Tag Archives: Indiana Jones

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I think it’s important to come back with a bang. More accurately, a Gyllenhaal. In one of the best homages to a video game, this film takes the concept of the Prince of Persia series and takes another element everyone loves. Parkour. Combine a gameplay feel and straight ahead roller-coaster plot and you have yourself the next best thing to The Pirates of the Caribbean. Never mind the

We meet again, Sir Ben.

lackluster acting and portrayal of a country/nationality that doesn’t exist, Jerry Bruckheimer’s name is on this one. And if he did POTC, how could this be bad?

You may sense some sarcasm in the way I wrote that last paragraph. But, in actuality, I didn’t mind Prince of Persia. I had watched my girlfriend play a bit of the games (specifically Sands of Time) and I got a precursor to Assassin’s Creed that was a bit too much of a coincidence. Loving that idea and the inspiration that I’m sure AC drew from Prince of Persia, I was more than happy to sit down and watch the film. And what I got was exactly what I thought I was going to get. An adrenaline ride with pretty graphics and average characters. Think… The Mummy meets Indiana Jones, or something.

Get a load of that chest…

I think that’s what people need to realize when it comes to video game movies or action movies in general. What you expect is what you get. If you think this is gonna be an entertaining movie about a great video game, then you will get that. If you’re thinking Oscar worthy action thriller, you will be sorely disappointed. Please, critics out there, stop classifying all movies in the amazingly stellar films category. It ruins it for all of us with your snarky and harsh reviews, thus making everyone feel they should believe what one person’s opinion says in print. That’s B.S.

So, that straight ahead plot I was talking about. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Dastan, a made up name for the main character of the Prince of Persia series (he is the Prince after all). You wouldn’t be surprised how many times they use the title of the movie in the actual movie. Anyways, Dastan is a street rat (not far off from Aladdin) who is

Jakey’s angry face.

taken into the care of the King (Ronald Pickup) and treated as his son after an act of courage. After years of success and conquest, Dastan and his brothers, Tus (Richard Coyle) and Garsiv (Toby Kebbell) have come again to another city, the city of Alamut, in order to conquer it on what seem legit reasons. Oh, but the plot thickens.

Yeah, Arterton, you should be off camera for this shot…

After capturing the priestess Tahmina (Gemma Arterton) and promising her to Tus, the King and his subjects celebrate a misinformed victory. The King is poisoned by the framed Dastan while the King’s brother Nizam (Ben Kingsley) stares on in horror. He flees with Tahmina and a dagger he won, only to find it has the powers to control time. With such a great power, well, you know the rest. It is up to the banished Prince of Persia to save the ones he loves and stop the destruction of the world. The typical main points in any action film.

Of course, there were the obvious faults in the film. Jake Gyllenhaal is putting on a strange English accent and portraying a tanner race that no longer exists. Everyone speaks in either an English accent or some strange Middle Eastern tinged accent. The one actress in this film is annoying and godawful. What is there to say for action movies like this when one

Parkour to the extreme!

that is a decent video game remake has the worst female presence? Either get a better actress, or realize that most action movie females are there for sex appeal. At least there’s Lara Croft (but those shorts/tight fitting tanktop aren’t really helping…).

But I would say I was surprised that this film didn’t go for the cheesy lines as often or the special effects taking over the action. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it looked like Jake Gyllenhaal did all his own stunts. The parkour was entertaining and the sword fights are what you would expect from a Disney film. If you kick or punch someone, they’re down for the rest of the film. I had just as much fun watching the film as I did joking about it. Bruckheimer must be doing something right to keep my attention for more than 2 hours like he did…

Homage to a dastardly hero.

It was nice to see Tony Kebbell again, although his character was just a gruff and always yelling side character to the main plot. And I don’t know how/why Ben Kingsley does it, but he gets roped into these average films when he’s been Ghandi for crying out loud. Bloodrayne, The Love Guru, and The Last Legion? How does he do it? But seriously, get rid of that female actress. She added nothing to the film, and I didn’t mind the ending they had before the last 20 minutes. Get some of that, Arterton.

