Monday, March 26, 2012

The Hunger Games (Movie Review)

First off this review is based solely on the movie; I've never read the book, so I can't say what was changed or what was left out.

Synopsis

Set in the future, The Hunger Games is a television show that pits 24 children, one male and one female from each of the 12 districts, age 12-18, against each other in a fight to the death.

After having her sister selected to participate in the games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence, Mystique of X-Men: First Class) volunteers to take her place in the latest game.


This is one of the better movies we've seen in awhile. The story was great, and very powerful. Going in you have to remember that this is a story about kids fighting for their lives and their district, this is not a movie for the weak of heart. However from what we can gather from many is that the books are much more graphic, but they usually are.

The acting was spot on for each character. Each actor / actress had their roles down, and they worked smoothly off of each other, no underlying difficulties that you often see when actors / actresses aren't used to working in the specific genre or style.

Even though the story was a serious and powerful one, there was a fair amount of humor throughout the entire film. The best part is it didn't feel forced either, it was placed smoothly into the dialog and not just something that comes out of the blue or is nonsensical.

The only problem with the movie is that it had a shaky camera in places that were unnecessary. Now we understand the shaky camera while the kids are running through the woods and all that, but there is no need whatsoever for it to be shaking while Katniss is sitting at home just talking with her sister. It was almost nauseating.

The Hunger Games is directed by Gary Ross, rated PG-13, and has a run time of 142 minutes.

We give it 4 out of 5 stars.

-GJ

My New Table Centerpiece

-GJ

Image of the Day: Red Hood And The Outlaws

-GJ

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Clone Wars Season 4 Review

Caution: Spoiler Alert

Season 4 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars started off, eh.

The first few episodes featured an underwater battle between the Mon Calamari and the Separatists droid army, which though featured a younger Ackbar, also featured an annoying prince and was drug out for far too long.

To make matters worse, the arc also features Gungans; who also get a stand alone episode after the arc, called "Shadow Warrior" where the Gungans try to assist in the capture of General Grievous. The biggest impact here was the death of Capt. Roos Tarpals and really, who's going to miss him?

Whiny prince, too many Gungans, you'd had to believe the season was going to get better going into episode 6. Well you'd be wrong. Episodes 6 and 7 featured C-3PO and R2-D2 and was just a waste of 2 episodes. This early in the season there was no reason for what we would call filler episodes. There was no impact whatsoever on the story, it didn't build the characters, didn't effect the war, only thing these episodes accomplished was wasting an hour of each viewer's time.

Season 4 does a complete 180 for episodes 7 thru 10 however. General Skywalker is called back to Coruscant and General Krell is sent in to replace him as commander of the 501st on their mission to take back Umbara. Krell unlike Skywalker keeps himself from attachments and in doing so doesn't like to call the clones under his command by their names but rather their assigned numbers, and lives by the tactic that clones are simply replaceable so they always take the direct routes through battlefields, often walking into ambushes, and therefore suffering great loses in numbers.

The Krell arc is a very powerful one. We see a different treatment of the clones, clones disobeying orders, clones killing clones, and a Jedi prepared to turn his back on the Republic that he serves. It was nice to see what happens when clone troopers are faced with difficult decisions and show that they can actually make decisions for themselves, no matter what the consequences.

The next episodes focused around an entire planet, Kiros, having it's people kidnapped by the Separatists. Our heroes Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Ahsoka Tano must now discover what happened to them. The trail leads back to Zygerrian slavers, which causes Anakin to become very angry; having grown up as a slave of course he would hold some hatred towards any slavers; does actually help develop his character as he takes another step on his path to the dark side.

Episode 14 features the return of Death Watch. That's something to be excited about right? Right?!?! Well sure, if it wasn't for the fact that they have their plans foiled and their entire camp destroyed by Ahsoka, R2-D2, and Lux Bonteri it might have been. Seriously a camp full of Mandalorians can't take two teenagers and a droid?

