Saturday, December 17, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Well, that's not entirely true. I am certain visuals are stunning, and I recommend playing this as the best HD your computer can manage in full-screen.
Immediately, my thoughts return to How To Train Your Dragon in terms of style and some of the gags. Granted, I adored HTTYD, but seeing how this is Pixar's first non-adapted endeavor since 2009, the last thing I want Brave to turn out feeling is derived.
My bigger issue is with our protagonist, who so far she seems like another cliche female character as a soapbox for feminism. Oh look, it's the tomboy of a princess who doesn't like being proper, doesn't want to marry, disagrees with her mother on the matter, and runs away from home to have adventures.
Come to think of it, I still have no idea what the story of this is supposed to be.
I hope this is just a case of mediocre trailer and not a window into the actual film's mood, like a good trailer is. Of course, I'm going to go see it no matter how the trailers look, because it's Pixar. I guess we'll just have to wait and see if we get a surprisingly original film or a cliche graphics demonstration.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Note for readers outside the USA: For this review, I am using the American titles of the Professor Layton games; some have different names in the UK and in other locations. I will keep my complaining about the nonsensical title change from Professor Layton and the Specter's Flute to a minimum.
Also, I mention a sidegame called London Life included with the game, but the European version of the game does not include this feature.
Professor Layton and the Last Specter was the first thing on my mind when I got my seasonal job. It is the first prequel in the awesome Professor Layton puzzle/visual novel series and tells the story of Layton's first mystery solving adventure, as well as the story of how he met his apprentice, Luke.
The Last Specter will remind long time fans of the first installment: Professor Layton and the Curious Villiage. It takes place in the small town where Luke lives, and the plot is also on the smaller side.
To an extent, this makes sense. When writing a prequel, writers want to make sure that the challenges the characters face aren't bigger than their most recent ones, since they want the characters to have shown growth in their abilities through the series' timeline. However, this doesn't explain why it feels like the social story of The Last Specter is also dimmed down. Without giving anything away, the emotional arc of the plot does eventually get going and lead to a unique and charming conclusion, but I spent a fair amount of time feeling more distant from the characters than I was expecting. I wanted to see more of Luke and Layton bonding for the first time than I did, mainly.
Also, while I did not guess the final conclusion of the mystery, and would like to present a medal to anybody who did, some of the smaller mysteries were easier for me to figure out than they have been in the past, and some things felt a little thrown in. I didn't feel this was due to any improvement with my expirience with the series, rather, some of the smaller mysteries felt more cliche to the mystery genre in general.
None of this is to say that The Last Specter has a bad storyline. I enjoyed the plot, cared about the characters, and was up playing into the late hours of the night to see how it ended... but after the extremely enchanting plots of other Professor Layton titles, this one felt a little underwhelming and uninspired.
Of course, if you're a fan of Professor Layton who wants everybody to stop talking and get to more puzzles, this will probably be your favorite game yet. Puzzles are everywhere and while no new major features have been added, the gameplay has been polished to a shine. Getting through the main game took me about 11 hours, while past games have taken me about 8 or 9 hours, and I didn't even manage to solve every puzzle. It felt like there was a higher ratio of the kinds of puzzles I like too, so I had a blast solving them. Maybe Level-5 is keeping an eye on the fans' favorites somehow?
Speaking of hours of gameplay, the game is paired with a separate RPG called London Life which claims to have over 100 hours of content. I haven't gotten very far into London Life yet, but from what I have seen of it so far, it's adorable and a good time sinker. Slice of life games tend to bore me quickly, though, so whether you're like me or will actually spend hundreds of hours in Little London is up to you.
Professor Layton and the Last Specter doesn't upstage past titles, but fans of the series can sink plenty of content hours into the story and gameplay of another worthy installment. While it didn't blow me away, I still feel that I more than got my money's worth, and I still have a lot of content to go through that should keep me working my gray matter for a while.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
I just finished reading a chapter of a story that couldn't have been more than 500 words long, and there were a good dozen misuses of words in it. Wrong word choice. Wrong tense. A totally different word than what you meant. Etc.
Spellcheck was never intended to replace proofreading, and when you try to use it for that, nine times out of ten it is glaringly obvious. And by glaringly obvious, I don't just meant that it's glaringly obvious you abused spell check. More importantly, it's glaringly obvious that you're lazy. I try not to measure one's artistic merit by their personality traits, but when you don't take a little extra time to make your work presentable, I have to wonder why I am taking the time to read it.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
I could get into a rant about CGI-heavy films like The Smurfs and motion capture films like Mars Needs Moms counting as animated films, but I'm going to be a tad selfish. While 2011 hasn't been a year with much in the way of animated masterpiece films that critics drooled over, it has been a year with quite a few decent and fun movies that I was having trouble picking three from for a nomination prediction. And now, thanks to sorta-animated films walking the eligibility line, I don't have to! Woo!
So, without further ado, here's how I imagine the 2011 Oscars:
Friday, October 7, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Does that make me a hack who needs to get over a character type that has been beat into the ground, or does that reference fandom's desire to believe certain character traits automatically make a "Mary Sue" - a belief I no longer subscribe to - which is automatically a horrible thing? That's a whole other discussion for another day. But either way, I think my lack of urge to judge Transformers: Drift's protagonist gives me a chance to point out what - I think - is a bigger flaw at work here. One huge flaw that ruins this entire thing.
