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Opinion

CHARLES’ E3 thoughts:What I liked

So there’s few things that get my inner nerd worked up anymore. I don’t get really excited for phones(Joe you and the Pre will be happy together) like friends, or TV shows (my cousin Alex really digs TV stuff). I get excited over comics, movies, and games. I don’t remember a time before I played video games. I still remember my first time playing the original Nintendo when I was four(1986) and it was over, I was hooked. Over the years I’ve waited in line for a Dreamcast, played Aladdin on the Sega Genesis, spent an entire Christmas morning playing Donkey Kong Country, got a head ache from sitting too close to the TV the first time I played Super Mario 64, played Spider-Man 2 for hours on XBOX, laughed while playing Crackdown Joe, and watched blu rays on my PS3. It’s been a long, storied relationship. E3 is like the prom or even better the day you get to sign up for electives next year. A lot of E3 is anticipation and wonder, this year was no different. I saw a lot and was left with a feeling that the coming couple of years will be great. As usual with me I’m going to give my unflinching opinion on things I liked and hated. It’s kinda what I do.

CHARLES LIKES:

ASSASSINS CREED 2

ASSASSINS CREED 2

  • I played the first one but didn’t get to deep into it because while it was fun, I didn’t care about the story so I was done. The overall story still doesn’t interest me but after watching the play through on G4 I can’t wait to rent it. I probably still won’t buy it but can’t wait to play it.
MASS EFFECT 2

MASS EFFECT 2

  • I have something to admit, I’ve only played about 20 minutes of the first MASS EFFECT. I always tried to rent it when I worked at Blockbuster but I couldn’t ever give it my full attention. I felt that since I was usually at work I didn’t want to do myself and the game a disservice by just playing it to beat it. So now with a lighter work schedule I feel like I have to time to give it my full attention and plan on buying the 2nd one when it come out.
LEFT 4 DEAD 2

LEFT 4 DEAD 2

  • I haven’t played a single minute of the first one, because I wasn’t working so I didn’t have a GOLD subscription anymore and everyone told me to not play it by myself. So with the new job, I plan on starting back up GOLD and putting in some time with the first one. I’m excited basically because of the stories I heard from friends about they’re game play experience alone.
MODERN WARFARE 2

MODERN WARFARE 2

  • The Call of Duty series games are the only first person shooters I really like. They just feel right in everything they do, to me.Friends of mine are still playing Modern Warfare, but while I loved it I played a ton of World at War which surprised me. I’m really excited to get back to the modern world with this one.
UNCHARTED 2

UNCHARTED 2

  • If it weren’t for the 1st game I would have not really liked a PS3 exclusive at all. It’s the only PS3 exclusive I really care about and enjoy. Although I wish the first one was longer and had more exploration but just the character animation blew me away. I wish my PS3 hadn’t bricked on me when I was close to beating it, but oh well I’ll buy it again in anticipation of the 2nd one.
ALAN WAKE

ALAN WAKE

  • I don’t play creepy games, it’s a rule I have. I love horror movies, but horror games are too much for me. I guess for some reason I get too into a game with a story that I’m not prepared for the scares like I am when I watch horror movies. I’ve seen so many horror movies I’m usually paying more attention to camera work and story structure than the scares, but controlling a character puts me into the story and its creepy. But watching the onstage demo made me really interested in finding out what going on with the story and that alone is the reason I want to play the game, not looking forward to being creeped out. But can’t wait. I hope they add that “PREVIOUSLY IN ALAN WAKE” bit to the game, that would be a genius way to come back after you’ve saved and turned the game off.
SPLINTER CELL: CONVICITON

SPLINTER CELL: CONVICITON

  • This game looks sick and I can’t wait to play it. It seems that they’re taking out all the stuff I hate about stealth games and are making it more fun and less slow. Really dig the way they put the objective prompts into the game world, great design. Kinda want someone to put that in a movie now.