Overall, I’m sure, this film isn’t the greatest. It is entertaining though. For those of us out there who find Jake Gyllenhaal to be a hunk, traversing over Agrabah’s rooftops and allowing his flowing mane to pierce the skies, this film was no probelm-o. There’s nothing wrong

Give him a lick, he tastes just like sexy.

with mindlessly being entertained, as long as you are aware that it’s all in good fun. That’s what this movie was. Good fun. For Alfred Molina to show up again after the supposed “disgrace” of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (same year), it takes guts. And I’m sure they all had fun doing it regardless. Gotta say, a lot of those costumes looked ballin’. 6.3 out of 10.

Advertisements

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

In continuation of the Ezio Arc of the Assassin’s Creed series, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood: is a slight continuation of the events of Assassin’s Creed 2. In considering this a half-stop between AC 2 and AC 3, this game delivers a whole new amount of gameplay almost identical to AC 2. Taking place entirely in Rome, Ezio climbs and leaps from the historic buildings of Rome and the surrounding countryside. You can rebuild Rome from the tyrannical rule of the Borgia family and attempt to take back what rightfully belongs to the people. In the vein of a Robin Hood story, you use the money from the government to buy the tools you need to take back Rome. The fight is on.

What lacks in this game in comparison to Assassin’s Creed 2 is the slow moving plot. The second game moves so fast with Ezio’s plot and how he becomes an Assassin, it leaves little to be done in the second. It’s all about the revenge story in this one. The Borgias have remained in power by Ezio’s inability to finish the job and he’s paying for it now. With the help of the Assassin’s Guild and a new feature which allows you to send and use Assassin’s to do your

Just a bit of the historic gold.

bidding, its up to Ezio Auditore and crew to save Rome.

This gameplay is identical to the gameplay in Assassin’s Creed 2. There are a couple of exceptions. The free running is a bit more advanced with some better gloves for climbing and some more advanced moves in traveling through the extra areas in order to collect the armor of Romulus. The synchronization experience in the game is a bit frustrating with having to attempt to achieve 100% with every mission. A lot more of the missions in this game dealt with not being detected, a fact which frustrated me to no end. If the job is achieved, I would like it to be up to me how it is done. If I want to kill everyone and then deal with the target, what’s wrong with that?

Abe Lincoln joke anyone? Maybe an Assassin from the Guild killed him too… In AC 5…

Anyways, the rest of the game is just as fun as the second game. The Subject 16 missions are just as fun and challenging as the first, indicting the entirety of the world’s powers in what appears to be a power grab by the Templars that control the world. The artwork and historic building information makes me feel smarter while I’m playing a video game. I love games like this with basis in history that allow you to function as a badass Indiana Jones and solve the mysteries behind some of the world’s biggest marvels. With art, weaponry, and Leonardo Da Vinci’s weaponry, history becomes kick ass.

The voice acting is phenomenal as usual in this game. The workers at Ubisoft have their shit on lock with the amazing cast they get to pull of the Italian tinted accents of all the characters in the game. The emotions and actions of the characters are appropriate and, unlike many other video games, the characters are realistic for the subject matter of the game. And, for once, this game has a main character who is above the age of 25. In his mid 30’s, Ezio can still kick as much ass, but the fatigue actually wears on him. The same goes for 50 year old Ezio in Revelations. Let’s talk about character development and just how well this game pulls that off.

Ah yes, the Borgias… and notice the crossbow I forgot to mention.

The Brotherhood has arrived.

With all these elements in my all time favorite game series, Assassin’s Creed is one of the most well thought out games of all time. The creators in every country behind the games come together under different ethnicities and creeds to create a masterpiece of a game. They bring the accuracy of different religions and histories in order to be as accurate as possible. And thinking about the fact that these characters are based on real historical figures is just the icing on the cake. So hunker down and get into Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, its a perfect slow down point in the game that allows you to seep in the glory that is Ezio and the Assassins.

 


The Adventures of Tintin: The Best

Awwww yeahhhh...

Just to let everyone know, I’m about to rave about how good this movie is. I’m already gonna give this a 10 out of 10, no worries. I’m gonna give this best animated film of 2011. As if there was any competition. I’ve been reading Tintin graphic novels since I was a wee lad. This stuff, pardon my French, is my shizz. I love Tintin and his trusty wire fox terrier, Snowy. Captain Haddock is hilarious with his alliterative swear words. The mysteries are fun and engaging for all ages. And this movie EPITOMIZES everything that was good about the comics. I can’t think of a single book/comic/graphic novel that completely translates a movie from the work that you loved. (If you can refute this statement, post one. You can’t, but you can try.)