Warning: Some spoilers. If you don't want to read farther, let me get this out of the way: 1.5/5, because despite the plot mess, I like most of the characters.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
I love Transformers, and so far I really love the newest animated series, Transformers Prime. So when I found a copy of the prequel graphic novel lying around at the library, I did a little dance and clapped my hands at the search computer. (The librarian at the nearby desk looked at me like I was nuts.)
Even though the entire shebang is only a single, 96 page volume, the artwork varies greatly in every one of the four chapters. The style ranges from a clean-lined colorful style to a digital watercolor style to. Some of the facial expressions can be a bit strange or even creepy.
Still, story is king, and the story told in the prequel is a fun ride. The comic avoids the temptation to get too complex as it brings readers into the new continuity with all the new characters and keeps the focus on a partnership Arcee and Cliffjumper make in an effort to reach a certain planet with a bunch of organic inhabitants Optimus Prime has called them to. It works well and there are some great character moments, especially for Cliffjumper.
The omnibus includes a couple pages of concept art at the end but - oddly enough - does not include the original covers from the individual comics, as are usually included in comic compilations. Speaking of how a comic omnibus is usually put together, this one is on the small side, closer to the size of a manga volume. I'm not sure if cutting the price in half really is a good trade for the comic pages being shrunk so drastically, but then again wasn't I just griping about the art? Maybe IDW has saved us all a favor by cutting out 50% of the creepy, too close to human looking facial expressions in some of the panels along with 50% of the price. It's too bad all the pretty art got cut down with it.
Verdict: While the art quality varies and changes to the point that I feel a bit jerked around, the story in the Transformers Prime prequel comic is fun, and fans of the animated series should enjoy it, especially if they've been wanting to learn a little more about Cliffjumper and/or Arcee's past. 3.5/5
Saturday, August 20, 2011
"What if that life-changing asteroid missed Earth? Director Bob Peterson’s hilarious tale depicts a world where dinosaurs never went extinct."
"From director Pete Docter comes an inventive new film that explores a world that everyone knows, but no one has seen: inside the human mind."
I was honestly expecting to go find the fandom and see the usual mix of "This sounds awesome!" and "This sound stupid." but it appears that, for now, everybody is just happy it's not Toy Story 4. My reply is smack in the middle:
The new films sound really strange. This isn't a reason to like them, because weird is not automatically good and after Newt I'm gun-shy to get excited about a Pixar announcement so early. This isn't a reason to dislike them either, as when I first saw the information about WALL-E it looked so weird I thought it was a Wikipedia prank.
I just find myself casually nodding. "Okay, cool," I say. "Now let's see what happens."
I just want to see what happens next with these films... and Pixar as a whole, in the years to come. I feel like something is changing and is about to create a turning point for the studio. Call it a hunch.
...Okay, maybe I'm a little excited. I love Pixar. Pixar announced new films. Can't complain.
Friday, August 19, 2011
It came out nicely, although I could really use a tripod.
If you're interested in the new nook eReader, this hopes to answer as many questions as possible about how it works. In two parts, the ending of the first linking to the second:
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
-Via Cynopsis Kids
I've never heard a thing about Little Battlers before, but being a fan of Professor Layton and hearing good things about Inazuma Eleven, I'm really interested to see how this turns out.
And hey, it's even got robots! Score!
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
I'm going to be working backwards (the newer a film, the easier to find the trailers), starting with Pixar's most recent Cars 2. Enjoy, and feel free to comment with that advertising got you to the theaters a little bit faster.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Soooo there's more reason than a Tom Hanks' word to think Toy Story 4 might be happening now, apparently. BBC got the guts to ask John Lasseter about it, as reported by /film, and while nothing for sure came out of it, Mr. Lasseter came across rather jumpy, even to a skeptic like me, and... almost like he was teasing for a sequel right before he pulled the interview back to Cars 2 abruptly.
It doesn't help that Pixarians with well kempt social networks who are usually open to questions weren't answering thousands of pleas for clarification.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
This has to be said.
Pixar makes a just for-fun, silly, not extraordinary but smile-creating return to a popular franchise, and gets slammed by critics.
Disney does the exact same thing one month later and gets 91% certified fresh.
Don't tell me there isn't bias. Don't tell me there isn't studio bias.
Despite the film's controversially short run time of about an hour, critics are calling it "a fitting tribute", "near revolutionary" and other very, very gushy things. The high praise currently leaves WtP at 91% fresh; the highest rated animated film of the year, 9% higher than the closest runner-up, Kung Fu Panda 2.
Naturally, I'm still a bit miffed at critics for slamming what I thought was Pixar's extremely fun contribution to animation this year, but I can't deny that the nearly universal praise gets me even more excited to be heading to the cinema today.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Why do people who ship something that isn't canon feel the need to justify themselves by making ridiculous claims that everybody who thinks the canon couple is canon just read their relationship the wrong way?
I mean, why not just say you like the not!canon pairing? There is nothing wrong with liking a pairing that isn't canon and there's nothing wrong with hating a pairing that is. When you make claims that show you lack the basic common sense to tell when a series/movie/book/whatever is beating you over the head with "these two are a couple" you don't prove anything and you look desperate.
Just enjoy what you enjoy. Fandom seldom affects canon, and when it does, it's the result of fandom loving something instead of hating on the alternative. It's not worth getting so worked up over.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Can anybody think of a job skill application for this? Is there somebody they pay to pick the tracks for all those "best of 20__" albums? Because that'd be amazing. "I'm Netbug, the "WOW 2012" song picking girl."
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
I kinda feel like pre-made cookie dough.
God, please put me together! I already broke myself for you! Aren't I a convenient little sinner?
And with no trans fat! \O/