Smash that Rant

I’m not even going try to pretend this post is in blogger persona in any shape or form. I haven’t had a good actual rant for a while, and maybe twenty years of hearing the same bullshit last night tipped me over, or the upcoming Godzilla II; King of the Monsters  (yeah they added II to the title, but why in the fuck they went and re-used this title anyway? This is Godzilla; Gee Whiz We Couldn’t Make Up An Original Title) and how certain part of the fandom views monster movies compared to the rest of the people. You can split monster movie fans roughly in half, and this really goes tokusatsu and other genres that are aimed at kids and teens; there are those who appreciate the human drama, and then there’s the juvenile idiots who come to watch toys being smashed together.

Aren’t you being a bit unfair there? I won’t be having any pretense. The view on Godzilla movies is that they’re stupid movies for kids, where a giant lizard, be it a man in a rubber suit or 3D model, smashes through things and fights another just as badly made suit or CG monster. Everything else is just an excuse to get there. They’re right too in most cases. Godzilla Raids Again, despite it trying to be a legitimate sequel, is ultimately a sequel to a movie that never needed a goddamn sequel. That’s academical at this point, just like how it’s academical that the living form of Hydrogen Bombs became a child friendly hero defending the world and talking in his Monster Language. It’s like turning Spawn into Saturday Morning Cartoon hero for five-year old kids. Works for Ultraman, and hey, the original Ultraman show was pretty damn good. Difference of course being that Ultraman has always been for kids specifically, and turning the series into a grimderp direction for adults is about is retarded as you can get. It’s not unusual for fans to demand the shit they love to grow with them, something Marvel and DC have had to struggle with all the time, but good luck effectively wanting to destroy what made you love that shit in the first place.

You know how people generally enjoy Godzilla or other similar shit? When they’re kids, the whole human element is lost to them. They don’t get how Godzilla’s skin is reflecting the scarred skin of a nuclear strike victim or other shit I talked in Themes of Godzilla. It’s a post that should get updated but fuck me if I don’t have enough shit on the line to do but no time. Sometimes I feel like becoming an unemployed NEET just to have time to indulge myself in hobbies and projects I’ve promised to finish. Kid seeing people working together might just think these are nice people cooperating, but the whole underlying message of unified mankind with no prejudice or racism really doesn’t him home. No, it really doesn’t. Parents need to actively teach this shit rather than leave haphazard movies to give this message, because kids come see rubber suits smashing each other. The other way people tend to watch these movies are for the sake of camp and kitsch. Often drunk, because holy shit if monster movies have some retarded plot. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was personally when I saw VS series’ Godzilla VS King Ghidorah for the first time. After reading and hearing how good it was, but it turned into a fucking travesty in the end, and the more understanding of cultural environment of the time I got, the more the movie turns into a travesty. Middle finger to OPEC nations just on the doorsteps of Lost Decade. It ain’t uncommon to hear people getting plastered and enjoying a good damn hearty laugh at monster movies.

It’s like Michael Bay’s Transformers movies. Chinese love to see robots smashing shit. There’s no shame in admitting liking childish things, but let’s be completely clear here; a movie with main intention to have monsters fighting each other in a spectacle with no real weight or meaning is childish. Make it gory, make guts fly and filled with horror, and it’s still childish. You know why there are exactly two Godzilla movies that are considered to be films rather than movies, films that stand on their own apart from the rest of the mass and actually have made an impact? Because they treat the core of the films, the allegory of disaster a man has brought to himself and can barely contain it in any shape or form, with heavy respect.

Are you mad that Godzilla became a popular series for children? No, absolutely not. It serves the viewers and allowed the franchise to have a life it would have otherwise never seen. It became a cult classic, a historical monument and cultural icon in more than one way. Yet, this has brought the unfortunate side to us, where part of the fans are there just for the monster fights. They are there for the spectacle and that’s what these movies end up being. Godzilla is a series of allegories, and after hearing oh so many goddamn years that people think its just monster fights from people who are in for just monster fights, you end up with movies like the 2014 Godzilla that doesn’t only fuck up the cinematography, but also is just a sad excuse to have monsters fighting each other. It is a movie with a half-assed message about bad things without any real weight to it. A half-hearted message against nuclear bombs or power is kinda wasted when the allegory of nuclear holocaust is the hero of your movie. Oh it just means we can harness nuclear power for good, just like with the other Godzilla movies. No it doesn’t. Humanity never harnesses Godzilla. They keep it at bay at best sometimes, but in the end its always a disaster. Nuclear power is the safest and cleanest form of energy we could have nowadays, but never mistake nuclear power with nuclear weapons.

The human drama should overshadow the monsters. That’s what they’re about after all, each one of them; the human condition. Each and every time a disaster or monster movie comes out, its backbone is the human condition and drama that it carries. Most often they’re terrible written shit, which is why some concentrate on the monster fights. It’s a hard as hell script to write and it can be done only so many times. Because some people value personal view and analysis on shit more than what they actually are, you know what King Ghidorah was to me originally? It was the disaster from space, the possibility of humanity ending in a bright flash as a meteor strikes the Earth, wiping us clean. What else could we use against such a threat that nuclear weapons? Most likely it’d shatter into parts, like three heads Ghidorah had. We’re at the mercy of cruel, uncaring space, and all we have are weapons that we’ve managed to unleash on ourselves to defend with. None of those ideas matter in the end, y’know. It’s just a cool three headed golden dragon that’s powerful and throwing shit around. Yeah, sounds about right.