From the amazing minds of Steven Spielburg and Peter Jackson, the story of the ace journalist/detective Tintin comes

Tintin and Haddock, on the adventure.

straight from the first comic. The meeting of Haddock. Flawless. I felt I was re-reading the first graphic novel. Page for page. In 107 minutes, I was taken into a world I could completely believe in. A world I wished I existed in since I was 9. Now this has been a ridiculously good year for Spielburg. He directed The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse. One is a heartwarming story about a horse getting Oscar buzz, the other is an amazing story about the greatest hero of all time, and it was judge by its earnings in America. Come on, are you serious? Let’s see… Oh my, it made a measly $10 million domestically. It floundered here in the U.S. Hmmmm… $270 in foreign box offices? It just looks to me as if people abroad (where Tintin originated) appreciate it far more than those here who lack a bit of ecclesiastical appreciation. I’m not blaming anyone, it just goes to show we need to publish and distribute more Tintin comics here.

How great does that look? Bell and Serkis, experiencing innovation.

Back to Spielburg. (Sorry Peter.) Along with these great directing jobs, Spielburg executively produced 4 T.V. shows (one of those being Terra Nova, getting some buzz there, the other big one, Falling Skies) and a series of big blockbuster movies. Those being Cowboys and Aliens (need to see), Transformers 3 (eh… no), Real Steel (big no), and Super 8 (HELL YES). Toss in War Horse and Tintin and you got a sextuple threat right there. I’d call that a year of bank. But I guess that’s not to try to detract from Peter Jackson’s contribution. Jackson has The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey two parter to look forward to releasing. That’s gonna do just as well as the LOTR series for shizzle.

What other names can I boast about related to this movie? Well, there’s John Williams on the orchestra chops. Check out about every single Spielburg/Lucas movie and you’ll find J. Williams name tagged on there. Anybody who can cinematically sweep me off my feet with a recognizable build, that’s gold right there. AND THE VOICE ACTORS. That’s just think about that for a second. Voice actors. I know they’re acclaimed actors, but they use their voices to bring this movie together. And a bunch of great names to talk about in relation to their characters.

There are no words for how incredible this is.

Jamie Bell as Tintin. Right there. That’s a big name with some great roles attached to it. The boy of Billy Elliot among other great English roles this guy has taken? Fantastic. I used to do my own English accent in my mind to pretend I was Tintin, but now Jamie Bell’s voice will forever signify and epitomize who Tintin is. Andy Serkis and Captain Haddock. PHENOMENAL. I’ve never known an actor who can throw out a cacophony of voices and make them all sound legitimate. His drunken Scottich drawl is just exactly what Haddock ordered. His buffoonery and hijinks really carry the story along, as Tintin and his levelheadedness truly get them out of some sticky situations. Here, get this. Daniel Craig AS THE BAD GUY. Who saw that coming? Playing the nefarious Sakharine/Red Rackham, Craig really steps it up by expanding his acting chops inside a recording booth. Nick Frost and Simon Pegg as the Thompson twins? I’ll take some of that. They were funny in the comics and in the movie as well. Spot on. Toby Jones as Silk the pickpocket? I thought at first that he would be Professor Calculus when I first saw him, but that wasn’t the case. (Professor Calculus was supposed to be in Red Rackham’s Treasure, but only introduced.) Even Mackenzie Crook, side star of the Pirates series as the wooden eyed lackey and star of The Office (U.K.), offered his voice as Tom, one of the lackeys of Haddock’s former crew. And, get this as well, even Cary Elwes, star of Saw 1 and The Princess Bride, lends his voice as a minor character! (Look for him as a pilot on the biplane!) Everyone English wanted to get in on the action of Tintin!

Let’s talk about the animation! This new age of 3-D digital animation is just phenomenal. Anything can be done with today’s technology. I would give this movie and the recently made L.A. Noire game the tops for this category of innovation. When you can make iconic cartoon characters seem real and RESEMBLE the voice actors who play them? Kudos. I will give a standing ovation to that. The amazing attention to details with shadows and minor costume effects and the tiniest of details is just mental. You have to really care about the work you’re doing to be that good. And I’m sure all the people that worked on this movie were.