PROJECT NATAL

  • Just the promise of it blows my mind. Really like the voice and face recognition parts, and being a fan of Minority Report I can’t wait to be able to scroll through my instant que with the wave of a hand. The future is bright.
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Charles’ ‘Terminator Salvation’ Review/ Diatribe about Franchise Idolarty

I’ll admit here and now that I wasn’t exactly excited when I heard McG was tapped to direct a fourth Terminator movie. I still remember fondly what it was like to see T2 in the theater with my dad, having not seen the 1st Terminator movie, and walking out loving the Terminator franchise. Then there was nothing for a long time, until T3 came out and just seeing the trailers made me cringe so I waited on the dvd and wanted to weep because it was so bland. Not really awful mind you, just bland and not as cool as T2. It seemed like T4 was going to do the same when I saw the first teaser trailer and I wrote it off. But when I saw the longer trailer I couldn’t believe how excited I got just because the washed out colors, I got giddy. So when May 21st rolled around I sat down for the first showing of the day and settled in for lots of explosions and gun fire, keeping myself away from story points. Once the lights came on I was glad that I made myself forget what I felt when I watched T3 and saw this movie.

Terminator Salvation does something different and finally puts the story in the fabled “future” the franchise had built it’s story around. John Conner(CHRISTIAN BALE) isn’t the official leader of the resistance, and it’s obvious at the start of the movie with Conner going on a grunt mission. I found myself really enjoying this John Conner. I instantly thought of the bits from the bible that don’t really delve into Jesus’ time before being all saintly(could be wrong, but have to admit never really delved into the bible). As a aspiring writer that part of the story is usually the most interesting to me. I want to see the hero/heroine before they’re the head honcho. John Conner is angry, stubborn and flawed and it’s great to see. This John Conner reminds me of the character in T2, and not the loser from T3. The grunts Conner is with all die and he survives a pretty kick ass fight with a terminator and does the usual thing and argues with his commanding officers, who are all too old and set in they’re ways to see that they suck. It’s the usual old vs young arguement we get in movies.  I haven’t enjoyed the character John Conner this much in a long time, be it the character in Sarah Conner Chronicles(most of the time) or in T2, this is the John Conner I want.

I’m not going to go through the whole story because I really enjoyed the experience I got from seeing the movie without any real big story points. It made it a more entertaining viewing for me. I talked to Joe today and he told me that some reviewers are calling it ‘visually entertaining’ but not up to the ‘heritage of the franchise’. Here’s where this review kinda turns into a op ed peice. So just to get it out of the way, I really enjoyed TERMINATOR SALVATION. It’s good, it’s not the best movie ever but I really enjoyed the story and visuals.