Aren’t you just salty bitch? You could say that and go fuck yourself while you’re at it. We live in an era where we have the luxury of movies and products like this are abundant. Godzilla and other movies of its kind are dime in the dozen. We are able to produce and enjoy so much MacDonalds grade shit that it isn’t funny. A Snickers bar now and then is great, but sometimes you really should throw that five bucks at a high-grade dark chocolate mint that you have to eat bit by bit, enjoying its flavours and savoring how strong it is. There are too many Godzilla movies for them to have any true meaning any more. People who expect monster fights would rather spend their viewing time on the phone, missing the that is of importance. A friend said Shin Godzilla would have been a better movie if had Mothra or King Ghidorah for Godzilla to fight. He missed all the anguish the movie has over life that doesn’t understand what it is or how it became to be. Life, that doesn’t now but pain and yet wants to continue onward despite everything else wanting it to end. The commentary on how Japanese government fucked dealing with Fukushima and how, the contradiction the culture itself represents as one of the cutting edge technology nations still sticking to their traditions to the point of effectively coercing inaction. And yet, all that was naught because it didn’t have monsters fighting.

You get why I get frustrated when people say all these movies are is monster fights? It’s because we can have our cake and eat it too. Fuck the cultural schema and paradigm we have now. You could have a film about two monsters fighting as a high art film as long as you treat it with proper care and remember the core of what these monsters are. However, with movies like Pacific Rim being around and applauded by a fringe fandom and the Chinese, that’s never going to happen. It’s like having the idea of high-grade dark chocolate mint, people discussing about it, but all we get is Snickers. Snickers sells better, it has more people wanting it. We could have genuine art, something that just doesn’t turn into frackled shit after we’ve consumed it.

As I said, I’ve been hearing the same thing said over and over gain. Even these people realise the framework and drama is necessary for the movie to function in any sensible level. However, this has been constant. Jokes have a basis on reality, and the more you act like a retard among retards, you’ll end up being one. Market forces can’t be denied. Clever movies don’t sell or are being made. Spectacle has become mundane. Everything is produced en mass. Uniqueness has been beheaded. Godzilla has a cultural paradigm it is stuck in. Like the Japanese said with Shin Godzilla, let the Americans do no-brain popcorn filler, leave real Godzilla for the Japanese. I can’t help but agree with that sentiment. Perhaps Shin Godzilla spoiled me. Not only is it a good monster flick, but a genuinely great film to boot worthy to stand next to the original. None other entry in the series can do the same, despite whatever my personal opinions would be.

If there’s anything you should from this blog, take it that you can’t go against market forces now matter what your personal tastes are. They don’t matter. You can defend high art or the most depraved porn, but if the market says otherwise, that’s that then. Godzilla and so many other of its kind are stagnant. We’re repeating the repetition of a repetition. Going back in time to see where it comes from is a breeze of fresh air that puts things into proper perspective. Perhaps I’ll need to follow one of my own advice from long past and let things go as they please and find new venues to enjoy. I can always return to the things I love without any regard where it may have gone nowadays.

I can always try to make something people might enjoy myself, even if this blog and its success are largely an indication how inept and stagnant I am myself.

Music of the Month; Knights Errant

We’re getting there lads

At this point, I should just give up on planning what to do, when or how. While not intentional, ever since my career shift my plans have been thrown out of the window. Just this week I was thinking how I should do whatever I had planned, but then noticed how the month was at its end. Might as well stop planning.

However, I do have two things I want to do this month, despite my current track record; typing out a comparison between Muv-Luv Alternative Integral Works and the Codex. This wouldn’t be a review, not exactly, but rather a somewhat throughout view how the two books are different from each other and why. There are large differences, but I’ll cover those when we get to the post itself.

The second planned stuff is Switch related, Hori’s portable USB hub stand. The standard Switch dock is one of the worst designs Nintendo had done to date. Not only it seems to scratch the screen of the main unit, but it’s also absolute waste of plastic. It’s an interesting brick that looks like a two-minute hack job. Nintendo fucked this one up badly, but again, we’re get back to it in the review. I’ll most likely ditch the original shell and purchase one of those DIY kits that require you to salvage the original PCB from the official dock.

There’s been a lot of post materials in the recent weeks that I never got around. These would’ve made good posts unto themselves, but might as well discuss about them here in short.

The first is Langrisser I&II getting remade once again. While I intended to cover a lot of materials about Langrisser in past few recent years, Re:Incarnation did me in. The game’s trash and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. There is also the mobage, which both looks and plays better than the 3DS bastardisation. Whether or not Extreme was right to go back to basics and remake the first two games once more is up the question, but at least they’re not fucking up from the get-go like they did with Re:Incarnation. The first two games in the series are the most revered, and after Dramatic Edition, bundling them together seems to be par-for the course. While the new designs by Ryo Nagi aren’t bad, they’re terribly generic. Extreme probably realised that Satoshi Urushihara’s artwork is part of Langrissers charm and will include DLC code for his illustrations to replace the modern ones. It’s a great touch for the longtime fans and an option for newcomers. I admit that I have a bias for Urushihara in general, but what’d you expect from me? Of course, modernisation brings out changed UI and such, but that’s again expected. You’re remaking the games, after all, might as well improve all little things that were little cumbersome the best you can.

I’m just hoping the music will keep its synth-rock roots more or less intact. We’ll just have to sit back, wait and see.

Of course, when talking about Langrisser, somebody will mention boobs. This is a nice way to discuss the new physics engine in Dead or Alive 6 and how PR can function. Whether or not Yohei Shimbori, the director of the game, just sucks at PR or intentionally wanted to cause an uproar by discontinuing the Soft Engine only to come out much later to say that they’re going for more realistic physics engine is up in the air. It reeks of being planned so DoA6 wouldn’t fall off the discussion chart against Soul Calibur 6 and the like. While he states that he thought there’d be misunderstandings, nobody really should believe this. Either they had the new physics engine in mind from the get go and never stated this to cause controversy, or they had to go back and plan how to mend the situation for their favour. DoA used to have characters the flowed nicely, but with this new engine, everyone and everything looks extremely rigid and unnatural. Hopefully they’ll be able to achieve the natural flowing effect Soft Engine had to it down the line. Fat chance, I know.

