Saturday, 28 August 2010

Burned Mass Effect and Scott Pilgrim vs The World

Hi again all, it's been another long while, but I'm trying to make these updates more frequent!

I got pretty frustrated this morning, as it's the weekend, I thought I'd chill out on my game on Mass Effect. I recently acquired Dr. T'Soni and am doing some non-story related missions, it's my first playthrough (4 years late I know) so I'm enjoying the dialogue choice wheel and inventing my very own lead character. (Her name is Danielle Shepard, a hard-working commander with a 'don't mess with me' attitude, vivid red hair, high morals and a sometimes harsh sense of justice. She has a soft spot for Kaidan and Garrus. She is determined to bring Saren down!)

So I'm playing the game with no problems, when I accidentally knock the TV remote down the back of the radiator. It's the kind of obstacle that is too close to the wall to reach down, but far enough to allow a nice gap for items to fall down. In the struggle to get the remote free of this gap, I knock my Rock Band guitar over which in turn, knocks the Xbox 360. If you've ever had any experience with this, you'll know that when you knock or so much as walk past an Xbox when a disc is in use, the laser will burn a ring into it, rendering it unreadable. So now I have to take it into Game or wherever to get cleaned and it wasn't even mine. (Sorry Alex! T_____T)

After that, I decided I'd had the last straw with the messy state of the room, and literally spent the next four hours tidying up and putting aside old books and toys for charity (kinda ironic that I would do this after seeing Toy Story 3, but the stuff was more educational or cheap stuff anyway). Although the room is far from empty, it is considerably more organised and feels must less claustrophobic. *thumbs up.... collapses*

So aside from that, I recently saw the long-awaited Scott Pilgrim vs The World on the big screen. Unlike most fans, I haven't actually read the comics yet, but I was very excited to see the film.

Directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) and starring Michael Cera (Juno), Scott Pilgrim vs The World is a film adaptation of the best selling graphic novels by Canadian author and artist, Bryan Lee O'Malley. The black and white comics themselves have a pretty sweet art style and I look forward to reading them for myself soon!

But back to the movie. Scott Pilgrim vs the World is an awesome film. I went to see it with average expectations, but it really rose above them. This is a film made by geeks, for geeks. It is the most faithful film for gamers I've ever seen. The opening title includes a pixellated "sprite" Universal logo, complete with midi-type music and gaming references are everywhere: from Zelda music and sound effects, to gameplay mechanics (i.e. enemies burst into coins upon defeat).

So the story follows Scott Pilgrim, a 22-year-old "loser" who plays bass in the band "Sex-Bob-Omb", and is getting over a previous scarring relationship by dating a 17-year-old high-schooler (the adorable Knives Chau). And that's when Ramona Flowers enters his life. A mysterious young woman with brightly coloured hair who works for who takes Scott's breath away. However, things get complicated when he discovers that to be with her, he must defeat her 7 evil ex's... that was unexpected!

As far as I know, the story is pretty similar to the source material (albeit a few changes), so it's difficult to critique the film without in turn critiquing the books, so I won't go into details there. Instead I'll turn to the visuals, which are pretty stunning. It's a prefect blend of beautiful cinematography composited with graphic illustration which represent the manga's sound effect writing (like D's coming from bass guitars and Batman-like Kapow!'s for punches). Although these aren't necessary for film, they are an interesting factor on screen and draw more attention to the sound aspect of the film, which is incredible.

I also very much enjoyed the opening credits animation which looked very reminiscent of Len Lye's "Swinging the Lambeth Walk". It was cool, flashy and colourful. I very much doubt it was a coincidence!

A lot of attention was paid to the film's sound design, there were lovely game-like sound effects everywhere: Young Neil playing Zelda on the Nintendo DS, the raising of an eyebrow was accompanied by a Window's 'beep' and of course the timing was right on the dot. The second superstar evil ex first appears along with the Universal introduction music, cricking his neck in time to the drums, which is hilarious.

The music is also ideal. The Sex Bob-Ombs have some great tunes, and so do the 'Clash at Demonhead', a very popular band in the film that play a song from the real band, Metric. I gotta say I love their song "Black Sheep". I've been addicted to it and the scene that it appears in... gives me shudders! I also love their special rendition of Zelda's "Fairy Fountain" theme in one of Scott's dream sequences, it has a real air of mystery to it and feels so ethereal.

Now down to the nitty gritty, I was very impressed by Michael Cera's acting in this film. He is a great actor and plays the character excellently but he has unfortunately been type-cast so badly in previous films, audiences find it difficult to take him seriously. This film changed my mind about him, but it can be off putting for others. My favourite character however, was Kimberly Pine (pictured above) for her blunt attitude and cheeky freckles!

I particularly liked the action sequences and editing of the film (I'm a big fan of Edgar Wright's "Spaced" so I'm pretty familiar with his style) and it brings a great artistic quality to the film that pushes the boundaries of live action, which is great! My favourite part of the film is when Matthew Patel bursts through the fabric of reality and challenges Scott to a duel to the death; suddenly the film is transformed and the amazing and fantastic imagery is left for you to decide whether it's really happening or in Scott's imagination. However, there are some areas in which there is more to be desired.

For a start, characters do not evolve well during the film and have little or no character arc. There is a progression to Scott's character, but it is only shown at the beginning and at the end and there isn't development throughout. Ramona also doesn't show a lot of change, and doesn't show a lot of feeling towards Scott. Does she even say that she lesbians--I mean... loves him? It didn't even feel like he resolved things properly with his last ex, Envy. Initially I thought this would be a massive development towards the end, but her storyline ends quite abruptly.

I also found the ending a tad weak (apart from the awesome last battle sequence, THAT'S awesome), but that's partly to do with the character development. Also, there isn't a lot of reason for Scott to start chasing Ramona Flowers when he's already with the equally lovely Knives Chau, but again, this is an element of the graphic novels, so I won't start ripping into it! :P

Sadly, Scott Pilgrim vs The World is bombing at the box office, it hasn't even made half of the money used to make this film back yet. And it's such a shame! I really hope this changes soon, it's a fantastic film and a wonderful adaptation. It shows the movie industry how comic films should be: creative, romantic, action-packed, visually stunning, hilarious and above all, fun!

Obviously the target audience are gamers of the 80s-90s, so if you don't fit into this category you won't get all of the jokes, but it's still a great film regardless of your gaming experience. I'm giving this film a definite 9/10, for being great, regardless of box office results!

Check out this review on why this film is flopping on That Guy With The, "Distressed Watcher" explains it much better than I could!

5 Reasons Why Scott Pilgrim Flopped

Now go and see Scott Pilgrim vs The World now and decide how wow-cool-fantastic-awesome-super-epica it is for yourself!! :3

That's all from me right now, I'll be back soon! Ciao!
Lesbians from, Gemma xxx

New artwork on DeviantArt

Some of my latest digital artwork: a request of my boyfriend's Halo 3 character, a Piggy Portrait commission, and my tribute to Toy Story 3: Hay un amigo en mí!

Halo 3: Extermination by *AmberDust on deviantART

Commission: Piggy Portrait by *AmberDust on deviantART

El Buzzo y Jessie by *AmberDust on deviantART