CHARLES’ GRADE: B+

PROS: VISUAL STYLE, THE ACTION, IT’S TERMINATOR, DRAMA WITH MY BIG ACTION

CONS:SOME DIALOGUE DOESN’T HIT IN THE RIGHT WAY, FELT A LITTLE SMALL ON THE STORY END

Now to the idea that this movie isn’t up to the heritage of the franchise…That kinda crap kinda gets on my nerves. I applaud McG for having the stones to make a Terminator movie. I applaud anyone for stepping in to direct a sequel or part of a franchise movie because it’s a kind of thankless job. No matter what you do your going to get some people who’ve already made up their mind to dislike what you do. I know from experience, when you go into a movie with that kind of mindset all it takes is something small to feul your turn on the movie. That mind set can come from all different kind of places. It can come from friends, or some odd ideal that I call the “selective fanboy memory”. The “selective fanboy memory” is the weird practice of remembering a movie from your childhood/adolescence in a insanely glossy way. It happens for most franchises: Indiana Jones, Star Wars, etc. etc. The funny thing is it usually happens for movies that have had three or more movies. When the prequel trilogy came out old school ‘Wars’ fans were out raged that it wasn’t just the same story that had come before and accused Lucas of “raping childhoods” they even had a South Park episode dealing with this idiotic mindset. I love some Star Wars and when Episode I kinda left me bland(mostly because of the Pod race and Jar Jar) but I can enoy it and the other two prequels for what they are, more stories from a franchise I loved. When Indy 4 came out people were rallying against the Atomic Bomb scene, the aliens, and the monkey swinging scene. I really like Indy 4, but I knew what I was getting before I watched it. I knew about the aliens and when the A Bomb scene happened I said, “well alright, this is what’s going on so I’m down…Let’s see how crazy this movie is going to get” and I enjoyed the rest of the movie like I would any of the pulp action stories that the series was based on. I still don’t get how people can swallow all the christian stuff in the 1st and 3rd movie but can’t just let the aliens thing go. Terminator seems to fall into this as well. I’ve rewatched the 1st one and the 3rd one last week(didn’t need to rewatch the 2nd as I’ve watched it a million times) . The 3rd one wasn’t the total abomination I made it out to be when it came out. It’s not good, but to me it’s just the story of the fact that sometimes we fail and have to make the best of it. The first one is a B movie, but it’s mostly a drama about fate and being a slave to the future(once again to me). I enjoy the Terminator franchise  a lot, but it’s basically a story about the human spirit and Salvation is all about that. Marcus Wright’s character, while being a machine, still has his heart and wants to believe he can make amends for his past and finally do something worthwhile…or human. Marcus had pretty much been a cold, heartless criminal and it took him being turned into a machine to finally touch into his humanity. John Conner’s story in SALVATION is that even during this awful war against the machines he’s trying to help the resistance keep it’s humanity. I love discussing my views on themes in movies, but at the heart of it all the Terminator movies are action movies with some drama and a few things you can delve deeper into, but it’s Machines trying to destroy the human condition. I’m not a perfect nerd, but I’m trying to stop idolizing things from my childhood, because I think it does those things a disservice by not taking the time or care to let them evolve with you. Oh and GHOSTBUSTERS is still the funniest movie ever, and nothing’s ever going to change my mind on that.


Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse: A Whedon fans first impression

So I’ve been a fan of Whedon’s stuff since the Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie came out (I can’t tell you how many times I rented it from Roses or Phar Mor). That being said I’m not one of those fans who thinks Whedon can do no wrong. I didn’t really enjoy Buffy when she went to college, but still watched until the switch to UPN when I stopped enjoying the show and stopped watching. I really didn’t enjoy Angel enough as a character to continue watching past the first season. When Whedon is on he’s on, but like most creators his stuff can suffer from being too similar. Firefly and the movie Serenity are some of my favorite things ever but when I heard he was doing another show with Fox I can’t say I was too excited. I think Eliza Dushku is attractive and loved her as Faith, but I’ve never really thought she was a good actress by any stretch of the imagination. Dollhouse is a show that should play to her strengths as a pretty bland character actor, but it’s hard to feel anything for a character/actress who seems to have the personality of a piece of paper. That seeming lack of personality seems to be in every bit of this show. There’s really no one to get behind, except about 3 characters. The other characters are either annoying or just frustrating in their oddly short sighted views. I know there’s only been three episodes but I have yet to feel like the show has gotten really interesting yet. I’m going to try and stick it out, hey if I can still watch Heroes (or the boring re-adventures of the X-Men) then I can deal with any boring show. At least with Joss Whedon it has a chance to get better.


Wolverine uses his claws and Thor is a punching bag!

You guessed it, I am refering to the soon to be released Hulk Vs. Dvd featuring everyones favorite Canucklehead (Yea Charles I used it), and the Thunder God.  After just watching both features I felt I needed to get in there before Charles and give my perspective.  So Lets get to it.

Hulk Vs Wolverine

The DVD starts out already hot and heavy into the action which is always a great way to start off an animated feature.  The fighting is bloody and brutal which surprised me at first, but not so much as what surprised me as when the fight went to round 2.  Get this… WOLVERINE FINALLY USES HIS CLAWS!!! No posing with his claws to try an show how tough he is, no using his claws on doors, walls, gates, etc.  Nope, he actually uses his claws to carve into just about everyone he fights in this.  Apparently, Marvel finally got the memo and lets Wolverine really slice and dice the way we all had wanted him to.  Now I’m not stupid, I know the rating on the shows and the rating on this DVD are way different and for that purpose alone they couldn’t have Wolverine being a butcher, but still its nice to see.