Whether or not Shimbori stating that reducing the bust size was to make the characters appear more human was calculated shot or not doesn’t really matter, as all this ends up being him trying to cover his bases. Furthermore, it’s ignoring that bug busted woman exist in abundant numbers and flatties should stop being jealous of them. Dead or Alive Extreme 3 raised some hell and was never released in the West, but ended up being Play-Asia’s most selling title because of this. It’s pathetic that a game series that had fan service as its most prominent selling feature for years now suddenly tries to become visually more serious. Will they make the fighting more realistic and cooler to go with the graphics? Of course not, even when they should have put the effort into the gameplay and remove it from being a weaker version of Virtua Fighter. They’re lowering the standards for the game’s play with retarding the countering and adding Fatal Rush, which is essentially one-button super alá Soul Calibur V‘s Critical Edge.

We’ll see how all this translates into sales.



No, this does not need to be in

Consumers purchase what they like. No sensible person would put their hard-earned (or Patreon) money into something they don’t deem worth the effort they’ve put into the work they’ve done. Corporations exist to make money and the way they make money is to produce goods and services that interest, are in demand and are wanted by the consumer, and thus the consumer in the end dictates what goods are produced by their use of money.

However, no organisation is ever required to make anything the consumer wants. They don’t need to include elements that would hit the consumer consensus. That is if they don’t want to make any profit on their product.

To use an example, the non-controversy with Ghost in the Shell‘s lead being Scarlett Johansson irked some, while most of the rest of the consumers didn’t give a rat’s ass because of two reasons; they had no prior experience with the franchise, and they’re not obsessed by who acts. Johansson has star power behind her that attracts the general consumer and has shown to be a capable action movie star from time to time. So for a company aiming for profit, this is a natural selection over less known actresses. After all, the licensed company has all the power to decide over the product, and the decisions made will be reflected in the box office. At no time they are required to pander to an audience, for better or worse.

To take this a bit further and dwelve in the subject, at no point there is any reason to create a cast of characters of diverse background in a given movie or a work. This can be twisted in multiple ways, but be sure just to take this as it’s said; the provider can do whatever they like with their product. The only way to really change what is provided is either by making it a more viable option for profit, or produce a product that fulfils that niche.

Just as companies like Twitter and Facebook can run their business in whatever way they like, just as much the consumer of these platforms can decide that their time and money is better spent elsewhere. The discussion what is moral or what are the responsibilities of huge platforms that have become part of everyday life to some extent is a discussion for another time. However, perhaps it should be noted that companies do tend to be on the nerve of whatever is on the boiling surface of social discourse and will take advantage of this for either direction. Pepsi’s recent commercial with a protester giving a can of Pepsi to a police officer as a supposed gesture of friendship, while on the surface wanting to comment on the event (which can be read oh so many ways) is ultimately advertising and showing signs towards certain crowd. It’s PR management after all.

It goes without saying, if someone thinks there is a market, for example,  for a certain kind of movie with certain kind lead actor, surely they’ll tackle this market and rake in the profits themselves. That’s capitalism, after all. Finding a niche to blossom in is the best way to climb to the general consensus. This is not Make it yourself argument. A niche that has demand is usually filled by those who know it exist and have a little know-how to tackle the market. The know-how can even be purchased nowadays thanks to all the companies and individuals offering market research and help in putting up a company.

All this really ends up with the good ol’ idea of wallet voting. You buy what you like, you don’t buy what you don’t like. I’m told time and time again that wallet voting doesn’t work, and every time I have to respond in laughter; it does work, more people just vote against your interests. This is consumer democracy that is decided through free use of money. However, there is a problem within this. There is always a demographic that wants to control a product or field of products without consuming the product itself. This twists the perception of the provider to an extent and can even prevent production and release of a product that would have otherwise faced no problems. The past example of Grand Theft Auto V being pulled from stores is an example of this, and maybe the whole issue with Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 should get a shoutout.

A product that sees most sales doesn’t mean anything else but that the consumers deem it valuable enough of their money. Whatever other reasons may be behind the decision to invest money into a product is up to an individual and a separate study for these reasons should be conducted as they are not something that come up through raw sales statistics. Often you can’t even deduce what sort of consumer group has put their money in a given product, outside what the product itself promises.

A traditional corporation would aim to invest into a development of a product and its sales to rake in money to fill the pockets if their investors and pay the workers, as well as to put money back into further development of future products. This of course requires the consumer to value the product first of all. However, in recent years there has been providers, especially game developers, who seem to consider their right to be paid and gain success by the virtue of them providing something, be it in demand, wanted, needed or not. Naturally, if your product does not meet with the demands of the consumer, you shouldn’t expect high profits.

Of course, you could claim to be a stereotypical art-type provider and do your piece for the sake of love of it, to express yourself to the fullest and never see a dime.

This is not to say a provider can’t make something described above and make money. Finding the right balance between the thing you want to do and providing the consumers is tricky business, but not impossible. It just takes two things; hard work and research. Guts is optional but recommended.

As you might have surmised, this topic was originally supposed to be part of Another take on customers series of posts, but we’re good 40 posts away from our next hundredth post. Thus, decided to timely put this down now rather than forget the content I had scribbled down into a memo.

