Part 1 is over here
This be Part Two. I tackle: Monkeybone, Monument Valley, Persona 3: FES, The Rocketeer, Showgirls, Sister Claire, Sky Dolls, Super Mario 3D World/Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Tinkerbell: The Pirate Fairy, Transistor
, and Wakfu
season two (so far.)Monkeybone
Once Upon A Time, young teenage Neo Yi thought Brendan Fraser was a hot piece of tamale. I tried (and failed) to make some feasible attempt to watch any of his movies during his height of fame and none enticed me more than Monkeybone.
I mean, good looking actor starring alongside a cartoon monkey? Well, kiss my grits cuz’ that sounds like a hoot an’ a holler. I never did get to see it in theaters and the film faded from my consciousness until Netflix recently uploaded it and oh boy am I glad I didn’t waste ten bucks to see it on the big screen. . Monkeybone
is a soul-crushing, vile, nihilistic film. I say nihilistic not because the movie philosophized the futility of a meaningful life, but its entire existence is a convincing argument for it.
I have a million questions and criticisms lined up. Like why did Brendan Fraser’s character (I forgot the name of his character which should say something about this damnable piece of shit) sell his Monkeybone character to a big animation company despite the clear level of stress and anguish the creature enforced on him. There are big, honkin’ hints that he didn’t want this in the first place. The implication seems to be that his big shot agent friend coaxed him into it, but the movie never plops out a good answer. What the hell happened to Brendan Fraser’s sister after he wakes up from his coma? She was blatantly trying to kill him, but the minute he’s up and about (actually Monkeybone in his body), she disappears. Why are there Happy Meal toys for Monkeybone when the fucking thing is a giant metaphor for his erection, one that actually legitimately says that on screen? Why is it targeted to kids?!
Okay, I’ll bite, things get interesting when Brendan Fraser ends up in Down Town, the bridge between life and death. This is the movie’s only saving grace: the underworld is visually gothic, weird, and disturbing; a field of nightmarish landscapes and twisty layouts. Unsurprisingly, it’s hemmed by Henry Selick, he of the Nightmare Before Christmas/Coraline
director, so the whole place is an appropriate setting for the Hot Topic crowd. I also really freakin’ love Whoopie Goldberg’s outfit.
She’s supposed to be Death, but ends up something akin to a Steampunk pirate and I love it.
I wished the entire movie had taken placed Down Town.
By the time Brendan Fraser leaves Down Town, I checked the timer and realized the film had only passed the forty minute mark. I thought the entire film would have been him trying to escape this place. It also meant I still had another half of the damn movie left to suffer through. The pacing is atrocious, tedious, and looooooong.
A good portion of the second half of the film is dedicated to Monkeybone-in-Brendan-Fraser’s body goofing around. I will say this: Fraser legitimately pulls good physical comedy, acting very much like a living cartoon. But I feel like I committed a sin after I finished the movie. I think I need to go and confess this shit out: "Forgive me, Father for I have sinned; I watched
Monkeybone all the way through.”
Seriously, this movie. Monument Valley
I don’t play a lot of mobile games, but Monument Valley
caught my eye when I stumbled upon an article of it…somewhere (I can’t remember where I read it.) Monument Valley
is a puzzle game built around an Escher-ish layout of pastel colors and haunting music. You are a princess seeking redemption as you switch platforms and blocky landscapes for her to cross. This intriguing element forces you to maneuver 2D structures to create alternate 3D paths It’s hard to explain, so I’m just going to link the trailer
and let you judge yourself.
My only grip is that for a four dollar game, you can beat the thing in an hour. A puzzle game of this caliber could have stood to squeeze in more levels. Regardless, it’s a lovely little gem with some amazing colors and a truly gorgeous, gorgeous
soundtrack. Persona 3: FES
I clocked in a 120+ hours in Persona 3: FES.
I don’t know how that happened.