The 37 minute feature goes on to have a plot surprisingly, I originally thought it was just gonna be a slugfest.  It involves alot of characters I never would have thought, including Professor Cornelius, Sabertooth, Deadpool(who is actually pretty funny), Omega Red, and even Lady Death Strike, as Logan-less Weapon X Team.  Other characters are hinted but not revealed which is a pretty interesting way for Marvel to kind of bridge together them an Wolvie.

The DvD menu’s have nicely animated backgrounds, containing alot of character art and clips from the feature but thats really as glamorous as this dvd gets.  Special features aren’t really anywhere to be found.  No Hulk/Wolvie documentary, no art concepts, nothing of that nature.  Just typical commentary and a trailer/sneak peak at the new Wolverine and the X-Men series which if you ask me and Charles could have been left out.

See these? Im gonna cut you with em.

"See these? I'm gonna cut you with em."

Hulk Vs Thor

Hulk vs Thor.. Well.. If your thinking that that title alone will inspire a jaw dropping, bone breaking, earth shattering, clash of the titans like battle… you are way off.  Through means I wont divulge, Hulk finds his way into Asgard as a pawn in Loki’s scheme to destroy the Thunder God and quite frankly, almost does.  Thor proves that when matched up to the Hulk, punching bag is as good a rating as he’s ever gonna get.  Considering that Thor is Marvel’s answer to DC’s Superman this was extremely disappointing.  Blondy gets in a couple of nice shots, but Hulk really wipes the floor with him.  Oh and if you have a hatred for “Thor-speak” as our leader here at Tippingthescales.com does, thats gonna be another irritance.  Considering they are in Asgard, thats the only way they talk.

The story continues through out Asgard and to hell and back (literally) as Loki and Thor team up to save the soul of Bruce Banner from Hella, Mistress of Hell.  This part gets a little tense as we see things as Bruce would have liked them to be instead of as they are.  That part touched me and I felt alot of sympathy for the character.  The writers did a great job in that aspect, showing Hulk/Bruce banner as a brooding, conflicted, and sympathetic Hero.  That was probably the best thing about this feature because the fighting certainly was not.

Again there is no bonus content to speak of on this feature either, aside from the well animated menu background and commentary.  The feature is 45 minutes and probably so because of the extremely long intro credits scene.

Yea.. Pretty much how the whole fight is.

Yea.. Pretty much how the whole fight is.

All in all aside from missing bonus content, this really was not as bad as I thought it was going to be.  Sure the Thor fight was really lame but it wasn’t all bad.  If you ask me this was Marvel’s answer to DC’s awesome Superman:Doomsday feature, and they did one hell of a job.

DVD cover.

DVD cover.

PRO: Wolverine uses his claws, Hulk is a sad man, Deadpool was funny.

CONS: Thor got his @$$ whooped, No bonus content.


WHAT COMICS I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT WEEK 9/3/08

Out of the books coming out on 9/3/08 these are the ones I’m looking forward too and a couple I’m not.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

MANIFEST DESTINY #1

X-MEN: MANIFEST DESTINY #1

“Witness the biggest shake-up in X-Men history. With the mansion in Westchester destroyed, the X-Men are moving to San Francisco. But it’s not just a change in the zip code. Come see what the momentous change in status quo means to the X-Men. In every issue of MANIFEST DESTINY Mike Carey (X-MEN, ENDANGERED SPECIES) brings you an installment of a story featuring one the first X-Men,Iceman. Also in this first issue are stories by C.B. Cebulski (X-MEN:DIVIDED WE STAND, LONERS) and Skottie Young (X-MEN:DIVIDED WE STAND, NEW X-MEN).” – midtowncomics.com

