Fantasy wagon, of which I’ve been off ever since VIII.

There’s a lot of great games out there for the PS3, old and new; so feel free to let me know what I should look into.

Anyway, happy snow day to me; hopefully everyone drove safe this evening!

Filed under: Comics, Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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…

Filed under: Boxing, Kung Fu, Movies, Tokusatsu, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gamera On Blu-Ray!?

While it’s probably old news to all those that care, the first 2 films in Shusuke Kaneko’s Gamera trilogy were released in a Blu-Ray 2 pack last month.

The third will be released at a date TBA.

Why no one saw fit to tell me about this, is beyond me.

Seriously man, the idea of seeing big, rubbery daikaiju goodness in HD makes me giddy with excitement!

Make no mistake, as soon as I can get a break from work, (though lately it feels like that may never happen) I’m gonna’ track me down a copy of this and buy it so hard, it’ll wish I hadn’t bought it so hard.

This will be the third time I will purchase the Gamera films (bootleg VHS, bootleg DVD, and now legit Blu-Ray).

The Gamera films are truly special films in the daikaiju sub-genre, largely because they are all legitimately great films that have the capacity to appeal to non-fans of Japanese monster movies.

Watching the Gamera movies progressively as they came out was one of the greatest film experiences of my youth.

I’d imagine it must have been akin to how young people feel watching every new Harry Potter film as they come out.

... And by the end of it all, it was assumed that the audience had "grown up" enough to watch Harry get fucked by a white horse and appreciate it as art...

I wouldn’t know though, being as I’ve never seen a Harry Potter movie, and unlike those fanboys, I wasn’t able to see Gamera in theaters.

Anyway, what I mean by the comparison, is that; like the Harry Potter series, the Gamera series “grew up” progressively.

The first was colorful and fun, with a simple, yet provocative storyline that served to draw us in.

If you can't appreciate this poster, then you and I probably wouldn't get along...

The second was a rollercoaster of action and suspense that felt more like a war movie than a monster movie at times.

That's a big bug...

The third was a very dark, yet gorgeous and thoughtful film that discarded much of the science and technobabble of the previous films, and effectively reinterpreted it into mystical terms.

ART.

While the complexity of the plot lines definitely grew as the series went on, as did the special effects budget; all 3 films are drastically different in tone and perspective, such that in the end, all of them have something special to offer.

The first is probably the most fun, and easily the most accessible, making it a great choice for non-kaiju fans.

The second is the fastest paced, and has hands down some of the best action sequences in kaiju history.

And the third, while very slow at times, serves to tie everything together, serving as a beautiful (and open-ended) conclusion for those that enjoyed the previous 2.

Before I sign off, there’s one thing I’d like to mention about the Gamera films, and that is that none of the movies would be half as good if not for their attention to detail, and insistence on showing much of the action from “street level.”

Probably half of the dialogue in the entire Gamera trilogy is delivered through faux news reports and radio chatter.

Given that the plots of these 3 movies involve giant monsters trashing major cities in Japan, it only makes sense that the airwaves would be crammed with reports on every move these terrible creatures make.

Honestly, you don’t notice it at first, as it’s quite seamless; but it makes a huge difference having a news anchor within a movie report on the death toll in their professional manner, rather than have Soldier A run into the command center and yell: “We just lost 50 men!”

Anyway, just a small observation that I felt needed mentioning.

Goodnight everyone, hopefully you’ll get more sleep than I’m about to!

Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“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.

Filed under: Comics, Games, Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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