The entire game is part visual novel, part RPG. You spend each day for a year as a teen protagonist going to school and fighting monsters. It’s every High School Plot in existence. It’s every kind of storytelling genre I am actually sick to death of. I usually find visual novels boring as hell just to add my level of astonishment on the amount of hours I festered inside Tartarus. The dungeon designs get tedious after the 400th fight, the routine Get Up, Go To School, Save the Day structure gets tedious, and at least one month is dull-droppingly tedious. It’s tedious, just tedious. And every single part of it was addicting as hell.
A lot of that is owed to how you go about your schedule and who you chat with. The game’s design is simple, but the concept extraordinary varied. You wake up, you study, you socialize, you date, you help people with their problems, you fight monsters, you gain levels, you perform mini-tasks, you go on school vacations, you celebrate festivals, etc. How you actually go about it is based on you. People react differently and certain events trigger based on what you did on a certain day. It's nuts.
I’m talking Pokemon EV/IV levels of nuts. The entire game takes place in maybe seven measly locations, but the multiple options you’re given prevents Persona 3 from falling into mindless torture and is instead miraculously engrossing.
I never did finish The Answer though. I sat through about four hours worth before I grew so fatigued that I had to remove myself from it. At this point, I doubt I’ll ever get to it. To the YouTube Let's Play!Persona 3
is a game I see myself replaying again, but not for a very, very, very
long time. This is why I haven’t touched Persona 4
yet, but someday. Someday.
Anyone who has any decent amount of familiarity with me knows I have a gushing appreciation and adoration for the 20s/30s period and its pulp fictiony goodness. I think I’m really enticed by pulp fiction because you can literally take anything cool - explosions, robots, dinosaurs, adventure, treasure, pirates, whatever - and toss them all in one setting and somehow make it work. You don’t need to explain the irrationality of a mad scientist dinosaur and Nicola Tesla building a robot that ends up fighting Cthulhu (oh, by the way, have you guys read Atomic Robo
because y’all need to read Atomic Robo
) other than recognizing it as the Rule of Cool. There are certain rules they should follow, but only rules that are defined by their universe. And that’s cool.
Why did it take me so long to see The Rocketter?
Thanks, Netflix, you’re a lifesaver! Actually, my first thought during the first half of the film is how much of a colossal dick the main character was. He gets better, but I was ready to dismiss this film simply due to his selfish jerkassery. The Rocketeer
isn’t particularly notable and its premise old hat. I think I’m more impressed by the visuals, not because it isn’t dated (oh, it is so dated), but the amount of money and movie tech the crew likely spent and utilized during the time of the film’s release. Sometimes, I really miss old movie sets. At the same time, I keep thinking The Rocketeer
would look amazing
if it was remade today. As it stands, it’s good popcorn entertainment. It’s hardly brainless material, but nothing memorable really sticks out. It’s the 40s. There’s Nazis. The Rocketeer fights them. At one point the Mafia helps the Rocketeer fight off Nazis. There, an incentive to see the film and justify what I mean on the pulp fiction Rule of Cool. I will also give the movie props for letting the love interest do something more than uselessly stand around as the damsel in distress. And god
, do I love that Rocketeer jacket. That is tight.
As it stands, it got me curious to put the Rocketeer
comics the movie is based on in my Amazon wishlist for future purchase someday.</p>
Ever since Nostalgic Chick reviewed this movie, I knew I had to see Showgirls
someday. She was right: it’s an entertaining, fascinating train wreck. The film has a staggering level of unrealistic expectations on the profession main character Nomi is trying to achieve (as far as I know) let alone how to write her character and women. The movie was apparently an exploration on the rough life of an exotic (erotic?) dancer and the sheer lengths these women would go for to get the lead role. I think I’m suppose to feel pity for Nomi as she gradually descends into obsession and revenge in order to secure her position as well as act like some silent vigilante to people who has wronged her and her friend, but when Nomi’s an unpleasant asshole throughout the film, what sympathy is there to give?
