Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Sometimes Spoilers Are A Good Thing…

Evaluating an opinion on a movie purely based on pre-release materials is tricky business.

Inevitably, one’s decision making process ends up relying on one’s knowledge of the various actors and director’s track records, but at the end of the day; sometimes a really good (or really bad) preview can end up shaping one’s opinion quite handily.

Take for instance Green Lantern.

I’m a big fan of the Green Lantern comic, however up until about last week; my opinion of the upcoming live-action film was largely negative.

Early pre-release footage for the movie had it seeming silly, narrow, and very hard to take seriously.

Truth be told, the one thing that kept me from turning my back on Green Lantern in the early goings, was the presence of director Martin Campbell.

Seriously man, the guy made Goldeneye, The Mask of Zorro, and Casino Royale.

... Then again, he also directed THESE.

Despite some spotty pieces in his filmography, the man has proven that he knows how to make awesome movies, and in that sense; I never completely lost confidence in the possibility of Green Lantern upsetting it’s poor marketing campaign and turning out to be legitimately good.

In the case of Green Lantern, and as you’ll later read, Donnie Yen’s recently released film, Wu Xia; my apprehension about the film’s integrity was culled through viewing a brief preview clip of the film in it’s unedited state.

Though it’s uncharacteristic of me, I sat down and watched a (publicly available HERE) 1 minute clip of Green Lantern in hopes of finding a reason to go see it.

Said clip involved Hal Jordan desperately attempting to fend off what I’m guessing is supposed to be Parallax (who doesn’t seem nearly as “bug-like” as he did in the comics).

THAT'S fuckin' Parallax!

The action in this clip was nowhere near mindblowing, but unlike in the trailers; it at least seemed like how it plays out in the comics.

Green Lantern has always been a story about “space cops,” though in recent years the scale and severity of the violence in the comic has evolved to something more along the lines of “space soldiers.”

In short, sprawling splash pages of Lanterns hurling variously colored constructs at each other en masse are quite common in Green Lantern comics these days.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT!

Green Lantern combat isn’t about guys throwing progressively bigger and more elaborate constructs at each other; it’s about speed, precision, and who gets their shit off first.

In other words, it’s more like a hectic galactic gun fight as opposed to something overblown or drawn out like Dragonball fighting.

I saw a hint of this in the clip I watched, and as such; my opinion of Green Lantern has changed from “skeptical” to “somewhat optimistic.”

Which brings me to the recently released Peter Chan directed Donnie Yen vehicle, Wu Xia.

Hmm, SOMEBODY had a degree in graphic design...

Given that Wu Xia stars Donnie Yen and Takeshi Kaneshiro, one can assume I was psyched for this one from day 1, right?

WRONG.

When I first saw the teaser for Wu Xia, my initial reaction was basically to let out one big-ass, slightly pompous sigh.

Okay, maybe “slightly” pompous isn’t the right word.

More like “IMMENSELY.”

I’m not big on Mandarin films, and for whatever reason; the teaser for Wu Xia just didn’t do it for me.

Then I watched an 8 minute clip of the movie that popped up on Twitchfilm.com, and suddenly I found myself intrigued.

By the way, if you go by Twitchfilm, and see all the Legend of the Fist ads; don’t buy into the hype.

Aside from literally, a few good fights, Legend of the Fist sucked some serious balls.

Well, at least this part was kind of funny... In the "good/bad" sort of way.

Anyway, said clip of Wu Xia revealed it as being kind of like Rashomon or Hero in the sense that it’s a story potentially told from an unreliable viewpoint.

Though I don’t understand Mandarin, the visuals of the clip were very clear in establishing that Donnie Yen’s character, while portrayed as feeble, but lucky; in one instance, may actually be a martial arts master hiding in plain sight.

While I didn’t care much for this storytelling device in Hero, (nor did I care much for the movie itself) it’s cleverness combined with Peter Chan’s beautiful cinematography leads me to believe Wu Xia could be a lot of fun.

I don’t expect Donnie Yen’s “Donnie Yen-ness” to be front and center, but the story seems to have legs; and Takeshi Kaneshiro is pimp-as-fuck, so I’m fairly optimistic.

PIMP. AS. FUCK. Too bad he's basically full-time Chinese now...

So there you have.

2 instances where an otherwise skeptical moviegoer had their opinion reshaped through spoiler clips.

I guess I’ve come a long way from being the fat little 10 year old that shunned all media outlets in hopes of seeing the American Godzilla movie in theaters before having the monster’s appearance spoiled for him..

Yeah, that worked out jusssssssst fine….

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Cowboys & Aliens WILL Kick Ass.

Despite it’s ridiculous title, and dubious connections to the original comic book source material, I’ve got a good feeling about Cowboys and Aliens.

Aside from the inherent possibilities that could emerge from the peanut butter and chocolate combination of cowboys and aliens, I think the biggest thing going for the movie (at least the movie that’s being marketed to us) is it’s serious, but not too serious tone.

Given the goofy title, Cowboys and Aliens could very easily have ended up being a pandering and goofy-as-fuck giggle fest, but based on the visual aesthetic, and “hardened” expressions of most of the cast; it would seem director Jon Favreau has opted to imbue his film with at least some semblance of class and drama.

In addition to this, with a cast consisting of an Onimusha/Devil May Cry 4/Lost Planet/God Hand/EVERY CAPCOM GAME OF THE NEW MILLENIUM gauntlet armed Daniel Craig, the always excellent Sam Rockwell, and an aging and hammy-as-fuck Harrison Ford; the possibility of Cowboys and Aliens being anything less than “fun” are nearly non-existent.