Thousands of failures

Great design is like great translation; you don’t notice it unless you make the effort. The problem with this assumptions is that there is no design that would have universal acceptance. Let’s use something general as an example, something most of you use in your daily life, like a cupboard handle in your kitchen. Now that I’ve mentioned it, you’re probably conscious on of its shape but may not really know how it feels in your hand. After all, it’s just a handle you pull and push every day, probably multiple of times. This handle may be very ornate or just a simple shaped metal arch, but this handle is something you never really should be conscious about. At least not after you’ve finished your kitchen renovation that took ages, made your wife mad and probably ended up costing you an arm and a leg after you managed to screw up the installation process early on. There are more fitting handle shapes than there are hands, because the hands we have all can accept more than just one shape. We just tend to notice when the handle doesn’t really want to work with our own.

The numerous handles does not mean that there is an equal amount of successes. While there may be thousands of handles that fit just perfectly, the reality is that there probably has been five times or more discarded pieces that never moved beyond prototype phase. And sad reality is that some of these protos probably were better than the final product. For each successful product there are tens if not hundred unsuccessful attempts.

Even the most seasoned designer will make missteps and sometimes fails to realize what is self-evident to the consumer. This is why prototyping and giving enough time to finalise the product is incredibly important. Not just in design, but in every field. Sad thing is that no product is truly ready and will have to be released to the wild in good-enough state. Sadly, with games this good-enough has been lowered to many times that games are essentially being released half-finished in order to hit the publishing date, and the missing content or known bugs are fixed through Day-One patch. God I hate Day-One patches, it never bodes well.

How does a designer know he screwed up? In game industry it’s pretty clear, when the consumer feedback can be directed to the designer through forums and social media. Sales is second, but that only tells you that the product wasn’t met with the best acceptance out there. It’s not exactly easy to pinpoint why a kitchen handle didn’t make a breakthrough in the market, but we have to allow some leeway here; kitchen handles don’t tend to sell tons after initial launch. They’re not something people need to renew too often. If ever.

The easiest way of knowing what went wrong with a design would to have the user tell you outright. For a handle, where it chafes, what wrist position it does wrong, is the surface too sleek to cause slipping and so forth. Not exactly rocket science, but general consumer doesn’t really care to give such a feedback. Then again, door handles really aren’t a million dollar business, so losses from more experimental and niche products isn’t a big deal. The good old and time-tested basic shapes still rule the market.

Feedback is something all designers should want. I say should, as this splits opinions. To some a finalised product is as intended and it fills the role it has been given to. There is no reason to go change the product afterwards, no matter what the feedback is. Sadly, this doesn’t really bode well, and I’ve seen few companies go bankrupt due to the people in charge unwilling to change aspects of their products. After all, design isn’t art and doesn’t require the same respect of author’s intent. This goes to visual design as well, e.g. web design is very dependant on how the consumer can navigate the site. I’m sure all of us could give loads of feedback to websites about their current designs.

However, as said, the consumer isn’t really willing to give feedback, not when it’s really needed. The skill to read this feedback is important as well, as feedback on a product is not a personal assault. One needs to be professional and distance themselves properly in order to read through some of the harsher bits. The difficult part begins when you start applying that feedback and may start noticing that the very core idea of your handle had is slowly being discarded in the re-evaluation and redesign process. This can lead to more prototyping and more discarded pieces, but this sort of thing happens only to something that’s absolutely required for a task, like how the Xbox’s controller got completely redesigned for the Japanese market after the hulking beast of a controller got some feedback.

Of course, when you have no feedback to go outside sales, you’re forces to analyse what went wrong. Unless you have some people around you to get things re-tested or even have money to hire a test-group. Sometimes self-evaluation is cheaper and more effective than general feedback when the faults are apparent (though you never thought them up before even when the faults were staring in your face) and relatively easy to fix.

If a designer (or a company) manages to roll out a second, updated version of the product and makes their initial one obsolete, the initial release has been essentially trash. There’s no way getting around it. Even with best intentions, with loads of time put into and a lot of polishing on a product, a failure is a failure and one just has stand up and own their mistake to learn from it. Everybody is allowed to make mistakes, we just need to learn from them. A designer can’t continue to create products that repeat the same mistakes, like a cupboard handle that has sharp enough corners to cut your hand open when grasped.

Music of the Month; CHALLENGER + Review of the Month; Star Trek Beyond

I tend to have music selected few weeks beforehand for these, but this time I had none. You could call it a rut or something similar, but it’s not really that. Let’s boot the ol’ ‘tube and see what we come across.

I don’t put much personal stuff on this blog. Here or there you might pick up something or I mention situations making typing things down somewhat erratic. I don’t have a release schedule, I never had. A post early in the week and one later has been the standard for few years now. Things have become more or less a routine in this sense, and while that is not a bad thing, I find myself wanting to touch upon subject after subject beyond the scope I want to explore them. However, As this is a hobby, there would be no sense for me to write an entry every other day about every single thing that I want to. You’re not reading this blog for stuff like that.

For example, I had planned the failure that is the Themes in Godzilla for some time now, and despite it getting the summer special slot, it’s something that should’ve been more meatier rather than few sentences per movie. I had planned much more for the entry, it to be more grandiose and in-depth than what it ended up being, but I’m guessing it was also a topic nobody cared about. Godzilla is passé, despite Shin Godzilla gaining positive reviews in Japan.

Another example would be the latest brouhaha about the Nintendo NX design, it possibly being a portable and a home console hybrid of sorts, something that I would personally embrace fully. Ever since the DS and PSP were launched, I questioned the point of designing, developing and producing two separates consoles when the hand held consoles could muster good enough graphics, gameplay and controls as is. I am a broken record with this, but it is about the software. Seeing population is moving towards portable solutions with each technological iteration, it would make sense to emphasize that to a certain degree. Traditional desktop computers have made way for laptops and pads for a time now, and while I still am headstrong in my decision to stick with a more traditional wired Internet connection and a desktop computer, I can’t argue with reality around me. Full portability is where we’re going, it’s just a matter of when.

