Month: May 2013

Moon Touched

J. J. Abrams. A name that has now solidified itself within my consciousness as a man with a vision. I cannot tell you what that vision is; however, I know he has one.
He has done what many directors have failed to do with sequels of late – except for The Dark Knight . Create a film that is far and away better than its predecessor.

Star Trek into Darkness is a product of a man with a vision, talent and great respect for great source material.
I am not a movie critic. I cannot begin to presume to be able to accurately and effectively critique the subtle nuances of a film. I am no Roger Ebert.
I can, however, with limited scope and boundless fervor; write a minor ode for a work of art that was obviously a labour of love.

Star Trek into Darkness.

A film that I had no great expectations for. In an age where capital gain over shadows artistic expressions. Star Trek into Darkness has given me renewed faith that a director can respect his source material. That he can get actors who mirror his respect and whom are talented enough to portray the emotions, the passion and the depth of feelings so vividly and viscerally.
That Jaded Though I am, It invoked in me pathos.

It is my empathetic reaction to this film that serves as the first highlight and one of the many achievements for this second iteration of a beloved franchise.
J. J. Abrams has managed to create a film where:

The characters are very well-rounded. They have a history, a past and a future. That shapes who they are, who the have been and who they will be.

There are not many moments in a film where two male characters can share a poignant moment. inundated  with mutual respect and camaraderie. Separated by the proverbial divide as they convey these feelings. With an hand outstretched; palm resting on the harsh and cold barrier of reality. They stare face to face with the rider and his pale horse.

“When death immortal rides his pale horse into the night…
[A] [young] man sits mourning, his head against a marble stone
The glint of steel in his hand, what thoughts are in his head?
An old owl sits on a cold tomb, and watches in silence, alone
Through the tears you feel his pain, will morning find him dead?”
Jackson, Bob. “The Pale Horse.” Poetry Lovers Page. Poetry Group, n.d. Web. 25 May 2013.

Visually:

The film is impressive and futuristic. While at the same time maintaining an atmosphere that hints at the possible progress of contemporary society. Such that suspending one’s disbelief is effortless. Which creates a high level of immersion.
Another shock, and a definite Kudos for J. J. Abrams. The man actually put 3D into a 3D film.
Before Star Trek into Darkness. 3D occupied the same space in my mind as sightings of the Lock Ness Monster: Mythical.

Khan.

A name that is undoubtedly and irrevocably linked with a man of drive, passion, charisma and a singularity of focus to achieve great things.
Benedict Cumberbatch brought a screen presence that lives up to and does justice to his eponym.
With a rich and evenly modulated cadence. Benedict wove the character of khan with needles of ivory and threads of harmonious symphonies. Such that he is perpetually cloaked in an aura of power, authority and violence.

Does a voice make the man? Or doth a man the voice make?
When Khan speaks, it is like listening to a live, posthumous performance of Luciano Pavarotti’s Caruso.
Needless to say, the man had an epic voice.

These might seem like trivial things. Indeed, they might be. However, I did not want to spoil the film. Nor did I want to do a “traditional review.”
What I hope I have conveyed. Is just how well rounded and entertaining a film J. J. Abrams has created.
As I said before. I am not a film critic. So those with the scholastic aptitude to do so. Are free to disagree.
But I loved this film.

In the end. It was the only time the Theatre audience did not applaud.
Significantly. It was the only time I was disappointed that they did not do so.

If J. J. Abrams has not interested you as a director with film.
The man has been signed on to direct both Portal and Half-Life. (Source IMDB)
Forgive me if I hyperventilate at the thought of what Glados will manipulate him into doing.
With Star Trek into Darkness. I am loathe to think that the cake is anything but the truth.

Que Sera, Sera.

That first introduction to a woman is oft time nerve racking. Or rather that first meeting with the  women you find attractive is emotionally strenuous.

It is a difficult endeavour because to even contemplate introducing oneself. One must first conquer  the fear of rejection.

Think about it.There is a reason why it is called a crush. And it has nothing to do with a sugary concoction.The male ego is like Porcelain: Precious and easily shattered. And zealously guarded.