  • I want to love X-MEN again, and hopefully this will serve me better than the regular series.  This book might just become the new X-MEN UNLIMITED if it keeps going.
TRINITY #14

TRINITY #14

Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman lead the heroes of the DCU against the machinations of their malevolent counterparts, resulting in a cataclysmic event that will change the world – but not like anyone involved expects. Plus, Hawkman and Gangbuster make their move to rescue Tarot, and Konvikt breaks loose. -midtowncomics.com

  • I’m liking SUPERMAN acting like BATMAN and WONDER WOMAN, he’s wrecking peoples faces.
SEASON 8 #17

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER:SEASON 8 #18

A powerful enemy from Buffy’s past confronts the Slayer and Fray in the future, having allied with Fray’s greatest foe. Meanwhile, Dawn’s gone through another bizarre change. Joss Whedon and Karl Moline, co-creators of the hit comics series Fray: Future Slayer, reunite in Buffy Season Eight with the highly anticipated story arc “Time of Your Life.” Jo Chen and Georges Jeanty provide covers. -midtowncomics.com

  • by far Season 8 is the best season since BUFFY left high school.
SECRET SIX #1

SECRET SIX #1

Because you demanded it! The Secret Six are back in an all-new ongoing series that promises to deliver some of the darkest, most twisted action-adventure the DC Universe has seen since…well, the last time the Secret Six got together!Writer extraordinaire Gail Simone (BIRDS OF PREY) is reunited with BIRDS penciller Nicola Scott to chronicle the adventures of the Six, and you will not believe what they have in store. Join Catman, Scandal, Deadshot, Ragdoll, and ?? as they prepare for an adventure that will take them through a gauntlet across the seediest parts of the DC Universe, and will ultimately pit them against a foe more monstrous and murderous than any they’ve had to face! Don’t miss the beginning of the most ferocious and scandalous Six story yet! -midtowncomics.com

  • I loved the mini series and anywhere NIKOLA SCOTT goes I’m down.
DETECTIVE COMICS #848

DETECTIVE COMICS #848

A “Batman: R.I.P.” tie-in! “Heart of Hush” Part 3 of 5! To save the sanity of a kidnapped child, Batman must confront the Scarecrow! But their battle is just a part of Hush’s plot against Batman and Bruce Wayne, setting the stage for the most shocking surprise ending of the year! Guest-starring Catwoman! –midtowncomics.com

  • I’m calling it now, I think this will be the pick of the week. Last issue was awesome and it’s a light week.
GREEN LANTERN #32

GREEN LANTERN #34

The penultimate chapter of “”Secret Origin””! Hal Jordan and Sinestro face off against Abin Sur’s killer – Atrocitus! But what dark secret has Atrocitus uncovered about the impending “”Blackest Night?”” And what revelation will forever change the relationship between Hal and Carol Ferris? -midtowncomics.com

  • I love Green Lantern, but I’m starting to tire of this story…They keep teasing the build up to BLACKEST NIGHT and I’m trying to be patient but come on get on with it already. Thankfully this is the next to last issue of this arc.

WHAT I’M NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO

MARVEL APES

MARVEL APES#1

  • Just when I thought they could sink no farther…they do. The only good thing is they’ve finally stopped with the ZOMBIE covers to everything, but now we’re being “treated” to APE variant covers for a ton of books….ugh. I didn’t really care for this idea when DC did it in the 90’s…at least it was part of a larger story that spread into the annuals of the JLA members, and they had GORILLA GRODD. And they’re charging $3.99 for this, anybody who buys this book needs to be kicked in the head.
TITANS #4

TITANS #4

  • I still have all my copies from the last time they tried to do a old school TITANS book and they’re still awesome…but this book is awful.

