Prepare to be Reviewed

Another Brutally Honest Flick Review By The Jaeger

Clash of the Titans
Directed by Louis Leterrier

Oh Hollywood, are there really no more original ideas out there at all? For those unfamiliar with the story, Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation) plays Perseus, the bastard son of Zeus (played with tremendous scene-chewery by Liam Neeson) on a quest to avenge the death of his adopted family at the hands of Hades (Ralph Fiennes, Vodemorting it up big time).

Not so much a remake, as perhaps a re-imagining of the 1981 Desmond Davis flick of the same name, the 2010 version takes massive liberties with the original work, sometimes for the sake of 21st century storytelling conventions, and others seemingly just so we get to see more CGI monsters on screen.

Look, I’m not one of those choad fanboys who is going to claim that Ray Harryhausen’s stop motion monsters in the original are superior to the CG creatures of the new flick, but there was certainly something charming about that particular form of visual effect that we have lost in this modern world of CGI fakery. But enough about the FX, they are pretty damn good, especially the Kraken, and Medusa if for no other reason than their sheer menace on screen. Medusa the Gorgon’s moves seem more intelligent, nastier, and more vicious as she deals with Perseus and his choads, whereas in the original flick it seemed like anyone with more that half a brain could run circles around her.

There are some decent performances throughout, although Sam Worthington seems a bit out of his element when sharing the screen with Liam Neeson, but then who wouldn’t? Some of the characters seem to be just thrown in to pad out the flick, Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace) as Io immediately springs to mind as a character that was thrown in just so Perseus could have some kind of love interest, as well as the two dudes with axes that show up, leave, then show up at the end just in time to save the hero for seemingly no other reason than as a convenience for the writers.

The PQ and AQ are decent but certainly not perfect, the audio will certainly give your Home Theater a workout, but it seemed like it was recorded at a slightly lower level than most other blu-ray flicks in the last couple of years...

Don’t get me wrong, the flick isn’t terrible, it just isn’t very good and it leaves me wondering if some studio head was looking through properties, found Clash of the Titans, and thought: we should re-do this flick, but with CG! To which I reply: just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should. Three screaming Gorgon Heads out of Five.

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blu-ray cover image stolen from Blu-ray.com


Prepare To Be Reviewed

Another brutally honest flick review by The Jaeger

Directed by James Cameron

James Cameron’s overly hyped, extreme left wing, ultra green, anti-military movie hit on DVD and Blu-ray on Earth Day and I’m sure it will sell millions of copies. For those who don’t know, the story takes place in 2154 when a USAmerican expedition is sent to the planet Pandora to secure a mineral that is needed on Earth. Since the atmosphere is toxic to Humans, they use genetically engineered avatars that look like the local aliens, the Na’vi, and are mind controlled by the Humans on the drop ship. Controlling the Na’vi avatars gives the Humans the ability to see, hear, taste, and leap about like the locals. The protagonist, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is a paraplegic and finds the experience of controlling the tall smurf avatar liberating since he can move about once more.

Cameron clearly hates the military and everyone who doubts the dubious “science” of global warming, as his Na’vi characters are portrayed as wise, environmentally friendly, three dimensional (no pun intended) beings that live in perfect harmony with nature, while the Earthicans are one dimensional, war-mongering maniacs with no redeeming qualities. Indeed, even the planet Pandora itself is a more fully developed character than the majority of the Humans! That said, I would be remiss if I did not mention that the CGI visual effects are ridonkulously good, and the action sequences are freaking jaw dropping, and the third act basically drops all pretence of story in favour of wicked wall-to wall action. The blu-ray is a bare-bones release without so much as a trailer on the BD-50 disc on which it is housed. Cameron has already stated that he plans to TRIPLE-DIP this flick on home video, the second DVD and blu will be released in November as a four disc “Ultimate Edition” containing an extended version of the flick as well as all the extras that should have been included in this release, then in early 2011, a 3-D blu-ray is planned for release.

As for the video, the 1080p MPEG 4 AVC encoded transfer is simply stunning, and the DTS-HD Master Audio will give your home theatre the workout it deserves. So really, even if you don’t like the movie it is certainly worth having in your collection if for no other reason but to show off the reference quality video and sound.

In the end, it seems I’m the only reviewer in the entire blogosphere with the stones to call out this movie for what it is: a mega-budget Ferngully re-make, and if the Oscars hadn’t expanded the Best Picture category this year to include TEN pictures, this movie wouldn’t have come close to making it into the category.

There. I said it. Let the flaming begin. A Two out of Five.


It is Time of Game!!! Another brutally honest review by The Jaeger.

Golden Axe™ Beast Rider
Developed By
Secret Level

How do you take a beloved, classic, two-player arcade game and turn it into a mediocre single-player experience? Well, you’ll have to ask the boys and girls at Secret Level because that’s exactly what they delivered with Golden Axe™ Beast Rider.