Conquer your fears, you must. Hmmm. Or crushed, you will be

Let’s assume that you have balanced the precarious endeavour of approaching a woman you like.

Here is one of the first thing you should not do:

Do not be blinded by her smile.

Don’t take this the wrong way. I do not mean that as a metaphor. Seriously, never assume the smile you get from a woman is one of invitation for a more passionate liaison at some distant point in the future. That your overactive imagination has concocted like the running plot of a Mills & Boon novel.

The reality is that a woman will greet you with a brilliant smile and a wave. Walk up to you give a hug so close, if you even twitched, it would be considered dry humping. At that point, you may be thinking “DAYUMM this is my lucky day!!”.

Unfortunately, no it’s not.

That smile that you see isn’t really directed at your per se. It is more of a tool for correct socially etiquette when greeting someone. That hug? Breathe my brother. Realise that is the way she greets all her male friends.

The male libido will translate this into subliminal signals of: “you’re hot, I like you”. The truth is, that interpretation is just the misconception of an overactive imagination. It is the result of having a sex life that is comparable to the Mojave: Dry, deserted and void of Life. Which would make that smile a mirage.

Trust me on this. I have had personal experience with this. I am not too proud to admit it. Though I am ashamed of how long I kept up my disillusionment.

I met this young woman. The first time we met she lit up like a light bulb. Being the naive socially inept person that I am – armed with an overactive imagination. I assumed she liked me.The reality could not have been further from the truth. I was so blinded by that smile. She had to reject me four times. Before it sunk in.

FOUR times!!!

To give you a visual of what that did to my ego. Visualise her smile as a wall and my ego as Humpty Dumpty.

Need I say more?

IF you induced “more” as being: All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again.

Then you would have already induced that, “fall” , is a metaphor for rejection. It being responsible for the shattered ego.

IF not,you are welcome.

Now the second thing you should not do under any circumstances. Is misinterpret the name that a woman uses to address you.

A woman will greet you with a

General: “Hi Hun”

If you’re American: “Hey boo”

If you’re from the Caribbean: “Hey babes”

The truth?

She is just calling you that because she could not remember your name. She doesn’t know your name. Or she could not really give a flying (French connection U K) about what your name is, was or is going to be in the near future.

It might fill you with a sense of personal satisfaction and fulfillment when she address you with these supposed endearments. But believe me when I say. You’re just deluding yourself.

Keep your head, hands and feet securely inside the vehicle of your imagination. You will gain nothing from assuming.  Or letting your libido run wild like a cheetah on the hunt for a gazelle.

Keep your voice modulated and your pace steady.

And if all else fails.

Look her in the eyes and smile. While singing Hakuna Matata silently.

Well sorry to say that this  is the extent of my parable for this day.

I do so hope you did not find this overly pedantic.

Ciao!

Just Because.

Somewhere along the line of starting this blog. I forgot my motivations for doing so. Which was to share my views. Unique, or not.

I have always wished it was possible to share a feeling with someone. Like the feeling of seeing your mother smile because you made her proud.
Incidentally, I write a lot of things. I have gotten into the habit of recording random thoughts that have some significance for me. Based on the mental state I was in when said thought or thoughts occurred.

Generally, the serve no purpose. Sometimes I like what I have written. Sometimes I do not.

This is the most current random thought I have written down while writing at 4am.

Title: …….

I break out in a cold sweat. As you lightly run your fingers down my spine.
My arm: It trembles, shivers and shakes
Tiny bumps populate my skin. Like a suddenly cool breeze on the nape of the neck.
My heart: It beats in time to your rhythm.
Each pulse following your lead. Dancing to your tone.
My strength fails me. My body is no longer in sync.

In your presence, My motor functions decreases, my speech patterns decline.
For the brief time you exist. You are the centre of my world.
I want you to remain. But I want you, to want to stay here.
My breath: It comes in short gasps. It is hard to breathe.
My every focus is in absorbing the waves that your produce.
Everything else is just white noise.

Insignificant, intolerable.

My ears: A starved flower. They strain to bask in your light
A light that suffuses this brittle coil; that fuels these creations.

My feet: I am stuck here. Unable to go forward. Unable to return.
But to get to you. I would become Hermes.