FINALLY COMIC-CON review

So I’m just going to do a quick LOVE/HATE recap of things I found awesome

LOVE

  • My favorite writing duo, SETH ROGEN & EVAN GOLDBERG, will be writing a episode of the Simpsons next season
  • DC is literally making their books a ode to everything I love: MILESTONE characters are coming to DC proper…I finally get STATIC in TEEN TITANS.
  • WATCHMEN. I’m actually looking forward to it
  • my favorite comics writer, GEOFF JOHNS, is bringing one of my favorite bits of SUPERMAN’s history to SMALLVILLE…The Legion Of Super Heroes.
  • The team from GREEN LANTERN:REBIRTH(which made me realize again why HAL JORDAN was one of my fav characters as a kid) will be tackling a character I never got a real chance to connect too…BARRY ALLEN-FLASH REBIRTH. Thank you again GEOFF JOHNS
  • KEVIN SMITH will be working on a BATMAN mini series…why yes please I’ll gladly sign up for that
  • More DC UNIVERSE ONLINE…my PS3 will have a use
  • DC Panels…listened to all of them and they were awesome. People forget that comics are the only reason COMIC CON exists in the first place.
  • FIREBREATHER cartoon, the comic is awesome can’t wait to see it in motion

There’s alot of stuff thats escaping me right now…Now to the stuff that either didn’t excite me or I just didn’t care

HATE

  • MARVEL panels and upcoming events…I haven’t really enjoyed a big MARVEL event in about three years(the space epics not withstanding). Every one seems to start off good then just begin to blow donkey. So with Secret Invasion boring me to tears, and with some new story featuring a character I can’t stand and wish didn’t exist(the 3rd Summers Brother:VULCAN) and a character who can’t talk(BLACK BOLT) I just can’t get into it. This might just end the streak MARVEL’s had with actually good space stories…Quesada and company had to ruin space like they have the regular MARVEL universe to make it even.
  • BLACK PANTHER ANIMATED SERIES: This kinda skirts the line, I love the character of BLACK PANTHER but hate MARVEL’s shoehorning of the relationship between he and STORM. But I do like the art style of the show being like that of JOHN ROMITA JR.
  • IRON MAN NICKELODEON CARTOON: Same as before, I’m always happy to get a animated show based on a comic book, but I can count the good MARVEL cartoons on one hand. Oh and IRON MAN is going to be a teenager to appeal to the NICK KIDS…we’ll see, they did the same thing to X-MEN and it didn’t last very long.
  • BATMAN-BRAVE AND THE BOLD: it seems I’m on the fence with these cartoons but I WANT to love them, but everything shown did nothing for me. BATMAN:B&B did excite me more simply for the scenes of guest characters, but the super kiddy look kinda sucks. But hey, SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN surprised me to become one of the best cartoons of the season.
  • THE SPIRIT movie…ugh just ugh…I only liked SIN CITY, I am not in the mood for another SIN CITY look alike from the guy who created SIN CITY..way to mine your artistic sensibilties…god I really don’t care for FRANK MILLER in any shape or form.

I know once I post this I’ll think of something else but as a whole COMIC CON was good…it reinforced what I’ve known for awhile now…MARVEL isn’t really for me anymore, and DC is giving me everything I want on a silver platter. I don’t really like to talk about movies at COMIC CON because I feel strongly about what I feel to be explotation of Comic books and their fans to shill products that have nothing to do with comics or the sci fi community. It’s like shooting fish in a barrell…I understand it but don’t like it.


Stuff I like:Dr. Horrible

DR. HORRIBLE SING ALONG BLOG is a interesting thing. It’s a three part video blog, but instead of it being about some 15 year old girl whose life is soooo horrible, it’s about a wanna be super villain. The way Neal Patrick Harris plays the aptly named Dr. Horrible is genius, you find yourself actually rooting for him. I was a little worried about the musical aspect, but the songs are just another part of the narrative and not used in a annoying hack way. The best part about this is that it was only available, for free, for about a week. It’s a cool feeling to know you’ve seen something that the wider world won’t hear about too late. The reason I haven’t mentioned it on the site before now is because this is the kind of thing you should either find out about on your own or not. Things like this don’t come around to often, and it’s going to be on dvd some time in the future. It’s just the inherent elitist in all nerds that make this such a awesome idea.