The unfortunate rape scene is unnecessary as a whole, the acting is mediocre, and the plot is probably thirty minutes too long, padded out by a load of nonsense and nudity. That one jackass Nomi fucks in a swimming pool (in one of the most impossibly defined sex scenes I’ve ever seen in a film) has stupid neon palm trees near his pool and I think it’s the most hilarious overcompensation I’ve ever seen. I don’t know why, it just fucking makes me laugh. I heard the DVD edition actually has a drinking game list inserted into the box cover. I think that says something about the film. Sister Claire
The premise of Sister Claire
is amazing: a young nun named Claire is greeted by a demon who pops out of the toilet and tells her she is carrying the Messiah. After that stunning revelation, Claire learns nun fu, meets various other demons, other kooky nuns, and dark secrets about her mother figure Sister Catharine. It’s insane.
I was very intrigued. A part of this is helped by the visually appealing artwork, a mish-mash of anime and Powerpuff Girls.
I wanted to know how the kindhearted Claire dealt with this sudden destiny; I wanted to know the big deal behind Catharine; I just wanted to stare at the lovely artwork forever and giggle at the awesome over-the-top nuns (even if it sometimes delve into anime cliches I don’t like: not a fan of twins acting like they have some kind of a sugary hive mind with each other.) I really dig all the nuns' gimmicks and personality. I really dig all the nuns' gimmicks and personality. They're bombastic, but the kind of bombastic that really works within the wackiness of the comic
But then my interest suddenly took a dip the moment Claire and her posse left the chapel. I started to feel an odd sense of stagger with its pacing and I’m not sure it has anything to do with the changed scenario. I think it’s actually the prose the authors upload in-between pages that kind of dropped the momentum for me. I mean, I went into this webcomic expecting sequential art, not, well, a chapter book. I like reading and the Little Golden Books-style artwork is ingenious, but shuffling through the literature portion took a bit of the enjoyment from Sister Claire.
Regardless, the urge to reread the comic is very strong in me and I’m curious to see where Sister Claire will go, but I think this fits in my webcomic list of "wait for a few pages to upload, then get back into it. Rinse and repeat."Sky Dolls Sky Dolls
has some of the most maddening detailed, prettiest coloring I’ve ever seen in sequential art ever.
It’s also porn-with-plot. But it’s good, I swear. I swear. Sky Dolls
intricately deals with corrupt churches and the mass of fools willing to believe any miracles shoved their way. It also extensively deals with Noa, a sentient robot, and her existential crisis as she wanders if there’s more to her than just being an appliance to be used by organics. And it just so happens to have a lot of boobs in it. Sky Dolls
isn’t subtle with its themes, but they lovingly craft them into a passable story. Sky Dolls
is equally intimate, both physically and spiritually. Noa’s conflict never stops her from being a cheerful, determined girl and her issues ties immensely to the ongoing religious conflicts of the plot. There are a lot of mysterious on the previous saintly figure Agape and the dual role she shares with her sister, Ludovica. There are characters that support both ends of the argument and each deal with his or her own issue. The nudity isn’t gratuitously pointless and the majority serves as a significant point of interest to the overall story. I think it helps that there’s a level of moderation on how much they actually show it, too.
The fourth book recently came out in Europe after a five-year waiting period. Here’s hoping it lands on our shores at some point because I really would like to continue.
Super Mario 3D World/Captain Toad
I admit my fatigue for the New Super Mario Bros
portion of the Mario franchise for its sheer redundancy. That thing is, all the Mario games are similar to one another and with literally hundreds of games under Nintendo’s belt, picking and choosing what to play because it’s “too similar” comes off a tad hypocritical. It’s not like I won’t be nabbing the WiiU edition or New Super Mario Bros 2
for the 3DS in the future because as a totally biased Nintendo fan, I will. I think the reason I’m so sick of it is that we’ve had like what, five of these games almost every year since its original Wii release a while back? Mario platformers usually tend to come out every five years, give or take thirteen spin-offs, so there is a just a long enough waiting period that the latest “main canon” Mario game feels fresh again. Since these New Super Mario Bros. games came out routinely, I figure the best I can do is self-impose myself to stay away from them until I feel the need to play them. This is also why I held off on a WiiU for a while because I did not want the New Super Mario Bros
edition (oh, and being poor, that too.) It was totally worth the wait when I snagged the console that came with Nintendo Land
(which I still haven’t tested out) and Super Mario 3D World.
