The Force Unleashed II

I know a lot of people who have played this game and found it to be disappointing. I have heard plenty of complaints about the story and the gameplay, that they were haphazard the both of them.

I, however, very much enjoyed playing the Secret Apprentice again. I thought the story made sense, and I thought that it was very interestingly played out. I didn’t have any issues at all with the game itself.

Of course, there may be some that argue that this is due to my overwhelming love for Star Wars. But I can assure you, there are things within the Star Wars universe that I don’t enjoy. Like the first two prequel movies. And as a gamer, I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed a game if I only liked the concept of it. I play video games because I think they’re fun. If a game is not fun, I put it down. I have done this a couple of times, though for the most part I’ve been pretty good at picking stuff that I enjoy very much.

So yes, I genuinely enjoyed having Starkiller brought back, and I think that they made it so it could happen again. Both endings for Force Unleashed II open things up to another game. Which was something I was concerned about going in, since Force Unleashed didn’t exactly leave room for that. I didn’t know how they were going to pull off explaining how a second game could happen. But I’m satisfied with what they did.

I’m also happy with the mild changes in control of force powers and leveling them up.

On top of really loving this game, the fact that it’s Star Wars and the game itself, I also gained an added bonus for it while playing. I broached 20,000 gamer points with it.

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Outpost Kaloki X (Finished)

I actually finished this game not long after I made the post about finally buying it. I guess I should have written this up then, but I didn’t even think about it.

As I said previously, I first played this game when I was a game tester. I would fiddle around with it when I was on breaks and when there was nothing else for me to do. I loved it then. The second time I played it, I was sharing an Xbox, and when I finally got my own, the game wouldn’t transfer.

Well, this time I was finally successful in playing through the whole thing. Maybe not the whole thing, because I didn’t know about all the extra stuff that they’d added since the last time I’d gotten a chance to play. The downloadable content is crazy. There are all sorts of challenge maps to do now. I haven’t even started on those.

But the core game, the thing that I’d been aiming for, was everything I remembered. It held my attention through the entire thing, and even managed to make me angry a couple of times. There’s nothing like trying to build a space station with a specific goal in mind when you’ve got aliens bombing you and a timer ticking away to raise the ire.

I’m glad that I finally made the purchase and that I finally got to play through the game all the way. I’m also glad that I didn’t have previous save games to start from, because I would have been lost pretty quickly. I had forgotten what every button did by the time I started it all back up again.

Next up: Trying out those other maps. They seem pretty interesting.

Cowboys & Aliens (graphic novel)

Wow.

I … I really don’t know how to say this, guys. I’m really… I’m really sorry.

I know we all really liked the movie version of Cowboys & Aliens, Daniel Craig did a really fantastic job running around in chaps and hurting people a lot. Really, everyone did a rousing performance in that movie. We enjoyed the way they made the aliens look. We like that the shitty kid got hurt a lot. In general, we just really liked the film.

And in really liking something, we tend to want more of it. So we go around looking for things that can prolong our experiences. Things to make us happy. Things that will bring back that joy we felt while watching shit blow up on the big screen.

Which might lead some of us to the graphic novel. And those of us who find it might become very excited. We might order it on Amazon and wait anxiously for it to be delivered. Once we get it, we might sit for a while, just looking at the cover (a new cover, by the way, not the old one, this one is mighty pretty). We might, then, crack it open to the front page, ready to nestle into our favorite reading spot and relive our glee.

Then we might find ourselves very, very disappointed.

It’s kind of like when you see somebody do something really stupid, but they don’t end up hurting themselves. Or watching a car blow through a red light right in front of a cop, but the cop doesn’t do anything about it. It’s that kind of let down. Enormous. Soul crushing (Okay, that might be going a little too far, maybe).

Pretty much the entire thing is different from the flick, and I can really see why they’d choose to change everything right down to the character’s names, because really, other than the concept, the whole thing sucks. From the start, right to that very last page, you’re going to find yourself wondering what the fuck you just read. Then you’re going to wonder why the fuck you just read it. Believe me, you won’t find a good answer for that. All the reasons previously stated, all that wonderment brought about by the movie, and that need for more of it, it’s going to be gone. Right down the tubes.

Luckily, the movie is so completely different from this bound colorful wad of paper that you won’t even be able to bridge your disappointment of the one to the other. It’s like you’ve seen a Muppet movie and decided to read a how-to guide about frogs to further your fun. There really are only very vague similarities, and those you can ignore or wipe from your mind completely. Don’t fret too much over it. It can be forgotten. I’ve nearly already done so, and it’s only been a couple of days.

I suppose I’ll keep the thing around, because the cover is really very pretty, and I spent money on the thing, so I feel bad doing anything else aside from letting it have some shelf space. But I feel like I really need to spare you from the same fate.

Do not buy it. Do not even read it. If a friend has it and offers to loan it to you, they’re likely trying to pawn it off on you, don’t fall for it. Say ‘Thank you, my good friend, for your thoughts of me on this subject matter, but I must respectfully decline on the basis that you are a liar’. And then maybe quickly leave before your friend tries to sneak it into your car or backpack.

It does make me sad that I have to write words like this about something that should have been good. But I cannot bring myself to lie when things are bad. It’s unfair to the rest of the world. I suffer so that you do not have to. Don’t let my suffering be in vain.