Perhaps the third and most pressing example of my conscious aversion of not writing âge related. This is not a blog just for Muv-Luv and Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. They certainly are a part of it and most likely the topics that have attracted most readers on the long run, but perhaps some of the 1990′ ideology of not-selling-out sticks to me at this point. The whole point of giving what the consumer wants fights against this, and I probably should start writing more about Muv-Luv in general not only for blog content, but for the simple raw reason to gain more views. I do intend to do a TSF comparison this month, as long as I can find good enough pictures of some TSF, F-16 Fighting Falcon being probably the strongest contender. This may be my own hubris, but I do see that there are topics and subjects that I am more equipped to discuss when it comes to Muv-Luv as a whole than others. Of course it’s my own hubris, both Type-94 (link on the right) and Chris Adamson do it better as is.

The only obstacle is that I don’t care about the views as much as I should. Perhaps an argument could be made that I am not as passionate as I should be about the topics, that I don’t care what makes people read the most or that I lack ambition. It doesn’t help that my current situation is still in the gutters, but you won’t see me explaining how dire my situation is or how in the gutters I am professionally speaking. It has no other relevancy for the blog outside whether or not I am able to write.

I’m not sure how successful the Monthly Three series has been. I expected last month’s theme of Video game culture and history to go well, but it seems that it was something very few cared about, despite it being one of the core themes of this blog. I deemed those and Dizzy’s design comparison posts as one of the best examples of what I could write about and felt oddly good, almost proud, about them. Of course, reality sets in and none of them were really successful even in a limited fashion. The Guilty Gear design comparisons have been yet another views collecting topic, so I’ll most likely I’ll have to give those more weight in the future.

Usually I set some goals for the of the month in these opening rants, but this time all I’m going to say that bets are off for now. Despite being able to keep up reviews for a time now, I’d rather call off my reviews than resort on making a video game review nobody reads. Screw that, here’s a first impression review of Star Trek Beyond I wrote after I was asked how I felt about it via Twitter. That’ll serve well enough.

Perhaps, just perhaps I am at a burnout of sorts. I don’t feel that I am getting the best quality stuff I could, despite the aforementioned being something I feel good about. There are a lot of subjects that I want to touch upon, but there are no driving reasons for me to invest the time in them. Well, there are, but I have to reason on how I spend my time, and to be completely honest, I am not using my time well at the moment. I should either be polishing up what I know and what I can do rather than spent time on writing. Maybe the thing I need to do is to take some time off and get shit sorted out. Maybe try out a voiced version of this blog, discuss topics out loud rather than in text. You can vote here, if you’d care about a thing like that.

Maybe I need a break, but if I take one, it’s not this month. But I do need food, and because my kitchen equipment is unusable at the time, I guess I’m going to eat out today.

2016 in pop-movies is filled with same thing

First, I have a wound of my left hand that makes typing bit o f a bitch, so I’m sorry about all the typos that will sneak in.

I admit that I am not the biggest moviebuff out there, but I admit that 2015 was a year that I went to see a lot more movies that what I usually do. There were some good movies, and some movies that really overstayed its welcome. 2016 looks like a year when adaptations and sequels will hit the silver screen with a revenge. This year has also been called something like Year of the Nerds when it comes to the movies or the like, and I do see where that come from.

Going through some lists of upcoming movies sort of tell me that I’m not going to visit the theatre as much this year. A lot of million dollar blockbuster movies range from comic book movies to modern book adaptations. Remakes and sequels as far as eye can see. A lot of these movies are something that have no real reason to be made outside brand recognition or because they want to heat up some old franchise. The coldest turkey in the bunch in this field is the Ghostbusters. I still have to ask myself how in the hell are they going to make a better movie than one of the best comedies of the 1980’s? How Ghostbusters became to be is a slight legend on itself, and it was a culmination of many factors coming together just right, both in right and wrong. While I’m not ready to shoot the movie down just yet, it’s not looking good.

On the comic book front we have eight goddamn comic book movies. These comic book adaptations are our Western movies without any doubt, and it just might be that all the TV-series and movies we get out of Marvel and DC characters may end up burning people. The hardcore comic lovers will stay with them until the boom’s dead, but I have to say I’m pretty much fed up with it. Avengers 2 was the worst movie of the bunch for me, concentrating far too much on the fight’s flashiness in similar manner how Pacific Rim did, and Ultron’s design and plot made little to no sense. Deadpool, Batman Vs. Superman, Captain America; Avengers 2.5, X-Men: Apocalypse, goddamn Suicide Squad, Gambit movie with Channing Tatum as the lead and Doctor Strange all feel more or less already visited. There’s Daredevil Season 2 in there somewhere and some other shows, but I honestly am dropping my interests on these all of the previous movies have offered very little anything new. I admit that Doctor Strange might be worth checking out, but seeing how Cumberbatch acts like Cumberbatch in everything he has been in, my expectations are low. We are reaching a saturation point, and some are already guessing this year might break the comic book movie boom.

Adaptations ahoy, we’re getting a sequel to the Snow White movie we got some time ago in form of The Huntsman. Much like the upcoming Jungle Book and Tarzan remakes/re-adaptations, nobody really asked for these. I’m sure the Snow White movie has its fans, but much like Avatar, nobody remembers or talks about it. The Marvel movies already made their impact on popular culture, yet I see none of these making. That Tarzan movie also feels like it’s a prequel to that 90’s Tarzan show. Finding Dory most likely will be just like most of Pixar’s sequels and be forgotten fast. They’re also rebooting Friday the 13th. Again.

