Media consumption

by danhon

I’ve had more time than usual to watch, read and play over the past few weeks than normal, so here’s a brief roundup.

Transformers

I didn’t think the script’s humour worked quite as well as it was supposed to here. I’m also tending toward the opinion that, for large ‘splosions and general flag-waving, Armageddon’s a better bet (love that film). That said, we were pretty near to the front of the screen, so any of the scenes where we could’ve genuinely been impressed by OMG LARGE TRANSFORMING ROBOT whizzed by our heads and our reaction was instead OMG SHINY THING.

Then again I’m not too sure whether being able to sit further back would’ve changed the OMG SHINY THING reaction at all.

The lips on Optimus Prime? Could not care less. Bumblebee not being a bug? Same. Bumblebee being concerned about his appearance? Funny.

The military? So not funny.

Three explosions out of seven, (I would’ve given it four, but Bay didn’t set off any ‘nukes, and no one’s going to play anything from the Transformers soundtrack as the first dance for their wedding, I don’t bet. Aerosmith FTW.)

Die Hard 4.0 / Live Free or Die Hard

This one actually provoked quite a lot (well, relatively) of discussion. Consider the following points:

  • McClane is not the same guy as he was in Die Hard (normal cop, abnormal situation, really fucking pissed off, effectively being hunted down in a rat maze)
  • nor is he really the same guy as he was in Die Hard 2: Die Harder (slightly less normal cop, abnormal situation, really fucking pissed off, effectively being hunted down in a slightly larger rat maze with things falling out of the sky)
  • nor is he really the same guy as he was in Die Hard (3): With A Vengeance (we can assume he has developed as a character now and is not a normal cop at all, he’s in yet another abnormal situation, he’s quite pissed off (see this installment’s abnormal situation), really really fucking pissed off (see first film) and this time being effectively hunted down in what appears to be GTA: Liberty City, and that three jug problem)

McClane should by now be a certifiably disturbed individual. It is surprising that he is still a police officer, and it’s surprising that his superiors haven’t fired him, or at least assigned a permanent security detachment to him. The guy clearly attracts large fireballs and vengeful terrorists in the same way that normal people attrac, well, loose change. It’s inevitable that at some point during his working day, McClane will have to improvise some sort of explosive device. Luckily, between McClane and Bauer, the two seaboards of the United States are covered against movie plot terrorists.

So it’s in Die Hard 4.0 that McClane isn’t quite as pissed off as he appears to be rather sanguine about the matter. In the first few films we had him rather nervously laughing as he dispatched adversary upon adversary, but now we have crazed laughter as he takes down helicopters with his bare hands. I’m not sure who’d win in a fight between McClane and Chuck Norris at this point.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that Die Hard 4.0’s not any good: just that by this time, if we were talking about realistic character development, McClane really isn’t the same person we knew in Die Hard. He’s, not to put too fine a point on it, mental.

A few plot niggles:

  • some exploding things really should be bigger (about a third of the way through the film)
  • some fight scenes on freeways really ought to just have transforming robots on them – they’re just better that way
  • planes don’t normally fly on their own, without the rest of a squadron backing them up, or a wingman
  • uber terrorist guy is able to pull down McClane’s entire file and credit history, but doesn’t bother to do a Google search and see that this guy’s been in three prequels
  • McClane’s daughter needed to be more imperiled

Four explosions out of seven, but only because it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. And I like cool planes.

The Simpsons Movie

It was too long and it felt like 4 episodes stitched together, but that could’ve had something to do with my state of mind.

One explosion out of seven.

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

I had to give up around a third of the way through. While the subject matter was very interesting, I’m pretty sure it could’ve been distilled into a much shorter, and much less annoying book. Bullet points would’ve been better. I felt like I was trapped next to an ass at the longest dinner party of my life. Fortunately, I could leave the dinner party by lending the book to someone who actually wanted to read it.

She also agreed he was an ass.

Negative four explosions out of seven.

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters

Dear God man, this book is long.

Perhaps it would do better as a serialisation.

I jest.

Seriously, this book really was quite long. The subject matter was fun, the way the story was told was fun, but man. It was long. I felt like I was reading Robert Jordan’s life force being sucked out of him. Which is funny, if you think about it.

PS. This book has a text adventure. Extra explosions awarded.
Six explosions out of seven. My rating system shall remain opaque to all.

Hyperdrive

… has a terrible website. Sorry.

It makes up for it, though, by being vastly funnier than the first season, which I had to stop watching because if I watched any more, it would’ve been painful.

Good:

  • They got rid of the bing-bong voiceover woman on all the exterior shots
  • Most of the exterior special effects shots are still quite good
  • Eduardo York is hilarious
  • Doesn’t feel like The Office in space anymore

Bad:

  • Still quite contrived in places. We already knew shoe-giving day would’ve been invented by shoe manufacturers. It was what Douglas Adams would’ve done, only not as funny.
  • The Qeppu
  • Captain Helix. Not funny.

Okami

I don’t think I’m cut out for this game. So far, it has required me to:

  • think
  • pay attention for more than thirty seconds; and
  • concentrate

I’ve been finding this hard because instead I’ve been playing

Burnout Revenge

Which is pretty in its own explosions and bits-coming-off-cars way, is very fast, and doesn’t require me to:

  • think
  • pay attention for more than thirty seconds (not really, if you don’t count driving a fast car down the wrong side of a street paying attention); and
  • concentrate (see above)

So far I’ve managed to:

  • become Elite, which is something I never did manage to do in Elite
  • complete all the events; and
  • confound everyone else in the household by actually playing the game for over more than thirty hours in total