As your light inevitably fades.
You open your arms and beckon to me
I cannot resist
I cannot be sated

I would explain what all that was about. However, then it would cease to be random. And I would have to describe it as something more than just random thoughts.
Or just expressions of idle energy. In the end. I suppose we all worry about labels.

Ps. For those who are intimidated by  the great wall of text. Rejoice.

Third time’s a Charm

Iron man III. While I KNEW it would be the worst of the summer block busters this year. I was cautiously optimistic. After all, I am the Jaded Optimist.

I thought it would be the worst. Solely because I hold what I have seen of the other signature summer block busters to be of high quality. And Unlike Iron Man. I have no expectations of the general path the plot/events should follow.  Therefore, I thought it would be bad in comparison. I didn’t think I would not like the film.

That being said.While there are many things I can criticise. I can honestly say Robert Downey Jr brought his signature charismatic portrayal of Tony Stark; and it was entertaining as always.
However there are a few key points of the movie where I felt it was like playing catch with a blind man. So when I say they dropped the ball, I doubt I need say more.

Ps: Spoilers Below….Seriously.

First Key point the ruined:

How can you take one of the key Villains of Iron man: The Mandarin. And Turn him into a caricature. A sad and pale – although slightly amusing – imitation of himself. He should have been the Ra’s al Ghul to Tony’s Batman. He should have been the geniusly sadistic villain with an superannuated sense of honor; that is only matched by his preternaturally avant-garde power set.

Not a “down on his luck” aging stage actor. That agrees to stand in for the real villain. On the promise of drugs and sex. That seems to exemplify his very existence. To say the tone the trailers
set towards the Mandarin were grossly disappointing in reality. Would be a euphemism that would be criminal to utter.

Second Key point ruined:

Extermis: To give a little back ground. Extremis was a solution that was supposed to re write your brains repair centre and allow for a controlled development of physical traits in the patient. In this case superhuman enhancements.

To ground this in reality. It is like they completed the research on stem cells and perfected its application. In such a way that if you were to be Injected with said ‘solution’ your body would be break down then go through a butterfly esque evolution. And upon your emergence, whatever abilities they programmed in the ‘solution’ before they gave it to you. You would now have.

Tony used extremis to cut the processing lag between him and his suit. So that he could operate it as an extension of himself. And not as a tool (Not in the movie by the way)

So when I see they have reduced Extremis to creating heat. At temperatures that the human skin and organs cannot sustain. Enough to act as a superheated cutter for Tony’s suit. The equivalent of which would be to give a virgin scientist some viagra, give him the soubriquet: Hulk. And watch as he magically shattered continents with each placement of his loafer shod feet. While singing Omlette du fromage ( which turns out to be number one on the Billboard Hot 100).

Third Key point Ruined:

The Iron Man Armor. Iron man is called Iron man because of his armor. Shocking right?
The running gag of the move? Tony falling out of his armor…or the armor falling off of him.
It got to the point, where I thought if he sneezed while wearing it. It would shatter like crystal.

Symbolically, at the end, Tony no longer seemed to need the armor. Symbolised by him throwing away the iconic core/Arch reactor in his chest. Needless to say..Tony never…never leaves his technology just lying around for others to take and or modify.

This point was exacerbated. By his choice to destroy all his armors. The visual result of which created a firework effect for each armor respectively.

Yes… I said fireworks. And no I do not jest. Nor am I employing my penchant for hyperbole.

Among all the other things I mentioned. This is what killed the movie for me.

To have created a Suit of Armor. That can with-stand a blow from the hammer of Thor. …a Norse Deity… a ‘god’. That can protect him from blows from the Hulk. Survive in space -and if the Avengers movie was to be believed – survive in a Black Hole. To have said suit or armor/s be destroyed so effortlessly, with all the ‘drama’ – I use this loosely – and visual heat signature of a firework. Is pathetically asinine.

This is exacerbated when you are shown normal containers – the 40ft kind – exploding like a match dropped in a large tank of crude oil. With visual effect adjustments from Michael Bay.
I do not know who directed this film or if he is even to blame. But clearly someone did not read his source material.