I have to admit that I’ve yet to see the first Bay’s Turtles movies, even if I had all the intentions of doing so for some time. The trailer for the second movie is… well, it’s like what I would’ve expected to see done during the 90’s, after somebody had snorted too much cocaine and had millions of dollars in their hands. The trailer itself incorporates what are essentially toy designs, takes itself pretty damn seriously but doesn’t forget that the 80’s cartoon’s vibe. It feels stupidly fun and I hate myself for saying it, but you can like dumb things. Everybody has their own scratch that fixes that itch.

I don’t like Angry Birds, but I do admire how much money they made at one point. Now they’re more or less becoming forgotten with Rovio making less and less money on their games and merchandise. The Angry Bird movie should have come out year or two ago when the boom was it biggest. Perhaps this will revitalise the franchise to some degree. Warcraft is getting a movie too, which is coming out at a time when the MMO is experiencing loss in players.

Most video game adaptations have been more or less awful, with Mortal Kombat still being one of the better ones, but the problem with adapting a game to the silver screen is that it’s a game. You can’t adapt gameplay and its contents, they’re unique to the medium. Mario cartoons tried this with showing the world with some makeshift footage from a game-like perspective, but rarely any of the stories were anything to write home about. The movie adaptations of games suffer from this same thing, and Mortal Kombat did right to stick with doing what movies do best and expand on the game’s world. Warcaft has an expansive story that could be adapted, but how do you adapt a strategy game to the silver screen? Most likely they’ll concentrate on one race only and pick the biggest points from the storyline, and make the battles to showcase some very remote resemblance whatever was in the game.

I guess what I’m getting at is that this year is missing a lot of originality. Just to use the 80’s as an example, we got 1982 that was one of the best year in sci-fi and fantasy movies. Poltergeist, E.T., Tron and The Dark Crystal are examples of movies that can stand on their own, and expanding that to adaptations we have Blade Runner, which strays pretty damn far from the novel. You have The Thing, both a remake and an adaptation and still manages to do its own thing, even thou reviews of the time didn’t regard much of it. Then you have Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which isn’t just the best Trek movie out there but is also one of the best Sci-fi movies out there. Star Trek Into Darkness is not even a shadow of Trek II, and I have no real hopes for either the upcoming Star Trek series (2017) and Star Trek Beyond.

Movies need desperately more movies that are unique to its medium like Flight of the Navigator that have no pre-existing base, less comic book movies with almost a century worth of material to adapt from.

Approved recycling

I have this slight condition with certain approaches where I am unable to see faults or have them have any impact on my enjoyment despite being fully aware of them.

On a discussion some time ago whether or not movies should be enjoyed as they are. A point that one of the participants said of themselves is that they are not able to ignore the intent the director wanted out of respect for the director and take as meant. This is a valid argument and applies to the person who made the argument alone, just as one could argue that he enjoys movies as they are as entertainment rather than trying to find meaning that doesn’t exist in them.

However, more often than not it seems people are willing to take in the authorial intent as is with flicks they enjoy, opting to berate those that they don’t enjoy or see something wrong in them. This isn’t really doubethinking or anything like that, it’s as usual. Everybody does this, it’s a standard of human living to let things slide, unless you dislike something.

As mentioned, I tend to have an infliction that I’m able to enjoy things as long as they entertain me. I see the stupidity, I see the faults and yet I give them a pass because… I don’t really know, to be honest. Perhaps it is because I allow myself to be swayed by that authorial intent too much, and be taken by the movie. Well, most of the time. There are products that just make me want to grab a bottle, like Space Thunder Kids. Korean animations are the reason I drink alcohol so much nowadays.

To use an example, the Tristar Godzilla from 1998 is a movie that I can’t help but enjoy. Is it a good movie? No, not really. Is it an entertaining one? Most definitely. The same applies to the team Devlin/Emmerich’s previous two moves, Stargåte and Independence Day as well. They’re not really all that cleaver in the end, they’re a bit annoying but dammit they’re just nice popcorn flicks to watch now and then. The hype for all three movies was insane at the time, and marketing was very well realised in order to grab attention. For Stargåte you saw the gate and people stepping into it, but never saw the other side. For Independence Day you saw White House being blown up and some action, but outside that nothing else much. For Godzilla they went one of the most late 90’s ad campaigns around with the whole SIZE DOES MATTER take, which was both stupid and absurdly difficult to maintain as you couldn’t show the monster itself. I remember seeing the teaser for Godzilla before The Lost World, and it grabbed me. The teaser is famous for featuring no footage from the flick itself, but that never bothered me. While it’s not a good form, it tried to sold the theme of the movie rather than the movie itself. Then again, we’re the audience, not the execs. Sell us the movie, not the idea of a movie.

When I went to watch the movie itself, I remember coming out of it feeling the same as I did with the Nolan’s Batman movies; Well, at least I’ve seen it now. Enjoyed it, but know in my heart that it was a stupid movie. There are scenes that make no sense, like in the early on in the hospital where Philippe takes out a lighter to talk with one of the survivors. The scene overall is stupid, but I still see what’s being done here; the light is to take the survivor’s attention in a hypnotic way to make him concentrate. Of course, this may be me giving Emmerich more credit than he deserves and it could’ve been just to build tension, which I took in hook, line and sinker when sitting there. Just like with the hole in MetLife building. It’s awesome idea, but absolutely stupid one.

The same was repeated with the latest Godzilla movie. I came out, but this time I took some friends with me so I could discuss the movie with. True enough they mentioned all the spots that bothered me.