SM3DW draws key inspirations from Super Mario 3D Land
, but bigger and prettier. It, too does what “main” Mario platformers do best: take the same run-and-jump concept and add new gimmicks to it. It works like a charm. All. The. Damn. Time.
You’re running and bopping enemies in 3D environments, but sometimes you go sideways or explore a vast field. There’s the obligatory World 1 grassland and World 2 desert, but when was the last time a Mario game ever did an Asian-themed level? Super Mario Land
is the only one off the top of my head. Oh, and Sammer’s Kingdom in Super Paper Mario
. There’s a carnival theme and poisonous jungle levels, too. Shit, I am sure past Mario games have done this before (Yoshi’s Island
prominently featured the latter.). One stage is freakin’ Mario Kart.
And yet it all feels new.
Occasionally you can challenge Mario and co. in Mystery Houses where you endure 10-second levels performing whatever task displays on screen or play the Captain Toad segments that completely flips the genre into a quieter platform-puzzler experience. Oh, and Princess Peach is playable again. Holy Shit, that just changes so much for me because it’s been a million years since Super Mario Bros 2.
All of these are really just extraneous changes and often minor at best, but they still somehow feel freaking new and I love every fucking element of it.
Let’s face it, Nintendo isn’t perfect, but I give them an abundance of credit more than I probably should. I can’t help it, the company punches out all these games that can reach in and pump my disgruntled heart through its colorful visuals and addicting gameplay and if they can keep doing that, then I have few rooms for complaint. Super Mario 3D World
is the most fun Mario game I’ve played since Galaxy.
Also the Cat power up is one of the most useful shit ever.
CAPTAIN TOAD: TREASURE TRACKER ADDENDUM
Puzzle-platformers seem to be A Thing that’s happening with frightening frequency and it fills me with a level of glee and horror I’ve never encountered in a genre that’s not well, Horror. It means game developers are combining two of my favorite gaming genres that will guarantee a spark of interest from yours truly. It also means I’m screwed because half of Steam games are indies that super looooooves
to do this kind of thing.
The Captain Toad
games were sweet little breaks after an extensive marathon of jumping and fireballing in the game I reviewed above, but I lament its minimum level count (only five or so.) Hearing there would be a spin-off with 80+ levels was enough for me to buy the sucker on first day release (the lesser 40 dollars helped, too.)
Then I played and finished Captain Toad: TT
and it made me realize that I actually think this game works in small portions. I didn’t plow through it, only playing some 3-4 levels before I stopped for the day. Granted, this is on top of getting the optional three diamonds and the specific challenge each level asks you to perform should you choose. The latter is a nice addition, but not as varied as I wished. At least half of them ask you to “locate the golden mushroom” or “grab X number of coins.” Captain Toad
is an easy, breezy game to get through once you get over the initial shock that Toad can’t jump. But it’s only tolerable in smaller quantities because well, it’s kind of repetitive which yeah, I know is kind of hypocritical given what I said about SM3DW above! But the thing is, Captain Toad
is a slower-paced game in comparison. You can and should take your time with each level while a standard Mario stage can logically be beaten under 300 seconds. I kind of wish this would have been a 3DS game; its simplicity and casual mind-bending puzzles make it suitable for convenient travels.
It’s also kind of brilliant when you see it through the eyes of a lifelong Mario gamer. Here is a simple explorer who has to rely on the environment and/or run like shit to grab the star and finish the level because he has limited abilities. Sure, he can gain power-ups and throw turnips, but a simple goomba is a major threat to him. Mario and Luigi can plow through millions of those ugly lumps on a Tuesday with just the soles of their feet, but for Captain Toad it’s literally life or death for the guy. It really puts things into perspective.