Episodes 15 thru 18 revolve around a plot to kidnap Chancellor Palpatine. To root out this plot Obi-Wan must first "die", change places with Rako Hardeen (his killer), get himself sent to prison, break out of prison with Cad Bane (which happens via a riot started by Boba Fett attacking Obi-Wan), convince Bane to bring him in on his plan to kidnap Palpatine, fight off Anakin and Ahsoka, survive the trials of the Box, play through the whole kidnapping and keep Masters Yoda and Windu in the loop about everything. Next to the Krell arc this was a very bright spot for the season.

One thing of note in Episode 15 "Deception" when Obi-Wan first checks in with the Jedi Council after getting sent to prison, he starts his communication by saying "This is Ben." Many wonder if this was simply a mistake or Obi-Wan knowing that it'd be safer for him to be using a different name if he got caught; fore being Ben is better than being Obi-Wan while in prison.

In "Massacre" (episode 19), we find ourselves rooting for the "bad guys"; kinda don't have a choice because in one corner we have Dooku and his droids, while in the other we have Ventress and the Nightsisters of Dathomir. Now getting passed the simple fact that Dooku could have simply bombarded the planet from space, thus successfully getting his revenge, the episode does feature a really good fight between the Nightsisters and the droids. The episode also features General Grievous, and what can be classified as "Zombie" Nightsisters. Though Dooku succeeds in destroying the Nightsisters, both Mother Talzin and Ventress manage to escape.

An episode later Ventress is back into action. In "Bounty" Ventress finds herself being forced by Bossk into replacing the bounty hunter she disposes of in a cantina, who was part of a team led by none other than Boba Fett, hired to protect a very valuable piece of merchandise. After the mission goes awry Ventress finds herself alone with Fett, their valuable piece of merchandise, and a man trying to "steal" said merchandise; only here do we get to see how much Ventress has developed, now no longer just looked at as a heartless witch, but someone who can do the right thing at the right time. This is also the first time in The Clone Wars that we are introduced to a younger, slimer Dengar.

Finally we reach the end of the season, episodes 21 (Brothers) and 22 (Revenge), the highly anticipated return of Savage Opress and Darth Maul. Yep, that's right, Darth Maul returned in the Clone Wars. Why should getting cut in half and falling down a long shaft stop anyone right? So Savage's search for his brother finally ends with him finding him, however the Maul we all knew and loved has been turned into a half metallic spider creature and is nothing more than a babbling idiot making no sense whatsoever.

Savage returns Maul to Dathomir and Mother Talzin reappears to help "cure" Maul. After her ritual is complete Maul's spider half has been replaced by droid legs and he no longer babbles incoherently but is back to his old self and knows that all he wants is to seek revenge on Kenobi.

After slaughtering many innocent civilians Maul has finally gotten Kenobi to come him, where he and Savage has set a trap. At the end of Revenge we get the thrill of a great lightsaber fight involving Savage and Maul squaring off against Kenobi and his unlikely savior Ventress. Ventress and Kenobi manage to escape leaving Maul and Savage drifting in space.

End of season 4.

It had it's ups and many downs, but over all out of a 5 star system this season of The Clone Wars rakes in a 4. Mainly because unlike the three previous seasons, this one doesn't jump all over the timeline, everything moves in one nice straight forward motion, no jumping here and this episode needing to go back two seasons, just straight through. A nice change of pace for once.

So what are your thoughts on season 4 of The Clone Wars? Did you like this season, hate it, was there something you'd have changed, and what do you hope to see in season 5? Let us know in the comments section below.

-GJ

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review - R2In22: Episode 1

Premiering last week was R2In22; a 22 minute podcast hosted by Andy, Mike, Adam, and Jen.

R2In22 includes current Star Wars headlines, game reviews / previews, The Clone Wars cartoon recaps, comic book coverage, and probably more than you'll ever want to know about Star Wars action figures.

This Week's Topics Included:

  • The Clone Wars Episode 19 'Massacre' Recap
  • Discussion of the 2012 Action Figure Line-up
  • Dawn of the Jedi Comic Book Review
  • The Old Republic Video Game Review
  • Top 10: Sith My Kids Say

This podcast runs smoothly from topic to topic, with an adequate amount of time spent on each subject; all four hosts are very knowledgeable in the Star Wars Galaxy; and it has a little something for everyone; be it if you're gamer, comic book enthusiast, or collector.