There are so many great comedic/fast paced action sequences in this movie as well! The scenes on the Karaboudjan ship and the flashbacks to the Haddock/Rackham fight were epic (and I don’t use epic lightly). And the final chase scene at the end are the epitome of badass. Even the final battle between Haddock and his ancient rival are just too amazing. Bravo on all accounts of action.

Just. Fantastic.

I gotta tell ya, there is just no end to my love of this movie and Tintin and all his adventures. I hope they make a movie for every single graphic novel. The start up of every story is great. Tintin stumbles on some piece of history and it ties him into a dangerous adventure that will test his mind and body. He should be every young man’s hero and role model. And speaking of young children, I was happy to see how many parents took their children to see this movie. It’s age appropriate and wonderful for the entire family, young and old alike. It has everything and leaves you wanting more. The entire time. I can’t get over it. A

Tintin 4 Life.

perfect, flawless 10 out of 10. Best film of 2011? Maybe… Tintin will tell.


Assassin’s Creed II

Now I haven’t done a game review in a long time, but this game needs to be blogged about. I’m a huge fan of the Assassin’s Creed franchise and I now have recently acquired all the games. It’s not just the gameplay, that’s pretty standard throughout the games. For me, it’s the plot. The intricacies of the game and the secrets uncovered are just earth shattering. This particular game takes place in Italy, more particularly, Venice. With accurate building schematics and a bevy of real life characters altered to fit the contexts of the game, there is nothing that stands in the way of this game being just as good as the first and just as good as all the others.

This games kicks off with a little bit of a continuation from the last. Desmond Miles is a test subject under the jurisdiction of Abstergo, known as the Animus project. There’s this bastard, Warren Vidic, who has kept you holed up for way too long. The entire first game takes place in this testing laboratory in which there is no outside contact and no concept of what exactly is going on. Desmond is forced, through

The city is yours. Lay waste to it.

futuristic technology, to relive the past lives of his ancestors, members of a special assassin’s guild. First it’s Altair, and now it’s Ezio Auditore da Firenze. I’m gonna give a nod to Roger Craig Smith for the voice acting on that one. Ezio is a strong protagonist who really thrives on the revenge of his family’s death and he will do absolutely anything to fulfill it.

How is this not breathtaking?

And, through the course of the game, you parkour, slice, and lay waste to the guards and streets of Italy as you travel from your home base of your Uncle Mario (“It’s a me, Mario!”) and all over Florence, San Gimignano, Forli, Venice, and Rome. Let me tell you, the sneaking and wreaking of havoc all over the Vatican is something to remember. It almost makes me want to travel there in order to find the secret hidden underneath. The famous buildings all over every city is quite exquisite and down to the last detail correct. There’s an element of National Treasure/Indiana Jones (more the latter) in all of the hidden seals you must find in order to unlock the armor of Altair, sealing your memories of the two assassins together.

Let’s talk about the gameplay here. Okay, the free run system, I would like to argue, is one of the most advanced and best of any game currently on the market. Flowing consistently through every game, Ezio can run through the streets and, at any moment, you can be scaling a building and jumping from rooftop to rooftop. For those of you who know the game, you feel like a combination of Spiderman without the tights, and Batman with all his gadgets, just a bit more lethal though. And that’s another thing. Weapons. There is a damn shizzload of them. Throwing knives, double hidden blades (even poisoned), and swords and maces out the whazoo. With lots of different armor combos and capes to conceal and run train, this game leaves no battle up to chance.

Talk about intricacy...

Speaking of battling in the game, there’s a whole new stock of finishing moves to discover. With every weapon comes a new way to kill. You can even pick up the weapons of fallen enemies in order to exact your revenge. I gotta say, try the pike, its magnificent. And another nice thing about the game is that it’s one difficulty. That leaves it accessible to those who can figure out how to play the game and doesn’t get much more difficult. The achievements are easy to unlock and master, leaving you with a heightened sense of achievement. I can really appreciate a game that doesn’t make an achievement secret or ridiculously hard to master. There is only one achievement that I find to be the bane of my existence. The feathers. How is that a fair task to put to Ezio? Those feathers are impossible to sight in a free run on the map and to collect 100 of them? Those with a lot of free time can try to figure that out…

But this all comes back to the plot and characters. The Medici family, Borgia and all the villains

Awwwww yeah da Vinci.

politically connected. The tragic story of the Firenzes and the use of Leonardo da Vinci in the game. It’s just a big eye opener. For sure, you have to discover the secret video files in all of the hidden areas of the cities. It’s connection to the origins of the world and the suggestion to the end of it really blew me away. It may seem a bit hard to follow or, on the flipside, contrived and a bit hard to believe, but, in the end, it really made me want to believe what I was witnessing. And I can’t wait to play the next two. These games just keep getting better. A definite 10 out of 10.