The Fourth Kind

I really thought that I was going to enjoy this movie. I really did. This was one that I really wanted to see in the theater, and I was disappointed when it didn’t happen. I was excited for it to move to first place on my Netflix list, and excited when it came in the mail. I excitedly opened it up and excitedly put it into my DVD player.

And now? Now that I’ve seen it how do I feel?
Well, I’m glad that I didn’t waste my money seeing it in the theater. I’m kind of sad that I invested any time into it, and wondering how it happened that I was so excited and I am left so… not. So quickly.

It’s not that the story wasn’t intriguing, because it was. I love a good alien true story. Fire In The Sky. I also love fake aliens. Such as those found on X-Files. It’s not even like the acting was bad, because it wasn’t. It was really good, honestly. In fact, this really had all the elements of being a very good movie. But it just wasn’t.

How does that happen? you might ask. How can all the elements, all the ingredients, be right, and yet it’s all so bad once put together?

They used real footage and real audio of things that happened in Nome, Alaska. I believe that what they were going for was to validate the dramatized scenes, making everything creepier because you’re seeing what actually happened. I can see the thought process behind it, and I could even see myself having the same idea if I’d been behind the making of this movie. It didn’t quite work out the way that they’d hoped. At least not for me. Instead, it worked against the film, hugely. Monumentally.

Firstly, putting in the footage and the other stuff felt like an interruption. It broke me away from the story and took me out of the moment. This resulted in me not caring about the characters or what was happening to them. I was so roughly jolted out of the movie that I didn’t have a chance to connect to any of it. I also found myself having to rewind and watch scenes again, not because they were incredible or interesting, but because I felt like I’d missed something. This is a bad thing to have happen in a movie, you don’t want your viewers to think that they blinked during an important part, or might have dozed off. And it happened more than once.

The second thing is; instead of validating the movie with reality, I found myself doubting the reality. Those scenes in which they cut away from Milla Jovovich and her costars and go to the real footage feel fake. They feel like they were made for the movie, and they feel forced. The woman, the doctor, comes off as a drugged up loser. I find no passion behind her words and no conviction. She tells her story but it doesn’t convince me. I felt as if all of it couldn’t be trusted. That the “actual footage” was just more actors. Putting these scenes in, using the real audio, made it so it was those scenes, not the dramatized ones, became fake in my mind.

I feel like they should have either just made a documentary using the real footage – there was more than enough of it – or, they should have dramatized the whole thing and put the real items in with the bonus features. There, people could see the real accounts of what happened in the movie, and in this removed situation would probably be more liked to be seen for what it is. Evidence. Proof. People would be awed by what they are seeing. I felt no awe, no wonder, no anything seeing these clips in the film.

I just don’t think combining them works. I am not finding myself intrigued by the happenings of this movie, thus dulling any want to investigate it further. In fact, I have a rather empty and disappointed feeling. The movie was lackluster.

Boring, even.

Which kind of makes me sad. This could have, and should have, been brilliant. The facts are enough on their own to be really fucking creepy. Dramatizing all of it would have taken away absolutely nothing from that. I think it would have made everything come together better, actually.

I can’t even recommend watching this. There’s nothing to be gained from it.

Race To Witch Mountain

Escape To Witch Mountain and Return From Witch Mountain were both movies that I watched when I was a kid. So, naturally, when Race To Witch Mountain came out, I was curious. Things happened, time moved on, it left theaters. I sort of forgot about it entirely until I was searching through the new movies on Netflix and discovered it available for streaming.

I thought “Hey. Why not. I have time, it’s free, I am curious anyway…” and thus in the end, a review.

For a PG movie, this film is EXTREMELY action packed and entertaining. I didn’t know you could have such awesome car chase scenes in a movie like this. It just never even occurred to me.

Dwayne Johnson (also known as The Rock) has really come into his own in this movie making thing. I think I’ve purposefully watched only one other movie that had him in it in a starring role. I can admit to be a little bit biased against the professional wrestler thing. But, in fairness, it seems to really help him in the stunt department. He already knows how to take a hit and a fall, and doesn’t need to be trained to be that huge.

On the acting front, he’s no hack either. While some of his lines were a little bit easy to call, he delivered them well, and I still got a good laugh out of them. Alright, I can admit when I’m wrong about somebody. Okay? Get off my back.

Other nice surprises of the film – Cheech Marin randomly popping up as a mechanic, and Chris Marquette as an agent desperately in need of a gun. My radar is up for his face because of Fanboys.

The film itself, aside from being very exciting, was well written. Well acted, well filmed. All around very enjoyable.

I did, admittedly, have to look it up to see if it was supposed to be a continuation of the series, or a remake. They like to call it a re-imagining. I can see it. All of it updated for modern times. Better gadgets, modern lingo. And come on, you know I was a freak over the Stormtroopers popping up all over the place.

Though, I suppose I will keep it in my secret wishes that Seth and Sara are the children of Tia or Tony. It kind of makes sense, doesn’t it? The previous aliens have done the biological studies – which may have taken a while. They have their secret hideout. The government overruns Witch Mountain and turns it into a secret facility. It’s been 30 years, I don’t see why not.

I have to say, in the end, I would definitely watch this again. Actually, I wouldn’t mind owning this one at all. I think it could be a good addition to the collection, in all honesty.

The only thing that could have possibly made this any better is if David Duchovny made a cameo at the UFO Convention.