The real reason we're all going to see Cowboys and Aliens: ADAM BEACH.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t always as up on Cowboys and Aliens as I am now.

In fact, when I first heard of the movie, I thought it sounded like a lame joke; another Snakes on a Plane without the loving support of every meme-gobbling fanboy in existence.

Don’t pretend you weren’t one of them.

In other words, I didn’t expect much; and I certainly was planning to see it.

That all changed when I found myself reminiscing about an old Ray Harryhausen movie of my childhood, The Valley of Gwangi:

In case you couldn’t tell from the trailer, The Valley of Gwangi was one of the coolest movies ever, especially to a dinosaur obsessed child like myself.

You could take pretty much any expectations you’d have for a cowboy or dinosaur movie of it’s day and expect to find them met in some way shape or form by Gwangi.

It was an excellent movie that I’ll continue to love for the rest of my days, and will likely see fit to show to my kids whenever I’m fortunate to have them.

That being said, in remembering Gwangi; I realized that, in the case of Cowboys and Aliens, there’s a good chance it could all work.

There’s a good chance Cowboys and Aliens could capture the magic of something like The Valley of Gwangi, and by golly; I’m excited to see if it does.

Come this July, I’ll be heading to the theater for Cowboys and Aliens, not as some internet retard looking for a cheap laugh; but as a wide-eyed man child looking to be blown away by a movie that’s title advertises exactly what I think we’re all hoping for:

FUCKIN’ COWBOYS, fighting FUCKIN’ ALIENS.

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Gaming Overload

That's me on the right...

Before I get started, let me just say that, no; the title of this post does not refer to videogames.

It doesn’t refer to board games, sports, or manly shit like Jenga; but rather it refers to the pop culture game that we play at work, henceforth referred to as “The Game.”

For those that are unaware, “The Game” is something we play in the warehouse wherein one person names a fictional character, any fictional character; and the other player responds by citing the name of another fictional character whose name begins with the last letter in the name of the previous mentioned character.

In example:

Player A says “Superman,” wherein Player B would respond with “Naruto” or any other fictional character whose name begins with “N.”

Generally, “The Game” isn’t played to be “won,” rather the objective is to simply keep the game going to stave off boredom.

Despite this, some players choose their “moves” strategically in the hopes of stumping their opponents.

Examples of said tactics are the intentional use of characters whose names end in tricky letters like O, or uncommon ones like X.

Personally, I play by instinct, saying whatever comes to mind; but like I said, there are many ways to play “The Game.”

Anyway, today I engaged in an epic 1-on-1 duel with a coworker, the likes of which I have never encountered up to this point.

We were almost evenly matched, though in all honesty; I’m pretty sure he would’ve beat me if we kept it up long enough.

You see, in previous games I’ve played against people who are generally in the dark about anime, tokusatsu, or any Japanese pop culture in general.

Because of my opponent’s unfamiliarity with those characters, I took it upon myself to refrain from using them, as I felt it would seem sketchy to constantly cite characters who, in the eyes of my opponent; may as well be bullshit.

This time though, my opponent was extremely well-versed in Japanese pop culture, in fact much more so than myself given his vast breadth of anime character knowledge.

Curiously enough, a huge number of the characters he “played” were actually historical figures of the Sengoku era of Japanese history, all of whom make appearances in videogames like Onimusha and the Sengoku Basara series.

While this doesn’t seem like that big a deal, the reason I feel the need to mention this, is the fact that Japanese names totally change the dynamic of “The Game.”

You see, throughout every other match I’ve played previously, the most common letters played on was N.

O’s, X’s, and N’s are traditionally regarded as the most difficult letters to work from, making N a particularly powerful letter in “The Game.”

The thing with Japanese names that makes them so interesting when incorporated into “The Game” however, is the fact that Japanese names frequently end with A’s, I’s and O’s.

Think about that for a minute, how many O’s or I’s do you know?

That’s what I thought.

A huge factor in how “The Game” works, is that players often acquire additions to their “repertoire” through copying the citations of players from previous matches.

Now imagine you’re involved in an epic, 5 hour match; only to find that many of your go-to characters are now irrelevant given the fact their letters never seem to come up.

You read right, 5 fuckin’ hours.

The match was fun for the first few hours, however by the homestretch both my opponent and I were absolutely beat to shit.

Seriously, working an 10 hour day of overtime in a warehouse is enough to wipe me out on it’s own, but that coupled with 5 hours of tearing through the recesses of your mind for one last fuckin’ O name is enough to drive you nuts.

And wouldn’t you know it, that’s just about the truth of what happened to me on the car ride home.

You see, after playing the game for so long, and with such intensity; my thoughts somehow tuned themselves to work from that pattern.

Words, letters, and names from the radio, billboards, and even license plates all caused me to automatically start searching the recesses of my mind for names that began with the same letter they ended with.

I wasn’t trying to do it, it just sort of happened.

It lasted about an hour, and given that my thoughts were somehow working beyond my control; I found myself a little freaked out over it.

Believe me when I say this, the Azn Badger is not one to lose control of himself.

That being said, I don’t see myself playing “The Game” against that guy, for a good long while.

Maybe I’ll play the movie/TV show/videogame title variant of it instead, that’d probably be less strenuous.

Anyway, consider this a cautionary tale for those who might play “The Game” in the future.

Let it be known, too much dorkiness and pop culture will rot your brain…

Filed under: Comics, Games, Movies, Tokusatsu, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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