Although just to pick on Adam for a minute, during the discussion about the 2012 action figure line-up, Adam brought up that Mara Jade was the winner of the Fan's Choice Figure and that this would be the first time she'd be available other than in the old comic book pack, however he failed to remember this...

Now other than this little Mara misinformation, everything else was spot on and very detailed.

We give the first episode of R2In22 5 out of 5 Death Stars and look forward to the next podcast.

-GJ

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu - Pon Pon Pon

-GJ

Image of the Day: Cyborg Butt Kicking

-GJ

Monday, March 5, 2012

Gambit Redesign

Another great sketch from @Kapellusch

-GJ

The Clones Will Fight Until The End

This version of The Clone Wars may only contain episodes that are 5 minutes long, and animation that is sub-par compared to the current Clone Wars cartoon, but the stories were good, contained lots of action, and most importantly they didn't screw with any storyline already produced.

Music provided is "Until The End" by Breaking Benjamin.

-GJ

MIBIII: 2nd Trailer

-GJ

Assassin's Creed III: Reveal Trailer

-GJ

Image of the Day: Professional Dress Attire

-GJ

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Face Value

Way back at the start of the DC Comics launch of the New52, in issue #1 of Batman: Detective Comics, the comic end's with the Joker having surgery and leaving his old face behind.

Fast forward 6 months; one of Marvel's top sellers, Uncanny X-Force, ends issue #22 with Fantomex's face being ripped off.

Now the question here is, is this really what people want out of their comics? Or is this just Marvel's way of trying to keep one of their best sellers up with one of DC's top sellers?

-GJ

Awesome Gift Received

Got this awesome Star Wars Transforming Snowspeeder from my 17 year old soon-to-be brother-in-law.

-GJ

Friday, March 2, 2012

Win This Destroyer Droid

Who said "Would it have been too much to ask for the order to have come through before I gave him back the bloody lightsaber…?”

Answer below in the comments section.

Contest Rules:

  • Open to all; Contest runs from 3/2/12 until 8PM EST 3/9/12
  • Shipping within North America is free; International winner would need to pay shipping
  • Only 1 entry per person
  • Winner will be selected at random from those that answered the question correctly

Good Luck!

-GJ

How Lucas Could Save Ahsoka Tano

Fans of the hit Star Wars cartoon series, The Clone Wars, often find themselves wondering these days when and how Star Wars creator George Lucas will wrap up the life of Ahsoka Tano; does he simply kill her or is there a way to save her?

A Way To Save Ahsoka

With Episode I: The Phantom Menace returning to theaters this year in 3D, many have speculated that the rest of the saga will follow suit; and chances are that when we'd finally get a chance to see Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Lucas will have probably decided that just modifying the films into 3D isn't working as planned and that additional scenes will help drive more people to the theaters.

Here could be a possible additional scene added.

After escorting Palpatine back to the Republic Executive Building on Coruscant, Obi-Wan argues about how many times Anakin has saved him; right after the line "Ninth time. Cato Neimoidia doesn't count; it was your fault in the first place" the conversation would now include the following dialog...

Anakin - "if Ahsoka was here she'd agree with me."
Kenobi - "well how unfortunate for you that she's out on assignment in the Outer Rim"

And there you have it folks. These two lines of additional dialog could save Ahsoka Tano from what many feel is a certain death in The Clone Wars cartoon series.

How Ahsoka's Life Should End

First, since such a relationship between Anakin and Ahsoka has been established in The Clone Wars cartoon, then that's where her death should take place. Also a nice way to push Anakin a little bit closer towards the Dark Side too.

There are several other characters created for The Clone Wars that also need to be wrapped up; Cad Bane and Captain Rex being two of the most prominent. If left up to us we'd have Bane kill Rex, Ahsoka seek Bane for vengeance, but be unsuccessful and lose her life. Now to close out the Bane story arc, you have a teenage Boba Fett step up to the plate and take out Bane, which establishes a relationship between Anakin and Fett, which obviously becomes useful when we get to Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

What do you guys think? How / When do you feel Ahsoka's story should end?

-GJ

Image of the Day: Sexy Princess Peach


-GJ