Why is that HBO series’ adapt – even with changes for visual media – damn near perfectly from its written source. But triple ‘A’ blockbuster movies that cost millions if not billions of dollars to make; can not do the same.

Aside from the expectations that I listed above. The movie can be enjoyed. You need not hold it to the obviously ‘high’ standards that I do. Honestly, I hope you enjoy what is the first summer movie of 2013. I certainly didn’t.

Our Love is Final..not Fantasy

Aeris and Cloud

These days, people have a lot of complain about when it comes to game studios.
I assume most sane people like variety in their game play. Don’t get me wrong, when I say sane …please be advised I use this term loosely. After all, where every sanity reigns, I am not likely to be a subject.

I would like to think I am perceptive. I feel I have a preternatural insight into how others behaving based on personal association or observation.

Which is Ironic when you think about it. Because I am grossly socially inept.
To continue my previous train of thought. I think sane people like to spend money wisely. Wisely as in: not buying a high tech version of the same product every year. Some studios seem to make this their Modus Operandi

As Shocking as this may be, I do pride myself on being a model of social etiquette. Yes… I said that with a straight face.
As such, I refuse to call names. However, it has something to do with Active sight, contemporary duty and Warfare.

A lot of persons complain about the game studio I mentioned previously. But I shan’t say whether or not they deserve clemency. After all..no one forces them to purchase anything.

On the other hand I. Yes, I. As in: ‘me’. I have more pressing things to complain about. Something that has more emotional weight.
I would like to acknowledge and tender my complaint of how Square Enix may or may not have traumatised me.

Here goes:

While browsing some music. I suddenly remembered this brilliant piece of music I heard from a game ages ago.
….For all you jaded souls. No this is not another post about music. Relax.

The music title: Final Fantasy VII Prelude.

While listening to this score. I suddenly remembered how cruel and unjust Square Enix was.
What did they do to me?

If you have never played Final Fantasy VII (FFVII) this might bear no significance for you.
However, it was one of my favourite games. Brilliant for its time.

Square enix created a sequence in FFVII where….where they killed someone.
I know, I know its a game. It isn’t real. People die in games.

The reality is, FFVII had a truly engaging story. With great characterisation. Characters had relationships, those who did not, developed them over the course of the game. With many beatrayls and acts of redemption along the path.
And a lot of women riding big yellow chickens. …Wait that didn’t sound right.

The rationalisation: Hey! Transportation in a open world sandbox game! You take it however you can get it.

Ahem..maybe it’s just me… but I swear the previous two sentences have a weird tone

The crux of my complain is this: Square Enix killed Aeris.

Ares was the love interest of the protagonist of FFVII. The creators of the game built up the relationship between Cloud – the hero – and Aeris. They waited for the moment when they relationship would have been realised. The moment after you have created connection to these characters.

 
They waited ..and then made the villain run a 10 foot long Japanese Katana through her abdomen. And Left her bleeding and dying in Clouds arms.
Now if that isn’t traumatic. Then my sanity – or lack thereof- is worse than I thought.

To make this worse. Cloud is an amnesiac clone of the villain. The man who violently murders Aeris: Sephiroth.
So in a sadistic and weird way. Cloud is the one that killed the woman he loved.
In the same way killing your clone would be considered suicide.

You can watch the video of the scene here.

If you watched that. Listened to the brilliant and tone setting score. And do not consider it tragic. Then you have no soul.

“Cloud: What is this pain? My fingers are tingling! My mouth is dry! My eyes are burning.”

The above are the words Cloud utters when the reality of Aeris’ death sets in.

As you can see Square Enix has traumatised me by allowing Aeris to die.

And if it bothers you that I can connect to a character that isn’t real. Please do understand I am actively able to suspend my disbelief.
Just so you understand what I mean. Suspension of disbelief: ” a willingness to suspend one’s critical faculties and believe the unbelievable; sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment”

 
What characters have you connected to of late in your play experiences?
And if you do not play games. Which novels have characters with which you have made a connection. Such that turning that last page, is like losing a good friend?

PS. Final Fantasy VII had some of the best music I have ever heard in my life! Whoever the composer or composers are. Kudos to you!

And Before I forget. Square Enix, you have got to remake this game!!