I have to admit when I first heard about this game I was excited beyond all reason, having been as I was a ridonkulously huge fan of the original arcade classic. Indeed, me old pal McBain and I burned away many, MANY hours defeating the dreaded DEATH=ADDER on more occasions than I can remember, so I wanted to give this latest incarnation of the game some serious play time before writing the review. So although I didn’t have the skill to finish the game, I played enough of it to realize that the Golden Axe I knew and loved was gone forever, only to be replaced by this slick looking, next-gen “re-imagining” that to be brutally honest, does not hold up to the original.

Lets start with the good stuff. The graphics, and visual design are top notch, and pretty to look at, the backgrounds are exceptional, the character designs are fresh and exciting, the voice work and music is also half-decent, and help to lend an epic feel to the game.

Unfortunately, the element of the game that counts the most, that should be the most fun, the actual play is severely lacking. The beast riding element, arguably the best part of the original game, is clunky and uninspired, and adds nothing to the overall experience. For the ground based combat, the developers tried to go in a different direction. Instead of making combat a simple hack and slash, button-mashing affair which could become tiresome after eight or ten hours of game-play, they went with a system that requires lightning quick reflexes. Enemy attacks are telegraphed a half-second before they happen by certain colours that indicate whether you have to use a heavy, or light block, and then respond with some perfectly timed attacks resulting in counters that when they actually worked, were absolutely brutally satisfying. The problem is, they only work about half the time, making a great deal of the combat a frustrating chore instead of the fun experience it should have been. For example, many obstacles can only be knocked down while riding a beast, which leads to many instances of backtracking to a beast spawn point. Then one has to fight through a group of baddies, inevitably leading to Tyris being unseated from her beast, and having to once again defeat the baddies, then backtrack to the beast spawn point, ride all the way back, fight more baddies and ultimately do the whole fucking thing all over again.

Another aspect that made the original game so much fun was the two-player co-op aspect, a feature that is conspicuously absent from Golden Axe™ Beast Rider. Another problem I had was with the XBOX 360 Achievements; they are nearly impossible to get! Most of them can only be unlocked by completing the game once and unlocking the special “Battler’s Blade” sword, a weapon that kills opponents with one stroke, but also frustratingly enough, makes Tyris vulnerable to one-hit death! I’m not saying achievements should be as easy as five points for pressing the “Start Button” (thank you Simpsons the game!) but they shouldn’t be so absurdly hard as these ones are to unlock.

So, if you are the type of gamer that has Jedi-like reflexes, and has no problem with clunky game-play and frustrating melee combat, then this is the game for you, unfortunately for me; I just don’t have the patience for it. A TWO out of FIVE.


Cheese and Crackers... oh, and Time Travel...

So I’m walking through Costco the other day and day-dreaming as I am wont to do about some of the shit that I dug as a youth back in the Eighties™ when I happen upon the Blu-ray for Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. At $9.99 I cannot resist, as the only other copy in my possession is a battered old VHS tape of the flick recorded off LaserDisc™. I snatched it up and threw it into the cart which gained me a raised eyebrow from the Grrl, but narry a comment.

For the three people out there who don’t know, the film takes place in our soon to be dystopian future (a few years from now) where the milk of human kindness has long since passed it’s sell-by date, and humankind has been reduced to vicious bands of scavengers and raiders, all obsessed with the acquisition of gasoline. Post nuclear horror was BIG in the 1980’s what with the Cold War with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (that’s right, SOCIALIST! I’m not afraid to speak the truth that the enemy was, and still is SOCIALISM!) and the threat of annihilation seemingly only a turn of the key away, and The Road Warrior is certainly a product of it’s time.

Watching the flick again I realised that it not only holds up, but even surpasses many of the contemporary post-apocalyptic tales spewing from the syphilitic anus of Hollywood today, and is without a doubt the strongest film in the “Mad Max Trilogy.” What was old, is new again as post nuclear flicks and zombie apocalypse pictures are enjoying a renaissance here in the twenty-first century, once again proving that there are no more original ideas left in Hollywood.

Anyway, the point is I still like Mad Max 2, even after twenty-eight years which I think points to how strong, and lasting the film is, to spite what Julian’s film Professor might try to tell you. The third act is especially satisfying, and I defy anyone to find a better chase sequence even with today’s CG laden virtual stunt-work.

Some other things from the eighties have not aged so well however. In 1983 in order to compete with Doctor Who (which was being shown for the first time in North America that year), NBC began broadcasting their own time travel series; a little program called Voyagers! This was the story of time traveller Phineas Bogg (the late Jon-Eric Hexum) and his bratty side kick Jeff Jones (Meeno Peluce) and their adventures through time and space, nudging as they did, history in the “right” direction. Recently this series became available in an inexpensive DVD box-set so, of course being the sucker I am, I picked it up letting my nostalgia get the best of me, my fond memories of the series slicing through my common sense.

Yeah… sometimes nostalgia can get the best of you. The show, while not completely terrible is certainly mediocre at best, and contains more plot holes and inconsistencies than I have room to name here (ancient Egyptians speaking ENGLISH anyone????). Okay, inconsistencies aside, the performances by the lead actors (and many of the so-called “guest stars”) were below average at best, and at worst, utterly unwatchable, and the writing was completely mediocre and amaturish. I am glad I only paid $12.99 for the series, anything more and I would have felt ripped off.