The difference between the two Godzilla movies is that the Tristar one had an immensely troublesome production having its initial start in 1994, ten years after Henry Saperstein had pressurised for an American take of the monster. When thing fell apart with DePont’s Godzilla, Emmerich took over. While Emmerich gets a lot of hate from changing Godzilla for his movie, all the changes were approved by Toho themselves, so blaming just Emmerich is stupid. To argue Toho knew Godzilla better than the Americans, they didn’t even know how many rows of spikes Godzilla has on its back. Toho and fans went to full damage control after the Tristar Godzilla, and a lot of misconceptions about the name still persists.

The movie was so troublesome and threatened to gobble up all special effects houses of the time, that it could never have been a hit. If you want to read the whole history of Tristar Godzilla, both the original version and the later Emmerich version, Sci-Fi Japan has a large, in-depth four part series of articles dedicated to it. It’s a good read even if you’re not fan of Godzilla, as it shows how the industries were strangely struggling with artists struggling with businessmen, and craftsmen were in the middle.

Emmerich’s Godzilla wasn’t supposed to be the same Godzilla we know. If you hate this idea then you’d hate the rest of the movie. Sure, has only traces of original Godzilla in it, but then again Godzilla has always been changed with the time, even by Toho. Hell, one could argue that making him a hero character is absolutely retarded take on what essentially was a walking nuclear bomb. The 2014 Godzilla was truer than Tristar one, but it was by no means any better. The same applies to Godzilla 2000, and applies to a whole lot of different franchises out there.

Going through franchises from their inception to modern day, you notice that there to be a lot of repetition. It’s bound to happen. That shouldn’t be the norm thou. All that we have now used to be new. King Ghidorah, the fan-favourite enemy of Godzilla was new in 1964. After that we’ve got less high quality monsters for Godzilla to fight. What does it say about the fans and the producers when one of the fan favourite monsters next King Ghidorah is essentially a robotic copy? I applaud the 2014 Godzilla for adding a new monster Godzilla to fight. It would’ve been the best for them to continue with new creations, but it’s already confirmed that the old monsters would return. This is on both fans and the producers, as they are afraid to deviate from the established formula. Don’t break what works is a good idea to uphold, but even then there are always better options. This is one reason why it’s so ironic to call these people as artists, as they barely create anything artistic. They just recycle things with a new lick of paint and call it day.

My doublethink here is that despite Emmerich’s Godzilla is a bad movie on its own rights, at least it tried to be something different and in surprising ways was far more rooted to the original Godzilla than any of its sequels were.

I’m pretty sure I lost some credit with this post among movie enthusiasts and Godzilla fans, but take solace in that this doesn’t only apply to Tristar Godzilla. I like a lot of stuff I know is shit and not all that good, and I am able to admit to that. I would just love to see people do the same and get off their high horse from time to time.

Monthly Music; そこに海があって

I forgot monthly music this time around. Funny how that goes.

I’ve got no real subject this time. I’ve been busy with things and thus I’m late with me schedules and plans regarding this blog, but things will come together… somehow. The LD player is in the works, kinda, and will see the day of light when I manage to nab proper screenshots and other stuff needed for it.

Otherwise, it’s winter here. The world outside is white again and getting colder. Winter was a reason I selected the above music this time from Soko ni Umi ga Atte, Mirage product. (Ha! I don’t need to label this post related to âge now.) I really like the song. I’ve got no idea what kind of genre it is or who made it or similar. I’m kinda inept and inexperienced with music that way. I know more about it’s production and what goes into it rather than who made what song at what time. I do know Dio and love me some Holy Diver, and Rhapsody’s Holy Thunder For–

Aww shit, now I need to tag this properly AND take that shot. Yes, I still keep my promise on drinking when referencing to Muv-Luv, or just talking about it. I wonder how in the world I manage to keep myself sober

Let’s point out the elephant in the room; Will I talk about Disney buying Lucasfilm? Yes, as soon as I’ve sorted my own personal feelings regarding the purchase. I need to read on the subject a bit, and at the moment we have very little info outside the upcoming Episode VII. That thing I’m hopeful for is the release of the Original Trilogy on Blu-Ray without those additions Lucas made. That would be a goldmine to Disney, especially if they include every single extra they can. Funny how the LaserDisc versions are still the best versions of the Original Trilogy next to the theatrical reels, as the DVD print that had episodes IV-VI had barely decent LD rips, where the screen actually paused for few seconds where the player turned the side of the disc. I can edit that out on my computer, so why couldn’t they? Most likely because they didn’t know about it.

I’m more concerned about Indiana Jones. But we’ll get back to the topic when the time comes.

There’s few articles sitting in the backburner at the moment. I’m not wholly satisfied how they are at the moment, and the other one needs rather slight revamp in context. The other one is pretty fine, it just has too much… Muv-Luv in it. It’s that time of the year, y’know.

It’s about a year since I started reading that. Technically, I started reading it the 30th, so the Anniversary day has come and gone…

Of Moon and Hopes

“You could glimpse, that we human have entered the realm of myths and legend”

We need to step back that realm once more. What this world needs is nothing less than hope. Lunar landing wasn’t fiction. However, what science fiction gives to us not just fiction, hope. To quote Harlan;

“Now in the world of science fiction, writers have to pay attention to what’s going on around them, because science fiction is the only 100% hopeful fiction. That is to say, inherent in the form is, “There will be a tomorrow”. If you read a science fiction story, it says, “This will happen tomorrow”. Now that’s very positive, that’s very pragmatic, “We’ll be here tomorrow. We may be unhappy, we may be all living like maggots, but we’ll be here.” So that means it’s 100% positive.”

And this is what Armstrong was; he was a living embodiment of hope that some day we would be tomorrow. So was Gagarin and every other person who has stepped into space.