I kind of wished the environment sometimes didn’t block Toad whenever I switch the camera. I think part of that adds to the challenge and it may have been intended, but it’s a bit frustrating when the camera tilts in a different direction because for some asinine reason Nintendo wants you to make more use of the gamepad by rotating it. You can control the camera with the right analog stick (as you should), but you can also do it by moving the actual pad. I sometimes move my hand with the pad without consciously being aware that I am, causing the game to take that as incentive to move the damn camera to and subsequently get Captain Toad killed. Nintendo really should have considered an option to switch this off because it’s damn sensitive. I also think the controls get finicky when you combine the touch screen, forcing you to quickly move your finger and tap and position your hand back in time to move Toad towards his goal.
Quibbles aside, Captain Toad
was fun. It’s kind of tedious, but taking it in small doses was enough for me to finish the game in a reasonable amount of time. Tinkerbell: The Pirate Fairy
I liked the first Tinkerbell
film a lot, but never had any desire to watch the rest. I really should get on it because if the first movie and the one I’m going to talk about is any indicator it matches the same level of quality as My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
by introducing a sea of vivid female protagonists in a colorful, cutesy setting that never insults its audience or fall in a trap of saccharine glurge.
Either way, I totally skipped ahead to The Pirate Fairy
because Loki plays Captain Hook and he sings. Oh boy, does he sing
(alright, it's one solo that lasts like a minute, but still.) The weird thing is I don’t really find Tom Hiddleston attractive unless he’s Loki, but I guess his voice must have sufficed enough that I had to check it out.
I was honestly not prepared for this, but…*sigh…Young Captain Hook is kinda hot and I wanted to ship him and Zarina the fairy together. Oops. I mean, not even as a couple, I just think these two would have made an awesome pirate duo together. Hook is pretty brilliant here: he manipulates Zarina by letting her think she’s the captain of a human-only pirate in order to access the mass quantity of fairy dust in Pixie Hollow. And this whole time he’s bonding with her and treating her kindly. There’s a scene where he and Zarina are flying with the horde of fairy dust they stole and they’re so happy together and damn it you know Hook is evil.
You know his betrayal is a foregone conclusion, but friggidy-frack, I just wanted these two kids to work it out!
This is honestly a good movie, you guys should check it out, hopefully without breaking your heart like this film did with mine. Ahh well, time to create my epic 50 chapter fancomic about the two.TransistorTransistor
takes a lot of cues from Bastion
, effectively doubling as a spiritual sequel that carries a similar story structure and gameplay. The battle system is a mixture of strategy-RPG and action, vastly improving on the Bastion formula. It took a while to understand the mechanics behind because it’s fairly complex. You can issue new commands to four distinct spaces and depending on which power-ups you put in can create a number of devastating (or sometimes useless) attacks. There’s a passive slot off to the side that can perform additional functions, ensuring plenty of experimentation. The game tries to push you into attempting as many different combos as possible through its penalty system. When your life bar goes down, one of your powers will be blocked off until you find a recharge station, forcing you to rely on another power-up until then.
Like The Kid, Red is the only soul with the fate of the world on her shoulders. While Bastion
takes place after the end, Transistor’s
plot progresses as the world is quickly dying; caused by some manner of otherworldly robotic aliens. The beautiful art deco sci-fi setting is constantly being eaten by these creatures, transforming it into a nightmarish, cold field of white. A sense of urgency is added to your quest and just as much solitude with it. Red is very much alone and the mysterious man whose soul inhabits the sword serves as her only companion. You meet other people (who in turn provides your Transistor with battle-ready upgrades), but they’re all dead or dying, forcing you to once again traverse alone. It’s a very atmospheric, depressing game, yet it’s minimalistic approach lends a certain peace to the world’s end even if you’re actively trying to stop it.