It’s funny how memories work, when I was twelve, I really enjoyed this program and was genuinely upset at it’s cancellation. I even went so far as to construct my own “omni” time and space travel device out of cardboard, plastic, and tin tape, complete with a money-clip on back to carry it on my belt.

Ah, well… even cheese has a shelf life, and apparently Voyagers! Had a shorter one than most others…


Honorable Mentions

Honorable Mentions of the Last Decade errr, stuff what didn’t make the like/hate list…

Mike Richards: The funniest fuck in Canadian Radio. Mornings on the Fan960.

Crackdown: The first game in a long time I actually wanted to finish!

Buying a House: Something I never thought I would ever be able to do. Sure no cunt can raise your rent or boot your ass out on an overlooked loophole, but it sucks every fucking penny out of my bank account every two weeks.

The Rise of HDTV: Watching standard def fare now just does not cut it anymore. High-Definition is “da-bomb” as the kids say. It’s too bad we get raped by the cable corporations in Canada with mediocre service, less than half the HD channels offered by US cable companies, and ridonkulously high monthly bills to boot!

The Saga Concludes: with the release of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (or, as Julian would say: Revenge of the Two Guys) the Star Wars Saga ended not with a bang, but with a whimper. While the flick was better than the first two prequels in almost every way, it was nowhere near as good as Episodes IV-VI.

G4: My favourite digital cable channel makes it to Canada bringing with it the greatest Newsfotainment (My word. Your welcome.) show of the twenty-first century: Attack of the Show! TV’s only source for all the stuff you care about.

20 Years @ the ‘Corn: December of 2009 marked the twentieth year I’ve been hanging out to drink, write, and be merry at Calgary’s Original Pub, The Unicorn.

Iron Man: Jon Favreau shows that it is possible to make a comic book flick that doesn’t completely suck grilled donkey balls.

Jean Chretien: What can you say about this guy, the most crafty, arrogant, and possibly evil Prime Minister since Trudeau is STILL shooting his mouth off for attention. This time berating Prime Minister Harper for NOT sucking up and kissing the ass of left wing, totalitarian communist China! I suppose I could list all the human rights violations and crimes the Communist Chinese Government has perpetrated against it’s people over the last fifty years, but we don’t have all day here. Look Jean, you are no longer der Furer of Canada so how about you shut the fuck up because no one wants to hear your leftist clap-trap anymore.

The Left-Wing Media: It’s funny, but I’m old enough to remember when the media - wait for it – reported on the news with objectivity! Now all we have, on every channel it seems, is left-wing, socialist editorializing instead of actual news. Oh well.


Ten Years: Part Deux

10 Things I Hated About the Last Decade (again, in no particular order)

One million people, all with cars, all in front of me driving like fucking idiots.

The Calgary Flames not winning the ’04 Stanley Cup.

I didn’t manage to become rich and famous, to spite trying real hard.

Realizing I need my friends more than they need me.

Ernest Cline and Dan Pulick for ripping off my screenplay for “Cup Crazy” and making it into “Fanboys.” Bastards.

Where the fuck are my flying cars? It’s the 21st century ferchissakes! And what about a base on the moon, or mars? For that matter, where the hell are the aliens?

Peter Jackson winning the Oscar for Return of the King. Really Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences? Really? You give a guy the Oscar for the third, and weakest film in a trilogy? If your just giving these things away like candy at Halloween, why not just give one to George Lucas for Revenge of the Sith?

Al Gore for claiming to love the environment while at the same time flying around the world with an entourage of a hundred people in private jets. That’s right Al, I should give up my car, but you go right ahead and keep burning millions of gallons of environmentally unfriendly jet fuel every month.

The rise radical Islam, and the erosion of western values through the Liberal and Socialist policies of political correctness in North America and Great Britain.

Barack Hussein Obama bringing extreme left wing Socialism, high taxes, and big government to what was once the Greatest Country in the World.


Ten Years! Ten!

10 Things I Liked About the Last Decade (in no particular order)

Energy drinks becoming the new socially acceptable alternative to crack.

We are now officially ten years closer to the Zombie Apocalypse.

Watching the Calgary Flames in the ’04 Stanley Cup run.

Smoking Cuban cigars, and drinking rum on the back deck.

The sheer variety of delicious USAmerican microbrewery beers made available here in CanadaAmerica… mmmmm Anchor Steam...

Jason Statham becoming THE premiere Action Hero of the 21st Century.

David Letterman and Tiger Woods proving that no matter how rich or married you are it’s still okay to be all about the hootchies.

Tegan + Sara, and Metric getting me interested in music again. Nice of them, don’t you think?

The increase in the Parent/Child “buffer-zone.” George Costanza understands the stress this relieves! LOL

Io Taraji. D’ya loik dags? I loik dags!

Reviews From The Chesterfield

Ghost in the Shell Directed by Rupert Sanders Based on the manga by Shirow Masamune In the near future, the cyberneticly enhan...