I remember being laughed at when I was little because I liked science fiction. It was the dummies’ poetry or the like. There were people who read horror and vampire novels and laughed at me for reading 2001: Space Odyssey with gleaming eyes. There was hope in those stories, and whenever I saw the models of the real lunar equipment, the reproductions of the spacesuits and pictures of Earth from the Moon I could rekindle that hope in my heart.

Have we abandoned that which made hopes and dreams reality? I hope we haven’t, and I hope that if not during my lifetime, then during my nephew’s we’ll see man walking in the space once more. Perhaps not on Mars, but at least on Moon once more. Compared to what we have now, the Apollo group flew to the Moon with just bunch of rocks and sticks.

Our legends are of flesh and blood, mortal men who waltzed on a razor sharp edge between life and death. Some of them were cut, some of them were not.

We watch the stars, dreaming and wishing to be able to be there. Perhaps in ourselves there is a small restriction that binds ourselves to the mother earth, like gravity weighting our souls down. But then we need to remember that there will always come time for
children to spread their wings and leave their homes.

I have to ask is it right to to deny hope from people?
Well, let’s stop this sappy rant and let’s get back to work. But still, next time you gaze up…




So they made Robocop a transformers wait what?

I grew up with Robocop in a manner of speaking. I saw the first film around the same time I saw Star Wars and Indiana Jones. That’s around five or so. I remember my dad blocking my sight from seeing the monkey brain eating scene in The Temple of Doom, but I watched pretty much everything else block-free because of my sweet elder brothers.

I got into Robocop 2 around the same age, but saw Robocop 3 and the animated series much later on, so these weren’t there as I grew up. Same goes for the live action TV-series, which all share the same flaw; they’re pretty terrible.

Fast forward the end of 00’s when some concrete info on the Robocop remake surfaces. The fool I am, I was hopeful that this Hollywood remake would be something decent, unlike so many remakes, sequels and re-imaginings thus far. I mean, somebody has to have faith in humanity, right?

Oh boy, let’s skip to few months ago.

I’m man enough to admit that I got little bit pumped about this viral teaser. The video does have that OCP spirit in it, the designs look pretty sleek, except ED-209 looks… Let’s put it this way; the original ED-209 was designed to resemble an all-out American car with huge fuel consumption. That’s where the front grill and overall design came from. The new ED-209 seems to go for parodying the movie Transformers design, but why? They’re well parodied already by themselves. Why not take similar approach and create a sarcastic design of modern cars, or Apple designs? OK, Apple design have been parodied enough elsewhere, let the horse already die there. As such, the new ED-209 concept is a miss. It doesn’t fulfil the slot that ED-209 should fill. I even have to question whether or we should be calling it ED-209.

And the Robocop concept… Oh lord.

If you didn’t know that the above concept was for Robocop, what would you have imagined it to be? The original design is iconic for a reason. If they wanted to use something that’s not Robocop at all, why to even use the name?

Because of name recognition, of course.

If you want me to go deeper what’s wrong with that design above as a Robocop, I can do that in a separate post, because pretty much everything is wrong with it, from head to toe.

But now there was some small leaks what the concept of Robocop would be in the remake. And let me tell you this that what I’m saying isn’t just my honest to God opinion, but also a fact; it reeks of failure.

First of all, as it stands now, there’s very little that’s Robocop in the story frame. Robocop wasn’t about a cyborg police going killing people and coming out good, but a man inside a shell, deciding who he was and what he was. It’s a story about the human character. This suggested concept seems to ignore this for toy sales.

Toy sales? Then why the hell they call the first version of Robocop as a toy from the 80’s? There’s nothing toyetic about Robocop’s design outside cyborg shell, and later the jetpack and the cartoons but those are out of the window, we’re talking about Verhoeven’s original film. Are they trying to make fun of current world making toyetic designs, and then make one? That’s not funny or ironic or satire, that’s just sad! It’s like laughing at somebody because they have a cat, and then going home and fucking one in the ass. I apologize, that’s just wrong.

The original film was a good satire on then current USA’s expense. However, its message still applies today because the things it rises to consciousness haven’t swept away. Even the SUX car still applies, even thou we’re going for more environment friendly cars, but SUX breaks down just as easily as modern computer controlled cars. The human characters are timeless in the film, and while you see that’s it’s clearly retro-future nowadays, the audience can believe because every thing’s there physically and not a goddamn CGI horror they’re going to be in the remake.

This concept also reeks of post-9/11. I’m not here to offend anybody, but move on people. Having Robocop, a police unit, going through an Al-Qaeda camp with some sort of action mode is beyond stupid. Creating a transforming vehicle, let alone a cyborg, is a mechanical nightmare for designers and engineers. Oh, it’s supposed to be toyetic to give out sarcastic remarks? Well fuck me silly, that’s stupid as hell. OCP, as mad as they would be, are not idiots. Incompetent perhaps, but not idiots.

Robocop having him change from civial mode to this other mode is idiotic, as it doesn’t serve the outer purpose of the design at any point. Design a sturdy, strong and determined outlook to which civilians can rely on, and what criminals want to avoid. Like the original design. There’s no goddamn need to have a secondary mode, unless OCP decides to make Robocop into military unit, and then they’d make a different prototype for that use.

You can’t make a satire out of the original film when everything it satires still applies. You’ll only end up with a product that hurts itself and will be looked down as a shitty cash-in.

Goddamn, even Jurassic Park IV’s suggestion of intelligent cyborg Velociraptor’s as police/SWAT hounds was better than this shit.

If you want to make a successful remake of anything, then respect the original source material. Otherwise you just might as well make something that has been inspired by the original work.