Red is voiceless throughout the game, a byproduct of being slightly derezzed by the supposed villains (and I say supposed because the characters have hidden agendas behind their actions) that left her unable to speak. Throughout the game, you can press a button and have Red hum to the tune of whatever music is playing on stage. This is totally optional, but it adds so much to her chosen profession and passion as a singer. It’s endearingly poetic and like the city itself, wistfully tragic.There’s something utterly beautiful about Transistor
even if the game ends on a downer beat.Wakfu, season 2 (currently)
The biggest shocker in Wakfu
: season one, is the sheer guts the show took to kill off one of its prominent character on-screen. The goofball Dally might have received his character development largely at the last minute, but it was a logical step from his personality and goals. His sacrifice made perfect sense and the punch-to-your-guts last minute hope of a revival an episode later only made it worse and so poignant.
Season Two opens up with Evangeline trying to cope over the loss of her love. She keeps hearing his voice and seeing him that it eventually convinces her that there might be a way to revive him after all. So does the show spend the next four episodes analyzing Eva’s sadness and showing that some things simply just can’t be? Does it take a mature subject like death and teach kids that the people you love may be gone, but you can move on? Ahahahahahaah!
No, they fucking resurrect Dally and everything is literally back to Square One. I’m serious. Season Two more or less confirm he and Eva are dating, but their sexual tension and aggressive he said, she said nonsense is exactly the same ridiculous bullshit season one pulled. IT NEVER CHANGED.
I have to ask, what could possibly be the reason that the creators brought him back for? Popular demand? Parental complaint over a death onscreen? I’m only halfway through season 2 and I have no clue if they plan to explain this, but I have a feeling I won’t get an answer let alone one I like. I hate cheap deaths. With certain exceptions, I absolutely find the quality of a show drops significantly if they suddenly introduce cheap deaths. It renders Dally’s heroic last stand as nothing more than a footnote and takes away whatever potency it had.
So far, the rest of season two suffers the same trappings of the first, though with arguably better pacing. It also has Remington and I fucking love Remington because in case you haven’t notice, I have a massive thing for Lovable Rogues. It’s bad that I kinda sorta want to ship him with Eva.
Way to be, Wakfu.
Welp, that’s it for 2014. 2015 is here, the year of hoverboards and Evangelion. Let’s see what I want to try out this time: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Hyper Light Drifter, Zelda WiiU, Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3DS, Oracle of Seasons
(of which I stopped halfway and need to finish someday), Yoshi’s Island
(a revisit), Thomas Was Alone, Anachronox, Alan Wake, Solatorobo, Golden Girls, The Deponia Trilogy, Ernest and Clementine, The Book of Jhereg, Hyrule Warriors, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Trine, Tomba!, A Redtail’s Dream, Scary Go Round, Transformers: Robots in Disguise
(the upcoming cartoon), PERSONA 4, Zack and Wiki, Wild Arms 3
, an assload of games I have on my steam wishlist, Miraculous Ladybug
(if it finally delivers on its promise to release the show this year) and seriously I need to play those damn Transformers: War For Cybertron/Fall Of Cybertron
games! Not to mention I will be doing an episode-by-episode analysis of Bob’s Burgers
(and if I feel it: Transformers Animated.
I didn’t get a chance to watch/read/play everything I promised myself in during 2014’s list, so anything I didn’t do I’m also including. Let’s see how much I can absorb this year. That is, if I don’t end up getting swallowed by a hologram for Jaws 19
and later turn into tang because STUPID SHINJI!<
Happy 2015, y’all. Time to survive once more.
STUPID FANCOMICSDiscovery (A Transformers Animated Fancomic):
Read the entire thing here. Placed there for archival purpose. Recently cancelled.
If you ever want a list of links to all the reviews/rants/analysis/time-wasters I wrote.My Twitter:
Follow me ramble in 100+ words or less here.My Tumblr:
Lots of pretty pictures I like. REQUESTS:
No, I do not. Sorry.