Get to work. It's time to run train.


The Mummy/Mummy Returns: The Greatest Thing to Happen to Archeology and Egyptology Since Indiana Jones

So I just recently re-watched The Mummy and The Mummy Returns with my roommate and it was quite the nostalgic experience. I went back to a time where I used to be obsessed with the Eqyptians. I read books about them, I talk with my grandma about her trips to Egypt, she showed me slides, and, most importantly, I watched The Mummy series. I loved the story of Imhotep and how the story was interesting and at the same time based on historical evidence. The people, the places, the times of the Pharaohs, it was all real and interesting. And it was all set in the era of the archeologist. And automated weapons. What could be better?

So, basic plot of both films. Rick O’Connell (Brendan Frasier) and Evelyn “Evy” O’Connell, (Rachel Weisz) (Yes, they get married in the second. They even have a child! Imagine that!) accompanied by her brother Johnathan, (John Hannah) awake a mummy named Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo). He was never meant to be awoken, because of his travesties against Seti I. He was given the Hom Dai, the worst of all curses that transfers over into the afterlife. He fooled around with Seti’s wife-to-be Anck Su Namun (Patricia Velasquez) and killed Seti I. This story is all explained and re-explained in the two movies.

So Evy awakes Imhotep and the whole rest of the movie Rick and Evy race around Egypt attempting to stop the creature. And thus does the first one end. What’s nice about the second one is that it picks up from a point later on, and now Evy and Rick have a kid in tow. Their little “bundle of fun” Alex (Freddie Boath) puts on the Bracelet of Anubis and awakens the Scorpion King (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) who will bring about the next apocalypse. Those are Ardeth Bay’s (Oded Fehr) words, not mine. So this movie is about Rick and Evy vs. Imhotep in their race to the lost oasis of Ahm Shere to stop/utilize the Scorpion King’s army.

And these nice little action/adventure plots are what makes the movies. They’re not hard to follow, the keep up the suspense and action, and they’re academically infused with a bit of mythology and history. All based around the idea of a mummy coming back to life. Frightening, and at the same time mesmerizing.

I might be a little biased in my review because I grew up with the Mummy series, but these movies are quite fantastic. And no, I’m not including that hulking piece of garbage known as The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. That thing was awful. There’s no Rachel Weisz, the plot is rocky, there’s no Egyptian aspect to it, it’s just trash. If I had to do it, I would compare it to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Not as bad, but really detracted from the Indiana Jones series. But yes, The Mummy/Mummy Returns are quite fantastic in their scope. They use the history of the Pharaohs and the rituals of Egypt to spook and entertain. Setting it all in a early 1900’s era gives it that age of discovery and adventure around the world. And the use (?) of actual (?) locations really ties it all together. (I don’t know if it was filmed on location, but I do like all the pyramids.)

Brendan Frasier at his finest.

And the acting, quite frankly, is some of Brendan Frasier’s finest. He’s witty, but at the same time he can be serious. But I feel like that’s the way this movie was set up. It has the witty, corny lines (to a degree), but at the same time it has its serious parts and serious acting shines through. Rachel Weisz is always great (I can understand why she did resign for the Dragon Emperor) and John Hannah (although Scottish) does quite a good English accent. Probably not the point, but you can only see a little Scottish that pops through throughout the films. Oded Fehr is amazing and does a great job as an Egyptian Medjai. Kevin J. O’Connor always makes me laugh as Beni in The Mummy and whenever Rick O’Connell deals with him is great. I really appreciated Patricia Velasquez’s acting in the second Mummy as Anck Su Namun, trying to pretend to be a reincarnated version of herself. And the list goes on with cameos and small supporting roles that are all quite great.

So if you haven’t already seen these films, check them out. They’re worth the watch and are great for their entertainment value and scope in what they deal with. A definite 8.9 out of 10.